The much awaited film ‘Himmatwala’ opens with Sonakshi Sinha dancing to the tune of a disco number: “Thank god, it’s Friday!” After seeing this flick one would surely not say so!
Holding allegiance to the 1983 original Himmatwala, this movie has all the ingredients of a moony masala film. Sajid Khan’s entertainer, ‘Himmatwala’ starring Ajay Devgn and Tamannah Bhatia will disappoint the critics but has chances to get good box office collections owing to its good promotion. Sajid Khan surely needs to be honored with an IIM Ahmedabad MBA degree for getting audiences for this movie!
Ajay Devgn, (Ravi) is an action master who returns to his village to find his mother (Zarina Wahab) and sister (Leena Jumani) banished by the evil sarpanch Sher Singh (Mahesh Manjrekar) and his brother in law Narayan Das (Paresh Rawal).
How the action master along with his lover girl (Tamannah) tackles the odds with the help of divine mediation and a CG enhanced tiger is what the film is all about. Along the period, there are ample skits and scenes to compensate for the lack of a better plot and sense of logic.
Nonetheless, performances of certain characters make the film bearable. Paresh Rawal as Narayan Das is commendable. He literally reminds of the comic legend Kader Khan and his witty dialogues, something that has been missing in films these days. Rawal’s impeccable performance in the film proves that character artists are either not being used appropriately or rather being abused nowadays.
The props and the sets are in concurrence and the colors are jarring enough to remind of Doordarshan’s pre-telecast static screen days, but despite the trickery the black and white spoof on Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ shower scene, what lacks is the right approach to making a regressive age old story of revenge and justice.
It is a film devoid of cinematic aesthetics. It seems that the filmmaker doesn’t really believe in winning applause from critics, for he makes films solely with the intention of entertaining the audiences.
Tamannaah Bhatia as Rekha looks promising. She is pretty, delicate and good at her job. And last but not the least, Ajay Devgn, without whom the film wouldn’t have been possible, will enthrall his fans yet again.
One is left confused when we hear lines like- ‘Main tumhe ek baar kho chuki hu, dubara nahi khona chahati,’ whether the film is a tribute to its era or is a spoof (when Ajay reminds Tamannah it’s the 80’s and she should tear her dupatta and cover his wound), or a cross breed of the both?
The film can bore you with tired cliches you thought you’d seen the last of – the hero’s ‘maa ki kasam’, his unfortunate sister who only exists to be raped by the villain’s henchmen and tortured by her in-laws, the villain’s spoilt but good-hearted daughter who falls for the hero much to her father’s disdain, and even an old foe who turns up at a crucial moment to help the hero in return for sparing his life earlier, that character, by the way, is played by a tiger!
Sajid makes an attempt to pay homage to the cinema of yore, but what he delivers makes you sit motionless for most parts. The romance lacks fire, the drama is devoid of intensity, even the action is plain ordinary.
Verdict: On the whole, Himmatwala fails as a film. Movie has over-the-top melodrama and number of senseless twists and turns. The film is too long to bear as the director has hardly experimented or done anything to add a path-breaking punch in the movie.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms. Jayalalithaa seems to have scored political runs on the Chennai wicket against the Sri Lankan players, in an attempt to garner public support ahead of elections. Her decision to call for protests against the participation of Sri Lankan players in the Indian Premier League is becoming a hot controversy. By declaring that the State government will permit the matches to be held in Chennai only if the organisers provided an undertaking that no Sri Lankan players, umpires, officials or support staff would participate in these matches, she has mixed up the two far apart poles- sports and politics.
But what’s astonishing to note is that, the IPL governing council has given into the demands and favored Ms. Jayalalithaa’s idea. Such a decision was least expected from the “good-samaritan-outlook” Council.
Undoubtedly, there will be long-term repercussions on this gentleman’s game. It is pertinent to note that India’s foreign policy has become shaky nowadays and is influenced by the state ministers. Ms. Jayalalithaa appears too eager to surrender her responsibilities. Far from extending assurances on the law and order front, she voiced her apprehension that the participation of Sri Lankan players “will aggravate an already surcharged atmosphere and further offend the sentiments of the people” of Tamil Nadu.
Why wasn’t this issue raked up in 2012, 2011 or 2010 during the then IPL matches? Just because the elections are scheduled in a couple of years, such ballyhoo has been created? Incidentally, DMK Supremo, M. Karunanidhi has voiced in the same line. If such is his plan of action, then he should prompt his grandson Kalanidhi Maran, to disband all Spicejet flights flying to Sri Lanka.
Sports is a medium where people come together and celebrate with each other. Why does one need to stop it? How are the International issues and this game of cricket connected? The effects of such divisive politics will surely deteriorate the game.
Ms. Jayalalithaa’s interference in a sporting event and its organiser’s meek surrender will only create more animosity between New Delhi and Colombo and will do little against the Rajapaksha regime. Former Sri Lankan cricket captain, Arjuna Ranatunga has already raised his voice on this and has expressed desire for pulling out of Sri Lankan players from the whole tournament. The tit-for-tat politics will achieve nothing at the end of the day. We will only end up creating another Kashmir-like situation in south. The human rights violation in Sri Lanka is for the Sinhalese and the Tamils in that country to settle and not the responsibility of populist Indian parties who do nothing but create more controversies for the country.
Disclaimer: The following piece is not aimed to create hatred or instigate someone. It is based on secondary research, as well as on the narrations of the people, which I had witnessed when I visited Kashmir in December 2012.
In the region of Kupwara, there lies two villages-Kunan and Poshpora. They are so close that people no longer call them by their individual names. Everyone knows this two-in-one village as Kunan Poshpora.
Many of the individuals may be aware of this village, for its infamous reason, but some do need to know about its tale.
On February 23th, 1991, for the people of this village, the night didn’t end.
It was a cold night, when men from the 68th Brigade of the Fourth Rajputana Rifles, a regiment of the Indian Army, surrounded Kunan Poshpora for a ‘cordon and search operation’. Such operations – also known as ‘crackdowns’ – were a common occurrence in the 1990’s in Kashmir.
The procedure followed was wrenching of men out of their homes, and most operations took place in the night, beginning around 10 or 11 pm and lasting till the morning.
In the text of the 2011 judgment on ‘Complaints regarding Kunan Poshpora atrocities lodged by victims and inhabitants of the Village V/s J&K State and Others,’ passed by the J&K State Human Rights Commission (JKSHRC) there came a number of findings.
“Analyzing the statements of all the witnesses/victims it transpires that at about 10 to 11 pm in the night, security personnel cordoned the village. The men folk of the village were ordered to come out and were confined in a Kothar [store houses]. Then small groups of security forces comprising of 2/4/5/6 personnel made their forced entry into the houses. They consumed/had consumed liquor and then gagged the mouths of the victims and committed forced gang rape against their will and consent. The personnel from the security forces had actually turned into beasts and had lost their sense of reasoning as even minor girls of 8 years of age of some of the victims were also ravished. Actually Security forces had come with the intent to ravish the chastity of all the women folk of village Kunan Poshpora and had not cordoned the village to flesh out any militant(s) (sic). The security forces did not even took notice of the presence of minor children who were only crying and witnessing their gory and shameful act (sic). The indecent incident continued approximately till 3/4 AM in the night. There was a police man namely Abdul Gani from the village who tried to raise SOS alarm for help from the loudspeaker of the local mosque, but later on he too was killed by the army personnel so that all the evidence against them is whipped off (sic). After regaining consciousness in early morning the victims found their all clothes were torned out (sic).The victims have been suffering from various mental and physical disorder and trauma since they were subjected to forced rape.”
The story of a woman named Bakhti, was widely quoted, who was assaulted by six soldiers. “One by one, they raped me, while my five year old son was forced to watch, weeping beside the bed.”
The then Divisional Commissioner, Wajahat Habibullah led a team comprising of a Colonel from Army HQ, a commandant of the Border Security Force, the Deputy Commissioner of Kupwara district and the Superintendent of Police, Kupwara. After gathering statements from 41 women, he decided that there was sufficient cause for a more detailed enquiry and suggested as much in his report to the Governor. He said- “While the veracity of the complaint is highly doubtful, it still needs to be determined why such complaint was made at all. The people of the village are simple folk and by the Army’s own admission have been generally helpful and even careful of security of the Army’s officers. Unlike Brig. Sharma I found many of the village women genuinely angry. It is recommended that the level of investigation be upgraded to that of a gazetted police officer.”
Woman is regarded as sacred only till her chastity is safe. Once she has met the air of unsacred and illegitimate atmosphere, none is ready to give her space in society, not even the people who share blood relations with her.
Later, the government asked the Press Council of India to look into the claims. BG Verghese, a former editor of the Hindustan Times and The Indian Express, and K. Vikram Rao, also a senior journalist, visited Kashmir twice: once towards the end of May, and once in June, for a total of 9 days. There was a third member, Hind Samachar editor Jamnadas Akhtar, who, because of his old age, couldn’t make the journey. They said-
“The Kunan rape story on close examination turns out to be a massive hoax, orchestrated by militant groups and their sympathizers and mentors in Kashmir and abroad as part of a sustained and cleverly contrived strategy of psychological warfare and as an entry point for re-inscribing Kashmir on the international agenda as a human rights issue. The loose ends and contradictions in the story expose a tissue of lies by many persons at many levels.”
During my conversation with my driver in Kashmir, Ariz, he told how sudden curfews were imposed and the families would be uncertain whether their son would return home, after buying milk for their grandson. The point I want to make is that, it is true that counter offensive by the Indian forces have diluted the level of militancy, but at the same time they are losing the trust in the local population. Every local person I met during my stay had a word against the military and the police. First of all, such ill-practices of rape should be treated with stringent actions against the culprits and secondly, the police and forces should try and get involved with the locals, as it would help them in gaining their trust, and contribute more towards normalcy in the disputed area.
Yes. This incident is still afresh in the minds of the people of Kashmir. And probably, it will always be.
Such is the love for the corridors of power, the sentiments for native place or call it a well thought of plan for hegemony, former Pakistan president, Pervez Musharraf has returned to Pakistan after spending 4 years in exile in Dubai. Seeking a possible political comeback in defiance of judicial probes and death threats from Taliban militants, Musharraf has made a big decision.
As intrepid and gutty he may sound, he says- “I don’t get scared by anyone except Allah, the Almighty. I have come back by putting my life in danger.”
The journey from Dubai to the southern port city of Karachi was intended as the first step in his goal of rebuilding his image after years on the political margins. But the former military strongman was met by no more than a two thousand people at the airport, who threw rose petals and waved flags emblazoned with his image.
Since, the former general stepped down in the face of mounting discontent, Pakistan’s civilian leadership has struggled with a sinking economy, resilient Islamic extremist factions and tensions with Washington over drone strikes and the May 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.
His arrival could further complicate Pakistan’s attempt to hold parliamentary elections in May and stage its first transition from one civilian government to another.
He is viewed as an enemy by many Islamic militants and others for his decision to side with America in the response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. On 23rd March, the Pakistani Taliban vowed to mobilize death squads to send Musharraf “to hell” if he returns.
Musharraf has a number of charges, including some originating from the probe of the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who also spent time in self-imposed exile in Dubai before returning.
So will he too face the doomsday, following the route of Bhutto?
The flight from Dubai came after several failed promises to return in recent years. Musharraf announced in early March that he would lead his party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, in May elections.
Let’s hope for the best for the country’s future. May the almighty bless them with a promising and peaceful future, which is in the thick of tensions at present.
I was searching for story ideas for this blog. Checking the trends, reading newspapers, surfing on net, descrying through old stories. Alas! I found my subject. Such is the beauty of my chosen subject, that it may well qualify to be the most popular world of this year!Hold on your breath. Tighten your seats belts! Here it comes! The one and only-RAPE.
The spurt in it’s importance being given by the media nowadays has just mirrored the rising number of such cases.
The emergence of patriarchy, the one sided view of masculinity, the quashed pathos of women have marred over a period of time. The prevalence of It’s Okay attitude has only served to destroy the sanctity of the nation. It took just a huge protest by non-political forces, to awaken the sleeping minds of the ever so concerned lawmakers (December 16 gangrape in Delhi, India).
The dictionary meaning of word rape is the ravishing or violation of a woman. But is it really a stigma on the unblemished life of a woman? Well, the society feels so, as they get a new parameter to identify girls. It is the culprits who have lost their dignity. The woman needs to be applauded for being so strong, for being so rebellious.
By the way, Congratulations! The Indian Parliament’s lower house passed a landmark law on March 19 that sets tougher penalties for rapists and for police officers who refuse to file a woman’s complaint of rape, as well as criminalizing offenses such as stalking, voyeurism and acid attacks.
Ironically, as the lawmakers were busy discussing the new law in Parliament, a British tourist fractured her leg when she jumped from the balcony of her hotel room in Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal, to escape being molested by the hotel owner.
The new law, which the upper house is expected to pass till March 22, sets a maximum penalty of death in cases in which a rape victim dies or is left in a persistent vegetative state. Those convicted in incidents of gang rape, the rape of a minor or rape by a police officer or public official will be sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison, up from seven to 10 years.
A provision requiring government approval for the trial of police officers, officials, politicians and judges on rape charges also has been lifted.
For the first time, the law criminalizes stalking and voyeurism, acts of sexual harassment that have long been grouped under the benign euphemism- Love-teasing. Hereafter, acts of barbarism, occurring during religious and caste riots also will be treated as cases of aggravated sexual assault.
There was a lot of word in the past few days, about the need for capital punishment or castration as a deterrent. For once, I was also of the same view, given the public outrage and the intensity of such crimes. But think for a moment. If we’ll come up with it, won’t the rapist kill the girl and destroy all the evidence? The process of trial should lead towards this direction but not this fast. This may add to the existing woes only. Instead of making more stringent laws, India needs to implement existing laws. It should not introduce tougher punishment such as the death penalty, to prevent rape. Apart from other factors, the low conviction rate in the cases of rape is the biggest worry we have today and there is hardly any deterrence.
Some of the most interesting reactions to the Gangrape case of Delhi are worthy to be mentioned. Some said that the women should avoid wearing skirts or provocative clothes to avoid rape. I only have a humble question for them. Do you think that the 6-year old girl or the 84-year old grandmother was dressed inappropriately when they were raped!?
One more quote was from a spiritual leader, blaming the girl for her fate and advising her to consider the rapist as her brother and remember god. Probably, he hasn’t seen much of Bollywood movies, wherein the favourite dialogue to show such scenes is- Bhagwaan Ke Liye Mujhe Chod Do! (Please leave me for the sake of God) to which the rapist vexatiously replies, Agar tujhe bhagwan ke liye chod dunga, toh mera kya hoga!? (If I’ll leave you for god, what fun will I have)
Admit it or not, the portrayal of women in various forms of media has been dismal many a times.
As the bullet theory of mass communication suggests that an intended message is directly received and wholly accepted by the receiver in its pristine form, such messages tend to influence people at large. I even don’t understand the intention behind making crime shows for television! Apart from minting money, they are only providing ideas on how to commit crimes smartly.
In the case of women, our right of interference should be limited entirely to giving good education. Women must be put in a position to solve their own problems in their own way. According to me, cases related to terrorism and rape should be dealt with strongly and there should be no allowance of moving the higher ranked courts. But the problem is even the Judiciary doesn’t seem so clean. On 23rd January this year, in the Ghonda District of Uttar Pradesh, India, the Additional Chief Magistrate of a court molested a 21 year old woman and a minor, when they were testifying a case of kidnapping inside the closed chambers.
The possible solution to the aforementioned problems can be-
- There should be gender sensitization.
- The notion of masculinity needs to be revisited. The new male should be sensitive towards women, have values of empathy and be a family man.
- The parents need to teach their kids well and the communication gap between them needs to be reduced. Proper moral education should be infused at appropriate times in the minds of children.
- We need to look through the prism of crimes against woman in every public sector.
Lastly, I would say that it is the men who need to change more and be in that limit as compared to women, as it is the former who is forcing itself and bringing shame to humanity.
I was walking past the lane nearby, with my headphones on. As I tuned onto a radio channel, I was welcomed with a soft music. Suddenly, a thought flashed in my mind. Is radio all about soft music? Is it all about entertainment? The perquisition for its answer began.
I scratched my head and thought hard. What more could radio contribute to? Finally, I remembered how radio would be my savior from boredom, whenever there would be a problem with the electricity at home. The best thing is that it requires no direct electrification unlike other electronic media. Well, the cost of a single transistor is less than even 3 dollars or 2 euros! With its enormous reach which overpowers other media, it has the power to mould people’s life for the better by connecting with them.
It can save lives, provide a platform and voice, bring accountability, and educate to help people develop materialistically and holistically.
Take for example, the case of Democratic Republic of Congo. The radio stations which had mushroomed in this poor country had smoothed the political tensions. ‘Radio Okapi’ advocated free and fair elections and encouraged more than 36% of voters, according to a study.
Does radio have any role to play in development of the society?
Development is commonly looked upon in economic, political, social, judicial and environmental and now even in democratic terms. Interestingly, radio contributes to all.
‘SW Radio Africa’ in South Africa maintained the system of checks and balances and continuously made people aware of discrepancies in politics and judiciary. ‘Planet Ark’ in Australia helped to communicate environmental messages to make people sensitive to their surroundings.
Radio even helped save lives in Haiti during the earthquake in 2012. The radio sets shipped at the St. Antoine’s School enabled teachers to access to shortwave broadcasts.
Radio doesn’t limit its role to just warning as it also contributes to post-tragedy needs. More than 30 counselors catered to 13,000 displaced people on ‘Dalka FM’, reducing the trauma caused in Aceh, Indonesia due to Tsunami. In the countries like Ghana, Mali and Uganda farmers got to know about new farming methods. The new variety of rice called New Rice of Africa (NERICA) proved to very beneficial for subsistence farmers.
At this point, I wondered how come radio manages to do all these things? The answer was that the radio channels work on various levels like- National, International, Regional, Sub-Regional, Local or Community radio. The radio on one hand, at National and International levels act as big media, influencing many with its ability congruent to Magic Multiplier approach of Marshall Mcluhan and on the other hand, it works at the grassroots level with local people. The National channels, be it FM or AM, mainly disseminate information about policies or advancements. But, it is the community radio channels which deal with problems more specifically and help in their solutions.
Community Radio gives a voice to the community they serve to, with programmes in local languages, respecting local culture, traditions and interests. It facilitates dialogue within the community. Community Radio stations fill the gap left by national and commercial media, reaching local audiences with subjects which the national media ignores. In India, the first community-based radio station licensed to an NGO was launched in 2008, when Sangham Radio in Pastapur village, Medak district, Andhra Pradesh was started by two Dalit women.
Today, it is seen as a success story that narrates how a community radio can educate villagers on biodiversity, crop patterns, nutrition, health, culture, sovereignty etc. “Every woman member of the various Sanghams contributed Rs. 5 each to make the dream of running their own radio station come true. They can now articulate their joys, fears, history, culture and also the fundamental agricultural issues.”
In India, IGNOU’s own Gyan-Vani (Educational FM radio channel) extends mass media support for education, suited to local needs. Gyan Vani stations operate as media cooperatives, with programmes contributed by different educational institutions, NGOs and institutions like IGNOU, NCERT, UGC, IIT etc.
The message developers have slowly started to recognize the potential of this medium. Classic examples of development have made them optimistic about their efforts.
That was an eye-opener for me! Until now radio was not more than a time-pass. Indeed, radio has the quality to penetrate the illiterate. It requires minimal setup and is speedy in dissemination. Now, because the messages are largely informal, people tend to believe the messages. But still, many of its capabilities are untapped and should be exploited well for the better of the populace.
After this information rich session, I fell in love with this medium. Forever. So, did it mesmerize you too?
“In the societies of bottom billion, the key media are
probably the radio channels”
-Paul Collier, 2007
What Americans couldn’t solve for over 30 years, a poor man from North Lakhimpur, Assam did in a matter of 2 years! He came up with a pomegranate de-seeding machine which separated the outer cover and thin inner membrane without damaging the seeds. The marvelous innovation has a capacity of de-seeding 50-55 kg of pomegranate fruits per hour!
What’s remarkable to note is that this 47 year-old man was only four years old when he realized that his family had inched towards acute poverty. I got to know about him, while researching for story ideas during my internship days at The Hindu newspaper.
He was labelled as ‘insane’ by his family for his desire to invent things, and today he has been shortlisted by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for their prestigious Technology Award.
Another breakthrough by him was the Mini CTC tea plant, which aimed to help small time tea-pluckers and farmers. Tea-pluckers, who earlier received Rs. 9/kg for the tea crop, are now getting upto Rs. 20/kg through this plant.
Its heart rendering to see that there exist people in our society, who are ready to do something for the other members of the populace.
As of now, he is planning to make toilets for the handicapped. Handicapped people are dependent on others for their daily activities. But, this toilet-chair will run without power and will take care of the dressing, usage and flushing automatically.
During our discourse, he mentioned how teachers would make him stand-out of the class for asking difficult questions. How interesting is that? True to its meaning, this out-stander did an outstanding job.
German Philosopher, Immanuel Kant had once said, “We are not rich by what we possess, but, by what we can do without.” Probably, Bharali lives up to his words.
As we neared an end to our conversation, he said something, which struck my heart. He said “I want parents to raise their kids as human beings first, and as engineers and doctors later. A child must know the working of the fan or construction of the desk, he is sitting on. By theory he’ll get no practical knowledge, and would only sit in air-conditioned rooms, serving nothing to the nation.”
So is he another Benjamin Franklin in making? Or maybe he is finding his own niche. Let’s hope for the best.