Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ghajini - a remake of Ghajini

Ghajini is in problem on and off the screens. Case against screening the movie in Tamil Nadu due to copyrights sort of issue. Madras High Court raises interim suspension over screening the movie in Tamil Nadu that was all set to hit theatres on the Christmas day. Politically fortunate enough as usual that the Madras HC showed green signal for the movie.

24th December, i was browsing through the sathyam theatre website and found only one ticket left over for the 25th December 7:30 AM show and in the excitement of the website successfully loading, i booked that only available seat and took a printout of the ticket.

25th December, i woke up at 6 AM, was in double mood whether to go for movie or not. Decided. Am going to watch the movie. Got ready within an hour. Went to Saravana Bhavan and had 2 idlies and a coffee before going to the theatre at 7:15 AM.

Show started exactly at half past 7 and there was not much crowd as the confusion of whether the movie will be released or not prevailed till the previous evening. However the hall was full in an hour with only few seats left unoccupied.

I haven't seen the complete tamil version of the movie, but with the bits and pieces i have seen, it was like an exact remake of it with only the hero and villain being different. It was something like a recollection of each and every scene of whatever i have seen of the tamil version.

Different looks of Aamir Khan was interesting with each excelling on its part in the movie. Aamir had definitely put in enormous effort for the 8 pack abs and was perfect in the body structure. However, i feel his biceps was exposed too much in his character as a businessman which made much of it over his formal attire.

Asin had a fantastic debut in Hindi and was so easy and natural in acting, Aamir pairing with a debut actress after Lagaan, Asin was extremely professional than in the tamil version.

There seems to be a turnaround in the climax though when comparing with the tamil version, the cinematography by Ravi K Chandran was excellent that made it very colorful. Music by ARR was already a hit before the release and it was noticeable that Aamir is not so good in his dance especially in Behka Behka song which he managed to make it but was not free flowing to say, something like how Rajini in Oru Koodai Sunlight from the movie Sivaji.

The first song of the movie was Aye Bachu which was the intro of Asin and followed by Behka Behka and Latoo in the pre-interval phase. The best scores Guzarish and Kaise Mujhe were in the post-interval, Kaise Mujhe defeating the rest of the songs and really pulling the concentration of the audience to it that it was emotional. It also has the touch of Ismail Darbar's in Devdas, and what is more surprising is that, why the song "Aazaadi" from The Bose - Forgotten Hero didn't hit the top of the chart but Kaise Mujhe did very early. However, the background score of ARR throughout the movie was not as it used to be due to frequent change in the focus of artists and more action.

Aamir was at his best during the last 30 minutes of the 3 hour movie. The stunts looked very powerful and Aamir has done it exceeding well. His rock solid body came into action during the stunts and his eyes poured fire.

The movie has a finishing touch of TZP and that will definitely make it a successful one for Aamir. However, Ghajini is no way near to Dil Chahta Hai.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Overrated HSB - Hotel Saravana Bhavan

HSB (Hotel Saravana Bhavan), the brand that stands as a rock among all the hotels in Tamil Nadu is the nucleus for any South Indian to drop out their tongues to taste the delicious traditional South Indian cuisines. Anyone who goes to the hotel should enter pocket full to come out stomach full. It's one of the costliest South Indian hotels that is spread across many places in Tamil Nadu and some important cities of India, USA, UK, Singapore, Dubai, UAE, Australia, etc. In fact it is the only South Indian hotel to have established so well geographically.
It is one of the hot spots for so many people with no age limit. They always have Kripanantha vaariyaar greeting them at the entrance to have a wonderful food and pay for it.
We (SNMS 98 group) have been to HSB so many times in the past and have thoroughly enjoyed all the treats that our guys have offered. Today's at the Ashok Pillar HSB was no exception.
We were all at the terrace of Kishore's house as usual, and decided to go to HSB for Subbu's treat. The moment the place was decided, the "Never Say NO" person of our group Mr. Vinod was in no stage to control the sudden hunger that erupted inside his stomach like the lava that comes out of volcanos (don't know when the lava comes out of his volcano). He and baya didn't wait for anyone there and rushed to the hotel and were waiting in the queue. Kishore as usual took his time to get ready leaving Subbu and Guru sharing thoughts on Bhagvad Gita at the terrace. Kishore was ready and they left for the hotel to join the waiters. They had to wait for few more minutes before being called to take their seats. Menu cards were placed in front of NSN Vinod Rao and the lone family man Guru bhai. Vinod passed it on to Kishore and was waiting for others to get an idea of what to order as if he hasn't tasted Indian food. Idly, 14 idlies 2 plates, ghee roast, onion rava dosai, sambar vadai, gobi, etc... the first round of order started with these. All of us were served and we were busy tasting our dishes. However, a white half spongy head was rotating like a compass with its leg on its plate and its head smelling others dishes. Yes, it was none other than Vinod who never says NO to whatever you give to eat at anytime in 24 hrs until the lava comes out with enormous sound. All of us felt for that innocent hungry eyes of Vinod and offered him for formality to have a taste of our dishes. But this formality is just a normality for him, and he jumped into everyone's plate and started playing hard. The first round was over in minutes. A glass of water for all and rest for few seconds. The mixture of so many dishes were carefully transported from Vinod's mouth to different parts of his body in various proportions. Second round: Onion Utthappam, Kal dosai, paper roast, 2 rasmalais plus two more rasmalais and then one more. No stomach was empty there and a cyclone inside Vinod's. The left over sambar, chutney, etc, etc. didn't go waste; Vinod was there to take care of them. It again took only few minutes to finish the second round. Three more rasmalais were ordered to finish the dinner and all the eyes were on Subbu who was well prepared to pay the bill. 1500 rupees... No No 1200 rupees.... around 800 rupees.... came the bill amounts from each one as if it is an auction. Subbu was silent with fingers crossed waiting for the bill. And it was 848 rupees ONLY!!! We definitely overrated HSB and had this known to us earlier, we would have been served with many more from the list. A Lesson learnt.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Tour of Lords

