Friday, December 5, 2014

R.D.Burman - The Man, The Music Review

The reason I bought this book was simply because I dont read fiction. Considering I work in music studying a great person like R.D.Burman was surely a great opportunity at hand. Also since I have been associated with Shammi Kapoor he and me had already discussed this book when he had read it. I had not jumped into buying it because though I respect Panchamda and the way he changed Indian (Film) Music, I am not a hardcore fan. And maybe that became a problem when I was going through the book.

This book is very well researched. The authors have taken every effort to go through archives and meeting people that R.D.Burman was associated with. The details with which they have explained his life is something that only true fans can do. The details about the subject are so overwhelming that sometimes you feel like putting the book down to let everything absorb properly. There are also parts where the narration looses its grip and it can get boring, especially where the musical details of the unknown songs (especially the ones which authors claim were neglected but are masterpieces) can really get boring.

This book will be more enjoyable and going ahead beneficial for people having little knowledge in music. Fortunately for artists like me and unfortunately for people who want some maseldar scoops about anyone in bollywood, this book doesn't involve any masala from Panchamda's life. Infact the authors and the people whom they talked to seem to have deliberately avoided all that. Considering the authors are not neutral writers but fans, it is obvious that they will try to write anything negative associated with Panchamda (Despite of the claim in the book that they have tried to highlight his mistakes and reasons for Panchamda's fault). True they have highlighted what suited, not everything.

Though the technical(musical) details of the songs might be boring for normal readers, the stories behind these songs and the efforts behind them will be quite entertaining.

Also at many points again due to non-neutrality of the authors, many fans of other Indian music artists might find some statements and claims offending. The book seems to be only one way perspective of explaining things.

The sources of information should be mentioned in the book. I have read a lot about the Indian Films era from 1940 - 2000 but I had never heard that Rajiv Gandhi was to be casted in Bombay to Goa. Might be true as well, but there is no way to confirm this fact. It simply seems impossible to believe this.


The author's repetitive arguments/explanations over the subject of plagiarism is irritating for anyone who is not (only) a Indian Film Music buff. I have studied without choice the issue of plagiarism in Indian music only because I always found a bass pattern, guitar riff, rhythm patterns or sometimes some main tunes in Indian music. But this was not only associated with Panchamda. Ignorant people have followed the fact initiated by critics and media that only Panchamda did it the most. Everyone did. Saying this I will continue to say, Plagiarism - Music that is copied/stolen/improvised/meter-changed or whatever explanation you use is simply THEFT. And no great or lesser composer should be spared of criticism or punishment of this offence. If they were saying they were inspired, they should have been nice enough to list the original compositions and composers in credits as well as play the royalty license to the originals, which is not the case. So defending Panchamda so many times in this book for this act has made the book very very irritating. Maybe people who didn't know this fact will come to know about it and highlight it more in future generations to come.

But despite of whatever said above, I will say that - "The book is a best buy and must buy for all Indian Film Music enthusiasts and an unavoidable possession to have for Pancham fans"


Summing it all up : R.D.Burman is R.D.Burman! He is ones of the legends when it comes to Indian Music. This book could have been a lot better if one of the author was a professional writer and they would have avoided the defense of Panchamda, which is not needed. He is great, at a place where untouchable and least disturbed by whatever the offenders might say.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An Honest Review of Dilip Kumar's autobiography - The Substance and the Shadow



Before I begin my review I would like to clearly mention that I have been a great fan of Shammi Kapoor it doesn't mean I have not liked other legends from Bollywood. Dilip Kumar is no doubtably one of the THREE PILLARS of Indian Cinema which include Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand. I have also been a huge admirer of all other stars also. About actresses though I didn't have any real favorites because I liked them all I think its only Saira Banu in the yesteryears and Sonali Bendre in my teenage years that made my heart skip a beat.  
Now with the review...

The book is a true treasure of Dilip Kumar fans, especially those who haven't ever read or followed the vintage issues of magazines during his times. His wonderful memories from Peshawar including how a Fakir had predicted his future when he was a toddler. He talks about his struggle while growing up and his childhood friendship with Raj Kapoor that went on forever. He tells about his love for football and badminton and how he struggled to attend football matches after college days. To prove his independence or capability to his father, he narrates how he went to Pune and did a job at the military canteen. The book also tells about Dilip Kumar's love for reading and studying various subjects and ability to understand film making than his directors did.

 BUY THIS BOOK ON FLIPKART

The book gives detailed insights of how Dilip Kumar became a screen legend. He didn't have any previous actors except for a few like Ashok Kumar, Saigal and others. The Indian cinema was at its infant stage and the techniques were constantly changing. He probably was the first person who understood how body language mattered than the loud dialogue delivery due to avaibility of sound recording. He understood how closeups of facial expressions could express a dialogue (without actually delivering the dialogue verbally). Like any other autobiographies ever written, this one also seems biased in showing certain things and hiding certainthings. Its human to try to project oneself in the best way possible and try to forget bad things oneself and making others do that too. Everything in the biography seems believable apart from references about Madhubala or no-references at all about some women Dilip Kumar has been linked with. Strangely apart from his so-called first wife Asma no other serious allegations faced by him are mentioned in the book.

Many times there are irrelevant references of his wife Saira Banu in the many sections of the book which ascertains the fact of her control over the book. Also seems like the editor had a lot of problems in writing a book in-sync with a timeline. Episodes about his mom,dad or family in general keep jumping from past to present n' then to future again confusing users many times. Many things from the main content of the book clearly contradict the reminiscence section. E.g. Ramesh Sippy clearly states (in reminiscences section) that sahab had got married the second time (something opposite to what the autobiography states). 

Also a point worth noting is that, Harish Salve mentions that Sairaji called him to write an account, why Dilip Sahab didn't? Dilip Kumar himself didn't speak a word during the launch event of the autobiography and seemed only mersmerised vaguely with the ongoing event (from whatever shots were shown.) I don't follow bollywood gossips as much as I indulge in the study of old stars during their shiny times, but something doesn't feel right. Seems like the latter part of the book or rather half of the book doesn't seem to be narrated by Dilip Kumar at all. Did Dilip Kumar first agree to write this autobiography and then wanted to backout for some personal reasons that he appeared so aloof at the launch event or is he unwell due to old age factor like dementia that he really doesn't know what is happening? Bollywood superstars and their PR can be strange and cunning. They will want their fans to appreciate them, buy their work and support their causes, but when their claims are questioned by the same fans they might act weird. The recent case involving the launch event of the book involving 7 Crore shows that the book had a lot of financial interests and tie-ups apart from the real intentions meant to publish it.


Incidents don't match with history (published in magazines/newspapers of those days which weren't normal tabloid press but authentic) and there is undue emphasis on family life instead of film-making. The earlier part of the book does have family life but its more about experiences than people, but half of the book revolves around Saira Banu. Its nice to read about her, especially I liked it since I loved her, but it seems irrelevant in a Dilip Kumar autobiography that could have so many more interesting things. The reminiscences could have more film personalities than horde of relatives! The remin

This book is a must read for anyone doing any kind of job related to film making but those who know bollywood history for real and in detail should happily skip this book. This book is for kinda newcomers (new fans of classic era), who might find something new in it. Also, a few chapters from the book can make up as a textbook for people involved into filmmaking or acting. This is what makes the book incomplete especially if you have really followed classic bollywood. This could have been a better and more authentic book especially its 'official', but for a normal reader one might find better information on Dilip Kumar's life from the Film Archives that might be available with some memorabilia collectors or official bollywood media departments.

CINEMA OF INDIA

Friday, August 8, 2014

Reconnect after Malware Removal

Today after a long time I got a chance to do what I love to do the most. Get a computer system out of trouble.

I had installed a software called Malwarebytes AntiMalware some months back and had forgotten about it since it wasn't updating its database. Today as I smelt something fishy in the connectivity I just clicked started and went to programs (something I don't do often since the frequently used 5 programs in quick launch). In there I suddenly noticed Antimalware and ran it. To my surprise it updated its database and ran well.

After its first run it detected some snap.do entries which have been causing trouble to a lot of users. And strangely detected CDex, an ages old Audio CD extractor as a malware. Nevertheless, I happily quarantined/removed all that it had detected. It asked me to restart the system. I did that happily as well since I was expecting any antivirus to ask me that after a virus removal.

After the system restarted I lost my internet connection. I called BSNL because they usually have problems in rainy seasons. They said everything is fine. Now that worried me. I knew the modem was fine and it was something to do with registry and things like that. I couldn't connect to my wifi modem through other devices like smartphone either. I fiddled around and then went for a quick nap (which lasted more than a nap). I woke up. Hard resetted everything and then suddenly realized that I was having connectivity on my cellphone (through the same wifi connected). Then something hit me. It was only to do with the LAN / Ethernet connection of my PC now. Since my laptop connected as well.

I quickly grabbed my phone and started searching for websites that offered solutions for this problem. Seems like many people faced this issue but the solutions provided were horrendous and very dicey. Dicey because seems like they were provided by some other malware creators or similar people redirecting people to their servers/dns eventually infecting them. Some more intelligent hackers provided removal tools which were infact malware installers to do so.

Many of them gave ways of flushing DNS, and things like that which a normal user will find tedious to do.

Nevertheless, let me cut it short. Consider this situation and see the solution.
1. You have removed an virus/malware and lost connectivity on the device that you ran the antivirus on.
2. Check if other devices connected to the same modem work. Close all open browsers.
3. IF they work simply go to your Windows Control Panel
4. Open Network Connection
5.Right click on Local Area Connection and click on PROPERTIES
6. In the list select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and then click on properties button below
7. Simply punch in the default entries that have been provided by your ISP (e.g. BSNL) else just select - "Obtain IP Address automatically"
8. Wait for 5 minutes for your LAN (Local Area Network) to restart and then start the browser

Everything starts working fine. No need to install anything no need for complicated process.
This process is actually the first thing I would have done back in 2001 n' around, but with more devices in hand and solutions on internet a faster option I had forgotten this simple step. Thankfully this process awakened that part of my brain. Feeling refreshed. Hope your connections feel refreshed too.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Revenue From Websites - The Google, Chitika and Bidvertiser Error

I have been creating and managing websites since years. They were mostly related to my own work or some for clients. The two websites that I was passionately working for over the years were The Official Michael Jackson Indian Fan Club - www.clubmj.com / www.michaeljackson.in and The Official Shammi Kapoor Fan Club - www.shammikapoor.net . I was also technically managing Shammi Kapoor's own website www.junglee.org.in in where I never fiddled with the design to keep it his own. But Shammi Kapoor on many occassions had adviced me to monetize the websites which were related to any of the fan clubs. I was very apprehensive about doing so because both he and Michael Jackson were my idols. I was doing this out of love and not as business. But he was adamant. He said I was being a fool in the world where people rake millions out of such official associations.  

In my last meeting with Shammiji, there was detailed talk on implemention of advertisements. I had never charged him a dime for anything even I had paid for like the domain/server costs of his own site also. He had been very generous in trying to pay me in different ways or even directly, but I had never accepted that. He that’s why suggested about implementing advertisements on all the sites. He also said that I could use my experience in his fan club and implement it for other celebrities, which wouldn't essentially be official. That idea really hit me. I started to study that business of the internet world and realized that I was already good in SEO without any intention of doing so. Also, I was aware of GOOGLE ADWORDS so GOOGLE ADSENSE was easy to understand and implement. 

I started around 50 more websites related to celebrities and started designing the official fan clubs also in a way that I could incorporate the advertisements to the maximum limit allowed and without infringing any rules. I wasn't fiddling with any other PUBLISHER PARTNER/AFFILIATE programs apart from GOOGLE ADSENSE. I was happy with whatever was going on and the little earning I had till one day suddenly Google banned advertisements to a female celebrity fan club. Google thought that the contents(images) on the website came under ADULT or PROVOCATIVE terms. I was really confused because bollywood doesn't have a porn industry. I tried the check and compare all the images that google showed me as provocative, but none of my images were like that. I tried to argue in vain. The site was never accepted.  

