Friday, December 25, 2009

Looking back on 3 Idiots!!!

The entire IIT Bombay campus is getting up from the sleepy hangover of Mood Indigo 2009. An extravaganza in itself, it deserved a fitting finale, a finale as delivered by the awesome trio of Shankar Ehsaan and Loy on the last ProNite show of MoodI last night. The entire OAT was up and rocking for 2 hours as we sang ourselves hoarse and danced till the body could take it no more. At that point I could never have thought that anything else could go one up on that show that evening. But then there was the premiere of Mr. Perfect Khan's "3 Idiots" to contend with!!!

 Well not many Bollywood movies move me enough to write a blog post about them, and those which have done are for all the wrong reasons but "3 Idiots" deserves to written about, talked about and felt good about so here goes....

 To start off, the passage to the movie hall itself was a thriller, what with a hitched ride to the IIT Main Gate and a Bollywood ishtyle sprint to get on to the running bus, all of which enabled me to reach the place about 10 mins in advance. Only one thought ran in my mind ...this movie better be worth all the running around!! But after having read Chetan Bhagat's 5 Point Someone, frankly my expectations weren't very high.
But then if we take one of the finest acting talents in Indian cinema and mix it with the directorial talent of the legendary MunnaBhai series, fireworks are guaranteed.
3 Idiots has masterfully uncovered the dirty underbelly of the Indian education system. Right from unrealistic parental expectations and peer pressure all the way upto some of  the drastic steps that students are forced to take, all of them have been dealt with seriously, delicately and passionately.
The storyline is not straight of the novel, which is good and makes it a TRUE 'adaptation', with a few unexpected twists and turns. The screenplay is crisp and the songs make sense ( and will be on your lips, on your way out!!!), and probably the only place where the script falters is towards the end, where the entire childbirth scene is a bit too much to handle. Apart from that I guess there are no gaping flaws in the movie.
Coming to the actors, well.... singing anymore praises to Amir is a waste of time because we have come to expect him as being nothing short of real, fresh and brilliant. To quote Amir aka Rancho from the movie itself... "strive for excellence and success will follow you around." and he has proved himself right. Madhavan as the narrator is restrained and yet full of energy, while Kareena as Pia is a deadly combo of sweet and sexy!!! After seeing him play the dean in Munnabhai, one would have thought that Boman Irani couldn't go one better but he has actually outdone himself with the potrayal of Virus, a hugely competitive and eccentric professor but also a defeated father. The chap who does the role of MadanMohan..or Millimeter is also good.
 But for me the best performances came from Raju Rastogi (Sharmaan Joshi) and Chatur Ramalingam. Typical rags-to-riches boy, Raju is torn between his responsibilities towards the family and his loyalty to his friends and this internal conflict is reflected in all his actions in the entire movie. Sharmaan's ability to make those straight faced jokes really brings alive the character even though some of the jokes in the movie are oft-repeated college humor. Chatur Ramalingam is the quintessential padaku, a person who has mastered the current system and is so sure of tiding over any anamolies like the 3 Idiots with supreme arrogance and sheer weight of memory power. However, like all good Hindi movies, the supremacy of our hero is emphatically stamped on this rote-machine and he accepts defeat with a traditional salaam at the end. The balatkar speech delivered by Chatur will surely become part of college folklore for years to come.
 The  Kareena-Amir chemistry deserves special mention for its vibrance and "chooo-chweeet" factor. So much so that by the end of the movie you are almost rooting for Kareena to slap him and seal it with a kiss ( which she does). And to think that moi was sceptical about the pairing initially!!!
Who should watch the movie?? Well almost everyone, the junta studying in engineering colleges, people passed out of engineering colleges, people who couldn't make it to engineering colleges and of course, all the parents who decide at their child's birth as to what their child should become.
Amir and Raju Hirani have given us a great movie to savour and also maintained their tradition of delivering a strong message underneath a light, fun-filled experience.
 As we all agreed last night after the movie... it gets a 4 out of 5 and is a must watch for everyone in the country!!!
"Ohh Bhaiya.. Aal izzz Well!!!"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mummy... I want a state!!! Plz can I have one too?

The post was written on the day Govt declared creation of the Telangana state. The delay in posting was caused by lack of access to Internet.

This is the third consecutive day when I am posting on my blog. Understandably the amount of time on my hands is worrying for both me and the Saptarishis. Infact in relation to my previous post, I confided to a close friend that becoming a writer is a serious career option. But then that was yesterday.
 Today, of course, India and the world woke up to one of the boldest blackmail heists in the history. As if right out of a Calvin & Hobbes strip, an unruly kid foregoes his meals to get a better Christmas gift and the hapless parents agree. And, of course, that carving out Telangana will motivate other such power-hungry ruffians to go on a fast and demand smaller states from the existing ones, is none of the Central Government's business. 
 I guess given the current state of 'bovine excrement' the Centre has landed itself into, is the perfect impetus for all the separatist movements. An the potential outcomes of their 'humble' requests can be quite interesting, coming primarily from some of the most productive lunch table group discussions. Lets have a look at some of them:
  • Possibly, we'll end up 545 states, where each constituency is a state in itself. We'll hv a small matter of 500+ state governments, potentially be renamed "The United States of India". Sounds cool, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's hardwork done to dust!!!
  • How about a spate of Union Territories, acting as regional headquarters and you can form whatever number states you want. So Mumbai is separate from Maharashtra, Hyderabad is separate from AP (Telangana..go figure this one!!), Bangalore is separate from Karnataka. I am sure the kids in school will hate it.. Imagine the enormous amount of gyan they'll have to memorise because of our politicians, some of whom actually never bothered going to school anyways.
  • Third, and this I find to be the most plausible, is the case for dual citizenship. I am sure this gives one Mr. Thackeray a smile on his face. People moving between states will have visa interviews and will have to clear exams with fanciful names like Test in Tamil Speech (who's acronym can't be written here!! Imagine if you had a guidebook to the exam saying "Ace your T&^*") or Test of Marathi as Professional Language.
  • What if the motivation for creating states changes? Currently states are formed according linguistic, cultural and of course, political considerations!! Imagine what happens if professional considerations are taken into account. What if the huge mass of software engineers strewn across country goes on a hunger strike demanding creation of niche states only for IT professionals? What will be the name of this state ... Soochna Pradesh will be unacceptable to the Madrasi anna while IT Nadu will be indigestible to the bhaiyaji!!! Some problem there. One thing is for sure Mark Zuckerberg will be proud!!!
Probably we could also pack up all these useless separatists into one state and build huge fences around it so that no one ever escapes from there to more conundrum in India. In the meanwhile I am planning to go on a hunger strike demanding creation of a state for all Priyanka Chopra fans!! Can anybody tell me if this wish will be granted?? Plz Mr. Prime Minister!!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The King(s) of the Good or the Bad Times... who cares!!

As I mentioned in my previous post, it is indeed disturbing that I have so much time at my disposal. With the approaching placement season, we are all to work our posteriors off figuring out the nitty-gritties of Finance and try our best to untangle the mess of HR (Hamara Rape) questions. And rightly so, I must add.
From the interactions I have had with members of the industry and my brethren from the student community, it actually seems that Mr. Porter and his famed 5-forces of bargaining power have undergone a tectonic shift in the recruiter-recruit landscape. Bad timing one would say but as is my wont to take a look at things from unusual (read useless) perspectives, let us try and understand how the fina preparation of a final year MBA student would vary from the Good to the Bad times.
Before starting on this rather controversial, and yet soul-searching, quest lets set some benchmarks to demarcate the Gooooood times from the Bad ones:
  • Good times are HR-killers, Bad times are Placecom-killers
  • Average packages are cooked up in Good times, they are cooked harder in Bad times
  • Good time gossips include packages, locations, profiles, parties, Bad times gossip is just one question "sab place ho jayenge?"
  • In Good times entrepreneurship is a fad, in Bad times it is a different perspective of looking at life
Apart from remonstrating on the various differences that exist between the Good and Bad times, I did get one striking similarity in the two times. The preparation enthu of the students. Yes, come what may the students have distinct apathy towards "placement preparation". The Good times cause this phenomena by virtue of the euphoria surrounding everything in the world while the Bad times bring upon you a depression, almost resembling decay.
Most of the time is spent researching (read Google-ing) the Web in search of some arcane topic, which eventually gives way to "Top 10 ______ movies of all time" where _______ is filled by a particular genre, depending on your mood. In Good times, the genres are comedy, romance while in Bad times the focus is on drama and crime (possibly as an alternative career choice!!). While the students live between meals, new passions like untried sports, photography, poetry (the sad type, especially) are cultivated, which we hope will earn us brownie HR points. Sleep knows no upperbound while all the requisite books are neatly stacked near the bed, untouched.
Come Boom or Bust boss... we are the King of all times... Good or Bad who cares!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Long and Short of a Haircut!!

If I remember well, it was Mark Twain who once lamented on the ignominy of sitting helplessly in a dentist's chair. The other day I experienced the same sense of powerless subjugation while sitting in the chair of none other than our campus barber.
Somehow these trivial incidents make me think deeper than usual, a skill that can be disturbingly attributed to the amount of free time at my hands. My chain of thoughts centred on my impatience, helplessness and of course, the implications of a bad haircut on the impending placement season performance (how can that be missed!!!).
Ever since a boy reaches class 3 ( this is a hypotheses i am working hard to prove.. for now u can take my word for it!!), he is taught by his environment to be the alpha male, the uber cool and the person in control. Seldom of course are guys taught the opposite... to put complete trust in somebody else to handle the situation. And yet there are so many situations where the alpha male concept goes for a toss. The surgeons are a case in point. Not only does their hand writing beat you so does their talking. All you understand is that you are gonna be cut up and set alright. But then the alpha male is no less troubled by the barber. And you can see the parallels between a surgeon and a barber.

  • You have no clue if they understand your case and are qualified to handle you.
  • You can only pray to God when they wield their instruments
  • You have to bear the brunt of their mistakes
  • Finally, you hear so many horror stories about both professions, doing to something to someone, who was a friend of somebody

Except for the first question, "cutting karna hai?" not many performance guidelines are sought by them and given their destructive nature of work, questions like "zyada chhota ho gaya kya?" are rendered immaterial. Infact delving deeper into the topic (as the barber was closing in on my scalp!!) I started regretting the existence of the barber himself. Our ancients could have certainly done with the advanced surgeons but i hope whoever invented this concept of barber-ism (pun intened) is roasting in the deepest furnaces of hell.
Some of my friends might argue the futility of this post, coming from me, a potential heir to lot of real estate on my scalp (read "baldness"). But again, my ample time and imaginative thinking was already creating arguments as to why this helpnessness in the barber's chair is a sign of other potential problems areas for me.
Suddenly a voice broke out.."Saheb ho gaya, aapke zyada baal nahi hain na, isliye aur chhota nahi kaat sakte!!!" Great, apart from keeping me in mortal fear of disfiguration, this guy also decides to take potshots at my hair (or the lack of it!!).
"Haan haan theek hai..kitna hua?"
I duly paid him the 30 bucks and vacated the chair, just as thoughts of therapy, herbal oils and wigs engulfed the space vacated by the alpha male, barber-ism and other utopian philosophies.