RAKESH MATHUR'S INDIA MONITOR


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INDIA TO HAVE MULTIPLEX CINEMA HOUSES Invitation to big party ..Tomorrow's world in Bombay..Hinduism Exhibition..Business and Politics..Orrisa Poetess..Jaisalmer in Jeopardy..UK Indians directory..Young Indians..Poetic expressions..Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema..Royal Indian Railway .
Rakesh Mathur has written the following books - The Movie ; Chapters on Indian Cinema ; La Cuisene Indienne and Ray at 70 - a homage.
. He is a free lance journalist available for projects . He was a reporter for Times of India from 1973-79 , researcher for Carlton TV programme , produced the TV programmes Aim High , Stitch in Time and Building for Britain.
. He was the information officer for a number of prestigious organisations. His reports have been broadcast on TV Asia , BBC , Channel 4 and others. His articles have appeared in numerous publications.
. More details on his home page. Please contact him on 0956 568 394 or via email 100700.513@compuserve.com

By Rakesh Mathur

India is proving to be an ever expanding market for foreign
films. United Artists, the leading film distributors have mobilised their forces
with Delhi based Modi Group. They are planning to open 23 multiplexes
throughout India by the end of the decade at a cost of $280million. In the
meantime, Delhi based Priya exhibitors with Village Roadshow, the giant Australian distributors are already constructing a four-screen cinema. They have five more
multiplexes for other cities on their drawing boards.

Indian box-office revenue continue to rise with annual admissions currently
hovering about five billion, according to Screen International. Many western
films are getting a wide release, with UIP's GoldenEye, recently smashing
the box-office record set by Jurassic Park.

"India's high population density and an emerging affluent middle class make the
territory increasingly attractive for Western exhibitiors. We hope to have cinemas
in Madras, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Calcutta within four years
One problem facing Western distributors in India is the entertainment tax on
box-office receipts; the tax, set locally by the country's 22 states, can reach
rates high as 75%. In Delhi, it is 37.5%, which is why we are building there first."


VALENTINE ROSES FOR ROMANTIC INDIANS

By Rakesh Mathur

RB HOSPITALITY BRINGS ROMANCE TO YOUR LIFE



Ramola Bachchan, who was recently featured in the national British newspapers such as Independent on Sunday, Sunday Times, is making spring waves on the Valentines Day.

RB Promotions, her public relations company has organised a special Valentine's dinner dance programme on 14th February at London's most distinguished hotel: Grosvernor House Hotel.

For a nominal payment of L75, one can have this experience of the lifetime. With an exquisite three course meal served with wine, appealing to both the non vegetarian and vegetarian palette, one can rub shoulders with a number of celebrities.

There will be a boisterous music and a lively disco.

(A competition "Made For Each Other" will be held to bring one's partner together.) ll elegant arrangements have been meticulously made by Ramola Bachchan. Guests are just required to send a cheque for 75 each, in advance to reserve their respective seats.

There will be a lot to enjoy oneself.
For further details, contact Geetanjali Anand at RB Promotions as soon as possible on Tel. No. 0171-414 0619.

One can write to Ramola Bachchan at RB Promotions Ltd, 195 Knightsbridge, London SW7 1RE, FAX NO. 0171-414 0620.


TOMORROW'S WORLD IN (MUMBAI) BOMBAY

In a special edition of the popular science television programme, BBC flies in to India's financial and cultural capital and discover new technology on Friday, February 2, 1996.

A combination of cooking over naked flames and flowing flammable clothing means that burns are a big problem in India. But as the programme mak

Dr Keswani, a doctor at Bombay's Wadia Hospital, developed the new burns dressing after finding insipiration from his city's speciality dish, Potato Vada. He noticed that dryed human skin, used for grafts, showed a remarkable similarity to potato peel, and set to work on a new semi-porous material. The potato/peel cotton gauze he created has proved to be a remarkable success. Dr Keswani's development is cheap to produce and, with a semi-porous and mildly antiseptic effect, the material causes less bleeding than traditional materials previously available in India.

Meanwile, the programme makers meets the engineer who has dared to build where the courageous Victorian engineers feared to tread. One of the legacies of British colonialism in India was on the railway, but even then the mountain range of Western Ghats stood inpenetrable - until now. One man, Indian railway's former head pf engineering, EP Sreedharan, has succeeded in persuading the government that a new attempt can work. Combining high technology with local labour, the 500-mile railway, with 50 miles of tunnel and 169 bridges, is within sight of completion.

Back in Bombay, another programme maker test rides a solar-powered rickshaw that's been designed by an Indian entrepreneur now working in Britain. With 60,000 petrol-powered rickshaws roaming the streets of Bombay, each pumping out 200 kilograms of pollution a year, could Kamal Siddiqui's new deign be the environmentally-friendly solution? The battery and solar enrgy-run vehicle will be manufactured in India using Siddiqui's know-how. The programme maker takes it out on its first ride on thee streets of Bombay and discovers that everyone, including rickshaw drivers, the Chief of Traffic Police, even the Minister of Transport, are in firm favour. Finally, 'Tomorrow's World' reveals news of how Bombay's software gurus are grabbing work from the West - from running SwissAir's finances to running SwissAir's finances to writing software for British Rail's ticket machines.


SACRED LANDS DEVOTED LIVES

An Exhibition on Hinduism in London

An exhibition about Hinduism is taking place at Horniman Museum, London Road, London SE23 3PQ, Tel: 0181 699 1872. The admission is free and the museum is open 10.30 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday and on Saturdays from 2pm to 5pm.

The display explores the relationship of people in village India to their environment, and aims to illustrate how much of ordinary daily life is sacred. Today followers of Hinduism use many elements of ancient wisdom as part of their religious rituals: the honouring of the elements of earth, air, fire and water is common. According to this exhibition, Hindus believe that all things can be divine.

The respect shown to plants is explicit with numerous botanical illustrations of sacred plants used in daily life or as part of prayer. In this way a link is made between the henna packet and the henna plant.

The exhibition gallery is divided into several parts: first there is an introductiom to the area, its land and waters, its history and legends. The second part looks at daily life and society, and the third section presents the deities, their shrines and temples.

As part of the exhibition, there are special features including a kitchen and prayer room, and various models of shrines have been built to Shiva, Vishnu, and the goddess Durga. A 25 minute video shot in South India can be viewed in the gallery, which includes scenes from a pilgrimage made through the ruins of the ancient city of Vijaynagara..

Music permeates the display area: visitors can hear either devotional songs or processional bands in different parts of the gallery. The atmosphere is light and airy, and the accompanying texts are well illustrated with fine photographs.

Several hundred objects from the museum's collections are displayed with ancient artefacts such as fine wood carvings placed side by side with modern colourful sculptures commissioned from craftsmen in India. A colour brochure accompanies the display.


UKINDIA

POETESS FROM ORISSA MAKES HER MARK IN ENGLAND

Shanta Acharya, a former fund holder with a merchant bank has turned her back to the world of finance and has become very active in the poetry reading society of London. Her two poetry collections NOT THIS, NOT THAT (1994) and NUMBERING OUR DAYS ILLUSIONS(1995), published in India and the UK were much talked about.

International Women's Poetry Festival has invited Shanta Acharya with a number of other distinguished poetesses to read recite their poems at Jacksons Lane Arts Centre, 269a Archway Road, Highgate, London N6 5AA.

The festival will take place on Sunday 10th March at 7.30 pm.
There will be a little taster of Shanta's poetry recital on 28th January at 8.00 pm at the same address.
For further information on Shanta's poetry books, write to her at 17D Bloomfield Road, London N6 4ET.


INDIAN BUSINESS AND POLITICS INSEPARABLE

London, 25 Jan. '96. A group of Indian journalists met Tim Melville-Rose, Director General of the Institute of Directors, London today in an informal meeting at the Viceroy of India restaurant.

