Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Is India actually ready for the expressways ? -- A critical analysis of the newly built Delhi - Gurgaon expressway. Is it a time saver or a life taker ?

From Dhaula Kuan to Gurgaon in 15 minutes, always looked like a dream to be around 5 years back when the construction work on Delhi - Gurgaon NH-8 expressway started. But after 5 years of sand, gruelling traffic jams and almost non existence of proper roads this is almost a reality.
The new expressway which is almost ready now (except a couple of bottlenecks at the border and the Palam T point) is a breather for most of the people who have not option but to commute between Gurgaon and Delhi daily. Agreed that the new expressway has been saving a lot of time for us, but at what cost ?
  1. Before the new expressway was built on an average I used to see 2-3 serious accidents on the highway, this figure has almost doubled now wherein I am easily able to see around 6-7 serious accidents on an average per day.
  2. For almost the complete stretch of the expressway, I couldn't even find a single pedestrian crossing (Except for maybe an underpass below a flyover, but they are separated by kilometers ?). How do the NHAI expect people to cross the roads ? Are we waiting for a tragedy to happen ?
  3. For long stretches on the expressway there have been no lanes drawn out , even after almost a couple of months the expressway has opened.
  4. Although the speed limits in the expressway have been set as 50 for cars, and 40 for trucks & buses both of them never ply below a speed of 80-90 on the same. Maybe they are just planning to be the next schumacher, but what are the traffic cops doing ? Are they too busy doing what they do best ?

I am not prophecising anything or even trying to take the credit away for the excellent expressway we have achieved due to the hard work and struggle (of both the people who were building the same, as well as the people who were commuting during that time.). But all I wanted to communicate is that unless we are more disciplined and educated about using this expressway, instead of reducing the commuting time it might as well reduce our life time.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Water Movie Review -- A great experience

Movie - Water
Director - Deepa Mehta
Music Director - A.R. Rahman
Actor - John Abraham, Seema Biswas, Lisa Ray, Sarala
Date of Release - 9th March 2007

More than an year after it was release in US/Canada and after being nominated in the best foreign film category in the Oscars(Representing Canada, and not India) Water finally saw the light of the day in India.

The story based in India about the plight of widows in the late 1930's also highlights the transition of Gandhiism which was going on at that time in terms of fighting the older rituals. The story talks about the plight of a young widow "Chuhia" played excellently by Sarala when she enters a ashram (meant for widows) and how things change after that.

In a sense this movie questions some of the old Hindu Rituals regarding widows, and probably the reason, why the shooting for the same was stopped in Varanasi a few years back. But in simple words this is beautiful cinema. The simplicity and the Indianess with which the whole topic is dealt is beautiful. In addition the highlight of the movie is the Sri Lankan child artists Sarla who plays the role of Chuhia in the movie. The way the role has been enacted is one of the best I have seen in the lifetime. Seema Biswas has also given a strong performance well supported by John Abraham who falls in love with Lisa Ray (another widow).

A.R. Rahman's haunting music is top class as usual, and the rain song (aaya re..)is actually very well picturised. The cinematography is good and so is the direction and editing.

The only weak point in the movie is it's pace and the lack of entertainment value. Obviously one couldn't expect this movie to be on the lines of Lage Raho Munnabhai , but still a bit of fast paced movie definitely would have been liked by the audience.

All in all a movie very well made, and definitely worth the wait for us in India.

Rating 3.5/5

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Double Bonanza for Rahman fans in India

Last week was really a good one for Rahman's fans in India. As far as my memory takes me back it was the first time that two of A.R. Rahman's albums released within a span of 1 - 2 days. First to hit the store was Oscar nominated movie "Water" followed by Rahman's Anti Poverty Anthem "Pray for me Brother". Both the albums are real gems and no doubt that A.R.Rahman in an interview had himself given Water a rating of 10/10. Water really deserves that. Listen to it to believe it.