Nazia Hassan – Queen of Pop

Remembering Nazia Hassan, the peppy pop songwriter and singer from Pakistan on her 20th death anniversary today. She passed away at very young age of 35 due to lung cancer, but within her short life span and a singing career of just 15 years, she received immense popularity and was called as the “Queen of Pop” amongst the South East Asian music lovers. Her debut album, Disco Deewane (1981), charted in fourteen countries worldwide and became the best-selling Asian pop record up at the time. Boom Boom, Young Tarang and several other successful records followed, and together with brother Zoeb Hassan, she became a rage for a whole generation of youngsters growing up in the 80s.

What a talent! What a trailblazer!
Your music still haunts! You live on!

“Kya hai yeh jeena.. tere bin aye sanam…
Lekin mera dil.. mera dil ro raha hain…..”

Sridevi – Masterclass Performer

“Meera… Kevin… This marriage is a beautiful thing. It is a most special friendship, friendship of two people who are equal. Life is a long journey, Meera, sometimes… you will feel you are less, Kevin sometimes, you will also feel that you are less than Meera. Try to help each other, to feel equal, it will be nice. Sometimes, married couple don’t even know how the other is feeling. So, how they will help the other? Does it mean marriage is over? No. That is the time you have to help yourself. Nobody can help you better than you, if you do that, you will return back feeling equal, your friendship will return back, your life will be beautiful.
Meera… Kevin… Maybe you all very busy, but, have family, son, daughter. In this big world, your small little world, it will make you feel so good. Family… family can never be… never be, umm.. never be judgmental, family will never put you down, will never make you feel… small. Family is the only one who will never laugh at your weaknesses, family is the only place, where you always get love and respect. That’s all Meera and Kevin, I wish you all the best. Thank you.”

  • Shashi Godbole, English Vinglish

A masterclass performance by Sridevi in a brilliantly conceptualized scene!
A rare moment on Indian screen where true power, elegance and empathy came out winners together!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SRI! WE MISS YOU… EVERYDAY!

The Best Performances of Fahadh Faasil – Ranked

Fahadh Faasil is the name that resonates pan India now as the Best Lead Actor working in Indian cinema today, and that coming from a place where Fahadh has still not worked in a single Hindi film (the language of films which has had the most pan India acceptance to date) makes it extra sweet. It is however not so suprising since the Malayalam film industry now makes the best cinema in the country for a while, and its realistic, lived in, matter of fact world perfectly complements the natural, understated and layered performance competency of Fahadh Faasil. The actor excels in non physical communication since he has the best expressive eyes in the country today, and wonderfully uses them and his charming persona to infuse all his characters with shades of grey, quirk, and natural believability with an effortless conviction, never coming across as trying too hard or ‘act’.

Continue reading “The Best Performances of Fahadh Faasil – Ranked”

KALYUG : Good Cinema

Monday memories…

Earlier this month, Shyam Benegal’s Kalyug completed 40 years of release.

A riveting drama that takes inspirations from Mahabharata and adapts it to modern day living rooms, Kalyug excels in diving deep into complex human psychologies of love and hate, rivalry and compassion, the urge to kill and the zest to survive. A stellar ensemble cast with everyone at the top of their game, Kalyug is possibly a benchmark in ensemble performance. In that ecosystem of overall goodness, the performances of Shashi Kapoor, Anant Nag and Rekha stand out, while Victor Banerjee, Vijaya Mehta and Supriya Pathak (in a strikingly different role) are very very good as well.

Kalyug is what good cinema is all about.

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Copyright ©2021 Jayashree Chakravarti. This article cannot be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL can be used instead.

Mukesh – Soul Personified

Soulful singing personified – That’s the brilliance of Mukesh Saab!

There are songs you can’t just imagine anyone else even attempting them. There are films with lot of great singers singing the more popular songs, but it is the Mukesh number that feels closest to the heart even after so many years.

Top of the mind then, 10 favourite songs of Mukesh Saab would be:

  • Woh subah kabhi to aayegi
  • Jis gali me tera ghar na ho
  • Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye
  • Kisi ki muskurahaton pe
  • Koi jab tumhara hridaye tod de
  • Kai baar yun bhi dekha hain
  • Kahin karti hogi woh mera intezaar
  • Jaane kahaan gaye woh din
  • Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon
  • Ek pyaar ka nagma hai
    … All this and counting !

Remembering the legend today on his 98th Birth Anniversary! And throwing back a picture with too much of greatness in one frame!

Anand Bakshi – Simple Words, Profound Impact

Man of simple words, but profound impact – that was Anand Bakshi and his prolific body of work!

What gems throughout the career, 10 top of the mind favourites recall are:

  • Yeh kya huya, kaise huya
  • Zindagi ke safar me guzar jaate hain
  • Mere naina saawan bhado
  • Dard e dil dard e jigar
  • Jis gali me tera ghar na ho balma
  • Yeh duniya waale poochhenge
  • Bade achhe lagte hain
  • Diye jalte hain phool khilte hain
  • Bahut door mujhe chale jaana hain
  • Yeh jeevan hain
    …. And there are so so many more of them!

Happy Birthday Bakshi Saab! Thank you for bringing simplicity in our lives!

Top 12 Indian Films of 2021 – Mid Year Check Point

So just like that, six months of 2021 are already gone. And while we had hoped at the beginning of the year that 2021 would be the year of life opening up again including our regular visits back to the cinemas, sadly that was not to happen. The six months went by with us locked up in the corners of our homes, and watching a lot of cinema that saw their releases across digital platforms – big and small, across languages, genres and themes. There has been a lot to appreciate in what we consumed, quite a bit to feel disappointed, but the overall feeling has been of hope because cinema is becoming far more universal crossing the boundaries of languages and geographies and speaking to our sensibilities with their global human themes. As we are at the mid year checkpoint of 2021, here is then looking at a dozen films that stood out at the top, appealing the most to my sensibilities and making a very strong mark. As always, this is a very subjective list and may not match up with your favorites for the year, but it would be wonderful to know what were your favorite films of the year so far, so that I can also catch up on anything that I would have missed out.

Continue reading “Top 12 Indian Films of 2021 – Mid Year Check Point”

EK DOCTOR KI MAUT : Sheer Brilliance

With doctors worldwide in the forefront of the pandemic battle today, and vaccines being the talk of the town, Tapan Sinha’s 1990 classic ‘Ek Doctor ki Maut’ comes to mind and how!

Based on Ramapada Choudhury’s short story ‘Abhimanyu’, Sinha’s film delved deep into the passion, power, politics and the pain associated with the journey of Dr. Dipankar Roy (Pankaj Kapur) and his wife Seema (Shabana Azmi), as they traverse the turbulent path of finding a vaccine for leprosy!

Sadly this brilliant film isn’t remembered as often today, but it must be watched for the terrific performance of the lead couple, and the sheer genius of Sinha! The film would certainly feature in any Best of Pankaj Kapur listings. And yes, one can find a bit of early days of Irrfan as well in the film where he left his impact in a smaller role as expected.. The film is available on YouTube..

Remembering ‘Ek Doctor ki Maut’ today, and wishing Pankaj Kapur a very happy birthday!

PIKU – Many Shades, Random Notes

The Silent Frames of PIKU, that tell their own intriguing stories…

  • Piku silently remembers her mother away from the glances of the rest of the family including Bhashkor. Was there a hidden, implicit, not so perfect story of her parents that led to her mother’s demise? Bhashkor definitely wouldn’t have been very easy to live with. Is there a silent unexpressed anguish in Piku that somewhere holds him responsible for her mother’s absence in their lives? It would be so interesting to know Piku’s mother, since a lot of what she possibly was, is what Piku inherited. The compassion, the empathy, the resilience of Piku would have been all her.
  • Work is the place where Piku finds some escape from the madness of her life. And she seems really successful at what she does and has already achieved. As an architect, she builds dreams. The profession requires patience, which isn’t the biggest strengths of Piku. So, she has a constant explicit reminder for her to ‘Keep calm’ and possibly ‘Stay Focused’ at work. As a tea lover, cups become obvious collectibles of her workplace. Her compassion and responsibility ensures that Bhashkor (photoframe) stays in front of her eyes whenever she raises her head from work. The most exquisite accessory of her workspace though? The amazing gramophone speaker, as if to amplify all the random thoughts of her life and relay back to her!
  • The Banerjee villa in Delhi is full of books. They form a recurring motif as part of the film’s cosy interiors, representing warmth, solitude and clutter at the same time. When Piku decides to take the sudden break from work, she is constantly seen clearing off the clutter from her life, drowning herself to dust off a sea of books, or trying to wash a heap of dirty laundry. Who is the reader of all those books? Does the collection belong to Bhashkor? Or her deceased mother? Piku’s hyperventilating aura doesn’t make her a natural avid reader. Or is that the secret flame of companionship that grounds her solitude? There are a few volumes of bengali Rabindra Rachanabali seen scattered in the mix as well. Piku being a ‘probashi’, can she even read bengali? We know her passion for Ray’s films, we see her faith in Ramakrishna Deb and Sharada Ma, so we are inclined to believe that Piku has found a lot of romanticism, strength and stoicism in her life deriving from the rich universe of Tagore. After all, she breaths and feels more Bengali than almost any other character from the silver screen of Mumbai.

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CHUPKE CHUPKE : Unabashedly Entertaining

Jijaji: Aye Pyare Mohan, tum pagal ho kya?

Pyare Mohan: Nahin Saheb, ab to main bilkul pagal nahin hoon.

Jijaji: Ab to! Ab to nahin hoon ka kya matlab, pehle pagal they kya?

Pyare Mohan: Saheb log yunhi mazak me kehte they.. lekin maine kabhi nahin maana ki main paagal hoon.

Jijaji: Arey kitne din pehle kehte they?

Pyare Mohan: … humein lajja aati hai saheb.

Jijaji: Arey bol bol. Arey nakhra chhod bol.

Pyare Mohan: Saheb, Vivaah se pehle. Lekin Vivaah ke uparaant sab yahi kehne lage hain ki mujh me pagalpan ke koi lakshan nahin hain.

Jijaji: Ghalat kehte hain sab. Tum me pagalpan ke saare lakshan hain. Pehla lakshan yeh hain ki tum bakbak bahut karte ho.

Pyare Mohan: Haan saheb, yeh dosh to mujh me hain. Parantu saheb, chandrama me bhi to kalank hai. Anya koi lakshan saheb?

Jijaji: Doosra lakshan ye hai ki tum ati-shudhh bhasha me baat karte ho.

Pyare Mohan: Woh to hum aapko prasanna karne ke liye karte hain.

Jijaji: Nonsense! Aise pagalpan se main prasanna ho jaunga aisa sochna hi pagalpan hain.
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A rare instance where the hindi remake was almost as good as the original bengali film ‘Chhadmabeshi’ !

The world that Hrishikesh Mukherjee created around Parimal ‘Pyaremohan’ Tripathy, Raghavendra ‘Jijaji’ Sharma, Sukumar ‘Parimal’ Sinha, Sulekha, Vasudha, Lata, Prashant and everyone around them is a laugh riot even today ! And that music by Dada Burman infused all the more warmth and charm to the film ! A perfect rewatch for the stressful times we are in!

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