Thursday, 28 February 2013

Conspire to Inspire!

Laugh like you’ve never cried,
Love like you’ve never tried..
Walk steadfast with gusto and pride,
Steal hearts taking others in your stride..
Move forward with a stealthy glide,
Be successful in making others confide..

Announce your arrival hitting the gong,
Banish the darkness for a healthy dawn..
Do not foment any uncanny situation,
Open your heart out to all invitations..
Luck is a matter of touch-and-go,
Let not your life be hurt and sore..

Never be content with what you’ve got,
Lots of battles are still to be fought..
Discover your own path towards the goal,
March on steadily and hit the pole..
Hold your head high with endless courage,
Get to the goal with a coup de grace..

Friday, 8 February 2013

A vision for the blind...

Murukesh Krishnan

Director- Ian McDonald
Ian McDonald is a sports sociologist and documentary filmmaker. Ian always used the camera to support his research on sports and physical culture in the UK and India, and his move to documentary filmmaking benefits from a seemingly effortless perspective that has resulted in documentaries with a difference on art and sports. His documentaries have earned him a distinctive reputation for genre-defying works and have been screened at film festivals, conferences and campaign meetings all around the world.

An overview...
In India, a group of boys dream of becoming chess masters, driven by a man with a vision. But this is no ordinary chess and these are no ordinary players.
Algorithms is a documentary on the thriving but little known world of blind chess in India. Filmed over three years extending from just before the World Junior Blind Chess Championship in Sweden in 2009 to just after the next championship in Greece in 2011, it follows three talented boys- Darpan from Gujarat, Sai from Tamil Nadu and Anant from Odisha and a totally blind player turned pioneer- Charudatta, who not only aims to place India on a global stage but also wants all blind children to play chess. It was only the vision of Charu that laid the foundation for this initiative.

Algorithms is the first ever feature documentary on blind chess.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The ‘Djoker’ smashes an Ace!

Murukesh Krishnan

“It’s definitely my favourite Grand Slam...It’s an incredible feeling winning this trophy once more...I love this court!”

Novak Djokovic proved it yet again why he is considered as one of the finest tennis players of modern era. Having won six Grand Slams- Australian Open titles in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, the Wimbledon Championships of 2011 and the 2011 US Open, he proves his mettle time and again in the world circuit. Now, he is the sole record holder to have got a hat-trick of Australian Open titles. What’s significant is that he achieved this feat in consecutive years, for otherwise another great, Andre Agassi, had won it on four different occasions.
This year’s match was already anticipated by tennis fanatics across the world, to be fiercely competed match. And it did leave up to the reputation and how!
The match that lasted close to four hours saw some fantastic serves, some tremendous volleys and some splendid aces. Both the players, Andy Murray of Great Britain and Novak (who is from Serbia) got on each other’s nerves. They fought tooth and nail to out-do the other, giving the spectators in the arena and millions of television viewers across the globe, a treat to their eyes. Many would have preferred a Federer-Djokovic clash but nevertheless, this gripping encounter gave them a true value for their money and time.
Like every year, this year too, the final was played in the Rod Laver Arena, which is the ‘centre court’ of the Australian Open. It is named after the great Sir Rod Laver, a legendary player from Australia. This arena has had the heritage to have brought amateur players, an international recognition. Roger Federer won his first ever Grand Slam at the Australian Open and so did Maria Sharapova.
Since the time Novak emerged five years back, he has checked the dominance of the then two most formidable players, Federer and Rafael Nadal, in the tennis circuit. The most interesting aspect of his achievements is his ‘never say die’ attitude. He never gives up. When he is pinned down to the wall, he comes back from behind and turns the table in his favour. That’s what separates him from the others.
He’s agile, he’s accurate. In the present circuit, there’s no match to his forehand. His backhand is equally deadly. The way he hits shots from unprecedented angles always draw awe and appreciation. Even in this year’s Aus Open finals, he came back from a set down to beat an equally motivated Murray 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Receiving his trophy from Agassi himself, he looked a happy man- a man confident of his game, matured as a player, giving a clear signal to his rivals that he is here to stay.

No wonder he is the numero uno of men’s tennis today!

Dhool Ka Phool to Jab Tak Hai Jaan: A glorious Silsila ends!

Murukesh Krishnan

Dubbed the 'King of Romance', Yash Chopra was not just an icon but an institution in itself. Sixty years in cinema, fifty three years directing films, Yash Chopra gave Bollywood some of its biggest blockbusters that earned Indian cinema an international recognition. With his demise, an era where beautiful poetry, lingering dialogues and immaculately dressed sets and cast made a film, has said adieu.

