Sen and sensibility
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen is the flavour of the season. An international conference was held in Delhi earlier this week in honour of the good professor. The two-day conference, organised by Cornell University and the Institute of Human Development, was attended by a host of bigwigs in the academic world. Then, for the aam janata, a film was screened to mark his 75th birthday. Directed by Suman Ghosh, the film called Amartya Sen: A Life Re-examined featured interviews with a host of people on the subject. Among those who held forth on the economist in the film was fellow economist Manmohan Singh. Clearly, birthdays mean different things to different people. Mayawati may like her multi-tiered cakes, but Santiniketans Bablu-da would rather have discussions. Beats candles and cakes!
Log and blog
When other actors party, Cal girl Celina Jaitley blogs. And when other actors hem and haw on being asked to spell out their political views, Jaitley airs her opinions with aplomb. The model-turned-actress has been holding forth on a spectrum of issues from the elections to terror attacks on bollywoodhungama.com. Jaitley, who is also a gay rights activist at a time when the government seeks to decriminalise homosexuality, says she is happy with the response her blogs have evoked. I have even received an offer to write a column in a newspaper. But I am happy about the fact that it has motivated many, she says. Jaitley says she intends to keep writing to spur people into action. We have to hold together if we want a change in the system because I dont want this fire to fizzle out. For once, no ones singing: We didnt start the fire.
You have to give it to Mallika Sherawat. The lady knows how to cock a snook at all those who think she is all body and no brain. Mallika, we will have you know, was in Malaysia last week as a speaker at a conference called Global Brand Forum 2008. Mallika, we may also add, was part of an expert panel which included celebrated Hollywood film-maker Oliver Stone. It was a huge surprise for me to be invited to the forum along with Oliver Stone, says a delighted Mallika. What do we have in common, I asked myself. I guess for better or for worse we both have our own brands. As Oliver Stone says people either love or hate his films, but certainly have a strong opinion about him, his politics and his films. You could say the same about Mallika. You can love her or hate her, but you cant ignore her. After all, its not easy to disregard a bombshell.
Kannada author U.R. Ananthamurthy is on the warpath again this time, for local theatre. Sore over the injustice meted to regional language theatre by the Union ministry of culture, Ananthamurthy joined a satyagraha, demanding national theatre status for regional groups. Theatre should become an instrument to get the mother tongue closer to its people, he holds. The indefinite satyagraha was launched amidst drum beats and sloganeering in Bangalore. The author who proved himself to be a good son of Karnataka when he proposed that Bangalore be called Bengaluru is worried that Kannada would end up being a kitchen language in the future. A critic asked him if hed excluded Bangalores cosmopolitan modular kitchens.
All the Prime Ministers Girls can be an interesting subtitle to Dr Manmohan Singhs life. The PMs three daughters live quiet lives, but the arc lights always manage to zero in on them. His youngest daughter has often been in the news as a civil rights advocate in the United States. The eldest, an historian, recently released a critically acclaimed book on ancient history. And now his second daughter is in the news. Earlier this week, HarperCollins launched her first novel, called Nine by Nine, which has been described by the publishers as a tale of friendship and loss. The book was released by none other than the authors mum and the PMs wife, Gursharan Kaur. The whole familys writing, and I am enjoying all the glory, said the proud mother. The girls dad is writing as well footnotes to history.