Monday, July 01, 2013

State of Bollywood

I realise this isn't my usual topic but the last couple of weeks Bollywood films has been the topic of discussion between myself and my work colleague.

How is it possible to sit through 3 hours of what appears to be a really badly told storyline trying to imitate Hollywood? I recently I watch Yeh Jawaani Hai Zindagi, like most Bollywood movies I found it unconvincing. The development of story and feelings of characters I found abrupt. The dillia wali girlfriend was an out of context in relation to the story in the film. Although the best thing about the movie has to be the soundtrack. Mein udna chahta hoon, dorna chahta hoo, girna chahta hoon could not buy it. The boy clearly does not take after his father...

I miss the movies of 50s-70s, 80s was a fun era, 90s was dominated by cheese (still fun) but naugties lost it and is still losing it. Jo Jeetah Wohi Siqandar still remains one of my all time favourites.

September will be time to bring arty southasian movies to my work place. Recommendations welcome. Most likely dominated by films from Kolkata and South India but open to Bollys if you can convince me :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What came first Bangla or Tagore?

It is often a big misgiving to believe the Bangla language started with Tagore. Whilst he is a literary great and his poetry and stories speak great depth of the human emotions and educate you of the Bengali political movements at the time of the Raj, often it feels we owe all of the Bangla language to this one man alone.

It is almost parallel with what we have with Shakespeare and the English language  There is a danger of popularising one artist's work to point of forgetting the other greats. Language is not developed by the one person but rather myriad of people, common people, popular people, but they all play a part.

I do think it is worth thinking about what we take for granted. Democracy did not start with the Greeks. Shakespeare was not the orginator of Romeo and Juliet. The sun does not rise in the East (if we reverse the Earth's axis :) )...

Below is a video depicting the Bangla language before Tagore - research which we need more of. Move over Radice...

Before Tagore: Music, Farce, and Muslim Patrons in 19th Century Bengal - By Richard David Williams and Priyanka Basu from bricklanecircle on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's time to get back

It's been over a year since my last post and I can safely say nothing interesting has happened in my life in that year. Nothing. Part of the reason I stopped posting because I felt I didn't have time to post about my normal subjects (see below). I resisted posting about teaching and education but have come round to think it would be stupid not to shed some light on the profession that I am in now.

I guess it has taken me some time to accept what is my profession. It is education. I won't call myself a teacher as I think I deliver much more than that. I have discovered I enjoy teaching. I am good at teaching. I have ideas with regards to what makes a 'good' teacher. I'm not going to to reveal it all at once; it will unravel itself as I continue to blog, I hope.

So here is to my first post in 2011...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What Dreams?

Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is the current exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. It claims to depict 150 years of photography from the subcontinent, of its people by its people. The exhibition is in most parts is not trying to show great photography but how photography has developed in the three countries.


Walking through the gallery it made uncomfortable viewing. It felt like yet another exhibition displaying of the other. In this case, watching how the other uses the camera. Although, this show was curated by Asian artists it did not feel as though their talents shone.

Most of the photographs looked like home albums that many of us Asians possess. There was nothing spectacular about them; what’s so fascinating about family albums of Southasian origin?

So there were portraits of some political leaders like Jinnah, Nehru, Gandhi etc. There were also, some bollywood and lollywood posters and photographs, stills of shows with Asian people in it, pictures of paddy fields and trains. Transvestites, prostitutes, acrobatics, to name others.

Nothing really took fancy to me, but what I found quirky was a selection of photographs of this young Indian boy, with mental health problems; who one day decided he was Mohammed Bin Qassam and converted to Islam, immigrated to Pakistan and rode on his horse in Arab attire. Other than that nothing much held my attention.

It's such a shame, I was really looking forward to this exhibition but its obvious that I am not its audience. I need to be white, (maybe) middle class and someone completely ignorant of the Asian culture to appreciate it because then, all the colours and paddy fields and sarees and women will look ever so "exotic", "powerful" and "in-terest-ing"...

I recommend keep your money for this exhibition. It was merely a tick-box situation, not one for showcasing talent.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tu Jaane Na...

Atif Aslam is probably the most famous Pakistani pop singer in current times. I've been following Atif for a while, have not seen him in concert, although did turn down the opportunity to do so. Would have been the perfect opportunity to have seen him in concert before he got mega mega big.
Tu Janne Na is a track from Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani written by Irshad Kamil sang by Atif. Atif as always delivers on voice, guess that's why his songs are so popular. Irshad also wrote a few of the songs in Chameli (good movie with a good soundtrack).