India Insight

Meet Mangla Charan Mishra, ‘Friend of the Dead’

April 30, 2015

If you ever find yourself driving down the secluded, dusty National Highway 96 in the remote Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, you probably will notice a billboard flashing this message in Hindi: “If you find any unclaimed dead body, inform us. We will cremate it in accordance with full religious procedures.”

Amish Tripathi on his new book “Scion of Ikshvaku” and retelling the Ramayan

April 29, 2015

The gods must be pleased with Amish Tripathi. After all, the author’s first three books on Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, have sold more than 2.2 million copies and made him a household name in India.

How Delhi’s shoeshine boys learn to read and write

April 29, 2015

It’s 8:30 am and office workers are streaming out of the Delhi Metro’s Gate No. 5 on Barakhamba Road, the capital’s central business district. Nearby, five shoeshine boys holding pencils and notebooks crowd around Firdos Khan, who sits with them on the ground in her white salwar and is busy explaining the difference between 7 plus 2 and 7 multiplied by 2.

China? India? We’re grateful for their help: Nepal’s ambassador to India

April 28, 2015

By Mayank Bhardwaj and Ratnajyoti Dutta

A 7.9-magnitude earthquake jolted Nepal and parts of northern India on Saturday, killing more than 4,300 people and injuring thousands more. It is the most destructive earthquake that Nepal has suffered since 1934. Several countries have offered relief, most notably China and India. The rival nations, which together surround Nepal, have made an effort to woo the stricken nation even as they eye each other from their own borders.

A Minute With: Radhika Apte

April 20, 2015

Ekta Kapoor once asked sardonically, “Who is Radhika Apte?” This year, Indian audiences found out.

A Minute With: Vidhu Vinod Chopra on ‘Broken Horses’

April 17, 2015

The producer of Bollywood’s highest grossing film made his debut as a Hollywood director this month.

Movie Review: Mr X (3D)

April 17, 2015

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

Twenty-eight years ago, there was “Mr India” – a film about an invisible man who helped bring down the bad guys. It is now 2015, and we have Vikram Bhatt‘s “Mr X“, which again is a film about an invisible man who fights crime. You would think, given how much Bollywood has progressed in the intervening years, that the 2015 film would beat the 1987 one at least on the technical aspects,  if not the creative ones.

Movie Review: Court

April 17, 2015

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

Chaitanya Tamhane‘s “Court” is a chronicle of the mundane – a housewife cooks dinner, a lawyer reads something in a monotone, another character shops for groceries. Yet, it is through the mundane that Tamhane weaves magic. “Court” is a rare film that creates drama out of the humdrum lives of ordinary people, whose limited world view and biases affect the lives of others in more ways than they can imagine.

Movie Review: Margarita, With a Straw

April 17, 2015

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

In Shonali Bose’s “Margarita, With a Straw”, there is a scene towards the end where the unraveling of a relationship is captured faithfully by the camera – there are accusations of betrayal, tears over what could have been, and frantic declarations of love. It is to Bose’s credit that in spite of the fact that it involves two women who are both disabled, she treats it in the same way that most films would treat a scene of this nature involving a heterosexual, abled couple.

100 ‘smart cities’? Getting just one done will be a challenge

April 15, 2015

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to build 100 “smart cities” by 2022 to decongest existing urban centres probably will take longer to achieve. Reuters visited the foundations of one of these cities in Gujarat, a finance centre called Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT).