‘Symphony of the soil’: A must-watch for every compost lover

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There are few studies more fascinating, and at the same time more neglected, than those of the teeming populations that exist in the dark realms of the soil. We know too little of the threads that bind the soil organisms to each other and to their world, and to the world above.
– Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962.

symphony400x290More than half a century after she wrote this, scientists from all over the world humbly admit that nearly 70-80 per cent of the micro-organisms in the soil have not yet been even identified. It is simply beyond human comprehension to fathom the mysterious realms and marvellous abundance that exists in the soil—“the living skin of the earth”. Because what we know is infinitely insignificant as against what exists right beneath our feet. Just 30-40 inches, to be precise. Continue reading

Jew hunter or bounty hunter, Christoph Waltz shines!

English: Christoph Waltz on the red carpet of ...

Great writers can bring a story alive. But it takes great actors to help us see the truth in a different light. I wonder if things would have been what they are if Christoph Waltz hadn’t played Col. Hans Landa, the sly Jew hunter in Inglourious Basterds, and the antebellum bounty hunter Dr King Schultz in Django Unchained. Continue reading

‘English Vinglish’: Aren’t we permanently colonialised?

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A script freshly out of the oven, albeit peppered with its own set of stereotypes. A beautiful cast spearheaded by an actor with gigantic acting prowess. The coming-together of a debutant director and a comeback superstar…

English Vinglish was set for an all-out success when Gauri Shinde’s keen observation of her mother’s predicament of being a non-English speaking woman began to verbalise itself. It seems the rest was all bound to happen: Gauri’s meeting with Sridevi, the latter falling in love with the script and the resounding success that should shame half-baked, dim-witted multi-crore and multi-starred melodramas into submission. Continue reading

Dr Rajkumar and the vacuum he left behind…

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There’s a scene in ‘Bangarada Manushya’ in which a grief-stricken Rajeeva (Dr Raj) refuses to move away from the smouldering pyre of his wife Lakshmi (Bharathi). When his well-wisher Rachotappa (Balakrishna) tries consoling him, Rajeeva breaks down pointing at the ashes—hitherto a life that meant everything to him. Continue reading

Sridevi & Madhuri can do more than removing stains & washing dishes

Sridevi at at Neeta Lulla's show for Lakme Fas...

Long back, when Malaika Arora returned to work after her first delivery with an item number, a news channel went berserk debating a teeny-weeny stretch mark on her belly. It kept on zooming in on the almost unnoticeable line over and again. A ‘dismayed’ newscaster criticised the falling standards of Bollywood—a world where item girls and marriage cannot inhabit one sphere, much less stretch marks.

All of us know that Bollywood masala can’t do without two main spices: youth and beauty. No wonder we see Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit—two storehouses of talent that our Bollywood directors failed to exploit to the fullest—appearing in soaps, fabric conditioners, dishwashing solutions and basmati rice ads. Continue reading

Bachchan family’s right to privacy vs. Malegaon blast accused’s right to freedom

Indian actor Abhishek Bachchan with wife/actre...

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November 16, 2011 clearly defined what it means to be born in the First Family of Bollywood.

First, it begins with obsessive speculation and gossip in the media. Every movement of the pregnant star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is watched with bated breath. An unheard-of security ring thrown around the Seven Hills Hospital makes sure that the disheartened paparazzi’s desperate attempts capture only a few glimpses of the star walking into the hospital. Discussions on whether it’s going to be a baby girl or a boy or twins leave you wondering whether this modern-day fairytale has just begun! Continue reading