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Getting into the film industry is tough. But, once in the industry, one does not come alone. With him or her comes the anxiety and the insecurity. Getting in is tough, of course, but sustaining and surviving is tougher. Producers, directors and other technicians all live with the uncertainties, depending on the fate of a film they are associated with.
While the technicians could work with various film units at the same time or even with the advertising field because films were shot in phases over a couple of years, actors had little else to do besides films. The actors were burdened with a heavy load of insecurity. Their fates swung like a pendulum every Friday their film released.
Having seen the state of various stars and superstars before them only added to the insecurity of the every new lot of actors who made it to the film industry. So many big named makers and stars had died either in poverty or out of frustration after becoming irrelevant.
But, this was the norm in the film industry. Just about everybody entered with a Best Before Date; most of all, the stars.
Not going too much back into the past, imagine Rajesh Khanna. After a number of flops, finally, when he arrived, he did it with a bang and went on to give one hit after the other in a period of just about four years or so. He was the most romantic hero on screen and girls wrote love letters, not fan mail, to him in blood! Boys dressed like him and sported his haircut. Then, suddenly the trend changed. The very actor from whom he stole the show in “Anand”, returned the favour in their next film together, “Namak Haraam”. That was Amitabh Bachchan, who was destined to rule the roost displacing Rajesh Khanna.
The later generation learnt from this and decided to use the popularity to optimise earnings.
Initially, the trend was for popular playback singers like Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh and others to perform in overseas stage shows. They took their audience on a nostalgia trip, reeling out old melodies (film music was all about melody those days). The eighties saw the revival of the ghazal era with Jagjit Singh leading the pack, as new talent sprang up in the form of Pankaj Udhas, Talat Aziz, Penaz Masani, Hariharan, Bhupinder and few others. The fame of some of these singers spread, and they were called for stage shows and private performances not only in all corners of India but also overseas. Some drama troupes also followed.
Initially, the filmstars’ overseas jamborees started and ended with Dubai, where the underworld don Dawood was based. The stars seemed to be at his back and call; weather he wished for them to perform or to just add glamour to the cricket matches held there. You saw some of the biggest names in the film industry by his side during these cricket matches.
The stars who obliged were sent back with gifts like TV sets and video players, a priced possession back then besides a cash component of a lakh or so (a big amount in those days, for a matter of a day or two), not to mention the ‘phoren’ trip.
Sadly, a side effect of this Middle East era was prostitution. Merely a single film credit was enough to brand one as a filmstar and that meant high bucks. People there, somehow, took fancy to stars. This gave birth to a new racket. Some middleman would approach the trade papers with the picture of heavily but gaudily made-up girls posing as if on some film set! The trade papers charged to print photos. This facility was used by filmmakers to publish pictures of either shootings or song recordings. This helped the producers convey to their distributors and investors that the film was making progress. The girls used this facility to get branded as filmstars and proceed to the Middle East, prospect hunting in the oldest profession in the world.
This was an unexpected windfall. The smaller and side actors also joined the bandwagon, and would attend pre-wedding mehndi ceremonies as well as weddings for a lakh! There was actually a growing demand for actors to attend weddings and other ceremonies, as well as to cut ribbons for the inauguration of various enterprises.
Initially, if an actor inaugurated a shop, it merited some space in the media, especially the print media. Later, when these media guys wizened up and started charging, it was still worth it.
The ultimate came from Shakti Kapoor, about this side business that actors were becoming a part of. His reply was very candid: If I am paid a lakh, I will even attend a funeral!
I don’t think that was so much greed. Seemed more like insecurity. Make hay while the sun shines.
The big league was soon to follow. The superstars were willing to dance and regale your crowd at weddings if you happened to be among the Forbes list or a noted NRI. So the King and the rest danced to the tune of Sterling Pounds!
