Monday, 9 December 2013

Review : Director’s Cut : 50 Major Film Makers of the Modern Era

Name : Director’s Cut : 50 Major Film Makers of the Modern Era

Published by :  The HarperCollins

Price : Rs. 239

Number of Pages : 320

Author: M. K. Raghavendra

About the Author:
M. K. Raghavendra is a film critic, scholar and researcher.

His other books include Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema, 50 Indian Film Classics, and Bipolar Identity: Region, Nation and the Kannada Language Film.

Raghavendra was awarded the 1997 National Award for Best Film Critic. His articles and essays have been published across the globe. He is also the founding editor of a web journal by the name of Phalanx, which is an online platform for debate. He is also the founding editor of a film journal titled Deep Focus. The author enjoys French cinema, and is fond of David Cronenberg. Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema was listed as one of the best books on cinema by India Today. This book, along with Raghavendra’s 50 Indian Film Classics, was declared by Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique as two of the world’s best books on movies.

Summary Of The Book

Director's Cut: 50 Major Film-makers Of The Modern Era, published in 2013, is an analysis of the fifty best filmmakers in the last few decades. This book brings together essays that focus on a wide range of work by these directors. Since the 1950s, cinema has taken a completely new look. Though the changes in filmmaking have been radical, cinema criticism has not quite evolved over time. This book has been written to fill that gap. It analyses renowned filmmakers starting from the 1960s.

Director's Cut: 50 Major Film-makers Of The Modern Era discusses the work of the Mexican director, Luis Buñuel. Readers will also come across an essay about the Russian Andrei Tarkovsky. Further, this book concentrates on the French director Robert Bresson, who was known for his aesthetic and spiritual style of work. Those who are keen to know about the French New Wave movement will find this book very valuable. The author has also covered the famous Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr, as well as the internationally acclaimed Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. An essay on the famous and popular Steven Spielberg has also been included in this guide. Five Indian directors are also a part of this book. Some of them are Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G. Aravindan, Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor, and Ritwik Ghatak.

The essays that make up Director's Cut: 50 Major Film-makers Of The Modern Era have been very well written. The book is sure to keep readers engaged with its coverage of numerous different directors from all across the globe.

Director’s Cut is an easy lucid and simple to understand book. It gives precise and consise information say in 6-7 pages, about the life of 50 greatest film makes of all the time.  I loved and enjoyed reading about Raj Kapoor, Woody Allen, Ritwik Ghatak, Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg.

Lastly,  would like to conclude that the Director's Cut make a  brilliant, informative, and entertaining read.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Jamaican Passion & Party

It was a Jamaican Day. Yes, I am talking about the Kitty Party with Jamaican Theme.  All of us were in very colourful and vibrant clothes with vibrant colours like Black, Green Red and Yellow.  Most of us were in the blouse that is usually short sleeved and the skirt that is a quadrille like dress popular in the Caribbean islands called by as bandana skirt in Jamaica. To make it more authentic we had worn the red head tie draped in a particular Jamaican way.

The party started with Jamaican Dumplings, Jamaican Patties as Starters. And then came the main highlight of the party. The Breezers that come in a range of flavours like Cranberry, Orange, Blueberry, Blackberry and the Jamaican Passion. I chose to have Orange being my all time favorite. I was enjoying and suddenly noticed that my friend was scolding the person serving drinks.

“What happpend” I asked her.

“Within half an hour, the entire stock of Jamaican Passion is over. Can u believe?” She replied.

“Is that so?”.. This made me more curious about this Breezer. Even I joined my friend in firing the management.

Looking at out heated arguments, the Manager came and apologized. He then assured us the supply of Jamaican Passion within next half an hour. I was really looking forward to taste this now. When the drink arrived, everyone attacked the waiter. Even I joined the gang and immediately took one. When I had a sip of it, I was in the heaven. Such an amazing taste, I have never tasted before.

The taste of Jamaican passion was simply awesome. Each sip of it left a tingle. The aroma too was very sweet, and fruity with a hint of passion fruit. Its was a perfect tropical drink.

I understood why everyone was dying this now.

The party ended with Jamaican delicacies like Jamaican Soup, Jackfruit Salad, Jamaican Stew,  Jamaican Rice and ended with Soursoup Icecream. However, Jamaican Passion made this party a truly memorable for me.

This post is written for Indiblogger’s Catch the Flavour contest in association with “Breezer”.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Raddi-Daan - A True Investments For a Better Tomorrow

My door bell rang. I opened the door and found few children standing with piles of new papers in hand.

"Madam, if you wish to donate your old news papers for a good cause, you may give it to us instead of Kabadia." one kid told me.

I became a bit curious and called the kids inside. One of them was a grown up kid of about 13-14. I started inquiring about this  new concept.

"We have started a new concept called 'Raddi-daan' in our society. (Raddi means old news papers and 'Daan' means alms) We will be collecting all the old news papers from the society, sell it to Kabadiya. From the sale proceeds, we will be purchasing various Books and distribute to under-previledged children at various Aashrams.

We have been guided by a group of Senior Citizens who will be supervising the entire process. The society office has allotted us a temporary space to keep the old news papers.

We will be happy if you support our cause by donating old news papers to us.

I was so happy to learn this new concept of 'Raddi-Daan' and immediately handed over my old news papers to them.

Not only the news papers, I also gave them lots of chocolates for the noble cause they are doing at such a young age.

And with this I recollected the mail I received from Indiblogger 'If Newton never told anybody about the law of gravity, if Edison would have only lit his own house, the world would have remained untouched by their brilliant ideas and minds. Powerful ideas of today are the true investments for a better tomorrow.'

Inspiring Speech by Ms. Rohini Nilekani and The Idea Caravan

 (Image courtesy :

This gave me an idea to write a post on 'The Idea Caravan' contest partnered by Indiblogger and Franklin Templeton Investments. Since I had already viewed the videos on youtube, I could connect immediately with Ms.Rohini Nilekani, Founder Chairperson of Pratham Books. I was also inspired by their mission of 'A book in every child's hand'.

By taking lot of inspiration from Ms.Rohini Nilekani, I planned to join the 'Raddi-daan' Gang. I am sure we will raise lots of funds from the activity and buy books from Pratham for underprivileged children.

Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Enlightening Road Trip to Kolhapur

My Credit Cards, Hotel reservations, Sunglasses, dry snacks...Oh how can I forget my Road Map... The list was running into pages as I was getting ready for an exciting road trip to Kolhapur for taking the blessings of goddess Mahalaxmi. This was for first time in our life that my sister Neela and I were planning for an adventurous road trip. All thanks to the movie Zindagi na Milegi Dobara. We were very excited about the road trip, the lure of the open roads filled with greenery, the rains and most importantly, the promising getaway from our routine lives of packing lunch boxes for our kids and grandchildren.

On the day of our trip, Neela arrived with a huge hand-bag.

'What all is there in this huge bag?' I asked her.

Nothing dear, just some snacks and empty bags for shopping, she replied.

I smiled. Till then our driver also arrived. First, I checked my petrol tank, it was full. We boarded in my car and the much awaited road trip began. We prayed to Ganpati Bappa for a safe journey. Both of us were very excited.

It was raining lightly; the streets of Mumbai were wet. Our car was filled with the freshness of Ambi Pur - New Zealand Spring air freshener. Being a Saturday morning, we were enjoying the rains on the relatively empty roads of Mumbai. I then realized that the air freshener was on the verge of getting over. So I asked my driver to stop the car near a shopping mall to buy some more Ambi Pur Air Freshener and other articles. We entered the Air freshener section. There was a pretty pregnant sales-girl who showed us the new arrivals of Ambi Pur Car Air Fishers like Thai Dragon Fruit, Lavender Comfort, Sky Breeze and Light Citrus. I picked up Thai Dragon Fruit as it would render a unique fragrance to my car. The sales girl thanked me for shopping. Being curious, I asked her, "Which month?” she said, "Sixth month." "Bye take care," I said. We then left the mall and boarded into car again.

"Did you observe that pregnant Sales Girl? I am sure she is going to deliver a baby girl." Neela told me. "But how can you be so sure about that? I questioned.

"You didn't observe her carefully Nandini. Have you seen her face, she was looking so fresh. Even her baby bump was not visible near the front but was visible from the back. So she is definitely going to deliver a baby girl. I can bet on it." Neela was very excited.

She continued, "You know, but my daughter-in-law is going to deliver a baby boy. I am very confident about that. This is her first time and I want a grandson."

Again I questioned, "How can you be so sure that your daughter-in-law will deliver a baby boy?"

Neela continued, "My daughter-in-law, Sonali is always tired. She is not able to do household work like she used to do."

I said, "It’s okay Neela, she is pregnant, how can you expect her to do house hold work?"

Neela continued, “And you know, her baby bump is clearly visible from the front, but you will not be able to make out that she is pregnant from the back. Also, she always has craving for sweets. If you crave for sweets, then the chances of baby being a boy are very high". Neela was very excited about her discovery.

We realized that we have crossed Mumbai and were amidst a lot of greenery. We asked the driver to take through Pen village, as we wanted to have the delicious "Potato Vada" of Pen village. We stopped near a small restaurant and ordered "Potato Vada" and Coffee for breakfast. The Vadas reminded us of our childhood days when we used to savor Batata Vada with our parents while going to our native. We relished the vadas in the company of a mild rainfall.

After Batata Vada break, we boarded the car again and realized that there was some bad odor in the car. I realized that my driver was smoking in the car.

'Kya aap smoke kar rahey the?'I asked the driver.

"Sorry Madam, galati ho gayi. I will not smoke again," the driver replied. I could notice some tension on his face. So did not say much to him.

I then asked him to replace the existing Ambi Pur Car Air freshener with the new Thai Dragon Fruit Car Air Freshener. The fresh fragrance of Ambi Pur - Thai Dragon Fruit immediately replaced the bad odor in the car and refreshed us again.

Our car was moving on the roads near Khandala and Lonavala. The roads were filled with number of waterfalls. People were getting wet under the waterfalls. We asked driver to halt. The road was full of gushing waterfalls and greenery. The climate was pleasant. There were dazzling lakes and a very breathtaking view. We started capturing the greenery in our camera. We again boarded the car and continued with our journey. We captured lots of scenes in our cameras and our hearts.

Our car was moving fast. We then stopped at Wai for our Lunch break. We indulged into Village delicacies like Zunka Bhakar and Thecha with raw onion & green chillies. It was heaven for us. We invited our driver also for lunch, but he refused saying that he may feel sleepy during driving. He continued smoking sitting under a tree for a while. I observed that he was a bit stressed.

After having the delicacies, we started with our road trip towards Kolhapur via Satara. My driver’s phone was ringing in between. I asked him not to talk on the phone while driving.

Again the mobile rang, but this time it was my sister Neela’s mobile. It was my nephew’s call. She sounded very tense but then calmed down.

“Please keep me posted and take care. We will return at the earliest.” said Neela and she disconnected the phone.

“What happened? Anything serious?” I asked Neela.

“Nothing serious as such, but Sonali has been admitted to the hospital now. But Neil assured that there is nothing to worry. Sonali may deliver the baby any time. So we need to rush back to Mumbai then.” Neela said.

“But her Expected Due Date is after 15 days, hope everything is fine?” I asked her.

“Hey, this is one of the symptoms of delivering a baby boy.  When there is a baby boy, the delivery is before the EDD and if it’s a baby girl, then it is after the EDD. I can bet with you now, Sonali will deliver a baby boy.  Thank god, nobody in the family has delivered a baby girl yet. I am going to call my sister-in-law first once Sonali delivers a baby boy. I want to prove her wrong, who predicted grand-daughter for me.” Neela was very excited.

Again my driver’s mobile rang. But this time, he stopped the car, went outside and was talking to someone. On returning he asked me,”Madam, I wanted to make a small request.”

“Tell me, what happened?” I asked him.

“Madam, my sister is standing on the road with her children, but not getting any bus since past one hour.  Can we give her a lift?  Her home is on our way. She has to visit a hospital, which is only 7-8 kilometers from her house. If you don’t mind, I will give her a lift till the hospital.” He asked me.

“No problem,” I told him as it was a question of only half an hour.

After some time, I saw a girl in her early 20s standing with her two daughters on the road. My driver stopped the car. She entered our car and was trying to fit her two daughters in front seat.

“Please send the children to back seats, there is ample space here.” I told my driver. His sister smiled at me and asked her daughters to go and sit on the back seats.  The two little girls were very cute.

“Baby, what is your name”, I asked those cute little girls.

“I am Manu and she is Babu”, the little girl replied.

“Her name is Manali and the younger one is Madhuri” my driver replied. But his sister was quiet. She was not talking to us. To break the ice, I asked her “How old are your daughters?”

“The elder one is 4 and the younger one is 3 years old” she said. This time I observed her face. She was looking very weak and pale.

The journey continued, and our driver stopped the car near the hospital. His sister got down along with her daughters. I gave some chocolates to her daughters. Our driver gave some money to her and we continued our journey.

“Who has been admitted to the hospital?” I asked my driver.

“My sister herself is going to be admitted.” He replied.

“What happened to her? And her husband has not accompanied her to hospital? I asked him.

He was reluctant to disclose anything to me. But me and my sister bombarded him with lots of questions.

“She is 18 or 19 weeks pregnant and going for an abortion in this hospital. Her husband or in-laws will not accompany her as they are very busy and most importantly there is a baby girl in her womb. Since she already has two daughters, they want only a Baby Boy” Driver was telling us with lot of pain.

“Oh my god, this is so cruel. We are living in the 21st century. One should not differentiate between a baby boy or girl. Both are equal in today’s world.” I replied.

“Madam, we are poor people and she already has two daughters. The girls will marry and go to their in-laws place, but we can depend on our sons during old age. My sister got a strict warning from her in-laws for a son this time” said my driver.

Now Neela got annoyed. “You should take her in-laws to the court. How can they behave so irrationally with your sister? And most importantly, determination of sex of foeticide is banned in India. You should file a case against that clinic where they are doing this illegal act. And most importantly your sister should never go to such clinic for determining the sex of unborn child”

“My sister’s mother-in-law is very knowledgeable like you Madam, she also can find out whether there is a baby boy or girl in a mother’s womb. This time she realized that there is baby girl in my sister’s womb and asked her to get it confirmed and aborted.” Driver replied to Neela.

It was a virtual slap on our face. Neela realized that she was talking about gender equality, but wanted a grandson. We both didn’t utter a single word thereafter. I realized that giving gyaan to someone was easy, but when it comes to self, we act in an opposite manner.  This time I remembered Saint Tukaram’s Abhang, “Bole taisa chaale, tyachi vandavi paoole” (You should respect that person who speaks and acts in the same manner)

We were heading towards Kolhapur. Both of us were looking at the view outside. There were sugarcane fields on both the sides. But it was looking sad. Then Neela’s phone rang. She smiled and disconnected the phone.

“Sonali delivered a baby boy and both are safe” she said.

“Great, Congratulations, should we return back to Mumbai immediately?” I asked Neela.

“No I want to take Mahalakshmi’s darshan as it’s not very far from here.” She said. I found that there was no excitement on Neela’s face, even though she was looking very happy.

We were now experiencing the stunning beauty of Kolhapur, with its flowing rivers and rivulets. The ancient monuments were carrying their age with elegance.

We reached Kolhapur near Mahalaxmi’s temple. It was evening time. Neela bought sweets and ‘Oti;’ of Saree & Coconut for goddess Mahalaxmi. There was a small ‘Gurhal’ near Mandir, where we had Sugar cane juice. Then our car headed towards the Mahalaxmi Mandir.

Since Neela had to follow “Soyar” of child’s birth for 10 days she asked me to go inside the temple and perform pooja. While entering the temple, she called me back.

“Nandini, can you pray for a granddaughter for me?” she asked me. I smiled and went inside Goddess Mahalaxmi’s temple. However, I changed Neela’s prayer a bit.

“Hey Goddess Mahalaxmi, next time Neela and me both want to come along with our granddaughters for your Darshan.” I prayed.

We boarded our car for a return journey immediately. The journey was truly very memorable as it changed our mind sets.

This is my entry for the contest "ThePerfect Road Trip" organized by IndiBlogger for AmbiPur, India.  Please visit AmbiPur India on Facebook.


Monday, 10 June 2013

WeChat with Nirbhaya

I finished my household work and was planning to go outside. But due to heavy rainfall, I was feeling a bit lazy, so  just started browsing the television channels. An interesting advertisement of new application was running on the Television. It was about ‘WeChat’ an application where we can connect with our friends or anyone from all over the globe instantly. I was quite excited to learn about its various features like voice messages, video calls, sharing pictures, and instant messaging within a group and immediately viewed its features on WeChat’sYoutube Channel.

I was very much fascinated by the App as it was totally free and hence immediately started downloading it on my Android Phone. While the downloading of the App was in process, I was watching the News Channel. A talk show was being telecasted on ‘Nirbhaya’s case, a girl who was raped in a bus in Delhi. All the participants were giving all kind of Gyaan to the media. It was very disturbing me.

And suddenly I heard a beep on my mobile phone. Oh, the WeChat was being downloaded completely on my mobile. And immediately after the download, I got a message from some unknown number.

“Hi, Did you recognize me?’

No, I didn’t , whose number is this?, I said.

Then suddenly I got a voice message and we started Chat on ‘WeChat’.

‘Hi, I am Nirbhaya. You forgot me so early.  I was in news since last few months and you forgot me so early?”  Said Nirbhaya.

I was quite shocked to see Nirbhaya on WeChat. “Hey, how are you? People are giving news about you on television that you are no more, and how come you are on Chat with me?

She replied, “Who said I am dead? I am still alive in this world. I live in India, I am still alive and struggling in all the small parts of villages and cities. Till a suitable law is passed, I will still be alive and will be part of such talk shows’. And then I heard noise of a cry.

"Don’t Cry Nirbhaya," I replied, "everything will be alright. We all are with you.” But I didn’t not get any answer.  

I started shaking my phone to find out where is ‘Nirbhaya’ and suddenly I found Bahar Datta’ a News Channel Reporter. She joined the chat with me on ‘WeChat’. Bahar Datta asked me , Where is Nirbhaya? I wanted to take an exclusive interview on my Channel. I will give her lot of publicity on my news channel. She will be popular all over the world. Her photo will be published in all the leading newspapers in India and internationally. I have contacts with all the higher authorities of Media”

I replied,’ Bahar, Nirbhaya has already left the chat, even I am searching her.’ 

She replied, ‘Its okay, I will find some other for my News channel.’ She left the conversation.

Then ‘Bapu Maharaj’ pinged me. ‘Namaste, I am Bapu Maharaj. I have heard that you were chatting with Nirbhaya. I wanted to give some advice to her.

I said, ‘Nirbahaya has already left the conversation, even Bahar Datta is searching her.”

Bapu Maharaj replied,’ Bahar is very selfish. She only wants news for her channel’. Anyways, please pass on my message to Nirbhaya and all such girls. My advice to them is whenever they go out, they should carry a ‘Rakhi’ with them.  ‘Rakhi’ is the best weapon to save themselves from any critical situation. Whenever they come across any such situation, they should immediately tie ‘Rakhi’ to the man and make him brother. There will be no rapes in this country.

I replied,’ Definitely, Bapu Maharaj, You are really great. where were you since so many days?

Bapu Maharaj thanked me and merrily left the conversation.

Then I found two people calling me for a Group Chat one was  a film Producer ‘Ram Kumar Verma’ and an actress ‘Rekha Sawant’. Both invited me for a Group Chat on WeChat.

Ram Kumar Verma,  "Hi, I have heard that you know Nirbhaya. Please tell me something about her. I am going to make a realistic film on her life. And don’t worry for the compensation, it will be in millions".

Then Rekha Sawant also sent an instant message,’ Hey I am the main heroine of this film. I have suggested some changes in the film, where the girl will be shown from a poor family and gets job in a Bar as Dancer. There will be few item numbers in our movie.” She then also shared some of her ‘hot’ pictures from that movie by using the feature of sharing pictures on WeChat.

I screamed,’What??? Item number in the film  based on life of Nirbhaya???

Ram Kumar Verma replied, ‘Yes, we had to make some changes in the story of Nirbhaya’s life for some commercial aspects and success of the film. Hence, we have added few item numbers. But don’t worry, the rape scenes would be shot intensely and will definitely get an award for this film’.

I left the conversation this time.

I was thinking of Nirbhaya and again got a message ‘You are thinking about me. I am here.’  Nirbhaya was back on the Chat.

I sent her the history of our chat to her and in response, she just forwarded a smiley face from WeChat to me.

I replied, "Don’t worry, Nirbhaya, I will definitely represent your case as a common person to the highest authorities. You will get justice at the earliest."

I then sent an message to Mr. Madan Mohan Singh to seek justice for Nirbhaya and to my surprise he joined the chat. He replied to my message.

But it was a blank message. I re-forwarded my message to him. But in response I got a blank reply.

I sent him a voice message on WeChat, but in response I got a blank or silent reply.

I was very much annoyed and started shaking my phone and suddenly …………

My son woke me up. He was asking me, Mom, what are you doing? Why are you shaking your mobile in the sleep and why the TV is on.?

I woke up and realized that I was in dream.

My prayer to the almighty to get justice to Nirbhaya as soon as possible....

Disclaimer: The above blog post is totally fictional and  does not express the views of any person, living or dead. Further, the contents of this post are not meant to offence of any person.

This post is part of Indiblogger's WeChat Contest. 

Please click here to get the link of WeChat's youtube channel.