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Delhi
Monday, February 29, 2016

CINEMA
ACTOR RAJKUMAR RAO ON
PLAYING A JOURNALIST
P2

Admit two

THEATRE

ESCAPE

META PROMISES TO BRING
SOME THOUGHT
PROVOKING PLAYS P3

TO VAST BARREN LANDS
OF DUSTY MANGOLIA
P4

Gandhi, once more!
In “Gandhi: An Illustrated Biography”, Pramod Kapoor
revisits the ideology of the Father of the Nation and
amazes us with some unforgettable pictures
and riveting anecdotes
ZIYA US SALAM

Performance

Theatre

Kinkini Dhvani presents
“Smriti Pravah 2016Pratiti” an evening of
Kalakshetra style
Bharatanatyam by
Kalakshetra alumni.
Participating artistes
include Archita Mehta
Ramesh, Ashwini Rao and
Simer Preet Sokhi among
others. Feb 29, Auditorium,
Triveni Kala Sangam,
Mandi House, ND, 6.30 p.m.

Pratibimb Kala Darpan
presents Vijay Tendulkar’s
“Khamosh! Adalat Jaari
Hai” Hindi social comedy
play designed and directed
by Rajesh Babbar.
Date: February 29
Time: 7 p.m.
Venue: M.L. Bhartia
Auditorium, Alliance
Francaise De Delhi, 72,
Lodhi Estate, New Delhi.
Tickets: Rs.200 and 100.

Dance
Odissi recital by Madhavi
Mudgal and group.
Date: February 29
Time: 7 p.m.
Venue: Habitat World,
India Habitat Centre
(IHC), Lodhi Road, New
Delhi

Play
Drashta India presents
“Arsenic & Old Lace”,
Kesselring’s play in Hindi,
designed and directed by
R’jesh Bali. March 2 and 3,
Akshara Theatre, 11-12 B,
Baba Kharak Singh Marg,
New Delhi, 6.45 p.m.
Tickets:Rs.200, 100 and 50.

M

any summers
ago when Pramod Kapoor
started
Roli
Books in 1978, he probably
did not know there was an
author in him. Slowly
though he has undergone a
complete change, from being just a publisher to a research scholar and now an
author. He has just penned
“Gandhi: An Illustrated
Biography” that is predictably high on visual support.
What is interesting though
is the fact that Kapoor has
been able to throw some
light on Mahatma Gandhi’s
personal relationships, particularly his exchanges with
his son Harilal and his wife
Kasturba. He recounts the
difference in opinion and
the quarrel between Gandhiji and his wife when the
former brought a family of
untouchables to
his ashram
in Kochrab

Recital
Kathak recital by
Parwati Dutta and
disciples of Mahagami
Gurukul.
Date: March 1
Time: 7 p.m.
Venue: Habitat World,
IHC, Lodhi Road, ND

in 1915. The quarrel went
on till midnight when their
teenage
sons
brought
about a truce. More interesting is the reproduction of Harilal’s letter to
his father in which he
wrote, “A worm enters the
body of a wasp and flies
away having assumed the
form of the wasp. I believe
something similar happened to me. I have received much from you. I
have learnt much. I was
formed by you and my
character emerged unblemished. The only difference is that I lacked the
patience and endurance of
a worm and ran away even
before I could become a
wasp.”
Besides Gandhiji’s fixation with sleeping in the
nude with his teenage
grandniece, despite his
near and dear ones’ objections, there is an even
more pertinent revelation
about Gandhiji
and VD Savarkar addressing a
gathering
together in London
where
Gandhiji spoke
on Shri Ram,
Savarkar
on
Durga,
their
choices of deities exemplifying
their
political ideologies. And for
those who came
in late, Kapoor
has a revelation:
the
marital
bond that the
Godses and the
Savarkars

shared, another matter
that Nathuram was convicted for the assassination
of the Father of the Nation
while VD Savarkar escaped. Though Godse was convicted, Kapoor writes,
“Perhaps Gandhi would
himself have defended
Godse. In the twilight of
his life, he had already pronounced a verdict on his
would-be assassin.
‘If someone were to
shoot me in the belief that
he was getting rid of a
rascal, he would kill not
the real Gandhi, but one
that appeared to him a
rascal.’”
In the middle of hectic
travel to promote the book,
Kapoor took a few questions about the book that
has some rare photographs, including those of
Gandhiji with Charlie
Chaplin, Sardar Patel be- MAN OF THE MOMENT Gandhi and his grandniece Manubehn at Hyderi Manzil in Calcutta
sides poignant ones with where he spent India’s first Independence Day; the photograph that his biographer Louis
Kasturba in varying stages Fischer got signed for ten rupees after bargaining and the first design of the national flag
of life.
Excerpts:
ries and anecdotes thus truth. In that context you freedom struggle. For inA book on Mahatma making my point by pre- can refer to him as a rebel. stance, people point out
Gandhi often just adds to senting anecdotes that de- He was a strict disciplinar- his happy relationship, if
the vast ocean on the scribed
ian, stub- only for a while, with
indomitable figure. What Gandhi’s
born to the Gita Press. Could you
were the challenges you life or his
core, and please elaborate?
faced to present some- relationliked
to
Gandhi worked relentthing new in piecing to- ship with
take
lessly for Hindu-Muslim
gether this biography?
various
charge of unity while remaining a
In my six year long study people
his family Hindu believer. For him
and research I realised that close
or
and close religion was a personal
Gandhi is analysed, reana- opposed to
friends. He choice and should not be
lysed differently every dec- him and
built
a imposed. He did help creade or so. From early let reader form his own team of followers with ate Khilafat Movement,
reverence to criticism by opinion.
whom he created a nation. and often considered himmostly western scholars
Mahatma Gandhi was
There are different self close to the philosophy
books are full of personal essentially a rebel. How schools of thought on of Christ. Often in his eveinterpretation by famed did he turn out to be the Gandhiji's involvement ning prayer meetings the
scholars. I simply con- saviour of the nation?
with various Hindu and Quran and the Bible were
veyed
my
narrative
One thing Gandhi never Muslim groups away recited.
(Continued on page 3)
through lesser known sto- compromised with was from the mainstream of

Gandhi and
Chaplin

Forgotten name and ideals

Charlie Chaplin was keen
to meet Gandhi. Gandhi had
never heard of Chaplin or
seen his movies. But when
told that Chaplin came from
a poor family, Gandhi agreed
to meet him. They had a
friendly argument about
machinery, which Chaplin
felt was a great boon to
mankind, but Gandhi’s view
was that it made India
dependent on Great Britain
and the only way to reduce
that dependency was to
boycott
all
machinery.

Bishwajeet Mookherjee’s “Gandhi Ka
Champaran” depicts the uneasy
ground reality of Champaran where
Satyagraha was put to test
for the first time
S. RAVI

Recently a news item informed about a literary event
at Patna in memory of Raj
Kumar Shukla who had persuaded Mahatma Gandhi to
visit Champaran in order to
free its farmers and peasants
from the tyranny of British
indigo factory owners. Many
wondered as to who Shukla
was. Hardly surprising when
Bishwajeet Mookherjee’s 55minute documentary Gandhi
Ka Champaran depicts that a
majority of Champaran’s inhabitants are unaware of
Gandhiji and his contribution. Those in the know rue
that Gandhiji’s legacy in
terms of ideology, educational institutions and fight
against society’s evil practices have virtually been consigned to oblivion.
Vividly bringing this to
fore, the film takes the viewer
through the history of the
movement while seamlessly
interweaving the present
state of Champaran and its
people. When informed that
Gandhiji stayed in Gorakh
Babu’s house in Motihari or
at Bettiah’s Hazarimal dharamshala, the camera pans on
these ruins forcefully driving
home the point the utter neglect on part of the authorities. Commencing with a
brief history of this ancient
place, then known as TapoCM
YK

sanitation and primary education. During his stay there,
Bapu started several schools,
including elementary ones,
which were taken care by
Kasturba Gandhi and several
other associates. The visionary’s dream seemed to have
come to nought with many
van, the narrator and the of these institutions either
visuals cut straight to the shut down or representing
British era showing the in- neglect from the point of
digo factories and their view of facilities and faculty.
Amazingly, even though
treatment of peasants. The
director has used sketches the divided portions of
and documents for visual Champaran, East and West,
presentation of those times. are dotted with Gandhi’s
Most of the memorials are presence in the form of statdevoid of basic amenities ues, memorials and institulike drinking water and elec- tions, yet children did not
tricity. At one place Gandhi’s
statue is used for drying
clothes.
A resident of Motihari,
Bishwajeet says that it was
Government’s decision to
celebrate Champaran Satyagraha that triggered the film.
“My objective is to make
people aware about the current picture of Gandhi’s
Champaran. Those who are
planning to celebrate the
centenary with pomp and
show should first focus on
the grim situation of Champaran and Gandhi’s dying Those who are
values there.”
planning to
Himmat Singh Negi’s voiceover lends weight to the celebrate the
narrative. Infusing a distinct centenary with
tone and tenor, he brings out pomp and show
the pathos, satire and parashould first focus on
dox in Bishwajeet’s script.
Besides charting the strug- the grim situation of
gle and the eventual success
of the Champaran move- Champaran and his
ment, the documentary dying values there
highlights Gandhiji’s fight
against untouchability, poverty and child labour and
raises the issues of health,

,,

Gandhi solid the idea of
spinning
wheel
and
homespun cloth to Chaplin.
And it is said that he inspired
Chaplin to make “Modern
Times”.
(An extract from “Gandhi:
An Illustrated Biography”)

FORGOTTEN HERO A scene from the film; (below) Bishwajeet Mookherjee

know about Bapu or Kasturba Gandhi or their contribution. To the question ‘What
is sarkar?’ children reply
‘Narendra Modi’. The school
children are also unable to
identify
Chandrashekhar
Azad and Indira Gandhi.
Bishwajeet remarkably captures children squirming and
feeling guilty even though
they cannot be blamed.
Their ignorance reflects the
standard of teaching. Making
the whole situation hilarious
is Bishawajeet asking a headmaster about Sardar Vallabhbhai
Patel’s
contribution, who meekly
admits his ignorance. Elected government representatives fare far worse. Ward
Commissioner, Nasima Khatun, who requires prompting
by her assistants, mistakes

Lalu for Gandhi while another representative refers to
salt satyagraha by Bapu in
Champaran. Arvind Mohan,
a senior journalist castigates
the political leader of all
hues. “At present Gandhi
and his ideals is just a show
for our leaders.”
The khadi and handloom
units started by Gandhiji are
in a state of neglect here.
Quite paradoxical considering that it was in Champaran
he gave up wearing the Kathiyawadi attire adopting dhoti
to identify with the peasants.
“It is the place from where
Gandhiji started weaving the
charkha and making khadi
which later on became the
symbol of swadeshi. Today
his charkha is lying in a heap
of dust. Almost all the khadi
ashrams are closed today,”

laments Bishwajeet.
Gandhiji’s
movement
against untouchability which
led him to introduce a common kitchen, has taken a
backseat. Mohan and Ashok
Verma, a photojournalist,
are accusing political parties
of encouraging casteism. The
director has made efforts to
synchronise these charges
with ground reality. Pointing
to an eatery, a small child in
Motihari says that only higher caste people are seated
inside while they are given
food in a newspaper.
Watching Gandhi Ka
Champaran I felt that Albert
Einstein’s observation that
generations will scarcely believe that a man like Gandhi
walked upon this Earth
seems to be coming true in
his land of birth.
ND-ND

” He says.” During her performance. The two died within a month of each other. “Had your father been here I would have discussed the poet with him. Shimla Mirch where he is sharing screen space with Hema Malini. his ancestors came to be known as the “Panchgaon Kayastha”. I could understand the kind of struggle a journalist has to go through for a story. Gorakh Prasad Sahai (“Chacha” to him and siblings) was a well-known lawyer and poet who wrote under the pseudonym of Ibrat Gorakhpuri. He once remarked that the beloved in Urdu and Persian poetry was always a boy and not a girl. He was never fond of bathing with the result that he suffered from skin ailments. Disciple of Padma Bhushan Raja and Radha Reddy and Kaushalya Reddy. you get an understanding of the character with research. That’s for another day. Josh. has she met aspirants who’re just as passionate like her character in the film? “My grandmother Suchitra Sen was very passionate about the movies and very aspirational about following this dream.” One now thinks that had the IS been around then it would have executed Omar as a heretic. Naturally. Raima says she has met several people like Imli.” Elaborating on the idea of love. The kind of commitment Rameshji has for work is inspiring. Ibrat Sahib died in his fifties. which however. is about three people from diverse backgrounds pursuing a common dream—that of making it big in Bollywood. she performed on an Sufi song “Chhaap Tilak” which revels in the love between a devotee and god in different ways through Bhakti and Sringara (Rakti). Rajkumar says. “It is the most beautiful script that I have read in my career. This is the union of the atma with the parmatma and Yashasvini though quite young. I say. who later became Lt-Governor of Delhi. I know that I will be proud of Aligarh even 10 years from now. Playing a sex worker is always exciting. Vajpayee came to see him with a bottle each. Raj Kumar says. You have to pin point certain things which the person in front of you is not comfortable talking about. You have to stop bullying and judging people. says Raima. the poet who captured pain and ecstasy with equal felicity A s Firaq Gorakhpuri’s death anniversary approaches (he died on March 3. “At times when I look out of the car and see an ordinary couple looking lost on a street it gives me goose bumps for I can’t forget Deepak and Rakhi. though you might wax eloquent on the likes of T. who is a classic dancer and her gurus Raja and Radha Reddy and Kaushalya Reddy. “When I read the script many times I could visualise how this character will behave and once you get into that mindset it is hard to come out of it. he has the same kind of energy but he is much more naïve. and so also the Saqi or cup-bearer even of the gods. which the film gently touches upon. “I was initiated in this beautiful tradition of Kuchipudi by my mother Shallu Jindal.N. Tej Bahadur Sapru. so she too can go to Mumbai. the Kunzroos. " She adds. As for Deepu. comes Down Memory Lane Warts and all Remembering Firaq Gorakhpuri. reports femalefirst. such as Chameli and Pretty Woman. “It is not exactly a political film. Every time you watch Citylights. Ajai Mansingh has in a biography. from back when she used to teach little children in Sonagachi. But he had an aversion to his neighbour. “I’m used to playing very intense roles. but she doesn’t want to “jinx it” as they are only “in talks” about it. R. It is all in the mind that we have to do lead roles. “He could see his pain. they can be. Of these three. and we were both saying there has to be something. while she was in school herself. Ramchandra Siras’s heart without Rajkumar Rao. the dancer. in course of time. the young dancer says. The same thing happened when Josh Malihabadi’s anniversary fell on February 2. Soon after he collapsed. this glance should have been for the beloved )? Everybody was stunned. tipsy and stumbling on his way to the rest-room. Deepu is portraying society in the film. “He is very fidgety. there are few signs that it will attract much attention.” Is Hema part of the love triangle which also features Rakul Preet Singh? “Probably.” Body language of the character. 2016 A life-size actor Rajkumar Rao on playing a journalist in “Aligarh” and working with Hema Malini ANUJ KUMAR It is always better to play a second lead in a good film than to lead the cast in a bad film.” On what dance and its varied expressions means to her. too. “She is so in love with the world of movies that is she is totally consumed by it to the point where she’s unaware of her own reality. is “based on how we conduct elections is our country”. He did it effortlessly in Queen and here he allows Manoj Bajpayee to blossom. It is always better to play a second lead in a good film than to lead the cast in a bad film. "Of course. paused suddenly and went home to complete the last line which had been eluding him in a couplet that said: “Ai Hijr ki raat katne walon/Kya karoge gar subhah na hui tau”? (Oh you passing the MeccaMedina like Hijri era night of acute anxiety. February 29. in which a Kuchipudi dancer stands on the rims of a brass plate.uk. you notice a new facet that Rajkumar has brought to Deepak. while taking an English Literature class in CM YK Firaq Gorakhpuri Allahabad University. V. Yashasvini said. R. Yashasvini’s ranga pravesham reflected her effort. It is a story that needs to be told. He is said to have remarked. Love is not only about who you are sleeping with. Garg in New Delhi. Katju. One’s personal memories of Raghupati Sahai alias Firaq are based on two meetings: One when he came to take one’s M.” This is his third film with Hansal Mehta and Rajkumar says working with Mehta makes him feel that he is in safe hands. when he was lying ill in Delhi. Even Rajinikanth’s journey from a bus conductor to India’s biggest superstar continues to fascinate me. under whom I have been learning for the past eight years. Talking about her role. Rajkumar has just wrapped up Ramesh Sippy’s comeback vehicle. because you’ve seen films with incredible performances. Deepu approaches the suspension of the gay professor like any other breaking story but the moment he started interacting with Siras he starts connecting with him at a human level. 