Mrinal Sen – The Last of the Triumvirate


Mrinal Sen

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           January 03, 2019           06.30 P.M. 

Mrinal Sen

[ 14 May 1923 – 30 December 2018 ]

Mrinal Sen was a Bengali filmmaker based in Kolkata. Along with his contemporaries Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, he was often considered to be one of the greatest ambassadors of Bengali parallel cinema on the global stage. Like the works of Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, his cinema was known for its artistic depiction of social reality. The three directors were ardent admirers of each other’s work, and in so doing, they charted the independent trajectory of parallel cinema, as a counterpoint to the mainstream fare of Hindi cinema in India.

Minal Sen first feature film, Raat Bhore  [ 1955 ] featured Uttam Kumar who was not yet the Major star of Bengali cinema that he became. The movie was a let-down. His next film, Neel Akasher Neechey  [ 1958) ] earned him local recognition, while his third film, Baishey Shravan [ 1960 ] was the first film that gave him international exposure.

After making five more films, he made a film with a shoestring budget provided by the Government of India. This film, Bhuvan Shome  [ 1969 ] finally launched him as a major filmmaker, both nationally and internationally. Bhuvan Shome also initiated the “New Cinema” film movement in India.

Mrinal Sen had been suffering from age related ailments for many years. He died on 30 December 2018 at the age of 95 at his home in Bhawanipore, Kolkata.

 

Funeral Procession of Mrinal Sen

I came to know about him when his film Bhuvan Shome [ 1969 ] was released. It was the year when I just finished intermediate from Government Inter College , Allahabad [ now PRAYAGRAJ ] and took admission in Allahabad University. I was curious about the film but I could not watch it. I became aware of Mrinal Sen because of the buzz around the film.

Poster of BHUVAN SHOME

After  Bhuvan Shome , other gems like Interview [ 1971 ] , Ek Adhuri Kahani  [ 1971 ] , Calcutta 71  [ 1972 ] , Padatik [ 1973 ] , Chorus [ 1974 ] and Mrigayaa [ 1976 ] were released in quick succession.

 

Poster of MRIGAYAA

Mrigayaa [ 1976 ] became talk of the town . It introduced a naxalite as the protagonist. His name was Mithun Chakraborty. He got national award for the best actor for the film and soon became a sensation and later on came to be known as poor man’s Amitabh Bachchan.

Mrinal Sen was an ardent follower of Marxist philosophy. This is precisely the reason , I avoided watching his films. Till date I have watched none of his films . Neither Bhuvan Shome nor even Mrigayaa .

After his demise , I am thinking of watching all his films. List of awards , which his films won , tell us about his craft and his greatness.

 

National awards

National Film Award for Best Feature Film

National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali

National Film Award for Best Direction

International awards 

Moscow International Film Festival – Silver Prize
1975 Chorus[13]
1979 Parashuram[14]
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival – Special Jury Prize
1977 Oka Oori Katha
Berlin International Film Festival
Interfilm Award
1979 Parashuram
1981 Akaler Sandhane
Grand Jury Prize[15]
1981 Akaler Sandhane
Cannes Film Festival – Jury Prize
1983 Kharij
Valladolid International Film Festival – Golden Spike
1983 Kharij
Chicago International Film Festival – Gold Hugo
1984 Khandhar
Montreal World Film Festival – Special Prize of the Jury
1984 Khandhar
Venice Film Festival – OCIC Award – Honorable Mention
1989 Ek Din Achanak
Cairo International Film Festival – Silver Pyramid for Best Director
2002 Aamar Bhuban

 

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On behalf of all the students & staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I offer my condolences and tribute. It is sad that because of the aversion of Marxism , I refrained from watching his films .

[ Basic information about Mrinal Sen has been taken from Wikipedia . His photo posted here is from Google,  I express gratitude .]

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50 Years of A Friendship


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 24, 2016           11.00 P.M.

With My Friend Mohd. Masood Saheb at His Lucknow Residence

With My Friend Mohd. Masood Saheb at His Lucknow Residence

 

After a month-long wet and rainy monsoon season in Mumbai, sky is clear today. Warmth of July sun, after a month-long continuous rain, is pleasant.

As I sit in my study watching sunrays slowly and victoriously taking over the Mumbai skyline from hovering clouds, my mind takes me back to my Allahabad days. 50 years back it was same bright, sunny July in 1967. The place was Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.

In that year after passing High School, I left my native place Deoria, Uttar Pradesh and reached Allahabad to take admission in the Government Inter College. I got admission in the college and was lucky to find a place in the hostel too, which was in the same campus.

Shy and reticent as I was in those days, it took some time before I got acquainted with my class-mates. PRAMOD VAJPAYEE, MOHD. MASOOD & SHEEL BHADRA DIKSHIT were few names, which are still there with me. Of the three, SHEEL BHADRA DIKSHIT died before he could complete intermediate. PRAMOD VAJPAYEE, MOHD. MASOOD and myself passed intermediate and went to Allahabad University. We took English Literature as our subject so our friendship continued.

After completing graduation in 1972, I came to Mumbai [ then Bombay ] . After spending one year in Mumbai, I returned to Allahabad and completed post graduation in English Literature. Before I could embark on my new journey, my father died. I returned to Deoria.

When I returned from Allahabad after my father’s demise, I thought that now I have lost forever all the friends and acquaintances from Allahabad. SHEEL BHADRA DIKSHIT gone to his eternal journey, PRAMOD VAJPAYEE untraceable and now MASSOD Saheb will also be lost on the long, tortuous, unknown and speedy highways of life.

One day door-bell of my Deoria residence rang. I came out and to my utter surprise, I saw Masood Saheb standing there. He was getting married and his would be wife’s family lived in Deoria.

Destiny! ………………….. O Destiny!! …………………. Unknown are thy ways!!!

I attended his marriage and since he used to come to Deoria quite often, our friendship continued. Whenever I used to visit Lucknow, I always used to go to his Aminabad office and used to have chat with him over a cup of tea.

In October 1989, I left Deoria again and came to Mumbai. Masood Saheb visited Mumbai once and we met.

I go to my native place Deoria once or twice in a year. These days I take Mumbai – Lucknow flight and then take a taxi to Deoria. My younger brother and sister are based in Lucknow so I stay there for few days. Since Masood Saheb is now retired and settled in Lucknow, it has become a habit to visit him too.

This year in May, when I paid a visit to his house, he reminded me that we first met in July 1967 and that July 2016 is the 50th year of our friendship.

When I revisit our 50 long year association, I find very few similarities between us. I was a right-winger Hindu nationalist and Masood Saheb was a left-winger Muslim nationalist. We both are same even now. So where is the meeting point?

As I try to find out, our meeting points are HUMAN VALUES, RATIONAL NATIONALISM, LOVE for URDU LANGUAGE & LITERATURE and RESPECT for EACH OTHER’S CORE VALUES.

I remember, I used to write him letters in Urdu on RSS letterhead. And he used to send Urdu newspaper AZAYEM from Lucknow to Mumbai for me.

And so, our friendship endured all the bygone 50 years. As I said earlier I met him this year in May 2016 in Lucknow. He was frail as usual but his indomitable spirit is still there. And his love for books , literature and Urdu language still continues. And yes, he is still a LEFT-WINGER MUSLIM NATIONALIST.

May God permit him to be so!!!

May God give him a long, happy and active life!!!

Amen!!!!

 

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Father’s Day & My Brothers-In-Law


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JUNE 21, 2015           11.55 P.M.

 

For me Sunday is the day of reading and writing. As I am sitting in my study in Mumbai and watching rain water caressing window panes of my study, I started pondering about the subject of my blog. As it is the 1st International Yoga Day today, the obvious choice seems to be the 1st International Yoga Day.

But I suddenly realise that it is FATHER’S DAY also and today youngsters are celebrating it with gusto. So I think it is better to write about it.

