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” Jai Ho” Victory to Thee : Meaning & Historical Perspective

 

                                         “ JAI HO”(Victory to Thee):  Meaning & Historical  Perspective

 
 
“Jai Ho!”is a ‘Hindi ‘(national language of India) word, which is commonly used by intellectual people/’Sadus’/poets/Pandits, and  others  in an amusing way to wish or greet each  with affection and regard,with a hidden meaning that that we respect and love what ever you are doing and may you succeed(‘Victory to thee’ )in what ever you are doing.To some, ‘Jai Ho’ itself is very uplifting and affirming term ,Within it, that which one seek is supposed to be istantly accomplished. This word is derived from Sanskrit (ancient, highly intellectual level language) word "JAYATU BHAVA!"(May you Succed!). Jai Ho is very common word , used by people of ‘HINDI ‘speaking belt(M.p.,U.P., Rajsthan,Bihar and New Delhi,etc).
 
As far as using exclamation mark, the purpose is to indicate that it is being said with strong feeling(from heart) and in a loud voice .As exclamation means:An exclamation mark or exclamation point is a punctuation mark: ! It is usually used after an interjection or exclamation to indicate strong feelings or high volume, and often marks the end of a sentence

 
This Indian slogan or gesture – “ Jai Ho”,  has suddenly become popular and important globally next to “NAMASTE’ (made popular through YOGA).Recent  popularity of Jai Ho! ,has come with the popularity of Oscar winning Movie-‘ Slumdog Millionaire’ and its songs.  The English translation of few lines of that song is as follows:
 
Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho
(Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee)
Aaja Aaja  Jind Shamiyane Ke Tale
(Come come below the decorated tent of life)
Aaja Jariwale Nile Aasman Ke Tale
(Come below blue sky decorated with ‘jari’ threads)
Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho
(Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee)”.
 
However if we go in to the History of the usage of this word -”Jai Ho”in India we find that this was popularly used in even during British Raj days.  The  national anthem(Qaumi Tarana)Subh Sukh Chain’ of ‘ The Indian National Army (INA)’ or Azad Hind Fauj (Hindi: ????? ????? ????) of Subhas chandra Bose (formed  in 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War II),  contained these words as score, which was very popular during Indian freedom movement throughout the country. The score for that song is now also used for the present day national anthem of India, -‘Jana Gana Mana’ written by Rabindranath Tagore. First stanzas of both the national anthems are given for to see the use of the word “Jai Ho” in both:

  *National anthem(Qaumi Tarana)’ -Subh Sukh Chain’ of ‘ The Indian National Army (INA)’ or ‘Azad Hind Fauj’,First stanza Only:

 First stanza–
Subh sukh chain ki barkha barse,
Bharat bhaag hai jaaga.
Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha,
Dravid, Utkal, Banga,
Chanchal sagar, Vindh, Himaalay,
Neela Jamuna, Ganga.
Tere nit gun gaayen,
Tujh se jivan paayen,
Har tan paaye asha.
Suraj ban kar jag par chamke,
Bharat naam subhaga,
Jai ho, jai ho, jai ho,
Jai, jai, jai, jai ho.
 
 
*Rabindro nath Tagore, when wrote –‘Jan-gan Man’ song  for National Anthum , he changed Jai ho to Jai hey!
 
Jana gana mana adhinayaka jaya he
Bharata bhagya Vidhata
Panjaba Sindh Gujarata Maratha
Dravida Utkala Vanga
Vindhya Himachala Yamuna Ganga
Ucchala jaladhi taranga
Tava shubha name jage
Tava shubha ashisha mage
Gaye tava jaya gatha
Jana gana mangala daayaka jaya he
Bharat bhagya Vidhata
Jaya he jaya he jaya hey
Jaya jaya jaya jaya hey!
 

India, What the Heck?

As countries like India and China rise in their global status and economic power, I wonder if the increased visibility will force them to clean up their act and see that their children are protected.

