Saregama’s Shakti App (Day 1161)

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The festive time has begun, adding fervor to our mundane lives. Tomorrow is Ganesh Chaturthi and the Elephant God will be welcomed in many households with a lot of fanfare. Delicious, aromatic food, aarti and rituals bring together friends, relatives and neighbors.

While festivals are an occasion for families, have you ever given a thought to those living far away from home? This is a lonely time for them, reminding them of their native place and the memories associated with the festival. For the first time Saregama brings a unique App that connects you to the festival without the help of a mediator like a pandit. This App tells you not only how a puja is to be performed but draws a list of the samagris required for the occasion.

Saregama India, introduces an unconventional way to stay connected with traditions through Saregama Shakti App which is a high-quality audio-video guide on the rituals and explains the significance of mythology.

Available worldwide on Apple and Android app stores Shakti is a free to download app with a one day trial period.  The world is changing and so is Ganpati Bappa.


The Father (1160)

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The Father is Motley’s most ambitious project to date and will have a month long run at the NCPA experimental and it’s a first where theatre in India is concerned. Written by Florian Zeller, translated by Cristopher Hampton it is an English adaptation of a French play, described by the writer as “a tragic farce” jolts us into the awareness that a very thin line separates the ludicrous from the pathetic. Hilarious and disturbing at the same time The Father is a family drama involving the victim and the caretaker.

Commissioned by the Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath, and first presented on 16 October 2014 will have on stage Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah / Heeba Shah and others. Directed by Naseeruddin Shah, the set design is by Anuradha Parekh Benegal & Ratna Pathak Shah who also serves as co-director with her husband.

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Dance like a Goddess

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Madhuparna Kumar started training in Bharatnatyam at the tender age of four. Her initial dance guru Shri Kohinoor Sen Bharat in Kolkatta is her maternal uncle and also her inspiration who introduced Kumar to the world of dance and expressions.

Post marriage Kumar moved from Kolkatta to Mumbai and was exposed to a variety of dance forms, some she experimented with for adventures like fusion and folk and excelled at but her heart belongs to classical dance, specifically Bharatnatyam.

Says Kumar,“I have been dancing since I was a child and for me dancing is like breathing, my daily riyaz is a prayer to the Almighty and an offering to my gurus”.

rituparna 1Considered among the Bharatnatyam artistes Madhuparna Kumar is appreciated for her her flawless footwork combined with matchless abhinaya. She has performed on every significant platform in India and abroad and singlehandedly runs a dance academy comprising 500 students of all age groups.

Forever motivated and far from complacent, Kumar continues to explore her passion for Bharatnatyam under the able guidance of her present guru Dr Malti Agniswaran.

Kumar has done her masters in Bharatnatyam and is currently doing her doctorate under Dr Ayan Ghosh.



Movie Review: Partition: 1947 is magnificent

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Film Review: Partition: 1947

Date: 118 August 2017

Producer: Paul Berges Gurinder Chadha, Deepak Nayar

Writers:  Paul, Maria, Gurinder

Director: Gurinder Chadha

Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal, Huma Qureshi, Michael Gambon

Rating: 3.5 stars

 The film opens to the Indian staff cleaning the Viceroy Palace and a British official supervising the process. In a later scene, Edwina Mountbatten comments that the palace is more magnificent than the Buckingham Palace in England.

As Lord Mountbatten trains his personal staff to dress him with his various medals in less than 10 minutes, Lady Mountbatten ventures into the kitchen to congratulate her staff for a super meal.

The couple is compassionate towards India and there are many scenes to establish that. Partition: 1947 is not like any film you have watched on the subject. It is not about the riots, the bloodshed or the religious war rather it is a peep into the private life of the final Viceroy of India during the Partition.

He has to oversee the transition of British India to independence and the monumental change is not without heart breaks; as the country divides into India and Pakistani, people are anguished and the servants quarters, for the first time rebellious to a point of violence.

Diligently written and lovingly shot Gurinder Chadha and her team engages you in a narrative where there are no villains, this is a story about turbulent times, a film about a decision that altered history!

The technical team excels in every department and the production design is magnificent. Splendidly performed by all the actors, AR Rehman’s music breathes life into the storytelling and gets you choked in the end credits.

