The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ray of light

Singur and Sukumar Ray' You’d never really connect the two, but the vastly different worlds of violence and comic verse figure in director Bimal Chakraborty’s new play. Kah, based on the nonsense verse of comic poet Sukumar Ray, has a political subtext. “There is a character who plays an entrepreneur and who goes around selling the dream of industrialisation, which is nothing but a mirage,” explains Chakraborty. Currently being staged in Calcutta, the play also features the literary maverick, Pagla Dashu. “My play is an illustration of the changed times and how we are not able to come to terms with modernity. Despite achieving so much, we have nothing concrete to show as human beings but hollowness,” he says. But then, there is always Ray and his pen to counter that.

Blair blare

If a former American Vice-President has starred in a film on global warming, can the about-to-be-former British Prime Minister be far behind' Al Gore has tasted spectacular success with Davis Guggenheim’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, screened for the first time in Calcutta earlier this month. Now, Tony Blair features in a film on the same theme directed by our own Shekhar Kapur. Called Global Cool, the film was premiered at the Indian International Film Academy awards at Yorkshire recently. Well, the Iraq war has been inconvenient for Blair but if scientists’ warnings are to be heeded, his cameo in Global Cool would certainly palliate his last days as Prime Minister.

The name’s Blaise...

...Modesty Blaise. And despite being a non-entity in the daily comic section these days, the sassy action lady is now back at her kicking best — in paperback. A limited 13-book edition on the adventures of Modesty Blaise has just been released by Penguin, giving fans across generations a golden opportunity to own much of the thrilling literature that author Peter ’Donnell wove around the superwoman and her trusted sidekick Willie Garvin. And with the entire series — comprising 11 novels and two short-story compilations — going for just Rs 2,995, it can’t be anything short of a steal. Collectors take note: the compilation also includes the 1996 story collection Cobra Trap, which effectively ended the literary series and is now available in India for the first time. Collectors’ spouses and employers take note: low productivity may soon be on the cards!

Roll or role'

Kangana Ranaut may be a relative newcomer to the Bombay film industry, but the grapevine insists that she is already calling the shots. She has allegedly angered the Bhatts — the prominent family of directors and producers — by refusing to sign a film with them. Considering that it was the Bhatts who gave the starlet her first break in Gangster, that seems surprising. But Kangana has her reasons. She is said to have turned down the role because she was asked to do some “obscene” scenes — whatever that means. Kangana argues that while she may have shown a bit of flesh when she was making her presence felt in Bollywood, she’d rather do roles than rolls. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, is no longer the mantra of young starlets. I think, therefore I am, is the buzzword.

Life for wife

After Sudha Murthy, it’s the turn of Rohini Nilekani. Corporate wives and social activism seem to go well together. Writer-educationist Sudha deals with charity foundations, and Rohini, who is married to Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani, has made water conservation her mission. And since pictures talk louder than words, her NGO Arghyam Trust hosted an international film festival on water — titled, Voices from the Waters, in Bangalore last week. Girish Karnad and Nandita Das, along with Nilekani, lit the inaugural lamp — just that, in this case, they floated diyas on water. Rohini Nilekani is doing her two-bit to maintain aqua-equilibrium in the world. She is said to have pumped $37 million into the two foundations — including Arghyam — which she’s been running in Bangalore. And Nilekani believes it’s money well spent. “If you don’t want to buy airplanes or diamonds, what are you going to do with your wealth,” she asked in an interview. She has a point there, for money, after all, does tend to flow like water.

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