Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics: Could India have done it ?

I am sure that is a question in all our minds. Let aside India – could any other country have pulled this off? Hopefully India could achieve something of this kind of a show if required – the talent is there – but perhaps just the sheer ability to go that last mile is missing and I have always wondered why – why is it that ‘good enough is enough’ is the philosophy we have here in India. We do have some of the greatest works of art down the centuries that could not have been created without complete passion and commitment – but not sure as a nation and society we are at that place now.
I am not sure that we could build a Taj Mahal now, at a time when it is not possible to press gang workers into an enterprise, not caring about the death toll. But it occurs to me then that neither is China. Also perhaps Indian artistic expression is too individualistic ? It’s all about the personal journey, not ony in art but also in our way of life. And maybe we just do not have that sense of national pride the Chinese seem to be exhibiting currently ?
Or maybe it just takes one individual like Yang Zhimou to fire the passions of thousands of people into such commitment to excellence – like one Mahatma Gandhi that fired the passions of millions of Indians to rise against the British.

27 Responses to “Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics: Could India have done it ?”

  1. Himanshu says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    The opening ceremony was truly amazing and it was one of those performances where you sit up and say “Wow” that’s how celebration should be on a grand scale. There is no doubt that I thought all the time whether we can pull it off as well – specailly in the 2010 commonwealth games in Delhi. I think the main difference that I see can be described in one word – discipline. Besides the passion and talent of Yang Zhimou it is truly the discipline and flawless performances of thousands of performers that took it from the level of wonderful to GREAT.
    It is also something to do with the kind of govt. they have as that promotes a greater sense of discipline and greater love for the nation – which was truly evident in the eyes and body language of the performers. They did not seem like – we are the greatest, but rather, we want to do our best in the most disciplined way here without missing a beat. In a live performance there are no second takes so the credit to the performers is even more. I can imagine how many rehersals they would have gone through to get to this point.
    It is passion and discipline – I am sure Yang Zhimou did it for the love of the nation more than anytime else – that pride and confidence can make ordinary people do wonders. Mahatama Gandhi did the same – filled the nation with confidence and pride that we can get there with non-violence. And I feel if we can inculcate the same passion and discipline we can definitely do it.
    Best Regards,
    Himanshu

  2. Ritu Chandra says:

    The answer is No. An emphatic No. Why go far. lets compare our olympic performances. China has > 200 olympic medals to its credit and we have <10.
    Unfortunately, India lacks that going the extra mile as you put it. I have many Chinese co-workers at my workplace and being in IT, the Indian contingent is omnipresent. The difference in attitudes is quite apparent. We Indians primarily have a ‘sab’ chalta hai’ attitude. The Chinese have a strong sense of precision and eye for detail and a commitment to quality. They are far more committed to the actual product, we are far more committed to the end result.
    A good example from my own work area again. A Chinese (and even an American) is not likely to let a software that has known issues and problems to move forward for a release. An Indian on the other hand is more likely to assess the risk of getting caught over the downside of not delivering on time and has more than 50% chance of taking the first route (i.e take the risk of getting caught). You see, the commitment to quality is sacrificed over the personal achievment of having delivered on time.
    With an attitude like this, it is difficult to build anything out of ordinary. This attitude breeds mediocrity.

  3. Ritu Chandra says:

    The answer is No. An emphatic No. Why go far. lets compare our olympic performances. China has > 200 olympic medals to its credit and we have <10.
    Unfortunately, India lacks that going the extra mile as you put it. I have many Chinese co-workers at my workplace and being in IT, the Indian contingent is omnipresent. The difference in attitudes is quite apparent. We Indians primarily have a ‘sab’ chalta hai’ attitude. The Chinese have a strong sense of precision and eye for detail and a commitment to quality. They are far more committed to the actual product, we are far more committed to the end result.
    A good example from my own work area again. A Chinese (and even an American) is not likely to let a software that has known issues and problems to move forward for a release. An Indian on the other hand is more likely to assess the risk of getting caught over the downside of not delivering on time and has more than 50% chance of taking the first route (i.e take the risk of getting caught). You see, the commitment to quality is sacrificed over the personal achievment of having delivered on time.
    With an attitude like this, it is difficult to build anything out of ordinary. This attitude breeds mediocrity.

  4. brahmastra says:

    It was indeed a spectacular show, and an amazing achievement. But the aftertaste of the event was one of an overwhelming need to cover up the real environmental and political disasters that the Chinese govt are involved in. Maybe the pictures of Darfur and Tibetan genocide on those huge LCD screens at the bird’s nest would be more apt instead of continuous pretentious messages of harmony and cultural sensitivity.
    A soothing Tibetan prayer chant by the Gyuto or Sherab Ling monks could reach greater depths of the soul than all this gymnastics. But, it is the olympics, and the people do need their maya to keep ’em going.
    But yes, Indians could definitely pull this off if they were sufficiently united, driven and paid. It may not be as grandiose, but the sophisticated though rustic Indian charms could be employed for a more heartfelt experience than all the glitz.
    Communism seems to have worked to unify the country..at least for now, but as long as people keep eating pigs, cows, dogs, donkeys, etc. they are bound to have an irrational territorial and greedy nature. This is one of the most significant issues that has been ignored by human aspirants of a utopian land. The solution of brotherhood and harmony lies at the root levels 😉

  5. brahmastra says:

    It was indeed a spectacular show, and an amazing achievement. But the aftertaste of the event was one of an overwhelming need to cover up the real environmental and political disasters that the Chinese govt are involved in. Maybe the pictures of Darfur and Tibetan genocide on those huge LCD screens at the bird’s nest would be more apt instead of continuous pretentious messages of harmony and cultural sensitivity.
    A soothing Tibetan prayer chant by the Gyuto or Sherab Ling monks could reach greater depths of the soul than all this gymnastics. But, it is the olympics, and the people do need their maya to keep ’em going.
    But yes, Indians could definitely pull this off if they were sufficiently united, driven and paid. It may not be as grandiose, but the sophisticated though rustic Indian charms could be employed for a more heartfelt experience than all the glitz.
    Communism seems to have worked to unify the country..at least for now, but as long as people keep eating pigs, cows, dogs, donkeys, etc. they are bound to have an irrational territorial and greedy nature. This is one of the most significant issues that has been ignored by human aspirants of a utopian land. The solution of brotherhood and harmony lies at the root levels 😉

