Zoya Akhtar’s Liberation of Life Manifesto Is Here; Break The Shackles With Dil Dhadakne Do!

Zoya Akhtar wants to change this World; she wants to make a dent in the Universe, and her way of doing so is changing the world view. If Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was the bromance and bon homie between close friends, then Dil Dhadakne Do is the guide using which you can liberate one’s life and break the shackles which are limiting you.

Yes, everyone is saying correct: the movie could have been shorter, with some strong editing. But the canvas of this story was so huge, that 2 hours wouldn’t have done justice to the whole melo-drama. Such was the intense characterization that the audience finds itself clapping when a stubborn father decided to protect his only daughter from a failed marriage; or when a son speaks up against his mother, and makes her realize her life’s greatest mistake.

Dil Dhadakne Do review
Dil Dhadakne Do review

DDD is a direct assault on hypocrisy, fake emotions and dogmatic life (living on someone else’s expectation); which our Indian society shamelessly tries to impose.

Screenplay was absolutely flawless, script loose at some points but the impeccable acting by everyone makes it a treat to watch.

Ranveer Singh was the show stopper of this movie, with his spontaneous acting and brilliant emotions. Anil Kapoor was the base on which the movie is based, and Priyanka Chopra is the dark horse. She scores above Anushka, only because her role was stronger, and she grabbed more screen time. Along with Anushka, Shefali and Rahul Bose strongly support this melo-drama.

Farhan Akhtar’s role was strangely reduced, when he could have been another major pillar. Maybe Zoya didn’t want to show partiality! Javed Akhtar’s dialogues, wonderfully recited by Aamir Khan, were strong, massively emotional and touches the heart directly.

Humor is something which the move showcases at every point of time; with every major scene. The cruise journey, and some outdoor locations, especially Istanbul and Greece were shot magnificently.

Although, collectively, there is hardly any fault with the movie, but individually, there are some minor distractions which could have been avoided. Public had this hangover of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, and wanted more of Farhan. But both of these expectations will reduce your joy of watching this movie.

Zoya, we will together change this world. Soon.

7.5/10

 

Taj Mahal To Get Free WiFi For 30 Minutes Effective June 16, 2015; Rs 30 Per Hour Charge After Free Usage

Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has partnered with BSNL to provide free WiFi service at Taj Mahal. This service will initiate effective June 16th. Once the free usage is over, users would have to shell out Rs 30 per hour to use the service.

As per reports emerging, officials from Delhi are already on their way to Agra to properly implement the project. On asked why the free WiFi service is not being extended for more than 30 minutes, an official from ASI shared that this decision has been taken to avoid ‘prolonged stay’ of tourists inside the monument.

free wifi at taj mahal
Image Source: dqchannels.com

Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will formally inaugurate the service on June 16th at a special function at Agra.

Quadgen, a Bangalore based technology company, will provide the wireless support and technological infrastructure for the WiFi service.

ASI said that they kept on receiving numerous complaints from tourists regarding the WiFi service at India’s most important tourist destination. After conducting a feasibility study, BSNL suggested 30 minutes package of free WiFi, after which a nominal charge of Rs 30/hour would be deducted.

Inside Agra, cantonment is the only area where free WiFi is currently being provided. I recently shared that besides being India’s most visited tourist place, Taj Mahal is the most popular Google Street View destination as well. 368 year old Taj Mahal attracts 45 lakh tourists or 12,000 visitors per day. It is already an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Depending on the success of this project, ASI may initiate WiFi service at other tourist destinations in and around Agra as well.

ASI has pulled up their socks in the last few months, in order to provide more access and more information about India’s tourist destinations. Last year they partnered with Google to provide a 360 degree tour of the major Indian heritage sites such as Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb , Agra Fort, Ajanta and Ellora caves, the Elephanta Caves and other 30 more sites.

You can visit here to checkout all the heritage sites across the world, where Google Streetview can be used to have a free virtual visit.

Welcome to Karachi: A Daring Cinematic Attempt At Comedy, Bromance & Unorthodox Screenplay

On a very broader, macro level, ‘Welcome To Karachi’ is heavily inspired from the concept which created Dumb and Dumber franchisee: The protagonists are dumb, half-wit but smart enough to pull it through.

It takes guts to experiment with such cinema in Bollywood, as comedy lies in the crust and everything seems like a spoof, a deliberate alternate take on the realities. The script has to be intelligent, the dialogues need to be sharp, witty and there should be an underlying message for the audience.

