Bansali’s Devdas – Looking Back

Sanjay Leela Bansali’s Devdas was an awful retelling of the classic with it’s caricature of Bengali culture; but as a film that showcases 4 leading actors it does make for good scope to judge screen presence. Madhuri Dixit is the best of the lot , followed by Jackie Shroff. SRK playing the titular character flounders under bad direction and Aishwarya keeps channeling her Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam self and is shallow and pretentious. I have always felt like slapping the nyakami out of Aish’s Paro and knocking SRK’s Dev on the head to turn his senses back on. 

Kiron Kher is considered a powerful actor yet SLB forces her to hyperventilate , open her mouth too wide or deliver her insipid dialogues with grandeur. She started as a lovable character in the movie but by the middle she turns into a vengeful spirit, spewing unnecessary venom.

Of course, SLB wrote all his characters with so many flaws that it is hard to like or feel sorry for them. Paro is too proud for her own good and her ego gets the better of her. Strangely her childhood sweetheart is potrayed with same flaws. Devdas is an egotistical failure. He has not achieved anything in life. He is nothing without his parental wealth. In fact after leaving his parents he lives off Chunilal. You may say that the original characters are drawn up as flawed. But somehow between my reading of the original and SLB’s interpretation I found his vision makes the characters mean , vindictive, smaller. That’s the trouble of SLB’s grand canvas, the characters become small. 

The standout in this is Madhuri Dixit’s acting prowress. Every frame she occupies is grand and she is grander than the backdrop. She is better than any other actors with whom she shares screen space. Her acting is sans nyakami , the eccentricities of her character become ‘ada‘ rather than Aish’s ‘nyakami‘. 

Today when I re watched the movie after years I suddenly felt disappointed that Bollywood lost a powerful actor like Madhuri Dixit too early. Had she been part of the industry now she would have had her choice of roles. As the industry now has few writers and directors who would have made beautiful and poignant movies with Madhuri. 

But at least SLB has left us with Devdas where you can be mesmeriesed by her.

THE END

HUNDRED

This is the hundredth post excluding the aside pieces which aren’t titled with a number. I started this blog in 2013 as a new venture in order to be more creative or like I said earlier to move away from the usual day-to-day commentary that my earlier blogs had contained, to a more structured blog where I took time to talk about things that I like as well as to share some of those favorite. I have not been very regular with the blog, starting and stopping often. It had taken me 3 years to finally reach this post. Initially I was trying hard to push myself to finish the 100th post and complete this venture and move on. But the last few weeks have made me realize that I can do much more with this blog and I honestly feel, capable of adding more things to read on my blog. I won’t deny the fact that there are times when I really want to vent myself rather than type any sensible post, and with time an age I think, one I have developed a better control over myself and two, decided to keep those cribbing for a personal journal.

In the various categories that I created for this blog, many have gone ignored, especially the one on Poetry. It has been years since I have picked up a book of poems and read through, hopefully, in the near future this will change. My last few posts leading up to this 100th post has been about reading books. I have two more books to review after this, in order to complete the 10 book tag which I had begun 3 years ago. Those two books are, The Lord of the RIngs and To kill a mocking bird. So, my 101 and 102 post are already prepared and scheduled for later. However, before they see the light of day I felt it was necessary to prepare a more personal 100th post.

This blog was a conscience decision to flex my creative writing and to test my ability to write within constriction. It has been a good practise, one which I think I will continue. In the off time when I wasn’t blogging about my interests, I was reading a lot of blogs, and this helped me come back. The more I read I realized that blogging had to be an outlet of creative skills rather that only an exercise. So, on the one hand I needed to keep practising how to write on a particular topic along with doing research and on the other hand keep the posts free-flowing and opinionated. I was doing the first part, the research, the planning but when it came to writing ( execution) I was bored. I was only regurgitaitng what I was researching and not really feeling invested in the piece and by the time I got around to verifying the details it had lost its charm for me. I think that is one of the reason the Blog prompts on NaBloPoMo did not work for me. I didn’t feel invested in the topic and it was more of an essay writing than an invested piece.

