Rowdy Rathore

Theatrical Release Poster

Genre: Action | Year: 2012 | Duration: 140 mins | Director: Prabhu Deva | Medium: Theater (PVR-EDM) in 2012, repeat on DVD in 2020. | Trailer: HERE | Language: Hindi | My rating: 3/5

Favorite Dialogue: “Rowdy Rathore: Don’t angry me.”

Rowdy Rathore, a remake of the Telugu film Vikramarkudu, was supposed to be a come back film for Akshay Kumar as an action heroEven though there’s several good sequences of action throughout those 140 minutes, it somehow lacked the punch of Khiladi Kumar, especially with no story or plot whatsoever, the characters are easily forgettable. Prabhu Deva has used all the tricks that goes in making a successful Telugu hit in this Hindi remake – song, dance, crass humour, romance, thunderous action and a fearless supercop out to outsmart a bunch of fearsome goons. Comic scenes are not so comic, and what really made me laugh was the dialogues in Bihari Hindi of the villains and the way it was delivered UP-style with southy twang. After a very long time, I got to hear words like, ‘Pagalet’, ‘Baklol’, ‘labarchantis‘, etc. Prabhu Deva made Akshay Kumar wear multi-colored pants forgetting Akshay’s style and using Telugu tricks, reminded me of Raja babu of 90s.

The story is of a small time crook Shiva (Akshay Kumar), who is obliged to get in shoes of his look alike, Vikram Rathore, a fearless cop who dies with severe head injuries during a fight, to rescue a fictitious village Devgarh in Bihar, from its despotic feudal lord.  Shiva falls for a girl from Patna, Priya, played by the buxom Sonakshi Sinha, whom Shiva refers as ‘Mera Maal’ repeatedly, and who could have done better than just showing her midriff!

This low-IQ, deafeningly loud, unapologetically crass, regressive drama full of mindless action is my re-watch Movie of 2020.

Impact Funding in the time of COVID-19

Photo source: The New Humanitarian

The global pandemic COVID-19 has triggered the most severe economic recession in nearly a century and is causing enormous damage to people’s health, jobs, and well-being. It has changed the social sector landscape and will continue to impact the sector for the next few years. In the short term, since March 2020, change in the funding trends is already being witnessed by non-profits, especially of the CSR in India, with majority of them contributing to the PM Cares, CM Relief Funds and contributions towards local relief work like food and PPE distribution. The unexpected crisis created due to migrant labour returning to their home states, we are witnessing some of the bigger CSRs channeling their funds towards ‘Rehabilitation during and post COVID-19’ phase with a focus on re-skilling, sustainable livelihoods and job creation, BCC, and food & nutrition security.

Until the next 12-18 months, there will be opportunities for partnerships under the ‘rehabilitation lens’ across geographies, but more focused on states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Assam, and Jharkhand. Apart from relief & rehabilitation, Health (preventive health, strengthening local health systems at block and village levels, and co-morbidity diseases like TB, HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, etc.) and Education (especially working with a sudden increase in out-of-school-children due to in-migration, and skilling School teachers in rural and sub-urban India in virtual classrooms, course development and delivery, and digital communication) are other areas, where donor funds are potentially going to be invested. In other areas, especially environment and climate change (unless CSRs & foundation’s core focus is environment), it is bound to be severe funding cuts (40%-60% from pre-COVID times) over short to mid-term.

Non-profits need to continue building strong partnership with their existing CSR Partners, to continue getting support to even those projects that are not COVID aligned, and build new partnerships using COVID aligned models. It is expected that Government funding will increase and so will partnership opportunities in most of the areas like livelihoods, education and health using innovative implementation mechanisms and digital communication. The World Bank has announced large assistance programs for India, which will be implemented through state governments and may bring non-profits with the opportunities of large partnerships between now and 2025. The current changed funding trend will more or less continue in 2021. However bigger CSR and foundations will see a potential downside of 30-50% in their funding allocations.

As restrictions are being eased world-wide, the path to global economic recovery remains highly uncertain with 6-7.5% negative growth in 2020, it is expected to climb back to around 2.8-3% in 2021 and move slowly towards recovery. In the long run, 2022-25, when both national and international economies are strongly on the recovery path, it is expected that several international aid agencies, which had stopped direct funding in Indian development sector, once again will open a window for 3-5 years of funding, and number of funding opportunities for India and other developing countries will increase. Historically, post mega disaster comes the golden period of funding for impact sector. It is a phase, and it too shall pass. Together, we will continue to drive change and together we will prevail.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not purport to reflect the views or opinions of any organization, foundation, CSR, non-profit or others.

Gangs of Wasseypur

gangs-of-wasseypurGenre: Action | Year: 2012 | Duration: 150 mins | Director: Anurag Kashyap | Trailer: HERE | Language: Hindi | My rating: 4.5*/5*

Favorite Dialogue: “Sardar Khan [Manoj Bajpai]: Us harami ko hamein mitana hai. Goli nahi marenge saale ko. KEH KE LENGE USKI.”

I have watched this epic several times over last 8 years! Anurag Kashyap’s crime drama Gangs of  Wasseypur starring Manoj Bajpayi (truly outstanding as Sardar Khan), Richa Chadda (as Nagma Khatoon), Reema Sen (as Durga), Piyush Mishra (as Nasir, the narrator of the story) among 370 others, portraying immoral criminals is a story of emergence of coal mafia in Bihar from pre-independence 1941 moving forward through three generations. I quite liked Kashyap’s style of short scenes, several in number and often a series of montages taking the story forward continuously maintaining the intrinsic impact of the story. Kashyap’s use of dark humor to judiciously propagate violence bears an uncanny similarity to Quentin Tarantino’s style of film making, though he never allows his influences override the distinct Indian color and the local Bihari flavor of language, environment, diction and character.

Sardar Khan is an anti-hero protagonist who finds it difficult to go without sexual release, yet he is tender at heart for the people he really cares about. Sardar has four sons from Nagma Khatoon and one from Durga. Each son has a different story apportioned to them. Sardar’s oldest son Danish Khan takes the rein over from his father. Faizal Khan (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), who is a useless drug addict, gets a sudden transformation from a die hard film fan and a pot smoking idler to a responsible family man. Faizal falls for Mohsina (Huma Quraishi), and this romantic track gives the movie a refreshing change. Because of the length of the movie, Gangs Of Wasseypur was released in two parts. While the first  part explored this revenge saga, the second part dealt with the money squandering lobbyists, turning into foolhardy gangs overnight.

This gritty, exciting, violent, must-watch movie with outstanding music and full of dry & dark humor is a must watch more than once.

The First Man

The first manBook: The First Man
Author: Tobias Wade

Publisher: A-Argus Better Book Publishers, Inc.
ISBN: ISBN No: 9780662326237
Pages: 356

Availability: Paperback | Kindle

Farris Mathalion did not believe in the old stories, not until her own brother was kidnapped by monsters to send her on a fantastical journey. She travels both within the mind and without, taking a path of harrowing adventure and personal enlightenment as she strives to rescue him.

 

THE FIRST MAN is the first volume in a two-part young adult/fantasy series that can be read on many different levels; whether the reader appreciates the excitement of the many fast-paced action scenes, the surreal beauty and mystery of new worlds, the philosophical musings of the guides along the way, or the spiritual path of overcoming reality that Farris finds before her. She will travel through the seven kingdoms of the earth, each woven into the deep mythology of the land she passes, and each representative of one aspect of spiritual enlightenment.
In the first volume she passes through the surface world as well as the lands of fear, pleasure and illusion below the earth. She is accompanied in her journeys by a variety of strange creatures, including her faithful pet goat Bumble, Gloria the magical fish, and a romantic interest that makes uncertain love and looming betrayal pervasive themes throughout.

About Author: As a child I constructed a spaceship capable of superluminal speeds powered by a fusion core reactor. The submission was denied by NASA on the grounds that it was made entirely of Legos. In high school I was told that I could do anything I wanted in life, while only being taught everything that I didn’t want to be. I probably deserved the detentions I received. In college I completed two bachelors of science in psychology and physiology, working as a neuroscientist with plans towards medical school. At last I had life figured out! Then a horrible thing happened. I actually achieved my dream. The infinite potential of my future lay down into ordered lines, and I knew that the only logical choice was to give it all up and become a writer.

 

 

 

 

 

My Kind of Street Cafe

photo 4I am a regular to SDA Market (New Delhi) for my coffee fix at Cafe Qahwa and Costa, and recently discovered this small joint by the name of ‘My Kind of Street Cafe’. It has got basic seating in a casual dining setting, with a quirky DIY menu, which is like a mix of ‘Choose your own at Subway’ and Nick’s Kitchen at Mcleodganj. You gotta choose the ingredients of your sandwich from the given list on the menu and mark them with a sketch pen. The idea is novel, however it photo 2could have been better if I didn’t have to repeat what I had chosen to the host. Simpler option could have been had they given me a pen/paper to write what I wanted! Knowing that its a start-up and they have their chinks to fix, kudos to their novelty and food quality. Their Ham-n-Cheese sandwich was utterly delicious. Its good value for money with sumptuous servings and mouth-watering food.

Dinner for Two would cost around Rs 1,000.

My Rating: 4/5 (Taste, Service, Ambience, Value for money, Variety)

Must Try: Ham/Cheese Sandwich, Lemon Grilled Fish, Chicken Pita, any of their cake slices, Stuffed chicken

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