Thursday, January 22, 2009

Person on blog and blogger in person..

There are 3 tags to this post, so please do mention in the comment which tag you are responding to.
Tag1: Have you ever met a fellow blogger for the first time, and thought "Oh, I expected him/her to be different." What did you expect, and what did you see..
Tag 2: Suppose someone you know passess on the url of their blog, and you go visiting. Have you ever been surprised at the person who appears in that blog? What surprised you? How was it different from what you knew of the person already?

Tag 3: If you know me personally, how is the person who appears in this blog, different from what you know of me.. (obviously, you can only do this if you know me personally. Otherwise, guess away and i'd like to hear that too. Your comment can go "In the blog you appear to be ___ , but i think in real life you are more like ___. ")

When you answer, telling us the name of the blogger/person is purely optional, but highly desirable. :-)

Tag 4: In my next post, would u like me to answer Tag 3 for you? (If i know u personally, that is) . If Yes: Please let me know in the comments section.
PS: This tag has a very interesting story behind it, but we'll leave that for another post. Look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ghajini and Slumdog Millionaire

Something must be really wrong with me. I saw both the films and HATED both. Let's go one step at a time

GHAJINI: One does not expect holes in the storyline of an Aamir Khan script.
1. The CEO is giving sound bytes for a media interview when the girl calls him up for a chaddi ad. So, he is a media savvy CEO BUT the heroine has never seen him on TV or seen a picture of him in the newspaper.
2. A girl agrees to marry a guy, without ever asking him about his family, and without going to his house even once. He has been to her house, but she has never been to his house.
3. He was hit on the head and has this ST amnesia. Good. So when he wakes up right after the accident, he should have forgotten about it.. ?? OK, someone told him about it, and he made furious notes to remind himself every morning. All in 15 minutes. Where did he get those polaroid pictures? He would have to remember the faces from the accident to take those pictures. OK, in the film, at one place, he says he remembers only the accident. Then why does he forget the accident every morning?? Wait, i m missing something here.. this just doesnt make sense!
4. A guy with a slit throat cannot, in most cases, talk enough to tell another person in a complete sentence that the intended victim was someone else - you.

Let's leave the holes in the story aside for a moment. There is nothing to the story-telling, except the freshness of the heroine's rather competent acting. Aamir can kill on screen. We saw that in the first slitting of the throat. The 50th pointless slitting of the throat will not convince us any more than the first. Aamir Khan is not Daniel Craig. When we want to see pointless violence and lots of flesh, we see a Bond film. When we want to see a film that makes sense, we see an Aamir Khan film.

Aamir Khan with 8 packs is great. Aamir Khan in a pointless plot with just the 8 pack to recommend him, somehow does not work for me.

Slumdog Millionaire:
In the movie, there is one shot where an American woman points to a cow and says excitedly to her partner: "Look, cow!" This film is exactly like that shot. Danny Boyle takes some random shots of Dharavi and his western audience says "Look, a slum!" and gives him the excited awards.
Let me ruin it for you. In the book :
1. There is no Jamal. There is Ram Mohammed Thomas.
2. There is no brother.
3. There is no mother and there are no Hindu Muslim riots and no orphaning after the riots.
4. There is no Latika. Frieda Pinto's character doesn't exist.

The film has taken the concept of a poor person making a lot of money on a game show because of his life experiences; taken exactly one episode from the book and added all others from his own imagination; and called it "based on the book".

Like a Karan Johar film is made for the NRIs, Danny Boyle's film is made for the Western audience that wants to see India as a gross, unjust, poor place.

The only saving grace of the film is Dev Patel. He has the right body language, the right eyes and the right expressions on his face. He is good. Frieda Pinto impresses more in the awards functions than in the film. The others do not impress at all.

My review of Slumdog millionaire: Read the book instead. Its a breezy read that will take the same time, and is lots more entertaining.

Feel free to slaughter me for these reviews.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A thought provoking article and a quiz

I wasnt planning on writing for another 2-3 days, but this this article came along, and set one thinking quite a bit. The IIMs, like the police, are a very interesting candidate for reform. Do read the article - its succint, and yet packs in the right information.

Here, then, is my set of Commandments(oops, "recommendations") for the IIMs. All thought inspired by the article. Thank you Shalini.

