Friday, January 07, 2005

Tsunami Allegation !!!

After the recent tragedy of Dec 26 almost all Indians will be familiar with this word. I am sure that before this date not many would have even heard it in their lives. Today it is all over the newspapers and on the tip of everybody's tongues. I was listening to "Aaj Tak" yesterday and there was a news item related to the Anara Gupta case. The Forensic Science Laboratory Hyderabad had reported that the girl in the (in)famous CD was not Anara Gupta. In response to this report lots of human rights experts have jumped to her side. One guy was saying in the news item that it was a horrible mistake and was a kind of "tsunami" allegation that had been made against the poor girl's character. "Tsunami", a new word that our correspondents have lapped up. I am sure that the word will be used as an adjective for quite some more time.

Coming to the Anara Gupta case itself. Till yesterday all were pointing fingers at the girl and her family and suddenly today all have teamed up against the J&K police. The police in connivance with the CD mafia, had made use of the brand name of "Miss Jammu" to further the sales of the CD, and that the girl had confessed to the crime under duress, it is alleged. I just hope that this new development does not add to the publicity and cause the sales of the CD to skyrocket. I can just see some good-at-heart men declaring to their wives and girlfriends, "Get me the CD, I will support her cause, I will determine if she is the one or not".

This case however has a few things in common with the body-double incident that had come to light a year back. Remember Manisha Koirala and fellow conspirator Shashilal Nair? He made a movie with Manisha in the lead and shot a few scenes using a body double. Now the public was lapping up the movie anyway, but with Manisha declaring that she was not the one who had done "those dirty scenes", the movie was soon running to packed houses!! Now why Mr Nair chose to have a body double do those scenes is highly debatable, maybe Ms Koirala is not as hot as everybody expects her to be. But how would Mr Nair know about that?? Hmmmm...?? Anyway lets leave that thing. It is something that happened in the past.

Let's instead come to the forensic science lab Hyderabad. These guys have indeed done a commendable job and saved a girl's respect. I can just imagine the late nights they might have spent in the office over samosas and chai, viewing the CD. Since a viewing of one CD would have proved inconclusive I am sure more would have been ordered and viewed again and again. For sure, this demanding assignment would have caught the eyes of many more technical organisations in India such as the DRDO,ISRO. I am sure all of them would have liked to have such challenging and demanding assignments. Also on the recruitment front lot more youngsters will show keenness to join the forensic science lab, Hyderabad. All in all, good clean publicity for the organisation.

(Last seen, Kareena Kapoor was standing in a queue outside the lab with a mobile phone in her hand)

But one thought keeps coming in my mind, how exactly would they have proven that the girl is "not" Anara? I mean if you are given a Elbonian currency note and asked to prove that it is "not" a genuine Elbonian currency note, how would you do it? You for sure do not know how an original Elbonian currency note looks like. So the next simple thing to do would be to request for an original note and examine it in fine detail. Then you could compare the features with the counterfeit and say with confidence that it is a counterfeit. I just wonder how the forensic lab did their task. Did they... I mean.. like.... u know..... hee hee hee.... I just wanna know one thing, "Are these guys hiring???"

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Horn OK Please

Anybody who has travelled in India will be able to place the words in the title immediately. These words along with the "Hum Do Humare Do" slogan, immediately bring to mind the rear of a truck. The "Horn OK Please" carries such a good recall that I wonder why we have not had any director making a movie with it as the title. The words are painted behind so many trucks and other LMVs that one would be tempted to believe that these are meant for meeting some RTO directive. The truth however is that these words were painted in order to allow vehicles to overtake. The word OK used to have a big light below it that used to be switched ON when the driver of the vehicle wanted to signal to the vehicle following that it was safe to overtake. The "Horn Please" used to surround the "OK" with one word on each side, and as the bulb glowed these words used to become visible and were supposed to read as "Horn Please". Basically meaning, "please horn while u overtake, upon seeing the OK". Today however this system is no longer used, in its place being a very misleading mechanism of using the right indicator. But this legacy has continued and these words continue to occupy their slots.

While we were going for our post lunch walk today, Anil was telling us about his erstwhile American colleague who had come down to India for a short tour. This guy was very happy to see the "Horn Please" painted behind every vehicle he saw in India. American society frowns upon the usage of the horn and it is considered extremely impolite to honk unless you have a very serious protest to make. So the guy was extremely happy to find that in India you were actually being requested to honk by the leading vehicles and hence he kept honking everywhere he went. These are the tiny pleasures that we Indians take for granted!!

Speaking of pleasures, another favourite pastime of mine is reading the graffiti that is scribbled on the rear of the trucks. This seems to have acquired the status of an art form nowadays. A recent one that I noticed when I had travelled up north was "Hum Tumhari Le Chuke Sanam". But I have to agree that this is done primarily in the northern part of India. The southern truckers seem to be happy by mentioning "XYZ Transports" and ofcourse the "Horn Ok Please".

A very common one used to be "Buri Nazar Vaale Tera Munh Kaala". This was modified by an innovative guy to read as "Buri Nazar Vaale Tera Beta Jiye, Bada hokar tera khoon piye"!! Another one was "Buri Nazar Vaale, Tu Chala Ja Pakistan". If one were to notice the huge diesel tanks of these trucks , they invariably used to read "Khuraak Mantri" or "Khadya Mantri". The same stuff translated to English, down south, I saw a truck with "Food Ministry" painted across the tank. I must say that we Indians sure do have a sense of humour.

Here in Bangalore, instead of the trucks I look out for the auto rickshaws. These guys seem to have their own favourites. A very common one is "Hi XXX", the XXX being anybody from Upendra to ChandreGowda. Some of these have religious connotations as well. "Jesus will save you" is pretty common. The Bangalore RTO seemed to have made it a rule for all autos to have "Please do not pollute the environment" painted on the rear. It is ironical to find this written on an auto, which sometimes is the most polluting vehicle around. I guess what they are actually trying to say is "Please do not pollute the environment, we are doing a good enough job". Here, just as all over the world, grammar rules take a beating. A properly spelled complete sentence is a rarity. "Black smoke , the lungs choke" is a good example.

Reverting to the earlier topic of trucks I remember this marketing survey result that a friend of mine had disclosed to me. The survey was called for by a firm that manufactures a female hygiene product (blush,blush:). They had noticed that a lot of sales were being made out of the tiny paan-cigarette joints that line the highways, typically around a dhaba. Since it is not very common for the end-users of this product to hang around highways , the firm did some more studies. They found that these products were sought after by the truck drivers!! The drivers seemed to find these products very useful in tackling excessive sweating behind the neck and other common troublesome areas;) I wonder if the firm has tried to modify their advertising to target this category of consumers. It sure is a difficult task to market the same product keeping in mind the feminine aspect and also the truck driver. Reminds me of the pepsi/coke officials when they found that their colas were being put to use as pesticide-additives by some farmers in Karnataka and as a result sales were booming. Now how are they to cater to this class??

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Hi Posted by Hello

Monday, January 03, 2005

Koena Mitra Live

Since just too many people had asked me what we were planning for the new year, I felt we ought to do something that was expected of a young couple. When Mohan asked me if I wanted passes for the new year bash event being organised by Country Club I grabbed the chance. The highlight of the event was a live performance by Koena Mitra, the bombshell from Kolkata who had featured in an "Item Number" in the movie "Musafir". The pass mentioned her as the "Saki Saki Saki" girl. The original "Saki", HH Munro must be turning in his grave.(That was his pen name).

We reached Palace grounds, the venue for the bash at around 9 in the night. There was a huge turnout. What surprised me was that there were a lot of families also, by families I mean, mom dad, grandma, grandpa, kiddies, the whole gang. This was a bit unusual at a "bash" and I failed to see the warning signs. Anyway, what I was interested was in Koena Mitra and what the heck if there was a crowd.

As we entered there were filler items going on. Some chap dressed up as Rajesh Khanna was slamming the public with PJ after PJ. What made them worse was the fact that the guy was more concerned about imitating the Rajesh Khanna mannerisms rather than the quality of jokes. Sample this.. Rajesh Khanna is arguing with a police man who accused RK of having kicked his dog. This goes on and on with RK saying "Nahin Babu Moshaay..." etc etc etc. U get the picture right? The punchline of the joke was RK saying "Babu Moshaay, main apni pyaari Dimple ko kabhi pyaar se chaanta bhi nahin maarta to tere kutte ko laat kaise maroonga re?.......... Dhanyavaad doston". And he was off.

But .. I still had Koena Mitra to watch out for...

Next, the MC comes to the stage and builds up the hype for the next item. Lots of arbit questions aimed at getting the audience to guess the identity of the next performer(Salman Khan). What made the whole thing very funny was that all the while this guy was shooting these questions at the public trying to generate hype , the performer was standing meekly behind him sans his shirt. The MC was not aware of this and kept asking "Do you know who it is ....???", and then with a huge wave of his hand towards the curtains announced "I welcome Salman Khan.... Junior!!!!", only to find the chap right there. There were some muted claps. welcoming Salman Khan Junior. I began to get a bit apprehensive here, if they could have a joker double up as Rajesh Khanna , and a short muscleman as Salman Khan, they might as well have some nursery kid narrate some rhymes and announce her as Koena Mitra.. junior !!

The people were getting restless, the babies and the babes included. But me the optimist, waited for Koena Mitra.

Next the MC spoks about a guy who had acted in Tamil movies and had received state government awards for a folk dance he performed. I love Tamil music and was sure that the next item would be the catalyst for some action. The curtains lifted to reveal a guy dressed up in traditional temple attire with a collection of "kalashas" on his head. Balancing these he began to dance on the stage to the rhythm of classical music. This was too much for the maamis as well and slowly the sardars in the crowd began to loudly vocalize what they thought of the whole affair. The event organisers sure had no idea about what the crowd expected out of the whole event. I told my wife that if the next item was as bad, we would call it quits Koena or no Koena. I must mention that being a girl and a wife, she did not share my enthusiasm for Koena.

The next item was a classical dance. This was announced straight, no scope for any optimism. A typical dance it was, lots of girls doing some classical stuff. The optimist in me said that there was Koena Mitra amongst those girls. Hiding under layers of clothing that she would suddenly take off in a flash announcing her arrival and then the party would begin. But no such luck and the girls completed their number.

I must also mention that the theme of the party was supposed to be a "Hawaiian Experience". The only thing that reminded me there of Hawaii was a guy walking proudly with an "Organiser" badge wearing a hat with a floral decoration. Booze was available, a 300 ml can of KF beer was priced at 50/- and a pack of popcorn available outside for 5 bucks was being sold for 20 bucks! I was pretty sure that the combination of frustration and alcohol would soon get too much for the organisers to handle unless they did something fast.

And they did, suddenly Koena Mitra came on stage with some other girls. A couple of fireworks and then her "performance" began. The crowd became hysterical and the ones close to the stage knocked down a couple of speakers and began to rush towards the stage. The guys at the back since they could not see the stage climbed atop chairs to get a better view. Net result... I was unable to catch a glimpse of what was happening on the stage.

As I mentioned while this number was on, the crowd was getting mad and as soon as the number finished, the MC came back on and requested people to move back or else "we would have a law and order problem". The crowd had however tasted blood and was in no mood to move back. Next another song was played, some fast number I do not remember but the response of the crowd was similar. Now the guys really seemed to be having a "law and order" problem. Requests to move back, once again fell on deaf ears. Having no option the MC then played his trump card. The next item was a BharatNatyam rendition by Ms XYZ. This seemed to have an effect akin to the one that Asterix fans would associate Cacofonix with. The crowds began rushing back and soon the area was clear.

After this we got really bored and decided to head back and have dinner on the way. We shook hands with the friends there and wishing them a "Happy New Year" in advance, walked out with "Dhoom machale" from "Dhoom" playing in the background.

Dinner was at Ramana's, they are having a Rajasthani feast this week. I had the "Pachmale ki daal" and "Bhati". Nothing too great. Wifey had the "Methi Malai Mutter", that was good. And after demolishing a GajarHalwa-IceCream combo we started for home. The clock struck 12:00 en-route, and there were a lot of fireworks. Jungle law seemed to prevail on MG Road and DoubleRoad with hooligans stopping cars and bikes just to say "Happy New Year". One look ascertained that these were not college punks or the richie-rich types. It was the local "Siddesha","Venktesha","Lokesha" etc etc who till a couple of years back would have been happy watching Kannada Doordarshan at home for new year. The desire to be "with it" seems to have rubbed off on them. Give me back the laidback Bangalore any day...

Reached home, wished my mom a Happy New Year and switched on the TV. Gurdas Mann was singing "Tootak Tootak ". At least some things seem to last forever. Wish you a happy new year guys!!

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Item Bomb!!

I have not seen "Musafir". But the movie had generated a lot of publicity preceding its launch. They were the ones that had sponsored the "Indian Item Bomb" hunt. A lot of "wannababes" had participated in the contest, some had come with their moms in tow. I could just imagine an auntie saying proudly to a correspondent "Mujhe apni baby ko ItemBomb banana hai". But the "item" that finally made it was a girl from Belarus!! Somehow the whole show seems to have been rigged up to ensure that this beauty won. Maybe she already had the signing amount for the movie beforehand. Maybe both, the auntie and her baby can try their hands (hands??) at South Indian movies. We first had the dusky South Indian heroines complaining that the producers were more keen on casting the girls from up north for their fairer complexion. Now I am sure the girls from up north are complaining on similar lines that producers seem to prefer fairer girls from outside. What next?? Albinos?? Btw Belarus does not have much of a film industry.

However it is a fact that the shelf life of all these "Item Nos" seems to be very short. Remember Isha Koppikar of the "Khallas" song ? Long time since she did some Item Number!! Last I saw of her was in the Garnier or L'Oreal ad saying that the hair gel "hid her greys"!!! Wonder if she confused greys with her grey cells!! In stock markets they say that when the local paan-waalah and the milkman start discussing about the bullish stock markets, it is time to book your profits and get out before the markets crash. On similar lines I think the warning for the "Item Nos" is when the grannies/maamis start enquiring about the Yanas and the Koenas.

Actually the "Item Bomb Hunt" advertisements did not say whether male entries were also being "entertained". This would indirectly seem to indicate that we men were not suitable for doing "Item-Numbers" in Bollywood. Sandalwood(Kannada film industry) however seems to have a headstart over this, I read recently in the papers about some Mumbai model(male) who had starred in an "Item Number" for a Kannada movie!! (Mohan must be flexing his muscles;))

But just check out the publicity that these item-girls get as soon as they shed their inhibitions. This seems to have become one fast way to get the audience attention. Neha Dhupia won the Miss IDontKnowWhat , but not many gave her much attention. That was until she starred in "Lulie" (or was it Julie?;) ), after which lot of guys were thinking about her. This fortunately seems to be catching on with more and more girls following suit. See!! ,I am not complaining !!

P.S :: My mother in law has been telling people that I work for a firm called Khoday's. At max I had felt that Kodiak might get misrepresented as Kodak .. but Khoday's?? I am sure this comes close to "Hughes" being called "Huggies".