Friday, September 28, 2012

Viral [272/365]

The internet is such a wonderful medium that today, anything can go viral.
You can learn anything and see anything that the mind can possibly desire.

One among the more interesting ways people have gotten famous over the past couple of years has been by uploading a video on YouTube. And there has been some extremely creative ads in the past but call me old fashioned when I say I imitating a popular person or video and passing it off as something you invented is probably one of the lamest things you can do.

Case in point- The JK Wedding entrance video. At last count, this video has gotten over 77 million views and is arguably one of the cutest and most inspiring wedding entrances I've seen. The video itself was shot in a hand-held camcorder and the wedding looks very ordinary and is a far cry from the garish and outlandishly opulent weddings that Malayalis and the Chinese are famous for. As a wedding planner, (yes I am a wedding planner) I get lot of enquiries from couples who want a similar dance to be featured in their weddings. And I won't blame them. When I saw this video for the first time, I wanted something equally spectacular too. But that faded off really quick considering how something like this will be frowned upon. I mean c'mon, I've seen clients whose elderly parents have a problem hiring wedding planners when they think they can do the whole thing by themselves.

So while I have always advised my clients against aping something that isn't original and won't look tasteful when replicated in an Indian scenario, I know more than a few people who have had the JK entrance dance on their weddings. One such wedding which had the dance was so distasteful that on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least and 10 being the most inspiring, that video was definitely a minus-10. (Observe the expression of the guests from 2:07 versus the reaction of the guests in the original JK wedding dance video and you'll know what I mean)

Creativity has its pitfalls. You can be copied. 

But if you have a sense of humor, easy on the eyes and have a cat-like sense of observation, then you could also be rich and famous on the internet.
Take video blogger; Natalie Tran. PYT with brain Inside!
With over 1 million subscribers on YouTube and 446 million video views, she is arguably the most watched vlogger in history. Her videos 'involve her making monologues in front of a camera, interrupted by skits acted out by herself.(sic)' For those guffawing at what good this lady could be, take this- she earns over $100,000 a year from YouTube alone! That's right, more than what middle-class Americans make in a year.
While Ms Tran is prancing her way to the bank, there is another vlogger that I stumbled across. Literally.
She calls herself Jessica Kardashian and one look at her aptly named YouTube channel- Therapy Channel, you'd definitely want to check yourself in for therapy.
She looks like a ABCD (American Born Confused Desi, to the uninitiated) who's got a boob job. The videos are terrible, her voice feeble and barely audible and her choice of topics- devoid of any thought. But what the heck, as long as she's showing her ample cleavage, her 1,710 subscribers are happy campers. After copying a famous last name, she has also copied Natalie's style. What a shame!

So what is it really that makes us want to ape more popular things on the net?
Is it the fame and money?
Or is it to brag and I say 'I did it too'?
For some couples who dredge the internet and steal ideas, it is just to look sophisticated and for someone like Jessica, you know it's just to brag.

God Bless the Internet!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rocket Science [271/365]

We live in a world of make believe:

Our politicians make us believe that we are poised to be superpowers.
Our athletes make us believe that we will be champions.
Our civic agencies make us believe our cities will be another Singapore.
And our security personnel make us believe we are protected and safe round the clock.

What a load of bull-crap!

On Tuesday, Buela M Sam, a middle-aged lady walked past several layers of security and came within hugging distance of some of the top rocket scientists in India. She was stopped by highly trained commandos from proceeding any further after they smelled a rat. They diligently asked her to return to the ISRO guest house where the cops arrested her.

Spooked yet? Well, you have the right to be.

After civilian cops interrogated her, they found that she is suffering from a mental illness called 'Grandiose Disorder' and did not really mean any harm to the installation. Phew! That is such a relief. The cops patted themselves on their backs for apprehending the intruder and extracting this information.

How did she manage to create a perfectly forged ID card?
How did a mentally unstable person know her way around Bangalore?

Who are her accomplices? Who facilitated this?
Why didn't her family accompany her if she was ill?
How did she get to stay in the guesthouse for two days?
How did the officers at the first level of security not realize that the ID card was forged?
How did a lady like this manage to remain within the premises for four hours?
Why did the CRPF jawans ask her to return to the guesthouse when they could have arrested her while at the facility?

While we may never hear the truth on any of these questions, this has shown the serious lapses that plague our nation.
Ms Buela could very well be an innocent victim of her illness but had it been a well trained spy, this would have been end of our space odyssey. But let this not fool you, folks. This wasn't the first time there has been a breach. For an agency that is known to witch-hunt its own, this breach was a kick in the balls. However it is still inconceivable that this was just a case of a 'mad person getting into the wrong house'. I would love to be proved wrong but we definitely want to make sure that we are protected.

With the way that our soldiers lack basic amenities or the equipment to fight a modern war, we are sitting ducks.
We are either just plain lucky or our enemies are too stupid to capitalize.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The money-plant [270/365]

My girlfriend is an avid gardener. She loves collecting exotic species of plants and after two years of collecting and some TLC, our balcony garden is now the greenest of them all. We have flowers of every hue and size blooming every other day. Ofcourse, we also have the slimy slugs that invaded our garden a few months ago, but our balcony is truly a wonderful place to spend an evening.

While she loves flowering plants, I love creepers, specially one that is called 'money-plant'. I guess it is the name that intrigued me. Why would you call a plant that does not sprout money or serve any practical purpose such? My partner tells me that we are supposed to steal a money plant for it to work its 'aura' in our house. So after stealing the shoots of several money plants from friends and relatives, we finally have half a dozen money-plants on our two balconies. Ideally, this means we need to be rich by now.

Unfortunately, money does not grow on trees. And our PM just confirmed that. Duh!
So where exactly is all money in? Ofcourse in coal, iron-ore, spectrum and other resources of national importance. Nonetheless this statement has got the opposition rolling on the floor laughing. Real mature, I know.

Surely the PM meant well when he said we need to contain subsidies to propel our economy ahead. But I can bet he never imagined all the guffaws and limericks that he got for saying the truth.

Okay, so does the PM really need our undivided attention while he tries to bring peace into an unruly classroom when there is just 5 minutes for recess? I think he does. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned how parties that bring the nation to a grinding halt must be penalized. One of my reader was outraged. He wrote how I was being pretentious. He reasoned that the UPA doesn't deserve to be forgiven because of the way they have looted the nation in the 2 terms they have ruled. My answer: Well, so did any other party in power.

The truth is as long as we entrust our freedom and our resources to people who know they cannot be held accountable, we put ourselves at the risk of being cheated. This is as true as it is in India as it is the US of A. The only difference is the way we treat the guilty. In the US, a politician can bid his career adieu if he is proven guilty. Here, politicians are never guilty as long as they are in power. What happens when they loose power is a totally different story.

As long as we have people who think caste-based reservations and subsidies are necessary and as long as we have politicians who can't see beyond their own yardsticks, we are doomed to be citizens of a third world country.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Get your freak on [269/365]

Couple of months ago, I wrote about how I have this perennial fear of a wardrobe malfunction anytime I wear one of them dhotis.
While I may be comfortable au naturale, I can surely say clothes maketh a person.

A true genius may always wear the some frumpy clothes for decades while a diva would never repeat an outfit more than once. And then there are people who will never wear anything beyond a pair of denims and t-shirt while there are the rare few who will push the limits.
Today's article is about a person who is most famous for going where no man or woman has. She is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most influential and gifted musicians this century. Wealthy and talented, Lady Gaga (born as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) is definitely one of the most recognizable cultural icons in the 21st Century.

While I won't comment much on her music, her choices of clothes are something to be spoken about.
Ranging from 'bizarre' to 'what the f*ck was she thinking', her clothes shock and awe better than any of Bush's military strategies.
For a woman who has worn meat, dressed in nothing but bubbles and hair, Lady G surely has one of the most interesting wardrobes on this planet.

Ofcourse, you could argue that 'its her money and her body and if you don't like it so much, just turn the page', well I wouldn't have if it was for her ridiculous costume today. Apparently trying to hide a little flab, she came out dressed like a flower. Honest!

The primary question I have when I see her outfits is:
Why would a person who is as talented and as smart as she, want to dress up in ridiculously weird dresses every time she steps out?
I mean, Lady G, have you never heard of t-shirts and jeans?

Maybe, she wants to look different? I could buy this argument since she does look like a mix of Gwen Stefani, Christina Aquilera and a bunch of other blondes but beneath all the hideous outfits, and with none of the eye makeup, I hope she realizes she is just as beautiful. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nerves of steel [268/365]

Picture Courtesy: Pramerica
What is your fondest memories when you were in school?
Where you aware of you civic duty as a young child?
What were your childhood aspirations?

Yesterday, I read about a young girl who is the National Honoree of Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards 2012
Jyoti Yadav. A spunky youngster in the 8th grade at the Satya Bharti Government Upper Primary School, Dabadwas, Alwar, Rajasthan was just one of two national honorees for her Campaign addressing the issue of Respect for Widows in Society.

Her story inspired me. She is a first generation learner who was raised by a widowed mother from the age of 1. Seeing how her mother suffered at the hands of her relatives and fellow villagers, Jyoti saw the stigma that her mother faced. Determined to make a difference but unaware of how to go about tackling it, she spoke to her headmistress who educated her on the larger context of how a widow is treated in India. Jyoti alongwith the headmistress visited the village Sarpanch, also a lady, and requested them help in eliminating this evil from the village.

