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Bottoms Up Tequila”- An adult comedy staged at Gaiety

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Bottoms-Up-Tequila--An-adult-comedy-staged-at-Gaiety-shimla

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The time for new age theater seems to have been herald with staging of an adult comedy where artists have realized that their job is not that of revolutionist but to hold mirror to society and project what it is not what it should be.

Shedding away the notion of Art to be used as a tool of reform The BEGINNERS, theatre group staged “Bottoms Up Tequila”- an adult comedy at the historic Gaiety Theatre, Shimla on April 19 and 20 in association with Snow Leopard Production.

The play held the true mirror to psychology of youngsters in the current society as the play dealt with a story of four young bachelor men sharing accommodation. Each character represented a face of youth in society may that be Adarsh – a young well earning guy with a dream of prosperous future with his fiancé treading the path to success with hard work or that of Jambo – a guy who believe in living the moment and has a very casual approach towards sex and without any taboo openly accepts it as a basic, natural need of any human. Though he was in complete contrast to Adarsh for whom sex outside marriage is not something acceptable.

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On the other hand we had Balbeer Sing Sodi, a young man who, like any other common working youngster aspires to have his own business someday and be the king of the world and in sharp contrast to him was Imraan, who managed his finances by selling stolen things from the house itself and using his brain to extract money from Jambo exploiting his weakness for females wittedly.

By the time play reaches its end Adarsh figures out his fiancé had been cheating over him with her boss and is left heartbroken, Balbeer who too was fooled by his other two friends – Jambo and Imraan in the name of business learns the truth. Jambo who was super excited for spending night with girl (Sex Worker) ends up with a gay sex worker.

Everyone in the last scene was seen having Tequila together forgetting problem that had with each other or with their lives and celebrated their New Year’s Eve.

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Though the play banner caused lot of controversy over adult play being staged, it turned out to be nothing more than what we people experience in our daily life. If we talk about the abusive words Ma! #@## or Bh!##@#$ then if we stroll on Mall any day we hear it many more times than what we came across in this play.

No one can deny the fact that what ever was staged is definitely happening in society may that be casual affairs to gain favors professional, big dream and aspirations, phone sex or getting involved with sex workers.

The best thing about play was the message when Jambo say that he has not committed a crime or raped when Balbeer taunts his about his pervious sexual encounter with a Gay sex worker. It is really important for all to understand that there are ways of satisfying biological needs rather than forcing some innocent female for momentary pleasure.

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Another aspect was Jambo too was asked to work as gigolo, which brought the male to same echelon where any female escort is in the society but it no where made any sex work look down upon or inferior as Jambo in his dialogue call them angles.

Technically speaking work was really done well. Use of projector to show a short film of Esha and her boss getting intimate definitely was a smart move as it maintained the thin line between cinema screen and live performance’s comfort level.

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If we talk about the cell phone ring tones of each character, they too reflected their psychology as Adarsh’s soft romantic ringtone reflected his soft emotional thoughts and Balbeer’s was fun.

Each actor gave his best shot and Chris’ performance was really outstanding it came naturally and seemed effortless. Mukesh very well projected the impulsiveness of youth and was also worth an appreciation.

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The title justified itself as all characters in end had something they wanted to forget like for Adarsh and Jambo lost love for former and unusual sexual encounter for latter. Whereas Balbeer and Imraan wanted to celebrate the new hope and lesson they learned that is not to be blinded by high aspirations for former and take life as it comes for Imraan.

Over all we can say it was a good production and people who paid for the show definitely did not feel cheated.

Art & Culture

Book Review: ‘The Billionaire Raj: A Journey through India’s New Gilded Age’ by James Crabtree

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The Billionaire Raj A Journey through India’s New Gilded Age

For long, we all have broached the subject of India’s experiment with socialism. The state-controlled the various fields of business, planning was central; also the means of production were not with capitalists but with the state. The state promised to uplift the poor form the poverty, raise their living standard by utilization of these means of production to bring economic and social equality in society.

But years after embracing socialism growth was still sluggish, corruption percolating deep into the system, choices with the people were far and few. Inequality was, as ever, still prevalent in the society. Amenities like telephone and exuded power and exclusivity. The world mocked our “License Raj” and we became notorious for our Hindu Growth rate.

Eventually, the closed economy turned sclerotic and ran into trouble. On the contrary, economies worldwide grew rapidly, at this time. India was left with no other option, but to open its economy to the world. Finally, India yielded and opened its economy in 1991, with an hope of removing the ills of corruption, creating more jobs, removing social inequality and to overcome challenges of economic development. The new era of neo-liberalization was considered augury of prosperity and egalitarian society.

However, who would have imagined that within 27 years of opening up the economy, the majority of the wealth would be held by a handful of people. James Crabtree in his debut book, “The Billionaire Raj: A Journey through India’s New Gilded Age, offers an overview of this fascinating journey of India’s new Gilded Age.”

He writes,

Yet the decades after 1947, it at least grew economically more equal, with an elite that lived modestly by the standard of the industrialized West.

A silver lining to India’s bygone era of socialism.

The Billionaire Raj is the narrative of the breakneck rise of the Indian riches- Bollygarchs, as he calls them- corporate power, their lifestyle and the mansions.

