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Showing posts from December, 2007

Things I hate about Indian film awards

Soon 2008 will dawn upon us. And the award season will start. Screen, Zee, Filmfare, Stardust and what-not film award functions will be held, all over Mumbai. All of them look the same, all seem biased to me. There was a time when I used to highjack my remote control for over 4-5 hours and patently see the entire function. Now, I hate them because they sound cliched amongst other things. Here are my reasons:


Variety entertainment
Award shows are less of awards and more of variety entertainment. They have now become, at least in the 20 years or so, a convenient platform to show off an actor's 'dancing' talent because 99% of the industry with all the famous directors, producers, etc are seated in the audience. So what better way to sell yourself to them than to show some of your so-called dancing "skills". Most of the dancing is horrendous with even the likes of salman khan doing some items there. It's a pain to watch them dance when they don't know the D of …

Touchy stars

If you ever want to know where to find the biggest egos - or at least amongst the bigger ones - in society, look no further than Bollywood. Recently Aamir Khan made a comment on the movie Black and mentioned in an interview that Black didn't work for him because it was insulting and humiliating to children. Beating a visually, hearing and speech impaired child to make her come out of her senses and learn the ways and walks of life is not his kind of cinema, he said. He also said that the performances of Black were over-the-top.

Now Amitabh Bachchan, considered by many as one of the best actors, got offended. He gave a rebuttal interview and said that maybe the performances went over Aamir's head.

Bollywood is full of ego personalities. They can't digest any criticism. Critics are retards they say because critics pan shit movies. Performances have gone over people's heads if people do not like the performances. Damm people, damm freedom of speech, if I am Amitabh Bachchan…

Taare Zameen Par

Striking the Right Cord

Barely missing the movie on one of my most hectic Saturdays in recent times, I am glad that I finally made it to Regal cinema and watched this masterpiece called 'Taare Zameen Par' (TZP). The movie takes a sympathetic look - or rather the way it should be looked - at dyslexia. Young Ishaan Awasthi (Darsheel Safary) cannot study like some of the other kids, he is poor in Maths, his language and vocabulary does not make sense nor can he make sense of it all, he does not show his red-inked report card to his parents, does not do homework and bunks classes. Fed up by his antics and his teacher's constant complaints, his parents, especially Daddy, banishes him to a boarding school, much against the little one's wishes.

Enter an angelic arts teacher Ram Shankar Nikumbh (Aamir Khan) who observes and identifies Ishaan's problems and mental agony. He takes it upon himself to set things right for the little one by creating a conducive atmosphere for th…

WHAT YOU SEE MAY NOT BE WHAT YOU GET

Can diversified equity funds tilt heavily towards mid-caps?

What does diversification mean for a diversified equity fund? Does it mean it will diversify across sectors and scrips or does it mean it will diversify across market capitalisation stocks?

Outlook Money looked at equity funds to check out how little scheme objectives can tell you about their potential action. To keep things simple, we checked out only diversified equity funds. We omitted thematic, sectoral, dividend yield funds. We also left out closed-end funds and equity-linked savings schemes since they usually have a higher allocation towards mid-cap scrips on account of a lock-in. Then, we examined the portfolios of short-listed funds across five time periods since July 2005 when mid-cap scrips were the flavour of the market .

MF schemes that call themselves ‘diversified’ had an unusually high proportion of their assets in mid-cap scrips. In all of them (top five mid-cap exposure schemes), the average mid-cap exposure was …

Playing the NFO game once again

MFs rush to launch multiple infrastructure funds with negligible differences

Can a mutual fund (MF) launch a new scheme with identical theme to an existing one? MFs say they can, provided one is open-ended and the other is closed-end. Despite its heavily-advertised and successfully existing open-ended UTI Infrastructure Fund (UIF), UTI MF has launched another infrastructure fund, UTI Infrastructure Advantage Fund – Series I (UIAF) that is closed-end, whose new fund offer (NFO) closes on 19th December.

Old wine in new bottle
Fund manager Sanjay Dongre told us that since UIAF is a closed-end scheme, it can invest significantly in mid-caps and remain invested, as closed-end funds do not see much redemption like open-ended ones. This is a frequently-used argument of MFs to launch closed-end schemes, but do closed-end funds deliver? UTI Equity Tax Savings Plan, an open-ended tax-savings fund but with a three-year lock-in, returned 39.5 per cent in the past three years underperforming the benc…

AMFI Guideline in the Dustbin

An NOC is still required to change agents despite an Amfi guideline that says it is not

On the heels of a story published in Outlook Money that highlighted mutual fund (MF) investors’ plight in shifting agents, on account of a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) requirement from the original agent (‘Consolidate Your Fund Folios’; 15 August 2007), and investor complaints alike, the Association of Mutual Funds of India (Amfi) issued a circular to all MFs on 5th September advising them to avoid asking for NOCs. Unfortunately, quite a few MFs have chosen to ignore the advice and still insist on an NOC.

Sticky trail
At the root of the problem is the trail commission that agents get. Also known as loyalty commission, MFs pay around 0.35 to 0.50 per cent of the prevailing investment value to the agents - in addition to the 2.25 per cent entry load at the time of initial investment – for as long as the investor stays invested.

MF sources told us that as soon as Amfi issued this directive, few unscrup…

News Channels I like

I am not an avid reader, I do not bury my head in books for hours and hours like some people I know. Except Harry Potter, Busybee and some on financial topics, I do not read books. But I read lots of newspapers, magazines and watch a lot of news on TV.

I watch only English new channels. Mainly because there is only one Hindi news channel on Indian television, NDTV India. Other Hindi channels that call themselves news channels, are not news channels to me; they are variety entertainment channels during the day and adult entertainment channels after 9 pm. Nothing wrong about it, but I think it would do us all good if they stop calling themselves news channels instead of what they truly are. Especially Rajat Sharma, who time and again, asserts on India TV that this is what the public wants to see and so they're showing it. But this piece is not about what I do not like. It is about the channels I like and watch.

My favourite channel is CNN-IBN. Starting from its editor, Rajdeep Sardesa…