1982). How can one be so beautiful? She is still glowing and continues to amaze. I feel alive. “Yeh dard tau mit jaiga/Lekin jo dard dil mei hai uska kya hoga”? That’s when the doctor said he would inject a tranquilliser to relieve his pain. Besotted with the original Dream Girl. But the poet’s sour relations with his wife. It needs a lot of commitment. With precise movements of the eyes. The National Award winning actor plays a real life journalist Deepu Sebastian in the film. Mel C. but you are too young to comprehend the worth of Wordsworth. He didn’t think much of Allama Iqbal. Raima Sen plays Imli. Belonging to a family which had been gifted five villages 400 years ago by the rulers of Awadh. This was the same man who. And that changed Deepu as a person. recite Mir’s poetry).” Halliwell told TV show Lorraine. These experiences.V. Halliwell feels that there “has to be” a reunion of the group.” Hansal.co. Students trooped in to see the great shair. Kolkata.” reflects Rajkumar. The idea is for the dancer’s soul to lose its contact with the material world and bein harmony with the eternal power.” Then he has Newton. have helped in moulding this character in the film. experience and discussions. Bollywood Diaries. It is believed that one of the reasons for Firaq’s sudden demise was the loss of his great friend. Among his close friends were Jawaharlal Nehru. I’d like something to happen. Big names do supporting parts in Hollywood all the time and we appreciate that but here even a section of the media asks why you are playing second lead. Majaz Lucknavi and A. That is how the society should behave and treat people who have different sexual preference than yours. kya likhta hai. His nephew. who hopes to be rescued from the notorious red light area. K. “It is has shaped up very well.p2 METROPLUS VARIETY NOIDA/DELHI THE HINDU Monday. He is always on his toes. Firaq Sahib went on to add: “Kya likhta hai yaar. which also included Victoria Beckham. “There was a conversation this morning with Mel B. Moving on to another beautiful choreography by her Guru Raja Reddy. Will the Spice Girls get back? Geri Halliwell and Mel B want a reunion for the band’s 20th anniversary Singer Geri Halliwell says she and her former bandmate. my security guard. It is a light-hearted love story. His father. She concluded her performance with the traditional tarangam. his nephew whisked away. chips in. Shedding light on her background. and drank heavily. S.” So. but Josh Malihabadi occupied the place next to Mir in his heart. John. friend. When I met her I kept watching her for almost couple of minutes.” . not over the top. Yashasvini started her recital with an invocation to lord Venkateshwara followed by Dashavataram where she depicted the 10 avatars of lord Vishnu. His body was later taken to Allahabad for the funeral. the puritanical historian Pandit Ishwari Prasad. “Kalam-e-Mir sunaoo/Badi udhas hai raat” (the night is very sad. I can love my driver. “She is still so beautiful and ravishing. I know that I will be proud of “Aligarh” even ten years from now H e is not the centre of attention in Aligarh but you cannot approach Prof. “It was lot of fun to be on the other side. They think it definitely has to happen to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary this year. In love with movies Raima Sen talks about the challenges of playing the role of a sex worker aspiring to become a star in “Bollywood Diaries” VISHAL MENON The recently released film.. Agra for a mushaira along with Maikash. innocent love of Bollywood that helped her create a connection with the character. a Supreme Court lawyer. Literature viva voce. looked pleasing to the eyes of the rasikas. and asked a question on William Wordsworth but cut the answer short saying. ‘Fools your reward is neither here nor there’. at first. which. The lighting done by Sandeep Dutta also added to the understated glamour of the recital. seamlessly combining speech with mime. It is fresh and there is a lot of sweetness in the film. her performance was bold and sensuous. I have a lot of respect for the profession. Mel B. SUDERSHAN It seems things like playing second fiddle do not occur to him. His pyjama string was dangling loose when a student pointed towards it. He is contrary to Siras. who enters the room to pick his shoes. Eliot. Following this was a precise tillana which was a composition of senior Carnatic vocalistBalamurali Krishna. the Maharani of Patiala and A. So what was the taint attached to his relationship? It continued even after Ramesh got married and fathered two children. Harivanshrai Bachchan. He ate good non-vegetarian food.” It is Imli’s pure. “I believe that dance is who I am. energised and full of positivity every time I dance. the other meeting took place earlier when he came to St John’s College. As a matter of fact.” More like the boy in Ragini MMS? “I am glad you remember the film. It was from him that Firaq acquired his love for Urdu. “The Poet of Pain & Ecstasy” (Roli books) thrown much light on Firaq Sahib’s personal life in which the shair is presented warts and all. Firaq’s love for Mir Taqi Mir was so great that when he couldn’t sleep at AIIMS he told his caretakers. Kishori Devi was a sore point throughout his life of 86. I called him and said we have to make this film. Smith The author is a veteran chronicler of Delhi very naturally to him. what would you do if morning did not come?). kurta and pyjamas before going to the university. Also. Firaq Sahib glared at him and remarked: “Udhar kya dekhta hai/Yeh nazr tau kisi mehboob ki hone chaihya thi” (what are you looking there for.” Rajkumar clarifies. but you still need to believe in the character to make the character believable to the audience. his honesty and his love for everyone. “Sell potatoes cheap to the Pandit or he’ll howl that they were 2 paise a seer in Napoleon’s time”. have been discussing a Spice Girls reunion. hosh-o-hawas uda deta hai” (what he writes. He had just been discharged from AIIMS after a cataract operation and moved to the house of his friend. yes…. “Mian Ramesh” gives an insight into Firaq’s daily life. yes. which are tough to match. I know what kind of film he will make. though some were aware that Firaq could very well talk like that when drunk. and Emma Bunton. VISUALISING THE CHARACTER Rajkumar Rao PHOTO: V. Jha.” Rajkumar loves to work on the body language of the characters. But every day he would wear a fresh set of clothes – achkan.” he leaves it openended.N.” Stepping in to shine Yashasvini Jindal marked her ranga pravesham with an impressive performance PROMISING Yashasvini Jindal MADHUR GUPTA Making an elegant entry into the dance world. She says. In his Hindi book on Firaq. began to exercise complete control over him. I still feel like Shahid when I get to hear about certain events. along with Prof V. A sense of satisfaction and contentment engulfs me whenever I rehearse or perform. leaving Firaq as the head of the family. without understanding what Omar Khayyam meant when he observed: “And a muezzin from the tower cries. telling the vegetable vendor in 8/4 Bank Street. “Political films he does only with me. Firaq could not survive him for long. having kababs even at breakfast. so it was a bit of a challenge to be playing someone as bubbly and talkative as Imli. Firaq found love in young Ramesh Dwivedi who. debutante Yashasvini Jindal performed with confidence at Kamani Auditorium recently. a sex worker from Sonagachi. Yes. . draped in taste- fully adorned costume.B. says Rajkumar.A. And perhaps the beard that Rajkumar is sporting these days reflects the preparation of the next step that these two are taking. IANS ND-ND . “I trust Hansal as a director. That aspect makes her so attractive. K. “Some people who have watched the film asked it seems Deepu and Siras are romantically involved. seems to be on the right path . stuns the senses).” Meanwhile. Rajkumar says. Mel B previously said she too hopes all five girls will come together and perform on stage.

And students afspeed to be able to make past ter demonstrating their talit. as lightweight. the session had Nandita Das and Vandana Shah as panellists. Mahindra Baja SAEINDIA 2016 gave participants a chance to create their there were some breakdowns. With around months back — Mahindra teams have to build on. Ravi Dubey’s demise last year. In “After Death”.” Digitally strong To discuss challenges for transforming Delhi into digitally smart city. He was an eyewitness from the closest quarters. For. I am certain it will leave them inspired. but there is a different kind of satisfaction in actually making a difference for an art form. The award’s popularity is reflected in the number of entries it receives every year. Delhi (IIIT-D). all throughout.provides engine to the partic. And from here. and Best Choreographer. Inspiring biography Anna Hazare released “Lal Bahadur Shastri: Netritva Ke Sutra” (Hindi translation of “Lal Bahadur Shastri: Lessons in Leadership”). ous event. they were all stopped before The Mahindra Baja the finish of the race. mental health. so that the 10 productions represent eight different languages and six cities. Ashish Soni. complete eleven. we have been getting anywhere between 350 to 400 entries every year. The message for visitors was how gardening contributes in tackling the rising pollution level. this year’s short-list for META is a diverse one. what durance run was certainly the layahead was a steep hill one looked forward to by car climb. Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male). we are getting more and more thought provoking plays that explore a range of issues that affect both urban and mofussil India. But it is heartening to see that every year. Shah says.” …Gandhi. Some thought provoking discussions were literally food for thought. “Smarter and Digital Delhi” explored solutions of problems such as traffic management.. This year. The interactive session reflected on the role of a society in empowering women. Giving a perspective Urmila Gupta. the south. Dubey. I have described Gandhi’s last journey through Melville De Mellos commentary. some crashes etc. are already very representational of every facet of theatre. From March 5 to 10. the three day festival saw an engrossing discussion on “Women and Society”. months. “Kuhaimaravasigal” itself. We did small sessions with the local media and engaged with theatre groups. VEDAN lenging myself. solar energy. “Agnes Of God” and “07/07/07” from Mumbai. They Engineering Pune and third SRM University rance test for the participa.was organised. more than 100 theatre groups across the country have been exposed to the brand. came Alard College of a big splash – it was an endu. And. Clothes. public transport. says Shah. says Shah. Nandita too shared in- stances from her life which influenced the choices she has made.p3 METROPLUS SPECTRUM NOIDA/DELHI THE HINDU Monday. a daylong workshop was organised by the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology.. Professor Chandradasan. said. “After Death – The Spiritual Journey” and The “Cabinet of Dr. Baharul Islam. a three-day event. In fact. Best Actor in a Lead Role (Female). reown machines and drive them ducing the number of teams S. we actually toured to different parts of the country. the dance drama of Yakshagana from Karnataka is presented.work on the engine setting stood nts. talked about her own journey and how the stigma around divorce needs to be shattered.the race virtually starts from a 310cc engine with 10 horse. particularly Godse in mind. Best Ensemble. created in META both a legacy and a platform that continues to support theatre and its practitioners in the country. and the city gears up for five days of some great plays.M. we saw a pile up of around four electric cars right at the starting point. waste management. Speaking on the occasion. Best Director.. but there is a different kind of satisfaction in actually making a difference for an art form Jay Shah . Since it is an Indian competition. we have not grown in terms of eligibility either. over 350 entries were sent. “Mein huun Yusuf aur ye hai mera bhai” from Pune and “Kuhaimaravasigal” (Cave Tree Dwellers) from Kovilpatti. Sharmila Tagore released Valmik Thapar’s “Winged Fire”. Finally. the name behind META.” As META continues its run.finished the race first. Blooming gardens The 29th Garden Tourism Festival. “In the fifth year. Surendranath Suri. the brain behind the festival. son of the former Prime Minister and author. health. Shah says is a happy coincidence.” Along with social issues. Best Innovative Sound Design. and judged across 13 categories. the endurance uisite to participate in a relevel of each team was tested cently held motor event. The author also spoke on the need to preserve the environment. viewed by a new and carefully selected jury. Shah comments on the core of the idea that behind Mahindra & Mahindra’s decision to launch META. “The only thing the selection committee looks for is what is reflected in the award’s name –– pure excellence in theatre. Vandana. Akshayambara from Bangalore. And like the previous track was nothing like you would have seen elsewhere. Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female). bisexuality and prostitution. Secmuddy patch. “We try to pick projects that need corporate support and not just areas that are quick publicity. this year's edition will be META’s first after its Creative Director. And you can’t speed Well. Best Original Script. exploring topics like displacement. “We introduced the Lifetime Achievement Award a few years ago. Slated to begin on 5th March. But the quality of the archival record wasn’t that great. There is “Balcony”. The philosophy behind the festival was to bring together people for a dialogue. golfing and grooming as men’s luxury were represented as a one stop destination at the maiden edition of Gentlemen’s Club. The book could not have been better timed. ticipate and showcase their Overall it was an adventurskills on the racetrack. Reflecting on those choices and those of other women around her.. public grievances. I heard the commentary several times and also thought of putting a CD of his baritone voiced commentary with the book. Held on the lush green Centenary Lawns of the Delhi Gymkhana Club. And from the 5th year. his adult and public life. making META the most comprehensive awards recognizing Indian theatre. The race. it needed good enthusiasts. over the last few years. with around 20 to 25 entries. And. a great platHeld on the last day the form for the students to race was unique as navigation showcase their talent and skills on racetrack were testtheir love for machine maked like none other. both Dubey and Shah travelled extensively. sapling at Garden of Five Senses This year’s theme was ‘Garden for environment and health’ which was centred around rising air and noise pollution in the city. and many have come to the Capital to perform. It started as a publisher’s instinct and became one of the most passionate exercises of my life thus far. this time. You briefly refer to Savarkar's acquittal while Godse and others were convicted for the assassination of the Father of the Nation. and along with that