Is it just me or are there really so many “aware” songs out there in
the past few years… And so many good ones at that too.

From self-aware songs:

To world-aware songs:

And saving my newest favorite for last:


There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does
not find relief in music. — T.S. Eliot

MahaYoddha Rama

MahaYoddha Rama

It’s Ravana.

Watch the trailer if you
don’t believe me.

Ashok Banker is on a roll:

… But their (Rohit Vaid and Abhimanyu Singh, of Contiloe Pictures)
enthusiasm, love, and passion for the project hooked me. I signed
on, despite myself. Surprising myself, my family, friends. And so
Mahayoddha Rama was born, an animated film for viewers of all ages
(it’s not just for kids, trust me) that aspired to match the quality
of any international animated film, while aiming for
a photo-realistic 3D animation style that hasn’t even been attempted
yet here let alone achieved, and overall storytelling and production
qualities that would make all of us proud–would make every Indian
proud, in fact.

The script was gruelling. Yes, the film was based on the Ramayana of
Valmiki. (Not on my Ramayana books–those are being adapted
separately to live-action films by a Hollywood studio.)

… What we were trying was to reinvent the Ramayana for Indian
filmgoing audiences, through the grammar of all-ages animation. Now
that may seem simple at first, but it’s not. For one thing, there’s
never been an Indian animation film that truly uses the grammar of
animation. Sure, there have been the Hanumans and Bal Ganeshs, and
the like, and they may even have done reasonably well, but they’ve
essentially been compromises between low budgets and a dearth of
creative courage.

Our attempt was much bolder: It was to create a film experience that
wouldn’t simply retell Ramayana, but would reinvent it for a new
generation.

Ashok Banker is a perfect example of how pure passion for a subject
can show in amazing (literary) accomplishments and suddenly the world
is a better place. At least, I am grateful to him for making Ramayana
approachable, captivating and delightful to novel-readers like me. And
now they’re bringing the Ramayana to audiences of this generation in
a movie format. That is terrific news.

I hope I can stop being envious about Lord of The Rings. I hope we can
claim that we too have our own amazing depictions of our traditional
stories. And yes, the movie is in Hindi and is meant for an Indian
audience.

After watching the trailer, I think it’s true that Indian animators
can rock
.

The movie is scheduled to be released nationwide in October-November
2008. Looking forward to it!

P.S. How can one resist such a movie if Gulshan Grover is the voice of
Ravana and Sameera Reddy is the voice of Sita?

From Tina Seelig’s talk on “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20”:

… I also have the honour of participating in the new Stanford
D-School, the design institute. Last quarter, I was invited to teach
one week on entrepreneurship. So I figured out how do I distill this
down, this concept of turning problems into opportunities, into one
week.

I gave each of the 14 teams an envelope with seed funding. It
contained, you’re not going to believe this, a total of 5 dollars.
Every time had as much as they wanted from Wednesday afternoon to
Monday morning to brainstorm and do whatever they wanted. But as
soon as they opened the envelope, they had 2 hours to make as much
money as possible.

This was about identifying opportunities and creating value.

On Sunday night, they had to give me one powerpoint slide to
describe what they did and how much they made. And on Monday, they
get to do a 3-minute pitch to the class on what they had done.

Think about it for a second and think what YOU might do? If you had
5 dollars and 2 hours. How much money do you think they could have
made?

Well, the winning teams brought in well over 600 dollars. And the
average amount that was brought in was 200.

The trick is that the teams that made the most money did not use
those 5 dollars. These were ideas that they looked around and found
these incredible opportunities lying on the floor.

So, the winning team that made 650 dollars, they challenged all the
assumptions. They sold their 3-minute pitch time in class on Monday
to a company that wanted to recruit the students in the class.
But
guess what? They were incredibly successful.

And there were more teams like this. For example, this other team…

The rest of the video is on the Stanford
EdCorner
.

I wonder if all of these are actually part of some game plan:

  • ndtv.com
  • ndtvtravels.com
  • ndtvgadgets.com
  • ndtvshopping.com
  • ndtvlumiere.com
  • ndtvmovies.com
  • ndtvmusic.com
  • ndtvgoodtimes.com
  • ndtvcooks.com
  • ndtvprofit.com
  • ndtvimagine.com
  • doctorndtv.com
  • cricketndtv.com
  • etc.

It looks to me like they’re trying to mimic Network18’s
portfolio
:

  • ibnlive.com
  • tech20.com
  • storeguru.com
  • buzz18.com
  • cricketnext.com
  • indiwo.com
  • moneycontrol.com
  • jobstreet.com
  • commoditiescontrol.com
  • yatra.com
  • bookmyshow.com
  • compareindia.com
  • etc.

The reason why I say that is because Network18 seems to be putting in
effort to make each vertical the best-of-breed in the respective
categories. For example, MoneyControl, Yatra, BookMyShow, Tech2.0 are
popular.

But many of NDTV’s counterparts don’t seem to have any value-add.
That’s the impression I get when comparing, say, ndtvgadgets.com and
tech2.com.

It’s interesting how these offline media businesses are venturing
online and how they’re faring.

I recently started using my own home page in Firefox as a start-point
for all the important links that I should visit from time to time.
It’s been a good boost for productivity since it keeps the main
thing the main thing:

Sample Home Page

This was just a simple ‘idealet’ inspired by Opera’s Speed
Dial
feature.

The advantages to using this are:

  1. Quick access to things you need to access like your website
    management page or your bank website, instead of hunting around in
    the bookmarks menu.
  2. Avoids the need for a bookmarks toolbar. I feel a toolbar takes too
    much screen real-estate compared to its usefulness.
  3. When you’re bored, you open your homepage and visit some of the
    vast websites where you can learn stuff, like the ones under the
    ‘Grey Matter’ section.
  4. It jogs your memory to visit some of the websites that you should
    visit from time to time, like any forums that you want to be
    updated on (instead of letting them flood your inbox).
  5. Having a simple local HTML page as the homepage is much faster than
    an online start-page.
  6. Backing up/restoring/editing a HTML file is simpler than
    a bookmarks database.

The only thing missing is that when I open a new tab, it should
automatically open with the home page instead of a blank page.
This can
be done using the Tabbrowser Preferences add-on.

Update: Or you can simply use the many Speed Dial addons to Firefox out there…

My latest “power song” is
the flagship song of the Colourblind
band
.
Who are these guys? I have no idea. From what I read on their website,
they were/are a couple of rockers who got their album recorded with
Sony Music India in 1999. Not sure how many copies they actually sold.
They had got great reviews by
newspapers
but apparently still didn’t get support from their recording company:

We sold 10,000 copies in 2 weeks. Regardless of that Sony didn’t put
out more copies in the market and published only 500 CDs.

Nine years later, we have the ubiquitous www giving opportunities for
everyone to spread their music. For example Kal-Jug by Azad
Zeeshan
to some awesome
fusion flute by Bapu
Padmanabha
on
Muziboo and many more bands featured in the
RadioVerve channels.

Unfortunately, you get to hear these songs only online inside
a browser. Why is this a problem? Because I listen to most of my
music on my iPod
during commute, runs or walks.

This is why I really wish Muziboo/RadioVerve/etc. would consider
producing an Indian “amateur” music album. A while back,
Niara and myself were discussing that
the potential is really big
considering the online virality (do a couple of youtube videos or at
least put some of the mp3s online) all the way to marketing at the
national level in cahoots with a big production house. Imagine how
many college bands would want to be featured.

Oh heck, you could even do a reality show on TV to select the bands
whose songs get to be in the album! (well, okay, maybe this one is
a stretch)

On the other hand, I sorely wish there was an indie iTunes store in
India where I could purchase these songs
. Or perhaps even
a Sell-a-Band
for an Indian audience.

For now, I’m waiting for MusicYogi.com to deliver my copy of The
Raghu Dixit Project’s new album
.
Can’t wait to listen to ‘Mysore Se Aayi Re’ on my iPod.

  1. Ignore all honking. Most of the honking is by nincompoops who want
    to save 30 seconds in travel but waste away their lives during the
    rest of the day.

    • Solution: We should ban all horns. It’s purpose has been lost.
      Reduce the noise pollution, please.
  2. Never drive in front of an auto, beside an auto or behind an auto.
    In other words, stay away. As far away as possible.
  3. Solution: We should reduce the angle by which autos can swerve,
    at least by half. All hail the king of the
    road
    .