Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wine I Was In Nashik

Chapter 1: Hum Kis Galli Jaa Rahe Hain

Find the grape!
I boarded the 9.15 am LTT-Lucknow Pushpak Express from platform number 4 of Kalyan station on a cold Friday morning. My day ahead was highly unplanned. The only thing confirmed was my seat and that my train would reach Nashik 10 minutes before 12 pm. It didn't though- I alighted at 12.15 pm at the Nashik Road railway station. I almost had an entire day before I could meet my friend who would be coming from Pune. After having a heavy but not exactly fantastic lunch nearby, I caught a local bus to Nashik CBS. I had decided to go to Sula vineyards first. The rest of the things will be planned later.

I started hunting for cabs which could drop me to Sula but I only got some super high quotes in return. The Nashik district court is just adjacent to the CBS. A rally in progress was approaching towards the court. Policemen were clearing off the road for the rally to march ahead peacefully. I crossed on to the other side because I didn't want to be stuck besides the rally. On the other side just opposite to the district high court main gate, I saw this new delicacy, probably a Nashik specialty– the Pav Wada. Huge buns were being dipped into besan and then straight into the huge kadhai – the view was stupendous! I didn't take much interest in tasting the thing because I had just refilled myself at lunch and after all it is just a pav coated with besan and without their best buddy – Potato!

I looked up Uber and Ola estimates to Sula and decided to book one of these. Little did I know that I was making a big mistake!

A vineyard just in front of Sula's administrative office.

Chapter 2: Solo at Sula

Sula Vineyards - 0 km!
A driver named Karbhari picked me up at the CBS. Sula was a 15 km ride from CBS. In my notebook, I noted down happenings and my activities throughout the day which I could list down on my blog. This notebook was primarily for a writing workshop here in Nashik which would happen over the weekend. It was for this workshop that I was in Nashik. I keep attending such gatherings and workshops related to writing. These kick you in the right place and give you the right inspiration to continue writing. I decided to come in the morning and go tripping around Nashik instead of reaching at night. This was a Marathi writing workshop which is why I had thought of writing this post in Marathi earlier. But the workshop was an eye-opener for me in terms of the people and effort involved. There were people who had published over 10 books in Marathi and still attended the workshop. Apart from the inspiration to write, what I learned was that I had loads to learn before I could start writing again in this language. I was spellbound when people started giving their introductions. And when it was my turn, my entire 6 years of experience in IT was summed up in merely three words – मी आयटीत आहे

Sula is a beautiful and a peaceful place. They have touring and tasting sessions in batches. The tour costs Rs. 100 and wine tasting costs you Rs. 250 in which you get to taste and know six varieties of wines. My tour session started at 2.30 pm followed by wine tasting at 3. The tour only concentrated on the wine making process but it would have been great if they had also showed us some of their fields and demonstrated about how the different types of grapes are cultivated. I loitered around the place for about an hour and got out of Sula.

During the wine tasting session
There is no facility to go back to the city. No autos, no buses or cabs. I waited at the gate for an hour when luckily two cabs came in and stopped by. I asked one of them and set out back to CBS. So, coming to Sula in a pre-booked vehicle which can drop you back to the city would be a good idea.

My friend was en route at 5.30 pm from Pune and his estimated time of arrival in Nashik was not before than 10.30 pm. I reached back CBS at 6.30 pm in the evening. In a quick chat with the cab driver on my return, I decided that I shall go to Trimbakeshwar – one of the twelve Jyotirlingas and the origin of the River Godavari – my family kuladevi.


The big one!

Chapter 3: Har Har Mahadev!

It was pitch black dark at 6.30 pm and I was half way away from the holy temple. There is a separate bus terminal for Trimbakeshwar from Nashik called the Mela Bus Stand and buses are plied continuously on this route. There was already a bus ready to go but there were no empty seats. Many people were waiting out for the next bus but there was no queue. I took popcorn and started munching. The next bus came after about 15 minutes.  People started rushing towards the bus even before the bus stopped. I somehow took a good position and went inside the bus. I could see many empty seats inside but they were all hypothetical. There were two types of empty seats – One booked by handkerchiefs or backpacks and the other booked by good friends. The number of seats booked by friends has no limit – a school girl had booked the entire last row for her friends – brilliant! One more popcorn!

