Haasil - The Movie

Bollywood is known to release the maximum number of movies in a year. And most of them are forgettable. A lot of them go onto become big hits and send the cash registers ringing. And then there are times when a movie creates a whole new world. The way people think. The way people talk. They way people perceive cinema. One of them is obviously Sholay. The other one is Haasil. I cant really compare the two but Haasil deserves its place along side any other acclaimed movie in the history of Indian Cinema.

The plot is really simple. Its about a small town in India where people are happy go lucky and go about their own tasks. Its a typical story of a young guy. Its a typical story of a pesky father. Its a typical story of a guy in love with a girl and trying to express it. Its about a typical university in India where student politics is more important than the academics or anything else. Then its the typical story of hatred, envy, love, politics, corruption, anger, wars and other such things.

And this is where all the typicalality ends. The story is interesting and compelling enough to captivate the audience. The dialouges are impressive and more importantly their delivery makes every small scene a cult. To the extent that I will probably call each scene a conversation between two characters. Characters who are small yet giant. Who are incapable by themselves yet can do anything if situation demands. Performances by Irfan Khan and Ashutosh Rana that can put any other actor to shame.

Personally, for me, the best two conversations are "Pandit hum der na lagaenge maarne main" and "Hum to ShivJi kay bhakth hain, saara zeher humein hi peena hai". Although I don't support piracy, the entire movie is available here for watching online and free download.

Haasil fans, please share your stories. And please note that this is not a movie review.

Orkut Community for Haasil Fans
IMDB on Haasil
Wikipedia on Haasil

A picture is worth 1000 words: Success.


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May 24, 25: Awesome Weekend

I had the most perfect weekend that a girlfriendless guy can have. Full of sleep, Counter-Strike, Partying, Cricket Match, Travel, Eating, Shopping, Talking and Gyaan sessions.
  • Sleep: Slept for half a day. Switched off my phone for that duration. Blissfull.
  • Counter-Strike: Played CS for about 3 hours with friends from MDI at Zapak Gameplex. This is turning into a weekly thing now.
  • Partying: Met people from MDI, more people from MDI and still more people. Ate out on both days and had awesome time remembering things from past. An interesting incident happened. We were trying to remember the songs we like at MDI and I said "Bin Tere Sanam" by DJ Suketu and at that very instant it was played. Awesomeness.
  • Cricket Match: Saw Kolkata vs Chandigarh march at Rodas. Huge screen. Great place. Friends boozing and pulling pranks. Awesome finish. Brilliant.
  • Travel: Local mostly but well after mid-night. I love traveling at nights. When the entire world sleeps, you are on your way.
  • Shopping: Long overdue bout of shopping. Only thing remaining is hunting for books. Will order online today. Saratchadra Chattopadyaya.
  • Talking: Awesome conversation about history of India and how political turmoil pulled us from being the leaders of the world to a developing country.
  • Gyaan session: This is where we acted as visionaries and talked about things that could make India what it was before we were invaded.
All in all a very good weekend. Hoping for more of these.

1V1: Whether vs When

Next in the 1v1 series. Whether vs When.

Today I will talk about Whether and When. Most of the times when you want to take a decision, there is often a debate between whether and when. You argue on things like "Whether you will do or not", "When will you do it" etc..

I think the use of these words greatly affects the decision.

The WHETHER questions by its very nature brings along uncertainty and with it a possibility of not doing it. You might do it. You might not. You will ask more people about it. You will seek more approval for the idea. And in the end you might or might not do it.

Moment you start asking WHEN question, the whole paradigm changes. You have already made the decision. You are going to do it. If not now, later. But you will do it. And this decision makes all the difference.

What do you think you will choose when making decisions? Whether or When?

Originally posted at Saurabh Garg @ Thoughts

Remembering Duck Tales

When I was growing up (I still am), on TV, there used to be just good old Doordarshan. And it was the time when Sundays were important. More important than anything else. I would not miss the Sunday for anything. I used to wait the entire week for Sunday. I would make sure I had done my homework on Saturday night itself. On Sunday, I would get up early, get ready, was bathed and powdered and my hair parted on the left side, I would sit in front of TV at exact 9, waiting for the clock to strike 10. I would be the perfect kid. I would give no reason to my mom or my dad to disturb me that day. It the most important time of my life.

At dot 10, Duck Tales with its awesome intro music would start beaming. And with it, I would get lost in a fantasy world of Uncle Scrooge, Beagle Boys, Magica, Launchpad and all the pranks played by Luey, Huey and Duey (I dont really remember the names). I used to wish I had an Uncle like Scrooge McDuck who would literally be flooded with money. I wanted to have brothers like Luey, Huey and Duey. I wanted to have a nanny like Mrs. Beakley. I wanted to have a friend like Launchpad. I wanted my life to be life that. Full of action, adventure, suspense, comedy and emotions.

Life was so perfect. There were no worries. No decisions to make - their was only one channel and hence the simple decisions. Moreover the ads were very limited. There used to be just one commercial break and the ads of Cadbury's Tobu Cycles etc. were lot more fun that the ones right now. (Ok, not Tobu Cycles but Cadbury's for sure).

And obviously next day at school, at the lunch break, there were sessions where we discussed everything that happened during the show. We would talk about funny incidents. We debated about strategies that they should have taken.

And now, we have serials that started with TV channels and in all probability they would never end. There is no wait. Life moves at a snails pace. I happened to see Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi few weeks ago and they were still talking about Tulsi and Ba. I mean its been 10 years since Tulsi has been contemporary and is most talked about Bahu in the history of India.

Sincerely wish if those days could be back. Need to write another post on Tale Spin, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Zabaan Sambhaal Kay etc. And if you want to read more about TV shows from those times, read my earlier post here.

I have the sound tracks of both Duck Tales and Tales Spin. Please email me in case you need em.

The Great Indian Media

If you dont know Arushi, The Great Indian Khali, the colored cheerleaders, blog wars of Amitabh Bachchan and Amir Khan you live in a cave. The Indian media has gotten into so much frenzy with all these that all other events sound minor.

Inflation is touching 8% and there is no analysis or debate on the same. Indian Hocket team finally is doing something right. They lost in the finals of Sultan Azlan Shah cup but there was hardly a mention. A very important issue is being debated at WTO but no one has a clue about it.

Brings me to a point where I am thinking if media business needs a radical change. I have expressed my displeasure at the way media functions in India. They show what is popular and people see what media shows. With time the original thoughts would die away. They need to move beyond popularism and start talking about things that really make a difference.

Coming back to Arushi, whatever happened with that girl is very tragic. It should not have happened but I guess media could leave her now in peace. I am sure media is saying that they want justice for her. But did media raise a single hand for justice to all those people who die very regularly on roads because of negligent driving?

The bomb blasts in Jaipur were forgotten as fast as they happened. Media has decreed that police and intelligence have failed in their task and thats it. I want to ask why dont they investigate the Jaipur blasts with as much gusto as they are tracking murderers of Arushi? Why cant media itself become the investigation department and then we will not need the CBI, IB, RAW or even the new central investigation agency that Dr. Kalam has envisioned. It will sure get them more eye balls and save the nation some money.

The great Khali is another example of media going overboard of things that dont warrant a single glance. Agreed he is 7 feet. Agreed he is from a village in India and now a professional wrestler at WWE - a place known more for glamour rather than professional wrestling. In my humble opinion, the great Khali might be the best ever but on the wrestling stage he has only brought disgrace to India. The way they talk about India, the way they dishonor the Indian flag, the National Anthem and the way they mock Indians there at "professional wrestling" ring is not even funny. If he was half Indian, he would have put a full-stop to all that show business.

IPL - Indian Premier League. If I start talking about this, I wouldn't even stop. Agreed cricket is our unofficial national game but any channel - sports, news, family, even devotional channels are full of insights. Someone correctly said that there are 11 players and 1 billion experts on the game. Every one has an opinion and everyone wants to voice them. It doesn't matter if the logic is flawed or opinions are biased.

Wish there were more people who wanted to raise their voice against this stupidity that we call media in India.

Vodafone customer care

I make this trip to a Vodafone store every month to pay my phone bill. I dont have a credit card and hence this unnecessary evil. And its an awesome learning experience.

Anyways so this trip is to any Vodafone store in the vicinity and I stay there for five minutes on average. Its surprising that even in those five minutes I see at least two people shouting on poor and often clueless customer care executives. And this is not an one off incident. It happens every time without fail. Every time someone or the other is shouting about inflated bills, sudden disconnection, charges without consent or 1000 other things.

I wonder for a company that shouts out loud that it is Happy to Help (btw GE Money also prided itself with this Happy to help gimmick), the service levels are pathetic. Customer care executives are often clueless about things that you ask them. Half the times they cant speak English or Hindi. And the other half times they are busy fixing their hair or creases or drinking tea etc. All the money that they pump on advertisement (which in my opinion is top notch) goes for a toss moment customer screams in the store.

