Mukti

Dadagiri redux

Posted in action, adventure, Bollywood, books, classics, desi fiction, Drama, movies, thriller, TV by jrahman on May 21, 2018

When Shashi Kapoor passed away late last year, my facebook was abuzz (or should I say alight?) with clips of mere paas maa hai.  I wanted to post my favourite Kapoor as my childhood favourite hero.  I was sad to find no clip of Kissa Kathmandu ki — Satyajit Ray’s small screen adaptation of his Feluda caper in Nepal.  Granted it wasn’t Ray’s finest, but all sorts of weird and improbable stuff can be found online, why not this, I wondered.

My mind then wandered to why Ray cast Kapoor and not Amitabh Bachchan, the only tall man in India, for the role of the towering Bengali detective?  Perhaps it was because Bachchan was by then too busy with politics.  But that leads one to wonder why Ray hadn’t made a Hindi Feluda earlier?

For that matter, why did Ray not make more Hindi movies?  It’s not like he was oblivious to Bollywood trends.  He even set one of the Feluda adventures in mid-1970s Bombay, when Bachchan was smashing box office records and the bones of villains.  In the novel, Lalmohan Ganguly is advised by Feluda about the masala that would make a blockbuster:

…. instead of one double role have a pair of double roles.  The first hero is paired against the first villain, and the hero number two and the villain number two make the second pair.  That this second pair exists isn’t revealed at the beginning…..

… need smuggling — gold, iamond, cannabis, opium, whatever; need five musical sequence, one of which should be religious; need two dance numbers; two or three chase sequences are needed, and it would be great if in at least one of which an expensive car is driven off a cliff; need a scene of inferno; need heroines against the heroes and vamps against the villains; need a police officer with integrity; need flashback of the heroes’ backstories; …. need quick changes of scenes…. ; at least couple of times the story need to be on the hills or the seaside…..

…. at the end — and this is a must — need happy ending.  But the ending would work best if it can be preceded by several tearjerkers.

Of course, this is tongue-in-cheek.  Ray wasn’t into making blockbusters.  And he explained in a number of places that he was most comfortable in his mother tongue.  But Ray was so in tune with the zeitgeist that even Enter the Dragon is channeled in that story, and I can’t help but wish he would have made the movie that would have been rishte mein toh baap to Sholay, Don, Qurbani, Tridev or Mohra.

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A Bangladeshi superhero

Posted in adventure, Bangladesh, books, desi fiction, history, thriller by jrahman on May 11, 2017

It’s a sun-drenched, ocean-front, posh hotel where the scene is set.  A diabolical fiend is cheating on a game of cards with the aid of an earphone and a skimpily clad assistant with a binocular.

Enter our hero.

Watching the classic scene for the first time all those years ago, my thought was — whoa, 007 ripped off Masud RanaI had read Swarnamriga a few weeks before watching Goldfinger — first Rana novel and Bond flick for the schoolboy who didn’t know the original.  I suspect many Bangladeshis of certain ages would have similar Rana stories to share.

Okay, it is quite possible, likely even, that the typical reader has no idea what I am talking about.  A brief primer from wiki:

Masud Rana is a fictional character created in 1966 by writer Qazi Anwar Hussain, who featured him in over 400 novels.  Hussain created the adult spy-thriller series Masud Rana, at first modelled after James Bond, but expanded widely. …  books are published almost every month by Sheba Prokashoni, one of the most popular publishing house of Bangladesh….

Although there is no superpower as such, his attributes would make a combination of Batman, Bond, and Bourne pale before Rana. Of course, superheroes need supervillains.  Rana’s arch-nemesis is a megalomaniac genius scientist criminal mastermind named Kabir Chowdhury, who’s also a fellow Bangladeshi.  And then there is Israel.  However, it’s his foes from the first decade or so of the series that make for a fascinating political study.

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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Mountains of the Moon – 5

Posted in adventure, books, Chander pahar, classics, desi fiction, fantasy by jrahman on November 18, 2012

Previously, Shankar escapes the rural life to work in the lion territory, and the black mamba station, where he saves the life of an old man.

The tale of brave Alvarez

Young man, what’s your age?  Twenty-two?  When you were just a toddler, back in 1889, that’s when my story begins.  I was prospecting for gold beyond the forest and the ranges to the north of the Cape Colony.  I was young then, and cared for no danger.

I started from Bulawayo, alone, with two donkeys carrying my luggage.  I crossed the Zambezi, beyond which the maps were marked with the words ‘unknown region’. I’d cross rolling hills, tall grasses, small Bantu villages.  Then eventually Bantu villages became less frequent.  I had reached a place that was never before visited by a white man.

Wherever I saw a river or creek, or a hill, I looked for gold.  How many had become rich in the southern part of Africa with gold or diamond?  I had heard those tales since when I was a little boy.  That’s what I came to Africa for.  But I found nothing in two years of roaming around.  Two years of hardship, and nothing to show for it.  Actually, once I came very close.

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Mountains of the Moon – 4

Posted in adventure, books, Chander pahar, classics, desi fiction, fantasy by jrahman on October 28, 2012

Previously, Shankar escapes the rural life to work in the lion territory, and then at the black mamba station.

Enter Alvarez

Shankar was safe from snakes after that.  But he faced another, more mundane, trouble.  There wasn’t enough water.  What he got from the train was barely enough for drinking, not for a bath.  And with the summer heat, the well dried up.  Then he was told that about three miles to the east there was a small lake, where the water was drinkable, and the lake even contained fish.

Fishing and a proper bath were incentives enough for Shankar to venture eastwards.  He got fishing rods delivered from Mombassa, and a Somali coolie showed him the way.  The lake was actually not that small, with tall grasses around it, and a hillock a few yards away.  There was a lone baobab tree on the hillock.  He enjoyed a long bath and swim — first time in Africa — before fishing for a couple of hours.  He caught a lot of small fish.  He was looking forward to frying them back at the station.  He wanted to stay a lot longer, but duty called.

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Posted in 1971, books, comedy, desi fiction, economics, foreign policy, history, India, micro, movies, Rights, thriller, TV, War crimes by jrahman on July 20, 2012

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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On Raajneeti

Posted in Bollywood, books, classics, desi fiction, Drama, movies by jrahman on May 2, 2012

No, not politics.  I am sure you can get enough of that elsewhere.  This post is about Raajneeti, a big budget Bollywood film.  Check out the trailer.


 

Excited? 

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Childhood’s end

Posted in action, books, desi fiction, movies, sci-fi, sci-fi, TV by jrahman on May 1, 2012

I have very fond memories of reading the Misir Ali novel Devi as a junior high student in the late 1980s.  Well, I should say I had.  I remember being, let’s say unsettled, reading it then.  I re-read it recently, and found it to be totally dull.

Now, it’s completely unfathomable to me why some things — Sheikh Mujib’s role in history, or Argentina vs Brazil in football — generate such strong reactions among Bangladeshis.  Humayun Ahmed falls in that category.  And I have no opinion on him.  But I was disappointed by Devi recently, which on re-reading turns out be rather boring, with Misir Ali not being a particularly memorable character.

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