Aishwarya Rao
The Dark Knight is not about its superhero Batman. It is not about the chaos at Gotham City or 'Two Face' Harvey Dent. It is about the Joker. His feverish performance. His restless hands. The smacking lips. And the unsettling feeling the Joker leaves you with at the end of two and a half of hours of intense drama.

In The Dark Knight, Heath Ledgers metamorphoses into the mass-murdering Joker to such an unbelievable extent that you do not catch yourself not noticing the beloved Batman and the directorial brilliance of Christopher Nolan.

Of course I can go ahead and appreciate the beauty of the stunts, the impatient pace of the camera and the memorable lines in the movie. Yet, the sheer flamboyance of the Joker, keeps me captivated in a vacuum! Because, ironically enough, there was nothing comic about him. Ledger plunges into his character from this first scene onwards and remains engrossed in it until the very end. The impact is so exhaustive that you want to stop and ask him "Hey, why so serious?"

However I would be overemphasizing his importance as a person, if I did not give due credit to some of the fantastic lines he spoke. You can't miss the giggles when he passes the playing card to the city's criminals and says "Here's my card" . Or his disturbing narration that ends with "Why... so... serious?"

Beyond these memorable lines, I particularly enjoyed two scenes in the movie. The first is at the Gotham Ball. The Joker bursts into the hall with an evil glamor as he goes
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We're tonight's entertainment.

My other favourite is a close up with the district attorney, where he says
I'm a dog chasing cars. I don't have plans. I just do things. I'm not a schemer.
In each of these scenes and many others throughout the movie, Ledger carries an aura around him. Notwithstanding the dramatic tone of the entire movie, I think Heath Ledger as The Joker was unmistakeably the entertainment tonight. And for this fabulous performance he deserves an Oscar,albeit posthumously! For, Heath Ledger might not be around to have the last laugh, but at least 'Let us put a smile on that face'.
Aishwarya Rao
One does not expect to arrive at the movie half an hour in advance to find the last few seats available right in the second row! Especially not when, Dark Knight was releasing in the screen next door. But one might have underestimated the power of this ABBA based musical, that seems to have had a roaring opening in the US.

While at the theatre I couldn't help wondering what was more cheesy; 'I-am-no-more-James-Bond' Pierce Brosnan singing in the rain or my 73 year old neighbor and her girl friends who had tears of joy and happiness rushing down their cheeks...But I realized two things.
The movie brought alive the eternal magic of the 70's and by the end of the movie everyone was humming (and in a loop) 'Mamma Mia', 'Dancing Queen' or yet another addictive ABBA number that the movie is based on.
While I do not have much to say on the story itself (I had the joy of watching Mamma Mia at Broadway), I fell in love with Meryl Streep and the way she carried the weight of the film on her. She brings out her best in 'Winner takes it all', where she addresses her lover from 20 years earlier, Sam Carmichael, played by Pierce Brosnan. The only other notable characters were Meryl's girl friends, British actor Julie Walters and Golden Globe nominee Christine Baranski. Other than that, personally I can't recall of any path-breaking acting or scenes in the movie.

The camera was well experimented, the color and tone of the movie certainly did a good job of bringing out the 'exotic' spirit of a not-so-known Greek island and the dance moves did not lose their charm on-screen!
While the movie was a terrific effort in remaking a musical, it cannot match the live energy and electric air of a Broadway show!
Overall, you would enjoy it if you were in a rich man's world!
Aishwarya Rao

Claire Goulthorpe is a senior principal consultant with CSC and she is my mentor in graduate school. She is a fabulous person and a fitness freak. And how does she maintain work life balance? By volunteering, including teaching a high school class about how to choose a "career with a purpose". Find Claire's coffee tips below!

With recession tales on, b-school students cannot but worry about the job market. As a mentor what tips do you have to offer students?

  • Try to predict which industries will be booming in future, such as biotech.
  • Consider how your core skills and strengths can be applied in a variety of different fields, not only the one you prefer.
  • Package yourself to have "general appeal", especially with a good MBA.
Don't stress too much about possible recession. You will probably see many booms and busts in your life and you will survive them all!
A consultant's job is highly demanding. Tell me how you achieve a work/life balance.
  • Keeping physically healthy is very important, So I work out every day
  • I request alterations to menu items to make them lighter and healthier
  • Find a work out routine which you can do anywhere, such as running or strength exercises in your hotel room.
Don't become your job!
  • Keep in mind there is another world out there.
A lot of us are taking up internships this summer. What is that one thing you would advice your students to take up/train etc?
  • Meet as many people as you can in the organization.
Branch out to departments and functions other than your own. You'll get a great understanding of their business which could make you more valuable to them, and of course raise your visibility.
And it will give you a chance to consider what other types of role might also suit you.
Aishwarya Rao
While at LA last weekend, I noticed that the entire place was wrapped in iPod's silhouette people against electric colors. Undoubtedly iPod's marketing is a reflection of the product itself - Simple and Expressive. And an inspiration for a different lifestyle. But inspiration can have different meanings...

When I looked at the hoarding I couldn't help reminiscing a presentation on 'ethics' we had prepared in an advertising class last semester. Here we had given the example of Arrow's Lugz boots and Apple's iPod.

Apparently the Arrow's ad appeared in 2002, 3 years before Apple's 'Detroit' commercial was released in the market. Our reference was this 2005 New York Times article.

Fortunately for Apple fans (including yours truly), if it cannot be justified as inspiration, then we have the theory of coincidental innovation to bank upon. Coincidental innovation is the theory that things appear in the market at the same time in response to common pressures. An often used example is that of the Pyramids of Egypt and the Pyramids of Mexico. Separated by 2000 years and an ocean, in two different continents and at a time when Robinson Crusoe lived on an unknown island, it is said, the Pyramids were a result of common invention pressures.

In this context however, whether the coincidence is regrettable or not, I think it ultimately depends on what the ad can actually do to the brand. It is not just about how often it was talked about but also whether it succeeded in its objective whether it was awareness/recognition or recall. And in my mind, iPod's silhouette campaign did more than that.

After all like Steve Jobs said "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works!"
Aishwarya Rao
After much deliberation and efforts to make 'Coffee with Ash' a 10 minute video session, I have, for the moment settled for a quick coffee bite. On my debut, I invite Michelle Peluso , CEO Travelocity, for an exciting espresso shot. And remember, no questions on the impact of oil prices on the airline industry.

We have always known her as the woman transformed Travelocity into the happy global brand it is today. Michelle Peluso is one of the most powerful and influential women in Texas and she hates soft beds...

Alternate Career
Well...if not for the travel business, may be I would have been in politics.

Biggest 'Kick' from being powerful and influential
I don’t think I am! But working with the Travelocity team each day is tremendously inspiring to me.
We have some real rock stars here, and it’s a privilege to work alongside of them.
Hotel fetish
I hate polyester comforters and soft beds!

Blog’ you do wouldn’t miss for anything
Amy Ziff’s travel blog

DVD/book you are devouring
I’m always reading – but right now I’m just about done with Team of Rivals about Abe Lincoln – it’s fantastic

Travel wish
I’d love to spend more time in Africa

Secret ingredient that makes you the best in the business
I know how to surround myself with exceptionally talented people – and to put them first.
Comment on “Americans are insensitive to the culture of their destination (during trips)”
This is certainly not true for most Americans. But I do think we all have an opportunity to travel more, see more countries, and respect the great diversity of this wonderful world.

Your travel tip
When you go on vacation, take a day or two out of your trip to volunteer, especially if you are in a foreign country. You can learn about opportunities through Travelocity’s Travel for Good program. It’s a great way to feel good about yourself, to spend time with your family, and to experience your destination more richly.

Random question: If you were a wrestler, what would be your finishing move?
Hmm . . . I’ve never been one for sports, but if you throw me a question about going to a spa, I’m sure I can answer it!