The other thing that has been a difficulty is garnering enough readers and respondents. People read my blog as I can see from the blog view statistics but they do not leave relevant comments and that is what makes me feel as if I am writing these notes and stuffing them into and bottle and flinging them into the ocean and I don’t know who is fishing one out and whether they are reading it and if they are what are they thinking about it. What astonishes me most is simpler blogs, full of erroneous language and basically sub standard writing is being published online by websites and individual bloggers are being read and liked, whereas compared to those my pieces are more researched, at least not visibly full of mistakes, yet, somehow, the my readership does not seem to grow.

Of course, worrying about it is not going to be of any help. so, I took a  long pending advise from a fellow blogger and registered my blog with a community. I am still waiting to hear from them and who knows this may be the right push that I need to be more regular with my posts.

My blog is not completely separated from my life and hence moments and circumstances of my life does spill over and it is probably what keeps me typing. It is a strange coincidence that just when I am coming back to this blog, life is taking me back to a city where this blog was first created. Perhaps the upcoming experiences will prove to a treasure trove of blog posts.

I would like to end my 100th post with a few words on the people who have helped me come this far. Obviously I would mention my family who have really been the pillars of strength for me and forever reminding me at different times that I need to let my creativity work its charm. My friends, who are kind to me with their encouragement and motivating words that still hasn’t woken me up completely. I just hope they continue to encourage me from time to time so, that finally, I fulfill my life’s dream. And a special thank you to those who share their sub standard writing online which totally does wonders for my lazy ass to get up and start typing. In fact, next to the encouragements, I think, the poor blogs I have to read, is my biggest motivation to keep writing.

THE END.

NINETY NINE

11486.jpgAlice Walker‘s world acclaimed novel The Color Purple was published in 1982, it went onto win the Pulitzer Award in 1983. The novel takes place in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the 1930s. It addressed numerous issues including their low position in American social culture. The novel has some explicit content, particularly in terms of violence. The book has been targeted by censorship because of its explicit content.

But let me come back to why this book is one of my top ten favorite of all time. I stumbled upon this book thanks to my friend, her sister had a heavenly collection of fiction, and I borrowed from her. This book was recommended to me and after reading it, I was left moved. The novel is about the intense connection that is created between the women in the story.

The Color Purple was not an easy book to read, it is not written like most novels. The novel consists of a series of letters, none of which are dated, and in order to have a time frame for the novel. But the Walker leaves clues for the reader and if we read carefully we can figure out the timeline for the story. Roughly, the novel has a time span of about forty years. The other difficulty in reading this novel is the language Walker uses. Some of the letters are not written in standard English, it has a dialect which is closer to folk language. It is awkward to read it initially.

The novel is as I said, about relationships among these strong women, five of them actually, and they have a lot of courage. They refuse to be beaten into submission. The story is really about those two things, Courage and Strength and how Love sustains the women through trying times. The connection established between the reader and the protagonist is based on understanding suffering and the need for compassion.

As a side note to this I had watched a student production of The Color Purple adapted into play when I was in college and honestly too horrified by it. It had hurt my senses. But reading the book at a later age it was a revelation, because the book required more compassion and understanding which I didn’t have at the earlier age.

I always wanted to understand why this book was named the way it was, and why the color purple is significant. Logic dictates it should be Black but it is not. I think the reason it’s the color purple and not any other is because in nature the color purple is rarer than the colors and we see it we do stop and look at in awe and wonder. Perhaps just like the color purple in nature, we may want to also look at out life, and take a minute to enjoy the rare moments of wonder, joy, happiness. May be in the bigger scheme of things the rare moments are like signs from a higher power to remind us that we are loved.

THE END.

Sources: Wikipedia, Google ( Image), Sparknotes

NINETY EIGHT

hitchhikers

Continuing with my attempt to finish reviewing my top ten favorite books, I come to the book which I have read only once. I never went back to this book for a very silly reason. Let me come back to the reason later in this post. I will begin with a very short background to this book, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Many reader may not be aware that the novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an adaptation of the first four parts of Douglas Adams‘ radio series of the same name. The novel was first published in London on 12 October 1979. Confused? The Trilogy series which actually consists of 5 books ( got you there, yes, I know Trilogy means three books!!), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979), The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980), Life, the Universe and Everything (1982), So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (1984) and Mostly Harmless (1992). So, basically the entire Guide is a collection of five books. That’s easy to wrap your head around. Oh no wait, Irish author Eoin Colfer penned a sixth book, entitled And Another Thing, it was published in October 2009, on the 30th anniversary of the publication of the original novel. See, how the surprises never end.

