Saturday, June 28, 2014

The uninvited guest in our house!

It was 6 PM in the evening and getting dark slowly. We have generally good amount greenery in our layout. There are many houses in Royal Park Residency which is our layout; we do have some vacant sites too. Once in a while we see some strangers too!

But we had an uninvited and totally unknown guest yesterday getting into our house premises. The guest was looking quiet and calm, but appeared to be dangerous if not handled properly. My wife and kids were alone there at home.

In the evening my wife was trying to check the water level in our underground water tank and opened the first stone slab placed over there. So far so good.. but when she opened the second slab… Alas !! She got the shock of her life !!!

By now, you must have guessed it.. our guest was none other a Snake..! Not a king cobra.,. but a junior one.. 3-4 feet in length! probably one of kids! For a moment she did not know what to do, whether to place the stone back or take out the stone completely. Any of her actions would have caused either harm to the animal or herself.

She immediately called our daughter Anushree slowly pulled out the stone. By now even Anu was also little scared the way mother screamed. She approached her mother in lightening speed. But while all this was going on, our junior cobra fell into the water tank !! Water level was hardly 2-3 feet.  Mother and daughter duo looked at each other questioningly. Of course they had recovered now to good extent now, because they knew snake could not fly out of the tank and harm them ! J

They thought now for a while,  how to protect this guy, without harming him and themselves. In the meanwhile my son Chirag also joined them. All of their focus was now our guest. Initially they took a pipe and inserted into the tank. Naa..naa!!  Our guy is not able to hold onto that and come up..! Without losing hope, they inserted a think rope and asked the junior cobra to hold on to that and climb... still no..!! Probably he is not understanding their instructions.. what to do…? Language problem..!! :)

Now they were running of ideas.. suppose if the snake dies inside the tank..we have empty the whole tank and clean it up..naa..?  That would cost somewhere around Rs.1500 to 2000..! Oh my GOD..! Big financial risk!

You can imagine now, all three of them sitting on the side of water tank and doing some serious brainstorming on "how to protect this uninvited guest..?". At the same time, they cannot take their eyes off the gentleman who was swimming inside !!

Already 20 minutes passed by. Suddenly a thought flashed in Anushree's mind and she blinked her eyes! She said "Mummy ! We have got a fishnet like laundry bag.. no..? It is about 2 feet in length . Why don’t we tie it to a pair of strings and drop it inside the tank. Our snake maharaja will listen to our instructions and get inside the laundry bag!. (What an idea Sirji..? Sorry Madam ji..? )

But my wife Teju was not in a state any one's suggestion now! She immediately got into action.. rushed inside the house and brought the laundry bag. All of them like a sincere project team members tied the bag to two strings and dropped it inside the water tank.

I am not sure whether they were singing "Mai teri dushman" song from Sridevi starrer "NAGINA"...! But definitely after few attempts , our gentleman Snake got into the soft trap laid by my family members !


First hurdle cleared..! What next..? They slowly pulled the snake GOD along with the bag out of water tank. My wife Teju, the project manager of this massive rescue operation asked our two wonderful kids to get away from her. She walked a little distance away from our house and released this gentleman Snake to the greenery in a vacant site. The junior cobra quietly moved away without troubling any one!

Happy Ending!! Abba..! Teju sighed in relief, but could not help appreciating her daughters timely wisdom!  When I returned home in the night, there was a big story in store to be narrated!

My intent of sharing this story is not to boast about my family. I am sharing it for few reasons.

·  Our children are not burdened by other hassles of materialistic life outside. They are able to think differently. Their thoughts are so clean and innovative. There is nothing wrong in approaching them when we have problems in hands.
· If the same incident would have happened 10 years back, we would have killed the snake! I guess the awareness on wildlife is increasing slowly. Not even for a moment they thought of killing that snake! I appreciate them for this thought process and felt very happy for that. 

·   Most importantly they did not panic in crisis and took the right decisions. A slightest mistake would have either harmed any of them or the animal itself.

These are some of real life lessons. We don’t learn them in any classroom. I try to focus more on such lessons. I don’t mind if my daughter gets 60 or 70 marks in class tests, but on this occasion she got 100 out 100! I am very happy for her.  I wish and do hope our kids will score well in their real life's lessons.

My request to all of you would be – Please orient your kids and family on such things.  It will be a great help!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The role of thought provoking Movies in our life..

We all know the books you read, the places you go and the people you meet will all add up to your personality. We can gauge any one's personality by speaking to them for just 15-20 minutes. You can very well see that the variety of books they would have read, the places they would have visited across the globe and different personalities they would have met would be quite visible when we converse with them. Right,…?

But I would also strongly like to believe even the movies, plays and cultural shows add to our personality and definitely help enhancing our own self. I have always liked and appreciated such thought provoking movies, be in any language. I have my own collection of such movies. Whenever I find time, I just watch them again and again. It is such an amazing experience because these movies give you different perspective every time..! That is the beautify of such movies.

For ex :
I have watched two 1975 block busters “MAYURA”(Kannada) a movie starring late Dr. Rajkumar and bollywood all time hit movie “SHOLAY” again and again at different ages..say....7, 16, 27, 35 and then now at 40+!! J
Every time these movies have given me different perspective and view point. I have been able to appreciate their freshness and thought. But the point here is not that! There are some movies which actually influence the way you start thinking. Many times you may be able to overcome some of the flaws in your personality. There are many life's valuable lessons we get from such movies.

We, Indians many time don’t know how to feel proud of ourselves and suffer internally. Either we have tons of EGO or extremely low inferiority complex. While dealing with these two extremes, we forget ourselves and lose sight of objectives and goals in life.

With that back ground, I would like recommend two such movies which compel you to think about yourself. They are "English Vinglish"(Hindi) featuring Sridevi and "Queen"(Hindi) starring Kangana Ranaut. These movie speak extensively on one's personality, inhibitions, inferiority complex and tolerance to something that is very unreal. For me, “Queen” looks like advanced version of “English Vinglish”. Please do watch them in that order.

Both the movies are directed very well by respective directors Gouri Shinde and Vikas Bahl. The two leading ladies Sridevi and Kangana have very portrayed the role of protagonists amazingly well! These are some of the best roles they would have played in their entire career.

Those who missed watching them please go ahead, buy DVDs and watch them today itself.

Just one word of caution here!
While "English Vinglish" is a pure family entertainer which you can watch with everyone, "Queen" is a bit bold movie and only for 18+ audience. You should avoid watching "Queen" with your kids.

References :

Message here is – do catch up on some good thought provoking movies whenever you find time. There are many of them!

Have a nice weekend!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A review on the book "Why I failed " wriiten by Shweta Punj


"Failure in life is quite shocking, an insult, a humiliation..You should not fail in life, it leads to embarrassment, lets you down..".  This is what I used to believe decades ago when I was a student. But over the years as I sailed through life, I learned failure is not everything, there is even bigger purpose and life ahead. That gave a sense of calmness and helped me take a more meaningful view of failure.
Recently this interesting title "Why I Failed" caught my attention when I happened to visit Sapna Book Stall, Bangalore. (By the way, they are celebrating their 47th anniversary and offering very good discounts on many new books! Go and make the best out it ! J ). When I flipped through the book briefly, I felt it would make a great weekend  read ! Believe me it did and stood up to my expectations.

Failing is not a mistake. You need to pick up the pieces and move on. That’s what I used I believed so far. This book further not only reinforced my beliefs, but took my perspective to a different level. A level where failure can be by design, can be a great experience in itself !
The book "Why I failed " is a great compilation stories from 16 Indian leaders from different fields about the failures in their lives and career. The author Shweta Punj,  business journalist working with Business Today,  has attempted to take a refreshingly fresh look on failure in this book.

The leaders have spoken their heart out and candidly narrated their stories. The language throughout the book is very motivating and inspiring and makes a breezy reading. You may finish the book in one go!
"Never confuse your being with your doing. You don’t have to live the way the world expects you to." Says Anu Aga.

"Do what you love. It is better to be the king of hell than be a slave in the heaven" advises Madhur Bhandarkar.

Every chapter is designed well with reasons for failures and key take aways from each leader. What appealed to me was the sheer honesty and openness from these leaders in sharing their failure stories. It definitely needs courage.  

The grit and determination with which these leaders carried themselves during  such situation is remarkable. The message that comes out very clearly is "Never give up when you are right. Believe in yourself. When your purpose is clear, you don’t have to fear any one”.
Every story is told very passionately and is quite engaging! I particularly liked the stories of Madhur Bhandarkar, Sabyasachi Mukerji and Narayanan Vaghul. Especially the last line in the Introduction "Happy Failing Everyone! " has a very deep meaning.

I would strongly recommend this non-fiction for
·         Those who have suffered because of the way people looked at their failures.
·         Ones who is in search of a purpose in their lives.
·         People who are willing to go experiment, take bold decisions, commit mistakes  and make a difference to society and system

It is very difficult for everyone to go and speak to such leaders personally on their failures and how they managed it. So this book serves as one single compilation which serves that purpose. Each chapter is life's one valuable lesson!
Some of the things that could have been better are - the cover page, but it seems keeping it understated was by design.
Overall, I feel the author has achieved her objective in terms of giving right perspective on failure. I would rate this book at 4 out of 5.

Happy reading… I mean Happy failing very one ! J

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Krrish 3 (K3)” : A preview ahead of its release!

So far I used to write reviews about a movie, but this time I am attempting a preview of a movie for the first time before the release of the movie.

My first preview is about the most expected movie of this Diwali "Krrish 3" or “K3”  starring our Indian Cinema's Greek GOD Hritik Roshan, produced and directed by his father Rakesh Roshan.

K3  is already creating lot of hype because of its trailer released in Nov and aggressive promos that are going on as of now. The promo activity is so aggressive that in the last 1 month itself we saw 8 different articles in Bangalore Times" on "Krrish 3" alone. 3 on Hritik, 1 on his father, 1 on his uncle Rajesh, 1 each on Vivek, Kangana and Priyanka. Last 5 days to go now for the movie’s release! You might see some more heavy stuff coming your way before the release. :)

 If promos are any indication of this movie's success, then this movie must be a super-duper hit. But sometimes I feel, the promos are so aggressive that they might increase audiences expectations unnecessarily and that might affect K3’s fate adversely. A movie becomes a hit when a viewer goes to theatre with least expectations and movies delivers more than that.

 As we all know, K3 is an Indian Super Hero's fiction story where the good wins over evil at the end, the movies promises  with great special effects.

No doubt, Hritik always gives his more than 100% for any work he does, so you can be fully assured that you get your paisa vasool for all action scenes , dance sequences and his acting skills. If you have seen the trailer, the cinematography, music, sound effects you can say they live up to your expectations.

But there is so much discussion going on in the media and public about whether K3 will break the box office record set Chennai Express which is more than Rs.400 Crores ! We don’t know whether K3 can do it at this point of time!
Because Box office record just does not depend on these technicalities. For that, a movie should have something for every age group in the audience. A lively narration(whether fiction or non-fiction), a good plot, catchy music, pleasant cinematography , good contribution from all artistes and of course, some x-factor that brings in audience to the theater again and generates repeat business for the producers. There should be sequences which cannot be enjoyed on a normal pen  drive or a DVD.

K3 is coming after a long time compared to earlier two installments i.e. "Koi... Mil Gaya" which came in 2003 and second one "Krrish" in 2006. Roshans have spent close to 3 years in pre-production and production of this movie and claim that this is costliest and biggest ever movie made in India.
About the success of the movie, after having seen the trailer, I would say the following would play a critical role, if they are not there in the film, K3 might suffer.

A good story, a convincing narration of the plot, a lot of highs in the script which attract children, special effects which appeal to Indian common audience and not just multiplexers and of course a good bone tickling funny moments is what a generally every one will be lookin for.  And if Children don’t accept the movie, it might severely affect the end results. Remember this class of audience played a huge role in the success of movies like "Chennai Express" which beat all other movies hands down.

 As far as technical excellence is concerned, director Shankar has already set a bench mark on how to make large scale sci-fi movies in India with Super Star Rajini starrer "Robot(Enthiran)". They recovered the whole of movies budget in flat 3 days! On Sunday evening, the movie producers were already celebrating in Chennai!
Shankar himself might take many more years to make yet another technical master piece like "Robot".

If the audience has to like this movie, the quality has to be much higher than that.
So I would say, K3 has to give something more than "ROBOT(Enthiran)" and "Chennai Express" if it has to be biggest hit of this year.

Risks with this movie:

·         If fun quotient is not there, K3 might turn out to be an absolute serious sci-fi thriller.
·         There is a good long weekend from 1st to 4th Nov, on which K3 can encash on.
·         But in the meanwhile there are 3 more bug budget movies like ‘Ram-leela', ‘Gori Tere Pyaar Mein', 'Bullet Raja'  are also releasing in the same moth. They can dilute the free run of "K3.
·         Hrithik is repeatedly telling that it will match the quality of a Hollywood movie and can take us to all together a different level.
·         This definitely raises audiences expectations. Hope Roshans have really done their home work well and live up to our expectations.
·         Audience expects that the plots are not directly lifted from any Hollywood movies.
·         Media is already pitting Hritik against Aamir for their respective movie releases.
·         On top of this, Aamir Khan is trying to get the theatrical release of his upcoming bug budget movie “Dhoom-3” 2 days before K3 hits the screen. Don’t ignore the perfectionist ! He can play a great show spoiler and divert the attention of the audience!

My Projection on the K3’s success:

This movie may not break the records created by "ROBOT(Enthiran)" and "Chennai Express", but might do very well do well in box office and recover its budget.

Star Cast of K3:

Director/Producer   : Rakesh Roshan
Cast                            : Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Vivek Oberoi, Kangna
Story                           : Rakesh Roshan
Music                          : Rajesh Roshan
Cinematography     : S. Tirru
Editor                          : Chandan Arora

Wiki Page:           

All said and done, I personally like Hrithik, his versatility as an actor, his dancing skills, the way he carries himself on anfd off screen and of course his wonderful personality.
I wish this a movie a great success at the box office and hope it definitely satisfies the entertainment appetite of all the Indian cine lovers across the globe.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Our career is our own baby!

Everyone around us will help and support our baby grow...

But is our responsibility to
- provide right nutritious food at right time...
- admit baby in good school at right time...
- provide right financial support for baby to grow and stand on its own.
- provide love and care for baby and spend sufficiently good personal time with baby...
And of course to clean up our baby's diapers and wash baby's bums when in mess..!

Everyone loves the baby if it is good looking..!
Everyone will notice how well or not you are taking care of your baby...!
But truth is knowingly or unknowingly ... we ourselves forget our baby, don’t provide support and take baby's life for granted!!

Remember whatever we say and do... we cannot afford to ignore our own baby for the consequences are far more serious in the long run!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Music knows no limits and boundaries!

I am a diehard fan of the legendary Musician A R RAHAMAN and his music. But today I discovered something interesting on net! A kind of someone doing a cover for an original ARR track.

Listen to this cover made by Alaa Wardi!! Jiya re from Jab Tak Hai Jaan!

It is truly amazing and sounds even better than original in some places! I tried my best to find any traces of any musical instruments, but could not! It is just human voice and some technical innovation!

This form of music is called A Cappella Music. In the simplest common usage, it is music sung without instruments accompanied. All sounds are created by voice, mouth and body only.

And in this form, this guy Alaa Wardi is a Rock Star!! Hats off to himi!!

You can listen to his other tracks here.

Who is Alaa Wardi..?

Enjoy the music!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hit Movies … Flop Movies.. Why..?

A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still images. These still pictures when projected in a theatre at a certain speed through a special projector, give an            effect of a continuous motion picture i.e. the picture which has a motion and in which the characters can speak, sing, dance and can do almost anything!
These pictures are produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects. The world’s earliest motion picture produced was "Roundhay Garden Scene" in 1888. Since then the movie making process across the world has undergone humungous changes and it has developed into an art form and industry.

Entertainment consists of any activity which diverts your attention or helps you to relax in your leisure time. Entertainment can be anything, such as watching a play, a show on a TV or a movie..etc.
Active forms of amusement, such as sports, are more often considered to be recreational activities. Activities such as personal reading or practicing a musical instrument are considered to be hobbies.

There are many types of channels for entertainment. But movies have become one of the mainstream entertainment channels because of the latest technology innovations, the evolution of internet, mobile world, the availability and speed of processing of information, the quality of movie production that is available now a days, the ability to reach broader audience in a short time. People enjoy and feel entertained watching movies from different languages, themes and with different star cast on different categories made by different nationals.
Because of this very reason, even the taste and expectation of the audience has gone up and new bench marks have been set up for movies. Long long ago, we had only black and white movies,  that 35 mm movies, then we got into Eastman color movies, then Fuji color movies and then cinemascope movies... then 70 mm movies. Even in sound track, we had only mono live sound, and then moved onto studio sound and then to stereo sound track.

After that many innovations like DTS and Dolby Sound have taken place. No wonder each department of a movie making process has undergone huge change and evolution. All this was possible only because the cinema throughout the world has embraced technology very well and kept pace with it.

At the same time, the audience has also kept pace with movie quality and their expectation is also quite high now. We don’t expect anything less than a decent storyline, a 70mm, Cinema Scope with DTS, a decent choreography, a great action sequence, a warm photography and a soothing music track and of course great action by all lead actors.
What makes a particular movie a super hit..? As we discussed above, the bench marks for any good movie have been set very well. Every cinema loves goes to theatre with certain expectations. Today’s audience is quite aware and well educated about what to expect from the movies. There are some very basic ingredients each cinema lover would expect from the movies.

Some basic expectations are..
·         A good storyline and screenplay, so that there is some meaning for the whole 2-3 hour production.
·         Storyline can cater to different types of audience based on the taste (Ex: Action movies, romance, comedies, thriller, period movies..etc)
·         No one wants to see a group of disconnected scenes and bundled as a movies and thrust upon the audience. There should be continuity in the storyline.
·         Good performance for most of the star cast.
·         A warm, decent cinematography, sound track, choreography, direction, production quality etc
·         Some wow factors in the movies.. Something that is unique and has not been done before.

Overall theme of the movie caters to a particular set of audience and based on the size of such audience across the world, it becomes either a hit or flop.
We very well know that all the movies produced in all the countries will not have all these characteristics. But still they go ahead and become block busters! (Read as Dabaang-2 ! ). Sometimes it is quite surprising how this happens, but there are many reasons behind such success.

We can see there are some prominent reasons behind such block buster stories as shown below.

The advertisement that used to be done for movies has changed drastically now. The budget spent on marketing, creating hype about the movie, PRO etc have gone up. The whole movie production cost has jumped by leaps and bounds. For Ra-One , a recently released bollywood movie, a whopping Rs.52 Crore was spent on was spent only on marketing through various partnerships, which set the record for the largest marketing budget in India.

Such kind of investments, approaches, strategies create lot of interest, hype among the audience and expectation about the movie goes up. Everyone would like to watch the movie in the first 2-3 weeks itself and more in the first week.
The producer would like to encash on such mindset. What they do is release a large number of movie prints  across the world and have more theaters screen the movie at a time. So even if the movie is an average movie, it might well become a hit because of no. of prints released! You might be surprised to hear that for Ra-One almost 3100 cinemas in India and about 900 across the world were showing the movie in the first week!!

So it is the marketing strategy of the produces that sometimes plays on the mindset of the audience and movie becomes a hit.
On the other hand, some movies though not so great, still become a hit because of a reverse strategy. That is, the producer puts in his best effort to make the movie, but does not unnecessarily hype the movie and keeps his expectations at realistic level. In this case even the audience does not have much expectation on the movie. But when it is released, they would have gone to watch the same with least expectations and it would have actually exceeded their expectations and won their hearts!

This is what exactly happened in the case of DON-2. The movie is not great compared to Hollywood movies, but the sheer production quality, some great locales and action sequences have made it a hit and people feel it is worth watching once.
There is another category, these are low cost movies but have a little good story line. Don’t spend much on gimmicks and hypes. They are made with a pretty low budget and become super hit merely because of storyline supported by good performances by lead actors. Once such movie was No one killed Jessica. They made it in plain Rs. 9 Crore, but this movie grabbed about Rs.47 crore in box office and then went on get another Rs. 45 crores in Satellite rights! Really good gambling!

Having said that, there is no master formula for making a super hit movie. Every movie is kind of a lottery for both producer and the audience. But understanding the taste and expectation of the audience is a biggest challenge for every producer.  He has to constantly keep playing between ‘trying too hard’ or ‘not trying at all’.

Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose!