Build up the Entrepreneurial drive

Happy New Year, I wish you a great 2008!

These pieces of art work are driving several out there to become Entrepreneurs.

Pink Floyd – the album Dark Side of the Moon.

Jerry Maguire the movie.

Anyone else would have left you by now, but I’m sticking with you. And if I have to ride your ass like Zorro, you’re gonna show me the money. – Rod Tidwell

The Key to this (any) business is personal relationships. – Dicky Fox

I’m finished, I’m f**ked. Twenty four hours ago, man, I was hot! Now… I’m a cautionary tale. You see this jacket I’m wearing, you like it? Because I don’t really need it. Because I’m cloaked in failure! I lost the number one draft picked the night before the draft! Why? Let’s recap: Because a hockey player’s kid made me feel like a superficial jerk. I ate two slices of bad pizza, went to bed and grew a concience! – Jerry Maguire

Railroad Tycoon II – a game by Gathering of Developers.

What are your influences?

Trendy India defies the rest of the world – huh!

Click on each link to pull up the Google Trends report.

  1. In India, Movies have always been more popular than TV. The trend is almost always the reverse in all the other countries where both searches are popular.
  2. Rang De Basanti was a lot more popular than Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna.
  3. Blogs are more popular than newspapers with the online community in India. Only a few other countries exhibit this trend. Update: The trend report for the search term ‘blog’ versus ‘newspaper’ refutes this conclusion, look at the comments for more on using Google Trends reliably.
  4. BSNL and AirTel are the most searched of telecom providers in India. Hutch is a close third and is very popular in West Bengal, while AirTel rules the North.
  5. Searches for Naukri edge out searches for Monster by a close margin. Both trend lines reveal a lot more Indians are going online to look for jobs.
  6. Shah Rukh Khan is more searched than Aamir Khan by online users. Interestingly, more searches for Shah Rukh Khan originated from Rabat, Morocco, than Delhi, India. Amitabh Bachchan does not make much of a dent here. Update: Prateek also suggests that one take into account different ways of spelling – e.g. ‘Shah Rukh’ also becomes ‘Shahrukh’.
  7. Sachin Tendulkar beats Rahul Dravid as far as online trends goDhoni makes a surprise climb up the ranks.
  8. The online community can’t decide between Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. On the day of Singh’s appointment to the PM’ship of India, the trend was very different. Pervez Musharraf is eclipsed by the turbaned Indian Prime Minister.
  9. Only for a little while – Football was more popular than Cricket. You guessed it right, the timing coincided with the FIFA world cup, 2006.
  10. Searches for the keyword Matrimony outnumbered searches for Shaadi. Update: Prateek also suggests having a look at the report for ‘marriage ‘ and ‘wedding’ which are much higher than the other two terms.
  11. Mutual Funds are more popular than Shares. The search volumes are the highest in India. Update: The report on ‘stocks’ reveals one more story. In contrast to the rest of the world, the online populace from India still prefer Mutual Funds.
  12. Karan Johar will be happy to hear that he has finally overtaken Mithun as far as online searches go!
  13. IIM’s are catching up to the IIT’s in popularity.
  14. While global interest in GPRS is declining, GPRS interest in India remains just about the same for the last 3 years. Meanwhile, interest in AirTel keeps going climbing. Is India going to be over GPRS even before it can catch on?
  15. Tandoor is just as popular as Chaat or Halwa. Of course, Chaat Cafe (San Jose) has both Chaat and Tandoor, something you won’t see often in India! Update: Prateek points out that a report comparing ‘tandoori’, ‘tandoor’, ‘chaat’, ‘halwa’ would be more on target with tandoori coming out on top.
  16. Goa is much more popular than Himachal, search volumes predict a lot of tourists from the UK in Goa this year.
  17. Google searchers search for India more than its rival China. The pleasures of democracy 🙂 or is this the Baidu effect?

Inspired by: Micro Persuasion: 25 things I learned from Google Trends.

Disclaimer: Google Trends is only a tool. Any conclusions you can draw from the trend reports is at your own risk.

Filmiholic and The Namesake

Came across a great blog on the desi-videsi movies genre. It’s called Filmiholic. Filmiholics claim to fame in my book is that it captures the less popular but equally enthralling independent Indian cinema very well.

Another blog worth mentioning is Kal Penn’s blog on the new Mira Nair movie “The Namesake”. Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar…) plays the son of Indian immigrants to America in the movie. The blog is about his stay and shooting of the movie in India.

Dor: Nagesh Kukunoor perfects the art of story-telling

Dor opens with Gul Panag playing Zeenat, a character defined by a strong sense of honesty, determination, and self-will. The focus is on Zeenat’s serene profile. If your looking for any sign of make-up – you won’t find it. Meera, the other protagonist is played by Ayesha Takia.

