Slumdog Millionaire–the Review

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Here is the short of it.

I did not like “Slumdog Millionaire”. Or perhaps I should say I was not at all impressed.  Maybe it was all the hype, the Oscar buzz and the “It is soooo awesome” first-person accounts I have heard over the last few weeks that led me to go into the theater with unrealistic expectations. Perhaps.

First let us get the standard attacks on reviews one does not like out of the way.

Yes yes I am being contrarian to get attention.

Yes yes I am too idiotic to understand a truly great movie.

Yes yes I suffer from a third-world siege mentality where I am offended by anything that does not show my country in a purely positive light.

If we can now move beyond these, then let us proceed.

And yes. If you have not seen the movie, then perhaps you are better off not going below the fold (though I try my best not to give away the ending) if you want to “experience” without any pre-knowledge this supposed masterpiece.

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Greatbong's Awesomely Great Movie of 2008

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Because of certain commitments and demands on my time, I have not been able to see as many “awesomely great movies” as I would like this year. Old time readers of RTDM will know that awesomely great movies are those celluloid creations which on low budget and on even lesser expectations provide “bharpoor’ entertainment, typically in a different way than the producers of the movies intended. [2007, 2006, 2005]

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Maha Patriot

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Amidst the tumultuous events of the last few weeks, two patriots have risen from the flames, very different in their perspectives, almost mirror opposites and yet combined, they somehow complete each other (like Batman and the Joker). Or maybe the more accurate word would be—neutralize each other.

One is of course minorities minister Antulay, whose patriotic credentials were never in doubt —after all who could be a greater patriot than someone, who as a chief minister, was convicted of extorting builders to donate to an Indira Gandhi trust. The fact that such a person, even after this, can hold a ministerial post is evidence enough of how high we value his service to the nation.

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Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi—the Review

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When innocents die on a railway platform lives snuffed out senselessly,  the string-pullers behind this massacre arrested and released four days later and when general injustice and inequities abound all around, some people, who still have some hope and believe in imaginary friends, look heavenwards and ask “God , what are you doing?”

According to the Chopras, God (or Rab or Great Flying Spaghetti Monster or Bhagwan or whatever you want to call that person who sits up above) is busy with other things of greater importance.

He is making “jodis”. And that too “halle halle”. [The song "Halle Halle" in Rab Na Bana Di Jodi , for some unfathomable reason, brings to my demented mind memories of the Mammoth Koirala starrer "Market" wherein a lady of commerce tells her client "Zyara hallu hallu kar".]

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The Algebra of Infinite Fundamentalism

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A few years ago, I was having a telephonic conversation with one of my best friends from high school and the topic turned to Arundhati Roy. She asked me why I never said a kind word about her on my blog and told me to write a post explaining what exactly I found so objectionable about her, something she felt I never clearly articulated even though it was obvious I was not a fan.

So dear friend if you still follow the blog, this is it. The answer to that question asked. Many years ago.

The single line answer to why I do not like her is that Arundhati Roy is that she is a fundamentalist. And I have an aversion to fundamentalists. Of all forms.

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A Few Videos

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Since we already have had some discussion on the press on our side of the border, it should only be fair that we also analyze media ethics of our friends on the other side.

Alternatively, we can just cut the crap and watch this video ([Highly recommended viewing] of excellent “live” reporting of a Pakistani news channel (link sent in by Bengal Voice and Aditi) which has, as of today, displaced this video of our ex-commando general enjoying a charged dance routine from the top position in the list of favorite Pakistani video nuggets. [This (the seven second itch) becomes now my third favorite and this (overenthusiastic rabble-rouser who shouts out-of-turn) my fourth]

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Press Coverage of 26/11—Some Thoughts

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[Warning: lost Long post]

In my series of blogposts on the Mumbai massacres of November, I have so far avoided dealing explicitly with one issue that has otherwise got a lot of attention, mostly negative, in the blogosphere and in discussion boards and online communities——the coverage of the tragic incidents provided by the Indian television media.

The most common criticisms of the Indian television media coverage of 26/11 may be summarized as follows:

1. By showing live footage of commandos going in and in focusing attention on that hotel guest one can see on the ninth floor, they compromised the security of hostages and of the entire operation.

2. The channels fell over themselves trying to get exclusives, stooping to the level of harrying already distraught victims for their “reactions”.

3. The spotlight was entirely on the Taj and the Oberoi and not on Victoria Terminus because the victims at VT were, to put it bluntly, “low class” in contrast to the glitterati and foreigners at the 5-star hotels.

4. Other important events like the death of VP Singh were ignored in the midst of the 24/7 media brouhaha.

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Comprehension Exercise

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October 7, 2001: In a last-ditch effort to avoid a military strike, the Taliban says they are willing to detain suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden and try him under Islamic law, if the United States formally requests.Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban’s ambassador to Pakistan, made the statement on Sunday.The Taliban made a similar offer to the United States last weekend, but this time did not stipulate that evidence should first be provided.”Under Islamic law, we can put him on trial according to allegations raised against him and then the evidence would be provided to the court. It is up to (the United States) to come to us. It is their problem,” said Zaeef. [link]

December 9, 2008: Pakistan on Tuesday said any of its citizens found to be linked to the Mumbai terror attacks will not be handed over to India, but tried under the country’s own laws.

“The arrest being made are for our own investigations. Even if allegations are proved against any suspect he will not be handed over to India,” Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said today.[link]

Comprehension question: Find the connection between Talibani Afghanistan (dictatorship, terror state, 2001) and Pakistan (democracy, front-line ally in the war on terror, 2008).