Thursday, October 13, 2016

मैं और तुम (Me & You) (Hindi Poetry)

मैं और तुम

मैं और तुम
एक ही सिक्के के
दो पहलु हैं,
मैं तुम्हे और तुम मुझे
अच्छी तरह जानते हो I

सिर्फ फर्क इतना है कि
हम दो दिशा में देखते हैं,
लोग तुम्हे चित्त  
तो मुझे पट कहते हैं I

न तुम, न मैं
रह सकते एक दूजे के बगैर,
हम में से एक नहीं
तो ज़िन्दगी खोटा हो जाता हैं I

यहाँ तक कि लोग करते है
अपनी ज़िन्दगी के अहम फैसले
हमें  उछालकर,
कभी चित्त तो कभी पट पर
लगती है बाजी,
तुम जीते या मैं,
ज़िन्दगी के फैसले हम करते हैं I

लोगों की हथेलियों से कई जेबों तक
और लोगों के जेबों से कई हथेलियों तक के सफर
हम ने साथ-साथ तय किया है,
कितनों ने किया इस्तेमाल
और कितनों ने उछाला,
हम ने चूँ तक नहीं बोला I

बस मेरे दोस्त बस
अब हमें एक ही दिशा में देखना है,
हमें दूसरों की नहीं
अब  हमारी ज़िन्दगी के फैसले करने हैं I

मैं और तुम
एक ही सिक्के के
दो पहेलु हैं,
मैं तुम्हे और तुम मुझे
अच्छी तरह जानते हो I

                                             (थोमस मैथ्युस)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Queen of Katwe: Movie Review

Queen of Katwe: The Triumph of an Underdog!
Image Courtesy:
Reviewer’s Thumb Mark

Mira Nair's film 'Queen of Katwe' a biographical sports drama has all those ingredients and elements that shall boost your faith and belief that there is nothing unachievable in this world. You are the master of your failures and triumphs; choose who you want to be. The story depicts the journey of Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) a Ugandan pre-teen girl living in Kampala slum of Katwe being spotted by a local Christian missionary Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) who runs a children's chess club and offers free porridge as part of his missionary work among the poor and the needy.

Image Courtesy:
Madina Nalwanga and David Oyelowo's characters offers a life full of experiences and lessons of how winning can become a herculean task and in the journey of achieving your goal how you get exhausted, torn apart, being accepted, rejected, feeling joyful, sad, doubtful and even ready to quit. As someone has aptly said - "Experience is not what happens to a person, but it is what the person does with what happens to him/her". This Disney movie not only have lessons for individuals but also for a family on how to be partners in progress with a member in the family who attempts to tread an unconventional path.
Image Courtesy:
Mira Nair's film is based on Tim Crothers  book with the same title with a tagline - "One Girl's Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion". It writes about how one day in 2005 in search of food a slum girl in Katwe along with her brother reached a makeshift children clubhouse where she finds her mentor who was destined to change her life forever through the game called chess. Initially, it was free porridge that brought the children to Robert Katende's club but many of them slowly started loving the game that resonated their lives of dealing with obstacles constantly be it poverty, homelessness, ostracism and marginalization. Among these children Phiona Mutesi emerges as a prodigy to become her country's 'Junior Champion by the age of eleven and at fifteen, the 'National Champion'. The first female titled player in her country's history, Phiona now a 'Woman Candidate Master' dreams of bagging the most elite title for her - 'The Grandmaster'.
The Real Life Star Phiona Mutesi (Image courtesy):
Lupita Nyong'o the Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress in Steve McQueen's '12 Years A Slave' (2013) plays the role of Phiona's mother, Harriet. Lupita Nyong'o has given a stupendous performance as Harriet, a mother who is fiercely protective of her children as well as is determined to wade through the uncertainties of her life to ensure food, cloth and a roof for her children.  Her life with her children and the events of their life tugs at your heartstrings.

The relationship between the coach Robert Katende and the coachee Phiona Mutesi keeps  us awestruck. It's so inspirational and moving that it reminded me of what Martin Luther King Jr has once said - "We will err and falter as we climb the unfamiliar slopes of steep mountains. There will be agonizing setbacks along with creative advances'.

