Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Things Which Keep Us Awake

Things which keep us awake -in my view, after extensive research- are the following.

Kids

Will I get batting tomorrow in the game we play every day?

Will my teacher ask for the home work or forget it?

Teens

How many Likes will my selfie get?

Women

What do I wear?

Housewives

What do I cook tomorrow?

Gentlemen (gentle is just a figure of speech)

Where will my next beer come from?

Will I get to watch India play XYZ undisturbed?

What I Like About Facebook

Image
Of course, there's a lot of criticism of it. But I want to look at the positives.

If you invest time, it is rewarding. It's like live Market Research (a subject I like, and teach). On any given day, you get to know what a range of opinions on any topic are- extremes are there in good number, but moderates too express themselves- if you look closely.

It's a great pictorial ride-through the lives of people you like (mostly).

(Pic from a recent outing in Sri Lanka)


It gives you instant feedback on many things- silences, likes, comments, all have a story to tell.

It gets you back in touch. Random conversations on Messenger included, but meetings have also happened many a time solely due to FB- which otherwise may not have. Ex-students, ex-colleagues, and sometimes, forgotten classmates. Or new-found friends-of which there are lots.

You can innovate- I have tried, sometimes with success.

It is flexible, in the sense you can stay on it or away from it depending on your other pr…

Landmark Tunes- Hindi Films

There are a few landmark tunes that are associated in my mind with music directors in Hindi films.

Vasant Desai- Bole re papihara in Guddi. It is so different from the usual songs.

RD Burman- Dum maro dum from Hare Rama Hare Krishna. I don't think anyone else could have thought of this.

SD Burman- Wahan kaun hai tera, musafir, jayega kahan (film- Guide), in his own voice.

Jaidev- Main zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya. A masterpiece from Hum Dono, sung by Mohammad Rafi.

Kalyanji Anandji- Pal bhar ke liye koi hamein pyar kar le from Johny Mera Naam. Dev Anand and Hema Malini added a lot of charm to it.

Shankar Jaikishen- Sayonara, sayonara from Love in Tokyo.

Laxmikant Pyarelal- Mere mehboob qayamat hogi from Mr. X in Bombay.

OP Nayyar- Piya piya piya mora jiya pukare, from Baap re Baap. Early use of Kishore Kumar's yodeling, and trademark hoofbeats that he used in many songs.

Descriptive Names

Some names that are descriptive, or serve a larger purpose-

Yelliah- he yells.

Delilah- works in a Deli.

Malliah- works at the mall.

Telliah- works at a bank.

Gorbachev- Does the Gorba (Gujjus beware- there's also a che in his name).

Bharat- gives Mr. Manoj Kumar a complex.

Mark- he is always one up on you.

David Lean- programmed not to put on weight.

Javagal Srinath- his bowling got your jaw if you weren't careful.

Sivagami- India's answer to Origami.

Rasputin-sounds like a competitor to Frooti.




Dimple and Not so Simple

This is a list of my favourite heroines from films. Naturally, from my era-mostly.

Tanuja was a natural, and acted well -at least occasionally. Hathi Mere Sathi, Mere Jeevan Sathi and Jewel Thief are three films I remember her from.

Mumtaz was cute, and paired well with some. Rajesh Khanna, for one. Aap Ki Kasam and Roti come to mind. Feroz Khan too, with Apradh being one film of theirs I remember.

Dimple Kapadia, who broke a lot of records with Bobby, and a few hearts after that by marrying the aforesaid Mr. Khanna. Saw her in Finding Fanny last.

Saira Banu, who was also a looker, and did the haughty roles really well-watch Padosan again if you don't believe me. Shagird was good too.

Smita Patil, for the real desi, dark and smouldering realism. All her films are recommended, highly.

Hema Malini. The Dream Girl (good marketing!) paired best with Dharmendra in many films, Sholay and Jugnu being ones I remember the most.

Rekha in Khoobsurat was my favourite for many years.

I liked …

Why You Remember Places

Image
Why do we remember certain places more than others? There are two kinds of places I am talking of-places where we have lived, and places which we have visited.

In both cases, a common reason may be the people we associate with the place. I have lived at least a year in the following places- Kothagudem, Bellampalli, Ramagundam, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Clemson, Greenwood (both in the U.S.), Bhubaneswar, Harihar, Lucknow, Kozhikode, Nagpur, Indore.

 Indonesia
 Udaipur
 Me at Athens, Greece and (below) my wife in Clemson, SC, USA.
Of these, the longest spell at one place as a grownup was at Harihar, where we had small class sizes in our MBA program, and therefore I tend to remember the students pretty well, even with my fading memory cells. There was also another unrelated reason to remember the place itself. An 18-hole Golf course in our colony (thanks to the Kirloskars) made me feel like a millionaire.

Nagpur, a campus (IMT) that was scenic, and people who were …

Cities

Simpli-city.

Elasti-city.

Electri-city.

Auda-city.

Tena-city.

Univer-sity.

Fero-city.

Toxi-city.

Feli-city.

Velo-city.

Indore and Mandu

Image
Campus of IIM Indore- above and below.

 Mandu-three pics.

 Back to the campus. Suhita Thatte visits us.

Hindi Medium- Film Review

It is rare for Hindi films to touch on poverty in a realistic manner. This one does. It also exposes the rot in our systems where anyone can fake documents and get benefits that are meant for the needy.

