Vidya Balan

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Film Review: Kahaani 2

Date: 02 December 2016

Director: Sujoy Ghosh

Writers: Suresh Nair/ story, Ritesh Shah/ dialogues

Cast: Vidya Balan, Arjun Rampal, Naisha Khanna, Jugal Hansraj

Rating: 3.5 stars


The film opens to an engaging routine involving a single mother and her disabled daughter who are happy to spend a lazy Sunday doing mundane activities. The next morning Vidya Sinha is a regular housewife rushing with domestic chores and grasping for breath to reach her office on time. By the time she grabs some sweet from a local shop to celebrate the good news with Mini, her daughter; the film has you on the edge of your seat.

In 2012 filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh and his team presented Kahaani, the story of a heavily pregnant Vidya Bagchi who arrives in India looking for her missing husband! This time Vidya Sinha is looking for her missing daughter!! Last time Vidya Balan ended the story in the middle of the street amidst celebrations of Goddess Durga festival. This time she is manifested into Durga Rani to fight for her daughter.

The filmmaker has gone out of his way to emphasize that Kahaani 2 is not a sequel but an installment which is another way of saying that it should not be compare with the original. The fact is it is the same brand and comparisons are inevitable. In storytelling and content the former is way superior to the latter.

This time the plot gets predictable post interval and the climax is exaggeratedly simple. It is verbose without any visual/ musical relief. Some questions remain unanswered: Strange that Vidya’s sensitive boyfriend never tries to contact her in all these years. Strange that she has an attendant for her daughter but no tutor coming home to pursue her education?

The advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. The pace is fast and gripping, the script responsible and detailed. There are other unforgettable moments significant to the story like the accident expertly captured by cinematographer Tapan Basu.

Director Sujoy Ghosh visits his locations like characters and creates magical moments out of silences. The sequence where Vidya Balan visits Dewan mansion looking for clues is mesmerizing, her interactions with the senior and junior Dewan moments to remember.

Kahaani 2 addresses the single working mother, child abuse, disability and cracks the whip on the growing negligence and irresponsibility of General Hospitals and Police Station to society. Arjun Rampal as sub inspector Inder is reassured while Jugal Hansraj seen on screen after ages is the surprise packet of the film.

Kahaani 2 unlike Kahaani is not a one point agenda, there are layers and explores other characters who comes into contact with Durga Rani but it is Durga/ Vidya Balan who travels you from Kalimpong to Kolkatta and Chandapur, without letting you down a single moment and a single scene.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

Yugpurursh Mahatma

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Yugpurush-the play narrates the journey of Gandhiji imbibing principles like Ahimsa, Truth, Celibacy under the guidance of Shrimad Rajchandraji

Yugpurush-the play narrates the journey of Gandhiji imbibing principles like Ahimsa, Truth, Celibacy under the guidance of Shrimad Rajchandraji

Once in a lifetime a man like Mahatma Gandhi is born. Once in a lifetime he find a Guru like Shrimad Rajchandraji.

2017 marks the 150th birth anniversary of the great Indian saint, poet-philosopher, and spiritual luminary – Shrimad Rajchandraji (1867 – 2017.) Hailed as the spiritual guide of Mahatma Gandhi, Shrimad Rajchandraji had a tremendous and formative influence on the Father of the Nation that he is said to have said “Such was the man who captivated my heart in religious matters as no other man ever has till now.”

Celebrations in honour of Rajchandraji were launched from the Red Fort by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi who in his uplifting speech on India’s 70th Independence Day said, “The country is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Shrimad Rajchandraji, Mahatma Gandhiji’s Guru. In one of His letters to Gandhiji, Shrimadji writes … the principle of non-violence has existed ever since the existence of violence. What is important is which one do we utilize for the welfare of mankind.”

His teachings have been translated into a play Yugpurush and has mesmerised an audience of over 4000 people. Over 50 shows have been booked all over Mumbai till 31 December and people are queuing up in large numbers.

This happens once in a lifetime.


Still from the play Yugpurush portraying an inspiring exchange between the Mahatma and His Mentor Shrimadji



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Celebrating Learning

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Junoon‘s Arts at Play, exposes young minds to the delight, richness, rigour, freedom and sense of possibilitythe arts bring with them. Junoon showcases a variety of art forms and offers many interactions with arts professionals so that students may imbibe the wonder and diversity of India’s cultural fabric and therefore guides students towards understanding their own responses and expressing themselves creatively and without inhibition.
When children experience learning through a taste of something magical and tangible, they relish the knowledge and cherish its unforgettable impact for a lifetime. This is the kind of learning Junoon offers – touching and transforming children’s lives through the arts.

Sanjna Kapoor, Co – Founder – Junoon, who overlooks the curation is a firm believer about the positive outcome of this program



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Love Letters 2

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rohan_2To make it real people will read out actual love letters. Shot in black and white, the videos are dramatically honest and revive the beauty of writing.

The next season will feature a wider range of emotions, will travel beyond romantic love and engage letters to parents, friends and relatives. If interested, you can feature in the video too

All you need to do is write to it can be an old letter or a new relationship and new letter. Check the entries at and pen your special letter soon.


Love in Letters 1

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Do you remember the last time you felt the excitement of opening an envelope, tracing the words kept inside with your fingers, secretly hoping that the sender’s scent still lingers on the paper? It is this special feeling is what Harkat Studios, a film production company, a co-working space and an alternative performance space in Versova is trying to bring back to life with their new project, Love in Letters.

A series created for the production house’s YouTube channel called Choti si Harkat it is an answer to this generation’s attention span. Letters can tell a whole world in a few pages.  These videos will reintroduce us to the beauty of taking it slow, leaning back and enjoying something as meaningful as a letter.

(to be continued)


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Alia Bhatt is mesmerizing

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Film Review: Dear Zindagi

Date: 25 November 2016

Director: Gauri Shinde

Cast: Alia Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan, Kunal Kapoor

Rating: 3.5 stars


The film opens to an ad shoot; the cinematographer lugs heavy camera equipment on her back and offers suggestions to the filmmaker.  You discover Kaaira is a tough negotiator and this is probably a film about her aspirations!

Post pack up Kaaira is on a night out with friends, living it up on the dance floor and you realize that this may well be a film about friendship.

The subsequent scenes reveal that every man Kaaira befriends – restaurateur/ filmmaker/ musician all lose their heart to her but she is unable to sustain interest and restless to move on.

When the story shifts to Goa post interval you suspect this is going to be a film about parental conflict but there are more surprises in store.

On an assignment Kaaira overhears Mental Health doctor Jahangir Khan and meets him again and again at his cozy clinic, on the beach and on a bicycle ride. During their various interactive sessions Kaaira finds answers she has been looking for all her life and so do we as an audience.

This is not a film about a specific relationship it’s about life, its various colors and moods.What is attractive about the film is that it is unpredictable.Just in the way Gauri Shinde’s debut film English Vinglish was apparently about gender gaze but in reality more, Dear Zindagi also is about our deep rooted insecurities and people’s perceptions about us.

What works about the film is that it addresses issues related to Mental Health and portrays the hero in the role of a life coach. Contemporary in content; Shah Rukh in a specific scene, compares relationships to chairs, a delicate issue but the argument is completely logical. The message is positive and the treatment sensitive.

What does not work is the pace. The beginning is slow and wanders endlessly before arriving to the core. The film picks up when Alia Bhatt meets up Shah Rukh Khan and when she tells him her story, it is not just Dr Jehangir Khan but the audience is riveted!

Dear Zindagi addresses our youth and present times. Three reasons to watch the film are: Shah Rukh Khan, director Gauri Shinde and the best performer in the film, Alia Bhatt.

BhawanaSomaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya