Friday, April 29, 2011

"Rang Rasiya": Remembering Raja Ravi Varma

On this very day, in the year 1848, Raja Ravi Varma - the ace painter - was born.
He hailed from the Indian princely state of Travancore, and achieved enormous fame for his depiction of the scenes from the Indian epics.

Despite the typical Hindu ethos, he used a proficient blending of traditional Indian art form and the European academic painting techniques.

He received widespread acclaim after he won an award for an exhibition of his paintings at Vienna, in 1873. He died in 1906 at the age of 58, and his life and art has been the subject of many a discourse and critique.

However, what brought me closer to his art was the Ketan Mehta film 'Rang Rasiya', that was loosely based on the painter's life, and the relationship he had with his muse.

The role of Raja Ravi Varma was essayed by Randeep Hooda, and Nandana Sen played his muse.

I couldn't resist the temptation of sharing the stills from the film (all the pics are from the Ketan Mehta film - no copyright infringement intended - which sadly a few have been able to see till date, even though the film was toasted at major film festivals, because of the nudity issues and claims counter-claims on authentic portrayals. Just like the populist paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, the film too deserves to be seen by the masses, the prudish behavior of a small minority notwithstanding.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Neil's a Jolly Good Fellow

Neil Nitin Mukesh is one of the current generation of hotshot heroes whom I find quite likable.
He wasn't launched in a lavish way as many second or third generation guys or girls are known to be launched in Bollywood.
Yet, he was noticed in a big way in his debut film "Johnny Gaddar". He played the title character, but he wasn't a goody-goody hero. The film was a taut thriller, one of the best in the genre, in recent times. Yet, offers did not exactly pour in for Neil. He waited a while, and has then starred in films like "Aa Dekhen Zara", "New York", "Jail", "Lafangey Parindey", and "7 Khoon Maaf".

The films were not all good, but Neil's presence in each was worth talking about.
However, the critics have been too harsh on him, maybe because none of his films haven't been the chart-toppers till now. People with herd mentality acknowledge nothing but success, that's the harsh reality for tinsel town, and even for the world at large. Naysayers have said all kinds of ugly things like Neil is 'wooden', 'ghost-like', and 'pasty white'. I find it to be extremely unfair.
The fan following for this star somewhat multiplied after he did a dare-bare scene for Madhur Bhandarkar's "Jail", but the full frontal nude scene had to be heavily edited, and, thereafter, his following dwindled. Many were disgruntled to see him do a bit role, and that too negative, in "7 Khoon Maaf", but I found him too good in that film, and a few of my friends would happily agree.
Here's wishing Neil all the best for his films to come. May he make as much splash as his grand-dad (the legendary playback singer Mukesh) or his dad (Nitin Mukesh, another playback singer, though not as successful as his dad).
Neil comes across as a jolly good fellow, judging from his interviews or appearances on telly or at events, and I hope he is able to bag good projects to make his success complete.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Bleed Blue Campaign

This time, we have become the proud winner of the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Team India had genuinely played well and the players - young and old - just gave their best and made sure that the team spirit was very much in order.
But, I would also like to draw attention to the Nike Bleed Blue campaign, which I consider to be one of the most successful advertising campaigns in recent times.
Seen above, from top, are Zaheer Khan, S. Sreesanth, and Virat Kohli.
Not just the Team India players like Virat Kohli, Sreesanth, and Zahir Khan rocked in the sizzling music videos and ad-spreads, but even celebrities from other walks of life (like ace boxer Vijender Singh) lent their support.