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Friday, June 26, 2009

Goodbye M.J.

Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009)

YOU shall live in our hearts forever!
YOUR music gave us joy, hope, togetherness, courage, conviction and love.
People who heard YOU,
swayed & danced to the infectious beat and the overpowering melody
of YOUR songs,
and we shall always remember YOU
as World's Greatest Pop Icon,
as the King of Pop,
as the ultimate MoonWalker!
YOU will be ever remembered by YOUR songs,
YOUR legend lives on!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dignity of Labour?

When we talk about child labour, a common and grossly exploitative facet of poverty in countries like ours, we hardly focus on the real picture.

Be it the organised sector or the informal & unorganised sector, child laour is rampant. Taking a look at these heart-wrenching photographs, sent to me by a forwarded mail (original source unknown, and hence uncredited by me), we can just spare a thought for the children whose childhood have not only been robbed, but the indignities of hard-labour - all for a minimal pay and often inhuman working conditions - make them stand out as sufferers who are easily forgotten by the powers-that-be!

[I would like to clarify that the pictures used for the post have been used without the permission, approval, authorization or endorsement of the original owner and/or the photographer(s), as the conditionality for the same was not applicable, this publication being purely for display as in any personal post. No copyright infringement is thus effected. Any reproduction, duplication, distribution or display of this material in any form or by any means is expressly prohibited. It is absolutely forbidden to use it for commercial gain.]

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jude Law & Gael Garcia Bernal

Jude Law and Gael Garcia Bernal: Two of my favorite actors.

But what makes me write about them in this same piece?
Well, I think they both are grossly underrated as actors just because they also happen to be 'gorgeous', or as many would say 'unbearably handsome'!
Beautiful men have always had a problem in gaining a wider acceptance, and Jude & Gael Garcia are not just good looking men, they are beautiful! Most consider beauty to be a an asset only for women, whose beauty has been the object of men's desires and subject of treatises too. However, with the turn of the century, men endowed with beautiful features, notably facial, is finally gaining social acceptance, with the concept of metrosexuality and some such terms being thrown at us commonly by the media.

Jude Law and Gael Garcia Bernal have both proved their worth as versatile actors in umpteen films. Yet it is either their unabashed sexual charm or the nudity that they have so confidently embraced for the sake of credible portrayal of characters that gets written about or talked about at large! They have both received the much critical acclaim for many of their film roles, and have wide fan-following too, but the mainstream media have often been not so generous to give them their due!

Jude Law, is a thoroughbred English lad, born December 29, 1972. Whereas Gael Garcia Bernal is Mexican, born November 30, 1978, though he can speak English quite well, as he had studied acting in London after having begun his acting career as a child on stage. Both Jude and Gael Garcia have had rich experiences on stage, both have acted in plays.
I re-assert that their skills as actor defy boundaries. I have not seen all their films, but just as many as I could, so here I include a listing of the films that I have seen from the extensive filmography of both the actors.

The films of Jude Law that I have seen:
Sleuth (2007)
My Blueberry Nights (2007)
The Holiday (2006)
Breaking and Entering (2006)
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events [Voiceover only] (2004)
The Aviator (2004)
Closer (2004)
Alfie (2004)
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
I Heart Huckabees (2004)
Cold Mountain (2003)
Road to Perdition (2002)
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
Enemy at the Gates (2001)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
eXistenZ (1999)
Music from Another Room (1998)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
Gattaca (1997)
Wilde (1997)

Films of Gael Garcia Bernal that I have seen:

Babel (2006)
Diarios de motocicleta
... aka The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Dot the I (2003)

Amores perros
... aka Love's a Bitch (2000)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Back to Bollywood.... with a BANG!!!!!!!!!

After a long while, Bollywood is again back at the multiplexes, nationwide.

The multiplexes and the Mumbai film producers have reached a truce and the Hindi films are back in theatres, after a two month drought.

Several big budget Bollywood films are being readied for release. Today happens to be the release date for 'Kal Kissne Dekha'. Next on the line-up are 'New York', 'Kambakht Ishq', 'Love Aaj Kal', 'Paying Guests', 'Kaminay', and many more.
Looking back at the tiff between the producers and multiplexes, that started in February this year, one must not forget the genuine attempts made by two of our biggest superstars, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, who came together on the same platform for the first time to raise the issue of a speedy settlement, both advocating a partnership of equality. Apart from Aamir, industry veterans like Ronnie Screwvala, Mukesh Bhatt and Karan Johar were present, among others.

Aamir Khan had categorically pointed out that it should be a partnership of equality, urging the distributors and the exhibitors to find a way to make it a viable business within their equitable share. He has reasoned, rather logically, that all parties can survive in the film industry only when each sector gets to earn a healthy share.
Shah Rukh Khan - on the other hand - had stressed that their coming together was not a power-show to threaten the multiplexes, but rather it was a solidarity for the cause of equal sharing of revenue.
After several failed discussions prior to that very Press Conference, the producers had decided to stop releasing films for a while. From April 4 they stopped giving release rights of the latest big-budget movies.
Even after the joint-efforts of the superstars and the big production and distribution houses, the deadlock continued, the ice took a long time to thaw!

Finally, we were given some good news on Friday, Jun 5 when the the strike was called off after the producers and the multiplex owners came to a settlement over revenue sharing. The meeting between the two parties was held at the Yash Raj Studios and the deal was first inked by Big cinemas represented by its chairman Amit Khanna. Some prominent multiplex chains were initially against signing of the pact, but followed suit later. Mukesh Bhatt, the convenor of the United Producers and Distributors Forum (UPDF), announced the happy end to the tiff. Producers and distributors under the banner of the UPDF, had demanded a revenue share of 50:50 ratio from the multiplex owners. But the latter refused, demanding a 45:55 ratio instead, and had agreed to give 50:50 only if a film was declared a hit at the box office.
It has now been negotiated that the entertainment tax, yet another bone of contention, will not be charged where it is not applicable.
During the two month deadlock producers, distributors and multiplexes have lost over 200 crore rupees.
Here is the distribution strategy, on equitable terms, as reported to have been agreed upon:
*The discretion lies with the producers & the distributors;
they get the right to choose & release the film as per content of the film.
* All accounting/peripheral complaints to be looked into & resolved.
*Finally, it is the realization of the concept of FAIR RIGHTS FOR FRIDAY NIGHTS:
All films will be treated equally (including all Hollywood films) and get terms of 50% in week one, 42.5% in week 2, 37.5% in week 3, and 30% from the 4th week onwards till the life of the film.
*In addition to this, there will be a bonus to all those films which do exceptionally well at the Box Office.
*In case a movie collects more than Rs 17.50 crores at the top six multiplex chains
(The top national multiplex chains in India are PVR, Big, Inox, Fame, Cinemax and Fun), excluding the collections from the single screens and independent multiplex chains, the terms will be as follows: 52.5% for the first week, 45% for the second week, 37.5% for the third week, and 30% from the third week onwards till the life of the film. [9 films from the 2008 releases would have been eligible to belong to this category, including 'Ghajini', 'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi' and 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na'.]

So, it's back to Bollywood with a bang! I wish the deserving films all the success, whether they are big or small. After all, as Shah Rukh & Aamir had both stressed that it was the small and medium-budget film that they hoped would, and should, benefit the most from the equitable terms, doing away with the whims of the plex owners who are hardly the people to be judgmental about such films' merit. Let the viewer be the one to choose which film he/she wants to watch!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer distress piling high!!!!

Kolkata has been witnessing a lot of summer distress.

The weather has been playing havoc lately. It seems the weather Gods have been behaving in a thoroughly unpredictable manner!

This year Kolkatans were about to heave a sigh of relief, with the news of an advent early monsoon; but alas, it has been a weak monsoon approach!

First came Aila, the cyclonic storm (which intensified at its peak on May 25,
and caused severe damages in several parts of West Bengal, and especially in North Bengal)
and now this horribly hot & humid weather!
The cyclone Aila is believed to have been responsible for the arrival of early monsoon, but the cyclone has, in its turn, drastically altered the monsoon pattern for the city. It has made the monsoon flow take a detour!!! Hence, no rains.... no signs of respite!

We Kolkatans do not shy away from the summer heat, but this time it has been an extremely uncomfortable weather which has seen the lucky citizens choosing to sit indoors, in the cool comfort of air-conditioned rooms; while the unlucky citizens have had to swoon in the heat outdoors, with only an odd while's rest under a shady tree.

We all have been staring at the cloudy skies.
The clouds have been forming,
and there ain't any rainfall......!

The hapless Kolkatans have been cursing the blasted weather, as the discomfort index is on an all-time high. But curses bring no showers too!

The sweat surge has been the worst ever, in recent years!!!!!!!!

We can only pray that the piling high of distress, of all Kolkatans, be stemmed soon....
very soon!