Tag Archives: The Illustrated Weekly of India

Pritish Nandy was the reason Daler Mehndi made the hit number ‘Tunak Tunak Tun’. As at least one answer in every interview in the ‘Illustrated Weekly of India’ would start, “You know, Pritish.”

The big, booming voice of Daler Mehndi, the superb sufi and bhangra singer, no longer rocks pubs, clubs and dinner parties. Bollywood has moved on to his brother Mika Singh, and Daler’s own legal tangles with alleged human trafficking have cast a dark shadow over him. But, Holi Hai! In an interview to Seemi Pasha of…

The Jalgaon freelance journalist whose alacrity ensured that his two sons did not spend 25 years in jail on “terror” charges—but did not live to see their acquittal

In 1984, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated, her two Sikh bodyguards were quickly arrested and convicted. But there was a third man who was found guilty: Kehar Singh. His only fault was that one of the two assassins had visited his house, but he hadn’t informed the police. A campaign was launched to save Kehar…

Former ‘Science Today’ editor Mukul Sharma, the prose and puzzle whiz who found Satyajit Ray’s kisses “unconvincing” and counted the golden flecks in Rakhee’s eyes, is no more.

Indian Journalism Review records with regret the passing of Mukul Sharma, the former editor of Science Today magazine (and its later version 2001), who wrote the scintillating “Mind Sport” column in now-defunct Illustrated Weekly of India. He was 69. Mukul Sharma, who lived in Gurgaon, near Delhi, was previously married to the film maker Aparna Sen. The…

“Anybody can do an MBA. Not everybody can become a cartoonist”: the sage advice that turned Satish Acharya into a 24×7 cartoonist in the social media age

Although the Mysore-born R.K. Laxman is the best known of them all, it is Kerala that has produced more political cartoonists in the English language: P. Shankar Pillai, O.V. Vijayan, Abu Abraham, Kutty, Unny, Ravi Shankar, Ajit Ninan et al. In recent years, Satish Acharya has joined his Kannadiga torch-bearer as a political cartoonist of promise,…

The Khushwant Singh “pre-obituary” from 1983

Khushwant Singh, the self-proclaimed “dirty old man of Indian journalism”, has passed away at his home in New Delhi, at the age of 99. Exactly, 30 years ago, when Singh was 69, the journalist Dhiren Bhagat wrote a pre-obituary of the “sardar in the light bulb” for the now-defunct Sunday Observer. Ironically, Dhiren Bhagat was…

TOI impact? HT restores cryptic crossword!

When The Times of India took the long ladder down in the late 1990s, among the things its brand managers knocked out was the cryptic crossword with barely a squeak from readers, editors (and TOI receptionists!) who had grown up on it. No such luck with the Hindustan Times. The paper may have long buried…

When an editor draws a cartoon, it’s news

Indian print editors have done book reviews (Sham Lal, Times of India), film reviews (Vinod Mehta, Debonair), food reviews (Vir Sanghvi, Hindustan Times), music reviews (Chandan Mitra, TOI, Pioneer, The Sunday Observer; Sanjoy Narayan, Hindustan Times), elephant polo reviews (Suman Dubey, India Today) etc, but few have done cartoons. When The Telegraph, Calcutta, was launched…

Dicky Rutnagur, an ekdum first-class dikra: RIP

SHARANYA KANVILKAR writes from Bombay: After three days of parsimonious one-paragraph obituaries, the tributes have started coming in for Dicky Rutnagar, the Bombay-born cricket and squash correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, London, who passed away on Friday, 20 June 2013, at the age of 82. Rutnagur, who covered 300 Test matches before he retired in…

Salman Rushdie, Satanic Verses & India Today

The launch of Salman Rushdie‘s memoirs, Joseph Anton, written in third person, has seen a flurry of TV interviews, and profiles, reviews and soft stories in the newspapers. Hindustan Times runs this short excerpt from the book which chronicles how The Satanic Verses ended up getting banned in India: On the day he received the…

And so, India’s three best cartoonists are…

It isn’t often that Indian cartoonists talk about their craft—or their colleagues and compatriots. There is, for instance, a famous incident of the doyen of Indian cartooning, R.K. Laxman, being asked in the course of an interview with The Illustrated Weekly of India, about a younger cartoonist then working for the Indian Express. “Ravi Shankar?…

Did R.K. Laxman subtly stifle Mario’s growth?