This headline last week was a harsh reminder of what goes on…

“The father of Slumdog Millionaire star Rubina Ali, 9, is accused of trying to sell his daughter for $300,000 to a sheik.”

rubina-ali-oscarsAlthough I read this in a Hollywood gossip magazine — and many might question the accuracy of the reporting — I did appreciate that a pop magazine brought attention to the fact that the selling of daughters is not an uncommon practice in India.

Girls are trafficked in India for sexual exploitation, domestic labor, drug peddling, begging, adoption and marriage. Some say the price of the girl depends on the color of her eyes and her skin, and a virgin girl goes for a lot higher price. It can seem like a world away, but for some, it is quite close.

Last weekend in the New York Times Magazine column The Ethicist a reader submitted a query about whether he should give money, food or neither to the beggar children in India on his upcoming trip. The reader was concerned that exploitative adults might take the money.

If you saw the film Slumdog Millionaire then you probably remember the child trafficker who tricked the children into thinking they were going to get a promotion. When they arrived for their good news, the surprise turned out to be a cupful of acid poured into the child’s eyes to purposefully blind him or her to make their begging more poignant and profitable.

Records show that maiming a child is just another scam put on by these child overlords to get more money into their pockets.

I have seen these children. They have come up to me with their white milky eyes on the streets of Delhi and have knocked their stumps on my taxi window as I sat devastated staring back at them. It is all quite tragic to think about.

So why am I writing and telling about all of these horrifying things?

I write about this because I feel that the more it is reported and the more we talk about it, the more accountable the countries responsible for it become.

I am by no means saying that our own country, the US, is a grand model for human rights. I’m not wagging my finger. But in my opinion there is a level of global inhumanity that has been going on for far too long and perhaps we have reached a tipping point.

Admittedly, I may just be naïve to think that talking about issues can solve them. But in my heart of hearts I do believe this. With transparency, comes accountability, comes responsibility, comes change.

Your thoughts?

Roxana Saberi

The case of Roxana Saberi  is confusing even to the most unwavering followers of tenet Islamism.  First she gets accused of attempting to buy wine which is illegal in Iran. Then she gets jailed for operating as a journalist without a Press Pass and now she has already been tried and convicted of being a US spy, in a closed trial, the details of which have not been released.

Meanwhile the US, of which this one-time Beauty Queen – former Miss North Dakota – has a dual citizenship, along with Iran has condemmed the sentence as "deeply dissapointing".

Perhaps this is all the more shocking since being swept up by the current culture of open-mindedness between nations ushered in by America as the born-again purveyors of benevolent peace and renewed pledge of fair-play, one had begun to expect that more would be done. 

The toll of innocent victims especially women and children caught under the wheels of a soul-crushing "culture" seem to be rising instead of being on the decline.

Earlier this week came the shocking news of life imitating art with the father of Rubaina Ali, the young girl cast as the youngest Latika in the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire, attempting to sell her off for money and now this.  There will be others that will follow no doubt – other stories, other girls and young women – but here’s my question – when faced with these what do we do?  That is for each one of us to decide. If at the end of the day we did a little something even if it be to tell someone how we FEEL – that may be something more than absolutely NOTHING!!!

Do I make you uncomfortable in speaking out about this outrage? Then I have succeeded in my INTENT FOR THE DAY!

You may read about Roxana Saberi at the following links:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8000522.stm
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8005660.stm

Slumdog Millionaire: Dilemma of a New India

After its sweeping win at the Oscars last Sunday, Slumdog Millionaire  seems like the movie everyone wants, and perhaps needs. It has all the ingredients of  escapist fare from the Great Depression — a populist hero who overcomes all odds to get the girl and the money.  There’s an added element of self-congratulation for the West: by seeing this movie you can see India without getting your hands dirty or offending your nose, and cheer it on. Cinderella didn’t walk through tenements and sectarian violence to reach her prince. But in this fairy tale, a concession must be made to modern realities. Dev Patel is symbolic of India here and now, fulfilling its wildest economic aspirations while being conscious of the darkest aspects of social decay and despair.
 
If we follow the metaphor to its logical conclusion,  India will get the money and the girl by rising above its slums.  Perhaps that’s why Slumdog has created an uneasy reaction in Mumbai and the rest of India. Rising above isn’t the same as solving. Many well-born educated Indians have looked westward for a long time, which is easier than looking inward. They know more about the streets of London and New York than the teeming lanes of the ghettos in their own city.  This is true, of course,  among rich elites everywhere, not just in south Asia. Watching Dev triumphantly cross the social line is triumphant, but it reminds you that there is a line.  (Barack Obama crossed the racial line in triumph, also, but notice how much heat his Attorney General, Eric Holder, took when he suggested in less than polite terms that America needs to be more honest and courageous about the whole problem of race.)
 
Like fairy tales, symbols can pacify deep anxieties.  India dreams of being a millionaire, but it lives with the anxiety that it’s really a slumdog.  Or that the slumdogs will one day rise up against the millionaires. You can read the tea leaves any way you like. Another uncertainty attends the film.  Having been made on a shoestring, Slumdog managed to outgross any number of big-budget Hollywood films. Last week it ranked fifth in U.S. box office while its nearest Oscar rival, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, was no longer in the top ten.  Brad Pitt, being a megastar, has pulled his film to $122 million, compared to Slumdog’s $98 million, but is that really competitive?  Ten movies on the scale of Slumdog can be made for the cost of one blockbuster that has yet to pay back its cost.
 
The whole movie industry is watching closely, and the developing world is watching back even more closely.  After two decades of  action flicks with move-your-lips scripts that were  primitive enough to appeal to Asian males, here is Asia — via the UK, admittedly — sending back something sophisticated, poignant, and universal.  It’s like the ultimate retort to colonialism: the coolie and the wallah have more smarts than the sahib.  Indians feel uneasy about that, too. Will the sahib turn his back and shut them out? Do south Asians have enough self-respect and stature in the world to at last forget that  the sahib ever existed?
 
We may know the answers in the near future. Bollywood didn’t conceive Slumdog. It still purveys mindless entertainment, for the most part, interspersed with small independent films  that challenge the West for thoughtfulness and freshness.  It’s not for lack of talent that India didn’t produce Slumdog.  But questions of vision and courage do arise. Past history and ingrained inhibitions make it hard for  Indian artists in any field to be as frank and true to life as they should be.  They have yet to seize freedom. The country has yet to shake off its humbling self-image, although that is occurring faster every day.
 
If Slumdog is a viable symbol, the future it points to is just being born.  An out-of-the-way picture can dare to be universal, which means that India may dare to be universal one day. The dispossessed people of Asia are suddenly aware that they have a place at the table where previously only the rich dined. Both developments are encouraging.  Meanwhile, one can marvel at the bald fact that a Bollywood-style anthem, "Jai Ho," won the Oscar for Best Song, while Bruce Springsteen wasn’t even nominated.  The first Academy Awards of the recession turned out to be, as one headline proclaimed, the first outsourced Oscars of all time.
 

Slumdog wins 8 Oscars, an answer to critics

Congratulations
Slumdog has won 8  Oscars…
 

And don’t worry about the critics
there are people who can criticise even God
to understand God’s perfection
you need the vision of God
to understand an artist’s work
you need the vision of the artist

Below are a few lines from me
dedicated to the mystery of India
which actually mesmerizes some westerns
to explore it even at the cost of
getting raped and abused

JAI HO

*******

Amazed at the mystery of
what is there
beneath their dirty bodies
beneath their appalling poverty
beneath the last peel
of their foul-smelling onion
that makes India tick
some daring westerns try to
explore their dirty bodies
churn their appalling poverty
peel their foul-smelling onion
in books, in movies
in an effort to solve it

