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DO YOU HEAR ME?

Sumedh with Aamir Khan

Incredible India Commercial

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You saw Aamir Khan in this video but did you hear him? Of course you did… or maybe
you didn’t! What about Deepika Padukone in Om Shanti Om, Katrina Kaif in Humko
Deewana Kar Gaye, John Abraham & Bipasha Basu in Jism?? We saw them sizzle on
screen but there were hidden performers who made a huge contribution that, in a sense,
went unseen. Ironically, their victory stands in exactly that – being unnoticed. All these
actors’ dialogues had been dubbed by some exceptionally gifted people who specialize in
just this. Mimicry runs the risk of becoming mockery but we’re talking serious business
here.

A major part of an actor’s performance comes from his dialogue delivery. Many of us
know that creating the audio track is a completely different process altogether. You hear
their voices everyday, on radio, in television commercials and even in movies and serials.
You just don’t know they exist. Here’s getting up close and personal with the voice of
Aamir Khan… umm or would you like Farhan Akhtar or Shahid Kapoor or Fardeen Khan
or better still Hrithik Roshan! Take your pick! He’s one of those hidden talents you’ve
heard a million times before. Now you’ll know it’s him!

Listen to these Ringtones!

Meet Dr. Sumedh Shindey, the voice of Aamir in the commercial! He fondly recalls his
orchestra days as a young boy. “I would perform off and on in my uncle’s orchestra
way back when I was in school.” Among the many artists who pulled off some fun acts
was the little Sumedh who back then would mimic only ‘Aamir Khan’. “I perfected my
Aamir-act only after Dil Chahta Hai in 2001. The first time I lent my voice professionally
was for Hrithik Roshan in the promos of Kkrish!” And then of course, there was no
looking back.

Apart from the several unrevealed performances, Sumedh gives all due credit to Indian
Idol which he considers the turning point of his career. You’ve probably seen his super
act where he charmed judges Anu Malik, Alka Yagnik & Javed Akhtar, but the story
began much before that.

“Well it was the normal middle class mindset. In simple words, Kuch bhi karo bas
TV par aana hai, industry mein ghusna hai.” he began candidly. “I had a good 2
years’ experience of being rejected in the Indian Idol auditions. By the 3rd year I knew
exactly what was coming my way. There were more than 5000 contestants and I knew
that this time I had to leave a mark. I had to be seen and noticed.” Determination at
it’s best, Sumedh got through all the preliminary rounds and finally landed himself
in front of the judges. That’s what you see in the popular clip doing the rounds on
YouTube. He remembers blissfully how the judges loved his performance. Indian
Idol rejected him once again but the industry had welcomed him with open arms.

See Sumedh's audition at Indian Idol

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“I was just returning home after the audition when I get a call on my cell phone. It was
Jaaved Saab himself. He invited me over to his place and asked me if I could perform
for his family and friends. He said he wanted to introduce me to Farhan Akhtar and there
the circle was complete. Dil Chahta hai is my most favorite film and in retrospect, that’s
where it all began for me.” Needless to say that was one of the most memorable evenings
for Sumedh. But this was just the beginning. His excitement was inexhaustible when
he came face to face with the one and only Aamir Khan. Unfortunately it didn’t last too
long he said. “We met at a recording studio. But then it was all very thanda… or maybe
just not as thrilling I had expected. I kept telling Aamir how much I admired him. But
he simply flashed his charming smile and spoke almost in monosyllables. I was a tad
bit disappointed but people later told me ‘that’s just the way he is’.” Sumedh concluded
sincerely.

A while later however, Aamir Khan himself recommended Sumedh to do a small Voice
over in the film 3 Idiots. “There was a small line to be corrected in the scene between
Aamir Khan and Boman Irani, when they’re all sitting for the group photograph. I have
done that.” he said proudly. Rumor had it that, perfectionist Aamir Khan had summoned
a few other artists too for the same so he could choose the best. Before I could complete
my line, “But mine was used as the final take. I know that for sure because I received my
payment for it.” and he broke into an evil laughter.


Nevertheless his journey in the industry had begun. A roller coaster ride awaited him
ahead. But Dr. Sumedh Shindey had other commitments too. For those who did not
notice the title, Dr. Sumedh Shindey is a qualified dentist who runs his own clinic in
suburban Mumbai. That brings me to the most obvious question – How do you manage
both? Pat came the response, “Dentistry is my profession and the Industry is my passion.
Both are equally dear to me. I absolutely love juggling between the two.” And just for the
sake of argument, what if the Industry (as he puts it) keeps you too busy for your clinic?
*Time for my evil laugh* “Why would I shut down my clinic? My wife will take care
of it!” He’s got the answers all ready. A note to his to-be wife (yes he is NOT married)
- Looks like you’ll have to take over soon coz this Marathi mulga has way to go in his
newfound ‘Industry’!