Selected at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival this year Partition: 1947 is a must watch for every proud Indian who cares for his country’s history.




Movie Review: Barreily ki Barfi is delicious

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Film: Bareilly ki Barfi

Date: 18 August 2017

Producer: Junglee Pictures, BR Studio

Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari

Writers: Nitesh Tiwari, Shreyas Jain, Rajat Nonia

Cast: Rajkumar Rao, Ayushman Khurana, Krriti Sanon, Pankaj Tripathi, Seema Bhargava

The man of the house is awake and is getting late to work but there is a problem, he needs a cigarette to relieve himself and he has finished his last one, so his daughter walks on the street and borrows an incomplete cigarette from a passerby to push it inside the toilet door to her anxious father.

This is just one of the many crazy things the family is capable of. On a bad morning, the daughter walks out of her home bag and baggage to board a train to nowhere but before that she purchases a book and is so engrossed in the story that she returns home instantly to share the details with her best friend.

Director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari has a unique way of introducing her protagonists the Mishra family to the viewers. Father Pankaj Tripathi is the liberal and laid back owner of a sweet shop, mother Seema Bhargava is in government service.

Daughter Bitti / Kriti Sanon holds an impressive profile that includes break dance, foreign films, in short, living life to the brim so it’s of little consequence that she holds a boring job of listing complaints of failing electricity in the city.

Bitti identifies with the heroine of the book and is curious to meet up the writer so lands up at the printing press owned by Chirag Dubey/Ayushman Khurana, a lover in mourning who initially forwards her messages to the author and finally packs Vidrohi from Lucknow to Barreily to meet her.

In the meantime, Mr & Mrs. Mishra who were initially attracted to Chirag as the potential groom for their daughter, now shift affection to Pritam while Pritam shifts affection to Rama and if all this is confusing then that’s the intention!

It is a love story with a message for life: that you will reap what you will sow and more important, appearances are deceptive as a result, Bitti’s mother whose hyper ventilating all day about her daughter’s delayed wedding, come night and she snores away to sleep.

Bitti’s father on the other hand, who is supportive of his daughter’s freedom, lies awake night after night on his bed talking to the ceiling fan.

The spirited Bitti who lives life on her terms has a repartee for every question including a candidate asking her if she’s a virgin, has no answers for her own fears.

Nor does Chirag the big bully who is self-absorbed to a point of destruction! It is a foregone conclusion that Pritam Vidyarthi is a loser but is that really true?

What’s in favor of the film is the extra-ordinary writing sprinkled with native humor and amazing insights. Barreily Ki Barfi is a story of mundane moments turned magical by unforgettable characters and sparkling performances from ensemble cast Pankaj/ Seema/ Krriti/ Ayushman,and the best of all Rajkumar Rao.

The minus is that the romance brings back memories of Saajan, Chitchor and Katha. The film has a slow start and the climax is predictable but you can overlook these minor flaws for the bigger picture.

Barreily ki Barfi is entertaining and when you emerge from the theatre, you carry home with you the entire Mishra family, their friends, and relatives.

Congratulations to the entire Barreily team for a film as delicious as Barfi. I rate Barreily ki Barfi with 3.5 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya





ArunaIrani 80s

Aruna Irani : Gunga Jamuna to television (Day 1158)

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Aruna Irani started her career as a child star in Gunga Jamuna and when she grew up she danced in the chorus or did brief roles till Mehmood spotted her in a crowd scene and launched her as his co-star. She was a good actor and did many powerful supporting roles in many films be it Upkaar, Naya Zamana or Carvaan.  It was Mehmood who launched her as a heroine opposite his prodigal Amitabh Bachchan in Bombay to Goa.

ArunaIrani g 90s partyRaj Kapoor launched her as a dancer in Bobby and there was no looking back for Aruna Irani recognized as a complete entertainer who could fit into any role or character in any film.

aruna cake 2In the 80s when the film offers reduced Aruna Irani got busy with Gujarati films not just as an actor but also as a producer and director. In the 90s she was back in Hindi films with her unforgettable role as Anil Kapoor’s mother in Beta.

2000 onward Aruna Irani became the most in demand actor on television starting with Desh Mein Nikla Hoga Chand to her latest offering as Sau Bhagyalaxami in 2016.

Wishing Aruna Irani a productive and creative year ahead…

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