Monthly Archives

April 2017

Thinking of Auro and Paa (Day 1074)

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 Next morning, all of us presided in our assigned vehicles to the venue. I don’t know about the other awardees but this was the first time in three months, the enormity of the moment hit me. As my driver, Darshan Singh turned into the VIP enclave and displayed the car pass to gate number 37 my mind unwittingly flashbacked to R Balki’s Paa where MP Abhishek Bachchan seeks special permission to take Auro (Amitabh Bachchan) to visit the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-18 at 9.07.52 AM

Auro did not descend at his dream venue and hence lost an opportunity! On the contrary, I made sure to walk down the long passage slowly and quietly, in order to soak in every detail of the ambiance and the experience! The first thing that strikes you about the place is the magnitude of space, the gardens, the colorful flowers, the multiple sturdy pillars and the red carpet all through the stone steps. Inside, it is the architecture, the high ceiling, the innumerable chandeliers and the sheer magnificence of the room.

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Arriving at Ashoka (Day 1073)

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Ever since the Padma Awards have been announced on 26 January 2017, everyone I met was curious to know one, how I felt and more important, when I would be visiting the Rashtrapati Bhavan?

The ceremony is held in March/ April depending on the midterm elections and usually in one group. This time, the 100 plus awardees were divided into two groups, the first group felicitated in March end and the second group in mid-April.


The Ministry office emailed us the schedule weeks in advance and requested us to arrive in the capital a night prior to the rehearsals. Most of us did and were expertly briefed on the flow of the event.  All the awardees, irrespective of their titles (Padma Shri/ Padma Bhushan/ Padma Vibhushan) were put up in the same hotel (Ashoka, Delhi) and all were welcomed with flowers and  tilak, in fact in the coming days,  it was interesting to walk down the long corridor greeting, chatting and sometimes, dining with other awardees from different field and states.

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The Artiste and The Muse (Day 1072)

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Mahesh Karambele studied the technicalities of fine art as a sheer passion to fuel his natural bent for capturing his imagery on canvas. Adept at all mediums, he enjoys playing with chiaroscuro as much as he dabbles with everyday subjects, symbolically trying to portray a simple truth – there is joy in every little thing!

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Movie Review: Begum Jaan

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Film Review: Begum Jaan

Date: 14 April 2017

Producer: Vishesh Films

Director: Srijit Mukherji

Cast: Vidya Balan, Ila Arun, Naseeruddin Shah

Rating: 2.5 stars


In 2015 Srijit Mukherji made Raj Kahani in Bengali starring Rituparna Sengupta which told the story of independence when Sir Cyril Radcliffe divided India-Pakistan into equal halves. What the administration was not prepared for was that the dividing line would run through the middle of Begum Jaan/ Vidya Balan’s brothel situated away from the town on the border.

Now two years later, filmmaker Srijit Mukherji has remade his Bengali film in Hindi as Begum Jaan with a few changes. While Raj Kahani started in British India and ended in 1947 Begum Jaan opens in present times and goes into a flashback.

In 70 years of independence, we have watched many stories of freedom struggle, some from a religion perspective, some from social perspective, some political and some human stories! This is the first story to present a female gaze.

Begum Jaan is warned about the decision by INC and the Muslim League, but she pays no heed because she has the king/ Naseeruddin Shah by her side, however as the climate changes and the kings and leaders are reduced to pawns, Jaan knows that she has nobody to depend upon except herself and prepares for the fight.


What work in favor of the film is the unusual plot, the music, and the ambiance! What doesn’t is the gimmicky frames and the recurrent flashbacks. If only the writer had sketched other characters as passionately as his protagonist. There are eleven attractive girls in the brothel and half a dozen interesting men outside but at the end of two and half hours, you know very little about anybody except the brothel madam.

Also considering that it is a vulnerable time for the country and the brothel, the narrative should have gripped you emotionally engaging instead you remain cold and unaffected by the consequences.

Director Mukherji is visibly influenced by Shyam Benegal’s Mandi but while the 1983 release was both entertaining and path breaking, Begum Jaan is one tracked narrative devoid of real drama or emotion!Even the climax where the women collectively fight their oppressors from within the fortress is a pale protest compared to the fight put up by the spice girls in Ketan Mehta’s Mirch Masala.

Watch Begum Jaan only if you are an ardent fan of Vidya Balan. I rate Begum Jaan with 2.5 stars out of which half star is for Vidya Balan.

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Subways Of Life (Day 1067)

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Call it a coincidence that as Mahesh Madhukar Karambele inaugurates his new exhibition in Dubai at the World Art I walk the streets of Delhi revisiting his paintings of the capital city.

10 april ii“The ways and subways of life,” says Mahesh Karambele have not only led him to be a passionate artist but have literally constituted the ethos of his musings on canvas. The strength of his brush dipped in oil paint confidently etches out silhouettes of vehicular traffic, bridges, carts, flower sellers of city, capturing the ethos of the buzzing metropolis.

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Graduation Day (Day 1066)

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And finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for. The coats, the hats and the certificates in hand, the children are ready for a group picture. They are too young to understand the value of this picture today but 20 years later, they will go searching for their friends and recall this special day when they had so much fun both backstage and on the stage.

7.4.17 iiThe spectacular show was attended by Mr and Mrs Hoskins, Vinayak Sudhakar, singer Arijit Singh, south and Hindi film actor Shreya Saran and the highlight of the evening was Head on Tails where students expressed their talent via a musical show, in all a terrific evening.

(to be continued)

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