Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I have been doing a lot of traveling the past few weeks. Several train journeys, a couple of flights, long drives by car and a bus or two in between. As a result, I have also met a wide variety of people. For a person whose social life has been almost entirely on Twitter and Facebook lately, this was a refreshing change. 


The Twitterati are usually sarcastic, smart, clever with words and quick to take pot shots at all and sundry. Most of them work in IT or IT related industries. They usually think and tweet alike, most of the time anyway.  


My Facebook friends are mostly people I know in real life. We share family pictures, links to interesting websites and comment how much we have changed since we last met, which is usually a good twenty years back.


The people I met in meatspace the past few weeks came from all walks of life. An architect. A retired military man. An accountant. A business man who used to be a manual laborer. And I learnt something from each one of them.


The accountant taught me to smile at strangers, offer them food if you have some, share a joke with them and help them be comfortable during the journey. 


The retired military man showed me the value of being neat and tidy. Of holding your ground and getting people to do what's right. Helping your spouse and making her feel loved and cared for. Of enjoying life post retirement. 


The architect gave me tips on how to plan for the future. The laborer turned businessman helped me understand the power of determination, hard work and humility. 


I would not have learnt any of these online. The value of going out and meeting people, interacting with them, understanding them and ultimately learning from them, is immense. Even though the travel tired me out, I don't regret a minute of it. 


This is not to say there isn't value in being connected and active on the social networking sites. I enjoy that immensely. I have met some awesome people online, some of whom have turned into friends I will cherish for a lifetime. However, I do want to spend more time out in the sun talking to people who are from different walks of life, with different mindsets, different points of view. I am sure I will be richer by the experience. 

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Movie Posters Quiz

This is a quiz on movie posters that I put up at @kweezzz, the fast growing quizzing community on Twitter. Simple stuff, really. In all cases, name the movie.
A few easy ones initially, to set the ball rolling:
1.  2.  3. 4.  5. 6. 
7. Not an original poster, but a re-imagined one for TV. Name the film 8.  9. 10.  11.
12. Connect the image below and the now defunct ad agency Dazu, to an iconic movie poster.
13. Often appears in all time great movie poster lists. Name the movie and the person credited with this poster
15. Another re-imagined for TV poster. Film?

17. No movie posters quiz would be complete without this all time great image. Name the film.
18. Campy movie, but has a cult following. Great poster, too

19. Identify, should be easy

20. The first known instance of legs appearing as an A-frame in a film poster. Used repeatedly since.
21. While on the subject...

22. A classic. The lead actor specifically requested illustrator Adrian G Spear to create this poster.
23. Another easy one, but what the hell

24. One of my favorite posters

25. A movie no one remembers, a poster that ranks among the best.

26. The first ever film made on this subject, it had just two screenings. Identify.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Management and the Movies

Walk into any bookstore and chances are you’ll find at least a quarter of the store stocked with books on management. If the store is in an airport, I’ll wager it’s close to 70%. Luminaries like Peter Drucker, CK Prahlad, Tom Peters et al smile down on you benevolently, encouraging you to purchase their book and change your life forever. You steal a glance at the man in the grey suit, purchasing Tom Friedman’s latest along with the 90 page flavor of the month, Who Moved My Mouse. You feel you are missing out on something, you feel you’ll be less of a manager if you don’t read these books. You feel you need to spend thousands on these hardbound tomes, to earn your pay.

I have an alternative. Go to the movies. Watch films like The Godfather. Twelve Angry Men. Apollo 13. Braveheart. Watch the greatest movie ever made, Sholay. Go ahead and combine business with pleasure. Trust me, you’ll learn a lot.

Need to know how to get someone to agree with your point of view? Make him an offer he can’t refuse. How to convince eleven peers to reconsider their opinion? Observe Henry Fonda’s Juror #8 in Twelve Angry Men. Intense collaboration, critical decisions being made as the clock is ticking away? The pressure cooker ‘Houston, we have a problem’ situation in Apollo 13. Inspirational leadership in the face of insurmountable odds? William Wallace in Braveheart or King Leonidas in 300. Take your pick.

In closing, do consider of course, our very own Thakur Baldev Singh, from Sholay. Recruiting skills? Check. Watch the khote sikka dialog and the train robbery scene. He sure knew how to identify talent. Mission statement? Very clear, very precise: Gabbar, alive. He also displays an amazing utilization of scarce resources in achieving that objective. The Thakur’s only shortcoming though, was that he was a hands-off manager. Not his fault, of course.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Having A Point Of View

The problem with movie watching these days is not about the quality of the movie or getting tickets. It's about going in already biased, with an opinion about the film. An opinion that comes from what your favourite reviewers are saying. An opinion based on Twitter feeds. Based on Facebook reviews and status messages.

Let's face it, you already know you are going to either hate the movie and post snarky tweets about it or you are going to find it ├╝ber cool and talk about how it references twenty three Hollywood films no one's heard of before.

Look at Raavan. No, I do mean it. Watch the movie, for crying out loud. Then call it Mani Ratnam's Aag if you must. If you have watched Aag, of course.

Not that I believe the movie is great. I saw the Tamil version and found it quite boring. Aishwarya Rai looked as delicate as ever, jumping over waterfalls notwithstanding. I found the Karthik - Hanuman angle tiresome and forced. I also thought the songs were the worst ever from the Mani Ratnam - AR Rahman combination. On the other hand though, the cinematography is brilliant, Vikram continues to impress and the climactic fight on the bridge is one of the best action sequences I've ever seen in an Indian movie.

Do I recommend it? Not really. But I did walk in thinking the movie was going to totally suck, based on all that I had read online. I'm glad I realized I was being biased. My point of view may be idiotic, but at least it's my own. So there.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oscar Predictions

I don't recollect an Academy Awards season when I felt less meh. There were very few good movies last year, very few movies that made you sit up and think. Sit up and watch, yes - we did have Avatar after all. But movies that made you think? Movies that made you scratch your head, go look up the Wikipedia entry on it, movies that made you burst out laughing or those that got you walking on air out of the theater, silly grin plastered on your face? Just compare this year's crop to 2007, when we had No Country For Old Men competing with There Will Be Blood and Juno.

Like I said, meh.


At any rate, here are my predictions for this year's Oscars. Not the ones that I like, but the ones I think will win:

Best Picture - Avatar. Yes, I did like The Hurt Locker, but I think Mr Cameron will be back on the deck.

Best Actor - Jeff Bridges. The dude has it coming.

Best Actress - Sandra Bullock. I hated myself writing that, damn! I really don't think there's a better actor alive than Ms Streep, but one more Oscar? Unlikely.

Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow. No, James Cameron. Nah, Bigelow. I'll stick to Bigelow.

Best Original Screenplay - I'm going out on a limb here and predicting Up


There, I'm done. Didn't enjoy doing it, but I'm done.

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