The discussions centred around how businesses can influence the government of the day. Mr L.K. Sharma, President of the Indian Journalists Association, introducing the guest speeker said that in India difference between business and politics is being smudged, "one doesn't know what is politics and what is business. Every child born in India today seems to be a potential member of the London based Institute of Directors.

Tim Melville -Ross talked about the Institute of Directors, an association of primarily small businesses with about 49,000 members worldwide. A great number of these members are Indians or the N.R.Is. Hundreds of Indians living in the United Kingdom are members of the IOD and enjoy privileges in its palatial building in Pall Mall, London.

Tim said: "As an independent and apolitical association of company directors, our object is to ensure that governments establish economic and regulatory environment in which our members' businesses can flourish, expand and compete internationally."

Informally, situation of India was discussed informally between Indian journalists. General elections looming in April this year with little prospects of Congress Party under the leadership of V. Narsingh Rao coming back to power, questions about liberalisations were raised. It was mentioned that ordinary people do not want to see oppotunist members of either Institute of Directors or Confederation of British Industries in India any more.

Ordinary Indians, in fact, do not want consumerism imported from the western Europe. They want computer chips nor potato chips. It must be mentioned that Wimpys chains of junk food restaurants are branching out in midst of armed security personnel in big cities in India.

The question one may very well ask is that does India really need British Wimpys or not? It is a question of values rather than one company or the other.

Comments from the readers of UKINDIA are most welcome on this subject which will be passed on to the British authorities in due course.


JAISALMER IN JEOPARDY

A hearwarming campaign.

So many foreign tourists visit Indian cities every year but very few of them seem to care about them. Sue Carpenter, a journalist with Harper & Queen magazine has been visiting Jaisalmer, Rajasthan for many years. She is enamoured by one of the last desert cities of India but at the same time feels sorry for its dilapidation.

Jaisalmer has a population of 40 to 50, 000 but more than 250, 000 tourists visit this city every year. Consequently, the resources of the city are getting dry and high. more than 120 litres of water is being pumped everyday compared to 5-10 litres per head in the good old days. There is no adequate sewage system.

The old havelis and buildings of Rajasthani architecture are falling apart. To make the matter worse, patch work of cement is being used instead of the local lime stones. The old intricate stone carvings are being repainted in lurid colurs. There are cheap concrete hotels everywhere and rubbish is left at the streets to rot. Electricity and cable wires are dangerously spreading out everywhere for local people to tip over.

Social conditions are getting worse. To satisfy the needs of the tourists, alcohol, drugs and materialic values are being brought in which is encroaching on the traditional living environment. After getting disgusted with the rapid decline of the city, Sue Carpenter has launched a Jaisalmer In Jeopardy Campaign in London. She is being helped by a number of Indians living in the UK such as Ajay Khare, conservation architect of University of York. The Indian High Commissioner has pledged support for the cause.

Sue Carpenter would like to hear from anyone who has been to Jaisalmer and would like to help. She may be contacted at 20-E Redcliffe Gardens, London SW10 9EX. Fax No. 0171 460 8592.U.K.


WHO IS WHO
by Rakesh Mathur
London, January 23, 1996.

Every Indian living in the UK is interested about the other Indian. This curiosity is expressed in many ways. To pool all the curiousities together, since 1974, J.S. Sachar has been busy publishing Asian Who's Who. in Britain.

It is a definite directory of successful Indians and other Asians living in Britain. Some of the successful individuals have merited a big bio-data with their photographs. Others are just a passing mention.

Most of the Asians are not just businessmen. They have earned their name in a wide range of fields, from education to medicine, from science to the arts and literature.

Who's Who is published every year from 47 Beattyville Gardens, Barkingside, Illford, Essex IG6 1JW. Anyone who would have some suggestions may write to this address directly. The Managing Editor is always eager to hear more success stories. The launch of this book is celebrated with the Asian of the year award in a splendid hotel. Those who can afford the function are invited to contribute both to the book as well as the launch party.