I am glad to say that Ashish R Mohan’s ‘Welcome To Karachi’ proves it’s mettle on every count, and thus, a new form of cinema has been created which needs attention. If Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal series and Sunday can become 100 crore grosser, then Welcome To Karachi atleast deserves applause. (Incidentally, Ashish was Asst. Director for Rohit Shetty’s previous movies)

Welcome To Karachi review
Image Source: Wikipedia

I am really appalled by the negative reviews this movie has received from major critics. Considering that the movie is fictional, the characters are dumb (intentionally) and there is high degree of brain dead comic sequences, why has the critics tried to discover logic here.

Arshad Warsi is the pillar of this movie, with his impeccable performance and timely humor, he dominates the screen. But credit should go to Jackky Bhagnani, as he has improved a lot. In some of the comic scenes, he has acted fabulously, as the audience finds hard to resist the laugh.

But the highlight of the movie is the screenplay: its twisted, bended and molded as per the situation and rather builds up the tempo at every point. Yes, the graphics and special effects could have been better, but it’s the way of telling a story which makes all the difference, and Ashish has done a remarkable job here.

Special mention of the way Pakistan has been shown – its actually funny. Director has thought creatively here, and has tried to interlink global issues, including terrorism with the plot. Songs are again, unconventional and radically different from what regular Bollywood movies churn out. ‘Chal Bhag’ will remain with you long after you leave the theater.

Dialogues are crispy, hilarious and hard hitting: Apt for such type of cinema, where the main characters have to justify their stupidity at every scene. Somehow, each of these factors are aligned perfectly to create an intelligent yet half-wit laugh riot which will make you laugh out loud, with guarantee.

Due to the daring attempt at creating a cinema which has, unfortunately, few takers in India, I will give ‘Welcome to Karachi’ 4/5. Go, watch it if you are taking life seriously!

TomorrowLand: Disney’s Newest Attempt To Save The World With Positive Vibes

As you come out from the theater, you can’t help with feel the emotions which one normally gets after coming out from a motivational seminar: Being positive, being optimistic, a bit scared about the future and full of a new hope and enthusiasm.

Tomorrowland, is Disney’s newest attempt to spread the braveness and positive energy. The movie does fumbles along the way, losing the tempo and going a tad too much into summarizing the problems which this world faces: climate, pollution, global warming, depression, political unrest, greed, and laziness.

But aided with stunning visuals and portrayal of some futuristic possibilities, the movie ends up being a perfect family entertainer.

The movie is based on a scenario where there exists a secret society, a cult of creative thinkers, science wizards, mathematic heroes, imaginative children, and sharp scientists, who wish to create a future which is environment friendly, people oriented and so much advanced that we create a global, connected Earth where everyone is happy.

They recruit such intelligent and creative humans, and train them to continue the legend.

TomorrowLand review
TomorrowLand: Image source Wikipedia

George Clooney as Frank Walker is good, but not great; maybe he wasn’t exactly suited for this role. I liked the acting of Britt Robertson as Casey Newton, who represents the optimistic, positive point of view of the whole situation. Frank is brilliant, intelligent, but Casey is more alive.

Disney has turned no stone unturned to include some high quality special effects and visualization of a future which seems pretty interesting. Being a new franchise, and a new plot, I was not disappointed.

The movie lacks comedy, and some wit. Humor is almost absent, although there are some space-time related dad jokes in between.

Overall, a good family entertainer, a movie which kids will love. The tradition at Disney continues!

Tanu Weds Manu: Returns – A Post-Mortem Of Love & Marriage Powered With Avalanche of Emotions

The problem with love marriages is that, they are based on expectations; and once this thin line of ‘trust’ is broken; the very existence of ‘love’ and ‘marriage’ becomes suspicious. But should the couple break off or attempt to rejoin the broken links?

Anand. L. Rai, the director who gave us the fabulous Tanu Weds Manu, returns with a sequel, and well, hits it hard. It a blunt post mortem of a love marriage, which goes wrong somewhere. Fueled by an avalanche of sentiments, tears and emotions, TWMR creates another magic.

Although we can’t compare the first and second parts; but if someone puts a gun at my head, and asks to.. then I will not take more than a second to tell that this one is better in every aspect.

The screenplay is fast, and tightly edited, and the dialogues perfectly blends with the tradition and culture of Kanpur, Lucknow, Jhajjar (Harayana). When it comes to Delhi, then again, the director chooses the most appropriate locations which correctly portray the color of the situation (example: Purana Quila, Delhi Zoo, a small apartment in West Delhi and more)

Tanu Weds Manu: Returns review
Image Source: Wikipedia

The movie belongs to Kangana Ranaut, who plays the double role, and manages it in the most magnificent manner. The way she molds into a Harayani athlete studying in Delhi University is simply amazing. While the original ‘Tanu’ is showcased even more sophisticated, urbane, vulnerable, glamorous and drama queen; ‘Datto’ is practical, focused, strong, and knows where she is going. Heck, she even fights her own family inorder to marry Sharma ji (Madhavan).

