Kyunki ye kon bola? / (Because, Who said that?)

Sholay is a Bollywood movie which did brisk business in the theatres running for more than 5 years. Sholay’s dialogues became so popular that its audio cassettes sold like hot cakes decades after the movie was released. Today, I am going to deep dive into the brilliant and captivating communication styles used by its legendary characters of Gabbar, Jai, Veeru and Basanti.

Sholay Gets Its Streaming Moment

Let me begin with the character of Gabbar Singh played by Amjad Khan who contributed immensely to the success of the movie. Gabbar was a strong and direct communicator. His voice modulation, emotional touch, eye contact, dialogues content and delivery style coupled with his body language fascinated the audience.

His dialogue of

“ Jo dar gaya, samjho mar gaya”

established him an iconic villain of Hindi movie cinema. Ever thought what helped Gabbar become an icon? Which part of his character was so impactful to the audience? It was his communication style. He displayed a go getter attitude, he was decisive, competitive, independent and always very confident. With his direct style of communication always focused on results and thus he asked his crew,

“Kitne Aadmi the?”

“Wo do the aur tum teen, fir bhi wapas aa gaye, wo bhi khaali haath.”

Gabbar liked to be in control and became frustrated when his crew fails to compete with the duo of Jai and Veeru. When Gabbar spoke,

Ab tera kya hoga Kalia?

– we knew he had taken a strong decision which he was communicating to Kalia blended with sarcasm. His impatience was aptly visible, and he took punitive measures. His measures however were extreme with the cold-blooded murder of poor Kalia and his mates.  

Later in the movie, when he captured Jai and asked Basanti to dance, Gabbar once again displayed more concern for results than relationship and he warned Basanti:

“Jab tak tere per challenge uski saans chalegi. Tere per ruke to ye bandook chalegi”

Gabbar’s pace was fast and decisive. He liked to be busy, efficient, structured within his defined banditry environment of Ramgarh.

Another character which left deep impact was Veeru played by Dharmendra. Veeru’s communication style was supportive. He was always calm, steady, approachable and gentle. He gave high priority to close relationships be it being friends with Jai or wooing Basanti. He did not like direct conflicts hence when Basanti’s maternal aunt – her Mausi declined to get him married to Basanti he parched himself up on the village tank and threatened the villagers of committing suicide. In the hilarious scene, we find Veeru negotiating with the villagers to get Mausi agree to get him married to Basanti. Don’t we vividly remember his popular dialogue:

Dekh lena gaanw-waalo, when i death police coming. police coming, budhiyaa going to jail. In jail ,budhiyaa chakki pising and pising and pising and PISING.

The patience with which he got his marriage agreement coupled with the drama that he created did support his intention to win the girl of his choice.

And then there was Amitabh Bachan who played Jai. Who can forget Jai’s conversation with Mausi where he makes a successful attempt to convince and forbid Mausi at the same time of marrying Veeru with Basanti.

“bas mausi khandaan ka pta chalte hi hum aapko khabar kar denge

Toh main yeh rishta pakka samjoon?

The conversation between Mausi and Jai is intelligent in various ways. Jai as Veeru’s friend takes careful strides to convey the underlying message to Mausi that his friend has few hard to ignore habits that she should be aware of. Displaying an analytical style of communication, Jai with precision and logic systematically conveys to Mausi and gets her to reject the marriage offer. Very cleverly, he did not display his negative opinion about Veeru and yet made sure his position as Veeru’s friend and Mausi’s expectation both were safe.

And at the other end of the spectrum, we have Basanti played brilliantly by Hema Malini with her endless banter. Need I say her communication style is energetic, spontaneous and fun loving. Remember her over the top calling out:

“Kyunki ye kon bola?”

Her nature was gregarious with an initiating communication style and she was someone who spoke more than she cared to listen. She spoke so much that she missed listening to herself. That is why Jai asks her:

“tumahara naam kya hai Basanti?”

In the movie, Basanti felt accepted and motivated by relationships and hence gets bullied into falling in love with Veeru. She responded strongly to praise and approval showered by Veeru during their courtship. With her fast-paced communication style and her fast-paced ride on Dhanno, Basanti was impulsive and preferred stimulating, personal and friendly environment around herself.

To conclude, Sholay is impactful and memorable to audiences across generations and decades.

The movie is brilliant at many levels and I found the study of each character as a learning on different communication styles. The four major characters displayed the four major communication style we Toastmasters should be aware of: Direct, Supportive, Analytical and Initiating. By understanding different communications styles, we ourselves can be better and influential communicators.  

As a parting thought, do u want to know whose communication style in the movie I resonate with. It is Gabbar!

October, Movie by Shoojit Sircar


A story of love or possibly affection or possibly empathy. There is so much left to interpretation in the movie October, yet the movie does not leave us with mixed emotions. The emotions that you carry on after the movie ends are very much love, caring and grief of losing a beloved.


It is a matured story of a colleague caring for a comatose patient. While the world sees her as a patient fighting for life in a vegetative state, Dan played by Varun Dhawan sees her as anything but a patient. Initially, his visits to the hospital seem like he is looking for answer to the question that she last uttered before going into coma, “Where is Dan?”. After days and months pass and he is yet beside her caring for her like a beloved and being the pillar of support for the father-less and grief stricken family of Shiuli (played by Banita Sandhu).

The emotions keep evolving to deeper love as the movie progresses. Shiuli takes small steps towards recovery and Dan appears deeper in love. While his trips to the hospital is something he never misses, he lets his job slip. Then, he had to  move to a remote hilly resort to make a living, and Shoojit Sircar shows here the agony and pain of separation with Shiuli’s condition improving yet not in a desired way. She has seizures, is violent and attacking.

When they meet again, things are as melodious as the music of the movie which brings out rhythm and beauty of nature. Shiuli on her road to recovery picks up words to speak and is attempting to write. We are all made to believe that this would be a happy love story when Shiuli will be all well and in Dan’s arms. But Shoojit has other plans. In an overnight Seizure followed by a cardiac arrest, Shiuli leaves her struggles, pain and vegetativeness.

What we as an audience are left with is a pure love story resembling real life relationships and events which are nothing but interpretations. Sometimes we see a stranger only to “feel” that I have seen that person before or maybe I know that person. Certain words and action by a certain individual leave a lasting impression on ourselves. This feeling of what possibly could be our relationship with a stranger is explored at depths in this movie.

Shoojit has brilliantly touched emotions in our heart that we rarely confront or give a thought to. The thematic brilliance of the movie will stay with you long after you have left the story behind.

Watch to explore your emotions.

Option B by Sharyl Sandberg  Book Review

Following her best seller Lean In and her husband’s tragic and untimely death, Sharyl Sandberg has penned a poignant and deeply motivational book on how to deal with adversity in Option B. Sandberg’s support for women empowerment and pay in equality was crisply brought out in her first award winning book, where she missed the perspective on single women’s struggle with recommendations like make your partner the real partner.

Sharyl’s husband Dave Goldberg, CEO of Survey Monkey accidently died while on a family vacation at Mexico. He fell off a treadmill and suffered a head injury. However, later the autopsy revealed that he suffered a cardiac arrthymia which contributed to the fall and ultimately an untimely death. Being a widow at such young age and with two young children can be devastating for any one. Sharyl, in her grief displayed exceptional courage, vulnerability and ability to rise beyond her grief and empower others. The book born out of her grief as a widow, gives us invaluable lessons in facing adversity, building resilience and finding joy again in life.

Co-authored by Adam Grant, psychologist and professor at Wharton, the book chronicles the journey of extreme adversity followed by period of grief and trauma and then the stages of being resilient and ultimately finding happiness again in life. This is not just Sharyl’s tale, she has taken perspective from victims of accidents, cancer survivors, and others who have faced extreme adversity.

When faced with unfortunate circumstances, the knee jerk reactions are the three P’s. Personalization (the belief that it is our fault), Pervasiveness (the belief that it will affect all aspects of our lives) and Permanence (the belief that the repercussions will last forever).  It is interesting to know from a psychologist that- like our body has defense mechanism, our mind too has the same. It is matter of training our mind to fight a situation and find solution.

Sharyl has advice for the people around the victim, of being compassionate, understanding and kicking the elephant out of the room, of asking relevant questions on the grief and not avoiding the discussion with the hope that it will bring more unhappiness. Building a circle of close friends and family who support during tough times is equally important. No challenge in life can be won without close aids’ help thus it is imperative to acknowledge the platinum rule of friendship which is consoling the people who are the inner circle and reaching out for support from the ones farther removed.