Rather than feel proud
of their mystery
like the sages of the yore
like Ramana
whose unyielding, unwavering, unfathomable
equipose, calmness, stillness
would make those westerns
who would dare to ridicule
squirm under their shirts
some rather youthful indians
who are apparently not in touch
with their deepest mystery
and consider themselves
limited only to their bodies
their poverty, their onion
and thus ignoring what is
really their uniqueness
play at being great patriots
and condemn them

Yes, particular incidents
can be criticized
even though those too
must not be taken as
because of some bad intentions
on their part
but because of ignorance of
the complete knowledge of an alien culture
but slamming the whole effort
as some sort of plot
to downgrade India
especially with which
they are now trying to forge
the best of relationships
probably drawn by the same mystery
among other things
simply betrays nothing but
their own insecurity
their own prosecution complex

Harb

Some of the Movies I’ve Loved and Not for 2008-On Oscar Track …Who Cares?

As posted on Books and Films Corner

I’ve meant to do a lot of movie reviews on here over the last six months and never got about to doing them! So on Oscar night whether they are on the Oscar track or not here are some of the movies I’ve loved recently and the ones I’ve not and even a mention of the ones I refused to go see and the ones that I did see and was pleasantly surprised!:)

So in alphabetical order here are some of them I can remember!

AUSTRALIA
Loved it! And no it wasn’t just cause Hugh Grant of my We Three Kings! fun and fame was in it! I loved it and unexpectedly so…because I just decided to go see it to meet up with some people and we figured it was the most passable thing on in cinema. I thought I was going to see before me a sweeping love saga unfold. And yes it was indeed a love story…but it was about Australia! I couldn’t get the idea of ‘dreaming’ out of my head after I saw the film. It made me think about aboriginal peoples all around the world and how they really could have such a feel for the land…so much so that they become intuitive…it made me think of myself…I searched within…it made me realise that although I had never visited India I knew it because that was what Hinduism was…it was a tapestry of India…an ode to its rivers and valleys…its plants and flowers….and I feel the South Indians the Saivites were the ones who really were the aboriginal peoples of their they really knew the lady…it is why I celebrate that Hippy Master Shiv today! :)And it made me wonder of the land I now live in Trinidad. What do I know of it? Well it’s aboriginal peoples…we have practically wiped them out and their voice here…well the Europeans did and we were the peoples they brought from another time when people still thought they could own each other…but what about now? It is almost impossible to gather much of the original peoples of Trinidad information…it is pretty much lost…but I could at least try to adapt the approach I know from Hinduism here in this land…and it was what I had been doing anyway…but Australia inspired me to keep on Dreaming….

TThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Well they say it was just made from an idea in a book by F. Scott Fitzgerald but whoever wrote this script made me want to read the book…or wonder how the book would read…the writing was just so rich…the story so wondrous and sweepingly epic. It also rang through that life is really only what we choose to make it…and that each one of us come here for a very unique point and purpose and we should just do it! Made me kinda recall this one of my posts.

The Tale of Despereaux
I kept meaning to write this review and say Gotta See Despereaux! or Gotta Love Despereaux! ūüôā He was so cute…such a pretty, pretty, cute mouse as my mummy put it!:) Cute enough just to watch the film for! ūüôā But again a film about living your purpose and not just going with the masses…where one mouse dared to go! It was also interesting the whole inherently deep spirituality in it like all good children tales! About the light and the dark and the sea faring rat and the ones from the sewer and the mouse who was suppose to be afraid but was not. And the kindness in that sea faring rat’s eyes and his voice…aaawwww…what a sweetly made film!:) It still remains with me! ūüôā I have to buy this film you know! And then there was soup! And I just love soup! Mmmmmm….who can not love soup! Well the sea faring rat for sure would agree!:) Everyone should see Despereaux! Gotta see Despereaux!

And really those were the three films I really had fun with in 2008. I saw Seven Pounds and was so so disappointed! Oprah your review and having Will on the show just didn’t ring through! It wasn’t the acting… that was fine even good at times…it was just the whole concept of the film and the whole idea in the end…geez…a man killing himself to give his organs….come on now! I wrote my rant on that film in response to my blogging friend Matt Welsh’s post on spiritual media blog…here.

