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Thanks For All The Laughs, RIP Jaspal Bhatti

Serial banaane wale, kya tere mann mei samayi
Kaahey ko comedy banaayi tuney, kaahey ko comedy banaayi

Kahan se miley tumhe nakli se actor
Kahan se laya ye flop director
Kaahey ko kiya tuney serial ka halwa
Prime time ka tuney kiya hai malwa
Gup-chup tamasha dekhe, waah re teri chaturayi
Kaahey ko comedy banaayi tuney, aahey ko comedy banaayi

These were the words of the parody song in the episode of ‘Kabristan ka chowkidar‘ which was one of the episodes of Flop Show. This one parody sums up the efforts of the motley crew, ably handled by Jaspal Bhatti, to capture the society and the ills of the bureaucracy. The above episode was on making of a tv series. Towards the end of the episode, a body equivalent to ITA, awards Jaspal Bhatti for ‘Best Comedy’ and Bhatti saheb, in his typical sarcastic tone says ‘Humne to tragedy banayi thi !’

A tragedy played on the tv screens and we laughed ourselves silly because every incident was slice of life. Our interactions with government officials, our struggle to get a telephone connection, our hassles with the builder/contractor, our long wait for a chief guest to cut a ribbon, our inability to push medical bills lying at the boss’ table, our attempt at working for a PhD, and so many such incidents depicted in the serial are straight out of our lives. We can identify with these issues even today. And that’s one of the reasons why Flop Show has stood the test of time as it still strikes a chord with the common man.

His cast was usually remained the same; the reliable Vivek Shauq and his wife Savita featured in most of the episodes. Another highlight of Flop Show was the credit rolls. Misdirection, Production Damager, Camera Jerks etc. It was like, they were making fun of themselves while still addressing serious issues. And he had the uncanny wit to call the series Flop Show.

In just 10 episodes, he tried his best to throw light on civil society and the babudom. Week after week, the satire played on as he took up one issue at a time. In one of the episodes on the difficulty of obtaining a new landline phone connection, he showed the benefits of having a lines-man as a damaad [son-in-law]. In an era where common man had to wait for 6 months to get a telephone connection, a damaad in telecom could benefit the entire family. While in another episode he showed the nexus between builder and neta; how a bad quality of construction ends up as a reward to the builder when a resident of the house was trying to drive a nail into the wall and the entire wall fell on a small time thief  and he was nabbed, is just hilarious.

His parody songs in Flop Show were just superb. ‘Jis gali mei kirayedar se jhagda na ho, uss gali mei hume ghar lena nahi‘, in the episode where tenants take ownership of house and drive out the real owners. Then ‘Bill da mamla hai‘, parodied on Gurdas Mann’s song was used in the episode where Bhatti gets his friend’s treatment done on his office expense at ‘Hit & Trial’ hospital.

His late foray into films was also a welcome move. But barring a few performances, like in Aa Ab Laut Chalen, he wasn’t utilized well. Maybe, he wasn’t used to being directed by others or probably didn’t like the limitations of doing cameo roles. That’s the reason he kept going back to making movies for his own production house. Although he did a couple of more tv shows like ‘Thank you Jijaji’ and ‘Full Tension’, but none of them could match the wit or content of ‘Flop Show’. Flop Show became his identity.

Bhatti was also known for organising events that would make fun of government policies and decisions. He would create fake political parties with hilarious names like ‘Hawala Party’ and ‘Suitcase Party’ during elections, and poke fun at the political class. His sense of humor and the deep satire was appreciable. Without trying to be over-the-top, he would convey the message in a sly manner.
The rip-roaring laughter that Bhatti generated was infectious. Bhatti was not just a satirist, but a good observer of the way things function. His work in Ulta Pulta and Flop Show are basically social commentaries. And he continued this even on his twitter account.

His sudden death has shocked one and all. It was really premature, as he was just 57. And what’s worse is that, he isn’t around to see the release of his latest movie ‘Power Cut‘ which he was busy promoting for past few months. He still had a lot of laughs left in him, but we shall never hear it.

Last year it was shagird Vivek Shauq, and this year guru Bhatti has joined him. On the brighter side, heaven will now be a funny place and he can spoof Chitragupt and Yamraj. Please don’t shed tears for him, that would only be hurting his spirit. Spread smile and cheer, and he will continue to live-on. Thanks Bhatti ji for all the laughs you provided us. R.I.P.

Also published on MadAboutMoviez

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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in bollywood, movies, personal, sitcom

 

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Investing in NFO

ImageNFO [New Fund Offer] is always deemed as a risk. Everyone advises you to go for an existing MF, rather than invest in a NFO. One of the reasons being that, the existing funds have performance and past results to go by. But in case of NFO, its a big risk.

