2011

Television: The daily theatre in our lives

For television, the 1990s began with a worried bureaucrat in the ministry of information and broadcasting submitting a file to his minister on how to stop what was then still called the “satellite invasion”. Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke’s 1945 vision of a satellite in geosynchronous orbit solving the global broadcast distribution problem suddenly […..]

THE FALL OF ROME

In the foyer of the magnificent Musee D’Orsay in Paris hangs a telling painting by the nineteenth century French artist Thomas Couture. Titled ‘The Romans during the decadence’, the canvass depicts a mass orgy in a guilded Roman assembly hall, its citizens sprawled all over in various stages of drunkenness and post-coital repose as the […..]

THE GENERAL’S BIRTHDAY

Absurdness comes in various forms. In the stratified levels of the uniformed bureaucracy it seems to come in the form of a birth day, or more accurately, birth year. Decorated soldiers are usually expected to know when they were born so when the Army Chief thought his real birth day was on 10 May 1951, […..]

WHY THERE ISN’T AN INDIAN MURDOCH

As British Members of Parliament united against Rupert Murdoch last week, the most revealing quote came from one of his advisors who ruefully said, “Not even Saddam Hussein managed to unite the Commons like he did. Talk about revenge being served cold.” Faced with such unanimous and unprecedented political opposition, Mr Murdoch has retreated but […..]

MURDOCH AND THE END OF NEWS

Rupert Murdoch has always had two fascinations: the first is what he calls ‘a spiritual calling towards journalism’; the second, the vision of science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke who, in 1945, imagined that a satellite placed in geosynchronous orbit would solve the ‘global broadcast distribution problem.’ Both of these primal impulses – the business […..]

TELEVISION OF PASSION

As one legal case in Mumbai sets aflame India’s TV screens, another one that is collapsing in New York offers interesting comparisons. The case against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn virtually disintegrated, for all practical purposes, on the same day as the decision by Mumbai Sessions Court judge N W Chandwani to rule Maria Susairaj […..]

KALMADIS OF THE BEAUTIFUL GAME

For those of us who are pained by the terrible politicisation of Indian sport, it’s lack of professional management and its permanent strangulation by power-brokers of the Kalmadi kind, recent events at FIFA, football’s governing body, are instructive. FIFA has been engulfed by two kinds of allegations: alleged bribery by Qatar in its successful winning […..]