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Some Ramblings - Khaleja
By Srinivas Kanchibhotla

'Economic stimulus' is a phrase that is ringing around in the current gloomy climate, particularly in countries still recovering from the tremors of depression style recession. And different ploys are at play to jump start the moribund economies. 1) the top-down trickle effect tax benefits way - tax the rich a little less and, somehow, the ones in the lower rung of the financial totem poles would start seeing the benefits by the generous ways of ones holding the purse strings. 2) the bottoms-up bubble up mechanism - empower the impoverished in the bottom crust implementing a variety of welfare measures and the economy would slowly, but surely, start humming back to the good times. Depending upon the political and the economic persuasions, people are split right in the middle, espousing one of the theories above, crying at the top of their lungs, that their methodology would put money in the spending class' hands faster, which eventually would resuscitate the stagnant economy, gasping desperately for some consumerist spending...Little do the renowned economists know about the famous TFI's stimulus plan, a faster and a surer way of getting money to the folks, by an ingenious combination of the rich's generosity and the labor class' work ethic. Unfortunately the stimulus plan is locale based and works only for the telugu film industry and its ancillaries, as it is only here can one find producers willing to throw their money bags, irrespective of the worthiness of the cause, in the most charitable fashion, asking so little in return - in terms of quality, ROI, or even a simple budget plan - all for the greater good of the working class. Where else can hundreds of people on and off the screen toil for years together, on a single project, all the while getting paid generously for their services, in the production of something that eventually amounts to nothing. But that's the goal of any stimulus plan, right? It doesn't matter what one is working on, as along as one is working, alright. Getting everybody back to work, getting some decent money in the hands of the people, making them spend in order to aid the production sector, and thus bring the economy back on the rails. Stimulus never talks about the quality of the work - the ones throwing (ummm.. paying) the money are happy at doing so, the ones spending (er... translating the money into film) are happy at being given the opportunity, the entire labor force ecstatic at being put to work. What could be a more harmonious industry than the telugu film industrial sector, where the phrase 'every penney spent shows on the screen', more than makes up for 'what is the money spent for' or that nagging 'what has money got to do with quality'. Because, as election campaigns from age old times keep harping upon, 'it is all about the economy, STUPID'.

'Khaleja' makes an excellent case for the capitalist style socialist spending that would put to shame the top economic theories put forth by the wise minds all around the world. Spearheaded by the brilliant closet economist Trivikram, the project plan enlisted the enviable talent from various sections of the country, designing and implementing eye-popping schemes, that greatly rival the infrastructure projects undertaken by major countries and mightily benefit not just the parched area of desert regions but the burgeoning regions of upscale neighborhoods. No one could every decry this project as mere populist or favoring only a chosen segment of the population. Though auto dealerships benefited more in this project, than say a camel rider or a horse trader, it should be noted that car industry cuts across several manufacturing areas, and thus employs and benefits different sections of various other industries, than any other. The project is carefully devised so as to reap the benefits of the recent outsourcing trend, employing several fair-skinned personnel to gyrate to tunes, that are more up their alley than of the local flavor's, denying the naysayers of any protectionist agendas. The industry certainly does look after the global interests, not just its own, conforming to the 'vasudhaika kuTumbakam' precept. Aside the manufacturing sector that received a huge filip from the producer's benevolence and the director's vision, the other sector that got a shot in the arm (pardon the pun) is the Stunts industry. Where all that would have sufficed was a single blow by the hero to knock down a typical henchman, Trivikram approved a short term project headed by the stunt coordinator that called for a sports utility vehicle to knock the hero off his feet, who then goes flying in the air, through a tiny vent in a near-by tent, miraculously bounces off a trampoline type bed in the tent, shoots out again of the same vent, and slams into the windshield of the oncoming vehicle, thus injuring the henchman driving it. Considerthe ingenuity of the stunt for a second, purely from the economic standpoint - a vehicle has to get destroyed, a tent has to be put in place with a vent that matches the decent build of the hero, a trampoline bed with just the right elasticity, and of course, a bunch of working class stunt people operating the wires attached to the hero to throw him into the tent and then pull him back, the computer effects in the post production to erase off the wires, and not to mention, huge propellers kicking up good dust all around, enough only for the hero to have a good look around, but bad for the henchman seated in the car, behind glass protection. That is at least Rs 10-15 lakhs worth of stimulus money there. And the movie is replete with great stunts as such with superior production and stunt coordination values, delivering a hundred blows where one would have sufficed. But who's complaining here - not the stunt people, the infrastructure people, the computer companies, the director and certainly not the star? In act, Trivikram and the stunt coordinators deserve some sort of excellence medal ('Nobel' would be a tad difficult, as the Physics fellows would have a problem or two with the plausibility of all that action) in economics, for pumping in more money into the system than ever could have been possible in so little a time.

'Actions speak louder than words'. Trivikram finally realized the true meaning of that aphorism, when he chucked his usually witty, logical, heart-tugging, thought-provoking words in favor of ones that cuts right to the action, with least interference from the talking heads. After all, isn't that what President Obama has been accused of doing with his economic plans - lot of words, not a whole lot of action? Trivikram seems to have learned a lesson or two from the current economic imbroglios, by spending a tiny little on a whole lot, than get bogged down on a single (coherent, credible and cogent) issue, benefiting tourism and transport, medical and manufacturing, explorations (yes, there is a little bit about geology too) and explosions industries, all in one single swoop. What other sector than the telugu films can put that many people at work and pump that amount of money, in those many diverse fields, all within a couple of years? While the rest of the world wonders how the financial maelstrom that ravaged them and have them reeling, missed India completely, little do they know that an unassuming man of incredible talent and intelligence is silently working away at different parts of the country, in the last three years, putting most of its artists and artisans to work, spreading the wealth around, single-handedly pulling back the country from falling into the abyss of recession. And for people looking for stories, plot lines, logic, or anything that even slightly resembles simple minded fun, SHAME ON YOU! Logic doesn't feed mouths, physics doesn't put food on table, stories, plot lines and logic are elitist! So SHUT UP and PUT UP!

Even Trivikram realizes this before hand and aptly pens a foretelling conversation

hero: evaDu koDitae dimma tirigi brain block avutundO, vaaDae...
side-kick: brain block kaadu saar, mind block avutundO
hero [thinks for a second]: avunu kadooo, deeni kanTae adae baavundi...

Enough said!

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This article is written by Srinivas Kanchibhotla
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