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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I Cracked It!

I have won 2 tickets to Sonu Nigam's forthcoming Concert ("Love in Singapore") to be held on 9th April. The local Indian radio station conducted a contest related to Sonu Nigam's concert.
The question was a sitter.
Question - What is the name of the popular TV show hosted by Sonu Nigam?

I can't understand why they are advertising for a Hindi Concert in between Tamil songs. Anyway, I have no regrets:-)

IIMB increases intake for PGDM course

When I passed out of IIMB in the year 2002, there were about 180 students. Following the footsteps of IIMA, IIMB has decided to increase the intake by 50%. When the Dean (V Anandram) was in Singapore recently, he told me that they have built new hostels to accomodate the increase in the number of students.

No more HURDles for HP?

Although there was speculation that HP might select an insider as their next CEO, they have decided to go for low-profile outsider. Mark Hurd, CEO of NCR will take over as the new CEO of HP. There is a similarity between Carly Fiorina and Mark Hurd. Carly came from Lucent (which was spun off from AT&T in the mid 90's) and Mark Hurd comes from NCR (which was also spun off from AT&T in the mid 90's).

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Vivek Paul - Applying Thought

Financial Express carries an interview with the usually elusive Vivek Paul. Having heard him talk I can say that he has this knack of convincing and confusing people. He might be less flamboyant due to the corporate culture of Wipro.
He gets featured time and again in the list of the Top Salaried persons in India. However, the business media often forgets the point that Vivek Paul operates out of the US and it is not correct if they take his $ salary and restate it in Indian terms.

Partition in AVM Productions

One of Chennai's leading studios & production houses, AVM Productions has decided to split. Their only blockbuster in recent years was Vikram's Gemini. Other movies like Perazhagan had to bite the dust. Of late they have been focussing more on production of TV serials.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Mumbai Xpress derails?

With just two weeks left for the Tamil New Year, (according to some of the popular gossip columns) chances are that Kamalhassan's Mumbai Xpress might miss the bus. Since the movie has been shot in Digital format, it seems not many movie halls in India are equipped to screen the Digital prints. Further the Censor Board is also facing problems editing the Digital version. So is it going to be Vijay's Sachin Vs Rajini's Chandramukhi?
BTW I noticed that Sachin is spelt a SACHIEN (some dose of numerology adding that extra bit to ensure Vijay's success)

The Mobile service everybody is talking about

Ever heard of a no-frills or a Budget Mobile service? If you are in Asia the buzz is about Budget Airlines. If you are in Europe, the latest craze is No-frills mobile service. Budget Mobile Operators like EasyMobile don't own any network. They lease surplus capacity of existing service providers. International Herald Tribune had this to say about this new phenomenon that is rocking Europe. How long will it take before this reaches Asia?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

IIMB Alumni among India's Top Dealmakers

Business Today has come out with its list of India's hottest dealmakers (10 people are featured in this list)

2 IIMB Alumni have made it to this list.
One is Aditya Sanghi of the newly formed YES Bank. Aditya is just 33 years old. The other one is J Niranjan of ICICI Securities. Way 2 go guys!!


The Indian Print Media is hotting up.

Financial Times of London wants to enter India. If this happens, what will happen to the tie up between FT & Business Standard?

FORTUNE magazine intends to launch an Indian edition. FORTUNE has been a success in China as it has been able to sell 100,00 copies of its Chinese language edition. However there is no market for vernacular business publications in India. Popular business magazines like Business Today and Business World sell for INR 10 each. To be a success in India, FORTUNE has to have the right mix of international and local content. Otherwise they will be confined only to Boardrooms and Libraries in India.

According to Business World, NDTV also plans to enter the print media.
BusinessWeek also plans to launch an Indian edition. The current price of BusinessWeek is INR 150 - 200. They need to slash prices drastically to make it afforable to the average Indian reader.

Moving over to some action from the Chennai Print Media (BusinessWorld dt 28th March).
It is public knowledge that Deccan Herald and Times of India will be launching their English dailies pretty soon. Vikatan group will launch a personal finance magazine in Tamil SUN Network (which runs SUN TV) plans to launch a newspaper (might be in Tamil).


You would have heard about Podcasting. Here comes Beercasting. God knows what' s next.

iPodphone (Apple iPOD + Motorola phone) is facing problems as telecom service providers want a bigger share of the pie.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Latest fashion fad - Colourful wristbands

Recently I saw some of colleagues wearing some fluorescent wristband and it caught my eye. After a casual chat I realized that each colour has some significance. Colour wristbands are becoming the latest fashion fad - TIME says so and so does BBC.

Azim Premji on the past and the future of Indian IT

The reclusive Azim Premji has said that rapid developments in the telecom industry have benefitted the growth of the Indian IT industry. In this Outlook article, he has also expressed his thoughts on what lies ahead for the IT companies. Surprisingly, he has maintained silence on the infrastructure issues. Does it mean that he has given up?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Besh Besh! Filter Coffee gets a Facelift

Filter Coffee - Coming Soon to a Coffee Pub near you. But the question is, will people pay a premium to drink Filter Coffee in a swanky Coffee Pub?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

IT Companies - Built to Last (atleast till the next upgrade!)

The Week portrays the changing landscape of Indian IT Companies. It also mentions that IT companies have become a permanent fixture in the itinerary of any Head of State visiting India. These IT Companies should think of building helipads so that the visiting dignitaries can avoid Bangalore's traffic snarls (unless they wan't to give their guest a taste of India).


In MBA-speak OOPS refers to Opting Out of Placements. Every year there are those select few who decide to strike out on their own (Wish I could be as bold as these guys). They become newsmakers as newspapers are bored of covering the same crop of guys who earn top $ salaries. Rashmi Bansal of Youth Curry captures the story behind some of these newsmakers.
BTW IIMB (Singapore campus) has turned aggressive and advertised in the "MBA Showcase" pages of NewsWeek. Never expected my alma mater to give full page ads in NewsWeek.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Mark Jen's Paycheck

What if Kiruba didn't reveal how much he earned from Google Adsense, Mark Jen of Plaxo has revealed that he makes about USD 200 every month. That's a cool sum of money. Is he violating any of Google's terms and conditions?

Received the following via SMS today :-

Dhinamum SMS Anuppina Tirunelveli Halwa Varum
Dhinamum SMS Anuppalaina Tirupachchi Aruva Varum
Eppadi Vasadhi?
Halwa Vaa? Aruva Vaa?

Eating into other's Business

My ex-roommate Bibs has blogged about the latest developments in the Tech industry. Earlier companies used to operate in clearly demarcated sectors. Nowadays each one wants a pie of everything that is going on. Not sure where this is leading to. Once they start bleeding, the consultant's will come in and talk about focus and core competence and the same companies will start divesting some of these businesses.

During my recent trip to India I saw some ad's by LG and realized that they have entered into the FMCG segment by offering products like toothpastes, shampoos. Till the time I saw this ad, I didn't know that LG sells FMCG products as well. I had my own doubts whether LG will succeed in this segment. Recently read LG's FMCG venture has run into trouble.
Received this Forward today :-
What is the difference between a TV and a Wife?
Please refer to the comments section to see the answer.

I Hate My Flatmate

This Blog bitches about a flatmate and is featured as Blog of the Day by Straits Times

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Sambhar Mafia mourns the death of SAMBHAR

Singapore FANTAsy?

Singapore FANTAsy?

Curious to know who the lucky guy is.

Monday, March 21, 2005


The recent bomb threats at two of India's leading IT companies has resulted in the International business media debating about the vulnerability of Bangalore to a potential terrorist attack. This doesn't augur well for the business climate in B'lore. Last heard that there are 50,000 expats in B'lore.

Flavour of the Season - Cross-border weddings

Cross-border weddings seem to be the flavour of the season.

Will he Won't he? - From Jo Jo to Yo Yo!

From Blogs to Bestsellers!

From NewsWeek

Blogs: Now It's Literature

The Internet is giving a boost to the book business—at least in Japan, where online discussions are currently being published as books. The fad started back in October, with "Train Man": a shy young man asked for online advice on how to ask out a girl he met on the train in Tokyo; after getting online dating tips and encouragement—and two months later, the girl—the sage words were transformed into a book, which has sold 555,000 copies. The beauty of the tome is that it's published as printouts of message boards and blogs, complete with Internet lingo and silly emoticons. Not much editing required.

The "Train Man" phenomenon has inspired other wouldn't-necessarily-be authors. Tokyo-based Ameba Books culled a book from a hilarious blog called "My Devilish Wife Journal: A True Story," in which a young man moans about his selfish and greedy wife. It has sold 70,000 copies since late January. Another hit: "This Week My Wife Is Having an Affair," a reproduction of an online conversation between a businessman whose wife is cheating on him and his sympathetic fellow Netizens, which has sold 43,000 copies in less than two months.

Nalli 101 - Paving way for more traffic jams?

According to the Business Line, Nalli plans to open lifestyle stores on the lines of Globus, Shoppers Stop & LifeStyle.

Chennai's Usman Road / Panagal Park area is famous for Jewellery and Textile stores. It is also famous for the traffic jams. It is quite common to see such traffic jams even during the off-peak season. Although much has been talked about, very little has been done to ease the traffic congestion in this area. It is high time the retailers decide to move to other locations so that customers don't get upset over traffic jams and parking space. The big retailers (like Nalli & Kumaran) need to set the trend so that others can follow suit. Although Nalli hasn't revealed where their new store will be located, I'm quite sure that South Usman Road / Panagal Park area will be on top of their list.

In Good Company

Saw "In Good Company" over the weekend. The story line goes like this - What happens if your boss (who is half your age) starts dating your daughter. Verdict - Worth a watch!

Finally, Chennai to get an IMAX theatre

Chennai's best known Multiplex - Sathyam Cineplex is going to install IMAX

Recession proof industry

As we all know, education is big business in India and the market for "Coaching Classes for Entrance Exams" is burgeoning every year. The Week has a cover story on this industry.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Xpensive Pair of SOX

Few months ago one of my friend moved to the US to work as a SOX consultant. Initially I didn't know what SOX meant. Since there were lot of acronyms in IT, I thought that it might be yet another software platform. I searched on Google and found out the full form of SOX. Although I had heard about Sarbanes Oxley Act earlier I didn't know that they had coined an acronym for this Act. I keep hearing more and more about SOX @ work as well. NewsWeek reports that cost of complying to this new regulation is so prohibitive that corporations are having a relook at whether their company should continue to be a publicly listed company. Indian companies which are listed in the US markets (Wipro, Infosys, ICICI Bank, Dr. Reddy's Labs etc) have put in lot of resources and created new departments to ensure SOX compliance.

Friday, March 18, 2005

LAND Dispute: Wood Vs Timber

Indian Adventure Apparel brand Woodland (sorry! they don't have a site which I can link to) has established itself as a dominant brand in the Casual Footwear segment. To the best of my knowledge they don't have any Joint Venture with internationally established brands. IMHO the Indian brand could have been inspired by the International Adventure Brand Timberland. There is a striking resemblance between the logos of the two brands. Further, the in-store experience for both these brands is also similar. People who are aware of both these brands might be able to confirm whether my observation is correct.
Why hasn't Timberland entered a emerging market like India? If they enter India, they'll give Woodland a run for their money. Woodland prices start from INR 1500 (indicative) and Timberland's price (based on their pricing in international markets) might be about 30% higher.

Forward on Apple Vs Microsoft Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Although sales of camera phones outnumber the sales of cameras I am of the opinion that camera phones can't replace full-fledged cameras. Most users end up not using the camera function in their camera phones. Then why are the handset manufacturers forcing us to buy such camera phones? Have you come across any high-end phone without a camera?
CNET carries an article where Kodak's CEO Dan Carp has voiced his concerns about camera phones.
Round up of other Tech news
Silicon.com outlines the problems faced by BPO staff in India.
Apple is thinking of charging some kind of tax for Made for iPod products. I am skeptical about the potential success of this idea. Premium lifestyle brands like BOSE (which has a speaker specific to iPOD) may not agree to pay this tax.
Moving on to something more hot and spicy
NewYorkTimes captures the increasing popularity of CHAAT in the US. (via Under The Fire Star )

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

GAJINI STILLS - Looks more like a Shampoo Ad! Posted by Hello

GAJINI STIILS - Looks more like a Shampoo Ad! Posted by Hello


Blinkorama contains pictures of celebrities who have been caught napping. (via MinorScale). If they have an Indian version Deve Gowda should be somewhere on top of that list.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Weekend Update

Saw HITCH along with a couple of friends at Eng Wah Cinema @ Suntec City.

Will Smith plays a "Date Doctor" and rockz the house. Eva Mendes manages to impress everyone with her stellar performance. This romantic comedy is definitely worth a watch. NewsWeek captures the current trend of Latin American women cast opposite African-American men.

In Singapore, it is almost impossible to get a movie ticket without booking in advance (either thru phone / internet / SMS). Although we booked in advance, it was annoying to find that the crowd in the ticket collection queue (for advance booking thru phone / internet / SMS) was much longer than the queue for the current booking. Makes me wonder whether it is worth all the effort involved in making an advance booking. It takes approx 10 minutes to make the booking thru phone as there are multiple menus at each stage.......quite an irritating experience. On top of all this, they charge an additional fee for the advance booking. Why can't they allow us to print tickets online so that we don't need to queue up to collect the tickets (anyway they have already charged our Credit Card for the same).

After this hilarious movie, I had been to the loo to take a leak. I realized that Suntec City Management has been innovative enough to sell space even in their toilets. The subject matter of the ad was quite close to the theme of the movie Hitch. This is what the ad read
"If you want to watch a movie with a different date each time, log on to www.gomoviedate.com to find out more". Although I wanted to take a photo of the toilet ad to post on this blog, better sense prevailed as I was thinking about what other people in the loo would think about me.
I didn't really check whether other toilets which were further away from the movie hall also had similar ads.


I had been to the IT Show 2005 which was on at Suntec City. It looked as if entire Singapore was in Suntec for the IT Show. There were more people distributing flyers / leaflets / brochures than the visitors to the show. Needless to say that all the visitors had discarded these flyers on the floor. It would take atleast 2 days for them to clear all the garbage.

Thanks to the large crowd, I could hardly get a good view of any of the stalls. Not sure why Banks had put up stalls (at an IT Show) to sell Credit Cards. These booths were the ones with the least crowd.
Every 3rd shop was selling MP3 players. Most of these were Korean and Chinese brands. Some of the cheapest players (Easy Tech) were available for S$ 109 (INR 2,800 approx) and these could double up as Voice recorder, FM radio and FM recorders. Most of these Korean and Chinese brands had identical designs (wearable type). There were no takers for Sony's MP3 players. Olympus had just launched their new range of MP3 players (mRobe). Would anybody associate Olympus will music?

Apple's stall and Creative's stall were the most crowded. There were long queues to pay Cash at these stalls. Creative was selling its ZEN MICRO for S$299 (for the 4GB version). They had 5GB and 6GB versions as well. The iPOD Mini was being sold at S$318. iPOD shuffle was offered at S$168.

Made my first Skype call to a friend in the US. The call lasted an hour and the voice quality was outstanding. I am totally in awe of Skype and plan to recommend the same to most of my friends. Waiting to see if Skype will enable Video Conferencing as well.

During the IT show, I came across a Skype friendly gadget. The product, Futekfone is by a little known Japanese company. The product resembles the handset of a regular landline phone. For people who don't fancy using a headset and a microphone (If you don't want to look like a Call Center Executive or a Pilot) this Futek phone might be useful. This phone gives you a feeling that you are talking thru the traditional phone.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I know what you ate during your last meal!

This Newsweek Article outlines how PhotoBlogs are redefining the world. FotoLog CEO Seifer clicks photos of all his meals and posts them on his photoblog (Aptly named as "Get in My Belly). Although this might sound as a boring thing, his Blog is attracting a whopping 20,000 visitors a week.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

IIM-B heads for Singapore

IIM-B heads for Singapore

Rediff Article on the launch of IIMB campus in Singapore

CHOTA MOBILE - Not the Munnabhai Variety Posted by Hello

CHOTA MOBILE - Not the Munnabhai Variety (contd.) Posted by Hello

According to this Forbes article the Kids Segment is the fastest growing segment of the mobile handset market. Firefly Mobile (refer to picture given above) is one such handset targetted exclusively at this segment. Firefly looks more like a Mouse or a Car Fragrance (Ambipur). The left button with a woman's image is for calling the Mom and the right key is with a man's image is for calling the Dad. Hope kidnapper's don't use these keys to call the Mom and Dad.
Kids would prefer to have games on their phones (I see most kids using their mom / dad's phone to play games). Not sure whether the Handset manufacturers are going to consider such aspects for Kids Phones.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Singapore emerges topper in Global IT Readiness Study

Singapore has bagged the top spot in a study which ranks countries based on their usage of Global IT Developments.

Letter to the Editor - Congrats! Keep it up!

The Hindu carries a note on their front page that they have reached the magical figure of 1 Million copies. Although some in the blogging community have been writing about the falling standards of The Hindu, I still feel that they are doing a good job. Maybe they should work on their site layout to make it more user friendly. They are one of the very few online newspapers offering free access to the crossword section.

Today's issue of The Hindu also carries an article which talks about how women are using blogs as a medium of expression.
BTW The Slimes of India has lined up plans to launch a Chennai Edition. Although ToI has an aggressive marketing thrust, it will be tough to replace The Hindu (which is synonymous with trust and reliability).

Captain begins new innings

As expected Captain Vijayakanth has floated a political party. The media was rife with rumours about this and it has turned out to be true. I was thinking about the career path for filmstars and politicians. Filmstars seem to take the established path of joining politics and politicians (especially from Tamilnadu) seem to start Engineering Colleges after they retire from active politics.

Vijayakanth has already started a Engineering College and now he has jumped into the political arena. SambharMafia caught up with the Captain and asked about his filmi career and his political ambitions.
Sambhar Mafia:- Congrats on your new venture.
Vijayakanth:- Thank You!

SM:- What is the next project that you are working on?
VK:- Actually, none of the heroines want to act with me. Hence I don't have any project right now. However, I have finalized the name for the next movie - it will be called "MADURAI EXPRESS". I have selected a English name so that it will provide me yet another opportunity to fight with Dr. Ramadoss. Once I find a suitable heroine I will decide on my new project. Since I was anyway sitting idle at home, I used this time to float my own party.

SM:- How could you amass 60,000 people in a place like Thiruvannamalai for the launch of your political career?
VK:- My friend Ibrahim Rowther had given an ad in a newspaper asking for new faces (hero & heroine) for his next film. 60,000 people had applied for the same. We called them over to Thiruvannamalai for the screening process. They agreed to act as audience for the launch of my political party.

SM:- Have you formed your political agenda?
VK:- My script writer is working on it. I'm also trying to rope in Liyakat Ali Khan. One thing is for sure, I'm going to demand that Madurai should be made a separate state. I have the backing of Vaigai Puyal Vadivel also.

SM:- Have you decided on the flag or the name for the political party?
VK:- My banner artistes are working on the flag. I have instructed them that it should not contain any colours which are used in the PMK flag. I'll see to it that the flag contains the Soolam which I used in the movie "Gajendra". My party's name will consist of all letters in the English language.

Since Captain can't speak in English we used Mimicry Mayilsami for this interview.

Stay tuned to Sambhar Mafia for more Kollywood action.

Kollywood KrossTalk

Anniyan Update
The audio is due for release on April 14th. The movie might be released in the first half of May (during the School / College holiday season).

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Paying for Pedigree!

A recent study conducted in UK shows that dogs of premium breed cost more than luxury cars. All along I was confused as to why HMV chose the dog as their brand identity. Now I know the answer.

Rajini's next mov(i)e

According to the New Indian Express, Rajini's next film will be produced by Editor Mohan. Chandramukhi's mediocre music is a big let down for Superstar fans. Let's wait for the Box Office's verdict on Chandramukhi.
Harris Jeyaraj has not had a single release for the last 7 months (his last score was for Chellamey). HJ has put his heart and soul into Anniyan and I'm sure the music will speak for itself.

Wanna chuck your old mobile phone? Pass it on to Chuck Newman - The Story of ReCellular

Do you know that one can make money by buying used (often outdated) mobile phones and selling them after doing some refurbishing. Well, Chuck Newman of ReCellular has perfected this model and made it a profit making proposition. The latest issue of FORBES GLOBAL (dt 14th March) has an insightful article on the same.

Monday, March 07, 2005

SONY gets new CEO

Ramz Coffee House mentions that SONY has a new CEO, that too a foreigner. This is a unique phenomenon for a Japanese company.
I am curious to find out whether a similar story will emerge at Deutsche Bank. India born Anshu Jain is the high profile head of the Investment Banking Division of Deutsche Bank. The Media has constantly maintained that although Anshu Jain has all the credentials to make it to the top, the board may not allow a non-German to head the bank.

Friday, March 04, 2005

all '.IN' the game

Watchout! Cybersquatters are on the prowl again. This article in The Hindu Business Line shows that some of popular '.in' domains have been bought by people residing outside India.
I am reminded of a popular cybersquatting case which happened a few years ago. A R Mani (an Indian residing in Canada), who ran a business under his own name registered a domain called www.armani.com. International Fashion Designer Armani (who has labels like Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani under his stable) contended that he should be the rightful owner of the domain. The verdict was in favour of A R Mani and he got to retain the domain. This could be one of the reasons why Armani created a distinct brand called Armani eXchange and brought most of his apparel business under it.
When I visited www.armani.com today, to my surprise I found out that Fashion Designer Armani has bought over the domain. A R Mani might have got a princely sum for selling the domain to the Fashion House.

Creative Bus Ad Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Hyundai's 'Strange' Accent

You might have seen the recent ad for Hyundai Accent. It is being projected as a car for the status conscious people (those who have arrived in life). I saw this ad in Sun TV. Just wondering as to how they will promote Hyundai Sonata - which is their real premium car.
On a similar note, Titan Watches is also using the 'Sonata' name as the brand for the entry level watch segment (less than Rs. 1000). Titan carries a premium image and hence their economy offering is called just 'Sonata' and not 'Titan Sonata'.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Maaya or Mayavi?

I have been eagerly looking forward to the release of Surya's forthcoming film Mayavi. The date of release has been postponed atleast 2 times. I just hope that there are no further delays (Otherwise it could end up joining the Tamil New Year Traffic Jam which has big names likes Chandramukhi, Mumbai Express, Sachin & Anniyan).

Mayavi's music has already got some good reviews. The music is by Devi Sri Prasad and this is his first full fledged movie in Tamil. Earlier, he had composed a few songs for Thirupachi. BTW Devi Sri Prasad was one year junior to me in school. He used to play the mandolin during our School Annual Day and became quite popular due to his musical prowess. He has already made a mark in the Telugu music scene and I just hope that he replicates it in Tamil as well.

I'm also awaiting the Audio release of Chandramukhi (Music by Vidyasagar) and Shankar's Anniyan (Music by Harris Jeyaraj).

IIMB to set up shop in Singapore

My alma mater has decided to set up shop in Singapore. I guess this is the first foray by any IIM outside India. The interesting thing is that it will be called as Indian Institute of Management (B) Singapore. IIMB has acquired some space within the premises of one of the Indian International School's here. The official launch date is tomorrow (3rd March). We are also having an alumni meet tomorrow.

To start off IIM (B) Singapore will be offering Executive MBA and Management Development Programmes.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Thanks for dropping in. Having been a regular reader of a wide variety of blogs, I have decided to join the BLOGwagon. My interests cover the following areas and I intend to cover most of these through my Blog - Indian Business, Movies, Music, Politics, Diaspora, Media, Business Quizzing, Gossips........