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Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscars Comes To India - Two Oscars for AR Rahman



Twenty seven years ago it was Bhanu Athaiya who created history by being the first Indian to win an Oscar for her Best Costume Design in the film "Gandhi" in 1982. Now it is AR Rahman who has done India proud once again by being the first to win two Oscars for the Best Original Score and the Best song (Jai Ho) in the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” in the year 2009 along with Resul Pookutty who won an Oscar for The Best Sound Mixing. The only other Indian to have been honored by an Oscar for a “Lifetime Achievement Award” in the year 1992 was the director “Satyajit Ray”.




Watch AR Rahman getting the Oscars on Youtube Video here:



Other related videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGuJOJgd0nU

“Slumdog Millionaire” won the Best Picture and Best Director Award (Danny Boyle) and all in all bagged eight Oscars. British actress Kate Winslet finally won the Oscar, after her sixth nomination, for the Best Actress in a Leading Role for “The Reader”. Sean Penn came as a big surprise for everyone by winning the Oscar for the Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role as gay rights activist Harvey Milk in the movie “Milk”. The Oscar award for the Best Actor in a Supporting role was awarded posthumously to Heath Ledger for his role in "The Dark Night".


The whole cast and crew of “Slumdog Millionaire” came up to the stage to get the Best Picture Award. Among them, standing proudly were also the two children from the slums, looking chic in their new suits with actors Anil Kapoor, Irfaan Khan and Music director AR Rahman. They were all excited to be on the stage and received a standing ovation from the audience.

See all that happened at the 81st Annual Academy Awards 2009 - winners, Pictures, videos, trivia at these links:

http://www.oscars.com/
http://specials.msn.co.in/sp08/oscar/index.asp

Aamir Khan has been struggling to win an Oscar for the Bollywood film Industry by showcasing his films to the Oscars Jury for the past few years but getting nowhere so far. Well, knowing the kind of perfectionist that he is, he may still be able to do the deed...Well, We wish him all the luck next year.

"Jai Ho India, Jai ho"....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A New Twist To Love - Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!



Times have changed and so has the expression, of the most sought after emotion in history, of love also changed slowly and steadily over the centuries.

Love, romance and desire were a taboo subject a few centuries ago. Oh, the feelings were very much there, just that people were not supposed to express them so freely out in the open. Even in India, the very notion of falling in love with someone was considered to be "scandalous", specially for a girl. Arranged marriages were the norm a few decades ago. Anyone having a "love marriage" was considered to be very "bold" in the eyes of the society.

Love and romance in those days happened or rather was encouraged only after marriage. An example of this romance between married couples is shown in this very romantic song of the past - epitome of romance - Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rahman in "Choudhavi Ka Chand". A song by Mohammad Rafi that has remained evergreen till date.



More lilting romantic tunes from the yesteryear:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ud2rsMT5ng

How times have changed now. The younger generations became bolder and more free with their expressions as the electronic media has advanced with technology helping to bridge gaps and bring the whole humanity closer together. Internet, mobile phones, sms, e-mails, and social networking sites have all worked as the cupid of the modern era to bring couples together, far and wide across oceans and all around the globe.

Films in India, Bollywood, specializes in the topic of romance since its inception. Songs have been a very important aspect of each and every film since the black and white era of cinema. Let's take a trip down memory lane of all the old romantic songs of yesteryear and see how the music and lyrics of the songs were so soft and soul touching as compared to the songs of the present era, which are now loud, bold and lyrics are mostly meaningless lost in the background music.

Here is an example of a lilting romantic hit number of the '70's era starring Rajesh Khanna and Asha Parekh from the film Kati Patang. The song is "Pyar diwana hota hai" sung by Kishore Kumar. Watch this You tube video:



More such romantic numbers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lslZptXok8o

These were the romantic tunes of the yesteryear. Come to the present and see how the present generation express their feelings about love in this song "Ishk Kamina" starring Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai...



More latest songs from Bollywood here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvVHgUbRT5E

Well, love certainly has had its twists and turns down the ages of mankind, and who knows what lies ahead, but one thing remains the same.......It's still LOVE!

So, go ahead and express your love freely today to all those who really matter to you in your life.

Happy Valentines Day...!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jail For Abetting Drunk Driving!

In a recent case in Mumbai, the Traffic Police arrested a co-passenger for abetment after they caught a drunk driver who tested positive and also had alcoholic content more than the permitted limits. The duo were served a fine of Rs 2000/- and a night in jail for the offense.

This is the first time that a person was booked and punished for abetting the crime of drunk driving. In this particular case the co-passenger himself was equally sloshed and wouldn't have been in a position to bother much about it. But the precedence has been set and next time someone is found driving drunk, his co-passengers, be it friends, wife or kids also go into the slammer even if they are totally sober or teetotalers.

As per the Indian Motor Vehicles act, Section 188, abetting drunk driving attracts the same punishment as drunk driving, A fine of Rs 2000/- and/or Jail time upto six months.

So what defines abetting drunk driving? Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code defines it as " A person abets the doing of a thing, who-

First: -Instigates any person to do that thing; or

Secondly: -Engages with one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing; or

Thirdly: -Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing."

In this particular case the co-passenger was arrested because the duo had drinks together. This is just another instance of the high handed attitude of the Police in our country. How does the co-passenger, who himself is drunk realize whether his driver is fit to drive or not?

Moreover if the person who is sitting with the drunk driver somehow aided the driver in drunk driving, what about the liquor manufacturer, the marketing agency which keeps the advertising of liquor alive by proxy, what about the pub owner, what about the steward or the bartender who served them, what about the government who gave the license or the permit to the pub owner, what about all the other patrons of the pub who were, with their own cheerfulness and enjoyment instigated our man to drink more, what about the music company and the singer of the record that was playing in the pub or the bar and creating an atmosphere congenial for drinking, What about the Glass manufacturer whose glasses the pubs were using, what about the manufacturer of the refrigerator which was used to chill the drinks or make ice, I can go on.

The point is that in some way or the other all these above people, industries or institutions abetted (aided) the drinking part of an otherwise perfectly responsible citizen. The man in fact, if you look closely, is the lowest link in the chain and our brave and socially conscious police books him. But the others get away scot-free and continue abetting the same crime for which once innocent citizens get punished and branded for life.

If someone is seriously interested in the welfare of this country he would go for the bigger fish, but, alas, that someone is himself guilty of abetting the bigger crime of the bigger fish. And there is no other way to present an eyewash/lip service to the society.

Screw the small fish.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Professionals Party Of India (Action for Change) - A New Revolutionary Movement : Come Join NOW

After the terror attacks in Mumbai on 26th November 2008, a wave of dissatisfaction swept across the nation at the way things were handled and the way things are going on in the country. All the citizens of India are fed up with the corrupt politicians and their governance. Many groups came out in the streets to protest and asked for a change, flashing banners that said loudly: "Enough is Enough".

Here is an opportunity, a "New Revolutionary Movement" called the Professionals Party of India who may be just the answer that we are all seeking to bring about that CHANGE, that we all so desperately desire in the country and the government.

Do you know that that the majority of the people who are in the middle class and "educated" people do not come out to vote on the day of the elections? And they also shy away from taking an active part in politics. If this continues then how can we expect "educated" people to reach the important posts in the Lok Sabha elections, where it really counts? That is where all the important laws and bills are formulated that govern the country.

Read this pamphlet that is being circulated by the PPI to one and all, as they are contesting for the elections this year and need all the support that they can get. SHOW your support NOW. This is a call to all the professionals to COME and JOIN the party and extend whatever support that they can give. This is the ACTION FOR CHANGE that we were all waiting for.

Professionals Party Of India (Action for Change)




Ø Our national governance needs a revamp. Today crime, corruption, indiscipline and incompetence have become a way of life. Each of these ills have gone so far wrong in our country, they cannot be corrected by being attended to individually. They need systemic correction.

Ø It needs people like YOU to bring about that change. Change is possible only if you are enlightened, educated and patriotic people like YOU decide to be a part of the political process.

Ø NOW is the time to act. Many of you have said “enough is enough” . So this is the moment to get involved and bring about the change that’s so overdue.

Ø We need a government that’s ACCOUNTABLE and responsive. This can only happen with a new political party of people like you and me; people who believe that a government has to be honest and accountable – the Professionals Party Of India.

Ø The PARTY needs you, and you need the party. Now is the time to be fearless; to stand up and be counted. JOIN us to try and create a better India.

Ø PPI’s main objective is to improve the QUALITY of life of every Indian. To do this we need to bring change at the top; change the management in an industry that has turned sick. Out with corrupt politicians and in with professionals who are committed to clean, responsible governance.

Visit our website www.ppi.net.in and look up the party manifesto as well. Give us your feedback and suggestions and do register your name, address, telephone number and profession.

Also remember PPI is a legitimate constitutional movement registered under the Election Commission. As a citizen it is your right and privilege to fight to improve the governance in your country.

PPI invites you to JOIN in any of its three key activities.

1. Propagation

Ø Send a mail to all your friends and acquaintances, telling them about PPI and urging them to join. Request them to send the mail onto their friends and you will soon have started a chain mail. You can get a mailer format from any PPI core group member.

Ø Make a presentation to a small group of people. There is a standard presentation CD and PPI material that you can use.

Ø Get your friends in the media to cover PPI.

Ø Write articles on the PPI wherever you can – newspapers, magazines etc. Visit the PPI website and encourage others to blog.

Ø Identify prominent personalities from your network and persuade them to be “Friends of the PPI” on our website.

2. Funding.

Ø Collect contributions by cheque.

Ø Arrange for sponsors to fund PPI conventions, debates, pamphlets and website promotion.

You can contribute to the Professionals Party of India from anywhere in the world in Indian rupees:

Online : Electronically transferring funds to the Professionals Party of India’s bank account. Sending a cheque to our bank’s address drawn in the favour of the “Union Bank Of India A/c Professionals party of India”.

Name of Bank : Union Bank Of India.
Address: Aga Khan palace branch, Yerawada, Pune 411006.
Bank A/c No: 467702010504482.

RTGS : UBIN0546771, NEFT: UBIN0546771

All contributions to the party are fully exempt from income tax under the Indian law. All contributions to the PPI will be acknowledged with a formal receipt and tax exemption documents. The party will fully comply with the legal disclosure documents. As per 29C of the Representation of People’s Act (1951), all contributions (individual or corporate) made in excess of twenty thousand rupees have to be reported to the election commission.

3. Candidate Identification.

Ø PPI has laid down profile guidelines for the candidates. Please identify candidates who suit the profile and recommend them to any PPI core group member in confidence.

Ø For more details visit : www.ppi.net.in
Or Contact : hirubijlanli.ppi@gmail.com
hiten60@gmail.com

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE AT THE SITE.

Do visit the site and read the party manifesto and FAQ and register online to show your support. If you are a resident of Mumbai then read this:

THE PROFESSIONALS PARTY OF INDIA IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT THE PRESIDENT OF PPI MR R V KRISHNAN AND THE CORE TEAM OF PPI WILL MAKE A PRESENTATION AND HAVE A QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION AT AN OPEN HOUSE IN MUMBAI ON WEDNEDAY THE 18TH OF FEBRUARY from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at :
The Mysore Association Auditorium, No. 393, Bhaudaji Road, Near Maheshwari Udyan, Matunga East (Central Railway), Mumbai 19.

You are free to copy and paste this information into your blog or e-mails to send it to as many people as you wish to spread the word. Let us make a difference today....

JAI HIND!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Puppet President!

Speaking about it, it sounds so grand. President of India, the largest democracy in the world, of a country with a more than billion people. Wow, one must think, she has to be the most important person in the world and the most powerful one at that. The fact is that it is just the opposite.

The fiasco at the Mumbai Airport on the 09 Feb 2009 once again highlighted the irrelevance of the Indian President in the country's affairs. On that day it seems that an Air India pilot narrowly averted a tragedy by steering his plane away from a IAF helicopter which was part of the President's entourage. No, the President was not on the helicopter which was in the line of danger, but the incident became NEWS because it was one of the three accompanying the President.

Now the fact. The President of India was not on a world saving or even nation saving endevour when the incident took place. Nor was she attending any event of national significance. She was here in Mumbai to inaugurate the Global Vipassana Pagoda at Gorai in Mumbai.

Now what does the President have to do with with the Global Vipassana Pagoda? She is not a Buddhist. And neither has she advocated Vipassana publically after occupying the country's highest chair. So does it mean that she is now the brand ambassador of Vipassana. I don't think so. The acceptance of the invitation to inaugurate the Global Pagoda only reflects upon the abundant availablitlity of free time on the hands of the politically irrelevant President of India. Here one must stop and think, should the chair of the President of India be reduced to such menial tasks?

Should the President of India, a strongly secular country, offer to advocate or participate in what is definitely a practice initiated by a particular religion, even though it may have been termed as non-sectarian? For the same reasons, shouldn't the President of India stay away from being a part of a particular type of meditation program. By attending the Pagoda inauguration is she denouncing, the teachings of Baba Ramdev, the yoga guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of Art of Living and Sadhguru, the founder of Isha foundation. Now the brand ambassador logic suddenly seems full of prospects.

