Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Guru - Reel Views

Language : Hindi

Director : Mani Ratnam

Starring: Abhishek Bachan, Mithun Chakraborty, Ashwarya Rai, R.Madhavan, Vidya Balan

For long I have been a Mani Ratnam fan. I was thrilled by his Nayagan and Thalapathy, moved by his Anjali, Roja and Bombay and was made a romantic at heart by Mouna Ragam and Alaipayuthey. This really accentuated by disappointment at some of his works in the recent past. However Guru (even though it is by no means his best work) has brought back the belief that he still has it in him to attain the lofty standards of expectation he has set in us. Mind you it is not a great movie but it is a good enough movies which gives glimpses of his genius.

Guru is a simple rags to riches story of a man called Gurukanth Desai (Abhishek). The movie is about the various stages of his life - where he goes from being the son of a school teacher to establishing the biggest company in India and the people and challenges he encounters and overcomes in between. He starts off his journey at a petroleum co in Turkey. He leaves a successful career there to start a “bijness” of his own. His reasoning? If the company thinks that his work is good then why should he be working for the company? Why can’t he work for himself? With Rs.15000 Guru sets out thus to make his mark in the Indian business world of the 1950’s. However to start off he requires more funds. This predicament is solved by agreeing to marry Sujatha (Ashwarya), the sister of his friend. The fact that she is elder to him or that she has tried to elope with a lover (who leaves her stranded at the railway station) seems insignificant to him when compared to the fact that he will be getting Rs.25000 from her father as dowry.

Thus armed with a wife, a brother-in-law and some money he comes to Bombay to seek out his dreams. Indian business at those times was tightly controlled by a few elite. It was the time of license-raj and bureaucracy ruled supreme. Gurubhai overcomes these hurdles by bowing down at some instances, by ingenuity at others and even by brute force when required. The means never mattered to him. The end was all he cared for. This brings him in conflict with Manik Dasgupta (Mithun Chakraborty), the editor of a prominent newspaper called The Independent, Guru’s one time mentor and a man who believes in and stands for the truth. He is against Guru’s unscrupulous methods and wants to stop him by exposing his wrong doing in his newspaper. For this he assigns a similar minded and firebrand journalist Shyam (R. Madhavan) to expose many irregularities in the functioning style of Gurubhai. In all this only Manik Dasgupta’s grand daughter (Vidya Balan) supports Gurubhai. How Manik Dasgupta and Shyam try to expose Gurubhai and how Gurubhai overcomes these troubles forms the rest of the movie.

The acting in this movie is superlative. All the actors give a top-notch performance be it the main cast or the support crew. Abhishek is all encompassing in the title role. His dedication to the role is plainly visible. He has put on quite a bit of weight to lent credibility to his role as the older and wealthier Gurubhai. His range of emotions from being a simple villager to one of the greatest industrialist in India is well executed. Definitely his best work till date.
Ashwarya is the surprise package of the film. The plastic doll proves that in the hands of a capable director she can actually emote and not ham her way through the role. Her restraint and subtlety in executing the role of a village belle transforming into a dutiful wife of an industrialist is truly commendable.

The rest of the support cast does a creditable job with Vidya Balan’s essay of the handicapped girl being the one that springs to mind readily. Mind you, her role is so miniscule that you feel that she was wasted. The same applies for R.Madhavan. You can’t help but feel that Mithun Chakraborty was not fully utilized and his character not fully developed.

The direction of the movie is top class. The technical details are very well done. The visuals are well etched. Mani Ratnam manages to keep our interest in the movie even though it could have gone out of control due to the script’s over indulgence with the main character. The movie goes at a good enough pace and does not bring about boredom at any point. My only complaint is that the songs are too close to each other. Then again Mani Ratnam keeps us entertained with some cool picturization of the songs.

I must be honest when I say that I was not too impressed by A.R. Rahman’s music for this movie when I heard it initially. But I started liking the music more after seeing its picturization. The songs mayya mayya and bin thera are catchy. While the visual’s of barso re is equally as good as the song itself.

The main problem with the movie is its script. The film is not able to maintain the tempo and enthusiasm of the first half. The second half is a huge let down when compared to the first. It is only the acting and Mani Ratnam’s direction that saves the day. The movie is all about Guru. Period! The other characters with the exception of Ashwarya’s are not clearly defined. The movie is about a grayish character. Surprisingly the movie seems hesitant and almost apologetic to expose Guru’s shady deals. His illegal and unethical practices are either underplayed or justified. This leads to diluting the conflict between The Independent and Gurubhai. This is the biggest disappointment as it could have been exploited a potentially explosive confrontation between the main characters of this movie. However the end result is that the confrontation is so diluted it just fizzles out without a trace.

Guru is a movie that could have been great if only the makers had shown a bit more guts in dealing with the subject. In the end it feels hijacked by the one person on whom the movie is supposed to be based albeit from the grave.

Rating : 3.5/5

Quarreling Couples

Quarreling couples. Look at the stars!

Between groom and a husband

There is a long distance for a groom has to travel to become a husband and so to a bride to be a wife. Can either quarrel all the way or spend the time laughing together. A life partner is something one has to bear (suffer or enjoy) all the way. It is said that marriages are made in heaven that must be the reason why Hindus look at the stars to see whether it will work! If it works it must be the smartest way for selecting a partner.

