Archive for January, 2011


 

Our Correspondent

 

Do you remember the beauteous bimbet of Om Shanti Om or the simple, small-town girl of Toh Baat Pakki? Well, Yuvika Chowdhury hasn’t exactly stormed Bollywood with these films but the pretty actress thinks she will make her presence felt with her latest film Naughty @40, where she will be seen with Govinda. She is no star kid and feels luck has played a big factor for her in getting a foothold in Bollywood. Excerpts:

Tell us something about the film…
It’s a comedy but not the slapstick kind. The film has a strong storyline, tight script and funny dialogues. It’s situational comedy and I can promise the audience that there won’t be forced laughs.

How did you bag the role?
Initially, Ayesha Takia and Amrita Rao were being considered for the role but later, I got into the scheme of things. I didn’t even have to audition for the role. The producer-director duo liked my performance in Toh Baat Pakki and I was finalised. The director (Jagmohan Mundhra) thought I suited the character.

Tell us something about your role…
I play a small-town girl who is very naïve and immature. She is like a child who looks at the world with rose-tinted glasses.

How are you feeling being paired opposite ‘comedy king’ Govinda?
Initially I was very nervous. But Govinda did everything possible to make me feel comfortable. He is very kind and humble. He loves to crack jokes on the sets and his presence makes a lot of difference. But when he is giving a take, he is a different person altogether. He never forgets his lines and is a through professional. I forgot my lines and fumbled a few times but he was very supportive. I am glad I got to work with him. It was a great learning experience.

Are you not worried about the age difference with your hero?
I knew this was coming. Yes, there’s a huge age difference but as I said before, he made things comfortable. After all, age is just a number. We actually behaved like kids and had loads of fun on the sets.

What are your favourite Govinda films?
There are so many it’s difficult to single one out. I loved Coolie No.1 and Partner a lot.

Mundhra is known for making hard-hitting films. But this time around he is doing a comedy…
Yes, you will get to see another side of him in this film.

What is your dream role?
I don’t have any dream role as such. Give me good banners and I am game for anything.

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Jaya Biswas

 

 

Film: Dhobi Ghat – Mumbai Diaries
Cast: Aamir Khan, Monica Dogra, Prateik, Kriti Malhotra
Director: Kiran Rao
Rating: Good

That there is no interval in Dhobi Ghat… is good, for all the right reasons. You don’t really want to take a break expecting something more spectacular to happen. ‘Mumbai Diaries’, as debutante director Kiran Rao puts it, is just apt as the tagline. Watching it is like flipping through the pages of a diary. Rao’s film is indeed a loving tribute to Mumbai in all its teeming vitality.
Dhobi Ghat is not a film where you walk in expecting regular entertainment. It is a take on Mumbai; the city with its hustle and bustle and enough place for all its immigrants. It is about the sea that listens to your story, absorbs and keeps all your secrets — which becomes the ‘Mumbai Diaries’. With its key settings in crowded, largely old, congested yet beguiling portions of this city, it is like a rich embroidery, which interweaves the intersecting lives of four people.
The film actually marks a subtle and assured debut for writer-director Rao and its radiant leading lady, a rock star and stage performer Monica Dogra.
Arun (Aamir Khan) plays a painter, a man who is fond of his own space. A loner by choice, Arun is a divorcee who is constantly moving from one home to another in quest of something. He bumps into Shai (Monica Dogra) an investment banker at his painting exhibition and they have a one-night stand. Later, he tries to absolve himself from guilt and blames it on his drink, saying that he never meant commitment. Meanwhile, in the process of shifting houses, he finds a video of the former tenant. As he plays the videos, Arun is unconsciously drawn towards Yasmin Noor’s (Kriti Malhotra) story as he tries to paint something of what he understands from it. Though he tries to be indifferent, the video leaves him devastated.
The film has three heroes — Tushar Kanti Ray, the cinematographer, Gustavo Santaolalla, who provides the background sound and Prateik who shines through in every possible scene. As Munna, a young, good-looking washerman who dreams of becoming a Bollywood actor, Prateik offers an incredibly funny yet sensitive performance. This not being a marquee Aamir Khan film, the other three characters share fair screen time and it’s Prateik who ultimately emerges a hero in the true sense of the term. As a brooding painter, Aamir underplays his character as required. Newcomer Monica Dogra as Shai, fits the bill with her broken Hindi dialogues. Though we see Kriti Malhotra’s character far less than Dogra’s, her performance as a docile, naïve young wife is compelling.
The only drawback is the script or the lack of it. Albeit the film boasts of a few touching moments beautifully captured, absence of a powerful storyline makes it a tad boring. Perhaps it would be perceived differently by a non-Mumbaikar, but if you’ve lived in the city, even for a while, there ought to be mixed reactions. Either you get a bit nostalgic, raving about the city or get some shut eye. But you certainly wouldn’t want to be reminded how people travel in local trains, why people go to Marine Drive or why The Gateway of India is thronged by click-happy tourists. Haven’t we seen it all before?
Overall, this 95 minutes film is a one-time watch.

