Monthly Archives

November 2018

Guild has the power to expel (Day 1496)

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In case of a failure to submit the declaration to the Guild by the end of 30 days from its receipt would result in expulsion from the Guild.


Two, affirm that if any nominated representative of a Guild member is adjudged to have engaged in sexual harassment by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) constituted by the concerned Guild member and/ or by way of any other legal process available in law, the Guild has the right to immediately expel the concerned nominated representative.


The committee will enable all Guild members to institute and implement robust processes in their workplaces to ensure the highest standards of safety for employees and crew members, whether in offices or on the sets of productions. The Guild is committed to working on a sustained and continuing basis to make industry workplaces safe spaces for everyone who works here.


(To be continued)



Sexual harassment at work (Day 1495)

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The #MeToo is a wakeup call for all the TV and film production houses that have overnight set up an in house special committee on sexual harassment. The Producers Guild of India has called for an Extraordinary General Meeting to amend its by-laws and which are as follows:

One, make it mandatory for all existing and new members to sign a declaration that affirms that ‘The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013’ and any amendment/ successor act thereof has been instituted and implemented in their workplaces, as prescribed by the law.

The above has to be signed and submitted by every Guild member within 30 days of receipt of the declaration from the Guild. Within these 30 days, the Guild will schedule a series of workshops to be conducted by specialized external agencies, which will enable its members to institute and implement these robust processes at their workplaces, if they have not already done so.

(To be continued)


#MeToo raises questions (Day 1494)

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This Diwali there was less celebration and more concern in the film fraternity. A volcano in the form of #MeToo has burst in show business and every headline is damaging relationships, reputations and public images of many celebrities.


This week’s blog is not about digging more skeletons, it is not about pointing fingers, not about who is right or wrong and most certainly not about whom I support or condemn but about what precautions being taken to ensure that what happened will not happen again!


So far, every organization, every institution, every production house has exhibited solidarity for the movement and filmmakers/ artistes accused of abuse have been dropped from projects and reality shows.


The MAMI festival which is an annual event at this time of the year in Mumbai had a tough call to take when it dropped films where filmmakers have been accused by harassment victims. A tough call because the decision affects the rest of the crew/ actors and technicians who will be affected for no fault of theirs.


(To be continued)



Bhai Dooj (Day 1493)

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This is a custom widely practised in Maharashtra, this is the biggest day for the Mahrashtrians and it is diagonally opposite of Raksha Bandhan. As far as I know, the brother visits the married sister at her home and it is the sister who gifts the brother a gift.

Down South women bathe their husbands with oil on this day and get them to crush a fruit which is symbolic for asur king Naraka.

It is said in Goa effigies of Naraka are burnt just as we burn effigies of Ravana during Dasserra.

It is interesting how the same festival is celebrated in a different way just a few kilometres away. We have a rich heritage and culture of over 5000 years and which is why India is so attractive for everyone.



Film Review: Thugs of Hindostan (Day 1492)

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Film: Thugs of Hindostan

Date: 08.11.2018

Producer: Aditya Chopra

Writer-Director: Vijay Krishna Acharya

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif, Fatima Sana Shaikh


The little princess decorates her sand castle with the royal flag while waiting for her mentor.

The king and the queen are anxious too as this is the first time the prince accompanies him.

Set in 1795 Vijay Krishna Acharya tells the story of old India, the royalties and their palaces and also about the British East India Company threatening our freedom.

Eleven years later John Clive/Lloyd Owen continues to be the antagonist while Khudabaksh Azaad/ Amitabh Bachchan is the loyal warrior who dreams to free Hindostan.

The other protagonists include Firangi Mallah/ Aamir Khan, a small-time thug from Avadh who will sell his soul for money. He rides a donkey that he addresses as ‘Nawab’ and plays the flute to signal his folks of an opportunity.

The beautiful Suraiya/ Katrina Kaif, is a court dancer now engaged to entertain the foreigners and Zafira/ Fatima Sana Shaikh, the only survivor of the royal family sworn to vengeance.

It is important to emphasize that the scale and the grandeur of the film is extraordinary. The production and art design is diligent and flawless.

The film excels in every technical department, costume, choreography, cinematography and most important action.

Precisely written and passionately directed Vijay Krishna Acharya grips you with a screenplay combining diverse characters and thought-provoking dialogues.

This is a film more about star presence than performances. Katrina Kaif adds spice with her beauty and dances. Fatima Sana Shaikh the Dangal girl is convincing in both, action and emotional sequences.

As Firangi Mallah Aamir Khan is deliciously wicked and has you hooked on to him as long as he is on the screen.

Hats off to Amitabh Bachchan and his super timing as an actor. As a warrior, he rides a horse, shoots arrows, jumps off the cliff and dives under water. As a father, he sings a lullaby. In his abode, he is the messiah, locked in chains he resembles Jesus Christ.

Thugs of Hindostan is long, slow, takes many liberties and has continuity problems. The texture and the pace take a while to grow on you and the audience has to be patient.

The film is different and not of everyone’s taste. It is worth a watch for the message, intention, effort and the combination of Khan and Bachchan.

I rate Thugs of Hindostan with 3 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya

Saal Mubarak (Day 1491)

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For the Gujratis the New Year is more important than even Diwali. As a child we were woken up at 4 am. After a shower, all members of the family gathered before the temple for a collective prayer. Then all of us wore our new clothes and went down to meet friends of the building. There was a community hall in the centre of the complex and all children and adults gathered in the hall to wish each other.

We were all served sweets and everyone was so happy. The young bent to touch the feet of the seniors and the seniors blessed them placing their hands on their heads. We believed that whatever you did on Saal Mubarak day you will do it for the whole year, so we were tutored to say and do good deeds all day and we followed that very seriously.

As I changed homes and began living with different communities in the neighbourhood the rush of people to greet Saal Mubarak from morning to night gradually diminished.

I still do on the New Year what I did as a child, wear new clothes, cook delicacies but the frenzy is not there and I don’t miss it.



Diwali, festival of light (Day 1490)

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Up North Diwali is celebrated as a festival of light because this was the day Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya, his kingdom after 14 years of exile and after conquering over Ravana. It was in true sense celebration of good triumphing over evil, a coming together of family. To a great extent we follow the same tradition, we meet family and we eat, drink and make merry.

Down South however Diwali is about Lord Krishna and his beautiful warrior wife Satyabhama fighting asura king Naraka to regain Lord Indra’s throne.

Krishna challenged king Naraka and both fought magnificently but the war could not end until Shyam killed Naraka and that was not happening. Then suddenly, Satyabhama’s arrow accidentally hit Naraka’s heart and the asura dropped dead on the earth.

It is because king Naraka was cursed to be killed by his mother and through a complicated process of karma, rebirth and multifold identities, Satyabhama was a mother to the asura and therefore her arrow killed the king.

Kali Chaudas or Chotti Diwali (Day 1489)

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In our home the day between Diwali and the New Year was always Kali Chaudas, it is only when I grew up and mingled with other community friends that I discovered that many of them referred to the day in between as Chotti Diwali which was spent in preparation for the big day. When I became part of the media and had to often do culture stories I gathered that this was a big day for the Bengalis as it was the day they prayed all night to worship Goddess Kaali. It is the longest and the most difficult puja of the festival.

In the past, these pujas were only conducted at home but over the years communities get together and celebrate it together at pandals.

My strongest memory of Kali Chaudas is mother walking down with a pot filled with water, she looked for crossroads and on finding one she stood in the centre then slowly going round spilled the water from the pot all around her.

It is said that our ancestors followed this custom to discard all the negative vibrations from the house.

Dhanteras is more than money (Day 1488)

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It is the day you open the account for the next year business and which is why Gujratis call it Chopda Pujan. The new books are placed before the Gods and after a puja by the pundit who draws a swastika on the blank page with a new date you begin work a few days later.

On Dhanteras like on Dassera marigold torans are adorned on the entrance and in the house.

From the time I can remember homes/ cupboards/ drawers are cleaned to shine before Dhanteras. Mother always said that if the home is not shining then Goddess Lakshmi will not visit the door.

Strarting on this day, mother kept the lights on in every room till it was time to go to bed, reason, I guess the same, Goddess Lakshmi should be able to detect our home from a distance and come home without obstacles.



Imagine Dragons and more (Day 1487)

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Imagine Dragons, whose single Natural has spent eight weeks at No. 1 Alternative radio, appear in the arcade-based video (watch for the Disney Easter Eggs). In the movie, video-game bad guy Ralph struggles with his evolving friendship with fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz.


According to Imagine Dragons’ lead singer Dan Reynolds, the film’s emotional themes are reflected in the song Zero. “They are compelling because they are real to each of us and the journey of feeling nothing and trying to recognize your worth as a human is an important part of life” says Reynolds.


Dave Meyers directed the music video. Meyers was recently recognized at the Video Music Awards for video of the year Havana by Camila Cabello ft. Young Thu, best pop video No Tears Left to Cry by Ariana Grande and best visual effects All the Stars by Kendrick Lamar ft. SZA.

Featuring singles Natural and Zero, Imagine Dragons will release their fourth studio album, Origins.