On FDI In Retail


Looking at the BJP, one often gets the impression that they have been afflicted by the Subhash Ghai disease, an obsessive compulsive disorder wherein the sufferer tries to recycle in the 2010s what worked in the 90s. With disastrous results. For instance, who else believes in 2011 that calling a jeep a “Rath” will make those riding in it appear like mythic Hindu heroes?

Well I might have been wrong about the exact decade in which the BJP’s clock stopped working. It was not the 90s after all. Hearing Arun Jaitley speak of the perils of having our food supply in “foreign” hands, all I see is a desperate attempt to revive the pop-culture bogeyman of the license-raj 70s days, that phirang Bob-Christo archetype snarling in his accented Hindi about “dirty Indians” while the noble Manoj Kumar would be tied up in a galley, looking to the side surreptitiously at Hema Malini,a symbol of India (or more precisely its food security) caught in the vice-grip of foreign avarice, writhing sensuously on deck.

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Sunny Side Up


When we were young, the only Sunny we knew was this one guy called Sunil Gavaskar. Some of us knew a  Leone too, some firang director whose spaghetti Westerns like “A Fistful of Dollars” and “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” we had seen on bad-quality VHS tapes loaned from Neha Video Library. But we had never heard of the term p***star and even those who had, never knew that this was a legitimate career option. The word adult star was known but in a different wholly innocent context, like what Jugal Hansraj endeavored to be after his lakdi ke kaathi child-star days in “Masoom”.

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Memories of Eden Gardens


In 1987, they had come in great numbers for something as earth-shaking as a World Cup matchup between Zimbabwe and New Zealand match, shouting “Ali Shah Hai Hai” with a seriousness that bordered on the bizarre.

They did because it didn’t matter who was playing.

In 1976, with India at the door of a crushing defeat against England, 50, 000 Kolkatans had thronged the stadium to watch Bishen Singh Bedi bat.

They did because it didn’t matter who was winning.

Because the crowd always turned up at the Eden.

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Rockstar—the Review


The next time Pakistan makes a medium-range ballistic missile, I hope they call it Fakhri. Cause the lead lady of “Rockstar”, a veritable Sanjay Kapoor in ladies clothes, is a messenger of celluloid destruction. So stilted, artificial and halting is her performance that she makes Katrina Kaif look like Katherine Hepburn. I kid you not.

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Chitkabrey—the Review


The industry may have been looking forward to “Ra-One” or “Rockstar” or “Ready” but for me, a fan of avant-garde Hindi cinema (the technical term used in this context is avant-gaand-de), “Chitkabrey–Shades of Grey” (to give it it’s full appellation) was the movie of the year.

First of all, there was immense controversy leading up to its release , controversy of the type that almost accompanies great works of art like “Citizen Kane” and “Chingari, the first famous for giving us deep focus and low angle shots and the second the popular phrase “manoranjak kutiya”.

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