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An Interview With Comedian Inder Manocha

As part of India Week we interviewed the brilliant comedian Inder Manocha about his heritage and how he got in to stand-up:

Tell us about your Indian and British heritage?

My parents are from India, although my mother's background is Iranian. I was born in London and have been to India once, to visit the Baha'i Lotus Temple in New Delhi. I have inherited more 'Indianness' than I probably realise. Even though I don't speak any of the languages, I feel very Indian sometimes: my views on family, the way I can express myself, my mannerisms. But I can also be very English.

What was it like being a student at Oxford University?


This was Oxford in the late 80s. I was one of very few ethnic minority students. In fact I was a bit exotic. I went back recently to do a show and it was very different. Oxford was fine but a bit of a museum. A very traditional approach to my course (I studied modern history). I did a few plays and loved that. That kept me going.

How did you get into the world of comedy and acting?

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Bollywood: Facts and History

For India Week we are focusing on Indian Entertainment, Music and Film today. It is impossible to look at such a topic without looking at Bollywood. Bollywood IS Indian entertainment in many aspects. So if you don't know too much about India's Hollywood, then here is a short introduction for you.

History and Style

Bollywood is basically the informal name for the Hindi Film Industry based in Mumbai, which is one of the largest centres of film production in the world. Although it is the largest in India, it is only part of the total Indian film industry, despite the term Bollywood often incorrectly referring to the whole of Indian cinema.

It all started way back in 1913 with the first silent feature film made in India, called Raja Harishchandra. Over the next twenty years the Indian film industry grew so quickly that by the 1930s, the country was producing over 200 films a year. It was in 1931 when Alam Ara became the first Indian film with sound, but not until the late 1950s when films started to regularly be made in colour.

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Celebrations at Notting Hill Carnival

As England enjoyed its last Bank Holiday of the year, Notting Hill Carnival hit the streets of London with its usual colour and vibrancy, as even the rain managed to just about hold off.

Europe's biggest street festival covered the Notting Hill area in West London on Sunday and Monday, as more than one million people turned up to celebrate Caribbean culture. The annual carnival boasts colourful parades of floats and costumes, dozens of sound systems and enough jerk chicken to feed an army.

Since 1964 the carnival has been arranged by West Indian communities in London, and takes place on the August bank holiday every year. This year, due to the recent riots, there was a special sense of both concern and anticipation. There was a huge police presence making sure the carnival would be remembered as a celebration of London rather than the start of a second wave of riots.

"True Spirit of London"

Indeed, Mayor boris Johnson revealed that he hoped that the carnival would 'let the true spirit of London shine through', adding:

"It's right that the carnival goes ahead so we can show the world that the overwhelming majority of London's people are decent, law-abiding citizens who respect the law, love their city and want to celebrate our vibrant, diverse and historical culture."

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Olympic Football Named ‘The Albert’

After more than 12,000 suggestions, the name for the London 2012 Olympic football has been chosen. And the winning name is....'The Albert'.

Adidas, who are to make the ball, ran a competition inviting anyone and everyone to send in their ideas for names, before eventually choosing the name suggested by Robert Ashcroft- a 45-year-old from Derbyshire. Whilst the connection between a football and the name Albert may seem a little odd, it is actually from cockney rhyming slang, where ‘Albert Hall' (pictured above) means ‘ball'. For this reason, Mr. Ashcroft believed "The Albert was the obvious choice for me. It made perfect sense to name a ball with the rhyming slang heritage."

An Adidas spokesman agreed, revealing that:

"The London 2012 Games are becoming synonymous with the East End of London and it was important to us that the name reflected this strong heritage - 'The Albert' creates mass appeal to the British public as well as creating global intrigue."

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Hear All 12 Mercury Music Prize Nominees

This year's Mercury Music Prize nominees have been announced with the usual mixture of well known superstars and obscure jazz musicians. The annual prize is awarded to the best British album of the year as chosen by music industry experts and journalists, and is well known for its diverse choices of winners.

Whilst you will have probably heard of previous winners such as Dizzee Rascal, Arctic Monkeys and Elbow, chances are you haven't heard of acts such as Speech Debelle and Talvin Singh. It is this diversity that marks the Mercury Prize as so unlike most other music awards, and helps create the prestige surrounding it. The winning artist not only gets the glory, but also a cheque for £20,000 and usually a huge boost in album sales.

This year, the nominees are typically varied. Some have had huge number 1 hits, whilst others almost no one will have heard of before. Here we go through the 12 acts nominated, and give you the chance to listen to each one of them.

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