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Commonwealth Games 2010 saw a grand opening in Delhi a couple of hours ago. All the controversy that surrounded it was kept aside as people witnessed most spectacular show ever.

Here is a link to the spectacular live performance of  the CWG Theme song by AR RAHMAN-

And here’s a link to video of the opening ceremony-

For those of you who are outside India, you can watch live web stream here-

* India – Doordarshan, DD Sports
* Australia – Network Ten, Foxtel
* Fiji – Mai TV
* Canada – CBC, CBC Bold
* Cyprus – Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation
* Namibia – Namibia Broadcasting Corporation
* New Zealand – Sky Network Television and Prime (New Zealand TV channel)
* Nigeria – Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria
* Malaysia – Astro
* Seychelles – Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation
* Singapore – MediaCorp Channel 5
* South Africa – South Africa Broadcasting Corporation
* Tanzania – Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation
* United Kingdom – British Broadcasting Corporation
* United States – Video Sound Inc.

Here’s to next 13 days of rigorous games, fun, and party!


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AR Rahman- Oscars 2008

AR Rahman- Oscars 2009

A R Rahman, now know as Mozart Of Madras,  picks up three Oscars  for his work in Danny Boyle’s Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire. Rahman is the third Indian to win an Oscar, after costume designer Bhanu Athaiya for her work in Gandhi in 1983 and director Satyajit Ray in 1992.

“I just want to thank again the whole crew of Slumdog Millionaire, especially Danny Boyle, for giving me such a great opportunity,” he said, while accepting the award.

Slumdog Millionaire took the best-picture Academy Award and seven other Oscars today, including director for Danny Boyle, whose ghetto-to-glory story paralleled the film’s unlikely rise to Hollywood’s summit. It was a big winner at the Golden Globe Awards. It won film of the year and two other awards at the Richard Attenborough Film Awards, voted on by British critics. The movie has British director, producer, writer and studio. Nevertheless India has claimed it as its own perhaps because of the cast, crew, and location.

Here is the script of the film Slumdog Millionaire.

However the film has not been much loved in India. Not only did the film failed to capture the imaginations of Indian film goers; it’s also been dogged by controversy over its name and the treatment of its child stars. Some have called it poverty-porn.

Residents of a Mumbai slum show their displeasure over the name of the hit film Slumdog Millionaire in a protest outside the office the film's co-star, Anil Kapoor.

Residents of a Mumbai slum show their displeasure over the name of the hit film Slumdog Millionaire in a protest outside the office the film's co-star, Anil Kapoor.

“If ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ projects India as Third World dirty underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations,” leading actor Amitabh Bachchan said in a posting on his blog  from Paris, France. “Its just that the ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ idea authored by an Indian and conceived and cinematically put together by a westerner, gets creative global recognition,” he added.”The commercial escapist world of Indian cinema had vociferously battled for years, on the attention paid and the adulation given to the legendary Satyajit Ray… and not a word of appreciation for the entertaining mass-oriented box office blockbusters that were being churned out from Mumbai. “Ray portrayed reality. While, the other – escapism, fantasy and incredulous posturing. Unimpressive for Cannes and Berlin and Venice (film festivals),” he explained.

Smile Pinky; Best Documentary Short Subject

Smile Pinky: Best Documentary Short Subject

While Slumdog Millionaire won eight  Oscars, it’s not the only film shot in India that was nominated and won. A 40-minute documentary about an eight-year-old girl Pinky Sonkar from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, Smile Pinky by American filmmaker Magan Mylan has also been nominated for Best Documentary.

Pinky had stopped smiling, even stopped going to school because she was ashamed of her cleft lip, a deformity 35,000 children are born with in India every year. Then this year, The Smile Train arrived in Pinky’s village and her world changed forever. The story was captured by American filmmaker Magan Mylan for the world in a film he called Smile Pinky. While Pinky was getting ready getting her passport and visa ready to walk on the red carpet, she did not know why. Pinky’s mother could not watch the Oscar ceremony since she does not have access to television set.

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Life is trying to return to normal in Mumbai. But will all be the same as before… will this event be forgotten as if nothing had happened.

Mumbai attack has definitely left behind lot of bitterness, lot of unanswered questions, and lot of fear. People are no longer taking politicians on face value. They are not accepting pittance for the untimely death of their loved ones. They are no longer accepting condolences but demanding action and answers. Politicians responsible for Mumbai’s security have resigned. But is that enough for an answer?

“But after these recent attacks, people are saying let’s not pretend everything’s all right. We don’t need to make a show of the Mumbai spirit when what we need now is to make sure this will not be forgotten, all will not be normal again.”

After The Smoke Has Cleared Up- Click on Image for more

After The Smoke Has Cleared Up- Click on Image for more

India was warned by its own intelligence as well United States. Even before United States Secretary of States, Condoleezza Rice,  reached in India, former candidate for Presidency of US, John Mc Cain, has arrived in Delhi to empathise with India. John McCain along with two other senators, Joe Libermann and Lindsey Graham, will be in Pakistan this weekend.

President-elect Barack Obama along with his family has also sent his clear message of support to India.

Everybody in the world has condemned these attacks.

Mc Cain with Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, Dec 2 2008

McCain with Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, Dec 2 2008

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Antilla as seen in artists sketchTo everyone’s surprise, price tagged at $ 2 Billion, Antilla (named after the mythical island) is in India and is World’s First Billion Dollar Home. Indeed, like its name, it houses stuff that surrounds myth!

Owner is India’s richest, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance fame whose net worth was 43 Billion in March of this year and was the 5th richest in the world.

The only remotely comparable high-rise property currently on the market is the 70 million dollar triplex penthouse at the Pierre Hotel in New York, designed to resemble a French chateau, and climbing 525 feet in the air.

When the Ambani residence is finished in January, completing four years of design and construction, it will be 27 story and 550 feet high (height which normally houses 60 floors) with 400,000 square feet of interior space. Click on the picture to see the video.

However, all of this has not been without its share of controversies. Antilla is being built on land sold to Ambanis’ to be used as orphanage by Waqf Board.The land measuring 11793 sq yards was sold in 2004 by the trust for a charitable purpose of looking after the destitutes and orphan children belonging to the Khoja Mohammedan community. The land was given to the Maharashtra State Board of Waqf by Jivagi Raje Scindia in 1957. The MoU was signed with four companies namely Antillia Commercials, Saphire Realtors, Rockline Constructions and Baun Foundation trust.Balroom at Antilla

The Waqf Board has told the Supreme Court that it sold the property thinking it was to be used for an orphanage and that commercial buildings are not allowed on Waqf land. Property having a market value of Rs 400 crore was sold only for Rs 21.05 cr to M/s Antillia Commercial, a company of Reliance group of Industries. Rs 16 crores were also paid to Waqf Board for No Objection Certificate.

The Supreme Court on Friday decided not to intervene in the construction of the building on Waqf board land in Mumbai and has directed the matter back to the Bombay high court.

Critics have also said that showing off such extravagant wealth in a country rife with poverty is insensitive and ethically questionable. This is excessive and ostentatious given that more than 65 percent of Mumbai’s 18 million residents live in tenements.

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“In the silence of the night when I take a break from my work, and sit alone in the balcony, I see a young boy with a bag on his shoulder and a drawing board in his hand. Black clouds cover the sky while people take shelter from the rain, but the boy sits on the steps of the monument under an open sky – and the rain pours. The streets are full of crowds and everyone is running. He does not know for what? He is sitting on the huge iron pipes at Metro Railways, placed on the mud hills on the sides of Park Street. He sits for hours – from evening to midnight – with no one to ask for any explanation! Freedom?

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Some Facts:

  • India is the only country in the world where age bar for alcohol consumption is 25 years.
  • It is illegal to directly or indirectly advertise alcoholic beverages in India.
  • Hinduism declares alcohol consumption as one of the five heinous crimes and is comparable to murder and adultery. A drunkard is a dead body, say the scriptures.
  • Broadcasting Bill of the country prohibits screening of smoking and drinking scenes and are categorized as adult.
  • A prerequisite to become a congressman is to abstain from alcohol.

Mahatma Gandhi had canvassed total prohibition, and the Constitution of India endorsed, adopted, and imposed total prohibition in 1977. It lasted only two years leaving behind a few dry states like Mizoram, Manipur and Gujarat, and a couple of ‘dry’ holidays like Gandhi Jayanti and Independence day.

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dalrymple-makes-india-his-home.jpgWilliam Dalrymple’s love for India is not unknown. He has penned six books, of which five have embraced Indian life as their storyline and have been award winning. India has sewn itself into his life since long now with him spending a lot of time in New Delhi India apart from London and Edinburgh.

However, since last couple of years Jaunapur (a small village on the outskirts of Delhi) has been home to the the author and his family. Delhi has been the backdrop for many of Dalrymple’s books including The Last Mughal, a prizewinning account of the Indian uprising of 1857, and the fall of the Mughal dynasty. The book has sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide.

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