Monday, September 19, 2016

PINK, I Will Never Forget This Movie!

Some movies affect you so much that even after a day you keep on thinking about it...frame by frame! 'Pink' is doing it for me! 'Piku' also did it but in a happy way! But this hurt me, enraged me first and made me happy in the end.  We are reading about girls being raped, thrown acid for saying 'NO' to their advance and some murdered for the same word 'NO'! Esp. in our capital, Delhi.

The story in this movie happens in Delhi, very aptly! Three well educated, well placed in good jobs girls are staying together in a flat, which is common nowadays.

Image result for Free images of Kulhari and Andrea in Pink movie
The three normal working girls, Meenal (Taapsee), Falak (Kirti) and Andrea (Andrea) in the film, 'Pink'!
The movie starts with three scared girls in a car returning to their flat after attending a party where Meenal happened to hit a guy with a glass bottle.  A set of four boys are going in another boy, Rajveer Singh has a bandage in his left eye and they discuss about the girls who hit him.  I was wondering what was happening..thought if I missed something because they didn't show the party scene or the hitting of the boy! But the story starts there!

They come to their flat. Starts discussing about the incident animatedly.  Then the girl, Meenal gets a phone call threatening her about the consequences.  This can happen to any working girl staying away from her family.  

We think that this is like any other story, where the boy is the nephew of a politician, so the girls will be threatened and later put to jail, raped and so on.  But 'NO'.  This is different.  Meenal was taken to jail for 'enquiry'.  But a good Samaritan, a retired lawyer, Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan) enters the scene.  He is weak, forgetful with a sick wife.  He stays just opposite their flat and had watched the girl jogging in the park and then picked up by the police that day.  He is inquisitive and asks the girls to show the FIR...He decides to fight their case.

Later on, the court drama starts! Since the 'affected' boy had influence, his 'loud mouth' lawyer starts abusing the three girls with very intimate questions.  Yes, this looks like a normal story .... until now! Deepak Sehgal just watches the drama for most of the time.  After Falak breaks down, he gets up and starts 'talking'.

He starts questioning the girls.  It looked like he was  not their lawyer ... well, I should not reveal more.  

Amitabh looks like a sleepy, very old person, older than his real age.  But when needed, his booming voice comes out!  Movies are going to run for him...this one included.  'Piku' will be remembered always for his comedy and this one for his 'stayed back' acting!

Taapsee as Meenal is new to me.  She is superb.  She must have been an unknown, not very famous actress until now! She will go places.  First the scared look, then hurt look, then resigned look....she is great.  And she is beautiful!

Kirthi Kulhari, also is new to me...she did very well when she exploded in the court.  

Andrea, as a North-East girl looks timid, typical hurt girl for the mere reason that she was from Meghalaya.  

I liked the way Mamta Malik acted as a typical corrupt woman police officer.  God, we can relate to her. 

The best acting apart from the main characters was by Dhritiman Chatterjee as Judge! 

The judgement was unexpected and Amitabh's verse in his booming voice and the scenes they show during credits which was also unexpected, adds to the uniqueness of the movie.  Hats off to the director, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury!

We can see different types of men, the soft-natured landlord of the girls' flat (Vinod Nagpal of 'Hum Log' fame), the leering neighbour who was bent on proving that the girls were characterless, the boy's lawyer who questioned the girl in a very dirty manner without batting an eyelid (he must be having daughters, I hope!)...It is always the girls' fault, all men say.  Boys never get any advice from anywhere even from mothers. 

This is a hit movie, I know! No one will say 'NO' for that!

Beautiful lyrics with English translation is here!

The trailor of the movie is here:

Enjoy the movie without fail!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Our Treasure - III

I wonder how I forgot to continue the series 'Our Treasure' after writing Part I and Part II! friend, Shail, did a post on Thiruonam/Onam festival which triggered my memories.  I told her that we had seen a beautiful sculpture of Trivikrama/Vamana at Ellora(!).  During our road trip we had covered Ajanta, Ellora, Badami, Aihole and Pattada kallu at a stretch.  Now, it is more than one and a half years and I am getting confused! This Trivikrama sculpture is at the Badami Caves.  All the three of us, I, my husband and son were so overwhelmed when we saw the minute design of this sculpture, we spent more than half an hour, in front of this unique display of the talent of our ancestors.  Even now, as soon as I saw this, I felt breathless.  Have a look at it now and you too will feel like me!

Trivikrama, a sculpture at the Badami Caves (Karnataka). Notice the fingers, toes, the posture of King Mahabali's subjects pleading with Vishnu/Trivikrama...the Devas are on top...
Another angle!

