Saturday, 31 March 2012

Bollywood unveils its very own walk(s) of fame

Undeterred by constant accusations of ripping off everything its counterpart does out in sunny California, Bollywood has unveiled its very own ‘Walk of Fame’, styled on the iconic boulevard in Los Angeles.
The Indian version - called the ‘Walk of the Stars’ - was launched Wednesday evening on the seaside promenade in Bandra, Mumbai.
"We thought it would be a good idea for us to create something as a tribute to the biggest superstars of the industry," said Nikhil Gandhi, business head of the UTV Stars television channel, which has set up the walkway.  "The idea is to get fans closer to the superstars."
Like the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in LA, Mumbai's new pathway will bear handprints and signatures of numerous actors -- along with a handful of life-size brass statues depicting some of the industry's best-known stars.
The first of those to be honoured thus will be the famed Kapoor family, often called the ‘first family of Bollywood.’
Kareena Kapoor - star of such august rip offs as Agent Vinod and Ek Main aur Ek Thu - was the chief guest at the launch where the statues of the late Raj and Shammi Kapoor, her grandfather and great uncle respectively, were unveiled.
However, and this time not quite imitating Hollywood, facationalism has come into play on a project which is essentially about a footpath that will eventually be decorated with Paan juice and cow dung.
Ritesh Deshmukh, architect, actor, political heir and the man with the most peculiar gaze in Bollywood, is reportedly backing another walkway in the same part of the city.
Deshmukh said he has signed up 20 stars for his own path of fame, including Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan.
"I started collecting hand prints of actors over the past 10 months and these hand prints will be placed at Bandra promenade," Deshmukh told AFP. "The place will be called 'Legends Walk'."
Gandhi said he had heard about Deshmukh's project but denied there was any rivalry. "It's not about 'may the best man win'. It's a free of charge thing," he said.
- Poonam Joshi

Immigration can ‘push down house prices’

Even a small influx of people from overseas into an area can have a noticeable effect on the value of local properties as wealthy people move out, the study concludes.
The research, the first of its kind, contradicts the assumption that immigrants are pushing up house prices and making them unaffordable for those originally there.
In a paper presented to the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference, Filipa Sá, an economist from Trinity College Cambridge, compares local employment figures from the Office for National Statistics with property records from the Land Registry.
She found than an influx of immigrants equal to one per cent of the local population was linked to a 1.6 per cent drop in average local property values.
This was because about 0.9 per cent of the local "native" population moved out – usually wealthier people.
Miss Sá said: “This finding can be explained by two factors. First, there is some evidence that immigration has a negative effect on native wages at the lower end of the wage distribution.
“Second, natives who leave the city are at the top of the wage distribution.
“This generates a negative income effect on housing demand and pushes down house prices in local areas where immigrants cluster."
The pattern only applied in areas where the arriving immigrants were poorer. In areas where those arriving from abroad came from the top of the income scale – such as in the City of London – the pattern was often the opposite.
- John Bingham, The Daily Telegraph