Saturday, October 10, 2009

People whom we loved to hate

Just as light without darkness, good without evil, a plot with hero and no villain would have no significance.

Not everyone can send shivers down the spine with the query, 'Kitne aadmi the? Samba', Jo dar Gaya samjo mar Gaya, quite like the actor could – Amjad Khan (Sholay).

Mona darling, issey 'Liquid Oxygen' mein daal do liquid issey jeene nahi dega aur oxygen isse marne nahi dega.? 'Saara shaher mujhe Loin ke naam se jaanta hai' all the more memorable with a special liking for the Lilys and Monas of the world – Ajit (Kalicharan)

Prem naam hai mera - Prem Chopra' (Bobby), adding a new dimension to devilish roles,

Mogambo Khush Hua – Amrish Puri (Mr. India),

Pran as Gajendra in Ram aur Shyam,

The cocky eyed Lalita Powar (the mother of all mother in laws),

Jeevan – the cute looking cunning old man,

Premnath - Rai Saab (Johny Mera Naam), Sanyasi, Kalicharan, Vishwanath

K N Singh - a gentleman type of villain

Madan Puri, Nadira, Shashikala, Bindu, Aruna Irani, Utpal Dutt

All played their part to such perfection that they could generate an amount of hate amongst audiences. Love them, hate them but you simply could not ignore them.

The hero of India’s historic World Cup triumph in 1983, Mohinder Amarnath, admits he was nervous before the final - but drew inspiration from the Bollywood blockbuster Sholay to get over the jitters of playing against two-time champions West Indies in the title clash.
“I remembered the famous dialogue of Sholay — jo dar gaya so mar gaya. I told myself that it was my day and I had nothing to lose,” said Amarnath, who was adjudged Man of the Match in both the semi-final and the final.
Such was the impact of yester year’s villain.

Apart from the above mentioned most loved people several other actors tried a hand in becoming the baddies of bollywood, like Ranjith, Danny Denzongpa, Kulbhushan Kharbanda in Shaan, Anupam Kher as Dr. Dang in Karma, Bad Man Gulshan Grover in Ram Lakhan, Raj Babbar, Kadar Khan, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Mohan Agashe, Nana Patekar, Dalip Tahil, Sayaji Shinde, Naseerudin Shah, Paresh Raval all had their taste of success but none could match the success of the above mentioned baddies who became legends of bollywood

We long to hear those patented dialogues like Kutte Kaminey mein tera khoon pee jaonga, agar ma ka dudh piya hain to samne Aa, Police ne tumhe charon taraf se gher liya hain – apne aap ko kannon ke haawale kar do I believe somewhere we have lost them.

Today, truly there has been a huge transition of villains in the silver screen, a gradual shift is happening by the anti-hero category in Shahrukh Khan (Darr), Ashutosh Rana (Dushman), Suniel Shetty (Dhadkan), Akshay Kumar (Ajnabee), Sanjay Dutt (Khalnayak), Kajol (Gupt), Priyanka Chopra (Aitraaz), Nana Patekar (Apaharan), Saif Ali Khan (Okmara), Irfaan Khan (Maqbool), Manoj Bajpai (Satya), Ashish Vidyarthi, Naseerudin Shah, Mohan Agashe, all do not look like the monsters of yester-years cinema.

The difference between hero and villains have vanished now, today it would be wrong to term these actors as bollywood villains. They are rather anti-heroes or heroines which

Where are the villains?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Teachers Day

Having accidentally bumped into each other I was fortunate enough to meet him a year back at Ahmedabad.

It was a moment of glory, a kind of celebration, a sense of achievement. I stood staring at him in disbelief, probably revering. I pinched myself hard and reiterated Is this the same gentlemen who ripped me apart way back in 1994 ?

Memories flashed immediately - I was studying my PG Diploma in Management Studies from Jamnalal Bajaj University of Management Studies. During the second semester we had a Professor who taught us a dreaded subject called as Marketing Management. He had given us a group project to study the impact of new launch of Soaps by two giants Evita by Godrej and Le Sancy by HLL.

Being our first major project and from a Professor having a Marketing background we did not want to leave any stone unturned. We wanted to prove ourselves that we are the best. At that time the Professor had served with big organisation like Blow Plast Ltd, Puma Ltd and were told that he had worked in product development closely with a few advertising agencies too.

We did our best in this project to study the desired impact of the new launch by designing a questionnaire. I still remember we filled majority of the questionnaire by standing in the Church gate sub-way opposite Eros Theatre and our target audience were young office goers who were to mention their individual experiences regarding the product usage post launch. This questionnaire were filled when they were returning back home from their offices in the evening.

Having worked harder and after making a detailed analysis we were to present the project in the class. At that time access to computers were at premium and only one classmate from our group was having a hands on experience on computers. For me computer usage was like climbing Mount Everest without any preparation.

The D-Day arrived, having submitted the hard copy to the professor we were to present our findings in front of the class. Our group was a bunch of youngsters who were vibrant but not confident enough to face the class (a classic case of stage fear). We huddled together to decide on who will bell the cat. With no consensus arriving, I probably because of over-enthusiasm dared to volunteer and present the case. During those times there were no television programmes like ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’ else Akshay Kumar would have easily crowned me the winner and would have rewarded me for taking such a huge risk. I stood first in the race where no other person ran.

The presentation began, having no experience of stage and computers I started reading whatever was mentioned in the soft copy. The enthusiasm was there but the confidence was slightly drifting away the stage fright catching on me finally, at that time I only had one line of thinking -finish the presentation as early as possible.

Least realising that I am running in to an experienced marketing person my luck ran in to rough terrain as the Professor was not only vigilant but alert, true to his designation, qualification and his experience.

After reading out 2-3 slides he interrupted me and enquired whether our group has anything to say apart from what is mentioned in the hard-copy and when I answered in negative, he asked us to end the presentation abruptly and showering his choicest blessings on us asked us to leave the class and ripped us apart for wasting his time and making the process of presentation a mere joke.

We were in a state of disbelief; having worked hard on the project we never dreamt that we would falter at the end and thereby pouring cold water on all our exercise. But this experience changed my attitude; I had two choices on the treatment meted on us
a)Overcome stage fear and improve my presentation skills and be confident always
b)Feel insulted and keep sulking the whole life.

I am glad I choose the former and am very thankful to Professor Isaac Jacob because if he had not ripped me apart on that day I would not be penning this and would not have been what I am today.

Thank you Sir. I will never forget that day’s learning. I have learnt a lot in these 15 years. Also wherever/whenever I, have been provided an opportunity to address young turks who also experience the same feeling that they are not in a position to face an audience I, do mention my learning experience probably reiterating that its miles to go before I sleep.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Life Sans Mobile Phones

The Wait at customer care centre of ‘Nokia’ seems to be unending and was getting on my nerves. Each passing moment was like a walk through a desert, a never-ending wait. My Mobile instrument had gone dead and here I was at the mercy of the Customer Care Executive who took the mobile handset; with a precision like a surgeon started operating it; he took the mobile handset along with his own time. With his every move on the handset, my Heart Beat started pumping. A few minutes later into it and then came the big bad Breaking news “ Sir your Mobile instrument cannot be serviced here and it needs to be sent to L1 and the same shall post servicing handed over to you not before two weeks, and sir the most important fact "all the data that was in the handset shall be lost”. What a caring statement from a Customer Care Executive. The way the message was conveyed - matter of fact, with no alternative solution suggested for saving the data, really broke me. Immediately my mind started wandering like the inaugural paragraph of Chandamama comic (Vikram and Betaal) – Dark was the Night and Weird the Ambience (atmoshphere). Eerie laughter of Ghosts followed by howling of Jackals and flashes of lightning revealed a very serious face. The thought of even imagining that I have lost close to 700 contacts and cannot retrieve them sent shiver down my spine; I stood simply starring at the customer care executive as a mute and hapless spectator who could do nothing except hoping a miracle of sorts that his Brahma vakhya does not turn true. Lot of un-answered question criss-crossed my mind. How will my customers / friends / relatives contact me? and vice-versa. It was all happening in a span of a minute. Suddenly my head started feeling tizzy and I had to drink two full-chilled glass of water to soothen my nerves. I felt terribly let down. With steps retracing backwards like a man fully drunk and not in his senses I reached home forgetting that it was from my office that I had come to the store. I started searching high and low to lay hands on a old Mobile instrument that was lying unused for years; Eureka I found it and inserted the Sim card and Lo!! walked out of my home like a man possessed. A man celebrating victory as if I have single handedly won the cricket world cup for my country. Still I did not have anybody’s contact number including my life- partner of 11 years. I could imagine how a new born baby would feel on the first day of his arrival - the world knows his identity but he does not know anybody. Which makes me ponder how much we depend on an instrument called Mobile Phone and how it has spoilt our habits. How we all have become a slave of this. I remember earlier we used to remember lot of phone numbers or jotted down on a small diary and now for each and every thing we fully bank on mobile memory forgetting that we too used to or still has one. With the invention of mobile phone our writing habits are also fast fading because a Mobile instrument has all the possible facilities in the world. We become so impatient when for a longer duration we do not receive a phone call and in between start staring at the mobile phone wondering whether the network or the battery is in its place. Its arrived The Mobile Phone and it is there to stay. It has become a necessary evil. With a mobile instrument at your disposal you can be reached at any point of the day; the caller is least bothered whether you are in the right frame of mind to speak to him. It doesn’t matter whether you are having your lunch, sleeping or whether you are attending a funeral. All mobile etiquettes goes for a toss when you are immersed in a movie / concert / social functions, suddenly the mobile insturment rings and the receiver happily oblivion to his surrounding starts disturbing others by speaking loudly for others to hear (intentionally/ unintentionally unknown). Another example is when we are air borne. The poor crew members keep on requesting passengers by repeatedly announcing passengers to switch off the mobile phone as it interferes with the navigation system but we are least bothered with the security aspect. You need to feel the fetish of passengers who announce their arrival prior to the flight coming to a complete standstill. We can hear continuous beep of phones and majority of the passengers get thoroughly immersed in their conversation either informing their arrival at a new place and conveying the same back home. Let us imagine a scenario dozen years back when there was no mobile instruments we were traveling and existing that time too. In today’s context the richest person in the world will be the person who does not own a mobile handset but still exist. He is free from all the tensions of the world. The mobile phone unfortunately in today’s world has become part and parcel of common man and ironically I can say that today the basic necessity is not confined to only the basic three needs i.e. Roti, Kapda Aur Makan but we can gleefully add one more necessity evil – the damn mobile phone (OOPS I should not call it Damn lest it gets angry and conks off again) ({also see the attached video about multi-taksing i.e conversing while driving}------------- oh no not again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Common Man - Aam Aadmi

The Common Man created by Shri R. K. Laxman has over the past five decades represented the hope, aspirations and troubles of an average Indian.

So who is a Common Man?

The term common man is used to emphasise the similarities or distinctions between a member of a social, political or cultural elite, and the average citizen whose one point cultural agenda is survival.

The Common Man who finds that the leaky tap in the bathroom is of greater concern to him than the failure of the hosting an IPL match or the rise in the cost of toothpaste and tomatoes is more bothersome than the crash in the stock market.

The Common Man sees our country being forced through endless humiliation by its leaders and yet doesn't even whimper in protest. The Common Man has perfected docility as a survival strategy.

Air Deccan a low cost airline used the Common Man as an inaugural mascot until it lost the common man tag to an elite brand “Kingfisher”.

That makes me sit up and think is Tata Nano a Common Man’s Car?

Unveiled a day ago the car Nano is perceived by experts as the Common Man's dream of owning a four-wheeler and it embodies a Common Man's four-wheel dream.

The first one-lakh lucky successful applicants will be selected by draw of lots using the pseudo random number generation technique (a la-casino) and they only shall be eligible for the promised Rs. 1 lakh price.

And for the unlucky Common Man whom lady luck doesn’t favour they shall have to shell out Rs. 1.31 lakh (base car), Rs. 1.56 lakh (Nano CX) {here too you have two different rates for the colour} and Rs. 1.81 lakhs (Nano LX) respectively if they wish to still wait for their elusive car.

Also the company has thrown in sops - customers who have to wait for more than a year for allotment (as if the person will die of asphyxiation if he does not possess a Nano car) will be paid 8.5 % interest and those customers who wait for more than two-years will be paid 8.75 % . with a small catch - No interest would be given to the first one-lakh allotments.

This reminds me of the horrendous queuing theory in 1980’s (pre-liberalisation) where one had to wait for years for their first LPG or landline connection or in 1970’s where one had to wait for nearly a decade for an allotment of Bajaj Scooter

The launch of Nano is not of significance to a Common Man. Apart from a host of problems a Common Man is facing today, a section of the people in society struggle even to get their daily meals. How will the launch of Nano excite / top their priority’s list.

For booking a Nano Car a Common Man has to initially pay Rs. 200/- for buying the form online and Rs. 300/- for an offline form (in other words to save Rs.100/- per form a Common Man is supposed to have internet access and in a country like our’s where the Internet penetration is only 3.5% of total population). Assuming more than one lakh Common Man fills the application form the money earned from only distribution of forms shall be more than 2-3 crores.

The relationship between Needs and a Want is well understood by a Common Man. Man’s basic needs are food, clothing and shelter (roti, kapda aur makaan) and if he starts yearning for a 3 course meal, an Armani suite or a palatial bungalow his aspirations transforms into a need.

A Common Man’s basic requirement when it comes to travelling is a good public transport with the best of infrastructure which benefits the general public at large. Will Nano be able to fulfill the demand supply gap of what the Common Man actually need? A Common Man does not require an air conditioner with heater facilities or a front power windows.

Also heard the officials of Tata Nano has plans to take Nano to US and Europe; which leaves us wondering do we have Common Man in US & Europe too; yeah could be possible as we have a high profile Chief Minister who says he always has been a CM (Common Man), he is a CM today and shall always remain a CM – Common Man. Incidentally this CM has launched a portal for an interaction with the Common Man - Aam Aadmi.

Please Please do let me know on who exactly is a Common Man?