Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Broken Images - a glance into one own-self

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.” 

Human psychology is such an intriguing subject that oodles of excitement gathers at the core of my heart whenever this topic is mentioned to me. Though I know and understand very little of it but it does not stop me from thinking about the layers of intertwined emotions that keeps us functioning as discrete individuals.
Another fascinating side of psychology lies in the fact that knowing one own-self is the toughest compared to knowing the mysteries around, at-least I have found out that "I" am the craziest riddle I have ever attempted to decipher. 

With this deep-seated inquisitiveness to unravelling the knots of thoughts, recently I happen to see a play "Broken Images" enacted by veteran actor and theatre personality Shabana Azmi. Written by Girish Karnad and directed by Alyque Padamsee. Its a psychological thriller, as many of you have already guessed with my generous prelude. 

When it comes to exhibiting superior acting prowess onscreen or on-stage Shabana Azmi, continues to one of the best the country has produced. A 60 minute long rendezvous with that talent of hers wooed me away. It is tough to point out a single flaw.

The play opens on a light note by introducing "Manjula Sharma", a mediocre hindi writer who has suddenly attracted international acclaim on her first English novel. A television channel happen to air her live interview, wherein she wittily addresses the negative reaction of many people, who condemn her for betraying her mother tongue that is hindi. Its eventually an unforeseen transition from a light hearted interaction to a psychological thriller. The audience is hardly given time to assimilate the overture, which is the essence.

In no time we find Manjula facing her own inner self, which is a prerecorded projection of Shabana Azmi. The interaction suavely guide the audience to the unknown, complex, guilt stricken Manjula and goes on to revealing striking facts about her existence. Facts that turn the perception of Manjula Sharma upside down for the audience.

I believe its unethical to reveal the story, but I cannot resist myself from discuss the pinnacle of excitement that the actress builds at the end. A shriek, an outburst of the evil residing in her and light effect of glass breaking,Broken Images. Believe me at this point you cannot refrain from getting scared.

Overall it was a remember worthy watch and intrigues the play-catcher in me for witnessing more such masterpieces. 

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Dear Zindagi - A movie review

I woke very early that day, the sky had just turned crimson. The air was laden with sweet coldness which hit my face as I suddenly opened the french window. I breathed hard, my eyes were fluffy with last night's sleeplessness. I wonder if I had any clue, what the coming day had for me to look forward to. A strange pain originated in my chest and traversed painfully to the mid of my back. I kept breathing to the fullest of my lung capacity and kept telling myself "I am fine, I am fine, I am fine...."

Sounds familiar? Well! I believe everyone of us have moments when we feel cluelessness and emptiness filling our hearts. Times when we become unfamiliar to our own-selves, and seemingly loose control of our individual existence.

"Dear Zindagi" a movie directed and written by Gauri Shinde of "English Vinglish" fame, deals with those untouched realms of human psychology. Before going to reviewing this work of art, I confide that I loved every frame. It's a masterpiece and answers many unanswered questions that boggles many of us from time to time.

Kaira aka Koko, an attractive young cinematographer played by Alia Bhatt is a modern day girl. Her very frame is so urban, cool and fresh that you immediately fall in love. But Koko has more to her petite kitty. While she is great at what she does and nurses humongous career goals, she is complicated and is apparently not in a happy personal space. In the first half of the movie, it is fairly unclear that why Kaira is in the state of despondency that she is. But eventually it unfolds itself in a pace that it unifies itself with the audiences. Koko breaks up with her partner and seeks love in another guy, but unable to convey herself to him which eventually leads her to loosing him. 

In a state of dejection, self-pity and almost insomnia, Koko meets Jug aka Jahangir Khan, played by Shah Rukh Khan, a psychiatrist, therapist. The story actually starts to reveal itself only after this. SRK plays that dream Therapist that woman will seek to visit, but jokes apart, what an intricate portrayal.

While many a real time therapist, might object to Jug's unconventional way of counselling, but I feel that his therapy has worked for millions of movie-catchers. It might be unrealistic, but if any emotion connects heart to heart, I feel its superior to hard core reality.

Through the sessions we interpret Koko more and more, as we witness her, pouring herself in her "jug". And I believe many people will realistically connect to Koko's elucidation of life. At the end we discover, with some hidden moist at the corner of our eyes, a winner. A delectable transformation from a sulker to a person who sings "Love You Zindagi".

Coming to acting, Alia Bhatt delivered a heart warming performance, incredibly natural and superbly overwhelming. I can safely call it her best so far. She is an incredible actress. Shah Rukh Khan, is a delight to watch. Every second that he occupies the screen with his presence glorifies the movie. Life is difficult, but it is important to pour out, otherwise feelings of low conglomerate to an entangled lump of never fading sadness. Gauri Shinde has out done herself, by commemorating the spirit of life.I also thank her for breaking the societal taboos on mental health. 

"Dear Zindagi" is a piece of life served beautifully to the audience. It is a search of finding one's own identity. Alia, SRK and Gauri Shinde needs immense applause for creating this wondrous piece of art.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta
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Friday, 11 November 2016

My Letter to Life "Dear Life...."

Dear Zindagi, Teaser...

Life is like the flowing breeze
Life is like an ocean
Life is that celebration
Which all commemorate with expectation...

Life is sad and gloomy
Life is full of light
Life is like that sparkling dawn
Soothing, crimson, bright...

Life is tough, life is harsh
Life is a maddening race
Life is like that mysterious mirage
Which you and me do chase...

Life is love, life is embrace
Life is soft and giving
Life is like that moment before the end
Life is worth a living...

Dear Life,

How are you? I know you must have delectably embraced the negativities around and made yourself worthy. Yet I ask you, how are you? And will wait forever for an answer.

Do you know buddy why I started this letter with poetry. You guessed it right, I wanted to show off my amateur rhyming skills. You know me so well, don't you? But there is another reason too, and that is, your thought made me poetic.
"Main Shayar toh nahi, magar ae hansi, jabse dekha maine tujhko, mujhko shayari aa gayi..."

In this generation of emails, texts and messages, it’s been ages since I wrote a letter. And suddenly when I am writing I realized that I have lost my words. My literary and poetic genius is bemused amongst shortcuts and urban dictionary. Yet I will try, because its you who has taught me "try, try and you will succeed."

As you know, tomorrow is my birthday, and I think this is the ideal time for me to thank you. But it's not easy...believe me...its not. For all that you have been to me, and for all that you have not been but I had craved for, I want to thank you.

Remember when I was born, my grandma who later loved me like mad, had drowned into melancholy. A third baby girl to her eldest son, simply too much for her to take! But when my father saw me in the hospital, he held me in his arms and looked at the apologetic face of my mother saying “who would want a son, if God wants to give me princesses each time?” I thank you life for making me born to parents, who preached righteousness and honesty, without wearing the voluntary blindness of superstitions. I thank you for making me a strong woman, capable of voicing her thoughts, unshaken by the baseless norms of bourgeois society. 

And off-course, how much can I thank you for the beautiful childhood that you gifted me. Baba, Ma and the three princesses lived in a beautiful township amidst crisp greenery, tangible blueness of the sky and the seraphic, yet cosmopolitan ambiance. A perfect breeding ground for rich souls! A place that taught me unison of caste, creed and religion into one single word “Humanity”! And the learning etched itself so grave, that the hatred around could not alter my within. A place that made me modern, classy yet rooted. It taught me the glitz and glitters of winter balls, and allowed me to enjoy the joy and gaiety of Durga Puja. I thank you, thank you and thank you.

I did not appreciate that I was growing up, before Baba left us for good. I can’t thank you for that. But I thank you that you made him have a very peaceful journey to the heavenly abode. I also thank you for giving my family strength during those days of despair and absolute loneliness. 

Kolkata snatched away a lot, but it gave a lot too. I met my husband there. I thank you and embrace you with love, for bestowing this blessing on me. Now we are married for 6 long years, but each day continues to be silvery, smooth and fun. A man sans the cheap ego of manhood, a man with a golden heart, I thank you life for giving me my man of dreams.

When I landed in Mumbai, I thought I would hate the city. The crowded streets, cacophony and commotion, at times left me gasping for breathe. But I thank you for bringing me to my sweetheart city of dreams. This city gave me togetherness with my life partner; this city gave me my first own apartment on the sixteenth floor, with a mysterious bird’s eye view of the city with the backdrop of the Western Ghats. This house has made my days crimson and nights starry. I thank you life for that.

Last but not the least, I thank you for bringing me to the city that gave me back my love for words. I never thought I could paint with the brush of words this elegantly, until I knew of blogging. I thank my life in Mumbai for that. And in my quest in search of narratives, I have completed my first Novel. I could have never thought about it, few years back, but dear life you have given me that strength. I don’t know if my tale will see the light of publishing or not. But my creativity thanks you for being there, keeping me alive enough to create a narrative.

Oh! I just realized how long I have been writing. After-all a letter is too small to thank you Life…just be with me as long as I am worthy to have you…you are beautiful but at times I fail to recognize it…but as I write about you I appreciate your beauty more….

What else to write, what else to say…all I have learnt from you is…whatever you dream to do…today is the day.

Loads of love, hugs, kisses and more
Ever-indebted friend

“I am writing a letter to life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Friday, 4 November 2016

SodaWater Opererwala - A Restaurant Review

Parsi culture defines the essence of the city since it was called Bombay and has always intrigued me due to its distinctiveness. Similarly Parsi food was in my "to experience" list for long. But somehow things were not falling into place. But recently to my utter joy "SodaBottle Operwala" a famous restaurant chain of Parsi cuisine, opened their outlet in stone throw distance from my abode. Off-course I had to visit it, and so I did.

The decor, interesting isn't it?

My hubby enjoying his share of Dhansak

The decor of the place resonates Irani culture, but the evident constraint on space availability makes it a bit clumsy and also noisy. But overall there is uniqueness which is appealing.  The menu card is a relief from the ones we encounter regularly. There was not much I had tasted before. So me and my husband chose to start with "Chicken Farcha", a Parsi style fried chicken and spiced it up with "Masala Coke". The chicken preparation was a bit too oily, nonetheless tasted great and the masala coke really added to the flavour. For main course, there are no prizes to guess that we selected the famous Parsi delicacy "Mutton Dhansak" and I really loved it. I had heard that there is a remarkable similarly between Parsi and Bengali food, and this experience proved me correct. 

Overall, "SodaWater Openerwala" was a great experience to me and my first encounter with Iranian food. It is first of its kind in Thane and is drawing numerous Parsi Food lovers each day. I suggest it to all non veg lovers, for the vegetarians I really don't have an opinion to forward. However the sitting arrangement could be a bit more spaced out making the experience a little more comfortable. No, its not a fine diner but the prices are towards the higher side. Yet its a wonderful addition to the restaurants of the place, and definitely I will  be visiting it more.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

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My posing never seem to cease...

The Fishermans Wharf - An experience to cherish

It was a beautiful night, but I was not feeling too good. Any vacation must end, but that end never comes easy. It falls on you with its share of agonies and mental turbulence. Going back to normalcy feels dejecting and heart-aching. I was experiencing the same syndrome. It was our last night in Goa, at least for that trip and I wanted to cling to it a little longer. Keeping with our food trip spirit, we carefully chose the diner for the night. "The Fisherman's wharf" it was. 

Romantically inclined was the ambience

A shack-style yet fine diner located by the river in Salcette, South Goa, this restaurant had a magical ambiance to say the least. Just opposite Holiday Inn Resort, as you approach this one the sound of live band playing nuzzle your eardrum welcoming you to an evening to remember.  

When we entered, initially we could not get a table by the river, but eventually we managed to get one. The river flowed along, and so did the music. We enjoyed both to the fullest. The lights, the decor and the romantic songs played by the musicians created a spell of rejoice, the stars and the softly rippling water added to the beauty.

We relaxed with my glass of "Cosmopolitan" and my husband's scotch, for satisfying our taste-buds there was "Stuffed Crab", an unusual combination of crab with cheese, crispy chicken and Goan special Masala prawns. All tasted great, but I fell in love with the Crabs, though not essentially a crab person.

Choose your eat

Foodie's life

And then off-course we danced and rejoiced, euphorically spent the evening in a way I always love. I strongly suggest "The Fisherman's wharf" to all those romantic souls who hit the coasts of the tropical paradise regularly, and also to those who love to get a touch of nature wherever they go.

Dancing away...

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Martin's Corner - a restaurant review

Our September trip to Goa, was a foodies's delight. An indulgence to dream of. Staying a little away from the beach, kind of annoyed us but we tried to compensate for that loss by binge. Today I plan to review what they call South Goa's celebrity eatery "Martin's Corner". Well before I entered the place, I had no clue why Goan people called the place so. But it just took me moments to appreciate the reason, once I was there. "No" it wasn't celebrity studded, the actual celebutante was the ambiance, the colourful decor, the cheerful crowd and off-course the live music.

To me, it isn't too important to rate the food, though I would say it was good enough. The place is for experiencing the ambiance, food is just an added flavour. Having said that we had ordered quite a bit, starting with my cocktail "tequila sunrise" a fruity delight with tequila, which tasted wonderful. We also ordered "Basa fry" which was heavenly, "Calamari Butter Garlic", which was our first try with squids but unfortunately we both hated it, not the chef's fault though, our taste buds aren't that versatile with non-veg stuff yet, so as a compensation we added cliche "chicken fried rice" to our order list, which tasted, expectantly "cliche". 

But I loved the prettification and accessorising of the interiors, pretty cool and colourful stuff was used. The live music was heart-warming, they mostly played vintage english tracks. My hubby who never ceases to surprise me, without my knowledge requested a hindi number and one of my all time favourites "Pehla Nasha, Pehla Khumar" and dedicated that to me. It was a sweet moment for both of us, but what amused me more was that, the crowd came much more alive as the singer started to play the prelude, probably an awaited relief from the ongoing english tracks. Afterall we all love bollywood music, don't we?

Overall, I would suggest Martin's corner to all the lovers of spirited atmosphere, music and offcourse food.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta