Kamla Bhatt Show
Summary: Connecting the Indian diaspora across the world. It is all about life, people and ideas. Every week we speak to an interesting mix of people about business, technology, films, food, books and a host of other subjects. This is the place to come to listen to a stimulating conversation on India.
Samim or "Sam" Rizvi (45) is an extreme athlete from Bangalore, India. This week he became the first Indian to participate in the grueling bicycle event Race Across America. The race is flagged off in Oceanside in Southern California and ends in Maryland on the east coast. Cyclists race coast to coast biking 3,000 miles in 12 days, crossing 14 states with just an hour's sleep everyday. That is just the description of the race. What about the total number of calories Sam expects to burn by the end of the race? 200,000 calories. Sam is unfazed by the challenge and says he has tested his endurance level a handful of times. In 2007 Sam became the first Indian athlete to run from Bangalore to Mumbai averaging 50 miles a day. "It was like a marathon everyday," he says. It took him 22 days to complete the race. Flushed with success Sam discovered and decided to participate in his next extreme sports and honed in on Race Across America (http://bicycledreamsmovie.com). Established 29 years Race Across America is a often described as an ultra-endurance sport. I talked to Sam on the eve of the race to find out what inspired him to participate in this race that tests an athlete's mental and physical endurance. Tune in to find out. You can also follow Sam's progress by checking the hashtag #samrizvi (http://www.twitter.com/#samrizvi) on Twitter.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/yogen_dalal-3-full.jpg)A few of the magical ingredients of what makes Silicon Valley unique is the easy access to mentors and investors. I turned to Yogen Dalal (http://www.mayfield.com/team/managing-directors/Yogen_Dalal)an engineer-turned entrepreneur-turned venture capitalist to find out the answers to many unanswered questions. Yogen came to Silicon Valley in the early 1970s to study at Stanford University. He is the Managing Partner at Mayfield Fund, Menlo Park. In Part-2 of the interview Yogen talks about innovation, digital lifestyle, his mentors and his old high school headmaster Jack Gibson of Mayo College. You can also read the transcript (http://bit.ly/brbKwH) of the interview. In case you missed you might want to listen (http://bit.ly/bypNB3)or read (http://bit.ly/aXB4QM) the transcript to Part-1 of the interview with Yogen. This interview was created in association with LiveMint (http://www.livemint.com/) and published on their website in Nov 2009. Photo credit: Mayfield Fund
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/yogen_dalal-3-full.jpg)What is the magic of Silicon Valley? What is the magic that pulls people from all around the world to come and work here and make their dreams come true? I turned to Yogen Dalal (http://www.mayfield.com/team/managing-directors/Yogen_Dalal)an engineer-turned entrepreneur-turned venture capitalist, who came to Silicon Valley in the early 1970s to study at Stanford University. Yogen is the Managing Partner at Mayfield Fund, Menlo Park. In this 2-part interview we talk on a wide-range of issues including magic of Silicon Valley (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicon_valley), studying with Vint Cerf (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vint_Cerf)and co-authoring the specifications for TCP, working at Xerox Parc and Apple (http://www.apple.com), how he became an investor, innovation, investing in India and his alma mater Mayo College (http://www.mayocollege.com/) in India. Can this elusive magical qualities of Silicon Valley be reproduced in other parts of the world? What are the missing ingredients that make it difficult to recreate that magic? What was it to be one of the first graduate students of Vint Cerf, the Father of the Internet? What has surprised Yogen the most about the growth of the Internet? What was it like to work with Apple? What are his thoughts on IPv6 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPv6) and the new wave of innovation, esp social media and the questions about privacy? Tune it to find out. You can also read a transcript (http://bit.ly/bypNB3 http://bit.ly/aXB4QM) of the interview. Listen to Part-2 of the interview of Yogen or read a transcript. This interview was created in association with LiveMint (http://www.livemint.com) and published on their website in Nov 2009.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/arrahmankamla1.jpg)Slumdog Millionaire music composer AR Rahman has been nominated for 3 Oscars and went to to win 2 Oscars for best original score and best original song Jai Ho. AR is a private person, who likes to sit huddled in his music studio rather than talk to the media. But, with the sudden and unexpected success of Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire AR finds himself in the media spotlight. In Part-2 of our conversation AR Rahman (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/21/arts/music/21rahm.html) talks about his journey that began in Chennai's (or Madras) Kodambakkam, the epicenter of the South Indian film industry during the 1970s, and the pivotal role his mother played in shaping his career. His mother Kareema Begum believed in AR's musical gift and talent and helped nurture and nourish it. In this candid interview he talks how his mother helped and worked as his business partner to set up his first music studio. AR also talks about the loss of his close friend and colleague Sridhar, his senior audio and sound engineer, who worked with him right from their first film Roja to Slumdog Milliionaire and Delhi 6. Tune it to find out what AR has to say about his musical journey and the people that helped him along the way and how Sufism has changed his life. You can also read the transcript here. In case you missed, you might want to listen to Part-1 of the interview with AR Rahman. Both Part-1 and Part-2 of the interview originally ran in Feb 2009 on NDTV.com (http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/NDTV-Show-Special.aspx?ID=5)
