Halle Brockovich

Since we were just discussing the merits (or absurdity) of Brad Pitt in a movie about the life of the Buddha, I thought it would be appropriate to point out Halle Berry’s upcoming role as “Vanita Gupta.” From Apunkachoice.com:

Academy Award winner Halle Berry is likely to play the role of an India-born law graduate in America, Vanita Gupta, whose campaign helped overturning the judicial ruling in one of the biggest drug bust cases in the US.

Vanita Gupta is like the Erin Brockovich for the colored people in the Texas town of Tulia where 10 percent of its African-American population was arrested in a drug bust case in 1999, based on the sole testimony of under-cover narcotics agent Thomas Coleman, who was also a Ku Klux Klan member.

Halle Berry portraying an Indian woman, though? Well a short haired Halle does look a little like Arundhati Roy doesn’t she? Well…the face at least. I am quite sure their bodies aren’t as similar.


Right. What have YOU accomplished lately?


American reality shows involve marrying off little people and eating offal.

Indian reality shows focus on finding “India’s smartest kid“.

No, no stereotypes anywhere… ;)

A 12-year-old boy from India’s poorest and most lawless state, Bihar, is celebrating being named India smartest kid after winning a nationally televised quiz.
Subham Prakhar won the title of “India’s Child Genius” after several rounds of stiff competition between some 16,000 schoolchildren.
Both of his parents are currently unemployed and Subham had to depend on generous relatives and the internet to gain access to the books he needed to prepare for the competition.

Finding India’s child genius required quite a process: 16,000 students, aged 10-13 (who had done well in the past two academic years), telephone interviews, tests, ten months, 27 episodes, countless smacks upside a sleepy child’s head if they weren’t studying hard enough… ;)

All in the pursuit of a glass trophy, an Encyclopedia Brittanica CD, some pens and a cash prize of one meeel-ion rupees. bragging rights for the parents of the winner: priceless. Continue reading

India’s Hinglish subculture

As a follow up to this post I wrote a while back, I point SM readers to an article in The Christian Science Monitor that looks into the emerging use of a mixture of English and Hindi (Hinglish) in India:

Turn on any Indian television station these days and you’re likely to hear things like “Hungry kya?” and “What your bahana is?”

Or one of your friends might ask you to “pre-pone” your dinner plans or accuse you of “Eve-teasing.”

No, you didn’t mishear them. These and countless other new words and phrases are part of the fastest-growing language in the country: Hinglish.

The mix of Hindi and English is the language of the street and the college campus, and its sound sets many parents’ teeth on edge. It’s a bridge between two cultures that has become an island of its own, a distinct hybrid culture for people who aspire to make it rich abroad without sacrificing the sassiness of the mother tongue. And it may soon claim more native speakers worldwide than English.

Once, Indians would ridicule the jumbled language of their expatriate cousins, the so-called ABCDs – or the American-Born Confused Desi. (Desi means countryman.) Now that jumble is hip, and turning up in the oddest places, from television ads to taxicabs, and even hit movies, such as “Bend it Like Beckham” or “Monsoon Wedding.”

But Hinglish isn’t just a language spoken between the younger generation or amongst the rich elite who want to come across as more “western.” It is now being used extensively in marketing campaigns by large corporations. Continue reading

Aishwarya may play Buddha’s wife

Aishwarya Rai may play Buddha’s wife in a biopic coinciding with the 2,550th birthday of the Gautama. The film’s backers have signed up Shekhar Kapoor and should find it easy to recruit Hollywood stars who dabble in Buddhism.

The chance to play opposite Aish would turn me into a monk any day, but there’s a catch:

Buddha’s wife Yashodhara became a Buddhist monk soon after Buddha’s enlightenment… Gautam Buddha… was married to Yashodhara at the age of 16 and he left the palace soon after the birth of his son Rahul… Yashodhara became a nun when Buddha turned 36.

Buddha turning Aishwarya celibate? Methinks I’ve figured out who’s really holding the cards.

Continue reading

Vikram Chatwal….Actor?

photo.cms.jpgSepia Mutiny’s favorite Desi Playboy never ceases to amaze. His movie “One Dollar Curry” opened up this week in Paris to pretty flattering coverage – Sify reports & graciously links back to Sepia Mutiny

“One Dollar Curry” by France-based Indian filmmaker, journalist and writer Vijay Singh takes a comic look at tolerance while lifting the curtain on an exotic side of the French capital unknown to many visitors. … “One Dollar Curry” is set in the French capital’s well-established home of immigrants from the subcontinent, the 10th district on the northern side, packed with grocery stores, restaurants, clothing stores and video rentals with cheap “phone home” facilities, bringing colour and exotic spicy smells to the grey streets. Its star however is Vikram Chatwal, a New Yorker whose family runs a chain of hotels and restaurants in the United States. He plays Nishan, a young Sikh political refugee who hawks curry from a cart in the streets but claims to be related to a line of chefs who cooked for the great names of the world from the Moghul emperors to Winston Churchill and Michael Jackson.

