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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Films 2014

Best films seen by me this year (be it on the big screen or on home video/telly) are:
1. Boyhood (2014)
2. Ankhon Dekhi (2014)
3. Blue Jasmine (2013)
4. Miss Lovely (2012)
5. The Mudge Boy (2002)
6. Gravity (2013)
7. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
8. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
9. Finding Fanny (2014)
10. The Man in the Moon (1991)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Of Guys and Dolls

When I was growing up, if anyone dared to suggest that guys too love to play with dolls, he or she would have been spewed venom upon, or worse.... well, that still holds in the society I hail from.
Guys playing with dolls? No, no, no.... it is a big 'no' for goodness' sake!
But action figures.... well, they're fine of course. At least that's the evolved perception right now.
Reading comics from an early age, and being in close touch with the world scenario, although from a distance, I had known all along that guys of all ages can known to be passionate about action figures. The fact remains that still in some cultures it's very much a closet phenomenon.
Times are hopefully changing, mindsets are known to change slowly but gradually.
Even we Indians are wholeheartedly embracing the culture of men (adults of either gender actually) being charged up about collecting superhero action figures thanks to a chocolate major and its unique advertising campaign.
The manliness of the so called pin-ups is also not expected to be doubted by the impressionable majority when these models or actors are shown posing with their favorite action figures. I like it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Best mini-series watched this year

The best television mini-series watched this year is undoubtedly 'A Young Doctor's Notebook'. It stars Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm, playing the different versions of the same character, the lead protagonist.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

RinaDi Once More

Watching Aparna Sen (RinaDi to all who love her, adore her) on the big screen once again is what made 'Chotushkone' (Death... Fair and Square) so special to me. And as an ardent admirer, having observed her from close quarters almost all my life, I can't resist from sharing these stills from the movie... as words can't express the medley of feelings, some if which reside in the realm of inarticulate wonderment.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Khoobsurat: Pretty sweet

'Khoobsurat', the 2014 film is a delight. Yes, it is what's often called a chick-flick... yes, it's too much of a candy floss concoction without the characters or the situations making much sense... and, no, the reference to the Rekha starrer of the same name from the Eighties was not at all necessary. But, for the entire family that's on the lookout for a clean, hilarious romance at the nearest multiplex, this film is just the recommended fare.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hail Freedom!

Freedom can be suppressed by the forces that be for a short while only, the rebellion of the oppressed, of those who have been gagged, is certain. The voice of sanity, the voice of reason, shall be heard once more, resounding far and wide, and it shall make all the difference. A change for the better will be an outcome for sure. So, all hail freedom, break free of the shackles, the fetters are going to give away in no time.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Finding Fanny

Watched 'Finding Fanny'... one of this year's best!
However, recommended only for those who felt Homi Adajania had defected to cocktailish Bollywood for good (even after having had a superlative directorial debut).
This one's exquisite brandy, make no mistake.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Asha-ji.... happy birthday!

Asha Bhosle.... the name spells music for me, she enchants me with her mesmerizing voice, her magically melodious numbers....
Here's wishing her a very happy birthday.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lessons learnt

Learning lessons, I mean life's lessons and not the school lessons that we learn by rote, is actually fun and not boring when the lessons are packaged beautifully and are delivered to us in an endearing manner by our favorite films. Especially, the animation films from Pixar - which have been not only entertaining us but also making us learn and accept and welcome things for positivity and harmony, over the years. Here's taking a look, and taking a nod as well, this post is courtesy a mail sent to me by a friend as he found it in a compilation on the Net.

Friday, August 01, 2014

AK in and as PK

Never has a film's teaser and the subsequent trailer captured our imagination as much as Rajkumar Hirani's 'P.K.'. There have been all kinds of speculations prior to the release of the first trailer, and quite naturally, as the makers had their film's content strictly under wraps.
All we got to know was this: "A stranger in the city asks questions no one has asked before. Known only by his initials, P.K.'s innocent questions and childlike curiosity will take him on a journey of love, laughter and letting-go."
That's P.K.... in a nutshell.... and here is A.K. in and as 'P.K.' (or should I say 'pk'?)
How much the audience would accept him, only time will tell.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


For the first time, an upcoming Bangla film has the same title as a latest Hollywood film & the posters are splashed alongside at 'plexes!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Revisiting 'Chatroom'

"Ready for therapy?" asks William. A simple question? Well, no.

