Society


Simply put Sanjaya Malakar is to American Idol what Shilpa Shetty was to Big Brother. A lucky 17 year old who found instant stardom after participating in the American Idol season 6. More known for his on & off stage charm and much less for his singing talent.

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So what’s the fuss about now, one may ask?
He is not much of a singer. But so are many others who participate in American Idol you might say.
He has funny hairdos. So what? You exclaim!
Well, he is half-Indian. Aah! Now I get it you say. J
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Here is a little snapshot on Sanjaya  

    • Sanjaya & Shyamali both auditioned for Americal Idol season 6 and both got selected for the Hollywood round. But only Sanjaya made it till Top 8.  
    • His father is a Bengali Indian while his mother is an Italian American.  
    • He has J Lo for a “fanjaya” for she said, “I like this kid. I love Sanjaya!” after hearing him sing in Spanish in rehearsal, the only one of the remaining 8 contestants to do so 
    • The real controvery started when Howard Stern, veteran radio and television personality, announced that he was launching a campaign with his listeners to vote for Malakar to win the competition.
    • Simon Cowell told Extra, an entertainment news television program, that if Sanjaya Malakar wins, he wouldn’t return as a judge to the show, even though he is contractually obligated to return

What I get to understand is – The world of entertaiment has hit on this new age formula for instant revival of dying television shows & it is quite simple – 1. Start a new season or series, 2. Get an Indian to participate (whackier the better), 3. Throw in few hundred supporters and a few thousand opposers. Sit back and watch your fortune turaround.

For now we got to wait and watch what magic Sanjaya spins for American Idol.

[Image Source: Wikipedia & Bodog Beat]

Cross Posted Here

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 Here’s what happened in Mutiny this week.

Jo started off the week with the tragic news of Laurie Baker’s death. He also blogged about how Google played an April Fool prank and the ABCs of audio/music blogging
 
Nita wrote about some students who have moderate views on reservations. She is concerned that couples can no longer enjoy sunsets on sea fronts without looking over their shoulders and is worried about wild Life in India which is under grave threat
 
Swetha takes a sneak peek at Sivaji – Rajnikant’s Next Blockbuster
 
Jerry blogged prolifically about Eragon, Mid-Night Hot and The New Detectives  CPM. He rants about why the M6A1 is being deployed overseas.
 
Guru tells us about Network Computers and provided some very informative links in HowTo: Startups
 
Chacko writes about  a league for cricket and  gives his opinion on the BJP. He also shows us a very  interesting piece of Indian art in a restaurant in Smash Menu.
 
Cakerfare informs us about ATM Access in Bihar
 
Maltesh writes about Logan and opines that we should not give a reservation to folks who don’t want to stay in India
 
Gentledude writes about the ubiquitous hand pump
 
Sridhar ended the week informing us that Musharraf is deliberately letting Talibanization creep into main cities
 
 Keep coming back for more at the Mutiny !
 
 

Today I read in the newspaper about how couples were hounded at Bandra Reclamation. This is not the first time that this has happened. Every once in a while the cops go into overdrive and start harassing couples. It was on Marine Drive that they did it some time ago. The cops insist that these couples are being obscene, but I beg to differ. It is rarely that one comes across obscenity here, at least I have never seen it on Marine Drive.

Ofcourse I don’t think that kissing lightly in public is obscene. There are those who feel that kissing in public is wrong, but the young do not feel that way. I am past the college going age, but I feel there is nothing wrong with it either. Maybe it is because places such as Marine Drive hold special memories for me. Marine Drive was a place that my husband and I frequented when we were in college and a little later when we took up our first jobs in Mumbai. Not a single cop ever harrassed us, and all we did really was hold hands and stare into each other eyes. From newspaper reports today it is apparent that couples are not even being allowed to do that, and in fact even those simply snacking or talking were hauled to the police station! The criteria apparently is that the couples should be married?

Just a few days ago I was reminiscing about Marine Drive and posted a slideshow on my personal blog. We enjoyed a sunset there, after a gap of some years. Here it is:

[rockyou id=62025271&w=426&h=320]

 

Marine Drive has always been one of my favourite places. I have been coming here ever since I was a kid. And sunset on Marine Drive is one scene I will never tire of. And by the way, it is one of the most romantic sights ever.

Long back, once in a while, my linux computer used to give me this fortune cookie:

Network is the computer; Oops! Network is the network; computer is the computer. Sorry for the mix-up.

Or, something to that effect, which is an obvious joke on the logo of the Sun microsystems.

Today’s Hindu carries an editorial about broad-based computing, which relies on network as the computer paradigm. The homepage of the company referred to in the article, Novatium, also has some information on their netPC.

As usual, the Wiki page on Network Computer is full of information and contains links (among other things) to this FAQ (which is rather old) and to this Byte.com article (which is relatively recent).

As the Wiki article points out, the idea of Network PCs might have been ahead of its time. If so, I would tend to agree with the conclusion of the Hindu editorial that the network PCs along with open source software might actually be able to bridge the digital divide effectively:

For the majority of the people, bridging the digital divide will depend on innovation that exploits low-cost hardware, open source software, and network opportunities such as cabling, mobile telephony, and wireless to broaden and democratise access.

Finally, with all this potential, can Google be far behind? While Google denied the report, a thin client maker says that they did in fact have discussions with Google on the issue.

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Its been some time since ‘Sivaji – The Boss’ the next film of the southern superstar Rajni has been announced and everyday the hoopla around it seems to increase exponentially. Here are some mindboggling information surrounding this movie:

1. Out of all director Shankar’s movies this is being touted as the most expensive one. And here is the breakup – 68% was spent in location, not surprisingly 12% in graphics, 8% as salaries (no doubt excluding dat of Rajni’s) 8% for costumes, 2% for music maestro A.R.Rahman and other techincians, and the remaining 2% on miscellaneous.

2. Amitabh Big B Bachchan is supposedly making his first guest appearance with Rajni in a Tamil movie. And dat is something to watch out for. Rumours say the Big B shot for the movie in 2 days at Pune.

3. Not to stop at Big B..Shankar has allegedly also roped in Malayam Superstar Mamooty for a special scene n the movie. 4. Here are some numbers for you to digest – The distribution rights for Sivaji has been sold to kerala for 6 crores,(an alltime high)- and actor Vineet seems to have bagged the exclusive rights. The movie has found a distrubutor for Karnataka in Ravichandran who sources claim paid a whopping 9 crores and not to be outdone Andhra Pradesh bagged the movie rights for – hold your breath! – 17 crores!5. Here are some more titbits for the expectant: Sun TV and Reliance are fighting tooth & nail for satelite, dvd, and audio rights. 80 crores seem to be the stake amount for the same with additional 100 mil USD for International rights.

6. International DVD release rights for 9 countries worldwide is being competed by
‘Ayngaran International’ of Canada and ‘Pyramid’ of india. Wikipedia has listed Ayngaran as the distributors worldwide, so now we know who bagged the deal.

7. AVM Productions has magnanimously announced that they will give 25% profit to the charity (Sivaji Foundation) if the movie hits silver jubliee, which I am sure his fans will ensure.

8. And as per the cover story of the No:1 Japanese magazine called “Tosho” this movie has crossed the expectation of even hollywood Bond flick “Casino Royale” and this also supposedly makes Rajinkanth the highest paid actor in the world.

9. Tosho magazine also reveals that the total revenue for AVM Productions (if the movie successfully runs for 50 days only in southern India)will be around 430 crores

10. And last but not the least in a series of firsts: This movie is going to be the first to be dubbed in the local languages of Turkey, Hausa, Gonga(South Africa) and kshinola (Argentina).

Scandals not to be withstood Sivaji faced the music when its soundtrack was allegedly leaked in the internet 2 weeks before its actual launch. And a miffed Shankar who swears by the secrecy of his films has decided to re-shoot the songs.

I just hope albeit all the hype the movie manages to entertain the audience like Rajni’s past movies did.

Tailender: Much has also been said and written about Rajnikant’s popularity in Japan. Here are two pictures of Rajni’s popular film Arunachalam hoarding in Japan which should silence the skeptics –

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[Image source: Mid-day Bangalore & Rajninews]

Cross posted here

At Mutiny, Polite Indian has covered the Supreme court verdict on the reservation issue comprehensively. I have been following other news on this too, specifically television programmes which aired the opinions of young students on this issue. It is interesting to note that some students who are anti-reservation are not against reservation per se. A programme on CNN IBN for example shows one student (in the anti reservationist group) saying that he doesn’t mind reservations, but for gods sake let their be a time line! Say 50 years. Another student, again from the same group, is against the creamy layer getting reservations. Another says that he wants the percentage of the quota to be reduced. I have watched other programmes too, on Times Now for example and here it is a similar story. A lot of heartburn on the creamy layer being entitled to reservations. Some insisted on reservations in elite primary schools, not higher education.

I emphathise with the moderates, although they are not called moderates. They are clubbed under anti reservationists.

I had written about the Supreme Court staying the OBC quotas on my personal blog, and had gone a step further saying that not only should the creamy layer be excluded, but people from all religions be brought under its fold. That is a very controversial opinion I realised after I got a comment about how easy it is for Brahmins to talk like this. I couldn’t quite understand that comment because I simply cannot think in terms of caste however hard I try. My identity is not Brahmin, its Indian, and to some extent – regional (Maharastrian). I think this is a lot to do with the fact that I studied in St. Mary’s school, Pune, and half the class were Christians, several Muslims and Parsees, Jains, and in fact the Hindus were in a minority. I was never conscious that I was a Brahmin and I guess that has remained with me throughout my life.

Today I feel that the disadvantaged, whatever the community they come from, should get reservations. No, I am not for reserving such a great number of seats, and I am not sure whether it is a good thing to have reservations in higher educational institutions, but I can be convinced. Also, I feel the modalities can be worked out better and there should be transparency… right now there is a belief (probably erroneous) that even those with 50 per cent marks can get into a higher educational institutions.

The good thing about the Supreme Court judgement is that everything will now come out in the open (hopefully). The main question as to who the reservations are for, should be answered satisfactorily.

And let us never forget the reasons why the non-Hindu disadvantaged are where they are today. Many of those who converted (how I hate writing this, in case someone misunderstands!) were not Brahmins.

Sunday,06-Dec,1992.I was a child of 8 years.I was watching DD News along with my parents.Karsevaks demolishing Babri masjidThere were some images being shown on the TV.A mob going wild,demolishing a structure.I asked my mother what it was, and she said ‘Some foolish people are demolishing a mosque.’I asked why.She had no answer.Neither did millions of Indians.

Babri Masjid haunts our generation.Every 6th of December is a black day.Protests pour out all over the country.The law and order situation becomes fragile.The security forces are put on high alert.Why do we need this?

Hindus and Muslims lived together peacefully for hunderds of years in this country.Agreed,there were a few disturbances.Yet India proved itself to be resilient and the differences were settled amicably.Where is that resilience now?Why do millions of people fall prey to the fancies of stupid politicians?

People say Lord Rama was born there,at the exact place where Babri once stood.I didn’t know that technology has developed to an extent where we can predict the exact birth location of a person.OK,agreed that Rama was born there and later the Muslim rulers built a mosque at the place after demolishing the temple that was there.So the Hindu fanatics demolished the mosque. Now let us assume that a temple has been built at the site.What if a few hundred years down the line a Muslim mob demolishes the temple because a mosque existed before the temple has been built?

We,the Indians,have umpteen number of issues that require a very serious attention from us-Poverty,Hunger,Child Labour,Dowry,AIDS,Corruption..the list goes on.It’s time for us as a nation to get over such petty issues.

Let us have a new beginning.We gave the world the weapon of Non-Violence.Now let us show the world our resilience.Get over Babri.Get over Gujarat.Let us build a monument that buries the centuries of hatred between the communities.Let us build the four lion statue from Sarnath. A massive one.Bigger than the Eiffel tower,bigger than Lady Liberty.

The replica of the statue erected by a Buddhist king,Ashoka,standing on the place where Hindus and Muslims fought each other.The four lions bury the centuries of hatchet under their massive feet.They roar in the four directions,announcing the arrival of India,as a nation.As a nation of single religion,Indianism.

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