Thursday 25 December 2008

Ghajini Movie Review

24th Dec, Wednesday, Mumbai : Amidst the controversies of release of Ghajini, finally made it to the Review Show and in the nutshell it was a good Christmas Eve treat. The 3 hour movie, though a Tamil and a Hollywood photocopy…..starring our perfectionist was a decent effort fetching 3.5/5 Rating and Aamir’s acting at 4/5 and new comer into Bollywood Asin at 3.5/5 clearly beating Anushka Sharma of Rab ne, giving Deepika Padukone a run for her money….way to go !

The story as most of us know is of one Sanjay Singhania a young MD of a telecom giant who falls in love with a simple girl Kalpana who is bubbly, generous and caring and that melts the heart of this Harvard return who does’nt disclose his real identity to her. The flashback shows their past and also the brutal murder of Kalpana and how Sanjay was injured and becomes a victim of Short Term Memory Loss and looses his memory after every 15 mins. Its exciting to see how he keeps his memory / important aspects rejuvenated with Polaroid images and Tattoos on his body (not disclosing in details) and finally how he takes his revenge.

The Assets of the movie : (in ascending order)
(1) Aamir Khan and beside his amazing acting skills, his new body and hairstyle is cool. Shows his sweat behind !
(2) Asin Thottumkal (Mallu Beauty from Kerela) has done a fabulous job & has an edge, by being in the Tamil version too.....she does not a typical south star (from accent or the extra inches). A Fresh face and much better than wasting (pls underline) your money on Rani Mukherjee and Preity Zintas of the world (Still Katrinas, Bipashas are a worth)
(3) The Thrilling sequencing of the story….
(4) The Superb Cinematography, Shots and angles… Ravi K. Chandran deserves an award.
(5) The Great Direction by A.R.Murugadoss.
(6) Jiah Khan was also decent – it was a sizable role as compared to rumours of her doing some 4-5 minute role or a dance number.
(7) A fight around the climax is an edge of the seat experience.

The Negatives :
(1)
The movie is of 3 hrs and could be reduced to 2.5 hrs.
(2) The name itself is something which doesn’t call for the tittle stature – Ghajini is the name of the villain (Ghajini Dharmatma played by Pradeep Rawat – not the best choice ). Seems Murugadoss who has directed the original Tamil Ghajani or the banner would have kept a condition to use the same name....If it would not have been Aamir, this name would not have pulled the audience.
(3) Poor lyrics – Prasoon Joshi – everyday is not a Sunday ! (full marks on cinematography though and Rahmans music was average)– One Song is “Lattu”….and another “Aye Bachchu” its purely not required except “Guzarish” and “Behka” which is written and shot well.

The original film was adapted from critically acclaimed Hollywood psychological thriller Memento, directed by Christopher Nolan, but much different in many senses, is a must watch as the last and possibly one of the best movie of 2008 ! Reproves the steel of Aamir and his versatility – if Akki can become Comedy King, his throne of Action King could be taken way by this Khan ! Do watch it – you don’t have an option as the other offering is the animated movie Jumbo, which again will help Ghajini garner more cash at the box office for being there in the right time at the right place from a marketing perspective !

Saturday 13 December 2008

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi - Review

Just came back from the night show of RNBDJ (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi) or Rab ne and thought of sharing my view. In the nutshell –one thing is sure – Some may rate it 1/5 or some may rate it 4/5 (you can buy ratings), but people would still get pulled because of SRK !


Central Character of the Movie – Middle class salaried employee (9 to 5) in a Cat B town. This will hit the masses.
Plot of the movie – Small town – Amritsar, small lanes. A Cinema hall shown frequently in the movie is “Chandan” at Juhu and guess what I was there as I wanted to see the mass appeal of SRK in a non-multiplex atmosphere…. and was as usual stumping with whistles being blown at various instances !
Broad Storyline – Its a no new idea but presented so so and enacted excellently by SRK.

Its about an Amritsar based simple man who gets married to a bubbly small town girl due to pressure from a dying father of the girl who was the professor of this studious man ; his favorite student Surinder Sahani – alias Suri ) as the “baraat’ met an accident.

The girl is initially sad due to the circumstances and doesn’t accept Suri has her husband in the true sense…She loves Bollywood movies and Suri tries to make her happy by becoming a hero of the bollywood standard in real life by getting into a mod getup and style...but ends up checking out his wife’s love for him – the modern Raj or the simple man Suri….. one has to watch to see who wins !

Some Pros of the Movie –
(1) SRKs ever charming acting – the character also plays a real life actor a double role ( remember the Amol Palekar act in Golmal –old – with and without moustache) A great body language and acting as a simple humble man Suri working with Punjab Power, even in his dances to a stylo Raj and back to Suri… worth a watch.
(2) A new face – Anushka Sharma – seems a Shiamak’s choice as she dances quite well and though may give Shilpa Shetty, Lara Dutta a run for their money in terms of height. It’s a simple logic – when you take biggies like SRK as a producer, most of your monies go on his cost that you need to have such new comers debut – remember Gayatri Joshi (Swades), Deepika Padukone (OSO) etc.
(3) Vinay Pathak does a decent act and (4) One Surprise song...

Some Cons of the Movie –
(1)
Post interval it gets slow in between, but picks up soon. One might guess why is this happening.
(2) If you have seen “Main, Meri patni aur Woh” starring Rajpal Yadav and Rituparna Sengupta in 2005, you may feel this is a copy – it’s a same set up and characters and story line. I found that story better than Rabne…. But SRK changes the overall game altogether. So no points to Aditya Chopra for No extraordinary work.

Some may find Rab ne…..okay, but even if critics give this a thumbs down or mid, still people will go to see the movie for SRK. People knew that Dostana was all bull – but still went ahead to see John Abraham, Priyanka Sharma and the young feel in the movie. For Rab ne, atleast in Mumbai the movie will garner the cash at Box Office as the last 2 weeks were empty for any movie post the 26 Nov Terror Attack and the strategy for the movie is right – “3 din – cash in” with having shows running every hour at major places. (Heard Aamir Khan to counter the movie has put up huge life sizes at all multiplexes and have made all the staff change their hairstyles to his Ghajini look)

I would rate the movie at 2.5/5 and SRK 3.5/5 for his acting. Worth a watch.

