India Insight

Movie Review: Dhoom 3

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

The dominant sound in Vijay Krishna Acharya’s “Dhoom 3” is the revving up of a bike. The bike never quite takes off though, resulting in a lot of noise and smoke, but not much else.

Hyped as the biggest release of the year, and as the slickest action thriller to come out of India, “Dhoom 3” turns out to be a damp squib. For an action film, there is hardly any action – instead the 172 minute film is laden with an insipid romance and many other distractions that add nothing to the story except lengthen it further.

Even the action sequences aren’t clever – the bike that Sahir (Aamir Khan) uses can apparently travel on water, fire and in air – can combine with another bike to transform into another machine altogether, and even straddle a rope across two buildings. If the film had gone on any further, it might have solved world hunger.

Inspite of this magical bike, on which Sahir makes all his escapes – all of which seem inspired from “The Fast and Furious and the Batman films – the action looks slick only because the other side stares open-mouthed as he makes these apparently great escapes. At one point you want to shake Abhishek Bachchan’s character and say “do something, don’t just stand there!”

Bachchan plays Jai Dixit, the intrepid police officer, who is referred to as “India’s top cop”, and is called in to Chicago, along with his deputy Ali (Uday Chopra) to solve a series of bank robberies that take place at different branches of the same bank. The thief leaves a note in Hindi and a smiling clown mask as his signature, and always manages to evade capture, zooming away on his bike before anyone can sight him.

Tattoo business booms as India shows off body art

Kamaldeep Sethi used to be a corporate trainer with a flair for drawing on office walls. Then a colleague talked him into learning the art of tattoos.

Sethi, who goes by the name KD, set up a tattoo parlour in New Delhi in 2005. He now owns three shops, including one in Canada. The 32-year-old is part of a new generation of tattoo artists who left high-paying corporate jobs to follow their passion.

Though exact numbers are hard to come by, tattoo art is a flourishing business in cities like New Delhi, which is estimated to have between 60 and 100 tattoo studios and more than 300 home-based artists.

India’s debit card safety rule boosts sales of payment processing firms

Companies that help in processing card payments look set to benefit from rising demand for portable card swipe machines after the Reserve Bank of India adopted new rules to prevent fraud and enhance security.

Merchants in India usually swipe cards through a reader to generate receipts that customers sign, but the new rule, effective Dec. 1, adds another layer of security by making debit card holders enter their personal identification numbers to validate transactions via these machines, also referred to as point-of-sale (POS) terminals.

Businesses such as fuel stations, hotels and restaurants that normally keep their card machines out of the customer’s reach will have to buy the portable, GPRS-enabled devices to offer convenience to clients.

A year after a deadly rape, Delhi women not keen on self-defence classes

Riddhi Mittal took a big professional risk when she moved back to Delhi in September to start her own software company. She did not want her personal safety to be part of the risk, especially considering the gruesome tale of the deadly Delhi gang rape that made headlines around the world one year ago this week.

Mittal, who earned her undergraduate degree and master’s degree in computer science at Stanford University in California, and was an intern at Facebook and Microsoft, was apprehensive about returning to the city, now that it was dubbed “India’s rape capital,” so she signed up for self-defence classes.

“I was here in Delhi in December 2012 for my winter vacation when (the rape) happened. So I was tracking it 24×7 when I was here, and even when I went back to the U.S. in January when my vacations had ended,” said Riddhi, 23, who lives with her parents in South Delhi’s New Friends Colony.

A Minute With: Sascha Sippy

Ramesh Sippy’s epic buddy action film “Sholay” failed to impress audiences when it came out in 1975. Almost 40 years later, the movie is an integral part of Indian pop culture. The film is now being released in 3D amid much acrimony.

Sippy went to court against his nephews who own the rights to the film. His nephew, Sascha Sippy, who runs Sippy Films, said that his uncle didn’t have any rights to the film, and did not have a say in whether the film could be released.

The Bombay High Court rejected Ramesh Sippy’s order, clearing the way for the new version. Sascha Sippy spoke to Reuters about the feud, why he decided to release the film in 3D and how he plans to take the “Sholay” franchise forward. Responses have been lightly edited.

Markets this week: Sensex falls 1.3 percent, BHEL slumps nearly 10 percent

By Ankush Arora and Aditya Kalra

The BSE Sensex fell 1.3 percent in the week ending Dec. 13 after high retail inflation raised fears of a rate hike. Eight of 10 analysts in a poll on Friday said they expected the central bank to raise the repo rate by 25 basis points to try and tame stubbornly high inflation.

Before falling for four consecutive sessions from Tuesday, markets touched life highs on Monday. The BSE Sensex touched 21483.74 after sentiment on the street was boosted by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s win in three of five state elections.

However, profit-taking and the cautious outlook of investors before Thursday’s inflation data pushed shares lower, with the Sensex registering its worst weekly performance in nearly a month.

Movie Review: What the Fish

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

Gurmeet Singh’s “What the Fish” is a comedy about a cranky old woman, her beloved goldfish, and a group of reckless, irresponsible young people who play havoc with her house while she’s away on a holiday abroad.

Sudha Mishra (Dimple Kapadia) is a cantankerous, divorced woman, who is constantly suspicious of everyone and doesn’t trust her own son. She reserves all her affection for Mishti, her goldfish, and her blossoming money plant.

When she leaves India to stay with her son for a month, Mishra entrusts her precious possessions and the house to Sumit (Sumit Suri), her niece’s lackadaisical fiancé. But the minute her plane takes off, the peaceful environs of her house are shattered.

from Expert Zone:

Slow change comes to India a year after Delhi gang rape

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

One year ago, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was raped and murdered. Her story showed the world that women across India are viewed as dispensable, undeserving of full human rights.

One year later, what has changed?

It is heartening that the case of Nirbhaya, as she is known, led to the setting up of the Justice Verma commission that recommended strengthening outdated laws to protect women and their rights. Although change has been slow, more cases of sexual violence are being reported rather than silenced, scuttled or quietly settled. However, crime statistics and prosecution rates show that most of these crimes go unnoticed, unreported and absorbed into the culture of “that’s the way things are."

Looking through the National Crime Records Bureau’s report for 2012, it is evident that the number of complaints registered with the police, the first information reports on rape, has risen by nearly 3 percent. The number of cases that were charge-sheeted -- documented as a crime -- was 95 percent. But fewer than 15 percent of rape cases came to trial in 2012.

How the Bollywood numbers game works

On Nov. 23, along with its usual glut of interviews and news about Bollywood stars, the Bombay Times featured a solemn announcement: “Box Office column discontinued.”

The column, written by Priya Gupta, editor of Times of India Metro Supplements, said it was getting increasingly difficult to get good numbers for how films are doing at the box office because filmmakers and production houses “jack up their numbers.”

“While filmmakers have no hesitation in picking up the phone and trying to convince us about their false data, they will not send formal emails confirming the data as they are scared of subsequent expose,” the column said.

Reactions on Twitter to the Supreme Court judgment on gay sex

The Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out a 2009 ruling by a lower court that had decriminalised gay sex in India, in a major setback for the cause of gay rights in the world’s largest democracy. For full story, click http://reut.rs/18TsR0U

Here are some reactions from India on Twitter (lightly edited for clarity):

Shashi Tharoor, Congress minister
The Supreme Court has urged Parliament to delete Section 377 from the statute book. As an MP, I am strongly in favour of doing so.

Shruti Haasan, actress
Second 377, it’s frightening how someone else decides how, when and who you should love – basically freedom of choice isn’t legal anymore.

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