The main entrance at the Trimbakeshwar Mandir
When the next bus arrived, I was in mucho spartan mode. I saw to it that I got a window seat before any friend, handkerchief or a backpack. An old lady had pushed in a huge luggage bag somehow through the window to book two seats. Nobody knows how many seats does a handkerchief or a backpack book because they don't tell you that. The teller - in this case, the old lady wanted two seats but a man fought for one of the seat. After much argument, of course the old lady won!

At Trimbak
I had already heard many accolades of winters in Nashik so I took both my jacket and my sweater. Cool breeze flowed in through the small gaps of the ST bus window panels. I reached the Trimbakeshwar at 8.00 pm. Luckily for me, the place wasn't very crowded and there was a very limited queue inside the temple. No one is allowed to take mobiles, camera and bags inside the temple and good arrangements have been made for the devotees to safely secure their belongings before they enter the temple premises. This division of technology and spirituality is very necessary, especially now a days because taking the photo of the God or the temple matters more than actually perceiving God and the place itself. And then of course there are un-silent phones, loud talkers on calls and all the unwanted noise.

After lunch, nothing had gone into my stomach apart from the masala popcorn at the bus stand. It was time to eat. I was missing a vada pav from long – a good and a hot vada pav. I could see stalls with vadas and the pav vadas that I had mentioned earlier but I wanted hot vadas. I stumbled upon a street vendor who was just doing that – ready to get those golden hot vadas out of the kadhai. Perfect timing! I ordered one. But my excitement was only till that first unfortunate bite. He said chutney but he put farsan inside the pav along with sweet chutney. I didn't know a vada pav could taste so grotesque till this point in my life. This guy had successfully devastated a legendary Mumbai delicacy.

There were 'garma garam kesar doodhs', 'chana jor garams', bhelwalas also on the street but then the vada pav had suppressed all my urges to eat any of those. I could smell farsan in all of them. I found a hotel - asked him whether the food would be hot and ordered the blissful dal rice.

Chapter 4: Visiting Some More Gods

The taste of Nashik.
A street vendor near Kala Ram Mandir
Nashik is called the grape capital of India. With the same might, it can also be called as the God capital of India. There are many Gods here. I along with my friend and my friend's uncle at whose house we were staying, met up after the day 1 of our workshop ended at 6.00 pm. From there we went to a place called Panchvati. We visited Kala Ram Mandir which a huge and old temple built by the Peshwas. According to a legend in Ramayana, during vanvas, Rama and Sita stayed here in the Panchvati. There is also cave known as Sita Gufa and the place where Rama killed Mareecha. Physically, this is the closest that I have ever been to mythology

Not the kondaji chivda that every tourist in Nashik buys and takes home - this time I bought Vijay Bhel from Madhavji Chivda. We got to visit all good places and eat the nice and right things because of my friend's uncle who is a local in Nashik. He was extremely helpful and cordial. I also learned new games of cards at night courtesy my friend and his uncle.

The next day, after wrapping up the day 2 of workshop, it was time to leave. My return journey started at 8.45 pm and I was home at a super fast speed by midnight. 




Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lost (Haiku)

Everything is so calm.
Where are you? Come and whisper,
Tell me where am I.


All is normal but still she feels like she is lost without him in sight. She knows that he is somewhere near but she still needs an assurance. She wants him to come close to her; tell her that she will always be in his heart and they will be together forever and she will never again be LOST alone.

P.S This is my first attempt at Haiku for the #RhymeIndia Haiku Contest by The Times Of India. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Kerala Diaries - Moonu

It has been around eight months here back in Mumbai and Mumbai keeps you busy; so busy that I didn't even care to write more on the Kerala Diaries.  A few weeks back, I was going through the notes in my phone and I found a note named Moonu. This note contained pointers to all the things that I wanted to include in the concluding part of my diaries. So, that got me started.