Quoting one of Dr. Shindey’s Facebook posts as a parting note, “Industry mein tikna
hai toh PyaaR nahin PR badhao.” Seems like a lesson well learnt and a counsel well
conveyed.

Until later....

Agent Ash

DO YOU HEAR ME?

A Plate Full of Cookies

Mrs. Kashyap was one hell of a great cook. Apart from cooking up delicious regular meals, she adorned a special expertise for any kind of cooking that involved frying, steaming, rolling, frosting and almost every kind, so to say. She’d never tried her hand at baking though. And one birthday, Mr. Kashyap gifted his dear culinary expert wife a sleek microwave oven. At first, Mrs. Kashyap was baffled, as she had absolutely no idea whatsoever, what to do with that steel grey bodied chic smart looking gadget. She had heard from friends that one could cook some really good stuff in them, but HOW was her big question.

 

But then she wasn’t the kind who’d sit over it (not literally!), but meaning, that she wasn’t the type who’d just keep the oven in some corner of her cramped up kitchen and never use it. In fact, she was the exploring kind. So she set off one day on a quiet Tuesday afternoon, going through each and every page of the instruction booklet that came along the box of microwave. She assembled all the electrical fittings and assimilated that this was one gadget in her kitchen which can come in really handy if utilized smartly and intelligently. And then, there was no stopping for Mrs. Kashyap.

 

With the overtly puffy pastel green cotton gloves in hands, which she had purchased for all her future microwave delicacies, she started off. Eight days after Mr. Kashyap had presented her with the birthday gift, Mrs. Kashyap enthusiastically began. The first recipe to be tried by her was Cashew Cookies. Anxious of how it would turn out, she set off meekly. And in less than 2 hours, she was done baking a whole lot of them.

 

At 7.00 pm Mr. Kashyap arrived from office. Along with the regular strong cup of tea, Mrs. Kashyap set on the serving table, a plate full of the most aromatic, crisp, tempting, rounded Cashew Cookies for her dear husband. One bite into it, and Mr. Kashyap was absolutely marveled at the taste. Usually, he wasn’t the kind who’d relish western delicacies. But Cashew Cookies turned out to be the exception, and this might have happened so because Mrs. Kashyap hadn’t revealed the name of the recipe to him. All she had said, when asked about the name of the dish was Cashew & Almond Butter Biscuits. That name was bearable to his ears. But somehow A “Cookie” slip in tongue in place of a “biscuit” wouldn’t be tolerated.

His loathe for western dishes was known to Mrs. Kashyap, and hence she’d fabricated a new name, and some new ingredients (like almonds & pistachios), to let him know about the kind of dish baked by her. And our dear Mr. Kashyap thus fell totally head over heels for Mrs. Kashyap’s Cashew & Almond Butter Biscuits. Returning from office at 7 pm started becoming a new target for him, for how could he miss his daily crunch, along with the cup of tea?

 

And thus, that plate full of cookies became so much of Mrs. Kashyap’s trademark that every visitor to the Kashyap household who ended up having a cup of tea was without fail, offered this delicacy to munch. Needless to say that every single one of those visitors appreciated the dish, and a few of the inquisitive ones even enquired the shop from which the Kashyaps had purchased it. Beaming with pride then, Mr. Kashyap made it a point to make a mention that those weren’t actually bought, but were home baked at the magical hands of Mrs. Kashyap.

Mr. and Mrs. Kashyap’s children who were college-going, also loved their mother’s haath ke bannaye Cashew Cookies, and whenever they’d invite their friends over for studies, or sleepovers, a plate full of those normally used to be served. As if, it had started becoming a tradition in the Kashyap household.

