Trivia Thursday: Indian Cinema At World’s Biggest Stages

Trivia Thursday: Indian Cinema At World's Biggest Stages

Recently, India’s Netflix series Delhi Crime won the International Emmy for best drama series. Moreover, Malayalam film Jallikattu has become India’s official entry for Oscars. In this week’s Trivia Thursday, we bring you some interesting trivia around Indian cinema at some of the world’s most prestigious stages.

Crux of the Matter
  • 1937 – Sant Tukaram, directed by Vishnupant Govind Damle and Sheikh Fattelal won a special prize at the Venice Film Festival. It became the first film to get international recognition.
  • 1946Neecha Nagar, directed by Chetan Anand is the first and only Indian film to win Palme d’Or, which is the award for best film in Cannes Film Festival.
  • 1957 – Satyajit Ray’s directed Aparajito won the Golden Lion award for the best film at Venice Film Festival, becoming the first Indian film to do so. Mira Nair directed Monsoon Wedding won the same award in 2001.
  • 1963 – For her role in Saat Pake Bandha, Suchitra Sen won the Best Actress award at the Moscow Film Festival, becoming the first Indian actress to receive an international film award.
  • 1983 – Bhanu Athaiya was the first Indian to win an Oscar. She won the award for the Best Costume Design for the film ‘Gandhi’. 
  • 1988 – Caméra d’Or awardee, Salaam Bombay! becomes the second film after Mother India to be nominated for the Academy Awards for the best international feature film. Lagaan, in 2001, went on to become the 3rd Indian film to be nominated. Salaam Bombay! Is also among the list of “The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made” by The New York Times.
  • 1992Satyajit Ray, director of films like Aparajito and Pather Panchali, was awarded an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. The award was presented by another legendary actress, Audrey Hepburn.
  • 1992 – Plat drum is a World Music album which won a Grammy in 1992. It features Indian classical music maestros Zakir Hussain and T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakram.
  • 2009 – Along with AR Rahman and Gulzar, Tanvi Shah won a Grammy for her song Jai Ho, becoming the first Indian woman to win an Emmy. AR Rahman became the first Asian to win two Oscars in a single year. He won the award for his original score and the original song Jai Ho in Slumdog Millionaire. Gulzar, too, was awarded for providing the lyrics in Jai Ho.
  • 2015 – Rickey Keg and Wouter Kellerman’s Winds of Samsara won a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album.
  •  2016 – For her work in Quantico, Priyanka Chopra won the People’s Choice Award for Favourite Actress in a New TV Series. She was the first South Asian actress to win this prestigious award.
  • 2020Delhi Crime became the first Indian television show to win an International Emmy for best drama series.

Ravi Shankar has 5 Grammys to his name:

  • 1967: Best Chamber Music Performance – West Meets East (with Yehudi Menuhin)
  • 1973: Album of the Year – The Concert for Bangladesh (with George Harrison)
  • 2002: Best World Music Album – Full Circle: Carnegie Hall 2000
  • 2013: Best World Music Album – The Living Room Sessions Pt. 1
  • 2013: Lifetime Achievement Award

To read out previous week’s Trivia Thursday around No Shave November, click here.

What Is Negative Interest Rate?

What Is Negative Interest Rate?

Recently, China raised money for the first time via negative interest rate bonds. Conventionally, we all have seen only positive interest rates in banks and bond yields and you might wonder what does negative interest rate mean. Let’s demystify what it is and see which countries implemented it actually.

Crux of the Matter

What Is Negative Interest Rate?
Negative interest rate literally means interest rate below zero (yeah like -2% or -8%). It is done to incentivize borrowers to borrow money and penalize depositors for saving money.

The negative interest rate on loans means that you repay less than what you borrowed. A negative interest rate in banks means that if you have kept your money in banks, you will be charged interest (rather than earning one) on your deposits.

Why Negative Interest Rate?
When all economic measures have failed, it is a measure to revive the economy by incentivizing people to spend more and save less. Remember that the interest rate in banks is negative, so you’ll be paying banks to keep your deposits.

If the interest rate in the bank is -2%, then for keeping ₹100 in a savings account, you’ll need to pay ₹2 to the bank.

Similarly, if the loan rate is -5%, then the bank will pay you ₹5 for borrowing ₹100 from a bank or you can put it this way as well: when you repay the ₹100 loan, you will have to return ₹95.

Which Countries Put It Into Practise?

  • In 2009, Sweden’s Central Bank introduced negative bank rates as a measure to revive its economy from the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
  • In 2014, the European Central Bank (ECB) introduced negative bank rates as well.
  • Japan’s Central Bank announced a negative rate policy in 2016.

A negative interest rate helps in making a nation’s currency weak, which increases exports as they become cheaper and boosts inflation by pushing up the import costs.

A negative rate decreases the margin of income on the lending of financial institutions. Financial institutions may put a halt on lending in case of prolonging the implementation of negative interest rates and could damage the entire economy. The purpose of increasing spending may also fail if wages are low or decreasing in the economy.

  • Simple interest is a fixed percentage of the principal amount that the borrower must pay. It is fixed. Compound interest is added to the accumulated interest of previous periods, so borrowers must pay interest on interest as well as principal borrowed.
  • State Bank of India started as Bank of Bengal. This was one of the three banks founded by a presidency government along with the Bank of Bombay and the Bank of Madras. The three merged to form the Imperial Bank of India and renamed to the State Bank of India in 1955 after Independence.
  • Zero interest-rate policy (ZIRP) is a concept of a very low nominal interest rate. The United States cut the Fed Funds rate to nearly zero due to the Covid-19 pandemic and weakening economy. ZIRP is considered to be an unconventional monetary policy instrument and can be associated with slow economic growth, deflation, and deleverage.

Will Reliance, Tata, Birla Finally Be Able To Launch Banks?

Will Reliance, Tata, Birla Finally Be Able To Launch Banks?

RBI’s internal committee has proposed a makeover of the banking system of India. In the last few years, India’s banking sector has faced a lot of challenges and now requires a solid fix to preserve the public interest. Under RBI’s latest proposal, corporate giants like Reliance, Tata, Bajaj Finance, etc may get full-fledged commercial banking license. Let’s take a look at the key aspects of the proposal for the potential banks.

Crux of the Matter

Crippled Banking Sector In India
Indian public sector banks are debt-ridden due to bad loans. Experts say that a complete recovery seems impossible even with the help of the government. At such a juncture, private banks are in very small numbers as against the demand for the nation’s banking and financial services. Moreover, RBI has stopped issuing banking licenses since 2014.

Looking at these all problems, the internal working committee has proposed some recommendations to foster growth and competition in the banking sector.

Key Aspects Of The Proposal

Banking License To Corporates
The committee suggested giving full commercial banking licenses to corporate houses under specific conditions. Conditions to be met by them are:
– business group’s assets need to be more than ₹5000 crores
– non-finance business activities contribute at least 40% in net assets
– and the entity must need 10 years of operational experience.

Banking License To Large NBFCs
It also recommended that Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) with assets more than ₹50,000 crores and 10 years of operational experience should be given a full-fledged banking license.

Small Finance Banking License To Payment Banks
Payment banks like Airtel, Paytm, etc. should be allowed to convert to Small Finance Banks (SFBs). They have to follow some rules and regulations such as they need at least 25% outlet presence in unbanked areas and 50% of all loans must be under ₹25 lakhs, etc.

Increasing Promoters’ Stake
Another suggestion made by the working committee is increasing the promoter’s stake from 15% to 26% of paid up-equity in the long run of 15 years. However, under current norms, private bank promoters were notified to reduce their share to 40% within three years and to 15% in 15 years. Kotak Bank promoter Uday Kotak was recently asked by the RBI to reduce his stake in the company to 26%.

Over the course we have seen, that promoter-driven banks like Yes Bank, and even diversified banks like ICICI have faced roubles, making it difficult to assess which of the ways is better.

Experts’ Views
Experts say that giving banking licenses to corporate houses and NBFCs will result in bringing a lot of liquidity along with their work experience and brand value in the banking sector. They also believe that increasing competition in the banking sector will reduce the cost of financial services and enable greater access to financial services.

However, some have also warned that corporate houses may use banking license for achieving personal goals and motives, which may not be in the public interest.

  • Raghuram Rajan, the 23rd Governor of RBI, was named by Time in its list of the ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’ in 2016. Currently, he is a professor at the University of Chicago.
  • Repo rate is the rate of interest at which the RBI lends money to commercial banks. Currently, the repo rate is 4.00%.
  • RBI demonetized notes in the denominations of five thousand rupees (₹5,000) and ten thousand rupees (₹10,000) in 1938. They were reintroduced in 1954 and again demonetized in 1978. RBI can print these notes according to the RBI act of 1934.

History of Vijayanagar, The 31st District of Karnataka

History of Vijayanagar, The 31st District of Karnataka

Karnataka CM, B.S. Yediyurappa has announced the creation of Vijayanagar as the 31st district of Karnataka. It will be carved out from the Ballari district. You must have heard of Tenali Rama! He belonged to Vijaynagar’s king Krishna Devaraya’s court. Let us dive deep into the rich history of this ancient land.

Crux of the Matter

History of Vijayanagar – Rise
Vijayanagara Empire was a South Indian empire that covered modern-day Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and parts of Maharashtra. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and Bukka Raya I.

The empire started to decline in 1565 after the Battle of Talikota. The army of Aliya Rama Raya was defeated by the combined forces of Deccan Sultanates – Ahmadnagar, Berar, Bidar, Bijapur, and Golconda – located to the north of Vijaynagar. The loss led to the slow decline and eventual collapse of the empire in 1646.

Hampi, also known as Hampe, was the capital of the Empire in the 14th century. It was the world’s second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing, and probably India’s richest at that time. It houses the Virupaksha Temple, an active Adi Shankara-linked monastery, and various monuments.

Krishna Devaraya
Krishna Devaraya is known to be the ablest and potent Vijayanagara king, under whom the kingdom rose to its highest peak. His reign is recognized as the golden age of Telugu literature.

He built the famous Vithalswami and Hazara temple in Hampi. His empire extended from Cuttack in eastern India to Goa in the west and Raichur Dobe in the north to the Indian Ocean in the south. 

Rise of Shivaji During That Period
Along with Vijayanagara, existed 5 Deccan Sultanates – Bijapur, Golkonda, Ahmadnagar, Bidar, and Berar. Shivaji killed Afzal Khan, the army general of Bijapur Army in 1659 and overnight, became a formidable warlord. He further won the Torna fort and established the Maratha Kingdom with Raigad at its capital.

Kishkindha which is located near Hampi was considered to be the kingdom of the Vanara King Sugriva in Ramayana. The whole region was within the dense Dandaka Forest. In Mahabharata, the Pandava Sahadeva visited this kingdom to collect tribute for Yudhishthira’s Rajasuya sacrifice.

  • The name “Hampi” comes from Kannada Hampe (derived from Pampa, the ancient name for the Tungabhadra river).
  • Hampi or the “The City of Ruins” has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
  • Tenali Ramakrishna or Tenali Rama, known for his brilliant wit, was one of the Ashtadiggajas or the eight scholars at King Krishna Devaraya’s court. His great work Panduranga Mahatmyam is a Kāvya (poem) of high merit, remarkable for its sonorous dignity of phrasing, and is counted as one of the Pañcha Mahā Kāvyas (the Five Great Poems) of Telugu literature.

Urban Ladder, The Latest Acquisition By Reliance

Urban Ladder, The Latest Acquisition By Reliance

Reliance Industries’ Retail unit bought a 96% stake in Urban Ladder for ₹182.12 crore. Let’s take a look at various aspects of deal and what does it mean for both the entities.

Crux of the Matter

About Urban Ladder
In 2012, Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa founded Urban Ladder. So far, it has received total funding of ~$115 million from investors like Steadview Capital, Sequoia Capital India, etc.

E-Furniture Sector
India’s online furniture market size was $700 million in 2019-20, with Urban Ladder and PepperFry being the two prominent brands. This sector faces problems like infrequent purchasing by customers, high inventory cost, hard logistics, etc.

The Deal
Reliance Industries’ Retail unit bought a 96% stake in Urban Ladder for ₹182.12 crores. The company also has the option to buy the remaining 4% stake, which is expected to sell at ₹75 crores by December 2023. Three months ago, Reliance Retail acquired a majority stake in online pharma firm Netmeds for around ₹620 crores.

After this deal, Urbanladder can get out of financial problems and stop worrying about funding. According to experts, “company will continue to operate as a separate brand within the Reliance ecosystem with CEO and co-founder Ashish Goel continuing to hold his post for the time being”.

What Does It Mean For Reliance?
After making strides in the retail sector by buying Future Group and getting investments for Reliance Retail, this deal will help Reliance build a stronger and diversified retail portfolio.

Acquisitions like these enable the group’s digital and new commerce initiatives and widen the bouquet of consumer products provided by the group while enhancing user engagement and experience across its retail offerings.

  • Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has raised ₹1.15 lakh crores from 11 investors in less than 2 months and ₹53,124.20 crores from rights issue.
  • Vodafone and Idea announced a merger and renamed itself Vi. Reuters reported the Vodafone Idea merger to be valued at $23 billion.
  • Alphabet, the Parent company of Google has become one of the world’s largest technology conglomerates with a market capitalization of $1 trillion. It has acquired over 230 companies with Motorola Mobility being the largest acquisition for $12.5 billion.
  • Vodafone Group bought German telecom giant Mannesmann AG in 1999 for a $180.95 billion acquisition, making the takeover the largest merger and acquisition (M&A) deal in history.