Archive for August, 2010

Dabangg Tracker

A chat with my friend brought about the question of ‘what if Dabangg failed after all the hype around it?’ This got me thinking after recalling Bollywood’s stinker list of over-hyped movies – Chandni Chowk to China, Tashan, The Rising – Mangal Pandey, Sawariya…Dabangg film poster

My final verdict – that’s impossible. Reasons? Here goes,

Abhinav Kashyap – The brother of Dev D’s director ought to have learnt some pretty good lessons from the older sibling. The la familia factor extends beyond the Khan’s for this movie.

Munni Badnam Hui – The item song defines every North Indian kitschy movie template and this may not be foot tapping but it definitely gets the pelvic thrusts up and moving. Add Malaika Arora and you have a winner there. Oops I missed the Khan at the end of her name.

Dialogues – In my film viewing experience, a handful of memorable dialogues are more than enough to ring the cash registers at the BO. ‘If I beat you up, you would not know whether to pass wind through your ass or your mouth’, now this definitely sounds more pleasing when said in Hindi.

Trailer perfect – Trailers can sell movies, in most cases the first week collections are mostly based on trailer recall. By the time trailer fatigue sets in, the movie would have recovered its budget. Dabangg’s trailer is one of the most amazing campy trailers ever. The Bihar-UP badland action comedy genre never looked or felt this good.

Arbaaz Khan, the Producer – Sallu Bhai’s brothers have always ensured that he received the best coverage when it came to the movie. This was determined by their involvement as directors or producers.Whether its Sohail Khan in ‘Partner’ or Arbaaz in Dabangg, family has always ensured that Salman got the best launch.

Sallu, Sallu, Sallu bhai all the way… – Love him or hate him, you can’t grudge the guy his fame. Nor Salman Khan‘s star power. His fans remain no matter what he does and from a casual fan to a serious fan, I vouch for the guy’s ability to pull off serious slapstick comedy fare that is worth much more than a Filmfare statuette. Try watching ‘Hello Brother’, ‘Maine Pyaar Kyon Kiya’  – poorer cousins of Dabangg, but you will get the drift.

So who’s gonna roll up their sleeves against this film, eh? Family always wins.

Tata Crucible Bangalore 2010

I am back from the Tata Crucible, Bangalore edition 2010. Held at St. John’s auditorium in Koramangala, this times edition saw fewer teams. The last time I attended the quiz, I remember there was a virtual stampede out there.

The quiz was pretty good. Giri ‘Pickbrain’ Balasubramaniam was the quizmaster as usual and he does seem to get better by the year. My colleague was attending a quiz for the first time and I was quizzing after a gap of nearly two years, the last being the 2008 edition of Crucible. From Lady Gaga’s 10 million plus hits on Facebook to tracing the origins of banking through a Nativity painting that was meant for the Medicis in Italy (I hope I got the connection right here), this times quiz was short but packed in quite a punch.

We did not make it, but I feel we did not screw up completely. 10 out of 25 in the prelims with a chance that we could have done better through a few more correct answers and I got back home with just a tinge of disappointment. On our way out we got some flyers describing a quiz organized by Symbiosis. Gotta check out the details.

Lola Kutty’s Boney M Mix

I came across this Lola Kutty Boney M mix that was referred to me. Lola Kutty for me has defined Channel V‘s TRP rating’s and I don’t think this is too far from the truth. For the uninformed, Lola plays a faux Malayali lady with the attitude that stereotypically defines the Kerala region. In real life she is a Malayali named Anuradha Menon. Anyway, check out the video. Boney M never looked this good. Check out the sidekicks in her video.

Follow-up to svchost.exe problem

After fixing my Windows XP OS using the patches mentioned in Technibble and chronicled in my last blog, things were working out fine until yesterday morning, i.e. hardly 24 hours had passed than the problem reappeared. I continued trying to reinstall the patches but the situation still prevailed.

Desperate to the point of just throwing out the laptop, I went back to the Technibble and followed the comments on the page. One comment stuck out. The user had followed the complete process of installing the patches and had rebooted the system. However the system slowdown persisted. The Technibble author had replied back and asked the user to switch off the automatic updates in the control panel.

Now, when I got to the control panel and check for the Automatic Updates link, I could not find it upfront. However when clicking the ‘switch to classic view’ link on the left hand side menu, you get most of the COntrol Panel features upfront and Automatic Updates was very much around in the list. I double-clicked the same and clicked the automatic updates OFF option. Rebooted the system and everything is fine.

Special thanks to Bryce Whitty for this really good article on Technibble. It really saved me lot of trouble.

Point by point process

  1. Got to Start>Settings>Control Panel
  2. Control Panel appears in the Windows XP default format
  3. Click on ‘Switch to classic view’ on the left hand side side-menu list
  4. Double-click Automatic Updates from the list
  5. Select the Automatic Updates OFF option
  6. Reboot the system and you are all set

Fixing virtual memory problems

My laptop and me are recovering from the virtual memory syndrome that very nearly drew me mad and nearly had my laptop end up in the bin. Ever since I got my new net connection (Tata Photon Plus – 950 unlimited) version) I had my head in my hands trying to understand what the hell was slowing down my machine. From the task manager I came to know that firefox was taking up a lot of virtual memory but that was standard. What the hell was happening?  I also kept getting the low virtual memory messages.

I had removed many of the start up processes bundled with my Acer laptop, and the damn machine still virtually hanged there leaving me no room to check the net for what was going wrong here. Exploring the problem in office yielded various solutions such as enhancing the RAM (my 5 year old laptop runs on 256MB RAM though that’s not a justification for really going down to some prehistoric lumbering dinosaurical speed), cutting down various start-up applications (which I did)… these were just a few of the suggestions that I explored and ended up restarting my system as much I kick-started my bike at every damn signal in Bangalore.

Baffled with the same result after undertaking every suggestion to escape from the virtual memory problem, I managed to scribbled a few more keywords on Google and ended up exploring more virtual memory issues, memorizing them faster than my system could boot, and stumbled on the svchost.exe memory leak bug.

Now, this issue seems to be a common enough problem for Technibble to dedicate a full page to it. Technibble is a site that offers comprehensive solutions to your comp problems and from my experience that I am chronicling here I would vouch for the info provided. It particularly affects the Windows XP OS (the same ran on my laptop). The svchost.exe, while an important file, has some bug problem that results in memory leaks (i.e. it takes up a lot of the CPU virtual memory space). Microsoft introduced a patch but it still needed to be debugged by some freeware files available. I followed the processes described in the solution list provided on their page, downloaded the executable files and ran them in safe mode on my system.

The following is quoted verbatim from the Technibble page, titled ‘How to Fix svchost.exe using 100% CPU / Memory Leak‘ (read the whole article for a clearer idea), and is the process I followed to the T. Trust me, it worked or I would not have blogged this in real-time.

How to stop svchost.exe using up 100% system resources (Windows XP Only):

  • Visit the Microsoft website and Download Windows Update v3 WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86.exe and save it to your C:\ drive
  • Download this file fix_svchost.bat (right click and choose save as..) and save it to your C:\ drive
  • Download this file WindowsXP-KB927891.exe and save it to your C:\ drive
  • Reboot the computer and log in to Windows XP in safe mode. To do this, press F8 just before the WindowsXP logo shows up during boot and press up to choose “Safe Mode”
  • Once Windows has loaded and you have the option of which user account to use, log on as “Administrator”.
  • Click Start > Run, choose the Browse button and find the fix_svchost.bat file you saved before, press Open, then OK.
  • A black screen will pop up and white text will scroll past. Wait for this process to finish as it could take several minutes. It will close itself when its finished.
  • Once the black screen disappears, Click Start > Run, choose the Browse button and find the WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86.exe file you saved before, press Open, then OK. Follow the prompts as it installs.
  • When Windows Update Agent finishes installing, Click Start > Run, choose the Browse button and find the WindowsXP-KB927891.exe file you saved before, press Open, then OK. Follow the prompts as it installs.
  • Reboot the computer

Going on 24

I have begun watching the final season of 24. Reason – Anil Kapoor. There is no doubt that Slumdog Millionaire has opened quite a few global avenues for this popular Bollywood actor. And to be fair to him, he did do a good job in the film. I have just caught bits and pieces of 24 in the past and Anil Kapoor and the lack of good serials on TV are forcing me to take another look at this series.24 - Anil Kapoor - President Hassan, Kiefer Sutherland - Jack Bauer

The series is interesting and extremely fast-paced and yesterday’s premiere of the final season did interest me enough to have another dekko tonight. Speaking about final seasons, Lost has been on my mind these last few weekends. I hardly followed the show till then, but thanks to Wikipedia I am up-to-date with what’s happening in the lives of more than half a dozen characters with severe emotional problems and one hell of a smoke monster to deal with on one of the most luscious islands on earth. If I were them, I would have remained on the island for the rest of my life considering there was enough eye candy going around for everyone involved.

Coming back to 24, good going Anil. He carries himself quite well unlike some of the other mainstream Indian actors who on transitioning to English fare, tend to continue their hamming and hawing ending up like poorly defined caricatures of Apu Nahasamasapeemapetilon. Though stereotyped in a way by playing some Islamic President, Kapoor has enough of a meaty role to get star-billing besides Kiefer Sutherland and the screen time to go with it.

Lets see how the series progresses. The best to you Anil. I know you are done with the show, but what the hell, my real-time watch starts now.

Deep Frost and Nixon

Today’s unexpected holiday gave me a chance to catch up with more TV. And halfway through the morning I caught Frost/Nixon on HBO. I may have missed around 20% of the movie when I first hit the screen, but I caught the best that it could offer. My respect for Ron Howard as a director grew as scene after scene threw up duels built around words defined by character performances from actors who clearly had a strong theatrical foundation that did not compromise the screen time and vice versa.

Langella's Nixon meets Sheen's Frost

Langella's Nixon meets Sheen's Frost

Frank Langella as Nixon and Michael Sheen as David Frost – the TV celebrity interviewer who made his career in real life with the Nixon interviews, match each other scene for scene in an almost macabre play of words. It’s the politician and the arc lights fighting for the upper hand where a slight misspoken phrase would lead to the collapse of one of the individuals with wounds so deep that recovery was impossible.

It is clear that the movie is completely dependent on the script by Peter Morgan, that was earlier performed as a a Broadway play by the same lead actors. Langella’s Nixon is charming, cunning, deceitful – but in the end comes off as a broken man for whom a tinge of sympathy is due from the public. Here is a man who broke every legal rule in the book by his actions and tried justifying them in an almost brash manner, but finally came off as a sympathetic megalomaniac – an ego that embodies every hidden aspiration of the human race. It was to his misfortune that Nixon’s aspirations were exposed through the web of lies spun.

I felt for the character and also for the real-life President Nixon who after all those years in power had to bow down in disgrace and in a retirement that was all but forgotten years later unlike the Clinton’s, Bush’s, Carter’s who continue to be in the news for the right reasons post-retirement. Talking about the movie is akin to talking about the President’s life and the adage ‘Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely’ never rang so true as in this case.