Tweet. Meet. Give.

On 12 February 2009 175+ cities around the world will be hosting Twestivals which bring together Twitter communities for an evening of fun and to raise money and awareness for charity: water. Twestival was born out of the idea that if cities were able to collaborate on an international scale, but working from a local level, it could have a spectacular impact. The event is a networking and fund-raising event for the Twitterville.

The Delhi Twestival is organized by me with Delhi Blog & New Media Society. Microsoft India has supported us by facilitating the menu and logistics. Therefore, 100% of the money raised from these events will go directly to support charity: water projects. There is no registration or participation fee for the event. It’s absolutely free. Also, tea/coffee/sodas would be available at the event, courtesy Microsoft.

charity: water is a non profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations by funding sustainable clean water solutions in areas of greatest need.

Date: February 12, 2009.

Time: 1800 – 2100 IST

Hosted by: Delhi Bloggers and New Media Society

Sponsored by: Microsoft India

Venue: Microsoft Corp., 5th Floor, Eros Towers (Next to Satyam Cinemas), Nehru Place, New Delhi – 110019 (Map)

Contact: +91 987 112 7378 | abby@baxiabhishek.info | @baxiabhishek

Agenda:

  • Twitter and You
    • 1815 – 1845
    • Open discussion for 15 minutes
  • What is Twestival?
    • 1900 – 1915
  • 15-minute break
  • Tips, Tricks, Tools – Using Twitter
    • 1930 – 2030
  • Brands on Twitter – Why is it cool?
    • 2015 – 2030
  • Structured Networking
    • 2030 – 2130
    • Twitter: Value, PR, Media

Let him know, that you know

And hereby I take the pledge

  • to never perpetuate violence or remain silent in the face of it.
  • to support those facing Domestic Violence.
  • to educate myself and others about the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
  • to encourage men and women working towards ending Domestic Violence.
  • to advocate for the immediate appointment of Protection Officers, Service Providers and notification of Shelter Homes and Medical Facilities.
  • to make at least two more people take the pledge.
  • to Ring the Bell (Bell Bajao).

Domestic violence is not just with a woman who’s beaten by her husband; it’s also happening to the girl whose brother curses her and calls her names, and the elderly lady whose son won’t give her money.

Bell Bajao (www.bellbajao.org) is an awareness and intervention campaign against domestic violence, released in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development.  It has been created pro bono by Ogilvy & Mather. The campaign urges you to take a stand, move forward than the “it’s not my business” attitude. Stand up, speak up.

 

P.S. If you take a pledge or mention the initiative on your blog, please leave the link in comments below. Thank you.

Film Review: Luck by Chance

It’s rare to find a drama in Hindi film industry, with layered and insightful characters, spontaneous filmmaking, and a perfect casting. ‘Luck by Chance’, Zoya Akhtar’s debut as director, has all it takes to be a wonderful movie – engrossing, even in its languid pace.

Luck by Chance is an inside look into the world of Hindi films. This is well evident in the brilliant opening credits showing a montage of Hindi films’ behind the set scenes. The characters are very real, and several actors and directors – Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Rajkumar Hirani, Abhishek Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham, Akshaye Khanna, Kareena Kapoor, Karan Johar, Rani Mukherjee, Diya Mirza, Vivek Oberoi – in short fleeting cameos playing themselves add to the authenticity of the characters and the industry. But this is not Madhur Bhandarkar’s movie with pessimism of the big, bad world shown in every frame. The characters are affectionate, warm, and some of them earn a smile each time they are on they screen. The director clearly explores shine as well as the grime in this layered portrait.

Ofcourse the characters are nicely written; but the performance of the ensemble cast is what takes them to the next level. The lead pair Farhan Akhtar and Konkana Sensharma act with such spontaneity and ease that you would think they are playing themselves. Rishi Kapoor shines as a veteran producer who’s made a few stars, still wants to makes friends, but is well aware of the harsh realities. Dimple Kapadia, looking wonderful as always, plays a has-been star helping her daughter get a foothold in the industry. Watch her closely because she gives many a brilliant moments. Sanjay Kapoor plays a failed-actor-turned-director with so much conviction that you do not mind his filmmaking eccentricities, plagiarizing a foreign film, and average skills. You are happy for him when the film gets a nice audience response and he breaks into a dance in a local theatre. Hrithik Roshan plays a superstar uncertain of the industry associations and ways. He’s done this well and convincingly, shining bright in the cameo. Arjun Mathur plays Farhan’s friend who like friends in real lives has issues with him. The guy is very talented, and the underplay works for him.

Understandably, since the film is real take, there are several clichés of life and a movie script. Like the Farhan’s issue with his friend, the sleazy producer, Aly Khan, the not-so-bright star kid, Isha Sharvani. and several others. However, the stand out factor of the movie is that it avoids all the clichés of filmmaking. Farhan and Konkana don’t sing a song or extensively date before we are made to understand that they are now together. Farhan’s fight with his friend ends with a handshake, but all is not well between the two till the end. But they’re together, drink a beer, just like friends do in real life. Farhan’s cozy moments with Isha are never explicitly shown. Aly Khan as a producer abusing Konkana’s ambitions was never shown in an unconvincing manner or by throwing sleazy lines. The gay film journalist, Tanvir, was not shown as a stereotype prop.

