Friday, 31 August 2012

Censor certificate for films on TV - update

In continuation of my earlier post .....i was very happy to read that the censor board decided not to permit adult movies on TV at all i.e at any time of the day. As earlier reported, censor board limited them only in the late night slots which was contested by the film producers. They nearly got away with it when the court decided in their favour but it seems that the censor board is not only sticking to its stand but also upped its ante by deciding that adult films would not be screened at all.  this is excellent news for people like us. one needs to wait for the next move of the producer guild though...

ABVP students assault 98 migrants after dragging them out of the train..

this was the front page news i read with my morning cup of tea which naturally brought a lump in my throat. i dont know the reasons for this thrashing they got but my only appeal is - guys you are all students with bright futures and they are only labourers. please show them some mercy..

Monday, 27 August 2012

Censorship of film on TV

Star movies and maybe HBO later on (or vice versa) were the first to introduce the rating system for movies they show on their channels (unfortunately it no longer exists)
13 - meant it was suitable for people above 13
PG - meant that they are suitable for children but under parental guidance
18 - for 18 and above and so on...
one would say that this is roughly equivalent of our censor system and that there is nothing new in it. well there is something new in this - the age label /indicator stayed on the screen throughout the duration of the movie at the right hand top corner, so that at any point in time you knew which group the movie is suitable for!!!
this helped in two ways:-
1. for the not so bright ones like me who are not in sync with all the modern day movies to know whether they are 'U' or 'A' rated (especially after missing the censor certificate so religiously shown at the beginning in some indian channels), to choose whether to watch a particular movie or not 
2. To clearly inform children which movies are undesirable for them to watch and avoid corrupting their minds at a young age.  Many a time, children may inadvertently watch an adult movie in ignorance and by 'adult' I dont mean just 'sex'. it could be crime, violence, poor depiction of human relations or anything that corrupts or contrives their young minds, all of which contribute to their 'loss of innocence'.

for unknown reasons they stopped the rating system. propbably the 13 rated movies werent getting enough commercials!!

anyway I was quite surprised to see in the newspapers a few days back that a court had set aside censor board directives for telecasting adult films only at late nights. one mr bhatt whom i earlier admired for his strong n gutsy words  was reportedly overjoyed at the court's verdict.  Well who wouldnt be coz the sale of satellite rights of these sleazy movies would certainly multiply if permitted in prime time!!!  

I have a few questions for all the proponents against the censor board:-
1. To see an 'A ' rated movie in a theatre - a child has to go the movie, buy a ticket and pass the scrutiny of the ticket checking staff (who are supposed to ascertain his age) to watch the movie. how do u put safe guards while at home (especially when the parents are working?)

2. Secondly, if u genuinely dont know that a movie is 'A' rated and sit down to watch a movie with your family in prime time - how do you handle the situation? at what point do you decide that enough is enough and switch/change the channel? how do you handle the situation between the beginning of a 'sex/violence/crime' scene to the point of switching off/changing the channel?

3. why not have permanent label/indicator at an un-obtrusive location on screen saying 'U', 'A' or 'UA' so that no one inadvertently watches Adult movies?

4. Lastly for the likes of the director whom i admired earlier for both his movies and strong words - why are you getting into my house - let me be - if i want to watch an adult film - i will pay for it and watch in the theatre - or get a dvd and watch - YOU PEOPLE NEED NOT SHOW US ADULT MOVIES FOR FREE ON TV - PLEASE DONT DO US THIS FAVOUR!!! DONT TRY TO FORCIBLY GET UR SLEAZE INTO OUR LIVING ROOMS FOR THE MILLIONS THAT U MAKE OUT OF SATELLITE RIGHTS!!!!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Television and cable - I am not anti, but.... - part III.....the case of the missing back ... Bollywood adds to the chaos

disclaimer: This is not a sexist post but mere reflections on actual happenings.

