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How the Lounge team is feeling this week

  • Lounge's take on the biggest updates of the week

‘Yesterday’ came suddenly!

Can you imagine a world without The Beatles? Danny Boyle’s upcoming summer film, Yesterday, does. Written by romcom giant Richard Curtis, the film stars newcomer Himesh Patel. Going by the trailer that dropped this week, Jack (Patel) is a songwriter who is hit by a car during a global power outage. When he wakes up, he’s the only one who remembers The Beatles. He turns this collective amnesia to his favour, belting out songs like Let it Be, Yesterday, and I Want To Hold Your Hand in quick succession. The world is convinced a genius is born. “No one’s ever written this many great songs. How do you do it?" he’s asked at a press conference. If you couldn’t get enough of Across The Universe, here’s another big screen Beatles extravaganza to look forward to. —AG

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The Great Dying 2.0

We call them bugs, we call them creepy- crawlies. Lately they’ve even become gourmet cuisine. But insects, the unacknowledged link that knits together the natural world, are perishing in record numbers. According to the world’s first scientific review of this catastrophe, published in the journal Biological Conservation earlier this week, industrial agriculture and the use of pesticides is to blame. The review forecasts the world’s insect population dropping to half in 50 years, and to none in 100. Consider this: Insects are food to birds, reptiles and mammals. They are also crucial for pollination, and thus form a crucial link in the chain of life. According to the report, among the hardest hit are butterflies, beetles and bees. The trail of destruction is traced back to the 1950s and 1960s, with the development of modern pesticides and intensive farming. The rate of death has acquired fearsome levels in the past two decades. If the creepy-crawlies disappear, so, basically, does life as we know it. —BB

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Outcasts at the Oscars

Something’s rotten in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year. The organization behind the Oscars had already appointed and then lost a host, Kevin Hart, for homophobic comments. The idea of a “popular Oscar" category was brought up and shelved after widespread ridicule. Then came the news that the awards for Best Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Live Action Short wouldn’t be part of the telecast. Everyone from William Friedkin to Alfonso Cuarón protested, pointing out that editing and cinematography in particular were what separated cinema from other arts. The academy swung into damage control—claiming these four awards were being truncated, not removed—but it was too late.—UB

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‘Party’ rap

Brand after brand has jumped on the Gully Boy hype train—and political parties have now joined the fray too. Both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have released a number of rap videos taking aim at each other’s real and perceived failures, in an attempt to add a touch of contemporary cool to their battle of wits. Last week, both parties released their versions of the DIVINE and Dub Sharma song Azadi—from the movie’s soundtrack—that ironically takes potshots at them. Setting aside the incongruousness of the BJP appropriating a slogan last popularized by former Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar, the videos exemplify the flexibility and nimbleness of the parties’ propaganda machines. These have come a long way from the bumbling, badly produced efforts of five years ago. Both parties are reaching out to rising hip hop stars in the hope that their presence will add authenticity to the propaganda, though the artists—most of whom are resolutely anti-establishment—remain wary of hitching themselves to a party. We have to wait till April to see how successful these attempts to rock the vote will be, but the battle has already produced one clear winner. That’s the avowedly “apolitical" producers and cast of Gully Boy, whose movie became a cultural touchstone even before anyone had seen it. —BK

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