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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Rajni + Kamal = Nijam or Poi?

According to the New Indian Express, Rajni and Kamal are going to join hands after a gap of 26 years. The last movie both of them acted together was Ninaithale Inikkum (1979). They might be acting in K Balachander’s forthcoming movie Poi.

(Pic Courtesy TamilCinema.com)

Some of KB’s recent releases (Kalki, Paarthale Paravasam) have not found favour with the box office and the presence of Kamal and Rajni should help in ensuring that his forthcoming movie makes a mark. Few days ago, I had the opportunity of listening to an interview with KB on the local radio channel (I guess it was recorded few years ago). KB said that he doesn’t prefer working with top artistes as he is often forced to modify the screenplay to suit the image of the hero. Will KB give roles to suit the image of Rajni and Kamal?

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Language Debate

Charu of Indsight has made a post on some of the issues that I raised in my Tamil poem. As she has put it, this concern is not limited only to Tamil. It can be extended to other Indian languages as well. I don’t undermine the role English has played in bringing about the much-needed economic prosperity. If things continue to proceed this way, the vernacular languages might be history (atleast in their pure form). Our clothing and eating habits have changed a lot in the last few years. Language and culture are few more pieces of our identity and some of it might also get eroded. The question here is whether one wants that identity.

Even if the kids don’t have an opportunity to study their mother tongue in school, it is important that the parents take up this task and ensure that their kids learn their mother tongue atleast at home. The Srilankan Tamil’s are one bunch of people who are quite passionate about their mother tongue. They have set up Tamil schools all across Europe so that their kids get the opportunity to study their mother tongue (inspite of staying miles away from home). Their Tamil is unadulterated and the way they speak is a treat to our ears (as evident from the movie Tenali).

In the last few years, I have seen umpteen number of cases where the grandchildren don’t speak their mother tongue. When these grandchildren visit their grandparents, English becomes the mode of communication. The situation becomes worse if the grandparents are not well versed in English. These situations are becoming more common as more kids grow up overseas. English is also becoming the mode of communication between kids and their parents. If the vernacular language is not spoken at home, how can we expect people to speak the vernacular language outside home? Some upmarket schools do fine the kids if they speak in their native language. These kind of actions might lead the kid to shun the native language.

Vernacular is not so fashionable

One reason why people might not converse in their vernacular language is to do with the fact that it is not considered trendy. But what about people who don’t even know to read / write the language. There is a general belief that scoring marks in a vernacular language in Secondary School is quite difficult and hence people resort to studying French, German and Spanish. I’m not saying that studying a foreign language is wrong. Even if one doesn’t study his/her mother tongue as part of the school curriculum isn’t it important to read, write and speak the mother tongue?

My wish list (in order of priority)

1. People should know to speak their mother tongue

2. People should know to read / write in their mother tongue

3. People who speak in the vernacular language should not be looked down upon

PS: I’m not connected / related to this guy or his party

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bloggers Vs Mainstream Media

Cartoon by Cox and Forkum (via)

Kavignar Kaps Presents “iyanRa varaiyil iniya thamizhil”

Since I didn’t want to miss the bus, I have decided to submit my kavidhai (at the last minute) for the contest conducted by Venkitu Sir. This is my maiden attempt at posting in Tamizh. Pls pardon me if there are any grammatical errors / spelling mistakes. Please direct all rotten tomatoes and eggs to me. Lot of bloggers have put in enormous efforts to ensure that they bring out the best in them. It would be great if somebody can consolidate all of them and present as one single post. The topic for the competition is "Nambikkai".

இயன்ற வரையில் இனிய தமிழில்

தமிழன் மட்டும் முன்னேறிவிட்டான்
தமிழை பின்னுக்குத் தள்ளிவிட்டான்

ஆங்கில மோகம் பிடித்ததினால்
பிள்ளையை கான்வென்டில் சேர்த்துவிட்டான்

தமிழில் இருவர் பேசிக்கொண்டால்
தரக்குறை வென்றொரு கருத்திருக்கு

வலைப்பூவில் தமிழ் மலர்ந்ததினால்
பிறந்தது புதுத் தெம்பெமக்கு

Thiruvilayadalil Nagesh Kaetpadhu Pola kavidhaiyil kuraiyirundhalum konjam kuraithukkondu parisu tharum padi kettukkolgiren.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Fedex Ad pokes fun at MBA’s

Maverick posted about the latest Fedex TV Ad. The conversation that takes place in the ad is reproduced below

A recent FedEx television advertisement features a young man on his first day. His boss tells him "we're just in a bit of a jam. All this has to get out today."

"Yeah, ah ... I don't do shipping," he replies.

"Oh no, no, it's very easy," she answers.

"We use Fedex.ca. Anybody can do it."

"You don't understand, I have an MBA."

"Oh, you have an MBA?"

"Yeah ..."

"In that case, I'll have to show you how to do it."

The voice over nails it with: "Fedex.ca makes shipping so fast and easy ... even an MBA can do it."

Fedex itself employs quite a few MBA’s and I guess some of them would have been involved in the making of this ad. Fedex has a reputation of coming out with some good ads and this one would probably not go into that list.

The Vermont Cynic says that the MBA degree no longer carries the same value, which it carried few years ago. Indicators like the number of MBA applicants and also the job prospects prove that the demand for the degree is on the decline.

One of my profs used to say that MBA stands for Money Before All. To Abhijit Bhaduri, MBA stands for Mediocre But Arrogant and his book by the same name is going to be released in a week’s time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Does the Media APPLY THOUGHT?

If you are India’s richest man, anything that you do / say comes out in the media. Azim Premji and Wipro have been in the limelight for a variety of reasons. It started off with the resignation of two key executives (Vivek Paul and Raman Roy). The latest development is the resignation of Rich Garnik, Head of Sales for the US region. Wipro went on to announce its Quarterly results last week and as expected the media gave lot of coverage to this event. The results announcement was a bit different this time as the charismatic Vivek Paul was not there to answer the difficult questions posed by the media. At one of the earlier Quarterly earnings press meets, there was a question related to recruitment and bench strength. Vivek Paul said that recruitment is like a tap and they can open and close the same at ease. He also said that Wipro doesn’t believe in maintaining a big bench.

In the Indian IT industry there is an unwritten rule that Infosys announces their results first and the other IT companies follow suit. Wipro normally announces its results one week after Infy. It was during one of these Quarterly results that Premji made a statement about the poor infrastructure in Bangalore. It seems that the usually shy Premji was at ease with the media this time round. Press reports indicate that he even cracked a few jokes.

The press is notorious in blowing up even small things about such rich people. Some disclosure in the Wipro Annual report indicated that Premji has gone in for a housing loan. Some section of the media will report things like “India’s richest man uses borrowed funds to construct house”. But the media doesn’t care to write so much about the philanthropic activities of the Azim Premji Foundation.

As soon as Vivek Paul quit, BusinessWeek had an article on this issue. A short extract is given below

Premji is certainly a taskmaster who likes to keep his finger on the pulse of the business. His house stands next door to Wipro's sprawling campus in Bangalore, and he's often the first one in the office in the morning and the last out at night. He is a tightfisted manager who monitors the office supplies used at the company and makes random checks to see that workers turn off the lights at the end of the day. The 60-year-old chairman also shows no signs of slowing down, leaving little prospect for advancement for an ambitious No. 2. Premji declined to comment.

The above piece looks like a cynical view. Although Premji stays next door how does it matter to BusinessWeek? Are they saying that Premji exercises more control by staying next door? The office is not an ATM machine for him to keep a close eye. From what I understand, Premji preferred to stay closer to office so that he can avoid the traffic snarls that have become so common in B’lore.

Infy Vs Wipro

Infy has been a pioneer in the area of Stock Options and Performance linked bonuses. Wipro and the rest of the IT industry have tried to replicate some of these best practices in their respective companies. During the recent quarterly results, Premji has gone on record saying that Wipro’s structure is better than Infy. I don’t know the context in which Premji made this statement. I’m not even sure whether the press misquoted him. Did the press put the words in Premji’s mouth? I think this is probably the first time Premji has made an open remark about Infy.

Friday, July 22, 2005

I have been PINned down

How am I supposed to remember the numerous pins, which my bank dishes out? There is T-Pin for Telephone banking, there is an ATM-Pin for ATM transactions and there is an I-Pin for Internet Banking transactions. Wonder what else they will come up with?

I wanted to transfer some money to another person (based here) and I thought that it would be a simple affair. I thought online transfer would be hassle free and decided to use Internet banking. The fact that the other party also had an account in the same bank made me feel that the transaction would not entail too many complications.

After logging into Internet banking section (by using my I-Pin), I went into the section, which enables such intra-bank transfer. The note there said that I should have registered my Mobile Phone / Pager number with them to enable online transfer of funds. What would be the fate of people who didn’t have mobile phones / pagers or are they indirectly promoting the sale of mobile phones? The note went on to say that I can register my mobile phone / pager number by visiting the nearest branch / ATM. After registering the mobile phone number by using the above said process I proceeded with transferring the money online. After entering the name of the payee, the bank’s software said that a One Time Password (OTP) would be sent to my mobile phone so that I can activate the payee. The SMS, which my bank sent me, contains the OTP and I had to enter this in my PC to activate my payee and then proceed with the money transfer. A transaction, which was supposed to be completed in 5 minutes, took about 30 minutes. The easier way out should have been to meet up with the other person and pay him in cash. Now that I spent 30 minutes on this simple transaction, I decided to spend another 15 minutes and put a post on this issue. With the current state of things how can they expect the elderly to embrace technology? The bank might have its own reasoning to justify the multiple layers of security.

Down but not SkypeOUT

Recently, my dad tried to pay through his credit card for the SkypeOut service. He tried twice but the payment didn’t go through. I was thinking that my dad might have not completed the transaction properly and hence the transaction might not have been successful. To our dismay, the bank charged us twice for this transaction. After reading Mala Bhargava’s weekly column in Business World I found that my dad was not the only one who faced this problem. Lot of Skype users in India are having problems paying through their credit cards. Further, Skype has this (stupid) rule, which says that each credit card can be used to make payment for only one Skype account. In other words, I can’t pay for my SkypeOut account and for my parents SkypeOut account from the same credit card. Although they are trying to protect credit card frauds, they are also losing out on some potential customers. Is somebody listening?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Rediff article on Blogging

Rediff has an article on the basics of blogging. Most of the terms have been explained quite well. A friend of mine (a non-blogger) asked me about Blogrolls and I found it quite difficult to answer the same (my answer was something like this: “ When another blogger provides a link to your blog in his blog then it is called a Blogroll”). From now on I’ll forward such articles and ask them to read it from here.

Good part about the article is that they have written about other blogging tools (Blogger, Xanga and Live Journal) as well. Bad thing is that most of the blogs introduced are of bloggers who use Rediffblogs.

Popular S’pore blogger’s blog and mails hacked

Xiaxue, a popular Singapore blogger was in for a surprise when she opened her blog today. Somebody had hacked it and deleted all the contents. To her agony, she also found out that the same person had hacked into her Gmail account and deleted more than 3000 mails. She was so popular that some T-shirt brands used her as the brand ambassador. I have read somewhere that her blog gets 10,000 hits a day. Even though she is so popular, she is still using Blogspot.

BusinessWeek Stars of Asia

Few weeks ago BusinessWeek came up with a list called the Stars of Asia and quite a few Indians also made it to the list. The list was divided into the following categories : –

Agenda Setters (mainly Politicians)
Managers (CEO’s)
Financiers (Bankers)
Innovators (Science and Technology)

Surprisingly none of the Indian IT Companies have made it to the list. The Indians who have made it to this list are high achievers in their respective domains. The people who made it: -

Mani Shankar Aiyar (under the Agenda Setter’s Category)

Naresh Goyal of Jet Airways (under the Managers category)

K V Kamath of ICICI Bank (under the Financers category)

R Mashelkar of CSIR (under the Innovators category).

One more person (from India) has made it to this list but he is not an Indian. Joseph Sigelman, Co-CEO of Office Tiger (a BPO firm having an office in Chennai) has been working in Chennai for the last 5 years. It is quite difficult to believe that he has been living in a hotel room for the entire part of the last 5 years. Lot of expats stay around Neelankarai. Office Tiger has been only of the early entrants into the BPO sector.

Sigelman headed to Madras, the city with the largest concentration of tech talent after Bangalore. Thanks to their emphasis on quality and hard work -- Sigelman puts in 18-hour days -- OfficeTiger quickly rose to the top. Another plus: The company's meritocracy contrasts with the hierarchical social strictures in conservative Madras.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Chennai writer bags National Award

Roopa Swaminathan’s book Star Dust: Vignettes from the fringes of the film industry has won her the National Award. I happened to read the book few months back and had blogged about the same here. Lack of proper marketing might be one of the reasons why this book didn’t turn out to be a commercial success. Publisher Penguin India could be blamed for this. The book was also priced a bit on the higher side (Rs. 275/-). Roopa goes behind the scenes and captures the lives of group dancers, technicians, assistant directors and extras. She also spent some time with Actor Chiyaan Vikram and tells us how he made it big, inspite of all odds.

Five Point Someone – What not to do at IIT
Five Point Someone should undoubtedly be one the recent success stories of the Indian publishing world. Rupa & Co. did a wonderful job of ensuring that Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat was marketed properly. The book was priced at Rs. 95/- and managed to sell 1-lakh copies. They even had roadshows all over India to promote the book.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Linkin Park – 19th July

Chutney Spears points us to a cartoon which helps in identifying people by their headgear

Baradwaj Rangan’s Oothappam’s in Outerspace

Drunk people are more likely to survive car crashes says Freakonomics Blog

Excuse me am I a !*#$%^&*&^? (via Asia Pundit)

Items attached to Starbucks restroom keys

How 7-11 got its name?

Associated Press on the first ever Singapore Bloggers Conference held over the weekend. Tomorrow.sg has more coverage. I did attend the event and managed to grab a T-shirt as well.

South Asian impact in Big Apple (via Vikram Arumilli)

Dubai’s Kerala connection (via Desipora)

If you want to maintain social ties, just send some email forwards

How to blog safely?

NYT talks about Blogs 101

Blog technologies (via Sadagopan)

How often should you update your blog?

Bloggers telling too much (via Aekta)

New Indian Express says that the London bombers might have been tricked by the ‘master’

Staff might get to decide on CEO’s salary

Adsense boosts Google revenues

Rediff says that premium coffee pubs are opening up. If the market is so attractive, why are the international chains so lazy in entering the Indian market.

Bharat Matrimony goes Offline

Satyam Computers may expand base in Chennai

There was a vintage car rally in Chennai recently. You can catch the pictures here.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Outlook magazine profiles Ilayaraja

Outlook’s S Anand has made a name for himself by writing controversial articles and he has come up with yet another one - a profile of Maestro Ilayaraja (Thanks to Ashwin Shanker for letting me know about this). As in the previous past, this article is likely to ruffle a few feathers. Did you know that IR’s real name is Gnanadesikan?
“But despite his achievements, Ilayaraja is uncomfortable with the truth of his origins”.

I finally managed to get my copy of Thiruvasagam in Symphony. I was able to listen to some of the songs today morning. I should say that I'm awestruck. I don't think I'm fit enough to review such a monumental album. I was exposed to Thiruvasagam at a young age but slowly lost touch with it. This might be another opportunity for me to re-establish contact with Thiruvasagam.

The Linkin Park will be up tomorrow. Thanks for the repeated reminders.

Is this a Publicity Gimmick?

International media has started turning its eyes towards the Coke – Sharad Haksar controversy. BBC has an article on the same. Now that both parties have gained enough mileage from this, it is time for some truce making.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

New Indian Express on the Impact of Internet

The Sunday edition of New Indian Express has a cover story on the impact of internet, needless to say that blogs have found their way to this article too.

Writer Sujatha says “Avoid blogs, they are endless ego trips. Be very choosy in adding to your favourites list. It becomes too big”. He is entitled to his opinion. Frankly speaking, I didn’t expect this from a tech savvy person like Sujatha. There might be too much clutter in the Blogosphere but that is not a reason to shun blogs”.

Maalan (of Sun News) says “Mamis enquire about the snowfall at Philadelphia with their son through Yahoo! chat. And non-resident Tamils write exciting reviews of Anniyan in their blogs on the day after it is released. Of course, train tickets are delivered at home”.

Indian Film Week in Singapore

Srijith points us to Indigo – The Indian Film Week, which will happen in Singapore from 27th July to 3rd August. An interesting assortment of films is in the offing.This is one film festival the movie buffs would regret missing.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

PVR Multiplex to enter Chennai

Rediff reports that PVR Multiplex (which has movie halls in Delhi and Bangalore) is planning to enter Chennai next year. The new PVR Multiplex will open at the AMPA Centre One Shopping Mall, which is coming up in Nelson Manickam Road. For those of you who are familiar with Chennai, Nelson Manickam Road is known for the frequent traffic snarls. Location wise it looks like a nice choice as it can attract crowd from Anna Nagar. I had blogged earlier that Sathyam Cineplex might set up a new multiplex in Adyar / Velachery. As we all know PVR’s prices will be in the range of Rs. 150 – 200. Till then, long live pirated VCD.

PVR's pricing is quite high by Indian standards. But the crowd still flocks to PVR. Going by the current prices of movie tickets in India, I guess there might not be much price difference between seeing a movie in India or in Singapore. Maybe there is room for some 'budget' movie halls (on the lines of Budget Airlines like Deccan Airlines and Budget Hotels like indiOne).

Abirami Megamall – Roof Top Movie Hall

I’m not sure how many of you are aware of the Roof Top Movie Hall, which is functioning in Abirami Megamall. This movie hall is equipped with special car lifts. Movies are normally screened on weekends. There is a multi cuisine food court, which includes the likes of Anjappar and Wangs Kitchen. I haven’t been to this roof top movie hall but have heard about it from few of my relatives. Tickets are priced around Rs. 250 and this includes the cost of food from the outlets functioning in the food court. The Movie Hall has a special protective ceiling, which can be used, in case of rains. If any of you have been to this Roof Top Movie Hall just share your experiences through the comments section.

New Indian Express to do the vanishing act?

Adlova hints that Chennai based newspaper New Indian Express might be shutting shop soon. Before the entry of Deccan Chronicle, New Indian Express was an also ran in the Chennai Print market and used to be a distant second. In the ongoing media wars, New Indian Express has been relegated to the third position. IMO New Indian Express has one of the better news sites (especially their South Indian focus) and let’s hope that they continue to function.

It’s Rediff’s turn to dish out sloppy stuff

The headline says “CA students to get loans from SBI”. What strikes your mind when the term CA is used? CA could mean Computer Associates (when used in the context of Technology) and could also mean Chartered Accountants (when used in the Indian context). The article goes on to say that the Institute of Computer Accountants has tied up with the State Bank of India to provide loans for its flagship course. Nobody in India (except maybe Rediff) can think of Computer Accountants when the acronym CA is used.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

News Channels and Crisis Reporting

Whether big cities like New York, London and Madrid are equipped to handle such emergencies like the recent bombings or not, the news channels (BBC & CNN) seem to be well equipped to handle marathon coverage like the one we saw last week. I am told that they also sacrifice some ad spots to cover the Breaking News.

Beeb is not in the best of financial health and we hear about layoffs quite regularly. It would be interesting to see how Al Jazeera TV can make an impact in this space. Riz Khan has been one of the high profile guys who have joined AlJazeera. AlJazeera has deep pockets (the exact capital investment is not known) and hence they are confident that they can compete with the biggies like BBC and CNN. To succeed in the news channel space, AlJazeera needs to build credibility and trust, especially in the Western world. If they are truly impartial (that’s what they claim), we’ll have more choice. To some extent, BBC and CNN have become a bit predictable and dish out the same stuff. If I switch from BBC to CNN, I get to hear the same story read out by a different news anchor. The priority, which each channel gives to the various news, also seems to be quite similar.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Next Wave of Outsourcing

Indian BPO’s have been at the receiving end because of the recent exposes at MsourcE and Infinity eSearch. But the Indian BPO industry seems to have risen to the occasion to help out the UK customers during the recent London blasts. Hope such responses help in bringing back the confidence in the Indian BPO industry.

Journalism BPO is the latest to join the fray

Reuters plans to outsource US journalism / reporting to India. Reuters plans to hire Indian journalists to cover the developments in the US. These journalists will be based in Bangalore. It’s not clear whether this model will succeed, but if it does, I’m sure other newswires could follow suit. Is it possible for an Indian journalist to cover the US developments without having his feet on the ground?

India’s strength in Mathematics is getting noticed as the US decided to outsource Maths tuition to Indian firms. CAT coaching firm Career Launcher seems to have bagged this contract. Niche areas such as these might still be up for grabs and the biggies (read Infy, Wipro, TCS) might not be the ones who will compete in this space.

Don’t write off the BPO story.


Bloggers.SG (Singapore Blogger Meet) is happening this Saturday (16th July). More than 300 bloggers are expected to attend the meet. This should definitely be one of the biggest blogger meets (or should I say Conference?) ever. The Mainstream Media is going to cover the event. Since I don't know how to put the above image as a banner ad, I decided to put it in the post itself. They have a neatly drawn up agenda for the event. The organisers have managed to rope in MSN and Lexmark as the sponsors. Bloggers.SG T-shirts will also be sold at the venue.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

TiS Breakeven?

Ma Foi Consultants’ K Pandiarajan has gone on record saying that Ilayaraja’s Thiruvasagam in Symphony received orders of 1.5 Lakh CD’s prior to the launch of the album (source: Business Today). In India, the CD was priced at Rs. 150 (Rs. 135 if you had bought it through ChennaiOnline). Based on some assumptions, I have worked out the following:-

Cost of CD (blank CD + CD production + printing of labels) = Rs. 25
Margin for the retailer (music shop) based on guestimates = Rs 35
Profit per CD = Rs. 150 – Rs. 60 = Rs. 90
Total profit so far = 150000 x Rs. 90 = Rs. 1.35 Crores

I have not considered overseas sales and sales of audio cassettes here.If you add in the numbers from the post launch sales, the profits could easily cross Rs. 1.5 crores. Based on this simple back of the envelope calculation I can say that Tamil Maiyam and Ilayaraja would have recovered the cost (Rs. 1.5 Crores). This overwhelming response should give them the confidence to work on such ventures in the future. Let’s hope Ilayaraja announces his next ‘mega’ project soon.

Thanda Matlab......

Kiruba reported about the Coke – Sharad Haksar tussle yesterday. I was surprised to receive an email from the man himself. The mail looks like a well-drafted press release. I found the same in Tiffinbox as well. Coke itself was in the centre of a controversy recently as they had poked fun @ Goli soda (a local drink in Chennai / TN).

IMO, Sharad Haksar has kept track of who all have mentioned about him in the recent past and hence thought of presenting his view to the Blogosphere through blogs, which have mentioned him in the past.

My 2 cents – Coke has over-reacted by going public about this. By doing so, Coke has given national / international publicity to a hoarding which was hitherto adorning one of the main roads of Chennai. I wasn’t even aware of this till yesterday. What Coke could have done is to sort out this issue by speaking to Sharad Haksar. These kind of tussles are hardly settled in court. Will let you guys know when I get wind of any out-of-court settlement.

I present below the unedited version of the email that I received from Sharad:-

Coca-Cola has slapped a legal notice on ace photographer, Sharad Haksar, claiming that his 'Thirsty' hoarding on Nungambakkam High Road in Chennai has done 'incalculable damage to the goodwill and reputation' of their brand. Coke has threatened to file a defamation suit claiming damages of Rs. 2 Million if Sharad Haksar doesn't remove the hoarding 'unconditionally and immediately' and also provide an 'unconditional apology in writing'.

Reacting to this legal threat Sharad responds, "I am very surprised by the reaction of Coca-Cola. The hoarding does not demean, derogate or defame any person. It is just a creative piece of work. There is neither falsity nor intention to defame. I don't see how this can hurt any one. In fact, to ensure, no one takes offence, I had clearly put a disclaimer on the hoarding. Infact senior Coke officials who have visited my office had seen the picture even before it was put on the hoarding . They didn't raise any objection. Now they have issued me a legal notice. I am indeed zapped. I have been in the advertising industry for nearly 15 years now. I have built the reputation of many big brands through my images. I even did a shoot for Coke three months back. I would never do anything to hurt any brand. Leave alone Coke.. I would have expected Coke to take it sportingly.. Instead they've chosen to issue a legal notice. I have no intentions of issuing any apology. Because I have not committed anything wrong. If Coke pursues this legal course, my lawyers shall take appropriate counter action."

Incidentally, Sharad Haksar is the most awarded Indian photographer in recent times. In April 2005, he was declared the Adobe Galgo 'Photographer of the Year'. In May 2005, he was selected by Popular Photography as one of the Top 10 Photographers of the world. And in July 2005 he won a silver lion for India at the prestigious advertising awards show at Cannes.

To view the image please visit his website

or the images can be downloaded at www.sharadhaksar.com/thirsty

Monday, July 11, 2005

Linkin Park - 11th July

Priya captures the events, which happen in a South Indian wedding

Dilip D’Souza says that engineering colleges are dime a dozen in TN

Shekys take on Phone in programs

Telegraph newspaper writes about the Kolkata Blogosphere. Few familiar names (Blogavind, Bridal Beer, J Alfred Prufrock) in there.

In an interview to Rediff, Vivek Paul says that Wipro is well placed to capitalize on available opportunities. In a related article, Rediff says that Vivek Paul had expressed his intentions one year ago.

In this insightful article, Pankaj Pandit says that the new breed of budget carriers might have over estimated the short term returns of the Budget Airline industry. (via Hindu Business Line)

Kiran Jonnalagada’s presentation on Blogging

Reader’s Digest to launch a vernacular edition in India. Let’s see whether they can maintain the same standard.

Airtel plans to launch Sudoku on the Mobile. I doubt whether it would succeed. Why would somebody want to pay Rs. 10 for an Airtel sudoku when any of their morning newspapers carries a Sudoku puzzle everyday.

Business Line says that Young Indians have a bigger say in decision-making.

UK is in dire need of dentists and India might end up exporting some of its dentists.

Vikram points to a TIME article which says that US companies are targeting the affluent Indian diaspora in the US. Given the high disposable incomes of the Indian community in US, none of the marketers can afford to ignore them.

BusinessWeek says that Yahoo and Google might rush into Blog search. I hope Technorati will improve it’s service levels to counter the threat.

EDLP (Every Day Low Prices) became famous because of Walmart and now EDEO (Employee Discounts for EveryOne) might catch on because of General Motors. Since the auto majors are not in the best of health, they are resorting to new gimmicks to stay in the market. In a related development, Chrysler plans to us Lee Iacocca in the commercials for Chrysler cars. Let's see whether the Iacocca magic will work again.

Newsweek says that Citizen journalism (Blogs and Photo hosting sites) played a major role in covering the recent London blasts. Wired goes onto say that the picture of the double decker bus which was involved in the London Bomb blast was actually shot by an amateur photographer who was carrying his digital camera at that time.

Evolution of Starbucks logo

Item girl Yana Gupta says that she loves South Indian Food.

Chennai music collector goes digital

Friday, July 08, 2005

Two in the Bush

Award winning ad by Panadol


One is Enough. PANADOL

via Adlova

For a larger image click here

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Take the movie route to lure the Indian tourist

Business Line reports that Singapore Tourist Board (STB) has inked a deal with Rakesh Roshan’s Filmkraft to film a major portion of the Hrithik’s forthcoming movie in S’pore. This looks like a win-win deal for both the parties as Filmkraft will get some sops because of selecting Singapore and in return S’pore will get to promote some of its tourist attractions through the film. A part of popular Tamil mega-serial Metti Oli was also shot in Singapore. The STB worked together with the producers in this serial as well.

The Indian traveller is becoming more and more affluent and countries like S’pore and Switzerland are using the movie route to attract the tourist dollars. Although I don’t know the exact way in which Switzerland is promoting the filming of Indian movies, they seem to be attracting lot of Indian tourists especially after some of the Shah Rukh Khan and Yash Chopra movies were shot there. The Swiss government chose to honour Yash Chopra for his help in promoting Switzerland as a tourist destination.

The State governments (in India) do charge the filmmakers for shooting the movies in public places. Given the crowd problems in India, it becomes quite difficult to shoot films in public places. Due to some of these monetary and non-monetary reasons, filmmakers are increasingly opting for the cool confines of foreign countries.

If the same London Tower Bridge, Swiss Alps, Twelve Apostles, Niagara Falls, Petronas Towers and Sydney Harbour Bridge are going to be shown in each and every song sequence, people are going to grow sick and tired of it. They might as well see Discovery Travel and Adventure Channel, as they don’t have to bear with the ‘white’ group dancers clad in desi costumes.

With Bollywood becoming more and more prominent, it is better that we showcase India to the world (through our movies). TIME Magazine had recently come up with a list called "The Best of Asia" and Bollywood was mentioned as the "Best Place to Dream of Stardom". Tourism Minister Renuka Choudhury can utilize some of her lavish ad budgets to project Indian tourist destinations. Movies like Bride & Prejudice would have been excellent opportunities to do this as they were targeted at the international audience and not just the Indian filmgoer. Movies can also be used as a medium to promote domestic tourism in India. With the growing popularity of Budget airlines, domestic tourism will get a quantum jump if things fall in place.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Indian design firm wins BusinessWeek design award

Satish Gokhale of Design Directions has won the Bronze award in the Consumer Products category of the Annual Design Awards conducted by BusinessWeek magazine. It is quite sorry to note that the Indian media has failed to project these kind of firms. Why do we have to learn about such outstanding firms only after the international media showcases them? I hadn’t heard about this firm before and I’m sure it would be the same case with most of you (unless you are part of the design industry in India).

Eco Slippers

Design Directions has designed a disposable biodegradable slippers which is priced at Rs. 22 / pair. The product looks quite ethnic and cool. With this kind of pricing I think it can make an international impact. Other prominent products, which have won the award, include the iPOD Shuffle, Korean MP3 product iRiver and Motorola Razr V3.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Print Wars Update

The Hindu Vs Deccan Chronicle

Adlova reports that Deccan Chronicle has notched up a print run of 2 Lakhs in Chennai. Not sure how much of this is coming from the ICICI Credit Card subscribers. I doubt whether they are making any money because of their low newsstand price (Re. 1) and their prime time ads on the SUN Network. I don’t think Deccan Chronicle can make lot of money through ads, as they seem to be offering them at a very low price (to woo the advertisers). As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, they might be using the money, which they raised through their IPO. All said and done, given the way Deccan Chronicle is making strides, The Hindu can’t take it too lightly.

Economic Times is spot on

How much ever we hate ET and ToI for the kind of journalism they follow, we certainly can’t ignore ET. ET was the first one to break the Ambani feud and more recently, ET was the first to come out with the story of Vivek Paul’s resignation from Wipro.

Business Standard doesn’t know how to spell Temasek

Singapore’s Temasek Holdings has joined hands with Sabre Capital to invest in Indian equities. Business Standard has spelt Temasek as Tamasek (and this was the headline in their site). I hope they know what they are talking about.

BS-Tamasek or Temasek?

For a larger image click here
(Spl. thanx to Ram for helping me out in capturing the ScreenShot)



Monday, July 04, 2005

Linkin Park - 4th July

Initial impressions of an IT job
Dinesh tells about the dreams he had before joining an IT company. He also narrates the initial impressions of his IT job.

Megha says that all bloggers want to become Shilpa Shetty some day

Migrating to the US, pay up
World Bank has come out with a report saying that an exit tax (equivalent to 2 months salary) should be levied on IIT graduates migrating to the US for employment. Reuben Abraham and Gaurav Sabnis analyze this World Bank report (via Amit Varma)

Bill Gates visited S’pore recently and Random Access was one of the privileged few to hear him speak. Random Access captures Bill Gates’ reaction to somebody who asked why Microsoft was not following the Open Source way.

Ramanujam Sridhar on the need to rebuild the Reliance brand

IHT on Indian Airline market

Son’s rise at Wipro (via Indian Express)

Vivek Paul’s Elephant trick

Women outnumber men in BPO’s. Business Line has a report on the Male to Female ratio in IT firms and BPO sector.

If you are a women working late hours this spray might come in handy

Sudha Murthy has some travel tips for women

What do international interns have to say about Infosys?

Singing can stop snoring. As long as nobody objects to the singing, this can work fine.

What’s in what’s out?

Chandramukhi in Zulu
The Hindu in its report on the half-year review of Tamizh Cinema says that Chandramukhi might be dubbed into Zulu to meet the demands of the South African public. With the kind of impact this movie has made, the word Lakalakalaka might even be added to the English dictionary :-)

TiS Debate
Navin has an interesting debate going on Thiruvasagam Audio, which was released recently. Navin says that everyone who has the ability to listen should be able to enjoy the music and money should not act as a limiting factor.

Air Deccan spreads its wings in TN, Tuticorin being the latest addition

Shell out Rs. 100 to enter Snow City in Sultry Chennai

Singapore will stage the Olympic shootout this Tuesday. New York, Paris and London are strong contenders and they have brought in Hillary Clinton, Jacques Chirac and Tony Blair respectively to push for their case.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Ilayaraja’s Thiruvasagam Audio release

Balaji and Swahilya had the privilege of attending the launch of Ilayaraja’s Thiruvasagam in Symphony (or Oratorio) album yesterday. Although Ilayaraja requested all his fans to buy the original album, some people seem to be searching for the MP3’s. Some of them landed on my blog while they were looking for this album in Google.

Business Line had an article on the economics behind the Thiruvasagam release. Ilayaraja didn’t take any money (as remuneration) for the production of this album. However, Ilayaraja and Tamil Maiyam (the producers) jointly share the rights of the album. They have taken a loan of Rs. 1 crore towards the production of this album. If this doesn’t succeed commercially it will come as a big jolt to the producers. Needless to say that it will also put paid to ambitions of such innovative projects in the near future.

Rayil Sneham

What do you do if your favourite song is not available in the stores? I decided to download it (with some amount of reluctance). I have been searching for the song Indha Veenaikku Theriyadhu from the Balachander serial Rayil Sneham. Dinesh had mentioned about it recently and I had no option other than to download the same. If anyone knows about the singer / music director, please let me know.

No Goodbye for this TATA

The Asian edition of Newsweek magazine has a cover story on the resurgence of the TATA group (This link is working only in IE, I was unable to open it in Firefox. Is this because MSNBC/Newsweek is part of Microsoft?). Statistics says that most family businesses cease to exist beyond the third generation. But the TATA Group seems to be a clear exception. Newsweek (for the benefit of their international audience) says that the TATA Group is something like the GE of India. They went one step further and said that TATA Group is much more than GE as the Tatas use about 60% of their profits for community development work. Newsweek also draws parallels between TATA Sons (the holding company) and Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett’s firm). Let’s hope that the much awaited Rs. 1 lakh car (Ratan Tata’s pet project) comes out soon.


[Pic Courtesy: Newsweek Asia Edition]

Succession issues

Although Ratan Tata is 67 years old, he looks more like somebody who is in his late 40’s / early 50’s. The Million Dollar Question on everybody’s mind is who will succeed Ratan Tata? Now that Ratan Tata’s tenure has been extended for a few more years, this talk will subside for some time.