Look before you leap or look at the stars!

In India parents of bride and groom approach an astrologer with a piece of paper in which the position of stars at the time of birth of their ward is marked, the astrologer compares them and tell whether the alliance can be made or avoided. This is a tradition going on for millennium. One may find it hard to believe that about ninety percent of the Hindu marriages are made as per the recommendation of the astrologer. This is done by comparing the “gruhanila” (planet-position. gruham is planet and nila is position) of the bride and the groom. There are online consultants also in this field.

Man the conqueror

Human being is an advanced form of ape and his basic behaviors are not in full accordance with that a refined society’s expectation. Male has traditionally got hard roles like hunting, killing, defending the tribe from attackers and conquering other tribes etc. The present form a family life makes him like a cat tied to a pole. Greater amount of self restraint and conditioning is required for him to be a successful home maker.

Woman the nurturer

The traditional role of a woman is to nurture the family members and in a family life she is naturally more at home. (It is another thing that she faces such challenges at work places which is her untraditional field). A home is to woman as cave was to an ape.

Her partner showing negligence in dusting and cleaning home- while she is busy at kitchen- is some thing a wife just does not understand. She is not aware that this man is programmed by god almighty to be a conqueror and not a cleaner!.

The prankster above

Leave the star gazing to the bachelors, to those who already married let us see how the way be spent laughing and smiling without regard to the stars. Human being was not programmed by almighty (who is a maverick prankster) as monogamous, but has to live so. When there is burning love for togetherness equal clashes of ego and individualism work for separation. The pulls and pushes god almighty plays, and between these dialectics live two individuals, we call them spouses.

The best couple of the area

One who had to pay a visit to a neighbor’s house was shocked to see she bathed in tears and he tearing his hair and cursing his fate, it was the same couple who won the best couple’s award during the last residential association’s meet! To the bewildered looks of the neighbor there was a shower of complaints from both. “This man is pushing me to suicide, he is selfish and cruel!” It was the accusation of the “best wife”. The poor husband says “my fate! I don’t know what to do. I have done every thing I could to make her happy. I am to desert the family, going somewhere to live and die in peace”, the best husband moans.

Welding the wedding

The incident given in paragraph above can take place any house in residential locality; quarreling couple is no news at all. This time it happened to be a local “best couple’s” family just add some fun same time exposes how painful the adjustment between two individuals can be some times. Financial matters, unfaithfulness, unrefined words, raking up past quarrels, sex, opposing view points, etc there can be innumerable reasons for quarrel. Without quarrel what thrill is there in a wedded life! It is said that quarrel welds a wedded life. Wedding itself is a sort of welding which joins two individuals to remain as one for the rest of their life.

A memory therapy

This is a true story of a computer programmer, immersed in his work for 24 hours; he had forgotten every finer things in his married life like birthdays, children’s education, excursions, social ceremonies etc. His wife as in every case nagged, blamed and wept making both of their lives miserable.

A million dollar advice – given free

It was her good neighbor who played the counselor’s role. The next day as a test case the wife telephoned him to bring a pound of sugar while returning home. As the request was in unusually sweet voice that touched some soft corners of his mind, he could not forget it as usual. When sugar was brought home the response was tremendous. She hugged and kissed him profusely for bringing it as well as for all goodness he had. The poor programmer- not knowing it was a therapy- was at first some what confused and thought whether she had gone ‘loose thread”! However he enjoyed her response. Her treat was not restricted for rest of the day but lasted till next morning! The programmer never thought a pound of sugar is that sweet!

Honeymoon returns

Next day while proceeding to work he asked her whether anything has to be bought for that day! That enquiry was her first experience after starting life with him. What to say the honeymoon long lost came back to the couple! The programmer was programmed to be a good homemaker. While he was living in celestial bliss, she was thanking the good old lady of her neighborhood.

Lesson “A pinch of sugar attracts more ants than a gallon of gall.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Iam an Optimist - What about You ???

Be an optimist, and in the right side of nature.

Look at the head you see a head, look at the tail you see a tail. Optimism and pessimism are both sides of the same coin – that is the viewer’s mind. From time immemorial people see events related to their life in these two angles (optimistic and pessimistic) and will go on viewing things like that. History is rife with personalities who gained fame, power and wealth with just one tool as their capital -with a special view point –optimism. Ordinary people amassed wealth, gained life partners they dreamt and won battles all with sheer optimism.

For Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, psychology is just the physiology of the brain and animal behaviors are just reflexes to stimuli. A particular reflex accompanied by some event forms a conditional reflex which in turn perks up the body preparedness like secretions of hormones etc to face the immediate event.

These reflexes as per Pavlov are of two types one “conditional” (also mentioned as conditioned) and the other “un conditional”. Conditional reflexes are those which are acquired from surroundings (parents and close associates in the case of human beings). The conditioned reflexes can be improved by skill or nurtured in the case of a child. Where as unconditional reflexes are in the genes and cannot be manipulated.

Optimism is a conditional reflex which is mostly acquired by children who are mostly copycats and parental responses to particular instance are absorbed by them. To say it plainly, parent condition their child’s thinking and behavioral pattern by implanting certain traits by name optimism or pessimism in to them.

