India Insight

Interview: India has a lot to offer in terms of Twitter stories – Twittamentary director

Two Indian social media consultants, Avinash Kalla and Bhaskar Pant, plan to release “Twittamentary India”, a film made in collaboration with Singapore-based documentary filmmaker Tan Siok Siok. Like Siok’s 2012 original “Twittamentary”, the new film will take a look at the Twitter community with the help of people on the social media website. “Twittamentary India” will explore the interactions that politicians, journalists and ordinary people have on Twitter in the country.

(Also read: Twitter in India to come alive in new documentary)

Arnika Thakur spoke to Siok about social media, “Twittamentary” and how India became the first country chapter. Edited excerpts from the interview.

Q: How did “Twittamentary” happen?
A: The motivation for making the film came about from my own experience on Twitter. I was kind of an early adopter and I came on Twitter in 2007, before it became mainstream … When I first started using it I thought it was quite inane. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to be doing this … But when I started using it, I was amazed by the connections I was able to make, and by the amount of relationships and friendships I was able to form. At the same time I found that those who are really into Twitter had a really hard time trying to convey their experience to people who don’t get it. So I thought that it would actually be a very good topic for a film as film or video can be more visceral and you can convey emotion and experience that will be in logical terms.

Q: Why did you decide to do it by crowd-sourcing?
A: I thought the best way to make a film about Twitter is with the help of everyone on Twitter … When I first started the project I would say that if we can ever get the film made, we would really prove that Twitter works because everything that the film requires comes through Twitter. The story, the idea, the production teams and all the screenings that we organized throughout the world, it all comes through connections from Twitter.

Q: Why have an India chapter?
A: You see very interesting stories in India because of the democratic structure. People are very outspoken and therefore they are also outspoken on Twitter. I think the culture is such that you can see a lot is out in the open in social media, and there are lot of dynamic complex societies where you can really see the sociological impact of Twitter and it’s been laid out in a very public way and it leads to a good film.

Markets this week: Sensex gains 2.4 percent; L&T, Tata Power surge

September is turning out to be a good month for Indian shares, as key stock indexes extended gains in the last four sessions. Monday was a market holiday.

The BSE Sensex gained 2.4 percent, while the broader Nifty rose nearly 3 percent as foreign institutional investors (FIIs) extended buying into Indian equities. A recovery in the rupee, which posted its best week in 15 months, also boosted sentiment.

Profit-taking dented markets mid-week as caution also prevailed ahead of a series of macroeconomic events scheduled next week, including August inflation data due on Monday and the likelihood of U.S. Fed’s decision to announce a reduction in its monetary policy stimulus. RBI will review its policy on September 20.

Twitter in India to come alive in new documentary

Four years ago, Singapore-based documentary filmmaker Tan Siok Siok asked her Twitter friends to contribute ideas for a Twitter documentary. That was the beginning of her crowd-sourced film ‘Twittamentary’. She spent three years travelling across the United States, meeting strangers and documenting experiences on Twitter as she made the film.

Later this year, two Indian social media consultants, Avinash Kalla and Bhaskar Pant, in collaboration with Siok, plan to release a new film for India. “Twittamentary India” will look at the interactions that politicians, journalists and ordinary people have on Twitter in the country.

The essence remains the same as the original “Twittamentary”, a film about the Twitter community with the help of people on the social media website, but exploring different themes.

Delhi gang rape sentencing: reactions from people on the street

By Aditya Kalra and Arnika Thakur

All four men convicted of raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi were sentenced to death on Friday.

The India Insight team spoke to people outside the Saket court complex in New Delhi. Here are edited excerpts from conversations:

Ashok Gupta, 48, street vendor

We are so happy. We have been protesting at Jantar Mantar, at India Gate, and we have waited for so long. This should have happened long ago. I think this will instil fear in people. And they will think before they commit any crime against women.

Reactions on Twitter to the Delhi gang rape sentencing

All four men convicted of raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi were sentenced to death on Friday. Here is a compilation of politicians and other celebrities reacting on Twitter:

Sushma Swaraj, BJP MP
I welcome the judgement in Delhi gang rape case. This will serve as a deterrent for such offences.

Naveen Jindal, Congress MP
Justice has been served. Nirbhaya, we all hope you rest in peace. You have changed India, you are everyones daughter.

Movie Review: John Day

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

Ahishor Solomon’s “John Day” is a thriller about a docile bank manager who seeks revenge after the actions of a corrupt cop and his accomplices leave the manager’s life in tatters.

The film starts off intriguingly and in the first 15 minutes or so, Solomon sets up his story well.

Naseeruddin Shah plays John Day, an ordinary man who sets out to exact revenge on those who killed his daughter and brutally attacked his wife.

Priyanka Chopra seeks her second touchdown with the NFL

Priyanka Chopra is not a household name in the United States, but the Bollywood actress and singer will try to change that on Thursday night when she kicks off the National Football League’s Thursday Night Football game with her single “In My City.”

In this case, the city will be Foxboro, Massachusetts, where the New England Patriots will play the New York Jets. While Chopra will be in Mumbai, heart of the Indian film industry, the NFL Network will broadcast a video of her singing the song against a backdrop of football players and sportscasters.

“The most important thing is exposure,” she said. “(It’s an) intro to who I am and what I do.”

Delhi gang rape verdict: Reactions from people on the street

By Aditya Kalra and Arnika Thakur

Four men were found guilty on Tuesday of the gang rape of a woman on a bus in New Delhi and her murder, closing a chapter on a crime that triggered protests and soul-searching about the treatment of women in India. Arguments on sentencing are due to begin on Wednesday.

(Live coverage of the trial at http://reut.rs/15eIlsb)

Here are some reactions from people on the street:

POOJA SINGH, 21, student, at the Munirka bus stop.
“The girl lost her life, the accused should get a similar punishment.”

JYOTI SHARMA, 21, student
“Even the juvenile should be given life imprisonment. The four adult accused should be hanged. I don’t feel safe anywhere even on a bus stand … I try to reach home before dark”

Bhaskar Rao: the cop with one head and too many hats

Bureaucracy begets comedy as a general rule. The latest example is Bhaskar Rao, a police officer in Karnataka.

As the Deccan Chronicle reported on Aug. 27, Rao, an inspector general of police (IG) responsible for the internal security of the state, is also filling the role of training chief.

This forces him to write letters to himself to seek approval for personnel training programmes.

Delhi rape victim’s parents hold firm in desire for death penalty

The family of the trainee physiotherapist who was gang-raped in Delhi last December received a new house and 3.5 million rupees (about $54,000) in compensation for their daughter’s torture and death. It’s a bounty they would rather forgo. They want their daughter’s killers dead.

“Earlier, we used to be happy with whatever little we earned,” the victim’s mother told Reuters in an interview on Sunday. “The difference now is that despite having everything, our eyes are wet all the time.”

“When we go out and see other girls smile and giggle, we think our daughter would have also smiled like this, giggled like this; those would have been such wonderful moments. It pains us deeply when we think about that,” said the victim’s father.

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