Category: Culture

September 16, 2016 /

Through Ianche, a Garo poet, the film tries to understand what it feels to be a poet without a written language. Once this saddening truth is felt and understood in its entirety can you write again? The Garos have their own language but no script to write and hence they have been using the English alphabet for centuries now. Ianche, an accomplished poet finds himself tormented and unable and unwilling to write anymore. He can see his people completely abandoning their rich culture and he believes that the only way to save himself and them is to author a script.

September 15, 2016 /

My father passed away almost 20 years ago but I remember him every day. I remember him as a loving and doting father, a jolly, generous, kind, often compulsive person, always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. He would buy us gifts – clothes, toys and food whenever he felt like. I would always be so happy and glad just to be in his company. He had many names and identities you might say. He was known by his Muslim name as Abrar Hussain, his nickname was Khuku and Johnky, his Christian name was Peter.

September 12, 2016 /

The old cliché is “God is dead … And we have killed him”. When this statement was first uttered by Nietzsche’s Madman more than a century ago, I do not think that it was entirely depressing (even though the philosopher himself might have thought otherwise); perhaps because deep down people must have felt it was time to let the idea (of God) go. The zeitgeist had definitely changed direction.

September 10, 2016 /

Drawing its name from the nearby police station, Police Bazaar was born in 1864, and is old as the ‘hill-station’ itself. It grew slowly with the arrival of Bengali and Marwari traders whose ‘general stores’ were initially patronized by British soldiers and officers. In 1874, Shillong became the capital of the new province of Assam. As the town grew into an important centre of colonial administration, the marketplace started to expand. Starting from the first decades of the 20th century, a string of different communities – Sindhis, Punjabis, Pathans, Chinese, and later, Tibetans – all arrived to start businesses in the area.

September 3, 2016 /

Uneasiness and fear percolate from every pore of the visuals crafted by cinematographer Satya Rai Nagpaul and stay for uncomfortably long spans, making one feel as if the plot progression is happening in real time. There are other times when the camera wakes up as if from a manic dream and switches to fast pans. A good volume of the narrative is unfolded in what is not seen on screen. Violence and the bloodied armed strife is always a pervasive presence in its visible absence. Designed with minimalistic background music, Chauthi Koot carries forward these stylistic elements from Gurvinder Singh’s previous film Anhe Ghode Da Daan(Alms For A Blind Horse) that projected an unnervingly drab Punjab of the Dalits of Punjab’s Malwa who, till this day, work as seeri or bonded agricultural labourers on the fields of land- owning Jatt sikhs. In both films, the filmmaker is able to carve out a Punjab that is an antithesis of the vibrant and ever celebratory image of Punjab that one is used to witness in popular culture and Bollywood cinema.

September 3, 2016 /

Although I had seen both Chocolate and Goal, I never particularly cared to find out who had directed them. They were average films, displaying no trace of an auteur behind them, although they were enjoyable the way many Bollywood films are, but also, at the same time, completely and eminently forgettable. Both the films were set abroad, and had a mild nationalistic strain running through them which was also not very remarkable in that sense – Bollywood films shot abroad can rarely resist the temptation of a little flirtation with nationalism.
Buddha in a Traffic Jam, when seen in that context, is indeed a remarkable film as it purports to be a film of ideas, very glossily packaged – to be expected as Agnihotri cut his teeth in advertising.

August 28, 2016 /

I told you that there was something wrong with the way the beat of the drums sounded, something wrong with the way the trumpet was blown, something seems not right with the way people were shouting, I could feel that in the air, I could feel that on the ground, that it was not the vibration of triumph, neither of celebration.

August 19, 2016 /

Another young man comes home from work on his scooter
He is an atm teller and Supports his large family
His brothers wedding is next week
He is found with 300 pellets in his body, every organ is ruptured
they had carried him to the side of the road, to pass it off as an accident
But blood leaves its trail

India, this is your democracy.

August 19, 2016 /

In 2008, I came across the word ‘bipolar’ again. It was in a letter my daughter Daniella had written to her psychiatrist, telling him how grateful she was for the one-day workshop he had conducted on the subject. She wanted me to publish her letter in The Shillong Times, a paper I edit, but I didn’t. I didn’t have the courage. It still sits in my inbox. For years I had criticized people for being in denial about drug addiction, alcoholism, HIV& AIDS, and now I found I was equally culpable.
But this realization came later.

