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Why Chennai Express of Sha Rukh Khan is an amazing sine qua non for a course on world cinema

It is almost a year since Chennai Express, a record breaking Indian blockbuster of  the king of Bollywood, Sha Rukh Khan, was released. This Indian flick may have a few surprise lessons for students of the movie craft.

It is one of those rare events on the silver screen, which provides a lot of insight to anyone seriously considering to master the craft of cinema and how to press the right buttons to enter the hearts of millions.

Bollywood films routinely become blockbusters with record collections at the box office, thanks to a captive audience looking out for a pass-time and burdened with a deficit of IQ and excess of money in their pockets both in India and abroad.


Chennai Express which got only sub zero marks from film critics, but managed to add a record number of zeros to its box office collection, however, is different and something of a a mystery of the Indian silver screen.

No one really knows how and when the ‘rail cars’ of Chennai Express, with such complexity  that  they could all have hardly come alive in a single brain, came together.

If Chennai Express was a typical director’s film it might have been a Rohit Shetty film. It is actually a  unique flick, with a lot more deeper and serious facets to it than a film director’s work of entertainment. Many of those can be attributed to its hero, the Indian movie star and entrepreneur, Sha Rukh Khan.

A rail car named desire.

It is clearly the enormous desire of Sha Rukh Khan to make more money by investing wisely in a sure-fire formula which compelled him to venture out to make a film with Rohit Shetty, who is a young Indian director with a string of blockbusters under his belt. Rohit had cracked what the modern Indian audience wanted and was ready to to pour oil on any desire which made good commercial sense. The result could hardly be anything but explosive. Chennai Express, a deceptively dangerous theme, was the product of bold commercial vision of Khan, as suicidal as it is genius.

A script no one will touch

With the fire of desire in its gut, the express train of Sha Rukh and Rohit Shetty could have gone in any direction, but it took a southern turn with its script writer Subhash, son of a veteran southern film director, connected with the leaders of linguistic strife in India before independence.

It was no surprise that his script came with a genesis of an impossible dream of unity and harmony between southern and northern India, which broke down with the departure of the British and was aggravated by the linguistic division of India after independence.

From Helen of Troy to Gone with the wind, regional human conflict had been the backdrop of great classics, depicted truthfully and presented to audiences who can discern life from entertainment.

However, it would be utterly irresponsible to ignore consequences of chauvinism, even if it is in mere movie entertainment, in the 21st century India more divided and ignitable than ever.



The script of Chennai express, dealing with the love of a northern man to a southern belle  was explosive any day, novel yet fraught with danger of massive protests and national grief if not a civil war, with the risk of negative stereotyping of south Indians.  Though the script has a strong message of the power of love to unite everyone, almost impossible to deliver today as it was nearly a century back, the great Khan was audacious enough to grab it because he saw a divine touch of great commercial success.

The divine touch

What actually created the spark of creation of Chennai Express was a touch almost divine as the one in the Creation of Adam of Michel Angelo. It was the final touch of Khan’s own blockbuster  Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge,  still running in Mumbai after  two decades, as the longest running flick.



Khan has instantly recognised that the feel of goodness where he left off in DDLJ is his ticket for Chennai Express which had the pulling power to drag millions of Indian hearts along with him in to it. It not only sealed the script of the movie but also the soft corner he has managed to sneak in to in millions of hearts worldwide.


Why a page views counter may be better than social share buttons?




Even though the algorithms of Google with names like Penguin and Panda had evolved to weed out fake content from the cyberspace, Google gives appropriate weight to recommendation to social media.

These are typically obtained through the share buttons provided by Facebook, Twitter and many others which need to be included in your content.

However, a growing number of experts feel that the share buttons have outlived their utility and appeal to draw visitors to click them. Moreover their unseemly presence all over the page, resulting from indiscreet use aimed at getting as many clicks as possible, is also putting off many people.

A growing number of web users do not use them at all for recommending a web page. Many experts believe that eventually everything will come back to old style text links and have even started to provide those instead of  the social media buttons.

All these go with the vein and philosophy of Google that only genuine, fresh and unique content needs to be taken in to account and presented in searches. Experts argue that such content will impress readers enough for them to recommend them to others without the buttons.

 No one is going to add up all those numbers in individual share button boxes to decide how many people have visited the page. A page count should be readily and easily available to the visitor to be effective in persuading him or her to read on and perhaps recommend to others.

That is where the post counts for such content becomes a useful and convincing piece of information to the reader. This is especially true for unique and compelling content which Google consider as the ones to be promoted.

The problem is that such page view counters are not readily provided by blogging platforms like Google’s BlogSpot or Wordpress even though Google has a mechanism to give this information in the admin section. However, it is not clear whether you need to install the Google Analytics, which slows page loading, to see this. Google also may have a commercial reason to withhold this information from the site visitors.

For Wordpress at least, thankfully there are some plug-ins, which can be easily installed. For BlogSpot however, there is hardly any help available from the wider community though a couple of scripts are available on the net which doesn’t seem to work.

