Monday, June 30, 2008

Mallikarjun - and his article

At times, we meet some people in life, and they remain in our memories for a long time. We get inspired from them; we try to be like them; I wanted to tell about someone & this post is pending for weeks and weeks. Now, had a bit free time and I spoke with him, resulting in me posting this article.

Mallikarjun – the man who’s been there in Nous Infosystems, my previous organization, for around four and a half years. He was there virtually in every step the company took towards quality initiatives, from his initial days. A dynamic person, who has inspired a lot of people around him. He considers quality as a very vital aspect, and always keeps adding values to his work and the company. Below given is an article from him, about quality. Let’s hear from Malli himself.

Qfactor - the success mantra for a winning organization

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

Quality has become integral part of growing organization, to manage, control, perform, achieve and excel. Now a days certification is not the only answer for the organization, quality should not end with, by achieving one goal/ certification. Quality is about passion and pride and to be committed to continually improve the company's performance.

"How to make Quality as first, last and forever, a question that often ponders our mind can derive its answer adopting a culture that inspires employees to perform exceptionally well and helps to increase their passion towards quality by using the best practices and having a focused commitment.

We need to be able to achieve quality in concert with each other, to multiply the effect of our personal commitment through synergy, to work towards the common goal as stated in our quality policy.

• Commitment to give us a shared goal.
• Communication to enable us to work in concert.
• Continuous improvement to keep us focused.

Achieving desired quality through continuous monitoring & controlling, measuring/ assigning the process performance at fixed frequency, and resetting the goals based on the trend analysis, which will give the scope for improvement further are the key mantras.

Smart move to achieve the quality works for you i.e. making use of the historical data (Quantitative project management) as data plays major role in smart decision making think in terms defining, measuring and improving.

Another thing to remember is to respect everyone's idea and put sincere attempt to analyze and implement improvement initiatives. Also, sharing the results of the same, to all the stakeholders, awareness on the new process to be implemented as part of new initiatives and sharing the information on impacted processes already existing are extremely essential.

To sum it all up, Quality begins on the inside and then works its way out and is an approach that emphasizes continuous improvement, a philosophy of "doing it right the first time" and striving for zero defects brings out the success quotient in any company.

- Mallikarjun P, TL – SEPG, Nous Infosystems.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Halebidu Visit

Visited Halebidu on 22nd June 2008. The Shiva temple. See the video.

Our Belur Visit

The video I took when we went to Belur on 21st June 2008. This is a krishna temple, built centuries ago, and it has some great sclpture work around. A very pleasing place for art lovers. Check it out

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The top reasons why Dasavatharam is such a drag !

Amidst huge expectations and hype, Dasavatharam got released on Friday the 13th June 2008, worldwide. This movie was in the making for the past two years. Everyone were aware of the ten different characters Kamal was playing in this film, and as more stills got released then and there, they added to the expectation factor. Also, the songs were a hit. Overall, this movie, as they have announced, is ‘the most expected movie of the year’. I was able to grab the tickets online, and off we went to see this film on 14th – Saturday morning.

What’s my opinion after seeing it? Well, the movie is an absolute crap! This movie has absolutely NO screenplay at all. It has been filmed ONLY for the sake of showing Kamal in the different getups. I’m not saying this bluntly, but I’m giving the reasons below. Read them and decide on your own, after seeing this film.

First of all, all the hype about the Chaos theory.. It's rite that this theory has been used in this movie. It's the undercurrent of the entire film. But, the film has to have a good screenplay to make people get in line with it. Without a good screenplay, all the concepts go in vein. To see the best utilization of this chaos theory in movies, See Babel & The Butterfly effect.

As I have written in May in my blog -, I was well aware of the initial sequence where Kamal plays Rangaraja Nambi, a devotee of lord Vishnu during the 12th Century – Kulothunga Chozha‘s period. That sequence is for around ten minutes, and has been filmed fantastically! I was filled with awe as I watched Rangaraja Nambi thrown in to the ocean, tied up with the idol of Vishnu. Then, the story shifts to the current period – 2004.

The story is about a deadly virus which, if unleashed, can be a dangerous biological weapon, invented in the US, and about a scientist who tries to save the world by stealing the virus and a CIA agent who tries to track the scientist to get the virus back.

An interesting storyline. When an ace like Kamal writes the story and screenplay, he can easily make this story a gripping thriller, which can keep the audience taut, glued to the edge of their seat. But, what has happened here is that the pace is weakened by sudden thoughtless interventions by the various characters (all played by Kamal) and the irritating dialogues between them.

