23
Aug

Connected Cars – Drive The Future. Today.

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The invention of wheel has been an important invention of the human ingenuity that has created multiple scientific and business opportunities. Cars have been as much a necessity as a personal statement.

Today cars are technology products. The evolution of car from a manufacturing to electrical to software product has been meteoric. The Car economy is driving towards being a service economy rather than a product one. OEMs are no longer interested in one-time sale of the car – they are looking at a confined steam of lifetime revenues and services. In the fact the price of the future cars will be highly subsidised and services may give more revenues – The Gillette Pricing model.

Car Manufacturers need the help of other players to create a wholistic Connected Car Ecosystem – an Ecosystem where connected cars talk to each, city infrastructure and internet via multiple technological ways. The Connected Car Ecosystem represents a great opportunity for all the stake-holders including consumer.

Connected Car is an emerging reality. All Major OEMs are working on designing and rolling out newer and better use cases for Connected Car. They are working with unlikely partners as they navigate the future of cars. OEMs are open for help from software developers and testing organisations to accelerate their solutions to the market.

Infotainment is a big area where Connected Car technologies have made the first impact – which is obvious and understandable as it represents easy monetisation and quick adoption. A few Insurance companies have leveraged Apps/OBD Data/Telematics for better insurance premiums and information. Innovative and interesting new use-cases are emerging with the confluence of IoT, Mobile and Digital Technologies. A few are:

1. Connected Cities: The Smart city can light only those street lights where the car is driving through. It means energy efficiency. The traffic management can be better planned based on the flow of current traffic. Roads that need immediate attention can be quickly determined. Audi has already announced the integration of street traffic light information on the car dashboard.
2. Connected Payments: Cars can update one about the best prices at the fuel stations. Going forward, the payment can be made seamlessly for those fuel recharges. The Connected Car can also make the payment for those drive-through gelatos and French fries.
3. Safety: Cars can be monitored to drive along pre-determined and optimal routes – any out of normal behaviour can trigger safety alarms and alerts. The car can equally detect the rightful owner through behaviour analytics. Similarly, cars can detect driver drowsiness or health issues and trigger relevant actions thereby ensuring safety. A driver’s heart attack can automatically stop the car and initiate SOS call.
4. Better Care: Advanced Diagnostics help to take preventive maintenance and fixing of worn out automotive parts. Defects can be identified earlier and effectively avoiding large-scale recalls and PR disasters. In case of breakdown, quick, meaningful and relevant assistance can be provided.
5. Better Driving Experience: Voice Recognition will open new vistas in driving. The Driverless car with Voice Recognition is a step towards autonomous driving.

The Connected Car era also presents new questions:
1. Who owns the customer? OEM, Software Manufacturer, Infrastructure Owner?
2. How to create and win customer loyalty? The customer loyalty is of paramount importance to create a stream of continued revenues but what does the customer really need?
3. How to create Open Framework for all to access? How to create New Standards for not only the car but customers’ data and information in a secure way?
4. Effective collaboration to avoid duplication of standards, efforts and investments. How to leverage data collected through multiple systems?
5. Regulatory & Privacy Issues. Wisdom gained from biometric, behavioural and locational data could be a goldmine as well as a landmine.
6. Security Threats. Predicting system abuse and vulnerabilities is a key challenge. Hijacking is another treat.

The industry is confident of addressing these challenges and moving ahead with a passionate fervour. These will create new opportunities, new business potential and new winners. The Connected Car Ecosystem is a compelling idea that promises better overall experience to customers, customer loyalty to players and overall environmental and safety benefits to the society.

Image Courtesy: Audi

30
Jul

What Is Your Cathedral Project?

Stephen Hawking recently said spoke about the importance of money and fallout of Brexit on important projects. He said important projects need to be protected as their value goes beyond one generation. He called those important projects as Cathedral Projects – working on food shortage, overpopulation effects, acidulation of oceans etc.

