Saturday, December 24, 2011

Don-2 – unfortunately the chase continues

Charming Don
Do exotic locales make a commercial movie stunning?

Does the lead hero’s halo alone create the magic around a great movie franchise?

Can a serious heist theme in a foreign country be the core of a masala Indian Bollywood film and yet pull if off?

Don-2 left a lot of these questions lingering in my mind when I left the hall. When I entered, I had great expectations. But interval came too soon and I realized it was going to be a waste overall. With movies, somehow you get to know in the first 20-30 minutes what’s going to be the overall offering. Very rarely does the pitch change midway. Sequels are always hard to make, and with a technical core, Don-2 just did not make it.

Gorgeously immortal
For those who came in late, the "Don" franchise was built by none other than Big B in the 1970s. Amitabh Bachchan did such a great job as the Don that a whole genre was created from scratch. It's sure that coming remakes will be judged against that benchmark.

Now our modern Don - King Khan – has emerged from the shadows (post Don-1 disaster) and has reached somewhere in East Asia (Thailand I guess) piloting a great yacht through some unbelievably beautiful rivers. And then he asks for the name of the best Italian restaurant in town, before mowing down an entire gang of hitmen armed with Uzis and stuff, who were out to execute him on orders of a rival international cartel. Then he lands up in a Malaysian jail only to smoothly slip out with Vardhaan (Boman Irani).

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Tintin saga - now in a theatre near you!

Let me start by saying a big "Thank You Steven Spielberg!" for bringing Tintin on screen in a serious way! After all these years of make-do animations, here's a promise that Tintin will reach out to a new generation unaware of the magic. While as a Tintin fan I feel there's a long way to go before justice is done on the big screen to the legend that's Tintin, it's a great start.

Close to 80 years ago, a Belgian artist dreamed of a boy character who would take on the villains of the world, and stand for peace and justice. Little did that artist realise that Titin - his boy character - will become a legend in his own lifetime. 'Millions of books sold in many languages around the world' hardly captures the success of the boy character. The zeal and love that his fans hold for him in their hearts perhaps does.

Tintin was a result of the circumstances of those days. The artist - George Remi (R.G. - Herge) - brought real life incidents to bear upon the development of the character of Tintin. Slowly, over the decades, more characters joined the duo of Tintin and Snowy.. and the family grew to a handsome and reliable lot! Travelling all around the world, taking on the most devilish of villains in the most believable of ways, Tintin brought happiness and cheer to kids and adults alike.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Chinese Arab spring?

A question that's popped in many minds since the Arab spring started dislodging long entrenched regimes in the Arab world is - Will China go the same way?

I did a social media brainstorming.. here are the results! Very good insights spanning the whole spectrum. (insights not edited)

The Question

Almost all the Arab world dictators have fallen in past 10 months. In Dec 2010, no one had seen it coming! Do you think the same can repeat in China one day? If yes, when?

Piyush Joshi
why will this happen in China?

Kunwar Gyan Singh Pawar sir ji china ka to pata nahi, but India me 2013 me jarur hoga

Aditya Jain The day China enters in a war with India. All the attention of armed forces and intelligence agencies of China will be on India and that will be the end of China's communism.

Deepesh Baghela Definitely yes...when growth of China will be slowed down & People of China will focus on Democracy

Nitesh Arya not in this decade..

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why India lacks a "Harvard Business Review" - a case study

Appeal for the World
Management institutions are built to serve three core purposes - (a) promote direct education of young and mature students, (b) create productive academia-industry engagements, and (c) act as a research and publications platform for high-quality, original thinking.

It is the third role that we will discuss in this case study.

Undoubtedly, when there's a lot of original research going on in a B-school (if you have a smile on your face, you know the malaise!), there will be an inclination to publish it. It's perhaps the best currency of power you have with corporates. It can generate future revenue streams for your school more reliable than student enrolment, perhaps.
So, research and publications at any management institution depend on some factors:
  1. Quality faculty willing and capable to do original research
  2. Enough industry interfaces available to ensure lots of credible raw material to research on
  3. Design and publications team that can present the ideas and research paper in a lucid manner
  4. Successful commercial interface (advertisements and marketing promotions)
  5. Process owner - the key driver of the effort
The number of managements institutions that dot the landscape of India, the amount of public funds that the central government lavishes on the chosen ones (the Indian Institutes of Managements - IIMs) and the tremendous media heft that these B-schools carry with local and national media, suggest to a layman's mind that there would be several world class management journals being published from these hallowed portals of management education in India.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ra.One - Oh fish

As is the tradition with movies that are promoted like mad, most of them turn out to be far below expectations.

