Mali : A New Battleground


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JANUARY 16 , 2013           07.55 P.M.

Birth of Al – Qaeda and demolition of World Trade Centre in New York could be called water – shed moments in the history of modern world . It spawned many Jehads by Al Qaeda against the ” Satanic Western powers ” and several wars by the Western powers to safeguard the world from the ” Islamic menace ” .

War in Afghanistan and killing of Osama Bin Laden are well chronicled and thus need no repetition . But when I read about the recent attack on Mali by French army , I was forced to consult Wikipedia for the history of Mali , as I was not very much familiar with the history of Africa in general and Mali in particular .

An enlargeable map of the Republic of Mali

An enlargeable map of the Republic of Mali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Green: Mali Federation

Location of Mali Federation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in West Africa . Mali is bordered by Algeria on the north , Niger on the east , Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire on the south , Guinea on the south-west , and Senegal and Mauritania on the west . Its capital is Bamako .

Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara, while the country’s southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Sénégal rivers. The country’s economic structure centers on agriculture and fishing. Some of Mali’s prominent natural resources include gold and salt. About half the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

The Songhay Empire at one point controlled alm...

The Songhai Empire at one point controlled almost all of Mali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Map of the successor states of the Ghana Empir...

Map of the successor states of the Ghana Empire, on the upper Niger river valley, West Africa, circa 1200 Common Era. These outlines are approximate, and should not suggest modern states with fixed borders. States in this era were centered around cities and strong places, with variations of influence radiating out from these points. C. 1200 on the eve of the rise of the Mali Empire, usually dated in the 1240s CE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade : the Ghana Empire , the Mali Empire (from which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire . During its golden age , there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art .At its peak , Mali was one of the most expansive empires in the world at the time .In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa , France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan . French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959 , achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation . Shortly thereafter , following Senegal’s withdrawal from the federation , the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali . After a long period of one-party rule , a 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic , multi-party state .

A conflict in northern Mali began in January 2012 . On 22 March 2012 , a group of junior soldiers seized control of the presidential palace and declared the government dissolved and its constitution suspended . On 6 April 2012 , rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) declared the secession of a new state , Azawad , from Mali . Shortly after, the MNLA were sidelined by Islamist groups associated with Al-Qaeda, and dropped their demands for secession . The soldiers who seized power allowed Dioncounda Traoré , the President of the National Assembly, to take office as head of state in accordance with the constitution , but they have continued to wield considerable power . Plans to re-take the north with international assistance are being formulated , after which the interim government plans to hold the long-delayed national elections .

This above mentioned history of Mali is taken from Wikipedia and is being re – produced here . I don’t know what will be the outcome of this war ? I fail to forecast the future of Mali ? Won’t be able to say whether Azawad will be a reality or not  ? Will Al Qaeda be rooted out from Mali like Afghanistan or will it succeed here ? Outcome of war is not certain in Mali but it is certain that Mali will not be same again .

It is my belief that my students of acting should know the history of our country and the world .I don’t want to declare my acting institute as the best acting institute of Mumbai or the best acting academy of India and not tell my students about the current affairs of the changing world . I don’t want to claim that I run the most successful acting class in Mumbai and my students are illiterate when it comes to world affairs .

I want that students of my acting class ,  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , should become a better citizen of India and a conscientious denizens of the world .



Understanding Tamil Nadu – [ 2 ]


VAITHEESWARAN KOIL – TAMIL NADU – INDIA           DECEMBER 24 , 2012      11.59 P.M. 

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was...

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was created in 1969 when erstwhile Madras State was renamed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my last blog I have stated about the Self Respect Movement started by E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” in Tamil Nadu in 1925 . This far – reaching movement changed the contours of Tamil Nadu , Tamil politics and Tamil society forever .

English: An image of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy हि...

A Young Periyar E. V. Ramasamy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It did give room to some misgivings but its effect and its contribution can’t be wished out . Instead of talking about the misgivings , let us look at the positive side .

1 – Periyar talked about the eradication of caste system . According to him lack of self-respect among weaker section of society and their uplifting should be the main aim of society and government . Periyar thought that a small number of people , mainly Brahmins have created caste system to dominate the weaker section , who are in majority . So there should be casteless society .

2 – Periyar talked about the women’s rights . Since he was a rationalist , he advocated women emancipation , widow re – marriage , education for women and jobs for them in police and army . He talked that women should be given equal rights and they should be given good education and must have right to property . He also advocated widow re – marriage . He wanted to abolish dowry system and advocated inter – cast marriages . It will be astonishing for many that in those primitive era , he advocated birth control also and it all happened much before government took the initiative .

3 – He talked about rationalism and criticized the inherent contradictions in the Hindu religion .

His espousal of above mentioned causes are laudable and praiseworthy . Almost every leader of that era supported these causes in one form or other . Method was definitely different but not the goal .

Now let us talk about two movements , which can’t be supported and because of that , Periyar is misunderstood in the rest of the country .

1 – In 1937 , the then Chief Minister of Madras State Chakravarthi Rajgopalachari introduced Hindi as compulsory language of education in school . Periyar opposed it whole – heartedly and he got massive support also . Leaders cutting party lines supported the movement . Later on all the Dravidian parties also took this as their demand and anti – Hindi movement slowly became anti – North Indian .

English: Front page of the Tamil Magazine Kudi...

Front page of the Tamil Magazine Kudiyarasu dated 03 September 1939. It was run by Periyar. E. V. Ramasamy. There is an editorial titled “Veezhga Indhi” (Down with Hindi) written as part of the Anti Hindi Agitations of 1937-40 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Frontpage of the magazine Kudiyarasu ...

Frontpage of the magazine Kudiyarasu (dated 20 November 1938). The magazine was run by Periyar E. V. Ramasamy in the Madras Presidency, British India. This issue reports about the Tamil Nadu women’s conference to be held on 13 November 1938. The conference was convened to showcase women’s support to the Anti-Hindi agitation of 1937–40 This particular scan is taken from Pollachi Nasan’s collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2 – In 1939 Periyar become head of Justice Party and in 1944 changed its name to Dravid Kazhagam . He then started advocating independent Dravid Nadu .

English: Front page of the Dravida Nadu magazi...

Front page of the Dravida Nadu magazine dated 29 September 1946. The magazine was published by C. N. Annadurai from Kanchipuram. This particular scan is taken from the collection of Pollachi Nasan. It depicts Periyar E. V. Ramasamy and his speech in the court during the Anti-Hindi Agitations of 1937-40 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thus anti – Hindi movement and propagating independent Dravid Nadu could be called sore points for the North Indians and thus Dravid movement and Tamil Nadu is misunderstood in the rest of the country .

But we should know that within 5 years of propagating independent Dravid Nadu , majority of Dravid leaders  left Dravid Kazhagam . C. N. Annadurai led the rebellion and formed Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam in 1949 . He participated in elections and formed the first non – Congress government in 1967 .

Therefore misgivings about independent Dravid Nadu should be put to rest because Periyar’s followers themselves didn’t pursue it .

Anti – Hindi agitation erupts here and there even today but there are fissiparous activities in many parts of the country . Why blame only Tamil Nadu for this . I have read many stories about anti – Hindi feelings of Tamil people . But during my stay in the province and that to in the hinterlands , I was astounded and would like to tell my North Indian friends that enmity does not exist . Every section of Tamil society and people tried to help me even though they genuinely can’t speak Hindi . They did struggle but tried to speak Hindi . So ” HINDI ILLAI ” slogan , which was given so much publicity in all the Hindi press in and after 1967 is completely wrong and mischievous .

I am sorry to say that many stories published in the news papers and magazines of Hindi in 1967 are not true . May be some things might have happened during the anti Hindi agitation of 1937 and 1967 , but they are things of the past . The emblem of Tamil Nadu says it all .

English: Emblem of the State Government of Tam...

Emblem of the State Government of Tamil Nadu used by the state government for public notices in the press and for publicity purposes. The emblem of India is the image used on the India Wikipedia article. தமிழ்: தமிழ் நாடு அரசின் சின்னம். (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would like to tell every one along with the students of my acting class Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , that Tamil Nadu is changing very fast or it has already changed .



Box Office Blues – November 2012


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 04 , 2012           11.40 P.M.

Second blog in this category [ Box Office Blues ] is delayed by 4 days . I promised to write it on the last day of every month . But November was too hectic . I was in the process of starting Batch No. 69 of my Acting Institute in Mumbai and thus I missed the dateline .

Anyhow I am posting it today .

First Week – November 02


1 –Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana : This film has Kunal Kapoor in the main lead and it also had Anangsha Biswas in a small role . Both my students were appreciated in this modest hit .

2 – 1920 Evil Returns : This famous franchisee of Vikram Bhatt was a major hit .