When something goes wrong in the house, adults curse the fate and wail as if it is a permanent state of affairs. They take it as something which happens to them only. Such parents are sending wrong messages to their children, who will most probably behave in the same way when they grow as adults (wail and curse fate instead of planning and starting corrective steps).

Those parents who confront a problem, and see it just as a problem which needs to be solved are sowing the seeds of optimism in their children. These children absorb the message. When a crisis is a stimulus here positive action is the response children absorb the right message, (a positive conditioned reflex). Tearing hair and cursing fate instead, send wrong message to children (a conditional reflex that is negative). A child which grows up with a negative conditional reflex turns negative to any issue (stimulus) and takes its career graph in to deeper territories as an adult.

Optimism can be cultivated in a mind which had turned negative by unfortunate circumstances. Consider every crisis as a stimulus and analyze one’s own responses to it, check the mind from misleading oneself -by taking a temporary problem as a permanent one-. Lavishly praise oneself and those who stood along with after finding a solution or getting it settled (this can better done before and after thanking god! (God almighty needs no boost to his optimism). Celebrate the achievement and praise the roles each played for the gain.

Now and then rake up the issue and discuss the role played by each every in getting it fixed. This family discussion becomes a rehearsal scene for other occasions when yet another crisis raises it head (not only in families wherever there are collective living problems are bound to occur) and “problem solving committee” has to be there. A good rehearsal is not a bad idea to any good performance.

An optimist occasionally takes risk, at times lose money and at times he gain, but with the loss of money a lesson is learnt as the pros and cons of the deal is objectively analyzed. A loss is thus compensated by a gain. That is not the case with the pessimist (as a human being he also loses money) his loss is doubled by his guilt feeling that haunts him for being foolish enough to lose money (he thinks that the loss was due to his foolishness or un luck). “Error is human – I’m also a human being” never occurs to a pessimist.

The nature is biased towards the optimist because that is what it expect from its beings, when optimism boosts the body hormones and give him power to resist infections stand to gain the boons of nature by falling in line, unlearn any negativism that has crept in, it is possible. Optimists seldom falls to depression, rather they induce hope and goodness to all around. “Think of failure as the result of a faulty strategy, not some character flaw” said Prof. Martin E.P. Seligman

Friday, January 26, 2007

Baba Kalyani

Baba Kalyani - Reel View


Director: Shaji Kailas

Cast: Mohanlal, Biju Menon, Jagathy Sreekumar, Mamta Mohandas, Venu Nagavalli, Murali, Sai Kumar, Indrajith, Shammi Thilakan, P. Sreekumar, Freddy, Narayanankutty, Bindu Panicker, Maya Moushmi, Siddique, T.P.Madhavan, Reshmi Nambiar, Manuraj, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Anil Murali, Anoopchandran, Saiju Kurup

There are times when you see a movie and can’t help feeling that it could have been better than what the end result is. Baba Kalyani is a movie of wastages. It does not utilize fully the talented team at its disposal. More disappointing is that it surprisingly does not generate the excitement or suspense that a crime/investigative thriller would normally arose. There is nothing new in the movie that you haven’t seen before.

The plot is fairly simple. Baba Kalyani (Mohanlal) is an honest, intelligent and hard-working officer of the Anti-Terrorist wing of the Kerala Police. He comes across a plot to explode bombs at places of pilgrimage across Kerala with Kochi being its epicenter.

He and his team shifts to Kochi to investigate the hint's received. In order keep a low profile they are assigned various other assignments as a diversion, with Baba Kalyani himself taking the charge of an ACP.

During the course of his investigation Baba Kalyani begins to suspect Mohammed Haji (Sai Kumar), a reputed social worker with a prior history of being a religious extremist. He is an influential figure both in his religious community as well as in the local political community. His son-in-law, Zaheer Ahmed (Indrajith) is a college professor and also is actively involved in the terrorist activities in the state. Baba Kalyani learns that Zaheer and his group are planning multiple bomb explosions at a major pilgrimage in South India. Whether Baba Kalyani is able to reach them in time and thwart their plans forms the rest of movie.

Baba Kalyani is out and out a Mohanlal movie. He breezes through the role of the protagonist with tremendous ease and aplomb. The challenge for script writers and directors in the future would be to tap into the reserves of this great actor and show us something which we have not seen from him before. His acting in this movie is subtle and understated. The role itself is so similar to the one of Major Mahadevan in Keerthi Chakra that at quite a few moments in the film I was having a sense of déjà vu.

Unfortunately since the focus of the script is entirely on Baba Kalyani the rest of the characters are not given enough space to develop. You can actually count the number of scenes when Mahanlal is not on screen. This leaves a lot of characters in various states of degeneration. Some characters like that of Arackal Ashokan (Murali) is just left hanging in limbo leaving you to wonder the need for that character and sequence in the first place. Still other character sketches and sequences are brought to an abrupt end like that of his love affair with Ashokan's daughter Madhumita (Mamta). Again you are left wondering the relevance of this in the overall plot of the movie.

The main essence of any investigative thriller is the investigation itself. The excitement one gets from seeing the officer piece together the clues so as to find the real culprit is completely lacking. The plot feels half baked due to the lack of detail given to the investigation and the lack of intellect used in the process. This is surprising as the script was from S.N. Swamy, who gave us such films like Oru CBI Diary Kurippu. Without doubt he is the biggest disappointment of this movie. The only character that impresses you other than mohanlal's baba kalyani is that of Sai Kumar (Mohammed Haji) in which the actor really impresses you.

