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Smoke screen Fruitful deal British monopoly Night’s loss AWARD OF THE WEEK

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 5.06.05
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Smoke screen

What do you think of the Centre’s decision to blur scenes showing people smoking on TV and in films? I think it’s fairly tragic. Things we can’t watch now ? most of Ray, new-age Chinese films, French films ? actually, pretty much any European film, anything in world cinema that has arty aspirations seems to be enveloped in a haze of cigarette smoke ? American westerns and gangster movies and most Bollywood action flicks. While producers have a new way of cutting costs (use cheap actors for blurred smoking scenes, pay stars less for other footage) I think this is the government’s way of telling us to watch more cartoons ? and more porn. We can still see murders and rapes being enacted, of course.

Fruitful deal

But the smoking ban is nowhere close to being the most ridiculous event of the week. The prize goes to Gohar Ayub Khan, the late Pakistani President’s son who claimed that an Indian brigadier sold Pakistani agents India’s 1965 battle plans for the princely sum of Rs 20,000 ? to finance his wife’s obsession with canning fruits and vegetables. I call it the tale of Agent Cunning and Lady Canning. Sorry, that was terrible. I think it’s a cheap publicity stunt for Gohar Ayub Khan’s book, but you can never tell, especially when the answer involves both wives and fruits. The Indian Army is taking these claims seriously, of course. What must be most insulting to the military top brass is that India’s battle plans should be worth only Rs 20,000. Didn’t we win the war? Either way, I promise to treat preserved foods with more reverence, starting now.

Chunky Pandey, soon to be seen in Ram Gopal Verma’s D, recently displayed a fine sense of humour when he described his return to Bollywood (from Bangladesh) as ‘cross-border terrorism’. To go through life with a name like Chunky, I guess you need a sense of humour.

British monopoly

A new version of the classic board game Monopoly is coming out in the UK. Called Monopoly UK Desi, it’s aimed at the South Asian community. The properties are being rechristened, with names like Brick Lane, the Taj Mahal and Bollywood. The counters, too, will morph into objects like autorickshaws, tigers and cricket bats.

Night’s loss

Former Hollywood Next Big Thing Manoj Night Shyamalan won’t be directing the Fox film version of Yann Martel’s Booker-winning novel, Life of Pi. His involvement with the film was broadly hyped as a match made in heaven, because he was born in Pondicherry, where Life of Pi begins. But Shyamalan’s chosen, instead, to direct Warner’s mermaid tale Lady in the Water. It’s rumoured that his replacement will be Y Tu Mama Tambien and Prisoner of Azkaban director, the brilliant Mexican Alfonso Cuaron. Which is probably a good thing for the film, if you consider the last two movies made by these two directors.

AWARD OF THE WEEK

Award

To 7’2” tall Dalip Singh from Dhirana, Himachal Pradesh. The two-time Mr India and popular pro wrestler (in the Japanese version of the WWE) will be acting in the Adam Sandler remake of The Longest Yard.