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Bollywood’s Royals: Brave heroes on screen, spineless zeroes off it by Shekhar Gupta

Hindi cinema is the richest, starriest business in our popular culture, way ahead of even cricket. Why is it also the most pusillanimous too, and also going with the wind? Since this argument is about Hindi cinema, it is fitting that I steal the headline from Anand Bakshi in the 1972 mega-hit, starring Hema Malini […]

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Churchill a War Criminal? Get Your History Right by Zareer Masani

IT’S A SAD reflection of our times that smearing and libelling our now-distant colonial past have become a popular substitute for soul-searching about our own failures, abuses and atrocities in the present. With popular and social media happy to circulate the wildest rumours and allegations, quotations out of context, half-truths and even blatant untruths, it’s […]

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London Notebook by Anil Dharker

If the Royals are here, can the paparazzi be far behind? Stating the obvious perhaps, so ubiquitous have the massed photographers become that they are now an accepted part of the scenery (Sadly, everyone seems to have forgotten the central role they played in the death of Princess Diana). I bring this up now because […]

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Waiting for Modi’s Achhe Din: The Bad, the Worse & The Ugly by Shashi Tharoor

The story of the last four years is one of missed opportunities and dashed hopes, of waiting for achhe din that never came, of seeing expectations raised to the heights by lofty rhetoric, only to come crashing down in the face of depressing reality. 26 May marks the fourth anniversary of an era of disappointment for believers, […]

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Mumbai Notebook by Anil Dharker

The longest running play in the world in not a musical. In fact, it is a murder mystery called The Mousetrap which has been running in London`s St Martin`s Theatre since 1952. That`s 68 years! Based on Agatha Christie`s short-story Three Blind Mice, its original producer thought it would run for 14 months. Christie herself gave it 8 months. That`s […]

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Lousy economics & lousier politics: Modi govt acting like any other panicky last-year govt by Shekhar Gupta

A series of bypoll losses has pushed the Modi government into panic mode. Uncharacteristically, it’s letting events dictate its actions. Throwing good money after bad money is an old truism. But throwing good money after bad politics? Every government does it, in its last year. But is Narendra Modi’s also behaving like “any other” government? […]

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‘Kindly adjust’ to our English by Shashi Tharoor

I have long immodestly considered myself the inventor of the term ‘prepone’. I came up with it at St Stephen’s in 1972, used it extensively in conversation and employed it in an article in JS magazine soon after. Prepone, as a back-construction from postpone, seemed so much simpler, to a teenage collegian, than saying, “could […]

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On Stage by Anil Dharker

“When I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun.” So Paul Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s right hand man and Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda is supposed to have said. As it happens he did reach for his gun, using it to shoot his wife and himself when Germany lost the Second World […]

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Mumbai Notebook by Anil Dharker

The sun rarely shines on Hay. I know that’s a poor pun, but the literary festival’s name lends itself to such wordplay, besides which the weather often plays spoilsport. Not that it deters the crowds, which on the festival’s two weekends resemble a Mumbai local. You could divide the big draws of this year’s event […]

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Mumbai Notebook by Anil Dharker

From top banker to shit. Sounds like a good tabloid headline, doesn’t it? But Naina Lal Kidwai, former Chairman, HSBC India, won’t mind, because she has taken up the cause of sanitation in right earnest. And on the hallowed stage of NCPA, she used this four-letter world liberally, not as an exclamation, but matter-of-factly when […]

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Sweet victory: Shashi Tharoor with mother, Lily, after winning the Lok Sabha seat from Thiruvananthapuram in 2014 | Manoj Chemancheri

Tough love by Shashi Tharoor

My mother drove me to excellence, writes Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor My mother just bought a new car. It is a gleaming red Nissan Micra, and she proudly drove it to the temple to get it blessed before journeying to the market and bank. Nothing exceptional about any of this—except that she is 82. […]

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