This declination of my website made me hunt for new advertisement revenues. Considering the HITs I had per day I was thinking of getting exclusive with some specific advertiser for yearly or monthly contract, but I avoided and still avoid that. I found out options like Chitika, Bidvertiser, etc. The many apart from these two were a bit dangerous as they posted adult advertisements even when my website content wasn't adult. I avoided them. Generally reading the reviews I decided to implement Chitika. I implemented its advertisements on 4-5 of my websites which generated most of the traffic. I was happy for some months with them when suddenly I couldn't login to my account. 

I was confused. I thought maybe my account was hacked because I possibly can't forget any password. Nothing worked. I contacted support who told me that my account was banned for FRAUD CLICKS. Being a one man show in these sites I made, I knew well that it had to be an error. I had spent so many months in implementing Chitika on some 3000+ pages of different websites, I didn't have time to generate clicks because I knew it could get my account banned on google as well. Thankfully google has a better tracking system to see the sources that the visitors come from and also their IP addresses. I was really frustrated, I contacted Chitika support and told them about the error. Also told them that Google was successfully running advertisements on the same sites. Any person from this field knows that Chitika has miles to go to reach the level of Google Adsense. So it wasn't possible that their systems were more efficient than Google's. Also Chitika ate up all the revenue generated in that month which they claim they gave back to advertisers. 

So again I had an empty space in the page designs where Chitika advertisements were supposed to appear. I shifted to Bidvertiser and was surprised to see that their coding system though not much customizable is very easy to implement and mainly organize. It has limited AD sizes though, yet it has got a different kind of implementation for advertisers as well as publishers. Immediate results and their revenue (points) generation shows a good income though their NEXT PAYMENT (section) is still stuck with something since many days. This is the first month, but looking at the results it does look like a good option to work with. I can't confirm anything till I actually get a payment from them since again their system will check for frauds. Reviews for Bidvertiser haven't been good on the internet otherwise, but I am hoping things have changed.  

Google as usual remains stable. Maybe they could start an advertisement program for what they categorize as adult/provocative but wont be necessarily adult. They will surely have a lot of advertisers interested in posting their advertisement on such content. I am sure that Bollywood censorship has changed with time, but its really weird to see that Google is finding adult content that Bollywood passes of under (PG) category in a conservative country like India. Hope this blog helps a lot of enthusiast and bloggers to decide what they have to implement on their websites for revenues. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A MYTH about Desktops Vs Handhelds 

The media was never in such a worse condition like today. There was a time in history when a newspaper (sole kinda media then) was used as a tool for freedom struggles and a voice against oppression. With the same concept in our heads the world moved on and so did humanity. History changed and repeated but technology kept growing. With the growth of digital technology 'handicraft'(rather something engineered by hands) lost importance and  the mind with machines took over. A machine that was built by human hands was now designed, refined and built by their fellow machine hands (industrial robots). The increase in precision and speed triggered a frenzy of products pouring out the market right from clothes to technology related. 


Over the time humans forgot the hardwork of a person needed behind a product and rather started working hard for choosing a product OR starting working hard to confuse consumers with multiple products of almost same standards. The media/newspaper was no longer a tool of the common man, it rather became a product catalogue for someone who could afford to pay them to plant news of products and men alike. Humans had forgotten that the media were themselves pretending to be oppressed and appearing like the common man, joining in struggles against the material lords. Media houses were paid to be politically or technologically inclined. We were bombarded with stupid statistics of how much a news paper costs to be made and yet we can afford it at Rs.1 or now Rs.3 for a premium one because of the advertisements in it. We were aware yet forgot that even the headlines or normal news we read these days is actually an advertisement. 

A recent analysis by IDC said - PC sales slumping and tablets sales climbing up. The media went crazy over this and started the PC Vs Tablet/Smartphone wars which didn't even exist. The news itself was laughable because it had 2 funny sides of ignorant people that the media/ paid media was exploiting. First, the tablet or smartphone is still a small PC or a Desktop computer (u can call it a MAC too). PCs had touchscreens long back, but the applications were different. The tablets integrated keyboards into the screens itself making them lighter and portable. Second, Tablets and PCs cannot be compared if we look at their application today. Let me take you back in time. 




There was a time when having a hotmail account was prestigious even if it was free. The prestigious part of it was that you could have an account, but using it regularly was a big deal. Forget the Internet, not even a Desktop Computer was then affordable to a common man. Even if it was affordable, it hadn't got a use worth its cost. A PC/MAC used to adore offices and homes of people related to the industry including simple DTPs, designers or engineers. Still a common man wanted to use a PC to be able to email their friends and family who were far away. They wanted to get away from heavy keys of typewriters and get smoother in their work with great word processing apps like Word.  
 
Things look brighter when many people tried to afford a PC yet couldn't afford an internet connection (that was stable in connection). Internet café's offered a haven for such people. For the cost as less as a cuppa coffee, one could surf the net for an hour. These services offered email or general surfing. Eventually everyone was on the internet. Once they got addicted to the world wide web they wanted to save more to buy a new computer and internet connection at home. Internet was getting a wider bandwidth and now starting to offer multiplayer gaming, video chats and more. At that time mobile phones could call or SMS at a good high cost.  

A lesser known fact. MP3 players were first made by creative who sued APPLE for ipod patent at a time. Apple settled the case and as we know today that an ipod stands for a mp3 player. Regardless of that the ipod was changing the scenes. MP3 format itself had shaken the biggies of hollywood and music industry for the piracy of general artists songs as well as movie soundtracks. MP4 with videos was adding a new trouble. With video playing handheld devices, a new headache of movie piracy dawned. A p2p network and an internet connection was all one needed to download a pirated movie for free, but STILL everyone needed a PC.  

A smart person or a team thought of integrating a mp3/mp4 player with a phone. And as far as I knew long before Nokia or Apple brought up something like this, chinese and Israel versions existed. There was even a chinese smartwatch (wearable watch with mobile, mp3, mp4 all together) available in 2004. A smartwatch is yet to be release by any company today because they wait for the smartphone market to get saturated. But the smartphone changed the sales of the devices. Smartphones today are actually like having a desktop computer in your palms. Some techie's might remember palmtops!  
Smartphones today are much smarter, they can do everything a PC can apart from development of apps or softwares. They can do everything else that a normal consumer would want to do like email, call, sms, see videos, listen to music, GPS navigations and a lot more. But is that the only reason that the tide shifted towards handheld devices? Not really! It was actually the trend to have everything for free. Smartphones allow youtube videos to be downloaded and nowadays even torrentz. You can download music anyway, but download a movie, copy it to a USB and see it on your TV. Simple! The free stuff/apps that one gets on smartphones is equally interesting. Again humans forgot nothing comes for free. Free apps can access your phone, camera, gallery, location and many other details. We ignore this even knowing the dangers for this, or maybe many don’t feel its dangerous. A free app from ur smartphone can start your camera and you might not be even knowing it.  

Coming back to the point, its laughable to compare smartphones and desktops in terms of sales. They were never comparable things. Desktops regardless of their sales will still be required. Google fans can also believe in this due to Chromebooks and maybe Chrome desktops that will pop up in future. They will be needed to develop app and content for the consumer tailored smart-devices like smartphones and tablets. When you are buying a smartphone you are still buying a PC that is not capable of developing stuff. The future tablets will come with a keyboard again with ability to develop apps but they will shy themselves away from the handheld devices more towards laptop/pc segment again. A developer knows today that even one screen is not enough, so we will be having multiprocessors and multiscreen desktops in future. Once the media finds a way to make them look more useful, the handheld devices sales will drop. Its all the game of the media the consumers are only made a fool of! 
______________
TheFinalMiracle