The obsession of parents to go to any length for their kids' school admission is the immediate theme of the film, but the sub-text is our own lack of a sense of right and wrong. Some scenes are very touching, and I liked the second half better than the first (except for the consultant for school admission, I did not find the first half funny).

The actors, led by Irrfan and Saba Qamar do a great job, but it is a well-written and directed film that touches your heart. The guy who really steals the show is Deepak Dobriyal as the poor neighbour who sacrifices everything for the new neighbours in his poor neighbourhood. His wife also plays her role well.

A good film to watch, it makes you think about how little it may take to put many of our systems back on track again.


Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

..But not in the way you think. I am referring here to the 500 metres from the 'high'way kind of fondness. Yet, I think we can come up with several ideas to extend this one, and improve humanity-of course, within distance limits.

We can ask people-

not to spit 29 metres from a wall, thus saving paint worth crores (paint companies may not like this, but..)

not to hug your boyfriend/girlfriend within 455 metres from either your house or theirs.

not to wear bikinis within 20 metres of a beach or a pool. You can sunbathe, but not swim in them.

not to smoke within 5 metres of anyone, to prevent them from going up in smoke. Also on Sundays. Smoky Sundays are intolerable.

Not to turn Republic TV channel on within 300 yards of any resident of our republic- health hazard!

Not to read a Dave Barry or PG Wodehouse within 5 metres of people without a sense of humour.

....you get the idea. Now go 10 metres away and frame your own rules!

Strictly Speaking

I am not strict, but I like the expression, though I am not sure what it means. Anyway, having got that out of the way, I will try and make some observations. As you can see, I am in the mood...

Strictly speaking, none of us is really busy. Just lazy, and trying to avoid things/people we don't like.

There is nothing at the end of the rainbow. But it's nice to imagine that there is.

We are not the most intelligent species, if you count the number of years we work- or the fact that we invented work.

News is really not news, most of the time.

A celebrity minus the hype is just you, or the guy/gal next door trying to fit in with the expectations of more people than you and I are.

Film-makers run out of ideas pretty quickly. That explains sequels.

Ok, I don't want the Earth to shatter just now, so I will stop here..for now.






Colleagues From Past Workplaces

Image
I am concentrating on the ones I am still in touch with, mostly.

Leslie Price was a colleague at Lander, South Carolina, and we got along like a house on fire. We are now older, hopefully wiser, and parents of beautiful children, and still communicate on Fb.

Muthukumar, who I worked with at the market research firm called MBA, and shared an abode called Karl Guest House in Andheri with. We still meet and bond over a beer or a whisky. Sometimes Golf.

Avinash Mulky, who was at IIM Lucknow with me, now works at IIMB and I, at IIMI. We do meet occasionally, and talk of old times and new.

BK Mohanty, a colleague from my XIM Bhubaneswar and IIM Lucknow days, is a dear friend and we get to meet here and there.

Shahida, of PESIT, now at ASCI Hyderabad, whom I have met less often, but we are in touch on the phone and through Fb.

Dhanapal, who runs his own school at Coimbatour, and worked with me at Kirloskar Institute, Harihar. We meet now and then, and plan on more golfing trips like the on…

Roger Moore - Broken Bonds

His passing away brought back memories of the suave Bond he played in six or seven films. I think I saw and enjoyed all of them, but some I remember better than others. Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun in particular.

He was stylish, delivered the one-liners very coolly, and looked the part. Later Bonds were mostly no match, except Pierce Brosnan. I also read his autobiography, which was not so great, but narrated his story of struggles quite sincerely.

He will be remembered for keeping James Bond alive through his classy work. Long live Moore!

Film Review - Chi va Chi Sau Ka

This is a Marathi film deftly directed by the award-winning director Paresh Mokashi (Harishchandrachi Factory, a film about Dadasaheb Phalke, was by him). The title here refers to a girl aspiring to be a married woman.

It is a laugh-riot, barring a couple of serious scenes. Very interesting technique of story-telling, with quick-silver edits, keeps you engrossed. The witty yet believable dialogue and story gives a lot of weightage to characterisation of all the major players. The families and individuals grow on you, as the story rapidly progresses from a match made in heaven to a divorce made in the same place. And then, a second one in reverse order. The two sets of parents plotting first for the downfall of their kids'relationship, and then the reverse, is hilarious.

The lead actors were new to me, and did a great job. The support cast is terrific as a foil, particularly the feisty granny and the kid brother who is in a "committed" relationship at a young age (on a s…

Worrisome Worries

Ok, I am getting philosophical. But natural, one would say, coz I am a Doctor of Philosophy.

But I am serious. We worry too much, and don't listen to the song "Don't worry, be happy" enough.

We worry about the future, when the present calls out and says, "I am here."

We worry about what we don't have (and possibly, the neighbours do have), forgetting that we do have a lot.

We worry about the world, which seems to have taken care of itself since we were born. And probably will do so..

We worry about the potholes, and the jackasses who drive like crazy.

We worry about things we have no control over, and discuss them to death. Such as, "Who will win the IPL?"

We'd e better off worrying less, and doing (or ot doing) more.


Film Review- The Sense of an Ending

Absorbing, almost lyrical, though not as satisfying as the book.

Having read the book a while ago, I had forgotten the twist. A good thing when you are watching a human interest story with a very big twist. But I remember I was impressed with the book, and had even recommended it to many. By the way, Julian Barnes wrote another one that was about dying, which is worth dying for.

