The King of Bollywood climbs the wealthiest actor charts: According to a new list highlighted by PolicyMic, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is currently the second richest actor in the world. (Somewhat surprisingly, Jerry Seinfeld is listed at number one, which makes me wonder about the exact methodology and the definition of “actor” used.) Regardless, it’s true that SRK out-earned both Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp last year and has an estimated worth of a stunning $600 million. Notably, Khan is also the only non-American in the top 10. (PolicyMic)
Expect to hear lots of Slumdog Millionaire comparisons soon: Amin Sheikh grew up on the streets of Mumbai, working as “a beggar, a ragpicker, a factory worker, a vendor on a train, a boot polisher, a tea-shop waiter, a newspaper delivery boy and doer of myriad other odd jobs, all before he turned 16.” Now 34, Sheikh is also on the verge of becoming an internationally published author. His originally self-published memoir Life is Life, I Am Because of You is about to be published by Hachette in France and will be translated into seven languages. (Scroll.in)
Watch India’s most viewed ad: The above spot for MTS Telecom is said to be the most viral Indian ad ever. It’s also one of the strangest ads I’ve seen in recent memory. Playing off the concept of a “digital native,” the ad portrays a hyper connected newborn who bounces around using technology from the moment he emerges from the womb. (Ad Week)
Your depressing stat of the day: India has more child laborers than anywhere else in the world. According to Save the Children, “an estimated 12.6 million [Indian] children between the ages of 5 and 14 are engaged as laborers.” (Huffington Post)
Mindy Kaling looks back:The Mindy Project is probably one of the most scrutinized sitcoms in recent memory. Star Mindy Kaling was part of an all-star panel of Fox stars on Monday and defended the show’s sometimes-rocky first season:
“I personally think the show was better earlier than other people do!” she said, eliciting cheers from the audience. “I feel like people expect me to be like, ‘Oh, season one just sucked!’ ‘The Office,’ I felt that way about our season one episodes, and on season one of this show. I think they were great. And people learn more and get more attached to characters, but I’m going to stand by that first season.” (Variety)
Promises, promises: After yet another spate of high-profile rapes in India, the newly elected Modi government says it has “zero tolerance” for violence against women. As the Guardian notes, the proposed solutions include reforms to the country’s criminal justice system. (The Guardian)
He plays all of the roles: Slate has a fun interview with actor Cliff Curtis, who is currently starring on Fox’s Gang Related. Curtis, who is a Maori from New Zealand, is regularly cast as every nationality and ethnicity imaginable, including Indian, because of ambiguous looks. (Slate)
The worrisome state of publishing in India: “Publishing in India these days — or at least scholarly publishing — operates in an anxious climate,” according to a piece by Raksha Kumar on Time.com. It looks like the pulping last year of Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus is just the beginning, as many other books that supposedly portray Hinduism in a bad light are under threat. (Time)
The great Indian NBA hope: Could an 18-year-old high schooler one day become the first Indian national to make it to the NBA? The Caravan profiles Satnam Singh Bhamara, a current student at Florida’s IMG Academy. While the 7’2″ center is still a teenager, he’s already being seen as one of India’s best shots to reach the NBA. (Caravan)
Restoring that natural glow: Pollution has long been a threat to the Taj Mahal. A 2010 report by the Indian government found that previous measures to protect the tomb of Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz were failing. The BBC reported this weekend that the monument will “be given a mud-pack to remove yellow pollution stains.” The last time the Taj Mahal received the restorative mud-pack was in 2008. (Gawker)
Guess who’s back? It’s been seven years since a 17-year-old Sanjaya Malakar and his hair became the unexpected stars of American Idol. The singer has just released a digital album of covers which includes versions of hits by Stevie Wonder, Imagine Dragons and Tom Petty. (Sanjaya Malakar’s Bandcamp page)
From the mouths of babes: Natasha Badhwar’s latest column in Mint explores identity, the India-Pakistan border and what it’s like to watch Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi with a group of children from Karachi, New Delhi and Lucknow in 2014. (Mint)
Vivek Murthy’s nomination continues to float in limbo: Remember Vivek Murthy, President Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General? Back in February the Senate HELP committee gave the good doctor a bipartisan recommendation and it looked like the office of Surgeon General would finally be filled. Unfortunately, the National Rifle Association has single handedly been blocking the nomination from proceeding. The NRA objects to the fact that Murthy was “was one of the authors of a letter saying that “strong measures to reduce gun violence must be taken immediately.” Yikes. (Vox)
Maya Angelou and Madhur Jaffrey once had the best lunch date ever: As the world mourns poet Maya Angelou, the Guardian’s Twitter feed revisited this wonderful 2005 piece in which Angelou and the actress and cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey had a long detailed conversation about life and food over lunch.
A sampling of their conversation:
Maya Angelou: . . . I somehow knew early on that I would not live my life at someone else’s whim, out of somebody else’s ignorance. My tastebuds are mine and if I’d like to have champagne with a steak then that’s what I want. My question since I was a young person was: Who makes the rules? Was it with me in mind? And if it wasn’t, I didn’t want it.
“Ansun, if you spell this word correctly you and Sriram will be declared co-champions.”
That simple declaration from Dr. Jacques Bailey, the official pronouncer of the Scripps Spelling Bee led to one of the most memorable endings to the event in recent memory. Because contestants Ansun Sujoe and Sriram Hathwar were about to exhaust the list of official spelling bee words, the pair had the chance to create the first tie since 1962.
It was a coincidence that while director Aparna Sen was making her latest film Goynar Baksho her native India was having a national conversation about the role of women in society.
Sen had first become interested in adapting Bengali writer Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s story of the same name shortly after reading it in the early 1990s, but budgetary and creative concerns held up the creation of the film for nearly two decades.
Goynar Baksho follows three generations of women in a wealthy Bengali family whose fates reflect the evolving history of the country around them.
Hit follow now. The must-follow Twitter account of the week is @RushdieExplains, a new feed that purportedly explains India from Salman Rushdie’s perspective. The account’s Twitter bio proudly notes that it’s “graciously blessed by Sir himself.” You can see Sir Salman’s complementary tweet posted above. (Scroll.in)
The Frenchman who fell in love with Urdu. Meet Julian Columeau, a 41-year-old French-born writer who the AFP calls one of Pakistan’s “most innovative Urdu novelists.” Columeau began studying Hindi in the early 90s, but found it too “clerical,” leading him to switch to Urdu. He moved to Pakistan to work in the humanitarian sector over a decade ago. (AFP)