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Bharat Sangeet Utsav from today

Carnatica and Sri Krishna Sweets are back this year with the annual L&T Bharat Sangeet Utsav, which will be held from November 20 to 25 at Sarojini Auditorium of Kikkani School (off Brooke Bond Road).
The festival begins with a vocal recital by Nithyasree Mahadevan. The final day on November 25 will be marked by carnatic vocal recital by M. Balamuralikrishna, who will also be conferred with the title Bharata Sangeeta Kovidha. Bharata Natya Seva Niratha will be conferred on S. Saraswathi of Vipanchee Natyalaya by Swami Dayanandha Saraswathi of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam.
P. Unnikrishnan, Vijay Siva, Gayathri Venkatraghavan, Sangeetha Sivakumar and Abhishek Raghuram are among the other performers.
The fusion and jugalbandhi segments consist of Sriram Parasuram and Anoordha Sriram and Carnatica Brothers K.N. Shashikiran and P. Ganesh with world percussion maestro Mark Stone from the U.S., who is on his first visit to India, the organisers said in a press release. “The uniqueness of this years’ programme is that we will present ragam, thalam and pallavi in English, but by retaining the essential carnatic flavour,” Mr. Shashikiran said. “This is to help Mr. Stone and some others understand easily,” he said.
In the dance section, there will be performances by Vipanchee Natyalaya and Abhayasa Academy of Dance.
The internet radio will air the concerts live. For details, contact: 94440 18269 / 98400 15013.

The "Maximum" bore film

When a family of ten including six noisy children got into the theatre, talking and scrambling around for popcorn, we rolled our eyes preparing for the most annoying movie-watching experience. After “Sssssh”ing them around, we soon realised that they weren't the villains, they were victims of Maximum boredom, having spent at least a thousand rupees to watch a film where nothing happens. Till the very end.
The idea must have sounded great on paper. To build up a narrative where the tension between two power-hungry crooked encounter cops keeps rising and culminates in one explosive blood bath of a finale.

No Muslims please!

Is Mumbai really as cosmopolitan as it is commonly perceived?
“Nah…how can this happen in Mumbai, that too with a Bollywood star?” I heard many people say when Emraan Hashmi reported that he was having difficulty in finding an apartment due to his faith. Then it was Shabana Azmi. “I wanted to buy a flat in Bombay and it wasn't given to me because I was a Muslim and I read the same about Saif (Ali Khan). Now, I mean, if Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi cannot get a flat in Bombay because they are Muslims, then what are we talking about?”
I've studied in Mumbai, stayed in a hostel and enjoyed the freedom to move about even in the late hours of night or wee hours of morning more or less safely. I come from the town of Udaipur, where everyone knows you and seems interested in your affairs. But, when need be, they would also go out of their way to help you. In Mumbai, I loved that people tended to mind their own business. Here, you could feel carefree and uncared for. But not discriminated. At least I thought so.
Years down the line, I've been sensitised towards professionals, students, families, strugglers and stars who have one tag in common — I am a Muslim. A couple of months back, my cousin, who is a pilot with Jet Airways, had his base assigned as Mumbai. He came, stayed at our place and I was sure he'd find a good flat on rent soon in the suburbs.
Daunting task
But it proved to be a much more trying task than we'd anticipated. Through various agents, he scanned Powai, Santacruz, Andheri Lokhandwala, Kandivali Lokhandwala, Thakur Complex (Kandivali), Thakur Village (Kandivali) and so on. The choice proved to be very limited for Muslims. Many more options were available in the same areas, through the same agents, for my sister-in-law (husband's sister), who is a Bengali Brahmin. Most of the agents are gracious enough to inform you at the start about the limited options. The more discreet ones politely shake their heads about the unavailability.
Post many agents and many rejections, my cousin finalised a flat in Kandivali Lokhandwala and gave the token amount. After much delay, it was returned as the society had refused to let a Muslim in, although the owner was ready.
Last week, we went to see a flat in a building complex in Thakur Complex, adjoining the highway, where the society didn't have a problem with a Muslim tenant. But the owner refused to lend it to a Muslim. Although my husband assured that he, a Marwadi, was his brother-in-law and our offices were located quite near that building, there was no convincing the owner.
More liberal place
I walked away from that building, thinking about my grandfather who was the only one to open his shop during the Partition riots in the majority-dominated locality. People from all communities loved him well enough to elect him the Vice Mayor and then Mayor of Udaipur. His wife, my grandma, was the one of the initiators of women's education in Rajasthan and served as the Vice President of the Rajasthan Branch of All India Women's Conference (AIWC), of which Maharani Gayatri Devi was the President, way back in 1952. Our family comprises Kayasth Hindus, Shia and Sunni Muslims, Punjabis, Marwadis Baniyas, Bohras…many of whom have considerable contribution in politics, social service, arts, wildlife, conservation, literature and education in India. We celebrate all festivals round the year. I was always told that the fabric of Indian society was rich with a profusion of languages, traditions and cultures woven over the ancient, medieval and modern ages. It was impossible to separate it thread by thread. Come to think of it, perhaps our little town of Udaipur is much more liberal at heart than many a cosmopolitan city. Perhaps the people of olden days were more liberal-minded than many a modern Indian.
Many societies in Mumbai, of which the majority flats are owned by business classes, have the unwritten rule of not allowing Muslims in. In the apartment complex where my in-laws live, one of the best in the Western Suburbs of Mumbai, there is not a single Muslim family. Even though initially the builders may sell flats to Muslims, once the society is formed, no more are allowed. This is not a general rule in all societies, of course, but a prevalent one.
Yes, there are Muslims, as well as other minority communities, who prefer to stay in ghettos. But I realise, with a heavy heart, that there are not many places for a liberal Muslim to go to. And aren't the majority communities making ghettoes for themselves by not letting the others in?
In Gokuldham society of the popular comedy serial “Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chashma”, there are Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, but not a single Muslim family (except a token Muslim small store owner). Perhaps that reflects the reality of many other building complexes in Mumbai. No Muslims Please!
The Hindu

Bob Dylan denies China censored his choice of songs

Bob Dylan on stage in Beijing, April 2011 Dylan's set lists change from one show to the next
Singer Bob Dylan has hit back at suggestions that he gave in to censorship during a recent series of concerts in China.
The folk-rock legend, 69, agreed to give authorities set lists before performances in Shanghai and Beijing.
He was criticised in print and online for ignoring 1960s-era protest songs.
Writing on his website, Dylan has now insisted he knew nothing of any censorship and says he and his band played all the songs they intended to.
Bob Dylan shot to fame in the 1960s as an icon of the anti-war movement in the era of the Vietnam War.
Songs such as The Times They Are a-Changin' and Like a Rolling Stone became synonymous with the counterculture of the 1960s, and Dylan became a poster-boy for a disenchanted generation.
Dylan's vast back catalogue spans 34 studio albums and hundreds of individual songs, many recorded since the 1960s and spanning a wide range of musical styles.
He is known for embarking on lengthy concert tours - known as the Never-Ending Tour - sometimes playing 100 times each year.
Set lists change regularly, and the famously stubborn singer-songwriter often confounds fans who turn up wanting to hear specific numbers from his 1960s heyday.
'New kind of sellout' Defending his choice of songs for the China leg of his current tour, Dylan wrote: "As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing.
Bob Dylan on the front of a Chinese magazine Bob Dylan's arrival in China was big news in the country
"There's no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous three months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play."
He had faced explicit criticism after the China shows, including from New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
"The idea that the raspy troubadour of '60s freedom anthems would go to a dictatorship and not sing those anthems is a whole new kind of sellout," she wrote.
Ms Dowd criticised Dylan for not mentioning artist Ai Wei Wei, who was detained by Chinese authorities in the days running up to his first show in China.
"He sang his censored set, took his pile of Communist cash and left," she wrote.
Bob Dylan has often shied away from the label pinned on him in the 1960s.
"The Chinese press did tout me as a sixties icon, however, and posted my picture all over the place with Joan Baez, Che Guevara, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg," he wrote on his website.
"The concert attendees probably wouldn't have known about any of those people.
"Regardless, they responded enthusiastically to the songs on my last 4 or 5 records. Ask anyone who was there. They were young and my feeling was that they wouldn't have known my early songs anyway."

Radio listening reaches new high

Evan Davis on Radio 4's Today programme The Today programme has added 600,000 listeners in a year, according to the figures
A record number of people in the UK are listening to the radio, with 47.3m tuning into at least one station each week, according to Rajar figures.
BBC Radio 4 drew a record average weekly audience of 10.83m, from January to March, with its Today programme breaking 7m for the first time.
Talksport, named national station of the year this week, reached 3.25m listeners a week for the first time.
BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans remains king of the breakfast shows with 9.18m.
That compared with the 7.52 million who listened to BBC Radio 1's Chris Moyles.
There were also record figures for BBC stations Radio 1, 1Xtra and 6 Music
Today, whose presenters include Evan Davis and John Humphrys, added 600,000 listeners in comparison to the same period in the previous year.
And Talksport added almost 900,000 listeners in a year.
On Monday night, it became the first commercial operation to win the Sony Radio Academy Award for national station of the year.
Overall, commercial radio had a record audience of 34 million listeners a week.

Jedward reach Eurovision Song Contest final

Irish teenage twins Jedward will compete in the Eurovision Song Contest final in Germany after winning through Thursday's qualifying stage.
John and Edward Grimes, 19, who found fame on The X Factor, performed their song Lipstick in the run-off.
Israel's Dana International, who won Eurovision in 1998, failed to make the cut.
Jedward will be among 25 acts in Saturday's grand final, including Blue, who will sing I Can for the UK.
The pair were dressed in red sparkly jackets with big shoulders for their frenetic performance.
Before the semi-final on Thursday, the twins said they were not nervous at the prospect of singing before an estimated TV audience of 150 million people.
The act have promised to be "the Pavarotti of Eurovision".
'In it to win it'
Jedward were not the only identical siblings performing in the qualifier, as Daniela and Veronika Nizlova represented Slovakia under the name Twiins.
But of the 19 countries in Thursday's starting line-up, the Slovakian duo were one of the nine unsuccessful entrants.
Ukraine's Eurovision singer Mika Newton Ukraine's Mika Newton won through to Saturday's final
Austria, Denmark, Ukraine, Moldova, Estonia, Sweden, Bosnia, Slovenia and Romania all advanced to the final.
David Bryan, lead singer of the Romanian act Hotel FM, comes from Newton Aycliffe in County Durham.
Austria will make their first appearance in the final since 2004, with a gospel-tinged ballad performed by Nadine Bieler.
The 20 qualifiers from Tuesday and Thursday's semi-finals will be joined by Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK, who are accorded automatic places in the final.

Explanations elsewhere

Coming a poor sixth in X Factor, it may seem a mystery that Jedward are still in the public consciousness. But Christopher Howse argues in the Telegraph that their popularity illustrates the "Jedward paradox "- making lots of money by "not doing very well".
In Slate Simon Doonan explains Eurovision to a US audience. He warns of a "fabulously schlocky insanity that awaits". He suggests Eurovision is Lady Gaga's biggest artistic influence - from her costumes to the "simplistic, language-blind lyrics".
Newly re-formed former chart-toppers Blue will be the 14th act on stage on Saturday.
The group's Simon Webbe told the BBC: "We're in it to win it, for sure."
Last year's winner Lena will again represent Germany, with the song Taken By A Stranger.
Jedward were one of the hits of 2009's The X Factor, despite not winning the series.
The twins signed to Sony and released their debut single Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby), a duet with rapper Vanilla Ice, in January of the following year, which reached number two in the UK chart.