Recently i happened to visit the United Kingdom on an official assignment for a good period of 35 days. It was good, in fact great that almost everyday was different from the previous and was an invaluable learning experience that has opened the gate of confidence in me.
The tube railways operating in UK is the best in the world i've traveled by so far (i haven't been to Germany and Japan).The landscapes, old houses, parks, museums, ........., my office were all fantastic. But there is one place that took me out of the world - The "Lords Cricket Ground", that i visited on a bright and sunny day.
The Lords Tour is organized by the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) in which you will be guided to the Most Prestigious Pavilion to be in (of course as a player or atleast as a visitor), the Lords Museum (here you can see the cricket gears used by the Father of Cricket "W.G.Grace", trophies, medals, and so many things..... that were history), the ICC Meeting Room (any decision related to the cricketing stuff is made here. Like, if there is any change to the Laws of Cricket, it will be decided by experts around the table right there.), the boards that are painted with the names of the players who have scored centuries, taken ten wickets on the Lords Wicket (just imagine if your name is listed on the Centurions or Wicket Takers... you are there forever whether your century or wickets were out of merit or luck). The Lords dressing rooms are the only one in the world where all the players of each team will share the one big dressing room of theirs (no separate rooms for players).
There are totally 7 pitches on the ground, of which 3 are used for international matches (tests and ODIs) and the rest for practice/county matches.
The whole outfield was plowed for facilitating proper drainage system and was laid back after works on that, and now it's one of the best cricketing grounds to play on. In 2004, on an eve of a test match, the outfield was flooded by heavy rain and the match was stopped at 12 noon. It poured down heavily for exactly half an hour and by 12:40 the match resumed!!! Thanks to the wonderful drainage system laid in.
It was in 1999 during the memorable event of the World Cup hosted by England that an all new Press Box was constructed exactly opposite to the majestic pavilion. The oval shaped tablet press box sits on a single pillar, 100% sound proof, and the glass wall facing the ground has been designed in such a way that it will not break off if ball hits it up to 90mph. The tablet is shaped convex with the ground so that the impact when the ball dashes on to the glass wall will be minimum.
It was so emotional to be there where so many greats like W.G.Grace, Sir Don Bradman, Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, and so on.... have played and been there in those dressing rooms. Also, few players have lost their lives in this historical cricketing arena. These cannot be written off.
A very interesting point to note is none of the contemporary greats have scored a test century or scalped ten wickets in a test on this ground. Some of them include Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath..... So you can't see these big names out there in the list of centurions on the wooden board mounted on the walls of the two dressing rooms. Of course, even my name was not there :-)
I had a very good guide in "Keith" who took me out of the world to all these places. It was great. The moment the vision of my eyes fell on the ground, i forgot myself and thought what other place you need to visit that's going to be better than this.
The Lords tour was for 1 hour and 40 minutes and it was absolutely fantastic and worth the 12 pounds i paid for the ticket.
If ever you get a chance of flying to UK, please don't miss out this place.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How to trade in Futures?

