Beginning the year with Bogan…

Bogan officially becomes my first movie of this year. The title seems to a have a punch to me but cannot really say if the movie lived up to the expectations. Having watched two police officers in the trailer if you thought this movie is about another amazing police encounter you might be disappointed. Both Jayam Ravi as Vikram and ArvindSwamy as Adithya wear the khaki uniform in this movie under the guise of a concept that can be called ‘Soul Transplantation’ which remains tough to explain till the end.

Both Vikram and Aditya are heros and villians exchanging souls as they progress in this movie. Vikram dons the title of Assistant Commissioner of Police (which I thought was totally unnecessary) and is after a mysterious guy called ‘Bogan’ who apparently has powers to exchange souls among living humans through clandestine operations to carry out his acts of crime which is predominantly money laundering at the banks.

If there was a movie which had no story this probably is the right opposite to it. Too much story that beyond a point it becomes difficult to explain unless you watch the movie. Hansika Motwani plays the lead heroine and at one point I was surprised how the movie had budgets to continue when she was literally wearing the ‘Lalitha Jewellery Shop’ all over her body. Call her cute, drunk , hot whatever I think she was quite enjoyable throughout the movie.

The movie is fully about how the real police officer Vikram regains his rightful consciousness from the villain Adithya. I felt the whole concept of a secret ‘Olai Chudi’ (ancient scripts written in palm leaves) in the age ‘Ola Cabs’ is like the magic masala in Maggi noodles which gives the real taste to the movie. The audience is promised with the secrets of the magic masala but not sure if the promise was kept in the end. How do feel if you are asked to repeatedly eat maggi noodles with the promise of revealing the masala secrets. Obviously it’s tasty but where is the masala magic ???

Both Arvindswamy and Jayam Ravi have done well in the movie with Arvind obviously coming out as the more experienced. The difference is obvious when you imagine the both of them showing their middle fingers at each other – One of them is sure to sound like showing an engagement ring instead of the usually intended middle finger.I thought the humor at the beginning of the movie is creative and the background music toward the end was too serious to match the seriousness of this movie where soul transplantation goes on steroids.

It is tough to call this movie boring but it’s not too interesting as well. Just watch it if you feel curious about it.

Tax benefits from Budget 2017 for those close to 5 lakh taxable income range and above…

TThis year’s budget has done a small change in the personal income tax rate which could hugely benefit those near the 5 lakh taxable income range. Here’s a summary of the change.

  • The tax rate applied on taxable incomes between 2.5 to 5 lakh has been reduced to 5% from 10%.
  • This means if your taxable income is 5 lakh say after exemptions and making 80C and other eligible investments your tax will be reduced by Rs 12500.
  • Remeber the existing tax code already provides a rebate of Rs 5000 under Section 87a if your taxable income is below Rs 500000. This rebate is also being changed a bit (which I have explained in the latter part of the blog).
  • This means if you are marginally falling out of the 5 lakh taxable income range it becomes more important for you to reduce your taxable income below 5 lakh by making investments and gaining the tax benefits.
  • In fact even if your income is somewhere near 8-9 lakh range it is possible now for you to gain from this change by availing all possible exemptions and tax saving instruments to reduce your taxable income to below Rs 500000.

In addition to the above change the budget proposal includes a new rebate of Rs 12500 for those having taxable incomes in the 20% and 30% tax bracket (incomes between 5-10 Lakh and 10-50 Lakh respectively). So this should ideally provide a total tax benefit of Rs 25000 for these folks considering both these changes together. (The scenario becomes a bit complex now for those who have a choice of making investments to bring their taxabale income to below Rs 500000 or avail the rebate benefit of Rs 12500 by remaining in the 20% bracket.)

The above benefit if applied to 3 lakh incomes with the new tax rate reduces the tax liability to zero with the existing rebate of Rs 5000. To avoid the duplicate benefits this rebate has been changed from Rs 5000 to Rs 2500 applicable only to incomes upto Rs 350000.

In summary the only tax rate modified is the 10% tax bracket which has been changed to 5% and other changes are purely new rebate offerings and an additional 10% surcharge for incomes above 50 Lakh which pays for the Rs 15500 crore reduction in revenue due to the new tax reduced tax rate in the 10% slab. Makes good sense in terms of progressive taxation policy for income redistribution.

So wake up now and take your tax planning seriously for the coming fiscal year to avoid unnecessary losses.

Source : http://www.news18.com/news/business/in-i-t-rate-revision-taxpayers-hit-a…

Passengers (3D)

Passengers.It’s hard to miss this movie as it has been all over twitter for the past 2 months. What was the last Hollywood film I watched ? Sholay ? Such is the scenario for Hollywood in India in the age of Dangal unless you do some serious marketing. Never even knew this was a 3D movie. All I knew know was that it had an interesting story line and two characters played by Chris Pratt and another lady whose name I cannot recollect. They should have cast Jennifer Lawrence instead 🙂

The movie like most other Hollywood films has a short runtime but a high impact story and action sequence. What would you do if you are given 5-minutes to pitch a business , sell a product or market your CV ? How much impact can you create with a 5-minute pitch ? Well maybe watching Passengers could help because each scene costs just 5-minutes (and of course x-dollars) to create a lasting experience. I thought each of the entire 2 hours had such 5-minute scenes packed together to give a wholesome experience to the audience.

Chris Pratt as Jim Preston wakes up in the middle of a transit journey to planet Homestead from Earth in a spaceship. What would a man do when you are woken up in a spaceship which is supposed to keep you in deep sleep for 120 years in a hibernation pod till destination – Homestead ? Chris Pratt is such a man newly born out of a malfunctioned hibernation pod. Chris Pratt meets Arthur -The robot bartender who serves alcohol and also provides good company to him. Chris Pratt cannot talk to humans, cannot go back to hibernation and cannot message or talk to friends on Earth. Bored, irritated , frustrated and vexed Chris Pratt tries everything to break free from a lonely journey to planet Homestead. I mention the name Chris Pratt again and again because the man’s attention span is completely stolen away once lady Aurora enters the screen. (Whoever that lady was, they should have cast Jennifer Lawrence instead:)

Lady Aurora is a gold passenger in the ship forcibly awaken by Jim Preston to beat his loneliness. The two of them spend enough time to explore the ship together and also further their dating plans. Jennifer Lawrence turns up enough heat on screen with some sizzling wardrobes to send your popcorns spilling out of the way originally destined to your mouths. ‘You are one of the most beautiful women I have ever met in my life’ is probably the dumbest thing you could ever say to Jennifer Lawrence because who doesn’t love Jen in this world. At least I will make sure I don’t hold a gold passenger ticket like Chris Pratt before I say this. The movie has some super sexy scenes in the middle of the sky. How cool is it have some privacy in an outer space journey when each of the other 5000 passengers except two of them are asleep ? I am sure that is enough to arouse your demons inside 🙂

Overall Passengers is almost a Titanic experience. Is it the Titanic ? Not really. It is upto to the modern day teens to make that judgement. I was super-inspired by Titanic in the 90s. Passengers shows shades of the Titanic by way of a beautiful love story and a ship adventure. But I would still call it a wholesome experience with minimal characters and a short runtime. Passengers can be called the Titanic with some machine sauce and space nuts 🙂

Dangal and Dangal….

Dangal Dangal…..Probably the last movie I wanted to watch this year unless some miracle motivates me to go for one more…My movie count for 2016 is nearly 15 which is historically the highest ever…Never been such a movie freak but I think some of the best movies have released this year and most of them have been worth watching.

Dangal the movie is yet another Aamir Khan grandeur who is most likely to become the most ‘Ameer’ among the Khans this year after this movie. Not to forget Salman Khan’s ‘Sultan’ and Sharukh Khan’s ‘Dear Zindagi’.The Khans are wrestling it out but Aaamir will easily win the best wrestler award for Dangal. Dangal simply deserves appreciation for it’s central theme – The sport of wrestling and need to do a big screen bollywood promotion for the sport to inspire millions of Indians who are better influenced by bollywood than watching the real sport. Wrestling as a sport could  not have been interesting for many of us before watching this movie. But after watching Dangal the sport is sure to gather more attention in future as the movie has travelled deep into it’s  length and breath.

Having watched PK and Lagaan I feel Aamir is striking a legendary chord among villagers in his own style and has been really successful at doing so. Be it the 5 am wake up call for training his daughters to wrestle or the perfection of the village accent his ability to connect with the Indian village audience and connect with them frequently is gaining new heights. Aamir is a father and a wrestling coach to his two daughters who would have otherwise been married off at a young age as per village norms. Geetha-Babita are indeed as cute and sweet as their name combo sounds. The childhood girls bring such a great charm to the stage with their innocent days as a wrestler and first half of the movie is about how two young girls with their village father learn the art of wrestling in the male dominated world. Not to forget this is based on a true story it is indeed a huge sacrifice to spend your childhood learning a sport with great dreams and unknown heights to reach. I could totally relate to the cruelty of a village father to ask his daughters to cut their hair short for the sport and also the feelings of the girls in response as I myself never ever thought of going short on my hair in my lifetime. Those were some of the scenes which is sure to have moved the audience. But not all hope is lost for short haired girls as there are scenes which show that girls can look even more beautiful with short hairs. But anyway the real deal is not about girls being made to forcibly play a male sport but it’s about making it to the national team and then of course go international.

The Geetha-Babitha girls are soon ready to hit the national stage after a few successful village bouts. Trained in family , gained in village competitions and finally one of them is now heading into the real world outside the villages – The so called ‘National Academy’. It is true that in India most sports have long ladders to climb before hitting the national level and wrestling is no exception. The National Academy coach is probably the only villain in this movie who is strategically opposite to the father coach. Talking about strategy in a world where even nonsense is projected as a strategy this movie has gone great depths in learning and applying the intricate techniques involved in the sport.  The best feedback can only come from the experts who themselves I am sure would have been mesmerized at the level of detail the movie shows about the sport.

None of the 3 hours were boring and the real reason could simply be the interesting wrestling matches played on screen with some good  commentary and audience. MS Dhoni was a similar attempt and should say the movie did have some interesting matches too but definitely at a lower level of excitement. Dangal is more of a grassroots movement than just a series of female wrestling  matches. I am sure Dangal’s non-commercial success can be measured by the new wrestlers that emerge out of inspiration from this movie. Songs are great and the performances are brilliant and nothing could have been more perfect for Aamir and co in this movie. A perfect movie way to end the year with. A ‘Must Watch’ rating for sure.

 

Ude Dil Befikre…

Ude Dil Befikre – Could have been a much better title. But who cares. Should say this movie is highly underrated both in the literal sense and otherwise. As I walked towards the ticket counters to get my ticket my mind was calling out for Dangal. With all the hype and buzz around the success story of Dangal Befikre could have easily slipped out of my must watch movies list. But after watching the movie I felt I had made yet another right decision.

As mentioned earlier the movie is definitely underrated. Censor board has given a ‘U/A’ certificate but the movie is much beyond that. Maybe a ‘Z’ certificate is more appropriate because the ratings really don’t matter in my view. None of the ‘A’ certified movies seem to have enough adult content and none of ‘U’ or ‘U/A’ movies seem to have limited themselves to less adult stuff.

Befikre is simply a free ride in wonderland for young couples. A desi dude from Delhi steps into the land of Paris and meets a French woman raised by desi parents. Couldn’t have been much better. The two of them have no rules to flirt, dance, kiss and fcuk. They own each other in the movie with one important caveat of being completely non-committal to any form of long term relationship. Who would not enjoy such a free ride when it comes to women. Both of them are united by limitless fun and  romance but separated by their idea of long term relationship.

Ranveer Singh as Dharam and Vani Kapoor as Shyra (can rather call her shy-less) are two souls who cannot live without fun and humor which obviously means nothing should be taken seriously  until the talks of marriage are initiated . It is hard for anyone not to confess ‘I laughed’ or even ‘laughed aloud’ for most of the scenes in this movie. The humor was genuine and the characters were fun. The seriousness is reserved until each of these two decide to chalk out their own paths of ideal marriage. It takes a couple of dates with a banker for Shyra to decide her life partner while Dharam’s flirting skills lands him with a French blonde. Only one of them probably really knew what they were actually doing or both of them were out of their minds. Shyra’s dominance and Dharam’s freedom are at battle with each other. Shyra neither stops ruling nor gets ruled while Dharam seemed to be more sensible to me in choosing his freedom over obsession with a non-existent  long-term relationship.

It is not new for a woman to spend her best time with someone and end up marrying an unknown man just after a couple of dates. Most women want both these type of men in their lives but this movie clearly lays emphasis on choosing one over the other without doubt. One of them had to give up and it is important to not take any form of ownership in terms of personal relationship thereafter. The movie is meant to be funny but seriousness is left to introspection. Can money buy happiness ?  Not always. Money can surely buy money while happiness can buy freedom and also the ability to live with the love of our lives without much thinking.  In fact I felt the movie ended with a perfect message when it said to fall in love is to do a bungee jump without any fear. Nobody can plan a lifetime. Although some amount of planning is needed life is meant to be lived and not planned and I would never be happy with someone who is always planning for a relationship instead of being committal.  Whether it is a party, an eat-out , a one night stand or a marriage commitment is required in which only marriage qualifies as a long-term commitment.

Overall the movie is fun and there is no lack of dating tips. Sometimes things works out on the first date itself while others take time to blossom. Most of the music is good and in fact I found some of the work to be genius when it comes to background score especially the piece that plays out when Kyra and Dharam discuss their serious bits outside a private party after Dharam decides to marry the French blonde. Try to catch this if you can. It’s beautiful. As said earlier this movie is not to be missed for sure.

 

 

Chennai 600028 – 2nd Innings…

As I was heading back home after watching the 2nd innings of Chennai 600028 the song ‘Soopana Sundari’ kept ringing in my ears for the whole night 🙂  Yes team Chennai 600028 is back this time with a second innings. Having established their authority as the epitome of street cricket in Chennai through their first sequel the second sequel is a nice continuation of their naughty and endless cricket , fun and humor.

Same cast, same team and same talents 🙂 Although all characters in the movie are out there to create humor a few of them stand out a class apart. Shiva as Karthik was most funny. As with cricket humor requires the perfect timing and the Chennai 600028 team has provided some well-timed humor shots scoring boundaries and sixes both on and off the field.Whether it is the amazing talent of Chennu alias Premji to convert a soft tennis ball flying across the boundary for a six into an on field catch by a soccer heading or the talent of Shiva to sweep an outside off stump delivery into his own stumps creative talent has achieved new heights in this movie. Cheergirls ought to make you laugh by the time they appear for the the third time if not the first time. Vaibav as Marathupandi was a stand out character to me. I loved the background score played every time he appeared on screen.

The team from Chennai is a bunch of married men who are unable to control their love for cricket and a lust for their friendly days together. As they reunion and head towards the marriage of their friend Raghu in Theni district they meet Maruthupandi the don of the region who challenges them to play and win a cricket tournament there. While the Chennai team decide to party together before the marriage of Raghu they are entertained by ‘Soopanasundari’ an item girl who turns on the heat among the boys. Raghu the bridegroom ends up sleeping next to her and a photo a of them together in bed is held hostage by  Maruthupandi.They are faced with a challenge by Maruthupandi to lose a cricket match in return for deleting the photos and here starts a whole host of emotions including fun, humor, heart-break and fights.

The match is lost as fixed by the Chennai team but the photo gets leaked causing utter chaos and ultimately ending the marriage of Raghu. Rest of the movie is about how Raghu and his friends win the bride back and return home. The movie is sure to entertain the Chennai crowd as before and I was very much reminded of the ‘Hangover’ sequel even before the mention of that in this movie. Most humor comes from Shiva as Karthik and witty Chennai dialogues. As mentioned earlier the song ‘Soopana Sundari’ is bound to be a hit and will keep echoing in the ears of the audience for a long time to come.

Acham Yenbathu Madamaiyada…

Acham Yenbathu Madamaiada – Can call it a  typical Gautham Vasudev Menon film especially with Simbu as the hero. Attempts to make most parts of the movie quite similar to VTV is evident and this time the Kerala touch is from the newly introduced Malyalam actress – Manjima Mohan.  Should say both the director and the actress must have been happy and grateful to each other. There are only few directors such as Mr. Gautam and Mani Ratham who can make hits out of debutants. R Madhavan is a perfect example of this when Mani Ratnam introduced him in Alaipayuthe and rest is history.

Coming to this movie which I thought was set out to live true to the purpose of it’s title which means ‘Fear is Folly’ did achieve it’s purpose in the end but not without cinematic scenes.  The movie oscillates between a boring first half and dare to say boring second half with some good songs and decent humor. Manjima Mohan is bright and colorful and her tamil is definitely not bad either. Mr. Gautham’s talented tricks to camouflage her into a decent english speaking tamil girl is evident here.

The story is all about coming out of our own fears and inhibitions. Each of us have our own fears, inhibitions and hesitations but what makes us cross those lines and is it justified to so. Actor Simbu plays the role of a young adult who befriends Leela and runs into trouble during an unplanned bike adventure. Leela plays the role of a Hindi girl from Kolapur who is separated from her new friend Simbu during a horrendous bike accident. The song Thalli Pogathey is uniquely choreographed to capture this accident and at the same time include romantic dance moves. Here begins the violent parts of the movie.

Simbu is a young fearless adult who has a circle of friends who support him as a gang during troubles. But when he encounters a situation where he is confronted with bad police in an unfamiliar language and terrain he is forced to pick up guns on his own for his self defence. How many of us would dare to pick up a gun and shoot if required to defend us and our loved ones? It is not common or considered right for ordinary citizens to use guns against police or bad elements in the society. Neither do we have gun rights or laws governing peaceful possession of arms by citizens. This is common in US and is already a highly debatable topic. We trust the police forces and arm then with required weapons but when we have a corrupt police is it right for citizens to pick up guns to defend ? The second half of the movie is action packed with full of gun shots , wounds , injuries and deaths which  is why I feel the movie is cinematic and possession of guns by ordinary citizens cannot solve the problem of dishonesty among police officials.In reality this is upto the honest police and law to deal with and such elements should be treated no different from criminals.Truth is nobody has even the slightest idea of who is honest and who is dishonest and who the police is and who the criminal is. Overall the movie was well made with good songs, humor and action and a decent message too. Quite watchable.