And so it is with Ra.One. 

If you have taste, and watch a lot of good movies, and appreciate the calibre of actors like Shah Rukh and Kareena, then Ra.One will come as a terrible disappointment - to be aptly summarised in the words of the irritating boy character Prateek - Oh fish!

The movie comes from Ms Gauri Khan's kitchen, inspired thus:

Today we will create a new Hindi SciFi Action movie - Ra.One

Take the golden container labelled Shah-Rukh-Khan
Put in 300 gms special effects from Matrix (be shameless, go ahead)
Add 250 gms special effects from Terminator series esp. Terminator Salvation (mix hard, don't feel scared)
Add another 500 gms of totally-out-of-the-place emotions (sprinkle uniformly across the movie)
Don't forget 100 gms of robot-learning-antics from the classic "The Bicentennial man"
Plus 1 kg of a totally-cool Chhammak Chhallo that's absolutely out-of-the-place in this movie
Don't forget to put in some glamorous faces (ensuring makeup even in mourning)
And some now mandatory Hindi expletives (the Delhi-Belly effect)
Now wrap it with a silver-foil called Kareena
Cook to a charcoal-black, and let the smell spread for many months before you serve.

Enjoy patrons. Thanks for buying the tickets, and paying extra for the 3-D glasses.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Inflation - the many sides of it

India has been facing an inflation headache for more than 2 years now. Nothing seems to be able to tame the beast to levels the government would like to. The central bank (RBI) is doing what it can (raise the benchmark interest rates), the government is doing what it can (issue positive statements, push supply side factors to the extent possible etc.), and the people are doing what's the only option for them (bear the brunt!).

I posted an update in social media, and people brought in fantastic angles of the story to the fore. It turned out to be a very lively and intense debate, sure to benefit anyone who reads through the whole thing. Enjoy the heated debate, in all shades! I have not edited the comments.

Sandeep Manudhane: It's quite amazing that the Indian central bank (RBI) is following an inflation-busting strategy using higher interest rates, quite independent of what the government may want. This highlights two things (1) The RBI may be becoming more autonomous and free of Finance Min's control, and (2) It is charting a course different from other nations in the world (ex. Turkey that reduced its interest rates, hoping for higher growth & hence lower prices).

Sunil Talwar: while rbi may b growing its wings, the entire strategy seems to be lopsided. raising interest rates, assuming that people will buy less and save more to reduce pressure on the economy, is not right. in india we need a two pronged strategy to control inflation; ‎1. remove or reduce corruption, by which i mean the black money in circulation. immediate or instant fall out of this action will be so much more money in the system ‎2. reduce interest rates, open doors for more capital to come in not in the service industry as it is coming in today, but more in manufacturing set up, in hard core infrastructure. attract large capital with long gestation periods of pay out or no movement out at all

Friday, January 28, 2011

Towards a mature Republic

Tricolour Ashok Stambha image for PT education blog Sandeep Manudhane SM sir
Majestic and proud
Six decades is not a small period in a nation's life. India just celebrated its 61st Republic Day anniversary (26th January) and everyone who loves Mother India did stop for a few moments to ponder on the direction we are taking. The past few months have especially been extremely disturbing in our national life, with a near-complete loss of political balance, and a steady deterioration in the public's perception of what our leaders are upto.
Mother India is a vibrant, prolific and culturally rich entity, and it hold significance for entire humanity. With its 1200 million inhabitants, modern India is moving forward with a lot of promise. There are tales of "the India story" and "the Indian Elephant stirring and shaking", and the world tends to believe that the next decade will be dominated by stories like India's.

Distractors and the distraught often say that "भारत के गणतंत्र में गण पर तंत्र हावी हो चला है."

So it's time for some reality check. And who better to answer some fundamental question than Indians themselves! I wished my social media friends a happy republic day, and asked their opinion of what they wish to change in modern India, and as usual, the replies were eye-opening.

