Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
A stellar performance by the lead actors and tip-top cinematography makes the otherwise tedious and drab “Ravanan” worth a watch.
Directed by the seasoned Mani Ratnam, the film, a modern day take on the timeless epic Ramayana, explores the age-old tussle between good and evil in a new light. The script, co-written by Mani and his wife Suhasini, attempts to flay the traditionally held notions about Ram and Ravanan. Set in a picturesque tribal village, the film narrates the exploits of the local don Veeraiyya who kidnaps Ragini, the wife of the Superintendent of Police Dev Prakash, to avenge the rape of his sister Vennila. Vikram and Pritivraj, who don the modern day avatars of Ram and Ravanan, display considerable histrionic talent playing the lead roles of Veeraiyya and Dev Prakash. The film depicts Ram as hard-hearted and opportunistic, while Ravanan is portrayed as a kindhearted and magnanimous man. The movie draws a parallel between Ragini (Aishwarya Rai) and goddess Sita, Venilla (Priyamani) and Surpanaka, Gnanaprakasham (Karthik) and Lord Hanuman, and Singham (Prabhu) and Kumbhakarna.
The scintillating camera- work by V.Manikandan and Santhosh Sivan has breathlessly taken the medium of cinema a notch higher. The use of natural lighting in cinematography has created pure magic. The breathtaking greenery of the forest and the ethereal beauty of the waterfalls captured on camera is a feast for the eye. The impressive picturisation is complemented by an appealing background score. Synergy is achieved in the songs, ‘Usure Pogadhey’, ‘Kattu sirukki’ and ‘Keda keda kare adupalla’, penned by Vairamuthu and tuned by A.R Rahman. The resplendent art work by Samir Chanda further enhances the cinematic experience.
Sreekar Prasad’s slipshod editing seems to be the only weak link in the movie, apart from the rehashed script and the drab dialogues. The mad rush of images and the constant tossing of sequences from the past and present confuse the viewer and induce tedium. Although “Ravanan” is a far cry from Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus, “Roja” and “
On June 9, 2011 Maqbool Fida Hussain, one of India's consummate artists, bid farewell to the world and was buried in London far away from his homeland. The indomitable fighter, who was never deterred by the controversies he was mired in, finally bowed out at the age of 95, succumbing to a heart attack.
The painter from Pandharpur,
Husain soon became the leading international face of modernist Indian art in the 20th century and was hailed for his multi-dimensional talents, creativity and cubist and abstract depiction of figures in Indian art. One of M. F Husain’s most famous paintings was ‘Between the Spider and the Lamp’, and his paintings were largely based on the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, Indian culture, women, nature, horses and music.
M.F Husain made a foray into the world of cinema by directing his first film, ‘Through the Eyes of a Painter’, in 1967 which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Husain continued to use cinema as a medium to showcase his artistic ability by directing critically acclaimed films like ‘Gaja Gamini’ starring Madhuri Dixit in 2000 and 'Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities’, with Tabu playing the lead in 2004. Husain shared a close bond with the members of the Indian film fraternity and was especially charmed by Bollywood beauties. Incidentally, Husain considered Madhuri Dixit to be his muse and made her the subject of a number of his paintings titled 'Fida'.
Husain's invaluable contribution to art and cinema brought him laurels from far and wide and he became
However, Husain’s splendid career was marred by controversies, court cases and hate campaigns. Unfortunately he ran into the saffron brigade who took offence on his depiction of Hindu goddesses in the nude. Husain hurt the sentiments of Hindus by painting goddesses like Durga, Lakshmi, Sita, Parvathy and Saraswati in an offensive manner. Although he apologized and withdrew paintings each time he outraged religious feelings, he was hounded out by Hindutva groups and his art exhibitions were vandalized. Husain who felt insecure within his own nation went into a self- imposed exile in 2006. In 2010 he accepted the citizenship of
The iconic painter’s death was termed as a “national loss” by the Indian Prime Minister and the artistic fraternity mourned the demise of the “marathon man with no expiry date”. Anjolie Ela Menon recalling her long-time association with Husain said that she “always thought Husain as immortal” and that “his place in the Indian art world is secure forever”, while noted painter Satish Gujral, said that he considers Husain’s contribution to art as “unmatched and the most powerful” and that he “created a legacy”.
M. F Husain is survived by four sons and two daughters and his paintings continue to charm the world. Popularly known as the barefoot artist because for a number of years he discarded footwear, Husain was the epitome of simplicity and humility. Even though a few of the controversies he was embroiled in were self-created, the orchestrated violence he was subjected to was unwarranted. M.F Husain’s life and death are testimony to how artists are denied the right to freedom of expression and are at the receiving end of attacks by the so-called moral police. The death of
Monday, 25 July 2011
July 4, 1996: It was the first day of my college. In the morning I put on the best clothes which I had kept ready for the day. I tucked my shirt in, put on white shoes assured to survive the rain. I looked myself several times in the mirror and made sure that I looked just like a college student. For a student from Mumbai I would have looked more like someone working in our office.
Well, with a file folder and an umbrella [in my hand] I cautiously set out for the college. The streets were inundated by the incessant rain. In most places the path was not visible under the murky water. In some places weak branches from trees had fallen in the heavy rain obstructing traffic. Motorists who usually tried to push themselves through the traffic and others who tried to make their way through because they were running behind schedule only caused further traffic jam. I had to zigzag in order to protect myself from the two-wheeler riders who drove recklessly. Some pedestrians were soaked/splashed by two-wheeler riders who tore through the floods.
My worst fear was falling into an open manhole. I was nearing the college and for a moment I thought, “Ah, here am I; I have almost reached college.” No sooner had I said this to myself than disaster struck. My left leg had plunged down an open drain up to the thigh! By now I knew that I was not going to look my best on my first day at college. I knew that the shoe that hit the bottom of the gutter would be covered with dirt. But, when I actually pulled it out I was simply delighted to see that the shoe came out looking much brighter! This lifted my spirit and I was glad again!
I entered the college campus feeling happy, and my self-esteem had risen with the brighter shoe! All was fine until I reached the corridor of the college. Soon I began to hear a strange and clumsy sound. I hoped that it was not coming from me, but alas! It did indeed come from the shoe that had developed a hole in the sole during the inadvertent landing in the gutter! Every time I took steps to move about, the air was being sucked in and pushed out resulting in ‘beep’ sound. I tried cleaning the shoe but it did not help. I tried to walk lightly but that only added to the awkwardness. I wonder how I managed to spend the day in college. By now my only aim was to get back home and change. I promptly bought a new pair of shoes and discarded the old. I tried to forget the harrowing first day of my college but it only became one of the unforgettable days in my life!
Sunday, 24 July 2011
- Vinaya Patil
Saturday, 23 July 2011
My McHappy Day J
Beaming with excitement and curiosity, I finally reached my to-be wonderland everyone else called – McDonalds! I was welcomed by a very funny looking creature -- clown and McDonald Mascot by profession – that had the most contagious smile: Ronald McDonald. Everything was so red and yellow and bright, Aqua playing in the background -- it was perfect. Laughing and giggling I stood beside Ronald and got a picture clicked. I was ecstatic. I was pulled in by my mother and she asked me what I wanted to eat. I wanted what every ten-year old wants -- fried food! I was served the ‘happiest’ meal in the world. I got a little toy Ronald McDonald which had a sharpener attached to its belly, French fries and my favourite – The McChicken – yum! Munching on my burger, I looked around the room and I could see content faces, their mouths stuffed with fries and smeared with ketchup. I still remember how instantly I had fallen in love with the ketchup served there, the sweet, red concoction made me very happy. I even recall asking my dad if we could take some home. Delighted, my Dad asked me, “You like the place, don’t you, beta?’’. I jumped from my seat and yelled, “Yes daddy, I can live here, forever.”
-Zahra Zahid Khan
Friday, 22 July 2011
I go with 4 ½ stars out of 5 for this daring experiment and a great rendition by Linklater.
This is a little something for a friend who was getting married. To be frank, I wouldn’t have written it if not for her uncle.
It’s called Celebration, inspired by the Lord Tennyson’s Vastness (c. 1892).
A storm-felt sculpture not to be read,
And a bough, upon its bosom a moulder’d nest,
Astride its weary form, stood stark by the dead;
And beyond him, hung low in the West,
With one thousand rays of shadow and light,
And many in colour but only one in form,
‘Twas a baleful orb that over the gates of night,
A sun, glaring at a coming storm.
Then glided a rapturous paragon forth,
That on the passage of time had thriven;
They call’d her ‘Beauty’ here upon earth,
And the mortal engines of life in heaven.
Behold! For she sang and the people turned,
And the beauty of her voice caught like a flame
From heart to heart it sprang, and on, it burned,
Till her nobility was her soul whence it came.
The voice that sung nae deserving an old sun set,
But a sun rising in the East, in his youth!
Great and noble—oh, yes—but yet—
A man, as men everywhere are, a lover of truth
And bound to follow, wherever she goes,
Hither, thither, and up or down,
Through high hill-passes of stainless snow,
Or the foulest sewer of the town!
Noble and great—oh, aye—but then,
And here a prophet just has earned his due,
For the man was noblier-fashion’d than other men!
Lo! Shall we see to it, then, I and you,
To help the love paving their pathway still,
Until it presses into ardour the evening’s din
Behold! They rise with togetherness, and will,
Now, each others’ hearts aspire to win.
Autumns and Winters, Springs and Summers,
And all old revolutions of this good earth;
Travails of our Empire—carpentered wonders—
What is all of it worth?
Treasures are they all, if we all of us stand
Here as one, in this finest of hours,
Swallowed in mirth, and hand in hand,
To thus bear witness to the celebration of lovers!
Thursday, 21 July 2011