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Friday, June 29, 2012

'I learnt a lot from Dhoni': Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli is one of the India's most explosive and most well dressed member of Indian cricket team. During a recent function of the brand that he is endorsing, TSI Correspondent Prakriti Raj had a converstaion with one of the most stylish cricketer in Indian history, here are the excerpts:

Virat, you are the brand ambassador of Sangam Suitings, why did you choose to endorse this brand?

I like the fabric that is used by this clothing line and I also like the punch line of the brand which is 'You wear what you are', I can relate with it. I wear what I like to wear and what I want to and after analysing all these things I thought that I should endorse this brand.

How was your experience while working with Sunil Shetty?

Oh, it was great fun to work with Sunil Shetty, we had great fun while working on the sets.

Since you are endorsing Sangam suitings, whom would you like to give a makeover in your team?

I think everybody in my team is stylish in their own way and I don't think anybody needs a makeover. Everybody is fit and know how to carry themselves nicely. I can't think of any names as such.

Who is the style icon according to you?

I think Zaheer Khan will fit that bill.

And who is the best dressed?

That would be Sachin Tendulkar.

You have played all the formats of cricket matches, Test match, one day and 20-20 as well. Which one of them is your favourite?

My favourite would be test match format beacuse there you actually get a chance to showcase your talent. Now I know that why do seniors like to play test match. I didn't used to get that point earlier but now that I play the game I can relate to it.

Dhoni is the current captain, while Gambhir's name is also taking the rounds for the same, what do you want to say about that?

What should I say about this, I mean it is not my take and it depends solely on the selection committee.

Who is the better captain-Dhoni or Gambhir?

I don't want to select any one of them buit Dhoni has brought Indian cricket to a very high pedestal and has been quite a successful captain. Under his captaincy Indian cricket team has achieved some magnificent feats.

What have you learnt from Dhoni?

I have learnt a lot from Dhoni. He never over reacts in any situation. He is always calm and is never aggressive. I am learning all that from him.

Have you talked with Yuvraj Singh?

Yes, I have talked with him and I do talk with him on a regular basis. He has always been very supportive. He is one person who is always happy for everybody. I pray for him to get healthy soon, so that he can return to team.

Since you have learnt a lot from Dhoni, do you follow him while choosing brands?

I think what brand one wants to choose is his personal discretion. You choose a brand that goes with your personality. In that matter I don't follow him.

Are you planning to get married any time soon?

No, there are no marriage plans as of yet.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012



Palpable enthusiasm in the air, a whole lot of fun events happening all at the same time, and scores of nattily dressed students happily chattering away – these were just some of the sights that greeted the eyes on entering IIPM's International Campus on May 3. It didn't take long for us to get why so much anticipation and excitement had preceded Cicero's Challenge, a much-awaited fest that the student community looks forward to be a part of. Expectedly, with 6,000 footfalls, of them 2,000 participants, Cicero's Challenge 2012 lived up to its reputation of having something in store for everyone. Students from schools across Delhi were seen participating in competitions ranging from T-shirt and Collage Making to Creative Writing and JAMming, with a zest that was to watch out for.

This event, first conducted in 2006, started as an initiative to provide students a platform to test their debating skills. The fest got its name from Cicero, an ancient Roman philosopher, orator, lawyer and statesman, who is credited with creating the Latin philosophical vocabulary. However, what started as a one-event show has today grown into an elaborate fest with several competitions, ranging from dancing and singing to testing the literary bone.

The Producer of the event, Prof Rajita Chaudhuri, captures the essence when she says, “Cicero's gives students a chance to develop their competitive spirit and put in a good fight, for nothing is more satisfying than emerging victorious against strong competition. But victory is not just winning but also about being able to tell after a fight that 'I gave it all I could. I gave it my best'. That is also the spirit of Cicero's Carnival.”

The theme for the 2012 edition of the festival was 'Get Real', and the contests were planned in a manner to test the students' connect with the real world. The theme worked out to be absolutely relevant, since we live in times where the virtual world is increasingly overtaking the time young people spend in the 'real world'. more Like every year, the 2012 edition also witnessed overwhelming participation, with more 2,000 students taking part in various events.

In appreciation of IIPM's initative to provide a platform to students, Neelanja Banerjee, a teacher with Ryan International School in New Delhi, said, “It is wonderful to see students showcase their talents and overcome their fears, on such a huge platform. Their desire to explore their strengths and do their best is commendable.”

The two-day competition kicked off with its signature event, which saw students debating about 'Technology is a knack of so arranging the world that we do not experience it' in the preliminary round. The finals on the second day witnessed 27 participants speaking for and against 'The virtual world is somewhere I can really be me'. Saksham Agarwal of Amity International School, Gurgaon, who bagged the first prize in the debate competition, ironically stood speechless on stage while receiving the cash prize of Rs 1,00,000, a certificate and trophy. Later he said, “I wasn't expecting to do so well, but now that I have, I am very happy with the results. I had heard some-where that winners don't do different things, they do things differently. It was with that on my mind that I gave my speech. My friends are of course waiting for me to throw them a party now!”

Saksham was closely followed by Praney Lekhi of Modern School, Delhi, and Siddhant Law of Don Bosco School Delhi, who stood second. The three students who bagged the third position were Pulkit of Manav Sthali School, and Dewang Mulani and Simran Keshwani of Montfort Senior Secondary School, Delhi. Dewang, who has been visiting Cicero's for two years now, said, “ I am elated. We've all known Cicero's to be the biggest fest of intellect and entertainment. My school has also won in several other events and I'm proud to have contributed by winning a position here. There was tough competition and the topics were great. I'm planning to join IIPM for my MBA as it as a perfect combination of education and fun.”

Prof Arindam Chaudhuri had a tough time choosing the winners. He said, “Every time I judge an event at Cicero's, I discover new schools with drive like Montfort school, for instance. As about the topic, the debate is not whether the virtual world is good or bad, rather whether one can be themselves in the virtual world. I can say I like to be myself in the virtual world, because being real in the virtual world is original.”

Amity International School of Gurgaon and Modern School and Maxfort School from Delhi received a special mention by Prof Arindam Chaudhuri for their excellent diction and for their confidence.

Dancing The Night Away
Besides the debate competition, the other main highlight of the event was the choreography competition, where enchanted audiences sat enthralled. From hip hop to Bollywood moves to salsa and bhangra, there was something for everyone.

Nehha Bhatnagar, an acclaimed Bharatnatyam dancer, who judged the session, said she was thoroughly impressed with the students' efforts. “Their energy is commendable.

These days, even schools and teachers take interest in the students' innate talents,” she observed. While Montfort Senior Secondary School won the first prize, Colonel's Central Academy School, Gurgaon, and Salwan Public School emerged as first and second runners up respectively.

Some Rock For The Soul
Cicero's Challenge 2012 on day one was a jam-packed event, but those present were equally charged up towards the end of the show too. And young rock music enthusiasts ensured that the wait did not go in vain. Students tried their hands at their own compositions, and the response was overwhelming. DAV school from Sheikh Sarai, who were adjudged the second runners-up, gave the audience goosebumps with their performance. The rhythm and harmonies in place, the renditions worked their magic. “We had only four days to get our act in place and this was also our first experience on stage, but we did very well here today,” gushed the lead vocalist of the band, who has also appeared on the 'Chhote Ustaad' reality show on Star Plus. In this contest, Modern School, Barakhamba won the first prize, while Ryan International School were the first runners-up.

Personality Gains
The personality contest at Cicero's Challenge 2012 had three rounds introduction, talent and questionnaire. Students sang, danced and did everything within their means to impress the judges. Swasti Kapur of St Thomas' who bagged the 'Ms Cicero' title said, “It is like a dream come true to have participated on this platform.” Mr Cicero's title was take by Said Kheershed of Maxfort School.

JAMming The Stands
The Just A Minute (JAM) competition came up with unusual and random topics. Sample this: 'Lunch, Crunch & Munch' and 'Bone, Cone & Stone'! But as would be expected from GenNext, the students did not disappoint. Bhavya Batra of Manavsthali School won the first prize. “I am a regular JAMmer; but the atmosphere here at Cicero's this time was something else. I'm feeling on top of the world,” she said on being awarded. St Thomas School, Modern School and Amity International, Gurgaon were the other winners.

Of Colourful Collages and Unusual T-shirts
The 'Get Real' theme was everywhere. At the collage contest, students were seen putting together crayons, sketch pens, water colours, glue, newspaper and magazine cuttings, and even food items like pulses to convey their message! Montfort Senior Secondary School bagged the first prize while Apeejay School, Sheikh Sarai, and Shah International School won the the second and third prize respectively.

Similarly, at the T-shirt Designing Competition, students were seen associating the 'real world' with nature, friends, good health and the 'virtual world' with evil, Facebook and the internet. Delhi Police Public School was declared the winner, followed by Salwan Public School, Gurgaon and Modern School, Barakhamba.

Rowlings Of the Future
Students from 50-odd schools participated in the creative writing competition, on the topic 'The real world is as superficial as the virtual world'. “It was an interesting exercise, and also quite challenging to streamline our thoughts in accordance with the subject,” said Ritika Singh from Salwan Public School, Gurgaon.

Dramatics on Display
The skit competition of Cicero's Challenge 2012 was one of its most awaited events. On the front lawns of IIPM, young actors from various schools brought some vivid concepts and characters to life. From female foeticide and rape to the right to education, students had a lot of social issues on their minds. “Our team was thrilled to be a part of the carnival. We practiced for four continuous days to come up with the final act,” says Prerit Daga of Vidya Bharti School, Rohini. Students of Ryan International, Vasant Kunj, who bagged the first position for their skit, spoke of evils such as corruption, smoking, deforestation and domestic violence. “We did not have much time to prepare. While we were earlier thinking of focusing on any on social issue, then later decided to take up several. Our experience at the fest was amazing. We got to interact with a lot of people, and also learnt a lot in the process,” said the winners. They were followed by St. Columbus and D.P.S (R.K Puram).

Ad-ding It Up
The ad competition was another platform for students to showcase their creative zing. The competition saw participation from more than 50 schools and over 250 students. The participants had to clear three rounds, wherein the first two rounds required students to identify brand names and their taglines. In the last round of the competition, the teams had to present an advertisement for a product. Olay, Bajaj scooter, Airtel and Bisleri were some of the products presented by the students. D.P.S R.K Puram, St. Columbus and Delhi Police Public School Were the winners.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Apex court's anti-corruption move is praiseworthy but not enough

The Supreme Court creates sensation every time it comes up with a new judgment. History repeated itself when the Supreme Court upheld a judgment of the Kerala High Court about sports officials being public servants and hence liable under the Prevention of Corruption Act. This definitely marks a strong commitment on part of the Indian judiciary irrespective of whether it will guarantee the end of corruption in sports or not.

Such a judgment is relevant in today’s context when corruption is rampant not only in sports bodies but also in other streams of life. Sports body officials handle huge public funds. They can’t resist the temptation of misappropriating money. Kerala Cricket Association officials are alleged to have misappropriated Rs 28.42 crore received from BCCI in 2004-08 and Rs 1.88 lakh received from the state for promotion of cricket. There are massive corruption charges on Commonwealth Games officials.

Corruption has also spread its tentacles to other fields like social work and microfinance. Unfortunately, social work is a sector with little accountability but huge responsibility and has exceeded the $1 trillion mark globally. Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in the developing world have recourse to over $15 billion. The number of NGOs in India is estimated to be over 3.3 million with over 19.4 million people engaged. There is evidence of rampant corruption worldwide. Transparency International ranks NGOs in Kenya as the second most corrupted body in terms of taking bribes. The Council for the Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) in India has blacklisted 400 NGOs while another 3,000 NGOs have been blacklisted by the Central Social and Welfare Board (CSWB) on the ground of irregularities of fund allocation and misconduct. India’s microfinance sector has reached the $7 billion mark, with over 120 million homes having no access to banking. About 70 million people have benefitted from microfinance. As per a CRISIL research, there are over 3,000 MFIs and NGO-MFIs, out of which, about 400 have active lending programmes. There are often news of misuse of funds.

NGOs and MFIs handle huge funds, often the same as sports bodies. Under the new SC verdict, if sports officials are public servants chargeable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, social workers and MFIs should be equally chargeable under the same corruption act. This will be another way to push the lazy Indian government to act. To reiterate again, it will not guarantee the end of corruption but will show the commitment of the existing Indian judiciary.

IIPM Mumbai Campus

Friday, June 01, 2012

Arindam Chaudhuri on Real King Khan is a caring and a lovable person

Film icon Shah Rukh Khan is often criticised for the outrageous comments that he makes and for his aggressive conduct. But that does not really bring out the true side of his personality.

The real King Khan is a caring and a lovable person, and his mischief is harmless

When he sees elderly idealistic looking people in the audience, he himself says that he knows he is blamed for being the symbol of a decadent culture. In fact, he said that in one of our IIPM shows, for those were the exact words. Those were the exact words I heard from my dad, just a few hours before entering the venue. Later, he laughed it off saying he knows that’s how parents often look at him. Actually that’s what sets him apart. While most film stars in Bollywood wouldn’t have ever used the word ‘decadence’ in their lifetime, Shah Rukh Khan can use it upon himself and laugh. That’s the intellect and spirit which sets ‘King Khan’ apart from all his contemporaries.

