Jagga Jasoos – One of a kind Bollywood Musical

How do you give a star rating to a movie that is one of its kind? So, let’s not do that for Jagga Jasoos. It is one of kind Bollywood musical, an experiment, a fresh take on Indian cinema.

The story of Jagga Jasoos is heartfelt, interesting and universally appealing, though set up in a fantasy land. It’s characters are extremely likeable especially Jagga, played by Ranbir Kapoor; he looks innocent & endearing and has done a marvelous job. I am not a fan of Katrina Kaif‘s acting but I have to say, this may be one of the rare times where she was given an adorable character to play and she did a great job. All the supporting actors did extremely well as well. Movie length, editing and direction were fine, however the musical nature was overdone. I get why it was made into a musical but there were portions which could have used dialogues to balance a bit.

Sceneries are simply beautiful, especially that one shot where the giraffe colors the screen when it walks from right to the left side of the screen. The movie is shot in places such as Manipur, that are not particularly shown in Hindi cinema. In fact, there are a lot of creative things that are a first in this movie.

One thing is for sure, you need some patience and an open mind to watch Jagga Jasoos. It definitely has its moments and is not your cliche movie, but it could have been better if some of the musical portions were cut down. I am not sure what kind of box office business it will do, but it definitely gets an A for being experimental and creative!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Movie Review: “The Big Sick” is emotional and funny!

I have seen Kumail Nanjiani’s work in HBO sitcom, Silicon Valley, therefore I was very curious to see his movie, The Big Sick. And I wasn’t disappointed. This movie is based on Kumail‘s life story and very beautifully told. The movie is equal part touching and funny! There are some scenes which inherently are very intense and emotional but even in those scenes, the dialogues are written so beautifully that you can’t help laughing. I believe I also heard clapping in the theater for couple of dialogues.

Every actor has done a fabulous job of acting but I was particularly impressed by Holly Hunter. Movie length, direction and editing are quite impressive. If you like comedy and drama, you should definitely check this one out, you won’t be disappointed!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Chila for breakfast

My daughter doesn’t like eggs which rules out quite a number of breakfast items. I was running out of ideas to make healthy & easy breakfast and then I remembered the good old Indian breakfast dish, Chila. Traditionally chila is made with besan (gram flour) but I tried a different version of it and got my daughter’s approval as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon besan (gram flour)
  • 2 tablespoon sooji (semolina)
  • salt, red chili powder
  • cubed onions and tomatoes

Method

  • Mix besan and sooji with enough water to make a consistent paste.
  • Add in salt, red chili powder, cubed onions and tomatoes. Alternatively, you can puree the tomatoes and mix in as well for a different texture.
  • Heat up a tava/griddle on medium heat and sprinkle a few oil drops. Spread the batter on the tava and let the chila cook for couple of minutes before turning it over and cook for another couple of minutes on the other side. Add in a few more drops of oil just so that the chila doesn’t stick to the tava.

Serve it hot with coriander chutney and enjoy!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Hasan Minhaj’s Netflix Special: Emotional & Funny!

Upon my daughter’s recommendation, I recently watched Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King on Netflix and simply loved it! I hadn’t heard of Hasan Minhaj until the recent White House correspondents dinner when he was trending on social media for his hilarious jokes.

Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King is not only hilarious but also quite emotional in places. Both me (as an immigrant) and my daughter (as an American born Indian) connected with him so much that its impossible to not like him. What I loved about Hasan is how connected he is to his roots and his culture. His usage of Hindi was apt and spoke volumes about his ingrained culture. In this day and age, a lot of immigrants let go of their cultural roots in order to fit in but Hasan seems like his is very comfortable in his skin and that to me is his USP.

This one and a half hour Netflix special is worth watching and you will really crack up in places and connect so much emotionally as well!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Agent Raghav is a gripping crime thriller!

I am always on the lookout for watching fresh content on Netflix and I recently discovered this Indian crime thriller series called Agent Raghav. I have to say I am quite impressed!

There are a lot of factors that go into making a good television series that can last a number of years and Agent Raghav seems to have cracked the formula. Each episode is different and delves into solving a crime in a fresh and unique way. I like the fact that the show doesn’t follow any template and therefore it is not predictable and keeps us wanting for more. The characters are well casted and serve the purpose they are supposed to, i.e. keep the audience engaged.

If you like watching crime thrillers, check Agent Raghav out!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Tribute to Manisha Koirala was the best in TKSS!

The Kapil Sharma Show is known for giving tributes to Bollywood stars such as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and others. However, last week’s tribute to Manisha Koirala was by far the best! Kudos to Kiku Sharda for pulling that off on her famous song, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha…What a beautiful melody and a justified performance for inspiring Manisha!

Manisha Koirala’s life story is truly inspiring and she is spreading her courage through various events. When I watched her TED talk, I myself was inspired.

The Kapil Sharma Show is growing with new characters and cast and I hope it keeps creating such wonderful moments along with contagious laughter every weekend!


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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Tips on Grant Writing

I have been volunteering as a Grant Writer for a few non-profit organizations; While each organization is different in terms of needs, the community it serves and operating budget etc., however some elements of grant writing are similar.

Lets take a look at some of these important elements of writing a successful grant application.

  • Keep in mind that most funders have a process for accepting grant applications which mostly starts with an eligibility test, followed by a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) and if accepted, it is followed by the full-fledged grant application. One must pay attention to the deadlines for each of these processes.
  • While writing a grant application, it helps to have a crisp Mission statement for the non-profit and use it appropriately in the application. It also helps to show how the non-profit’s mission aligns with that of the funder.
  • While writing a grant application, it helps to highlight important milestones and achievements of the non-profit in order to show progress since inception and emphasize why the requested grant is needed.
  • Couple of other important parameters to include in a successful grant application is the community that the non-profit serves and how rich its board members are. It helps to highlight how these board members’ experience helps in achieving the non-profit goals.
  • Budget is an important component of the application and should be described in an easy to understand narrative and figures. Pie charts etc. can also be used in a full-fledged application.
  • Most importantly, all funders will provide you a word limit on the LOI and grant application. Make sure you don’t cross that and make your application crisp and easy to understand.

There are obviously other factors to consider which may be specific to each non-profit organization; However the above pointers should help you get started.


Aditi Chopra is an author of NRI fiction and non-fiction books.
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