Sunday, November 27, 2011

What are you - sail or anchor?

In one of my earlier posts, I wrote on how I saw 2 ways of doing something. Today, I write about two kinds of people in the world. You will see these kinds of people everywhere - at work, in a family, in sport teams, art circles...everywhere!
One kind of people are the sail. They propel the entire ship forward. They are the reason things happen. They are the engine that drive the circumstances. They are always energized, raring to go and are mostly the stars of the gang; unless some thing goes wrong.
When things go awry, the anchor people are the ones who are in control. They keep things rooted. The sailor guys has been bragging a bit too much and has taken the ship on the wrong course. The crew is lost now and needs time to get back on course without being lost any further. The anchor people are your saviors in such situations.
So, who are you?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eat Pray Love

I have an unpublished post in inbox that I wanted to complete and publish today. It was about using death in reality TV. But then I saw this film - Eat Pray Love. And filled me with positivity.
The film starts with a lady's divorce thoughts. She is impatient, always seeking something and somehow not at peace with herself. She decides to take an year off and visit Italy, India and Bali. In each of these places through an array of people she runs into, she learns to Eat, Pray and Love. I cannot exactly write in words what the film is about. And that, I think, is the success of the film because it has conveyed something so unique to me that I cannot transfer the experience to you. You will have to feel it for yourself.
This film has definitely definitely shown me a new way in life. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gadar - Ek Khamosh Paani

In a short span, I have seen two partition related movies.
The first one was Khamosh Paani. The movie set in the late 70's deals with the scars of Hindustan - Pakistan partition. The silent suffering of women left on the hostile side of border are aptly depicted by the amazingly talented Kirron Kher. It's a film that is loaded with subtext. Notably, the film stars only 2 Hindu actors, Kirron and Shilpa Shukla. This film has in fact been so well directed that it left me haunted for almost a week. The director, without being too much 'in your face' leaves a lot to the viewer's imagination. There are so many moments that compel you for a thought process that completes the image on the screen. The cinematography has also played a major part in the narrative. The camera has very realistically captured the arid landscape of Pakistani Punjab. There are some locations that are very peculiar, like a barber's shop or the bazaars. Scenes that are shot in such public locations give a different dimension to the film. They make the socio-political carnage more realistic.
The other movie is 'Gadar - Ek Prem Katha'. Many of you may smile or LoL at the mention of this film. The film has been butt of many jokes at many comedy shows. This was a major commercial hit 10 years ago. Even today, it is one of the top grosser Hindi films. The film is set in just around and after the year 1947.The film elaborates (for 3 hours mind it!) what happened during partition and the effect of these events on the life of two people deeply in love. The film is extremely melodramatic and is the exact opposite of Khamosh Paani. But still this film struck a chord with me. In my opinion, these acting in this movie is excellent. Yes. I will stick by that. There is a scene when Sunny Deol says " agar tumne is ladaki ki aur ek kadam bhi badhaya to rab di sau, gardan ukhad ke rakh dunga". When he says that with a roar in his voice, goddamit it feels like he means it. The film takes it's time in setting up the stage and dramatically unfolding the life of Tara Singh & Sakeena. When I saw the movie for the first time a couple of days ago, these were three hours very well spent. What I liked about the movie was that the sequence of events did not seem unnatural. The characters, both major and minor, were very well cast. You can't have a better Jat than Sunny and Amisha looks every bit of her character (for a change). What most people object to in the movie is the melodrama. But I found it quite normal and tastefully done. Then there are a few scenes like this one...
But, but, but, I cannot imagine any other actor doing this so convincingly. They say Cinema is an art of 'make believe'. And this and some more scenes like this may seem unrealistic to many, but to me, I was totally a part of them!
Any comment on Gadar would be incomplete without mention of Uttam Singh's music. The man composed about 8 songs, 4 of which were different renditions of the same lyrics.The melodious music was again a huge hit at the time.
While I started writing about 2 films to begin with, I have written more about Gadar than about Khamosh Paani. This kind of sums up the basic genre of  both the films. Gadar has a of explicit expression through melodrama, music and action sequence. On the other hand, Khamosh Paani is more subtle and leaves a lot to the imagination of the viewer. But in my eyes, both movies are very impressive provided you watch them from the right vantage point.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The consolidation of channels

Over the last 4 months, I have been completely off television. I have not been missing much, as I catch on my favourite TV sops on the internet and that too break-free. That got me into considering a high-speed internet connection and a IPTv service. Majority of the FM transmission I receive is in Telugu, the local language. So even that is not a persistent entertainment option. So most of the time I am onto internet radio listening to the genres and playlists of my choice, 'social' favourites etc. In short, over the past few days, I have seen two prominent channels of entertainment/information being completely replaced by the internet. Since then the subject of consolidation of channels has been on my mind - it's basically about what the internet has done to the rest of the communication channels.
The internet in a single master stroke has replaced the television, radio, newspaper, telephone and snail mail.We have an option of enjoying all these services through a single communication channel - the Internet. With access to internet, most of us have already stopped writing letters. The day is not far (more so in my case), when we will be enjoying all these service exclusively through internet. Your mess of cables will be replaced by a single wireless router. No more DTH  antennae, no DVD players, no newspaper (and raddi!). We will just have one device in our homes which will entertain us, inform us and also help us stay connected. It's almost there! But then what is stopping us from such a revolution?
Primarily, the two elementary factors required for this revolution are lacking in substance:
  1. Bandwidth pricing: Its is just in the last 1 year that I have started hearing of 10 Mbps broadband lines for domestic use at affordable rates. Delivering large amount of audio-visuals over internet implies the need for higher bandwidth. Government regulation and private companies need to move towards a more liberal approach towards bandwidth allocation to subscriber. Once, the consumers start enjoying a high quality transmission, there are no limits to this channel.
  2. Content: I have written posts earlier on the importance of content. Though Internet has made it possible to bring every darn thing to the consumer, quality content is required on this channel. There are some companies like Rajashri Media in India who are aggressively getting into this space. However, given the capabilities of this channel, very little is done today.
I think in the next 2 to 3 years, we are going to get there.Be ready for a completely new experience.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Is there an Indian meltdown in the making?

I had visitors today. Erstwhile neighbours who have now moved to their own house. As we sat discussing real estate prices , I realized that almost everyone I know had either bought a house or was planning to buy one. A good flat in any 'IT' city in India costs well around 5 million rupees.And everyone seems to have access to that kind of money, thanks to housing fiance companies.
What do these companies take to secure these borrowings? They ensure that that the borrower is employed and has the capability to repay. Most people working in the IT sector seem to fulfill the conditions. But the question is, will IT continue to bring in money from the west on ongoing basis? Especially given the economic conditions in America and Europe. Most of the real estate growth (at least the one around me) seems to be fuelled by IT employees. 
These people have migrated to Hyderabad, Bangalore or Pune to join some IT company. Along with a well paying job, many also spend substantial time on 'onsite' assignments. This results in earning in foreign currency and hence more savings. This surplus cash is utilised to partly fund a house.Some who have bought houses early on, have already repaid their debt and are investing in more houses by borrowing more. Today, almost everyone who has spent more than 5 years in an IT company has a housing loan on him. That should be close to a million people!
We are already seeing a trend of rejection of Visas. Onsite opportunities are becoming scarce. Business is trickling in IT and the sector is not seeing the same growth rate it enjoyed a few years ago. If the western economy does not recover soon, many of us will soon be finding it difficult to pay our mortgages. When we thought India survived the 2008 slow down well, it could hit us hard now through a domino effect.