Archive for category Hindi – Bollywood Movie Reviews

Trial by Fire on #Netflix – Serial Review


Trial by Fire – Serial Review

Currently playing on @Netflix, seven episode series “Trial by Fire” is a true account of a horrific tragedy and is based on the book by the same name, written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnnamoorthy. Rashshri Deshpande and Abhay Deol deliver flawless and understated performance as the couple Neelam and Shekhar who lost both of their children in the fire and smoke at Uphaar Cinema, the largest theater at the time in New Delhi, on the fateful day, Friday, June 13, 1997.

But the series does not simply revolve around the actual events. In fact, actual events of the tragedy are more in focus only in the 7th and last episode of the series. Directed by Prashant Nair and Randeep Jha, the series depicts the struggle of these parents, of other victims, their families and survivors to bring those responsible to justice. Krishnamoorthys soon found out that they could not get answers. The rich and powerful people who seemed to be responsible had a myriad ways to interfere in the investigation. Shekhar announced to his wife that they would be stronger together and they need to bring in other survivors and families seeking justice. The owners of the theater, the Ansal Brothers (Gopal Ansal & Sushil Ansal) kept a tight lid on the expenses and operated their several properties with focus on making profits under all circumstances. Under persistent leadership of grieving Krishnamoorthys, a group AVUT (Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy) was formed. 

Ansal brothers rarely appeared in court and employed an army of rich attorneys to fight on their behalf. They bribed, implicated others, employed people to deliver threats to anyone seeking justice. During the decades-long struggle Krishnamoorthys muddled through the cumbersome process, going through several attorneys after realizing that some attorneys were just not interested and others were often bribed by the Anals. In the process, they also uncovered several problems and the trail kept leading them to the owners. However, Ansals kept succeeding year after painful year in evading justice.
Occasionally some episodes meander through somewhat unnecessary details, but overall the series is sure to keep the audience riveted through the heart-breaking saga of grieving families.  Despite the lack of success for years, through the painful process of seeking justice for their loved ones, the group manages to get success on their many additional agendas – for instance, every public school in Delhi, is henceforth required to have working fire extinguishers on every floor. Fighting through the bureaucratic process, even while mourning their loss, is no small feat. Their struggle is both immensely heart-breaking and absolutely inspiring. 

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Some additional facts (spoilers) & a small personal story 

Uphaar Cinema fire and smoke claimed 59 lives and 100+ people had severe smoke inhalation and other injuries. 

Almost 900 plus people were in the cinema hall that tragic day.

The people witnessing the event on that fateful day frantically ran with pots and pans to save lives. Others procured mattresses from the stores close by to put on the ground for those jumping out of the window.

The AVUT group fighting for answers and justice got some resolution in the last couple of years, after nearly 25 years since the fire that claimed so many lives. 

During the two plus decades, since the victims group has been fighting in court, the rich and powerful Ansals employed several tricks, postponements, bribes, and threats to evade justice. They also shifted the blame down the line and that led to jail time for some and loss of jobs for others.

AVUT group’s decades-long struggle to find answers and get justice for those who perished on that fateful day uncovered many safety violations, severe disregard for public safety and single minded focus on profits. The theater had faulty transformers, no public address system in place, no emergency lights when power was out, few or no working fire extinguishers and hundreds of people in balcony were trapped inside with doors locked so no one without a ticket can get in – but that also meant the people inside had no means of escape and the entertainment hall became their tomb.

When grieving Krishnamoorthys lost their two children Unnati (17) and Ujjwal (14), they were in their 30s. Many advised them to plan more children, but they refused saying their children were not toys to be replaced. They have not seen any movies in a theater since then.

Anslas were finally sentenced in 2021 but only after 6 months they were released due to old age.

Victims were compensated about Rs. 25 crores after 25 years.

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Personal story

When I visited India several years ago, I had a US Green card but an Indian passport. Despite going through other countries, no one had checked that my passport had expired about a year ago. I had to renew my passport before I could return to the US. I went to the passport office in Mumbai. After standing in several lines in a crowded hall that did not have all working fans (with over 100 degrees summer heat), I managed to get access to an officer. He asked me to go there two days later on Thursday. My husband said he will never go with me unless I participate and find someone to bribe and I told him that I will get it done without bribing. He told me then I was on my own. 

I went to the passport office on Thursday. Unlike my previous visit, the entrance was not busy and there were no people around. One lone guard sitting on a chair stopped me and said I could not go in. I asked why not and he said आज साहेब किसीको  मिल नहीं सकते. आज पब्लिक को मिलनेका दिन नहीं है.  Today Sir cannot meet anyone, today is not for the public. Seeing that he was determined to not allow me to enter, I sat down beside him, right on the pavement. He asked me – what are you doing? I said, brother can’t you see, I am sitting down next to you because I will not go back without meeting sir. He said, but I told you, he won’t meet you today. I said, don’t worry, sir is here right? In that case, I will meet him later. He said, he won’t meet you at any time today. I said, look brother, I am sure sir may go out for tea or for lunch or at least he will go home in the evening. It is 10 am and in that case I will sit here and give you company this entire day but I am not leaving until I see him. He looked at me in disbelief. Then he went inside and I saw him talk to a couple of other people. Then he returned with a piece of paper and a pen and asked me to write my name. Then he went in and came back again and told me to go in. I went in and met the officer and got my passport renewed. 

