Tag Archive: Kolkata


Shauli Chakraborty

Film: Bidehir Khonje Rabindranath
Director: Sanghamitra Chowdhury
Cast: Abhishek Chatterjee, Arpita Mukherjee, Angshuman
Rating: Average

This year being Rabindranath Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary, a lot of people have decided to commemorate the occasion in different ways. Filmmaker Sanghamitra Chowdhury too has, in her own way, paid tribute to Tagore through this film.
Sanghamitra explores Tagore’s grief after suffering various personal losses. He saw the deaths of Notun Bouthan Kadambari Debi, his wife Mrinalini Debi, his daughter Madhurilata and son Samindranath. Tagore is said to have attempted planchets in order to reach out to the souls of the departed.
It is a film within a film. Jeet (Abhishek) is a filmmaker who is planning a documentary on Tagore. He loves Bolpur and makes it a point to visit Santiniketan whenever he can. Jeet’s brother has a gang of friends who think this is the perfect opportunity for a weekend getaway and convince Jeet to let them accompany him to Bolpur. Like most youngsters these people know very little about Tagore and are on a constant lookout for opportunities to dope and booze and show very little respect for all things Rabindrik. How Jeet deals with this bunch and manages to shoot his film is for you to find out!
The music is heartwarming and soulful. In fact, it is the music which keeps much of the film afloat. There is a tribal dance sequence that has been shot in Bolpur and is pure delight to watch.
As far as performances are concerned Abhishek Chakraborty alone is worth a watch. None of the other actors manage to make an impression. From body language to fake accents — nothing seems to work for this motley crowd, most of whom are first timers. They seriously need to attend grooming classes before attempting another celluloid appearance.
The film deals mostly with Tagore’s dealings with the supernatural and the kind of impact those episodes had on his life. It is more of a docu-feature than a full fledged documentary. However, editing is poor and a number of scenes could have been easily done away with.
This is not a great film – as the filmmaker has acknowledged herself. But this is
definitely a positive beginning. We hope such films encourage other filmmakers, old and new, to make more documentaries on Tagore and other greats
as well!

Jaya Biswas

 
Film: Thank You
Director: Anees Bazmee
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol, Suniel Shetty, Irrfan Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Celina Jaitley, Rimi Sen
Rating: Average

Men hate him, women simply adore him. Anees Bazmee’s latest film, Thank You, sees Akshay Kumar playing a detective who specialises in extra-marital relationships. Akki tells heartbroken wives about their promiscuous husbands, enlightens them with signs of a cheating man and how to catch him red-handed. He educates women and makes them wiser. Well, now you know why!
The basic premise of the plot dwells on ‘Men are dogs’ and ‘Women are dumb’ philosophies. Raj (Bobby Deol), Vikram (Irrfan Khan) and Yogi (Suniel Shetty) are three married men trying to have some fun outside their marriage. Sanjana (Sonam Kapoor), Karthika (Rimi Sen) and Radha (Celina Jaitley) play their lovely wives.
All seems to go well until Sanjana senses something fishy about her hubby’s smooth-going life. On Karthika and Radha’s suggestions, Sanjana hires the perpetually flute-playing private detective Kishan (Akshay Kumar), who promises to teach the three philandering husbands a lesson that they’ll never forget. Sounds familiar? Thank You, sadly, comes across as a not-so-appealing concoction of erstwhile releases like Shaadi No. 1, Biwi No. 1, Masti et al. But most prominently, it is hugely inspired by Bazmee’s own film, No Entry.
While nothing significant happens in the first half, the storyline gets slightly better post interval. But just when you feel the end credits are about to roll, it starts stretching like a chewing gum with Raj’s ‘realisation’ phase in focus. That’s not all. It’s followed by an unnecessary and predictable flashback of Akshay and his wife played by Vidya Balan.
Pritam’s music is uninspiring except for Mika’s Pyaar do Pyaar lo number (from Jaanbaaz-1986), which is already climbing the music charts. The song sounds more like a remix and looks very much like trying a re-do of Apni To Jaise Taise from Housefull.
Akshay delivers an average performance; he does nothing that we haven’t seen him do before. One wonders if Akki doesn’t get tired of playing clichéd roles. Irrfan Khan is simply brilliant with his superb comic timing. Suniel Shetty’s character seems an extension of Hera Pheri. Bobby Deol is decent. As far as the leading women are concerned, Rimi Sen is good but not very different from what she did in Dhoom, Sonam Kapoor looks the prettiest of all. But that’s about it. As far as performance is concerned, this is certainly not one of her best performances. Celina Jaitley doesn’t really stand a chance as she remains absent most of the time. Mallika Sherawat with her item number fails to tickle you.
Annes Bazmee should perhaps say “I’m sorry” for directing Thank You. Watch it for Irrfan, if you must.

