Sunday, July 26, 2009

Movie Review : Luck

As soon as Luck reached the Interval point, I SMSed my friends this – Interval point in ‘Luck’. So far – terrific. What I had seen till then was a thrilling joy ride. I just loved the way the film unfolds. Natural – yet paced. The actors, the locations, the encounters – all of them were too thrilling.

Scene one grips you. Riveting you in the seat. Its pure thrill. And seeing Sanjay Dutt do it all – is pure fun. From then on, Luck starts to engulf you in a rather simple story about a bunch of characters – each with its own set of problems.

The first half primarily focuses on establishing the character. Yes, it takes too much time to do that, but at no point do you feel bored. The characters - complete with their back story and the character conflict - are established in the first half. However, the way it unfolds is not very descriptive, but still very interesting. The visuals in the first half are dark, yet revealing, at times blurred, yet absorbing. The editing was top-notch and never do you feel that you are losing out. At least in the first half.

But second half is where the film actually falters. Not much, but when compared to what was presented to you in the first half – quite considerably. There are moments when you feel that the action could have been faster. Much faster. Second half at times, looks like a dragged-on episode of Fear Factor. Perhaps the writing is to blame here. Not enough is happening in front of the viewers. There are no sharp turns and the thrill-sequences leave much to be desired. One feels let down by all the drama that was built up to the point. The story had potential that could have been tapped well by the director. Still, the second half has its moments.

The climax is perhaps the biggest let-down. The setup was fantastic, and it could have been the most thundering-roaring climaxes any Indian films had seen in recent years – but again a poor imagination, mediocre writing and below-par execution ruins it all. Again, not exceptionally bad, but based on the expectations build by the first half – leaves much to be desired.

For the most part, I liked the dialogues (Soham Shah). However, would have been much better had he trimmed them down a bit. Let me explain what I mean – in one of the scenes, Imran Khan asks Danny – “Tumhe mere bare me itna kaise pata hai”. And Danny replies – “Stock par paisa lagane se pehle company ki poori information nikal leni chahiye”. Now till now, it sounded good. But Danny’s character goes on to explain – “usi tereh, tum par paisa lagane se pehle maine tumhare bare me sab pata kar liya hai”. Clealry, in the explaining part – the dialogue starts losing its effect. (Please note I am writing the dialogues just from my memory. They were not exactly these – and were much better written )

There is not much to write about the story. To be very honest – the story is not something spectacular. The focus here is more on characters and their conflicts, and later on – on visuals. First half just oozes with fast-paced and thrilling photography. The scenes immerse you within themselves. Not much is left to think about the story actually. And you don’t complain, coz it all looks good and keeps you entertained. The drama that is built up till the interval point is so good that you just want to take in every detail that is presented in front of your eyes. And you expect something extra-ordinarily big in the second half. The scene just before the interval when 15 people play the death-game in a desert is just brilliant. Well shots and beautifully executed. Leaves your expectations sky-high.

Sanjay Dutt is as always – fits in the role to a T. The thing is, he has done so many roles in this structure, that when you start writing a story like this, Sanjay Dutt is the only person who fits the bill. The role here is easily an extension of the ones that he plays in Musafir, Plan etc. I would not use the word stereotype, but Sanjay actually looks the part in such roles. His walk still commands attention.

Danny Denzongpa is easily one of the highlights of the film. The man is raw energy. I cannot deny being in awe of him every time he comes on screen. I wish he could do more roles. He is perfect in the role that demanded to look authoritative, demanding, a father-figure, and mean – all at the same time. When Danny speaks – you just have to listen. The way he delivers his dialogues makes you wonder what could have become of Gabbar Singh, had Danny accepted the role in Sholay?

Mithun Chakraborty is another actor that makes you sigh in admiration every time he does an A-grader. Seriously, why are we not using him enough? Forget other stars, Mithun doing a major role in an A-grade Bollywood project is enough for me to go and watch that film. There were two moments in the film where the audience clapped and whistled – both showing Mithun Chakraborty. He still holds a lot of promise.

Imran Khan was good in a role that required him to do action, emote and show a lot of anger. While the guy can do with a little bit of (more) expression, the way he mouths the dialogues is quite good.

Shruti Haasan is a star right from the word Go. She just shines. She’s got a perfect screen-presence, and and got the right kind of looks to become the dominant download on the Internet (the current queen of downloads is Katrina Kaif). This is not to say that she acts perfectly. Far from it, in fact. Her dialogue delivery needs a lot of improvement. It was quite evident that she was not very comfortable mouthing those lines. But with time, this should ease out. She’s got a beautiful face, and trust me – an ahhh-mazing figure – check out the scene where she is emerging from a swimming pool. I can safely say NONE of the current Bollywood brigade has a figure to match.

Ravi Kishan and Chitrashi Rawat are competent. It was actually good to see Chitrashi Rawat in another role after Chak De India.

On the whole, the film was a nice attempt. The focus was on visuals and not so much on the story. Personally I did not felt let down by the lack of story as much as the lack of a competent screenplay. Had there been enough to savour on screen, I could have easily given this one a higher rating.

The film is good in parts. But definitely worth a watch.

Rating – 3-stars


I think so. The film has created quite some curosity. Though reviews from foreign-film-fed reveiwres have been not so encouraging, the film conects with the masses on some level. In totality, I liked this one better than New York. This one should emerge successful on the box office.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Movie Review : Gulaal

I went with a lot of expectations for Anuarag Kashyap's Gulaal. And I was not dissapointed. The film is a must watch. The story, right from the first scene, holds your attention. The choice of actors is something I want to pay special attention to. Everyone, fits the role.

Complex characters, with proper, developed backstory. the characters are fleshed out well and are multi-dimensional. I was delighted in the way the film uses the characters to progress the story. Which brings us to another aspect of the film. The story. The story is very well written and has many layers to it. It moves at a good pace, touches several issues and blends them into each other convincingly.

Gulaal shows a different world altogether. Not seen by many in bigger cities. Life in rural Rajasthan is very well captured. Indain cities are more than Mumbai. I'd recommend all college students in cities like Mumbai and Delhi (more, Mumbai) to go and watch Gulaal. Indian colleges are more different than the one shown in Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai. The college, hostel and ragging shown in Gulaal is a reality in many parts of North India. This is the real India. Welcome to the ride.

Anurag Kashyap shows the local flavour like no one else. The scenes aptly captures the 'mood' of the place.
They way he blends different subplots to finally lead to his climax is worth a mention. Gulaal is definitely one of the most polished narratives I have come across recently. Things are fleshed out well. Characters behave the way they should.

Gulaal is raw energy. Be it in the story, the screenplay or even the set design. Everything falls in place and contributes to the narration. Nothing is rudimentary, nothing is complete, yet, everything looks just perfect. The set design is worth applauding. The deserts conveying the vastness, the buildings conveying the royal, and various other props used to communicate the mood and feel of the film.

Kudos to the casting director, each actor fits the role to a T. Kay Kay Menon looks every bit the royal blood that he plays. Kay Kay is one actor that had carved a niche for himself. In the overtly loud Bollywood style films, work done by Kay Kay still stands apart, thanks to directors like Anurag Kashyap. Kay Kay has grown with every film. And here, we see him evolve again. As Dukey Bana, Kay Kay gives us ample reason to hate the character, while loving the actor.

Another one to take your breath away is Abhimayu Singh. The actor plays the role of Rananjay Singh to almost perfection. You hate the character at first. Then hate him more. And then somewhere you realize that its a lovable character. Rananjay's charcater looks like a side character at first, till you realize its a more developed and powerful character. You start liking it. And all this, while the mannerism and beliefs of the character are the same as they were in the first scene! Kudos to the director for this one, and a pat on the back for Abhimanyu Singh for playing this one in a manner that makes you want more from the actor. I am definitely looking forward to the actor's next.

Aditya Shrivastav is another strong actor in the cast. As the the arch rival, Aditya paints a picture dark enough for everyone to hate, yet you look forward to his next step with interest.

The film's protagonist, Dileep Singh played by Raja Singh Chaudhary is, perhaps, the weak point of the film. You feel more for Rananjay Singh, than you do for Dileep Singh. Dileep's transition is shown convincingly. Kudos, to the director, again. But I felt something lacking in the performance.

A notable performance is of Piyush Mishra, as Prithivi Bana, Kay Kay's brother. Piyush has also given the music for the film and many songs are picturized on him. Piyush's words have that edgy feel that instantly reflects on the mood of the film. I absolutely loved watching him delivering those lines.

Deepak Dobriyal was another actor that delivered a knock out performance. I did notice him in Omkara. However, his appearance in 13B was quite brief. In Gulaal, he plays an important role, as the main associate of Kay Kay's character and pulls it off beautifully. He is restrained in just the right way. Another actor I'd like to see more of.

Jesse Randhawa is wasted. Her character is one of the flaws of the movie. Its under-developed, to say the least. There was much that could have been achieved in the Jesse-Raja angle. Else, it could have been done away with completely.

The film is lacking in pace a bit. Specially in the second half. But the first half is absolutely first rate. You do not at once feel like getting up. You want to see everything and know everyone. There are so many characters, all well fleshed out, and so much happening. But nothing goes out of context.

This is by far one of the better films that I have seen. And the credit goes to the director Anurag Kashyap. Anurag definitely has a vision that is different from other directors. Gulaal has been in making since some time now, still you do not feel it. The film looks and feels fresh. Anurag has worked out a good script and has made a wonderful film out of it. Dev D was just the beginning, Gulaal tells us there is more to come.

Gulaal is brilliant writing and riveting performances with splendid direction.

Rating : ****

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Movie Review : Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire's first scene pulls you into the drama. A familiar Indian actor (Saurabh Sukla) builds some confidence. The film starts with intense visuals. With smoke and a strange yellowish tinge to this scene, what we see is a shirtless Saurabh Shukla hurling the choicest of hindi expletives at a young Dev patel, playing Jamal Malik. The drama soon turns less intense and more lively when Irrfan Khan enters the scene. In a local police station of Mumbai. Irrfan Khan plays the police inspector.

The best part of the film comes at the beginning. As the film starts documenting Jamaal's life, the narrative begins with a scene of street kids being chased by the cops. The chase in the slum is an amazing one. Specially because it has cops chasing kids. You can't help but fall in love with the kids. Specially these kids. From a slum in Mumbai. The background score in this sequence, by A.R. Rahman truly lifts the spirits.

A lot is shown in the film about India. Its a film that can be shown not only to people abroad but also to some of the people from the urban India. Many of the intricacies of the slums will be new to many of them watching the film for the first time. As it progresses you tend to smile at how the things have been captured. From the open-air toilets to the 'guides' in Taj Mahal, to the famous Dhobi Ghat at Agra and back to the Mumbai underworld.Of course, the Mumbai underworld part has been overdone in Indian films, most prominently by Ram Gopal Varma. But yes, the lifestyle of Salim sure deserves a mention.

How the film unfolds through the questions faced by Jamal Malik sitting in the hot seat in "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" is the centre point of the film. There is some heavy product-placement for the show here. The show is almost central to the theme of the film.

Background score by A.R. Rahman is riveting, to say the least. It completely engulfs you into the drama. Most notably, as I mentioned, during the slum-chase scene, the background appears like a character in itself.

The story of Jamal and Latika, as kids, looks interesting. Predictably enough it turns into a love story as they grow up. There's nothing new to the love story. I mean, may be, for the foreign audience, there is some novelty, but the Indian audience has seen enough of the romance-gone-awry-because-of-underworld stories. The story progresses and takes us through various 'phases' of life of Jamal. Interestingly, each phase reflects some intrinsic part of India. Really good to see all this. Specially by a foreign director.

The actors have done commendable job. The Jamaal's childhood character is too adorable. So is Latika's. All the 9 actors have done justice to the roles. Irrfan Khan shines again Saurabh Shukla is competent. Ankur Vikal, the actor playing the antagonist has done a good job. You can feel the terror in his eyes.

All in all, the film quite warm and good. The honesty in the script shows. Though there are a few glitches, they are easily ignorable.Though I found the film a bit over-rated and over-hyped, its still a good watch.

My Rating - ***


The curosity around the film is enough to make sure it gets the audience. Although its niche theme and treatment would ensure it primarily gets seen in multiplexes.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Movie Review : Ghajini. Less Than Spectacular

National hysteria. That's the only way to describe the phenomenon that bulit up around Ghajini. One reviewer likened the hysteria over Ghajini to the one that was witnessed when "Coolie" was released, following Amitabh Bachchan's near-fatal injury. Aamir Khan himself dubbed the release as "an event". With youngsters around the nation assuming a hairstyle which - according to the film - is because of an injury rather than a style , the film is close to event, indeed. After a not-so-eventful year Bollywood was waiting for Ghajini. The numbers are big. And from what I've heard, three times as big as Shah Rukh Khan's "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi".

I witnessed it myself. Crowds going crazy within the theatre when the name of the film came up. They cheered when Aamir bashed up the baddies. And clapped when emoted anger. I've not seen all this in a long while. Ghajini is an event.

Ghajini, on its own, is not very different from the revenge-films that used to be made in the 1980s and early 1990s in Bollywood. Nothing wrong with that, if you can come up with an interesting treatment of the same subject. Which, I expected, the short-term-memory loss angle will add. To say the least, I was dissapointed. The memory-loss angle is not focal to the story. Its not even relevant. The story could have progressed well even in the absence of any such angle. And that is what upset me. I was expecting a lot more.

Without that, the story reduces to an average revenge-action-drama. And the things that can be termed 'watchable' are Aamir Khan, the action scenes and the love story. In that order.

The love story between Aamir and Asin is beautifuly depicted. It involves you. And you actually start wondering whats next? Actually, how well the love story is shot determines, how deeply you feel the loss of the protoganist later. And I must congratulate the team for a good job done here. Later on, everytime Aamir remembers what went wrong with him, you can feel the pain. Kudos to Aamir Khan too, for handling those scenes exceptionally well.

Asin is commendable in a role that did not require much shades. Though it did require to exude certain charm. And Asin had it in plenty. Though its lovable, the love-story could have been much more. Things which could have occured to the couple when they are in love, and which comes back haunting the protagonist.

As the story progresses, Sanjay's (Aamir's character) cause must have looked more and more convincing. This however, is not the case. Only Jiah Khan seems to be convinced. And she gives a decent performance in an under-written role. So, as I put it, thought at times you can feel the pain of the protoganist, you still wish there was more to this story. The story progresses in a pretty uni-dimensional manner. For the most part we already know whats coming. All that we want to see is how Aamir does that.

This brings us to the strongest thing about the film - Aamir. Yes, he is amazing once again. Whether its the expression on finding he's in love, to coming to terms with his loss, to the acute hatred that he has for the villain, Aamir does all this with a zeal that makes you wonder could anyone else ever portray it in any manner other than this. Watch him lifting and throwing the goons one over the other. Watch him beat a muscular cop to pulp. It all looks convincing. Aamir's expressions, mannerisms, body language, everything matches the scene in hand. Its an absolute delight to see him perform anything that he choses to. And add that extra zing to the overall effect.

Pradeep Rawat as the bad guy is just not frightening enough. Its not a problem that he dresses like a 80s-90s ka villain. That is perhaps OK. But he has just not been given enough footage. I mean, come on, make him the worst creature on the planet. Pradeep acts sincerely. And acts well. Just that the role is not written to instill fear in the audience. I badly WANTED that. I WANTED to hate the villain like I have never hated anyone. But this just doesn't happens.

Music is definitely a high-point of the film. Even the sound used for various scenes stand apart. Technically, the film is perfect. Cinematography by Ravi Chandran captures moments beautifully. Watch the song "Guzarish" to understand what I mean by "Perfection". Or even "Behka". Ravi's camera work is an important element in the overall narration of the subject.

The action scenes are dealt well. In fact, very well. The action in Ghajini is gritty, raw and powerful. Not the Matrix kinds, but more of the Sunny Deol brand. And it was a revelation to see Aamir perform all this.

Ghajini is hardcore action. With a back drop of a love story. Had the memory-loss track been dealt with a bit more sensibility, it would have ended up being an absolute must-watch. If there are any flaws, they are in the script.

The film works, primarily because of the curiosity around the film and Aamir Khan. Minus Aamir Khan, Ghajini is quite dumb.Whatever is the case, you just have to see Aamir in the role.

But nonetheless, at the end of the day a movie is a business, and from the latest reports, Ghajini has been doing thunderous business.


Last heard, Ghajini has broken all records for opening collections in the cinematic history of India.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Rock On : Movie Review

As a kid, none of us dreamt of becoming an investment banker when we grow up. Cricketer, actors, rockstars, astronauts, that’s what we all wanted to be. Yet we end up being software engineers, or, like Aditya from Rock On, an investment banker. Thats the theme touched upon by Rock On.

Rock On starts with a promise. Right from the time its promos have been on air, the promise was apparent. With Farhan Akhtar in the lead role, the film promised some novelty in terms of content. I had been looking forward for this one, especially coz I wanted to know what could be compelling enough for Farhan Akhtar to plunge into acting. I am a huge fan of Akhtar and have liked the treatment given to films by him. I specially liked the way he moulded Don.

So, with a rock song, the film begins. The story of four wanna-be rockstars. That much was evident from the promos itself. What’s good about the film is that it delivers what it promises, at least in the first half. There is a rock band. Four rock-crazy men. Discussions around music. Yes including a few technical terms, too. But all that is done in a way that has the viewer engrossed in the cinema. The drama is subtle. All that is needed.

I specially liked the way the film is written. The treatment given is a non-linear one. So the story progresses in present, with regular dosages of relevant flash-backs. I kind-of became a fan of the screenplay writer.

The story progresses through the life of each character, individually. As I said, properly placed in between are the flashback scenes, with all the four together. Yes, the story holds your attention. Nothing is known fully until the intermission. Not about the characters themselves, neither about their past, together. You keep on wondering about things that could have happened. You start thinking and guessing what might have happened. The first half involves you. The songs in between are very well placed too, and have a fresh feel to them. I specially liked “Meri Laundry Ka Ek Bill”. By the time first half ends I almost started feeling that was my story. Meant to be doing something else. Ended up doing something else.

Post interval, the things start being unconvincing. Although I’ll blame the writers for it, but there is a fault of the director here, too. The events in the second half, are just not as convincing. Not that there is some bigger problem with them, just that they did not looked as convincing, as the entire first half did. The first half did seem like a real story, the second half however, looks like a cheesy regular Bollywood film. It becomes too predictable, and at times, boring, too. The sparks that should have emerged from the re-assembling of the major star cast, aren’t seen anywhere. Seems the director-writer lost it in the second half. However, its not completely un-watchable.

Farhan Akhtar can act. And act well. He was restrained, subtle and just perfect in a role that required all this. As an investment banker and as a rock-singer, he is good. He has also sung 6 of the 9 songs in the film.

Arjun Rampal was good. Although, could have been better. After Don, its his second film with Farhan, though this time as a co-actor. He has a long way to go. With roles like this, where the onus is not on one star, he can prove his mettle. The way Saif and Arshad Warsi did. Saif later made a comeback to solo-hero films.

Purab Kohli was charming. This guy deserves far better roles.

Luke Kenny as Rob acted well, too. In fact the way he enacts the desperation in his character was so real, you could feel it.

Prachi Desai is a nice find. From TV, to films, is a big break, and Prachi has made good use of it. Though there are areas she needs to work on, she will definitely benefit from the success of the film.

Overall, a good one-time watch. Had the second half been as good as the first half, the film could have been an absolute must watch. Technically, I am struggling between 2.5 and 3 stars for Rock On. Ok, benefit of doubt. 3 stars from me.


The promos were good. People were looking forward to watch Farhan in a film based on Rock music. And the film is watchable, at least one. Though there is a tough competition this weekend from C Kkompany, Mukhbir, Chamku, Wall-E and Wanted, none has garnered as much interest, among the Bollywood films, as Rock On. This should give a good stat for the film. Also, the film will do much better in multiplexes and A-centers than in single-screens and B and C centers.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Response To Film Director Vivek Agnihotri's Blog

The following post is a comment on film director Vivek Agnihotri's blog post on Bollywood Hungama.


Hi Again.

It was again good to read your post. I would like to differ with a few points put forward by you here, Vivek.

I do not think TV has corrupted the minds of the youth. As you rightly mentioned, the prime audience of India is youth. But i actually do not know any youth who is hooked up to teh Television. Yes, the majority of Indian TV programmes are substandard, I agree. But then, the audience they are targeting at, are pretty happy with them. So, "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thee" might be a dumb TV show. But I am not an audience of it. My mother, grandmother watch "Kyunki. . .", but then, none of them is what you would expect as an audience for a film like "Chocolate". So, there is a disconnection. Well, I Do watch television. Most of the time shows on Discovery Channel, History Channel or National Geographic channel. And, the shows on these channels contain commercial breaks, too. However, how THAT constitutes to the "dumbing down" process, I fail to understand. So no, I disagree, that the television has "systematically uneducated the cinema public".

Second point. The multiplex cinema. Now, I don't understand what you are talking about. Multiplex have made the making of a lot more low-budget movies viable. What you call "multiplex cinema". Look around. "Mithya", "Dharm", "The Blue Umbrella", "Khosla Ka Ghosla" "Bheja Fry" are all movies belonging to this genre. They don't have big stars, flashy sets and dazzling publicity (budgets). But they do have is an interesting storyline which, the filmmaker knows will find favours with the select few audience. You are right. Multiplex are in the "amusement" business. "We also show movies". And its because of this casualness, that a consumer, who comes to shop for Nike shoes, when sees a poster of "Mithya" in the same complex, decides to go for it. In the absence of a multiplex, I doubt that person will ever go to a single-screen theater to see some movie by some unknown maker and having non-existent stars. A multiplex has screens of varying capacity, through which, they can experiment with exhibition. So, a low-budget film can be kept in a low-capacity screen whereas a blockbuster can be sown in a high-capacity screen, thus making the optimum use of the resources and maximizing the benefits for the exhibitor.

The third point. I think, corporatization of Bollywood is the best thing that could have happened
to this industry. Yes, there are corporate houses, and their focus is on numbers (money). So, what else do you expect? These are not social-workers, making movies for the repressed, over-worked and over-stressed middle-class Indians. Just to make him feel better, selflessly. Moviemaking is serious business. And so the need for people who can deal with numbers. Agreed, these people might don't know about movies, but they Do know about business. And that's why they handle the business part, while you are given the movie-making part. If, however, as pointed by you, they interfere in the movie-making process, its too bad. Each one should be allowed to do his job. And film industry is changing. Corporatisation, films like "Khosla Ka Ghosla", digital cinema are all signs of a changed Bollywood. Marketing budgets have sure gone up, but well, that is needed.

Well, I must say I am loving this conversation with you, Vivek. Would love to see your comments on this.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Microsoft-Yahoo-Google : Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai

Exactly ten years back, I watched a story of three people. Rahul, Anjali and Tina. Today, I write about three companies. Three companies that are known to shape the course of Web. The three people were connected by love. The three companies are connected by competition. Until now, the companies were operating independently. But suddenly, each one has begun to shape the destiny of the other. Just like the three people. And while the whole nation stayed tuned to that story, the world seems to be waiting impatiently for the nail-biting climax of this story.

So, is it inevitable? Will MS lap up Yahoo ? You bet.

Yahoo’s board is clearly trying not to end up with Microsoft

. Many might be wondering why Yahoo has not said a word about Microsoft’s antitrust reputation, when it could have. I will tell you why. By the unsaid laws of Mergers and Acquisitions, companies are usually averse of discussing the buyer’s antitrust position; that make both the companies end up in an embarrassing situation should the deal goes through. Instead, the target company always tries to put off the deal on the price front, thus trying to show the shareholders that it’s them that they are fighting for. This, however, leads to a deal, as price is something that can easily be worked out. Especially if the buyer is Microsoft.

So, instead of saying anything about Microsoft’s reputation, the board of Yahoo will press harder for a higher price for Yahoo. Microsoft offered a price of $31 per Yahoo share at the time when it was trading for $19. A 62% premium over its share value. Shareholders. needless to say, will be more than happy to let Microsoft have Yahoo. And it’s this heat that Yahoo is facing right now.

Let’s have a look at the options that Yahoo has.

(1.) Says Yes and embrace the MS tag

Shareholders and investors, more than happy. Each one gains some. Yahoo brand lives on. Microsoft integrates its web services and OS to Yahoo’s.

(2.) Says No.

Yahoo can only say No to Microsoft’s offer on the price point. As I said earlier, there by showing the investors that it’s a better price that it’s fighting for. Then however, it will have to have some kind of arrangement with some other investor. Probably Google? Yahoo, the brand might be lost as the agreement might force Yahoo to put Google search box on Yahoo home page. Yahoo, in this case, doesn’t seems to gain much. Google, on the other hand, gains everything that it could have ever asked for. A whopping 75%+ share of the online search market.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has reportedly been in touch with Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, trying to figure out some sort of deal under which Yahoo will outsource its search business to Google.

So, really, what options do Yahoo have? I found the following matter in an online article titled Yahoo Running Out Of Options

It looks as if Yahoo will be dragged down the aisle by its suitor, Microsoft, no matter how loudly Google speaks its piece.

On Monday, other potential mates with deep pockets denied they would try to beat Microsoft Corp.’s $44.6-billion offer even as investment bankers tried to help Yahoo remain unhitched.

But Yahoo Inc.’s board of directors can’t simply say no to such a strong offer without providing a better alternative, analysts said, and few options have emerged that wouldn’t outrage shareholders or antitrust regulators.

“Yahoo does not want this to happen,” analyst Charlene Li of Forrester Research said.

“But I’m not sure it has much of a choice.”

And that, is pretty much what the truth is. Yahoo needs a solid reason to say No to Microsoft’s offer. It needs to convince its shareholders that it has a better alternative. If it can’t, it has to accept Microsoft’s offer. Saying No to Microsoft would possibly result in a shareholders rebellion.

With the drama getting political, each side has started lobbying to attract authority’s attention. Microsoft has been lobbying to inform the senate and the concerned authorities about the deal and its beneficial aspects. Authorities hate surprises and Microsoft knows that. Google has been shouting about foul play, too. Microsoft made a huge hue and cry about the antitrust issues when Google bought DoubleClick. Google’s crying is not just about striking back. This is about business. This is how.

Globally, advertising is a $ 400 billion business. What Microsoft is aiming at is not just online advertising, but a far wider domain of digital advertising which will encompass, in the not-so-distant future, all digital mediums like cell phones, PDA’s, set-top boxes (and hence TV screens), gaming consoles, MP3 players and much more. As we see the emergence of a more connected world, we will have more and more people accessing content on all these hyper-connected devices. And the pie of digital advertising will keep growing. Yahoo is one company that has the kind of content that can be fed up to all these billions of devices. The recent takeovers of the new-age digital marketing agencies by conventional advertising conglomerates prove that digital advertising is going to take up in a big way.

Google knows this, and it wants to keep Microsoft away from all that money. It has been lobbying to generate interest against Microsoft’s Yahoo bid. It has gone so far as to contact Yahoo and offer any assistance in combating Microsoft. However, Google will not make an offer for Yahoo’s outright buy. That’s ‘coz of regulatory issues. As of end of 2007, Google had a 58% share of the search market. Yahoo had 17%. A Google-Yahoo merger will create an entity that will have a market share of 75% +. That will be a strict no in the eyes of the antitrust authorities. So, Google buying Yahoo is clearly out of question.

There are opinions on how Microsoft should focus on its core business and should not buy Yahoo. An article by Fortune magazine had the following to say,

Microsoft is buying an empty bag. At the risk of climbing even further out on a limb here, let me make an alternative suggestion. Microsoft should move in the opposite direction: Unbundle what it already has. Get rid of everything that isn’t core! Microsoft is the monopoly provider of desktop operating systems. Guess what? It’s a great business! (Or would be if it did a better job of improving it rev to rev. Vista was a disgrace.)

Want to juice the stock price? Get rid of everything that’s unrelated to the business of improving the OS — search, xBox, Zune, etc. That OS, by the way, is quickly starting to move up into the cloud. It’ll be enough of a challenge to maintain Windows’s dominance as that happens.
It will take incredible focus and innovative thinking to maintain Windows. Don’t get distracted by Google (which, by the way, ought to get back to it’s knitting, too. Targeted search is a great business. Google (GOOG) ought to get out of everything else and it’s stock price would double.)

That, in my opinion, however, is the most stupid advice that someone could give Microsoft. Knowing Microsoft, I can say that once they are determined, they do whatever it takes to emerge triumphant. Remember Playstation was always a leader in gaming consoles when Microsoft introduced Xbox. It, didn’t work. They introduced Xbox-360, and that is giving some serious competition to Sony’ Playstation 3. Again, iPod was the leader in portable music player market and anyone even attempting to thwart that position would have been termed a lunatic. Figures say Zune 2 has been doing pretty descent business lately. Again, in online rich media platforms, Adobe’s Flash is considered somewhat of a de facto standard. Microsoft introduced Silverlight last year to combat that, and the reports have been good.

So it’s clear that Microsoft would never want to stay out of the race for online ad-revenues. Online search is still closer to Microsoft’s original business (rather than “core business”) than either gaming consoles or portable music players. Microsoft has to crack it. The current bid only shows how determined it is.

So, Yahoo will end up in Microsoft’s kitty eventually.

Microsoft is a technology behemoth and Yahoo, practically, is a media house (minus the TV channels and Radio Stations and Printing press). Combining the tech prowess of Microsoft with the media reach of Yahoo has the potential to offer the kind of content, in a manner that will touch all the aspects of a user’s life. Yahoo already has online channels on most of the domains from politics to entertainment to sports to fitness. The business of online ads thrives on the model that the user spends more time on the Internet. If the content can be presented to him in a seamless manner, the possibility of a user spending more time on MS-Yahoo platform than Google’s increases manifold.

The possible “bundling” of Microsoft’s OS with Yahoo’s offering can offer content within a familiar environment, thereby creating the ease-of-use experience for the user. So, in a totally connected world, we could have services like weather, news and stock prices are automatically delivered at appropriate places within our working environment.

Microsoft would do well to keep Yahoo as the face of everything Web that it attempts. Online, brand Yahoo is stronger and has a higher perceived value than Microsoft. So, while the applications might be developed by MS-Yahoo joint effort (no, no “sole Microsoft” developer working on any projects. They need to have the sex appeal of Yahoo services), they will be pushed by the Yahoo brand.

The up point of a MS-Yahoo deal is that Yahoo lives on. One of the sexiest things about Yahoo is it brand. And if the folks at Redmond are even 30% as intelligent as I imagine them to be, they will work damn hard to promote and push that brand. Microsoft is amazing at marketing, only this time it needs to push Yahoo aggressively.

Some services might be merged like Microsoft’s photo-sharing service may be merged with Flickr, the messengers can be unified and the MSN home page can give way to content from Yahoo. But I see most of the Microsoft’s services being merged in Yahoo.

Paul O’Brien, a six year veteran of Yahoo and the head of marketing at local events search startup Zvents says

“Yahoo will never catch up with Google in search. They can continue to be a portal, but there is not much room for growth there. But Yahoo is still a sexy company. Combining with Microsoft puts their properties in front of everyone who has a computer. If I were still at Yahoo I would think this is good news, it’s a new opportunity and new blood.”

New blood. New face. Yahoo. That’s what’s in store for the consumer Internet. Microsoft would do great service to the consumers and much more than that, to itself, to keep Yahoo alive. As a brand.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Box Office Analysis – 22-Jan-2008



Weekly Nett Gross 

Total Nett Gross 



Halla Bol 





Taare Zameen Par 



Super Hit 







My Name Is AG 





Om Shanti Om





Jab We Met 



Super Hit 

Source :

Last week's release Halla Bol has been a flop. Justified, given its loose story and lack of curiosity within the audience.    The movie starts off pretty well, but somehow, never really takes off. The kind of energy that was witnessed in Santoshi's earlier films (Ghayal, Ghatak) was solely missing. Prashant pointed out that Ajay Devgan is no Sunny Deol. However, Ajay does seem to capable enough in the role. The role was substantially different from the earlier Sunny Deol flicks. The topic was more contemporary here and the setting was more subtle.

Taare Zameen Par has emerged a Superhit. This is rather interesting as TZP did not had a bumper opening. As I predicted, Welcome shattered opening records of many when it opened side-by-side Taare Zameen Par. TZP initially suffered due to Welcome but being an excellent movie that it is, picked up slowly as the word-of-mouth spread. Aamir Khan has made an excellent movie and everyone who is seeing the movie is making sure that at least five others go and watch it.

Welcome was destined to be a blockbuster. What else can I say about it. After Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar is the biggest draw at the box-office today. Even bigger than Aamir Khan. Though, as a friend pointed out, Aamir Khan has a stronger brand. So, Welcome has shattered box office records to emerge a Blockbuster. The biggest comedy hit ever. It didn't matter how the film actually was. In my opinion, it was an strictly average film. But that hardly matters. All that matters is Akshay Kumar

My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves is a disaster. Although the promos looked descent, they didn't raise the curiosity much. The presence of Amrita Rao might have helped it get some audience. Mostly fans of Rao. But given its strictly average execution, the film was bound to flop.

Om Shanti Om is a Blockbuster. An All-Time-Blockbuster in certain circuits. For me, it's a bad product with an excellent star value and over the top publicity. But what the hell, at the end of the day, cinema is about business, and going by that, Shah Rukh is a tycoon.

Jab We Met had to be a Superhit. There was no other way. The movie was very good, the music was topping the charts, and the hype surrounding the film and Shahid-Kareena breakup couldn't have come at a better time. But a very
good movie, indeed. It held on to the theatres for long as the film had tremendous repeat value. And we all know in the long run, films that hit the bull's eye are not necessarily the ones with the best story, direction or even acting, but the ones having the maximum repeat value.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Jab We Met : Movie Review

In your face promotions. Catchy music. A real-life couple. And the controversy of their break-up. Is that all that’s to "Jab We Met". Not at all. The film is a hilarious roller-coaster ride through the lives of Aaditya (Shahid) and Geet (Kareena). The film starts well, and picks up speed with the introduction of Kareena. Infact, this is her best role to-date. As a Sikhni - as she reminds Shahid in one of the scenes - she is a complete charmer. She talks, laughs, smiles, frowns and....what more...runs, tells stories, catches and misses the trains, knows karate and wins your heart. As the unstoppable chatterbox who, by default, always stays happy, Kareena is complete charmer. Watch her and love her.

Shahid. For long, its been evident that Shahid has potential. Here, he proves it yet again. Shahid shows the maturity that was required to play the role. He makes just the right action at the right places. Descent dialogue deleivery and nice espressions. Shahid expresses like he never had. Aaditya, the characer is pareshaan, hairaan, confused not-in-mood. Shahid handles all these expressions adroitly. Although the director is responsible for much of this, I have to give it to Shahid to be able to carry all this. From this film, he is a star.

Imtiaz Ali, the director is very adept in the art of story-telling. Its the treatment of the film that marks it apart from films of similar genre. Watch the first scene of the film to understand what I mean. The way he has handled the scene. Nothing is said. No words exchanged. Yet, everything is established. We know what’s is going on, what has gone wrong and how the character is feeling. All without a word. Superb ! I have never seen such a scene! Do NOT arrive late for the movie lest you should miss this one scene. Imtiaz Ali is a director to watch out for. Good going.

Kareena-Shahid pair rock as a jodi. trust me, the film works primarily because of thje electrifying chemistry between these two. You can actually feel the sparks flowing !

Music is foot tapping and good. Some of the songs are already topping the charts. You actually want to dance when Shahid breaks into "Nagaada Baja", and specially towards the end when "Mauja Mauja" plays on the screen.

The film gets a bit slow in the second half but that is OK. What is not OK is the sub-plot of Shahid's mother . Its poorly developed. It could have been much meatier. Not that it disturbs the story in any way, but while you are telling a story, be sure to develop all the references properly.

One thing. What's with the poorly done Visual Effects? I mean, you can spot the nakli train and the fake background when the camera is positioned in the car. Also, the background outside the train in the introduction scene of Kareena is clearly fake. I remember reading Prime Focus's name in the opening titles. Come on guys, you are the number one visual effects facility in India, you can do better.

In all, I enjoyed the film. And so should anyone who chooses to watch it.

*** and 1/2

Chalegi ?
Definitely Chalegi.
The pre-release promos were good and have successfully managed to create enough curosity in the viewer's mind. The music is a success. And the controversy involving Shahid-Kareena could not have come at a better time. The audience is going to come to the theatre based on these factors. After watching the movie, they will spread the word, and the movie is sure to get some audience coming back as it's got a descent repeat value. Other releases of the week John Abraham's "No Smoking" and Vikram Bhatt's "Mumbai Salsa" have not managed to get this much attention, and moreover both of these are more of multiplex cinema, so "Jab We Met" can look at a rocking first week. And this one won't be a regional or multiplex success. It's going to be a pan-India hit.

Happy Viewing

Ratings by outbrain