Here goes! (I have not edited anything in these replies)

Saurabh Baradia - I hope that India concentrate more on agriculture and manufacturing rather than the IT world....The scenario is going to change. thats the reason of high inflation. Thats the scenario what people in WEST have already face and are facing. So India should be well aware of all such issues in advance....Still INDIA is the best.......
Sumit Desai Happy Republic Day!!!! Jai Hind!!! Inquilab Zindabad!!!
Nick Jain "khud ke desh mei TIRANGA nhi lga paye" that where our Nation is Moving and Shaping like never before... 
India coloured image for PT education blog Sandeep Manudhane SM sir
Contrasts.. thy name is India
 Shivansh Mishra sir i m happy with my country but not with its politician all though some are remarkable but some are proved as a shame for the country
Sujeet Sakalle Lets decide before saying this.... Will indian become superpower till 2020 that....wether we the indians want to become superpower till 2020 ...and we will shape our and countries future...right sir....???/
Niraj Vashi happy republic day sir.... this decade is going to be so important for india and we have to be hungry for development.....
Ankit Bandi keeping finger crossed... hoping india become more prosperous.... economy continues to grow at steady rate.. India become more strong in defence, agriculture and industrial sectors...governement promote SME's more then MNC's so that more y...outh select enterpreneurship then high packages.. all money deposited in swiss bank come back to india and be in rotation in the market..... and hopefuly we will able to unfurl flag at lal chowk, shrinagar in next decade and then we can truly claim kashmir hamara hai.... Happy Republic Day sir !!!!
Lord Shiva statue image for PT education blog Sandeep Manudhane SM sir
My shelter is omnipotent
Yogendra Rai Is din hamara samvidhan lagu hua tha. Samvidhan banane walo ne best cheejo ko shamil kar ise banaya. Lekin ise lagu karne aur karwane wale dono nakam rahe. Legislative, executive apni credibility khote jaa rahe hai, ummid ki chhoti si kiran kewal judiciary me dikh rahi hai, lekin woh bhi aajkal controversy me aa jati hai....Media jisko fourth column kahte hai(jiski duty hai ki poore system ke nigrani kar sach samne laye), woh to ab puri tarah se TRP ki gulami kar rahi hai. So i am not happy with the way nation is shaping up.
Ritesh Sharma Respected Sir.... I am very happy to be Indian as every citizen of the country, Republic day for rights and duties , law and civilization , democracy and culture. As we have the largest democratic country . I really respect our constitutio...n but as we are rapidly moving towards the Modern India , here we need to make some amendments which could help for better advancement like: 1) Cases which deals which cognizant offence should deal in fast-track process. 2) There should be online process for police complaints and actions. 3) Media people should feel there resposibility from there authority . and laws should amend for the same. and Many more.
Avinash Kumar In every country there is somehings which curse u and create obstacles to move ahead and India is also one of them but still the best part of the country is people know how to overcome from the worst part and make it as a learning object WHICH HELP THEM TO SHAPE THEIR FUTURE NOT ONLY IN INDIA BUT ALL OVER THE WORLD E.G. BARACK OBAMA HAS ALREADY TOLD IN THE SPEECH, INDIA HAS DONE WELL EVEN IN THE RECESSION, AIRTEL LIKE COMPANY SPREADING ITS BUSINESS IN AFRICA WHERE NO ONE WANTS TO GO
Manish Gangwal Jai neta ki jai adhikari ki jai hind
Herwig Streubel For the last 26 I am observing the development in India. An economic development was initiated in 1991 and you could see it in towns by 1995. Around 2000 there was visible more cash also with poorer people in towns and 2005 in quite remote ...areas (MGNREGA helps a lot!). Now the government has started to take its social duties more serious - Education Guarantee Act, Anti-Corruption Drive. I really hope they continue this path, especially they have to drop the top-to-bottom approach in different schemes and have to foster basic democratic systems like Gram Swaraj - all schemes have to be implemented only with the approval of the concerned Gram Sabha (participation with the majority of the villagers, 50% women etc.)
Through the shadows of time
Mukesh Kumawat Republic day is a celebration of the historical day on which the citizens were given sovereign power and exercise this power by electing representatives, directly or indirectly. The coming decade will be very crucial for India and will be of the most "INTERESTING TIMES". India will have the chance to raise to the rank of a superpower if this gargantuan corruption gets controlled and the govt. succeeds in creating jobs for the rapidly increasing population. Moreover, radical changes will be needed in the education system and the agricultural output will be required to rise substantially to meet the food requirements. The govt. will be required to revolutionise the sports infrastructure and faciliites. The red tape will be needed to be reduced and entrepreneurship spirit will be needed to be seriously encouraged. Only then will India truely "shine". Lets be optimistic.........JAI HIND !!
Rajat Sharma First of all Happy Republic Day to you too Sir! This day reminds me that India is my Mother Country and for the proper continuation of democratic system India made its Constitution and it's absolutely one of the best like others. But it has ...not been followed properly. I am happy the way it's advancing day by day, and it is now even praised by developed country. And as per this situation it will be more technical based and strong country in the next decade. But the only thing is missing in our country is the feeling of belonging to it. But I love my country. Jai Hind!
Subodh Puranik i proud to be an indian the way nation is shaping up northward.young generation and the ambition they have will definately take nation to new hights
Ankur Chourey yeah!! the way our nation has shaped itself in these 60 years has been remarkable.India is undoubtedly one of the best stories throughout the world even before china and to be a part of this country I feel proud..
Colours that beat the world
Pallavi Chauhan we always celebrate our birthday , anniversary, and our religious festivals also. But this is the real festival because of this we are able to celebrate our all these festivals so in real sense this is the real festival to be celebrated. i am very happy that we are growing so fast and i am sure that in coming decades we will be top in the list......................
Tulesh Sahu Jai Hind Sir, i can see all comments its very nice & i came to know that we common people know what is going wrong hence we can say our politician may also know bt still they are enjoying their POWER & POSITION & doing nothing. WE... LOVE INDIA
Prashant Ghotkar I think era with in British empire was better than this, planned shaped and up to mark. I thank them the physical foundries they took from us returned in same manner, and later we lost them.Thank to them for nice administrative setup, railw...ays, special thank to them. I still dont think our natinal leader still have any concreate plan to take this country in coming next 10 years. We need to have key focussed drivers to shape it up. JAI HIND.
Punkaj Goyal Adrash Society in Maharastra
70,000 Crore in CWG
Raakesh Mohan Thanx Sir,Same to You...Probably the Apt time has come to start contributing further to the develotment of Nation by self decipline and knowing what good you can do for the society...and You are one of the examples,Mr Manudhane...
1,76000 Crore in 2 G Scam
Uncountable money in swiss bank and much more.
Karan Verma i am personally not at all happy the way it is shaping up sir. Despite the fact tht many of us has forgotten the sacrifices of our ppl, for our nation andfreedom, we still r supporting tht coward congress govt whose corrupted upto core level. Look at the inflation rate, & Ice-ing on the cake Dr Manmohan Singh condemns hoisting of Indian flag. Now that is boiling up the blood streams, such a shame for letting such ppl governing us. THE YOUTH IS ANGRY, FURIOUS AND WHEN WE SPILL OUT OF OUR GLASSES THERE WILL BE ONE MORE REVOLUTION..
Anand Singh Tomar We need to think properly in order to develop the Nation..... Its really really high time for us.... all youths of Nation need to pull their socks up.....
Modern and traditional
Prahlad Baghel Happy Republic Day to You sir, and to all PROTON family, This is PRAHLAD BAGHEL, Ex. student of PT Education. This day is meant a lot for us, as the day signifies the democratic and constitutional remedies of the country.
Paarth Ashok Narang Happy, yet not satiated :) Instead of complaining; I will try taking that one step, which is waiting to be taken by the commoner. Congratulating the masses on this day spelling integrity and republic status of the state!
Satya Mahant its really proud to be INDIAN, really we have achieved a great height,but still somewhere we lack.We lack good politician,awareness and responsibility to change fate of INDIA.bcoz still there r people who sleep without food,children who r u...naware of school and still great pressure on the mind of middle class people for everything and there are people who r still filling there bags with money enjoying the money of ours. i think we youngster can change this we should understand our responsibility not only towards our family but also towards our motherland. So lets start to be a good citizen.lets take an oath to contribute in the development of humankind and our INDIA.For that we have to be honest, energetic, determined and feel ur heart with proud of being INDIAN.
Mohit Wadhwani Historically this day counts a lot, constitution came into existence rules and regulations needed for smooth running of country came into existence but now it's just a book nothing else. Every1 knows how to bend laws for their use, lakhs of cases are pending with judiciary, which will take another 5 to 6 yrs time. I think if India needs to get fwd not only economy needs to be strengthen but judiciary too. HAPPY REPULIC DAY TO ALL
Sameer Katarpanch जय हिन्द
Jasvinder Singh Hora Well,its time to keep Personal Interests apart and try Shaping the future !!  Problems are around the World including Corruption and Me First attitude,a Hunger for Getting Noticed and Materialistic Mania !! When the Parametre of Success is Fo...reign Holidays,Property Assets and Fat Bank Balance for We Youngsters as Well then for sure we will Continue falling prey to the Craving to accumulate. Try checking the Trail of Existing Politicians,I guess majority would Inherit the Position by Virtue of Family in Politics or after earning Lot of Money or being a Celebrity the Last Destination remains Politics. Intelligent People like Amitabh Bachchan stepped Out from Politics stating "Its Not my Cup of Tea". In this Context,the Need is that the Political Corum should be 50% THINK TANKS and 50% EXECUTORS.Social Workers who have made a Mark in some Social Cause should have Place in the Corum.
Avinash Choudhary We've demographic advantage but don't have the educational infrastruture which can transform this young population into a positvie force. And how dangerous ambitious, unemployed, indisciplined youngsters can be to ...a society, is something we will see in the coming decades. Because every school can't turn into an English Medium school, instantly. Even if it happens now it will take 12/15 years for these student(who are in 1st std of an English Medium school) to get jobs. And in the next 12-15 years, I believe India's chances will be almost over. It is only the people who are starting English Medium schools in villages can save this nation. And they are doing it at a rapid pace, I've witnessed in my own town. Still, in my opinion, unlike what our PM says, we will have a very EXCLUSIVE growth.  But even then I am very hopeful, as I come from a village where most of the houses(including mine) got electricity connection when I was in class 5th. And today I am connected to the world by Facebook & internet. And read very good books & interact with very successful people which I always thought of. Though above contradicts my exclusivity point but India is very big than my village, here a small part of population is also very big in absolute terms.

So that's the voice of modern India. Insightful, appealing, emotional and so clear.


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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Stepping into the uncertain decade

Hopeful. Exuberant. Bullish.

It was the 31st of December 2000. There was abundant enthusiasm all around. The world economy was on a roll, with the USA leading the charge as usual. Dotcoms were bubbling all over, with mind-numbing valuations. Risk was contained neatly inside properly designed mathematical models that now governed a lot of stock market trading. Despite the LTCM debacle, rock-hard optimism about a pink future had steamrolled all objections from naysayers. Mainstream media, as usual, played along and magnified the sense of well-being and promise of prosperity.

Not a single soul - apart from the planners sitting inside Afghanistan - had an inkling that September of the first year of the fresh decade will bring havoc. That it will rewrite all rules of global diplomatic and military engagements. That it will force the 800 pound gorilla that's the US to actually flex its muscle militarily in faraway lands, in engagements that were potentially capable of bankrupting it monetarily and for a short while, even philosophically.

That's uncertainty for you. While the immediate physical pain of the horrific 9/11 incidents has subsided substantially, the learnings derived from the same poke fun at every human attempt to create some amount of predictability out of the utter chaos that's human life now. And the entire decade of the 2000s was spent with one crisis spilling into another, piling all along, and so on. Political crises completely overshadowed the various technological and economic gains made through sheer enterprise of innovative companies the world over.

Here's what really went wrong with the 2001-2010 decade :
Blackest of the Black Swans
  1. Asymmetric terrorism: a whole new genre of terrorist reach and impact was created with the Al Qaeda creating missiles out of commercial passenger aircraft. American defence establishment - armed with the most sophisticated batteries of assault weapons and satellites - watched helplessly as this asymmetry engulfed their entire existence for a short period of time. It was clear to everyone that a new chapter had begun, with absolutely new levels of destruction now possible inside home territories. No nation was safe anymore. No shred of intelligence was extra anymore. No suspicion was unwarranted anymore. All this meant that the basic threads of civility that tie our modern civilisation into what it is came under attack. The impact was to be felt throughout the decade.