Friday, December 17, 2010

Breaking News: Lashkar-e-Taiba sues Rahul Gandhi over Wikileaks remarks

In what is believed to be world's first case of its kind, Pakistan based terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Toiba has filed a defamation suit against Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

In a press conference organized at Islamabad's posh convention center LeT spokesperson pointed to the recent cable release by Wikileaks in which Rahul Gandhi said in a 'candid chat' to US ambassador that Hindu extremism is a bigger threat to India than LeT.

The spokesperson said that Mr Gandhi has humiliated LeT by ignoring all the meticulously planned terror activities that LeT conducted in India. He said these terrorist incidents have killed hundreds and caused economic losses worth millions. Not only this, LeT has spent a lot in recruiting and training Pakistani and Indian youth for terrorist activities but Mr Gandhi chose to be unmindful of all those efforts, investments and even cooperation from Pakistani establishment.

The spokesperson said Mr Gandhi's comments have not only deeply hurt LeT cadre's morale but also destroyed carefully cultivated image that LeT has gained across the world over the years. He said it is very disturbing to even think that even after dedicating their entire life to destablizing and threatening India their efforts are not being recognized even in India.

When asked how does LeT want to regain the lost reputation, he said they have vowed to relaunch far more deadlier attacks in India so as to raise themselves in the eyes of 'non-believers' like Mr Gandhi.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Where have our singers gone (Part 1)

Shweta says new year party at HITEX is drool-worthy. I don't know as I have never been to any new year party ever. But if having Jasbeer Jassi as the lead entertainer is anyone's idea of having a party, leave alone 'drool-worthy', I am not that 'anyone'!

But seeing that once 'oooh-so-familiar' and now 'umm-somewhat-familiar' face of Jassi on the poster I wondered, where have these people gone? All those people who released albums in all possible genres most notably Punjabi pop and ruled the Indian music charts with alarming regularity, have they been relegated to only etc Punjabi?

Back then every one seemed to be a potential pop star. The success of Daler Mehndi lead to attack of clones and soon many sardars with opulent sherwanis and pagdis were crooning Balle Balle! Secular nature of the country struck back and Punjabi pop was not limited to only Sardar jis and people like Shankar Sahni, Jasbir Jassi, Sukhbir and Hans Raj Hans were the new kings of the block. Womenfolk were not to be left behind and after Alisha, Anaida, Anamika, Raageshwari, Rajeshwari and so many made a mark. The novelty factor of Indian Pop was all but over!

Then the remixes happened. Coupled with raunchy videos the remixes dealt a blow to originals. DJs were the new talk of town and instead of 'performers' (who sang as well as were presentable on the stage) the 'item girls' took the center stage. The Rakhi Sawants and Shefali Zariwalas were the hot cakes!

This was the phase when Bollywood was changing and so were the music companies. The corporatization was taking place and the music rights were being sold along with other rights in the bulk deals. I don't know if this was the reason that music companies decided that the money to be made was in the film music. Gradually there were hardly any remixed albums. The remixes became part of the film album only.

People like Shaan, Mohit Chauhan, Anushka, Daler Menhdi, Neeraj Sridhar and many others who had started as pop artists, now were mainstream Bollywood singers.

This was a good phase for Hindi film music.

(Concluded in next part)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

That thing called 'Rahul Magic'!

Since Delhi and Mumbai based TV channels and english newspapers, popularly known as Indian media are busy dissecting the behavior of inmates on Big Boss and elect the winner between 'Munni' and 'Shiela' they come up with terms like 'Rahul Magic' when they have shortage of time to analyse issues like state and center elections. (For north eastern states they don't have ANY time, so they don't even talk about those states!)

After Congress's epic drubbing in Bihar elections the question now being asked is 'Is Rahul magic just a myth?'. Till just a few days ago Rahul Gandhi was being projected as the 'PM-in-waiting' (sorry Mr Advani, you are past the expiry date) because pollsters and political pundits saw victory in Loksabha elections in UP due to this 'Rahul magic'. They coolly chose to ignore that Congress didn't perform half as well in the assembly by-elections.

Those who say that NDTV is on the payroll of Congress, were having a field day as this was NDTV which even put the question: Do you see Rahul Gandhi as PM of India.

I believe using the word 'magic' (or 'effect') is insulting the people's opinion. When UP voted for Rahul Gandhi it was not because it was Rahul Gandhi who was asking for their votes. It was the craving for development which has eluded UP and Rahul Gandhi's promise to deliver on that front. He was the only one talking about development when everyone else was still using casteism as main card. But in Bihar everyone was talking about development. Even Lalu and Paswan were promising that they can deliver. Rahul Gandhi's strategy of promising development while trying to punch holes in Nitish's report card found no takers and understandably so.

Secondly, a major impact of Rahul Gandhi was seen on the UP Congress which seemed rejuvenated. In Bihar that didn't happen. By fielding people like Pappu Yadav and Lovely Anand and without any party cadre on ground, hoping that just because people were flocking to Rahul Gandhi's rallies was like hoping Farah Khan to make a 'Kagaz Ke Phool'!

So there was never anything like 'Rahul Magic', atleast on the electorate. As usual media made instant judgements then and it is making them now. As soon as they told us Rahul Gandhi has charmed us then, they are telling us that charm is wearing off!

