Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Great Indian Cinema Theatre Consolidation

PVR acquired Cinemax and INOX acquired Fame ... a couple of other 'larger' theatre chains like BIG Cinemas, Movie Time, Fun Cinemas are around while smaller chains like Broadway Maxus are up for grabs by the larger ones who want to grow by acquisition.  

So has the consolidation of the Indian Theatre / Cinema Hall industry begun ???

Lst one decade has witnessed a steady rise in movie ticket prices and the multiplex phenomenon further propelled the ticekt prices. The recent bid of film makers to breach into the 100-Crore club that the movie tickets of their movies are higher than other movies in the same theatre

As the industry heads towards consolidation of the larger players, the almost monopoly / duopoly situation might even push the prices further up along with the most recent 200-Crore club created for big star movies.

I am sure industry-pundits must have written off reams and reams of articles on this … dunno what they think.

In this chaos, will movie improve because of this sort of consolidation? Seems unlikely

What does seem likely is the dynamics between film-makers and theatres will change, the dependencies will change.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Missing Pages

How would you feel if you found a few pages missing from the book you are reading? Feel Irritated. You might just continue reading trying to bridge the gap in the story using your own imagination.

What if the book you are reading is a collection of short stories and the missing 4 pages are actually last 2 pages of one story (climax) and the first 2 pages of another. Now 2 stories are spoiled and that might be well around 15-20% of your book.

Well, that's exactly what happened to me. I felt irritated and on a whim googled for the publisher, found an email id to write to and sent off an email relating the problem and asking for possible resolution. I did not really expect anything but had to something to let out steam !!

Wonder and surprise when I received the response within an hour. The publisher was Westland (which is a subsidiary of Trent Limited, the retail arm of the Tata group) and I had sent the email to Rajaram Rawool from Mumbai who is the Regional Manager-West. The quick one-line response surprised me.

The very next day, I got another email – this time from Jayanthi (from Chennai), simply asking for my address to send a replacement copy of the book – and that too complimentary. I replied and within 2 days, the book arrived at my residence.

Customer Service is often talked about in corporate circles but we consumers rarely to get to see it except when faced with Customer Service people directly. From problem/query to resolution in flat 3 days, in my opinion, talks highly of the customer orientation of Westland people.

I congratulate the Management of Westland for being customer oriented and also for having extremely responsive and efficient people on board !!!     

Book Review: A Vision of Angels by Timothy Jay Smith


Book: A Vision of Angels

Author: Timothy Jay Smith

No. of Pages: 300

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Owl Canyon Press


Debdatta Dasgupta Sahay of 'b00k r3vi3ws by DDS' recommended me to the Author who wrote to me with a book review request. I accepted. And glad I am that I did. Frankly I would have never picked up this book if I had encountered it in a store (online or real world) but the personal email from the Author somehow tipped the decision in favor of reading this book.

Let me tell you … the most striking thing about the book is a set of very believable and very intense characters. The setting is complex and covers a lot of ground in explaining the state of affairs ... some very striking examples like an individual being prosecuted for 'trespassing' on his own land. The inner turmoil of every character that the author has brought out in the book is pretty remarkable and makes this a slow read.

You can't just zip through the book as one would do while rading fiction. You read, you pause, you feel, you reflect, you identify with the state of mind of the character.

Earlier this year, I read a book 'In the Shoes of the Dead', which was about farmers in India who were committing suicide due to failed crops and governance negligence. The book was similar ... strong characters, inner turmoil, a tragic climax steeped in reality rather than fiction.

The authors experience and life history has a significant role to play in making the book 'real'. You should read about the author before reading the book to get a glimpse of what you are getting into while reading the book. Tim has seen things and experienced the life that he has written about, first hand. He has seen the pain and inner turmoil that he writes about in the book. Through his written words, he makes it real for the reader.

Now for some words about the plot … the book blurb says "A terrorist threat for Easter Sunday in Jerusalem sets off a chain of events that weave together the lives of an American journalist, Israeli war hero, Palestinian farmer, and Arab-Christian grocer. Alerted to a suicide bomb plot, Major Jakov Levy orders the border with Gaza Strip closed. Unable to get his produce to market, Amin Mousa dumps truckloads of tomatoes in a refugee camp. David Kessler, an American journalist, sees it reported on television and goes to Gaza for Amin's story. Hamas militants plot to smuggle a bomb out in David's car and retrieve it when he returns home, but he's unexpectedly detoured on the way. Meanwhile, a cell member confesses to the plot, and the race is on to find David and retrieve the bomb before the terrorists can. Ultimately A VISION OF ANGELS is a story of reconciliation and hope, but not before events as tragic as a modern passion play change the lives of four families forever."