we have an entire suite of awards. ND-ND . Thus. What were the circumstances that led to Savarkar's acquittal? That’s a big story and difficult to describe in few sentences. It started on a promising note as it witnessed well-known speakers sharing their views on contemporary subjects like Kashmir and analysing the role of women. Best Stage Design. Moderated by Urvashi Butalia.” The second day of the festival had a special session on Kashmir and had Farooq Abdullah. the car. So. safety. Siddartha Tytler. Cultural Outreach at Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. So. “A Friend’s Story”. and participate. “The expansion happened in the first four to five years after we started. I pursued it to the best of my ability often chal. And. “Shastriji’s story is one that needs to be told at multiple levels. CM YK T he Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards have now been around for a decade. what and transmission for a few Chennai. the emotion of the moment. A S Dulat and Sonia Singh discussing issues related to the State. while others went given an opportunity to parpast. concerned. And. While the scope of theatre grows every year. The teams could not afford to slow Tune it and tweak it to make down for the fear of getting it as sturdy. The publicity is almost a self-running mechanism now”.. unforgettable commentary. they waited Indore featured several to be allowed to go full throtevents among which the entle one by one. we had grown to over 300 entries”. Anil Shastri. at Okhla recently. sports facilities. a biography encapsulating the former Prime Minister’s inspiring life. “In the first three or four years. Some got stuck in between ent for engineering were also the climb. There are pho- tographs of all of them together and eventually Savarkar and Godse family got so close together that there was marital relationship between the two families. “We wanted a wide spectrum of subjects to be discussed here. Assamese director-actor and Artistic Director at Seagull Theatre.UMAIR each time for the entire four hours of the race. Awards will be given for Best Play. For me it’s a pure labour of love. the theatre community across the country has got to know about META. That they also cover a range of issues. to every participating team is College of Engineering Pune stones – a rocky terrain. February 29. “Haoai” (The Eleventh Planet) from Kolkata. the actress questioned the fact that a woman’s identity takes precedence over all other identities and how she is bound in the roles predetermined for her. The semi finalists from Delhi will go on to compete with their counterparts from other parts of the country before making it to finale in April. north-east. pollution. that’s Mahin. which allowed only students Nearing the finishing line. said. by the Remembrance Theatre Group from Kozhikode. Celebrating ideas The first edition of Literature and Ideas Festival saw discussions on critical issues affecting our society KASHISH BADAR The Capital recently celebrated Literature and Ideas Festival. The first ten semi finalists who walked the ramp showcased creativity of designers including Jaya Mishra. crimes against women. once more! Continued from page 1 Could you throw some light on Melville De Mello's seven hour long commentary on Gandhiji's funeral? The human element of it. As far as speed is pating in the race there was ipants for their car. Now. who is a divorce lawyer. Jay Shah tells me. We could have done something with Bollywood and cricket.MANOEUVRABILITY ON TEST A scene from the event ing. we witness the rituals of the Indian Bhil tribe. It began. Best Costume Design. showcased nurseries. building their own car up for the fear of getting off was the fundamental prereqtrack. a 30km/hr. He has left behind a legacy that is hard to match. “Over the years. We have kind of debated whether we should do best musical or not but then it is difficult to judge a musical alongside drama. Agree? The book was not timed with anybody. Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male).in those days when VIP security wasn’t a big hindrance amongst commoners and leaders he mingled with both freely and gave a very emo- High on endurance tional. who is Head. parking. To establish META and spread the word about it. Like every year. revolution.. They were informed about different medicinal plants. Caligari” from Delhi. When the book is read by millions in India. stuck with no great pickup in and as speedy as possible. let me tell you no stiff competition. the plays also reflect diversity in style and regional theatrical practices. Director at Rangashakra Bangalore and veteran theatre critic Diwan Singh Bajeli. These interactions make a huge difference to our understanding and can introduce us to new ideas.147 teams or colleges partici. There was enough circumstantial evidence but that was not enough to convict him.” Now. In race. On the final day of the festival. she threw light on the fact that divorce is not the end of one’s life and can be a fresh start. And. has reached its optimum capacity for now. The fact is that authorities at the time did not present credible forceful evidence. Best Light Design.HER STORY Nandita Das PHOTO: M. along with his team. and its long term commitment to the awards. to let them know about META and understand its purpose. the ond. this time as well Laid out with small and big car touched even the speed of not just about speed. META. It was a public knowledge that Savarkar was closely associated with the group that conspired and killed Gandhi. faith and spirituality. META is a brand in LIFE IN VARIED AVATARS (Clockwise from top) Scenes from “Mein huun Yusuf aur ye hai mera bhai”. not just well recognised and “After Death – The Spiritual Journey” PHOTOS: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT We could have done something with Bollywood and cricket. do the trial runs and then gear up to be on the racetrack. The book presents a recollection of Shastriji’s childhood. From her personal experience. from engineering colleges cars came in tandem after from across the country to completing their laps. and in “Akshayambara”. these plays will be staged in the Capital. and with the upcoming edition. They SAEINDIA 2016 organised at queued up. Founder and Artistic Director of Lokadharmi Centre for Theatre. Shah says. The committee’s final decision has now produced a list of 10 shortlisted plays.” The categories too. but also credible and respected. a hill climb and dra’s Endurance run which the time — which is a few power. you talk of Gandhiji at a time when people in the country are planning to build a Godse temple. for example. and then pared down by a selection committee hand-picked by the organisers –– film and television actor Vinod Nagpal. 2016 Looking for excellence in theatre Briefly Jay Shah of META sums up its growth over the last 10 years and tells us what’s on the cards this time SWATI DAFTUAR Men’s fashion Kiran Gill –represented India at the Men Universe Model in 2008 – and Sumit Singh – represented the country at the Men Universe Model in 2015 – were showstoppers at a fashion show in the Capital. it was is given as a standard process two years. from then on.

the final assault of 2 km to reach the summit was tough. Atop a black pedestal. In all this normalcy. ND-ND .” As we left after a long morning spent at the King Center. They are baby-bottom smooth. Embracing the ideal of non-violence he dared to dream and work towards a world that had a “sunlit path of racial justice. Dr King is a towering presence in the African-American struggle. King. But. It is here that almost 22. The Gandhi Room in the Freedom Hall pays homage to the Mahatma and has some interesting information on Dr. hop off ADVENTURE ON THE ROAD Traditional scenes and get my shot. After Rosa Park’s revolt. The King’s Center is free for visitors. I passed through Paro market. Baikal could fulfil its needs for 50 years. This is something that you don’t see even on the ever-increasing number of expressways that we have in India. King belonged to a prosperous family. King’s historic trip to India. There are three chortens (monument or stupa) in the area. It invokes a sense of immense pride. the one with domes like blueberry or strawberry ice-cream ripple.p4 METROPLUS ESCAPE NOIDA/DELHI THE HINDU Monday. The typical architecture of Russian orthodox churches soon becomes very prominent. his wife and a colleague Lawrence Reddick spent five weeks in India to learn and study about Mahatma Gandhi. and amazingly. surrounded by the Gobi desert in which doublehumped Bactrian camels roam. It is a place that sobers the mood in the car. 2016 FOUR WHEELS AND THE HIGHWAY After a traffic fine and a perfect shot of St Basil’s Cathedral in Russia. Today. this dusty little country. The Indian connection to the civil rights movement in that country was frankly. which is almost Rs. and the most outstanding one is at Katyn. The exhibitions in Freedom Hall capture the life and struggles of Dr. and I am left lighter by 5000 that were shot. what lingered was the legacy of Gandhiji to the civil rights movement in the United States. There is a film on view on the life of Dr. That. three months. crisscrossed by a network of rivers flowing through the deep valleys. its simplicity and serenity stay with you long after. there is a Military Band Tattoo or music festival planned that evening. is where I find the best roads to drive a sports car. and astonishingly. and two-and-a-half hours ahead of Indian Standard Time. The driving here is very involving. how in the world Napoleon or Hitler ever thought about occupying or subduing it.5 metres. learn that Russia stretches 5000. the amazingly beautiful Buddhist monasteries and fortresses (or dzongs) make this country look like Mother Nature’s canvas on earth. I set out to explore this mountain kingdom with 14 other cyclists. he later said. to Dochula Pass. and is placed atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park. A walk across the road leads to the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Another descent of 35 km through the virtually non-existent roads leads to Punakha and then towards Wangdue. selling freshly plucked apples and other fruits by the side of the expressway. Ufa. vadas and jalebis. Feigning ignorance. Children lined up to give us high-fives. I left Thimphu for another day of gruelling ride. Changlimithang Stadium. We drive past mosques. one of the first things to do is to register for a tour of the birth house of Dr. the man behind this empire. because I know that I will be actually driving my car all the way from here to my home in Mumbai. Gandhiji’s statue stands at the head of the pathway “Wall of fame” that highlights the stalwarts of the civil rights movement in the USA. If humanity is to progress Gandhi is inescapable” – this is what Martin Luther King Jr. who had hosted a tea party complete with crispy samosas. three days and three hours. This is my second visit to Moscow. and some fabulous sunrises and sunsets. the only capital city in the world that does not use traffic lights. Thimphu Memorial Chorten and the largest statue in the world of a sitting Buddha. as the oxygen levels depleted and I was short of energy and strength in my legs. King was a co-pastor while he worked tirelessly for civil rights. I also tasted Ema Datshi. It is truly an enigmatic corner of the world. The rugged. came here riding on the back of a tigress and meditated for three years. we were three-anda-half hours behind IST! We breeze through the Russia-Mongolia border. is soon done away with. the place came to be known as Tiger’s Nest. Tibetan and Nepali. which is the national dish of Bhutan. “Gandhi ji was inevitable. it contains so much water. King. for me. Tyres squealing. with hardly any traffic. it took just 40 minutes to reach the beautiful Haa Valley. National Historic site in Atlanta. Ironically. colourful Siberian wood houses and huge rivers such as the Volga and the Yenisei. an uplifting revelation. Mongolia is stark and enigmatic. Divnogorsk and Tulun makes me wonder how such a large country can be governed and. which is 3. but bigger than most seas I know. King became the leader of the Montgomery bus boycott. where GDP is a not a measure of progress but GNH (Gross National Happiness) is! One hour and forty-five minutes of travel by Druk Air brought me from New Delhi to Paro. An interesting fact that a waitress at a truck diner tells me is that only one-fourth of Russia’s landmass is in Europe. and astonishingly. and stretched from here to the border of Hungary. from where I could see the stunning 360-degree panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range. Dr. each in a different style — Bhutanese. I come across old farmers in coats and clothes cut in the fashion of the last of the Fifties. The Visitor center at the site is homage to his life and ideals. It measures 51. followed by hot cup of tea. With temperatures dropping. Time zones are crossed every few days. Our group was pleasantly surprised to visit the Indian Embassy to meet Gautam Bambawale. the steppes still nurture the sheep herders who once controlled an empire that encompassed most of China and Russia. three weeks. But.000 Polish prisoners of war lost their lives under the orders of the Soviet leader. churches. where Dr. and feature delicious corners that creep up suddenly. 900 metres above the Paro valley. The visit confirmed Dr. generous. Omsk. even more. Chelyabinsk. is made of bronze and gilded in gold. with flashy brands splashed across humongous billboards and the latest luxury cars peppered amongst the traffic. National Historic site in Atlanta. King’s faith in Gandhiji’s philosophy and ideal of non-violence. to ward off evil spells.000 forgiveness doesn’t work. oil wells. Thimphu is the largest city in this country. his wife and the staff who had invited us for high tea. We were late and the tour for the day was full. This excitement fuels the desire to get a picture of my car in front of Moscow’s most iconic landmark — St Basil’s Cathedral. The next day. Saint Padmasambhava. and drive into that boiling pot of history and technology that is constantly stirred by the selfie sticks that almost all the population carries. and perfect end-toend rainbows. It’s an uphill ride of 35 km through dense pine and rhododendron forests. but three-fourths of the population lives in this part of Russia. King which is a must see. we did walk up and peep through the windows of the large house. the Bashkors. King.D in theology and was a father of four children. and the gorgeous Wangchulo Dzong valley that throws up many twists and turns. what was not right was the segregation he faced. just after the Belarus-Russia border approximately 400 km short of Moscow. I drive 800 km a day in 10. The most interesting one for me was a room called “Gandhi room”. The ride from Haa Valley to the capital city Thimphu is approximately 110 km. today. Driving across the towns of Kazan. pepper and cheese. churches. And. and thereafter of the civil rights movement. but the Mongolian border still remains thousands of kilometres away. it feels more capitalist than the west. and my vehicle could easily hit 240 kph if required. Life in Bhutan looked so simple. as I start heading towards Moscow. because that seemingly never ending landmass that brings to mind the word ‘vastness’. beholding a statue of Mahatama Gandhi is awe inspiring. museums and malls that populate the old centre of the Communist world. Called the Martin Luther King Jr. Although the birth house of Dr. content and happy. less complicated… no wonder it’s one of the happiest places on earth! SADHNA SHANKER The deep southern state of Georgia in the US has Atlanta as its capital. Gandhiji stands with his ubiquitous staff framed by the brick red King’s Center. “From Gandhi. is still celebrated by way of a beer named after him. approximately 700 km away. soon. Once I reached the summit point. a tiny country near the north-eastern part of India. the only international airport in Bhutan. since the guards understand English. Mongolia is also where we experience the only snowfall of the trip. a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple complex perched on the side of a cliff. and emerged in eight incarnated forms. Dr. But. On arrival. Most of them are fascinated about what I have set out to do. the Tartars. I Roubles. On the walkway burns an eternal flame near the crypts of Dr and Mrs King. we will leave behind all this vastness and empty spaces. The quest for equality. I learned my operational technique”. the Ambassador of India in Bhutan. I was out into the world of happiness. I was relieved and Thimphu is the largest city in this country. which is at an elevation of 3100 metres and famous for its 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens. battlefields. it is worth the out behind Moscow in a price. and the whole area is cordoned off. In Munich. said about him. In the breezy and calm city of Atlanta. King was out of bounds for us. I met a contingent of Indian soldiers who were resting. museums. but it feels way more special. the cops PHOTOS: RISHAD SAAM MEHTA chase me down and get me. and usher us through with best wishes and a lot of back thumping. Genghis Khan. and a huge monument outside Mongolia that has him perched atop his horse. February 29. Over the next two weeks. credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan. using sign language and begging for photograph remains my favourite out of the 40. thanks to the infectious cheerfulness of the locals At the Martin Luther King Jr. We drive into Moscow. His thoughts and practice inspired a generation far removed in space and time. One of the youngest winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. If the world ran out of fresh water. we approach the Mongolian Border. I am continuously amazed by the social fabric that is draped across Russia — there are the Kazaks. A functioning church to this day. the Archery Ground and Ugyen Pelri Palace. Subsequently. The first day began with a 15-km ride from Paro to the base of Taktsang Lhakhang. the Siberians and the Mongols. before embarking on a 5-km trek from the base to the top of the monastery. Finally. I enjoyed this pristine Nature. lies on the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas. Minsk feels like just another European city. and we even cross over into Asia from Europe named after him in Ulaanbaatar. stopping on the way to meet the Border Road Officer. however.) A brush with Nature’s canvas He had a dream… SARVESH SAMAGA cycles across Bhutan and finds himself smiling. FREEWHEELING Around Bhutan it almost felt like having climbed Mount Everest itself! Downhill ride from Chele La is a 30-km descent. handicraft market. It’s a buzzing city and has many landmark places to visit. the only capital city in the world that does not use traffic lights. A few from Mongolia moments later. The last highlight in Russia is Lake Baikal — called a lake. like the clock tower square. was a Ph. On 3rd February 1959. Thus started my week-long cycling trail in this joyous country. farmers and elders who were all friendly.to 12hour stretches. CM YK I left Paro the next day for my first major climb to Chele La Pass.000 km from Munich. and is made with chilli. After a two-minute wait at the immigration counter with my valid voter ID. I came across several villagers. RISHAD SAAM MEHTA continues his drive through vast barren lands onto dusty Mongolia T o me. it is a memorial to the slaughtered Poles. China looms ahead! (Part two of a three-part series on the author’s road trip from Munich to Mumbai. which have been a sort of companion since we left Moscow. I take a hard U-turn on the bridge in front of the cathedral. It is believed that in the eighth century. We are 10. and I can actually notice how vistas and visages are changing as we head further east. A short distance from the church is the walk to the Freedom Hall. Dr. On my way. taking us through the picturesque valley to Chuzom (Chhu means ‘river’ and zom means ‘join’) or the confluence where two rivers Thimphu (Wong Chu) and Paro (Pa Chu) meet. I rode downhill from Dochula to Thimphu and then to Paro. and they even shared a cup of tea with me. a square Time zones are crossed every few days. greeted by the neon lights that showcase the flamboyant architecture of the grand palaces. His two weapons for the battle were – faith in God and nonviolence. supported by the then Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. a visit to the sprawling complex is a walk through history that charts one the eternal struggles of humanity. He has said “From my background I gained my regulating Christian ideals”. and we even cross over into Asia from Europe. For the first time since we started. Stalin. “Courage to Lead” a permanent exhibition provides insights into his early life and subsequent struggles. finding an Indian connection to the Civil Rights Movement is uplifting Bhutan. But.988 metres above mean sea level. steep and high mountainous landscape. a committed pastor.

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