In India is there any need for a day like this? A country which since time immemorial pronounced :

पिता स्वर्ग , पिता धर्म , पिता ही परमंतपो ,
पितोरि प्रीतिमापन्ने , प्रीयन्ते सर्व देवता ॥

[ Father is like heaven, father is like religion, father is like supreme penance / meditation. If your father is pleased with you, all the Gods are pleased with you automatically. ]

यः प्रीणयेत् सुचरितैः पितरं स पुत्रो ॥

[ They are the worthy sons, who please their fathers with their good conducts. ]

So where is the need for this obnoxious FATHER’S DAY?

But these days youngsters celebrate just one day as FATHER’S DAY, because their father and mother don’t exist for them for the rest of 364 days.

Today as I write this blog about FATHER’S DAY, I remember my two brothers-in-law, Shri Krishna Mohan Shukla and Shri Gyan Prakash Chaturvedi. I have never seen such devout father worshippers in my life. They never criticise their respective fathers. They never crib about some imaginary short-comings of their fathers. Their fathers must have made few mistakes in their lives. But I have never heard them complaining about that. They belong to rich and respectable families. Still their fathers were unable to provide them fancy cars, private jet planes and a personal / private islands for vacation. But they don’t complain. They were not sent to foreign countries for so-called better education but they don’t accuse their fathers for that.

They are always full of gratitude because they know that their fathers had made supreme sacrifices for their education and upbringing. Their fathers did everything which they could. And which they couldn’t do, they are not blamed, insulted or cursed for that.

For such people every day is FATHER’S DAY. Because gratitude and respect is in their DNA. I always respect Shri Krishna Mohan Shukla and Shri Gyan Prakash Chaturvedi from the bottom of my heart. I know that my sisters are married to good human beings and that they will live a secure and satisfied life till their end. Whenever death will knock at my door, I will die a satisfied death fully knowing that after I am gone my sisters won’t face any difficulties in their marital lives because they have such good-hearted men as their spouses.

With Shri Krishna Mohan Shukla

With Shri Krishna Mohan Shukla

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With Shri Gyan Prakash Chaturvedi [ Extreme Left ] & My Brother Devesh [ Middle ]

With Shri Gyan Prakash Chaturvedi [ Extreme Left ] & My Brother Devesh [ Middle ]

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I don’t know I am a good son or not. But whenever I think about my father, I feel that I never betrayed him. I may not be a good son but he was a good father. He took extremely good care of me. He did everything what he could do for my well-being. He supported me with the kind of money which was genuinely required. He bought me a Herculis Cycle. I still cherish the gift. And I don’t blame him that he was unable to provide me fancy cars, sport bikes and that he never send me abroad for holidaying. I wore normal clothes and Bata shoes. We had no fridge, cooler or radiograme at home, which were common in those days. But I have no grudge against him for these things. He sent me to Allahabad for higher studies. I still feel indebted for that. I don’t blame him that he couldn’t dole out money for me to get admitted in Oxford or Cambridge.

My Father Late Shri Lakshmi Kant Chaturvedi

My Father Late Shri Lakshmi Kant Chaturvedi

 

He did everything which he could do. I am happy that I never pestered him with unnecessary requests. I never forced him to take loan to give me a life of so-called luxury. In fact my two other brothers and two sister have the same feelings for him. We don’t blame our father for anything.

He died on February 27, 1974 due to heart failure. I was 22 and studying at Allahabad. I was not there at the time of his death. I have a regret. I was not able to help him in his old age. I couldn’t do anything for him, though he did everything for me. My younger brother Atul was more fortunate. He was always at his side. He was there when he died. He served him well and I couldn’t. I still regret it but …………………

 

इस जीवन की चादर में , साँसों के ताने – बाने हैं ,
दुःख की थोड़ी सी सलवट है , सुख के कुछ फूल सुहाने हैं ,
क्यों सोचें आगे क्या होगा , अब कल के कौन ठिकाने हैं ,
ऊपर बैठा वो बाज़ीगर , जाने क्या मन में ठाने है ,
चाहे जितना भी जतन करें , भरने का दामन तारों से ,
झोली  में वो ही आएंगे , जो तेरे नाम के दाने हैं ……

 

As I ponder on my life this night, I don’t find any reason to blame my father for anything. I am myself responsible for my failures, short-comings and misfortunes, if there are any. I don’t need my father as a scapegoat for my wretched life.

A new day of my life starts tomorrow. When all my friends, even my younger brother Devesh, have retired, I am preparing for a 18-hour-working-schedule at the age of 63. Death will knock at my door any day. Though I regret that I wasn’t able to serve my father but I will leave this world with extreme satisfaction that I have no complaint against my father. I don’t blame him for anything.

For this simple reason I don’t need a FATHER’S DAY. My father is always with me. He will remain there till my last day on earth, till my last breath.

 

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Khushwant Singh : The Man In Bulb


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           APRIL 02, 2014           00.15 A.M.

Khushwant Singh's Iconic Image on Editor's Page of The Illustrated Weekly of India

Khushwant Singh’s Iconic Image on Editor’s Page of The Illustrated Weekly of India

This obituary is a much delayed blog post . I wanted to write it immediately after sad demise of Shri Khushwant Singh ji . He died on March 20, 2014 at the age of 99 . But due to work pressure of my acting institute , I was , unfortunately , not able to do that .

Khushwant Singh : In The Winter of His Life

Khushwant Singh : In The Winter of His Life

I came to know about him in 1969  . In my life , 1967 is a watershed year . I left Deoria , my home town in Uttar Pradesh and landed in Allahabad for higher studies . In the hostel of Government Inter College , Allahabad , I was introduced to new horizons , unknown vistas and leading Indian luminaries .

In 1969 , after completing intermediate , I took admission in Allahabad University . I started living in Sir Ganga Nath Jha Hostel . There I got to know about Khushwant Singh , who shot into fame because of the unprecedented success of   The Illustrated Weekly of India  . In the reading room of my hostel , for the first time , I had a chance to glance the above mentioned weekly magazine . A bearded Sardar ji sitting in a light bulb with volumes of books , bottles of booze and photos of buxom beauties , attracted my attention . I read his editorial page week after week and became a life – long fan . As I started knowing  him more , my admiration for him grew .

Khushwant Singh I Know

Khushwant Singh , I Know

Just look at the startling facts of his fascinating life :

+  In 1938 he started his professional career as a practising lawyer . He worked at Lahore Court for eight years.

+ In 1947 he entered Indian Foreign Service . He started as Information Officer of the Government of India in Toronto, Canada . He was Press Attaché and Public Officer for the Indian High Commission for four years in London and Ottawa .

+ In 1951 he joined the All India Radio as a journalist .

+ Between 1954 and 1956 he worked in Department of Mass Communication of UNESCO at Paris .

+ From 1956 he turned editor. He had edited Yojana , an Indian government journal ; The Illustrated Weekly of India , a newsweekly ; and two major Indian newspapers , The National Herald and the Hindustan Times . During his tenure, The Illustrated Weekly became India’s pre-eminent newsweekly, with its circulation raising from 65,000 to 400000 .

I still have some old , dog – eared and pale copies of  The Illustrated Weekly of India   in the study of my Deoria house . I felt sad , when I read that one day on 25 July 1978 , a week before he was to retire, the management asked him to leave ” with immediate effect ” . He was the editor of the magazine for 9 years , from 1969 to 1978 precisely . The circulation rose to 4,00,000 from the previous 65,000 . After his departure it plummeted again .

I read that he woke up at 4.00 AM each day to write his columns by hand . His works ranged from political commentary and contemporary satire to translations of Sikh religious texts and Urdu poetry . He also wrote his highly popular column  ” With Malice Towards One and All “ regularly . It was widely syndicated in all the famous news papers .

Collage of Books

Books of Khushwant Singh :

Short story collections

  • The Mark of Vishnu and Other Stories. London, Saturn Press, 1950.
  • The Voice of God and Other Stories. Bombay, Jaico, 1957.
  • A Bride for the Sahib and Other Stories. New Delhi, Hind, 1967.
  • Black Jasmine. Bombay, Jaico, 1971
  • The Collected Stories. N.p., Ravi Dayal, 1989.
  • The Portrait of a Lady
  • The Strain
  • Success Mantra
  • A Love Affair In London
  • ना काहू से दोस्‍ती ना काहू से बैर

Play

Television Documentary: Third World—Free Press (also presenter; Third Eye series), 1983 (UK).

 

Book - 1

I am his admirer and shall always be that , till I am alive . It is strange that he attracted large number of people , who became life – long fan . Though he was a Gandhi – Nehru sympathiser , still he had my unflinching admiration . Even Shri Lal Krishna Advani is an admirer , whom he vehemently criticized for his role in Ram Janma Bhoomi Movement of Ayodhya .

Shri Lal Krishna Advani - A Lifelong Admirer

Shri Lal Krishna Advani – A Lifelong Admirer

It is strange , as well as unique . I am baffled and amazed .

 

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I offer my condolences to the family and legions of admirers of Khushwant Singh ji.

VIDUR Editing Studio , and VIDUR Club also pray for the departed soul .

May you REST IN PEACE Sir ! I , a believer and idol worshipper , will always miss an unapologetic atheist and crusader iconoclast like you .

 

[ Acknowledgment : I have taken some facts of his life and information about his books from Wikipedia . I have copied the list from Wikipedia and posted it here . Expressing gratitude . ]

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Sunset Boulevard ( 8 ) : ” Lakshmi Talkies : अपना सिनेमा हाल था ये “


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 17 , 2014           11.40 P.M.

Today when the Hindus , all over the world , are celebrating Holi and rejoicing in festivity , I am sitting in my study in Mumbai and writing this blog about Lakshmi Talkies , Allahabad with tearful eyes . I am struggling for words . I am unable to form sentences . I am full of emotions . Lakshmi Talkies will not ring a familiar bell for several anonymous people or the lovers of cinema . May be some will be familiar of some Lakshmi Talkies of their own cities . But here I am talking about Lakshmi Talkies of Allahabad , Uttar Pradesh .

Few days back I saw the following post on the facebook time line of Shri Neeraj Sri :

अपना सिनेमा हाल था ये …
Lakshmi Talkies - Katara - Allahabad

Lakshmi Talkies – Katara – Allahabad

When I read the post and saw the photograph , I became numb . I was stunned . I was shaken . I was saddened beyond words . I was emotionally disturbed . I spent a sleepless night .

Even now as I am writing the blog , my heart refuses to believe that this is a reality . I was a regular patron of Lakshmi Talkies during my Ganga Nath Jha hostel days . Lakshmi Talkies of Allahabad was a part of my life . Lakshmi Talkies holds a special place for me because Lakshmi Talkies was an integral part of my Allahabad University days . It’s magnificent structure is still fresh in my memory . So when I saw the above picture of a desolate Lakshmi Talkies with moth – eaten walls , broken window panes and barbed wire fencing , I wanted to cry . I wanted to mourn .

I , after passing High School , left my birth place Deoria in 1967 and went to Allahabad for higher studies . Deoria had two cinema halls at that time but being in a small city like Deoria , they were not grand or magnificent , like cinema halls of bigger cities . Allahabad was much bigger city compared to Deoria , so the cinema halls were also huge and opulent . I landed in Allahabad in July 1967 with glitter in my eyes , hope and dreams in my heart for my better future . I , as a 15-year-old small town boy , was fascinated by Allahabad , the city and its atmosphere . Slowly I started getting acquainted with the city of Allahabad . Being a movie buff , I started looking about cinema halls and thus came to know about Lakshmi Talkies at Katara . Lakshmi Talkies management had this strategy of re – releasing old Hindi films . So for me this was a boon because I could now watch all the old classics which I had missed in Deoria .