Sunday 7 December 2008

10 Questions Mumbaikars are asking !

Its 14 days now that a few kids took Mumbai with a big police, army and NSG force on hostage– official sources say 10, but some media sources said 15, and former CIA counter=terrorism and militant networks expert Farhana Ali in Washington said 23 terrorists have come in India as per her information from Pakistan ( Source : Timesgroup paper). As per the same source – Taj CCTV Footage at 1:30 AM showed 4 terrorists and we have only 3 dead ? Where is the remaining one ?

Well, imagine a situation like this…………….4 terrorists with British or other country Passport enter TAJ on 20th November – 3 days before the attack….. and are living in there, exploring the whole area and creating a blue print for the assault after 3 days….3 more join in from the Sea and kill many, they die but the 4 who planned and also killed, leave back their weapons, change into some other hostages outfits and smartly walk out as a relieved hostage. The police would track this but to an extent….not going into details of each hostages last 20 years of life history… and may be the orders from the top could be for ignore this leg altogether.

There are some questions in the Minds of the citizens of Mumbai :

(1) Where are the other terrorists ? Are they preparing for the next assault ?
(2) Still the security of the state not in place, remember the recent report of a man carrying a revolver at the CST station freely passing through a metal detector ? shameful is’nt it ?
(3) Its very obvious that its not easy to enter a new country and attack without knowing things around or without having any Local support. Who is the local support, does it take 14 days to find that out ?
(4) Who in the Taj was involved – How can such weapons pass through the security and how can they have grenades piled up on all floors without internal help ? How did room Service ignore the presence of weapons in the room. Why is no reference to the booking names yet out in public ? Why don’t we have the CCTV of Taj– hour by hour – a week before the attack ? Am sure much could be dug from it. And if we have, hope the facts are not suppressed, which can easily happen, because if it comes out then imagine who will have to resign.
(5) Where did the SIM Cards come from – we saw some links to Calcutta, but more is yet to be revealed. Hope its comes out and is not suppressed.
(6) Where did the Credit Cards came from ? Its easy to track down the same ….every card sold has an application form stored with the name of the agent and code etc. Every agent / executive outsourced has to go through a reference check and physical verification and even if he has left the job now, one could easily trace him and further the roots. Hope police is doing so, or may be not as they don’t have orders ! And some press said that those cards were of the hostages... why would a terrorist collect cards from hostages ? to pay the Taj for food ???
(7) The most important as also stated by the DGP, Mr. S.S.Virk, -“Get Kasab to confess on TV”…. Before he changes his mind or memorizes a script given. Why aren’t we putting Kasab in front of the International Media, rather than running the tom and jerry race with Pakistan ! Are we afraid that he would name a few local ministers ? or spill some messy beans ?
(8) Look at the audacity of the Pakistanis recently in a news channel claiming that the Indian Army orchestrated this event ( well, personally I feel its bullshit) but the way the general spoke was worth some entertainment claiming that “Inki Shakalein Hindu wali hain” – (they (terrorists) looked Hindu from faces only.) They wore saffron bands, kadas etc… Am attaching a link for reference - http://www.hotklix.com/?ref=content/152704 . There was no reaction from the Indian side on this, surprisingly. If this link is void by the time you see it, take it that something was fishy – else have fun !
(9) The latest being Narayan Rane claiming evidences of involvement of politicians behind these attacks ( Why is that not yet revealed ? or will this too be suppressed ? )– As per former IPS and Lawyer YPSingh, withholding of information is a crime under section 39 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Lawyer Majeed Memon also confirms the same as an offence). Hope the facts are out before they are suppressed.
(10) The last question will be about politicians – as this is the last thing a Mumbaikar would want to discuss now. A slap on the face of politicians was the recent gathering at the Gateway on 3rd December – a first in its kind Non-Cooperative, no Leader led movement post 1947, showing that Indians – Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs can come out TOGETHER on the streets. If tomorrow there is a scam, Indians can jam the roads in front of Mantralaya. The message was clear, though outcome not concrete besides Preity Zinta encashing on the pires of dead and some Media channels being there at the right time and right place for their business ! But the regional divide which any politician could not go without, is now disappearing and people are uniting over a larger cause then caste and creed. Well, Mumbaikars are angry and will remain, though have seen the anger melting down. The message is clear that “changing of politicians” is not enough… Chhagan Bhujbal is more tainted and worst than Mr. Patil, who lost out purely because of his communications skills. What will the Candle-lighters be able to do now is a question…will the movement go on ? And that reminds, one has to file an RTI asking for the reason behind giving Deshmukh and Patil Z Cover, if they still have !

Hope these questions get answered soon and Mumbaikars and Indians do not calm their anger.

Monday 1 December 2008

Lighting Candles at the Gateway of India is not enough !

Mumbai Terror Strikes ; December 1, 2008, Monday : I got an sms on Sunday to come to the Gateway of India and light a candle.... there were some more SMS's and emails inviting citizen to Gateway on 3rd December, 2008.

Well, it’s the normal Indian Tendency–call it the “why do I bother attitude” within the hearts or Mahatma’s principles of “forgiving and forgetting” on the outside that handful of terrorists can have courage of molesting India time and again. They too know that behind the mask of “Spirit of Mumbai” or “bouncing back” lies a “docile, hapless selfish person”–The “poor selfish person” also knows he can’t do much–as he knows the judiciary system, the politicians and willingly chooses to stay out. Hence people tend to forget these assaults and hence we get more assaulted.
For a change now, since media has become quite active there is some impact of our anger and hope this anger remains. Last 24 hours has seen 2 Big Resignations and 1 on line–(1) The Union Home Minister–Mr.Shivraj Patil (no loss to the mankind), (2)Mr. R.R.Patil–Deputy CM (called this a small incident and the public gave it back)(3) Mr.Vilasrao Deshmukh (Someone more concerned of helping his son in Bollywood, having audacity of taking RGV to Taj). But is this an end or just a beginning–we all have to decide !

