Saturday, March 31, 2012

Movie Review: Blood Money

A young MBA (Kunal Kemmu without the h) leaves Mumbai for Cape Town with his newly wedded wife (Amrita Puri), and joins Trinity Diamonds in search of the big South African dream... gaadi, bungla, diamonds... before realizing that success comes at a price. Trinity is into everything else... dealing with the mafia, gun running for terrorists, and killing innocents, in the name of business. Is it too late, or can he still change his life and bring his boss to justice?

A very average film, with below average performances from an ordinary cast, a forgettable sound track, and nothing else to go for it...


Friday, March 30, 2012


Spent 45 min at SBI the other day, in Aundh, waiting to get my PPF contribution accepted (31st, remember? :))

A few learnings/observations... although I am not sure SBI PRO is really tracking my blog :)

There's a pretty good single window service - all your needs get taken care of in one place (for most transactions involving cash). But the coupon dispensing machine was tucked away in a corner, was difficult to operate, with the result that customers first approached the desks, then approached another couple of people, before they got their coupon. Something that ICICI or Idea handle much better in their offices by having a peon or security guard be on the lookout for customers, and then help him get a coupon quickly.

The desks worked at a very slow pace, the pipeline backing up. The number of the customers cleared obviously not part of the KPI, there was no incentive to process them faster.

PPF is still offline... much faster when you give a cheque. Giving cash meant you couldnt use the dedicated PPF counter, and had to stand in line. Could have been a lot more efficient by allowing the dedicated PPF counter, which was mostly free, accept cash too!

Online PPF is now enabled - but you need to have an SBI savings account. Again, very unnecessary.

But I need to agree too - it's seen a huge transformation in the last 10 years I have been going there (always for the PPF, at the end of the year). Some pretty helpful staff actually!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Movie Review: Kahaani

Scene one. A test lab and a killer gas. Scene two. The Kolkata metro. A man desperately searching for a knapsack. Too late to stop an attack that kills dozens on the train.

Two years later, a visibly pregnant woman Vidya (Vidya Balan) lands in Kolkata from London, and directly takes a cab to the police station, to file a missing person's report. Her husband, Arnab Basu, is missing, failing to call her or connect with her after spending two weeks at the National Data Center as a software engineer, on assignment from London. As the station's helpful cop Rana digs deeper with Vidya into Arnab's disappearance, things get really murky... the hotel, the NDC, the school he studied in, they all refuse having any knowledge of Arnab. He has simply disappeared. What is also interesting is that he resembles a man wanted by the IB for the metro attack.

Where is Arnab? What is his connection to the metro attack? The story builds up beautifully, adding twists and turns at a rapid pace until it slows down and starts to disappoint in the second half... until suddenly, in a flash, the brilliance of the plot hits you.

Vidya is brilliant, Rana is faithful, and the rest of the cast also do a great job. Kolkata is repeatedly featured as in a documentary, giving a glimpse into the culture and lifestyle of this great city. The slight overdose of Kali ma can get to you, as will Vidya's "for the award" performance, but overall, Kahaani grips you and enthralls you.

A good thriller!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ivan and Julia

Just got a call from Ivan and Julia... from the Taj Mahal in Agra. After their accident last Sunday, they had called me when they reached Pune on Monday. From Agra, they head to Delhi, Manali, and then to Nepal, to spend a few months there before making further plans.

What a life, I envy them!

eMee at The Smart Manager

I recently wrote an article for The Smart Manager, which appeared in the Mar-Apr 2012 issue. Here's a link to the scanned original article. The full article is also reproduced in text on my Musings blog.

Movie Review: Agent Vinod

An Indian Jason Bourne is born.

Vinod (Saif) is a RAW agent who darts from one corner of the world to another, working together with a Pakistani spy (Kareena), to prevent a dirty bomb from being detonated in India, part of a grand plan of the powerful Zeus group to make windfall profits from incited religious strife and war. If you have ever read and loved a Ludlum thriller, you will enjoy AV. The action is fast paced, the number of sub-plots mind boggling, the locations spectacular. From Afghanistan to London to Somalia to Pakistan to Morocco to Russia, the movie takes you to some exotic locations as AV chases the dreaded suitcase and the trigger. Some of the action sequences are wonderfully executed, especially the crashes. There are some innovative ideas, some humour too. Saif is the perfect action hero, sauve and sexy. Kareena looks gorgeous.

And after almost three hours, when the credits start rolling, hold your seats... because the Pungi song at the very end is worth the wait!

Unlike many of the critics in the press slamming the movie for being too Hollywood-like, I loved the movie for the effort put in, and the results. It's entertainment, and that's what I pay for. Watch it with an uncluttered mind, stop questioning every twist in the tale, and it will be a good day out!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dedication :)

Woh dekhne mein kaisi seedhi-saadi lagti
Hai bolti ki woh toh kuch nahi samajhati
Andar se kitni tez hai
Kabhi ajeeb si, kabhi haseen lagti
Kabhi kisi kitaab ka hai scene lagti
Philosophy ka craze hai
Ho.. Kehti hai yeh ik phase hai

Ivan & Julia

Coming back from Kolhapur to Pune today, we came across this really cute couple on a heavily loaded Royal Enfield bullet, riding at 100 kmph. I slowed down to "cover" them for a few km, but the pace was too slow for me, so we went ahead. At the toll plaza, they overtook us again...

So it went for a few kms, until suddenly, to my horror, I saw them in my rear view mirror as they wobbled, lost control, and then crashed onto the tarmac...

Thankfully, while they were in the fast lane, the road was empty, giving them enough time to get up and get clear off the road onto the median. We stopped, reversed back the few hundred meters, and got down to help.

The next 2 hours were a wonderful experience of the warmth of small town India. Dozens of locals came over to help. We stopepd traffic, pushed the heavy bike to the side of the road. Another guy in a Skoda going the other way to Kolhapur stopped and got his first aid kit. A local called for a tempo, and after loading all their luggage into the Endy, and the bike onto the tempo, we took them to Satara, around 20 km away. The local emergency hospital attended to them, dressed them, and took good care of them. The doctor gave them a clean chit, and charged a pittance. The Maharaja Palace offered them a luxury suite, even though they had no money to pay for the advance. The tempo walla charged a minimal 600 for over 25 km of hauling (and going back the same distance!), and was helpful enough to find us the hospital, the Enfield workshop, and the hotel.

Finally, after 2 hours, with their bike safely parked in the hotel parking (the workshow was closed today, being a Sunday), their medical needs taken care of, and they safely ensconsed in the hotel room, we bid them Dasvidaniya (Ivan and Julia were Russians, two cute almost-teens, on the way from Goa to the Himalayas!), and continued on our journey, happy at having helped, and proud to be Indian!

When It Matters

After a disastrous summer in England and Australia, and another shocking defeat to Bangladesh in the Asia Cup, India turned up the heat in the league encounter against Pakistan, smashing their way to victory chasing 330, with 6 wickets and more than 2 overs to spare.

After losing Gambhir for nought right at the beginning, Sachin and Kohli, and then Kohli and Rohit, ensured India never fell behind in the run chase. Kohli went on to make a career best 180 something...

Dhoni, fittingly, hit the winning boundary.

As a forwarded SMS said, Pakistan has a secret book of 5 ways to beat India. But they forget we come from the land of Kamasutra, we know 691 ways to screw them! :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

100 of 100

Finally, the moment has come.. Sachin becomes the only person in cricketing history to score 100 internationatiol 100s.. .51 in Tests and 49 in One dayers..

And like has been the trend in recent times, with his century, India lost the match

Anyway, hope Sachin will be a different person now, with the pressure lifted off his chest, and with India playing mostly in the sub continent for the next year or so, good days should be ahead! Till he reached 199...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

eMee on Business Standard

Increasingly, firms are adopting social networking platforms for engaging employees and also giving them tools to engage with the entire organisation. Take the case of Pune-based Persistent Systems. The firm developed eMee, an employee engagement platform specifically developed for small & medium enterprises and large enterprises with a distributed workforce. The aim of the platform, available to all its 6,600 employees, was to nurture two-way communication.
"Our portal is now accessible on a wider platform. It has only helped in collaboration. We have seen our attrition rate fall by 350 basis points since the platform was launched," said Siddhesh Bhobe, Associate VP.

Full article at

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Movie Review: London Paris New York

Two young people meet at London airport, one waiting for her flight delayed to next morning, the other just arrived from India, eager to chart the unexplored. They decide to spend the time together, checking out the city, and fall in love. The long distance relationship is never going to work out, but when the boy promises to visit NY soon, the girl sees hope. Weeks and months go by, the guy never shows up. But fate brings them together again in Paris, when the girl comes on a student exchange programme. Sparks fly, but the night ends in disaster and tears. When they meet the third time in NY, will their love triump, or is it too late?

The movie is fast, the dialogues natural, the cityscapes beautifully used, the songs grow on you, and the story, though nothing unusual or different, is well executed. Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari are perfect in their roles, very lovable, very believable.

Some very nice scenes... out and out the winner, is the scene in the church where Ali sings to Aditi, and Aditi dances, free of inhibitions, a lovely, sweet and sexy solo performance that will make you fall in love with her. Ali's scene with her father is also beautifully different. The climax between Ali and Aditi, when he confronts her, and abuses and insults her in frustration, is so well executed!

Overall a beautiful movie!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

eMee at CIOL

As a product and a platform, eMee transforms a mundane task into something visually appealing with a gaming interface, which makes it interesting to interact with, says Persistent's Manjiri Ranade.

Tow Away

Reona suffered a breakdown last Saturday night, just when we were on the way to catch a movie. The gear box booch gave way, rendering the gear shift useless. Ford RSA responded by sending a tow truck, served by Navbharat Crane Service. Absolutely professional. The truck was squeaky clean, the driver and his assistant absolutely well mannered and efficient. Reona was gently winched into the flat bed, and taken to the service center at Planet Ford, no money asked.

And best part was, Monday morning at 830 am, I got a call from the service center - and the car was ready!

Some pics...

Congress Routed

The Indian voter has once again shown the door to the corrupt and the incompetent. From UP to Punjab to Goa, the Congress has been routed, the Rahul "magic" fizzling in the face of corruption and scams. Dynastic politics, with as many as 4 Alemaos contesting from Goa (all lost!) and 8-10 other family members getting tickets, has been firmly rejected with the BJP led by Parrikar storming to power. The young Akhilesh has proved to be the dark horse for the SP, leading them to a huge victory in UP, Mayavati's giant elephant statues having only served to alienate her from the very people who had reposed faith in her. Meanwhile, in Punjab the SAD-BJP combine has done the unthinkable, retaining power for the first time in 40+ years...

Interesting days ahead...

Monday, March 05, 2012

Quote For The Day

Sometimes a man can meet his destiny on the road he took to avoid it. Unknown.