It’s really amazing how Kangana always manages to get immersed in the character, and learn the assent, the style, the attitude so seamlessly. As I am thinking hard, I can’t even imagine Priyanka or Anushka to even attempt such a role. Vidya Balan is the only name which I can recall right now, who can give her a fight in the most crucial department called acting. Hats off!

And, Madhavan! He manages to maintain the consistency of his character, Sharma ji, who is confused, angry and lost.. He knows that he is doing something which he doesn’t really believe in; he knows that he still loves Tanu, but still he falls for the charms of Datto, and begins a journey which changes everything. (I saw ladies in the theater, shredding tears when Kangana roams around the village, with a glass of whiskey and sad old Bollywood song playing in the background)

The humor and the wit continue from where the first part ended, and actually amplifies the whole effect. Deepak Dobriyal, the magician once again weaves his magic and the spontaneous, crude, timely and hilarious dialogues delivered by him forces the audience to laugh out really loud. TWMR is probably the first movie in 2015 where I saw the audience going crazy with laughter in so many scenes and dialogues.

Jimmy Shergil’s Raja Avasthi gets little footage, but his existence is very crucial. He again finds himself as a victim when it comes to getting married; but he takes it easily this time and doesn’t make much noise. It’s the internal fight within Tanu and Manu which is the soul of the movie. Datto is the catalyst, and magnifies the gap which is already present between them.

I will give it a 5/5 – Highly recommended for those, who are still mystified with love.

 

This Is How Ecommerce Saved A Girl From Trouble On The Road

Disclaimer: This is a guest post written by a girl who wishes to remain anonymous. We completely respect her wishes..

When my dad bought me a new car (luxury sedan, costing a million INR), he told me a very important secret of remaining trouble free while on the road: Always check the tyres. He had said that the petrol indicator will anyways show the current status of fuel in the car, but its the tyres which are the secretive yet vulnerable part of the vehicle. Even if it looks ok from outside, you never know what storm lies inside it; and the worst part is that even if everything is ok, air pressure is fine, tyres can go burst anytime on the road.

Yes, even its tubeless tires.

I paid little attention to this advice, and off I was into long drives with my friends and loud music along with fun and frolic. I was still in the college, and getting a good pocket money to sustain my ‘luxuries’. Dad kept on reminding me to purchase car accessories which can help me to rectify the puncture, even if I am alone. But I never paid any serious consideration.

Now, as I try to find the reason, I guess I couldn’t purchase these products because maybe these items are not sold at everyday supermarket or maybe I couldn’t see these items along with normal products which are sold in showrooms. Whatever be the reason, for a good 6 months, I was driving on highways and cobbled paths without any protection for any untoward incident.

Just before my friend’s birthday, I happened to browse a website for purchasing stationery pens online and I saw a section where car accessories were being sold. Lo and behold, I was ecstatic! I saw stuff such as puncture kit for tubeless tires; car tire inflator; electrified air compressor pump etc, and I immediately ordered the kit for repairing tubeless tires. The gift for my friend, along with this car accessories was shipped to me within 3 days, and I somehow felt safe and protected.

car accessories online
Website Which Saved The Girl

 

Little did I knew that this proved to be my life saver within 7 days!

I was travelling from a remote beach resort in Mangalore to Goa with my 3 other female friends, and just after Bhatkal, both the rear tires busted. I was driving at a pretty high speed, but fortunately, the sedan was able to absorb the shock, and I was able to maneuver the vehicle safely, and parked it at one side of the road. The worst part was that there was only 1 spare wheel.

But, the real horror was about to start. It started raining like there is no tomorrow, and so intense was the downpour that I couldn’t even see what lies 10 meters away. The region was such that dense forests surrounded us from everywhere, and there was no soul visible. But thankfully, I had carried the kit with me, and I couldn’t thank my stars for this act of mine! When I assured my friends that I have a kit to repair the tubless tire, their sullen and horrified faces suddenly turned into happy smiling faces!

After the rain stopped after an hour, a villager was passing by us. We asked him where is the nearest car repair garage, and when he told us that its 45 kms away, we all started laughing! He was clearly confused.. We asked him for his help, and he readily agreed. Heck, he didn’t even take the money we offered him.

