Jaundiced Views

Location: Mumbai, India

Friday, June 09, 2006

Nazia Hassan - An Internalized Tribute

What can you say about a thirty-five-year-old lady who died ? That she was beautiful... And as an untrained singer... brilliant.

She burst unsuspectingly on the sub-continent musical pysche at a tender age of 13. Still a schoolgirl, she sang the famous Aap jaisa koi mere Zindagi mein aaye for Feroz Khan's Qurbani.. This song propelled the movie in the top league..The song stayed on the top of the Binaca Geetmala for 14 consecutive weeks & won Nazia her only Filmfare award.

Next year, she teamed up with her brother Zoheb to cut an Album Disco Dewane. This album zoomed to the top of the charts and became an anthem of teeny boomers. The entire class of ours had a collective crush on her. The LP record of hers was the hottest gift item in the early Eighties.

What is amazing that her records sold entirely on word of mouth or rather snatch of ear. Remember there were no publicity vehicles like Video albums, sms, Internet or PR team backing the album. It was the good ole times of Vivid Bharti (A.I.R).

Slowly Nazia receded from our memory till we heard she is getting married..we wished her well.. Then came a rumour of her being afflicted by cancer which sadly turned out to be true. She passed away in Aug' 2000.

Her parents and brother have created a Nazia Hassan foundation, which strives to provide for destitute children and women while promoting harmony between different cultures, traditions and beliefs.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Business Baazigar

Have watched 2 Episodes of Business Baazigar, touted as India's answer to The Apprentice. Well the similarity ends here...

What could have been an innovative effort at indigenisation is entirely wasted. The participants portray a lost-in-transit look. With hardly a display of Street Smart attitude or Photogenic looks, the first impression is quite bland. This reinforces my belief that as Indians, we indeed have a long way to go in being a serious contender for T.V reality shows..

Offcourse Business Baazigar doesn't exactly qualify as a reality show on the lines of The Survivor but recall the much hyped Indianized version of AXN's Dare to Win , hosted by Mike Whitney and Tania Zaetta. The viewership naturally went kaput as one cringed at having to watch catching runaway chickens, twirling hula hoops or crossing puddles being passed off as hair raising stunts. Recall another much hyped challenge of National Geographic's Mission Everest for the urban dwellers to reach the Base Camp of Mount Everest..

Coming back to Business Baazigar, one is befuddled by the choice of Cyrus Sahukar as an anchor. He is anyday better off playing Piddhu or Simi Girebaal. While The Apprentice has a firm voiceover of Donald Trump narrating the travails of its participants here with Cyrus narrating, the effect is a MTVisque ring to it...

Worst is the choice of Judges... Mr Subhas Chandra completely looks out of place.

While The Apprentice has the taut aura of Board Room tension, the Indian version ends up looking like a bunch of Pre-schoolers being summoned by the Principal. The net effect is akin to Kaun Banega Crorepati Vs Jeeto Chappar Phaad ke ..

Will discuss the choice of 'Ideal Judges' for the anticipated Star TV version of The Apprentice, in a later post.

Am Back !!

After a hiatus, am back...Wanted to get the post worthy latent ideas out of my system but cannot help surrendering to the accumulative pressure ....

Friday, August 12, 2005

Going the Bhagyashree Way...

Chitrangda Singh is the latest kid on the movie block. The talented actor, an Army officer’s daughter, hailing from a small town of Meerut(near Delhi), made her debute in Sudhir Misra's Movie "Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi". The Smita Patil look alike has had many seasoned directors gushing, both with her looks and talent. Her second film "Kal" is currently under post-production.

Married to the famous golfer Jyoti Randhawa, there are stories abound, about maritial discord, on her further acting in movies. It will be sad to see another talented actor being sacrified at the altar of domestic bonhomie. A decade and half earlier, Bhagyashree made a powerful debut with Salman Khan in "Maine Pyar Kiya". Afterwards her silly headstrong condition to enact only opposite her husband Himalaya, resulted in few flops at box office and her eventual fading away.

Jyoti should take a few tips from Tiger Pataudi, who let Sharmila Tagore, continue working after their marriage. This resulted in gems like Aradhana, Amar Prem, Mausam.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A World without Woman....

Boring - Yes, Impossible(near future in India) - NO.

One look at our country's skewed sex ratio and you can anticipate the disaster lurking around the corner. The blatant female foeticide has reached epic proportions. Most countries in the world, have a healthy 105 female births for every 100 males but in India, the figure is 93 women for every 100 men and decreasing...

This scenario has been aptly brought out in a film by Manish Jha, called " Matrubhoomi - A Nation without woman". What is really sickening is the fact that the sex ratio in urban Indian cities is skewed most in the affluent pockets. This shocking relevation comes about in a report titled ‘Missing – Mapping the Adverse Child Sex Ratio in India,’ compiled by the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the UNFPA.

Mumbai has an poor sex ratio of 898 girls for every 1,000 boys, according to the 2001 census. The more affluent pockets like South Mumbai and Malabar Hill are the worst perpetuators. Similarly New Delhi having a dismal sex ratio of 883 females per 1000 males, the figure skewes in affluent pockets like South Delhi and West Delhi ( 856 and 866 females per 1000 males). This naturally brings out the question - "Is Education/Awareness really the Key to stopping these infanticides"

Friday, July 22, 2005

Relooking at the BMC

There is a plethora of agency heads said to be running Mumbai - The Mayor, The Sheriff, The BMC chief, The Gaurdian Minister, The MMRDA Chief, The Chief Minister, The Governor, Secretary (special projects), Maharashtra and not the least ...err Mr 'Remote Control'

Well as they say, too many Cooks and No Broth !! Mr P.Chidambaram recently mooted granting autonomy to Mumbai. That this was vehemently opposed by Mr 'Remote Control', came as no surprise. The BMC has long been used as the Milch cow by the party controlling it. Infact, if it has the infamy of being the richest Municipal Corporation of the country and apparently the most mismanaged. It can really compete with the " Delhi Development Authority", which was singled out by Transparency International, a few years ago, as the most corrupt institution in the world.

Every summer, the BMC goes allout to proclaim the cleaning of drains, in preparation for the impending monsoon. Yet, if you notice, they inadverently claim to finish only 70-80% of the job, never 100%. The roads in Mumbai,especially during the Monsoon can be used by NASA to simulate the Moon Surface. Thank god for the recent good work done by MMRDA, on the Western Express Highways, which if had been left to the BMC, would really have forced one to take an insurance of the skeletal system.

The Working Expenditure of the BMC runs into Thousands of Crores and what does it have to show for. About 80% of it goes into paying the salaries of the pampered BMC staff. The rest, one gets no idea on what it is spent. The least said about the conditions of the Municipal run Schools, Hospitals and Playgrounds, the better. The BMC though is quite quick to mow done trees in the name of it obstructing the Billboards.

All these prompts another look at the way, the BMC's Mayor-in-Council system is run. It should be replaced by nominated board of eminent professional personalities from different strata of society. They could be given a fixed tenure and their accountability fixed.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Tiger, Tiger - Burning Bright ! !

Apathy resides in our collective national conscience. That it also extends to our Wildlife is hardly surprising. India the 'Land of the Tigers' is on the path to literally become a paper tiger (Read: Tiger just on the papers)

Tigers have always attracted the curiosity in us. Both feared and revered, this King of the Jungle, is being poached and hunted mercilessly. It has now become a victim of its own image. The constant demand from the Chinese/Tibetan medicine peddlers, trophy collectors, is leading to its impeding downfall.

Project Tiger (1973) was launched amidsts much funfare with 1800 tigers in 9 protected areas. Now, two decades and 23 protected areas later, there are 1576 tigers left in the wild (2001-02 census ). Therefore the recent news of missing Tigers from Sariska and Ranthambore sanctuaries is a cause of great concern.

The decrease in tiger population is inspite of the flow of funds from the Government and foreign donors to the various NGOs. To thwart the deteriorating condition, the following steps needs to be taken.

1. Set up an autonomous WildLife Protection Force, with the responsibility to monitor and intercede, independent of the current State and Central government forces.

2. Enforce strict demarcation between the civilian and Wildlife protected areas.

3. Make poaching a non-bailable offence .

4. Independent courts, on the line of the POTA courts, can be set to speed up the pending cases.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Marketing Icons

I was recently asked in a discussion to enlist my choices for the Top 5 marketing icons. This set me thinking as I had never bothered to piece together my own list of favourites. Gathering my wits, i quickly chose the following.

1) Mahatma Gandhi : How a person unleashed the potent force behind the ubiquitous - 'Word of Mouth'. Imagine an impoverished, illiterate nation rising up to face the greatest imperial power on earth, all through a few grains of salt. Mahatma cleverly figured out the weapon which even the humblest strata of population could identify with.

2) Steve Jobs : How does a techie almost always stay ahead of the innovation curve. All this while ensuring that his products are the most customer friendly.

3) Madonna : How does a diva change her colors as routinely as the chameleon. In a career ranging from waitress, singer, style icon, bedroom story teller, broadway and screen actor, religious bigot and finally a children author, she has always defied the norm.

4) Amitabh Bachchan : How does a person rise Pheonix like, after being mauled so badly. A superstar appearing on idiot box and then climbing up his way to work with best of the directors.

5) Sunil Lulla : How does a person go againsts the conventional wisdom and customize a medium (MTV), whose founding USP was "teenagers are same everywhere". Later at Sony Entertainment, he cleverly used every tool in the book like product placement, flash mob, co-branding to create a buzz around an imported upstart - Jassi.

The above personalities operate/d in different spheres but one underlying theme unites them - their strong sense of individualism and self-belief.