Did Chetan Bhagat Teach India to Read?

It’s now a truism. How many times did you come across the statement that Chetan Bhagat made India read books? In my experience, I’ve never come away from a conversation about Bhagat without hearing that sentence at least once. Usually I nod and let it pass, but over the last week, I’ve heard it four times – […]

The Trouble with Bollywood

At the outset, let us admit something. Cinema is art, craft and commerce, all rolled into one – it has always been so, all around the world. It may have begun as pure art, but had quickly taken on essences of craft (it had to), and gradually morphed into a form of business. Now, wait […]

Weekly Wrap Up – 19 July, 2014: Happiness, Religion, Rape And More

Since my posting frequency has increased, I’m moving to a list-based format for my Wrap Ups. Writing short summaries of each post will take up too much time and effort. Hopefully the titles of the posts will give you enough information to go on. At a glance Most viewed post: An Epicurean Guide to Happiness Most […]

Poetry in Bollywood: Neela Aasmaan So Gaya (Male)

Poetry in Bollywood is a series of posts in which I attempt poetry-style, ‘in spirit’ translations of classic Bollywood songs. I refrain from doing literal translations because I think the magic and beauty of the original gets lost when one does that. Check out the previous post in the series. Amitabh Bachchan sang this in […]

Is Bollywood Cause or Effect?

I’ve written about Bollywood and its effect on society (and our kids) on these pages before. Many of you have written back agreeing with me, but there has been the odd comment of dissent which said, ‘Bollywood simply gives people what they want. It’s a reflection of the world, not a cause for it.’ This is an […]

Poetry in Bollywood: Tum ko Dekha toh Yeh Khayal Aaya

This is another famous number from the 1982 movie, Saath Saath. That was an era in which Jagjit Singh was in his pomp, writing ghazals for mainstream Bollywood and making a good fist of it. Along with his wife, Chitra, Jagjit brought ghazals out of the confines of musical ‘mehfils’ into the living rooms of […]

Priyanka Chopra’s Own Goal on Reddit – and how I cheered her on!

Okay, every once in a while something happens that restores your faith in humanity. On a friend’s Facebook timeline this morning, I saw a link to Priyanka Chopra’s disastrous ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on Reddit. If you haven’t seen links to this page before or if you haven’t read about it at other media outlets, you […]

Weekly Wrap Up – 5 July, 2014: Bollywood Item Songs, The Tower of Babel and more

Here are a few posts from last week that you (may have) missed. Sunday Bhaskar Chattopadhyay, the kingpin at Artsquare, who also has written a book of translated Bengali stories that inspired Satyajit Ray, posted here on Sunday about how the Tower of Babel inspired him to become a story-teller. If you’re a lover of […]

Poetry in Bollywood: Sili Hawa Choo Gayi

I don’t have the video for this song, because the movie in which it appears, Libaas, has not been released in India and there are no Youtube versions of it. Therefore, I can’t be sure about the context, but from what I can gather from listening to the words, it is yet another wistful poem […]

Bollywood Item Songs – ignorant hypocrisy or just good business?

The other day I saw Kareena Kapoor on television speaking on an ad for women’s safety. A few months back she declared that she felt unsafe going out in Mumbai after 6 PM. Priyanka Chopra, the other big Bollywood diva of our age, is a long-term batter for the rights of the objectified woman and […]