August 13, 2016 /

Andrew Lyndem, 25, is nocturnal and starts his day at 3 pm ending it at the witching hour. Ratul Hajong, 24, is awake before him but in circulation around the same time. Together, they are Cryptographik Street Poets (CSP) a rap act in Shillong, Meghalaya. Touched by the civil rights/black power movements in intangible ways, their sigil is the raised fist of solidarity and revolution, the Black Panther Party logo. Although they live in separate homes with their parents, they are in constant society with each other.

August 13, 2016 /

River of flesh and other stories: the Prostituted Woman in Indian Short Fiction is a book that begins with an aim of prescribing an Indian prostitute’s problems through pity. The choice of the title, which is a title of one of the stories in the book, as a representation of the collection of stories, relegates the whole collection to a simplified, moralistic view. It is telling of the editor’s and publisher’s condescending attitude towards prostitutes. By appealing to pity and sensationalization, it reveals the patronising disregard they have towards the complex varieties of voices from prostitutes.
And yet the stories on the other hand portray the complexities of a prostitute’s life and experiences very effectively…

August 10, 2016 /

So who’s a chinky anyway? Personally I think Saif Ali Khan is very chinky. Did he get that from his Afghani (fairly chinky people) forefathers or from his Bengali mother? And yes, Bengalis are quite chinky. Especially those from the East, which is why the Bengalis won’t discriminate against you based on your facial features. They will do it because of religion, language, culture but never on what sort of face you have. That’s just crude! What would Bollywood be today without the chinky RD Burman and his even more chinky father, SD Burman? What about the half-Burmese chinky, Helen ‘’Golden Girl’’ Richardson? This is a country of diversity we are told but to watch the nonsense of Bollywood today one would think otherwise.

August 5, 2016 /

Nita Ambani becomes the first Indian woman member of International Olympic Committee, and social media is outraging already, questioning her credentials. That is so not fair. She has been involved in promoting multiple sports in the country, and deserves a seat at the IOC for all the right reasons.
If you don’t believe me, this compilation should help.

July 31, 2016 /

The Devil came to your home KHADC greeted.
In the form of a UCIL Limited, illegitimate – in every sense of the word & sentiment.
It’s evident they came for what’s rightfully yours,
Khasi council allowed, never cared to ensure…
The ecological consequence, it’s ok, then?
For water pollution to ruin the lives of fishermen?
And they at it again, seeking an NOC.
Stop ’em dead in their feet before they proceed.

Frontier, started its journey in April 1968. The journal, founded by Samar Sen, continued to be edited by him till his death in August 1987. It was a time of great political upheavals not only in the state of West Bengal but also at certain parts of India as well as the globe. There were uprisings everywhere. The students, workers, peasants, middle class people, every section of the society was looking for a change and Frontier was among the most faithful reflector of that period of turmoil.

In the recent decades right wing politics has appropriated not merely tribal historical figures like Rani Gaidinliu in Nagaland/Manipur but also many such tribal icons across the country. A similar story emerges within the context of the Indal offerings associated with the tribal Barela and Bhil tribal communities of Western Madhya Pradesh.

July 18, 2016 /

Jashn-e-Azadi , was one of the first documentaries to engage with the uprising for freedom in Kashmir. Released in 2007, the film has had a chequered screening career. Available for sometime in low resolution versions on Vimeo and Youtube and torrents, we thought it was appropriate that a properly encoded streaming version was available for viewing and we asked Sanjay Kak for the permission. He not only permitted us to encode and upload but also wrote a short note about the film.

July 13, 2016 /

Ka Beh Dieiñ Khlam Jwai, Ialong, Chyrmang, Tuber wa ha kiwi ki thaw jar i por jar I taiaw da poi,shi sien shi snem ialang kawi ha i thaw shad thaw noh rot wa ioh u duwai phirat ha u Tre Kirot, waroh waroh shirup ia lai sha aitnar wow nguh Blai, ka khlam ka kjut ioh u mait tyrut, ym toh du i kjut man bru, i kjut mariang, i kjut pyrthai- i duk i kyrduh ki wa katni bam duh ki ia ka pyrthai. Ah bei ah pa, phi ki Blai ah phi ki ryngkew ki basa ia i to da. Ka Ka Beh Deiή khlam ka wa em jingmut..