In countries where things don’t work for all citizens, only the rich and powerful can live stress free lives and enjoy all kinds of benefits; have law and order work for them, justice bends to their will and they can get their tasks accomplished. For majority of the population however, everyday tasks present a multitude of challenges and there’s frustration every step of the way all the time. It takes enormous effort, persistence and high ideals to continuously struggle to live with integrity and honesty.

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Tara vs. Bilal: Bollywood Film Review


Tara Vs. Bilal – Bollywood Movie Review

Produced by John Abraham and T-Series, Bhushan Kumar, and directed by Samar Iqbal, film Tara vs. Bilal is not quite just a simple love story of opposites attract. Although the film, set in London, centers around romance between Bilal (Harshvardhan Rane) and Tara (Sonia Rathee), a couple of little side stories sets it apart from typical love stories. 

Tara has grown up in a loving family with a doting grandfather. When she announces her plan to find a husband who resides abroad, from an internet site, her family accepts her decision. Tara is devoted to the concept of marriage between a man and a woman and soon after her marriage, she relocates to London with her husband. There she learns some bitter truths about her husband, tries to find a footing in a new country where she has neither income, nor visa status. 

Bilal on the other hand, has been brought up by four women living together. Being proxy to the challenges of failed marriages of his mother and aunts, Bilal harbors no romantic notions about marriage. When his paths cross Tara and she asks, “vaise is ghar ke sare husbands kahan hai?”, Billal says, “don’t ask, it’s a train wreck”.  
Besides Tara and Bilal’s story, there are a couple of little side stories that I found more interesting. Bilal’s mother and aunts never gave up and picked up the pieces their lives were left in, got together and collectively managed a small business. Equally interesting is the fact that in the process of trying to find her footing, Tara meets some transgender and gay people, working in a gay bar. After getting over her shock, she asks one person, “tumhe yeh sab karte wakht bura nahi lagta hai?” and he tells her, “Mein karta nahi hun, mein hun” (meaning he IS gay. As the film progresses, Tara’s transition is complete where she promotes and encourages her gay friends to get together and eventually Tara vs. Bilal transitions to Tara and Bilal.

I rate the movie 4.3 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent.

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KK: @naatak Play Review


Bay Area’s phenomenal @Naatak company has passed the mark of producing over 100 plays on stage. In it’s 101st production, the audience get a treat to travel through and re-discover iconic Indian city, New Delhi and meet a diverse group of busy people typical to be found in a large metropolis. 

The chief protagonist KK (fabulously played by Ritwik Verma) is a professor of Hindi literature and an ardent fan of 19th century poet, Bhartendu Harishchandra, famously revered as the father of Hindi literature. Poet Bhartendu was a fearless journalist, honest writer, and a passionate poet and refuted the religious orthodoxy of the time. KK lives a sheltered life, primarily engrossed in poetry. He says, “My time passes in consuming poetry” (“मेरा समय तो काव्यरस में बीत जाता है”).

One day, KK ventures out of his familiar routine presumably in search of what he treasures immensely. KK travels through Connaught Place or CP as it is fondly known in Delhi. CP is a shopping mecca, food haven, scene of many Bollywood films and CP runs in concentric circles around the lush green Central Park and serves as a backdrop to the play. As KK makes his way through Delhi, he loses his way, helps someone find their way, is overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle, makes several attempts to get someone to listen to him recite his poetry, confuses others with his naivety and is confused with the price of goods and complex value system that operates underneath all transactions. KK makes his way to Naveen Pustakalay (a bookstore with the name of new that sells old books). Bookstore’s ad says, “at Naveen bookstore, you can find old, voluminous, thin, torn, published, in pandulipi and books in many other conditions”) (“नवीन पुस्तकालय में पुरानी, मोटी, पतली, फटी हुई, छपी हुई, पांडुलिपि, और कई  अवस्थामे पुस्तके उपलब्ध है”).  

The props in the play are brilliant. Major kudos to prop leads, Anitha Dixit and Saurabh Jain, and the entire team. Listening to the finest, purest Hindi and poetry is another special treat. After watching phenomenal, spell binding acting by Ritwik Verma, it is hard to imagine anyone else in this role. However, the play is played by five different actors during its various showings in the Bay Area. Written by Sujit Saraf and directed by Vikas Dhurka, this incredible play is sure to keep the audience spell bound throughout KK’s many adventures that ultimately lead him to the center of a mysterious plot akin to Hindi film adventure. But as they say it is not the destination that matters, it’s the journey and how well the journey prepares one to step up to what awaits at the destination and this is a journey you’re destined to enjoy.  Visit www.naatak.org for tickets.

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એબઅલેઉઉ! #Gujarati ફિલ્મ સમીક્ષા – Eeb Allay Ooo! Bollywood Movie Review


એબ અલે ઉઉ! – ફિલ્મ સમીક્ષા – બોલિવૂડ મૂવી રિવ્યુ

તેની પ્રથમ દિગ્દર્શક ફિલ્મ “ઇબ અલે ઉઉ!” માં પ્રતિક વાટસ એક વિચિત્ર વિષય ઉપર ધ્યાન કેન્દ્રિત કરે છે જે આમ જનતાના અનુભવ ની બહારનો વિષય છે. હા ખળભળાટ મચાવતા વાંદરાઓ જોડે ભારતના ખૂણે ખૂણે લોકોને પનારો પડ્યોજ હશે. આ ચલચિત્રમાં ભારતની રાજધાની દિલ્હીમાં વાંદરાઓની જબરજસ્ત હાજરીએ કેવી સમસ્યા ઉભી કરી છે અને ગવેર્નમેન્ટ વાંદરાઓને કાબુમાં રાખવા માટે અને મનુષ્યથી દૂર રાખવા માટે કેવા નુસખા કરે છે તે જોવા મળે છે. આ વાંદરાઓ માણસોની કરતૂતો દ્વારા જ ભ્રષ્ટ થયા છે. મહાભારતમાં, આદરણીય વાનર હનુમાનજી રામને મદદ કરે છે અને ત્યારથી હિંદુઓમાં તે દેવ તરીકે પૂજાય છે. માણસો વાનરોને ખાવાનું આપે છે અને તેથી વાંદરાઓ વધુ હિંમતવાન બને છે અને ભૂખ્યા થાય ત્યારે ખોરાક માટે જંગલોમાં ખાવાનું શોધવાની બદલે શહેરોમાં પધારે છે અને ક્યારેક મનુષ્ય ઉપર હુમલો પણ કરે છે.

Monkeys and Lutyens' Delhi were perfect backdrop for satire: Eeb Allay Ooo!  director Prateek Vats | Entertainment News,The Indian Express

ચલચિત્રમાં ભારતમાં પ્રચલિત અંધ ધાર્મિકતા ઉપર વ્યંગાત્મક ટિપ્પણી કરી છે. પ્રાચીન માન્યતાઓ અને રિવાજોની પ્રથામાં, લોકો ઘણીવાર આ ધાર્મિક વિધિઓની  સમાજ પર થતી બુરી અસરને ભૂલી જાય છે. તાજેતરમાં ની જ વાત છે. જાન્યુઆરી, 2022 માં, જ્યારે એક વાંદરો ઠંડીથી મૃત્યુ પામ્યો, ત્યારે 1500 લોકોએ તેના અંતિમ સંસ્કારમાં હાજરી આપી અને પ્રાર્થના અને મંત્રોચ્ચાર કર્યા અને કેટલાક માણસોએ મૃત પૂર્વજ પ્રત્યે આદરભાવમાં તેમના માથા પણ મુંડ્યા હતા.

આ ફિલ્મનું કેન્દ્ર છે મૉટે ભાગે આપણા લોકોની ધ્યાન બહાર હોય તેવો વ્યવસાય – રાજધાની દિલ્લીમાં વાંદરાઓને શહેરમાંથી ભગાડવા માટે તેમનો પીછો કરવાનો અને જાત જાતના અવાજ કરવાના. નાયક અંજની (શાર્દુલ ભારદ્વાજ) નોકરીની શોધમાં દિલ્લી તેની બહેન ને ત્યાં આવે છે અને તેના બનેવી તેને વાંદરા ભગાડવાની નોકરી ઉપર લગાવે છે. અંજની શહેરની હદથી દૂર તેની બહેન, બનેવી સાથે એક નાની ઝૂંપડીમાં રહે છે. જ્યારે તે વાંદરાઓનો પીછો કરીને તેમને ભગાડવાનો પ્રયાસ કરે છે, ત્યારે તે લોકોને વાંદરાઓને ખવડાવતા જુએ છે અને અંજનીને આ હાસ્યાસ્પદ નોકરીની અને પોતાના  નિરર્થક પ્રયત્નોની વાહિયાતતા સમજાય જાય છે. આ વાનરો લોકોથી ડરતા નથી અને ઉલ્ટા તેમને ભગાડનારાઓ તરફ આક્રમક બની જાય છે. બીજી તરફ તેમને ભગાડનારાઓ વાનરોને ડરાવે તો લોકો પણ ઉલ્ટા આ કર્મચારીઓની ઉપર ખીજાય છે. 

