There is no finish Line … live to RUN!!!

I have always been moderately fit and have been upto some form of exercise, be it swimming, martial arts, sports … have tried them all in various stages of my life and enjoyed them. But, the thing I have loved most is Eating and have always been a big foodie, probably an extreme one.

Starting a running legacy!!!

Starting a running legacy!!!

So, when I was well into my 40s and the loved ones start insisting that I get regular body tests done, a friend suggested I try a strength training session with him called BootCamp Yellow. The name itself sounded like a military inspired course and thinking I am quite a fit guy, I landed up for my first session. The first session which lasted just 15 minutes broke a lot of myths I had about myself, and I realised I needed to up my strength, increase my stamina and endurance, reduce the weight which I used to conceal under my intelligent dressing.

Everest Base Camp _ April 2018

Everest Base Camp _ April 2018

Basically, it was time to start behaving myself and take control of my body. This was 18 months ago, and 3 months into the course my BCY mates introduced me to the BCY Running Club and having never run a timed race before I very ambitiously, signed up for a 10 km timed run in Gurgaon as my first ever. This, somehow I managed to finish (or honestly, drag myself to the finish line) in 1 hour 22 minutes. That was another wake-up call and probably the longest hour and half of my life. And, though I was confused why people subject their bodies to such rigorous extreme conditions of insanity, deep down inside the decision had been taken right there on the finish line to improve myself.

Fastest 10 K _ MCM 54.07 mins _ Dec 2018

Fastest 10 K _ MCM 54.07 mins _ Dec 2018

First 10K _ Oct 2017

First timed run _ 10 Km at Starry Nights _ Oct 2017.JPG










10 months down the line after a couple of kilos lighter, more muscle mass and stronger legs, I did my first Half Marathon (21.1 kms) in Hyderabad. Which I had been told is one of the toughest city marathons. What mattered at the finish line was the strong finish, and after the run I was standing tall, laughing with my friends, speaking FULL sentences and ready to run another few kms if need be. That is how much it changed me and made running a part of my daily routine.

My First Half Marathon _ Hyderabad Aug 2018

My First Half Marathon _ Hyderabad Aug 2018

Running now has made me leaner, stronger, more focussed and somehow more sure about myself. I set my eyes on a Target and I believe I can achieve it and I do. A trek to the Everest Base Camp last year, a sub 2.00 hour finish at the recent New Delhi marathon, getting up every morning at 4.30 am to join my fellow runners, all are a testament to what this training with my coaches has helped me achieve in just a matter of 18 months. Running has not just been about physical strength but equally about mental toughness. Now, no matter where I am on the planet, I just put on my shoes and take off on the road. It’s therapeutic and like meditating and the early morning runs just pave the way for a wonderful day ahead.

First ADHM _ Oct 2018

First ADHM _ Oct 2018

New Delhi Marathon, Feb 2019 ... a sub 2.00 hour finish!

New Delhi Marathon, Feb 2019 … a sub 2.00 hour finish!










This is my journey as a runner of doing the unthinkable and achieving what seemed impossible more than an year ago! The emotions and the exhilaration I now feel while crossing the finish line are just beyond words and all I can do is thank my teammates who run and train along with me every morning at ungodly hours just to follow their passion of running. Thanks to BootCamp Yellow, I seem to have found the balance between my love for food and my love for running, along with a healthier and fitter me.

As the Bob Dylan song goes “For the times they are a changing!!!”

Mission Peak _ California _ July 2018

Mission Peak _ California _ July 2018



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Top 50 movies … that I enjoyed in 2017

With the coming of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar to India along with a host of other movie streaming apps/ websites, in 2017 I saw an average of 9-10 movies per month, totaling close to 100 movies in the year. Out of these listing my top 50 choices … not necessarily released in 2017, but watched by me in 2017.

This list is in Alphabetical order and I have mentioned the date of release along with the titles. If you are a movie buff like me, maybe you’ve watched them all or maybe you will get some new ones for your list. Enjoy the list and a Happy new year to all.

  1. 13 Hours (2016) … How American soldiers in Benghazi, Libya in 2012, defending a covert CIA compound and a makeshift embassy, fought the insurgents! A true story!
  2. 6 Days (2017) … In April 1980, armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in Princes Gate, London and took all inside hostage. Over the next six days a tense standoff took place, all the while a group of highly trained soldiers from the SAS prepared for a raid the world had never seen.
  3. Alive (2003) … Ethan Hawke … In 1972 the whole Uruguayan rugby team chartered a plane to play a match in Chile. The plane crashed in the Andes mountains and the survivors are forced to take desperate measures to get out Alive!
  4. Allied ( 2016) … Set during the World War 2, Brad Pitt has only 72 hours to prove that his wife is not a German Spy!
  5. American made (2017) … The story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug-runner for the CIA in the 1980s in a clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair.
  6. Bahubali 2 (2017) … Kattapa ne Bahubali ko kyon maara? Why did Kattapa kill Bahubali? The mystery finally gets solved in the second part. Larger than life Bahubali 2 created a storm in the box office.
  7. Body of Lies (2008) … A CIA agent on the ground in Jordan hunts down a powerful terrorist leader while being caught between the unclear intentions of his American supervisors and Jordan Intelligence.
  8. Chef (Hindi) (2017) … Saif Khan as the Chef in this Indian Adaptation of the hit Hollywood movie with the same name starring John Favreau.
  9. Concussion (2015) … Will Smith just floors you with another amazing portrayal of this Nigerian immigrant doctor in the US who took on the NFL … a real story!
  10. Deep water Horizon (2016) … Mark Wahlberg, based on the true story on the oil rig spill.
  11. Dunkirk (2017) … Christoper Nolan’s World War 2 depiction of this event when Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.
  12. Everest (2015) … The story of New Zealand’s Robert “Rob” Edwin Hall, who on May 10, 1996, together with Scott Fischer, teamed up on a joint expedition to ascend Mount Everest.
  13. Freaky Ali (2016) … Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Ali ) plays a character of an extortion debt collector who goes on to become a golfing sensation.
  14. Fukrey Returns (2017) … the second in the series of the hit Fukrey, the 4 friends find themselves tangled in another great mess this time.
  15. Gold (2016) … Mathew McConaughey, based on true events of a miner who discovers a Gold mine in Indonesia.
  16. Hell or High Water (2016) … Ben Foster, Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges are amazing in this one … watch it if you like ’em Texans and their antics!
  17. Hindi Medium (2017) … Irfaan Khan stars in this movie which takes on the education system of India, as a father from Chandni Chowk area in Delhi aspire to give their daughter the best education and thus be a part of the elite of Delhi.
  18. Identity (2003) … Quite a thriller and a murder mystery … an old formula of 10 people stuck together in a motel on a rainy night … but an interesting treatment. John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Ray Liotta, Alfred Molina … the characters are amazing!
  19. Jackie Brown (1997) … Another one from The Quentin Tarantino stable, the characters are great!
  20. Limitless (2011) … Bradley Cooper plays a struggling writer whose life turns around after he takes a drug NZT which provides astonishing focus!
  21. Live by Night (2016) … Ben Affleck, based on a story about Boston gangsters who set up a bootlegging business in Florida.
  22. Machine Gun Preacher (2011) … a true story about Sam Childers who is still fighting for orphaned children in Sudan, Africa. Gerard Butler plays the part of the drug dealer turned saviour of Sudanese kids to perfection.
  23. McFarland USA (2015) … Kevin Costner plays a failed football coach who comes to this remote school in California in McFarland and trains immigrant Mexican kids to win the state Cross country track race!
  24. Money Monster (2016) …. George Clooney and Julia Roberts, held hostage by a disgruntled investor on the set of their financial show!
  25. Mystic River (2003) … Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon star as 3 childhood friends With a childhood tragedy that overshadowed their lives and are later reunited by circumstance when one has a family tragedy.
  26. Pain and Gain (2013) … A Michael Bay movie … I couldn’t believe it was a true story but apparently is. With a star line up starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Ed Harris. Above 2 hours and a drag at some places, but a one time watch.
  27. Passengers (2016) … Chris Pratt, a sci-fi flick about 2 passengers who wake up 90 years early on a space craft enroute to another planet for 120 years.
  28. Patriots Day (2016) … The story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists responsible.
  29. Poorna (2017) … Rahul Bose … the story of the 13 year old girl from a small Village in Telangana who climbed the Mt. Everest!
  30. Predestination (2014) … PREDESTINATION chronicles the life of a Temporal Agent sent on an intricate series of time-travel journeys designed to ensure the continuation of his law enforcement career for all eternity.
  31. Sandy Wexler (2017) … Adam Sandler as Sandy Wexler is a talented manager working in Los Angeles in the 1990s, diligently representing a group of eccentric clients on the fringes of show business.
  32. Sicario (2015) … Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin, based on agents who escalate a war on drugs on the US and Mexico Border. 
  33. Snowden (2016) … Joseph Gordon-Levitt, based on the true story of Edward Snowden who blew the whistle on CIA’s secret surveillance. 
  34. Spotlight (2015) … Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo … Spotlight, the investigative arm of the Boston Globe newspaper and how they uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Churches, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.
  35. Sully (2016) … The story of Chesley Sullenberger, an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River in order to save the flight’s passengers and crew. A true Story!
  36. The Accountant (2016) … Ben Affleck as Christian Wolff is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. 
  37. The Big Short (2015) … A brilliant movie about the 2007-08 financial meltdown that started with the Lehman brothers and how these guys predicted it before anyone else and got rich in the process! Also one doesn’t need to be well versed with the Wall Street jargon to understand this one! Great performances by Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt!
  38. The Equalizer (2014) … A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But can a man like him ever be out of trouble!
  39. The Founder (2016) … Michael Keaton, based on the true story of McDonalds.
  40. The Ghazi Attack (2017) … In 1971, amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan over the liberation war of East Pakistan, Pakistan navy, in a top secret mission, plans an attack on Indian majestic-class aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, to gain control over the waters of Bay of Bengal. They send their best-in-class submarine PNS Ghazi, but are intercepted by an Indian submarine INS Karanj (S21).
  41. The Girl on the Train (2016) … Emily Blunt, based on the famous novel by the same name.
  42. The Infiltrator (2016) … Bryan Cranston, a US customs official goes undercover to unearth a money laundering scheme involving Pablo Escobar.
  43. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) … Matthew McConaughey as the rogue lawyer just kills it with his performance in The Lincoln Lawyer!
  44. The Manchurian Candidate (2004) … In the midst of the Gulf War, soldiers are kidnapped and brainwashed for sinister purposes. Denzel stars as one of the soldiers who tries to get to the bottom of this sinister plot!
  45. The Walk (2015) … True story about this French wire walker … In 1974 Philippe Petit, a French wire walker, walked the tallest building in the world, The World Trade Center … released in 2015, the movie portrays the fallen Twin Towers as characters with soul. Directed by Robert Zemeckis the scenes when Joseph Gordon Levitt walks the tight rope between towers are so realistic that people with vertigo would get dizzy.
  46. The Way Back (2010) … 7 POWs of Allied forces escape from a Siberian prison during World War II and walking more than 4000 miles, only 3 make it to India, via the communist USSR, Mongolian Gobi Dessert, Tibet and across the Himalayas into Darjeeling. Great performances by Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess and Ed Harris in this World War adventure!
  47. Tiger Zinda Hai (2017) … The blockbuster of the year starring Salman Khan, Tiger Zinda hai is breaking all Bollywood records in just one week!
  48. Trapped (2016) … Vikramaditya Motwane’s brilliance shines in this movie more so because of the perfect casting of Raj Kumar Rao, a man trapped in a building with no occupants, electricity or water. The movie was gritty, dark, sad and subtly happy and I could not leave the couch for one second. I was blown away by the ability to emote so effectively by Rao and so much so that I was thinking of ways to escape if trapped myself.
  49. War Dogs (2016) … A true story about 2 young men who hit a 300 mil dollar contract for supplying arms to Pentagon … Great performance by Jonah Hill all the way, a big fan of him after Wolves of the Wall Street! A true story!
  50. We Were Soldiers (2002) … If you like war movies and if they haven’t made your eyes moist yet … this one is for you. Mel Gibson is unstoppable in this Vietnamese War Drama!

Happy Watching!!!

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Tiger Zinda Hai … Bhai is back!

Tiger Zinda hai … a question, a statement or a sigh of relief!

Could be anything depending on the situation the rest of the actors are in! But Salman Bhai, Bhai is always in control come Snow, wolves, wives or terrorists! People often ask me what is a movie STAR or what do critics mean by a Blockbuster … my answer is watch Tiger Zinda hai (Tiger is Alive, a sequel to Ek Tha Tiger) and both would be answered! Bhai is back as Tiger aka Avinash Singh Rathore as the lovable RAW spy!


Bhai is back as the lovable RAW agent ... Avinash Singh Rathore AKA Tiger!

Bhai is back as the lovable RAW agent … Avinash Singh Rathore AKA Tiger!

TIGER … The larger than life spy is back after 5 years (among claps and whistles in the cinema hall) in real life and 8 years in reel life. He hasn’t lost his action style or his beautiful lady Zoya. The charm is still there and so is the charisma. In fact a line in the movie by the anti-hero says Tiger is so charismatic that both ISI and RAW are working together on a mission for the first time.
Ali Abbas Zafar’s direction and the action sequences are brilliant and with Salman executing them to perfection, the movie is an out and out action thriller. All what is expected from a Bhai’s movie and much more, Tiger single-handedly takes on the terrorist organization based in Syria with help from RAW and ISI peers and annihilates them with one sweep in a 7 day mission! Fast paced and racy, the movie is a treat for fans like me and unavoidable for non-fans. Like it or not you can’t ignore it!
The rest of the actors Girish Karnad, Kumud Mishra, Katrina Kaif, Paresh Rawal, Angad Bedi are brilliant but all know, when Bhai is around they are privileged to share the screen space. Sajjad Delafrooz as the ISC (read ISIS) leader Abu Usman and the nurse Poorna played by Anupriya Goenka do shine and make their impact felt! Special mention for the Stunt and Visual effects team as they production is slick and wound tight with no loose ends.
The Katrina Salman jodi still sizzles!

The Katrina Salman jodi still sizzles!

“Mission successful” as a RAW agent says in the end … of rescuing the nurses held hostage and of maintaining Bhai’s superiority on the box-office. Is baar bhai 500 Cr to maarenge and for fans like me … the last line Tiger is always zinda for his country, keeps the hope ZINDA for the third part of the Tiger Series! And with this post mera blog bhi abhi Zinda hai!
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Social Media Etiquette

Social media Etiquette … is there something like that, which exists or is it jungle out there? I have noticed over the past year how important it has become for all of us to follow etiquette on social media and more so on Facebook/ Whatsapp groups. Some of the points where I see a total disregard for another person’s time, space and pride are listed below. Let me know your pet peeve that you feel should also be followed by others in the comments below.

1) Tagging people … I know this is the most effective way of marketing your posts. But, without the permission of the person being tagged, how can someone tag them incessantly post after post. Even tagging someone in comments, just so that you can garner more likes.
Example, a restaurateur once told me, he doesn’t care about food group discussions. But, people still tag him in a negative post. He just doesn’t respond but people still don’t get it!


2) Being polite … When writing something to someone especially when disagreeing, isn’t it better to be firm rather than rude. Being personal, name calling, abusive and just bulldozing destroys the whole essence of the discussion. People forget what the cause was and rather start taking sides for their own agenda.


3) Responding to everything … Not all battles are meant to be fought and at times “Silence is Golden”



4) Acknowledgement … Isn’t it better for you and the person whose post you share to acknowledge it or say a word of encouragement. Also acknowledge when someone suggests something on your post, by saying a simple Thanks or even liking that person’s comment.


5) Adding people … I know the basic agenda of FB & Whatsapp groups is to add your friends and acquaintances. But, do take a few seconds to ask them if they really want to be part of the most exciting group you have come across. Also when you add someone and they leave the group, please don’t add them again. It Means They are Genuinely NOT INTERESTED.


6) Commitment (Backing out without intimation) … A group or a community to takes great pains to organize something and when you commit to attend it but back of at last minute it is both a time and financial burden. More so, when you back out without even having the “decency” to inform the organizer.

7) Personal Messaging … A person on the same group as you doesn’t give you the license to solicit them over private messages for a sales pitch or a coffee date. Also if you are hell bent on messaging all members of the group, back off if you don’t get a response the first time. That is how normal people behave in real life.


8) Participate … You haven’t come down straight from the heaven to grace the group with a one off post and then vanish back in the clouds. If you want to be loved, show the love to others by interacting with them on their posts too.


9) Friends … Friends fight, disagree and then move on. Facebook is the same, if your online friendship cannot overcome a one off argument, then might as well rethink your friend list.


10) Community … Lastly, it is your network and it is your community. What you sow, so shall you reap!


(Pic courtesy: Google Images & MemeGenerator)

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The restaurants I enjoyed in 2016 … we live to eat!

For me 2016, had been a time of great explorations where as food is concerned. I wrote less and ate more …. hence, I proudly claim to have boldly gone to such varied eateries, where no man has gone before together. Since, my friends still turn to me for suggestions when deciding where to eat out, I thought might as well let you all know my picks for 2016, which are my take on the places I really enjoyed eating out at.

The Joint Cafe – Jan 2016

The year 2016 was off to a meaty start when we, as a group of food lovers, had a multiple course meal, consisting of meat. The Joint Cafe at DLF Galleria, is a quaint little 20 seater restaurant but I would highly recommend it if you are meat lover. From Pork to Turkeys, from Lamb to Quails, you name the meat and you’ll get it here.


Meatlovers spoilt for choice!


Me … carving out the pork shoulder!

The Dirty Apron – Feb 2016

Dirty Apron situated above the Piano man Jazz Bar and run by the same owners is located at the Safdarjung Enclave Market. The name itself is a testament to the food you would get and I can promise you that you would enjoy getting your “hands dirty” (pun intended). A limited well crafted menu, with quality ingredients, I loved the relaxed atmosphere, the “beer” cocktails and the food. With items like Chicken Laska Risotto with bacon, Keemaroni, Basa on Wasabi Potato Mash one gets food which has been thought and detailed to perfection.


Clockwise from the bottom left: Keemaroni, Raviolli with Gorgonzola, Jerk Chicken, Basa on Wasabi Potato Mash, Michelada (Bloody Mary with Beer) & Chicken Laska Risotto with bacon!


Roots – Cafe in the Park – March 2016

Though I have been going to this outdoor cafe ever since it opened, I had to mention it in my list of most enjoyable places to eat even for 2016. The feel of a college canteen and even the prices of a college canteen, the place serves only vegetarian and egg dishes. Located in the Leisure Valley park in Sector – 29 Gurgaon, if you visit this cafe on a pleasant wintery afternoon, be warned you will have to wait a good 30-45 minutes before you get a table. Roots, literally takes you back to your roots, when we appreciated simple food, in a natural setting and preferred the simple pleasures of eating out, no frills attached.


Love the Wai Wai Bhel (top left)

Pluck at The Pullman – April 2016

The much talked about Farm to Table concept and I got the first opportunity to try it out at Pluck the avant-garde restaurant at the Hotel Pullman, Aerocity, New Delhi. The hotel has an in-house organic farm where the Chef painstakingly chooses his veggies for their daily salads and dishes. From the Parmesan Soup to the Quinoa Broccoli Cakes, from Apple & Asparagus Gazpacho to Pan roasted lamb rack mustard praline, the surprises and the freshness is quite evident on the palate and the staff is always on their tip toes to guarantee a bespoke experience for you. Truly a fine dining experience and highly recommended if you enjoy being pampered by food.


The farm to fork witnessed live!


The Parmesan Soup … nothing like this ever tasted before!


The vibrant and plush feel!

Circus – May 2016

The first Circus to hit the town was in Delhi’s South Extension area and it opened doors in April. As the name suggests, it is a completely fun place, with fun food and whacky drinks. And I was more than happy when the second one opened at CyberHub in November this year. The whole place is designed like a circus arena, with trapeze lights and Red’n’White 3-D wall art, and servers dressed in funky polka dotted shirts or interesting clown hats. The food is moderately priced and a meal for 2 will not be more than 1000 bucks per head including a drink or two. The Balti and the masala gang cocktails are a must try here along with the Sizzling tenderloin, burger sliders and Chicken 65. The menu is extensive and modelled on the street foods of the world.

Yum Yum Cha – June 2016

The most vibrant place in Cyber Hub, Gurgaon comes the second innings of Yum Yum Cha. Already established as a Asian restaurant to reckon with at the Select City Walk, you can spot it at the Cyber City from far away with large metal Origami Installations from far away. A personalized service which was quite visible on all tables and a vibrant, happy place, one feels like a VIP from the word Go! With an open kitchen probably larger than the dining area, innovation rules on the menu and when a Sushi hater like me can gobble down two plates, along with some amazing dimsums, they must be doing something right! The dishes I would recommend are Shake Shake Appetizers Prawn and Calamari, Dynamite Sushi, Alaska Sushi, Prawn Yello Curry Dimsum, Sizzling Sticky Rice, Mochi Icecream, Black Magic Cola with a special mention for their Pok Belly. Also one of the most kid friendly places in Cyberhub.


You can’t miss this vibrant metallic origami installation!


Sushi love!!!


My favourite … sizzling sticky rice!


The sauces are a great accompaniment.

Burma Burma – July 2016

The only completely vegetarian place that made a hardcore carnivore like me happy. This Asian restaurant in Cyberhub


The decor is complete with a heavy dose of Burmese Artefacts!


The Tea Leaf Salad!

decorated with Burmese artefacts, is completely vegetarian but do not let that stop you if are meat lover like me. The Oh No Tamarind drink and the tea leaf salad top my list to start a meal here. However, highly recommended are Steamed Buns, the Samosa soup and of course the Khao Suey. Also, don’t forget to check out the Tea Menu if you are a Tea aficionado.

Perch – August 2016

The first of its kind, a Wine and Coffee Bar, Perch is located in the most upmarket area of Delhi, Khan market. A well designed, feel good place with large picture windows and white walls, the wooden benches and tables give the whole place a quaint and romantic feel. Whether you are just waiting for a business meeting or having coffee with an old friend, this place with its choice of coffee, small plates and its wine list will not be a disappointment. My recommendation would be the Cold Brew, which is Iced Black coffee with Orange Syrup.

Depot 48 – September 2016

I am a regular at Depot and after they opened their second outlet Depot48 (located at N-Block market Gk-I), none could be happier than me since I have almost visited them every fortnight. Music forms the essence of the Depot chain (now I can call it a chain) and at 48, they have continued the streak of successful performances and made sure the acoustics and the materials used complement the sound during performances. Whether the Duck Tacos or the Ham quesadillas, the Crispy chicken wings in the secret Depot sauce or the Spanish artichoke. The Big Daddy shredded BBQ Pork Burger or the humble Jackfruit burger … from the quality of ingredients used to the quantities they serve are truly a delight. However, if you’ve not have had the waffles here, you are missing on the best in Delhi. A definite yes for an enjoyable meal.

CyberHub Social – October 2016

My Architecture professor used to say …. “Yeh Basti banana khel nahi, yeh to baaste baaste Basti hai!”  And, that was my first thought when I entered the Social Basti at Cyberhub. Designed like a Mumbai Chawl with private dining rooms and seating in Huge Hume Pipes (concrete pipes used for drainage), CyberHub Social finally enters Gurugram and I couldn’t have been happier for it to come closer home. From their Signature LLIIT (Longest Long Island Iced Tea) to the “eat at your own risk” Death wings, this is one place I frequent the most. The best part is whether you are going with friends, co-workers, or even the family, social accommodates all.

Tanddav – November 2016

Tanddav … the divine dance of food as the people who have visited like to call it, is at the same place Smokey’s GK-3 used to be. Tanddav as it is spelt is restaurateur Shivkaran‘s latest obsession and combined with his love for food and sense of style, the place embodies that. A very upmarket place with affordable rates … you would get a fusion of dishes from Fiery Chicken Udon Noodles to Chilli Caramel Tilapia for fish lovers. The place is chic and quaint at the same time and an excellent spot if you want to make an impression!


The Wax Chandelier!

Chilli Caramel Tilapia ... would be an instant hit with fish lovers!

Chilli Caramel Tilapia … would be an instant hit with fish lovers!


Mushroom Gyoza

Prankster – December 2016

Prankster is the most recent and opened with a lot of fanfare in the Brewery district of Gurgaon Sector 29. Modelled on the lines of a mini university, this massive 10000 sq.ft. brewery is not just a great place to party and drink but scores very high on food. The house brews to the food are all conceived with a prank! Prankster’s funky design, innovative food and the jovial staff keeps you occupied and happy throughout your outing. So don’t forget to try the in-house brews along with the most tender lamb chops, the very amazing lychee tikka for vegetarians, the nitro dahi bhallas or the keema kaleji kulcha. This place is sucking up all the business from the surrounding areas more so, because of the value for money one gets here. Look forward to more of them opening in 2017.


No Rankings or No expert critique here, these are places that scored highly for me on Food, Service and Ambiance!

Though, I have had some great meals outside my city, I have restricted myself to Delhi NCR and all these places have a unique identity as well as a cuisine of their own. Most importantly they have no VIPs, they treat everyone at par and like a king in their restaurant. Looking forward to this exploration streak continuing in 2017.

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Sultan … turn the fist of destiny!!!

“Manne pehlwani zaroor chodi hai par ladna nahi bhula” (I might have retired from wrestling, but haven’t forgotten to fight) … A real fighter fights in real life and overcomes all the hurdles life throws at him and wins. Sultan’s summary can be captured in this one line dialogue when he after years of sabbatical from wrestling goes back to train for Mixed Martial Arts and is met with a slap on his face when the trainer tells him, “I don’t train dead people.” One maybe down but one is never out, unless one looses in his head. This captures the essence of the plot and Salman Khan’s latest Eid release … SULTAN!

Sultan ... A story of grit, determination and about fighting what lies within!

Sultan … A story of grit, determination and about fighting what lies within!

Movies are supposed to be a reflection of reality or they can be inspiring stories (true or fictitious), Sultan definitely falls in the latter category. The plot is Simple – just like the village folk of Haryana, the character Straightforward – like the Jaat community, the treatment Rustic – like the villages! The tempo is set from the start where Salman Khan (Bhai for a lot of us) enters the ring with 10 wrestlers and the only sequence where he shows his signature Bhai style. His characterisation can be summarized in a scene when he stops his scooter at a railway crossing to let the train pass (very unlike the bhai cycling across the track in Kick). The transformation from a simple guy who falls in love with a woman of his dreams to the most successful wrestler of his country, to a failed father and husband and back on his feet to fight the biggest martial artists of the world, is very tightly wound and the director has made sure the audience don’t get up even for popcorn, lest they miss this fast paced sports thriller. His folding hands in respect to any fighter he defeats, definitely shows the soft hearted character Sultan is and how among the blood and sweat of wrestling, his love is what keeps him going. Salman has had a larger than life persona in his recent movies, but with Bajrangi Bhaijaan we have seen how other actors have bloomed next to him, be it Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Bajrangi or Randeep Hooda now in Sultan or Anant Sharma as Sultan’s best friend!

As for Sultan’s look, Salman has perfected the look of a pot bellied “Desi” wrestler and is miles away from the chiselled body he has displayed in the his previous outings. He looks like an average guy and has impressively curbed his own persona which used to overshadow all other actors and movie scripts. A commendable job and Bhai’s way of telling us that he knows what the audience want from him.

This 3 way chemistry between Randeep Hooda, Amit Sadh and Bhai, forms the basis of the 2nd half of the movie!

This 3 way chemistry between Randeep Hooda, Amit Sadh and Bhai, forms the basis of the 2nd half of the movie!

Sequences rule the film, and whether it is the first time Sultan trains to be a wrestler or after the interval when Randeep Hooda trains him, both sequences are inspiring as well as grounded. The action sequences with the Martial artists are definitely not to be missed, since most of Sultan’s opponents are real fighters. The fights in the rings are nail-biting and devoid of any histrionics or very the top action. The sequence when Sultan lifts a tractor as if it is part of his every day job, or when he looks himself in the mirror and sees an out of shape wrestler are what brings out the both the simplicity and the determination of the character. I could go on about the sequences but would not like to post spoilers, just saying that you would take them home with you, not because it is Salman Khan but because they have been detailed out well with a heavy dose of melodrama. The training sequences do remind you of other boxing movies, especially Rocky, but then good movies do have a lot in common.

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Haryane ka Sher, Haryane ki Shaan entered the screen among catcalls, applause & whistles!

The Haryanvi accent and the body language make this tale humorous in parts and the term “Jaat” has been used as a compliment more than once. A Jaat never gives up no matter what, and neither does Sultan. Anushkha Sharma as Aarfa has portrayed the character of a female Jaat wrestler to perfection. Sultan’s love interest, his inspiration, his wife and then his reason to fight has been depicted flawlessly by Anushkha. Few of Salman’s heroines stand up to his persona and she definitely is one of them who calls him a Shit Guy (read sitga), of course you can translate that in Hindi like Sultan and his friend does.

Anushkha ... the lady stands tall and parallel to Salman as the female Haryanvi wrestler!

Anushkha … the lady stands tall and parallel to Salman as the female Haryanvi wrestler!

Anant Sharma as Govind is the reason the plot does not get too melodramatic. The Haryanvi accent and mannerisms perfect he effectively delivers a punch (no pun intended) as Sultan’s best friend, confidante, BRO and even his ring side aide. Amit Sadh after Kai Po Che looks promising and mature and supports Salman well in the scene. Kumud Mishra (canteen owner from Rockstar) as the Akhaara (wrestling Gym) owner and Sultan’s dad-in-law has some great sequences and is ever dependable. He has portrayed emotions of both a father and a guru by remaining silent in a lot of sequences that you end up feeling for the guy. Randeep Hooda who is being constantly seen in Bhai’s movie is a class apart. An ex martial artist and owner of an underground gym in “sadi purani dilli” (Old Delhi) he has once again proved why he is a class apart when it comes to any role thrown at him.

The essence of Sultan's character is captured in the beginning on his scooter ride from home to work!

The essence of Sultan’s character is captured in the beginning on his scooter ride from home to work!

Sultan is a straightforward movie with no twists, high on emotions and a true masala potboiler with some real MMA fighters to add spice. It is a movie straight from the heart from Ali Abbas Zafar and some great music by Julius Packam. The background score of Sultan definitely is inspiring, much like the “eye of the tiger” from Rocky. You might be a Bhai fan, you might love him or you might love to hate him … but Sultan you cannot avoid. You will be going to see it and as Bhai says in the movie, “Jahan Pyaar zyada hota hai wahan ladayi bhi zyada hoti hai”…… Eid Mubarak!

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Azhar … when the God faltered!!!

In India, Cricket is a religion and Cricketers are Gods … Azhar is a story of a God who faltered and paid a price!

Azharuddin (lovingly called Azhar by fans and teammates) was one of the most successful captains of the Indian Cricket team. With a dream debut of 3 centuries in his career’s first three matches and safest hands on the team, he was loved by all!

The movie depicts his journey, his personal life with 2 marriages and his match fixing allegations which got him a life ban ultimately to be revoked by the Hyderabad High Court till very recently! The movie also tells you to make your own inferences about his allegations but at the same time leads you onto certain paths deliberately! 
Too much dramatisation and commercial viability seems to diluted what otherwise would have been a great story. Emran Hashmi tries to look the part and acts well, but still feels amiss at some places. Prachi Desai as his first wife is good, and Nargis Fakri as Sangeeta his second wife is a disaster! 

The detailing in the plot and even the court sequences is absent and one has to resign to the fact that the production team was not competent enough to make such a great biopic (the saas-bahu hangover in Ekta Kapoor productions is quite visible). The Indian team’s characterisation could have been done in a much more contextual manner and the only player that stands out is the guy playing Manoj Prabhakar. 

There was a time when I used to watch cricket and remember how darling Azhar used to be to us. I had friends aping his style of fielding or the flick of the wrist shot he was so famous for. His match fixing scandal was setback to all and most fans refused to believe it. What the real story is only Azhar and his Allah knows, but the sad part is that we lost a great player and simple human to the monster of match fixing! 

Go watch him play one last time if you are a fan too!

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