Convinced of their plea, the Sarpanch convened a panchayat meeting and discussed the issue at the Gram Sabha and urged the people to rid their village of this taboo.  Jyoti, now strengthened with the support of the village administration, also went door to door, meeting the elderly in the village and making them aware of the plight of widows in their village and requesting their support.   While she initially faced a lot of resentment and humiliation for daring to take up such a sensitive issue, her efforts finally paid off when she was able to gradually convert staunch conformists from their point of view and start mainstreaming such women into the normal village life. She even went a step further and convinced the local administration to give widows like her mother jobs in the village so that they could support their own families and not have to live off donations from others.

With the first to benefit being her mother, Jyoti’s mother, Kamlesh is now employed as the Main In-charge of the Anganwadis in her village. Other qualified widowed women are also now being given preference as teachers for schools in the surrounding areas by Smt. Bhagwati Devi under the Rashtriya Saksharta Mission, and another widowed lady was employed at the village Mela in October 2011.

Jyoti Yadav, the unlikely hero of our times. Bravo!

With extracts from Bharti Foundation: Young Achievers

Other Heroes I've chronicled here

Friday, September 21, 2012

Selective Patriotism [265/365]

Huang Shih-ting.
Female. 23 years old. Model.
A few months ago, she was still struggling to make ends meet.

But today, if you'd google her name you'll find dozens of half naked pictures of her 'trying' to show as much as possible without really teaching us anything new.

Ms Shih-tang shed her clothes in protest against the decision of the London Olympic organizing committee to remove Chinese and Taiwanese flags. from the venue. She remedied it by using the Taiwanese flags to cover two strategic locations. Ms Shih-tang was obviously inspired by her Indian and South American compatriots. Now, why didn't Poonam think of wrapping herself up with the Tricolour?

In one of the pictures, the good model is standing buck-naked on the flag of the very country she is 'fighting' for. Thank God she is not in India. Here businessmen are taken to court for hoisting the flag in their companies.
But maybe she did make a point- the Taiwanese flag didn't deserve to be up with the rest of the world but covering 'mosquito-bites', her crotch and under her feet.

But then like I rightly said, this won't be the last time a bimbo will strip for her nation. Perhaps we must abandon all other methods of protests. Stripping is the most non-violent way and is easy on the eyes too. After all, it does get everyone what they want- Hare-brained bimbos, their 13 minutes of YouTube videos; Men, with the necessary titillation.

Seeing how bandhs and hartals are not accomplishing anything anymore, a more effective way of protest would be to have Poonam to upload a video of her taking bath in diesel in protest of the recent hike in diesel prices. And Sherlyn.. er never mind. We'll get to see her in Playboy this November. 

Mallika, I hear has demanded 100 bodyguards after seeing this video.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

All Stop! [264/365]

Source: Mangalore Today
Bandh- One of Gandhi's only legacy that all political parties practice.

Many years ago, when I attended school for a short period in Kerala during the Gulf War, there would be an average of one bandh a week. Every single week. We used to have atleast 3 weekly off days, and as school kids this was simply amazing. I can't tell you how I loved listening to the radio in the morning when the newsreader would announce a State-wide bandh that day. Double that ecstasy if there was a class test on that day. YAY!

That was 20 years ago. Keralites gradually became weary of the frequent bandhs because of the way it held the State to ransom.
The High Court banned parties from declaring any more bandhs and urged politicians to figure a more meaningful way of non-violent protest. That gave birth to hartals. Not much has changed and there has been about 363 hartals in the 7 years since.

India was held at knife-point today by one of her main Opposition parties - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - to protest a litany of sins that the ruling party has committed.
If you ask me, there was nothing Bharatiya or pro-Janata in declaring a bandh that accomplishes nothing but mind-numbing losses to the national exchequer. It is said that for every day of shut down, the State and Central governments loose tens of thousands of crores in revenue. Not to mention loss of private business revenue. Ofcourse, no one is complaining since coming close to Ganesh Chathurti (yesterday) and the weekend (day after tomorrow), most Indians would have just taken the Friday (tomorrow) off to jet off on a 5 day impromptu vacation. Who's bothered if the country just lost about a 5th of its GDP because of the bandh?

It appears like our elected and non-elected representatives are waiting for a reason to shut shop. Having lived through a dozen such, it won't take an rocket scientist to figure out how this will turn out.