YOUNG INDIANS LET THE STEAM OFF
Living in a different country for a young person can not be easy. Even if one is born there. Racism in schools and colleges is rampant. In Britain alone, a racial incident - from name-calling to serious injury ( and even murder) - happens every five minutes. Racial attacks are happening in other European countries as well. Some can cope with it others can't.

ALL DIFFERENT ALL EQUAL
is a Europe wide campaign for the young people in which thousands of them are getting involved to get rid of racism and unfair treatment. From France to Finland, Italy to Ireland, events are being organised - concerts, rallies, and meeting with politicians.

In Britain, there are many national orgnaisations dedicated to organising activities for the campaign. They are planning national music events, poster and sticker campaigns, demonstrations, festivals and lots more.

Everyone who has a say in how our lives are run will hear what young people think about racism. To get involved in the campaign and join all different all equal pen-pal scheme, one can telephone Claire McMaster on telephone number 0171-932 5404.

POETIC EXPRESSIONS
There are many others who would prefer to do something else to express their feelings of living in Europe. The Immigration Poets Association has organised a poetry competition address this situation. This competition is open to all (any age group) immigrants of any nationality. The theme is "Your experiences as an immigrant in the UK".

Poems, should be original, not to exceed 40 lines and should be sent in English to The Immigrants Poets Association at PO Box 289, Southampton, SO14 02N before the end of this month. The first prize is L50 and highly recommended poems will be included in an anthology.

ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF INDIAN CINEMA
A unique insight into the world's biggest and most diverse film industry is already available in London. Drawing on the work of an international team of specialists, this vast lavishly illustrated and fully indexed book features a wide range of topics.

750 entries on all the leading directors, stars, studios, genres, composers, scenarists and art movements from Dadasaheb Phalke to Mani Rathnam and from the Hindi, Tamil and Telugu films to Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi cinemas.

1460 entries on key films from all periods and regions, with cast and credits as well as concise critical, often challenging evaluations.

A chronicle of Indian film history together with basic production statistics. Comprehensive filmographies, many compiled for the first time for all the major film makers, stars and music composers. In all more than 500 pages tell the story of the Indian Cinema.

Whether your love of Indian cinema is based on entertainment or scholarship, the Encyclopaedia makes fascinating reading and is fast becoming an important reference book. The copy of the book can be ordered from the British Film Institute Publications, 29 Rathbone Street, London W1P 1AG. United Kingdom.

THE ROYAL INDIAN RAILWAY
For over 150 years since the British built the first railway in India, there has been no better way to experience the many splendours of this vast subcontinent than by train.

Rich in history and tradition, India is home to some of the oldest civilisations and religions in the world. Their legacy is a vibrant culture with colourful festivals, dance and music as well as an abundance of architectural wonders.

>From the majestic palaces and monuments of Mughal India in the north, to the magnificent temple carvings in the south, India's diverse attractions and breathtaking landscapes provide an exotic backdrop for a memorable rail journey.

Sterling Holiday Resort (India) Ltd, India's foremost holiday company, and L&R Leisure Group, owner and operator of The Royal Scotsman, are collaborating to create two new luxury train journeys to equal the very best in the world. 'The Royal Indian (Northern)' will offer tours of the northern states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, including India's famed Golden Triangle, while 'The Royal Indian (Southern)' will tour India's southern regions comprising the fascinating states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Each train will carry approximately 50 guests in five-star luxury and will be staffed by an attentive crew. The interiors are being designed to capture the bygone era of the Raj, while simultaneously offering every modern day comfort, including full air-conditioning.

By day, guests can enjoy the ever changing scenery from the train's comfortable Observation Cars and visit some of India's most spectacular forts, palaces, temples and other places of interest along the route. Luxury private coaches will be available for all excursions, accompanied by the train's own knowledgeable guides.

Throughout each tour, gourmet Indian and international cuisine, accompanied by a selection of fine wines from around the world, will be served in the train's elegant dining carriages.

More information on The Royal Indian can be requested from L&R Leisure Group, The Stationmaster's House, Windsor Central Station, Thames Street, Windsor SL4 IPJ uk. e-mail no. 100672.2117@compuserve.com