Saturday, April 28, 2012

Film-maker highlights plight of Pakistani hindus

 KOCHI: When Rahul Riji Nair, a young business analyst decided to pursue his passion for film-making, little did he know that he was going to take up a huge cause as his debut venture. His first documentary film ‘The Human Boundaries - Born as a Human, Divided by Boundaries’ created ripples wherever it was screened. The 35-minute documentary forayed into the trials and tribulations of new age Hindu refugees who continue to come to India from Pakistan. The film will be screened at The Woods Manor on April 28 in Kochi.

“I knew it was a burning topic which needed to be retold. However, I had never known the gravity of the situation until I visited the camp where they were sheltered,” he says.

Talking about his documentary, Rahul says that about 151 Pakistani Hindus  with a the tourist visa valid for a month entered India in September 2011. Most of them were women and children. According to them, religious persecutions are rampant in Pakistan because of which they decided to stay back in India even after the expiry of their visas. However, following the rules, Indian Government insisted on deporting them. Their’s is a story of lives belonging to no country which needs to be highlighted,” he says. Rahul adds that he happened to read an article about Sri Sri Ravi Sankar visiting this camp called ‘Baba Dehradunni’ in Delhi. “It gave me the first cue and we paid a flying visit as we were told by the insiders that if we wanted to shoot then we should reach there as early as possible, fearing yet another police action. Nonetheless, our shoot inside the camp proved to be a herculean task,” he said. Also, out of Rahul’s team of three, only two got the permission to shoot. “We were allowed the least number of equipment for a span of three days due to which we had to shoot with a handy-cam,” Rahul said.
According to Rahul, the shoot was strenuous as they had to work with emotionally exhausted people. “They were reluctant to speak as they were not sure if they should consider us friends or enemies. Arjun Das, one of the refugees said that they are called ‘Kafirs’ in Pakistan. In Pakistan, they are not allowed to mingle with others. Kidnappings, especially that of girls for forcible conversions are a recurring phenomena. Besides, contrary to their religious rites, the dead were buried and not cremated. He also said that the fundamentalists in Pakistan are creating the trouble as others are generally aloof,” Rahul says.
He says that the documentary has been screened in various parts of the country and to their surprise, many organisations have come forward in lending a helping hand. “As of now, the Delhi High Court has stayed their deportation until a clear consensus is reached,” Rahul said. The documentary was screened at the International Human Rights Conference in New Delhi and in reputed film clubs across the country. The film has also bagged a distribution contract from a US Company called Commodity Films for worldwide distribution through online and offline media.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

No plans to diversify: Naukri chief

KOCHI: When Sanjeev Bhikhchandani founded, little did he know that he was giving a new dream for the posterity- the dream of becoming an entrepreneur that was a taboo several years back. His aspirations bore fruit when became the first Indian internet company to be listed . Today, it has a turnover of about `400 crore.

Sanjeev says that the best kept secret of an entrepreneur is very simple, perseverance and persistence. “There is no short cut but persisting on what you believe. You will incur losses at the outset but you have to keep at it,” he says.

Hailing from a family of government officials, Sanjeev says that it was not an easy dream to pursue.  “Pure middle class aspirations which were prevalent then was to make their son or daughter an engineer or doctor. My parents too nourished this dream. Besides, my father was a doctor and he was in the government service. There were no business people in my family. Middle class India never wanted their children to be entrepreneurs and I had to cut out a new path for me.”

Sanjeev began his successful journey by starting a company called Info Edge. “It is still the company and Naukri is the brand. Prior to it, there were two companies, one was for salary surveys and the other was a database of trademarks on which we were doing searches. It later on gave way to”

The idea of starting struck him in a rather curious way. “I used to find people reading the very last pages of ‘ Business India’ and wondered why people are longing to read the very last pages. It was full of job offers. This kindled a spark in me. I realised that both employers and employees are in dire need of each other. Employees needed jobs while employers needed sheer talents and that’s how was born,” he says.

Sanjeev admits that he never thought he would make it big in the industry. “I never thought my humble venture would be a path breaking attempt. But somehow I clicked. There is no dispute over the subject that I worked hard. But there was sheer luck too,” he said with a confident smile. This confidence also made him usher into other streams which also became a huge hit. Jeevan, are a few to list.
Though he had started Naukri gulf, he made it clear that currently there are no plans to diversify his venture to global markets. “The Indian market has ample potential. We want to work on it. We started gulf owing to the existence of Indian diaspora there,” he says.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Etching the fading heritage on canvas

KOCHI: Writer Joseph Joubert has said “Monuments are the grappling irons   that bind one generation to another.” The efforts by Dinesh R Shenoy, an ardent monochromatic painter from Mattanchery, clearly indicates that he is  rightly treading the aforementioned path. Shenoy believes that by compiling a memorabilia of 300 age-old buildings in  the state, he is building a bridge through which the posterity can have a  peep on their past.

Shenoy says his experimentation in monochromatic painting began 12 years  back. “I was watching the demolition of an old building and one of my friend casually remarked that old buildings have to be demolished to make way for new. This sparked of a new thought in me for I knew that age-old  building carries a bundle of memories and it should not be shoved off to the oblivion. This made me usher into a new arena of oil portraits in monochromatic sepia,” he says.

Imprinting heritage on a sheet of canvas is not an easy task, says Shenoy.   He says that he used to travel extensively across the state to find out such outstanding and antique buildings. “I undertake a direct study to do a  painting. It would never serve the purpose, if I paint it in the confines of four walls. Hence I directly go to the site to capture the structure into the canvas. It usually takes seven to eight days to complete such portraits,” he says.

Shenoy says the fact that Kerala has more than 1,000 such buildings which would soon go to the oblivion if not properly taken care of. “I found it rather surprising. I have charted out more than 1,000 such buildings with my  limited resources. I am sure and certain that there would be more,” he said.

As to why he chose this particular genre of painting, Shenoy says that this  particular genre of painting gives a guarantee of 500 years. “What more you need to preserve the cultural heritage,” he asks.

Moreover, he says this is also “an attempt to revive a genre of painting”.  “ This is an honest attempt to tell others that there exists a style or school which could teach a lot about painting. For me, this is definitely not lucrative. I do not sell these collections,” he says.
On his experience as a painter, he says he was shell-shocked when he found  one of his picture in Wikipedia. “They neither sought my permission to use my portraits nor gave a courtesy underneath my pictures,” he says.

published in The New Indian Express