Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Magic of Merchant-Ivory

If you've had the pleasure of settling back to watch the 1986
film 'A Room With A View' then you know the way I feel about
certain filmmakers.

I got to thinking of The White Countess, a film I
have been wanting to see for over 5 years, starring the late
Natasha Richardson. Then I thought of her fatal accident
and then I thought of the real reason why I wanted to see
that film....the team
that created it was Merchant-Ivory
- old favorites I blogged about almost three years ago in
a post titled
'Shakespearana-walla' Theirs was a leisurely
, never lacking in theatrics and high drama, and above all,
giving us the most sumptuous scenes of life in exotic locales.
They certainly gave of their best right from the first scene,
no matter how leisurely their pace.

So what makes a moviegoer stay glued to his seat right from

the opening credits ? Great Music, or a fabulous opening
sequence ? It takes a lot to accomplish an opening scene that
captures an audience's attention from those first few frames.
Unlike the Trailer for the film, which gets to highlight the best
scenes, the opening Titles and credits cannot afford to just
fly by but instead must be matched by scenes and/or music
as impressive as the stellar casting involved.

Usually the masters of filmmaking choose to build up to a
crescendo by pacing themselves and ending with a twist or a
big surprise. And then there are the other ones.

Like a day at the beach when the only order
of business for
most is tanning, drinking or dozing off, these masters
the viewers onto a different plane and then slowly drip a
lotion, and before you know it they have you numbed and
their grip.
Masters that stick in my head for their utter disregard
for the rewards of the mainstream pace. Masters
in the mold of
Ismail Merchant and James Ivory how they take
the Cast and Credits Opening sequence for an unusual Bollywood
outing called 'Bombay Talkie' and convey the daily hustle
and bustle of the Indian city Mumbai as it's called now, even
as the credits roll in their perfectly natural surroundings.
If the opening theme music scene sounds familiar to some of
you it's because it was recently used in Wes Anderson's
recent film 'The Darjeeling Limited'

And now, a little YouTube fun from this Bollywood film....a nutty
tune called
'Typewriter Tip Tip Tip' .....enjoy !

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Howzat ? What's that ? For those folks from countries that have not been part
of the British Commonwealth, the word 'Howzat' is part of Cricket terminology,
an appeal from a player on the fielding team asking an umpire for a decision
regarding whether a
batsman is out or not.

And Cricket ? What is that ? Isn't that a game in the West Indies copied from
Baseball ? No, it's the other way around my Gringo amigos ! Baseball and the
rounders were brought by British and Irish immigrants to North
where the modern version of baseball developed. But I'm not here
to get into the
finer points of Cricket or Baseball, because I've always been
more of a Soccer fan. A long time ago.

But Soccer ? Wassup with that ?? Isn't that like, Football ?'s not !
Go check the
wiki pages. See what came first and see if I care, mucho
Macho Muchacho ! #*&/h@e(!T^%_$(>!! Now as I was saying............

LINK TV, my favorite reality TV connection serves up another Indian School
episode set in Pune,
my old hometown, this time featuring Cricket at
The Poona Club, that revered bastion of traditional high society in Pune.
A sort of exclusive Members-only Sports-Club-meets-the-wealthy VIP locals,
an institution left over from the days of the British Raj.

"The site where the present Club stands, was originally known as
“Edward Garden” where, in 1862 recreation rooms were
built for the use
of military troops and later came to be known as
“Assembly Rooms” or
“Soldier’s Institute”.
Poona Club Ltd Entrance Sign

The LINK TV Synopsis for 'Howzat'
"November and December are great months for cricket. Clear blue skies and
hard wickets make for some serious competition in all corners of Pune.
Poor children play “gulley cricket” in the slums and hope that, one day, they
might get a place at the Pune Club, one of the city’s top training grounds
for young talent.

We follow Rohit, who has grown up in the shadow of the great Pune Club and
always dreamed of captaining their team. He’s the son of a groundsman,
living in servants’ quarters, but once through the club’s gates he plays
alongside the city’s elite and the sons of millionaires. His cricketing dreams
are all the more important as they represent his family’s best chance of
escaping poverty."

Visit the BBC/Open University Indian School Series Website

Visit Link's Indian School Website

Thursday, January 14, 2010

HAITI : L’union fait la force

L’union fait la force (Unity is strength)
~ Motto of Haiti

Above, Screenshot of Flickr photos
originally uploaded and Copyrighted
by creator and owner
Glenn Losack MD

I know that somewhere in India the Furious Physician
a.k.a. Dr. Glenn Losack, an American on an annual trip

is grieving deeply for the dead and the living of Haiti.
I know he would rather be in Haiti at this very moment, caring
and offering aid to the many victims there.

I know this because during the past year I have been in close
contact with him on an almost daily basis via his Facebook
and Flickr posts, as he relentlessly provides his
Doctor's Daily
of Prescribed Meditation -pictures from an enormous collection
of photographs he has taken all over the world. Many are from his
contributions to everyone's favorite,
National Geographic magazine,
and offer wonderful unseen Travel images we have come to expect
of that hallowed and renowned publication. Yet none of his most
heartfelt, personal captures have been given their due respect and
exposure for some strange reason. Why ? Perhaps it is because the
ones he pushes on us show so much Misery, Poverty, Sickness and
Despair -
deeply disturbing images that the average daily viewer
fathom, stomach, or fully appreciate. Images that have yet
to find a Contemporary market in a world where the Abstract and
the Digital High-Tech reign supreme.

The utterly devastating news of the Earthquake in
Haiti, known as
World's Poorest Nation, will make his current trip to India
al the more
trying as he continues his increasingly personal Mission
of Mercy and Compassion.
He is in India to raise funds and awareness
for various problems
like Mental Illness, Leprosy and Poverty and
Human Rights.
Haiti is just one of the places that he has quietly
and fully given of himself, returning to his home in NYC with
vast pictorial documents of the Human condition at its worst, and
renewed resolve to make a difference, no matter how small in the
lives of all around him.

My personal philosophies, thoughts and inflated ego have been
turned and refashioned, thanks to his persistent insights.
And so today and in the hard days ahead for
Haiti, I especially
Glenn Losack, MD, a.k.a. The Furious Physician.
He cares deeply, shouldn't you ?

Excerpt from One.Org's Keren Dongo's email today :

Dear Fred,
I was at a conference on Capitol Hill yesterday when I heard
the news of Haiti’s earthquake. My heart sank as I thought of
my aunts, uncles and cousins who still reside in Haiti. Before I
learned the extent of the earthquake, I was already in a state
of despair. Having an intimate knowledge of Haiti’s history,
I knew that the lack of infrastructure, disaster preparedness
and acute poverty would make a bad situation even worse.
However, I was not prepared for the long night of waiting to
hear which of my loved ones made it, and which didn’t.
Along with horrific television images, the morning brought
news that my Aunt and Uncle Duchatelier are alive, but their
home, and the primary school they built collapsed and all
they owned is destroyed. As I wait, pray and hope for the
safety of other family members that I have yet to hear from,
I am struck with the realization that Haiti’s long struggle against
poverty is now exacerbated, its needs now magnified, and the
vulnerability of the Haitian people more greatly exposed.
As we continue to hear about the devastation that the powerful
7.0 magnitude earthquake caused, our thoughts go out to the
victims of this disaster and those who are working to help the
nation recover. Disasters like this one are especially devastating
when they strike places that are already struggling to provide
the most basic of services for its population. With weak
government and private sector institutions, and with uncertain
security conditions, Haiti is the poorest, least developed
country in the Western Hemisphere, and the majority of
Haitians live in poverty. The sheer scale of poverty in the
country means that the government has limited capacity to
meet even the simplest needs of its people, let alone address
a disaster of this magnitude. Haiti’s lack of development—which
translates into a lack of government capacity for emergency
preparedness—magnifies the impact of this tragedy. In addition
to creating a very real and immediate humanitarian tragedy, this
earthquake and the struggle to navigate its aftermath will be an
enormous setback to the hard-won gains that Haiti has achieved
in recent years in securing a more stable environment and
fighting poverty......In spite of this disaster, a great aspect of
Haitian history tells us the Haitian people are resilient and
determined to better their lives. I am confident that with
the help of strong partners around the world, Haiti will rise
from its rubble and Haitians will live their motto:
L’union fait la force (Unity is strength)

We encourage you to read more and stay engaged on the
ONE Blog:

Thank you,
Keren Dongo

Community Engagement Manager, ONE

Useful Links :
Latest Post from One.Org on Facebook
Haiti on Facebook
Haiti Pictures by Flickr Photographers
The White House on Help for Haiti
Save the Children (US) Haiti Donation Page

Friday, January 01, 2010

Aruna : DC Comics Superbad babe

Thanks to my Flickr friend itslefty and his set of Comics
scanned I came across Aruna the 'metahuman shapeshifter'
....first Indian Super-heroine from Mumbai to grace the
pages of the classic DC Comics lineup.
According to Wikipedia
she made her first appearance in 2000, making her one
of the most interesting female comic-book heroes I never
heard of.

Lefty has over 200 scans for readers and lovers of Comic-book
Graphic Art. Don't miss this set and the rest of his whimsical,
insightful stuff :

I've been hooked on this type of artwork since the
naturally impressionable age of 5, thanks to my Dad who was
the most talented Artist and person I've ever encountered.

Twitpic Greeting for the New Year

Up, up and away into 2010 !

Out with the old, in with the new !
I may be getting older, but so are you......
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
Twitpic - Share photos on Twitter