Image Courtesy:
Mira Nair deftly captures the stark reality of the Kampala slum life on reel that the line that separates the real and the reel diminishes many a time leaving you with a lump in your throat. I remember meeting Mira Nair at 'The I View World Film Festival' in New Delhi in the month of March 2016, where some of the unedited scenes of Queen of Katwe was screened. The audience then in the hall gave her a standing ovation for coming up with such an inspirational biopic on Phiona Mutesi. The discussion that followed after the screening was engaging on the life of people in Kampala where Ms. Nair runs a small film Academy as well. Mira Nair successfully doesn't limit the story to a family drama but she takes it further to an international level where she portrays the life and triumph of a slum girl who becomes her nation's pride. Her film through the story of Phiona Mutesi raises many pertinent questions on the economic disparity, the untapped talents among the under privileged class, the system's failure to find them, encourage them and the poor medical facilities available to a commoner in her country.

Image Courtesy:
Please do not miss the closing credits because the film's credit introduces the real life heroes who has inspired the film alongside each actor and tells us what they have accomplished until now. In short, Queen of Katwe makes you find the hidden King and Queen within you and inspire you to pursue your path undeterred to the goal which you have set for yourself beating all those moves kept by your opponents on the chess board of life. Remember, in chess, the small one can become the big one! Be like Phiona Mutesi who can see eight moves in advance!!!

 Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 4/5

Cast: Madina Nalwanga (Phiona Mutesi), David Oyelowo (Robert Katende), Lupita Nyong'o (Nakku Harriet), Martin Kabanza (Mugabi Brian), Taryn Kyaze (Night), Ivan Jacobo (Young Richard), Nicolas Levesque (Older Richard), Ronald Ssemaganda (Ivan), Ethan Nazario Lubega (Benjamin), Nikita Waligwa (Gloria), Edgar Kanyike (Joseph), Esther Tebandeke (Sara Katende)

Genre: Biographical Sports Drama

Director: Mira Nair

Producers: John Carls, Lydia Dean Pilcher

Based on: The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's
                Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster

Screenplay by: William Wheeler

Music by: Alex Heffes

Cinematography: Sean Bobbitt

Edited by: Barry Alexander Brown

Production Companies: Walt Disney Pictures, ESPN Films, Cine Mosaic, Mirabai Films

Distributors: Walt Disney Studios, Motion Pictures

Release Date: 7th October, 2016

Duration: 124 Minutes

Language: English

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

कश्तियाँ (Boats) (Poetry)

image courtesy :
कागज़ की कश्तियाँ
मैं अक्सर बनाता हूँ,
यह जानते हुए भी
कि इसका यूँ बना रहना
कितना मुश्किल है,
इन कश्तियों का गली के
बहते पानी में यूँ डूब जाना
मेरे लिए ताज्जुब की
बात नही है,
क्योंकि मेरे सपने भी
मेरे साथ अक्सर ऐसे ही
खेल खेला करते हैं I 
(थोमस मैथ्युस)

Friday, September 30, 2016

M.S. Dhoni - The Untold Story : Movie Review

     M.S. Dhoni - The Untold Story: Strikes An Emotional Chord!
Image Courtesy:
Reviewer’s Thumb Mark

'M.S. Dhoni - The Untold Story' is a film that portrays the life of a man who is known worldwide for his cricket feats as well as for his alleged controversies as a captain and the IPL spot-fixing charges. The film's title draws curiosity due to two reasons - one because of the man himself and two to know what is 'The Untold Story'. Well, the film and its makers prefer to toe a line of caution and non-controversy by terminating the film at that momentous occasion of winning the '2011 World Cup' for India. Dhoni himself in one of his film's promotional media interaction recently has said that it is good that a sequel of the film is not made because he knows that his career is mired in controversies and alleged charges of involvement in match-fixing.  