WE were discussing different kinds of vodka based cocktails.  Anand a dear friend of mine was animatedly listing the virtues of a bloody mary while Raj, an acquaintance was more inclined towards a screw driver.  Those were our happy go lucky days with not a care in the world - about two decades back. Suddenly Anand let out an audible gasp!!! 'Look at that' he exclaimed and we all promptly turned to see a gorgeous sari clad lady in an exquisitely cut sleeveless blouse which revealed a reasonable portion of her back.  That lady being the only one dressed so, was the cynosure of all eyes in the evening but many of the other ladies quite openly hissed at her boldness.  The image of that lady remained etched in our memory long after the party was over.  The decades rolled by and Anand invited me to another cocktail party last month, having returned permanently from the US as a successful businessman.  We were recollecting the good times we had, while in the walked the most beautiful sari clad woman I have seen in a long time wearing the tiniest of  backless blouses with a vivid display of her beautiful back. Though the display was too bold for me, being a Man, I couldnt help marvel the sight. Before I could recover from that sight, there was another dazzling damsel in a similar attire and another one and so on... I looked around and found myself sharing space with many women who seemed to compete for a prize for the 'shortest back'!!! I compared this with the incident in our cocktail party decades back. 'Arrey!! yeh toh kuch bhi nahin (This is nothing), havent you seen our bollywood heroines?' ..Anand said and splashed the pictures from a latest film magazine. I couldnt help agreeing with him, what with all of them in barely there blouses!!! 
With the top heroines eager to display their backs I wondered what effect it would have on the normal women across the street!!

Sure enough I could notice a certain boldness in a large number of women on the streets too with the backs becoming that wee bit shorter and thinner (Needless to say there were many who were as covered as before).  The women were not the least bit conscious about it, as after all, their favourite heroines are also glammed up in the same way except that they are paid a small bomb for doing it. The influence of bollywood and the local language films could not be lost on the masses. Moreover such dress sense counts them as 'in style' and not outdated.

Hey!! we are not moralising here on what should be or what should be not or what is the correct length of the back of a blouse!!! This post is to bring out the fact that TV/Movies affect our mindset be it the men or the women.  This is an important aspect for all Teleserial/Movie makers to realise.  You have the power to change people's minds and perspectives!! 

Therefore, they need to be  limit the dosage of violence, sex and skewing of interpersonal relations in the movies/Teleserials as repeated exposure to such ideas would neccessarily have an affect on juvenile minds.   I am afraid such repeated exposure may numb the senses and adversely affect the sensitivity of children. This may lead to an increase in juvenile crimes. I dont have the data right now but i will obtain it and post it here as a proof of increase in juvenile crimes.

So My dear Film/serial makers !!! you have great power in your hands!! please use it to build a better society and make your contribution to mankind.  This is your oppurtunity!! Go grab it with both hands!!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Television and cable - I am not anti, but.... - part II- 'The lOSS OF INNOCENCE'

A few days back while channel surfing I saw a popular dance show on a local television channel.  A lovely girl was showing her dance moves to the judges and the audience.  Going by the whistles and cat calls her performance generated, one could see that the audience was being well entertained.  I too leaned back in my couch setting aside the remote to further watch her performance.  The Girl dressed in a backless choli with substantial midriff showing had chosen risque bollywood numbers which required her to be provocative with a whole lot of pelvic thrusts and jhatkas. The pelvic thrusts of the girl enticed immediate response from the crowds who were largely male and they began to match their pelvic thrusts with her.  There was a loud amount of cheering and whistling which kept the thrusts and jhatkas going on for nearly a minute.  Depending on your personal views, it could have been seen as a vulgar display or a group of people having some good fun.  The bigger point is that girl could hardly have been 10 years old and she performed this dance right in front of her parents who appeared to be thoroughly pleased with the response their daughter elicited from the audience.  Surely no one ,let alone  own parents should agree to a little girl dancing to the tunes of 'choli key peeche kya hain' or 'sheela ki jawani' but far from disagreeing they actually seem to have been thrilled with her. Does dancing to such songs and enduring such lewd behaviour from the audience affect the psyche of this child?  Now as far as human relations are concerned - how does this girl think? as and adult? or as a child? Can I give her an affectionate hug as a child without her doubting my intentions? These are all some questions for which I dont know the answers for sure. I also dont know as to what the guys matching pelvic thrusts with her might have been thinking at that moment!!!I hope it was harmless fun!!!!

(... to be continued) 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Television and cable - I am not anti, but.... - part I

The title says it all - I am not anti TV but the quality and nature programs in recent times makes me cringe uncomfortably.

to understand the full implications of the issue one must realise the following issues

Penetration level.       TV is the only platform which has the highest penetration levels into each household. Every urban and most of the rural households have access to this medium.  For watching a movie, one has to go to the cinema hall but the TV is always there.

