Thursday, May 26, 2011

Meet the Kung Fu Pandians

Long before the advent of Kung Fu Panda, there must have been a Kung Fu Pandian crouching somewhere, wielding a megaphone, in a dingy set in the dishoom dishoom world of Kollywood, training hulk-like haraam zaadeys to take a million blows from an apology of a hero.

Truth be told, life ain’t easy for the Kung Fu Pandians. Being stunt masters, they have to grapple with ideas, engineer new ways of venting violence, thrash them out with the director, stage the fights and morph tomato squirt fests into believable blood baths. And for all that inventiveness, in the end, some pot-bellied Captain or a balding Superstar will walk away with all the glories!

Thankfully, these under appreciated action men have One Big Compensation that no other profession offers - they get to keep the coolest names! For example, if your dad gave you a yucky sucky name like Sambandam, and you have this god given gift of teaching a podgy star to pummel a hundred rampaging rowdies, then you’re eligible to call yourself, Pummel Sambandam. Ain’t that awesomeness?

The fun of legitimately strutting around with a sobriquet as your name is something else. Imagine introducing your humble self as, “Hi, I am Super Subbarayan. You can call me Super!” Or “Hey babe, I am Fire Kartik. Wanna play with Fire?” Even this pick up line isn’t that corny, “Hello, I am Wham Bam Balaji. Yes, that’s right. Wham Bam. Thank you ma’m!”

The tradition of stunt gurus appropriating macho sounding names began in the early eighties with the release of a rash of martial art movies in Chennai. Anyone who could mimic these jaw-dropping stunts bagged the bragging rights for that genre. That’s how ‘Karate’ Mani and Judo Rathnam were born.

Then came Rambo Rajkumar and Rocky Rajesh inspired by the daredevilry of their guru Sylvester Stallone. The nineties saw the emergence of a whole new pack of action kings who didn’t want to sound very wannabe. So out went, naming the source. In came, alliterative names. Kanal Kannan and Anal Arasu exemplify this curious trend. For all their clever name play, one still feels the Vedi Vedantams of today, still don’t match the authenticity or the roar of a Jaguar Thangam.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dead but still living

Mortality is a myth. Nothing EVER dies. Osama may be gone but is he really dead? Hell, no! He’s just been sent on a forced sabbatical to purgatory. In all probability, he’ll visit us soon as Hurricane Harami. You think I am kidding, don’t you?

The fact of life is everything keeps coming back. The colleague whom you gladly bade farewell to - will return to haunt you as a client! Well, such is the cycle of karma. Whether you like it or not, it does a wicked about-turn, and lands up at your doorstep, unannounced, like that pesky little encyclopaedia salesman!

The positive way of looking at it is, if the theory of Grand Recycling of Karma were true, there must be some hope for the good guys who just vanished from this face of earth without getting their due. Since brands have a soul too, the karmic reincarnation possibilities could throw up some fascinating comeback scenarios for dead brands that still live in our collective consciousness. Especially brands like Solidaire (French word for ‘the bond’).

An eighties synonym for hi-tech televisions in South India, Solidaire can easily pass off today as a mobile phone maker. I am almost certain that if some marketer puts his muscle behind this brand, it has the legs to give Micromax a run for its money.

Illustrated Weekly is another brand, worthy of a rebirth. With its lovely mix of humour, mind sport, scoops, comics and ballsiness, this magazine is any day more readable than the opinionated Outlook and the insipid India Today. Methinks it will be a runaway hit if it hits the newsstands as a tabloid.

Forhans (named after the dentist Richard Forhan) was a brand buried many times over in India. With its super strong equity in oral care, I reckon, it has the DNA to self-mutate into a chewing gum that cleans your teeth!

Likewise TVS 50, the two-wheeler that carried our nation’s ambitions for a decade, can be reinvented as a Segway type bike for the elderly (over 50). All these ideas are way better than flogging the same old dead horses. What say you?

Friday, May 13, 2011

When Earth Becomes Thrae

If the theory of Parallel Universes were true, there must be at least one universe where things happen in reverse. In that fantasy world, Saurav Ganguly would have fired Shah Rukh Khan from KKR; Osama would have hunted down Obama’s hideout; and Manmohan would have, by now, become Sonia’s remote!

I suspect Thrae (Earth read backwards) would be the name of that planet. And every being there would be known by their Ananym (a word derived by reversing the spelling of another word). For example, Men won’t be Men. Nem will be more like it. Chances are they must be stay-at-home dads focusing on rearing Nerdlihc for a polyandrous species called Nemow who prefer to wear the pants at home.

The currency of Thrae would most probably be Hsac. Unlike its terrestrial cousin Cash, Hsac must be a least-sought-after liability with the bizarre ability to turn anyone poorer. So no Fortune 500 lists. Only Misfortune 500.

In all likelihood, our very own India in Thrae would be a muscle-flexing, war-mongering subcontinent courted by aman-ki-asha loving nations like Natsikap and Anihc. The United Nations, in such a paradigm, would be dominated by the majestic leadership of Uruan, a teeny-weeny Polynesian island best remembered for exporting bird poop to a world, craving for more shit.

To sum up, Thrae would be the very antithesis of Earth. Out there, Paris Hilton would be the Mother Teresa. Pramod Muthalik would be Saint Valentine. Anna Hazare, a Nigerian Scamster. And Arundhati Roy, a rightist wrongster.

From a cinematic point of view, Thrae offers amazing grist for an Inceptionesque script. But what excites me more, is the naming possibilities offered by its core idea of reverse thinking. We can create a terragazillion names with this new technique.

For parents tired of the same old baby names spewed by Google and Maneka Gandhi, thinking backwards can be a massive eye opener. For example, the masculine Arjuna can yield you the feminine Anujra. The girly Kareena can result in a boyish Aneerak. Simple Ishwar can morph into an exotic Rawshi. All it takes is a little reverse engineering!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Secret World of Passwords

If your name is the public face of your identity, your password is the veiled visage of your Freudian subconscious. A lot can be deciphered by studying that mystery word clothed in asterisks.

If I had the powers, I would pinch some small change from the 40,000-crore Sai Baba Trust and institute an Indian Institute of Cryptobabble. The mandate of this madcap research foundation would be to map out psychological profiles based on password analysis. As I see it, at least 5 personality types can be derived after dissecting username keys.

Type 1 is what I call the Baap-Beta Breed. Such folks invariably name their password after their parents, spouses, kids, or pets. My gut feel is nearly 50% of our universe will be populated by these family-loving, Karan Johar movie-watching, closet conservatives. A classic example of this ilk is Karunanidhi. I wonder if his password starts with R or D.

Type 2 is the Unrequited Lover. This beer-glugging, dard-bharey-geet-listening, poetry-penning romantic has the habit of immortalising names of old flames in passwords. Some one like Salman might fall into this category. I suspect, one of his khuljasimsims, would surely be BewafaAsh or ZaalimKatrina.

Type 3 is the Lewd Dude. High on libido, low on fidelity, these hot rods have multiple usernames and usually, a smorgasbord of sexually-loaded passwords to choose from. From all media accounts, Shane Warne shows all signs of being one. I won’t be surprised if his current password is FizzHurley.

Type 4 is the I-like-me generation. Predictably immodest, these bloat heads see no fault in embedding their royal names in the password. You Tube legend T Rajendhar is the kind of bloke we are talking about, here. Knowing him, he’s capable of selecting RajendharMadhiriStarEnrumVaraadhuSaar - even if it has 37 characters!

Type 5 is the ubiquitous Destiny Believer. Superstitious, entrepreneurial, ambitious and totally bhagwan bharosey, this person prefers using the date of birth as the alpha numeric code. Yeddy2721943 is the genre I am talking about.

Now that you’ve hacked into my little theory of passwords, it’s time you logged into your mind and answered one small question: So what type are you?