Light & fire
Lock up your telescopes and binoculars. A comet up to “15 times brighter than the moon” will fly by the Earth around November and December and — for weeks — will be visible to the naked eye even during the day, astronomers have said. If the prediction bears out, Comet ISON will be the most dazzling in recorded human history, dashing towards the Sun with its tail up — to either plunge to a fiery death or “graze” around the Sun and vanish into outer space
On February 15, an asteroid the length of two cricket pitches will pass within a 27,000-35,000km window off the Earth — so near that you may be able to see it through a pair of good binoculars. The chances of a collision are svirtually nil but there’s a one-in-3,000 possibility that it could smash into the Earth in 2026 on February 13. If that happens, an area the size of Greater Calcutta could be destroyed. However, a spacecraft can be sent to nudge it gently into a safe orbit
India will launch the spacecraft Mangalyaan on a Mars mission in November, hoping to become the first Asian country, and the third overall after America and the European Union, to reach the Red Planet in September 2014
The first child of Prince William and Kate Middleton is due in summer and will herald a merchandise explosion, if not a mini baby boom in Britain. Even if she’s a girl, she will be third in line to the throne behind her grandfather and father. Bookies favour the name George for a boy and Elizabeth or Victoria for a girl
The Times, London
McDonald’s will open its first ever all-vegetarian outlet in Amritsar, following it up with another near the Vaishno Devi shrine in Kashmir
India will declare tea its national drink in April, coinciding with the 212th birth anniversary of the first Indian tea planter and 1857 revolt martyr Maniram Dewan of Assam
The sales of Android smartphones are expected to cross one billion
Those who believe that behind all its gloss, money is slippery will have hard proof in the new year when India introduces plastic money. One billion 10-rupee notes will be released in the four metros and Bangalore as a pilot project.
They’ll look exactly like the paper notes and have similar thickness but will be tougher and last longer, though you will be able to fold your wallet. Their slipperiness will make them a tad difficult to count in a wad, though
The United Nations has announced the inaugural International Happiness Day this year on March 20. It’s a date when the Sun is on the same plane as the Earth’s equator so that day and night are of equal length on both hemispheres
1,700 years of the Edict of Milan that proclaimed religious freedom in the Roman empire, which implied that communities such as the Christians would not be persecuted
100 years of the Indian film industry, whose first full-length feature film, Raja Harishchandra, released in 1913
150 years of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address
150 years of the London Underground
50 years of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy
50 years of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech
60 years of the conquest of Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay
150 years of the International Red Cross
50 years of the computer mouse
60 years of Playboy magazine
l10 years of Apple’s iTunes Store
BACK TO THE
Movie-goers in 2013 may be assailed by a feeling of deja vu. Sequels have worked brilliantly for the Hindi film industry before, but the new year will be almost only about sequels — though with a twist.
With Dabangg 2, the last big Bolly release of 2012 almost heralding the New Year, it’s really no surprise.
So get ready for Krrish 3, Dhoom 3, Race 2, Murder 3, Dedh Ishqiya, Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai 2, Ragini MMS 2, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns, Hate Story 2, Jism 3, et al.
While sequels traditionally take characters and stories forward, most of next year’s Bolly franchise films are new stories with new characters. Barring a Krrish 3 or a Dhoom 3, the other films are simply trying to capitalise on the title.
So while Ishqiya had Vidya Balan, Dedh Ishqiya will have Madhuri Dixit. If Murder 2 had Emraan Hashmi, Murder 3 has Randeep Hooda. Will this curious case of cashing in on hit titles work for Bolly? 2013 will have the answer.
Pratim D. Gupta