Saturday, December 26, 2009

3 idiots: Masala puri , but where is the taste?

3 idiots is a movie about 3 friends, each having different family backgrounds and hence different nature and different view of life meeting at the country's top engineering college, starring the marketing machine of the country, Aamir Khan and with an ensemble of cast who can make any other movie maker jealous,. The story follows their life for these 4 years of their lives with loads of comedy and sentiments in the movie. Sounds perfect, right?
But in my humble opinion the movie is hardly perfect. A movie preaching about doing things unconventionally and questioning the conventional ways of our education system , takes the conventional bollywood masala way of becoming a hit. Otherwise how do you explain the typecasting a south Indian as being one who does not know hindi and all he knows is to rot the books and vomit it out on the papers. How do you explain the over dramatic and loud climax where a vacuum cleaner is used for doing delivery of a baby or the scene where a paralytic patient is carried to a hospital in a scooty that too with two other passengers. These were nothing but an insult to the medical profession in my humble opinion.And did you know that you can steal another person's degree and get a job with it and that too a degree from the country's number one engineering college. Well this was a news to me and I feel how come I did not know this all this while.

3 idoits teaches us to be unconventional in a conventional way.

Two 40+ men and a 30+ man playing engineering college students, well this sounds so much filmy. Yes, the movie has certain funny scenes and dialogs, but most of them have been lifted from forward messages one gets on his/her mobile phones or from you tube videos. And as for the sentimental scenes, they have been lifted from the maker's previous movies,how convenient. Then why not read the same engineering book again and pass out with flying grades. After all it is the same thing right. As for the performances, Aamir is as usual very good, apart from that Sharman Joshi gets good scope. Kareena has a very miniscule role. Bomman Irani is over the top and bad. Music of the film is strictly ok and goes well only with the scenes. Cinematography is first rate. With more than dozen sponsors for the movie , the kind of publicity done for the movie and the kind of compromises the movie has done for becoming a hit, the movie is sure to become a massive hit and the makers can safely say " All Izz Well" but I doubt if they will be able to do it with their hands on their hearts.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rocket Singh: Sheer honesty

You have rooted for Bhuvan's team in Lagaan, Coach Kabir Khan's team in Chak de India and many such under dogs in the films. Prepare to root for Harpreet Singh's small team of salesmen, who prefer to do business honestly rather than following the usual path of salesmanship. On the upfront neither the premise of the movie, nor the pace of the movie looks appealing to you but what underlies is one of the most honest and realistic portrayal of the characters and situations seen in recent times. The opening credits of the movie, watch out for what comes while showing names of each person, sheer brilliance.
The movie preaches a very simple and fair formula for business, which all of us seem to have forgotten that of being honest with the partners and being loyal to all of them. The office politics, the usage of the word "attitude problem" , the bullying of the weaker one in the office are all portrayed in a never seen way. They look straight out of our own experiences.
The way inexperience shows up and the plans screw up on the part of the Rocket Singh team are a treat to watch. The scene where Ranbir talks on phone with the head of the same firm he is working in as head of Rocket Singh team are a fun to watch. You wait for such scenes when they actually meet again in the climax, when eventually hero wins but alas they are not there. What you get is a silent and underrated symbol of triumph in a simple dialog. Wonder why, we all are more confident to speak to our superiors over phone than face to face, that too about such topics. The best thing about the movie is the honesty it preaches and also practices. None of the scenes, the scenes of victory or the scenes of defeat are handled over the top. There is no steorotyping of the characters. Each character seems so genuine take for instance the computer assembler Ranbir loans from. They are not shown to behave in a fashion just because they are from a certain part. The writer in the movie is a winner all the way. Even after the hero has won all he is fighting for he finishes the job he currently is doing . That is the kind of simplicity and honesty the movie is preaching. As for the performances goes, you will not find any great performances. The reason being that they are not actually performing, they are just acting natural. Such natural performances are difficult to find. Couple of songs are good and hummable. Cinematography has no great role as most of the movie is shot indoors. The movie does not make any compromise like the characters in the movie for it to be a hit and that is what makes this movie the most honest movie I have ever seen. Hats off! Respect the honesty of the makers, watch it for once, am sure you won't repent. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity at least for now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life rolls on...