  1. The ruling party passes a bill/legislation.
  2. The opposition will fight for it. It does not matter what the legislation is or how it will help the nation. 
  3. The opposition will demand a rollback. Demand duly refused.
  4. The opposition will demand the resignation of every single minister starting from the PM.
  5. The PM will refuse to resign. 'Make me'
  6. Opposition declares a bandh.
  7. Bandh happens.
  8. The ruling party will not move a finger.
  9. Second bandh happens.
  10. Partial or complete rollback of offending bill/legislation.
  11. Opposition will claim victory.
  12. Repeat cycle.
As news hungry journalists prowled the nation for reports of violence, I saw a report about the unique way the government in Kerala approached the issues of increase in diesel. The citizens understood why the prices were hiked and the government simply lowered the tax that it charges on the fuel per litre and brought the burden down by just as much. This was one of the reasons why life went on as normal in a land where you'd have an average of one hartal every fortnight.

Which brings me to the question; Mr Advani, would you mind paying for the loss that this country has suffered because of the bandh you announced?
Meanwhile, Mr Gandhi is rolling in his grave at the way our politicians have corrupted a concept he popularized.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

You're Grounded! [263/365]

Revenge is a bitch.
About a month after they returned empty-handed, Hesh and Bopanna was handed a ban for the next two years. On the wrong side of 30 this ban has effectively ended Hesh national career.

Predictably, Hesh has protested. He claims that the nation got to hear only one side of the story and he was never given a chance to explain.
But honestly, Hesh, what did you expect?
We are a nation that has invented cruel ways of getting back at those who cross our paths. While I think this is a silly way to punish a national sporting hero, I do feel he deserved to be punished for the way he pulled the strings so close to the Oly.

When you're chosen to play for your country, it is expected that you set aside personal preferences, big and small, aside and play for the country. You're expected to be one big happy team. Protest if you should but think of the repercussions when you return. And when you're playing for your country, you play to win glory for your country and not for yourself. Hesh is a terrific pro-circuit player and having played at the top for many years, he commands the respect that he has been given.
However, Hesh erred greatly when he demanded to be paired with his choice of a partner in the doubles and made the AITA look like an idiot. After days of hectic negotiations, AITA finally gave in. He got his way and we were promised a medal. That was in the past. Today, Hesh's national career is virtually over. After holding the AITA in gunpoint in plain sight of the entire world, I'm feeling a profound sense of relief after he and his Oly doubles partner has been handed the ban. Bravo!

Pinching my ears..

Today, reading Hesh's 'side of the story' I'm reminded of the phrase 'The dog ate the food, bit the child and still wants to bark'.
He's going to sue AITA. He's complaining of 'dirty politics'. Dirty politics isn't really new but surprisingly, we didn't hear him complain when he was being rolled out the red carpet, did we?

If you ask me, Lee should have been banned too. He pulled his strings too but probably escaped the wrath only because he was smart enough to wait. Lee laid the bait and Hesh walked into it hook, line and sinker. Sania was the crab that strayed too close.

Hesh, shame on you, dude. You don't deserve to untie the straps of Girish!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Caught! [262/365]

Source: Chi
The internet is a wonderful thing.
How else would you get to see the royal bum twice in two months?

First it was Harry, and now it's the turn of  Kate and William. What's with the royals?
Should the rest of the world really make a huge fuss about some pasty white flesh?

When 'Chi' and 'Closer' published 'tasteful' pictures of the Duchess and her husband in their 38 page special, I sighed.

The Royals reacted and rightly so. The Duchess and her hubby were on a private vacation. And they deserved some privacy. The paparazzi obviously crossed the line here by taking these pictures in the first place. Publishing them was provocation.
But I would blame the couple too. Knowing as how the Family have always been hounded by paparazzi's, common sense must've prevailed when they are outside the four walls of their privileged homes, they shouldn't be indignant that they got snapped.

But in the defense of modesty supporters everywhere, No I don't think the pictures are tasteful. Only a sick demented mind with the IQ of a tadpole would think this is sexy and tasteful. The pictures do not reveal anything that most people wouldn't already know or have seen about the human body but the fact that they were comfortable in their skin. On the contrary, I think the only reason why magazines in the West tripped over themselves to buy was because the Royals reacted badly to the pictures when it came out the first time.

If the Royals would have accepted the pictures and not sued the magazine as they did, I am quite sure the controversy would have died a quiet death. But ofcourse, if anything the Royals dont know how to handle sticky situations like this. They never have.
I can understand how infidelity could affect the Family but this?

Get over this, Your Highness. Surely, you've got much bigger battles to fight.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Didi versus Madam [261/365]

No more Mr Nice Guy
Okay, I must admit. I had that feeling.

Do you have the feeling that someone important is actually reading your blog? Ten days after I wrote about how Mr PM needs to get his act together, he actually does it. Having announced FDI in multi-brand retail and airlines, he has in one masterstroke done what the country needed from him for several years.

While the skeptics ask 'Who are you and what have you done to the PM?', no one will privately deny that this has actually added shimmer to the Indian Dream.

