Sarkar Raj is a decent movie – and that’s what I hate about it. (Adapted from a viewer’s review of Madhuri’s recent movie – Aaja Nachle – from one of the film magazines).

Ramu for director, three good actors (love them, hate them – whatever – cant disagree that they are at least good actors) and an already established family brand – I was expecting fireworks so that I would stand up and applaud.

Sadly, the movie builds up a crescendo and then….. just falls flat. And that’s why I say – a decent movie that could have been far far better.

A very interesting theme.. that is left hanging quite badly.
Interesting character developments/initializations..that are not sketched out to their necessary conclusions

Having said that, the main twist is certainly notice-worthy and worthy of credit.

I had to watch it, and I did.. but don’t know if this one will make the cut in the box office or with the critics

Mumbai has it’s own special place in Indian culture. Every Indian city has a culture but Mumbai really is different. And everytime I come here, I am reminded of it:  Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, in a fair and enjoyable way. I wonder what “attribute” would a Marketer want to own in tourists’ mind to attract them : alive, vibrant at all levels, optimism, cosmopolitan are some of the first ones that come to mind. I am sure Mumbai-kars would have tons more, but would love to hear a couple of the ones you feel strongest about.

Also met my kiddo cousin over dinner after work, who is now at SP Jain, one of India’s good B-schools. Kid cousins always grow up faster than you expect, and faster than you want them to :). One day you are guiding them and the next day, they are so smart it makes you proud and surprised at the same time. Time never stops for anyone, eh !

She took me to this great restaurant in Andheri West called Sigara. Some of the best Indian food I have ever had; not kidding. It doubles as a flavored-hookah joint. Their special Seekh Kebabs were finger-licking good. In fact, we had an Ice Tea, Seekh, Biryani, Raita, and Mudcake and it was all yummy. It has to be good to make me want to write on the blog after some 7 months!!!! and more !

From now till the next post, hopefully very soon … auf weidersehn.

I left London last week to come back to India for good. I have been out of India for almost a decade now, so it’s a great and a strange feeling at the same time. But one thing’s for sure, I like the buzz here which can only come in an emerging powerhouse in today’s world.

I start work on August 1st and before that, I am chilling out – movies with friends and family, drives with my fiance, food from mom and mom-in-law, and discussing some of dad’s future business expansion plans.

It’s hot yes, but not as hot as it was before I came and I am not too uncomfortable. Actually, having played cricket in the crazy-hot afternoons as a kid has made me more or less accustomed to this weather; also air-conditioning helps!

Am thinking of starting a new blog on Indian marketing in a while

Had to visit Primark on Oxford Street twice last week for shopping with family !

I had heard this from two other informed sources: that Primark is killing the other retailers on Oxford Street. Of course, it’s not that black and white. But, after having visited the place, I believe it is more on the true side.

At a 70,000 square-foot location, Primark has (1) captured a lot of the competition’s share of wallet and (2) grown the market.  Many websites, including Time Out, advise you to stay well clear of the shop during lunch hours and school holidays.

Will a female shopper who used to go to Zara or higher brands spend a lot of time at Primark? Probably not, but those who used to go to H&M, Next, M&S surely seem like.

I think by providing amazingly low prices, even for their “premium” store, they have provided a new High Street business model that was missing till now. I believe a significant proportion of the mass market, who could not afford Oxford Street regularly till now, are now almost-loyal to Primark as it has let them access it. The quality is not great, everyone knows, but on many products, it’s not as bad as you might think. Volume has always allowed them to lower their margins, and they have made sure Oxford Street is no different. And the shopping experience: well, for me it’s unbearable but didn’t seem so for the 100’s and 100’s who were lining up to buy.

Is it sustainable – there are some concerns here (1) the always-present crazy crowd may start a balancing loop (2) the volumes they produce/sell in might make a certain customer segment dislike it when they see many others wearing the same top (3) the competition has already started competing on price; these competitors do have muscle, and leeway to have a price war though I doubt if they can win it

Sorastro in Drury Lane is a great dining experience. The food is good, nothing spectacular but nothing bad either. And prices are very reasonable for London

But it’s the decor that make you feel great – it’s set up almost like arabian nights decor – big and varied chandeliers and lamps, rugs/carpets, balcony seating available, glittery beads etc. It’s just a great place to chill out and enjoy a chat and look around.

On sunday and monday, they do an expensive set menu but it’s accompanied by opera/music performances by artists from Royal Opera House etc: meaning really good performances.

Go there when you are in a mood to feel happy.

I am dropping my mom and cousin off at Heathrow; they have the usual Indian hand-luggage weight snarl which we solve by my taking back stuff. After a coffee I drop them off at to get into the security line, but just before that  my cousin’s hand bag is not allowed through as it doesn’t meet the size requirements – fair enough, that’s a regulation and while many regulations are not helpful to the general public, we were to blame in some ways for sure. So, we look for alternatives: my cousin says there’s not much stuff in the bag – its just that the bag is weird shaped. So we decide on a polybag and ask the security guy if they have one – he gives me one from their stuff next to the table. We put her stuff in that and then suddenly another security guy says “where did you get that bag from” in a very stern voice. I just say “your colleague there gave it to us, I didn’t just take it”. And then he says “no you can’t take a poly bag in”. I am puzzled and I ask why. He says No , come on you cant take in a polybag. (It was stuff in a semi-transparent big polybag that they keep). I kept asking whats the reason. And he comes up with “no come on its just not logical”.!!!!! We then had to buy a 50 pound handbag from the luggage store at their airport.

Completely random –  he just wanted to prove a point, which I don’t know what that is

I think Heathrow has a long way to go before it will be the “airport London is proud of” as their current renovation project’s billboards read.

Hard Rock Casino is a fun place to be at (a) not stuck up at all like all other casinos, therefore attracting a crowd that likes this facet (which is a pretty big crowd, I might add) and (b) the staff is consistent in the service experience delivery but in their own unique styles.

We had a lot of the Black Jack dealers who would really make the table a fun place to sit at: whether recommending lightly or with their coin picking and tossing style or just sharing a joke with a person who has left the table. They would call their supervisors with friendly whistles rather than formal code words. Everything from their t-shirt attire to their rappor is consistent: chill out, gamble a bit or more, but most of all enjoy while you are with us

Both my cousin and I straight away liked the place because generally casinos try to take the fun out of the place; (mind you, I haven’t been to Las Vegas but I am talking about the actual gambling and not the associated perks or the decor of the place) so I thought I would encourage everyone to go there for a couple of hours if you do decide to go to a casino.