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Showing posts from August, 2008

Movie Marathon

Yesterday I watched two Bollywood movies back-to-back at one of my favourite cinemas, Regal, Bombay. First it was Rock-On (RO) and then Bachna Ae Haseeno (BAH).

RO is one of the best movies to come out of Bollywood in recent years. A story of a dismantled college rock band - who have since moved on with their lives doing regular chores, jobs and boring family businesses - that come together thanks to an initiative of the wife of one of the group members. Brilliantly directed, well-edited, crisp and cool performances, RO is a winner. Actors are becoming directors (Aamir Khan of Taare Zameen Par) and directors are becoming actors (Farhan Akhtar who earlier directed Dil Chahta Hain is one of the four band members in RO).
Rating: * * * *

BAH was also better than I had expected. A story of a casanova who flirts around with girls, sleeps with them and then dumps them. Till reality hits him when he lands up on the receiving end. The dude repents and decides to make amends by travelling back in …


FMPs are walking a tightrope and amassing credit risk

In an urge to attract investors and taking advantage of the rising interest rates, mutual funds (MF) have been launching fixed maturity plans (FMP) almost every week. But in an attempt to earn a higher yield than its competitors, some FMPs are taking on undue risk. Market sources have told Outlook Money that one FMP launched by a large public-sector MF recently got into trouble with one of its underlying instruments. The company in whose debt paper this FMP had invested in, defaulted on the principal payment and the MF’s parent company – itself one of India’s biggest financial houses – had to bail out the MF.

Beware of credit risk
Credit risk denotes the quality of your scheme’s underlying instruments and their ability repay the interest and principal amounts. Whenever your FMP invests its corpus in debt papers of various companies, it hopes that when the tenures ends, it gets the monies back and pays them back to you – the investor.


What I do not like on TV

Although the good-old television remains one of my favourites means of entertainment, I feel it has been prostitutionalied by pimps like Hindi news channels (India TV, Zee News, to a extent Aaj Tak) and a certain production house that produces rubbish TV serials that all look and sound like stories of extended families; one TV serial per family. These and a few other irritating things I do not like. I am quite fed-up...

...of media's pampering of Bollywood stars. Nobody knows how to lick people's asses and hone egos like the Indian media. So while, without anyone asking them to, the media calls SRK as King Khan and Saif Ali Khan as Prince Khan, Sanjay Dutt is known as Sanju Baba or Munnabhai in the media circles. When Dutt was released from jail, the media happily proclaimed: "Munnabhai is out of jail". Let me put this straight. Just because Sanjay Dutt played the role of an angel in Munnabhai MBBS doesn't make him an angel. He stashed away an AK-47 rifle because …

Taking a walk on the Skywalk

Today, my friend and ex-colleague Rajesh Gajra (the apple of every editor's eye) insisted that we walk over the newly constructed and Bombay's first-ever skywalk at Bandra. I didn't ask him why he was so insistent, but I'm sure if I had, he would have said, "the reader wants to know". I don't know how that is relevant out here, but this is his standard answer. Anyways, that is another story for another day. Today I will talk about Skywalk.

Fed-up with lack of footpaths and lack of space to construct them, the city's Corporation has now taken to build skywalks. These are elevated pavements in the form of long bridges for pedestrians to walk on, seamlessly. Bombay got its first skywalk in Bandra (E). This one starts from Bandra (E) railway station and goes right up to Kalanagar junction, over the Western Express highway. In a crowded city like Bombay where space is the biggest constraint and also given our previous administration's severe lack of for…

When will we learn to respect the disabled?

My most startling observation about USA is the respect they have for the disabled. In USA, a disabled can get to just about anywhere any abled person can. Footpaths, buildings, boats, airplanes, buses, cabs, you name it, and disabled people can go anywhere. I was stunned to see so many disabled people on the streets (many of them were in their wheel-chairs) and getting about their business as if nothing has happened to them.

Here, in India, a disabled person is lucky if he / she can get out of his / her building of residence. Forget about a wheel-chair bound person getting into a BEST bus! Even trains are inaccessible to wheel-chair bound people. This is mainly because the height of trains is different from that of platforms. So even if a train stops at a station, we still have to climb the compartment's stairs to get in. Abroad, the height of railway platform and compartments are the same and both are at the same level. Numerous petitions, made to the governments to enforce steps …