International Updates From India, Israel

The following article appeared in The Hindu, India’s National Newspaper:

Explore Narnia in Chennai from Friday

CHENNAI: The magical world of Narnia, created by C.S. Lewis, will enslave Chennai this weekend as the Oscar-nominated The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe comes alive at Sathyam Cinemas and schools around the city.

The Narnia fever started with book reading sessions in Adarsh Vidyalaya, Bala Vidya Mandir, Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan at T.P. Road and K.K. Nagar, Lady Andal Venkata Subbarao, Sherwood Hall, Sacred Heart, Church Park and Abacus Montessori.

“We will also be holding reading sessions at Holy Angels School and Ethiraj College to promote the reading habit,” says Nandini, who handles movie promotions at Sathyam.

Theatre personalities Kaveri Lalchand, Rashmee Devadasan, Asim Sharma, and fans Vidya Sarveswaran, Chitra Venkatachalam and Anand Ramachandran read excerpts during the sessions.

Over 5,000 students participated in the reading sessions, which sought to remind children of the series Cartoon Network found to be second only to Enid Blyton’s series of Famous Five.

Visitors to Sathyam seemed to fancy the mini set: the larger than life wardrobe with a door that leads to the cold frozen woods of Narnia, complete with the lamppost and snow.

There was also a special premiere on Sunday for winners of a quiz on the series, with a menu from Narnia and gift hampers given away by actor Abbas, fashion designer Erum Ali and their kids, Emira and Aymaan.

The movie releases on Friday.

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The following article appeared in Israel Today – an Israeli monthly news magazine:

Israeli LWW Poster

Israeli LWW Poster

Israelis enter the World of the Wardrobe

Along with the rest of the western nations, Israelis have entered into the world of the wardrobe, showing amazing numbers at the box office for the release of Narnia. This adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe has been packing theaters here, despite criticism in the Jewish press regarding its Christian allegories.

“The Disney remake of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is pretty faithful to the book and the values portrayed are refreshingly uncompromising and definite,” Shoshanna, an Israeli, told israel today. “I think anyone who enjoyed the books would also enjoy the movie and anyone who has seen the movie, will be naturally curious to read the books.”

An American Jew who moved to Israel said she would not see The Passion, but she enjoyed Narnia despite its “Christian” content.

In fact, the movie has become a craze. Israelis are collecting Narnia action figures available in McDonald’s Happy Meals. The Chronicles of Narnia series is available in bookstores in both English and the translated Hebrew version. Computer games are also on sale.

But it is the biblical themes and spiritual allegories used in this children’s fictional series that are the most interesting contrivance emanating from the Chronicles of Narnia. “It was great, I wish all Israelis could understand the meanings behind the story and characters,” said one Messianic believer who preferred to remain anonymous. “Narnia succeeded in capturing a strong Israeli audience who, in the midst of likeable characters and high quality graphics, are hearing and seeing the message of the cross.”

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In other international news, the film opens in Japan (to huge audiences) on March 4.