Monthly Archives

July 2018

Aaj rapat jaayen

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From Bharat Bhushan’s ‘Zindagi bhar na bhulenge hum barsaat ki ek raat…’ to Kishore Kumar’s naught y ‘Ek ladki bhaagi bheegi si…’ there are so many moods and colors of the rain, I remember a drenched Kareena Kapoor walking the street and singing ‘Bhaage re mann..’ in Chameli. I remember Shradha Kapoor and Tiger Shroff dancing to ‘Cham cham…’ in Baaghi and also during the ‘Baarish …’song in Half Girlfriend.

It was on a rainy night that years ago Aamir Khan had kissed Karisma Kapoor in Raja Hindustani and it was again in the rains that Pankaj Kapoor sitting in a tiny shop in the hills had spotted a Blue Umbrella blown away by the wind. It was in the rains that Vyjantimala arrives at a crucial decision of her life in Chottisi Mulaqat and it is for the rains that Dev Anand goes on a hunger strike in Guide.

So rain is a metaphor used by the filmmaker to at times instill faith and at inspire courage. Depending on the situation and the character rain was at times a reason to resolve conflicts and at times evoke submission and no matter what the consequences in the narrative the audience always celebrated these musical rain moments.

My favorite song for today is ‘Paani re paani tera rang kaisa…’

My favorite scene: When Raakhee is told she has to marry her sister’s beloved in Sharmilee and sings ‘Megha chaye aadhi raat…’

You can also watch my rain feature on youtube link/ https://youtu.be/3S8Hm7k7mao

@bhawanasomaaya

Movie Review: Dhadak

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Film: Dhadak

Writer/ Director: Shashank Khaitan

Cast: Janhvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khatter,Ashutosh Rana

Music: Ajay-Atul

‘I love you’ says the girl while the boy stares without blinking, ‘now you say it’ demands the girl. The boy lowers his eyes, says he feels shy but the girl will not give up until he has uttered the three words. Shashank Khaitan directed Dhadak is the official remake of the iconic Marathi film Sairat now being adapted into several Indian languages.

Set in the picturesque Udaipur, Dhadak is the love story of an upper caste Parthivi/ Janhvi, daughter of a rising politician Ratan Singh/Ashutosh Rana and Madhukar/ Ishaan, son of a middle-class restaurant owner.

The fatal attraction between Parthivi and Madhukar spells doom not just for the lovers but their families and friends and the only solution to the growing outrage and despair is escape and isolation.

As the protagonist’s journey from Udaipur to Mumbai to Nagpur to finally settle down to an anonymous existence in Kolkata their problems only multiply and gradually both lose courage and breakdown alternately but there is no way out now.

The positives of the film are the unconventional characters, the girl is the initiator in the romance and when obstacles arise she assumes moral responsibility for her beloved.

Music composers Ajay-Atul who had the viewer’s dancing inside the theatres in the original repeat the magic in Dhadak ably supported by John Stewart’s haunting background score and Amitabh Bhattacharya’s heart-rending lyrics.

The negatives of the film are primarily the comparisons with the raw, rustic and hard-hitting Sairat shot in real locations and often with real people without the slightest fuss or frills.

Dhadak is mainstream, contemporary and unapologetic about opulent hotels; stunning landscapes, designer costumes, and styling that don’t alter even after the couple hits desperate times.

There is a special chemistry between the lead pair, Janhvi is vibrant and effective and Ishan is intense and energetic with myriad expressions in his eyes.

Director Shashank Khaitan who has so far flirted with Badrinath / Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya for the first time steps into a darker zone and addresses deep-rooted prejudices in our society and most of the time follows the original template barring a few alterations as in the climax. If Sairat stunned you with its ending Dhadak will leave you numb in the cinema hall.

Watch Dhadak without the baggage of Sairat, watch it with your family particularly teenage children because there are many lessons to be learned from this.

I rate Dhadak with 3.5 stars.

Bol re papi hara

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A trend setter of sorts is also ‘Kaate nahin kattey…’ in Mr. India where Seema (Sridevi) sways seductively, allowing her saree to fly with the breeze. Her abandon is a robust admission to desire while Akshay Kumar’s ‘Dekho zara dekho barsaat ki jhadi…’ in Yeh Dillagi is a spontaneous reaction to the moment, a physical and an emotional release!

 

Probably the most romantic rain song was composed by RD Burman in 1942 A Love Story shot by Vinod . Posturized on Monisha Koiral and Anil Kapoor it is an ode to the monsoon and to poetry.

 

In the olden days every time it rained the Doorrshan for some mysterious reason only aired two songs. The first where a drenched Shatrughan Sinha sings ‘Barkha rani zara jham ke barso…’ and the second, Basu Chatterjee’s ‘Rimjhim gire saawan…’from Manzil where Moushumi Chatterjee and Amitabh Bachchan walk down Marine Drive hand-in-hand drenched in Mumbai’s slashing rains. I have watched this song a million times but still stop to watch it every time it plays on the television.  It is a perfect image of torrential rain in Mumbai city.