The movie is worth a watch if you either liked Lunchbox (same direcor here) or like Julian Barnes's writing. The director does a good job, keeping the atmosphere of an English Public School, and the countryside (where much of the action happens) authentic. The sequences involving the protagonist and his schoolmates ended too quickly, I thought, and the ones with his daughter were a bit prolonged (because they don't take his story forward). But these minor cribs apart, it's beautifully acted.

Please don't go in expecting a Guardians of the Galaxy, and you won't be disappointed. The book, as…

Comic Dialogue

Hindi film comedies or otherwise from which I remember funny dialogues-

From Sholay

Tumhara naam kya hai Basanti?

From Jaane Bhi Do Yaro

Yeh kya ho raha hai?

Aadha khao, aadha pheko, yeh Switzerland ka cake hai.

Bahut advanced country hai- hum dekha, udhar peene ka pani alag, gutter ka pani alag.

Shaant, gada-dhari Bheem, shaant.

Hum honge kaamyaab, hum honge kaamyaab ek din..

From Padosan

Tum humko ghoda bola?
Ek pe rehna jee, ya ghoda bolo ya chatur bolo

Mogambo khush hua (villain Amrish Puri delivers this)

Aap hamara kitna khayal rakhti hain..Nahane ke pani mein kewda, peene ke pani mein bewda (Mehmood in Naukar)

Record Blog Views on a Day

Pageviews today 34 Pageviews yesterday 507 Pageviews last month 7,518 Pageviews all time history 408,144 Followers 116
This is a day to cherish for this blog, as it hit an all-time high of 507 views in a day. Thought I would record it for posterity.

Film Review- Meri Pyari Bindu

A meandering second half kills the feel-good factor brought in by the first. The positives are good acting by Ayushman (Parineeti is Ok, too), and the easy flow in the narrative roughly till the interval.

Actually, the idea (of linking songs with life incidents) had a lot of potential. The movie may have worked better if it had stayed in the realm of flashbacks related to the songs. Some more songs could have been used to beef up the screenplay, vastly improving its impact. I can think of another dozen songs..actually, the best scenes are related to the old songs. I particularly liked the "Aiye meherbaan" dance sequence from the kids, recreating Madhubala and Ashok Kumar from the original.

The other good sequence is the entire family chipping in for the title song..Meri pyari Bindu, which also is my favourite from Padosan..mere prem ki naiyyan beech bhanwar mein gug gud gote khaye use paar laga de,..classic lyrics.

If you walk out at half-time, you won't miss much. But …

Favourite Songs

Hindi film songs- a list of favourites.

Yeh dil na hota bechara, kadam na hote awara

Dil aaj shaayar hai gham aaj naghma hai

Hai apna dil to awara, na jaane kis pe aayega

Hey, maine kasam li, hey, tune kasam li, nahin honge judaa hum..

Chala jaata hoon kisiki dhun mein.

O mere dil ke chain.

Tum kitni khoobsoorat ho yeh mere dil se poochho.

Tum mile pyar se mujhe jeena gawara hua.

Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jate hain jo makaam, woh phir nahin aate

Aap ki aankhon mein kuch mehke hue se khwab hain

Khwab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat..

Are yaar meri tum bhi ho gazab ghoonghat to zara odho.

Ek pal ka jeena phir to hai jaana.

Aanewala pal jaanewala hai..

Kai baar yun bhi dekha hai yeh jo man ki seema rekha hai

Seene mein jalan aankhon mein toofan sa kyun hai, is sheher mein har shakhs pareshan sa kyun hai.

Kehna hai, kehna hai, aaj tumse yeh pehli baar

Gore rang pe na itna guman kar, gora rang do din mein dhal jayega

Meri neendon mein tum mere khwabon mein tum

Hum the woh thi aur smaa rangeen sa…

Life, The Universe and Everything- Book Review

This is a Douglas Adams book. Therefore, it doesn't have to make sense. And so it doesn't.

Arthur Dent goes on a galactic tour with friends Ford Prefect (we had this car at one time, 1955 make) and Slartibartfast, and they encounter white robots this time instead of mice who conspired to run the universe last time around (in a previous book). They are hell-bent on destroying everything, like a James Bond villain.

The story involves a game of cricket, cave-dwelling, space travel, and everything in between. The wisecracks keep you going, and Zaphod Beeblebrox and his vanishing girlfriend (Half-Girlfriend?) make an appearance too.

Enjoyable if you like completely whimsical stuff of the intergalactic kind.

Two Moving Experiences

By moving, I mean physically moving things. One major lesson learnt is that u can fit your life's possessions in a truck. What, you want no truck with the puns? Ok, then let me move on to the REAL stuff. Two recent experiences.

One truck was sent from point A in a city to point B in a different city. The contract was for unloading the material on the truck. The driver flatly refused to do that last part, in spite of a written and verbal agreement in his presence while leaving.

Second, within the city from one home to another. The sales talk was sweet as honey. The day of the move, after some arguments on the modality of the move, size of truck etc., the guy coolly presents a bill that is 7,500 rupees more than the agreed upon amount. Of course, he got a mouthful as a bonus along with the agreed-upon payment.

But the point that arises, from both these, is why do people in these businesses (or any other, extending the logic to bad service anywhere) behave like this?

In contrast, we…

Top Films

I am approaching this top twenty (or more) from a different angle. I will try and list a few films from different genres, and see if they make sense in a list like this.

Simple Tales

Nil Battey Sannata, Rajnigandha, Chitchor

Suspense

Jewel Thief, Teesri Manzil, Ittefaq, Dial M for Murder, Shikaar, Aankhen (both Dharmendra), The Reincarnation of Peter Proud

Serious Cinema

Anand, Arth, Aakrosh, Manthan, Mere Apne, Ingmar Bergman's films, Zorba the Greek

Romance

Bobby, Aradhana, Tere Mere Sapne, Ankhiyon ke Jaharonkhon Se, Casablanca, Amar Prem, Bridges of Madison County

Comedy

Chhoti si Baat, Chashme buddoor, Gol Maal, Chupke Chupke, Namak Halaal, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, Padosan, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Finding Fanny, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Silent Movie, History of the World Part 1, The Loves and Times of Scaramouche

Action

Where Eagles Dare, Mackenna's Gold, Sholay

Period Dramas

Mughal-e-azam, Bahubali,

Foreign Films

Many Iranian films like The Salesman, The Separation, …

Ads and Creativity

Ads are supposed to be made by creative people. Why do I get the feeling then, that there is a dearth of such people in the industry?

About a year ago, almost seven ads across different product categories had an unexpected person (or more than one persons) dancing somewhere. Were they taking one concept and selling it to multiple clients? Or was it different ad agencies that had stopped thinking altogether and blindly copied that idea from others? No idea.

Detergent ads all have white clothes. And this has been going on for 30 years that I know of. Who wears white?

Underwear ads, Deo ads, and Fairness cream ads (yes, they exist), all have a sameness about them that is disheartening, and they probably do not succeed in selling the product beyond what it would sell without the ads..

Looking forward to a breakthrough that is overdue..Kuchh khaas hai?

Bahubali-Film Review of the Sequel

Hero-worship is not something I would recommend to anyone. But I am sorely tempted to recommend Devsena to you. And Kattappa. Why the two minor characters, you may ask, instead of the hero, Amarendra/Mahendra (though he fits his role to a T) or the Rajmata Shivagami? I will explain.

If you have to hero-worship, it need not be the guy who has the might, and therefore wins wars. Or the one who runs a kingdom on her whims (sometimes good, mostly bad as in most monarchies). It is those who are up against adverse circumstances, or deep dilemmas, and still come up trumps.

I would, in this edition of Bahubali, vote first for Devsena, who is the epitome of courage. She, more than anyone else, upholds values of a kind that need cherishing. Having the guts (multiple times) to challenge a Queen who at her whim can have her beheaded, requires a rare courage of conviction. Living through her husband being repeatedly humiliated, she still defies the high and mighty openly.

Second, Kattappa is also…

Vinod Khanna is No More

I remember (and will continue to remember) Vinod Khanna for many things.

His good looks and easy, effortless acting.

He played bad guys and good guys and grey ones with equal aplomb.

His movies were usually watchable, and sometimes excellent. Mere Apne, Achanak, Amar Akbar Anthony, Inkaar, Kudrat are some that I can remember readily. Lahu ke Do Rang too.

His Imtihan (which had the inspirational song Ruk Jaana nahin tu kahin haar ke) was a remake of To Sir With Love, a film about the beautiful teacher-student relationship, and how a single teacher can transform the attitude of students. Later, a Robin Williams film called Dead Poets' Society would do a nice film on a similar theme (that's also my favourite).

He is also remembered for going away to live with Osho in his Oregon ranch when he was a successful actor. His role in Qurbani with Feroz Khan was also quite memorable.

Local Flavours

Every place in India has its local delights- food being a major one.

And so it is that we have a Chitale's bakarwadi in Pune, a biryani or Double (bread, also called double roti) ka meetha in Hyderabad, and a Tunde kabab in Lucknow (hopefully it's still around).

Other delights I can remember are Tirunelveli halwa, some variation of which was also available at Calicut (and a shop called Bombay Halwa in Hyderabad sold something similar too-colourful, gooey, semi-solid stuff).

Of course, Gujarat has dhoklas, and theplas, and khakras. Gujaratis are foodies, though many are vegetarian, and have a variety of snacks. Kachoris are famous eats in many parts of North India, including Indore which is my current abode.

Aamras and puri and Puranpoli are two Maharastrian ideas, whereas the Avakai mango pickle is an Andhra speciality (I am at least partly an Andhravadu, having grown up there, and have a hot tooth, the opposite of a sweet one. Mirchi bajji is therefore a favourite).

Kolkata …

Memories of the US

Image
Memories are now hazy, since I returned from the US in 1991 and have not visited since. But I do remember many places that we went to for sight-seeing. There was this plane somewhere in Charleston that we saw. Another large plane was called The Spruce Goose exhibited in a huge hangar in Los Angeles I remember seeing.

There is of course the famous Newsweek Cover I got made in an amusement park that I still have in my office. Our first New York visit was also awe-inspiring, and we did all the touristy things. The twin towers were still intact, and here is proof.
Will continue this story sometime...

Text Book Nostalgia

I am suddenly nostalgic about text books. Not certain I read all of them, though.

Resnick and Halliday was a Physics text.

BL Theraja wrote several books that became our Bibles for Electrical Engineering.

Tuli's book on Chemistry I still remember the title of.

Pindyck and Rubenfeld was one for Macroeconomics, and Paul Samuelson, for Microeconomics.

Don't remember the book for Advertising, only the fancy ads shown by guest faculty at IIMB.

There was also a thick Operations Research book, that terrified me by its sheer size.

But I was impressed by some non-text books about various management disciplines. Ogilvy on Advertising, Positioning, Maverick, The Goal, for instance.

I did not exactly like them, but some books that I referred to in Marketing Research included those by Green and Tull, Luck and Rubin, and Churchill. They inspired me to write my own.






Spices Make Us

We are Indians, and our country is spice country. They make us what we are. Here are a few common ones.

Ginger-from tea to a curry, it spices everything up. Cough cure too, in the right form.

Garlic adds a different kind of taste to cooking. Pickles get extra zest from it.

Cinnamon (dalchini) is a great-smelling additive to many a dish. Also tea. Saw a plant/tree from whose bark we get this.

Elaichi (cardamom)-Mom used this in every non-veg curry.

Clove- Promise used this in a toothpaste ad- and rightly so. It's grandma's cure for a toothache.

Pepper- History is peppered with wars and colonisation, over this spice. Vasco Da Gama went around in (large) circles, and found it in Kerala.

Cumin and coriander seeds (dhania) are like a staple in any curried concoction. Green coriander and Pudina (mint) also add spice to anything they get into.


Nostaljio

Image
Coined a new word to commemorate the launch of Jio, and also to remind myself that we live and remember. Some pics from my batchmates of IIM Bangalore. First, all (almost) the lovely young ladies of my batch. Second, a few young men preparing for placement Third, my flatmates at Vasant Vihar, Delhi in 1984.


 And this was the launch of WINDOWS at IIMB.

Coimbatour

Image
Prof Poongodi at KCT, with guess which book? My Marketing Research book that she uses. Another pic with KCT faculty in front of their institute.
I had an occasion to go to Coimbatore on invitation recently. A bustling city, with a lot of entrepreneurs in and around. Tirupur is not too far away. Textiles are a speciality. Lots of educational institutes too. One such is KCT, where I spent some time with students and faculty. Founded by a Gandhian, the institute has an autonomous MBA program, and a couple of technical programs.

Met my friend Dhanapal, who runs a couple of schools in the town. We worked for a few years at Kirloskar Institute in the past, and have remained in touch. Golf is a common interest, and we have gone to Kodaikanal and Munnar to play too-unfortunately this time there wasn't time.

Coimbatore is also a gateway to Ooty and Coonoor, where I had been recently on a vacation trip, and to play Golf. I first went to Ooty on a KSTDC tour bus in the 70s, and remember ea…

Begum Jaan -Film Review

Disclaimer-I am rather fond of Vidya Balan, so this could be a tad biased.

There are a lot of good things in the film, like its attempts to give each character in Begum Jaan's establishment a unique identity and character. That is not easy to do, considering it is an establishment of ill-repute, and the ladies (and  a couple of gents) don't get to go out of the house much. But we do sympathise or empathise with most of the characters.

The story-telling sessions by the old lady in the house are used brilliantly to weave in tales of heroism by Indian women in the face of extreme adversity- Padmavati, Rani Laxmibai and so on. There is also comic relief in the form of the inspector and the man of the house imitating various inmates.

The fiery character of Begum Jaan is well played by Vidya Balan. The two other main characters of Rajat Kapoor and Ashish Vidyarthi are OK, a bit predictable given the story. The biggest contribution of the film though is its indictment of humanity fo…

Rajesh Khanna- A Phenomenon

Celebrity worship comes easy to us- Sport and Films being obvious candidates. So here goes, an ode to one of Bollywood's most popular "superstars".

Rajesh Khanna was not immediately successful, and had a couple of so-so films before he hit the big time with Shakti Samanta's Aradhana. Kishore Kumar and Rafi, along with SD Burman's tunes, lifted this film into the mega-hit-sphere, and Sharmila Tagore and Farida Jalal also played their roles. The songs are a hit even today, close to 50 years after they were composed- Gunguna rahe hain bhaware, Mere sapnon ki rani, Roop tera mastana, Kora kagaz tha yeh man mera, ...all classics. The debonair RK sang Baagon mein bahar hai with Farida Jalal in his second avatar in the film too.

Then followed a string of films in which he excelled, including Bawarchi, Amar Prem, Dushman, Hathi Mere Sathi, Aap ki Kasam, Mere Jeevan Sathi, Safar, Souten, Namak Haraam, and my favourite, Anand. Many were memorable, and most had great music…

4,00,000 and Going

Some stats from my blog to be proud of-


Pageviews last month 10,411

Pageviews Alltime 400, 035

Readers of course, are the key. I did not expect so many of you, really. I am truly madhosh. To celebrate, I am reproducing below an early blog post from 2008 titled Novelty.

What we need to keep us going is something new. According to guys like Osho, everything is evolving all the time, and therefore when you see it tomorrow it is different from what it was yesterday. This applies to everything- from a leaf on a tree to your wife, or for that matter, yourself (the mirror will vouch for that!). But everyone is not Osho. So we make valiant attempts to find variety in our lives. At least I do, sometimes with good results, sometimes with terrible ones. For example, I have tried almost all snacks available at airport counters, and they are equally bad! Ditto for food served inside the aircraft. Maybe when it is airborne, an idli has its way of getting "airy", and therefore t…

The Hundred Year Old Man...Book Review

Image
This is such an intriguing title that I had to buy the book, and read it. It's a bit long (about 400 pages), but it's a treat of many types. If you ike gentle humour, it's there. If you like devastating take-offs on politics, politicians, or isms, they are also there.

If you just like a good story with flashbacks in between, and surprises galore, you'll find these. Imaginatively written, I would put it next to James Bond in the thrill of anticipation- you get drawn in to his story, which is incredible, witty, full of twists and turns, and generally, rollicking fun with all the historical figures that one can think of. The adjectives used for some of thm (that clown) will make the people concerned roll in their graves, and you on the floor. If you want to clean up the floor, this is your chance.

