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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top Ten Films 2015

Best films seen by me this year (be it on the big screen or on home video/telly) are:

1. Nebraska (2013) 
2. Whiplash (2014) 
3. The Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) 
4. Masaan (2015) 
5. Labour of Love (Asha Jaoar Majhe) (2014/15) 
6. Margarita with a Straw (2014/15) 
7. Mr Turner (2014) 
8. Ex Machina (2015) 
9. The Science of Sleep (2006) 
10. Hunterrr (2015) 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

London-like Kolkata

Many keep asking me why I have stopped writing about Kolkata. Well, Kolkata has been my Love and one doesn't feel like writing about her unless there is some affirmative thoughts. Of late, she has been the cause of concern, there has been a certain hopelessness and frustrating disquiet about her which kept me silent. She has been the butt of jokes ever since it had been announced that she was going to become 'our London' some years back. It was a tall demand according to some, and an unhealthy, unfair one according to most.
As far as civic amenities are concerned, we still fall behind many of the preferred metropolitan cities. However, the effort is on, to smarten up and to provide Kolkatans with some of the much needed facilities. One such proposed London-like facility excites me. It's the promise of an integrated transport card, in a bid to encourage commuting by public transport and to thereby ease congestion on the city streets. The proposed Kolkata Transport Card would be on the lines of London's Oyster card, and it will be valid on all mass transport modes: private and state buses, trams, ferries and the metro-rail. The transport department has already started working on the integrated fare management and ticketing system. Let's look forward to this in the year 2016.

Monday, December 28, 2015


Imtiaz Ali, despite being a mainstream filmmaker, always makes films that are interesting to watch, that always move us with the moments of subtlety and poignance, and there's always a certain heartfelt honesty in the portrayal of human relationships. He seems to borrow heavily from his own experiences and I think this fact itself translates into bringing the narrative to life. The complex nuances certainly do not appeal to everyone, nonetheless his films manage to win hearts simply by virtue of their power, the profound effect they have on us. His latest, 'Tamasha', is thus no exception. It charmed me as much as his 'Rockstar', maybe a little more. Actually, I was mesmerized by his narration. The story was just an excuse, the intriguing narration held the key to a genuinely fulfilling experience. The message of breaking free of the exasperating, life-sucking monotony emerged loud and clear.
The characters of Ved and Tara have been so lovingly breathed life into by the lead players - Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone - that it is impossible not to be drawn towards them. The splendidly sizzling chemistry that these actors have between them actually worked wonders for the script. Ravi Varman's cinematography, A.R. Rahman's music, Irshad Kamil's lyrics - all added to this celebration of life as a stage where we enact our bits as mere players... and the story continues.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

TeeVee izzzz in!

The year 2015 has been all about binge-watching! Last year, I didn't even know such a term existed when it came to watching television.
Television has suddenly come of age in our country thanks to many a contemporary international television series becoming a rage on the internet. People, largely the youth, not only watched them online but kept discussing them on the social media, spreading the good word. Our English language entertainment channels couldn't be far behind, could they? They needed some catching up to do. Thus, they first came up with the premium HD channels, and subsequently, to compete with each other - and particularly to compete with a new entrant on the scene that promised a wide bouquet of hit shows from the U.S. as well as the U.K. - throwing at us some quality content (albeit heavily censored) even across the non-premium channels became the new norm.
Indeed I have bitten the bait. I have practically fallen hook-line-and-sinker for many of the shows aired this year, or are currently being aired. I have watched some of them in their downloaded format, courtesy some generous friends of mine, after I developed a strong liking for them just as the tv runs began.
These favorites of mine include 'Mr Robot' (which I've written about earlier, here), 'Downton Abbey', 'American Horror Story: Hotel', 'Gotham', 'Broadchurch' (a still from the series featured with this post), 'Sherlock', 'Limitless', 'Ray Donovan', 'The Honourable Woman' and 'Orange is the New Black'.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

It's the season of good cheer. Christmas is here. And Christmas has always felt special for me. There have been fond associations since childhood.
These days, I feel there is a greater read to celebrate the spirit of sacrifice and selflessness, and of sharing our joys with others, especially those who are less fortunate than us. The festival has a profound significance that extends beyond religion, beyond one's chosen faith. In the same true spirit of Christmas, let us pray for peace, let us pray for brotherhood and tolerance.

Merry Christmas!
(pic courtesy: Aamir Khan)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mister Robot

Television is having some exciting content right now and Mister Robot is right at the top of my preferred programmes in the fictional category.
'Mr. Robot' is undoubtedly the best series on television in recent times not only in the suspenseful/dramatic genre, but across all genres. It has a brilliant premise, and a wonderful cast.
Mind you, it's wickedly scary, and deliciouly thought-provoking
- all at once!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Cinema cinema

It's ironical that cinema, globally, is facing a crisis of sorts, as it is being challenged in many different ways in the present age, and yet cinemagoers are getting diverse options when it comes to the fare that is offered, the range hasn't been more variant....
cinema - of the qualitative kind - entertains and how!
Would just like to mention two films that I recently enjoyed viewing, at the same multiplex... they are 'Nirbashito' and 'Minions'... they couldn't have been more different, but both made my 'visit to the cinema' worthwhile.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

My heart beats for Pluto!