Well, it has been more than 2 months since I have posted. Not that there was nothing worth posting. Lot many things happening in fact. So much that I did not find time to post it here. This ,this and many other events both on professional and personal front keeping my clock ticking. Meanwhile, the things that I found worth quoting here:

  • India Australia ODI series was an amazing tour. A second grade Australian side, beating India quite convincingly was indeed a proof of the strength Australia have and it rebuffed claims of anyone toppling Australia from the top spot in near future.
  • The India-SL series has been a who cares series for me at least. With pitches like concrete pitches being used for the series it is a nightmare for the bowlers and test matches lacked the intensity.
  • The NZL-Pak series was a well fought one. After a long time we witnessed some quality fast bowling in that series.
  • Watched umpteen number of movies in this time frame. The best among the lot being Paa. Balki had impressed me tremendously in Cheeni Kum itself and I was waiting eagerly for this one. And it proved to be a worthwhile wait. If you are not of the kind who is impressed by the wit and the casual dialogs in the movie, there is the genius Amitabh in a never seen avatar. Overall a tremendous movie experiece for me.
  • Another movie which impressed me during this tenure was Peranmai in tamil. Though you get a feeling that it could have been so much a better movie, still it was a nice attempt. The lessons on the global economy and guerrilla warfare are indeed a nice thing to be shown in a tamil movie. All this comes with a cool and restraint performance from 'Jayam' Ravi.
  • Watched a highly violent and offensive movie called Renigunta. I feel it is time tamil movies stop churning out the violent and sad ending village based movies. What started as a fresh trend has so fast become mundane.
  • Lot of movies to be watched in pipeline. Rocket Singh, 3 idiots,Kurbaan,Avatar all looks promising.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Symbiotic money minting ways of Indian television channels and movies

The showbiz business is the one of the biggest money minters in the country. Over the time, the movie industry in India has metamorphosed itself into a fully grown professional business unit. Now and then there have been changes which have helped those involved to mint more and more money.

One of the recent advancement is the entry of the movie makers into the TV world. While UTV took the approach of venturing into movie making first and then launching a movie channel of its own to showcase the movies and to leverage maximum benefits from the television rights of the movies. Down south, Sun network and Kalaignar network have well established television channels with a strong viewer ship and now they have ventured into the realm of film producing. This helps them to market their films to the wide audience they already have through their strong television base. Now with Sun TV cruising fast in the DTH space through its Sun Direct DTH, it has more control over distributing contents and can play strategy games with competitor show times and signals.

In either of the cases, the aim is to leverage as much from a single product possible and more importantly not allowing other competitors to gain out of it. Apart from the earnings gained off the movie’s theatrical runs, the producers have the television rights of their movies specially guarded for their channels to showcase the film on a festive season , thus gaining maximum revenue possible.

The television channel also acts as a publicity media for the movie telecasting exclusive premier of the movie songs for the first time . The relationship between the movie and television channel can best be described as a symbiotic one where both parties stand to gain from each other. The best thing about the whole part is that audience get to see these movies very early these days but 50% running time for advertisements as well.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Shopping this Diwali: A boon to the customer, Written for

With the biggest Indian festival just round the corner, the consumer is flooded with attractive offers from various brands to woo him. Here are some of the best ones. The list of what ,where and how to buy this diwali:

In the auto market, the manufacturers are offering discounts in the range of Rs 50,000 on select cars. Added to this is the attractive loan rate offers from various banks. A skoda Fabia is costing you Rs50,000 less than the same time last year and a Hyundai Sonata would end up making a saving of Rs35,000 for you. As far as the car loan rates are concerned, as usual SBI leads the race with as low as 8.5% while ICICI and HDFC hover around the 11% mark.

Moving on to the consumer electronics, the market is flooded with discounts and offers of gifts and other attractions. Samsung is giving out 22-inch LCD TV free with every purchase of 40 or above inch LCD TVs. ompanies such as Sony, Samsung, LG and Voltas are offering interest-free finance schemes, some even translating into zero downpayment and processing fee. If you turn to the newspapers, it is full of offers from all major retailers with their offers.

House buyers are also in for some good news. In case you have zero’ed in for the house, the banks are offering attractive teaser rates for initial years with some lenders giving an option to shift to either fixed or floating rates in subsequent years. Please bear in mind that the loan rates are a must to go up subsequently but we can at least save some money in the initial years. And the concept of processing fees has been waived off by majority of the banks.

Going to mobile segment, Nokia offers gifts upto Rs1,00,000 on purchase of mobiles and attractive gifts such as reebok sunglasses worth Rs5,000 and reebok bags and many other assured gifts on select models. Retailers are not far behind. Univercell, a prominent brand in Tamil Nadu is offering attractive discounts and also 5% cash back on purchases made with a HDFC credit card. The Mobile store has come up with a money back scratch card for all brands except Nokia , by which you stand to win upto 55% of your mobile cash back.

With such huge offers pouring in, cosumers need to observe some restraint and spend some time researching on various topics using internet and calling the respective stores in order to figure out the real offers from the fake ones and get benefitted. Happy shopping Diwali!!

The main article can be found here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Business of IPL:Written for

What started as a small idea conceived in the most improbable circumstances for a cricketing league in London’s Wimbledon suburb in the year 2007, today is the hottest sporting league the world has ever seen. It is amassing itself with each passing edition and promises to enthrall not only the audiences but also to spring up money like never before. Cricket has got its money minting machine, its own kuberan in the form of the Indian Premier League and hence, the epicenter of world cricket is no longer in London or Sharjah or even Australia but it is India.

The magic began in Jan 2008 when eight teams were auctioned for a whooping sum of $724 million. The revenue generated from media and sponsorship deals not withstanding in this figure. A part of this whole sum was reinvested in the aging cricket stadiums in the nation and specifically to those which were to host IPL matches. A typical example of successful business strategy. It was a win win game all the way. The players were not left behind. For instance, players are being offered a fee of $1.55 million for just a five week season, against $500,000 to $1 million, depending on the country, for an almost year-long slate of national team games. This was the beginning of a revolution in cricket world, A revolution which took the whole cricketing fraternity by storm.

The shift in paradigm is so huge that many players have already leaving their national teams to focus on the IPL. To cite a few examples, Hayden and Gilchrist have a lot of cricket left in them which is evident from the form they are displaying in the IPL chose to retire from the international cricket to join the league. The stage was set up just like a blockbuster movie and what a fitting finale the first edition met. The results of each of the matches had its influence on the business. How? Let me explain. The fact that underdogs Rajasthan Royals triumphed in the first edition increased their worth by a whooping 71% against an average of 31%. But the road was not as smooth as it looks. In spite of the huge success of the first edition and the enormous amount of money it was minting for everyone involved, the terror attacks on Indian soil had taken its toll on IPL. Govt. of India, rightly so weighed security of elections as being more important that the security of IPL and hence, after a long period dual IPL was finally moved to South Africa for the second edition. Now, an Indian premier league in SA, the doubts of it being successful again began to surface in some minds. But proving everyone wrong, the second season began with bang with the new players surpassing the older ones in terms of revenue they would generate. Even though, South African govt. welcomed IPL with open arms, it was left to smart business strategy of the league to draw in the crowds. Giving out charity tickets to the local schools and the success of local players in this edition pulled in more and more crowds and eventually it seemed like the match was being played in India only. Knowing that the ticketing revenue would be lesser this time around, the moves like having strategic breaks of 7.5 mins in mid of each innings which was to be filled by commercials was a smart move and it paid off in terms of revenue if not in terms of cricketing virtue. All corporates chose this time as the moment to cash in. Vodafone went out all guns blazing with its zoo zoo ads and 15 of them had the audiences in splits.

Though cricket is played in 104 nations across the world for a period of 165 years, before IPL, the professional leagues had never truly looked into cricket from a business perspective. Most leagues around the world are operated by non-profit entities. But private franchise ownership opened a new chapter in the history of cricket and it has changed cricket like never before and the change is a permenant one.

As for the after effects of this, the third season is going to be bigger with more teams joining. Other countries like Pakistan, USA have plans to start similar leagues of their own. 20-20 cricket has found new meaning and it is all set to rule the cricketing fraternity as the youngest and richest member of the lot.

IPL is all set to transform the way cricket is played all over the world.

The same article on

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reliving Ashes 2009

Wow! That's the only word which comes to my mind when I think of the 2009 Ashes. It was one of the most awaited test series if not for anyone else, but for me. And it lived up to the expectation and how. Australians had their pride at stake, their champions tag at stake for the first time since may be around 200 or 2001. England were fighting for redeeming their lost pride. They had lost the last ashes in Australia 5-0. Added to this was the additional pressure of playing on home soil and to top it all, the responsibility of giving Freddie a fitting farewell. Freddie, one of the heroes of the 2005 victorious England team. So, this series had all it takes for a blockbuster.

Well begun is half done. Indeed, what a start the ashes had. The first test England holding nerve till the last moment to draw what seemed to be an Aussie game all the way. The second test began exactly from where the first ended. England picking up the confidence it gained from denying a must win for Aussie in the first game, came well prepared to Lords to defy history by winning in Lords against Aussies. Though rain tried its best to play a spoilsport in the third test, it was never short of excitement. It was England's turn to dominate and Aussie's turn to save the day. It was more like a repeat of the first test but just the roles were reversed. A charged Aussie after their effort in saving the 3rd game, caught England on the wrong foot in the 4th test and England lost by an innings, leaving it all to the final game. The tally at 1-1. The fifth test in itself had its ups and downs.After a brisk start by England in the first innings it lost its way but ended up with a pretty decent total. Aussies too began in style with the opening pair notching up quick runs but then it was Broad magic. He caused a remarkable collapse for the Aussie middle order and Aussie fell well short of England score. The confident England then amassed a big score in the second innings too leaving Aussie a improbable 546 to win in the last innings of the Ashes 2009. As expected, Aussie fought bravely, but for some run outs, I felt they would have still given more close finish. Finally, it was England which had the ultimate elixir. More than anything, it was a classic example of history repeats itself. Sample this, the final tally of ashes 2005, 2-1 in England's favour 2009 the same. 1st test and 3rd test formatted the same way. Only roles reversed. 2nd and 5th test , mere action replays of each other, only the numbers and stars change. It went to show the maturity which Aussies have gained to put up a brave front in all improbable situations and fighting it out to their best abilities and it is very welcome move from the Aussie board not to blame Ponting for the defeat. What goes up comes down and it is the downfall time for Aussie team. It is time for them to re-group and bounce back, which I am sure they will do sooner or later. Also, all through the series it is the test cricket which is the clear winner. This series has served as a life saving boon to the test cricket, the purest and oldest form of cricket.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kaminay: Treat to the brain