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I liked the term Cathedral Project – It signifies a project that is grand, audacious, visionary and noble. As Hawking himself said: “People are starting to question the value of pure wealth. Is knowledge or experience more important than money? Can possessions stand in the way of fulfilment? Can we truly own anything, or are we just transient custodians? These questions are leading to a shift in behaviour which, in turn, is inspiring some groundbreaking new enterprises and ideas. These are termed “cathedral projects”, the modern equivalent of the grand church buildings, constructed as part of humanity’s attempt to bridge heaven and Earth. These ideas are started by one generation with the hope a future generation will take up these challenges.” (Source: The Guardian)

While Hawking was right that Cathedral Projects need big money, they equally need the best minds and smart talent. Like our money is spent on latest gadgets, is our talent also being spent on less important things?

Are our best engineers optimising the social media feed or developing weather forecast to save fishermen? Are our best scientists helping search engine’s mobile reach or working on affordable drinking water solutions for millions. Are our best marketers selling Cola waters or finding creative ways to encourage education and gender sensitivity? Are our best directors churning million dollar box office blockbusters or spreading the message of tolerance and peace in wholesome entertainment?

The usual quantity vs quality questions comes here. Earlier masters and experts would spend lifetimes on a few projects. They would dwell on it day-in and day-out. They would research and travel and read till they had their desired vision. Often, they would re-start the work. How many times does this happen? We always have deadlines. We always want to complete more project in short times. We have ghost-writers and ghost-architects behind big names. How many new Gaudi, Stephen Hawking, Newton and Picasso are being created?

Are we content with the monthly salary and comfort of our material choices? Are we thinking of living upto to our potential? Are we all living the world better off? Are we all thinking beyond the obvious? What are our cathedral projects?

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6
May

London’s First Muslim Mayor – A Landmark Event!

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A Major Western Capital Gets A First Muslim Mayor! Landmark Event !

London get its first muslim mayor as Sadiq Khan storms the city halls !

Sadiq was indeed the frontrunner candidate who ran a positive, organised and focused campaign. He did not allow the Labour leadership issues of his party affect his path. Attempts by competitor Zac Goldsmith to link Sadiq to extremists and divide the electorate backfired.

It is indeed a global event as million of London voted for the best candidate. A strong message in today’s troubled times. Especially after Paris and Brussels attacks, the significance of a London Muslim mayor is even greater.

But Sadiq won because he was authentic and identified the real issues – affordable housing, rising cost of living etc. He has promised zero rise in transport fares. He has promise to make Oxford Street a pedestrian street. So he won on his ideas and the merit of his ideas.

It again proves that London is a truly meritocratic, professional and civil society – hence it is the global talent magnet. The spirit of London has won !

And our London mayor’s favourite London landmark – The Swaminarayan Temple in Wembley!

27
Feb

Quick Impressions Of Mobile World Congress 2016

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The Mobile World Congress 2016

The definitive and the biggest mobile show attracted 100,000 people from across the globe. Mobile World Congress already has a naming crisis – as the technology showcased at Barcelona has gone beyond Mobile many times over! 

What were the highlights of Mobile World Congress 2016?

1. Virtual Reality: Mark Zuckerberg ensured that Virtual Reality and Oculus got its gigantic push. Across the show, VR was in vogue. VR has gone mainstream. Facebook has promised a special Social VR Team to create new centre of experiences. With HTC, LG, Samsung and many other jumping the VR bandwagon, get prepared for a new definition of Surrealism!

2. Cute Pet Robots: All of us loved BB-8 in Star Wars. LG’s Rolling is cuter and advanced than BB-8. With its cameras, lasers, microphones, wireless tech and speakers, Rolling Bot is a cutie toy that can control the house and is a remote-controlled security system.

3. Friendly Neighbourhood Delivery Bots: Starship Technologies’ delivery robot can find your house from the supermarket. The six-wheeled robot will can carry bags of groceries. Its nine cameras help it to avoid obstacles and seek remote operator help to navigate, if it encounters a trouble.

4. Smart Trashcans: MWC14 and MWC15 saw series of Smart Launches. Smart Shoes. Smart Homes, Smart Luggage Tags, Smart Clothing, Smart Weighing Scales, etc. MWC16 saw the launch of Smart Trash Cans. Sigfox idea is already being implemented by Barcelona city. It will install 200 trash cans that use the low-power Sigfox wireless network to report when they’re getting full so the city can empty them sooner — and not have to send collectors out to trash cans that aren’t full.
World is getting smarter. Are we?

5. Wearables Were Quiet: Inspire of wearables going mainstream and important line item in revenue sheets, there were few wearable launches. Shows that industry focus is on stabilising and strengthening existing lines. Good. BTW – Smart watches have overtaken Swiss watches.

6. Cars: Self-driving cars are big things. Uber, Google, Tesla, Ford and all carmakers are focusing on this area. Facebook and Operators are happy. People will either download movies on 5G or experience Facebook VR while they are driven in self-driving cars.

7. 5G: The race for 5G has started. Will it be SK Telecom or AT&T? Or a European Carrier?

8. Mobile Phones: Evolution Continued. Sexier Phones. Waterproof. Curved. Infrared Cameras. Projectors. Yawn. Yawn.

Samsung Galaxy S7.
LG G5.
HTC Desire Series.
Kyocera’s Waterproof Phones.
Gionee S8 with 3D Touch.
Xiaomi Mi5.
Archos.
Acer Liquid Series.
Akyumen Holofone Is Projector as Well.
Sony Xperia X.
Meizu with Ubuntu OS.
Oppo’s Quick Charging Phones. 15 Min Full Battery Charging Phones.
Caterpillar’s Thermal Camera Phone.
HP Elite 3 with Fingerprint Sensor & Iris Scanner. 
Huawei…

Interesting to Note:
1. Xiaomi Plans US Launch: Brave Act!
2. Project Tango: Google’s spatial mapping technology will unlock possibilities for museums and campuses. Will it help me in IKEA?
3. Motorola Verveones: Completely wireless headphones are an exciting proposition. The Verveones by Motorola, fit into a carrying case which doubles as a wireless charger. Bring them on!

The biggest networking event came to an end where ideas, money and warmth multiplied.

Image Credit: CNET

13
Feb

Design The Future – The New InfoStretch Video

InfoStretch Is Helping To Design The Future In The Mobile Connected World…Check Our Latest Video !

13
Feb

Digital Banking – A Whole New World!

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Revolutions Are The Locomotives Of History
– Karl Marx

When was the last you visited a bank?
When was the last you withdrew cash at the bank counter?

Even if that was not very long ago, I bet that the frequency of these visits is not the same as before.

Money is a high trust and high emotion area. People prefer security over everything else. Hence consumers continue to bank with large traditional banks. This trust has resulted in banking being a complex and ambiguous and highly profitable industry!

But the banking industry as we know is ready for disruption. The digital revolution is set to change the game in banking landscape. Digital Banks are all set to become the new challengers.

Digital Banking is a whole new way of banking. They are thinking differently – thinking the same way as the Uber-Instagram-Whatsapp style startups. They offer pure play banking services through mobile apps and digital channels only – no branches. They do have call-centres. They do not have legacy thinking, infrastructure or even legacy issues.

Digital Banks have a fertile ground because of various factors:

1. The New Generation users have a disconnect with traditional banking models. Their relationship with money is driven by different motivations as compared to earlier generations. They want to deal with a bank that speaks their language and understands their mindset.

2. The Mobile Generation wants the best of technology in all walks of life and banking is no different. They will want to transfer the funds with same ease as sharing an Instagram snap.

3. The New Generation is comfortable with trusting Apps for money. The m-Commerce and e-Commerce experience have given the confidence to try Digital Banking models.

4. Pure play and on-demand services are the mantra in digital economy. Traditional banks try to cross-sell and push multiple products. Millennials want pure-play banking and Digital Banks will fill that need.

Digital banks are leveraging the best of technology to create competitive advantage. Offering real time intelligence – analysis of money spent or affordability of that new car ! Giving ideas to save money. Atom Bank plans to use 3D visualisations and gaming technology for its app, and plans to integrate cutting edge biometric security. Digital Banks can also offer personalisation. Of course, all of these value-adds can be copied by traditional banking giants.

UK already has seen the launch of Digital Banks – Atom Bank, Starling Bank, Tandem, Mondo etc. Lunar Way has been launched in Norway.

Interesting Times…Another industry faces the digital challenge ! Expect High-Street Banks to learn from these banks. Also acquire these new banks. In any case, the banking industry is ripe for a paradigm shift !

Image Credit: KHRawlings

20
Jan

Titli – Dark & Daring

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Titli has been one of the most amazing films of 2015. It was a part of my top movies of 2015. Here is the detailed review.

Titli Review:
Happy times sow the seeds of darkness.

Dark times sow the seeds of hope.

Titli is a film about these seeds of hope after a lifetime of darkness.

The setting of the movie Titli is black…very black
– A family that takes you down.
– A life that is only dismal darkness
– A life that has no hope
– All the family members live in their own hells. And the way of dealing is with this hell is to make the life hell for the others.

Titli introduces us to the under-belly of the national capital region. It is about those areas that we know that exist but we choose to ignore them. We refuse to see them.

The movie revolves around the father and his three sons. It is a very patriarch driven and crime-driven family. The youngest son is the protagonist and is named Titli. He dreams of leaving the family and setup his parking business – to upgrade his life. But the family gets Titli married to Neelu and add the innocent woman to the crime gang and leverage her to dupe people. Neelu is their passport to additional revenues. But Neelu has her own demons and her own version of hell.

Everyone acts out of selfish interest and use each other. The family of Rajshri and Karan Johar does not exist – here everyone is out to make life miserable for each other.

But Titli and Neelu want to escape the life of violence and poverty. They yearn for a better life.

Ranvir Shorey as the elder son has given his best performance till date. A superb screenplay, excellent direction and great acting. A must-watch. It is a different world. Bollywood’s growth continues in the shadow of blockbusters.

12
Jan

GujaratiLexicon’s 10 Glorious Years – Thank You!

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Jan 13, 2016 Marks The Ten Years of GujaratiLexicon !

What A Defining Decade It Has Been !

A decade is an important milestone in the journey of an organisation and a movement. It is easy to start on an idea but difficult to sustain. It is even more difficult to prosper and continue to make a difference with the same passion as the original vision. Thankfully Gujaratilexicon movement has grown from strength to strength. From the first font by Shri Madhu Rye to GL Mobile Apps, Shri Ratilal Chandaria and GL movement have continued to bring world-class technology to the gujarati world. The GL Vision has been vindicated with the hundreds of websites, apps, blogs & gujarati technological resources. GL itself has continued innovation with Digital Bhagwadgomandal, Sarth App, GL Games for children, Learning Gujarati project, Lokkosh, GujaratiLexicon Mobile Apps, Swahili Lexicon, Chinese & Japanese dictionaries etc. The journey continues….Lots of work is still to be done….The creation of new standards, new fonts, digitisation of massive Gujarati content, online platform for Gujarati journals, Audio-books etc.

But today, we wanted to take a pause and thank our community, people and organisations. GujaratiLexicon movement would not be a success as it is today without the active support of the GL user. GL users have been our fans and our ambassadors. The GL user has been the centre point of our endeavours and we are elated by your love, GL usage, feedback, ideas, bricks and bouquets. We continue to aspire to serve to each and every person who wants to use Gujarati Language. Whether you want to find word that is in your mind or confirm the meaning or correct a sentence or play a game or teach Gujarati to your children – GL is there – on Internet or on Mobile.

The GujaratiLexicon Movement is indebted to Shri R P Chandaria and his love of Gujarati Language. When our founder and inspiration, started his journey of GL work, the world was a different place. Internet was not accessible to all and he worked on fonts, keyboard and dictionaries. We worked with organisations across continents. After 20 years of efforts, Jan 13,  2006 marked the online arrival of GujaratiLexicon and it helped the overall Gujarati writing movement. Today smartphones are redefining the world and GujaratiLexicon is ready for the new era.

GujaratiLexicon movement has been helped by our GL Advisory Board and Trustees Shri Uttam Gajjar, Shri Balvant Patel, Shri Mansukh Shah and Shri Vipool Kalyani – Each one is an stalwart in his field and have nurtured GL with the same love and passion as Shri R P Chandaria. Sushri Dhirubahen Patel has been a guiding light for us all across the journey. We are indebted to them. We also have loved the support from Chandaria Family Members, Shri Kumarpal Desai and Ajay Sanghavi.

Finally, GL Movement would not be possible without the love and dedication and work of GL Team. We have been blessed to be helped by selfless and inspiring team members across the years. I can write stories on each one of them and their passion for GL. Thanks to the wonderful members and volunteers.

