Sunday, July 29, 2007


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – The Musical, is the latest production of Landing Stage, the youth theatre group of Masquerade. Its been played by a group of kids all in the age group of 13-19, which is quite impressive. Marking the first time it has ever been adapted for theatre, it’s a matter of pride that a Chennai based theatre group has been given the rights to use the trade mark. Scripted by Manasi Subramanian and directed by Aruna Ganesh Ram, the production had immense potential and it would have been a phenomenonal success if not for a few things that were overlooked.

The exploits of Mr Potter are already widely known, and shouldn't need much in the way of explanation, but for those who remain unaware, this story plots the beginning of Harry's life into the world of magic, wizards and witches, from his orphaned childhood at Privet Drive- the house where the words ‘magic' and 'Potter’ are forbidden, to his first journey to Hogwarts, where he finally discovers himself and his place in the incredible world around him. He meets his various teachers, such as his mentor Professor Dumbledore, an adversary in Professor Snape who never misses an opportunity to snap at Harry, and Professor Quirrel, a timid man with a dark secret. With friends like Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and enemies like Draco Malfoy as well as the the Dark Lord himself, Voldemort, Harry is never short of adventures, which unravel in a series of twists and turns with a few song and dance sequences to adapt the story to a musical.

Firstly, there must be a mention of the impressive sets prepared by Mithran Devanesan, which brought to life all that one imagines when reading the book. The costumes, prepared by Deepthi Karnad were also good. The first few scenes had Dudley and Uncle Vernon who stole the show with their lively performances but the audio quality could have been better. Unfortunately, Harry’s expressions weren’t visible for the most part, as he faced away from the audience with his chin down (although the sorting hat sequence was performed well). There were also a few technical snags with the ‘sea sounds’ doing the disappearing act on Hagrid’s entry onto the island cabin and Hagrid needs to work on his vocation. The background direction of the song and dance sequence at Diagon Alley was well conceptualised but could have been executed better, as the dancers in centre stage obscured the action taking place behind. The performances of Ron and Hermione were quite impressive. Hermione got her indignant act so well that she would have passed off as English. Draco was one actor who not only got into the skin of his character but also got his diction right. However, Dumbledore's feeble voice left a lot to be desired, and the lighting during the forest scenes could have been better manipulated to prevent the shadows that were cast on the actors’ faces.

Some of the musical aspects were inspired as the sorting hat and chess game dance sequences were true classics. The directors voice and music by Ashwath made the song so potent, it had the audience applauding whole heartedly. These were the best instances of Denver Antony's choreography, while the other dances left room for improvement. There was also the occasional trivial scene such as the explanation of Quidditch, which could have been skipped, making the play considerable shorter. However, the graphics used for the Quidditch match were a brilliant piece of innovation. The climactic scenes with Quirrel and Harry were exceptionally directed and well executed, and Quirrel’s split personality was powerful enough to give you goose bumps.
With the release of the last book in the Harry potter series and the fifth movie sequel out in the last two weeks, the Harry Potter fever is running high amongst the general public and the production house have used that platform to promote the play. Although there were areas in which the production fell short, Landing Stage's spirited attempt at a musical has definitely put a new spin on the Harry Potter phenomenon.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


You pick up any random Indian newspaper over the last two weeks, the first thing that hits you is the ‘MUD SLINGING’ campaign by the opposition party against the leading party’s presidential candidate.

To sum it up in brief, everyone thinks Pratibha Patil Shekhawat is going to be a ‘rubber stamp’ president. WHY?? Cause of her alleged link to the (note) Gandhi-Nehru family. After all she cooked food in Indira Gandhi’s kitchen, when her son Rajiv Gandhi was killed. Now you may ask, what is it to any of us if she cooks, sweeps or swops (read sob too!)? No business, just that the whole scenario shows a very domestic scene. The Rashtrapati that we all strive for is not to be painted in such a picture, even though majority of the Indian women are portrayed to be home-makers!

But then again Sonia Gandhi being an Italian but now an Indian by choice (15yrs late!), has finally understood the “loyalty” that we Indians upho0ld ourselves for. Blood is thicker than water, but FAMILY LOYALISTS are rarer than that.

The first family of United States follows or I think it did be more appropriate to say “shares” (after all we wouldn’t want to offend Bush Jr by calling him our follower, he did feel more empowered if it was the other way round. Tssk tssk, I wouldn’t want to be the cause for Indo-US nuke deal fall-out! ), the same family traditions as India’s first family (the GANDHI’S). First it was BUSH SR who showed that a party loyalist comes before any other. He pardoned Elliott Abrams, who pleaded guilty to unlawfully withholding information from the Congress in the Iran-contra affair. Bush Jr follows his fathers principles by pardoning Lewis “scooter” Libby Jr who was found guilty of committing perjury. After all, Bush Jr had promised “to take care of anyone who violated the law in his administration”. Must say he has set a fantastic example of how to take care of such “law-abiding” people. To top it all, he employed Elliott Abrams as a deputy national security adviser. Not only does the President follow his dads tradition but also upholds them in every way possible.

