Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ILLE exclusive: Rumored list of top ten books

Recently, an anonymous source has informed Indian Roller Correspondent, Itinerant Little Leprechaun (ILLE)


of the rumored top ten book titles at the upcoming George W. Bush Presidential Center Library at SMU in Dallas. An exclusive just for Indian Roller readers:

10. The Ted Haggard Autobiography by Ted Haggard
9. Rand McNally's Book of World Geography and Proper Country Names
8. Singing Shut: The Rise and Fall of the Dixie Chicks by Rush Limbaugh
7. Jesus in Galapagos: The Missionary Exploits of Charles Darwin by Michael Behe
6. Milk and Honey: Gay Compassion for the Love of God by Rick Warren
5. Penguin Handbook of English Grammar and Sentence Structure
4. Mission Accomplished: The Blackwater Crusade by Donald Rumsfeld
3. Secretary of Straight: Global Detente and Queer Overtures by Dick Cheney
2. The Holy Bible and Other Folk Tales
1. The Holy Bible and Other Fairy Tales

"Ever wish a fish could fly?"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

GlobalAnanda's Globalogues

"The sound of the pound makes the world go 'round."
- Guru GlobalAnanda.

El Segundo Morning

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quote of the Week:

“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Check out our latest hybrid..."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Of Slumdogs and Success

Slumdog Millionaire Director, Danny Boyle

With the runaway success of Danny Boyle's rags-to-riches flick, Slumdog Millionaire, Hollywood is hungry for an encore. There are rumors that Will Smith is eager to collaborate with Danny Boyle in a future Bollywood-inspired drama. Also, Creative Artists Agency, whose clients include Kate Winslet, has signed a contract with "Slumdog" star, Freida Pinto.

This is a windfall for Bollywood, whose offerings of formulaic, melodramatic musicals, have been shunned by Hollywood for decades. Recently, Indian Roller Correspondent, Itinerant Little Leprechaun (ILLE)


had a chance to talk to Nikhil (Nick) Mukherjee, President of Amrutraj Films, a movie-production company with links to studios in Mumbai. His company recently signed a five-year contract with Features Development, Zeitgeist Beacon Group, a Hollywood entertainment studio based in Signal Hill, California to option Bollywood-style dramas to be marketed in the U.S.

ILLE: What do you make of the success of Slumdog Millionaire in the U.S.?

Mukherjee: In terms of unraveling the key to the success of Bollywood films in the U.S., Slumdog Millionaire is the Rosetta Stone of Bollywood films. It has given us the clues to translate Bollywood films into instant, Hollywood hits.

ILLE: What are those keys to the success if you can share it?

Mukherjee:'s simple, really. You take an ordinary, run-of-mill Bollywood masala movie, like Slumdog Millionaire, and make it with newbie actors like Dev Patel and Freida Pinto. This keeps the budget really low. But the key to success is hiring Westerners, such as Danny Boyle, to direct and Simon Beaufoy to write the script. Because, in order to appeal to Hollywood audiences, you have to have directors and writers who are more attuned to the taste of Hollywood audiences.

ILLE: So, you think that having Indians exercise creative control in a Bollywood film can actually hurt the success of the film in Hollywood?

Mukherjee: Exactly. Any Bollywood masala film has to have a Westerner at the helm if it expects to do well at the Hollywood box office. Bollywood fare with all-Indian crews, for example, such as Taare Zameen Par or Chak De India, have been blockbusters in India but they couldn't even manage to last more than a few weeks in the U.S. And while Slumdog Millionaire is being celebrated at the moment, Taare Zameen Par (which won numerous awards in India) was rejected from consideration as Best Foreign Film at the upcoming Oscars ceremony. You realize that these movies are doing poorly in the U.S. because they had no Westerner at the helm exercising creative control over the product.

ILLE: How does distribution and scope of release affect the success of a Bollywood film in the U.S?

Mukherjee: Well, distribution does affect the number of audiences who will see a film in the U.S. But a large, nationwide release of a Bollywood film is still no guarantee that it will reap the dividends at the U.S. box office. Take the example of the comedy, Chandni Chowk to China, which was distributed nationwide by Warner Bros. It was a dud because it had no Westerners directing it or writing the script. You see, an all-Indian film crew will carry little heft with the Hollywood audience or the Hollywood media. Even the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the agency behind the Golden Globes, is looking for names, such as, Danny Boyle, that they are familiar with. An all-Indian film crew carries no cachet among Hollywood media circles.

ILLE: What about the stories and the characters portrayed in Slumdog Millionaire? Do they tell us anything about the movie's success?

Mukherjee: What the success of Slumdog Millionaire tells us is that Bollywood movies must reinforce the impressions of India that Westerners already have -- a poverty-stricken, corruption-ridden, under-developed land that is also filled with colors, hope, mysticism, and exotica. And they have to be made by someone from the West as films such as Salaam Bombay! or Parinda were never as successful. Even films such as 1947 (released as Earth abroad) or Water, which were on serious topics and made for a global audience were never as popular because they had an Indian crew.

ILLE: So, is there a Bollywood story formula that works for Hollywood?

Mukherjee: Yes, that's what I meant by masala...A masala is an Indian word that means spices but it also could mean a "recipe", or a "formula." The Bollywood masala that would work in Hollywood is the Capra-esque triumph of a poor, hapless romantic over his star-crossed circumstances. Or the triumph of a great leader such as Gandhiji which was already the subject of the western film, Gandhi. Bollywood's interpretation of our great leader, the blockbuster Lage Raho Munna Bhai, remains unknown in Hollywood.

The work of the talented Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray comes to mind. His films were often without a happily-ever-after endings and although they did well in some parts of Europe, out here in Hollywood, all his films were never recognized even though many feel him to be one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century.

ILLE: Is there a sequel planned for Slumdog Millionaire?

Mukherjee: The details are sketchy now but whatever we do will be written and directed by Westerners with an all-Indian cast working to realize the director's creative vision.

ILLE: So, you see Western supervision as a prerequisite to success?

Mukherjee: Absolutely. No matter how you spin a Bollywood saga for Hollywood, if you want it to succeed, it will need a Westerner, like Danny Boyle, at the helm. No question about it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Guru GlobalAnanda's Globalogues

"Desist now, to coexist forever."
- Guru GlobalAnanda

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Turkey's Swan Song...

As he bides his time to the end of his line at the White House, George W. Bush, arguably, the most ineffective president of the U.S. in a century, still bears his trademark grin of smugness. Perhaps, an indictment of war crimes and aggression will wake him up from his self-induced reverie of eight years. No matter how you spin it, the verdict is plain to see -- Bush, in his eight years as commander-in-chief, has been a turkey.

As with the 2003 Thanksgiving event in Baghdad where he dished out a faux, decorative turkey to the American troops, Bush's approach to governing the nation has been similar: false promises, fear mongering, and a floundering economy. When asked by Wall Street Journal Columnist, Kimbery A. Strassel, about what he's learned from his time in office, this Turkey-of-a-President responded, "I've learned that God is good. All the time."(Bush on His Record). Tell that to the family members of the dead and the maimed whose tragedies are directly linked to a war that Bush unleashed upon two nations with doctored evidence and insufficient grounds.

Due to his lack of understanding of the separation between the church and the state, this Turkey-of-a-President has created an atmosphere where Christian fundamentalism is running rampant, while squashing tolerance and treading upon the traditional secular values in the U.S. Bush's legacy is now a nation where intolerance and religious bigotry is considered "okay" and tantamount to "national security," as illustrated by recent events at an airport in Washington, D.C. the nation's Capitol. It is alleged that some teenagers overheard a conversation between a Muslim group in an airplane and acting as vigilantes, they had the group evicted from the plane.

Read the CNN story: Safest seat remarks get Muslim family kicked off plane

Bush is strangely gung-ho about unilateralism and perhaps, owing to his sinister and underhanded approval of Christian religious unilateralism today, a vast majority of the citizens of the U.S. who are either atheists, non-Christians, or just-plain secular are often at the receiving end of religious bigotry.

Here's hoping that this one turkey stays in the bush for good.

Two for Peace and Unity

As the leaders of India and Pakistan engage in saber-rattling and political maneuvering, the Indian Roller turns the spotlight on to two people who defied conventional wisdom and worked towards unity and freedom from religious and racial biases.

Indar Jit Rikhye

General Indar Jit Rikhye (Photo Source:

Indar Jit Rikhye was born in Pakistan in 1920 and graduated from the Indian Military Academy of Unified Indian in 1939. He went on to command India's troops in Sinai and Gaza in 1957 as part of the U.N. peacekeeping force in that region. General Rikhye was a U.N. military adviser and after retiring from the U.N. he founded the International Peace Academy, now renamed, The International Peace Institute.

In its obituary for General Rikhye, The Economist states that, "In his last years, living contentedly in America, General Rikhye would often wish aloud that Pakistan and India could bridge their differences and combine their armies."

Obituary of General Rikhye,
Indar Jit Rikhye, an Indian peacekeeper

Helen Suzman

Helen Suzman and Nelson Mandela (Photo Source:

As a member of the Parliament in South Africa's apartheid era, Helen Suzman went against the grain of her pro-apartheid peers for 13 long years. Her detractors lashed out at her with anti-Semitic epithets and accused her of being a member of the Communist party. She persevered and worked to rid South Africa of the yoke of apartheid and ensure unity and freedom for all peoples in her country (a nation where Mahatma Gandhi incubated his movement for an Independent India, free of colonial hegemony).

Associated BBC article on Helen Suzman:
Suzman 'brave voice' on apartheid