Now to the book and the lasting impression it had left with me. Hitchhiker’s is considered as a cult classic, it is a comedy science fiction. It is not Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke, these are the two other science fiction writers I swear by, hence Adams’ intergalactic flight of imagination was a revelation, the characters were almost out of a comic book. What is so attractive about this world is not just the characters but the story, the story which is set in a galaxy far far away but is essentially a human story, a search for answers. Of course at the very end the reader does get an answer. I don’t want to spoil it for the readers who haven’t read this one. This brings me to the reason I never went back to the book. Once you reach that last page of the book the spell is broken. Once the spell was broken I couldn’t bring myself back to re-reading that book because I knew what was at the end of the book.It is a beautiful world, don’t get me wrong, it is also poignant with both the human emotions of sadness and joy, the joy of friendship and the loss of home. There is a philosophical strain running all through the book that is what attracts me to the book. Before you think that this book is too serious, it isn’t, I can assure you it is a fun read and it will make you think and it is a great read.

The book has been adapted into a movie in 2005 and less said the better about it. For me very few book adaptations work, but that is another blog post.

THE END.

Sources: Wikipedia, Image ( Google)

NINETY SEVEN

There are many who would not remember a fancy tag that went around on FB, where you were to name favorite 10 books you have read. I did this tag too, and it resulted in a blog post. From that blog post came several others where I took the liberty to discuss my favorite books. I cannot say I have reviewed these master pieces because I am inadequately trained to do so, what I have been trying to do is to capture their personal connection with me, the reason for which they are my favorite. In this post let me talk about Rajkahini by Abanindranath Thalur.

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I read this collection of stories from Rajasthan when I was in primary school and I am thankful to my parents for introducing me to this literature. In fact my love for history and travel has possible been mostly inculcated in me because of reading books like Rajkahini, Feluda stories by Satyajit Ray and at a later stage Rommani Bikkho series by Subodh Kumar Chakraborty.

A little bit about the Author from Wikipedia,

Abanindranath Tagore (7 August 1871 – 5 December 1951) was the principal artist and creator of “Indian Society of Oriental Art”. He was also the first major exponent of Swadeshi values in Indian art, thereby founding the influential Bengal school of art, which led to the development of modern Indian painting[1][2] He was also a noted writer, particularly for children. Popularly known as ‘Aban Thakur’, his books Rajkahini, Budo Angla, Nalak, and Khirer Putul are landmarks in Bengali language children’s literature.

Tagore sought to modernise Mughal and Rajput styles to counter the influence of Western models of art, as taught in Art Schools under the British Raj and developed the Indian style of painting, later known as Bengal school of art. Such was the success of Tagore’s work that it was eventually accepted and promoted as a national Indian style within British art institutions under the epithet of Indian Society of Oriental Art.

What attracted me to the book were the stories that told of bygone era and folks and their courage and valor. It was like old legends and folklores had come to life. The stories talked about Kings, Queens, Princes, Forts, Camels, Desert and it was nothing short of the western fairy tales that had been also part of my reading. I came across this book in my childhood and it was obvious that many still consider it children’s literature but one of the reasons it is my favorite is I can continue to read it in bits and pieces any time I fancy. I do not get bored of going back to it in fact, I remember so much of it. My travels to Rajasthan have been primarily the result of fascination for the desert and the richness of the culture the book depicted. There are 8 stories in the book and all of them are titled with the name of their main protagonist. Out of these 2 stories are closest to my heart.

The first story about Shiladitya and the one about Padmini. On my visit to Chittorgarh I felt an emotion unlike anything I can describe. The words of the story had painted images in my mind and standing in front of the fort and seeing the places in which the story of Padmini was based, in real life had the most astonishing effect on me. It left me speechless. Due to the recent event where certain people were up in arms against Sanjay Leela Bansali because his film Padamavati is about Padmini and may show the character in an unflattering light, there was speculation about the truth behind the folklore of Padmini. It left me feeling a bit low, so I went back to reading the story and whether the scholars agree or disagree on the legend of Padmini and the rest, the stories of Rajkahini have certainly enriched my life.

THE END.