The whole sculpture is here!
Click on the image and notice the hand holding a sword (on the right side). Such minute details can be seen here.  So many are there.
The story of the sculpture goes like this:

King Mahabali was a powerful, good King, though he was described as asura (demon).  His subjects loved and respected him.  He brought nearly the entire world under his kingdom.  He conquered Indra, the King of the Devas and occupied Indralokha.  He wanted to rule Indraloka permanently.  As per his Guru Shukracharya's advice, he conducted Ashwamedha yaga...a pooja to be the King of Indraloka.  He had done 99 yagas and had started doing the 100th, when Indra's mother Adhiti pleaded with Vishnu to help her son retain the Indraloka.  Vishnu assured her that he would do the needful.

He reincarnated as a Brahmin dwarf boy (Vaamana) and came to the Yagashala, the place where the yaga was taking place.  Seeing him, Mahabali asked him what he wanted, since it was the practice to give anything (daana, it is said) the Brahmins asked during the yaga time.  Vaamana praised Mahabali for his good and peaceful ruling of the kingdom. He reminded Mahabali that his great grandfather Prahlada was a great Vishnu devotee and also praised Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada's father, for his power and determination. 

Finally Vaamana said that he will need just three steps of land which he himself would measure.  Mahabali told him that he is not happy to give such a small amount of daana/gift and asked him to ask for more.  But Vaamana said the 3 steps of land would do.

The King's minister/adviser Shukracharya sensed that Vaamana was Vishnu and asked Mahabali to refuse giving the gift.  But Mahabali was adamant on giving the daana Vaamana had asked.  Mahabali did the sankalpa (sort of promise with tulsi water) and agreed to the 3 steps of land which Vaamana had asked. 

Next minute, the short image of Vaamana grew up in size, so huge that it was impossible to describe in words (which was called as Trivikrama Roopa).  The sculpture shows how the other images dwarfed in front of him.

His first step covered the earth, second covered the sky and when asked where to keep his third step, Mahabali offered his head.  Vishnu did that and Mahabali went into Pataal loka, below the earth.  

Before going down Vishnu gave Mahabali a boon as per the wish of his subjects, he will rule his country for one day a year as their king, every year.  This day is celebrated as Balipadya in Karnataka, Andhra and Maharashtra after Deepawali and as Thiruvonam/Vonam in Kerala (Thiruvona nakshathram/star in the Malayalam month of Chingam...Aug/Sept.).  Onam is celebrated in Kerala (for nearly 10 days, welcoming their King!) with feast, art festivals etc. 

I think I will be writing more about our treasures for a long time!


Friday, September 9, 2016

Foto(s) Friday!

Cloud pictures taken from a moving bus...on our way to Las Vegas!


P.S.: Third and Fourth pictures look similar! Which one shall I remove?! 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Ganesha Chathurti!


We grew up reciting

'Gajananam bhoota Ganaadhi sevitham,
Kapiththa Jamboopala saara bhakshitam,
Umaasutham shokha vinaasha kaaranam
Namaami Vigneshwara paada pankajam'   from childhood.

Ganesha Chathurti festival means, at home, in my mother's place, is normal Ganesh pooja with many Ganesh shlokhas.  We, Mangaloreans don't keep painted Ganesha or clay Ganesha but pooja is done to the usual Ganesh vigraha! Amma used to make coconut and jaggery stuffed modaks out of maida or wheat flour, fried in oil.  The usual different types of fruits are kept in front of god.  Appa  used to do the pooja reciting a number of shlokas. 

But after marriage into a Tamil family, the celebration of this festival became entirely different! We have to draw rangoli in front of our doors which was not important in Mangalore/Udupi.

Normal day rangoli/kolam
Festival day rangoli/kolam
We have to draw normal rangoli/kolam on normal days and padikkolam with red coloured border (Kaavi).  Normal days' kolam can be drawn with rangoli powder but on festival days it is maakkolam (rice soaked and ground with water, drawn with a small piece of cloth).  I learnt to draw this kolam very soon.  We lived with my sis in law for a few months to learn cooking (very slight difference from Mangalore cooking...use gingilly oil and groundnut/refined oil instead of coconut oil!) and the way to celebrate festivals in Tamil style. I was working then and so learnt some of the tough cooking slowly! One was the making of kozhukkattai/modak on Ganesh Chathurti! I was postponing to learn this and one day my husband said that his cousin had prepared kozhukkattai, the taste of which was still in his mouth! This woke me up from slumber/laziness.  I opened the book 'Samaiththuppaar' (cook & see) which was given to me by my friend maami .

Did the kozhukkattai and I never stopped from then on! Started doing all the sweet and savouries for all the festivals, thanks to the book!  Our Hindu festivals make us become active from our routine cooking.  God doesn't expect anything from us except whole-hearted prayers.  But in India, different regions celebrate our festivals in different styles.  Everything is interesting in their own way!

I had written about the way we celebrate Ganesh Chathurti is explained here.
My mother had ingrained in my brain that if we skip celebrating festivals once, we might be compelled to skip for the next 3 years, means, some death or something will happen in the family and we are barred from celebrating festivals the whole year! I know it is silly, but....

