Monday, August 29, 2016

I Am Overwhelmed By Rabindranath Tagore & Anurag Basu!

First I must thank the director, Anurag Basu for introducing ordinary people like me to such intense stories by our own Indian Writer/Nobel laureate/Painter/Poet, Rabindranath Tagore.  I know Tagore as a poet (Gitanjali...a bit familiar), a writer of our National Anthem 'Jana Gana Mana', vaguely familiar with his paintings also.  I knew he wrote stories.  Am very familiar with Rabindra Sangeet, have heard them and watched them in TV.  Love the typical/unique tune of those songs.  But never knew that his stories were so intense, psychological, women oriented.

Well...I am talking about the TV serial 'Rabindranath Tagore Stories' which is being screened in EPIC channel at present.  The stories are based on the lifestyle of  people in India, esp. Bengal in the 1920s and 1930s.  I can relate/understand the situation in those days because I have heard from my mother and her sister, some typical stories of suppressed women of those days.  But here, in Tagore's stories, the women are portrayed as very intelligent, sometimes rebellious, who wanted to come out of the so called 'traditional' web. I had two grandmothers (Father's and Mother's mothers), both widows, one's head was shaved and no blouse, the other one wore blouse and even home stitched underwear! The first one always sang bhajans, shlokas, very religious and the other one recited shlokas but loved classical music, film songs, watched movies with daughters, read books and newspapers etc.  Well, let me go back to the Tagore stories now!

Please read about our Tagore first....He was born on 7th May, 1861 in Calcutta.  Lived for 80 years...and gave us so much in literature/poetry and many more things.  He is the youngest of thirteen children, lost his mother very early in his life and was brought up mostly by servants Wiki says that many of his siblings became famous in some or other area.  Tagore largely avoided classroom schooling and preferred to roam the manor or nearby Bolpur and Panihati, idylls which the family visited. His brother Hemendranath tutored and physically conditioned him—by having him swim the Ganges or trek through hills, by gymnastics, and by practising judo and wrestling. He learned drawing, anatomy, geography and history, literature, mathematics, Sanskrit, and English—his least favourite subject. Tagore loathed formal education—his scholarly travails at the local Presidency College spanned a single day. Years later he held that proper teaching does not explain things; proper teaching stokes curiosity.

He comes from a Zamindar family and so, no dearth of money at any time in his life.  His father wanted him to become a lawyer and sent him to law school in the U.K.  He didn't complete that course but was interested in English poets!

Became interested in painting at the age of 60 and had an exhibition in France!

He wrote and acted in drama-opera! Mind boggling personality, he was!

I have watched some movies based on his stories, again, they were based on the period of early 1900s, lifestyle in Bengal.

He started Vishwabharathi University in Shantiniketan (Indira Gandhi studied there, I think!)

Hmmm....I must thank the director of Rabindranath Tagore stories, a Hindi serial, Anurag Basu.

Until now, I didn't have an idea of how great Tagore was. He had written all types of stories from love stories to thrillers! Superb story-teller and great director combination is here! Wherever music is needed, Rabindra Sangeet is used.  Background music is memorable...yes, memorable! A big plus point to the serial. I am addicted to this programme.

He says in this video clip given below that he approached many channels for screening Rabinranath Tagore stories, which were short stories in individual episodes.  At last EPIC channel accepted and now, they are being screened in the channel.  Many familiar faces of TV and movies are there in nearly every episode.  You see them in entirely different angle.  Serious, good acting.  The women are beautiful in traditional Bengali dresses.  Men in dhothies with old, oily hairstyle.  I was feeling, sometimes heavy-hearted ('Tyaag'), sometimes laughing loudly ('Dhai Aakhar Prem Ka') after watching each episode! I started watching a bit late, so missed some episodes.  They are available in Netflix, it seems.  The name of the stories are here. Each and every episode/story is a gem.

My favourite actress Radhika Apte is in an episode.  Mind-blowing acting!

Now, to a glimpse of 'Rabindranath Tagore stories' clip! I used to use Punjabi words like 'Puththar' at home when 'Buniyaad' serial was screened in DD, long back and now, pronounce Chandrakanth as Chondrokonth, Madhavi as Madhabi!

This EPIC channel has got many interesting programmes, mostly based on India, its history, heritage and mythology.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Dream Chasers! The Fastest Man On Earth!

The Olympic season has started! Just 2-3 weeks back, I watched a couple of movies based on Olympic games. One was 'Race' which was based on the famous Jesse Owens, the track and field athlete, the American player.                                                                        

The original Jesse Owens is shown in the above pictures. He was an American track & field athlete and four-time Olympic gold medal winner in the 1936 games. Owens specialized in the sprints and the long jump.  He was recognized in his lifetime as "perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history''. Owens was the youngest of ten children, three girls and seven boys, born to Henry Cleveland Owens and Mary Emma Fitzgerald in Oakville, Alabama, on September 12, 1913.(Read more in the wiki link).

He became famous for his talent plus for participating in the 1936 Berlin Olympics during Adolf Hitler's rule.  I read about him after seeing the movie.  The movie was very well-made.  They show how he improved his talent step by step with good, sincere coaches.  His coach during the Olympics was Larry Snyder, a track & field coach at Ohio University, where Jesse studied.  Jesse's real name is J.C. Owens...he was nick named Jesse by his school teacher! Now, to a clipping from the 1936 Olympics where the great Jesse could be seen!

He has got such an innocent happy face.  The crowd loved him.  Hitler was not happy because a non-Aryan race black man was leading in most of the athletic events.  He wanted his Germans to win an show the world that their race is supreme.  So, some controversy was there.  He was not there for the 'medal awarding' ceremony.  He ordered not to film the event, etc.  You can see how much ordeal Jesse went through in the film.  The American camera woman was given lot of trouble, but she did film his final event which got him the Gold medal.  Asked him to pose (running pose) after the event separately, for  her and the picture became very famous. The Germans didn't like it at all.

His coach gave his 100% in pushing him, encouraging him throughout.  He even went out at midnight to get a pair of new shoes for Jesse (with all the army questionings).  Really, Jesse as well as the coach are great! I can write pages and pages about this person and the movie.  But it will be toooo long.  So, some videos now from the event as well as the movie.  First, to a link where the real Jesse, his coach and the movie castings can be seen here!

 Now, to the real Olympic games scene and the real HITLER!

Everywhere in Berlin he was discriminated because of his colour.  A controversy is there that Hitler didn't shake his hands after he won the gold medal.  But Jesse said that The Chancellor waved his hand at him before leaving the stadium! He said further "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Roosewelt was the President then.

Yes, the American President didn't even bother to congratulate him even after he came back from Berlin.   The colour always dominated them.  One good act was from Lutz, a German athlete who helped during the Olympics, stayed Jesse's friend till his death during WW II. The movie shows the friendship beautifully! You can see the friend in this video clip!

Stephan James as Jesse and Jason Sudelkis as his coach did a memorable job! I liked the American Camerawoman too (Carice van Houten). Now, to the 'Race' movie trailer:

Owens was quoted saying, the secret behind his success was "I let my feet spend as little time on the ground as possible. From the air, fast down, and from the ground, fast up."

Jessi The fastest man on Earth!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Young Man I Admire!

I heard this song in the afternoon.  Such a melodious song by Shiv-Hari.  Amitabh is reciting some verse in the beginning.  Such a powerful voice.

Music: Shiv-Hari (Sivkumar Sharma & Hariprasad Chaurasia) Lyrics: Javed Akhtar. Movie: Silsila (1981). Actors: Amitabh Bachchan & Rekha.

I watched Amitabh starrer 'Wazir', a 2016 movie, 2 days back. Amitabh is around 74 years old now.  Still his enthusiasm is in tact! And voice too!

Amitabh is singing in the II half of the song!

Music: Rochak Kohli, Lyrics: Deepak Romola, Gurpreet Saini. Actors: Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar.

We were discussing about Amitabh Bachchan while hearing the Silsila song and were admiring him as to how he is still so active in life.  So, this post!

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