Politics, News,

Sorry PM! Satyajit Ray made Varanasi famous ages ago to French with his works

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Here after people in France will come to know of Varanasi which may have been in oblivion but after President Marcon’s visit Varanasi will be a known name to all in France. These were the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi adressing a public gathering at Varanasi. I have my reservations and I am sure those who have a good understanding of art, culture, cinema and fashions will agree with my view. 
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The city of Varanasi is already quite famous among French people and the credit goes to none other than Great Master Satyajit Ray who had a great admiration among French people. It is due to this appreciation and admiration Ray had received the Commander of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, the highest decoration in France in 1987 from French President Francois Mitterrand had come to Calcutta specially to honour Satyajit Ray. We all have watched the Great Master receiving the award at Raj Bhawan and many of us have the video and audio of his speech (archival value).   
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Coming back to context, Satyajit Ray was himself a great admirer of the picaresque locales and mesmerising beauty of city of temples Varanasi. He had shot a couple of his films in the city and explored the beauty through the lenses. Infact, he had expressed his love for this city many of his interviews.
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So, no prizes for guessing that average people in France know Bengal and Kolkata if not much about India and back home people in Bengal have great admiration for French art, culture and not to forget architecture. Infact, French had first came to Pondicherry (Puducherry) and had set up colony. People in France since had been admiring the works of Satyajit Ray. Infact, he had made a special cinema ‘Piku’s Day’ for the French Television.
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People back in Bengal, also share similar love and admiration for France predominantly because of the rich art, culture, music, dance, cinema and not to forget fashions.
 
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fashion, Politics, News,

Pepsi misinterpreted for admiring Saree; Pseudo-feminists protest

via Pepsi misinterpreted for admiring Saree; Pseudo-feminists protest

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Pepsi misinterpreted for admiring Saree; Pseudo-feminists protest

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Sabyasachi Mukherjee, renowned fashion designer has landed into a controversy over his remark on those who show reluctance to wear a Saree. The issue has attracted media glare and people have criticized Mukherjee. Not even trying once to realize the sentiments of a designer ‘between the lines’ who just wanted to express his love and admiration for the Saree. However, it’s now time for those creating the ‘unnecessary’ noise to reply if it’s wrong to talk of tradition and heritage… Who should be ashamed…Think and reply…

Social media, media (print and television) is going overboard, this time the target is renowned fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee ‘s (Pepsi)over his remarks on Saree rather on those who can’t wear or show reluctance in wearing a Saree. Naturally, it has hit the ego of some, who find immense pride in mocking age old traditions, heritage and clothing.

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The designer was addressing Indian students fraternity at the Harvard India Conference when he had commented. Feminists have taken up the issue to twist the version of the designer and blame him of being ‘orthodox’. Some on media said it’s a shame that he is trying to degrade women. Few took to social media platforms to condemn him.  Let’s take a look at what Sabyasachi has actually said and under what circumstances…

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“I think, if you tell me that you do not know how to wear a saree, I would say shame on you. It’s a part of your culture, (you) need stand up for it,”.

These are lines are enough to explain that the designer in no place has either targeted or made any pass at those who do not wear Saree. Certainly, he has used the word ‘shame’ but that is an ‘expression’ and it shows his immense love for the textile, it won’t be wrong to say he is deeply inspired Indian tradition and heritage which reflects in his works, an obsession that helps the creativity to unfold. I have no hesitation in saying that any fashion designer who love ethnic wear will share the same opinion like Mukherjee. Any designer (fashion or textile) is simply obsessed with Saree and this is why a Saree is often referred as ‘6 yard magic’ in the fashion fraternity. Magic indeed, a cloth which is no less than a palette of colours, motifs, designs and needless to mention providing ample opportunity to show the hues of creativity.

I was watching the television debates on the topic and found a renowned designer working in Kolkata, West Bengal saying in modern day girls and women do not wear Saree at home and Saree has become a celebration dress. Totally wrong, she or the class she interacts may not be wearing a Saree at home but still average households in India wear a Saree, there may be some exception across Punjab where Salwar-Kameez is worn.

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Another misconception that I have often come across while talking to the pseudo traditional freaks (the most dangerous species) that a Saree is not a ‘decent dress’, since a major part of body remains exposed. Totally bull-shit! Since, a Saree is a wrap around dress and can be worn as per requirements. If someone wants to expose the midriff or navel then she may else a Saree can be worn in such a fashion where everything can be covered, but then why wear a Saree better go for a burqa.  Saree depicts feminity, the beauty of women.