With the author's background and experience, one expects him to have strong views on the overall political situation and the conflict. This poses a threat to the story telling as the author can easily get carried away making the story a monologue or a white-paper or an editorial. Thankfully, this is not the case with Tim in Vision of Angels. He sticks to the story. He does not express his views. Brings out the situation and leaves the interpretation to readers.

It's interesting to read how innocent men are labeled terrorist and how the system as well as media plays it out and its impact on the families of the accused and those around them. As you read the story, you begin to see how the conflicts of today are the deeply rooted in the past and how people lose sight of reality over a period time living in a reality constructed out of their own experiences rather than the reality.

I usually don't pick up such books ... political conflicts, serious, emotional, steeped in reality ... but this year has been different. I got both books for review and I am thankful it happened. I liked reading both. Both have left a profound impression on me.  Thank You to both authors for bringing out such remarkable books!!

It's a different book. It's not your usual fiction with a terrorist plot amid world politics. Its far more real. I would recommend this to you but you need to have the heart and stomach to digest the bitter reality.  

Just FYI - Author Website - 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Well-wishers - Irony of life

Well-wishers - Irony of life  !

The lawyer hopes you get into trouble …
The Doctor hopes you fall ill …
The Police hopes you become a criminal ...
The Teacher hopes you are born stupid …
The Undertaker / Coffin-maker hopes you are dead …
Only a THIEF wishes you prosperity in life.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Memories triggered by your nose

Memories triggered by your nose …


Memories have the nasty habit of getting triggered all by themselves …


Smell of certain foods evoke memories ... they remind you of people and events ...

Scent of wet soil from first rains takes me back to my village - my home amongst the fields ...

The sea has many fond memories for me and the scent of the salty sea wind brings a flood of memories ...

Henna/Mehendi brings memories of marriages in family - especially the we attended in our ancestral home in our village in Rajasthan… 5 days of super fun …

A marwari sweet called Ghevar evokes memories of my late Grand Mother ...

Fragrance of Vanilla ... evokes memories of a cake that I prepared in Switzerland …

Life gives you so many memories and also automatically sets triggers in the head to recall all those memories and give you a shot of nostalgia !! 

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

August Reading Summary


The novels (marked bold) and short stories that I have read in the past one month …

1          Novel: The Nostradamus Prophecies by Mario Reading

2          PKD Shorts: Of Withered Apples by Philip K Dick

3          PKD Shorts: Human Is by Philip K Dick

4          PKD Shorts: The Impossible Planet by Philip K Dick

5          PKD Shorts: James P Crow by Philip K Dick

6          PKD Shorts: Planet for Transients by Philip K Dick

7          Prof. Shonku Short: The Unicorn Expedition by Satyajit Ray

8          3I Crimebusters Novella: Thriller Diller by Megan and William Stine

9          ACD Shorts: The Silver Mirror by Arthur Conan Doyle

10        ACD Shorts: The Blighting of Sharkey by Arthur Conan Doyle

11        ACD Shorts: The Marriage of the Brigadier by Arthur Conan Doyle

12        Hitchcock – The Shadow of Silence: A Gun is to Shoot by Pauline C Smith

13        Hitchcock – The Shadow of Silence: The Man in the Chair by Clayton Matthews

14        Hitchcock – The Shadow of Silence: The Sheriff's Christmas Gift by Elijah Ellis

15        Novel: The Cobra by Frederick Forsyth

16        Hitchcock – Shrouds & Pockets: The Experts by Michael Zuroy

17        Hitchcock – Shrouds & Pockets: Murder on Tape by Herschel Cozine

18        Hitchcock – Shrouds & Pockets: Lost Gun by Arthur Porges

19        Hitchcock – Shrouds & Pockets: Time Waits for No Man by Kevin O'Donnell, Jr.

20        JA Shorts - Quiver Full of Arrows: Old Love by Jeffrey Archer

21        Novel: Drop Dead Diva by Christine Lynxwiler, Jan Reynolds and Sandy Gaskin

22        3I Series by MZ – Short Story: Ruined Roses by Mark Zahn

23        Hitchcock – Home Sweet Homicide: A Young Man called Smith by Patricia Moyes 

24        Hitchcock – Most Wanted: To Catch a Wizard by Walter Satterthwait

25        Hitchcock – Most Wanted: The Right to Sing the Blues by John Lutz 

26        3I Crimebusters Novella: Reel Trouble by G H Stone 


Read the last story from the collection of 12 short stories by Jeffrey Archer and also last one from the first collection of Prof. Shonku short stories by Satyajit Ray … both short story collections finished. I am yet to find the second collection of Prof. Shonku short stories – seems to be out of stock / unavailable on most of the online book stores.