Difficult to censor.       To watch an 'A' rated movie in a cinema hall you need to shell out a hundred rupees but the same movie can be watched comfortably at home free of cost (except for the monthly cable charge) after a few weeks.  Further we can control who goes to the movies by rigidly following the 18+ rule (atleast in places where it is implemented) but how can you regulate what our children watch on TV (ok! ok! i know parental controls on some TV systems but we are talking of the common man with the cable Tv!!!)

advertisor driven programmes.     some children friendly programmes such as 'tiny tv' used to dominate the kids channels some time back. but such programmes are being pushed to the back burner presumably at the behest of the advertisors who are eager for the ad slots. i was watching a kids programme with my daughter when i was shell shocked during the break to see an ad for a deodorant with all those impossibly beautiful grils throwing themselves over a common man like me just because he used that particular deo. now they have started raiding our kids programmes also so how much can we guard?!!!

social engineering.    with the reach of TV, social engineering is being done by the big marketing entities ostensibly to market the products.  they are forcing products onto us which we were perfectly happy without!!! take for example the fairness creams - a dark complexion girl doesnt get a job, so she uses a cream, becomes snow white and gets a job. what does this imply? meaning a girl with dark complexion cannot get a job? i will leave this topic here as i am going to write about this seperately including corporate social responsibility.

loss of innocence.   children are losing their innocence very fast with this 'in your face' campaigning, tv programmes and game shows!! a lot could be said about parental controls but the average parent is just that'average'. he/she follows the generally popular fads without being able to understand the long term ill effects on their child and the society.

... rest in part II

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Service of a fly swatter

I used to wake up at 04:00 AM in the morning for practicing karate in the local Dojo. Dojo is a japanese term signifying an assembling place for learning martial arts. We as youngsters spent many an early morning there breaking tiles with a chop of the hand or bricks with a punch of the fist.  Those were the good old days when we trained regularly and strenuously to remain at the peak of our fitness. We sparred actively in mock bouts and my reflexes were considered razor sharp.  After the return from the dojo on a rainy morning while I was enjoying a hot cup of tea with my favourite dosas - up came a lowly fly who tried to have a tasty bite of my eats. Both the sight of that fly and its intentions iritated me no end and therefore armed with a rolled up newspaper doubling as a fly swatter, I used my so called razor sharp reflexes to swat it.  To my shock n surprise, that lowly fly successfully evaded all my attempts and i let it have its fill of dosa in resignation.  On many subsequent occassions too, i hardly used to have a success rate of 10%.  I tried approaching the flies from different angles from the rear, right, left, top and front with little variation in my success rate. Occassionally, it may have marginally improved to 15% but that was about all.   After months of struggle, I gave up accepting that the fly's reflexes are better than mine.  Cut to the present, I am in my middle age, my reflexes are no where near best but I recently swatted a fly at first attempt.  I was thrilled when i could replicate my success ratio over the next few hits also. I was overjoyed and commended myself that i have become an expert fly swatter.  Only when my sucess rate grew alarmingly high, then I realised that its not my reflexes which have become better with age but its the flies that have 'slowed down'. That's a ridiculous presumption, its just You who got better told my ego but neverthless i decided to dig this issue a little further.


That set me off to search the web and various books to gain more info on the topic. To my surprise, I learnt that RF radiation (which is emitted by all cell towers, cell phones and all Wi-Fi devices) is also used as a means to kill insects.  I immediately remembered a scene from the movie 'Terminator Salvation' where a high frequncy device is used to tame a mechanical beast.  RF or Electro magnetic (EM) radiation has two components i.e an electric and a magnetic field. its the strength of the electric field that derives the strength of the radiation and therefore its harmful effects.  Though the strength of the electric field required to kill an insect may be in kilovolts (A cell phone normally emits in millivolts and 1 Kilovolt=1000000 millivolts), prolonged exposure to to even these milli volts of radiation over the years may cause considerable damage.  This is particularly true for people staying closer to the Towers as monitoring all the towers continuosly for the radiation levels emitted, in a country like our's is very difficult.  The lure of easy money offered to apartment high rises and vacant areas for erecting a cell tower is adding to the problem.

as a result there are several questions that need to be answered with the chief among them being:-

1.  How seriously are we studying this issue

2.  With so many learned minds in our country, the harmful effects of radiation might already be known. so how are we planning to control these emissions to have a healthy balance between human health and economic considerations?

3.  Do we need to educate people to stop using unneccessary Wi-Fi devices (for example: wireless hometheatre speakers which envelope them in a maze of Rf energy)

4.  Lastly, an introspective question, if the cell phones and the associated towers are really harming us - Are we ready to dump that cell phone OR be prepared to live with the risks?

More About Tirupati - Lots of Bouquets, few humble suggestions and One brick bat for the TTD board

At the outset, I want to make it clear that I returned home a happier person after the visit to Tirumala which could not have been possible without the excellent efforts of the TTD. Whatever humble suggestions I have are only to marginally improve the facilities which they may consider as I am posting them as letter to TTD also. Firstly the Bouquets:-

BOUQUETS

1. Accommodation.      There was absolutely no corruption whatsoever in room allotment when booked online.  The use of simple but efficient & effective technology to achieve the same is praise worthy.

2. Special entries.      The various special entries provided shows that the devasthanam cares for its people and is sensitive to their different needs, with they specifically being:-

(a)  Supadham entry.    This entry is for children less than one year old (along with mother n father
only  they dont permit two gents or two ladies in lieu), Defence personnel, TTD employees, NRI's and
Newly Weds. Like I mentioned earlier, it was nice of TTD board to extend this facility to these categories
especially the Defence as they are guarding our country's borders and therefore may have limited time.

(b)  Senior Citizens.     As already mentioned there is a fair amount of pushing and pulling in the crowd which may be unsafe for senior citizens to undergo for about 6 hours in the line.  Therefore, Senior citizens have a seperate entry directly into the temple which may take them upto 30 -60 minutes for Darshan.

(c) Handycapped.  They have an entry similar to Senior citizens.

(d) Pedestrian Entry.   A particularly thoughtful entry for people who climb up the steps to reach Tirumala.  Again Technology is used here where a token is issued mid way to the pedestrians bearing their photograph which is used as a pass for entry into through this special gate.

3Free/Subsidised accommodation.    Fully free change/rest rooms are provided at Tirupati and Free waiting areas are provided at Tirumala.  Subsidised accommodation starting from Rs/-50 per day are available for the economically weaker to make use of.

4Free Food.  Food is provided free of cost as 'Anna Danam' to all the devotees. It is reported that an average of 30-40,000 people are fed daily.

5Free 'Mundan'.   For those who cant afford to pay, free 'Mundan' service is also provided which ofcourse takes a longer time.

6Free Bus service.   Continuous bus service upto midnight is available free of cost from locations to/from the temple.

7Rates of food served in the private restaurants.    They are well regulated to remain in economical limits.

8Greenery and upkeep.  The Greenery and upkeep of the roads enroute the temple was praise worthy.

FEW HUMBLE SUGGESTIONS
                                                               
1Restaurants.   A few more restaurants could be opened to deal with the heavy rush during peak hours.  One/Two restaurants similar to the one run by APTDC in srinivasa complex at Tirupati could be planned as the quality and the price were good.

2The Start point of Queue's.  I have seen several people searching for the start point of the various Queue's VIZ Dharma darsanam, Rs/- 50 ticket and the Rs/-300 tickets. TTD may consider a few sign boards.

LASTLY ONE BRICK BAT

There is only one but it needs to be mentioned as it is a very important one i.e Sanitation.  The cleanliness of the Toilets leaves much to be desired. This is one aspect on which TTD should spend a lot of money (without wanting any returns) in employing staff and equipment to make sure that devotees especially women have access to clean and hygienic toilets both in the long queue's as well ouside in Tirumala.

SUMMING UP

All in all, I could see that the TTD is doing its best to uphold the Hindu values and instill the same in all the visiting devotees. In addition they are trying to sustain the poor people making this pilgrimage by providing subsidised accommodation and free food which is a noble gesture. They also as I understand provide subsidised education in the various universities/colleges established by them. I hope and pray to Lord Balaji that the focus at the TTD remains on these aspects only in the years to come and not give rise to any controversies.