1. Thou shalt not dilute brand equity by diluting the product.
2. Thou shalt attract the most competent faculty by paying the best salaries and benefits.
3. Thou shalt get rid of all excess flab, expenditure and staff that is there only because it’s a government institution.
4. Thou shalt improve industry interaction.
5. Thou shalt listen to good advice, irrespective of where it comes from – some of the things R C Bhargava says make a lot of sense, and we should not dismiss a good advice just because we do not like the source.
6. Thou shalt not bow to political will. If the politicians want more IIMs , or if they want lower fees (when the IIMs are already not charging much), they can open MMJ School of Management and meet the same standards. An IIM Product will not be a reservation case or a person whose admission is a function of India’s population. 1000 IIM graduates a year is more than enough.
7. Thou shalt use thy faculty and thy alumni more.
8. Thou shalt innovate in the discipline to which thou are committed – Management education, not in politics of examination passing or the politics of dean selection. In short, thou shalt clean thyself internally. And do it periodically.

There is also one other quiz that I created on Braingle. This is about capitals of Indian states. It only sounds easy. Tell me what you think after you've tried it. :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy Lohri.. to all the girls!

It is easy to get up this morning and picture the sound of folk songs flowing through the villages.. at this very time.. some young girls are going from house to house, and some young boys are doing the same thing.. sometime this evening, they will gather around the ceremonial fire and celebrate their harvest....

One small request: If you have had a little girl in your house this year(or know anyone who has), please celebrate her first Lohri. In my beautiful, vibrant Punjab, the first Lohri after a male child in the family is celebrated with much fervour, but not the first Lohri after a girl child. That is soo not acceptable.

I leave you with the cutest reminder of Lohri.. the Lohri songs... Happy Lohri!

Lohri Girls Song
“Hulle nee maiyee hulle
do beri patte jhulle
do jhul payeaan kahjurran
khajurran suttya meva
es munde de ghar mangeva
es munde di voti nikdioh!
khandi choori, kutdi Kut! Kut!
Bharaya thaal woti bave nananaa nal
Ninaan te wadi parjaee
So kudma de ghar aayee!
mein lohri lain aayee!”

“Two berry leaves are hanging
Two date leaves are also hanging
The tree shed the fruit
There’s an engagement in this boy’s house
This boy’s wife is short
She eats and grinds choori(a punjabi dish)
She grinds and grinds and fills the plate.
the wife sits with her sisters in law
Sister in law and the elder son’s wife
Are in their in-laws house
I have come to take my Lohri ”

Lohri Boys Song
(T h e 'ho's are in chorus)
Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicaharaa ho!
Dullah bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paatta ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chache choori kutti!
zamidara lutti!
Zamindaar sudhaye!
bade bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee pakad ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari eet!
Paheenve ro te phannve pit! ”
Sanoo de de lohri te teri jeeve jodi!

Oh nice ringing one!
Who do you have
The groom with the tandoor
The groom’s daughter got married
He gave 1 ser sugar!
The girl is wearing a red suit!
But her shawl is torn!
Who will stitch her shawl?!
The uncle made choori!
The landlords ate it!
He made the landlords eat a lot!
Lots of innocent guys came
One innocent boy got left behind
The police arrested him!
The policeman hit him with a brick!
Cry or howl!
Give us lohri ..long live your jodi!”

I got the songs here:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Enron, Satyam, Lehman?

Just finished reading the letter of Ramalinga Raju to the Board.
The first question that strikes me is, How come Satyam was instantly barred by the World Bank for 8 years, while the Lehmans and the Merill Lynchs of the world were given a bailout bounty?

The people who knowingly converted sub prime assets into securities, sold them to semi institutional investors at a scale that they knew was large enough to upset the whole apple cart.. these people deserve no punishment? The Bailout package is handed out, not to the semi institutional or retail investors who suffered on account of this fraud, but to the very perpetrators of that fraud.

Why were there no prosecutions in the US, or at other places, for what was done with very fraudulent financial instruments?

By now, the heads of almost all the I Banks should have written a letter like the one Raju wrote.. to their own boards, to their own governments, and to their investors. Why is no such letter around?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year

What is the starting point of a circle? A revolution is a circle(an ellipse, if u want to be technically correct). Why did we decide that, this point is where we will start the circle?

To the chosen starting point of the ellipse, then... May the next ellipse draw a happier path.