  6. India held the Asian games back in 1982, which included 4,600 athletes from 33 countries. I am quite confident India can manage the Olympic games. Lesser nations compared to India with far less resources, such as Mexico, Norway, Greece, Yugoslavia, Austria, and Sweden have ‘managed’ the Olympic games.
    India will be hosting the Commonwealth games in 2010 which can be a practice run for eventually holding the Olympics. Though it is sad to see India ‘celebrating’ the British Empire still. Very sad.
    “I am sure that is a question in all our minds. Let aside India – could any other country have pulled this off? Hopefully India could achieve something of this kind of a show if required – the talent is there – but perhaps just the sheer ability to go that last mile is missing and I have always wondered why –“
    I am not aware that India has formally applied to hold the Olympic games anyway, at any time….that would be a first step. The political/administrative will is not there in India, yet. Quite obviously the talent, organizational skill and resources are there in India. The political class of India is weak; governance is very weak. If you just look around India.
    “why is it that ‘good enough is enough’ is the philosophy we have here in India. We do have some of the greatest works of art down the centuries that could not have been created without complete passion and commitment – but not sure as a nation and society we are at that place now.”
    I am not sure you can generalize the mentality of an entire nation as diverse and huge as India……….Obviously you have greater direct experience then I, but we mustn’t generalize such a point, and then blame the people. India as of now, 2008 is the 3rd largest economy on earth measured by PPP, $4,500 billion, behind China: $11,000 billion and the USA $13,000 billion.
    Is the Olympics about art, or is it more to do with organization, and political will……Just look at what Blair did to get the Olympics to London for 2012. Was/is Manmohan Singh ever interested in holding the Olympics in India?
    Once the Olympics arrives in India, I am sure Indians will be able to put on a damned good show.
    “I am not sure that we could build a Taj Mahal now, at a time when it is not possible to press gang workers into an enterprise, not caring about the death toll. But it occurs to me then that neither is China.”
    I am sorry you lost me—what are we saying here? The Olympics is an event where “organization” is the prime factor and building structures plays a significant, secondary role. I am not sure you need to press gang armies of slave labor to build impressive monuments……most Olympic events after all are held in modern nations, with strong labor laws.
    Also in India you should have heard about bonded labor…..re: Dalits and Harijan….millions of men, women and children….when it comes to labor or engineering genius India has no shortage…what is lacking is the political will and direction.
    “Also perhaps Indian artistic expression is too individualistic? It’s all about the personal journey, not only in art but also in our way of life. And maybe we just do not have that sense of national pride the Chinese seem to be exhibiting currently ?”
    Yes I think Indians have lower perception of themselves then the ethnic Chinese, but that is a complex anthropological area I don’t want to get into—suffice to say Chinese society is more cohesive organizationally (look at Chinese communities around the world), CHINA IS A COMMUNIST DICTATORSHIP WHICH BUILDS MONUMENTS AROUND THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC, and finally the Chinese as a race are slightly xenophobic, which protects them from outside predators…….in Communism the individual is submerged……..and in addition that is also a trait of traditional Chinese culture…. Indians on the other hand………..Karma…etc
    I am not sure again, that the Olympics is an expression of art…..only the opening ceremony.
    “Or maybe it just takes one individual like Yang Zhimou to fire the passions of thousands of people into such commitment to excellence – like one Mahatma Gandhi that fired the passions of millions of Indians to rise against the British.”
    The Olympics are being held in China for one reason and for one reason only………the political people made a decision many years ago to hold them in China…that’s it. They want China to have the prestige that goes with holding the Olympic games, and the world to recognize the legitimacy and achievement of China.
    Mahatmaji! Mahatmaji! Not one Indian director did a decent film on him………but instead spend their times shoving out crappy copies of the same themes and subjects.
    On a separate point…..but since you brought it up…..was Gandhi really solely responsible for independence, and inspiring the people? He is the obvious poster child who was ALLOWED to operate within British India, but I am not sure………….but yes he had great organizational skills, and he was able to mobilize many Indians.
    _______________________________
    General points:
    Yes we can pine with awe over the success of others, but for India as a nation the most important things is to get the BASICS rights, before setting out on massaging the ego…..such as:
    Sound state security policy—–de-linked with tiny dangerous Israel; I can’t emphasize it enough.
    India to more aggressively and diplomatically unite South Asia economically, politically and militarily……….the politicians have not done this area very well.
    Infrastructure……..the Chinese are excellent in this area.
    Basic education……greater spending on education.Education increases both the wealth and well being of a country.
    Agriculture—–the population is increasing, but agriculture is lagging behind. More Indians will become food insecure in the future.
    Corruption………India is very corrupt…corruption destroys development. The richest countries on earth are the least corrupt.
    Governance…..25-30% of Indian MPs are facing criminal charges?
    Irradiating poverty—–an astounding 837 million Indians live on just 20 ruppee’s a day, and live on one meal per day consisting of rice and nothing else!!!!!!!
    Population control—–India will soon have the largest population on earth, surpassing China…..given the level of governance in India, that is not a good trend.Given the problems with agricultural production that is not a good trend especially.
    Finally yes India on the surface is ‘developing’; there is development and there is development…..the current type of development in India is superficial, based on borrowed money, and not really investment led. It is creating a class of ‘middle class’ who establish their status with borrowed money…….but the vast majority of Indians are not seeing the benefits of development, as mentioned before…and that is the issue……….and failure here has social dimensions, has security dimensions…and it has political dimensions.
    India has to develop herself her own viable development model that is separated from the international Capitalist class based in London, New York and other places.
    ____________________________________
    So the holding the Olympics in India isn’t important….given what has been stated above.

