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Nov 26, 2009
Nov 26, 2009
via India Masala

IFFI 2009: Aijaz Khan on ‘The White Elephant’

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Aijaz Khan‘s debut feature film, about Shabri the drunkard and a ‘holy’ elephant which chooses him as its keeper, is set in a village in Kerala.The Hindi film, starring Tannishtha Chatterjee, Prroshanth Narayannan and Neena Gupta, is being screened at the 40th International Film Festival of India in Goa.Khan spoke to Reuters about ‘The White Elephant’, where he got the idea for the film and how the mahout controlling the elephant was the “real hero”.

Nov 25, 2009
Nov 25, 2009
Oct 26, 2009
via India Masala

What’s in a name? The truth about “Kaminey”

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When a friend went to buy movie tickets for Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Kaminey”, she felt uncomfortable.She had never before used the word — Hindi slang for ‘scoundrels’ — and was embarrassed to utter it at the ticket counter.The film, set in Mumbai streets, is a crime thriller about petty desires that turn two brothers against each other.Director Bhardwaj says the title, though unusual, is apt. He went ahead with “Kaminey” after his mentor, filmmaker and lyricist Gulzar, approved it.Bhardwaj, speaking during a panel discussion at the Osian’s-Cinefan Film Festival in New Delhi, revealed that he took inspiration for the title from Gulzar’s “Ijaazat“.In a scene from the 1987 classic, actor Naseeruddin Shah uses the word as a term of endearment for his wife (Rekha) after she makes a cup of tea for him.Bhardwaj said this usage of “kaminey” as a romantic expression stuck in his subconscious and changed his perception of the word as used in everyday language.Not everyone was convinced.A schoolteacher said she was concerned by the number of children using the slang word after Bollywood gave it legitimacy. She urged filmmakers to be more responsible.But would “Kaminey” have retained its charm under a different name? And would that name have taken away the essence of the crime thriller.Should Bollywood filmmakers have the artistic freedom to use slang words in the names of their films? Why or why not?

Oct 15, 2009
via India Insight

India’s richest man takes a pay cut

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Mukesh Ambani has accepted a two-thirds cut in his salary in 2008/09 as chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries. His total compensation fell 66 percent to 150 million rupees.The move comes just days after Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed warned firms against paying huge salaries to top company brass.Ambani’s “desire to set a personal example of moderation in executive compensation” may be in line with the Congress government’s efforts to shore up public finances with an austerity drive of its own.Excessive compensation has sparked outrage across the developed world after years of multi-million dollar bonuses paid out to executives, even at money-losing firms.Politicians and policy makers have advocated curbs on these salaries, a theme echoed at the G20 meeting in September.Ambani’s revised pay package is a far cry from the 440 million rupees he got last year but the salary cut is not seen as making too much of a dent in his wallet.Earlier this year, Forbes magazine pegged Ambani’s worth at about $19.5 billion in its list of the world’s billionaires.Within hours of the Reliance Industries statement on his salary, Twitter users sympathised with the ‘poor little rich boy‘. Some suggested it could be a move to pay less tax.Is Ambani’s pay cut a genuine attempt at bringing in moderation in executive salaries?

Sep 23, 2009
via India Masala

Rahul Mahajan searches for the perfect TV bride

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As India heads into wedding season, yet another celebrity is hoping to get hitched — with millions of people watching on prime-time television.Rahul Mahajan follows in the footsteps of Bollywood starlet Rakhi Sawant and will choose a life partner from among 16 candidates in a reality TV show.Mahajan features in the second season of ‘Swayamvar’, which made a much-publicised debut earlier this year with Sawant being wooed by 16 men from varied backgrounds, each trying to portray himself as the perfect bridegroom.Sawant did choose a winner but didn’t marry him at the end of the series, insisting she wanted to know him better.Unlike Sawant, who sceptics say misled audiences in a publicity stunt, viewers will be hoping to catch Mahajan tie the knot in an elaborate televised ceremony.Few details are available about the show, announced at a press conference on Tuesday, except that Mahajan will make his choice from among 16 potential brides living under one roof and taking part in various tasks and challenges to impress him.Mahajan, 34, is an unlikely celebrity. He first shot into the limelight in 2006 — getting arrested on drug possession charges just weeks after his politician father was shot dead by a disgruntled brother.A failed marriage followed but Mahajan endeared himself to television audiences with his child-like histrionics in ‘Bigg Boss’, the Indian version of ‘Celebrity Big Brother’.Any hopes of resurrecting his fledgling political career were nipped in the bud this year with the Bharatiya Janata Party choosing his sister to contest next month’s Maharashtra assembly elections, indicating that Mahajan may still be on a long road to redemption.For now, Mahajan is back on TV screens, hoping to find the perfect match. But it remains to be seen if he can outdo Rakhi Sawant in the publicity stakes. Or can anyone else?Which Indian celebrity do you want to see choosing a life partner on TV?

Aug 11, 2009
via The Great Debate (India)

Is India ready to tackle swine flu?

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With the number of swine flu fatalities in India touching double figures on Tuesday, panic is slowly setting in.Schools, malls and cinema halls in Pune are already shut and nearly a thousand people across India have tested positive for the virus.The H1N1 flu outbreak, declared a pandemic on June 11, has spread around the world since emerging in April and could eventually affect 2 billion people, according to WHO estimates.But is India ready to tackle the outbreak?More supplies of flu drug Tamiflu and testing kits are being imported and private hospitals are being asked to help state-run hospitals cope with a surge in people rushing to get tested.Some also feel that the media hype over swine flu is causing needless fear.On Tuesday, the Hindustan Times said the common flu could be killing an estimated 572 Indians every day, much more than H1N1 flu — in most cases, infection has been mild and patients have fully recovered.So is there really cause for panic?

    • About Tony

      "Tony Tharakan is Editor, India Online and looks after the Reuters India website, managing the desk's 24/7 operations in New Delhi. He has been with Reuters since September 2006 and has previously worked with The Times of India and Press Trust of India. He holds post-graduate degrees in journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and in English from Hindu College, Delhi University."
      Joined Reuters:
      September 2006
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