Is India’s economic miracle’ over ? Why your voice is so important.

First how much of the Indian economic miracle was a hype ? Can there be an economic miracle when 60 % of the population does not partake on it ? Does making a few billionaires and a multitude of millionaires on the stock market make for an economic miracle for over a billion people ? How much of the peak of the sensex index of 21,000 points was a media generated buying frenzy coupled with insider trading ? And conversely how much of the slide to 13,000 points a media created panic. Such dramatic rise and fall within six months of each other does not make for a mature capital market. International oil prices are not showing any signs of abating. We must get used to higher prices, that is for sure. A weak coalition government that is getting ready for electioneering and not being decisive. No leaders stand in opposition that are capable of shouldering the responsibility of powering a modern and competitive India into the next decade by keeping the entrepreneurial spirit going AND being inclusive of the less privileged sections of the economy, we are heading back 20 years … does anyone remember those years ? Here’s what could happen …

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Has Indian Media become pulp fiction ?

One day I was switched on the TV and watched Aaj Tak, a channel I have respected in the past and given serious exploratory interviews. To my horror the reportage on the Arushi murder case felt like the most C grade exploitative Hindi Movie, or worse a cheap TV Soap. Replete with brutally inter-cut shots of the poor girl and her parents with a song from Tare Zameen Par called “Tujhe Sab kuch Pata hai Maa”. I wrote off Aaj Tak as a serious news channel. Last night i saw Star News do something just as bad on the same issue, so do I write off Star News too ?
Here is my issue then. When I direct a film and if there is criticism I take a direct hit personally. An editor of a newspaper (in better times) would take personal responsibility for the content of the paper and it’s views. But who is responsible for the quality on a news channel ? I personally know the owners and promoters, and have known them to be intelligent and in-depth thinkers. They were the ones that used to eloquently talk of the bad taste in Hindi Cinema and denigrate it when I first came to be part of it. And this is not just the news channels, some of our best loved and revered morning newspapers have turned into gossip broadsheets.
Question is, does becoming a corporate body put a barrier between you and questions of personal taste ? Does being a corporate body suddenly switch your personal responsibility from value in quality to valuation on the stock market ? I completely understand the idea of economic growth, and market capitalization. Hey ! you put enough sex on the third page, enough skimpily clad sexy girls on TV and you will make money in any case – but turning a murder (and perhaps attempted rape) of a 14 year old girl into pulp fiction is so much worse.
Incidentally anyone remember or anyone in the media interested anymore in the Nithari murders, when over 20 bodies of children were found with their heads cut off. That also happened in NOIDA, not far from where little Arushi was murdered.

Trainspotting and Elizabeth

Here is the text of an sticle that appeared today in the Daily Telegraph in London.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/06/28/bftrainspotting128.xml
Shekhar Kapur, director of Badit Queen, Elizabeth and Four Feathers, explains to Marc Lee why he could never have made Elizabeth had it not been for Trainspotting Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting and Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth are two of the most memorable British films of the Nineties, both shot with eye-catching verve, both featuring a riveting central performance. Yet, as cinematic experiences, they could hardly be more different: one drags us through the sordid lives of a bunch of drug-addled losers, the other sweeps us into the court of the Virgin Queen. Nevertheless, Kapur insists he could never have made his film had it not been for Trainspotting…….

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From Himanshu : Its 7pm The world of Imagination Can we be at multiple places?

