Monthly Archives

January 2018

Theatre Classical, contemporary (Day 1273)

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I am introduced to more Plenary Talk, this time on Indian and world theatre: classical, modern, contemporary. Prof Aparna Dharwadker, Dept of English and Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA discusses the detailing on stage and what makes theatre classic.

Dr. Mini Krishnan, Editor – Translations, Oxford University Press, India has a more interesting topic to elaborate and finally, there is a discussion on The Road Ahead for Indian Literatures joined by all the prominent guests invited from all over the country namely Prof Graham Huggan, Prof Vinay Dharwadker, Prof Aparna Dharwadker, Dr. Mini Krishnan, Prof T Vijay Kumar, Prof T Nageswara Rao and Dean EFLU, Prof Ramadevi Murru.

wed. academicsThe world and life of these academics is a far cry from the world I live in and much as I am attracted to a life at a university campus I discover it is not easy. If you need anything from outside or from your guesthouse you have to walk a mile. The guest house though comfortable don’t have the amenities available even in a 3-star hotel and for those unexposed to austerity, this is a reality check for sure.



India & Literature (Day 1272)

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In the morning Suresh Kumar, Vice Chancellor, EFL University was assigned to introduce the Keynote Speaker, Prof T Nageswara Rao, Dept. of IWL & Director and Educational Multimedia Research Centre. The topic is Re-evaluating the postcolonial exotic and another speech by Prof Graham Huggan, Chair of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literatures in the School of English at the University Leeds, UK.

Post lunch the discussions become more serious. The topic is India Incorporated in the Canons of world Literature, whatever that is supposed to mean. It is the same venue, the same crowd and more or less the same professors. The discussion is very informative but I find it difficult to concentrate beyond a point so I take the liberty of walking out half way and spend time at the book corner where various books are spread out for public benefit. I spend time chatting with the publisher and ask her how she got involved with the university and if this is a regular feature to display books at all universities.

thu. big fm 2Very few students seem to be drawn to the bookstall; some of them appear interested but confess to me that they don’t have money to splurge on books because reading is a luxury for a student bogged down with assignments and deadlines.  The venue, however, is a big favorite with all the students because they like sitting by the pond and often fill the water with rose petals and floating candles. “We would love to fill it up with scented mogras but all of us are forever broke and never have the money for indulgences”.




Colonial exotic (Day 1271)

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I have been invited by the English and Foreign Language University for a one day conference to Hyderabad and I am looking forward to the experience of spending time at the university campus. They have invited a number of speakers from prestigious universities in India and abroad and all of them have been put up at the university guest house.

mon. campusOn Day 1 the registrations begin in the foyer of the New Academic Block popularly recognized as the multipurpose hall for the inaugural session. Dr. Chinnadevi Singadi, Assistant Professor, Department of IWL & Joint Coordinator of the Conference makes the welcome address followed by Professor N. Ramadevi Murru, Dean, School of Literary Studies & Conference Coordinator making vital points on the purpose of this seminar.

It is a long morning of too many speeches and I decide to spend some time by myself in the wilderness of the campus.



Short Movies (Day 1270)

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Eros International, a leading global company in the Indian film entertainment industry, announced today the launch of Eros Now Short Movies on Eros Now, its cutting-edge digital over-the-top (OTT) South Asian entertainment platform. The first of the short movies, produced by multi-talented artist Ayushmann Khurrana’s Toffee, co-produced with casting director Mukesh Chhabra and directed by Tahira Kashyap premieres today on Eros Now.

2017 witnessed an emerging trend of short movies on OTT platforms, which have been widely appreciated by viewers. Recognizing the trend and its fast-growing popularity, Eros Now is one more production house to provide a new platform to showcase talent. It will aggregate and showcase the choicest Shorts one each month to its subscribers globally.

Their first film Toffee has already garnered critical appreciation at various festivals including the 30th Cinekid International Film Festival, Amsterdam, the 14th Bahamas International Film Festival and MAMI and nominated for the Best Film at the Filmfare Short Film Awards 2018, a category specially created by the popular awards owing to its growing status.




Padharo maare shehar (Day 1269)

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Finally, the film is releasing in the theatres today and that is enough reason for celebrations.

Viacom18 Motion Pictures Padmaavat directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is the first Indian film that will have a global IMAX 3D release. It has been cleared for release by the CBFC with a U/A release certificate post the incorporation of only 5 modifications.

Starring Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmavati, Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji, the film will also be released in Tamil and Telugu, in addition to Hindi. The film releases today in 2D, 3D and Imax 3D in India and the world.

Based on 16th century Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s epic poem Padmavat, the film showcases the valor of Rani Padmavati, Maharawal Ratan Singh and the famed Rajput ethos of honor, bravery and sacrifice.

Says Sanjay Leela Bhansali,“I have always been fascinated by the stories of honor, valor and vigor of our great Rajput warriors that have been captured so beautifully in our literature and this movie is my homage to those glorious stories. I thank the entire film fraternity for supporting Viacom18 and Bhansali Productions particularly Akshay Kumar and the team of Padman. I don’t think I will ever forget this gesture.”



Mumbai police 24X7 (Day 1268)

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Amitabh Bachchan unveiled the third edition of Mumbai Police calendar, shot by ace photographer Pravin Talan, at the glittering star-studded event Umang along with Commissioner of Police, Mumbai Mr. Dattatray Padsalgikar and other senior officials of the police force.

police 1Bachchan was all praises for the families of the policemen who sacrifice their personal time so that police can serve the city. The efforts of the policemen have been well documented in the calendar.

This time the much-awaited calendar by Pravin Talan has more realistic photographs featuring the herculean tasks of Mumbai Police across various seasons and festivals, making it one of the most enriched and liveliest calendars yet.

police 2Commissioner of Police, Mumbai Mr. Dattatray Padsalgikar said, “For Mumbai Police, 2017 has been 365 days of celebrating an undying bond with the citizens and rediscovering its power in helping us overcome any crisis.”

The calendar also gives a peek into the state- of- the- art Police control room and recently introduced Riot Control Police.


Pad Man a movement (Day 1267)

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Twinkle Khanna’s latest endeavour, Pad Man, the world’s first feature film on menstrual hygiene, is based on the life of social entrepreneur and activist Arunachalam Muruganantham, who revolutionized sanitary hygiene in rural India 20 years ago. Pad Man was to release in cinemas on 25 January but when Sanjay Leela Bhansali met up with Akshay Kumar to request him to delay his film by a week it did not take Kumar a minute to postpone his release in order to support Bhansali. It is a gesture Bhansali is not going to forget easily.

Akshay Kumar knows he has a good product and a little delay will not harm his film. The film has many victories to celebrate, the latest being that Twinkle Khanna, India’s bestselling female author, film producer, woman’s rights activist, interior design entrepreneur, and former actress, has been invited to speak at The Oxford Union, the world’s most prestigious debating society.

Pad Man is the first Indian film to be showcased at The Oxford Union, presenting a milestone for Indian cinema.

At The Oxford Union, Twinkle Khanna emphasized why it is imperative to spotlight issues relating to menstrual hygiene and breaking stigma attached to periods globally as a means to empower girls and women worldwide, “This is not a film it is a movement”.


Rang Gurjari (Day 1266)

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After the success of plays like Mareez, Master Phoolmani, Mohan’s Masala, Karl Marx in Kalbadevi, Dr. Anandibai – Like, Comment, Share, Hun Chandrakant Bakshi, Ideas Unlimited, director – Manoj Shah and Nehru Centre come together again in another exploration in theatre.