Fifty-three years after he made his film debut with Dhool Ka Phool, 37 years after he directed Deewar - probably the most famous movie in any Indian language after Sholay - and barely a month after celebrating his 80th birthday, Yash Chopra passed away in the city of Mumbai, his lady love for the last six decades, on October 21 after a brief battle with dengue.

Born on 27 September, 1932 in Lahore, British India to a Punjabi family, Chopra went to Jalandhar in 1945 for his education and later moved to Ludhiana after partition. He was initially supposed to pursue a career in engineering. However, his passion for filmmaking brought him to Mumbai where he initially worked as an assistant director to I. S. Johar, and then for his director-producer brother, B.R. Chopra.

Chopra received his first directorial opportunity in 1959 with the social drama Dhool Ka Phool. Produced by B.R.Chopra, the film starred Mala Sinha, Rajendra Kumar and Leela Chitnis. The film revolved around a Muslim bringing up an `illegitimate' Hindu child. Encouraged by its success, he made another hard-hitting social drama, Dharmputra (1961) which was one of the first films to depict the scenario of partition of India and the Hindu fundamentalism. The film was awarded with the National award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.

Ittefaq followed. A suspense movie based on a Gujarati play, depicting the events of a single night, the film was deemed unusual by critics as it was one of the first Hindi films which did not have any songs or an interval. It was eventually declared a semi-hit at the box office and won Chopra another Filmfare award for best director after Waqt (1965).

In 1971, Chopra founded Yash Raj Films, thus terminating the creative collaboration between him and his brother. His first independently produced film Daag, a melodrama about a man with two wives, was a great success. He then made a number of classic cult films starring Amitabh Bachchan, a collaboration that stretched beyond the reel life.
His films set the trend for the late 70s and 80s, establishing Bachchan as a star, in his role as the angry young man. Chopra won yet another Filmfare Best Director Award for Deewaar. Chopra produced, directed and scripted two more films starring Bachchan. First, it was Kabhi Kabhi(1976) followed by Silsila(1981).
The first film he directed and produced was Mashaal(1984), his first collaboration with the legendary actor, Dilip Kumar.

In 1993, Yash Chopra directed then-newcomer Shah Rukh Khan alongside Juhi Chawla and Sunny Deol in the musical thriller Darr. It established Khan as a bankable star. He then directed, produced and co-wrote the 1997 highly successful romantic musical Dil To Pagal Hai, starring yet again Khan in a love triangle with Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor.

The film became the second highest grosser for the year. It won many awards, sweeping seven Filmfare Awards including that of Best Film and three National Awards, notably for Best Film providing popular and wholesome entertainment.

Chopra then took a vacation from directing and focused solely on producing films for over eight years. However, in 2004, he returned to direction with the love saga Veer-Zaara. Starring Khan again, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukerji in the leading roles, the film was the biggest hit of 2004 in both India and overseas, with a worldwide gross of over Rs. 940 million and was screened at the 55th Berlin Film Festival to critical appreciation.

In September 2012, in a special interview with actor Shah Rukh Khan, Chopra announced that Jab Tak Hai Jaan would be his last directorial venture and that he will opt to focus on his production company and his personal life. For the shoot of the last remaining song in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Yash Chopra had a grand vision: a sari-clad Katrina Kaif romancing Shah Rukh Khan in the lush meadows of the Swiss Alps. Unfortunately, his illness foiled the plan for the song, which would have reflected his trademark directorial style. Chopra’s trip to Switzerland with SRK and Katrina had to be cancelled after he passed away.

A recipient of 3 National Awards and 14 Filmfare Awards, Yash Chopra was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan in 2005. He also earned himself a lifetime membership to BAFTA for his contribution to the Indian film industry. He is the first Indian to be honoured at BAFTA in the 59-year history of the academy. 

The list’s endless!

Loved and admired by all, Yash Chopra leaves a legacy behind him- a legacy of directors who believe in the Yash Chopra-style of filmmaking. As long as films will be made, Yash Chopra will be remembered.
As he himself puts it, in his last public address-
                                    “Meri tedhi medhi kahaniyaan, mere hasnte rote khwaab,
                                      Kuch sureele besure geet mere, kuch ache bure kirdaar,
                                                Woh sab mere hain, unn sab mein main hun...
                                      Bas bhool na jaana, rakhna yaad mujhe,
             Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Jab Tak Hai Jaan...

A Legend lives on...

Murukesh Krishnan

Born in a literary family, son of the great poet Sri Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan, Amitabh was initially named Inquilab, inspired by the phrase made famous during the Indian independence struggle, Inquilab Zindabad, which means "long live revolution". However, at the suggestion of fellow poet Sumitranandan Pant, Harivansh Rai changed the name to Amitabh which means, "the light that would never go off”. And he has lived up to it!

