The Common Man Speaks

12Nov/171

Flamenco-Kathaa: The Kathak and Flamenco fusion gives you a tremendous kick

Kathak is a classical Indian dance form. It is based on two words – Katha – which means story and – Kathaka – the one who tells a story. Hence, Kathak involves telling a story through dance without the use of words. On the other hand, Flamenco is a Spanish dance form.

Normally, a layman would consider the two arts forms poles apart. But Kathak performer Aditi Bhagwat and Flamenco artist Kunal Om revealed the similarities between the two dance forms not just verbally but through an awe-inspiring collaborative performance in the show Flamenco-Kathaa. The show was recently performed at the Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai.

The roots of Flamenco can be traced to the gypsies in Rajasthan. They traveled to various countries like Romania, Egypt and Hungary before finally settling in Spain, where they developed the art further. It is performed on a wooden board since the performer uses his strong shoes almost like musical instruments.

Kunal Om and Aditi Bhagwat

Kunal Om and Aditi Bhagwat

Among the few similarities between Flamenco and Kathak is that they both contain 12 beats.

To put it simply, Aditi and Kunal created an electrifying effect through their respective acts and co-ordination. It was not jugalbandi in actual sense. It was more like complementing each other. There were regular moments where the audience was forced to applaud. Kunal creating music out of shoes is hard to believe, especially if you are watching it for the first time.

There are chances of dance performances not being gripping enough after a point. But that is avoided here through the sequence and types of performances. The support of the rest of the artists – Aditya Kudtarkar on the Cajon, Tanay Rege on the Tabla, Shruti Bhave on the Violin and Anubhav Suman as the vocalist – and their brilliant solo performances cannot be ignored.

The vocalist’s rendition of ‘Tu Hi Tu’ from Dil Se (1998) deserves mention; also because one doesn’t expect a popular Hindi film number in such shows. It came as a pleasant surprise.

Every performance ought to have the best moment. Over here, in my opinion, was the Mahabhrata Kathak act on the incident of Draupadi’s disrobing and Lord Krishna arriving in time to save her.

Bhagwat played various characters from the Mahabharata with amazing ease and did justice to all. She convincingly narrates the story without saying a word.

Overall, Flamenco-Kathaa is an entertaining dance show that gives you a tremendous kick, even if you happen to be a layman like me.

By: Keyur Seta

Kunal Om

Kunal Om

8Feb/170

Kala Ghoda Festival 2017 Photos

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is back in Mumbai, like it is in the first week of every November since a decade. And like every year, this time too the Kala Ghoda lane is packed with a number of work of arts surrounded by a large contingent of art enthusiasts of Mumbai.

This year, there is a big difference which one can easily spot. And a good one at that. A large statue of a black horse (Kalal Ghoda) is adding to the beauty. Maybe because of this, it seems horse is the theme this year. One can find different works of arts modeled on quite a few horse structures inside the Kala Ghoda lane.

Here are some more pictures from this year's (2017) Kala Ghoda Arts Festival:

 

Street loaded with art pieces lit up during a winter evening.

Kala Ghoda

The new statue of Kala Ghoda (black horse) at the start of the street.

 

A horse statue made out of plastic bottles. 'Best from waste' has been a favourite theme at this festival ever since its inception.

Amazing 3D painting. First time I ever saw one.

 

Another part of the same 3D painting. One can see the picture of the great freedom fighter and social reformer, Lokmanya Tilak. Byculla Zoo also features at the top.

A huge kite made out of waste materials.

A unique statue of a horse made out of green leaves. Needless to say, it gives the message of going nature-friendly.

A statue where you can write any damn message. You will find all kinds of bizarre messages too if you look closely.

A slide where even grown-ups can try their hand, rather legs. After all, dil toh bachcha hai ji.

The country is going through a phase when the importance of Indian army and defence is at an all time high. So, it isn't surprising to see an army tank at the end of the festival lane.

11Oct/160

Dussehra short story: When will good destroy evil? She wondered…

By: Keyur Seta

Vidya’s final year in college was about to end. She was studying in Commerce in Symbiosis College in Pune for the last five years. Their tenure was supposed to end with the annual day function. Vidya was keenly looking forward to the day as she was supposed to enact a one-act play.

Her performance was met with a standing ovation. The play slammed the practice of forceful marriage of girls and that to at a tender age of early 20s. The subject and Vidya’s passion towards it deeply struck a chord with the audience. Not many from the audience knew that even in her personal life, she is like a silent rebel.

The act made Vidya’s final moments in college deeply memorable, along with loads of bagful of memories from five years. As she was on her way to her home in Mumbai, she had mixed feelings. While she was sad to see her college life ending, there was a sense of joy to reunite with her family – mother, father, elder brother and sister-in-law. While alighting from the train, she had a wide smile reading a text on her mobile phone.

It was joy indeed for her to be back home. She spent the first few days relaxing. There was a sense of contentment she experienced in Aamchi Mumbai, despite the late September heat and all other issues the city suffered from. After she realized she had enough of those restful days, she decided to hunt for a job.

Picture: fsquarefashion.com

Picture: fsquarefashion.com

Vidya’s father, Ramanlal, entered her room while she was busy doing something on her laptop. A single peep on her screen made him realize that she was surfing a job site. He gently sat down in front of her with a smile. Vidya adjusted herself as she became conscious of his presence. She had no idea that his father’s casual visit to her room will change her life forever.

Ramanlal calmly told her that there is no point in searching for a job. Vidya, obviously, was surprised. He elaborated himself saying that her marriage is fixed. Vidya got the shock of her life. As she showed signs of contempt, Ramamlal raised his voice and said that this is their family tradition; a girl is married off when she reaches her early 20s.

Ramamlal further said that the guy is from a good family and the son of their family friend. More importantly, he is from the same community, caste and sub-caste. And being a father, he cared for their status in their biraadri or samaaj. A teary-eyed Vidya explained that she plans to do MBA right now. Marriage can happen later.

But Ramanlal pointed out that girls from their community aren’t allowed to work. She will have to be a wife and her only concern should be to look after her husband. Despite being shocked, she tried protesting saying that she doesn’t even know the guy. But his father cut her short stating that the guy is from a rich family and runs a profitable business. What else does a girl need?

Ramamlal left the room in a hush and ordered his wife, who was witnessing the scene near the door, to make sure she gets ready for marriage. With tears flowing down her cheeks, she asked her mother why did they send her to college then. Her mother said without emotion, “A well-educated girl gets a good husband.” Vidya further asked frustratingly, “But what about my dreams?” Her mother replied coldly, “Your only dream should be to be a good wife and mother.”

Vidya was hell shocked! She just couldn’t believe what happened to her. In the days to come, her parents’ behavior changed towards her drastically. Vidya was numb. She couldn’t believe these are her own parents. She felt as if someone else is impersonating them. She came to know from her cousin that the same thing happened with her. She too experienced the same change in her parents’ behavior when she had refused marrying so early.

This made Vidya recall the disturbing conversation between her parents and brother when he refused to marry so early. Being just 16 during that time, she hadn’t thought much about that incident up till now.

Vidya was insulted by her parents and relatives even if she slightly protested against the marriage. She was trapped. There was just no way out. Finally, she had to give in. Yes, she extinguished all her dreams for, what her parents described as, a heavenly bond.

Picture: voc.org.my

Picture: voc.org.my

The engagement was fixed on the day after Dusshera. It was one day away. Vidya was sitting by her window overlooking the rapidly developing area of Kandivali east. Her phone beeped. Instantly she replied to the message with, “Yes, all set.”

The day arrived. On one hand, all the preparations were made for the engagement. At the same time, the city was gearing up to celebrate Dusshera. Various Ram Leela pandals were all set to ignite effigies of Ranava. The act symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

It was just an hour to go for her engagement. Vidya was seated comfortably by the window. She recalled the time when she read Vicky’s text while getting down to Mumbai from Pune. The message said that his parents had agreed for their marriage. She was then reminded of the traumatic times that followed. Her flashback ended when she had replied to his text with, “Yes, all set.”

Vidya took her eyes off from the window, turned towards her right and smiled. Vicky smiled back and they held each other’s hands warmly. Soon, the flight attended instructed the passengers to fasten their seat belts.

As the plane took off, Vidya’s eyes fell on the effigy of Ravana that was being burnt much below her. She had witnessed this sight numerous times before. But it was only during that moment that she truly understood the meaning of the phrase 'victory of good over evil.'

12May/160

Get a glimpse into Vijay Tendulkar’s work…. for free!

May 19 marks the Death Anniversary of the great Marathi playwright and author, Vijay Tendulkar. Since last few years, a group of theatre lovers have been paying tribute to the celebrated artist on this day through a theatre festival that provides a glimpse into his work. The same will be the case this year too on May 19, which will mark his 8th Death Anniversary.

As the festival is named, 'Te Diwas' it tries to bring back memories or provide nostalgia of Tendulkar's era of glory. As it is not possible to showcase his vast body of work in a single evening, the festival will showcase important scenes of his memorable plays like Sakharam Binder, Gidhade and others. But his one-act monologue, Olakh will be presented in its entirety. The participants include some well-known names from Marathi TV and film fraternity.

Vijay-Tendulkar-playHere is the complete schedule of the festival:-

Sakharam Binder (3 scenes)
Cast: Ajay Mayekar (Dir. Kahe Diya pardes zee Marathi), Dipti Ketkar and Ashwini Kasar (Kamala Colors Marathi)

Katha Vachan
Cast: Nandita Dhuri (Mati Majhe Saubhagyavati and Elizabeth Ekadashi)
Director: Ashitosh Datar

Gidhade (monologue)
Cast: Shreya Budge (Chala Hava Yeu Dya)
Director: Aniket Sane

Pahije Jatiche (3 scenes)
Cast: Ajay Kamble and Omkar Raut
Director: Abhijit Khade (Executive Producer at Colors Marathi)

Olakh (one act play)
Cast: Sachin Deshpande (Honar Sun Mee Hya Gharchi)

Zala Anant Hanumant
Cast: Shilpa Sane and Ankit Mhatre

Date: May 19, 2016

Venue: Bhavans Chwopatty

Time: 7 pm

Entry FREE for all!

 

Sakharam-Binder

8Feb/160

Kala Ghoda 2016 Pictures

By: Keyur Seta

It's that time of the year again. The month of February has begun with the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, like it has been the case since almost a decade. And like every year, this year too the vibrant arts of different forms was a treat to the eye.

So, here are the pictures from the 2016 Kala Ghoda Arts Festival:-

 

(For the full schedule of the 2016 Kala Ghoda Festival click HERE.)

(Click on the pics to enlarge)

Kala-Ghoda-festival-2016

Kala-Ghoda-2016

IMG_20160207_173229612_HDR

Kala-Ghoda

Kala Ghoda

Kala Ghoda festival

Kala Ghoda 2016

IMG_20160207_174009095_HDR

IMG_20160207_174122939_HDR

IMG_20160207_174322929

Kala Ghoda-2016

Kala Ghoda 2016-photos

Kala Ghoda pictures 2016

Kala Ghoda 2016 photos

IMG_20160207_175025451

IMG_20160207_175132568_HDR

Kala-Ghoda-2016-pictures

IMG_20160207_194004336

26Jan/165

Shaktidaai Drishya (Poem based on Airlift’s flag scene)

The flag scene in director Raja Krishna Menon and actor Akshay Kumar's Airlift is having a profoundly heartwarming effect on the audience. It is a non-verbal sequence that speaks more than a thousand years. Here is a poem based on the scene on the occasion of India's Republic Day.

 

Shaktidaai Drishya (title)

By: Keyur Seta

 

Picture: Still from YouTube

Picture: Still from YouTube

Ummeed na thi manzil paane ki,
Na thi taakat kadam badhane ki,
Namumkin tha shikhar tak pohochna,
Ab toh naseeb ko hi tha kosna,

Khada tha main thaka hua,
Baadhaaon ke saamne hara hua,
Aanthon dishaon se jhele vaar,
Ab tha kewal ant ka intezar,

Par hawa ne ekaek rukh badla,
Shakti ka swar hriday se nikla,
Durbalta ke baadal hue adrishya,
Aisa tha woh shaktidaai drishya,

Kadmo mein nayi jaan aai thi,
Ab toh manzil door nahin thi,
Veerta ki hai woh behti Ganga,
Saadhaaran nahin apna tiranga

30Oct/150

Why was Anupam Kher booed at Tata Literature festival?

By: Keyur Seta

Veteran actor Anupam Kher was booed quite a few times yesterday from a large crowd during a debate at Tata Literature Live festival. The topic of the debate was – Freedom of Expression is under imminent threat.

Sudheendra Kulkarni and Shobha De were for the motion while Anupam Kher and BJP’s Nalin Kohli were against. Kulkarni and De put forth their points related to recent incidents and statements by politicians. Kulkarni specially stressed on the statement against the protesting authors by Arun Jaitley. “If the government thinks this is a manufactured protest, they are mistaken.”

Kulkarni also condemned the act of Shiv Sena members who had inked his face for launching a book by Pakistani author Kasuri. He also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi of making sure the atmosphere of intolerance is nullified.

“The PM and his colleagues should ask themselves why the President of India Pranab Mukherjee had to appeal for peace and remind India of its 5000 year old history of tolerance?”