ગરીબ અને ધનવાન લોકો ના જીવન વચ્ચેનો કરુણ તફાવત પણ આ ચલચિત્રમાં તરી આવે છે. ગરીબ કર્મચારીઓ શહેરની બહાર ગીચ ઝૂંપડપટ્ટીમાં રહે છે જ્યારે શ્રીમંત લોકો વૈભવી ઠાઠ થી શહેરમાં રહે છે. ગરીબ લોકો તેમની જીવનશૈલી વચ્ચેના વિરોધાભાસથી પુરા વાકેફ હોય છે, જયારે શ્રીમંત લોકો તેમની ઠાઠમાઠવાળી જિંદગી થી દૂર રહેતા લોકોની અસલી જિંદગી ની વાસ્તવિકતાથી તદ્દન અજાણ હોય છે. આ ગરીબ કામદારોને તેમના ઉપરી અધિકારીઓ ક્યારેક એવી જવાબદારીઓ સોંપે છે કે તેમના સંજોગોમાં તે નિભાવીજ ન શકાય. દાખલા તરીકે, અંજનીનો સાળો સિક્યોરિટી ગાર્ડ તરીકે કામ કરે છે અને તેને રાઈફલ આપવામાં આવે છે. બલ્કે તેની નોકરીમાં તેને રાઇફલ ની કોઈજ જરૂર નથી. છતાં તેને તે રાઇફલને સંતુલિત કરીને મુશ્કેલીથી તેની સાયકલ ઉપર ઘરે લઇ જવી અને ફરી કામ ઉપર લાવવી પડે છે. તેની ઝૂંપડીમાં સુવિધાઓનો અભાવ હોવા છતાં તેને રાઇફલને સુરક્ષિત રીતે સાચવીને રાખવી પડે છે. 

આ ઉત્કૃષ્ટ ઓછા બજેટની ફિલ્મ માં ભારદ્વાજ માસ્ટરફુલ પર્ફોર્મન્સ આપે છે અને પ્રેક્ષકોને જોવા મળે છે કે તેની પરિસ્થિતિમાં જીવનનો શું અર્થ થાય છે. આ ફિલ્મમાં, સ્થળાંતરિત કામદારને અસ્પષ્ટતામાંથી બહાર લાવીને તેને એક વ્યક્તિત્વ અને ઓળખ આપવાનો બહાદુર પ્રયાસ છે. 

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ચંદીગઢ કરે આશિકી- બોલિવૂડ ચલચિત્રની સમીક્ષા


હિન્દી બોલિવૂડ ફિલ્મ ઉદ્યોગ હવે વધુને વધુ બિનપરંપરાગત વિષયો ઉપર લક્ષ્ય આપે છે અને તે પણ વ્યાખ્યાન આપ્યા વગર અને ખૂબ જ સંવેદનશીલતા દ્વારા આ નવી પ્રકાર ના ચલચિત્રો પડદા ઉપર રજુ કરે છે. અને આ કોઈ નાની સિદ્ધિ નથી જો આપણે એ નજરમાં રાખીએ તો કે બોલિવૂડ માં દાયકાઓ સુધી ચલચિત્રો અભિનેતા, અભિનેત્રી અને ખલનાયકની રેસિપી દ્વારા બનતા. 

Missed watching Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui in theatres? Here's how you can  watch it online | Entertainment News,The Indian Express

આયુષ્માન ખુરાના અને વાણી કપૂરની “ચંદીગઢ કરે આશિકી” હવે નેટફ્લિક્સ પર સ્ટ્રીમ થઈ રહી છે. આ ચલચિત્રમાં, મનુ (આયુષ્માન ખુરાના) એક બોડીબિલ્ડર અને ફિટનેસ ટ્રેનર તરીકે, પુરૂષવાચી વ્યવસાયમાં છે. માનવી બ્રાર (વાણી કપૂર) ઝુમ્બા પ્રશિક્ષક તરીકે જીમમાં જોડાય છે. મનુ અને માનવી વચ્ચે તુરંત પ્રેમ સબંધ ઘડાય છે. ફિલ્મ કેટલાક દ્રશ્યોમાંથી પસાર થાય છે અને એવું લાગે છે કે આ બંને વચ્ચે શાનદાર કેમિસ્ટ્રી છે. મનુ અને માનવીને લાગે છે કે તેમને સાચા અર્થમાં તેમના જીવનસાથી મળી ગયા છે.

મનુના પરિવાર ના સભ્યો રાહ જોઈ રહ્યા હતા કે મનુ યોગ્ય છોકરી શોધી ને જીવન શરુ કરે અને  આખરે તેને એક સુંદર જીવનસાથી મળી ગઈ હોય તેમ લાગે છે. દરમિયાન, મનુના પિતા (ગિરીશ ધમીજા) એક મુસ્લિમ મહિલા સાથે પ્રેમ સંબંધમાં છે. પિતા પોતાના સંબંધના સમાચાર આખા પરિવાર સમક્ષ જાહેર કરી સકતા નથી કેમકે તેમને લાગે છે કે તે પરિવાર માટે અસ્વીકાર્ય હશે. બીજી તરફ માનવી, તેના પિતા (કનવલજીત સિંઘ)ની ખૂબ જ નજીક છે અને તેઓ તેને બેટા અને બેટી તરીકે સંબોધે છે. માનવી અને તેની માતા (સતવંત કૌર) વચ્ચે થોડું અંતર પડી ગયેલ છે.

