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Fitting tribute to Bimal Roy
"It is a mediocre film with good acting by the male actor. Direction is also good." These are the words scribbled by legendary filmmaker Bimal Roy on a notepad while he was serving as a jury member in the 1st Moscow International Film Festival. The film he wrote about was Jalsaghar, the fourth film of another Indian legend, Satyajit Ray. The notepad is one of the exhibits at...
Zohra Sehgal dies at 102
Zohra Sehgal, a quintessential Bollywood diva who essayed character roles with aplomb in a career spanning over seven decades in both theatre and cinema, died on Thursday at the age of 102. A Padma Vibhushan awardee, Sehgal breathed her last at Max hospital here around 4:30pm on Thursday. "She was admitted yesterday and diagnosed with pneumonia. A heart patient, she suffered a cardiac arrest...
Missing the mark
It is not a good idea to judge a movie by its name. This is what Bobby Jasoos taught me. Despite the jasoos in its name, there is not much of jasoosi in there. Nor is there the shade of brilliance in Vidya Balan's one-woman acting army that we applauded for in films like The Dirty Picture and Kahaani. The faith that comes with seeing Balan's face on a film's poster has started shaking...
A quest for identity
Calling Bangladesh-born Zia Haider Rahman’s debut novel cerebral would be an understatement. In the Light of What We Know engages the reader at different levels and no, its not highbrow only on account of the numerous thoughts and ideas that one encounters in it as it delves into intellectual and philosophical realms but also because of its sheer scope and magnitude and therein lies...
The Mexican touch
Tucked in a corner past the bustling lanes of Colaba's flea market, the Causeway, is the area's newest quick service joint—Mexiloko. The walls are splashed with bright hues of yellow, red and green with doodles of cowboy hats and guitar, just in case you need to be reminded of what to expect. The space is small and can seat about 12-13 walk-ins and the fare is basic with nachos,...
Immortal roses, and prose
Absence, exile and the devastating loss of a daughter have overshadowed Isabel Allende's life and shaped her work. Her answer? To keep writing and count her blessings
Her own song
“Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.” Winston ChurchillSisters Sultana and Jyoti Nooran sang the popular Sufi number Allah Hoo at the Nakodar Mela in Jalandhar, Punjab, in May last year. And, it changed their lives forever. The audience was spellbound by their rendition of the classic, which has versions by renowned...
Hardbound history
THE WEEK’s newest coffee-table book is a compilation of the popular First Citizen column, which chronicles President Pranab Mukherjee’s time in the Rashtrapati Bhavan
Pancholis file Rs 100-cr libel suit against Jiah's mom
Mumbai: Actor couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, whose son Suraj is facing charges of abetting the suicide of actress Jiah Khan, have filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit in the Bombay High Court against Rabia Khan, the mother of the deceased. Two days back, the High Court, hearing Rabia's plea, had transferred the probe from Mumbai police to CBI, asking the agency to find out whether...
Shahrukh Khan conferred with top French award
Superstar Shahrukh Khan was on Tuesday conferred with top French civilian award 'Knight of the Legion of Honour'. Visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius presented the prestigious award to the 48-year-old actor at a function here for his outstanding contribution to cultural diversity across the world. "I feel very humbled and grateful for this prestigious honour. Today is my...
King's winning move
The suave and charismatic businessman who took Audi India to numero uno position among luxury carmakers is also the fun-loving travel junkie who plays golf and learns Hindi
Nawab of nuances
From being an also-ran actor to producing films he believes in, Saif Ali Khan says he has become wise with age
It’s got the stamp
Philately, as a genre in book publishing, is very specialised. And, recently, a couple of interesting books in this genre hit the stands. The first is veteran journalist B.G. Verghese’s Post Haste—Quintessential India. The author captures the essence of Indian history from ancient times right up to the present. But what is novel about the book is that it is illustrated entirely with...
Fact versus fiction
What part of Indian history is myth and what part of it is fact? RomilaThapar asks this question in her latest book, The Past as Present: Forging Contemporary Identities Through History. She underlines the importance of rigorous scholarship and critical thinking in historical study. A lot of fissures have appeared in Indian history and society in recent decades. History, she says, can’t be...
Crash course
There is no way yet to avert a financial crisis. While “booms, panics, and bust” teach valuable lessons, crashing is inevitable. That is Bob Swarup’s deduction in Money Mania, a historical record of instances of financial turmoil “from ancient Rome to the Great Meltdown” of 2008. The author, almost like a financial historian, trails every global financial crisis. He...
Chinese thriller
Decoded is a complex exploration of dreams, cryptography and spy craft. It provides a rare opportunity for English readers to experience the work of Mai Jia, a bestselling Chinese novelist. Mai Jia (the pseudonym of Jiang Benhu) is a literary phenomenon in China. He was enrolled in a military college in China in the 1980s and served in an intelligence unit of the People’s Liberation Army...
Lights Out: A path of hope
He is a real life hero who lost his sight, but dreamt up a vision; a blind man who helps others like him see a future. Bangalore-based Laxmi Subramani is one of those rare human beings who inspires just about everyone who gets to meet him. Just by being himself. For many years now, Bangalore has been proudly watching Subramani’s rise as a journalist, got shaken up by his hard-hitting...
One for the books
The big, fat wedding—as loveless as it may have been—is over. Penguin Group and Random House, publishing giants and traditional rivals, merged last year to form Penguin Random House. It was the biggest and the most watched link-up in publishing history, and the couple is now settling in. In the best tradition of modern marriages, the company's first step in India was finding...
Forward in motion
Sometime in 1993, a man in his 20s loitered around in front of Amitabh Bachchan's bungalow in Juhu, waiting to catch a glimpse of “at least the shadow” of his idol. Little did he know that in another 20 years, he would be calling the shots and directing Bachchan inside that very house. Neither did he know that he would be hailed as the decade's biggest changemaker in the Hindi...
Rising stars
Rajkummar Rao: Post his National Award win for his portrayal of slain human rights activist Shahid Azmi in Hansal Mehta's Shahid, Rajkummar Rao is quite the flavour of the season. An acting graduate from the Film and Television Institute of India, he started with small roles in Love, Sex Aur Dhokha, Talaash, Kai Po Che! and the recent hit Queen. CityLights, his latest film, is up for release...
Indie go!
It is on everyone's lips. It finds a mention in every second sentence spoken by a regular filmgoer. But the moment you start seeking its meaning, you are lost. All those who try in vain to explain what it means, however, agree upon one thing. That independent films, or "indies" as they are known now, will be the gamechangers. The first time I mentioned the phrase 'independent...
Wizards of VFX
Aamir Khan loves to tell the story about how a ball drove director Ashutosh Gowariker and him nuts while filming their Academy Award-nominated film Lagaan. Gowariker was bent on shooting the sequence in a particular way in a single shot. But because the actors were not professional cricketers, the whole unit spent a large part of a day trying to get the shot right. When they showed the final shot...
Serving hot, this season
It is a sweltering Friday in the hottest summer that Delhi has braved since independence. Shahpur Jat, the urban village in the heart of the capital, which is home to quirky bookstores, cafes and boutiques, is deserted. Up four floors of very narrow stairs, past the water cans, bright blue with green plants, is Potbelly, the capital’s first all-Bihari restaurant—Lalu jokes...
Rushdie wins PEN/Pinter prize
Indian-born British author Salman Rushdie is the winner of this year's PEN/Pinter Prize in recognition of his support for freedom of speech and generous help to other writers, the prize judges said on Friday.The prize, awarded by the British branch of the worldwide writers' association, is named for the late playwright Harold Pinter, who was an ardent advocate of human rights and a...
Renaissance man
Exactly 14 years ago, filmmaker Hansal Mehta felt “creatively dead”. His forehead was pressed against the feet of an elderly woman of Mumbai's Khar Danda, pleading for forgiveness. A crowd of 20,000 people that included 10 politicians stood watching. “A part of me died that day,” says Mehta. The mistake he made? “According to the Shiv Sena's moral police, my...
Exchanging notes
On a pleasant April evening, if you had tuned into All India Radio, a familiar tune from an old Hindi film, Nagin (1954), would have taken you down memory lane. Except that the 'Snake Charmer' piece was part of a concert by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (SSO), which was being broadcast live.The orchestra, which came about in Scotland in December 1935, was in India on a three-city...
A complete life
There is an air of confidence around Nawaz Modi Singhania, which, perhaps, is a reflection of her discipline and passion for physical fitness. At the same time, she is gracious, courteous, polite and articulate. It has been 23 years since she saw a future in the fitness business and involved with Body Art, a fitness studio. It should have been an unlikely choice for a girl from an affluent...
An epic return
On an early Monday morning, the newly refurbished home of Salim Khan and his superstar son Salman is a beehive of activity. People walk in and out, many of them without an appointment. But the Khan household has always been like this—an “open house”, as Salim Khan, ace screenwriter, once remarked. Khan, along with Javed Akhtar, slaved through the 1970s and 80s to give India...
Lennon drawings, manuscripts sell for $2.9 mn
Original manuscripts and drawings by former Beatle John Lennon, produced for two acclaimed books he wrote in the mid-1960s, sold for $2.9 million on Wednesday, more than double the pre-sale estimate, Sotheby's auction house said.All of the 89 lots in the sale, from Lennon's 1964 book "In His Own Write" and 1965's "A Spaniard in the Works," were snapped up by...
Kitchen Confidential
Food shows might have spawned a new 'cooking cult' among young Indians, but there is a long way to go before we can call it a revolution
More Inside THE WEEK
Maha appeasement
Off course
Taxing times
Hate speech
Trendy footballers
Round Rob-in  |  Rob Hughes
From plums to prunes
The World Cup changed this week, and not for the better.It was as if we had feasted on ripe plums, which suddenly had the fresh juice drained out, leaving us with dried prunes. Still digestible, but a very different, ...  »
Power Point  |  Sachidananda Murthy
Seeing red over green rickshaws
Who is family and who is not among relatives of a politician? The definition of a family member has assumed urgency in the wake of a controversy involving National Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and his enthusiasm ...  »