 

Over the decades as satellite channels came in there were many choices of rain songs and that included ‘Lagi aaj sawan ki…’ from Chandani and ‘Ko ladka hai…’ form Dil Toh Pagal Hai both directed by Yash Chopra.

 

My favorite song for today is Kaali ghata chayen

My favorite scene: Kareena Kapoor guiding Aamir Khan to deliver a baby via skype in 3 Idiots.

 

You can also watch my rain feature on youtube link/ https://youtu.be/3S8Hm7k7mao

@bhawanasomaaya

Kaali ghata chayen

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It’s interesting how perceptions alter with time. Some years ago, a shy Jaya Bhaduri taking shelter inside a cave and singing ‘Bol re papi hara…’ in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Guddi was heart rending. With time we accepted Kajol dancing with a towel to ‘Mere khwabon mein jo aaye…’ in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.

 

I’m of the opinion that Zeenat Aman’s ‘Hai hai ye majboori…’ draped in a clinging saree in Roti Kapda Aur Makaan was the beginning of the rain sequences. Zeenat invites Manoj Kumar to join her in the rain but he has to appear for a job interview and resists her advances but she is too tempting and he eventually relents but is still self-conscious.

 

There are so many instances when rain was not a part of the original scene but the song composition was so evocative that the choreographer and sometimes the music director suggested shooting it as a rain sequence for greater effect.

 

Amitabh Bachchan and Smita Patil surrender to the monsoon madness in ‘Aaj rapat jaiyo…’ in Prakash Mehra’s Namak Halaal. The song is a celebration of carnal desire just in the way ‘Koi ladka hai…’ in Dil Toh Pagal Hai is about adventure and to hell with medical complications in this case a fractured ankle. Karisma Kapoor is bed ridden for an injured foot but cannot resist a jig when the music comes on!

 

My favorite song for today is Kaali ghata chayen

My favorite scene: Kareena Kapoor guiding Aamir Khan to deliver a baby via skype in 3 Idiots.

 

You can also watch my rain feature on youtube link/ https://youtu.be/3S8Hm7k7mao

@bhawanasomaaya

O sajna barkha bahar aayin

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Very often the rain sequence was a transforming moment for the character or the story. Remember how Amitabh Bachchan walks Raakhee home under an umbrella in Kaala Pathar and they become soulmates? Remember a young Anuradha Patel driving older Naseerudin Shah in a tizzy singing ‘Mera kuch samaan tumhare paaas…’ in Gulzar’s Ijaazat? Remember an anguished Vinod Khanna singing ‘Lagee aaj sawan ki phir wo jhadi hai…’ in Chandni as Sridevi in present and Juhi Chawla in the past dance in the rain?

 

On top of my rain favorites is ‘Kaali ghata chaye mora jiya ghabaraye…’ from Bimal Roy’s Sujata, the story of a Harijan girl brought up by a Brahmin family. Self-assured in her simplicity she spends major part of the day attending to household chores. One such day, the sky line changes colour and the clouds thunder! Sujata runs to her room and throws open the windows to allow the showers into her life. The close-up shot of Nutan smiling at the clouds and expressing her desire for a companion is refreshing and sensitive.

 

Equally endearing is Mitthu (Shabana Azmi) in Gulzar’s Namkeen, when she sets out for her morning stroll shrouded in a flowing black shawl, shot amidst swaying trees and dew drops Asha Bhosle’s mesmerising ‘Phir se aiyo barkha bidesi …’ is among the memorable lyrics of Gulzar.

My favorite song for today is O sajna barkha bahar aayin

My favorite scene: Kajol watching Shah Rukh Khan on television in My Name is Khan.

 

You can also watch my rain feature on youtube link/ https://youtu.be/3S8Hm7k7mao

@bhawanasomaaya

Barso re megha

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If ‘Pyar hua iqrar hua…’ with Nargis and Raj Kapoor shot under a wind-blown umbrella in Shri 420 is the anthem for monsoon songs in Hindi films, Aamir Khan and Gracy Singh dancing to ‘Kaale megha kale megha…’ in Lagaan is a song of hope and ‘Badal yun garajta hai ..’ in Betaab a song of reunion where childhood friends Amrita Singh and Sunny Deol meet after a long separation.

The poets always had a new expression for rain songs depending on the context of the scene and the character. The filmmaker combined with the choreographer always made sure that these moments were magical on the big screen. So if the Black & White cinema Bimal Roy just made Sadhna stand in the balcony, look at the desolate skyline and sing ‘O sajna barkha…’ waiting for Dev Anand in Parakh Shakti Samanta had the youth excited with ‘Roop tera mastana…’in Aaradhna.

A decade later, Hrishikesh Mukherjee had Raakhee just stroll the forest and sing to no one in particular ‘Sawan ke Jhoole…’ in Jurmana. Most of the time, rain was a metaphor or a muse to express longing for  a beloved as a result Hema Malini a dancer in Abhinetri  does her work singing ‘O ghata sawari…’ yearning for Shashi Kapoor while Rajesh Khanna -Zeenat Aman are in a playful mood during ‘Bheegi bheegi raaton mein…’ in Ajnabee.

