Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Last week was pretty significant. For me, i.e.

Last week I incorporated my company -- Jambool, Inc.

It's one of the many small steps before I can start taking any step I can call big. What is Jambool about? It's about users, and trying to figure out how to help me, the user, make sense of the spread of content online. Vague enough, eh?

Movie of the week: Time and Tide

For a very long time when I thought of an action movie, the only movie that came to mind was Die Hard. It still remains one of the best action movies ever. However, ever since I saw this masterpiece from Tsui Hark, Die Hard moved to number two spot.

Time and Tide is a Hong Kong action movie, and packs some of the most incredible stunts and action sequences. The movie has two distict parts: the build up and the deliverance. And luckily, it is the latter that fills most of the movie. There isn't a lot to the plot of the build up, except that it sets up a tame looking character against a gang of dangerous looking (and sounding) assasins/killers/mafia/what-have-you, and lands all the characters in one of the tall congested apartment buildings in Hong Kong for a good part of an hour. The action is nicely scripted, and some of it just -- literally -- takes the breath away.

Movies of a generation

Every generation has a movie that sort of defines it. So it seems to me. When I look at those around me, I see people clinging to some movie or the other that they feel was "theirs." My view has a strong Indian bias, of course, and one has to admit that cinema is more entwined with people's lives in India than elsewhere. Where else would one find temples erected to celebrate film stars?

Coming back to generations, I thought I'll try and come up movies that probably some generation identifies as "theirs." These are more ruminations on my part, so if you have comments, please do share.

The first generation and the first movie that comes to mind, my mind, i.e., is the bell-bottom angst-ridden 70s and the era of teeny-bopper romance Bobby (the bell bottoms) and Zanjeer (the angst). Both these movies came out the same year (1973), and both started two parallel mainstream trends that sometimes met. With Bobby, Rishi Kapoor began a long career trying to romance women of varying age with a routine that more or less stayed the same over 20 years. Early on he tried to romance older women Simi Grewal (Karz) and Rakhee(Doosra Aadmi), and later on girls less than half his age.

Rishi Kapoor's antics notwithstanding, anyone with even the remotest of Indian connection will probably know the significance of the other movie of that year. Zanjeer brought to Indian cinema the persona of angry-young-man, with rage that was simmering just beneath the skin of the otherwise tall, charming police officer. The cause was much helped by the fact that this persona was played with endearing sincerity by Amitabh Bachchan. The rest, as they say, is stuff history is made of. From 1973 to today, no generation has grown up without being fed on his legend. And he still remains a tour de force.

It is small wonder then that a generation would identify themselves with Zanjeer. 1970s were pretty tumultous for India. We saw the corruption and Congress-led dirty politics at the worst, culminating in an emergency and total breakdown of the democratic system. The decade started with a war with Pakistan and ended with the Indian political system having gone through a complete upheaval and returning to its original state. And still, through all this, it was a time of bell-bottoms and rebellious love -- thanks to Bobby.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Le Bikini

The Bikini turns 60!

Bikini's impact on this world is phenomenal. They've helped sell everything from automobiles to zips. On our trip to Mexico, we noticed that every billboard, irrespective of what it was trying to sell, featured a bikini-clad model. I was wondering if there is anything we men wouldn't do if a hot babe in bikini asks us...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Inspiration comes from all kinds of sources

Someone recently invented a submarine explorer that looks like a shark -- something right out of Tintin's Red Rackham Treasure. As it happens, that comic was indeed the inspiration for the contraption!

Srini just referred to an article about Tintin. Incidentally, just yesterday I was browsing the interesting store called Karikter, off of Union Square here in SF, and picked up a couple of small toy figures, including those of Tintin and Thompson & Thomson. Though Americans hardly know of Tintin but everyone else in the world does. And, yes, did you know Tintin's the only comic characters to be honoured by Dalai Lama for spreading awareness in the world about Tibet? Tintin in Tibet remains one of the reasons I find traveling, mountain climbing, Tibet, remote monasteries so alluring.

Tinin also makes a good way to connect with people from different parts of the world. I remember I was having dinner in a very international crowd -- German, French, Indian(myself), Dutch, Arab -- and I brought up Tintin. Everyone looked at me with blank stares. They hadn't heard of him. Strange. Snowy? No. Thompson and Thomson? No. It couldn't be happening, I thought. In a final attempt, at the risk of looking and feeling totally ridiculous, I started describing the two crazy detectives. The moustaches, the crazy antics, "with a 'p'"... "Dupond et Dupont!" cried the French guy. "Shultze and Shulze", goes the German. "Jansen and Janssen", went the Dutch!

International currency -- that's what Tintin is.

Monday, July 03, 2006

My geekiness of movies.. or maybe not..

When I sat down in the theater to watch Superman, and credits started appearing, I was surprised to see a name called 'Eva Marie Saint.' The image I had of her is from the Hitchcock movie, North by Northwest. So when the movie started in earnest, I was on the lookout for her. An old lady appeared first, and I wondered... Yes it is her, and lord, oh lord, she is wearing the same lipstick from North by Northwest!

I felt a little sheepish telling my wife as we walked out that I recognized the actress from the shade of her lipstick, especially since I'll be damned if I can recall my wife's shade of lipstick from any day.. But you have to grant that Eva is a woman in a different class, and that shade of lipstick is rather rare. Or maybe it was just that I was sitting in the fron row of an Imax theater. You can't miss much from there, can you?

When I read Lane's review I felt I was in good company -- there were others who felt more excited about Eva Marie Saint, and Kevin Spacey, in the movie than the Supe himself.