Shauli Chakraborty

Film: Takhan Teish
Director: Atanu Ghosh
Cast: Jisshu Sengupta, Indrani Halder, Paoli Dam, Aparijita Ghosh Das, Tanushree Shankar
Rating: Average

There are some filmmakers who want to make good films but lose focus somewhere in between. And there are others who are in complete control all the time. Atanu Ghosh, as far as Takhon Teish is concerned, belongs to the first category. One is taken aback by the casting visuals, put off by the continuous, unnecessary and on-your-face sexual undertones that pop up at regular intervals. By the time the credits roll one is itching to rush for the exit!
The cast is impressive but the script disappoints big time. The film revolves around Jisshu and his confrontations with the four women in his life. They are his mother (Tanushree), his biology teacher (Indrani), his Facebook buddy (Aparajita) and his ultimate fantasy Mohini (Paoli). Jisshu’s portrayal of Tamodeep is good but could have been much better. After Abohoman and Arekti Premer Golpo, the audience is not prepared to accept such mediocre performance from an actor of his calibre. 
Even if Paoli Dam is being touted as one of the most promising actors, her performance in the film raises questioning eyebrows. The lady had serious difficulty in getting into the skin of her character. If her acting in Moner Manush was average, here it is bad. All her characters seem to share a strong family resemblance when it comes to the lovemaking scenes! Aparajita, on the other hand, looks fresh and comes up with a mature act. Indrani is her usual effortless self. We only wish the sylist had managed to find a more suitable wig for her.
One person who deserves special mention is Tanushree Shankar. She plays the possessive yet sophisticated mother to the tee. Hats off to the lady for managing to look like a million bucks even at this stage of her career. Rajatabha Dutta is first rate and Locket Chatterjee makes a mark with her three-minute cameo.
The film, however, needed more editing. Also the dialogues are repetitive and reflect the script writer’s lethargic take on his characters’ imaginations. For example amar ek durshomporker dadu amay dekhe bolechilen, cheleta boro hoye artist hobe nahole baari chere chole jabe (when one of my distant grandfathers saw me he said I would either grow up to be an artist or run away from home) is a prophecy that echoes in Tamodeep’s mind all the time. But the dialogue needn’t have echoed throughout the film. There are numerous other ways to depict resonance. Of course, the choice to use them would have been his but the possibility of boredom should have crossed the mind of the director of Angshumaner Chhobi.
Expectations were high from this film. Sadly, pre-release hype seems to have found more takers than the film itself!

Ranveer-Anushka’s day out!

Siddharth Kak of Surabhi Foundation hosted the Dhamaka Art & Craft Festival at Urban Haat, Belapur recently. We spotted Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh (of Band Baaja Baarat fame) at the event trying a hand at pottery with child prodigy Priyanshu. The event reminded Ranveer of his school days when, while making a clay pot, Ranveer had fallen asleep. When he woke up, his teacher told him, that his pot was the best. Geeta Kak and Pamela Chopra the trustees of Surabhi Foundation were also present at the venue. For Anushka Sharma this was a completely new experience and she enjoyed every bit of it. It was altogether an evening to remember.

Diganta Guha
If everything falls into place, Amitabh Bachchan is likely to act in a Bengali film yet again. Talks of casting Bachchan in the role of a fakir, who revolted against the British during the Warren Hastings regime, are on, confirms the film’s director Ujjal Chakraborty. The film is an adaptation of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Anandamath.
“We have already had a talk with him, but things will be finalised once Bachchan is back from abroad,” informs Chakraborty who is somewhat reticent right now. Shooting for the film also starring Prosenjit and Arpita Chatterjee, begins on October 15. “We are working out the rest of the cast right now,” says Chakraborty.
Bachchan has shot a number of times in Bengal for films like Anushondhan, Do Anjane, Yaarana and The Last Lear. We tried to reach Bachchan on phone but to no avail.

 

 

Diganta Guha

 

 
Film: Turning 30!!!
Director: Alankrita Shrivastava
Cast: Gul Panag, Purab Kohli, Ira Dubey, Jeneva Talwar, Siddharth Makkar, Tilottoma Shome
Rating: Good

 

 

Small and medium budget films have been invading  the front row for a while.  They do not need big stars and neither do they need huge production costs. They have all that in a compact script — that is what makes the film a big hit. And director Prakash Jha has caught the trend right. Alankrita Shrivastava’s Turning 30!!! belongs to that genre of movies. It focuses more on the script and story rather than taking the star value route. Add the entertainment to it and you have a box office hit.
The film traces the journey of Naina (Gul Panag) who is facing a mid-life crisis. The character of Naina evolves along with the movie, of course for the better. As mentioned earlier, the film works because of the screenplay. It has its sad and as well as funny moments and the director weaves them all together to present an interesting two hours.
In the film, Naina is seen as the rough-and-tough kind, who breaks down after splitting up with her boyfriend. However, as the saying goes, whatever happens, happens for the best, a new horizon opens up for her. And that’s where the film has its best moments. The sequences between Gul and her friends are memories in the film that you can bring home.
Let’s face it, Turning 30!!! is a modern film. And it definitely has all the ingredients of an entertainer. Yet, it creeps into the hearts of today’s girls who struggle to cement their place in this age. The language of the film Hinglish is more English than Hindi. Well, no surprises there, that’s what today’s dialect is and the films are just keeping pace with it.
A word on Gul without whom the film would have been incomplete. Nobody else could have portrayed Naina better than Gul who essays the character with elan. Add to it, her body language and the emotional turbulence she showcases, she absolutely captures your imagination.
In some of her sequences, thanks to the costume designer, Poornamrata Singh, Gul looked stunning.
Purab Kohli who plays The cry-on-my-shoulders kinds, has been impressive in the film.
A chick-flick targetted at the multiplex audience, the film’s future depends a lot on word-of-mouth publicity. Let’s keep our fingers crossed

 

 

 

Ananya Ghosh

 

 
Film: Yamla Pagla Deewana
Director: Samir Karnik
Cast: Dharmendra, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Kulraj Randhawa, Mukul Dev and Anupam Kher
Rating: Average

 

Yamla Pagla Deewana starts with a montage and a hilarious narrative on the ‘bhichhda hua family’ phenomenon of 70s’ Bollywood and the sepia-toned scenes from the blockbusters or yesteryears make way for a modern day family where Paramveer Singh (Sunny Deol) lands in Benaras from Canada in search for his long lost father, Dharam Singh (Dharmendra) and his brother Gajodhar Singh (Bobby Deol); and the first person he meets on the busy streets of the holy town is of course the kid brother! It turns out that the father-son duo has quite a reputation as petty thugs. Nonetheless the big brother promises their mother (Nafisa Ali) that he will unite the family. But, before that he must ensure his brother’s love story a happy ending by tackling the girl’s (Kulraj Randhawa) tough brothers (Anupam Kher, Mukul Dev and the rest).
After the melodrama that was Apne, it is refreshing to see the Deol sharing screen space in a comedy film and making the most out of it. It can be regarded as a tribute to the Deols as well. The black-and-white photographs of the stunning Dharmendra of 60s makes your heart skip a beat, the songs of Barsaat and Kareeb playing in the background during the climax reminds one of the curly-haired, cute Bobby Deol in his initial days, and Sunny dancing with a tube-well on his shoulder makes you remember the famous scene from Gadar: Ek Prem Katha. This is where you will get to see them in their asli rang. The scene where Bobby re-enacts the famous ‘suicide scene’ of Sholay is quickly silenced by a straight-faced Sunny who snaps, “Woh din gaye jab larkiya ise maan jaati thhi,” takes you off guard and then makes you burst out in fits of laughter.
The Deols compliment each other with their comic timing and Anupam Kher remains the brilliant actor as usual. However, it is Mukul Dev who is the surprise package in the movie. His acting is absolutely effortless-this kid has surely come a long way since his Ekse Badkar Ek days!
Kulraj, famous as Kareena of Kareena Kareena, has little to do than look pretty- in the first half as she sashays through crowded streets of Benaras in hotpants (which of course reminds you of Sonali Bendre’s Nirma act) and post interval she enacts a bit of Kajol of DDLJ, a bit of Kareena of Jab We Met and a bit of what not- but all through the film she looks pretty indeed!
What begins as a spoof on the masala films of the 70s, turns out into the modern version of the classic love story of Mirza-Sahibaan, but YPD is certainly not a Kameenay or Dev.D. The movie is an out-and-out masala film, replete with unbridled goofiness, Punjabi stereotypes, one-liner PJs, raunchy item numbers and unpretentiously over-the-top fight sequences. The cinematography is good, the songs apart from one are atrocious. A better script and better direction might have made a far better movie out of YPD but on the whole it is a movie for the aam-janta and a must-watch if you want a hearty laugh sans any brainwork. Same goes if you are a Deol fan. But, if you are a Rajinikanth fan then lookout for the scenes where Sunny holds up an entire balcony with one hand, or where he fights 50-60 people alone with his hands stuck in his pockets, or where he shouts and breaks all the window panes.  What Rajini can…Sunny can too!

Priyadarshini Chatterjee

 

 

Film: Fighter Marbo noy Morbo
Director: Ravi Kinnagi
Cast: Jeet, Srabanti, Ferdaus, Ashish Vidyarthi, Boiplab Chatterjee, Bharat Kaul
Rating: Average

Tollywood superstar Jeet and director Ravi Kinnagi, the awesome twosome who have delivered hits like Champion and Wanted, are back with yet another cinematic venture Fighter, Marbo noy Morbo. The film, as suggested by the title, is an action thriller and epitomises the proverbial ‘old wine in a new bottle’. There is an honest police officer, the corrupt police chief, a coldblooded villain, the happy family shattered eventually and the angry brother who seeks revenge. Every ingredient for the archetypal action drama is sprinkled with added pizzazz of foreign locales and perky music.
ACP Bose (Ferdaus) is an honest and principled police officer, who is transferred to a new town plagued by the atrocities of Section Shankar, the vicious local hoodlum who kills anyone and everyone that comes in the way of his real-estate ambitions. What’s worse is that Section Shankar leaves no witnesses either, a lesson he learnt during his stint at appearing in court as false witness. ACP Bose, upon taking charge, is hell bent on eliminating Section Shankar to task, but Bose’s superior, the DIG of Police (Biplab Chatterjee) Shankar’s accomplice manages to save Shankar every time. Nonetheless Bose unleashes a series of lethal operations on Shankar’s enterprises and although he can’t touch Shankar, he manages to seal his empire.
Another facet of his life, is Bose’s family comprising, his journalist father, the good-humouredly tyrant mother, his wife, his daughter and his brother Surjo, who is played by Jeet, the college hero, also Bose’s pet. Their’s is a happy loving family and Surjo swears by his elder brother. Much like his brother, he is a man of honour and tolerates no evil. His love interest, Indu (Srabanti), is a rich girl who chances upon Bose and his family on a train and through a series of funny incidents, ends up falling in love with Surjo. However, the story becomes sombre when Bose falls prey to the wrath of Section Shankar, who manages not only to take his life but also malign his reputation, projecting him as a corrupt officer who has played with public sentiments and squandered away public funds. Now it is for his brother, Surjo, to avenge the wrong done to his brother.
The first half of the film is a mix of light hearted fun, college life, family moments and the serious pursuit of evil while the second half is crammed full with action sequences. Music by Indradeep Dasgupta is commendable although the songs are not always aptly placed in the course of the film and are sometimes irritating interruptions. The film, however, boasts of some spectacular action sequences (with a touch of MI here and there) and a thrilling background score. The movie however doesn’t boast of smooth transitions between scenes and at times seems bumpy.
The scene introducing Jeet sees him hanging upside down, donning bloodied wounds and his much anticipated eight-pack. Jeet’s performance is the hook in the film and his abs were worth appreciating. Srabanti’s performance as a headstrong girl is more than commendable. Peppered with Biswajit’s comedy and a few catchy dialogues, the film is overall worth one watch.

 

 

 

Debutante director Kiran Rao talks about Dhobi Ghat and more…

 

 

Diganta Guha
How did the idea of Dhobi Ghat come up?
Initially, the story of the film revolved around the life of a dhobi or a washerman. That’s how the film was supposed to pan out. The entire story idea was borne out of experiences of living in a city like Mumbai where there are so many things happening all the time. A person living in this city cannot afford to waste time or energy. But everytime he leaves a place for another there is something he takes with him. That’s how the character of Arun (Aamir Khan) is born who stumbles upon ‘something’ that changes his world. 

Aamir is a perfectionist. How tough was it to convince him for the role?
I wouldn’t say he is just a perfectionist. I’d say he is extremely passionate about everything he does. I was initially nervous while narrating the script to him because there aren’t too many scripts that he ends up liking. But I’m glad he could relate to the stories of my script and his answer was ‘yes’. 
 
How was it directing Aamir Khan?
Aamir is a great actor, committed and extremely gifted. The rest of the actors were mostly first timers. With Aamir it was a different ballgame altogether. He kind of elevates your own skills while working. 
 
Some say, he interferes too much…
Honestly speaking, he didn’t give too many inputs on the sets. But yes,  during editing of the film, he was a great help. He is a very good editor and I sought his inputs on that.   
 
Tell us something about Prateik Babbar…
His character Munna has shaped up really well in the film. Prateik is so versatile he can get under the skin of any character. I find glimpses of Smita Patil in him.

Having stayed in Kolkata for a good period of time, would you be interested in doing a Bengali film?
Well it won’t be unusual if I say that I would love to situate a film in Kolkata because Kolkata has always been nostalgic for me. Kolkata is a photographer’s dream. And how can I forget the food!
 
Have you drawn inspiration from any Bengali director?
I am a great fan of Ritwik Ghatak and Satyajit Ray. I have also seen some films by Tapan Sinha. I saw Unishe April and Bariwali directed by Rituparno Ghosh. I loved both. 
 
What’s your message to your fans in Kolkata?
I was brought up in Kolkata and I am really looking forward to getting a good response here.

Do you want people to go to theatres with a pre-conceived notion because of all the hype being created around the film…
Dhobi Ghat is a film for the common man. I am sure people would find some details of their daily lives reflecting in the characters of my film. My mission would be accomplished once the audience manage to relate to the film.

Drift in the clouds

 

 

Mountain sights and sounds in winter will make you forget and forgo more than you wish for, says Supreeta Singh

We didn’t expect the things that happened on this trip. My two girl friends, Sammy and Debolina and I have travelled together many times before, but Lava and Rishop caught us off guard. It made us laugh, cry, fight, lose patience, forget things, meet wonderful people, spend sleepless nights and have an incredibly good time.
It was Sammy’s idea to visit a cold place during winter. We decided to spend Christmas at the small hill towns of Lava and Rishop in North Bengal. We were warned that the temperature could dip as low as zero degrees but we ignored it. Little did we know that the experience would leave us in cold sweat!
 
Day 1 – December 23

We boarded the 8 pm Kanchan Kanya Express from Sealdah on December 23 straddled with eight bags — thanks to our woolens. Our RAC tickets split the three of us. After dinner I went to stretch myself on the upper berth but got stuck midway. With one foot on the upper wrung of the ladder, one foot scrambling to touch the floor and one hand desperately clutching the seat, I hung on to the iron support with all eyes glued on me. A young man sitting on the opposite berth came to my rescue. Originally from Rajasthan, he now lives in Bhutan, he said and had come to Kolkata on a business trip. Debolina eyed him with suspicion while he chattered on about Bhutan and its beauty, showed us his shopping bonanza from Burrabazar and even handed me three one rupee notes of Bhutan as a souvenir! It was soon time to call it a night.