I was thankful that the direction was not as over the top as it was in the case of Shaji Kailas’s previous movie Chinthamany Kulakkesu. Even though the director has done a creditable job in keeping the tempo and pace of the movie he falters in his shots and editing. The various shots and the supposed sleek editing (not at all kind to anyone with even a remote history of migraine) leave you utterly bewildered and confused. You are bombarded with so many visuals and quick cuts that you really feel like vomiting your guts out.

The song is fairly decent enough though it has no role whatsoever to play in the overall narrative and in fact slows down the tempo of the film.

To sum up Baba Kalyani is a movie which is all gloss and no substance. It is movie of wasted potential.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez - Oil Castro

A mantle, any takers?

Castro had glamour, Soviet support and leadership quality, but too old and exhausted Anti American lobby is desperately in need of one who can wear the mantle so that the fight against imperialism may get a much needed icon. Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias is younger, equally socialistic, ambitious and glamorous. By all means he can be a headache to the super power for another four decades. Socialists world over have a duty to keep the flame of revolution burning, at least for other four decades.


Hugo Chavez was born in Sababareta Barinas in Venezuela, to Mr. Hugo de Los Reyes Chavez and Mrs. Elena Frias de Chavez. Both of his parents were teachers but he had to spend most of his boyhood with his grand mother Rosa I’mes Chavez. The boy was skilled in painting and singing and also was a good base ball player. His high school education was at Daniel Florencio O’Leary School at Barinas. At the age of 17 he joined the Venezuelan Academy of Military Science. He later joined as Second Lieutenant in the army and served it for 17 years.

College hero

His college education was from Simon Bolivar University and was active in college politics working in line with the left inclined nationalist Bolivianism. As a youth Hugo Chavez was greatly influenced by the then Peruvian president Juan Vestasco Aluarado. Same time he was active in the college base ball team. He has authored many poems, stories and dramas during this period.

Venezuela then

Those were times the corruption ridden rule of the dictator Carlos Andres Peroz was becoming more and more unpopular. The economic depression and inflation was causing severe resent among common people. The suppression of resent “El Caracasso” was reaching the situation to explosive levels.

A coup in within

Hugo Chavez joined the army as Second Lieutenant got several promotions in his 17 years service and reached to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the army. Chavez with his fiery speeches could capture the respect of his fellow soldiers. In February 4, 1992 under the leadership of Chavez a group of soldiers loyal to him barreled the road to Caracas and laid siege with the intension of capturing the ruler who was due to return from his tour abroad. They had all plans designed to overwhelm vital installations of communication.

A temporary defeat

The coup de tat failed due to defections and about 14 soldiers were killed and several of them injured in the battle. Chavez was sent to the Yare prison. During the prison life he had some eye ailment that has caused him permanent defects to vision. By putting Chavez in prison rulers could not put out the resentment among people as well as in the forces. His loyalists were engaged in agitation throughout Venezuela and they succeeded in gaining control of some strategic areas.

On the negotiating table

These developments forced the ruler to negotiate peace with Chavez. As a conciliatory step he was allowed to address the people through the national TV. In that address he hinted that the truce was temporary and people could expect the real struggle that could follow. The charisma of Hugo Chavez was that he was gaining popularity as wild fire. Hugo Chavez was pardoned and let free after two years of imprisonment in 1994.

Sponsored by

From there onwards his career graph had been steadily on the rise. The overwhelming charisma of Chavez made him a sure shot winner as he determined to contest for the election to be held on December 1998. There were big money in queue for his promotion banks like BBVA (Banco Bilbao Viscaya Argentina), BSCH etc were competing each other to finance him with illicit funds to see him elected for the post. Hugo Chavez won with about 56% votes and in February 2, 1999 he sworn in as the president of Venezuela.

Keeping his word

His socialistic ideas were very helpful to improve the lot of Venezuelans who were so far living in a society with wide gaps between the haves and the have-nots. The distributions of land and all other socialistic cards were played. Of which land distribution was very progressive and it addressed the real issues. His free education campaign was the real need of the hour.

In 2007 it is the third time Chavez is coming to power and the rhetoric remain the same each time further deepening the revolution, when will there be an end to this prolonged revolution only time will tell. Most probably it will end only with this dictator. His guru Fidel Castro had the backing of the then super power Soviet Union where as Hugo has oil deposits for his support. As long as oil is in the wells the revolution may go on unabated.

“Fatherland socialism or death, I swear it for Christ, the greatest socialist victory” these were some of the words we heard from this “little Lenin of Venezuela” who swears by Christ. There were more “toward victory always! Fatherland, socialism or death! We shall prevail” no doubt the mantle of Castro is not going unclaimed. As long as there is plenty of oil in Venezuelan wells, this Venezuelan Lenin will prevail, whether the “Big Bully” likes it or not.

Hugo Chavez was elected as one of the hundred most influential people in the world by the time magazine in 2005-2006.

Hugo Chavez has clarified that he is not for the traditional socialism which the average Venezuelans fear, it is a special type of socialism (which will be defined only after every thing is over). Yet Venezuelans are apprehensive of socialism (whether it belongs to 21st or 18th century) as they know where this “ism” has taken other nations. They love Chavez and adore his glamour, same time are afraid of the future of their nation as well as their’s.

It is not without reason this little Lenin preaches the “ism” of the 21st century so that the people will not be scared. Socialism is like a liquid that acquires the shape of the vessel where it is in, and now it is Chavez which is the vessel. 21st century socialism has the shape of Chavez as long as oil in demand. So far “Victory to the Oil King”

Sunday, January 21, 2007

India Tourism

India Tourism- The Good The Bad And The Ugly

Browsing through desi pundit i came across this particular article. “the cursed country’ Proboscus in her article has told the truth, she had called the spade a spade. Her dream journey to India had turned out to be a nightmare and she has every right to express her anguish in this regard. From the very beginning of her arrival there had been troubles most of them, every one in India has to go through and accepted as fate accompli. She deserves every credit to observe the things going on in this part of the land and expressing them in plain language so that anybody could understand what situation more than one billion people have to live in.

I recommend the top brass of the department of tourism to read it and to address the problems, so that those who visit India in future will not be forced to return cutting short their tour. Not all the problems mentioned are related with the tourism department. But the troubles encountered by our guests can be taken up by it as department of tourism is meant to address such issues.

The department with its large army of staff and huge funds can raise this issue in every forum and act as liaison to get the matters fixed. Whether it is police, local bodies, flight ticket agencies, archaeological or whatever be the department.

The problems related to on line flight ticket bookings with a foreign credit card seems unbelievable as it is possible in every other countries. With technological advances India has made; this issue needs to be urgently settled, slight push can fix it.

What about the mockery conducted in the name of security, there should be responsible and polite officers with adequate staff posted in such high potential areas, With better use of technology India should prove its efficiency everywhere (India finds solution to whole world’s problems ( in IT!!!)).

The mob throwing stones at passing vehicles is no news here, years of inaction to mob violence has made it possible for hooligans to resort to any violence as a crowd and go scot-free. Why the culprits cannot be photographed by the police (when camera wielding journalists are dime a dozen) and action initiated to award them the due punishment, tourism department can liaison with police and journalists in this regard.

If garbage disposal is local bodys’ responsibility liaison with them to get the work done, blacklist those corporations which do not co-operate (their list shown in tourism ads).

India is a great nation letting it to stink and projecting it as “incredible” is not fair. How many efficient private companies are here, a simple auction procedure can do the trick in half of the cost. (The present sanitary workers being highly unionized are not to be expected to do the job but can be utilized for supervision!).

The stock reply like “India is third world nation, it has poverty”, are no excuses as the inefficiency of the airlines and nonsense committed in the name of security have nothing to do with poverty. Burning of garbage in the middle of the town, dumping it unattended for days to stench are not signs of poverty. Inefficiency is one thing that has to be corrected by those who pay for the job. Security problems and garbage are there in other countries also, when they can manage it style why India cannot?

India’s technological advancements can be harnessed in solving all of the above problems. Each and every culprit engaged in mob violence can be brought to book by the present advanced photographing technology, with the support of some changes in the legal system, no culprit can escape.

If advanced technologies are not put in to use in our own country what use in claiming itself as the I.T. superpower America faces more security threats than India but harassing the innocents is not routine there even though there are exceptions. Credit cards are considered as a rich man’s luxury and despised by our hard core revolutionaries and taxed heavily to punish the rich! They should instead promote it as a convenient mode of payment so that the business as well as tourism will get a tremendous boost.

The image projected by tourism should also be to a realistic, luring tourists who are not used to the circumstances by false statements will only damage the industry. They should be cautioned of the actual situations to avoid extreme embarrassments.

New Delhi is a mess during these winter season it is foggy (smoggy) also, remember the battle the Supreme Court has fought to eliminate the polluting vehicles and the industries. The politicians of all hues were raising cudgels against the court and still do every thing not to implement the court orders! It was none other than Smt Sheila Dikshit (Chief Minister), who led several rallies and spent considerable amount of her valuable time to keep the capital polluted.

India without refining its appearance if keep on inviting tourists with expensive ads, the gimmick will not work longer, a time will come when the tourism ministry will be sued to pay compensation to the tourists who were cheated!

The tourism department certainly cannot be expected to improve the face of India, as there are several agencies deputed for the job (but not doing it). But it can act as a catalyst by interaction with the so called agencies and get the work done. It is not impossible to frame the laws so that tourism dept can perform additional powers for the same.

Making India a better place to live in is good for all, and the time for the idea has come. The present inflow of tourists has boosted the industry considerably, well and good! it is time to think of tomorrow, clean it up and give way for a better tomorrow, let our guests extend their stay time instead of them to run away cutting it short.

Seems an incredible dream? No India will be incredible, after a short stay in a beauty parlor! After all this is the land of Aish, Sush and Shilpa!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Celebrity Big Brother and Shilpa Shetty

Shilpa Shetty- When Celebrities Weep!!!

The newest tempest that has struck the media tea cups has turned out to be a cute one by name “Shilpa”. When tears flow out of her beautiful eyes, so called activists weep, politicians take up cudgels and big brother is counting hits and ratings with glee! Here the young men are panic stricken; public even in remote places of states like Bihar (where dalit (low caste) women are paraded naked at random) conducts rallies and burn effigies. Because people can’t just withstand her tears! Because she is so beautiful.

In Britain a media company “Channel Four” runs a program by name “Celebrity Big Brother” -a reality show. In this cheap but innovative show they let some hand picked “celebrities” to live for about 25 days in one common place and allow them to interact freely. Their activities there are recorded via secret cameras, edited and shown for public viewing. The best performer is given some prize in the final. Peeping Toms and star-crazy people are said to be bulk of the viewers.

When many people are put in a place skirmishes are bound to occur, in anyway Shilpa Shetty had been smart, was one view. There it is alleged that a group of three girls joined hands and insulted Shilpa with derogatory words. The subject starved media took up the case and highly succeeded in sensationalizing the issue. Those girls happened to be British and the trump card of racism was apt to be played.

The media people are at present busy showing the clippings repeatedly as if they have nothing else to show, being a news starved lot they may be excused. Nowadays people who watch television 24 hours continuously are increasing in number. Their demand for something new has to be satisfied. The channels are forced to grab whatever straw they could get. More over covering this report with so beautiful a face can catch anybody’s attention. Shilpa is a mini Helen of Troy!

Whatever be the case the results of the competition held by the channel will be out and Shilpa will most probably be the winner as she has grabbed the sympathy of spectators and perhaps that of the whole world. The real winner is definitely the Celebrity big brother as their viewership sky rocketed and they are celebrity over night! Let them walk to the bank laughing all the way.

“If winter is here can spring be far behind” When media persons make hay can the politicians remain mute? The “statesmen” of all hues are after the celebrity. “Ye aram ka mamla hein” (The issue is of comfort) as the undergarment ad goes, (the issue is of glamour) Indian politicians are also on the run to grab the glamour irradiated from Shilpa. They simultaneously weep for Shilpa and cry for “racist’s” blood. Even the most committed Marxists are also “very much moved”.

There are interesting arguments, Shilpa being a Mumbai resident and of Tamil origin (pertaining to South India) has to face discrimination in her home city!

Shilpa is a tough one and can easily handle any situation is the general view (her mother also expressed it similarly), remember that she is a black belt holder in karate, fortunately her martial art techniques were not displayed in the visuals. The media can think of showing the same after some time, in selling no doubt it will defeat the poor hot cakes!

The accusations go like this, “Jade goody, Donielle Lloyd, Jo O’ Meara are the villains (she -villains) of the story, they had the back support of their boy friends. Some of the words used are unprintable”, and if the same is true a karate girl like Shilpa should be given Nobel Prize for peace for not kicking at their vital parts! It is reported that Jade Goody-the rowdy, will be kicked out by the big brother from the court, and every chance for Shilpa winning hands down.

The initial reaction of the big brother was that it was just a girly rivalry or a school yard rubbish, later when the incident gained “international importance” they were forced to take it bit more seriously and talking of appropriate actions. As racism is a dirty word and that being profusely used in this context by each and every one has made them very apprehensive made the poor big brother run for cover. The publicity which was indented has been gained more than enough, then a slight action if repairs the damage it will be O K. for the brother.

Indian Government’s reaction as expressed by our Central Minister has assured of appropriate action against the “attack on the Bollywood actress”, British Chancellor Gordon Brown has raised the issue in the House of Commons and British Prime Minister Tony Blair has assured that the matter would be taken seriously.

Just taking the issue seriously is not enough Britain should transfer the entire monetary gain the “Big Brother” has amassed in pounds through this controversy has to be transferred to Shilpa’s account and Indian Government should make her the Indian Ambassador to Britain (as the present one is of no use). No doubt she will do a tremendous job there with her deadly tears! No one on earth can withstand the sight of her face going gloomy and she may score a thousand points for India in that status.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King He Dreamt of A Better Tomorrow

It all happened in December 1, 1955 at Montgomery, capital of Alabama –notorious for wide spread racism at that time. Rose Parks a teenaged girl (black skinned) was traveling in a crowded bus. Suddenly the driver of the bus approached her and asked her to vacate her seat for a white passenger. The girl refused to oblige and consequently she was got arrested for the “offence she committed”.

This incident drew much public attention. Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968). was at that time a priest in the Dexter Avenue Church of the Baptist order. King was an admirer of Mahatma Gandhi and the principles of non-violence practiced by Gandhi greatly attracted him. (Mohandas Gandhi was similarly subjected to such treatments in South Africa – he was thrown out of a 1st class compartment even though he had a proper ticket).

As a young man Martin Luther King was much moved by the turn of the events relating to Rose Park incident and he sprung in to action. Taking a leaf out of Gandhi, King formed an organization by name S.C.L.P. (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) initiated a non-violence based “bus boycott” movement.

King educated his followers regarding the power of non-violence and insisted that the agitation should never take a course of violence in achieving their goal. The boycott lasted for about a whole year and withdrawn only after the U. S. Supreme court ruling banning segregation in all walks of life came in to effect.

Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta in January 15, 1929. His father Rev. Martin Luther King (Senior) popularly known as “Daddy King” was a priest of the Baptist order and his mother was Mrs. Alberta Williams King. Martin Luther King’s (his original name was Michael) education was at More House College and took his degree (B.A. Sociology) in 1948. He completed his education with a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology in 1955.

The Rose Park incident literally catapulted a priest in to the center stage of the conflicts those were taking place in America between the blacks and some of the racist elements. There were many whites who actively took part in the struggles for the end of apartheid. The SCLP could raise the segregation as the most prominent issue in the 1960 election.

Majority of the blacks were used to oppression and neglect from their birth, segregation was accepted as a way of life. It was the stirring speeches which made them understand, in what state they were actually in, they were recognizing the truth through King and it was the truth which liberated them from the shackles of subordination. The blacks started to see a savior in King and King lived up to their expectations. The fiery orator as he was stirred the emotions of the audience as never before. A priest was thus getting transformed in to an activist for a cause.

Martin Luther King was one of the six leaders who led the historical rally to Washington on March, 1963 demanding jobs and freedom for the “disadvantaged Americans”. Mr. Roy Wilkins (leader NAACP), Whitney Young (Urban League), Philip Randolf (Brother hood of the sleeping car porters), John Lewis (SNCC), and James Farmer (Congress for Racial Equality) were the others who led the rally. The congregation assembled was the largest Washington has ever seen. In which King delivered the “I have a dream” speech. That was not just a speech; it was a work of art, delivered in a masterly style.

In all those days of conflicts Martin Luther King was rising to the status of an icon among the unprivileged but his counselor Mr. Beyard Rustin was getting immersed in to more and more controversies. His opinion about homosexuality, democratic socialism, and his association with the communist party of USA etc was doing much damage to Martin Luther King neglected his well wishers’ advices to keep distance from Rustin.

It was perhaps the stand taken by King about America’s involvement in Vietnam war made him most controversial. The FBI also started to observe King for his close association with some communists like Beyard Rustin. His phone was frequently tapped to check of any antinational activity.

In 7th March, 1965 a march from Selma to Montgomery was attempted but that ended in clash with the police and that day came to be known as “Bloody Sunday”. A second attempt for the march two days after the first (which would have turned even more bloody was stopped by King as his mark of nonviolence.

Martin Luther King was gaining popularity as well earning enemies all the way. His house at Montgomery was bombed and regularly was in receipt of life threatening calls. King was undeterred by all these and he was strongly demanding the American Government to spent fifty billion dollars for ten years to the welfare of the under privileged for the historical wrongs it has committed for centuries.

The year 1964 saw Martin Luther King getting the Nobel Prize; he was the youngest man to receive the coveted prize for peace. The award of Nobel Prize raised King to a real power to reckon with and his opinions (some of them very controversial) arose to the most powerful ones of the whole world.

The black sanitary workers at Memphis at Tennessee affiliated to the AFSCME were on strike since March 12 and King had an invitation to visit the striking workers. Martin Luther King visited Memphis to assure support and to boost the morale of the striking employees.

While standing at the balcony of a hotel he was shot at and brought at St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead. It was nine past six pm April 14th 1968. More than three hundred thousand people attended his funeral.

One man by name James Earl Ray was arrested in connection with the incident. Mr. Ray’s involvement in this case is not admitted by independent agencies as Mr. Ray was only a small time thief and never involved in racial attacks or slander. Ray later jumped jail on June 10 and was recaptured on June 13. His motive for the crime was also not established beyond doubt. Most of the fingers point towards the FBI as King’s growing clout and some of his associations were for them a big problem.

Perhaps the FBI would not have been aware that King was solving the image problem America faced and not making them. Now for the greatness of Martin Luther King, America can stand its head raised on any stage where human rights are discussed. But for him it would have been very pathetic for the great nation. Jacke White has rightly said it perhaps the FBI would not have heard it.

“He led a mass struggle for racial equality that doomed the segregation and changed America for ever.”

Martin Luther changed the face of the United States; he gave a much improved and refined image so that it could stand with raised head among other ones as the fair freedom’s open door.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray - A Visualizer and His Films

By Indian standards Satyajit Ray (1921 – 1992), (satya = truth and jit = victory)was a tall man with a height of six feet and four inches; he stands tall in Indian film industry also. Inspired by “a thief who stole a bicycle” Satyajit Ray stole the hearts of all who took films seriously. Satyajit Ray was a one man army for the films he gave birth to, from script to selling ads.

The history of the family in which Satyajit Ray was born is enough to justify the birth of such a prodigy as its heir. His grand father Upendrakishore Ray was not only a noted artist, violinist or a music composer; he was a very successful printing press technologist.

It was he who introduced “half tone blocks” for the first time in India. The press he owned “Upendra Ray and sons” was one of the best in India. He also had a children’s publication by name “Sandesh” (message).

Satyajit Ray was unlucky in one in one aspect, his father (Sukumar Ray) who also was an eminent writer and artist passed away at the young age of thirty six when Satyajit was in his infancy. It was his maternal uncle who brought him up. Later the press was disposed off and little Satyajit and his mother shifted to the uncle’s home.

The Ray family was closely associated with the movement by name “Brahma Samaj” and its ideology has greatly influenced little Ray. Even when he was studying at school he was very much interested in cinema and western music. Satyajit Ray completed his college education from Presidency College Calcutta where he studied economics and science. He saw more time in cinema theatre is another thing.

After the completion of education Satyajit Ray joined in an advertising company (D.J.Khaimar) as a visualizer. In designing cover pages for books and designing ads he could easily create a name by himself.

It so happened that when an abridged version of Vibhuti Bhusan Bandhopadhyaya’s (a well known Bengali writer) “Pather Panchali” was intended to be published the designing the cover page visualizing the characters was entrusted on Satyajit Ray. Ray being the top designer at that time, the job just came in search of him. Satyajit Ray studied the book thoroughly to give shape to the characters.

The real turn of the events occurred when he along with his wife paid a visit to Europe they selected the sea route for the journey while in the ship he used the time writing script of his first film “Pather Panchali” (song of the street). The six months tour in Europe was fully utilized by Satyajit Ray to see as much films he could. It was Vittorio De Sicas’s film “Ladiri di Biciclette (bicycle thief) that did the trick. Satyajit Ray could understand the real potential of the film media from this 1948 film.

On return Satyajit Ray could get the right for filming from the widow of Vibhuthi Bhushan. But producers were not willing to take the risk as they were apprehensive of the radical approaches Ray had in film taking. They were not familiar to the world out side the four walls of studio, where as Ray wanted the sets to be the real world itself.

Above script writing and direction the burden of producing the film also had to be placed on his shoulder. What Satyajit Ray did was just that as he was not timid enough to run away from his dream project.

Finding money was the real test. Ray advanced what he could from insurance; his wife’s ornaments had to be sold a very sensitive issue in Indian context as ornament of a woman is considered as the last resort of a family. Somehow 4000 feet of the film was completed and he approached the then Chief Minister of Bengal with the print.

It was one of the greatest fortunes of India’s film industry that the Chief Minister (B. C. Roy) granted the required money. (The money was diverted from the road improvement program of the Government!). Whatever it be, the road to Indian cinema was improved by that money. Pather Panchali the all time classic was thus born. This film has got more than forty awards from various festivals including the prestigious Cannes, Berlin, Venice.

There after Satyajit Ray got established as a film maker and he used to produce about one film in every year. The “Apu trilogy” (Apu is a little boy belonging to a poor Bengali family and other characters are his only sister, mother and grand mother) was his most well known films. These include the first one Pather Panchali the other two were “Aparajito” (unvanquished) and the “Apur Sansar” (the world of Apu). Altogether Satyajit Ray has produced total 36 films.

Sri Satyajit Ray’s second film “Aparajito” received the “Golden Lion” award in the in the Venice Film Festival. He has received the supreme award of the Indian Government “Bharata Ratna” along with “Padmasree”, “Padma Bhooshan”, “Padma Vibhushan” and he arose to the status of a man who received all the four awards of Indian Government. The “Dada Sahib Phalke” award presented to the outstanding personalities naturally came to him.

Sri Satyajit Ray revived the publication of the “Sandesh” which was left un- attended for years. In this weekly Ray him self contributed illustrations, poetries, and stories for children etc. Ray’s detective serial intended for teenagers also gained a lot of publicity.

In 1978 The Oxford University awarded Honorary Doctorate to Sri Satyajit Ray. It was Mr. Charlie Chaplin who received this before him. Sri Satyajit Ray was the recipient of the supreme award of France “The Legion of Mary award” that was in 1988. Ray was also awarded the Hon. Oscar award for his life time contribution to films in 1992. Sri Satyajit Ray is the first and only Indian to receive this award.

Ray’s prolific life came to an end on 23rd April 1992 while he was at Kolkatha. A man who was born in Kolkatha lived his life for the revival of Indian film industry which was stagnating in silly mythologies and petty tearjerkers.

Ray raised Indian film industy from18th century nonsense to one that can be compared with the best in the world. Satyajit Ray filled the entire film with a class, of which the whole nation could be proud of. He loved Kolkatha, children, good films and every thing that was good.

Works of Satyajit Ray

Pather panjali (Song of the Little Road) (1955)

Aparajito (The Unvanquished) (1957)

Parash Pathar (The Philosopher's Stone) (1958)

Jalsaghar (The Music Room) (1958)

Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) (1959)

Devi (The Goddess) (1960)

Teen Kanya (Two Daugters/Three Daughters) (1961)

Rabindranath Tagore (1961)

Kanchenjungha (1962)

Abhijan (The Expedition) (1962)

Mahanagar (The Big City) (1963)

Charulata (The Lonely Wife) (1964)

Two (1965)

Kapurush (The Coward) (1965)

Mahapurush (The Holy Man) (1966)

Nayak (The Hero) (1966)

Chiriyakhana (The Zoo) (1967)

Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha) (1969)

Aranyer Din Ratri (Days and Nights in the Forest) (1970)

Pratidwandi (The Adversary) (1971)

Seemabaddha (Company Limited) (1971)

Sikkim (1971)

The Inner Eye (1972)

Ashani Sanket (Distant Thunder) (1973)

Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) (1974)

Jana Aranya (The Middleman) (1976)

Bala (1976)

Shatranj Ke Khiladi (The Chess Players) (1977)

Joi Baba Felunath (The Elephant God) (1978)

Hirak Rajar Deshe (Kingdom of Diamonds) (1980)

Pikoor Diary (Pikoo's Day) (1981)

Sadgati (The Deliverance) (1981)

Ghare Baire (Home and the World) (1984)

Sukumar Ray (1987)

Ganashatru (An Enemy of the People) (1989)

Shakha Proshakha (Branches of the Tree) (1990)

Agantuk (The Stranger) (1991)