Thursday, December 09, 2010

Kamal Hassan–Master of all trades

Kamal Hassan has over the years donned many roles in Indian cinema. Ulaganayagan(roughly translates to ‘Hero of the world’), as he is fondly called, was all of three when he sprung into the silver screen. Now am not going to rewind the history path travelled by Kamal, which many would be vaguely aware of and this piece doesn’t even venture into it.
I am very sure that no one in Indian cinema was, is or ever will be able to master many sub-fields within a field, as was achieved by Kamal Hassan. After his initial on-screen presence during his childhood days, Kamal was more inclined to be part of the behind- the-glitz and glamour team.
Choreographer: As a choreographer, he worked with many leading heroes in Tamil cinema like Sivaji and MGR in those days. He is one of the very few heroes who can dance both Bharathanatyam and the western dance with elan. Not many(may be none) can boast off such command over both sides of the spectrum. His dance repertoire in Salangai Oli was applauded by the masses and was watched in awe by many in the film fraternity.
Actor: This probably is the easiest part. The guy needs no introduction in this segment. A prolific actor, Kamal is the recipient of 3 national awards(for ‘Nayagan’, ‘Moondram Pirai and ‘Indian’). But the most striking feature about his acting, atleast to me, is his timing for comedy. Humour is not easy, when it has to be enacted. Kamal is the king of comedy genre. Many films like ‘Panchathantiram’, ‘Michael Madana Kamarajan’, ‘Thenali’, ‘Sathileelavathi’, ‘Pammal K Sambandam’, ‘Vasool Raja MBBS’ and not to forget ‘Singaravelan’ are a very few of his best works in Comedy genre. So, comedy is probably my favourite in his works, though his works in films like ‘Indian’, ‘Nayagan’, ‘Devar Magan’ and the evergreen ‘Anbe Sivam’ are etched in everyones memory.
Director/ Screen Play writer: Kamal wanted to be a director, very much like his guru K.Balachander. Maybe, the knowledge rubbed into him and here we have the director of aptly structure movies like ‘Virumaandi’. He has a great share behind the scenes in he movies like ‘Mahanadi’, ‘Devar Magan’ and ‘Dasavatharam’. Many criticise Kamal for his over involvement in many of his films, many a time turning into Director, Cinematographer, Music director. But, somebody with so much talent would be best advised to take a share of all these if the outcome is a much better play. His screen play in ‘Devar Magan’, ‘Mahanadi’ and ‘Dasavatharam’ was applauded by even the worst of his critics.
Polyglot: Kamal is someone who not only has strong control over his mother tongue Tamil and also English, he is someone who knows atleast 8 other languages. His control over many languages comes to the fore in his climax scene in ‘Panchathantiram’. Language skill is such an important criteria in films, especially if you are in India, with languages sprouting every Friday. I can strongly say no one the Film industry has the skill to converse with his fellow Indians in their mother tongue as does Kamal.
Tamil Poet: This is one of the most interesting face of Kamal.  His use of tamil with all its intricacies makes people sit up and take note. Of late, he is building his own niche as a Tamil poet. ‘Venbaa’ is a grammatically difficult set of poems in tamil which needs deep knowledge of Tamil language to understand, let alone pen them. It has rules like every line should have four words only, last line should have three words, the first word in the penultimate line should be an independent word and totally only four lines.(Hope am right in the grammer part). His sing-song poem in ‘Manmadan Ambu’ , is a big example to Kamal’s writing skills.
Singer: Kamal may not be in the elite group of singers like SPB, Yesudas, Hariharan and Unni Krishanan, but he surely has laid out his own mark as a singer. The immediate songs that come to mind as ‘Yaar Yaar Sivam’ from ‘Anbe Sivam’, ‘Marugo’ from ‘Sathileelavathi’, ‘Inzhi Iduppu’ from ‘Devar Magan’ and the soothing song from ‘Manmadan Ambu’, ‘Neela Vanam’(such a fantastic song from the master himself). The distinct voice of his is exploited to the hilt, to get the best out of himself.
Aethiest: Though from a very orthrodox Tamil Iyengar Kamal has no such ideals. A staunch proponent against marriage institutions(not surprising, he has two divorced marriages before), Kamal is of the clad who calls themselves rationalist and doesn’t believe in the so callled enity ‘God’. Its a very private side of his life, which gets much publicised.
The many faces adapted by this man makes him a true legend, not just in Indian cinema,but also as a go-getter human being. I have always been fascinated and awed at not the different roles he takes up in reel life, but the range of different hue that he has taken up in real life.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Power Grid FPO priced at Rs.90



India's biggest inter-state transmission firm Power Grid Corp's follow-on public offer (FPO), which closed today, has received tremendous response from investors.Power Grid Corporation of India has set the issue price for its follow-on public offer at Rs 90 a share. This is at the upper end of the price band that it had announced earlier.

Retail investors and employees of the company will get a 5 per cent discount on the offer price.State-run Power Grid’s follow-on public offering (FPO) was subscribed about 15 times at the end of the last day  as retail and wealthy investors lapped up the issue on attractive pricing.

The issue’s retail and non-institutional investor categories were subscribed 3.85 times and about 29 times, respectively. The issue got a good response from the company’™s employees, with their portion getting fully subscribed.

Retail investors and employees will get equity shares at 5% discount to the final issue price. The issue comprises a fresh issue of 42,08,84,123 shares and an offer for sale of 42,08,84,123 shares by the President of India acting through the Ministry of Power, Government of India, which is 20% offer in total.

The company has a current capacity of 75,000 circuit kms and plans to add 8,000 circuit kms in FY11. Power Grid Corp has earmarked capital expenditure of USD 27 billion for 2012-2017, more than double its capex budget in its current five-year plan.The FPO proceeds will be used for 13 transmission projects costing Rs 22,600 crore.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Seniors rested for New Zealand One Day Series


BCCI 57640065in consultation with Indian cricket coach Gary Kirsten has decided to rest the senior Indian players like Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag for the upcoming one day series against New Zealand. Players have a daunting schedule ahead of them with a home series against New Zealand and a 45-day tour to South Africa before the much awaited Cricket World Cup in early February 2011. Coach Gary Kirsten expressed his concerns to the BCCI top officials on player burn-out due to the packed schedule. BCCI was very adamant on  having a short tour against New Zealand primarily due to sponsor pressures.

Kirsten had relented to BCCI pressure on having the matches against New Zealand on one condition and that is player rotation policy ahead of the World Cup in the Indian sub-continent. Kirsten had also felt that it would be  better to have some test playing players to be sent to South Africa to get acclimatized to the conditions in South Africa. After all, the present bunch of top test cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virendar Sehwag and Zaheer Khan had not tasted success in South Africa in the longer format of the game though they had won a test match in Johannesburg in their last tour under Dravid's captaincy.

It would be good idea to test some of the young players like Sourabh Tiwary, Shikar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthick, Vinay Kumar, R.Ashwin and Abhimanyu Mithun. Yuvraj Singh who is in awfully out of form should be playing all the games ahead to get into some respectable form.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

IPL 2011 - All new format

Indian Premier League will come home with a new format in 2011. The GC(Governing Council) chaired by Sunil Gavaskar, MK Pataudi and Ravi Shastri have come up with the new format for IPL edition 4.
In each of the next three seasons, the IPL will comprise 70 league matches and four playoffs. The ten teams(including the two new teams, Pune and Kochi) will be split into two groups of five each.
An extension of the current home-and-away format would have stretched the season to 94 matches, which had prompted concerns of player burn-out. Franchise owners were also reluctant to reduce the minimum number of matches their team would play each season. These constraints have led to a convoluted format.

1.Every team will play the same number of league games (14, 7 home and 7 away) as in previous seasons with the following break-up:
a) Each team will play the other four in its group both home and away (eight matches),
b) Each team will play four of the teams in the other group once (four matches, either home or away)
c) it will play the remaining team in the other group twice, both home and away. A random draw will decide the composition of the groups as well as who plays whom across the groups once and twice.

2.The teams that finish first and second in the league table will contest the first playoff, which is effectively a semi-final. The loser of this match shouldn't loose heart. To know why, read on......
3. The teams that finish third and fourth will play each other in a knockout that is effectively a quarter-final.
4. The loser of the first Semi-Final will play the winner of the Quarter Final in a match that will decide the second finalist that will play the winner of first Semi-Final in the grand final.

Each of the ten franchises can retain up to four players( 3 Domestic Players and 1 Overseas Player only). The retained players must have been part of the franchise's registered squads for the 2010 season and will not be part of November's auction.

The franchise and the player it wishes to retain must come to a mutual agreement regarding the retention and the fee for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

•$1.8 million per year for the first player retained
•$1.3 million per year for the second player retained
•$900,000 per year for the third player retained
•$500,000 per year for the fourth player retained

Therefore, if a franchise decides to retain four players, it will be charged $4.5 million per year and will have only $4.5 million to spend on other players, compared to the $9 million available to a franchise that retains no one. Also, the size of the squad is capped at 30 players(10 Overseas players and 20 Domestic Players). In all, the total number of players will be 300 in IPL4. But only 4 Overseas player can feature in the Final XI.

Hopefully, IPL4 will be a cracker of a contest rather than it cracking under the pressure of off-field controversies which plagued the last three editions.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Indian IT companies - Time for a change in operating models

Indian IT services companies have been the darling of the masses for about a decade now. The clean and transparent administrative models that they brought to the table was quiet refreshing in the early 90's albeit much was from the corridors of the elite American industry. The large talent potential in India was attracted by the huge salaries that were been offered by the industry if you were a techie. Yet, rigorous entry criterion and high merit-based selection interviews models were used by the top management to hire employees.

The unique and highly profitable offshore-onsite was a win-win situation for both the Indian IT vendors and the clients. Since 95% of the revenues came from exports, the industry was able to achieve 25-30% as Profit After Tax(PAT). The geographical spread was as such that USA contibuted 65% of the revenues and Europe around 30%.This meant that the currency fluctuations was never a headwind. So, IT companies never really bothered about hedging practices. The traditional ADM model(Application Development and Maintanence) was bread and butter for most IT vendors. The companies kept bringing out customer specific outputs and never really focussed on R&D for customized services and tools which needed domain experts.

The economic crisis was a watershed moment for Indian IT industry. World economics have seen a sea change and the share of developing countries in the world economic growth is rising and will have an exponential growth in the years to come. The world is slowly changing and so should the Indian IT pack to sustain their growth. Its no longer the US and Europe markets. New markets like China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Russia should be the focus in the years to come. New markets mean new and diversified customer whose needs could be vastly different from say a client in US or Britain. So, careful study of these markets is critical for gaining a foothold in these geographies.

India is a growing economy. With growth, the choice for employment will also increase for the local skilled workforce. Already, many sectors like Infrastructure,tourism and financial services are seeing robust growth in India. So, young Indian graduate will become more choosy about his dream job with the attractive offers from many sectors. This in turn will only push the salaries demanded by the skilled workforce. So, margins of the IT companies could be hit due to higher salaries. Dont forget, one of the main reasons overseas clients flock towards India is due to their low salaried workforce. Higher salaries mean lesser profits for the company. This could be the major problem for the Indian companies going forward.So, carefully caliberated approach is needed on this account. Otherwise, the profit margins as in pre-2008 levels will become history and will never be achieved again.

The next big challenge is the ramp-ups that needs to be done in the R&D platform. Right now, Indian IT companies spend on an average 1% of their revenues towards R&D. More customized IT products should be delivered to catch up with the likes of the Microsofts and the Googles of today.New and emerging markets like Infrastructure, high-end defence and government sectors should be fostered apart from the known culprits like BFSI and retail.

So, change in approach should be the main focus for these doyens of the Indian industry to stay afloat and capture many more deals in a more competitive world with other rivals

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Back to my favourite past time

Its been such a long time since i have blogged.6 months to be near precise. These 6 months have seen a lot. 'Lacklustre showing', is how we can mildly put with regards to the UPA's first term in office,cold-blooded attack across the states of Chattisgarh, Orissa and West Bengal by the resurgent Maoists, a 'Simple no Affair' can be atmost said, about Budget 2010 and surprising huge sums raked in by the government in the high ticket auction of the year, 'The 3G and BWA auction' held in May-June 2010 reflected how the UPA-1 goverment could have amassed a similar kind of money moolah if only had they had in a place an upright and honest minister. A huge setback for the Obama administration due to the so called 'BP oil spill' over the coast of Gulf of Mexico and the Economic crisis in Europe balloning everyday due to the debt-ridden countries like Greece, Portugal, Spain,Ireland and Britain. Not to forget the IPL-gate, Lalit Modi's brainchild suffering an huge setback due to his creator's mishandling of many procedures and proccesses within IPL from team Auction to the TV rights issue taking away the post of a flambuoyant MoS in the External Affairs ministry. Last but not least, atleast for the common man is the inflating inflation transforming many in the BPL category to being miserably destitute.

It has also had its fair share of some good news. The passage of the Health-care bill in the US, Obama's pet project envisaging health safety and a right towards the same for all Americans. Though Europe is still reeling under the economic crisis, the much debated 'V', 'W' or 'U' type recession has seen an ending. Its seems for sure that the developed world will go through a 'U' shaped recession while the developing world will have a 'V' shaped recession fuelled mainly by the commendable growth rates seen in Asian giant states China and India.Back home, its has so far been a good year for the markets. In Tamil Nadu, its the Tamil classical language meeting in Coimbatore thats slated to take place in the last week of June which has captured many Tamilians imaginations, albeit the noise is a bit deafening.
Some worthwhile watching Bollywood flicks had hit the screens this year until now, like Shah Rukh's 'My Name is Khan', Hrithik's 'Kites' and latest to hit is Mani Ratnam's 'Raavan'. Tamil film industry have had some good movies also like 'VTV', Surya's 'Singam', and some others. But one thing which hasn't changed is and stays as always is Vijay and Ajit's movies.