સામાન્ય કૌટુંબિક ફરિયાદો વચ્ચે, એક નવો મુદ્દો તરી આવે છે. એક એવો મુદ્દો જેની ઉપર સામાન્ય રીતે કોઈ લક્ષ્ય આપવામાં આવતું નથી તેમજ સદીઓથી આપણા સમાજમાં થી તેને હાંસિયામાં ધકેલી દેવામાં આવ્યો છે. જેમ જેમ મુદ્દો સપાટી પર આવે છે તેમ, ફિલ્મ પ્રેક્ષકોને એક પ્રશ્ન સામે ઝઝૂમવા માટે પ્રેરિત કરે છે – કે વ્યક્તિગત રીતે અને પ્રેમ સંબંધમાં શું સામાન્ય છે શું અસામાન્ય છે અને કોણ તે નક્કી કરે છે. 

બોલીવુડ અને નિર્માતાઓને ધન્યવાદ કે તેઓ આવી સમસ્યાઓ ઉપર લક્ષ્ય કેન્દ્રિત કરવા લાગ્યા છે.  દિગ્દર્શક અભિષેક કપૂરને પણ અભિનંદન કે તેમણે આ ગંભીર મુદ્દાને હળવાશથી અને સાથે સાથે ગંભીરતાથી અને કળથી પ્રેક્ષકો સમક્ષ પ્રસ્તુત કર્યો છે.  આ ચલચિત્ર ઉપર તમારા પ્રતિભાવ જરૂર જણાવશો.

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Chandigarh Kare Ashiqui: Bollywood Film Review


Increasingly India’s film industry has begun tackling unconventional and bold subjects. And to say that Bollywood has been focusing on tabooed topics without lecturing and with great sensitivity is no small feat. Let’s not forget that this is an industry that worked with the standard recipe of music filled, dancing around the trees kind of romance, between a hero and a heroine, with a villain ultimately unsuccessful in foiling the romance, for decades.  

Ayushmann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor's Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui now  streaming on Netflix - Binge Watch News

In “Chandigarh Kare Ashiqui”, Manu (Ayushman Khurrana) is in the hyped up masculine profession, as a bodybuilder and a fitness trainer, with his own gym. Manvi Brar (Vaani Kapoor) joins the gym as a zumba instructor and is an instant hit with the guys who find her beauty irresistible.  Of all the good looking young men, it is Manu, who captures her heart. The movie flies through a few scenes and it seems the pair has hit it off with great chemistry. Manvi appears to be wealthy, polished, and classy with impeccable English, whereas Manu’s English is sprinkled with a Punjabi accent, but that doesn’t hold either of them back. Manu and Manvi feel they have truly found their soulmates. 

At home, Manu’s family is waiting for Manu to find the right girl and is thrilled to know that Manu seems to have finally found a perfect life partner. Meanwhile, Manu’s father (Girish Dhamija) is in a relationship with a Muslim woman. The father is unable to share the news of his own relationship with the whole family, as he feels that it will be unacceptable to the family. Manvi on the other hand, is very close to her father (Kanwaljit Singh) who refers to her as his beta and beti (both son and daughter). However, Manvi and her mother (Satwant Kaur) are estranged, as her mother is not able to accept Manvi’s choice of who she chooses to become.

Set amid what appears to be normal family grievances, an issue rises to the surface that is anything but normal and for centuries has been pushed down as non-existent in society or even systemically socially marginalized. As the issue rises to the surface, the film constantly encourages the audience to grapple with the question of what constitutes normal and who decides this normal, in an individual and also in a relationship.
 
Bravo to Bollywood and the producers, for tackling such issues and kudos to director Abhishek Kapoor for tackling the issue lightly and yet with enough gravitas to gently nudge the audience to expand their perspectives.  On a scale of 0 to 5, with 5 being excellent, I rate the movie 4.6.

