An effort to build a list of good international news programmes to get news from diverse perspectives Over the last few years, I have developed an interest in international affairs. Unfortunately, International English news sources were dominated by channels in USA and Britain.  BBC and CNN that were available widely had some high quality programmes but put forward highly circumscribed views.  My earning for diversity of views got a fillip with online news channels.  I am now trying to compile a list of good weekly programmes, documentaries, etc. that we can watch now and then to catch up with major […]

Best international news programmes: A list

Cyrano de Bergerac Year: 1990 Writer: Jean-Claude Carrière, Jean-Paul Rappeneau Director: Jean-Paul Rappeneau Length: 137 mins Category: Drama Rating: 4 out of 5 Beautiful French movie about a man in love who is unable to express it through his life since he thinks he’s ugly. Cyrano, a poet, soldier and a man highly accomplished in many things has an unusually long nose. He is in love with his cousin. Just when he musters courage to tell her, she seeks his help to get in touch with a handsome man in his company. Christian, though handsome, does not have a way […]

Cyrano de Bergerac: Moving

No Man’s Land Year: 2001 Writer: Danis Tanovic Director: Danis Tanovic Category: Drama Rating: 4 out of 5 Three wounded soldiers Ciki, Cera (Bosnians) and Nino (Serbian) get caught in a trench in the no man’s land. Cera is lying on a mine that would burst if he moves. There is tension as well as friendship between the three. Nino went to school with Ciki’s ex-girlfriend. They both are trapped in a deadly situation that they want to escape from. But they blame their predicament on each other, keeping them suspicious and leading to periodic breakout of fights between them. […]

No Man’s land by Tanovic: Gripping

This post is in reaction to a friend’s post about Mani Ratnam’s brilliance when it comes to handling children.  Citing Kannathil Muthamittal and Anjali he says, The master director’s known for his ability to extract the best from the kids – Anjali had proved that way back in eighties. But, then “Kannathil Muthamittal” truly showed how Mani Ratnam can ellicit complex adult emotions from a child. I think his choice of movies could not have been worse.  For MR kids are only noisy, perpetually-running, yelling, brats. I sometimes feel that he merely takes a an adult character, adds a lot […]

Children in Mani Ratnam movies

American Visa IMDB Year: 2005 Director: Juan Carlos Valdivia Category: Foreign Rating: 3 out of 5 What better movie could I review waiting outside the US Consulate for an American visa? This satirical comedy is about Mario’s dreams to join his son for a comfortable life in the United States. After elaborate preparations, his visa to the US is denied. He then tries to commit a robbery to gather the money to get a visa from the black market. In the meanwhile, he meets a philosophically inclined prostitute who loves Bolivia and finds heaven where she is. Most of the […]

Review of Bolivian “American Visa” as I wait for mine!

Mozhi Year: 2007 Writer: Radha Mohan Director: Radha Mohan Length: 152 Category: Drama Rating: 4 out of 5 Entertainment with purpose – to the hilt Mozhi is one of the finest Tamil movies to come in this decade. It’s worth watching, and watching again. Karthik (played by Prithviraj) falls in love with Archana (Jyothika) by just seeing her in action. He learns soon that she is hearing and speech disabled. In a bid to win her love, he accosts her. As they become friends he grows to admire her for growing beyond her disabilities into a confident person. A rift […]

Mozhi with Jyothika: Fantastic Tamil movie

Here’s a news item from the Real news network on India’s refusal to sign the cluster bomb treaty along with China, US (not surprisingly), Israel, Russia and Pakistan.What is shocking though is the paltry coverage it got in Indian media for an issue that is clearly important. ToI, NDTV, Zee News, Economic Times, and a few others carried an article straight from Associated Press or other services. Given that India had not signed this treaty, some home work could have been done here – but NOTHING was done. This is true of the highly celebrated Hindu as well. No interviews, […]

India refuses to sign cluster bomb treaty & we know ...

Eisenhover in a memorable speech talked of the danger of the military industrial complex.  His warning has sadly been borne out time and again in the decades following the speech. In this context calculations of gain overwhelm concerns for morality in foreign policy.  Thankfully, the same decades have also seen an appreciable growth of people’s voices for peace.  This movement has made remarkable use of media to covey its message; this song by Jayashree is a good example of such efforts. Set in the tune of the Sinhalese song “Surangani” that took India by storm, “American war par da” is […]

American war par da song by Jayashree

O India produz mais filmes que todos outros país do mundo… …Muito mais. Tal vez tu sei que há muitas linguas na India. Muitos disso tem um grande indústria do cinema. O muito famoso é o indústria do Bombay chamo “Bollywood”. Muitos estrangeiros pensem que só Bollywood produz filmes na India; mas ha muitos outros centros do produção. O grande centro é Madras no sul do India. Também há Hyderabad, Calcutta, Kerala e outros centros. Tal vez, o filmes do Bengal são o mais famoso depois que o Bollywood. Begal é famoso para produzir os filmes artísticas e seu director […]

Introdução aos cinema Indiano

As big budget movies with huge marketing costs become popular and movie halls change, will the big drive out the small? Diwali is a time for new movies in India.  Two big budget movies this time decided to go for huge spending on marketing.  OSO and Sawariya together spent over Rs. 10 crores on marketing, swamping the media.  Money was clearly spent on public relations rather than overt advertisements.  “King Khan” was all over the place: watching cricket, dancing with cricket stars, doing shows, and being in any place that attracts public attention.  Even if OSO were not mentioned overtly […]

Developments in Hindi cinema: Will the big kill the good?

Brutal and grotesque punishments deter crime better than an inefficient and corrupt legal system argue many Brutal punishments are back into public debate in India with the airing of the video below. A boy who had snatched a chain from a woman was caught and brutally punished by a mob – relentlessly. A Policeman joined in meting out this “justice” by finishing the act by tying the boy to his bike and dragging him in the road. Even before this furore has died from public debate there has been another mob action today emulating the infamous Bhagalpur blindings epitomised by […]

Bhagalpur blindings, Gangajal & brutality in Bihar today

Sindhu Bhairavi Year: 1985 Writer: K. Balachander Director: K. Balachander Length: 2 H 50 M Category: Drama Rating: 5 out of 5 A classic Tamil movie that’s almost perfect Sindhu Bhairavi is a rare love story where the relationship between the man and the woman is based on an intellectual craving. JKB, an acclaimed Carnatic singer (played by Sivakumar), has a beautiful wife (played by Sulokshana) who has no knowledge of music or interest in it. He discovers a fan of his – Suhashini – a keenly intelligent woman who thrives on music. Her knowledge of music, willingness to confront […]

Sindhu Bhairavi by Balachander: A treat for every sense

Many good movies have come out of Indians living abroad in the last decade. Monsoon Wedding is highly known, but there is a lot more to look at. Here are five such movies. Most of my American and European friends have seen Monsoon Wedding by Meera Nair. This is by far the most popular movie till today by an Indian director based abroad. But there are many more good movies that are worth watching that are much lesser known. Here’s a quick introduction. The acclaimed Meera Nair has taken quite a few movies. Among these, I am fond of Salaam […]

Lively ‘Desi Movies’: Going beyond Monsoon Wedding

Page 3 IMDB Year: 2005 Director: Madhur Bhandarkar Category: Drama Rating: 5 out of 5 A fantastic out of the box movie from India ‘Page 3’ by Madhur Bhandarkar is one of the nicest Indian movies I have seen in the last five years or so. The plot of page 3 is available in many sites, and I will not write about it here. I shall concentrate instead on some aspects that liked most in the movie. Unique story line The story, to begin with, is refreshingly different, and is a drastic shift from the typical formula-based movies. This does […]

Page 3: Madhur Bandarkar & Konkona Sen scintillate

Good introductory video on using right to information to combat corruption by Arvind Kejriwal Arvind Kejriwal has been at the heart of an inspiring campaign to combat corruption by using the right to information. He spearheaded a campaign in Delhi along with many other groups that popularised the use of right to information. Arvind got the Magasassay for his work. The videos below contain a talk he gave on using RTI, which I think is a good introductory material for people with an interest on how it could be used, and what it means.

Fighting corruption using right to information: Arvind Kejriwal’s talk

It looks like Government of Bihar has launched a Right to information call centre. Personally, I think this is a great idea, though I dont know how it works at this point. If found a video about it in You Tube that has been widely televised. This is a eight minute clip about that appeals to different groups of people to use it, and gives an idea about how it could be done.

Right to information call centre in Bihar: Video clip

Food politics: how the food industry influences nutrition and health Rating: 5 out of 5 Author: Marion Nestle Year: 2002 Category: Nutrition, Political Economy, Agriculture Publisher: University of California Press Fascinating book on the politics of food in USA The book was motivated by the contradictions between nutrition policy and practice. The author argues that the basic nutrition advice has remained more or less constant for the last fifty years. She examines the role of food industry in the US in creating an environment conductive to over eating and poor nutritional practice. Overproduction, Competition & pressure to make people eat […]

Food Politics by Marion Nestle: How industries influence eating

Robert Moses was the most prolific builder of public projects in New York City leaving behind a contested legacy I chanced across a debate on the legacy of Robert Moses that was held at Museum of the City of New York. The webcast of the discussion includes a 20 minute presentation by the Dy. Mayor of New York, Daniel Dotoroff and it is followed by a powerful presentation by Majora Carter of Sustainable South Bronx. Daniel gives a brief overview of Robert Moses’ life and work and draws an analogy to the work he is involved with currently. Robert Moses […]

Legacy of Robert Moses: Webcast of Discussion