Return of the native

 

 

Pritish Nandy comes to the city which was once home, to rediscover the poet in him

 

Sayandeb Chowdhury


It was an evening that the city would relish for some time to come. Be it the lush spread at the Tollygunge Club, or the tony crowd that arrived in their finery, or the chirpiness of the birds that gave a more than fitting setting for reading of poetry, it is clear that such evenings do not come often. Those who matter in Calcutta seemed to be there. It was just a book launch session. But then it was just not another book that was being launched. On the dais, to talk about the book, the poetry, about writing and cinema were a galaxy of stars who had just descended. There was Anupam Kher, a friend of the author whose book was being released. There was Javed Akhtar, as poet and lover of letters. There was Prasoon Joshi, yet another man of words. There was Farrukh Dhondy, novelist and screenwriter and there was APJ Abdul Kalam, a man for all seasons and a poet at heart. But the chief attraction was the man whose book Again was being released along with the launch of  Nandy’s republished book Tonight the Savage Rite, co-authored by Kamala Das .  And he, in a white short-sleeved shirt coupled with a black waist jacket and Ray Ban shades looked as far from a poet as one can be. But that is what Pritish Nandy is all about: dandy and delectably cerebral at the same time, and it was he who had made sure that Calcutta gathered at the Tolly lawns on an early February evening.
The proceedings were no less interesting. Tapan Chaki, Nandy’s old friend, talked about the itinerant traveller, lover and performer in Nandy, the man who has more firsts to his name than most others before others took turns to talk about the man, his poetry and poetry in general. The poems were vintage Nandy. And they attained power when the beautiful and effervescent Vidya Balan , who called herself a wannabe Bengali, read out poems from Again along with Nandy, the latter’s voice reverberating across the foyer and lashing on to the great greens nearby. Surely poetry, even though Calcutta is a steady supplier of many of its famous practitioners, hardly finds itself at the centre of such bonhomie and sophisticated affection, that too in such salubrious settings. But one thing is for sure. Nandy who has been there and done that and has never looked back, seemed to have returned to poetry when he is riping inside and may be outside. This was his return to the comfort and warmth of letters. And the city which gave him words.

A flash of vision

Supreeta Singh

One fine morning in her hometown Minnesota, a young Annie Griffith Belt headed towards the golf course with a camera. As she focused her lens, she stepped onto water sprinklers strewn all over. The effect produced a photograph that captured droplets of water bursting in mid-air broken into tiny bubbles by light. It was an image that changed her life.
 “A camera is a window used to tell a million different stories. Sometimes photographers see a moment build up like a crescendo and sometimes a moment presents itself serendipitously. Whatever may be the case, you have to forget everything else and concentrate on your work,” said Belt at the 35th International Kolkata Book Fair where she held a discussion on photography.
 One of the youngest and first women photographers to join National Geographic (NG) in 1978, Belt is a prolific artist and an author of several books. Late last year, she edited Simply Beautiful Photographs, a collection of more than 50 images taken from the archives of National Geographic. “There is an enormous archive of pictures that have not been seen at NG. When a photojournalist goes on an assignment for six months he brings back a wealth of photographs out of which only 20 or 30 are printed at the most. The rest get archived. I selected a few pictures and used them in a way that challenges the conventional notion of beauty,” she said.
 Normally, a sunset or a beach or a landscape would appeal to an onlooker as pleasant. But Belt showed a few photographs from the book that defies traditional meaning of beauty. From a carrot, dog, jelly fish, flowers, fields, cityscape to nuns, children, birds, tunnels, deserts, trees and roads, the breathtaking images evoked gasps of surprise and admiration from the audience.
 Belt explained that there are six creative tools or elements that transform an ordinary setting into extraordinary. “The first and most important element is light. Then it’s the composition which is the only thing a photographer can control. What you choose to keep out of the frame is as important as what you choose to keep in. Next is the moment – the most sought after and the most elusive element, followed by colour and time. Last and most important is a sense of wonder. NG images should inspire everyone to discover a new perspective of a known or familiar thing,” pointed out Belt.
 However, the elements alone do not produce a beautiful image. What finally pleases the eyes is the impression of geometry brought about when the factors come together in the right proportion.
 As a photographer who excels in travel, documentary and nature documentation, Belt argued that although technical development has paved the way for better cameras, a photographer must get close to his or her subject to clinch the deal. “You must get busy with people long enough for them to trust you. The biggest mistake you can make is not get close enough to your subject,” Belt said.
 There are many photographers who take umbrage when their work is compared to a painting. Does that annoy her too? “Someone had said that the gift of the six penny photography is better than any acts of philanthropy. Photography taught painters how beautiful imperfection is. I guess a painter and a photographer felt threatened that one would trespass on the other’s territory. Personally, I don’t care because photography is fun,” she replied.
 Belt is also involved in social cause. She develops documentary programmes that help poor women whose life has been devastated by climate change. In India, she travelled to Jaipur, Sunderbans and a few slum areas in Kolkata. “With a team of people, we document stories through powerful pictures and present them to NGOs and policy-makers and effect their decision making process.”
 So is she one of those who only see the poverty and degradation of India? “Photographers come for a million different reasons to India like fashion, textile, Bollywood. When I visit a slum I go with a purpose and not for an easy picture. There are people in every profession who exploit their art to meet a certain demand. But I found India to be the single most compelling country to photograph,” she signed off.

Diganta Guha

Bollywood’s famous music director Ehsaan Noorani of (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy fame), was seen in Kolkata, recently, for an event. This year will be a busy one for the trio. They have scored music for a number of big releases and have also composed the theme song De Ghumake for Cricket World Cup 2011. And now, Ehsaan is trying his hands at something different.
He is going to launch his signature line of guitars soon. Talking about it, Ehsaan could not hide his excitement. “I think it’s a big achievement for a musician. Thanks to Jasbeer Singh, the India distributor of the Fender line of guitars, I got this opportunity,” he said.
“I have been in this industry for quite some time now. I have done well, received global recognition. Jasbeer proposed that I launch my own line of guitars. Fender is one of the biggest brands of guitars in the world and is used by all leading musicians,” he said adding it was not an easy process. “There were lots of meetings before the deal finally worked out,” Ehsaan said. 
The musician-cum-composer confirmed that this will be purely a commercial line and he will go all out to promote it.
So what is happening on the Bollywood front? “We have our hands full. Right now the music of Patiala House is out. Then we have Don 2, Chittagong, a British film West is Best, Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and many more,” said Ehsaan. He is also meeting artists outside Bollywood and working on building global collaborations.
We have seen music, director teams parting ways but Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have been going strong and there has never been any news about infighting or problem between them. What is the secret? “We love our work and our entire concentration remains on coming up with good music. We don’t have time for petty bickering. The moment politics creeps in, complications arise,” said Ehsaan.
Bollywood music has undergone tremendous changes over the years. Ehsaan said change was for the better. “There has been a lot of improvement in this field, production wise, technologically,” said the composer. What about hordes of new singers trying to get a foothold in Bollywood? “It’s good since everybody has something new to offer,” he added.
 What about the music scenario in Bengal? “I have followed some rock numbers from Bengal. There are many musicians from Kolkata on my Facebook list of friends. We were supposed to work with Rituparno Ghosh. But somehow it didn’t work out,” Ehsaan signed off.

