Saturday, February 25, 2012

Anupam Kher’s The Best Thing About You is You arrives Dubai

Jumbo Editorial Team

The Best Thing About You is You is not the title of another movie of the versatile Bollywood actor, Anupam Kher, but it’s actually the name of his maiden book, a truly motivational effort, which was recently launched in Dubai.

It has been published by Hay House India with Books Plus Stores being its distributors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The book had earlier been launched in Mumbai by the legendary actor, Amitabh Bachchan.

The book is already earning rave reviews and had a special mention from none other than Oprah Winfrey at the January 2012 Jaipur Literary festival in India.

Kher’s versatility extends to things other than acting. He indulges in theatre, TV, runs an acting academy and has even worn the director’s hat. Now he has turned author with this book that aims to guide people through life with tips that Kher has picked up from his own experiences. The book shares insightful pieces of advice to guide people on the path to self-realization.

The idea behind the book is to inculcate positive thinking in daily life. Chapters such as ‘We Are All Unhappy’ present examples from the world which help in drawing a generalisation, while ‘Don’t Fear Change’ helps readers contemplate on how change can be used as a source of energy.

The book scores in the frankness with which it is written, but lacks originality as almost everything written has already been published in other self-help books. Excerpts from Kher’s play ‘Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai’ are repetitive. The author has transcribed his thinking in simple words, but the text lacks day-to-day examples.

Kher has done more than 450 movies having won numerous awards in his career, spanning three decades. He is acclaimed as one of the most respected and recognized stars in Bollywood and Indian cinema.

It was in 1983 when Kher, a relatively unknown 28-year-old graduate, was struggling to get a foothold in the fiercely competitive Bollywood film industry. He had left the comforts of his home in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, northern India, determined to make it as an actor and now, after spending three years knocking on every door in Mumbai, the country's movie capital, was ready to accept defeat.

Depressed and dejected, he wrote a long letter to his grandfather in Shimla telling him he was frustrated because he was unable to realize his dream of becoming an actor and was considering returning home.

His grandfather advised him not let his parents down and reminded him that my they had to sell many pieces of family jewellery to pay for his fees at the acting school. He persevered with renewed vigour and a year later, landed the role of a 60-year-old man in Saaransh, though he was only 29. It earned him the National Award for best actor. The rest is history.

Book titled Folk and Traditional Children Games launched in Islamabad

Jumbo Editorial Team

The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Lok Virsa launched the book titled Folk and Traditional Children Games in Islamabad on February 22 in an effort to promote cultural understanding.

The book, an endeavour on the part of the Pak-Norway Joint Institutional Cooperation Programme to preserve folk and traditional games of both countries, aims to carry the universal message that the innocence of children and their love for games is the same everywhere in the world.

The book contains six Norwegian games including Kick the Tin (hide ‘n seek) and Paradise (hopscotch), with 24 games from different regions of Pakistan, such as Kokla Chapaki (hide the whip) and Gulli Danda (spindle ‘n stick). It is also accompanied by a DVD version that narrates the step-by-step methods of each game.

There are many similarities between the games documented, the most important being that these games encourage human interaction and develop self-confidence and discipline in playgrounds among children.

“We are not so different after all. Grown-ups need to be reminded that children need space to have fun,” Cecilie Landsverk, the Ambassador of Norway, remarked on the occasion.

The ambassador appreciated the idea and assured to share the book with children in Norway to strengthen cultural understanding between the two countries, recalling that she used to love playing hide ‘n seek.

Federal Minister for Social Welfare and Special Education, Samina Khalid Ghurki, stressed on the importance of games and playgrounds in children’s character building.

“Human contact is dwindling in today’s age of technology and cell phones and computers are replacing people,” she said, adding that these gadgets cannot replace what one learns through other people’s company.

Junaid Iqbal, one of the pioneers of Lok Virsa, said such a book was indeed the need of the hour as the historical use of playgrounds as breeding spaces for creativity, energy and discipline needs to be revitalised.

Khalid Javed, Executive Director, Lok Virsa, expressed his desire to translate the book in different regional languages so it can be used in schools across the country.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bolloywood’s King Khan lights up Devdas dialogue book launch

Jumbo Editorial Team

Shah Rukh Khan, who is also known as the King Khan, lit up the show at the launch event of the Devdas dialogue book in Mumbai on February 15 which the legendary figure of Dilip Kumar could not attend because of his illness.

While everyone missed the presence of Dilip Kumar, who had played Devdas on screen, Shah Rukh Khan, read out a letter by the living legend at the launch event that was held at the famous Mehboob Studios.

”I have very fond memories of Bimal Roy. He had a gentleness and refinement in his speech and behaviour that was infectious. Whether it was Devdas or Madhumati or Yahudi, we worked with perfect understanding in a congenial atmosphere. His assistants and he conversed in Bengali and they chatted and laughed without any inhibitions. I knew some Bengali that I had picked up from Dadamoni and Mukherji Sahab and I made my own contribution to the informality by speaking in Bengali and they were never tired of complimenting me for speaking Bengali the way it should be spoken,” Dilip Kumar recalled.

”The dialogue for Devdas as well as for the two women who love him deeply were written and rewritten with utmost care, keeping the situations and the audience's empathy in mind. Bimalda being a Bengali and having been associated with the K.L. Saigal starrer made straight from the Bengali novel, had a strong impression in his mind about all the characters and their motivations. He always had everything charted out in his mind before he began work with his artistes,” he added.

”Today's cinema and its audience don't have the kind of emotional give-and-take that the cinema of the Fifties had. The basic reason for that was because cinema was the only source of entertainment those days and, more often than not, its content was taken seriously by serious viewers. I am speaking about this to emphasise the responsibility the director shouldered in our times when he chose to make a film that had a deep emotional appeal for the audience. The dialogues of Devdas are therefore replete with a haunting sensitivity and spontaneity that came from the pen of Rajinder Singh Bedi, one of those rare writers whose syntax was so perfect that the simple lines he wrote inspired actors to build up deep emotions in their rendering,” Dilip Kumar reckoned.

”Being myself not given to superfluous speech, I appreciated the precision and brevity of the lines he wrote for Devdas. They were lines of profound meaning at times but they were so simply and sensitively worded that generations of viewers have found pleasure in repeating them lovingly,” he explained.

Tennis superstar Aisam-ul-Haq’s book launched at Indus Valley School

Jumbo Editorial Team

Pakistan’s tennis superstar Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi launched his maiden book titled “Lessons Learnt from the Tennis Tour" at the Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture in Clifton, Karachi, on February 22.

The book launch event was managed by Catwalk Event Management & Productions while Catalyst handled the PR of the book launching ceremony.

The book is beautifully designed and is printed in coffee table format. Regarded as one of Pakistan’s best-known international sportsmen, Aisam has been a superb ambassador of the sport and country, presenting a clean-cut image of Pakistan through his persona.

Speaking on the occasion, the tennis star said that he has gained a lot from his experiences on the international tennis tour, which is the prime reason behind his decision to write a book. He also shared various anecdotes and memorable incidents of his tennis life with his fans. He hailed his parents and his coach Robert Davis, who co-authored the book.

The 31-year-old Aisam, currently placed at number nine in the world doubles rankings, remained hopeful that youngsters will learn from his experiences which he has shared in his book titled ‘Lessons learnt from the tennis tour.’

“No Pakistani player has ever featured in Olympic tennis. It is one of my greatest dreams to be able to play in the Olympics,” Aisam, who recently helped Pakistan win their Davis Cup match against Lebanon in Beirut, observed.

He is the only Pakistani to have reached a Grand Slam final, having achieved the feat at the 2010 US Open when he made to the finals of the men’s doubles and mixed doubles events with India’s Rohan Boppana and Czech Republic’s Kveta Peschke respectively.

If he manages to remain in the top-ten till the end of May this year, then there are bright chances that Aisam and his compatriot Aqeel Khan will qualify to represent Pakistan at the men’s doubles event of the Olympic Games 2012 in London this summer.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Musical launch of Margaret Bradford’s maiden book

Jumbo Editorial Team

Margaret Bradford, who has been a name in the Australian folk scene for three decades now and has gained a strong following in the live music scene, chose the occasion of the launch of the National Year of Reading to unveil her new book for children, Bindi-Eye Bop.

The singer/songwriter from Sydney and the book's illustrator Janet Selby visited Sutherland Library on the library's annual open day on February 21 to sing songs from the book, which also has a CD. Bradford, also a former teacher, has teamed up with Selby for her first book.

One of the most popular songs on the CD is Cars, Cars, Cars — a look at how our most favoured mode of transport is damaging the planet.

Most of the songs have a distinctive Australian slant and even feature the sounds of kookaburras recorded in the Royal National Park.

16 Aussie fun songs to set kids jumping on trampolines, dodging bindi-eyes, caring for the environment, water conservation, echidnas, bilbies, dinosaurs, blowflies, and cockatoos, all tastefully illustrated in brilliant colour by Selby, a talented local artist.

“Punchy and fun....“Margaret put her considerable song-writing talents to good use in creating humorous, up-beat, thought provoking, green songs for children of all ages. The songs with lots of repetition about bilbies, bindi-eyes and blow flies, cockatoos and cockroaches, echidnas and dinosaurs are a treat.

The children are encouraged to sing along to rap, pop and blues with such themes as, water conservation, keeping our beautiful earth pollution free, an excellent source of new material for singers and teachers keen to highlight the importance of environmental issues”

Her songs of conscience, humour &compassion reflect contemporary, environmental & social issues. She is able to bring out the heartfelt essence of a song. Her recordings cover many themes. Songs in her repertoire reflect an interest in the environment, women, children and indigenous peoples.

Her recordings are also an evidence of the vast emotional range she presents in her performance and songs. Passionate about the world & its changes, Margaret's songs are socially relevant often with a touch of wit & satire.

Her singing makes for compelling listening. She sings for all ages at clubs, festivals, schools, public rallies and house concerts around Australia and overseas. She has inspired many an emerging musician and some of her songs have been recorded and sung by other artists.

Boman Irani launches ‘Not Like Most Young Girls’ in Mumbai

Jumbo Editorial Team

One of the most talented Bollywood actors, Boman Irani, launched the book titled ‘Not Like Most Young Girls’ in Mumbai, on February 21.

Speaking to the media on the occasion, the 52-year-old Irani rued that celebrities were not given enough credit for their efforts towards social causes despite the fact that they are always the first ones to lend a helping hand.

"I think you don`t give our celebrities enough credit. I think there are very few people in society who give their life and time to causes such as this. Do you find bankers or hoteliers sitting over here? They are not here. There are many celebrities who come for a good cause," he the Bollywood actor observed.

"Whenever there is a catastrophe or a disaster, the first people who come out and raise funds will be people from the film industry. So I think it’s a little unfair to knock my community down," he added.

Boman, who has done films like ‘Munnabhai MBBS’, ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Well Done Abba’ with social messages, believed that it’s important to induce a generous dose of entertainment into a issue-based film to make it appealing to the audience.

"Entertainment is important otherwise no one will watch it. If there is a film like `3 Idiots`, the backbone of the film is the topic of education. But if we talk only about education without entertainment then no one will watch it," he reckoned.

"The audience is getting the message anyway. It is not possible to portray a book realistically in a film because people watch movies to entertain their families. If we can give a message combined with entertainment, it’s good but then it will never be the same as the book," he explained.

Boman`s next release will be ‘Housefull 2’ and he is also working on ‘Shirin Farhad Ki Nikal Padi’ with Farah Khan.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Karachi Literature Festival 2012 gets overwhelming media coverage

Jumbo Editorial Team

The third edition of the Karachi Literature Festival 2012, which was inaugurated with great fanfare at Hotel Carlton on February 11, concluded the following evening. It was organized by the Oxford University Press with the collaboration of the British Council.

The media attention the festival received was awesome with the daily national newspapers covering it very prominently indeed.

The two-day festival was organized with the objective of encouraging the Pakistani authors and attracting more people towards the literature believed to be the only solution to lead a turnaround. It also provided a platform for discussion over trends, values and thoughts to enlighten the minds of people.

