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Samit Basu

Blast in a melting pot

After the London bombings came the news that the bombers were second-generation British citizens of Pakistani origin ' and since then, brown-skinned people haven’t been having it easy in London. A number of friends in the UK have been victims of racial abuse, even in the supposed safety of their university campuses. And incidents of race-related violence have shot up over last week, with even gurdwaras coming under threat. So much for the UK being a successfully integrated multi-cultural society. The good news is that the authorities seem much more concerned than the US authorities post 9/11. On the other side, you have parties like the far-right anti-immigrant British Nationalist Party, which has used images from the bombing in an election leaflet.

Suketu’s return gift

Maximum City author Suketu Mehta recently wrote a rather bizarre piece in the New York Times op-ed section which has left young Indian readers somewhat confused. The article’s about outsourcing, written from an Indian-American perspective; it talks about how his fellow Americans are worried that they’ll have to line up outside the Indian embassy for jobs and teach their children Hindi, and how he’s making sure his children learn Hindi too. Learn Hindi' If Americans really wanted to compete with Indians for these jobs, they should learn to work more hours for less money ' and learn better English. Indian-Americans, said Mehta, will help America “understand India, trade with it to our mutual benefit. Just as Arab-Americans can help us fight al Qaida, Indian-Americans can help us deal with the emerging economic superpower that is India. This is the return of the gift of citizenship.” Like I said. Bizarre.

Good things come in small packages. Rumour has it that pint-sized bombshell Riya Sen is Ram Gopal Verma’s latest muse. It’s just an item number in his new film James now, but who knows what the future might bring'

Rooting for the aliens

If you’ve not seen The War of the Worlds so far, here’s some advice: don’t. I’m still recovering from watching Tim Robbins’ ghastly performance as a creepy, obsessive basement dweller, but that wasn’t even the worst thing about this Steven Spielberg-Tom Cruise megaturkey; it was Dakota Fanning, who played his screeching daughter. Within 10 minutes, I was rooting for the aliens.

MMS scare

Mariah Carey’s finally in the news, but for the wrong reasons. She had a 'wardrobe malfunction’ on a German TV show, and immediately insisted that all the lights be turned off, because she knows how quickly pictures spread. And what’s spreading really rapidly in India right now is a compromising MMS where Mallika Sherawat’s face has supposedly been superimposed on an explicit video. While she’s going blue in the face protesting about the great wrong done to her, the rest of the film industry is enjoying the episode thoroughly. But they won’t be laughing when it’s their turn.

AWARD OF THE WEEK

Award

Goes to Salman Khan, whose taped conversations with Aishwarya Rai suggesting he has underworld links have set the whole nation talking. Just when you thought he couldn’t get any worse'

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