Daughter-Father relationship (Day 1419)

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Meghana says her book is about what she has seen and experienced and not what she has heard about the man and the myth, for instance, she reveals that “I know my father has hobnobbed with the greats but this book is about his real friends and associates who came home and I interacted with them as people be it his barber or his favorite actor”.

Gulzar says she had many questions to ask and he gave truthful answers whether it was details of his lineage, his separation with wife Rakhee or his personal vulnerabilities. “We switched roles from parent-child to professionals for this book and also when I write songs for her films. No director has had the guts to ask me to rewrite mukhadas after I have submitted the song but my daughter has made me rewrite the same song not once but many times in all her films –Filhaal, Talvar or Raazi and I abide by her suggestions because she is the boss.”

Meghana smiles at his expression and says these are small liberties she takes as a daughter and attributes her strength to Gulzar who brought her up fearlessly, without the slightest inhibition.

“He included me in every facet of his life, introduced me to every creative medium he was exposed to and said it was okay to try and fail but not okay to regret never having tried so as a child I learned to play the sitar, the piano, I learned to swim and dance ballet, I was introduced to Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, encouraged to paint, to sing and naturally encouraged to write. He wrote me poems all the time, when he was proud of me and also when he was disappointed…

To be continued…

 Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya


Meghana – Gulzar saab Haazir ho (Day 1418)

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Meghana Gulzar says she is because of her father Gulzar whom she addresses as Pappi is and Gulzar Saab says that Meghana whom he addresses as Bosky is his breath and also his mirror. He adds that he is happy when she is happy and sad when she is sad.

Meghana describes her relationship with her artist father as symbiotic, “We are extensions of each other, feed off from one another and are incomplete without each other”.

I am at the book release of writer/ director Meghana Gulzar who has updated her biography on her father originally written in 2008.

Published by Harper & Collins the publisher kept hounding Meghana to update her memoirs but Meghana was busy with her films Talvar and later Raazi and once done with both Meghana knew it was time to honor the deadline.

To be continued…

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

Movie Review: Halkaa (Day 1417)

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Film: Halkaa

Date: 03.09.2018

Director: Nila Madhav Panda

Cast: Tathastu, Ranvir Shorey, and Paoli Dam.

Psychiatrists say that if you see your image in the mind if a child you will not recognize yourself.

This is a story of children, yes but also dreams and making them come true.

Seven-year-old Pichku/ Tathastu lives in the slums with his cycle rickshaw driver father/ Ranvir Shorey and factory working mother/ Paoli Dam.

The 10×12 room has everything the family needs except a toilet. The mother wakes up early to go to the fields. The father walks with a bottle in hand and relieves himself on the rail tracks.

Pichku, unlike his friends, has a problem relieving himself in public so has to manipulate new ideas every time to do his private act indoors and not get caught by his parents.

Pichku has a dream, he wants to build his private toilet and works very hard to make it come true!

There are 4 reasons for watching Halkaa:

One and most important, the unusual, refreshing story.

Director Nila Madhav unfolds his story without the slightest fuss and frills. He walks you down the narrow, filthy lanes of the slums introducing you to his various characters and their concerns.

Two, the treatment. Shot in real locations the reel actors dressed in worn out, stained costumes blur with the existing locals engaging you in a narrative that is both emotional and humorous.

Three, the message and that is everyone has a right to privacy and dignity.

Four, the intention. This is clearly not a film to showcase India’s poverty to the rest of the world.

It is a poignant tale of perhaps personal experience.

Tathastu as Pichku and Gopi as his friend is a treat to watch. Ranvir Shorey and Paoli  Dam inhabit the hut as if they’ve lived there all their lives.

But finally, the film belongs to the technical team -the cinematographer, the composer and the editor.

Take a bow National award-winning director Nila Madhav, you are India’s Majid Majidi.

Rishi Kapoor rules (Day 1416)

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Happiness is a state of mind and Rishi Kapoor has accepted this. Last week the Kapoor family finally announced its decision of putting father Raj Kapoor’s legendary studio on sale.
“We’ve taken an impractical decision for practical reasons” explained Rishi Kapoor.
Today, is Kapoor’s birthday and he turns 66.
It is a special birthday and a special Ganpati this year for the family because both, the father and son have been appreciated by the masses and the classes for their filmsMulk and Sanjay.

Movie Review: Stree (Day 1414)

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Film: Stree

Date: 31 August 2018

Producer: Dinesh Vijan

Director: Amar Kaushik

Cast: Rajkumar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana

Music: Ketan Sidha

In 1961 legendary filmmaker V Shantaram told us the story of an empowered woman in his popular film titled Stree.

In 2018 Amar Kaushik tells us the story of a possessed woman inspired from a folk legend in Andhra Pradesh about a bridal ghost who roams every night in search of her husband.

Set in a small town Chanderi known for celebrating the annual puja over four nights, the residents paint ‘O Stree kal aana’ outside their homes to ward off the evil spirit.

Vickey/ Rajkumar Rao is a gifted tailor who encounters a  beautiful mystery girl/ Shradha Kapoor who appears/disappears at her will and asks for strange gifts ( tail of a lizard, hair of a cat) and drives him to remote locations for a date.

The good news is that the film is not as scary as one had anticipated; in fact, the trailer is more terrifying than the film. The screenplay combines fear with humor to present a new genre called Horror Comedy.

There are hilarious moments in the film: When a wife leaves for the temple at night, the fearful husband pleads for her to come back soon and locks himself in the house. Another moment when men move around streets draped in saris because they fear being airlifted by the ghost…

The best moment is where the four friends sit down to analyze the ghost and her characteristics and sum her up as literate but low IQ, obedient but tormented soul.

The narrative breaks many stereotypes: One, those young boys don’t pursue their father’s profession, Vicky does and excels!  Two, that small town dads don’t discuss the birds and the bees with their sons. Vicky’s dad does and elaborately. Three, men are fearless and court dangers, not in Chanderi definitely!

The main problem with the film is that a lot is left unexplained. Till the end of the film Rajkumar Rao is unable to figure out Shraddha Kapoor’s name/ number/ address. He does not ask her why she deserted him on a remote location in the middle of the night and most importantly, the climax is too simplistic. The hero and his friends are like Enid Blyton’s characters we read in childhood who join the dots and resolve the mystery.

Must you watch Stree? Yes, for the engaging characters, the crackling dialogues and the supporting performances particularly Pankaj Tripathi and Aparshakti Khurana. Shradh Kapoor as the mystery girl is intriguing – she is the new age Wo Kaun Thi.

And most important for Rajkumar Rao – whether he is speedily churning out skirt on a sewing machine, assuming measurements of his female customers or interacting with his boisterous friends Rao is as always first rate!

I rate the not so scary Stree with 3 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya