Tamil classic movie, ‘Nayakan’!

One of the few Indian films to be included in TIME magazine list of ‘All-Time 100 Best Films’ in 2005, ‘Nayakan’, is a unique collaboration between director ‘Mani Ratnam’ and ‘Kamal Haasan’.

Released in 1987, this was perhaps the most critically and commercially acclaimed film for Mani Ratnam before he emerged on the national scene with Roja. Shot with limited budget and under trying circumstances the movie still showcased the talent of Mani Ratnam, Kamal Haasan, Ilaiyaraaja (Music Director), P C Sriram (cinematography), and Thotta Tharani (Art Director).

An underworld movie, albeit inspired by Godfather, was not a new concept even in Tamil cinema. The usual masala movies featuring crime, revenge and retribution with garish and over-the-top villains were the norm. Plotlines really didn’t matter and action scenes were a standard routine.

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Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s ‘Wazir’!

Wazir (The Queen / Minister piece in conventional Chess) is allegorical to the game of life that unfolds in the unique friendship between Farhan Akhtar and Amitabh Bachchan, grieving over the tragic loss of their respective daughters.

The metaphor points to strategy and acumen that holds promise in the first half to a supreme climax but fails to sustain itself in the end. At 104 minutes, with slick production values, couple of well-placed songs, we just finish they had pulled off the promise of the movie.

The movie begins with an introductory song that positions Farhan’s character for us. It then slides into a slice of life shot when an ATS ace cop suddenly finds an opportunity to chase a key suspect. For the life of me, I cannot understand any father risking his young daughter on the mission – it could have been avoided by asking her mother (Aditi Rao Hydari in a nice cameo with not much to do though) to take custody of the child. Well one freakish mistake that cost a life and obviously one can imagine the angst and grief it causes for the lead character. Even his wife can’t forgive him for the slip and she moves away.

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Kamal Haasan’s ‘Thoongavanam’!

2015 proved to be a great year for Kamal fans and we had 3 films being released during the year. ‘Uttama Villain’ was much awaited and turned out to be a classy piece – possibly showcasing what the actor wanted to say about his long journey towards superstardom.

Papanasam was brilliant and Kamal, the actor, took to the forefront. It was an unqualified commercial success as well. Well it raised the hopes for the thriller, ‘Thoongavanam’, though the movie turned out to be a mixed bag at the box-office.

Remake of a French thriller, ‘Sleepless Night’, Kamal once again plays the role of a cop. But there is a vital difference – it no longer a macho cop (even his last cop venture ‘Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu’ was one), instead we find a grey character caught in a web of lies and deceit. Cross, Double Cross and Triple Cross – it all seems to happen as everyone chases a bag of cocaine.

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Selvaraghavan’s ‘Maalai Naeruthu Mayakkam’!

The story has the typical Selvaraghavan stamp on it – the underdog hero easily reminds you of Dhanush in ‘Kadhal Konden’ or Ravi Krishna in ‘7G Rainbow Colony’. The heroine too is the right contrast – confident, socially skilled and upwardly mobile. Such love stories seem incredible and usually are laden with angst and guilt.

But a surprising and needless comparison was made to the classic ‘Mauna Raagam’ – based on a single premise that the heroine is forced to marry the hero due to family pressure. While the idea may piqué interest of the average cine-goer, the comparison couldn’t be more superficial than it is.

Maalai Naeruthu Mayakkam (MNM) is a typical story line that begins with a marriage set up in the early scenes and of course the couple doesn’t seems to be destined to lived happily ever after. The marriage is a meeting of two different worlds – Balakrishna is a well-educated and seemingly well-employed youngster but he is an introvert who lacks social skills and simply is that jerk / loser that any modern girl would want to avoid. Wamiqa seems to be doing well in life and is career oriented. So the way the marriage gets organized is not at all credible – even in the traditional ‘arranged marriage’ format ( ‘boy-meets-girl’ routine) it is not managed effectively.

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‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ by W Cham Kim and Renee Mauborgne!

This one immediately reminds me of my MBA days wherein we learnt the rudiments of Competitive Strategy and Michael Porter. The bookish approach is scarcely avoidable when one understands that the book aims to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ to identify, remediate and recycle a firm’s approach towards the traditional trade-off between price and differentiation.

It does a great job in putting together the building blocks with suitable illustrations and some of the stories run across themes as we visit the various elements of creating great value and disproportionate amount of profit for the organization.

 

We experience commoditization across various segments of the products as a consumer. And the easiest way to spot it is to check the prices – usually there is only a marginal differentiation and often multiple schemes and promotions are on to make you choose a particular option. It does seem like a ‘dog-eat-dog’ world and the bloody marketing war is alluded to be the red ocean that we experience in our daily lives. Continue reading “‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ by W Cham Kim and Renee Mauborgne!”

2015 in review

Well, 2015 draws towards an end and we eagerly wish to roll in the New Year hoping for better things in our lives.

The annual review of our blogs is a great way to look back at the year just slipping away from us. Happy Reading and see you again in the New Year!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Dubai Metro!

It is what every modern metropolis craves for – effective means of rapid mass transit. It cuts down the traffic, reduces pollution and saves precious amounts of time. Using public transport is not a popular option yet in India – everyone who can barely afford it is on the car bandwagon. It has a lot to do with the quality of public transport available presently to most of us – modern options like the Metro are shaking it all up.

But the Dubai Metro experience is truly world-class – I learnt that the Metro is unmanned. The controls are operated from a Tech hub. And it is a smooth operation – the trains go whizzing by every few minutes.

From my friend’s place I have a feeder bus to the nearest Metro station – ‘The Mall of Emirates’. The Nol card is a convenient option to make the payment for the bus as well as the Metro. In fact if one immediately commences the Metro journey then the second leg of the trip is not even charged. And it is subsidized to make it very cost-effective.

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