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Bollywood comes of age as meaningful becomes mainstream 03/01/2009
From contemporary issues of terrorism and the dangerous perpetuation of stereotypes to intimate portrayals of a dyslexic child or a middle class family's eternal quest for a home, Indian films are exploring them all. Long known for song and dance extravaganzas, India's Hindi film industry, known as Bollywood, is successfully blurring the lines between mainstream and meaningful cinema.

And the $10.5-billion industry is raking it in too.

Unlike the past, when art house cinema stood in a league of its own, it is now all commercial cinema. It makes money sense and appeals to the aesthetics as well.

It is still hundred percent entertainment but with a difference. Instead of just big studios rolling out box office hits with tried and tested formulas, debutant...

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The other side of King Khan 12/10/2008
Did you know that Shah Rukh Khan finished reading Gregory David Roberts' Shantaram much before the book hit Indian bookstores and recommended it to some of his producer friends? "I asked them if they would want to make a film based on the book but there was no response. Now Hollywood has taken it, " says the star whose home library has a collection of more than 5000 books of which there are at least three he wants to turn into films.

"The other two I have really enjoyed are Mark Haddon's murder mystery, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Yann Martel's fantasy adventure Life of Pi. Right now, my reading priorities are focussed on biopics about people who have led interesting lives."

Now look who is talking. He has led and is leading one of the most interesting lives himself on planet earth. His face is an icon that represents the Indian film industry in the world. But he began small, with a bit of theatre in Delhi followed by not very significant roles in a few television serials like Fauji in 1988 followed by Circus. Few remember that he wooed his wife Gauri for eight years before they tied the knot 17 years ago. "Gauri has known me for almost 25 years now and she underst...

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Work hard, party harder 16/08/2008
This is a generation that is chasing a dream. Interestingly, they are not afraid to pay the price for it. Work is what their life revolves around and they are cool about it as long as their monthly pay packet is enough to buy them their dreams- or what they think fulfill their dreams.

You will find them in almost every sector of Indian economy today, be it the BPO, advertising, software development, media or entertainment. These new workaholics have readjusted their biological clock as per the demands of their work schedule and seem to be quite savvy about it. Says Kanupriya Goenka, a call centre executive based in New Delhi: "I work in night shifts and am pretty coo...

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Vegetation-An effective tool to change climate 16/08/2008
Scientific experts agrees that global climate change is accelerating. Human activities are responsible for the vast majority of climate change. If it is left unchecked, climate change threatens to harm current and future generations. The emission of heat trapping gases by vehicles, industrial processes, power plants and deforestations cause climate change. Rising temperature and changing patterns of precipitation drastically shift vegetation. We forget that this vegetation plays an important role in changing the climate of a city.

It is also effective in controlling the microclimate. Plants, shrubs and trees cool the environment when they absorb radiation for photosynthesis. They are useful in shading a particular part of the structure and ground for reducing the heat gain and reflected radiation. By releasing moisture, they help raise the humidity level. Vegetation also creates different air flow patterns by causing minor pressure differences, and thus can be used to direct or divert the prevailing wing advantages.

Based on the requirement of a climate, appropriate type of trees can be selected to preserve good climate of cities. Planning deciduous trees such as mulberry to shade east and west walls would prove beneficial in hot and dry zones. In summer, they provide shade from intense ...

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Baked delights 16/08/2008
On the picturesque Dal lake of Kashmir, or downtown Srinagar, you will chance upon elaborately laid out bakery shops, reminiscent of markets in the Middle East. Various kinds of breads with a golden brown crusts topped with sesame and poppy seeds beckon and promise an introduction to an indigenous culture, nutrition and taste.

As part of a cultural misdemeanour, the bakery in Kashmir used to be of two kinds, the Hindu bakery and the Muslim bakery. Muslim bakery in a Hindu household didn't stand much of a chance but many progressive families who didn't like this categorisation, smuggled it in for its rich texture and loads of taste.

One wonders how this meat eating population famous for its wazwan could hav...

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