The passing away of  the legendary Illustrated Weekly of India, Economic Times and Femina cartoonist and illustrator Mario Miranda in Goa on Sunday, has prompted plenty of warm reminiscences from friends, colleagues and co-linesmen, along with a vicious doosra. Bachi Karkaria recalls her colleague from the third floor of The Times of India building in…

The ‘sardar in the lightbulb’ signs out suddenly

Seventy years after he started needling readers and 42 years after he wrote his first column, the “sardar in the lightbulb” will shine no more. Khushwant Singh, the dirty old man of Indian journalism, says he is now too old (and maybe just a little less dirty) to dish out malice towards one and all…

‘The most prolific journalist of our times’

Khushwant Singh on his Illustrated Weekly of India protege M.J. Akbar, in The Telegraph, Calcutta, the “unputdownable” Calcutta paper founded by Akbar in 1982: “M.J. Akbar must be the most prolific journalist of our times. He heads the editorial board of India Today, edits The Sunday Guardian financed by Ram Jethmalani, and writes for many…

Do “anonymous people” not count for media?

Death—ordinary, unglamourous, “smalltown” death—increasingly catches the glitzy, big-city English media on the wrong foot. Unlike the “26/11” siege of Bombay, in which almost as many people were killed as in the Mangalore air crash, you do not find TV and print journalists falling over each other to catch the “first flight” to the spot. Or,…

Legendary photojournalist T.S. Satyan dead

sans serif records with deep and profound regret the passing away of the legendary photo-journalist Tamabarahalli Subramanya Satyanarayana Iyer better known as T.S. Satyan in Mysore this afternoon. Mr Satyan was five days away from his 86th birthday. He is survived by his wife Nagarathna, children, grandchildren and a City (and a profession) he dearly…

His Master’s Voice varies from his Man Friday’s

Minister of state for external affairs, Shashi Tharoor, is a) the son of a journalist of The Statesman, Calcutta, b) a longtime columnist with The Illustrated Weekly of India, The Hindu and The Times of India, and c) a career diplomat who spent a good part of his life at the United Nations writing books…

The difference between 386 and 23 is 363 words

How does the mainstream English media in India report the alleged transgressions of one of its own? S.N.M. Abdi, the Calcutta-based journalist who broke the “Bhagalpur Blindings” story in 1979-80 (in which police blinded 31 undertrials by pouring acid into their eyes) for M.J. Akbar‘s Sunday magazine, and now works for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Hong…

How a Hindu-Muslim journo-couple live, let live

Khushwant Singh in The Telegraph, Calcutta, introduces former Mid-Day deputy editor Pinki Virani‘s fourth book, Deaf Heaven: “Pinki Virani is a Muslim. Her husband, V. Shankar Aiyar, a senior executive with India Today, is a Tamil-Brahmin. When I met Pinki for the first time, I asked her how the marriage was working out since both…

Less is better for the new, redesigned rediff.com

India’s pioneering news, views and e-commerce portal, rediff.com, has unveiled a brand-new, minimalist home page that is a far removed from its earlier “busy” homepage (screenshot below), and is almost a replica of the beta version of its world homepage. The NASDAQ-listed site, founded in 1996 by adman and entrepreneur Ajit Balakrishnan, is edited by…

Man who educated Bombay journalists is dead

sans serif records the demise of T.N. Shanbhag, the founder of Bombay’s legendary book store, Strand Book Stall, in Bombay on Friday morning. He was 84. Mr Shanbhag, who was once so poor that he couldn’t afford 75 paise to buy a paperback, built his enterprise, now happily expanded to Bangalore and Mysore, on the…