My personal favourite song from Slumdog

Everyone is raving about Jai Ho from Slumdog, but this one is my personal favourite. The words are beautiful (ok, so ignore the dreams on fire verse). While it’s meant to be a love song, to me it reads like a prayer.

Rahman uses the “Re ga re ga” phrase often in his songs. He uses it in the taans he creates in Luka Chuppi from Rang De Basanti, and in the tune of Jaage Hain Der Tak from Guru. He uses it here as well to beautiful effect.

You are my waking dream,
You’re all thats Real to me
You are the magic in the world I see.

You are the prayer I sing,
You brought me to my knees
You are the faith that makes me believe.

Dreams on fire, higher and higher
passion burning on the pyre
Once was forever Yours
in me, all Your heart,
Dreams on fire, higher and higher.

You are my ocean waves,
You are my thought each day
You are the laughter from childhood games.

You are the spark of dawn,
You are where I belong
You are the ache I feel in every song.

Dreams on fire, higher and higher
passion burning on the pyre
Once was forever Yours
in me, all Your heart,
Dreams on fire, higher and higher.

Delhi 6 – My review

If you’re a fan of Abishek, if you miss random scenes of Delhi, if you love Rahman’s music, if you don’t care too much about plot and structure, if you’re interested in checking out Sonam, then it’s worth your sitting through Delhi-6.

if you’re going because Rang De Basanti heralded the arrival of a promising new director, fresh with ideas and style, then be prepared to enjoy the first half of the movie and despair through the second.

Delhi-6 definitely has style going for it in the first half. It seems to have now become standard operating procedure for most young Bollywood directors to produce a peppy and stylish beginning to their films, only to droop as the movie enters its second lap. The early songs, soft lighting on the rooftops, standard local jokes, a restrained Abhishek Bacchan, and a joyful beautiful Sonam give the film a lot of lustre. And expectation.

But by the second half, you can already see the movie begin to pant under the weight of its own expectation, and Rakeysh Omprakash Mishra turns from story telling to moral preaching. The plot begins to break down, logic and reason get laid off, and no amount of bailout saves the film from going under.

Besides the fact that Rakeysh has a Manmohan Desai tendency to explain everything at the end (“He is your mother’s son, therefore he is your brother. Let me also now provide you with the plot synopsis so far in case you fell asleep during the movie”), especially on the preachy bits, he can’t seem to end movies properly. Vidhu Vinod Chopra-itis (of Parineeta and 1942 A Love Story) is a contagious disease.

There’s a whole bunch of gaping plot holes, that become larger as the movie unfolds. But the most interesting (read: disturbing) part is that there’s a severe imbalance in the caricaturing of religion. The Hindu majority is caricatured all through the movie while the Muslim minority is treated with a lot more care and respect. Examples
– The chaotic Ram Leela
– The Sushma Swaraj politician
– “Ram” taking money on stage and “Shiva” doing the tandava for entertainment
– The cow giving birth scene
– The two brothers having a bhajan face-off
– The charlatan tantrik starting the “yahaan mandir tha” issue
– The father and astrologer taking money despite the horoscope mismatch
– The hindu majority being responsible for starting the communal problem.

In contrast, the namaaz scenes are depicted beautifully, with wonderful songs and an air of peace and calm. The mullah Haji Mian is a moderate man. The spiritual person in the movie is the pir with the mirror. Mamdu, a muslim who is unjustly victimized, prays to Hanuman and is the epitome of religious integration.

Some the caricatures are funny and obviously based on fact, but is Rakeysh trying to sublimate his own “silent guilt of the majority”, or is he too scared to paint Muslims with the same brush? If his goal is to make the Hindu majority rethink their responsibility for events like Godhra, he is certainly not going to engage them by consistently poking fun at Hindus. Similiarly, by painting the Muslim community as a victimized community does not do them any favours either.

Abhishek is woefully miscast in the movie. Sonam is a wonderful find. She lights up her scenes. Some of the supporting cast do a great job. And the music, especially the background interludes are wonderful. Much more can be said about the soundtrack, especially the pairing of Bade Ghulam Ali saab and Shreya Ghoshal, but it deserves its own posting.

The Kaala Bandhar, while not necessarily a new concept, was a brave and bold idea as a backdrop to the overall story. It is unfortunate that Kaala Bandhar ends up as a gimmick for overblown harangues.

And Kaala Bandhar’s mother board had more lights lit up and working than Delhi does in most summers.

The formula that killed Wall Street

Wired magazine is running a piece by Felix Salmon (a prolific financial blogger) on the Gaussian Copula. It is not a new position in the Kamasutra. It is a formula created by a quant known as David Li. It became one of the central underpinnings of measuring the risk of a security by looking at the correlation of the underlying securities (coupling of instruments, hence the name). The article explains how Wall Street embraced the formula, and used it like water without fully understanding its merits and demerits. The formula was flawed. Its usage even more so.

If all of this had worked, David Li might have been on the rolls for a Nobel. As of now, he is in China and working quietly for a local company.

Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street

Maths with attitude

I got an email recently – fun with numbers.  Wouldn’t math have been so different in school had we been taught this along side QED’ing those boring theorems anf cramming multiplication tables?

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

And here’s some more symmetry:

1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

I recently came across a blog Tickled By Life that had a story on how this symmetry got used:

I tell them the story of German mathematician Gauss, Karl Friedrich (1777-1855) who calculated 1+2+3+…+100 very fast when he was a young boy. By reversing the order from “1+2+3+…+100” to “100+99+98+…+1” and added the two sets together he had every term equaled to 101. There were 100 sets of 101, so he had 10100. But the teacher just wanted one set of “1+2+3+…+100”, therefore the answer was 5050.
1 +     2 + … +   99 + 100
100 +   99 + … +     2 +    1

101 + 101 + … + 101 + 101

100 x 101 =10100

10100 ÷ 2 =5050

This example helps students to see that if we make use of our mathematical knowledge in a creative way we can do wonders.

Now, let’s play with the alphabet. What does it mean to give 100% ?

Here’s a little mathematical formula that might help answer these questions:



Is represented as:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then: H-A-R-D-W-O- R- K

8+1+18+4+23+ 15+18+11 = 98%

And: K-N-O-W-L-E- D-G-E

11+14+15+23+ 12+5+4+7+ 5 = 96%

But: A-T-T-I-T-U- D-E

1+20+20+9+20+ 21+4+5 = 100%