Critics and armchair protesters will tell you how this is the end of Indian independence and how millions of people will be unemployed and yada yada yada...
Didi, the chairwoman of Indians Against Progress has already given a 72 hour deadline to the UPA government. Rollback or Else.
Or else what, Didi? You dont have the gallbladder to do shit.

I can't understand how allowing people who are interested in investing in you can be bad for you. Seeing how Kingfisher (not the drink) and Air India are barely breathing, I wonder how FDI can hurt them. If anything, something like this can actually open up employment to millions. NGOs like Unnati, who've trained thousands of people who would've otherwise added to social poverty statistics can actually be the change that we need today. The only reason why the government won't shut down sick airlines like KF and AI is because shutting them down can mean serious trouble for the economy. Reviving them with bailouts are simply not sufficient.

I'd like to see critics of progress do a reality check. Not take a protest march.
Our country can no longer afford to have politicians like Mamata. By the time we wake up tomorrow, Didi would have withdrawn her ministers from the government. While she has helpfully added that she will still support the UPA from outside, this is the UPA's chance to 'go down fighting'.

Advice to Didi: 'Take a hike'.
Advice to Mr PM: 'Dont stop and dont look back. Didi's taken a hike'.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Out of Charge [258/365]

Only team picture worth remembering... Source:
So the buffet is over. The guests have had their fill, burped in approval and the confetti has been packed up to be reused next year.
Time to pay the dancers and the stage actors. Out comes the empty wallets.

Five years after it first started, the honeymoon is truly over.
Lalit Modi has exiled himself in 'our motherland' (England) and no one remembers Shashi Tharoor anymore.
As team franchisees wake up from their drunken stupors one after the other, they realize that they have just been bamboozled by a diminutive man in impeccable suit.

But then how can we blame businessmen who only wanted to entertain us? We were told not the judge them on the basis of the obscene amounts of money they were supposed to make. They were after-all business(wo)men and not philanthropists.

IPL was packaged and sold as recession-proof business assets that could give its owners rich returns in a third world economy. Everyone drooled.
5 years down, the Kochi Taskers are extinct, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals are neighter kings not royals, Delhi Daredevils are frightened of their own shadow, the owners of Bangalore's RoyalChallengers in deep shit and Sahara's Pune Warriors is looking at a divorce. Chances are none of these teams will ever find a suitor considering how nonviable the venture is.

The greatest sleight of hand, the Indian Premier League, was never a self-sustaining business model. The revenues of the team depended on the fortunes of the owners. While no one can deny that all the owners had seemingly bottomless wallets and the glamor to boot, no one really saw the recession coming when they signed up for multi-billion dollar 10 year contracts.

Today, as BCCI has terminated Deccan Chargers for violations of various codes, DCHL has dragged the BCCI to court in a start of what could be a marathon trial. DCHL had previously announced the sale of its team through newspapers, to be sold in an auction. They then rejected the only bid (for a whooping Rs 900 crores) they received from PVP Ventures because they could not accept the terms of the offer.

With six teams down, the IPL is an excellent example of what happens when sound business logic becomes a casualty.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Creative Visualization: Parte siete [257/365]

Creative advertisements are a little like male orgasm.
You know you just need the right stimuli to get one. And before you know, you have no control over what happens next.
All you can do is wait, hope and pray that you dont end up with a dud.

Advertisements that spoof are not new. We've had Sprite mock Thumbs Up and quite successfully at that. There's something cute about spoofs. It assumes that you've already seen the 'original' and will sometimes won't make sense if you haven't. Internationally, Apple has spoofed MS and Nike, Adidas. Spoofs can be tricky too. They can misfire badly and create goodwill for the competitor instead of getting business for themselves. As Indian audiences mature our ad-men are testing the waters and the past week, I've seen two nicely done spoofs.

One for a certain brand of mobile phones and the other for a new series on television.

Samsung appears to have seemingly bottomless wallets for their ad campaigns. Some of their campaigns have been really tasteful. However, the recent 'Kya aapke pass nahi he, uncle?' ads are silly. Why would you want to sell smartphones that cost tens of thousands of rupees to college going kids who will need their parents to buy it for them? I can understand how they are trying to allure to a different demographics but can't we have an ad where we are not mocking other demographics?
About time Micromax came out with an advert that spoofed Samsung's. While Samsung extolled the features of the features of its operating system, Micromax's ad show how Samsung phones fail as an device. Though this ad will not dent the fortunes of its worthy opponent, Samsung will need to come up with better devices and more innovative ways to sell 
its phones and not the operating systems they work on.

The second spoof in this post is of an advertisement for a new hospital drama series that debuted on Star World- Grey's Anatomy. So what if our hospitals are drab and overcrowded. We still get to see how an intern in an American hospital learns to cope with work, love and life's disappointments. Great!
While Star World's ad blitzkrieg made sure you would've never missed Meredith Grey, Comedy Central released an advert that spoofed the series with an ad of it's own series - Scrubs. Remarkable well done!

Everytime I see an ad being spoofed, I secretly hope that there is a spoof of the spoof.

Laugh it Off!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The innocence of None [255/365]

Religion in movie can be a tricky preposition. I remember how the Mel Gibson movie 'Passion of the Christ' got the churches talking. For those who saw the movie, it was clear Mel tried really hard to portray Christ and Jews as 'non-controversially' as possible. That in itself was a huge triumph.

Movies must depict the truth. It must move the viewer into thinking. Movies must be a medium to transmit the emotions of its characters more than its makers. The debate could go on.

Last week, provocative trailers of Innocence of Muslims, an Anti-Islam movie that was shot with American actors, has flung shit into the fan. Made by an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and promoted by Qur'an-burning US Preacher Terry Jones, the movie showed the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, homosexual and child abuser. The trailers of the movie uploaded on video-sharing site YouTube were 'designed to enrage' and 'anti-Muslim'. The actors and crew behind this movie has since told the press how they were misled about the intent and purpose of this movie when it was made a year ago.

Why would anyone make such a movie and release a provocative trailer online? Tough question to answer.
But the violence that this movie has caused is unspeakable. The losses unthinkable. Several people unrelated to the makers of this movie have since died as a result of this movie.
Where the f*ck is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula? Is he ever going to be held responsible for this atrocity?

By creating a movie like this, Nakoula has erred. But we can't deny the invaluable PR- millions of dollars worth of advertisement- that he got for free. He has got people googling for him and his movie. I can't imagine any other movie in recent memory which has got the kind of publicity the way 'Innocence of Muslims' have. His actions and this movie will be banned and in any country that has a sizable number of Muslims. He would probably be investigated and indicted for creating worldwide protests. But this is only going to make it really tough for genuine Indie film-makers in the future. Hollywood has taken a rap on the wrist, but America has lost much of the goodwill that Obama and Ms Clinton has struggled to create. Six American ambassadors have died and if the radicals have their way, this count could go up. Scores of civilians have died the bloodshed does not look like its going to dry up.

Now, I am no lover of radical Islamism but I agree they had a right to protest but by targeting the Americans, Israelites and Germans (!) aren't they, I dont know, vindicating the violence shown in the movie? None of the victims deserved to be killed for a movie they had nothing to do with.
By killing the innocent they have made naught any of the benefits of the Arab Spring uprising. While not all Muslims are violent, the spate of violence has proved that it only takes a dozen imams and a hundred radicals to undo the good of a million Muslims. If any consolation, had a Bollywood director made this movie, our primitive censor board would have stopped this right in its tracks.

Ironically, YouTube has still not taken the videos down and you should be able to see clones of the original upload online. Some of them High Definition. Countries where violence has broken have been grappling to contain and reassure their Islamic population.
While I know this will pass in a few weeks, I wonder how many Muslims really think what is portrayed in the movie is indicative of what they and their religion really is. Today's Muslims have much bigger issues to worry about than a movie made by one cowardly lunatic.

Whatever Sam and his Qur'an-burning compatriot wants to accomplish, I doubt if they will ever find forgiveness for the violence and hatred they have promoted. I surely wouldn't want to be in Sam Bacile's shoes today or any day soon.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cartoons that haunt [254/365]

Aseem Trivedi, an Award winning cartoonist was arrested for sedition and hurting national sentiments. Well, the only sentiments he really hurt belonged to politicians. This only proves that our penchant to punish our opponents and stifle voices of dissent goes all the way up.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Review: Raaz. Na Raaz [251/365]

What do you do this weekend?

If you are a Bollywood movie buff, stay clear of Raaz 3.
Filmed in 3D, this movie violates your senses. A typical Bhatt movie, it is replete with creaking doors, women who are haunted, cheesy special effects, atrocious background score and lots of cleavage. And ofcourse, where Emraan Hashmi is there, can a lip-lock be far away?

Mr Bhatt follows his formulae like an aged chemistry teacher pouring his solutions into a test-tube, but fails to create the magic that has escaped him by now.
The acting is ridiculous. Bips sleepwalks through the movie that she obviously did only for the money.
While I can sense the existence of a scriptwriter,  any semblance of a plot is lost by half-time.
The costumes are hideous and the special effects amateurism.
The one with the attack of the flying roaches will barely titillate a 12 year old year old.
There's just too much cliche`and way too much noise in the movie to make it even mildly horrifying.

Raaz 3 is nothing more than a Bollywoodisque version of the Good versus Evil. The scriptwriters and the director apparently forgot to take that and make it into a meaningful movie that could have scared and titillated.
Raaz 3 needs a spine but its too late.

Would I recommend this movie?
Only if you are really into stupid movies or feeling adventurous.
The Bhatts have a penchant for making provocative statements about their movies. In this one, we were told that Bips will take on Vidya Balan with the kind of role she did in this movie. 30 minutes into the movie, you'll want to give a call to Vidya and tell her that she has nothing to worry about.

With Raaz 3, this would be the second time in as many months that I've molested my senses with atrocious Bollywood movies.

My Rating: 3.0

What does the ratings mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

Thursday, September 06, 2012

A tragic figure, indeed [250/365]

Source: The Washington Post
So the Village Idiot has spoken again.

In the second time in 3 months, the American media has played judge and jury and passed the verdict about our PM. The Washington Post wrote about our silent tragic figure-head.
Well, in their defense, they only stated the obvious. Which is also what is being used against them. The Prime Minister's Office (affectionately shortened to PMO) lodged a complaint against the media house.

While I can understand and stand by what Washington Post says are the reasons why India is slipping under the watch of its most illustrious statesman, the way the PMO took the cudgels was indicative of a polity that is out of touch with reality. May I share some statistics- Industrial output has shrunk, again. The Rupee is falling faster than an asteroid to earth. Let's not even talk about gas and fuel prices any more, and governance has not returned to the parliament since the last year. Public sentiments about our elected representatives have never been this low. Again, scoop-loving journalists from the US were simply holding a mirror to us.

A couple of years ago, an email exhorting the academic and economic accolades of the PM doing the rounds made us feel good to have a person of his stature heading our nation. From being the most accomplished, his fall from grace has played out in public like a big Greek tragedy. His silence and reticence has now become his downfall. From being a chef d'Ĺ“uvre, he is now our favorite scapegoat.

If the PM has obviously missed the bus to redeem his nation, it is only because of the unfortunate compulsions of coalition politics. Nearly every major legislature in the past 2 years have either been stalled or digressed.
The Post if anything is also an indicator that its not about the man anymore.
While I won't say if this is the last time Manmohan's name will be dragged through American soil, I would like to wait and see which of our patriotic news magazines take up our cause and publish a tit for tat about O. If it is any consolation, Mr Singh, the American media is equally acidic about their own politicians. Many of their politicians were glorified and pulled down and I dont see any harm in publishing something that speaks loudly what people whisper in hushed tones.

This story should wake us up. Our India is not shining anymore. There's no Jai Ho any more. What the nation needs is more action and less of the talk.

Never-mind the naysayers, its not too late and you still have a fighting chance, Mr PM.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Quick Silver [249/365]

Source: London 2012 Paralympics
After 28 years, we finally got it, and in style.

24 year old Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda, won India's first and only medal at the special Olympics this year.
Suffering from a leg impediment, he got the silver by jumping over the 1.74 mt mark. His story is quite a remarkable one too. Son of a daily wage laborer, he took up the sport only towards the end of his school. With no formal training, he was mentored by a local sportsman until he started winning medals at national and international events.

This win is extra special coming from a nation that is no lover of the differently-abled. His journey to the Olympic silver is an inspiring story of how willpower can help overcome seemingly impossible hurdles.

Girish is no sympathy-monger either. Having excelled at sports alongside abled-bodied athletes at his home State, he moved to Bangalore to pursue a career and train. While our government splurged millions on able-bodied athletes in return for 6 medals, Girish had to quit his job to focus on training just six months before the event.

If Girish managed to better his personal record and get an Olympic silver with just six months of training, imagine how he would have done with a year. While our six Summer Olympic medalists are still giving their interviews and making speeches, there are scores of Girishs' who are struggling to breathe.

Let's hope this Silver medal will truly inspire a generation and help alleviate him and his family above poverty for ever. Let's pray that he does not fall victim to apathy and that the medal does not get sold for provisions.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Same Same [248/365]

'Get your kidney in place', a popular phrase that meant 'Get your mind right'.
Source: TOI

Today, our glorious Union Health Ministry decided to do a Sherlyn Chopra and draft a law that says you will need to prove you shared a kitchen before you can donate/gift that organ.

And I wondered aloud. Where do we get these people from?
The article read and I quote 'You may have to prove that the recipient and you have been staying together and sharing the same kitchen for 10 years or more. You have to also provide 'old photographs showing the donor and recipient together'. Now laugh.

Absurd as it sounds, I think the folks at the Union Ministry were just trying to grab some headlines. Our government 'babus' after all have a penchant of making absurd laws and weird proclamations. But if they thought they were truly making a earth-shattering positive change to the already complicated organ donor laws, I think they are truly out of touch with reality. In a nation where millions die while they wait for an organ, the priority should be on awareness.
Awareness of their rights under the law.
While the absurd 'kitchen-sharing' law has been dropped since but it has also opened ourselves up for ridicule at a time when we should be taken seriously.

