Barkha Dutt and her time-out crib

Barkha Dutt
[Pic: tribuneindia.com]

Barkha is highly impressive with a mike in her hand. The comparable Christiane Amonpour of India. One of the stalwarts of NDTV and also a household name in Indian news. For the kind of fabulous reporting she does on NDTV she can just walk away with the best news correspondent award every year.

I’ve been a fan of her talk show We The People for a couple of years. We the People focuses on the hot topics of the contemporary political and social scene in India. She manages to get the best of minds appropriate to the topic selected and she definitely does a good job in forking the time/space between the opposites in the show. Its a show that will grow on you and you would even street fight with your folks to get hold of the remote on Sunday evenings. The same time Kushboo does the Jackpot show on Jaya TV and hence the street fight.

Last week, the topic on the hottest and very concerning topic of Reservation of Jobs in Private Sector. Thats enough to rake up the show. From Dalit activists to sociology professors, there were more than enough chief guests carefully selected to deal this rather very sensitive topic.While the group churned out some nice points on both sides[for/against reservation], I loved what GurCharan Das had to say.

GurCharan Das, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble, also a leading columnist in Times of India, answered to a query of giving away 2% of all the private companies profits to backward caste students, thereby enabling the government to start more schools for the backward castes. GurCharan remarked, why would the backward caste guys get public education even when the private sector contribute so much to the education. He said the private sector would surely give away more than 2% of their profits and those students who are from backward classes should be allowed to study in any school they feel like. Be it the Dhoon school to the Don Bosco they should be given the best of education. A reply with lots of foresight. He is certainly one visionary.

Back to point, Barkha Dutt seems to be too bothered about the time running away and literally cuts short some interesting conversations between the guests. That seems to be dull side of the show. If a guest comes over to the show, he should be given ample time to convey his ideas and also he needs time to talk against his counterparts ideas. Rather it seems like Barkha conducts a GD interview and the one who interrupts at the right time with the right stuff gets full scores. With the show being such a hit on NDTV why would those guys at NDTV crib so much to extend the show to an hour and half. Instead of the same news getting repeated every half hour, this one is better alternative. Would Barkha/NDTV get it done ?

More:
Barkha Dutt – A Profile.
Her Interview to The Tribune.

Kamalhassan's Confessions of the Assassin

Kamalhassan
[Pic: thehindu.com]

Kamalhassan, in his interview to The Hindu, makes a mention of Hey Ram‘s english version called Confessions of the Assassin. He leaves it to the assumption if it’s a remake or a dubbed version. But to read between/upon/downunder the lines, it looks like its a re-make. I hate to make this assumption because it could very well be a dubbed version. However, he says it been made on a limited budget and he is in agreement that Hey Ram should have been made on a shoestring budget.

Personally, I think, Hey Ram is one of the most stupendous movies he ever made. It had to it many abstract theologies that he advocated without being obvious and he did a good job of making it in big budget. Just because the movie failed in the box-office none[including him] can think it could have been made with a tight budget. Kamal along with Bharath Shah[who produced it in Hindi] did spend a huge lump of money for Hey Ram. However, the portrait of Sagetharam which he weaved so lavishly was definetly worth it.

Hey Ram had some superb talent to it. Be it Kamalhassan himself, Illayaraja who orchestrated the music for Hey Ram in Hungary, Thiru who did a great camera work, Shahrukh, Rani and many more.

If this Confessions of the Assassin could get a good notice in Hollywood, like Bend it like Beckham, Kamal’s long term dream of Marudhanayagam has chance to get a re-birth.

Incidentally, he also mentions Marudhanayagam while saying, It is a nice movie that has to be released in Tamil, English and French. My investment of Rs. eight crore is totally blocked. It should happen very soon. Read more from his interview, No stopping him.

Chennai Bloggers Fly High

Today’s Hindu spotlights on Chennai Bloggers and their Blogs in an article named Here, the possibilities are mind-blogging. Karthik Subramanian writes – The proliferation of broadband brings good tidings for the future, bloggers say. There will be voice blogs, video blogs … the possibilities are mind-boggling. Or should we say “mind-blogging”.

Kribs and Chandra Choodan alongwith others get a warm mention. Read More.

Katha Kelu Katha Kelu

Last evening, while me and my friend were yapping on tamil cinema, we stumbled over a question on good title songs in tamil cinema. While it’s no more a fad to have songs in the title, we have had many good numbers as title songs in the yester years. Both of us, spontaneously, could recollect only four good title songs. The first was the good Illayaraaja number Katha Kelu from Michael Madana Kama Rajan then it was Kaathal Kasakuthaiya Indiran Vandadum Chandiran Vandadum from Pandiyarajan’s Aan Paavam, Amman Koil Kezhakaaley from Sakalakala Vallavan and finally A R Rahman‘s Vellai Pookal from Kannathil Muthamittal.

