Sunday, January 30, 2011

What is cooking today?

So I waited as the cooker was letting out steam slowly. Very slowly. It has just started cooking. Atleast I think it is cooking. I verified the stove and it was on. Five minutes and I am still waiting. I heard someone saying that it might take a while, so let me say whats cooking. With Chini away in India enjoying mom made breakfast, lunch and dinner and fresh juices in between, I decided to take the bold step to cook; something I rarely do from the time Big bang happened. You know when the everything came out of nothing! Nothing related though.

Anyway, after making few attempts like chutneys and Chicken curries (see in Facebook ;) ), I decided on the ultimate dish of Mushroom biryani. As always, I thought it is going to an easy day.

The morning had started long before I woke up and I met it only around 11 AM. Chini has already called twice and it was time to begin the weekend now. So without much ado, i started to make preparations for biryani. Chini dictated the recipe in exact metric units. Similar to Parthiban questioning Vadivelu the value of “a punch”, I am always ridiculed by the measurement terms like “a pinch” or “little”. How much really is a pinch? is it 2 grams or 5 grams? Or does it depend upon the density of what we are measuring? And there is always a difference in the value of pinch based on who is taking it right. And what is the size of little? There is ‘little’ Stuart in the size of a mouse and he says he eats large Gold fish biscuit which if you ask me is “little”. Chini already annoyed with my questioning decided to make it simple. All measurements will always be in cups or teaspoons. (she confirmed i need to measure to the top flat level)

After getting the recipe from Chini, it is time to get all ingredients. She already informed me that Biryani masala powder is there in home and i just need to get Onions, tomato and mushrooms. I could use Sona Masoori rice instead of Basmati. But suddenly my stomach started to say something. I am Hungry and it is 12 PM already. So I decided to have lunch outside and then get the ingredients on the way. After much searching for a quick bite, I found the only food I have appetite for is Biryani. But that is not going to be ready for another 2 hours (if I start in the next 5 minutes). So I went to Rice ‘n’ Roti and got non vegetarian meals with Chicken biryani and “Mushroom” curry. Filled with heavy lunch, I then decided to take a rest.

Relaxed on the couch after watching Jim playing pranks on Dwight, I finally decided to get back to “Mushroom” biryani at around 3 PM. Cooker on the stove and ghee hot in it. I chopped the onions and started frying in the cooker. As soon as it turned Golden brown, I added the half tomato mixing it continuously to avoid sticking to the bottom. That is when I realized I need to search for masala powder. Going through the kitchen shelf, refrigerator and the oven, I found that I cannot find the powder which means that it isn’t there in home. You know what that means? It means it is NOT going to be an easy day.

Now is a hard choice to make. I either run to the grocery store and get the masala before the onion burns or I could throw away the onions and buy mushroom biryani from the restaurant near by. I could not take the second choice as I do not like that restaurant much. So switching off the stove, I drove fast to the grocery store and found biryani masala for 2 dollars. The problem now is the Indian grocery stores do not accept credit card for below 5 dollars purchase and unfortunately I did not have any cash. So I hunted for 3 dollars worth food and I found only the raw materials for making food. Another trouble. After searching all the aisles, I found Parampara, something much closer to finished food. Returning back to home, I continued the operation. After adding 4 teaspoons of Biryani masala powder and constant stirring, it started smelling good. It really is going to be good. Next ingredient on the line was 3 cups of water. My fear that if you think everything is going good, it means there is something wrong altogether just got real. I had used the small cooker of 3 liter size which will become full if I add 3 cups of water. Now I have to transfer all the contents from the small cooker to the larger cooker. Tired of making stupid mistakes, I did what I had to do.

Everything transferred, I then started washing rice. And that is when I realized that I could have bought basmati rice when I went to the grocery store. Biryani would be very tasty with basmati rice. And that is also when I realized I could have bought basmati rice for 3 dollars instead of Parampara mix. Thinking all that I could have done, I washed the available Sona Masoori rice and just when I was about it mix it, I found mushroom lying on the side - uncut, unwashed, uncooked and obviously un-mixed. Damn. And so the large cooker was put on low heat, and I started frying the mushrooms in the small cooker. After 15 minutes and 1 hour since I started cooking, I realized I am finally closer to finishing it. After multiple checks on the recipe and thinking many times on what more mistakes could be made in making of mushroom biryani, i finally added the rest of the ingredients including washed rice, fried mushrooms and 1 teaspoon of salt for taste. Everything added, I closed the lid and put on the whistle and I waited.

PS: By the time I finished writing this, the cooker has already made 5 whistles asking me to take it off the hot stove. Mushroom biryani is finally ready and is waiting for any volunteers to taste it.

PPS: After much contemplation and some encouragement from Chini, I took the task myself and tasted it.

PPPS: I did it. Mushroom biryani smells, feels and tastes like Mushroom biryani. seriously guys, It is real good and I am going to keep it all for myself.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Action Army - An Action movie

I have been thinking about this movie for the past 20 years. And that was when I started watching our Tamil heroes super action movies. It was when I was introduced to super power megablasting stars like Sathyaraj, Vijaykanth and many others. And it was not just the 80s that were awesome, Indian James Bond JaiSankar also made me rethink about the song and sentiments dominated tamil film industry. Finally this story is going to bring all these heroes together for us now.

The movie starts with our hero one and only Vijaykanth who is living in PattiveeranPatti talking on phone with Airtel customer care representative. He says “Hello”. The lightning strikes in the background. And we enter for the title song. Lot of girls are dancing with cellphone in their hand pointing it like a gun. The lyrics goes like “He is the new iPhone 4. Powered by open Android. He is a Robo. He says Hello” and our Hero keeps on saying hello with different phones while wearing bluetooth headset on the other ear.

The movie continues. “yema ponnu, ithu ennoda 400avathu call.” speaks Vijaykanth.
“No sir. Our records show this is only your 3rd call to us.”comes back the reply. The sweet voice belongs to the college going part time working school dress wearing Nayantara.

“Ennaku athu theriyatha. Naan sonnathu intha mobila naan pannikirukira motha calls. But unga billula 410 calls bill pannirukeenga. Yennu theringukalama?”

“Of course sir. But why are you worried about 10 calls and wasting 20 minutes of everyone’s time. For wasting all these time, you could have commented to 100 persons in Facebook. Oh sorry! I think you village man would not know what facebook is” Nayantara replies back bored to getting stuck with an old voice.

Vijaykanth simply smiles and starts talking.
“Facebook was invented by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004.
Now it has a total of 500 million active users.
In 20 minutes, following happens in Facebook.
Tagged photos: 1.3 million
Event invites sent out: 1.5 million
Wall Posts: 1.6 million
Status updates: 1.8 million
Friend requests accepted: 1.97 million
Photos uploaded: 2.7 million
Messages: 4.6 million 
Comments: 10.2 million
Nayantara is now mesmerized and falls in love with Vijaykanth. But before she could speak anything the call disconnects. Our hero just sensed bad guys in his house. He goes to the kitchen and finds that all knifes and utensils are gone. He has nothing but a Coke bottle to fight with. He smiles and takes it out to the hall. Out of nowhere, 100 gangsters surround him with AK 47. Vijaykanth shakes the coke bottle vigorously. Everyone starts laughing. Then all of a sudden, he releases the cap and the compressed fizz comes out of the bottle and starts attacking everyone like a fire engine water hose. All villains are caught in surprise and they die to the powerful Coke. After the fizz gets over, the remaining guys start shooting. Vijayakanth deflects the bullets with the empty bottle and kills the final bad guy by throwing the bottle at his mouth.
Realizing that the Secret Indian Crime Kommittee wants him dead and must have been planning for a long time, he drives to Chennai to save Nayantara who he is in Love with. Why else would he wanted to call Airtel Customer care and talk about 10 calls for 20 minutes.
Nayantara is still in office trying to work, but starts dreaming. The first duet song starts. “Hello caller. I Love you Kalvar. Oh Dark knight. It is a dark night.” Vijaykanth is seen walking around Nayantara who keeps on changing dresses every second.” When she wakes up, her shift is over and she leaves the office. While walking back home through dark alley, 10 guys start chasing her and start shooting with AK47. It is the SICK guys alright. If you did not notice, SICK stands for Secret Indian Crime Kommittee. Nayantara runs off with high heels and short skirt and falls into the arms of one and only Vijaykanth. This time, with no coke around, he fights with Aquafina water bottle taken from Nayantara’s bag and kills all 10 of them with the final one choked by covering the water bottle over his head.
Vijaykanth tells that he was the person who called her in the morning. Surprisingly, she starts loving him more and more. They both then travel to see his senior secret CID agent JaiSankar. JaiSankar and Vijaykanth had worked together for SICK and are retired now. JaiSankar lives as a school teacher preaching Ahimsa for 2 second standard students. Seeing each other after long years, they talk about their past and tears drop from JaiSankar’s eyes. They soon realize the killings relate to a very old mission in SriLanka. Nayantara points out a newspaper that mentions that a female journalist was killed in an accident recently and another column about young man who was wearing a kurta and jeans pant was also shot dead. Vijaykanth and Nayantara goes to visit the female journalist’s parents. They know the young man was shot dead for his bad dress taste.

The mother of the journalist is Manoramo aachi and she speaks about her life and Amma and finally says that her daughter’s laptop, computer and iphone were taken away by AK47 yielding policemen the night her daughter was killed. Lucky for our hero, they left iPad because they couldn’t decide whether to classify it as a gigantic phone or laptop. While they were wondering where to find clues about the killings, Nayantara realizes that there is an App for that. So with few taps and swipes she retrieved a list of people’s names. Vijaykanth was impressed and he loves her more.
Unable to figure out what the list means, Vijaykanth decides he has to meet the action King. Once considering himself as the reincarnation of Bruce Lee, this action King became a discipline of Superhero Vijaykanth very soon and carried out several missions for the nation mostly by jumping and punching the villains for he is short. Action King Arjun also happens to be the most knowledgeable person of all SICK activities. Though old now, he believes himself to be still an young soldier and tries hard jumping higher and higher. Arjun figures out that the persons in the list belong to the team that carried out a secret mission in Srilanka 25 years ago.
In the mean time, CBI officer Jayam Ravi is given the order by his boss Nagma to kill Vijaykanth immediately. Jayam Ravi as a loyal officer agrees to shoot our hero and salutes her. He sets up a trap in a night club where Vijaykanth, Arjun and Nayantara are having dinner. Arjun always vigilant figures out the trap and dances on the stage to distract the CBI officers. Shreya who happens to be dancer for the hotel also dances with him with clothes as minimum as possible. Threatened by the screen time, Nayantara pulls Vijaykanth to the stage and all four dance to an item song. “I am hungry. I eat Jangery. Aadi pada vaa nee”. At the end of the song, Arjun cuts off the lights and Shreya helps them run through the dark while the officers search for the torch light. Remember Vijaykanth need not carry torch light. He has night vision eyes by birth. But when Jayam Ravi using iPhone app for torch light fires a bazooka at them, Vijaykanth gets in the middle and saves Nayantara even though he gets hurt on the arm while deflecting it.
Hurt and running from the CBI, army and SICK people, our heroes reach the Lady Superstar Vijayasanthi’s house who was a police officer once and had beaten up rowdies and corrupt politicians for long time. She treats Vijaykanth’s wounds which got transferred from right arm where he was hurt originally to left arm. Nayantara feeling sad about the wound cry holding his right arm while the wound is transferred again to left arm. They sing for the next song in Alaska. Nayantara shows she is a strong person by showing well in the snow. Vijaykanth just smiles and walks in Pink colored coat.
With JaiSankar returning to the group and the action team grown stronger to five including Vijaykanth, Nayantara, Arjun and Vijayashanthi, they decide that they have to go to CBI office to find more information. And the only person who knows how to get inside is the ex-ISI agent Mansor Ali Khan who was also lover of Vijayashanthi. But she had to shoot him to show her loyalty to Indian Police. Hurt both in body and heart Mansor has become bit mentally ill and is always seen with uncombed hair and speaking drunk. Also an enemy to Vijaykanth and Arjun and was hunted for many crimes including smuggling, terrorism and for being simply crazy, they knew it is a difficult but the only choice they have. Unwilling to help first, Mansor finally agrees so that he can see his lost love at last.
Together as a team, they infiltrate CBI building and gets the secret documents from Documents Keeper Charu Hassan who patiently tell them that he is counting on them for bringing out the truth to the world. After fierce fighting and blowing up the whole building, the action team leaves unharmed. Jayam Ravi was hurt in the battle but starts to think that Vijaykanth might be a good guy and questions Nagma. Nagma wearing high make up and low cut blouse warns him not to question her and just follow the orders. He dreams about his past with Nagma when they were lovers until she gets promoted and dumps him. He remembers the good old days dancing for a song in Africa.
With the new information, they find that only one person other than Vijaykanth is still alive. That is Sathyaraj now a Mayor and about to become the next chief minister. The secret mission in Srilanka was to extract Sathyaraj who was on peace mission was caught misbehaving with local people there and was eventually held as prisoner. Fearing that the news might affect his political future, he is killing all the persons involved. The team confront Sathyaraj in a forest bungalow in Ooty and ask him to surrender. But lying that he is innocent, he escapes from the heroes. Vijayashanthi and Nayantara who are watching from outside the bungalow realize it is a trap and they are surrounded by CBI officers. Jayam Ravi calls Vijaykanth and asks him to surrender so that nobody will be killed. “Surrender. That is the only word I never like in any language” replies back our hero and they start fighting. Hundreds of CBI and army men fight against our three heroes who fight with pistols, swords and throwing back the grenades. There are even replays for the best catches and throws by our heroes and the verdict is always OUT. After enraging gun battle, heroes finally escape only to leave JaiSankar shot dead in the end and Nayantara gets captured by Jayam Ravi.
Wounded and worried about the loss of their dear senior friend, Arjun and Vijaykanth sing a patriotic inspiring song along with Vijayashanthi and they decide that they will fight to death to bring out the truth. Nayantara in the mean time was tortured by Nagma. Nagma threatens to kill Vijaykanth if she does not tell her where Vijaykanth is. Nayantara gets confused whether she should consider Nagma as a real CBI officer or not. When Nagma was trying to torture her more, she gets a call from Vijaykanth. He challenges her that he is going to kidnap Sathyaraj in a ceremony that night.
The CBI protected ceremony opens with Anuska dance on the stage and Jayam Ravi keeps on talking on his walkie talkie asking everyone to be alert. Sathyaraj mesmerized by Anuska walks to the stage to congratulate her performance. With a surprising twist, Anuska removes her face mask revealing it was Vijaykanth dancing all along. The fight starts again and Vijaykanth escapes with Sathyaraj by breaking the wall with his fist and making his own way to the escape van driven by Arjun. Vijayashanthi gets hurt in the middle of the fight and when she is about to be killed by 3 CBI officers, Mansor AliKhan saves her and carries her away safe.
For the final showdown, Vijaykanth arranges an exchange of Sathyaraj for Nayantara in an abandoned warehouse. Jayam Ravi’s doubt that he might not be on the good side gets cleared when he reads the documents left by Vijaykanth for him. He switches side in the last minute and the fight reaches the climax with Arjun and Jayam Ravi fighting the bad guys; Nayantara fighting Nagma and Vijaykanth kicking Sathyaraj’s ass. Sathyaraj captures Nayantara and threatens Vijaykanth and says “Yenn Character-iye Purinjika Matengiriye”. Vijaykanth gets very angry and starts speaking for 15 minutes continuously. Sathyaraj becomes deaf and surrenders and Nagma turns good and falls on Jayam Ravi’s legs. The film ends with Vijaykanth & Nayantara, Vijayashanthi & Mansor, Jayam Ravi & Nagma walking away followed by Arjun and Shreya who just happens to be a dancer in a bar near by.


  • This is not a original story. I would never think like this. It is just a remake of the english movie RED.
  • There was a tough competition on who to cast for Jayam Ravi’s character. But for remakes, who else will be suitable better.
  • I would have considered Rajnikanth and Kamal, but the movie is about retired people and we know they never retire.
  • RED was actually a good film to watch. While the director rightly termed it as Action comedy, our Kollywood would simply release it as action movie which would be comedy for the viewers.
  • If you have read the story and still reading, you are the biggest jobless person in the world. As for me, what to do? I am bored and alone as Chini is enjoying her vacation in India.