Education and women

 

Someday somewhere I read one line:

When you are educating a man, only that man is getting benefitted. But when you educate a woman, a whole generation get benefitted.

Now, suddenly, why am I talking about this? Today, while going for an event, noticed a little girl on the footpath, holding a little child was trying to read a torn newspaper. She was trying to beg making a sad face but that piece of paper was so interesting for her that she was almost forgetting to beg. The sight saddened me.

It is sad that sitting in 20th century we have to talk about equality of men & women. Why there is an odd difference in the ration of men and women in our country? A nation, where women are reagarded as deities, why would they have to fight for their rights in every step? Education. This one weapon can solve a number of problems in present times.

There are noble initiatives like “Beti bachao, beti padhao”, “Sukanya Samriddhi account”, “Kanyasree” to encourage more girls to study and establish themselves as an independent individual. Yes, results are very positive so far. But this can’t be a solution. Educating girls is still a luxury in rural areas. The problem actually lies in the mindset. And so, a barbaric act of female foeticide still exists in this 21st century. It’s our turn to change that mindset. Yes, one person cannot change the mindset of a society but can we try to change ours?

During any social event, I often interact and ask people what is that one thing that can make this world a better place to live? What is that one thing that needs improvisation right now? Most of them say peace and harmony. We should live a life without fear. Few say employment. Financial stability can eradicate greater social problems. But I think education system is the most important thing which needs constant improvisation. You need education to judge a situation; you need to have that proper wisdom. Wisdom to find a solution of a problem in the long run. And there are plenty of examples how women have excelled in every sphere of life and proved themselves they are no less than men.

We must not forget that the first school of a child is mother. And not only bookish knowledge, a mother is always there to teach the lessons of life to her children. The education a child gets through his/her mother cannot in anyway, go in vain. She always shows her children the right path of life, the best education.

There is more to life of a woman other than marriage and having kids. It’s about their identity too. I think it’s time for more of such noble initiatives which will help women to take one step towards a better India.

Take care, love you all!

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Creativity and us!

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“The creative adult is the child who survived…”

I’m often asked to define what creativity is. When a person claims him/her self creative then what is that one quality that sets him/her apart from the rest of the world…

‘Creativity’ is a complicated term like “life”, “happiness”, “love” etc. There is no particular definition. Everyone has their own interpretations. Well, for me, creativity is that urge of mind and heart which always drives a person to create something new. And this hunger for creation is unsatiable. Everyone is born with some or other creativity.

Now, we have a tendency to limit the term “creativity”. A creative mind is always heavy with thoughts and ideas. If they are sitting idly, that means they are engrossed in some deep thoughts. Some people are very observant. The day to day happenings provide them food for thought. Think of a cartoonist or a comedian, they find fun in every trivial thing. Some have the habit to explore places. They are always up for an adventure and never hesitate to take risks. The interesting thing is, these people never regret anything. You know, how hard you may try to protect yourself from being hurt or something, these things are not really in your hand. You are always exposed to life’s painful twists and turns. So, don’t hesitate to take risk to achieve something that makes you a happier person.

Creative people are often accused of being ignorant to others, self-centered, a little crazy, impractical. But there lies their world. They make their own world of make-believe. One can’t really enter into it easily. They set high walls around them and one needs a different kind of heart and soul to understand them. I remember here, the character Indraneel which I played in “Shob Choritro Kalponik” had a different vision which hampered his marital life. He seemed to be a pathetic ignorant husband whom his wife failed to understand. But she rediscovered him through his poems.

But the good thing is, creativity always finds a way in some form or the other. May be their hopes are shattered, their dreams have broken but still, they pull themselves up to fight back one more time and always one more time. They proceed carrying all their wounds and scars and hopes they will be lessen one day. But in vain, they become a part of their lifestyle.

Dreamers they are.  More specifically, day-dreamers. They can easily spend days and hours by imagining things that will never happen. They fabricate stories to feel good. And yes, the lazy lot! The creative impulses can only be controlled by themselves. Set them free and they will get back with some brilliant result. Deadlines simply turn them off! They are least afraid of failures. They are the master of comebacks; in life. The child in them never dies. A child gets hurt when for the first time they start to walk. They wall, they fall, they get hurt and they rise. And I have personally noticed, the more they face challenges in personal life, more they excel in professional field.

And yes, I’m one of them! And I’ve no shame in admitting that I get hurt, there are times I feel like shouting my heart out. And most importantly, I learn from my experiences and always fight back; one last time! Love to you all…as that is what we creative people hold on to most. The idea of being in love, spreading love, getting loved- we search for it all the time. We live only for that!

Sharing all those pictures that have been sent to me by all my creative followers..

God Bless and Love you all!!

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Selection of eight Bengali Cinemas in Indian Panorama

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Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theater.
Roman Polanski

I know of cinema better than anything else in the world. And I’m so glad to witness this happy phase of Bengali cinema. The selection of eight films in Indian Panorama surely deserve grand applaud! We can’t deny the fact that our industry was going through a tough time this year. Many good films have been released though. But the acceptance of the audience was not that great! At this time, the selection of the films is really encouraging for the directors, producers and makers. My heartfelt congratulations to all of them!

It was a year of debutante directors. And some of them amazed us in their first films! It’s true that at the end of the day, box-office does matter but it should not be the only criteria to judge a film. Industry has gone through many changes in the last five-six years. Budget for the films has been increased. If the numbers of films are considered, it is now quite similar to the number of releases in the Kannada and Marathi markets. So, Bengali films need more support from the people to flourish. Go to theatres, watch the film and then judge it in your own way.

The films that have been selected are: Rajkahini, Pakaram, Sohra Bridge, Cinemawala, Natoker Moto, Kadambari, Onyo Opalaa. All my good wishes for all of them! Though I could not make it to watch each one of them due to my hectic schedule but I’ll definitely make sure to watch them all! When people from different corners of the country talk about the amazing performances and the unique ways of story telling in Bengali cinema, I really feel so proud to be a part of this industry.

The festive season has always been kind for box-office. This year, six films released during Puja and they all did well. And each of them was different from each other. Kathmundu was an out and out comedy, Sudhu Tomari Jonno was all about romance, Cross Connection 2 a rom-com, Rajkahini opened a blood smeared chapter and Byomkesh, whose charm never fails to captivate Bengali audience. Festive season is almost over but it is good to see few of them still running well at the box-office. Hope the golden era of Bengali Cinema comes back.

God bless you all! Love you all!!

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Films, Food, Love, Life and ALIIFF

 

 

All Lights Indian Film Festival became a super hit in Kochi. All my life I have tried my level best to excel in what I do. God knows I have tried hard and given everything that I could. I have dedicated all these years to Indian cinema and in the meantime came to understand that hard work pays off. Everyone is bound to play his/her role in this grand stage, that is life, and I have been true to mine. And what else can an actor wish for, if not the applauding roar from the audience, the nationwide appreciation of oneself reaching his pinnacle. I am elated and truly at a loss of words being selected as the Brand Ambassador from Bengal Film Industry at the All Lights Indian Film Festival (ALIFF) thanks to All Lights Film Services (ALFS).

When Satyajit Ray was on an award winning spree, Ritwik Ghatak was making his mark through groundbreaking films, Mrinal Sen was judging movies in Cannes, then Indian cinema was in full throttle. Gone are those days when the masters of the art ruled the game. What Indian cinema needs today, and I myself have felt it very badly, is an international exposure. All Lights Film Services is aiding filmmakers to go global and that’s a noble initiative. And now they have organized a grand film festival serving as a platform where those connections will be spurious and spontaneous. All Lights Film Festival is really a decisive step towards the international acknowledgement of Indian cinema.

I felt proud to share the same stage with luminaries like Mohanlal, Kamal Hasan, Kalki Koechlin, Venkatesh, Ketan Mehta and many more. I reached there on the morning of 18th November and Kochi warmly welcomed me. Things have started to look up since I have set foot there. I would like to share one instance especially when I knew this trip is going to be rewarding. Ushadi’s son was admitted in a hospital next to my hotel since more than a month and I planned a surprise visit there. They were overwhelmed to see me and couldn’t help crying in joy.  And my joy knew no bound when the news of his release the very next day came when I was there.

Media interaction on Indywood was intriguing. I especially liked the term ‘Indywood’! It assimilated Indian cinema, the entire spectrum of it from different regionalis and languages under one unifying umbrella.

This four day carnival was packed with enlightening panel discussions, talk shows, interactive workshops and obviously screening of movies from all over the world with a special emphasis on Indian cinema. They made it a point to set an example. The intensive workshops on technicalities of cinema, on photography etc are really impressive. I really enjoyed the lecture “Augmented Reality” by Barry Sandrew. Barry needs no introduction but for a reminder he is an internationally recognized entrepreneur, digital imaging expert and visual effects pioneer with over 24 patents and 25 years of feature film and TV accomplishments including productions for all 6 major Hollywood studios and 3 major networks. Dr. Sandrew is founder of 2 production studios that became gold standards for color visual effects. So he was an iconic image for this festival. The panel discussions were on very relevant and very essential topics like Challenges faced by Independent Movie Makers, whether there is any success formula for film trade, engaging Cinema Audience through Personalization & Future Proof Technology, Exploring Distribution Opportunities for Indian Cinemas in Global Market, Women in Film Making – Opportunities and Challenges Faced etc. The Acting Workshop by Jeff Rector was mesmerizing and I couldn’t help feeling humbled.

One of the greatest charms of the film festival was meeting few good people. Met Subodh Bhave, the great Marathi actor-director there. I watched his movie Lokmanya, directed by debut director Om Raut and both of them did an amazing job. While I was watching “Lokmanya”, the whole team of Lokmanya was watching Baishe Shrabon. I always appreciate this cultural exchange. Finally, I met Ketan Mehta. We have been planning for a get together ever since in vain.

Baishe Shrabon was screened at Cinepolis which attracted a housefull in a foreign state. Sri, my Manager went there and excitedly came back informing me that some of the audience were enjoying the film standing there due to lack of seats as it was going housefull. It was quite a proud moment for both me and Srijit and was worth celebrating with a grand dinner.

The opening movie was a 82 minute feature by Iranian director Jafar Panahi. Several recent Bengali films like Babar Naam Gandhiji, Nirbashito were also screened. I really cherished watching Cinema Paradiso, one of my childhood favorites. What I liked more is the International Competition organized by the authorities in the categories Feature Film, Documentary, Short Film, and debutante Director’s Film. I am really moved by the films MASAAN by Neeraj Ghaywan, MY LIFE WITH A KING by Carlo Enciso Catu, ITALIAN JUSTICE by Marzio Mirabella and SIMPLY AS A HUMAN BEING by Bogdan Lecznar. I found it impressive that the festival also had a separate section on cinema for children.

The closing day was very special with a magnificent red carpet walk. Nirbashito, the documentary on Taslima Nasreen’s lifelong struggle as a writer received the Golden Leaf Awards.  It’s a proud moment when they honored me with a memento and an auspicious Kerala cotton shawl.

Next day in the morning we thought to explore Kochi. And hence, I went to a very famous place called Fort Kochi. It’s a sea beach where you will find all types of sea fish and instantly they will fry it and serve. I’m allergic to sea food . So gulping them was out of the question. Instead of that, did some shopping for my family and friends.

This would be a platform for global film industry, to portray excellence in film making, with simultaneously fostering and integrating the Indian Cinema industry as part of facilitating fellowship between people and nations. Hats off to ALIIFF for coming up with this great idea and so successfully materializing it.

Cheers to cinema! Cheers to life!

Love you all!!

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Panthers Making their way into 22 gauge

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Whenever there is a match, be it World Cup Final or IPL or CCL the level of excitement remains the same in each one of us. Especially IPL and CCL have coupled the film industry and cricket so well. To make the bond stronger for the first time ever we have arranged Bengal Celebrity League (BCL) where Bengal will witness the clash of their favorite stars.

I have always been very enthusiast about cricket. This is the most thrilling game that can leave you spellbound at the end of the game or make you sadden. 22 gauge, 11 players and millions of fans and their screaming in joy is just truly marvelous. I always wanted to be a part of this marvelous game. It won’t happen without Jisshu. Actually he first conceived the idea of BCL, it’s a dream project for him. The charisma of CCL has impressed him so intensely that he started dreaming to do something similar in Bengal where only the film and television stars of Bengal would be playing. With this idea, one day he came to me and was so desperate that almost acted like a kid. Then I gave it a thought that it will indeed be an interesting project. And I should stand by Jisshu for whom I share a brotherly affection. With this desire all the plans and programs settled. Finally, we came up with Purulia Panthers.

Purulia Panthers is really privileged to get the person as Captain who dreamt the whole project. I remember the day of the first press meet of BCL when all the team owners were standing in dais with their respective t-shirts; he was so pleased to see his dream coming true.  There are many more talented players in Purulia Panthers.  Gautam Bhattacharya handed over the team list and by laws to me and Jisshu. The moment he handed over the team jersey to us was a proud moment for the whole team. You have to keep little patience for the ultimate revelation of the team.

The first match will be held between my team and Dev’s team Midnapore Mighties. For the first time we will be combating against each other. Though the game is scheduled on 26th December but the competition has instigated already. It all started with who will get the practice ground first to which Tollywood actresses will be with which team. Hahaha! The fun is just about to begin! But at the end of the day it will be a healthy competition!

The single aim of this whole concept is to bring the entire Tollywood fraternity under one roof. Jisshu is just like a kid who loves to stay will all. As this is a small industry and we are all like a joint family I honor  his wishes and love him for his dignified feelings.

Love you all! Stay blessed.

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Celebration of Films begin…21st KIFF is here

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I like this time of the year!

Festivals get over. The condition of traffic gets normal. The sunlight feels warm and tender. You don’t sweat. And you have lots of energy to work, run around and do other things! And the icing on the cake is, Kolkata International Film Festival is here! And this year it is going to be more happening!

Bengal has always been regarded as the cultural hub of our country. And the movie buffs are already counting hours for the movies to start. Today, it’s the inauguration ceremony of the 21st Kolkata International Film Festival. And I’m honored to share the stage with Mr. Amitabh Bachchan at Netaji Indoor Stadium. He came all the way to Kolkata for the inauguration ceremony and I had felicitated him, that’s a great honor for me. Couldn’t be more happy to be a part of this Grand Festival where the renowned artists, people from every corner of the country will come to grace the stage.

The “Namaskar” from Mr. Bachchan set the perfect mood for the grand occasion. The wonderful performance by Rashid Khan Saab, Tejendra Ji and Bickram mesmerized the people present there. Another mesmerizing rendition of saxophone by George Brooks made the audience to live in that trance for few minutes. They have arranged a green room lounge decorated with the pictures of the legends of Bengal  and others. One will easily feel nostalgic to sitting there. Bengal has such rich treasure to offer the cinema lovers around the world! Feeling very proud to be here.

The Film Festival has become competitive from the last year. This year, 149 films from 61 countries will be featured in 15 categories. And this time, it will be the women directors who will rule! The Royal Bengal Trophy will be awarded to the best film and best director. Two new segments have also been introduced in this year’s festival: “Films on Sports” and “India Unheard”. So, we are sure to have a great time watching good movies.

Let the celebration begin! The celebration of good movies! As I always say, there will be no other enriching experience than watching good movies or reading good books. Cheers to KIFF! Love you all!

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Remembering Bappaditya Bandopadhyay

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We all are destined to die one day. “Death is the destination we all share.”

Though we know these bookish facts about death, we all are very afraid of it. It is painful, very painful to accept the demise of people close to you. At this time, our industry is really going through a very tough time. We hardly got over the trauma of Pijush Ganguly’s sudden demise and then again we had to bear the pain of losing another talented film maker of the industry Bappaditya Bandopadhyay at such an early age!

There are certain people who live with films, live for films. Bappaditya was, no doubt, one of them! He always used to say, every director has different way of story telling. And they have to come up with their kind of stories, their own kind of film. It is foolish to imitate someone else when it comes to directing a film! Every film maker must create his own market. And a film must reach its audience. Ultimately it’s the love of audience that matters. Reputed production house or the marketting part comes after that. And I completely agree with him. Though marketing a film is very important now a days. But one must understand the expectations of audience from a film by a certain director.

I worked with him in “Housefull”. It is always a pleasure for me to work with fresh young talented directors. As a person, Bappa was really very down to earth! He had a peculiar kind of notion about death. He always used to say, I will not chase death but death will chase me. Though it sounded very melancholic but the truth is, he had such zeal for life.

I still remember the days of Osian Film Festival in Delhi. He got unwell and we admitted him in AIMS. Naturally, we were tensed. But just before going to the operation theatre he was talking about films he recently watched. Such was his craziness for films! How deeply a person feels for cinema that he could only think about that even in that critical situation! It’s really something commendable!

Bappa, you will live through your films, your creations, your thoughts, your actions. That’s how it is. That’s how it should be. We all love you. And we will remember you. But the aches will be there. Rest in peace.

Love you all

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