Adieu Sir Richard Attenborough !


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 26, 2014           11.55 P.M.

Sir Richard Attenborough

Sir Richard Attenborough

Richard Samuel Attenborough

29 August 1923 – 24 August 2014

Last night when I was watching the evening news, I came to know about the demise of Richard Attenborough at the age of 90. Though it was expected because of his failing health and advancing age, still I felt sad when I saw the news of his death.

Long before he became famous in India and became a household name among cinema lovers of our country, I became a fan of Richard Attenborough, the actor, after watching Satyajit Ray directed first Hindi film ” Shatranj Ke Khilari  ” [ 1977 ]. He played Lt. General Outram in that film and played it so beautifully and with such elan that even a novice like me could not miss the finer points.

Then came Gandhi  ” [ 1982 ] and it permanently changed the scenario for him. From a little-known actor of ” Shatranj Ke Khilari  ” [ 1977 ], Richard Attenborough, as I have already written , became a household name in India. He produced and directed the Academy Award winning film  Gandhi  ” [ 1982 ]

Richard Attenborough with Oscars

Richard Attenborough with Oscars

Later on I watched him as an actor in Steven Spielberg‘s Jurassic Park ” [ 1993 ] and the film’s sequel, The Lost World : Jurassic Park ” [ 1997 ]. In Jurassic Park ” [ 1993 ] and ” The Lost World : Jurassic Park ” [ 1997 ] he appeared as the eccentric developer John Hammond.

As a film director and producer, he won two Academy Awards for Gandhi in 1983. He also won four BAFTA Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. As an actor, he is perhaps best known for his roles in ” Brighton Rock “, ” The Great Escape “, ” 10 Rillington Place “, ” Miracle on 34th Street ” and ” Jurassic Park “.

He was the President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

In the late 1950s, Attenborough formed a production company, Beaver Films, with Bryan Forbes and began to build a profile as a producer on projects including ” The League of Gentlemen ” [ 1959 ] , The Angry Silence ” [ 1960] and ”  Whistle Down the Wind ” [ 1961 ], appearing in the cast of the first two films.

His feature film directorial debut was the all-star screen version of the hit musical Oh! What a Lovely War ” [ 1969 ] . He later directed two epic period films : Young Winston ” [ 1972 ], based on the early life of Winston Churchill, and A Bridge Too Far ” [ 1977 ], an all-star account of Operation Market Garden in World War II.

Richard Attenborough also directed the screen version of the musical A Chorus Line ” [ 1985 ] and the anti-apartheid drama Cry Freedom ” [ 1987 ], based on the life and death of prominent anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko and the experiences of Donald Woods. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director for both films.

His most recent films as director and producer include Chaplin ” [ 1992 ] starring Robert Downey, Jr., as Charlie Chaplin and Shadowlands ” [ 1993 ], based on the relationship between C. S. Lewis and Joy Gresham , the star of the latter was Anthony Hopkins.

Between 2006-07, he spent time in Belfast, working on his last film as director and producer, Closing the Ring ” [ 2007 ] , a love story set in Belfast during the Second World War and starring Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer and Pete Postlethwaite.

His acting career started with ” In Which We Serve ” [ 1942 ] and it ended with Closing the Ring ” [ 2007 ] . He was an actor in his first film and a producer and director in his last film. It was a fascinating 65 year-long career.

 

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I offer my condolences.

Farewell sir! India will always remember you as the maker of a masterpiece film called Gandhi  ” [ 1982 ] .

[ Information about Sir Richard Attenborough and the list of his films is taken from Wikipedia. I express my gratitude. ]

 

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Remembering Ruth Prawer Jhabvala


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           APRIL 10 , 2013           01.10 A.M.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala CBE

7 May 1927 – 3 April 2013

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala in Younger Days

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala in Younger Days

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

She was a German-born British and American Booker prize-winning novelist, short story writer and two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala wrote a dozen novels, 23 screenplays and eight collections of short stories . She was made a CBE in 1998 . She is the only person to ever have won both a Booker Prize and an Oscar.

She mainly wrote screenplay for Merchant Ivory Productions . In 1963, Jhabvala was approached by James Ivory and Ismail Merchant to write a screenplay for their debut film ” The Householder  ” based on her 1960 novel.  The movie, released by Merchant Ivory Productions in 1963 and starring Shashi Kapoor and Leela Naidu met with critical praise and it marked the beginning of a partnership that resulted in over 20 films.

The Triumvirate : Ivory , Merchant & Jhabvala

The Triumvirate : Ivory , Merchant & Jhabvala

The Householder was followed by Shakespeare Wallah (1965) , Roseland (1977) ,  Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie’s Pictures (1978) , The Europeans (1979) , Jane Austen in Manhattan (1980) , Quartet (1981) , The Courtesans of Bombay (1983) , Heat and Dust in (1983 ) , The Bostonians (1984) , Madame Sousatzka (1988) , Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990) , Jefferson in Paris (1995) , Surviving Picasso (1996) , A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries (1998) , the screenplay for which she co-authored with Ivory, The Golden Bowl (2000) and The City of Your Final Destination (2009) which was adapted from the eponymous novel by Peter Cameron and was her last screenplay.Le Divorce which she co-wrote with Ivory was the last movie that featured the trio of Merchant, Ivory and Jhabvala before Merchant’s death that year.

The Triumvirate : Ivory , Merchant & Jhabvala

The Triumvirate : Ivory , Merchant & Jhabvala

She won her first Academy Award for her screenplay for A Room with a View (1986) and won a second in the same category for Howards End (1992) . She was nominated for a third Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay the following year for The Remains of the Day  (1993) .

Selected screenplays

Year Title Other notes
2008 The City of Your Final Destination screenplay, adapted from the novel by Peter Cameron
2003 Le Divorce co-written by James Ivory, adapted from the novel by Diane Johnson
2000 The Golden Bowl screenplay, adapted from the novel by Henry James
1998 A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries screenplay, adapted from the novel by Kaylie Jones
1996 Surviving Picasso screenplay
1995 Jefferson in Paris written by
1993 The Remains of the Day screenplay, adapted from the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro
1992 Howards End screenplay, adapted from the novel by E. M. Forster
1990 Mr. and Mrs. Bridge screenplay, adapted from the novels by Evan S. Connell (“Mr. Bridge” & “Mrs. Bridge”)
1988 Madame Sousatzka screenplay, adapted from the novel by Bernice Rubens. Directed by John Schlesinger
1985 A Room with a View screenplay, adapted from the novel by E. M. Forster
1984 The Bostonians screenplay, adapted from the novel by Henry James
1983 Heat and Dust screenplay, adapted from the novel by Jhabvala
1981 Quartet screenplay, adapted from the novel by Jean Rhys
1980 Jane Austen in Manhattan written by, inserted libretto “Sir Charles Grandison” by Jane Austen
1979 The Europeans screenplay, adapted from the novel by Henry James
1978 Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie’s Pictures written by
1977 Roseland story and screenplay
1975 Autobiography of a Princess written by
1972 Bombay Talkie screenplay
1969 The Guru screenplay
1965 Shakespeare Wallah screenplay
1963 The Householder screenplay, adapted from the novel by Jhabvala

This two-time Oscar winner for her screenplays will also be remembered for her unforgettable novels and short stories like :

Novels and short stories

She will be missed . I saw her film ” The Householder ” in Palace talkies of Allahabad and was moved that two Indian actors ; Shashi Kapoor and Leela Naidu , played the main protagonists in the film , which she wrote . Though at that time I didn’t know that the writer of the film is Ruth Prawer Jhabvala .

On behalf of all the students and staff of my acting institute  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , I offer my condolences . May her soul rest in peace !

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[ I have taken the list of her films and name of the novels and short stories written by her from Wikipedia . Certain other facts and data is also taken from Wikipedia . As I always do , I express my profound gratitude . ]

 

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Ode – 8 : To Daniel Day-Lewis


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBRUARY 27 , 2013           08.20 P.M.

Daniel Day – Lewis won the Oscar for the Best Actor [ Male ] for Steven Spielberg’s ” Lincoln ” [ 2012 ] and created history . He became the first and only male actor of Hollywood to get three Oscars in the main lead category . His other two Oscar-winning roles are My Left Foot ” [ 1989 ] and ” There Will Be Blood ” [ 2007 ] .

Daniel Day-Lewis

I first came to know about Daniel in 1989 . In 1989 I came to Mumbai and took admission in Ashha Chandra’s acting classes . That year’s Oscars were announced and Ashha Ji had a show of ” My Left Foot “ for all the students of her academy . We were watching the movie and were mesmerized by the performance of the lead actor Daniel Day – Lewis . It was my first encounter with Daniel  . After watching ” My Left Foot ” , I was forced to believe that the protagonist is paraplegic in his real life too . My perception changed when I saw his next movie , ” The Bounty “ . Later on I watched ” The Last of The Mohicans “ and ” Gangs of New York ” and I became a life-long fan of the actor . ” Lincoln “ only fortifies my admiration and regard for the actor . It speaks volumes that a British and Irish national Daniel , plays the most revered character of American history so convincingly .

Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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He is one of the most acclaimed actors of this generation . His work has earned numerous awards, including five nominations for the Academy Awards, which resulted in three wins, respectively, for his portrayals of Christy Brown in My Left Foot (1989), Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood (2007), and Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln (2012), a feat which makes him the only male actor in history to gather three wins in the leading category.

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Cover of My Left Foot (Special Edition)

Cover of

Cover of There Will Be Blood [Blu-ray]

Lewis has also been nominated for six BAFTA Awards, with four wins, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Critic’s Choice Awards, as well as garnering seven Golden Globe nominations, winning twice.

Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis (born 29 April 1957) is an English actor with both British and Irish citizenship. The son of Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis and actress Jill Balcon , he was born and grew up in London . Despite his traditional actor training at the Bristol Old Vic, he is considered to be a method actor, known for his constant devotion to and research of his roles. He often remains completely in character for the duration of the shooting schedules of his films, even to the point of adversely affecting his health .

He reportedly demanded and got 1 year for preparing the character of Abraham Lincoln . He read almost 100 books written about the president and gave new interpretation to the character . He made his voice high pitch instead of booming voice of Lincoln . Needless to say that his interpretation is totally accepted by the puritan critics and lapped by the discerning masses .

Filmography of Daniel Day-Lewis :

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1982 Gandhi Colin
1984 The Bounty John Fryer
1985 My Beautiful Laundrette Johnny
1985 A Room with a View Cecil Vyse
1986 Nanou Maxo
1988 The Unbearable Lightness of Being Tomas
1988 Stars and Bars Henderson Dores
1989 Eversmile, New Jersey Dr. Fergus O’Connell
1989 My Left Foot Christy Brown
1992 The Last of the Mohicans Hawkeye (Nathaniel Poe)
1993 The Age of Innocence Newland Archer
1993 In the Name of the Father Gerry Conlon
1996 The Crucible John Proctor
1997 The Boxer Danny Flynn
2002 Gangs of New York Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting
2005 The Ballad of Jack and Rose Jack Slavin
2007 There Will Be Blood Daniel Plainview
2009 Nine Guido Contini
2012 Lincoln Abraham Lincoln

My admiration for him grows every time when I go through this filmography . Such variety and such array of histrionics is unparalleled in the annals of cinema .

As an acting tutor I wish and desire to produce at least one Daniel Day-Lewis in my life-time . My acting academy ,  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , would feel a sense of accomplishment if it could boast of at least one alumni like Daniel Day-Lewis . Until then it is endless wait .

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Remembering Nora Ephron


 

English: Nicholas Pileggi and Nora Ephron at t...

Nora Ephron with Her Husband Nicholas Pileggi at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 16 , 2012           11.20 P.M.

For common viewers and some upstarts , Hollywood history begins with Tom Hanks and ends with Tom Cruise . But for connoisseurs of cinema it is much more . It also includes eminent producers , directors , music directors, editors and screenplay writers . And when it come to screenplay writing , Nora Ephron comes as one of the top – rankers . Among the present day writers of Hollywood , she epitomizes excellence in screenplay writing . Three time Oscar – nominated Nora Ephron died on June 26 ,  2012 in New York at the age of 71 due to leukemia .

Nora Ephron (1941-2012), Thanks and Goodbye

Nora Ephron will always be known and remembered for the hugely popular RomComs like ; Silkwood ” [ 1983 ] , ” Heartburn [ 1986 ] ” , ” When Harry Met Sally ” [ 1989 ] , ” Sleepless In Seattle ” [ 1993 ] , ” Michael ” [ 1996 ] , ” You’ve Got Mail ” [ 1998 ] ,  and her last filmJulie & Julia ” [ 2009 ] .

Apart from writing , she also produced films like ; ” When Harry Met Sally ” [ 1989 ] , ” Michael ” [ 1996 ] , ” You’ve Got Mail ” [ 1998 ]  and ” Julie & Julia ” [ 2009 ] . She directed films like ; ” Sleepless In Seattle ” , ” Michael ” , ” You’ve Got Mail ” and ” Julie & Julia ” .

In total she wrote 13 films . Out of these 13 , she also produced 10 films and directed 8 .

She was nominated thrice for Academy Awards for films like ; ” Silkwood ” ,” When Harry Met Sally ” and ” Sleepless In Seattle ” ,  though she never got it . She got BAFTA Award in 1994 for ” When Harry Met Sally ” .

 

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Cover of Silkwood

 

Heartburn (film)

Heartburn (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover of

Cover of When Harry Met Sally

 

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Cover via Amazon

 

Moive Poster from film

Moive Poster from film “Michel” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Cover of You’ve Got Mail

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Cover of Julie & Julia

She was a multi – faceted personality . She , apart from being a White House intern , began her career as journalist and then started writing for movies . Apart from writing screenplay for films , she wrote for stage also . Her plays like ; ” Imaginary Friends ” [ 2002 ] and ” Love , Loss and What I Wore ” [ 2009 ] are known to all .

Her collection of essays like ; I Feel Bad About My Neck : And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman ” [ 2006 ] and ” I Remember Nothing : And Other Reflections ” [ 2010 ] were very popular and much acclaimed . In fact her first mentioned book was a bestseller and was on the New York Times List .

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Cover of I Feel Bad About My Neck

It is sad that a personality of this kind died so young . 71 is no age to leave the world . I wanted to write and post this blog much earlier but due to unavoidable circumstances in my professional life , I could not post it earlier . I express my regret .

I , on behalf of all the acting students and staff of my acting academy in Mumbai ,  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , pay my condolences to the family of Nora Ephron .

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May her soul rest in peace !!

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100th Anniversary of Titanic Disaster


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 10, 2012           00.40 A.M.

This year seems to be the year of anniversaries . Apart from some happy , epoch  – making and historical events , 2012 also marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic . This luxury liner collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic ocean and sank on April 15 , 1912 , while making its maiden voyage . It does not feel nice to remember or write about a disaster of this magnitude where 1502 people died . But I loved the film ” Titanic ” [ 1997 ] and later on , when I searched and researched on the topic , I was intrigued by the story of this ill – fated luxury liner .

The reconstruction of the RMS Titanic. The blu...

The reconstruction of the RMS Titanic. The blueprints were supplied by the original ship’s builder and Cameron tried to make the ship as detailed and accurate as possible. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Titanic is a 1997 American epic romantic disaster film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron . A fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic , it stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage.

Production on the film began in 1995 , when Cameron shot footage of the actual Titanic wreck . The modern scenes were shot on board the Akademik Mstislav Keldysh , which Cameron had used as a base when filming the wreck . A reconstruction of the Titanic was built at Playas de Rosarito , Baja California , and scale models and computer-generated imagery were also used to recreate the sinking . The film was partially funded by Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox , and , at the time , was the most expensive film ever made , with an estimated budget of $200 million .

Upon its release on December 19, 1997, the film achieved critical and commercial success . Nominated for fourteen Academy Awards , it won eleven , including the awards for Best Picture and Best Director , tying Ben Hur (1959) for most Oscars won by a single film . With a worldwide gross of over $2 billion , it was the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark , remaining the highest-grossing film of all time for twelve years , until Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar surpassed its gross in 2010 . A 3D version of the film was re-released in theaters (often billed as Titanic 3D) on April 4, 2012 , to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the ship.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

As I stated above , I watched the film and was very much fascinated by its story . I further studied about it and this topic became a part of me . I also fancied visiting the original site of Titanic shipwreck one day .

 

English: RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic under con...

RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic under construction in Belfast, Ireland, ca. 1910 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10,...

RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sinking of the Titanic, drawn from wireless de...

Sinking of the Titanic, drawn from wireless description (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Map marks the route of RMS Titanic du...

English: Map marks the route of RMS Titanic during her maiden voyage, the ports on that route, and approximate location of where she sank on 1912-04-15. The remaining portion of her uncompleted route is shown dashed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton , UK to New York City , US . The sinking of Titanic caused the deaths of 1,502 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history . The RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time of her maiden voyage . She was the second of three Olympic class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line , and she was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast . On her maiden voyage, she carried 2,224 passengers and crew.

Captained by Edward Smith, her passengers included some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as hundreds of emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland , Scandinavia and elsewhere throughout Europe seeking a new life in North America. The ship was designed to be the last word in comfort and luxury .

English: Last lifeboat arrived, filled with Ti...

Last lifeboat arrived, filled with Titanic survivors. This photograph was taken by a passenger of the Carpathia, the ship that received the Titanic’s distress signal and came to rescue the survivors. It shows the last lifeboat successfully launched from the Titanic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a tragic event , a disaster which is still unparalleled in the history of modern times . Film ” Titanic ” [ 1997 ] re – created and re – lived the memory of that disaster and made this tragic story immortal in the mind of  the viewers .

This year in April , when the world remembered sinking of Titanic , I immediately wanted to write about it but due to extremely busy schedule and other pressing preoccupations , I was unable to complete it . So I am completing it today and posting it .

[ Some of the facts and figures have been taken from the Wikipedia . I express my gratitude . ]

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