The annual event, launched a couple of years ago, has been warmly welcomed by the people of Karachi who believe that it provided positive feel to them, describing it as a very enriching and enlightening experience for everyone who love to read. The festival provided an opportunity to people to touch base with books and resume their lost passion for reading.

One factor, however, that dampened the significance of the high-profile festival was its debatable approach which restricted it to elites only or those who could afford four-wheelers. Hopefully the organizers would expand plan it such a way in future to attract a common man as well are in love with literature and art.

Meanwhile a number of widely renowned and acclaimed writers and scholars including Shobhaa De, Asif Noorani, Asif Farrukhi, Hanif Kureshi, Kamila Shamsie, William Dalrymple, Mohsin Hamid, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Naved Kirmani, Maleeha Lodhi, Ayesha Siddiqa, Intizar Hussain and Zahida Hina shared their thoughts.

In the various sessions, the writers and other dignitaries shed light on the importance of literature in life of nations. They termed the event as an opportunity for Pakistani youth to connect themselves with the world of literature.

A session of writers signifying women’s voices through their writing captivated quite a bunch of women, with Maniza Naqvi, Bina Shah, Nafisa Haji and Marilyn Wyatt sharing their experiences as writers and also readers, evocative through their own and other literary works.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Shobhaa De brings glamour to Karachi cultural scene

Jumbo Editorial Team

The third edition of the Karachi Literature Festival 2012, organized by the Oxford University Press with the collaboration of the British Council on February 11 and 12, came to life with the presence of the famous Indian writer-socialite Shobhaa De.

The 64-year-old Mumbai celebrity literally took Karachi by storm, having brought in a touch of glamour to the KLF 2012. She spoke about Indo-Pak relations and her literary career.

For a change, she was the only author at the festival, whose clothes, a wonderful sari, and not any of her 17 best-selling books were described during her introduction.

"Indian socialites are curious about how Pakistani women put their outfits together and the long lines of the kurtas. There is no comparison between Pakistani and Indian women when it comes to beauty – the Pakistanis are far more beautiful," De, reputed to be India's one of the top best-selling authors, observed.

"What you say on TV is live and will be there for a long time. So you have to live with the goof-up or factual error you make for the rest of your life," she emphasized.

To gel with the culture better, De also revealed that she was planning to attend a sangeet at a mehndi at a farmhouse to get a good look at Karachi society. She also expressed her desire to take a ride in a bus decorated with Pakistan's colourful truck art and shop for blue pottery to get a closer feel of Pakistan.

"Blogdosts. I am off to Karachi tomorrow. Am a little excited. A little nervous. The programme sounds fascinating. But to be at a session titled 'Superstar Author' without dying of embarrassment (secretly tickled!), will be a major feat!" De, of course, has got her priorities right,” De posted on her blog a day before she left for Karachi.

She had squeezed to make time to shop for "lawn", Pakistan's best known fabric, a day ahead of the festival and seemed quite focused on the next item on her shopping list: Multani blue pottery.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Book of Life unfolds touching tales of organ donation

Jumbo Editorial Team

Book of Life, which was travelling across Australia for the whole last year, was finally launched at the Camden Library in the Macarthur region of New South Wales on January 31.

Mayor Greg Warren launched the book which contains different stories from the different families who were completely touched by organ donation. Also, the stories have been included in the book in order to encourage family discussion about donations of organs.

A large number of people, who were influenced by the stories in the book, had arrived at the launch of the book. The book containing several stories now also comprised of a new story written by Debbie Roberts of Camden.

Debbie Roberts, a former Youth Solutions chief executive officer, has explained her daughter’s deed of organ donation. She informed the audience at the book launch that her daughter, Rebecca, died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 20 only as she had type-1 diabetes and hyperthyroidism. But, her generous deed of donation of her two kidneys and two corneas has brought a great sense of comfort to the family.

She added that they had received a letter too, from the father of two children, who received her two kidneys. Seeing his children happy that their dad could again play with them, they felt great pleasure, she told.

In addition, differed other inspirational stories from real life of people have been added to the book, which would do their best in teaching people that organ donation is a holy deed and Wisconsin is in great need of the same.

