Salaam Namaste is reviewed in the New York Times. Anita Gates compares Preity Zinta to Katie Holmes, which seems quite apt (they even look sort of similar). The movie is probably just the usual timepass, albeit with a couple of catchy tunes to its credit.
I'll still go see it; I am a sucker for this stuff.
Some positive news in Kashmir, with talks between PM Manmohan Singh and the All Parties Hurriyat Conference of Kashmir. The All Parties Conference has representatives from moderate as well as extremist Kashimiri separatist groups. But it might be wise to be cautious: the agreement they've made (some troops withdrawn if the explosions stop) is very small and tentative. And BBC has a piece questioning how representative the All Parties Conference really is. It also points to how Kashmiri politics is in a sense hopelessly vexed.
It looks like PM Manmohan Singh and General Musharraf are going to be meeting in New York next week (over dinner!), so perhaps there will be some bilateral Kashmir moves in the next couple of weeks.
Something really disturbing: a disease called Japanese Encephalitis has been ravaging the state of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.). It is fatal, and disproportionately affects children (500 or 600 have already died; as many as 1500 are currently infected). The state government knew this was coming, and had the means to immunize its children as well as spray aggressively for mosquitoes (mosquitoes and pigs spread the virus to humans). But they didn't follow up on it, and now they have a growing epidemic on their hands. This is especially maddening, because it was wholly preventable.
Go Sania. Indian tennis star Sania Mirza did quite well in the U.S. Open last week, making it through to the fourth round, where she lost to Maria Sharapova. But now the Mullahs have got after her. One cleric had this to say on a private TV news channel:
A religious scholar reportedly issued a ‘fatwa’ about her dress code saying that Islam does not permit a woman to wear skirts, shorts and sleeveless tops.
“Veil can be dropped on certain occasions but not the way the girl is going about and playing in all those countries,” the scholar told a private news channel on Wednesday.
Well, it's a (mostly) free country; everyone's entitled to express his
And I think Sania Mirza is playing this exactly right: no comment. Don't inflame it by arguing with the guy. When the entire Indian sucbontinent is behind you (including Pakistan and Bangladesh, I suspect), you don't need to worry about these ranting guardians of propriety.
Sania Mirza: perhaps her serve still needs work, but her PR instincts are dead-on.