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Sunday, January 17, 1999
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Choosing a winner in the battle of brains

IT is not just Amartya Sen that Bengal has to boast about in intellect. In fact the four people who made it to the finals of the mind-scrambling BBC Mastermind India were all Bengalis.

Hundreds of contenders from all over India had applied to do battle from the famous black chair. After rigorous testing, only 48 made it through to the final rounds that included 12 preliminary rounds, four semi-finals and then, the grand final in which the last four contenders fought it out for the title at the picturesque Samode palace in Rajasthan.

Dayita Bira Dutta: Winner of BBC Mastermind IndiaThe first finalist was Dayita Bira Dutta, a school teacher from Welhams Girls High School, Dehradun. The subjects she was quizzed upon were, The Conquest of Everest, 1900-1996, Subhas Chandra Bose and the INA and Gerald Durrell — Life and works.

The second finalist, Sabyasachi Majumdar, was a 26-year-old Management Graduate and a Credit Rating Analyst of Delhi. His subjects of specialisation were Test Cricket between the Wars (1919-1950), Mammals of India and The Solar System.

The third contender, Devangshu Dutta, was a 36-year-old freelance journalist and stock market analyst from the Calcutta University. He was asked questions about the Opening Systems in Chess, Novels of George Macdonald Fraser and the 1971 Indo-Pak War.

The fourth finalist was Gautam Ghosh, a 44-year-old business executive from Calcutta, with a degree in engineering. His diverse choice of subjects was The Cricketing Career of Don Bradman, Marlon Brando and the Indian National Congress.

Though school teacher Dayita Bira Dutta was declared ‘Mastermind India’ the final four finalists proved that for the people of West Bengal the battle of the brains is a cakewalk!

Maria Goretti

She says she’s finally entered her field of dreams. And Maria Goretti is loving every moment of it. After all, not everyone gets selected from thousands of hopefuls to become a VJ on MTV.

It all started as one big joke, reminisces Maria. She applied for the MTV VJ hunt on a lark but when the elimination rounds began and she started moving towards the finals she became serious.

"I could virtually see VJing coming my way after every elimination round," says Maria and adds, "No, I didn’t get overly confident. But I knew I’d get the job because I love music, I love talking and I love dancing the three vital ingredients for VJing."

So here’s your chance to shake a leg or two in true Bollywood style with Maria. MTV’s Hipshakers, is a half hour weekly show, in which Maria gives viewers tips on dancing and hip shaking a la Bollywood style the way she does in a take-off from the song Kya Bolti Tu in the Coke ad.

Music to the ears

Much like the whole of 1998, the year too ended on a musical note for Music Asia — and in more ways than one. The all-music channel capped off with the foot-tapping musical round up titled the Real Number One.

But this was not the conventional type of a round up. The anchor discussed what contributed towards the success of each song. The treatment, look and feel of the programme was so celebration and happiness, in keeping with the new year spirit.

Sure enough those who tuned into the Real Number One on December 31 last year, had a treat of music to set the mood for 1999.

Predators of the savanna

A scene from Cheetahs: Blood BrothersIt’s a show which will enthrall you from the word go. Cheetahs: Blood Brothers on the National Geographic Channel is a stunning telefilm on this agile and cunning member of the cat family. Lean, strong and fast, cheetahs are one of the leading predators on the savanna. However, they still have obstacles to overcome. The show follows several groups of cheetahs in an effort to make viewers learn more of their behaviour and how they survive in the African wilderness.

A not to be missed programme. Even if you missed it the first time look out for the repeats. There’ll be plenty of them for such a super programme.

Songs of success

Annamika: A bundle of energyPeople knew her as the ‘Catwalk Girl’ in 1997, and now with her new album Annamika being a chart buster, this little lady with the husky and soulful voice has a host of new fans thanks to Channel V and MTV airing her songs repeatedly. Her hit number Intezar from the new album has topped the charts for over 25 weeks and the Aaja Aaja video featuring dances of Michael Jackson, Toni Braxton and Diana King is already a big hit.

A versatile live performer, Annamika, the little bundle of energy tempts you on to the dance floor with her Hindi, Punjabi and English numbers. A favourite among all age groups, she has done over 110 live shows and is the only artiste to have performed at almost all the Pepsi Dance Connection shows to audiences of over 25,000.

With her new video Kala Sha Kala topping the charts, and Ode to Life all set to go international as it is dedicated to AIDS patients, Annamika is definitely the leading female pop artiste of the country today.

— Mukesh Khosla


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