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America needs to actually understand what India is

Actress Rachel Bloom feels that Americans are not really getting into heart of what it is in India

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New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) She has never been to India but is not oblivious to Indian culture as she calls it a vast cauldron. Golden Globe-winning actress Rachel Bloom points out that many facets of the country are entering foreign shores in a “trendy” but false manner. People in the West are “not really getting into the heart of what it is in India”, she added.

Asked about what all Bloom, who won the Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”- earlier this year, has heard about Indian culture, she said: “It’s too vast”.

“But I think that there is something that Americans do, you know you take the example of yoga. I know that in India it’s much more kind of humble and a sacred practice, but here it’s kind of commoditised,” Bloom told IANS on the phone from Los Angeles.

She added: “We sell fancy clothes to wear to yoga classes for $20 or $30 or $40… it is kind of like a rich elitist thing and I know that that isn’t the case in India. It’s like we have taken some things that are sacred and humble in India and we’ve made them trendy here in ways that are false and not really getting into the heart of what it is in India.”

Bloom, apart from being the lead actress of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” has also created the musical-comedy-drama series along with Aline Brosh McKenna.

The show, which has been renewed for its second season, has entered the Indian shores with season one. It is being aired in India on Star World and Star World HD.

Bloom, who rose to fame in the virtual world with her musical and comedic skills via YouTube videos, says she is “aware” about the world of Bollywood, which is oft known for painting the big screen canvas with myriad hues of feelings along with music and dance.

Bloom said: “I love Bollywood. First of all, our editor of ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’, he is an Indian and his whole family actually is in India and works in Bollywood. And so, we have a very natural Bollywood tie at ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ with our editor Kabir Aktar. And secondly, I think it’s wonderful because in America the art of a film musical has really softened up.

“In the second episode, we have a Bollywood number. The Bollywood number is sung by a yoga teacher, it’s kind of making fun of Americans and what they think Indian culture is as opposed to what Indian culture actually is. So we’re doing homage to Bollywood and making fun of Americans through all the ways they represent Indian culture in the second episode.”

The show narrates story of a successful New York lawyer Rebecca Bunch, who decides to follow her ex-boyfriend, Josh Chan, to suburban West Covina, California. It accounts her romantic rendezvous in a hilarious manner interwoven with the use of music.

The actress says she has “always thought music is one of the first and most efficient forms of storytelling there is”.

She said: “Because, every song has an essential statement, which is the chorus. Every song has a very specific idea it’s trying to get across and then build on around idea. It is a very clear form of storytelling. It also gives us an insight into characters’ emotional space and is probably better than dialogues, since you know all the words aren’t there when you are emotional, you sing.”

Bloom also confessed that “Aline wanted to do this movie called ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ and incidentally ended up writing a TV show”.

Ask her about the USP of the show, she says it can’t “really be compared to the other shows” as “there is so much good television out there. I am personally overwhelmed with what to watch” and “it’s getting harder and harder to compare television shows because we’re into major television here with all these different networks, shows are getting more and more specific”. (Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at sugandha.r@ians.in)

  • chakrs

    The title has little to do with the article.

  • Pritam Go Green

    Americans should know the fact that we Indians possess very large and kind heart. They should stop selling jets to Pakistan and should cooperate with India. We all know India is a emerging superpower in Asia region. Even U.S needs us for dealing with China.

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  • chakrs

    The title has little to do with the article.

  • Pritam Go Green

    Americans should know the fact that we Indians possess very large and kind heart. They should stop selling jets to Pakistan and should cooperate with India. We all know India is a emerging superpower in Asia region. Even U.S needs us for dealing with China.

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India: Sugar Mills, Distilleries under The Scanner of Special Task Force of UP Police for Links with Hooch Syndicates

Industrial alcohol allegedly used in hooch is distilled ethanol

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India, Sugar Mills, Distilleries
A few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Pixabay

As more than a hundred people died in ‘poisonous hooch’ tragedies in Uttar Pradesh during the past one year, a few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Working round the clock to bust ‘killer syndicates’ supplying cheap industrial alcohol to bootleggers and gangs involved in manufacturing of illicit liquor, STF has seized more than 10,000 litres of rectified spirit in raids across the state in the past one month.

Industrial alcohol allegedly used in hooch is distilled ethanol and is usually used in manufacturing of paints, fragrance, printing ink and coating. As it is cheaper, the liquor syndicates get it smuggled from distilled ethanol manufacturing units. On June 16, STF seized 5,750 litres of rectified spirit (high concentration alcohol) from the possession of a big time crime syndicate active in Lucknow and Kanpur.

The STF rounded up the kingpin, Suraj Lal Yadav, along with six other members of the gang. During interrogation it was discovered that Yadav was well-connected with some distilleries in Haryana. Large quantities of industrial alcohol was smuggled out of Haryana and pushed into hooch manufacturing dens in UP.

Concerned about frequents deaths in UP due to consumption of poisonous hooch, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched a statewide crackdown on illicit liquor manufacturing gangs after 21 people died in a hooch tragedy in Barabanki two months ago. The STF, considered the state’s premiere crime busting agency, subsequently geared up to intercept scores of tankers and private vehicles being pushed into UP from Delhi and Haryana.

India, Sugar Mills, Distilleries
A few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Pixabay

“The syndicate involved in smuggling of rectified spirit has spread its tentacles in the state. Even murders have taken place in disputes relating to the smuggling. But our raiding parties are determined to bust the gangs. Innumerable cases have been registered by us in the past one-and-a-half years,” said Amitabh Yash, Inspector General(IG) of STF.

Even though the STF, after rounding up the accused handed over the investigation of the case to the district police, the agency is said to have the most precise data on organised crime in North India.

“We seldom investigate the cases as it involves prolonged court work, so our main aim is focused on cracking heinous crimes, particularly organised by crime syndicates. At the moment, gangs involved in illicit trade of hooch are our target,” said Amitabh Yash, known for his skills in dealing with underworld operations and syndicate crimes. When asked whether a few officials of the excise department and a couple of distilleries could be linked with smugglers of rectified spirit, the IG said a report was given in this connection to the government.

While high excise duty makes liquor expensive, hooch, on the other hand, is available for less than Rs 20 per bottle. At places the rates are less than even Rs 10 per liter. A report, in connection with the Saharanpur hooch tragedy in February 2019 which took the lives of over 50 people, reveals that the quantity of rectified spirit mixed in the drink was so high that it had the effect of poison.

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The report says that rectified spirit was smuggled by criminal gangs which were hand-in-glove with local authorities.

“The gangs have links in distilleries and chemical factories from where industrial alcohol is smuggled out at a very cheap price. It is later re-packed in drums and transported to hideouts of manufacturers (of illicit liquor),” said a source in the police.

With widespread sale of hooch across UP, CM Yogi Adityanath has instructed DGP O.P. Singh to take stringent measures against the culprits and ensure that police secures conviction of those accused who are put on trial in cases of hooch smuggling or hooch-related deaths. (IANS)