Jashn | Restaurant Review

Place: Jashn
Location: Ahuja Estates Lane, Next to Palace Heights, Abids
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Dinner (with amma and dad)

On Christmas, we headed out for a drive and decided to dine at Santosh Dhaba (Jaya International lane). But I realized that they opened a new restaurant next to the Santosh Dhaba Extension, and decided to try it instead. The place was packed with people waiting to get in to both Extension and Jashn. We had to wait for about 15 minutes before we were seated. On ambiance front, the place has good interiors (to give it the fine dine touch), but the tables were cramped next to each other. And there was the reverberating noise; it was like you were at a market rather than a restaurant.

Having walked in, we decided to sit through. But the surprise element was yet to be discovered – a look at their menu. They had more variety than what Santosh Dhaba offers (Italian, Chaat, etc.), but one look at the prices and you’d wonder if you walked into a star restaurant. Everything was overpriced, a Naan which would cost about 20 bucks at the Extension next door was 50! (and I’m guessing they came from the same kitchen). We somehow managed to ignore this and ordered Manchuria as starter, and Bulbul Kofta along with Roti, Aloo Paratha and Stuffed Kulcha for main course.

Jashn Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Veg. Manchuria

People at the adjacent table placed their order at the same time as us and their main course was served but our starter was yet to come; that’s how long it took for the Manchuria to be served. And after such a long wait, they turned out to be among the most terrible Manchuria I’ve ever had. Soggy and overcooked, they barely had any flavour. When we informed this to the steward, he just ignored us.

Jashn Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Bulbul Kofta
Jashn Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Aloo Paratha and Stuffed Kulcha

Thankfully, the main course didn’t take long to be served. The Kofta tasted decent, but was nothing spectacular. Roti and Aloo Paratha were alright. The Stuffed Kulcha, which is usually stuffed with cashew nuts, barely had any.

I wanted to order more, but decided against it given the mediocre food and service. Oh yea, the service – though there were waiters standing right next to our table, they wouldn’t hear us out cos it wasn’t their table (all that we had asked them was to get us a fork and some ketchup). In all, one of the most disappointing meals in recent times. Given that its’ from the house of Santosh Dhaba, it’s a bigger disappointment. Never ever coming back, and I suggest you stay away as well.

Food: 6.5/10
Service: 5/10
Ambiance: 6/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 720/-

Verdict: 5.5/10

Birdman | Movie Review


Given that you have a bunch of Oscar nominated films releasing together, it’s tedious to keep track of the one which stands out. While all other nominees are either biographies or dramas, Birdman excels as a dark comedy with some spectacular performances.

It’s very difficult to write about director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman. A Hollywood actor once famous for playing fictional ‘Birdman’ character is trying to establish himself on Broadway; but he is still haunted and tormented by the voice of Birdman, and the story showcases how this conflict affects his Broadway career. While González Iñárritu brings out the best from the entire cast, the screenplay is spectacular and makes the movie a treat to watch. The way the entire film flows seamlessly while giving an impression that it’s all a single shot is brilliantly done. This is how good it gets on script, screenplay and direction front.

Michael Keaton is superb as the struggling actor. He gets into the skin of the character, and his performance is the best I’ve seen this year (thus far). Edward Norton comes up with an equally spectacular act and actually outshines Keaton in some episodes. Emma Stone is perfect in her brief appearance, and so are Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough and Zach Galifianakis. The film is an absolute treat in terms of performances.

Music by Antonio Sánchez is haunting and very effective. Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki and editing by Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione are excellent. Again, the way the film flows as a single shot thanks to perfect screenplay, editing and cinematography is worth mention.

Is it worth your time and money?: While all the Oscar nominees are excellent films, Birdman happens to be the clear winner for me. It’s a perfect example of the script, director, actors and technical teams all coming together to churn out a work of art. Don’t miss it!!

Worth mention: The performances and the illusion that entire film is a single shot.

Acting: 9.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9.5/10
Technical Aspects: 9/10

Verdict: 9.5/10

The Theory of Everything | Movie Review

Theory of Everything Poster

It is not often that you have two biopics releasing together – both British (one about a mathematician and other a physicist), both nominated for the Oscars. While The Imitation Game is a dramatized thriller about Alan Turing and his achievements, The Theory of Everything is a drama about Stephen Hawking’s personal life.

Based upon the book written by Jane Wilde (Hawking’s first wife), the movie happens to be more about the couple’s relationship rather than the physicists achievements. It starts of with a young Hawking meeting Jane a little before he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, and continues with their struggles as a married couple, while Hawking pursued research on quantum mechanics through deteriorating health conditions. While the love story is  well picturized, director James Marsh could not maintain the same zeal for the rest of the story. Beyond a point, the relationship between the couple seemed artificial. The screenplay is neat, but only if the story had much more substance to offer. Even worse, it doesn’t even connect with you emotionally.

Eddie Redmayne is brilliant as Hawking. He resembles Hawking in looks, and portrays the medical condition to perfection. While he has not much to say, he conveys a lot through his facial expressions. Felicity Jones puts up an equally good performance as Jane. David Thewlis and Charlie Cox are good.

Music by Jóhann Jóhannsson is alright. Editing by Jinx Godfrey and cinematography by Benoit Delhomme are good. I actually liked the way the some scenes were presented in retro nostalgic frames.

Is it worth your time and money??: When you compare with the other British biopic, The Theory of Everything lacks enough substance to keep you engrossed for it’s more of a drama than a biopic. While worth a watch for the performances, it really has nothing new to offer.

Acting: 9.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

Baby | Movie Review


The Wednesday was a brilliant film, while Special 26 was a good watch. Come Baby, Neeraj Pandey seems to have got lost in the world of big budget Bollywood movies. One would expect something more sensible from him.

Director Neeraj Pandey’s Baby has nothing new to offer. Like most of the thrillers, Baby starts off with an episode where the our hero, a secret intelligence officer, saves the day by fighting tons of goons all by himself. Thanks to the big budget, this happens in Istanbul. Next we are told that there’s a bigger terrorist attack planned, and our hero and his team need to fight more goons (all from the neighbouring country). They first go to Nepal, and then to Saudi Arabia. Forget Hollywood, the same plot has been used in so many Hindi movies till date. Even the screenplay has nothing new in store; in fact, its at times stupid and illogical. The only plus point of this otherwise predictable and long movie are its witty dialogues. Pandey also succeeds in inserting humour in some episodes. These apart, Pandey disappoints big time (given the expectations). Direction actually is way below par, especially in the first 30 odd minutes.

Akshay Kumar shines in one of the sensible roles he’s played in recent times. While he looks good with a moustache, it could have been better groomed (for it looked more like a sticker on his face). Danny Denzongpa does a good job as the mission head. Rana and Taapsee have minimal screen presence (about 10 minutes each), and while Tapsee does a perfect job, Rana was expressionless. Anupam Kher entertains in a small role, and so does Murali Sharma. The guy who played the Maulana, Rasheed Naz, did good.

There’s only half a song in the movie (apart from the end-credit song), and both of them are decent. Background score is neat. Cinematography by Suddep Chatterjee is good. Editing by Narayan Singh could have been better. For a thriller, the movie was a little too long. Also, the second half being twice as long as the first doesn’t help in engaging the audience.

Is it worth your time and money??: Baby isn’t really a bad watch. But at the same time, it doesn’t match up to your expectations either. While the actors are a plus point, the mediocre screenplay and direction play spoilsport. Give it a watch only if you have nothing better to do. Actually, walk in without any expectations, and you might actually enjoy it.

Worth mention: Acting and cinematography.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 6/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

PS: It was funny to watch Akshay signalling a guy on the street to not to look into the camera (or at him) while in a shot. What the *beep* was the director doing?? :O

I | Movie Review

I - Movie

The trailer didn’t look that great, and the initial reviews weren’t positive either. Nevertheless, here I was to watch and appreciate Vikram’s efforts.

Shankar’s I, starts off really well; the story of the body builder wanting to make it large (pun intended) is perfectly picturized. Him lionising a model is also understandable. But the problem starts when the renowned director adds too much commotion to this simple story. After a point, it just seemed like he just wanted to showcase fights, stunts, make up effects and so on, rather than make a good movie. There are a number of episodes which were absolutely irrelevant and unnecessary – love story with the stylist, the Lion-man song and the terribly long fight sequences. These episodes don’t just make the movie incredibly long but test your patience levels. Add to that a mediocre screenplay, and what started off well ends terribly. Why Shankar, why?

Vikram put in his heart and soul into the character and it is sad to see his brilliant performance go waste. Hats off to him for moulding his body as per the characters requirements. Amy Jackson looks fabulously gorgeous. She complimented Vikram in almost every shot and stumped me with her performance. Santhanam is alright. Upen Patel and Suresh Gopi put up decent performances.

Thanks to an Oscar, A R Rahman seemed to have lost it. It’s sad to see him compose such disastrous tunes. But for a couple of songs, the rest go straight into the bin. Even the background score is below par. Editing by Anthony couldn’t get any worse. Cinematography by P C Sreeram is the only saving grace on the technical front. Barring the action sequences, almost every other frame is perfect. Make up effects by Weta Worshop are alright.

Is it worth your time and money??: If it weren’t for Vikram, it’s a big no. His performance, Amy, and cinematography are the saviours in this long film. Shankar’s over-ambitious effort to showcase ‘more’ has ruined an otherwise good film.

Anthaku minchi, anthaku minchi antu manchi cinemani chethulara paduchesukovadam ante idhe!

Worth mention: Apart from Vikram, Amy Jackson’s performance is noteworthy.

Acting: 9/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 5.5/10
Technical Aspects: 7.5/10

Verdict: 7/10

The Imitation Game | Movie Review

The Imitation Game

After a long wait, The Imitation Game has finally released in India. Having read some raving reviews about the movie, I walked in with high expectations. While it did live up to most, I somehow felt something was amiss.

Scripted by Graham Moore, The Imitation Game tells the story of Alan Turing, the mathematician who helped the allies win the Second World War using the Turing Machine (Christopher/Bombe). The script has been modified enough to help director Morten Tydlum make the movie gripping; enough drama has been infused into this biopic to make it interesting. However, I felt that there could have been more emotional content. While direction is good, adding a little more substance to the film would have made it better. Nevertheless, the best part of the movie however is its seamless screenplay which runs through three different time periods. Be it the 1940’s or the 1950’s, every frame is stitched together perfectly.

The movie is near perfect thanks to a brilliant act by Benedict Cumberbatch. His performances in a couple of episodes, when he confesses to his fiancée, and when he’s struggling to solve a Crossword puzzle, are superb. Special shout to Alex Lawther who enacts young Turing’s life to the ‘T’. Keira Knightley is perfect as Joan Clarke. The rest of the cast put up credible performances.

Music by Alexandre Desplat is good, but something more haunting would have been perfect. Editing by William Goldenberg is neat while cinematography by Oscar Faura is excellent.

Is it worth your time and money??: It might not be a perfect biopic for it lacks enough emotional quotient, but Benedict Cumberbatch adds so much life to the movie that you can’t afford to miss it. Forget homosexuality and everything else, The Imitation Game is a beautiful story of a man who helped save close to 18 million lives. Must watch.

Acting: 9.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 8.5/10

Gopala Gopala | Movie Review


While PK has created enough controversy about religion and religious beliefs, here comes the Telugu remake of OMG – Oh My God! One might have expected it to be under the scanner as well, but thanks to Pawan and Venki, Gopala Gopala entertains without any hassles.

OMG was a simple film with decent star-cast. The moment it’s being remade with PK and Venki, expectations go up ten-fold. Director Kishore Kumar Pardasany (Dolly) stuck to the script without being carried away by the heroes, and therefore excels on scripting front. The screenplay is more or less intact barring a few scenes modified to suit the Telugu nativity, and increased screen presence for PK. However, this doesn’t hamper the flow of the movie. Bottom line, both screenplay and the direction are pretty neat.

While Pawan Kalyan does a good job in a subdued role as Krishna, the movie totally belongs to Venkatesh. Though he seemed a loud compared to Paresh Rawal, he brings a lot of substance to the role. Pawan, as expected, entertains. Shriya is alright as Venki’s wife. Posani has a meaty role, and he excels. Mithunda is alright, and so is the rest of the cast.

Music by Anoop Rubens is good. However, he needs to come up with new tunes. Background score is decent. Cinematography by Jayanan Vincent is neat. On the downside, editing by Goutham Raju is pathetic. There are multiple instances where scenes end abruptly and you can notice the patchy work. You’d expect a reputed house like Suresh Productions to pay more attention to editing.

Is it worth your time and money??: Gopala Gopala is a treat for the fans. For the rest of us, it’s a decent watch with a good message. The best part of the Gopala Gopala is the fact that it doesn’t overwhelm you because of its star-cast. While it might not be a great film, it’s definitely worth a watch for its heart is at the right place.

Worth mention: Acting by Venkatesh and Pawan.

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8/10
Technical Aspects: 7/10

Verdict: 8/10