But they fail to understand that 'We the people' are not fools!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Italian Job

'Donating Computer from Italy' read the subject of the email which was tagged DYPC in my GMail.

DYPC is what we call fondly. is a website that I cofounded and now manage. This site is a place where people who want to donate their old computers or periherals can register their donation offer details and non-profit organizations like NGOs, schools etc who need PCs but can't afford to buy new machines, can request for these donated computers.
We occasionally get donation offers from people in India and a few times even foreign nationals have offered to donate PC (which we had to politely reject!) but most of them were from USA, so 'Italy' was the only surprise part in the subject.

However as I read that email, my initial euphoria evaporated. Read this:
"I recently got a new computer, since the previous (a desktop) no longer worked under any operating system. I checked it in depth and have come to the conclusion that the only unusable components are its motherboard and its graphics card. Of course these add to a monitor and a keyboard, as well as some cables, to spare.
Knowing that India is rapidly becoming a hotbed of innovations in IT, I was struck by the idea to donate it to some needy people in said country, who may very well make a great use of it."

Even if you don't try to read between the lines, you can easily understand that our Italian friend was trying to 'donate' a computer whose motherboard/graphics card were not working. I don't know whether monitor and keyboard were part of the defective lot too! To top it all he tried to dump this piece of hardware shit in the name of helping needy people while trying to flatter us.

It didn't end there. "I would feel guilty if I tried to sell those parts, although I can find no one who is interested in buying them". Wow! So he did try to sell off the junk but could not find anyone and hence the philanthropic streak.

We often read that thousands of tons of electronic waste is sent to developing countries like India from Europe and North America. So I am quite sure that even though I refused his donation offer now, this computer will reach some part of our country on a ship someday for recycling.

(Check out if you want to donate your old computer or would like to volunteer)

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

MasterChef India: Same bland taste of Reality Shows!

A housewife from Varanasi proudly proclaims, with suitable sombre music in background, "I was born in a small village. I have no background (wonder what that means!) and I have reached this position. It is a big achievement for me." Well if her achievement was appearing on the TV, my achievement was not losing sanity after watching umpteen claims of 'big achievement' of being on national TV by virtue of participating in a reality show.

Well you can surely call it a case of sour grapes since I have never been even on local TV, forget national, by participating in a reality TV show or without it, which I haven't. (may be because neither have I talent enough to win bouquets nor courage enough to face brickbats)

The point is that MasterChef India (it's not a COPY of MasterChef Australia, it's a licensed Indian version. If you want to know what is a copy, then watch Knock Out, which is a COPY of Phone Booth) is just like any other reality show. There is so much talk of making itihaas and showing junoon and being a soldier in jung ka maidaan that Chhatteesgarh Police can hire the writers of MasterChef India to motivate its embattled jawaans.

Fremantle India was perhaps not sure that the concept would work if the judges were noted chefs and food critics only or maybe this is another must have ingredient of Indian reality shows, a film star, whose role has been played by Akshaye Kumar in this case. His presence is justified by repeatedly telling us that he once worked in a Bangkok restaurant. Come to think of it, Vir Sanghvi may have won Cointreau Award for Best Food Literature Book but is he even one tenth as dishy as Akshaye?

(Wait a second, having a film star as host also means you can spend some airtime with all those "I love you Askshaye" shouts and "aaj meri zindagi kee sabse badi tamanna poori ho gayee" sobs.)

Other two judges are noted (must be among chef community and five star hotel crowd) chefs Ajay Chopra and Kunal Kapoor. I guess the people working on dressing up these gentlemen decided to spice up (pun intended) their looks because I believe Kunal doesn't really wear a blue suit, yes this blue and Ajay doesn't sport that spiky hair coupled with that shiny grey blazer on his way to work every day. And the writers decided that Akshay is not going to be the only one to be delivering the dialogues so Kunal mouthed inanities like 'Har kitchen ka ek hi badmaash hota hai aur is kitchen ka badmaash main hoon.' Now take that SRK.

Comparing with its Australian cousin, everything in MasterChef India is over the top. The background score is loud. Judges, specially the chefs, seem to be trying too hard to look and sound menacing. And as I mentioned earlier the sermons of Lord Akshay are too boring.

Well it's early days for MasterChef India and there are still lot of eggs (and hearts!) to be broken. Let's just hope Star (both the channel and Akshaye) keep the show watchable.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ayodhya Verdict Exclusive: Mayawati Statue and Park at disputed site

In what is supposed to dislodge CWG from being the biggest talking point in the country, UP Govt. has brought decades old Ayodhya dispute to an end nobody had ever thought of. UP Govt. has decided to seize the disputed land and use it to build a huge park with statue of Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati.

Giving more details about the proposed Rs. 600 crore project, Chief Secretary Atul Gupta said that this project will quieten the critics who have accused the Govt of concentrating only on 'development' of Lucknow and neglecting other districts. In answer to a question that if this is going to be state policy for dealing with disputed properties from now onwards, he did not rule out the possibility of this, however he said Govt will wait for feedback of this move before finalizing it. (If this goes true we can have another mega Mayawati park in Varanasi where Gyanwapi mosque is disputed.)

