Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hatrick @ Leela Kempinsky, Gurgaon

"Jai Ganesh Jai Ganesh Jai Ganesh Deva…
Mata Jaaki Parvati Pita Mahadeva…
Ek Dant Dayavant, Char Bhuja Dhari…
Mathe Sindur Suhai, Museki Sawari…
Andhanko ankh det, kidhan ko kaya…
Banjhanko putra det, Nirdhan ko maya…
Jai Ganesh Jai Ganesh Jai Ganesh Deva…
Paan Chadhe Phul Chadhe Aur Chadhe Meva…
Laduuonka Bhog Chadhe Santh kare Seva…
Jai Ganesh Jai Ganesh Jai Ganesh Deva…"


To release this blog, can we find a better time than the auspicious birthday of Vighnesha : the 'Remover of obstacles' , the Lord of Beginnings, the patron of arts & sciences, the Deva of intellect & wisdom and as relevant to this story.......................the 'GOD of Success' ?
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LIGHTS....on...CAMERA...rolling....ACTION…





The three golden words which never ceases to fascinate me…never ceases to remind of the STAGE where I enter with a confidence which comes after hours of rehearsal and the desire to see the audience waving from remote corners of the Auditorium.


It was not long back, when every ‘Cultural Nite’ at college meant hours of planning ,theme finalisation, days of casting, rehearsal and stage arrangement just to ensure that the Audience get their share of entertainment.


STAGE : Perhaps the most sacred word in an Artist's dictionary. For the audience it might be nothing more than a small piece of area but for an artist its a Temple where he/she must visit so as to get the chance of seeing the GOD (its audience) one day or the other. A simple 5 letter word, but surely as strong as the dedication of its performers, as vital as the focus of its artist while being as perfect as the audience in judging the Talent...all this while History is in making. Although decoration plays a major role in giving the much required feel to the overall performance of an artist, as known to the 'Performing world', the real talent lies in making the Best use of available Stage area however small it may be.


For me the STAGE CALLING dates back to 1996. From the first performance 'Daskathia' ( a well known Folk Dance of Orissa) to the now-popular play 'Once Upon a Time in REC Warangal' , it has been a 'Gratifying' experience for me in true sense of the word. Unfailingly, every stage has brought with it the pursuit to do something new and the excitement to see it come alive.



The recently held Engineering Conclave'09 ( an annual event organised by the R&D division of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd to showcase previous years achievement and 'the road ahead') was no exception. This time the challenge was twofold : 1) Creating an AV (Audio Visual) on ‘Best practices followed in R&D’ and 2) performing a theme song for the event .

Although it was the second time I was making an AV (Named “Living Life… the R&D Way), the experience, I must say, was entirely different. Contrary to the previous case (Delhi 6), where editing was done simply by using the available photographs , here the scope of work extended to making a COMPLETE movie. Story line : as decided by the TOP MANAGEMENT, Photography : as the Script Demanded and Editing, Sound Mixing : Using a Laptop that never lets its users miss the WINDOWS 98 environment (an avg of 3 Hangs per 5 Min).


video


(a 7 Second Preview of the AV)


In a nutshell, 2 script changes, 6 Hours of Photography, 12 Hours of Sound mixing, 20 Hrs of Management Review, 180 Hours of Editing, Innumerous Hangs, 15 ‘Hours’ of Last ‘Minute’ Changes.... And I was ready with the AV of ‘68 Seconds’ duration. Can't wait to watch the Full Version of such a unique AV ? Unfortunately, the copyright is not with the Production House.


To compensate, of course there was another side of the coin.


Based on this year's theme 'Engage, Execute, Excel : Drive the Future ', a theme song was composed by Mr. Ashwinder Singh (an R&Dian) and he was in the search of playback singers to complete the recording process. I was called in.
6th Aug 09 : 15.00 Hrs


Padpad ganj


Entering inside a music recording studio was definitely an unforgettable moment. The studio was located in East Delhi and belonged to Music Director Kuldeep Sandhuu, a thorough professional ( http://www.kuldeepsandhuu.com/) who has the experience of composing music



video


( The Theme Song : "Aao Chalen")
for about 12 Corporate firms and numerous albums. Although the recording studio was not-so-spacious, before our arrival, he had called all the artists (instrumentalists) to individually record their music in sync with the composed tune. When we arrived, he was more than eager to make us listen to the recorded tracks and complete the vocals with the help of his asst Jeorge. Although for us, the whole experience was one of its kind, perhaps what will remain even more special are the compliments we received from Kuldeep and Jeorge for our performance.


From the School-Days- Make Shift stage to college auditorium to the theatres at Delhi, I have felt the STAGE and have won many awards across regions. I knew the STAGE set for Conclave will be another such place which will critically evaluate my ability to please the audience.
But what if the same STAGE becomes the holy ground of Winning AWARDs for not the performance I was so keen of ..but for something beyond my expectation ?


Surprisingly since 2006, the month of August has been THE month of success. Coincidence has got a new Height. 11th Aug'06 : Placement at MSIL, 11th Aug 07 : Best GET Award (for best project in Prodn Division), 11th Aug'08 : Quarterly Achievement Award (Dept level). But this August was different. Breaking any further repetition of history, this year 11th August came as a busy day amidst review meetings, feedback sessions, Fine Tunings of the editable file from which I made the Audio Visual for the CFT Presentation : Ideas@Work.


CFT ? What is that ? Before you ask , let me clarify that 'CFT' means Cross Functional Team which has been formed to complete a given task and as the present case goes a PRESENTATION on the current issues and how new IDEAs can help solve these problems.


Slowly and steadily we were moving towards the D-Day. One week to go.


19th August 2009 - 10:30 Hrs

Leela Kempinski, Guragon


As planned, I reached the venue along with the 'Singers'. When we reached the first floor of this 5 star hotel, it was a brand NEW STAGE which instantaneously caught our eye. The STAGE which will set the mood of the evening. The STAGE which will judge the intensity of our preparation and strength of our performance.


After a couple of rehearsals off-stage, we went to complete one FINAL STAGE rehearsal while finalsing the direction and positions of ON and OFF Stage movements.


-----------------------------------------INTERMISSION-------------------------------------


14:30 Hrs
Leela Kempinski, Guragon

The 800 strong batallion of R&D Division has arrived.


Although the Menu in hand (Program Outline printed in the diary handed over to all the conclave participants) was long enough to scare the audience which has already started missing the much anticipated visit to the nearby AMBIENCE MALL, what came to their rescue were the shortest possible speeches by the dignitaries succeded by the 'Ligshting' event. ( Top Management 'Lighting the Lamp' )

Then started the CFT Presentations. As
expected, they delivered the 'Content of the Event' . My CFT,namely fourth, was scheduled at the end of all presentations. As part of the presentation, the AV made by me was screened while all the CFT members were standing on STAGE (My 1st STAGE Appearance of the evening). Later on, I was delighted to get inspiring reviews from the audience about the AV.



( Picture showing CFT Ideas@Work on STAGE )
Just after the refreshment break, the audience slowly began to realise that this Conclave is not just only about mere presentations. This has something much beyond simple pronunciation of the word 'Creativity'. It was as if SpititZ has cast a spell with their performance. Performed in the event, to depict the theme “Engage, Execute, Excel- Drive the future” this mesmerizing play evoked thunderous applause and standing ovation from the audience. Jai Ho Team SpiritZ !!!


video


One last sub-event 'Awards and Recognitions' and I will be on stage to perform the theme song.

As the names rolled on the screen, backstage, preparations were on for performance of the Group Song. The team eagerly waited for the
Award ceremony to get over so that they can enter the stage as planned. (Team SpiritZ receiving award from MD)

Amidst various categories of awards like Innovative Solution, New System/Process Development, Best VA/VE, Best Cost Saving , all of a sudden what flashed in the screen was the category ‘New Initiatives’. And it take me some time to believe what I heard next.

“ Biswanath Rath ENP Dept Plastic Proto Part Development for Design Trial of New Models “

It was my moment of the evening. For the third time (in last two years) I was getting an achievement award for the project work in my core field and in that evening,ON STAGE for the first time to receive 'an award for performance' instead of 'performance'. I felt as if once again the God of success has graced me and once again made me believe in my strengths .

With a heart filled with emotions, I rushed to receive the award from the MD Mr.Shinzo Nakanishi , Dir & MEO (R&D) Mr. K.Asai and MEO (R&D) Mr. I.V. Rao. A memory surely to be cherished for long.




But that was only the second time I stepped on the STAGE.

What about the Hat trick then ? ? ?

We would recommend a flash back to the 1st scene of this script…

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____________________________________________________________________ Although the new generation R&Dians abbreviate ENGINEERING CONCLAVE as ENCON, I prefer it in its ellaborate form which as per me is.....................................................................


The ENdeavour CONtinues...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY !!!


'Freedom of Speech', I would call it.
But what he and perhaps many others fail to realise is that, this freedom hasn't been awarded as a Holiday which an Individual DEMANDS after six continuous working days, but in honour to those who refused to take any leave until they handed over the 'Traders (East India Company) of this country' their well deserved PINK SLIP.



The World hasnt forgotten their act. Neither Should We...The People of India...




VANDE MATARAM !!!
Wish U a Happy Independence Day !!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy Raksha Bandhan !!!

No office today. Great :-) !

And luckily I have received the Rakhis as early as 29th july. Today morning (read 10.30 AM) when I tore the envelope, two beautiful Rakhis caught my attention. One of them, as you can see in the picture, has a Peacock affixed on it. Designer Rakhis, I would say. And surely,a perfect selection by my elder sister Pinkynani ( 'nani' in Oriya means elder sis).

The five fingers in this picture can be best described as my 5 sisters from whom I expected Rakhis. Although three more Rakhis are yet to be received, I have already received (the more valuable) Raksha Bandhan wishes from the oh-we-missed-the-target date sisters. I hope same is the case with my brothers 'Babubhaina' and 'Bububhaina' ( 'Bhaina' in Oriya means Big Bro)

Heartfelt thanks to the SPLENDID 5......
...and also to Cadbury and Nestle (Our Celebration Partners)

Wishing all of you (this includes the readers also :-)) a Happy Raksha Bandhan.



For those of you, who would like to have a 'Zoomed in' view of the Rakhis, here is a chance.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Review of Imtiaz Ali's


1) Imtiaz Ali is back after JAB WE MET

2) This is SAIF ALI KHAN (read ILLUMINATI FILMS) ’s production debut And

3) Pritam’s Music has already spelled the magic.


You are not to be blamed if you too had opted for FIRST DAY (and may be even FIRST SHOW depending upon how well you manage your time)


The story starts with a never heard before ‘break-up party’ between the protagonist Saif (as Jai) and Deepika (as Meera) complimented by Gen Z lingo like ‘Senti’,’Smarty’ and some even newer (and humourous) additions like ‘Aam Aadmi- The Mango People”. You expect the script to be the never-seen-before kind even in spite of the fact that SAIF ALI KHAN is playing his favorite (and of course the stereo type) role of being a confused, happy- go-lucky and cool (courtesy : the Yash Raj series HUM TUM, SALAAM NAMASTEY, TARA RUM PUM, THODA PYAAR THODA MAGIC (hey I am sure you didn’t dare to see the last one) . The initial credits starts rolling at such a perfect time (with the beginning of the song ‘ Yeh Duriyan’) and the duo play such a ‘smart and cool’ couple in the first 30 mins that you look forward to a smart story, smart screenplay and last but not the least ‘a smart climax’.


But that’s where your ‘smartness’ ends.


From nowhere, comes the character Veer Singh (although flawlessly played by Rishi Kapoor) who claims that he was looking exactly like Jai in his youth and starts telling his own LOVE STORY when asked by Jai, only to surprise the audience by saying that he had got a Jai-in-sikh-look in 1965. Now Karan Johar is surely wrong if he says “Bollywood is recession proof” . If that’s not the case, definitely SAIF would have gone for some other actor for playing ‘Veer Singh’. And they say ‘Om Shanti Om’ was illogical (I can surely DIGEST a Reincarnation story better than the Jai-is-Veer Theorem )

What goes then is the synchronized tale of two stories (that of Jai (LOVE AAJ -2009) and Veer (LOVE KAL – 1965) Contrary to Jab We Met screenplay where songs pleasantly complimented the on-going situation/scene, here the song and dance sequence appear as a BIG SAVIOR for relaxation/to bit the boredom, as the story line turns out to be nail-bitingly simple and predictable. But certainly, no comments for Pritam, who is one of those who have honestly done their (decent) part of job and undoubtedly maintained the level of intensity and expectation after JWM. Kudos to the music director.


In between the songs-follow –dialogues-follows-songs sequence, in Love Aaj (read 2009), Meera starts becoming sentimental (transformation from the modern day ‘Senti’ tag ) and delivers plastic dialogues. Too far from comparison with Geet of JWM (played by Kareena who atleast spoke with confidence and grace). The audience is in utter confusion whether to laugh or cry. They chose laughing perhaps taking it good for health. The only time she delivers her best is the song and dance sequences where she returns to her cool avatar. Same is the case with Jai (and also Saif the producer) who forgets what was shown in the first half and turns into Love-is-full of pain mode most of the time in second half. Post interval, their chemistry only works when they return to their once-shown cool characters which sadly is only for a duration of 15 mins .


What comes as a surprise (perhaps the only surprise) is the spectacular performance by Veer ( its Saif again) and Harleen Kaur ( played by a refreshingly new face Giselle Monteiro). No over acting, no high dose dialogues. These characters best depict simplicity and innocence through sheer expressions and dialogues. Rajendra Zutshi ( known as Raj Zutshi) as Harleen’s father manages to chuckle some funny bones.


Before I forget, let me mention the name of another artist who had sincerely performed his job : Cinematographer Natarajan . Fabulous are the ways, in which he had displayed the visual effects one of which includes transforming 2009- London Bridge to 1965-Howrah Bridge.


Personally speaking, the “Our special thanks” list at the end should also include :


1) Rahul Khanna as Vikram – For agreeing to repeat the Anshuman of JWM

2) The publicity and promo team – For choosing the ALL NEW font, color and styling for LAK

3) Giselle Monteiro - For agreeing not to appear in pre or post-release publicity and promos 4) Imtiaz Ali- for providing the minimal no of dialogues to Meera


What could have been a better option is to build a story completely in the 1965 era. It seems the director of such claimed movies like Socha Naa Tha and JWM has not only compromised in storyline but more tragically hadn’t cared for a full bound script (perhaps for the first time). He ends the reel in JWM pattern by putting an ‘Aahoon Aahoon’ number.


Perhaps the only common elements between JAB WE MET and LOVE AAJ KAL were (sadly all are technical ones) :
1) The titling (Usage of Hinglish- combo of Hindi and English words)

2) Music Director – Pritam

3) Cinematography – Natarajan Subramaniam


Because of the huge publicity, star cast and the music, the movie has been able to generate the second highest ever opening day collections (Rs 80 million/Rs 8 crore ) after Ghajini, which did net business of Rs 92.5 million (Rs 9.25 crore) on the day of its release (25 December, 2008). We hope it would be able to generate a near 50 Crore revenue (if not more than the revenue generated by JWM- Rs.55 Crore)


Overall Rating : *** ( Thanks again to Pritam’s Music )