Hailed as one of the greatest stars in cinematic history, Amitabh Bachchan is a stalwart of Bollywod cinema. An actor par excellence, he has also played the roles of a playback singer, a film producer and a TV presenter with equal panache. Accolades and praises have been bestowed upon him from the time he made his first appearance; add to that three National Awards and fourteen Filmfare Awards and that proves his magnificence.

A Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan recipient, Amitabh also had a small stint in politics when he contested Allahabad's seat for the 8th Lok Sabha and won by one of the highest victory margins in general election history. He, however, resigned after three years, calling politics a cesspool.
Bachchan made his film debut in 1969 as a voice narrator in Mrinal Sen's National Award winning film Bhuvan Shome. Thereafter, he got his first acting role as one of the seven protagonists in Saat Hindustani, a film directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and featuring Utpal Dutt, Madhu and Jalal Agha. Though the film was not a financial success, Bachchan won his first National Award for Best Newcomer.
Anand (1971) followed, where he starred alongside Rajesh Khanna, another erstwhile superstar of Bollywood. Bachchan's role as a doctor with a cynical view of life earned him his first Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award.
And that was just the beginning of his illustrious career that kept his brand as the megastar of Bollywood, intact!

North-east exodus: An introspection!

Murukesh Krishnan

India has been projected as an epitome of peace, having no racial or religious discrimination towards any ethnicity, whatsoever. But the turn of events lately show how hypocritical and un-idealistic the notion is. What happened in Assam or Maharashtra (Mumbai, to be precise) or Bangalore was an absolutely uncalled-for incident and it rightfully raises the question- Is India really a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic and Republic country? Are we ‘actually’ independent after 65 years of Independence? It’s no-doubt a debatable statement!

The Bodo-Bengali Muslim clashes in Assam, which affected lakhs of people, directly and indirectly, questions our integrity and humanity. And that gave an impetus for further clashes and riots that spread up to the southernmost quarters of Bangalore & Chennai where hordes of north-east citizens where attacked and murdered. Provocative SMSs, MMSs, speeches and pamphlets were circulated by communal, anti-social elements in Maharashtra leading to the unscrupulous riots and violence that wrecked the nation during the month of Ramzan, ironically the holy month for Muslims.

Where are we heading to as a nation? Where have those idealistic principles that our freedom fighters had inculcated in us during our fight for independence, gone? Inciting violence and communal riots through rumours and SMSs and MMSs are utterly disdainful and acts not expected from an educated society like ours where excerpts from Holy Scriptures are taught to us since childhood. We have encountered this gruesome face of communalism at periodic intervals, be it the 1984 Sikh riots in Delhi or the 1992 Babri Mazjid demolition or the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat and recently the violence in Assam.

On the flip-side, if we are to adopt a rationalistic point of view, it would be wrong to corner a particular religion or sect and accuse it of spewing communalism as has been our incumbent nature. As a nation, as a society, crippled with religious insecurities and social evils, the Indian society is caught deep in the vicious circle of irrationality. The upcoming future is  going to be a herculean task dragging ourselves back onto the track of communal harmony.

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
                                                                                                                -Barbara Kingsolver

Homage to a ‘Top Gun’ filmmaker

Murukesh Krishnan

Best remembered for his action packed, glossy, visually stunning films, Tony Scott combines the best of what commercial Hollywood has got to offer. Being the forerunner of high budget, fast paced, action flicks that characterize the genre today, he followed his elder brother Ridley Scott into filmmaking.
At the age of 16, he acted in his brother’s short black-and-white film Boy and Bicycle (1965) and subsequently started directing commercials for Ridley’s production company. He made his directorial debut with The Hunger (1983). The film starred David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve as lovelorn vampires and went on to become a cult film.
His break came when he was noticed by producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson .They signed him on to make the classic Top Gun (1986). Described as “a sleek, pulsating paean to testosterone” by a critic, the film became the highest grossing film of the year, redefined the genre of action films and catapulted Tom Cruise to instant Hollywood fame.
Scott subsequently collaborated with the producers on big budget films Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) and Days of Thunder (1990). An avid rock climber, Tony translated his love for fast cars and motorcycles into his filmmaking.
In 1993, he made True Romance, which was scripted by another legend Quentin Tarantino. The film is often regarded by many as his best film.It has the unusual quality of carrying the Tarantino sensibility while visually being a Tony Scott film. He also worked extensively with actor Denzel Washington on films like Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), Déjà vu (2006), The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009) and Unstoppable (2010).
Unlike his counterparts, who were largely dependent on the digital, especially while shooting action films, Tony preferred to “keep it real”, lending a primeval quality to his sequences.
At the time of his unexpected and shocking death, Tony had just completed filming Out of the Furnace, a drama starring Batman star Christian Bale.