fl01 letters

Print edition : November 01, 2013

Indian cinema

THE special issue of Frontline (October 18) was a fitting tribute to cinema and a delight for the academic, the aesthete and the layperson alike. It is one for collectors. It is a tribute not so much to well and not-so-well-known films, film personalities and the film idiom but, far more importantly, to the people of India who not only dream but share their daily dose of nightmares with Indian cinema.

H. Pattabhirama Somayaji

Mangalore, Karnataka

FRONTLINE is synonymous with aesthetics, whatever the field might be. I feel very happy to have the special issue. Of the 156 pages only 20 pages were for advertisements, which, I think, is the first time that so many pages have been devoted to the subject with so few advertisements. This made it easier for the reader to go through the text. Bringing out a special issue on a subject that has had such a great impact in India must have been difficult but the informative articles, rare photographs and memorable interviews ably conveyed to readers the history of cinema and its ups and downs.

B. Jambulingam

Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

I WAS delighted with the informative issue on the 100th year of Indian cinema. The most exciting feature was the detailed coverage that went beyond Bollywood. A handy issue for all cinema lovers.

Pratim Kumar

Ranchi, Jharkhand

THE magazine covered Bollywood, Kollywood and Tollywood and Kannada and Malyalam cinemas. But what about Sindhi cinema? Mention should have been made of it as it has given Bollywood many actors. Who can forget Sadhana—a heroine of yesteryear whose hairstyle, the Sadhana cut, became a rage way back in the 1960s? She made her debut in the Sindhi movie “Abana”, which is still popular among both young and old Sindhis. Asrani (a comedian of yesteryear who acted in “Sholay”) and Babita Shivdasani (the mother of Karisma and Kareena Kapoor) are other famous Sindhi names in Bollywood. Sindhis have also contributed as producers and distributors. Until the 1980s, Sindhis used to visit Bandra Talkies to watch Sindhi movies. Now, it has become a multiplex. Instead of movies, one can get VCDs and DVDs of Sindhi dramas and songs.

Punjabi cinema should also have been mentioned.

Deendayal M. Lulla


KAREN GABRIEL’S essay “Market and the medium” (October 18) was insightful. Anybody who has been following Indian cinema over the years can describe the degradation it has undergone. Early movies were socially relevant. Furthermore, in the olden days, travelling cinemas used to be prominent in the countryside and in small towns. Now, they have ceased to have a big presence even in rural areas, causing people there to miss out on art and movies.

Women are unfortunately stuck in a particular structure in Indian and Western movies, notwithstanding the multiple changes in cinema and television. The article “Missing angle” made for compelling reading as it mentioned movies of the bygone era such as “Hunterwali” which broke this structure at a time when sexist attitudes were even more dominant than they are now.

This issue is a collector’s item as it has lots of information about many movies from other languages that I did not know before.

Ritvik Chaturvedi

New Delhi

THE special issue was informative and absorbing. In short, the magazine’s systematic and imaginative presentation of Indian cinema makes it imperative for readers to preserve this issue for future reference.

K.R. Srinivasan

Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh

I REGRET very much your serious omission of M.K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar in the list of photographs representing this century. Although not as great an actor as Sivaji Ganesan, his songs made him a popular artist. The Tamil diaspora, both in the West and the East, still remembers him and has his records.

M.S. Govindasamy


WE have been regular readers of Frontline for years and have developed certain expectations of this publication. Therefore, we were saddened by the October 18 issue. It was a regular issue, not an additional special issue, yet it gave coverage to Indian cinema alone. Secondly, the increase in the price of the magazine to Rs.50 from the recently raised price of Rs.40 is definitely equally undesirable.

A.N. Laad


I WAS disappointed with the special issue. It did not have a single colour photograph of Prem Nazir, the evergreen hero who acted in the lead role in more than 300 Malayalam films and got into the Guinness Book of Record. This issue may be interesting and useful to film pundits, not to ordinary film viewers.

S. Raghunatha Prabhu

Alappuzha, Kerala


THIS is with reference to the Cover Story on the “Superstition industry” (October 4). The photograph on the cover was heartbreaking: a child in tears while undergoing a meaningless ritual propagated by some greedy, foolish people to meet their own ends. It is extremely unfortunate that some teachers, scientists and other “educated” people fast during eclipses, offer yajnas, and so on. I feel that the basic problem is a lack of awareness, which can only be rectified through proper education. If education is imparted in a scientific environment by rational-thinking teachers, then one day the roots of superstitious beliefs in society can be annihilated.

Rahul Bhowmick

Siliguri, West Bengal

THIS is the era of hi-tech, selfish babas, many of whom present themselves as incarnations of God. Because of them, the spiritual domain has turned unholy. They have entered the spiritual world not to gain enlightenment but to get the limelight for themselves by accumulating property and wealth. The real babas are people like Swami Vivekananda and Shirdi Saibaba who dedicated their lives to the common man and lived simple lives.

Y. Abhimanya

Nakrekal, Andhra Pradesh

KUDOS to Frontline for coming out with such bold articles against the superstition industry headed by godmen, babas and spiritual gurus, many of whom are backed by political leaders and corporate houses. The majority of the country’s population are their followers, irrespective of the religion they belong to. The interview of the rationalist Narendra Nayak was excellent.

Ramesh Kotian

Uchila, Karnataka

ETHICS and principles have to be followed in all professions, particularly in those that deal directly with the public. When selfishness overtakes a person, self-interest takes precedence over public interest. The government should bring under the tax net and labour laws all religious and spiritual entities, bodies, organisations, and so on.

V.N. Ramaswamy



ALTHOUGH birding in the highland forests of Uttarakhand may initially seem to be a difficult thing to do, the cool breeze, the pleasant climate, the magnificent landscape slowly enchant one’s mind (“Birding in the high mountains”, October 4).Walking for miles in search of birds and spotting a particular bird amidst a flock gives one immense pleasure and offers relief from congested cities, where people are in a rat race to accumulate wealth.

D. Balasubramanian

Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

Narendra Dabholkar

THE shooting of Narendra Dabholkar was an inhuman and cowardly act that must be condemned, and those responsible should be brought to book (“Act of unreason”, September 20). Dabholkar dead has become more powerful than Dabholkar alive, with Maharashtra finally passing the anti-black magic Bill.

A. Jacob Sahayam



THIS is with reference to the article “In the name of development” (September 6). The destruction of the livelihoods and emotional well-being of people is euphemistically called “development” today and should be opposed tooth and nail.

B.B.C. Chandrasekar

Madurai, Tamil Nadu


THE article “Shades of three cities” (September 6) was thoroughly enjoyable and worth preserving for posterity. Frontline deserves to be appreciated for these types of features.

G. Azeemoddin

Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

READING about Sooni Taraporevala’s exhibition of photographs “Parsis” made me recall the great role Parsis played in the emergence of Mumbai as one of the premier cities of India (“Capturing the intangibles”, September 20). As a Mumbaikar who has lived in the city for well over six decades, I have had the opportunity to come into close contact with many Parsis and have been impressed by them. Can we ever forget the services rendered to the nation by Jamsetji Tata, Pherozshah Mehta, J.R.D. Tata, Homi Bhabha, Nani Palkhivala and many others like them? They contributed a great deal to the development of industry and commerce and also enriched the drama and music scene. In the field of journalism, the names R.K. Karanjia and D.F. Karaka were well known. Parsis also set up hospitals, charitable institutions, various schools and scientific institutions. It is sad that the number of Parsis is dwindling.

A. Viswanathan



AFTER reading the article on the Batla House encounter, I feel that the law is always on the side of criminals and terrorists while the poor policeman is made the scapegoat (“Challenging a verdict”, August 23). There are laws that punish people for attacking police personnel: they are booked for attacking a public servant on duty. Here it was the cold-blooded murder of a policeman, and the verdict against the accused is challenged. Is this not ridiculous? Why do human rights activists always interfere when dreaded criminals or terrorists are killed in encounters? It is about time the human rights commission focusses on more important issues than protecting gangsters and terrorists.

Abhijith Radhakrishnan