So, celebrate festivals happily and enjoy! The recipes might not come out easily in the first attempt, but you will improve in the years to come!


P.S. (Edited to add on Vinayaka Chathurti day, 5.9.16): I want to add this song of Seekaazhi Govindarajan, which is my favourite song on Ganesha till date! This is the first Tamil song we learnt after coming to Madras in 1962, without even knowing the language! I, my sister and brother used to sing this together...all of us were very small children then! Enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2016

I Am Overwhelmed By Rabindranath Tagore & Anurag Basu!

First I must thank the director, Anurag Basu for introducing ordinary people like me to such intense stories by our own Indian Writer/Nobel laureate/Painter/Poet, Rabindranath Tagore.  I know Tagore as a poet (Gitanjali...a bit familiar), a writer of our National Anthem 'Jana Gana Mana', vaguely familiar with his paintings also.  I knew he wrote stories.  Am very familiar with Rabindra Sangeet, have heard them and watched them in TV.  Love the typical/unique tune of those songs.  But never knew that his stories were so intense, psychological, women oriented.

Well...I am talking about the TV serial 'Rabindranath Tagore Stories' which is being screened in EPIC channel at present.  The stories are based on the lifestyle of  people in India, esp. Bengal in the 1920s and 1930s.  I can relate/understand the situation in those days because I have heard from my mother and her sister, some typical stories of suppressed women of those days.  But here, in Tagore's stories, the women are portrayed as very intelligent, sometimes rebellious, who wanted to come out of the so called 'traditional' web. I had two grandmothers (Father's and Mother's mothers), both widows, one's head was shaved and no blouse, the other one wore blouse and even home stitched underwear! The first one always sang bhajans, shlokas, very religious and the other one recited shlokas but loved classical music, film songs, watched movies with daughters, read books and newspapers etc.  Well, let me go back to the Tagore stories now!

Please read about our Tagore first....He was born on 7th May, 1861 in Calcutta.  Lived for 80 years...and gave us so much in literature/poetry and many more things.  He is the youngest of thirteen children, lost his mother very early in his life and was brought up mostly by servants Wiki says that many of his siblings became famous in some or other area.  Tagore largely avoided classroom schooling and preferred to roam the manor or nearby Bolpur and Panihati, idylls which the family visited. His brother Hemendranath tutored and physically conditioned him—by having him swim the Ganges or trek through hills, by gymnastics, and by practising judo and wrestling. He learned drawing, anatomy, geography and history, literature, mathematics, Sanskrit, and English—his least favourite subject. Tagore loathed formal education—his scholarly travails at the local Presidency College spanned a single day. Years later he held that proper teaching does not explain things; proper teaching stokes curiosity.

He comes from a Zamindar family and so, no dearth of money at any time in his life.  His father wanted him to become a lawyer and sent him to law school in the U.K.  He didn't complete that course but was interested in English poets!

Became interested in painting at the age of 60 and had an exhibition in France!

He wrote and acted in drama-opera! Mind boggling personality, he was!

I have watched some movies based on his stories, again, they were based on the period of early 1900s, lifestyle in Bengal.

He started Vishwabharathi University in Shantiniketan (Indira Gandhi studied there, I think!)

Hmmm....I must thank the director of Rabindranath Tagore stories, a Hindi serial, Anurag Basu.

Until now, I didn't have an idea of how great Tagore was. He had written all types of stories from love stories to thrillers! Superb story-teller and great director combination is here! Wherever music is needed, Rabindra Sangeet is used.  Background music is memorable...yes, memorable! A big plus point to the serial. I am addicted to this programme.

He says in this video clip given below that he approached many channels for screening Rabinranath Tagore stories, which were short stories in individual episodes.  At last EPIC channel accepted and now, they are being screened in the channel.  Many familiar faces of TV and movies are there in nearly every episode.  You see them in entirely different angle.  Serious, good acting.  The women are beautiful in traditional Bengali dresses.  Men in dhothies with old, oily hairstyle.  I was feeling, sometimes heavy-hearted ('Tyaag'), sometimes laughing loudly ('Dhai Aakhar Prem Ka') after watching each episode! I started watching a bit late, so missed some episodes.  They are available in Netflix, it seems.  The name of the stories are here. Each and every episode/story is a gem.

My favourite actress Radhika Apte is in an episode.  Mind-blowing acting!

Now, to a glimpse of 'Rabindranath Tagore stories' clip! I used to use Punjabi words like 'Puththar' at home when 'Buniyaad' serial was screened in DD, long back and now, pronounce Chandrakanth as Chondrokonth, Madhavi as Madhabi!

This EPIC channel has got many interesting programmes, mostly based on India, its history, heritage and mythology.

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