Short post. Let me summarize that too.

  1. A vast majority of newspapers from India are running Wikileaks stories with inaccurate facts - particularly related with Pakistan.
  2. There is more sensationalism and no insight.
  3. Most of the newspapers are not linking to the original cables, so readers have no way of verifying what is being spoken about.

Indian media is now a nationalism flavored branch of Bollywood.

Vidyut speaks of the Marathi film Natarang and the impact it had on her. She sees it as not just a film, but a journey into the very depths of being human.

After ages and ages of being mom round the clock, I had an incredible treat from Raka, who landed home after many days of constant jet-setting with a film in hand. I looked at the CD - Marathi - Natrang. Oookay. I don't always enjoy Marathi films, but I trust Raka's incredible taste (or feedback network). So we watched it.

I am blown away by the film and its open, sensitive handling of very delicate, touchy issues like sexuality, self-image, power struggles, relationships.... It is the story of a farm labourer Guna (played by Atul Kulkarni in a way that sends shivers down my spine). The film begins with this guy who works on daily wages for a living and enjoys tamashaas (traditional travelling dance shows in villages in Maharashtra in India). He is shown as a frivolous, self-centered man who thinks nothing of throwing money away watching girls dance, while his family lives in abject poverty. Losing his job shakes him up, and he starts dreaming of starting his own travelling dance group to earn a living.

Friends who earlier wasted time are also in dire straits, and he becomes their leader, writing stories, songs, working hard to make the show a reality. The first story they practice has him playing a king with a dogged sense of newly found purpose. The film follows his progress  with this ambition, as well as the evolution of the man who touches new depths within himself. It is a must see film for anyone who is sensitive to the condition of the human mind.

Parts of the story that will remain for a long time in my mind are the transformation of a frivolous time waster into an artist with the dedication to weather any storm for his creativity. Such shows traditionally have a pansy/eunuch character, and it is the turning point of the film, when unable to get anyone to fill in this role, Guna gives up his role as the king to become a "pansy" performer. The transformation he goes through is one of a man getting in touch with the femininity within him as a part of acting feminine, and I will always remember the incredible shot of him learning to move and dance like a woman. It is transparent. This is not acting. Atul reaches out and embraces his feminine side in all its rawness for all the world to see.

The story moves on to explore the shackles of success, of 'labels' that emasculate him, of threats, power plays, being used by loved ones, rejected by his wife, and finally raped in an act of revenge. And Atul Kulkarni as Guna lives it for all of us right there on the screen. If acting could be called authentic, this is it. His strength, his vulnerability..... I am totally floored.

There are parts where it stretches a bit, or perhaps it is my discomfort at the edge on which the hero lives.

Not to mention that this is some of the most outstanding 'normal' cinematography and the music is one that meets the story eye to eye and raises the whole thing to a whole new level. Seriously, for once, Hollywood may want to do a copy.

If you haven't seen the film, go, get it. If you don't understand Marathi, get one with subtitles. You don't want to miss this.

Awesome, Isn't it? How much of a fool can the media make of themselves? The whole Mumbai nightmare has been faithfully punctuated by bad reporting by the media.

One terrorist killed at Taj. Seven. uh, it was two. Two! Which two? I thought four.... but that wasn't at Taj! That was at Oberoi......... If you look at my post that takes a look at how many terrorists were reported dead by the media, you wouldn't worry about rumors saying 16 terrorists, because you could account for them then and there.

Which floor of the Taj was the fire on? 8th or the 13th? Were shots fired at CST on the next day or not? To me, it looks like there was very little reporting. What was, was a day and night National Level test match between different media. In a struggle to provide the most information, all boundaries of insignificant hassles like confidentiality needs in an ongoing operation, facts, verifications of rumors were simply wished away out of existence.

If the terrorists were actually able to sift information from crap by following the media, they shouldn't be in LeT. Mensa is where they should be.

Yet, in the face of all the nonsense, there actually were completely irresponsible details broadcasted for all to hear - who all are coming to the location, how many commandos, live telecast of the helicopter dropping commandos on Nariman House..... I remember thinking that these terrorists were really incompetent. If I were a terrorist, with all the information I could get from the TV, I'd rig the terrace with bombs the minute I came to know there was a helicopter drop, and then sit happily on a lower floor watching TV to plan the exact moment to detonate it. Good it didn't occur to these guys, but no thanks to the media for it.

I found it totally insane that "rumors" of a blast at CST were broadcast the next day in between announcements not to spread rumors. With all the fancy gadgets on location, apparently no one had a phone to call up the station and find out before throwing Mumbai in a panic.

And now finally this. It really takes the cake. The media guessed at the contents of the demarche!!!???!!! What's more, the stupid government instead of throwing them into jail, played along with it, and we have spent a day arguing with Pakistan about how we want the wanted men deported and how they wouldn't, and the scenario is heating up.

By the way, no apologies for misrepresenting situations, misleading people, misinforming them, etc have been seen. So basically, as long as the TRPs rise, just talk whatever crap you can.

I'm really puzzled about what all seems to pass for journalism in Indian Media. Honestly, this seems outright criminal to me. Definitely against the interests of the country. How can the media speculate about the contents of a confidential document between countries? What the hell is going on?

The sources also clarified that contrary to media reports in India and Pakistan, the demarche which was handed over to the Pakistani side earlier this week did not contain the list of 20 most wanted terrorists that had first been given to Islamabad in 2000. Once the media started saying India was demanding the immediate handing over of the 20 fugitives, of course, the Government could hardly contradict these reports since their return has been a long-standing Indian demand, the sources added. The demarche made only a pro forma reference to the return of unnamed fugitives but was otherwise exclusively focused on the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its leader Hafiz Saeed, whom New Delhi regards as the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror strikes.

Worse, the government is covering up for the media because they mention something they want? Hello boss! At this moment, what we want most is a less volatile situation.

Really folks. GROW UP!!!

We are trying to catch some terrorists here and avoid a war. Those 20 men have been a major hostile point which was introduced between two countries because some journalist as usual didn't bother to verify what they were writing.

So of course, as a country, we pressurized another country and created anger and misunderstanding over something we hadn't even planned to ask for just yet.

Disillusioned doesn't begin to cover what I feel. I'm not even certain what's true and what's a journalists' version of how things could be in all the news on the terror attack investigations.