Tag Archives: Bollywood

Bollywood’s re-imagination of growing old: Tannistha Samanta

This is a GUEST POST by TANNISTHA SAMANTA

Although the Indian Hindi film industry has been known to be considerably less gerontophobic than the western popular culture (Hollywood, in particular), our aging Naanas and Naanis have been often represented as either able keepers of family “sanskars” or hyper-ritualized subjects (with added effect if in some diasporic setting)or as self-sacrificing elderly parents to prodigal children (or ruthless grandchildren). Continue reading Bollywood’s re-imagination of growing old: Tannistha Samanta

Old Films: Habib Tanvir

This is an excerpt from HABIB TANVIR’s Memoirs, translated by MAHMOOD FAROOQUI, to be released this evening 7 pm at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi.

1-habib-t-mahmood-cover
Memoirs by Habib Tanvir, translated by Mahmood Farooqui, Penguin Viking, Delhi, 2013; Rs. 599, pp. 400

First of all there was the bioscope. A woman wearing ghaghra and choli would roam around from mohalla to mohalla calling out to the children and gathering them at a chowk or in large courtyard, would take out a long stool from her arm pit and place it on the ground, would remove an octangular and muddy looking tin box from her head and place it on top which had a small mouth covered by a black cloth which the child would remove and peer inside. The women usually came from Rajasthan. The box would contain ten or fifteen cards of photographs, she would show them one after the other and also introduce them in a particular musical speech, ‘see the Rauza of Taj Bibi, see the Lal Qila of Dilli…etc.’ At one time only one child could see the pictures, which would be projected through a lens and lit up through a bulb inside the box which would make the photographs appear larger and more dramatic. When one child was through another would take his place. A large and restive crowd of children would be gathered around waiting their turn. Even the elders would be eager to see Hindustan through these pictures. She would charge two to three chhedams from everyone who took a peep. When the show was over, she would hawk her way to another mohalla. Continue reading Old Films: Habib Tanvir

Playback of a golden voice

In this country of almost a billion and a quarter you might find some people who have not heard of Mohammed Rafi. In such a scenario, My Abba: A Memoir, a book on the great singer written by his daughter-in-law Yasmin Khalid Rafi in its stream of conscience kind of technique, connects one to his life like no other book. Yasmin is writing about someone she idolised and loved, like only a daughter can. When she talks of him, a jumble of memories comes rushing back and surrounds her—the songs she liked, the music directors who worked with Rafi Saheb, his simplicity, his generousness, his love for his family, his insecurities, his inability to be flamboyant, the metamorphosis that transformed him into a great performer the moment he set foot on the stage. Continue reading Playback of a golden voice

Kai Po Che and the reduction of 2002: Zahir Janmohamed

Guest post by ZAHIR JANMOHAMED

A still from Kai Po Che
A still from Kai Po Che

When I started conducting research in Gujarat two years ago, I kept being asked the same question among middle class youth in Ahmedabad: “Have you read Chetan Bhagat?” When I asked what other books they have read, I often heard, “Actually I only read Chetan Bhagat.”

So I started to read Bhagat because I wanted to relate to many of the young people I was interviewing. But it was not an easy task.

I understand the frustration with Bhagat’s writing. Unlike other young adult authors like JK Rowling or Suzanne Collins, Bhagat’s books rarely reward a second reading (and yes I have tried). Continue reading Kai Po Che and the reduction of 2002: Zahir Janmohamed

When women ask for it: Veena Venugopal

Guest post by VEENA VENUGOPAL

To me, the most memorable scene in Dev D is the one where Paro takes a mattress from home and ties it to her cycle. When she reaches the edge of the field, she abandons the cycle, lifts the mattress on her shoulder and marches to the clearing where she lays it down and waits for her lover. There are no words spoken and the camera holds her face close. Her expression is one of intense seriousness. You can see her desire is a field force of intensity that fuels every step. She is determined to see it through, to let that desire take over herself completely; not surrender to it but to let it explode out of her. You know that when she meets Dev, the sex would be passionate and powerful.  And yet, in the south Delhi multiplex where I was watching the film, most of the audience burst into rapacious laughter. The women smiled embarrassedly at each other. Which made me wonder, why is female desire a laughing matter? Continue reading When women ask for it: Veena Venugopal

Learning gender, learning caste: two reflections

We received two brief submissions separately sent by two women, reflecting on incidents in their childhood or youth that returned to haunt them more recently. Rethinking, reworking their own sense of self, they present before us questions both timely and urgent.

AYSHWARIA SEKHER looks back on her ignorance of caste, PRANETA JHA revisits a childhood game that taught her about sexual violence.

AYSHWARIA SEKHER

I was seventeen, and an undergraduate when I met this friend at hostel.  She was from a southern district of Tamilnadu almost near Kanyakumari. I was always amused by her southern dialect and teased her immensely, for it was very different from what I was used to speaking, being a northerner. She lived next door at hostel, so we got into conversations every time we bumped into each other. One evening she was sweeping her room and cleaning it.  I stopped by to see the way she swept so I could bully her.  As I observed I did realise that she was so much better than me at it and did it with ease. As we got talking, she revealed that she always did it at her home, and it was not a task for her.

Ignorantly I enquired why they did not have a help at home, which according to me was something that every household possessed. She looked at me, and brushed aside the question plainly, saying simply that they just didn’t have any help. I pestered with the question giving her no space. She stopped sweeping and rested her hand against the wall and said that people would not come to her house to work. I was amazed at why people would not go to a home for work.  So my cross questions persisted and she had no choice but to answer.

Continue reading Learning gender, learning caste: two reflections

Save indie cinema in India

To:
Door Darshan India (Director General)
President of India (Shri Pranab Mukherjee)
Vice President of India (Shri Hamid Ansari)
Information and Broadcasting Minister (Manish Tiwari)

This petition is jointly filed by: Oscar Award and National Award winning sound engineer Resul Pookutty; National Award Winner and Oscar nominees Ashvin Kumar, Ashutosh Gowariker; National Award winning filmmakers Anant Mahadevan, Aparna Sen, Ashim Ahluwalia, Buddhadev Das Gupta, Girish Kasaravalli, Goutam Ghosh, Jahnu Barua, Janaki Viswanathan, Nila Madav Panda, Onir, Rituparno Ghosh, Sachin Kundalkar, Shivajee Chandrabhushan, Shyam Benegal, Sanjay Suri, Shonali Bose, Sooni Taraporevala, Sudhir Mishra, Suman Mukhopadhyay, Umesh Kulkarni, Vinay Shukla, Vishal Bharadwaj; Film makers Aamir Bashir, Amole Gupte, Anusha Rizvi, Bedabrata Pain, Homi Adajania, Kaushik Mukherjee (Q), Kiran Rao, Krishna D.K., Nandita Das, Rahul Bose, Samar Khan, Srijit Mukherji , Subhash Kapoor, Sudish Kamath, Vinta Nanda, Vipin Vijay, Zoya Akhtar; 5 time National Award winning actror, social activist and MP Shabana Azmi and actor/producer Juhi Chawla

As the country celebrates 100 years of cinema we want to bring to your notice how New Wave Indie Cinema of India is under threat. Among the various challenges that we face as Indie film makers, the biggest is that of exhibition. The multiplexes which were given tax benefits to promote small budget content film have in fact been instrumental in destroying small cinema by only playing the box office game. Continue reading Save indie cinema in India