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પ્રેમચંદ મુન્શી ની વાર્તા નિર્મલા ની સમીક્ષા – #Gujarati & English Review of Premchand Munshi’s Nirmala


પ્રેમચંદ મુન્શી ની વાર્તા “નિર્મલા” ધારાવાહી ની સમીક્ષા

Munshi Premchand: a prolific Indian writer – EDUpub

પ્રેમચંદ મુન્શી હિન્દી સાહિત્યના ખુબ મોટા અને જાણીતા સાહિત્યકાર રહ્યા છે. તેઓ એક નિષ્ણાત અને વિશેષજ્ઞ વાર્તાકાર છે અને તેમની વાર્તાઓ ધારાવાહી સ્વરૂપે યૂટ્યૂબ માં જોઈ શકાય છે. વાર્તામાં બોધ હોય તે બાળકોને ગમે પણ મોટાઓને તેવી વાર્તાઓ પસંદ ન પડે. પરંતુ મુન્શીજી એ પ્રકાર ના વાર્તાકાર છે કે તેમની વાર્તામાં બોધ હોય પરંતુ તેઓ ક્યારેય તે બોધ ને સમજાવતા નથી. વાંચનાર પોતાની મેળે અને પોતાની સમજ પ્રમાણે પુરેપુરો બોધ તારવે કે થોડો તારવે કે જરાય નહિ તે વાંચનાર ઉપર છે.

નિર્મલા કરીને તેમની વાર્તા છે જેમાં એક 45 જેટલી ઉંમરના વિધુર એક નાની 17વર્ષ જેવડી કન્યા જોડે વિવાહ કરે છે અને આર્થિક મુશ્કેલી માં પડેલી મા તે વિવાહ કબુલ કરે છે. આ સાન 1925માં લખાયેલ આ વાર્તામાં તેમની સુધારાવાદી કાર્યસૂચિ દેખાય છે. લગ્ન કરનાર વિધુર ના 5, 8 અને 15 વર્ષ જેવડા ત્રણ છોકરા છે. નિર્મલા વિધુર જોડે ખુબ વિનયથી વાત કરે છે પણ તેમનાથી અળગી રહે છે. ત્રણ છોકરાઓની તે ખુબજ સંભાળ રાખે છે અને ત્રણેય છોકરાઓ તેને મા કહીને સંબોધે છે. છોકરાઓ જોડે નિર્મલા નો સબંધ ઔપચારિક નથી અને સરખી ઉમર ને કારણે તેઓ એકબીજા જોડે ચર્ચા અને મસ્તી મજાક કરે છે અને 15 વર્ષના છોકરા પાસે નિર્મલા અંગ્રેજી શીખે છે. પોતાના 15 વર્ષના છોકરાને નિર્મલા સાથે જોઈને વિધુરને ઈર્ષા આવે છે અને તે છોકરાને હોસ્ટેલ માં મોકલે દ્યે છે જ્યાં પૌષ્ટિક આહાર ન મળવાથી અને બીમારીમાં બરોબર સારવાર ન મળવાને કારણે છોકરો જીવન મરણ વચ્ચે જોલા ખાય છે. ત્યારે વિધુર નિર્મલા ને આજીજી કરે છે કે તું છોકરાની જોડે કૈક વાત કર અને હોસ્પિટલ ના કાર્યકર્તાઓને કહે છે કે આ તેની મા છે. વિધુર ના એ બે વાક્યમાં કરુણા વહે છે અને વાચકો તારવી શકે છે કે વિધુર છોકરો ગુમાવવાની અણી ઉપર આવ્યા છે અને તેમને પોતાની ભૂલો સમજાય છે.

1920 થી 1940 ના સમય દરમ્યાન ભારતીય સમાજ માં સુધારાવાદી પરિવર્તન ની જરૂર હતી તે મુન્શીજી ની વાર્તાઓ માં દેખાય છે. બોધ આપ્યા વગર, સામાજિક માન્યતાઓ, ધોરણો અને સામાજિક વાતોને મુન્શીજી એ પ્રમાણે રસિક રીતે રજુ કરે છે કે તેમની વાર્તાઓ આજે પણ વાચકોને પસંદ આવે છે. તેમની વાર્તાઓમાં ગામડાઓના ઠાકુરો અને બ્રાહ્મણ પંડિતો દ્વારા થતું ગરીબ ખેડૂતો અને કામદારોનું શોષણ, અસ્પ્રુશ્યોની સાથે થતો અન્યાય અને ઉતરતી ગણાતી સ્ત્રીઓની સાથે થતી કરુણ ઘટનાઓ જોવા મળે છે.

Short English Synopsis Of Premchand Munshi’s Nirmala on Youtube

Premchand Munshi has been an incredible and excellent storyteller. He wrote in Hindi, during 1920s to 1940s time frame. In his stories, Munshi shined a light on subjugation and plight of women, exploitation of poor farmers and daily wage workers by wealthy landowners and learned Brahmins and holy men in the villages and inequities and abuse suffered by the untouchables.

In his short story, Nirmala which is available on Youtube, Munshi shines a light on plight of women. About 16 or so years old poor girl is married off to a widower of her father’s age. Widower has three boys, ages 5, 8 and 15. Nirmala is very respectful towards her husband but she is uncomfortable with intimacy, is formal with him and maintains some distance. She takes very good care of the three boys and they are also respectful towards her and address her as a mother. However, being of similar age, the boys are also close to her and joke with her and she is also trying to learn English from 15 year old. When the father sees his own son with his young wife, in jealous rage, he sends his son away to a hostel. Due to non-nutritious food and illness, son falls ill and is on the verge of dying. At that time, the widower requests Nirmala to talk to the son in the hope that maybe he may respond to her and he explains to the hospital personnel that Nirmala is their mother. In two simple sentences at the end, uttered with distress and shame, one can see the regret that the father is feeling due to his various mistakes, when he is on the verge of losing his beloved elder son.