Zoya Akhtar's 'Dil Dhadakne Do' wouldn't have been half as interesting had it not been for Aamir Khan.
And his lines penned by Javed Akhtar.
Aamir voices the lovable mastiff Pluto.
Pluto Mehra is the sutradhaar, and the voice of reason, he knows the swanky Mehras' follies and foibles and yet he loves them unconditionally.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Motion Se Emotion

From motion to emotion... the whole lot actually; constipation is not just a condition, it's a motif and a metaphor in the film 'Piku'. And unless one is a constipated person, emotionally, that is, in other words, a completely stuck-up individual, averse to life itself, one cannot but appreciate the film that embodies the journey of life through a layered narrative.
'Piku' is definitely Shoojit Sircar's best film till date.
And the toast of the movie is none other than Deepika Padukone, in the title role. The film belongs to her!
And, if course, a big round of applause for Juhi Chaturvedi, the screenplay-writer. Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Moushumi Chatterjee, Raghubir Yadav, Jisshu Sengupta are also in the cast and each deserve a special mention, as do a few others. 'Piku' is a feat as it is universally relatable and addresses a reality clothed in subtleties, despite the idiosyncrasies typified by the Bongs.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Suchitra Bhattacharya - rest in peace

It is a sad day for Kolkata, for Bengal, and for the world of Bangla literature.
Suchitra Bhattacharya, the renowned Bengali author is no more.
It's interesting to note how a dear friend of mine texted me on learning about Suchitra Bhattacharya's demise: Mitin Maasi aar nei!
It speaks of our fond association with the author just in the capacity of readers, yet sensing a very deep connect with her through the characters she created.
We know, often the critics are dismissive of populist fiction and the popular writers, and hence Suchitra Bhattacharya did not win too many accolades, but her greatest success was in the instant connect that she established with her readers through her sensitive and brilliant portrayals, especially her depiction of middle-class life and its conflicts. Everyday life and everyman/everywoman came alive in the pages of the books she wrote and in the magazines in which her fiction regularly appeared. Films too have borrowed heavily from her, quite naturally.
In recent times, her female sleuth Mitin Maasi had become immensely popular among children and adults alike, which itself is a rare feat.
Her death leaves a void not only in contemporary Bangla literature, but also in our hearts. Ever-smiling and affable she was, but she never hesitated to speak her mind against any kind of ills or injustice in society.
She'd be dearly missed.
May her soul rest in peace.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Darkness descends

When darkness descends,
Let me feel the comfort of your presence;
Let me not recall the nights of dreading the unknown,
Dreading the days that would follow
To engulf me in a greater darkness...
Your limitless - a breeze that wafts in
and makes me feel secure.
Warm, tender, assuring...
Your touch is sensed amidst the stillness of the night,
You call my name -
it has that familiar ring to it;
I know,
you still do.
And oft I choose sleeplessness
Just to reawaken my numb senses,
To make the most of this darkness.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Smiley morning

Good morning...
morning messages are great mood uplifters for me, and there's nothing like a morning smiley that boosts our morale, so here's a treat for my readers, virtual... but you may try it out for real, for all your loved ones (strictly for the egg-lovers though).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Margarita with a Straw

Margarita with a Straw is not just a film, it's an experience..... an humbling experience.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Aamir -- Happy Birthday!

He is one of his kind.
He is a class apart.
he does not hesitate to speak his mind.
He walks the least trodden path.
He dares to listen to his heart... and his heart alone, when in doubt.
He is extraordinarily interesting as a person.....
though he can be simultaneously in conflict and at peace.
My his charisma continue.... may we stay enamored with him forever.
After all, he has shown the way, has been a guide, to many of us.
He is Aamir Khan.
And, mind you, the words above aren't mine alone.....
I collated the thoughts and expressions of so many of my dear ones.
We all are Aamir-lovers! Absolutely. Unabashedly.
Here's sending loads of love and good wishes on his birthday.
Quoting one of his greatest fans: May this be the dawn of a new beginning for Aamir.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Holi Sweetness

Gorging on Holi sweets.... the gujiyas, which are special north-Indian delicacies and which I haven't had the privilege of having earlier.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Bombay Velvet

It is one film that has been in the news for all kinds of reasons, right from the word go. The concept itself is one that makes us sit up and take note. The 'period' film, based in Bombay (that's how the city was known to the world in the Sixties, not as Mumbai), where a boxer and a jazz singer face the bitter truth that the city can hardly offer them love or hope - that they've been desperately seeking - hasn't been easy to make. From the casting, to the execution, the post-production and now the much-delayed release, a whole gamut of hassles have had to be fought. But Anurag Kashyap is someone who isn't expected to give up on his dreams.
Now, that the teaser poster is out, our appetite is whetted all the more. Here's wishing the team of 'Bombay Velvet' ( the cast includes Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Karan Johar, Raveena Tandon and Kay Kay Menon) the very best.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Pamper me

I wish to be pampered like someone's darling cat, someone who is spoilt with all the attention and care. Silly me!