I’ve known Bhargav (Saikia), the producer of Kaafiron Ki Namaaz (KKN), for a few years now. I have curiously followed him and his team at Lorien Motion Pictures at every stage of the making of their pet project – from the updates of their soundtrack recording with Javed Ali and Usha Uthup, to photos from the on-location shoot in Kashmir. I suppose with social media, it gets a bit easy to do so. I suppose, that is why it feels like I have known KKN for quite some time now. When I got the opportunity to watch the finished piece in Bhargav’s personal screening room – an iMac plugged into Sony speakers, I simply jumped on it. This post on KKN has been sitting in the draft stage for a few months. And apart from my own lazyness, there is one more reason why it has been so. KKN left me with several unanswered questions and a blank stare. That makes it a difficult one to write about. Nevertheless, here’s my attempt.
A.R.Rahman’s next big thing on Coke Studio At MTV got “leaked” on the Youtube Channel before its broadcast tonight (Aug 17, 2013). And it has been gathering steam, and deservingly so. Jagao Mere Des Ko comes to fruition from the collaboration of extraordinary geniuses. Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitto Jaytha Bhoyshunno (Where the mind is without fear) finds a new melodic life in Rahman’s colourful music. And layered with Suchi’s ear-meltingly beautiful voice, and the lyrical waxing of Sivamani and Blaaze, this is possibly one of Rahman’s BEST yet. And I am not exaggerating. We dig in deeper into the music, the lyrics, and more after the jump. Continue reading
Some of you might know of this that I am right now on a holiday back home. Home means apna des, India. Specifically for me, it is Silchar, Assam, where the grass is still green and not quite polluted by the carbon monoxide in the air, and the roads are not so pretty. Vacation means feasting on the various dishes that I have been deprived of since my last visit (which was last year), sleeping at odd hours, meeting relatives, names of whom I don’t remember or I just don’t care to do so, and finally watching shitty television.
The state of the Indian television has declined drastically over the last few years, and I don’t feel any sort of apprehension in declaring that it needs a radical change in the form of entertainment that is being produced to cater to audiences. While Indian cinema has grown by leaps and bounds in producing not only popcorn and candyfloss entertainers (even though most have the same recycled storylines), but also independent and original storylines, Indian television seems to be stuck in the bottom of a black hole whose gravity has sucked out all its creativity, and all that is left is the cud for all its viewers to chew on and on. Let me bring to your attention these points.
One of the most controversial movies of its time, Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen is a disturbing tale, in general of the oppressed low caste, and of their women in particular, in the illiterate rural parts of India. The movie begins with a quote from the Manu Smriti which reads – The low caste, the drums and women should be beaten. A statement like that in the 21st century sends shockwaves, but such a thing still exists in India, and we do get to hear about it, lost between the headlines of corruption scandals and honour killings. The director emphasises this is a true story.
Told through the narrative of the protagonist Phoolan Devi, the story maps her journey from being subjected to child marriage to becoming an easy victim of nymphomaniac Thakurs who oppress her, her family. The Thakurs accuse her of being a slut, and on those grounds she is thrown away from her village and away from her family. Phoolan joins a bandit gang, falls in love with one of the bandits Vikram Mallah, who kills the gang leader Gujjar, and becomes gang leader himself. But the Thakurs who fund and run the bandits, kill Vikram, and gangrape Phoolan and make her walk through the village naked. Phoolan then meets a friend of Vikram, Mann Singh, with whom she sets up yet another gang to take revenge upon the Thakurs.