3 – Ata Pata Laapata : This film by Rajpal Yadav was a major disaster and was a damp squib at the box office .

4 – Le Gaya Saddam : This film was unmitigable disaster . I will always  be a bit special for me because Chirag Patil , a very old student of mine , played a major role in the film . Chirag is incidentally cricketer Sandip Patil’s son .

5 – Future To Bright Hai Ji : Future of this film was definitely not bright at the box office . It tanked without trace .

Second Week – November 09


1 – Its Rocking Dard – E – Disco : Aryeman Ramsay is also my student . He made his debut opposite Amitabh Bachchan in ” Family ” . This flop film will be known for the music director Bappi Lahiri , who made his acting debut .

Third Week – November 16 [ 13 Deepawali ]


1 – Jab Tak Hai Jaan : This directorial venture of Yash Chopra will always be remembered as his last swan – song . It has Shah Rukh Khan in the main lead . It has Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma as the two female protagonists . Both are my students , though Anushka does not acknowledge .

It has one more student of mine . His name is Aashish Singh . He is the Executive Producer of the film .

This film is a huge hit . It has garnered more than 117 crore till now . Apart from ” Ek Tha Tiger “ , this is the second Yash Raj Films to garner more than 100 crore this year .

2 – Son Of Sardaar : This Ajay Devgn starrer clashed with the above mentioned film .  Tanisha Mukerjii , again a very old student , was associated with this film as the Executive producer .

Jeetu Verma , another old student , played an important role in it .

This film also entered in the 100 crore club , collecting more than 101 crore at the box office .

Fourth Week  – November 23


1 – Operation Mumbai : …………………………………………………. This Kunal Kapoor starrer failed at the box office .

Fifth Week – November 30


1 – Talaash : This Aamir Khan starrer was a much – awaited film . Apart from Aamir Khan and Rani Mukherjee , it also has Kareena Kapoor . She was my student before she signed ” Refugee ” .

2 – Jeet Lengey Jahaan : It failed to win anything and tanked without trace .

Out of above mentioned ………….. 11 ………… films ….. 07 …… films have …………… 10 ……………. persons , who are trained by me .

I , on behalf of me and my Acting School in Mumbai Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , congratulate the box office winners and wish best of luck to the rest one .

May the victorious journey of films and the students of my acting class in Mumbai continue !!



Vidur’s Telly Tales – 11 : Finding Gauri Bhosle

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 24 , 2012           00.05 A.M.

One day I woke up in the morning and saw an ad in the news papers about some Gauri Bhosle , who was missing from her London home . I was intrigued because the face seemed familiar . Within few seconds I recognized the face . The girl Gauri Bhosle was none other than my student Mrunal Thakur .

With Mrunal Thakur / Gauri Bhosle

With Mrunal Thakur / Gauri Bhosle

It then occurred to me that this is not an ad for a missing person but an ad for the coming serial ” Khamoshiyan “ . Mrunal Thakur is playing main female protagonist named Gauri Bhosle in ” Khamoshiyan “ , which is currently being aired on Star Plus .

The serial is being produced by Sai Deodhar and her husband Shakti Anand . Incidentally Sai Deodhar is herself my old student . Sai is herself a fabulous actor but this time she decided to remain behind the camera .

With Sai Deodhar

With Sai Deodhar

Before the commencement of shooting , Mrunal Thakur was sent to me for training by Sai Deodhar . I must say that Mrunal is very hard-working , dedicated and sincere student . She used to attend morning and evening both the batches because there was not much time available and she had to prepare her complex character within the short time .

Before the start of the shooting of  ” Khamoshiyan ” , I had to go to Manali to train Kalki Koechlin for Dharma Production’s up – coming venture ” Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani ” . One day I got a call from Mrunal Thakur . She called me to inform that she is starting a new journey of her life and she needs my blessings . I was overwhelmed . There was no need of this gesture . A tutor always blesses his students . It was so sweet of her to call me and seek my blessings . In today’s time when few aggrieved students refuse to acknowledge me , when they openly make a statement that I know nothing , that I am not a good trainer , this gesture of Mrunal Thakur stands tall and is very humbling . It shows that she got good upbringing from her parents . She is not like some of the wannabe zombies who are disrespectful to me and thus show their poor ,  shameful and abominable upbringing .

I am happy for Mrunal Thakur and wish her all the success in life . I , along with the staff and students of my acting institute , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , congratulate her and bless her .

May God give her all the success she deserves in life !!




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