It is important for anyone battling grief not to give up on self-compassion and self-confidence. When both these traits get difficult to follow, journaling is known to reduce anxiety, depression and even improve antibody responses of the body. For those who do not enjoy writing, recording their feelings over tape can also help. Sharyl quotes Nietzsche – “What does not kill me makes me stronger” -in describing personal strength. She describes how post traumatic growth can lead to growth in five different kinds: finding personal strength, gaining appreciation, forming deeper relationships, discovering more meaning in life and seeing new possibilities. Thus, taking back joy in life is advocating self-compassion and confidence. As U2 singer Bono had said, “Joy is the ultimate act of defiance”.

When a family faces adversity, the most affected are the children of the house. To raise resilient kids, who can overcome obstacles small or big, Sheryl advises that we do not consider it as a personality trait. Rather turn it into a lifelong project. Her advice is to begin with developing four core beliefs: (1) They have some control over their lives (2) They can learn from failures, (3) they matter as human beings; (4) they have real strength to rely and share. Helping kids develop these aspect in their personality will help them make their life more meaningful and create a better future for themselves.

Similarly, for adults too resilience is not just built in individuals it is built among communities. Collective resilience requires more than just shared hope and helps us accept our new and often unwelcome identity. Even at workplace, ability to take feedback is a sign of resilience. As per Sheryl, teams that focus on learning from failure outperform those that don’t.

Despite her extreme grief, Sheryl ends her book by urging us to find humor, love and laughter again.  She reminds us that the love we need for a fulfilling life cannot only come from others but must come from inside us as well. Resilience is within us and we are all born with it to make our lives better. We find our resilience during adversity and that is when we make our lives better.

Indian Media Industry: Challenges

The recent face-off between Congress MP and business man Naveen Jindal and Zee News is more like the pot saying go away to the kettle. In India, hush-hush and nod-nod are the ways of doing business with corruption endemic to the system. Sadly, journalism succumbed to the lures way too early.
The Indian media industry is forecast to achieve a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 85% in 2011-2012, and the growth would largely be driven by print media. Though, the challenges facing the Indian print media industry are quite diverse from their global counterparts. The world media houses are currently grappling with issues of digitization, economy, cost, etc., on the other hand Indian media houses are busy minting money through deals with stakeholders. The news here is owned by politicians and paid for by those who can afford and gain from it. Newspapers today are more about affiliations than about journalism.
A hundred crore seems a small amount to pay for saving a murky bit of information. Today, corruption is as intrinsic to the media industry as it is to politics of India.
The likes of Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai are not crusaders taking on key issues, they are some celebrities themselves taking interviews of celebrities against lavish backgrounds of five star hotels or inviting stakeholders to debate their own issues in the studios duly served with snacks. Young India, flushed with resources finds journalism a cool career opportunity. Needless to say, journalism schools are mushrooming by dime a dozen to teach them how to read and create news. These celebrity journalists are a mere shadow of their counterparts from freedom struggle who were jailed for writing a piece of news. Can these studio-bred journalists be role models enough to guide the strength and purity of gigantic democracy like India?
In this digital fast-paced scenario, as the industry is moving towards increased investments to cope the pressures of digitization, the key challenge for India remains the crusade against issues.

