Category Archives: Media

A. R. Rehman, Slumdog Millionaire Get the Oscars

AR Rehman
A. R. Rehman

Finally, the Indian movie and music talent gets recognized by the International audience, screamed almost all TV news channels and people are falling over each other to get sound bytes from various artists. Aside from all this cacophony, I’m not sure about A.R. Rehman, but Slumdog Millionaire did deserve the Oscar. A.R. Rehman is good, in fact the best among the current lot of Indian music directors but as some commentators rightly said, we have had exceptional music directors and singers, it’s just that, previously there was no international exposure for them.

Barkha Dutt forces a blogger to take down blog post and apologize

Here’s the apology published by Chyetanya Kunte, and here is how different bloggers have responded.

I’m reproducing here a part of his unconditional apology:

Consequently, I hereby repudiate and withdraw my post dated November 27, 2008 titled "Shoddy Journalism" and, more specifically, the following allegations / statements made in the post titled "Shoddy Journalism" namely:

  • a lack of ethics, responsibility and professionalism by Ms. Dutt and NDTV Limited;
  • that Ms. Dutt and NDTV’s reporting at the scene of the Mumbai attacks during November 2008, resulted in jeopardizing the safety and lives of civilians and / or security personnel caught up in and / or involved in defending against the attacks in Mumbai in November 2008;
  • that Ms. Dutt was responsible for the death of Indian Servicemen during the Kargil Conflict.

See how cleverly he has repeated everything in the apology :-).

Here’s the image of the original post that’s present in Google cache (click to enlarge):

Original post

I think he has taken the right decision to take down the blog post because he wanted to make a point and he made it and now he is getting ample coverage. Had he been sued by Barkha Dutt and company he would have had to bear the cost unnecessarily, unless of course there were people to help him out or if he himself had enough resources. “Big-shot journalists” like M/s Barkha Dutt wouldn’t have to spend from her own pocket because the TV channel would take care of the entire hassle while she carried on with her routine job. In fact they must be having a separate legal department for such things.

About the freedom of speech thing: I think many bloggers take this too far. Freedom comes with responsibility and like any other medium, when you say something that sort of accuses another person you have to back it up with enough data and evidence and shouldn’t base your blog post on unsubstantiated facts. But of course you can refer to other reports claiming the same things and this shouldn’t be illegal. I am not writing this in support of Barkha Dutt, I’m writing this so that bloggers don’t get in such kind of tight spots. Blogging being free or cheap doesn’t mean that you can publish anything. You have to be responsible if you are publishing something and your message is being read by many people and is publicly available. Whenever you are publishing insinuations on your blog always link to the source that you are basing your insinuation upon. This way you can always say, “I didn’t say that, I simply said what he said, how would I know it is not true?”

Regarding people like Barkha Dutt trying to throttle freedom of speech, I think by attributing such expressions to journalists like her is plain stupid. Even a kid would know that she and the news channel she works for don’t care a hoot about freedom of speech. They are simply mouth pieces of the pseudo-intellectual mafia that has been screwing the country ever since…forever.

Anyway, Gaurav at his blog is compiling a comprehensive list of reactions. If you want, you can join the FaceBook groups Facebook group to protest Barkha Dutt’s bullying of Chyetanya Kunte, Facebook group that advocates taking Barkha Dutt off the air and Facebook group which nominates Barkha Dutt as the worst journalist on the planet (source Gauravonomics).

Leela Naidu

I accident saw her in a YouTube video and was struck by her beauty. When I showed the video to Alka she told me that she’s Leela Naidu. I generally don’t like the profiles of Indian film actresses (except for Madhubala) but Leela Naidu was/is a stunner. Once she was declared one of the top 10 most beautiful women in the world, and I’m not sure about the others, she could easily be among the top beauties. It was nice to know that she didn’t die young, like many other extraordinarily beautiful people.

Leela Naidu

[tags]leela naidu[/tags]

Andher Nagri

I generally don’t use such expressions on my blog but this is a clear case of mutual ass-licking. First NDTV declares Manmohan Singh the leader of the year and then sycophant journalists like Rajdeep Sardesia, Barkha Dutt and Vinod Dua are conferred Padma Sri, one of the highest civilian awards in India. It is anybody’s guess why these three journalists got the award.

At home we were discussing if such biased people keep on getting such awards then what credibility do such awards carry? Actually these kinds of awards fetch many privileges to the awardees, for instance getting their books published, obtaining lucrative government contracts, getting highly sought-after assignments abroad, and of course, in this twisted case, lots of publicity to the news channels they belong to.

Last year I read Arun Shourie’s “Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud” in which very laboriously he has explained, taking examples from various texts and other sources, how these “respected” journalists, historians and scholars keep promoting each other’s works and causes and keep getting rewarded in shady manners and then keep getting cushy jobs and assignments and this cycle goes on and on and on. The only difference now is that common people can articulate their thoughts using blogs and other communication means. So at least there is a certain section that can see the truth and talk about it and I think this is an extremely positive development, and this is a reason why conventional journalists dislike new-age media, especially the kind of media that empowers practically everybody to communicate and exchange ideas.

In another diabolical development our Prime Minister declared that the families of jihadis who are killed by the Indian armed forces will receive compensation from the government. Read this satire recently published in The Pioneer. This is like telling them: kill our army men and if they kill you back we will compensate your families. In another right-thinking society such a Prime Minister would have been arrested for abetting terrorism and his or her party would have never been able to form another government. But alas! This is India, the land of million tragedies. And then they wonder why the Indian Army is short of 12,000 officers. Who would like to fight for the government that compensates people who are out to kill them? This is so bizarre.

Andher nagri by the way means a completely chaotic state of affairs where nothing logical happens.

[tags]barkha dutt, rajdeep sardesai, vinod dua, padam sri[/tags]

The Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Show

Being musically inclined, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa is the only TV show that I watch with random regularity and I can follow how individual participants are performing. Oh, and yes I started my music lessons again . Remember once I mentioned my old recalcitrant guruji who is over 70? After taking his classes it was not possible for me to go to another teacher. Although he sometimes irritates me but I think he’s the best teacher I have ever come across. Coming back to the TV program.

The final event turned out to be a real damp squib. Nobody was expecting Aneek Dhar to win. Of course no doubt be deserved to be among the top three but he was no way the first runners up stuff. Either Amanat or Raja Hasan should have come first; they are far superior than Aneek as far as voice quality and style are considered. He has a very shrill noise although technically he has no flaws.

Did a Bengali factor play in? The Bengalis are prone to send excessive SMS messages to help Bengali contestants win and even when the SMSs are not involved through networking tactics they try to ensure victory for a Bengali contestant. I’m not saying that he is a Bengali so his victory should be questioned; it’s just that the other contestants were far better and this is the only logic that can be drawn — that he undeservedly got more votes. Of course Rashamya too used cheap psychological tricks to fetch more votes for his student.

The win actually doesn’t matter much because many contestants have won and then faded into oblivion. Only the talented can survive. This is why there are many contestants who got singing contracts even before reaching the finals — including Amanat and Raja — but I doubt if Aneek got a singing contract during the competition.

And it is heartening to see that true talent is still appreciated in other parts of the country and that is the main reason that Amanat, despite being a Pakistani, was among the top three, and despite Poonam being the least glamorous among the female contestants, was the top female performer and eventually won the spark of the day award. Hers is the face that should inspire you. Read her story if you can find it somewhere. Listen to her singing Der na ho jaye, I mean, of course she is not Lata Mangeshkar but I think after Lata and Asha Poonam’s voice is the best I’ve heard so far.

All in all, Sa Re Ga Ma P is the best talent hunt program on Indian television and the new singers discovered through it are really going to give sleepless nights to the established but mediocre singers of the Hindi cinema. These singers, barring Aneek’s final fiasco, are really brilliant and truly deserve the attention being showered upon them. Hopefully we’ll get to listen to some good melodies in the near future. And if that doesn’t happen well I’m always there to sing to myself and to people who care to listen, for instance my greatest fan I think, no I’m sure, is my 27-month-old daughter :-).

[tags]saregamapa, sa re ga ma pa[/tags]