Jan 14, 2010

Chandan Arora's "Striker" - music

"Striker", a film directed by Chandan Arora and starring Siddharth (probably the first Hindi film to feature carrom as its central theme?), recently released its music album. Among the many music directors to write songs for the album is Vishal.

The song is called Yun Hua, is penned by Gulzar, and is sung by Vishal himself.

(see the Wikipedia article on 'Striker' for more.)

cross-posted on the Vishal blog

Jan 13, 2010

Three Idiots...

...Aamir Khan has now kissed both Kapoor sisters.

...a film so designed to be 'feel-good' that it's almost obscene in how 'good' the audience is made to 'feel' - solicitation of pleasure laws should apply, for aren't people paying for this?

...if you want to make movies with 80s sensibilities, then you should have made them in the 80s.

...the lack of attention to detail is often insulting, that this is almost a sci-fi film. Predicts mass use of futuristic tech in the late 90s (calculating for an engg. student born in '78) such as cell-phones, webcams, broadband.

...in addition to Chetan Bhagat, the writers did not prominently credit those who write the jokes that eventually become email forwards.

...funny that a film whose story consistently praises 'innovation' over the 'formulaic system' uses a mix of old Bollywood techniques, with only the occasional meta-film references that we are used to from modern Bollywood films.

...the best 2-3 sequences or one-liners in the film went largely unnoticed in the audience; occasional sparks of originality glimmered anonymously.

...Engineering education might need a positive PR exercise in India.

...after vamps, kisses, and revealing costumes went mainstream, certain hindi words that were solely the preserve of Ranjeet & co. have ceased to be embarrassing in family films.

...life isn't worth living if one isn't a hero of one's film, i.e. if your life has an Aamir Khan and you are not him (one more coin in the doesn't-Aamir-Khan-do-the-same-characters? fund)

...and finally, we're in serious trouble if such a large quantity of people in the audience need to be given hope and reassurance (but ultimately, you've got to take the hard decisions about what you want; watching it vicariously is no use)

Alternatives: read Richard Feynman's "Surely, You're Joking Mr. Feynman", get a copy of "In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones", or try a more honest, though raw rendition of the same themes in "Silicon Jungle", a film by Rabi Kisku, an IIT Madras student.

Jan 9, 2010

ghaas-phuus ke raste

The next time you walk down Fergusson College Road, do look up at the trees that (still) dot much of the road. (Be sure to keep half-an-eye out for the monstrous traffic bearing down upon you too.) A month or so ago, two botany students (Apoorva Gaikwad and Sunita Chougule) from Modern College painstakingly attached labels to each tree (mentioning its common and botanical name). Like in this picture: This is a great idea. If we measured naturalist illiteracy, I'd be at the top of the list, so hopefully, soon I'll be able to tell my 'sonemohars' from my 'gulmohars' just by walking down FC Road (when I'm not dodging the one-way traffic).

(This TOI article has more.)

Jan 8, 2010

Going senti

Paul Greenberg is an analyst in the world of CRM tools, with a book on the topic, to his credit. In a recent ZDNet blog post, he added Cognizant's Social CRM ventures to his annual CRM watchlist, saying:
This is one of my most out-of-place and yet most appropriate picks for 2010.[...]The fact that they have a practice is well and good but they back the practice up with content and that makes a huge difference. They are actually developing a Social CRM framework for both technology and strategy and investing resources in products that can support them.
Further he adds:
For example, they have a sentiment analyzer that I saw not too long ago that is a solid entry into the tool belt. This is not a commercial product, but a tool for their work and their clients to use. Honestly, with not much more work, it could be a very salable sentiment analysis tool - competitive in most ways.
I quote these lines because my group is responsible for creating the Sentiment Analyzer quoted above. I've been working on this for the last couple of years and it is interesting to finally see some non-traditional applications of sentiment analysis come to the fore. (Usually, they have revolved around brand monitoring and reputation analysis.)

The jury is still out on what constitutes Social CRM and its benefits beyond simply adding another set of channels to existing CRM systems. People like Cognizant's A. Prem have been writing and talking about this fledgling area, but as someone involved in text analytics , I am interested in seeing how this evolves in the future.

Jan 7, 2010


Mavalli Tiffin Rooms is quite a Bangalore institution, with its silver coffee tumblers and khaaraa bhaats. 11 took me there one Saturday morning after a walk through Lalbagh. The most interesting thing about the experience came at the very end, when I went to wash my hands.

I don't know who came up with it, but the idea is brilliant: the washbasin has a foot-operated tap. This allows you to rinse your hands without touching the tap with your sambaar-chutnified fingers. Moreover, you don't need to remember to close the tap when done, a common problem in public washbasins. Regulation of flow is fairly intuitive and corresponds directly to foot pressure rather than turning a tap in circles.

Why don't we have more foot-controlled taps? Why is MTR the only place where I've seen this? And why, despite having a phone with a camera, did I not take a photo for this blog?

Update (16 Feb 2010): Saurabh clicked a photo of the tap which can be seen here (you may have to use your imagination a little :-) )