 

Anyways, so on one such occasion, Mr. Kashyap’s lawyer Mr. Daruwala was visiting them for some ongoing legal proceedings in court. Over a cup of tea, Mrs. Kashyap served him her patented Cashew Cookies, and he despite being a Diabetes candidate, ended up munching 4 of the rounded delights. With illuminated eyes, he asked the lady of the house” Kya aapne khud bake kare hain ye?” By now, he knew Mrs. Kashyap’s culinary expertise, and thus framed his question in a presumptuous manner. When the lady nodded, he was left with no words to shower his praise. And he made a very spontaneous and passing remark—“You should bring these kinds of delights in the market, Mrs. Kashyap. I bet you they’ll sell like hotcakes”.  Amongst a whole lot of appreciations received so far for her Cashew Cookies, this was like a signature line for her.

At that instant, she fell quiet. But towards the end of the day, she cautiously opened the topic with her husband, purposely over dinner table, for she knew that her children would definitely second her thought. She had been thinking hard about Mr. Daruwala’s statement the entire day, and had come to the conclusion that she wanted to open a Confectionery business; something like a Bakery, to further her love for cooking.

 

It took Mr. Kashyap five days to give a smiling nod to his wife’s entrepreneurial venture. And in those five days, he hadn’t just thought about the fact that he wanted to support her decision, but he had also worked out the business model, on which the venture would be founded.

With all the mathematics worked out, land acquired, labour in place, Research and Development undertaken (new dishes being tried out in Microwave), approvals or disapprovals sought, exactly seventeen months after the first hazy picture of how things would look like, Mrs. Kashyap firmly set her foot in Confectionery market and opened her very own Bakery, manufacturing and selling self discovered line of Bakery products. In the first year, the product line was pre planned to be sold through retail outlets and general stores. And her vision was to eventually open her own Bakery stores, which would exclusively sell her product line.

 

Thus goes the venturesome story of Mrs. Kashyap. It started as an experiment in her steel grey colored Microwave, what followed were a plate full of cookies baked up with love and joy, and what completed the loop was the enterprising effort of this middle aged lady, as she decided to make for herself a niche in this overcrowded Confectionery market, with her range of tried out, home made delicious bakery recipes.

 

With a doting husband to support her, and cooperative children by her side, Mrs. Kashyap’s “Avanti Confectioneries” became a “brand- next –door” in the ingredients- wise saturated Confectionery market, where brands, competition, pricing, packaging were all floating high; all that the market lacked were well researched product offerings, and that was exactly what was the Unique Selling Proposition of Avanti Confectioneries.

Even today, when Mrs. Kashyap muses about how her journey began, her thoughts lead her to the day she had served her husband those plate full of cookies………….

 

As she reminisces about it, she smiles to herself pleasingly.

A Plate Full of Cookies

Gender Hypocrisy

Do you often hear, “Oh? Let it be a girl, or a boy, it absolutely doesn’t matter. What is more important is that it needs to be a healthy baby”.

 

Yes, we’ve heard it so many times, so many places, so many people make these utterances. Come on—lets’ face it. This sentence is uttered just for the sake of it. It isn’t truly meant. Even today when the Indian society is basking in the glory and magic of globalization and modernization, it actually hasn’t modernized on this one.

 

Prima facie, girl or boy may not appear to be mattering much. But deep in hearts, somewhere, the aged, the elders, the immediate family members, extended family, close and distant relatives of a family do hope that “it is after all a boy”. Ears are as if earnestly awaiting the nurse come out of that labour room and declare, Ah! It’s a Boy!” In fact, at times when it’s a Girl, even the nurse or the lady who runs out to declare to the curious family waiting outside tends to utter, “Oh! It’s a Girl!”…..

 

Do you see that difference in expression Ah! and Oh!? That says it all……

 

It represents an attitude of most of those waiting outside eagerly to hear what they want to hear.

 

When our society comes across quite broad and tolerant towards many of the other developments, why hasn’t it been in its outlook in this case? Why is there a mere acceptance instead of there being a display of a generous welcome to the new addition to the family if it is a girl? In fact in most of the rural families, there isn’t even this acceptance. Even today, if a girl is born in the interior pockets of this country, there is venom like reaction. So in that sense the urbanites seem to be little better off. But again, they more or less dwell in this hypocrisy syndrome.

 

On the face of it, one shows that one is “Happy” about the birth of a girl child. However in reality, a boy would have been a preference any day. After all, it’s a one step towards continuing the generations after generations of the family. Its all about providing an Heir to the family, and every boy born in the family is advancing in that desired direction.

 

So what must be the psyche and emotional demeanor of those mothers, who give birth to a girl, first time or even second time? Though these issues do not surface in urban families that pertinently, nonetheless it is something perceived like a failure to provide an Heir to the family. Deep inside the hearts and minds of these mothers who’ve given birth to girl or girls, these aspects must be definitely staying forever, though they might not come out openly and talk about it. And because these ideologies are so much stuck to, even today, though in more or less proportions, one is compelled to say that we live in an era of Gender Hypocrisy. It isn’t an open discrimination, which results in any wildfires, but yet, it’s there very subtly; somewhere in some eyes, in some voices, in some behaviors, and in some attitudes.

 

They say we ape westerners in more ways than we can afford to, but look--- we’re mistaken. We haven’t evolved in this area--- in our thinking about gender bias, in thinking that a girl or girls born in a family are no good than a boy. The westerners do not cling on to such hypocrisies. They practice gender equality in their every day lives. It is we who’ve soaked ourselves in the life long traditions of these kinds of favoritisms.  

 

Isn’t it time we broaden our thinking and attitudes towards this rather “not much spoken about” issue of modern day Indian society? --- Gender Hypocrisy.

Gender Hypocrisy

Small Packages

As a child, she was conditioned that Bigger the Better. So she grew up on the notion BIG is Beautiful. She stressed on the idea- Size Matters. Her visibly simple calculations thus evolved on this very belief. Hence every time for her birthdays, when she received those meticulously wrapped presents in jazzy presentation papers, her eyes shone bright. She blushed to no end. She agreeably accepted her present, because she perceived that she “deserved” to get that BIG present.


Any tiny present, un-noticeably lying around the stack of those BIG obvious looking presents weren’t a welcome for her. She used to get subtly disappointed when those small time presents came her way. But a BIG present always made her happy. With an overtone of excitement, she used to go up to her mother and gleam in delight, “look mummy, look what I got. Such a BIG, nice gift this is.”  And then her mummy used to offer “Why don’t you open it and then decide, if the present inside is really BIG and nice?”

 

But back then, her child mind never used to bother to find out as to why mummy had such a thing to say, because for her, BIG was always beautiful, no matter what.

 

One Diwali, as she gingerly and eagerly got to work opening her gifts, one at a time, her eyes struck upon a very colorful, uncannily packed gift. She went over to mother, asking her to open it for her. As it got unpacked, she saw in a little box, a very beautiful, lovingly woven woolen scarf, which was gifted by Granny. She simply loved the white scarf. In fact she admitted to mummy that evening, that the scarf was the one gift she had liked of all. And then she exclaimed to her mother “Vow! Look. This present was packed in such a small wrapping paper, but now as I opened it, I am so happy receiving it. I really liked it, even if it was packed in a little wrapping”.

 

Hence gradually, but surely, she understood and learnt to brush aside her pre conceived notions. And then, she grew up, and one fine day, fell in love.

 

Her future fiancé proposed to her in marriage. He put his hand in his Jeans pocket, and carefully removed a neatly packed small square shaped box, with a red gleaming ribbon tied upon it. She turned pink, and couldn’t stop blushing. With a twinkle in her eyes, she delicately opened the present—a beautiful stone studded finger ring. And it was awesome.

 

That was when she revisited the fact, she had learnt years back, when her granny had gifted her that white scarf in a small package. And she slid off to sleep that night, with only one strong conviction--- BIG things, and BIG surprises and SPECIAL some things indeed do come to us wrapped in small packages…. 



Small Packages

A Quick Game of Hopscotch

The herd of girls surrounded the place. They were trying to keep themselves occupied with some outdoor activities. Since it had been raining cats and dogs in the park outside, they had no choice but to play in the covered area of the park. And then their vision struck at her.

She was noiselessly sitting there amidst the prevailing chaos. On one side, tiny toddlers were busy running around, the slightly older lot was racing, and some more bunches of them were peddling.  In the middle of such a commotion, they saw her--- a magazine in her faintly trembling hand, thick spectacles on her eyes, her vision fixed- not on the magazine, but on the herd which was playing hopscotch. She was, as if ardently watching them from far, and judging their performance inaudibly.


Then two of the girls from the herd went over, and invited her to join them. She was stunned! This generation is no doubt smart, she thought to herself. After all, she hailed from two generations prior; a different genre; a somewhat timid lot, who weren’t used to be so approaching and so dashing. But the demeanor of this younger lot seemed chic. She knew they weren’t as good in Hopscotch, but their elegance marveled her.


Before inviting her to join them, one of the girls walked up to her, and straight away came to the point. She asked her if she had been keenly following their game all this while, to which she nodded. And then she asked her if she would like to join them in their game. Reluctantly she followed suit; the two girls holding her by her arm, gradually leading her over to the square where the game was on.


