Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why Kolkata will win in 20 years || Aakar Patel - "Reply To All" (Mint Lounge)

By way of human capital it is India’s wealthiest city. Twenty years ago, this meant little and Kolkata’s brightest minds left the city. Today it is gold.

Which Indian city has the best infrastructure, the most attractive culture? In a nation where Nasscom says 90% of all graduates are unemployable, which city produces many times more competent people than it can hire? Which city is our greatest net exporter of talent? Which city will win in 20 years?

This is ridiculous, because Kolkata lags Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai and even Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune in attracting investment. It has no software economy and no financial sector. What industry they inherited, Bengalis have packed off efficiently.

It is ridiculous because Bengalis don’t even have a proper trading class, and use the word “bene” (baniya) with contempt. How is such a place fertile for capital?
Then there is the matter of the anarchy. Even by India’s low standard, Kolkata is a monumental mess. Little governance is visible on its roads, which the state has surrendered to the population and shows no desire of retaking.
But Kolkata has assets, chief among them its people. In a world where cultures must integrate, Bengalis have built one of our most attractive and open cultures. More about this later.

If you were to close your eyes and imagine the city without its grubby occupants, Kolkata actually has the finest infrastructure of any Indian city. Options for getting around the city include a Metro (not found in Mumbai), local trains (not found in Delhi), taxis (not found in Bangalore), trams (not found anywhere in India) and hand-pulled rickshaws (not found anywhere in the world).

It is even possible, though it isn’t advisable, to walk one’s way around the city because it has footpaths, something supposedly urban centres like Gurgaon and Bangalore don’t have.

The problem is only that all this great infrastructure is poorly managed. And actually it is very easily remedied. New tram cars running on these same tracks can transform inner city commuting. It is the middle class (not the poor) that uses the rickshaw in the old city lanes of north Kolkata. A boost in their incomes will mean bigger fares for the destitute Biharis who pull them around.

Kolkata’s taxis run on metered fare, unlike in most of India, and need only to be more modern. The systems are in place. A little governance is required to get the economy moving. A man or small group of people charged with making the city attractive for investment can transform Kolkata in five years. I’m tempted to say it should be one of the Bengali-speaking Gujaratis or Marwaris who support Trinamool. They will know what to do and instinctively connect with those who have capital. Labour unions are not relevant in the IT industry where retaining trained talent is the problem and not job security. A little assurance from Kolkata that it will not be aggressive on such issues for white collar workers will get businessmen excited.

Let us turn to culture, Bengal’s priceless asset. He is useless at managing his own economy, true, but the Bengali represents the moral end of our politics. The Communists and Mamata Banerjee can be accused of many things. Being corrupt and being communal are not among them. Perhaps they don’t really know how to make money in office, but their open-mindedness is deliberate and comes from within. The city of Kolkata is Britain’s gift to Bengal, a one-city state. Bengalis have responded by producing an urban culture that is sophisticated and modern.

This gives them an attractive duality. Middle-class Bengalis are comfortable and, importantly, urbane in both English and Bengali. They can express modern ideas in their language, which is supple and can accommodate words from other languages easily (“bourgeois”). This separates them from much of India.

High culture comes from Kolkata’s bhadra, who is Kayastha/Brahmin/ Baidyi (Vaidya). Along with southern Maharashtra and northern Karnataka, Kolkata is the place that produces classical musicians at will.
Despite having a majority Muslim population, Bengal’s nationalism has coalesced around Bengali language, not religion.

One reason Bangladesh isn’t Pakistan is that it is insufficiently Islamized. But why? Because the gentle leavening of Rabindric culture has resisted the harsh call of an Arab social order.

Bengal is animist, and its riverine geography has retained the river-based culture of our ancients. This culture the Bong carries with him where he goes. Bengalis are among our most ubiquitous professionals. They dominate the media and are represented heavily in services and academia, and in higher management. They are all-rounders. They bring a sense of quality and aesthetic that is uncommon.

Let one example suffice. The best designed newspaper in India is Anandabazar Patrika. Its puja-special magazine is a thing of beauty and not to be compared with what other Indian newspapers produce.

The outsider who can look past the grime and the soot will find much that is rewarding in Kolkata.
It is our only city to have a Chinatown. It is our football capital, with a proper and passionate football following. This integrates it with Europe and in time, when there is money in Bengali sport, this will be one of the city’s big assets.

There is history on Kolkata’s roads, and many people will come to see it if they are shown it—the homes of Tagore and Vivekananda, Victoria Memorial and the lovely British-built areas around Park Street. Also the great spiritual centres that were founded around the city and radiated their message of soft Hinduism across India.

Kolkata is altogether more relaxed in the mingling of the sexes. This is something I’ve noticed in all cultures where honour isn’t at a premium, and it is the same in Gujarat. Single women are comfortable in the company of men.

Kolkata has excellent places to eat and drink. Meat is served, and alcohol is freely available. Bengalis don’t have the fake morality of some of our other cultures.

Gujarat covers itself with hypocrisy. An Ahmedabad daily I worked at reported a few years ago that the majority of licensed drinkers in the city also insisted on prohibition. Why? “That’s our culture,” they said.

On leaving the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and becoming the chief minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan’s big initiative has been to raise the drinking age in Mumbai to 25. He spent years learning at Manmohan Singh’s knee, but the peasant’s instinct isn’t easily exorcised. Another Maratha, R.R. Patil, abolished the city’s beautiful dance bars. Between them, the pious Marathas have done satyanash of that city. Piety is a personal value and not to be inflicted on another, but this is difficult for some cultures to internalize.

It isn’t that Kolkata isn’t devout, and there is no celebration like Durga Puja anywhere in the world. This much religious fervour would otherwise always inject a harder edge into the air. Like it does during Ahmedabad’s annual rath yatra, whose organizers insist that its floats parade through the Muslim ghettos of Shahpur, Kalupur and Dariyapur. Floats on which akhara braves, bare-chested, display their valour. What does Sri Vishnu have to do with bodybuilding?

Kolkata’s puja is festive, and inclusive. Not threatening, not menacing. From either end of the subcontinent, two disparate states observe India pass them by. Gujarat and Poschim Bongo (should we now call them Bongolis?) are two states that don’t fall neatly into our north-south division.

Both states have missed making money in the new economy. Gujarat has missed out despite having outstanding infrastructure— power, roads—and access to capital. All that fledgling information technology firms need. It has governance but does not have the fundamental ingredient: human capital. Oriented towards trade, its urban class is uninterested in, for the most part contemptuous about, employment. English isn’t spoken in Gujarat, even by the elite, for Gujarati delivers the most important function of modern language—communicating complex economic thought.

This will not change for a very long time. Kolkata has a different problem: It lacks governance. But by way of human capital it is India’s wealthiest city. Twenty years ago, this meant little and Kolkata’s brightest minds left the city. Today it is gold.

I always enjoy visiting Kolkata, even if by the third day of looking at the happy poverty and the chaos the mind turns to thoughts of escape.

All Indian cities have problems. Few also contain solutions. It is entirely possible, and I think most likely, that Bengalis will be able to sort out theirs, which are quite minor. Kolkata will then be one of the world’s great cities again.

Such a beautiful and cultured people deserve it.

Aakar Patel is a director with Hill Road Media.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Brandpotion.com || Out of the Boxx

Here is my ad concepts for the brand new competition on Brandpotion.com - this time the ads are for promoting Frameboxx - as always, I would love your feedback and please do make sure you click on the ads to vote... the stakes are high this time. The first prize is an iPad! (I am dying to get my hands on one of those babies! So take a minute and VOTE!)

The Brief: Make a print ad talking about “Frameboxx, one of the best animation and visual effects training brands.”

Here are my ads:

"Frame your career with Frameboxx"

This one is inspired by the "eyes" from the Frameboxx logo... literally. Using the eyes to reinforce the brand message, I have kept the copy simple and straightforward. The idea is to communicate that if you're looking for a place to train you to become an animation or visual effects professional, this is it.

"Creator of Superhero creators"

We all love superheros. All of us have our own version of what our favourite superhero should be... well, this is what the ad tries to convey: Frameboxx is the creator of superhero creators.

"Eye of your mind"

Drawing inspiration from the brand name (ok, the first part of the brand name!), this ad tries to convey how Frameboxx moulds its students into the very best animation and visual effects professionals. (Thus a normal spider on lens and the Spiderman logo on the other) After all, what separates the best from the rest is their "Frame" of reference, isn't it?

"Things are what you want them to be"

Again, drawing inspiration from the brand name (ok, the first part of the brand name!), this ad too tries to convey how Frameboxx moulds its students into the very best animation and visual effects professionals. After all, what separates the best from the rest is their "Frame" of reference, isn't it? The visual depicts that with the proper training, even the humble, unwanted everyday rodent can be transformed into a much loved animated character. All one needs is some imagination, a little creativity and the right training.


The magic of animation and visual effects is that it often transforms the very things we abhor to things we adore. This ad tries to capture that magical transformation.

Monday, June 6, 2011

When Hunger Strikes

So our government has finally put to an end to the nonsensical practice of holding a nation to ransom. Well an Anna started it - and the Baba followed suit. In reality this method of political blackmail has ben in vogue for aeons. Yes I am talking about the much hyped Hunger Strike phenomenon. Well, what does one achieve through a Hunger Strike? Wikipedia tells me: "A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance or pressure in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change. Most hunger strikers will take liquids but not solid food. A hunger strike cannot be effective if the fact that it is being undertaken is not publicized so as to be known by the people who are to be impressed, concerned or embarrassed by it."

Take a minute and read the last line again. Now, who's the real culprit here? How is it that some random people get undue attention by holding a nation to ransom - all in the name of upholding democracy? I believe it is the usual suspects: our media. And the less said of the Indian 24x7 media, the better. Maybe it is a true reflection of the current state of affairs - shambolic yet fastidious. And what's the outcome such hoopla? Eradication of corruption? Bringing back of Black Money? Citizen Uprising? Hardly. It just got some people the eyeballs they needed to launch a political career. Or to reignite one: remember Mamata Banerjee's hunger strike to get the farmers' land back in Singur in 2006? It went a long way to her coronation in 2011 - have the farmers got the land back yet Didi? We have said Tata bye-bye five years back!

Let's put things into perspective regarding hunger - these politicians have made a joke of the multitude of our citizens through their "Hunger Strikes". Did you know that apart from our national obsession cricket, India is also #1 in the world in terms of the number of hungry people? There are 237.7 million hungry citizens in India at the last count! According to a May 2011 Oxfam report titled 'Growing a better future', the number of hungry people in India has increased by 65 million from 1990 to 2005 - that is because economic development excluded the rural poor, and welfare programmes failed to reach them. However, in the same period (from 1990 to 2005), India's economy doubled in size with 10% growth y-o-y - talk about a paradox, eh? The 237.7 million count is more than the total population of so many countries — including Brazil and France. About 21 per cent of India's population is undernourished. Looking at it in a different way, that would mean one out of every five. (FYI: The percentage of China's undernourished segment is only 10 percent of its population. Whether India shines or whines, who cares. We are ahead of China.)

One also understands that the government is doing its best in this regard. Like letting food grains rot in Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns, for instance. And does anyone remember the recent onion shortage crisis due to the middlemen? India also happens to be home to 28 per cent of the world's total undernourished population of 847.5 million. But the poor and hungry are of no use to any of us - least of all the media. They only make good subject material for art film makers! And of course, trigger happy foreign tourists (remember the scene from  MunnaBhai MBBS? The one where the Japanese tourist is kidnapped by Circuit who lured him with the promise of showing him "bhukkha Indian"? ).  The truth is that we prefer the rich, powerful and pseudo hungry - why else would 3 lakh people turn up at the Ram Lila grounds in a show of "solidarity"? Or why else would I have to bear Arnab Goswami and his ilk force their opinions live from the venue? Reality TV has got a whole new meaning in India - it's called Breaking News.

The twitterati are tweeting their thumbs sore at the ham-handed handling of the situation at the Ram Lila grounds by the Govt. with specific criticism of the the police brutality. In my opinion, the Govt. had to do something. There was no way that it could allow the bedlam to continue. It was very unfortunate that people were injured (some very seriously) when the police intervened and there could have been a more civil way that they could have thought of to diffuse the situation. But the moot question is, why were the people there? Was everyone so concerned about the Lok Pal Bill? Will it truly deliver? I have my doubts.

The RTI Act has come into being for sometime now - the results are iffy (For instance, read this). The results of other legislation such as the Right to Education are similar. While corruption is a massive problem, there are more pressing needs that governance issues. And corruption is actually a self-governance issue, isn't it? Do we really need an Anna and a Baba to tell us that? Instead of showing solidarity with a couple of people on hunger strikes, we need to understand how we can actually kill the demon from within. I mean will just showing up at India Gate or Ram Lila grounds end corruption?

Similarly the issue of Black Money - the question that we need to answer here: who has black money? Is the  the working class population - the salaried middle class who are taxed by default? Or does the majority of poor citizens have black money? Absurd, isn't it? Fact is, India has more black money than rest of the world combined. India tops the list with almost $1500 Billion black money in swiss banks, followed by Russia $470 Billion, UK $390 Billion, Ukraine $100 Billion and China with $96 Billion. It’s embarrassing for any country to top the list of black money holders. The money which belongs to the nation and it’s citizens, is stashed in the illegal personal accounts of powerful people such as corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, IPS officers and industrialists. Will a hunger strike coerce these guys to mend their ways?

BTW, the total black money accounts for 40% of GDP of India - a country where more than 450 million live below the poverty line (which means they make less than $1.25/day). For an amount which is 13 times larger than the nation's foreign debt, I don't see this happening. By bringing back the black money back to the country there is so much which can be done for the development of the nation and the people who live below poverty line. India will also be able to clear all its foreign debts in 24 Hours! And even if all the taxes are abolished, the government can maintain the country easily for 30 years. But realistically do you see this happening? We live in India not Utopia!

And do you really buy that the guys who are going on the hunger strikes don't have black money or are not corrupt?
But coming back to the issue of hunger strikes, just compare the two shame-lists: hunger list and the corruption list. According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2010, India is ranked at 87 among 178 countries (down three spots from 84 in 2009) - there has been a decline in India’s integrity score to 3.3 in 2010, from 3.5 in 2007, and 3.4 in 2008 and 2009.

(These figures are on a scale of zero to 10 with the former being perceived as highly corrupt and 10 indicating low levels of corruption. It is an indication that the country continues to be perceived as more corrupt as in the past. Transparency International is a global non-governmental organisation that monitors political and corporate corruption across the world—has been publishing an annual CPI since 1995. The CPI ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt a country’s public sector is perceived to be and is a composite index drawn from a combination of polls.)

According to the 2010 CPI, Somalia is considered the world’s most corrupt country with a score of 1.1 followed by Myanmar and Afghanistan, while Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore are perceived to be the least corrupt with scores of 9.3. China is at the 78th position, indicating it is less corrupt than India. (I must say that with scam season on, I am surprised!) While Pakistan is shown as just a notch worse off than India, the US ranks fairly high at 22nd and is perceived to have relatively low levels of corruption. In Asia, Bhutan is perceived to be the least corrupt country. India’s ranking has consistently dipped since 2006 when it was ranked 70 among 163 countries. Admittedly we are corrupt, we are not the worst yet in corruption. And there is hope yet with Tihar Jail fast filling up with M/s Raja, Kalmadi and their brethren!

On the other hand, hunger is killing citizens of shining India (see table above) - according to various non-governmental organizations, between 2003 and 2006, in Uttar Pradesh alone there were 52 starvation deaths. The most shameful was that a Supreme Court panel had to ask the Orissa government to ensure no one succumbs to hunger in the state has been hit by drought and floods in the recent past, amid allegations that over 400 people had died due to starvation in nine years. Failure of the public distribution system and inability of the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme to provide 100 days work to the rural people are far pressing problems for the aam aadmi ka sarkar methinks!

Will we be able ensure that no citizen sleeps hungry? Can the mantris, Anna, Baba, the twitterati and indeed all of us sleep knowing that our fellow citizens are dying of hunger? Aren't hunger strikes the cruelest, crudest of jokes in a land of hungry, starving, dying people? Instead of farcical hunger strikes, what we need is to strike off hunger. Permanently.

Footnote: According to a 2007 report, morbid obesity has acquired epidemic proportions in the country with 5 per cent of the population suffering from it. The land of contradictions? This is Indi-yeah!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Brandpotion.com || Great Ads go Viral

Here is my ad concept for the brand new competition on Brandpotion.com called “Get Ads go Viral” - as always, I would love your feedback and please do click on the ads to vote!

Introduction: Great ideas are infectious. Great ideas are the kind that hit you when you’re not looking, and then stick around to hit everyone you know as well. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have become breeding grounds for great ideas, providing a platform for sharing ideas, opinions and lots more. We believe that any idea, no matter what it’s about, can be spread through these sites.

The Brief: Have a great idea? Turn it into a simple, easy-to-understand advertisement, and promote it on your social network. (E.g.: Turn your cure for corruption into a print ad. Or shoot your solution for preventing suicides as a video ad. Have an idea about healthy living? Make an ad about it and share it with your friends.)

This isn’t just a competition about what you’re advertising. It’s about making your idea so infectious, everyone wants to share it.

Here is my Ad: The most precious resource that we have is time. Little wonder then that this is what is most required to make our world a better place! There are innumerable bodies and organisations that are or at least attempting to make a difference... philantrophy is not the bastion of the ultra-rich like M/s Gates or Tatas - that's because money is not the scarce commodity here... what we need is to share our time by Volunteering. It will enrich us all. This is what the ad tries to convey.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

If wishes were horses!

"So what do I wish for my hero in the future – well if wishes were horses then I would want him to score atleast 15,000 runs in test cricket (well that’s only 2227 runs away), complete a century of international centuries (only 14 more to get!), to break Lara’s record of the highest test score of 400* (it’s sad that Sachin hasn’t got a triple ton till date…) and break Saeed Anwar’s record of the highest ODI score of 194 (well Sachin came close in Hyderabad scoring 186* (150b) on 8th Nov 1999 – a game I was priviledged to have watched at the Lal Bahadur Stadium)… but above all else, he must win India the World Cup (his stature demands it!)."

I wrote the down this fantastic wishlist on 20th September 2009 when Sachin completed his two decades in International Cricket - at the time, I did not imagine that in just over a year down the line, playing his 21st season for India, at 37, my hero would achieve almost all of the above. In 2010, he achieved most of the wishes on my list: He closed in on 15,000 test runs (just 308 runs away now) having already hit an incredible 51 Test Centuries  ... and he fulfilled my 4th wish - in February 2010, a few days before his 37th Birthday (and one day after my 29th!), Sachin scored the first double century in ODIs thus eclipsing Saeed Anwar's record! What a birthday gift! What a year he had!

Come February 2011, the entire country (including his coach, Achrekar Sir) was willing him to lead India to World Cup victory. Sachin Tendulkar himself had said that ICC cricket World Cup 2011 was the most important tournament of his life. Even though he has never let his private emotions to be made public, he is in full vigour to continue playing WC 2011.Sachin said, "Yes, it is the most important tournament of my life. Everyone wants the team to do well. I need to focus all my energies on how to go about doing my job."

Well., to say that the pressure on Team Indian and Sachin in particular was immense, would be the understatement of the century!

India started as favourites and in a long tournament, that started on 19/02/2011, the team started slowly and fans  got restless. Then add to that the drama of the tied game with England and losing to South Africa after having scored 300+ runs (Sachin scored centuries in each of these matches).

However with pressure just increasing in the knock out phase, Team India came through to the finals beating Australia in QFs in Motera and Pakistan in the semis in Mohali. Finally on 02/04/2011, Dhoni led India to World Cup glory over Sri Lanka and my biggest wish came true! Here's SRT during WC 2011 Finals that was played in his homeground, Wankhade Stadium in Mumbai:

Sachin Tendulkar said that winning cricket World Cup is the best moment of his life and that the winning the Cup was for all of India (Well India says thanks a billion, Sachin). India's master batsman He described winning the World Cup in front of his home crowd in Mumbai as the proudest moment of his life. Tendulkar was unable to mark the occasion with the 100th international hundred millions had craved for him, leaving it instead to captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (91no) and Gautam Gambhir (97) to lead the run chase in a six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka.

But after India had won the Cup for the first time since their maiden trophy in 1983, at 37-year-old Tendulkar's sixth attempt (see picture above for Sachin at all 6 WCs), he admitted to shedding tears of joy at succeeding at last. "They are happy tears, so I don't mind at all," he said. "I could not have asked for anything better than this. Winning the World Cup ... it is the proudest moment of my life. It's never too late. Thanks to all my team-mates. Without their fabulous performances, this would never have happened."

During the WC, Sachin went past 18,000 ODI runs. At the end of the tournament, he finished up as India's leading batsman and was the second highest run-scorer with 482 runs (just 18 behind leader Dilshan) with 2 centuries, one each against England and South Africa. He nearly got his 100th International Century against Pakistan in the semis in Mohali but got out on 85. Never mind... there's just one more to get for my third wish to come true!

"He has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years. It is time we carried him on our shoulders." - Virat Kohli leads the Tendulkar tributes after India's World Cup triumph

"Couldn't have asked for more. This is ultimate. It is the proudest moment of my life," said Tendulkar in a choked voice after the victory. "I thank the team for putting up a fabulous performance and playing consistent cricket," the maestro added.

Tendulkar, who did a lap of honour on shoulder of his teammates, said that there were tears in his eyes once Dhoni hit that six. "Yes, they were happy tears. So I don't mind. We have stuck together through ups and down," stated the smiling legend.

The entire team wanted to win the World Cup for the Little Master. Before the tournament started, Gautam Gambhir was brimming with confidence and was sure that Team India will go all out to win the World Cup in honour of the team's oldest player and veteran 6 times over, of the mega-tournament. "I sincerely wish that this would not be Sachin's last World Cup and he would play one more. All members of the Indian side would like to win it for him," Gambhir told a leading news channel. And the Boys in Blue kept their word. Gauti himself said after winning the Cup that the win was a gift to his great teammate from the entire squad. "All credit for this win should go to Tendulkar. We were all playing for him, this trophy is for him."

After the victory over Australia in the QFs, Yuvi has said: "I want to win the World Cup for someone special." After playing a major role in India's World Cup title triumph, a feat that fetched him the man of the tournament award, swashbuckling left-handed batsman Yuvraj Singh revealed that he wanted to win cricket's most coveted title for senior teammate Sachin Tendulkar. "Very sorry to disappoint you, guys. It was not for my girlfriend but for Sachin Tendulkar," he said at the packed post-final media conference with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni sitting by his side.

And the man to whom the team dedicated the cup was his humble-self, stating that it was a team effort. "Thanks to our support staff. Everyone worked very hard, especially Mike Horn who joined us before the World Cup started. And also in the last couple of games worked on our mental side to deal with expectations and pressure. So I think that has really helped," said Tendulkar.

"Obviously the team stuck together through ups and downs; there were a few rough phases in the team. We proved most of the people wrong, who were doubting our ability," the master batsman added.

When quizzed about the evident self-belief in Team India, Tendulkar said it was "always there." "It has always been there, a little more in the last two years when we have been consistent. It has been an honour to be part of this team. A special thanks to Gary and the whole staff. I think their contribution has been immense."

Describing India's World Cup win as a dream he had been chasing for 21 years, Sachin Tendulkar said that he could not sleep on Saturday night as he could not believe that India had finally become world champions. "I never thought that God would show me this day. I cannot express my delight," Tendulkar said.

"As an Indian, we have all won this cup. It's not just us 15 (in the squad) but the entire nation. The cup belongs to the entire nation so I am sure they are feeling part of it." Asked if he would play in the next edition in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand, Tendulkar replied: "All I will say is that it is a great moment. Focus on this, enjoy this, rather than looking back or too far ahead." Tendulkar, who was speaking at a reception hosted in honour of the victorious team at Raj Bhavan, said: "We should leave all that (speculation on his future plans) and enjoy this moment." Asked if he was disappointed at missing a chance to make his 100th international century in the final, Tendulkar said that was not relevant. "The World Cup win was big and should be savoured."

Sachin, later, also revealed that he started nurturing ambitions of winning the 2011 World Cup right after India's crushing first-round exit in the 2007 edition of the tournament. Talking to Mid-Day after India's victory in the World Cup final, Tendulkar said the prospect of lifting the Cup in front of his home crowd had motivated him through tough times.

"That [winning the World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium] was my dream after we lost in 2007," Tendulkar said. "I took up that challenge. I said, the next World Cup is in Mumbai and this is where I would want the trophy. It was a challenge and I started working towards that. After the 2007 World Cup when we got to know that the next one is in India and the final would be held in Mumbai. That is when I felt that this is the place where we have to lift the trophy." 

Tendulkar admitted the 2007 exit, which came on the back of a patch of poor personal form was the toughest phase of his career. "Yeah, it was really tough," Tendulkar said. "My family and friends really supported me at that stage. It was probably the toughest phase of my career and I was really demoralised. Talking about the World Cup in India at that time was something which motivated me. The final in Mumbai, that was greater motivation because here is where I grew up playing cricket. I wanted to do something really, really special here in India and Mumbai." 

Tendulkar said MS Dhoni's winning hit in the final was the most unforgettable moment of the campaign. "The moment the winning runs were scored, I jumped," he said. "Viru [Virender Sehwag] who was next to me, jumped too. We were sitting in the dressing room and praying." 

India's win included hard-fought victories against each of the former World Cup champions. Tendulkar scored two centuries in losing causes, but rated his chancy 85 against Pakistan as his most important contribution. Tendulkar recalled a couple of critical moments in that game, which India went on to win and extend their unbeaten record against Pakistan in World Cups.

Sachin had a very interesting observation: Indian cricketers from small towns are making their presence felt in a big way in international cricket, and Sachin feels these players are a bit "more motivated" to make it big. "I think the players from the smaller towns sacrifice a bit more for developing their cricketing skills. They are a bit more motivated to make it big."

Sachin rated MS Dhoni as the best captain he has played under during his 22-year cricket career. Dhoni had earlier said what the rest of the world already knew:

Sachin Tendulkar also spoke about about his finest memories of the 2011 World Cup where he finally fulfilled his lifetime dream of lifting the coveted trophy:

Unforgettable  dressing room moment: The moment the winning runs were scored, I jumped. Viru (Sehwag) who was next to me, jumped too. We were sitting in the dressing room and praying.

Unforgettable part of the celebrations: When we got the trophy in our hands and the popping of champagne. Also, when the team lifted me with the tri-colour in my hand. That was the ultimate feeling.

Unforgettable innings that you played: I was batting really well against South Africa, but in terms of importance, it's got to be the one against Pakistan.

Unforgettable innings from your teammates: There were many! The one Viru played in the first game against Bangladesh, Yuvraj Singh played many, Suresh Raina, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli... all the guys chipped in.

Unforgettable bowling spell: Zaheer Khan bowled some very important spells. In the semi-final, Ashish Nehra bowled well. Munaf got some important wickets too. Harbhajan Singh and R Ashwin bowled well too. Everyone has chipped in. That is why I call it a thorough team performance. Everyone did their job and somewhere they made an impact.

Unforgettable captaincy move: We set a 6-3 field against Pakistan at Mohali. Their opening batsman, Mohammad Hafeez tried to play a sweep shot off Munaf Patel and got caught behind. I thought that was the turning point of the match.

Unforgettable catch: The one Viru caught off Shahid Afridi. The match was very much alive then because Misbah & Afridi were batting and we needed two-three big overs at that stage, so that was an important catch. An easy one, but important.

Unforgettable tense moment: There were many moments when we were really tense especially in the last three matches....we knew there would be no second chance. There were many moments like that.
For me, this was the most unforgettable moment of the victory celebrations:

Sachin Tendulkar walked out of the changing room and gestured to Sudhir Gautam to come up. Gautam is the thin, pale man with a shaven head and body covered in the Indian tri-colour. He is the man you would have seen recently with a miniature replica of the World Cup hanging atop his head. For at least half a decade now, Gautam has been Tendulkar's biggest fan, waving the Indian flag and blowing his conch shell at every venue Tendulkar plays. On Saturday, Tendulkar decided to repay Gautam for his devotion.

No sooner had he realised that Tendulkar was calling, than Gautam jumped the electronic advertising hoarding and then skipped up the 30-odd stairs on to the corridor of the Indian changing room. All through his short journey he screamed in delight. Tendulkar shook hands with him, then embraced him and finally asked one of his teammates to get the World Cup trophy. Zaheer Khan brought the cup outside with utmost care and held it tight. Gautam virtually snatched it out of the hands of the tournament's joint-highest wicket-taker. But Zaheer held on to the crown still. Eventually Gautam lifted the Cup with both hands as Zaheer let go. As soon as Gautam lifted the Cup and screamed "Indiaa", Tendulkar could not help but smile. He even clapped and was joined in appreciation by a few of his teammates. The sweat on Tendulkar's face glistened under the floodlights, enhancing his joy of winning the World Cup. It was a day when the common man felt he was part of something special. (Read the full story at: http://sports.ndtv.com/world-cup-2011/news/item/171558-indias-cup-of-joy-overflows)

For the record, here's how WC2011 went for SRT: Thought the most outstanding virtue of SRT is his conduct and dignity; to handle all the adulation and expectation and still have his feet on the ground is perhaps a bigger achievement than the hordes of batting records that he holds. But then, as fans, we love his records too... Here are His innings at World Cup 2011 and his 2 Centuries. (Click on the photos to zoom in)

In the match Vs Netherlands, the Run Machine became the first player to score 2,000 runs in World Cup history. Sachin, playing his sixth World Cup, the most by any player (a record he shares with Javed Miandad), also holds the records for most centuries (6) and most half-centuries (15) in 45 matches in the flagship event of the ICC. Also, in this edition, he reached 99 International Centuries.

Further, the batting legend , while achieving the magical figure of 99 international hundreds during the India-South Africa Group B match in Nagpur, became the first one to score 20 One-day International (ODI) centuries in his home country. Sachin made an Indian record for most sixes in ODIs, taking his sixes’ tally to 193, bettering Sourav Ganguly’s tally of 190. (Shahid Afridi (289) holds a record followed by Sanath Jayasuriya (270) and Sachin Tendulkar (193))

The master blaster also has become the first to complete 2,000 runs against South Africa. Sachin has now complete 2,000 runs against four countries in ODIs - South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.

So with the World Cup lifted, it's truly been 21 years of glory. With 51 Test tons, 48 ODI tons and nearly 33,000 runs in the bag, here's what his incredible record currently looks like:

What's left then? For starters, a century at Lords - the Honours Board at Lords has his name missing. Heck even Ajit Agarkar has his name on it! It could happen this July.

And maybe, round it off with Mumbai Indians lifting the IPL and even the Champions League T20? That would kill two irritating arguments against the man - one, on his captaincy and two, on his age, retirement, ability of veterans to play T20, et all!

But the one I wish for the most is a test match triple century... he has six double hundreds (it would have been seven if not for Rahul Dravid's abrupt declaration in the Multan Test in 2004, which left SRT stranded only six runs short of a double century. Tendulkar, batting on 194 in the first Test against archrivals Pakistan, left no one in doubt that "he felt let down", Wright says in his just-published book Indian Summers. "The matter became a full-fledged sensation when Tendulkar told a press conference he was disappointed not to get his double century. He'd been playing for India since he was 16; he'd stood up for his country in bad times and tough conditions, and often been the only man to do so. Having given so much for the team, over such a long period, he probably thought this was one time the team could give something back to him. Even the greatest have their goals and dreams and milestones, and a double century against Pakistan in Pakistan would have been a memory to treasure.")

Well at least for now, Lara's 400 is safe. But India is visiting Brian's part of town this summer - if wishes were horses, eh?


Friday, April 1, 2011

As if God ever needed motivation, but here goes...

"I gotta feeling that tonight's gonna be a good night
That tonight's gonna be a good night
That tonight's gonna be a good, good night"
- The Black Eyed Peas
I hope that Team India, me and the rest of 1.2 billion Indians sing this song tomorrow night.
To make sure it happens, here are few motivational posters that I made for the Boys in Blue and the Little Master in particular.
I was at Eden Gardens to watch this match and I have nightmares of that night 15 years later. 15 years back, things started superbly for India with both Jayasurya and Kalu back in the pavillion for next to nothing. That man, Aravinda batted India out the match and Azhar's bizarre decision to bowl on a turner still baffles me! Sachin was the last man standing and when he was stumped off Jayasurya down the leg side for 65 runs (off 88 balls), it was despair and disarray at Kolkata. The match will forever remain Eden's darkest moment in history for the water bottle throwing incident. Lankans went on to Lahore to lift the cup.

The 2003 World Cup was India's best run at showcase tournament since 1983. It was a dream run for Dada's devils to the final powered by Sachin's runs. His demolition of Pakistan was the highlight. However, in the final, when McGrath got him out cheaply, after Ponting batted India out of the math, it was game over India. Sachin got the Man of the Series trophy (apart from 3 Man of the Man awards he won earlier) but was clearly distraught. Against the Lankans in the Super Sixes, he had earlier missed his century by 2 runs.

 The lesser said about Team India's woes at the Caribbean edition of the World Cup the better. Early exit courtesy an early defeat to Bangladesh prompted unprecedented hostility back home. The loss to the Lankans was the last nail in the coffin. The height of ridicule was perhaps the 5 minutes of absolute tom foolery featuring Sachin look-alike Balbir Chand in Sunil Pal's absurd movie "Bombay to Goa" released in 2007 - while shifting channels, I caught the movie a couple of nights back and I cringed.

In 2011, India's road to final has been tough all the way and they have been tested every match. But the script could not have been written better for a fairytale finish - the chance to win the biggest prize in ODI cricket at his home stadium. Sachin Tendulkar has conceded that this is the most important tournament of his life and winning the cup is his dream. The man unarguably deserves it tomorrow...

 ... if for nothing else, just because 28 years has been just too long.

There's a good chance tomorrow - heck even the dates match :)

All the best Sachin and Team India!

PS: The Modern Ramayana tomorrow?
As if the drama of a World Cup final was not enough, Hindu mythology is playing its part in the India v Sri Lanka ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final with final being touted as a modern day Ramayana.

The Indo Pak “war” at Mohali was played out to a brilliant tale and anything that can help increase the intensity to an already charged ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai will do for the moment! Here's looking forward to the dream final (pun intended, prayed for - fingers and toes crossed!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Grandaddy of all Clashes!

"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting." -  George Orwell

Back in the day, I remember that I had studied about “Pressure” in physics class. A quick google tells me that Pressure is defined as the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Trying telling that to Dhoni’s boys or for that matter Afridi’s boys!

Tomorrow, when the 22 men from either side of the border square off, the pressure they would be under would defy all definitions. If the pressure resulting from the cumulative expectations of a billion Indians wasn’t enough, our Prime Minister wasted no time to deflect the focus from other pressing National issues through the latest Cricklomacy coup – invite his counterpart from across the border. Thus Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani will be among those scheduled to watch the encounter, along with Bollywood celebrities and corporate czars. AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, his mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi and chairman of the Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani are also expected during the match.

It would be absurd if the two teams imagined even for a nano-second that the match would be a Sunday knock-about. The following viewership numbers (in terms of reach of the India matches in World Cup 2011) offer a quantifiable illustration of the pressure on the two teams:

(Source: www.bestmediainfo.com)

Being a working day, the reach of the Australia quarter final match remained at modest 53 million (ESPN + Star Sports + Star Cricket + DD), lower than the India-England match which was played on a Sunday. But tomorrow is guaranteed to be virtually a national holiday and the viewership number may cross a 100 million. Our billion-strong population will be calling in sick to work, shutting shops early and even cancelling doctor's appointments to make sure they watch Wednesday's much-hyped World Cup semi-final match against arch rivals Pakistan. On social networking site Facebook, more than 100,000 people voted a resounding "yes" to a poll on whether March 30th should be declared a national holiday in India, while another 40,000 said they were just going to "bunk" work. Even Bollywood, the world's biggest film industry is cancelling shoots and heading to Mohali to watch the match live. SRK and Aamir are reportedly at it again throwing special parties for the match.

With productivity threatening to dip considerably, even the bosses have given in. The TOI reports that “work will take a backseat at India Inc when the cricketing world's arch-rivals India and Pakistan face-off in the World Cup semi-final at Mohali tomorrow. While some companies are considering half or full day leave for employees on the day of the match, others have installed TV screens across office premises or made arrangements for special screening of the match for employees. Employee friendly companies such as FMCG major Dabur India is reported to be “weighing a holiday" on Wednesday. The company had declared a holiday on the day of the T20 final between India and Pakistan in 2007.  Other firms such as PepsiCo India are mulling allowing half-day leave for employees! A spokesman for Reliance Industries, India's top listed firm, said employees would be allowed to watch the match in conference rooms. (Well if the top cat is away in Mohali, the mice will play, no?)

While just about everybody may be looking for an inventive excuse to bunk work tomorrow and watch the India-Pakistan World Cup semi-final, the Mumbai Mirror reports that some of the busiest doctors in Mumbai’s private hospitals have no such problems. They are, in fact, happily accepting requests from their patients to postpone their surgeries which were scheduled for that day. Such is the frenzy around the match, that some patients don't mind paying through their nose for deluxe rooms which come with attached televisions - in case the surgery cannot be rescheduled. At Hiranandani hospital in Powai, doctors said that so far 15 surgeries slated for Wednesday have been postponed on the request of patients. Of these, six are hip and knee-replacement surgeries.

The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium at Mohali - which would host the historic semi-final on March 30 - has made arrangements to accommodate 27,500 people and has claimed to have sold more than 15,000 tickets over the counter on March 21 and 22. PCA stated that the association had already sent 50 tickets to the Pakistan Cricket Board. The town expects more than 200 fans from Pakistan and has also made elaborate arrangements for receiving the guests. However, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi's younger brother Mustaq Afridi won’t be amongst the “guests” – he was stopped at Attari immigration office as he did not have proper documentation for his match-ticket!

Tickets for the semifinal - dubbed as the mother of all clashes (methinks it should be the Grandaddy of all clashes!) - have been attracting offer prices up to twenty times the original rate. Prices of all tickets for the big match have soared in the black market. On 25th March, a Rs 250 ticket was being sold on the sly for Rs 2,000 and even more, Rs 500 tickets are available for Rs 4,000. And a Rs 1,000 ticket could only be bought, believe it or not, for as high as Rs 6,500-7,000.  Tickets priced at Rs 10,000 are being sold for about Rs 50,000. The tickets worth Rs 15,000 are attracting bids of about Rs 1 lakh each. A die-hard cricket fan even wanted to sell his kidney for India-Pakistan semifinals match ticket!

The student block tickets priced at Rs 250 are commanding a price of up to Rs 5,000 while the huge demand has escalated the chair block tickets worth Rs 500 each to Rs 10,000. Those who bought tickets earlier are trying to sell them in the black market since people are ready to dole out "an unprecedented" amount for tickets. Yesterday, Chandigarh police claimed to have arrested a Mohali-based software engineer for black-marketing the tickets of the high-octane cricket World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan. The cyber cell of the city police found the accused, identified as Mandeep Singh Bhangu (27), selling the Rs 250 ticket at a whopping price of Rs 30,000 through online shopping website e-bay.com, police said in a statement. The accused was offering five tickets of Rs. 250 each at an exaggerated price which was around 100 times more than the actual price of the ticket!  Bhangu’s message on ebay read: "Life time opportunity to watch the Clash of Titans in World Cup Semifinal. This is it, the best match ever to happen in history of Cricket. 5 Tickets for Chair Block Entrance Gate India Vs Pakistan . Would you dare to miss this match? And curse yourself for your whole lifetime. 5 Tickets for 1800 Pounds, 3000 Dollars, Rs. 120,000. Individual ticket to be sold at a price of Rs. 30k per ticket, please send me a message." After learning about the offer, Police swung into action and made a bid of Rs. 95,000 for all the five tickets and left a contact number on the website.  Within minutes, the accused contacted the police, and a deal was struck and he was asked to reach a coffee joint in Sector 11. Bhangu reached the joint and a police officer was sent to negotiate with him. After negotiations, one ticket was purchased from for Rs. 24,000 and he was caught red handed. The four other tickets were also recovered from him, police said. Good going – my question is what is the police going to do with the tickets?

Ironically, the newspapers have reported though police authorities claimed they would check black marketing of tickets, cricket enthusiasts revealed a large number was actually being sold by cops - some of whom are on security duty in and around the stadium. Representatives of some corporate houses, who were ready to pay “any amount”, were seen outside the PCA Stadium in an effort to get tickets for the corporate boxes.
An India-Pakistan match is almost always a big money-spinner, and a World Cup semi-final clash is as big as it gets. Bookies and punters across the country are gearing up to run a show that is estimated to rake in Rs 5,000 crore on the betting circle as India takes on Pakistan in the semi-final at Mohali on March 30.
One thing is for sure – come tomorrow, daily life in both countries will grind to a halt as fans from all walks of life settle down to watch one of the sport's most intense rivalries. Since the two teams set-up the clash last week, all other headlines have been pushed off the front pages of newspapers and a minority few believe the hype is too much. The bedlam in Bharat is on full swing already – “top” astrologer Bejan Daruwalla (our desi version of Paul the octopus?) has reiterated that India will indeed beat Pakistan and also go on to lift the World Cup, fans across the nation have been seeking divine intervention through the power of their prayers (TOI reported that cricket crazy fans in Mysore offered puja at Anjaneya Swamy Temple, Vontikoppal; similar invocations were held in Jaipur and on the banks of the Ganges!) and the news channels have bored the viewers to death with the coverage blitzkrieg featuring myriad “experts” (the most ridiculous of the lot has got to be “Professor Deano” on NDTV). There is just no escaping the media mayhem surrounding the showdown, with channels running a constant stream of analysis and news, scrutinising every move and analysing every decision taken by the two teams!

Pandemonium and Pakistan are often synonymous – this time their Interior Minister’s infamous statement has added a bizarre twist to the events. Interior Minister Rehman Malik triggered a controversy warning Pakistan players against indulging in match-fixing, comments that did not go well with the country's former players and administrators, who criticized him for his statement. "I gave a warning that there should be no match-fixing. I am keeping a close watch. If any such thing happens, we are going to take action," Malik said two days ahead of the game! Well done sir – as if there wasn’t enough pressure already?

And then there is the pressure of history – for those who were in a coma since 1992, here’s how the results stand as of now… 5-0 to India:

I was at Eden Gardens in 1996 watching Sri Lanka beat India – this after Azhar had won the toss and bizarrely asked Sri Lanka to bat first. The incensed crowd threw plastic bottles onto the field after being let down by the Boys in Blue. Fans can get very emotional and thus unreasonable. There is no excuse for throwing stones at team busses or attacking the cricketers’ homes, but both sets of players would know that this is a very real possibility in face of a loss.

I wouldn’t want to be MSD’s shoes. All I hope is Sachin gets his hundredth 100 and India wins – the latter being more important for now. The super ton can wait till Wankhade :) when India lifts the Cup of Joy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Brandpotion.com || Earth Care Awards 2011 - Part 2

Here are some more of my ad concepts for the brand new competition on Brandpotion.com called  “The Earth Care Awards 2011” - click here to see my earlier concepts for the same competition - as always, I would love your feedback and please do vote for the ads...

Introduction: Saving the environment is a task that cannot be done just by one person, one organisation or even one country. But it takes the efforts of individuals to prove that it’s possible—-that the effort of just one person can change the minds of a group of people, that the effort of a group of people can affect the actions of an organisation and so on. And while this domino effect will eventually make conservation a global phenomenon, it’s important to remember that this starts with the effort of an individual.

The Earth Care Awards 2011 has been brought into existence to celebrate the efforts of individuals, to recognise and appreciate their contribution to the environment. Go Green India is calling for ads from you to promote the Earth Care Awards 2011, which will be held on 9 September 2011.
For more information, you can log on to www.gogreenindia.co.in

The Brief: Create an ad that establishes the purpose of the Earth Care Awards 2011. You have to promote: 1) the importance of saving the environment, and 2) the Earth Care Awards 2011.

Here are my ads:

"Go Green Now"

"Green = Money"
In a capitalist "greed is good" world, it's time to take a step back and think at what we are doing - are we killing the goose that lays the golden eggs? For instance, the Big Brother has attacked many countries in pursuit of Black Gold - what when Oil runs out in 10 years? Latest measurements confirm that the world's oil and natural gas supplies are running out too fast. At some time between 2010 and 2020 the world's supply of oil and gas will fall below the level required to meet international demand. Our only chance is to Go Green... if for no other reason, for economics alone!

"Earth Shield"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What a coincidence!

A couple of Saturdays back, I headed to the island of Shiva in the Arabian Sea. Just as I was about to board the ferry to the Elephanta Caves, I snapped this photograph:

After returning to mainland Mumbai, I headed to the Museum to catch the Hoppe's exhibition that was on... to my utter suprise, I saw that Mr. Hoppe had clicked a very similar photograph about eight decades back!

Not that I can ever hope to hold a candle to Mr. EO Hoppe, a master of Black and White photography, but it was a super coincidence anyway!

Anyway, here's more on the exhibition:

Check out this link to see Hoppe's photographs of India: http://www.eohoppe.com/books_8.html

Brandpotion.com || Creative Colours

Here are my ad concepts for the brand new competition on Brandpotion.com called  “Creative Colours” - as always, I would love your feedback and please do click on the ads to vote!

Introduction: Holi is always a great festival to celebrate, especially because of all the colours around you. But we’d like to make your Holi a little bit happier this year, so we’re offering exclusive BrandPotion goodies for the best uses of colour in advertising.

The Brief: Create a print ad on Holi that uses colour creatively and effectively. Show the true spirit of Holi through your work.

Here are my Ads: 

Colours of India
Without a shadow of a doubt, India is bursting with colours in every nook and cranny... as if every moment is a visual for the old Jensen & Nicholson ad - whenever you see colour, think of us". Holi is the logical extension of that myriad melee of colours - a celebration that spans the length and breadth of the country. This ad tries to depict the real colours of India that the nation celebrates every Holi.

True Colours
This ad tries to depict the true colours of India comes to forefront every Holi. Perhaps, the layers of colour that masks the faces of revelers perhaps masks the differences that divides the nation on other days of the year...


Colours Unite 
Colour divides the world. The festival of Colours bring us together.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Cup-ple of Recycles!

Recycling is great for a greener planet but in a global internet economy, recycling ads and campaigns is not that great an idea.

About a month back, driving back from work with a couple of friends, a sea of red tail lights greeted us as usual on the Western Express Highway. A frustrated collective sigh later, the three weart travellers looked left and saw the most hilarious billboard - our first look at the Pepsi's "Change the Game" campaign. It was super funny! I mean just take a look at the visual below:

Apart from Dhoni and to some extent Virat, all the others on the billboard looked totally out of place wearing all but body paint. The ad looked like a spoof far, removed from the "in-your-face" attitude it endeavoured to convey - just look at Viru's face in the visuals. And what is Bhajji doing?!

There was a weird deja vu about the visual though. A quick google later, my hunch was confirmed - it was "glocalization" of Pepsi's FIFA World Cup ad featuring the likes of Messi, Drogba, Kaka and Henry. Check out the image below:

While the Fifa ad made sense with the football World Cup being held in Africa (with the visuals in sync with the African tradition of body painting to intimidate adversaries in battle), in sub-continental climes it really is a misfit. And what's more, Pepsi has extended this campaign to Bangladesh (as you can see in the image above)!

There is a basic cultural difference between the two games for starters - cricket (aka the gentleman's game) is known for its traditional gentle pace and "controlled aggression" (wherein the match referee will rap players on the knuckles for the slightest evidence of behaviour that "brings the game into disrepute"). The aforementioned behaviour is more the norm in football (aka the beautiful game) which is a more physical, contact sport. Thus the aggressive visuals and the body paint worked in Feb 2010. 

With a plethora of stars (or gamechangers as Pepsi claims) of the likes of KP and MSD on board, the visuals could have been more original.

However, the TV commercials for the campaign are Pepsi's saving grace - they are quite funny and in line with the innovations in the game however Saqlain was the inventor of the Doosra, wasn't he? And "Pallu Scoop"... really? That is your version of the Dilscoop, Pepsi?! But which scoop is better (I am not talking to the journalists here) - Dilshan's Pallu Scoop or Sakib's Super Scoop?

Check the TV ads below - my favourite is Slinga Malinga:

Nike seems to have taken a cue from Pepsi on more than one idea - their "Bleed Blue" campaign was going well with Virat, Zaheer and co. wearing the Team India shirt that the global giant sponsors till they suddenly followed Pepsi (must be a coincidence!) and got their models to go topless! (Virat seemed to be most at home - after all he had done it before in the Pepsi ad... and I believe his teen girl fan brigade aren't complaining!):

And check out the Zaheer ad - it is strikingly similar to the Rooney ad (they did a viral recycle of the same ad in their Write the Future ad featuring Ribery) - another recycled visual from the football World Cup?

However, all is forgiven if India wins the Cup :)

PS: I actually like the "more traditional" Adidas campaign which is (coincidentally - I guess) the namesake of the Pepsi campaign (hasn't anyone heard of IPR in this country?!) :

And you just can't go wrong with two legends of the game, can you?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Brandpotion.com || Earth Care Awards 2011

Here are my ad concepts for the brand new competition on Brandpotion.com called  “The Earth Care Awards 2011” - as always, I would love your feedback and please do vote for the ads...

Introduction: Saving the environment is a task that cannot be done just by one person, one organisation or even one country. But it takes the efforts of individuals to prove that it’s possible—-that the effort of just one person can change the minds of a group of people, that the effort of a group of people can affect the actions of an organisation and so on. And while this domino effect will eventually make conservation a global phenomenon, it’s important to remember that this starts with the effort of an individual.

The Earth Care Awards 2011 has been brought into existence to celebrate the efforts of individuals, to recognise and appreciate their contribution to the environment. Go Green India is calling for ads from you to promote the Earth Care Awards 2011, which will be held on 9 September 2011.
For more information, you can log on to www.gogreenindia.co.in

The Brief: Create an ad that establishes the purpose of the Earth Care Awards 2011. You have to promote: 1) the importance of saving the environment, and 2) the Earth Care Awards 2011.

My Ads: How we can make the planet a greener place is something that all of us know - whether it is by turning off the tap when we are brushing or switching off the lights when we are leaving a room - the question is: How many of us do our bit to make the world greener? When time is running out in our bid to conserve our world for the next generation, these ads conveys that the Earth Care Awards 2011 salutes those whose actions speak louder than words!

"Actions Speak Louder Than Words"

"Paint the town Green" 

 "Green World - 1"

  "Green World - 2"

Also, on the Go Green India site I found another cool competition running inviting designers to redesign their logos. These are my attempts to redesign the logo for JSW & Times of India Earth Care Awards. Sadly I can only upload one and ol' indecisive me can't decide which one to upload. Have a look and help! Check out this link: http://www.gogreenindia.co.in/logo_design.php


Prizes are up for grabs. Best logos will win “Jury choice” and “Viewers choice” awards. Contest closes on 5th April 2011.