gandhigiri ki chamchagiri

obsequiousness is a huge understatement. this is chamchagiri at its worst – or call that ass-kicking of a kind that we will never ever see for some time together. ok, i feel lighter now..

oh sorry, seems like you are completely confused, dear reader. here goes, let me give you a background.

the hon’ble [irony intended] chief minister of andhra pradesh, mr y s rajashekhar reddy came to power in about mid 2004. and since then started gandhigiri albeit of a different kind

  • hyderabad airport to rajiv gandhi international airport
  • nagarhole national park renamed to rajv gandhi wildlife sanctuary
  • rajiv gandhi institute of medical sciences
  • indiramma scheme for rural development
  • indiramma housing scheme
  • indiramma women employment scheme
  • intintiki indiramma [ghar ghar to indiramma]
  • indiramma sambaralu [indiramma celebrations]
  • west kandriga from east godavari renamed as indiramma graamam
  • rajiv internet village project
  • kukatpally housing board colony renamed as rajiv colony

the above list is just a tip of the number of schemes introduced since 2004. as you can observer, everything just about everything done by the congress government in ap has to be named either after rajiv gandhi or indira gandhi. just a gandhigiri of a different type, just too obvious to miss. two things to ponder over:

  • are there no other national leaders of india, pre or post-independence who deserve to be named after?
  • what have either of two have done for the state of ap? neither the chanakya, the late prime minister pv narasimha rao got such an honor inspite of all his accomplishments.
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my name is bond. james bond.

Shilpa is being considered for Bond girl sez Rediff; its quite old news. But when producers think that she is an asset to the movie (irony abounds) because she has a great following among Asians (oh which was the last film that was a hit because of Miss Shetty?), its stretching marketability too far. But what takes the cake is this:

Another factor in Shilpa’s favour is that she has some former experience of dealing with Bond-style villains. While starring in “Celebrity Big Brother”, Shilpa was subjected to sustained bullying by Big Brother veteran Jade Goody, former S Club singer Jo O’Meara and glamour girl Danielle Lloyd.

Kid me not. I am having a hearty laugh at Rediff’s expense. Truemors, you stand no chance when we have portals like Rediff around here.

chak de india: review

“I firmly believe that any mans finest hour – his great fulfilment to ll he holds dear – Is that moment, when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the battlefieldvictorious.”

Vince Lombardi
1913 – 1970

The best sports films of the world are the ones that let the viewers experience the pains, trials and tribulations the sportsperson goes through and of course the jubilation in the final hardearned victory. This movie is quite simply the story of a wronged Indian captain who comes back to redeem himself. Its an amazing movie to watch considering that the cast having the most time on-screen are fairly wooden actors barring a few.

Coming to ShahRukh, its hard not to feel the empathy with a wronged sportsperson. Frightful even looking at our faint reflections in the movie, the Indian populace with the memories of a goldfish and the tempers of a mad raging bull and the IQs of a flock of blind sheep. Its refresing to see ShahRukh rising from his cynical, selfoccupied self in KANK to a extremely restrained mature performance. Kabir Khan, the role that he essayed has to undergo all the following feelings all at once: fear of failure, self-doubt, anticipation, expectations, leadership, unwavering confidence… Its a far cry from his role of Swades where it was a leader showing a direction; here I was completely blown away by the multilayered interpretation of the character. I tip my hat to the maestro. He is a treat to watch.

Now to the heroes of this tale – the ladies. 16 of them and whatta fun! Its tough not falling in love with each of them. I had to scream hoarse and root for each of them in each of the matches. It was refreshing to see the sincerity in each of their performance. Seeing them on screen giving hockey to each of the folks, it was tough not to even think of the odds that each of them were playing against. The gutsiness in the performances. I cant but not betray my geeky roots but 80% of the screen time is hogged by 20% of the players… but then the others do get a very justified roles. And yes, to see each of them appearing in the sarees in the dinner before in the final playoff – just had to give it to them and the nine-yard garment, they looked beaaautiful, radiant almost to the point of making me awestruck.

And now to the real heroes of the movie – Jaideep Sahni (Story, Dialogues and Screenplay) and Shimit Amin (Direction). Sports films like these are always filled with unavoidable cliches – underdog taking a one and a million shot at glory and success, the fight against all odds and seeminly unsurmountable problems, fallen heroes seeking redemption. And in spite of all this Chak De works for me, much better than Lagaan. It would be a unforsaken sin to speak so, but then couldnt help it, Lagaan had so much going in favor of it – known faces of actors, cricket which every kid knows in India, plays and connects to it emotionally, and of course the eternal jaani dushmani with England. Chak De could have easily rotted into a mind numbingly drubbing film where the women could have easily been made unpolished diamonds heroes by themselves, discovered by the coach and made invincible. But the screenplay is just taut and the amount of work that has gone into individual characterization is extremely detailed. Just look at the dry wit in Kabir Khan’s character, as a result of 7 years of self-imposed exile (of which the user knows nothing about!), a result of a system that has completely let him down. The almost despotic need to redeem himself.

And the film is highly relevant socially too…

  • the subtle ways it highlights the gender roles played out by men and women and their dynamics
  • players that first define themselves by their own states instead of the country
  • the sorry treatment meted out to our national game! and in particular the women’s games in general
  • the flak that is taken by a captain who is a muslim. It is almost like the Muslims have to prove themselves as patriots to the nation every effing time.

Dont do the crime if you cant do the time…

Its close to 2 o clock in the dead of the night… Im lolling around sleepless (how sad) and there is this yet another show in NDTV with a panel discussion scrutinizing if Sanjay Dutt got too harsh a treatment.

Im forced to ask this question but would the media rally behind Dutt and the film fraternity if there was another guy convicted and he didnt enjoy any sort of leverage as does the Dutt? Just because Dutt Jr does two Munnabhai films and the second one about Gandhi’s principles, does it automatically make him immune to the justice system in India. If thats the logic the media expects to follow, save the democracy and lets have repeated reruns of Guddi on all channels for one full day.

Not few days was a report going like this … “Sanjay Dutt has now been shifted to Yerawada jail. Audience may be interested to note that Mahatma Gandhi too was at one time imprisoned in Yerawada Jail”. The hearts of the news channels to compare Dutt with Gandhi… grrrrrrrrrr.

Whats more surprising is a petition from a handful of well known celebrities (read film personalities) to release Dutt. Maybe Dutt has reformed, maybe he really is a changed man, but then law will have to take its own course and as Joey says “Dont do the crime if you cant do the time”.  If it is illegal for one to possess arms and one was also aware of the bomb blasts beforehand, its ghastly to look at all the efforts being made to build a romanticized image of a person that is guilty as charged.

And far from bringing a balanced viewpoint that a news channel should be providing, its quite surprising to see the media taking sides and making a mockery of judiciary making it look like a idiotic dumb villian of the Hindi movie industry.

web2.0 ridiculosity

We are already in the bubble and it is just a matter of when and not if; if the latest post in TechCrunch is anything to go by.

Ads are intrusive, period. Unsolicited ads are spam. And I would definitely be happy to pay a marginal premium for seeing adfree content. TiVo is profitable not for nothing. And I am yet to see a hugely successful service other than Google that runs only on ads – And I think ads as a way to sell anywhere and anytime is overblown. C’mon, there is no two ways about it.

Putting ads in search engines has an intent, the user is already looking for the product/service. The ads enhance this value to the intent.  The search engine already has her complete attention as she is already searching for new services/products. But not everywhere. A chat is not a place where I want to learn about new services/products; a conversation is already in place and that already has my attention. I am yet to see a IM conversation with intrusive ads which enhance the experience.

Not that ads don’t work; they do, for long we have seen TV channels, newspapers staying alive because of that. But they are not completely free either, they still charge some cost to cover the gaps. But to give an advice that any direct B2C product/service be free and supported by ads is just plain ridiculous. Good software design costs bucks, its development and maintenance costs too. Advising a (every) company to give a product for free and live by using ads is just plain BS. And users are definitely not going to be thrilled to see a (irrelevant) ad pop while in the middle of some conversation.

If this is the way things are, its just a matter of when the bubble bursts. Oh and btw just have look at the comments in the TechCrunch posts. Lots of voices of sanity in this already noisy business. Gems abound though…