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/arrahmankamla2.jpg)AR Rahman's music in Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire has become a runaway hit. The films has won 10 Oscar nominations out of which 3 are for AR Rahman's music. AR went to to win 2 Oscars and became the first music composer from the Indian film industry to win 2 Oscars. In early February 2009 right before the Oscars I caught with AR Rahman on one of his brief visits to Los Angeles. In Part-1 AR as he likes to be called talks about working with Danny Boyle, his thoughts on Slumdog Millionaire and why he instantly connected with it and why he thought the movie reminded him of Shawshank Redemption (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shawshank_Redemption). Like everybody else I wanted to find out how he was mentally preparing for the Oscars? Tune in to find out what he has to say about that. In Part-2 he talks about his journey as a musician. You can also read the transcript (http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/Ndtv-Show-Special-story.aspx?ID=5&storyid=NEWEN20090083012) of the interview. This interview originally ran on NDTV.com (http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/NDTV-Show-Special.aspx?ID=5).
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/slumdog_imagenew.jpg)In this exclusive interview Oscar winner director Danny Boyle (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/baftas/4563315/Baftas-2009-Danny-Boyle-profile.html)talks about the making of Slumdog Millionaire (http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2009/feb/04/oscars-predictions) in Mumbai, whether this is an Indian or a British film or a hybrid film, AR Rahman, Loveleen Tandan, Mira Nair and about the future of the young kids (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/30/AR2009013003897.html?wprss=rss_world%2Fasia) that acted in the film. I also asked Danny if he has any plans on making a Bollywood film. Danny appears to be clearly smitten by Mumbai and all the while when he was shooting for Slumdog Millionaire (http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/movie/126911/slumdog-millionaire) he had this persistent thought that Mumbai would be a great city to shoot a thriller. Slumdog Millionaire, an independent film that come from the left field has become an instant hit and has turned out to be a hot favorite. Slumdog Millionaire (http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/jan/22/oscar-nominations-slumdog-millionaire) won 10 Oscar nominations (http://goldderby.latimes.com/awards_goldderby/2009/02/slumdog-milli-1.html) and went on to win 8 Oscars, including for best picture and director. Prior to winning the Oscars the film had won a string of prestigious awards including 4 Golden Globes. This interview was recorded in Feb 2009 a few days before the Oscars. You can also read the full transcript (http://kamlashow.com/blog/2010/03/07/oscar-winner-danny-boyle-on-slumdog-millionaire/)of the interview with Danny Boyle. This interview originally ran on NDTV.com Photo credit: NDTV.com
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/Brij.thumbnail.JPG)Using Bollywood songs to promote literacy is an innovative and powerful idea, and is the brainchild of Brij Kothari. The hallmark of every Hindi or Bollywood film are the popular song and dance sequences, which most people can either recognize, sing or hum regardless of their level of education. Brij hit upon this novel idea of using music to learn a new language while studying at Cornell University, New York. He devised this new musical method to improve his Spanish language skills he us It turned out that this way of learning a new language was very. Through this experience he recognized the potential of extending this method to help spread literacy in India. Brij founded PlanetRead , a non-profit organization that used Bollywood songs to spread literacy in India. Using Same Language Subtitling (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/12/same-language-subtitling.html)(SLS) their first successful impregnation of the project was in Gujarat, India. The target audience were people with low reading skills and the goal was to help improve their reading skills and bring them up to speed to read newspaper headlines. They used Indian film and folk songs for their SLS project. This simple and innovative technique proved to be a success. This was in 1996, and since then Brij and his team members have slowly expanded their work and helped fight illiteracy in India. PlanetRead became one of the first NGOs to be funded by Google philanthropy. (http://www.google.org) Brij was an Ashoka fellow (http://www.ashoka.org/)and was an Associate professor at IIM, Ahmedabad. This interview was first recorded in 2006.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/adam_greenfield.jpg)Privacy online is a big hot button issue these days. Much before it went mainstream, Adam Greenfield (http://www.v-2.org/) has been talking about and wrote a fascinating book called, "Everyware." (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321384016/qid=1139511165/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-5073978-9810566?n=507846&s=books&v=glance) Currently he is head of design direction for service and user-interface design at Nokia, Finland. Adam says everyware is "information processing embedded in the objects and surfaces of everyday life." Or, as he puts it, "the colonization of our everyday life," by technology. Naota Fukasawa san (http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/fukasawa.html) famously describes (http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/fukasawa.html) this kind of behavior (http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/fukasawa.html)in an elegant and simple way: "Design dissolving in behavior." That is, our actions are so unconscious that we are not even aware of the underlying technology that makes our unconscious acts possible. These devices are essentially invisible, or attain near invisibility that we don't pay attention to them. Everyware is an umbrella term that Adam coined to capture the unfolding of this fast moving phenomena that many of us are not paying attention. An interesting upshot of this everyware technology is that people are unaware they are using it extensively. An old example of this is the cell phone, but that has been replaced by new and nifty devices that we use in our everyday life, and we are not even aware of them Adam explains. Some of them include the touch and go pay system credit card that Chase Bank has introduced in New York; the RFID technology that is used to tag goods; and in some cases used to tag people (some patients have RFID chips embedded in their arm that help doctors get instant access to their medical history and prescription); the instrumented floors used to build houses for senior citizens in South Korea and these are just a few examples of how technology is increasingly meshed into our lifestyle. And with IPV6, (http://www.ipv6.org/) the next generation Internet, Adam thinks that every grain of sand in the world could have an IP address. Every device at that point could have multiple IP addresses. The fact that every object in the world could potentially have an IP address is partly what worries him. Through this book Adam wants to create an awareness of the unintended consequences of everyware and the impact that it will have in our collective lives. One of the worrying aspects of this development is that all kinds of information can be gathered, tagged, stored and searched for future reference. So, every action of yours persists in some kind of a meta database for a long time. That in turn has him worried about privacy issues, and how that will impact society. By addressing these issues early on in the debate perhaps some of these issues can be addressed and corrected is his line of reasoning. Adam is in some ways advancing and pushing forward a debate that Howard Rheingold (http://www.smartmobs.com/) of Smartmobs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_mobs) started a few years ago with the coming of IRC, mobile phones and PDAs. Adam was involved with the first Moblogging Conference that took place in Tokyo in 2003. This interview was recorded in Manhattan in 2005 and first played in February 2006.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/madhur.thumbnail.jpg)Madhur Jaffrey (http://www.sawnet.org/whoswho/?Jaffrey+Madhur), a well-known actress & author of several cooks books & TV shows talks about her autobirograhy: Climbing The Mango Trees. In this autobiography she paints a wonderful picture of her childhood in India. Madhur grew up in a large "joint family," in Delhi during the 1930s and 1940s. So in the book she describes a particular period and history of Delhi that is almost forgotten. This is about a Delhi on the cusp of change, at least in terms of food. What was Delhi like in those days? What kind of taste memories are permanently embedded in Madhur's mind from that time? After graduating from Miranda House College in Delhi, Madhur went to London and studied at the Royal Academy of Drama Arts. It was during her stay in London that she discovered how to cook all the familiar dishes of her childhood starting with the simplest ones first. She got the recipes sent to her via snail mail or aerogram as it was known in those days. Madhur (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0415528/) has acted in a number of films and TV shows. In the early 1980s Madhur made her first cooking shows for the BBC: Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery in 1982 and Madhur Jaffrey's Far Eastern Cookery in 1989. Subsequently she has made other cooking shows. Madhur live in New York with her husband. This interview was first posted on October 14, 2006.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/billy-at-twycross.gif)India's 'tiger man" and wildlife conservationist Billy Arjan Singh (http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/interviews/bilarjsingh.php) passed away on Jan 1, 2010, which is also the year of the tiger according to the Chinese calendar. He was 92 years old. In Part-2 of our conversation Priya Commander, Billy's youngest niece fondly shares some private moments of her intensely private uncle. Often perceived as obstinate or cantankerous by others, Billy was a very warm and fun-loving person, who loved to have his extended family around him during Christmas time according to Priya. Billy's passion for the big cats was clearly evident in the way his home Tiger Haven was built - it was a place for the big cats. He famously built his mother a haven that came to be known as "Gran's Cottage." He converted a cage and put it under a tree and that was the safe haven for his mother to sit and do her daily crossword puzzles. A polyglot, Billy was fluent English, Hindi and the local dialects of the region. He loved to read and had an extensive collection of books including signed copies of Jim Corbett (http://kamlashow.com/content/900550/maincontent/mp3/broadband/RememberingBillArjanSingh_Part1_KamlaShow.mp3)'s "Man Eaters of Kumaon." Unfortunately most of his book collection was ruined during the monsoon rains a couple of years ago. Besides fighting for the rights of the "big cats" of India, Billy was also a writer, and wrote books about the wildlife, especially in Dudhwa National Forest. Billy's story underscores the power of what a single person can achieve if they put their mind and body to it. For over 0 years Billy (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9ecfb35c-023f-11df-8b56-00144feabdc0.html) worked and fought for the rights of "the big cats" of India. He was "tenacious" and "obstinate" in his single-minded pursuit to save the tigers of India. It was that obstinate and single-minded streak that helped in creating Dudhwa National Forest (http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/interviews/bilarjsingh.php), which is the only national forest in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. He successfully helped rehabilitate "the big cats" into the jungles near Dudhwa. The first "big cat" that was rehabilitated was Prince, followed by Harriet and Tara. Priya was born and brought up in London, but spent a lot of time at Tiger Haven with her uncle. In case you missed, you might want to listen to Part-1 (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2010/01/23/remembering-indias-tigerman-billy-arjan-singh-part-1/) of the conversation, where Priya talks about how Price, Harriet and Tara arrived at Tiger Haven and how those big cats were rehabilitated into the jungles of India.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/Rudresh-150x150.jpg)Rudresh Mahanthappa (http://www.rudreshm.com/)is a New York-based jazz musician and alto saxophonist. Rudresh (http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=30300) often collaborates with fellow musician and New Yorker Vijay Iyer (http://www.vijay-iyer.com/). In this interview we get to hear a rare behind-the-scene story on how Rudresh conceived and worked on his jazz album titled Mother Tongue: Do You Speak Indian? (http://www.pirecordings.com/pi14/) Mother Tongue was released by Pi Recordings in 2004 and has Rudresh on alto saxophone, Vijay Iyer on piano, FranÃ§ois Moutin on bass, and Elliot Humberto Kavee on drums. The album made the Jazzmatazz Top 10 list for 2004 (http://jazzmatazz.home.att.net/newsletters/05/n211.html). Born and brought up in the US, Rudresh was often asked if he spoke Indian? But, he came across that phrase once again as an adult, and that set him thinking. The idea for the album was born when he and his fiancee were searching for a priest to conduct their wedding ceremony in English. And that is when he heard that all too familiar question: Do you speak Indian? Once he got the idea for the album Rudresh had a challenging time trying to get audio samples of various Indian languages. Surprisingly, he did not get anyone to speak in Hindi. The album has samples from seven Indian languages including Kannada, Gujarati, Konkani and others. Rudresh plans to work and expand the scope of the project sometime in the future. Recently, Rudresh and Vijay's first album titled Raw Materials was released by Savoy Jazz. The two musicians have been working together for the past 10 years. Rudresh has worked as a sideman with jazz musicians such as David Murray, Steve Coleman, Jack DeJohnette, Samir Chatterjee, Von Freeman, Tim Hagans, Fareed Haque, Vijay Iyer, Howard Levy, David Liebman, Greg Osby, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. As a composer, Rudresh has received commission grants from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, American Composers Forum, Chamber Music America, and the New York State Council on the Arts to develop new work. Rudresh lives with his family in New York. This interview originally ran on July 20, 2006. You might be interested in listening to Part-2 (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2006/07/21/alto-saxophonist-rudresh-mahanthappa-part-ii-2/) and Part-3 (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2006/07/27/alto-saxophonist-rudresh-mahanthappa-part-iii/)of the interview with Rudresh. Photo credit: www.rudreshm.com