  7. Isabel says:

    Could India have done it???
    done what???
    the magnificence of men’s creation igniting us into something bigger???
    or
    the unbearable denial of men’s destructive shadows, burning us into ashes???
    Question in my mind is:
    If this is a mirror in the miracle of creative possibilities, how do we bridge the gap, in a consistent and lasting momentum???
    as above …
    so below …
    Somehow this question takes me back to beloved India – a country of such extreme polarities .. I burned and I died of pure ecstasy …
    a living pulse… …
    in my yearning ..
    to celebrate …
    the magnificent of the human spirit …
    living in the shadows of humanity …
    where I hear …
    God’s singing..
    so much I could say about that …
    and yet …
    I stay present to one of its miracles …
    a glimpse of divine splendour…
    where words become too small …
    A moment …
    so profoundly alive …
    it is as if time stood still …
    suspended …
    beyond earthy boundaries …
    while being bathed …
    by perfume …
    from heavenly skies…
    it happened on my way out of Taj Mahal …
    followed by beggars coming from everywhere …
    my driver wanting to protect me by keeping them away …
    and yet as I turned …
    my energy merged with a burned little boy …
    looking at me …
    as if seeing an old friend …
    his face and chest disfigured …
    and yet …
    breathing me in …
    as if I was facing God’s majesty …
    here on earth …
    a high level luminosity …
    the driver could not see …
    coming forward towards the boy …
    wanting to keep him away …
    while I screamed …
    STOP !!!!…
    my right hand touching his heart …
    as if seeking connection…
    beyond the illusions of the human mind …
    a beautiful face …
    shining forth …
    the majesty of holy lands …
    how can I explain???
    this melting….
    beyond any sense of human boundaries…
    oh yes …
    At some point I gave him 50 rupees as he was selling pens made of glass ……
    he gave me a pen ……
    it is Ok .. I told him …
    Please just accept my offer…
    an ignorance of sorts …
    as I heard this child’s voice …
    standing up …
    like an old soul…
    born with an utmost dignity …
    “ please take it with you …”
    dropping it in my bag …
    as if answering a command from high above …
    Ah …
    The power of human spirit …
    when we choose to be awake .. alive … and act …
    in alignment with the high level resonance of the strings we attract …
    to experience …
    the power of divine splendor…
    here on earth …
    hummm

  8. Rajesh Shetty says:

    I have seen opening ceremonies for other Olympics, World Cups, French Open and events like that. But, this one was completely a shocker. I mean the reactions as the evening unfolded was “Oh! My God” and “Wow”. If watching on television had that kind of effect on me. I can’t imagine the excitement and energy level in the stadium.
    The responsibility of putting together a grand opening ceremony in the state of the art stadium called “Birds Nest” was given to two brilliant artists, renowned Chinese motion picture director “Zhang Yimou” and Master of Motion Pictures “Steven Spielberg”. Steven Spielberg was in disagreement with China’s political stand with reference to Tibet and Sudan and decided to pull out of Olympics in Feb 2008. Now the entire show was on Zhang Yimou’s shoulder.
    One can only imagine the pressure; he would have gone thru to direct a show that would display his country’s history and talent with 15000 performers on a grand stadium and the entire world watching it. And boy did he deliver. To say that the job was well done would be an understatement.
    I am not sure if any other events of this scale were ever put together by a movie director. You could see the artistic angle in every corner of the floor and every inch of the stadium. The screens surrounding the stadium at the top displayed images and video footage completely in sync with the performers and LCD screen displays on the ground, sometimes taking the audience into the ocean and at times high up into the skies.
    I was holding my breath as the count down drum beats started and it was only after the fireworks started, I took a deep breath. It’s almost like being injected by a dose of excitement. And I completely lost it, when I saw the Olympic rings rising from the ground and floating in the air. I just couldn’t believe my eyes. It was insane. Seriously that’s the best reaction I could give to what was unfolding in front of me. And just when you think it doesn’t get better than this. There’s another surprise waiting for you. The block thing, where thousands of blocks were being raised up and down creating waves, Chinese symbols and all kind of things related to Chinese history was very interesting. And I was thinking some high-fi computer technique must have been incorporated to put together these block movements. But, I was in a state of shock when I found out that it was real people inside those blocks doing all this in complete synchronization. They were almost like robots inside those blocks. And I must say what Zhang Yimou had accomplished with the blocks was nothing short of multi million block buster movie.
    The Olympics torch rely made it back to the ceremony after traveling 5 months around the globe. The final athlete who was suppose to light the flame was holding the torch and I was wondering what next, as I didn’t see anything around him. Suddenly the athlete is lifted in the air and once again you go “Wow”. He’s carried all the way to the top of the stadium. He starts running in the air holding the torch. Of course he has these ropes holding him, but still the site of a torch bearer running around the stadium high up in the air was some moment.
    People might have different opinions when it comes to China’s policies and trading of athletes among countries. But, if we talk about the opening ceremony, I don’t think there’s anyone who saw this and was not taken aback by the grand show they witnessed. As I was watching this event unfold in front of me, there were these 2 simultaneous voices in my head. One said “Can you believe this?” and other said “Think about the amount of hard work that has gone into this production to make the artistic dream of Zhang Yimou a reality”.
    The Opening ceremony had proved that for an artist like Zhang Yimou, the 70 mm screen or state of art Soccer stadium are not the limits. There is no place that could hold his creativity. I have to say when it comes to imagination of a truly gifted artist, sky is the limit.
    Zhang Yimou production was not only technically sound and visually spell bounding, but he also made sure he incorporates the traditional costumes, the ancient instruments, the culture, the art forms and the growth of their nation thru centuries. It was a very proud moment for all Chinese to display their history, growth and technical brilliance to the world. I am sure it must have been the moment of a lifetime for Zhang Yimou.
    Finally, a question that came to my mind as the opening ceremony came to an end. Our nation India stands tall right there with China when it comes to population. Could we ever put together an event of this scale for the world to see? I hope we do..

