Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pixar: 100% Genuine Animation!




Just saw Pixar's latest movie, Up (you haven't seen it? You should! rather you MUST). Coming back to my point, i sort of realised that time and again Pixar gives us a masterpiece which has critics drooling and box office register ringing. How does it manage it? After every hit, expectations go up a bar and every single time Pixar meets them! Just have a few thoughts on how it manages (its speculation, i might be wrong)

1. Talent: Pixar has the best talent. PERIOD. Be it John Lasseter(the pioneer is computer animation), Brad Bird or the voice actors (Tom Hanks, Woody Allen, or the people who have the sound effects)

2. Faith of the Leaders: Steve Jobs (Here i am taking a small leap and ignoring that George Lucas sold Pixar) didn't fire people even when Pixar was a loss making company which made computers (yes not animation!) and spent from his personal fortune (agreed he had loads of money, but he did spend it!) to keep it afloat. There was this quarter when these chaps didn't manage so reach double digit growth but he kept them alive.

3. Adapting to Changes: Once they realised people liked animation (some award they won for Luxo Junior) they moved in fast and planned a full length computer animated movie (Toy Story)

4. Partnering the best: And to make their first movie who they went to? Some sidey finanacer? No they went to big daddy of animation, Disney. And they did make history.

5. Self Belief: So you managed to convince Disney who has all the money so this means he can push you around? No way! You have the Brains (yups that does give tonnes of belief). Money can be replaced not brain power! So these chaps (actually Mr Jobs again) negotiates a deal with Disney which had Pixar logo being of the same size and having same visibilty as disney so the film going people remember a Pixar-Disney film not a Disney film. And this self belief also ensured that they could kick out Michal Eisner (the deal was one of the reason).

Now the thing is how can we map these things in our own life and own work? Open for discussion!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

E.T. - The Extra Terristrial




I was seeing ET-The Extra Terrestrial (approximately 109th time) and was again struck by the visuals. Usually people tend to do great things once, Steven Spielberg has the knack of doing them again and again, be it ET or Schindler's List or the underrated Amistaad.
Coming back to ET, the robot itself which depicted ET was a masterpiece. The eyes were so expressive you tend to forget it is a machine not a real person(that's the aim of cinema isn't it?). The scene when E.T. says "phone home" is pure magic!
Then the actors. The kids were awesome. Maniratnam in India and Spielberg can extract wonderful performance from kids. For Maniratnam's finesse see Anjali or even the acting of the kid Manisha in Dil Se... or the twins in Bombay.



Getting back to ET, it has been said that this is something similar to the story of Jesus Christ. I didn't realise it initially, but after reading I got it (it happens! I am no Superman!). This chap coming from other world, touching lives of so many people, selects his St Peter (Eliot) and his apostles (the kids on bikes) who fly by magic (holy spirit). Then there is a reference to resurrection also, when ET dies and then appears to his apostles in a almost magical way (glowing heart and liquid nitrogen spewing out from the Van's behind). Wow!
I have been trying to write this small piece for 2-3 weeks and always end up watching the movie when I sit to write and going again :)
One more thing, even though the movie was a superhit and a masterpiece, the game which came with the movie is considered one of the worst ever! And it is supposedly considered to cause the North American Video Game Crash in 1983. So everything was not magical about E.T. :)


Update: The logo for Steven Spielberg's studio, Amblin entertainment is taken from ET only. Look below:




Sunday, June 07, 2009

IPL Advertisment

IPL Advertising in India is awesome. However, global advertising is not behind. Here is an example:

video

Wonder why didn't he learn Hindi Abuses if learnt to eat the hot curry :) Maybe Bhajan might teach him that.....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Google Chrome



When Internet revolution came to me, the browser wars were officially over and IE was the undisputed winner. I used IE for a long time till Mozilla FireFox 2.0 was released with a lot of fanfare. I was a hardcore convert.
Mozilla is really cool! It is made cooler by the plug ins/themes which can be used to modify the looks and functionality and what not! Heck you can make stuff yourself or modify the look yourself if you are too finicky about it!
There were others like Apple's Safari. Safari is the browser used in iPhone and Macs and is supposed to be really good. I find it to be gloomy and clunky looking browser thanks to the grey colored interface. It is light and it is fast but not destined to be used by many, at least on the PCs.
FireFox 3 was launched and made a world record. Yeah it is pretty cool (new interface and stuff) but it takes time to load (maybe something Bill Gates did to promote IE?) but it was the best thing around and was my default browser.
Then came the launch of Google Chrome which promised a "A Fresh take on the Browser". Intrigued, I donwloaded it. I found it is faster, has a sleeker and a cleaner interface and has tonnes of cool features. My favourite Feature is the Create application shortcut feature. Chrome is there to basically screw Microsoft and this feature proves it. You have Gmail, Google Docs and Google Spreadsheet (competition to Outlook, MS Word and MS Excel) and you create and application shortcut feature. Now you double click on it, thanks to Chrome being super fast you get it immediately on screen!
This is going to be a fun battle to watch out, Google vs Microsoft. Wait and watch.
Till that time keep using chrome.. It is pretty cool!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bye Bye IPL 2





