Posts tagged ‘Calcutta’

Namesake: brings you home

brings you homeNamesake is a journey that takes you through a bengali family’s (mainly through Gogol, the elder child, whose name forms the basis of his very existence and crisis in his relationships) emotional roller-coster as they try hard to blend into the American society. Jhumpa Lahiri’s award winning novel looks into the lives of two generations – the migrated parents and their americanised children; the problems and dilemmas they face to bridge the gap.

Mira Nair’s cinematic treatment makes this journey emotional and enjoyable but cant do full justice to the novel in its entirety. when the credits roll at the end, though you may relate to it, there’s this odd feeling of something missing. from a film-making perspective, the transitions are handled brilliantly, never letting the edges slip with the pace that sometimes goes a little too fast i thought. there are more than a few occassions that are bound to stay in your mind even long after the movie ends; the one when Ashoke (Irfan Khan) reveals to his son (Kal Penn) Gogol about the incident that changed his life and the reason the name Gogol, which clearly embarrases the son and haunts him everywhere; the moment when Gogol realizes what his father meant to him after his sudden demise. there are humors that make you laugh out loud, the harrowing sadness of loss, and sweet smell of love; all together in Namesake. it sinks deep under your skin urging you to look at things that we grossly undermine and ignore – the undying love and sacrifices of our parents. And that truly brings the sense of HOME back to you, all of a sudden.

Tabu and Irrfan clearly steal the show, while Kal Penn (Kumar & Harrolds fame), though he irks you sometimes with his open-mouth :), makes a decent effort. the movie has managed to amuse American audience; slowly moving up on the chart. with the cricket fever already gone, and a niche multiplex audience flocking back to the theaters, Namesake is poised to win hearts here too. A must watch.


Songs i liked:
Theme (instrumental)

Yeh Mera Deewanapan hai



March 30, 2007 at 12:27 am 4 comments

Is Sourav the last icon of bengal??

DADA is back to the team. congrats to him. the timing was perfect and the CNN-IBN was more than happy to run a show yesterday over a topic called – Is sourav the last icon of bengal? that vulturess Ms Ghosh anchored it and put up some extremely silly issues like a dearth of bengal industrialists, leaders, entrepreneurs etc to the so called experts – an overt Suhail Seth, a confused Rahul Bose, the editor-in-chief of pioneer (who read it anyway) and clearly embarassed Rituparna Sengupta. i like Rahul Bose so much, so a bit of advice wont be much to ask for – do not be at such shows rahul, they are so dumb. i hope you understood that right after the show.

i was asked by a coleague a few days back – “is cricket dead in bengal?“. i tried to put up a brave face then, though i knew what the reality is. i have been told that there are celebrations across bong land when india loses a match. i couldnt say that to him, i was clearly embarassed. the scene during the last year’s SA match at eden gardens was so foolish. let me try to figure out why such high emotions fly when it comes to dada.

the factual analysis: sourav popped up at a time when bengalis were going through a long cultural, social, and intellectual dry patch. after the 80s, the golden era was simply gone. dried up was the pool of iconical figures that bengalis always associated themselves with. with nobody to represent them, bengalis, who were always proud of their bong sons – tagore, netaji, amartya sen, ray, kishore etc etc, suddenly were pale and prideless. so, we desperately clung on our past glory to prove a point over any discussion. in such scenario, came the bengal southpaw who did well on the field and eventually became the captain. bongs, like sinking souls, latched upon him. sourav became synonymous with bengal; albeit undeservingly though. the unimaginable bong sentiment over anything that has ‘sourav’ is not worth the talent in question. if people threw stones to him, we took it as our personal abuse. if someone dropped him from the team because of his poor show, we thought as if we were betrayed. so, we turned hostile to our own country, only to show the world that we are bengalis first and indians second. pity to us. it’s like we would abandon our freedom fighting and join british forces because netaji was ditched by gandhiji and forced to resign from the president post in congress. waah bong waah – “dravid utkal-o bang-o..”.

sourav is a good player, and he truly did us proud but so did he to the other indians. he got his due adulations too, not to mention the millions he makes. but if we continue to be over sentimental, tend to turn a blind eye over everything – good or bad, that he does, protray as if he’s the only one we’re proud of, and forego the national interests for his sake, then we are losing our senses. let us be concerned about other bong achievers too. we have done just too much – let’s keep the sanctity, let’s cheer the team – with or without dada, with or without greg; it’s our country – move over the XYZ. and finally, let’s dont create a situation where someone would tempt to ask “IS SOURAV THE LAST BENGAL ICON?”. please…

December 3, 2006 at 10:18 pm 1 comment

navratri, durga puja – the END

there’s this last glimpse. and then she’s gone, under water, after entertaining ALL who visited her during these 4 days, minting money for the ones who banked on her, blessing ALL who sought her (spiritually and selfishly)..

this part of bidding goodbye was always beyond my comprehension though. i used to cry when i was a kid. till this day i wrench in pain at the sight – her being thrown in the water, watching her getting disappeared slowly under the water. the END always paints the sadness, the cruel disposal; that’s the rule, i know. even for a goddess, there’s no way out..

i feel the sametitude with these guys – i am not sure whether this is the welcome or the farewell ‘biroho’. doesnt matter – the feeling is real, u know!

Subho bijoya to all of you…

October 3, 2006 at 11:17 pm 1 comment

Talking films: Renoir’s River and Malle’s Phantom India

My good friend Saikat sent a mail a couple of days ago from Cornell. we had always been very passionate movie buffs and share a lot of ideas to make a film someday!! now, one is an MIT scientist and another a disgruntled Techie, dont know if that wud ever happen. Nonetheless, our passion yet refused to die. here is the excerpt from the mail (i have translated it from bengali).

Saw a movie yesterday – Jean renoir‘s The River, which was shot at calcutta during late 40s and released in 1951. i am lucky to see some good movies on ‘India / Calcutta’ in last one year. The most striking one was of Louis Malle‘s seven movies on India (“Phantom India“, 1969) and one special movie on kolkata (Calcutta), all shot in the year 1968. This movie on calcutta – believe me, i have never seen such disturbing scenes for two long hours. entirely shot in lepor hospitals, slums etc. As i was watching the movie, i was asking myself “Is this disturbing to me because i am a bengali? still so much of regionalism?”. now i feel; an artist should ofcourse have a responsibility towards truth. but he should also and necessarily have a bigger responsibility towards beauty. Now this definition of beauty can certainly vary. but roughly it should match to a global sense of aesthetics. louis malle’s calcutta was disturbing globally. and at the cost of my city!


September 23, 2006 at 12:15 pm 2 comments

Calcutta rare photos – A collection from British era

recognize these photos? This collection is from a military photographer, Mr Claude Waddel, who was posted at calcutta during 1945-46. a rare collection, indeed. you can see the entire collection here

the old chowringhee

Chowringhee Street—Calcutta’s main throughfare, an amazing parade of fascinating sights and sounds. Every soldier who has trod its length retains memories of one of the most colorful and interesting streets in the world.

from top

this is not a google earth photo! Aerial view of Calcutta downtown. In upeer left background is Hindusthan building, U.S. Army HQ. The oldest part of the city starts at the esplanade and extends upwards. The city was founded in the early 1700’s. (more…)

September 21, 2006 at 3:57 am 45 comments



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