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Wednesday, September 09th, 2009 | Author:

It’s hard to find solace when your idols are cracking up. In my view, that’s exactly whats happening for many Indians who admired Tharoor.

The headline news across Indian media channels on 8th Sep, ’09 had one thing to talk about as breaking news – about India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s ‘eviction’ order to the country’s two top politicians, Shashi Tharoor and S.M Krishna. They were allegedly ordered to vacate the 5-star suites they are occupying in Delhi for over 3 months. The media report stated that both the politicians have been occupying the suites for over 3 months.

Shashi Tharoor, who has been using Twitter to engage in dialogues with a staggering number of followers, found himself flooded with countless tweets. His followers wanted his views on the report.

Despite my admiration for Tharoor as an intelligent thinker, writer, and leader, it came as a real dampener to read how he dismissed the issue as a ‘non story.’ His rationale is that he did not spend the taxpayer’s money or use any government privilege.

When the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh is advocating austerity day after day, this act of ostentation, whether its Tharoor’s pocket money or property money, is insulting. Pritish Nandy rightly stated on Twitter that the issue is not where the money came from but why the act of ostentation took place.

Next, Tharoor’s excuse of not staying in Kerala House, on Twitter, was that it lacks two things – a gym and privacy.

You don’t really need to stay in a five star hotel suite just to get a good gym facility, do you?

About privacy, I feel outraged that someone like Tharoor lied. It’s a very private, exclusive space for celebrities and political leaders at Kerala House. The accommodation is truly king-size luxury at little or no price at all for the elite circle that stays there. The state’s most popular Ministers, actors, and celebrities enjoy their privacy there. It’s like living in royal grandeur and splendid isolation.

That’s what makes Tharoor’s statement such a blatant lie. The fact that he lied is what angers those who follow him with respect. Sure, politicians insult our intelligence all the time with the most creative excuses, its no big deal, really.

Maybe we would have respected Shashi Tharoor if he had been honest about the whole deal. Of course, no politician is perfect in any country but from Tharoor, we made the mistake of expecting a little more. We saw his entry into politics as a better chance to believe in the political high class once again, based on a mistaken belief that perhaps good, intelligent leaders are back. What we’ve got is suave lies, and that is not fair.

Like a consolation prize of sorts, Tharoor stated that he visits Kerala House to meet and talk with people. Maybe someone needs to remind him the only people in Kerala House are celebrities and Ministers. To meet people, Tharoor needs to step out of his 5 star suite with its gym and privacy facilities and visit his constituency for a change. There are a lot of people out there who are living in an unenviable state of austerity. Maybe Tharoor the suave politician needs to step out of his fancy political suit to recognize this fact.

Thursday, September 03rd, 2009 | Author:

Old is gold. The 66th Venice Film Festival starts today and touted as “the world’s best film festival”. There is both good and bad news for us. The bad news first, Bollywood has limited movement in this festival this year (when did it do?). The good news, although not a part of the “Competition category” Rakyesh Om Prakash Mehra’s ‘Delhi 6′ and Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Dev D’ and Gulaal are among the four Indian movies that will be screened at 30126 Lido di Venezia. Amit Dutta an FTII passout will tell Aadmi ki aurat aur anya kahaniya – ‘The Man’s Woman and Other Stories’ through the 70 mm. What’s more, Anuraag Kashyap, an acclaimed Indian film maker also happens to be part of the prestigious six member jury of the festival.

DevD – inspired by Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s Devdas, and Delhi-6 has tried to capture superstition, communal passions, dreams of the middle class, and urban malaise from the people living in the old part of Delhi, India’s capital. Gulaal is a classic cut on contemporary student politics.

More than eighty films will be screened cutting across 32 countries. Italy and America have record number of entries, 17 and 22 respectively. With Steven Speilberg tying up with ADAG, can we expect more Indian faces next year?

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Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 | Author:

“Iss desh ko rakhna mere bachchon sambhaal ke.” You must have heard this song playing on radio or TV on August 15, October 2 or January 26. The patriotic song from the film Jagriti was sung by Mohd. Rafi. However, many people across the border hear this song playing on August 14.

A Rare Message to Pakistani Youth-1957

Somebody in Pakistan also sailed the same kashti to safety from the same toofaan. He also had kids, who were being appealed to. The only difference being that they were being told to rescue the mulq, not the desh. The lyrics and the music are exactly the same. While technically the Pakistani boat reached the shores before the Indian one, this composition is originally Indian. A Pakistani got, as Pritam would say, ‘inspired.’ It must be a time zone issue.

Wait a minute. Am I sounding like bashing a Pakistani? NO. I love the country and its people. With due respect to my national anthem, I declare that I enjoy the Pakistani national anthem more than Jana Gana Mana. However, I have no respect for people who project a stolen piece of work as their own – irrespective of their nationality.

By the way, there is another song “Sabarmati ke sant tune kar diya kamal”. That one became “Aye QaideAzam tera ahsaan hai ahsaan”. This was still creative, considering only the music was copied and Gandhi was replaced with Jinnah. The height of plagiarism, however, was in the video. In the Indian version, a handicapped student is singing the song. The disability of the Pakistani director is visible in his inability to think of something different.