There are those good movies which make you watch them again and again. But very rarely you will find a movie which while you leave the theater you want to feel the pride of making one such movie. I felt the same pride this sunday when I watched Kaminay.

Kaminay is from one of my fav bollywood directors Vishal Bharadwaj. The feeling you get after watching the movie is that of reading a fool proof novel. The writing is so powerful. The best thing about the movie is its boldness. No, I don't mean the boldness in the dialoghes and the handling of the story. I meant the boldness in the director saying that if you have come for mindless entertainers go to the other screens in the multiplex. Because if you leave your brain at home, better be at home. When I spend so much money,brain and energy in making a movie, you ought to spend at least a part of it in watching it. And no I am not spoon feeding you.

It was an entirely new feeling for me , may be because I have not seen movies by Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie and the Coen Brothers, which many claim are the inspiration of this movie. But the dark humor interspersed with unpredictable turn of events are a treat to watch. All the characters in the movie will remain etched in memory for a long long time. Though I am not very convinced with all ends well ending, nevertheless I believe that was a compromise done towards commercial success.

If this is how a Kaminay is, then Kaminay's are wow and I want more of them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Life rolls on...

Life's been rolling on. To say I have been busy with work would be a false statement ,but yes I was busy with so many other things. One after the other, the twitter bug and now the and lastly facebook bugs have had their toll on my blogging time and hence, could not write in earlier. So here I am giving an upate on whats been happening all these days.

I have suddenly realized the immense free time we have during weekends and am trying to put it to some good use apart from dozing around and spending time watching movies. Not that I did not watch any during this time. In fact I watched some very good movies. Subramanyapuram, yeah I know, but I could watch it only now, is indeed a path breaking movie in all aspects. Superb. So was Nadodigal a new phase in tamil cinema , I would say; Love aaj Kal, well it is like a chat item at your favourite shop, you know it would be good and it was good , only that nothing in it was original; Angels and Demons, though I am no big advocate of the story itself, which I feel is very meek in comparison with Da Vinci code, the movie though was watchable; Hangover, one of the most hilarious English comedies I have ever seen, though I don't watch many english comedies, I just missed the company of people I would have loved to watch this one with.

As for ashes, it is always there to thrill me. I somehow predicted the outcome of the last test match that Aussies will win it. But I never thought it would be this big. Now I think Aussies are all set to win ashes or at best retain the ashes. For me, England do not have the fighting spirit to pull back things from here. Just hoping Freddie gets a good farewell.

Things like 63rd independence day celebration and Shahrukh Khan being detained at the airport and all the media hulla surrounding it, well I felt there is no need to sensatinoalize either of these and there are other pertinent issues in the country which deserved more attention.

That's it from me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ashes Rises from Ashes

It was a typical case of old wine getting tastier with time. Ashes always lives upto the expectation. This time the expectation was sky high as this ashes was supposed to challenge the might of aussies, who this time have one of the weakest bowling attacks among australian teams of all ages as per me. Surpassing all the expectations, what we were treated to was an absolutely thrilling experience which brings out the best out of test matches dismissing all notions of T20 eating into other forms of cricket. And full credit goes to both these teams for fighting it out. What started as a England's match turned Aussie way and when the extra long Aussie innings went on and on, looked set for a draw. Smart thinking Ponting had other plans. He wanted to bat once and for all in this match and it seemed to work till the last twist in the tale. 10th wicket partnership going on for 11 full overs and surpassing the lead by Aussie was indeed a treat to watch irrespective of which team you are supporting.Each ball was greeted with sounds ranging from pin drop silence to a roar when the batsman survives. Aussies wanted to bowl for some more overs, but the stipulated quota of overs being over, England were a tad luckier than them. Though one felt bad about Aussie losing the game, it was cricket on a whole which was the winner. With just one match over, Ashes promises to raise from the ash like a Pheonix to enthrall one with the pleasure of test cricket.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

T20 World Cup Fixture is Buggy

The fixtures and schedule for the ICC T20 World cup 2009 are faulty. The concept of pooling them into groups based on the previous world cup rankings is pretty justifiable but ranking them this time based on their last world cup's performance is sheer stupidity. For instance, even though England and South Africa have topped their respective pools this time they have been named as B2 and D2 and hence they have to play against the tougher teams A1 and C1. So for the super eights you have a pool which has teams like India,England,South Africa and West Indies. Three out of these four have topped the tables this time around. And the other pool has Pakistan,Ireland,New Zealand and Sri Lanka, only one pool topping team among the four. Ideally the pools for super eight should have been decided based on what ranks the teams achieve this tournament. Now, this has resulted in huge imbalance among the pools for the super eights. Another effect of this mistake is the the last few matches have become inconsequential. For instance, the match between West Indies and SriLanka and the match between New Zealand and South Africa. They just served merely as a practice match where teams tried to seize the momentum as they go into the next round.
I believe the reason for making such fixtures was to boost the sale of tickets and advance bookings as it was known well in advance where will the teams meet for super eights match unless there is a upset like the ousting of Australia. It is time the organizers think beyond petty gains like this which kills the competitive spirit of the game and makes the series a lackluster one.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Memories down under in Coimbatore

Well, somethings don't happen when and where you wish . They just happen when they are destined to. And till then you have to wait for the moment. I had been thinking of going and visiting my college and the beautiful city of Coimbatore where it is situated ever since I completed a year into this corporate world but then the thought had a wait time of 4 years before it finally materialized.

Yes, indeed this weekend I visited Coimbatore and more importantly spent a time of full 2 hours inside the campus taking snaps and recollecting memories of lost times, of times which will never come back again. It was really bad that there was no one in the college except some staffs who were invigilating over some exams happening. So, here I had an unrestricted access into all the hostel and department blocks. Of course, the labs were closed. The Coimbatore weather in June, stayed true to its expectations and was at its typical best. It was breezing all the while with intermittent drizzle now and then. Many things have changed and many new things have cropped up new. Like the new Civil Engineering block. But some things are rock solid and unchanged. Like the hostel and the greenery around. It goes to the credit of the college administrators for not giving in to expansion at the price of greenery. As for around the college, there are a lot of new bakeries which have sprung up. Also, noteworthy for me was the new snooker,billiards and pool outlet which has come up. Brave move by the owner I would say knowing my college mates finances. Nakshatra has become Ponnusamy, K.R Bakes has become K.R. Restaurants , I think this change is all across Coimbatore. Somethings have vanished, like the all famous Karthick mess.

Life has to move on and so have we. But some memories remain etched in ur minds forever though in dormant state. It was like hitting the rewind button on the remote control and then watching the highlights of the play again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hits and Misses of IPL 2

I know this one is quite late. But it had kept me too busy to write one here. I am talking of IPL 2. Here is my own list of bests and worsts of the season 2 of IPL starting from the worst.

  • Kolkatta Knight Riders: Yes, this is indeed the worst thing that can happen to a sporting extravaganza of this magnitude. Right from the point of Ponting pulling out and the team losing out on it's Paki players to the continuous losing streak and the never ending controversies in and around the team, this has put IPL2 to shame. KKR are in news always and always for wrong reasons.
  • Loss of form of Rajasthan Royals : May be due to key players like Shane Watson and Sohail Tanwir or may be b'cos of off the colour Greame Smith making a comeback after injury, the champions are not in true color. It was sheer fun to watch a young team led by an inspiring leader making it to the top the last time. The same doesn't seem to happen this time around. Adding to their woes is the loss of Shane Warne now.
  • Kevin Peterson and Andrew Flitoff : If you think they are on this list b'cos of their huge pay cheques which everyone envies ( including me) you are not entirely wrong. These are players who did not perform worth their money. Both were out of touch throughout their stay and after the exit of these two players the respective teams appear to have strengthened.
  • See-Saw Mumbai Indians: Very much like the season 1 of IPL, Mumbai Indians are having a see-saw in their fortunes here. Starting with a win against the runners up of the last year, they slumped to a defeat failing to chase 120 runs on the board and some inexplicable captaincy in another match from Sachin. However, recently they seem to have regained the touch and are in contention of the semi-final spot yet again.
  • Re-charged Deccan: On papers Deccan were and are one of the strongest side. Just that they couldn't perform as a unit last time around. The Chargers this time with changed jerseys are a different unit altogether. From being the bottom team in the last edition, this time they are right on among the top teams.
  • Daring Daredevils : This is the case of old wine becoming tastier. If they were good in Season 1 they are the BEST this season. Being on the top of the tables consistently they are an amazingly strong side with players of calibre Glen McGrath and Danile Vettori warming the benches.
  • Namma Chennai : After initial hiccups, Namma Chennai looks all set to reach semi-finals in style and are a very formidable unit. With Hayden,Raina and some other new timers like Jakati and Tyagi in top form all I can say for Hayden case is Australia's loss is Chennai's gain.

The best things about IPL are undoubtebly the unlimited entertainment they are providing. Hence, the top three feature entertainment as their major contributor.

  • Unlimited Entertainment: With doubts of the season's success, IPL 2 shifted to SA. But what a tournament it has been so far. If IPL 1 was more to do with Batsman only, this season has been even to both batsman and bowlers. Matches turning either ways like the turn of the page in book, each match is so damn exciting to watch. Due to smart marketing strategy, it has managed to pull in crowds to the stadium and make the whole season a success.
  • Fake IPL Blogger : I need not introduce this guy to you for sure. Beleive him or not, Agree with him or not, He is speaking truth or not , who really cares. All he speaks is so much fun to read and is guaranteed entertainment.
  • Vodaphone ads starring ZOZO: Now this has to top the list. I call it innovation at its best. Vodaphone has always been keen on making ads without big stars and this one continues the trend. But I believe by the time all the ads are out, ZOZO would have become stars. The ads are so much fun to watch. The best was the "Make up alerts".

Well, skeptics may list out negatives of the tournament. But negative and positives are just two sides of the coin and is bound to exist in everything, IPL is no exception.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Is India ready for Nano?

Nano has been unveiled in India amidst huge hulla and it has all the build up for a blockbuster. But, IMHO India and Indians are not yet ready for Nano. Why? Here are the reasons:
• Indian roads and infrastructure are not yet ready for something like Nano. Imagine people buying a pulsar today buying a Nano(cost difference being only around 25k) and driving it instead of Nano. Even though the car is just 3 mts in length and has a turn radius of 4 mts it still is much more than the volume occupied on road and parking lots than of a pulsar. Considering the current scenario of traffic in India and the number of two wheelers getting registered daily, the image I see terrifies me.
• Indian social and economic climate still considers cars as a mark of luxury and not a necessity. In fact, Indian climate is also conducive to the fact that cars are not necessary.
• If we go by the logic, that each guy buying a pulsar buys a Nano, then the requirement for petrol will double assuming Nano delivers the promised mileage of 25 kmpl. This indeed is not a good news for already fuel crunch country India.
• There are claims that this is the birth of Indian technology and that it is a great step for India in the field of technology. I agree, but there are many other spectrums where India can and has to prove its technological power. Let us concentrate on those areas.
• I am no auto expert to be writing this comment. But from what I read and heard from my friends, the car design is not very good in case of any unforseen event of it crashing. The front hardly got any mass to tolerate the impact of the collision and hence, it can be fatal for the driver.

I do not mean to crash all those having a Nano dreams. All I want to say is it is a no no for Nano from me.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Me and my cricket fetish

This one goes to me. A personal recollection of my cricket fetish. I am a self acknowledged ardent cricket fan. But it was not always so. Like all our famous cricketers I too had a lean patch in my cricket fetish.

The very early memories of me enjoying cricket was of 1992 world cup. I was a Martin Crowe and NZ fan back then. I watched all the NZ matches waking up in wee hours of the morning. And I still remember how I felt when a deserving NZ lost to Pakistan in the semi finals.

Then there was a period when I supported teams like West Indies for merely Lara and Pakistan. I know it sounds odd , but then those were the days when bowlers like Wasim, Waqar used to create havoc and then there was a period of Shoaib adoration. His body language,his style,his aggression all appealed to me.

Somewhere on these lines, I became a Aussie fan and was one till very recently when the India bug bit me. Talking about the lean patch, well it actually began when I decided to take a dip into my HSC books, the dip which was a bit longer and then the college days when we lacked both time and the logistics needed to follow a cricket match. It is during this period that I somehow lost both interest in cricket and my Aussie adoration also died off. This dormant period had some activity in the form of occasional matches I watched like the 2003 world cup.

However, the passion or the fetish , was back when one particular match changed the way one day cricket is played over. The day was 12th March 2006, when Australia amassed a record score of 434 only to lose it to South Africa by 1 wicket. I must confess I did not watch this match too fully live but I managed to see the recorded version so many times. And with the advent of 20-20 cricket , cricket has generated whole new interest in me. Not only 20-20 version, I watch all versions of the game.