” Door Ki Awaaz ”  [ 1964 ] , a film directed and produced by Devendra Goel was the first ever film which I watched in Lakshmi Talkies . The Joy Mukherjee , Saira Banu , Pran , Johny Walker and Om Prakash starrer film has some popular Mohammad Rafi gems like , “Ek Musafir Ko Duniya Men Kya Chahiye ……………………….” , ” Husn Se Chand Bhi Sharmaya Hai , Teri Soorat Ne Ghazab Dhaya Hai ……………..” , ” Muqaddar Aazmana Chahta Hoon , Tujhe Apna Banan Chahta Hoon ……………………………. “ , and a lovely duet of Mohammad Rafi with Asha Bhosle ” Haathon Men Haath Hothon Pe Afsane Pyar Ke ……………………” , and the last but not the least , a song sung by Mohammad Rafi , Manna Dey and Asha Bhosle ” Hum Bhi Agar Bachche Hote Nam Hamara Hota Gabloo , Babloo , Khane Ko Milte Laddoo , Aur Duniya Kehti …………….. Happy Birthday To You …………………” . All these lovely songs were tuned by music director Ravi .

The film , the songs and the whole movie going experience is still fresh in my memory even after 47 long , strife – torn and eventful years of my life .

The last film I watched in Lakshmi Talkies was in 1971 . It was a Hemant Kumar produced and Asit Sen directed ” Khamoshi ” [ 1969 ] . During the same year they also opened a skating ring in the western side of the compound . It was a new experience .

I completed graduation in 1971 and left Allahabad and came to Bombay [ now Mumbai ] . One year after I left Mumbai again and came to Allahabad to complete my post graduation . So I was in Allahabad and staying in the same Ganga Nath Jha Hostel again from 1972 to 1974 before finally bidding adieu to Allahabad in 1975 . During this period I did watch couple of films in Lakshmi talkies but I don’t remember them .

But I do remember a concert of Pandit Ravi Shankar with Alla Rakha Khan , which I was fortunate enough to attend . One evening my friend Pramod Vajpayee came running and informed me about the concert . It was in aid of some NGO . So the ticket rates were low . We went , bought the tickets and took our seat in the packed hall . That evening is still fresh in my memory . It was a life – time experience .

And now 40 years later in March 2014 , I read this posting about the closure of Lakshmi Talkies on the facebook time line of Shri Neeraj Sri and the world of my emotional memory crumbled at one go . A part of my life is gone forever . A silent witness of my many lonely evenings is going to be silent very soon .

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I condole the demise of Lakshmi Talkies .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to express grief and pain .

Farewell Lakshmi Talkies !

Neeraj Sri has rightly said , ” अपना सिनेमा हाल था ये … ”

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200 Years of ” Pride And Prejudice “


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBRUARY 10 , 2013           11.40 P.M.

Few days back I read news that iconic and timeless classic ” Pride and Prejudice ” , a novel written by Jane Austen , has completed 200 years of its journey . Immediately my mind went into flashback . The year was 1972 and the place was English department of Allahabad University . I had taken admission in the English department for my post graduation in English Literature and thus got introduced to the world of Jane Austen as this novel ” Pride and Prejudice ” was in my course .

I frankly admit that at that time I was unable to understand the novel completely . I was not able to comprehend the intricacies of 19th century England and thus was unable to appreciate the novel . But I was aware of its iconic status and was told by my professors that it is a timeless classic . I decided to read it again in future but was unable to fulfill my resolution due to lack of time . And now in 2013 , when I am engulfed in the activities of my acting institute , ” Pride and Prejudice ” has silently completed 200 years of its existence .

Title page from the first edition of the first...

Title page from the first edition of the first volume of Pride and Prejudice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait b...

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait by her sister Cassandra, 1810 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though the story is set at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of ‘most loved books’ such as The Big Read. It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen’s memorable characters or themes. To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide.

As Anna Quindlen wrote, “Pride and Prejudice is also about that thing that all great novels consider, the search for self. And it is the first great novel to teach us that search is as surely undertaken in the drawing-room making small talk as in the pursuit of a great white whale or the public punishment of adultery.”

