Shame on you, Hindu !!

It’s a biggest shame on the newspaper which people from Chennai, like to read. Its not shame on the man who wrote it. It’s shame on Hindu to publish it without validating it’s writer’s abilities.

The review of the hollywood movie Alexander appeared on The Hindu dt Friday, Feb 11, 2005. This was written by Gautaman Bhaskaran. The ending note aka last passage of the review reads this –

Stone has always made stories about men for whom ordinary life is impossible by accident or by choice. As a storyteller he has long made a habit out of extreme personalities, a preoccupation that during the 1990s was matched by one of the most playfully expressive styles in American mainstream pictures.

Read this movie review written by Manohla Dargis for The New York Times dated November 24, 2004. Try to locate the passage given above. It’s there. In Verbatim. I’m planning to send this note to The Hindu and I hope they invalidate this review. We have seen plagiarism of movie reviews between blogs or even just plagiarism in the Mainstream Media during the recent times. Though it’s little late find, I think this is a question on the newspaper’s credibility.

This was intially exposed by Nina and here is the URL to that post. She has also written about other plagiarisms of the same author. Brilliant find, Nina. Ofcourse, I caught this via Desi Pundit.

52 thoughts on “Shame on you, Hindu !!

  1. Real shame. I loved Hindu’s friday edition right from those days when it was called “Friday Features”. More than the reviews (though, I did like them and they were one of the very few that were sensibly written) themselves, it was the converage about various national/international films for which I always admired “Friday Features” (and now called “Friday Review”), which were far better than all other available dailies.
    Fyi, as a personal note, Gautaman Bhaskaran also blasted “Hey! Ram” to no ends.

  2. oh heck! first time I read, I didn’t see the information about many other plagiarized reviews of his. I lost all the very little respect I had for this guy Gautaman Bhaskaran. Amit (India Uncut) in his post says “one can argue that the Hindu wasn’t aware of this until now” (he also suspects it isn’t). But, I seriously think it isn’t so, like Amit himself.

  3. lol, Zero. as soon as i saw coupla comments for this post,i knew one of them will be yours. his article on ‘hey ram’ was morbid.

  4. couldn’t believe this happens in such a popular daily like Hindu. I think this act may cost Gautam his job (as i think that Hindu didn’t know about it yet). I now doubt whether these people really watch the movies before reviwing, leave behind their writing skills.

  5. The brazeness is a little breath taking. What else did you expect from a pretentious outfit, whose center page is full of columns from other news papers. I suspect a lot of this is going on in newspapers, academia etc. Blog reviews are the way to go.

  6. Nilu,
    Yeah, they goofed up this time. However, unlike TOI and cronies, they aren’t too busy misleading readers with India Shining campaigns and the likes……
    Quality Of Journalism applies as much to NYT, WP, TOI, IE, DC etc as it does to The Hindu. Far more atrocious crap has been frquently making the pages of the aforementioned newspapers and more like the presence of WMD in Iraq to start with…

  7. When you wanna show that you a ‘know all’ and that your quality of writing can’t be matched by some geeks writing on their blogs, you are bound to copy. i think thats a shame. The success of blogs (among people who have access to it) is mainly due to the fact that it feels like your opinion, your review, very different from a review by say a ‘know all’ (who pretends to be it). think they have something to learn from blogs.

  8. zero – Atleast you have to agree that his review on Hey Ram was original(if harsh) because NYT didn’t do one, right πŸ™‚

    who are the other reviewers they have Zia someone for the Hindi movies, Malathi someone for Tamil ?

  9. Nilu,
    I’m as sober as it gets!
    Did i justify what the reviewer did or what The Hindu editor failed to catch? Which words of mine above gave that illusion? Quality Of Journalism, appadi nu ellam periya varthayellam solreengale, adhukku thaan sonnen. All i said was this: Yes, this is a goof up. That said, lets not kid ourselves into believing that this is a bigger goof up than what other big media houses are known for doing consistently. To put it more clearly, everyone does mistakes, but the question is relatively, where does each one stand. Got it?????

    Konjam porumaya padhatta padama padinga, then you will come out of your stoned state mate πŸ™‚

  10. Bala,

    Enda Enga Appava edirthu pesariya ? Enna dairiyam onakku ? Appa blog’a oru tharam padichu paaru – apparam puriym enga naina magimai …

    Peelu
    (Son of Neelu)

  11. Zero, One can like or dislike a film but I think the integrity is just lost. People would now go digging the archives to see if any more such cases are there. I didn’t expect this from Hindu. And Gautam has lost his face.

    If Hindu knew this before, it really is so bad. I never expected this from Hindu and hence I am angry. For I believed Hindu had some integrity in the big bullying world of fourth estate.

  12. Vasanthi, Thanks for the suggestion. Already Shivanath has mailed the Hindu management and has copied me on the mail with the URL of this post. I am waiting to see if Hindu reacts.

    BNB, True. I’ve seen many columns of Guardian newspaper, ofcourse with the mention that they are from Guardian’s papers. I was thinking it was a followed practice in newspaper world. But I did feel a bit bad because the voice of the newspaper is lost once it borrowers thoughts and columns from some other news paper. I think integrity is the biggest asset of a news paper.

  13. Korangoo, Bang on.

    Tilo, They have a bunch of good and bad reviewers in Hindu. Sudhish(not because we know him) is one of their best. His recent review of Mangal Pandey is actually one of the well written reviews in the recent days of Hindu. Gautam Bhaskaran’s reviews were decent and I never thought he would succumb to copying phrases of ny times’ reviews. And that gets me hot, even more.

    FYI, Malathi Rangarajan doesn’t shine well with the reviews.

    Katz, I think Hindu is bigger than any writer who writes in it. Its on Hindu we trust and not on some Gautam or some Bhaskaran. So to save its face, Hindu shouldn’t be publishing such reviews if it even has an hint that such things are happening. Hence Shame on you, Hindu and not Shame on you Gautam Bhaskaran.

  14. What’s new? People like Kamal Hassan and Ilayaraja have blatantly copied stuff from the west and Tamilians still worship them. Maybe this guy deserves a title like Sports Critic Gnani or something.

  15. You say

    ‘FYI Malathi doen’t shine with reviews; Sudish is the best reviewer etc….’

    I think I can decide for myself who is a good reviewer and who isn’t Lazy πŸ™‚

  16. Oh !! yeah you can Tilo. I was just giving my preference. I know you never asked for it but then it was my fault to underestimate your creative tastes and jump over with my screwed up choices. Apologize madam.

  17. Tilo,
    I have to take an issue here. You are accusing Lazy of assuming intellect over you in his blog. Is that not oxymoronic, considering the definition of a blog?….:P

  18. Nilu – Naradar vellai pannadhey.

    That comment was an FYI specifically for me and I responded to it – not to his entire blogpost /blogspot. That is all. I know Sudish is considered hep and all…..

    anyways Lazy – I am sure you have taken it in the right spirit, so there πŸ™‚

  19. No Lazy,I want to go off topic and comment on Sudish’s writing :-).

    Forget all this I have to book my Madras tickets for when it gets bitterly cold in Boston.

    Later………

  20. Tilo, Ofcourse its taken with right spirit. But I some kind of dislike here towards Sudish. You saying, “I know Sudish is considered hep and all…..”. I assume those words are loaded. Can you clarify. Also, I am still waiting for your views on this issue ? Any thoughts ?

  21. hmm..dunno y but i never liked gautaman bhaskaran…thot his reviews were always biased (as someone pointed out he jus blasted Hey Ram..no credits whatsoever)…but this is huge…

  22. guru,

    agreed hindu may be bigger but is that the qualifying factor for the blame? similar to your trust in hindu, wouldn’t it be plausible to believe that they placed their trust in the person they hired for a certain position based on whatever qualifications they use assuming that person would conduct his/her work with basic ethics and principles? should we blame washington post for bob woodward’s silence or should we blame bob woodward for failing to disclose what he knew because he was afraid of being subpeoned? in the end typically, jayson blair is to be shamed more than the person who oversees him for many a time it is easy to pull wool over the eyes of the people whose trust you have.

    until we know for a fact that hindu was aware of this and approved it, it has to be SHAME ON YOU GAUTHAM BHASKARAN. once we know that hindu colluded with him, then it can be SHAME ON YOU TOO HINDU!

    after all, aren’t we all innocent until proven guilty? πŸ˜‰

    katz

  23. Anybody looked at his website yet ?

    The font he has used on his website is clearly ‘inspired’ from Google ( Poor man’s version of Google’s Catull font:-)). Not a crime in itself, and maybe, he was not even involved in designing the logo, but since we (yeah,I love using the royal “We” whenever I find it convenient!) are nitpicking on him anyways,I thought we will bring it to our attention..heheh!

    The Hindu was always a ‘dry’ paper to read when compared to Indian Express, but it still had nice sections like Gangadhar’s “slice of Life” or David Davidar’s sunday book reviews. I remember reading Mr.Bhaskaran’s reviews, but none of them stood out, partly because, i thought his english was all hi-funda. Now i know– he must hv been yanking them off of NYTimes :-).

