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”.

powered by performancing firefox.

AirTel GPRS settings for prepaid users – Nokia 6230

Important: To those who found this page while searching for settings for airtel gprs. Make sure you have activated Mobile Office first. As far as I know, Mobile Office or AirTel GPRS is not free for prepaid users. If you were to e-mail me – please note that I cannot help you if your phone is very different from a Nokia 6230, 6030, N-series, 3030 and some of the other standard Nokia gadgets.

Your best bet is probably to visit an AirTel shop like I did. If you must do it yourself – the AirTel GPRS access-point in Pune (and maybe other cities) is Try setting that on your phone. There is no username and password needed, but you need to have activated Mobile Office as shown in AirTel pre-paid GPRS Activation and Usage.

More gprs related articles on


Finally received GPRS settings for my phone. All I did was stop by my local AirTel prepaid shop, they fixed up my Nokia 6230 for GPRS usage.

While speaking to the salesmen at the shop, I requested for the settings to be (at least) written down so that I might share them here. Unfortunately, the gentleman who was aware of how the Nokia 6230 should be set up refused to write the instructions down (odd?). He setup the phone and handed it over.

After a quick glance at my phone settings, I could figure out he had made the following changes: Go into Settings >> Connectivity >> GPRS >> GPRS modem settings. Alias for access point was “Airtel live!” and GPRS access point was “” (Update: Turns out, these settings are really rubbish – the settings in the next paragraph are the ones that work).

Step out of Settings, go back into Web >> Settings >> Connection Settings. Create a new Connection set by selecting an (empty) slot. Edit the new connection settings, call it “Mobile office“, set your home page, disable all proxies, select “GPRS” as the data bearer. Select Bearer settings, set the GPRS access point to ““, authentication type “normal“, login type “automatic“. Leave the username and password as empty.

Let me know if this works for you. Remember to activate GPRS. by sending over SMS “GPRSACT” to 511. Also remember that they are charging Re 12/- per day.

Web and GPRS network-enabled applications started to work fine immediately after.

Z Corp – Rapid Prototype 3D Printers for Concept Modeling

Another tech-entrepreneur at work! Z-Corp offices are located in Pune. While I am not very savvy as far as Industrial design and modeling is concerned – I believe that if this product really can do what it claims it can, it probably carries several patents with it.

Z Corp – Rapid Prototype 3D Printers for Concept Modeling

From what I am given to understand, think of the model in CAD/CAM, feed the digital design to the printer and it will accurately render it for you, layer by layer within hours. Question is, what 3D models will it fail to render? An (unfair?) example was of two rings interlocked in a chain fashion such that the rings can still move.

I am very interested in the method itself. Coming up with an algorithm to render objects in reality is hardly trivial. As is evident, I enjoyed my Engineering Graphics in undergraduate college!

The mythical Dollar

In my past few weeks here in Pune (India), I have been fortunate to interact with several technologists, entrepreneurs and businessmen. From their world I have heard the following untruths (or not?) over and over again:

#1: The developed world’s market is where the real profit lies for IT and Software products. Producing innovative software, IT or technology for India is not going to get you anywhere as quickly as software exports will.

#2: India’s strength lies in being a service-oriented nation.

#3: Indians are not mentally built for entrepreneurship (or for starting small). They have the galla (or shop cash-counter) attitude. In other words, they expect quick returns in business.

#4: Employment in the IT services sector is the best opportunity for new graduates.

#5: An entrepreneur simply needs to copy an existing business model from a developed world and get it to work in India.

#6: The Indian government should continue to encourage companies in software exports and IT services for developed nations through incentives like tax-holidays.

#7: India’s core competency is in the area of IT. This is the IT centered spin on #2. Is our core competency really in IT or in the area of IT-related services or somewhere else altogether?

I think our current belief system no longer reflects reality. What do you think?

Update: Here is one perspective on 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7. “Exports, University-Industry linkages, and innovation challenges in Bangalore, India” – World Bank report, Anthony P. D’Costa (1st April, 06). To summarise the report, encouraging IT services is directly contributing to an artificial shortage of highly skilled technologists, an increasing inability to move up the value chain (in terms of the global IT market), extensive competition amongst low-end technology service providers and finally, weakening of relationships between Universities and Industry.