Also there is Slumdog Millionaire…it never released on the island and I’m not a bootleg copy watching kinda girl plus Matt Welsh has posted here said it was very gory and I just not worth watching if you can’t take that even though it is to show reality perhaps…I know it is true but I go to the cinema to be inspired not come out blue! So…it is why I didn’t go to the darkness that was Dark  Knight (Batman) even though everyone said it was so good and it wasn’t just cause Joker was being played by a now dead man! And no it is not just going to be a cult classic for his fans? I don’t know…I just didn’t go!

But on the night of the Oscars as I pray to Shiv I say I hope AR Rahman fears well as I’ve always loved his music. I’ve heard Jai Ho! and I know it’s not his best for sure. But the ‘white people’ are now being exposed and that’s great for sure! I wish him all the best and I say although I love his music he could not ever with Ismail Darbar contest! ūüôā

Top Ten Most Fascinating Movie Characters in 2008 (and their intents!)

We all love movies, but what is it that do you love most about those films? What about them draws you to the movie theater time after time? The actors? the filmmakers? the stories? the photography?

For me, it is all about the characters – fictional, non-fictional, human, animal or object. The ones that stay with you long after the movie is over. The ones that make you think, feel, cry and laugh. And especially the ones that you wish you actually knew.

So in honor of the 81st Annual Academy Awards this weekend, I bring you my Top 10 Most Fascinating and Memorable Film Characters of 2008 (and their Intents!). 2008 was a great year at the movies. There were some great films and some phenomenal characters that will stay with us for a long time. Who are they? What do they want? And what can we learn from them?

10. MARIA ELENA (Penélope Cruz in VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA)


“My intent is to work, love and live with pure passion”

Mar√≠a Elena is the fiery ex-wife of painter Juan Antonio in Woody Allen’s delightful and quirky Vicky Christina Barcelona. She is any man (or woman’s) ultimate fantasy and ultimate nightmare.¬† Not only is she a talented painter with a keen eye for art and heartbreakingly gorgeous, she is honest and will tell you how it is. She has strange ways of showing her love, including attempting to kill you if you cross her, but underneath all that fire is pure heart. She is passionate to the brim and lives completely from her heart, which is the way to live.

9. WALL-E (Benn Burt in WALL-E)


“My intent is to find companionship and love in this world”

His full name is Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth and he is a mobile trash compactor, the last of his kind, with the daunting job of cleaning up Planet Earth after it has been absolutely wrecked by humans. He isn’t just any ordinary robot though, his lonely existence and mundane life has sparked emotion and curiosity. Wall-E collects artifacts, enjoys music and falls in love with Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator or EVE, a robotic probe who comes to Earth in search for vegetation and its capacity for inhabitation. Wall-E joins the likes of R2D2 and E.T, as one of the most adorable robots to grace the big screen. He might not say a lot but he manages to capture your heart with his pure intentions. Oh that and he also saves Planet Earth!

8. DAVID FROST (Michael Sheen in FROST/NIXON)


“My intent is uncover the truth, no matter how difficult it might be”

When we first meet David Frost, he is a flamboyant and fun loving host of a variety TV¬†show, leagues away from the recently shamed President Richard Nixon. But as history shows, the two come together in one of the most famous televised interviews, where the former President confesses his guilt to Frost.¬†Frost/Nixon took me by surprise, it wasn’t just a film about a TV interview it was one of those great underdog stories. It starts with an unattainable dream, true dedication, almost defeat and climaxes with glorious victory. David Frost was the perfect example of our 2008 mantra, “Yes We Can!”. He had a dream, a vision and he stopped to no end to get it. He was constantly criticized and undermined but he did not let any of that bring him down. He wanted something and got it, and that was inspiring!

7. BENJAMIN BUTTON (Brad Pitt in THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON)


“My intent is to live my life the only way I know how to”

How can you not fall in love with a character when you spend 3 hours experiencing his entire life. Benjamin Button comes from the pages of one of my favorite authors, F.Scott Fitzerald. He might be born an old wrinkly man, but he is as eager and curious as any young boy. He is ambitious and falls in love just like any of us. The most charming quality about Benjamin that draws us to him is how he embraces life. Nothing in his life is forever and as he grows younger, everything else he loves grows older and withers. He is an outsider every step of the way but none of that deters him from living the best life he can. He is the most unusual man there ever was but also the most normal one.

6. HARVEY MILK (Sean Penn in MILK)


“My intent is to never give up my freedom to love who I want”

American Politician and gay rights activist Harvey Milk, was the first openly gay man to be elected to office. He is an inspiration for all those who ever wanted to give up on a fight because of constant defeat. Harvey Milk ran for office over and over again until he was elected. Death threats, outcry, hate and rejection did not stop his fight for freedom – the freedom to love whomever he wanted. He is polite, cuddly and the nicest man you can ever imagine but at the same time he is a fierce politician who knows how to create an uproar. He uses his charm and we all fall under the spell of Harvey Milk.

5. ERNESTO “CHE” GUEVARA (Benicio Del¬†Toro in CHE – PART¬†ONE¬†&¬†TWO)


“My intent is to fight for freedom and equal rights for all”

You might love him, hate him or have no idea who he is but you have definitely seen him (his infamous photo has graced many tshirts, mugs and posters). Steven Soderbergh’s epic biopic Che –¬†Part One &¬†Part Two, shows Che how he is. His life is shown without bias; he is neither glorified or bashed. Benicio Del Toro’s performance has to be the most phenomenal unrecognized performance of the year (he did win the Best Actor trophy at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival). Personally I am a big Che-fan. Yes he was a socialist and chose violence to achieve his goals, but above all of that was a man who gave up his career, home and the life he had to fight for every underprivileged man there was. He lived for the people absolutely selflessly. He suffered from asthma, but never let that get in the way of his revolution. I was in awe throughout the movie and left the theater with goosebumps and truly moved.

4. JAMAL MALIK (Dev Patel in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE)


“My intent is to find my true love, any way I can”

Slumdog Millionaire in every way is an inspiration. It is the little movie that could. Did you know it went almost straight to DVD¬†after Warner Bros. shut down Warner Independent. Thankfully Fox Searchlight saw the gem it was and the rest is history. It echoes again our mantra for 2008 “yes we can!” Jamal Malik, played by three different actors in the film, is the ultimate underdog. Throughout his life every horrible thing possible has happened to him. He lost his mother, begged on the streets, almost got his eyes gouged out and was betrayed by the only family he had. But Jamal is like that bobo doll that you punch and punch but always comes back for more. Jamal has a reason to live and fight for — his true love Latika. Jamal’s whole life has been about finding his way back to her and it is one of the most moving love stories of our times.

3. EDWARD CULLEN (Robert Pattinson in TWILIGHT)


“My intent is to find my soulmate and never let her go”

If every generation has one romantic leading man that all the women go crazy for, Edward Cullen will be the one for this coming generation. Stephenie Meyer’s wildy popular¬†Twilight series, created what I would agree is the perfect man (oh by the way he might also kill you and drink your blood!) He is the most dangerously attractive man. Everything about him will draw you in and yes, that is a line straight from the film. He is looking for his true love and when he finds her he does everything in his power to make her safe and happy. But besides all the perfect-ness, he is also fascinating to no end. He is 108 years old (stopped aging at 17) and has lived through the whole century. Can you imagine the stories he would have to share?

2. THE JOKER (Heath Ledger in THE DARK KNIGHT)


“My intent is to kill your hope and happiness”

The Joker, played to perfection by Heath Ledger, is my #2 most memorable character of 2008 and the absolute reason the Dark Knight was a truly brilliant piece of cinema. Throughout the years we have seen many villains, ones who wanted to create pollution, ones who wants to rule the world, the ones who wanted money and the ones who wanted power but the Joker stands above them all. The Joker doesn’t want anything for himself, he wants to take away the most powerful force within all human beings, hope. He is the ultimate villain. He does not scare from anybody and doesn’t even care if you capture him. He takes the one symbol of a bright future (Harvey Dent) and converts him to evil. If you can just ignore all the moral issues for a second, you will see the pure brilliance.

