Friday, March 23, 2007

A Dream It Wasn't

...sadly it happened.

The all Indian cast and language production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream titled 'An Indian Dream' failed terribly to sprinkle its magic.

With an intricate storyline of three sub-plots it makes Midsummer a fascinating watch. The play is very popular and a summer doesn't go by when this play is not on theatres across the country and the globe. However, this production by Tim Supple at the Roundhouse theatre did not live up to the expectations I had conjured up. This type of Shakespeare play I thought would have gone very well with an Indian setting with the element of magic, love and mysticism but it didn't really fit into that image very well because of the lack of technicalities that we were presented with, which were:

The actors could not act
The actors were inaudible
The languages got frustrating especially when you didn't understand what was being said - even more frustrating for those who did not know the story line.
The actors could not act
I couldn't hear them half the time
And there was a pillar in front of me obstructing my view!

See the pillar?
umm...were we allowed pictures?

All in all seven Indian languages were used, I could probably understand three of them and I knew the story very well but that didn't help me with the plot and did very little to aid my enjoyment.

Aside from the the problems listed above it probably entertained you on the basic-est level. The actors were acrobats (hence lack of acting abilities) and they did fancy twirls using ropes and hammocks. The costumes were good, pretty fairy Indiany outfits and also great use of the set I thought - it did feel like you were in a ("magical") forest. But unfortunately that was not enough.

Although, what was a great experience was the Roundhouse theatre, it was actually a round theatre! The venue is definitely worth a visit by any means.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Dor डोर

Film to provoke thought, inspire men and women and challenge the societal norms of Southasians...

Dor means thread, thread that runs across society, thread that binds people, it has many metaphorical uses I'll let you find your own.

The story is of two women, one grieving for her dead husband and the other in pursuit of freeing her husband at the hands of this bereaved widow. This involves friendship and betrayal between the two women.

The film is kept simple. It makes subtle remarks on the life of a widowed woman, the veil, the baggage that women generally hold in society. It makes dialogue between both men and women so it speaks to audience in a fairer light. It gleams hope into women to think and act for themselves.

It's a light-hearted but meaningful film. I recommend it - a good change from your typical Bolly which, Indian cinema is more popularly known for.

The film stars Aysha Takia, Gul Panag and Shreyas Talpade, all of whom act very well. Talpade is also a good comedic side act.

I suggest, go see!

Links: Tongues on Fire; Dor

Friday, March 16, 2007

देखो! में हिंदी मे भात कर रही हूँ!

बोह्त कूल नही?

किसी को मालुम है कि में बंगला कैसे लिख सकती हूँ?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tony [heart] WMD

It was quite a site seeing this today. Those Greenpeacers do like climbing and bannering. Wish I could get a picture on my mobli but alas I could not. (Because I have the most dysfunctional phone ever created.) Managed to find ONE pic on the internet.

This comes after Blair's £20million trident project to develop nuclear weapons. Most of his party members have opposed the project, Blair now relies on the Tories for support...

Monday, March 12, 2007

It's The Sun That Did It!

The climate was controlled by the clouds
The clouds were controlled by cosmic rays
The cosmic rays were controlled by the sun
It all comes down to the sun!
Explains Channel 4 on why we are having this Climate Change.

The documentary; The Great Climate Change Swindle sets out to disprove the current 'popular' theory that Climate Change is due to the rise of CO2 levels created by us humans.

It makes a convincing (or rather entertaining) case that, climate change is a natural phenomena. The world's temperature has always risen and fallen and the current climate change is just carrying on this trend.

The arguments goes, CO2 heats up the earth's atmosphere and hence the melting of the Arctic which will potentially give rise to sea levels, diminishing lands and countries. (This is just one of the causes of the rising CO2 levels others include extreme weather and endangering animals).

From what I understand of CO2 is that, it traps heat and when in the atmosphere it naturally raises the temperature. This was actually explained to me by Dr. Saleem Huq, the head of the Climate Change Group of the IIED.

The documentary argues that CO2 only makes up a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, in fact it's less than 1%. It also argues that man made CO2 is significantly lower than that of natural CO2 given off by decaying leaves and animals.

The most interesting of the findings was the decrease of the earth's temperature during the economic-boom (post-war industrialisation period) given the premise (CO2 increases the earth's temperature). Between 1940 and 1970 the earth's temperature actually decreased disproving man-made CO2 caused the rising temperature.

However, going back to Dr. Saleem Huq, this probably does not hold great weight as I am told the impact of CO2 in the atmosphere is not immediate. The effects of CO2 takes a while so makes sense in relation to Climate Change that the earth should start to heat up after 1970, when the CO2 has had time to react with the atmosphere and not simultaneously as industrialisation was taking place.

The documentary makes a great watch but it is not a great scientific documentary which is a shame. Had they done proper scientific research they would not have taken one side of the Climate Change argument.

However, there are virtues in programmes like this. What the documentary does is brings in the political aspects of the Climate Change hype how given this 'threat' can be used to the advantages of political opportunists.

The Climate Change hype has had a great impact on the developing world and environmentalists. As the idea of CO2 is demonised and discouraged the developing world is made to think and develop with resources such as solar panels and renewable energy. This would take an awfully long time to bring industrial revolution to those places that need it!

The developing countries have a right to develop with fewer limits and should not be discouraged to do so. Environmentalists should be careful on how they campaign, the last thing we want is the stagnate development of nations that need to burn off CO2 for its growth. Also, the west have had their chance of industrialisation, so any CO2 in the atmosphere now, which has caused the rise of temperatures, is of their doing.

Carrying on with releasing CO2 into the atmosphere will not stop the effects explains Dr. Saleem Huq, the damage has already been done and what we can do now is prepare for its effects to take place.

Cricket World Cup 2007

Err, yeah, like I'm going to talk about cricket!

But I am told it will be starting soon (tomorrow) thought I'd get into the spirit by displaying what I know best about it: Imran Khan...

Come on Bangladesh! Woot! Woot!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Video: Thank Allah it's Jumma

This is worth a mention. Whilst it isn't hilariously funny, it's funny nonetheless. Imran (the director) will certainly go far as a filmmaker.

Here is his blog


one word: Southasia

Himal are on a mission to make South Asia, Southasia - an unifying force. I think I may even join in and start writing Southasia without the space.

This is a map to accompany the word change, Southasia with south as its north axis. The world positioned this way looks waaay better (and different) than what we are used to - with the UK and North America on top.

Let's look up to the Southerners for a change...

Click for a lager image

India Vs. Pakistan

More than just cricket...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

maybe I DO like RnB...

I kid. No.

It's a genre of music that I am not very fond of but give it a makeover and then maybe? Like this rendition of Neo's 'So sick of love songs' by Armeen Musa, listen:

It's a more slowed down version of the popular RnB song. Reminds me a bit of Nora Jones - jazzy which, Armeen does very well.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Notun Kobor, Notun Gaan, Notun Kore Rabindra Sangeet

Shahana at the launch of her début album

The long awaited début album by Shahana Bazpeyi was finally released yesterday!

Titled Notun Koreh Pabo Boleh, translated very badly means, To Have It Anew. The album is a remake of some of Rabindranath Tagore's classic songs, known as Rabindra Sangeets.

The aim of the album is to bring a more contemporary sound to Rabindra Sangeets. Currently Bazpeyi thinks Rabindara Sangeets are too astute or too "lullaby-like". The idea behind the album is to re-introduce Rabindra Sangeet to the younger audience in a way they can relate to it.

The album consists of ten songs, one of which is a duet with her husband, Arnob - both of whom studied at the Tagore college of Shantiniketan. Arnob composed most of the music on the album and he himself has plans to release a similar version of Rabindra Sangeets in the future (listen to interview here).

The album is only available in Bangladesh and even then it's only available in Dhaka. So it may be a while before I get the opportunity to have a listen (and review) - need an illegal maestro to carry out the deed. In the meantime, we just have to be content with knowing the album has finally been released. It's been a very long wait. Over a year in fact.

Update: Arnob has no plans to release a Rabindra Sangeet album - this was revealed to me by Shahana herself. A shame as I think Arnob's version would have been just as popular and liked, particularly his rendition of majeh majeh which, he sang at the South Bank couple of years ago - 'twas a brilliant night out...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

maula mere maula mere...

and repeat.

Sufi inspired gaana featured in Anwar, a Bollywood movie which I have not seen yet. But do like this song. Sang bootifully by Roop Kumar Rathod. Lyrics by Sayeed Quadri and Hasan Kamal.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Breaking News: "Professor Yunus is an agent of the CIA!"

Who would have thought ey?

Well it is alleged. I am told Mr. Yunus' current role in politics is only to serve the American interest. This stems from the American's persistence in wanting to establish a military base in one of the deshi islands which was previously denied by the Awami League.

Whilst I can believe the Americans most probably want a military base in the bay of Bengal, I'd be surprised they don't have already, they used to have one somewhere during the Pakistan era - my politics is poor, but Mr. Yunus' motive? Should I be swept in with this current conspiracy theory?

I was told this by a AL supporter who, like Hasina, made the issue of the Grameen 40% high-interest rate and that Mr. Yunnus was indeed a man 'who takes bribes, eats interests and is untrustworthy.' Well something like that. It was said in Bengali, can't do translations very well.

The Grameen Bank's high-interest is a cause for concern and interest is just a concern for most Muslims anyway, but the success of Grameen is most probably this high interest - obviously more to this banking system than interest. But leaving interest aside let's follow Mr. Yunus for a bit:

- He was advised last month by the 'religious' lot not to dabble in politics because it was too 'nasty'

- He's been praised by the Bangladeshi Asiatic Society for his current role. In fact it was reported the president of the Society Prof. Emajuddin Ahmed: "hailed Yunus as Bangladesh's hope, inspiration and joy and thanked him for brightening the country's image when it was being dragged into darkness by crime and corruption."

- Mr. Yunnus is currently on a 3-day-visit to Pakistan, he returns on 7th March. He has been invited over the years to provide advice to the Government of Pakistan for the establishment of a sound micro-finance sector in the country. It has resulted in the establishment of a nationwide bank in Pakistan as a replica of the Grameen Bank system, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and legislation for micro-finance operations in that country. (link)

So, Mr. Yunus still very popular in terms if politics and economics. Not fazed by the AL's accusations and seems to carry on with business as normal. Or, if he has retaliated I have clearly not taken any notice. But if he's too busy spreading his micro-finance magic around the world when will he have time for politics...?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Great Find: The Digital South Asia Library

Given to us by the University of Chicago, one of the best universities to carry out research on South Asia. It has stats, references, bibliographies, maps and tonnes of useful information for a budding researcher. It also has the British census records of India which is great, because it's laborious going to the British Library or SOAS locating the books (which is lengthy) and then searching for the stats tables.

Although the stats (given in an Excel spreadsheet) don't exactly add up in some places and there isn't enough info to explain the various fields and terminologies. But I'm hoping that's just me who calculated it wrong and is a bit dumb to "get it." However, there is the 'book' option which enables you to read it online, so you have the accuracy.

This got me excited a little. Kinda sad, but hey...well, Enjoy.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Exciting event that is Women's Appreciation Day

Henna, Massage, Fashion Show, Hair Cutting, Facials and all the other meaningful things you can think of.


Can't say I'm disappointed.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

amar nishito rathe

Shahana Bazpeyi on vocal
Arnob on guitar
A lovely duo they make!