Monthly Archives

August 2019

The Khandwa Guy

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Kishore Kumar has sung in every Indian language and honored with innumerable awards which include 8 Filmfare awards and a special Lata Mangeshkar trophy.

Born in Khandwa, the Madhya Pradesh government instituted a special award in his memory after his demise that continues till today.  His last song was sold at an auction for 1.56 million. He was a rare talent, not just a brilliant singer but an energetic actor, competent composer, crazy writer, and director.

This week’s blog is not about Kishore Kumar’s supreme talent or success but about his eccentricities. All artistes are slightly eccentric but Kishore Kumar’s idiosyncrasies often bordered on self-indulgence which in retrospect sounds entertaining but was exasperating for the person on the receiving end.

Wait for a day for me to fill you with details on the genius who drove the film world round the bend.


Documenting Baba

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Amit Kumar, legendary singer Kishore Kumar’s son appeared on Kapil Sharma show and proclaimed that he was writing a book on his father from a son’s perspective. He said that there so many stories associated with his father that the w a single book on him may not do justice to his genius and will have to include the entire family and their stories as well.

According to Amit Kumar what made his Baba different from other actors was that while other actors worked for entertainment, his baba was 24 X 7 walkie-talkie entertainer.  And which is why on Kishore Kumar’s birthday and death anniversary the media has much to celebrate via his songs and eccentric stories from the past.

Over the next few days I will be sharing anecdotes of the versatile singer who was also a composer and a filmmaker.


Movie Review: Mission Mangal

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Film: Mission Mangal

Date: 15.08.2019

Director: Jagan Shakti

Writers: RBalki, JShakti, Nidhi Sen Dharma, Saket Kondiparthi

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu,Nithiya Menen, Sharman Joshi, Kirti Kulhari, Dattetreya, Sanjay Kapoor.


Tara Shinde/ Vidya Balan is upset that the maid has taken off on her important day and rushes through her household chores to make it on time to ISRO, her workplace. Today is the GLSV launch but unfortunately, it does not take off partly due to Tara’s error of judgment. Team leader Rakesh Dhawan/ Akshay Kumar assumes responsibility for the project failure and is shunted to another project/ Mars Mission which everyone knows will never take off. Tara is heavy-hearted about the turn of events and finds a solution to the problem believe it or not while frying puris on the gas stove.

Mission Mangal is the inspiring story of India’s first Mars Mission, Mangalayan launched in 2013 and executed by a group of unlikely scientists. R Balki is credited as the writer -creative director of the film and you can sense his detailing in defining the various characters.

Team leader Akshay Kumar hums film songs under duress, eats sweets to celebrate failure and is refreshingly dramatic when being sarcastic. His colleague Vidya Balan is passionate about her work and unapologetic about it to her forever grumbling husband/ Sanjay Kapoor.

Together, Akshay and Vidya build a team of inexperienced scientists which includes an ambitious Eka Gandhi/ Sonakshi Sinha whose ultimate goal is NASA, a virgin Parmeshwar/ Sharaman Joshi obsessed with horoscope, a semi-retired Ananth Iyer/ Dattatreya and three more, Tapasee Pannu, Nithiya Menen, and Kirti Kulhari.

With so many characters it is not possible to do justice to all; still Sonakshi Sinha, Sharman Joshi, and Dattatreya make a mark. It is refreshing to watch the lead pair involved in a dream rather than with each other. Akshay Kumar takes a while to grow on you as he cracks bad jokes, jumps over the tables and makes fictitious calls to the ex-President but eventually, he wins you over by not hogging screen space. Vidya inhabits Tara’s home-heart and brain and is as real attending to domestic chores as executing the satellite journey from earth to Mars.

There are minor flaws, some characters are under sketched and saris for the women characters are not color and character-specific. I also disagree with the humor in reference to sex and weight but overlook the lapses for the nail-biting climax and the message.

Mission Mangal is about accomplishing the impossible; about changing mindsets, dreaming big and most important, pride for the country. As characters wrestle for physical and mental space, you navigate through by-lanes of past/ present soaked in marital anxieties, parental pressures, neglect of the senior and guilt of not bearing a child and are privy to naked ambition.
There is a paradigm shift in gender gaze that reflects a changing India.

I rate Mission Mangal with 4 stars.


Watch the review:

Bhawanaa Somaaya



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Shabana Azmi signs Spielberg’s 9 part web series Halo directed by Otto Bathurst. ( Robin Hood)
Halo is one of the most popular video game franchises in the world, having sold more than 77 million copies since its initial release in 2001. The series comes from Showtime, Amblin Television and Microsoft.
Halo, which Showtime has described as its “most ambitious series ever,” is set to begin production in Budapest in the fall.
Natascha McElhone, Shabana Azmi Bokeem Woodbine, Bentley Kalu, Natasha Culzac and Kate Kennedy — have signed on to the drama based on the mega-popular video game franchise, which will dramatize the conflict between humanity and an alien race known as the Covenant in the 26th century.

Pablo Schreiber,plays the iconic Master Chief role.

McElhone (Designated Survivor, Californication) will play Cortana, the most advanced AI in human history who may be the key to the survival of the human race.

Acclaimed Indian actress Azmi will play Admiral Margaret Parangosky, the head of the Office of Naval Intelligence.

Emmy nominee Woodbine (Fargo, Spider-Man: Homecoming) plays Soren-066, a morally complex privateer at the fringes of civilization.

Says a visibly pleased Shabana, “It can’t get bigger than this! Asian actors have been fighting for color-blind casting for years .. finally, its become a reality! This is completely new territory for me – I’m both excited and nervous which is a good place to be in “

Ask how she bagged the part she replies, “ It just fell into my lap! I had to give up on 2 projects I was scheduled to do here but I figured it would be worth it”.

Some for the Album – Day 1624

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Ronak bhai had organized an early Jain dinner post the function and all of us were led to Bollywood Lounge a  newly opened restaurant very close to the theatre where the anchor of the evening RJ Pooja Dal Dholakia, the authors, their relatives and close friends joined for a post party.


Everyone was tired and everyone was hungry and in a mood for posing pictures. Pooja took a selfie of all and I managed to grab Raonak in a frame finally, he had been avoiding coming on the stage or participating in a single picture all through the event. In my opinion the credit of a super successful evening goes to publisher Ronak and his wife Aanal. The couple worked quietly and tirelessly to make sure that the event went smoothly and everyone was happy.


I leave the city with warm memories of the book release and Navbharat Sahitya Mandir.


An author and a Publisher – Day 1623

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It is true that book lovers come to listen to the author at a book release but are they seriously interested in knowing about the book? I am not sure, I feel genuine readers like to discover the books on their own without spoon feeding and would rather be told about the process of writing or the person behind the mask of the writer. I hesitate to talk about my books at the launch because quite frankly I’m exhausted with the process of writing it and would rather indulge them in some easy chatter. It has always worked. I tell them stories about myself and I think they find it more engaging.

An important lesson to learn at all book release is to never indulge in long speeches, nobody is interested, keep it brief. And to know you are on the right track watch out for smiling faces, if they are not smiling, you are not making an impact!