India @ 75 — milestones that shaped India

Photo by Shreshth Gupta on Unsplash

As India celebrates its 75th year of Independence, here’s a look at the major milestones that had lasting impact in its journey — good, bad and ugly.

  1. 1946 — Gandhi Chooses Nehru, despite Patel’s victory : 12 of 15 state committees nominated Patel for party president, despite this overwhelming support for Patel within congress, Gandhi persuades Patel to withdraw his nomination to make Nehru as congress president and de-facto first Prime Minister of India. This development remains an eternal “if” in Indian polity as to what shape India would have taken had Patel become the first Prime Minister of India.
  2. Aug 15th 1947 — Freedom and Partition : While Independent India was taking birth from 200 years of conquest, it was not without blood. Millions of people were displaced and lakhs of people killed in the riots of partition on the western and eastern borders of India.
  3. 1947 — B.R. Ambedkar as the first Law Minister : Ambedkar was not only extra ordinarily qualified for this job but being a Dalit himself and the one who fought for their rights, making him the head of the drafting committee of Indian Constitution, was a re assuring signal that new Independent India would be equal for all Indians.
  4. The Indo-Pakistan War of 1947–1948 Pakistan launched the first of the four Indo-Pak wars by sending Lashkar’s to Jammu and Kashmir in a bid to capture Kashmir, this conflict which started just after independence of both the countries still is remains a dispute on which 3 more wars have been fought.
  5. 1947 — Accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India : Maharaja Hari Singh signed to accession instrument, making Jammu and Kashmir part of India.
  6. 1948 — Nehru takes the Kashmir issue to the United Nations Security Council : In what has proven to be a decision that has been detrimental to India’s interests, Kashmir issue was internationalized by Nehru in 1948.
  7. 1948 — Death of Mahatma : Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse on 30th January 1948 marking an end of an epoch in India’s history. No one can say for sure what influence Gandhi would have had on Indian polity if he lived longer, but no one can dispute he would have had a huge impact if he lived on.
  8. 1948 — Integration of India : The map of India we have today would not have been possible if Vallabhai Patel had not integrated the 562 princely states in a masterful way using ‘sam dam dand bhed’, all resources at his disposal.
  9. 1950 — India becomes Republic : Any country draws its shape from its constitution and on January 26th 1950 the constitution of India came into effect.
  10. 1950 — Universal Adult Franchise : One of the most audacious and biggest decolonizing provision made in the constitution was to grant right to vote to all adult Indians. While today voting right is taken as granted, at the time of India’s Independence, it was seen as a dangerous experiment by the rest of the world. Majority of Indians were illiterate and given the immense diversity and social problems, they were concerns that India could veer towards disastrous results. World leaders cautioned Nehru and others not to do this, but credit to Nehru, Ambedkar and other founding fathers, they thought to truly achieve an India which can eradicate untouchability, gender discrimination and other socio economic disparities, voting rights to all, was the foundation. Just to understand the gravitas of this provision, look at the worlds greatest democracies, i.e USA and UK, woman in USA did not have the right to vote till 1920 and Blacks got their rights as late as 1965. In UK too, woman got their rights in 1928.
  11. 1951 — First General Election of India : One of the key concerns for universal adult franchise apart from the one’s discussed above was the challenge to undertake this mammoth exercise which was going to be the world’s biggest election. As one can imagine, there were multiple challenges to overcome this undertaking, starting from preparing the electoral rolls, educating the masses about this system, making them aware of the various political parties and their symbols. Transporting all ballots, and other infrastructure to the remote parts of the country, which had almost no roads or logistical support, All this in a country with a literacy rate of 18 %. In order to mitigate any challenges on the day of elections, mock elections were conducted. The elections were held from 25 October 1951 and 21 February 1952. This election which was referred to as “The great experiment” across the world, astounded the International observers with a turnout of 45 % and the orderly manner in which it was done. Credit to the first election commissioner of India Sukumar Sen, who made this possible. Sukumar Sen is truly the unsung hero of India’s democracy.
  12. 1951 — Restricting the Freedom of Expression : Nehru’s administration made the first amendment to the constitution of India (Article 19(1)(a)) in order to restrict the freedom of expression when it came under severe criticism’s from different publications. This amendment is used till today to restrict freedom of speech even after 75 years, setting a bad precedent which got worse over time.
  13. 1952 -1956 — Hindu Code bills: The personal laws of Hindu’s, Jains, Buddhist’s and Sikhs were codified giving greater rights to woman. These bills have proven to be beneficial in India progressing into a modern nation but it also presented a division and a lasting grievance of muslim appeasement, as a uniform civil code for all of India’s citizens was not achieved by excluding muslim’s.
  14. 1954 — Creation of BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre ): India was a poor country in 1954 but a nuclear program was of India’s long term interest and its creation has proven to be key for India’s security.
  15. 1956 — States Reorganization Act : Major changes to the state borders and re-organizing of states was done based on language, many states in today’s India are a result of this re-organization.
  16. 1956 — IIT’s/AIIM’s/IIM’s : Through 1956 to 1961, Nehru established and built premium higher educational institutes which have yielded great results till today but at the same time his lack of focus on Primary education has proved to be a great missed opportunity.
  17. 1957 — India’s first Stock Exchange : The Bombay Stock Exchange was the first stock exchange to be recognized by the GOI in August 1957.
  18. 1959 — Kerala crisis : Indian democracy had a litmus test after a decade of its independence, the one it surely did not pass. When political clashes and violence emerged in the state of Kerala, Nehru imposed Presidents rule using Article 356 and dismissed the first time elected communist government. This set a bad precedent and Article 356 was then misused to dismiss state governments 115 times till today.
  19. 1961 — Liberation of Goa: While all of the princely states were integrated to India by 1950, Goa remained under the Portuguese rule till 1961 and armed action was carried out by Indian Armed forces including air, sea and land strikes to defeat the Portuguese and make Goa part of India.
  20. 1962 — ISRO : The Indian National Committee for Space Research(INCOSPAR) was set up in 1962 by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai to formulate the Indian space research program which later became ISRO. The foundations for the great successes in space program of India we see today was laid in 1962.
  21. 1962 — India-China War : In what can be considered as the gravest mishandling of Nehru was the India-China War, in which India lost more than 1000 soldiers and also lost the Aksai Chin region to China.
  22. 1964 — White Revolution : Inspired by the success of Kaira Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union (Amul), Lal Bahadur Shastri requested Verghese Kurien to replicate this across India and set up the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) under Kurien’s leadership. Operation Flood was launched in 1970 with the objective of making milk deficient India to be self sufficient. By 1998, India became the largest milk producing nation surpassing united states.
  23. 1960’s — Green Revolution : During the 1960’s Agriculture in India was modernized, with the objective of increasing the food production in India and this was undertaken under the stewardship of M.S. Swaminathan, who ushered in the Green revolution making India self sufficient in food grains. While this brought great prosperity to India in the initial years and helped eliminate food shortages, it is having a negative impact in the long term both for ecology and economy.
  24. 1960’s — Midday Meal Scheme : In the early 1960’s Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu K.Kamraj launched this scheme for first time in Tamil Nadu. The outcomes of this scheme have proven to be successful in increasing enrollment and improved nutrition for children and eventually this was implemented all over India.
  25. 1965 — India Pakistan War of 1965 : Pakistan launched Operation Gibraltar with objective of securing J&K from India, sensing that India was recovering from the 1962 defeat and underestimating the resolve of Lal Bahadur Shastri, Pakistan under took this misadventure. The 1965 war ended as a strategic and political defeat for Pakistan.
  26. 1966 — L.B. Shastri dies and Indira Gandhi becomes PM : On 11th January 1966, Lal Bahadur Shastri dies in Soviet Union. Indira Gandhi was elected as the Prime Minister by Congress Parliamentary party setting in stone dynastic rule in India and also a major milestone which has shaped the future of India.
  27. 1967 — Naxalbari movement : The word naxal or naxalite comes from the village Naxalbari where there was an uprising, an armed peasant revolt led by communists and tribals. This movement spread across eastern India causing violence for decades and blood shed in at-least 4 to 5 eastern states and causing deaths of civilians and police in the order of thousand’s. India is still reeling with this insurgency albeit its size and magnitude is mainly limited to the state of Chhattisgarh.
  28. 1969 — India takes hard left towards socialism: Indira Gandhi decides to Nationalize 14 private banks, coal, steel, copper, refining, cotton textiles and oil companies in what was seen as a populist moves. This marked the full hard left towards socialism in Indian economy which has proven to be a great loss of growth and prosperity for decades to come.
  29. 1969 — Indira Gandhi becomes undisputed leader of Congress : In a power struggle within the congress leadership, Indira Gandhi was expelled from congress causing her to split the congress party into two: Congress (Organization) and Congress(I)(Indira) — eventually the Congress(I) prevailed making Indira Gandhi one of the most powerful leaders of Independent India.
  30. 1971 — Bangladesh Liberation War : In the 3rd war between India and Pakistan, India decisively defeated Pakistan with as many as 90,000 Pakistan servicemen surrendered to India in a humiliating defeat which would shape both the countries in decades to come.