Lalit Modi announced yesterday that IPL has become a global phenomenon, and left no stone unturned to prove it. Be it having Eddy Grant (I didn't know who he was before IPL closing ceremony) or Akon (who repeated two songs for 30 mins, and his sound system had some issues) or Katrina Kaif (Jai ho, Pussycat Dolls remix, she couldn't dance but looked GORGEOUS).

I think Lalit Modi thought that by Smack That, Akon meant smacking of ball with the bat. Akon won't agree to that that that meant something else (is it correct English? I think so). And he was lip-synching! If they wanted to hear a tape of Akon why fly him in and his DJ? Akon also presented Miss Bollywood her crown while singing Beautiful. This lady is hot but wooden. All in all this section was a letdown.

Then came Katrina Kaif, radiant in white, while Jai Ho (Pussycat Dolls remix) blared in the background. Barring KK everything else sucked. Be it choreography by Shiamik Davar or the song ( I hate it! It murders the spirit of the song which is ok ok not even an Oscar winning compostion, Rahman has done better work before). And that was it! Just one song and it was over! Such a mega letdown!

The fire drummers (Phoenix something) were the best performers for the closing ceremony. The performance was mindblowing and suited the occasion (African drummers, playing with fire in darkness, yeah it was good).

Eddy Grant's performance was pretty good. I liked the song, Gimme Hope. But then it was ruined by one and only Shiamik! Vande Matram couldn't have been sung at a worst event. It felt out of place and inappropriately put in. Grow up! You guys want to be global but then have to show off nationalism at such places!!!

If Lalit Modi ever read this, a piece of advice, don't have so many speeches! SA Premier was more interested in soccer, you were more interested in wife and kids and glamor. And please have longer Katrina Kaif perfomance!!!






Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why H1N1 fears India

After SARS , Avian flu here is another global virus, Swine Flu or H1N1. And people globally are scared and running around for a cure and getting paranoid and the usual hoopla. 
Living in a country which has 0.6 Doctors per thousand people, I should be scared. Cursory checks at airport (the government is on High alert, my foot!) and approx 50 milion tourists coming in, the probabililty of swine flu coming to India hovers somewhere around one. 
I should be scared. I am not scared! Im from this country where I have to fight daily for my survival with 1 billion human beings, and a stupid virus will kill me? I have this (kind of stupid) theory that this fight for survival has made Indians the most resililent population group in this world. These new kids on the block (SARS, flu and the bunch) can't compete with the terror of Blue Line buses in Delhi or Arun Lal's commentary, or Sooraj Bardjaitya's flicks (MPKDH and Vivah). 
Come on H1N1, Come to India and we will ensure that you fear us!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dariya Dil - Tu Mera Superman

Lazyness strikes again, so I am uploading another priceless video.....
Greatbong has some priceless comments on this song here

video

Monday, May 18, 2009

CID

Sony has this long running program, CID. I neither like nor hate this show, but over the years (it has the Longest running crime investigation serial award, Wikipedia informs me), we have found some common things that happen in every single episode of CID. These include:
  1. ACP Pradyuman (third from left, in the suit) has this line, in which camera zooms into his face, his eyebrow snaps up and he says, "Ab dekhta hoon yeh mujrim mujhse kaise bachta hai"
  2. If there is any dangerous work, like going up an electric pole or diving underwater for some thing, Inspector Fredricks (second from left in the picture) always does that. 
  3. Inspector Daya (extreme right in the picture) slaps the criminal and the scene cuts to the crime branch (this happens in every episode I have seen)
  4. The team finds some common thing (paan stain, pesticide etc) and ACP Pradyuman says "Jaao, poore Mumbai shehar mein __________ (insert the item from the list above) ki dukano mein jaake dhoondo ki kisne _______ (date of crime) tareekh ko yeh samaan khareeda tha". The funny thing is that the shopkeepers ALWAYS keeps records of the people coming in and going out!
Long Live CID!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Big Brother


