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The New Stuff

नव वर्ष : Happy New Year!

नव वर्ष

नव वर्ष,
हर्ष नव,
जीवन उत्कर्ष नव;

नव उमंग,
नव तरंग,
जीवन का नव प्रसंग;

नवल चाह,
नवल राह,
जीवन का नव प्रवाह;

गीत नवल,
प्रीति नवल,
जीवन की रीति नवल,
जीवन की नीति नवल,
जीवन की जीत नवल.

-हरिवंश राय बच्चन

As I said in one of my previous posts, 2010 for me was just another passing year. Neither any positive incident to be really happy about, nor any negative accident to be really sad about. It came and just slipped by like a steady flowing river water. Nothing better than "Lo Din Beeta, Lo Raat Gayi" by Shri Bachchan to describe this year for me :). Hope 2011 brings more cheers and moments of happiness to cherish :).

With this last post of mine for 2010, I wish you all a very happy & prosperous new year! As the beautiful poem "Nav Varsh" by Shri Harviansh Rai Bachchan says:

"May the new year brings in new joys, hopes and promises; new yearnings, wishes and desires, new zest, new journeys, new chapters, new dreams and a new enthusiasm for your life!"

Have a great 2011!

A movie you MUST watch & a movie you MUST NOT watch!

Two movies and two dramatically opposite reactions: 1.) Tees Maar Khan – One of the worst movies ever watched 2.) Udaan – One of the best movies ever watched. These two movies are not comparable at all as they represent two very different genres, but even if I evaluate these within their own respective genres, my reaction still remains the same.

I was not expecting Tees Maar Khan to be any well-plotted, thought-through movie or any kind of intelligent comedy, but I didn’t expect it to be this disaster too. I thought it would be some slapstick fun but forget about having even a single moment of smile, throughout the movie I kept on wondering what the hell it was. I think Farah Khan made "Tees Maar Kan" exactly like the way Akshay Kumar made the movie "Tees Maar Khan" within "Tees Maar Khan"...story thought on the spot, dialogues conceived on the spot, actors clueless till the end and the director also clueless till the end! I was never a great fan of Akshay Kumar (in fact I don’t like him), and whatever good impression I had gained for Katrina after her performance in Rajneeti has got washed away with her “main aur make up laga ke aati hoon” recital in TMK. Trust me apart from Sheila ki Jawani dance, this is the only dialogue which she has spoken and repeated at least zillion times in the movie. Pathetic, terrible, disgusting and not a bearable movie even if you get tickets for free.

Coming down to the movie which I watched on DVD recently – Udaan, I’m wondering how I missed to watch it in theater. In fact was not even aware when the movie got released and went off theaters too. Huh, sad that lack of marketing can make people miss gem of a movie like Udaan and heavy buzz can actually make one waste money on a crap like TMK. But what a movie Udaan was! I just looooved it. Poignant storyline, great acting, superb direction and a fantastic ending. Must say that Anurag Kashyap & Vikramaditya Motwane have done an amazing job by making this film and no wonder this film was officially selected to compete in 2010 Cannes Film Festival. The story is about a 17 year old teenager Rohan who was expelled from his school on a silly mistake and had to return home to his abusive and oppressive father. The film revolves around the emotional journey of Rohan (Rajat Barmecha) who has to deal with the nuances of a tyrant father (Ronit Roy), a young step brother Arjun (Ayan Boradia) about whom Rohan was not even aware of till he came back from hostel a supporting chacha (Ram Kapoor) whom his father hates, the struggle between his dreams of becoming a writer and his father’s ambition of making him an engineer & finally his fight for believing in himself and standing for his own dreams. It’s a movie which touches a chord somewhere deep within, a movie you must experience on your own to really understand the emotions of different characters. Difficult to decide for me as to whether it was Rohan’s suppressed anger or Arjun’s suppressed fear which really makes your heart go out for those two poor kids…at times I really had lump in my throat. A must, must watch movie for all…a movie which you really should not miss at any cost.

Think these are the last two movies for me in 2010, more movies now next year only. So, what’s the plan for you for this new year eve? Planning to welcome it with a bang or deciding to spend it peacefully with family & friends :-)?

So, what are you searching today : Google Zeitgeist 2010

I had written a post on Google Zeitgeist 2010 report on my marketingchitchat blog but apart from brand findings, the general findings were further more interesting enough to make me do a post on this blog as well :-). For those who don’t know about Zeitgeist – it’s a report published by Google every year where Google reveals the spirit of the year through the aggregation of millions of search queries it receives every day. Here is a snapshot of the India result and in case you are interested in knowing more about the report you can click here.
So some observations based on the report:
  • Micromax is second fastest rising query, well the mass market targeting surely works in India and this low cost mobile manufacturer is on a roll.
  • And the point about mass appeal definitely seems to be true in case of celebrities too, Sonakshi Sinha is high on the list of “fastest rising people”, just one movie old but then let’s not forget the movie was Dabangg – mindless bakar but a true paisa vasool full on entertaining typical bollywood cinema, Chulbul Pandey ka jadoo on aam junta was phenomenal.
  • I thought Orkut is dead and almost everybody on this planet has been there and is done with it now, but well Orkut is very much there in “top 10 most popular” section. Though wondering if it’s the positive or negative search string leading to this popularity of Orkut.
  • Movie section has Kites leading the list with 3 idiots on number 4. How? Who and why on earth were people searching stuffs on Kites? No, you can’t even do a negative search for such a hopelessly pathetic movie!
  • First time ever, a swamji has found a place in the top-10 of any search list, yes this swamiji is none other than Nithyananada who is the second most searched term in Bangalore’s Zeitgeist report.
  • People are searching more on “how to get pregnant” than “how to impress a girl” or “how to make money”? Two curiosities – 1.) Are women searching more on “how tos” than men? 2.) Is infertility rate on that a high rise in India too?
  • Someone else pointed out another interesting trend in “how to section”, read it bottoms up - reduce weight >> improve spoken English >> impress a girl >> kiss >> get pregnant …interesting and makes more sense than reading it in top down order, isn’t it :)?

Lo Din Beeta, Lo Raat Gayi…

What, it’s already 10th Dec! Looks like as if it was today morning when I was thinking on 1st December and how this whole 2010 just seemed to pass away in a blink…now even these ten days have gone just like that and so will the next twenty one days bringing yet another year to a closure. This year is one which has been like steadily flowing water for me…neither any good reason to be really happy nor any bad reason to be really sad, just one day after another and then another and lo’ the year is gone. I really love the following poem by Shri Harivansh Rai Bachchan and today once again feel like putting it up on my blog as this poem is just apt to describe how I have been feeling about 2010 till now, I’m anyways a big fan of his words but at times some creations seem to be so relatable and so close to your heart…

लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई

लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई,
सूरज ढलकर पच्छिम पहुँचा,
डूबा, संध्या आई, छाई,
सौ संध्या-सी वह संध्या थी,
क्यों उठते-उठते सोचा था,
दिन में होगी कुछ बात नई।
लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई।

धीमे-धीमे तारे निकले,
धीरे-धीरे नभ में फैले,
सौ रजनी-सी वह रजनी थी
क्यों संध्या को यह सोचा था,
निशि में होगी कुछ बात नई।
लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई।

चिड़ियाँ चहकीं, कलियाँ महकी,
पूरब से फिर सूरज निकला,
जैसे होती थी सुबह हुई,
क्यों सोते-सोते सोचा था,
होगी प्रातः कुछ बात नई।
लो दिन बीता, लो रात गईI
- हरिवंश राय बच्चन

I'm in: 2011 South Asian Challenge

Thanks Smita for informing me about the forthcoming “South Asian 2011” challenge, wanted to participate in it last year also but read it late and then only had thought to participate in it next year. This is one reading challenge which I am very happy to participate in as I just love Indian writing and South Asian literature. I have read some very good books in last few years on India, Indian contemporary writing, Pakistan and Bangladeshi themes. Will be happy to expand my reading horizon to literary work from other South Asian countries as part of this challenge.

As per the rule of this reading challenge, with this post I’m now formally announcing my sign-up & participation in “2011 South Asian Challenge”. In case you’re interested to know more about it, you can check out the FAQs here and those interested to join in this challenge can sign up for it here.

I have not yet made a list of all the books which I’m planning to cover, have started working on it and will be putting it up soon. Look forward to this reading fun in 2011!

Campfire Graphic Novels: A must try for book lovers

Me & my love for comics…ahhhhh just so difficult to put it in words (pssst: oh yes, I do read comic books till date :-))! Now how do I justify my comic book buying or reading habit till this age is a different story all together but the joy of reading a visually rich and graphically interesting book is something totally unparalleled. So, when I got a chance to have a look at this new series of graphical books by a relatively new Indian publication Campfire, my first reaction was a ‘yayyy’ of excitement.
Read three books by them recently – ‘Conquering Everest’, ‘The Dusk Society’ & ‘The Three Musketeers’; and loved all the three. First of all I must say that quality of presentation was just so good that for a moment I could not believe that these are from some Indian publication. I mean I have been reading Indian as well as international comics, novels & graphical books for long now, though always loved the Indian characters like Billoo, Pinky, Chacha Chowdhary or the stories of Champak, Nandan, Balhans etc. but book presentation wise somehow they could never match up to say a Tintin or Asterix or Calvin and Hobbes. Next thing which I find lacking in Indian graphical-book segment is the content, since they are targeted towards mainly kids in India, so most of the books revolve around kiddie themes unlike say a matured audience targeted Persepolis or Embroideries or a teenager targeted Archie. And both these issues get perfectly addressed by Camfire’s books now. Not only the content is great but the illustration of content is also equally interesting. Though the books are targeted towards mainly kids and teenagers but they offer variety of other options in form of graphical novels which can tantalize the reading appetite of adults as well. Their graphical books are categorized in four segments – Classics, Biography, Mythology, and Originals. Each of these categories covers a unique dimension of literature and offers exciting and educational stories to its audience. I was so impressed with their books that I took special effort to know about the team behind it, their whole catalogue and availability in different book stores.

A little bit more about the books which I read – 1.) Conquering Everest (Written by Lewis Helfand; Illustrated by: Amit Tayal) is a book on the lives of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norway and their adventure of conquering Everest. You know, the visual representation of the book is so just so breathtaking that at times when they have demonstrated the mountaineers slipping down the steep slopes of Everest, you can actually feel it as if you are watching some motion movie. And guess what, next day on KBC one of the questions was related to Everest and I was able to guess the correct answer, thanks to the minute details which this book has covered in an interesting story format. 2.) The Dusk Society (Written by: Sidney Wiliams and Mark Jones; Illustrated by: Naresh Kumar) is a story of Dracula, Doctor Frankenstein and the whole thrill around whether The Dusk Society will be able to stop Pierceblood’s evil plan? A totally engrossing thriller from start to end; just loved it! 3.) The Three Musketeers (Written by: Alexander Dumas; Illustrated by: Amit Tayal) is the same good old story which we had read in schools earlier but presented though appealing graphics.

As per me these books are must try for all those who like reading books and get specially excited by illustrated ones. Do check out their website for more details about them or their complete catalogue. What else, apart from printed versions, they also offer digital content which can be downloaded for PC/Mac, Blackberry, Android, iPod/iPads, etc. I loved their collection and definitely looking forward to reading more by them.

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