Kishwar Desai


Kishwar Desai

From designer riots to other hate crimes

Has racism raised its ugly head in the UK once again? Did it not go away, all this while? This is the tough question before us, especially after the recent events in Manchester.

An unruly year of people power

Only a day left and it is time to pack away an unruly year which was almost rushed off its feet by events — most of which were driven by the aam aadmi or aurat and their aspirations.
The year 2011 will always be remembered as a watershed year for people power in the UK, both in a happy and a sad fashion. Elsewhere in the world so-called democratic forces were more dramatic as the year took the scalps of Muammar Gaddafi and Osama bin Laden.

This Xmas embrace British frugality

M.F. Husain and Dev Anand both died in London this year, in very different circumstances. The well-known artist was in forced exile from his own country, while the actor had come for a checkup and a holiday. Dev Anand’s stay was meant to be brief when, suddenly, tragedy struck. Yet, both were familiar to us in London — as they, and especially Dev saheb, made a determined effort to

Bend it like Beckham, once again!

Duck everyone — it’s a Beckham around the bend once more! Only this time the Beckham who is “bending it” is Victoria, and she’s doing it not with football but with fabric. The diva swished back into London with her backless gown and deliciously tanned visage, a cuddly Harper Seven (her daughter sounds like a fizzy drink!) probably clutched under one arm and a (very, very) expensive handbag on the other, to grab the top prize for the best designer brand at the British fashion awards this week. While the rest of the Spice Girls have vanished into the woodwork, Ms Beckham ploughs on, blazing new trails and creating a streak of envy among less-yummy mummies cradling paunches and love handles while Victoria remains eternally slim and svelte.

Mid-flight bailout?

Did you hear the incredible story about Comtel Air where passengers aboard the Boeing 757 between Amritsar and Birmingham were forced to pay extra en route to complete the journey? Is there an impression going around that Indians are easy to mug? One can only be relieved that the debt-ridden Kingfisher’s Vijay Mallya only cancelled his flights — he didn’t try to hijack his passengers mid-flight!

‘Shakespeare’ as Hollywood likes it

United Kingdom film critics are apoplectic with rage over the fact that their beloved William Shakespeare has been stolen from them, in a film, Anonymous.

Women voters angry: Watch out, Mr PM

How important are women’s votes? This is something that British Prime Minister David Cameron is beginning to find out to his cost, as women voters (according to recent polls) have begun to desert him. Fortunately for him elections are not round the corner or he might find himself in hot water! In fact, older women voters are even more disenchanted by Mr Cameron. Among those over 55 years old, 48 per cent are said to be wary of him as compared to only 27 per cent in the same age group last year. But even younger women are turning their backs to him and despite his attempts to laugh it off, the gap appears to be growing.

Maya the mystery cat

This has to be one hell of a lucky government! In the middle of a Conservative Party conference — when the headlines should have been about the weak economic recovery — the British media is obsessed with the Michael Jackson and Amanda Knox trials and, most importantly, a cat fight! And the unseemly squabble is between two very distinguished Cabinet ministers: home secretary Theresa May and justice secretary Kenneth Clarke, over a moggy called Maya! (And no, it is not our very own Mayawati).

An image makeover for Grim Britain

Whenever anyone has an “image” problem, public relations consultants will immediately suggest a “makeover”. And if you can’t get a makeover — you can at least get the media to appreciate all your positively great qualities — because the media has obviously forgotten about these qualities in these hard times. And

Literary lists and twists

The shortlist for the biggest literary award in the United Kingdom, the Man Booker, was announced this week, and immediately a flurry of comments burst forth — many of them expressing astonishment. Especially as, much to the disappointment of Allan Hollinghurst fans, he wasn’t on the list. Occasionally, the awards do spring an element of surprise — perhaps partly due to the increasingly eclectic mix of judges, now a robust line-up of politicians and professionals from all walks of life — not just literary buffs and publishers.

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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.