Nov 21, 2015

Katyar Kaljat Ghusli - Music & Magic Interwoven

Katyar Kaljat Ghusli is the movie you need to watch to get a taste, a flavour, an initiation into the richness of Marathi Theater. This movie, rich in music, that it inherited from the 40 year old play, complimented by some brilliant acting, dialogues and direction is an absolute treat to watch.

Back in early 90s, my father had bought a cassette which had compilation of Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande's songs who had played Khan Saaheb's role in the original play. I loved the songs but then I had only heard Khan Saaheb's versions but that ensured I headed to the cinema hall to see this movie.

It ensures the dagger of music is drawn deep into your mind. What a terrific movie this is that I am fumbling for words in this post. The music is still playing in my head.

It starts with this brilliant Ganpati bhakti geet, "Sur Niragas Ho" by Shankar Mahadevan.

The movie tells a tale of 2 maestros competing for the position of the Kingdom's top singer and the King's Dagger. Both are almost equal but there is only one winner. The competition turns sour with rising ambition of one of them and then the drama unfolds.

The story is set in the 19th century in the pre-Independence era. The King, Queen and the Darbaar are excellent with the debates, the discussions and a prevalent sense of upholding justice. The acting is of the highest caliber here. 

In this star-studded affair, Sachin Pilgaonkar stands out as Khan Saaheb - a fantastic singer who deserves accolades for his singing but a vain and arrogant man. His performance is something I have never seen before from any actor. He deserves every award that can be given for acting. And don't dilute it by categorizing acting - hero, support, villain... - his performance is the best performance that can be!

Shankar Mahadevan as Panditji is stellar and so is the director-actor Subodh Bhave as Sadashiv. 
I have special praise for the supporting cast - Amruta Khanvilkar as Zareena, Mrunmayi Deshpande as Uma, Pushkar Shrotri as Kaviraj, Sakshi Tanwar as Khansaaheb's wife and the King and the Queen.

Subodh Bhave, the director-actor of this movie, makes me immensely proud. He has been a key contributor to the decade old rise of the Marathi art - cinema, theater or TV. I look up to him for more such artistic creations. I am sure he and his team will not disappoint us.

Before you leave this page.... don't miss to hear these 2 versions of the immortal song "Ghei Chhand Makarand." As a child I had only heard Khan Saaheb's version. For the first time in the movie did I hear Panditji's version (which is the first in this youtube video). As the song completes, I had goosebumps, a tear in my eye and my throat choked. Such is the power of great singing. And great singing is all that this movie is about.

I urge you to go to the nearest cinema hall to enjoy the movie in its fullest. 

Jun 29, 2015

Killa Movie Review in Marathi.

वादळी समुद्र ज्याच्या लाटा आपल्याला क्षणात आत आत ओढत नेतो.

साधा खळखळणारा समुद्र ज्यात तुमचे ध्यान लागते…

शांत असा समुद्र जो तुम्हाला विचार करायला लावतो, आयुष्याबद्दल, मृत्युबद्दल. माणसाचं जगणं हे या समुद्रासमोर किती नगण्य आहे ह्याची प्रचीती त्या समुद्रसमोर बसलो कि येते.

आणि पाउस, समुद्राच्या जोडीला, मुसळधार, अगदी छातीत धडकी बसेल असा पाउस.

मनाचा आणि हृदयाचा किल्ला जिंकणे किती सोपे किंवा किती कठीण असते हे मी काय सांगू तुम्हाला? आपल्या आपल्या किल्ल्याचे योद्धे हि आपणच आणि रक्षक हि आपणच.

अशा या असंख्य पैलू सांभाळणारा आणि अतिशय सुंदर कथा सांगणारा हा नवीन सिनेमा किल्ला.

चिन्मय काळे आणि त्याची आई पुण्याहून गुहागरला बदली होऊन येतात. चिन्मयला ते सगळ आधी नकोसं वाटतं. हळू हळू तो मित्र बनवतो. ते गाव, तिथला किल्ला, समुद्र त्याला जवळचं वाटायला लागतं. त्यात त्याची साथ देतात ते त्याचे नवे मित्र - बंड्या, ओंड्या, उम्या आणि युवराज. काय मैफिल जमवली आहे इथे या चौघांनी!

पण हे सगळं मी इथे काय सांगू?

अप्रतीम अशी कोकणची पार्श्वभूमी, तिथला हिरवागार परिसर, समुद्राचे वेगवेगळे अवतार… सगळं एकदम मनमोहक आहे. मराठी सिनेमा हा एक वेगळे उच्चासन गाठतो आहे. वळू , नटरंग, देउळ, काकस्पर्ष असे कित्येक सिनेमे गेल्या काही वर्षात आले. किल्ला या यादीत अगदी पुढे बसेल.

ह्या चित्रपटाचं दिग्दर्शन जितकं कौतुकास्पद आहे तितकच कौतुक ह्यातल्या कलाकारांचं आहे.
अमृता सुभाष ने साकारलेली चिन्मय ची आई अविस्मरणीय आहे. चिन्मय, त्याच्या एकट्या पडलेल्या मुलाची भूमिका सुंदर रंगवतो. आणि त्याचे मित्र - बंड्या, ओंड्या, उम्या आणि युवराज - चिन्मयच्या शब्दात "एकदम भारी!"

आणि हा सिनेमा हॉल मध्ये बघा. टी व्ही वर यायची वाट बघू नका.

किल्लाचे ट्रेलर

Killa - A movie that wins the fort of your heart.

Roaring stormy sea with waves that will consume you - body and mind.

Business as usual sea sending in uniform waves just enough to let you concentrate yet not let you get hypnotized in its rhythmic work ethic.

Quiet and calm sea that makes you ponder... about life and death... about the infinitesimal chance a man has if the sea decides to consume you.

Rains, incessant and merciless, by the stormy sea to compliment the sea's fear with intimidation.

All by the massive fortresses. Fortresses by the sea, in the sea, in the protagonist's mind, in his mother's heart.

Killa, the new Marathi film, breaks new ground in telling a fantastic story. The story tells us how a young Chinmay Kale tries to win battles with himself. The result is brilliant and mesmerizing.

The story begins with Chinmay's mother, who has recently been widowed, getting transferred from Pune to Guhagar, a village. Chinmay is angry and upset. Loss of father coupled with, what he considers, being ostracized, is too much for him to bear. He struggles. He then discovers new school, new friends - Bandya, Ondya, Yuvraj and Umesh. He discovers.

The movie hypnotizes you with stunning visuals of the beautiful coastal region of Konkan. The verdant canopies that cover the roads, the fort by the sea, the sea itself create a fantastic canvas where this lovely piece of art is executed. The background music perfectly pulls you in the story.

And the actors light up the canvas extremely delicately. Amruta Subhash as the young widow, fighting her battles and trying to handle a growing son, gives a riveting, sombre and understated performance. The young Archit Deodhar in Chinmay's role gives a riveting performance. He is quiet, mature beyond years, trying to cope up with the fears and shadows of past and present. He reminds you of no one else for he creates his own character. His friends are fantastic and very important to the movie, especially Parth Bhalerao as mischievous Bandya and Gaurish Gawade as the egotistical Yuvraj.

For me, there is a poignant scene between Chinmay and a fisherman that stands out.

The direction by Avinash Arun is just perfect to bring these elements alive in Killa. The name is a metaphor to the moats from the minds that get conquered.

This is a movie you should see on the big screen near your home. Go and drown yourself in the beautiful Guhagar.

Here is its trailer...

Mar 17, 2015

On Gender Gap

A hard hitting article on how stereotyping is causing harm to the world of computing and, by extension, every area of our life.
In India, we fight the moral battles against female foeticide and dowry.
The long term impact of both, the basic problems and slightly advanced ones like the pointed in the article lead to one thing - irreparable harm to society.

Aug 2, 2014

Idea for Better Life - Recharging Ground Water

I live in Mumbai, India. That part of the world which gets heavy to very heavy rains. Where flooding is a norm from June till late August each year. This TIFR page states that the annual cumulative rainfall of about 70 inches or 1800 mm.

Now the paradox of my city is that every year, despite this phenomenal natural gift of pure rainwater, the water supply from the MCGM dwindles after February. People face water shortages, each year, the supply is cut by 10% first, then 20% and so on. One of the example is this report on dependence of rainfall in catchment areas, scarcity of which means water supply cuts.

Now, think about other places, which are not naturally endowed with such monsoon. Aurangabad, an industrial town only about 375 kms from Mumbai, where I studied engineering, faces acute water crisis every year. And this one problem leads to several other crises such industries facing power supply cuts, power plants being shut down, rise in water-borne diseases like dengue, diarrhoea, etc.

These water shortages get acute year over year. Each year the reservoirs, lakes tend to dry earlier than last year. This is an empirical observation. I leave it to the experts to prove me wrong.

I believe that one of the reasons responsible for such water shortages is the drying ground water level. And the reason for receding ground level is that we have cut the connection between the water falling from the sky and that of the ground. How, you ask?

My dear friends, with a very amicable set of chemicals such as concrete and asphalt, we have waterproofed our grounds, forever. And waterproof surfaces do not leak. We all know leakages. It is horrible when our roofs leak. But the really horrible thing is that our grounds no longer leak. The rains fall, we have tea and pakodas in the lovely balconies, and the water flows away in the sewers.

I have a small incremental idea to improve this situation. And it is inexpensive one for sure. Here it is:

1. All apartment complexes have separate pipes to allow water to flow away.
2. These pipes are taken to the ground level and then discharged into sewers.
3. Instead, during monsoons, connect these pipes to another set of pipes that go at least 15-20 feet deep below the ground level.
4. During monsoons connect the terrace pipes to these new pipes and divert rainwater from terraces of  buildings into the soil under the top concrete layer.

Something I have tried to depict in this slide here:

Ground is a large single reservoir. I believe this will reduce the load and dependence on the rainfall in catchment areas. This is similar to rain-water harvesting with a small change that we recharge the ground water.

I invite comments if this idea is correct. We need to reconnect the natural cycle of events, only then can we live in harmony with nature.

I invite all readers to comment. Thanks!


All the opinions expressed are of the author only. Any action taken by readers on the basis of this blog is entirely at the readers' risk and they are solely responsible for the same.