  9. Gopi says:

    I think there is too much corruption in the Indian Government now to pull off something of this grand scale. India has the heart, talent and creative to do it, no doubt. The weak link is the government

  10. We should know why we play certain “games” and why we play them, and for whom, and what is the intended outcome……….is my role in this “game’ good, correct, honorable?
    http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/eng251/numerology.htm
    This is not directed at you specifically, but at a wider audience.
    Numbers as with slogans can be co-opted as a banner to initiate and mobilize people to specific agenda’s. It is a good mode because it gives those who play, a childish sense of being ‘in the know’ and part of the inner group who are ‘privileged’ with such knowledge. It also no doubt brings a sense of power within males mainly.
    This game is directed by Jews, using mainly Occidentals against the subject. The Jew is insecure, but is also very superstitious, and thus the Jew is wary of anything which he cannot control or comprehend within his world and rationale. The Jew sees threats every where, which he must confront, especially now that his power has ascended some what in comparison to all other ages. He is in a unique position for now.
    Thus he has developed numerology for the subject as banner to mobilize the witless. On reflection you might think it rather stupid and childlike, but then again as one who owes so much to their industry you may not think so:
    1—– “I am king. I have won. I am the best”
    2—– “You are going 2 be defeated…….you are going 2 lose……”
    3——“You are a common, petty thief”
    4——“I am 4 this” “I support this strategy that the Jews have created”
    5——-“This guy accumulates child porn”
    6——-“This guy is a murderer”
    7——-Now here I need your help Shekar bhai saab……I am not clear what is the significance of this number.
    8——-“The subject is right on this particular area…….or more negatively it can mean, the subject knows too much for his own good”
    9——-“You have failed, as in the German word nein or no”
    10——-This was used, after I stated that British Raj rule in India turned South Asia from being one of the richest regions on earth, with advanced manufacturing into the 10th position by 1947 (2004). British rule was bad all around………..so in ‘their’ numerology the number 10 means and can mean….”you have nothing” “You have lost and you will get nothing”. It is directed at both me but also in a sense at the whole of South Asia as one region, and my identification with that region. Racially I am South Asian.
    11——-“You are a terrorist” as in 9/11.
    12——-“You will be on trial soon, if you don’t shut up” as in a jury of 12 people.
    14——–“You know too much” This can also be conveyed by the vegetable leak……..too much information is being leaked.
    20———“To zero….you will have nothing in the end”
    Although the general rule is that one should not repeat an accusation whilst denying it, Richard Nixon, “I am not a crook”…….let met tell you in absolute terms that I have NOT committed any crime, or broken the law.
    If I had I would have been charged by the police.
    Alternatively the intelligence agencies would have used it to blackmail me (If I had committed any crime) to ‘control’ me; their usual MO.
    I have been under intense state surveillance since 1986. That’s 24 hours around the clock, and they make it obvious to me that I am under surveillance…as a form of harassment.
    • Given the level of surveillance it is impossible for me to commit any crime.
    • Allegations of crime committed by them, is used as a threat to follow their line…their way.
    • I as an individual am not particularly disposed to any form of crime.
    95% of the torture and harassment techniques originate from the UK, and their people go around the world encouraging others in other countries to participate. The level of participation varies from country to country. More specifically the harassment and torture is Jewish in origin………and directed mainly by Jews who have influence in the UK,………and other places. This began in 1986………..but one is wondering if it didn’t begin right from when I was a child.
    Why?
    Am I a “great” South Asian leader in the making, who threatens Jewish interests? I am 42 and have not joined in any political party in my life. I have not attended any political rallies or any political activity. Cognitive reasoning would suggest that I am not going into politics as a career option.
    The only other logical explanation would be that the Jew in the UK and else where feels threatened by my opinions, and writing. But then again, as of now I don’t have a huge audience who follow my writings……I am not in the same league as say Salman Rushdie, or VS Naipaul or a Karan Thapur or a Vikram Sood. I am not trying to be either……I have not applied to any media stations for journalistic work. What I have done is give my two cents worth here and there. I have a right to express my honest opinion….and convey it in a frank manner.
    In addition to the psychological ops and Jewish numerology I am also subjected to basic torture using micro-wave machines originating from the UK. These machines are placed at a distance and directed towards my head, which makes life very difficult……
    The other forms of harassment varies from country to country …..but includes whispering campaigns, which make personal relationships and friendships very difficult. If I phone somebody, they track the call, and follow through with their contribution……….or if I email somebody……..they do the same…………Please read up on FBI COUNTERINTEL programs if you want an idea of what I have been going through for the last 23 years.
    We are talking about the activities of the Police and intelligence agencies of several countries. We talking about wholly illegal activities, based on the Jew insecurity.
    WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF THIS?
    I have talent and skills, as an Aryan of South Asian origin……..whether be they artistic, written creative……….or in any other field……..I don’t have to make any apologies to anybody for inheriting and propagating these natural skills given to me by GOD. They certainly aren’t skills to harm others.

