The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Monday, October 12, 2009

First attempt at microblogging

My first and experimental attempt at microblogging on my blog, besides Twitter where everybody's doing it. Shall see how this works for me.

'Ekti Tarar Khoje' (the first film produced by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury's Screenplay Films but not directed by him) shoot started. Today's was in the filmmakers' favourite heritage haunt 'Laha Bari'.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Wake up Sid- the review

Steaming, freshly brewed coffee- that's what I would like to feel about Wake up Sid. It's indeed a pleasant surprise coming from Karan Johar's stable and yet so non-conforming to the familiar Karan Johar product.

The wafer-thin plot is about Siddharth Mehra aka Sid, a carefree, happy-go-lucky college kid with no goal in life (and knows no reason for having one, thanks to his super-rich industrialist father). For him life is all about hanging out with friends, clicking photos, i-pod, parties and shopping. He crosses path with Aisha (Ayesha) Banerjee, a wannabe writer from Kolkata looking for an independent life in Mumbai. Two opposite personalities happen to get along just fine. And then Sid's journey of life takes a bumpy road forcing him to take a hard look at life. What happens to him and how Aisha helps him rediscover himself forms the rest of the story.

The treatment is realistic and very, very contemporary, the characterizations are believable (script by Ayan Mukerji), the storytelling is cool. It's definitely one coming-of-age urban flick that reminds us of Dil Chahta Hai that showed a new way of making Hindi films years back. Anil Mehta's cinematography complements the storytelling and treatment perfectly, Amrita Mahal Nakai's sets are brillant and superbly echoe the vibrance and youthfulness such a movie demands (The exterior and interior of the office of Mumbai Beat where Konkona works and her apartment, after doing up, were particularly outstanding), Niranjan Iyenger's dialogues are very 'today' and help build up the characters in the right fashion.

The background score is a fine job, and though there aren't too many songs that you possibly can take back home, 'Gunja sa koi iktara iktara' (lyrics by Javed Akhtar, music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) is soul-touching.

Ranbir Kapoor (Sid) and Konkona Sen Sharma (Aisha) are perfectly cast in their roles and are on top of their game. They are easily among the finest young acting talents around. Sid's mint-fresh, innocent, hard-to-miss charm couldn't possibly have been brought to life by anyone other than Ranbir. And the way Konkona has carried the female lead- a matter-of-fact, ambitious, confident and hardworking girl who wake up her confused friend Sid to life, opposite such a popular, sought-after young talent like Ranbir, this movie will serve as a very important milestone in her Bollywood career. Among others, Anupam Kher (Sid's father) and Supriya Pathak (Sid's loving mother who makes a sustained effort to speak good enough English so that she can be friends with her 'gen Y' son, despite being a school dropout) are superb. Namit Das as Rishi, Sid's nursery buddy and Shikha Talsania as Laxmi, Sid's obese college friend, are absolutely natural. Rahul Khanna is good in the small cameo of Aisha's boss. The entire gamut of actors is well cast.

Due to the thin plot, director Ayan Mukerji had a tough job on hand in telling a 2 hour-34 minute story. And the young chap, all of just 24 years, impresses with his craft in both script and direction departments. Thanks to Karan, we are gifted with another talented, young, new-age filmmaker after Abhishek Kapoor and Sagar Ballary.

The tribute to Dil Chahta Hai is evident in the storytelling, especially where Ranbir speaks one of Aamir's lines (' Usne tera khuddar ko lalkara hai. Kya karta hai yaar? Be a man.' ). But Wake up Sid is more progressive anmd braver than its inspiration in the way that it didn't have to depend on formula music. While DCH had a disco song, a dream song and a romantic song between Aamir and Preity, Wake up Sid doesn't have a single lip-synched song, though there was ample scope, and yet it never lets you miss music.

Long live new-wave Bollywood. Go for Wake up Sid folks.

Pujo images 2- Bijoya Dashami

Some picturees of the 'Sindur khela' (Playing with vermillon- women, especially married, smearing it on each other's cheeks and forheads) on this year's Dashami (the 4th and the last day of the Puja) shot by my photographer friend Abhijit Das aka Chhobiwala. The participating women look more beautiful with the dash of bright red on their faces.

The last picture is that of a television actress Rajonya.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The living legend is honoured

He famously replaced Hemanta Mukherjee's voice on Uttam Kumar's lips at the later part of the superstar's career. He amazingly blended his training in classical music with winning melodies. He shuttled between Mumbai and Kolkata to lend his voice in Hindi and Bengali movies and made it to the top at both places. His 'Jibone ki pabo na' can still rock any party and recently got remade by the no. 1 music director in Bengali cinema and made the current heratthrob dance to it. His evergreen hits still encapsulate Hindi films to reality shows to TV commercial of India's no. 1 mobile service provider featuring a top celeb couple.

Mohd. Rafi once confessed as people love to hear his songs, 'he' was his personal favourite, Sachin Dev Barman, who he was a favourite of, thought of him only everytime he had a difficult song on hand, famous composer Anil Biswas firmly believed he could sing any song of Mohd. Rafi, Talat Mahmood, Mukesh and Kishore Kumar but so wouldn't be true the other way round.

Manna De's receiving the Dada Saheb Phalke Award this year has surely delighted every Indian and Bengali in specific, this blogger included. His songs mesmerizes generation after generation. The only hitch is it is pretty late to do this honour to an achiever of his stature, who's still performing all over the globe at the age of ninety.