Carefully managing her pale yellow saree, she began with the game. Somewhere on the back of her mind she was conscious that eyes might be popping out at her, but that didn’t deter this old lady, who once upon a time had grown up playing this very game in the narrow streets of her neighborhood. Her timidity got washed away in the rains. And she was all out there, enjoying a game of Hopscotch with girls who were quarter her age. And she got into the spirits so fast! As if a magic wand had been moved over her by those girls, who exactly knew how to break the ice! She befriended the five girls in no time. She learnt that they studied in the same school and that during lunch break in school, they invariably lazed around a game of hopscotch outside their classroom.


And she didn’t lose an opportunity to blow her own trumpet. She was quick to inform them of her own proficiency in the game back then. When asked if she still played often, she replied in the negative. Two games down, she stopped, even as she was still panting. A few sips of water from her Bisleri bottle relieved her. She made way on a nearby bench, watched closely a few more games by the girls; and this time around rather than merely being a silent spectator of their petty follies, she opened up and tried to correct them. The girls too didn’t seem to mind, and earnestly paid heed to what the “granny” (that’s what they named her) instructed them. By late evening, our “granny” picked up her moist magazine, her rainy wear, her Bisleri bottle, her flash of smile, and bid goodbye to the younger lot. She took one last look at the squares on which the game of hopscotch was arranged; and with a refreshing mind, a euphoric mood, and a delighted heart, she left the park shed.


Outside, it was drizzling. Ground was damp. But “granny” was soaked in bliss; having played a quick game of hopscotch....

The herd of girls surrounded the place. They were trying to keep themselves occupied with some outdoor activities. Since it had been raining cats and dogs in the park outside, they had no choice but to play in the covered area of the park. And then their vision struck at her.


She was noiselessly sitting there amidst the prevailing chaos. On one side, tiny toddlers were busy running around, the slightly older lot was racing, and some more bunches of them were peddling.  In the middle of such a commotion, they saw her--- a magazine in her faintly trembling hand, thick spectacles on her eyes, her vision fixed- not on the magazine, but on the herd which was playing hopscotch. She was, as if ardently watching them from far, and judging their performance inaudibly.


Then two of the girls from the herd went over, and invited her to join them. She was stunned! This generation is no doubt smart, she thought to herself. After all, she hailed from two generations prior; a different genre; a somewhat timid lot, who weren’t used to be so approaching and so dashing. But the demeanor of this younger lot seemed chic. She knew they weren’t as good in Hopscotch, but their elegance marveled her.


Before inviting her to join them, one of the girls walked up to her, and straight away came to the point. She asked her if she had been keenly following their game all this while, to which she nodded. And then she asked her if she would like to join them in their game. Reluctantly she followed suit; the two girls holding her by her arm, gradually leading her over to the square where the game was on.


Carefully managing her pale yellow saree, she began with the game. Somewhere on the back of her mind she was conscious that eyes might be popping out at her, but that didn’t deter this old lady, who once upon a time had grown up playing this very game in the narrow streets of her neighborhood. Her timidity got washed away in the rains. And she was all out there, enjoying a game of Hopscotch with girls who were quarter her age. And she got into the spirits so fast! As if a magic wand had been moved over her by those girls, who exactly knew how to break the ice!
She befriended the five girls in no time. She learned that they studied in the same school and that during lunch break in school, they invariably lazed around a game of hopscotch outside their classroom.


And she didn’t lose an opportunity to blow her own trumpet. She was quick to inform them of her own proficiency in the game back then. When asked if she still played often, she replied in the negative. Two games down, she stopped, even as she was still panting. A few sips of water from her Bisleri bottle relieved her. She made way on a nearby bench, watched closely a few more games by the girls; and this time around rather than merely being a silent spectator of their petty follies, she opened up and tried to correct them. The girls too didn’t seem to mind, and earnestly paid heed to what the “granny” (that’s what they named her) instructed them. By late evening, our “granny” picked up her moist magazine, her rainy wear, her Bisleri bottle, her flash of smile, and bid goodbye to the younger lot. She took one last look at the squares on which the game of hopscotch was arranged; and with a refreshing mind, a euphoric mood, and a delighted heart, she left the park shed.


Outside, it was drizzling. Ground was damp. But “granny” was soaked in bliss; having played a quick game of hopscotch....

A Quick Game of Hopscotch

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