Teaching and researching religions, languages, literatures, films, and ecology of India: http://philosophy.unt.edu/people/faculty/pankaj-jain

Dr. Pankaj Jain

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Dr. Pankaj Jain is the author of Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability (May 2011), which won the 2012 DANAM Book Award and the 2011 Uberoi Foundation Book Award. His 2nd book is Science and Socio-Religious Revolution in India: Moving the Mountains (Routledge 2017).

He is co-founder of American Academy of Indic Studies (www.AAIndicStudies.org) and is the editor of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism (Springer).

He is Associate Professor in the department of Philosophy & Religion. He has published articles in journals such as Religious Studies Review, Worldviews, Religion Compass, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Union Seminary Quarterly Review, and the Journal of Visual Anthropology. He also contributes to the Huffington Post, Washington Post’s forum On Faith, and Patheos.
His research has been supported by the Fulbright fellowship and by the Wenner Gren grant. His teaching interests include Religion and Ecology, Indian films, and Religions and Cultures of South Asia and South Asian Diaspora in North America. Before joining UNT, he taught at North Carolina State University, Rutgers, Kean, and New Jersey City University. Interested in connecting ancient practices with contemporary issues, he is exploring the connections between religious traditions and sustainability in Hindu and Jain communities in India and the Indian diaspora. He serves as a research affiliate with Harvard University’s Pluralism Project, as scholar-in-residence with GreenFaith, as a board member of the Society for Hindu Christian Studies, and as a board member of the Executive Advisory Council of Hindu American Seva Charities, an NGO working with the White House Office for the faith-based initiatives. He has presented his research at Columbia University, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, University of South Florida, Florida International University, University of Toledo, Texas Christian University, High Point University, Lancaster University (UK), Andhra University (India), Univ of Rajasthan (India), and several conferences, high schools, radio and TV stations, temples, churches, Yoga centers, and other community centers.
He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and an M.A. from Columbia University (both in Religious Studies). In his “previous life” he had also earned a B.S. in Computer Science from India and had worked as a software engineer in India and in New Jersey. Dr. Jain is an active member of several academic and community organizations, is fluent in several Indian languages, and has published poems in Hindi. He was born in Rajasthan and had also lived in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Karnatak (in India) and in New Jersey, Iowa, North Carolina, and Texas (in the USA). Some of his papers and articles are at:http://unt.academia.edu/PankajJain/Papers and videos are at http://www.youtube.com/pj2017. The Facebook page for his book is at:https://www.facebook.com/DharmaAndEcology

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

3 Idiots - All is not well

Watched "3 Idiots" - All is not well, more hype than substance, good acting and comedy but poor storyline, especially compared with the earlier films of the director RH and the actor AK. I just could not help compare its story (especially the second half) with really innovative stories of Munna Bhai series, Rang De Basanti, Lagaan, Taare Zameen Pe... Compared with these earlier films of RH and AK, 3 idiots is pretty old wine in new bottle, 3 idiots could not rise beyond the memories of Dil Chahta Hai kind of friendship movies...I had somewhat higher expectations from innovative artists like RH (director) and Aamir Khan. I did like the film 3 idiots, however, it is not a classic in the league of other Aamir films...

Well, just found that I am not alone in my mixed response to the film:
Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave the film three out of five stars and states: "Going home after watching 3 Idiots I felt like I'd just been to my favourite restaurant only to be a tad under-whelmed by their signature dish. It was a satisfying meal, don't get me wrong, but not the best meal I'd been expecting." [38] Noyon Jyoti Parasara of AOL India too criticized the length of the film. " A 20-reeler – ‘3 idiots’ is 3 hours long! By all standards that’s too long a time, especially when the audience has shrinking tolerance level and attention span. It could have easily been shorter had the director preferred editing out some scenes," he remarks.[39] Shubhra Gupta of Indian Express gave 3 out of 5 star and criticized movie saying "The emotional truth that shone through both the ‘Munnabhai’ movies doesn’t come through strongly enough in '3 Idiots'".

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