New York Times vs. Washington Post – II

Our first comparison (New York Times vs. Washington Post) between these two well-regarded newspapers was published on June 28. While that post concluded with structural reasons for New York Times pulling ahead of the Washington Post, that comparison was triggered by an article each by Heather Timmons of the New York Times and Rama Lakshmi of the Washington Post.

This article has also been prompted by recent articles written by these two journalists.

Heather Timmons wrote an article titled “India’s New Partnership – Bollywood and Hip-Hop” in the New York Times on July 28. Heather begins the article by asking “Is Bollywood read for Snoop Dogg?” Then she describes the song Snoop Dogg sings in the upcoming movie “Singh is Kinng’. Heather talks about Snoop Dogg’s and Hip-Hop’s interaction with Bollywood music with a look-back at Western Music in India.

This is a wonderfully written article that does not have a bias or an objective. It simply brings to the reader an amazing cross-cultural partnership taking place in today’s world, a partnership that could not have been imagined a few years ago. Heather does not pander to either Bollywood or Hip-Hop. Instead she seems to describe how she sees both. When you read it, you will not realize that this is an article written for the normally boring Business Section.

We are already fans of Rachel Saltz of the New York Times. Now we are becoming fans of Heather Timmons as well.

We encourage readers to read this article at www.nytimes.com/2008/07/28/business/media/28snoop.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=bollywood&st=cse&oref=slogin



   
(Akshay Kumar and Snoop Dogg)    (Sold for $714 at an auction)


Rama Lakshmi of the Washington Post Foreign Service wrote an article in the Post on July 28 titled “Aficionados Lament That Their Beloved Bollywood Works Get No Respect”. This is an interesting article which described an auction of Bollywood Film Posters and the reactions of the people who buy such posters for preserving the Bollywood heritage and for price appreciation because they think the posters “will become priceless in a decade”. We did not know such auctions were taking place in India and we are better for having read this article.

Rama Lakshmi is the same reporter who wrote an article in the Washington Post on June 19 describing Sanskrut as a “Hindu language” and then calling it a “dead language”.  This is a language that has inspired great minds through out history , a language that led to the development of modern European languages (see our article – Three Globally Dominant Languages – June 21) and a language that inspired the greatest publishing project of recent years, a project in which 44 scholars in 10 countries are engaged in translating Sanskrut Classics in to English (see our article – The Greatest Publishing Project of Recent Years – Conceived and Implemented in America – June 28).

In an earlier article (Bollywood Film Reviews – New York Times vs. Times of India – May 10), we wrote that the reviews in the Times of India often reflect the “intellectual” point of view, the bias of the Mumbai elite who typically look down upon Hindi Films”.

Rama Lakshmi has the same pretentiously intellectual bias. Below are some of his comments from this article:


  • In the hall, priceless Indian paintings of the past century are stacked next to giant, garish Bollywood movie posters and billboards showing guns, girls and gore. This unusual auction brings high art and popular “low” art under one roof. – In one sentence, Rama calls Bollywood garish and popular “low” art with guns, girls and gore. Is this journalism or a naked display of Rama’s bias?


  • “Everyone applauds.” Rama writes describing a successful auction. “More women in dazzling diamonds and men reeking of cologne walk in.” – Now Rama is casting judgment on the buyers of the auction suggesting that these noveau-riche people have the money to indulge their bad taste.


  • “The mushy movie (referring to the 1964 hit “Sangam”), about a love triangle involving two best friends in love with the same woman, had seven songs and enough melodrama to move a generation to copious tears.” – Frankly, Rama is an idiot. Sangam is a terrific film with a status close to iconic. Just look at the irony. Will Smith and Snoop Dogg find “Bollywood songs amazing” and “love the way music is infused in Bollywood movies” (see our article Snoop Dogg in Bollywood – August 2) and Rama Lakshmi of the Washington Post looks down upon the classic hit  “Sangam” because it has 7 songs.
Do the editors of the Washington Post read what their reporters write? Or do they share Rama Lakshmi’s biases?

Read this article at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/27/AR2008072701690.html?sub=AR&pos=

We believe Will Smith and Snoop Dogg will approve of us inserting our favorite songs from Sangam and Aradhana below:


(“O Mere Sanam” our absolute favorite song from Sangam)

The relationship between Gopal and Radha gets difficult near the end of the movie “Sangam” (1964). He is obsessed with what he thinks is her infidelity before their marriage. Radha was then in love with Gopal’s best friend but fears that admitting to that now would destroy both Gopal and his best friend. She tries to persuade Gopal that all that was in the past and no longer relevant. The song above is her last attempt. Since the song does not have subtitles, we shall attempt to crudely and prosaically translate:

“O my love, we are two bodies but one soul; two expressions of one heart:
 Our love is
(as pure) as the holy Sangam (union) of Ganga and Jamuna (two holy rivers);
What is before us today is real; what was past was but a dream;
This earth is for human beings; we are only human
(and nothing more – not saints); we are two expressions of one heart:
O my love”



Aradhana (1969) was the beginning of the steep ascent of Rajesh Khanna to super-stardom. At least four of Aradhana songs became hits. Below is our favorite. This is classic Bollywood – Drop-dead beautiful women courted by urbane stars under the majestic Himalayan Peaks at gorgeous hill stations like Darjeeling and set to beautiful music with utterly poetic lyrics.

                (“Kora Kagaz Ka Dil Mera” –  Aradhana)


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