Seldom do I revisit movies that I have already seen. First, the time is too short to catch up with films, old and new - that's the principle a movie junkie like me abides by; plus, there is the risk of my love for a movie fading, at least marginally if not considerably, when I watch it again. However, recently I made an exception for a movie I had seen some time back (and liked) - called 'Chatroom' - and I am glad I did, because my love and appreciation for the movie - largely the premise and its handling - has grown manifold. It should be made compulsory viewing for young, impressionable folks, for obvious reasons, the chatting - as well as subverting and bullying - ways may keep dating with passage of time, and that too at a very fast rate, but the tale would definitely connect, it does make sense, it'll keep doing so.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Game over!

The curtains come down on FIFA World Cup 2014..... game over? Well, for now..... for me..... the soccermania that reigned for a month or so..... yeah, eyes glued to the tv set all night long, virtually getting transported to Brazil, the venues there, the beaches, the revelry, the madness of it all.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Transformers: Spruced up and how

'Transformers: Age of Extinction' is a lesson on how to spruce up an almost-on-the-verge-of-sagging franchise.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

RDB @75

On the occasion of music legend R. B. Burman's 75th birth anniversary, here's me going down memory lane..... although I keep listening to his songs almost every single day, be it on the radio, on telly, or otherwise. I live, breathe, and thrive on Pancham-Da's songs like so many fellow music-buffs.
I have come up for this special 'tribute' post a selection of my favorite songs from Hindi films,
all of these are famous R. D. Burman compositions, and some have even been sung by him, in his inimitable voice.
I have limited the number of songs on this list to just seventy five, which was really a tough thing to do. I have also listed the movie titles along with the years, for easy reference. I must mention that the songs have been selected at random, and not in any order.
Here they are:

Hum dono do premi - Ajnabee (1974)
Yeh shaam mastani - Kati Patang (1970)
Chura liya hai - Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973)
Dum maaro dum - Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971)
Dhanno ki aankhon - Kitaab (1977)
Aap ki aankhon mein kuchh - Ghar (1978)
Tum aa gaye ho noora aa gaya hai - Aandhi (1975)
Katra katra milti hai - Ijaazat (1987)
Mera kuchh saamaan - Ijaazat (1987)
Jaane do na - Saagar (1985)
Chehra hai ya chand - Saagar (1985)
Tum se milke aisa laga - Parinda (1989)
Pyaar ke mod pe - Parinda (1985)
Tere bina zindagi se - Aandhi (1975)
Sapna mera toot gaya - Khel Khel Mein (1975)
O hansini - Zehreela Insaan (1974)
Dil mein aag lagaye - Alag Alag (1985)
Mere naina saawan - Mehbooba (1976)
Piya baawri - Khubsoorat (1980)
Roz roz daali daali - Angoor (1982)
O maajhi re - Khushboo (1975)
Humein tumse pyar kitna - Kudrat (1981)
Khali haath shaam aayi hai - Ijaazat (1987)
Yamma yamma - Shaan (1980)
Mehbooba mehbooba - Sholay (1975)
Jaane jaan o meri jaane jaan -  Sanam Teri Kasam (1982)
Duniya mein logon ko - Apna Desh (1972)
Piya tu ab toh aa ja - Caravan (1971)
Aaj kal paon zameen par - Ghar (1978)
Humne tumko dekha - Khel Khel Mein (1975)
Jaane ja dhoondta phir raha - Jawani Diwani (1972)
Kitne bhi tu karle situm - Sanam Teri Kasam (1982)
Sab ko salaam karte hain - Jagir (1984)
Deewana mujhsa nahi - Teesri Manzil (1966)
Kya hua tera vada - Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977)
Do naina aur ek kahani - Masoom (1983)
Tujhse naraaz nahin - Masoom (1983)
Roz roz aankhon taley - Jeeva (1986)
Ghar aaja ghir aaye - Chhote Nawab (1961)
Phir se aaiyo - Namkeen (1982)
Tu rutha toh - Jawani (1984)
Yeh ladka hai allah - Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977)
Yeh din to aata hai - Mahaan (1983)
Aur kya ahede wafa - Sunny (1984)
Yun hi gaate raho - Saagar (1985)
O meri jaan maine kaha - The Train (1970)
Bachke rehna re baba - Pukar (1983)
Yeh zindagi kuchh bhi sahi - Romance (1983)
Tum kya jaano mohabbat kya hai - Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977)
Kal kya hoga - Kasme Vaade (1978)
Chhoti si kahani se - Ijaazat (1987)
Kya yahi pyar hai- Rocky (1981)
Jaana o meri jaana - Sanam Teri Kasam (1982)
Khamosh sa afsana - Libaas (1988) 
Saagar kinare dil yeh pukare - Saagar (1985)
Pyaar humein kis mod pe - Satte Pe Satta (1982)
Tu maike mat jaiyo - Pukar (1983)
Jaipur se nikli gaadi - GuruDev (1993)
Seeli hawa chhoo gayi - Libaas (1988)
O Maria - Saagar (1985)
Zindagi milke bitayenge - Satte Pe Satta (1982)
O mere dil ke chayn - Mere Jeevan Saathi (1972)
Ek ajnabee haseena se - Ajnabee (1974)
Chand mera dil chandni ho tum - Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977)
Kanchi re kanchi re - Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971)
Hoga tum se pyaara kaun - Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai (1981)
Rimjhim rimjhim - 1942: A Love Story (1994)
Saamne yeh kaun aaya - Jawani Diwani (1972)
Jahan teri yeh nazar hai - Kaalia (1981)
Dilbar mere - Satte Pe Satta (1982)
Tum bin jaoon kahan - PyarKa Mausam (1969)
O mere sona re sona re - Teesri Manzil (1966)
Tum ne mujhe dekha - Teesri Manzil (1966)
Kuchh na kaho - 1942: A Love Story (1994)

