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April 2017

Movie Review: Baahubali 2

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Film Review: Baahubali 2

Date: 28 April 2017

Director: SS Rajamouli

Writer: Vijayendra Prasad/ story Rajamouli/ screenplay

Cast: Prabhas, Rana Daggubatti, Anushka Shetty, Ramya Krishnan

Rating: 4 stars.

Baahubali ended post the flashback when a tearful Kattappa reveals that he is responsible for his master Mahendra Baahubali’s death.

The sequel Baahubali 2 begins with the backstory when queen mother Sivagami/ Ramya Krishnan sends foster son prince Mahendra/ Prabhas to travel the kingdom and get acquainted with his subjects so he is able to fulfill his duties when coronated as the king.

Mahendra meets princess Devsena/ Anushka Shetty and loses his heart to her and Devsena accompanies her beloved to his empire Mahishmati reassured that all will be well.

But a lot has changed in the interim and a misled Sivagami is affronted when Mahendra challenges her decision and orders the newlyweds out of the palace. What follows is the regular palace politics when blood kills blood and the mayhem continues till good vanquishes evil and justice is restored!

The positive of the film is the scale and the magnitude of the production, the extraordinary sets, the costumes and the casting. Seductively shot by Senthil Kumar, the film excels in every department, particularly the imaginative action and creative design.

Very often, films made on a mammoth scale are very detailed but lose on an important ingredient, storytelling. Not this time. Prasad and Rajamouli make sure to punch all the right buttons to keep you glued to the narrative and at times, even make you emotional.

Baahubali 2 is better than Baahubali. It is large, lavish and dramatic. There are magnificent palaces, galloping horses, screeching elephants and a sea of people engaged in either sword fights or just cheering their leader.

Baahubali 2 is a visual experience you cannot miss! If you like stories of kings and queens if you like stories of valor and courage, fairy tale romances where butterflies flutter across swan-like boats and white stallion chase the clouds, then this one is surely for you!

All the performances are competent particularly Prabhas Daggubati but the two that stay with you are the women, Ramya Krishnan as the powerful queen mother Sivagmi and Anushka Shetty as the fiery Devsena.

So is there nothing wrong with the film, of course, there is, it is too long and the background score is cacophonic but the positives outweigh the negative.

I rate Baahubali 2 with 4 stars.

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Women reflected Peace (Day 1082)

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Everybody has a Husain favorite; I loved all his portraits especially featuring women. Husain’s women were always in a cluster, peaceful and happy.  His images reflected his memories of childhood where he probably grew up in a large home and larger family and where everybody was always together and women narrated lot of stories to children

28.4.17women 1In his paintings, the women appeared secure and their reassurance came from unity which is why they always appeared happy and celebrating life.

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Mythology as a muse (Day 1081)

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No religion, no state, and no country can tell an artist what to paint and what not to and yet all legendary artists have been through phases when they were watched, questioned and condemned.

27.4.17mythology 1But the show goes on and Husain’s canvas translated places, figures, faces passionately on the canvas, sometimes an elephant, sometimes, a peacock feather, sometimes the serpent and sometimes, the Mother Goddess, because there is no stopping expressions.


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Multiple Images (Day 1080)

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You can tell what a writer is thinking from his books and screenplay; similarly, it is easy to read an artiste’s mind from his paintings.  On the surface, many of Husain paintings appear a collection of images but the juxtaposed familiar places and faces reflect a thought process.  It is a comment on what he feels about those turbulent times or about his surroundings.

26.4.17combined 1

So many of these immortal images on popular walls of popular buildings stand testimony of his endurance, of what happened many years ago…Today, as his well-wishers make sincere attempts to resurrect old images, the artist is probably smiling down from the heaven and smiling.

 For those keen on a closer view of the paintings, you may contact Sunil Paragaria 9820017887

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Angry Horses (Day 1079)

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Husain Saab was a man of few words and the few times I have interacted with him I have never seen him even remotely annoyed with anything or anybody. Like all legendary artists when he was disappointed with circumstances or people, he turned inwards and expressed his feelings on the canvass, which is why sometimes, his favorite horses he painted appeared so angry on the easel.

25.4.17angry horse 2For the viewer, his paintings were about vibrant colors but his followers knew that every line and color he splashed on the canvas had a reason. His every painting reflected a certain mood and had a special story to tell…His well-wishers are taking good care of his repertoire.

Limited Husain Serigraphs can be obtained from

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MF Husain’s attraction for Horses (Day 1078)

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A few days ago, I received an email from Sunil Pagaria, informing me about the limited MF Husain Serigraphs signed and numbered by the artist. He specified that the pictures are all medium prints with a Certification by Husain Creation Dubai.

The mail mentioned that the print once stretched and framed and edition number covered, then no one can tell if it is an original or a serigraph. I was enchanted by the eleven images attached on the mail and downloaded the same for a better look.

24.4.17horse 2For the next few days, I will present the unique images in my blog with my own interpretations, in a sense my tribute to the great genius.

I begin the series with Husain’s world famous horses. All of us know how MF Husain loved horses and there came a stage in his life when he only painted horses. Those keen on purchasing the limited serigraphs may contact<>

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Meeting the Prime Minister (Day 1077)

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In show business, actors believe that the best rehearsal can never match the final take and this proves true for the civilian awards today. Post ceremony and pictures, we proceed for the refreshments in the adjoining room and we are in for a surprise as the President, hands folded and escorted by his guards’ walks down the corridor and back so that he can greet all the assembled guests. A few minutes later, Prime Minister follows the same exercise and I am privileged to chat with him for a few moments.

21.04.2017 iiTill now, every time I was asked how I felt to be singled out for a Padma honour, I had blushed and shied away from attention. Now, with the awesome scroll and the medal in my bag, I want to say, ‘It is a privilege to be honored by my country!’

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Magnificence of Rashtrapati Bhavan (Day 1076)

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And finally, the day we have all been waiting for…

At 11 am when I come down to the hotel lobby, I can sense excitement all around me. Most of the awardees and their companions are ready before time and clicking pictures before setting off to the venue. The hotel staff is as excited and joins in the fanfare and wishes us good luck.

Outside, the Delhi temperature is rising but inside Rashtrapati Bhavan the energy is indescribable. It is a wonderful to watch ADCs go about their jobs flawlessly. Everything moves at clockwork precision. All the ministers Rajnath Singh, LKAdvani and others arrive at the allotted time, then just a few minutes before 12 noon, arrives Prime Minister Narendra Modi and finally President, Pranab Mukherji. A row of flags, national anthem on the drums and the ceremony is officially commenced.

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Movie Review: Maatr

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Film Review: Maatr

Date: 14 April 2017

Director: Ashtar Sayed

Writer: Michael Pellico

Cast: Raveena Tandon, Madhur Mittal, Divya Jagdale, Saheem Khan

Rating: 3. 5 stars.

After the school annual day, Vidya Chauhan/ Raveena Tandon, a school teacher and her daughter Tia/ Alisha Khan are stuck in a bad traffic jam and Vidya takes an alternate route that lands them in a ditch. Mother and daughter are pulled out of the ditch by a car following them and taken not to the hospital but an empty apartment.

 What follows is a nightmare that exposes Delhi’s high class society comprising power brokers, corrupt police and a flawed judiciary.

Maatr is yet another story of yet another rape victim pronounced guilty for the tragedy and ostracized by the immediate family post the ravage.

Many things go in favor of the film. First, the screenplay, writer Michael Pellico briefly but precisely establishes equations in relationships, for instance you get to know early in the narrative that all is not well between Vidya and her husband/ Apurva Malik and her support comes from her artist friend Ritu/ Divya Jagdale.

 You learn that Inspector Shroff/ Anurag Arora is a pawn in the system and there is relief in his voice when he watches the flames go in air in the climax and exclaims ‘It is finally over’.

The film excels in all the technical departments. Hari Vedantam’s seductive cinematography combined with Manoj Magarr’s razor sharp editing and Utkarsh Umesh Dhotekar’s haunting music, grips you to the engaging narrative from the start to the finish.

Director Ashtar Sayeed repackages the old revenge formula into a chilling, stomach churning story of contemporary India that will leave you wounded and inspired at the same time!

What is disappointing is that the plot overlooks some relevant details: The characters live in sprawling apartments without any domestic help or any indication of neighborhood. For an accident that was breaking news, it is surprising that Vidya goes back to her job without any corridor gossip or paparazzi both at home, school.

Diyya Jagdale as Raveena’s friend and Anurag Arora as Inspector Shroff make an impact but the film finally belongs to Raveena Tandon who internalizes her anger to deliver a consistent and understated performance.

It is difficult to believe that the actor has been away for 14 years, we last her in Satta/ 2003. There’s one problem though, Vidya Chouhan is distractingly attractive to be missed in a crowd or to be passed off as a school teacher.

Maatr is not an easy watch but make the effort because it is about changing ourselves. I rate Maatr with 3.5 stars.

Rehearsal Before The Final Take (Day 1075)

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As an assistant helps each of us to get seated in our respective chairs marked with our names and another comes to brief us on the process to follow, a million thoughts jog in my over active brain. This is the room that has recorded national history from pre-independence to now; it has witnessed so many charismatic leaders and so many swearing in ceremonies of so many presidents. The bright and shining chandeliers, the peaceful Buddha idol and all the podiums each have so many stories to tell that will never be known.

After a near perfect a mock rehearsal comprising our entry, walk on the stage and exit into the adjoining room first for a group picture and then refreshments, we walk back the historic corridor admiring the murals on the walls and the ceilings. We are unhappy that we cannot take any pictures but there is no protesting security.

It is our third night at the hotel and we are more familiar with the room, so fall asleep easily.

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