Tony's Feed
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?

Aug 9, 2009
via India Insight

Writing a novel? Just tweet it

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When Matt Stewart’s agent submitted his debut novel to publishing houses, he didn’t quite get the response he wanted.”Many of them loved it, but none were willing to buy what they viewed as a ‘risky’ novel — vivid language, elements of fantasy and farce, raunchy humor,” the San Francisco resident wrote on his website.But Stewart didn’t lose heart. On July 14, he started posting “The French Revolution” on Twitter.The novel, about a San Francisco family forging its place in history, is one of the few full-length works of fiction to be released one tweet at a time.Micro-blogging service Twitter and its now famous 140-character tweet limit is being put to uses more profound than just describing what you had for breakfast.Like tweeting a novel.Stewart says it will take him approximately 3,700 tweets to transmit all of the 480,000 characters in his novel.”I can get instant feedback from readers, and we can discuss the intricacies of the characters and plot twists as they develop,” he says.Stewart is not the only one writing Twiction (or Twitter fiction). There’s Jim McCormick who tweeted a novel written by his late wife, Nick Belardes’ ‘Small Places‘ and even a Twitter novel in French.And tech writer Rakesh Raman’s humanoid protagonist Robojit is leading a mission to the Sand Planet – at the rate of 10 tweets a day.There are also some who tell the entire story in a single tweet.Geoff Meeker, for instance, writes Twisters, or short stories written in 140 characters or less. So do William Brazill and Arjun Basu.If you need help, there are even web pages offering tips on writing a novel on Twitter.And if you are suffering from writer’s block, you could always turn to literary classics for inspiration.Videogame designer Ian Bogost and friend Ian McCarthy came up with idea of recreating a chapter from James Joyce’s 1922 novel “Ulysses” on Twitter.And Chindu Sreedharan, who teaches journalism at Bournemouth University, is retelling the Hindu epic Mahabharata on Twitter.Of course, Twiction is not perfect.This month, a reader of the Mahabharata Twitter narrative alerted the author after reading a tweet that seemed out of place.”I accidentally posted something meant for another Twitter account — and since it had some reference to ‘beach’ and ‘bikini-clad’, I had some answering to do,” Sreedharan said.But the big question is — will Twiction remain some sort of social media experiment? Will it ever have literary merit?

Jul 17, 2009
via The Great Debate (India)

Is the Chandrayaan project too ambitious?

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The Indian Space Research Organisation has said that Chandrayaan-1, the country’s first unmanned moon probe, has malfunctioned and its two-year mission may need to be curtailed.The Chandrayaan-1, which cost $79 million, was launched in 2008 to map the moon’s surface and look for precious metals.The moon probe’s successful launch in October enthused the media and distracted India from an economic slowdown, collapsing stock prices and outbreaks of ethnic and religious violence.In a recent interview, Delhi Metro chief Elattuvalapil Sreedharan told Reuters that the government should concentrate more on building basic infrastructure.”The pressure should be more on that rather than going to the moon,” Sreedharan said.Do you think the moon probe project was a mistake in a country where millions still survive on less than $2 a day?

Jul 7, 2009
via The Great Debate (India)

Was Michael Jackson greatest entertainer ever?

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The music world, the Jackson family and thousands of fans bade farewell to Michael Jackson at a public memorial on Tuesday.”The more I think about Michael, and talk about Michael, the more I think that ‘King of Pop’ is not good enough,” said Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, who signed The Jackson 5 in 1968.”I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”Here’s your chance to pay your final tributes to Michael Jackson.

Jul 2, 2009
via The Great Debate (India)

Will court ruling on gay sex change perceptions?

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The Delhi High Court’s ruling that homosexual sex among consenting adults is not a crime is expected to boost an increasingly vocal pro-gay lobby in India that says a British-era law banning gay sex is a violation of human rights.The current law bans “sex against the order of nature”, and is widely interpreted to mean homosexual sex in India.The High Court ruling applies to all of India, but can be appealed at the Supreme Court.In a country where gay sex has been a taboo, will the court ruling have any bearing on how conservative Indians view homosexuality?

    • 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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