Shiv Visvanathan
Shiv Visvanathan
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articles by Shiv Visvanathan

Politics

The Alt-Politics series: A year on, Arvind Kejriwal is the Maggi sauce of Indian politics; he provides the difference

To evaluate Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party is not easy. There is something ephemeral and unreal about Kejriwal. He looks like a village idiot with a PhD. He appears like a hypothesis that has to be constantly tested — an idea whose time comes again and again, only to be undermined by some insipid idea of his own

Entertainment

Movie review: Satyagraha thought provoking, but quickly loses charm

The creation of myth for the movie is the murder of the idealistic IIT student Satyendra Dubey who protested against corruption in the Highways Authority. The young man fades into oblivion as his father and friend take over the struggle.

Entertainment

Missed opportunity: Why Chennai Express can't bridge the North-South divide

North is north and south is south and never the twain shall meet. Shah Rukh Khan misses a golden opportunity to bridge the north-south divide in Chennai Express.

Politics

The cowardice of Salman Khurshid: Betraying Snowden, Nehru and India

The Congress regime may be dynastic in continuity but represents a betrayal of the Nehruvian imagination. It's spinelessness is legendary and unprecedented.

Entertainment

The rise of Dhanush: The mystique of the ordinary launda

Dhanush is not the standard six pack imitation of the trinity of Khans nor does he evoke the heroic allure of a Rajnikant. He is the nukkad ka launda.

Entertainment

The three faces of Sanjay Dutt: Which one do we punish?

The child of a legendary Bollywood romance, Dutt was expected to lead a copybook life, which he proceeded to ruin, copybook style. His punishment is just but no less tragic.

Politics

Sonia Gandhi and the Italian stereotype

Over the course of her political career, Sonia has run the gauntlet through the tyranny of caricatures. She was white, Catholic, and a woman and thus seen as a subversive force. She has been accused of being from a fascist family and having Mafia connections.

Politics

Narendra Modi's bully tirade: Crude, effective and unsettling

I am not saying Modi’s BJP National Meet speech was not effective. It cut to the quick and drove home the message that the Congress had become slow thinking stegosaurus, a dinosaur with two brains, one located in Manmohan and the other in Sonia.

Breaking Views

Allahabad and Kumbh: Where governance and illiteracy meet

The handling of the Kumbh Mela is a matter of pride for those who handle our governance but the stampede at Allahabad station is a sign of how we fail outside it.

Life

Pillorying of Ashis Nandy: His critics need hearing aids

Dalits and OBCs are treated as sacred cows. We provide them with an official identity kit while trampling their life chances. Nandy was trying to break through that hypocrisy, but unfortunately got caught in a fly trap of populism.

Entertainment

Amitabh Bachchan at 70: The Peter Pan who grew up

As he ages with flair and ease in the spotlight, Bachchan affirms life as reinvention, and an invitation to an ever-changing life.

India

The False Piety of Ambika Soni

The woman who played second fiddle during the Emergency now speaks of the sanctity of our national symbols. Trivedi's cartoons, however mediocre, are more respectful of their true nature than Soni's outrage.

Breaking Views

Ajmal Kasab and Naroda Patiya: A tale of two verdicts

There was a dignity to the Kasab’s case, the closure offered by ritual, a sense that even if terror as a network was not destroyed, a terrorist was sentenced.

Breaking Views

The tragedy of Anna Hazare: Why we all should care

Lost in the heated debate between Anna critics and supporters is a more critical question: How can a non-violent movement sustain itself against the media and against professional politicians?

Entertainment

Gangs of Wasseypur: A metaphor for all that went wrong in India

Coal evokes criminality, violence, corruption all in the name of public good. Bollywood evokes desire. When they come together in Gangs of Wasseypur we get the ballad of coal - a duet of modern India's two greatest myths.

Life

Herculean labour: The great IIT myth and the entrance exam

In India, the halo of excellence is not created by content, but constructed through scarcity. The fierce battle among countless, nameless Indians for the preciously small number of seats at an IIT just does that.

Blogs

An ode to Rekha, our newest MP

Rekha has shades of Mata Hari, the parliamentarian as the forbidden fruit, a visual relief from the grossness of everyday.

Breaking Views

SIT vs Amicus Curiae report: A triumph of democracy

The contrasting reports reveals that while justice might be distant, the law as a process still works – more so as the Modi juggernaut stumbles on a 25-page amicus curiae brief.

Entertainment

Satyamev Jayate: Mere spectacle or a new movement?

Aamir exposed India's silent genocide in his first show -- with devastating directness. But can star power tweak the conscience of a nation that has long known about this female foeticide?

Politics

What's that musty smell? Oh, it's the CPM

Prakash Karat, are you listening? The non-party Left in India is still alive and vibrant. But the Politburo meet proved that the stuffed shirt babus of the CPM are just tone deaf.