AirTel pre-paid GPRS Activation and usage

Update: AirTel has recently discontinued the SMS activation and deactivation service for GPRS/Mobile Office. You now need to call 56561, press 1 for English, press 1 to activate GPRS. It takes about 2 to 4 days to have GPRS activated, painfully slow. To deactivate GPRS or Mobile Office, call 56562, press 1 for English, press 1 to deactivate GPRS.

To activate, SMS “GPRSACT” to 511. AirTel will begin charging you Re 14.99/- per day. You will need to SMS “MO” (Mobile office?) to 501 for the precise settings for your phone (I did not get a response with settings as promised), or call their customer-service.

To deactivate, send “GPRSDEACT” to 511.

I also have a brief article on setting up your Nokia 6230 for AirTel’s Mobile Office.

AirTel LIVE! and GPRS are not the same. For AirTel LIVE, I suggest you start with the AirTel web portal and FAQ on AirTel LIVE by clicking here.

Various degrees of violence

The events of the past week reveal the rot in Maharashtra. On 9th July, the Shiv Sena (also written as Shiv Saina, literal translation “Shiv’s Army”, a very strong political party in the state) went on a rampage in Mumbai tearing apart a private bus as vengeance for an insult to a statue of Meenatai Thackeray. The same evening, as the rioting got worse in Mumbai, Pune experienced a spill-over effect. I will admit, I would hesitate before even driving through the areas where they had rioted. My relatives and friends who had business’ in the affected areas thankfully closed early and left for home after receiving reports of violence.

On the 11th of July, Mumbai was struck by 7 bomb blasts. An additional 8th bomb was defused elsewhere. As I write, as many as 200 people were reported to have been killed. The unfortunate targets were mainly middle class working men travelling by first-class coaches in the Mumbai section of the Western Railway at rush hour (equivalent to city and suburban metro). They were returning home. I was lucky to be able to get in touch with most of my friends in Mumbai that evening. The communication networks failed to keep up with the surge in traffic.

The Shiv Sena then condemned the blasts and quickly blame the Goverment for not averting the attack. It was interesting that the two events were so close to each other. The images of the burning tourist bus, train compartments ripped apart, injured and dead commuters, and finally of rioting shiv sainiks have left a deep impression on my mind.

In both cases, the common working man was impacted – to different degrees (also see “It could have been any one of us” – India Uncut). We are still not sure who attacked Mumbai (It wasn’t SIMI as claimed earlier- NDTV).

It gets worse. CNN-IBN demonstrated on television (as part of what they call Operation Water Rat) that it still is ridiculously easy to land 100kg of RDX on Mumbai’s shores from international waters. In fact, they landed their pseudo-RDX at Shekhadi, the exact spot where Dawood was purported to have landed RDX in 1993. Truly, we have not learnt from our past mistakes.

A month after the 7th July 2005 attack on London, the UK police were able to make arrests related to the attack. I am sure I speak for many Indians. We all are awaiting justice.

Earlier on Thursday, I realised that this was a sensitive issue to blog about. I almost did not. My point is – violence cannot be the answer. It isn’t that we are soft, I think we stopped caring. All that is going to change, we promise.

Give us your best pitch

“We know that it can be really scary to quit your job at an average company doing average work just because you know that if you stay, you’ll end up just like them.

Which is why it’s such a great opportunity!” – Seth Godin, (originally seen on

If you believe that you’re the hottest technical stuff around and possess the perquisite startup DNA we want to hear from you.

If you are in Pune, do stop by. We are located just off Senapati Bapat road. Or just send us an email at connect at bookeazy dot com. The two new positions are described on BookEazy’s hiring page.

BookEazy Technologies Private Limited is a young high-energy technology startup based in Pune, India. We’re a team of ambitious people with a vision to create intuitive, zero-effort consumer-facing technology that blends with the psyche of the Indian consumer.

Barcamp Pune revealed

Is Pune the one? Can Pune be amongst the best cities in India to incubate a start-up? Will there be enough talent to tap into? Is there a culture that promotes innovation? My experience at Barcamp Pune has set my mind at ease. I am now confident that over time, I will win my bet on Pune after all. The unconference conference was replete with smart technologists and business people heading start-ups in the area. The speakers were more than willing to expose their products and ideas to everyone at the unconference for feedback.

