OUTLOOK Monday 25 August, 1997
Encyclopaedia Indica

HOW can you make the Encyclopaedia Britannica better? The question has vexed Robert McHenry, editor-in-chief of the illustrious series, for a long, long time. Here in India to explore the possibilities of not only updating its databank on the country, but also to look at the possible electronic products that can be developed and adapted for India, McHenry says: "We want to make products which are relevant to this market." Indians will certainly welcome the effort.

A Raags to Riches Story

Raageshwari, the peppy Oye VJ-turned-Duniya singer, is beginning to see red. Especially Coca Cola red. The soft-drink giant got Raags to do her own concert, part of a raindance party organised by Coke in Bangalore last week. It now plans to sign her on for an endorsement deal which will make her the first celeb to endorse Coke in India. Oye Raageshwari, way to go.

No More White Lies

THE gentleman protests too much. Imran Khan, cricketer-turned-politician, tried desperately to push a paternity scandal under the carpet. But Sita White, his ex-girlfriend, proved smarter. With classic bad timing, the lady announced, in the midst of Imran's election debut, that he was the father of her daughter. The cricketer's denials were met with a paternity suit in the US, which has since been decided in Sita's favour. But it seems a long way off when Tyrian, Sita's daughter, will be able to call Imran Daddy dearest.

OmiGhosh...Not Me

IT was a fax Goutam Ghosh found difficult to believe. Last fortnight, the 46-year-old film director, who has made such critically acclaimed films as Paar, Padma Nadir Majhi and Gudiya, won the Vittorio De Sica award. He is reported to have told a friend: "Look at the people who have got this recognition before. Who am I in comparison?" Indeed, he has an illustrious line of predecessors who have won the Italian award—Kurosawa, Bergman, Visconti and Fellini. Ghosh's modesty is becoming.

Arms and the Man

WHAT does it take to set a record? Grit and determination, Calcutta's Masudur Rahman Baidya will tell you. Son of an imam, this 29-year-old lost both his legs in a train accident when he was only 11 years old. Yet he has gone on to become the first Asian to cross the English Channel without his artificial legs. Sponsors have given him enough money to help him see his dream through. What he now needs is a regular job. In all other ways, Baidya believes hum kisi se kum nahin.

The Act of Retrospection

THEREhave been many attempts to look at India’s 50 years of independence. The latest is by well-known author Dom Moraes and his current creative companion Saryu Ahuja, an architect by profession. They are collaborating on a book which will take a hard look at Independent India’s 50th year. Says Dom: "The book will chronicle the year 1996 to 1997 and see what exactly this anniversary means. We are interviewing people all over to see what went wrong, if at all." The book is scheduled to hit the stands next August.

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  • When elders were struggling to lift, let alone read, Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, most of us were in shorts or babbling in the cradle, if we were there at all. Good for us that now Mira Nair is in charge of a BBC-backed series based on it, and that Tabu (seen here with Ishaan Khatter in this ‘first look’) will probably play Lata, bride of the titular boy. “...Epic tale of an unseen India,” says Nair. Unseen, eh? Let’s see.
  • Everyone who’s hurt those  sharply slanted eyes, spurned those ruby-red lips, has had cause to reg­ret. For over a decade now, Taylor Swift has turned all heartbreaks and slurs into award-winning lyrics—everything is grist to her songwriting mill. The result is 29  wins at the American Music Awards (six this year, and five more than Michael Jackson managed). Plus  fanatical fans would rejoice  at her being named both artist of the year and that of the decade. If these boys are asking her to ‘shake it off’,  they’ll have cause for regret.
  • Two women sitting on laps of men, glad, artificial grins plastered over their faces...you’d be forgiven to think such things are embarrassingly passe in the 21st century. It’s evidently not in Bollywood. And so, the comedy Good Newwz, starring Kiara Advani, Diljit Dosanjh, Akshay and Kareena, will possibly live up to its tagline: ‘the biggest goof-up of the year’. A comedy about IVF, did you say? We shudder in anticipation.
  • Bollywood must be dreading  the Calcutta International Film Festival—a stentorian call from the CM...the unenlightening prospect of a day full of drumbeats. However, there is no respite for Shahrukh (Amitabh fell ill at an opportune  period). Though flanked by filmmaker Goutam Ghosh, Mamata herself and Sourav, the stage-show was stopped by the bonhomie between Rakhee and SRK: singing along a pat­riotic Rabi­ndrasangeet and reminiscing  about the sets of Baazigar.