Monday, June 29, 2009

Bolt

Bolt is a charming movie. Features excellent animation and looks even better with the 3D animation [you need to wear the 3D glasses]. I think they chose to leave out on some specific 3D optimizations to cater to both audiences.

As for the story, the first 20-25 minutes features some very high adrenaline sequences - which are surprisingly well executed for an animation movie. And then, to some excellent screenwriting credit, they throw it all away and start afresh. The movie also features some very touching moments and ends with a heartwarming climax.

This is technically (and sadly) a flop, and I wonder why. Anyway, it looks like a good era for the animation movies. Yet to watch "Up" and Ice Age 3 is coming up as well.

The Indian animation industry needs some way to go before we even can be considered for comparison with the Hollywood counterparts. But to be fair, we don't have the luxury of budget that they have. But I will keep my fingers crossed for "Manikandan".

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tinkle

I grew up with Tinkle (click on the title link). So I generally assumed that every kid would be familiar with Tinkle. So when one day, I mentioned to my then-wife-to-be about Tinkle, and she asked "What is that?", I was shocked.

During my childhood time, Tinkle, Tom and Jerry, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse and a little of Pink Panther were my pals. I am not very sure how exactly they have shaped the way I am today. But I suspect they help in taking life easily and build a general innocence about someone. Done well, such stories might also be a very nice way to teach something to children in a fun way [of course, they must be used responsibly].

Why am I typing all this? After some cut off point, I lost touch with Tinkle for several years. Then I purchased about 50 or so Tinkle digests (each 96 pages, so that's a lot) and read them in a week or so. Now, the process starts again. I recently got about three double digests and was reading them. The characters are all so innocent and timeless - the same kind of excitement that was present when I used to read them then is present.

Too bad, they aren't circulating this online. I think given the right kind of work, Tinkle can be made into a very strong ethnic and cultural identity!

Nostalgia :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two movies...

Body of Lies:
Very taut and intense thriller (if you can call it that). It crosses cultural barriers and operates on multiple geographies - and throw in hi tech surveillance into the mix. It is very well made, but keeps reminding why we humans are so screwed up when it comes to living together peacefully! If you decide to watch it, a warning about expletives and violence!

Enemy of the State:
Another hi tech movie. Just realizing as I type that the above movie was directed by his brother. Again, rips off like a race car and never stops. It does make a relevant and interesting point about where you draw a line between security and privacy protection when it comes to surveillance. And this was 1998! Surely, we'll be seeing more of this in the coming years. Spying is inevitable as technology makes this more easier and we will have to find a way to respect the individual amidst all this!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sadhguru Sannidhi

I had the opportunity of participating in this event at a place near Coimbatore.

I had never seen this before. More than fifty folks participated and it was amazing. The energy in the hall was very palpable during the process.

I'm happy for the folks of the house - they deserve this "grace hub" for their commitment.

We need more of these energy centers coming up all around. They will be shining beacons in an otherwise dull or dark environment.

We also watched a Satsang together. Sadhguru called for "enthusiasm" in all our activities. He mentioned that with enthusiasm, it is possible to achieve things which we may even think as too outlandish in our mind. It is only the dullness that is keeping us stunted. How true! Enthusiasm! - I did feel that in the volunteering session today morning. Oh, separate story :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sadhguru on Coffee with Anu

This aired on 13th Jun 2009, Saturday @ 9:30 PM IST on Vijay TV

It was quite refreshing because you don't get to see Sadhguru in this
context that often - that is, in a freewheeling chat.

But as always (always and always), he talked about happiness
irrespective of circumstances, PGH, ARR, conscious leadership - all
interwoven with tidbits from his personal life.

Also present was his always-prevalent humor ("You call the program
'Coffee with Anu', but you manage to run it without ever providing
coffee to the guest!"). The final touch was coffee awards - where the
guest gets to gift the award to anyone of his choice. Sadhguru told Anu
to hand it over to a poor child that was going to school, but joyously.
He said "It is not an ordinary thing when someone goes to school happily
with so much burden. I know I wouldn't want to go to school under the
circumstances!"

Monday, June 15, 2009

*Conditions Apply

This is becoming a demented statement. At best, it takes the fizz out of an advertisement. At worst, it invalidates an ad totally.

I think, the more appropriate way is to capture the entire gist of an ad completely with all the core information (selling point + catch point) to present it as a case to the consumer. How does it sound for an ad to say flight tickets starting from Rs 1. Then add a "*" to it, then say in the bottom (in fine print) "Taxes and Government levies extra", and then leave the user to find out that the tax is Rs 1800, making the effective price to be 1801 Rs? Eventually, these ads lead to them being ignored after a cursory glance. Sadly, they also take out the credibility of *all ads*.

I remember a few years ago, when an internet company advertised monthly unlimited internet access for $39.99 (the ad essentially said just that). That was very tempting as prevailing prices at that time were close to $60. So my friend called them and he had the nerve to ask them "What is the catch?" (I laughed out loud when he told me this). The lady on the line kept insisting that there was none. Suddenly, on intuition, he asked,  "Is there a minimum period for which I need to keep the connection?". At this, the lady put him on hold for a few minutes and came back - "Yes. There is two year contract period. And early termination penalty is $200.00". So essentially, we were required to commit business for about $960.00 to avail the lower rates. "*Conditions apply" again. Instead, how about quoting the ad as "Unlimited internet access for $39.99 only! Requires two year contract" (may be second sentence in slightly smaller font - not fine print!). The entire gist is available to an interested consumer - and no wasting every one else's time.

I guess it is too much to ask for now. Many times, the customers don't have much alternative but to stick with those companies anyway!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Things that need to spread...



This is a viral video now, @ over 700,000 views on YouTube.
And for a reason! It describes how spontaneously you can cause something to happen.
Seth also pointed out that guy #3 was pivotal in the group being formed.

Don't we need more people like them (guy #1, #2 or #3) in areas like the below video? That ("athithi devo bhava") BTW, is an excellent initiative. Over the years, we've learnt to just sadly watch and nod at everything that happens in front of our eyes.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Crossing Over

The movie details the complexities (cultural, emotional and political) of the immigration and naturalization process into the US.

The movie doesn't take sides - which is a big strength. Another big strength is that it doesn't flinch in viewing differing perspectives - it takes courage to do that.

There is no central theme or story line - the movie explores multiple dimensions with 4-5 threads.

Harrison Ford looks quite old!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

GM Files for bankruptcy

I, however, must say I am not surprised. I will also not be surprised if Ford follows suit (Chrysler already has). As sad as it is, for all three are iconic symbols of American history, I wonder if they are reaping what they sowed. In the USA, Honda and Toyota have always had a boutiful market share. Their efficiency in terms of fuel consumption have always been exemplary. When fuel was never a problem for America, these US auto manufacturers always took that option for granted, which is why they continually struggle outside the US.

Though under bankruptcy protection, I think they need to evolve eco-conscious, fuel efficient cars - perhaps trying something disruptive. Wondering if it is too late for all that.

It should also be a cue for all automanufactuers all over the world who are not under threat of bankruptcy as well.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Cigarattes, Scorpions and Lungs

The new mandate to display lungs and a scorpion picture covering at
least 40% of the carton area came into effect yesterday.

I feel it is going to do very little in terms of dissuading existing
buyers from smoking. Mainly because:

Smokers, most of them, already know smoking is injurious to health. I
remember, several years back (I was a small kid then), I asked my uncle
who was chewing tobacco. "Do you know what this will cause?". He
replied, "Cancer, right?"

The habit is mostly on auto pilot - I presume they would look at the new
logo and continue their habit.

May be, new joiners to smoking might give it a second thought, which is
good in that way.

In a way, it is quite good that the government is putting its foot down
in such a firm way on something that contributes to its taxes. It is
also interesting on how hard the tobacco firms tried to first oppose the
move, and then to delay it (which they succeeded in twice).

But scorpions? A creature that only stings for food or self defense?
Lungs and a knife would have been better!

 
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