Monthly Archives

January 2018


Pad Man a movement (Day 1259)

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Twinkle Khanna’s latest endeavour, Pad Man, the world’s first feature film on menstrual hygiene, is based on the life of social entrepreneur and activist Arunachalam Muruganantham, who revolutionized sanitary hygiene in rural India 20 years ago. Pad Man was to release in cinemas on 25 January but when Sanjay Leela Bhansali met up with Akshay Kumar to request him to delay his film by a week it did not take Kumar a minute to postpone his release in order to support Bhansali. It is a gesture Bhansali is not going to forget easily.

Akshay Kumar knows he has a good product and a little delay will not harm his film. The film has many victories to celebrate, the latest being that Twinkle Khanna, India’s bestselling female author, film producer, woman’s rights activist, interior design entrepreneur, and former actress, has been invited to speak at The Oxford Union, the world’s most prestigious debating society.

Pad Man is the first Indian film to be showcased at The Oxford Union, presenting a milestone for Indian cinema.

At The Oxford Union, Twinkle Khanna emphasized why it is imperative to spotlight issues relating to menstrual hygiene and breaking stigma attached to periods globally as a means to empower girls and women worldwide, “This is not a film it is a movement”.


Thu Rang Gurjari Poster

Rang Gurjari (Day 1258)

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After the success of plays like Mareez, Master Phoolmani, Mohan’s Masala, Karl Marx in Kalbadevi, Dr. Anandibai – Like, Comment, Share, Hun Chandrakant Bakshi, Ideas Unlimited, director – Manoj Shah and Nehru Centre come together again in another exploration in theatre.


Gujarati theatre has survived every challenge posed by the performing world and emerged a winner and the proof of that is Manoj Shah’s new play Rang Gurjari. Unusually structured the play is designed to retell the history of Gujarati theatre and the narrator is who else but Lord Indra and Bharat Muni, the creator of Natya Shastra.


The time machine travels from the mythological dramas to Bhavai and the emergence of the urban Bhaangwadi, the influences of Sanskrit, Parsi comedies and Persian adaptations on Gujarati stage. Appropriately titled Ooncha Maylo Parogaram will present the entire journey of Gujarati Theatre from 14th century till present times.


Written by Satya Mehta and directed by Satchit Puranik the play premiers in Muumbai on 24 Jaunuary.




Wed Rage

Class Act (Day 1257)

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Rage in association with the Traverse theatre from Edinburgh presents a first of its kind, unique and exciting evening of staged readings from the next generation of Mumbai playwrights. The group has challenged 60 senior school students from twelve Mumbai schools to become playwrights. 20 of their original scripts, mentored by acclaimed professional Scottish & Indian playwrights, directed by a mix of professional Scottish and Indian directors and performed by professional Mumbai actors will be staged over these two days – 10 plays per day.

These young 14 to 16-year-old playwrights will be very much a part of the rehearsal process and will, therefore, have the unique experience of watching their words come alive in the hands of professional directors and actors. The mentors include an impressive list of Nicola McCartney, Stef Smith, Akash Mohimen, Irawati Karnik, Karishma Attari and Shaili Sathyu and the acts will be directed by Emma Callandar, Nicola McCartney, Anahita Uberoi, Dhanendra Kawade and Sheena Khalid.

“We at Rage have been championing new writing for the past fifteen years through our playwriting project Writers’ Bloc”, says Shernaz Patel. “Rage is thrilled to be partnering with the Traverse for this absolutely unique project. How many kids have an opportunity to learn how to tell stories for the stage and then be an intrinsic part of the theatre process, watch their characters come to life in the hands of professional directors and actors and then have their plays performed in a professional theatre. We are certain that this initiative will, in the long run, lead to a new generation of playwrights”


From one writer to another (Day 1257)

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On 14 January was Kaifi Azmi’s birthday and on 17 January is Javed Akhtar’s birthday.  In today’s blog the son-in-law pays tribute to the father-in-law.


Ajeeb Aadmi Tha Woh

Ajeeb aadmi tha woh
Mohabbaton ka geet tha
Baghavaton ka raag tha
Kabhi woh sirf phool tha
Kabhi woh sirf aag tha

Ajeeb aadmi tha woh…

Woh muflison sey kehta tha ke din badal bhi sakte hain

Woh jaabiron sey kehta tha tumhare sar pe sone ke jo Taj hain kabhi pighal bhi sakte hain
Woh bandishon se kehta tha main tumko tod sakta hoon
Hawaaon se woh kehta tha main tumko mod sakta hoon
Sahoolaton se kehta tha main tumko chhod sakta hoon
Woh khwab se yeh kehta tha ke tujhko sach karunga main
Woh aarzoo se kehta tha main tera humsafar hoon tere saath hi chaloonga main
Tu chahe jitni duur bhi bana le apni manzilein kabhi nahi thakoonga main
Woh zindagi se kehta tha ke tujhko main sajaoonga
Tu mujhse chand maang ley main chand leke aaoonga
Woh aadmi se kehta tha ke aadmi se pyar kar
Ujad rahi hai yeh zameen
Kuch iska ka ab singar kar

Ajeeb aadmi tha woh

Woh zindagi ke saare dukh tamam gham har ik sitam se kehta tha main
tumse jeet jaaoonga
Ki tumko tto mita  hi dega ek roz aadmi
Bhula hi dega ye jahan
Meri alag hain dastaan
Woh ankhein jinmein khwab hain
Wo baazu jin mein hai sakat
Woh hont jin pe lafz hain
Rahoonga unke darmiyaan ke jab beet jaaoonga

Ajeeb aadmi tha woh….