Even the test match once considered boring , has got new life infused into it by the fighting spirits of teams like Australia,South Africa and to certain extent India also. The recent SA-Aus series in Australia first and then in SA, have been one of the best test matches ever played. So, thanks to 12th March 2006, I will continue to haunt you with my write ups and rants about cricket.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IPL:Indian Political League

Enough of hype and hoolah around IPL. What started out as a innovation in cricket , at the culmination of its first league turned out to be an entertainment gamble which paid off money in millions to the organizers and players. It sparked off war of words between the franchise owners over the selection of players. Then it metamorphosed into a dream to play for, even among prominent international cricketers. England who had opted out joined the bandwagon. The auction which was conducted just months before was another slap on the face of the common man, tycoons like Vijay Mallya paying 7.2 crores to Peterson while firing employees who merely earn in thousands in the name of recession. But the juggernaut rolled on.
Finally it has hit the roadblock in the name of elections. For those who consider it more important than the general elections, well I don't have anything to say. It is nothing but the arrogance of the organizers and the BCCI to be stressing upon having the event amidst such security crunch. In fact, IPL has now become the Indian "Political" league now. With politicians reaping out benefits from each and every leaf that falls from a tree, this is like a boon. They have started throwing stones at each other. Statements like moving out IPL out of India are a National shame is exaggeration. After all this is just a game and that too not something like an Olympics or a commonwealth games. At the same time, the decision to move out is not justified either. Sample this, Chennai Super Kings Vs Mumbai Indians at Centurion Park or Lords. How exciting does this sound? I feel that IPL should wait for the other big game, the politicians game to finish off and then begin somewhere in October when the weather will be ideal for playing in India and be the true Indian Premier league. As for the existing schedule which will be affected by this move, well we can’t have a win-win situation always. Let’s say, this is the price we pay for not foreseeing the elections while planning the IPL 2.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vennila Kabaddikulu: Movie Review

Warning: Spoiler ahead. Details of the plot and twist revealed.

Vennila Kabaddikulu happens to be one of the progressive movies in the Tamil industry by one of the directors who have now started to think beyond the obvious. The plot , or the absence of it , is filled with such twists and turns which the viewer would not have expected at the least. The movie is character driven and moves along only with the help of some situations and the reactions of the various characters. Some scenes are certainly worth speaking about, for instance the way the friendship between the bus driver and hero develops and the scene where the heroine is scared of the dog. The movie gradually shifts its focus to the kabaddi game in the second half and those portions and the nuances of the game are portrayed well. The photography,music,background music ,performances and the comedy are all first rate.

The only sore thing for me in the movie is its climax. I mean, it seems to be forced in. There is no logic for the hero to die while playing a kabaddi match and it ends on a jarring note which is otherwise a smooth narrative. One feels happy when all the problems hero faces vanish , call it luck or due to humility of the hero but in the name of a final twist at the end , the director gives a sour taste in the mouth which otherwise is a delicious watch. I beleive the director got carried away in his intention of giving twists and got inspired by the recent village based filcks which all had a tragic end to it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

delhi 6 : A pleasant journey

Delhi-6 happened to be one of the most eagerly awaited movie for me this year and I managed to catch it during the first weekend of its release. Amidst all the contrasting reviews for the movie(mostly terming it as a boring personal movie) , I found a simple and likable tale in this movie. The movie is very different from the average Hindi film. There are no main and sub characters in the movie. All characters have equal footage and it is the simplicity of these characters that scores for me. The scenes also are very simple and look to be straight out of life. Take for instance, the scene where hero and heroine meet for the first time, there is no slow motion, there is no showing the same scene from 3 different angles and there is no background score specially for the scene, the scene comes just as another scene in the movie. This realism is what I liked in the movie. The movie is about the two sides of human personalities, the good and the evil and the way we switch from one to the other at the slightest chance. The situations on which the good and bad come out seem very simple and childish but a look into ourselves will tell that this is exactly what we have been doing, reacting to very simple situations. It rightly shows the way media feeds on the news created by them and the way rumor mills work overtime always in India . The movie has terrific music, beautiful photography and some very good acting from one and all. Except for the climax which appears cliched and artificial the movie is a treat to watch. Overall, the movie catches and grows on you slowly like a typical ARR song.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Go Goa: At last

Well, this one has been pending since a long time. I mean, both the trip and the write up on the same. Ever since we formed a gang of ours in Bangalore and settled down well, the Goa trip is on the cards and every time we do lot of planning and then eventually drop the whole thing because of one reason or the other. I guess, destiny had chosen Jan 2009 for us to bless Goa and so it be.

We 5 set off for Goa on Jan 16, not before another glitch of one of us dropping out at the last moment and we finding a replacement for him. We three , me , mohan and his bro(the replacement!) set off from Chennai by Vasco express on Jan 16th , the Friday to be joined by Rajeshwaran and Deepak from Bangalore on the same train but in a different compartment 5 bogies away from ours. Well, the journey mostly went without any big events and problems except for the last wing of the journey i.e., after the station called Castle Rock. This is when the train cuts through the western Ghats to descend to the beaches of Goa. This one hour or so of the journey makes the whole slow train journey worthy. We got amazing view all famous Dhoodh Sagar falls and many tunnels. The way the track is built here makes one thank Indian Railways for all the hard work which would have gone in , in bringing this up. Finally after much confusions about whether to get down at Margaon or Vasco, we got down at Margaon. Our hotel booked at Calungate was equidistant from both of these places. And we took the public bus all the way till Calungate which is definitely a good bargain against the fares the taxis charge there. And we checked into our cool and cosy Alfa guest house in Calungate. Once we got hold of our honda activas, we set off to Aguda fort which was closing in another hour.

