Kahaani: Pre-release opinion – Oh Calcutta!

What is a pre-release review? – It is an opinion about a movie, about expectations BEFORE the movie is released. I hadn’t really thought I would ever write about a movie before even seeing it. But the Calcuttan in me (notice the archaic spelling!) could not resist.

I was quite ‘taken’ by the trailer of the movie – it is distinctively Calcutta. Right from “Durga Pujo” to the Kolkata Police inspector in his trademark white uniform registering “Bidya”‘s complaint. While pursuing the research to know more about the movie, I also realized that I happen to somewhat know the script writer – Advaita Kala. We had met briefly last year through a common friend, she was just about launched her first book Almost Single, and she seems to have done pretty well for herself. She also wrote the script for Anjaana Ajnaani.

Kahaani has been directed by Sujoy Ghosh – ‘the man’ behind the distinctively Calcutta flavour of the movie, I guess. Some of the visuals are extremely pleasing – the ambassador taxis, the metro, the ‘dhak’ sound and the bells, the tram, the autos, victorial memorial, the narrow by-lanes.. I always seem to have an inexplicable eagerness to watch any movie based out of/shot in Calcutta. The familiarity and flavour is something that sticks deep. In fact, I don’t know why I seem to like watching this random Bengali movie called Bong Connection, which other than ‘Calcutta’ connection has nothing else to keep me too engaged!

I guess it is the city – its like a magnet. Binds people together. Keeps you hooked to it if you have a connection. As is often said, cornily, you can take a man out of Calcutta, but you can’t take Calcutta out of a man. Applies to me.

‘Kahaani.: Bring it on! Here’s the official theatrical trailer on youtube.

Why I love reading Mint!

As a child, I was never much into Newspapers. While I was growing up in Kolkata, my life started and ended with The Telegraph.

Before I started growing up (I mean, when I was really small!), I also remember seeing The Statesman around the house but as I started growing up, I started seeing less and less of that newspaper around the city. Although ‘Statesman’ was always regarded as being “classy” by the city’s intellectual elite, the young Kolkata “yuppie” was increasingly getting attracted towards the pepped-up, trendy ad ever-changing “The Telegraph” from AnandaBazar Patrika (ABP) Group, the same group that also runs the weekly national business news magazine, Businessworld.

Over the past few years though, given my profession, I have taken to reading business newspapers once in a while. And more recently (honestly, only once I got out of Business School and started working!) I started subscribing to The Economic Times. I was positively disposed towards the “pink papers” and enjoying my disposition as I carried the papers to office every morning. Except that one evening when one of my colleagues quirked, “You look like a banker when you carry “ET” while walking into office.” And that reminded me of a ‘non-pink’ business paper that one of my ex-bosses (and good friend!) is ga-ga- about – Mint, by HT Media.

The fact that it carries content by Wall Street Journal goes a long way in establishing credibility. So I decided to “switch” to Mint a month or so back and to my surprise, I have been hooked on to it ever since – in a manner that no other newspaper has gotten me hooked. I mean, it is almost like I look forward to reading what is “on the Mint” everyday.

The quality of content, the presentation and the way the newspaper is seamlessly integrated with the online portal (www.livemint.com). And I think that is exemplary – It is a lesson that a few other newspapers could take out of their book to make their “reader experience” as seamless.  And that’s only one good thing I like about “Mint”.

I don’t want this to sound like a commercial – Mint did not pay me to be writing this – nor is a distant cousin/batchmate an editor with the newspaper. There are many more things I like. 3 of them are as follows:

  1. Technology-savvy folks – In addition to the “seamless” integration as mentioned earlier, they have even incorporated QR Codes into their newspaper. (If you don’t know what QR Codes are, read this.)
  2. Innovative Sections: like the “Quick Edit” section which has recently started appearing on the front page. Hardly 2-3 paragraphs of clear, crisp opinion on a current, relevant issue.
  3. Presentation: One of the senior managers I work with commented, and I agreed, that the quality of graphs, charts and the way data is presented on the Mint is very unique and a lot of information can be grasped in very little time.
So much for admiring a newspaper – Gosh I never thought I’d write an entire blog-post analysing a newspaper – considering how boringly commoditized I always thought they were – with hardly any product “differentiation” .. I mean, how difference would news be? – And how much of a difference would it make if the news of the “next dotcom boom” is brought to me by Newspaper A or Newspaper B?
Scratching the surface just a little deeper shows me, maybe it does.

Tastiest Dessert EVER: NolenGurer Ice Cream @ Oh! Calcutta

A few months ago I had reviewed 2 restaurants serving authentic Bengali cuisines – Kewpies and Oh! Calcutta. While Kewpies is a more regular (read: homely) place, Oh! Calcutta is a fine dining restaurant. Last night me and mom went out for dinner to Oh! Calcutta.

While the service and ambiance was of the usual  high levels we have come to expect from Specialty Restaurants, what blew our minds was the dessert. We hadn’t tried it before and we did not know something like this existed but I couldn’t stop licking the spoon!

Nolengurer Ice Cream

Nolengurer Ice Cream: is an ice cream made out of Gur (jaggery, a natural sugar with health benefits,also derived from sugarcane). I remember doting on “Gur ka Sandesh” (known as ‘Gurer Sondesh’ in Bengali) especially during the winters when I was very young. “Gur ka Sandesh” dots sweets stores during the winters because apparently the ‘Gur’ melts during the summers and is inedible in solid form unless refrigerated.

The NolenGurer Ice Cream at Oh! Calcutta is unique and is sure to tantalize your taste buds in ways you can’t imagine. For all my friends in other cities, Oh! Calcutta has branches in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, in addition to Kolkata of course. Go, check it out and then drop me a line – let us share the criminal craving! 😉