We will need to learn from our mistakes -to begin with our Security System. It is evident that our Intelligence has failed and we need to follow other countries in stepping up our security be it the US,UK or even Israel. Secondly,Pakistan’s Involvement is very clear. Dr. Manmohan Singh could be the next, not just for reading out the most impassionate speech in this time of crisis, but for the soft approach on the Security Issue or on Pakistan.The Citizen of India will give it back if not so fast, then in the elections soon.

The Politicians should be clear that gone are the days to buy votes against Biryani, Saaris and play the Divide & Rule Games-atleast in certain strata of society, though things will not change overnight.Thanks to the citizens like Shobha De, Suhel Seth, Rahul Bose, Arjun Rampal, Farooq Shaikh, Prahlad Kakkar for speaking out. The Corporate Citizen did not come out in that large number except Kishore Biyani, Ajay Bagga etc (may be dependencies). Net-net there are clearly 3 type of people who TOGETHER can make a change;of course supported by Media:(1)The Opinion Maker Citizen-The Educated,networked. (2)The Industrialists/Corporate Citizens-CEO's, Business Leaders, Fund sponsors (3)The Common Man- Aam admi- the lower & middle class minus religion, caste.

It could be a mass decision, a forum, or a movement or supporting even one life lost. Just by lighting candles at the Gateway of India will not achieve anything. The Basics need to be in place. The mindset of people will have to change. We will need to question,be assertive and aggressive with non-performers who need to deliver out of our taxes.

Today we are angry and that anger needs to remain else 26/11 will repeat itself…..it would be a normal scenario where people will get aggressive for a while and again come back to normal,forgetting and forgiving–Thanks to Mahatma and the “Spirit of Mumbai”.Hope people try The Bhagvad Gita and “Krishna & Arjun Strategy’ for a change too !

Sunday 30 November 2008

Mumbai Terror Strike : Ranking of Politcians.

November 29, 2008, Saturday, Mumbai

Mr. R.R. Patil showcased once again the insensitive side of an Indian Politician – The Citizens of India feel that today there is nothing wrong in generalizing any politician as Insensitive or selfish. Selfish to make bucks, selfish to get mileage out of any grave incident. Though there are many exceptions to this type, but the same is too less to change the generic perception. Mr. Patil – You are right to handle Dance Bars and Drunk Drivers only, so better you stay limited to it.

Mr. Patil on Saturday said "small incidents like this do happen in big cities" while referring to the Mumbai terror attack. When asked at a press conference whether the terror strike was an intelligence failure, Patil said in Hindi: "Aisa nahi hai. Itne bade shahar mein chhota hadsa ho jata hai. To total failure nahi hai. (It is not like that. In big cities like this, small incidents do happen. It's is not a total failure.)"

One such statement left behind other Politicians behind in the Rank, even Raj Thakrey. If we look at the Mumbai Terror Strikes in the last 3 days – here goes the Rankings of Politicians in the parameters of (1) Selfishness(2) Insensitivity and (3) Ruthlessness.

So here the Ranking of the Politcians during 26/11 goes as below : The TOP 5 Politicians !


(1) Mr. R.R. Patil – Cares a shit about these attacks which are called India’s 9/11. As Mr. Prahlad Kakkar stated in the recently held chat session, the whole defence operation till the NSG / Army came in was direction less and without enough planning and capacity, which caused the loss of lives of our policemen including Hemant Karkare, Salaskar and Kamte. And above all he dares to call this a “Small Incident”. Hope you travel with your Z security, else someone may pelt a stone (no one will waste and egg) on you.

(2) Mr. Shivraj Patil –or we call him Mr. Failure or Mr. Whocares – as these phrases means Shivraj Patil and Shivraj Patil means the same. Well, why the intelligence has failed is a no brainer and what has happened under his leadership is very well known. Not just once, but repeated ! This head will have to roll, else the Congress will face a lot of dent.

(3) Dr. Manmohan Singh – The most impassionate speech I have ever heard in my life. The street side wannabe politicians are much energetic ! And it was very clear that Dr. Singh was reading out a script written by a strategist and vetted by Ms. Gandhi. The speech has left behind a very poor perception worldwide on the passion, anger, aggression a leader should have at this time, if not emotional. Look at Bush, Gordon or even Osama ! Another instance to prove that not necessarily an economist can lead the country in times of such criris (even in economical crisis, the feeling is same). Well, Indians have ahabit of giving all a second or third chance, we give it to the terrorists too..as you saw…. So, people of India will see (1) how you handle the situation now (2) How aggressively you take up Pak (summoning and ISI chief is not enough) (3) How do you create Security System to protect further 26/11 – All this will decide your and your Party’s fate in the time to come…

(4) Mr. CM – Deshmukh – As Suhel Seth said, he would be more visible in his Son’s Movie Premier. If we all remember, the News Channels were off the air as per the DGPs instructions on Friday and were forced back on air, as the CM wanted to deliver a speech…what non – sense ! As it was debated in the chat show, if ML crashes the CEO has to take responsibility and resign as a gesture, some socialists are hell bent on the same being implemented in case of a state too.

(5) Raj Thackrey – No need to say more, but am sure all of us have received those innumerable forwards asking for Raj Thackrey’s and his peoples number so that they can be intimated that NSG and Army who are non – Maharastrians were fighting for the Mumbai and he and his team was missing. The Citizens have now made it quite clear that they would no more tolerate the non-sense of divide and rule and politics of religion and caste.


In fact, though not in Top 5, there were various politicians who started dropping by to – “take a feel, or jaayaza”…..diverting the security focus for them which was not at all required. What feel did you get and what are you going to do about it ? All the citizens have a question in mind. Is it something concrete or announcing a free bee of a few crores that to be thrown back on the face.

Thanks to these incidents and media, that the citizen of India is becoming more literate to know who matters and who does not and what to expect out of a politician, set their goals, do appraisals ( through opinion leaders in the media chat shows) and rate them (in the elections). Gone are the days to buy votes against Biryani, T Shirts, Saaris and Liquor. (Stoves, TVs, and more down south )

Thanks to the citizens like Shobha De, Suhel Seth, Rahul Bose, Arjun Rampal, Farooq Shaikh, Prahlad Kakkar, taking the lead. People may feel that they had nothing to loose and hence they came out in open and the most needed the Corporate Citizens / Industrialists are still behind – as they will need the politicians to function their machinery. Some like Kishore Biyani etc came but were quite diplomatic – as good as not coming out….There are clearly 3 types of people - all have their own areas to act upon,but it needs to be a coordinated effort who, only TOGETHER can make a change :


(1) The Opinion Maker Citizen ( The Educated, well to do, networked, not neccesarily rich )
(2) The Industrialists / Corporate Citizens ( The CEO's, Business Leaders, the Fund Holders )
(3)The Common Man (Aam admi - the lower class, middle class minus religion, caste etc.)
We would ideally be a mix of 1 and 3.


Till the time all 3 types of people would come out TOGETHER, things will not change and 26/11 will repeat itself… . And the Media who is playing a role of the Change agent will have to stand by ! Else, the same situation would continue as it is today and the masses will get used to the same…..it would be a normal scenario where people will get aggressive for a while and again come back to normal, forgetting and forgiving everything – with the so called “Spirit of Mumbai” – Thanks to Mahatma Gandhi …… Hope people try and follow – The Bhagvad Gita and “Krishna & Arjun’ for a change too !

Thursday 27 November 2008

Mumbai Terror - 24 hours plus !

Its now 24 hours, I am compelled back to visit my blog to share some unsettling thoughts - Its now 24 hours to the bizarre terror strike, let me rephrase this as PROXY WAR at MUMBAI as Mr. Manmohan Singh was reading out of speech written by his secretary, vetted by Ms. Sonia Gandhi, the ONLY feeling which is coming to anyone I am speaking to – be it any SVP, businessman, college youth or a watchman is that Administration has failed (nothing new) miserably – giving the citizens of India an only feeling that if India goes on for a War, surely we will loose as we have failed to control this strike for 24 hours with so much of Police, Army and Navy Support. The List of failure tops with many politicians – I would not name anyone particular, actually there is no point !

Here’s some analysis / thoughts :

What went wrong :


(1) Low Equipped or No Equipped : The ATS and Police went ahead to fight the terrorists without any proper gears. They are responsible for the death of the 3 stalwart officers and the state government and central government should be ashamed to proportioning so much of the tax payers money to Security, and they have balls to give away loan benefits to the farmers who are the voting bank….

(2) Intelligence or Fools : The high failure of intelligence and private security of the Taj, Trident Oberoi where so many terrorists could have used the back doors, kitchen areas of the Hotels – how did they knew about the map, the Mumbai police does not have a map yet ! As Mr. Advani said this is a well planned and coordinated attack based on an effort of 2 months – were the Intelligence and Police day dreaming all this while and focusing on making brownies in front of seniors for Drunk and Drive Case, closing of Dance Bars, looting poor two wheeler, taxi and car users for any possible reason to pocket their booty or over achieve their targets.

(3) Limited or No Capacity : All our force not even apt for a handful of terrorists ? How will we ever fight a war ? The only hope was the Army, navy, the commandos, but 24 hours of efforts, with more policemen killed than the terrorists is yet another shame, proving that Mumbai is as unsafe as Noida, Ghaziabad or Azamgarh.

(4) Slap on the face of the Administration :
The well planned assault by the terrorist , more effortful than 9/11 - especially hijacking the Police Vehicles have made the statements, hope we learn something from this costly mistake !

What is worth appreciating :

(1) The Media for keeping the administration on toes by building the necessary pressure. Not just the great journalists, cameraman, speakers and all behind the scenes.

(2) The Efforts from the Police and Army though not much result as they are not to be blamed for the unequipped strategies - where is our tax money going, Mr. Home Minister ?

(3) The efforts of the Hotel Staff (those who are not hand in gloves with the terrorists) for managing and bearing the pressure…

(4) The spirit of the citizens affected and all their relatives. 2 MBA passouts of 2007 batch from a premier institute passed away and got to hear the entire story through a close friend.

Some Questions which remain unanswered as of now :

(1) Where are the Power bearers ? Where is the PM, HM ?? Why have they not yet reacted on this as compared to the parliament attacks ? Is there something more important than this ? Deshmukh gave an interview and as Suhel Seth said in Arnab’s show in Times Now, Mr. Deshmukh would have been more visible in his Son’s Movie premier ! The only leader I saw initiating a speech was Mr. Modi !, though Mr. Advani and Mr. Jaswant Singh ( was looking as if he was forced to come along and his wife was weeping ) made an appearance.

(2) Did not see the same “Spirit of Mumbai” this time as even was shared by Suhel Seth, Farooq Shaikh etc on Arnabs Show ( I don’t know Arnab, matured people like you have to get some female in your show for glamour factor – Shefali Shah (Chaya) this time ? In what capacity ?? ) Offices were empty today as people and their families are worried and if the netas and leaders can stay back home, the citizens can also have their rights. But am sure the city will soon rise back, though taking a little while this time. As the physics law, bounce will come – every action(read by leaders, administration) has a reaction, but if there is no action, who would react ? But, the citizens would react – in a few days by being back to work with the same spirit and in the long run - hope in the forth coming elections too.

(3) Why do we sleep on these issue as always ?
Why don’t we have balls to take drastic action against Pakistan or is it that there are many pass backs ! One should settle the scores for once and all.

(4) Time to prove the difference between a Boy and a Man : And Mr. Manmohan Singh, its time to come out of the shadow of your god-mother and prove that you have turned from a boy to a man! There is so much you can do from just sacking Mr. Shivraj Patil, whom God could also not save this time.

Well, all said and done, one would feel – gyaan dena to asaan hai, kuch karna mushkil- and that is a fact, but even trying the former is an effort or a thought and the latter would follow, has to…. if not during these 24 hrs (bumping into this would have added to more confusion) then later - Many injured would need blood and otherwise - every and any smallest initiative or control to ensure security at home, workplace, nearby areas would be worth a contribution. And only thing which I can do is pray right now for the end of this crisis at the earliest (it has to, but hope these 24 hours don’t go to 36, 48...) If this goes long, the administration will showcase, they will have to have some reason for it - that they saved so many “x” lives and that’s why took so long, no one will speak of the lives lost...and no on will speak of the loss of revenue the country had in the last 24 hours ?




Mumbai Terror Strikes : Yet another Intelligence Failure

26th November, 2008, 9:40 PM Mumbai hits the global headlines for being attacked by the terrorists openly firing at the Public. All news channels carrying bizarre scenarios of the firings and blasts (40, expected to reach 200, which officially might be quoted the half) in number till 12:44 AM) were heart sinking – Some channels showed beheaded bodies and brutally injured citizens. An innovative strategy of the terrorists moving from Masses to Classes (Retail to HNI) showcasing immense courage by attacking a new area – the Urban Mumbai by targeting South Mumbai (Oberoi, Taj, Cama Hospital and CST Station ) and also Centaur (Sahara Star) at Vile Parle- Santacruz and JW Marriot - This clear strategy of crippling Mumbai’s Financial Capital Image and targeting the High Society Area, Diplomats, Tourists (Security Failure at the Two Big Names of the Indian Hotel Industry – Taj and Oberoi) will definitely leave back a Big Dent.

This was yet another blow on the face of the Vilasrao Deshmukh’s semi crippled government (Narayan Rane has got his 5th Chance to run to Sonia Gandhi and complain against his colleague), especially when one heard Mr. Shakil Ahmed, the Minister of State for Home Affairs behaving irresponsibly with the Media and disconnecting the call and running away from the situation as always. Mr. Shakil- Have some shame atleast, the injured could be some of your relatives too…..Its 12:44 as I am writing this blog and neither Mr. Deshmukh nor Mr Patil have issued any statement or appeared for any audio / visual interview reinstating the fact that they are not interested and their strategists are off for the day and once they rejoin tomorrow, they will be able to issue any statement.

Only one question which comes up to the mind of the citizens of India and Mumbai especially is the repeated failure of Mumbai Police (read Intelligence and not On Ground) and the State Government and all other the Intelligence Agencies to track and control any terrorist movements. All what the Mumbai Police is interested in is catching people drunk and without proper traffic rules and that is only what the Police is capable of doing and ofcourse creating unnecessary hype around Pragya Thakur and low important (compared to Mumbai) Malegaon case.

The Best part was the Terrorists running away from the Metro Cinema site hijacking / stealing a Police Jeep – This is the most shameful part of the incident. I don not understand with what standing do people accuse Bihar and UP Politicians, who are much better than the ones here.

The main is yet to arrive as the Media confirms some 40-45 Hostages in the Oberoi and much more to come for sure. But, the whole incident would prove 3 THINGS ofcourse at the cost of deaths of so many (20 till now at 12:44AM) and injured and estranged citizens :

(1) The Success of the New Strategy and Innovation by the Terror Groups giving them their job satisfaction and motivation of raising the bar with more in future (They are successful, since our Intelligence is failure)

(2) Failure of the Mumbai Police (Intelligence, not ground) and the State Governement and to an extent the Central Government too – Mumbai Police not the ones of the Ground who are doing the best possible job but the ones sitting in the AC headquarters calling themselves Intelligence and actually the Fools ( It was intimated by Hyderabad Police some days back that there are 50 Militants / terrorists entering Mumbai with a Plan)

(3) The Spirit of Mumbaikars – which will forget the incident in a few hours, slapping on the face of the terrorists and getting back to the normal life, showcasing the “Never say Die Spirit” – That’s the only thing Mumbai is still Mumbai else the first two factors would have made this place an Azamgarh in no time.

The only worst things which can happen now is (1) Mumbai Police killing some innocents claiming that they were the Terrorists. (2) Mumbai Terror Relief Fund coming up (3) Some celebrity trying to encash this situation and supporting the cause for the image management purpose (4) And the Best (for them - Terrorists) is Afzal Guru being conferred a Padma Shree which would have surely happened if the Parliament would have been in Mumbai.

Hope the Army comes in time and controls the situation and the Ground Mumbai Police showcase the best possible with the limited resources available (service revolvers for eg. against the AK 47s) - Its a chance for them to prove and change their image. And well, Mumbai is matured enough not to ask for the CM or HM or Mr. Shivraj Patil to resign, Mumbai will answer back with its Spirit – It’s a matter of time !

Saturday 15 November 2008

Dostana Moview Review

In one line if someone wants to summarize the experience after the 1st Day Last show of Dostana would be “Whims and Fancies of a Gay Man (Karan Johar) put together into a 2.5 hours of bull shit with a super wastage of super stars and strategy to fool around the innocent audience in the opening profits of first few days till all are aware of the trap”

Singh is King followed a similar strategy – 21 shows in 1 day in Fame Adlabs – one show every 20 minutes and what an opening – but the movie had something to offer – Akshay, Katrina and some comedy stuff and a few good songs too. But “DOSTANA” has literally nothing much to offer – I did not get till the end that, why was it named “Dostana” in the first place itself.

A super waste of Talent like Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra & John Abraham (I don’t know under what obligation were they required to sign this film) and the only guy who badly needed this film at the moment was Bobby Deol as he is not getting much work. And also what a waste of senior talent like Boman Irani & Kiron Kher.

On the story side – well there was not much – only Abhi & John act as gay to get an apartment and that’s it – Its not even a story surrounding a cause or area but its purely fantasies of our Gay man Karan Johar to play Homo Homo game. If some one critically needs to evaluate the cost benefit of each penny – it could be a few songs, the backdrop of Miami (that was not extra ordinary), for the ladies – John’s physique and for boys – Priyanka’s body, that’s all. If one needs to rate – Andhe mein kaana kaun for acting– it could be Abhi.

But net – net waste of time and money. Please do not waste precious time and money at the multiplexes or even when the movie comes on cable / tv. Rating – 1/5 Star and if Taran Adarsh or Mr. Masand rate this above 2 or 3 (Industry izzat), understand there is some affinity to KJ. I saw Sanjay Dutt’s EMI last week and thought it was not worth a line in my blog, but looking at Dostana, feel it could have well fitted in. God save all !

