Politicians and actors have a lot in common. Pols are great actors — and actors regularly dabble in politics. After Kannada actress Ramya joined the Congress recently, another hot bod from the Kannada film industry has also taken the political plunge. Last week, Pooja Gandhi, who has acted in several commercially successful Kannada films, formally joined the Janata Dal (S). At her initiation ceremony, Gandhi, formerly of Meerut, said that former Prime Minister Deve Gowda had inspired her to enter politics. Being a member of a political party will give me an opportunity to serve society, she added. Heard it all before?
Heres proof — if proof were needed — that South Asian literary enterprise is alive and well. Two Indian novelists have been awarded a prize by the famous Foyles Bookstore (once the largest bookstore in the world), and Tibor Jones, a London literary agency. Remarkably, they got the award for books which havent even been published yet. The two winners are Rohit Manchanda, for his novel A Place in the Mind, and Sri Kumar Sen, for his work The Skinning Tree.Sen is an octogenarian, who once used to cover boxing for The Times, London. Manchanda is an IIT, Mumbai, professor. The award, called the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize, is unsurprisingly a prize created for aspiring South Asian writers. No doubt, there are many more of them out there.
Kailash Kher, Indias king of soul, is set to recreate the magic of his smash-hit Sufi-style songs, Teri deewani and Saiyyan, both of which were released some years ago. Khers latest album, Kailasa Rangeele, boasts 11 soulful tracks that speak of love in its myriad forms. Says the inimitable Kher, This album is special to me for various reasons. Amitabh Bachchan has lent his voice to one of the songs. And my two-year-old son Kabir is also there in one of the songs. Whats more, Kher is inviting media students to make videos for one track in the album. These will be uploaded on YouTube and winners will be selected by the number of hits each video gets. Cool.
Art imitates life. So is it any wonder that the anti-corruption mood in the country would spawn some films on the subject? While Dibakar Banerjees upcoming political thriller Shanghai focuses on the evil of graft, Akshaye Khannas next outing in Rumi Jafferys Gali Gali Chor Hai is also a tale of a common mans fight against corruption. The perfectionist that Khanna junior is, he has apparently kept himself updated on Anna Hazares movement just so that he can assimilate the public anger and outrage against corruption sweeping through the country. But Khanna refuses to admit that the film tries to cash in on the prevailing sentiment: Corruption has always been an issue in this country, he insists. Sure, and raising our voices against it is always a good idea.
In her debut novel, Witness the Night, Kishwar Desai showed a deft hand while dealing with the problems simmering under the surface in todays India. We can expect more. Simon & Schuster will now be publishing three books by Desai starting with a novel, Origins of Love, which is slated for release in June 2012. This will also coincide with the opening of S&Ss new office in India. According to Desai, her new book is a crime novel about assisted reproduction — especially surrogacy and IVF. Clearly, news about Aamir Khan having a baby using a surrogate has not gone un-noticed by Desai. Its as good a reason as any to hatch a brand new book.