Monthly Archives

December 2016

Why this Book? – Day 980

By | Films, Print Coverage | No Comments


India is the biggest producer of feature films and the world looks up to as for our inventive measures.Where we fail is in not preserving our heritage. Old guards say almost all the full length feature films like Raja Harishchandra or our first talkie Alam Ara and many other significant films don’t exist.

So many of our classics have been destroyed in fire, floods and out of negligence and in fact whenever actors/ filmmakers have been invited for retrospectives to international film festivals they have discovered that the required print is either scratched, damaged beyond repair or simply missing. How depressing is that.

Unfortunately none of our old writers and lyricists have preserved their jottings, we have no unused tunes preserved by music directors except perhaps Madan Mohan whose son Sanjeev Kohli gathered the scratches and inspired Yash Chopra to use them all in Veer Zaara.

I was reading Dilip Kumar’s autobiography and learnt that the actor made significant contributions in all his scripts and had a very methodical way of sketching his characters be it a period film or a mainstream masala or homework on the dialogue sheets, music directors have not preserved their rejected tunes most of the time deleted instantly and producers have not preserved film costumes as most of them were utilized as wedding trousseau of the family members.

Hopefully our present generation of actors and filmmakers are learning from their senior’s mistakes and preserving if not all, at least their better films. Our old filmmakers did not have the facilities of modern technology, our youngsters do and if they fail they will not be forgiven.

For the next few weeks I will travel you through the 100 years of cinema as I celebrate my new book

Once Upon A Time in India – A century of Indian cinema.


My previous posts can be visited on the following link:


Kahaani 2 is gripping! – Day 979

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Film Review: Kahaani 2

Date: 02 December 2016

Director: Sujoy Ghosh

Writers: Suresh Nair/ story, Ritesh Shah/ dialogues

Cast: Vidya Balan, Arjun Rampal, Naisha Khanna, Jugal Hansraj

Rating: 3.5 stars


The film opens to an engaging routine involving a single mother and her disabled daughter who are happy to spend a lazy Sunday doing mundane activities. The next morning Vidya Sinha is a regular housewife rushing with domestic chores and grasping for breath to reach her office on time. By the time she grabs some sweet from a local shop to celebrate the good news with Mini, her daughter; the film has you on the edge of your seat.

In 2012 filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh and his team presented Kahaani, the story of a heavily pregnant Vidya Bagchi who arrives in India looking for her missing husband! This time Vidya Sinha is looking for her missing daughter!! Last time Vidya Balan ended the story in the middle of the street amidst celebrations of Goddess Durga festival. This time she is manifested into Durga Rani to fight for her daughter.

The filmmaker has gone out of his way to emphasize that Kahaani 2 is not a sequel but an installment which is another way of saying that it should not be compare with the original. The fact is it is the same brand and comparisons are inevitable. In storytelling and content the former is way superior to the latter.

This time the plot gets predictable post interval and the climax is exaggeratedly simple. It is verbose without any visual/ musical relief. Some questions remain unanswered: Strange that Vidya’s sensitive boyfriend never tries to contact her in all these years. Strange that she has an attendant for her daughter but no tutor coming home to pursue her education?

The advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. The pace is fast and gripping, the script responsible and detailed. There are other unforgettable moments significant to the story like the accident expertly captured by cinematographer Tapan Basu.

Director Sujoy Ghosh visits his locations like characters and creates magical moments out of silences. The sequence where Vidya Balan visits Dewan mansion looking for clues is mesmerizing, her interactions with the senior and junior Dewan moments to remember.

Kahaani 2 addresses the single working mother, child abuse, disability and cracks the whip on the growing negligence and irresponsibility of General Hospitals and Police Station to society. Arjun Rampal as sub inspector Inder is reassured while Jugal Hansraj seen on screen after ages is the surprise packet of the film.

Kahaani 2 unlike Kahaani is not a one point agenda, there are layers and explores other characters who comes into contact with Durga Rani but it is Durga/ Vidya Balan who travels you from Kalimpong to Kolkatta and Chandapur, without letting you down a single moment and a single scene.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

Yugpurursh Mahatma – Day 978

By | Food for thought | No Comments
Yugpurush-the play narrates the journey of Gandhiji imbibing principles like Ahimsa, Truth, Celibacy under the guidance of Shrimad Rajchandraji

Yugpurush-the play narrates the journey of Gandhiji imbibing principles like Ahimsa, Truth, Celibacy under the guidance of Shrimad Rajchandraji

Once in a lifetime a man like Mahatma Gandhi is born. Once in a lifetime he find a Guru like Shrimad Rajchandraji.

2017 marks the 150th birth anniversary of the great Indian saint, poet-philosopher, and spiritual luminary – Shrimad Rajchandraji (1867 – 2017.) Hailed as the spiritual guide of Mahatma Gandhi, Shrimad Rajchandraji had a tremendous and formative influence on the Father of the Nation that he is said to have said “Such was the man who captivated my heart in religious matters as no other man ever has till now.”

Celebrations in honour of Rajchandraji were launched from the Red Fort by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi who in his uplifting speech on India’s 70th Independence Day said, “The country is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Shrimad Rajchandraji, Mahatma Gandhiji’s Guru. In one of His letters to Gandhiji, Shrimadji writes … the principle of non-violence has existed ever since the existence of violence. What is important is which one do we utilize for the welfare of mankind.”

His teachings have been translated into a play Yugpurush and has mesmerised an audience of over 4000 people. Over 50 shows have been booked all over Mumbai till 31 December and people are queuing up in large numbers.

This happens once in a lifetime.


Still from the play Yugpurush portraying an inspiring exchange between the Mahatma and His Mentor Shrimadji



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