Movie Review: Neerja – An Ode To Courage!

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This week there are four releases and out of which the one that most struck me was Neerja starring Sonam Kapoor in the title role directed by Ad Guru Ram Madhvani. Based on the real life story of Neerja Bhanot, an air-hostess, who lost her life saving many others in 1986 during the unforgettable PanAm hijacking.

The story – Neerja (Sonam) is a successful model and a purser at PanAm airlines. She is also a die-hard Rajesh Khanna fan and is doted by her parents (Shabana Azmi and Yogendra Tiku). She also has a loving boyfriend in Jaideep (Shekhar Ravjiani). Life is all set for Neerja until the day she boards the PanAm flight bound for New York as the head purser. The flight gets hijacked in Karachi by terrorists backed by Libya based Palestinian terrorist group Abu Nidal. Neerja warns the pilots who follow the protocol and abandon the cockpit. With no one to fly the plane to Cyprus (where the terrorists want to go) the terrorists take the passengers as ransom and demand for pilots. They start killing passengers one after another to show the Airport authorities that they definitely mean business. In all this mayhem, Neerja musters courage and tries to calm the passengers down however, the end as everyone knows is not very sweet.

First thing first, Ram Madhvani does a very brave attempt by adapting a real life situation to screen. He has got the screenplay in place and so does the characters. From the main lead to the character artists everyone are aptly cast. There is no breather in this tightly made thriller. One can feel the tense situation when the terrorists board the plane. The background music is quite riveting and gells well with the plot.

Sonam Kapoor delivers one of her finest performances till date. Shabana Azmi does a wonderful job as Neerja’s mother. New find Yogendra Tiku who plays Neerja’s father shows lot of promise.

The music by Vishal Khurrana is not out of place and mixes well with the theme of the movie. The editing is tight and you will be hooked to your seat till the end.

On the whole, a very good movie that should be watched by everyone.

My Verdict: ****

 

Nidhi ‘Tanya’ Singh believes in ‘Honest Relationships’!

After getting Sumeet ‘Miku’ Vyas on Chai With Shai how can we ignore his pretty, vivacious, quirky, funny partner-in-crime Nidhi ‘Tanya’ Singh? So here I present you the most loved and celebrated actress in the whole web-series world – Nidhi Singh. We chatted dime to a dozen over the customary chai and this time we preferred biscuits over pakodas. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

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Welcome on Chai With Shai (raising my tea cup) Nidhi (smiles)
The pleasure is all mine (giggles and raises her tea cup)

So, Permanent Roommates 2 has started with a BANG, what can the audience expect this time round?
I liked the way you said BANG!!! (Giggles) Okay to answer your question (pauses) hmm… a whole lot of MADNESS mixed with realism (smiles).

How did your tinseltown journey begin?
I came to Mumbai for my graduation in mass media. Right after I worked as a Film Executive for J.Walter Thompson, Mumbai – they were the biggest and the best then, and to my surprise the advertising world fascinated me so much that I stuck around for 2 and a half years. Soon enough I was dying to explore the possibility of being an actor hence, I quit and started freelancing as an assistant director for ads to understand ‘how things worked’ better, that went on for almost another 2 years. I finally decided to stop playing safe and took the plunge. Also, I had gone through a horrible heartbreak around that time that ripped my ego apart so I think that helped (pouts and then bursts out laughing).

Quite an AMAZING story I must say PHEW!!! (shaking my head)
Hain Na! (both burst out laughing)

How did you land your first acting assignment? 
I started of with theatre….

…like almost every budding actor
Whatever (rolling her eyes), so that was post a few readings but the first job that paid me (very little) came out of nowhere after a couple of zillion unsuccessful auditions.

How has Permanent Roommates changed your life?
People talk to me differently now… ‘Good different’ (stressing).

How has been your association with TVF so far?
They are like family. I’ll call one of them if say, I was in trouble at 3 am. But all that aside they are extremely professional, courageous and sincere and I love that the most about everyone there. So the association has been great i’d say.

Tell us some interesting or funny things that happened during the making of your web-series Permanent Roommates?
There’s non stop laughter on set. Everyone there has a story to tell and I have a problem of breaking into a giggle fit at the drop of a hat so sometimes keeping a straight face and saying my lines as Tanya feels like a task (starts giggling). We just shot something that was just too funny and I was only watching it from the monitor  – THANK GOD! I had to actually hold my breath to stop myself from laughing and spoiling that take.

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Three similarities between your character Tanya in Permanent Roommates and you in real life?
– honesty
– standing up for herself and people she loves.
– I really believe that “if you love me, you’ll let me sleep” (winks)

Nice… (shaking my head). Three similarities that you see in Sumeet and Mikesh from Permanent Roommates?
I don’t know about three because I don’t really see so many but let’s see (pauses and thinks for a moment) Sumeet too like Mikesh is quite chilled out and sorted in life. Also… He tells great stories. He’s a really fun narrator like Mikesh (smiles).

What are your future assignments?
Can’t talk about anything yet.

Where do you see the web series industry expanding in the next 5 years? 
It is here to stay foresure and it’s a great medium because there’s absolute democracy there. If your story or product is good, it’ll work.. Simple. People aren’t taking it lightly anymore which is great. I hope there are web movies soon. That’ll be interesting.

Will you advise youngsters to pursue this career?
Any youngster who is sincere and determined must go for it without a doubt.

Now Nidhi we have reached the part in my conversation series where I will throw few questions at you and you have to reply in a word or max a sentence. Not more than that… Okay?
Bring it on baby!!! (smirks)

Acha???
Yup (Giggles)

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Okay… So your Permanent Roommate in real life?
My boyfriend hopefully (crosses fingers and looks up)

Sumeet or Mikesh?
Sumeet

Your dream role?
There are so many. For now, Amy from Gone girl & Francesca from The bridges of Madison county.

PR 1 or PR2 the more interesting season?
It’s a continuation so no comparisons can be drawn.

Okay got it… One Night Stands or Committed Relationships?
Honest relationships, however short or long. My ideas about commitment are different.

Nice (smiles) Candle Light Dinners or Long Drives?
Long drives.

Favorite Actor & Actress?
Leonardo DiCaprio and Meryl Streep

The most underrated actress as per you?
Calling her underrated would be a disrespect but I wish I could see a lot more of Kalki.

The most overrated actress as per you?
Almost everyone is kind of overrated I feel. We should work more and celebrate people less.

So diplomatic (smiles) The worst dressed actor in the industry?
Oh God! Please stop (Giggles)

Batao… 
Marna hai kya? Pass (animatedly shakes her hand)

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Your dream director?
Martin Scorsese, Alejandro Inarritu, Raj Kapoor, David Flincher.

 

Permanent Roommates or Man’s World?
Permanent Roommates

Favorite Author other than me (winks)?
William Shakespeare (smiles)

Unfulfilled dream if any?
Way too many.

Secret Fantasy?
Way too many.

Accha??? Too many??? (smiles)
Haan… Public platform hai nahi bata sakti (giggles)

It was great having you today on CWS Nidhi. You have been the most entertaining guest I have ever had on my show…
Seriously??? (excitedly)

Oops! (biting my tongue) I am in trouble now (winks and laughs)… In fact all were entertaining so far but you have been slightly above the curve
Now you cannot backtrack on your words… (giggles)

Maaf karna everyone it is not my fault, Nidhi has this effect on everyone anyway would you like to give any advice to your fans? 
Yes… To always be true to who you are and what you believe in. It’s very easy to forget yourself nowadays (smiles)

Well said… thank you once again and may you meet with greater success in whatever you do next (shakes hand)
Thank you Shaiju (smiles)

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Find Out Who is Sumeet ‘Miku’ Vyas’ Permanent Roommate!

One actor who has made his presence felt in the world of web series’ these days is Sumeet Vyas. Actor and writer Vyas who has played several small parts in many movies and sitcoms, gained instant recognition and stardom through The Viral Fever’s web series Permanent Roommates. And today on Chai With Shai we have the ‘man’ himself discussing his career so far and his future ahead over a cup of chai and pakodas. Here are some excerpts from our fun chat.

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Permanent Roommates Season 2 is premiered on 14th Feb. What can the audience expect this time?
Big scale entertainment, more mature plot, stellar cast – full of surprises (gushes), more madness, and a lot of Coooool stuff (smiles).

How did your affaire with Tinseltown start?
I was very weak at studies, so my father put me in an editing studio when I was 16, I started working there full time soon, as I learned very quickly. I worked there for a year or so, and then one day I went to Prithvi theatre to watch a play in which my father was acting, that changed my life. I started working with Ekjute theatre group, then moved on and worked with several other groups and directors, directed plays, etc. simultaneously, I was also doing bits on T.V, as and when I got any opportunity, did a few films, like English Vinglish, Aurangzeb, Aarakshan, Guddu ki gun, Kajariya, and some that are about to release (smiles).

How did your family react to your decision to become an actor?
They were cool, my father is from NSD, he was a little concerned when I left my job at the editing studio, but once he realised how passionate I was about acting, he let me do my thing. My mother has always been a pillar of support for me. So ya, they were cool (grins).

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Your father is a writer, did he give you any tips on writing when you started out as a writer too?
Not really, that’s what I love about him. He lets me have my own journey, allows me to make my own mistakes and learn from them. His suggestions are generally very poetic, which only make sense to me after ten years (laughs), a pattern that has continued since I was born.

Interesting (smiles) so how did you stumble into the world of web-series?
I had seen all the previous videos by TVF. A friend introduced me to them, and I knew Nidhi Bisht, who was in most of those videos, so I called her and told her that I’d love to work with them, and ya, they called me for Permanent Roommates (smiles).

I must say it is a pretty interesting story (smiles). How has been your association with TVF till date?
Very good I’d say, I love their work ethics, we have a lot of respect for each other. And they create a great atmosphere to work in.

How did Bang Baaja Baraat with Y Films materialize?
Well Anand Tiwari and I had worked on an idea long time back, but it didn’t go anywhere, and then we came in touch with Nikhil Taneja who had just joined YRF and he heard the concept and loved it, so we decided to write it afresh. I wrote the dialogues for it and Anand, Amrit Pal Bindra and I wrote the story together.

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Is web-series a lucrative career decision? Would you recommend the same to newcomers?
I guess so, because so far, content is what works on the web, so if your stuff is good, it’s an open medium, just dive in.

Films, serials and web-series you have done every medium of entertainment. So what’s next for you?
A lead part in a film (rubbing his hands and grins).

I am sure you will get one soon (smiles).
Insha Allah (laughs).

Do you think Indian’s are open to experiments when it comes to various genres of entertainment like westerners?
Of course we are, how else would a Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Fargo and other series like them become so popular in India, especially with the youth. They’re nothing we can relate to in these shows and still they work because they are such interesting stories.

True… What are your future plans?
Am writing a series right now, and Permanent Roommates 2 is going to keep me busy for the next 2 months.

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Great! So Sumeet if you are a close follower of our chat series you would have noticed that we have a round where I throw few questions at you and you have to reply in a word or a sentence as appropriate.
Yes… (smiles) I am prepared for that (laughs)

Are you??? (smirks)
Yes… Now don’t scare me (laughs out loud).

Don’t worry as you are new on my series I will be little kind to you (winks).
Thank God!

Okay so here we go… Who is your Permanent Roommate?
My wife (smiles).

Nidhi or Sridevi your favorite co-star?
Nidhi.

Played safe huh?
No seriously (laughs).

What advice will you give the TVF team?
Don’t change

One Night Stands or Committed Relationships?
Whatever gets you good sleep in the night (winks).

Clever (smiles). The most embarrassing moment ever?
Can’t tell you, it’s too embarrassing (laughs).

Okay… next… Long drives or candle lite dinner?
Long drives.

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Your favorite movie?
Agneepath (the original) and Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind.

Your favorite book other than Knocked Up written by me?
Animal Farm by George Orwell

If a movie is made on your life, whom do you want to play your character?
Me Of course!

Other than you I meant…
No one can play me better than myself!

Okay fine… moving on (smiles). The most underrated actor in India?
So many of them (counts on his fingers) Sanjay Mishra, Akshay Khanna, Javed Jafari, Gajraj Rao and Sumeet Vyas (winks).

Hmm… impressive… Okay now, the most overrated actor in India?
Again so many… (about to start counting his fingers, shakes his head and smiles) can’t name them (winks).

Huh? Okay, your dream director?
Raju Hirani and Woody Allen

Permanent Roommates or Bang Baaja Baraat?
Permanent Roommates always!

Is there is a Permanent Roommates 3 happening in the future?
I’m sure there will be (smiles) fingers crossed… See (crosses fingers and shows me, and smiles).

Any other projects you are doing with TVF?
Many, but nothing fixed yet.

It was a pleasure having you on Chai With Shai Sumeet and before we conclude what advice do you want to give your fans?
There’s light somewhere, it may not be much light, but it beats the darkness, be on the watch, the God’s will offer you chances, know them, take them, you are marvelous, the God’s wait to delight in you ( a small quote from The laughing heart by Charles Bukowski)
Be cooool!

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Movie Review: Sanam Re – Bore Hua Re!

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The second Valentine week is Divya Khosla Kumar directed Sanam Re starring Pulkit Samrat, Yami Gautam and Urvashi Rautela. Coming from a director who made Yaariyan last year, I did not expect great shakes from Sanam Re and my intuition was Bang On!

Sanam Re tells the story of Aakash (Pulkit Samrat) who is a go-getter living in the city with a maniac Boss (Manoj Joshi) left loose on his back. He hails from a small town Tanakpur where he lived with his parents and photographer Grandfather (Rishi Kapoor) who once told him that his true love could be found 500 steps away from his photo shop. And Aakash does find Shruti (Yami Gautam) only to abandon her for a better life in the city.

Years later the ex-lovers come face to face at a Yoga camp in Canada where Aakash to save his job has gone to woo Mrs. Pablo (Urvashi Rautela) a client of his and sparks fly high. Would Aakash and Shruti fall again in love? What happens to Aakash and Mrs. Pablo’s story? This is one hell of a love triangle which one has to sit and watch till the end if one has the patience to do so ;).

If music could make a movie hit then Divya had proved it with Yaariyan and now she returns with a love story full of romantic numbers and breathtakingly beautiful locales with a weak script. The direction is quite okay however, there is no script that she can boast of. The cinematographer (Sameer Arya) has captured some breathtakingly beautiful locales in Canada, Leh and Himachal Pradesh however, the beautiful frames also need a beautiful story to compliment.

Pulkit Samrat and Yami struggle to deliver while Urvashi Rautela as the third angle in this paper thin love story has nothing to do apart from stipping down to her bare minimum in the freezing locales. Rishi Kapoor as usual delivers a powerful performance in whatever small screen time he gets.

Music is the high point and T-series has a winner in their hands thanks to Amaal Malik, Mithoon, Jeet Ganguly and Raju Singh. The dialogues are cringe worthy and sound quite stupid.

On the whole, this Valentine stay away from Sanam Re!

My Verdict: *

 

Movie Review: Fitoor lacks ‘Great Expectations’!

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There have been very few adaptations of Charles Dickens’ novella ‘Great Expectations’ and this week’s release Fitoor is a desi-adaptation by Abhishek Kapoor. The movie stars Katrina Kaif and Aditya Roy Kapoor with Tabu playing the role of desi Miss Havisham.

The movie narrates the story of Noor (Aditya Roy Kapur after the character grows up) a thirteen year old Kashmiri boy who belongs to poor upbringings meets and is deeply infatuated with Firdaus (Katrina Kaif after the character grows up) who belongs to a rich elite family in Kashmir. Her mother who is referred to Begum (Tabu) was left heartbroken in her younger age (Aditi Rao Hydari) and is against love especially with the social divide. She splits the teenagers and insults Noor about his social status.

Few years later Noor who had moved to Delhi and becomes a renowned artist comes back to town with his newly acclaimed fame and money. Firdaus is engaged but she still has romantic flings with Noor. After initial friction with Noor, Begum slowly starts realizing her mistake, but still adamant to get Firdaus married to her fiance. Noor’s love for Firdaus bears all the hardships of time and emotions and succeeds in the end.

The story has few alterations done to meet the Indian sensibilities and also to adapt to today’s time. The tempo set by the first half of the movie falters in the second half with multiple characters and stories introduced. The pace is very slow and if you are someone who loves massy movies then you will sit and cringe in your seat. However, for a person who loves to see art in any form whether massy or classy you will love it.

The story, screenplay and dialogues by Abhishek Kapoor and Supratik Sen is okay and it is not their fault as it is very difficult to adapt a book to a movie that too set in a different time, era and demographics. Abhishek Kapoor’s direction compared to his previous movie Kai Po Che is average. He gets confused in the narrative and it can be seen clearly especially in the second half of the movie.

The performances by Aditya Roy Kapoor and Katrina is decent however, Tabu as Begum steals the show. Cameos by Ajay Devgn, Akshay Oberoi, Lara Dutta and Aditi Rao Hydari are good. The music by Amit Trivedi compliments the mood and tone of the movie especially the title song and Pashmina. The cinematography by Anay Goswami is breathtaking and the color palette used by Abhishek for the movie – Red is quite interesting.

On the whole, the movie does not meet the expectations of Aam Junta who was waiting for a repeat after Kai Po Che.

My Verdict: **

Chinwag With Grandmaster Shilpa Savant

Dear Friends, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Shilpa Savant Inamdar who is a great friend and also my soul sister who has done some mind blowing service towards humanity through her healing sessions. I would like to share my short chat session with her over coffee trying to understand the transformation of this advertising expert to an occult science practitioner. So here we go! 

Hi Shilpa, can you please tell us more about yourself and your background?
Hi Shaiju, happy to see your interest in learning more about the field of energy and healing. You can consider me as an interesting life journey that moved from questions to answers, materialism to spiritualism, from problem to solutions. At present I am very glad that Universe is giving me the opportunity of sharing the blessing it has showered on me. The journey in this life began as daughter of a Deputy Commissioner, who was always there to give his very best to the society at large. My Mother, a house-wife always shared her unwavering conviction in Almighty. My Professional journey started as the Proprietor of an Advertising Firm. The story of this life has come a long way sculpting Shilpa into what she is today.
 
From Advertising to Occult Science, how did this transformation happen?
Even after being successful in advertising, the core questions of my life, remained unanswered .These questions were the ones that had become companions of my soul since I was 8. Questions such as who am I? Where was I before this birth? Where would I reach after this life? What am I here for? What is the purpose of my life? Etc.
 
I needed to find the answers, as it is said “seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened” and so it happened to me. Although I did study honestly and intensely yet the true credit for this transformation goes to the blessings of the Universal sources.
 
How was your growing up years? How did your family react to your decision to become a healer?
Quite Luxurious, thanks to my father. I was known as a loving and generous person even as a child. Nobody in my family imagined I would be a healer except my mother as she had seen the traits right from my childhood. One particular incident made it very apparent to my father wherein my prenomination turned very true. Initially my father got highly concerned about my well being. Non the less my study continued so did my contributions. As my family went on witnessing me being instrumental in bringing well being in others life, their support grew slowly and steadily.
 
Who was your inspiration for becoming a well respected healer?
My Inspiration to become a Respectable Healer are the compassionate eyes of Maha Vishnu.
 
Is there any interesting case you handled that has left an everlasting impression on you?
Yes the interesting case that has left an everlasting impression on me is of myself. During the early phase of my spiritual studies, I used to get up before dawn at 3:00 am. Although I sincerely wanted to meditate, my mind used to struggle to keep itself in thought less state but I persisted day after day continuing efforts in front of idol of Maha Vishnu. One fine day at 3:30 am when I was at worst of my meditative efforts, I literally dosed off in front of the idol, Suddenly ,for the reasons best known to God, I got awake and to my biggest surprise the idol was watching me with those compassionate eyes full of life. And that where I felt Awaken. Even today , I experience presence of those eyes taking care of me, especially while healing.
 
What kind of services do you offer and how does it help the various people who approach you?
I am a energy therapist .It helps people by restoring balance in their energy field at all levels of existence.
 
So what is Past Life Therapy and how does it help?
PLT is identifying the unresolved issues carried forward from past lives. It helps people unburden their minds, releasing greater energy to embrace present life better.
 
What is soul connection?
All matter is connected including souls. Soul connection facilitates this realization restoring harmony between two souls.
 
What are Angel Cards and how does it work?
Angels are Guardians of Virtues. Angel cards are source of signs that universe wants one to focus on. It brings one’s attention to the virtue that deserves to be given highest priority at that point of time to resolve a particular issue.
 
With such vast knowledge about various fields like Tarot Card Reading/ PLR/ Healing/ Soul Connection etc… Do you ever plan to write a book on occult science like say Linda Goodman etc?
Yes.
 
What would be this blog all about?
It is about sharing and applying spiritual solutions to uplift your life and bring honor to your soul.
 
What is that one thing about you that your fans don’t know about?
I am a foodie and enjoy having a good time like a child.
 