David Filo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Filo) and his classmate Jerry Yang started Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com)in the mid-1990s, when the Internet was just taking off. Their initial website was a collection of interesting links, a list of sorts, which eventually morphed and became a major Internet company. In this interview David (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/may/14/yahoo-david-filo) talks about the early days of Yahoo!, frugality and Bangalore, which is where Yahoo! India's is located. Tune is to find out what is David's favorite Indian food and music. This interview was originally recorded in 2006 in Bangalore. In November 2009, this version of the interview was broadcast on Stanford's radio station. You can listen to a longer version Part-2 (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2007/10/18/david-filo-of-yahoo-part-2/) and Part-3 (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2009/02/14/david-filo-of-yahoo-part-3/) of the interview with David.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/VijayIyer4.jpg)Vijay Iyer (http://www.vijay-iyer.com/) is a New York-based jazz musician and composer, and consistently won praise for his composition and music and is identified as one of the rising jazz artists in the USA. He grew up in upstate New York during the 1970s and 1980s. HIs parents migrated to the USA in the 1960s.Initially, he learned to play the violin and it was his sister who learned to play the piano. He was drawn to the piano and ended up taking learning how to play it. Like many Indian American teens Vijay did not think of purusing music as a career. He studied Math and Physics at Yale and went to UC Berkeley to pursue his PhD in physics. But, half-way through the course he changed his major and also made that all important decision to pursue music as his profession. While he was a student at UC Berkeley he released two albums. His first album Memorophilia that was released when he was just 23 years old. His second album Architextures was released in 2000. Upon completing PhD, Vijay relocated to New York to pursue his musical career. In 2004 Vijay signed a multi-album deal with Savoy Jazz (http://savoyjazz.com), who released his album Reimagining in May 2005. Earlier this year Vijay and his long time collaborator Rudresh Mahanthappa (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2009/12/06/rudresh-mahanthappa-do-you-speak-indian/) released their first commercial album Raw Materials (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000F8OIM8/104-0149027-7481547?n=5174) on Savoy Jazz. Vijay lives with his family in New York. In case you missed, you might want to listen to Part-2 (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2006/08/09/jazz-musician-vijay-iyer-part-ii/) of the interview with Vijay and an interview (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2006/05/29/in-conversation-with-vijay-iyer-and-rudresh-mahanthappa/) featuring both Vijay and Rudresh. This interview was recorded in 2006 in New York. Photo credit: Vijay Iyer's website.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/ssskywalker253cthumb.jpg)American filmmaker and writer Sadia Shepard (http://www.sadiashepard.com/about.html) grew up thinking that her Pakistani maternal grandmother was a Muslim just like her mother. And therein lies an interesting story, whose roots can be traced to the partition of the Indian sub-continent in 1947 and the tragic consequences it had for so many families and people on either side of the border. Sadia discovers that her maternal grandmother was born into the Bene Israel, one of the oldest Jewish communities on the Western coast of India. The Bene Israels were concentrated on the Konkan coast (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konkan) of Maharashtra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maharashtra) for over 2,000 years. Often known as Shaniwar Teli (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/60455/Bene-Israel) (Saturday oil-pressers), the Bene Israel community (http://www.sadiashepard.com/photos.html) now numbers a few thousand people and they are mostly concentrated in Mumbai and surrounding areas. Many have migrated to Israel, Canada, US and other countries. A few years ago Sadia went to India on a journey of discovery about her maternal grandmother's Jewish heritage and her story. Sadia spent nearly 2 years living in Mumbai in pursuit of her grandmother's story. What was the story (http://ricklibrarian.blogspot.com/2009/07/girl-from-foreign-search-for.html) of her maternal grandmother? What did Sadia (http://www.pri.org/theworld/?q=node/20179) discover about her grandmother's Jewish ancestry forms the basis of her book (http://lotusreads.blogspot.com/2009/01/girl-from-foreign-search-for.html): The Girl From Foreign - A Memoir. This interview was first aired on Stanford's radio station.
(http://www.nea.com/UploadedImages/NEAPartnerImages/kolluri_large1.jpg)NEA’s Managing Partner, Kittu Kolluri (http://www.nea.com/NEATeam/TeamMemberDisplay/index.cfm?IDP=48) is an engineer-turned-entrepreneur-turned-investor. I met with Kittu at NEA’s Sand Hill Road office in Menlo Park, Calif., to find out how he made this transition from being an engineer to an investor. In Part 2 of our conversation Kittu talks about one of his favorite topics: entrepreneurship. In case you missed, you might want to listen to Part-1 (http://kamlashow.com/content/900490/maincontent/mp3/broadband/KittuKolluri_Part1_KamlaShow.mp3)of the interviw with Kittu.