JUST ENOUGH SPICE, AND TOO MUCH SALT

Karan Johar is back with Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and it’s filled with typical clichés: from falling in love with the girl who’s trying to get over a break-up, having that favourite spot in the city where one goes to spend time when they’re lonely to even the heroine clad in chiffon sarees atop Switzerland’s snow-capped mountains.

adhmtrailer-759

Ranbir, Anushka and Aishwarya in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor), a rich dad’s son who aspires to become a singer but is earning an MBA in London picks Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) up at a party. They don’t finish their one-night stand, but what follows is the usual plot of yes-we-bumped-into-each-other-in-a-happening-nightclub-and-we-hit-it-off-really-well-but-won’t-date.

As this cliché idea fails, Ayan falls in love with Alizeh who on the on the other hand gives her long-gone-love: badass, traveling DJ, Ali (Fawad Khan) another chance. They tie the knot; Ayan leaves their wedding midway (yes, they weren’t getting married to each others as the trailers and music videos saw mehendi on Ayan’s palms, that’s just marketing game pumped up, good for them, what you see is not what you get). Ayan then tries to fill the void in his life.

Enter poetess Saba Khan (Aishwarya Rai). In her thirties, the coy, pithy, wise, divorcee Saba woos Ayan and falls in love with him (by the way, they meet in an awkward, airport-café setting –another cliché).

Ayan meets Alizeh after years and he hasn’t forgotten her yet. Saba realizes this and leaves Ayan. Eventually, Alizeh leaves DJ Ali as well but does not want to unite with Ayan either. The climax is a bonus cliché that involves an airport, the beloved flying away, the lover finding out at the last moment, train and taxi journeys to the airport, security personnel and all that drama.

Unnecessarily long, the runtime could have easily avoided a good thirty minutes by cutting the build-up in the first half that includes a bimbo Lisa Desouza who is with Ayan for his money. Not just the runtime, even the dialogues occupy too much every minute. There’s no time to breathe and no time to feel the romance between two souls. Just enough spice but too much salt.

Most of the dialogues also lack wit and fail at delivering humor. Ayan at one point while flirting asks Alizeh if she would like some “low-fat-yogurt” and at another says, “I always stand up for you” *gross*. It doesn’t end at that, there are also mentions of “nangi mohatarma (naked mistress)” and “kacche mein izzat maang rahe ho (are you commanding respect in your briefs”? And “love tedha hai” is the most annoying one for its mix of English and Hindi words. Why couldn’t it be “pyar tedha hai?” Guess Karan Johar wanted to avoid one cliché here, it would be too similar to “pyar dosti hai”.

There are editing bloopers too. Alizeh says no thank you’s and sorry’s in friendship after she brings her “friend” Ayan a pot of cactus as an apology.

The movie has everything, spectacle and all, just that it wasn’t packaged properly. Great locations in London, Paris and Vienna; amazing outfits, Anushka’s long, slit-cut kurtas trendily teamed with jeans (her outfit changes towards the end of the movie for obvious reasons, in other words, bad direction) and Middle-eastern jewellery (long earrings and chunky silver neckpieces); upbeat and foot-tapping numbers by Pritam—Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and the Break-Up Song are takeaways of the year.

Watch the movie for Anushka’s ebullience which turns into moroseness in the second half or for Ranbir’s acting prowess—his “get lost” to Alizeh is the most effortless yet brusque ever seen—and romance with Ash, they play up the age difference effortlessly and beautifully.

Or even better, just watch it for Ash. All that the lady needs to do is be present in the frame. Her talking is a bonus and her slither (read walk) can heat the room up. It makes for a mind-blowing comeback that too as a seductress—a terrific one at that.

Had the content been worked upon more, winnowing the unnecessary parts and concentrating more on details, dialogues shorter and less meaty, this story of unrequited love would have been a hit. Sorry but, ADHM, watching you was Mushkil!

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy?? 