As a sidenote Mr. Gupta informed that for building the park, Saryu river would be diverted and about 150 acres of residential area would have to be cleared. The people displaced will then be given jobs in UP's Monument Protection Force. When asked about hurting religious sentiments of Hindus and Muslims he said in UP everyone is supposed to worship the CM and her religious appeal goes beyond individual religions. (To this one journalist quipped that very soon BSP election rallies would resemble Kumbh mela or Eid prayers!)

Opposition parties were as usual divided on this issue. While BSP predictably was jubiliant, SP and BJP were sulking at the prospect of yet another poll debacle. Some leaders were overheard cursing their central leadership for not coming up with this master stroke when their party was in power in the state. This has lead to more infighting in BJP, now about whose statue would have been installed if BJP tried to do this.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said statue of a living person is against Indian ethos. To which BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra laughed and said "look who is talking", apparently taking a dig at party's Italian leadership. However Mr Tiwari was also heard telling his good friend and Congress MP Mr Sulesh Kalmadi that his party will try Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee to bid for the construction of the park.

Monday, September 20, 2010

8 things nobody told you about Pondicherry!

1) Pondicherry lies just about 150 km (146 km if you take ECR, 161 km if you take NH 45) from Chennai. So it doesn't need a genius to figure out that Pondicherry weather is absolutely same as that of Chennai: hot and very humid!

2) If you thought that Pondicherry is a small fishing town with a laid-back air and lots of French people milling around, sorry you may be in for a surprise. Remember that Pondicherry is capital of a union territory (named Pondicherry and having 4 areas: Pondicherry, Yanam, Mahe and Karaikal), so it is by no means a 'small city' and by no more means with a 'laid back air'! Parts of Pondicherry are reminiscent of its French association but they form a very small part of the town. Yes, the streets in this part are named in French but they have their Indian versions as well and autowala won't know either of them! But frankly this part is so small and so well laid out that you can easily roam around onfoot with a map and reach anywhere from anywhere.

3) Autos are costly. Period. The minimum auto fare is Rs. 40. Try shared autos if you can. If you think you can drive your way around you can get two-wheelers on rent. I can't tell you the street name because I forgot to note that.

4) Aurobindo Ashram is NOT a tourist destination. It is what it says, an Ashram. Go only if you know anything about Maharshi Aurobindo and his teachings. And yes, the ashram dining hall serves only the Ashram guests (don't go there expecting to have a sumptuous breakfast!)

5) Auroville is a great place to visit when in Pondicherry. You get many local busses supposedly going to Auroville but will drop you on the road at a point which is about 8 km from the Matrimandir. You will need to take an auto which will charge Rs. 120 (yes for 8 km!). You can roam around in the Matrimandir campus and shop only if you have deep pockets! Auroville products are supposedly handmade and organic and hence cost a bomb.

6) Shopping in rest of Pondicherry is a great experience. Due to low taxes, things like handicrafts, leather goods (HIDESIGN is Pondicherry based brand!) and textiles are fairly cheap. I recommend a shop named 'Splendour' near the secretariat building for handicrafts. Nehru Road and Mission Road are other shopping destinations.

7) Promenade street is good for roaming around but the adjoining beach (named Serenity or Rocky beach) is not the beach you would like to be at. For that head to Paradise beach, about 8 km from bus stop (where my hotel was!). A 3km boat ride in the Pichavaram backwaters will lead you to Paradise beach which is actually VERY clean and very scenic. Auro beach is another beach where people flock to swim and bathe in the sea.

8) Last but not the least, rather very important, travelling to and from Pondicherry. 'To' part is rather easy. You can get loads of state run buses from CMBT (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus), Koyembedu and choose to go by ECR or NH45. Both the roads are extremely good and journey is a breeze. Returning is what makes this point so special! From Pondicherry bus stand, the buses going to Chennai are at particular time slots and you need to take a token for a particular bus. And it can be extremely crowded at the bus stand so don't say you weren't warned!

Go and give time a break in Pondicherry!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Seven Step Sisters?

So if Army gives in to political pressure, the much debated (and rightly criticized) Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) may be lifted from some areas of Kashmir 'where militancy has gone down'. I don't want to go in a debate about AFSPA. On one hand Army claims that it needs such a law to fight militancy and on the other there have been very serious charges of rape and killings against not only Army but some of the para-military forces as well.

I think I can predict how it will pan out. PM and Congress will say
it is sensitive to the people of Kashmir and this is a step in right direction. BJP will criticize Government and say it is appeasing
separatists. Omar Abdullah will thank PM and say 'let us give peace a chance'. PDP will criticize Govt. and say this is a half step and it is not acceptable to people of Kashmir till other demands are met. (I think in PDP's opinion only thing acceptable to Kashmiris is making Mahbooba Mufti the CM). Separatists will say something or the other depending on which faction of Hurriyat they belong to!

But does any one care how will the citizens of India's North Eastern states react to this? For those who don't know, people
across the North Eastern states have been protesting against AFSPA since decades. Mostly the protests have been peaceful. Irom Sharmila who has been protesting since a decade has become a face of protest against this law and so are those Manipuri rape victim women who have protested nude outside Assam Rifles camp.

