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Cultural Press

Father, son and the holy outsider

Published @ Daily New & Analysis
Guru is a parable of many things, real and imagined.   After years of shepherding him through the pitiless jungle of Bollywood, and sustaining him through dud after dud, Amitabh Bachchan finally has a chance to bellow openly about his cub Abhishek’s performance in Guru, which can be called Dhirubhai Ambani’s ‘unauthorised’ biopic. It is hard to miss the full-page ads in the dailies, sponsored by the proud father who imperiously salutes his son for having finally matched his greatness. He has the…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion | Read More

On the trail of Renzo Piano

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
Henry Fuseli, Titania Caresses Bottom with the Donkey’s Head, 1793-94, oil on canvas.  Kunsthaus, Zurich. On a trip to Switzerland, organized by Pro Helvetia, Sayandeb Chowdhury finds that the Alpine country is not just about clocks, wine and chocolate. But also art, music, dance, theatre and cinema. And finds them anything but neutral. Renzo Piano is not a musician. But he plays music in glass and steel, brick and mortar. As I stood in front of the Zentrum Paul Klee,…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Art, Travel | Read More

Geneva on my mind

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
Photo by Karim Ben Van on Unsplash Switzerland, for Indians, is a vintage picture postcard–the splendour of the Swiss Alps lording over designer villages with pretty houses that stand in sunny glory watching glass-topped trains passing by in silent admiration. So when most Indians visit this small central west European country they are invariably reminded of Yash Chopra couples in shawls and striped sweaters drooling at each other and at nature beyond. But there is more to this…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Art, Travel | Read More

Two or three reasons in favour of smoking

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
To smoke like Belmondo In Jean Luc Godard’s Peter The Fool, anti-hero Peter/Pierre was so mesmerised by Humphrey Bogart’s buccaneer charms in the doomed love classic Casablanca that he started imitating him. And what did Pierre find most attractive about the plain-looking Bogart? His way of smoking the cigarette while it hanged incisively from a given angle in his mouth. The drifter Pierre, while running from gangsters, never lets the cigar fall from his mouth — as if that was his armour against…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Humour | Read More

Pirates of the Caribbean

Published @ Bengal Post
The super successful Disney Franchise Pirates of the Caribbean’s new episode On Stanger Tides, which released in India within days of its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, carries some of its stock characters who reboot themselves gladly for the fourth adventure, this time for the Fountain of Youth. But this time the film is helmed by Rob Marshall (Gore Verbinsk directed the first three), the director of enervating musicals such as Chicago and Nine. The movie hence carries the signature of the choreographer-turned-director’s…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Review | Read More

Gentlemen prefer Shazia Mirza

Published @ DNA India
Shazia goes where few have gone before She was all over the Mumbai papers in the last few days speaking about what she does best — comedy. So naturally, Mumbai was waiting for her. Had she been a he, a chubby-looking white British actor with a Yorkshire accent, it would not be news. But Shazia Mirza is brown, young, Muslim, and a woman and the British Council has taken adequate care to inform us that she makes fun of all…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Performance, Review | Read More

Return to the ethnic orchard: Desai’s book inherits what was best lost

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
So another Indian gets the Booker Prize. What shall we feel, smug or smart? Being Indian is tough enough. Being an Indian writer in English is tougher. And being an Indian writer in English who has won the Booker is the toughest business of them all. So hail the Thane of London’s Guildhall, who shall be the Queen hereafter!  If we look at the beginnings of our efforts at writing in English, it would be amusing to note how Indians…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Literature, Opinion | Read More

A story of civil wars and uncivil lives

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
There is a famous Laurel-Hardy strip where the two are soldiers stationed somewhere on the India-China border. They are worried about their dwindling resources till one day they chance upon the fact that the war had ended long ago and nobody had informed them. One cannot but sense a certain degree of sadness in what is an example of comic unreason. Beasts of No Nation, a ghastly tale of civil war somewhere in Africa, carries a tragic intensity that is…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Book Review | Read More

Theatre does have a future in India

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
He is a multifaceted, Oxford-educated intellectual: playwright, film actor, scriptwriter and producer. He has received several major awards— Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, the Jnanpith and the Sahitya Academy Awards and has been the director of the Nehru Centre in London. His plays Tughlaq, Hayavadana, Nagamandala, Agni Mattu Male (The Fire and the Rain), most of them complex re-enactments of Indian myths, are landmarks of Indian theatre. In Mumbai for his latest play Bikhre Bimb (A Heap of Broken Images), Girish Karnad speaks to Sayandeb Chowdhury about his latest play…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Interview, Theatre | Read More

‘Cos, the meek shall never inherit the cup

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
Yellow loves the Green Long ago a song chronicling days spent in a guiltless tavern, said: We’d fight and never lose/ For we were young and sure to have our way. The winners and losers of the first round of the soccer World Cup possibly lie printed, clearly, on a chart near you — the names are mostly predictable, the bets have been worked this way or the other. But the song keeps coming back reminding us that the…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Satire, Sport | Read More