Saturday, November 24, 2012


The year 2012 marked fifty years of the James Bond franchise. It had been already fantastic for Bond in 2012, with an appearance in the opening ceremony in the London Olympics as the Queen's escort. That is perhaps a huge tribute to Bond's contribution about "being British" and  it sealed Bond as a cultural characteristic of Britain. Skyfall, too had a grand premiere coinciding with the release date of Dr. No, which also saw the Totals too in attendance.

So, how is Skyfall, when compared to the previous Bond movies? First, it is very rare in Bond movies to not know who the villain is for the first 20-25 minutes. Perhaps, the only time it has happened is in The Spy Who Loved Me. Secondly, this is the first Bond movie in which the villain has no more than a personal agenda. Raoul Silva's sole motive is to avenge the perceived injustices committed by M when she was in Hong Kong with Silva working under her. In all previous Bond movies, the villain had a motive to achieve either a monopoly which would lead to economic benefits or achieve a stage to be in a position for obtaining windfall economic gains. Except, in Thunderball and From Russian with Love, where the villains wanted to establish a new 'perfect' world. In terms of gadgets too, this is not a very typical Bond movie, especially when you have seen the action involving Q's gadgets. It is more along the lines of Dr. No, where Bond is armed with very minimal gadgetry, a Walther PPK and a bag with fifty sovereigns, a knife and an explosive opening case. I cannot recall Bond finishing off the villain with something mundane as a knife in any movies. This is perhaps because of continuation of the reboot, which began with Casino Royale. Of course, with Q coming back, it marks his trademark requests to Bond about returning the equipment in one piece and we all know how Bond treats it. And finally, after fifty whole years, we know the full name of the new M. And Miss Moneypenny's too. If Gareth Mallory continues as M and Eve Moneypenny is allotted screen space in Bond 24, it is the first time M's and Moneypenny's full name would be known to people. All in all, Skfyfall marks some notable departures from previous Bond movies.

SkyfallSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Dear Indian media, there are others apart from US elections

This post is born out of frustration. About reporting in the Indian web and electronic media. With the US election scheduled in November, everyone was busy reporting on the tiny details of the two candidates. Where Obama spoke, where did Romney have dinner, how their wives felt, etc. Hell, on the last two days, the reporters went into a kind of frenzy, reporting every step the two candidates took, that Obama cried during his final speech and many more. Now, most of the netizens will not be able to point out on the map, any of the cities or towns these two campaigned in. So, why are these elections so important to hog a major portion of the news space in India? Do we have no other newsworthy matters in hand?
Stephen Harper, Canada's prime minister, chose to visit India at perhaps a wrong time. Because our media was not interested in bringing to us what Harper had brought for the country. Our media felt that it is of more importance for Indians to know who the next US president is! So, nothing was in the prime time about Harper's visit to India. Nor was anything reported about his security personnel rejecting Indian measures and shipping in their own security limousines for Harper. Who is going to find out the truth of why this happened? When a visiting dignitary has to bring in his own security vehicles, is he being snobbish or is our government guilty of inadequacy? But of course, this doesn't matter to our media. What is more important news is how Obama cried in his last campaign speech.
Forget this negative part. The Harper government signed a few agreements with the Indian government. Of these, one was setting up a research programme with three Canadian universities and the IITs in the area of clean water technologies. But we know nothing of that! More importantly the two governments signed an agreement where temporary Indian employees working in Canada and temporary Canadian employees working in India and their will not have to contribute towards their social security or pension plans. This allows both, the companies and their employees, to save costs incurred on things whose benefits they wouldn't have ever received. Do we know of this? No, but we do know that Obama cried during his last speech. Doesn't matter if many Indians working on-site have been crying for years on the unjust contributions they have to make to the US social security system, when they are not eligible to receive any benefit from it.
We cheered Obama when he came to India and hailed him to take the nuclear reactor deal forward. But nuclear reactors run on uranium, which will not come from USA, but from Canada as it has one of the largest reserves of uranium. But we do not yet know at what stage is a deal for uranium supply with Canada? And what did Harper's visit achieve in that direction? We will have to read Canadian newspapers for that because our dear media was busy dissecting why Romney lost and Obama won! More importantly Canada wants to sign a free trade agreement with India. What will this agreement cover? What is the Indian government's view about this agreement? No we won't know of that till our media finds time from reporting how democrats and republicans will never reach any agreement because each controls one house of the US government.
Seriously, I am tired of this minute-by-minute updates of all that doesn't matter to our country. How do these affect India? In almost no way. Romney or Obama it doesn't matter to us. They don't do us any favour. While India has been purchasing military equipment from the US firms through its tax payers' money, the same are given to our western neighbours as part of aid to "fight terrorism". And why cheer Obama who has, during his campaign, talked of India only as a job stealer through outsourcing? More importantly, why not cheer Harper, who has given Indian employees on Canada their fair dues?  What I am seriously tired of is the Indian media. They have their own ideologies and iron-cast agendas. They won't budge from that. The nation's interest is secondary. That's why we saw more headline space for Sandy, compared to Nilam. In the web media it appeared as if Nilam had just kissed the Indian coast while Sandy rammed through the USA. New York's preparations where highlighted throughout, but not Tamil Nadu's. And of course, they conveniently missed the fact that the same Sandy had caused far more devastation in poor countries like Haiti and Cuba, which face crop loss too. But alas, they weren't having elections where the state was ruled by an opposing party to the president.
Dear Indian media, there are others apart from US electionsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend