Donnie Brasco – Movie Review and more

Last weekend, I watched ‘Donnie Brasco’. I have not heard about the movie before and so did Smita who picked the DVD since the cover had Al Pacino and Johnny and she thought that I would like it.

And boy, I liked it like hell. Brilliant work by Mike Newell. Its a 1997 movie about a FBI undercover Agent Joe Priston (played beautifully by Johnny) who gets into mafia, gets close to Al Pacino who sort of acts like his mentor, falls in love with Al and after a while he finds himself so much into mafia-dom that it gets difficult to get out of it, for the simple reason that if he does then Leftie (thats the name which Pacino carries in this movie) gets whacked. Its so simple out there.

Mike is an old chap and one quick search on google will let you get up and think more about him, off late he directed ‘Harry Porter and the goblet of fire’ and I just came to know that recently he finished ‘Love in the times of Cholera’, an amazing love story by Garcia Marquez, king of reality-n-illusion. To read more about Mike, click here

Coming back to movie. It starts with Joe trying to get inside the gang by feigning as jewel-guy. After the usual tricks (where Al Pacino tries to validate his jewel knowledge), Left (Pacino) starts to like him and introduces him into the gang. He gives him a new name ‘Donnie’. Some of the gang terminology

“….while introducing if I say…. meet Donnie, a friend of mine…” then it means that you are a in-guy or someone to be trusted and all that where as if you say
“….meet Donnie, a friend of ours……” then you are a made guy 🙂

So Donnie joins the gang, unlike hindi movie he doesn’t have to do any stunts to win hearts. The movie goes with usual Mafia killings, new bosses, whacking etc etc. Over time Donnie gets more and more involved, his relationship with his wife starts getting bad, then to worse. Donnie is now a big cat among them, he starts to neglect FBI. His wife wants to get out of relationship and goes to a counselor. All this while, Donnie and Al Pacino gets closer and closer. When Left’s son gets admitted to hospital (because I guess he took more coke then he could possibly swallow) Joe spends time with Left.

The beauty of the movie is the gradual change in character of the agent, from a normal agent in the beginning to more of a Mafica guy in the end, Joe fights the battle. The character has been developed so well that at all points of time you can feel the dilemma which Joe is having over whether he should expose the mafia and get ‘Leftie’ whacked.

Finally in the end, FBI catches him, gives him a reward of $ 500 for his good work. FBI reached out to Mafia to tell them that its all over. They don’t believe that Donnie was a rat and think that FBI is bluffing them. In the last shot, Left gets a call, he tells his wife that it might be a long evening, gets off his ring, watch and other stuff, most likely he is….

Its based on a true story and if you search on Joe Pristone or Donnie Brasco, you would find lot of text.

Watch it

The Google Story

Recently I wrote a review on ‘The Google Story’.
Over last few weeks, I read ‘The Google Story’, yeah its an old title but Google is still hot I guess. Its very well written and reads like a fiction. I personally do not know much about David A. Wise, author of this book but a quick google search yields good results and after reading 2 minutes, it comes out that he has done big things to write home about.

Read the full story at

Die Hard 4.0 and Software Testing

Some days back I went to watch Die Hard 4.0, please notice that its 4.0 and not 4. The movie is about our old cop Bruce and the bad boys who want to destroy the world, in this case they were more interested to demo or show a POC (Proof Of Concept) that given the right funding they can save the world from destruction. They actually did some destruction to drive home the point that destruction is possible.

The movie moves very smoothly with few people getting killed every now and then. Special effects are awesome and good wins over bad, albeit the good (in this case our very own Bruce) also wins over a F16 bomber, in-numerable bullets, n kill attempts, speeding oncoming cars and what not. Continue reading “Die Hard 4.0 and Software Testing”

Software Test Automation – When not to do

If you are software test engineer like me then almost every one in your office would have at least told you once that we must do automation and more if we are already doing it. Most of these people would be from non-testing function and probably they dont know enough and hence their feedback on doing-automation or doing-more-automation makes lot of sense, these guys are not biased and must be genuinely interested in seeing more automation.

To most of them, you would have replied with a sort of sheepish smile (like the one you just did), or with a mono-syllable answer, mostly Yes, or may be few lines, incase its an executive who is asking/suggesting.

Continue reading “Software Test Automation – When not to do”

Cobra – What a fine beer

My little daughter Pihu was off to my in-laws last friday and that gave me and Smita a valid reason to check out a smoky eating joint. She also had some work where she has to see how the ‘HT Interacts’ event is going on (she works for Zee and it was sponsoring some part of it) and that was in Deshbandhu Gupta Apartments, Kalkaji. I am familiar with the city but that in no way means that I can find some place quickly, though it does mean that it would take a much worse traffic to get me frustrated then someone who is not been here. So we found the place, saw the event and then started to scour for a good eating joint.

We zeroed in at Ego’s at New Friends Colony, referred as NFC in eating-out circles.

Egos is one of those old places who have lot of old wooden furniture and those old sofa-seats, round low height wooden tables and bar stools with non-granite table tops. They serve continental, italian, sort-of-indian food and a have a very decent collection of wine and liquor. The staff is not-very-young, much more calmer, they play Eagles (Hotel California) and not ver well lit, a very good enough setting for a dinner-for-two.

A cock-tail costs 270 bucks so Smita ordered a Cosmopolitan and I chose the easy option of Indian Lager Beer (Rs 155 a bottle). We told the guy and he asked me whether I would like Cobra instead of Kingflisher which I asked for to start with, after a brief non-decisive-gestures I asked him to get that.

And BOY what a beer it was. Simply amazing. I am not sure that whether I have had Cobra before or not (I was in UK for about two weeks few years back and its a UK based beer and we had beer every night but I was young and stupid so I dont remember whether it was Cobra or Corona) but it was well worth it, it really drove me home and I guess all the international awards which it has won are all real. Its a UK based beer but I checked out the bottle and it seems its avail for Rs 40 a piece and is being bottled somewhere in Alwar. At Rs 40 a piece its a steal and my hunt to get few cases of this beer is on.
go and have a glass of Cobra beer and enjoy it. –

– jha (Read my travel blogs at )