My favorite song for today is Barso re megha barso

My favorite scene: The flood scene in the climax in Satyam Shivam Sundaram.

You can also watch my rain feature on youtube link/ https://youtu.be/3S8Hm7k7mao

@bhawanasomaaya

Tip tip barsa paani

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The rainbow has seven colors, the dancer on stage portrays eight roles, life offers nine emotions and the Hindu deity has ten avtaars. Have you ever wondered how many shades exist to monsoon?  Hindi films portrays a million moments of this romantic season.

 

Romance in Hindi films is synonymous with rain sequences. Much before the item numbers dawned into our entertainment business, rain songs were the only ticket to erotica in Hindi movies. Not all of them were explicitly sensual but they reflected a longing, an admission of desire and therefore all these songs were memorable. We remember some of these numbers for the extra-ordinary lyrics and the melody and some for the song situations and choreography.

 

In the coming two weeks I will unfold some mesmerizing moments of the Monsoon Magic and will also share one favorite song and scene of the magical season.

 

My favorite song for today is Tip tip barsa paani

My favorite scene: Nargis fighting to save their crop and field in Mother India.

 

You can also watch my rain feature on youtube link/ https://youtu.be/3S8Hm7k7mao

Movie Review: Soorma

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Film: Soorma

Director: Shaad Ali

Cast: Diljit Dosanjh, Taapsee Pannu, Angad Bedi, Vijay Raaz

Release: 13 July 2018

 

Soorma tells the story of India’s former hockey Captain Sandeep Singh played by Diljit Dasanjh raised in Shahabad, a sleepy town of Haryana.

Enrolled into hockey training in childhood only because his older brother Bikramjeet Singh/ Angad Bedi was a serious player, Sandeep abandons the sport because he is disillusioned by his ruthless coach and his inhuman penalty.

As a teenager, love draws Sandeep to hockey again and he is skilled enough represent India in the World Cup Hockey tournament. He is on his way for the prestigious match when a near fatal accident leaves Singh paralyzed both literally and figuratively.

A life span has several accomplishments and defeats and it is impossible for a biographer to capture all the moods and moments, so director Shaad Ali and his writers Siva and Suyash focus on selective victories and vulnerabilities of the sport star and in the process takes some liberties.

Sandeep Singh took 3 years to recover from his spinal injury, in the film it happens faster.  In real life he suffered two near-fatal accidents, the film concentrates on one. The story ends on his Arjuna Award and conveniently makes no reference to Singh’s present state.

The positives of the film outweigh the negatives and these include authentic locations, dialect, costumes, art, music, and most important, an engaging narrative with sensitive writing and some refreshing moments.

All the performances are first rate: Satish Kaushik as Singh’s anguished father, Angad Bedi as his brother is the surprise packet of the film, Vijay Raaz as his coach and Kulbhushan Kharbanda in a sparkling cameo.

As Harpreet, Tapsee Pannu not just looks like an athlete but also plays like a professional.  Tapsee is as convincing while romancing/ crying or dancing bhangra at a family celebration.

As the highest goal keeper, better known as Flicker Singh, Diljeet Dosanjh portrays Sandeep Singh with purity and simplicity and touches your heart.

Soorma is not just about sports and sportsmanship.  It is about relationships, aspirations, endurance and most importantly, courage. It involves family, love, society and the entire country.

I rate Soorma with  3.5 stars.

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Bhawana somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

 

 

I am Peepdo

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The brahmanas associate me with river Saraswati rising from the water pot of Brahma in the Himalayas.

The tribals in Bengal address me as Vasudeva and water me in the month of Vaishakh.

 

Parents who face difficulty marrying their daughters of age marry them to me and all of them soon find suitable grooms. In olden days, when remarriage was forbidden for widows, they were married to me and then allowed to remarry.

 

In many communities a marriage ceremony is not complete without a branch of my tree. The branch, along with a pot of water, is placed between the bride and the groom while the pundit chants the mantras. The presence of a Peepala leaf assures a happy and secure marriage because it has the blessings of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.

 

In contemporary times I am the shade where the Panchayat assembles to grant justice to the villagers…

 

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession available on https://amzn.to/2vogOtk

This concludes all the characters of the book

@bhawanasomaaya

I am medicine

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Ayurveda Science regards me as a medicine and has proved that my bark is used to yield tannin; my leaves, when heated, are useful in treating stubborn wounds.

Modern science says that movement is life and life is oxygen. Unlike other trees that blossom during specific seasons, I stand tall and green all through the year. I release oxygen all the time, day and night, which is why people usually feel better, seated beneath my shade.

I told you that my leaves flutter because Sri Krishna resides inside me and that is not the only fable. There are many theories elaborating this phenomenon. The Hindus attribute it to the ancestors who dwell inside me and continuously flutter to make us aware of their presence. This is also the reason why people bow their heads when they pass my sight. My rustling leaves have a mention in the Bhagavad Gita when Sri Krishna says, “O Ashwatha, I honour you whose leaves are forever fluttering…”

I am Plaska.

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession available on https://amzn.to/2vogOtk

@bhawanasomaaya