Thursday, March 31, 2005
Read on ...
I was just reading about Radio in India. I think the government monopoly on the airwaves is so unjust and is a criminal waste of talent, opportunity which a radio boom can bring upon. Radio in India is monopolised with the sole presence of the state broadcaster, All India Radio. Of course we have the emergence of FM radio stations, but I am talking about the total absense of radio channels in the current affairs genre. The boom of FM radio stations is a sign enough that the time to write the obituary of radio as a medium is not come as yet. I foresee a sad possibility not because the medium will become redundant but because of our government attitude towards Radio which will only result into its imminent death.
I don't know how long these stations will survive given the exhorbitant license fees that the broadcasters have to pay every year. C'mon a license fees of 11-13 crores per year is ridiculously expensive for a fledgeling business enterprise in India. Most of the radio stations are still functioning because of the backing of their successful parent media organisations. However many like Mid-day's GO-92.5 (which caters to a niche audience in Mumbai) are thinking about a closure in case of a status quo.
There is something about Radio which makes it so personal, homely in a very cocoonish kind of a way. I feel Radio and local go hand in hand. Again I repeat the example of FM stations. Logistically, FM stations are bound to be local. Their success just goes on to show that how successful Radio as a medium can be in the local sphere of things. As of now we have only FM stations which are prohibited from mentioning the word "News" as well.
The success of radio lies in the fact that it is one of the cheapest medium of communication. It's reach is massive, radio reaches at places where none of the other mediums of communication even manage a peekaboo. The beauty of Radio is that it complements all other mediums. One can listen to radio while doing their household chores, driving, gardening, etc. The impact that radio has considering the fact that it is purely an audio medium doesn't make it any less potent than other mediums. The fact that it is purely an audio medium is its biggest strength I believe because Radio as a medium works at a subconcious level. Radio sets are cheap. Since it is local, it can easily cross the barriers of language and communicate with the people in their lingo. Radio is also perhaps the only medium which can easily overcomes the literacy barrier.
Just imagine what kind of ripples radio will create if the government were to open the reportage of Current Affairs Radio sector to private players. I am just wondering what amazing variety of content generation that can come up if Government opens up the Radio sector in a justified way reducing the exhorbitant license fees. I fail to understant the Government's insecure behaviour towards Radio as such. I am plain puzzled. The massive reach of the Radio and the inability on the part of the government to regulate it is one of the prime reasons for the non show out here. I fail to understand such a myopic attitude of the Government.
Endless possibilites beckon us in the communciation arena if the government attitude towards radio changed. If the current affairs genre is given the freedom it so deserves, Radio journalism will develop in this country like no tomorrow. There would be tons of jobs which can be created. I just imagine a time wherein I would be able to tune into Radio and listen to innumerable radio programmes (which are not always entertainment based)
Currently there is a stagnation in the current affairs genre given the monopoly of All India Radio. I mean everybody is aware that of thedull and drab their news programmes, their endless discussion sessions and total lack of new programming content. One can bring about so much variety in programming content pertaining to performing arts, current affairs etc. The scope is immense and I can go on and on. We are in dire need of novelty, spunk in Radio programming which is so sadly missing. I for one love Radio and I feel this is so unfair. I wonder why none of our ministers in parliament take up this issue. When we can tons of newspapers, TV Channels, why can't we have tons of Radio channels and original programming content in India?
Community Radio is a very revolutionary concept.
Community Radio serves a local community or a community of interest. The emphasis is on the democratisation of media, that it should be accessible to the community, both in terms of ownership, decision making and programme output.
Programming is produced by the community, with an emphasis on local concerns and issues, the difference being that rather than merely talking about the community, the people themselves make the programmes. This strengthens local culture with the recognition that this is their station, it becomes a forum for a wide diversity of local opinions and views and rather that trying to continue this into a homogenous station ‘image’ usually adopted by mainstream stations, this diversity can be respected and encouraged.
The station as a whole can still have an ‘identity’, but this can be only acceptance, diversity and in short pluralism.
[Definition of community Radio is courtesy this site]
Community Radio has an social impact which the mainstream media are unable to bring about considering their lack of reach. Community Radio is thriving in other parts of the world. Considering the fact that 70% of our population lives in Rural Areas, Community Radio can do wonders.
