Tuesday 31 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 557

All the world's a stage.

A Woman Alone (English)
Writer: Franca Rame/Dario Fo
Direction & Design: Mahmud Alam
Synopsis : A housewife in an abusive relationship with her husband. Her daily life is driving her to madness. But she has a choice...

Camera Obscuras (English)
Writer: Vinay Sharma
Direction & Design: Vinay Sharma
Synopsis : God switches on the TV to view a world that's violently entertaining, dreadfully comic and deadly serious. A play upon our darkest times.

Bhawana Somaaya / @bhawanasomaaya

Monday 30 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 556

All the world's a stage.
Atmakatha (Hindi) 

Starring Kulbhushan Kharbanda
Writer: Mahesh Elkunchwar
Direction & Design: Vinay Sharma
Synopsis : As an ageing writer dictates his memoirs to a young scribe, conflicting truths emerge about his relationship with his estranged wife and her sister.


Writer: Moliere
Direction & Design: Mahmud Alam
Synopsis : A rich father believes ‘Love’ is a disease. He calls upon the services of Medical Doctors to cure his daughter of it.

Kya tum mujhse pyaar karte ho?

(Hindi, English)
Writer: R.D.Laing
Direction & Design: Vinay Sharma
Synopsis : Love’s conversations, it’s deepest worries and puzzles presented in the style of an intimate revue where love is a Madhouse.


Bhawana Somaaya / @BhawanaSomaaya

Saturday 28 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 555

Celebrating the world of theatre

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” – Oscar Wilde

Theatre has been an important part of our tradition and culture.  It is an evolved art form and gives a chance to explore one’s creativity. Theatre is a universal language that crosses all barriers. This year on the occasion of World Theatre Day Mumbai has a list of interesting events.

Three books by
Gujarati playwrights Mihir Bhuta, Saumya Joshi and Sneha Desai organized by Image Publishers and showcasing nine dramas at Bhaidas will be jointly launched by theatre personalities Waman Kendre (Director – National of School of Drama) and Sanjna Kapoor (CoFounder, Junoon) at Bhaidas Theatre.

A Mumbai Local talk by Vickram Kapadia, where he will talk about the nature of theatre as a live medium, and what it means to be on stage quoting excerpts from his latest production and finally, Naseerudin Shah with Rajit Kapur will perform A walk in the Woods one of the finest plays by Lee Blessing and adapted by Faisal Rashid and Randeep Hooda at the NCPA experimental.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

Thursday 26 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 554

So.... it will be Australia vs. New Zealand!

May the best team win the 2015 World Cup.

Bhawana Somaaya / @bhawanasomaaya

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 553

Remembering Faroque Shaikh

Today is Farooq Sheikh’s 67th birthday. Born on 25 March 1948 the versatile actor breathed his last on 27 December 2013. He is best remembered for his work in Hindi films from 1977 to 1989 and for his work in television between 1988 and 2002. He returned to acting in films in 2008 and continued to do so until his death on 28 December 2013.

Born in Amroli, Baroda District,Gujarat in 1948 to Mustafa Shaikh and Farida, his father Mustafa Shaikh was a lawyer from Mumbai. He came from a family of zamindars and was eldest of the five siblings. He worked with eminent directors like Satyajit RayMuzaffar Ali, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Ketan Mehta. Club 60 was Faroque’s last film as an actor. His play Tumhari Amrita (1992), alongside Shabana Azmi, directed by Feroz Abbas Khan created history in theatre world and his television show Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai is talked about even today. 

I met Faroque for the first time in 1981 on the sets of Saath Saath and the last time at Big Star Award event where he was nominated for Club 60 in the category of Best Actor in a Social Film.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya   

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 552

Behaviour Psychology

When I was in college doing my graduation in Psychology we studied different aspects of psychology as in Abnormal/Social and Behaviour Psychology where in people going through similar experiences behave either in identical or contradictory ways. Our text book had interesting illustrations about how women make eye contact while drinking beverage while men concentrate on the task.

Another illustration I remember was about judging comfort zone in relationships via pictures. The attached picture clicked at a meeting of old friends is reflective of both: similar situation, different reaction and the comfort of body language in a trusted relationship. Seriously, there is nothing more precious in the world as old friendship!