The Role of Media vis-a-vis the Commonwealth Games

The world witnessed an incredible India with the XIX Commonwealth Games—a country of incredible extremes.  The country that has charmed the world with its rich cultural and heritage treasures stunned the world by goofing up the preparations for the XIX Commonwealth Games currently being hosted in Delhi. It is a huge honor and privilege to be able to win the bid for the hosting of this game but a lot of things went wrong down the seven years given for preparation. Media all over the world went berserk with criticism and slur. Indian media too was not far behind. This is what brings us to the strangeness of the situation, the position of media and its role in perspective of our Commonwealth Games.
Indian media surfaced with its stories of horrid corruption and lousy preparation just a couple of months to the Games. The point here is what were they following since the day Delhi was awarded the Games’ hosting?  Today we have more than a dozen channels fore bearing the news front but sadly they seem to follow the wrong news more often. It’s not the authorities that have woken up late for the preparation but the media itself was sleeping over it. Neither did the media pose questions to the newly formed government over the Commonwealth Games when they came into power, nor did it book Delhi Prime Minister Sheila Dikshit, OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi or Sports Minister MS Gill well in time. True, the perpetrators were busy hauling gold rather than creating infrastructure but media is equally to be blamed for missing it altogether until India as a country was neck deep in trouble. What came out as flashing news and to the dismay and heartbreak of Indians just a couple of months before the Games did help  to salvage the situation but that was about it—it did nothing better than “salvaging”. Had the seven years gone into the preparation within the hawk eye of media of course, India would have prevented the muck that was thrown into its face  internationally.
Media indeed played the big daddy through out the Commonwealth controversy bullying the authorities for their shortfalls and corruption, but somewhere they went too far with it. With just a week left to the Commonwealth Games, media was all over the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium pulling out pictures of live reptiles habituating the host stadium. It went overboard with these stories and forgot its responsibility as an Indian media. What was needed at this hour was stories that encouraged the world of Indian capabilities rather of its eminent struggle to pull up an act.  The over proportionate stories of Indian handicap resulted in leading athletes of the world pulling out of the Games sighting security as concern. Countries like Australia threatened to boycott the Games completely. Unfortunately Indian media never realized that responsible reporting is the hour of the need rather bullying and bashing their own country’s pride.
Today, as we are past through a “spectacular” opening ceremony and into the second week of the Games with more than forty medals in Indian kitty including twenty four gold and several silver, media is yet again going overboard with the way we as an India have managed to place ourselves back into the good books of the sporting arena. I believe, caution should be the need of the hour, and reporting keeping in mind the fact that any bridge, any  pedestal can collapse anytime, coz at the end of the day XIX Commonwealth Games is a pulled up act rather a well planned event. Sigh!

No More Twins Please

There is so much Mani Ratnam could have done with the piece he took from Ramayana to interpret, but seems he got lost with managing two production (Hindi and Tamil) at the same time. He set out to explore the shades of Raavan’s character, of his not just being black or grey but yellow too.  Ratnam probably wanted to paint each head of Raavan as different character, of him being deified by the locals, of being a Robinhood, of being a terror, but the canvas he chose seemed not large enough. 

Abhishek Bachchan in the Hindi version of Raavan


That’s when I wish I knew Tamil. Vikram exuded some great control over his emotions in the glimpses of footage he managed to extract from Ash-Abhi hullaballoo, that Mani Ratnam create in hindi version of Raavan.  

Vikram in the Tamil version of Raavanan


The paper thin plot concentrated in the three primary characters of Beera, Ragini and Dev. Beera abducted Dev’s wife to avenge his sister’s rape driving her to suicide. But instead of mindlessly killing Ragini he mindlessly saves her when she attempts a suicide by falling off the cliff on being abducted. The movie did had its Mani Ratnam touches but somehow it wasn’t consistent. The central plot of the relationship between three characters, of their changing dynamic and the various shades they exude holds the signature Mani Ratnam treatment, but other character in the fringes either make or break it because of their own caliber rather Mani’s directorial skills.
Beera falls for Ragini’s resplendent beauty (some awesome work by Santosh Sivan and Manikandan who merges Aishwarya Rai with the scenic beauty of Athirappilly Falls and other breathtaking locales that Mani chose around South India) and courage displayed (probably reminding him of the courge his newlywed abandoned sister showed when taken in police custody.) The abductor then falls in love with her and keeps asking her hostage if she would stay with him? Ragini had a perfect married life and ideal husband or so she believed. Beera came in to her life to pierce holes into it and her illusion breaks apart. She screamed, hauled and believed that her husband would come to her rescue within fourteen minutes but Dev seemed more interested in capturing the bandit than rescuing his wife (Dev kills the messenger for peace whereas any other would have utilized it to reach to his wife) and does not turn up till the fourteenth day (reference to Ramayan’s number fourteen.) Ragini’s indecisiveness with her loyalties increasingly became evident as the movie progressed and she gets back to Dev.
The climax of the movie did bring out the various imageries of good, bad against the colour white and black. The fight between Beera in black and Dev in white on the bridge is what Ratnam has depicted in “Yuva” as well. What Ratnam wanted to explore here was not the good, bad and evil, but how the hero can have shades of grey and how a bandit is more sensitive towards her hostage’s sensitivities. Beera is careful not to hurt Ragini but Dev is more efforted towards his duties as a cop than as a husband.
What is disappointing in the movie is the postured acting of Aishwarya and confounding animation of Abhishek. A far cry from their stellar stroke of “Guru.” There were so many moments in the movie that could have been great for want of acting caliber by Abhi_Ash. That’s when I felt my inadequacies with Tamil language. Beera’s character had so much to emote rather than the head shake and dirty grin. The diractor too felt their want and used shaky camera but only to add to audience’s frustration. I am hopeful that Vikram did bring about the magic of Beera through the screen.
The sub characters came and went without proper introduction or conclusion to their part of the story (though this is not new to Ratnam’s narrative style has done it before in “Dil se.”) It was only Beera’s sister Jamunia (Priyamani) who got a conclusion but more so because she was the one who sets the ball rolling. Others characters like the ones played by Ravi Kishan and Govinda disappeared in the end as the spotlight moved to the three central characters. Ravi Kishan effortlessly brought about the torn between innocence and revenge of a bandit for which Abhishek struggled till the end. Govinda was as much a nuisance as he is in any of his movies. Sadly, Mani Ratnam could not keep up his own expectation let alone help Govinda’s image.
The saving grace of the movie was few breathtaking moments created by Mani, Sivan and Rehman. Few of the shots with Rehman’s score (he did the background as well), Sivan (or Manikanda- we would not know) and the genious of Ratnam would linger on till a long time after the movie has ended. The shot were Aishwarya jumps off the cliff when taken into abduction by Abhishek and later when Abhishek falls off after being shooted with Rehman’s rendition of “Ja ud ja re” playing… these are some of the images to take back home.

and the Oscar goes to…

Seems consumed by the golden statuette — the media and AR Rahman.

Slumdog Millionaire is a British Production and the whole Indian media is in frenzy over it winning 8 Oscars. WTF!
AR Rahman was happy receiving a worldwide recognition for his contribution to music. And I was happy that it was awarded for a song like “Jai Ho” rather than something on i wanna #@$* you…
But seems out of sight is out of mind for Indian media and AR Rahman too…
Gulzar chose not to attend the ceremony and all but forgot that Rahman co-received the Oscar for Best Original Score along with lyricist Gulzar.
Well, media chose to mention Resul Pookuty mildly and forget Gulzar altogether.
Even Rahman seemed too awed by the situation to remember to thank Gulzar for his contribution of lyrics that make “Jai Ho” so hummable.
Coming back to Gulzar not choosing to attend, well is this his finest piece of work. I don’t think so and so does he, I believe.
His quest is far beyond the golden glimmer…

kataraa kataraa milatee hai
kataraa kataraa jeene do
jindagee hai, bahane do
pyaasee hoo main, pyaasee rahane do…

Hail the Pink Chaddis !

Well, this one goes about pink chaddis as well. Everyone seems to be talking, writing and wondering about it, and I think that’s where the nail has been hit pretty hard (and smelly) too. Pink chaddis have surely brought the required attention to themselves.

Strange ways people deal with strange things. Love is universal and timeless indeed but do we need a bunch of Baanar Senas to breathe down our neck on how and when exactly do we express it? The whole campaign of defiance against Pramod Muthalik is a matter of awareness and assertiveness. However much the Sagarika Ghoses’ dismiss the pink chaddi campaign as undignified, I believe this is a new Indian sentiment (and action of course) – a form of uprising. A similar expression was seen during the recent 26/11 attack on Mumbai when we had uproar over the role and responsibilities of people chosen to lead and safeguard us.

The point is about freedom of choice, about our fundamental rights as an Indian citizen, a citizen of a democratic country.  Well I am not supporting the hulla balloo about St. Valentine’s Day or the Pub Bharo Andolan. Let that be left to individual choices and tastes. If you love someone you don’t need a holy saint’s decent reminding on one particular day, to express to your beloved. Love and expression is quite a personal prerogative to be brought down to such a public level. Anyways let that be a matter of discursion .

On the other front the likes of Pramod Muthalik should know that they have been elected for a lot better causes rather than going around women on a certain day with a certain excuse. Well then, hail the soiled pink chaddis on them !!