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Finally, being myself a fashion designer, I have no hesitation is saying that I totally support Sabyasachi since a Saree is more than a canvas for any creative person. Ask any textile designer, and he or she will take you on a voyage on how a Saree can be designed. Ask a fashion designer and he or she will tell you how a Saree can be draped to bring out the feel and look with experimentations with pleats or folds. When I used to work in fashions, my favorite textile was anything in the line with – ‘Tussar’ (my favourite) – Tussar Silk, Matka Silk, Tussar, Khadi Tussar, crushed Tussar and so on…The simple reason Tussar allows you to interpret the creative ideas easily – painting, appliqués, sketching or even embroidery. I am a great admirer of Handloom Saree too especially the traditional ‘Taant’ or ‘Tangail’ Sarees of Bengal, simply exquisite…

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I fail to understand why this controversy, the thumb rule in fashion says – adaptability and comfort are above anything. If someone finds a Saree uncomfortable then she will not wear…

 

 

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Sharing some photographs of Baba

I lost my Baba on January 21, 2018, missing him every second, moment…Sharing some photographs down memory lane…

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Sharing some old black and white photographs of Baba. He was very handsome in his hay days. Some would compare him with international cricketers especially English and Australian, some with actors. My friends would even compare him with international political figures. People would often ask if he was Kashmiri, even Kashmiri themselves, I recall this so many times during my childhood when I would accompany Baba to market…I have never seen him bringing office tensions home, he would always come back smiling, always full of love and care. He was a very simple man, down to earth and would love to remain simple. Very methodical and disciplined…Miss you Baba…

 

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Sharing two more black and white photograph of Baba with #Russians (office), he was fluent in Russian and German languages. So many moments coming down memory lane, trying to share a few, will miss you Baba…

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Sharing some more old #photographs of Baba. I have always seen him trying to dress up with the occasion, nothing big but keeping the decorum and respect of the occasion #thought 1/2 https://t.co/SFhngPrUr7

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Sharing few more old #photographs of Baba, I am often asked why I love formals. I may not have inherited any of his qualities, but have inherited dressing from Baba, he always stressed on proper dressing, may be simple but decent. He too was fond of ties #thoughtshttps://t.co/n8GQNpVnYZ

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Some pics of Baba’s kaaj (rituals) at Purbasha Kalibari, IP Extension, Patparganj, Delhi. My cousin (am very close to them) brothers had come all the way from Kolkata…Apart from that two of my friends, father of my friend and an acquaintance had come to Kalibari…

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The first festival without Baba is very difficult…Yesterday was Doljatra and today is Holi, the festival of colours. Away from the celebrations of #Holi2018, I was trying to recall the ‘nostalgic’ #memories. Thought of sharing these #pics though old (date line enough to explain) still ‘nostalgic’ #moments. We resided at IP Extension then. Missing you Baba, love you…

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While going through old CDs I found few more #photographs of Baba. He was always my subject for clicking #pics, I would try to capture him and Maa in various moods. Sharing. Love you Baba, missing you…

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Politics, News,

Sharing some ‘nostalgic’ memories on Christmas…

Merry Christmas to all of you in advance! Just a few more hours to go when Lord Jesus will be born to Mother Merry and Father Joseph in a manger in Bethlehem. Christmas has been a very special ‘Day’ for all of us. I am sharing the photographs (taken by me from my roof) of St. Stephen’s Church situated at Church Mission Road, Fatehpuri (Old Delhi).

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This church holds very special memories rather ‘nostalgic memories’ as we used to live in this area and from my roof I used to watch the beauty of this church especially during Christmas when the church would be painted and lights fitted, it would be decked up in the festive look. I would stand till late night watching at the church and decorations (getting good scolding from my parents being cold) but I would still on some ploy or the other would go to roof.

As the clock would stuck midnight, the church bell would start ringing and I would run to the balcony or roof beating the biting cold to watch the bell. With the ringing of the bell, the king is born who had come as a savior of mankind. The King called Jesus Christ as he called himself a good shepherd who had come to protect the lives of people.

As if I can still hear the ringing of Bell at midnight. Now, part of ‘nostalgic’ memories. On this day, I always miss these ‘nostalgic’ moments…

This church holds immense significance for me which I will subsequently share…

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Ek Raasta Hai Zindagi…Shashi Kapoor dies at 79…

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Shashi Kapoor dies, an era has ended with him – era of Prithwiraj Kapoor, the doyen of Kapoor Khandan as fondly called while referring to this iconic family also called the first cine family of Bollywood. The legacy that was passed on from Prithwiraj Kapoor to their sons Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor which they had passed on subsequently to the next generation of Kapoors but I am not going into the family tree or their contributions which is immense and still the process in on.
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I recall first watching Shashi Kapoor on TV as we in our childhood was not much exposed to films like today’s generation but we had a great companion (if I may call so) and that was the television which was the ultimate platform for entertainment and many of us I am sure will agree that our schooling to cinema (whatever we have learnt or developed within) had began with this iconic “idiot box’ in early 80’s. Watching this actor on Chitrahaar, Sunday cinema and so on…I recall hearing him during the Film Festival when he had shared so many personal memories about his family, brothers and the cine industry. It was during one such interview Shashi Kapoor had said for him, the ultimate romantic hero was elder brother Shammi Kapoor with his westernized looks and acting. He had also said that “now watching my acting on screen, I feel ashamed as they look so childish” a confession from a real actor who was whimsical of his characters and perhaps this why Shashi Kapoor did not stay obsessed with the cult Commercial Cinema but acted in many parallel cinema and few experimental cinema (a wave that took cinema by its stride during early 70’s and late 80’s).
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Shashi Kapoor and English films especially in British and American films, under the iconic Merchant Ivory productions run by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory that had been his second family as their association had grown stronger. Shashi Kapoor acted in numerous films under the banner like The Householder (1963), Shakespeare Wallah (1965) (opposite his sister-in-law Felicity Kendal), Bombay Talkie (1970) and Heat and Dust (1982) in which he co-starred with his wife Jennifer Kendal, The Deceivers (1988) and Side Streets (1998). Apart from Ivory productions, he had acted in other British and American films like ‘Matter Of Innocence’ (1967)), ‘Siddhartha’ (1972), ‘Sammy and Rosie Get Laid’ (1987), and Muhafiz (1994). James Ivory directed Kapoor in the first Merchant Ivory production The Householder, then in Shakespeare-Wallah, Bombay Talkie and Heat and Dust while Ismail Merchant directed him in In Custody (1993).
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It was during late 50’s Shashi Kapoor met English actress Jennifer Kendal in then Calcutta now Kolkata. in 1956 while both were working for their respective theatre groups. Shashi was both assistant stage manager as well as an actor for his father’s theatre group, Prithvi Theatre. Geoffrey Kendal’s Shakespearean group was also present at the same time in Calcutta and Jennifer was Geoffrey’s daughter. They fell in love and after facing initial opposition from the Kendals got married to Jenifer in July 1958. Both of them had acted in a number of films together. In 1984, Jenifer Kendal died due to cancer. Shashi Kapoor loved Jenifer immensely and did not re-marry.
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Both of them were blessed with three children – Kunal Kapoor (who had acted in Vijeta), Karan Kapoor (he too had acted in a few films like Loha and Saltanat but he is most remember for his modelling with Bombay Dying in 80’s) and daughter Sanjana (she too has acted in a few films like Hero Hiralal. She took charge of the Prithvi Theatre which was established on 5 November 1978 in Mumbai.
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Being a true actor he showed guts and courage to criticize the typical Hindi cinema which had been showing things that had nothing to do with reality rather many impractical and abnormal things. It was this quest for good cinema Shashi Kapoor acted in films like – ‘Muhafiz’ (1994), ‘In Custody’ (1993), ‘Junoon’ (1978), ‘Utsav’ (1984) to name a few. Also he had produced many of these. He also produced 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981) directed by Aparna Sen. His wife Jenifer Kendal had done a wonderful acting in this film which revolves around a lonely Anglo lady residing in Kolkata who teaches conversation English in a reputed convent school in the city and subsequently gets cheated by her two ex-students whom she had trusted immensely. However, Aparna Sen bagged National Award for the film but Jenifer did not receive any award which had made him upset and he had shared his feelings in one of his interview on Doordarshan.
 
Shashi Kapoor had produced and directed a fantasy film titled Ajooba which was a Indo-Russian project and starred his fequent co-star Amitabh Bachchan and nephew Rishi Kapoor in the lead. The film however could not make money on the box-office.
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Shashi Kappor shared a wonderful relationship with Great Master Satyajit Ray who had also penned a couple of scripts of Ivory films.
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It was this fondness for Shashi Kapoor, Satyajit Ray had taken him in Satyajit Ray Presents (directed by Sandip Ray for Doordarshan in 1985), “Kissa Kathmandu Ka” which was based on his Feluda adventure story – “Joto Kelenkari Kathmandu Te” and Shahsi Kapoor played Feluda.
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He was not keeping well since long and bid adieu to films in late 90’s with Side Streets being his last film. On 20 July 2012, Shashi Kapoor underwent a cataract surgery at Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai. Shashi Kapoor was admitted in Kokilaben Hospital on December 3, 2017 reportedly for chest infection. On December 4, 2017, he breathed his last at around 5:30 pm.
Remembering song from his film ‘Kaala Patthar’ (1979) – “Ek Raasta Hai Zindagi Jo Tham Gaye To Kuch Nahin…”
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