Category Archive: Culture

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.

Normalizing fascists

How to report on a fascist?

How to cover the rise of a political leader who’s left a paper trail of anti-constitutionalism, racism and the encouragement of violence? Does the press take the position that its subject acts outside the norms of society? Or does it take the position that someone who wins a fair election is by definition “normal,” because his leadership reflects the will of the people?

These are the questions that confronted the U.S. press after the ascendance of fascist leaders in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

Ae dil hai mushkil

There has been an attempt in the movie to display the emotions of love and friendship from a gender perspective. Although this is not effectively portrayed in the movie, the actor has done a decent job in conveying the message of a patriarchal mindset.

Begum Akhtar: The Tormented Soul Who Rose to be the Ghazal Queen

Begum Akhtar was no ordinary singer. Sarojini Naidu praised her that she was brilliant; the legendary Gauhar Jaan predicted she would be a great ghazal singer. And much later, as she became a household name with her sublime voice and mellifluous singing, she remained humble, though moody and unpredictable.