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The Accidental Prime Minister

Politics and Drama

There is a similarity between politics and movies. They both sacrificing facts over drama and portrayals. 

However, like life, Not all that you portray gets as perceived. Over drama can often lead to loss of credibility. And that holds quite true with the film- The Accidental Prime Minister.

The Accidental Prime Minister is a film based on Sanjaya Baru's Memoir of the same name. The pre-release controversies and the timing when elections are around got the film quite some eye-balls. Smart move!


Plot
The film "aims" to portray ex-PM Manmohan Singh's Tenure in PM office. Especially in words of his political aide and media advisor- Sanjaya Baru. 

I have not read the book, nor was I inside the inner corridors of power to ascertain the truth from the drama. So I will give you a movie review strictly from an entertainment and creative part.

The film is a political drama- highlighting the making of the PM Manmohan Singh and his tenure. It briefly talks about his standing in PMO, his contribution in the nuclear deal etc. However, there is a little story from his side. 


Performances in a not so scripted movie

Anupam Kher played the titular role rather caricaturish-ly. I believe the former PM and economist of his stature deserved better than this. Though the actor mastered the body language quite well, a lot of time you feel that he performing for an animated movie rather than a real movie. The baritone was quite irritating and looked more Disney than the erstwhile PM. 

Akshay Khanna and not Kumar [thank god] played the role of Sanjaya Baru and he played it so well. Baru is a journalist turned media advisor who insists on reporting directly to the PM, and ably sails him through public appearances. His scenes with PM and other ministers were cliches as well as interesting. 

Akshay Khanna played this role to the T. He is confident, intelligent and loyal. He was quite brilliant even in the OTT breaking the 4th wall kind of chatter, a la Kevin Spacey from a house of Cards. He got a stronger character and played it well too. Have you noticed his well-tailored suits and overall fashion style? I did. Besides, I liked the overall styling of his character. 

The good thing about the movie was the caste. Except for Baru, a lot of characters looked exactly like the real-life politicians they played without changing the names. 

Some good performances came from Sussane Burnett as Sonia Gandhi, Arjun Mathur as more intelligent looking Rahul Gandhi. 
Ahana Kumra as Priyanka was a wasted prop for a scene wherein they could have taken anyone and made them wear the wig. Paise bachte.

The narration was incoherent. The scenes moved from one narration to other without stitching enough details. The writer of this film is the same guy who wrote "Newton" and in spite of having a readily available book, wonder what went wrong when it comes to stitching the story. What an opportunity wasted.  Hope someone diligent did this film to give it creative justice. 

The Accidental Prime Minister turned to be less of Manmohan Singh but more of Sanjay Baru, brilliantly essayed by Akshay Khanna. At some parts, the movie was largely emphasizing on the power center. Dude, power centers do exist. And if they won't exist in politics, people will rip them apart. 

The movie ends with "Vote for BJP" propaganda but it serves us right. We as the nation deserves the propaganda we get.
It may not be highly factual but quite a cocktail of fact and drama. The Bollywood way!

Go watch, indeed one -time watch with lots of popcorn [unless u want to hear all dialogues]

The movie succeeded in making me want to read the book. Lenders anyone?


Numerounity Rating: 2.5 out of 5. 

Flip To The Smart Life With the Smart Device

When Khanna Aunty and I discussed technology evolution and #SmartHomeRevolution

I was returning from my morning walk when I saw Khanna Aunty waving at me.

I waved back at her and said- long time, Aunty. Mom told that you have gone to Dubai for holidays? How was your trip?

Khanna Aunty: [sigh] It was a good trip but ended so bad.

I: "What happened Aunty, you look/sound so miserable. So unlikely the cheerful you".

Khanna Aunty: What to tell you beta, I spent 3 lakhs INR for this trip. Such beautiful place, total Instagram made. Can't tell you such lovely pics I took there on that Rs 50,000 Camera that My Guddi [daughter] bought from the USA. I thought of coming back and uploading them all on my Facebook. But someone stole my camera bag. Money toh I lost but along with it, all my lovely photos, diary and two CD of song collection also gone. 

Now what will I upload on my facebook and how will I make neighborhood Chadda Aunty feel jealous. Sigh!

I: Oh no! That's really unfortunate. Did you not kept any backup of the pics? like on the cloud or your phone?

Khanna Aunty: Back up? Yeh cloud ki honda hai? [what is this backup?] How can I keep my photos on the cloud and what if it rains?

I: Aunty not that sky wala cloud but smartphone cloud.

Khanna Aunty: Arre Betaji, we are old generation people, we know the only camera. And since I am ahem, smarter than other women of my generation, I just learned using a DSLR camera. But baap re, it was so heavy. I had to do so much weight lifting but I thought at least I will get good pics to burn these Chadda, Chopda, and the Khurranas in envy. So I made your uncle to carry the camera in one hand and hold me in the other hand for support. 

I: That's so romantic, Aunty!

Khanna Aunty: Arre no romantic-shomantic beta! Your uncle is so unromantic. That Miracle garden was so beautiful. I said- beautiful flowers, let's do Titanic wallah pose but he replied- let's buy flower seeds from here. What Romantic? Huh! Hand in Hand because I asked him to hold me for support as I am not so used to walking a lot and my knees gave up during the trip. 

I: Ohh! Hope your knees are fine now, Aunty. Did you see the doctor?

Khanna Aunty: Doctor ko consult Kiya. He gave so many medicines, saying my muscles are loose and asked me to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Who will tell them whether I will do my work or count every step?  It's not practical, no?

Plus, we eat such a high quality, organic Punjabi food. And Punjabi Muscles are like Milkha Singh, they never deteriorate.

I: Aunty the muscle deteriorates because of aging and lack of appropriate physical activities. Even Milkha Singh does workouts to get fit

Khanna Aunty: Hai Mere Rabba, So now I have to wear boxer pants and do pushups?

I: [Chuckling] No Aunty. Walking is good to start with. However, casual walking at home does not count much and you need to go for proper walks. And who told you to count your steps, manually? There are so many pedometer type apps on a smartphone these days, download one and activate once you walk. It will automatically count the steps.

Khanna Aunty: Aye-Hai. That means I have to keep my mobile all the time in my hand?

I: In that case, aunty pl go for a fitness band.

Khanna Aunty: Hai Betaji, I am such a delicate woman, how many devices can I carry with me? One mobile, one fitness band, house keys, small purse in case I want to have some pani puris on way, earplugs. Can't carry so man things. What if I forget?

I: Go for a Smartwatch then. It will not just keep a tab of your steps but will sync with your smartphone for other uses like heart health, you can pick your calls from the watch. It is easy to use and look very stylish too. Something that will suit your enviable personality. ahem!

[This Made Khanna Aunty's big eyes twinkle]

And Auntyji, do buy a nice smartphone with good camera quality so you do not have to carry an additional DSLR on your trip and can save your pictures on direct Google/iTunes sync-in even if you lose your phone.

[Now I can see Khanna Aunty eyes going wide. She planned to surprise Khanna uncle with secret candlelight this evening, so he is pleased enough to do all the heavy market visits and bring all these things for Aunty.]

At this moment I told Aunty how candle-light is not eco-friendly and will cause her lot of mess. Instead, she can opt for Smart Lights solution wherein in one click of a button, she can switch the entire mood lighting on and set up the ambiance.

Khanna Aunty: But Beta, how will I go to market alone? My knees are still painful and buying so many things means I have to go from shop to shop and counter to counter. Besides, I do not have enough cash with me now. Have to wait till your uncle comes. And what if he doesn't like the product after coming home?  Going back and asking to return/refund is a huge mess na?

I: Arre Apna Flipkart hai na. Why you need to go market and search from shops to shops. Just download the app on your smartphone, browse and pick from the wide variety and different price range. You can go through customer reviews also and if you do not like the product or found it faulty, they have a door pickup and a replacement policy.

And for payment, go for "Cash on Delivery".

It is called "Smart way of shopping".

Khanna Aunty: Wow! so many smart features but online shopping would be expensive na?

I: On the contrary, Aunty. Online shopping is smart shopping and is often cheaper. And have frequent sales ongoing too.

Khanna Aunty: Hai! They sell everything? Music CDs also?

I: Why you need Music CDs, aunty, when you have Smart Home products that will play music on your demand, answer your questions and switch on/off the lights also for you.

Khanna Aunty: Yeh Flipkart hai ya Google hai? It has everything I need it seems. from Smart Phone to Smart Lights to Smart Wearables.

I: Click Smart life with Flipkart aunty!

Khanna Aunty: Waah-waah! Betaji, take my phone and Jaldi se download the app. I will order everything today so I can organize a "Smart Kitty Party" at my house next week. Need to show my Smart products to these Mrs. Chaddas, Chopdas, and Khurranas. Next club election, club secretary, I only have to become.



I: Haha sure aunty. But first, you order your Smart Wearable and get to fitness mode. Smart evolution begins from Home.

Khanna aunty: Yes betaji but not homes, "Smart Homes".





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Well, Khanna Aunty is going to follow and share the #SmartHomeRevolution with all her friends. How about you? Time to #GetFitWithFlipkart 

Sincerely,
Ekta
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This post is envisaged as an entry for #GetFitWithFlipkart and start a #SmartHomeRevolution contest by Indiblogger. 

My Top 6 Bollywood Films of 2018

I am movie buff and I love watching Hindi films. Before 2018 becomes a forgotten reality, here's my list of some unforgetful films of the year.



These films have all the right chords including-

1) Good storyline
2) Entertainment quotient
3) Performances
4) High Recall value

The list is purely personal and dominated largely by the films that I have seen. and the films that I have not seen were not compelling enough to be seen. Here's presenting my top favorite films of 2018 and why they deserve to be there.


1) October
It was not your regular Hindi film. However, it was a film that's worth being made any kind of benchmark for many filmmakers. October was the unusual story of usual life. Life of a young fancy intern that meets with an accident and changes completely.  It had Varun Dhawan's one of the best performances till date.
  
I really hope that more of such films are made here.



2) Badhai ho
A small budget film with a big entertainment quotient. The film was about a senior couple becoming parents again, accidentally. Their subtle old-world romance and the brouhaha that followed including the family's reaction was less preachy and more entertaining. The movie had all- Story, performances, humor, message, songs etc The movie's cast was the hero. Esp the aging couple- Neena Gupta and Gaj Rao, and the dadi so beautifully played by Surekha Sikri.

It was clearly an Ayushman Khurana year And so well deserved. 



3) Patakha: 
An unusual story of two warring sisters who can't live without each other. Often termed as India Pakistan, the sister's world was rocked brilliantly by their friend Dipper, brilliantly played by Sunil Grover. The village based movie had authentic Rajasthan and Harayanavi touch that totally transports you to the screenplay wherein actors are the characters and not the Khans and Kumar.

This Vishal Bharadwaj movie is one of his finest work, much better than duds like Haider etc. Indeed worth watching! And I wonder why it was so ignored.


4) Stree

Stree was one of the best horror or even horror comedy Indian cinema had so far. The film so beautifully weaved the story, characters, conversations and a clear-cut agenda of real feminism. The story set in Chanderi Village had an awesome performance by the very talented Rajkumar Rao.
The film very well chalks out the importance of consent and has an intriguing end that made people talk about the film even today.




5) Andhadhun
What a madcap thriller it was. A true, edge of the seat thriller. Andhadhun is a story of a blind pianist who is not actually blind but turns out to be one. Watch it for "what next" kind of suspense and the beautiful performance by Tabu, followed by Ayushman Khurana.

It was clearly an Ayushman Khurana year And so well deserved. However, it is Tabu who steals the thunder and how. 


6) Raazi
It was a spy thriller that was such a mature, subtle patriotism redefined. I would call it a mature movie, almost unbiased. The ending left me poignant and depressed. I dunno what upset me more- the reality/smallness of our lives or the animosity between countries that see no rhyme and no reason?




Well, these were my top 6 films of the year. There were other films that I enjoyed watching and worth a mention/watch are-Mukkabaaz, Mitron, Padman, Batti Gul Meter Chalu and 102 not out.

I would have loved to add Sonu ke Titu ki Sweety but the OTT misogynist approach of the franchise is highly repulsive and I am sorry but I don't call that OTT fun!

Let me know if you have any favorite film of this year.

Love,
Ekta for Numerounity
_____________________

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Soy Protein And Sarcopenia

DuPont' Bloggers Meet

Last week, I attended a bloggers meet by DuPont Nutrition and Health in Sahara Star, Mumbai. Dupont is a world leader in developing innovative soy-based ingredients that enable nutritious and great-tasting food and beverage products. 

Needless to say, the meet was on highlighting Soy as a supreme plant-based protein and its health benefits in our lives. 

It was a well-organized meet up where representatives of Du Pont along with a Dietician came for a tete a tete with bloggers, entailing the evidence study based Soy-way of life and how DuPont's rigorous quality standards for raw materials, manufacturing and inventory control ensure their soy protein products deliver the highest levels of quality, safety, and consistency.

[You may also like to read my post on Soy Protein for Vegan on my Lifestyle Blog]

Being a vegetarian, of late I have been consuming quite a portion of Soybadi Nutrela [an extruded form of textured Soy] and periodical cooking in Soy oil.  

However, the biggest takeaway from this meet was not the mere benefit of soy protein or the controversy surrounding it but Sarcopenia.

You may wonder what is Sarcopenia? And how does Soy protein links with it? Lets quickly read more on this.

Sarcopenia

Sarcopenia is the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass (0.5–1% loss per year after the age of 50), quality, and strength associated with aging. Sarcopenia is a component of the frailty syndrome, which is a condition associated with aging and causes a decline in the health of the elderlies. 

If you have noticed, a lot of our elders, including grandparents and parents suddenly start to lose weight and develop a very fragile frame. Well, Sarcopenia could be it. I met quite an elder people who have suddenly lost a lot of body mass and weight, undeliberately, looking akin to wrinkled skeletons. Well, that is alarming. Sarconia is a bad news for elders but maybe, soy protein is a good news when it comes to preventing/coping sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia and Soy Proteins

DuPont Nutrition & Health (Madison, WI) has shared new study results suggesting a blend of whey and soy proteins may help curb key signs of muscle loss in older men. 

According to team DuPont, Soy Protein can help elders cope with Sarcopenia. And that is a good news esp for senior citizens who are lactose intolerant or are primarily vegetarian.

To support this, let me quote an observation suggested by Nutritional Outlook-

Writing in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers studied men aged 55–75 who were randomized in a double-blind, controlled trial to consume either 30 grams of whey protein isolate or 30 grams of a blend containing 25% DuPont Danisco SUPRO soy protein, 25% whey, and 50% casein. All participants performed leg extension exercises one hour before supplementation, which consisted of eight sets of 10 repetitions at 70% one-repetition maximum power.

So good news for elders who fear or are battling sarcopenia. Esp the ones who are vegetarians and are vegans 'forced vegan due to lactose intolerant syndrome. 

“Sarcopenia is estimated to affect 30 percent of individuals over 60 years of age and more than 50 percent of people over 80 years. It has significant quality of life consequences for aging individuals, and contributes substantially to direct healthcare costs,” said Jean Heggie, strategic marketing lead, DuPont Nutrition & Health.

I was very delighted to learn this and could not resist myself from immediately tweeting.

Follow @numerounity on Twitter



Numerounity Takeaway

Resistance Training and Dietary intervention, with an adequate focus on high-quality protein is a good news to Battle Sarcopenia.

While it is an emerging study but it needs to be equated well with the overall health benefits of consuming Soy Protein wrt its effect on heart, Liver and Kidney health. I suggest speaking with a good nutritionist on consumption of Soy protein in your diet vis a vie usage of DuPont Danisco SUPRO  may be a good step to start with.

Let me know if you know of any such case and have tried soy protein. Or you want to share your Sarcopenia story. If you are a nutritionist, you are most welcome to guest blog on this subject.

Stay United with Good health,
Ekta Khetan

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Badhaai Ho! for Evergreen Romance | Film Review

Badhaai ho, Ek Achchi Movie Aayi Hai!

Whenever I see Surekha Sikri and Neena Gupta onscreen, irrespective of the story, it becomes imperative for me to watch that movie, at least there parts in it. Badhai Ho is no different. It has both of them and a subject close to my heart [nothing personal] and above all a sensitive subject with well blending Ayushmann Khurrana and not Akshay Kumar with his OTT acts. Read more to know more...


Senior Citizen Romance is the Cutest

I am liking the way mainstream cinema is shaping up these days. We have movies like Vicky Donor, Subh Mangal, Dangal, Batti Gul Meter Chalu among others that dare to touch sensitive yet important causes and raises the questions without being extremely preachy or being a dull art craft.

Badhaai Ho is one such movie.

Years back there was a Pakistani Serial about to be telecasted on Zee's Zindagi TV that had a similar question as a subject. I too was asked a question- What will you do if you learn that your mother is pregnant?

My answer was and still is - Is she happy about it and whether it would be conducive for her health or no?

And that should be everyone's worry AF and not - Log kya Kahenge!

The Movie

The trailer gives you all the hint of the storyline.

I would rather tell you what I liked in the film and why it is a good cinema and makes a good watch.

First of all, the setting. I liked real to life setting with water coolers stacked over the table, the railway peon carrying a box of mangoes for the TT boss and how the family treats over the mangoes on their dining table.

Secondly, the screenplay and dialogues are delights to watch. The movie does not fall in loop of long narration but comes to the point very quickly and reasonably, building all the character sketches. The dialects are fun. The movie has a lot of Haryanavi Marwadi and I so loved the chastity of it. It was spoken as if it was owned. Unlike a lot of films including the recently released Dhadak where the dialect looked quite superimposed.

The actors were the actors and the characters, each distinct of their own and looked as they should look like. There wasn't any single character playing OTT and that was the beauty of the film. 

The heroes of this films are the usual suspects- Surekha Sikri, Gajraj Rao, and Neena Gupta. The most delightful is Surekha Sikri. By God, I was reminded of my own Nani.

Bachche bina "Sexy" ke nahi hote was a cheesy line but when she says, it sounded the creamiest. There were other scenes, in fact, all the scenes where Surekha Sikri was present and have mouthed even a line was worthy to watch on a repeat basis.

One of the favorite scenes was the bidaai scene when she chides the bride [her grand daughter] right before her words get muted by band noise. You should look at the ease and smoothness she mouths all of them. She indeed is a legendary actor that we ever had! She reminds you of the fond appearances that once Leela Mishra and Dina Pathak used to have on screen.

Neena Gupta, one of my most favorite actors on the big screen [especially] is as powerful as ever. Her expressions, her small-small actions were so natural that you start believing that she truly is the character she played.

Kudos to her and Gajraj Rao for a very subtle, yet highly entertaining performance. 

Ayushman Khurrana is at his usual best. Unfortunately, this film was not about him but yet he lives his part as gracefully, as Sania Malhotra playing the role of Rene. Another grounded performance there.

She gave me major Pinaz Massani Vibes, the female ghazal singer of the yore. 

Sheeba Chadda who played her mother was at her usual best too. For me, these character actors are the heroes of the film and are always a delight to watch than the main leads. Same goes with the characters played by two other very talented actor- Alka X2 [Alka Amin and Alka Badola]

The vibes, the feel, the setting and the story telling everything was so natural that if you are someone who is from that belt or familiar, will totally appalud it for.

The title song, am sure would have already found its place in the upcoming wedding season.



Numerounity Verdict: Go ahead and watch this film. And yes, appreciate the romance between your parents and encourage them if it is not there. And do carry loads of yummy, crunchy popcorns.

And if you are a die-hard romantic like me, watch out for the potery at the rainy evening scene. What a class!

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