Tue Chai

Notes on Chai (Day 1256)

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Jyoti Dogra’s Notes on Chai is devised as a solo experimental that explores urban isolation and struggle for meaning in everyday life. The play has travelled all of Europe and returns to India on public demand after a gap of two years.

In these two years, the play has evolved organically through its interactions with all kinds of audiences.  The writing comprises echoes of everyday conversations interwoven with abstract sound explorations inspired by Tibetan chanting and also ancient Christian singing. The thought process initiated on the stage travel the inner and outer landscape of urban life and becomes a personal experience for all in the audience.

We are all familiar with Chai Pe Charcha now it is time to make notes on Chai.




Mon kaifi azmi 3

Remembering Kaifi Azmi (Day 1255)

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14 Januuary is poet, activist, lyricist Kaifi Azmi’s birthday and the family celebrates the date at his home in Janki Kutir amidst friends and litterateur. In the garden of Janki Kutir festooned with trees and fairy lights unfold a mushaira where poets from Mumbai and outside gather to recite their poetry. Organized by Kaifi Azmi’s son Baba Azmi it is an enlightening evening of music and poetry. This time there was a classical dance rendition performed on Azmi’s nazm Aurat as a finale followed by chai and batatawadas.Mon kaifi azmi 2

It is perhaps the only day when there are no protocols and enthusiastic audience from all walks of life brush shoulders to enjoy poetry and celebrate their hero.



Sat 2

Feedback Corner (Day 1254)

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I have travelled to many literature festivals all around the world but have never encountered a Feedback Corner as in the case of Gujarat Literature Festival. One, the Feedback Corner does not look like a reaction corner; on the contrary, it resembles a Magic Corner. On the surface, the large banyan tree reserved for feedback appears like a wish-fulfilling tree. We have seen such trees in Hindi movies where the heroine circulates the tree with a red thread and prays for her husband’s long life. Except this one is not regressive and promotes a bigger message. Every guest writes her suggestions/ reactions on a small card and ties it up to a branch. When I stopped to write my observations I discovered that more than 5000 people had pinned up their expressions.

Sat 3How I love this idea, the junior assistant told me that when the festival ends all these suggestions will be collected and given to the authority so that next year Gujarat Literature Festival will aspire to be even better than 2018. I think it is a terrific idea.

Sat 1 




Movie Review: What’s going on Kaalaakandi?

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Film: Kaalakandi
Date: 12 January 2017
Writer/Director: Akshat Verma
Producer: Rohit Khattar, Ashi Dua Sara
Story: Devesh Kapoor
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Oberoi, Deepak Dobriyal, Vijay Raaz

In 2011 Akshat Verma wrote a film for Aamir Khan Productions that became a trendsetter, Delhi Belly.

This time, Akshat turns director and tells you the story of many characters travelling one night.

There is a young couple in the midst of their wedding celebrations and sort of confused, another couple, and visibly distraught because the girl is flying out to pursue further studies.

In another corner of the same city, two small-time criminals are dreaming of millions. In another dark alley somewhere, their boss is charting a bigger game.

Older brother Saif Ali Khan receives fatal news and goes over the top. Younger brother Akshay Oberoi gets a call from his ex flame and goes over the top too.

Over the years we’ve watched many gripping one night stories and Kaalaakandi is easily the most forgettable of all.

Should you watch Kaalaakandi? Well, it’s your precious time and money so your call.

I rate Kaalaakandi with 1.5 stars.

Fri 1 (1)

Author’s Lounge (Day 1253)

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The Author’s Lounge at every literary festival is an exciting place to spend time because as sessions begin and end, different authors stop by for a cup of coffee or snack and you bump into old friends and colleagues. I was happy to meet renowned author Varsha Adalja and chat with her about her forthcoming book.  Adalja is a fascinating writer and after so many years her audience waits eagerly for her new book. Salil Tripathi has been writing on various issues for so many years and I have followed his work for a long time now, but we seldom meet except at such gatherings.

Fri 2Writer-director Abhishek Jain who dons many hats, he is a filmmaker, producer and now also an author. This is the only place one can interact with Gujarat Literature core team, the only place I have seen Jumana and Shyam Parekh drop their guards and relax. Someday, some author will write a book on the Author’s Lounge if they have not started thinking about it already and then maybe it can be launched by Shyam Parekh and Abhishek Jai at the Gujarat Literature Festival.

Fri 3 


Thur 1

Installations and experiments (Day 1252)

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Shyam Parekh and Jumana take me for a stroll on the Kanoria Lawns and I am fascinated by the atmosphere at Gujarat Literature Festival.  Men, women, young and old have come draped in warm shawls and hang around the place soaking in the ambience. Some have just exited from a sparkling session and are discussing the author; some are relishing bhelpuri, while some are browsing at the archives to discover precious books.

There are a lot of children attending the festival this year and Jumana informs me that they have special workshops for children this year. It was a conscious decision by Gujarat Literature Festival to emphasize on art and installations this year. I am intrigued by a tree bark and on coming closer discover it is an installation promoting environment by Priya Anand Pariyani. Pariyani shares that she is an untrained artiste who was fortunate to find a master who encouraged her to follow her heart.

Thur 2Her guru explains that from a tree comes paper and it is the thoughts jotted on blank paper that become prose, poetry and books cards so unless we respect tree, we value paper and preserve nature, we cannot preserve books. This installation is to spread the message of saving the environment, he concludes.

I am deeply moved and privileged to have such an insightful interaction with the artiste and her guru and I am certain that every time I pass a tree I will remember Pariyani’s this installation.