Tuesday, August 13, 2019

To Him

Somewhere there
I have told him
I shall no longer
seek his company
I shall not ever now
pick roses for him
sit looking at him
with longing-full eyes
write passionate verses
 for his hands
I will not touch
the cold domains of his heart
with my burning pain

Until next lifetime
it is a break up 
O mehboob-e-illahi !

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

F-Rated: Being a Woman Filmmaker in India: Book Review

Paperback: 280 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (January 1, 2019)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 9353029511

ISBN-13: 978-9353029517

This first book by academician and film columnist Nandita Dutta who has earlier written at several platforms exclusively about films opens with a thoughtful quote:

‘When a woman makes a film that is a radical act in itself.’– Ava DuVernay (first African-American female filmmaker nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 2014 for Selma)

In the introduction itself the author states the almost obvious:
\A simple counting exercise online reveals that, out of the 116 Bollywood films released in 2018, only seven were directed by women. The year before that, 2017, saw the release of 120 films out of which only eleven were directed by women. That’s women directing less than ten per cent of the total films, in one of the biggest film industries in the world, two years in a row.”

Dutta’s style is that of a seasoned film critic fused with that of a well-read academic researcher and entices the reader to get engrossed in the stories of the 11 women filmmakers.

She defines in detail this term too and its issues in the introduction itself.  She opens the book with the chapter about Aparna Sen and brings many interesting anecdotes from her life both as an actress and then later as a director. The nuances of being a single mother to two daughters and a professional woman are stated and seem to be true for most women even today. She says:

“I never felt that I had to be less of a woman to be more of a director”

The directors like Mira Nair who have looked at and altered world cinema with an Indian/Indian diaspora lens have been looked at from their specific contexts and film making canons and in chapters dealing with directors like Tanuja Chandra, Farah Khan and Meghna Gulzar she delves into the problematic space of the patriarchal industry almost run in a feudal manner.

She delves into the other intermingling and multi-layered spaces of films made by women and films about women too and gets the reader re-look at their perception of women in films both on and off screen and the characters they portray.

In the chapters about directors like Reema Kagti, Anjali Menon and Shonali Bose the author explores the stories of women filmmakers trying to push the margin more and more towards the center, removing the baggage of being “woman” and just being a marginalized voice with a difference challenging the mainstream discourses. Anjali Menon says being called a woman filmmaker “…sounds like a discount coupon.”

In Nandita Das’ chapter the author says, “The juggernaut of the Hindi film industry works on labels and perceptions-once you set yourself in a mold, it is impossible to get out of it.”
In Meghna Gulzar’s chapter a film as recent as the 2018 release Raazi is brought into the narrative and in context to the fact that while the directors agree that the film industry is now more open to films that are “female-led” most of these directors do not want the tag of “women-oriented” cinema.

Through Kiran Rao’s chapter the author brings on the various hats some of these women wear so well ranging from moms, star-wives to social icons and via Alankrita Srivastava’s filmography delves into the problems of portraying Indian women’s sexuality.
The after word sums up well her struggles in getting all these stories together and out there and issues like subtle sexism, toxic positivism in the industry and the “mothering” model of leadership for women.

The cover by Sourav Das with the overpowering glossy black F kind of defines the unique space of this book.

F-Rated: Being a Woman Filmmaker in India is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions.
My rating : 4/5

This review is part of the Blogchatter Book review Program.

Sunday, August 4, 2019


Spring has ended
this one
never returns

Autumn was painful
so much letting go
leaf by leaf
love shed
leaving me barren

Now an endless winter
a snowscaped
colorless misery

outside my window
- the last Juliet!

I received this tag from Shilpa Gupte at Fictionista It’s my pleasure to pass on this tag to Tulika at Obsessivemom There are 47 of us on this Blog Hop and it will be spread over 3 days – 2, 3, 4 August. Do follow the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and prepare to be surprised! 

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To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
The Odyssey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Count of Monte Cristo
Eat, Pray, Love
The Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
The Silence of the Lambs
The Diary of a Young Girl
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Notebook
Gone With the Wind

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario
my work on display there !!!!!