The presence of Community radio could have easily reduced the number of deaths caused mainly due to the lack of information about the deadly Tsunami. So many people could have been evacuated and in rpocess we could have saved so many lives.
Community Radio is a great agent for social change but unfortunately there aren't many community radios in the country. The government has started giving licenses to reputed educational institutions to start their own campus radio and community radio initiatives.It's a welcome move. However many applications are still lying in pipeline with just one educational institution i.e. Anna University of Chennai which has become the first educational institution in the country to have started a community radio.
I am glad that in a small way government attitude is changing but I fail to realise the logic behind granting licenses to educational instituions in urban areas with limited reach. I mean community radio is more effective and is more needed in rural areas wherein the communities are more close knit and are in dire need of developmental initiatives. Community radio has enormous potential to bring about loads of changes for the better. Someone should just exploit the potential or rather the government should allow someone to exploit the potential.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
"I joined the Army to serve my country," says Anderson. "I joined knowing there's a fact that we could fight wars. But the war in Iraq is an illegal war. There's no reason for these kids to be over there doing this, and thousands of innocent Iraqis are being killed.
"I started thinking about the insurgency they're fighting. And I remember seeing their faces and I remember being in combat against them. These were just regular people, there were elderly men, young men. And then I remember looking around Baghdad and seeing the blown up buildings, the people on crutches, the dismembered people, and thinking that these are just their family members. If someone blew up your house and killed a couple of your family, you're going to pick up a weapon and you're going to fight a war for it."
"So there's no way I could go back. It's my human right to choose not to kill innocent people," he says. "And there's no way I could go die for money and oil, rich people's investments. That's when I decided I couldn't go back."
Read the full story here.
Now Anderson seeks refuge in another country, Canada as he can be prosecuted in USA. I really feel sad at the soldiers' predicament. The more I read such stories the more angry I become and I just wonder how with all the wrongdoings in his kitty, someone can become a President again. HUH!
Saturday, March 26, 2005
"For his book Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World (Routledge), author Robert Neuwirth lived in places that many of us strive to avoid — slums, or squatter colonies of some of the world's largest cities.
From the Rocinha neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro to Kibera in Nairobi and Sanjay Gandhi Nagar a slum in north Mumbai, Neuwirth, an investigative reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday and The Nation, examines how squatters — people whose urban settlements are not legally recognised — build colonies in the face of daunting commercial and political pressure.
While providing its readers a window into the grittier aspects of squatter life, Shadow Cities — which Publishers Weekly called a 'superbly probing book' — takes note of squatter pleasures. Some friends he makes along his journey enjoy what would be considered middle class comforts in much of the developing world."
Continue reading here....
I personally feel such assignments are absolutely awesome! Such stories give a kick like no others can. It's amazing that this writer lived amongst the slum dwellers to write his book which is commendable and also necesary for gaining a perspective. I think it would have been impossible for him to be honest about the issues they are facing if he wouldn't have stayed with them. Kudos to that man who actually went about living with the slum dwellers. I mean it's not an easy task. Adjusting, adapting to new situations, language, poverty, damn there are thousand things to take care of and he ain't even a desi! Whoa! As a journalist such kind of stories, assignments give tremendous amount of job satisfaction and I hope in future as a journalist I get a chance to do such challenging stories :D
Friday, March 25, 2005
It's a brand new day, it's a brand new headline but the same old intro as day before yesterday. HA HA HA! (Please refer to my previous post below)
This is how the actual article looks like....
You can also find the article here
It beats me that they have not corrected their mistake as yet!
Thursday, March 24, 2005
What's the connection between headline and the intro? huh!
Well....this is how the article looks....
You can also find it by clicking here.
P.S.There is a new post below :)
I was in the train reading Indian Express when this cute little girl came and sat next to me. She was probably around 8-9 years old and was in her school uniform. I couldn't help but wondering how cute the girl looked with the malli poo(mogra flowers or jasmine)tuck in her hair with the help of a hairpin. I went back to reading my newspaper. Suddenly I overheard other lady asking her about her school. The little girl said,"I study in Balmohan Vidya Mandir in Dader". The lady looked at the girl in marvel and said,"So you daily travel from Thane to Dader to attend school?" The girl nodded in approval. I think the girl had a smug look after seeing the lady's reaction. It's quite a feat travelling daily in train for a girl who is all of eight years old. I began talking to her.
I got to know that her school timings were from 1 to 5 pm. Now trains are usually very crowded in the evenings, its the rush hour. I asked her,"Why do you travel so much? There are so many good schools in Thane too." Then she told me how they earlier lived in Dadar. She's been with this school right from the beginning. I could see that she loved her school and didn't regard train travelling as a bother at all. All through the time I was talking to her, I couldn't help but marvel at the fact that she was so sure about what she wanted. She was quite a social kid and started telling me tales about her friends in her apartment in Thane. "Don't you feel like going to the same school as your Thane friends do?" I asked. She had a ready answer, NO! She proceeded to tell me that she was more close to her school friends in Dadar than her building friends and that she doesn't feel like quitting the school for that reason.
Children more often than not are clear about what they want. The school is an important area of socialisation for a kid. I often wonder how children of parents with tranferable jobs cope up. I mean, schools bring a sense of permamnency, the 12-14 year schooling experience that a child goes through is very important. No wonder some of our best friends are from school. I have couple of cousins who have changed schools frequently because of their fathers' transferable jobs. In a way I think its great as it gives such children an opportunity to make new friends everywhere. but I can't help but wondering at the sadness that might engulf them when they its time to move out. I remember one cousin of mine telling me,"We had just settled down here, made all new friends and now it is time to move out" and then burst into tears. I therefore maintain a certain kind of stability is essential for a child in its growing years. There is obviously lies a difference having memories about a place where one has studied for 12 years as compared to studying in a place for 2 years. Somehow a sense of belonging is lost.
Speaking about trains, today much to my misfortune, I got into a very crowded train. I had a hellish time getting off at Dadar. Goodness....one doesn;t need a workout if one travels in crowded trains like these everyday. I got out of the train gasping for fresh air when I saw this lady who too was in a similar condition like mine. But then I noticed that she was pregnant. She just went and sat in the bench cluthcing her stomach. Holy Shit, I almost freaked out looking at her condition. I mean who in her right mind will board a crowded train like this in such a condition. Thankfully she had her husband alongwith her. Poor thing, really felt sad for that lady. I hope she's fine....:(
P.S: I forgot to add, the girl was accompanied by her mother :)
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Ok, I HAVE SOOOOOOOOOOOO MANY THINGS TO DISCUSS ABOUT OVER HERE. Ok, I know many of you want to know about my Indo Pak experiences. Well, sorry guys, I dont think I would be posting anything major in this post. Will sure have a decent write up written by mid of April. Nevertheless I still have tons to say. Ok, I had my final submission today. It felt a bit weird that this was my last assignment that I would ever submit. 3 years of assignments, projects, submissions, presentation........ALL DONE, OVER, KHATAM, Finished. In a few days I would be graduating also. Things are changing in a speed that is really tough to fathom. Sometimes, I am like, hey life, wait a minute, let it sink in! But I guess from now onwards it is all about adapting oneself quickly because I know for sure the one thing that is going to be constant is change and I better get adjusted to it. Oh well...enough of my rambling.
Ok, now what prompted me to post here was Reiya's post on Black. She has reflected upon her thoughts on Black. I thought I will add my two cents too. I saw Black twice. First time it was with the Pakistani delegation. They were all dying to see a Hindi Movie in a THEATRE in MUMBAI. So we booked tickets for Black in Liberty. Black got me hooked on right from scene 1. I remember I didn't speak a word with my friend who was sitting next to me. Poor thing, she had loads to say about the movie but well i was engrossed. I was engrossed to such an extent that the scenes in the movie had an effect on me emotionally. I remember during the break, I just wanted to be alone, with myself. The movie drained me completely. The emotions were probably too much for me to handle. During the second half of the movie, I cried buckets. I simply let go of myself during the end. Oh well, it's another story altogether as to how everybody (my Paki friends included) ragged me to death coz I was the only sole person crying over there. :P:P
I have always maintained in this blog that when I see a movie, I see like any normal viewer. I really don't sit and analyse, "Wow, what an awesome shot, what a great camera angle" and the works. Whenever I watch a movie for the first time, I get completely involved with it. I allow the movie to take me for a ride. It is only during the second or third time that I watch the movie, can I be completely objective about it and can only then form opinions. Therefore I have always wondered how critics rate a movie immediately after watching it. I take time to form opinions. Or maybe this has got to do with the fact that I don't watch too many movies as such. I am sure a movie like Black might have left majority of the audience emotionally drained, confused or whatever. I wonder how one can really evaluate a movie like Black just by watching it once. Emotions tend to cloud proper decision-making and this applies to everything in life. Therefore I wonder how do movie critics rate, critique a movie just by watching it once? I think they are programmed to watch a movie in a certain way and that is what helps them. Hmmm....
But nevertheless, I went to watch Black for the second time. I was and still am to a great extent completely enamoured by the movie. I wondered if I would cry again. But surprisingly I didn't. Maybe it had to do with the fact that the last time I watched the movie wasn't a long time ago. This time however I came out oft he movie with mixed feelings. I think this has got to do with the fact that both my friends didnt like the movie the way I did. It never really occurred to me that the acting of Amitabh Bachchan went over the top. I still don’t think so. Yea, there were scenes wherein his acting was animated. But never once did he come across as irritating. What would be over the top acting would be Hrithik’s performance in Main Prem ki Deewani Hoon. I am not trying to compare Hrithik and Amitabh’s performance. Hell, No! I am just giving a reference to what irritating over the top acting would be like. There are eccentric characters like Amitabh’s character in real life too. If you see in India, almost all the art forms are mostly synonymous with over dramatisation. It is a genre in itself. If you see Bharatnatyam for example, a simplest of emotion or a reaction would be over dramatised. It has always been the case. But dramatisation I feel is ok if done in a proper way and not in an irritating way. Irritating would be the eye-brow twitching dramatisation in Saas-Bahu serials. But then, it sells. People love it. Melodrama is in the psyche of majority of the Indians if I can add. Most of us being the urban audiences and being exposed to a lot of Hollywood movies where subtlety rules, we might pan Black down. But I think this is our style just as subtlety is theirs.
Also, I think Melodrama was used to convey the anguish of the child who can’t see, can’t hear and hence can’t talk. To communicate is an inherent need of every human being. I can’t even fathom the anguish and the pain that a child like this might go through in real life. How many of us actually sit and think about what it might be like being Michelle. Melodrama was effectively used a tool. The film forces you to think so.
I thought the kissing scene between Amitabh and Rani was one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever watched. Michelle is like any normal teenager if one would discount the disabled side of hers. I thought it was but natural for her to fall in love with someone who was her sole link to the real world for a long time. He was the only male friend in a lonely world of hers. It was but natural for her to fall in love with him. The vulnerability was beautifully shown. I guess never has such a topic been broached by any Indian movie as such. It is challenging enough to portray the emotions of people who can’t speak, talk and hear. It is quite an effort to translate those emotions on screen and for that Bhansali deserves an ovation.
Also the scene wherein the child regards her mother “Ma” and her father as “Pa” is another lovely scene of the movie. I get goose bumps even thinking about the scene. And yea, Shernaz Patel was awesome. She was the perfect mom. Also the wonderkid Ayesha Kapoor, great find.
However one thing did trouble me when I watched the movie for the second time. I really didn’t like it when Amitabh hits the child. I agree the child was obstinate to the core. But still hitting a child is not the right way to go about it. I am firmly against hitting and spanking children. I am shocked at myself as to how this thing didn’t trouble me when I watched the movie the first time. I don’t know but is this a norm with the children who are visually challenged and mentally impaired? If no, then how do they deal with the kids. Hmm....
Also one of my very good friend Dodo starts blogging. YAYYYY! for that (drumrolls please:P:P) Do check her blog out, she surely does write well. Dodo, you really did surprise me :)
Dya guys remember this post of mine on Meena Mami? Well, guess what, I met her a week back. More on that in my next post. :)
Bye for now :)