But then, investment itself is a risk. Even MFs can turn non-profitable if fund managers don’t do their job well. The kind of analysis we do before buying a MF, we can do a similar analysis of the AMC before investing in the NFO.

I have invested in quite a few NFOs, based on the past performance of the AMC who have managed successful MFs. Also, the asset allocation makes a difference too. As in the case of Sundaram Equity Plus fund where 35% was allocated to gold and rest 65% to equity. That made it an interesting assortment and I leapt towards that NFO. It perfromed pretty well and even touched a high of 11.02, which was a real positive.

Another NFO which turned out well for me was SBI Bluechip Fund [D]. It oaid great dividends in its first few years before the slow down. But then I burnt my finger in SBI PSU Fund.

Another point to note is the timing of the NFO. When you invest in a NFO while the market is bearish, then you will earn profits during bull run. But when you invest in a NFO which is launched during a bull run, taking advantage of rising sensex, then its a sham. It takes away the hard earned money as soon as the bull run dies down. This happened to me with Reliance Small Cap Fund [G]. I got the timing totally wrong.

Anyways, that has not deterred me. Just a few days back I went ahead and invested in two more NFOs. One was the IDBI India Top 100 Equity Fund and the other was Taurus Banking & Financial Services Fund.

The simple reason for this step was to take advantage of the situation where banking stocks have been beaten down and with falling sensex I can look to gain during a bull run. I could have also go in for a Banking Fund from any of the AMCs, but the NAV was quite high. For each unit purchased from existing MF, I can have 5 units here. And then, the %gain would be more or less the same, if they invest in similar banking stocks.

All I can say is, do not stay away from NFOs. The NFOs give us a chance to enter the market at a lower cost and more number of units. But do check on the market status since timing is everything.

This post was also published on Yahoo Network

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2012 in lifestyle, mutual fund, nfo, personal finance

 

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Villanelle: I Can’t Take This Anymore

Though I have written poems before, this is my first attempt at writing a villanelle. This poem describes my current state of mind:
 

I can’t take this anymore
Meaningless life, mundane activities
My days have become such a bore

Who won who lost, who is keeping score
Life’s a RCT filling up my cavities
I can’t take this anymore

I don’t even know what’s next in store
Nothing to celebrate, forget festivities
My days have become such a bore

Bending over backwards or lying on all four
These are some of my hyperactivities
I can’t take this anymore

Knocking hard on a closed door
No response akin to lost connectivities
My days have become such a bore

Lying unclothed on an empty shore
Waiting for a wave to take me in its captivities
My days have become such a bore

This post was also published on Yahoo Network

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in personal, poem

 

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Downside Of Investing In Gold

A rush of gold funds and consistent rise in the price of gold has led people to believe that gold is a great investment tool. But there is a downside to gold investment too. And this downside is with reference to physical gold purchase.

Lots of people buy physical gold in the form of ornaments. Their main purpose of buying jewellery, apart from the social need for displaying it, is that it should provide security at times of crisis. And gold loan is a new fad. But what many people don’t consider is that, not many jewellers or goldsmiths buy back jewellery. And that’s a big negative. So, that kills the liquidity factor.

Even if we have a proper certificate or even if the jewellery is purchased from a branded store or a well known jeweller, people refuse to buy it. Small time jewellers just don’t want to touch and pawn brokers downgrade it and give a very low value for it.

So now, what does one do? At times of crisis, you run from pillar to post but no one buys back the jewellery from you, then where’s the security in buying gold?

Investing in gold is a good thing, but make sure that you buy gold coins. Its much easier to sell away a coin than a jewellery piece. The reason for this is, the ornament sold may not be a design that’s in vogue. The goldsmith may have to melt the jewellery and make different ornaments out of it, so that leads to wastage. Hence, gold coin is preferred.

Gold fund is another option. Since its a fund, you can sell it anytime and get back cash. Even if you sell it within 12 months of purchasing it, you will only suffer an exit load of 1-2%, but at least the liquidity factor remains.

The last option is of course gold loan, in case you want that piece of jewellery back! But if you need that jewellery and love it so much, you would not pawn it in the first place.

Any how, gold investment should be only 10-15% of the portfolio. So, invest wisely in gold.

 
 

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Micromax A75 … Impressive !

ImageI was just looking around for Android phones, in general, and Samsung Galaxy Y in particular; that’s when I chanced upon Micromax A75. And I must tell you that I was mighty impressed by it.

It runs on Android 2.3 [Gingerbread], and gives you a whole lot of features. But that’s to the credit of the OS. The phone itself was of fine build quality. And the feel of the phone in the hands was pretty good. The capacitative touch-screen worked very smoothly with a single swipe of the finger. I did not have to repeat my thumb or index finger actions at any point of time.

