Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sunsilk Real FM By Anurag Basu--Movie Review

When I was invited for the special screening of this movie, I had very scant hopes for a Friday that changes shape with a new release has never been my "cup of tea". It is difficult to spot a 'stereotype breaker' in Bollywood which is my kind of entertainment, considering the masala movies it has been famous for. But, this one didn't let me down, and infact startled me with the surprise elements it had.

The movie is about Ria, a young college goer who has a loving family and two best friends. One of them is a go-getter like her while the other one is a lady whose wings have been clipped by her father and always struggles precariously to keep up with the times. Ria's brother is a student in a foreign country and her dad is the owner of a popular radio station. The movie encourages the idea of 'electronic cigarettes' which is a new invention designed to help a smoker kick the butt. Ria's brother recommends it to his father who is an avid smoker and Ria makes sure she hands it out to him on the breakfast table. While at the radio station, the employees are seen pressing for a salary hike and protesting against Ria's father. He tries to buy more time, but they don't budge and refuse to host the Independence day shows, slated to happen on the very next day. Due to all the tensions he experiences while trying to save his sinking ship, and an infamous history of smoking, Ria's father falls prey to a heart attack. 

What follows is Ria's ambitious attempts to host the Independence day radio show to save her father's face and the radio channel. She charts a rare and creative plan to host the show which is rid with difficulties. To begin with, Ria and her friends struggle to dish out original content for the radio show. Social media and Google, the popular looking glass that has made life a bed of roses for each one of us, comes to their rescue. Meanwhile, the old employees of the radio station come over to create chaos and discourage Ria, along with Ria's ex-boyfriend who doesn't help, but harm, only to get baptized of his sins later in the movie.

The story gets told around this battle to get things done with two love angles thrown in.  The artists did a wonderful job by offering a bits and pieces of their homeland to us on a platter, with me enjoying the music from God's own country. It did bring back nostalgia of a land washed by backwaters and filled with coconut grooves. Ria's shy friend also gets a platform to recognize the gift of singing she had been bestowed with, which was a beautiful moment in the film.
Anurag Basu is not your typical commercial movie maker and deep inside me I was sure of this fact.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mystery Shopping- Mock it and fill your Pocket--Book Review

Title: Mystery Shopping: Mock it and Fill your Pocket
Author: Saurabh Bhatia
Publisher: Become Shakespeare
Number of pages: 109

Mystery Shopping by Saurabh Bhatia is a bible for the mystery shoppers. It has only 109 pages which makes it easy on the eye and mind. I happened to hear a lot about mystery shopping and was dying to unravel the mystery behind it when I saw it at the Become Shakespeare book store. 
Although the book is touted as a handbook or guide for mystery shoppers one can learn a lot of lessons from it.  The book underlines and explains the need for effective communication and relationship building which maybe helpful to you in both your professional as well as personal life. 

The first two chapters talk of what is mystery shopping and who needs it and for what reasons. The next two chapters tell you of the qualities you must possess to be a mystery shopper. There are real life examples as well as tips from the author, that help to identify one's grey areas and work on them. The next two chapters are tips and tricks that anyone can use to reap benefits in their professional field. Many guidelines for writing reports and using technology to one's advantage were lessons I had forgotten. Reading the book was a gentle nudge to improve. I also liked the seventh chapter that talks of e-mail and phone etiquettes, that served as a reminder.
The most useful of all chapters is the 'Frequently Asked Questions' section that one must ideally read after reading the first two chapters. Doing so will be helpful for a novice and will lay the background for easy reading of the real life shopper examples.

The language is simple and the pointers make it easier to grasp the tips and tricks. The graphical representation in the beginning of each chapter was a great idea to not make the book read like a boring handbook.
I give it 4/5, four points for the lucidity in the language and chapters that were neatly laid along with the short pointers. One point goes away for the few facts that I believe got repeated over and over again. The author could have worded them differently to not sound redundant.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Hunt for Kohinoor by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar

Title: The Hunt for the Kohinoor
Author: Manreet Sodhi Someshwar
Publisher: Westland Books
Number of pages: 425
Genre: Thriller

It is astonishing to read a fast paced engaging thriller that races past in ninety six hours, without giving away the plot and reading in redundancy.
Her language was simple and lucid with connotative vocabulary in the narration. What held my attention was the protagonist and her daunting adventures, for the Indian fiction market such a character is the rarest of rare. It would make for a great bollywood script with thrilling elements like terrorism and national security in the picture. The story is set in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan with picturesque locales that leave you spellbound. The book begins at a snail's pace which gave the reader all the time in the world to get acquainted with the characters and their mannerisms.
Mehr the main protagonist suddenly discovers that her dead father is alive when a high profile politician of Pakistan gets murdered. Mehr is pushed to investigate the lives of people who are posing as a serious threat to national security.
Much like a Bollywood thriller, it has every kind of a character that a perfect racer of a thriller needs. The characters help the story to flow although the large number of characters crowd the plot, at certain places and make you confused. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Aadhar- A Scam of Myths

I recently came to know that Nandan Nilenkani will be contesting for the Lok Sabha elections from Bangalore South against the five time elected BJP MP Anant Kumar. In a larger scheme of things, I now realize why Nilenkani left his high paying job at Infosys and decided to head the UID project. 
For someone as prolific as Nilenkani, to not have weighed the pros and cons of Aaadhar and jumped into the bandwagon of a schematic scam was weirdly unbelievable. With Nilenkani declared as candidate for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, one can only think of how the Congress led UPA government has hit the wall when it comes to scams. Touted as a scam bigger than the 2G, since it was passed through an executive committee outside parliament,  one can only feel extremely disappointed and sorrowful at Nilenkani's political ambitions. And the mountain of lies he had to heap, to reach his goal. 
Despite a Supreme Court bench questioning the scheme's validity and passing an order which said that "No benefit of service shall be denied on account of non-possession of Aadhar and no illegal immigrants would be issued Aadhar. The government drunk by power, is carelessly misguiding the nation by linking Aadhar to essential services like LPG, gas connections, marriage registration, salaries and provident fund disbursal, until the September 2013 Court ruling against it. Since Aadhar is being linked to the NPR or the National population Register, it is stealthily being made mandatory. And nothing is being done to keep a check on this misgiving.

To begin with, it is impossible to roll out a scheme like Aadhar in a country like India. For the many Indians living on the streets this card would only be an added burden. Many of the farmers and laborers do not have fingerprints of good quality, neither do the elderly. People suffering from diseases of the eye and the aged, would not be able to give iris imprints of the quality that a person with an empirically average eye sight can. In places like J & K and the North East it will always be difficult to enroll citizens for Aadhar, because of security issues. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Aadhar: Why a voluntary scheme is being pushed through?

Delhi High Court recently challenged Delhi government's guidelines to make Aadhar mandatory for procuring a National Food Security card for citizens who are enlisted below the poverty line.
The petitioner put forward a plea citing the apex court's ruling of September 23rd 2013 last year, that said no person should be left behind while availing social welfare benefits in the absence of an Aadhar Card. The petition by Ram Kishan and others sought taking away Delhi government's guidelines which requires submission of an Aadhar card and its details by a household for getting National Food Security consumer card.
The plea filed through advocate Yogesh Kumar also aims to order the Department of Food and Public supplies to look into the petition application for food security card without Aadhar and to provide foodgrains as per the old rates and norms.
The National Food Security Act which came into being on September 12th 2013 with effect from July 5th 2013 aims to provide foodgrains to eligible households at subsidized rates through PDS system. The petition is against Delhi government's guidelines under the Act asking for Aadhar number for identifying eligible households that is those below the poverty line.
The last date of submission of the application for food security is March 15th. Earlier in the year, mandatory Aadhar linked transfer of LPG subsidy to beneficiaries accounts was suspended and the cap raised from nine to twelve.
Also to avail government benefits and services like gas connections, marriage registration,salaries and provident fund. Aadhar is not mandatory as per the September 24th 2013 ruling of the Supreme Court.
The interim order was passed in a PIL filed by KS Puttaswamy who stressed that the UID scheme was not passed as per the directives from the Parliament and without discussion in Parliament, and only by the executive ruling.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Aadhar - What people know and think of it?

It is astonishing to note that the government's populist gimmick in Aadhar is a firecracker with sound and no fire. Most people especially the educated Indian doesn't have the slightest inkling of what Aadhar is all about?

When interviewed as shown in the video above, people only had ignorance to mete out. Some said it was as important as pan card and perhaps its replacement. Others sweared by its importance and called it an Indian's citizenship card while many more called it a populist persuasion by the government. While only one gentleman believed that it was being thrust on the citizens of the country while plying with our security.