The Telegraph
Sunday , December 14 , 2014

A voice for every daughter of India

- Caleidoscope

From Test cricket to IPL, the talk at Victoria Memorial  dwelt on the journey of the game over the years

Daughters of Mother India is a documentary and another voice in the longstanding cry for justice for any kind of sexual assault after the night of December 16, 2012, when a 23-year-old girl was raped by a gang of men in Delhi. The incident that sparked a groundswell of anger, protest and brought to light unspeakable wrongs done to girls and women, prompted Vibha Bakshi, a business reporter-turned-docu-filmmaker to film the challenges women face across towns and cities.

"My journey starts with a Nirbhaya in a five-year-old who was raped soon after Nirbhaya. This is a journey, I don't have the answers and I have faith that this film will reach many. I'm a mother of two sons and if I raise them with an unnecessary sense of entitlement, I am very much a part of the problem. I hope the viewers can take away something that will make a difference," said Vibha, who lives in Mumbai and was in Calcutta last week to screen her 45-minute documentary at the American Center. The documentary will be dubbed in Hindi to reach out to a larger audience.

From activists, lawyers, sociologists and students to tea-stall owners, security guards and car drivers, Vibha spoke to a cross-section of people to provoke a reaction to what had happened and take a peek at the attitude of police, judiciary and community groups. "I didn't have to go very far to get my responses. We went with the flow and what we captured is that this is unacceptable and change must happen. Here people talk about a girl losing her honour if she is raped. That statement is very wrong."

Vibha was producer for Terror At Home, a film directed by Oscar-winner Maryann DeLeo that was part of the US Government's Emmy Award-winning campaign to stop violence against women. "Maryann DeLeo has been my partner for 10 years and we co-direct and co-produce films together," said Vibha, for who this is her first film out of India. The film has been picked up by a European distributor who has been organising screenings in the west.

"I lived in India 10 years ago but I was not here then. I was in the US when this made international news. I was horrified at the incident but I was also amazed by the reaction. It's incredibly hard to make change but I'm pleased by your participation in trying to do something," said Helen LaFave, the US consul-general in Calcutta, to Vibha.

Cricket for every season

Kerry Packer to IPL - it was an evening to remember for cricket enthusiasts as Gideon Haigh, cricket writer from Australia, and Kishore Bhimani, sports writer, columnist and commentator, spoke on the past, present and future of the game.

The discussion on Is Test Cricket Doomed to be Consigned to the Annals of History and Heritage? was moderated by Raju Raman, an expert in film studies.

Bhimani began by mentioning the change Packer brought to international cricket with his World Series Cricket in 1975-77. That was also the time when the Indian team, led by Bishan Singh Bedi, was touring Australia. "Day-and-night matches were being played for the first time. There was traditional cricket on Channel 10 and the new circus on Channel 9. Though it took the second edition of World Series Cricket for Channel 9 to steal the march from traditional cricket broadcast on Channel 10, in the process Packer taught cricket a few lessons. He taught them to value TV rights and showed them the road to wealth. It became a richer game and an increasingly divided game because of the several levels of competition. Before that it was a given that cricket could only function as a monopoly," said Haigh, whose first book, The Cricket War published in 1993, was on World Series Cricket.

For Bhimani, the next milestone in cricket entertainment was the 1983 World Cup final. "The 1983 World Cup final broadcast from London had the highest TRP on that particular evening. That made broadcasters sit up and take notice of the immense revenue opportunities TV rights of cricket tournaments could bring in," he said.

By then Test cricket tickets weren't selling. People in New Delhi, (then) Bombay and even Karachi were giving away tickets for free. "I remember Viv Richards telling me once over a glass of beer how he remembered people clapping after a maiden over or a good piece of fielding at the Eden Gardens! Nowhere else in the world, apart from maybe Australia, did one see that! So then what happened to Test cricket? Personally, I feel Calcutta was the place that saw the last of Englishmen. Eden will also be the stadium that will see the last of Test cricket," Bhimani said.

As the discussion veered into IPL and T20 matches and their popularity, Haigh put things in perspective, "Today people want to see a result within a day. From a five-day Test they brought it down to a day-and-night match. But now they can only spare three hours. It is a very entertaining aspect of cricket."

Bhimani agreed. "In those days, there was always an aunt who fell sick during a Test. People bunked office and rushed to the stadium. Which youngster today can afford to take five days' leave to watch a cricket match?" he asked.

There was good news for cricket in the city as the authorities of Victoria Memorial Hall, the venue for the talk, announced a tie-up with the Australian heritage commission that would allow them to bring a few memorabilia from The International Cricket Hall of Fame at Bowral's Bradman Museum for display next year.

"You may consider tonight's event a teaser for the events we will be organising over the next year. Stay tuned to VMH," said Jayanta Sengupta, the secretary and curator of Victoria Memorial Hall.

Picture perfect

Eighteen frames of Armenian churches and their religious ceremonies greet visitors at the Camerena store at E-Mall. Amateur photographer and travel writer Rangan Datta's debut solo exhibition on Armenians in Calcutta and Chinsurah is the result of hard work and research over four years. From stills of mass at the Holy Trinity Church and Armenian Christmas celebrations to Good Friday rituals at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, the pictures are sombre, colourful and with an eye for detail. The exhibition is on till December 17.

Students feted

More than 200 students attended Melan, an alumni meet and certification programme for underprivileged children who have completed vocational training, hosted by Save the Children at GD Birla Sabhagar. "We are taking steps to make these children comfortable in life. Most of them have found jobs and the rest will too. This is an initiative to help people from economically challenged backgrounds," said Asokendu Sengupta, the chairperson of the state commission for protection of child rights.

Contributed by Mohua Das, Chandreyee Ghose and Showli Chakraborty

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