We first removed the busted tire and then replaced the other busted tire with the spare wheel. The actual repair was a child’s play! Within 20 mins were done. Yes, the tubeless tire was not completely repaired, but it was enough to enable us to drive to the next car repair shop and make the amendments.

When this new ecommerce thing started coming up all over the TV, News papers, Radio, Hoarding and what not, I dismissed the whole idea of shopping online as another fad. Our groceries are home delivered by the local baniya who knows us since last 100 years, and all our electronics gadgets are imported from duty free custom shop. There was no need for me check an ecommerce site to buy anything. But the urgent requirement of an ‘exotic’ gift for my close friend led to the discovery of the car accessories, and well, ecommerce literally saved my ass!

Hail to the new online way of shopping.. You never know how it can help you 🙂

Post written by an anonymous writer.

When Bloggers Bolted Away To A Mesmerizing, Royal Drive In Tata Bolt!

That was not a regular Sunday; that was not something which bloggers do normally; that was bolt-awesome Sunday!

On May 10th, 2015, BlogAdda, in association with Tata Motors conducted a drive event of Tata Bolt, Tata’s newest offering in the automobile market.

tata bolt review

Yours true only was part of the exciting event, and here is what actually happened that day..

The Start

We all assembled at the posh Godfather Lounge in Galaxy Hotel, Sector 15, Gurgaon. After a light brunch, Tata Motor’s Marketing team demonstrated the unique features of the vehicle, and set the tempo for an exciting afternoon of test driving it.

All the bloggers were divided into several teams for the drive test, and I found myself along with Umang and Seema in Team D2.

Some of the features which were mentioned during the presentation made us sigh in awe of the deep research which went into making the car. The three most crucial elements, which have been incorporated in Bolt are: ‘DriveNext’,’DesignNext’ and’ConnectNext’.

Considering the needs and requirements of the current generation, Tata have introduced hi-tech communication elements in the vehicle, which sounded awesome.

No doubt they have improvised on earlier Zest, and have embedded a clean, sharp look along with some state of the art features which we will discuss in some time. Pretty soon, we all were ushered down, where several Tata Bolts were waiting for us, to be driven around.

Flags were set-off, and we were on the way!

The Suspension Test

The first pit stop was a huge playing ground, where Tata Motors had organized a suspension test of the vehicle. Several bumpers were placed, and we were supposed to go over them while connecting the dots on the paper.

tata bolt review and suspension test

Not surprisingly, all the teams were able to pass that suspension test without any hassles. Afterall, Tata Bolt has been designed in the most scintillating manner.

Futuristic Technology

Tata have incorporated state of the art communication protocol in the vehicle; not only we can connect with our mobiles and tablets, but via MapMyIndia mobile app, we can use GPS to correctly navigate the path.

tata bolt review by mohul

Captain Bolt soon joined us via this futuristic communication module, and it was a roller coaster ride from then on..

Destination: Neemrama

After a brief halt at Aravali Resorts, where diesel cars were exchanged with petrol ones, all bloggers started their drive for the final destination: Neemrana Fort Palace on NH 8.

Neemrana Fort was built in 15th century by Chauhan family, which were direct descendants of Prithvi Raj Chauhan. In the 80s, this was bought by a leading hotel conglomerate and since then, it is being treated as a heritage hotel.

neemrana fort

At a distance of around 100 kms from Gurgaon, we reached here after a long spell of enchanting drive in the Tata Bolt. After a tour of the ancient fort, and snacks, we were presented with folk songs. In the end, a small concluding ceremony was conducted, where one lucky blogger won a brand new Tata Bolt!

The Driving Experience

We drove the vehicle for approximately 200 kms, and experience was exhilarating to say the least. The power steering doesn’t seem like that tough rock to rotate, and moves seamlessly, as if it can understand your command. The vehicle itself is light, moves like a cheetah.. swift and under control.

tata bolt specifications

There are three modes of engine, which can be changed by a button (only petrol variant has that feature), and the sports mode was the quickest.

tata bolt interior

I was amazed to find that Tata have made sure that exists ample leg space, for both front and rear passengers, and the AC works super fine.

Bolt has a special Harman infotainment system from Germany, which I found to be far superior than other contemporary sound systems; and the smoke projector headlamps make sure that there is enough illumination on the road.

specs

Overall, I will term Tata Bolt as an economical, turbo-charged, powerful car, best suited for small families. In the coming days, we can see some tough competition to other cars in this segment such as Alto and i10.

Here is the official TV advertisement of Tata Bolt:

It was indeed a Sunday well spent at #BoltDrives with BOLT from TATA Motors in association with BlogAdda.

Bangalore Real Estate in 2015 – 7 Interesting Facts Which May Surprise You!

There is a reason American IT companies are in awe of the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore: The growth and development in this city is staggering. The IT lobby and media in the Western world have researched and written so much about Bangalore, that a new term has evolved: Bangalored, which basically means losing a job to outsourcing in India, and more specifically, Bangalore.

Here, we present before you 5 interesting and fascinating facts about the real estate industry in India’s top IT and ITeS city, which may surprise you:

  • In a recent real estate market study conducted by PropEquity, a firm which specializes in real estate data and analytics, it has been revealed that Bangalore is the top real estate market in India as of April, 2015. In this ranking, they have beaten Mumbai, New Delhi-NCR and even Hyderabad, which has gained quite a solid reputation lately. In the same ranking conducted in 2009, Bangalore was ranked #6th. This proves the fact that real estate in Bangalore is right now at an all time high.

 

bangalore real estate 2015
Clockwise from top: UB City, Infosys, Glass house at Lal Bagh, Vidhana Soudha, Shiva statue, Bagmane Tech Park (source:Wikipedia)
  • During the first quarter of 2015, that is, between January and March, 2015, total of 13,400 new real estate units were launched in Bangalore, which is 19% more than the Q1 of 2014, when total of 11,170 new units were launched in the city. 19% year on year growth is something which is incredible, even by standards of Singapore and Hong Kong, which are normally considered World’s top real estate markets!

 

  • Total of 8310 units were sold during the same period (January – March, 2015) in Bangalore, compared to 7210 units in the first quarter of 2014. This, 15% more sales of real estate properties (both residential and commercial) were witnessed in the last 12 months.

 

  • If we talk about appreciation value, then the maximum increase was witnessed in Hosur Road, where real estate prices increased by 4.3%, compared to last year. Whitefield closely followed by appreciation of 3.7%, followed by Kanakpura Road, where 3.4% increase was witnessed.

 

  • Whitefield is now considered as one of the most expensive areas in Bangalore, as the real estate prices touched Rs 8100 per square feet. On the other hand, areas like Sarjapur and Hosur Road are the top preference for residential properties, as the cost per square feet is hovering around Rs 5000 in these areas. At the same time, due to metro projects, areas like JP Nagar & Kanakpura Road are experiencing major appreciation in values.

 

  • As the city is expanding at a break neck speed, key junction areas such as Yeshwantpur and Rajajinagar are witnessing major high end residential projects, which can be termed as ‘luxurious’ by current standards. Average unit will cost you between Rs 75 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore, and the average square feet price can negotiated between Rs 5500 – Rs 7500.

 

  • But Sadashivnagar beats them all. At an all time high price of Rs 30,000 per square feet, a residential unit can cost you between Rs 9 – 12 crore, as average of 3000 square feet is the build-up area in this part of the city. Several super high end, luxurious residential projects are coming up in Sadashivnagar.

Juggy Marwaha who is the MD- South, JLL India, has presented an interesting analysis of the real estate market of Bangalore, from an investor’s point of view. In case you are looking for real estate investment advice, then Juggy’s article on MoneyControl will certainly help you.

 

 

 

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron – Mega Star Cast & Interesting Plot; But The Buzz Is Missing

The biggest drawback of this most awaited sequel is that, it doesn’t create that high of adrenaline rush which its prequel gave, in abundance. Afterall, when the World’s most efficient super heroes gather, then sparks are supposed to fly!

Yes, sparks did fly in the Age of Ultron, but it doesn’t manifest into that ‘memorable’ experience.

Avengers: Age of Ultron review

All the previous Avengers are present here: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man; Chris Hemsworth as Thor; Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk; Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America; Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow;  Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye; Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes / War Machine. Two new special heroes join them here: Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver and his twin sister Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch who are initially in the wrong camp.

The main villain of this saga is Ultron (voice over by James Spader), which is a computer program developed by Stark to maintain world peace. But something goes wrong, and this computer program suddenly wishes to destroy humanity and end this world. All the super heroes, assemble together to fight Ultron, and finish his evil desires.

In the way, almost all heroes are fighting their own internal battles as well, which force them to realign their priorities, and fight for the common enemy.

Director Joss Whedon could have edited it tight, and included some more blistering, raw action sequence.