Tuesday 11 November 2008

Recount - The US Elections in 2000.

On the eve of the US Presidential Elections, seeing Obama winning over Mc Cain was indeed a joy from a perspective of a Marketing guy comparing the same with new product like “Dove” in the hair care segment stealing away the mind share and the market share of the more experienced and stalwarts like - “Head & Shoulders, Pantene ” in the opposition camp and “Sunsilk” in the own camp. Would share my thoughts on the same a little later – I feel it was simple Marketing strategies focusing on Segmentation, branding and other marketing mixes.

Amidst the Obama victory and his speech flowing all over, I was recommended by one of my Professors to watch –Recount (HBO Movies) to experience the same over 90 Minutes at the edge of one’s seat. This is a story on 2000 US Elections where all eyes were on Florida which would decide the fate of Al Gore and George W. Bush.

The Story is amidst the tension in the Democrats and Republicans lobbies with a focus on the lead character – Ron Klain (Kevin Spacet) who is a Former Chief of Staff to Al Gore, the then Vice President trying his best to prove that Gore can still win.

Al Gore’s character was shown of a docile guy least bothered about the business and while already given up and on his way to announce concession to Bush, was forced to retract the same as there was some issue sighted at the Florida – Palm Beach County where there were issues of “dimple chads” – improper hole punchings on the voting cards. All TV Channels had declared Bush the winner, but on insistence of Ron, despite of his Boss, a senior advisor falling cold, keeps on insisting in Manual Recount as he and his team believes that Al Gore has won. The recount begins and stops, begins and stops, begins and stops at various instances with some judge approving it and some court staying it, building on further thrill.

Ron is not sure whether he likes Gore or not (Gore had not given him his dues) but still fights till the end, builds up an amazing team – each one in the team are equally passionate and devoted to prove that recount can change things and each tries his best possible strategies – The fight becoming though Bush vs Gore, but actually it was Ron & team and not Gore. Ron and team fights for their passion and conviction and not any party or boss per se - finally the spineless Gore gives in to Bush, and Ron has to Stop. That’s the end.

A brilliant act put in by Jack Baker, Former US Secretary of the State, Bush’s The Man, who has also shifted fences earlier in life and is a strong guy and also Michael Whouley, Chiel Field Officer of Gore’s lobby and Katherine Harris, the Palm Beach County Secretary. A Brilliant direction by Jay Roach. Worth a watch !

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Golmaal Returns Vs. Fashion : Not a difficult choice.

Last weekend was a relief post the pre-Diwali once as far as the movies are concerned with someone even thinking of going to a multiplex to try his / her luck at the latest flicks – Be it “The Golmaal Returns” or “Fashion”, which I would say is worth trying.

I made it to both over the weekends and was neither highly excited nor disappointed, as both were Ok types at least not something, which you would feel, is a waste of your money. The masses would feel “Golmaal Returns” is a better movie than “Fashion”, but I would rate Fashion 3/5 and Golmaal 2/5, for the following reasons :

“Golmaal Returns” is yet another slapstick comedies like Golmaal, Dhamaal, Dhol but not as pervert as Style or similar B grade ones; though there are a few double meaning ones too. The Movie has all the old characters except Sharman Joshi who is replaced by Shreyas Tapalade (I don’t know why!!; Riteish Deshmukh would have been a better choice). But nevertheless, Ajay Devgan ( He should understand that he is a fantastic serious actor, possibly someone who can take Big Bs place in terms of acting skill) and not a comedy actor unlike his peers Akshay Kumar who can do comedy well. Arshad Warsi was cool and Tusshar Kapoor was absolutely amazing in his dumb act (The best actor in the movie; if he would not have been around then the rating would have fallen drastically). Chances of nomination as a Best Actor in a Comedy Role…way to go Tusshar.

A disappointment was Kareena Kapoor trying hard to act at something, which she is not too good at (Scripted acting). She is good at spontaneous acting and some typical roles and of course not a role of a bahu fascinated by Saas-Bahu Saga atleast who is called “Ekta”. Amrita Arora (I don’t understand why people take her in a movie, or is it the other way around – she pays for acting ?) and The hot-babe Anjana Sukhani were wasted.

But director Rohit Shetty has done a good job with not so good script, but a decent screenplay, dialogues and act put together, not to forget spoofing and making good of movies like Sawariya, Tashan, Om Shanti Om etc. The audience would have a good laugh on many scenes and dialogues, which may make them, fee that they have some Paisa Wasool.

The Best thing about the Movie was the Cast in-toto and not standalone and the screenplay and dialogues. Someone also from somewhere pushed one Song – a ditto copy from Sivaji the Boss of Rajnikanth. But it was a funny movie like one of those or better than Priyadarshan’s flick, which will not let you miss Paresh Rawal and Rajpal Yadav.

Not a Regret to spend money on if watched in a Theatre and not a multiplex.

“Fashion” – Yet another real life by Madhur Bhandarkar after Chandni Bar, Page 3, Corporate, very well grasping the real life world of fashion.

An excellent script and story with excellent use of glamour, a couple of songs and cool babes like Kangana, Priyanka and Mughda. Kanagana – Compliment her on the best attitude someone could have carried for a role (8/10) and amazing acting too.

Mughda, first I thought has not yet entered the movie till I was told, she was Mughda (Janet- for someone who might face a situation like mine) as she looked quite different than on the Promos, which you see her burning the specific poolside ramp with her sizzling presence– decent job as a new comer.

And Sameer Soni has also done a decent job and Arbaz Khan and Kitu Gidwani was fantastic too. Raj Babbar and Kiran Razdan were wasted (If Raj compares himself with his peers like Om Puri, Rajesh Khanna, etc and despite being an MP and having a great personality) but anyways, audience need not worry on this.

The show stealer (Show Stopper in the terms of Fashion) was clearly Priyanka Chopra, the lead actress who was absolutely superb, proving yet again her fantastic acting skills (better than Kareena and Katrinas of the world) and the Body too (remember she was the Sexiest Asian Babe of 2006). This role was offered to Kareena Kapoor first and am sure now that she would have screwed it up royally than anyone – thank God she did not take it.

The only negative thing was that the movie was a bit long (3 hrs+) wherein the audience may feel bored at times (We thought the movie has no interval) but for a creative guy like Madhur, job satisfaction is more important. And yeah, guess Madhur is too much fascinated with Gays and Homosexuals or the real fashion world is like this with atleast 7/10 men who are Gays.

A good movie to see and see some of the real life character (Madhur’s speciality)like Prahlad Kakkar, Ranvir Shorey, Konkana Sen, Narendra Kumar Ahmed, Achala Sachdev, Leena Mogre and models like Jesse Randhawa, Candice Pinto, Noyonika Chatterjee and Aanchal Kumar and Designers like Shane Peacock, Wendell Rodricks etc.

This too worth a watch from the lens of a critic and a fun time cine-goer.

Saturday 27 September 2008

Raj Thackeray : Strategy of its Kind

If you ask any kid or youth in Mumbai thesedays : what is the name of the Vice President of India, one would not be able to answer (even Senior Managers in Corporates), but if you ask him to name a "Top of the Mind" Politician - The answer which immediately comes is "Raj Thackeray".

To an extent that Police, Government and Judiciary has failed miserably to act or react : (refer The Economic Times, 26th Sep, 08) - "Taking serious note of “hooliganism” of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) over the issue of Marathi signboards, the Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the state government why it can’t touch some people. “If you don’t have the political will, then give that message to the people that we cannot do anything,” thundered Justice JN Patel, while slamming the state government for its lax handling of Raj Thackeray-led MNS’ agitation on Marathi signboards. Are some people ‘untouchable’ for you?” Justice Patel asked, as the government could not file a proper reply regarding the action taken. The court also took note of Raj Thackeray’s tirade against joint commissioner of police KL Prasad. “Your home minister has failed to back the police officer,” the court said. Mr Prasad’s remark, “Mumbai kisike baap ki nahin” (Mumbai is not anyone’s personal property) had been ridiculed by Raj Thackeray. He had challenged the top cop to get out of uniform to find out who the city belongs to.

Well, I have been born and brought up amidst the Bengal Politics - The Naxalites, The Communists and the New born - Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee, but havent seen such a fast paced visibility and empowerment of any political leader so far.

Well, the Man is in the news since a past few months, though for a wrong reasons (from a socialistic perspective) be it (1) Anti-North Indian Drama (2) Sign Board Issues (3) Apologies from Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan and much more.But like every corporate, there is a strategy behind this too, and one has to agree that to an extent the same is so far successful. Every new product's most important success ingredient is its Visibility and then ofcourse the content and the value add, but it follows the Visibility thing. Here, the product in question or brand in question is Raj Thakrey / MNS. A new product launched amidst a stiff market competition with stalwart and leading products like the Big Thackeray & Sharad Pawars of the world (There is no one name in the Congress who is "the leader" and so in other parties). Now, imagine a situation for a new Dove Soap to succeed amidst the Lux and Pears of the world and we have seen Dove too come up the curve in the last 2 quarters - We all have seen a lot of visibility around the product and the brand via various marketing communication tools.

The background being the same as above (Soaps and New Political Parties) people do shift loyalties - could be for a new taste, change, incumbency, what ever the reasons be and we have various examples. But if one needs to look at some mathematics behind this Product Strategy, here you go :

Assumption 1 : Out of 100% population - 60% Vote (in the highest side possible)You, me, and most ofmus on the net fall a part of the remaining 40%...so we are not the Target Audience at all.

Assumption 2 : Out of the 60% Voting population; here some more break-up. Assume, out of 100 % of the Voting Population (60%), (a) 60% of the Voters would be Mumbai / Maharastra domiciled - majority Marathis..(b) 20% which was around 5%-10% are North Indians - thanks to Kripa Shankar Singh, Sanjay Nirupams and Amar Singh's of the world for the high influx in last few years.(c) 10% would be Dalits (again mix of both types) - tilted towards Babasaheb's & Mayamaam's BSP - Hardliners(d) 10% would be from the Gujju / Marwari / hardore Safrons, RSS, BJD, VHPs.From the above 60% - All parties now take their pie, be it NCP, Cong, SS, BJP...But majority in major pockets is either Sena or CongressNow, Raj Thackeray cannot touch (b) and (c) whatever he does. (d) is also somehwhat non-touchable but are important as they fund the game.So, you see the Man not going against the (d) Category at all.At the cost of (b)/(C) Category which he will never be able to woo, he is clearly wooing his share from Category (a) which is / was with his uncle, Sr Thackeray so far and successfully is / will now drift towards him.The Category (a) are the ones who can effect and help the Man setup a strong base and thats what he is successfully doing.He is stepping into the Shoes of the protector of Marathis - which his Uncle was ages back..Well, the best part is that the Govt. is supporting it - as the Game is making them break the Sena Outfit into parts ultimately helping them too in the long run.And, see the stronghold (on brand side now - at his Target Audience) the Man is creating, numbers are sure to follow.

Right Target ; Right Strategy - Every Organization has and so has this...One could not have taken a better agenda to create an Image at such a fast pace... thats the need in the digitized world... All set and done, Rakhee Savant is today making more money than any leading actress of the last egeneration and fame...do I need to say anything !

Maybe wrong from Our perspective (Many have called it Goondaraj, Racism at heights) and wrong from the perspective of all educated, corporate people, who may be reading this blog - Who are not the target audience for the strategy : He is right ! Well, many people say that this will not fetch any votes, and MNS will die a natural death.......but BJP took 25 years to become visible amidst the Congress Era....and it has to begin somewhere.... Just check the figures in the past six months : No. of articles / media coverges for Raj vs others, No. of SS loyalist shift to MNS; The next strategy from a Marketing Perspective could be"Raj behind Bars" (rather a self submission one then being arrested)- I am sure even he would have this in mind... this will give a further mileage, but has to be for a good cause - its a matter of going in coming out, till he finds another Agenda (best possible could have been of Shingur like)...and am sure the dynamics of seats in the next elections with NCP, Congress will show the rest.....