Camden Mayor Greg Warren has suggested a worthy slogan from the book, “Don’t take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here”.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jumbo cricket books presented to Shahid Afridi

Jumbo Editorial Team

Not many people might be aware of his full name, Sahibzada Mohammad Shahid Khan Afridi, but everybody in the cricket world knows about his style, charisma and flamboyance.

Shahid Afridi, who was the joint leading wicket-taker in the Cricket World Cup 2011, is a household name in the cricket playing countries all over the planet. The former Pakistan captain has a unique style of dominating the opponents.

He is rated as the most enterprising all-round cricketer of his era, having set the grounds to fire with sensational power hitting. His batting has not been consistent enough at times but his leg-spin bowling has made amends adequately to enhance his demand.

No wonder he has had little time to spend time at his residence in Karachi. He has the knack of being in the news even when not playing cricket. Although he tries to be accessible to the media it’s not always easy to get hold of him, in view of his preoccupations.

Ehsan Qureshi, Senior Sports Reporter of the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), ‘caught’ him recently and presented him a copy of his last two cricket books, Fiasco and Crash of the Titans, brought out by Jumbo Publishing.

Shahid Afridi, having contributed foreword to Crash of the Titans, was appreciative of the high quality of both the books and he congratulated the author for having done such an outstanding work.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World

Jumbo Editorial Team

The reading habits have not been declining but the number of bookstores continues to go down with the focus shifting on E-books and Amazon slowly taking over the publishing world.

It has become a global trend now and the bookstores are closing the world over, including those countries where the book culture was booming.

“The bookstores closing left and right, things can sometimes seem a little grim for the brick and mortar booksellers of the world,” a noted columnist observed.

“After all, why would anyone leave the comfort of their couch to buy a book when with just a click of a button, they could have it delivered to their door?” it was questioned.

It has been argued that there still are bookstores so beautiful they’re worth getting out of the house (or the country) to visit whether you need a new hardcover or not.

“We can’t overestimate the importance of bookstores. They’re community centers, places to browse and discover, and monuments to literature all at once,” it’s felt.

One gets a pleasant feeling at going through list of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, from Belgium to Japan to Slovakia. There is a lot to gain by visiting these lovely bookstores which are deemed prettier than Strand or Powell’s.

A visit to these high quality bookstores is still worth the time spent. The technology is taking over but the art and the beauty have their own significance.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Galaxy of stars makes launch of Salahuddin Ahmed’s autobiography Sallu truly memorable

Jumbo Editorial Team

Salahuddin Ahmed, a former Test cricketer, having headed the national selection committee of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has been one of the most popular figures in the country and a galaxy of stars was in attendance in the launch of his autobiography titled ‘Sallu’ at Hotel Pearl Continental, Karachi, on January 31.

The ceremony was conducted by the most famous playwright of the country, Anwar Maqsood, who has a style of his own. The list of speakers included batting great, Hanif Mohammad, enterprising all-rounder and former captain, Shahid Khan Afridi, another former captain, Rashid Latif, squash legend, Jahangir Khan, former hockey captain, Islahuddin Siddiqui, and former PCB chiefs, Arif Ali Khan Abbasi and Khalid Mahmood.

Salahuddin, nicknamed ‘Sallu’, may have played a handful of Test matches but he has made his mark as a selector. He has had a remarkably long run in what is generally understood to be a thankless job. He has remained associated with the selection committee at the national as well as the city level.

Not surprisingly, in his autobiography, he has spoken quite a bit about the so many challenges he has had to face in carrying out the duties of a selector over the years. He has enjoyed the reputation of possessing an eagle eye besides having the nerves to withstand the pressures of all kinds.

He has chosen to pen his autobiography in Urdu, punctuating it with the verses and pieces of literature that have been hallmark of his personality. He has dedicated the book to his parents, acknowledging their continued guidance to let him accomplish his cherished goals.

A soft-spoken person by nature, who rarely loses temper, Salahuddin has had excellent relations in the media in particular. He used to be the man the media professionals and all his other friends used to look to whenever they faced any problems or hardships regarding airlines matters anywhere in the world. It’s extraordinary how he squeezed seats which looked impossible to get otherwise.