Movie Review- Sui Dhaaga- Made in India

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It is not every day that you come across a story so heartwarming and characters so genuine that not just inspire the writer in you but also evoke jealousy.

Apart from giving us countless memes, the movie “Sui Dhaaga” is a win for its makers. It is also a win for the small town lower middle-class India which in the recent years had lost its voice to the urban settings and metropolises.

The movie stands out for its sheer simplicity and the no frill storytelling is what makes it unique. The exposition begins right from the first scene when the central character “Mauji’s” voice hits you with “Sab Badhiya Hai” (everything is all right), the mantra which helps millions of Indians wade through the struggles of everyday life with a smile. The unbearable summer heat and innumerable power cuts ‘Sab Badhiya Hai ji’, biting cold with no heaters or warm water, ‘Sab Badhiya hai ji”, eight sitting on a railway birth meant for four, ‘Sab badhiya hai ji’. God knows what we would have done without this phrase. Right from the very first time Varun Dhavan utters it, you forget you are watching a mainstream Bollywood thuuu1529506677 actor in a movie. Dhavan is brilliant and owns up Mauji like it’s nobody’s business and I can imagine no one else pulling it off with such ease and believability. Varun Dhavan is a hidden gem in the garb of a commercial actor and I hope and pray he keeps opting for such diverse roles and let the audience feast on him.

Anushka Sharma’s “Mamta” is an ode to the countless middle-class women on this country who are so resilient and powerful behind the walls of home and silence. These women who can teach the city raised a fine lesson on self-belief and feminism. She ignites the aspirations in her man, advice and k4_dWy9P_400x400guides him while walking with him every step of the way. She does not shy away from taking initiatives when things get tough and goes the extra step to even try fixing it in her own way. Sharma is fabulous in her portrayal of the small-town married woman who is kind, compassionate and wise.

Sharma embodies her physically by donning colorful synthetic sarees, matching sweater blouses, bright red bindi and thick vermilion with her hair neatly parted. She rounds up all of that with a very small townly thing of skin colored toe socks worn over cheap sandals. But, Sharma also embodies her in spirit. Her Mamta is ignited but in a slow seething manner. She doesn’t bedazzle but gives out a warm positive glow for everyone around her to bask in.

The unfolding love story between the Mauji and Mamta had so much heart in it that it reminds one of the ideal couples that one encounters in every day real life. Not much is spoken but every little gesture acknowledged, shared and cherished. A refreshing deviation from Bollywood’s cliché take on romance.

The sets, the costumes, the secondary characters all add to the setting, theme and tone of the story in a relevant and required manner. The quirkiness, the idiosyncrasies, the small-town mentality, the constantly worrying paranoid parents, all have been woven into the story to add rich details.

As an in-house organizational development consultant for Usha during my initial years, I have a personal connection to this film. With some very strategic brand association and placement, Usha has come a long way since the days when it was re-navigating its place in the products market. Having worked on the CSR initiatives I am a first-hand witness to Usha and its owner’s commitment to include and forward people who are associated with them. The Sewing schools are one of the many things done by them as a part of their social responsibility initiatives.

This film came right at the back of the “Make in India” campaign. However, it hardly comes across as a propaganda driven government mouth piece which it could have easily lapsed into. But, with honest performances and a great story, Sui Dhaaga-Made in India is a feel-good uplifting watch. You root for the characters from the very beginning and somehow towards the end when a situation arises implying they may lose the big competition, it doesn’t matter because you hear yourself say, “Sab Badhiya Hai”. The denouement however only adds cherry to the top of an already perfect cake.

 

 

Romancing the Past

I did not belong to the generation of my country that had Murphy radio glued to their ears. For news and more than that, as their sole source of entertainment. But, even though I belonged to the TV generation, I liked the radio better. Well, for beginners, nobody called it an Idiot Box and I loved getting clicked in the Murphy Baby pose.

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I distinctly remember the cold winter evenings when people gathered outside tea shops, made a fire and huddled around it with a radio at the center. They drank tea, enjoyed the songs and discussed news. The “chai & charcha” (tea & discourse) was such an integral part of Indian way of life.

For me, I can recall so many nights when I went to sleep clutching the small black radio with the volume turned lowest.

In my house, the radio was switched on at 7:00 in the morning so that we could listen to the BBC English news as we got ready for school. It taught me correct usage, pronunciation, enunciation of the language and also enriched my vocabulary. Radio was not just for entertainment, not for me. With regional and international news, presenters who were well informed and experts on the subjects of discussions with clear diction and impeccable language skills, radio was a wealth of information . Anyone listening to All India Radio or AIR would be abreast of the current events from all across the world from New Zealand to Nagaland. Well, for me, it also meant great scores in General Knowledge tests and and a repertoire of excellent points to put forth during class debates.

I loved the radio, I still do. And even in this age of thousands of FM channel, my favorite remains Vividh Bharti – Desh ki surili dhadhkan (Nation’s melodious heart-beat). Which it has remained for as long as generations can remember.