Like many things governmental, organ donors are treated with suspicion. Removing this stigma, the government must educate its citizens. What we need is not more archaic laws, but compassion and action. Not another No Objection Certificate that you will probably be able to pay and buy in the near future but assistance when it matters the most.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Hamara Sahara [247/365]

'My brains'            SOURCE:
So what if our government is running around like a headless chicken, atleast our Supreme Court has reached puberty.

In one of the biggest financial blows to a corporate group, the SC has ordered two companies within the Sahara group to pay back Rs 24,029 crores (about $3billion) to 2.21 crore investors within three months. With 15% simple interest per annum. Ka-ching!

One of the biggest in terms of financial penalty levied, a judgement like this is something that makes you sit up and wonder.
While many are wondering if this could mean the death of a 'rags to riches' conglomerate spanning infrastructure, power, retail, sports and hospitality, there are some who think this is a measure that was necessary albeit a little delayed.

Moments after the verdict was announced, the Sahara group released a press release that sought to soothe and comfort frazzled investors. In a poorly worded statement that reeked of bad penmanship it said,  “Sahara is the most honest custodian of your money and by the grace of God, we are so healthy that there cannot be even one day delay in any payment commitment of Sahara”. If you ask me, this statement and full page response that appeared on all national newspapers sounded like it came off the mouth off of a village uncle. Its wikipedia page has no mention of this judgement and is a poor attempt at advertising themselves.

Our regulatory boards have grappled with financial irregularities with Indian companies for a couple of years now. While Sahara attempts to cough up 35% of its revenue over the next couple of months, a more important issue will be how verdicts like this will make life tough for honest companies trying to woo investors.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Deja Vu! [246/365]

That familiar feeling.
Forget the fact that our nation's industrial production is shrinking .
Lets forgive our beloved MPs for paralyzing the parliament.
Lets not even remember that many of our States are almost on the verge of a drought.
Lets all flock to Sherlyn and Poonam. Its amazing what you can do today if you have a pair of boobs, good cleavage and absolutely no shame.

Ms Chopra today 'confessed' via her twitter handle that she has had sex with men, much of which was not of her own free will. As if to soothe any ruffled feathers, she ends with a conciliatory statement that she is a changed person with a shift in the level of consciousness (sic). Right, you want us to believe that, eh?!

Not one to let her 'Most downloaded model on the internet' tag be usurped, Ms PP promptly uploaded a montage of her in her morning underwear glory. Score!

Well, there are a couple of yarns to this.
One- Sherlyn's 'confession' is nothing but a tactical move. You don't just catch a bus to The Mansion. You sleep your way through. Sherlyn, my dear. Tell us something new, something we didn't already know. Like, the story of how you begged.
Two- After seeing one of Asia's hottest porn export to the West (aka Sunny Leone) up close, I don't think Sherlyn could hold a candle close to her. Sunny is a professional. Sherlyn is a wannabe who will probably never get halfway there anyway. And this 'confession' surely made sure that she is 'trending' until her next confession/declaration.
Three- Models like this have to push their envelopes. This will probably be their only claim to fame. Their only legacy to their children ... hmm, never-mind.
Four- India is perhaps the only country in the East where wannabes like Sherlyn and PP can get away with such ridiculously contrite statements. Google Natt Chanapa.

But c'mon, we are not all a bunch of prudes, you see. Most Indian men/women will deny they watch porn or have lecherous thoughts about women/men. They will be the same people who will burn posters in protest because women like PP spoil the Indian culture.  The tiny minority will however tell you that they do watch a healthy dose of porn and be able to judge antics like this in the right way- By ignoring them.

I wonder what motormouth Rakhi Sawant is saying about this. O My Jejus!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

No nation for handicaps [245/365]

We, Indians, will never learn a lesson even if it hits us in the face and spits in our finger bowls.
Case in point- Public apathy at the Special Olympics, London.

Wait! I thought the Olympics was over! Sure, and so is corruption.
While most of the civilized world treats its citizens, able bodied and otherwise, with fearful respect and enough opportunities, closer home our 'handicapped' are lucky if they get a PCO and a job in the diversity quota.

I read an article in the British tabloids of how officials of the Paralympic Commitee of India (PCI) have gifted themselves and their families an 'all expenses paid trip' across our motherland (London, for the uninitiated) while our special bodied sportspeople are left to rot or die trying at the stadiums. Well, if it is any consolation, they must be used to the public apathy that they get back home too.

While the six medalists from our Summer Olympics are still getting used to the fame and fattened cheques, it would take our paralympic contingent nothing short of a miracle to get a medal. While I won't blame the athletes for the dry run, this only proves how deep the rot is.

Clearly, this is no nation for the Special People in our lives.

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