 

 

Fashion designer Kiran Uttam Ghosh launched her new collection Multiplicity that underlines her evolution 

 

 

Supreeta Singh

 
Just before leaving home, she broke her fingernail and arrived 45 minutes late to the launch of her own collection. By that time, 85 Lansdowne was a flurry of activities with Kiran Uttam Ghosh’s dedicated line of clientele immersed in trying the designer’s latest offering called ‘Multiplicity’.
Touted as a pop-up store, the exhibit was an ordinary showcasing of clothes and accessories. While the garments consisted of ethnic wear and western drapes, leather bags in yellow, red, peach, blue, black and white fitted into the accessories section.
 Talking about her motivation, Kiran explained, “I have evolved as a person and as a fashion designer. My collection represents that spirit in multiple techniques, ideas and thoughts.”  She further added, “All designers do the same thing but the world has forgotten simplicity and that’s me. The idea is to tell the story with elegance and not shout from the rooftop.” Translating this into fashion sensibility, Kiran’s collection is divided into layered drapes in metallic coral, gold and camel shades in fabrics like satin, brocade and chiffon. The styles and silhouettes vary with detachable neck-pieces that add to the ornamentation. On a different note, there are voluminous anarkali kameez in blazing red, emerald green and smooth white coupled with trailing dupattas and a golden metallic texture on the border. Jersey sarees for the young bride and crushed drapes in purple, green, black and red also feature in the collection.
 Apart from being a designer, Kiran also played the part of a flawless salesperson, answering every query of her young and old clients, explaining the convenience of a particular drape and fabric, recommending colour and cuts, and advising on style and comfort. “I think I am the worst salesman but when I see someone making a wrong choice for themselves I always speak up,” she said.
 Since most of her clients were looking for wedding apparel, Kiran doled out wisdom on how to look fetching on such an occasion. “Wearing a saree is not outdated. If you wear a chic blouse or choli with a saree then you won’t have to look like a behenji. I always say that be an aunty but not an aunty ji!”
 To Kiran, simple things make a long-lasting impression. “When you dress up, people should notice it and remember you. Just by adding a little drama to the way you drape a saree, a boat neck choli, a clutch in a vibrant shade and classy jewellery can lift your look. Today, the Indian client is ready to accept metallic colours in gold and coral that goes very well during pre or post-wedding events,” said Kiran. 
 After reaching a milestone with her accessory line, what’s next for the designer? “I want to make more beautiful clothes and reach out to more people. The next 100 ideas are ready in my mind,” she smiled.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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.

POWER DRESSING

 

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In today’s corporate world, one shouldn’t feel trapped in a basic-black-and-pearls dress code. There are too  many options now. Power dressing at work is emerging as a key factor in climbing the ladder of success

 

 

Supreeta Singh
Corporate culture in India is fast evolving. There is increasing demand for competent professionals triggering competition between the many deserving candidates. It’s important to set yourself apart from the crowd and you have to dress sharply to make your presence felt in office. While intelligence and efficiency are essential, what really clinches the deal is power dressing. If clothes communicate your aura, then you can imagine what a sloppily dressed person declares to the world. A well-groomed man or woman sends a subtle message that he or she means business.
Moushumi B Ghosh, a senior marketing professional, agrees, “Power dressing conveys that you are serious about your work and careful about details.”
Possible clients and employers are as impressed by an extraordinary CV as a neat outfit. In boardroom politics, a well-turned out person can dominate  proceedings. Ranju Alex, general manager, Courtyard by Marriott, Pune Hinjewadi observes, “We need to portray professionalism and yet be comfortable enough to be in those clothes for the entire day.”
When it comes to choosing what to wear, care must be taken of the occasion, because an employee represents his company and its image. Vipin Bhatia, marketing executive, McCain Foods India Pvt Ltd says, “On some occasions like formal functions or meetings, formal dressing is required, otherwise smart casuals or business casuals work.”
While Ranju loves to drape sarees at work, Moushumi is comfortable in dresses and salwar kameez.
Pushpesh Baid, managing director, Baid Group, reflects more sartorial styling. “My clothes range from formal to semi-formal, according to the day and the occasion. You have to look your best so that your employees and co-workers take you seriously. With split-second decisions in vogue, your appearance is critical,” he says.
Fashion designer Nida Mahmood has a few suggestions about power dressing. Sharp silhouettes, deep sombre colours, the right kind of footwear, matching accessories can do the trick. She recommends, “Bold and strong are the key words. Look for checks or solid colors for suits. For women it is a good idea to throw in colour with a scarf. Androgyny works well for women in terms of sporting jackets with pants. It is a good idea to team it with coloured blouses to bring in the strong and yet feminine feel. Men can play with ties. Slim fit jackets and trousers, button down shirts and the perfectly suited ties make a striking combination.”

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