Dor is a story of the two women, Zeenat and Meera. Their lives are inextricably linked by a certain sequence of events. At no point are the events incredulous or unbelievable. Also, the events themselves will not dominate your thoughts, rather it is the lives of the two women after these events that will leave a strong mark in your mind. At the risk of oversimplification, you will experience what the majority of women are up against thanks to Indian society and traditions. You will learn that there is at least one solution.

The talented Shreyas Talpade plays the role of Behroopiya. His entrance into the movie is almost an assurance that Zeenat and Meera will find a way to untangle the events. Shreyas’ brand of comic relief is not annoying or repetitive.

Last night, I watched the movie in a packed Multiplex-screen in Pune. Surprised? Even more so when you will learn the show was a late-late show (11pm). The movie had just one dance number (and that too, the number is set with Kajra Re from Bunty aur Bubli). Dor is shot only with the beautiful Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan’s arid backdrop. I am so sure that India (urban and maybe even rural) will accept different cinema.

I admire Nagesh’s work. He has perfected the art of presenting a story to bind the movie-goer. The most memorable scenes have shades of surprise, uncertainty, despair, and hope all painted into brilliant depictions that are alive. I highly recommend Dor if you enjoy watching a rich story unravel. In Nagesh’s own words “The story wrote itself”.

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Omkara is Vijay Bharadwaj’s adaptation of Othello set in contemporary Uttar Pradesh. He has stuck diligently to the tragic undertones of the original drama even if it meant a huge departure from the usual bollywood fare. It seems there does exist a market for hindi films other than the usual – overseas that is :-). The promotional material associated with the movie is totally geared towards those in the US and the UK (here is the list of US theatre’s playing Omkara).

I am now officially looking to Saif Ali Khan as one of the best actors of the current genre. Of the frontline crew (Ajay Devgan – Omkara, Vivek Oberoi – Kesu, Saif – Langda Tyagi, Kareen K. – Dolly, Konkona Sen) Saif convinced me that he is an absolute bad-ass UP gunda. With his suede boots, worn-out rifle, and perfect UP-hindi, Langda Tyagi was fearsome and effective! I actually listened with anticipation when Saif spoke Tyagi’s mind. It is unbelieveable that Saif discovered inside himself the bronzed character that is Othello’s Iago.

(Spoiler alert) Act 1, Scene 1 belongs to Tyagi. Tyagi is chatting with Rajju on top of a small hillock. He is shown to have halted Rajju’s baraat. Omkara intends to thwart Rajju’s wedding by robbing him of his bride to be, Omkara’s heart-throb Dolly. Tyagi is given the job of making sure the groom does not make it. Rajju can’t believe Tyagi’s mission, laughs it off “chal jhutta”. After all Tyagi and Rajju are very close friends. In a spine-chilling response, Tyagi picks up his rifle and takes aim. He says in a raspy, low, half-joking manner Mai jhutta to kute ka jannaaur saccha to teri ma ki khasam…” and then fires into Rajju’s biraadri.

The emerging alternative genre of hindi films is thoroughly enjoyable. Who wants to watch Jennifer Aniston in “break up” ;-), or Shah Rukh and Abhishek B. in “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna” when I can watch an incredibly rich, surreal world re-enacted on celluloid just for me (us :-)). Of course the multiplex guys here (in Pune) hate the same – just the other day a manager of a local multiplex ranted that the newer movies weren’t pulling in the crowds. Hence the emphasis on the overseas market, I guess.

Other movies in Hindi worth watching from this year,

  • Hazaaron Khwaishein aisi,
  • Rang De Basanti, hope this list grows…

The red pill…

We have been discussing the Matrix (1999) all of this week in the real world. I thought I would quickly flash back to what I thought was the most significant scene in the movie. I will let it speak for itself,

(Lafayette Hotel)
: This is it. Let me give you one piece of advice. Be honest. He knows more than you can imagine. (Neo walks into the door, Morpheus turns around to face him).

Morpheus: At last. Welcome, Neo. As you no doubt have guessed, I am Morpheus.
Neo: It’s an honor to meet you.
Morpheus: No, the honor is mine. Please, come. Sit down. I imagine that right now you’re feeling a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole? Hm?
Neo: (seated on a red leather armchair) You could say that.
Morpheus: I can see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Neo: No.
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.
Morpheus: I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain. But you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life. That there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Neo: The Matrix?
Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is? The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind…. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes…. (Neo begins to reach out for the red pill, Morpheus closes his palms) Remember, all I’m offering is the truth, nothing more…. Follow me…. Apoc, are we online?
Apoc: Almost.
Morpheus: Time is always against us. Please, take a seat there.

This scene reminds one of their own refusal to accept what is their immediate reality. Neo tries hard to disassociate himself from his own reality (he is a software programmer, pays taxes and such). At which point, the stars deign that Morpheus will walk into one’s life and offer a choice. The choice is of course pre-written. Neo wants to see where the rabbit-hole will lead.

Fast-forward to the Nebuchadnezzar. Neo has been freed from the Matrix. Morpheus admits to Neo that they don’t free minds after a certain age, that they broke the rules when freeing Neo. The mind usually has trouble letting go. Morpheus then attempts to get Neo to believe that he can beat the rules of the system. Unfortunately, Neo fails to make his first conceptual jump.

The Matrix introduced an incredible set of concepts, philosophies, revolution, path-breaking special effects, and so many other things. I treasure it most because it asked me to believe that it is indeed possible to shape reality. Not in the literal sense of bending a spoon, sure – but why not?

Neo is still really not ready when he walks in to the Oracle’s home. There he meets the other potentials.

Spoon boy (also known as one of the other potentials): Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

Later, the Oracle tells him what he needs to know, that he is not the one. Indeed, he has the gift, but he is waiting – perhaps for another life (self-fulfilling :-), don’t you think)? Who knows?

Oracle: I’d ask you to sit down, but your not going to anyway. And don’t worry about the vase.
Neo: What vase?
Oracle: That vase. (Neo looks back, half-turning and tips over a vase in the corner)
Neo: I’m sorry.
Oracle: I said don’t worry about it. I’ll get one of my students to fix it.
Neo: How did you know?
Oracle: What’s really going to bake your noodle later on is, would you still have broken it if I hadn’t said anything.

It is also on this same day that he realizes that he must make another choice. He makes his choice, at which point it appears to the observer – he has broken down every conceptual block and has begun to believe.

Tank: Morpheus, you’re more than a leader to us. You’re our father. We’ll miss you always.
Neo: Stop. I don’t believe this is happening.
Tank: Neo, this has to be done.
Neo: Does it? I don’t know, I… this can’t be just coincidence. It can’t be.
Tank: What are you talking about?
Neo: The Oracle. She told me this would happen. She told me that I would have to make a choice.
Trinity: What choice?… What are you doing?
Neo: I’m going in.
Trinity: No you’re not.
Neo: I have to.
Trinity: Neo, Morpheus sacrificed himself so that he could get you out. There’s no way that you’re going back in.
Neo: Morpheus did what he did because he believed I am something I’m not.
Trinity: What?
Neo: I’m not the one, Trinity. The Oracle hit me with that too.
Trinity: No. You have to be.
Neo: Sorry, I’m not. I’m just another guy.
Trinity: No, Neo. That’s not true. It can’t be true.
Neo: Why?
Tank: Neo, this is loco. They’ve got Morpheus in a military controlled building. Even if you somehow got inside, those are agents holding him. Three of them. I want Morpheus back too, but what you’re talking about is suicide.
Neo: I know that’s what it looks like, but it’s not. I can’t explain to you why it’s not. Morpheus believed something and he was ready to give his life for what he believed. I understand that now. But that’s why I have to go.
Tank: Why?
Neo: Because I believe in something.
Trinity: What?
Neo: I believe I can bring him back…. What are you doing?
Trinity: I going with you.
Neo: No you’re not.
Trinity: No? Let me tell you what I believe. I believe Morpheus means more to me than he does to you. I believe if you were really serious about saving him you are going to need my help. And since I am the ranking officer on this ship, if you don’t like, I believe you can go to hell. Because you aren’t going anywhere else. Tank, load us up.

Trinity: Neo, no one has ever done anything like this.
Neo: That’s why it’s going to work.

The rest of course as they say, is Hollywood ;-). The truth is, Neo fought the battle, rescued Morpheus and gave his life. As his neuro-kinetic reading went flat he was then reborn (did anyone notice the digit “2” on the screen?).

Thanks for stopping by. Believe in your self, now go watch the movie :-).


Neend nahi aati?

My friend sent me this one. The shayari (urdu for couplet) is from the movie Fanaa. I thought I would share it with those who understand Hindi and appreciate shayari.

“Kahte hain Ishq mein neend udh jaati hai………koi humse bhi ishq kare… kambhakt neend bahut aati hai!”

Netflix cloned in India: SeventyMM

SeventyMM launched on March 2nd this year. Surprisingly, their launch was rather low-key.

In a twist to Netflix, they will only allow upto 2 DVD’s and you have to pay a Rs. 2000 deposit up-front (thats about $40). They charge Rs. 550 (about $11) for a month of unlimited movies. They have the advantage of entering the market early. The issue is dealing with the postal service. Or have they decided to work around them altogether?

Related stories:

Pune International Film Festival

Pune is playing host to an extensive International Film Festival. I was lucky enough to catch two cool movies.

If I were a rich man (France) a decent film about a french salesman who has had an extended run of bad luck. His wife is having an affair with his boss, he hates his car and there is just about no one who can give him a break!

Sky Hook (Yugoslavia) a real tearjerker film based on the yugoslav conflict. It’s about a national team basketball champion and his son Jovan. I thought it was really well directed, incorporating certain elements of the war to project gloom. It ends rather tragically!

When I watch an international film, I hope for something out of the ordinary. In this case perhaps I was somewhat dissapointed. In any case, Pune Rocks!!