Nee-na(2015)

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neena-2015-malayalam-movie-deepti-sati

Film: Nee-Na
Date Released : 15 May 2015
Director: Lal Jose
Actor: Vijay Babu, Deepti Sati, Ann Augustine
Cinematography: Jomon T John
Duration: 147 minutes
Story: R Venugopal
Review Rating: 3/5

I have huge expectations from a Lal Jose film after watching Diamond Necklace. Yes, I think Diamond Necklace to be a flawless movie in terms of story, screenplay and acting. Otherwise I might not have invested around 2.5 hours for watching Nee-na about which there was minimal news.

Nee-Na is a women centric movie with Neena and Nalini as the lead characters portrayed by Deepti Sati and Ann Augustine respectively.Vijay Babu plays the lead male role called Vinay Panicker. Almost all the movie frames involves one of these 3 characters and Lal Jose doesn’t waste much screen time.

Neena is an extremely talented creative director in an advertising company and the new head Vinay Panicker realizes it quickly.  Neena is portrayed as a chronic alcoholic, a tomboy who drives a two wheeler and has a short hair style. To be frank, I found this setting apart of the character from the usual Malayali woman going a bit overboard. Or did Lal Jose actually wanted the viewer to initially dislike her character when she breaks a lot of invisible barriers – drinking, smoking, riding a bike, partying in discotheques, a short hair style and of course falling in love with a married man? You can see that Lal Jose was indeed risking things a bit when he portrayed an unconventional woman as his central character.

Nalini is on the other extreme. For a person who has returned from Bombay after a long time, Nalini is shown as set-mundu/saree clad, a very traditional woman in her costumes. But she is educated, sophisticated and very self-restraint.

The first half is predictable, yet I wanted to see what is happening and how things unravel. But the most irritating aspect for me was the long dragging first half where Neena will be talking endlessly in her supposedly-drunk voice. I almost gave up on the movie because I couldn’t stand that dialogue delivery.

Vijay Babu takes over the second half of the movie giving it a different direction and that is when I started enjoying the movie, feeling the emotional turmoil of each character. This is where they keep the story going in a steady pace till the end.

The ending is sad but realistic and it doesn’t go on to preach what is right or wrong.Nee-na doesn’t force you to take a moral stand and have left it to the viewer to absorb, think and ask yourselves what you would do if you were one of them. May be that is what I liked best about this movie.

AB’s -Absolute Barbecues – BTM Layout

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Absolute Barbecues BTM Layout Bangalore

We went to the BTM outlet of AB’s -Absolute Barbecues, Bangalore few days back for a promotion treat of our team mate. Initially the idea of traveling all the way to BTM when the Marthahalli outlet was much closer was debated. Then we decided for a late lunch so that everyone can go home after that, which made the travel to BTM look feasible.

A lunch at 2 30 pm on a wednesday was booked and that day happened to be Karva Chauth too. Since there are no ladies in my team who observe the festival, it didn’t turn out to be a wrong day to celebrate :)

Absolute Barbecues BTM Layout Bangalore

I loved the ambience of this outlet compared to the Marthahalli branch. It is more spacious,have better lighting and the seating capacity is higher. We were served by an enthusiastic bunch of waiters and they were urging us to eat. Their cheerfulness and a more casual approach made interactions with them a lot more fun. Imagine asking a serious faced guy to bring 5 chicken legs when we have already gobbled up around 20 of them and lot other stuffs.

Absolute Barbecues BTM Layout Bangalore

The  committement of the hotel people to ensure a great experience was when they made a special paneer dish for us because we were not impressed with the dish they served. And it was yummy, but we were regretably beyond the point where we could enjoy the dish.

We had pappaya, pineapple, water melon etc on the barbeque along with the regular paneer, capsicum on the barbecues. A dry version of corn salad was also greatly appreciated. This was the first time when we had more vegetable starters than non-vegetarian dishes. This is another reason for to make vegetarians happy about this place.

I truly wished I have taken more pictures of the lunch. Though I am known as the official photographer of the team, I felt shy to take pictures of all the food that I eat. But when I was leaving, I just couldn’t resist taking a few hasty pics and the above pics are from that lot.

Now about the money – We paid around 689 INR for non-vegetarians and 564 INR for vegetarians. This is way cheaper compared to Barbeque Nation outlets which has the buffet system with similar concept and quality for a long time. I believe AB’s – Absolute Barbecues should get a 5/5 for being a value for money establishment.

Overall, a great experience and worth every penny spent!

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Kaikondrahalli Lake-Sarjapur Road, Bangalore

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kaikondrahalli lake sarjapur road bangalore

Last day we went back to Kaikondrahalli Lake on Sarjapur Road with the kids to spend some time walking around the lake. What a wonderful day it was and I was able to capture some beautiful images using my MotoG3 phone.

The first picture captured the reflection made by the SJR Edge Waters apartment and is one of the best pictures that I have ever shot. I wished I had picked up my DSLR with me, but then it is tough to carry it when you are out with your kids.

kaikondrahalli lake sarjapur road bangalore

This picture of the birds’ nest on the trees was taken when the sun was starting to set.  We were rushing out of the lake area because it was closing time, but I just had to stop and take this picture.

kaikondrahalli lake sarjapur road bangalore

I love the color tone of the water in this picture which is due to the Instagram filter.

About the Kaikondrahalli lake

Did you know Kaikondrahalli Lake was rejuvenated by the help of local citizens and BBMP? I visited this lake in 2015 for the first time, hence couldn’t understand the extend of work done until I saw this YouTube video.

kaikondarahalli lake sarjapur road bangalore

It was both surprising & shocking to realize that the central island itself is man-made and very new, made to give birds & turtles a space of their own without human interaction. It is just too exhilarating to see birds sitting on trees on that small island, the thick groves near the jogging trail, the birds’ nests. You feel like you have reached somewhere far out in the wild. When you realize that you are having an exceptional experience in the midst of a city, you tend to thank all those individuals who has worked to make this place so beautiful.

If you are in Bangalore and is yet to see the Kaikondrahalli Lake, please spare some time to visit here. Trust me, it is worth all the effort despite the heavy traffic that you might have to endure to reach here. Do remember to wear your running/walking shoes, carry water bottles and strollers for kids because the entire lake trail is around 2 kms.

Location: Just next to Market Square Mall (previously Total Mall) on Sarjapur Road

Area: 48 acres

Trail Length: Approx 2 km

Facebook: Kaikondrahalli Lake

Kerala Trip 2016

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We had two successive trips to Kerala in the last two months. One was a planned trip to celebrate Onam which was modified when my cousin’s marriage came up and another trip came into being when TH’s cousin’s marriage was decided. So off we went to Kerala in September and October.

We had such lovely time in Kerala. The son was a bit cranky during the first trip owing to unfamilar faces. He made up for it in the second trip and was exceptional sweet to all – both strangers & family. The weather in Kerala was better too which helped a lot.

Vagamon

vagamon kerala

Vagamon is a hill station which is around 50 kms away from my parents’ home and we decided a trip to Vagamon with the kids would be a good idea. So off we went off there driving and it was a great experience. The kiddos which included my nieces had such a lovely time running about the green grasses/meadows, whatever you call it.

The drive itself was a great experience, but I couldn’t capture any pictures because I left my mobile at home. So all pictures are from my sis-in-law’s phone.

Ernakulam/Cochin

bolgatty-palace-event-centre-cochin

We went to Cochin aka Ernakulam during our both trips. The first one to attend my cousin’s wedding reception and second one to attend TH’s cousin’s wedding reception. And we have marriage of cousin on each side lined up already for the future trips.

The first trip got mixed up during the Cauvery agitation and we ended up spending 2 days in Cochin and then returning to Bangalore with a cousin who had driven down to Kerala in his KL registration car. (yea..that mattered a lot).

The second trip involved running to the local Panchayat office to request birth certificate for my son with name added, finishing off some urgent work for my father and then driving down to Cochin for the wedding. The wedding reception was held at the beautiful Bolgatty Palace Event centre. It was a beautiful wedding, but we couldn’t enjoy it much as we were busy keep track of our toddlers.

TH was very happy to meet many of his family members after many years and the kids were very agreeable too.

Fort Kochi

fort kochi kerala boat

We had a day free before we caught the train back from Cochin to Bangalore and we had already discussed visiting Pepper Cafe (Cafe Agape in the movie Premam). But my cousin suggested visiting Kashi Art Cafe for better food. So off we went to Kashi Art Cafe for lunch after meeting my aunt.

chinese fishing nets fort kochi kerala

We were terribly late after the lunch and couldn’t explore Fort Kochi much as we might end up missing our train. So we went off to the beach side and had a quick look at the water.These are called chinese fishing nets and you can see them all over the backwater areas of Kochi.

I have a lingering desire to go back and explore more of Kochi especially visit Marine Drive, a place I used to frequent when I was young. I want to explore Mattancherry and visit the Jewish synagogue too with TH. One day soon…