Gujarati theatre has survived every challenge posed by the performing world and emerged a winner and the proof of that is Manoj Shah’s new play Rang Gurjari. Unusually structured the play is designed to retell the history of Gujarati theatre and the narrator is who else but Lord Indra and Bharat Muni, the creator of Natya Shastra.


The time machine travels from the mythological dramas to Bhavai and the emergence of the urban Bhaangwadi, the influences of Sanskrit, Parsi comedies and Persian adaptations on Gujarati stage. Appropriately titled Ooncha Maylo Parogaram will present the entire journey of Gujarati Theatre from 14th century till present times.


Written by Satya Mehta and directed by Satchit Puranik the play premiers in Muumbai on 24 Jaunuary.




Class Act (Day 1265)

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Rage in association with the Traverse theatre from Edinburgh presents a first of its kind, unique and exciting evening of staged readings from the next generation of Mumbai playwrights. The group has challenged 60 senior school students from twelve Mumbai schools to become playwrights. 20 of their original scripts, mentored by acclaimed professional Scottish & Indian playwrights, directed by a mix of professional Scottish and Indian directors and performed by professional Mumbai actors will be staged over these two days – 10 plays per day.

These young 14 to 16-year-old playwrights will be very much a part of the rehearsal process and will, therefore, have the unique experience of watching their words come alive in the hands of professional directors and actors. The mentors include an impressive list of Nicola McCartney, Stef Smith, Akash Mohimen, Irawati Karnik, Karishma Attari and Shaili Sathyu and the acts will be directed by Emma Callandar, Nicola McCartney, Anahita Uberoi, Dhanendra Kawade and Sheena Khalid.

“We at Rage have been championing new writing for the past fifteen years through our playwriting project Writers’ Bloc”, says Shernaz Patel. “Rage is thrilled to be partnering with the Traverse for this absolutely unique project. How many kids have an opportunity to learn how to tell stories for the stage and then be an intrinsic part of the theatre process, watch their characters come to life in the hands of professional directors and actors and then have their plays performed in a professional theatre. We are certain that this initiative will, in the long run, lead to a new generation of playwrights”

From one writer to another (Day 1264)

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On 14 January was Kaifi Azmi’s birthday and on 17 January is Javed Akhtar’s birthday.  In today’s blog the son-in-law pays tribute to the father-in-law.


Ajeeb Aadmi Tha Woh

Ajeeb aadmi tha woh
Mohabbaton ka geet tha
Baghavaton ka raag tha
Kabhi woh sirf phool tha
Kabhi woh sirf aag tha

Ajeeb aadmi tha woh…

Woh muflison sey kehta tha ke din badal bhi sakte hain

Woh jaabiron sey kehta tha tumhare sar pe sone ke jo Taj hain kabhi pighal bhi sakte hain
Woh bandishon se kehta tha main tumko tod sakta hoon
Hawaaon se woh kehta tha main tumko mod sakta hoon
Sahoolaton se kehta tha main tumko chhod sakta hoon
Woh khwab se yeh kehta tha ke tujhko sach karunga main
Woh aarzoo se kehta tha main tera humsafar hoon tere saath hi chaloonga main
Tu chahe jitni duur bhi bana le apni manzilein kabhi nahi thakoonga main
Woh zindagi se kehta tha ke tujhko main sajaoonga
Tu mujhse chand maang ley main chand leke aaoonga
Woh aadmi se kehta tha ke aadmi se pyar kar
Ujad rahi hai yeh zameen
Kuch iska ka ab singar kar

Ajeeb aadmi tha woh

Woh zindagi ke saare dukh tamam gham har ik sitam se kehta tha main
tumse jeet jaaoonga
Ki tumko tto mita  hi dega ek roz aadmi
Bhula hi dega ye jahan
Meri alag hain dastaan
Woh ankhein jinmein khwab hain
Wo baazu jin mein hai sakat
Woh hont jin pe lafz hain
Rahoonga unke darmiyaan ke jab beet jaaoonga

Ajeeb aadmi tha woh….