Well, did anyone hear about "Raj Thackeray" 1 year back ? No ! And Today ??.......Even miniscule seats he might get will help achive whatever is desired... And lets not forget, these 2-4 make the differences... we all have seen in the past...

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Welcome to Sajjanpur - What an Unwelcome Experience !!

It was only about the Man who made movies like Bose, Zubeida, Sardari Begum (for the new gens to remember) otherwise Mandi, Ankur, Suraj ka saatwan ghoda and the Hindi version of Discovery of India : Bharat ek Khoj of Nehru’s fame, one was excited yesterday !

Its 46 Long years Benegal Baabu who has been a Padmashri and Padmabhushan Awardee has been entertaining audiences but of a different kind – the Offbeat ones. He has never been a commercial movie man…. But with his creativity and artistic Bong Mind, he has given some great movies as above by tapping fresh talent mainly from the FTII and NSD like Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Smita Patil, Kulbhushan Kharbanda & Amrish Puri.

It was only one single reason why I took a step ( it was a step post the outcome; else it would have been an initiative ) to go and watch “Welcome to Sajjanpur” and believe me – one thing which I went and checked in the middle of the movie on the poster at the lounge area was that was it really Benegal ?

It was a waste of 3 hours and only because it was Shyam Benegal, I had to respect the art by sitting till the end, unlike my brother who walked out in 40 Minutes.

If I have to analyse what was good in the film and what was bad – Good ? I did not find a single thing (unlike even one babe, one number, one scenic location, one comic scene, one character, if not the whole movie which could be a self-convincing technique post shelling out those monies. ) The only good thing was a different plot of a village and multiple characters – but nothing was new / unknown – Well, if one would have screened ‘3 hrs of crisp mix of the Malgudi Days” it would have been a real treat !

A complete waste of talent like Rajeshwari, Divya Dutt, Ravi Kishan, Yashpal Sharma and Kunal Kapoor. It was only Shreyas Talapade trying to do some acting and Amrita Rao…well, a bird is better than 2 in bushes atleast… She is a decent actress, atleast she tries, but here she was also wasted along with others.

And the best part is, I thought Benegal hai..kuch story ayega…but till “The End” failed to find a story !! Non-sense humor, no plot, no spend on the movie – And the confused director did not understand who the target audience was – Was there any ? And what was the need of putting in songs ?? Or was it a formality as it is no one would have ever bought a music album of the movie !!!

Well, its Shyam babu so am limiting myself further, but the most surprising part was Masand’s verdict with 4/5 Rating on this claiming one of the best movies of the year – Come on, Mr. Masand – this loosens your credibility compared to Taran Adarsh who has rated it 3/5. Well, a strong recommendation to Mr. Masand to take a weekend off and travel to any nearby village, if that was the only thing he was excited to see for the first time. Anyways, if you ask me, with all due respects to the efforts (well not much)by all : I would rate if 1/5. 1 only because of the respect one has for Shyam Benegal and his past records, else it would have been in the minuses.

Saturday 20 September 2008

1920 -The Horror Movie - Much Better than Phoonkh

Post much a wait, I finally chose to see "1920" yesterday as there were no good movies on air - "Sajjanpur" was a choice, but chose the former one over it based on some reviews that a couple of scenes were better than RGV's Phoonk! The last one was "a Wednesday" which I quite admired purely because of Naseer's act and the thrilling plot.

Well, to my surprise, I found the movie quite good but could not understand why I did not see it in the first two weeks when I dont give a miss to a flick like "Dhol" or "Dhamaal" even ! It could be because of 1 Key Reason - Being a Marketing Guy, am not biased, but somehow feel Vikram Bhatt Camp failed to use good Marketing Strategy for this film despite having good track record, compared to Ramu, the new generation wannabe of the Ramsays (Zee Horror guys) or the Indian WB ! Remember Raaz, with Bips, which was a decent one.

Well, if I recollect 3 Key aspects of "1920" I personally liked was (1) The Screenplay, Cinematography and Sound Effects - which includes the animations ofcourse(2) The Old Brit India touch in 1920 right from the Horses with furry feet, Tongas, Apparels, Interiors, Props, Looks, Architecture etc. (though BEST Bus / Tram was not a required one) (3) Acting of Adah Sharma- The new girl on the block (Vikram's known for bringing new talent in and she was one which I felt only in the 2nd half of the movie; the first half was the usual girl next door with fair skin ! - She looked like a mix of Vaijayantimala, Sudha Chandran. Also heard about some links between Vikram and her from a close friend in the fraternity.

Though the plot used was a common one, the above factors kept the audience glued to their seats (though 70% of the theatre was unoccupied - would blame the Bhatt's for incorrect Marketing Strategies) only because of the above 3 factors. Some scenes were terrifying and some were hilarious horror, but the audience required their dose of humour to cut the fear at times. Maybe some scenes might seem to be picks from the Hollywood hits, but then too it was a decent job unlike many of our veteran Copy Cat Directors.

Decent Act put in by the Hero - Rajneesh Duggal, Raj Zutshi, Indraneil Sengupta and the Servant Character (Father of Ishaan in Taare Zameen Par) and ofcourse by the Crew in all. Rakhee Sawant Song was not required, but believe Vikram wanted to have one as a formality - you need not follow the herd dude when you have a good act. And last but not the least, besides Item No, Good Characters, Good Horror Scenes (4/5 Scenes) and Better than RGV's Sound Effects, Vikram Bhatt has ensured the blessings for his film by having given important role to Jesus Christ & Lord Hanuman with 2 full recitations of Hanuman Chalisas.

The only thing missing was enough money spent on Promotions and Hype Creation which is mandatory today than having a Script with Content to be a hit (eg. Singh is King). Understand all the above people would have worked out in the Low Budget Matrix of the Bhatt Camp, but this factor could have pulled more people to the theatre - Word of Mouth is now pulling people like us, but hope its not too late !

Am not regretting my choice of "1920" over "Welcome to Sajjanpur" which my brother walked out in 40 Mins, though some family audience with bachhas and housewives was enjoying it - But never mind, might go in for Sajjanpur on a Tuesday !