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from Breakingviews:

VC bigwigs reveal Valley’s contradictions

By Richard Beales

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

A venture capitalist who can co-opt the opening lines of “Anna Karenina” to make a business point deserves attention. In Peter Thiel’s case, he also started PayPal and Palantir Technologies and invested early on in Facebook. His new book, “Zero to One,” describes possible features of the next peerless, world-changing startup – another Google, say.

In contrast, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz, who cofounded a hugely successful venture capital firm with Marc Andreessen, majors on how to run a technology company when competition is fierce. The two books both bring a mix of new and old perspectives on Silicon Valley and all its contradictions, usually with commendable clarity.

Thiel’s title gets at the difference between incremental change, from one to two or three, and true innovation – creating something from nothing. “Positively defined,” he says, “a startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future.” Thiel worries that the legacy of the last dot-com bust has led many entrepreneurs to stick to incremental changes, copycat ideas and caution when big ideas and boldness are the keys to real progress – and riches.

from India Insight:

Movie Review: Gunday

(The views expressed here do not represent those of Thomson Reuters)

Ali Abbas Zafar’s “Gunday” is a film set in the 1970’s and 80’s, amid the grime of the coal mafia. It is supposed to be a gritty film about two friends and their undying bond, which is broken when a girl enters their lives.

“Gunday” is a throwback to the cinema of the 70’s and 80’s when the wronged hero was still virtuous; the heroine was seductive but still coy; and the system was something you had to fight against to get what was rightfully yours. Director Zafar gives us a more polished version of those films.

from Breakingviews:

Review: The puzzle of Fred Goodwin’s rise and fall

By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Early in 2009, the British government was preparing to bail out Royal Bank of Scotland for the second time in four months. An emergency injection of capital in October 2008 had failed to shore up confidence. Now taxpayers were being asked to cover potential losses on almost 300 billion pounds of toxic RBS assets. Yet as the details of the rescue were finalised, British public opinion was in uproar over a much, much smaller sum: the 700,000 pound a year pension being paid to Fred Goodwin, the bank’s former chief executive.

from Breakingviews:

Review: The rise and fall of an Asian tycoon

By Katrina Hamlin

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)

Mohsin Hamid understands corruption. His new novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, is as insightful fictional portrait of a crooked yet oddly sympathetic tycoon. Hamid doesn’t condone skullduggery, but this detailed profile is an instructive guide to a darker side of rising Asia.

from Breakingviews:

Review: Tales from China’s wild lending frontier

By Peter Thal Larsen

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

Joe Zhang has impeccable timing. The former investment banker’s book about running a small Chinese microcredit firm, “Inside China’s Shadow Banking”, has hit shelves just as concerns about the country’s runaway credit boom are capturing global headlines. Yet despite the title, it’s China’s state-owned banking system that emerges as the tale’s dysfunctional villain.

from India Masala:

Gippi: The pains of growing up

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

Handout still from "Gippi"Sonam Nair’s “Gippi” is the coming-of-age tale of a teenage girl who stumbles through life dealing with the typical crises of adolescence. Boys, parents, body image, acne and Shammi Kapoor come together to form the crux of this story, one that was probably written with the help of a handbook on how to script a teen movie.

from India Masala:

Go Goa Gone: Die laughing

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

A handout still from "Go Goa Gone".To enjoy Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK's "Go Goa Gone", you have to ignore the tacky effects and the bad make-up and concentrate on the wisecracks and repartee between the main characters. Once you’ve done that successfully, get ready to buckle in for what is an unexpectedly fun ride.

from India Masala:

The Attacks of 26/11: Revisiting the ghosts of Mumbai

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Reuters)

Just before the intermission in Ram Gopal Varma's "The Attacks of 26/11", a police constable stumbles around with a rifle, searching for the two gunmen who had just wreaked havoc at Mumbai’s busiest train station. He slumps to his feet on the blood-stained floor and lets out a cry of anguish.

There are prolonged shots of a dead dog, fake blood squirting out of people, and much gore on screen as Varma recreates the horrifying events of Nov. 26, 2008. If the aim of the film is to chronicle these for posterity, this is certainly not how the story should be told.

from India Masala:

Son of Sardaar: Calculated entertainment

In a recent interview, a film-maker described a movie as one "made with a calculator". He might just have been talking about Ashwni Dhir's "Son of Sardaar". For a film that talks of heart and emotion, this is a movie made with cold-hearted calculation.

"Son of Sardaar" is a Diwali film, made with the sole intention of making money during the festival of lights, and stuffed with what Bollywood thinks is the complete package -- romance, comedy and action all in one movie. But what is it they say about being a jack of all trades?

from India Masala:

Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana: A dish with heart

The Punjabisation of  Bollywood has meant that on-screen depictions show a very polished version of Punjab. Fluttering dupattas, lush fields, glitzy weddings and lively dancing are what Punjab is all about, but Sameer Sharma's "Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana" doesn't stick to any of the stereotypes, which is a relief.

The streets are bumpy, the women aren't flawlessly dressed and the men do not break out into bhangra or slap each other on the back at every given opportunity. Sharma's film is simple and shorn of any plasticity, and even though the recipe does go haywire a couple of times, Sharma manages to salvage the dish in the end.

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