Browsing through the photo albums was a nice breeze. Then I turned on the GPS and much to my surprise, it was great. The manner in which the maps loaded, and the smooth transition of moving north-south-east-west and all directions, left me wanting for more. The dual-touch zooming-in and zooming-out on the maps was very good. This also proved that the phone did not lose connectivity at any point of time. And it loaded the data and maps pretty fast.

The phone has a G-sensor too. The video quality was pretty nice. It has a limitation though, you cannot install any other media player. It only uses the default inbuilt media player.

Among other notable features is the front-facing camera which comes in handy for making video calls or video chat. And the screen size is good enough to browse the net and even to read a book.

Overall, a ‘superfone’ as they call it. I did not expect Micromax to catch-up with Samsung and HTC, in quality, this quickly. And that has left me impressed. I may never buy this phone or any other Micromax smartphones, but I do like the technical advancement they have made. They are no more a small brand which makes cheap phones. They are a small brand that is capable of making quality phones and would soon be giving the smaller players in Indian market, like Motorola & Sony Ericcson, a run for their money. Way to go guys!

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in business, general, lifestyle

 

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LIC Jeevan Vriddhi

I was just looking out for some insurance plans, Term Policies to be more specific. And then, I came across this new plan from LIC called Jeevan Vriddhi.

Term plans usually don’t come with return benefits, but this plan does. And that’s what struck me about it.

Salient features of this policy are:
a. its a single premium policy wherein the minimum amount is Rs.30,000.00 and no limit on maximum amount
b. sum assured is 5 times the premium
c. the term is fixed at 10 years
d. age of entry is between 8 & 50
e. policy can be surrendered after 1 year

Other benefits:
a. minimum return is almost 90% of the premium amount, if surrendered after a year
b. between premium amount of Rs.50,000.00 and Rs.99,000.00; there is an increase in guaranteed sum assured by 1.25%
c. beyond premium amount of Rs.1,00,000.00; there is an increase in guaranteed sum assured by 3%
d. policy ie eligible for section 80c exemptions in IT
e. you can avail loans at 10.25% against this policy

There are very few policies that give return benefit and sum assured. Its specially beneficial for someone in their late 40’s who want to take an insurance policy with minimum fuss and maximum gains. Even for people in their 30’s, this is a good enough plan where return of interest is about 7-8%. We can get the benefit of protected investment as well as life insurance. And since its single premium, there is no need to bother about tracking the due dates!

Update 1 on 22-Mar: I just called my insurance agent and have created a proposal for a single premium of Rs.60,000/-. So, the SA is about Rs.3,00,000/-. That’s when it struck me that the premium was much lesser than what I was paying for a Jeevan Saral plan [yearly premium of more than Rs.6,000/- for 10 years and SA of Rs.1,50,000.00], and the SA was twice that of Jeevan Saral.

 
 

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iGod : Steve Jobs’ New Project

 

The only modest Steve Job’s creation that I have possessed until this day is the iPod. But when I held that 8gb digital audio player, way back in 2006, I knew it was something awesome. The feeling gave me a rush of blood. After having used some cheap audio  players, the feel of this was heavenly.

And iPod was just the beginning of a digital revolution that Jobs embarked upon. When the phrase ‘music to the ears’ was coined, no one had envisaged that iPod would make it literally come true. Honestly speaking, some models of Creative and iRiver have better sound quality than iPod. But the very fact that iPod was the reason why Creative and iRiver was created, in itself is a tribute to Jobs. He was a voyager in search of new technology and finding new digital avenues to re-create or polish.

Alexander Graham Bell may have invented the phone, but Jobs made it desirable to possess one in the form of iPhone. This gadget was talk of the town and people of all age groups, especially 15-35, were trying their hardest to get their hands on this. The iPhone became an equivalent of a vibrator that everybody wanted to hold and jack-off to digital orgasm. The option of the numerous games and apps, the call quality, the features of phonebook and calendar everything bundled into one slick handheld device that helped people stay connected, made every mortal feel empowered.

Had it been any other man, he would have happily retired and gone fishing by the Missouri for rest of their lives. But not Jobs. He followed up the iPhone with another electronic device called iPad.

This time, he combined an ebook reader with a web browser and sprinkled in all the  essential apps of a laptop; thereby making desktop and all library books redundant in just one go. The iPad became another object of desire. And credit must goto Jobs for paving the way for this.

All creations of nature is attributed to the supreme power up there, God. And closely looking into Jobs profile, we notice a similar trait. He created stuff out of nothing. He made paths were none existed and ventured into the less trodden digital wilderness. He shall be a guiding light for all of us. And his creations will entrall and continue to entertain us. And we will be appreciating his creations forever because he touched so many lives with technology in this digitised world. Just heard the news this morning, that Steve Jobs is on his new project called iGod.

This post was first published on Yahoo Network

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2011 in general, lifestyle

 

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