TASHER GHAWR : Intriguing. Intimate. Ingenious.

Meet Sujata. She is just another next door woman whose life has become stuck in a time capsule because of the ongoing pandemic. The lockdown has pretty much locked her existence down in an enclosed space she calls home, but one that subjects her to various levels of unbearable trauma because of her spouse who physically and mentally abuses her, cheats on her, and doesn’t bother to acknowledge her agency as an individual. Their relationship is purely transactional and Sujata is just there to render her services, right from the breakfast in the morning to routine sex in the night. All this isn’t new in her life though, but the pandemic has ensured that this torture now happens round the clock, twenty four by seven. There is a Sujata living in all our neighborhoods, and we get to see their linen drying up from our terrace everyday, just that we are not bothered to find out the dirty stories behind them.

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C U SOON: See It Soon!

Mahesh Narayanan‘s new Malayalam film ‘C U Soon‘ perhaps wants you to see the film soon through its wordplay on the title. Backed up by Fahadh Faasil and Friends, Nazaria Nazim and Fahadh Faasil produce one of the better films of the lot that was shot and processed entirely during the lockdown, and thankfully they don’t tell a pandemic laden lockdown story, like many other efforts during the period attempt to.

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RITUPARNO GHOSH – The RENNAISANCE man of Bengali Cinema

Rituparno Ghosh – I call him the RENNAISANCE man of Bengali Cinema.The world of Bangla cinema was almost on ventilation with Mrinal Sen and Ritwick Ghatak already taken a long hiatus; and even the mighty Ray had significantly reducing his work and finally left everyone bleak and dry in the year 1992. It had gotten marred by the meaningless ramblings of a certain P-C-TP trio of leading men, and equally disappointing Roys – D or S as the leading women. Content had died its natural death, the cinelovers had gone completely blank on anything positive in Bengali cinema, and the urban middle class had stopped going to the theatres to watch bangla films. It was at this time that Ritu’da (as he was lovingly called by all) brought in a fresh lease of life to the perishing industry.

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MASABA MASABA: Cool and Confident

Masaba Masaba is that chilled out show that Netflix had always promised through its tag line!

Experimental and edgy, lighthearted and liberated, funny and fresh, the show never thinks twice to make fun of the pompous and pretty world it sets itself in, and yet lends itself authenticity in the way it draws from such genuine moments of affection and care between the mother and the daughter.

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CHURAILS: Where Sassy Witches Dare

Subah ki kirnon ko roke jo salaakhein hain kahaan…
Jo khayalon pe pehre daale.. Woh aankhein hain kahaan…
Par khulne ki deri hain.. Parinde udd ke jhoomenge…
Aasman aasman aasman…..

It is fascinating how filmmaker Asim Abbasi‘s new ten part Pakistani web series on Zee5 called Churails borrows seamlessly from Amitabh Bhattacharya’s poetry to string together a montage of courage for a group of fearless women in Karachi; each of whom have lost so much in a journey to discover treacherous personal truths, unearth the ugliest secrets of their existence; but have eventually found peace with themselves. It is the common annhilating pain that has worked like a invincible bond between them to stand for each other, and give them the courage to fight for themselves and for a world of other suffering women around them brutalized systemically by a glitteringly perfect world of class, aristocracy and elegance.

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GUNJAN SAXENA: THE KARGIL GIRL – Soars High in the Sky

Early on in Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl when young Gunjan tells her folks for the first time that she wants to be a pilot, Anup Saxena, an army officer by himself, and Gunjan’s father very subtly tells his condescending elder son Anshuman “Jab plane ko faraq nahi padta ki use kaun udaa raha hai, to tumhe kyon padta hai barkhurdar..”. It is one heck of a statement delivered with the sweetest calmness, and immediately sets the tone of writer director Sharan Sharma‘s debut film. Full credit to him that he maintains that even tonality and pace throughout the film, and delivers a highly satisfying cinematic experience with a beautiful emotional core and a strong message, that challenges the ingrained patriarchy of our homes, our societies and our workplaces on one hand, and strongly rebukes the generic template of jingoistic patriotism on the other.

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RAAT AKELI HAI : Solitary Shades of Darkness

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In Honey Trehan‘s debut feature film Raat Akeli Hai, a dysfunctional family, with a rich socio-political backing, is facing the mysterious murder of its patriarch on his wedding night. But that is not the only mystery that inspector Jatil Yadav, in charge of solving this case, is dealing with. There are at least five other deaths that we encounter as a part of the unfolding narrative over two timelines, that have their own flavors of murder, revenge or redemption; and there are more lives on the line who have been used, abused and exploited in their own ways.

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Sonu Nigam : The voice, the emotions

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Sonu Nigam is a voice that has easily stayed with us the longest over the last three decades or so, and has delivered some of the best soulful songs of the recent past that play in abundance in our playlists. After Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar, one can say that it has been Sonu’s voice where we have felt the most of pathos and emotions, and it is that personal touch that makes his songs very intimate and long lasting.

On his birthday today, here is an attempt to create a playlist of the Best of Sonu Nigam songs. These are my personal Top 20 Songs of him in no particular order and includes both solos and duets. Let us then celebrate Sonu in the best way we can – musically!

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Monsoon Melodies – Beautiful Rain Songs

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Boondon ke Moti – The wet monsoon days always stand out distinct from the rest. For some, it takes them back to their childhood search of their Kaagaz ki kashti, while for some others the drizzle or the outpour outside evokes romanticism at its best. And there are some others, for whom this is just the gloomy weather to go back to their cocoons and find company in sorrow. But whichever way you perceive the rains, there is no denying the strong musical connection the pitter patter gets aligned to, and there is possibly a beautiful rain song for every mood that this tricky weather evokes.

Here is then an attempt to list down my most favorite 25 rain songs, in no particular order… Again these may not be the most popular ones, but they have the soul and charm of what rainy days mean…

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Pancham – Dual Version Songs

The genius of R. D. Burman is remembered in terms of how he brought in a new sound to the world of contemporary or film music. Even if there were inspirations, he would take them and convert them into something totally different. He also kept reused his tunes, some times even within the same language. So Humein raaston ki zaroorat nahi hai (Naram Garam) easily metamorphosed into Saagar kinare (Saagar), of course this particular tune has had so many versions by so many composers. He kept reusing the prelude or interlude tunes of his songs to make new songs as well and there are again plenty to quote there. But the biggest bucket of Ek Sur Do Geet from Pancham’s discography comes from how he kept making twin songs in Bangla and Hindi from the same tune.

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