Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Achanak - 1973 movie by Gulzar Saab

I remember, 'Achanak' came around the same time as Bobby . Though Bobby was a run away success, 'Achanak' held its fort in Gemini - a little theater compared to its neighbor Galaxy in Bandra. It perhaps could be due to spill over of Bobby house full signs. But equally true was the fact that many grown ups did take fancy for 'Achanak'. Watching it in later years ( It was A movie) was a thrill of adulthood.

For me, this movie was a sleek, swift and bold movie packaged in small yet elegant manner. It was in many ways a breaking mold of 70's that would have 'hero' as embodiment of virtues, theme that promoted ethical values and entertainment meant having songs that people would rhyme as they come out of theater . I think, Gulzar showed courage in picking up a bold story and presenting in a manner devoid of songs and emotional tears. There are many such movies in Hollywood but for Hindi movie industry , perhaps it was one of such initial attempts that differentiated from experimental cinema yet jostled for a commercial space with mainstream cinema.

I think the character of Major Ranjeet Khanna (Vinod Khanna) was portrayed vividly, a person torn between love and betrayal. His army demeanor precluded him to accept defeat and betrayal of trust. The climax of run away sequence was riveting despite lack of resources and technology available then. 'It was a great movie if looked from the binoculars of 70 . From 21st century microscope and comparing it with Gulzar Saab's other artistic creations , it may get short of expectations of his die herd fans.

I guess, naming this movie was that 'sudden moment' when Major's foundation of emotional cocoon gets demolished. If I remember correctly this scene was shot either at a lake side or a pool. From that 'moment' onwards, story takes a vicious and violent turn.

p.s. The above reaction from me, in favor of this movie ,came after seeing the post of Nishant on Gulzar forum. He felt that movie was a big letdown in terms of its story, dialog, and its characterization. The movie had no songs and this made even more dry and dragged. He also wondered the rational of name 'Achanak '. According to him,the plot meandered from a gripping drama to a movie trying to find a deliberate ending and a lot of talent of Vinod Khanna, Om Shivpuri, Farida Jalal, Asrani, was put to very little use .

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

F1 loses sanctity

This weekend Singapore would host their 2nd F1.Last year, their inaugural attempt of night racing event was not just successful but dramatic too. An unexpected result was blessing in disguise for Singapore F1 night event.
But now on the eve of this year event, its reputation is sullied. What was thought to be the masterstroke by Renault team to go for early refueling is now turn out to be an outright cheating. In any sport, records are erased of those who win the competition by cheating. But here the situation is opposite. I find it crazy that Formula 1 governing body is giving indefinite ban Flavio Briatome who is anyway at the end of his retirement while Renault team gets two year suspended ban. What is at stake is billion dollars business and its glamour. Sports credibility is relegated to non entity .
My interest in this competitive sport is vanished as quickly as it was built up. Reading about Renault saga made me feel cheated. I wonder why they can't be sued by spectators, competitors ? F1 organizers have their own business interest in shielding Renault but what about those who bought tickets at fancy price. FY09 was won by Hamilton by just 1 point over Masa and Singapore result may have changed the final outcome. Would runner up team drag Renault to the court for robbing their moment of glory ? Willfully causing a traffic accident and endangering the lives of others is a punishable crime in Singapore and elsewhere too. Would Singapore traffic dept act against the Piquet Jr ?
Interest of who wins or loses has waned but desire tol drive past Benjamin Shearers bridge is still strong to feel the boom... boom thud noise.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Krishna Nee Begane Baro

I heard this music as a mobile tune while making a business call and was immediately captivated by the sweetness of the melody. On my next call I was hoping that the telephone is not picked up quickly so I get chance to hear this song little longer. Words didn’t matter when it comes to music . Few more calls and I had to ask the reciever about the singer and all I got was ‘chitra’. It wasn't that difficult to listen to the music but it did take some efforts to secure lyrics and meanings.Here is Chitra's rendition.
krishna nee bEganE baarO (Krishna! Soon You come!)
bEganE baarO mukavannu tOrO (Soon come and show [Your] face.)

kaalaal landhigE gejje niladha baavuli ([With]Anklets on the feet, [and] blue-sapphire bracelets)
nilavarNane naaTya vaaduta baarO ( [O!]Blue-hued One, come dancing. (Krishna! Soon You come!)
krishna nee bEganE baarO (Soon come and show [Your] face.)

Odiyalli Odigejje beraLalli ongura(On the waist, the waistband; on the finger[s],)
koraLalli haakida vajayantimaalE (the ring[s];[and] the neck adorned with the Vaijayanti garland*.)
krishna nee bEganE baarO(Krishna! Soon You come!)

kaasi peeTambara kaiyalli koLalu (Dressed in yellow Kashi [Silk], flute in hand,)
pushida shreegandha mayaOLu gamma gamma (and [with] the anointed sandal scent from the body.)
Krishna nee bEganE baarO(Krishna! Soon You come!)

taayige baayalli jagavannu torida (The One who showed the world in the mouth to the mother)
jagadhOdhaaraka namma uDupi shree Krishna (the upholder of the world! our [own] Udupi Shri Krishna!
krishna nee bEganE baarO(Krishna! Soon You come!)

I understand that verses were written by Vyasaraya Tirtha (1460-1539) but am not aware of the the original composer of this beautiful melody. Various forms of this rendition are sung by Hariharan , Yesu Das and also use of the tune in Colonial Cousins. All are good but not as enchanting as Chitra's. May be I have developed a bias after the short spell of the mobile tune.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Maurya Experience and Customer Service

Situation 1: At buffet B'fast, in an hotel; like other guests, I was promptly escorted to the table by a smiling and cheerful hostess . Once I was ensconced comfortably, a beeline of well-dressed, courteous waiters approach me one after the other to check if I would prefer a tea or coffee. Soon I realize, they just disappeared as fast they had arrived. I had either to go to the coffee station myself or politely remind a passerby waiter who then would promptly deliver my coffee with profuse apology. When this happened every day over a week, I kept wondering the possible reason for this occurrence.
Justify Full
Situation 2: Guest 'assistance' was available at the touch of button on a room telephone. A woman responds promptly with ' Namaste ' listens to your request and immediately diverts my call to the concerned person or department. So far so good but what if the person on the side is not available or busy. I would get a dose of melodious music and be back to the same 'Namaste Lady’ or even get connected to another guest who too had dialed the ‘Namaste Lady’. This too happened far too frequently for me not to take notice of it.

The above two situations stood out against the otherwise impeccable, efficient, pleasant and hospitable staff of Maurya Sheraton, a fine luxurious hotel equipped with hi tech features. Here, water taps worked, hot water came without fuss, ac functioned without hissing noise, and bath towels were soft and clean, toiletries and Iron board in place. Some of these are present but do not function in correct manner in most other hotels.

Staying 10 days almost at a stretch gave me an opportunity to observe the functioning of the hotel from the eyes of Arthur Hailey’s ‘Hotel’. The above incidents made me realize the prevalence of similar instances in the service industry in India. Be at a restaurant, airline counter or at bank, we have lot many people to do a one job. Most of them are eager in fact over eager to do. They have a great attitude, they are smart but somehow they do not link their activity with customer satisfaction. I realized that situation 2 happened without a lady verifying if the person on the extension was available or not. While in first case, waiter would just pass the request to the person managing coffee station.

Does the lacunae lie in the eyes of an immediate supervisor or the overall system that tend to compartmentalize each function to a specific person? Be it front line office, sales, service or support - a customer is promptly addressed and delegated to the concerned department. Afterwards what happens to him is not in their jurisdiction. If someone takes initiative in doing so, senior for could reprimand that person over stepping.

In hotel, restaurant or airlines effect of customer service is tangible. In medical device industry, time is of an essence but effect may not be that tangible. It is not an easy task to create an organization with seamless interface among various functionalities to ensure prompt customer happiness. Would I succeed in creating one?

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