Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Guru Kashyap

Have read two fabulous pieces on music and film. First is music review of Guru. Have downloaded the songs from rapidshare (It was up the next day of release along with lyrics and album cover scan!!). I have not been able to have a listen. But Bharadwaj Ranjan review surely has me very eager.

Second article is about making of Satya by the man, Anurag Kashyap. I wonder if all his creative energies will ever find a release - I mean a Friday release. I know he is directing No Smoking, thanks to Vishal Bharadwaj and Kumar Mangat offering to be benevolent producers. But all of Kashyap's work as a director has been jinxed (Paanch, Black Friday, Alwyn Kaalicharan), so it makes me wonder if he operates in a self-destruct mode.

All said, he is something to watch out for, purely for the the manic edge he brings to his offerings.

Both links indirectly through George Thomas

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Less Do It

Holy Cow! Dirty how!

When it bathed in the polluted Ganges.

The sins of others will permeate you now

As the water turns murky, down Himalayan Ranges

Hole in the Ozone, Hole in the World

I love to sing the Buy-Buy Coda

Consumption is making us dizzy and whirl

I want to show the neighbour my new Skoda

A rain-forest a day, wiped clean,

Houses to build, more trash to read

All we want is money, our only green

The more you hunger, when more you feed

Tsunamis and hurricanes, earthquakes and floods

Nature messed with, back with a vengeance

So many flowers nipped in their buds

Can we act sane, just for once?

The last I was in the woods was in my dreams

The sense of awe, so profound.

More I rush, the farther it seems,

The less I want, more spoils abound

Take it slow, is what I learnt

Money shouldn't make us pawn.

What if all we have gets buried or burnt

In a flash, all that we have... gone.

My submission to this year's poetry contest at work. Results will be out next week.

I won last year

Update -Dec 21 - I lost this year

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Where's the party tonight?

On Monday, we had a party at Rajwada, Pune. The party contributors were many and reasons different - awards, offshore return, wedding and so on.

Since everyone thought we needed to have a different party (not repeat the DJ-food routine), we decided to have games and food. I was given the responsibility of putting together the games. Already we were 40+ and it was my first shot at hosting an event.

We started with modified spoons and marbles in which, we need to involve all the members of a team. But, with so many people involved, it was just getting difficult to control. Somehow, we managed to get this game started. But half the people did not understand the rules and ran only half the race. Anyway, it was imperative to move to the next one quickly to keep the crowd under control. However, a few of them went away to get their kicks.

The game was to hit a guy in a helmet with table tennis balls. Team with most hits wins. This game turned out quite well. But meanwhile the drunks were back. The commotion started again and it became difficult to get the hooligans under control.
Still we managed to have a quiz round, burst-the-balloon with your backside, and dumb charades round.

Finally, it was some dance music on a laptop, that was the saving grace. Though there was no DJ, I managed to dance the night away.

Did some juggling with boiled eggs. My first performance on a public platform. Would like to do it properly with lots of practice. Before my limbs give up on me.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Casino Royale - Review

Saw Casino Royale at Inox, Nariman Point. What's the point of charging of 180 Rs. per ticket, if you can't install mobile-phone jammers in the movie-hall. Moreover, outside food items are not allowed in. Not that it's much, but the theater authorities aren't concerned about the patrons getting back their stuff. The exit is a different route and most of us, obviously, forgot about our food-items.

Anyway, the spin machine has ensured that the James Bond gets the most favorable plug in the media. I remember reading one of the reviews which claimed that Tomorrow Never Dies was the best Bond film over. I didn't think so after I saw the movie. Just before a Bond movie release, you have flush of articles, claiming the latest one is the best.

Again, the reviews for Casino Royale have been glowing, but, I am afraid, the movie was a let down. Especially in the later part. Daniel Craig is certainly awesome as Bond. But the story after interval, just didn't make sense. Even the poker game sequence stretched for a tad too long.

Eva Green as Bond heroine was a big disappointment. No sex-appeal whatsoever. Fortunately, two movies I caught on video, Sin City and Pyaar Ke Side Effects, more than raised my spirits.

Friday, November 17, 2006

When will the bubble burst?

No, I am not talking about the Indian economy, which I believe will continue on its growth run for at least 4-5 years. I am talking about the Stock Market and Real Estate.

The Sensex today has reached 13500 and is hovering around that mark. It just seems it has now maxed now and might take a dive anytime soon. But , with loads of new money floating in (Mutual Funds and FIIs), the downward spiral isn't coming and somehow just manages to hold on for a bit. But for how long?

In the midst of this incredible rally, market analysts have all but forgotten the fundamental pricing of stocks and seem to re-evaluate the prices based on the effervescent market conditions. The Sensex index is up about 50.35 per cent from its year lows in June and has been hitting new record highs almost daily in recent weeks. My wife's colleague, Ramdeo Agarwal, managing director at Motilal Oswal, sums it up so aptly.

"Whenever there is over-valuation, it's like that last drink at the party; the lights are going off, yet you like the party so much you don't want to leave,"

There is no doubt there is over-valuation, but in the middle of the meteoric rise, no one takes the risk of raising the alarm for the fear of being branded a party-pooper. After all, everyone benefits in the booming market. People who have bought stocks at ridiculous prices also seem to profit, but the prices keep climbing, where more fools will buy the stocks. It like something like the pyramid scheme.

Mr. Agarwal (my wife's colleague) goes on to say that valuations are still fair, but I don't agree. Something, that inflates so quickly, is bound to be structurally weak.

So, I am not saying that the crash will come soon, but when it comes, the effects will be felt far and wide.

With respect to property prices, I am all the more sure. Lending has become more difficult and there is hardly any logic to the way property rates have risen in a year's time. In Pune, a few flats at Aundh are in the market for 5000 Rs per sq feet. Why would I buy 5k psf property in Pune, when I can get a better one for the same rate in a good Mumbai locality?

Many analysts are still rooting for prices to keep going north, but from what I see - my high DINK colleagues have given up on their dreams of a property purchase - the prices have to correct big time.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

An Idea can screw your life

A number of us are not aware that the promotional messages the mobile companies send us daily, are an invasion of privacy. The expectation from consumer to opt out rather than opting for the service smacks of high-handedness and bullying on the part of the mobile operators. I own the mobile number and pay the rental and other charges, so why should I suffer unsolicited telephone marketing calls or smses. Promotional smses are still not illegal in most of the US (it is in Arizona), but its an intrusion and a disturbance and should be strictly regulated. Most people think that unsolicited text messages should be made illegal

I registered to the Do Not Disturb facility of Idea a few months ago. But the promotional smses (restaurant deals, jewellery promotions, tone downloads) continued to come. I called up Idea Cellular last month to stop the service. They said, it will be discontinued from 7th of this month. Nothing. Apparently, none of the systems work properly.

Finally, I made a complaint to Consumer Redressal, Idea Maharashtra. Having a lawyer in the house helps add weight to your complaint.

I have got an apology from the guys, but I am still thinking, of sending a legal notice.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Humko Maloom Hai



Uncanny resemblance?.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sholay of Hype

RGV has taken hype-generation to ridiculous levels, especially with the remake of Sholay. I don't see any reason, why his spin factory should plug the smallest of news (about New Basanti, Sholay Diary and now news about Abhishek Bachchan straining his vocal chords)? .

It would be very embarrasing if it were to flop miserably. So, many of his movies from the Factory, though very high on innovation and buzz factor, sink without a trace (Darwaza Band Rakho, Naach, Shiva, Darna Zaroori Hai) and there could be another major ignominion on his way.

With the new story go get around the copyright suit (RGV stories get made-remade on the sets, so much so that he might be remaking RGV's Sholay right now), there is as much relevance to the old one, as Once upon a time in the West or Seven Sumarai had to the original Sholay.

So, Ramu, stop the comparisons and get on with telling a fresh story.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Don - Review

Probably, I might be the last person on earth to have caught Don (sacrilege - Don ko padakana mushkil..), but Diwali vacation, coupled with wife's exams, meant I had to stay away from theatre for about a month. Have missed Pyaar ke side-effects, Dor and Jaan-e-mann.

I loved Don. I loved Shahrukh Khan. It was note-worthy to see how quickly he established the menace in Don 's character. I am not a big fan of SRK, but the performance was very consistent and commendable.

Critics have complained that Farhan Akhtar has tried to be over-smart by not sticking to the script. Goes to show how you can't please them all. When you want to criticize something, you can turn even a positive attribute to a negative one. People have even praised the campiness of the old-one. Cmon, the new Don has hardly any chinks in the armor. If Farhan had stuck to the old Don, then there would hardly be any surprises and thrills in store for us.

Farhan finishes off the story as in the first Don, almost half-way through the film and then throws his own twists and turns in the next. The film flagged only for a few moments, but otherwise, it was tight and captivating.

I am still not able to find any loop-holes in the complex plot. People have complained that there was less of Vijay. Well, given the new story-line, Vijay didn't have much scope, did he ;-)?

The sfx weren't tacky unlike other Hindi films (the ski-dive was the highlight).

There is not one scene that stands out, but to be a taut thriller is an achievement in itself. The new Don cheekily adds a twist to the famous line "Don ko pakadanA mushkil hI nahI, nAmumkIn hai"
and makes it even more substantive.

I think, Farhan Akhtar has redeemed himself.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kherlanji - fence sitter

War has broken out over blogosphere over the Kherlanji massacre. The story is really really disturbing (read it here) and I wonder why most of the media has blacked it out for almost a month.

It's a shame on all these political parties who claim to fight for Dailt rights and empowerment, have not even spoken up about the episode.

Anyway, the sparring on the web is about photos about the rape and massacre should have been published or not. Frankly, for me, the story itself was so shocking, that I found it hard to breathe. I read Gaurav's scathing attack on photo-publication, before I actually saw the photos. I agreed with him.

But, now I read Shivam's response and I am not so sure. Would so many of us have known about the sickening act, were it not for the photos? True, there is bit a voyeurism, but it makes you aware what a heinous crime it was.

I would have liked it more if people understood the horror, without someone having to use such devices.