  11. dearbloke says:

    Hello Mr.Shekar,
    Hosting Olympics by India and China is just to tell the world that we are developing countries that can handle anything massive and constructive contribution for the world peace.
    But china hosting Olympics is different than India Hosting.China being a communist country has banned olympics decades ago(MAO time),which showed 100% communist blood,for a country with billion people ,where most of them are poor;so spending 400million dollars for opening & closing ceremony is a blow to communist system and also fooling people of China who are below poverty line,but it had to prove its comptence and power.Thoug i expected a result just like its space adventure,where it made a cheaper journey into Space being best competitor to NASA,so I had a expectation that it would make a huge impress with granduler and talent at low costs,but the Opening turned out tobe most expensive in Olympic History.India doesnt need to do anything Expensive.India in the Past has hosted AFro-Asian games at Hyderabad ,the then PM Atul Bihari Vajpayee remarked ‘there was lot of money spent for international event, which is not that good ‘,but the event was well handled .India in its present situation cannot or should never attempt to host Olympics,as we have 60% of the country is still underdeveloped and 500 million poor people who cant even take a meal in/for 3 consecutive days succesively.If they can be given work that can allow them to have a meal day after day,then we can plan for Olympics.even that too is wrong,its too early.So for a developing country like India Hosting Olympics is a wrong step for the present,So making the opening grand is just depends on how intellectually a country canbudget its talent,spilling money doesnt mean making a grand Opening.we can create magic with talent ,not by money,even then china did an unforgettable opening ,just waiting for Closing ceremony and lot of expectations running (in the minds of 400million people who watched the Opening ceremony) with lots of money ,for which they are going to spend.

  12. shekhar says:

    interesting dialogues here – the question everyone is rasing is n ot that ‘can India do it’ but rather given the poverty that is so prevalent in India – ‘should India do it ” ? shekhar

  13. Ah I new it when I missed it, that I have missed the most wonderful opening ceremony. I can just hope i get to see it if I get my hands on it from someone who has recorded it.

  14. Shekhar, one of my favourite observations has been on the rather individualistic expression of art in our culture.When we think art,music,dance we do not think symphonies or say ‘riverdance’, We’d rather think ‘a’ classical singer,’a’classical dancer.Sure there maybe some level of generalisation,but by and large when you look at the popular examples of live acts with top notch production values,they are invariably a show by ‘a Shah rukh’ or ‘Amitabh’ ‘a’ celebrity.We culturally promote individual expression in art and celebrate individual brilliance more.
    I do however think the idea of creating an opening with that kind of impact with an Indian context is still possible.Our kind of art,culture and history will determine the scale and presentation.It needs to come from that part of your mind which asks you tirelessly,’what will make the greatest Indian show ever’?To begin by dreaming biggest and not get bogged down by existing benchmarks.A vision rooted deeply in everything Indian is what we need.(not ‘cheerleaders from US like in 20/20 cricket :-)).Driving artistic/creative discipline through an army of willing/unwilling participants like the Chinese would only be trying to work against our(Indian) natural advantage.
    All we need is the top creative talent who are inspired to do what has never been done,backed up by a willing government.
    We need private investors like an Anil Ambani who enjoy thinking ‘bigger than before’ and have an ability to rally large resources around the table.
    You need for these people to effectively communicate and infuse that passion to others.
    Now tell me is that a pipedream?

