Published 21 February 2009
Art & Culture , India , Media
Tags: BJP, Bombay, chauvanism, Congress, criticism, Danny Boyle, Dharavi, I love my India, India Shining, insult, jingoism, Mumbai, post-colonialism, protest, slum, slum-dweller, Slumdog, Slumdog Millionaire
As Oscar night draws near, Indian furor over Danny Boyle’s acclaimed film, Slumdog Millionaire, reaches a fevered pitch. India is being shown in a bad light! cry Indians who have never set foot in Dharavi or any other slum.
Indeed, they need not be familiar with the slum environment to mount their charge. Their complaint is fundamentally divorced from the question of the accuracy or fairness of Mr. Boyles’s depictions of the lives of slum-dwellers; it is about whether a foreign filmmaker is entitled to tell any story other than “India Shining”. This is a fable last told by the BJP in the 2004 elections. The Indian public didn’t buy it for a minute and, as a result, the BJP was able to snatch a stunning defeat from the jaws of victory. Congress has been running the government ever since.
Continue reading ‘I Love My Slumdog’
My travel over the 41 hours stretching from 7:00 am (IST) yesterday to 11:00 am (PDT) later today, breaks into four segments: Pondicherry to Madras, Madras to Bombay, Bombay to Seoul, and Seoul to San Francisco. So by the time I reached Bombay, I reckoned my journey was half over.
How better to celebrate – and spend some of my precious last 10 hours in Bombay – than with a liquid lunch.
Continue reading ‘Liquid Lunch’
Published 15 August 2007
India , Travel & Adventure
Tags: airlines, Airport, Al Qaeda, baggage handling, Bombay, carry-on luggage, Chennai, ID check, Independence Day, India, Indian English, liquids and gels, Madras, menstruation, monthlies, Mumbai, pat-down, period, screening, security, Sikh, tampon, terror, x-ray
Indian airport security is usually pretty lax. Not that they don’t use uniformed military police to check your reservation to allow you admission into the terminal; but generally speaking, entry and egress can be managed easily with a smile and a flimsy excuse. Not that liquids and gels aren’t banned on flights, as elsewhere in the world; but I routinely travel with a liter water bottle, and sometimes my full dop-kit, without being stopped. And one more thing: Sikhs are permitted to travel with swords, which are religious symbols (apparently too valuable to be entrusted to the vagaries of airline baggage handling) as well as unnerving carry-on items.
But as Independence Day approached, and with al Qaeda terror threats on the front page of every newspaper, things got tougher.
Continue reading ‘Securing Air Passengers against the Threat of Menstruation’
Published 14 August 2007
Art & Culture , Friends , Friends Without Borders , India , Service
Tags: Aparna Wilder, Black Magic Motion Pictures, Bombay, Buddy Mukherji, Dil se Dil, documentary, film, Friends Without Borders, Global Rickshaw, India, Indo-Pak, Indo-Pak relations, Mumbai, Pakistan, PSA, public service announcement, Shivraj Shantakumar, television, TV, video, Wild Kumar
Click on image to view video
One of the many awesome experiences in the process of putting together the ill-fated Dil se Dil Independence Day Friendship Celebration was the chance to work with the brilliant Mumbai filmmakers Shivraj Shantakumar and Aparna Wilder, whose award winning film company Wild Kumar makes music videos and television commercials, and whose side project Global Rickshaw does shorts for the NGO community. We were looking for 90 seconds of fun to introduce Friends Without Borders to the television audience at Dil se Dil.
Click on the image above (or here) to see a low-res, high-spirit film about Friends Without Borders by Global Rickshaw, presented in three, unbelievably adorable parts.
If you missed our earlier film, created by Buddy Mukherji of Black Magic Motion Pictures, click here.
Published 1 May 2007
India , Politics & Policy
Tags: BMC, Bombay, Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation, demolition, India, lathi, Lower Parel, Mumbai, Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Phoenix Mills, police, poverty, slum, slum-dweller, urban renewal
Yesterday morning, the small slum opposite to Phoenix Mills, in Lower Parel, was razed by the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation.
Slum demolition follows a horrible, regimented protocol. The bulldozers and loaders arrive on site, unannounced. Scores of lathi-swinging policemen swarm in to inform the residents that they have an hour to evacuate belongings before their homes are torn down. The combination of surprise, force, and urgency stifles resistance. There is a resigned powerlessness that has been bread into the manual labor class, and it is as heart-rending to witness as tear-fill despair might have been.
Continue reading ‘Slum Demolition in Mumbai’
Published 20 February 2007
Friends Without Borders , Service
Tags: Black Magic Motion Pictures, Bombay, Buddy Mukherji, documentary, film, Friends Without Borders, Mumbai, PSA, public service announcement, television, TV, video
You loved the book, now see the movies.
As we embark on the Phase II of the Friends Without Borders Project, delivering letters of friendship from kids all over India to kids in Pakistan, I want to put our video and presentations at everyone’s easy disposal. I should have done this long ago.
Listed below are links to: our Public Service Announcement Television Commercial, which aired last year throughout India and Pakistan; a short history of Phase I of the project, made by Rahul Brown just before we crossed into Pakistan last year; and two slide presentations introducing our project and the World’s Largest Love Letter events.
Continue reading ‘Friends Without Borders, Reruns’