Good Will: Superstar slash philanthropist Matt Damon embarked on an under-the-radar visit to India on behalf of his non-profit, Water.org, to check on projects in Pondicherry, Chennai and Bangalore this week. Because the do-gooder’s on a serious mission to help more than a million Indians gain access to safe water and sanitation, we won’t dwell on the fact that he publicly gushed about his love for spicy food. (Lame!) [The Indian Express]
I See Ed People: After a series of cinematic train-wrecks, director M. Night Shyamalan ventures into the not-so-lucrative book business with I Got Schooled, a data-driven take on education reform in America. While the Twitterverse is already up in arms, Shyamalan is strangely upbeat, describing his results as “counter to what I thought I was going to find.” Perfect for a signature plot twist in the final chapter. [New York Magazine]
Inside Gay Pakistan: Homosexual activity may be deemed illegal and punishable by prison sentence in Pakistan, but Karachi was recently described as a “gay man’s paradise” in a BBC article. Journo Mobeen Azhar‘s eye-opening report (he just finished filming a doc on the subject) sheds light on everything from the role that smartphones play across the gay party scene to unexpected hot-spots for sex between men — Karachi’s busiest shrine, for example. A fascinating, nuanced read on an unlikely subculture. [BBC]
(Not So)SafeCity: Can a website play a pivotal role in tackling India’s rape crisis? The founders of SafeCity, determined to crowdsource reports of sexual assault and map danger spots in Mumbai and New Delhi, sure think so. It’s a timely campaign but does little to address primitive public attitudes surrounding rape across the Subcontinent. A small step, nevertheless. [Tech Crunch]
A Bolly Ban in the U.K.: Even a uniformed John Abraham couldn’t save the fate of Bollywood’s latest political thriller, Madras Cafe, which was banned in several cities across the United Kingdom. Exhibitors stated they feared violence from protestors of the film. The movie (did we mention it features Abraham as a strapping RAW agent?), set against the backdrop of Sri Lanka’s civil war in the 1990s, has drawn criticism for its portrayal of a Tamil Tigers leader. [Variety]
Aarti Virani is an arts and culture writer based in Hoboken, New Jersey. She has written for publications including Vogue India, The Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @aartivirani.