So shall we now go and tell Irom Sharmila that her 10 years long protest is useless because it was not accompanied by violent and continual stone pelting by her people? Shall we tell those women that their modesty is lesser than their Kashmiri counterparts (and I am not even talking of Shopian where people kept on insisting that two women whose bodies were found in a river, were raped by Army, despite repeated investigations which proved otherwise). Shall we tell the citizens that unless they pelt stones on security forces they won't even be considered seriously even for talks?

I am not against repeal of AFSPA from Kashmir. I am against unequal treatment which always favors Kashmiris.

How much ever they may be pelting stones on police, Kashmiri youth still flocks for Police jobs. They may rebuke PM grandly that they need independence and not education or jobs but how many of them leave an opportunity to get a Govt. job. They may question India's democracy but conveniently forget that their 'leaders' who live in posh colonies of Srinagar are given security by Indian Govt. only and that if they are able to voice their opinion freely it is because of India's democracy only. I am not saying that everything is hunky-dory with Kashmiris but I believe that they behave like the spoilt brat who gets bigger pie of everything as compared to his seedha-sadha sibling.

It's time Central Govt. considers North Eastern states as integral part of India and its people equal citizens of country, apart from when talking to China.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Dudhsagar Rail-track Trek: In the green paradise

I had been trying to join this GHAC trek from past many weeks but without any success. It is so popular that it got full even before I could check the meetup notification!!! But finally I got lucky and got seats reserved for Shweta and me.

We boarded Yashwantpur Express from Kachiguda and by the time we woke up, we were in Amaravathi Express. Yes the coach had changed trains, just as wealth changed hands between Kalmadi's stooges!

We were about an hour late when we alighted at Castle Rock. But nobody complained as slight drizzle and misty greens welcomed us. Castle Rock was the last station where there was some population. And for next 24 hours we were not going to get anything edible, and that's why we had our bags loaded with ready to eat stuff like MTR Rice, bread-butter, Thepla, chips, cakes etc. to last for next few meals.

Walking on railway tracks was fun for maybe about half an hour. After that it was trying to find the easy and fast way to walk. Walking on the ballast (the small stones between tracks) was difficult, but walking on the wooden or concrete planks between the tracks was more difficult not only because the soles start aching after some time but also because when you flush in the train you are not thinking about people 'trekking' on the tracks!

But when you have breathtaking surroundings all around you, an unending water supply in form of waterfalls (perfectly potable, just check for small insects) and birds which whistle just like humans you won't complain. To add to the adventure the route is dotted with tunnels which need you to carry dark enough to need torch light and leaky enough to need an umbrella.

We were approaching one such tunnel when we heard a train blow horn. After a few moments there was no sound and after a few moments once again there was a horn. I touched the track and put ear to it, but there was no sign of any train. but Shweta and Anand won't buzz. So I volunteered to go and check in the tunnel and as I proceeded I saw the proverbial lights of approaching train.

In the meantime we had crossed the border and reached Goa!

Karunzol was 7.29 km from Castle Rock and we had our brief lunch comprised of Theplas and MTR Rice. Once again the trek started and now the evening was approaching fast and rain came along. After another 7 km Dudhsagar station appeared but there was no sign of the falls or our camping site. After a very dreary another 1 km,loomed the first sight of Dudhsagar falls! Instant recharge was never so instantaneous! It was about six in the evening and the visibility was poor. We were wet, tired and hungry and were not in the perfect mindframe to enjoy the scenery.

We put up the camps in a small hut (rather a shed!) and after what seemed to be a very long and wet (specially for those who had put up the tent in the verandah of shed. The waterfall seemed to get more aggressive as the night progressed. I could hardly sleep in that cramped tent and got up by 5 as instructed by camp leader. But till 6 it was very dark.

Morning was greeted with much chaos and after a very adventurous wash in a side stream in the fall (we actually climbed up that stream in the fall) we started packing up. Folding up the tents could be accomplished only after reading the instructions amidst war cries that would confuse someone that a wild animal was being tamed!

Shooting near a massive fall like Dudhsagar is always difficult because of strong drizzle created by water falling on rocks. I had first experienced that in Chikmagalore when I visited Abby falls. Those with point and shoot cameras can still manage but with a non-water proof SLR camera you have to be really quick and careful. But I managed take a few quick snaps.

The journey continued to Coolem which was supposed to be 7 km from Dudhsagar. But there proved to be a minor hitch. Coolem was another 8 km from Sonalium, about 4 km from Dudhsagar. So we boarded a train to Coolem, a beautiful town in Goa which had more shops selling liquor than anything else! After a brief but much appreciated hot lunch we took a bus to Londa junction from where we would catch train to Hyderabad.

A special word about the gang. It was as Barney Stinson would say, "Totally awesome".

Travel Summary: To reach Dudhsagar from Hyderabad, take 7603 Kacheguda-Yeshwantpur Express. Get down at Castle Rock station and trek to Dudhsagar. There are no hotels/restaurants in the region so make arrangements for your food/stay (preferably tents). To return you can either trek back to Castle Rock or goto Coolem about 12 km from Dudhsagar. You can also trek 4km to Sonalium and take a train to Coolem. From Coolem you can take bus to Londa and catch 7416 Haripriya Express back to Hyderabad.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron’ was made today

(Originally written for and published on on August 5, 2010)

Dharmveer Bharti’s epic novel ‘Gunaahon Ka Devta’ had more than the obvious (psychological!) effects on me: I decided to make a movie titled ‘Seema’ (name of the female protagonist). So I designed a poster for it and played casting director and my friend Vikas did the same and then we compared notes. I don’t remember my list but I remember that my cast had better actors than his and I never let him forget it.

Ravi Baswani’s untimely demise put a lot of focus back on ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron’. This movie was released one year after I was born and I remember literally (yes, literally) Rolling On The Floor Laughing (ROTFL in SMS lingo!) when I watched it on TV in mid-90s. Watching the CNN-IBN special on the movie left me a bit nostalgic and geared up to take this as a new project for playing casting director. Once again Vikas was roped in for the challenge and he was game.

We had to select an entirely new cast, with no actor from the original movie. The physical resemblance though not THE most important criterion, is still one of the points to be kept in mind. Also actors should be playing their age. So even though a young actor can be made up 40 year old, it will be great if he/she plays a character that suits his/her age and personality.

Keeping these points in mind here is the cast that we have proposed for “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” if it was made today.

Vinod Chopra: Nasseruddin Shah. Proposed: Irfan Khan (2nd choice: Kay Kay Menon)

Vikas suggested Irfan’s name and I agreed (much to his surprise!). But Irfan is a superb actor and his style of comedy is what I feel is just right for a satirical film like this. But my second choice is KK Menon and more I try to visualize him in different scenes, more I get convinced that he will be as good if not better than Irfan. Tough choice here!

Sudhir Mishra: Ravi Baswani. Proposed: Sharman Joshi

To express the quirkiness that Baswani did with his twitching eyes would be a difficult task for Sharman but both Vikas and I think he will be perfect side kick for Vinod Chopra. Physical resemblance apart Sharman’s comic timing is what I am banking on for this role.

Commissioner D’Mello: Satish Shah. Proposed: Boman Irani

Giving him a role that needs him to act as corpse half the time? I know it’s criminal wastage of talent but then thinking of the other half I can’t really imagine anyone else and that says a lot about Satish Shah’s portrayal of the role! Boman Irani is a great actor and he will truly rock in this role.

Shobha Sen: Bhakti Barve. Proposed: Konkona Sen Sharma

Konkona is a fabulous actor and I believe she will be able to portray the ruthless (and flirty when needed) editor perfectly. Physically too she matches Bhakti Barve to the T.

Ahuja: Om Puri. Proposed: Pawan Malhotra (2nd choice: Manoj Vajpayee/Rajesh Vivek)

This is what I believe is my casting coup! Vikas suggested Manoj Vajpayee and then Rajesh Vivek. But it is not as confusing as it seems due to three names doing the rounds here because I am convinced that Pawan is the perfect fit for this character. It’s a pleasure to watch him on screen and not only is sure to match Om Puri in acting skills but also will in appearance (of those times). Vikas doesn’t agree but I am adamant.

Tarneja: Pankaj Kapoor. Proposed: Manoj Pahwa (2nd choice: Manu Rishi)

Paresh Rawal seems to be obvious choice but I have reservations against his strong Gujarati/Marathi accent which kinda typecasts his style of acting. Manoj Pahwa is a veteran in such roles and this role seems to be tailor made for him. Second choice Manu Rishi was the pleasant surprise in “Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!” and though we haven’t seen much of him lately, I believe he will be able to pull off this very important role well.

Tarneja’s secretary Priya: Neena Gupta. Proposed: Neha Dhupia

There were various contenders for the role of this Indian version of dumb blonde secretary. Celina Jetly, Riya Sen, Rimi Sen and most of the new 1-film wonder actresses but I pick Neha Dhupia because she is a better actress among this brigade.

Tarneja’s PA Ashok: Satish Kaushik. Proposed: Vijay Maurya

Satish Kaushik played whining buffoon to a hilt but Vijay Maurya is already getting featured in people’s favorite actors lists! Even though physical resemblance is being somewhat ignored here, I think Maurya will easily pull this one off.

Asst. Municipal Commissioner Srivastav: Deepak Qazir. Proposed: Deepak Dobriyal

Deepak is one of the finest actors around and versatility could be his middle name. I have seen him in ‘Omkara’ and ‘Delhi 6′ and his ability to look his character makes him one of the most dependable actors around. I believe he will better the original performance by his senior namesake.

Assistant Editor Kamdar: Rajesh Puri. Proposed: Rajpal Yadav

Rajpal Yadav is a very competent actor but he is not doing his reputation any good by joining Priyadarshan’s Institute of Shout Acting (yes Priyan has taken loud acting to a whole new level!). But even though Vikas is not very keen on Yadav, I think he will be a good addition to team and his comic timing could be a great asset in the Mahabharat sequence.

This is the cast that I believe will do justice to one of my most favorite films of all times. You are free to disagree and recommend your favorite actors for these roles. What are you waiting for, jump to the comment form now!

Monday, July 26, 2010

2 months - End of abstinence!

OK it's 2 days more than 2 months since my last post on this blog, and 3 days more than 1 month since I got back to Hyderabad.

Tweeting has been a very major reason blogging has taken backseat. In my pre-Twitter days I used to blog on every issue I felt about. Sometimes it was just a rant, other times it was something that I felt passionate about. It didn't matter how few people read it.

But post-Twitter, when each tweet goes to Facebook and very often generates comments from people the feelings and thoughts get immediate vent and not stored till the blog is written!

But still I often thought and felt guilty about neglecting my blog which was my interface for the world. The 'comeback post' had to be special. Announcing to the world about my changed marital status with a wedding pic and hence getting some jovial comments from friends, maybe fellow bloggers. But that wasn't supposed to happen and so it didn't. The 'comeback post' was never written and it won't be missed too.

These past few weeks have been eventful. Leave aside the whole marriage and honeymoon factor, I believe I got a bit scarred emotionally by people whom I called 'friends'! I had always dreaded a life where all friends would be busy in their lives (read 'already married') and won't have time for me. Well this nightmare mutated itself such that not only those who were married, but also those who are unmarried got busy in their lives and didn't have time for me. Well, this is no cribbing post so we leave this issue right here!

Everyone asks me how is the married life? The best part of being married is that now I don't have to look for company when I want to go for movie or play :)

One thing about my wedding that I wanted to share: The most defining memory of entire proceedings is of a Muslim photographer Zubair (Hussainganj, Lucknow) guiding my family members the rituals in a typical Kayastha wedding!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fish Treatment for Asthma in Hyderabad 2011

Finally we got the confirmation. This Year the date falls on 8th June 2011 at 10.30 pm to 9th June 2011 at 10:30 pm.

I am writing this for people who have asked me the dates in advance for getting tickets reserved.

For more details check:

I had to close comment posting on this post because of too many comments giving their full contact details and asking me questions which I was not sure how to answer! I mean, I have given the official site address and you can find ALL the details there, what more do you want me to tell you! Book your tickets in time and take a train/bus/flight to Hyderabad if you want to come. Book a hotel if you don't have a friend/relative whose place you can stay at.

However I would like to answer one question: what if I have to skip it without completing my 3 year course? Well if you have to skip it, you have to skip. You need to restart your 3 year course again. My aunty had to do that.

If you ask my honest opinion about the efficacy of this treatment, I won't answer. Placebo Effect is an important theme in the field of medicine!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Parenting: Version 2

I don't really know what it is like delivering a baby because of two reasons:
1) I have never done it.
2) I am not a woman and will never do it.

And I believe that saying you know/understand person's condition because you empathize/sympathize with him/her is a lie until you have actually been in their shoes at some point of time!

So this is precisely the reason I am not saying that releasing the new DYPC website was equivalent to delivering a baby. Apparently you may draw some parallels: time consuming, pain inducing and most of all frustration of bearing all the pain (and frustration!) alone. But then as they say the joy of delivering a beautiful baby and getting the bouquets (and some brickbats too!) is also unparalleled.

But there is this strange feeling of being tired by the efforts. Specially the 80-20 principal that came into picture. The last 20% of work of fixing the look and feel, getting the right banner, writing proper stylesheets to take care of fonts and colors etc. actually took 80% of the time. And it won't be wrong to say that it drained me.

There is a lot to be done still. A key volunteer module is not working ever since I used Hibernate and Generics in the code, that has to be fixed. Admin module has still not been migrated completely and there are some rough edges there. The request and donation pages have to be made paginated. Somehow DYPC enhancements are never ending!

S says it's your baby and you HAVE to take care of it even if nobody else does. She is right. But parenting is never easy!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More money-making ideas for IPL

"There is too much cricket in IPL!" The Fuhrer (Lalit Modi) said

"Citi moment of success for IPL!" shouted L Sivaram Krishnan. Fuhrer smiled at him. This chap is so devoted.

"No Siva. This is not success. If conducting cricket was our motive there is already so much international cricket. We need to generate more revenues."

"Oh you mean we need to have a DLF maximum of advertising." Shastri quipped. I can shout louder and speak more words than Siva.

Fuhrer gave a sharp glance to Shastri. Someone was right, when these people are good for nothing, they become commentators.

He looked at his trusted marketing team and they didn't disappoint him.

"Fuherer, I suggested this earlier. We should show ads after every ball rather than after 2-3 balls in the mid of over."

"Hmmm. You are right and in-commentary advertising too needs to be toned up. We are still sticking with Citi and DLF and this new Karbonn."

"We can rename a dot ball as DLF minimum." An intern said sheepishly. Everyone was taken aback by her quick thinking. Fuhrer smiled and nodded. "Excellent idea!"

Others in marketing team eyed the intern with envy, commentators eyed her with appreciation.

"Every ball can be called as a FedEx Sure delivery."

"Every good shot can be called as Cannon Powershot."

"Every four can be called as a Four Square four."

"Every stumping can be called a Samsung Sexy Stumping." To this someone said no no we can't allow a word like that on live TV. Someone or their dog is bound to get their sentiments hurt.

"Ok ok, we can call it Samsung Super Stumping."

"Every wide can be called as LG Extra Wide."

Sunil Gavaskar practiced in his mind.

"Kumble has got a nice start to his last over. His first two FedEx Sure deliveries have fetched DLF Minimums. This was a Canon Powershot from Voges and is it a DLF maximum, no its a Four Square Four. And that would be an LG Extra Wide on the leg side. A Googly and that's a Samsung Super Stumping by Boucher. Citi Moment of Success for Kumble."

"Every double can be called as Do-CoMo."

Fuhrer had to intervene now, "Fine fine. Commentary vocabulary is enough now. Think of something else."

After a moment of silence someone said "Field umpires can refer almost every decision to 3rd umpire who can take about a minute while we focus on the board and show ads apart from those of Kingfisher. Commentators can keep on saying that this looks close and 3rd umpire is taking a close look. Nobody will suspect anything!"

Fuhrer thought a bit and gave a nod. The man who gave idea sulked that Fuherer didn't praise him like he did the intern.

Someone else said "Generally every ground has 2 pitches. We can name the pitches like they name the ends. So for pitch 1 commentators can say we are playing on Airtel Pitch and pitch 2 can be called as Aircell Pitch or whatever."

The room echoed with praises for the idea-giver.

Fuhrer wasn't looking too happy and he gave vent to his final thought, "All good ideas, but there is still too much cricket in IPL!"

Sivaramkrishnan could not stop himself, "Now, that's a Karbonn Kamal Catch!"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tata Sky piggy backs on IPL

As soon as the IPL is about to begin, the GECs (General Entertainment Channels like Colors, Zee, Star Plus, Imagine, Sony) begin to worry about their loyal viewers (read Saas-Bahu watching junta) will be denied their staple diet of soaps due to younger lot hell bent on watching the T20 matches.

Read the full post on my new blog 'Ad and Subtract'.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Maya Calling Maya

Unlike poor Karthick who was nearly driven to suicide after being bullied by others, UP CM was sleeping peacefully after having a routinely busy day, which included*

1) reading 365272 written press statements blaming Central Government for rising food prices, rising crime in the state, rising temperatures, rising number of damaged roads, rising number of Supreme Court litigations against her statues, rising number of hair on Virendar Sehwag's head etc.

2) sanctioning construction of 453829 new statues of Dr. Ambedkar, Kanshiram and her own and naming them Pragati Sthal, Parivartan Sthal, Parivartan Pragati Sthal, Parivartan Pragati Prateek Sthal (you get the idea!).

3) Demanding 536372 thousand crores for development activities in UP which include construction of 6373 new parks and installation of aforementioned 453829 statues. (This comes after blaming Center of ignoring UP's development)

4) sabotaging plans of Sonia Gandhi or her ministers to inaugurate some bridge/college/hospital in UP. This activity includes stopping the visitor in their tracks and doing inauguration done by her minister.

*This list is just indicative of the busy day she has.

And then her phone rang. She picked the phone after 3 rings and without even listening to the caller immediately expelled him from BSP but just as she was about to slam the phone she was pleasantly surprised to hear her own voice. (Comon, we are talking of Mayawati here. She loves herself so much that she will only be happy to hear her voice, not shocked or scared!)

Maya 2 (caller): Recognize me? I am Mayawati.

Maya 1 (callee): You think I am Amar Singh that I won't recognize Mayawati? The asshole tried to be too cozy with me after getting booted from SP. Thought I will forget what he and Mulayam did to me. He doesn't recognize me, I will..

Maya 2: (interrupting) OK,OK. I understand you recognize me. I am here to help you.

Maya 1: Help me? Do you think I am BJP who needs help? Not that any amount of help helps them anyways. I ..

Maya 2: (interrupting again) Hold on. Though in front of media you can't speak even one sentence without reading, here you just go on and on. You recently announced that there is no money to compensate the Pratapgarh stampede victims?

Maya 1: Yeah. What did these courts think? They prohibit me from building Ambedkar Park and erecting my statues and that will save money for these other things? I have proved that even if they don't let me proceed with constructions I will spend (to this Maya 2 said 'You mean waste, huh?', which Maya 1 duly ignored) the money as I wish and leave no stone unturned in leaving no money in the treasury!

Maya 2: So you are refusing to give money to the victims to just show that you have drained out money even when you were not building the parks and statues?

Maya 1: psst let me tell you a secret. The construction is still going on but I just keep it under radar. In Lucknow only construction you'll see is construction of park and statues only! But you see, PM has already given them 2 lakhs. Why do I need to waste my own money on them?

Maya 2: Ya right, 'your own money'. Thank God you didn't say 'your own hard-earned money!'. But don't you realize many of the dead are Dalits?

Maya 1: Big Deal! Rather than spending money on these poor suckers whom nobody will remember after 2 weeks just wait till I address the rally in the 25th anniversary of BSP where I will blame Center and these Manuwadis for the stampede and deaths. I am a visionary and I have decided to look at the long term benefit and you can go to Satish Chandra Mishra if you have any more questions!

Maya 2: But...

Maya 1 slammed the phone. Even if you are subconscious mind of Mayawati, you can't talk to her without her own wish!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Use mobile to save paper: a really implementable Idea!

From over past couple of months we have been watching Idea ads giving us ideas of how to use mobile to save paper. I dare not say that any of those ideas is 'impossible' to implement but you will agree that all of them will take much more efforts than just 'walk and talk'.

But a very easy way to save paper is to abolish the necessity of carrying printouts of tickets booked online. Think for a moment, when was the last you visited a Railway reservation office (except when not trying for Tatkal at the time of some major festival!) to book your tickets. We always book the tickets online and more often than not the printout is 2 pages instead of 1. Same goes with bus tickets booked on or

Most of the cinemas these days let you collect the tickets just if you show the credit card with which you booked the tickets hence eradicating the need of printing the email confirmation.

IRCTC can take passenger's mobile number and send an SMS confirmation when a ticket is booked. TTEs should accept this SMS confirmation or the email confirmation (accessed on your mobile) sent by IRCTC.

Considering the fact that IRCTC is country's biggest e-commerce contributor and does one third of all tickets sold by Indian Railways, you can understand the number of tickets printed in India and if we cut down the tickets printed we can save a lot of paper.

More over just think of not worrying about printing tickets when not booking tickets from office ;)

Friday, January 29, 2010

How was 'Phir Mile Sur' made? Inside story!

Are you wondering why did Zoom decide to recreate 'Phir Mile Sur'? Here is the top secret unearthed by our under cover agents (borrowed from UTV Bindass's Emotional Atyachar).

Zoom honchos had thought of making a music video featuring Bollywood stars but then someone suggested why not piggyback on something already popular and remembered! And they decided to do 'Phir Miley Sur'.

Here is how the "creative team" acted on the brief given by producers:

1) We need to have the 3 Khans doing what they are best known for. So Salman has to be shirtless (and keep his mouth shut!), Aamir has to be with kids (audience needs to be reminded that he is the conscientious Khan!) and SRK doing his trademark open-arms thing. And obviously all need to be given equal footage.

2) We need to show the young 'achievers'. To this someone said most of them may not be recognized by public. Good Point, so we need to show their more famous dad with them. Here come Ustad Amzad Ali Khan with sons Amaan and Ayaan, KJ Yesudas with Vijay, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma with Rahul. Pt. Ravi Shankar is unwell so Anoushka will have to do alone.

3) Bollywood's first family. No it will look like a family album. OK, we will do it in more discreet manner. Let's drop Big Ma. (She's a politician anyway!) Big B can sing, so let's keep him alone. And the beta-bahu can be shot together. (Someone said ya, may be we can sneak in a bar of Lux also somewhere!)

4) Musicians. Rahman HAS to be there but since we don't have anything like storyboard so we don't know what to do with him. Shankar-Ehsan-Loy can do a "Rock On" but who will tell them their piece which sounds like a crescendo is actually not in the end! Sivamani can be trusted to do something crazy. God bless the person who suggested inclusion of Ustad Rashid Khan. Shreya Ghoshal and Shan can be clubbed with east India. Sonu Nigam can be used as playback for stars.

5) Bollywood. But we have to keep whole country in mind, no? Uhh ok, Vikram and Surya from Tamil, Mahesh Babu from Telugu, Mammooty from Malyalam. Happy? Rituparna Sen Gupta and Sonali/Atul Kulkarni will go well because they can be shown as Bengali and Marathi (respectively) as well! (The guy who suggested this got a bonus.). Now we can fill in as many Bollywood guys as we want. (This thought made them so happy, they all shared a McAloo Tikki)

6) Budget. We have already spent 99.875% of our total budget on stars so get some sportsmen to whom we don't have to pay conveyance charges and yet people recognize them. Enter Gopichand-Saina, Vijayendra, Sunil, Abhinav and Baichung. Technicians? Unh who needs them. We can edit and put it all together ourselves on a Mac. So what if lips are not in sync with lyrics or fingers not in sync with the instrument. Oh, it's still not 16 minutes? Let's put in some stock shots of armed forces.

And then as they say rest was history. (PMS got such a bad response, that it was relegated to history books in first week itself!)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Why does 4th Estate act as 4th Idiot?

Before comparisons with 'Five Point Someone' and Chetan Bhagat's allegations hit the press, only thing being written about '3 Idiots' after the release was its box office collections. The business is being claimed to be even better that previous topmost grosser 'Ghajni'.

As is the trend in the country, our mainstream media (and obviously the film awards) measures the worth of a movie by the crores it makes, or doesn't. Come the award season (which is round the corner) this film will sweep all the awards. Come the Oscar nomination time and Delhi/Mumbai based 'national' channels will start propping this and some other money raker as India's nominees.

Coming back to movie's collections and how media has gone in a collective orgasm about how many crores the film has made in first week itself. Does anyone pause to remember that it is just an year ago that 'Ghajni' had set new records? The reason was extensive release and inflated ticket rates in multiplexes. Once again we the movie goers have been made to payup through the roof for the movie. Instead of highlighting this producer-multiplex nexus which ultimately makes general public suffer, media simply shouts from the rooftop whatever numbers the PR agency sends to it, without even trying to validate those figures.

Secondly, if a movie makes truckloads of money does it mean it is a great film? Many critics have said that Raju Hirani's previous outings in Munnabhai series are lot better than '3 Idiots'. But since this movie has made more money than other two combined, does it make it better than them? I don't think so. So just why is media so pumped up by its earnings? Report about the earnings, but don't make it the best thing ever happened to cinema just because it has made money.

Is it too much to ask for?

Friday, January 01, 2010