Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sab Khade Ho Jao...

Solidarity amongst citizens of a country is felt when they stand together and sing their National Anthem or while its being played. Well, all of us are taught in schools that National Anthem reflects a country’s traditions, its riches and its struggle. So far I have known, in India (of course I have never been out of India ) , National Anthem is played at the end of the formal occasions. And therefore its not unnatural that I was in for a shock when the National Anthem was played in a cinema hall before the start of the movie. They say it is quite a custom in USA. This initiative by the Satyam Cinemas, one of the multiplexes in Chennai, deserves appreciation. And many other institutions could also emulate this idea though it may have very little effect on the fundamentalists or regionalists like the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, who are determined to bleed our nation to death.

One thing must be remembered is that while playing the National Anthem no disrespect is made to it. It just happened that in Satyam cinemas when the National Anthem is being played on the screen the usher outside the hall kept himself busy sending people in . The new entrants were more obsessed with finding their seats either aware or unaware of what was going on.

You might know that last year a album titled Jana Gana Mana, comprising of the National Anthem sung by various artistes like Lata Mangeskar, S P Balasubramaniam, Balamuralikrishna and others, was released with the music by A R Rehman. And it was the one that was sung by SPB got played in the cinema hall. The song had duration of more than 100 seconds, contrary to the standard 52 seconds. The government of India must make clear as to what standard, in terms of duration ,tune,etc, one should follow while singing or composing National Anthem. This would curtail the liberty that many musicians take and even certain organizations that plays National Anthem in some unheard tune.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Its not about cigars!!

Who said it’s a globalised world? Apart from people still surviving on less than a dollar a day yet be part of the country which claims to have embraced globalization there are many countries which are embittered by seclusion, in varying degrees. Cuba is one such nation not quite far but just 90 miles from USA, the solo superpower of this world. Cuba’s tussle with USA dates back to some decades back and it has remained relentlessly without acquiescing to US hegemony despite economic embargo for 47 years. It’s a different story that this pride of Cubans is at the terrible cost of their sufferings, sorrow and deprivation.

This enormous power of a tiny island nation against the mammoth comes from its charismatic leader Fidel Castro, a revolutionary who led a 9000 strong guerilla army to eject out Fulgencio Batista, the military ruler in 1959. Since then his rule over the nation for 49 years has been invincible. This 81 years old ailing leader brought the world’s eye suddenly on Cuba when he announced on Tuesday that he has stepped aside as Cuba’s president. This is clearly a victory for the octogenarian against the US which had orchestrated many assassination plots on him with the aid of CIA. Some as unimaginable as fixing bombs in cigars and under the shells of turtles when Castro was out scuba diving. This news of descent of the staunch socialist brought cheer amongst the exiled Cubans, living in Miami, waiting to return and take control of their seized properties. And many American Investors in Florida are waiting with millions of money to rebuild Cuba.

The travails of life of Cubans may or may not undergo transformation. However, the leader of the socialist nation assured its people that the revolution can still count on cadres from the old guard and others who are very young in the early stage of process. What remains to be seen is would USA be able to instill a transitional government which it has been trying hard by supplying aid to the Cuban dissidents ever since the rise of Mr. Castro. But the pride Cubans, to whom the socialist regime had offered free education and health care, may not let Cuba turn into just another colony of USA.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heart for Art...

If there is one thing I must credit my civil service mains exams, other than the prospect of success, it must be the way it has tried to broaden my horizon. But it’s a different issue as to how far I have been swayed by such positive influences. What else could one expect to go on in the mind when you have been just confined to one creepy room with books of all sizes. The temptation to day-dream is irresistible unless you are shaken by the fear of reappearing in the exam. Well, am just pointing out the strange thoughts and bizarre aspirations I used to get during those days. When I see a painting exhibition going on in the city my mind just wants to be there gazing at unfathomable modern art with a critic’s point of view. And when I see a dance performance scheduled that evening I wonder why I hadn’t become a dancer. Or at the least being present there myself. The thoughts go on, after all, it has no limits. Ain’t it??

Ironically, things changed after exams. I no longer seem to be interested in any other things. Except the movies I watched passionately. I tirelessly pursued this pleasure of watching pictures. But my interest in dance shows took rebirth when I incidentally met some of the dancers who had come to give their performance in Chennai. And moreover the Auditorium (Music Academy) was pretty close to my house. I know that the Music academy is of very high reputation and takes only the best performers. So I finally landed watching the show.

It was my first experience to watch contemporary dance. They say it’s a collection of system and methods from modern and post modern dances. This group of dancers, part of Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, consist of graceful and electrifying youngsters who are trained in various dance form from Bharatanatyam, Kuthchipudi, Tai Chi , Ballet to Kalarippayatu martial arts. They performed a theme called “Purushartha”, etched on an Indian philosophical concept, blended with Japanese digital and sonic arts.

Throughout the show the dancers looked vibrant and their movements were observed by each one in the audiences with such an awe. The theme tried to portray the dilemmas in life through dance movements and the digital lighting at the background. Honestly speaking, there was very little I could figure out from the performance. And after the end, during the discussion with the artistes few from the audiences had the courage to ask what exactly the theme was about. But the concept maker Jayachandran Palazhy dealt with it very subtly giving the freedom to audiences to perceive the way their mind desired. In my opinion, these form of art should not remain open only to the arm-chair analysts and reviewers but also should pull the first timers and people wedded to Bollywood and Kollywood ( Stands for tamil film industry).

Nonetheless, the dance was engaging and exhilarating.

Monday, February 04, 2008

A Distant dream

Ethnic conflict in Srilanka has remained alive and kicking ever since its independence in 1948. And it came as a bitter reminder to the people of Srilanka on the eve of their 60th independence day with suicide bomb attack by the LTTE aide killing around 12 people in colombo railway station. This comes at a time when LTTE is facing setback in terms of its military power with Srilankan army closing in on their heels capturing areas which were under the control of LTTE. The history of Srilanka is replete with instances where both the srilankan army and LTTE have fought over territories to gain control over it. And the current attempt by the army is only a repetition of the same. And undoubtedly the Eelam War-4 has begun. But one wonders if there would be a solution to the conflict irrespective of who wins. India and other international community are of the view that only a political solution, not a military one, would bring peace to the island nation.

What needs to be seen is what it holds for India particularly the State of Tamilnadu whose people are connected ethnically to Tamils of Srilanka the very soul of the issue. With the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE and post active intervention period (1987-1990) the mindset of politicians of Tamilnadu excepting few has changed. Tamils issue in Srilanka is no longer a political issue. And the recent clamoring by the Tamilnadu’s Opposition leader Jayalalitha for the arrest of few politicians who still espouse the cause of LTTE in Srilanka vouches to this fact. However the rise in the inflow of Tamil refugees to Indian soil is imminent. This would again demand India to actively involve with srilanka . And its time that LTTE realized that creation of Tamil Eelam is only a distant dream as only a federal state with devolution of power is the immediate solution.