Ek Tha Tiger gets the predictable response from the Pakistan Censor Board.

Technically, the Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif starrer Ek Tha Tiger is banned in Pakistan but camera prints are already available on the DVD circuit and the master print should be in circulation soon enough.

And, despite the ban, the film is being discussed in newspapers through reviews, though television channels have more or less fallen in line after the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority asked them in early July to stop using a promotional snippet of the film till it was cleared by the Central Board of Film Censors.

Essentially, insiders maintain, the two regulatory bodies decided to play it safe as the film has references aplenty to the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Some members on the Board apparently felt there were more references to ISI in this film than there were in the Saif Ali-Kareena Kapoor starrer Agent Vinod which, too, was banned here on the same grounds. So, if Agent Vinod was banned, it stood to reason that Ek Tha Tiger, too, should meet the same fate.

Though the distributors of the film had apparently considered appealing against the Censor Board’s decision, they abandoned the plans in view of the long Eid holidays and the fact that the appellate body included many of those who had already struck down the film. Uncertainty would have been bad for the film exhibition business in what is usually a season that rakes in a lot of money; more so when the fare on offer included the third in the latest Batman series The Dark Knight Rises.


No Commies please

The BBC refuses to install George Orwell’s statue, saying he is “too Left-wing”.

A nervous BBC, anxious not to get on the wrong side of the ruling Tory establishment, has rejected a proposal to install a statue of George Orwell outside its new headquarters in London, calling the idea “too Left-wing”!

The proposal was made by the George Orwell Memorial Trust to mark the writer’s long association with the corporation during the Second World War. It is backed by some of Britain’s famous broadcasters, including leading figures from the BBC.

“George Orwell is regarded as something of a patron saint of political journalism so his presence near the BBC could surely act as some kind of inspiration to all independent-minded broadcasters,” said Martin Jennings, the sculptor commissioned by the Trust.

But the BBC’s Director-General Mark Thompson wanted to have nothing to do with it.

When Joan Bakewell, well-known broadcaster and Labour peer, pitched the idea to him, he told her: “Oh no, Joan, we can’t possibly. It’s far too Left-wing an idea”.

Orwell worked for the BBC’s Eastern Service from 1941 to 1943 but quit in a huff saying he believed that he was “wasting my own time and public’s money on doing work that produces no results”. His association with the BBC was to influence his later work. “Room 101”, the famous torture chamber in Nineteen Eighty-Four, is a throwback to “Room 101” he occupied at the BBC.


Getting it very, very wrong

The Colombo Music Festival is a lesson in how not to organise one.

When the Colombo Music Festival was announced recently, many music lovers in the city could not believe their ears. It was a unique effort that brought together so many musicians who were established names in their countries, and the organisers had worked really hard to get them to Colombo.

But the bouquets for the festival ends there. Because of shoddy organisation and complete lack of coordination, some musicians dropped out. Carnatic vocalist T.M. Krishna, who was slated to perform at Taj Samudra here, pulled out at the last moment, and said that the organisers could not get even the basics right. Krishna has no history of playing truant and cancelling concerts. The Jaffna Music Festival, where he performed just a week ago, happened because he was not averse to slumming it out — last year, he and his troupe withstood a bus trip from Colombo to Jaffna ahead of performing.

One musician found to his horror that there was no one to receive him at the airport.

A music lover who went to the opening night narrated his experience thus: “We were at the opening night concert at [Hotel] Waters Edge with Gipsy Kings, a crowd puller in Europe, again it was disappointingly empty on Thursday. There were more organiser’s volunteers around than paying audience. At Sunday morning’s Jugalbandhi of Carnatic and Hindustani music, there were maybe 30 people in the Grand Ballroom of Waters Edge; no music at all at the lower terrace.” Contrary to what this correspondent was led to believe, the attendance for most concerts/ performances was poor.

It’s not just this that the organisers got wrong. Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia had a lovely concert but it was too short because the organisers seemed to lack an understanding of Indian concert culture. He had one hour to perform! An hour is only the warm-up time for a maestro such as Hariprasad Chaurasia. More homework is required from the organisers. Hope the next year’s edition turns out better.