Though there were few more like the one in Panakaaran, Manithan and other MGR/Sivaji stuff, these four were the ones that came to our mind without much thought. If only you can re-collect three good title songs from tamil cinema, thanks for that. No Googling, no Raaga no nothing. Sheer memory.

P.S – If only you can get three, you get a gmail invite. Hey, I hear you whispering THODAA. But guys, if not for the invite, be game and give it a shot.

The Cola War. Gossip In'corp'rated ?

[ by Latha (lathsmail@gmail.com) ]

A Brief IntroLatha from Bangalore, a vivacious dudette living a full paced neo-urban tech life in Bangalore with full-throttled thought process, enjoys Sujatha’s writings as much as she loves the protagonist Slade from Desmond Bagley’s spy fiction, a veena instrumentalist, an ad fanatic and a film lover, as her hobby goes long enough, dreams of making the best out of her Indian middle class values, in the years to come.

The Cola War. Gossip In’corp’rated ?

The warring companies perspective : Are we really doing things that match our core competencies? How effective are our advertisings? Is it the content that is effective in measuring top of the mind recall that triggers a cola bottle sale or is it an object of discussion and ridicule? Are we identifying brand comparisons or celebrity identities? Are we promoting them or are they promoting us? What is the value proposition to a consumer from our product and is it what they get from the advertising campaigns?

We could have entered as a foreign brand to very culture oriented society where the buy decisions are governed by pockets and hearts that make the decision. So does our brand appeal to the heart and pocket that has an expectation of a thrilling experience and of-course for less? Do we really investigate the cause and effect of campaign and whether it was just a source of business to the media and all the new overnight celebrities who are gobbled by our purchasing power and speed to buy them before they open their thoughts? Do we remember that a soft gentle touching and cute advertisement of an Aamir with a dilemmatic choice of Miss world and Ex-Mrs. Paes still has a quantifiable recall over an Azharuddin-Jadeja eating wood? (Yes! but this time in the woods)Do we think of the consequences of buying huge budget celebrities for that day who become overnight zeros when we attached our image of a hero with them? Do we really understand culture and what makes a Frooti sail smoothly despite the shelf being stormed by the giant name bottles? Did the macho taste the thunder stay? Did the change of the thirst quenching Limca wander into nowhere?

Do we remember the days when we collected thumps up crowns with cricketing star pictures and stuck them all over the place just to earn a bat that fell of the shelf and dissolved like POP (oh yea, it was the Kapil Dev, Sunny Gavaskar, King Richards signature memento) Oh! did we forget we sold zillions of crown caps and not the thunder? Do we recall, Gold Spot – the zing thing is still in our cherished memory though it often reminds us of the Jungle book? Are we learning to protect our forever brand status or leading ourselves to an in-distinguishable status leading to brand dilution? Do we see that the forever brand status of Polaroid is just becoming foregone in the history book titled ‘Death of a Company thought the brand lives forever as a name!’ though can be for reasons so different but could Polaroid’s marketing learn what the market wanted and what they delivered and was it timed? Well, it’s a learning process. For now we cant spend our time revisiting strategy. Let us just get on with our tactical day-to-day battles and eventually war not with competition but our own strategy!

Times might change, people could get modernized and wish the internet also delivered bottles, but the Indian family culture though might seem like a movie ending, always ends with a classic touch of a tear that travels the cheek. Yes till such time India isn’t the sentimental and emotional India, till such time that people think of a Diet cola and stop the calorie hunt in a calorimeter or till such time the bottles and cans reach the deepest interior of one man’s land where he is sitting alone with a wireless handheld with a cola next to him (he may not even have electricity to drive the bulb mind you), we can always ignore easy, simple advertisements. We can always ignore the possibility of a tired husband coming home replace his Narasus Coffee with a bottle of fresh kiss. We can always ignore the social marketing benefits. We can ignore the possibility of furnishing the seats in local trains with our logo attached to it. We can ignore the potential of putting funds in landscaping a garden and having small billboards that say, it is from the cola company. We can always ignore the possibility of daily wage spinner who constitutes probably the entire database of a census sporting a cute small bottle of refreshing cola and say’ aaaah, ye mera cola! Coca cola (COKE? Please send me my paycheck for this free advt! 😉 OR! Am I the next celebrity here?)