What  To Expect:

  • Superhero power, accumulated into one place. The fight of humanity vs artificial intelligence make it even complex
  • Some boring, over the top emotional scenes which can put brakes into the momentum
  • Some high end, scintillating, fast and intense action sequences

Trivia:

  • The movie will be released in USA on May 1st. It was released all over the world one week before the US release to create more buzz. The movie has already grossed $200 million (April 27) which doesn’t include China, US and Japan
  • Two sequels: Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 are planned, and would be released in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
  • Avengers is part of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” franchise, which started with Iron Man in 2008. It includes: Iron Man, Avengers, Captain America and in 2015, a new hero Ant-Man will be released. This is world’s second most profitable, and America’s most profitable movie franchise. It is expected that Age of Ultron will gross over $1 billion (Rs 6000 crore)

Image Source:  www.ibtimes.co.uk | www.moargeek.com

TheRodinhoods Mumbai OH Roundup: A Subtle Fusion of Creativity, Capital & Craziness!

The Rodinhoods Open House, which is the festival of Thinkers, Doers and Rodinhooders, happened on March 28th at NSE Auditorium in BandraKurla Complex. This is a brief round-up of the event.

rodinhoods open house in mumbai, rodinhoods group photo 2015

 

While traveling from Delhi in a general class compartment of a horrible train, which had around 100+ stoppages in between, I was conducting interviews with passengers (for a new book which I am attempting), and during one such interaction, an answer stunned me. The 65 year old farmer from Sri GangaNagar in Rajasthan told me, “Son, there is nothing called planning in life. It just happens or doesn’t happen.”. His 7 sons and 3 daughters nodded in agreement, and I couldn’t help but smile.

Yes, planning doesn’t matter. All that matters is action and the wisdom which I was about to acquire 24 hours later would cement this fact.

I was able to book the cheapest hotel at Panvel, and it took some time to reach Bandra-Kurla Complex. I was a bit late, but was able to enter at the right moment. Alok sir had just started his ‘ramblings’ and two powerful messages were being shared:

a)      Never be shy

b)      Believe in the power of Intent

alok kejriwal live 2015

The cozy auditorium was filled to the brim, and the excitement of something big, something new, something exciting was clearly in the air.

(Alok sir was generous enough to introduce me to the community, which completely stumped me. Thank you sir!)

1)      Ashwin Sanghi: “The Problem With Rat Race Is That, You Are Still A Rat!”

The Open House kicked off with a stellar presentation by bestselling author and my hero Ashwin Sanghi. Being a writer, and a would-be-author (since last 3 years..!), this session had actually pulled me from Delhi to Mumbai. I couldn’t wait to hear him, live on stage, and when he begun, then Boy! All hell broke loose.

After showcasing some hard hitting facts about writing and publishing industry (average self-published book will only sell 57 copies!), he shared his secret of fighting his fear, his family pressure and his destiny to become the Author. The way he managed to publish his first book: The Rozabal Line created goose bumps within me, and within a moment, I got all my answers which were haunting me since long.

ashwin sanghi 2015

If Harry Potter was rejected 12 times, Stephen King was rejected 30 times, Chicken Soup Series was rejected 33 times, Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times, and Ashwin was himself rejected 48 times (he was actually proud that he is ahead of them all).. then everything I have assumed about writing is wrong. It became crystal clear that an artist does not wait for failure but goes ahead and embraces it.

And wins it.

His quote: “Money gives you only one thing: Freedom to not worry about money” solved so many problems, in a snap.

He briefly gave a crash course on traditional publishing, self-publishing and marketing. Some of the craziest marketing stunts done by authors were discussed, and innovate ideas and concepts to market a book were shared.

A subsequent discussion happened where Alok sir asked some sharp questions to Ashwin, and he responded with equally blunt responses, which made everyone think, laugh and clap.

ashwin sanghi and alok kejriwal in discussion

Three most important takeaways from Ashwin:

–          Want to be a best seller author? Learn to become shameless

–          The biggest challenge of the writer is to convince the reader to read the next chapter

–          The book is a product, and the author is no more a mere writer.. he has to become a marketer and entrepreneur to make it sell. Authorpreneurship is the reality, and wake up to it!

Watch the video of Ashwin’s session HERE!

2)      Panel Discussion with Arihant Patni, Rajan Mehra & Alok sir

Nothing happens within the Open House which can be termed as conventional. The panel discussion started with Alok sir reading a fictional email from a young entrepreneur to a senior investor, and an eerie silence spread all over the auditorium.

The entrepreneurs present there quickly realized that it was regarding the recent public spat between Housing.com’s one of the founders and Sequoia Capital’s investor, which dominated the headlines of newspapers, especially Times of India.

rajan from nirvana ventures

Rajan is the co-founder of Nirvana Ventures, which have invested in Housing.com, and in my view, it was the best opening to a discussion I have ever witnessed.

To make things clear early on (I am always amazed by the clarity of thoughts which seasoned VCs possess), Rajan said that Rahul is a good guy, who is passionate and is prone to unorganized emotions. He described him as an ‘intellectual visionary’.

Arihant added that all successful entrepreneurs are eccentric in nature; sharing example of Narayan Murthy and Vijay Mallaya, two entrepreneurs at extreme ends of spectrum.

As more layers of revelations emerged, we came to know that during the early days of Internet in India, Rajan had infact invested in several portals such as Baazee.com (which was later acquired by Ebay) and IndiaCar.com, which was founded by Ashwin Sanghi, the author!

Arihant, who turned investor after Patni was acquired by iGate was pretty clear about his mission and vision, when he said that for him, it was always “coding before cricket”.

Arihant from iGate

Some of the major pointers which were shared by them, during the discussions:

–          An investor invests more in the entrepreneur than in the idea. Rajan shared that out of 8 startups, 5 will change their business model after a specific time. They are backing the guy, not the idea

–          One of the most important characteristic that an investor will check is the team building ability of the founders: will they be able to inspire and motivate a team? Can they transmit their passion and energy within the team?

–          One major secret which was shared by Rajan: VCs are attracted towards those businesses which are built without any venture capital! This may shock quite a few entrepreneurs.

–          Businesses which can withstand cycles of positive and negative growth are the most prized possessions for a VC

–          Arihant shared three secrets of building a successful venture backed startup: a) A good team b) Belief in the vision c) The power of listening

–          Entrepreneurs can change the destiny of the world, only because they think and do more than others, and because they create. (The vision of Rodinhoods: Think, Do, Be..)

–          There was an extensive discussion on the issue of burning money (since almost all the major VC backed startups are burning huge money). The takeaway is that, investors are ready to burn money if the marketing needs that, but, the business should be established in a way that even if the funding stops, it shouldn’t shut down.

–          Alok sir made an interesting question to Arihant: Imagine him asking Patni Computers to spend Rs 18 crore every month in 1990s, with no revenues to show. What will happen? Arihant was quick to say that in that case, he would have been ousted from the will.

–          Shortcomings of Indian startup ecosystem were discussed, as Arihant shared that Silicon understands deep tech, and people are willing to experiment, compared to India. Yes, he admitted that even he is responsible for this state, but things have to be changed for the good.

–          There is an excellent support system consisting of the Universities, Government and Venture Capitalists in the USA, which promotes and encourages entrepreneurship. Nothing of such sorts exists in India. Can you imagine any Indian VC providing $3-5 million to a startup, just to travel to US and present their idea?

–          An interesting anecdote was shared regarding this strange relationship: VC is just like the wife and founder is like the husband. After the marriage (funding), the wife will keep on trying to change the husband, and after 5 years, she will complain that you are not the same person anymore!

–          When someone asked whether Housing.com’s full page ads will do any justice to customer acquisition, Arihant replied that product differentiation is crucial for some sectors, and such advertisement mechanisms are the only way forward.

–          Another interesting anecdote about Alibaba: During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the terror of SARS engulfed China, and almost all the offices and shops were closed. It was during this time that Alibaba actually picked up their sales, and reported jump of more than 40-50% sales. Lesson: Great entrepreneurs make use of every situation, even if it’s a terror for others.

–          On a question regarding customer acquisition and funding, Alok sir showed us an excellent example: WhatsApp’s first screen which appears after downloading; wherein they promise that the app would be advertisement free forever. Which investor will deny funding to such an idea and approach?

alok kejriwal at rodinhoods open house

–          Getting into the skin of the product is important, understanding the user interface and behavior holds the key to success; along with insane passion. Rajan shared that when Instagram was in the initial phase, the founders stalked Twitter employees wherever they went: party, vacation, home etc, and tried to pitch their product and lured them with ESOPs!

–          The importance of having a tech co-founder for a non-tech founder was again emphasized. If the founder is not able to convince a co-founder, how can he convince the world? The founder should have the power and the will to part away with their equity to form a formidable team

–          It was then that Ashwin asked the most important question: What is the difference between 2000 and 2015 (hindsight: 2000 was the year when dot com bubble burst and several million dollar Internet companies were reduced to zilch overnight). Rajan had a one word answer: Mobile. He said that mobile has changed everything in the last few years, and its mobile which will drive maximum growth for the industry.

–          Rajan shared the 4 markets, worth $700 billion which needs major disruptions: Products; Services; Banking and Media

–          When asked when a founder should seek funding, Arihant replied that the VC will check the idea and the team. Once these both are cemented, and believed upon, the funding is more feasible.

You can watch the entire session here!

3)      StoryPick: The presentation blew our mind away!

Tonmoy Goswami co-founder of StoryPick.com, the upcoming pulp-(non)fiction portal whose stories go viral in an instant, and are hugely popular among the young generation came on stage to demystify the secret of virality.

His presentation was titled “3 Reasons Startups Should Have SEX” amused one and all, and things got pretty heated up as he revealed the ideology and persuasion techniques used by them to make their stories go viral.

Tonmoy Goswami from storypick.com

In case you are curious, then SEX means:

S: Support your competitors

E: Use emotions (Ethos; Pathos; Logos)

X: X is the shortest distance between A to B, or in other words, make the content easily accessible

On the issue of critics, Tonmoy declared: “Your opinions doesn’t pay my bills!”

He shared the pillars of communication, and how publishers can use them to optimally create content and make it viral. The logic of synchronization between the head, heart, gut and groin incited a new level of interest among the audience. The example of Steve Jobs was highlighted, where he packed the new MacBook in an envelope and such was the frenzy generated that people didn’t even bother to seek configuration of the laptop before ordering one.

His another quote resonated instantly with all writers and publishers out there: “Don’t be like a barcode reader who knows the price of everything but value of nothing”

Hats off to StoryPick team for revolutionizing online publication industry in India, and for supporting social cause as well using their platform.

Watch the video of this session here!

4)      Panel Discussion with Suresh Venkat & Arun Prabhudesai; moderated by Alok sir

This discussion was really engrossing and deep; and considering that I am a Senior Editor at Trak.in, founded by Arun, the discussion was indeed special. (add to the fact that after writing more than 600 blogs for Trak.in, I was meeting Arun for the first time, in the Rodinhood Open House!)

The foundations of modern entrepreneurship, based on media was discussed, and postmortemed by  Alok sir. The virtue of ethics, honesty and monetization was subtly discussed, and some fabulous questions were thrown in by the moderator.

arun prabhudesai at rodinhoods open house

Can India produce another Economist and Business Insider which produces in-depth, deep content and still makes money? Or the list based, click bait articles which are ruling the roost these days will hold prominence?

Suresh Venkat, who is a veteran of media industry shared some interesting insights; such as how much exactly are we paying for a newspaper? Rs 3-5 is the average price of an edition, whereas it takes Rs 20-30 to print one. Clearly newspapers are actually spending money to reach us, and the Internet has changed everything.

Arun shared the benefits of following one’s passion, as he was crystal clear in revealing the source of his energy: the response and love he receives from his readers! At a time when thousands of blogs are being created daily, it’s the top rated content, polished with unique opinion and point of view will win the race. Arun also highlighted the importance of altering the medium to keep up with the ever changing needs of the readers.

discussion on new media with arun from trak.in

The biggest takeaway from this discussion was that: Everything which traditional publishing have taught us has changed. The new reader is restless, impatient and needs information quickly. Those who are able to adapt will survive and the rest will simply perish.

5)      Crowdfunding: The new paradigm of funding

The last session of the Open House was dedicated to the new phenomenon called Crowdsourcing, which is slowly but gradually bringing in a paradigm shift in the investment scenario. If you have an idea and a vision, then all you need to do is  convince a specific set of people who are willing to share your passion and enthusiasm and help you achieve your goals.

Hemanshu Jain, founder of Diabeto shared his journey of asking the ‘crowd’ to fund his idea, and how his investment goal was reached within a week!

He showcased the entire life cycle of a crowd-funded project and the most important questions which needs to be asked in order to be successful.

Rishi Karthik, who founded Bombay Cab Sessions shared his story of pulling up crowd funded investment for his idea. Although the idea was entirely unique, and somewhat unconventional (artists recording songs inside a cab?), he has able to successfully reach almost 80% of his goals, and well on his way to complete the project.

Action.

The only word which described the Open House and the sessions. Too much planning makes you lazy, and more importantly afraid. It’s the action which will pull you up, and help you reach your destination.

The Open House concluded with Alok sir distributing “Autobiography of a Yogi”, as part of his mission tointroduce this book to maximum people on this Earth.

Special thanks to Asha, for organizing and conducting this mega event, and pulling it off successfully. Looking forward to the next Open House with more eagerness and curiosity than ever!  

Amit Kumar Sharma authored a live coverage of this event via live blog, which you should definitely check out.

This was originally posted on The Rodinhoods by yours true only.

About me: Writer, Blogger and Would be Author. Currently working as Digital Marketing Manager at Indian School of Business & Finance, Delhi | Facebook | Twitter | Proud Rodinhooder