One solution, provided by Mybloggertricks.com using a third party database called FIREBASE seems to be a good possibility though it is not working with many modern templates of BlogSpot.

However we have managed to get it working after some serious digging and a good dose of help from the folks at FIREBASE.

However the MBT script was generating data sets for each value for a given string identifier like “name” but the script will output a visitor number only when the value was a pure string like “more”. Please see here for a full description.

The problem with blogging platforms is that each blog post is dynamically generated and it is nearly impossible to have a unique identifier other than its title, which is also dynamically included in the html in a modern blogging platform. ( Google actually introduces a ID number also in the blogger blogs. )

However the MBT script didn’t work with the post itle either, one plausible explanation being it was not available to the script until after the page fully loaded by which time it was too late.

Fortunately, some expert advice to deal with this issue was available at Buggy Bread and following their advice seems to solve the problem.

For anyone who would like and feel competent enough to install the MBT script for Google’s BloSpot Blog,  here are the steps which worked for this blog to get the script working as you can see from the working counter on the top left.

(Please note the steps below are given without any guaranty, warranty or indemnity for consequential losses or damage and must be followed at your own risk and peril.)

- Install the MBT script as instructed by Mybloggertips. Com here.
- Check if it is working for your blog.
- If not, first back up your Blog template.
- Open your Blog template in the BlogSpot HTML editor.

-    Locate the Java Script given by MBT and placed just before the </body> tag.
-    Rename  “ name” to “pname” in three places in the script. 
-    Use Ctrl + f and find the code <b:includable id='post' var='post'>
-    Place the following code below it. 
-    <b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;'>
-    <a expr:pname='data:post.title'/>
-          </b:if>


- Click the preview template button and make sure the page is loading without errors.
- Save your template by clicking the save template button
- Hopefully your counter must show up with a number next time you open that page which will increment every time a visitor visits the page.
- You can check the pages that have been visited by logging in to your FIREBASE database.
- Don't forget to back up your template again.

Page view counts will be a useful information not only for the visitors but for blog authors also to verify the response to the post. For example, to compare the number of vies to the number of comments on a page or to gain an insight to what type of topics are preferred by the visitors etc.

With really good content, page view counter will ultimately become a significant measuring tool for bloggers.

Did fighting Indian corruption rob Sonia Gandhi’s UPA of victory in the 2014 election?

Amid all that euphoria of the massive election victory of the BJP, when the whole world was impatiently watching the steps of its would be Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, what captured the attention of the media was a  bizarre thanks giving meeting organised by it.


Several senior leaders of the BJP who won the recent election assembled to felicitate Baba Ramdev, who was conspicuously absent from the meet and media glare, who helped them win the election by his  blessings, which were more mundane than divine.

However the party can neither acknowledge nor felicitate the sources of the massive funds behind its campaign so openly, though someday somehow favours will have to be returned. For now, one Indian, who set out to expose and prevent corruption in India is languishing in the Tiharjail.

Arvind Kejeriwal and his AAP were broke even before he found he had no money to bail himself out. He had acknowledged long time back that his party had no funds to take on the NDA and the UPA in the parliamentary election, a political reality glaring at him he refused to see before setting out on his mission.

Hello India, Welcome to the Club of Religious Governance!

Let us face it, the Indian parliament election of 2014 has clearly enrolled India among the countries ruled by their religious  majority  where all other religions have only a minority status.

The Bharathiya Janata Party, a party widely perceived to be  based on Hindu Ideology and agenda of Hindutwa has won a landslide victory in the election of 2014, the results of which were announced today. The party has won a clear majority Of 283 seats and their National Democratic Alliance a total of 337 seats.

It would hardly be of concern if the massive majority was spread across the country because landslides in politics are nothing to write home about.

It is the localisation of the un opposed power of the BJP, as is clear from the CNN IBN graphic which changes the nature of governance of India.
With Narendra Modi's Victory, India chooses to go back to the Power of One http://ibnlive.in.com/home_america.html

There are no representation of opposition in several  states in India, which comprise a large chunk of the Indian population concentrated on an equally large part of the Indian land mass. It is as if India has been physically divided again.

Why was the 2014 Indian parliament election anything but free and fair and ignored by western media?

Why did the western media totally ignore the just concluded month and a half long Indian exercise of electing the members of their 16th parliament?

Despite the Indian media tom toming it as the biggest democratic exercise to decide the future of one billion Indians, it was the conflict in Ukraine and the abduction of Nigerian girls which grabbed the headlines in the world.

Despite being projected to become the number one economy in the world in the near future, is there a reflection of the real status of India among the world nations in this apathy? If there is, no one but the Indians themselves are to be blamed.

Somehow the perception about the Indians among the rest of the world, built over several decades, is not something Indians abroad can write home about. Every Indian who ventures out on a holiday outside India returns home with that feeling, a feeling of animosity and dislike and bearing a secret grudge about the countries they went visiting.  The problem is, most Indians won't even admit to it.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

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