Citizens' Issues
Telling tales via journeys: Bollywood's latest route
Here's a dekko at a few films of the past decade where you can just sit back and admire the landscape, or even get inspired to pack your bags and travel with family, friends or alone
 
Be it a train journey in "Chennai Express", the National Highway journeys in "Highway" and "NH10", a father-daughter journey from Delhi to Kolkata in latest entertainer "Piku" or a cruise trip in the forthcoming "Dil Dhadakne Do" - Bollywood filmmakers are telling fresh tales set around journeys, mode notwithstanding.
 
This has also helped them to move away from studios and explore real locales. A case in point is the absolutely splendid shot Rohit Shetty took of the Dudhsagar Falls in Goa. Then, there are shots of places like Varanasi which Shoojit Sircar has captured in "Piku".
 
This adds a distinct look to their stories and a welcome change is the fact that they are mostly looking within the country for their locations. Of course, exceptions like "Queen" and Zoya Akhtar's "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" and "Dil Dhadakne Do" are always there. They're entertaining, nevertheless.
 
Here's a dekko at a few films of the past decade where you can just sit back and admire the landscape, or even get inspired to pack your bags and travel with family, friends or alone:
 
* "Kabul Express": Directed by Kabir Khan, this John Abraham-Arshad Warsi starrer anti-war film tells the story of a 48-hour car drive through war-torn Afghanistan. Shot over 45 days in and around Kabul, the film was critically acclaimed.
 
* "Jab We Met": Imtiaz Ali's second romantic comedy "Jab We Met", featuring the former 'hit jodi' Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor, delighted several film buffs and enticed people to take train journeys to the beautiful Himalayas and even Punjab. The film introduced people to places like the mysterious Ratlam to the lively Bathinda and the picturesque Shimla.
 
* "Chalo Dilli": A film about two mismatched travellers on the road from Mumbai to Delhi via Jaipur showcased the rustic flavour of Rajasthan. Directed by Shashant Shah, the film features Lara Dutta and Vinay Pathak.
 
* "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara": Director Zoya Akhtar explored the journey of self-discovery of three male friends through a road trip in Spain. The film gives viewers a chance to experience a visually delightful road journey in and around the cities of Costa Brava, Seville and Pamplon. To many urban youngsters, the film gave an idea of a perfect 'bachelor party'.
 
* "Chennai Express": This movie takes film buffs on a journey across India -- from the north to the south -- showcasing beautiful visions of the countryside en route. From Dudhsagar Falls in Goa to Munnar in Kerala, this Rohit Shetty directorial and Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone starrer, featured beautiful locations that should be a must-see at least once in a lifetime.
 
* "Highway": As the name suggests, the film was mostly shot on the road and that too on a highway. This Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda starrer may have romanticised a grave issue like abduction, but it also portrays an eye-pleasing montage of images that a road trip can offer a traveller on the highway. So if you are someone who can't go far to travel, this film shows how you can just get into a car or even a truck, and flirt with the road!
 
* "Queen": Kangana Ranaut surely inspired many women to lead life on their own terms through her portrayal of Rani in this Vikas Bahl directorial. In an attempt to find her own identity, she plans to spend her honeymoon alone. Where? In Paris and Amsterdam! The film's success proved viewers enjoyed her journey.
 
* "NH 10": Directed by Navdeep Singh and starring Anushka Sharma in the lead, this film tells the story of a young couple whose road trip goes awry after a run-in with a group of violent criminals. You can also plan a same road trip, but sans an impulsive boyfriend, played by Neil Bhoopalam in the film.
 
* "Piku": No journey can be better than one you enjoy with your parents. "Piku" captures one such father-daughter trip - from Delhi to Kolkata in a car via the scenic and holy Varanasi. Apart from the endearing bond essayed by Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan, the film captures the nitty-gritties of road travel.
 
* "Dil Dhadkne Do": This Zoya Akhtar directorial has caused a fan frenzy ever since the first look and posters were unveiled. This ensemble cast film revolves around a dysfunctional family on a cruise trip and in the course of their vacation, they discover love and friendship. It's likely the film will be a delight for travel lovers.

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UN raises projections for India's growth, making it the fastest-growing economy
he UN has now raised its projections for the Indian economy's growth this year by 1.7 percent to 7.6 percent and by 1.4 percent to 7.7 percent next year from the estimates it made in January.
 
The Mid-Year Update to the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2015 released Tuesday puts India on the trajectory to be the world's fastest-growing large economy, outpacing China, the previous champion in the development stakes.
 
The original report by the UN Development Policy and Analysis Division (UNDESA) released in January had estimated India's gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for this year at 5.9 percent and 6.3 next year. They were behind China's growth rate projection at 7 percent for this year and 6.8 next year in the January report, which remain unchanged.
 
The UN update matches the projections of other international institutions that have put India's growth rate as the fastest, and all of whom have also revised estimates for India upward.
 
Last week, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) released a report that said Indian economy would grow by 8.1 percent this year and 8.2 next year, which are the highest projections made by international institutions.
 
Ingo Pitterle, a UNDESA Economic Affairs Officer and India expert, told IANS in an interview Tuesday, that with "a return to a high degree of macro-economic stability," India is winning the confidence of investors and the international community.
 
"Overall, I think the authorities in India have done a very good job over the past two years and this is actually reflected in some indicators," Pitterle said. "In 2013 India was group grouped together with Turkey, South Africa, Indonesia and Brazil, and considered a fragile economy.
 
"And now you look at the same variables, today they look very different. When you look at the currencies the story is India's is the only currency that has held up well here, which is a sign of confidence by investors, by the international community, in the Indian economy."
 
While the rupee has come down by about 9 percent over the past year, it has done better than the currencies of most other countries.
 
Referring to India's economic policies, Pitterle said: "The changes that are being made are all going in the right direction, both by the government and by the central bank."
 
"I have been following the Indian economy now for seven years or so,(and) I see a return to a high degree of macro-economic stability," he said. "We have seen that inflation came down, and this not only all related to the oil prices but also to a very prudent monetary policy, and we are seeing that the external imbalances have declined, current account balance is much better."
 
Asked about the differences in the UNDESA projections for India's growth and ESCAP's Pitterle said, "I believe that for India's economy whether it grows by 8.1 percent or 7.6 percent, that doesn't matter, not in the medium term or the long run. What is important is that it is balanced growth, that it is the same (level of) growth, that it can really have five-ten years of this high growth period without major disruption without causing excessive inflation or other imbalances."
 
He attributed variations to the time periods and the models that were used to make the forecasts. "We use the calendar year. ESCAP may actually use the fiscal year, which starts on the first of April for India."
 
In the forecasting model DESA used, a significant part of the growth in India over the past year came from net exports mainly because, not because export grew strongly but because of imports declined, he said. The assumption was that net export decline - - that is the difference between the value of imports and exports - - would not continue with the same force, and eventually imports would pick up. "This is a good thing actually for the economy," he said. But "from a GDP perspective, higher import would lead to lower net export and that would probably translate into slightly lower growth."

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Girl robbed at ATM in Hyderabad

An unidentified person opened fire and robbed a girl of money and jewellery at an ATM here on Wednesday, police said.
 
The incident occurred at State Bank ATM in Yousufguda area around 7.30 a.m. when she was withdrawing money.
 
The armed man threatened the girl by opening two rounds of fire and escaped with the money and jewellery. 
 
She lodged a complaint with police.
 
Senior police officials rushed to the scene.
 
The incident caused a flutter in the busy area.
 
Police said they were scanning the images from CCTV cameras in and around the ATM to identify and apprehend the robber.

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