Picture: itimes.com

Picture: itimes.com

Kulkarni was most vocal against the fringe elements demanding a Hindu Rashtra. “The idea of Hindu Rashtra violates the idea of secularism, which is against the Constitution of India. India never was and will never be a Hindu Rashtra.”

Kohli gave a clichéd government whataboutery response by citing incidents of the past. But his response was quite peaceful. But the arguments put forth by Anupam Kher draw huge outrage from the audience. He was booed regularly and rightly so.

Here is the gist of Kher’s arguments:-

- Firstly, he said he wasn’t told the debate would be in English and he is weak in it. Everybody knows such literature festivals are always in English. Plus, we have seen him debate in English on news channels regularly.

- He started going off track right away by personally attacking De for editing a gossip magazine decades ago and mentioning who slept with whom.

- Then went on to call her pseudo-intellectual, just like those Bhakts.

- He expressed his disappointment towards Kulkarni for agreeing to launch a book of a Pakistani by citing how our neighboring country has been executing terrorist attacks here. Once again, completely off topic. Somebody should remind Kher that he acted in Veer-Zaara where he preached harmony between both nations.

- He said, “People returning the awards have an agenda. They can’t handle a chaiwala becoming a PM.”

- Here comes the KILLER. Towards the end when he realized most people from the audience are against his views, he accused organizer Anil Dharker, a respected figure, of having a PAID AUDIENCE!!!

What else do you expect other than boos? Never expected this great artist to debate or argue like those Twitter trolls.

Other highlights of the debate:-

- Reacting on the point raised by Kher and Kohli as to why people didn’t protest against the atrocities in the past, an elderly person from the audience said, “You mean to say, just because we were quite earlier, we should continue to remain quite? How long shall we remain silent?”

- Kiron Kher, BJP member and wife of Anupam Kher, took the mic to defend her husband. However, her arrogant ways also garnered boos from the audience.

- Before the debate, most people from the audience voted for the motion. After the end, close to 90% took that stand.

29Oct/150

Why Ulhanasnagar citizens are celebrating potholes?

By: Keyur Seta

UlhasnagarIt’s the season of festivals in India. But along with festivals like Diwali, the citizens of Mumbai’s Ulhasnagar locality are celebrating a one-of-its-kind carnival. It’s called Ulhasnagar Potholes Festival (UPF). Yes, you read it right. It’s a festival ‘celebrating’ the menace of potholes in Ulhasnagar in a sarcastic manner.

The movement is started by two residents of Ulhasnagar, Bhavna Chhabria Nainani and Professor Rekha Thakur as, like numerous others, they too are fed up with the problems faced due to the potholes and the innumerable false promises by the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC). The movement is initiated under Manch TV, a local TV channel.

The whole idea is to ask people to send photographs of potholes in Ulhasnagar, which would be posted on the Facebook page – Ulhasnagar Potholes Festival (visit it here). Following this, a team from Manch TV will worship the pothole and give it a name. This will, obviously, put the authorities to shame and they will be compelled to fill them.

The residents have instantly started sending in pictures of the potholes they came across and things have gone as per planned. In fact, the UMC has already started the temporary repairing of potholes on Bhatia Chowk Road, Nataji Road, Ulhas Flyover and Hira Ghat Road (as seen in the pictures below).

Says Rekha, who is also the local corporator, “The roads of our city are in pathetic condition and in spite of the numerous complaints sent to the concerned authorities, nothing was being done to resolve the issue. Fed up of all this, we decided to do something unusual to get the attention of media, authorities and citizens and it has really worked!”

Bhavna adds, “Frequent major accidents took place in Ulhasnagar due to the worst condition of roads. As nothing worked, we finally decided to do a mockery of system through our Ulhasnagar Potholes Festival and within few days maximum roads of the city were repaired.”

Although the movement has already started achieving favorable results, it is certainly not the end. Change, after all, is a never-ending process.

Pictures after the roads were repaired:

Ulhasnagar pictures

Ulhasnagar potholes

All pictures sourced from Ulhasnagar Potholes Festival Facebook page.

19Oct/150

INK Live 2015: Of innovations, motivations and Josh Radnor’s humility

By: Keyur Seta

Remember how Aamir Khan’s character felt in PK when he landed on our planet? The scene was similar when a workshop on electrical engineering was attended by someone like me, whose experience in electrical stuff is limited to changing bulbs and batteries of TV remote. The only difference is that I didn’t have to cover myself up with a transistor or radio.

The apparatus provided at the workshop

The apparatus provided at the workshop

The event was INK Live 2015 in Mumbai at the Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI). It was the 7th edition of INK, which was attended not only by the students of the institute but also by people from all walks of lives and age groups. I got the privilege to attend for being a blogger registered with BlogAdda.

Thankfully though, my experience after the commencement of the workshop, titled Art & Technology Workshop, was no way similar to that of PK. Although I was quite out of sorts at the start with the materials provided in the form of a battery, few wires and a device (don’t know what it is called), there wasn’t a problem later on.

In fact, it turned out to be a fun activity. We were taught to pass current through our hands and arms and create music out of it (see the video). The friendly nature of the teacher and his helpful volunteers largely helped. But my partners at the exercise, Nilesh and Saurabh, made things very easy for me since they had studied electrical stuff in the past.

This was probably the first time I had such fun inside a classroom after finishing school, despite feeling like Shah Rukh Khan’s character in Main Hoon Na since almost everyone out there was a teenager.

Here is the video glimpse of our fun experience at the workshop:-

 

INK also provides a platform to students to showcase their scientific innovative skills. This is where I met a couple of 12th standard students from Chennai, Yogesh Kumar and Shubham S, who have invented a miniature Landmine Detector or Landmine Detection Robot with some help from their teacher from Surana Jain Vidyalaya. As the name suggests, the device can help locate landmines in war-torn areas. Their passion and knowledge was visible from the way they answered all queries like professionals.

Part 1 of Landmine Detector

Part 1 of Landmine Detector

Interactive talk by well-known personalities and intellectuals is also an important feature at INK and this year was no different. The likes of Irrfan Khan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Kiran Rao, and Gingerr Shankar were among the many speakers at the event.

It was pleasing and motivating to listen to Babar Ali, who is the Youngest Headmaster in the World, according to BBC. While narrating his success story, he revealed that once he couldn’t speak at an event as he didn’t know English. But he vowed to learn English and speak at the event next year and did that. Today, he is doing his Masters in English Literature.

Pranay Chulet, the founder of Quikr, spoke about his upcoming film on terrorism. It’s a genre never-tried-before for it combines a feature film and video game. The user will have to choose playing any one of the characters and the film will move forward according to the choice s/he makes.

But then came Josh Radnor, the creator and actor of the hugely popular TV series How I Met Your Mother, where he plays Ted. He received the maximum applause for his interaction, which was both hilarious as well as thought-provoking. His humble and down-to-earth nature won over the audience.

So, all in all, it was an interesting and enlightening experience. It reminded me that there is always so much to learn in the world and learning is an unending process. It was my first INK experience and certainly not the last.

Part 2 of Landmine Detector

Part 2 of Landmine Detector

 

During the workshop

During the workshop

22Jun/150

When bloggers were made to sniff…. literally!

Blogging offers a new dimension to your life. In fact, it can be said that blogging is a life other than your normal life. Apart from getting your views read and earning money every now and then, blogging also brings you in contact with the type of beings you don’t normally meet during your day-to-day life.

These people are your fellow bloggers. They are someone with whom you share the ‘other’ world and they know the joy of being to the other world. It is sheer pleasure to meet and interact with fellow bloggers. So, needless to say, it is also a pleasure to be involved with some blogging activity with them. One such recent activity was the #SniffSniff activity by BlogAdda.

As a part of this activity, we would receive some products or items that would create curiosity or anticipation for a product that would be launched soon. Our task is to guess the final product that would be launched based on the items sent to our doorstep. In other words, watching CID came to good use.

Sniff SniffHere are the details about the product:-

1. The first item to land up in my house took every one of us by surprise. Something lest expected is a mild way of describing it. What else can you say when a clip, which is used for drying clothes, lands up at your place? On top of that, my family members started giving some confusing reactions to it. Naturally, they wanted to know who sent it. It took a while to explain to them that this is a method of generating anticipation for a product. Since the clip was placed on the nose of an image, which was also sent along with, I guessed it has something to do with smell.

Sniff Sniff 2

 

2. The second item also was a surprise but it was a pleasant one. There were coffee beans in a packet. This time, my family members didn’t give any daily soap reactions; more do because they loved the aroma of coffee beans. You might find it difficult to believe that this is the first time I ever held coffee beans in my hand.

 

 

3. The third item too turned out to be something completely out-of-the-box. It was a mask that people generally use to combat bad smell or germs. But, although it wasn’t something I anticipated, I realized that the final product has something to do with combating bad smell, as my family members resumed their confused reactions.

Sniff Sniff 3

So, what it could be? A deo? Find it HERE.