Image Courtesy:
Sushant Singh Rajput as M.S. Dhoni is strikingly similar to the man he portrays onscreen and is successful in aping many of Dhoni's mannerism. Sushant has done justice to the biopic by his presence. What keeps you glued to your seat is the positivity the film emanates which is quite inspiring. A school kid who is hooked to  a range of sports other than cricket because he feels there is no fun playing with a small ball is slowly maneuvered into cricket by his school coach Banerjee (Rajesh Sharma). The boy lovingly called as Mahi is always under the watchful eyes of his father Pan Singh Dhoni (Anupam Kher) who believes that sports doesn't promise a secure future and therefore, he needs to study hard to get into a government job. Caught between his dream to become a cricketer and his father's expectation out of him to secure a government job, Mahi treads a path of challenges and uncertainties.

Image Courtesy:
Backed by a bunch of childhood friends Santhosh (Kranti Prakash Jha), Chittu (Alok Pandey), Sandip Nahar and Jitin Gulati, a supportive mother, sister and a reluctant father, Dhoni slowly inches towards becoming one of the most successful cricket captain of India. The scenes of many real time footages of cricket and the film's background score creates a similar euphoria of a cricket stadium in the theatre. I found many in the audience behaving as if they were in the galleries cheering for the Indian team and their favorite MSD.
Image Courtesy:
Neeraj Pandey scripts Dhoni's journey from a ticket collector to a cricketer very cleverly by only touching upon those areas and achievements that lauds him as a model sportsman. Well, it works for the film sans controversies and it seems that the viewers are enjoying too. Anupam Kher as MSD's father is outstanding in portraying the life of a typical middle class man concerned about his children's future. Bhumika as his sister Jayanti enacting the role of an ever trusting and loving sister is too good. The sister-brother relationship portrayed in the film is beautiful. Kranti Prakash Jha an actor who is known for films like 'Deswa' (Bhojpuri), 'Once Upon a Time in Bihar', 'Mithila Makhaan' is noticeable as one of the friends of MSD in this film. His film Mithila Makhaan directed by Nitin Chandra bagged the Best Maithili Film in the 63rd National Film Awards under the language section. Kranti Prakash Jha is an actor who is on the move to prove his mettle. Rajesh Sharma as the quirky Bengali cricket coach gives us some wonderful laughable moments and stays in our mind as a man who first spotted the prodigy and became instrumental in gifting Dhoni the cricketer to our country.  Disha Patani as Mahi's ex girlfriend and Kiara Advani as Sakshi Dhoni are good but have less to offer because it's all about the man called Dhoni.

Image Courtesy:
In short, it seems Neeraj Pandey and his team has struck gold once again by making     'M .S. Dhoni - The Untold Story'. They would have done much more justice to the title 'The Untold Story' if this film would have also covered those alleged charges of IPL fixing, rifts between cricketers, his rumored unholy nexus with the man called N Srinivasan and his cronies. It seems that the 'Untold Story' shall remain 'Untold Forever'. Nevertheless, the film is entertaining and can be seen by both the fans as well as those who doesn't know much about cricket and sports. It is a story of friendship, mentoring, dreams, family bonding, challenges and triumph.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 3.5/5

Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput (Mahendra Singh Dhoni), Kranti Prakash Jha (Santhosh), Jitin Gulati, Sandip Nahar, Alok Pandey (Chittu), Herry Tangri (Yuvraj Singh), Anupam Kher (Pan Singh Dhoni), Bhumika Chawla (Sister), Disha Patani (Priyanka Jha), Kiara Advani (Sakshi Dhoni), Rajesh Sharma (Banerjee), Kumud Mishra, Ashrut Jain ( Shabbir Hussain)

Genre: Biopic

Based On: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Director: Neeraj Pandey

Producers: Arun Pandey, Fox Star Studios

Story by: Neeraj Pandey, Dilip Jha

Screenplay: Neeraj Pandey, Dilip Jha

Dialogues: Neeraj Pandey

Music by: Amaal Malik,  Rochak Kohli

Background Score: Sanjoy Chowdhury

Cinematography: Santosh Tundiyil

Edited by: Shree Narayan Singh

Production Company: Fox Star Studios, Inspired Entertainment, Friday FilmWorks

Distributor: Fox Star Studios

Release Date: 30th September, 2016

Duration: 190 Minutes

Language: Hindi