Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Bachchan Bol, vog for the United Kingdom was launched to day

London , UK      May  18 ,  2011        Wed 6 : 40 PM  GMT
The Bachchan Bol, vog for the United Kingdom was launched to day, and I am back after a most exhausting non stop press meet and one on ones with the media. The excitement of initiating another concept, another challenge, another first is palpable. The India figures have reached an incredible 2.66 million subscribers and one hopes it shall increase as time goes by with other nations coming in. For those that inquire about the USA and other countries, there is news for you. An app., is under construction through which it shall be possible for anyone in any part of the world to access the Vog !! Hurray !! And hopefully with more time the process of providing a visual to the subscriber as I talk shall also be available, along with many other fresh discoveries that need for the moment, time on its technology to be developed.
The media was most kind and respectful, disciplined and orderly, pleasant and accommodating, keen to acknowledge and without any hint of aggression ! Which for an individual of my perceived reputation with them, was heartening and most likable. I guess the fact that we as celebrities of the Indian Cinema are not seen as often as we are in Mumbai and in front of the Mumbai media, could be one of the reasons. However, it was a most organized and well conducted day and I must compliment the press both from the UK and elsewhere to have given me reason to smile and applaud their presence. Thank you.
I am still reeling under the effect of the Oxford visit and have not been able come away from the keen interest that most British teaching institutions, have shown and continue to do so in the present, towards tradition. The hall where the Oxford Lecture was conducted is an ornate marvel of the times it was built. It is known as the School for Examinations and still continues with the tradition of all students who enter its august location for an examination to be dressed in traditional student gear - gowns, caps and all !
The Bodlein Library a remarkable, old but well maintained, quiet and historic edifice, housing some of the most ancient and time capsuled manuscripts and books of an era that initiated the relevance of a good education, is to be seen to be believed. When we enter the portals of these magnificent buildings, the one thing that immediately strikes you is the detailed and most artistic manner in which the entire stone work must have been constructed for it to have lasted and continue to for hundreds of years. The sight of an imposing structure, with architectural finesse and beauty, must certainly have been done with one singular purpose - to invite with immense awe, the learned to share their academic wealth, towards those that desired to be interested in the learning. The imposing buildings and halls and long artistic galleries and quadrangles, surrounded by looping sensitively carved gates, built with great imagination, not just to look grand but to also inscribe on them the delicate detail that would recount their existence at the time they were constructed or pay great heed to the history or culture of the time, or in some subtle way indicate those that may have contributed generously towards its making. The donors or those that in the times must have taken keen interest in building these structures by generous financial donations were often represented through their ‘coat of arms’ being imbedded on the ceilings with immense dexterity and design. The largest emblem bearing in its reckoning the fact, that they had contributed the most, financially. And it is remarkable how not much has been done to renovate or change the material that had been used then. And what foresight to have thought of building something that would last centuries, for, the gift of learning needed perhaps the student first to respect the aura and magnitude of the place of education in its largeness and in its volume, before he even entered or was welcomed in. The ornate beauty of places of worship, the churches and chapels were perhaps the early indicators of how they had or may have wanted their ‘churches of education’ or as they are referred to in modern times the ‘temple of learning’ to look. Educating oneself was almost in equation with that wondrous interior which housed the Gods and Goddesses of various religions, where prayer and worship was rendered with utmost respect and dignity and belief. Was not then, these marvelous structures that imparted knowledge, similar in their belief and prayer ! Belief in what was being taught, and a prayer of thankfulness for the benefit that they were deriving from it.
Modern life, modern thinking and modern surroundings have taken over from those time tested ancient locations and buildings. The awe, that inspired generations of those connected to the art of education, is not quite the same now, though the brilliance of the minds that have erupted with time, has been most progressive.
I see schools and colleges in metro cities today, housed in large high rises, the entire institution designated to different floor levels as in apartment buildings and wonder where is that awe inspiring feel of entering a premise that exudes a climate of learning and knowledge.
But to counter this thought has been the desire and intent that has been wrapped in that loin cloth - simple, sparse but high in value and content. We have seen that the brilliance of the mind is not necessarily influenced by the large and ornate edifices of education. Students from humble and simple backgrounds have also brought glory and name to the realm of learning, many of them excelling beyond expectations and giving stiff competition to those that may have had the priviledge of an elitist education.
What has however ridden above all these social moral and political decisions that have from time to time been taken to address the issue, is the honest fact that given equal opportunity to all to compete to learn to progress, would bring equality in the system, plagued as it is with compromising events.
To end then … to begin ..
Amitabh Bachchan

When Amitabh Bachchan met William Shakespeare

London, UK                                   May  18,  2011                              Wed  7 : 09 AM  GMT

When Amitabh Bachchan met William Shakespeare

From Prasun Sonwalkar
(with pix)
Oxford, May 18 (PTI) Indian film icon Amitabh Bachchan played many characters from William Shakespeare’’s plays over the years, but when he was shown the First Folio of the plays dated 1623 at the ancient Bodleian Library, he was awestruck and rendered almost speechless.
“It’’s incredible,” he simply said, feelingly moving his hand over the pages containing dialogues he had delivered in several stage performances during his career spanning over four decades.
Bachchan was on a visit to Oxford at the invitation of the university’’s Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS).
Besides hosting a reception for him at the centre, he was shown around the ancient university, including the Bodleian Library, which was established in 1602.
“A great actor is touching the work of the great playwright,” remarked Richard Ovenden, Keeper of Special Collections of the Library, as Bachchan turned the pages of the priceless Shakespearean document.
“We often have scholars coming to see these rare collections, but this is the first time that a great actor is visiting us to see the work of Shakespeare,” Ovenden said.
The work is titled ”Mr William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies”, better known to scholars as the First Folio.
Printed in folio format, it contains 36 plays that have been the delight of generations over centuries.
Another priceless item shown to Bachchan was the manuscript copy of the first English translation of Kalidas” ”Shakuntala”, by William Jones, dated 1788.
A scholar of ancient India, Jones founded the Asiatic Society in Kolkata in 1784.
He was also shown the original copy of the Magna Carta, the 1215 charter that limited the power of the monarchy and laid the foundation for a series of historical developments that led to the rule of constitutional law and democracy.
Bachchan was received at the OCHS by its director, Professor Gavin Flood, who is an expert on South Asian traditions, particularly Hindu Tantra, and senior staff including Shaunaka Rishi Das and Lal Krishna.
Much to the delight of Indian students and others who recognised him, Bachchan walked along Oxford streets to visit the Bodleian Library, where he was received by Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton.
Later in the evening, Bachchan said: “I have spent the most enjoyable hours in this historic institution. It has been a treat that will remain in memory for long.
“It is a great honour to be received so warmly by this ancient and renowned university”. .
Rushing now for the inauguration of the Vog in UK ..
love and more later ..
Amitabh Bachchan

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