The ad world had taken a fancy to stars as brand ambassadors in place of the regular models and rampwalkers. Instead of dancing for the Middle East dons, the stars were now willing to sell everything from underwear to non-existent soda water as a surrogate ad for alcohol.
Once upon time, the Hindi film industry had only one awards function, the one instituted by the Filmfare magazine management in 1954. At this function, each year, best of the top stars performed on the stage. It was not about money, it was considered prestigious to be chosen to perform. For a newcomer, if chosen, it meant exposure to showcase his or her talent in front of the best of the who’who of the industry.
But, then came television and along came the sponsors. The sponsor wanted his money’s worth and the attendance of as many stars as possible started to matter. The outcome was that there would be an award statuette for almost all the glamour willing to attend. Not to mention, a bagful of money for those who performed. After all, the sponsor wanted an entertaining package for his money.
The sponsors also brought forth some more awards in Screen, Zee and IIFA, besides a few that started and faded.
There were some, of course, who were not the stage performer kind, as dancing and prancing around on stage was not their forte. They ended up those who could and were in demand for such shows as Bhaand, not quite flattering a term when translated in English!
But, money makes anybody dance. At one of the Ambani family weddings, they needed a world-renowned performer and the choice fell on the American singer, Beyonce, while the film stars handled the catering, serving food to the guests.
@The Box Office
The three new releases of last week, “Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas”, “Prassthanam” and “The Zoya Factor”, have all failed miserably. From the Ganesh festival till Diwali has never been considered an opportune time for release of new films. The footfalls don’t happen. The public reports of a film come much later, but after the audience comes. That did not happen with any of these films right from the opening show.
Wrong decision, especially for Sunny Deol, who launching the career of his son, Karan Deol.
* “Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas” had another drawback in that it turned out to be an old-fashioned love story and could manage to collect a meagre Rs 7.5 crore in its first week.
* “Prassthanam”, a film about a baahubali family and its internal power struggle, is a subject done and dusted with, and failed to appeal. The film ended its opening week with figures of a poor five crore.
* “The Zoya Factor” found few takers and closed it first week with a mere three crore.
* “Dream Girl” has proved to be a hit. The film has crossed the Rs 100 crore mark with ease, with its two-week total standing at about Rs 116 crore.
* “Chhichhore” is a major hit, adding Rs 22 crore in its third week, taking its three-week tally to Rs 121 crore. (IANS)
Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.
Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.
The Plague broke out from improper disposal of garbage and poor sewage conditions. Fleas from the rats that lived in the sewers spread the disease that killed more than half of London's population. Many people fled from their homes as there was no medicine available for those who were infected.
Beak-shaped masks worn during the Great Plague of London Image source: wikimedia commons
It was around this time that masks began to be invented. The first masks were shaped like beaks, and were worn not to protect the wearer from the disease, but to the prevent them from being able to smell the decay and death around them, which they called 'miasma'. The beaks were filled with floral herbs that allowed doctors and nurses to tend to the sick without being reviled from the smell.
Children are often seen forming circles by holding hands and reciting loudly,
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down"
An illustration of the Great Plague of London, 1665 Image source: wikimedia commons
When the last line is sung, they break the circle and fall down. The roses and posies are believed to be the preferred fragrances inside the masks, and a single sneeze (a-tishoo) was enough to infect the one who was exposed to the disease. Consequently, they fell down, ill, and later died.
An alternative version of this rhyme is sung about the fall of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath of World War II. The roses and posies are interchanged with geranium and uranium, to symbolise what was used in the atomic bomb. But this version is not as famous the original.
Keywords: Rhymes, Ringa-ringa-roses, Great Plague of London, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Folklore
In modern times, many social movements aim to bring reform to the society we live in, on the basis of certain existing patterns. Patriarchy is something that many aim to cleanse our cultures of, to usher in the era of social and gender equality. Despite all these so-called movements, in southern India, certain societies that patronise matriarchy have existed since before India's independence. The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country.
Kerala remains separate from the rest of India in many ways. Be it literacy policy, form of government, or cultural practices, this state does not always conform to the ideal that India is known for. Even so with their social structure. Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.
The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country. Image source: wikimedia commons
A male member, who is the close confidante of the matriarch is chosen. He plays a crucial role in representing the male members of his family, and his opinion is highly valued. He is called karavanan. The men reside in separate rooms or in separate houses, and do not interfere in the upbringing of children. Property is also passed down along the lineage of the eldest female. Among the Nairs, matriarchy is more prominently adhered to than the Ezhavas, who have some patrilocal connections.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Their matrilineal descent is known as Aliyasantana.
The story is told of a demon who threatened to destroy a kingdom if the king did not sacrifice his sons, but the king's sister comes forward to offer her children in sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. The demon is touched and does not destroy the city. Since then, the kingdom, or the property is inherited through female lineage.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Image source: wikimedia commons
In the recent past, many of these matriarchal societies have been reduced to matrilineal societies by certain governmental laws. They fall under the patriarchal scheme of the rest of the state but have reserved the right to pass on property and heritage through the female line. In the North east of India, matriarchal dominance is far more resilient than the south.
Keywords: Bunts, Billava, Nair, Ezhava, Aliyasantana, Matrilineal, South India, Karnataka, Kerala
Apple inc. Is an American multinational tech firm specialized in consumer electronics, computer programs, and internet services founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to manufacture Wozniak's Apple iComputer. It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation. Apple is the fourth-largest PC seller by unit sales and the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. On the day of the live event, Apple announced the iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. | Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini.
iPad: The 10.2-inch iPad is equipped with a solid A13 processor that delivers 20 percent quicker performance than the preceding version. According to Apple, it is now three times faster than a Chromebook. A new 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, which utilizes machine learning to optimize the front-facing camera during FaceTime video chats, as well as more incredible accessory support, including compatibility with the first-generation Apple Pencil, are among the new features. For 64GB of storage, the iPad costs $329.
iPad Mini: In addition to reduced borders and more rounded edges, the 8.3-inch iPad mini also has improved front and back cameras. A liquid retina display, USB-C compatibility, magnetic support for the Apple Pencil, an enhanced speaker system, and new hues such as pink and purple are all features of the new Apple iPad Mini. The starting price is $499.
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini. | Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash
The other major unveiled products include:
iPhone 13 and other variants: The iPhone 13 range is almost identical to the iPhone 12 lineup, with a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. It was also revealed that the Watch Series 7 has a smaller "S7" processor, which may allow for a bigger battery or other components to be housed in a smaller footprint. The gadgets have a revolutionary design that includes a dual-camera system, placed diagonally. Apple's iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have longer-lasting batteries than the previous generation of devices. In addition, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 will have a battery life that is 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, and the iPhone 13 mini will have a battery life that is 1.5 hours longer. A more energy-efficient display, an upgraded 5G chip, and functionality called "Cinematic Mode," similar to the famous Portrait mode function but is only available for movies, are among the other enhancements. The A15 Bionic chip present in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini is also used in the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, also 6.1-inch devices. However, it also has a five-core CPU, which promises graphics that are 50% quicker than previous models. Other notable features of the Pro devices include a brilliant Super Retna XDR display with a higher refresh rate and long-lasting battery life. Now, for the price, it will start at $699 for the iPhone 13 mini with 128 GB of storage, $799 for the iPhone 13 with 128 GB of storage, and the Pro and Pro Max have starting prices of $999 $1,099, respectively.
Apple Watch Series 7: The new Apple Watch Series 7, which is smaller and has a larger screen than its previous model, was introduced by Apple on Wednesday. There is a 20% increase in screen size over Series 6 on the new watch. A complete keyboard that you can touch or slide to write out text messages can show 50% more text. It starts at $399.
Keywords: Apple, iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone Mini, Apple event 2021