I can never get the picture of the Cochin International airport out of my mind – it’s vintage. I did not pay any attention to it at first. When I boarded my pre booked taxi to the hotel and the taxi was on its way out, I just happened to turn back and I saw this. Isn’t it retro?

The Cochn International Airport
The airport was way out of the main city. It took almost 90 -100 minutes to reach Ernakulam. On the way, there were Mammoottys, Mohanlals and Vijays on huge hoardings, advertising gold, exotic sarees, scooters and also their movies. Mohanlal’s movie Loham was due that week and at a theatre near our hotel; people were celebrating its release by beating drums and dancing outside the theatre. This scene made me understand the reason why celebrities are called ‘celebrities.‘ 


jab neend khuli to laga ki me apne hi ghar par hu
aakhe khuli to dekha ki
ghar hota to maa jaldi se nahaaneko kehti
kitchen se khusbooyein aati
tadke ki awaaz aati
thodisi neend bhi shayad... aur aati

My weekends would be late, slow and only one – Sunday!  I got bored of the food here because it is monotonous – or maybe I failed to find good places for variety. You get idly; the same dough with some more water - dosa; the same dosa with a fluffy centre - appam. I don’t have a problem with these but I would never mind a vada pav or a missal pav, poha or a quick onion bhajjiya plate. There was an aunty near our office who used to sell medu wadas, egg pakodas, mirchi bhajis, daal vadas and chai; everything at Rs. 6 per piece!

I love the medu vada. So, before office, I would go hunting for places that would offer good breakfast or good medu vada.  After having some bad and some overpriced breakfasts, a new shop opened up! Chariot – was the name and I would go there very frequently with my team-mates to eat their scrumptious and quintessential fish thali (I drool as I write!) This restaurant opened up its breakfast special outlet! They made good medu vadas and good coffee. When I ordered medu wada for the first time, the woman attendant reacted, “What vada?” She understood only when I pointed out the vada to her. Medu vadas are called Uzhunnu vada in Kerala. Now, Uzhunnu is not as easy to pronounce as it seems. There is a curious case of syllable ‘Zh’ here in the malayalee land. Yes, you pronounced Kozhikode wrong your entire life. Learn how to pronounce ‘Zh’ in this video. I also came across a nice article in the Deccan Herald which humorously describes how difficult it is to pronounce ‘zh’, both for the malayalees and the non-malayalees.

‘Meals’ is the thali equivalent jargon but not quite literally. In this thali there is rice and sambhar and the Kerala papad (appadam) - no chapaati - no various types of bhaajis - wonly sambhar and rasam and some chutneys and pickle to go with.  I loved the rice that they eat there; nice, round and soft. And when you put these rice morsels into your mouth with some sambhar or fish curry, you will be the happiest and the most satisfied living being on the planet. But this staple food of Kerala will make you fat; very fat. You won't even realise your fatty acids until an evening when you are super bored and you go to a mall; enter a lift with mirrors on all sides and have a look at yourself from every possible angle.

Beef is very popular in the God's own country... err this God is not Hindu... maybe. Every non vegetarian menu has beef in it. The water served along your main course is pink and luke warm– they mix some jeera in this water which helps in digestion. Typically on every table in a restaurant, there are two jars; one has rasam and the other has the classy buttermilk. But amidst, the sambhars and rasams, I wonder where bhindi, methi, mutter, baingan, gawar, gobi, paalak, batata went missing. Only at handful restaurants, I saw bhindi, baingan and gobi; and the gobi was chilly gobi from china - not the aloo gobi from dilli. Even for snacks; I miss pav bhaji, misal pav, vada pav, samosa, poha, sabudana khichdi.

We also used to get Parotta with a double-T. It’s quite popular – I never tried it though. A Parotta is nothing but a Paratha made up of maida and you have to witness how it is prepared – quite a process. But why use maida; please leave maida for the muffins.

I used to go to a fixed restaurant for dinner and most probably had Chinese veg fried rice and a paneer tikka gravy to go with it as suggested by the attendant. He was a very friendly, so once I requested him to show me his recipe. He agreed quite reluctantly. When I entered the kitchen on the floor above, it was not as clean as I expected to be – may be the reason why the guy was reluctant in the first place. There was a very old man cleaning utensils in one corner and a pahadi guy cooking. He showed me his ingredients and pre-cooked masalas. I appreciated him for the fried rice that he cooks every day. He was a hindi guy, so we also spoke how people do not speak any hindi in Kochi. I came back with a plate of fried rice in my hands and attendant brought me the panner tikka. As I came down, the rest of the families looked at me. I thanked the attendant guy for allowing me to have a look at my order being cooked live.

While starting to write the post, I thought this would conclude the Kerala Diaries series but it looks like there will be a Kerala Diaries – Naalu. So tiriccuva!

For the rest of the posts of Kerala Diaries, please click here!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Lost Love

Image Source

THE LAST DAY

It was dark outside. I could see only the dim lights in the makeshift houses lined along the railway tracks. I looked at my phone; the notification light was continuously blinking because the phone battery was down. Cold breeze flew in through the windows as the train ran past the stations. I was not in a hurry; I wished that the train kept running and never stopped. I wished the night would never end, just as I wished that we shouldn’t have broke up.

I was going back home after the college farewell. It was the last day in more than a way for me and I was filled with distress and anguish. I wanted to talk to her. Stations passed, people got down and the train stopped too but I did not want to go anywhere. I sat there numb and looked at my phone; the phone that she had gifted me. It was still blinking. It pleaded me to charge; it pleaded me to call her. I finally decided to call her once again.  I pressed the unlock button.

“The train will leave for the carshed, young man. Get out of here...  Go home, it’s late,” said the police hawaldaar who entered the train and thumped his stick twice on the floor to disrupt into my thoughts.

He did not wait till I looked up. I looked around to see if there was any place to sit on the platform. The police hawaldaar saw me again and gestured me to the way out of the station. I pressed the unlock button again as I went out of the station. My phone beeped. It was Mom.


THAT DAY

It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold.

I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend's wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batchmates. But what I didn't know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right in the queue in front of the airline counter.

I was almost sure it was she. Same height! Same long hair! Same complexion! Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60-odd seconds later, when she turned, she proved me right. My ex-girlfriend stood two places ahead of me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell.

She was wearing blue jeans and a grey top with a cross bag. Eyes covered with huge glasses that touched her cheeks as she talked to the attendant. Her hair was carelessly folded into a knot which was on the verge of falling out. She was holding the phone in her mouth and probably searching for the ID in her cross bag. She looked even more beautiful than the college days. Her luggage appeared almost her weight. How did she carry that beast up to here!

The queue reminded me of the days when we would wait for the bus at the bus stop. We would talk sense and non sense for hours without realizing how time flew away and the buses passed away. Time also flew these four years and I didn’t even realize until this day that the last day was four years ago.

I overheard her blocking the window seat number 8A. I gave a thought on blocking 8B but that would have been very awkward for both of us. And it was my first flight; who would want to miss the window on the first flight? I blocked 12A.


THE FIRST DAY

Our first meeting was an accident or it can be called as a lesson in value education – Punctuality. Our second semester exams were over and we were awaiting the results.  Our group decided to go out on an excursion. Aditi was also in my class but the girls had different groups and different plans. The only interaction between girls and boys during the class would be of lover couples gesturing each to bunk the next class; our plans would be top secret. Aditi and I never had an interaction longer than a “Hi!”

It was early morning on a Saturday. We had to get up even before the Sun would and be there at the Dadar Terminus. The hostel rates in Byculla near our college were too high so I found a PG facility 4 kilometers away from Dadar railway station. All my other friends would come over from Byculla which is about 10 minutes from Dadar by train.

I knew I was late. I still don’t remember switching off the alarm and sleeping again. I woke up an hour late. When I reached, the train had already started leaving the station. I ran with all my vigour, with a hope that if the train stopped, I would jump in.

I was not the only one running after the train; even Aditi was running after the same train. She was having an even more tough time running with her many and heavy belongings. We were both running completely aware that we had missed the train. By the time the train entirely left the platform, we were gasping for breath with both our hands over the knees. She was looking beautiful in her full length black skirt and a polka top.

“Goa?” I asked after gathering some breath.

“Yes,” she replied, still gasping.

“So how did the girls know about our Goa plan?” I asked curiously after gulping down some water.

“It was Varun who told Sneha about your trip.” Aditi took long pauses between each sentence to gather all the oxygen that she could. ”Sneha convinced us because she wanted to go out with him.”

We enquired outside the station and got to know that there were buses from the Dadar Bus Depot. We rushed to the depot and booked two seats to Goa. The bus would be slower than the train and would reach Goa by late night. We would be late to catch up with our respective groups but it was our fault.

“Are all these bags yours or are we expecting someone else?” I asked her in a teasing tone.

Aditi pinched me hard on my arm and the conversations started. We never joined back with our groups in Goa and we never stopped pulling each other’s legs until the night of the farewell.


THAT NIGHT

The college campus was all set up to host the farewell of its five hundred students who would officially be engineers after a couple of months. Dinner was set and the teachers had started munching. Announcements started, urging the students to rush to the dinner counters. Aditi was one of the few students who were dancing from the moment they entered the campus; she was in no mood to stop.

“Aditi, let’s go and eat... it’s getting late.” I shouted as loud as I could have, but Aditi couldn’t hear it.

Even Aditi was from Delhi and after the first year we found out a place for her too in Dadar. We had to reach Byculla station before the last train would leave; we had an hour in hand. I also had some good news for her. I gestured Aditi to wait backstage. I took more food than I could eat so that Aditi could eat some.

“Now tell me.” Aditi crossed her arms and brought her ears close to me. “What is the good news?” she whispered and picked up a paneer tikka from the plate.

“I am going to the US, Aditi...”—I held her shoulders and bought her closer to me —“...to do my masters.”

“Are you serious— I mean, are you telling this to me now?”

“This was the surprise, Aditi, aren’t... you happy?”

“How can you just leave Rishab? You know long distance never works.”

“We will make it work Aditi. We both believe in each other don’t we?”

“How should I believe you? You take important decisions— and, you are telling me now—”

“Because this... was the surprise. I... I thought you‘d be happy.”

“How can I be happy when the person whom I love is leaving? You broke my heart... Rishab, you can’t do this.”

“What’s wrong with you Aditi? It’s just a matter of some years. Everything will be fine then.”

“You will never come back Rishab. No one comes back. You have to choose between your dollars and me, Rishab.”

“Don’t... do this to me Aditi.” I muttered to myself as Aditi went away putting down the paneer tikka which she had picked up to eat. My plate was full of food. We hadn’t eaten anything. She was hurt. But I couldn’t have missed a golden chance to study in the US. I searched for Aditi but I couldn’t find her. Sneha told me that she just took a cab and left. My phone beeped. I hurriedly took my phone out of my pocket, thinking it would be Aditi; it was the low battery alert – 10%. I was stunned by the metaphor that phone showed the juice left in the battery or in our relationship.  I called Aditi.

“Pick up! Pick up Aditi. I want to talk to you.” The phone kept ringing forever, but Aditi didn’t pick up.

All that our three year relationship boasted of was the belief that we had in each other and today Aditi did not trust me. She left me alone. We have had quarrels – a many of them but today I was scared. I had lost something valuable. I was feeling empty. Aditi was my strength and today, I was helpless, hopeless and powerless.

“Come back Aditi. Please.”


REUNION

“Delicious!”

Paneer Tikka has always been my favourite.  I had taken more than I could eat. The cuisine was so exhaustive that anybody would have been spoilt for choice. The dining hall was full of lights. The walls were all glass which made it look larger than the original size. I had met a few friends, but not many from my group had turned up. The close knots tied in the college did not continue really well after those four years.

 I was engrossed in picking up my third gulab jamun when someone patted on my back.  I did not turn around till I safely escorted the sweet to my plate.

I was confused whether I should smile or be stern. I wasn’t prepared for this. I had thought, I would be the one to approach first, but it was Aditi.  Time flied back four years and all those memories, laughs, fights and the break up exploded up like a volcano inside me but I remained calm on the outside. I smiled and offered her food. She took a piece of paneer tikka, dipped it in the green chutney and took a bite.

“If only you had eaten that piece on the farewell too, Aditi,” I thought to myself.

 I still repented that breakup because the time we had spent together was unforgettable and the way in which we broke up was appalling. We chatted on how good the food was, how beautiful the bride was and how Bengaluru is not as cold as Delhi. We took long awkward pauses before we could think of a new topic to talk on.

“I never found anyone who is so loving and caring. Let us give our relationship, a second chance.” Aditi broke the ice and took the topic that we both avoided for a little while.

“I never searched for anyone else, Aditi. For me, it was always you but you left me when I needed you the most. I still didn’t understand why you didn’t trust me.”

“Rishab, I knew you would go to the US for sure...it was your dream. I wanted to secure our relationship. I was scared that you wouldn’t return.”

“How could you not be sure about... about me, Aditi?”

“I did what I felt right at that moment. That is past. You have returned back and we have met again. Don’t you think, we should live back those moments once again?”

“I did not go to the US, Aditi... That night, each and every minute of time went against me. After leaving college, Mom called me. Dad had a heart attack and his health was extremely critical. I left for Delhi next morning by the first train but till the time I reached... he was no more.  I couldn’t have left Mom alone so I decided to skip the US. I tried again but it never worked.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Aditi was shocked.

“I called you a dozen times that night, but you never picked up. You never called back. The innocence in our love had grown up into a selfish beast and I had failed to recognize that... It’s better to leave it alone for our own good. What if we had never met again? How can you even think of asking about a second chance?  I am sorry... Aditi... but this time... I do not trust you.” 

My phone beeped and vibrated hard.  It made a very loud noise because I had kept it on the table; it wasn’t a call. The battery had completely drained out and the phone switched off.

The above short story was my submission for the TOI Write India Contest - Month of January.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Top 10 Hindi Movies Of 2015

‘Badlapur se Bajirao Mastani tak aur Tevar se Tamasha tak’, the hindi film industry delivered some amzing stories and some blockbusters as well. While the much hyped and the commercial giant Bombay Velvet flopped, small budget movies like NH10 and Badlapur made their mark. This year saw Suraj Barjatya coming back to Bollywood and bringing back Prem. Also Aishwarya Rai came back with Jazba.  Let’s roll our eyes on the year 2015’s top ten movies that Bollywood gave us.

Badlapur

2015 started off with a bang for Varun Dhawan who smashed the box office and his chocolate boy image with his power packed performance as Raghu, in this movie. Add to that a character with negative shades, so naturally played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui.  Radhika Apte makes 2015 work for herself with her genuine performances in Badlapur, Hunterr and Manjhi – The Mountain Man.  The movie is hard hitting, gripping and its brilliant music score by Sachin-Jigar makes you fall in love with this movie.

Piku

This Shoojit Sircar creation is a beautiful narration of the relationship between a father and a daughter. Amitabh Bachhan continued to rule the cinemas with Piku after the magnificent Shamitabh. The characters and the looks being created for the legend are enviably wonderful for his contemporaries. The unusual pairing between Deepika Padukone and Irfan Khan turned out to be very subtle and natural. The simplicity of this movie backed with an amazing music score by Anupam Roy makes it one of the ‘must watch’ of 2015, or rather an all time favourite.

Qissa

This movie is a hard hitting tale of a girl raised as a boy.  Irfan Khan plays the father who wants his third child to be a male to carry on his legacy; but when he gets to know that even his third child is not a boy, he just cannot accept his fate. So, he raises her as a boy; even names him Kanwar Singh, but things start getting complicated as Kanwar starts growing up. And when he also gets Kanwar marry a girl, there is trouble, a lot of trouble.  An unusual storyline supported with the brilliant performances of Irfan Khan and Tillottama Shome makes this movie weird and wonderful at the same time.

Drishyam

Drishyam is the Hindi remake of a Tamil movie with the same name. The film is a thrller drama which keeps you on your seats till the last scene.  Drishyam was critically well received unlike the other south indian remakes; Tevar and Gabbar Is Back which also released in 2015. The slow reason not to miss the movie is its story and an engaging screenplay.

NH10

An average Indian movie goer is getting more intelligent as 2015 comes to an end. People are looking out for quality and small budget movies are actually gaining much more recognition and business than their richer counterparts.  Dum Lagake Haisha, Talwar, Court among other low budget films were accepted wholeheartedly by a common movie goer. NH10 is about righteousness, revenge and Anushka Sharma’s power act.   Watch NH10; it will be the most thrilling 2015 movie you’ll see.

Talvar

The movie is based on the infamous double murder of Aarushi and Hemraj.  Apparently, another movie called Rahasya starring Kay Kay Menon was also loosely based on the same murder case. The thoroughly engaging script for the movie has been written by Vishal Bharadwaj.  Irfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma were a lovely couple back in 2009 in Life in a Metro, but they are poles apart in this movie.   Neeraj Kabi had a great year with a performance oriented role in Talwar and a negative character in Detective Byomkesh Bakshi. Detective Byomkesh Bakshi is also one of the better movies of 2015 which did not do well at the cinemas.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan

This movie is actually one of the good movies starring Salman Khan after a long time. The movie is commercial, but sensible cinema at the same time. Off late, Salman only focuses on the number of whistles that he will get in the hall. But, Bajrangi is both whistle-worthy and noteworthy. After being a weird negative character in Badlapur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui got a lovable role in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. He also played Manjhi in the movie Manjhi – The Mountain Man which is also one of the good movies of the year 2015.

Dum Lagake Haisha

Actors make movies and movie make stars, Ayushman Khurana and his choice of movies are worth a mention; Vicky Donor, Nautanki Saala, Hawaizada – all movies have a different flavour. Sanjay Mishra plays Ayushman’s father in the movie and as always he plays so lovely. In fact, 2015 has been a year of Supporting actors; Nawazuddin siddiqui in Badlapur and Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Tabu in Drishyam, Tanvi Azmi in Bajirao Mastani, Radhika Apte in Badlapur, Deepak Dobriyal in Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Konkona Sen Sharma in Talvar amongst others. Dum Lagaake Haisha is a sweet story with sweet performances and sweet characters. The good old 90s music by Anu Malik brings back Kumar Sanu to our playlists again.

Bajirao Mastani

Deepika Padukone had a great 2015 with Piku, Tamasha and Bajirao Mastani.  Although Tamasha did not do so well, she rocked the box office with her latest as Mastani. Bajirao Mastani is the grandest and the most controversial biopic in 2015 amidst Main Hoon Charles Sobhraj and Hawaizaada.  The movie focuses on the love story of Bajirao and Mastani. The movie must be watched for its larger than life portrayal of the great Maratha Peshwa Bajirao Ballal.

Masaan

Richa Chadda’s impressive filmography got even more impressive with this film. Set in Banaras, this movie also stars Sanjay Mishra and Pankaj Tripathi. Two stories run in parallel till they meet only in the last scene. One of the stories has a very sweet budding romance between Vicky Kaushal and Shweta Tripathi.  Both, Richa Chadda and Vicky Kaushal lose their love and start feeling trapped in Banaras ironically in a city where Hindus believe to set their soul free by performing their last rites at the Ganga ghat.  Song composed by Indian Ocean capture the essence of the movie without breaking the narrative, unlike many other movies.

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