Saturday, 12 April 2008

Race - Hindi Movie Review

I dont really watch too many movies, but when i do I like to share my feelings about the movie! Here's my review of Race, a recent Hindi movie. hether you like it or not, I am going to subject you to a few more movie reviews after this!

Infact i am giving a link where you can watch the movie - free!

Race the movie is aptly named. Do you remember "Naqab" by Abbas Mustan? How the plots and subplots and the twist in the tail had you gripping the edge of the seat throughout the movie. Well Race doesnt have Abbas Mustan favourite Bobby Deol, but it has a more than capable Saif Ali Khan. And of course Akshaye Khanna has to be there! He excels himself in movies of this genre. But having seen him in all these similar kinds of Abbas Mustan thrillers, I feel he should start experimenting.

Saif (Ranvir) and Akshaye (Rajiv) are brothers. Saif runs a stud farm (the biggest and best in Durban) and Akshaye drinks and makes merry. Saif is the over-achiever, a Richard Branson like character, always out for the thrills, living life on the edge...till someone tries to kill him. The lady loves of the brothers are Bipasha Basu (a top model) and Katrina Kaif (Saif's Secretary). The plot changes as frequently and as rapidly as a model changes clothes in a show! And at times I am left steps behind on the story (I had my infant son with me).

Anil Kapoor has a unique role in the movie. He plays a mercenary detective RD with the Samira Reddy as his dumb assistant (a la Karamchand and Kitty). They get some of the best dialogues and the sensuous Samira gets a lot of laughs. Anil Kapoor is like the proverbial wine, at his maturing best! All three of the ladies impress as does the entire cast. All the characters have their grey areas. No black and white or good or bad classification. Life is a Race and everyone does all he or she can to win the Race.

The locales are breathtaking as also the horse racing and car racing sequences at the beginning and climax. The editing is superb with not a single redundant sequence. The songs will be around in the discs for a while but nothing really that will stick around for long!

The movie is fast paced, racy, cool and well worth watching. But not really memorable!

Download and Watch Race Here

Mutual Funds And SIPs - Basics

You dont need to have a lot of money to start investing. Thats a pretty erronous belief. The answer I often come across on investment queries is "I dont have money" to invest. This answer often is the start of your investment needs. You dont have money - so you need to make whatever you have work.

Take for example you save Rs 100 every month. That makes it 1200 every year. Lets say, you are putting it in an instrument/bank/deposit that gives 5% annually. At the end of 5 years you are getting something like Rs 6830. Suppose there was an instrument that gave you 15%? You know the amount you will make? Rs 8970! A cool disposable income of Rs 2000!!!

The next question is - who will give that kind of money/return. Mutual Funds, well researched stocks have given that kind of return and more. Do you know that markets in Brazil, India, China have given returns in excess of 40% (conservative) in the last year. And its not a single year episode. These kind of returns have been seen for the past 4-5 years. To ride these growth markets, a plethora of country specific mutual fund schemes have arisen. So investing is a global phenomena! And if you are from these nations, your choice becomes wider! Even certain sectoral funds/aggressive funds have maintained a high rate of return.

So how do you jump unto the bandwagon - so to say... You don't happen have too much idea of stocks, returns, markets, etc and naturally you don't want too many risks. So mutual funds become your natural choice. Mutual Funds diversify your risk (puts your money in many companies, eggs in many baskets, so to say), you can invest small, you get the benefits of professional research (every stock that a mutual fund puts its money in is researched by a team of professional fund managers) and professional fund management services; its mostly liquid, ie, you can put your hands on your money whenever you want it.

The best way to start investing in a mutual fund is through a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP). It means just that! You invest small amounts systematically in a fund/scheme of your choice. Its tailor made for a small investor and follows a concept called rupee cost averaging (or dollar cost averaging!)

Here are some easy steps to start investing.

1. Decide how much you can save in a month...Even if you "don't have money to invest" you must be saving something.

2. Find a financial advisor. She/he will guide you on the schemes.

3. Research on the scheme suggested on the internet. Follow some basic principles - see the pedigree of the fund house, see the pedigree of the scheme like last 3-5 yrs performance, see the other schemes the fund manager is managing, the corpus of the scheme (ie the total amount of money in that scheme)

4. Stick to your small investment amount till you are comfortable investing, ie don't let the advisor sweet talk you into putting in more!

5. See the liquidity of the scheme, ie whether you can withdraw your money whenever you want and if any cost/load involved.

6. Bingo you can start your SIP (systematic investment plan) and be on your way to investment riches!. Remember SIPs in equity mutual funds are your first tentative steps into the stock market (and eventual unimaginable riches :-))

Please dont treat this as a comprehensive investment compendium - its just a small nudge towards making your savings more effective!

Friday, 4 April 2008

Word Of The Day - Horology

Horology is the science of study of clocks and watches. This study has a fascination for many people (who isnt fascinated by watches?). At the turn of the nineteenth century during the "industrial revolution", when many of the things we take for granted like electricity, mechanical transportation, flying, telecommnunication to name a few, evolved enough to be useful, horology was a study pursued by many for its intricacy and relevance. Now i guess its left to the watchmakers to work it out and that too with more relevance on design than time-keeping!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

The Writing Experience

Why does one Write? Is it just to Make Money? Can everyone write a Book? Creative writing is a uniquely selfish process. The writer gives her heart and soul into those few written words and the involved author doesnt really look at the sentiments of the audience!

Writing is a cathartic process. Very few genuine writers do it for money, at least to begin with. An authentic work of art can never be produced if economic gains were the only motivation. So we have wannabe writers churning out reams of words...How many of them are ultimately successful? But everyone lives for a masterpiece, that one product where the world will realise the true value of the writer.

Where will anyone who wants to write, start from? There is, I believe, a writer in every one of us (maybe not an editor, though!), for doesn't each of us see the world uniquely?

To start writing one just needs to follow these basic principles

W - Write whatever one feels...just jot it down.
R - Read everything...anything interesting
I - Innovate - think of new aspects of a story - eg Hilary Clinton - how would she look with a nose job :-)
T - Tenacity - that will carry you, if nothing else. DONT GIVE UP
E - Echo - Last and of course the most important, let whatever you have written Echo! Read your work aloud to friends, talk about it, distribute it, advertise it - for unless others know about it, how will you know whether they like it or not? Opinions, however distasteful, always are the foundation of better or improved results. And only you can talk about your work, not others.

So, pick up your pen (or mouse) and WRITE (or type)!