02/05/2013 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Gavin Esler.

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Should we intervene in Syria and even if we wanted to could we


afford to? Tonight the Defence Secretary says more evidence of


chemical weapons is needed before Britain can act.


But can Britain even think of remaining a first-rate military


power as this Government hopes? Should we ring-fence the defence


budget for curtail their ambitions? The Defence Secretary Philip


Hammond in Washington for talks with the Americans will join us


live. Also tonight, from Pakistan we meet


the Mullah who thinks women should be educated to know their


boundaries. He has some advice for our reporter.


TRANSLATION: As a Muslim, first of all you should be wearing a burka,


according to Sharia Law. Secondly, you shouldn't be travelling around


without a male chaperone. The polls have just closed, the


politicians are getting their excuses ready. We will have the


latest on the local elections. And happy birthday Bollywood, 100


years young tomorrow. How has it reflected Indian culture and


informed snim film makers here. We discuss with a Bollywood actress


and the director of Bride ska Prejudice.


Good evening, the Cabinet Office website is clear, national security


is the first duty of Government. We will remain a first-rate military


power. But even as British troops begin to leave Afghanistan, there


are new shaud shadows and threats. Tonight the American Defence


Secretary, Chuck Hagel, said for the first time that the Obinna


administration is re-thinking whether to arm -- Obama


administration is re-thinking whether to arm rebels in Syria. No


decision has been named. With this comes an age-old problem, money.


With the security review and cuts to the budget already announced,


the Royal United Services Institute suggests another �11 billion will


have to be loped off defence over the next decade. Should we ring-


fence defence, as with the NHS and foreign aid, or be less ambitious


in our foreign commitments. We will explore with the Defence Secretary


in a moment. First a series of hard choices.


Just as Gordon Brown tried to abolish boom and bust economics, so


they came to rescue the defence budget from its post-war boom with


cuts to balance the books. In 2010, during the last review, they tried


to set sustainable limits on future operations. The forces might mount


one short-term deployment of up to 30,000. Or, one enduring one of


6,500, with two smaller simultaneous operations of around


2,000 and 1,000. Or three sustained small-scale operations. The current


enduring commitment in Afghanistan is coming to an end. UK forces no


longer launch combat operations, many are now just packing up. But


their presence remains risky as we have seen this week. There are


around 7,000 British personnel there now, and by late 2014 that


presence will end. But military chiefs are nervous about new


commitments. The Prime Minister wants to send more troops to Africa,


and a possible Syrian intervention could involve thousands. The


prospect of further cuts as part of the Government's deficit reduction


programme has produced public grumbling from the Defence


Secretary, Tory backbenchers are increasingly restive and demanding


ring-fencing defence or raiding international development instead.


Protecting up to now in order to make good the shortfall at MoD. And


costs within the department have risen too, the F-35 fighter project


has increased its price tag and is running years late. After


expressing an initial interest in acquiring more than 130 of them,


Britain looks set to trim that back to just 48. Both F-35 and the


aircraft carrier that will launch the aircraft haven't been helped by


a Government flip-flop. Initially towards a more capable, catapult-


launched version of the plane and back to the short take-off version


originally ordered. In terms of the cost of the aircraft carriers


themselves, it was originally estimated at �3.65 billion, now


around �6 billion, but some estimates suggest they soon


eventually weigh in at something closer to �12 billion. Cost


overruns have a history of consuming other parts of the


defence budget, leading to cuts and cancellations. The slow but


inexorable downLuiz Eduardo slide in squadrons or battalions has


slowly reduced national forces. Therefore, it could be argued the


UK's influence goes. Back in the 1950s 11% of Britain's economy or


GDP was devoted to defence. For the last few years it has hovered


around 2%. The UK's defence resources may have diminished but


its leaders still like to retain an influence in world affairs.


The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, has been meeting with his


US counterpart, Chuck Hagel, in Washington today. He joins us from


there. Good evening to you Mr Hammond. Chuck Hagel says that the


Americans are now re-thinking this question of arming the Syrian


opposition, given the doubts that some have expressed, including


yourself about whether chemical weapons really have been used or


not, what is there to re-think? Well, the Americans have said today


that they are re-thinking whether to use, whether to supply weapons


to the opposition? We have never closed off that option. We


currently have a European arms embargo which expires at the end of


May. We haven't yet decided what approach we are going to take to


any renewal on modification of that embargo. We want to keep all our


options open as we work out the best way to deal with this


despicable regime, which is slaughtering its people by the


thousands. Indeed, but given the reports about chemical weapons what


more do you need, what would be your red line? In terms,


specifically of chemical weapon usage, I think we have been very


clear that we have evidence which is quite compelling but is not


conclusive around the use of chemical weapons. Now the use of


chemical weapons is explicitly illegal under international law. If


we are going to build an interNational Coalition behind a


response to a use of chemical weapons, we have to have evidence


that has happened. We need to build that evidence in a form that is


incontravertable and can be present today the international community


ideally in the forum of the United Nations Security Council. That is


hugely difficult to do, to be 100% certain in a closed-off area, where


chemical weapons have been used. Is it going to happen again and again


and again, you will have evidence which is not going to be 100%, more


people will die? Firstly, the United Nations of course has


mandated a mission to Syria to investigate the use of chemical


weapons. This was something that initial low the Syrian Government


itself -- initially the Syrian Government itself encouraged. They


are currently blocking access. We demand the Syrian Government admits


the UN team and co-operates with the UN team. We are not looking


solely on that route, we are looking with allies for ways to


validate chemical weapons usage. wonder what you say to the very


good friend of the UK, senator John McCain, saying you have all the


evidence you need about the awfulness of this ray genome and


chemical weapons but you are stalling because and the Obama


administration don't want to get involved in a mess? We have plenty


of evidence of the awfulness of the regime, but John McCain is wrong if


he says we have conclusive evidence of the use of chemical weapons. We


have certainly got some very persuasive evidence. If we set


ourselves the test of whether this evidence would be persuasive in a


UK or a US court we still don't have evidence of that quality.


Given the experience that we have had in both the UK and the US in


relation to the Iraq War and the evidence that was presented to


support our intervention there, I think it is very clear that our


publics will expect us to leave no stone unturned in establishing that


the evidence is compelling and conclusive before we take any


further action. Chuck Hagel also said you have been advising him


today on how to cut defence budgets, what have you been tell him? We are


a couple of years ahead of the US, I'm afraid, in this area. We


carried out our defence review in 2010. Since then we have been


restructuring the way we deliver defence. Making our Armed Forces


smaller but better equipped and more agile. Focusing on


deployability to make our forces usable. And also taking out large


chunks of the Ministry of Defence, about a third of the civilian man


power that we have in defence. Doing things differently. We


announced just last week that we are moving into the next phase of a


process of looking at bringing private sector partners into the


procurement of defence equipment to try to overcome some of the long


standing persistent problems that there have been around delivering


these big equipment programmes on time and on budget. We have got


quite a lot that we can offer the United States by way of experience.


Also, by co-operating together with the US we can drive further


efficencies in the delivery of military equipment and indeed in


the delivery of military capability. You have further cuts ahead and the


defence budget was about 4% of GDP20 years ago, it is 2% of GDP


now. Should the defence budget be ring-fenced if national security is


the first duty of Government as the Cabinet Office website says.


have to resource defence properly to cover the things outlined in the


budget. Should it be ring-fenced? We have identified the outputs we


have to deliver. We have to deliver those outputs. So it should be


ring-fenced then? Ring-fencing implies that you fix the cash


amount. What I'm more interested in is not the cash amount but the


output that we are delivering. If there are more efficient, smarter


ways of delivering the defence output that we need, then we


absolutely should investigate those. For example, we currently spend


about �7 billion a year on supporting our existing equipment


in service. We have started to look with the Treasury, with the Cabinet


Office at some of those contracts, how we could restructure them, how


we could incentivise the contractors who support us in


different ways to make that support of our equipment more efficient and


more effective. That is a net win. As you know the NHS, schools and


the foreign aid budget is supposedly ring-fenced, are you


really going to argue they are more important than what is the first


duty of Government? Well, look, those budgets are ring-fenced


because we made commitments to ring-fence them. There is a very


strong and cogent view that if politicians make promises, we made


promises in both the case of the health budget and the overseas aid


budget. Would you have to take money from those budgets to help


out your budget? If we make promises we should stick to them.


Health and defence have a very close collaboration already.


Defence medical services is dependant on the NHS for staff to


provide our frontline services in Afghanistan. The NHS supports us in


that way. Defence medical services works very closely with the NHS, we


should try to make that co- operation more efficient and more


effective. Some of that loose change for first-rate military


powers, with respect, you may make some very sound savings and you may


be able to redistribute a bit of money, but this is not going to be


the first-rate military power you would like and the military would


like in the future, is it? The UK retains a broad speck strum


military -- spectrum military capability. We are the United


States's most capable partner, we intend to remain that way. We will


still have, even after this process the fourth-largest defence budget


in the world. So don't let's talk ourselves down. Let's focus on what


we are doing to make sure that the budget we have delivers the maximum


possible amount of military capability. Not just expressed in


terms of numbers, but expressed in terms of their ability to deliver


military effect. There are many countries around the world with


bigger militaries than our's, they are not as deployable or as usable


or as effective. Just a final thought on the big political topic


tonight, which is obviously the polls have closed, the mid-term


elections in which local Government elections, mid-term Governments


usually get hammered, is that what you were expecting? Well, we're a


mid-term Government, we are a Government that has taken some


incredibly tough decisions to clean up the mess that we interited from


the previous Labour Government -- inherited from the previous


Government. We are also fighting these elections over a high water


mark of discontent with the previous Government when the last


local elections were held. We are expecting to lose seats, any point


in this cycle against that backdrop would be expect to go lose seats.


Labour has to make significant gains to have any credibility at


all. Have you decided as a party whether UKIP are a bunch of clowns


and loonies, as some leading Conservatives think, or whether


they are actually just disaffected Conservatives who should be brought


back into the fold? I think UKIP represents the disaffected of the


electorate. There always has to be a party which people who are just


disaffected with politics can vote for. For much of the last few


decades the Liberal Democrats provided that role. But now they


are a part of the Government many dissident voters who simply want to


say "none of the above" will have to find a new place to go. I


suspect that UKIP is attracting some of those voters. I shouldn't


avoid the fact that the agenda that UKIP has put forward has identified


some issues which are of concern to voters, not just Conservatives, but


across the spectrum. And it is a challenge, a quite proper challenge,


to the mainstream political parties to address those concerns, take


them head on and deal with them if we want to persuade those voters


that come the general election they should vote Conservative in order


to get a Government which is committed to a referendum on the


European Union and committed to renegotiating with the European


Union the terms on which we would be prepared to remain members of


that union. Secretary of State thank you very


much for joining us from Washington. Still to come:


Hurray for Bollywood, celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema.


The polls have closed, the excuses are being made ready by politicians


of the various parties who perhaps expect to do less well than


expected. It will take a while to figure out who is up and who is


down, the local elections in many areas of England and Wales, but our


political editor joins us from the count in Harlow in Essex.


A lot of people are doing their expectation management, or


preparing to do so. I wondered if you can cut through it and tell us


what is going on? Gavin that is incredibly hard in the best of


years but this year even more so. This is the first one where UKIP


makes its splash and we figure out just how much water is displaced


around the country. Downing Street are briefing they are expecting


losses for the Conservatives of around 550, 5780 80. -- 580. If you


slash off 150 that is about 400 losses, the last time they won


these was at high water mark before the last election and Gordon Brown


was doing badly. 400 is what independent analysts are telling us


what they will get. The losses are bad, but I don't think it is


Armageddon, especially when you look at the UKIP unknown factor.


One of the things choppy in every party HQ this evening is exactly


how UKIP has affected that. People can't quite call it when orderly


about this time of night you do get some certain ideas. Somewhere like


here in Essex where the boxes have come in, I think Labour have


probably done pretty well. Labour are quietly confident this evening.


They get a around possibly, and it falls here, they could be looking


at 350 gains. Again last time it was a very, very low point for them.


So 350 is sort of where they should be getting, equally if they weren't


getting it you can be sure they will be in for a kicking tomorrow.


We don't quit he -- quite know. UKIP, if it does end up being


isolated on the right flank, it end up seeing some Lib Dems coming


through the middle, then that last fiendish question, the trouble for


me with UKIP, one of them is their own ranks brief different things.


When you are trying to bust the spin, you are trying to bust the


spin within them. Some are saying yeah that 100 is still within sight,


they crested and give everyone a shock. Others are saying, no, we


really do have a problem of being spread so evenly across the country


that actually we can't achieve the spikes we need to be getting the


council seats they think about 40, 50. Independent people I speak to,


who have their own little secret models think that is probably more


right. We just simply do not know, it will probably be about lunchtime


tomorrow when we begin to get a certain idea. I suppose that means


it won't tell us much about the result of the next general election,


but it might tell us, the campaign might tell us about how the general


election will be fought? Locals rarely tell you very much about a


general election in two years time. What I think about the locals is


they will set the weather for how that drum beat towards it is fought.


You have already seen it with the Prime Minister two days ago saying


what he said about possibly bringing forward the EU referendum


date. What we will figure out this evening, when we see what happens


in South Shields, the by-election also coming in, that looks like


UKIP come a very, very good secretary with the Tories and Lib


Dems collapsing. If you have UK doing well around the country and


in the north they become a National Party, something you can't say of


Labour or the Tories at the moment. They scramble both ends in terms it


of Labour and the Tories. You begin to get both those leaders starting


to tailor their policies to show they are listening. For the reasons


that Philip Hammond has said, which is all the mainstream parties have


questions to answer about a massive disengagment. We have been out in


Harlow and Essex today we have heard that from almost everybody we


have spoken to. I don't think you can, as ever, read into the general


election, what you do see is policies being tailored to take on


the U kill. Trend. One massive health -- UKIP. One massive health


warning is yes they may have a trend tomorrow, and a good year


next year with the European elections, we still don't know if


they have an apparatus for a general election victory, one seat,


ten seats. We don't know if that is in their sights, whether they are


happy to be scrambling the signal in Westminster, but not really ever


going to Westminster. Thank you very much. Imagine, if


you can, that some religious leader where you live decides that today


is No Women Day on the streets of your home town. Precisely that was


happening in parts of Pakistan. A country which is shortly to go to


the polls with all the trappings of an election in a vigorous democracy.


The shooting of a schoolgirl last year, now worldwide known as Malala,


for the supposed crime of daring to want an education, shows that


Pakistan remains a country in which some places even the most basic of


rights or ambitions can be denied women and girls. The shooting took


place as Malala and her school friends sat on a school bus in the


Swat Valley, which has seen intense fighting between the army and the


Taliban. The BBC's Nel Hedayat, who grew up in Pakistan, has returned


to the country to find out what the story of Malala might mean for the


way the country is going, whatever the elections decide.


I have arrived in Pakistan 18 years since I left the country I grew up


in. I was born in Kabul, but crossed the border seeking refuge


from the mujahideen and Taliban and spent six years living here. I


remember turning on the TV on the 9th October 2012 and seeing images


of a small girl on a stretcher, with the news reader saying she was


shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education. I remembered


Pakistan as somewhere safe for girls like us to grow up in. What


happened to Malala in the Swat Valley shocked me. I wanted to find


out how something like this could happen and what the girls on whose


behalf she was fighting for are going through.


I'm on my way to meet Malala's close friends. They are not as well


known as Malala, but they were also shot when the Taliban opened fire


inside their school bus. The girls have lived all their lives in Swat,


and tell me what it was like when the Taliban came in. TRANSLATION:


We still remember the days when our school would open for one day and


close for ten. Nobody could concentrate on their education.


When we went outside the market was shut, there was nothing to eat, and


they tell us to wear a burka. girls tell me they would often tune


into Taliban FM to find out if the Mullah had declared a No Women Day


on the streets of Swat. TRANSLATION: They didn't want girls


to get an education, they made it impossible for us to go to school.


We couldn't even wear our school uniforms because that would


identify us as students and put our lives in danger. We were scared.


But Malala is the kind of girl that even in those circumstances she


chose to write her diary. She didn't write it against them, she


wrote it about herself, about what was happening every day and that it


shouldn't be happening and why was it happening? The Taliban wanted to


control every aspect of life in Swat, and they did it by using


terror. Bombings, executions and flogs in the market became a part


of life. At its worst the Taliban blew up over 400 schools in Swat


alone. The situation got so bad that the girls had to abandon their


homes. The Pakistani army moved in to fight the Taliban and the second


battle of Swat began. TRANSLATION: When we finally went whack to Swat,


we saw so much blood. What did you see? TRANSLATION: I saw a man lying


dead near our home. TRANSLATION: Everything was destroyed, but we


were happy to be home. Although it was rubble it was still our home


town. Despite the offence ive by the Pakistani army -- offensive by


the Pakistan army that left the girls' home town like this, then


came the attack on the school bus that nearly killed their friend


Malala and injured them. This man came and shot young girls, why? Did


you know why? TRANSLATION: Why did he shoot us? Because they don't


believe girls should go to school. But that is what Malala questioned


and what she campaigned for, it is probably why she got attacked. But


how could we know what they were thinking, what went through their


minds to shoot small, young girls. I don't know. Malala is now living


with her father in Birmingham, where she goes to school and


receives treatment. But the girls still live in Swat, they go to


school, but have armed guards, always fearing that the peace


offered by the army's presence there may not stop an attack by the


Taliban. A few months ago there was an explosion behind one of the


girl's houses, it scared her and her family. TRANSLATION:


neighbours said I was the target, but that they missed and hit our


neighbour's house. What's happened that day in October has changed


their lives completely. Spending a day with the girls I can see that


they still live in fear of the Taliban. But this hasn't deterred


them. They believe in Malala's message and will make sure it lives


on in Swat. TRANSLATION: Our fight is for education, they say that


girls shouldn't get an education, we say girls will get an education.


Because it is our right. If it had said in Islam that we shouldn't be


educated then our parents would have stopped us. But our parents


support us and tell us that whatever our ambition is we should


try to achieve it. So this is the thing that everybody, everybody


should fight for. Because it is through education that man walked


on the moon. The fight goes on, although it is the constitutional


right of all children to go to school here, Pakistan has the


second highest rate of children not in education in the world, reaching


5.1 million, three million of which are girls. And it has got worse as


the Government has continuously cut funding. In fact Pakistan spends


seven-times more on its military than primary education. But there


are certain types of schools that are thriving. Mainly because they


are free for the poor. I'm at the one of the branches of the Red


Mosque, the famous mosque in Pakistan. I'm going to meet the man


who runs the women's Madras sa, the Islamic school for -- Madrassah,


the Islamic school for girls. And I can meet his wife as well and learn


what do girls learn there and what is the point of this school? The


Red Mosque became the battleground between the hardline followers of


the Madrassah leader and the Pakistani army in 2007. The


Government launched its offensive in response to vigilante action


carried out by the female students. During the clashes both men and


women were armed and fought hard against the Government forces.


After nine days of intense violence from both sides, the Mullah had


lost and dozens of students were killed. I'm about to meet the


Mullah himself, a powerful man with thousands of devoted followers, man


who has been linked to the Taliban. For me to be here is a really big


deal. For them to even speak to me is a big deal. I spent over two


hours with the Mullah and he was meticulous in his efforts to never


look directly at me, as this would be unIslamic in his view. One of


his disciples did make the mistake and he was quickly reprimanded. He


told hem h him to look down and not to look at me. For the Mullah, what


Islam says about your place in society is what matters most and


that's what the thousands of female students that come through the


Madrassah learn. TRANSLATION: woman has boundaries she has to


live within in, and men have boundaries too, without these


boundaries society would disintegrate, as it has in the west.


Unfortunately there, women have become play things. I'm an educated


girl, I'm a journalist, I travel the world. In your opinion I


probably may be step outside of that Islamic boundaries. Is what


I'm doing wrong? TRANSLATION: Muslim first of all you should be


wearing a burka, according to Sharia Law. Secondly, you shouldn't


be travelling around without a male chaperone, it is not right for you


to travel abroad without a male chaperone.


It becomes clear that the Mullah is not against the education of women,


so long as it is the right type. So what did he think about Malala and


her campaign for girls' education? TRANSLATION: She is a human being


and we would never support the terrible thing that happened to her.


It grieved us. What was she saying that was different? Whoever she is?


TRANSLATION: There was a reason, she talked about being open-minded


and liberal on the Internet. She said there is no need for the veil,


and she always spoke against Islam, that is why the west like her. She


crossed Islamic boundaries and that is wrong. Islam doesn't allow you


to cross those boundaries, we don't like her crossing them, we


appreciate her educational endeavours. The temporary building


that houses Madrassah, is packed full of students devoted to the


learning of Islam. So much so that on an average day up to 80% of the


students' time is spent learning about it and 20% on "other"


subjects. They observe the strictest form of Islam which means


male teachers aren't allowed in the room and teaching is done through


speakers and microphones. It is like the most unusual lesson in the


world, the teacher is not present in the room. That loud tannoy is


the teacher, and all these are the students, because it is so


important for men and women to be separate it is mandatory this


classroom hasn't got a teacher in it. It comes down to the Mullah's


wife to take charge of the day-to- day running of the female section


of the Madrassah. Umme Hasaan sets an example to her many followers


and pupils who reveer her. She was in the Red Mosque in 2007, she


fought alongside her husband. TRANSLATION: We asked Mushtaq's


Government to implement -- Musharraf's Government to implement


Sharia Law and then they attacked the Madrassah and they killed my


son, my brother-in-law, my mother and lots of students. This has only


made her more fefr vent in her beliefs and more determined to pass


on her passion for Islam. Islamic studies is number one, everything


else is number two. Everything else? Yes, science, English,


mathematics, computers. Basic studies is number two. First in


Islam. Look the Taliban have said girls should be educated but no co-


education. We met with them before the attack on the Madrassah. The


Government asked us to invite them over and talk to them about


education. You know their scarves, their His Majesty jab do they match


on purpose -- She believes that it is the burka that gives her and


other women the power to do what they have to do. TRANSLATION:


burka gives me safety, if I have meetings with the Government I wear


my burka and I feel very comfortable. I have seen they


respect it. When I go there they stand up for me. For women like you


they wouldn't stand up. When I sit down then they sit down. This burka


compels them to respect me. Me and you are very different. I asked her


if she thought of herself as extremist? TRANSLATION: Yes I am,


what is wrong with that. If you asked a doctor if he's a doctor why


would he be ashamed of that. He has to say, yes I am. You are happy to


call yourself extremist? TRANSLATION: Yes, I am and I'm


happy about it. Her views may be extreme, but they are not uncommon.


A recent survey of 5,000 young Pakistanis suggest over half


believe the current democratic system has not been good for the


people. What's more they prefer a Sharia system over democracy.


Malala and the girls have taken on the fight for better education for


millions of girls here, but whatever form it comes in getting


it is still a long way away. If you want to find out more about


Malala's story and girls' education in Pakistan look out for Nel's


documentary on BBC Three next month. A cultural milestone, it has been


loved, it has been admired, copied and a true sign of worldwide


significance, it has been parodyed. Now Indian cinema celebrates its


100th birthday. We have been looking at how it looks aged 100.


Hurray for bowl wood. This is a new release hitting the Indian


multiplexes in a few weeks time. Singing, dancing, young love. It is


not everyone's cup of tea. But a billion people can't be wrong.


love going to the cinema, it is part of the culture, cinema,


cricket, it is kind of a celebration to go to their


favourite actors' movies. They taken a entire family. It is an


expensive date. This was the first- ever Indian film. A black and white


silent movie, released 100 years ago tomorrow. We found out some


interesting detail about how long it was. 3,700 feet. Over the years


a recoginsable bowl wood style and sensibility evolved. The producers


put all the money up on the screen. Or else they gave an Indian flavour


to familiar genres, like the cowboy film. This was a kind of tanned


doory western. Not everything -- tandoori western, not everything


crosses over says our man in the stalls. It is all about


relationships and emotions. Something like Bond will probably


not work in India. Audiences in India would say "is he married",


"where does he live", "who is his mum"? With the Bollywood film we


have the traditional masala formula which is every single different


blend, we have songs, comedy, dances, action. It all ends happily


ever after. 15 million people watch films in India every day. And while


Hollywood produces a buttock- stiffening 500 films every year,


twice as many are made on the sub- continent. They took almost �2


billion at the box-office in 2011. That's expected to be more like �3


billion within three years. One veteran of almost 5000 movies, that


is six month's worth says cinema is one of India's great communal


experiences. What expects India sometimes is cinema. When you are


sitting in a cinema hall you are not rich, you are not poor, you are


not north Indian or south Indian, you are not a Muslim or a Hindu,


you are just part of an audience. That is why I always say the


hierarchy in India is good, doctors and actors! Some of those watching


in the dark find big bold Bollywood movies speak to them when the


culture outside is less friendly. Bollywood is probably the gayest


place I know, but no-one talks about it. It is very much still in


the Bolly-closet. The audiences may be secretly gay, but as the society


demands within India they must be married. Is this Bollywood? Well it


is Indian, but it is gritty, contemporary. Some say the industry


has a crisis of identity. I think Bollywood is confused in 2013. It


is aimless and does not really know where it is going. The traditional


formula has been redefined, but redefined into what? We have


shorter films, last week I saw a Bollywood horror film. But guess


what? They still insisted on including two unnecessary songs. I


love my song and dance, but not in a Bollywood horror film, rated 18.