Adaptations

Film, television, and theatre

Pride and Prejudice (1940 film)

Pride and Prejudice (1940 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cropped screenshot of Greer Garson from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Greer Garson from the trailer for the film Pride and Prejudice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

pride and prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Pride and Prejudice has engendered numerous adaptations. Some of the notable film versions include that of 1940 starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, (based in part on Helen Jerome’s 1936 stage adaptation) and that of 2005 starring Keira Knightley (in an Oscar-nominated performance) and Matthew Macfadyen.Notable television versions include two by the BBC: the popular 1995 version starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, and a 1980 version starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul. A 1936 stage version was created by Helen Jerome played at the St. James’s Theatre in London, starring Celia Johnson and Hugh Williams. First Impressions was a 1959 Broadway musical version starring Polly Bergen, Farley Granger, and Hermione Gingold.In 1995, a musical concept album was written by Bernard J. Taylor, with Peter Karrie in the role of Mr Darcy and Claire Moore in the role of Elizabeth Bennet. A new stage production, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, The New Musical, was presented in concert on 21 October 2008 in Rochester, New York, with Colin Donnell as Darcy.

Bride and Prejudice, a movie by Gurinder Chadha, starring Aishwarya Rai, is a Bollywood adaptation of the novel; while Pride & Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy (2003), starring Kam Heskin and Orlando Seale, places the novel at a Mormon university in modern times. The Off-Broadway musical I Love You Because reverses the gender of the main roles, set in modern-day New York City. The Japanese comic Hana Yori Dango by Yoko Kamio, in which the wealthy, arrogant and proud protagonist, Doumyouji Tsukasa, falls in love with a poor, lower-class girl named Makino Tsukushi, is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice. A 2008 Israeli television six-part miniseries set the story in the Galilee with Mr Darcy a well-paid worker in the high-tech industry.

Pride and Prejudice has also crossed into the science fiction and horror genres. In the 1997 episode of science fiction comedy Red Dwarf entitled “Beyond a Joke“, the crew of the space ship relax in a virtual reality rendition of “Pride and Prejudice Land” in “Jane Austen World”. The central premise of the television miniseries Lost in Austen is a modern woman suddenly swapping lives with that of Elizabeth Bennet. In February 2009, it was announced that Elton John‘s Rocket Pictures production company was making a film, Pride and Predator, based on the story, but with the added twist of an alien landing in Longbourn. Also in production is the movie Pride and Prejudice and Zombies based on the book of the same name written by Seth Grahame-Smith, where the village of Longbourn is terrorized by zombies.

The book has also been adapted for modern times in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a mixed media web show created by Hank Green and Bernie Su. The video blog follows Lizzie Bennet, a graduate student in mass communications, and includes companion video blogs, Twitter accounts, and tumblrs for many of the other characters.

This summer, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of the novel in 1813, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London will be performing Simon Reade’s stage adaptation. The production will be directed by Deborah Bruce.

It is amazing that this novel’s popularity refuses to ebb . And it is sad that I am yet to redeem my pledge to read and appreciate this immortal and timeless classic called ” Pride and Prejudice ” . On the 200 anniversary , I am again promising myself to read this novel soon . Though my time is consumed by my acting academy Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , but still I intend to read the novel soon .

[ Some facts and data about ” Pride and Prejudice ” has been taken from Wikipedia . I am indebted . ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Pandit Ravi Shankar : The Sitar Silenced


English: Master of Sitar, Ravi Shankar. Deutsc...

Pandit Ravi Shankar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 14 , 2012           11.55 P.M.

Pandit Ravi Shankar , the Sitar maestro and the unofficial ambassador of Indian Classical music , died on December 11 , 2012 in San Diego , California , United States of America at the age of 92 .

I am fortunate that I could attend one of his concerts in Allahabad . My Allahabad days are very important for me because they shaped my life and personality immensely . I could meet literary figures like Firaq Gorakhpuri , Sumitra Nandan Pant , Vijay Dev Narayan Sahi and Amrit Rai . I could interact with politicians like Murli Manihar Joshi , who was a professor in the university in those days . I could attend the concerts of various musicians like ; Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad  Alla Rakha Khan and some others .

The year was 1971 / 72 . One evening I was sitting in my room in Sir Ganga Nath Jha Hostel and was studying . My friend Pramod Vajpayee came running and informed me that Pandit Ravi Shankar along with Ustad Allarakha Khan is going to perform in Lakshmi Talkies . Lakshmi Talkies in Katara area of Allahabad was stones throw away from Sir Ganga Nath Jha Hostel . In those days it was our favourite hang out . I don’t know whether it still exists or not . But in those days it was almost a part of our lives .

I refused to believe that a musician of the stature of Pandit Ravi Shankar would be performing live in a small cinema hall like Lakshmi Talkies . But my friend’s excitement forced me to believe that it is really going to happen .

I rushed , almost sprinting , to the talkies along with my friend , bought the ticket and entered into the hall panting for breath and took my seat . I waited with bated breath . After some time hall was reverberating with deafening sound of claps and whistles . Pandit Ravi Shankar along with Ustad Allarakha Khan appeared on stage . He gently took his seat and started playing Sitar . Ustad Allarakha Khan was accompanying him on Tabla .

Ah ! I remember only this much . I am just a connoisseur and not an authority of Indian classical music . So I can’t write about the ragas or other nuances of that concert . But I can still remember the moment when time froze . My body became numb and nothing seemed to exist . There were two magical figures on the stage and the hall was full of etherial sound . I am unable to explain that moment .

I cherished that moment till now . That experience has become a part of my being . On December 11th , when I read about his death , it dawned on me that I won’t be able to see him ever . That fateful evening in Allahabad’s Lakshmi Talkies was my first and now the last occasion when I was so close to the colossus legend .

God ! I can live with pride that I could see the Tansen of my generation performing live in front of my eyes . Pandit Ravi Shankar is gone but my experience of attending his concert will live with me till my last breath .

All the news papers are full of the minutest details of his life . So there are no need to reproduce them . Today I just remembered the early days of Pandit Ravi Shankar . I was telling my acting students how Pandit ji was vehemently criticized by his peers and competitors . A puritan like Ustad Vilayat Khan , a life – long bete noir of Pandit Ravi Shankar , left no stone unturned to decry Pandit ji . According to him , Pandit Ravi Shankar was a fake wannabe Sitar player .Ustad Vilayat Khan’s rivalry turned into open animosity with the passage of time . He refused to accept Padma Shri in 1964 , Padma Bhushan in 1968 and Padma Vibhushan in 2000 because Pandit Ravi Shankar was conferred Padma Bhushan in 1967 , Padma Vibhushan in 1981 and finally Bharat Ratna in 1999 , and according to Ustad Vilayat Khan he would not accept any award that other Sitar players , his juniors and in his opinion less deserving , had been given before him . He even said , ” if there is any award for Sitar in India , I must get it first . ” He also refused Sangeet Natak Akademy Award and even boycotted All India Radio for a while . It is alleged that it all happened because of his jealousy and animosity for Pandit Ravi Shankar . And the end result was that Pandit Ravi Shankar got international fame and ultimately the Bharat Ratna . While Ustad Vilayat Khan had some decrepit awards called ; Bharat Sitar Samrat and Aftab – E – Sitar .

I told acting students of my acting institute , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , that in the beginning of one’s life’s journey one can be called a fake , a wannabe , a cheat or a person of lesser knowledge by his jealous and less successful competitors . One should not get disheartened or affected . Time settles everything . Time has given a final and decisive verdict in the case of Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan . It will and it can happen to any one . Only time can tell . Only time will decide .

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I bow my head in reverence and pay my respect to the Tansen of my generation . With the demise of Pandit Ravi Shankar , Sitar will never be the same again . The world of music is orphaned .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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