Word on the street is that Chatwal extensively researched the role by dismissing the maid for an evening and doing his own dishes before going to bed.

The Times of India has more.

Previous SM coverage on Chatwal – One More Dream for Chatwal and ON the Trail of Vikram Chatwal

A. Roy – Back the Iraqi “resistance”

(via Madhoo) Arundhati Roy, faithfully carried by Al Jazeera -

Award-winning Indian novelist Arundhati Roy, who will be presented this week with an Australian peace prize, has defended her views that people should join what she calls the Iraqi resistance. …In a television programme screened by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) last month, she called on people to “become the Iraqi resistance”. …She said activists and resistance movements “need to understand that Iraq is engaging in the frontlines of empire and we have to throw our weight behind the Iraqi resistance”.

Of course, Roy’s support is merely emotional, she certainly didn’t mean to incite violence -

[I]wasn’t urging them to join the army, but to become the resistance, to become part of what ought to be non-violent resistance against a very violent occupation,” she said, adding that the term resistance needed to be redefined. “We can’t assume that resistance means terrorism because that would be playing right into the hands of the occupation,” she said.


Posted in Uncategorized

Naveen Andrews is Easy

Naveen Andrews who plays an ex-Iraqi Republican Guard soldier on ABC’s Lost, will be co-starring in an upcoming movie titled Easy (as in Sex is, but Love isn’t). From the movie’s website:

Lately, lighthearted stories about single urban chicks looking for love in a world of noncommittal guys flood our newsstands, televisions, and Cineplex screens. EASY confidently rises above the ranks of these romantic comedies, offering a less glossy, more penetrating vision of lovelorn life. Jamie Harris, portrayed with sparkling intelligence by actress Marguerite Moreau, is a neurotic, bright 25-year-old with a career naming peculiar consumer products. Though she gives them their identities, she’s rather confused about her own. After dating a string of jerks, she’s bewildered about whom to trust or how to find true intimacy. When two seemingly honorable men orbit around her, Jamie must confront what she is most afraid of. As in Shakespearean comedies, writer/director Jane Weinstock’s playful, nuanced script adroitly tosses competing desires up in the air, offering audiences the delicious pleasure of watching characters squirm and wriggle before everything falls into place.

…Marguerite Moreau (“Runaway Jury”) portrays the irresistible Jamie Harris. Naveen Andrews (“The English Patient”) is John, a sexy, sensitive and brilliant Anglo-Indian poet.

…The Production Designer was Aradhana Seth (“The Guru”)

After viewing the clips it looks like the movie has some potential. But then again I am a sucker for movies about angst ridden urban chicks.

The full trailer can be seen here. Continue reading

Desis in Trinidad

The NYT on desis in Trinidad:

When slavery was abolished on the island in the 1830′s, the planters looked to India for workers, and the first ship, bearing more than 200 Indian indentured servants, arrived in May 1845. Over the next 75 years, some 143,000 Indians came to Trinidad, mostly from Calcutta, and mostly Hindu.

On one man’s struggles in the name of religion:

The Waterloo Temple was first built near the coast in 1947 by a devout laborer named Seedas Sadhu. Problem was, he didn’t own the land, so the bulldozers rolled in to level his creation. Undaunted, he commenced a 25-year project of hauling rocks and concrete several dozen yards offshore at low tide; there he single-mindedly set about constructing his own island where a new temple could stand unmolested… the Trinidad government commissioned a more permanent artificial island, connecting it to the mainland by a pedestrian causeway.

Seeda-sadhu is an ideal name for a priest. But since his artificial island was constantly eroding, maybe it should’ve been Sisyphus. Another devotee built a supersized statue of the monkey-king to rival the Bamiyan Buddhas:

Continue reading

Indus Valley Civilization

I was reading the Wikipedia entry on Indus Valley Civilization, came across this passage, and couldn’t help but think about how much we’ve regressed -

A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture is evident in the Indus Valley civilization. The quality of municipal town planning suggests knowledge of urban planning and efficient municipal governments which placed a high priority on hygiene. The streets of major cities such as Mohenjo-daro or Harappa were laid out in a perfect grid pattern, comparable to that of present day New York. The houses were protected from noise, odors, and thieves.

(reading the encyclopedia? I think we’ve firmly established that I’m a dork)

Why Beyonce has such a nice…trunk

Whatever. All of us guys are thinking it. Beyonce is pretty fly. You always wonder if its a combination of proper eating and working out or what. Well here is some insight for you.

Beyonce and other celebs tucked in at a party in the US – to a curry flown 3,000 miles from a village takeaway in Surrey.

The Sun says it cost £4,000 to treat her and other guests to the spicy British Indian takeaway.

The tab was picked up by Virgin Records boss Tony Matthews.

He had got his people to track down the tasty kormas he had enjoyed eight years before.

Tony, 40, tells the paper: “Takeaways in New York are not so great so I flew a proper British curry over.

I still think the best place to eat in NYC is at Kati Roll at 3a.m.