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Saturday, February 28, 2015

BM ಗಿರಿರಾಜರ ಮೈತ್ರಿ ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಿನೆಮಾ ವಿಮರ್ಶೆ

This post is in Kannada language, a review of BM Giriraj directed successful Kannada movie, Maithri. Non Kannada readers may please check latest travel and auto posts.

ಮೈತ್ರಿ ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಿನೆಮಾ ಜಟ್ಟ ಖ್ಯಾತಿಯ ಗಿರಿರಾಜ ನಿರ್ದೇಶಿಸಿರುವ ಹೊಸ ಸಿನೆಮ. ಮೈತ್ರಿ ಸಿನೆಮಾ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಾದ್ಯ೦ತ ಯಶಸ್ವಿಯಾಗಿ ಓಡುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಇದರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಬ್ಬರೂ ಉತ್ತಮ ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಪಡಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ನಾನು ಬಿಡುಗಡೆಯ ದಿನ  ಶುಕ್ರವಾರವೇ ಸಿನೆಮಾ ನೋಡಿದ್ದರೂ ವಿಮರ್ಶೆ ಬರೆಯುವುದು ನಿಧಾನವಾಯಿತು.

ಚಿತ್ರ ಬಿಡುಗಡೆಯ ಮೊದಲು ಚಿತ್ರದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅಷ್ಟೇನೂ ಹೈಪ್ ಇರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ನಿರ್ದೇಶಕ ಗಿರಿರಾಜ ಇತರರ೦ತೆ ಮಾಮೂಲಿ ಮಸಾಲೆ ಚಿತ್ರ ಮಾಡುವವರಲ್ಲ ಅ೦ತ ಗೊತ್ತಿದ್ದುದರಿ೦ದ ಮೈತ್ರಿ ಹೇಗಿರಬಹುದು ಎ೦ಬ ಕುತೂಹಲ ಇತ್ತು. ನವಿಲಾದವರು, ಜಟ್ಟ ಸಿನೆಮಾಗಳು ದುಡ್ಡು ಮಾಡದಿದ್ದರೂ 'ಎಲ್ಲರಂತಲ್ಲ ನಮ್ಮ ಗಿರಿ' ಎಂಬ ಭರವಸೆ ಮೂಡಿಸುವಲ್ಲಿ ಯಶಸ್ವಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದವು ಹಾಗಾಗಿ ಆತನ ಮುಂದಿನ ಸಿನೆಮಾ ನೋಡಲು ಕಾಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆವು.

ಸಿನೆಮಾ ಚೆನ್ನೈನಲ್ಲಿ ಬಿಡುಗಡೆಯಾಗುವುದೋ ಇಲ್ಲವೋ ಎಂಬ ಖಚಿತ ಮಾಹಿತಿ ಇರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ಫೆಬ್ರವರಿ ಇಪ್ಪತ್ತನೇ ತಾರೀಕು ಅಂದರೆ ಮೈತ್ರಿ ಬಿಡುಗಡೆಯಾದ ದಿನ ಚೆನ್ನೈ ನ ಮಾಯಾಜಾಲ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನಕ್ಕಿರುವುದು ತಿಳಿಯಿತು. ಬಿಡುವು ಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡು ಸಂಜೆಯ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನ ನೋಡಲು ಹೋದೆ. ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನಕ್ಕಿನ್ನು ಹತ್ತು ನಿಮಿಷವಿರುವಾಗಲೂ ಹೊರಗೆ ಯಾರೂ ಇರಲ್ಲಿಲ್ಲ. "ಕನಿಷ್ಟ ಹತ್ತು ಜನ ಇದ್ದರೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಷೋ" ಎಂಬ ಅಣಿಮುತ್ತು ಗೇಟ್ ಕೀಪರ್ ನಿಂದ ಬಂತು. ಮೈತ್ರಿ ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಜಟ್ಟ ಆಗುತ್ತದೇನೋ ಅನಿಸಿತು. ಆದರೆ ಕೊನೆಯ ಕ್ಷಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಇನ್ನೊಂದಿಷ್ಟು ಜನರ ಗುಂಪು ಬಂದಿತು, ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನ ಪ್ರಾರ೦ಭವಾಯಿತು.

ಮೊದಲ ಕ್ಷಣದಿಂದ ಕೊನೆಯ ವರೆಗೆ ಎಲ್ಲೂ ಬೋರ್ ಹೊಡೆಸದೆ ಕುತೂಹಲ ಕಾಯ್ದುಕೊಂಡು ನೋಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಹೋಯಿತು
ಚಿತ್ರದ ಪ್ರತಿ ವಿಭಾಗದಲ್ಲೂ ಜಟ್ಟ ಗೆ ಹೋಲಿಸಿದರೆ ಬಹಳ ಸುಧಾರಣೆಯಾಗಿದೆ. ಮೊದಲ ಹಾಡಿನ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ ಮನ ಮುಟ್ಟುತ್ತದೆ. "ದೊಡ್ಡವರಿಗೆ ಕುಂತರು ನಿಂತರು ಕಾಯ್ದೆ ಕಾನೂನು, ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆ ಹಾಗೇನಿಲ್ಲ. ನಾವ್ಯಾಕೆ ತುಂಟತನ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡು  ಮಕ್ಕಳಾಗೇ ಇರಬಾರದು " ಇದು ಆ ಹಾಡಿನ ತಾತ್ಪರ್ಯ. ಕತೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನಿಮಲ್ಲಿ ಬಹುತೇಕರಿಗೆ ಈಗಾಗಲೇ ತಿಳಿದಿರುವುದರಿಂದ ಒಂದೆರಡು ವಾಕ್ಯಗಲ್ಲೇ ಮುಗಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ. ಸಿದ್ದ ಎಂಬ ಬಡ ಹುಡುಗನ ಜೀವನದ ಸುತ್ತ ಸಾಗುವ ಕತೆ ಆತನ ಬುದ್ದಿವಂತಿಕೆ, ಬಡತನದಿಂದ ಅನುಭವಿಸಬೇಕಾದ ಅನಿವಾರ್ಯತೆಗಳು ಇವುಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಕತೆ ಸಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಮಕ್ಕಳನ್ನು ದುರುಪಯೋಗ ಪಡಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ದಂಧೆಯನ್ನು ಪರಿಣಾಮಕಾರಿಯಾಗಿ ತೋರಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಉತ್ತಮ ಪ್ರಜೆಯಾಗಬಹುದಾಗಿದ್ದವರು ಅಪರಾಧಿಗಳಾಗಿ ರೂಪುಗೊಳ್ಳಲು ಏನೆಲ್ಲಾ ಕಾರಣಗಳಿರಬಹುದು ಎಂದು ತಿಳಿಯುತ್ತದೆ.  ಪುನಿತ್ ತಮ್ಮ ನಿಜ ಜೀವನದ ಕೆಲಸವನ್ನೇ ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲೂ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಹಾಗಾಗಿ ಎಲ್ಲೂ ಅಸ್ವಾಭಾವಿಕತೆ, ಆಡಂಬರ, ಅನಗತ್ಯ ಹಾಡು/ಕುಣಿತ ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ ಇಲ್ಲ. ರಿಮಾಂಡ್ ಹೋಮ್ ದೃಶ್ಯಗಳು ನಾವು ಕಲಿತ ನವೋದಯ ಶಾಲೆಯನ್ನು ನೆನಪಿಸುತ್ತವೆ. ನನಗೆ ತಿಳಿದಂತೆ ಕೋಟ್ಯಾಧಿಪತಿ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮ ನೇರಪ್ರಸಾರ ಇರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. Fastest Finger First ನಲ್ಲಿ ಅನಿಯಮಿತ ಅವಕಾಶ ಕೂಡ ಇರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ಕತೆಗಾಗಿ ಹಾಗೆ ತೋರಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಕತೆಯನ್ನು ಕಟ್ಟಿಕೊಟ್ಟ ರೀತಿ, ಪಾತ್ರ ಪೋಷಣೆ, ಚಿತ್ರದ ಸಂದೇಶ ಇತ್ಯಾದಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ನಿರ್ದೇಶಕರ ಶ್ರಮ , ಕಾಳಜಿ ಮತ್ತು ಬುದ್ದಿವಂತಿಕೆ ಎದ್ದು ಕಾಣುತ್ತದೆ. ಪ್ರೇಕ್ಷಕರಿಗೆ ಬೇಕಾದ ಮಸಾಲೆ ಇಲ್ಲದೆ ಚಿತ್ರ ದುಡ್ಡು ಮಾಡದಿದ್ದರೂ ತೊಂದರೆಯಿಲ್ಲ, ಗುಣಮಟ್ಟದಲ್ಲಿ ರಾಜಿಯಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂಬ ನಿಲುವು ಪ್ರಶಂಸನೀಯ.

ಗಿರಿರಾಜನ ಭೂಮಿ ತಂಡದ ಅನೇಕ ಕಲಾವಿದರು ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ತೊಡಗಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಜಟ್ಟ ನಾಯಕಿ ಸುಕೃತಾ ರವಿ ಕಾಳೆ ಹೆಂಡತಿಯಾಗಿ ಸಣ್ಣ ಪಾತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ.  ಜಾನ್ಸನ್ ಪಾತ್ರ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿದೆ (೧೨ ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ ಗಿರಿರಾಜನ ನಾಟಕವೊಂದರಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನೂ ಒಂದು ಸಣ್ಣ ಪಾತ್ರ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದೆ. ನಟನೆ ನನ್ನಿಂದ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂದು ಅರಿವಾಗಿ ಮುಂದೆ ಆ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ ಮಾಡಲಿಲ್ಲ.  [ಕೆಲ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳು ಇಲ್ಲಿವೆ ] ಆದರೆ ಗಿರಿರಾಜನಿಗೆ ಅವನ ಜೀವನದ ಗುರಿ, ಆಸಕ್ತಿ ಸ್ಪಷ್ಟವಿತ್ತು. ಮನೆಯವರ ವಿರೋಧವಿದ್ದರೂ, ಆರ್ಥಿಕ ಯಶಸ್ಸು ಸಿಗದಿದ್ದರೂ ಆತ ತನಗನಿಸಿದ ಮಾರ್ಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಮುನ್ನೆಡೆದು ಇಂದು ನಿರೀಕ್ಷಿಸಿದ ಗುರಿ ತಲುಪಿದ್ದಾನೆ, ಯಶಸ್ಸು ಕಂಡಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಅವನ ಸಹಪಾಠಿಗಳಾದ ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿ ಹಲವರು IAS, IPS ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ ಹತ್ತು ಹಲವು ಜೀವನೋದ್ದೇಶದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಾತನಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು ಇಂದು ಒಂದಿಲ್ಲೊಂದು IT ಕಂಪೆನಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಮಣ್ಣು ಹೊರುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇವೆ. ಮೈತ್ರಿಯ ಯಶಸ್ಸಿನಿಂದಾಗಿ ಗಿರಿರಾಜನಿಗೆ ಮುಂದೆ ಇನ್ನೂ  ಉತ್ತಮ ಪ್ರಾಜೆಕ್ಟ್ಗಗಳು ಸಿಗಲಿ, ಒಳ್ಳೆಯದಾಗಲಿ ಎಂದು ಹಾರೈಸುತ್ತೇನೆ.

ಪುರುಸೊತ್ತಿದ್ದರೆ ಮೈತ್ರಿ ತಂಡದೊಡಗಿನ TV9 ಚರ್ಚೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿ.


ಎರಡು ದಿನ ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಬನ್ನೇರುಘಟ್ಟ ರಸ್ತೆಯಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಗೋಪಾಲನ್ ಮಾಲ್ ಗೆ ಇನ್ನೊಮ್ಮೆ ನೋಡೋಣ ಎಂದು ಹೋದರೆ ಚಿತ್ರ ಮಂದಿರ ತುಂಬಿತ್ತು . ಗಿರಿರಾಜನ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ನಾಡಿನ ಬಹುತೇಕ ಮಲ್ಟಿಪ್ಲೆಕ್ಷ್ ಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಮೈತ್ರಿ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಓಡುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಸಿಂಗಲ್ ಸ್ಕ್ರೀನ್ ಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಂಟುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಆದರೆ ಚೆನ್ನೈ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಎರಡನೇ ವಾರ ಮೈತ್ರಿ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನ ಸ್ಥಗಿತಗೊಂಡಿದೆ.  ಇವತ್ತಿನ ಕನ್ನಡ ಪ್ರಭ ದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೈತ್ರಿ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಒಂದು ಉತ್ತಮ ಬರಹವಿದೆ. ಚಿತ್ರ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿದೆ ಎಂದು ನೋಡಿದವರೆಲ್ಲ ಹೇಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದರೂ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಜನ ಚಿತ್ರ ಮಂದಿರಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗಿ ನೋಡದಿರುವುದು ನಮ್ಮ ವೈಚಾರಿಕ ದುರಂತ ಎಂದು ಸರಿಯಾಗಿ ವಿವರಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ.
Best wishes Giri

Exceptional hotels in Bangalore for discerning travellers

Selecting a best hotel in Bangalore or any strange city is a challenging task. While budget is one thing on everyone’s mind, other factors like quality of service, safety, proximity to our location of interest/work play an important role.

To make your selection easier, here we’re listing some handpicked list of hotels in Bangalore’s  different areas.

SVENSKA DESIGN HOTEL, Electronic city
Electronic city is Bangalore’s software hub housing most of the IT giants. If your work is in electronic city, staying in a hotel in heart of the city will be a foolish decision, as you will lose precious hours travelling to work courtesy Bangalore’s legendary traffic. It makes a lot of sense to stay in a hotel closer to Electronic city and our recommendation is SVENSKA DESIGN HOTEL. Located right opposite Wipro Gate 5, this hotel has a rooftop swimming pool, fitness centre, meeting facilities, staff who can speak different languages among a host of other facilities. SVENSKA’s Sky lounge is another key attraction. From superior rooms to super luxury suite, rooms that ensure comfort, style and luxury are at your disposal for reasonable rates.

Radiant Resort, Bannerghatta Road
Radiant Resort on Bannerghatta road offers a calm and peaceful ambiance away from the city chaos. Located in proximity to IIMB, Bannerghatta National Park (in fact Radiant Resort shares boundary with the national park) and accessible easily via NICE road, this could be your ideal choice to stay in South Bangalore. With many rooms, cottages and acres of open green area, Radiant Resort takes you much closer to the nature.

Rathna Mahal Residency, Malleshwaram
If your work is in and around Malleshwaram, Rajaji Nagar, IISc or nearby, Rathna Mahal Residency in Malleshwaram is one of the best hotels in Bangalore. Rathna Mahal is located on Sampige road, one of the scenic and most popular roads in Bangalore city. Mantri Mall is very close, offering shopping and movie experience right next door, while Malleshwaram market and lots of eateries are within walking distance from this hotel.

Shreyas Residency, Yalahanka
Up north, closer to airport, Manyata tech park and Hebbal area, Shreyas Residency could be a good choice to stay. Shreyas Residency is closer to Yalahanka Airforce base where recently concluded Aero India took place.
That is our list of hotels in Bangalore, some of the finest options in various corners of the city.
Doesn’t this make Hotel Bookings in Bangalore easy?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Skywatch Friday-Aero India Sarang Special

For this week's Skywatch Friday, it is pictures of Sarang Helicopters in the sky from recently concluded Aero India 2015.

With metal birds creating formations and leaving smoke trails, below are some clicks I could manage from the General visitor area.

The Sarang Helicopters of the Indian Air Force. These beautifully painted (painted to resemble peacocks) do different stunts and maneuvers in the sky.

 
Above: Sarangs crossing each other in opposite direction.It looks like they are flying close from a distance, but they are maintaining decent gap.
More Skywatch pics at Skyley. Do not miss more photos of Sarang, clicked during 2013 edition of Aero India

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: Mercedes Benz GLA Class 200CDI Diesel

As I had written earlier, you need not rob a bank to drive a Mercedes. Mercedes Benz has recently launched GLA Class and Self drive car rental company Zoomcar was quick to add few of them to their fleet. Few months after their induction, I tried my hand on this beast, most expensive car in Zoom's self drive fleet, last Sunday. Because of its high rental (Rs 6600 per day on weekend) I drove it only for 4 hours- minimum booking duration, some 30 kms, spending Rs 1100. Because of this short duration and because of 125 kmph speed limit enforced by Zoom, I couldn't explore the car to its full potential. But from whatever I could experience, I have made an attempt to share my experience and observation here, about the new Mercedes Benz GLA Class 200 CDI Diesel.
Last Sunday morning, I collected the GLA class from UB city and headed to nearby Cubbon Park to get a closer feel of the car.

Looks:
Silver coloured grill and a silver coating on front air scoop gives a bit distinct characteristic to GLA Class. But somehow this car doesn't appear menacing to me. It is neither big and macho, nor small and sleek. A compromised mid size car.

One of my objectives was to find out how GLA Class is different from A Class. GLA class is also a 5 seater hatch and appears similar in shape and size to A Class. In simple terms GLA can probably be called Cross version of A Class. GLA gets better ground clearance, slightly more power and a tad bigger dimensions.

Below is a photo of GLA Class followed by a photo of A Class in similar angle, to help you compare.
Above: GLA Class
Below: A Class for comparison
GLA Class is 125 mm longer, some 60mm taller and 25mm wider than A class. Proportionately GLA gets a bigger boot, little more powerful engine and is obviously expensive by about 5-8 lakhs. Most of these differences are hard to notice and somehow A class and GLA class do not appear very pleasing and commanding in design. 

Interiors
On the inside, GLA class had a white interior compared to all black interior of A Class. Still I find interior lighting inadequate. Most of the interior set up is exactly same as A Class. It is hard to find any difference. Driver seat is adjustable in multiple directions. Electric adjustment is very slow compared to manual one. When kept at its highest position (I get best view of the road in this position), my head was touching the roof almost with little or no space to move my hands freely. There are 3 memory settings for driver's seat, while passenger's seat gets pure manual controls. Again, a proper SUV is better if you're looking for space and comfort. 
Again, no sunroof in the cheapest variant that Zoomcar has bought.
 The display unit totally feels out of sync with rest of the console.
 Time was wrong. Some controls- like setting the trip meter, time etc weren't very obvious.
Passenger Airbag was turned off. This needs to be manually turned on- which is not very convenient.People may not remember to turn it ON. One good idea will be to put some weight sensor in co-passenger seat and turn ON the airbag all the time if weight on the seat is say more than 20 kg (which usually means someone is sitting on it)

Second row space is just about adequate. Leg room is decent but head room is not. Seats feel very ordinary, not super luxurious for the price tag. Tall people will find it difficult to manage in the backseat.

Reverse parking sensor with projected path is very good. White line indicates straight path while yellow line indicates projected path with current steering position.

Clicked a selfie in the vanity mirror of GLA Class


A spare wheel is added extra by Zoomcar. By default car comes with run flat tyres which can be driven for about a 100 km even if they go flat. But customers are more comfortable with changing the flat tyre than driving with one, given India's road conditions, this extra tyre makes sense.
 Zoom Mercedes Benz GLA Class infront of Vidhana Soudha- Karnataka's power house.
Driving:
GLA Diesel has the same 2.2 litre power plant as in A class, but tuned for a bit higher power. It was always defaulting to ECO mode. Even if I select Sports Mode, it was defaulting to Eco next time ignition is turned on. Not sure if this is a Zoomcar enforced feature or all Benz models behave like this. If it is later, it is not good. There should be an option like "If I could pay 40 lakh for this car do you think I care about Eco- keep it in the damn sport mode all the time". I don't find GLA Class as peppy as BMW 3 series. The diesel GLA is just about 134 PS and top speed of 205kmph (Zoom limit 125 kmph) and not really as fun and as exiting to drive as some of the other cars in price bracket. Petrol engine is peppier by about 50PS and is more fun to drive. There is an AMG version but that is twice as expensive, so let us not talk about it.

GLA Class competes with BMW X1 and Audi Q3. The other two are cheaper by a few lakhs (base variants) and have more power. But only Merc has paddle shift. (Paddle shift useless if you're sitting in the back. If you're enjoy driving, it gives you slightly better control over the engine and lets you extract more power exactly when you want it, not when car thinks fit).

18 inch wheels and higher ground clearance is better than A Class but Merc GLA Class by no means qualifies as an SUV. If I had 40 lakhs to spare, I would probably buy a Mitsubishi Pajero sports (Now Pajero also comes with Paddleshift) for 30+ lakhs and spend a few more to modify it, than spending it on 'Jack of all, master of none' GLA Class, or probably extend my budget and buy a Freelander 2 (Soon to be replaced by Discovery Sport) which is a proper SUV with more space, 4WD and luxury.

This GLA Class I drove commands an annual insurance premium of 2.55 lakhs- that is more than 21k per month. I guess premium is little higher due to commercial nature of its registration. For white board registration insurance could be little less, closer to 2 lakhs. Still a substantial cash outgo every year.

I have made a supershort video of GLA Class drive

View more photos of GLA Class here * A Class review * A Class Photoshoot CLA Class unveiled in Chennai * E Class Experience *  Drive a Merc without robbing a bank *  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mercedes Benz GLA Class Photoshoot

Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers
Mercedes Benz has recently launched GLA Class and Zoomcar was quick to add few of them to their fleet. Few months after their induction, I tried my hand on this beast, most expensive car in Zoom's self drive fleet, last Sunday. Below are some photos. Detailed review is live here.





Above: A lazy Sunday afternoon in Cubbon Park
Below: DRLs of GLA Class in action
Similar: A Class review * A Class Photoshoot * CLA Class unveiled in Chennai * E Class Experience *  Drive a Merc without robbing a bankGLA Class review .

Aero India 2015: looting helpless general visitors!

As you may have noticed, I did visit the Aero India show this year in Bengaluru and I had also visited the 2013 edition, both as general visitor (paying Rs 630+). After attending the 2013 edition, I wasn’t very keen to attend again. Then there were news that this could be last edition of Aero India in Bangalore and it might be shifted elsewhere. Because of this, I thought “Ok, let me visit one last time”. When we visited Aero India 2015 last Saturday, thanks to erroneous behavior of BMTC air show special bus that dropped us at wrong place several kms from the right entry point, organizers changing plans compared to last edition (changing gates for general visitors which rendered my previous visit experience useless) and many other contributing factors, it wasn’t really an experience to cherish. End of the show, I am thoroughly disappointed by Organizer’s ‘We don’t care about general visitors’ attitude.
Compared to 2013, the facilities and access for general visitors was heavily curtailed. Despite collecting crores of rupees from general visitors in ticket sales, Aero India organizers haven’t bothered to provide adequate facilities/information to general visitors. May be they thought “this is anyway going to be last edition in Bengaluru, why bother wasting money on general public- let us loot them as much as possible and escape”.

Below is the comparison of facilities and access provided to general public, in 2013 vs 2015 editions. Go through and check for yourself.
#
Service/Facility
2013
2015
Remarks
1
Access/Entry
Through Gate 5
Closer to main road
Parked aircrafts, exhibitions etc could be seen
What was accessible to general public in 2013 (Gate 5) is now made Business visit area. Only those who pay Rs 2500+ tax can view exhibition, parked aircrafts and get closer look at the show.

General visitors are given a far-away entrance, through Gate 6,7,8
3-4kms from main road
General visitors need to walk a lot extra from main road, or pay for bus/auto (very few of them) and in general spend more time to get in and out of show
2
Exhibition
Was accessible, except few sections which were open to business users only
No access to exhibition at all. All day wait in open sun, airshow is the only thing to look at.

3
Closer look at parked aircrafts, display items
Was possible
Not possible.
General visitors are heralded into an open ground with nothing to see (except the sky), hardly any place to sit (there was 1 chair for every 25 people), two small shelters without chairs, carpet, no proper facilities
4
Drinking water
Rs 20 per bottle
Rs 30 per bottle
Market price is still stable at Rs 15 per bottle
5
Viewing airshow
Since general visitors were in the main area, better view of airshow was possible
All stunts (such as two planes coming in opposite direction and crossing each other and so on) are planned to be done right in front of VIP/Business visitor area, too far from general visitors
General visitors had to be contempt in viewing key stunts from a distance, as they happen far from general visitor area. Can’t get right view, can’t take good pictures. When they do same stunt couple of times, once they can do in-front of general visitor area no?
6
Transportation
Free transportation from Gate 5 parking area to entry point for general visitors
No free transportation from/to main road (or from anywhere)
Last time, Gate 5 was closer to main road- even those who came in bus could easily enter Gate 5 parking area and use free transportation provided to enter through Gate 5.

This time, Gate 6,7,8 are 3-4kms from Main road. No free transportation for general visitors. Few BMTC buses were there-overcrowded and double priced. Mega traffic jam meant it took 3 hours to reach Hebbal from airshow, unlike 45 minutes in 2013.

So general visitor needs to spend more time and money reaching in and out of the AVDA
7
Information about the airshow/
announcements
Was not very great but some announcements could be heard
Absolutely Zero information
There was one speaker in one of the tents. Unless you stand right below it, it is not audible. So General visitors get no information about the show (like name of the plane, its specialties etc).

One display screen was put in bright sunlight showing stock footage, which is of no use as it can’t be seen in sunlight.

Even missing person/other critical information just can’t be heard as public address system was not strong enough to be audible by large crowd in open area.
8
Food facilities
Was Ok
Was worse and overpriced, under stocked

9
Garbage bins
Was ok
Just one or two in some remote corners, that too overflowing.
Since there was no proper place to throw, water bottles, food plates and other stuffs were thrown all over, making the place dirty, unhealthy and pathetic. Organizers completely failed to provide facilities proportionate to number of tickets they have sold.
10
New attractions
-
Just 2-3
Only Breitling wing walkers, Scandinavian Skycats and few more were new attractions at the show. Everything else was a repeat of 2013
11
Security
Was tight. ID proofs were checked, bags were opened and checked
At the counter our ID proofs were not even asked.


BMTC airshow special service was another rip off. No passes allowed, ticket priced twice as much and many drivers had no clue where to drop off people. The bus I was in randomly dropped us off in front of Gate 5, while our entry was Gate 7, which is 5-7 kms away. Driver ignored the left turn for general visitors and headed straight, making us go through lots of inconvenience. BMTC diverted 100s of buses from general duty to feed airshow, inconveniencing rest of city who had no interest in airshow.

Not enough chairs- probably one in 25 got something to sit upon- others had to stand all day or sit on the rocky ground. There were two tents, but sitting there meant not being able to view anything- ceiling blocks view of the sky and people ahead will block view from front. Garbage everywhere by post lunch time- no cleaning staff, not enough dustbins. No volunteers/support staff for any assistance/information.

Below: A mother making her son stand on a chair without 2 legs and holding it all through the show so that her son can get better view.
Empty VIP area at which all shows are focused. General visitors should be contempt with a far away view of critical stunts/moments.
There was one white screen placed somewhere between two tents. People who set it up had no idea of lighting and display. Had this been set up inside a tent, it would have been viewable. In bright sunlight, this screen was impossible to see. Even then it was showing only  some stock footage. Most of the secutity guard/staff have no proper briefing. They are only interesting in sending you away- even if it is in wrong direction, just to keep area in-front of them free.
For lakhs of visitors expected, there was this one small speaker. Unless you stand below it, nothing is audible. Clearly organizers never bothered to arrange systems and facilities proportionate to no of tickets sold. Except a few namesake facilities, it was like a shepherd heralding hundreds of sheep into an enclosure and having fun watching them.
General visitors are given a much longer exit route. Going back to main road and taking right towards Hebbal would have been quicker, but return vehicles are directed into interiors of Yalahanka and had to spend several hours on congested interior roads before reaching main road. Organizers could have widened roads where possible or made a shorter route to highway keeping in mind inconvenience enforced upon lakhs of visitors.

As per media reports, there were 1.5 lakh visitors on last day, similar amount on Saturday. Assuming most of them are general visitors, there were about 3-4 lakh+ general visitors during Aero India 2015, which would have generated revenue worth 20-25 crore rupees easily (Rs 600 per person). Facilities provided for general visitor wouldn’t have cost more than a crore. Organizers clearly failed to provide enough facilities and information to general visitors, taking them for granted and subjecting them to go through a series of inconveniences and regret their decision to buy the ticket.

Also most of the items were repeat of 2013. Only 2 attractions were new. So repeat visitors unnecessarily pay huge money and suffer inconvenience not proportionate to the joy of watching new attractions.
 General visitor will only get a view once aircrafts go up in air. Landing and take offs can be viewed by only a prevelieged few who could get a position closer to the fence.

For most of the general visitors, take off and landing would appear like above..

Below is another comparison: On the left is the 2013 view of Sarang Helicopters crossing each other- which happened straight in front of us, on the right is the best view I could manage in 2015, due to a far away viewing point.


There’re many places in Yalahanka from where one can see the airshow for free. Because of organizers uncaring attitude towards fare paying general visitors, I do not have any motive to buy a ticket for next edition. I will attempt to find some good spot from where I can see the show for free. I might have to compromise a bit on the closeness of the show, but that should be worth the money saved and inconvenience avoided. Plus I will have the advantage of viewing from different places- like morning show from Spot 1, Evening show from Spot 2. There is always Television.

If you’ve been to this year’s Aero India as a general visitor, please share your experience here.

Also see: Random photos from Aero India 2013