Tag: Neeraj Nanda

IFFM-2021 QUICK REVIEW: Boroxun (Songs for Rain), Assamese

Photo grab.

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 17 August 2021: People in an Assamese fishing village have no rain and the river almost dries up. The village economy is shattered. The traditional villagers try out an age-old method – marrying frogs. But, the rain fails to come. The village priest suggests the ritual of marrying two men. A very old man (Mohan) and Benga, (means a fool in Assamese) a young man known for his silly acts are married for the rains. This changes the situation for Bengi, who is always messing up with Benga. The film shows how superstition grips a community in an adverse natural situation. The film was shot in Jogduar, in Teak, Jorhat. The rural landscape is breathtaking. It’s slow but engrossing. I give it – 4 out of 5 stars.

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Name- Boroxun (Songs of Tain), 2021, MA15+
Duration- 86 minutes
Language- Assamese (English Subtitles)
Country- India
Cast- Deep Jyoti Kalita, Bina Patangia, Maitri Das
Director- Krrishna Kt. Borah

‘Hyper-connectivity’ demands world be ‘redesigned’: Sam Pitroda

The webinar in progress. Screen grab-SAT

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 21 June 2021: India’s father of the computer and telecommunications revolution and former advisor to Indian Prime Minister’s Rajiv Gandhi and Dr.Manmohan Singh, Sam Pitroda has ushered in a new plan to rid the world of major issues plaguing the world. Locked up during the COVID-19 pandemic in Chicago and during this long period his thoughts culminated into “Redesign the World – A Global Call to Action”, a 272 pages (published 4 May 2021) action plan to ‘redesign’ the world, designed 75 years ago, around the time Sam was born.

It is this book on that the Indian Overseas Congress Australia organized an interaction (webinar) with panelists Dr. Pradeep Taneja, Melbourne University, Prof. Rolf Gerritson, Charles Darwin University, and Prof Veena Sahajwalla, Australian Research Council and attendees.

Talking about the motivation behind the book and the idea Sam said, ” I was locked up because of the Carona crisis and I thought the world was designed in 1942 with democracy, human rights, consumerism, and military strength in mind. It is 75 years old and now the world is connected. This is an old design. For the hyper-connected world, a new design is needed. It’s, basically, a product of the lockout.

The two systems – China’s is a closed system plus market and the US plus West system is an open one. But because of hyper-connectivity, all we do is obsolete and the world needs a ‘redesign’. Both the systems run on command and control.


The ‘redesign’ needs to focus on people and the planet with sustainability, inclusion, equality, equity, and justice. We need a new way of thinking.”

Taking a swipe at the recent G-7 summit, Sam says, ” They are only for their own interests, not about humanity. They have to rise above it. Democracy has to be inclusive. For example, both the US and India are not inclusive.”

Sam agreed with SAT’s observation about high tech companies not agreeing to his ‘redesign’ concept because they would get hurt economically. So, change has to come from the bottom – the desire to do that is essential, High Tech has no interest in it, he says.

Commenting on a question by Dr. Pradeep Taneja about the ‘Biden doctrine’ of a new ‘cold war’ between democracy and autocracy, Sam says, “it’s a war of ideas. China has to open up and the US has to engage with the people.”

Seventy-nine years old Sam Pitroda’s main inspirations, he says, are Gandhi and Einstein. He was born to Gujarati parents in Odhisa and educated in Vadodra, Gujarat. Later he did his Electrical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. He is an internationally recognized telecom inventor, entrepreneur, development thinker, and policy maker who has spent fifty years in information and communications technology (ICT) and related global and national developments. Plus, Sam is a serial entrepreneur who has started several companies in the United States. He holds around 20 honorary PhDs, close to 100 worldwide patents, and has published five books and numerous papers. He lives in Chicago with his wife.


MUSINGS: #protest4partners & ‘civilization’


By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 10 May 2021: Recently, I went to cover a rally at Victoria’s Parliament steps, by people who are separated from their partner, fiancé, or spouse because Australia has delayed their visas. The many men and women (mostly young) demonstrating under the banner of #protest4partners are separated from their loved ones. One placard said, “14 months apart” and another said, “Fiancés are immediate family” and another said, “582 days apart”.

I was making videos and taking still photographs when I noticed a quite Indian-looking young man. I went to him and asked him why he was at the rally and where he came from. He turned out to be a Gujarati working in Melbourne and separated from his wife for 20+ months. Reluctantly, he said his wife (in Gujarat) was not getting a visa and if she does not get it soon he might quit Australia. He said he had written to concerned authorities but things do not move here.

Meanwhile, my sympathetic mind asked him – Why do so many people leave Gujarat for overseas pastures? “This is a trend there and is on”, he replied. Plus, “one Australian dollar makes 57 Rupees”, he said. We were at the sidelines of the rally and the young man seemed to be getting emotional. So, I told him, I will try to do a story about your case and hope something might happen.

“For how long Indians will do cleaning jobs in Australia. We did not come here for this. We are being used, “he said. The boy seemed to be speaking from his heart. An element of frustration and helplessness was visible.

“You see the Westerners doing this to us despite we having an ancient civilization. In fact, after the initial migrations from Africa, we spread civilization across the world and now they are dominating. The Aryan invasion theory is wrong. There is archaeological evidence we are the most advanced indigenous civilization”, he said.

Confronted by his ‘civilization’ stuff, I said, “But this is the 21st century and we have to move accordingly and adjust.” Na Na, “I will leave if my wife does not get a spouse visa soon.”

Something then stuck to my mind and I asked him, “Do you have Permanent Residency” (PR) to stay in Australia. Reply, “Wahi to nahi hi, apply kar rakha hi aur main wait kar raha hoon” (I have applied for PR and waiting for it).

I asked, “So, how can your wife get a spouse visa if you don’t have PR yourself.” The fellow baffled, could not answer. Anyway, I handed over my business card to him and asked him to give me a call do discuss the matter. I wondered I was sure, most cases are human tragedies with different connotations. Was the ‘civilization’ argument the last refuge of an emotionally down human?

Meanwhile, two MP’s (Greens and Labor) addressed the gathering and promised to fight for the cause. My Tweet about the rally seems to be doing well.

SAT EXCLUSIVE: Brightness of Kaabil overcomes darkness: Hrithik Roshan



By Neeraj Nanda

Hrithik Roshan’s latest movie ‘Kaabil’ is making waves on the box office. Directed by Sanjay Gupta, it has Yami Gautam as the leading lady with music by his father Rajesh Roshan. The 150 minutes’ movie in Hindi has English subtitles.

The blind leading pair fall in love, get married and a terrible tragedy strikes. Then the fire of vengeance is unstoppable. I caught up from Melbourne with Hrithik Roshan from Mumbai on the What’s App and he answered my questions about Kaabil, which he calls his best reviewed film.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: How was it playing a blind hero. Was it challenging?

A: Challenging, yes. It has a beautiful challenging script which leads to passion making it easy to act in the movie.

Q: Hrithik, while shooting actually the eyes can see but you posed as if they can’t. How did you manage that?

A: It was difficult. I practiced at home. I Blind folded myself and walked in the house. I did it every day.

Q: So, when you were practicing did you also fall down?

A: Yes, I did. Those who fall, learn to get up.

Q: Despite being a blind character, you gave a confident positive message, but Yami taking her own life gives a rather negative message. What do you say?

A: No, once you see the film you realise that our weakness can sometimes overcome us. We are all quite fragile. Adversity becomes tough. Yami comes from a small town and what happens is the reality. Rohan (Hrithik) then gives the message that the situation can be overcome. That is the brightness of Kaabil.

Q: How was it working with Yami?

A: The best co-star, I have worked in my life. She is simple and does not focus on herself. Instead, her focus is the entire movie.

Q: What is the message for blind couples who cannot see the movie?

A: In fact, the message is from the blind to all of us – don’t be afraid of darkness in your life. We all have some kind of darkness and the blind show us we can have the same potential as they have to fight darkness.

Q: In one scene you speak in Amitabh Bachchan’s voice. How could you manage it?

A: Practice led to that. Dubbing people say if you control your vocal cord muscle then you can utter anyone’s voice. I was able to do it.

Q: ‘Andha’ and ‘Andhi’ words used in the film. Aren’t they rude words?

A: These are labels. If I am blind and have lost my wife also blind, then I have to say I am ‘Andha’ and my wife is ‘Andhi’. There are no substitute words.

Q: Do you agree despite the love-rape-revenge theme this is a message film?

A: No, it is not. This is a beautiful entertaining movie. A unique concept film. In the cinema hall there was so much clapping after every dialogue. I enjoyed every bit of this film after my first movie ‘Kaho Na Pyaar Hi”. This is my life’s big success and the best reviewed film.

Vidya Balan praises IFFM for moving beyond movies

Photo: SAT/NN.

By Neeraj Nanda

Melbourne, 19 August: IFFM-2016 Brand Ambassador Vidya Balan is impressed with the iconic festival taking up issues beyond films. Speaking today at a function at the Victorian Parliament she said, “I am grateful and honoured to be at the Parliament of Victoria promoting the film festival’s core values of the diversity and inclusiveness.”

Praising the festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange’s initiative of moving beyond films, Vidya Balan said, “breaking down walls and boundaries with the La Trobe University’s project of students taking part in a new effort to help children with special needs in India and the good work being done by the Royal Children’s Hospital is basically breaking barriers in the minds of the people.”

“People do not know how to handle children with special needs and the need of the hour was to treat people as people,” she said.

“The La Trobe University’s initiative was an icing on the cake,” she commented.


About her being the Brand Ambassador of the film festival, Vidya Balan says, “The journey of the past five years has been so wonderful. I come back here year after year and go back with memories cherished for ever.”

“When Mitu first asked me to be the Brand Ambassador of the festival, I thought it will be a one off, but next year again she came to me and then continued to ask me to remain in the position year after year and that kicked off my love affair with Melbourne,” she nostalgically says.


The Bollywood legend was honoured by Hon. Luke Donnellan, Minister for Roads, Roads Safety and Ports, the IFFM Gold Medal for her contributions to cinema and interest in social issues.

A large number of festival organisers, parliament MPs and officials, Indian Consul in Melbourne Manika Jain, Festival Director Mitu Bhowmick and others were present at the function.

- SAT News Service.