Dec 27, 2015

Star Wars & Bajirao Mastani: A Brief Review of Two Sequels

A week where I had a tryst with two sequels:

First: an intended one:

Star Wars - A New Awakening. A crackle of a movie that manages to tick all the "must" boxes of the franchise; well paced & well photographed at some of the best landscaped locales - loved the way the desert has been captured; and with Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer & Mark Hamil brings alive the nostalgia as well as becomes the perfect connector for the remaining two movies to follow. 

J J Abrams, the legacy of George Lucas seems to be in perfect hands. 

May the Force be with you!

Second - an unintended one:

Bajirao Mastani where Mr. Bhansali still seems to be still reeling under the hangover of Devdas. Similar template with ticking of all the "must" boxes -  ever moist eyed actors in love, music piece set to the dance steps of Birju Maharaj (Mohe Rang Do Laal, a lovely song though missed Madhuri Dixit's effervescent dance), one song-n-dance with both the heroines, lots of grandeur & pomp with amazing eye for detailing of inanimate objects. 

Despite good performances by all the key performers, the movie unfortunately leaves one cold due to its uni-dimensional portrayal of the characters. For me the defining moment was when one of the bravest warrior of Maratha history starts dancing & singing "Vaat Lavli". 

Kharach Vaat Laavli..

Apr 3, 2015

अग्नि पंख! अग्नि पंख! अग्नि पंख!!

वृक्ष हों भले खड़े
हों घने, हों बड़े
एक पत्र छाँह भी
मांग मत! मांग मत! मांग मत!
अग्निपथ! अग्निपथ! अग्निपथ!

These iconic verse by Dr Harivanshrai Bachchan were made more so with Amitabh reciting these in his deep baritone for his movie Agnipath.

As an avid Flamingo watcher, looking at them going about their business – stoically with a typical British upturned nose - on shore or at ponds under the watch of a hot Sun is such a joy. As they take walk or stand contemplating some philosophical thoughts of their kind on those long lanky limbs (ah, again that Amitabh connection) – suitable for a ramp walk  -  I find these verse of Dr Bachchan apt provided I replace the last line with the word “अग्नि पंख” – a moniker coined for Flamingos.

25_05_20148618060131_mating_dance crop

Agni Pankh - “the wings of fire” - suits them so perfectly; specially as they reach their breeding period & don the deep hues of flamming orange-red plummage. Perhaps these fiery wings are the reason for them to be equated to the mythical Phoenix who after living a long – a very long life of more than 500 years – would regenerate itself from the pyre of flames in which it has immolated itself. No wonder, they are termed scientifically Phoenicopterus, the only genus in the family Phoenicopteridae.

IMG_2015_03_22_011131flamingo sky crop

One of my earliest memories of these magnificent fliers is from a documentary on flamingos & their habitat in Kutch produced by Indian Films Division in mid 70s & for a long time was one of the sub-features in most of the cinema halls.  Little was I aware of their annual migration to the shores of my city. It was only a few years ago when my eyes opened to the whole new vista of huge flocks that grace this city every migratory season. Since then nothing has been able to deter me from visiting those haunts every season with my Canon 7D & lenses; sit at a distance with adequate nourishment (perhaps more than adequate, sometimes) and try to capture their moods. 

IMG_2015_03_22_011163Flamingoe on the run crop

Here are a few of these labour of my love – set as usual to extracts from a couple of poems: one - "The Phoneix Bird" by none other than Hans Christian Anderson & another - "The Stately Flamingoes" by R M Ingersley. I am sure if not the images, the poems shall be good reason for you, too, have a fiery passion for them - to match their wings of fire:

IMG_2015_03_22_011235Flamingoe Adult portrait crop
The bird perished in the flames;
but from the red egg in the nest there fluttered aloft a new one
the one solitary Phoenix bird.
The fable tells that he dwells in Arabia,
and that every hundred years, he burns himself to death in his nest;
But each time a new Phoenix,
the only one in the world,
rises up from the red egg.
The bird flutters round us,
swift as light,
beauteous in color,
charming in song.
- See more at:

In the Garden of Paradise, 
beneath the Tree of Knowledge, 
bloomed a rose bush. 
Here, in the first rose, a bird was born. 
His flight was like the flashing of light, 
his plumage was beauteous, 
and his song ravishing. (Anderson)


FLAMINGOES rare that haunt the shimmering strand,
When slow, on stately wings, they wheel in flight,
Seem everchanging clouds of pink and white
And flashing scarlet, far above the land. (Ingersley)

 IMG_2015_03_22_010806Flamingoes crop 2

The bird flutters round us, swift as light,
beauteous in color, charming in song.
He flies through the chamber of content,
and brings sunshine into it,
and the violets on the humble table smell doubly sweet. (Anderson)

IMG_2015_03_22_010987flamingo portrait

Anon, the flock lights on the dreary bank
Of some great pestilential swamp, to feed,
Curving their necks amongst the tangled weed
They search, and not in vain, the herbage rank ;(Ingersley)

IMG_2015_03_22_010853Flamingoes s

The Bird of Paradise- renewed each century
born in flame, ending in flame!
Thy picture, in a golden frame,
 hangs in the halls of the rich,
but thou thyself often fliest around,
lonely and disregarded, a myth- "The Phoenix of Arabia." (Anderson)

IMG_2014_11_01_000038flight to the Sunflight to the Sun_1_crop

Now, when the feast is brought unto its end,
Or sentries warn with signals loud and harsh,
Echoing throughout the vastness of the marsh,
They mount in chainlike flight, and homeward wend,(Ingersley)

 IMG_2015_03_21_010299flamingoes crop

In Paradise, when thou wert born in the first rose,
beneath the Tree of Knowledge,
thou receivedst a kiss,
and thy right name was given thee - thy name,
Poetry! (Anderson)

P.S.: For more images of these stately flamingoes, please do visit my album Agni-Pankh at the following link:

Mar 8, 2015

Kyun Ki Chillar Nahin Hai Mere Paas!!

While watching one of the lawyers talking about women as flower & fragrance etc in India's Daughter, my thoughts went back to the Station Master character from "Jab We Met". The tone & tenor was quite similar, with him patronisingly telling Geet (Karina Kapoor) how a woman travelling on her own is like an open treasure.

Well, obviously the ban on the movie indicates that this advocate in real life or the station master in reel life are not the only ones with this kind of mindset. Over last couple of years, there have been many more voicing similar thoughts - quite brazenly too - including those who are leaders in their own right - be it political or social. Javed Akhtar is right when in Rajya Sabha he mentioned that such have been the thoughts of some of the members of the Upper House also.

I think time has come for those with liberal & modern mindset to not keep quiet, but resort to what Geet did in the movie. Bemusingly, she asked the Station Master if all his talk is free or going to cost her money: Kyun Ki Chillar Nahin Hai mere Paas.

So next time any one comes across in public domain to give us similar kind of gyaan - be it about how a woman should behave or what we as a matured educated adult are entitled to watch or read or hear - let us tell the person ‪#‎ChillarNahinHai‬.

Feb 19, 2015

Yeh Zindagi ke Mele...

चर्च  का  गेट  है 
चर्च  है  लापता 
ई है बम्बई नगरिया
तू देख बबुआ

Remember the line from AB's rocking number of original "Don"? 

Well, such is the case with another landmark area: Kala Ghoda, a precinct where  "Kala Ghoda" - the black stallion - is conspicuous more by its absence.

Those interested in trivia of our city, here is the history behind this name - Kala Ghoda:

The place was so named because of presence of a black stone statue of King Edward VII mounted on a horse that was commissioned somewhere in mid 19th century by Jewish businessman and philanthropist Albert Abdullah David Sassoon. 

Of course, as the city developed and got crowded, in order to get more space perhaps, the statue was in mid sixties shifted to Rani Baag - the zoo at Byculla. However, the statue had existed here long enough for people to colloquially name the precinct after it; and we continue to call it so even after it was removed.

Last few years have brought the name again in lime light because of the annual art festival held here ‪#‎KalaGhodaArtFestival‬ (‪#‎KGAF‬) - a must visit experience for everyone. 

There exists a palpable energy, an endless eclectic mix of varied sights & sounds and the attractive art-works & ideas that reflect the themes trending in the society currently - in other words, a Kaleidoscope of humans. More than that what it offers is a unique experience for those interested in street photography. 

Here are a few of the captures from 2015 edition of this festival through my ‪#‎Canon7D‬.

As the setting Sun, behind the clouds turns the historic buildings of the precinct into a silhouette, let me unveil a few of them for you. 

The building in the far background is of-course the signature of Mumbai University - Rajabai Tower. The building with an expansive decor is well- known Army Navy Building - currently used by Tata group. 

However, it is the non-descript building on its right whose current status belies its rich past. This is Esplanade Mansion - formerly known as Watson Hotel - the swankiest hotel in the city in late 19th century. Apart from it being India's oldest surviving Cast Iron building, more interesting information - specially for the movie-buffs, is this being the first building in India to screen Lumière Brothers' Cinematographic invention - in 1896.

Coming back to the festival itself, amidst the kaleidoscope of moving images, you find a lot many who seem to be looking for inspirations, like this old man.. 


..  there are many who are trigger-happy, just like me, except they also create captivating sights  


Surely, befitting the reputation of this city of dreams,  it attracts those who are aspiring to be part of the Wall of Fame.. and find inspiration over here, just a cut above Khushwant Singh & Salvadore Dali, proving..
ख़ुशी हादसा है, ग़म हादसा है
हक़ीक़त भुला कर, हरेक भागता है


Not everyone has the opportunity for this short cut though. Amidst the crowd of revellers, you can not but stop noticing someone like her - prettier also, surrounded by glittering ornaments. Since all that glitters is not Gold, her melancholic look makes the overall sight so  poignant.

IMG_2015_02_07_009638pottery making bw

In another corner of the fair, the wheel of the pottery maker moves on, just like life. Every one tries their hand, yet few remember Kabir's 
माटी कहे कुम्हार से , तू क्या रौंदे मोहे 
एक दिन ऐसा आएगा , मैं रौंदूंगी तोहे

IMG_2015_02_13_009760bubble colours

Of the variety of sights on streets here, what I love to capture the most are  the reflection of the city around in the bubbles. The light, as it moves through these bubbles, add rainbow colours, turning even the dreariest images into enigmatic ones. 

IMG_2015_02_13_009770hear eat share

Surely, bubbles have very short life unless... it is related to the building in the background - towering over Rhythm House & the city. Here life span of bubbles change with the rhythm of the nation. No wonder, the graffitti on the outer wall of Rhythm House act as a reminder to underscore the essential of growth - Think & Feel comes before you Make.. and only when you do not forget to Share.

There are many more captures, but rather than crowding the blog here, let me showcase it here: "Yeh Zindagi Ke Mele"  &

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