Q. Which Hollywood actor would you like to see in a Bollywood film?
Amitabh Bachchan, Actor
What a pleasure it would have been to see Brando in an Indian film! I never had his posters on a wall, but I never missed a film. One look, one stare could convey more than a thousand words.
Konkana Sen Sharma, Actress
Woody Allen. He has a great sense of humour. Also, that way, I would have been able to meet him.
Q. What do you find the most difficult question to answer about India when you are abroad?
N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman, INFOSYS
The most embarrassing question that I am asked is about the Indian bureaucracy. Almost without exception, people ask me why our bureaucrats are so difficult to deal with.
Anita Nair, Writer
The status of women in India. This question comes up regularly during my tours abroad, and I never know what to say because the moment you say something, you find its opposite is also true. Another question that has no answer but comes up regularly is the Indo-Pak situation regarding Kashmir—what can one say?
Q. What do you miss the most about India when you are abroad?
Malvika Sarukkai, Bharatanatyam dancer
It’s so intangible, it’s hard to describe. You could call it the sacred geography of India...the poetry, the philosophy, the music, the heritage, the dance...the fertility of the environment, the sense of identification one has with it. That quality is missing in your life when you’re abroad, and when you come back, it immediately makes you feel, I’m back to my roots.
Renuka Chowdhary, Union minister for women and child development
Oh God, surely the smell and noise of our country, where everyone is always poking his nose into someone else’s business. And I yearn for a good cup of tea when I am on long trips abroad.
Q. What would you choose to eat as your last meal on earth?
Cyrus Broacha, MTV VJ
If it’s my last meal, I would like it to be home cooking. Good old Parsi dhansak, thin white sariya wafers, Parsi achaar. I’m not a dessert person, but since I’m going to die, why count calories? So, I’ll have lagan nu custard, and a glass of Tang. And since I like to eat alone, I will probably be ordering room service, at Outlook’s expense
Q. Who among world personalities is your Number One Hate Figure?
Rohit Bal, Fashion Designer
George W. Bush. He’s an out-of-control megalomaniac. Even Americans hate him. Look at what’s happening in West Asia, it’s outrageous. He has just lost it.
Fleur Xavier, Model
I dislike (hate is a strong word for me) the current President of the United States. He is not a thinking person—he is a puppet in the hands of industrialists and other bigwigs who are supporting him, and he seems to have lost his conscience. The world is leaning towards greed, money, power and ego, and missing out on morality, kindness, humanity and living in harmony with the environment—all of which are needed for the world to continue.
Q. If you had a choice, which country would you live in? And which film do you think best captures the spirit of India?
Milind Soman, Model and Actor
I would never settle down in one place, just travel and explore. But, to bring up my children, I would choose India. It is the most progressive and free-thinking country, with a good educational system, family values and opportunities. The film is Kabuliwala. It is all about love, caring, warmth, hospitality, togetherness, secularism, traditions—all qualities which are quintessentially Indian.
Q. If you were to ban three things in India, what would they be?
1. Men relieving themselves in public.
2. Corruption at all levels, in all spheres.
3. Stray animals on the street, to save whom people kill themselves.
Jehangir Sabavala, Artist
1. Corruption in public life.
2. Religious/communal intolerance.
3. Political chicanery.
Q. Which Indian makes you most proud, and why?
Satish Gujral, Artist
Mahatma Gandhi. Having lived through both subjugation and independence, I marvel at the charisma of the man who single-handedly set free a people. He reinjected in us the sense of dignity we had lost.
Q. What is the one thing you would like to change about Indian cricket?
Navjot Singh Sidhu, Cricketer-turned-TV personality
The lack of professionalism in the BCCI has eaten into the vitals of Indian cricket. For far too long, we have had honorary officials. It is high time paid professionals were given the task—after all, nothing comes for free. The board must corporate itself quickly. Because troubles, like weeds, thrive on lack of attention.