  15. Isabel says:

    I love Deepak’s pipedream (post 14) …
    in the richeness of possibilities …
    as a magnet for every human being …
    hearing my own laughter…
    as I absolutely adored the grass roots richeness I encountered in the poorest of areas in New Delhi …
    my indian friend would not go…
    to be stunned by a visit to the wealthy house of her uncle…
    a house with a private gallery …
    highly distinct and filled with grace …
    and yet …
    I did not exchange it for the raw exposure to the indian spirit …
    my cup of tea …

  16. kishore says:

    I’m just cracking up here, picturing ‘Shah Rukh Khan’ or Abhishek Bacchan doing a Bollywood show with lip sync and silly Bollywood movements at an Indian Olympics opening ceremony. Followed by a fake guitar session by Saif Ali Khan. Johnny Lever doles out a few bad impressions of some old Bollywood actors. I’m amused that our notion of ‘top notch production values’ are the incredibly bad Bollywood roadshows..

  17. Kishore,sadly funny indeed.Today,these shows attract most sponsors,most audience interest.They are populist,not artsy enough for many,hardly a patch on many of the other great live productions elsewhere.But bollywood for good or bad has pretty much become the face of modern Indian art and culture.
    Where is India’s ‘Michael Flatley’ (and don’t say Shiamak Davar)?
    going back to my pipedream again ..

  18. brahmastra says:

    Kishore,
    What you say is true, but entertainment does not have to mean millions of dollars of wasted resources on lights and superficial stuff.
    Indians like you need to develop some self-esteem and national value. Many in the west are moving towards Bollywoodish movies because of the “relatively” upbeat and soulful nature of many of the indian movies. It is not all about glitz and glam..this is where the new Indian youth is falling prey to materialism and deluded sense of modernisation and progress.

  19. Sir,
    My comments come much after Abhinav Bindra has won a Gold Medal in Individual capacity.
    Individual capacity is what India is all about?
    We disqualify wherever a team is wanted.Blame game is easiest.
    Prakash Padukone, Geet Sethi, Vishwanath Anand.
    Individual sports and indoor resources. Free of olympics committees.
    Mahatma Gandhi and Yang Zhimou individuals as you mention rightly.
    We can put up a better and equally good event on a much larger scale?
    May be if its Govt. sponsored?
    What one common language out of 17 will be the language of communication unlike chinese?
    Which State government will Bid and co-operate and manage the rest 23 states accept it as a national honour?
    Democracy(regional vibrant) V/s Communism
    Corporate V/s Corporates (court battles)
    Legislative V/s Judiciary (who’s the Boss)
    Internal Peace V/s Cross Border terrorism
    If we find valid answers for all these we can do anything.
    26th January Republic day is an event we cherish with all reported and unreported irregularities.
    Vinod Agarwal – Team work for me is a Goal keeper in individual capacity.

  20. Ritu Chandra says:

    A thought crossed my mind… forget about India, can any free country put up a performance like China? Do you think the communist ‘danda’ had something to contribute to the entire effort? Just like the Taj Mahal was built by workers who knew their hands would be chopped off if they did not produce quality stuff?
    Indian art is truly individualistic. As is apparent in the difference between western and Indian classical forms. Individual heights can be acheived in a free atmosphere, but for 16,000 people to bring about the same degree of dedication and zest that went into the show we saw, can it be done without the fear of the danda?

  21. kishore says:

    Hi Brahmastra
    I see your point and raise my glass to it. I have read Bhavadgita when I was 10 and am very much proud of India and the theory of fatalistic mediocrity 🙂 That doesn’t mean that I turn into a jingoistic supporter of bad taste. You want to make a splash and impress the world, you better work hard and aim really high. Don’t blame the victim.

