Sunday, November 30, 2003


Return of the ordinary

Television soaps started off on a realistic note to provide wholesome entertainment to the masses but slowly headed for an estrangement from the lifestyle of the common man. The divorce from middle-class realities perhaps got the final seal with Ektaa Kapoor’s lavishly mounted, upmarket dramas bombarding the tube. But the popularity of shows like Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin, Office Office, Khichdi, Astitva…, etc, symbolises the small screen’s remarriage to realism and a reassertion of middle-class identity, says Chetna Keer Banerjee.

ust when small screen soaps appeared to have reached the end of the road, having nothing better to do than flashing images of an elitist, opulent India into predominantly middle-class living rooms, a crop of different serials have given them a new turn by taking the common man’s living room to the tube instead. 

Mountaineering in terra incognita
P.M. Das

team of 11 policemen departed from Patiala for the Kalle Bank Glacier in the northern fringe of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve of Garhwal recently. It consisted of P.M. Das (leader), Haripal Sidhu and Vinod Chopra (both deputy leaders), Ramesh Sharma, Inder Kumar, Nari Dhami, Kulwinder Kumar, Mohan Lal, Palwinder Singh, Gurbachan Singh and Anand Singh.

Art controversies at the Mughal court
B.N. Goswamy
ne should have anticipated this in some manner, but the perennial question came up again in the course of the three-day workshop on mughal painting I was conducting at Delhi recently: what view does Islam take of painting? We spoke of this at some length, for a few things needed to be established, at least in outline.

Preserving a theatre tradition
Kunal Khurana
umbai’s famous Prithvi Theatre celebrates its silver jubilee this year. Named after the legendary film and stage doyen Prithviraj Kapoor, it was set up in 1972 by his son and daughter-in-law Shashi and Jennifer Kapoor and is today run by their daughter, Sanjana Kapoor.

Crossing boundaries
Encounter with Bittu in Brandenburg

Anees Jung
n eerie quiet hangs over the dull green waters of Havel the river that flows through the city of Brandenburg. A group of black ducks, a couple of white swans move silently. At the end of the deserted promenade, seated on a bench is a lone young man gazing blankly at the river. He is from India he says nodding in recognition.

Director’s special
Vickey Lalwani
t 31, Karan Johar is rather young to be one of the most sought after filmmakers of Bollywood. The feel-good Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was all that was needed to kickstart his career as a director. And the multi-starrer Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham rocketed him to fame. However, for his third film Kal Ho Naa Ho, Johar has relinquished the directorial reins to his assistant Nikhil Advani.

Reel rewind: 1997
Year of a war epic and laugh riot
M.L. Dhawan
.P. Dutta’s Border was based on the notes scribbled on the pages of a diary of Dutta’s real brother — a fighter pilot who died in the battle of Longewala fought between India and Pakistan in 1991. This war epic was a star-studded parade featuring Sunny Deol, Jackie Shroff, Sunil Shetty, Akshay Khanna played the lead with authentic performances.



GARDEN LIFE : Plant evergreens at the entrance
Satish Narula

DREAM THEME: Dreaming of houses
Vinaya K. Manhas

LESSONS FROM LIFE: Wisdom comes from unexpected sources

ULTA-PULTA: Mutual admiration!
Jaspal Bhatti

LIFE TIES: Thrown out of gear by reality
Taru Bahl

TRAVEL: Haven in the Palni hills
Partha S. Banerjee

TELEVISION: A serial that lampoons nepotism
Mukesh Khosla


A riot of queries on Partition
Parshotam Mehra
Witness to Partition: A Memoir
by B. R. Nanda.
Rupa, New Delhi. Rs 250. Pages 172.

Wetland plants can boost eco-tourism
Onkar Singh Brraich

Plants of Harike Wetland - A Field Guide
by Dr Satnam Singh Ladhar and Arshinder Kaur.
The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, Chandigarh. Rs 200 (Rs 100 for individuals, NGOs and students). Pages 152.

India's blunders revisited
Rajendra Nath

India Since 1947
by Dr. R. L. Singal. Abhishek Publications, Chandigarh. 
Rs 550. Pages 259

For adventure buffs
Harbans Singh Virdi

Adventure Sports 
by Yana Bey. Puffin Books, Delhi. Rs. 175. Pages 152

Short Takes
Irani demolishes flagbearers of Ayodhya
Jaswant Singh

Ayodhya: Demolishing a Dream
by C.R. Irani. UBS Publishers’ Distributors, New Delhi. Rs 250. Pages. 196.

Mrs Costello gives an insight into Coetzee’s mind
Manju Jaidka

Elizabeth Costello
by J.M. Coetzee. Viking London, 2003. Pages. 230. $ 21.95.

A stimulating but long-winded thriller
Aditya Sharma

by Lyndon Stacey. Hutchinson, London. Pages 360. £ 5.80.

Decline of Buddhism
D.R. Chaudhry

Buddhism in India: Challenging Brahmanism and Caste
by Gail Omvedt. Sage Publications, New Delhi. Pages XIII+314. Rs 350.

Irritable & disjointed, but still readable
Suresh Kohli

If You are Afraid of Heights
by Rajkamal Jha. Picador, India. Pages 294. Rs 395.

Meet the author
“Writing novels is just a hobby”