Its no wonder that India’s first family and the U.S first family find a common ground that upholds all principles, similar and unethical. A lot of people crying foul play, these leaders think they can play GOD and get away with it until the next election, which is just around the corner for both countries(weird coincidence again!!).

Like Paul Krugman rightly said “Obstruction of justice when it gets too close to home is a family tradition. And being a loyal Bushie means never having to say you are sorry.” It goes the same for the Gandhi’s.

So sit up and get your act together before the curtain falls onto you, strangling you in its layers of (scaf)folds.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I wouldnt have ever thought that a drive to a wedding reception would get so entertaining! And the fact that a 45 min trip would in totality take 2 hours 15 min (my friend who was driving the car would beg to differ!) for reasons you'll know only if read the entire blog!! :D

I wasnt really complaining too much about the time that we were stuck on road but yes i'd tend to grumble when my stomach rumbled n protested a wee bit coz i wasnt paying due attention to it. We leave my friends place at 7 in the evening whereas it was was supposed to be 6.15, and mind you it was a guy who was to pick us up. I will smash a pumpkin on a guys head if he ever says, 'Women are late and fashionably so!' My foot! HE was
RUDELY LATE( if i was spared the jail term, thats the colour his clothing would have been!) . In the 45min time slot that i'm at my friends place, i have a very interesting conversation with her cousin who also happens to be a famous joints ex-chef! The second i hear the name of the joint where he USED (note the past, he emphasised on it a couple of times!) to be the cheif chef, i started cribbing and bantering about how lousy the service is, balh blah blah. Ironically i'd tell him that the brownies were simply 'mouth-lip-licious'. After listening to me diligently, he tells me that it NEVER was the chef (thats him!) fault but that of the waiters who because they are paid so poorly, arent too thrilled on delivering the order on time and get some weird satisfaction at being repeatedly asked and begged by the customers for their food! Saddists even in the hospitality dept, whatever has the world come to?? Doctors being terrorists, but that s different story altogether.

Our friend finally decides to make an appearance and we get moving to the hotel where the reception is held. These are the people that the car consists of --
CHEF, JOURNALIST, ENGINEER, RECEPTIONIST (this is my own version of what my friend driving the car does, in reality he works at a call centre! ;) ). Now that i've told you the kinda people in one car, i leave you to a moment of thinking as to what the conversation would have been about. 1, 2,3,4...................................60. TIME UP! I'm only going to be giving you a jist of it cause if i'd sit down to tell you the entire 2hrs 15min of the conversation, i'd be charged for taking up soooooooooo much space! :D

Here it goes....................................... We discuss about FOOD ( i invited the chef hoem to COOK!) which i think was the reason we got so hungry, we kept guessing as to what the food would be. We were all craving for
FLESH! Tssk tssk, i'm talking meat and chicken! :P Moved onto BLACK MAGIC (neither of us wanna mess with it!), spoke about BLOGGERS(hurray to us!) , anyone ever heard of our very own BRIDAL BEER who was a class act of her own in comparison to UKs BELLE DE JOUR?? If not, please go look her up. Sadly though my friend told me she got all her blogs erased due to reasons known only to her. But you still do have a wealth of information on her from people who scrapped her, if you would just care to google her name! We then moved onto FOOD again (cant blame us, it was past 8 in the night and we all were HUNGRY!!) :) . We passed a lot of lovely restaurants, infact we were really tempted to stop by one and have a snack! But decided against it as we wouldnt do justice to the reception food. Psst psst, we still didnt know the menu. While my friend and i were discussing all of this in the back seat, chef and receptionist were taking directions from different people simultaneously! HA, whoever says women are bad at road sense, needs to get their senses checked!!!
We did happen to loose our way a couple of times, that should tell you that just stick to 1 direction, dont jump, cross and get lost!! One of our friends finally did get there and we were like "hurray, finally!! whats the menu??" no greetings, no nothing.. just straight to the point. ALL OF THIS OVER THE PHONE!! Our friend was highly offended that we were interested only in the menu, but can the rat think about the cat, when he has french cheese in front?? Excuse the poor analogy!

After dragging the car in mad traffic, we did have a few roller coaster- like rides. I think our friend chose the wrong career, instead of a receptionist(!), he should have taken up
F1, but alas, all of us are prone to make mistakes, Even gross ones like our profession! :- Thats humans for you, the higher most strata in the ecology, but the most confused of the whole lot! Anyways getting to the point, we reached our destination, went upto the married couple, did the formalities and went to attack the food. only to slow down and eye it disappointingly on discovering it was VEGETARIAN! :( But then hunger trancends all of that and we eat with gusto.

I shall end this by saying, while eating i was introduced to a PILOT, SAILOR (works for the merchant navy, but then this is my choice of his post!). Interesting evening, uh?? ;)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

'Never believe all that the Internet has to tell you' is what parents tell their kids! But when they imparted these words of advice, they didnt think it would be applicable to websites and information posted on any reputed site. Especially not a central goverment site!!!

Well i must say it is 'SO TRUE!!' w.r.t .. It psomises you a speedy service to all your needs. I think when they say 'speedy' it refers to the speed of a turtle! You would do an online registration for whatever it is that you've to do with the thought in mind that it would save you a lot of time. You go ahead and fill the form online, you are then asked to go to your nearest (one and only!) passport office at a particular time. You are all happy that "wow that was quick".
The next day when you happen to go and you even more pleased and reassured by the sign that hangs on the wall stating "NO QUEUES, NO WAITING, NO TOKENS, NO RUSH if you register online", when you get to the counter there is a "small" queue. Takes you half an hour to get to the man behind the desk, when you do all he does is ask you to check your name on a list, leafs through your form (the person who was waiting on me, did very patiently answer all my doubts!), and prompltly says "Kindly come back tomorrow to submit your passport. Come in at 8 ain the morn(guess for what??!!) to beat the rush. You can go straight upto the express counter." ARE THEY CRAZY OR WHAT?? :O

Next morning, after a pretty late night and mom screaming "you not going to be able to make it tomorrow if u dont get into bed right now!!) , you manage to drag yourself out from oblivion land to get to the office on time to only realize there already are 30 odd people waiting before you!!! :( Not one to give up, i promptly resign myself to be the 31st person!! : No decent chair to sleep on and a miserly newspaper in hand, you have to pass your time until 9.45 A.M which is when the counter opens! Amazingly at sharp 9.45 you see a well dressed man who looks as fresh as a daisy, compared to tour withered look, walking in and seating himself behind the computer. Before i know it, its my turn. Looks at my passport checks my form (which 5 other ppl already have previously!) and looks at me and says "You need a police check, where is it?" Guess he figures from my blank look that i had no idea about it (why the hell didnt the others tell me?? Arggghhhhhhhhhhhhh grrrrrrrrrrrrr, damn them to hell and back!). He hands over two forms for the same and asks me to fill it along with affixing two photographs of mine. Which i dont have. SO i go home, rush back with the needful and submit the passport with the reassurance that it'll be delieverd at my house within a months time. THANK GOD FOR SMALL MERCIES. To sum it all up, i spent a miserly 4.5 hours at a goverment office only to get what is rightfully mine by birth!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Audience?? The right kind???

Thght i'd write in some more to familiarise myself with writing an online diary. Actually i do have a lot to share with whoever would "accidently" bump into my blog (the ways of reaching annoymous blogs are still mysterious 2 me!) . Wont start off with something personal, coz i'm 1 to feel exposed in front of an audience unknown to me. :) getting back to what i wanted to share.. i happened to attend one of these religion documentary screenings... Went to one that was a feature on the Zoarastrian community( leave you to wonder why), the person who'd de doc was trying to tell us that the community doesnt consist of ONLY the TATAs, GODREJs and WADIAs but also of people lesser known to the world.. Parsis who are poor, who are dependent on the panchayat for their living, of the parsi heritages that are being left to the wilderness. Of people who fade into the background without their plight being highlighted. When asked by the audience as to why he chose to portray a sect of parsis that were gloomy, sucidal and not eminent... he really couldnt defend it much. Said it was a topic that made him feel uncomfortable, his inner-self was screaming at the 20 people sitting in the audience " Contribute to saving this community that also has to it a side that is there but not showed.. Help in any way that you can... Contribute to prevent these old people from feeling lonely". It wa really sad to see the director fighting with himself to speak aloud these words even though it was on top of his head and tongue to say just that! It was even sadder to note that the audience consisted of the higher strata of parsi society and yet only asked the director why he chose such a subject to deal with the community. After all there are many more positive things about Zoarastrians. What the audience failed to understand was that he wanted to show something that all were blind to.

Everyone is doing it, y not me???

I have decided to become a blogger only because half the world( or atleast the world where computers, laptops and NET exist!!) seems to be doing it. So i decided, y not me? No particular reason or story for this piece, just getting myself introduced to the world of BLOGS and BLOGGERS!!! So hiya, i say WELCOME to the world of virtual "EVERTHING"...