Monthly Archives

November 2019

Shivali Show- Day 1698

By | Dance | No Comments

Kumar and Nartrajan are anxious but there is no expression, both sit quietly in the green room wordless waiting for their turn. Always the pressure is to not let down your guru. The guru is more nervous than the students only not showing it and finally the performance is over. It is a big hit and the audience cannot stop clapping. The guru is happy and cnnot stop smiling. Kumar and Natrajan are  exhausted but more than that they are relieved, for some time they can rest and tonight they and eat a heavy mkeal an d get a good night’s rest finally.



Movie Review: Hotel Mumbai- Day 1697

By | Films | No Comments

Watch if you can relive the nightmare


Film: Hotel Mumbai

Date: 29.11.2019

Director: Anthony Maras

Writer: Maras, John Collee

Cast: Dev Patel, Anupam Kher, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadia

Hotel Mumbai is an Australian–American–Indian co-production inspired by the 2009 documentary Surviving Mumbai tracing the 2008 Mumbai attacks at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in India.

Shot in Australia and in India, the film has had its share of controversies. It was pulled from cinemas in New Zealand due to the Christchurch mosque shootings on 15 March 2019, later Netflix was set to distribute the film in India and other South and Southeast Asian territories but at the last minute Netflix opted out after a contractual dispute arose with Indian distributor Plus Holdings.

Almost a year after being premiered in Toronto, Australia and the United States, the film is set to release in India.

In broad daylight boat sails across the shores to Mumbai city and a group of youngsters hop out into the buzzing city, hail taxis and head for their mission to three different spots – Chatrapathi  Shivaji Terminus, Leopold Café and Taj Mahal Hotel.

The scenes revive memories of a tragedy we have all endured and tried to forget. When the city was under siege burned and Delhi delayed sending a special force to aid Mumbai police and in the bargain many lives were lost and many policemen turned patriots.

Today, 11 years post the nightmare Hotel Mumbai opens up old wounds that still fester, is it appropriate for a foreign crew to make a film on this subject? The answer is subjective. It is not the first time we are watching a film on horrific incidents and yet because it involves us a country, viewing Hotel Mumbai was not easy. I was uncomfortable sitting in the auditorium and sensed rage, pain, fear around me as the events unfolded on the big screen for 2 plus hours.

There are other reasons why I cringed in my seat. The film does not reveal the background of the terrorists until the end, why? It does not make any reference to Laskar-e-Taiba and does not point out to Pakistan till the concluding scene during the end credits.

Maybe it is all meant to be subtle and not screamed out, that is the problem when we combine fact with fiction, there are too many creative liberties to make the narrative palatable. On the plus, I will say the sound/ production design and the cinematography is outstanding. All the performances are convincing, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadia and more, your heart goes out to the hostages. Anupam Kher as Hemant Oberoi lends dignity to the character and Dev Patel as Arjun breaks your heart.

So must you watch Hotel Mumbai, only if you have the nerves to go through the nightmare again then book your tickets?

I rate Hotel Mumbai with 3 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya


Another Announcement- Day 1696

By | Dance | No Comments

While most of the students go home and rest guru Madhuparna Kumar has no time to revel in the grand show completed because she has to prepare for nother show, a grander show at Shivali Festival and her guru Malti Agniswaran has been training her for it for more than three months.  Madhuparna Kumar and Ramya Natrajan, both students of Dr Malti Agniswaran are performing together and therefore rehearsing together for months now. There is a comfort level in their performance which is evident on stage. Tomrrow is Shivali Festival performance at Mysore Association Hall, Matunga.


Green Room- Day 1695

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If you are an artiste and in the green room you can feel the tension…The person about to go on stage has cold feet and his companion is unknowingly praying for her. All artistes feel they have blanked out just before stepping into spotlight, and then when the music starts the memory returns by a miracle. While the dancer is performing, another is fixing the last pin into the hair, all ready to take position behind the curtain and all of them do this dance a after dance, song after song….


From 7-9 pm students rush in and out happy to reunite as a family after the grand finale from the guru and her colleague.

Checking List- Day 1694

By | Dance | No Comments

Madhuparna unlike other dancers is not rigid about the compere, she chooses the candidate depending on the occasion.  An hour before the show Kumar sits with her student and explains the items and the student draws her own notes about how to introduce the dancers and the dances.  It all happens naturally without pressure and it is because everyone is familiar with everyone and there is a support system for all.


Some ex-students help in co-coordinating with the children, some help in last minute glitches and some in maintaining harmony with props. The show moves on clockwork without break and without glitches, children walk in and out of stage, take position and dance on cue like professionals as the Guru stands in the wings and watches them.




The Stage is set- Day 1693

By | Dance | No Comments

Come November and it is time for Madhuparna Kumar Dance & Research Academy Annual Day. Months before the event, Kumar starts planning the list of items and which badge is performing which dance. She takes vigorous rehearsals and children although scared look forward to this special date. The venue has been the same for years and the children are used the address.


All of them arrive on time dressed in their colourful costumes and jewelry, their mothers are excited too and have spent time painting their faces and dressing them up for the occasion. They look far from nervous because they have faith in their teacher.


At the stroke of 7pm the hall is full and the curtain goes up. The music is ready and so are the lights so the show begins…




Ancient wisdom of Garbh Sanskar- Day 1692

By | Books | No Comments

Some of us believe that we will receive what we are destined to and do not make much effort beyond that to attract the same in our direction. Nothing comes without effort and devotion. To desire an ideal partner, we must first visualize one, and to desire a superior baby as well, we must visualize it.

Parents are responsible for the shaping of their children’s character and if they are disappointed with the outcome, they need to reflect on what went wrong when they conceived their baby. If your child is always bitter and angry, there is a possibility that you were disappointed and hostile during pregnancy and unwittingly transmitted the same sentiment to your child.

If we are responsible for the quality of children we bring into this world, it is to our advantage that we are enlightened to the secrets of the foetus because the fact is that good crops blossom in fertile land and great children blossom out of aware parents.


#ShapingOfSeed published by #AslanReads can be pre-ordered on


Shaping Of Seed Day 1691

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It is researched that millions of new mind-cells develop every moment inside the womb of a mother and if they are not immediately directed to the outer world, these cells become dormant. Therefore, it is imperative that pregnant women are enlightened on the subject of Shaping of Seed- The Ancient Wisdom of Garbh-Sanskar so that they make optimum use of the information and nurture their unborn.

It is a misconception that the child begins to learn after he/she is born. The child begins absorbing learning from his/her surroundings as a foetus. Everything that happens to the mother during the nine months of pregnancy directly or indirectly affects the baby’s mental, intellectual and spiritual growth.

And if this is true, do we as parents invest adequate time and effort into the growth and shaping of our child? Do we pause and ponder if we have the requisite qualities to assume responsibility of bringing a new life into the universe? Most new parents aspire for a healthy, normal baby but before that they must aspire to become aware and conscious parents.

#ShapingOfSeed published by #AslanReads can be pre-ordered on


Countdown begins- Day 1690

By | Books | No Comments

All the mothers who bring a new life into the universe and all the fathers who make this possible…

The book is a result of innumerable conversations with doctors, surgeons, psychologists, parents, and children in India and abroad. The names have been changed to preserve the It is believed that the journey of an individual begins inside his/her mother’s womb. The child is a result of its genes and its environment and parents, if they are evolved, have the power to affect, alter and influence the moral, emotional and intellectual fiber of the child right from the time of conception.

Creation of human life is a magical experience. While our ancestors described it as a blessing from the Almighty, our Vedas and Upanishads dictate that everything that happens in the universe is predetermined from the moment the foetus takes root in the uterus.

Revealing the title and the cover of my new book tomorrow, so watch this space….


Movie Review – Motichoor- Day 1689

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Athiya is the surprise packet


Film: Motichoor Chaknachoor

Date: 15.11.2019

Director: Debamitra Biswal

Writer: Bhupendra Singh/ story, screenplay Debamitra/ dialogues

Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Athiya Shetty, Vibha ChibberNavni Parihar


In a meeting organized for an arranged marriage between the two families, the prospective bride in an isolated corner asks the prospective groom if he approves of her. The hero says it is not about approval because all that matters in a marriage is that she is a woman and he is a man. Never heard something so derogatory!.


The film’s director Debamitra Biswal had filed a commercial arbitration petition on Bombay High Court which had ordered a stay on the release of its trailer, over non-payment of dues by the makers of the film Woodpecker Movies Private Limited; the stay was later lifted and which is probably the reason why the film got released without adequate promotion.


Set in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh Motichoor Chaknachoor tells the story of two families who are neighbors. The elder son Pushpinder /Nawazuddin Siddiqui of Vibha Chibber has a job in Dubai and comes home every few years during his holidays. Every time, his mother plans to get him married during his stay but always Pushpinder returns to Dubai single and is today 36 unmarried and desolate.

Anita/ Athiya Shetty, daughter of the other neighbor/ Navnit Parihar is a rebel of sorts who has turned down innumerable proposals because the groom does not match her expectations of settling down in some exotic foreign location. When Ani/ Anita learns that Pushpinder works as an accountant in Dubai she decides to woo the simpleton and fulfill her dream of moving out of small-town Bhopal.


Written by Bhupinder Singh Motichoor Chaknachoor revives memories of 70’s parallel cinema when life was simple and relationships uncomplicated. Marriage and relationships were important to our stories then and continue today. This one too is about attraction, attachment and realization and which is why the innocence revives memories of Jaya Bhaduri’s Guddi and Uphaaar

The confusing bit for me is that the film is progressive and regressive alternately, for instance, the hero, the heroine and their respective families are obsessed with marriage like being single is a curse. The hero’s mother has a full proof plan to absolve all financial crises with dowry obtained from her son’s marriage. In a light-hearted scene, an aging widower interested in his neighbor retorts ‘How can she be single and busy, strange!’

It is refreshing to watch Athiya take the initiative and not wait for Nawaz to propose to her, interesting that her aunt is single and spunky. The most forward-thinking scene comes from Athiya’s father when the married daughter comes home seeking his support. He refuses point blank with ‘If you are old enough to plan your wedding you are responsible enough to resolve domestic quarrels’.

Motichoor Chaknachoor addresses marriage, dowry, joint family, community living and also focuses on the artificial world created by the FaceBook culture. Quite honestly there is little to criticize in the film except the over made up mummies who sit at home with full eye makeup. What works about the film is the story, dialogues, lyrics and score by Abhijit Vaghani.

All the performances are convincing. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is as always first-rate but the best performance in the film comes from his screen mother Vibha Chibber reminds you of vintage Dina Pathak. Athiya Shetty after Hero is a complete transformation. She is the surprise packet of the film and proves that it is never over till it is over. Shetty is confident and sparkling!

So must you watch Motichoor Chaknachoor, I’d say eating sweets in proportion has never harmed anybody so why to regret you didn’t try this ladoo. I rate Motichoor Chaknachoor with 3 stars.


Bhawana Somaaya