Don’t go! It is the media‘s turn to reflect – We are delivering the goods. Yes the company likes it, the celebrities like the fat paycheck and we are happy with the sales turnover. Yes we do wish that the celebrity we sign up vanish the next day to help us sign new comers who score two consecutive fifties but disappear into oblivion for reasons only our dear selectors can tell. We are giving what the companies want- excitement. So what if the focus group that we administered the campaign showed tremendous revenue in our regression but was randomized without matching. We deliver what they want but why should we be concerned if it doesn’t trigger purchase? It wasn’t our deal to deliver end customer delight? Let them battle, and we shall win!

I know it is getting a bit stretchy! But don’t forget the celebrities: Hey come on! It doesn’t matter if it brings a lot of professional discomfort. It doesn’t matter if the ad fails and tampers my personal image? I made the money I needed for today! So what if in the process of reinstating my status of the Icon that I am, Porter’s model comes into play? So what if the bargaining power of the media and company is more to sign me up for another campaign? At least I get the chance of a comeback. I need my presence no matter what. I don’t mind if in the corporate battles I become a pretty monkey though the original intent was to associate me with my sentiments and love to nature’s belongings.

Oh come on! It is the corporate loud speaker‘s turn: I proclaim my aggression, make my presence felt and word my vigor and enthusiasm to collide head on with my competition and will make bold statements. After all I am a loyal-faithful company person. I shall always remain with my cola. It doesn’t matter if I blow up my chances of seeking an elevated position in my competing cola company. I don’t mind the vibes? And I know the cola companies would always give me a chance to exchange my seats and become their loudspeaker to talk about and against what I said from here! Celebrities are perishable, not me……

The consumer – You and me! – Ada Innaba Cola Shola. Namba Nair Tea, Masal Vadai Maadiri Varumaa.

Superstitions, Tarot Cards and Indian Cricket

On the hype today was SET Max’s effort of telecasting ICC trophy. If you aren’t a CAS subscriber in Chennai, you are good to go. You tend to escape from all the hype these guys give at SET Max. That good old Doordarshan broadcast may not be all that lovable but they are certainly far ahead than the commentary at SET.

Starting from the Ad for the India Vs Pakistan match were Tuvameva Matha cha Pitha Tuvameva prayer sings in the background with a montage of people from various parts of India praying for India Jeethega. There was also this small section of superstitions were they make people more superstitious from the existing superstition paranoid. Worst of all, a Tarot card pickup show that makes forecasts on the Indian victory. The height of hyping Indian Cricket.

Charu Sharma and Mandira Bedi were the hosts. Charu should definitely learn from Harsha’s way of making the host panel comfortable and cool. He himself seem to be tensed by cutting short a passionate conversation of Kapil Dev. We all know that time constraint is always there for such host shows, but there are better ways to cut conversations than abruptly stopping it. It rather gives a feeling that the host himself doesn’t appreciate the conversation too much. Harsha Bhogle has always been consistent in his approach by showing his listening capabilities. Both Charu and Mandira seem to drift away once they poise the questions and suddenly come back to stop the superb answer of their guests. Infact we’ve been seeing Charu Sharma on the sports programs from the early 90s where he was the main host of World cup Football broadcast while Harsha arrived a little later.

However, it was an appreciable effort to have Kapil recollect his thoughts on the 1983 World Cup match at Turnbridge Wells where he scored 175 Vs Zimbabwe. Kapil and Krish Srikkant visited the ground and brought back the nostalgia of that match. Krish was describing how the manager of the tour was superstitious and while Kapil was blasting away the Zimbabwe bowlers, he made every Indian player stay at the same place for the rest of the match. Poor Krish was standing near the pavilion while the manager instructed them and he had to stay there, in bitter cold, for the next 2 hours. Kapil did explain how his knock served as a moral booster for the rest of the tournament and how they used this positive energy to win the World Cup.

ESPN/Star Sports evidenced once again, withouth doing anything, that they are the specialists and their cricket broadcasting would look much professional than the other ones. Donno how well would the ZEE group perform in this arena but it’s become more of a stigma that if the match isn’t broadcasted in the ESPN/Star Sports its gives a feel that we watching a old Hindi movie starring Amitabh and Pran. Too much Masala.

The Ada ad which was puzzling a week ago was revealed today. It was Jaya TV‘s re-design of their programming structure. No-one, infact had guessed it right. But it did seem that the hype was just too much. I would have expected them to start a new channel for the kind of marketing effort it had. The Ad pic is on my photoblog.

[Click on the pic to

7G Rainbow Coloby
[Click on the pic to see it on photoblog]

As you drive down the Liberty Bridge in Kodambakkam it’s impossible to miss this 7G Rainbow Colony hoarding. This has been there for quite sometime and while I was driving down last week, it did strike me that this was one of the most strategic locations in Chennai for a hoarding that could catch the most attention.

While we have the the adjoining sides of the most busiest Gemini Bridge filled with huge banners, this Kodambakkam locations attracts the best viewership, in my opinion. Usually when you drive over the Gemini Bridge in Mount Road, you can be as fast as 50-60 kms/hr. But on the Kodambakkam Bridge, its impossible that you can even drive in a cyclist speed. Worse if it’s on a rainy day. Your are forced to slow down heavily and the traffic moves by inches. So while you get frustated about the density of the traffic on the bridge and the propotional amount of fuel that’s wasted because of the wait, there is this Sonia Agarwal just opposite to you in the banner. Enjoy and see your boredom getting pushed aside. BTW, Should that be enough to prove the speed in which we move around in Chennai.

Incidentally I took these pics sitting on the driver seat of my bike. I was still, unmoving. Only that the other guys around me who were fellow waiters of traffic seemed to be displeased to see a me clicking the banner.

I did remember to put this pic online when I saw Sonia Agarwal on Ungal Choice in Sun TV. Pepsi has withdrawn the sponsorship to Ungal Choice and it’s another textile shop in Ranganathan street which is sponsoring the show now. Non-Sun TV subscribers can make a guess and I’m sure you won’t be right the first time. Uma still remains to be the compere of this show. Sonia did seem very shy and timid and she has managed koncham koncham tamil. Also she is very naive and has an infectious smile good enough to bowl over her admirers.

Looks like 7G RC will be out this month and those fellow traffic drivers would start drooling over this hoarding, then. Yet another pic on the photo blog.

Happy Birthday Dude !! – MS Subbulakshmi

MS Subbulakshmi
[Pic:thehindu.com]

As MS Subbulakshmi, the god’s own voice, celebrates her 89th birthday today, all we can do is to wish her The Hindu way, Many healthy happy peaceful returns of the day. Offlate, her recent setbacks on health front did worry millions of her fans across the world and this is probably is one nice way to wish her great health.

The quest to enjoy her music, live in an auditorium, has only grown over the days and has never suffered a downfall. Everytime you would hear Kurai Ondrumillai or the Bhaja Govindam or her Meera Bhajans, her music grows on you. These are just some popular examples that one can relate to. A long time carnatic music fanatic would be able to identify a raaga sung by a contemporary singer and relate to how MS has/would sung the similar raaga better.

While Raaga Aalaapana, they say, is easier said than done, I have heard people who talk/write about her ability to research deeper into a raaga during the Aalaapanai and still keep the audience glued. But again, we are just gifted to listen to her music on tapes. I constantly envy those who have enjoyed her carnatic kutcheris in person.

Few years back, while I had to visit my friend in the Apollo Hospital, we saw MS was just walking slowly in the reception area, probably for a doctor visit. And before me and my friend could realise it was MS herself, a few teenaged girls literally started running towards her. Bowed her down and were damn excited to see her. The next moment, a small queue got formed and they started falling down on her feet to get her blessings. While me and my friend stood transfixed by her tejas and the kind way she responded to those girls, we also realised that she was so embarassed to have a queue waiting to fall in her feets. All this within minutes and then she had gone. Though I had seen her before in a kutcheri, this recent one remains so fresh and couldn’t believe even today that we actually glimpsed MS, so near, in person.

Fly here for a complete profile of MS Subbulakshmi. This Happy Birthday Dude!! is kind of getting on like a impromptu series, so allow me to call everyone informally, a dude, including MS.

Times Today

Nokia 6600’s the hero in Cellular. Was suprised to see this headline. Cellular is a hollywood flick that released last week in the US.

According to The Wall St. Journal article, the Nokia 6600 is central to the film’s dark storyline, which portrays both the best and worst features of cellphones. Kim Bassinger plays a mother who is kidnapped, locked in a room — and manages to make one random cellular call — from a rotary dial phone that was smashed by the kidnapper. She reaches a random individual, played by Chris Evans, who drives around Los Angeles trying to help her. And here’s the twist, Ryan must overcome common wireless frustrations, including poor signals, a low battery and inadequate customer service, to save her. In the process he is stuck with rude sales people while he stopped at a shop to buy a charger. Read More.

HP ran more than 4 pages of Ads on their range of computer systems in The Economic Times, Chennai edition. No idea why so much on a single day ?

Zoom, the to-be introduced mass niche channel(read commercial) of Times Network has ads all over the Times dailies. Zoom is planned to be aired on the third week of this month. Don’t know if our local guys at chennai have any plans for the CAS subscribers. Read more in the India Television site.