Day 2 – December 24

The morning began with our first disaster. In the bathroom, Debolina sent her mobile down the hole. We could not do anything but sit sadly. The mobile must have gone to the permanent lost and never found bucket of Indian Railways. Around 9 am, we reached New Mal Junction. We waved goodbye to our helpful neighbour, collected our luggage and disembarked from the train. As the train began to move, the young man called us back. Debolina had forgotten her bag that contained our money, tickets, hotel reservations, my wallet and phone among other things. Debolina ran and grabbed it. A few seconds late and we would have been stranded at New Mal forever! We could not believe our luck. That guy neither took our numbers nor asked our names, but saved us twice.
Our car was waiting outside. As we went up the hills, the tension melted away as we soaked in the natural beauty. When we reached Lava, our cabbie asked us to take another car and head to Hotel Paradise. We were perplexed. Lava was a small town. How much further are we going? Nonetheless, we followed his advice. We took a cab. Few minutes later, we saw the first cabbie following us. Why? Because we had forgotten our food bag in the cab. The third disaster.
We were already tired and famished, and there was more waiting! Half-way through the journey, we realised our fourth disaster. Paradise was cheap here, so there was a Hotel Paradise in both Lava and Rishop. Our first cabbie had thought that we were going to Paradise in Rishop. So he had put us in another cabbie for Rishop. But we were headed for Paradise Lava. As we did a U turn, we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! As we charted our course back, the driver politely asked us to pay Rs 200 instead of the usual fair of Rs 450. He wasted his time and it was he who was sorry that he had to take money from us.
On reaching our hotel, we changed, had lunch and went out. Our first and only stop was the nearby Lava monastery. We had emptied our bags and wore everything we were carrying and yet felt bitterly cold. We were shaking, shivering and turning blue. Walking slowly and braving a biting cold wind, we went around the monastery. Not a single monk was visible. They must have attained a spiritual elevation to evade the the chill. A few tourists loitered around. As evening fell, we were engulfed by fog that drifted from the hills and in a few seconds everything was enveloped in a misty embrace.
By the time we came back to the hotel, we shivered uncontrollably. We carried three small bottles of whisky. It was Christmas Eve. Out came our candles and cakes. Sammy turned on the laptop to play music. I poured the drinks. In the next hour, we danced and made merry and at 8 pm, three pegs down I fell asleep thinking that I can pass the night oblivious of the all-pervading chill. I was wide awake at 8.45 pm, cold and trembling. At dinner, we met a couple from Kolkata who told us that only brandy can keep us alive! At midnight, two of us knocked on their doors and begged for brandy, because death, we realised, is worse than losing your dignity.
 
 Day 3 – December 25

Our first stop of the day was Rachela Peak. Together with another couple, a guide and bottles of water, we walked up the mountain. It was hard, to say the least. I gasped and panted and after twenty minutes reached the top. The view was breathtaking. It was a foggy day. I stood at more than 7,000 feet above sea-level with mountains rolling on all sides, a forest inhabited by bears behind me and the naked, azure sky above. The silence was golden.
For breakfast, we went to Orchid restaurant at the city centre. The place was crammed with Bengali tourists, even during this off-season. In contrast to the quiet nature of the hill people, the noise of the tourists from the plains, was severely disagreeable. Even in Lava, they were stuffing themselves with bread, banana and eggs! Were they at a picnic at the Victoria memorial?
Stuffed with a breakfast of momo, soup, bread and coffee, we headed off to Chhangey Falls. The guide informed us about the films that have been shot here. On the way back, our guide suggested we take a detour. It was a scary experience. A vertigo victim, I almost swooned as I trudged along the narrow and steep path holding on to Sammy.
By early afternoon, it was time to say goodbye to Lava and head to Rishop, a hamlet situated at 8,000 feet. We reached Neora Valley Resort — a beautiful property scattered with cottages amidst a sumptuous spread of greenery. We were told that this is the place where Kanchenjunga can be viewed the best. I waited for it to be morning.
 
Day 4
December 26

It was 6 am when we were woken up by tourists shouting (or may be crying) Kanchenjunga! Kanchenjunga! We gathered at a view point called Jhoola Wala and before we could rub our yes and pray ‘look at me Sir’, The Lord of Mountains was gone. Since this was our last full day at Rishop, we decided to make the most of it. Along with a local guide, a one-hour trek took us to Tiffindara, another view point. The surrounding was magnificent. We stood at one of the highest points in Rishop and all around us we could see mountains covered in thick forests. It was another cloudy day and the cold was almost intolerable. But no complaints! We walked back through a forest, just the four of us, our guide included. There was no need for small talk. We were awed by tall trees, the deep gorges and the sheer remoteness of the place.
The day drew to a close with a campfire in the evening. We were joined by a family of three – husband, wife and their daughter. Swathed in five layers of clothing, we were almost hugging the fire. The night sky was clear and glittering with millions of stars. Sight to behold, not to tell.

Day 5 – December 27

Our trip had come to a close but not without the last, grandest surprise! Very early in the morning we saw that the fog had cleared. We tiptoed to Jhoola Wala, as if our footsteps may disturb His Majesty! And there it was! It shone in the sun, a large white mass of snow, floating in the sky, a mass that grew with the Sun above. Kanchenjunga in all its glory! We had got our Christmas
present!
All was forgiven! We were game to go back and plan our next trip!

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