    Whatever it is, an apology is in order frm Gautaman Bhaskaran, and The Hindu must take appropriate steps to recover whatever credibility it enjoys with the readers of its movie reviews.

    btw, a nice blog

    vasu

  24. Inspite of my love for the daily,its been sometime since i lost my trust in The Hindu’s reviews. Though certain reviews are acceptable,there had been variations of ‘unaccetable’ to ‘total crap’ in reviewing. I even doubted whether it is taking sides after reading some one-sided issues during the Hindu MetroPlus Theatre festival.But considering its integrity,i would like to believe that its not aware of the plagiarism or to go by the contents of GB’s website(he talks about ethics and values),may be,its too much of a coincidence(i guess it would take us a lifetime to accept that viewpoint even if its true;one in a trillion chance,i mean).

  25. I have seen reviews by Gautaman Bhaskaran in Hindu. He usually writes about parallel cinema. Except Hey Ram and Star Wars – Phantom of Menace movie reviews, I have not read his other reviews. I doubt Hindu will act on this issue.

    In Hindu, Tamil movies are reviewed by Malathi Rangarajan and S.R.Ashok Kumar. English and Hindi movies are reviewd by Sudhish, Susan Muthalaly and Ziya Us Salam. Except Sudhish I dont like other reviews. I liked reviews by Chitra Mahesh who was in Hindu some time back and now in Deccan Chronicle.

  26. Off topic 1, Some people have mentioned about biased reviews. A review is a person’s opinion, so how can it be unbiased :-)?

    Off topic 2, I have a simple rule of thumb to predict the box office status of a Tamil Movie. If Malathi Rangarajan praises it, the movie is a flop. If she disses it, the movie is a hit.

  27. I am with Katz on this Lazy…you can’t blame Hindu as of now atleast.

    “So to save its face, Hindu shouldn’t be publishing such reviews if it even has an hint that such things are happening.”
    When u say this aren’t u being premature in criticising Hindu without knowing whether they knew about it or not. Surely when they place trust on a freelancer who is a regular writer in their paper, they wouldn’t go about checking every line in his stuff. The ethics part has to come from writer him/herself. Having said that I would not be surprised if Hindu doesn’t do anything about this issue, because as Michael Crichton says the media can’trusted anymore. And this probably holds good for better and traditionally trustworthy papers like Hindu too.

    Nilu, pray tell me what Marx has to got to do with a bit of plagiarism in some section of a paper(however Marxist the paper maybe). Neenga McCarthy’oda parambarai pola.

  28. Lazy,
    As I said in my previous comment, I love Hindu’s Friday Review regardless of all this. And I really respected Gautaman Bhaskaran for his reviews on Indian movies (He reviews *only* those movies that are not “run-of-the-mill” and I liked them). He blasted “Hey! Ram”. But how could that diminish my respect on this critic? It was just a “fyi”, as I had put it.
    It was after reading your post, I lost some respect; But there was a little bit left as I considered this to be a one-off case which might have arised due to work pressure or acute influence of reading NYT reviews. But, when I realised there are many reviews flicked from NYT, I was disappointed.

  29. Mutrupulli, I think I have to say this again. If your project is screwed whom do you think will be taken to task first, your project lead. Same way, when some writer goofs up like this, its the newspaper’s responsibility to keep a check on what’s happening. Why is some called editor there ?. To edit, if i am right.

    I may be beating around the bush, but my whole point is Hindu as a newspaper is a much bigger force than some writer copy pasting reviews from other papers. Do you agree ? If not we have a basic problem in understanding the issue itself.

  30. Zero, I am not nitpicking at you in my previous comment. Was just expanding on what I was trying to say. And yeah I’m disappointed. Not on Gautaman but on Hindu. Because I’m a big fan of Hindu and have been reading for a while now. I have even defended Hindu when they said it was biased. I still don’t think it is. But by this issue, someone can say, Dei Antha newspaperla ellam copy thaan machi”. I don’t think I would be happy hearing that.

  31. guru,

    take on what u wrote to mutrupulli.

    if a project is screwed, the project lead may take the blame. but if a team member knowingly disrupts the project, then that team member will be sacked and then the team chemistry will adjudged before putting the lead’s head on the cutting block.

    the editor edits what is given to him as the article. he can fact check events and dates, he cannot fact check reviews which are nothing more than personal opinions. you would think opinions would be original as showcased.

    besides, for how long will we keep blaming the system or the bigger entity? when do we start holding the individuals accountable?? mebbe this was the core idea behind anniyan. blame the players not the game?? πŸ˜‰

    katz

  32. how can you guys be absolutely sure that the paper did not take note of it??
    its another thing that they may not choose to make things like this public.
    the paper gets periodic updates cuz they do subscribe to a whole bunch of online plagiarism alerts and take action accordingly.
    just because some of you discovered it late does not mean the paper never knew all the time.
    off topic, there’s this brilliant movie called: Shattered Glass… do check it out, it’s about an American journalist! a must watch for anyone interested in media and ethics!

  33. Nice find Lazy! This is the best example for “Pala naal thirudan oru naal agapaduvaan”.
    I feel The Hindu should be blamed for negligence but the one to be punished is Gautam. Do u think an experienced reviewer like Gautam’s articles would have been double checked by some other reviewer before being published? The magazine certainly needs to apologize for publishing such a
    In fact this is turning out to be like the Baazee case where there was an argument as to whom should be penalised – the guy who sold the MMS clipping or the one who allowed it to be sold thru his site.

    Anyway, this will not affect my love for Hindu mainy for the reason that – There’s no other option! daily “times of india” nnu oru photo albuma padikkara enakku Hindu paatha encyclopedia madhiri dhan theriyum. TOI is the worst paper(sorry it doesnt deserve to b called a newspaper) I’ve ever read. Indian express konjam ok…Deccan chronicle is good for wrapping peanuts.

    Off Topic:
    Whats so special about Hey Ram? It is a perfect misfire and it deserves a bad review. A brilliant concept gone waste. Those who are for this movie, please tell me why Kamal spent such a huge amount on it, without a clear perception of his Target Audience? Will kids watch a movie with lengthy conversation,not-so-peppy songs and a ‘message’? Will a family(Im not talkin about the miniscule multiplex moviegoers) watch kamal biting Rani’s butt and romancing Vasundara? Or does an average Indian expected to know 5 languages to understand the dialogues? Having boasted an excellent star cast, why did he not cast them in better roles?
    This story could have been told in 2 hrs sans songs, sans romance, irritating dialogues and some crisp screenplay. If Kamal doesnt change his style, he is sure to end up with many more such duds(like alavandhan, nammavar to name a few)

  34. Deepak, I don’t intend this thread to become an analysis of Hey Ram as this is offtopi but I think you are mixing two things here. First you talk about a bad review and secondly you also talk about its commercial acceptance.

    So a review has nothing to with the commercial worth of a movie and its public acceptance. I am cuting the long story short by a question. Are you saying that since Kamal did not do a SWOT analysis of his market, the blasting review of Hey Ram by Gautam Bhaskaran is perfect. I don’t think so !!

  35. Chenthil,
    I do agree that a review would be biased;thats obvious.But just because one has the right to write his personal opinion on a movie,it doesnt mean he can oppose what it really stands for.I sincerely felt the reviews on the various theatre productions during the August festival were biased,in the sense that,every play was praised to great heights(though some were bad)just because The Hindu sponsored the fest.
    Offtopic 2 was perfect.Her “Oru Kalluriyin Kadhai” review is a great example in the recent times.

    Deepak,
    I am staying quiet coz this is not the right place to comment about Hey Ram.May be sometime,i hope,i get to answer your question on Kamal’s perception.

  36. Sorry my ‘Off topic’ part was bigger than my comment on Hindu.
    As a matter of fact i havent read Gautaman’s review on Hey Ram but I raised my opinion cos i feel a movie should’nt be considered a classic or a cult just because its based on some historical facts inserted amidst gory scenes, sex and lots of sleep-arousing dialogues. LG, there’s nothing wrong in doing a market analysis if you r spending crores on a movie. And raising an unnecessary hype for this 3hr bore is where Kamal flawed.
    I apologise, by ‘bad review’ i mean the movie deserves to be torn-off by the critics. And thats what this reviewer did.

    LG, im answering ur question by inserting a line in the middle:

    “since Kamal did not do a SWOT analysis of his market”,….

    He gave a movie which tortured the audience and critics alike and hence….

    “the blasting review of Hey Ram by Gautam Bhaskaran is perfect.”

  37. Hindu is not only read in Chennai but all over TamilNadu equally well. You chennaiites need to get your heads out of your asses and see the light for once.

  38. Dear Mr.Not Important from Saavadichanpatti,
    Did anyone in this blog say that Hindu is read only in Chennai?

  39. Hi ….

    What abt ethics in Cinema field, right from Ilayaraja, Rahman, Manirathnam everyone is copying (sorry gettin inspired ) a bit here and there !! soooo “SHAME ON TAMIL CINEMA” …..

    Zombie

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