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Sunday 22 March 2015

#5 - Salman Khan, BlackBerry, and a teenager with messed up priorities

Back in 2003, I was a very scared boy, I was in class 11th g‎oing to class 12th, but the impending board exams didn't worry me, something far more crucial had been weighing me down.

You see, Salman Khan‎ had been going through a lean patch then, the biggest ever in his career, and in an industry where you are only as g‎ood as your last hit, Salman Khan hadn't seen one in a long long time.

Not only had his last ten movies been box office washouts, Hrithik Roshan and Vivek Oberoi were touted to be the next big things; the other Khans weren't doing too badly either.

It didn't help that Sallu bhai was balding, and the new generation of cine goers hardly identified with his kind of movies; consequently, David Dhawan and Govinda too were past their "best before" date.

And if that wasn't enough, the icing on the cake was that he was embroiled in a number of court cases..drunken driving, shooting blackbucks and what not.‎ He didn't have a hit in his hands, but he surely had a hit and run case (sorry).

The big shiny cherry on top of the icing was that the new kid on the block, Vivek Oberoi called a press conference and spoke of how Salman Khan had, in a drunken stupor, called him 43 times (post midnight of course), threatening of dire consequences if he continued to be close to Salman's ex-lady-love, Aishwarya Rai.

Vivek "besotted" Oberoi said, "he (salman) is a frustrated fellow, his career is dead and he knows it. But if he threatens me, then boss, you're messing with the wrong guy."

Ab bas yehi bacha tha.

We felt for Salman Khan, I don't know why but we did, we swore to boycott Vivek Oberoi and Aishwarya Rai movies.

Sallu bhai maintained a dignified silence amidst all this, but we, his loyal fans, had no doubt in our minds that Salman Khan was finished, this was the end of the road for him.

And then came "Tere Naam", ‎with a modest budget, average director and an unheard of heroine, and Salman found his mojo back. 

The good old days were back, back were the fans and back was his cocky confidence, he's never looked back since then.

It's 2014, Salman Khan is arguably the most bankable actor (?) in Bollywood, and I am getting the butterflies in my stomach again‎, though my concerns are of a similar nature, this time they aren't for Salman Khan, it's for an erstwhile Canadian corporate giant....BlackBerry.

‎I don't remember when I had first heard of BlackBerry, but I knew the moment when I wanted one.

A rich kid in my college was flaunting it, and I couldn't help but be amazed, this magical device didn't have a camera and a lot of other features that lesser phones had, but it looked aristocratic, the way a Rolls-Royce does.

Whaaat? This thing can send emails too? It was as easy and as fast as sending sms.‎

I desperately wanted one, but it was priced way beyond what a college kid could afford. Even if somehow I could manage to buy one, I wouldn't be able to use it, the rich kid assured me, the average internet charges for a phone was 10 paisa for 10kb of usage, with a blackberry the rate went up to 50 paisa per kb of usage.

"That's 50 times more?!" I shouted, doing the math, and taking way too much time.

"Yes" my new found hero replied coolly, "not many can afford one" subtly letting me know that he had it, and I didn't, rich is rich, poor is poor, and never shall the twain meet.

I didn't need a BlackBerry then, and I don't need one now. But I was hooked, some day I would own a BlackBerry, and that would mean that I had arrived.

"Watch out world, here comes Kanishka Chakrabarti, fiddling with his BlackBerry, look busy!"

People tend to do sweet things with their first salary, usually giving it to their parents or buying things for them. Not me, sometime in 2009,half an hour after I had gotten my first salary, I was buying a BlackBerry and using up slightly more than three fourth of my income, it had gotten much cheaper, and the data rates ‎had fallen drastica‎lly too, so the feeling of having arrived had gone, but I was happy.

5 years have passed since then, BlackBerry is no longer a force to reckon with in its field, it is scrambling for survival, I have switched handsets too, but have always come back to BlackBerry.‎ Therein lies my loyalty.

Qwerty phones are out of fashion now, sleek touchphones resembling anorexic models rule the roost.‎.and much like Salman Khan in 2003, BlackBerry's make or break time has come. People have written it off, I know only a handful of people who own or swear by BlackBerry (though the fact that the world's most powerful man is among them makes me feel a little better), and if BlackBerry doesn't come out with a "superhit" handset now, it will be all over for it.

I am rooting for BlackBerry to deliver, there's a certain pleasure to see a somebody becoming a nobody become a somebody again...this time the stakes are higher than it was in 2003, I could settle for any other hero if salman khan movies stopped coming (except for vivek oberoi ofcourse), but I don't see myself using a touchscreen phone...and I don't have any alternatives.

Let the battle begin, and here's hoping that BlackBerry can do a salman khan.


  1. nice read. you never know. may be John Chen will land here accidentally some day and offer this loyal blogger a self destructing spy phone patented by boeing ... that would definitely indicate arrival :D

  2. Liked reading. Worked with them around the time you bought your first one. Would also like for them to make a comeback but devices don't seem to be part of that strategy now.

    1. Yup, coincidentally blackberry was in the news yesterday...Its market share is officially 0% now (BlackBerry OS/blackberry 10 devices.actually 0.048℅). They went wrong with the pricing (would have bought a Passport had it not cost upwards of 46k) and probably should have released an android version sooner. Even the die hard fans realised (a) the transition to a full fledged touchscreen device wasn't that tough..(b) they needed apps.