  22. brahmastra says:

    Hi Kishore,
    I apologize for my sporadic outburst there 😛 And I align with your views that the standards of “mainstream” indian entertainment and art are declining. But this is not a phenomenon limited to India only..this is a universal happening.. with folks like Britney Spears and Puff Daddy getting Grammys while Pandit Jasraj and Ahmjad Ali Khan are in relative obscurity.
    The patterns of the world fit very well with the Kali Yuga prophecies of Hinduism. However, after a thorough exposure to many different cultures around the world, i have come to the conclusion that the society in India, despite all its corruption, non-infrastructure etc, is still operating from a much deeper level of existence as compared to the rest of the world, and it is a fact that a majority of hut-dwellers in india are happier than most millionaires in other parts of the world.
    Many Indians are falling prey to the glamour and glitz of Maya while they fail to realize out of inexposure that where they are at spiritually and socially(without their own knowledge), is where a large portion of the “developed” world is struggling to be.
    And, “making a splash” has long been accomplished by India through more subtle channels such as the propagation of Indian spiritual wisdom and intellectual abilities across the world. I don’t think India needs to prove itself through low-level circus acts like Olympics ceremonies. True substance often lies in silence.
    So the moral of all this is: Do not underestimate the soulful nature of a regular Bollywood movie LOL

  23. izaq singh says:

    hey ! wut the hell r we discussing about?
    could India do it?………
    well, the 1st & foremost thing is that the OLYMPICS-the biggest event on the planet,is not at all about opening ceremonies only. China has done it well, & is well being criticized for all expenditures and all the fake performances like fake and recorded fireworks, but they can back it up by their sheer will and powerfull performance as it is the only country that is considered to surpass the giants U.S.
    can India do it? even if India does it,so wut? can we take on the mighty U.S. just like China? The chinese had strong vision. They were 11th in the medal tally in 1984, then they came 7th in 88,then 3rd in atlanta olympics in 1996, 2nd in both sydney and athens and now they r the best bets in bejing(their home turf). Their opening ceremony reflected not only their ancient culture
    but their modern vision and they did it coz they have the backing of very strong and till date largest contingent of athletes( record total of 539). Can we Indians with a contingent of just over 56 atheletes can have that vision?
    We in India 1st of all have no priority for olympics(rightly said by Bindra). The meaning of olympics is so different here and in country like china and U.S. We totaly lack sports enthusiasm. 90 to 95 % people in India don’t play sports. So how come we can inculcate it in our next generation? We put all sorts of pressure on the kids to study or to take part in all those crap reality TVshows which puts hell lot of unnecessary pressure on them. Wining medals at the olympics is a big task and a big ask as the level of competetion is increasing day by day, hour by hour, min. by min.& sec. by sec. We discuss all these only when the olympics r nearer. we’ll soon forget it when it’s over.We should learn it frm China as how they prepare their athletes.
    Well Of course we have the talent and the expertise to hold an opening ceremony just like china or may be better, no doubt. but we don’t have talent to take on U.S. just like China in medal tally. Wut we lack enormously is the sports enthusiasm among our people.
    So the bottomline is, it would be sheer waste of money to hold olympics or it’s so called opening ceremony until we prepare a strong willed athletes just like chinese have prepared to back upon.

  24. manoj sharma says:

    sir i truely respect your diction and understanding on this topic.specially the part which emphasized on indian art being individualistic.but the point here is that we indians only think for the sake of thinking.we don’t have the courage to execute although we may have the amplitude and potential.
    and as far as china’s hosting such a magnum opus opening is concerned there is a saying in china which goes”we chinese don’t mind whether the cat is blue or black,as long as it kills the rat.”
    so to achive what china is achieving we must adopt the technique of being ruthlessly efficient.
    –manoj

  25. communism says:

    it seems communism has become the universal excuse that many indians use to justify under-performance. domestically, india doesn’t perform well (or as well as it should be) because communists are sabotaging any effort. internationally, india is behind china because chinese govt is communist and can do anything at will. yeah, india should just relax. nothing to worry about because if anything goes wrong, just point and blame communism.

  26. prateek says:

    myself prateek
    i am teenager of 15
    i have seen beijing olympics
    and wants that india should also have one
    but for that we need lot of money.
    i respect you sir
    and i also want to be olympic designer in future.
    i want to ask you will INDIA be able to hold olympics 2020?
    and if yes i wish to co ordinae it

  27. Dev says:

    No, never, not in 50 years. I can say this now because the preparations for the Commonwealth Games are in shambles. Never mind the Olympics, India can’t even manage a much smaller event without the customary shoddy workmanship, planning chaos, budget overruns, etc. Keep dreamin’.

Leave a Reply