Category Archives: Inspiration

Love Games? Make a career out of Mobile Gaming [Infographic]

With the emergence of smart phones and platforms like Android & Apple, mobile gaming industry has seen a surge in adoption.
It may come as a big surprise but what seems like just a 99cents download actually transforms in billions of dollars because of the sheer magnitude of volume. Roxio of Angry Birds and Zynga are some of the many companies who have made mobile gaming as its core business and is thriving on it.

A. R. Rahman – Do we need to Defend the Music Maestro? – BuddyInspiration

AR-Rahman

This article has been written by Emmanuel and originally published on his blog on 3rd September’10 when Rahman was surrounded by the CWG theme song fiasco. The article has been republished  on eWebBuddy with the authors’ permission in an attempt to let the world know what an inspiration A.R. Rahman is via his music, personality and values of life. Do share this among your friends and also leave your comments below.

AR-RahmanAs a person who closely follows him and his music, I don’t think I have to try and defend his music. There’s no point. So to the question in the topic, it’s a straight answer. NO. We don’t have to defend A R Rahman in this situation. Even Rahman never defended his music by talking anything about it. He defends his music by making music and making more music. So in the wake of the CWG theme ‘fiasco’ (that’s what media says!), where the same sections of media which were praising him (which again was unwarranted and without any control!) till now, are trying to reduce him to a mere money-monger who asked Rs. 5 crores for the theme and forget to see some truths behind the man and the music. So I thought I would take a comprehensive look at his career. So, I’m sorry for such a long post.

Pre- Roja
He was mainly an advertisement jingle composer. And, since his father R K Shekhar was also a film composer, only the ones who belonged to that generation knew him. But, by proving his prowess in the ad world some people took note of him. And when Mani Ratnam was looking out for a new music composer for his new movie and since Mani’s cousin knew ARR, he was recommended for the same. Thus started a collaboration which in itself has become a landmark in the Indian Film Industry. ARR was paid Rs. 25000 for the same.

Roja & Post-Roja
We still have the audio cassette of Roja at home. There was nothing unusual about the cassette at that point of time. But later, I realized that there was something special about the cassettes and CDs in which ARR has given music. The noticeable aspect was that credits. The musicians who played various instruments, the ones who helped to mix it and even the ones who were part of the chorus were mentioned in the credits. It was a welcoming change. And it has been mentioned over and again in magazines, by the people who were/are involved. I have not seen such a thing in any other CDs here.
Rahman was busy breaking records and breaching musical boundaries. With Rangeela, he broke into the Hindi Film music scene too. Sony grabbed the chance to release one of his albums, a first for them to work with an Indian artist, with Vande Mataram releasing in 28 countries simultaneously. They gave him a chance to work with a musician of his choice. He selected Nustart Fateh Ali Khan, the choice I believe is one of the greatest associations Rahman has ever done.
Criticisms followed. People even claimed he was making music with software. When 1997 Filmfare music award went to Jatin-Lalit, they commented that they don’t need to grow long hair, make the producers to wait for months and work at midnight to get such accolades. There was no reply from Rahman. No talks. No statements. But Rahman replied. Through his music. The reply was Dil Se. Quite literally the reply was “from his heart”. Chaiyya Chaiyya became the first track to feature in UK Top 10 charts and the song revived Sukhwinder Singh’s career. And, currently, the Jatin-Lalit combo doesn’t exist anymore!
When the decade ended with the landmark “Taal”, he became the top composer in Hindi Film Music. The producers started to realize the worth of the long wait at his studio for even months and the singers realized the worth of losing their sleep in the nights to sing for him.

Post 2000 & Pre Oscars
When Airtel started their campaign, they roped in Rahman to score a jingle, which as per their current records, is the most downloaded music piece in mobile downloads in the world. Even now, after almost 10 years, every other ad jingle is yet to beat it.
When Kaho Naa Pyar Hai music became a raging hit in 2000, the same old comparisons, criticisms etc surfaced again. This time too Rahman never talked out to media. Nothing. But reply came through music. The soundtrack was for Lagaan, the first ever film production by Aamir Khan, which redefined many things in Indian Film making.
He was noted by Andrew Lloyd Webber, a giant in his own right, who wrote scores for the likes of “The Phantom of Opera” and was invited to score and produce music for “Bombay Dreams”. After that he scored for a bigger project, the stage musical for “Lord of the Rings”, where he collaborated with an all-female Finnish band, Varttina. In between, in 2003, he scored for a Chinese film “Warriors of Heaven and Earth”, where after hearing the score no one would ever expect that it’s an Indian composer who has combined the Chinese, Turkish and Indian sounds together to create such a beautiful soundtrack. In 2005, the TIME magazine critic, Richard Corliss, picked Roja as one among the top 10 soundtracks of all time.
He missed quite a few important projects domestically during these years because he had to give total attention to his foreign projects and so, for about 3-4 years, we got to hear only very few number of tracks from him. But, in 2006, he showed us how even a strumming rock guitar can infuse patriotism in a mass masala commercial movie. The background score of Rang De Basanti is bigger than the songs, and the movie minus even the small bit of its music is a dud. The Filmfare annual issues never had any changes in the “Top Music Composer” for years now.

Oscars & Post Oscars
Rahman understood in the initial period itself that Indian music can grow beyond its boundaries and its people and he knew that visibility was needed for the same. And he knew that it will happen through only music itself. Somehow, Slumdog Millionaire happened in 2008. When he got a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and an Oscar double, some detractors claimed that a musician can prove his mettle in the global music scene only if he wins Grammy. Unfortunately for them, he won that too. Then people targeted “Jai Ho”, claiming that it’s not his best and many more. But, the scale of achievement was unbeatable and Jai Ho became an anthem that went across the boundaries.

“Giving Back to Music and Society”
No one really knows about this side of Rahman. No one has any idea about what and how he gives back to music and society because the media never went/go beyond the peripheral stuff, where only films matter. The only other thing everyone hears is that he has launched many new singers, where he broke the monotony of using established singers and gave variety to the listeners. Many music directors just followed suit.
An important aspect he has sometimes mentioned during his Chinese film composition and the Lord of the Rings projects, and knowingly or unknowingly ignored by the media, was about the usage of Prague Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He talked about the importance of live scores in the original soundtracks of movies. And also that he would start working in that direction. The result was the music school, the KM music conservatory, where he is trying to create such an orchestra and more importantly giving music lessons to students. The facts about the school itself would need another post to write about. As he says, it’s his small contribution back to the music.
When the Shahrukh starrer “Don” was released, the makers and music composers never gave any credit to the people who dealt with music department of old “Don”. Because our laws are designed in such a way that in such situations, the original creators can only crib. But, in Kal Ho Naa Ho, Karan Johar bought the rights to just use the “Pretty Woman” for Rs. 8 lakhs, because internationally they would have been sued. Since the movie had a significant number of screens in USA, if the track had been used without permission, one can foresee the consequences. In dealing with the rights of music, ARR even walked out of an SRK-Karan Johar film because they couldn’t compromise in the discussions on music rights. He has been fighting for music rights for music directors and lyricists from the time when he could do it. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Vishal-Shekhar once gratefully acknowledged ARR’s role saying that only a music composer of his stature can do that and it would help them too in the future. Although, it’s not succeeded fully, the fight continues.
He never talks about his A R Rahman foundation, which engages in charity activities. He composed theme song for free for “Banyan”, an institute that take care of mentally challenged women. He did concerts free of cost all across the Tsunami affected coastal areas of Tamil Nadu. He collaborated with many musicians from across the world for the same in a track called “We can make it better”. He worked with UN for Anti-Tuberculosis campaign and the Millennium Development Goals, at the special invite from the then Secretary General, Kofi Annan. Many of his concerts were charity concerts. And many and many more.
But, no one knows about what he does because he never boasts about it and no one ever reports about it. As everyone who has interacted with him says, he still remains the same humble old ARR who started as a newbie in Roja. Even during the Oscar win, he claimed over and again that he sees it has a chance for more international collaborations for other people too and it would open new avenues for musicians, both insiders and outsiders.

The CWG Theme ‘fiasco’
What I wrote till now, is a background with which one has to look at Rahman and the issue here. Else, no one understands the real Rahman and the CWG theme track and the Rs. 5 crores.
Media asked him a question whether the theme will be like Waka Waka. He told them that their idea is to go beyond such a track and make it into a theme (Come Out and Play!) based track. But, how it’s being interpreted now in the media is there for everyone to see. Also, he asked media to portray positive image about our own games which we are hosting and now media is writing against him. If you dig some more, many comments that have come against the track are made up in the media and only a few are jumping in the bandwagon to pull him down. Such a rampant negative image for the track has given no chance for many to even to listen to the track. But the listens and downloads and many comments at websites indicate the track is on a positive side. Many like the song.  Now, what the Organizing Committee is going to do is yet to be seen.  The problem is that the comments from majority who like the song are somewhere hidden in this onslaught of negativity.
The Rs. 5 crores and 6 months everyone is talking about is another thing. I don’t know why ARR should compose a song free of cost for the Indian Government. He is just an entertainer who is giving his time and effort for something for which he has to be paid. And as media skillfully hides, it includes the performances during the opening and closing ceremonies. For Shahrukh Khan to dance in a Baraat, people offer more. When ARR created something original and that too for the country, why is Rs. 5 crores an issue? Basically he’s doing his work and getting his remuneration. And the amount was agreed upon by the Organizing Committee. As of now, it’s not yet proved if this sum is right or if he has asked for Rs. 15 crores before and it was brought down to Rs. 5 crores and all that. The problem here is that now it has become tax payers’ ‘valuable’ money, whereas if it was a movie production company’s money, no one would have cared. And the 6 months, the Organizing Committee asked him 6 months back and he started work then and the fact is that he’s simultaneously working on multiple things and isn’t it common sense to understand that this talk itself is point-less? Media, on the way of making the whole issue sensational, has averted all attention from the CWG corruption to ARR and is just doing what the Organizing Committee also would have wanted.
About criticism from people apart from media, they were always there. But now, since media’s and their goals are in the same track, it has become so easy for them. The likes of Louis banks, Aadesh Srivastava etc has every right to hold hatred and grudge against ARR because they never won accolades Oscars, 4 national awards and 25 Filmfare awards. They are not and can’t be what ARR is today.
The funny part is that African part of the song “Waka Waka” is a complete rip off from a 1986 track from Cameroon and it’s not credited by Shakira in the worldcup anthem version. The “Waving Flag” song was meant for a fight against poverty (just see the lyrics!) and as irony would have it, it was used by Coca Cola all across the globe during the world cup. The CWG Theme is the only complete original track and stand for what it is meant for. If it’s good or bad, it’s decided by listeners and not just a handful of journos.

Future
ARR has worked with many filmmakers and they know what they want from him and he gives them. So, it won’t affect him anyway. But, the negativity the media created may take some time to go away. I hope the same media won’t praise him either in the future. Because even that would be an insult to him.

When this is happening, the music he has done for “Endhiran” is ruling charts and breaking records in sales. The first song of “Jhootha Hi Sahi ” is out and the bit is as fresh as ever (see the comments in Facebook). And still, filmmakers are ready to queue up at his studio, waiting to pull night outs to get what he gives them. The queue at his studio will remain the same or increase in length.

A Hypothetical situation
ARR is getting many chances from outside India now. He has his own recording facilities in London and Los Angeles. So, if he decides, because of this CWG theme issue, that he will concentrate on only Hollywood and other foreign and non-Indian stuff, it would be just our loss. We will miss out on all his music, the anticipated collaborations and all that. But, I guess it’s better for him because he can work with better technology, better facilities, better “people” and more money.
And if that happens, the same media will write earnest requests to him to come back and do music for Indian films too. Indian media never fails to amuse me. 🙂

Why I wrote this
I just wanted to write something about the man and his music for a long time. So it was just some thoughts, mainly coupled with facts. Actually, what I wrote above are facts and facts only. I am not a die-hard fan who is blindly following him. But, I always believe that he is a kind of person and his music is a kind of stuff, if one would enact and follow, that can make this world a better place. I think so because it’s so hard for a person to be grounded and down to earth when you have achieved such heights in life and it’s so tough to constantly churn out high quality stuff again and again. The thought itself amazes me. That’s it.

Of course, JAI HO!

Do check out Emmaneul’s blog for more – http://reticentexpressions.blogspot.com
A.R. Rahman’s Official Website – http://www.arrahman.com
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Bloombox by KR Sridhar – Answer to Green Clean Power?

sridhar news article bloombox

Bloombox is the name of that device which is being touted to change how we get power in future and whats more inspiring about the device is: its made by an NRI, K.R. Sridhar.

Bloombox is the result of the vision and hard work of K.R.Sridhar and his company Bloom Energy. This is one of the first of the many green energy attempt that seems viable to some extent.

What is a BloomBox?

Bloombox is the name of the device or rather a box which produces clean, green electricity and can make the Grid/Power Companies go on a toss. Expected to be priced around $3ooo, this box has the capability of producing constant power for years. Though its not like it runs on nothing, to produce the energy, any form of gas fuel like natural gas, biogas, etc is required. All of us know that energy cannot be produced out of nothing.

Sridhar says that a small box is capable of running 1 american home or 2 european homes or even upto 4 Indian homes by producing around 1KW of power. Cool, huh?

That too, it produces no sound, needs nothing more, does not give out harmful gases.

How does BloomBox work?

Blookbox has a series of panels separated by cheap metal alloys which are capable of producing electricity with the help of a gas like naturalgas, biogas.

The panel is made of beach sand and is then coated with a special green& black ink in either sides. This ink is the secret behind producing power. When it interacts with gas and oxygen, power is generated. The more number of panels used, the more is the power generated.

Is there a catch here?

Apart from the bit that it run on a gas form, there is no catch. You can argue that since it uses Gas as source, hows it good coz we are still dependent on others. Also, to produce the gas power is lost.

But we are looking at how generating power can get cheaper and greener here. Right now oil and nuclear power is the main source of electricity followed by water and wind. Oil and nuclear will not last for long and in producing electricity a lot of harm is done to the nature. That is where Bloom scores…

Also, Bloom energy is not dependent on one form of Gas, making it more feasible for use.

Is it being used anywhere right now?

Sridhar unveiled the technology to the world just today via CNET and 60-minutes. It is currently under test by Google, Fed-Ex and Walmart. There are other biggies being lined up and they are saying that this technology looks quite promising.

Sridhar had raised 400-million-dollars for this project and its success is very important not just for him but also for his vision for a cleaner greener earth.

Though not everyone is positive about the technology, it sure seems that we are taking steps towards making this a better, cleaner and greener world.

Following is a NEWS article of the same. (Click on the article for a better view)

sridhar news article bloombox

Check out the video below for more. Its set to revolutionize the way we use electricity!! 🙂 Cheers!!


Watch CBS News Videos Online

Aircel Ad-campaign – Innovative, Socially Responsible & BuddyInspiration

Yo Buddies, I found this from somehwere and in this presentation you will see the innovative ad campaign run by the growing cellular operator of India, Aircel in mumbai.

As I had mentioned in my 1st buddy inspiration post, inspiration can be drawn from anything. Hope this one inspires you to be creative, innovative and socially responsible at the same time. Content is in the form of a presentation. Do post your views:

Vikas Kedia believes “Dont Just Dream, strive to make it Real” – BuddyInspiration

All our life, we come across several people encouraging us to Dream and not just any teeny-weeny dream….”Dream Big”, and so we do! At some point though one begins to wonder, “Will the dreams ever become reality??”. And one needs to answer back quickly, “Yes, they would be. I will make them come real”. We hunt for inspiration, we seek motivation and for some lazy people like me also a catalyst to trigger the process.. One such success story I came across lately is that of Vikas Kedia, CEO, InterNext Technologies Ltd.

Vikas Kedia

Vikas Kedia

Let me clarify something now, this story is not a rags-t0-riches one with the protagonist having a troubled childhood, bad parents, etc. If you are looking for that sort of a masala, be prepared to be disappointed. 🙂

Actually, Vikas Kedia was exceptional in his academics. This Sri Ram College Graduate and IIM, Bangalore Alumni represented India in Global Entrepreneurship Challenge, sponsored by Stanford University and was among the top 5% of his batch. As it is the case for such talents, he was offered a rewarding job at New York. But having high aspirations and dreams of being an entrepreneur, he declined and went ahead to start his own company to detect Click Fraud. Though being a strong and promising concept, he had to go through troubled waters and was soon out of money and options. Its unimaginable how tough life can be without money in a not so familiar country. That too jobless suffering under huge credit card debts. And this was the case with Vikas. In his own words,

“I still remember thinking where to eat McDonalds or Taco bell, and then thinking well taco bell is cheaper and with $5 in my pocket to last till I find the next odd job, it better be the cheapest place. Well those were the hard times. I had to go through a lot of struggle. I slept in churches, Salvation Army and on the streets while at the same time looking for a job.”

These tough times did not actually deter him from taking his dreams ahead, infact they strengthened them to become more determined and as one always learns from one’s own failures, so did Vikas.

He landed up in a job where he got to learn the ups/downs and challenges of the debt consolidation industry which led him to start his own Debt Consolidation Care (DebtCC) Community. The community gradually grew and led him to create 3 more communities and then there was no looking back.

The members are more than happy to have a forum, a public platform where they can share there woes, debt troubles and get help. Quoting one of the members:

The time has come! The Big D-man who has given us a forum, a community, a family, guidance, leadership, and so much more. Who has been there for each and every one of us and watched us all learn, grow, and rise above all of our financial problems…has finally topped 1,000 posts! Vote for Vikas to the Debt CC Hall of Fame!”

Now what else would one like to achieve…quoting myself (giving modesty a little miss)… “Money does not really give satisfaction, love surely does”.

So, why this story:

  • Simple yet inspiring, one can draw motivation from any source. So eWebBuddy provides you some food for thought.
  • Realize your dreams at some point of life. Strive for them, no matter what.
  • Do you have any debt? Incase you do check out Vikas’s communities.

Wanna more about Vikas? Check out the links below:

Blog suggestion by Anirudh Lohia

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“BuddyInspiration is a new segment we are starting on eWebBuddy to bring forward simple yet inspiring stories. If you know of any and would like to share, do contact me.” – Piyush