Bhawana Somaaya /@bhawanasomaaya

Monday 23 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 551

Book Club & Bonding

More than a year ago we still don’t why and how a few friends got together and formed a Book Club. It all started when Sophy met Naina on the staircase of her building and discussed the idea. Naina agreed. Next Sophy spoke to other friends and Naina spoke to her friends. The common friends brought more likeminded people together and Far16 was formed.

Month after month and year after year we read new books and discussed the plot and characters passionately over upma and chutney combined with fragrant tea. When we could not meet during the summer vacations and festivals when all of us were busy with families we missed our girlie sessions and made up for it at our next meeting.

The other day a friend called to say he had heard about our club and wanted to join too but we rejected him outright because our book club is for ladies only. It is about books and bonding. Check the picture to confirm how compatible we are in the age range 27 to 72.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

Friday 20 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 550

Baby: The Journey part II

Pakistani actor Rashid Naz, who plays an important role in the film, gets ready for the rabble-rousing act in which he incites his followers. The four characters, played by Pakistani actor Mikaal Zulfiqar along with Anupam, Akshay and Rana, arrive at the Qasr Al Sarab resort.

A beautiful shot of the gateway to Qasr…As the temperature soars to an astounding 51˚C unit members anxiously pray for the car to disappear from the frame so that they can rush to take shelter in the shade. Always keep the pristine dunes intact by not walking on the sands and leaving one’s footprints, says the filmmaker’s guide on shooting in the desert. During a break, as Shital walks close to the sands meant to be in the shot, unit members scream at him that elicits this comic reaction from Neeraj, Akshay and Rana.

During the recce Neeraj, Shital and the team arrived at around midnight at the Qasr Al Sarab driving all the way from Dubai. At the break of dawn, at 7am, this picturesque shot was taken by Neeaj from his room. The royal villas across the desert look isolated but are linked through a road that is not seen here. Clicked during rehearsal when Akshay was put on a harness...It is all too easy for him to leave the rope, spread his arms and give this perfect shot.

(Baby has been published by the film's media partner Chitralekha magazine)

Thursday 19 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 549

Baby: The Journey Part I

Neeraj Pandey's Baby has been widely appreciated by critics and the audience. In a first the filmmaker releases a book where he describes the making of the film as experienced on various locationsExcerpts:

The film’s climax was shot at the Al Ain airport where the crew had a blanket permission to shoot anywhere within its premises. Neeraj discusses a scene with Akshay and Anupam as the shot is readied. Comfortable with his usual bald look, Anupam needed a tad bit of convincing by the team for the get-up. Madhurima, who plays the protagonist’s wife in the film here with Akshay, Neeraj and Shital having a hearty laugh at something they have viewed on the monitor. Turn to the next page to know what had happened.

A simple shot in which Akshay had to pick up Madhurima in his arms...Akshay turns this mundane shot into a show of acrobatics. Picking her up, he swirls her around in all possible directions to everyone’s bewilderment. Though terrified she puts up a smile, hiding behind her shades. Sir Bani Yas Island, a 15-min flight away from Abu Dhabi, was a location spotted during the recce. When the unit reached the spot, they found a gathering of goats. As Neeraj begins to shoot the herd, the goats stand up and turn around in perfect sync showing their rear to the camera. Acting pricey!

Production designer Sandeep Ravade recreated the Al Ain Airport as the ‘Al Dera Airport’—which was an integral part of the climax. The crew finally manage to complete this critical scene on time. A view from the Qasr Al Sarab desert resort at Abu Dhabi where a major part of the film was shot. This shot was taken at around 3.30pm. A series of shots were taken to introduce the four lead characters required for the Abu Dhabi sequence. While shooting this sequence the director knew that this would eventually make it to the film’s promo.

To be continued...

(Baby has been published by the film's media partner Chitralekha magazine)

Monday 16 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 547

Coffee with colleagues

Nazi wife of ace villain Ranjeet celebrated her birthday with an akhand path at home and invited all her old and new friends for the bhog. I could not make it on time for prasad but spent some wonderful time chatting with Danny Danzongpa and his wife Gava, close friends of the host and among the last guests to leave.

Ranjeet spoke about old times and Danny shared his experience of working in Baby that has received rave reviews from the critics as well as the audience.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

Friday 13 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 546

Cheers to Anushka producer.

Anushka Sharma produced aur Navdeep Singh directed Nh10 do Bharat ki kahani hain.

Ek Bharat, jahan Delhi mein basne wali Meera, ad agency ki creative head hain, aur samaj ke liye nirnay leti hain.
Doosra Bharat, jahan Haryana mein basi Pinky ko apni pasand ke ladke se shaadi karne ki bhi ijaazat nahi.
Aur inn dono yaane Gurgaon aur Punjab ke beech hain National Highway, jahaan koi surakshit nahin – na aurat, na mard, hathyaar ke saath ya hathyaar ke bagair!

Director Navdeep Singh apne kirdaar, shehar aur roz ke mauhaul ko behad naturally pesh karte hain. 

Pehle scene se interval tak film mein ek tension hain jo aap ko jakad kar rakhta hain!!

Writer Sudip Sharma ki kahani dilchasp hain magar contrived bhi. Film ka action hard hitting hain aur excessively violent bhi...

Film ka plus fiilm ka extra-ordinary sound aur samajik vishay. Film ki anokhi casting aur performances - Ammaji ki bhumika mein Deepti Naval aur negative role mein DarshanKumar.

2007 ki Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi mein debut karne wali Anushka Sharma sirf saat saal mein producer ban gayi hain aur wo bhi aisi film ki producer,  jismein manorajan nahi muddein hain!

NH 10 mein beshaq khamiyaan hain – magar neeyat nek hain, film ke sandesh mein matbhed hain magar himmat bhi.

Anushka Sharma ki Meera daudti hain, thakti nahi, zakhmi hoti hain, tootti nahin!

NH 10 ko actor aur producer Anushka Sharma ke vishwas ke liye Big Entertainment Ratings milte hain 3.5 stars.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

Thursday 12 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 545

Letter from London - Free Speech is Dangerous, It Can Boomerang

Sudeshna Sen

Oh God, I just wish the Brits would get over the whole Raj and white man's burden thing. First. I am a woman, one who has lived in a big city ­ and trust me, Mumbai, London, Delhi, Miami, they're all the same when it comes to footsteps behind one on lonely streets ­ and survived. So yes, I am in a multiple minority , which Ms Udwin is not, even if I cannot claim to be raped ­ I'm short, I'm Asian, I'm a woman and unfortunately for the BBC, I'm educated. Don't even start me off on how difficult that is to live down to in this country.

Let's talk about India's daughter. Nice name, but there are plenty of nice young allegedly English girls from Birmingham who are India's daughters running off to Syria to have babies for terrorists. 

Seriously , BBC goofed up not looking into their own backyard. Does Ms Udwin even dare to suggest there is a connection between Nirbhaya and dysfunctional Muslim teenage girls in Golders Green?
Let's talk about YouTube, which has done what all for the silly government ban. It's all there, and Ms Udwin is, on BBC breakfast talking to her fellow Brits, a lot less shall we say , liberal then when she's on NDTV? She condemns the Indian government, most Indians et al, and forgets the issue is a brutal rape. She pontificates on freedom of speech, hoarse as she is, and forgets she aired a segment of a savage rapist justifying his actions. We applaud her reportage.We lament her editorial skills. Yes, reporters are supposed to get everything they can. But then, they are supposed to use their judgement. Ms Udwin does not show any judgement.

I am an editor. I am waiting, just as I suppose the Met police is, and the Indian government, for a copycat kill; that is what the Udwins don't get. And why governments ban documentaries. Even random crime novels tell you that copy-cat kills are rampant, and hard to prevent. So the Indian government banned the documentary; Ms Udwin went on BBC breakfast saying it was about free speech. She wasn't in random village in random UP , where all the women would have been at the business end of pitchforks. Let's not blame UP villages. I expect the same from the almost-but-not quite -literate who read the Daily Mail in rural England and get all worked up.

Free speech, as those of us who actually live it, (unlike most British newspapers, which are bought by various political parties) is dangerous. It can boomerang every which way there is, even create those Jihadi Johns. I live on the borderland of various countries, and I know exactly how it works ­ in the media, there are people who belong, and people who do not.Of the people who belong, as we say , Udwin is one of them.Udwin was born in 1957, in Israel, and claims to have been raped but we do not know which country that was in. If it is true, then it must be in the UK ­ the country she now represents? We do not know her affiliations.Would MI5 ever have investigated her? Gulp. No.