'Jhankaar Beats': the film was a tribute to RDB

Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy Birthday, Messi!

It's the World Cup fever in full bloom....
all the more buoyant hence,
the whole world wishes you the very best, Leo!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A year passes by without you

"Kaisi ajeeb daawat hai yeh...." 
A year passes by without you Rituda.... yet you are so much there in our souls, you always shall be.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Oh no!

Don't know about others, but when promotionals with our popular male icons scream 'ladkon_waali baat', the sexist bias just makes me cringe.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Henry in 'The Tudors'

Henry Cavill plays Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, in 'The Tudors'
Seen as a playboy in the First Season, his character becomes meatier.
Must admit, that I warmed up to the series because of him. 
Yes, watched 'The Tudors' because of Henry Cavill! 
And was absolutely thrilled.
It is one of the best in the period series, costume drama genre.
Needless to say, it is absolutely fabulous.
However, I had been initially apprehensive of the series and did not get too excited because the history of the period, the reign of King Henry VIII having been the subject of many a tale already and I did not think that the lurid excesses, some of it fictionalized, and colored by contemporary biases, would please me much.
But as soon as I got know of Henry Cavill's inclusion in the cast, I became curious. 
I watched it from the beginning, with renewed zest, and felt rewarded eventually.
The series boasts of a terrific ensemble cast, led by Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A tête-à-tête with Arin Paul

Arin Paul is a name that is familiar to most who are clued in on Bangla films and television.
He has wielded the director's baton for many a project on television before venturing to make his first feature film, quite ambitious at that, titled '10:10'. However after that he is yet to make his second feature, although he has been too busy with his shorts and documentaries, and that is what makes us curious. Here's a short chat with the director I consider to be one of the most sensible and grounded people from the film and television industry I have personally come across.

After your first feature film, why haven't you made a feature in all these years?

Ans: Well, It isn’t that I didn’t want to make a film. But things didn’t work out. Actually, 'Sabdhan Pancha Aashche' was my first film which got shelved with only five days of shoot remaining. '10:10' ('Dashta Dash') was my second feature film, which then became my directorial debut. After '10:10', talks were on for a film named 'Mixed Masala' with the same producers, but things failed to work out as my producer and I seemed to want different things. A few offers from here and there kept coming but they didn't interest me much either.

That's bad..... but would you say that you are a bit finicky?

Ans: Yes, I am a bit choosy about my projects. You know, I have weirdly funny stories about my stint with some producers. Maybe, I’ll share them sometime. But all these years have actually helped me grow in every aspect. I have seen people, all kinds of people...... reality hasn't been out of my grip, I have kept a close tab on the so-called world of showbiz as well, and enjoyed every bit.

I would say that you have retained if not sharpened your sense of humor and your sensibilities.... 

Hahaha.... well, maybe soon I’ll be announcing my next project.

Has your stint with television helped you, groomed you better?

My stint with television surely made me realize and confirmed my belief as to why I never wanted to work for television. But it was fun working on a few projects.

What exactly did the making of your first film, and the experience thereafter, teach you?

Oh, it taught me a lot. It was a learning experience. I came to know about the nitty-gritties of distribution, seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I also learnt what to do and what not to do.

A pertinent question now.... what excites you about the short film format which you keep revisiting?

Aah.. I love the format for one basic reason, I can do whatever I want and the way I want. It’s so refreshing and challenging too. 

How much of the film-making process satisfies you, as a person? Would you rather make films for yourself, than having a specific audience in mind?

Well, the whole process satisfies me. I make films for the audience keeping in mind what I like. A basic funda of mine is, if I like my film, then only can I expect others to like it. If I do not like my film, I’m convinced that no one will like it.

Tell me about the kind of preparation you have undergone, and still do, as a maker? Were you hooked to films from an early age? Have you always been clear about taking up film-making as a profession?

I was drawn to films from my school days. I remember I had note-books in which I kept track of all the films I have watched. I still have those note-books with me. Those were the days of good old Doordarshan, satellite television was yet to arrive, and I was exposed to all kinds of films shown on Doordarshan, was quite a rich variety. Of course, there were visits to the cinema, limited to just once or twice a year. As I grew up, the profession attracted me, but I was not sure if it would suit me best. In my college days, I have worked as a door-to-door marketing professional for newspapers. I went on to obtain a diploma in journalism and even worked as a reporter. Quite a few of my articles got published in newspapers. However, it was only when I joined the Asian Academy of Film and Television (AAFT) that I realized exactly what I wanted to be or do.

Would you say that having a stable day-job is a viable option for experimental film-makers?

Experimental film-makers are the worst hit people, that's what I feel. The path is very dangerous, risky as well as challenging. If a person has belief in himself, I believe, he can keep experimenting. A stable job does help one sustain himself/herself financially. As of me, I’m really thankful to my wife (Ananya) for supporting me unconditionally. Without her support I don’t think I would have been able to sustain and continue my journey.

I know that you enjoy watching a wide variety of films, national and international, are there any particular influences or favorite directors that you would like to name?

First and foremost, the person I worship: Ritwik Kumar Ghatak. Also, Bela Tarr, Guru Dutt, Charlie Chaplin, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Vittorio Di Sica, and Kim Ki Duk, to name a few..... the list actually goes on.

There are two distinct lines of thought that prevail about the Bangla film industry.... some say that it is a promising time for Bangla films as of now, while others rue that things are quite depressing.... what is your take?

Honestly we shouldn't go by numbers or statistics. Every other person boasting to have an impressive box-office record is nothing but a publicity stunt. When you go to the cinema-hall, you find out how many people are actually watching. The reason may not only be the product but there's also the problem of piracy, and the dwindling number of single-screen theaters. All these actually take a toll on the regional cinema market which happens to be limited.

What have been the biggest challenges for you as a film-maker right now?

To find the right set of persons who would understand my way of functioning. The way I think and connect with them. It’s not only about making a film, to me, it’s way beyond that. We need to learn and educate. To think that the audiences are fools is a big mistake. The most alarming challenge is the loss of unity. We should first unite and then only as a generation, can we strive further and make this era worth remembering. Though the immediate signs are negative, hopes are always positive.

Surely, I share those hopes. Now throw some light on your future plans, will you?

Well, my plans obviously have been about making films, not sounding too ambitious hopefully. I have been busy with a documentary on Ritwik Ghatak named 'The Ritwik Ghatak Experience' for the past three years. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to show it to the world. Two other documentaries are also into post-production, one on eminent cinematographer Ramananda Sengupta and the other on national Award Winning Film Director, Nripen Ganguly. Again, I’m unsure about their release. As far as the short films are concerned, there's one called 'Et Tu Brute..?'. A few more plans are there and shall be shared hopefully soon. I have registered my production house (Arin Paul Productions) and the documentaries and short films are being made under this banner.

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's time to gear up!

It takes me a while to process information about people. I am not a people person and a poor judge of people too. Actually, I tend to think of myself as the non-judgmental type. A friend of mine finds it pretentious to claim so, and I have come round to his views, he does have a valid argument; so, basically, am just pathetic with the analysis and the judging when it comes to people. Yet, when I do find myself to be at the receiving end, being continually and blatantly exploited and manipulated by some wretched people who form the voluminous part of the scum-of-the-earth, I too can say: Enough Is Enough! It's Time To Gear Up! It's Time To Move On!
It is really important for people like us, am sure there are more like me, to come face to face with the hard-core challenges that one cannot evade, there's no fleeing from the creeps, the wretches, the deranged psychos, and we must believe for sure that life itself provides us the real time data analytics for real time decision-making. As far as the combat strategies are concerned, one can have faith in the machinations of the supreme strategist who controls all, who helps us assemble, assess and integrate information and aid us in taking the all-important decisive steps.
Wish me luck!