Runtime: 157 long minutes

Story ★★★★☆

Editing ★★☆☆☆

Dialogues ★☆☆☆☆

Screenplay ★★★★☆

Soundtrack ★★★★☆

Overall ★★1/2

JUST THE OPPOSITE OF ‘GOOD FOR NOTHING’

Defying the title, Nil Battey Sannata—slang for “useless”—proves its mettle.

 

Single mother Chanda (Swara Bhaskar) of a sixteen-year old lackadaisical Apeksha (Riya Shukla) is forlorn about her daughter’s future, trying her best just so that her daughter doesn’t end up like her, a maid.

 

Chanda’s guardian-cum-employer didi, Dr. Diwan (Ratna Pathak Shah), being the educated woman she is, guides her to overcome this problem. Left with no options to tackle her adamant daughter, Chanda shows up in her class as a student in order to be able to tutor her.

 

The truculent Apeksha, unable to deal with her mother’s presence in school, doesn’t hold back in hurling spiteful comments like, “baap banney ki koshish mat kar” and “padhaane ki hesiyat toh nahi hai” among others. Teenage rage takes over, causing misunderstandings, more poverty and utter haplessness for Chanda.

 

Swara does an exemplary job in adapting Western Uttar Pradeshi slang and approaching the difficult roles of a teenager’s mother (considering the age at her nascent cinema career, it deserves a special mention) and a poverty-stricken maid. And her natural, slight lisp works in her favour for the character as a commoner maid in Agra.

 

Debutante Director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari captures low-life well. Showing that a ‘party’ to such kids means pizza, dancing in front of the television at home and shopping for a skirt and high heels; and that teachers at government schools are ever-lambasting strengthens the movie at different stages. The innocence that encapsulates a mother’s heart portrayed by Swara will remind you of your mother and her incredible power of her love and sacrifice.

 

The movie tackles many issues adeptly at once: poverty, woman-empowerment, teenage ego, and paints a beautiful painting of what it calls the word’s most wonderful creation, the mother. Not just that, it is about chasing your dream, the lone thing that will never abandon you.

Genre: Drama

Cast: Swara Bhaskar as Chanda Sahay, Ria Shukla as Apeksha “Apu” Shivlal Sahay, Ratna Pathak as Dr. Diwan, Pankaj Tripathi as Principal Srivastav, Sanjay Suri as District Commissioner

Director: Ashwini Iyer Tiwari

Runtime: 104 minutes

Story ★★★★1/2

Editing ★★★★☆

Dialogues ★★★★☆

Screenplay ★★★★☆

Soundtrack ★★★1/2

Overall ★★★★☆

“I’M ZERO WITHOUT MY VIOLIN”

Dr. L. Subramaniam, the legendary violinist and a former Grammy-nominee, talks about his childhood training, compositions, violin as a solo instrument and his forthcoming project for India’s 70th Independence Day.

9-1500x750

Padma Vibhushan Dr. L. Subramaniam with his life, the violin. Photo Courtesy: Subramaniam Entertainment

You had a very unexpected debut. Tell us about it.

(Laughs) I was six years old and it was my father’s concert at a temple. In the middle of his concert, he announces that his son would make his debut in a few minutes, all because it was an auspicious day. The organizers were skeptical and I was paranoid; on the one hand, there were thousands of people, on the other; I had to go back home to my guru, my father. After it was over, I still remember people had said “Lord Subramanya himself has performed today.”

You have seen the violin’s evolution in Indian music.

Yes, earlier, the violin was only an accompanying instrument, never envisioned as a solo instrument but my father, V Lakshminarayana Iyer, wanted to change that, and he did by altering and introducing many techniques like multiple-plucking. He transformed the role of violin in music. And his dream became my dream, so at the peak of my accompaniment career, I gave it up and switched to playing only solos.

They say one must be master ensemble work to pull solos off. What is your take?

 You have to be knowledgeable of the music to do justice to itwhether it is the Chinese Erhu, the Japanese Koto, or the Lute from the Middle-East—and sensitive to what your partner is playing, because when you to respond to their sensitivity, the music goes to a different level, you start pushing one another, expanding limits.

Performing with others does help, but it is when I do solos that I reach the pinnacle of my spiritual journey.

Carnatic music is obviously your favorite. What is your next?

I love Western classical music. I love Baroque. It first caught my attention when my father took me to a concert, but I had no idea who or what music it was. It was Jascha Heifitz and he was playing Bach. I was fascinated by the intonation and the precision. Soon after that, I gave up my career as a doctor and came here to study composition and western music full time.

Describe your connection with music.

I’m empty without music; zero without my violin. And one cannot separate music or dance from spirituality. It elevates my spiritual self.

What is your mantra for composing and playing phenomenal music?

 I usually don’t decide what I must play in a concert. After the sound check, music takes over and I play my state of mind changes completely. I don’t see where I am or how many people are watching me. I just play what I feel. And I can achieve that because I give utmost importance to technique. Once that is taken care of, I give my life to each note; an inner voice guides me.

Your wife and children too are stalwarts in music. Does the family often have jamming sessions?

We frequently get invited to perform together. Sometimes, over dinner, we start talking music. It keeps us together. To think about it, music has given me everything, all the happiness. In fact, it has also pulled me out of sadness. Words can’t express pain sometimes, but my music does.

What is your composition process like?

It is nature that usually inspires me, the water, the mountains. A melody may evolve into symphony and then into a violin concerto. Otherwise, it is my mood, for instance, I wrote Fantasy on Vedic Chants when New York Philharmornic approached me, around the time of my mother passing away. The ritualistic chanting of Vedas happening at home lead to my writing of the piece and the pain of my mother’s death reflected completely in its second half.

And when my father passed away, I wrote a piece called Beyond based on the concept of the body’s temporary existence but the soul’s eternity. In that piece, the orchestra was treated as the body and the violin was treated as the soul, so it would weave in and out but never die.

You are slated to compose a piece to celebrate India’s 70th Independence Day next year. Give us a sneak peak.

 Honestly, I have not started writing yet. But I do have the idea in place; it is going to be around the four remarkable stages of Indian history: the Vedic, the Mughal, the British, and then post-British, global music. I’m excited!

 

 

 

 

EARNESTLY on POINTE

26685025574_7d7dc8a254_k.jpg

Photo Credits: Julia Lynn Photography

A REVIEW OF GATE THEATRE’S IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST AT SPOLETO FESTIVAL

Set in  late 1800’s in the backdrop of London, John Worthing poses as Earnest to his friend Algernon, whose cousin Gwendolyn he wants to propose to. Algernon figures he has a different identity and has lied to his niece Cecily that he has a younger brother named Earnest. To put his friend in trouble, he lands up in front of Cecily posing as her uncle’s brother Earnest. Algernon now falls in love with Cecily and wants to marry her.

Both Gwendolyn and Cecily figure that their Earnest is not earnest at all and decline the marriage. The two men have a hard time convincing their girls and their guardians to marry them resulting in farcical situations.

Delivery by all actors was unerring but the two men, Michael Ford and Alex Felton  who played the two bachelor friends stole the show. Also, clowning by the butler of Jack (he had no lines), Des Keogh, sent the audience into splits. Simple acts like not being able to spread the table cloth and at being annoyed at the books piled up on the dining table were exemplified.

 

26685979273_7205af77eb_k.jpg

Photo Credits: Julia Lynn Photography

 

Gate Theatre did right aesthetically. Special mention to Set and Costume Designer Francis O’Connor. He designed costumes from the late 18th century, complete with gigot sleeves and crinolines, laces and matching bags, hats, gloves and umbrellas using turquoise, purple, pinks and greys to their full advantage. And for the set, he used pastels of lavender and cream. The stage had only one piece of background that acted as both rooms, it opened up  a vanity and a bar to look like one home and a garden and a church turret to form the neighbourhood of another.

26685981393_4558b02fa8_k.jpg

Photo Credits: Julia Lynn Photography

Lighting was simple, keep it bright and nice and sound was simple and minimal too, with whether it was the sound of a moving train or that of a things fall off in an attic.

As one of Wilde’s lines goes, “I could deny anything if I lied,” but I won’t deny that Gate Theatre did full justice to The Importance of Being Earnest.

Directed by Patrick Mason

Runtime: 150 mins with an intermission

Lighting ★★★★☆

Sound ★★★★☆

Set Design ★★★★☆

Costume ★★★★★

Dialogue Delivery ★★★★★

Timing ★★★★★

Overall ★★★★1/2

 

AFTER 90 YEARS, AFRAM GETS ITS PREMIER AT SPOLETO

Edmund Thornton Jenkins’ 90 year old composition that never saw its completion finally came alive in his hometown, Charleston at the 40th Spoleto Festival.

Afram.jpg

 

Afram Ou La Belle Swita, the humorous, political performance opened to a full audience at the 40th Spoleto Festival. Performed by a five member band and a 12 member ensemble, Afram is a revue set in the 1920’s of Paris. The decor, the outfits, and the color palette did perfect justice to the theme of century old Paris jazz-theatre.

The name Afram is the melangè of Africa and America; Jenkins names his protagonist Afram and the name (Afram ou la Belle Swita) translates the African American princess or something like that.

Dixie and two versions of the national anthem could not be brought together better by anyone else. Jenkins is a true star. The revue included politics, romance, opera, dance and theatre.

“I could feel the emotions that he would have felt while writing this piece. But when you’re performing, you have to put on a mask and behave like nothing is happening,” said Jenkins’ grand nephew Tuffs Zimbabwe who was on the piano.”I feel sentimental.”

27382083952_b868073c3f_k

Zimbabwe at his piano

Jenkins was a remarkable Black composer, pianist, conductor, who died a very young age. His works are archived in Columbia College, Chicago.

 

CELEBRATE HER EVERYDAY

I strive for equality of both genders, but sometimes I know within me that this gender deserves more than the other. She’s worth more than Facebook and WhatsApp statuses on International Women’s Day.

Every year on the 8th of March, the world has a moment of epiphany. Of how beautiful a woman is; how caring, how loving, how courageous and how amazing she is. We make her feel loved on this day of course. But what about the other 364 days? We take for granted her kindness, her gentle nature, her motherly-self.

But if we treated her with more compassion on the other days of the year too, it would be close to (yes, we can only get ‘close to’) the love she gives to the world.

So next time, if that favourite curry of yours wasn’t made the way you liked it, just eat it without disapproving your mom of it – she cooks a million delicious things, whereas you probably can’t even make yourself a cup of tea. If your wife forgot to pack your briefs for a business trip, don’t call to scold her – because you should have packed your own bags. If your maid hasn’t arranged your wardrobe the way you like it – correct her politely; she’s human too and this species is prone to making mistakes. Period.

So changing Facebook and WhatsApp statuses and profile photos today is just not good enough. It is not only the appreciation that makes one feel loved, it’s the tolerance of errors as well. So be nice to the women at  all times, every single day. It’s the least you can do.

Also, celebrate all women you have in your life. Not everyone is blessed with the ones you have. Someone is missing a wife, a sister, a daughter, a mother. Remember that.

UNVEILING INDIAN ARTS

Curator of Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Painitings, Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose, is on a mission to flaunt Indian arts not only to the world, but also to indifferent Indians. 

ct-krishna-art-institute-show-ent-1001-20150930

Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose in front of a pichvai (fabric wall-hanging) at the Gates of the Lord exhibition                                                                                                                                                        Photo Credits: http://www.chicagotribune.com 

Her conversation with Chicago-based arts journalist Victoria Lautman at the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) in September, was the first time I met Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose, the curator of the Alsdorf Galleries handling Asian, South Asian and Himalayan Art. Draped in a fine peach-gold chiffon-silk saree, Dr. Ghose, spoke about her newly opened show, Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings.Weeks later, as I enter her little office in Downtown Chicago, I sense professionalism combined with hospitality. Seated across her desk that overflows with books, Dr. Ghose meets with me between two other appointments.

“I constantly fight to create the existence of India,” says Dr. Ghose who is picking up the threads dropped off in 1985 when the last major Indian exhibition in USA, Festival of India took place. The problem is the different systems that both the countries follow. India does cultural exchanges with other international governments, working bi-laterally; on the other hand, the U.S does not have a cultural ministry. “The individual institutions here collaborate internationally and India is not accustomed to that,” she says.

Missionary in her zeal to build India up, Dr. Ghose feels sad about Indians’ ignorance of the country’s arts. In the process of churning out engineers and doctors, India is losing the importance of its artistic treasury. “It is shameful,” she says.

Dr. Ghose has come a long way in bringing Indian art to the United States in recent times. “India’s cultural traditions are so varied that they differ every few miles and I want to help her flourish,” she says. Living outside India, the curator is able to do more for the country, than she could otherwise. “There’s just a lot of India that needs to be shown.”

Dr. Ghose has curated many varied, remarkable shows in the past few years. The site-specific Public Notice 3 by Jitish Kallat was a milestone connecting two historical moments: Swami Vivekananda’s speech at the World Religions Parliament, Chicago, on September 11, 1893; and the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon exactly 108 years later. The text of the speech was displayed on the Grand Staircase at the AIC. Dr. Ghose also presented The Last Harvest: The Art of Rabindranath Tagore, the first loan exhibition to the museum from the government of India.

img_4113.jpg

Jitish Kallat’s Public Notice 3, on the Grand Staircase of the AIC, curated by Dr. Ghose                          Photo Credits: http://www.albasaurasrex.wordpress.com

“Women in my family didn’t go abroad to study, it was only the men,” she says. Born and raised in West Bengal, Dr. Ghose went to England to pursue her second degree in art and archeology and never looked back. Uzbekistan, Russia, France—her work has taken her all over the world. Travelling, is what she most enjoys in her free time. She also loves watching old Hindi cinema and volunteering for immigrant organizations.

“Chicago calms me”, says the woman who braved herself to the city not knowing a soul here when she first came. Dr. Ghose, who was never fascinated by the US, now loves it, “I think it’s living on the waters or something that does the magic,” she says.

In 2007, when she single-handedly began curating the Alsdorf Galleries,  she had no resources, staff, project files, records or funds. Eight years later, raising funds is still the toughest part of her job. India is willing to finance empowerment or education back home, or politics, perhaps, but is not ready yet to fund the arts. So, chooses her projects meticulously.

Teaching Islamic and Post-Islamic Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, during and after her Ph.D, strengthened her love for sharing knowledge. Nevertheless, the scholar doesn’t want to go back to teaching—she feels it confines her. “As a curator, I teach a whole community.” Dr. Ghose has a bigger purpose.

A month later, as I attend a walkthrough of the exhibit by Dr. Ghose herself, I realize her her bob and dressing sense is always impeccable. The only golden bead in her otherwise turquoise and brown neckpiece brushes the V-neck of her beige cardigan. She teams it with a knee-length black skirt. “Madhu is the best dressed Indian in Chicago,” acknowledges Lautman who writes extensively about India, over a Skype conversation.

Lautman who has known Dr. Ghose ever since she first arrived in Chicago eight years ago, lauds Dr. Ghose for going out of her way to help people make connections. Dr. Ghose leads the Vivekananda Memorial Program for Museum Excellence, a project designed to foster professional exchanges between the Art Institute and various museums in India.

Along with building a strong bridge that connects the two countries, Dr. Ghose tries her best to involve the students of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in her endeavors associated with India.

Shaurya Kumar, faculty of printmaking at the SAIC, has known Dr. Ghose on the professional front and acknowledges her generosity in bringing people together. “She does it to help people achieve fruitful results,” he says. Dr. Ghose put him in touch with a number of people in India for a study trip this winter.

Dr. Ghose was most candid in our last interview. “My mother even had hopes during her last days that I would marry,” she explains how as a young girl, she was only expected to learn to become a good housewife. A determined fighter, Dr. Ghose has always had her way. She fought to study in a co-ed school, to not have an arranged marriage, to not marry when in relationships.

Perhaps, her difficult childhood is the reason for her fighting spirit. After losing her father and only sister at a young age, Dr. Ghose used History and Art to escape the harsh reality. “I would devour history!” says Dr. Ghose. Coming from a family of lawyers and tea-growers in Calcutta, it was her mother’s artistic roots that aided the direction of her career today.

Each day is different for Dr. Ghose who is currently juggling work on her next summer show, the book she’s authoring for the same, the permanent collections, lectures, exhibition walk-throughs, de-installations and loans. “There’s no monotony in my job,” says Dr. Ghose who enjoys creative freedom in the form curatorship.

28nita-ambani2.jpg

Dr. Ghose with Isha Ambani and Nita Ambani from the co-sponsors of Gates of the Lord, Reliance Foundation, and Douglas Druick, former Director of the AIC, in front of a pichvai Photo Credits: http://www.rediff.com

The coy Bengali doesn’t give away much about her personal life, but says Biryani is her favorite food and that she misses wearing Indian clothes. “You can wear them here,” I say, to which she retorts, “I can, but I love the aromas of Indian summers. It’s the sensuousness of being there.” I agree. Complete Indianness is the wonderful colors, exquisite fabrics and the aromas they come with.

When asked about the one thing she strongly believes in, Dr. Ghose’s eyes light up. “Dreams,” she says gesticulating with her manicured hands, “and learning how to realise them.”

As I make my way out, the kind Dr. Ghose, disapproves of the fact that I wasn’t wearing boots but ballet flats on a chilly day. “You must cover your feet,” she brandished her index finger at the girl who is trying to put up with her first Midwestern winter. “Otherwise you can’t survive in Chicago.”

In her reply to my thank-you email, she remembered to write, “I hope you will take the time to go and get some winter gear this weekend.

I FOUND ONE REASON TO DISLIKE BEYONCÉ

Warning: If you’re a crazy Beyoncé fan and would not like to see/read her being defamed, I’ve a better option for you: switch to this article by BuzzFeed instead: Times Beyonce proved she’s an absolute Goddess.

You chose to read me? Great.

Coldplay released their song Hymn for the Weekend from “A Head Full of Dreams,” shot in India this past Friday. And the video has garnered attention for a lot of different reasons.

I can only imagine that neckpiece scrubbing a stained, greasy vessel                                                              GIF:www.hellogiggles.com

1. It is accused of misrepresentation — Everything in the video is how at least some part of an Indian city will look like (on Holi, the festival of colors). It’s not unusual to spot a peahen, nor is it unusual to see a cab with colorful interiors, and single-screen theatres still do exist and they look just like the one in the video. So, I don’t understand how the country is misrepresented. I mean, If Coldplay had to choose India to show skyscrapers and highways, how would that be different from the rest of the world?

2. Sonam Kapoor had a blink-and-miss cameo — She’s being mocked at for doing a 2.35 second role, but she’s most happy about receiving life-long VIP passes to their concerts (not that she couldn’t afford them earlier) and she made money of course.

3. Beyoncé’s role was a cultural misappropriation — People get offended if westerners adopt something from the East and label it as cultural misappropriation. But this concept has always bounced over my understanding. Does the role of a Bollywood heroine have to be played by an Indian ONLY? In that case, French should be spoken only by the French and pizzas should be eaten only by Italians. Whether a white wears a kimono, a black wears henna or any other permutation and combination, it does not matter. In the end we are all humans and white, black, yellow, brown are all just colors.

I only ask one question. What the heck was Beyoncé wearing?

Her blouse and duppatta (veil) are gawdy as ever. And the jewelry on her face. Who wears that in India? Or in the rest of the world? It’s the most hideous piece of accessory that was ever created. Looking at her neckpiece strangulates me. She couldn’t wait for her mehendi (henna) to chip off. It’s green and orange, had she allowed it to dry and then neatly scraped it off, it would have turned a beautiful maroon. Also, didn’t she get a better lip color?

This is where the designer took inspiration from.                                                               Photo credits: http://www.costcobusiness.com

Her second outfit did nothing to assuage the heartaches the first one gave me. That over-the-top floral headgear and glaring cape gown bearing her full cleavage was nothing close to Indian. The same fabric could have been used for a lehenga instead.

What role is she trying to play?                                                                             Photo credits: http://www.looklive.com

 

What role is she trying to play?

Imagine her in a Manish Malhotra outfit, with her cleavage all covered. Hard to imagine? Look, I made it easier for you.

Doesn’t she look gorgeous?

I think it adds to the quality and appearance by a gazillion times. What do you think?

Five Reasons why the National September 11 Memorial is Awesome

tumblr_nexk92N0Va1u1vx0eo1_1280

Every single victim’s name remains etched in the memorial                                                                  www.911memorial.org

It was fourteen years ago that the then tallest buildings in the world were destroyed, killing close to three thousand innocent lives. What the government did with Ground Zero (the space where WTC once stood)—building the 9/11 Memorial and the Museum—is commendable.

 

Here’s why:

1. It pays a tribute

To the tragedy’s victims, survivors, their kin, and acts as a reminder to the rest of the world.  This way, the tragedy isn’t forgotten. It is not an attempt to inflict pain by bringing back memories of grief, but to strengthen people despite the loss and suffering.

2. Generates revenue

Now don’t read that as “they are trying to make money out of grief.” NO! That’s not really what they’re doing. They’re just making something fruitful out of whatever they’re left with. And if you did read it like that, you are a sadist. By the way, if you do not want to shell money out, visit it on a Tuesday evening when entrance is free.

3. Gives a shout out to artists, photographers, documentarians

The museum is full of artifacts, photographs and videos. Right from the staircase used to evaluate, to messages from flight attendants and passengers to even the footage of the terrorists undergoing the security check, have all been preserved and are showcased in the museum. Documenting such events is not plain easy and the museum acknowledges their creators. Also, the memorial’s design itself was chosen through an international competition that received entries from 63 countries. Israeli-American architect Michael Arad, won it.

911 4

Artist Spencer Finch painted 2983 different shades of blue, showcasing how the sky might have looked on the fateful day. It was blue, but a different blue for each of us.                                          www.forbes.com

4. Employs hundreds of people

Apart from recognizing contributors, the memorial serves as a means to earn a living to the security personnel, management, and all other persons behind running the museum and the memorial on a daily basis.

5. Has a green roof

Over 450 Whike Oak trees give a breath of fresh air in the midst of the concrete Manhattan. They represent traditional affirmations of life and rebirth itself. The Jury for the design of the Memorial in its statement said: “the Memorial trees, like memory itself, demand the care and nurturing of those who visit and tend them. They remember life with living forms, and serve as living representations of the destruction and renewal of life in their own annual cycles. The result is a memorial that expresses both the incalculable loss of life and its consoling regeneration.”

 

Somethings are bound to be taken away, what matters is what we do with the remnants. The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is an exemplar. Is anyone in India listening? We could do this for 26/11 too. 

Here are a more pictures:

911 7.jpg

The voids represent those caused by loss of lives, which can never be replaced.                  www.umass.edu

 

IMG_9796.jpg

If only this announcement was not sent out, hundreds of lives could have been saved. But who knew tragedy would strike the second building too? Exactly fifteen minutes after this announcement?

IMG_9786.jpg

We are all one.

IMG_9801.JPG

What would you write here? Tell me in your comments below

 

 

 

ISHKQ IN PARIS

A bummer that can change Paris’s moniker of the City of Love into the City of Detest

Rewind half a century, ‘An evening in Paris’ made with a stellar starcast and tight screenplay in gorgeous locations went on to become a huge hit. Forward to 2013, Ishkq in Paris, Preity Zinta’s comeback will make one born in this generation hate the fact that they were part of it; director Prem Raj has made me believe in the cliché ‘old is gold.’

Ishkq—notice the useless k consonant—photographer born and raised in Paris who dreads commitment because of her parents’ divorce, meets London-based businessman Akash (Cash with an ‘A’, as he puts it, du-uh!) on a train journey. After watching the random, unplanned Eurorail meetings-that-turn-into-love-stories in blockbusters like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Bachna Ae Haseeno, this one brings no surprises.

Ishkq agrees to show him the city, and after a night of getting drunk, flirting in front of the scintillating Eiffel Tower, dozing off on a bench in a park and having coffee, they say their goodbyes, keeping up their promise never to meet again. In a few days, destiny brings ‘Cash with an A’ back to Paris, Facebook helps him find her and they fall in love for sure. Will the commitment-phobic Ishkq say yes when Akash proposes? Watch the movie to find out, not.

While Preity does a good job acting, unenthusiastic performance by Rhehan Malliek and sophisticated expressions of French actress Isabelle Adjani are too plain for a Hindi movie.

Almost everything in the movie is out of sync, from the storyline, to the dialogues, to the voice of Marie. When she speaks Hindi, it’s an Indian’s, and when she speaks English, it’s hers. As if so much dis-sync was not enough, her accent too, changes to the whims and fancies of the Director; Indian accent sometimes, and at others, French.

Locations are shown as if the movie is a complicated mystery and the Director wants to make it comprehensible for the audience: Montmarte, 7 am, Au bar de Paris, 2 am, Rue Oberkampf, 2 45 am. Even the font and typeface are boring. Transitions are abrupt: Akash giving Ishkq a piece of mind and the same evening, talking to her mother like as if he’s the most compassionate guy ever.

“I don’t know about love, but I’ve definitely fallen,” says Akash when Ishkq asks if he’s ever fallen in love. Cheeky dialogues like this run throughout the movie and to top it, the narrator’s overtly sweet voice is like the detested donut that’s too sweet for one’s mouth.

The background score is from the 1990’s. The only nice thing in the soundtrack—actually movie—‘Kudiye di Kurti,’ can be played at weddings. The rest includes a bilingual disco track (why there was French in it, no one will every figure out), a repulsive romantic song and a making-you-want-to-pull-your-hair-apart Sufi number.

Preity’s unflattering costumes—school skirts, fit blouses, stockings and mustard leather jackets — make me want to cringe. Her hep wavy hair-do makes me want to cringe even more.

After a six-year hiatus, Preity’s comeback in IIP is clearly a desperate move to regain her space in the industry. The fact that she produced and wrote it too makes it more obvious. And her choice of a newcomer, Rrehan Malliek, as the male lead confirms that she wanted all the limelight, which she did get, reminding the audience of the once bubbly actress who’s now too old to play her bubbly self.

Sorry, Preity, guess it’s time to admit that at 38 years, it is a good time to stop playing a 20-something. Also, it’s not that bad an idea to play your age. Good you attempted anyway, one needs to do things to avoid repentance in life.

Watching the movie is like grading a high-school student’s clumsy assignment, filled with more loopholes than the subject matter, and put together haphazardly to make it within deadline. How can it deserve an A? It only deserves and F.

Cast: Preity Zinta, Rrehan Malliek, Isabelle Adjani

Certificate: U

Runtime: 144 minutes

⋆⋆ Out of ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

Photo credits: http://forum.xcitefun.net/

I won’t stop you from judging the movie by this poster. Photo credits: http://forum.xcitefun.net/