Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lost in Translation (2003) | Short Review

Lost In Translation film is story of two american characters lost  in alien Japanese culture. But in addition, they are lost in their own lives and relationship. This leads to their blossoming friendship and growing connection with one other.

Bob Harris an aging actor, married for 25 years came to Tokyo to shoot advertisement for a good deal. Charlotte is just-graduated young wife of a celebrity photographer confused about her future. Both are alien to Japanese culture. They both meet in hotel bar and this leads to friendship. Bored due to his work, accepting offer from Charlotte, Harris spend quality time with Charlotte and her local friends. Many events happens and the affection between central characters increases. In the end Harris left from Tokyo sharing a kiss with Charlotte. (Watch it for the full story:P)

Film is directed by Sofia Coppola, daughter of very famous Francis Coppola (Director of The Godfather) and got Academy nomination for direction and won for original screenplay. So, screenplay is good, direction is also good. Music is the thing runs with the story. Some songs are very bful like 'too young', 'alone in Kyoto' 'are you awake?' Some scene from monastery, Kyoto and Harris-Charlotte kiss scene are bful and memorable.

This time I thought of writing a long review but this is kind of film where you end with explaining story.... so, keeping it simple ending here. Haan, Scarlett Johanssons as Charlotte looked very bful and Harris has a very good sense of humour.

Watch if you want to watch a simple-go story. for Sofia's direction. for Bill Murray's acting (as Harris).

Do not watch if you do not like simple-go stories. 

My Rating: 84%

SAARC, its future and India / C. Raja Mohan

For all its trappings of a multilateral organisation, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, whose leaders are gathering in Kathmandu this week, is only an aggregation of India’s bilateral relations with its neighbours. This is the reason why the world is focusing on what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has to offer during the first Saarc summit that he is attending.
The PM had raised expectations that India would take the leadership of the region by his surprise invitation to all the Saarc leaders to attend his swearing-in ceremony in May. His visits to Bhutan and Nepal have reinforced those hopes. Modi, however, has a problem. He has inherited a dysfunctional Saarc, whose failures are rooted in geography and history.
As the largest country located at the heart of the subcontinent, India has borders with all its neighbours. Only two other members, Pakistan and Afghanistan, have a border with each other. It is no big surprise, then, that most of the regional trade is actually bilateral trade between India and its neighbours. So are the problems that come from a common border.
That takes us to the history of these frontiers. The partition of the subcontinent created new borders and territorial disputes within the subcontinent. Nearly seven decades later, India does not have settled borders with either Pakistan or Bangladesh. In the northwest, Kabul does not accept Islamabad’s claims that the Durand Line drawn by the British Raj between undivided India and the subcontinent at the end of the 19th century is the legitimate boundary between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Territorial disputes would not have mattered if India and its neighbours had built open economies. Instead, they all turned to state socialism that de-emphasised trade and connectivity. As a consequence, what was an integrated economic space under the Raj broke up into several inward-oriented markets.
The global compulsions for economic reform in the early 1990s had also set the stage for regional integration. If New Delhi was a hesitant reformer at home, it has been equally tentative in its efforts to rewrite the economic map of the region. The few initiatives that India has taken in Saarc in recent years have, however, run into political problems.
This unfortunate situation is unlikely to change at the Kathmandu summit. For example, it is not yet clear if Pakistan is ready to sign the regional agreements on rail, road and energy connectivity that have been drafted for the Kathmandu summit. Even if it signs them, it is by no means guaranteed that Islamabad will implement them. The experience of the South Asian free trade agreement that Pakistan was unwilling to extend to India is a case in point. Pakistan’s argument is simple: as long as it has political problems with India, it will not let regional economic integration proceed.
The merits of this argument are for the Pakistanis to decide. Whether Delhi agrees with the Pakistani argument or not, it must come to terms with it. Where does that leave the PM who has talked ambitiously about trade and connectivity for the subcontinent?
Modi has three options. The first is to focus on a two-speed Saarc. As Delhi waits for better relations with Pakistan, it could, in the interim, move towards subregional cooperation. In the east, India can take steps to foster integration with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. In the south, it can construct deeper links with the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
The second is to build on transregional institutions like the BIMSTEC, which connects the eastern subcontinent with parts of Southeast Asia or join Chinese Silk Road initiatives that hope to connect different parts of the subcontinent with various regions of China.
While India can do much on the first and second, it is the third way that offers Modi the greatest opportunity — unilateral action. Modi, for example, has already proposed, unilaterally, to build a Saarc satellite for use by its neighbours.
Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran has suggested that Modi could open India’s market for goods produced in the neighbouring countries by reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers and improving trade facilitation. Delhi could also consider transit to its neighbours — for instance, letting in overland trade between Bangladesh on the one hand and Nepal and Bhutan on the other. Modi can also announce unilateral visa liberalisation.
Instead of negotiating the setting up of a Saarc bank, Modi could unveil an Indian financial facility for liberal lending to transborder connectivity projects in the subcontinent. If he can break from Delhi’s old mindset, a strategy of positive unilateralism would allow Modi to push the subcontinent a little faster towards long overdue regional integration.

The writer is a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, Delhi and a contributing editor for ‘The Indian Express’

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Police Reforms/ Maja Daruwala

The annual conference of the directors general of police will be held at the end of this month in Guwahati. Organised by the Intelligence Bureau, and not by the police establishment, the conference concentrates on insurgency and national security, rather than on everyday policing of the ordinary population, which should be a primary concern. Still, these conferences are rare moments when men of power and responsibility — there are few women in high police positions — can deliberate collectively. This time, a new prime minister will be putting his stamp on the occasion.
It is time the political and police leadership had a sincere conversation on what is holding back reform. It is time to think about the relationship between the police and the political executive: how best to design it so that one does not impinge or enervate the other. The new and improved Model Police Bill, put forward by the Soli Sorabjee Committee, set up by the ministry of home affairs, offers a solution to this issue. It is time to lay out what the common principles of policing in a democracy should be. It cannot be punishment inflicted by force on behalf of the ruling regime.
Policing must be a service that is essential to the whole population: efficient, responsive, law-abiding and accountable. The obsession with status, postings and promotions should give way to a greater emphasis on improving police stations and chowkies. These are the basic and most important service units, and are closest to the population.
There must be fundamental changes in recruitment practices and training curricula so as to bring in people and attitudes better suited to a new kind of policing. Many individual officers have generated good practices. But they remain experimental and ad hoc, given the presence of risk-averse leaderships and mean considerations of territoriality and credit.
Actionable plans with set timetables must be put in place to improve diversity across the police establishment. The force should no longer be imaged as the preserve of machismo. This has brought no glory. It is time to detail how the force means to adapt its internal culture and attitudes to accommodate and mainstream women. With the national average of women in the police force at about 7 per cent, no one can claim the force is gender friendly or “inclusive”. It is useless to blame women for not joining. The police must examine why it is so unwelcoming to about half of the country’s workforce.
The excuse that the British left behind militaristic policing has worn thin after 67 years. We need to own up to the fact that the leadership is comfortable with this design and has perpetuated its feudalism. The police needs to stop passing the buck for sub-standard service to interfering politicians, scheming bureaucrats and a dilatory judiciary.
There are problems whose solutions lie in the hands of the police leadership and not of any outside agency: for instance, accountability. It is imperative to revamp internal systems of accountability, seen as secretive, unfair and patronage-driven, and put in place systems that distinguish between disciplinary breaches, poor service delivery and outright criminality. But the police must also stop being bitter about external mechanisms of accountability like courts, human rights commissions and the new police complaints authorities. The collective leadership might want to analyse why they were deemed necessary in the first place.
The state, too, must help the police transform from a state force to essential public service, equipping it with more personnel, money and infrastructure but also demanding the strictest accountability. The PM has a penchant for using technology as a solution. It can aid better policing but it can’t change sub-cultures. In fact, increased capabilities within arrogant sub-cultures can increase their exploitive nature. Modernisation without the assurance of constitutional legality is the sure road to perdition. Today we are well on that road.
Across states, police establishments are in a parlous state. Their dubious methods — to say the least — do not even have the virtue of efficiency and, in the end, they fail in their primary duty of bringing the guilty to justice and protecting the rights of the innocent. In their defence, it must be said that the police are ill cared for by the regimes they serve.
The PM has emphasised the need to sweep the country clean of the corrupt, the ineffective, the apathetic. Recently, he was more specific about the “how” of change, calling for reforms to be “people-driven” and insulated from politics. Hopefully, the PM will stick to this credo and promote openness and wide consultation with people on root and branch reform.
He will be speaking with the authority of a government that has a commanding majority in the Centre. Today, many of the states also wear his colours. His words will have huge influence on shaping police deeds in days to come. Police behaviour with our sovereign people will be a significant marker of the ethics and legitimacy of the Modi administration, when its history comes to be written.

The writer is director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

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