Kishwar Desai


Kishwar Desai

Meet the Bachchans

March.13 : So as London’s Asian Film Festival comes to an end this Sunday, I can still clearly remember moments when I feared for my life! And when I wished I knew a bit of Kung fu or karate to fend off the hordes of ardent fans who were especially determined to grab a moment with the Bachchans. The most threatening was one bunch of very aggressive, Swarovski-studded women in their chiffons and mid-thirties. At one stage I almost got beaten up by them when I tried to stop them from storming the room where the Bachchans were seated before the event.

Family, Bachchan style

March.06 : Chairing a film festival, I always thought, would be a very simple thing: just appear and disappear at your own whim and fancy. There would be no hard work, at all. All I needed to do was give my blessings and benedictions and then move on grandly. But it’s not so simple, and especially not when one is chairing an Asian Film Festival in London at a time when Asian cinema is suddenly so attractive.

The controversial controversy

Feb 14 : With Senas of every kind proliferating around us — it is about time civil society and social groups also form their own sena to fight back. The constant hammering at civil liberties is something which the government is obviously unable to defend and so it is

Georgiana to Diana: 18th century lessons for modern-day celebrities

One person in the UK who is truly eternal is Princess Diana. Just when you think everything has been said about her, she was back again on the big silver screen last week at the Toronto Film Festival, albeit in a different avatar. Keira Knightley’s new film, The Duchess, even though it is set in the 18th century, draws close parallels with Diana’s tragic life, possibly in the hope that Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (on whom the film is based), will appeal to viewers who have grown up inundated with Diana images, Diana stories and Diana fashion. After her death, Diana has possibly been discussed even more than Marilyn Monroe.

Rain and jobs in Goa

July.11 : From the blistering and rainless heat of Delhi, coming to Goa has been a joyful journey, as the rain gods seem to have found their abode here. Just stepping out of the airport into a warm drizzle cheers you up — and then, of course, the fiercely green and rampant vegetation lunges at you with open arms. It has been raining almost non-stop for the last few days, and it promises to continue in the same fashion, making one wish there was some way in which we could transport this wonderful rain to some parched areas of the country. Opening the newspapers and looking at dire predictions of drought in the northwest is ironical. Out here, the fields are submerged with water and farmers are worried that the monsoon excess may have already swept away some of their newly-planted crop.

Candle shines on 100th day, Obama’s magic still works

May.02 : It is interesting to be in the United States of Barack Obama in the week that he celebrates his 100th presidential day. There is still a sense that he is ahead of the game — even though the critics are trying to punch a hole in his credibility.Watching his live press conference, where he did not duck a single question, he continuously created a sense of confidence in his abilities. In an unsteady global environment he appears centered, focused and true, as when he calmly pointed out that Pakistan should stop treating India as its main threat when it obviously has other problems which are far more serious.

Aam aadmi served up as art in London

Oct 03 : The best part of a London life is the constant buzz of events and exhibitions. You are spoilt for choice over theatre, cinema, art, discussions, book readings — and, of course, these days there has been the "Indian summer": literally a brief warming up before the cold winter sets in. So while we have been treated to sunny days, coincidentally, on the streets of London there is a desi invasion, partly to do with the increase in the number of Indian events. Therefore, it was fun, just last week, to be walking between these "happenings" at various locations and bumping into old friends such as Suhel Seth and Malavika Singh on Piccadilly Street — all of us celebrating the spirit of India in London.

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I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.