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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Katyar Kaljat Ghusali: A tribute to Hindustani Classical Music, Marathi Theatre and Great Acting

Having watched every teaser and trailer that the talented crew of Katyar Kaljat Ghusali (KKG, meaning: a dagger through the heart) released over the last couple of months, and having read about the time-tested and much respected Marathi play of the same name that premiered 58 years ago, I was all set to soak in its movie adaptation, knowing that you can only expect the best from Subodh Bhave, even if he was making his directorial debut with this.

My knowledge of Marathi is only limited to the recent movies I have watched, the Abhangs I listen to, and a few trips I have made to Pune. But the Marathi movies have made a huge mark on me of late, through their artistic quality and sheer acting brilliance of actors like Atul Kulkarni and Subodh Bhave. It looks like the strong theater background has its impact. Period dramas are the kind of movies that have come out exceptionally well over the years, and I expected KKG to be no less artistic than Balgandharva (2011) or Lokmanya: Ek Yugpurush earlier this year. Bhave was one of the primary reasons why those two movies became classics, and this was enough to heighten my expectations for KKG.

The fact that the movie got released only in a multiplex 40 kms away from home at Bangalore did not deter my desire to watch it. Monday, the day on which I decided to watch the movie, a 4 hour traffic jam in Whitefield combined with incessant rains tried ensuring that I didn't get my wish, but a decision to get down from the bus and walk to the theater for about 3 kilometers made sure that we were just there in time for the beginning of the movie. And in the end, all the pain taken to get there was more than worth it!

While the noted Hindustani Classical singers of yesteryear Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande and Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki were instrumental in ensuring the play became part of the modern Maharastra folklore, Rahul Deshpande, Vasantrao's grandson and Mahesh Kale, Jitendra's disciple, have had a huge impact on making this musical on big screen a grand success. Add to that the trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, and the involvement of Shankar Mahadevan going beyond just music, it should already be getting hard to fail. The music is enthralling, captivating, and the choice of ragas and lyrics to suit the situations could not have been any better.

Never for a moment you would feel that this is Shankar Mahadevan's first film as an actor. He has poured life into the role of Bhanu Shankar Shastri, while it is a spectacle to watch Sachin Pilgaonkar and Subodh Bhave play Khan Saheb Aftab Hussein and Sadashiva through their musical duels. Their expressions and natural acting makes you completely believe that they are the ones actually singing all through the movie. The Uma - Zareena friendship has been brought to life very well by Mrunmayee Deshpande and Amruta Khanvilkar. The story and its pace keeps you hooked and the climax will leave you spellbound an wanting much more of the musical extravaganza.

Overall, an outstanding movie that deserves every accolade it gets and more, and definitely deserves larger audience than just the Marathi speaking folks...

The Official Trailer:

The famous Ghei Chand Makarand renditions:

Sunday, 1 November 2015

An Ode to Federer and Nadal in Kannada

A poem I had written when the rivalry between Federer and Nadal was at its fiercest. They are locking horns today again, and no better time to publish it...

ಫೆಡರರ್ ಮತ್ತು ನಡಾಲ್ ನಡುವಣ ಪೈಪೋಟಿ ಉತ್ತುಂಗದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದ ಒಂದು ಪದ್ಯ:

ಯೋಧರೀರ್ವರು ಬಂದು ನಿಂತರು
ಮಧ್ಯೆ ಪರದೆಯ ಅಂಕಣ
ಮತ್ತೆ ಸೆಣೆಸಲು ಸಿದ್ಧರಿದ್ದರು
ಕಟ್ಟಿ ಗೆಲುವಿನ ಕಂಕಣ

ಓರ್ವನವರಲಿ ಸವ್ಯಸಾಚಿ
ಜಗವನೆಲ್ಲವ ಗೆದ್ದವ
ಪಂದ್ಯಕಲೆಯೋ ಮಕ್ಕಳಾಟವೊ
ಭಿನ್ನವರಿಯದೆ ನುರಿತವ

ಹಿಮದ ಬೆಟ್ಟದ ಹಸಿರು ತಪ್ಪಲ
ಹಸುಗಳೊಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಬೆಳೆದವ
ಹಸುಳೆತನವನು ಪ್ರತಿಭೆಯನ್ನು
ಹಸನು ಮಾಡುತ ಕಳೆದವ

ಎರಡನವನೂ ಕಡಿಮೆಯಿಲ್ಲ
ಗರಡಿ ಸಾಮಿನ ಗಟ್ಟಿಗ
ಉಸಿರ ಬಿಡುವೆನು ಸೋಲನೊಪ್ಪೆನು
ಎಂಬ ಧ್ಯೇಯದ ಜಟ್ಟಿಗ

ಗೂಳಿಕಾಳಗ ನಡೆಸಿ ಮಣಿಸುವ
ಕೆಂಪು ಮಣ್ಣಲಿ ಹುಟ್ಟಿದ
ಬೆವರ ಸುರಿಸುತ ಬಿದ್ದು ಏಳುತ
ಜಯದ ಹಾದಿಯ ಮೆಟ್ಟಿದ

ಜನರು ನೆರೆವರು ಮುಗಿದು ಬೀಳ್ವರು
ಸತ್ತ್ವದಾಟವ ನೋಡಲು
ಗೆಲುವನೊಬ್ಬನು ಸೋಲ್ವನೊಬ್ಬನು
ಮುಂದುವರಿವುದು ಕಾಳಗ