I have always been a big fan of google. It was the White knight which was free. It was a cool company with coolest people working there and making great things. It stood (or still does?) for everything anti Microsoft.
I have grown up on MS software (MS DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.0 is my earliest computer memory) and initially was in awe of this behemoth. Then thanks to media frenzy I realised they were forcing their products on me. Fine by me, one gets used to IE icon and can choose not to use it. Big Deal. What I didn't like is these guys killing companies like Lotus (acquired by IBM), Borland (which made C++) and Netscape. They scrwed these all by integrating their software in the windows shell, and making these look like slow clumsy programs (disclaimer: I might be wrong)  
Going back to Google, I embraced google happily, using every product they threw @ me and testing it and giving feedback (do they even read it?). I fear though that is google becoming the Big Brother? If some paranoid cop thinks that I might have commited a crime (I wont!!) all my surfing habits will be handed over to him? Will 2024 be like 1984?
So many people claim to be Google Killers, be it Cuil, or to be launched Wolfram. I don't think they can! Google is too big to be killed by these. The only one who can kill google is Google itself and Sergey Brin and Larry Page are smart asses, so doomsday for Google is far far away.  

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shera

video
Here is a video from another Mithun-da classic.. Shera... 
Disclaimer:Watch it at your own risk :)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Kolkata Knight Riders- K K Haar?


Korbo, Lodbo, Jeetbo Re. The War cry of the King's men. Seeing that video makes me feel sad. Sad for KKR, Sad for SRK, Sad for the crazy Bengali Fans. SRK is refusing to go back to South Africa and is dancing in some builder's son's wedding. He is reportedly so depressed with the performance of his knights that he wants to bid good night to the franchisee. 
I personally think this year the team is destined to screw up. Last year it was Deccan Chargers. This year it is KKR. Yesterday, in the match with Delhi Daredevils, KKR looked like a team which was carrying its bad luck apne saath (they could talk to Sunny Deol)
I think (I am talking like a cricket expert, but come on, if Gaurav Kapoor, Chang and Mandira Bedi can so can I) they should put their heads down, pray for a miracle (only prayers can help them) and wait for IPL Season 3. And God Forbid if they under perform in Calcutta...  
 

Monday, May 04, 2009

Cost Of Democracy

Election season is on in India. Lok Sabha has 543 seats and around 7,000 candidates. The average spending per person (officially is around 15-20 Lakh) comes to one crore (citation needed). This means 7,000 crore is spent by the candidates themselves. On top of that there is expenditure of 1,120 crore budgeted for election expenses.
All this money is being spent.. To what end? Why???
My question is.. Do we need this political tamasha? Where a fading actor promises to hugs a dalit woman and is dragged to courts on grounds of obscenity? Don't we have enough entertainment from daily life that we need this horribly expensive tamasha?
Is democracy needed? As it is your vote doesn't make a difference. Whoever wins, the politicians get richer by the day, and the poor people poorer. At times like this i think either we should have a dictatorial government or voting should be allowed only to educated people (say 10th pass or something) so that they understand their responsibility. As Ben Parker said, "With great power comes great responsibility". We have the great power to elect our representative but no sense of responsibility. God Save us all!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Susan Boyle

Millions of words have been written about Susan Boyle and her performance on Britan's Got Talent show. Here is the video if you haven't seen it (What is wrong with you??). Now this 47 year old woman who was nobody some weeks back, has a huge fan community, a wikipedia article, has been interviewed by CNN and has a movie being made on her life!
Some observations.
1. Instant fame: 9 days, 100 million+ views, 20 million overnight. If she stands for election she might easily become prime minister/president (Obama's victory speech had just 18.5 million views, damn!).
2. Bridging the old and new: First telecasted on the "traditional" media, Television, the video came on the "new" medias, YouTube, Facebook and the works. More importantly events like this make you realise the Democratization of the media has happened.
3. Sharing: Or as per Friedman, Flattening of the world. People are sharing information like never before. Someone in India can see the performance of a Scottish woman via an American website. If this is not globalization then what is?
4. Hypocrisy: Right now since she sang so well everyone is rooting for her. What if she had met expectations of the judges and embarrassed herself? That was being expected, right? No wonder she would have been a subject of another viral video, but just think for a second, What if she wasn't so good? All the rooting for Underdog, Beauty is skin deep bull crap would have evaporated right then and there.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mard

Mard- a masterpiece by Ganapati Bohra starts with a scene which any good Bollywood movie should begin with… an attempted rape scene. But the attempt is stopped by MC (I am talking about Mithun Chakraborty you perverts) who punches the rapist through the wall and says these immortal lines, “Panga nahi leneka, mitti mein mila doonga” and then masterfully proceeds to beat up the goons to pulp.

MC plays Arjun, a honest cop who beats up goons and their CM fathers and is transferred (funny inspectors can be suspended right?) constantly.

 

Mithun wows the audience with an amazing action scene, where he beats the fellow police officer, who had neglected his duty since he was having tea and sandwiches. So for 10 minutes every dialogue from MC has the words. “Chai, sandweech (he says it that way!)”.

 

The best lines of the screenplay however are taken up by JL (Johnny Lever, not Jennifer Lopez). Here is the situation, JL is outside the temple with his mother and brother. The mother offers his Prasad of Ganapati. JL replies Mujhe sirf ek hi Ganapati pata hai, who hai director Ganapati Bohra. Prasad se yaad aaya TLV Prasad ki picture hai, bahut hit chal rahi hai, main jaata hoon. Brilliant! Bravo!

 

Then there is Shakti Kapoor (if Mithun is god, then sidekick number 1 is definitely Shakti Kapoor) with the immortal line, “Mach Jaayegi Hahakaar, jab apne pe aayega jabbaar

 

All in all the movie is a good package. It may not touch the heights achieved by Kanti Shah for Gunda or even Loha, but the film can stand on its own feet. I still cannot have tea and sandwiches. 

You can buy the movie from this link. No I don't get any commission for this.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pepsi-Coke Cola Wars: RIP

I grew up on Cola wars and loved the Pepsi-Coke wars. Now I look at the adverts they are a pale shadow of the 90s and early 2000 when the fun was at its peak. Now we have Coke celebrating “open happiness” and Pepsi doing the stupid advertisement on some promo on the Twenty-20 World Cup. Summer is going on! And no Cola Wars! This sucks!
Coke is trying to give the warm fuzzy feeling it has globally and maybe trying to globally align Indian advertisments to that. And Pepsi… less said is better. The Ranbir Kapoor-Deepika Padukone advertisements were a debacle. There was supposed to a sequel to the Canteen advertisement which was never aired maybe due to poor response. What is wrong with Pepsi? I think they should go back to SRK and Sachin. The new generation of superstars are not working out for them.
I miss the attacks and counter attacks and the rivalry! Someone please do something!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Few Links....

Here is couple of websites which I have been looking at

www.futilitycloset.com For arbitary Trivia
Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive Archive of Wonderful pictures of our universe. Some make really good wallpapers :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Idiots!

What is it about India that ensures that we have the biggest idiots being born here on regular basis. Latest is an entire group of idiots who have a name for their group, the Samajwadi Party. Now they have decided that computerization has created unemployment and hence they are against it. Also he is against usage of machines in agriculture and wants people to do work manually. (Actually it makes sense, if these guys get elected, they will shut down the IT companies and all the engineers will have to search for some work. All these unemployed people can be used to work on the farms.)
He also has issues with high corporate salaries and thinks that corporates be paid minimum wage as decided by the government... Yeah right Einstein and who will pay the taxes? Maybe we will take some money you "allegedly" made while you were the CM? He thinks this will make National Capital!! 
These guys are also anti-English and the party's manifesto also mentions that it will work to abolish schools providing expensive education in English medium. 
To see hypocrisy see their website (anti-computerization at its best huh) which is also in English. Do not miss the section headed 10 Reasons to join Samajwadi Party!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I got this mail today which heavily criticized Slumdog Millionaire. It read:
(Have edited it)

THIS IS VERY TRUE !
 
Yes, indeed it is a matter of pride for us as 3 Indians won 3 Oscar awards.
 But at what cost ?
 When we look at the other side of the coin, I feel what we lost is more than what we won.
 
 It is film by foreigners about the story of Indians and the only exception is A R Rahman.
 
 Directed by Danny Boyle
 Produced by Christian Colson
 Written by Simon Beaufoy
 Music by A. R. Rahman

 Cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle
 Editing by Chris Dickens
  
 The film portrays the poverty in
India and shows to the world what kind of life is lead by the children in slums. Pre Independence Britishers equaled Indians with dogs by saying "Dogs and Indians not allowed" into a restaurant.

Even after 50 years of Indian Independence these western people call the children in our slums as "dogs". They made good money making fun of India at International level. There are many humiliating scenes in the movie which will make us feel ashamed, like:

 * The children posing as guides at Taj Mahal and cheating the tourists
 * The children working in hotel refills the Mineral water bottle and cheating the customers
 * Pick pocketing, stealing and reselling tourist footwear
 * Grounding a car of a foreign tourist
 * Training and employing the children for street begging
 * Making a child blind to make him an impact beggar
 * Training and pushing young girls into brothel house

 * Children becoming criminals at the age they don't know what is life
 * Host of the game suspecting the knowledge of a slum boy and trying to mislead the participant. etc., etc.
 
 
 
Hollywood journalists called Slumdog as "Poverty Porn".
 What impact will this have on
India amongst the audience of western world ?
 What do the children in slums learn from this film?
 
 
If we had won an Oscars for a film like Lagaan which shows our fight against the
Britishers by defeating them in their own game, every Indian would have been really proud. The Academy did not find Lagaan good for an award but found Slumdog Millionaire very good !! 
 The above is an opinion of many, Of course, you are free to have your own !!!

 

Now i believe that whatever they have shown in the movie is pretty genuine.Let me go Point by Point:

* The children posing as guides at Taj Mahal and cheating the tourists: Anyone who has been to any tourist place knows this. Its true
 * The children working in hotel refills the Mineral water bottle and cheating the customers: Again a pretty common phenomenon
 * Pick pocketing, stealing and reselling tourist footwear: Its India for gods sake! 
 * Grounding a car of a foreign tourist:Thought it was little over the top, its commercial cinema not a documentary!
 * Training and employing the children for street begging
 * Making a child blind to make him an impact beggar
 * Training and pushing young girls into brothel house

Sadly, it is the dark underbelly of India

 * Children becoming criminals at the age they don't know what is life: Damn it! Where does the author live? I think in the state of Denial! 
 * Host of the game suspecting the knowledge of a slum boy and trying to mislead the participant:
Pretty rich coming from a nation which thrives on stereotypes of fair skin and high caste!

Lagaan was the classic case of feel good cinema which catered to Indian audience and made them happy. It is possible for a Slumdog story to occur (just outline that a boy of slums wins KBC) but definitely it is impossible that something outrageous as Lagaan could have happened! Rains after match winning performance which ensured that  villagers don't pay tax and enjoy for 3 years! 

Get Real Guys!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tata Nano: Smart Idea!

The hoopla surrounding Tata Nano has ensured that people don't notice (or maybe they did, should I say people I know didn't notice) that if you are not one of the lucky 1 lakh people who get the car, you have two options. First is you take back the deposit and re-book later or second choice is you keep the deposit with Tata and be in the queue. The chances increase if you keep deposit with Tata. And they are also paying 8.5% for it. 
Nice idea _______ (whoever thought about it, fill in your name) You are getting around 1 lakh that too below PLR (which is around 15.5 %). Effectively Tata Motors is saving 7.5% flat on interest. Cool idea! 
Combine this with the Sops and concessions Gujarat Government is paying (to the tune of Rs. 10,000 crores) Nano is already a success before the factory starts!
Great Going Ratan!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Why I miss the Late 80s and early 90s of Bollywood…

  • Guns had unlimted ammunition
  • The henchmen of the goons have learnt how to shoot
  • Villains no longer have fancy names
  • Heroes are no longer invincible
  • No more thakurs exist in the village anymore
  • Rape scenes have reduced
  • Actresses fight and not get hit in the head and faint
  • The hero doesn’t have a younger sister going to college (and waiting to be raped)
  • The whole village doesn’t dance in fancy clothes behind the main cast
  • There are no songs with hidden nuances and double meaning which can be enjoyed.
  • There is no tall black goonda who beats the hero before dying and shouting “AAAAAA” in a horrible way.
  • Movie titles do not contain words like Badla, Saugandh, Zindagi and stuff.
  • Heroes are no longer farmers and sons of poor farmers.
  • There is no kindly soul who does some qurbani so that the hero/heroine become something in life.
  • No more melodramatic mothers who wear white saris and stitch clothes for the hero so that the hero can become Bada aadmi.