1. HANNA SCHMITZ (Kate Winslet in THE READER)


“My intent is to learn how to read and write”

And the #1 most fascinating character I found in 2008, was hands down was Kate¬†Winslet’s Hanna Schmitz in The Reader. There was so many layers to her that I found myself constantly thinking about her long after the film ended. Hanna Schmitz’s actions are absolutely despicable. She is a former SS guard at Auschwitz, who once let an entire church fuller of prisoners burn and die. If her actions as a Nazi guard were not bad enough she seduces a teenage boy years younger. But if you ask Hanna what is the one thing she is most ashamed of in her life, she would say being illiterate. Hanna Schmitz did not find anything wrong with being an SS guard or taking advantage of a young boy, but the one aspect of her life that she could not live with (and for which she endures years of life as a prisoner) is the fact that she could not read or write. As you get to know her more, you discover the many decisions in her life that stemmed from that one inability. Hanna Schmitz. Kate Winslet’s portrayal is the cherry on top on a trult memorable character. She is equally ambiguous as she is fascinating.

Hope you all enjoyed my journey through some of the great movies we saw in 2008 and do share what your favorite characters and movies were in 2008.

The 81st Annual Academy Awards

This Sunday, Oscar is back in action. Hollywood’s most talented and beautiful will step out together for an evening of glitz and glamour for the 81st annual Academy Awards. While the event can be a little lavish (an understatement, I know), it promises a night of entertainment to all its viewers. From the limos and the dresses to the speeches and the parties, the awards are guaranteed to cater to our fascination with celebrities and their lifestyles.  All of this may sound slightly shallow, but this extravagant glitz is effective in drawing in plenty of viewers. Last year Nielson estimated a whopping 32 million viewers in the United States tuned in to watch the Awards.

While the show itself may appeal to our shallow side by focusing on outward glamour, it does succeed in bringing attention to the movies it recognizes.  If it takes designer dresses and beautiful people to get over 32 million Americans to focus on the stories Hollywood has been telling this year, then by all means, add some more sparkle.

The movies that are nominated this year tell smart stories, explore historical events, and teach great lessons. Here is a brief synopsis of each movie nominated for Best Picture to keep you (and me!) informed during Sunday’s ceremony.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Benjamin Button is adapted from a 1921 F. Scott Fitzgerald story. It follows the journey of a man who ages backward. It tells of the love he finds, the joy and sadness he experiences, and the lessons he learns along the way. 

Milk: Milk tells the story of Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist turned politician.  The story explores his personal and public journey as the first openly gay elected official in the United States.

Frost/Nixon: Frost/Nixon tells the story of the interview between President Nixon and Robert Frost three years after Nixon left office. It becomes a battle of wits as Frost attempts to make Nixon take accountability for his actions during his presidency.

The Reader: The Reader tells the story of a love affair between Hanna, a Nazi guard, and Michael, a young unaware boy. The movie flashes forward to years later when the young boy has graduated law school and is a part of the war crimes trial that could convict Hanna. He is torn between his different definitions of justice.

Slumdog Millionaire: This movie tells the story of an 18 year-old orphan who grew up in the slums of Mumbai. He is one question away from winning a large sum of money on India’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” The police accuse him of cheating. To prove his innocence, he tells the story of his past and how he learned to answers to the quiz show’s questions.

 

Whether or not you enjoyed some, all, or none of the movies nominated for best picture this year, you have to admit that the stories and lessons presented are groundbreaking. They teach the world a little more about growth and acceptance through their historical analysis and smart story telling. When fame, talent, and beauty are used to promote good messages and share good stories, I completely support it. What about you? I am curious to hear your thoughts on the Academy Awards and this year’s nominated movies. Please share!

 

Thought one, thought two, thought three, thought four- action!!! What is your plan of action?





I am very sad that even after a thought provoking (rather soul stirring and action promoting) remark by a friend over a chat, I am writing just a blog and that is all I can do at this point, right now. I was watching how people (at the slums) in India are protesting against the use of word Dog in the movie Slumdog Millionare. No issues with that itself but the motive behind the protest, the rationale behind it, the misguidance that leads people and the ignorance is devastating.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheat-sheet/item/residents-protest-slumdog/controversy/

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2009/01/22/2009-01-22_mumbai_slum_residents_protest_slumdog_mi.html

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=11754555&ch=4226715&src=news

I was telling one of my friends over the internet how ridiculous this whole thing has become. When would we start protesting for a right cause? Half of the kids as they stood in front of the camera in the video do not even know why they were there. Most of them must not have seen the movie or understood it. While all of them have come out on the streets protesting against it, it is impossible for them to comprehend the real morale of the story or the saga of its depiction. Only a few words from someone outside are enough to stir them and freak them out and ignite their minds that are already unaware. I wonder, why the same kids were not motivated to come out and protest when their parents forget them after giving them birth because they have five other kids, why don’t they shout out loud at someone’s inspiration when their parents do not remember their birthdays and make them work  at a small age or send them to the people who cut their limbs and make them beggars. Why can’t they protest for more awareness among their own parents? Who is their guiding force or inspiration? Why are we all not ashamed of other things as well? Why just a movie name and that too because it became famous, made up to the awards?

At this point, my friend stopped me and said "There is no point talking about this to me or telling me your opinions about it". I asked "why?" He said "If this bothers you, why don’t you go there and/or make a difference? Don’t make it a discussion for your coffee or dinner." Guess what?  He was, actually, absolutely right.  Most of the times when we find something soul stirring, we just get angry about it or tell a friend or a group or community or write about it. What is this awareness for? About anything, any issue- Is it for the people who already are aware? Or is it for those who do not have any type of access to this awareness what so ever. Yeah, he talked about putting some thoughts into action. I felt like I have become like a Government proposal, which even if is passed, would take ages to function, at least in a country like India. Although, I argued with him saying that every action is a sensible thought to begin with but I do realize many thoughts worth potential action are lost during procrastination. A balance is needed between taking pause to ponder to be aware, be informed and taking a responsible action.

For most of us it is thought one, thought two, thought three, scene one, scene two and no TAKES at all. Is it not a part of our responsibility that we put our noble thoughts into actions that serve other people who unfortunately have no access to such knowledge, at least half of our noble ideas? I thanked him and pledged that at least for every fifth blog I write here, I would do something for the less fortunate ones. For me it would be post five, action!!

What is your action plan?

 

Protests in India Over Slumdog Millionaire

Yahoo! India reports that protests over the title of the film Slumdog Millionaire were held for the second day in a row in Mumbai. According to the article:

 

Slum dwellers in Bihar’s capital continued to protest Monday against Oscar-nominated film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, demanding the film’s makers remove the word dog from the title.

The protesters said their sensibilities had been offended by the title, which they said was abusive of people who live in slums. The protests continued for the second day, even as Republic Day was being celebrated.

A group of slum dwellers protested against the showing of the film at Ashok cinema hall Sunday, while some protesters tore down posters and banners of the film.

The Jhuggi Jhonpdi Sanyukta Sangharsh Samiti (a group promoting the rights of slum dwellers) threatened to burn the film’s director Danny Boyle in effigy.

‘We will burn Danny Boyle in effigy in 56 slums here,’ Tapeshwar Vishwakarma, general secretary of the group said.

Kishori Das, another activist, said slum dwellers will continue to protest till the film’s director deletes the word dog from the title. ‘We are in touch with like-minded organisations across India to take the issue on a large scale to put pressure,’ Das said.

 

Many other people in India are very proud of the film and do not worry about the title or charges of exploitation. What are your feelings?

 

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