James’s love for India shows through in this account of her travels from Ooty to Darjeeling. Basing her travels on the murder of missionary Graham Staines and his family, James attempts to understand the place of religion in Indian society today. Not sure if she really finds the answers, but it is an informative and sometimes amusing read. My only gripe is that she says dosas are made from chickpea flour, when in fact they are lentil (urid dal) flour, sometimes with rice flour too. Oh, and the nostalgic stuff about Melbourne at the end, how can you think that after being in India? 72/100
Tragic account of the lives of Mumbai bar girls. Some of the girls’ stories in this book are just plain shocking, and the levels of corruption distressing. The horrors are balanced out by Leela, a bar girl and dancer, who is outrageous, smart and funny but with a tragic past and a future that really is in the hands of the gods. The writer writes with compassion and warmth, but isn’t afraid to point out the sleaziness, hypocrisy and corruption of many Indian men. The reality is certainly a long way from the “night clubs” of Bollywood item numbers. 82/100
I think Tezz means “Speed” which is rather funny for a movie that has taken almost 18 months to be released, with much controversy along the way. Scenes were reshot, an item number was included despite the director’s disapproval, and shooting was delayed for many reasons, including Ajay Devgn’s beard. Anyway, the reason I even have an interest in this action film when I normally don’t watch them is that my family and I were extras in it. We were approached wandering past the Mumbai Supreme Court building by an agent, and 24 hours later we were at Mehboob Studios on the set of Tezz. You never know what will happen in India. This was January 2011 and finally in April 2012 the movie is on. We had a family night out to see it at Burwood, and thankfully some of us survived the cutting room. I get about 0.5 seconds, my son Dylan gets 2 appearances, my daughter 1 (my other son sadly missed out – maybe he’ll be in the director’s cut) and my wife gets a 2 second close-up! Speaking of directors, the director of tezz, Priyadarshan is livid that he had no control of the editing or much else by the sounds of it, which probably explains why it is a crap film. The action scenes aren’t bad, but the editing, script and plot are really bad. The plot makes little sense, and bizarrely seems to try and justify trying to blow up a train! The acting is average apart from Boman Irani, who was thoroughly professional on set. The item number is atrocious, but the Mohit Chauhan and Rahat Ali Khan songs are good. If I wasn’t in it I’d give it 10/100 but as i am in it, 80/100!