Aguda fort is a old 17th century fort with some scenic view of the sea from the top and some nice spots for memorable snaps. We followed the herd and did the same.

Our next destination after a lavish lunch was Anjuna beach. For some reason, this place did not live upto its expectations for me. The reason might be that it is a rocky beach and we cannot go down and touch the water and also may be the point that we reached here late in night to find nothing but some drunkards lazing off there. But I believe this would have been definitely a pleasing site during day time. There was also one single way to get to the sea which was clear during the night hours.

Once done with this, we went back to our rooms, put our bikes to rest and decided to have a stroll around, which ended up being an extra long stroll and without our knowledge we reached the beach next to Calungate beach, Bagha beach. Goa beaches look amazing in night. The waves are still very low and calm during night hours and hence the beauty of the beach is not at all diluted in the night. For some reason, there was no light on the beaches except the lights the hotels had. After having a stroll back and dinner we went and retired to our room.

Next day was a big day in our trip. Our only complete day and the first thing in the morning we hit a beach called Vagator beach. Now, this beach is by far the best beach I have ever seen. Very small , hardly 200 metres in length, this has nature in its pure nascent form. Due to ground level being not even, bathing was prohibited in this beach. May be because we hit this very early in the morning, we did not find much crowd here but the abound beauty of nature was enough for us to keep us engaged. It is here that we realized the bliss sometimes being alone can bring.

Next, we went to our own Calungate beach. Now this is a hustling bustling business beach. You have various restaurants at the beach and all sort of water sporting events and for calmer ones, you can have a cool bath in the sea here. The waves were just lovely and calm. Among the various sporting events we tried dolphin watch,water scooter and paragliding. The 3 minutes of paragliding were the moments of this trip.

By the time we were done with all the activities of Calungate beach it was well past lunch time . We went to our rooms freshened ourselves and then headed to Panaji. First we booked for our mandovi river cruise and then headed towards old Goa to visit the famous churches. We managed to visit just St.Francis Xavier's church in the time we had. The beautiful drive to the church was along the Mandovi river . Then, we headed to Miramar beach to catch up sunset there before our river cruise. And for this we had to drive through almost the whole of Panaji. Miramar beach is just another ordinary beach but the sunset we saw here and the pics we took made the trip memorable. The next stop was the Mandovi river cruise. Frankly I expected it to be a cruise where they would show us some memorable places but it was just a party. It was a celebration of the goan spirit and we celebrated it in our own way. Once down with the 1 hour crew, we drove back to Calungate and then that was the end of this long eventful day.

Next day was when we had to start. So we preferred a simple walk to the Calungate beach in wee hours of the morning before finally starting off from Goa and this is how our long planned, late executed mission "Go Goa" culminated. The moments that stood out for me : Moments in vagator beach and paragliding moments. And finally, Goa is only as good as the company you go with. Have a rocking time!

Album link

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Few Good Men: One of the few good films

I am urged to review a movie after a really long time. Some movies linger in your memories for a long time after the movie is over merely by the performances and the strong characterization done in it. One such movie I saw recently is "A few good men". I know it is a very old movie and reviewing it now seems absurd to many but I was trying to grab a copy of it since a long time and somehow i managed to miss all its screenings on HBO till yesterday when I got hold of its DVD. At a running length of 2 hour and 15 minutes it is a bit longer than the normal English movies but it carries the intensity and the sincerity of the story throughout the movie mainly due to the amazing background score. The story is set in US Naval Base in Guatenamo Bay,Cuba and deals with the sensitive and controversial topic of "code red". The movie unfolds itself in layers and as each layer gets unfolded to you, you tend to believe there is more in this story. And tell you what, the expectations come true. For example, when you think its all over and hence forward it is going to be honky dory, comes the latest sting in the tail where the true honour of being in US Marine services is realised. Some scenes have great power held in them. For example, the all famous "You cannot handle the truth scene" and the scene where the accused are finally acquitted but stripped off their Marine post and the reactions thereforth. Also, worth mentioning is the last scene in the movie when after the whole proceedings is over and Tom Cruise is all alone in the court room and he looks at the court room. It is then that you realize that he has got a whole new meaning to the court room at that moment. The only disappointment for me was the character fo Demi Moore which went on a downhill after raising huge expectations of being a brilliant lawyer. Watch it, for the performances of Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise.