Sunday, November 2, 2008

Swadeshi or Videshi

The first time I visited Delhi was in 1990. We travelled for about 2½ days by train. Shopping, sightseeing, meeting friends, in short, do everything enough to last us a lifetime, certain we would not visit Delhi again. How is this related to the subject on hand?

Actually, I want to talk about Globalisation. I remember arguing against Globalisation & its evils at college with my friends. By the way, I work in an MNC, hard but comfortable job, salary enough to save for a rainy day. And I have travelled many times to Delhi, apart from other cities. See, my life changed. Thanks to Globalisation!

Globalisation changed India overnight. People from the rest of the world wanted to invest in India. The service sector, unheard of till then, grew into a giant bringing in the much needed foreign currency. Even prayers are outsourced to India! Of course, I needn’t say anything about the software sector. The purchasing power of the yuppies grew in leaps n bounds.

We can snack at Pizza Hut, Kentucy Fried Chicken, wear Lee Jeans, view our favorite movies at multiplexes, fly to even Hubli-Dharwad. In short, the international experience is here, fairyland at your door step.

What did we just hear?
· Jet Airways laying off 1900+ employees,
· Assocham predicting further layoffs about 30% of the national workforce!
· Indian foreign exchange kitty down by $15 billion
· SENSEX crashing to 8,000+ from a high of 20,000+
What turned the fairyland to this grim situation? Let me explain a little bit.
Huge chunk of the investments flowing into India are in the share market. FIIs brought in tons of money to invest in the Indian market propelling the SENSEX to unknown heights. They simply took it back when they needed it back home, whatever the reasons. At the same time, they are selling imported merchandise: Cell phones, TVs, apparel, food, beauty products & what not.

Were there any huge investments in infrastructure: Roads, power generation, manufacturing industries? Did we export value added goods: Finished products (save for the apparel industry)? I think the answer is NO!!

Mahatma Gandhiji proposed the mantra of Swadeshi during the 1920’s. He exhorted us become producers, not merely consume. It became an important driving force to win us our hard earned freedom.

But where we now?
We serve the others through ITeS, export semi-finished goods, mineral ores, etc & spend the money thus earned on cell phones, fancy apparel, pizzas, burgers, beauty products, etc. i.e finished goods, from the same countries
We generate value when we produce finished goods in India. But we are not producing substantially, but merely consume merchandise from outside India. So, the net value addition into the system is a near cipher.

Doesn’t Swadeshi have more relevance for us today than the Mahatma’s day?

Produce finished goods, add value to the system and then, consume should be the key words. Always!

Monday, May 26, 2008

ಮುಸ್ಸಂಜೆ ಮಾತು: ನೀವು ಕೇಳಿದ್ದೀರಾ?

"ಮುಸ್ಸಂಜೆ ಮಾತು", the title sounded romantic, and different from thecurrent crop of cinema titles. The songs being played on the FM channels increased the excitement, "ಕದ್ದಳು ಮನಸನ್ನಾ, ಅವಳಂಥಾ ಚೆಲುವೆನಾ"!! I felt I must watch this movie. And I had never watched ಕಿಚ್ಚ Sudeep's movies, starting with "ಸ್ಪರ್ಶ". All these made me wait eagerly for this movie's release.
As usual, I watched this movie on the 2nd day of its release @ PVR. A friend's phone call made me miss 5 mins of the movie, 1 song gone.The story is of a social minded Radio Jockey (ofcourse Sudeep), who hosts a talk show "ಮುಸ್ಸಂಜೆ ಮಾತು" on a popular FM channel (The channel is real, Radio Mirchi FM 98.3. Don't be surprised to Radio Mirchi ads everywhere in the movie) He aims to reach out n empathize with all those people with troubles, as he says "ನೊಂದ ಮನಗಳಿಗೆ ಸಾಂತ್ವನ ನೀಡಲು" Putting it lightly, an Agony uncle(?)
Ramya fits in nicely into her role as a fan of this programme.She has lost her mother, n her drunkard father brings home some-one else. When she protests, her father drives her out, in the middle of the night. She ends up in Bangalore, with her friend. With her heart full of sorrow, she is a perfect audience for this show.She is attracted to a song played in this show " ಏನಾಗಲಿ, ಮುಂದೆ ಸಾಗು ನೀ, ಬಯಸಿದ್ದೆಲ್ಲಾ ಸಿಗದು ಬಾಳಲಿ". Rest of the plot is predictable, how she falls for him, & how Sudeep falls for her, sparks flying, chemistry and the works!!
What makes this movie different is the role of the RJ. Though the incidents in this movie seem trivial, collecting money for a heart operation, advising auto drivers not to refuse passen-gers, etc, it still shows how radio can be powerful tool for social change.
Sudeep and Ramya have been paired together after a long time.They were last seen in ರಂಗ SSLC, together. Sudeep plays his role well, both as an RJ n the lover boy. He emotes well in the climax.
Ramya too does well, especially in the Oomph area. Her acting is as usual, ಆರಕ್ಕೆ ಏರಲ್ಲ, ಮೂರಕ್ಕೆ ಇಳಿಯಲ್ಲ! What was interesting is she wear sarees in all the songs except for 1. Watch the movie and you will understand why!
Well, the lemons!
1. The numerous threads leave you confused. Looks like the director wanted to pack in as much as possible into 1 movie, perhaps to appeal to a wider audience(?)
2. The RJ's advices dont sound convincing! But this is clearedat the end when the RJ says "I used to hand out advices easily on my show, though I had never fully understood their sorrow." (not verbatim)
3. Sudeep's Kannada pronunciation sounds different at time, to put it simply. For eg. ಮಾಡಾನಾ, instead of ಮಾಡೋಣ,trivial ofcourse.
4. The presence of ಪ್ರಾಣೇಶ್ (better known as ಗಂಗಾವತಿ ಬೀchi)and Prof. KrishneGowda. I could never understand thereason why they were included into the cast. The director fails to utilise their full potential
If you ask me why should you watch this movie, here are the answers!
1. The movie is "clean" , you can watch it with anybodyin your family. No illmeaning dialogues, skimpy dresses........ and no ಮಚ್ಚು & ಲಾಂಗ್!!!!! The movie has just 1 fight, just in case the audience forgets Sudeep's macho image!!
2. The songs are superb
ಏನಾಗಲಿ, ಮುಂದೆ ಸಾಗು ನೀ, ಬಯಸಿದ್ದೆಲ್ಲಾ ಸಿಗದು ಬಾಳಲಿ. This is a gud motivational song!
Sudeep does well in the dances especially in ಕದ್ದಳು ಮನಸನ್ನಾ....
3. The social messages from the RJ, "Help your fellow beings"
4. The locales and the camera work are gr8.
So , dont miss watching this movie and write your comments here!!Encourage the Kannada movie industry to make more of such 'clean'movies!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Accident: ಚಿತ್ರದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನನ್ನ ಅನಿಸಿಕೆಗಳು

Once again, I did it! 3rd day, 1st show after the movie's release, I watched it.
When I read the reviews in the newspapers, the movie seemed to be just so so. Nothing to write home about, as the English would say! Reviews just said " It's supposed to be a murder mystery". After all, watching Crime Story, Crime Diary doesn't make murders seem mysterious, exciting, not anymore.
Ramesh Arvind, the male lead & the director said in an interview " in ಅಮೃತವರ್ಷಿಣಿ, I have tried something different...". To some extent, this made me waver: Should I watch the movie or not! Because I never liked ಅಮೃತವರ್ಷಿಣಿ. On an impulse, I booked my ticket @ PVR.
After the usual credits, the movie started. The first song with 6 friends dancing, n making merry... the usual works. Then the accident! A car slowly slides onto the railway track. The train, the behemoth it is, simply swats it aside and moves on, unmindful of the consequences. The wife of the hero is found dead in the car, along with another male friend. Whispers about an affair they had between them..........
From here, the story begins to unravel. Never realised1 hr had passed, when the Intermission sign came on. Wow, that's all I could say.
Ramesh Arvind has portrayed the role of the anguished husband who has lost his dear wife, very very well. He has proved that he is not only good actor, but a great director too. The story has no loose ends/dead ends, anywhere. He has been able to extract the best out of all the members of the cast. He has managed to keep the suspense till the end.
The songs too are great. "ಬಾ ಮಳೆಯೇ ಬಾ, ಅಷ್ಟು ಬಿರುಸಾಗಿ ಬಾರದಿರು"is one I liked very much. Ofcourse, the item song "ಜಿಗಿದು ಬಂತು" seems superfluous, but then.......its more for the mass!!
Ofcourse, the movie is not bereft of 'lemons'(I always keep an eye on them).
A woman is chased by 5 people, in the midst of a ಸಂತೆ,but no one pays attention. Even the woman does not utter a word. A simple "ಸಹಾಯ ಮಾಡಿ" would have turned the crowd on the attackers.
The other: A huge gunfight breaks, scores of gangsters,the Health Minister and an SI are killed. The police don't even turn a Nelson's eye to it.
I suppose, we could attribute it to "director's convenience", to ensure the focus stays on the main plot.
Some of the dialogues are rib tickling, especially the Home Minister's earthy dialogues. A sample few (not verbatim, though)
"ವಾ, ಹೊರ್ಗಡೆ ನೋಡಿದ್ರೆ ಹರಕ್ಲು ಅಂಗಿ, ಒಳ್ಗಡೆ ನೋಡಿದ್ರೆ ರೇಶ್ಮೆ underwear."
"ಯಾರ್ ಲಾ ಇವ್ನು, ಒಳ್ಳೇ ಪಾತಾಳ ಭೈರವಿ setನಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಣಿಯೋಂಗೆ ಕುಣಿತಾವ್ನಲ್ಲಪ್ಪಾಜುಟ್ಟು ಬಿಟ್ಕೊಂಡು"
"ಸತ್ಯಹರಿಶ್ಚಂದ್ರನ ತರ pose ಕೊಟ್ಟು ಚಾಣಕ್ಯನ ತರ ಕೆಲ್ಸಾ ಮಾಡ್*ದ್ಯಲ್ಲಾ ನೀನು"
I would committing a grave injustice if I do not mention these 2 things:
1. Rekha: The original ಜಿಂಕೆ ಮರಿ gal. Wow, she looks pretty. She seems have made a nice comeback from this movie. Hope she can catch that elusive "Lucky break" which never occurred after ಚಿತ್ರ!!
2. Computer Graphics: The simulated landscape are cool. This songs proves that such landscapes need not be restricted to Star Wars, but to romantic songs too.
By now, you will be wondering why I am not talking more about the story. My friends, 1 word more will ruin your experience of watching this movie. I realised why the reviewers in the papers said so less about the story.
What are you waiting for? Switch off your computers,Ready 1.. 2.. 3.. GO! n watch this awesome movie, now!!!!