Its 7pm on a beautiful autumn evening on the banks of the Ganges river in the holy town of Hardwar in North India. The melodious bells, the priests, the fire, the chants, and the devotion of the people give the ceremony a feel of divinity, as if it were something dictated by God for human bliss. The atmosphere is full of devotion and the huge masses look upto the river to bless them and wash away their sins. Its 7pm, and the same river has become an extremely huge mass of water flowing slowly through the Sundarban deltas. Its raining heavily in the monsoons and the millions of drops of water create uncountable ripples throughout the huge river at twilight. It is impossible to see one shore from the other, and the thunder and lightning create a rather shocking scene of the power of nature. Far away from the mesmerized crowd, a lonely soul in the middle of the massive river slowly steers his small round wooden boat towards the shore. He can hardly see anything and he keeps trying to move a little bit at a time, lingering on to hope. He cries and his few drops are lost amongst the zillions. He just hopes there was no rain. Its 4:30pm in the middle of the desert, not a drop of water in sight, the scorching heat enough to make anyone dizzy. Dubai is being made into a miracle city in the middle of the desert…..

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Daddy, we are all God’s dream

So as usual my 7 (almost 8, but try telling her that) year old daughter came up with this simple answer to complex questions.

Sonya’s Picks: The Booker Prize 2008 Six books you shouldn’t miss

It is unfashionable, I know, to be so swayed by the hype of western literary prizes. (Haven’t we been colonial captives long enough ? And we still let a crusty committee in the UK , dictate to us, their system of aesthetics?).
Still, how can one resist the lure of a good Lit shortlist ? So here I am , guilty as charged, caught up , in the excitement of not just the Man Booker Prize, coming in July this year, but also of , the special contest that goes with it.
The Booker is after all, the world’s biggest literary prize, after the Nobel , and the most commercially rewarding. Bizarrely, it doesn’t allow any American writers, but that doesn’t prevent the lit world, each year , from getting into a tizzy about winners and losers. This year, we’re all invited to join the jury too. We get to vote, on the Best book of all from 40 years of Bookers prizewiners.
All we need to do ( besides reading these 6 great books ) is to go online (http://www.themanbookerprize.com/news/vote) by midnight of 8th July, to register our vote. And the 6 books are .

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Message from the Administrator

Shekhar Kapur is travelling in Kerala and he might not be able to access the internet as often as he would like to. He says that Kerala is wonderful in monsoons and he is thoroughly enjoying with his daughter. He would be back in 4-5 days.

meaning to life ?

you are the problem
and the solution too
and everything that lies between
is also you
and so goes on
the endless struggle
to give meaning to life

Cops commiting suicide

As the Times of India reported that a cop blew his brains out in front of the Mantralay in Mumbai today, there came with it a full blown report on depression amongst the lower rungs of the police force leading often to suicide. Please look at my blog of a few days ago ‘The Depressed Mumbai Constable’, where I describe some of my conversations with young constables and their immediate officers.

From RK Pachauri : Nobel Prize recipient on Global Warming : Myanmar is a grim reminder of climate change..

Do current patterns of growth and development define an improving human condition ?
The global economy has reached unprecedented levels of economic output and activity. Earlier predictions of grim disaster associated with Malthusian thought have proved completely irrelevant, because human ingenuity and technological development have provided solutions to the problem of stagnation in production of goods and services that were foreseen during the nineteenth century. Yet a consumerist society, which has focused relentlessly on accelerated economic growth measured according to conventional yardsticks has created problems at a staggering level, solutions to which are at the same time difficult, yet crucially urgent.
The most important challenge facing humanity as has been voiced by several world leaders including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, United Nations Secretary General, Ban-Ki-moon and former US President Clinton is the growing threat of climate change. Human society, ever since the advent of industrialization, has been responsible for emitting increasing quantities of greenhouse gases, the most dominant of which is carbon dioxide, which is largely the result of combustion of fossil fuels. This has led to a warming of the climate with several other forms of interference with the earths climate system. Precipitation levels have changed in different parts of the world and extreme precipitation events have become more frequent and more intense. Similarly, heat waves, floods and droughts have increased in frequency and intensity, with increasing misery and hardship for some of the poorest communities in the world. Thermal expansion of the oceans and melting of bodies of ice on a widespread basis have led to sea level rise which increases the extent of devastation from cyclones, storm surges and coastal flooding. The recent tragedy in Myanmar is a grim reminder of the severity of impacts of climate change with an increasing sea level……

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