Showing posts from June, 2010

Movie Review: Devdas

Melancholy reigns supreme in "Devdas", a heartrending story of lover committed to self-destruction, a story penned by legendary Bengali writer Saratchandra Chatterjee and given the shape of an all-time classic by a master filmmaker Bimal Roy. The timeless Saratchandra Chatterjee novel has been treated impeccably by Bimal Roy in this 1955 movie that starred Dilip Kumar, Suchithra Sen, Vyjayanthimala and Motilal. Devdas is a film that grows on you and ultimately leaves you devastated by the tragic end of the protagonist.

Devdas is a moving tale that revolves around three characters: Devdas (Dilip Kumar), Paro (Suchithra Sen) who are childhood sweethearts and grow up together in Tal Sonapur, a village in West Bengal. Their association assumes the form of love when they become adults but Devdas faces opposition from his father, who rejects their marriage proposal since Devdas belongs to the higher caste zamindars. Paro is married off to a man who is twice her age with a grown up …

Dishonour Killings

Romeo must die and so must Juliet, if she and her star-crossed lover happen to belong to different castes--or to the same "gotra"--and decide to get married. The so-called "honour killings" have become a macabre trend: a new incident is reported almost every day in some part of North India.

It is often remarked that though India has only one official time zone--Indian Standard Time--in actual fact different mental time frames--often a century or more apart--jostle each other and, not infrequently, collide headlong with fatal results. Increasingly rapid urbanization is one of the main factors involved. Not only are more and more people--particularly younger people--moving into towns and cities in search of livelihood, but urban areas, under the strain of migrant populations, are expanding to swallow up what was once the rural hinterland. The result is often not just a physical but a massive cultural dislocation in which traditional norms and taboos are inevitably ch…

Raining Memories

"Jhadi barkha ki,
Lari boondon ki,
Lari boondon ki toot ke yun aise barse
Ghata saawan ki... ghata saawan ki
aise chamke barse"

Of all the rain songs filmed in Hindi movies, this particular Indian pop song sung by classical singer Shubha Mudgal stands out. The lyrics in the song depict the beauty of the rains. I personally believe that rains renew an old casket of memories and take us to another world. In short, it helps us come alive with renewed vigour and passion. I've always grown up associating the rains with romance due to the climate.

Rains do not stop me from heading out to play basketball. Call it a connection with rain or an inexplicable desire to get messy, but I was always the first one out of the door the minute the raindrops were heard shattering on the windowpanes. And today, I'm sitting in my room and playing witness to the crazy lightning-thunder dance in the sky. I'm pulled back in time where the rains were an integral part of my life--the absolute f…

A Tribute to WCG-2s

It has now become a well-known fact that I am totally crazy about my fascination with Indian trains especially now with my Facebook photos bearing testimony to that. Recently, there were a unique set of railway engines which were scrapped from services by the Central Railway. As usual, the event did not receive much publicity among the media circles since it was the demise of a railway engine.

On telling a friend of mine about this, he reacted in the usual way: "Akshay, it's just another railway engine which has been scrapped from service. What's the need to shed tears over a lifeless object like engines? I can still understand if it is a human being or someone dear whom you have lost but why single out an engine and cry?" The point he made was true to a certain extent especially considering our emotions can connect with anything regardless of whether tangible or intangible.

True that people who do not have an inclination towards trains will not identify with the pain…

First Class Disparity

Any visitor to Mumbai is fasscinated by its rail network. Each day, the city sees thousands of people make their way into the city from the remotest corners of the country. Not all of them are well-to-do or educated, but unlike in other parts of India, most buy a ticket before they board a Mumbai local train. The trouble starts when they cannot distinguish between a first class and a general compartment.

Last week, two young men from Bhubaneshwar found themselves hauled up by a ticket checker on a Central Railway train. It was apparent that they were not intending to break the law. Their demeanour suggested that it was a genuine mistake. Probably in Mumbai for the first time, they had rushed into the first train compartment they saw empty.

The ticket checker had no choice, but to read out the rules to them. Once off the train, he pointed out that the compartment clearly said, "First Class". The duo confessed that neither could read. They also admitted that to them the entire…


Amrita Pritam
Translated from Punjabi by The Authors' Guild of India Co-operative Society, Delhi.

The oven-baked chapati, crisp and hot, was most inviting. I dipped it in the vegetable curry and bit off a morsel.
"There are too many chillies in the curry!" My children and I cried. The spicy curry had set our mouths aflame. "Most Jats frequent my hotel," the hotel-keeper said. "And there's only one liquor shop for miles around. When the Jats are drunk, they like to have something spicy to eat." "The Jats...?"
"Yes, my child. All Jats enjoy a drop of liquor. And when they commit murder, they like to get well and truly drunk."
"How terrible!"

"Only the other day, a couple of them barged into the hotel, dead drunk. They had killed a man and they were very rowdy. Do you see those broken chairs? That's their doing. Bless the police. They arrived in time, otherwise the hotel would have been in shambles. Well, anyway, I…