>> Happy birthday Farah and happy birthday Farhan. Yes, today happens to be the birthday of two of Bollywood’s most celebrated directors Farah Khan and Farhan Akhtar.
And the fact that they are cousins, (their mothers are sisters) have more or less the same names, have both separately expanded their Bollywood presence by breaking out of the watertight compartments of directorship, by appearing in TV shows, singing, acting and dancing and that they hail from blue chip filmy families — only makes the occasion a double dhamaka.
Farah Khan and Farhan Akhtar
So, happy birthday Farah and Farhan. And with your twin birthdays, we shall now have an unshakeable belief in the powers of astrology and sun signs and birthdays!
Come back Linda Goodman, all is forgiven.
Dashing and driven
>> “ My name is Advait Deodhar. I am a 23-year-old racing driver from Mumbai,” said the mail.
“I graduated as an automobile designer from Turin, Italy in July 2012 and took the risk of returning to India, (the only affordable place to start in motor sport) to follow my life long dream and give it a shot in Motor sport,” says the dashing young man who started his season finishing 1st in the rookie standings in the Formula LGB4 series, with the help of sponsors like FEI Cargo, SMAAASH, BIG THRILL RTL & SEACRET, who supported him last year for the MRF Formula Ford 1600 & the Formula LGB4 National Championships.
“After a very successful double season in India in 2013, the next step in my career is the Formula Masters series in Asia 2014.” Says Deodhar.
“The Formula Masters series is regarded as the premier series of Formula racing in Asia. The series takes place in Korea, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and the special event on the streets of Macau,” says the man who is a national level sailor from the age of 9 and an avid skier, a sport he picked up during his four years in Italy.
“As you may know, a racing driver needs substantial financial backing to move up the ladder in international motor sport. And towards this end, I have put together an investment plan, for investors to invest in my career over a 3-5 year period with their returns being a percentage of my earnings through racing contracts, race winnings, endorsements etc over a period of 10 years after I have reached a certain stage in my career,” says Deodhar adding, “This could also be regarded as a passion investment, with high yielding returns.”
Deodhar’s clarity of thought, passion and commitment to his sport deserves backing. After all, India needs to look beyond cricket for its sports icons. “But finding companies to sponsor motor sport in India is as hard as getting a seat on a crowded 6 pm Churchgate-Virar local. Along the way, I found out that most of the people have absolutely no idea about motor sport and thought I was an F1 driver already!”
Perhaps, young dashing Deodhar is just what’s needed to attract attention and interest in motor sport!
>> What a season of discontent it’s been for some of India’s most respected, leading (and left-leaning liberal) editors. It began in October last year when Siddharth Varadarajan announced via Twitter his resignation from The Hindu, of which he was editor due to policy differences with the owners.
Hartosh Singh Bal, the political editor of Open magazine, announcing in early November that he had received a letter of termination from the management, soon followed this.
Even before the dust had settled on this, another icon of the left leaning liberal set — Tarun Tejpal — ‘recused’ himself from his position of editor-in-chief of Tehelka following accusations from a staffer that he had sexually assaulted her.
To make matters worse around this time, Basharat Peer who ran the India Ink blog on the digital edition of The New York Times put in his papers.
And on Monday, editor of Open Manu Joseph’s cryptic post on Facebook: “I have quit Open. Will continue, as interim editor until a new editor is appointed or the end of March, whichever is sooner,” was the final nail in the freethinking independent editor’s coffin.
What on earth is going on in the Indian media? Though all these men left/resigned for different reasons, the undertow surrounding their exit (except for Peers) brought in whispers of right-wing political interventions and in more than a few cases it was hinted that their exits had much to do with the ascent of Modi and a fundamentalist agenda.
In an interview with Ellen Barry in India Ink, Bal is quoted as saying ‘this is a particularly divisive and important election in this country, and I think the role the media plays is very, very important. I do think that overall there is an attempt to stifle voices which are independent. I have never seen the media so divided within itself, taking sides, being so partisan, even when it is clear where the funding and support is coming from.’
Ominous words indeed. And any working journalist who think that the exits of these editors are no more than a coincidence would be deluding themselves.
But on a lighter note, gentle reader, we turn to the inimitable Peter Griffin, editor Forbes Life India who posted on Monday: ‘Someone resigned from a media organisation *without* tweeting about it? How times change.” Nice!
>> And though we couldn’t attend the IMC Jankidevi Bajaj Puraskar award ceremony on Tuesday in which Thinlas Chorol, founder and owner of the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company (LWTC), the first travel agency in Ladakh, solely operated by women, based in Leh, Ladakh was chosen as this year’s winner, here’s a picture of the event.
Thinlas Chorol (extreme right) receiving the IMC Jankidevi Bajaj Puraskar award
It shows Chorl being presented the award by none other than our friend and former colleague Rohini Nilekani — herself a woman of courage and commitment along with Amita Haribhakti, a leading light of the IMC Ladies wing