Saturday, November 29, 2008
“The top management of a multinational corporation was meeting…”
“Terrorists are suspected to be on the 9th floor…”
“NSG troops are about to have arrived in Mumbai…”
“NSG commandos have entered the Hotel…”
Some of the information telecast live by all news channels on terror attack on Bombay last few days.
News channels have an objective—to fetch the latest news and share them with viewers, much before a competitor channel does that. But I feel this habit of indiscriminate live reporting, while a combat operation is in progress, can be catastrophic for the success of the military operations against terror.
Let us just think for a while. Do we really need to know everything on a ‘as soon as it happens’ basis? I feel not. Whether NSG commandos have just arrived at airport, or have entered the hotel or are on the first floor or second at this moment, is not necessary to be revealed to the general public on a realtime basis.
Showing such news live, will be immensely useful only to terrorists and their supporters outside.
Consider this. The commandos only know that the militants are somewhere inside the hotel, but the militants know everything about the movements and positions of their pursuers through TV.
# Who is on their trail (Army/ NSG/ local police, etc)
# What is their ETA (estimated time of arrival), which tells them, how much time they have before a gun battle would begin)
# Where they are right now, at the main entrance/ just entered their floor
# How is the world responding? Is there pressure mounting on the government to succumb to the demands of terrorists to get the hostages freed (so that they can act tough during negotiation)?
# How many of their friends are alive or dead (so that they can assess their strength)?
# What has been the impact of their strike-how many police and civilian dead, the current morale of police, who all as been detained/suspected?
# Live visuals of the street-to assess a possible escape strategy
# What information about them the outside world has (which floor they are in, their head count etc. And much more…
In my view, all this information, while useful to viewers and relatives of victims, also helps the terrorists/ militants to consolidate their position and pose a greater challenge to commandos trying to hunt them down and/ or rescue the hostages.
Why is our media helping them by airing live all the sensitive information about the anti terror operations?
The common man does not need to know them on a live basis.
Can’t the information & broadcasting ministry think of banning live reporting during a hostage crisis? Let the channels air the news with a delay of few hours, so that the police and security agencies will have a lead time of few hours, wherein terrorists would be as equally uninformed as they are.
Please note that I am not advocating censorship. I am all for free speech and expression. What I am proposing, is that security agencies should have the power to impose a delay of say three to six hours w.r.t live reporting of anti terror operations.
Let the TV channels record whatever they want, but they should be aired only after a gap of few hours. I do not think anyone loses anything with this.
The movie A Wednesday also shares same opinion. I feel the good old days of oncein a day news bulletin was far better.
What do you think?
(This post is dedicated to all the brave police officials and innocent civilians who lost their lives in yesterday’s terror attack in Bombay)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monica married Hitesh this day. At the end of the wedding party,
Monica's mother gave her a newly opened bank saving passbook.
With Rs.1000 deposit amount.
Mother: 'Monica, take this passbook. Keep it as a record of your marriage
life. When there's something happy and memorable happened in your new
life, put some money in. Write down what it's about next to the line. The
more memorable the event is, the more money you can put in. I've done the
first one for you today. Do the others with Hitesh.When you look back
after years, you can know how much happiness you've had.'
Monica shared this with Hitesh when getting home. They both thought it
was a great idea and were anxious to know when the second deposit can be
This was what they did after certain time:
- 7 Feb: Rs.100, first birthday celebration for Hitesh after marriage
- 1 Mar: Rs.300, salary raise for Monica
- 20 Mar: Rs.200, vacation trip to
- 15 Apr: Rs.2000, Monica got pregnant
- 1 Jun: Rs.1000, Hitesh got promoted
..... and so on...
However, after years, they started fighting and arguing for trivial
things.They didn't talk much. They regretted that they had married the
most nasty people in the world.... no more love...Kind of typical
One day Monica talked to her Mother:
'Mom, we can't stand it anymore. We agree to divorce. I can't imagine how
I decided to marry this guy!!!'
Mother: 'Sure, girl, that's no big deal. Just do whatever you want if you
really can't stand it. But before that, do one thing first. Remember the
saving passbook I gave you on your wedding day? Take out all money and
spend it first. You shouldn't keep any record of such a poor marriage.'
Monica thought it was true. So she went to the bank, waiting at the queue
and planning to cancel the account.
While she was waiting, she took a look at the passbook record. She looked,
and looked, and looked. Then the memory of all the previous joy and
happiness just came up her mind. Her eyes were then filled with tears. She
left and went home.
When she was home, she handed the passbook to Hitesh, asked him to spend
the money before getting divorce.
The next day, Hitesh gave the passbook back to Monica. She found a new
deposit of Rs.5000. And a line next to the record: 'This is the day I
notice how much I've loved you thru out all these years. How much happiness
you've brought me.'
They hugged and cried, putting the passbook back to the safe.
Do you know how much money they had saved when they retired? I did not
ask.I believe the money did not matter any more after they had gone thru
all the good years in their life.
"When you fall, in any way,
Don't see the place where you fell, Instead see the place from where you
Life is about correcting mistakes!"
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The case is shaped like a textbook. Its durability in the long term warrants some concern, but that's minor when its contents are considered. This is how the discs are packaged:
A booklet introduces the characters. Full marks to whoever designed the cover for reminding us of our notebooks and how we were required to present them. It's very nicely presented from the inside too, here (right) is a sample page (click on image to enlarge):
There's Ishaan's flipbook, which I'll stay away from for fear of playing spoiler to those who haven't yet seen the film. And this is perhaps the only still image of the Taare Zameen Par pencil on the internet, which could mean one of two things: 1) Bollywood-themed pencils just aren't very popular; or 2) I need to get a life :o)
There are replicas of two beautiful paintings (I'd estimate they're about 8.25 x 10.5 in) by 'eminent watercolourist Samir Mondal made especially for the film'. If you've seen the film, you know how beautifully they were used. (If you are a fan of paintings, samirmondal.com has some fine examples of the artist's work.) Here's a sample:
Disc 1: The film, and director's commentary
The commentary lasts the length of the film, and is in English! Aamir makes it clear at the outset it has to do not with describing the scenes, but in sharing the challenges faced in the filmmaking process -- what they liked, what they disliked and edited out, and what they disliked but kept (and why). It's a gift for fans of film -- and it's amazing to learn even bits of the detail that went into every little shot. To learn that the background score was often played live by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy on the sets. Or that Aamir sought help from the Maharashtra Dyslexia Association throughout the project. Or that it took eight evenings to shoot a five minute long sequence in twilight. Or that the song Kholo Kholo Darwaaze was almost edited out (no!). Or that the final scene had over 1200 children. There are countless such examples. There is even an interesting story behind Darsheel Safary (Ishaan Awasthi), Sheru and Johnny!
What was great about the commentary was that there was no hesitation to identify flaws and accept mistakes. It's not the typical fluff we find elsewhere. Think of Aamir's criticism as almost a lessons learned session for him and his crew, and an eye-opener for some of us who know very little (if anything) about filmmaking. The commentary also includes references to his past works and what he learned from them that he incorporated in his work ethic as director, which is a real treat if you've seen the films he mentions.
Aside: About the only thing he did not discuss were the posters/pictures of two sports icons -- Sachin Tendulkar and Roger Federer -- in the kids' room (click the image to enlarge). If you've been reading his blog, you'll know he has dedicated posts to each of his favorites (on Sachin, on Federer)! Should have been brought up :o)
Disc 2: Making, Deleted Scenes, Panel Discussion, Stills, Trailers
a. The making is fascinating. You can watch it (at these links: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3) thanks to fellow Aamirian SkorpionChik! It was amusing to hear Lalitha Lajmi (Guru Dutt's sister, her role in the film mentioned in this post) say, "I became like a teenager when I saw him."
They didn't mention this in the making, but this sequence, not related to the film, was hilarious. I'd bet the dance steps by Tanay Chheda (right, he played Rajan Damodaran) here are adapted from Rangeela (1996). Hilarious!
Just like they did with the Lagaan DVD, they have footage here from the narration of the script. Here are Aamir and his wife Kiran responding to "Tom and Jerry ka baap kaun?"
b. The seven deleted scenes are a treat too. Hosted by Aamir (sporting his Ghajini look this time, complete with the haircut and following the workout routine for the film). Much better than the deleted scenes in Lagaan, I'll admit. Some of them were rather short (even less than a minute long), enough to question them being edited out. There was even a scene with a qawwali! This is also where the original title of the film is shared -- it was to be in English, and had nothing to do with 'stars'. If you cannot wait to know, I wouldn't mind giving it away.
c. The stills gallery was a welcome surprise. It has scores of images from the sets, with some really good captions (reminded me of Bollyviewer!). Sample this:
d. Aamir moderates a discussion (in Hindi/Urdu) on dyslexia, its symptoms, approaches to combating it, where to go for help, and some generic parenting advice, with a panel comprising: Medha Lotlekar, Educator; Vrajesh Udani, Child Neurologist; Masarrat Khan, leader of the Maharashtra Dyslexia Association; and Dr. Harish Shetty, Clinical Psychologist. The discussion is much more direct in raising awareness of dyslexia and other conditions. It is very welcome (especially for teachers and parents in India -- the issues aren't often discussed head-on), because it is the source of inspiration for the film. The best advice for parents might just be to encourage children to foster a culture of inclusion, and to not be disillusioned by the stress of competition -- move forward, but take others along.
It is here that Aamir shares his views on the ineptitude of academia in India to deal with learning disabilities. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and their differences, are discussed in fair detail. So are autism, down syndrome, and other mental challenges. And it is here that the film's tagline -- Every Child is Special -- is applied using even more real medical and academic frameworks.
Disc 3: Background Score
As noted in this post, I'd written to Aamir the day after I saw the film, requesting a background score release. Maybe several thousand did, or maybe it was intended all along. Whatever the case, it's great that they released it, because the score is brilliant, and carries a narrative of its own. In that, it is to me as good as the soundtrack. If you haven't seen the film and get your hands on it, maybe you could try listening to the score first to see if you can guess the progress of Ishaan's many moods through the film?! That'd be a fun exercise. Nikumbh Ishaan Montage is by far my favorite track. It's very, very well done, and the harmonica, guitar, piano and drums are all beautifully combined.
In Disc 2 (part 'a' above), Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy discussed how cool it was to play live on the sets. Must've been fun, and very challenging. Here's Mr. Loy:
A note on the DVD formats
If you do not have a region-free DVD player or cannot connect your computer to your television set, I suggest you wait for the U.S. release (the first ever of an Indian film by Walt Disney) which should make it by the end of the year. The Disney DVD release calendar doesn't yet have the information. I've always wanted to sound like an official correspondent, so I can finally say that a Disney Films representative who was contacted for more information declined to comment (read: never replied to my e-mail :P). A search for 'Taare Zameen Par' on the website returned no results as of 10/11/2008.
I'll hope to have more information on the U.S. release as we move forward. This T-Series release in India is, as the U.S. release will be, a welcome addition to any film collection. The special features and director's commentary make the set well, well worth experiencing. For its primary audience, the Indian market, it is perfectly compiled, and we can only hope that our local release will have as many goodies. Thank you for the treat, Aamir bhai!
Set Rating: 4.75/5 (Excellent!)
I cannot stop singing praises for it :)
RadhamohanProduction: Prakash RajMusic: Vidhyasagar
Azhagiya Azhagiya - S.P. Balasubramaniam
Chinnamma Kalyanam - Kailash Kher
Moongil Vittu - Madhu Balakrishnan
Ore Oru Oorile - Kailash Kher
Pachai Katre - Sadhana Sargam
Sher Punjabi - Rehan Khan
Vaa Vaa Yen - Madhu Balakrishnan
Ore Oru Oorile - Instrumental
Vaa Vaa Yen - Instrumental
Pachai Kaatre - Instrumental
Azhagiya Azhagiya - Instrumental
Sunday, November 16, 2008
If you can Think and not make those Thoughts your Aim...
If you can meet with Triumph & Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same
If you can fill the unforgetting minute
with 60 seconds of distance travelled
Yours is Earth and everything in it...
and whats more.. ??
You'll be a MAN my son, You'll be a man
dont worry about the people in your past;
There is a reason they didn't make it TO YOUR FUTURE
i was born genius but education ruined me
It breaks your heart to see one you love is happy with some else, but its more painful to know the one you love is more unhappier with you.
you cant stop what is coming
imperfection is beauty; madness is genius; its better to be absolutely riduculous than to be absolutely stupid
Im a NUT but i can SCREW well
Im so good at being bad
life isn't about finding yourself; life is about creating yourself
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Jurassic Park Creator Michael Crichton Is Dead
Swapnil Bhartiya, EFY News Network (Thursday, November 06, 2008 11:13:26 AM)
The magician who brought alive dinosaurs has died at the age of 66.
Thursday, November 06, 2008: Michael Crichton, the author of the phenomenon Jurassic Park, died Tuesday at the age of 66. He was suffering from cancer. Crichton was a multi-talented person. Regarded as the father of techno-thriller, he was also a film producer, film director, medical doctor and television producer. His books have sold over 150 million copies worldwide. His works were usually based on the action genre and heavily featured technology and tried to peep into the consequences of misuse of technology.
"Michael's talent out-scaled even his own dinosaurs of Jurassic Park," says Steven Spielberg, the director of 1993's Jurassic Park. "He was the greatest at blending science with big theatrical concepts, which is what gave credibility to dinosaurs again walking the earth. In the early days, Michael had just sold the Andromeda Strain to Robert Wise at Universal, and I had recently signed on as a contract TV director there. My first assignment was to show Michael Crichton around the Universal lot. We became friends and professionally Jurassic park, ER and Twister followed. Michael was a gentle soul who reserved his flamboyant side for his novels. There is no one in the wings that will ever take his place."
There is a very interesting anecdote. During his undergraduate study at Harvard University, Crichton copy-pasted an essay by George Orwell and submitted it as his own. But the essay of Orwell was marked as 'B' grade. The experiment of Crichton worked, and he learned that the mediocre people just cannot appreciate the quality work.
Chaos was one of the focus areas of Crichton's works. Most of his plots portrayed technological developments going out of control and thus leading to chaos. Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, The Terminal Man, Airframe or Westworld – they all have the same focus, technological advancements going awry.
Expressing his grief at the unfortunate demise of Crichton, Arvind Mishra, secretary, Indian Science Fiction Writers' Association, said, "If anyone is to be given a sole credit to popularise science fiction in India and take this genre to even gullible masses through his epoch-making writing -- Jurrasic Park, it it no one else than Michael Crichton."
The author who wrote the famous lines in Jurassic Park, "Life breaks Free...But life finds a way" has finally gone to an eternal sleep from where he will never wake up, leaving us behind with a lot to learn. And remember his warning, "Let's be clear. The planet is not in jeopardy. We are in jeopardy. We haven't got the power to destroy the planet - or to save it. But we might have the power to save ourselves."
-- Swapnil Bhartiya