Webaroo is an attempt to solve the problem of offline search for mobile users (laptops/mobile phones). The solution is to carry a “slice of the web with you all the time”. Webaroo is free for download and use. On installing their application and webpack, you can search as well as access the sites offered by the webpack for free. You also don’t get any advertisements with the application.

Most of the questions posted centered around the format of the webpacks. If I understood correctly, the format and the API to access the webpacks are both currently proprietary. This I think is a big mistake. One of their webpacks is offline. Wikipedia is covered by the GNU Free Documentation License. I believe that Webaroo cannot legally re-package Wikipedia content and distribute it as a webpack since they disallow further sharing and redistribution of the content.

I hope they have an answer. Webaroo is part of the IIT Powai, incubation effort. Of the innovative start-up talks that attended the Barcamp, they were the closest to having a serious, complete and viable model.

Patangs project carpool. Save the kittens and the baby seals, my housemate and I decided! This was over some tipsy light-hearted conversation. I sold my (mini) SUV subsequently. Patang (Siddharth Shah) has also sold his car. Patang’s solution deserves a mention because of the spirit behind his project. In his own words, Patang’s Project carpool is aimed at those who lament about the oil crisis, and the loss of foot paths (to bigger cars). The project carpool is an AJAX-based mash-up of the Google maps and a light web application that allows you to team up with registered car pools that follow your route.

The toughest question was from a gentleman up-front who asked, and I paraphrase – “When do you think the oil problem will go away?”, Patang replies – “probably in twenty years, when we run out of oil”!

Pune has a steady supply of smart nerds. The city also has a unique personality, history, and youth. But what about the funds? Of the 5 start-ups I heard talk today (there were more), none of them had issues securing angel-level funds. At a later stage, getting venture capital funds could get harder. For instance, Paul Graham writes that VC’s prefer to fund companies less than an hour’s drive away. Perhaps that is beginning to change. At least one services company in the area has secured serious venture capital funding. The VC’s were located in London if I recall correctly. Pune also has that special sauce. One of the most famous services companies started in Pune – Persistent Systems, can trace back its roots to Kirloskar Pneumatics. Kirloskar was also partially incubated in Pune in the 1960’s. Organically, is exactly how the entrepreneural bug propagates.

Sometimes, I hate Pune too. There are things about Pune – bureaucracy, buildings, roads, traffic and electricity – the less said about them the better. The 4 km long fly-over on University road is going to take more than 3 years to complete, too long by any yardstick. On my way to the Barcamp, I drove past a motor-cyclist who was knocked down by a bus on the far side of the highway. He was hurt very seriously and had not received medical attention. Some traffic cops in the distance were not really doing anything about the situation. He was being helped by some students who were on the bus. It was an unfortunate incident, also a common-place one.

Most Puneites have grown insensitive to these issues. No one slows down when the trafic lights turn orange. I get honked at even if were to slow down at orange or follow other traffic rules. Thankfully, the conscientious lot are working against changing that.

What about competition? The reader familiar with the area will note that I have (conveniently) clubbed Pune – Mumbai together in the for most of this post. I think of the two cities as having interlocked destinies. Pune does depend on the commerce (and airport) of Mumbai and vice versa. The Mumbai-Pune expressway is a good example of the synergy between the two cities.

Smart nerds don’t enjoy living in Mumbai or in Los Angeles for that matter. Most complaints center around the hour-long commutes, the impersonal nature of the urban crowds and the cost of living or renting there. A 26 year old executive ranted to me once “If you don’t have money, in Mumbai your no more than a commoner. No one will want to know your name or who you are.” – I believe that to be very true of any big city. So the deal is, Mumbai can keep the real money, while Pune can keep the smart talent. That arrangement is fine by me.

Barcamps provide the best forums for innovative start-ups to come out and display their products and solicit feedback. It was disappointing to see that the Barcamp attendance was limited to 150 people. As time flies by, some of these start-ups might wilt and die due to changing trends. I am confident that the spirit will remain.

Other startups/technology companies at Barcamp Pune, and references: