Showing posts from January, 2017

Europe by Eurail

Mediterranean Blue.
I made two different trips of Europe by Eurail, and these are some pics from the French leg of those. Except the last pic, which is from Greece. You can actually travel overnight sleeping on the train, to cut hotel costs, bathe up at railway stations, and see a city a day across Europe- many countries are covered by a single pass for unlimited travel for a fixed number of days-I took a 14 day pass. This is a good way to backpack and get more bang for your Euros.

What World Leaders Might be Telling Trump

Trump brings out an opinion about him in every one. But if you were a world leader at this time, what would you say to him? Let's guess-

Angela. Why are you going where Angels fear to tread?

Modi. Can you modify that last bunch of orders you signed, please?

Putin. What exactly are your policies? Can we discuss them over a vodka?

May. Your exits from all the pacts are threatening to overshadow Brexit.

Mexican Prez. You are driving me up the wall.

Canadian PM. Trudeau or not Trudeau is not your dilemma, it appears.

France- Can you return the Statue of Liberty, please?

Kaabil- Film Review

My view of this film is mixed, tending towards the "Don't watch" side. Why? Let me explain.

The plot of revenge for a misdeed has been done to death in a number of formula films in the seventies and eighties, with better actors- Dharmendra, Amitabh to name just two. Even though Hrithik is good, he pales in comparison. He is also handicapped by the script that makes him blind. And revenge is the worst way, in my view, to show the Kabiliyat (ability) of a blind person.

What could (with a better story/script) have been a heart-warming journey to discover the everyday travails of a lovely couple in love (the first fifteen minutes are actually good), overcoming their lack of eyesight, meanders into a formula film of impossible-to-believe stunts that stretch your credibility. Yami Gautam is mostly wasted in cliched stuff, unlike in her earlier films (I think Vicky Donor was one of them). Comparisons may be out of place, but a remake of Koshish would have been a much better id…

Character Sketches

Remembering Mahabharat- by BR Chopra

The TV series made a great impression on me when I first saw it. Its beauty (to me) lies in the fact that it shows a realistic world fuelled by desire for power, crooked uncles (Shakuni is a great character, played effortlessly by Gufi Paintal), casteism, idealism (Bhishma) gone wrong, the good, the bad and the in-between, indecisiveness, a mother's power over sons (in asking them to share a wife), and so much more.

I particularly liked the way Krishna was portrayed by Nitish Bharadwaj- I still remember the smiling visage, as a friend of the Pandavas, and his exasperation at some of their oaths. He asks them to think before they utter some of the more consequential ones, at one point.

Mahendra Kapoor's soulful song which rounded off each episode also was memorable. Draupadi played by Roopa Ganguly was also a powerful character. Mukesh Khanna had a role of a lifetime, and so did many of the Pandavas, and Duryodhana and Karna. Later, I read Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerje…


You may want to redefine or reinvent yourself at the urging of a personal coach, or boss at work. But if you want to redefine days, here are some possibilities-

Valentine's Day- When you are acutely made aware of the lack of a Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Rakshabandhan- Likewise (see above)

Republic Day- When planes fly, but not over the airport

Teachers' Day- When you remember those who gave you an A

Student's Day- When you get an A

Labour Day- When you curse the management for not paying you more

Management Day- When you vent about the labour slacking off

Facebooker's Day- When you get more likes than expected

Blogger's Day- When people read your blog, and even comment on it

Neighbour's Day- When your neighbour smiles back at you

The Lesser Players of Bollywood

There are a lot of character actors in Bollywood who add their charming little acts to the proceedings. Here is recounting a few from their heyday-

Iftikhar- usually playing the Commissioner of Police, he lightened up in Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye..

Om Shivpuri played many small but important characters, like in Don (the Amitabh original).

A.K. Hangal made Ramukaka, the homely servant popular, but played a horny old man in the comedy "Shaukeen" with panache too.

Om Prakash was an endearing character in most films, Chupke Chupke being one of his best roles as the jeejaji who is a stickler for Shuddh Hindi.

Nazneen excelled at the sister act- the hero or the heroine always had a sister in old Hindi films.

Keshto Mukherjee was the eternal drunk, and made this act his own.

David was the uncle or elderly equivalent in countless films, particularly noticeable in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's and Basu Chatterjee's films.

Ashok Kumar played many important roles long after he s…

Thought Leadership vs. Incrementalism

Reaching the moon in a few years- Kennedy's dream.

Just in Time or JIT from the Japanese.

Miniaturised electronics, from many American and Japanese firms. Sony Walkman, an example.

All examples of thought leadership. Including the mobile phone, and the internet. But why is it that governments largely lack big ideas? The last one I heard was from Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh when he introduced e-seva, saving people from long lines to pay their own electricity or phone bills, and much more.

Many government services need decentralisation and more contact centres- these can be outsourced where skills needed are minimal, creating huge employment opportunities, and serve people better.

Just one big thought for now, but you may get a dozen a day, if efforts are made. Why don't governments do this?

Every Once in a While...

Every once in a while, I hear a song which I cannot get out of my mind for days. It has happened recently with the following songs, which I heard after a fairly long gap, but they stayed in my mind.

Tum apna ranj-o-gham, apni pareshani mujhe de do.Sung by Jagjit Kaur, the wife of music director Khayyam.

Man gaaye woh taraana jise sunke chale aana.. sung sweetly by Suman Kalayanpur for a forgotten movie called Chalaak. Music by Ganesh.

Pyar hua hai jabse mujhko nahin chain aata. Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar from the film Abhilasha.

Kabhi tanhaiyon mein yun hamari yaad aayegi, andhere chha rahe honge, ke bijli kaundh jaayegi. Sung by Mubarak Begum, music by Snehal Bhatkar.

Gore gore o baanke chhore. Lata and Amirbai Karnataki in a song tuned by C. Ramchandra.

Hai apn…

TV Artists That I Remember

I have mostly stopped watching TV these days, as it generally has asinine programs. But once upon a time, I actually watched it, and recount with fondness some shows and artists.

The entire cast of Hum Paanch led by Ashok Saraf. It had a girl 'dada' among his kids.

Satish Shah, Ratna Pathak, Sumeet Raghavan ...of Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai

Rajit Kapoor of Byomkesh Bakshi

Rajni, starring Priya Tendulkar

Surbhi, with Siddarth Kak and Renuka Shahane

Karamchand with Pankaj Kapur

Tehkikaat starring Vijay Anand

Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi with Rakesh Bedi, Satish Shah Swaroop Sampat and Shafi Inamdar

Creative Answers to Common Interview Questions

These may not get you a job, but you will enjoy the interview process- it's the journey and not the destination that's important, right?

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Vacationing in Goa every month under the guise of a sales meeting. I shall hold all meetings there.

Q: In 10 years?

Flying to my beach villa in the Bahamas in my private jet, all charged to the compay account (I'd have hired a creative accountant to do the needful).

Q: In 15 years?

In a log cabin writing books like all the MBAs these days seem to write- there are many Indian scriptures to choose from and turn into modern fables, a la Vayuputra.

Q: In 20 years?

I will run an organic farm where I will grow grapes and tomatoes. The grapes will be turned into wine and the tomatoes will be thrown at unwanted visitors.

A Pictorial Journey

Guns and Mothers-in-law. Charleston, USA. 1988.
 Paella at Amsterdam conference. 2008.
 IIM Indore jailbirds. recent.
 Desert Moon hotel room. Jaisalmer. 2015.
 Another gun (tope), another time.
 Lovey times, IMT Nagpur.
 Feeling festive at IMT Nagpur.
 Prarthana and Pooja. Daughters' love.
 Parents, brother, sister in law and pic, Clemson. 1989.
Naturals at fancy dress, IIMB classmates. 1983.

Om Puri Obituary

He proved that good looks are not mandatory for an actor to succeed. He was far from good-looking, but played many memorable roles. Some films that I can remember are Aakrosh, Jaane bhi do yaaro, Ardh-satya, Gupt. He had an excellent voice, and emoted well on screen, whether it was as a hero or any other character. He had a hilarious role in Janne bhi do yaaro, along with Satish Shah and others. I still remember a few of his scenes and dialogues..

Along with Naseeruddin Shah, he brought many themes to life in the so-called parallel cinema of Govind Nihalani, Shyam Benegal and so on. He also starred in commercial cinema, and some Hollywood productions, though I did not watch any of those.

His personal life was mired in some controversies, but professionally he was one of the best. I remember watching him on the Anupam Kher show along with Naseer, his classmate at the film institute, and they were fun to watch, quite candid about things they did. There is also a fond mention of him in …

Pics from the Nilgiris

Roadies on the Coonoor-Kotagiri road.
 Ravi, Me, Suresh, Prabhakar and Ramesh from l to r.
 Swinging away.
 The Golf musketeers at Ooty Gymkhana.
 My hour of glory. Hole-in-one at no.5, Wellington Golf Club
 Conqueror's flag.
Views to die for.