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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Friday, October 20, 2006

On A Hiatus

Regular posting resumes in mid-Nov

Thursday, October 19, 2006

How To Stop Them?

DesiBlah has been aggregating posts from a few blogs (include mine) without anybody's permission. Somehow, their site lands up ahead of the original blog in search engine results. They had a contact page and I wrote to them asking them to remove my feed from the aggregation as I don't want to be featured there. There has been no response from them for more than two weeks. Further, I notice that they have removed the contact information from their site. They seem to be more focussed on making money through Google Adsense. Does anybody have any idea how one can counter them?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Radhika At The Receiving End

When Radhika joined ADMK just before the State Elections in May, it was widely reported that she had no intentions of joining the party and it was only Amma who forcefully handed over the party membership card to Radhika. Radhika must have been in a tight spot as she would not have expected Amma to hand over the ADMK membership card in front of the large media contingent. The media had gathered to cover Sarath's entry into ADMK and Radhika had just accompanied Sarath.

Radhika never seemed to be comfortable in the ADMK camp. Radhika's Radaan continued its business relationship with Sun Network. Even though there were reports that Kalanidhi Maran & Co. were planning to terminate Radhika's mega-serials and game shows, those rumours never turned out to be true. Radaan's programmes seem to be reasonably popular and Radhika's proximity to MK's family might have worked out in her favour. Radhika was also seen in the recent felicitation ceremony for MK, but Sarath Kumar was absent (no surprises there!).

Radhika was in the eye of the storm once again when she was chosen as Coke's brand ambassador in the campaign to allay public fears about the presence of pesticides in the cola drink. Lots of organisations protested that Radhika should not have signed up for this assignment as it looks like she has sacrificed her principles just to make a quick buck. Even I was surprised by Coke's decision. Aamir's choice was a bit justified as he was Coke's existing brand ambassador. However, Radhika was never associated with Coke before and they just brought her in only for this campaign.

Although being a part of ADMK, I have not seen Radhika campaigning actively for Amma's party. A combination of the above factors might have resulted in Amma expelling Radhika from ADMK. It would be interesting to see Sarath's next move

From Haircuts To Tax Cuts

"For the first 10 months of my stay at Harvard, I had an allowance of seven dollars a day and that too to take care of my boarding, my food, my personal expenses, my Saturday dinner, my Sunday meals and therefore, what did I do? I gave up cutting my hair," he said at a function in Mumbai last night to launch the Harvard Business Review.

"I didn't go to a hair dresser for two years. I cut my hair only in the last week of my stay at Harvard, because, I was afraid, my mother would have been shocked to see my hair flowing down to my shoulder or even below," he said.

If the media can get hold of PC's snap during this period, it might be a collector's delight. I'm trying to imagine how such an hairstyle would have gone with the veshti PC wears these days.

Yahoo Diwali's Gift

Users of Yahoo's Phone Out Service (Yahoo's equivalent of SkypeOut) are in for a bonanza during this Diwali. Yahoo is offering free calls to India on Diwali day (21st Oct). This sounds like Yahoo's way of luring users to this service. Skype usually offers free Skype Out days once in a while. Looks like Yahoo took a leaf out of Skype's book.

The promotion applies to users of Yahoo Voice’s premium Phone Out service. As per the offer, the calls to India will cost 4.9 US cents per minute from Oct 17 to 20 and between Oct 22nd and 23rd. And what may be termed as a Diwali gift from the company, the calls to India will be free on the day of Diwali, Oct 21st.

The offer is applicable to all the existing subscribers of Yahoo Messenger’s Phone Out service. New users are required to download Yahoo Messenger and sign up for a Phone Out account to avail the promotion.

Users in Singapore can sign up for Yahoo Messenger's Phone Out Service by paying S$15 as the initial payment. The initial payment for US users is $10.

Update: Dreamchaser points me to the Yahoo Voice page which has the exact time information during which this promotion will be applicable.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Given the hectic activity in the mall space, you are going to be spoilt for choices. Do add the mall being planned by The Taj Group at the erstwhile Express Estates.

Some of the major malls that will dominate the shopping scene in Chennai include the Prestige Forum Vijaya Mall on the site of Vijaya Sesh Mahal Kalyana Mandapam, as a joint venture between the Prestige Group, Bangalore, and G.H.Reddy of Green Park Hotel Group, the 1.27 lakh sq feet Chennai Central Mall in Nungambakkam opposite Taj Coromandel as a joint venture between Srinivasa Shipping and Property Development Ltd and KB Mall Management Pvt Ltd, Mumbai, a Pantaloons Group, Ampa Group - six lakh square feet Ampa Mall on Poonamallee High Road, the 2 million sq feet Kishore Biyani - Kshitij Venture Capital Mall at Velachery, the DLF Mall on Commander-in-Chief Road, Egmore, the Riverside Mall from the MARG group, the 2.5 lakh sq feet Coromandel Plaza by Suryavardhan Estates, and a 6.1 lakh sq.ft Allied Group-Arihant Mall n the OMR, besides of course the already built and functioning 4,10,000 sq.ft., Chennai City Centre on Dr. Radhakrishnan Road.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Air India Express To Connect Chennai & Singapore

Chennai finally joins the list of cities which are connected by international budget carriers. Air India Express, the only Indian international budget carrier has been flying between the Middle East and God's own country for sometime now. Even Sidin had an hilarious post on his experience onboard an Air India Express flight to Abu Dhabi. Although Air India Express had expressed interest in flying to destinations in South East Asia, it is commencing operations on the Chennai - Singapore route only from this month end. JetStar Asia, a popular budget airline, already operates on the Bangalore - Singapore route.

A quick glance through the Air India Express site shows that return fares hover around SGD 575, when compared to the SGD 700 - 900 fares offered by full service airlines. Given that the budget carriers impose restrictions like lesser weight allowance, no / limited free food and date change penalties, the fare difference may not be big enough to cause a shift from a full service airline to a budget airline. However, if AIE fares plunge south (below SGD 500), it would be a runaway success.

BTW, if Indian decides to start a budget carrier, would it name it Indian Express?

Simbhu Lures Mallika

Simbhu usually ropes in popular actresses and models for song sequences in his films and his current actions suggest that he has not given up on it. Simbhu signed up Yana Gupta and Mandira Bedi in Manmadhan. It has been reported that Simbhu is very keen on working with Mallika Sherawat for a song in his forthcoming movie Vallavan. Since Mallika is already featuring in big budget movies like Kamal's Dasavatharam and Rajini's Sivaji, she seems to be asking an exorbitant sum as her salary.

He called on her during her stay in Chennai in the hotel and held a discussion on the prospects of being cast in his Vallavan. Everything went well until Mallika uttered sexily what she would expect in return. Well, news is that Simbu almost fainted the same instance after hearing her pay packet. It probably is more than the entire budget of Vallavan. We sincerely believe that Simbu has not gone up to the already (w)ailing producer with a request.

Knowing Simbhu, don't be surprised if he manages to sign up Mallika Sherawat.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Virtual Campaign For Local Body Polls

The TN local body polls is round the corner and campaign seems to have reached a feverish pitch. One would probably expect Orkut to be last place for a candidate to come and campaign for the polls. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a scrap from a candidate belonging to Lok Paritran (yes, they are still around!). The local body polls are for wards and the Orkut communities usually exist for most assembly constituencies. The LP candidate seems be targetting all residents of a particular locality as the candidate doesn't have much information about the ward of the Orkut member.

Like most polls, this local body poll also has its fair share of interesting candidates and one of them is Batcha Singh, the owner of the popular Cozee restaurant near Besant Nagar Beach. Let's see whether his popularity can be converted into votes.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

German Newspaper's Hindi Masthead

The ongoing Frankfurt Book Fair has generated quite a bit of media attention in India due to India theme adopted by the fair. The German media has also joined the party by going for a Hindi masthead. Taz, a German newspaper has published a Hindi masthead in its issue dated 4th October. This is the probably the first time I'm coming across a situation where a newspaper has tweaked it's masthead to suit a particular occasion. Have you come across any such instances?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tamil Speaker Attracts Attention At Seattle Airport

South Asians (and West Asians) have been having a tough time passing through airport security as a result of the increased security measures. It was recently reported that a group of people from Mumbai were detained in Amsterdam and no explicit reason was given by the Dutch government. The latest in this series is a Tamil speaker who was interrogated at Seattle airport as his language was found to be 'suspicious'. (via)

A 32-year-old man speaking Tamil and some English about a sporting rivalry was questioned at Sea-Tac Airport and missed his flight Saturday because at least one person thought he was suspicious.

The man was speaking Tamil, a language largely used in India, Sri Lanka and Singapore, on his cell phone at the departure gate and on the aircraft. An off-duty airline employee heard the conversation and informed the flight crew.

The man also apparently said something in English about a sporting rivalry at his alma mater.

If you are desperate to catch an all important flight, you know what to do.

Update On BehindWoods Article

I managed to speak to Manoj of BehindWoods and resolve this issue. He has apologized for what has happened and has instructed his team to credit the source of the article. The Namitha article now acknowledges the source. Thanks for all the support.

Monday, October 02, 2006

MK's Filmi Fundas

The nexus between Kollywood and politics is quite well known and T R Jawahar of News Today writes on this issue with special emphasis on MK’s current intimacy with tinsel town and also about the grand function which was held to felicitate MK. Providing tax waiver to producers opting for Tamil titles doesn’t really promote Tamil. Actually, this move is a huge revenue loss to the government. TRJ doesn’t fail to ridicule this move. Tamil blogger Kuzhali also has a related post on the name change drama.

More than the speeches, the 'cultural' extravaganza that unfolded at the function was the biggest talking point, not just in the media but also amidst the DMK chief's co-borns who were in full attendance. But they can be forgiven for enjoying the eyefuls which should have come as a big respite from the dreary baritones of political platforms. But should not the CM in his much acclaimed capacity as the sole Thaanai Thalaivan of the Tamils and their culture too have objected to what was essentially a sleazy show? Rather, the rational question as to what the celluloid dolls, many of whom were non-Tamil nymphets, dancing to peppy numbers, had to do with Tamil culture was lost in the maze of glitzy costumes and shaking limbs. Or probably the sole custodians of Tamil culture have silently amended it to accommodate the gyrations and hip-hip-hurrahs of such sizzling sirens and scantily-clad starlets, we do not know. Whatever, but the people would have no problems if such fare were part of some awards function or a fund-raiser, but the 'show' sure was a bit too queer and even quirky to qualify as an entertainment for a Chief Minister who incidentally is well past the eighties, not to mention the Governor of another State who came in tow. How we wish PMK's Ramadoss too was part of the audience along with his self-styled moral cops! There might have even been a political realignment in the State right on the stage!

Whether or not the CM has time for resolving the state’s problem, most of his available time seems to be taken up in resolving disputes within the coalition and also in attending to matters relating to Kollywood. Parijatham and Poi are two movies, which received favourable reviews in Murasoli recently. When the release of Imsai Arasan was delayed, it was brought to the attention of MK and he intervened to resolve the dispute.

It is rumoured that film disputes like censor problems are routinely taken to him and he seems to have all the time for them. Film previews are as much a part of his 'official' engagements and if a producer or director or actor is lucky, he may even be favoured with a review in Murasoli by the ultimate script-writer himself. Tax concessions and subsidies are for the asking if stipulations of 'Tamil' orientation are met. Little wonder several much publicised movie titles have suddenly and silently been 'Tamilised'. Jillu became sillu and even Godfather has reportedly turned over a new leaf. The themes and depictions could be anti-Tamil culture, which is no problem, but not the name for sure.

The star-studded event will be shown on Sun TV sometime in the near future and you can’t miss the big bang promos even if you wish to ignore it.

Onions, Garlic And Much More

Srividya Natarajan's No Onions Nor Garlic has been receiving rave reviews and I am desperate to get a copy of it. Looks like I need to wait a little while before I can lay my hands on it.

Just finished reading Meera Rao's Madras Mosaic, a book which has been lying in book shelf for a long while. The book is categorized under non-fiction as it is mostly based on real life experiences of the author. Although the book promised some humuor, it fell short in that department. Most of the stories were about usual stuff like filter kaapi, auto menace, career-minded single women, December kutcheris and the phenomenon of 40 something women becoming grandmas (Glorified Aayahs Association).

In contrast, Chennai Latte had much more to offer. Ranjitha Ashok's distinct brand of humour and Biswajit Balasubramanian's impressive cartoons blended well to create a truly Madras brew.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Half-baked Opinions And Organized Gossips

ToI is known to come up with blog-bashing articles from time to time and it is no surprise that they have done it yet again. The article projects bloggers in poor light and suggests that the blogosphere is full of miscreants who are losers in real life. I guess this is ToI's way of responding to all the flak that it receives from blogistan.

Everyone has a story to tell, but everyone is not a natural-born storyteller. Everyone has a right to an opinion, but a lot of people confuse it with meaningless fuming and ranting. Everyone has a right to be stupid, but some people abuse the privilege. There are a lot of people who are sick and tired of having to eke their way through life. A lot of people are sick of being nobody. A lot of people's lives have been reduced to inconsequential chatter with their inconsequential friends. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions and their lives a second-hand mimicry of others' life. Such people form groups, stick together and find comfort in each others' miseries.

But the pace at which the blogosphere is getting cramped with half-wits, religious maniacs, failed writers, sociopaths and cold-blooded killers, is scary. They all scream so loudly that those talking sense have to drop their decibel levels.

And no one can beat Indian bloggers when it comes to self-obsessed preaching, gossiping and bitching. The Indian blog which has made the most news, carries nothing but office gossip of the two leading TV channels. Called warfornews, it leaves nothing to imagination, not even the office memos which are also posted on the blog. They are like a lynch mob who will not spare you if you dare to cross them. If this is a new form of journalism then it'll make sense only to those who live in a post-modern bubble.