In all probability the most popular programs were the ones which played songs from the Hindi movies. Ameen Sayani’s ,”Bhayio and Behnon” (Brothers & Sisters) would bring a smile on the most tired faces. And one cannot forget “Jaimala” dedicated to the soldiers of the Indian Army and BSF, playing song requests sent in by them. My personal favorite was “Hawa Mahal”, a program that aired audio plays. I owe my oral storytelling capabilities to programs like these.

The summer afternoons and winter evenings would have been dreadful without the solace of the radio. What bliss it was to curl up in the blanket with tea and your favorite songs playing on the radio.

Radio enjoyed much popularity for decades and in turn ensured the establishment and popularity of the Indian Cinema by taking it to the masses. So entrenched was Radio’s presence in the collective Indian mindset that when TV did make an appearance in Indian households, the most popular programs were “Rangoli” and “Chitrahaar”. Both were programs based on playlist of old and new songs from the Hindi films. I am sure no other country in the world plays “Antakshari” (the last alphabet) where as the name suggests one had to sing songs starting with the last alphabet used by the previous player in his/her song.

Radio introduced me to music and so many things wonderful. In my future blog posts I will discuss songs from the Hindi cinema that had lasting impact on me as a writer. Till then you can check out my YouTube channel where I have reacted to a few songs from the Golden Era of Indian Cinema.

Leave me a comment if you would like me to write about any of your favorite songs.

Love Vintage and want to Romance the Past? Check out my book “A Vintage Tale-What’s Past is Prologue” and take a trip to Victorian India.

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The Book: Ramblings of a Debut Author

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It has been a long wait. It begins ever since you put down your first words on paper. I wanted it to be read. But, I had not dared to dream, to see it in print and into the hands of the people.

The fears, the self disappointments, the doubts; I went through everything that comes with the job profile of a writer. But, the stories in your head, they don’t let you rest. The characters nag you, chase your dreams at night and disrupt your thoughts during the day. They cajole you into writing their side, threaten you with burying the threads of their stories and blackmail you emotionally by tugging on your guilt. There comes a time when you have to bring yourself in-front of that white screen and let them take over.

Stories are strange, you start with one thing and then you end up discovering more about your own creation as you progress. The good ones turn out to have grey shades and the grey ones have more white than black.

It took four years for me to finish my book and yet I often find myself floating into that world which I created and being enamored by it’s beauty. Perhaps, I can say, I did all that I could to the best of my abilities. Though it would be a shame if this is my best work because I intend to keep writing more and improving my craft along the way. Having said that I have put out a part of myself to be read, evaluated and judged.

So, God help me.

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A Vintage tale-now avilable

Orange Saree and Hindi Film Heroines

The first technicolor Indian film was Dilip Kumar, Nimmi and Nadira starrer “Aan” released in 1952. Since then, Hindi cinema has always been perceived and accepted as the kaleidoscopic, colorful and vibrant extravaganza by movie viewers around the world. Add to that, melodious music, soulful songs with beautiful lyrics and the spectacle stands complete.

Amidst all the beautiful colors and iconic songs, there is one common thread. The presence of the color orange.  Some of the biggest musical hits over the years had the heroine donning an orange saree. Orange is a vibrant color that has so many moods. Playful, flirty, sensual and downright seductive if it comes to that. It also looks absolutely gorgeous on the Indian skin tone and therefore from Mumtaz to Madhuri, Vijentimala to Katrina Kaiff, all have draped six yards of orange and set our hearts flutter.

The first song that comes to mind is definitely, “Tere husn ki kya tareef karoon” from the movie “Leader” 1964. The young Vyjayanthimala draped in a sheer orange saree looks hqdefaultbreathtakingly gorgeous. Her hair pulled back to display her very quintessential Indian features with those big almond eyes absolutely justify the lyrics of the song.

The other song that flashes in my mind is “Aajkal tere mere pyar ke charche” from the movie “Brahmachari” 1968. This iconic song picturized on vivacious “Mumtaz” not only lets her rock that orange saree but also introduced the new way of draping it. Etched in our collective memories, the 03sd21 “Mumtaz” style of draping a saree is still a huge hit in the retro theme parties and weddings. There is another memorable song picturized on her where she clad in orange playfully disturbs Rajesh Khanna’s study session. “Bindiya Chamkegi” is sweet and melodious and our heroine teaches us how to get those trademark Bollywood hip shakes right. Can I also mention “Jai jai shiv shankar” an absolutely fun number where again “Mumtaz” in her orange saree made the song memorable with her expressions.

 

The heroines of 60s sure loved their orange saree and it will be blasphemous if I move on without mentioning the passionate “Roop Tera Mastana”. “Sharmila Tagore” with her DcC9u4BWAAA_rjvorange saree tastefully draped over her bare shoulders redefined sensuality.

 

 

 

Rakhi’s” innocence captured in the song, “Oh meri Sharmilee” again had her flaunting an orange saree with beautiful black embroidery. “Zaheeda Hussain” looked equal maxresdefault (1)measure glamorous and chic in the song “Choori Nahi Ye Mera Dil Hai”  and teary eyed “Rajashree” was tragically beautiful in “Dil ke Jharokhe mein tujhko bitha ker”.

 

 

Come 70s and Zeenat Amaan taught us that the right way to get wet in the rain is in an b4931276-94d1-4e5a-a14a-4b63e86a0f5aorange saree. The iconic “Hai Hai Ye Majboori” sees her channeling her inner desi girl.

 

 

 

The legacy was carried on when “Madhuri Dixit” set the screens on fire in “Dhak Dhakmadhuridixit Kerne Laga” and the 90s redefined Hindi Film heroine who was now bold enough to embrace the sexual aspect of relationships. Close on the heels of this number came the anthem song of 90s on screen sexuality. “Raveena Tandon” took a leaf out of Zeenat Amaan’s book and decided to do a rain dance in an orange chiffon. It sure was enough to melt our Khiladi boy like candle wax.

I have always been a fan of Sushmita Sen, a graceful actress and a dancer who makes thex360--26 most horrible of bollywood choreography look elegant. The song I want to mention is “Laga laga laga re laga Prem Rog”. Her dual shaded orange saree and fun dance steps on a fast paced number is a delight to watch. Befittingly, she too gets drenched in a sudden downpour, keeping the trend alive.

 

Last but definitely not the end of list, when Kareena Kapoor had to recreate the love as itmaxresdefault happens in the movie, she chose to wear an orange saree off course and get wet in the rain. The song in question is “Zubi Dubi Zubi Dubi Pampaa” from 3 Idiots if you haven’t guessed already. There can be no better tribute to the importance of orange saree and hindi film heroines and this is the point where I rest my case.

 

Leave a comment if you think I missed out on any other iconic song.

And that’s why I love S.T.Coleridge

Recommend playing it as you read.

I fell in love with Samuel Taylor Coleridge when I was in ninth grade. As a teenager I could not fathom any other poem as enchanting and yet so poignant as ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. I couldn’t sleep the night I first read the poem as the vivid imagery painted with words kept appearing in my dreams. For the first time my young mind grasped the true meaning of the power of words.

Coleridge and his mariner have stayed with me ever since. As I was writing my novel I reached the point where I had to describe the sea journey from London to Bombay.  I found myself repeating the lines from the poem over and over again.

Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.

The Rime of the Ancient mariner

It finds a mention in my novel and my reference to Coleridge doesn’t stop there. As I kept writing and growing I discovered another poem, Kubla Khan,[ Kubla Khan] and fell in love with the poet all over again.
This time the poet and his process of writing the poem became my fixation. ‘Kubla Khan or a vision in Dream, A Fragment’ is one out of the three most celebrated poems written by Coleridge, the other two being ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and ‘Christabel’.
An opium induced sleep gave birth to this masterpiece. Coleridge’s play with imagery, the use of assonance and alliteration, the varying speed of words and the play of vowels are at fine display in this poem. Readers and Critics for generations have tried interpreting it. Some find it an ode to creativity and imagination, others analyse the metaphorical exploration of relationship between the poet and society and some even find strong sexual connotations and references to yonic imagery.
The romantic idea of getting high and then creating something absolutely beautiful has appealed many a creative minds. Whether it was Sartre who took so much mescaline that he saw crabs everywhere or Aldous Huxley who experimented extensively with LSD and mescaline and wrote a mind blowing book ‘The Doors of Perception’. I cannot even start listing the musicians who did their best work when high and the number of songs dedicated to drugs. I would like to credit Coleridge to be the trend setter of this phenomenon, he brought “cool” to literature, much before Hemingway.
But, I don’t feel connected to his words for the above reasons.
Coleridge was an outcast, a rebel in his own right, different from the rest; a Dark Horse. He started off with William Wordsworth but while Wordsworth became a celebrated poet, Coleridge was pushed to the periphery of the literati world because of his illness and his subsequent addiction. His idealism and his Utopian dream of a Pantisocracy, its inevitable failure, poor financial condition and yet his invaluable efforts in reviving Shakespeare and Milton, make his life’s story both tragic and full of enigma. He is as hypnotic as the “glittering eyes” of the ancient mariner who could force people to stay put and listen to him.
Coleridge lived an unconventional albeit a calamitous life and it somehow makes him approachable to the reader. I would probably be scared to death to meet larger than life,  E.Hemingway, but Coleridge; not so much.
And that why I love Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Coleridge finds a lot of reference in my book and most important of them is in context of my male protagonist; Christopher Delano. Like Coleridge, he is an opium addict with a dark past and disturbed present who longs for an Abyssinian maid who would help him create the perfect world he dreams of. Not unlike Coleridge, he didn’t get a chance until it was too late. A misplaced sense of morality, drowning in pity and hatred, Christopher Delano walks on the path of self-destruction.
He describes himself thus:
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<a href=”https://clipartxtras.com/”>clipartxtras.com</a&gt;

 

“So, you see Miss. McCarthy, I am no hero. For most, I am a pilgrim in search of redemption, of what nature, I am not sure.”
Read more in my book and find out if Miss. McCarthy eventually turns out to be his Abyssinian maid who saves him from himself.
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