Category Archive: Culture

Some Sufi Tales and A Desperate Housewife

The novel ‘The Forty Rules of Love’ is actually two novels being played out in two different lands and have a distance of seven centuries in between. This ambitious title authored by well-known Turkish writer Elif Shafak consists of two simultaneous narratives intertwined together.

On Sahir and On Manwani’s Book

Sahir was the only songwriter and lyricist for whom the songs succeeded on the merit of his words alone, on the power of his poetry. His words had a ‘persona of their own.’ The tune and the melody followed in what was quite unprecedented, and his name appeared ahead of the composers, in the posters.

The Sunday Book Bazaar and a chance sighting of Ghalib

Brooding over the questions of life and death, over joy and sorrow, the poet was known for his intensity of emotions and thoughts. He was iconoclastic, no doubt, and questioned the fundamentals of faith, and was scathing about dogmas of faith, taboos, cant, and anything that was hypocritical.

Shailendra – the lyricist and songwriter extraordinaire

Hindi poetry was somehow missing, and the gap was so admirably filled by the great Shailendra, followed later by Kavi Pradeep and Neeraj.

The complete statement : Foreign language Oscar nominees blame ‘leading politicians’ for inciting fear and bigotry across the world

Regardless of who wins the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday, we refuse to think in terms of borders. We believe there is no best country, best gender, best religion or best color. We want this award to stand as a symbol of the unity between nations and the freedom of the arts.

Ved Prakash Sharma and the ‘pulp’

The Hindi belt exists in twin extremes- there is a Hindi high culture represented by what is known as Hindi literature and there is Hindi pulp. In a largely semi-literate context, Meerut publishers filled the gap with their embrace of the popular/filmy/Bazaar language.

भोजपुरी फिल्म फेस्टिवल : अपने ही जाल में उलझा भोजपुरी सिनेमा

पलायन, अकेलेपन और बिना किसी सांस्कृतिक चेतना के भटकती आबादी को फूहड़ फंतासी परोसकर पैसा कमाने की होड़ मची हुई है. फिल्मों और म्यूजिक एल्बमों में कोई फर्क नहीं रह गया है. बदलते दौर की भौतिक चमक-दमक को तो भोजपुरी सिनेमा खूब दिखाता है, पर सामाजिक-सांस्कृतिक मूल्यों की जड़ता से नहीं भिड़ता. वह एक बड़े विभ्रम का शिकार है. इसी विभ्रम में वह सतही फिल्मों को ‘लिट्टी-चोखा’ और ‘माई की बोली’ के आवरण में परोसता है.

Mediocre ‘musical’ La La Land deserves to win at the Oscars – it’s a story for our uninspiring age

La La Land already plays like an awards show, before it’s won any Academy Awards – it’s a tribute reel, like one of those clever end-of-ceremony acts where Neil Patrick Harris does a song and dance and brings the house down. It’s a white male American dream, a story where the alternate version of what happened to the characters is just as persuasive and powerful, and a lot more glamorous, than what we just saw happening. It’s La La Land.

My Three Years at Mahbub College

I still refer to my three years at Mahbub College as my hard knocks years. And believe me, nothing prepared me for life, as my three years here. I am glad I went back to it yesterday.

Women through the ages

A country which doesn’t critically and continually examine its past, and discard what is considered regressive, iniquitous, unjust and derogatory to its women, socially marginalised sections and other disadvantaged groups, is condemned to repeat it, to its collective misery.

Om Puri, A True Acting Legend

The serious police officer of Ardh Satya can play the menacing villain of Narsimha and the comic Ahuja of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron with ease. Some of the best works of Indian Television, Bharat Ek Khoj, Tamas, Kakkaji Kahin etc. have his footprints. His talent was duly rewarded in the forms of many national and international awards as well as with enduring respects of audience. Om Puri’s deep voice accompanied by the intensity of his acting left a lasting impact. His distinct tone has been employed in numerous commentaries and voice-overs.