Ghajini – A Breaking News Review

Update – Usually an update is done at the end of a post. This is to show that I do budge for the dynamic comments that are springing-up on this post and those 3 long-time friends who wrote emails about this blog post.

One – I am not sure after seeing the movie, if I will agree/dis-agree with this ‘comment-turned-review’. I could be wrong enough to put the review but wasn’t it rightly named as Breaking news quick review and not a Roeper-Ebert’s Analyzed review.
Two – It’s pasted here as a review not because I don’t like the movie. I was probably the first on the blogosphere to show love(!!) on Ghajini, when the movie was announced and my adoration towards Murugadoss’ skills. Read this blogpost dated Feb 12, 2005, Surya and Murugadas join hands for Gajini. BTW, where is this breaking news dude, a lot of them are searching for him desperately. Deivamey(!!) enga poiteenga ??

Alert If you really want to read the quick review after all this hungama, click the link below. Else join the fun by reading only the comments here.

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I, Me, Myself.

[ by Latha (lathsmail@gmail.com) ]

Hey Latha, here’s to u. Way to go dear, a pat on my back. Well, no one can blame me for respecting myself now, can u? Here pals, hold my hand and I shall lead to this wonderful world of self realization. I am a best eg for puliya paarthu poonai soodu pottu kondathu. Inspired by the enormous creativity of bloggers all around, the schizo in me jumped awake and said that I can do it too after all isn’t all talents hidden initially. Armed with a laptop and so called self proclaimed hidden talent, I started (or is it ended?) to pen my thoughts into words. Starting from the stuff that I don’t like (isn’t it comparatively easier to vent out our frustrations and dislikes). I guess all of us are just waiting for an opportunity to take it out on someone what better place to do that than in a blog. But first, tried to check the latest posts of all fellow bloggers(?!)- (hey, come on, I have started to write, so the guys who are presently writing are my fellow bloggers, surely, I can claim that). Feeling inwardly happy that Maximus is a little out of form and what aNti writes about goes only 20000 feet above my head (he isn’t in my league, u see), and since is KG is busy scaring people out of their wits with his flashy antics and Anand having chosen specific subjects to write about. I thought that I will definitely have my share of readers. The huge looming threat seemed to come only from a jujubi one time Indiblog winner Lazy Geek, but me thinks I can charm him into stop writing about simple things in life and getting into some other hobbies like maybe deep sea diving or bungee jumping or something less adventurous like traveling by PTC footboard on Monday morning, when his only focus wud be on hanging on to the window rod and not drooling over Sonia Agarwal over Kodambakkam bridge. Hey, come one, give me a big hand. I did manage to write so much now, didnt I?

Now, I dedicate this piece of my writing to my earlier attempt(the first, actually hee hee hee) at writing something which I presumed would make the world sit up and look at me with respect (and a little weirdly too). This writeup is inspired by the reaction I got for my previous article. Profound silence! Isn’t silence supposed to be gold and talk silver and all of u know that I cant be anyone else than a typical Indian girl who knows the true value of gold. Well, I should say that my dogged determination (read arrogance) to make my fellow bloggers and readers(?!) life miserable is also inspired by my all time fav Kamal Hassan who cant be anything but himself at any point of time. Trust me guys, Narcissm helps atleast it definitely doesnt harm.. if we cant blow our own trumpets then how will we even be able to the tell the world that we have trumpet in the first place. Well, this logic cant be beaten now, can it?

In addition to dedicating this piece to myself (hey, only I read what I write), this also goes to all those people whose talents are trying to break free to set the world right, and those who are basking in the glory of their skills. 3 cheers to all you bloggers out there for enlightening ignoramasus like me about this world’s achievers and dreamers, the explored and unexplored, interesting trivia’s, right up to bringing back nostalgic memories of pleasant yesteryears, lightening speed todays and positively wild tomorrows.

A special note of thanks to Lazy Geek. For identifying the writing bone in me, its ok lazy, relax everyone is allowed to make one mistake in life and you made yours 🙂

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.

"Chaiya Chaiya" on the Noo Yaak A Train – A review of Bombay Dreams

[ by Ashok Rajamani (donkeytiger@gmail.com) ]

A Brief Intro Ashok grew up commuting by the 12B pallavan. A materials engineer by trade, he is now a rootless wanderer in the States. He believes regional languages have the best in Indian Writing, and that Indian cinema could still stop being so intoxicatingly static. Someday he plans to settle in a South Indian Temple town, and revive the Swatantra party. Though for the near future, he shall remain a ravenous capitalist.

“Chaiya Chaiya” on the Noo Yaak A Train

“Shakalaka baby, Shakalaka baby, don’t Shakalaka with me.” So goes the lines of a song set to AR Rehman‘s music in the Broadway extravaganza Bombay Dreams. The lyrics, if you are care, are by one Don Black. This is not going to be a relentless negative critique of Bombay Dreams. Bombay Dreams is a mixed bag and even after the hindsight of one whole week, a general “yes or no” fatwa cannot be issued.

A musical is basically a story with minimal script and lots of music. A critical difference from Bollywood movies is that the singing tends to move the story along. The Oscar winning movie “Chicago” is based on a musical of the same name. Musicals are released in theatres in Broadway-New York, while there is a parallel musical scene in London too. Not more than 2-3 big budget musicals are released every season. Though some of the longest running musicals like “Phantom of the Opera” and “Cats” have been running for something like 10+ seasons, most don’t survive the first season.

Bombay Dreams came to the US after two moderately successful seasons in London. It is based on Rahman’s music. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Shekhar Kapur are supposed to have made some vague contributions. Meera Syal (of “Goodness Gracious Me” fame) is credited with the story though she probably wrote it on the back page of a plane ticket on one lazy afternoon. Therein lays the problem with Bombay Dreams. Bombay Dreams is constructed as a parody of a typical Bollywood masala movie but what if the original product itself is perceived (by the regular American) as a parody?

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"Chaiya Chaiya" on the Noo Yaak A Train – A review of Bombay Dreams

[ by Ashok Rajamani (donkeytiger@gmail.com) ]

A Brief Intro Ashok grew up commuting by the 12B pallavan. A materials engineer by trade, he is now a rootless wanderer in the States. He believes regional languages have the best in Indian Writing, and that Indian cinema could still stop being so intoxicatingly static. Someday he plans to settle in a South Indian Temple town, and revive the Swatantra party. Though for the near future, he shall remain a ravenous capitalist.

“Chaiya Chaiya” on the Noo Yaak A Train

“Shakalaka baby, Shakalaka baby, don’t Shakalaka with me.” So goes the lines of a song set to AR Rehman‘s music in the Broadway extravaganza Bombay Dreams. The lyrics, if you are care, are by one Don Black. This is not going to be a relentless negative critique of Bombay Dreams. Bombay Dreams is a mixed bag and even after the hindsight of one whole week, a general “yes or no” fatwa cannot be issued.

A musical is basically a story with minimal script and lots of music. A critical difference from Bollywood movies is that the singing tends to move the story along. The Oscar winning movie “Chicago” is based on a musical of the same name. Musicals are released in theatres in Broadway-New York, while there is a parallel musical scene in London too. Not more than 2-3 big budget musicals are released every season. Though some of the longest running musicals like “Phantom of the Opera” and “Cats” have been running for something like 10+ seasons, most don’t survive the first season.

Bombay Dreams came to the US after two moderately successful seasons in London. It is based on Rahman’s music. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Shekhar Kapur are supposed to have made some vague contributions. Meera Syal (of “Goodness Gracious Me” fame) is credited with the story though she probably wrote it on the back page of a plane ticket on one lazy afternoon. Therein lays the problem with Bombay Dreams. Bombay Dreams is constructed as a parody of a typical Bollywood masala movie but what if the original product itself is perceived (by the regular American) as a parody?

Read more

How do you say "AR Rahman rocks!" in Chinese?

Guest Blog #33 – Anand C

wohae.jpg

As if being nothing short of a god for a billion people wasn’t enough, AR Rahman‘s Warriors of Heaven and Earth is a solid introduction of ARR to the Chinese people (and mainstream western movie audiences)!

The excellent lyrics of Mehboob (who has many a time been in the shadows of Vairamuthu while composing Rahman’s lyrics in Hindi) and BlaaZe for hindi and english versions of Warriors of Peace can’t be missed. The soulful rendering and theme (in Hindi by Sadhana Sargam and English by Sunitha Sarathy) reminds one of “Tu Jahan Jahan Chalega…mera saaya saath hoga…” of yesteryears by Lata Mangeshkar.

The mysticism around the pieces makes one wonder when a Quentin Tarantino will pick up Rahman’s soulful and east-inspired pieces as background for a Kill Bill like martial arts scene…

Sivamani is back with two excellent solo percussion pieces, including one war-march. He is a percussion lover’s delight!

I can’t wait for an occasion to see him perform the pieces live!

Being #2, Avis Cars and Tamil film music…

Guest Blog #32 – Anand C

The piece, “What should you do if you are #2?” which I got to from Marketing Playbook, got me thinking…

As Laura Ries says in this post, Avis is one of the most memorable #2 campaigns (some other examples are also listed), focussing on why they are different from Hertz. This ad, created by Bill Bernbach is indicative of the theme of the campaign that converts disadvantages to advantages:

two_avis.gif

Of course, positioning runs deep in Laura’s blood. Her father, Al Ries (literally) wrote the book on “Positioning”, in addition to several follow up (and not as interesting) books.

Her post has a lot of lessons for the harris jeyarajes, the bharardwajes, vidyasagars and Raja family’s second generation (and the other umpteen upcoming tune-makers). Instead of trying to be AR Rahman clones (the undisputable #1) that seems to be the way to go, it makes a lot of sense to differentiate from the #1 as much as possible – like focus more on melody and less on percussion, put out pieces inspired by village and folk music, more lyrics-inspired music, more situational tunes, etc.

In a way, this is a painfully long restatement of Guru’s simple plea earlier… there is no strong #2, and there seems to be scope for an Avis.

Looking back…looking forward…

Guest Blog #31 – Anand C

I’ve been getting into several conversations about why I blog… in an attempt to try and answer that question, here’s a compilation of the things I’ve been intrigued by, as represented by past blogs:

Co-Blogs with LazyGeek: (World Themes for Indian Cinema)

1. The Man Who Saw Infinity – on Math Genius Srinivasa Ramanujan
2. ‘EYE’ THINK, THEREFORE ‘EYE’ AM – on Dr.V (Arvind Eye Hospital)
3. The Man in the Mirror – first attempt at verse.
4. Art for Art’s Sake – on dance and the arts.
5. LAUGHTER, THE BEST MEDICNE (Nightly Dose) – on NBC’s Jay Leno
6. Coming Soon…
7. ???
8. ???

The Lonewolf blogs:

1. Vairamuthu’s magAKK! – what kicked it all off!
2. Satrangi…Only You… now Fanah! – on ARR’s magic!
3. Social Influence in Media – Art or Science?Influence is one of my favorite non-fiction books.
4. Funda on FanahRipples thought this was interesting!
5. Footprints… – Bengali poetry in Hey,Ram translated into English.
6. Thillana’s Mann Vaasam – blogging about a concert.
7. Happy Birthday, Mr.Feynman! – learned he is Kingsley’s idol.
8. Reflections on Mani Ratnam’s Aayitha Ezhuthu
9. What makes NEWS? – rant!
10. Mani Ratnam and the “relative grading” syndrome!
11. On Coincidence… – 5 movies that impress upon the theme.
12. Week in Review – Once upon a time… – remembering a old teacher.
13. Mr. India, redux?
14. Goodbye, blue skies? – on space travel
15. The road to Nirvana… – wondering why Kurt Cobain died young!
16. Aayitha Ezhuthu titles – an easter egg? – thanks, Pradeep!
17. Fahrenheit 9/11, Control Room and the rise of a new genre? – Mitochondria didn’t think so!
18. An ode to 90 school children… – Kumbakonam fire tragedy.
19. Joy of getting something unexpected… – On hearing Matt Damon, watching Catch-22.
20. Glass-bangles Vinayaka (OR) Beauty is skin deep? – on R Parthiban
21. A tale of two Flip-flops
22. HmmM… Night?
23. David VS Goliath and the spirit of August 15th – on independent shops VS 800 pound corporations.
24. You may say I’m a dreamer! – titled after John Lennon’s lyrics from ‘Imagine’.

Looking at the topics above, I think I blog for the experiences it brings… for the interesting new people it introduces me to…for the freedom to think about the things I like.

Thoughts?

You may say I'm a dreamer!

Guest Blog #30 – Anand C

Just-a-Dream.jpg

We’ve all heard the “graduation speech” bit in most schools about the need for the young to dream. But it’s interesting to see Ms. Marilee Jones, the Dean of Admissions at MIT, integrate “day-dreaming” more of a criteria in the application process. More importantly, kudos to her for coming out and telling the public about it.

This response from her captures the essence of the problem with conventional admission systems:

Baby boomers have such high expectations for themselves and for their kids. The parents think kids have to have music lessons. They’re expected to play two or three sports. They’re expected to belong to certain clubs. They’re expected to do community service. Each one of those activities is headed up by an adult, who expects a lot from those kids.

We have a whole generation of kids who are being trained to be workaholics. They have no free time. They are being trained to please adults. And what started as a natural reaction to not wanting to have your kid home while you’re working has been reinforced by the college admission process that expects kids to have lots of activities.

About three years ago, I asked a group of students: “What do you daydream about?” And one kid said to me: “We don’t daydream. There’s no reward for it, so we don’t do it.” Boy, that hit me right between the eyes.

We tend to make our lives appear planned, smooth and thought-through on any college application, because “sat next to the window and dreamed about doing good for my hometown” or “read every spy novel in my library for no good reason” does not get any points or consideration in an admission process – until now. By giving kids the ability to be flexible and by giving the admissions process the flexibility to take in these flexible kids, MIT is sending out the impression that it’s OK to not be perfect and still succeed.

This new system (50 out of 1,665 would not have made the cut otherwise), is definitely a first step in the right direction.

Maybe we will discover the Ramanujans when they are young if our school systems thought about a similiar system of admission…

David VS Goliath and the spirit of August 15th

Guest Blog #29 – Anand C

I love the underdog. Among the few Biblical stories I know, one of my favorites is David VS Goliath… it never ceases to inspire.

As if reminding me of a religion I know nothing about, two little independent shops in the Northern California area keep emphasizing on the concept of the little guy – the underdog. Sheer inspiration in just their audacity in taking on the 600 pound gorillas of their industries… drumroll please…

Megabooks in University Avenue – located right next to a more than 50,000 ft. Borders bookstore and still surviving. Very aptly named, and rumor has it that one of the owners is called David.

megabooks.jpg

Red Rock Cafe – located two blocks from a Starbucks and catering to those who still care about the spirit of an independence of the shop as much as they care about the aroma of their coffee.

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In their own little way, these two little icons are thematic of this blog, and fitting reminders of the spirit of August 15, no?