18 July 2009

Hollywood vs Bollywood

Well i rarely write about movies .... everyone who has an opinion and had access to internet has already written reams about it. While i was watching Indiana Jones and the Crystal skull on my laptop today, i was wondering..... Btw i am a major fan of Indy ,probably because of my love of history, adventure.. or the subtle humor ... or the way he jumps across continents or a common hate for reptilians or fascination for his Fedora hat and his famous whip!

O.K .. i stop here ... the point here is not to sing praises of the movie,! But i was wondering about the budget of the movie .. it was $ 185 Million. I was comparing it with indian Sci-fi movies like Krrish or other mythological movies. The highest budget of an indian movie is the unfinished Dasavatharam of Kamal Hasan .. which was inaugurated by Her majesty Queen Elizabeth the second.

The most expensive Hollywood movie is Pirates of the Carribean: Worlds end which cost $ 300 Million i.e 1500 Crore Rupees.

The most expensive Indian movie is Dasavatharam with budget of 130 Crores. Now there are talks of "where are you Sophia" by Nagendra Karri from Visakhapatnam proposed to be of 150 crores.

We complain of the shoddy graphics and the cartoonish images and bad stunts! Well the average budget of a high flying Bollywood movie is around 40 - 50 crores. The talent one can get is also on that scale. The reason is simple, Hollywood movies earn so much too... POC 3 earned around Rs 4805 crores... go figure!

We can make reasonably good movies in budgets of 50 crores .... we have in the past... but we chose to make movies like Kambakht Ishq and Singh is King !!

The best talent in Bollywood , Lollywood, Kollywood and all the wother woods in India recieve meagre budgets of 1 - 5 crores, and they have done brilliant job with that. Most of the hits in past few months(barring the strike) have been low budget movies with brilliant scripts and storyline.

Bollywood: You can not complain that the viewership is falling by making crappy movies like KI, New York etc.

We proudly claim that we make largest number of movies in the world... true ! .... but numbers and statistics are like a Bikini, they hide more than they reveal!

14 July 2009

Islamic Woman : Afghanistan's barbaric law

Courtesy: cfcoklahoma.org


This week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed legislation which among other things, allows Afghan men to starve their wives if they refuse to have sex with them. The measure was an amendment to a law which have husbands the right to force themselves on their wives, if they did not consent.

Some NATO countries have threatened to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan as a result of the measure.

Speaking to British newspaper The Independent, women's rights activist Wazhma Frough said that hard line clerics pressured the Justice Ministry to retain the most outrageous parts of the original legislation. She said: "There have been a few little changes, but they are not enough. For example, if the wife doesn't accept her husband's sexual requirements then he can deny her food."

Afghanistan's Muslim law now allows rapists to go free if they offer to marry their victims. The same practice actually exists in Mexico and is known as ‘Rapto.’

The new law has touched-off riots in the streets of Kabul, as hundreds of women protested the law which would be unthinkable in a civilized society. However, groups of men from Kabul’s largest Shia madrassa also took to the streets and attacked the women. The event has been completely ignored by the American press.

Activist Razia Jan, who is currently building a women's center in Bamiyan said: "Violence against women is already endemic. Men pay thousands of dollars for young girls and they are treated like slaves. Women here are already so vulnerable."

Of course, government sanctioned violence against women is nothing new throughout the Muslim world.

Saudi Arabia recently revised their rape laws (of sorts). Now, in order for a woman to prove that she was raped, she must have three men testify as witnesses to the crime. Until recently, a female rape victim was required to bring four male witnesses to court.

Of course, under such conditions, the crime of rape is almost never prosecuted in Saudi Arabia. In fact, it is often the woman who ends up in jail and charged with adultery or indecency charges.

In 2007 the victim of a brutal gang rape was given a sentence of 200 lashes and six years in prison for having been in an unrelated man’s car at the time of the attack. After the case garnered major world media attention she was pardoned by King Abdullah, though he claimed the sentence to be fair.

A few years ago, a book entitled "The Islamic Woman" was published which detailed beating techniques to be imposed on Muslim women--at the hands of their controlling husbands. The book's author is a Muslim Imam named Mohamed Kamal Mostafa, currently living in Spain.

"The Islamic Woman" instructs men to hit women "on their hands and feet, making sure to use a cudgel that is not too thick so as not to leave permanent scar tissue." Mostafa also warns his fellow Muslims to "inflict blows that are not too strong nor too hard, because the aim is to make them suffer psychologically."

Murder is also inflicted upon Muslim women by their husbands, fathers, and brothers. The practice is called "honor killings." A Muslim woman or young girl will often be killed by a male family member, after she is believed to have committed an act which defies Islam.

In 2003, a Jordanian man was sentenced to one year in prison, for the murder of his own sister. The young woman became pregnant as a result of being raped by a neighbor. Her family then decided that she must marry the rapist. Before the forced marriage could take place, word of the pregnancy spread throughout the community. The woman's brother returned from a trip to slurs and jeers, calling him the "brother of a slut."

According to the Jordan Times, the man was so angry with his sister over the fact that she had been raped and impregnated--he slipped into her room at night and strangled her with a telephone cord.

The Jordanian paper published excerpts of the court's rulings. They are as follows: "The victim's actions were an unlawful and dangerous act that brought disgrace and shame to her family. He (the brother) could no longer control himself and became very angry. It does not matter that the defendant killed his sister hours after returning from Aqaba. He was still under the influence of extreme anger, which caused him to lose his ability because of the unlawful act committed by his sister."

*Reporter’s note: It is a travesty beyond imagination that we have sent our young men to fight and die in a country which has established a government that condones rape and a medieval type of oppression against their women. It is also a travesty that American women’s rights groups such as NOW (National Organization for Women) spend their resources lobbying for the continuation of late-term abortions, rather than bringing attention to the plight of their counterparts throughout the Muslim world.

In my opinion, we should pull-out our troops and all forms of support to Muslim countries which condone such brutality upon women. The entire Western world lined-up against the government of South Africa and imposed harsh economic sanctions against that nation, until they ended the practice of Apartheid.

10 July 2009

Bharat vs India : My experience

One should visit places abroad … It opens you up and will be an interesting experience. We are Argumentative Indians … we like to talk a lot, but when it comes to actions.. .everyone shies away. We are very good in strategy and ideas …. What we lack is execution!” The person who had come to deliver a guest lecture as part of IMC course said this to me over coffee today.

I remarked … true probably.

Yesterday we had an interesting experience. We have to create a commercial for a marketing course as part of our curriculum at SP. It is one of the regular assignments. We decided to take an extra step. Most of the surveys we conduct are of people within our campus or friends we know. So we end up having a view as that of a frog in a well.

This time we decided to shoot a real video and hit the Santosh nagar slums near Goregaon. It was a different experience. Watching people live in those teeny weeny houses .. I peeked into a house and saw a little girl trying to do her homework with book toward the light coming through the door. Her mom was cooking in the same room and her little brother was playing nearby! For quite sometime I got habituated to seeing people in malls, reading about shining India and dreaming of owning a Porsche when I see it in the showroom on WE highway! This was a slight kick in the ass.

We probably do not understand the other communities as well as we think we do.

We met a lady in the slums and proposed our idea of promoting quality food in small sachets … not really a brilliant and new idea.. as the sachet revolution is everywhere around you in India. Our intention was to provide the quality food to people who purchase in small quantities.

She replied that .. “it’s the mindset of the people that if they can buy a low quality for 2 rs less, they would do so and probably buy some masala or vegetables with that money.” How can you consume such customers to buy a product based on promise quality? Here we should get closer to the bottom side of Maslow’s pyramid!

In the end our video ditched us in the last moment .. didn’t work. But nevertheless A drive to realities of life in the rains of Mumbai on my favorite bike with my great friend ….. I felt that it was one evening well spent!