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Visit to Lord Balaji's abode at Tirumala Tirupati

Tirumala Tirupati venkateswara swamy darshan
I have commenced this blog after returning from a visit to Tirupati yesterday, so its only apt that i start with a post on my trip to the Lord's abode.

This was my third visit to Tirupati. The first was after my marriage where we hardly had any time to know what was happening around us. The second was for the 'mundan' ceremony (of giving the birth hair to the Lord) of my first child and that too passed away with little time to understand the setting. This third visit of mine for the 'mundan' ceremony of my second child was far more enlightening. To begin with, I was amazed by the scale and the grandeur of the entrance to the abode.
                                                                                     
It was one of the grandest entrances that I have seen and was truly spectacular.  As we progressed our journey to Tirumala I was struck by the roads which were so neat and tidy and to top it there were no pot holes at all. The concerned department must be working very hard to ensure this.  I also for the first time in my life saw the sign "No open Urination - Fine Rs/-25".  It was mind boggling to see such a sign in our country where this practice is so prevalent - atleast the major cities could take a cue from this. On reaching our destination I was fascinated by the use of technology to root out corruption!!! Yes you read right - to root out corruption!!!. To understand better I will explain how our room was reserved.  At the local TTD counter in our city I booked a room online. The clerk took my photo using a webcam and took my forefinger impression on a finger print scanner. When I reached Tirumala, my photo and finger print were already in the computer of the reception and the clerk there again took my photo using a web camera and my finger print using a finger print scanner. After verifying that both are same, my room was allotted.  Such a wonderful system obviously leaves no scopes for middlemen, agents or touts in room allottment. But as all the rooms are not allotted online there is still some scope for the operations of these people in the rooms that are allotted on the spot. Well things cant be too perfect!!

Then there was this ceremony of mundan where the waiting time in the free kalyankatta (the place where the mundan is performed) was upwards of six hours. The Temple administration had opened a few more kalyankattas which charge a small fee of Rs/-10. We managed our ceremony in about half an hour. Thereafter we went for darshan. It was very heartening to see that the administration have commenced a seperate darshan for children of less than one year old (along with father n mother) called Supadham darshan.  Incidentally Supadham darshan is also for Defence, TTD employees, Newly weds and NRI's also. It was nice of TTD board to extend this facility to these categories especially the Defence as they are guarding our country's borders and therefore may have limited time.

Inside the line there was a fair amount of pushing and pulling but once we entered the temple the rush was too much. The day I went I realised how stampedes take place during religious processions. It was totally mindless of the people because they waited in the queue for 7-10 hours but they could not wait another 5-10 minutes for the people in front to have a peaceful darshan and they themselves have the same.  However, such common sense like someone said is not very common and therefore the stampede like situation continued right into the sanctum sanctorum from where the Temple ushers took over in moving crowds forward.

The Sight of the Lord was divine and I was mesmerised for that few seconds I could manage to stand in front of him.

Thereafter I was unceremoniously pulled aside by a Temple usher and I moved out. I looked for the Hundi inside but could not find it. As I came out I saw huge signs reading 'SriVari Hundi' and went there to give my offerings.   After the offerings I took the prasad and also went to collect my laddus from the laddu counters.  I was quite impressed by the notice in front of every counter (about 40 of them) mentioning the weight of the Laddu and that each devotee is free to measure the weight if in doubt. And believe you me - they installed a digital weighing machine outside every counter. This is another use of technology to curb any malpractices in laddu making (this gains even more significance from the recent event which had come to light where the executive officer of a Temple provided underweight laddus to the devotes over a period of one year without being detected!!).

The collection of the laddu technically marked the completion of our sojourn and we returned back to our room after having dinner. Peculiarly Meals are not available in most of the guest/rest houses of TTD and one has to perforce go to the nearest restaurant which would most of the time be too crowded though the rates are economical. The temple also serves meals to everyone (Anna Danam to reportedly about 40-50,000 people every day)at designated places. I also saw refreshments being given free of cost to people standing in the queue.

All in all, I returned from this trip as a happy man. Whatever little misconceptions that I had about mal practices in Tirupati management were reasonably dispelled by what I observed this time, atleast in the events that concern a common man (as I am not enlightened enough to comment on bigger games played there). I sure look forward to my next trip...

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