Take the example of the initial sequence. The first ten minutes were really interesting. What has made that sequence interesting? It has a well defined beginning, a strong middle part and a gripping end. The protagonist Rangaraja Nambi has a dramatic need of trying to stop the king removing the idol from the temple and thrown in to the sea. He is driven by this need all through the initial 12th century sequence. That part has the audience spellbound. The entire movie must have been filmed in this manner. A well established dramatic need for the main character, the conflicts he faces and finally, the resolution of how he achieves his need. But, what we see is that the screenplay meandering after all the different characters Kamal plays, and as a result, what we get is a boring film.

Also, the Rangaraja Nambi sequence has no connection or relevance with the main story. It stays aloof in the movie, even though it’s well filmed (eventhough the chaos theory unites this piece with the main story).

It’s high time for Kamal to stop writing dialogues which are exactly the ‘Crazy Mohan stuff’. Also, it’ll be better if he concentrates only on his acting, instead of penning the screenplay. Almost all the films he had written the screenplay have got the single most blunder in common. The story meandering beyond characters. Otherwise, he can at least discuss the screenplay with good screenplay writers, thereby trying to correct this problem.

Out of the ten different get ups, the only characters relevant to the story are the Protagonist (Hero), the Telugu speaking officer & the villain. The story is woven around these three characters. So, why introduce the other characters just for the sake of donning a different get up? This weakens the script enormously. What’s the relevance of the tall Muslim, or the old granny, or the black leader, or the US president, or the Kung fu master, or the Singh singer, to the story? Absolutely NOTHING. These characters spoil the story.

Also, the make up is not that great. The Villain, Fletcher looks like a guy wearing a mask. The same with the old granny, and the tall Muslim guy. Also, Kamal sports the same body language through out for all the characters. This spoils the fun totally. I mean, take a look at his hand gestures, his turning the head, his running and walking, and his body movements. All are the same for all the characters.

My sincere advice to Kamal: Try to discuss the screenplay you write with some good movie makers like Manirathnam, and then you will know the flaws you have.

Overall, this movie is a let down. It has absolutely ZERO screenplay. Watch it and you will understand.

My rating : 2/10. For the initial sequence.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mahabalipuram - The lost City

The pictures I took during my Mahabalipuram visit on Sun 8th June 2008. Read the previous post and then see this slideshow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Emperor Strikes Back !

The period is 7th century AD. It’s a moonlit night. The full moon radiating with its golden light. In the luminous night, everywhere, we see towers, temples, stuphas, big houses, palaces and beautiful gardens. A huge wall encapsulates the city. Everywhere around the city, outside the wall, we see villages. Overall, it’s a wonderful sight in the night.
Suddenly, at the far distant northern side, there is a faint rumbling sound. It grows bigger and bigger. We see dust emanating in the far outline. It’s like a huge wave, coming towards the city. Slowly, as the wave approaches, we understand it’s a wave, but made up of humans and elephants and horses and carts. It’s an army! The moonlight is getting reflected on their weapons, and it gives a chill in the spine. Everywhere there are uproars in the army, and the excitement of conquering a city looms large on their faces. They are marching towards the city we saw earlier (Thanks to Kalki – Sivakamiyin Sabadham).
Yes! This conquest is a very important one in the history of Tamil Nadu. It’s the Chalukya conquest over the Pallavas, and the city we saw is none other than Kanchipuram.
During the 7th century AD, India was divided in to three kingdoms and was ruled by three famous emperors. The entire northern part, till the Narmadha River, was ruled by Harsha Vardhana. From the Narmadha River, till Karnataka, the entire central India was ruled by the Chalukyas, and the entire south India was ruled by the Pallavas. The Chalukya king was Pulakesi II or Polakesi II (He is referred wrongly as Pulikesi). His original name was Eraya in Prakrutha (Old Kannada). He was a terrifying warlord, with a huge army which challenged Harsha Vardhana as soon as he came to the reign. Defeated finally by Harsha, he turned his attention towards the south, which was ruled at that time by Mahendra Pallava.
Mahendra Pallava was a patron of arts. It was only during his period was the famous Mamallapuram (now called Mahabalipuram) was initiated. Also, the famous kanchi university was in its golden height during his period. He was well versed in Sanskrit, Prakrutha & Tamil and has written many plays. He was a great painter & a sculptor himself. He was an expert in playing musical instruments, and at the same time, a very clever and wise king. He holds various titles (which all of us have read in our school days).
When Pulakesi II came towards Kanchipuram, the Pallava capital, Mahendra Varma Pallava fought bravely with him. He managed to save his capital from the warlord, but lost all the provinces to the north of his kingdom. The Pallava army retreated inside the Kanchi fort and the Chalukyas were unable to pierce in to the fort. As a result, finally Pulakesi returned home. But, the defeat stayed on the mind of Mahendra Varma Pallava, and ultimately consumed his life.
His son Narasimma Varma Pallava (AKA Mamallan) succeeded him. He is one of the six Kings of India who have NEVER EVER lost a battle (the other kings:- Karikala Chozha, SamudraGuptha, Ashoka, Rajaraja Chozha & rajendra Chozha). He also had a great warrior general in chief called Paranjothi. One fine day, the Pallava army marched towards the Chalukya capital Vathapi (now called Badami) and destroyed the city completely, defeating Pulakesi II and setting fire to the capital. Pulakesi was allegedly believed to be killed in the battle. This great victory earned Narasimma Varma the surname of ‘Vathapi Kondan’.
But, as soon as the victory, something emotional happened. The general Paranjyothi, after witnessing the war, became compassionate, and he renounced his position. He assumed the name of ‘Sirutthondar’ and became a nayanmar. The famous story of a saint offering his son as food (Pillaikkari) to lord Siva is none than the story of this Paranjyothi.
I personally believe that this story of the conquest is a good material for a film. It has all the ingredients to quality for a nice movie. Anyway, this Narasimma Varma was the one who completed building Mahabalipuram, and that exactly was the place which I visited last Sunday (???!!).. As I knew this entire story, it was a wonderful experience to see Mamallapuram. I strongly felt the presence left over by the Pallava greats.
I’ll upload the pics as a slideshow in my next post shortly. Till then, Njoy life fellas!

Monday, June 02, 2008

If adventure has a name, it's Indiana Jones !

The man with the hat is back – This time he is aged, accompanied by his son and his wife; Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the Crystal Skull has opened on 30th across India, and is receiving tremendous response all over. At the point of writing this article, it has grossed $359,881,000 world wide – it stands #116 in the world’s top grossing movies till date – that too, within ten days of release ! I’m sure it’ll gross even more and will stand on par among its prequels, in the days to come.

Okay. Having said this, how is the movie? Is it good like its predecessors? Nice question. The answer – If you are satisfied about a flick and if there are more parts of it to come, go see them with an open mind. Don’t always have the original one in mind and expect the sequel to be like the original. Sometimes, they do surpass the original & sometimes they don’t. Well, then what category does the new Indy adventure belong to? To me, I loved it. It was interesting, every scene of it. I never felt bored for even a minute. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Before writing further, lemme tell about what I felt about Indy all these years. I saw the previous 3 movies a few years ago. I loved the first one, hated the second and again loved the third. So, when I got the news that it’ll be released in India on 30th of May, 2008, I felt exited. I wanted to go see it the first show. ‘She’ booked the tickets in B’lore (Which again was a complete surprise – I never expected it), and off we went, to see Indy.

As soon as Indy was thrown out of the car’s trunk – his hat – the famous one – comes first, thrown in to the sand, and then we see Indy’s shadow, pushed to the ground and slowly rising, wearing the hat – I let out a huuuuuge whistle in the theater ! From that moment, began the adventure, filmed in great style. Throughout the movie, Indy is first reacting to the circumstances and then starts acting on his own. The film is filled with fantastic CGI work, with good camera (Spielberg’s regular ‘man Friday’ - Janusz kaminski). The screenplay is good throughout (David Koepp, again a Spielberg regular).

This film also has something, which also is a ‘Spielberg regular’ – The Alien! It comes in one scene, without dialogues. Spielberg’s love for the aliens is widely seen in most of his movies.

Harrison Ford is terrific as Indy. He looks like the same man from the previous three movies, without being worn down by his age. He is fit, muscular and casual. This time, he pairs with his son and his first heroine (from Raiders of the lost Arc), to uncover the secret behind a crystal skull. It has been filmed in such a way that the tone of the film is exactly like the previous 3 movies. It’s not digital, and it has the same kind of color shading. It figures that comic book kind of look also throughout. The stunts are also enjoyable. The chase inside the jungle, the final confrontation, the bike chase – every stunt has been well done.

Overall, this movie will make you smile – Go see Indy and cheer for him, as he exactly carries on from what he left 19 years ago - adventure in full throttle !

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