Culturally , the British celebrate failure ­ Amy Winehouse--and get all gooey about perpetrators of crimes, not victims ­ everyone is all into how desolated Jihadi John's family is; but nobody talks about how desolated his victims are. That's a peculiar post-colonial, looney fringe liberal thing, but one that right-thinking Britons (the ones who want to bash terrorists on the head) can admit to. I can. I do not celebrate failure, or call perps of crimes “victims“ or disturbed. Yes, it is good if journalists get them to admit their crimes on record. It is not good, or feminist, or even helping anyone who might be a victim of rape, for a random YouTube video.

Bhawana Somaaya / @bhawanasomaaya

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 544

Two to Tango

Decades ago when director Feroze Abbas Khan conceived Tumhari Amrita inspired from Love Letters with Shabana Azmi/ Amrita and Zulfikar/ Faroque Shaikh reading letters from their individual desks, the idea was given a thumbs down by the skeptics.

On this woman’s day Main Tenu Phir Milungi featuring singer Kavita Singh singing poetry of revolutionary writer Amrita Pritam combined with exchange of letters recited by Salim Arif playing Sahir Ludhianvi and Lubna Salim playing Amrita. 

In the evening Rakesh Bedi’s play Mera wo Matlab Nahi Tha about lovers who parted many years ago and starring Anupam Kher and Neena Gupta was premiered at Mumbai’s NCPA theatre.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 543

Mumbai - March, 2012.

FOP Dialogue - JW Marriott Hotel, Mumbai

STANDING (L to R): Marc  Fourcade (Founder, Spring Consulting), Prahlad  Kakkar (Founder, Genesis Film Production), Shailesh Haribhakti (Chairman, BDO Consulting), Sanjeev Kapoor (Celebrity Chef, Khana Khazana), Kishore Biyani (Founder, Future Group), PK Ravindranath (Journalist & Professor), Abhay A Vakil  (MD, Asian Paints ), H N Mujawar (Chief Fire Officer, Mumbai Fire Brigade), Sudhanshu Bhattacharya (President, Association of Cardiac Surgeons of India), Geoff Marlow  (Director, Aligned Agility Limited),  P K Jain  (IPS, Vice Chairman, Maharashtra State Security Corporation),  Shirish Deshpande (CEO, Essel World), K.S. Raju  (Chairman, Nagarjuna Group), Arun Jhamkar (Vice Chancellor, Mumbai UHS),  Subhash Ghai (Indian Film Director, Producer & Screen Writer), Surendra Somani ( Vice Chairman, Kopran Group), Sudhakar Hegde  (Chairman, Hotel Tunga Paradise), Bijoy Kutti (Cardiac Surgeon, Head of CTVS of IHI Projects, Platinum Hospitals), Ravindranath (Site Director, TAPS), Pulin Shroff (MD,Charak Pharma ), R K Gargye  (Executive Director, Nuclear Power Corporation of India), Nimesh N Kampani (Chairman, JM Financial), Suresh Prabhu (Chairman, Parliamentary  Forum on Environment), R.N. Mukhija (Advisor to Chairman, L&T )

SITTING (L to R): Suresh H Advani (Chief, Dept of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital), B.K. Maureen (FoP Participant’s Liasons) , Harsha Hinduja (Trustee,Hinduja Foundation), J Om Prakash (Film Producer &Director), Ramesh Shah (Addl.Secretary General,Brahma Kumaris), Nizar Juma (Initiator & Host of FOP), BK Yogini (Hon.Director Administration BSES MG Hospital ), Dadi Janki (Administrative Head, Brahma Kumaris), Poonam Dhillon (Theatre & TV Actress), Bhawana Somaaya  (Film Critic & Columnist), Pallavi Shah (Pediatrician & Former President, International Inner Wheel ), Lata Subraidu (Rotarian), Ashok Mehta  Medical Director,Brahma Kumaris Global Hospitals )
SITTING(L to R): Stephen Berkeley (Manager Organisation Development,Global Hospital & Reserch Centre ,MT Abu ), Kavita Gupta ( IAS, Addl Director General Foreign Trade Ministry of Commerce & Industry), David Kilowski (Head, Art Dept, Brahma Kumaris), Bhushan Gagrani (IAS, Secretary, Public Health Dept.), Anthony Phelips (Strategic Marketing Consultant), Shailendra Nautiyal (Vice President, Times Foundation), Rajesh Arora (Director, DY Patil Institute of Medical Sciences), Bharat Dabholkar (Actor, Script Writer, and Director), Kruti Parekh (Artistic Illusionist), Himanshu Mehta (Opthalmic Surgeon Director, The Vission Eye Centre),B.K.Lalita (FOP, Administration), B.K.Rupam (FOP Back Office), Aarti Mattoo (Chairperson, Momentum Group)

Not in the Photo: Nanik Rupani (Priyadarshini Academy), Indira Hinduja, (IVF Specialist & Consultant Gynaecologist, Hinduja Hospital), Nayan Patel (Executive Director, Patel Extrusion Group), Raj Kishore Singh (Chairman,BPCL)

Friday 6 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 542

Holi with Shaan and Kabir Khan.

At Big FM we are used to star guests and once the recording is over everybody is always in a mood for coffee and conversation. Singer Shaan and filmmaker Kabir Khan were in a mood for coffee and conversation after being welcomed with a dash of colour to celebrate the festival. Wespoke about yesteryear stars, about show business and of course their future projects.

Shaan discussed his stint with acting and his love for music reality shows and the kind of songs that make him happy.

Director, screenwriter and cinematographer Khan shared how he started his career as documentary filmmaker before he ventured into feature films in 2006 with Kabul Express. His Ek Tha Tiger in 2012 is YRFilms and Salman Khan’s biggest grosser to date.

Currently Khan is completing Bajrang Bhaijaan with Salman Khan due for release in 2016.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

Thursday 5 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 541

Holi with Little Champs

It is 5 pm on the sets of Zee TV’s shooting of Saregama’s Holi episode at Famous Studio in Mahalakshmi and I have been invited by the mahaguruAlka Yagnik of Little Champs to watch the Little Champs perform live. The last time I visited Famous Studio was decades ago when it was not centrally air-conditioned and there was plenty of parking space in the compound. Today, cars block the passage as all the three floors of the studio are blocked for an advt/ TV and film shooting.

An assistant leads me to the set sprawled with wire rolls running all over the set. In a corner is a Ganpati idol with flower garlands and a lamp that lasts till as long as the shooting packs up. From where I’m seated I can watch Alka Yagnik and the other jury members get ready for the take. All the contestants and the jury members are dressed in Indian clothes for the occasion and the  contestants I’m informed actually played holi on the sets before the actual shooting began.

The set is dressed in flowers and vibrant colors to match the mood of the moment and the songs that the contestants are to sing are chosen accordingly as well.

Contrary to what I had imagined the contestants are far from tense or competitive with each other and treat the exercise more as fun filled experience rather than as competition. They are laughing and playing with each other moments before their names are announced to come on the stage particularly little Aishwarya who is just five years old.

At 7pm and the episode is canned and the unit packs up for the day. As I’m leaving the Little Champs come and colour me, say ‘Bura na mano aaj holi hain’.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 540

Purple Skie

Purple Skies is a sensitive documentary film about lesbians, bisexuals and trans-men, directed by filmmaker and activist Sridhar Rangayan is to screen at Queer Film Festival in Bangalore this weekend. The screening is a special feeling for the director who hails from Mandya and was born and brought up in Bangalore, “This is home coming for a film that has been traveling across the world”.

Purple Skies was premiered at the 5th KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, has traveled more than twenty five festivals around the world and receiving acclaim from global audience members. Rangayan hopes that the subject of his film will bring about a change in perceptions and attitudes both among the LGBT community and in the larger civil society.

Weaving together heartrending stories of LBT community victimized and subjugated by family society and law, the film applauds those courageous youngsters who have come out of the closet and chose to live a life of personal freedom.

Produced by Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT) in association with Solaris Pictures, the film raises crucial issues, questions our faulty legal system. 

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya

Monday 2 March 2015

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 539

The Third Eye

TV and film writer director Vinita Nanda initiated The Third Eye a few years ago, a resource centre for information on Sustainable Development, Climate Change, Health, Legal and Rights Issues, for Media and Entertainment. 

The program is also a consultancy that works with Studios, Networks and Production Houses and provides insights and planning for Content Strategy. The Research Engine of the program measures impact of entertainment upon audiences through exploratory studies and research. 

The initiative is in partnership with Asian Centre for Entertainment Education, Hollywood Health & Society and the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA and is also funded by the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation.

The event is marked by two panel discussions followed by felicitation of experts who have enriched narratives and brought realism to storytelling.

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya