Monday, July 02, 2007

A not so sunny day

Went and tortured ourselves with the Deol family show ‘Apne’ over the weekend. What can I say, I am a sucker for cheap tickets and they were practically giving them away to entice people to the grand opening of the Vue cinema in the revamped Millennium Dome. I have to say I like weekends like this, busy and somewhat interesting, food for the brain and the blog. So many things to talk about – my views on the ugly-duckling-turned-swan-millennium-dome, the worst movie of the year and a restaurant turned good.

I’ll start with the worst, which was undoubtedly the movie. First glance of the movie appeared on that most Indian of channels that I relentlessly watch to keep me up to date on Hindi cinema – B4U. I ignored the song clip, flipping channels whenever it appeared, mainly because it had irritating Bobby Deol, flicking his irritating curly hair ponytail combined with the nauseatingly nasal voice of Himesh Reshammiya. Then Dharamender was given an award at the IIFA in UK’s own Oscar venue – Yorkshire. Sat and watched flashbacks of said awards on one of the Star channels with MIL - mainly for laughs and to feel smug about how OTT they could all get in, for crying out loud, Yorkshire. Anyway, Dharamender comes to collect award from Amitabh (a Sholay moment for the oldies). Dharamender begins on a long speech which segues into something long and boring – plugging his sons and forthcoming film. Brings out his sons, Sunny and Bobby, who hug him a few times, touch feet, make soppy speeches thanking their papaji and even cry crocodile tears. Then, cherry on icing on cake, they bring out the film’s director and make another speech about how this movie this is the perfect for his whole family to come together (note to self:where was Esha Deol?). More hugging, tears and about 4 hours later they get off the stage. About 5 hours too late.

Decided not to watch the movie under circumstances. Promptly ate my own words by booking tickets for movie thinking how smartly we would avoid the thunder showers all day Sunday. (Note to self: when will you learn girl, never to trust the weather forecast). The weather was alright, bright and breezy. The movie was awful, trite and ghastly. So ghastly in fact that the projector dude decided not to come back after the intermission. He had to be called back by enthusiastic members of crowd (certainly not V & me) to put on second half of movie. For 25 minutes of the intermission there was blessed relief, the ability to leave and get popcorn and fight the strong temptation to leave and never come back. Only V’s mum was all nostalgic about Dharam paaji and quite enjoying herself, so popcorn laden we came back. I played games on V’s phone the entire second half. I won’t even inflict the story on you lest you decide never to come back (although just the decision of going might have triggered that response). Let’s just say it’s a non-story about a father, his sons, the-not-so-sporting-sport of boxing, unnecessary angst, lots of crying, way too much hugging and god awful music. Enough, Sunny paaji, enough.

The Millennium Dome has bceome 'The O2'. It's within its many walls that the new Vue cinema is situated. The revamp is a revelation, one that made the searing pain from the movie dissipate quite quickly. In five years of London living my opinion on the Dome has never much fluctuated. It has always been a sitting duck, the butt of jokes in both political and public spheres. It’s nothing but a big circular low sitting tent that looks impaled into the ground by large yellow metal spokes. It was one of three things constructed to mark the turn of the millennium, the other two being the Ferris wheel London Eye and the no-longer-shaking Millennium Bridge across the Thames. It has never been used. Basically it has sat there right next to the North Greenwich station and collected dirt and nasty quips for lunch. Until now, 7andsome years later, when it has been redeveloped into something a bit more useful by moolah rich people. The central (literal and physical) space of the Dome is the O2 Arena, a high tech concert hosting space the likes of which South East London has never before had. To make it more exciting and appeal to a wider crowd they have created a boardwalk semi-circling the arena, all weather-proof under the Dome, hosting the Vue multiplex and string of restaurants. With its fake palm trees, wrought iron benches, quirky do-not-touch-guitars-on-museum-display and interactive games it’s all very shiny and new. I can already tell I’m going to be a regular. I’m magpie like that.

Exhausted from a morning of wandering around Greenwich village, alternately cringing at/ ignoring the movie and taking in all that shiny-ness we schlepped it to the TiffinBites in Canary Wharf’s Jubilee Place mall. I’m not a big fan of TiffinBites as the food the first few times we went there has always fallen below my fairly average expectations. As a result we stopped going completely and it’s been over 2 years since we upped our noses and walked off to the neighbouring winning Wagamama. This time too it was not our first choice but to be gentle on popcorn filled stomachs and for lack of another option we decided to consume something light. The fare on offer has increased dramatically and now includes loads of snack-type foods, chaat featuring prominently. So we had a dinner of chaat; aloo papdi, bhel puri and aloo tikki. All tasty though smothered in bilious green chutney and over-sweetened imli chutney. It was good but not great. I wish the green had been more real, less neon.

Minus the Deol debacle it was an average weekend. Whatever happened to summer?

TiffinBites: 22-23 Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf E14 5NY


  1. and here I thought I was the only one who hated Bobby's hair ergh!

  2. Anonymous11:39 PM

    30, you went to Apne!!!!! You really love V, dont you...

  3. So true! Where was Esha Deol? I felt so bad for Hema Malini and the 2 girls after watching this that I went on and on to my husband and for some reason, he found it damn funny!

  4. Anonymous12:21 AM

    have NOT heard of 'apne'...i have to go get my fix of 'shivaji' ... waiting for the tkt price to come down from $16 to $10...40in2006

  5. Summer might happen yet - I've got my fingers crossed. :) Although I've gotta say that the optimist in me is in eternal battle with the cynic who takes up 99% of my inner living space!