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.

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.



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.

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.


H1B Visa Rules- Truth vs Hype

In the last week or so, there has been immense speculation and uninformed discussion on the changes supposedly being made to H1B visa rules. Most of the news which is circulating in News channels and buzzing on WhatsApp groups are all blown out of proportion.

There are mainly 3 news headlines, one is with regards to the 130K pay hike, an Executive order by trump clamping down on H1 visas, and about H4 EAD being cancelled, All these 3 have been mixed up, where as all of them are separate unrelated news to each other. Let’s first Segregate these things.

1)130K pay Hike: There is a lot of talk about how the minimum pay will be hiked to 130K for all H1b visa holders there by making it very difficult for a company to sponsor H1b visa to a new graduate or how existing H1b visa holders who have lesser pay may also be in trouble.

Truth About 130K pay hike: First things first, this 130K pay hike, is not a Executive order from President Trump but is just a bill proposed by a Democratic Congress woman Lofgren Zoe who represents 19th district of California. The main highlight of this bill is that it proposes a minimum pay of 130K for H1B dependent employers. Please read it again, the Pay hike is for employees of H1B dependent employers only, it does not apply to all H1B visa holders.

Who are H1 Dependent Employers ?:  A H1B dependent employer is one who has more than 15 % of the workforce on H1b visas. So, most of the American companies will not come under this category, The only ones who might come under this category will be Indian MNC’s who are outsourcing H1b employees from India.

Here is a snapshot from the summary of the bill which mentions this clause:

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 6.29.20 AM.png

Status of the Bill: Currently this bill is proposed by a democratic congresswoman and as democratic party is in opposition and in minority in congress the likelihood  of this bill being passed is highly unlikely.

here is the link to the bill :

and here is the summary of the bill :

2) Trump’s Executive order (Leaked):  There is also this news making rounds on trump clamping down on H1B visas, this probably is coming from the leaked Executive order (EO) obtained by Vox, Again this is executive order document is leaked and not yet officially  announced and no one knows if at all this will see the day of light ever. Please note that the the above Pay hike to 130K is unrelated to this leaked document and there is no such mention of pay hike in this.

What does this leaked EO say ? This leaked EO is very general in nature and does not mention any specifics, it talks about how to improve the Immigration visa process to suit the national interest of the US and does not mention of reducing any H1b visa numbers, nor any changes to Lottery system. All it says about H1 visa is to identify a system to improve the allocation without any specifics. There is no talk of H4 EAD at all.

It orders a special investigation by Secretary of Labor to understand the extent of injury to US workers due to employment of nonimmigrant visa holders such as H-1, L-1 and B-1.


Here is the link to the news published by Vox about this leaked EO:

Status of the EO: No one actually know’s if this EO will ever come out, and how authentic this leak actually is.

3) H-4 EAD removal: 

There has been news also about the H4 EAD being revoked, this probably is stemming from the following news story: A group named “Save jobs USA” has filed a case in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on January 11 2017 to revoke the H4 EAD.

They claim that the H4 EAD is creating job losses to the members of Save jobs USA and there is no protection for them. This is the second time this group is filing this case, the first time it filed was in 2015 and the court struck down their appeal in that case.

Now in response to the new case filed, the trump administration has requested the courts a time of 60 days in order to submit their brief in response the petition filed by “Save jobs USA”. Some news that the Trump administration has passed a motion to revoke H4 EAD is completely untrue.

Here is the link which gives more details on this:

No need to panic:

As of now, none of these have been passed nor anything ordered, So no one needs to worry or panic.

21st Century Laborers

If one talks to our generation including me, who are born in the late eighties in fairly educated middle class families, you would observe that most of them have pretty comfortable Lifestyles, high income jobs,  yet most would agree, there is something missing in our life, we can’t complain, it’s not that we are sad, it’s just that indescribable feeling of emptiness, it’s a state where we are having a lot of fun but don’t experience happiness.

When we wake up in the morning, there is nothing much we look forward to, (of course except for the morning Chai) we get through the week waiting for Friday to arrive and when it actually arrives, apart from relishing a Biryani or hanging out with friends we actually postpone our plans of doing something different, something productive to the next weekend and this vicious cycle of growing todo list, weekdays, making plans and splashing away time.

By the time, we come to know of our frustrations we realize we have already glossed through many years of life, never paused to think as to what is the Vision we have for ourselves, what’s the goal of our life, what’s the Passion that drives us to a feverish pitch. We never asked these questions to ourselves as we were busy trying to “Settle” in life. Yes, the single biggest mistake of our life has been this attempt at trying to settle, where as most successful people on this planet have never settled, in this strive to settle we rammed through our studies, gulped life, it’s like swallowing the tablet doctor gave you, although we all may have “settled” in life if you look back, we don’t have any real achievements. The 10th class mark sheet and the EAMCET rank which was supposed to change your life has no meaning.

In order to know what’s our passion, we need to spend time with ourselves in solitude, we need to brew ideas in our mind, we need to work at it, by trying different things. So, it’s never too late, I for myself have decided to work on it slowly, as I do not have the guts to dump my job and jump into the unknown future but rather do it step by step, post by post. Taking inspiration from the speech given by Meryl Streep, where she said to convert “Pain into art”, I have converted my frustration into this expression.

I don’t mean to generalize when I attributed this state of mind to many of them from my generation, but I strongly believe there are quite a few who would connect with me. All of us who are going through this struggle, I call them “21st century laborers” as usually labor is associated with struggle. No wonder USA gives us “Labor Visa”.


A rare film which showcases human deficiencies  in a thriller formant.

If you look a Chandrashekar Yeleti’s Filmography Aithe, Anukokunda oka roju, Prayanam, Sahasam, it’s no surprise he has always made path breaking films which have original ideas and  fresh treatment, hence when i heard his next outing Manamantha was with the great Mohanlal, the bar was set high for this film. Despite this high bar, yeleti manages to beat expectations.

Manamantha is a story about 4 characters, all of them regular middle class folks, there are no heroes or villains here, just regular people with simpleday-to-day problems whose life takes an unexpected turn. Thanks to some natural performances from Mohanlal, Gautama and the girl who plays Mahathi, we become invested in their world. The scenes between Gautami and Urvashi where they end up spending more while trying to get groceries at discount prices is especially funny and endearing, some of these scenes showcase the sharp observation prowess of  Chandrashekar Yeleti of the society around him. Although the film has a thin plot point it’s engaging through out and culminates in a thrilling finale where all these 4 stories converge thanks to a masterful screenplay. The only weak link in the film is the 4th story involving computer science student.

Manamantha is yet another ground breaking film from chandrashekar yeleti and his best after Aithe. As a telugu film buff i am proud we have a director like Chandrashekar Yeleti and hope this film becomes a hit.

Secular Intolerance ?

If there were any doubts whether the Mainstream media, so called “liberals” etc were loosing their objectivity and is heavily biased against the Modi regime and sensationalize any sporadic incidents of violence committed by few hindu fanatics then describe it as a consequence of the BJP rule but fail to show even half the vigor and intensity in reporting incidents of violence committed by fanatics of minority religion then my doubts have been laid to rest by the developments of last week.

From the last week or so, there have been 3 incidents of communalism involving fanatics of minority religion:

  1. The incident in Malda where there has been violent protests by muslims  in which 2 people survived bullet injuries and a police station was ransacked  against a local leader kamlesh tiwary alleged to make defamatory comments against Prophet.

2.  Kazi Masum Akthar a headmaster in a Madrassa in Agra has been assaulted by few Maulanas. Whats his offense? he taught national anthem to few kids !

3. In Noida authorities uncovered a forcible conversion center where kids were torchered and converted to christianity.

One would expect that MSM to highlight these, express outrage and debate it but surprise surprise, it has been muted on these so far barring few exceptions, and the eminent personalities of the Award returning brigade have disappeared rather i would say they have been exposed, they are not outraging on these issues because it does not fit into their narrative of ‘rising intolerance because of modi’

compare this coverage of MSM to the that of the church attacks in delhi, news channels conducted endless debates on how people under modi felt emboldened and have resorted to communal violence by attacking churches, all these incidents were subsequently proved to be of non communal nature and each incident was un related to other, just to site the nature of these attacks, 2 of them were burglary, 1 was due to few drunken goons, 1 other was due to a group of kids while playing hit the widow pane with a ball.

for these incidents they cried wolf and branded them communal attacks on minority religions, and as a result even Obama bothered to give a small critique on religious freedom in India although without naming modi.

In view of this over zealous coverage of communal incidents i would like to ask the following questions to “seculars “ of our nation :

why no outrage over malda ?

why no awards are being returned for intolerance in West bengal ?

Why no one is calling Mamta  or TMC is being called Communal ?

Why the Top journalists are not asking PM Modi to respond and condemn such incidents ?


Are these incidents of intolerance Secular ?