What is your message to our today’s youngsters?
Live true to yourself and be sensitive and respectful to others.
 
How do you describe yourself in just one word?
Student .
 
Last not the least a question I like to ask every person I interview, have you read my book ‘Knocked Up’? If no then when do you intend to read it ? If yes then what are your comments?

Yes and I realized once again that life is so wonderful at every stage of its journey. Thank you so much Mr. Shaiju Mathew and Best Wishes for your upcoming book “A Pocket full of Sunshine”. The name itself brings smile on my face. Looking forward to reading it too.



PLEASE CONNECT WITH SHILPA SAVANT INAMDAR ON HER BLOG: www.shilpasavantinamdar.blogspot.in or visit her website @ www.shilpasinamdar.com

Parineeti Chopra Signs ‘Meri Pyaari Bindu’

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It’s been an year of no action and suddenly today we get to see a video announcement of Parineeti Chopra’s new movie titled ‘Meri Pyaari Bindu’. The video announcements have become the norm with Yash Raj Films as they were the first to showcase or rather announce Aditya Chopra’s next directorial venture Befikre  starring Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor few months back through a video.

The video announcement of Meri Pyaari Bindu showcases a song sung by Parineeti in her own voice in the background giving a hint of her playing a singer in the Akshay Roy directed movie. Produced by Yash Raj Films and Maneesh Sharma, Meri Pyaari Bindu stars Ayushmaan Khurana opposite Parineeti. Scroll down to watch the video.

 

6 Reasons Why Relationship With A Creative Mind Will Never Work!

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Many a time people ask me how is it being a creative person, how different I feel being in a relationship and how lucky my partner is to have me around. However, if you ask my partner you would get a whole new dimension to our relationship – making you rethink if you are even remotely contemplating a relationship with one.

I do take pride in being a creative person and do believe that we are the best to be in a relationship with; however, years of self as well as peer observations have made me realize otherwise. Although not a relationship expert, I can still give you few reasons why being in a relationship with an artistic mind is difficult.

Almost every creative mind in the world has somewhat similar behavioral patterns when they are in a relationship. This might be because creative minds are rare and by virtue of their novelty, they never “fit into” the crowd of ordinary beings.

It is observed generally by many that creative people are often very attractive because of their enigmatic personality. They have a charismatic power to attract people towards them using their depth of thought, expression and intelligence. On the way, they also attract bad relationships – the reason being; they are not cut out for regular relationships. Therefore, as I mentioned earlier relationship with a creative person might not be always rosy and is difficult to sustain.

You might like the thought of being in love with a creative genius and make yourself their object of affection. However, it has been witnessed time immortal that creative minds can never sustain an everlasting relationship because of the following character traits;

1) Mood Swings: Most creative people suffer from mood swings. They are whimsical and might oscillate between extreme happiness and depression. Partners are suggested to understand such mood swings to maintain a healthy relationship.

2) Recluse: Mixing with anyone and everyone is ruled out, if your partner is a creative guy. They cannot tolerate mediocrity and would love to hang out with like minded geniuses making them often anti-social or recluse. So if you have friends who do not match your partner’s level of intelligence then do not expect your partner to ‘make friends’ with them, just for the heck.

3) Excessively Intense: Intensity in a relationship is something that a creative person values. They want their partners to be totally involved in the relationship and will not settle for anything less than perfection, leading to numerous relationship issues.

4) Need A Muse: Every artist in the world needs a muse to inspire them during their creative process. Often they look up to their partners to fulfill that void and if you fail to inspire the creativity in them, then your artist partner will get bored and claustrophobic in the relationship, leading to a break-up.

5) Financial Instability: Creative people are free spirited like flowing water, a gypsy by heart. They cannot be bound by the financial worries of the world. They are the most instable lot when it comes to making financial decisions or securing their future. Therefore there is less or zero stability or plans for a future when you are in a relationship with an artist.

6) Loves Freedom: An artist can never be bound to the ordinary rules and regulations of a relationship; they hate to be restricted. If you try to bind them or restrict their freedom, they will go into severe depression; at times leading to violent behavior.

These are few challenges of being in a relationship with a creative person. However, this does not mean that you can never make it work with an artistic person. All you need to have is a creative streak in you apart from patience to understand the uniqueness of an artist.

 

OLA Cab CEO’s Family Members Murdered By His Drivers!

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While I was crusading against the system where Ola Cabs does not do a proper background check for their drivers resulting in customers facing multiple tragic incidents, including me.  I hear this shocking news about Bhavish Aggarwal – CEO, Ola Cabs paternal grandmother Pushpawati Aggarwal, 84, and aunt Dr Sarita Aggarwal, 57, a gynaecologist being murdered and the prime suspects are his own two drivers. Now as per Times of India these two drivers hold the key to solving this double murder.

My heart goes out to those victims and Mr. Bhavish Aggarwal because whatever happened is not right. If it could happen to the family of a successful and powerful businessman then it can happen to anyone in the society. My crusade was against anti-social elements who exist in our society and we could be subject to them anytime. I getting threatened by the driver on the night of 3rd February and due to a quick presence of mind I escaping a probable threat to my life is something that has etched in my mind. The driver who did this to me he is running scott free because Ola chose to relieve him from his services. Now if this person comes and does anything to my family or me who is going to be responsible?

I have run pillar to post to get this issue highlighted but the media, lawyers and the police who are supposed to help people have raised their hands and humiliated me in various ways. Whom will I look up to for help? It’s not only for me I am asking justice, if you read the comments on my blog and on the various social media groups where people have narrated their horrific tales relating to drivers hired by cab companies, you wonder where we as a society and as a country are headed. As cab service companies it should be their prime responsibility to have a stringent process in place for screening each and every driver they hire.

This kind of incident can happen to anyone irrespective of you being rich or poor, weak or strong, man or woman. I do not want anyone else to go through the same pain several others like me have gone through again. That’s why I urge each one of you to stand up and say NO to keeping quiet to injustice. I alone cannot do anything but if we all get together, then we can change the world. The police who is supposed to be our protector will have to do their duty of protecting us. The lawyers will stop thinking about their fees and concentrate more on getting justice for the victims. The media who writes about everything under the sun only if they are bribed will start reporting actual news. The Government will be pressurized to make a change in our law and security system making our country a better place to stay. Let us all come together and run a crusade that will help us to have a SAFE and SECURE country to live. Let’s not wait for a tragedy like what happened to the Aggarwal family or like the Nirbhaya case or Professor Siras case or a Rohith case to happen to take action and do a candle march. Let’s become more responsible and say NO to injustice.

Please click here to read the Times Of India News about Bhavish Aggarwal’s tragedy.

To find out what happened to me click here

My ordeal with Ola Continues click here to read the full story

 

My Ordeal With Ola Continues…!

 

Ola

My ordeal with Ola still continues and I want to narrate the second part of my struggle that I underwent today. So apparently Ola called and very nicely said, “Dear Mr. Mathew we are sorry for all the ordeal you went through and you know what we have a good news for you.” I wondered what the good news would be? Is Ola Founder Bhavesh Aggarwal sending me a written apology along with an assurance of doing a thorough driver background check before hiring any more drivers to avoid any more such incidents in future? And then Mr. Zachary from Ola reads out the second part of his script, “We have fired the driver.” I am like… “What!” “Yes and we have blacklisted him and we will see to it that he won’t get any more business in Pune again. Moreover, we would suggest you for safety reasons please lodge a FIR against the driver.”
I collapse, was he giving me a good news or the worst nightmare I feared of? He then goes on and on from his script about how the procedure for Ola is all about caring for the customer and how they feel they have erred in my case and how they have penalized the driver. Really? I booked Ola… Ola hired this driver… I went through this life threatening ordeal last night… Ola customer care behaves insensitively with me knowing very well the danger I was in by disconnecting the calls midway… and who gets penalized? ME! You would ask how? So apparently his driver has my house location and he knows that he lost his contract with Ola because of the issue he had with me so in retaliation he can come to my place and harm my family and I. Worst part for a problem that could have been nixed in the bud by Ola was by hiring the right people to operate their fleet of cabs, by doing a strict background check, now it is my duty to safeguard my family and my well-being by lodging a complaint against the driver and live in fear.

So, whom should I ideally sue you might ask? OLA who else? Okay, so lauded by my friends and few members of the reputed media industry I write a letter and approach the nearest police station. Sitting outside on a bench a portly Inspector looks at me from top to bottom and asks with attitude while he twirls his moustache, “What do you want?” I narrate the entire story and then he looks at me disinterestedly and says, “Come on Saturday.” I look at him with open mouth and he says, “Time kitti wazlay? What time is it?” I look at my watch and reply, “9:10”. “Toh?” raises his brows and says, “Mera duty 9 baje khatam… toh kal subah aana.”
“Sir lekin FIR likhwana hai na,” I insist.
“Toh ek kaam karo, kidhar se chada tum gaadi?” pokes a toothpick in his teeth and spits.
“Chinchwad station ke peech se,” I reply.
“Toh abhi Chinchwad police station jao aur FIR likhwao,” looks at his subordinates and twirls his moustache while his sidekicks nod their heads and say, “Barobar.”
“Sir lekin aap zero FIR bhi toh kar sakte hai na,” I push further.
“Toh ek kaam karo raat ke 1:30 baje tak ruko yahan, agla inspector aayega uska mann karega toh likhega. Kai mandali kai boltoy (am I correct friends?)” he asks his sidekicks who reply by nodding their heads with a “Hoy Hoy.”
“Main itne der kaise ruku?” I ask looking at my watch.
“Kal raat ko kyu nahi aaya complaint karne?” he asks me again trying to show off his investigative qualities to his juniors.
“Sir kal jo kuch hua aapko bataya maine. I ran for my life as I was scared the driver will harm me.”
“Toh subah kyu nahi aaya?” laughs at me and looks at his sidekicks who join him in laughter.
“Sir woh Ola wale bole ki sham tak batayenge what they will do with my case.” I reply.
“Yeh dekho tumko idhar 1:30 tak baithna hai toh baito fir FIR bana toh bana. Aur tu zyada Angrezi mat jhad haan pachta nahi humko,” laughs louder joined by his juniors.
Dejected I walk aside and dial the number of my so-called friend who assured me that going to the police and lodging a complaint was the logical thing. His number rings and then stops. No one picks up. Then I remember the number of the journalist who gave me assurances to cover my issue in the next day’s edition if I could procure the FIR. I dial her number.
“Hello is it Madam X (name withheld due to privacy reasons)?”
“Yes. Who is this?”
“We spoke about the Ola thing in the morning, remember?”
“Oh yes, tell me?”

I narrate the entire incident that happened at the police station. I get a reply, “Do one thing. You sit there in the police station and tell them you will not move without a FIR registered. They might hit you and try to drive you off but still wait there for the next two days. Bina FIR ke mat aana as I can’t file a story without one.”

I am shocked. To give her a story I have to undergo another round of emotional and physical turmoil? “Ma’am can’t we do some awareness for the issue? So many people on social media have responded to my post and have also narrated similar stories they underwent. Don’t you feel you have some moral responsibility to take up an issue and bring it to the notice of the general public and also the high and mighty Bhavish Aggarwal?”
“Boss don’t lecture me. I work for an organization. My editor will ask me did the guy get beaten up or is there any juicy story that will give us more mileage? If I say no then she will not file the story and my time in writing the article is wasted. If that driver would have beaten you and thrown you in the jungle then we could have taken some nice pics of yours in that condition and put it on front page. Still there is time, do a dharna at the Police station. Tell them you will not budge till you get a FIR done. Make all possible ways to get beaten up by the Police so that there is some juice to this story. Otherwise you will have to shell out some big monies to get featured in our newspaper,” she chuckles.

Now my patience is up and I think of giving her a piece of my mind, “So you need a Nirbhaya or a Rohith like incident to happen for you to highlight my issue? Then you don’t mind doing a candle march or a dharna seeking justice for me after I am dead so that your paper gets more circulation? As a helpless citizen I have nowhere to go and I come to you because you assured me of timely help and now you also raise your hands like others?” and before I realize she has already hung up on me.

In short, a middle class person like me with no political or bureaucratic connections has no place in this country where the Police has no moral responsibility to help the victims. The media want juice to write about any issue. The guilty company does not want to take any responsibility and a victim like me has to keep quiet and bear the atrocities done to us without batting an eyelid. Is this the kind of FREEDOM our ancestors fought for? Look around you will find more people like me who want to raise their voice but have to keep quiet because we have NO CHOICE!!!

Oh! By the way if anyone is interested please do listen to the voice recording of the conversation I had with the Ola Safety Manager today. Read part one of this issue here.