Monday, July 30, 2007

Channel pe channel pe channel

Black current wonders how our gharwaalis will stick on to existing TV channels.
By the end of this year, we're expecting about 4 new General entertainment channels - all modelled on Sony and Star Plus and then there are the youth based channels as well.

You have INX Media's new channel, then there's one from BAG films and media, then the Viacom-18 thingy, ZeeNext, SaharaTwo, UTV Bindass...

And not to be missed the Sameer Nair helmed NDTV Imagine! Just imagine..

Phew! I need more eyes.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mornings at Fame

Morning shows at Fame Adlabs rock. Period.

Do not mistake that as a plugged story, they did not pay me to write this. I recently saw Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix (order, order!!) in the 9:30am show at Fame Andheri, bang opposite my workplace. Its a steal at Rs.40 a ticket, that too at a plush multiplex with those couch seats. Note: It's located in one of the most expensive real estate properties in the suburbs - Lokhandwala - and a stone's throw away is competition in the form of Cinemax and Fun Republic. Surprisingly, the auditorium was almost half full - most of them were couples who wanted to start their day off with some heavy duty love-making in the midst of spells, charms and Expecto Patronum. Just goes to show that no matter how weird the show timing be, pricing is a big factor that can pull in the crowds.


Our managing editor Godson Adam threw a free lunch for us recently. The food rocked and so did the dessert that followed. What impressed me most about him and always does is the fact that he's so humble and down to earth in nature. I wish him a wonderful life ahead and pray that he gets married soon. He's around 40 years old and with a witty brain like that, I wonder how he's still single. Ladies! Go for him!


Another mention about Godson Adam.
In journalism, every word counts. There is a lot of thought that must be put behind every single word that goes into a copy. A recent session of copy-editing by Adam impressed me thoroughly and I have tried to borrow a lot from him.

The story was about the Subhash Chandra promoted Essel Group's Digital Media Convergence Limited's foray into mobile television, through a tie-up with Government owned BSNL. I'd filed the story and Adam was restructuring it. Or so it seemed.

Initially he began what I'd describe as 'butchering of copy'. But as I stood there and observed him edit, I almost could read his mind and feel the amount of thought and conviction that was being put behind every sentence. It was a learning experience. And it is a collection of such experiences that I'm picking up everyday here on the job.

Monday, July 23, 2007

From pitching to billing

In a multi-restaurant pitch, Arcopol Chaudhuri has awarded the culinary duties of his stomach to Welcome Dabba. The account size is estimated to be small but filling enough for the already malnourished and underweight skinny Bong.

Other contenders in the pitch were Rasoi the people's favourite, Laxmi Chhaya (didn't it collapse, a few days back?), Cafe New Link and Cafe Safar. According to highly placed sources, Welcome's name took the cake. Rasoi was a tough competitor but misplacements in the order and a dumb albeit cute looking Nepali chhokra made a nuisance of the orders.

Also, sources near the reception desk say, that Rasoi was obsessed with Aloo Jeera and Chana masala as main culinary items on a platter every damn day of the week. The author of this post, has found out from reliable sources that the name Aloo Jeera has been derived from the international news channel Al- Jaljeera. The channel repeatedly shows a funny looking man with a long and a funny name (what was it..Oh-mama or something) making lewd gestures. His staple diet was Aloo Jeera.

Muggle news recently announced Hogwarts night within its premises. Nominations have been coming in from all quarters about who should be donning whose cap from the famous Harry Potter series. Some of the interesting characters we could place are:

1.Anil Wanwari as Albus Dumbledore. The pony works. A flick of the wand, hair on a strand... do you understand?
2.Devyani as Professor McGonagall. She doesn't meos, nor does she have the bun. But she fits into her shoes easily. Rats, beware!
3. Thomas Abraham as Lord Voldemort. This one got the maximum votes. That devilish chuckle and stature. Harry peed in his pants during the interview itself.
4. Anand Gurnani as Hagrid. He's friendly and very approachable. Isn't he, guys? He gets the spells right most of the times.

More nominations coming in. Watch this space.
A muggle is peeking into my computer right now.
And yes, Cho Chang's calling me.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Passing the baton

It was dinnertime. I was home. Dad was seated next to me, sunk in his seat servicing his morsels religiously as usual. He was quiet. I was indulged in separating the fish from the bones on my plate.

Mom was standing next to me, looking over the two of us. She's always quiet these days, ever since I've been living away from them as a paying guest, close to my office. That's about two hours away from home.

Dad and me don't talk much during dinner. I'm not the talkative types and although he is, over a period of time, he's realized that I'm not the best audience for him. He's a thorough intellectual, well-read and very knowledgeable. He's 58, a month away from retirement. And he's worried. After 38 years of service, he would no longer be a contributor to the family's income. Mom had told me this over lunch. Dad's been mum about it. He's serving a notice period at work already. In 30 days, it'll all be over.

Maybe he's wondering what life's got for him, after this. He's passionate about script-writing and theatre, especially Bengali theatre. I'd like to believe that he'll follow his passions wholeheartedly once he gets done with work. Presently he's a mechanical engineer. He still wants to work, it seems.

Although we weren't talking over our meal, I could feel a deep message emanating from him. I could feel his eyes on me. I didn't make eye contact and it seemed he had finished eating. But I could feel eyes on me. Both mom and dad. Its not everyday that they get to see their son eating in front of them and so they were making the best of it. Or so it seemed. It lasted for about 3 minutes.

Within those three minutes, I felt a world turning around. A father hanging up his boots with caution. A wife acknowledging his effort. A mother hopeful over her son's future. And a father emotionally passing over the baton to his son.

Its been a long journey. 21 years of bringing up a son. A naughty son - who broke car windows amidst games of lagori, who stole tomatoes from the fridge, who hid his mother's shoes so that she wouldn't take him to school. A geeky son - who demanded a new story book every week. A truant son - who ran away from home at the age of 13, only to be found by cops and handed over. A failed son - who found his calling in conceptualizing film stories by bunking classes for the cinema halls.

The tide turned slowly, though. They were proud when I salvaged some pride after I almost topped school in my boards. Bad luck struck, though after the high school boards. I found my calling in a new course they had no clue about. Three nervous years passed, wherein the son was indulging in activities they generally were not informed about.

But I knew the future looked bright, atleast on the career front. I made new friends, lost many on the way. Mom and dad have been protective, but not interfering. Always cautious and full of advise. "Don't repeat the mistakes which I did," said Dad.

I did have some issues though - I wasn't given pocket money and I had to constantly ask for it. I was not allowed for trips and participation in inter-school sports. But if its the end which defines the means, then I'd say, they were right. They always are. They had a sense of achievement when I graduated with distinction, topping my college in the journalism. Today, an eventful upbringing process has reached a level of maturity today. When I look at them, it shows in their eyes. I want to thank them and congratulate them.

They always say, "When you'll become a parent, you'll know how difficult it is."
Its so goddamn true. I'm 21 today, working for a news-portal and at a very delicate stage of my career. This is the period which will define the course of my future growth and destiny.

And this is the period, where I'll become more responsible than I ever was. Its because the baton has been handed over.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Black Eyed Peace

The other day, a crow from the neighbouring apartment told me that Mumbai is all-set to get a make-over. I brushed aside his supposed tip-off. He thinks I am a journalist - so he is free to give me khabar. I was getting myself ready for work and he thought a tip-off might as well do me some good.

"That's old news," I replied, but Black Current was insistent.
"It's true. Ekdum pakki khabar hai," he asserted. I thought otherwise. Mumbai's make-over is stale bread and the BMC has been taking a refresher course in promising same old apples every monsoon. No wonder they dont't grow here.

Seeing me ignoring him, Black Current revealed, "The crows are taking over control to ensure that their promises don't fall flat."

"How is that?" I asked, unperturbed by his conviction of getting his Black Army together.

"Havnt't you heard of the next level of the RED FM campaign?" he asked.

"You're talking about the Bajaate Raho thingy?"

"Yes!" he exclaimed, flapping his wings in excitement. "We've been inducted for the execution of the campaign. Bajaate Raho now becomes Jhooth Boleh Kawwa Kaate to take care of the politicians," he whispered, emanating a devilish kaaaw at the same time.

"Oh, really? And how are you going to take care of them?"

Black Current, confident as ever and lifting a feather up near his collar said, "Everytime a politician makes a false promise, the Black Army will swoop down and make his head resemble the surface of the moon!"

"You mean," I asked, "you're going poke him with your beak?"

"Of course!!" he laughed like the devil. An entire fleet of crows did the same from the neighbouring trees. (I could hear my neighbour Divya shriek from the nearby apartment, startled by the noise.)

I shivered in fright as Blackie sharpened his beak on the window grill. "Yes!! We're going to claw him, poke him with our beaks and pluck the hair out their politicians nostrils. We're going to mow them down!" At this Blackie invoked yet another round of shrill laughter. "Aren't you going to write about the campaign?"

I considered his idea for a moment. If there was any truth to it, it would be definitely worth writing about. Black Currant's proposition looked impossible to achieve, but he was a good informer too. But how would he mobilise all his crows into an army? And how would RED FM get all the crows together for the campaign? Who would train them? Such questions lingered in my mind. Still, the experience seemed interesting. Atleast the fear of crows could initiate the politicians to action. Tehelka's campaign also used the similar tagline - Jhooth Boleh Kawaa Kaate, so this was bound to be elaborate to write about. Moved by my own vision of the story and the innovation of using wildlife for a radio station campaign, I told Black Current that I would write about it.

"You sure you going to write about it? Don't make a fake promise to me. I'll pluck the eyeballs out of you!" Blackie threatened. I considered his threat and confidently told him that I would convince my editor and write about it. Blackie also squeezed in the fact this was an exclusive and I'd get a byline for it, as well. My editor Godson Adam, in desperate search of a lead story believed my story and put it up as a lead story. Rival agencies, newspapers thought the news was hogwash. RED FM officials, while thoroughly impressed with the negative coverage basked in the glory of some unprecedented publicity. PTI quoted Maneka Gandhi saying, "Man and animal must work hand-in-hand in a similar manner. I'm really happy with the initiative. I congratulate RED FM and I wish Black Current and his army all the best. I wouldn't be surprised if crows contest elections from now on. Atleast they'll do well than these human parrots."

Three days later, the Black Army tasted blood at the CM's speech at Azad Maidan grounds, where he had called a public meeting to explain how he was trying hard to get funds from the Centre for implementing BRIMSTOWAD - the rainwater drainage project. Blackie knew he was making a false promise. He went for his kill.

A TOI headline read the next day -

Crows attack CM; try to pluck his balls but find none

Since then, Black Current has been scouting the skies with his army. The BMC has been trying hard to call truce between the black army and has also roped in a reputed production house to make an animation film on crows. Sources in the Black Army say the film will be titled, 'Black Eyed Peace' and will be the story of how an army of crows swooped down on erring politicians and created a city of truth and justice.