How Futures work
Buy a contract

When you buy shares, you can buy any number you please, even if it is just one share. In Futures, you buy a contract which will have a specific lot size depending on the stock.Let's say you want to buy an Infosys Futures contract. This will comprise 100 shares. Or, you want to buy a HPCL Futures contract. This will be a lot of 650 shares.In Futures, you buy a lot. The lot size is set for each futures contract and it differs from stock to stock.

Margin payment
When you buy a Futures contract, you don't pay the entire value of the contract but just the margin. This margin amount too is prescribed by the exchange. Let's say you buy a HPCL Futures contract. And the price of each HPCL share is Rs 311. This will amount to Rs 2,02,150 (Rs 311 x 650 shares). You don't pay the entire amount of Rs 2,02,150. You only pay 15% to 20% of that amount and this is called the margin amount. The margin depends on what the exchange sets for the day. Based on certain parameters, it declares the margin for each stock. So the margin for Infosys will vary from, say, HPCL.Let's say the margin for the HPCL Futures is 15%. So you end up just paying just Rs 30,322 (not Rs 2,02,150).

How you make or lose money
You purchased a HPCL Futures contract and the underlying price is Rs 311 per share. Let's say, the next day it moves to Rs 312. The difference is Rs 1 per share. You get a credit Rs 650 (Rs 1 per share x 650 shares). The following day, it dips to Rs 310. The difference is Rs 2 per share (312 - 310). Since the price has dipped, Rs 1,300 (Rs 2 per share x 650 shares) is debited from your account.This will go on till you sell the Futures contract or it expires (last Thursday of the month). So, on a daily basis you make and lose money.

Why Futures are popular
No delivery
There is no delivery.When you buy in the cash segment (where investors buy and sell any number of shares and hold them in demat accounts), the shares are delivered to you and sent to your demat account. Over here, there is no delivery so you do not need a demat account.
Lower brokerage
The brokerage in Futures is much lower. It will be around 0.03% to 0.05% of the transaction. These are the rates given to regular investors. An occasional investor may end up paying up to 0.1% as brokerage. In the cash segment, the brokerage will be around 0.25% to 0.75%.
Margin payment
When you buy shares in the cash segment, you have to make the entire payment to your broker. Let's say you buy 650 HPCL shares for Rs 311 per share. You end up paying Rs 2,02,150. Within two days, you will have to make the full payment to your broker. In Futures, you just pay the margin, not the entire amount.
Can effectively short sell
When you sell shares without owning them, it is known as short selling. You would do so if you believe that the price of the stock is going to drop. This way, you sell it at a higher rate and buy it at a lower rate later. With Futures, you do not have to square your transaction at the end of the day. You can square the transaction whenever you want or wait till it expires on the last Thursday of the month. But, in the cash segment, you have to square your transaction by the end of the day, so you can short sell just for a day.

Where the cash segment scores
Price differential
It is worth noting that the price of the shares in the cash segment is mostly lower than the Futures price. So, if it is available for Rs 311 in the Futures segment, you should get it for Rs 308 in the cash segment. Though, on occasions it may even be slightly higher.
In Futures, you pay a tax of 33% on the your profit. In equity, it is a flat rate of 10% (short term capital gains) if you sell within a year and no tax if you sell after a year (long term capital gains).
Flexibility in purchases
In the cash segment, you can pick up however many shares you want starting from just one share. In Futures, you cannot buy less than the lot size prescribed. If you want to buy more you can, but they must be in multiples of the lot. So, you can buy one or two contracts.
Risk in Futures is higher
If you are an investor who wants to buy shares and hold on to it, you should invest in the cash segment. Since Futures is a trading tool, the risk is also much higher. Let's say the shares of Infosys are going at Rs 2,700 per share. And, you buy 100 shares in the cash segment. You end up paying Rs 2,70,000.The price dips to Rs 2,200. If you sell the shares at this rate, you make a loss of 18.5%Now let's say you purchase an Infosys Futures at the underlying share price being the same. You pay the 20% margin of Rs 54,000. Let's say the price dips to Rs 2,200.You have to pay out Rs 50,000. Since you invested only Rs 54,000, you have incurred a loss of 92.5%. Hence, your losses can be much higher in Futures.

Where can you trade?
All stocks are not permitted for trading in derivatives. To check the list of stocks available for trading, go onto the
National Stock Exchange website. You can also check the Bombay Stock Exchange website to read more about derivatives trading.But do note, to trade in futures, you will have to approach a broker who is authorised to trade in derivatives.