What happened in March of 1997?
- March 4 – U.S. President Bill Clinton bars federal funding for any research on human cloning.
- March 6 – President of Guyana Cheddi Jagan dies in office.
- March 6 – Pablo Picasso‘s Tête de Femme is stolen from a London gallery (recovered a week later).
- March 6 – In Sri Lanka, Tamil Tigers overrun a military base and kill more than 200.
- March 11 – An explosion at the Tokaimura nuclear waste reprocessing plant in Japan exposes 35 workers to low-level radioactive contamination, in the worst nuclear accident in Japan’s history.
- March 13 – India‘s Missionaries of Charity chooses Sister Nirmala to succeed Mother Teresa as its leader.
- March 13 – The National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China creates a new Chongqing Municipality, out of part of Sichuan.
- March 13 – The Phoenix Lights are seen over Phoenix, AZ.
- March 16 – Sandline affair: On Bougainville Island, soldiers of commander Jerry Singirok arrest Tim Spicer and his mercenaries of the Sandline International.
- March 18 – The tail of a Russian An-24 charter plane breaks off while en-route to Turkey, causing the plane to crash, killing all 50 on board, and resulting in the grounding of all An-24s.
- March 21 – In Zaire, Etienne Tshiksekedi is appointed prime minister; he ejects supporters of Mobutu Sese Seko from his cabinet.
- March 21 – Mercenaries of Sandline International withdraw from Papua New Guinea.
- March 22 – Tara Lipinski, 14, becomes the youngest women’s world figure skating champion.
- March 22 – The Comet Hale-Bopp makes its closest approach to Earth.
- March 24 – The 69th Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal, are held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, with The English Patient winning Best Picture.
- March 26 – In San Diego, California, 39 Heaven’s Gate cultists commit mass suicide at their compound.
- March 26 – Julius Chan resigns as prime minister of Papua New Guinea, ending the Sandline affair.
Early Sunday morning we drove up to the Chuck Jones cinema at the top of the hill to see a tribute to Shyam Benegal, and his film Bhumika.
Shyam is a wonderful person. We crossed paths with his wonderful wife, Nira, many times over several days. They were always gracious and fascinating.
Indian melodramas generally fall into a class of films I have little patience for, but this is a genuinely good film about India’s Tallulah Bankhead, Hansa Wadkar who somewhat daringly (for the time) lived by her own rules and become a major Indian film star.
The film starts with Indian dancing girls in the Bollywood tradition, which is always fun, and goes on to tell the story of this daring woman’s life, her strong grandmother, her disapproving mother, her arranged marriage, and her genuine loves and affairs. Smita Patil is really wonderful as the lead: beautiful and funny and sweet.