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This refers to your cover story The Websters (October 28). Web series have taken the entertainment world by storm, giving a new dimension to the small screen and a new wave to the entertainment world. Not long ago, most films—as in those screened in theatres—were produced by people from the industry or we had occasional, unverified reports of underworld funding. But now, corporate tycoons are dominating that space. The moolah’s flow is good for the industry, small or big. The small screen is a beneficiary too. It has over the years edged out the large screen in terms of engaging content that appeals to the masses. First, television serials and now web series, which are the craze for both artistes and viewers. Movies in theatres attract crowds only in the opening week these days. In web series, viewers relate to the characters, mostly earthy and having an uncanny resemblance to everyday individuals. Web series give every small producer, director or actor a new platform to showcase their talent. And with the censors giving a long rope, web series are going to revolutionise the entertainment world even further.
M.Y. Shariff, Chennai
After the big screen (cinema halls) and small screen (TV), it is now the era of the nano screen (smartphones). Netflix, Amazon, ALTBalaji, Hotstar and many other OTT platforms are the latest entrants in the world of entertainment. The scene is crowded with acting aspirants launched in all three screen variants. Even the big screen, which once used to be limited to a few recognised actors, has changed with the introduction of newer faces. Small and nano screens feature new faces—only a handful of these faces are seen in a different TV serial or web series. OTT platforms are flooded with newcomers pushing for a foothold in the entertainment world. Most of them become one-timers and fail to get the name, fame and recognition they aspire towards. But the road to fame for these newcomers is bumpy, the future uncertain. How many of them have the talent to make a place in the sun. Only time will tell. The web series content—expletives, sex scenes, gory violence et al—is attracting criticism and demand for censorship. Makers of web series defend the use of cuss words and sex as artistic licence to make the dramas as real as possible. But actors like Manoj Vajpayee say sex, violence and abuses alone can’t win viewers—the common person must be able to relate to the content.
Your cover story Fake ’Em All (October 21) is an eye-opener. Adulteration of food, substandard medicines, counterfeit money…these are an outcome of the malicious motive of miscreants to make a quick buck by duping people. We have the checks and balances, but because of poor enforcement, such activities are flourishing uninterrupted on a large-scale. The occasional raids and searches during festive seasons are hogwash, done to dupe the public rather than take punitive action against offenders. Poor workers employed in units making fake products are herded into jails, while their masters get away because of their money and political clout.
The scale at which such units are spreading is evident from your report. Since several steps are involved—from production to packaging and transportation to distribution—adulterers are escaping layers of security checks before products reach the consumer. That means authorities are in cahoots with adulterers. The problem’s complexity gets compounded when statements like “the perception is worse than ground realities” come from FSSAI’s boss. Such comments, instead of harsh warnings, embolden offenders. We need sincere, proactive steps, rather than preventive measures, to at least mitigate, if not eradicate, this menace from society.
Jaideep Mittra, Varanasi
The toxic air, a Diwali hangover: a time when everyone wants to be elsewhere.
Abha D. Kunwar, Delhi
This refers to the article The Amazon and Aarey, Nilgai and Nero (October 28). It raises pertinent questions about our conflict with the environment. The funeral for Okjokull and the plaque to signify the loss is a unique way to remind ourselves that catastrophic events like the melting of the glacier in Iceland are happening all around us and we need to take charge immediately to stem the tide. The dedication written by Icelandic author Andre Snaer Magnasons ends with the date of the ceremony and the global concentration of carbon dioxide in the air. Lest we forget!
Abhimanyu K., On E-Mail
One can’t stomach the sight of a hapless Nilgai being buried alive by the cruel arm of a mechanical crane. With the country losing its green cover, human-animal conflicts have increased. There are so many instances of humans usurping lands that served as traditional pathways for elephants, forcing them to ‘encroach’ on their own domain in search of food and water. Zoos are another example of humans imposing their hegemony on wild animals. Wildlife activists in European countries are trying to get the signatures of over a million people to protest against the caging of animals in zoos. How about zoos for humans in forests, where animals can enjoy gawking at them in cages?
Kangayam Narasimman, On E-Mail
Right from the beginning, the BCCI chief has invariably been a non-sportsperson, let alone a cricketer (My Family Private Limited, October 21). Until Sourav Ganguly’s appointment this month, either a politician, bureaucrat, or industrialist ruled the roost. Ganguly, a thoroughbred cricketer, becoming the BCCI head could spell a transparent state of affairs. In spite of the Supreme Court’s directive to make its balance sheet and accounts public, the BCCI has not done that so far. The board exacts vendetta on those who don’t dance to their tunes. Even Kapil Dev was a victim. Remember his role in the Indian Cricket League, a parallel derby to the IPL? I hope things will change for the better.
Shanmugam Mudaliar, Pune
BCCI might as well stand for the Bad Company of Corrupt Investors. Since its birth as a privately-run institution, it has amassed crores of rupees and wherever there is cash, the other ‘C’ called corruption follows. It’s sickening to see the very people the Supreme Court barred from cricket administration for life making inroads into the BCCI by proxy—through their kith and kin. The public and players alike should oppose this backdoor entry. International boards and administrators should take note too, although it is easier said than done because of the huge money muscle the BCCI flexes in the cricketing orb. But time tests everyone and a day will come when this corrupt company of Plutus’s disciples will go down with their ill-gotten wealth, like a measured off-break that nips the bails without making a fuss.
Vishwanath Dhotre, On E-Mail
This refers to the column Wielding The Magic Wand (October 28). The Nobel in economics to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer came at a time when ideas that are different from the norm are not encouraged. Banerjee’s ideas are meant for the upliftment of low-income communities. His work seems to make a distinction between economic development and economic growth. In the Indian context, these structural changes include better healthcare facilities, educational avenues and work environments. It will be interesting to see how governments utilise Banerjee’s concepts to tackle poverty. But will the government adopt the policies suggested by him?
J. Akshay, Bangalore
This refers to the story on the Koodathayi serial murderer (Cyanide Jolly, Meal By Meal, October 21). Stats show serial killing is largely a male preserve. More than 90 per cent serial killers were/are men. Jolly Joseph of Kerala is an exception. In one aspect, she was true to the gender stereotype: her chosen method of murder was lacing her victims’ last supper with cyanide. Probably she had researched well on murder techniques. Though you don’t need to actually; the papers are so full of them these days! But detectives say unlike people who just read the news, persons inclined towards committing murders study each detail written in such stories. Jolly knew how to handle cyanide and store it safely to prevent volatilisation. Clever, my dear Watson.
J.S. Acharya, Hyderabad
Serial murders, allegedly committed by a woman using cyanide in Kerala’s Koodathayi, has shocked the entire state. That the murders were committed over ten years ago adds to their complexity with regard to material evidence—a scientifically daunting task for investigating agencies. Though Jolly has admitted to have committed the murders, proving it will ‘net the cat’. If Jolly is indeed found guilty, what next? The dumbstruck state awaits evasive answers.
George Jacob, Kochi
This is with reference to Aaditya Thackeray’s interview (The Thackeray Legacy Is Something To Be Proud Of, October 28). There had always been two major players in Maharashtra politics—BJP-Shiv Sena, Congress-NCP. The dominant players now are BJP and Sena. But the hyphenated BJP-Sena bonhomie often rides into a visible, sometimes invisible, power storm as both try to dominate each other. The BJP has an upper hand, given its government at the Centre and in most states. The Sena is, therefore, forced to play second fiddle in Maharashtra. The introduction of Aaditya Thackeray into electoral politics, breaking the Thackeray family tradition, is giving a new dimension to the Sena. Dynasty politics is taking roots in non-Congress parties.
Yusuf Shariff, On E-Mail