Gone Mad-the Brand

Image
There is this brand called Gone Mad. It has a cream wafer stick wrapped in a Rs. 5 singles pack (different flavours) and sold in a carton (below). Made by Garuda Foods, an Indonesian-Indian joint venture, they have distribution in a few Southern states and Maharashtra.
Wondering if anyone has eaten it, because I am involved in writing a case study on the brand launch. If you can, please do share your thoughts about it.

Bangalored

Image
It is always a pleasure to be in Bangalore. This time it was work that brought me here, and a highlight was discovering some places and even better, rediscovering people I had not met in some time.

I spent some time in the MR (Market Research) industry after my MBA, and one of my friends from those days is Muthukumar, who is still in the industry, while I veered off into academics. Our friendship grew over the years, and we independently started on Golf too. It was great meeting him and his family after a while.Here we are, at the KGA (Karnataka Golf Ass.) one evening.
Again, meeting old students is a given, as I try and catch up with my FB friends in person. This time I got lucky, and met three former students from different institutes-one at IBM, another into her own Exec Search frm, and the third at SAP. Also met my former assistant at Indore, Saumya, who works for Hansa research at Bangalore. And got to catch up with Aniruddh, an old friend who works for NetApp as a lawyer. Wonde…

Of retreads and reincarnation

Post-this post, I might retire. Because I am like the post office-outdated. No, that does not mean I don't get dates. Fortunately, there are still friends who humour me for an evening at a pub or a restaurant.

What I mean is, I am feeling a bit tired. Now, a tyre can be re-treaded, but can a tired soul be? Only if it comes back in a full body in a re-incarnation, I suppose. On similar lines, can a retard be re-treaded?

That brings me to an important question. Does a tyre ever retire? Or does it continue to tread fearlessly where no tyre has gone before it?

Other important questions that I face are-

Does a homily cause the end of bonhomie?

Does a ghost-writer live on after his death?

Is playing caste politics a castly mistake, in the wake of recent election results?

Can you call a guy who bombs Syria an ASS-yrian?

Can a bird use a Nom-de-plume?


Pageviews Gone Mad

This pic is of my Blog's pageviews. Date April 4, 2017. Pageviews today
4,376 Pageviews yesterday 354 Pageviews last month 10,040 Pageviews all time history 398,407

Hope it's true, but aware it may not be. Just a bot gone mad, and measuring it wrong, maybe. The details of countries from where the viewers came are even more astounding-

Country

Pageviews United States 964 France 908 India 892 Netherlands 469 Romania 369 Germany 359 Czechia 97 Norway 89 Sweden 89 Switzerland 86

Highways and Laws

The Supreme Court has stopped liquor vends, bars, etc. along highways, both National and State.

In response, some states have apparently redignated their highways as low-ways- no, not exactly that, but something on those lines.

It would be interesting to see if the court wins this battle of wits, but some possibilities come to mind.

The bars can be converted into dance bars, as they are not banned yet. Some exercise would be good for the pot-bellied drivers who can also take care of their adrenalin rush during the drive, and go out to drive calmly after a zoomba session.

You can play Hide and Seek along the Hi ways, maybe with a treasure-hunt style game, and hi-ly prized prized.

Hi-tea zones can also be substituted for the erstwhile bars, re-creating the oh-so-English tradition in our low-brow hinterland, ths getting back at our colonisers. What say?

My way or the highway, did you say? That's so old-fasioned, dude.

Naam Shabana- Film Review

This could have been titled Baby se Pehle, as it is a prequel to Baby which starred Akshay. This one stars Taapsee Pannu, who is worming her way into my heart with her performances in Chashme Baddoor, Pink and now, Naam Shabana.

She is quite credible as a secret agent, but also credible as a young lady with a mind of her own. She faces tragedy with guts, and comes out on top. That message itself would be enough to go make you watch this film. But the film also works as an action film (a la Bond), with good editing to keep you guessing till almost the end, as to what will happen next. The other actors-Akshay, Danny, Anupam Kher are useful to keep you interested. Manoj Bajpayee is very good, and so is the lady who plays Shabana's mom. The villain is Prithviraj, I think from Mallu films. The nondescript "cable guy" is hilarious, when he says "People love free offers."

I enjoyed the film. Get some popcorn, and get going. The combo would be worthwhile.

Phooling Around

Hindi films are replete with songs which have phools (flowers) of all kinds. As an expression of love, beauty and a few other good things such as fragrance. Here's recounting a few of those.

Phoolon ke rang se, dil ki kalam se.

Phool tumhe bheja hai khat mein, phool nahin mera dil hai..

Phoolon ka taaron ka sabka kehna hai, ek hazaaron mein meri behna hai..

Ai phoolon ki rani, baharon ki malika, tera muskurana ghazab ho gaya..

Phool ahista phenko..

Baharon phool barsao, mera mehboob aaya hai..

Phoolon si mehak kaaton si chubhan ..kahin aaj kisi se mohabbat na ho jaaye..

Many film titles also had a phool in them, such as Ajay Devgun's debut Phool aur Kaante, Ek Phool Do Mali, and Mehmood's Do Phool.

Bellampalli Memoirs

Bellampalli literally means Gud-gaon. Gud as in jaggery. We lived there for around 7 years, from 1970 to 1977. I was a teen then. It's a small mining town in Adilabad district.

It was a one-horse town, and I will concentrate on the merchants there.

We had a cloth store. It was run by a sweet-talking Marwari called Banwarilal. His patented dialogue, once you selected something to buy, was "Hum aapko purane rate se deta hai. (I will give it to you at the old price)."

Then there was a tailor, Laxmi Tailors by name. The proprietor's name was Mondi. We went and sat in his shop to collect clothes left for stitching, and it usually was a fairly long wait, because the clothes had gone for ironing, or for fixing buttons.

And then there was Jeetmal Moolchand Chitalangi, where we got our monthly groceries. In a narrow lane, the shop was badly lit. But Mr. Jeetmal was always bright, and made good conversation with us, his customers. Maybe we got a free toffee once in a while, o…

Why You Remember People

There is a lobe in your brain, located in the upper left corner..no, I am kidding. Let me get down to brass tacks.

I remember people who are nice to me (Dale Carnegie, are you listening?). I remember even more, those who are nasty to me (Dale has no business here).

I remember students who do well in class, by asking good questions, and preferably, answering them too.

I remember those who can tell a good joke, or at least forward me a good joke (I am grateful to all those who provide me with fb fodder :)

I remember those who ARE a joke too. I won't tell you who they are, of course.

I remember those who fake an accent- particularly a Yankee accent. (Been there, done that)

I remember people who are creative, or like chai, pan, (not chai-pani), Single Malts, Golf, books, travel, Hindi films and music, those who read my books, those who generously like my fb posts, pics, comment on them, or have nice DPs..guys/gals who karaoke are Ok too.



Novel Product Placement Ideas

Bond driving an Aston Martin is passe. We need new ideas for changing times. Here are a few ideas-

MPs who plan to beat up people with chappals should be identified, and you can give them a branded chappal to beat up people with.

The selfie-taking crowd should be asked to take them at an angle where the brand of watch they wear, or the brand of bag they carry should be visible. The smile (only if their teeth are white) can be sponsored by a toothpaste brand too.

Traffic jams can be sponsored by Netflix, who can screen short (or long) films through a drop-down holographic screen wherever the jam happens..it would be a happening jam, and people may not want it to end...

Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan can focus on the brand of WC being shown in the ad.

Convocation Toppers can wear arm-bands sponsored by laptop and mobile makers, or pen-makers (if they still exist).

Once placed, a student can carry a halo-gram of the company that will show around his head, which could be termed 'the halo ef…

Creating Nicknames

Nicknames are always interesting. Chhotu and Motu are the garden variety ones, but if we exercise the grey cells, we could come up with newer, gooder- err, better-ones.

Example- Bhatinde ka tinda.

Here are a few names that my batchmates were called. (It seems as if there were many people fully occupied in coining nicknames rather than doing their MBA!)

R2D2 (Star Wars character), Tintin, UFO, Dangler, Gadfly (real name Gadkari),

Dede (inspired by a prof whose last name was Lele), Bond 003(this was a girl),

Shah of Kiraan (Kiran was his first name), Jerome K. Jerome (Jayram), Toddler, Bhau,

Mandrake (for Manglik), Gothix, Fu Manchu, Marcus Gundolius (guess who?)

Bishop, Thalaivar, Henry Fayol (for Srikant Payal), Dancing Queen (for a guy who danced his way into our hearts), Captain Haddock,

POM I, POM II and POM III (after a course called Production and Operations Management, which was not exactly the most liked. The OM stands for Old Man.


Endearing Film Characters

The two profs in Chupke Chupke are not professorial at all, and are funny in the extreme. Dharmendra and Amitabh in  roles that paralleled Sholay in quality, for me.

Sunil Dutt as Bhola in Padosan, Saira Banu as his haughty but music-loving neighbour.

Mehmood as a Charlie-Chaplin look-alike in Aulad. He sings "Jodi hamari jamega kaise jaani, hum to hain angezi, tum ladki Hindustani"with Aruna Irani in the film.

Om Prakash as Jijaji in Chupke Chupke, a lover of Shuddh Hindi.

Ramesh Deo and Seema Deo in Anand. Very real, and beautifully portrayed.

Jaya Bhaduri in Mili-slightly over-the-top, but her character was like that.

Keshto Mukherjee in all his films, playing a drunkard.

Soorma Bhopali aka Jagdeep in Sholay.

Pran as a Pathan in Zanjeer. Yaari hai imaan mera yaar meri zindagi, he sings in the film, and how!

Rajesh Khanna in Bawarchi-the goodness of his character comes through in each frame.

Deven Verma and Sanjeev Kumar in Angoor. Fabulously innocent.

Naseer and Ravi Bas…

Phillauri- Film Review

I really hate to see good acting talent (Anushka and Diljit) being wasted because of a lack of understanding of the medium among key people. In this case, the director and scriptwriter-probably more of the latter.

Cinema is a medium that needs a strong screenplay, if it is to make an impact. This one moves too slowly, and is unimaginative, and the film badly edited. So it tests your patience. Most scenes should have been around one-third their length.

The story is mildly interesting, the period atmosphere is Ok, but it is all excruciatingly slow-moving. Unless you are a director who can make that riveting with emotion or some other peg, the result can be disastrous. When interest picks up for a few minutes, at the end, it again meanders through to a very slow last scene. Really stretching it.

Avoid if you can, is my opinion.

My Assistants Over the Years

I have had lots of them helping me do my job as a faculty. I was one in the U.S. too, assisting faculty with research. RAs or TAs by whatever name are a great help. These were the ones in the last five-seven years, who I am grateful to. From preparing material to some part of the grading when needed, they all increased my effectiveness.

At PESIT, I remember Anusha Narayan helping out with odds and ends.

Rachna Mittal was briefly my assistant at IMT Nagpur. She helped me with a leadership session that I had to prepare, for an executive program, among other things.

Tripti Srivastava and Abhinav Chandel were instrumental in running a Goa Case conference which we had run when in Nagpur IMT. Both were wonderful, and as I once told Tripti, did the work of five people (at other conferences we saw) single-handedly.

Abhishek Mandowra was my first AA here, and assisted me through a few courses taught to the EXec PGP and regular PGP (MBA by another name). Did a good job, without showing any str…

Machine- Review of the Hindi Film

Abbas-Mustan have made a comedy. It's just that they don't realize it yet. When the critics start comparing this to cult comedies like Gunda, they will.

Just watch the last ten minutes of this film (preferably free) to get what I am saying. No rhyme, reason, and brains. Lady meets her murderer who threw her off  a cliff, and instead of shooting him, listens to him spewing crap about 'love' for 6 minutes, accompanies him to another cliff, listens to him for four more minutes before he throws himself off, tired of waiting for her to do it. DON'T miss the ending, even if you miss everything else.

A mish-mash of Baazigar, Race and a few more films (wih inferior actors), and songs from yet other films, all badly mixed-up, makes up the rest of the story. Johny Lever is the only genuine piece of intended comedy. Actors are like zombies- sorry, machines. The cars used in the races have more emotion in them. They should all go to acting school.

Very funny, if you don't…

Simple Joys

A smooth, well-used Hawaii chappal. When we lived in the U.S., this was a premium item that we carried from India, because the so-called flip flops sold there weren't Hawaiian-comfortable, I mean.

A belt which has enough holes in it to adjust to your changing waist-size.

A shoe that fits, and is comfortable to wear for a few hours.

A room at the right temperature-particularly, an airconditioned one.

A fan/light switch one can reach without getting up from bed. With all the technology around, why isn't this mandatory?

Passwords that remember themselves- biometrics, anyone?

Fog-clearing machines at airports-not so simple?

Not so simple ones- publishers who publish (and not argue about WHAT to publish), customer service people who serve customers, Indigo air-hosts/hostesses who serve you more than 10 ml. of water in a glass at slow speed, students who have no excuses, news channels that report news instead of hyperventilating, ...well,..this is going to take a long time. See you…

Jetsetting and Shopping Spiced Up

SpiceJet is to open retail stores, according to a headline I just read. I had seen online shopping, and on-board shopping before, but this brings me back to earth.

I have a few suggestions for them.

Have the same selection process for shopping assistants as they do for flight stewardesses/stewards.

As you enter the shop, they give you a warning to leave your senses behind, and shop till you drop. If you do drop, they have a first-aid kit that they demonstrate how to use. The mask drops down from above where you have dropped,...

Drone delivery is free, if you use the self-billing kiosk.

Makemytrip can offer pick-up and drop service for customers if they promise to buy goods for 2000 bucks.

You can shop in one town and have SpiceJet carry it with you as free baggage allowance to another.


A Man Called Ove- Film Review

A Swedish film, nominated to the Oscars for foreign film. Very different from the usual Hollywood fare that we see routinely. Worth watching.

It is about a simple boy from a poor background, who grows up to be a bitter old man. Why, is the subject of the film. And how he redeems himself. Although he contemplates suicide several times, he is saved in the nick of time, unwittingly, by a couple next door- the Iranian wife and her kids, in particular.

He narrates his own story to her one day, after they are drawn into an affectionate relationship over time. His own short love story that culminates in marriage and a lot of fights with the establishment over the rights of the handicapped, is a large part.

There is also a friend who is forcibly being sent to an old home, and that brings out the fighter in our hero once more. His fights with the friend over his choice of a brand of car (Volvo, when he is a fan of Saab) are funny, and there is a lot of tragi-comedy. The Iranian woman (Bahar P…

Shakespeare Updated 2017

Applying the timeless quotes from Shakespeare's works.

He came, he saw, he conquered- Modi in U.P.

To be, or not to be- RaGa as the face of Congress.

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.- The wal of Kejri.

Men at some time are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” -- U.P. voters

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. -  Applies to a lot of people strutting around in our lives. (You can have a go at applying it.)

Pankaj Udhas

I always wondered why he had a sad-sounding last name. He seems to have faded from public memory now, but I used to listen to him a lot at one time. He has a silky voice, and sang ghazals very well. We also called him India's answer to Punk Rock. Some of his ghazals that I liked were-

Ae ghame zindagi, kuch to de mashwara, Ek taraf uska ghar ek taraf maikada. (we used to joke about maikada by turning it into mai gadha among friends)

Choom kar madbhari aankhon se gulabi kaaghaz, usne bheja hai mere naam sharaabi kaaghaz

Sabko maloom hai main sharaabi nahin..

Raat ghatayen khushboo, un zulfon ke naam..

Chandi jaisa rang hai tera ..

Yeh alag baat hai saqi ke mujhe hosh nahin..

 Mohe aayi na jag se laaj main itna zor se naachi aaj, ke ghungroo toot gaye..

An incident I remember from his live concert we had gone to in Atlanta, USA. The sound was too loud. And when we went to the sound guy and asked him to tone it down, he asked us "Kabhi Michael Jackson ka gaana suna hai? (Have y…