  31. 1972 — Shimla Agreement, A lost opportunity : After winning a decisive war and having all the aces with her, it’s perplexing as to why Indira Gandhi settled for a disadvantageous deal. Pakistan was given everything they asked for including the territory it lost and also safe return of all the soldiers without one of them persecuted for the atrocities they committed in Bangladesh. This was akin to snatching defeat after a victory, This was a lost opportunity which could have been used to settle the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan in India’s favor once for ever.
  32. 1975 — India Under Emergency : The black mark on Indian democracy was the declaration of state of Emergency in 1975 by Indira Gandhi. Today’s non congress leaders have all been the children of emergency and emergency changed the Indian polity for ever.
  33. 1975 — “Secular” word : The much maligned and over used word in the history of Independent India has been “Secular”. This was not part of the original constitution and was inserted into the constitution when India was under emergency.
  34. 1976 — Abolition of Bonded labor :Bonded labor was a system under which lenders forced borrowers for debt repayment through labor. This was legaly abolisded in 1976. This was a form of slavery which cannot be accepted in a modern democracy.
  35. 1977 — Janata Alliance comes to power : The 1977 elections resulted in a huge defeat of the Congress party, the voters punished Indira Gandhi for the emergency and she even lost her own seat of Rai Bareli. Morarji Desai was sworn in as the 4th Prime Minister of India.
  36. 1980 — Collapse of Janata Govt and return of Indira Gandhi : While the country was jubilant and had high hopes at the victory of Janata Alliance, it was soon understood that a coalition of parties with opposite ideologies i.e socialists and Bharatiya Jana Sangh was too much of a contradiction to run a government. It collapsed and Indira Gandhi stormed back to power.
  37. 1983 — India wins Cricket World cup : India’s win in the 1983 WC started the euphoria for cricket and the game spread to all corners of the country.
  38. 1984 — Operation Bluestar : Indira Gandhi ordered Operation Bluestar, a military action to take out Khalistani terrorists and their leader Bhindranwale, who were hiding in the Golden temple of Amritsar. The intention was to eliminate the Khalistan insurgency but it had an opposite effect, violence and insurgency peaked in the coming years. It also lead to the assassination of Indira Gandhi herself in 1984 triggering the anti Sikh riots.
  39. 1984 — Bhopal Gas tragedy : Bhopal gas tragedy is a chemical accident at UCIL pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The official death toll due this accident is 2259. It is one of the biggest disasters India has witnessed.
  40. 1984 — First Indian to travel in space: Rakesh Sharma becomes the first Indian to travel in space.
  41. 1984 — Rajiv Gandhi wins a landslide : Riding on the sympathy wave of his mothers assassination, Rajiv Gandhi who was a complete novice in politics won the largest majority in the history of Independent India.
  42. 1985 — The Shahbano case : It would not be exaggeration if it said that the BJP’s rise today can be traced back to this Shahbano case. In a bid to not upset the fringe elements of the muslim population, Rajiv Gandhi’s government overturned a supreme court judgement granting shahbano alimony. This cemented the growing grievance among many Hindu’s of the Muslim appeasement and provided BJP and L.K .Advani a whip to propagate this sentiment, In a defensive move to counter this, Rajiv Gandhi opened the locks of Babri Masjid and allowed to place the Shilanyas, triggering the Ayodhya movement and catapulting the BJP into a national party. Such was the impact of this incident that shaped Indian politics for decades to come.
  43. 1987 — Bofors Scandal : Bofors scandal was a major political corruption scandal involving weapons contract with allegations directly implicating Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Bofors not only derailed the Rajiv Gandhi govt. It also derailed the arms procurement for Indian Armed forces.
  44. 1987 — Rigging of J&K state elections : The 1987 state elections of Jammu and Kashmir were widely believed to be rigged by the Rajiv Gandhi government and lost legitimacy in public view further fueling insurgency in the valley.
  45. 1989 — Rajiv Gandhi defeated : Owing to the Bofors corruption scandal, Congress was defeated and a coalition government under V.P.Singh was formed which involved the BJP and the communist party coming together to support V.P.Singh.
  46. 1990 — Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits: A black mark for Indian democracy as Kashmir under went ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus in January 1990.
  47. 1990 — Mandal Commission : V.P. Singh decided to implement the mandal commission report which recommended reservations for Other Backward Classes, causing massive protests from upper caste youth, especially in north India. Politically this further consolidated the strength of many caste based regional parties and entrenched caste based electoral politics.
  48. 1991 — Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi : On 21st May 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a LTTE terrorist by a suicide bomb during an election campaign. As a result, P.V. Narasimha Rao who was about to retire from the politics, became the 9th Prime minister of India.
  49. 1991 — Economic Reforms : While Indians tasted political freedom’s after Independence, the economy was largely controlled by the state and entry of private sector or foreign investment was mostly strangled by the oversight and regulations of the Indian state, infamously known as license-permit-qouta raj. Thanks to P.V.Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh, Indian economy was liberalized ushering in growth and prosperity to crores of Indian’s in the following decades. These reforms were truly a turning point in India’s Independent history and the journey of India can be divided pre 1991 and post 1991.