While it often seems that he is torn between going the Amitabh Bachchan way of completely dignified existence or the Salman Khan way of brashness, the fact is that he is being just himself. As his supporters vehemently tweeted after the Wankhade stadium incident, he is most caring and soft-spoken, especially towards children.

He most certainly is. Till he is poked and irked for no reason, he really is the symbol of dignity. His words, like Amitabh Bachchan’s, are most articulate and well chosen — proof of his education and continuous reading. The way he cares for his kids, only people close to him know. Others would have got an idea in the way he had his daughter next to him throughout the tournament and not just post-Wankhade.

But then, don’t poke him. Apart from his polite and dignified ways and the fact that he is the only other genuine superstar India has ever produced since Amitabh Bachchan, there is no similarity between him and ‘Big B’. They belong to two different generations. ‘Waise toh Delhi wala hoon aur logon ko ek mukka deke theek karna bhi aata hai’, Shah Rukh had said in jest another time, yet making a point during the launch of our book, Thorns To Competition, while elaborating on how he did feel like hitting a lot of people when he entered the industry. He candidly admitted he still does want to do that. But he can’t, thanks to where he has reached. Or perhaps, I should rephrase his words and say he tries his best not to.

But, with the number of people trying to pull him down, I am sure at times he is human enough to be provoked. However, the fact is that the urge is rare. For he knows how to hit back differently. He himself says that to hit back hard, he decided to change the game. He decided to go on a route that no one had travelled before. He even took up bad-guy roles. And that’s how he hits back hard. He plays a game that others are not into and changes the rules of the game — something that anyone studying his career will vouch for. And that’s been his way to hit back this time to his detractors too. The IPL crown. Not at all a fluke. Very intelligently and passionately drawn up victory. Beginning with the choice of Wasim Akram as the bowling coach to the careful selection of the team, its captain to the calculated risk of angering Kolkata fans by dropping the once great but now completely finished Sourav Ganguly.

‘I’m the best!’ That’s one line he is known by and proudly proclaims at every given opportunity. He said to Kolkata fans too: “I am the god of my team.” He is unabashed about the things that he does, for he does things from his heart and with complete passion. And he does good things. He has no pretence to be a social change agent. When people questioned him on why he even wanted to be in the film industry, his response always used to be, “To make people smile.” His premise has always been clear — he is an entertainer. When they asked him why he wanted to be a movie star, he said, “I want to be a movie star for my late parents... I want to make movies so damned bloody big that my parents, somewhere up in heaven, can sit on some star and see my movies from there too, and say, ‘Hey, we can see his movies from here better than we can see the Great Wall of China... We can see his movies covering the face of this earth’...” It’s his own set, standard of excellence. And that’s why he feels that he can’t be beaten, for he has never fought the battle that everyone else has been fighting. That’s quintessential SRK for you. A winner.

He never tells his children that he does films so that he can earn for their future or give them better lives. He tells them that he does films for himself. He does films because he loves it and it’s for his selfish needs.

His grandmother used to tell him that every time a camera flashed, it took away a minute of one’s life — Shah Rukh Khan confessed that his obsession with movies was such that he would rather have so many cameras flashing at him that his life ended in a second’s time (this, incidentally, is also the last line of his yet-to-be finished autobiography). That’s how he wants to go...giving the last shot for a film. That’s him. No one says this. They call it decadent culture. He proudly symbolises it and inspires a whole generation.

People tell Shah Rukh Khan that one should not sell art. He says, “Well, no. I don’t come free... You can buy me! I will do anything that you want me to do. I dance in parties, because I am a firm believer in selling dreams; and as long as what I do brings smiles to the faces of just two people sitting in the audience, I am proud of it!”

But, what we must not mistake is his spirit and call it arrogance. At no point has he gotten so arrogant as to think that he will never fail. In his foreword for one of my previous books, Discover The Diamond In You, he wrote an oft-forgotten but most meaningful quote, “Success is never final, and failure never fatal”.

Instead of banning him from a stadium, we might do better learning one thing from him: ‘Winners never quit and quitters never win.’ Keep rocking, SRK.

The author is a management guru and the honorary dean of IIPM Think Tank.