GL Volunteers & Well-Wishers (In Alphabetical Order)

Alka Chheda
Ankur Patel
Arpit Christian
Ayushi Modi
Bhakti Patel
Bhaumik Upadhyay
Chintan Brahmbhatt
Deval Vyas Talati
Hardik Sarodiya
Harit Kothari
Himanshu Mistry
Hitendra Vasudev
Hitesh Chavda
Hitesh Parmar
Jagruti Desai
Jagruti Valani
Jayesh Patel
Jitendra Vyas
Kartik Mistry
Komal Karania
Kunal Pandya
Matiri Kapadia Shah
Meena Chheda
Minal Mewada
Namrata
Neel Shah
Nirav Mehta
Padma Jadav
Palak Shah
Parth Bera
Payal Agashiwala
Payal Dharnidhar
Piyush Agravat
Prakash Shah
Rohit Barot
Sejal Patel
Shruti Amin Patel
Sumaiya Vohra
Swami Asang
Upendra Gajjar
Urvish Kothari
Vaishali Master Mistry
Vidhi Pandya
Vinod Mehta
Vishal Kothari

(I am sure there are more and more names…thanks to everyone!)
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28
Dec

The Forces Behind The Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars – The Force Awakens is breaking records like a pack of cards. It is the fastest movie to reach USD 1 Billion mark and will be the top movie of all time. The movie is a box-office blockbuster that dwarfs every other movie franchise.

How did it happen?

1. Disney’s Smart Acquisition: Disney is an entertainment giant with a sharp strategy of picking a cool movie franchise and rejuvenating it. Disney paid $4 Billion for the acquisition of LucasFilm and started its redevelopment. Disney’s method is to acquire companies with franchise potential, set its strategic talent to make the acquisition work and power it with its marketing and distribution weight. Disney knows how to exploit the IP from the acquisitions – the magic has worked with its acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel. Disney will milk this further with “Star Wars” area at Disneyland.

2. Go Beyond The Creator/Founder: George Lucas is a visionary in every sense of the word. Creating Star Wars when limited technology and meagre resources existed is nothing but a stroke of genius. But Star Wars was stagnating in recent times. It required a passionate J J Abrahams to reinterpret and bring new glory to Star Wars. He understood the masterpiece of George Lucas and what made it work in the first place – maybe even bettering Lucas in some instances. Creator/Founder can sometimes be too close to her work and may not help the cause. Also, the creator needs to switch gears as required – every stage of organisation and movie franchise needs different skills. Hence J J Abraham nurtured the franchise in a professional manner and delivered a mass entertainment product.

3. Product Development: Star Wars – The Force Awakens has succeeded primarily due to the good content. No marketing can help a bad movie – especially in these days of social media and word of mouth power. Even Nostalgia can take you so far – else all other Star Wars movie would have been equally big hits. The chief victory of J  J Abrahams and team was to stick to the core USP of Star Wars. They knew what the fans wanted, they knew what made sense, they avoided distraction and stayed loyal to the identified market segment. They stuck to the formula of the original in all aspects. Though some fans expressed disappointment with the movie lack of imagination and innovation and dull length, the overall product play worked.

4. Innovative Marketing: Trust Disney to ensure marketing genius. They leveraged Nostalgia to maximum effect – ensuring that all adults re-live their childhood stories. Disney is expanding its base beyond the children and this was a master-stroke. They also released Star Wars merchandise ahead of time – to create more ambassadors. They carefully planted stories of return from misguided prequels thereby raising expectations of the new movie. The usual marketing template of promotional tie-ups, clothing, games etc. was effectively leveraged as well.

5. Distribution: The distribution strength of Disney ensured a global release on a large scale. Christmas timing ensured that no one could not escape Star Wars. It brought lot of new audience to cinema. So when you have a great product, go all aggressive.

The Force Is On….Star_Wars3

24
Dec

The Best Of Bollywood – 2015

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Its that time of the year again! The year 2015 delivered unexpected gems, pleasant surprises, formula films and big letdowns. As an optimist, I am happy that real gems were discovered and Indian Cinema is going beyond select camps and limited talent pool. This is the only way for Indian Entertainment to reach its global potential.

The movie connoisseurs lapped up Masaan, Titli and Dum Lagaa Ke Haishaa. It was heart-warming to see Bajrangi Bhaijaan becoming a Universal Hit like 3 Idiots. Bahubali was literally the giant epic of box office and showed the scales we can achieve.

Formula movie stuck to their brand promise: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Dilwale, Bajirao Mastani, Dil Dhadakne Do, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, ABCD2, Welcome Back

Bombay Velvet, Tamasha, Byomkesh Bakshi were a disappointment to many. Hollywood’s Jurassic World touched the 100 crore mark in Bollywood.

Here is my take on Bollywood’s Top Movies for 2015.

Best of 2015:

1. Masaan: Poetry, pain and beauty against the multicoloured Varanasi. Neeraj brings heart and art into cinema and showcases four lives stuck in Varanasi. Tu Kisi Rail Si Guzaarti Hai – Just Wow ! Subhash Jha rightly mentioned that see Sanjay Mishra in Masaan and then in Dilwale to see how Bollywood kills talent!

2. Titli: A dark cinema about about Delhi’s under-belly and about the dark lanes that we see and we miss. Story of the a father and this three sons who act of self-interest alone. A superb screenplay, excellent direction and great acting. Ranvir’s best performance of the date.

3. Bajranji Bhaijaan: The power of Salman meets meaningful cinema. Clean and Universal hit like 3 Idiots scores on all areas – story, performances, entertainment. Had a prop called Kareena – the laziest actor of late! The movie did more for Indo-Pak relations than official government diplomats.

4. Piku: Deepika-Bachchan rule with great support from Irfan. Beautiful Bhadra-lok and nuances of relationships. Heart-warming. Motion Se Emotion Se Box-Office Collection! Shoojit Sircar brings biology to Bollywood – like Vicky Donor!

5. Baahubali: Lord Of Rings meets Indian Cinema Heroes. Best advertisement for Indian talent. Almost touched 500 crores. The whole India is waiting to find out why Katappa killed Bahubali? Epic in every sense.

6. Dum Lagaa Ke Haisha: Love in times of patriarchy and arranged marriages. Discovering love. Kumar Sanu and Anu Malik relive the magic of times and add the right flavour to Ayushman-Bhumi acting.

7. Tanu Weds Manu Returns: Kangana’s Haryani accent and swagger was a hit across the board. Anand Rai re-created the magic with Madhavan and Kangana.

8. Bajiao Mastani: The grandeur of Bhansali movie with Ranveer’s powerful acting. Only Bhansali can do this!

9. Drishyam: Ajay Devgan and Tabu shine in the Thriller Drama. The remake of Mohanlal starrer created the right impact.

10. Margarita With A Straw: Kalki and Revathy bring the life of a teenager with cerebral palsy. Talk’s struggle with achieving her physical and emotional aspirations with dignity. Emotional experience.

Honorable Mention:
Shamitabh: Homage to Amitabh’s baritone. Dhanush shines in this egoistic battle movie. Piddi Si Baatein…trust Balki to be different!

The Blockbusters List:
1. Bahubali – 470 Crore (All Versions)
2. Bajrangi Bhaijaan – 320 Crores
3. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo – 190 Crores
4. Tanu Weds Manu Returns – 150 Crores
5. Dilwale – Still Collecting…
6. Bajirao Mastani – Still Collecting..
7. ABCD2 – 106 Crores
8. Welcome Back – 97 Crores
9. Tamasha – Still Collecting…
10. Gabber Is Back – 86 Crores

The Forgetful 2015:
MSG: Messenger of God – No Comments!
Roy: First – It is more Ranbir movie than Arjun Rampal movie! Nothing memorable except Chitiyan Kalaaiyan:
Bombay Velvet: Anurag tries to create larger than life Bollywood movie. Perfect paper movie. Forgiven.
Hamaari Adhuri Kahaani: Adhuri ? There was zero Kahaani. Once upon a time Emraan and Vidya used to be…
Ek Paheli Leela: Leveraging the asset called Sunny Leone.

Related Lists:

The Bollywood Watchlist – 2015 Version

The Best Of Bollywood – 2014

The Best Of Bollywood – 2013

The Best Of Bollywood – 2012

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