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Entertaining & enlightening (Day 1314)

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Jai Sri Krishna can do with a little trimming in the first half and adding more colour in the second half.   There is too much gyaan and almost no dances post interval and you miss the energy on stage. The directors need to think of a fitting finale using the combined talents of set/ Sandesh Bendre, research/ Shakti Kumar and lights/ Shital Talpade. The finale is a big letdown, too casual, the directors need to rethink of a fitting idea  inclusive of all the opportunities in sets, costumes, lights, background music and all the dancers, in fact this should be the curtain call of the entire cast and actors to bow out.

Jai Sri Krishna has great potential and I hope the producers Fulwane, Potdar and Shelke will do all within their means to promote and market this show  with the fanfare it  deserves.






Deconstructing Deity (Day 1313)

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The narrator Krishna/Ninad Limaye definitely has the better role than the Mahabharat Krishna/ Nakul Ghanekar and delivers a confident performance. From a childhood in Gokul and Vrindavan to adolescence in Mathura and later Dwarika, Hastinapur, Indraprasth, Kurukshetra and finally Somnath where he is hit by the arrow of Zaraon his foot and it is time to say adieu,.

It is not possible to feature all the phases and all the places, all the characters and all the conflicts but writer Vivek Aapte picks the crucial moments and bypasses others. Narrator Krishna counts his merits and demerits and interprets mythology and the deity for which all credit is due to co-directors Raghu Kul and Vivek Aapte for portraying a never done before format that is both shocking and refreshing.

The ballet is eventually about the extraordinary choreography by Sonia Parchure but also about Krishna’s philosophy and how to apply it in our day to day lives and face all the ongoing struggles.



Tribute to saints (Day 1312)

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The ballet borrows not just from films but also from Mahabharata, Puranas, Bhagwat, Harivijay and the Bhagwad Gita and pays tributes to popular poets and songwriters in many languages.

The dancers excel in abhinaya and also in footwork and it is apparent that the choreographer has spent long hours with them practicing every entry and exit, every expression and gesture to perfection.

The USP of the ballet is the  concept, the script and the idea of  two narrators Lord Krishna himself and another modern time Krishna, in trousers and coat who  introduces himself as the Narrator Krishna and  who skillfully and  appropriately deconstructs the  concept of the  deity that is Sri Krishna.. .

This is without exception the first time ever in any performing medium and therefore special.

It is indeed courageous of  Prashant Fulwane, owner of Vaastusankalp Group to believe and support this out of ordinary concept.


Songs from Cinema (Day 1311)

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The best part about the ballet are the songs and the dances,  at any given point girls in colorful costumes energetically move around on the three-layered recreating memories from old and new films. Accompanying them are boys in beige and off-white dhotis and kurtas at times doing acrobatics and at times doing maharaas.

The choreography is well co-ordinated and the stream of dancers appear and disappear from the stage displaying all the nava rasas of natyashastra.

The beauty of the ballet is the simplicity, the backdrop comprises of ornate doors that lead to Krishna’s past and in the centre is the audiovisual of  the time and era of the story – at times  lush grass, at times swaying trees , at times the angry Yamuna and at times the  images of the resources for  research material.

Like all ballets, there is a sutradhaar but more about him later…



Jai Sri Krishna (Day 1310)

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It all began with me reading an announcement of a new ballet on Lord Krishna to be performed by a group never heard of before. There are already so many ballets on the deity and they become all the more visible during Janmashtami so I was curious how different this one was going to be and put the cutting on my social media asking the producer to get in touch with me.

A few days later I got a call from Sachin from Globus who was the caretaker of this mammoth project. He spoke extensively to me on the telephone and to ensure me that his show was different from anything I had watched so far mailed me pictures of the ballet. I was attracted to the images and when I read the concept I became all the more curious to watch the concert.

Come Sunday I drove to Rang Sharda Auditorium in Bandra and came home strangely rejuvenated.

Details on the coming days…


11.04.2018 b

Movie Review: October (Slow, silent and sensitive)

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Slow, silent and sensitive

Film: October

Date: 13 April 2018

 Director: Shoojit Sircar

Writer/Screenplay/Dialogues: Juhi Chaturvedi

Cast: Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu, Gitanjali Rao

The film opens to the grandeur of a Seven Star Hotel as guests walk into the lobby and inquire about their rooms.

Behind the dazzling lobby and the sparkling wine glasses on the dressed up dinner tables are the overstressed, overworked trainees going through the daily grind of cleaning, swabbing, cutting, chopping, laundering and making beds for the guests.

They work late and long hours and return exhausted to a poky rented apartment shared by many, eat boiled rice with pickle and fall asleep.

On duty, they are forever watched by the cameras and told time and again by the boss that if they are expelled from training for misconduct or poor performance they would have to pay a penalty of rupees 3 lakhs.

This keeps most of them on their toes except the forever distracted Dan/Varun Dhawan who is characteristically negligent and suffers from unexplained misplaced aggression.

A tragedy occurs in the hotel which affects all the trainees and transforms Dan forever.

Director Shoojit Sircar has claimed in all his interviews that October is not a love story but a story about love. This is true…

One can describe October as a story about relationships where strangers bond over a crisis or as a story of changing seasons where fragrant flowers blossom after the dry leaves wither away in autumn.

Or better still, as a story of everyday struggle.  Dan works by day at the hotel and spends the night watching over Shiuli/ Banita Sandhu at nights and you discover that there is a lot in common between the two surroundings – the sound making machines, the systems, and people.

The merits of the film are the characters, the writing, the humor, music and lyrical cinematography. The demerits are the slow pace, a deliberately delayed narrative and a predictable end.

In his 13-year-old career, director Shoojit Sircar has addressed rare issues and broken many rules. His Yahaan 2005 was about Kashmir, Vicky Donor / 2012 about infertility, Madraas Café / 2013 about Sri Lanka, Piku / 2015 about a hypochondriac single father and Pink / 2017 about rape!

In October Sircar treads a comparatively simplistic terrain devoid of intrigue or complexity and like always extracts strong performances from the team, Banita Sandhu and Gitanjali Rao as Shiuli’s Amma.

Varun Dhawan emerges as a dependable actor be it Badlapur or Judwaa 2 and embraces Dan with a rare curiosity and an innocence that touches our hearts.

October is not everyone’s idea of entertainment, but for those seeking quietude and the fragrance of flowers, this is a soothing experience.

I rate October with 3.5 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya

Abraham v/s Arora (Day 1309)

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John Abraham, Director of M/s JA Entertainment has filed three criminal complaints against Prernaa Arora and her company, KriArj Entertainment for cheating, breach of trust, defamation and offenses committed under the Information Technology Act.


These complaints were filed last week at Khar Police Station, Mumbai. Actor John Abraham, through his production house JA Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. had signed a Co-production agreement with Prernaa Arora’s company Kriarj Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. wherein Kriarj had agreed to pay Rs 35 crores to John’s company to cover the cost of production, fees of all actors and other production-related expenses and bear the Print and Advertisement expenses (P&A) for the film Parmanu- The Story of Pokhran against which John had agreed to assign the exploitation rights and 50% IPR of the film to Prernaa’s company.


However, after Prernaa’s repeated delays in making payments by stopping cheque payments and giving wrong bank transfer details (UTR numbers) at every stage and refusal to pay the last tranches of payment, which were critical for completing the post-production work of the film, John followed the due process as laid down by law.


He first served her a legal notice but when Prerrna failed to cure the breaches, John terminated his agreement with her in order to save his film after which Prernaa filed a criminal complaint against John and made defamatory statements against him in the media. When John learned that Prerna had started blocking the online publicity materials launched by him for the promotion of his film and had, without his knowledge recovered monies in excess of what she had to pay him from various third parties without paying his dues John decided enough was enough.



Artists during the performance in NCPA Presentation English play SHIKHANDI at Experimental Theatre, NCPA on 21/03/2017. Photo By : NARENDRA DANGIYA.

The story of In between (Day 1308)

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Shikhandi is perhaps one of the earliest transgender characters known in history/mythology. She appears in the Mahabharata and plays a crucial part in winning the battle of Kurukshetra for the Pandavas. Shikhandi was meant to be born male to avenge an insult in her past life as Amba b ut the bigger karmic game unfolds when she is reborn female, raised male, has a sex change on her wedding night when she runs away to the forest (thanks to a Yaksha), and finally fulfills her destiny – to be the cause of Bhishma’s death.

A comic, tongue-in-cheek, retelling of the story of Shikhandi, mixing traditional Indian storytelling and contemporary English verse, and questioning gender, sexuality, maleness, femaleness and everything in between, the play was runner-up at the Sultan Padamsee Playwriting Awards 2016.

Written and directed by Faezeh Jalali the play stars MeherAcharia-Dar, Mahnaz Damania, Vikrant Dhote, Karan Desai, Nikhil Murali, Srishti Srivastava, Nakul Bhalla/Tushar Pandey and Kartavya Anthwaal Sharma/ Abhishek Chauhan and  is restricted to  adult audience.



11.04.2018 b

Waiting for October (Day 1307)

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All of us know about how Varun Dhawan met Shoojit Sircar in his tracksuit and landed the role of role of Dan in October.  What attracted Shoojit was his ruffled hair and clumsy ways of dropping a tea glass and trying in vain to pick up the pieces. Shoojit clicked a video of the same and sent it to his writer Juhi and producer with a text that he had found his Dan.

Those who work with Shoojit know that he believes in extensive preparation and Varun Dhawan was not spared of the rehearsals. Dhawan plays a Hotel Management Student in the film and endured a vigorous workshop entailing all the chores of a trainee which includes washing toilets, cleaning dishes, vacuuming and cooking so that he picked the right mannerisms required for the character.

11.04.2018 aSince most of the shooting took place in a real 5-star hotel lodging foreign guests Varun was often mistaken for a  staff and asked to run errands for the guest and he did often unaware that Shoojit Sircar was hiding somewhere with his camera and shooting these authentic moments.


10.04.2018 a

102 Not Out (Day 1307)

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Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor have been paired several times together but never have they played father and son. In 102 Not Out based on playwright Saumya Joshi’s well known Gujarati play by the same name and directed by Umesh Shukla Bachchan has encountered the most unusual experiences one of which includes riding a rickshaw.

The unit was worried how they would be able to control the crowd but the shoot was completed without any obstruction. 102 Not Out is being touted as the most unusual love story between a father and his son and will release in the theatres in May.