I really appreciate that the director has left things for the audience to understand and not be overtly aggressive about it, much unlike Saurabh Shukla talks about in the opening of the movie. It’s not how regular Hindi films are, and that is the reason Luck by Chance is fresh, insightful, and a pleasure to watch… several times over.

Hindustan Times sends a wrong ‘message’

Hindustan Times.

Page 3, Delhi Edition, January 28, 2008.

 

A national daily does a third grade student-like error. I’m mailing the author link to this blog post.

oCricket: Sneak peek into the future

Disclaimer: I’m part of the oCricket team, and have commercial interests in the startup.

 Click to view.

Simply put, oCricket is about cricket, and people enthusiastic about it. The site has been in private beta since a while and has seen encouraging reviews and comments from the friends on Twitter. I regularly contribute articles to the site.

oCricket would be revamped soon, and the four screenshots above give you an idea on how things are shaping up. Brajeshwar, co-founder at oCricket, graciously shared these and had no problems in me sharing them further.

 

P.S. If you need an invite to oCricket, drop a comment here with your email address.

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India celebrates 60th Republic Day

India celebrates the 60th Republic Day on January 26, 2009. Here’s wishing all the friends and countrymen across the world, a happy Republic Day. Time to cheer for the sovereignty and democracy, and own up the responsibility of guarding it.

 

Some photos from the celebrations at my residential society at IRWO Classic Apartments, Sector-57, Gurgaon.

The initiative was appreciated by one and all, and lot of families turned up for a march across the society, followed by flag hoisting early in the morning on a holiday. The kids had a field time and several sung patriotic songs and waved flags all around. Few heroes of the society, ones who had averted a major incident from happening when a fire broke out in one of the elevators at the society, were awarded. Nice.

 

In the recent times of terrorism, instability, and loss of trust, my song for the moment is ‘Everything’s gonna be alright’ from Jumbo OST. I like the line, “Jab tak hum hain side-by-side, everything’s gonna be alright”. (Listen online here).

 

 

    http://cid-8c55799877482f9d.skydrive.live.com/embedrow.aspx/India

If you want the national song, the anthem, flag image, or a badge to wear your pride; download it from my shared folder, India.

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The master salutes the heroes

CNN-IBN brought Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh face-to-face with the NSG commandos recently. It appears to be an initiative similar to NDTV’s long-running series, ‘Jai Jawan’.

The two cricketers paid their respects at the memorial, and also met the wife of Hawaldar Gajendra Singh, who died fighting terrorists at the Nariman House in the recent Mumbai terror attacks. Sachin Tendulkar got overwhelmed, and was seemingly emotional with the details.

Watch the excerpt here.

The starry bloggers

Several Indian film actors and directors have in recent past taken to blogging. There are a few great actors and directors who aren’t regular at blogging (like Anupam Kher, John Abraham, etc.) and few doofus also-rans who are regular bloggers (like Celina Jaitley, Payal Rohtagi, etc.); and all of these I stay clear off.

Here is the list of worthy blogs from the Indian film industry. Let me know if I’ve missed anyone who’s interesting enough to be read.

  • Amitabh Bachchan
    • BIG Blog @ http://bigb.bigadda.com/
    • Few argue over the actor’s greatness, and when the legend starts blogging, it becomes a national obsession. News reports are made out of his very frequent posts. The huge fan-base takes it as an opportunity to interact with him, as evident from the huge number of comments on each post.
    • Blogs on movies, opinions on national issues, open letters to media, travelogues, etc.
  • Aamir Khan
    • aamirkhan.com @ http://aamirkhan.com/blog
    • With Amitabh Bachchan, he shares the status of being India’s most prolific celebrity blogger. He has also hosted live chats in the past with the visitors through his site.
    • Blogs on his movies, shoots, and the making.
  • Shekhar Kapur
  • Anurag Kashyap
    • My Diary @ http://passionforcinema.com/author/anurag/
    • One of the most talented writer–director in the industry, Anurag has done some exceptional work in what I perceive as independent/alternative cinema.
    • Blogs on movies mostly.
  • Ram Gopal Verma
    • My Blog @ http://rgvarma.spaces.live.com
    • RGV may have had a hit from media and fans over his recent eccentric movies, but gets my respect for some tremendous work on the other end of his diverse spectrum.
    • Blogs on movies, and life around it.
  • Manoj Bajpayee

New ‘kids’ on the block:

  • Shilpa Shetty
    • I’ve never been a fan like everybody else, but her meteoric rise on the celebrity scale merits her presence in the list. I also appreciate her nice personal website. If only, all celebrities were that considerate for their fans.
  • Farhan Akhtar
    • Farhan’s started blogging for his TV Show, ‘Oye! It’s Friday’.

Obama’s speech tag cloud

Tag cloud of Obama’s inaugural speech.

(via http://www.flickr.com/photos/emilychang/3212466161/)

UPDATE:

I also found the Bush’s farewell speech tag cloud.

Indian airports flying high

Shame, Shame!

Indian airports rank among the most delayed arrival airports in the world for the year 2008, with Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport bagging the top spot. It is followed by New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Airport while Bengaluru International Airport takes the fourth spot.

Read the Forbes report.

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