Taxi 9211: An actor-star duel

Ever saw a chess game played by amateurs…the way they try to make up their weak defence, by going for an early kill?
Amateaur chess players are weak in defence and ever keen to sweep the board clean. The option of a checkmate dawns on them, only when the board nears empty. They play for a kill and not for a win.

Taxi 9211 takes a similar format.
It tells the story of two characters who are blessed with a limited mental defence and a short fuse.

Jai Mittal(John Abraham) is the son of a rich guy, who just lost his golden goose(his father) and caught in the midst of a legal battle to acquire the eggs. Raghav Shastry(Nana Patekar) has never seen a golden egg..worst still, he has never heard of the story–The goose that laid golden eggs or The golden goose that laid eggs. Instead, he is out there on the streets as a taxi-driver and tries hard to steer through his mundane life.

John Abraham dresses in white, plays white and gets to make the first move.
Raghav Shastry (Nana Patekar) wears khaki and itches to take up the police work. He weilds his lathi, lashes his tongue and the game is on.

The game sets off with a bang(literally) on the bustling streets and escalates to a police station. The action reaches a crescendo when each of them occupy other’s turf–their homes.

Then the killing begins.

When both of them see enough of red, they strike an emotional chord and the game ends a draw, with both emerging as winners.

The movie takes a three act structure. The setting, the confrontation and the resolution.
The first two are decent, it is the third that takes a beating. Just as the confrontation heat is on, the movie rushes towards a climax.

So, what works for the movie? Novel canvass, Nana Patekar, Sanjay Dutt (the narrator) and the crisp editing.

What could have been better? Jai Mittal’s character, and the resolution.

Overall, the movie is worth a watch, and the Sippys should be congratulated for presenting a different fare.

One question that leaves you nagging at the end of the film–Why John Abraham? Was the budget so high (it does not appear so) that you needed star power for an assured box-office opening? And if John Abraham is a must, why not open the story with his character and unravel the other shades, not just burst out as they did, in the third act. Nana Patekar is world renowned for his throw-a-slap-in-the-face kind of roles. It is John Abraham, the star, who still needs to establish his image as an acto…so why deprive him of that chance and leave his character half-cooked.

Then we set his hair on fire

This book is about insights. Insights that lead to a zillion of ideas. Even when these ideas take different forms–a TV commercial is just one of them–one can still see the insight shining through.

And where does an insight fit in the overall scheme of things? RAISE–Research, Analyse, Insight, Strategy and Execution.

Phil Dusenberry gets to the point quickly and then reinforces the point in the subsequent chapters. While at it, he presents a slice of life from his illustrious career propped with real anectodes and management wisdom.

An adman all his life, Phil pays brief lip service to the science of advertising, describing the kind of background research that underlies great ad campaigns. He makes a strong case for research that is grounded in the customer reality. Data is just a means and not the end. Hence, research need not be an expensive and long drawn affair, sometimes it could be as simple as a trip to the restaurant or a movie or a chat with the target consumers. But he admits a greater faith in gut instinct sometimes overriding research.

He picks up the universal problems of any business–parity, moving the needle, launching, competition, mission and image–and presents his experiences with his clients like HBO, Mars, Cingular, Pizza Hut, Fedex, Pepsi and Ronald Reagen.

While the book is not about advertising, he offers interesting episodes involving Michael Jackson and Don Johnson. He also recounts how BBDO staged a pro bono campaign for New York City shortly after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, using celebrities such as Henry Kissinger, Robert DeNiro, Billy Crystal, Ben Stiller, and Barbara Walters to illustrate the power of the dreams that draw so many young people to the city, even today.

Finally, he presents a process to nurture and protect insights.

His sign off note? When you are armed with a powerful insight, the ideas never stop flowing.

Note: The cover design is a little misleading. You do get a feeling that you are in for a Archimedes-kind-of-serendepity throughout and the insights that followed. Instead the book outlines several other ways that lead to business-changing insights.

Marketing and Psychology

The study of marketing begins with the study of psychology.

If psychology is the “systematic study of human behavior,” then marketing is the “systematic study of human behavior in the marketplace.”

Virtually every principle of psychology has an application in marketing. Take “imprinting,” for example.

The first brand in a new category will imprint itself in human minds as the original, the authentic, the real thing. Kleenex in tissue. Hertz in rent-a-cars. Heinz in ketchup. Starbucks in coffee shops.

In an article in Advertising Age, Al Ries explores the close relation between Marketing and psychology.



ET, IT…and the rest