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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Money Ratnam!

The year was Circa 2000 AD, what was branded as the Millennium Year. As the new financial year was about to kick in, a time when we salesman types gather to commit to what is known as the 'Budget Meeting/Conference'  Given the fact that the year gone by was fairly successful one for the organization that we worked for the Auditorium in the Corporate Office was ditched and the jamboree was organized at a very well known holiday resort in Ooty. The resort then was a pioneer in the concept of Time-Share properties and was very 'upmarket'. The team gave a massive thumbs up to the management for treating us as something more than just sales data! The resort lived up to the hype. Far removed from the civilization of any type bang in the middle of the majestic Nilgiris range. PEACEFUL!. The rooms were neatly made up exuding comfort and warmth, very welcome in the cold climes. The gardens and landscape giving us paindoo types the feeling of being in ShangriLa! If there is Jannat on earth, it is here, it is here was the unanimous verdict.

Post settling down, the mandatory order for chai-n-pakoras was placed with the room service. And reality check started. Apparently the entire resort was manned by only 5-6 people to serve all the guests! Suffices to say the chai came so late that we assumed it was freshly plucked, processed and brewed exclusively for us. The pakoras we thought were being imported from Coimbatore a measly 60 odd KMs away! I also created a new record by buying packet of cigarettes for a princely  sum of Rs.250.00 while the going price for the same on the rest of the planet was a measly Rs.40.00!

We took the 'service' bravely, as bravely as maybe facing the West Indian fast bowlers on the Barbados pitch. And got on to the 'business' part of the visit. Post the initial 'hip-'hip-hurrahs' it was yours truly's responsibility to make my presentation. Barely was I past the 'Hi! Mates' when the over head projector started behaving as though it were hit by a cyclone. Once the staff were done with the Research & Development, it was decided that I was good enough to continue with the job on hand so what if the audience couldn't see my skills at Power Point. All of us have seen enough and more of these all our lives anyway! I resumed bravely with just audio to support me in my endeavor when the power failed. And the diesel for the generator was still sitting snugly in the gas station 20 kms away. The audience was temporarily denied of their entertainment and  lunch was hastily called. Lunch took a few hours coming and we all boarded the bus, conference aborted midway and resumed a day later at the auditorium at the Corporate office!

Not OK!

I had the same feeling as narrated above as I walked out of the cinema after watching O Kadhal Kanmani (OKK), the latest offering from Mani Ratnam. In business one is often quoted the dictum "Over promise, under deliver". Essentially a situation where you raise the expectations of a consumer for your product or service and then disappoint them with delivering below that benchmark. All the fluff, the window dressing, smart marketing and aggressive sales pitch, attractive offers is of zilch value when breakfast arrives at a time when you are preparing for your evening tea break!

Where are the Nayagan Days?
(For those who came in late, I am no expert on the cinema business, I am not even a Mani Ratnam regular. But I am what I am, a irregular film goer at best but a consumer. I spend my hard earned money and time to watch a film. And hence everything I say goes, for me. You may agree to disagree! Welcome) I have seen Mani Ratnam deliver classy and commercially successful films. Roja on the burning issue of terrorism in Kashmir which Bollywood had not even thought of  attempting then. I also liked Bombay which dealt with the communal couldron of those times. I liked Anjali where Ratnam showed us the trauma of a family with a mentally challenged child and showed us, the society the mirror. And then there was Nayagan, a biopic of giant proportion if there was one. I concede, Ratnam often compromised on certain elements due to commercial reasons, valid in a box office led business like any other. But he was bold, his stories relevant and timely, his scripts breaking new ground despite the compromises, introduced world class technicians and did Tamil cinema; nay Indian cinema proud. And then he made OKK! I might have peacefully sat through the film, maybe even enjoyed it if it were from a newbie filmaker. On the flip side I might not have even gone to watch it had it not been for brand Mani Ratnam. What OKK delivered was a fairly competent work from the actors on screen (Dulquer Salman and Nitya Menen are quite charming as the protagonists), brilliant cinematography by P C Sreeram, decently hummable tunes by A R Rahman. While his team delivered, Mani Ratnam disappoints. I would rather watch the rerun of his breezy Alaipayuthe made a decade+ ago! OKK! Brand Mani Ratnam over promises, under delivers! The film is supposedly delivering golden eggs at the box office.

 Money Ratnam indeed!


PS: Nothing is heavier than the weight of expectations - Old Jungle Saying

Paindoo : Derogatory terms used to describe the 'villager' types.
Jannat : Heaven

chai-n-pakoras  : Tea & Tidbits

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