  50. 1992 — Demolition of the Babri Masjid : The Ayodhya Ram mandir movement had reached a crescendo in 1992 when lakhs of kar sevaks assembled in-front of Babri Masjid and it was taken down illegally, which had cascading effect of communal riots, and later a big political issue which dominated Indian polity for the next decade.
  51. 1994 — S.R.Bommai vs Union of India : S.R.Bommai vs Union of India case in 1994 is one of the most referred cases in the Indian Judiciary and has had a huge implications on the Center-state relations and also stopped the center from misusing the Article 356 which gives the center the power to impose president’s rule in a state.
  52. 1997 — Y2K boost to Indian IT sector : There was huge demand for engineers and IT services to fix the bug during Y2k across the world, and India had the human resources needed and this gave a huge boost to the Indian IT sector and after this the software services took off in a big way providing employment to lakhs of people and it now contributes 7 % of India’s GDP.
  53. 1998 — Nuclear tests : India performed 5 nuclear tests in Pokhran. Later development’s across the world clearly proved that India becoming nuclear capable was crucial for its security doctrine.
  54. 1999 — Kargil War :Kargil War between India and Pakistan started when Pakistan military crossed over to the Indian side of LOC to occupy strategic locations. India again emerged victorious and secured all its territory and Pakistan had to go to America to help broker a cease fire.
  55. 1999–2004 NDA Government — The BJP lead NDA government was the first non congress government to last its full term. Indian democracy has two major national parties for the first time.
  56. 1999 — Highjacking of IC814 : A national crisis erupted when the flight IC814 was highjacked by 5 terrorists and flown to Taliban ruled Afghanistan.The highjacks demanded the release of terrorists in Indian jails which included Masood Azhar . Under pressure, the GOI caved in and Minister of External Affairs Jaswanth Singh flew in with the terrorists in exchange for Passengers. This same Masood Azhar later masterminded the Parliament attack in 2001.
  57. 2001 — Indian Parliament Attack : Terrorists attacked the Indian Parliament on 13th December 2001. They belonged to two Pakistan backed terrorist organizations.
  58. 2004 — Congress returns to power under Sonia Gandhi : In a surprise move, Sonia Gandhi asked former finance minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to become the Prime Minister. This experiment of power sharing between a party president and Prime Minister proved to be a disaster for the country and party in later years.
  59. 2005 — Indo-US nuclear deal : This deal was a major break through for strategic partnership between India and US de-hyphenating Pakistan.
  60. 2008 — IPL begins : Indian Premier League established by BCCI in 2007, starts its inaugural season in 2008 and becomes a run away success. The IPL is now amongst the worlds most valuable leagues.
  61. 2009 — Aadhaar : Aadhaar is a 12 digit identification card given to all citizens of India with biometric data, it is the world’s largest biometric ID system. With the advent of Aadhaar, Indians have seen transformation in delivery of welfare benefits.
  62. 2011 — India Anti Corruption movement : The UPA government was marred with series of scandals in its second term and Anna Hazare a social activist started an anti corruption movement which caught the imagination of Indian public. Demonstrations, protests were held across the country. This movement made the Manmohan Singh government a lame duck, as the government lost nerve to bring in any policy changes resulting the phrase “Policy Paralysis”. The Aam Aadmi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal was also born out of this movement.
  63. 2013 — Mission Mangalyan : Mangalyan is a Mars orbiter Mission. It was launched in September 2013 by ISRO making it only the 4th agency to achieve this. It is also the only agency to achieve this in its maiden attempt. ISRO has symbolized what India can achieve when it supports meritocracy without politics.
  64. 2014 — Modi Rises, Gandhi Dynasty Fades : First time in Indian democracy a non congress party i.e. BJP wins a full majority in the 2014 general election, under the leadership of Narendra Modi. This marked a tectonic shift in Indian polity.
  65. 2016  Demonetization : On 8th November 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupee notes. This shock announcement caused panic and heavy shortages of cash across the nation. It also caused a huge shock to the economy and slowed down India’s economic growth. Although it helped accelerate the use of digital payments, its main objective of eliminating black money failed miserably.
  66. 2017 — India implements GST : GST was a long pending indirect tax overhaul simplifying the indirect tax regime by replacing a myriad of indirect taxes such as centrally levied taxes, custom taxes, additional customs duty, surcharges, state level VAT and octroi. It was finally implemented on July1st 2017.
  67. 2019 — Abrogation of Article 370 : By abrogating Article 370, Indian government basically declared that there is no more dispute on the Indian side of Kashmir and all that needs to resolved is only the Pakistan occupied Kashmir. This is a major strategic victory for India and also a closure to a long pending issue.

As listed above, there are many things to feel proud as Indians, there are also many missed opportunities to learn from. Happy 75th Independence day to all Indians !


Nothing Wrong with Nepotism in Indian Film Industry – It is not a Public Office

Nepotism is only wrong when it involves public office or publicly listed companies -this too with some caveats.



With the sudden and shocking death of Sushanth Rajput Singh, the debate on nepotism has caught fire and the consensus seems to be that the Indian film industry big wigs are sinners for promoting and providing opportunities to their kin. 

As the title suggests, I completely  disagree with the assessment that nepotism is wrong and I have concluded this based on the following arguments:

Public vs Private:

There needs to be a discretion between what is a private business and what is a public office or publicly owned company.  Most of the film business is run by individuals who use their hard-earned or inherited wealth to produce films – in effect, they are using their own money and have every right to spend it on whatever or whoever they want to. If you say this should not be the case and a more deserving actor should be promoted instead of their kin, then one can also argue a Kirana Store owner should not give away the store in inheritance but should give to the best employee who works in his store, why doesn’t  Nepotism argument apply here? but this sounds weird right – that’s only because we think of nepotism only when it involves public personalities. 

“one can also argue a Kirana Store owner should not give away the store in inheritance but should give to the best employee who works in his store”

The same applies to all private businesses-wether it is a construction company, a local bar, or a restaurant run by individuals, no one should give them away, and doing so should be considered immoral as many seem to consider for the film industry.  However, nepotism is wrong when it involves public office, As the public office is not private business. However here too, some differentiation is needed. For example, making Rajiv Gandhi the Prime Minister after the demise of Indira Gandhi is the worst kind of nepotism. Rajiv Gandhi was not even in politics, had no skin in the game, but was given the highest office in the country just based on the last name. On the other hand, an individual should not be barred from holding a public office just because he or she is a son or daughter of a MLA/CM/PM. They need to earn their way up, consider the example of  Telangana Finance minister -Harish Rao, he is the nephew of Telangana CM KCR but no one can accuse him that he is in this position of power, only because he is KCR’s nephew – he toiled hard during the Telangana agitation and has become a leader by his right. Nepotism is when an individual is destined to be the Prime minister of a country or a president of a party right at their birth as is the case with the Gandhi Family. 

Talent is Perception & Contextual

During this debate on Nepotism, there was a lot of commentary on how talented people were overlooked for industry insiders in the context of films. but who is talented and who is not varies from one individual’s perception to another, this is especially true when it comes to films because unlike an engineering or medicine admission, there can’t be set examination to filter out who is more talented or less talented when it comes to creative arts like films. 

“Nawazuddin Siddique is considered the most talented actor, but can you imagine him playing Bahubali ?”

Let’s take the craft of Acting, Acting is a visual art, so a choice of an actor depends on a lot of things like a person’s face & physicality, his background, Language, etc. Particular actors face and physicality is crucial for any director as he needs to look believable in the world the director is imagining. Even a world’s most talented actor can’t be cast in every role, for example, Nawazuddin Siddique is considered the most talented actor but can you imagine him playing Mahendra Bahubali ? for this particular role Prabhas will fit the bill most appropriately even though he may be considered less talented than Nawazuddin.

Insiders were once Outsiders

In this debate of Insiders vs Outsiders, many forget the so-called insiders like Amitabh Bachan, Dharmendra, etc were also outsiders once. Take a recent example of Anushka Sharma, she is an outsider who has made it big in the Industry, she has recently started a production company called “Clean Slate”.

The co-founder of this production company is her brother Karnesh Sharma. Now, will you consider Anushka Sharma an insider or outsider ? as she has made her brother a producer instead of giving a chance to any other talented outsider. Will you also accuse Anushka Sharma of Nepotism?

Nepotism is in Human DNA 

If we examine carefully, nepotism is in every field and every family as it is in human DNA to help create opportunities for the near and dear ones and also take their cooperation and help in managing the business you help build. The only exceptions need to be for Public Office and Public stakeholding companies.

Sarileru Neekevvaru – A low denominator entertainer

The Opening shot of Mahesh babu who plays Army Major Ajay Krishna in Sarileru Neekevvaru is that of him admiringly staring at the National Flag.This is symbolic of the superficiality and banality of this film. Of course the trailer and promotions promise exactly this, a Sankranthi commercial masala film. I don’t mind a formula film tailored to excite mahesh babu’s fans, I just wish there was more thought and bit more imagination while being fully commercial. 

The screenplay chugs along swiftly ticking off all expected tropes starting with a Action episode, comedy sequence an Interval bang etc. Major Ajay stationed in Kashmir is assigned with a mission to rescue children from terrorists. During this operation, his name sake and colleague (Satyadev)  is severely injured. Ajay (Mahesh Babu) is sent to help out the family of his injured colleague (Satyadev). Satyadev’s mother Professor Bharthi played by Vijayshanthi is an honest and upright professor who is awaiting her son’s arrival for the marriage of his sister. 

Ajay embarks on a train journey and this is an extended comedy episode involving the lead actress Rashmika Mandana, Sangeetha and other ensemble cast. The scenes here resemble the staple material in all Anil Ravipudi films, characters with a defined mannerism repeating dialogues like “Never before Ever After”. Whats disappointing here is, not only are scenes slapstick but the fact the jokes are centered around rape. In a scene during this episode, the heroine accuses the hero of raping her, so that she could force him to marry her. of course  this is all done in a light and comedic vein but in these times of Me Too, better judgement should have prevailed and such jokes about rape should have been avoided. This lack of judgement is a fall from grace for the actress Rashmika whose previous film Dear Comrade was exactly about the issue of sexual harassment. Mahesh babu who is a brand ambassador for MARD should have been much more vigilant.  The story now shifts to kurnool where professor Bharathi and her family is in deep trouble due to a dangerous and evil local politician played in his typical style by Prakash Raj. You pretty much know what follows next.

what works for the film is, the pacing. Director Anil ravipudi manages to keep it pacy and never bore the audience. How much you would like the film really depends on what your seeking for, if you enjoy familiarity and looking for Mahesh babu to show unbridled energy with full conviction, then you have this in abundance. In the rest of the cast, Vijayshanthi makes a terrific comeback. She is dignified yet compelling in her performance. Overall Sarileru Neekevvaru is a low denominator entertainer, I did not regretting seeing it nor would i regret missing it. 

33 years old – Yet to be born 

   Life so far has been good due to“Luck By Chance”.IMG_0718

I realized in my childhood it self, that being born is purely an accident and nothing that i have achieved or something to be celebrated. It is just my dumb luck, that i was born healthy, born into a financially comfortable family and more importantly born to a loving and friendly parents who provided me everything on a platter without ever asking anything. Even my marriage is another lucky accident as i mentioned to my wife Ankitha during our first meeting, these arranged marriages are like a flip of coin, it can be great or it can be disastrous. So if I look back these 33 years have been pretty easy and comfortable because of  “Luck By Chance”. There are millions of people more deserving than me who are much more talented and hardworking than me, but probably are suffering much more to get through life. I humbly recognize this fact on this day. 

“I don’t believe in Luck but I acknowledge it” – unknown. 

Hence i was always uncomfortable about all the fuss about “Happy Birthdays”. I used to show small acts of resistance by requesting my mother to not get me any gifts or buying new clothes or by wearing my school uniform to the school instead of the civil dress which used to be the norm for students celebrating their birthdays. Having said that, i used to distribute chocolates as i love eating and distributing food. 

However, i have grown to realize that i should not throw my energy into stopping my mother or family members to stop celebrating my birthdays but instead focus on creating or doing something which is worth celebrating and being proud of. The day i do something passionate with full of conviction and the day i feel inspired and a throbbing heart while doing something is when i am truly born and is my real “Happy Birthday”. As i strongly believe a man is born to find his calling and to seek his/her full potential. When one is on this path is when one feels fully alive and kicking. I have yet to find that path, until then I am yet to be BORN. 

Ram Gopal Varma was born when he started making Shiva.                                                             Jay Prakash Narayan was born when he started Lok Satta for Political Reforms.



Mathu Vadalara is a trippy cocktail of Fun and Thrill

Mathu vadalara (MV) is one more surf board coming out from the wave of new age telugu cinema.Director Ritesh Rana leading a team of debutants manages to convert an implausible idea on paper to an exciting, funny and gripping screenplay and employees all tools – cinematography, editing and background score at his command to produce a trippy cocktail of fun and thrill. 

MV belongs to the who done it genre of films, the plot of the film revolves around the cascading events that get triggered when protagonist Sri Simha who is frustrated with his job and is under financial pressure attempts a short cut to earn a quick buck but gets caught up in a Crime. 

The film dives right into the proceedings moving at a brisk pace from the word go till the end. What works is the sense of nervousness mixed with laughter the audience feel thanks to actor Satya who is the show stealer in this film. Essentialy this film is about 3 protagonists, Sri Simha, Satya and Naresh Agastya. While Satya is the Lifeline of the film, Sri Simha’s and Naresh Agasthya are decent. 

The camerawork in combination of the editing and background music create a sense of urgency and lift the film to be a pacy thriller. Although the suspense is held till the climax, once the culprit is revealed it feels a bit underwhelming, but overall the film manages to entertain you thoroughly. 

Once upon a time there was …… Bahubali – No spoilers 


*note : This is not a review but an expression of joy felt by a movie buff.

Words will fail to describe the overwhelming feeling of joy, pride and goosebumps I am experiencing after watching this epic called Bahubali. Spectacular, magnanimous, mind blowing …….. add as many adjectives as you want, nothing will encapsulate the experience I have under gone watching this magnum opus. As an ardent movie buff, especially one who has grown up feeding on Indian cinema, I just want shout thank you SS Rajamouli.

Bahubali 1 was a mere introduction to the characters and a pre-cursor to the second installment, Bahubali 2 is where the crux of the story unfolds and grips you with a drama of epic scale. It’s in this film, that the characters of Amarendra Bahubali, Bhallaladeva, Devasena, Bhijaladeva, Kattapa actually grow on us. Continuing from where it left us in BB1, BB2 introduces us to the kingdom of Devasena (Kunthala Rajyam). It’s here where the love story of Devasena and Bahubali is depicted and thsese portions of the film are nothing short of a Visual poetry. If you were awed by the stunning visuals of BB1 then hold your breath for the song Hamsa nava, it’s just out of this world. The story marches forward swiftly involving the conflicts that come to fore between all these characters.

What makes this story epic is the Blockbuster scenes that are throughout the film which gives the viewer goosebumps, thanks to the masterful music composition of MM Keeravani which enhanced these scenes. Be it the introduction scene of Bahubali or the action sequences with Devasena or the interval block, many more scenes will be etched in the movie goer’s memory for a long time.

BB2 is a rare film where the Visual spectacle, the larger than life set pieces never take away the attention from the intriguing drama and emotions of the characters. They only add to the experience. It requires first rate performances to make these characters believable and all the actors involved bring their A game into this film. The VFX shots are of a superior quality than BB1 and needless to say all the technical aspects involved are truly word class.

As I walked out of the theater BB2 filled me with a sense of pride, a feeling of high that a telugu film, an Indian film has been made which can be proudly presented at an international stage. Hats off to SS Rajamouli for his courage to dream and perseverance to make it come alive. Generations to come will discuss the legend of Bahubali. Indian Cinema will be Before Bahubali and After Bahubali. Once upon a time ……..there was Bahubali.

Modi’s Biggest Blunder?


Modi’s Biggest Blunder? – Is appointment of Yogi Adityanath betrayal of Modi’s mandate?

The keenly awaited news of who will be the next CM of UP is finally out. As usual most of the news channels with their highly placed sources got this prediction wrong too. No one really expected BJP will declare Yogi Adityanath as the CM of UP. While this may be good news for the core supporters of BJP (Read VHP and RSS members), this is a disappointment for lakhs of youngsters like me who supported Modi purely for the promise of development.

Although we should not prejudge a candidate before he even has taken oath, we can always raise doubts about his or her qualification to be a CM of the largest state of India. Yogi Adityanath may have won as member of Parliament 5 times in a row but his rhetoric against Muslims is highly objectionable. The significant rise of BJP/Modi pan India is because he was able to garner votes from people beyond BJP’s core base. For these people, Ram Mandir and Hindutva is not an issue, their expectation from Modi was he would deliver on economy, infrastructure, good governance and curbing corruption. Appointment of Yogi Adityanath signals a betrayal of this expectation.

One may argue that may be Yogi Adityanath will tone down his rhetoric and completely focus on governance issues. But for a leader who has cultivated his support base around communal rants against Muslims it will be difficult to suddenly abandon it. He is after all answerable to this very support base.

He may personally want to tone it down as he has won the biggest prize of the CM’s post but his supporters will not remain silent and he will not be able to reign them in.

I hope all my doubts and suspicions will turn out false. I will be happy if he proves all skeptics wrong. However, if he continues with the communal agenda then the blame must squarely be placed on Narendra Modi. It may turn out to be the biggest blunder by Modi, as he will risk losing lakhs of supporters including myself who have supported him strictly for development and development only.

Formula is no Formula

Formula is no Formula  – Changing phase of Telugu cinema

With the success of Ghazi, the first submarine war film to be made in India, it is clear that Telugu cinema is reinventing itself, exploring new genre’s and story lines that have been shunned so far as they were thought to be not commercially viable. Some may think that the daring attempt of Ghazi may be a one off but if you look at the kind of films that have been extremely successful in the last 2 years or so, one would realize this is truly the beginning of Telugu cinema’s golden age in terms of path breaking content, audience who are willing to see different stories helmed by non-stars and new filmmakers with fresh ideas.

To understand as to how I reached to the conclusion I have described above let’s take a look at the kind of films that were successful in the last 2 years. Let’s look at the films released in 2016 first. In 2016 the number straight Telugu films that were released were approximately 108.

Out of these the total numbers films which were commercial hits were approximately 17.

So, the success ratio of Telugu films in 2016 is ~ 15 %. Out of these 17 hits, at least more than half of them are not regular formula films. A formula film is one which tries to stitch a story with all types of so called commercial elements such as comedy, action, hero entry, interval bang and 6 songs etc. So, for example film like Kshanam is not a formula film as it only sticks to its genre of suspense. This is a genre film. Whereas a film like Sarainodu is a formula film. In 2016 the films like Kshanam, Oopiri, Pelli chupulu etc have all been path breaking in terms of stories or storytelling and managed great box office collections.

In order to understand this further in terms of hard data, I have divided all the  hit films of 2016  and 2015 into 3 categories: Path breaking films (very different films), Slightly different (subject matters were different but did not go all the way) and Routine commercial films.

Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 8.17.21 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 8.17.59 PM.pngIf you look at the tables above, you can see that 7 out of the 17 hit films in 2016 and 9 out of the 15 hit films in 2015 have been path breaking and new style cinema. This success rate of different cinema is even higher in 2015, please look at the 2015 table.

This trend has strongly continued in 2017 with films like Ghazi, GPS and Shatamanam Bhavati declared huge success, it is clear that Telugu cinema has entered a new phase where it is dealing with films of diverse subject matters be it a Folklore Fantasy drama like Bahubali, historical period movie like Kanche or a philosophical Yevade Subramanyam. The writing on the wall for Telugu filmmakers is formula is no formula.


Ghazi – This film will fill you with pride


Ghazi – This movie will fill you with pride about Indian Navy and Telugu Film Industry, hats off to the makers, especially director Sankalp who manages to put out a world class film, the detailing, Jargon and CG of the submarine are very believable and convincing. The film keeps you completely engaged with the two sides Indian Navy and Pakistan Navy trying to check mate each other and never deviates from the plot trying to include some so called commercial elements. The best part of the film is that even the Characters of Pakistan Navy are portrayed as thinking and capable men, not caricatures. The drama is built into the plot through the inherent conflicting characters of Rana and Kay Kay Menon. Rana is a stickler of the rules whereas Kay Kay Menon is a rebel who is determined to eliminate the enemy even without the orders from the political bosses. Atul Kulkarni does the balancing act between the two men. Kudos to Rana for not only accepting this film but also for sportingly playing the second fiddle in some of his scenes with Kay Kay Menon. Although all actors did a great job, the stand out performance has to be of Kay Kay Menon whose sharp eyes and stern looks convey more than any punch dialogues can ever. There are many moments in this film where you will be on the edge of the seat and the climax will give you goosebumps and fill you with Pride of watching Telugu/ Indian cinema reinventing itself. It will also remind you of the unsung heroes of Indian Navy. This weekend do yourself a favor and go watch Indian Cinema’s first ever under water submarine war film.