The book is an overview of the concomitant of wealth: inequality, crony capitalism, massive corruption and mega scams. The writer explores the exorbitant funding of political parties by these tycoons, the costly affair of India’s election.

The book talks at length about the deep-rooted problem of mounting debt, IPL, about Modi and his tenure as Prime Minister of India. The pro and cons of various reforms ushered under his regime. Mr. Crabtree is successful in raising the fundamental question that holds imperative to India’s future.

The book is well researched, the exceptional storytelling skill of the writer keeps the readers engrossed; the personal interview with various business tycoons like Vijay Mallya, Naveen Jindal, Gautam Adani etc, offer the readers classic vignettes of their life, their perspective about the event that unfolded in this age.

The writer has successfully flagged various fissures as a warning that can pull India down. The country will have to fix these fissures first, only then it can fulfil the ambition to lead Asia.

Today India stands at the crossroads of what sort of superpower it will become

, he further writes.

Mr. Crabtree offers an optimistic view about India’s future:

India’s new Gilded Age can blossom into a progressive Era of its own, in which the perils of inequality and crony capitalism are left decisively behind,

he writes.

The Billionaire Raj will make us ruminate about the era of Neo-liberalization, as we did aggressively about Indian Socialism in the past. The Billionaire Raj is an eye-opener for all of us and will certainly be helpful in paving the way for our future ahead. The book is Locus classicus on the contemporary history of India- a must read for every Indian.

About James Crabtree

James Crabtree, a former Mumbai bureau chief for The Financial Times. He spent 5 years in India before moving to Singapore. At present, he is an Associate Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore.

Book Review by Sunny Grack, Kotgarh, Shimla

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Art & Culture

HIMCOSTE’s workshop to aware rural artisans of Geographical Indications Act

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HIMCOSTE WOrkshop on Geographical Indications

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Patent Information Centre (HPPIC) established under the aegis of Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE) has been declared as the nodal agency for the filing of Geographical Indications applications for traditional valuable products of H.P under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, IFS Kunal Satyarthi Member Secretary, HIMCOSTE, today informed.

He said till date, the Centre has been able to obtain registration for Kullu shawl, Kangra Tea, Kinnauri Shawl, Chamba Ruma and Kangra Paintings under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

The applications of Chamba Chappal, Kala Zeera, Chulli Oil are under process with the Registrar of Geographical indications at Chennai
.
The Centre has identified a number of products (agriculture/horticulture/handicrafts/metal crafts etc.) for registration under GI Act, 1999 (for eg. Bharmour Rajmah, Chamba Chappal, Chamba metal crafts, Angoori, Kalpa Wine, Kinnauri Apple, Rajmah).

Also, the Centre has facilitated registration of about 200 Authorized Users (AU) of registered GIs from H.P.

Recently, the State Govt.has issued a notification on State Level committee on Registration and Protection of Goods in H.P and the State Govt. has also issued a notification regulation of Kullu Shawl GI under the Chairmanship of D.C Kullu.

The above committees would perform the task of checking falsification /counterfeiting of Registered GIs in H.P and would approach the appropriate authorities for taking necessary action in the matter.

HIMCOSTE’s One-Day GI Awareness Workshop

On August 3, 2018, one-day awareness workshop on Geographical Indication, “Creating Value through Geographical indication” will be organized by HIMCOSTE in collaboration with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Industry and Commerce, GoI.

Through this workshop, the HIMCOSTE aims to spread awareness and make the participants aware of the Geographical Indications Act. It would result in providing commercial opportunities to rural artisans of District Kullu, which in turn would result in the socio-economic development of rural artisans. During the workshop, applicants would be asked for registration of Authorised Usership of Kullu Shawl under Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) of Goods Act, 1999.

After the workshop, D.C Kullu would chair a meeting of the committee constituted by Govt. of Himachal Pradesh. Issues related to infringement of Kullu Shawl and regulation of Kullu Shawl GI would be discussed in the meeting. About 200 participants would attend the workshop.

The Chief Guest for the workshop will be Minister of Forests, H.P Govind Singh Thakur. Yunus Khan, Deputy Commissioner, Kullu, IPS Shalini Agnihotri, Superintendent of Police, Kullu and will be the Guest of Honour.

On behalf of HIMCOSTE, Sh. Kunal Satyarthi, IFS, Member Secretary, HIMCOSTE will remain present during the workshop.

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Incentives to Himachali films under State’s own Film Policy: Govt

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Film policy of Himachal Pradesh

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Government today announced that it would form its own film-policy and will encourage local films and artists in various ways.

A meeting regarding formulating the film policy of the State was held here today under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary Dr. Shrikant Baldi.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Baldi said the state had the advantage of adventurous, heritage, spiritual, seasonal and unexplored destinations and the efforts would be made to attract the filmmakers for film production in the state.

He said that the cultural, mythological, historical heritage and glorious traditions of the state would also be publicized in a big way to attract investment in the film sector in the state.

The government would endeavour to provide an opportunity to the talents in the field of acting and other related fields besides generating employment opportunities to the youth of the state.

Dr. Baldi said that production of regional films based on Himachali dialects would be especially encouraged, for which the government would provide various incentives to the producers.

Various other important issues like establishing required infrastructure and to make available desired facilities to the filmmakers and providing them attractive financial incentives were also discussed in the meeting.

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