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That Special Weekend...

Have been planning to post this for quite sometime now but last few weeks have been hectic enough to do anything else. Well professionally and personally things are moving quite optimistically and work wise my new promoted role with larger responsibilities since last one and half month has been quite interesting and stimulating for me (TOUCHWOOD!). Got to do lots of interesting stuffs and I am enjoying every bit of it till today (hee hee hee, knowing me one may never know when I can get bored of anything including my job) except that this is really-really hectic and frenzied with quite some traveling too. But guess one has to pay this price in terms of schedule and time. But amidst all this, I had managed to sneak a very special weekend this month, thanks to planning and preparation of hubby dear :-) for my b’day which was luckily on a weekend this year.

We were getting that long drive itch since long esp. because our last drive to Pondicherry was in Feb’08. Hmmm considering our love for wheels, 5 months without any long drive is a long hiatus for us. Just one day prior to that weekend, hubby dear announced the plans for bday weekend and asked me to take Monday off so that we can have a 3 days weekend trip to Wayanad… Wayanad!!! My first reaction was full of exclamation marks and frowns, Wayanad in rains, now come on we all are aware of rains in Kerala esp. Wayanad where Lakkidi gets world’s second largest rainfall and wherever we have read its always mentioned not to go to Wayanad during monsoons…But well he was insistent on the fact that kerala is very beautiful and lets go to Kerala again (we have already been to some other locations of Kerala like Munnar, Allepy etc immediately after our wedding and it was an awesome trip). And so finally out of the strong urge to visit Kerala again, I also agreed and I must say it was a wonderful decision that we made.

Saturday 12th July’08 we (me, hubby and one of our close friends alongwith his family) set on our jaunt to Wayanad…we started morning 6 am by fully loading our car with fuel, snacks, music and enthusiasm. The drive was wonderful and en-route we stopped at standard Kamat Loka Ruchi for a scrumptious breakfast, oh the idlis there are just so yummy…After clicking some pics here and there, we started again and the route was simply awesome, a driver's delight so to say. And one can’t miss hubby’s and his friend’s fault finding in each others driving so that they get to drive through the maximum route possible… Hubby saying to his friend, “tujhe sharp turn theek se nahi lene aata, let me drive” and his friend replying “tera break pe control nahi rehta hai, let me drive” LOL! Here is one pic of the route to explain it further :-)


Finally we reached Wayanad in about five and hours drive and oh wow what a place it was! Truly mesmerizing…greenery all along, thick dense coffee plantations…fresh air and absolute serenity! After settling down in our resort we set to move around in Wayanad and the best part was that there was absolutely no rains except for some drizzle which made the weather all the more lovelier. In two and half days, we visited places like Phokoot Lake, Lakkidi Point, Soochipoora Falls, and Edekkal caves etc. Out of all these, most fascinating ones were Edekkal Caves simply because of its mysterious ancient culture and Lakkidi because of its breathtaking view. Here is a pic of Lakkidi point, I must have seen many rainbows earlier in my life but something as vibrant as this…never!!!


This pic immediately reminded me of a very old quote - “Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colors appear”, this rainbow at Lakkidi was so bright and vivid esp. because it was appearing on a varied background, half of the mountains were having rains and half were having sun. I just loved it! That whole two and half days kaise beet gaye pata hi nahi chala and Monday noon it was time for us to hit back to the road to Bangalore. The details of my overall trip from travel perspective is available on my travelogue and the same can be read there.

Overall a mesmerizing trip and very sweet weekend amidst all the frantic work life and I would recommend Wayanad to all those who enjoy spending some time in tranquility away from city chaos. And yeah lastly whosoever said not to visit Wayanad in July is ##@@!!. Trust me roaming and driving around in that lush green carpet of nature was truly and amazing and rewarding experience.

Its all about the right packaging!

Same story, same climax, same end but still it was so fresh! There must be 100s of movies on a similar topic but there was something about “Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na” that I just loved this movie. Watched it over the weekend and I found it to be a very sweet light hearted romantic movie which I am sure would be liked not only be teenagers and today’s generation kids but also by grown up individuals like me…It just makes you so nostalgic and brings back those sweet memories of school and college days J

It’s a story of Jai Sigh Rathore a.k.a Rats (Imran Khan), and Aditi a.k.a Meow (Genelia D’souza) who are best of friends and think their relationship is just friendship and not Love. Ummm you should have guessed the story by now, yeah you are right - same old saga of confusion between platonic and romantic relationship where the movie starts with a girl and boy who spend most of the time together but still think they are not in love and when they think they have fallen in love with different people then suddenly they start missing each other’s company, feelings like jealousy towards each others partners, anger and misunderstandings crop up and finally after some cute li’ll incidents the movie ends happily like a typical bollywood movie on an airport! Yeah airport, I mean even the end is so typecast but still as I said it’s sweet and different!

So, when everything is same about the movie then how come it’s different? Well the answer is packaging! Yeah, old wine served in a very new and interesting bottle J. Same story but delivered through fresh faces like Imran and Genelia and all other actors who have acted as their friends. They all were simply superb. I must say Imran Khan was very impressive considering this was his debut movie and Genelia fitted perfectly into a college kiddie role. Even artists in small roles like of Meghna (Manjari Fadnis) and Amit (Prateik Babbar) leave a lasting impression on audience. Am wondering if all of them are such super actors or it’s the outcome of director Abbas Tyrewala’s effort. A.R. Rahman’s music was as usual marvelous, songs like “Has de Aditi” and “Pappu can’t dance” are already craze amongst many. As expected from senior actors like Ratna Pathak Shah, Naseeruddin Shah, Anuradha Patel, Jayant Kriplani their performance was excellent…I loved Naseeruddin Shah’s role, though the idea of dead one speaking from photo frame is old but then it was Naseruddin who was performing it this time, so it had to be excellent.

Well, this movie again establishes the fact beautifully that it’s all about the right packaging. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na is a kind of movie in which you know everything including the end which is too predictable but still when the movie ends it leaves a very sweet smile on your face simply because of the way it has been presented to the audience. It’s a total entertainer and full paisa vasool. It definitely has some nuances like in current era parents fixing marriage of a 21 year old girl(!!!) but guess those can be ignored on overall basis. I would recommend it to everybody who just want to go for some light and fun flick. And take my words, it will surely remind of your good old student life days and suddenly after coming out you will feel like either talking to your friends or talking about your friends :-)

Bollywood Promotion - Other intersting examples

I had written post about bollywood marketing earlier as well, I must say things are getting innovative day by day. The most talked about two recent releases are “Love Story 2050” & “Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na”. Both are releasing on today i.e., 4th July’08 and both these films are marketing their stuff quite aggressively. Though both are quite hyped up movies but guess Jaane Tu…has managed to grab more pre-release attention because of its super aggressive PR plans and 360 degree marketing approach. After observing different promotional strategies of these two movies, I think the two key catchy promotional strategies which I noticed are:

  • Marketing Tie-ups: Both these movies have managed to get big brands roped in for their movies. “Love Story 2050” has got Lux, Xbox 360, Tata Indicom and Sun Microsystems interested for branding and marketing tie-ups whereas “Jaane Tu…” has secured marketing alliances with Zee and Sony, and is expected to sign Coke and Toyota, brands endorsed by Aamir Khan. Not that tie-ups like these are something new but the fact that now-a-days such tie-ups are covering the overall production cost of even huge budgeted films like “Love Story 2050” is something really fascinating. “We have covered 20% of our production costs through brand and marketing tie-ups. But if we combine the money that we have earned through merchandising and distribution deals, it would cover 100% of the costs. Anything that we will earn from now on would be profits for us,” says Rowena Baweja of Harry Baweja Productions. Love Story 2050’s production cost is an estimated Rs 50 crore (Source: ET online, dated 23rd June’08). 50 crores getting covered through tie-ups and merchandising, wow, really interesting!
  • Increasing online promotions: Next important thing which caught my immediate attention today was promotion of these films in online world…most of the popular sites are splashed with “Jaane Tu…” promo today, not sure if they had started their online promo earlier but it struck to my eyes today only and more so because of this very catchy ad on msn India homepage today.


(Brief description for the benefit of those who have missed out this ad: As soon as you go to msn India home page, suddenly you see Imran Khan walking all over the screen very coolly and then he suddenly knocks the screen and goes back to that Jane Tu Box). I have seen some other ads earlier as well like this but somehow the presentation and background score of this ad was too good! Apart from this they have other interesting banners on facebook, AOL bollywood etc and a very trendy website as well. It’s cool, vibrant and think can establish a good connect with their youth TG. Hmmm, movies are seriously investing in websites these days!

Well, the fate of these movies as well as the return on investment will be decided today but one thing is sure – movie marketing is definitely becoming an interesting field in itself.

Death of Hindi Literature!

Recently my mom had come to visit my place for few days and unfortunately some days out of those three weeks were very hectic professionally for both me and my husband. So, we were not able to take her out or spend much time with her during weekdays. I thought of arranging some entertainment activities for my mom so that she doesn’t get bored at home and considering my mom’s hobbies, the two most obvious choices were movies and books, with books having higher preference. Well, books and movies by term look so simple to arrange but nah it’s not that easy to arrange these stuffs for my mom. Well, she definitely loves to read but not the kind of books which me or my husband read, rather she likes to read those very old classics of Hindi and English literature. I thought of ordering some books of her choice from some popular online shops as generally they offer good discounts on books. Well, my mom’s wish-list consisted of some very old hindi classics by writers like Shivani, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Jayashankar Prasad etc. And when I told her the benefits of ordering online, she was all excited and gave me a list of 7 names to be order immediately.

Since these books were quite popular titles and so I very conveniently assumed that these would be available in almost all book stores. And then my hunt started, first site, second site, third site…ohhh little did I know then that it’s gonna be such a difficult task to find those famous old hindi classics online. Well, none of the popular stores were having those titles…so tired of net surfing, I thought I will stop at landmark (a very popular book store at Bangalore) tomorrow while coming back from office as it would be easier to find it there. With all hopes I reached Landmark next day only to be disappointed to find that only 1 of those titles were available…having no other option, I took that one book and with lots of difficulties managed to find another one in an online store. Mom was ok to get atleast two books of her choice but was damn amazed to realize that these books are not available in most of the stores online as well as offline, she surprisingly said, “lagta hai logo ne hindi ki kitabein padhni band kar di hai, tabhi itni famous kitabein bhi nahi mil rahi hai”.

I also felt the same that maybe people in India have stopped reading hindi novels and books and hence its not easy to find those in regular shops or e-stores. But well my hypothesis didn’t last for long as last weekend I was surfing some US specific e-commerce sites. One of the popular sites was having section of books by Indian writers. Out of curiosity I entered the titles suggested by my mom and lo’ all the books were available in that book store with even reviews and author profiles completed! Felt surprised as well as sad – I was not getting those books here and all these are available in a US site as best rated classics! Stunning!

Though Hindi is our mother tongue but I hardly know of anyone from today’s generation who reads hindi books these days. Honestly speaking even I have not read lots of hindi books but yes I have definitely read some of the very popular ones and have really liked those a lot. Reading as a habit was seeded in me by my mom and she used to suggest me all good novels irrespective of the language be it English, Hindi or translated version of very famous regional books. So, as a child I have read variety of books including real good hindi classics as well. But guess with lots of other things getting lost in rut of life, I lost touch with hindi literature as well…Though I love books by Indian writers but almost all the current books released by Indian writers are written originally in English and so that’s what I read mostly these days. I wonder about current generation as in younger people who are currently in schools, I doubt if most of them are even aware of hindi classics or treasure hidden in our own literature…Do they even know that these books are rated as best classics from India globally? I wonder if Hindi literature is on its way to extinction in India!

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