Times conquers Malayalees

In its new TVC, Times of India attempts to conquer the readers of its final frontier with a film on the competitive spirit of the modern Malayalee.

Kerala’s radical political tradition has a new metaphor. Times of India’s launch television commercial captures the Left Front and Right Wing conflict in the state, through an on-water traffic jam.

Created by JWT India, the TVC is a satire that demonstrates the competitive spirit of a modern Malayalee. It is packaged as a commentary on the clash between communism and capitalism, in the state of Kerala.

The narrative is about a typical day in the life of the people of Kerala, which begins with a political stand-off between the two parties on two boats that crash into each other. Very soon, the river is blocked from left bank to right bank, creating a bottleneck in the backwaters. And, hundreds of boats lie moored in a crazy traffic jam.

The symbolic conflict between left bank and right bank, white rice and brown rice, fish curry and fried crabs, man’s own Pulikali (competitive culture) and God’s own Kathakali (narrative culture) add to the statement and compound the chaos.

However, the locals find a way as they use the stranded chain of boats like a bridge over the backwaters – a solution amidst the chaos.

The writer and creative director of the TVC is Senthil Kumar. The director and editor is Shashanka Chaturvedi (Bob). The production house is Good Morning Films.

Read the full article by Shibani Gharat in afaqs!: Final Frontier to War Front

India’s spy satellite (PSLV-C19) blessed by Balaji!

Traditions and beliefs trump science and technology in India, even when it concerns launching a rocket into space.

Ahead of the blast-off of the PSLV-C19 satellite launcher, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) scientists visited the Lord Venkateswara temple at Tirumala on Wednesday and sought the benediction of deity Balaji for the satellite’s flight  into the outer space.

Isro Chairman K Radhakrishnan, who led the team to Tirumala, carried a model of the PSLV-C19 and placed it at the feet of the deity in the sanctum sanctorum. “I came to pray for its successful flight,” Radhakrishnan told reporters later. Special rituals were performed by a team of temple priests led by chief priest Ramana Dikshitulu.

Isro Chairman K Radhakrishnan, who led the team to Tirumala, carried a model of the PSLV-C19 and placed it at the feet of the deity in the sanctum sanctorum. “I came to pray for its successful flight,” Radhakrishnan told reporters later. Special rituals were performed by a team of temple priests led by chief priest Ramana Dikshitulu.

Temple authorities said the ritual by Isro officials was not unusual as it had become a practice for public and private R&D institutions to seek the blessings on the eve of any test launch.

Indian scientists have been known to conduct religious rituals before any significant event, but Radhakrishnan, who has been in the eye of a storm over the recent controversy over Isro’s deal with a private entity, has been criticised in the past for exhibiting his religious beliefs openly. Anticipating his elevation as Isro chairman in October 2009, Radhakrishnan, a trained Kathakali dancer, camped at the Krishna temple at Guruvayoor temple, received his appointment order via the temple fax and had himself weighed in bananas in a thanksgiving ceremony called Tulabharam.