Monday, 29 January 2018

Veteran Bengali actress Supriya Devi!

ICON OF BENGALI CINEMA SUPRIYA DEVI NO MORE!


 - Manoj Kulkarni

One of the great actresses of Bengali Cinema..Supriya Devi passed away at the age of 85! She was best known for her very sensitive character in Bengali master filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak's classic film 'Meghe Dhaka Tara'!

Started acting on theatre..Supriya Devi appeared on screen in 1952 with Uttam Kumar in film 'Basu Paribar' and in 1959 with the big success of their next 'Sonar Harin' she became a leading actress of Bengali cinema!..Then same year her screen portrait as beautiful 'Amrapali' gained popularity!
Supriya Devi & Uttam Kumar in 'Basu Paribar'

After that great Bengali filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak chosed her for his films 'Meghe Dhaka Tara' (1960) & 'Komal Gandhar' (1961)..early two parts of trilogy dealing with the aftermath of the Partition of Bengal & refugees suffering in it! Supriya Devi's characters of self-sacrificing & constantly exploited in these films touched the hearts!
Supriya Devi in Ritwik Ghatak's 'Meghe Dhaka Tara' (1960).

In 1963 she appeared in Hindi Cinema with Dharmendra starrer 'Begaana' which was directed by Marathi filmmaker Sadashiv Rao Kavi! Then her role in Uttam Kumar produced-directed & acted Bengali film 'Bon Palashir Padabali' (1973) was notable! And her performance in Raja Sen's national award winning Bengali film 'Atmiyo Swajan' (1998) was highly admired!

Dharmendra & Supriya Devi in Hindi film 'Begaana' (1963).
Supriya Devi received several awards like 'BFJA' & 'Filmfare'! And got 'Bang-Vibhushan' of West Bengal and honoured with 'Padmashri' from Government of India!

I still remember pathos of her heart touching performance in the great scene of Ghatak's 'Meghe Dhaka Tara' in which nature & sky also showed crying with her!

Humble Homage to this great actress!!

- Manoj Kulkarni
['Chitrasrushti', Pune]

Friday, 26 January 2018

16TH PIFF'..DRAWBACKS & FLAWS CONTINUED!


 - Manoj Kulkarni

'PIFF's Best Film Award' (!) winner Chinese film 'Free and Easy's satire!
'16th Pune International Film Festival' is over with same drawbacks & flaws mainly in contents by it's so called Creatives (!). This time also most of the films (psycho-thrillers & fantasy dramas) in world cinema competition and (mainstream commercial & dramatic) in Marathi cinema competition disappointed! With this global cinema was also not up to the international standard..And homages, (notable) tributes & retrospectives were lacking!
Award losing Marathi film 'Ziprya'!

Since it's beginning I have been attending & observing 'PIFF'..which is becoming monotonous year by year and disappointing by it's contents. Only because of same films selection committee in which seems two persons (creative director & creative head) dominating and choosing what they want! So lack of appropriate contents still there!..At least such so called creatives should know history of our Indian cinema and take note of happenings in world cinema!
Romantic scene from Polish film 'The Art of Loving'!

They forgot the main homages to recently passed away film personalities..Bengali cinematographer Ramananda Sengupta (died at 101) who worked for real pioneer of Indian neo-realistic cinema Ritwk Ghatak's 'Nagorik' (1952) and renowned French filmmaker Jean Renoir's film 'River' (1951). Then Hindi actress Shakeela and Assamese legendary actor Biju Phukan! Like last year they did not pay homage to late French cinematographer Raoul Coutard, this time they forgot French actress Jean Moreau..both were legends of French New Wave! In addition to this they did not take note of late Australian filmmaker Paul Cox!

After cinematographer Raoul Coutard..'PIFF' forgot actress Jean Moreau!


They were also not aware of the important occasions in the history of cinema..First world talkie 'The Jazz Singer' (1927) completed 90 years. 'Warners Bros.' produced (with it's Vitaphone sound-on-disc system) this American musical film was directed by Alan Crosland. That was the first feature-length motion picture with lip-synchronous singing & speech in several sequences! And there was a 101st Birth Anniversary of Hollywood legend Gregory Peck! They took the retrospective of renowned Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman on the occasion of his Birth Centenary..but without his masterpieces 'Summer Interlude' (1951), 'Wild Strawberries' (1957) & 'The Virgin Spring' (1960).
Incomplete retrospective of Swedish master..Ingmar Bergman!

Then there was a Death Centenary of Pioneer of Indian continent's cinema..Hiralal Sen! And our first indigenously colour film 'Kisan Kanya' (1937) completed 80 years. (Before this in 1933 'Prabhat's V. Shantaram made film 'Sairandhri' in colour but was processed & printed in Germany.) 'Kisan Kanya' was a Hindi Cinecolour feature film produced by 'Imperial Pictures' Ardeshir Irani & directed by Moti B. Gidwani! Apart from this there was a 110th Birth Anniversary of our legendary actor-director Gajanan Jahagirdar and 101st Birth Anniversary of beautiful actress of early golden era Naseem Banu! And landmark film 'Mother India' (1957) completed 60 years. In Mehboob Khan's this film Nargis portraited her character greatly and this was our India's first entry for 'Oscar's Best Foreign Language Film!

Youth..Theme of '16th PIFF'..with lack of youth subjects!
Theme of this '16th PIFF' was Youth..and they missed the main subjects attract to young generation! First is 'teenage love'..and that is superbly came on screen in the popular film adaptation of Shakespeare's romantic play 'Romeo and Juliet'..which made by renowned filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli and pretty gorgeous Olivia Hussey portraited Juliet with handsome Leonard Whiting as Romeo in it! This film made in 1968 and completed 50 years now! Same thing about two actresses of 'Sound of Music' (1965)..Charmian Carr & Heather Menzies who no more..And most famous teenage love song of this film "I am sixteen going on seventeen.." was picturized on Charmian Carr & Daniel Truhitte! So both the films were expected in this festival! In addition to this James Bond fame Roger Moore also passed away but they did not take note!

Balasubrahmanyan, R.Prasad, Sippy, minister Mungantiwar & Kapoor brothers!
This time there was special section of 'Raj Kapoor Retrospective' as an empathy & tribute to 'R.K. Studio' because of it's recent loss to fire. (I already wrote an article on 'RK Films' that time here.) So three artists sons of RK..Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor & Rajeev Kapoor were present in festival for this occasion! But for romantic legend (and quality filmmaker) Shashi Kapoor who passed away recently..there was only one film of he acted 'New Delhi Times' as a tribute to him!..And to tribute actor Vinod Khanna they screened 'Mera Gaon Mera Desh'..not his notable 'Imtihan'!

In the opening ceremony 'Sholay' fame bollywood's popular filmmaker Ramesh Sippy and 'Prasad Studio's head Ramesh Prasad honoured with 'PIFF Distinguished Award'..And famous South Indian singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam with the 'S. D. Burman Award'! We were expecting beautiful actress of golden era..Mala Sinha who is 81 now..to be felicitate! If that happen her admirers will happy..not only from our India but also from (her origin) Nepal!
Filipino actress Mercedes Cabral & Danish actor Mikkel Boe in film 'Rosita'!


Festival opened with Bosnian film 'Man Don't Cry'. Alen Drljevic directed this was like a docudrama in which former combatants recollects memories of Yugoslav wars! Then there were films like Netherlands's 'The Longing' a satire on battle for recognition through other author's book and Czech 'The Quartette' focusing band people struggle..in world cinema competition. In Kaleidoscope there were so so films like 9th century martial arts story base Taiwanese 'The Assassin' and father-son's same (Asian) female interest showing Danish 'Rosita'!
Pretty Mila Mihova in Bulgarian film 'Three Quarter'!

In Global Cinema section disappointed some films like Philippe Bober directed Swedish 'The Square'. But there were few (early east European) films with sensible treatment like..Calin Peter Netzer directed Romanian 'Ana, Mon Amour' which focused on rise & fall of the tumultuous & passionate romance of couple..And Bulgarian 'Three Quarter' a portrait of family with music loving girl's ambition. Pretty Mila Mihova acted nicely in it! Then Maria Sadowska directed Polish film 'The Art of Loving' handled the biopic of Michalina Wislocka who achieved the impossible task of writing book on revolutionise sexual life of people! And Ildiko Enyedi directed Hungarian film 'On Body and Soul' was the story of middle age man & young woman who find love in dreams and try to fulfil in reality!

Abir Chatterjee & Bangladeshi actress Joya Ahsan in Bengali film 'Bisorjan'!
In Indian cinema section there were two films notable. One was Bengali 'Bisorjan' a love story between Bangladeshi widow and Indian businessman which naturally portrayed by Bangladeshi beautiful actress Joya Ahsan with Indian actor Abir Chatterjee. Film was writtten-directed by Kaushik Ganguly who also played negative role in it! Then there was Harikumar directed sensitive Malayalam film 'Clint' based on the real life story of little boy Edmund Thomas Clint who left the world at the age of seven leaving behind around 25 thousand drawings & paintings. This role sensibly portraited by Master Alok. Actually I saw the documentary made on this earlier!
Rima Kallingal, Unni Mukundan & Master Alok in film 'Clint'!

This '16th PIFF's 'Prabhat Best International Film Award' went to Chinese film 'Free and Easy' produced by Wang Xuebo, Wang Zijian & Wu Leilei! Handling the demoralised society in satiric way this film is directed by Jun Geng! Then it's 'Best Film Director Award' won by Lucrecia Martel for Argentinean film 'Zama' which is a historical fiction based on the novel by Antonio Di Benedetto!

With these 'Special Jury Award' gained by Serbian film 'Rekvijemzagospodu J.' ('Requiem for Mrs. J'). In this director Bojan Vuletica sensibly handled the family problems in a country which is going through social transition! Artists Mirjana Karanovic, Danica Nedeljkovic, Vucic Perovic & pretty Jovana Gavrilovic played their characters naturally in it. In competition this film was comparatively better!.But audience award winner Finnish film 'Euthanizer' was just horrible as they mentioned 'violent noir'..Is that a taste which festival want to develope?
Serbian film 'Rekvijemzagospodu J.' ('Requiem for Mrs. J').

In this 'Sant Tukaram Best International Marathi Film' award won by Supriya Sunil Phadtare produced movie 'Pimpal'. 'Akhil Bharatiy Marathi Chitrapat Mahamandal's Best Marathi Screenplay & Director awards also went to it's maker Gajendra Ahire! Interaction between old culture & new global (Internet) world is a main theme of this film in which Dilip Prabhavalkar did grandfather's character emotionally with Priya Bapat! Then film 'Mhorkya' won three awards including by audience! In this section Kedar Vaidya directed (based on Arun Sadhu's story) 'Ziprya' was also notable. Chinmay Kambali played this role and Amruta Subhash acted naturally in it!


Dilip Prabhavalkar in Gajendra Ahire's Marathi film 'Pimpal'!
There were less venues for '16th PIFF' this time..and audience faced projection problems & some time films without subtitles! While entering & find seats in auditoriums there.. person incharge of volunteers always talks rudely & insults media persons also! Observed that he motivate students or young crowd in auditorium to shout in joy when creative director comes for the felicitation on stage!.Such politics also happens every year there in it's closing ceremony which is harmful for the culture & growth of film festival!

Veteran Marathi filmmaker Rajdutt honoured in closing ceremony!
'PIFF' trying to increase it's activities like Open Forum on big ground (now centred at fixed multiplex) and expanding in other cities but still there are many areas to improve..especially in contents & quality of films! Even Catalogue not came out properly and what branding? 'PIFF' officials (with proper knowledge of cinema) seriously think about the comprehensive development..not quantitative but qualitative and without the monopoly of so called creatives!

Regards for the future of 'PIFF'!!

- Manoj Kulkarni
['Chitrasrushti', Pune, India]
 

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

TRIBUTE TO MASTER OF SOVIET CINEMA..EISENSTEIN!


- Manoj Kulkarni

Great Soviet Filmmaker & Theorist..Sergei Eisenstein!
Great Soviet Filmmaker, Film Theorist & Pioneer of Montage..Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein's 120th Birth Anniversary just happened!

Born in Latvia Sergei Eisenstein moved to Moscow in 1920 & started working on theatre. Then he became theorist by writing his famous 'The Montage of Attractions'! In 1923 he made his first short film 'Glumov's Diary' with great Dziga Vertov pioneer of Soviet documentary & newsreel!
Pioneer of Montage..Sergei Eisenstein!

In 1925 he made his first full-length silent feature film 'Strike' which depicted workers' protest in pre-communist Russia, 1903! Then he made his worldwide critically acclaimed film 'The Battleship Potemkin' (1925) in which he introduced his unique technique of editing..called 'Montage'! This important film focused on the Russian Revolution of 1905..in that the crew of battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers showed!..Still remember watching this film & studing it's montage scene during our 'Film Appreciation Course' in 1989 at FTII!

Eisenstein's 'The Battleship Potemkin's(1925) Odessa steps scene!
[That famous montage of Odessa steps sequence latter reappeared (or copied) in popular Indian film 'Tezaab' (1987) made by N. Chandra!]

Eisenstein's such politically loaded films galvanised the cinema of former Soviet Union! In 1928 he made film 'October' celebrating 10th anniversary of the revolution took place in that month in 1917!
Eisenstein's film 'October' (1928).

After this in 1930 he co-directed French film 'Romance Sentimentale' with prominent Soviet filmmaker Grigori Aleksandrov! Latter in 1938 he made sound film 'Alexander Nevsky' a 13th century historical drama!

Eisenstein's 'Ivan The Terrible' I & II.
In 1944 Eisenstein made the biopic on sixteenth century Russian Tsar Ivan IV Vasilyevich..'Ivan The Terrible'! This first part presenting him as national hero pleased Stalin; but the second part (or sequel) with same name was banned and released a decade after Eisenstein's death during Nikita Khrushchev's rule in 1958!

Tribute to this great filmmaker & theorist!!

- Manoj Kulkarni
['Chitrasrushti', Pune, India]

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

TRIBUTE TO STUNT QUEEN..FEARLESS NADIA!

 
- Manoj Kulkarni


Yesterday was 110th Birth Anniversary of legendary stunt actress of Indian Cinema..Fearless Nadia!..And today is her 21st Death Anniversary!!

Pretty Mary Ann..Nadia!
She was born in Australia as Mary Ann who came with parents in India during World War I. Here she got training in horse riding & shooting. Latter she learned ballet in Bombay and performed on theatre all over India!

Fearless Nadia's hit films!
After mastered in the art of cartwheels & splits..in 1930 she joined 'Zarko Circus' with the name of (fearless) Nadia! Then she was introduced to cinema by Jamshed 'J.B.H.' Wadia, founder of 'Wadia Movietone'. There he first presented her in film 'Desh Deepak' as a cameo in hand-painted colour sequence..in which her blue eyes & blonde hair impressed!
Homi Wadia & Jamshed Wadia.

Then she appeared on screen as Princess Parizaad in costume-drama 'Noor-e-Yaman'. After it's grand success, considering her skills in stunts..J.B.H.s younger brother director Homi Wadia presented her with such roles in action films like..'Hunterwali'. (1935), 'Miss Frontier Mail' (1936), 'Lutaru Lalana' (1938), 'Diamond Queen' (1940) & 'Jungle Princess' (1942). In all such films stuntman John Cawas was her hero!
Fearless Nadia's 'Khiladi'!

Almost all her films became hits and she became Lady Stunt Star of Indian Cinema! At her 50s she came on screen like James Bond in film 'Khiladi' (1967) which also directed by Homi Wadia whom she married!

In 1993 her grandnephew Riyad Vinci Wadia made documentary on her..'Fearless: The Hunterwali Story'! In 1996 at the age of 88 she left the world!

Homage to her!!

- Manoj Kulkarni
['Chitrasrushti', Pune]

Monday, 8 January 2018

'MOZART OF MADRAS' A. R. RAHMAN..51!


- Manoj Kulkarni


Our renowned Music director A.R. Rahman!

One of the icons of world music..Indian composer, singer, songwriter & music producer..A.R. Rahman now 51!

Mani Ratnam's film 'Roja' (1992).

Rahman's career as film music composer started in 1990s and he got success with renowned filmmaker Mani Ratnam's Social Tamil/Hindi film 'Roja's (1992) music. It's title track with strong performances of Aravind Swami & Madhu touched the hearts! Then he got fame with music of Prabhu Deva & Nagma acted S. Shankar's romantic Tamil film 'Kadhalan' (1994) in which his songs like "Mukkabla.." & he sung "Urvashi.." became hits!
Ram Gopal Varma's 'Rangeela' (1995).


He made his bollywood debut in 1995 with music of Ram Gopal Varma's film 'Rangeela' in which Amir Khan & Urmila Matondkar rocked on his hit tunes! Same year Mani Ratnam's strong contemporary film 'Bombay' came..And he composed it's theme & songs like "Kehna hi kya.." made the visuals & performance of pretty Manisha Koirala..more intense!
Mani Ratnam's 'Bombay' (1995).


Then Mani Ratnam directed beautiful Aishwarya Rai's debut film 'Iruvar' (Tamil/1997) & Shahrukh Khan starrer social 'Dil se' (Hindi/1998) established him as leading music director in Tamil & Hindi film industry!

Mani Ratnam & Ram Gopal Varma with A. R. Rahman!





In 2008 he entered in international cinema with Danny Boyle's English film 'Slumdog Millionaire' which won 8 Academy Awards and he gained 'Best Original Score' award which was a first for an Asian! Then his music for Hollywood film 'Couples Retreat' won Best Score 'BMI' London Award!

Mani Ratnam's 'Iruvar' (1997).



From Subhash Ghai's musical 'Taal' (1999), Ashutosh Govarikar's historical epic 'Jodha Akbar' (2008) to Yash Chopra's modern romantic 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' (2012)..A. R. Rahman composed special kind of scores..and continuing his outstanding musical journey. In 2017 he made his debut as a director & writer with the film 'Le Musk'!

YRF's 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' (2012).


Rahman's works are noted for integrating Eastern classical music with electronic Western music..So he known as one of the world's most prominent & prolific music composers & ''Mozart of Madras''!

Music director A.R. Rahman with two 'Oscar' awards!





He won various awards in which includes two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe, four National Awards, fifteen Filmfare Awards! And he also got Padma Bhushan!

Best wishes to him with his 'Oscar' winning song.."JAY HO.."

- Manoj Kulkarni
['Chitrasrushti', Pune, India]

Monday, 1 January 2018