Showing posts from September, 2014

SD Burman

I may be repeating myself (a consequence of being old and being a prof-double dhamaka) but SD Burman was a great music director. I once had a top ten song list (it's in my autobiography) and many of the songs there are tuned by this deceptively old-world guy. Though the current generation may be more familiar with his son RD, dada was truly a master. It's his anniversary today according to the radio people, so here's the repeat show.

My favourites of SD Burman-

Yeh dil, na hota bechara - a crooked-necked Dev Anand sings this with a fish hanging from a hook.

Are yaar meri tum bhi ho ghazab- Dev Anand again, in a haystack- I'm not kidding. Go watch the song. From Teen Deviyan.

O Meri, o meri o meri Sharmeelee, Shashi Kapoor swinging away in his unique style.

Mere sapnon ki rani kab aayegi tu- a zesty song, that launched Rajesh Khanna.

Dil aaj shayar hai, gham aaj naghma hai...a funny moustached Dev Anand, but great song.

Dil ka bhanwar kare pukar, pyar ka raag suno, fro…

Modi- A Marketing Genius

This is not about politics, but about academics. In particular, the discipline called Marketing. Whatever may be your political inclinations, one must acknowledge a marketing guru when you see one. I consider Anna Hazare as one, and Modi as another.

The hysteria among commoners and Kings to welcome him anywhere he chooses to go (China, Japan, Bhutan, Nepal are some recent places), is something seen rarely in these days of extreme cynicism. What contributes to this series of grand welcomes is not clear yet. But it is true that a lot of people believe he can deliver. The simple things he talks about in a simple (simplistic at times) manner is a great lesson in communication. We often get carried away by big words and bombast without asking any of the 'marketers' in politics to spell out what they intend to do. A brand that does that in any other category will certainly fail.

The image of a no-nonsense, grounded hard worker has remained, right from his campaigning days. His shre…

Of Beheadings and Not Being the Head

The juicy news story of last evening was that of Jayalalitha being convicted in a disproportionate assets case and sentenced to jail. You might say it is 'just desserts' after having consumed too many to fit into the body or her coat. Or you may marvel at the appropriateness of "Jayl' lalitha going exactly where her name indicated she would- did not need an astrologer to predict that! The side-effect of being in jail is also that she will no longer 'head' the state that she did.

In other corners of the world, we have the drama of a few be-headings by some terrorist group that seems to have followers from across all other corners of the world besides their own corners. There are so many random terrorist groups these days that you have to 'be' different and use your 'head' to be noticed. So, therefore, the clever use of other people's heads. As the Queen famously said in a popular story, it is "Off with their head". As long as the …

The Dawat-e-ishq Review

This is a story you can appreciate more if you happen to be from Hyderabad or Lucknow. I have lived in both places, so maybe there's a soft corner for it. I liked the movie in spite of an illogical twist which prolongs the story to fit into a 2 hour-plus format. Nevertheless, it sustains your interest because of the lead players aided superbly by veteran Anupam Kher.

There is a message in it too, that of the evils of dowry, and treating female thieves differently from the highway robbers who shamelessly indulge in dowry-taking (assumed to be male here, though they aren't always male).

Parineeti and the Kapoor (don't ask me which, I am confused with so many of their clan around) do their parts well, a couple of songs are good, the sights of Hyderabad and Lucknow are captured well. The characters being Muslim, it's nice to learn a bit more about their lifestyles and customs.

A 3 on 5 from me.

Mary Kom- Film Review

The movie about the lady boxer from Manipur is worth a watch for three reasons-

To learn about the Manipuri way of life, which the support characters have etched out well.

The lovely scenic locations both of Manipur ( I presume) and elsewhere.

The story of a gritty woman, and an angel of a husband who supports her in every way possible.

The subject is interesting, and the story, predictable. The boxing matches are done well, but there are some repetitive shots of both the matches in the ring and the training- five more minutes could have been edited out to make it crisper. The coach has done a good job. There is an attempt to bring out the evils in 'the system' and officials who seem to have infinite powers to do damage to sport.

3.8 on 5. Priyanka has done the title role well. An aside- the plug for Iodex is hilarious!

Romantic Icons of the 70s

There were quite a few romantic heroes/heroines of the 1970s whom I grew up watching on screen. The music added a lot of charm to many of their films. Some of those were-

Rishi Kapoor, often paired with Neetu Singh, who dazzled with his rom-com roles in Rafoo Chakkar, Khel Khel Mein, Amar Akbar Anthony, Bobby (with Dimple Kapadia), Hum Kisise Kam Nahin (with Kajol aka Sunita Kulkarni). Don't know why Shailendra Singh stopped singing for him and Kishore Kumar took over.

Dev Anand, the 'evergreen' romantic, was in his element in Gambler (Dil aaj shayar hai), Johny Mera Naam, Prem Pujari (Pholon ke rang se, Shokhiyon mein ghola jaaye), and Hare Rama Hare Krishna. His teaming with Hema Malini in Shareef Badmash and Chhupa Rustam worked for both. Tere Mere Sapne with Mumtaz (another cute looker) also was a good film.

Rajesh Khanna, of course, was the king of the 70s with Aradhana, Kati Patang, Aan Milo  Sajna (Accha, to hum chalte hain), Aap Ki Kasam, Mere Jeevan Sathi (O mere…

My Own Ideas of a Referendum

First, let me get my plurals straight. Is the plural of referendum referenda, or referendii, or some something else? Whatever..let's assume it's 'referenda' and proceed. These are the following referenda I can see coming in the near future (not being an astrologer, I can't see too far, you see)..

1. Referendum on whether Kolhapuri cuisine is hotter Saoji cuisine.

2. Referendum on whether the new IIMs should be in a city with a population more than 5 lakhs, and number of businesses in town greater than 5.

3. One on whether humans should colonise Mars or the Moon

4. Referendum on whether Virgin Airlines should do the colonising

5. on Whether the fault lies in our stars, and if so, why there are no starquakes as in 'earthquakes'

6. on whether an airline can be run into the ocean, just like they 'run them into the ground'

7. On whether Candy Crush Saga can be given the status of an Epic

8. On whether Hindi-Chini are bhai bhai again

9. On whether the fi…

Pics From Outdoors

Indore and Outdoor are both to be enjoyed with equal attention. So it was in a spirit of exploration that we, a band of Indoreans set out last weekend. We managed to take in two major sights, one a religious shrine on the banks of river Narmada (Omkareshwar) and the second, a waterfall called Patalpaani, which has a railway line running opposite itself (like Dudhsagar near Goa, except that this one is below the track level). Some pics of the explorers, mostly colleagues at IIMI. There is this suspension bridge like the one in Rishikesh that you can walk across to reach the temple. Some dhaba food and a terrific shower thumping the roof of it while we ate were other highlights. There was some 'monkey business' at Patalpani too, but we came out unscathed.

Some Academic Learnings

There are life learnings and other learnings. Some may be termed learnings from corporate life (the Scott Adams or Sidin Vadukut types). Others are academic learnings- those we academics learn from our life.

These can be summed up in simple equations, with some English thrown in for ease of understanding the concepts. You get it?

Student's grading of his own effort > Professor's grading of student's effort.

Likewise, the Prof's evaluation of his greatness < Student's evaluation of the same

Correlation between the grade obtained by student and feedback obtained by the prof = High

If there is a tough Prof, chances of student's effort being high = Good (Probability> 0.8)

If there is a 'soft' Prof., chances of this high effort = Low (Probability < 0.2)

If the group assignment involves lots of work, the Work done by a student= Total Work divided by the number of students in the group

Arun Joshi's 'The Apprentice'

This is an unusual book by an author that is relatively unknown. I came to know of him through a friend Vinod Ekbote's blog. Part of the reason is that his books are not easily available. I found this book while browsing at Higginbotham's Bangalore. It does not disappoint.

In one fell swoop, this novel takes in the decay of the Indian 'system' of bribery and insensitive administration, and much more than that. The destruction of our 'souls' as it were- there are references to the Bhagavad Gita but also a confession by the protagonist that he understands only a little from it.

I found it riveting, and unusual. The story is that of a freedom-fighter's son, who grows up directionless, and finds a job only to turn into a corrupt spoke in a bigger wheel. He buys sub-standard equipment for the Indian Army, and that becomes the cause of his best friend's death- he is serving in the Army in the Chinese War. There is penitence and an attempt to seek revenge, bo…

Finding Fanny and Myself

The 'finding myself' is one reason for blogging (and reading blogs). And having just crossed 150,000 views of this blog, I am sure there are a few more trying to find themselves. One positive thing about blogs according to me is that they are mostly honest, at least more so than your projected image on a few other social media (as in 'permanently cool' on fb, or 'eminently employable' on LinkedIn).

Anyway, I happened to 'Find Fanny' in our auditorium at the IIM Indore campus last evening. Also went out to see Omkareshwar nearby during the day, taking in Pataalpani waterfall on the way back, with some new colleagues. Pics will follow when official photographers (we management profs have a way with things, you see) send me those.

The movie was a fitting finale to a productive day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Pankaj Kapur is one of our finest actors- I rediscovered this after watching Jaane Bi Do Yaaro again recently, as also Matru Ki Bijli ka Mandola- a…

Car Colour and Personality

I am on the cusp of a breakthrough theory- that car colour is related to the personality of the guy/gal who chose that colour. Check this out-

Dark colours - these guys have dark secrets to them. Tough to unravel.

White- Apparently the most popular colour for a car in India- naive, transparent, find it difficult to hide their feelings, and can get into trouble in a world that prizes diplomacy.

Golden- Have a heart of gold, more valuable than the metal.

Silver- not quite there (Golden), but getting there. Some more effort needed.

Red- impatient, inclined to speeding, paying higher insurance premium (according to American insurance company data).

Blue- They are the people who will take on your blues, or give you the blues. Depends on the season.

Yellow- don't tell me there are guys with yellow cars! Eeeeks..

The Helmetian Dilemma

Hamlet was not the only guy with a dilemma. The helmet is also in a similar crisis of identity- the question in this case being, "Am I a legally required accoutrement (hope the word is right) or not?"

Man has debated several philosophical problems in his lifetime of a billion years, give or take a few, but he is yet to find the solution to the problem of whether a helmet is required to be worn by law in his neighbourhood/city/country.

This dilemma is sometimes comic and sometimes tragic. For every case of a two-wheeler rider perishing due to the lack of one, you hear of another where the person perished in spite of wearing one.

Many a time, it is tough to make out what a helmet is made of, and one wishes it was 'sterner stuff'. Like the joke about the airlines. A wise guy said, "If the black box is indestructible, why don't they build the whole airplane with that stuff?"

The weather in our country (India) being tropical has its own contribution to make…

Twinning Programs

There was some talk about turning Varanasi into Kyoto. Before that, a few years ago, there had been some talk about turning Mumbai into Shanghai. So I propose that there be a twinning program just as we have in education. Twin cities need not be just Secunderabad and Hyderabad. They can span the globe, based on the number of twins- sorry, the similarities between them-according to the beholder.

Here's my list of twins-almost identical-

Nashik and Burgundy. Both produce wine.

Detroit and Chennai. Car producing towns with water bodies nearby. One of them is bankrupt.

Tokyo and Gurgaon. Both produce Japanese cars.

Nagpur and Miami. Orange country.

Mumbai and New York. Both produce enough garbage to light up the city if recycled.

Omaha and Rajnandgaon. Both in the middle of nowhere. The latter is famous on Vividh Bharati for song requests.

Hyderabad and New Jersey- approx. the same number of software engineers, from Andhra.

London and Delhi. Both have a defunct Queen.

Oxford, which w…

Odd, Rare, Fun Songs

Many are not heard because the movies they were in did not make it, or they are too old. But some of these songs are very pretty and fun to listen to. For example,

Pretty pretty Priya - Tanuja learns dancing, from Jalal Agha and friends.

O meri pran sajani Champavati aja- Anil Dhawan and Jaya Bhaduri watch this and get inspired.

Pyar ka rahi ruk nahin sakta, dil ki umang yeh kehti hai. Kishore, Asha, in a Shankar-Jaikishen tune.

Woh pari kahan se laoon, teri dulhan jise banaoon...bachelor Gangaram ( Manoj Kumar) gets a bevy of beauties to choose from...Sharda's voice, with Mukesh..

Another fascinating song in a different genre I found while trawling the web. Must be one of the prettiest piano gals in Hindi films. The song is from Shagoon, and it's Khayyam's music with Sahir's lyrics. Tum apna ra…

Ads We Made in 1984

I joined an ad agency, New Horizons, in Delhi after my MBA from IIMB in 1984. The same year, a group of entrepreneurs decided to start an amusement park at Pragati Maidin  in Delhi. We got the contract to make print ads for this Indian Disneyland (albeit a small one) called Appu Ghar, Appu being the mascot for the Asian Games 1982. I found a couple of those ads and am putting them out for your exclusive 'amusement'-
I think entry was Rs.2, and then separate fees for rides.

What the Prime Minister Cannot Do For You

Thought I would make it clear for those who think God and after him/her, the PM ought to do things for them. These are the things, folks, he cannot do for you.

1. Change your kid's diaper
2. Clean up your house and the adjacent plot where you dump your waste
3. Teach your kids (good) manners
4. Stop you from discriminating against your girl child
5. Stop you from taking/giving dowry
6. Help you be a nice human
7. Develop your potential and help you search for a suitable career
8. Entertain you by giving you one-liners like a stand-up comedian (or Lalu Yadav)
9. Fix your broken marriage
10. Grow things in your garden

A related joke that I am reminded of- A man complained to God that he wasn't looking after him. He was so unlucky compared to his fellow earthlings. Why, for instance, did he not win a lottery?
God replied that HE had made all arrangements for the man to win a lottery, but he had to buy a ticket first!

Nagpur Revisited

I am a big fan of Nagpur for various reasons-professional and personal. I spent three good years there at what I consider one of the best business schools in India-IMT Nagpur among great students, staff and faculty. Its campus has a soothing effect on anyone who spends significant time there. We used to hear this from students, but also from visitors who came in for a few hours. The city also has a great charm. It is not overcrowded like most other cities.

So it was a great pleasure to visit again, and though I was not able to play Golf-one thing I try to do when there- I did many things joyful. Meeting friends of course being the prime one. Here is the pic to prove it. Colleagues Gadgil, Vijayakumar, Anantram and TK Chatterjee at hotel Tuli enjoying a lunch. It was also Vijayakumar's 61st birthday.

Also went to Bangalore to IFIM B School in e-city for my PhD student's final viva after that. She is my second student at VTU to have completed the doctorate. Nice feeling.