Serial Bus

One post per week

Why 3 Idiots might become a Flop

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Since every idiot worth his/her salt is opining on the row between Chetan Bhagat and Vidhu Vinod Chopra & Co, I thought I should contribute to such a rich national debate. This story has dominated the news cycle in India for the last few days and before it starts testing people’s patience, I wanted to express my solidarity for Chetan.

Let me put in a few disclaimers – I am a big Aamir fan, I have always admired VVC’s vision, I can’t stop loving Raju Hirani’s knack for comedy and some of us have long appreciated Abhijat Joshi, the supposed dark horse. Despite some minor flaws, I loved ‘3 Idiots’. I have not read Five Point Someone (or any other book written by Chetan) and for this reason, VVC might have questioned my right to even have an opinion. However, my solidarity with Chetan has nothing to do with VVC’s deranged outburst at the now-famous press conference. I am not letting it cloud my judgment in the same way that I am discounting Chetan’s melodramatic statements on the television – he has been supplying a lot of lowly grist that is the staple in most news channels now-a-days. I keep wondering if the writer in him is incapable of escaping cliches. Also, legally, Chetan’s gripes have no locus standi and he knows it well. The contract he signed with VVC & Co in 2005 is now a part of the dirty linen that is hanging dry in public. The contract has been abided by and nobody can even contemplate a lawsuit. That said, here is why I believe Chetan has been wronged.

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Written by serialbus

January 2, 2010 at 10:44 pm

My Name is Singh, Rocket Singh!

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By the time I post this, Aamir Khan must have moved to another city of India. There is no telling whether it will be big or small, famous or obscure. A legion of his fans and curious onlookers await the fifth clue. Though Aamir calls it an Alternate Reality Game, what he is doing would be interesting by any other name too. And unprecedented. His bharat-darshan has raised film marketing to a new level. Though film-makers have long strived to create buzz around upcoming movies, never has it taken on the kind of aura as in recent times. It is high time that they instituted a Filmfare and an Oscar for Best Marketing of a Feature Film.

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Written by serialbus

December 17, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Into the Sepapu They Went

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Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace

The stones are stacked upon each other in a very ordinary fashion. Per se, nothing impresses except for the round sunken pithouses (called kiva) which have an ingenious ventilation system and a mysterious small hole on the floor (called sepapu). In a poor rural area of a developing country, the above-ground structures would easily pass off as present-day dwellings. However, we are in the richest country of the world where people no longer live like this. That partly explains the awe and admiration with which visitors around us react when they see these places. The otherness of these structures is pronounced by their provenance (700 years old), place of construction (under a rock overhang in a remote mesa) and our ignorance about the dwellers (the Anasazi left suddenly and left no records). Read the rest of this entry »

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December 13, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Paid For By Friends of Rob Astorino

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As I took the stairs up to the platform at the Pelham Metro-North station a couple of weeks back, I was relieved that I had beaten the train to the finish line. Many of the days, I see it rushing past me as I huff up the stairs. Anyways, so there I was, standing when an elderly gentleman came and politely handed me a pamphlet about Rob Astorino, a candidate for the county executive elections on Nov 3. He also mentioned that Rob was near the middle of the platform answering questions. He perhaps did not know that some of us would never move an inch away from our end of the platform because that’s where the first car of the train stops which would deliver us closest to the main concourse of the Grand Central station, allowing us to stomp out quickly and melt into the morning crowd of NYC. But, hey, Rob, though I am not franchised in the US, I did read your pamphlet.

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Written by serialbus

November 11, 2009 at 11:39 am

Tintin in Tawang

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Tintin in Tibet

Tintin visited Tibet in 1958, about an year before the Dalai Lama had to flee in the wake of the Chinese invasion. Tintin loved the country and wanted to revisit. Upset by the title of his memoir published in 1960 (‘Tintin in Tibet’), the Chinese government banned Tintin and Snowy from traveling to Tibet through a special proclamation signed by the Chairman himself. In 2001, China allowed the publication of a Chinese-language version of the by-then famous book with a slightly different title – ‘Tintin in China’s Tibet’. Most Chinese came to love Tintin for his bravery when he traveled to Tibet in 1958 to save Chang Chong-Chen, his Chinese friend. Yet, the Party still held a grouse, for it was Tintin who popularized the word ‘Tibet’ across the world. Had it not been for him, China would have succeeded in its sinister plan to re-name Tibet as ‘The Liberated Land’.

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Written by serialbus

November 8, 2009 at 4:15 pm

I Do Not Worship Thee, O Motherland!

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Should Muslims in India refrain from singing Vande Mataram?

To answer the question fairly, one must consider some other questions such as:

Should the state government of Maharashtra make it compulsory for cinema halls to play Jana Gana Mana before every show and exhort the audience to stand up for it?

Should Turkey make it unlawful for women to wear scarfs as a symbol of their piety?

Should China continue to ban the practice of Falun Gong?

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Written by serialbus

November 7, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Why I Know English Better Than I Know Sanskrit

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The following is a faux excerpt of the famous ‘Minute on Indian Education’ by Lord Macaulay doing rounds on the internet. It struck as a bit incredulous to me. Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay was a highly learned man and 1835 was hardly the Golden Age of the Indian subcontinent. Unrest must have been rife – beggars and thieves might have commonplace. But, someone has taken the pain of creating an authentic-looking excerpt from his famous minute to the British Parliament on 02Feb1835.

Macaulay

Macaulay

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Written by serialbus

November 1, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Posted in Development, History, India

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