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Hindi Review: Premchand Munshi’s Tehrir Godaan गोदान


प्रेमचंद मुंशीजी की गोदान पर आधारित “तहरीर” धारावाहिक की समीक्षा 

“गोदान” मुंशी प्रेमचंद का एक प्रसिद्ध हिंदी उपन्यास है। सन १९३६ में प्रकाशित हुआ यह उपन्यास हिंदी साहित्य के महान उपन्यासों में गिना जाता है। यह उपन्यास की बात करने से पहले मुंशीजी के बारे में थोड़ी बाते करते है. हिंदी साहित्य की दुनिया में मुंशी जी का स्थान बहोत उत्कृस्ट लेखकों में है. उन्होंने लिखे हुए उपन्यासमे गोदान, कर्मभूमि, गबन, मानसरोवर, ईदगाह जैसी प्रसिद्ध और लोकप्रिय किताबे शामिल है. उन्होंने १२ से अधिक प्रसिद्द किताबे लिखी है और ३०० से ऊपर छोटी कहानिया लिखी है और उनकी किताबो का अंग्रेजी और कई विदेशी भाषाओंमे अनुवाद किया गया है.     

सन १९६३ में “गोदान” के ऊपर हिंदी चलचित्र बनाया गया था जिसमे राज कुमार, कामिनी कौशल, महमूद और शशिकला ने अभिनय किया है. 

सन 2004 में, मुंशीजी की गोदान के ऊपर आधारित,  गुलज़ार द्वारा निर्देशित, टीवी श्रृंखला, “तहरीर” दूरदर्शन के ऊपर पेश की गई थी जिसमे पंकज कपूर और सुरेखा सीकरी ने अभिनय किया है. 

Nature, Kokan, Sindhudurg, Goa, Farmer, Green

यह 1930 के दशक के ग्रामीण भारत में बस्ते हुए किसानों के जीवन पर केंद्रित एक उत्कृष्ट कहानी है। ये गरीब और बड़े पैमाने पर अशिक्षित किसान गरीबी और कर्ज के चक्र में फंसे हुए हैं। जमींदार, ठाकुर, पंचायत के सदस्य और ब्राह्मण पुजारी सहित उच्च वर्ग के विभिन्न सदस्य इस तथ्य का लाभ उठाते हैं कि किसान उनकी बड़ी इज्जत करते हैं और उनका गहरा सम्मान करते हैं। वास्तविक और काल्पनिक अपराधों के लिए, किसानों पर जुर्माना लगाया जाता है, उनके जानवरों (और कभी-कभी उनके खेतों) को अत्यधिक ब्याज दरों पर दिए गए ऋण के बदले में जब्त कर लिया जाता है. इस प्रकार पीढ़ियों से गरीबी का चक्र जारी रहता है। कभी-कभी ये किसान ईर्ष्या के कारण अपने ही वर्ग के सदस्यों का निशाना भी बन जाते हैं. और जब एक किसान पूरी तरह से कर्ज में डूब जाता है और उस गरीब आदमी से निकालने के लिए कुछ भी नहीं बचा है, जिसने अपनी युवावस्था खो दी है तभी उसे अपनी प्यारी जवान बेटी की शादी बूढ़े आदमी से कराने के लिए प्रेरित किया जाता है। 

यह धारावाहिक विशेष रूप से एक किसान होरीराम और उसकी पत्नी धनिया और उनके तीन बच्चों के इर्द-गिर्द केंद्रित है। किसान होरीराम की भूमिका में पंकज कपूर और उनकी पत्नी धनिया की भूमिका में सुरेखा सीकरी का अभिनय अति उत्कृर्ष्ट और शानदार है. 

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Guilty – Bollywood Movie Review


“Guilty” is a Hindi Bollywood movie directed by Ruchi Narain and written by Ruchi Narain, Kanika Dhillon and Atika Chohan. Released in 2020, it focuses on the events that transpired at the peak of the #MeToo movement, in 2018. 

Guilty movie review: A lost opportunity | Entertainment News,The Indian  Express

Nanki (Kiara Advani) writes lyrics for a band in which her boyfriend, VJ Pratap Singh (Gurfateh Singh Pirzada) is the lead singer. While the upper class, English speaking hot couple inspire jealousy and admiration from their classmates, Tanu (Akanksha Ranjan Kapoor), a Hindi speaking girl from Dhanbad, who openly hits on VJ, then accuses him of raping her as his friends watched on. The accusation comes via a tweet that leads to a social media storm with appropriate hashtags. 

As is often the case in Indian society, everyone gets involved with half baked partisan opinions and judgments. The college students are divided; with many accusing Tanu for her flirtatious come-ons and revealing clothing, while others stand by her and participate in protests in her defense. Same is true in VJ’s case and he also has support of his politically connected parents, powerful politicians and socialites.

At no point, has the film lost sight of the fact that this is a complex matter. Even as you get manipulated into judging the characters and as the story begins to unravel you change sides several times, you also begin to realize how nuanced gender power issues are. You grapple with issues such as, should a girl be  judged for being flirtatious, accused of inviting unwanted sex; could she have sex with someone she craves and then cry rape; can an upper class young man who has the attention of hottest girl on campus force himself on any other girl, could he have had  consensual sex and then be accused of rape for profit and attention; could these issues be quashed with money and pressure? 

The film focuses on the crucial subject matter, very pertinent in Indian society and it certainly brings forth some key issues into the forefront like this is a subject matter for the society to tackle, instead of putting entire responsibility on women and slut-shaming or blaming women for clothing choices, and treating women with paternalistic condescending advice on how to protect themselves. However, as much of the movie focuses on he said, she said narrative, it does not move the dialog forward with confidence. While it covers the intellectual and moral basis of arguments, it does so with some trepidation, not with authority. 

Despite some of its flaws, Guilty inspires discussion on an extremely pertinent subject, deeply interwoven with culturally prescribed gender roles. I rate the movie 4.2 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent.

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Thappad Movie Review


Thappad begins with the routine family life of Amrita (Taapsee Pannu) a happily married housewife and her husband, Vikran (Pavail Gulati).  Vikram works in a reputed company and is aggressively focused on climbing the corporate ladder that will ultimately take him to London, as the head honcho. Amrita is aware of how much his career means to Vikram, and is fully focused on supporting her husband. Her life revolves around looking for his comfort and attending to his mother, Sulochana (Tanvi Azmi)

 

Vikarm is elated when he is selected for the desired role and throws a celebration party to his friends. During the celebration, he gets the news that another white man is deemed more appropriate and Vikram would be reporting to him. Vikram has a heated argument with one of his superiors Rajhans, who was attending the party. When Amrita comes in the middle and tries to stop him for escalating the argument, Vikram’s anger turns on her and he slaps her. This thappad begins a chain of events and forms the core theme of the movie.

Image result for thappad

This movie is a MeToo moment for me and is personal for me in several ways, although for me, it wasn’t the first thappad and lack of apology. But after I let go of the first thappad after tearful apologies, the apologies became less frequent and genuine and then disappeared, and thappads became more routine. In a changing India, Amrita refuses to brush off this single incident of violence and public humiliation. When she questions her life choices and finally her marriage, Vikran propelled by anger and bad advice, transforms a no contest, mutual consent divorce into a full blown court battle. That was another MeToo moment for me and a reminder of the time when my appeal for mediation was thrown out and the accusations and fake accusations were launched, casting me as an abuser and mentally unstable.  It is easy to be charming in public and in periods of happiness, but as a society and in family units, we need to ask a question, how do people react under stress and outside of the public eye, and do women get to bear the brunt of family stress and do they lose their right to be happy, one smile at a time?

 

The movie does not make light of a thappad, nor does it make a thappad bigger than what it is. Instead, what the film does is to serve as a thoughtful reminder that abuse should not be an acceptable aspect in a relationship and love, respect and happiness are closely tied together. Amrita says, मुझे वहां रहना नथी जहाँ पे मेरी वेल्यू न हो and she says, “I want to be happy and when I say, I am happy, I don’t want to look unreal”.  Even while making a compelling case for a woman’s right to genuine happiness, the movie does not downgrade into men bashing thoughtlessness. And even when the movie focuses on happiness which would be at a higher level in Maslows’s hierarchy of needs, the film does not fail to show the struggles of women like Amrita’s maid, who are battling domestic violence at home on a daily basis, while working in low level jobs.

 

What is working so beautifully in the movie is that the dialogs are natural and low key.  Huge kudos to Director Anubhav Sinha and co script writers Sinha and Mrunmayee Lagoo to not just stir up passions but make this a strongly worded film of significanceTapsee Pannu is fabulous in conveying the impact of her experience and her dilemma without getting acrimonious, loud or overbearing. Her restrained acting with impactful dialogs serves as moments of reckoning about the assumptions and expectations surrounding women’s roles in Indian society. The entire cast including Kumud Sharma (Amrita’s adoring father), Pavil Gulati (Vikram), Ratna Pathak Shah (Amrita’s mother), Tanvi Azmi (Amrita’s mother in law), Maya Sarao (Amrita’s lawyer) and Geetika Vidya Ohlyan (Amrita’s maid) show the restraint and deliver a powerful film. On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being perfect), I rate the film as 4.9.

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