Sunday, February 25, 2007

Friends Series (1) : I didnt have anything on that topic

I just realized that in my friend circle (especially the IIMB one), a lot of us have this habit of cracking one liners from friend. And I thought I should pay homage to Friends through this episodic writing on some of the most amazing one-liners I've seen people pick.

Phoebe has a knack of cracking phenomenally universally applicable statements like this one -

I didn't have anything on that topic, so I went another way. (Context: Season 1 - Ep. 6 -The One With the Butt.... Chandler narrating the story of his date with the Italian girl Aurora who is married to Rick and has another boyfriend Ethan and the "friends" are discussing about the uncomfortable feeling around going out with someone who is going out with someone else. Joey cracks the landmark - When I'm with a woman, I need to know that I'm going out with more people than she is )

What does that remind me of?

1. ACP - Arbit Class Participation - a phenomenon that every MBA has definitely been through, and especially in courses where faculty members/professors have additional weightage for participating in class discussions. People come up with such garbage CP as "In the multidimensional and prospective interest of the economy, its important for organizations to add value to the pet allowance of the third strata of economically imprudent and strategically deprived dogs sleeping in the garbage cans of south mumbai." (Background questions could have been something as simple as "Do you think Maneka Gandhi and her animal activism is the way to go?"
This ACP reminds me 2 more things - First, A2Z CP where people had explanations of A to Z of CP, e.g. BCP - before class participation, CCP- creative class participation, DCP - Desperate class participation and so on.
And the second was bullCP - where backbenchers would float 5 random keywords which had to combined in a single participation - whoever does that successfully, gets to float the next set of keywords. Example - Intoxicating, Aliens, Titan, Paradigm Shift, Professor - There are organizations known to have made paradigm shifts in their strategy without realizing any benefit because a bad strategy could make a customer feel like an alien, say something like customers perceiving Titan not as a brand of watches but as a company that is disposing intoxicating wastes in space simply because they agreed to a professor's suggestion of coming up with a brand called Titan WaistLine. Beat that!

2. Wheel of Fortune - and hence, Shilpa. I have associated WoF with a random turn of wheel leading to a random topic on which someone asks questions, etc. Shilpa has a knack for that - On a table where strong discussions on credit cards is happening, she can end up asking a question like - who killed Lala Lajpat Rai.

3. The way people live their life - like defeated warriors. I could not change the tide of things, so I decided to do something else. I tried a couple of times, but realized that I cant change this. So I decided to do something else.

4. The need to be counted- A lot of people have this problem. I have that. I feel a little left out when I dont have anything to say on a topic. Either I try to paraphrase. Or, I go back to the drawing board and learn something new. But most of the people have an urge to be counted.

There are so many things that you can read in this ...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Movie Review: Black Friday (2007)

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind – Mahatma Gandhi

I watched the censored version of Black Friday a couple of days back. I have been thinking of why it was banned. It was said that it will bias public opinion in favor of the charge-sheeted offenders. Will it?

Since eternity, all wars/battles have been master minded by some and executed by several others. These several others are made to believe that they are fighting for a cause. That the cause is greatest cause one can fight for. At times, its revenge for the brotherhood, at other occasions, it might be a struggle for existence and survival. But the cause is always fair. Wars shall cease to exist if people believed in Gandhigiri – someone slaps you on one cheek, offer him the other cheek for slapping. Keep doing it till he is tired, confused, and shocked out of his wits and that's precisely when his thinking becomes clear. That's when he would apologize and seek mercy.

Does that mean once my sanity is restored, I should justify the reasons for the fight and the motives of the offender? Hmmm… I don't quite think so.

Black Friday is a very well researched and well made movie(?). I would rather classify it as a documentary. Or, the serialization of history as shown on History Channel. The bottomline remains – it's a great movie.

But that does not take anything away from the star-cast full of enraged, confused, frustrated, cheated, lost common people.  

Pawan comes up with a truly superlative performance. And Kay Kay comes up with another good restrained and underplayed performance. All the other supporting actors have done justice to their role.

The movie has its comic real life moments as well. Imtiyaaz Ghavate chase which goes on for a long time, and the policeman eventually saying "Ae Imtiyaaz! Yaar ruk ja yaar!" and the shot where a hungry Kay Kay peels off a banana to eat and a hungry constable walks in.

The screenplay is realistic and gripping. The editing is slick and fast paced. Cinematography is just what it should be – scratchy, real, and not with a lot of jazz. The real footage shown from the then Newstrack videos adds the element of nostalgia.

Music – Indian Ocean don't need a mention. Bandeh is the probably the pick of the lot. But its an album you can keep for the keeps.

Vote- Watch it. Unless you are a pig headed religious captain who cannot absorb reality the way it is. It's a must watch.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Movie review: Eklavya - The Royal Guard

How many times have you had a great meal followed by a bad dessert? Or a lot of drinks and a great feeling before you puked and destroyed it all? Or, a JJWS kinda feeling where someone pulls that final gear and beats you in the race just when you thought you had won it?

The movie is a pretty good one, but for one haunting memory of the India-SriLanka one day match (the second ODI of the recent series). Everything cruises on so smoothly that you forget that it’s a contest. You are ready to give India a thumbs up on their performance. And suddenly, they lose the match! Eklavya is just that. A great movie where Vidhu Vinod Chopra just decided to go bollywood in the end and come up with a very very very typical climax.

Eklavya – Amitabh, is Eklavya’s movie. Just that Amitabh is the Lord Krishna of Bollywood. Movies, Media, Scripts, Characters, Stories are all centered around him. And he never disappoints. Saif Ali Khan stands tall in front of Amitabh, and that speaks volumes about his performance. Amitabh and Saif are the Maharaja Mac and Coke of this happy meal. And there are plenty of tiny little French fries.

Story, Screenplay, Dialogues, Cinematography are the big plusses. Obviously, in addition to the performances of the stars. Characterization is the biggest strength of this movie. Eklavya’s love for tradition and his innermost conflicts are well portrayed. All the characters – Harshvardhan(Saif) as the heir apparent who realizes his true origins after his mother’s (Sharmila) death. Rana (Boman) and his anger at realizing that his royal palace guard is the father of his children. Nandini (Raima) as the mentally retarded daughter and her joys and fears. Pannulal (Sanjay Dutt) as the low caste DSP is good in his cameo. Rajjo (Vidya) as the poor-girl-love-interest of Harsh & Jyotivardhan (Jackie)- the deprived brother of Rana – these two could have been built better. But considering that the movie is really about Eklavya only, creating these strong profiles is a big achievement.

The element of suspense as the drama unfolds is quite intriguing. It’s a well tightened 2 hour movie, implying no embarrassing song and dance sequences.

Movie does not have a consistent pace – it varies with different stages of the movie. The average movie goer will be disappointed at times. And the yash choprization of the climax where everything falls together is the worst thing about the movie.

And the last big take home – a Trailer of Munnabhai chale America in the intermission

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wow with Windows Vista and Tata Indicom

I had not quite liked the WOW advertising Windows vista folks had done with Coffe day tie-up.

But here I am sitting at the MUmbai Airport, and suddenly the usually paid Tata Indicom Wi-Fi Service is being offered free by WOW. Catch - you have to download and view a demo which takes about 15-20 seconds. Takes you through some catchy sections and walks you through the features. Even though you are in a hurry to get through the demo, you end up walking into their hands and notice a few nice features like instant network, 3D flip windows, instant search, etc.

But the baseline marketing problem - how do you catch the attention of a customer effectively, has been answered pretty effectively! Hit the pain point (need to be connected) of a user segment (corporate travellers/ with wi-fi enabled laptops) at a location where they need it (airports in India- minimal connectivity, high idle time if you reach in time). Bingo!

The interesting bit would be -
1. given that the websites visited via this gateway is an information that would (hopefully) be available with Tata Indicom, and can be snapped by WOW. Can they effectively use this data?
2. More simply, whoever registers with this access code, also ends up providing an email id (maybe a personal one). Here, you are talking about people who have already seen a demo of the product. Can you think of the next stage marketing strategy for these guys?
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

(Ticket)less amusement

here.. another proof that Lalooo gets as much media attention as Ash-Abhishek

However, the most interesting part of the coverage is 3-4 versions of the same incident by different people, all closely related to the event!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Frontrunner Paradox

Nice post by Seth.

The frontrunner paradox is not something new. However, from a totally experiential perspective.. I have seen the big become bigger with consummate ease. Small becoming big is news item, yes. but big becoming bigger is the most obvious thing to happen!

The big question is - are the front runners, who more often than not, lose (as per Seth), lose so hard that they cant win again? Or, is it a vicious cycle of winning and losing?

Indian Blog Awards!

... are on here

Lets vote for the GreatBongs and the India Uncuts or whoever you guys support.

I gave in to Bong's plea for the most humorous blog award!

Vodafone wins the race

Valued at $19bn, hutch gets sold to Vodafone (link) - average valuation of every hutch customer is $778, and Airtel is $900 plus! :)

Reminds me of the INR1.8MM annual salary that MBAs were getting after graduating from IIMs back in 2001. And when I graduated, I had a feeling that I belong to the bottom 1 percentile of salaries! :) .. This time, I feel like the top 1 percentile! I knew I wanted to go up.. but certainly not here!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Update: Salam-e-ishq

Great Bong writes this hilarious piece on salam-e-ishq here

If only we were like Dhritrashtra's Sanjay.. we would not have to go through the torture of going to a theatre to write all this!

Intimidating Gootube

Interesting entry from blog maverick -GooTube's Smart!

Not that I am much of a moral policeman on copyright infringement, but it seems right to be on the right side of things. :)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Movie Review: Parzania

I usually take pride in myself as being someone who does not get emotionally attached to a movie and/or get affected/disturbed by a movie, even though I am a big movie buff. The last movie that seriously got me depressed was “The Passion Of The Christ”. Last night, Parzania did end up affecting me a lot. (The tagline is justified - Heaven and Hell on Earth)

For a very long moment after the movie was over, noticing that I was still at a loss of words, I realized my true emotions. I was ashamed. For once, I was ashamed. Of being in a country where such vandalism happens. And goes unpunished. Religious fanaticism and its monstrous manifestation. How I hate the politics of this country (not better or worse than a multitude of other countries) for reducing the common man to a petty existence. Where the cheapest thing on the street is someone’s life. When will we start appreciating the value of people’s life? I can’t forget the communal tension on 1991-92 when some people decided that it was high time the religious atrocities of 15th and 16th centuries be avenged.
Let people live in peace. Who wants to sit in a classroom fearing the guy sitting a couple of chairs away from him? Think of the poor kid who might end up being a religious minority in that room.

Coming back to the "movie" - It’s a very well made movie (purely speaking in movie terms). While the first 25-30 minutes seem a little slow, the performances are absolutely top notch. Sarika, who in her own era, seemed to be meant more for B-class movies, has come up with a spectacular act. In the testimony scene, she just blows you apart. I can write one more time about how great an actor Naseerudin Shah is. The realization, the agony and the futility of existence – all in one scene, I can’t really think of someone who could have pulled it off with such consummate ease. The other artists have played their part very nicely. But the movie hinges on Naseer and Sarika, their little daughter (Dilshaad) and the boy (Parzan)-of Dhara's "jalebiiii" fame!

The background score makes you cringe. There are times when you think that a hindi movie with English subtitles who have been more effective. Local sentiments in a local language. But that does not take anything away from the movie! It’s a must watch for everyone.

Let me leave you readers with a question – If killing avenges, what’s your plan B? Sooner or later, someone’s gonna get you!

Rating - 9 out of 10. Maybe 10.

Some other views on the Parzania-Gujarat controversy and Parzania as a movie

Bollywood Gupshup - State of Gujarat has managed to score another ace with this moronic act of banning the movie.

Rajdeep Sardesai on Modi(y)s - The man who made a fortune and the man who lost a son

Friday, February 02, 2007

Movie Review: Salaam-E-Ishq

Sili Sili Jalti Raaton Mein
Jalta hoon main barsaton mein
Bhiga bhiga har pal yaadon mein
Dil kya kare

Kuch bhi kare, par ye movie na dekhe! (Whatever you do, please don’t watch this movie!). Serious advice from a movie lover.

A bad rip off Love Actually, hamming stories, meaningless editing, a lot of average performances, and wrongly placed focus. That’s what this movie is.

Basic mathematics suggests that six couples in a movie would mean 30 minutes per couple in a 3 hour long movie. 10 minutes for everyones background, 10 for setting up the love story, and another 10 minutes for the culmination, emotion, drama, et al! Is that enough. Well, it might have been. But… But I forgot to mention that 5 minutes per couple should be dedicated to Songs. Where would bollywood be without all this song and dance drama! Worse still, there are some couples who should not have, have got 30mins plus! And those who shouldn’t have, have got less than 30 mins in the movie.

Priyanka Chopra and Salman Khan- The first and the worst couple of the movie are the lousiest.
Anil Kapoor and Juhi Chawla – the golden oldies have put in a good show, but for a worthless script.
Akshay Khanna and Ayesha Takia- Akshay is believable as the young “I-don’t-want-to-commit” dude representing the youth of this country. Ayesha has been wasted
Sohail Khan and Isha Kopikkar –I don’t know why they are there. Even though they are funny, but the director could have done away with the 5 minutes of wasted footage on this deprived couple.
Govinda and the foreigner girl – The best couple of the movie. Govinda is not quite back to where he was, but he still is the best act in the movie. And the girl doesn’t disappoint a lot.
John Abraham and Vidya Balan – decent, but useless. They keep crying for 70% of their presence in the movie. But the good part is, the climax of their story is not about everything falling into place. They just decide to make do with whatever they have!

Best thing about the movie – the music. Title song, Dil kya kare are the winners so far. But my favorite is Kailash Kher’s Ya Rabba. Another song where this amazing singer showcases his talent!

Rating - 3 on a scale of 10.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sitemeters and my blog

Yesterday, I discovered a lot about sitemeters. While the regular blogger, I am sure, knows a lot about them, for me it was a new thing to understand where all my page visits have been from, and for what.

The most interesting things –

I realized that I had a very recent visitor from Australia!

I also realized that a lot of the visitors had come to the site looking for a review of Bhagam Bhaag! That, I think, was the most blatant lie I had written on my blog to have a bit of fun. A big sorry to Anupam and a whole lot of other people who might have watched the move based on my review.  Bhagam Bhaag, let me correct, is one of the worst movies I had seen around that time! ;)

A lot of the visits to my blog had originated from my orkut profile and some of the floating emails that might have had my blog address in my email signature.

One thing however, that the blogs cant help with is the US IP addresses that I lot of PCs in Indian IT companies have. Probably because they are on a VPN and stuff!  I don't understand that side.

And yeah, there is a place called Alipur in Delhi, India.