The future could be fusion, a British-Asian director was


responsible for this reworking of Jane Austen. He is about to


transform into the Indian MC Hammer! With me now is the director


of that film, and the actress who starred in a number of British and


Indian films. I wondered if over the years, say since the 50s and


60s, the kinds of movies had changed or whether they remained


constant? Tremenduously. All movies I remember when I was in India as a


young girl, they always had a moral message for the society. They were


not just to entertain you. They were either telling you historical


fact or social reforms that should be brought in. And also we used to


have a lot of agriculture and landowners, so the biggest dispute


in those days after the independence wars was that the


landowners were treating their subjects very badly. We had films


on that and the message was that you should fight against them, form


a union. So we had films like Kuli, in which unions were formed to


fight against the magnet. Who are the bad guys now, what's changed in


that, are they less socially engaged is the way to put it?


guys are now smugglers, international smugglers. They are


bad guys here too? Traffickers, you know they abduct young girls and


sell them. We have lots of films like Bazaar. The reforms that have


come into the Indian society since independence, thanks to the


screening of films and documentaries and things like that.


They are also tackling child marriage, taking revenge so we have


famous stories. Did you here grow up on them, if so what did you


think of Bollywood then when you were a girl? I grew up in west


London in Southall, when I was growing up there were three cinemas


that showed Bollywood or Hindi movies, it was very much part of my


childhood and growing up. My father was very fond of Indian films, so


there were two classic films that he raved about, Mother India and


Beji Barbara. We grew up with those films. They are very much part of


my childhood. What is important, really important about Hindi cinema


in this country today, there are many British cinemas up and down


the country that are being kept alive because of Indian cinema. If


you go to a cinema like the Cineplex in Feltham, that is


working because of all the Indians going there. Bollywood films or


Hindi cinema today is very important to the community, because


it is a way of reaffirming your idea and connecting with who you


are, it is pleasurable. Does it cross over? Do you think it crosses


over to a British audience? I don't think it does and I don't think it


is intending to cross over. doesn't need to, it can do quite


well, thank you very much? I think the important thing is it is a way,


as it was said, it holds India together within India. But it is


also very important for the Indian disas pra, so people diaspora, so


people sitting in India will be the same as someone in Australia. The


whole system is very global. Does it cross over to directors, Bride


and Prejudice was a crossover film, that is tricky I suppose? It is


tricky. There are very few of us, but some people do venture into


that territory. My very first film that you were in, Baji on the Beach,


hi snippets of Bollywood films I was Reverends, at the time nobody


knew what I was -- referencing, nobody knew what I was doing, they


were film that is influenced me growing up. Those references were


there, that was because at the time I started making films it was very


much about exploring who you were as a British and Indian person and


exploring identity. Within I got the opportunity to make my first


feature film I wanted to explore my identity through being a British


film maker as well as having a legacy of Indian films. I think


there is interesting ways to use cinema. But I think the person in


your report there was wrong. I don't think Hindi cinema is


confused. In terms of bringing India together and how it impacts


on the wider culture, does it change street fashions, does it


change the way people talk and think? In India it has a great


influence. The girls are dressing like film stars and of course some


of the films are now copying the western culture and the western


themes. The miniskirt is there now, very short hair which we could


never dream of. That has come through Bollywood, but having been


taken from there? Visa versa, Bollywood has travelled here, they


have made a couple of film over here like Bollywood Queen with


James McAvoid, he was the hero in it. -- James McAvoy, he was the


hero in it. I'm sure he wants to forget that. We will see happy


birthday, tomorrow we have the reaction to the local election


Just like the last few days decent sunshine across central and eastern


England to start with today. Not as cold a start as mornings past, a


little more cloud further west and thicker cloud, rain and strong


winds to the north. Certainly by the middle of the afternoon that


rain will still be sitting across much of Northern Ireland, a


disappointing ten degrees into Belfast. There will be snow above


300ms to the higher ground to the tops of the mountains in Scotland.


It will be wet and windy as well. That rain slowly sinking south


across the borders by the middle of the afternoon. Cloud into northern


England and down into the Midland. We cling on to the sunshine through


the Midland East Anglia and the south-east corner. Highs of 17,


maybe a 19, 20 somewhere with the warmth. A little more cloud across


the south west, the cloud thickenens for a few showers,


coming inland hopeful low you will We keep the sunshine and warmth, a


little more cloud into the south- east for Saturday. Cloudy skies


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