My heart goes out to all those customer care executives that face the wrath of these angry customers for no fault of theirs. Can something be done about this rather than wasting money on frivolous things like fliers and other innovative ways of charging a customer? Is the advertising agency and social media agency for Vodafone listening?

Anil Ambani vs Kishore Biyani on Big Baz(a)ar

Not caring for literary flowerification and language style critics around here, this is going to be rude post.

For people who dont know that specifics, Reliance ADAG is Anil Ambani and Reliance Industries is Mukesh Ambani.

Reliance ADAG has made clear their intentions on getting into organized retail. People might remember that ADAG and Reliance Industries had a non-compete agreement when Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani agreed to split in 2006. Terms of this agreement were not made public but how in the world can Anil Ambani get into organized retail when everyone knows about Reliance Retail and its hazaar different retail formats and more than 500 stores?

And if this was not enough, ADAG's retail venture is called Reliance Big Bazar. Surprised? Not really. Shocking? Yes. What about Kishore Biyani's company called Pantaloon Retail and their flagship retail store Big Bazaar?

Perfectly understandable that ADAG calls all their businesses BIG. Big FM, Big Music, Big Flix, Big Entertainment etc. but Big Bazar? I always thought that CGA will not allow you to name your company that confuses customer will an already existing brand. If there was small guy in some class C town in India doing the same thing, he would have been sued for his every penny for corporate lawyers.

If the name was stupid, the reason given by ADAG is even more stupid. They are saying that Kishore Biyani's company is called Bazaar with two a's and their's is called Bazar with a single a. With even bad Photoshop skills, one can very easily make the two logos very similar and rest can be left to anyone's imagination. They have said that they would not use the word "Bazar" or "Big Bazar" on standalone basis. They will always use "Reliance Big Bazar". This saves some grace for them.

But overall a very bad move. And Isn't this piggybacking on someone who has put in time and effort to create a huge brand? What about customers? Isn't this a cheap way to get customers?

India asks Y.

Image Credits: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/142/349070891_d279d63b80.jpg

What is life?

Got this as an sms from a friend.
Life means : A winter evening, 4 friends, mild rain, 4 pegs of vodka.
Life means: 100 bucks of petrol, 2 rusty old bikes and an open road.
Life means: Maggi noodles, a hostel room, 3.25 AM.
Life means: 1 prep leave, 1 book, 8 duffers.

Now life means: old friends, separate cities, separate lives and endless sms to stay in touch..
He couldn't have been more true.

Podcast with Sumir Chadha

Sumir Chadha is the MD of Sequoia Capital in India and over the weekend I got this podcast from Iinovate with him.

It was interesting to say the least. He talked about a lot of generic stuff but these are my takeaways from it.

What kind of companies do you like?
• Large market opportunity - a lot of people should be ready to use your product/service
• The management team should have an exceptional customer understanding.
• 100 mn in revenues, cos we want to make 10 times the money we invest (these are ballpark figures)

What Indian IT lacks?
• Product Management
• Marketing Skills
• Technology markets are in the west
⁃ But this will change over the years
• Research and entrepreneurship are treated differently whereas in US, researchers create companies based on their original research.

Why Entrepreneurship?
• Change the world
• Revolutionize something
• Making money - Money is always a byproduct rather than the primary objective.

He also adds a lot of other things like a startup should be geographically close to where their customers are, Importance of learnings and open exchanges, research and entrepreneurship.

As always good to hear people from the industry talking. Not a very good podcast but certainly worth the time.

Cubescape - Create your own pixelcraft.

Every once in a while comes something that brings that Wow feeling. Cubescape is one such thing. I stumbled onto it from a friends' blog and moment I saw it and worked on it, I was WOW.

The idea is simple. It gives you a two dimensional grid and you can drop tiny cubes on that grid. You can change the color. You can delete the cubes and then everything else is left to your imagination. Once you are done, you can save the creation and then can edit it later. Sweet and simple.

This is a link to my creation. I can see myself wasting a lot of time on this.

Reminds me of PointOfView - one of my favorite games on a Mac. I think I have a fetish with cubes and pixel art.

Fake Characters

Inspired by work done by Phonethics, I also thought I would create some characters. And some lives. Here is the first draft.

Koncious Kapoor
KK is our typical metrosexual Indian. He belongs to a very small time in UP and his is the first family to have stepped out of their town. They hence have an elevated status amongst their peers. Kconcious Kapoor has studied in a boarding school and although he has a modernish outlook towards life, he is still conscious of his background and upbringing. Like any typical young Indian, he wants to get rich quick, become famous and is really scared of facing an audience.

Khoob Bai
Everyone knows that KB is 35ish, claims to be 25ish, looks 30ish and is 45ish in real. She does everything including cleaning utensils, scrubbing floors, acting as the informal communication channel between young lovers, delivering gossip and obviously peeping on personal affairs of her employers. She knows more secrets than the FBI, CIA, RAW, The Mossad, MI6 and KGB combined. And she keeps dropping hints about her (in)famous access to information. She promises her loyalty to everyone but she is loyal to only one thing - money.

Totaram Sharma
better known as Sharma Ji in his colony and Sharma Babu in his office. He is a struggling middle aged government employee who has been a clerk since last 30 years and has seen two salary hikes and one promotion. He is a perpetual landmark on his office canvas. All the kids in his colony hate him for his never ending cribbing about noise and ruckus that these kids make. He has two teenaged daughters that add to his agony in life. He is also known for speaking for hours without making any sense at all.

Toofan Kumar
is in a perpetual state of hurry. He is rushing for something or the other. He even talks as fast as he walks. Folklore has it that he was last seen relaxing when he was standing in the visa queue to US of A. He thinks that world today is full of opportunists and he needs to do something about it. He feels very passionately about all the popular social causes and actively participates in debates around these. Motive is not to save trees or prevent child abuse but to pave a road for his political dreams. And of course the visa was rejected.

Happy Singh
is a typical surd. Happy go lucky, content and hungry - all three at the same time. Thanks to his beard, no one knows where his smile begins and ends. Or if he is smiling at all. He is on the heavier side and has an insatiable appetite. Every time he sees a cow, goat, chicken or any other animal of edible quality, his hunger pangs strike him. He is still single with no immediate plans or chances either. His family lives in Ludhiana and thus he has all the money he needs to live comfortably without working.

This has potential to become a huge business by itself. Not on the lines of what Phonethics is doing but something else. Keep watching.

RajniKanth and his miracles

Got this in email. And one of the few good ones.

Rajanikanth makes onions cry

Rajanikanth can delete the Recycle Bin.

Ghosts are actually caused by Rajanikanth killing people faster than Death can process them.

Rajanikanth can build a snowman..... out of rain.

Rajanikanth can strangle you with a cordless phone.

Rajanikanth can drown a fish.

When Rajanikanth enters a room, he doesn't turn the lights on, he turns the dark off.

When Rajanikanth looks in a mirror the mirror shatters, because not even glass is stupid enough to get in between Rajanikanth and Rajanikanth.

Brett Favre can throw a football over 50 yards. Rajanikanth can throw Brett Favre even further.

The last digit of pi is Rajanikanth. He is the end of all things.

Rajanikanth does not know where you live, but he knows where you will die.

Bullets dodge Rajanikanth.

A Handicap parking sign does not signify that this spot is for handicapped people. It is actually in fact a warning, that the spot belongs to Rajanikanth and that you will be handicapped if you park there.

Rajanikanth' calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd, no one fools Rajanikanth.

If you spell Rajanikanth wrong on Google it doesn't say, "Did you mean Rajanikanth?" It simply replies, "Run while you still have the chance."

Rajanikanth can do a wheelie on a unicycle.

Once a cobra bit Rajanikanth' leg. After five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.

When Rajanikanth gives you the finger, he's telling you how many seconds you have left to live.

Rajanikanth can kill two stones with one bird.

Rajanikanth was once on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune and was the first to spin. The next 29 minutes of the show consisted of everyone standing around awkwardly, waiting for the wheel to stop.

Leading hand sanitizers claim they can kill 99.9 percent of germs. Rajanikanth can kill 100 percent of whatever he wants.

There is no such thing as global warming. Rajanikanth was cold, so he turned the sun up.

Rajanikanth can set ants on fire with a magnifying glass. At night.

Rajanikanth has a deep and abiding respect for human life... unless it gets in his way.

It takes Rajanikanth 20 minutes to watch 60 Minutes.

Rajanikanth once shot down a German fighter plane with his finger, by yelling, "Bang!"

In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Rajanikanth could use to kill you, including the room itself.

Behind every successful man, there is a woman. Behind every dead man, there is Rajanikanth.

Rajanikanth destroyed the periodic table, because Rajanikanth only recognizes the element of surprise.

Rajanikanth got his drivers license at the age of 16 Seconds.

With the rising cost of gasoline, Rajanikanth is beginning to worry about his drinking habit.

The square root of Rajanikanth is pain. Do not try to square Rajanikanth, the result is death.

When you say "no one's perfect", Rajanikanth takes this as a personal insult.

I neeed

I neeed a visa to all countries in the world. I want to travel. Travel far and apart. Travel rich and poor. Talk to people. Get talked to.

I neeed a FAST Internet connection. Something where I dont have to wait for 5 Youtube vids to stream.

I neeed a super bike. Ok, even an Enfield would do.

I neeed a big DSLR and a few lenses.

From Narazgi to Safola

I have this very good friend who is in US. And since we are separated by geography, only means to communicate is emails, IMs and phone calls once in while. For last few days, she has been really busy and I have been my buggy best. And this lack of conversations made me think that she was angry or something with me. Actually, come to think of it, she WAS angry. There is this conversation I had with her where she sounded angry.

Anyways this is not the point. So I have this huge list of 1000 people on gatlk. Right in the morning I think that she is angry (shes on my mind all the time :D .. are you reading?) and I update my IM status message as "Naarazgi". About 5 people ask me who is angry and similar questions.

And all of a sudden she sends an IM saying that she is not. How on the Earth does she know that I am talking about her? Anyways, so I ask her how do you know and she says "Safola". And obviously I was smiling. Actually laughing out loud. She knew is somehow and she could express her thoughts in an awesome manner. These small things make life worth living for. May sound like a small thing for a lot of people but for me, it means a lot.

Thats as good as things can get. For the ones who aren't blessed with memories of brands and taglines, Safola used a tagline "Tere Dil Ki Baat Main Jaanu". She knew that I was talking about her.

How in the world .. ?

P.S.: There was another incident on this same conversation that reaffirmed that Safola DOES exist between her and me. Refer to IM transcript on your gmail account dated 9 May 2008, 10:52 AM.

You know its Delhi when ...

After living in Delhi for 24 years, I moved to Mumbai last year. On a recent trip home (Delhi), I realized that there is so much there makes that place very special. Here is a list of 19 things that I could think of immediately.

You know you are in Delhi
  1. When you have honed your negotiation skills over the years by never ending haggling with the autowallahs and rickshawallahs over amount as minuscule as 1 rupee.
  2. When you know more about your neighbors rather than your own family. And you see that your neighbors remember your aunt's son-in-law's birthday.
  3. When bus passes and Metro cards become a currency.
  4. When community buying becomes the norm and vegetable seller takes the place of the chaupal where ladies gathers to share gossip.
  5. When U special buses are followed by bikes. And cars.
  6. When any one wearing a skirt is stared at by everyone. Even the person wearing the skirt starts staring himself/herself.
  7. When autowallahs simply refuse to go by meter. And they dare you to do anything about it.
  8. When people drive as if the road is their personal property and they can do anything they want to on those roads. And they mean it.
  9. When you have to bribe for any small government work. And to even pee.
  10. When everyone knows someone big and throws attitude because they know someone.
  11. When you spot a chole kulche bicycle in every nook and corner of the city.
  12. When hanging from DTCs buses becomes a norm and your day feels incomplete without it.
  13. When you use a student bus pass even after you have graduated from college 5 years ago. And you are ready to go any lengths to get it renewed.
  14. When you boast of awesome infrastructure the city has all the while screaming profanities at Sheila Dikshit and Congress govt.
  15. When spotting a celebrity adds to your coolness factor. And you weave stories around it and repeat them at every speaking opportunity.
  16. When you buy and sell books at Nai Sarak and hope to spot girls doing the same thing, strike a conversation and leave as a couple.
  17. When giving seats to old women and kids in Delhi Metro becomes a fashion statement. And then curtly asking them to hold your bags, suitcases etc.
  18. When sealing and policing takes a new meaning altogether. Shops are sealed, de-sealed and sealed again.
  19. When there is some sort of strike, procession, movement is being staged at Jantar Mantar and you start assuming that it was build to host these rather than tell time.

Obviously the list is incomplete and I shall keep on adding to it. Please drop in comments and help me make it longer.

P.S.: I love Delhi and there is no city like Delhi. The tone might sound derogatory but trust me its not meant to be like that.

Michael Jackson + Bhangra = Coolness !

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?