If that was not enough, our President had some more obligations to complete (Part of her contract?) She went on to Gondia, Vidharba in Maharashtra to inaugurate a new computer section of Manoharbhai Patel Institute of Engineering and Technology. Oh my God! Not even a complete institute. Just a new computer section. How much more would they pull down the dignity of the chair of the President of India. Why would the President do it? Because Manoharbhai Patel, in honor of whom the institute has been named was the father of the current Civil Aviation Minister Mr Praful Patel. It also happened to be the Birth anniversary of Manoharbhai Patel. It all makes sense now. After all even the President of India is in a way elected by our politicians. How could she refuse the invitation of the very people who elected her?

In the end it is not about a minister, a religion , a mediatation technique, an institute or a person. It is about the honor, dignity of the President of India and the President of India should not be wasting his/her time returning favours, rather he/she should be performing tasks worthy of the stature imposed upon the designation. Else the truth will be out. That , the President is a mere puppet in the hands of politicians.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Are Bandhs Really Democratic?

The Supreme court has turned over it's own decision regarding Bandhs on it's head. The surprising thing in this case is that it is not only an establishment overturning it's opinion, it is a case where the same individual Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, has reverted his own opinion. Yes, KG Balakrishnan was part of the Kerala High Court bench which had termed Bandhs as illegal, back in 1997. At that time the judgement was upheld by the Supreme court. Eleven years later the same man as the Chief Justice of India has overturned the very decision that he had taken and the Supreme Court had upheld. To me it says only one of two things, First Justice KG Balakrishnan is fickle minded and should not be relied upon to be rational anymore. Second, the Chief Justice has succumbed to political pressure and can no longer stand up to his convictions. Either way it is bad for the Indian judiciary.

"What (will) this court do. It is their right to express their feelings," are the words that the Supreme Court bench used. There are many ways of expressing feelings, or does the SC bench not know that. Or are they just translating their behaviour at home to express their feelings. Angry with wife, stop doing anything till such time she comes to her senses. Whatever happened to tools like communication, discussions, brain storming, media interviews. The statement only shows the helplessness of the courts, and the Supreme court, mind you. What is worse is that all the present bench has to do is only cite the precedence and the earlier judgement of the supreme court which termed Bandhs as illegal and unconstitutional, like it did in Oct 2007 for the DMK Bandh in Tamil Nadu. What has changed in the last few months since then. So, obviously some vested interests or external political pressures are at work here.

The decision taken back in 1997-98 was based on the upholding the interests of the public and correctly so, that Bandhs were getting too frequent and were disrupting everyday life. People were suffering, businesses loosing money, public amenities like hospitals, transportation etc shutting down and at worse people were being coerced into being part of the Bandh against their will. The state and the country loosing money is in any case the last thing on anyone's mind.

The Bandhs are generally called by the political parties which, as any electoral polls will show do not represent even 50 % of the population of the state or country. How can they be then a form of protest to just "express their feelings"? A Bandh does not express the solidarity of the entire state behind the cause since more often than not the public is terrorised to stay inside their homes and shops threatened with dire consequences if they open. It is just a case of political vandalism. Destroying property, causing loss to the economy and terrorising people just to project some vested interest to the masses and also to gain cheap popularity or shall I say, show of power.

In 1997 the HC had said, "No political party or organisation can claim that it is entitled to paralyse industry and commerce in the entire state or nation and is entitled to prevent the citizens not in sympathy with its viewpoint from exercising their fundamental right or from performing their duties for their own benefits or for the benefit of the state or the nation." The Supreme Court had upheld the decision at that time. Is the Supreme Court now saying that it is alright to paralyse industry and commerce? Is the Supreme Court now saying that it is okay for some individuals or political parties to hold the citizens, state or country to ransom? Is it okay to snatch the fundamental right of citizens to move around freely, even so, for a few hours, using sheer terror tactics?

India has finally started showing some growth and development, a consitent and strong economy and has just started to be counted as a nation of power amidst the International community. Why would the Supreme Court want to send us back to the days of misery, unemployment, poverty and hooliganism? We are still grappling with external terrorism, why does the Supreme Court want to encourage Internal terrorism? A society can be free and offer the freedom to citizens only when it has the wherewithal and the inclination to control abuse or misuse of that very freedom. We don't As is the misfortune of our society, some unscruplous elements will again misuse the freedom to express their feeling and take us back into the dark days of fear and terror.

I hope better sense prevails on Feb 16 and the Supreme Court and the honorable bench do not turn their current thoughts into a decision which will undo whatever little was achieved in the last eleven years.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What Exactly Is Indian Morality? Do we really need moral policing?

Since the terror attacks happened in Mumbai in November last year, there has been a lot of hue and cry and mass hysteria of different shades in the political circles of India.

It all started with politicians of all parties trying to score a brownie point with the voters in their respective constituencies making the appropriate (and some not so appropriate) noises. But slowly and surely the focus of the political parties has shifted from the "patriotic" fervor to more local agendas. Of course, the elections are near and so the race to keep their seats and or make new alliances have grabbed the attention of all the politicians.

The last few months saw some great big "issues" breaking out on the news channels, with equally scandalous value. Staring with the corporate IT company Satyam fraud coming to light and the possibility of political parties having a hand in it, followed by other issues like the Mangalore incident where some women were molested by "self proclaimed" keepers of Indian morality - The Sri Ram Sena. In the meantime, the MNS workers also continued with their hooliganism in Mumbai by attacking a five star hotel and damaging their property, and the Rajasthan chief minister Mr. Gehlot making bold statements about "pub culture" and "mall culture" which according to him is not Indian culture.

The news channels somehow managed to get an interview with the president of the Sri Ram Sena Mr. Muthalik who at first denied all involvement of his men in the incident and then just minutes later said that it was an action taken to teach the women a lesson? Later on the news channels even managed to bring out an old tape of his speech that he apparently gave soon after the Malegaon blasts in which he is seen to be praising Sadhvi Pragya, the other accused in the crime. SHOCKING! Now politicians are openly giving speeches about what they have done or make bold statements that are detrimental to the interest of the country and even getting away with it. Is this what "democracy"is all about?

Now, seeing all these developments is a big disappointment and also is scary to the future of India. Do we really need moral policing in India? Who are these self proclaimed groups to decide what constitutes Indian culture and what doesn't? Their main contention is that women are visiting pubs in the company of male friends and taking liquor and drugs, and roaming around in malls holding hands! I mean, hey, wake up guys which era do you live in? Women have come a long way in India through a long struggle to achieve the kind of independence that they now enjoy. So, is this just a way of trying to suppress the women and pushing them right back to their homes all over again?

What exactly is Indian culture? Nobody objected to these pubs or liquor shops as long as men were their only patrons, and it is these very men who were creating and being a nuisance to the society and a threat to their women. Is it OK for the men to ill treat their women, rape, molest and abuse them as they wish? If you see the Bollywood movies of the last decade or so, the roles of the women have been deteriorated to just "ïtem girls" with them having to wear revealing clothes and dance to tunes of "item songs"that are nothing but modernized version of the earlier "cabarets". Is this Indian Culture?

Nowadays, all the women who aspire to enter the film industry have to first become "item girls". Hey, who wants to see them "acting"? It is the men who are at present dominating the Indian film industry, not that they are all very good "actors" themselves. The politicians are going overboard with everything this year and breaking all boundaries of what is acceptable.

Today I saw an advertisement in the newspaper by the ruling Congress party which urges everyone to join hands to stop child labor in India, specially in Dhabas and other such places where they are employed. Now, I am not advocating that it is OK for a child to work. No, ideally, NO child should be in such a situation where he/she is forced to work and lose out on their childhood. But, is it fair to stop those very poor children from working who REALLY need the money to sustain themselves and their families? Not that they are earning enough. But, every penny counts. What is the government doing to make sure that every child is fed and clothed and educated properly? On the other hand, the kids (rich background or middle class) are allowed to work in TV, Films, advertisemsnts and earn much more than these other poor children who are probably being exploited. If there is a law that stops kids from working, then stop ALL the kids, rich or poor!

India cannot progress with such moral policing going on. Women need to be encouraged to stand on their own feet and not suppressed again. Instead the government should ban all these (Saas Bahu) soap operas that are being shown on TV on all channels that are deteriorating to women and their status.

I am afraid that the politicians are trying to get the "Taliban" regime into India in the pretext of religion, Hindu and Muslim! It is shocking and NOT ACCEPTABLE to the women of India. Women of India need to unite and raise their voice against this injustice and not let the politicians get an upper hand....

JAI HIND!