Bloody Hell – Mumbai held for no ransom

36 hrs and the drama is not ending. A bunch of young guys holding this entire nation for no ransom. There is a hostage situation but no negotiations. Even in war, there is some demand, some people want to capture a piece of land, fighting for their rights. Here there is nothing plane simple destruction. What a waste of life I say. If this is the purpose for which these gunmen are dying, then what are they dying for?

I used to laugh at all the action movies of the Deols and Devgans of bollywood. It is simply not possible to load a person with so much of ammunition I would think. I do not feel so now. To fight a battle so long, these terrorist have so much of ammunition with them. Where do they get it from? Who is paying for it? Why are they paying for it?

I wrote sometime back that terrorism is simply ineffective in India. I still stand by my views. Although the number of injured is quite high in this shootout, these guys have still not been able to cross the number of deaths in the stampedes we had. And these terrorist are surely going to die. But the nation is in real shock because it has taken lesser number of men to kill so many of them. I have been fortunate (or unfortunate) to see the live coverage of this incidence almost since the beginning. I was late from office and waiting to see the 11:00 PM show of Asambhav on Zee Marathi. My wife was channel surfing and she watched this news. She almost instantaneously shouted. Most of my in-laws are in Mumbai and she always gets upset with such news for obvious reasons. I could not stop watching the news and finally succumbed to sleep only at 4:00 AM as news came pouring in every few minutes.

For long time I was wondering when will I see Ratan Tata’s comments on this. Being part of the Tata group, I have tremendous respect for his (I would have had it even otherwise, but it feels like we are part of a family). What touched me most is that he asked all agencies not to forget this incidence. We as a nation have really left our bloody past behind. Had we remembered that, we would have taken all necessary steps to stop this from happening. If you look at the number of attacks on our nation and compare with US and UK, it would be easily understood that we have not learnt from the past. We take pride in saying how the life has come to normal in a day or two. But then did we really prevent the future instances of the terror attacks? Non-violence is an ornament of the mighty. We just have resilience to stand up when someone slaps us. That is not good enough. We should be strong enough to make that someone think 10,000 times before they take a look at us.

I was also wondering how much more coverage we are seeing for this event than the similar situations in Kashmir or other parts of the country. Deservedly VP Singh did not get much attention of the media due to this. But was this because it was in Mumbai and convenient for all channels to cover it? Media’s role in this case will always be questioned. All across the world, this has become a nuisance. I personally could not detach myself from the live coverage and I could not sleep well. But then live coverage is not complete without news paper report. You still need words to create a greater impact. I had to read the next day news paper.

I am sure that in some part of the world, these guys are going to be heroes. This means that we are likely to have similar attacks in future. How are we prepared for this? There is a contrasting environment in today’s urban and rural areas. For the smaller cities of India, this difference is not that wide. But compare Mumbai with some small village in Maharashtra, specially in backward areas and we will notice that the requirements of the police force are quite different in these places. Same is the case with general discipline. So when the person from rural area comes to Mumbai, he first has to learn the discipline of the city. Mumbaikars have learned it hard way and every now and then when someone creates a chaos, their lives, daily calculations of means of living go for a toss. Everything in Mumbai is so calculated today. We can make it more easier to live in Mumbai only if we teach this discipline to all our rural citizens. But that is not on our agenda.  In fact the Mumbai way of life can make life much easier in villages as well. What is will also do is to bring effectiveness in our ways to handle such crisis situations. One of the biggest task for the rescue teams and police is to cut their way through hoard of onlookers. They have no business in such situations but then they are there. In my opinion, this social discipline is the only one lesson we need to learn as a nation to go to the top. Be it in the commerce or be it in fighting the terrorism. Discipline reduces waste and brings efficiencies. It is as simple as that.

Satish Rajwade’s Director’s Cut – Asambhav takes new turn

Ever since Satish Rajwade has returned back from his so called break/ vacation whatever, Asambhav is now back on track. Characters have become alive, seen doing something rather than just talking something emotional. Earlier the total time of 20+ minutes used to have only 2 minutes of action taking the story forward. Now as Inspector Vikrant Bhosale has spun his net around Sulekha, we are discovering new twists to the story every few days.

What makes Satish separate from other directors is his grip on the content. In one of his interviews quite a long time back, he had said that you will not find a shot which is not required in Asambhav. Well! that did not hold true all the time but once he is back we are seeing it getting realized again and again. I had thought that his return to the serial was unnecessarily made dramatic and glorifying the character just because he is director. But with yesterdays first session of interrogation of Sulekha it seems that I was wrong.

BTW, what an episode was that. Although, I don’t see soaps much, I doubt if there is any episode in history of Indian soaps where only two characters have carried an entire episode on their shoulders. Though Satish had story behind him making him a hero, what a performance from Nilam Shirke. Hats off to her. Outside Asambhav & Zee Marathi, Nilam tries to tell the world that she is not really a natural fit for vamp roles and she can play various characters. She is always projecting herself as lively bubbly character. But then poor lady! her super performance is typecasting her in a villain’s role. She will really need a big serial with real positive character to change her image. But I like her this way as well, why change? The reason could be she is good in comedy too.

What has happened over past few months now is that we have completely forgotten that when Asambhav started, Adinath & Shubhra were the leads of this serial. Today that equation seems to have changed and now it looks as if it is Vikrant and Priya are the leads. All along these two years, Shubhra’s character has been the most dumb one. Despite having powers to get clues to the future, she just does not do anything but make scared faces. Despite all this, Urmila Kanetkar is a big find. The way she changes from Shubhra to Sulekha or Shubhra to Parvati is something that needs great skills. The difference in Shubhra and Parvati’s character is also shown without loud acting. All those hero heroines doing double roles must take few lessons from Urmila. Nilam on the other hand has benefit of having vary contrasting characters and she has done that superbly as well. But I would rank Urmila one point above.

Anyways, this being my first post on Asambhav, its bit too lengthy. Will stop here and go watch today’s episode. 🙂

Shankar Mahadevan – You rocked on Zee Marathi Saregamapa

What an episode man… one after the other the Saregamapa Little Champs went on singing and finally Shankar took the entire episode to its pinnacle. Initially when Shankar started praising everyone and forcing Avadhoot and Vaishali to give ni to everyone, I was saying come on Shankar this is not Hindi Saregamapa. Not everyone gets history here. In fact what I liked the most is Prathamesh Laghate alias PL told Vaishali that he is OK with less marks. That is real Marathi manoos man. We know what we are and where we are. But after the first round, the champs settled down and the effect of the praise they got started showing off. Even Kartiki who is generally not as good sang extremely well. Mugdha was also good. But I liked Arya & for a change Shamika. Arya in my opinion was the best performer of the day. Shamika’s marathi rendering was one of the best I have heard from her till date. How much I missed Shalmali… It would have been a great episode with her. But…

Shankar is one of the performers who says the best words for all who sing in front of him. He cheers them. Gives them standing ovation and everything he can. But when it comes to singing, he is just unbeatable. He sang Hansadhwani with Arya and it felt even sweeter both because if his singing and Arya joining with him. His bumro bumro also helped Avanti. But it was when Rohit Raut sang Mayechya Halavya, Shankar just showed what a great singer he is and how much these little champs need to learn. The number of variations he created in the same line which is recorded were just mind boggling. One after the other it kept coming … All Rohit could do was to sing as per the recording. Just too much for the poor child.

I have heard the song Maa from Taare Zameen Par so many times but the live performance did bring drops of tear to my otherwise dry eyes. Music can be as powerful as to change the entire world. If everyone speaks the same language across the world, it is music. Zee Marathi has shown the way to all other stupid Hindi entertainment channels what quality of content means. Once it is there, you don’t need all those nakharas and well rehearsed and scripted dialogues in reality shows. What Zee Marathi shows is much real than any Hindi channel. Keep it up Zee Marathi.


Zee Marathi Saregamapa – Shocking Result. Shalmali Out of race

If Ketaki’s departure was unfortunate, Shalmali’s departure cannot be anything less than shocking. When there is a competition, only the best need to be chosen and yesterday’s results proved why democracy is failing not just in India but world wide. People never choose the best candidate. I am also responsible partially for this shocking result as I did not vote for Shalmali. Who could have imagined that Shalmali will go out of this race?

In the episode aired in Diwali & one after that, Rohit was doing badly. He was not able to sing and as Avadhoot Gupte pointed out yesterday that yesterday for the first time he sang rather than performed. I believe, he got lot of sympathy vote this time causing Shalmali Tipre Sukhtankar’s departure.

The finalist in the Zee Marathi Saregamapa Little Champs are all really good. It is very difficult to take one out. If you ask me the last two at this stage would definitely be Rohit and Kartiki for their lack of versatility. Avanti Patel is not consistent  and one bad performance can throw her out someday or may be she is the second Shalmali in this race. But Shalmali was never anything less than being in Top 3-4. My topper list is Prathamesh, Shalmali, Arya, Mugdha and may be Avanti. Avanti sings all songs with same emotions and smiling face. Hence she is on border. Arya is also inconsistent and her approach to add expressions is bit immature. Prathamesh and Shalmali would have really been top two but…

Mugdha’s SMS contribution seems to have gone down this week. I was fearing that she will win to competition purely on SMS rather than on merit. She is youngest of them all but still way to go. To conclude my thoughts on this whole episode, I would suggest that rather than taking SMS for a particular week, Zee Marathi can consider aggregating all the SMS in a weighted average (e.g. 1 week SMS will have 10% weight, next week 20% etc.) and then use this number to avoid such disappointment. It’s been a real shock for Shalmali and her fans (including me). I am sure being a Mumbai girl, she has tenacity to recover from this and she will rule Marathi music in years to come. Wish you all the best Shalmali.

Prabhu Ramchandra to Raj Thakre –Times have really changed

Well you will ask me what is connection between Prabhu Ramchandra & Raj Thakre. Appearantly there is nothing that you can find quickly. But little bit of reference to history and you will find it quickly. Wasn’t Prabhuji the prince of today’s bhaiyyas? He was the first UPite to come to Maharashtra. Who were residents of Maharashtra & may be Karnataka then? In Dandakaranya, it was land of rishis and munis and the rest was wanarraj. Sugreev was fighting with his brother Wali even in that time. Fortunately the issue of Bhaiyyas was not that hot at that time. Hardly anyone from north used to come down under. So there was no Raj Thakre in that time.

Times have really changed. From the prince of Ayodhya, now you will find the poor common people coming here. The MNS equates them to monkeys. Tries to shoo them away. Ram is now worshiped in Maharashtra as well as all southern states of India. Hanuman from this area is worshiped in North. So much so the monkeys are treated as avatars of Hanuman and they have become a big time menace in Delhi. So the men are being compared to monkeys and monkeys are being compared to God.

Times have not really changed. Brothers in Maharashtra still fight with each other. Earlier it was wanar princes now the human beings. To kill his own brother Sugreev took help of Ram. To win elections in this times, vote banks of North Indians are being created. Kingdom gaya bhadme. Muze meri gaddhi chahiye.

So the Maharashtrians can really claim the authenticity/ originality of there genes and call themselves as locals and sons of this soil as long as they can keep fighting with each other. North Indians do not worry. Raj will never get majority. Our own brothers will ensure that. You are most welcome.

Note: Please take this entire writing on a lighter note. I personally do not intent to offend any of our Gods. They are as much as mine as yours. I do not intent to demean the human beings or any race or people from any region. But just give a different direction to look at our history.


Zee Marathi Saregamapa – Good luck Neha & How to beat Mugdha?

On Monday, Saregamapa Little Champs bid good bye to Neha Karmarkar. Neha started vey well in this competition but somewhere she lost track. Due to health problems some of her episodes were quite low. She tried to recover but could not do it as fast as our Puneri doll – Arya Ambekar. I am sure Neha will not lose her confidence. She did not cry but she did look nervous to me. I definitely wanted to see her in top 5.

On the other hand the magic run of Mugdha continues. Of all votes, (Pallavi said 7 lakh SMS) Mugdha bagged 35% that’s whopping 220K+ votes. That’s amazing but my suspicious mind does not stop me from thinking. Mugdha is definitely good and for her age, she is giving everyone much older than her a tough fight. I heard she is not as young as she looks. So how is she managing to get so many votes?

There is a good possibility that she has some admirers who are spending lot of money. She seems to be coming from typical middle class Marathi family like you and me. So her family may not be doing all this. They all are good people. But the other possibility is that someone know how to hack the online voting system and is sending votes to Mugdha free of cost. Does Zee Marathi has will or wherewithal to find this out? I believe they have.

I posted you tube video of Shalmali Sukhtankar in my earlier blog post.  Now that video is gone and its user ahonkan’s account is suspended by Google. This proves that Zee Marathi is actively tracking the copyrighted material or may be it was some bitter comments by ahonkan that irked Zee Marathi. But we have lost a good collection of you tube videos which we enjoyed a lot when we missed the show. I have to think of moving to Tata Sky Plus now.

Yes we will – Barack Obama wins US Presidential Election

Today I got an opportunity to watch the historic win of Barack Obama, the first Afro-American president of USA. More than the historic nature of the win, what impacted me was the speeches by both candidates.

After having fought the hard battle, Senator McCain gave the most graceful speech I have heard till now. It was short, to the point, graceful and above all the differences he had with Obama. McCain not just congratulated Obama but also committed to work with him and help him build the nation in the time of crisis. True to his soldierly attitude, he was also sporting enough to applaud the efforts taken by his opponent. While his supporters were booing Obama, McCain calmed them down and never showed sign of losing. He was very positive in his approach. He knew that he has given a good fight and not left any stone unturned.

Obama on the other hand was not as effective in the oratory skills. His speech started with a long list of people to thank and once that was done, he set the future agenda. One of the most important thing he said was that this victory is not the end, it is the chance that they have got and it is now a bigger responsibility to ensure that the dreams are fulfilled.He gave example of a black lady aged 106 voting in this election. Taking her lifespan as a prop, he reminded all about the history, right from the days of slavery to Linclon, to Martin Luther King to today. The speech was full of positive energy, as was McCain. He reminded all of the herculean task ahead and assured the republicans that he will be there president as well. Though it was a bit longer speech, I just could not escape the positive spirit it had.

This positive spirit is what USA makes a different country and takes them to the number one position in the world. Even in the toughest of the times, they have that will to overcome it. And when I am saying about the positive spirit, it is not the general public as such, it is the leadership. When the nation gets people who are so charged up at the center stage, the nation just can not fail.

While the speeches in India are so dull and slow and the audience is noisy, I was very much impressed with the involvement of the audience and the force in speech. The cautious optimism in Obama’s speech was very practical and the overall tone of the words spoken was rational. Their was faith in God, trust in people and willingness to listen. That’s what makes USA the nation it is.