Thursday, May 31, 2007

Legendary Bollywood Villains

There have been some movies in bollywood that have been better known for its villains and their trade mark comic dialogues that have been repeated over and over again for generations after. And these characters have become larger than life bollywood icons. With their gaudy clothes, flashy wigs and corny dialogues, who wouldn’t remember Loyan, Gabbar or Pran? So this blog is for the good old bollywood that has for so many years entertained us, shaped our lives in just more than one way and has endured all our criticism silently. Bollywood is perhaps the most dynamic industry constantly changing, evolving and growing. I have grown up watching these bollywood badies and even today I like them just as much.

Gabbar Singh of Sholay

‘Pachas pachas kos door gaon mein jab bachcha raat ko rota hai to maa kahti hai beta soja ..soja nahin to Gabbar Singh aa jaayega’ booms Gabbar’s voice and the place rings with his manic laughter, his tobacco-stained teeth and the trademark ferocity showing. No one could have done it better than Amjed Khan. And Gabbar is by far Bollywood’s best villain. He is unarguably the most legendary character of tinsel world. ‘Aare Oh samba Kithne aadmi thei?’ Gabbar Singh went on to become the movie’s most memorable character. Post this Amjad Khan appeared in advertisements as Gabbar Singh endorsing Britannia biscuits, and it was the first incidence of a villain being used to sell a popular product.

Mogambo of Mr. India

He is my all time favourite comic-book-villain. The audiences were thrilled every time Amrish Puri glared down at them with his fiercely bulbous eyes sporting an atrocious blond wig and garish knee high silver heeled boots. They came back again and again to hear him mouth possibly the most repeated line of Hindi cinema (post 80s), ‘Mogambo khush hua’. Mogambo has carved a niche for himself amongst Bollywood’s most classic villains.

(Lion) of Kalicharan

Sara shehar mujhe Loyan (Lion) ke naam se janata hai’ Lion found ample support in his overly made-up sexy assistant, Mona. Together they epitomized the ‘smuggler villain’ and his dumb-but-sexy moll of the 70s and delighted us by making a complete mockery of their mean act. He always played the suave smuggler with his typical nasal twang drawl of ‘Mona Darling’ and with his comic threat like ‘is ko liquid oxygen me duba do. Liquid ise jine nahin dega aur oxygen ise marne nahin dega’. His liking for names like Michael, Robert, Peter and Lilly is almost legendry. My favourite has got to be ‘Lilly don’t be silly’
Chopra of Bobby

‘Prem naam hain mera. Prem Chopra’ and a chill runs down your spine as he menacingly looks on. This famous line from the film Bobby gave him his ticket to Bollywood Hall of Fame.

These are my all time favourites. Gulshan Grover, Pran, Kulbhushan Kharbanda who played Shakal in Ramesh Sippey’s Shaan, and Danny Denzongpa of the Burning Train came a close second. In the more recent times there is Kkkkkkiran (Sharukh Khan) of Darr and Bhiku Matre (Manoj Bajpai) of Sathya who are also pretty memorable characters.

Over the years peoples’ tastes have changed, so has the industry. The newer villains are stylish slick and plain cold blooded. Its hard imagining Hrithik, Abharam John wearing garish clothes and delivering semi comical dialogues. I wouldn’t even remember them a fewer years down the lane unlike Gabbar who’ll live forever.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wild Wild Bollywood!

Whats common between Shilpa Shetty of Big Brother and Rakhi Sawant of Big Boss, (besides the fact that it was both their tickets to stardom) its PETA!!!

'Boycott Animal Circuses' screams the poster that tigress Rakhi is holding in her hand. I agree with that, and would much rather prefer to see Bollywood take on this role. In my opinion they'll be bloody good at the circus and will also rake in more revenues.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has joined the bandwagon of celebrity advertising in India and they are botching up big time. PETA has signed up Shilpa and Rakhi for its campaign against the use of animals in circuses. Great cause but the only problem was the ad looked more for these sex sirens than for poor, captive, caged animals. On the whole a brainless pointless, terribly executed ad. Although it could passed off as the cover for Debonaire or Man's World.

PETA looks beaten, lonely and abused and not the animals, no one is really thinking about them!

One could expect Ms Shetty or Ms Sawant to pull a gimmick like that, what surprised me was Anoushka Shankar.

What can I say, daddy Ravi Shankar is not going to be thrilled.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cheeni Kum

No candy floss love, no melodrama, no item number, can’t be Bollywood! Cheeni Kum proved me wrong. This movie is a laugh riot with its perfectly timed sarcastic humour that has never been tried in Bollywood before. K. Balki has his own style, it’s not like the David Dhawan slapstick goofy jokes that we have had endure for years.

Bhuddhadev Gupta played by Amitabh Bachchan, is a 64 year old arrogant, cocky chef whose only sole passion in life has been Spice 6, his Indian restaurant in London. He lives with his 85 year old mother and his only friend and advisor is his 9 year old neighbour – Sexy! Until one day, Nina Verma walks into his restaurant challenges him at what he knows the best – cooking! They fight, make up, fall in love and he proposes marriage.

“Men tolerate marriage because of sex and women tolerate sex because of marriage. Does marriage still appeal to you?”

Nina looks away and says, “Yes.”

The funny part is when Buddha has to meet Nina’s dad, played by none other than Paresh Rawal, who is six years younger than him!

The movie tends to get slightly melodramatic towards the end, but I don’t really blame Balki, Bollywood does that to you.

Iilayaraja has made his come back, although I was pretty let down with the music score. It was a remake of his classic numbers from Mouna Raagam. Amithabh sports a ponytail and looks dashing in all the Armani suits (he is a great brand window). Tabu looks gorgeous as ever, only her clothes make her look older than 34!

It’s a romantic comedy with little or no mush. On the whole a great movie; a must watch.

Being a young advertising professional I wouldn’t miss a movie by Balki. What amazes me is more and more creative directors are taking a dive into Bollywood, I wonder if this industry has no money left in it!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My Coffee Shop Dreams

Incidentally the 2 restaurants I visited last weekend were all very new in the business both in terms of concept and experience. And both were conceived as passionate quests, to do something different.


Such is the story of Brewhaha, a cozy little place (I’ll explain in length later for calling it the place) where you could drink gallons of coffee, play one of their 65 board games and not worry about a fat bill, a case with most restaurants in Bangalore (sigh!)

Two IIM dudes, Sreeram and Mansur, felt their fat jobs at MNCs were not good enough and decided to chase their coffee shop dreams, and Brewhaha was conceived. Now Brewhaha can look deceivingly similar to a coffee shop but it’s not, and Sreeram (who otherwise looks seemingly pleasant) nearly jumped at my throat for calling it a coffee shop. It’s a community driven entertainment lounge where one is likely to meet his own kind and have a lot of fun.

Making a business out of playing board games and sipping Calvin shake all day long sounds like fun to anyone, even to Sreeram and Mansur, and that’s why they are in it, but they know it’s hard work to keep the money flowing.

These guys say they take your fun seriously and they really live up to it. Hopping from table to table teaching board games, pretending to lose just to flatter your ego and ensuring you had a ball must be a really tough job.

Sreeram looks into the food menu and has given it a lot of thought (you’ll realise it when you read the menu a little carefully) to dish out some interesting food and coffee to go along. Mansur loves gaming and has done justice to his passion by bringing together an interesting assortment of games at Brewhaha.

Whether you’re with friends, colleagues or just by yourself, head to Brewhaha. I’ll guarantee you’ll have one hell of a time.

You could catch their hip hop workshop or online quiz, to find out about all that’s brewing at Brewhaha log on to:

PS: Sreeram you’re paying me for this :)

Ta'am Falafel

Now who would have ever thought you would get to taste Middle Eastern street food in Bangalore. Anil Elassery and his Ta’am Falafel have changed all that. After having lived in Israel for a long time, Anil thought it was about time people back home got to taste something new, something that shouts non-continental. So he brought with him the falafel in a pita. Egyptian by origin, but became the national food of Israel, and is now better known as Arabic fast food.

Falafel looks like a vada but is made of chickpea and herbs. It’s stuffed in pita bread along with pickled vegetables, hummus and tahini sauce and is served as sandwich or wrap.

The Indian street food is going to face some serious competition. Anil plans to take this falafel concept to the streets of India.

Check out for more details on Arabic fast food.

The reviews of both Brewhaha and Ta’am falafel will be up on Discover Bangalore shortly and will give you more details on the food, menu and pricing of the place.

Having a coffee shop dream is one thing and starting one of your own and surviving is a completely different thing, and both are usually mutually exclusive. We all have our own coffee shop dreams, to start a cheerful little neighborhood place, we also know it’s all far too whimsical.

I personally felt both were very niche, new ideas that were striving to be different. They admit life’s not always been rosy for them; after all surviving in a jungle of wolves can get really nasty and you are alone.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Big Ranga Shankara Mango Party

Despite the clammy weather and blistering heat there is one thing that we all unarguably love about summers, the mangoes! Be it a chilled alphonso, green mango with salt and chilli powder or grandmother’s home made mango pickle (stashed away in a traditional ceramic pot, kept in a dark cool corner of the house, to marinate in rich spices) we love it all.

To celebrate the king of fruits Ranga Shankara played host to a mango party this Sunday. Everyone was invited to the mango party the deal was to bring a kilo of mangoes and eat as much as you can from the pool. This way one gets to taste all kinds of mangoes. There was Neelam, Banganapalli, Alphonso to name a few.

This initiative created a community for mango enthusiasts to get together and share their love for the fruit. I suddenly lost all the real world inhibitions and found myself chatting with people I didn’t even know. There was child like happiness on everyone’s faces while they were blissfully relishing their mangoes and discussing their childhood memories. The Ranga Shankara menu also featured mango kulfi, mango ice cream, mango sandwich, mango shake and lassi (buttermilk).

In my house, it’s almost a ritual with the onset of summers, crates and crates of mangoes arrive. And for days after that the women of the house are bustling with activity sorting, cleaning and trying out every possible mango recipe in town ensuring every part of the mango is used. In a house of predominantly Mysorepak and Laddu (South Indian Sweets) lovers we suddenly find ourselves dishing out the most exotic of desserts. The fridge is mysteriously stocked with aamrus, mango milkshake, mango ice cream, mango cheese cake, sweet mango pickle and everything the season brings with it.

At Ranga Shankara it was one Big Mango Party and very messy too!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


It is really interesting to see brands participating in the cultural spirit of their key markets. In Russia, during the Russian Othodox Christmas week Motorola built the St. Basil's Cathedral as a part of their promotion.

St. Basil's Cathedral by Motorola

Here is a closer look. It is for real alright!

Way to go Moto! With their phone Moto Pebble, the company is going all out to woo their target audinence and what better way to do it than talking to them in their own language!

Source: Russia Blogs

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ask Guruji

India has now joined the bandwagon of International search engines after Google, MSN, Yahoo and, with its very own It’s the brain child of Anurag Dod and Gaurav Mishra and its too early to claim that they are India’s very own Larry Page and Sergey Brin but we sure can applaud their efforts.

Guruji differentiates itself from other global players by indexing only Indian content and by offering a local search product that delivers the phone numbers and addresses to users.

The founders say they have developed proprietary algorithms that are used to classify and identify Indian content. The web crawlers look for certain properties in the content to ascertain its Indianess.

Why guruji? India has been the spiritual guru/leader of the world, now it's seeking to become the guru of the IT space. I don’t think we are far behind. After all, we seem to be the hotspot for most foreign companies to set their shop.

A very interesting statistics report thrown up in a study conducted by IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India) said that 65 million people use search engines everyday and the size of the search engine advertising is $50 million and fast growing.

Guruji, as a part of their ing effort, has also added new features like guruji in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam. This makes it more relevant to the Indian audience.

What is interesting to note is, unlike other search buttons this one reads ‘Search India’. In a way it truly helps you discover India, the content is very India specific and allows you to go right down to phone numbers with their city search engine section.

I like the guruji gyaan section it throws up interesting trivia about India which also allows you to understand this country better. They could use this as one of their marketing strategies since no other search engine has such a feature. Guruji’s Gyaan sounds almost sacred.

Here are some that I Liked

"Prem Nazir is the only actor in the world who has acted as the lead Hero in more than 600 films (primarily Malayalam)! In 1979, a record 39 films were released with the actor as the hero."

"The Mumbai city single handedly handles about 25% of the Domestic Airline and 38% of the international air passenger traffic in the country."

"The game of Kabaddi was introduced at the 9th Asian Games hosted by India at New Delhi in the year 1982."

"Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani better known as Dhirubhai Ambani,was born on December 28, 1932, at Chorwad, Gujarat. He began his entrepreneurial career by selling bhajias to pilgrims in Mount Girnar over the weekends."

"Karsanbhai Patel, the man behind the hugely successful 'Nirma brand, named the detergent powder Nirma after his daughter Nirupama "

I am sure like me there are many who didn’t know this.

The look and feel of this site is that of Google. Plain, clean and simple. The only difference is guruji is far more local, and you get a lot more Indian content. You can get phone numbers, addresses, road names and directions. In all, it also serves as your local directory.

Like Google they also have blogs and keep users and readers both updated on the latest on guruji.

I wouldn’t credit Anurag and Gaurav for being original, but more for being relevant. For someone traveling to India for the first time I think he would be better of asking Guruji and taking his advice than googling for information. Likewise, if I am looking for a restaurant in Bangalore, it would only make sense for me to ask Guruji rather than Google it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Pied Pipers of Mumbai

For a city that is constantly on the look out for ideas with instant cash rewards here is a business proposition that’s made by the BMC - Kill a rat, and get Rs. 5 for it.

BMC estimates rat population in the city to be 9 crores, which means Rs.45 crores is up for grabs! That’s a lot of money to make out of rat slaughter. True it’s not really the best way to make money but I can only imagine how many people are going to benefit out of the program.

'BMC hopes that this revised incentive (it earlier paid 50 paise for every rat killed )will move ordinary Mumbaikars enough to participate in its campaign against rodents, which isn't going too far even with dedicated squads working through the night.’ - Source Mumbai Mirror May 3rd 2007

To claim the reward (and be the next Pied Pier of Mumbai) one has to produce the dead body of the rodent to the local ward office. And if you have mutilated the rat’s body beyond recognition and would feel squeamish to carry it with you, just show the civic officials the tails as proof.

Despite the BMC’s relentless efforts they are not able to match the rats’ formidable coupling strength. The gap is only growing wide with every passing year; statistics show that a pair of rats can have 700 offspring in a year. And this has been the cause of many health problems.

It’s a neat social cause incentivised, getting the city together to rid rats and many diseases while also providing livelihood for many. It makes people more consciuos and makes them look out for their fellow citizens. Other metros should undertake such a cause - Plastic recycling plants people could dump their plastic waste in specific bins and get cash for it in return like the good old raddi concept.

While the Mumbikars are all geared up to play Pied Piper why can’t all local municipal organizations think of replicating this idea in their own respective cities?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Life on Venus

“Bye sweetheart, don’t wait for me I’ll be out late with the girls.” Preeti plants a quick kiss on her husband’s cheek and she’s off.

“How are you drunkards getting back?” Aditya winks.

“Adi shut up, you should see yourself when you come back from those male bonding sessions, it’s a mess. Shital is bringing her driver, not to worry. Bye”

“Oh yeah and fill me in on all the gossip when you’re back.” Adi chuckles.

This dialogue is hardly uncommon anymore. Women are taking time out to be with each other. The old rules of socializing for girls now looks dated. The new rule is that there are no rules, you make them up on the way.

A woman is a woman’s worst enemy and the society (predominantly male) has reinforced this time and again. I have heard even my non chauvinistic male friends make such causal remarks. I nearly bit their heads off for saying that. It could have been true in the past, when women were not in a position to help themselves or be helped by other women. But that is changing. Because women now have both financial power and social independence.

I can see a world of difference between my mum and me. My mum was largely dependant on my dad, so where the other women from her generation. Now women have strong women to depend on. I can’t imagine killing my time discussing husbands children, in-laws and the troubles that follow or the latest development on Kyunki saas bhi…. My mum realizes this she doesn’t expect me to do everything she had to at my age, in a way she is trying to live her life through me. Her equation with her mum, 30 years back, was completely different. Today we bond as women first and then as mother and daughter, discussing my work problems, her menopausal troubles, and so on and so forth. She knows I am going to be around even after I get married and have a family of my own.

For my mum to be in close contact with other women was almost a norm, for me, it’s a healthy support system, an opportunity for me to unwind and relax. When a bunch of women get together they need a scapegoat to unite them – just for the moment and for the fun of it. It could be criticizing a movie, gushing about your colleague’s new hair do, a new job, boyfriend, bosses receding hairline, etc. What the world calls bitching women call bonding.

Just the other day I was at the trial room of Fab India, doubtfully trying on a new style top, picking out too many flaws despite many appreciative remarks from Vineet. Suddenly another woman walks past with the same design of kurta in her hand.

“I was so doubtful of the style but it looks wonderful on you, I am definitely going to buy it.” She said as she walked past. It was enough for me to make up my mind. Women instinctively bond with other women in temporary surroundings when they perceive similarity. Ladies compartments, restrooms, beauty parlors even gynecology wards make popular bonding grounds. It may not develop into lasting associations, but it substitutes for a therapy center. When women are emotionally charged it is imperative they talk – irrespective of where they are and who it is.

Women need to talk to get a problem out of their system, and I for one vouch for that. Through every new relationship, break up, change of jobs, career I want to talk to my closest friend. It makes things a whole lot clearer and is a great stress releaser. We believe all that goes wrong can be made right by talking about it. We hold the fort with words.

So now it’s ok to be bitchy, it’s ok to be neurotic, it’ ok to be giggly.

It’s okay to be a girl.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It’s not a new Lingo it's BINGO!

ITC has launched Bingo with a Bang! Just when you thought the ready-to-eat snack market was saturated with a whole lot of players, ITC launches 16 new flavours and makes you think otherwise.

The 4 broad categories of Bingo (Potato Chips, Mad Angles, Live Wires and Tedhe Medhe) each of which comes in 4 variants is colourfully packed and is a direct competition to Lays and Kurkure.

I picked up 3 variants (yup I have some junking capacity!) Paneer Tikka, Mustard Sting and Bindas Masal Chaas. New and interesting were my first reactions. What stood out were the names which were typical to homemade snacks that are unique to different parts of the country. Paneer Tikka is the flavor of Punjab while Mustard Sting is so Kolkatta. (ITC is based out of Kolkotta and I am sure they wanted to pay tribute to the people of the state and what better way to do it than glorify Mustard oil!)

After watching all the amusing communication built around the brand, I have been eagerly waiting for the product to launch. Just like the commercials I think the product is also quirky and kind of grows on you. ITC’s marketing pockets run deep and they aim to be the market leader in 3 years in a market that is growing 30% annually!

To keep their consumers well informed of their choices they have launched not one but 5 30secs TVCs, all at one go. Sunder Raman talks about tangy lemon pickle and chips between Tamil-speaking lessons; Spoof of Tele Marketing ads dubbed in Hindi with the same contrived enthusiasm about a product – unveils Mad Angles; Two friends are confused about 5 liars and Live Wires; or a ho-hum lecture on what flamingos have and do not have. And a CBI inspector clarifies the difference between the criminal Zango and Bingo Potato wafers.

They have launched a full fledged multimedia campaign with a website called and also looking at the use of mobile and other new media. They also plan to build the personality of each flavour in future.

Yup, I am going right ahead and trying all the variants. What attracted me to the product was the attractive chips rack, it was a remixed version of all the other POPs we have seen so far. It comes with a zing, stands out and provides ample space for branding.

I am all thumbs up for the brand name, the names of the variants, the quirkiness, the packaging. True it would take a while for people to digest the all new flavours, but I am sure the risk of launching a product in an already well established market would eventually pay off.

"Bingo - No confusion. Great combination."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

TVC Hots & Nots

Being in advertising I am in the habit of flipping channels to catch Television Commercials. So when the remote is in my hand there is a possibility that I annoy my co viewrs. Since this activity takes up most of my television veiwing time, I decided to start reviewing TVCs and I am calling it 'TVC Hots & Nots'.

Everything selling on boob tube is not a creative marvel some of the Ads on air makes you want to switch of your TV. Then there a few that are funny, intelligent, cute, sentimental or plain cheeky. I thought its worth giving some attention to whats selling on TV.
I decided to start with 2 very intriguing Ads that have been on air for the last copule of weeks.

1. Amul Macho

Probably the only men's underwear brand without a man in it. With media furiously accusing them of being cheap and vulgar, this provocative ad has been enjoying all the attention, doesn't matter if it's in bad taste. While the other brands are pegging on machismo and chivalry Amul Macho, with the tag line 'Crafted for fantasies' is based completely on a woman's most intimate fantasy.

I think this ad clearly screams different. Let's face it, The Indian male is no Superman whether he wears a Roopa, Lux Cozy or VIP and that is what other underwear brands portray him to be. They are constantly running around in their underwear saving women, dangerously hanging from a cliff to rescue a kitten or being completely molested by women.

The film opens on a new bride, coming to do the laundry, while the other women gear up to bully her. She faces the cold stares boldly when she decides to pull out her husband's underwear from the lot. The women are taken aback by its sheer size and they retreat to a corner. Thoroughly enjoying their expression she goes ahead to wash it with expressions that clearly indicate what a great time she had in the sack on her nuptial night.

Everyone is talking about this new ad on TV; and it has great recall. We have a problem because the brand had the cheek to be different and its not just the same old formula. The ad is being honest, men don't want to be known for saving kittens or pumping away at the gym ,they would much rather be know for their skills in the sack! Its much ado over nothing.

2. Pepsi Gold

Quick to respond and sarcastic. This ad is a definite take on the dismal performance of the men in blue at the Caribbean. Post the world cup, India is gripped with a sense of hopelessness and this ad in some way restores that lost faith. The ad tells you there is no dearth of talent, the next time around there will be a younger quicker and a more aggressive team.

A group of boys go to a tailor to get the Indian cricket team's uniform stitched for themselves. One of the boys tells the tailor to stretch the length of the shirt from 20 to 24. the old tailor is visibly perplexed and moves on to measure the next boy's chest "33 inches" he declares but the guy's friends ask him to keep it at 40. The old tailor obviously annoyed grudgingly obliges. He reads out an exaggerated number while measuring another boy's shoulder. The boys cheer in agreement. Done with them, the tailor asks for the delivery date. The guys inform him, "Chaar saal baad. Agla world cup hum laayenge!"

Pepsi launched a new product for the world cup 'Pepsi Gold', with India's defeat the whole nation turned its face away from the high enthusiastic feeling and so did Pepsi. This voices every Indian's dream to go back to the world cup 4 years later with a new team and win. With a ring of disappointment and lots of hope this ad is well written, executed and on the whole brilliant.

'Paris FREE' Wire

This piece of news should bring some cheer to you. The Associated Press has adopted a policy NOT to cover Paris Hilton barring anything major, even that will be subject to debate. The addiction was bad, she was covered on an average twice a week last year by AP till they finally decided to give this Vice up! So when are the rest going to join the league or is it too much money at stake?

Now we know Paris has been in the news for all the wrong reason and loves the limelight. I say 'Smart move, Can we add Britney to the list as well?'

What's really funny is that even ignoring Paris Hilton is making news, a typical Hilton trait I suppose.