Sunday, September 21, 2014

Some Interesting Links to Videos

How a banker helps the poor.. .
A banker in South India helps the poor and underpreviliged to escape from the clutches of money lenders.

Math to defeat epidemics?  You just cannot escape math. 

An animated film on the life of the biologist Alfred Russell Wallace who contributed to the theory of evolution.   

A fascinating person. The scientist who was a contemporary of Charles Darwin and had made valuable contributions to the theory of evolution.                                                        

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Edward Elgar - Codes, Ciphers and Composing

An interesting article of the English composer Edward Elgar's obsession with codes and ciphers titled The Artist of the Unbreakable Code in the magazine Nautilus .... Click here please 

Photograph of Edward Elgar (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) from the early 1900s. Public domain pic from the Wikipedia article on Elgar. 

Link courtesy:


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tough Girl Saina Nehwal

Saina Nehwal the gold medallist in the badminton event of the recently concluded Commonwealth Games tells us, in an article titled Time for girls to come out and play she wrote for India Today, how tough it has been for her.

Some extracts:

" I was told that my grandmother did not come to see me till a month after my birth"

"My uncles and other relatives are against encouraging girls in every aspect and that includes sports. I hardly interact with them.My parents are more open. They back me all the way..."

Click here to read this beautiful article written by a brave and gutsy girl.

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Serious Men by Manu Joseph

I remember reading many well written articles by Manu Joseph in the Indian weekly Outlook edited by Vinod Mehta. Serious Men is his debut novel and has a Brahmin astrophysicist and his Dalit assistant as "the interdependent poles" (New York Times).

And this is from the review in The Independent (UK) by Peter Carty: "Manu Joseph's first novel elegantly describes collisions with an unyielding status quo, ably counterpointing the frustrations of the powerless with the unfulfilling realities of power. With this astute comedy of manners he makes a convincing bid for his own recognition as a novelist of serious talent, the latest addition to a roster of Indian writers who are creating fine literary art from their country's fearsome contradictions." Click here to read the review.

It will be interesting to see how his first novel fares.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Adieu Martin Gardner

The Nature of Things / Martin Gardner from Wagner Brenner on Vimeo.

Martin Gardner - the guru of recreational math - is no more. I embed this video here as a tribute to him. His writings helped me to think scientifically when I was in school and continue to enrich me to this day.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Short Film: Salim Baba

April 10, 2010: One of the offerings on the Youtube Screening Room.

"Salim Muhammad is a 55-year-old man who lives in North Kolkata with his wife and five children. Since the age of ten he has made a living using a hand-cranked projector to screen discarded film scraps for the kids in his surrounding neighborhoods. "

Duration - 15:15

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

When Karthik Calls Karthik Does He Need A Psychiatrist?

Hindi cinema tries to portray mental illness in 'Karthik Calling Karthik.' I am sceptical of mainstream Indian cinema trying to take up a serious issue like this. And subjects like mental illness can be used to make films which appeal to the voyeuristic instinct in the audience. I doubt that this film will make a mark among the classes and definitely not among the masses. Farhan Akhtar (the son of Javed Akhtar and the step son of Shabana Azmi), the protagonist in this film, shows that he is a good actor besides being a director with a professional touch. And the dusky Deepika Padukone who plays his girlfriend is lovely but thats all that she was supposed to be in this film. She was meant to portray a modern urban Indian girl who is going through her own heartbreaks as she searches for a 'gentle and caring' man.

Farhan Akhtar's acting is the redeeming feature and I would watch the film again just to see him. The end does became a bit text-bookish what with all the explanations. Nikhat Kazmi gives the film a 3.5 out of 5 in his review in The Times of India. Click here to see the review. I would give it a 3 (grudgingly).

[A promotional poster for Karthik Calling Karthik.]

The film also exemplifies something which has especially been seen in recent Bollywood films - technical excellence and a certain slickness which was totally absent till the 2000s. Call it a positive fall out of globalisation. Its a level playing field now as far as technology and gizmos are concerned. However most Bollywood films continue to remain of the kind that make one feel like gnashing one's teeth. The difference nowadays is in the number of good films which are being produced. This was impossible in the single-cinema days, the multiplexes today are able to absorb the loss which such films may incur thanks to the 300 plus crore rupees that '3 Idiots' can rake in in three weeks or the 120 crores that 'My Name is Khan' can bring in in a week.

I do not remember any really good mainstream Indian film about mental illness. I do remember a Kannada film I saw during the early nineties which was, if I remember rightly, about a man who got his kicks by making his wife have sex with other men and then hearing her talk about it. Girish Karnad had played the role of the psychiatrist in the same film. There was also Khamoshi, a Hindi film, in which Waheeda Rehman plays a nurse in a mental asylum who gets too close to a patient.

p.s. I realised later that Feb 26, the day I saw the film, was the date it was released all over India. This is another novelty. Couldn't imagine this some years ago. Hundreds, nay thousands of prints, being released in theatres all over the country and downloaded through satellite. The balcony ticket in Dreamland Cinema, Mhow costs Rupees Thirty. And the snacks in the canteen were all within Rupees ten a piece. The ambience of a small town, including the odd mosquitio, while watching the latest film. What more does one want? If only I were a fan of Bollywood.