Monday, April 4, 2011

rec.arts.movies.local.indian - 3 new messages in 3 topics - digest


Today's topics:

* MAHUA, MADOL AND SHAAL FORESTS - 1 messages, 1 author
* BEST HOT PHOTOS&VIDEOS - 1 messages, 1 author
* bollywood celebrities - 1 messages, 1 author


== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Sun, Apr 3 2011 12:30 am
From: and/or (Dr. Jai Maharaj)

Mahua, madol and shaal forests

By Kanchan Gupta
The Pioneer
Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nearly a decade ago, a television channel had commissioned me to
interview Sunil Gangopadhyay, among the finest writers of Bengali
prose who is also considered by many to be the best contemporary
poet. The interview was scheduled for a monsoon afternoon. It had
been raining heavily since the previous evening and Kolkata had
decided to take a day off as streets and lanes rapidly disappeared
under water. There's no way he will come to the studio in this
weather, we might as well call it off, I told the producer who had by
then begun to compute his losses. But Sunil did come for the
interview and he wasn't late either. We chatted for a while, had
coffee, and then settled down for the interview.

I found Sunil to be a great raconteur and an effortless communicator
who, once he warmed up, held me spellbound with his masterful ability
to recall events and make them come alive without so much as shifting
in his chair. He chose his words with loving care like an artist
mixing colours on his palette to get the right shade before putting
brush to canvas. What was equally impressive was his humility; while
recounting his early years when he was struggling to make his mark as
a writer, he let others take the centrestage while he remained the
storyteller, deeply interested in all that was happening around him
yet calmly detached.

It was while talking about his early years that he mentioned how he
and his friends, including Shakti Chattopadhyay, all of them poets,
would travel deep into rural Bengal and south Bihar, explore forests
and lead a Bohemian life that was our version of the 1960s and 1970s
when Allen Ginsberg discovered the charms of Banaras. It was more
than the shallow mystical flower power of the times; it was intense
and, to an extent, daringly reckless -- you pushed yourself to the
brink and then pulled back. For Sunil, Shakti and others, it was
their most creative years which they spent rescuing Bengali prose and
poetry from sloganeers and pamphleteers masquerading as writers.
There was nothing dark and desolate about what they wrote; there was
passion and ebullience. Even unrequited love was to be celebrated and
treasured, not mourned over.

One such 'trip' -- that's the word Sunil used -- was to Dhalbhumgarh.
"Four of us decided we should get out of Kolkata, we needed a breath
of fresh air. So we just got into a train at Howrah station. We had
not even purchased tickets for the journey... the idea was to get off
at a place that would catch our imagination. So, on the way we paid
for our journey to the travelling ticket-examiner. He asked us for
our destination. We told him that we didn't know where we were going
to. That really stumped him!" As Dhalbhumgarh approached, they were
enchanted by the dense shaal forest shimmering in the early autumn
morning light and they decided to get off at the tiny station.

The next few days were a journey of discovery for Sunil, an
exploration of the way we who live in cities look at forests and
their tribal dwellers, and the way they look at us. The mahua-soaked
story of that 'trip' appeared in a Puja baarshiki (annual literary
magazines published during Durga Puja) in 1967 as Aranyer Din Raatri.
"One day, I think it was Ashtami, I received a call. The person at
the other end had a deep, baritone voice and introduced himself as
Satyajit Ray," Sunil told me, carrying the story of the 'trip'
forward in his inimitable style, "I couldn't believe myself. Satyajit
Ray? Calling me?" By then Ray had made a name for himself and was a
celebrity in Kolkata. The master filmmaker told Sunil that he had
just finished reading Aranyer Din Raatri and wanted to make a film
based on the novel. Could he get the rights? Sunil, of course, said

The eponymous film was released in 1969 and was a big hit, marking
Ray's shift to contemporary issues and 1960s Bengali middle class
angst. Like many other films directed by Ray, Aranyer Din Raatri (or
Days and Nights of the Forest, as it was titled for foreign audience)
featured Soumitra Chatterjee, Rabi Ghosh and Aparna Sen. Pahari
Sanyal and Kaberi Bose were there too. The surprise inclusions were
Samit Bhanja and Subhendu Chatterjee. And the biggest surprise was
the inclusion of Simi Garewal who played the role of a seductive
young tribal woman, Duli, lisping in half-Bengali, half-Santhali, her
large kohl-lined eyes as intoxicating as the heady smell of mahua
even before it has been dried and fermented. Ray elevated Sunil's
portrayal of the eternal conflict between man and nature and the
clash of two worlds, one in which we live and the other inhabited by
tribals, to cinematic brilliance. Next year, in 1970, Ray produced a
second film based on a novel written by Sunil. Pratidwandi was an
urban story, in sharp contrast to Aranyer Din Raatri.

That afternoon, after the interview was over and we were smoking
cigarettes over coffee, Sunil reverted to Aranyer Din Raatri. "You
know, I felt honoured by Ray deciding to make a film based on my
novel. But I do wish he had consulted me on the script. When I saw
the film, it was a lot different from my book," he told me. Which is
true. If you read the book and then watch the film, the differences
become stark. But Ray would argue that he was making a film while
Sunil was writing a novel. The medium forced the changes.

Meanwhile, Dhalbhumgarh has changed, as has all of Chhota Nagpur as
the plateau was called in the past. Jharkhand is only part of the
region symbolised by Dhalbhumgarh in Aranyer Din Raatri. The dense
shaal forests have disappeared, thanks to the timber mafia, and the
rude intrusion of 'urbanisation' has changed the lives of forest
dwellers -- the Santhals, the Mundas, the Bhumij, the Lodhas and the
Sabars -- forever. You won't find Dulis dancing to the throbbing beat
of madol or tribals happily high on mahua singing Tusu songs.

When we were growing up in Jamshedpur, we would often go for school
picnics to nearby jungles beyond Subarnarekha or Domohoni, where
Subarnarekha embraces Karkai, redolent with the smell of shaal, mahua
and tendu. Those forests have been plundered by dikus with the help
of tribal collaborators. The animals are gone, too. All this happened
many years ago; the loot is being talked of now. In the name of
'development' and 'empowerment', we have destroyed the culture of the
forest; the days and nights of carefree existence of an entire people
now belong to the distant past.

More at:

Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti

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== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Sun, Apr 3 2011 9:09 pm

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TOPIC: bollywood celebrities

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Sun, Apr 3 2011 11:27 pm
From: cherry


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