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No Valentine’s Day: Love’s tortured course in Cold War



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Valentine’s Day is coming and as love blooms or advances for many young in age or heart, consider its course in difficult situations. Truth is the first casualty in wars, but so is romance. The conflict doesn’t even need to be a shooting war – even undeclared conflicts like the Cold War can be daunting and hazardous for lovers – particularly if they are on opposing sides.

But like many other human misfortunes, love in the Cold War with all its travails, tragedies but (some) triumphs too, makes for some memorable but haunting stories. Most were adapted for the screen and have become iconic films but also remain equally well-read books too.

Love is always not genuine – initially – in some cases, being either an amoral tool for different, usually sinister, motives or even accidental. But then the best-laid plans, or even intentions, of humans can (and do) go awry, for love, true to its overpowering nature, can subvert all other reasons and motives, make hardened men (and women) act atypically or recklessly, and can achieve unexpected outcomes.

The most famous arguably, though not the first of its kind, was a bleak story by a retired intelligence operative who went on to become a most celebrated writer of the espionage genre.

“The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” (1963) was David Cornwell alias John Le Carre’s third novel but successful enough to convince him to turn a full-time writer, earn him renown (especially after the 1965 film adaptation) and remain a major influence on the genre.

It is about Alec Leamas, a burnt-out spy, being sent to (the then) East Germany for a mission, whose motive only becomes evident in the narrative progresses – and offers a sharp look at how amoral even liberal democracies can be in security matters. It, however, strikes a more deeper, mournful chord, in its cynical manipulation of romance, especially when this draws in Leamas’ oblivious English girlfriend.

Liz, an idealistic Communist, ultimately ends up paying a price for the operation’s success and Leamas unhesitatingly chooses his own course too from atop the Berlin Wall.

And possibly the first Cold War novel to use romance as a key plot element was Ian Fleming’s “From Russia With Love” (1957). The fifth in his James Bond series and purportedly among US President John F Kennedy’s 10 favourite reads, it sees the British spy service receive an intriguing offer.

A young cipher clerk, Tatiana Romanova, posed in Istanbul, has fallen in love with Bond – after seeing his photo in a file and wants to defect. She makes the offer irresistible by promising to bring out a Spektor, a Russian decoding device much desired by the British, but has a condition – she wants him to come there and escort her.

Though we come to know of what the fiendishly intricate Soviet plot this masks right away, the thrill is in reading to know if Bond and his agency will fall into the trap, how it will play out and what will happen eventually. It also became the second Bond film.

Another classic where love is used to seek other motives, though much more positive, could be seen in Frederick Forsyth’s “The Devil’s Alternative” (1979) – one of his rare, early books not to be adapted into a film. It sets a fiendish set of interlocked options before the US President, with each promising to lead to a major disaster, before British secret agent Adam Munro, who is getting some vital information from his former Russian lover, steps in. And it is the only at the end where Munro learns how he was set up.

But there are also those where the individuals concerned seek to make their own destiny, and there are some helpful people around. In this strain is the neglected classic – Evelyn Anthony’s “The Tamarind Seed” (1971), which inverts the usual order by having a Soviet male character.

British Home Office employee Judith Farrow, holidaying in the Caribbean after a failed affair with a married British minister, meets vacationing military attache Feodor Sverdlov and they fall in love, despite the hackles it raises on both their sides. Will they have a future together – or even survive for it is the crux of this pulsing adventure, which also became a noted film starring Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif.

Then the last in this series, for it came as the Cold War was winding down was Le Carre’s “Russia House” (1989), made next year into a film starring Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer.

British publisher Bartholomew “Barley” Scott Blair, visiting Moscow for a book fair, meets an enigmatic Russian man who is impressed with his views and chooses him as a recipient for some secret information. The conduit is Katya with whom Blair falls in love. But pressed to obtain more information while his source and Katya are in danger, our hero must decide whom to betray – his country or his love?

What would you do?

By Vikas Datta



Parliament winter session adjourned till 18th December



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Parliament of India

New Delhi, 15th December: Rajyasabha adjourned till 11 am on 18th December after MLAs kept shouting and sloganeering. Before adjourning the house the Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien asked all MLAs if they don’t want private Members’ Bills. Replying to the deputy chairman the members said ‘no.’

Private Bills to be introduced in Rajyasabha 

Vinay P. Sahasrabuddhe (BJP) to introduce The Educational Innovations Commission Bill, 2017.

V. Vijaysai Reddy (YSR Congress) introduces The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (insertion of new article 21B), The Prevention of Enforced Disappearance Bill, 2017 and The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017.

T. Subbarami Reddy(Congress) introduces The Flood and Drought Control Bill, 2017 and The Play Schools (Regulation) Bill, 2017.

Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (Trinamool Congress) introduces The Bail Bill, 2017 and The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (amendment of article 366).

Narayan Lal Panchariya (BJP) The Vedic Education (Compulsory Teaching in Educational Institutions) Bill, 2017, The Solar Power (Development, Promotion and Mandatory Use) Bill, 2017 and The Judicial Statistics Bill, 2017

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad raises the issue of PM Modi’s allegations against former PM (Manmohan Singh) & others of conspiring with Pakistan for Gujarat Election 2017, says, ‘ye sadharan aarop nahi hai.’ House adjourned till 2:30 pm.

Members of Rajyasabha on the first day of Winter session raised issue of Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar’s disqualification. ‘Taanashahi nahin chalegi’ slogans raised by opposition, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said ‘All in Well, not well!’. House adjourned till 12 noon.

Vijay Goel of the BJP makes a statement on government business from December 18, 2017. He lists the Bills the government has had passed by the Lok Sabha, pending in the Rajya Sabha.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduces the newly inducted Cabinet Ministers, in Rajya Sabha. Earlier today, he introduced them in Lok Sabha.

Lok Sabha adjourned till 18th December 11 AM, after obituary references.

Vice chairman of Rajyasabha and Loksabha speaker read obituary references after the start of parilament session with National anthem.

Earlier Prime minister Narendra Modi has hoped for productive outcomes from the session . Talking to media PM Modi said, “I have faith & all-party meeting y’day shared same idea that this Parliament session should be held with positive approach to move the country forward. I also hope that country will be benefited & democracy will be strengthened from the session: PM Modi ahead of winter session.”

Meanwhile after a meeting on Thursday(14th December) the opposition discussed startegy to encirlce the government over various issues like Rafael Deal, GST, Iflation etc.

Amit Shah is also making his first parliament debut through Rajyasabha from this winter session. This session will also  be the first full-fledged session chaired by the recently-elected Vice President M. Venkiah Naidu.

This partliament session is the shortest of all winter sessions from last 2 decades. Opposition parties also criticised the government for compromising with parliament session for political gain.


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‘Super Dancer’ shoot stopped midway for Shashi Kapoor




Mumbai, Dec 5: The shooting of popular dance reality show “Super Dancer Chapter 2” was stopped midway to pay tribute to veteran actor-filmmaker Shashi Kapoor, who breathed his last on Monday here.

Actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra, filmmaker Anurag Basu and choreographer Geeta Kapur, who are seen as judges on “Super Dancer Chapter 2”, stopped the shooting of the show in-between when they heard about Shashi Kapoor’s demise on Monday and stood in silence to pay homage.

Also present on the set were actors Govinda and Raveena Tandon.

“Stopped the shoot on the set of ‘Super Dancer’ the minute we heard. All stood in silence to pay respects. Deeply saddened to hear about this. One of the most finest stylish actor in the industry. You shall always remain in our hearts Shashi Kapoor. Rest in peace,” Raveena posted on Instagram alongside a throwback image of the actor.

Shashi Kapoor breathed his last at 5.20 p.m. at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital on Monday after a period of hospitalisation. He was 79.


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Sunny Leone confident Telugu film will change her image



Sunny Leone

Mumbai, Dec 4: Actress Sunny Leone is excited about featuring in action sequences in a period war film in Telugu.

She has been signed up for a movie to be directed by V.C. Vadivudaiyan. Ponse Stephen is producing the film. The yet untitled film will be “based on the culture of south India”, read a statement.

For this project, she is all geared up to learn sword fighting, horse riding and other stunt-related arts. For this purpose, a special trainer from Andhra Pradesh will fly to Mumbai and teach Sunny all these arts.

Sunny has given a call sheet of 150 days, and around 70 minutes of the movie is said to be computer generated imagery-driven. It will be released in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi.

“After this movie, I am sure my image will change completely. I have always liked doing action sequences. I was waiting for a script like this only for years. I started preparing for this movie from the minute director V.C. Vadivudayan narrated me the script”, Sunny said.

“I have a special love towards south India, so I am very happy to do a straight Telugu movie. I have a lot of my fans in south India, especially Andra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala”,Sunny further added.

The shoot will start from February 2018.

WeForNews Bureau

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