Archive for January, 2013


John O’Hara 108

Today happens to be John O’Hara’s 108th Birth Anniversary. Born on the 31st of January 1905, he was among the greatest contemporary writers of American Fiction of the early/mid- twentieth Century.
I’m currently reading his BUtterfield 8. A novel based on a real life call girl of the 1930’s, Starr Faithfull, whose dead body was found washed ashore at Long Beach, New York. Her death till date is an unsolved mystery. I’ve watched the movie starring Elizabeth Taylor a few times. BUtterfield 8 (1960), is set at the time the movie was made, i.e. the late 50’s, and many a characters from the book have been omitted in film version, and there is lot more about Weston Liggett & family in the novel. Liz Taylor won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of this classy call girl, for a movie she didn’t want to do in the first place.

John O’Hara’s BUtterfield 8, published in 1935, happens to be my first O’Hara novel. Although I have read some other works by him. I remember reading a short story called Graven Image, some years ago. But to be quite honest, I don’t recall what that story was about. Obviously not one of my favourites among short fiction. But I am enjoying BUtterfield 8.

BOOKISH NUWAN

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January 26th, marks India’s Republic Day as well Australia Day.

Opera House & Lotus Temple

Opera House & Lotus Temple (Bahá’i Temple)

Pix: LEFT – Whilst living in Sydney, Australia (July 2006); RIGHT – On Holiday in New Delhi, India (September 2011)

On the 15th of August, 1947, India got it’s Independence from the British, yet the head of state was the British Monarchy. Two years and five months later on 26th January 1950, India became a republic; thus severing any ties with royal rein of any kind. India celebrated 65 years of Independence last year, and today India celebrates their 63rd Republic Day. I have a vague memory of a Republic Day parade that I saw as a little kid somewhere in the early 80’s,while I was living in New Delhi,  the city of my birth, where I spent my entire childhood (from Birth till I was 12 years old).

Australia Day marks the landing of the first British fleet on the shores of Sydney harbour, on 26th January 1788. It was one among the eleven convict ships that set sail to Australia from Portsmouth (a charming little sea port I resided in for half a year back in 2004, from April to October), Great Britain. Though Australia is an independent nation, it isn’t a Republic, thus the head of state for this multi-cultural country down under still happens to be the British Monarchy, currently Queen Elizabeth II. In a 99′ referendum, majority of the voters rejected a proposal for Australia to become a republic. I lived in Sydney for two years (June 2006 – June 2008), and though I witnessed the magnificent fireworks on New Years eve at the Sydney Harbour, I never got a chance to attend the Australia Day celebrations. 

Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense

Anne Boleyn & Mother Teresa

What’s the common denominator that equates Anne Boleyn & Mother Teresa, who existed four centuries apart, to each other. Nothing really; except that they were both exceptional women, in their own right, during their lifetime, in their respective eras; and ofcourse, today’s date – 25th of January.

Anne Boleyn

One of my favourite periods in History happens to be that of the Tudor/Elizabethan period. As a school kid I really enjoyed all the historical stories from the British medieval period onwards, and all the drama behind Royal palaces of the eras of glamour, grandeur and elegance. I’ve been a lover of Art, Literature and Cinema since I can remember, and always considered myself an artiste with an ‘e‘. Thus ‘History’ too, to me was like studying literature, full of great stories than actually happened. Anne Boleyn was a true heroine of the 16th century.

On this day, 480 years ago, the 25th of January 1533 – Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn got married, which marked the beginning of a new chapter in the history of England. For Henry VIII to get married to Anne Boleyn, he had to divorce his first wife, a first in England at the time. Further marrying into a commoner, another first. This day was a happy day for the two, although Anne Boleyn’s thousand day rein as Queen Consort would end with her execution ’cause she couldn’t produce a male heir. Atleast they were truly happy and in love at the time they got married, and it wasn’t easy for the King to win her heart. 

Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), a bio-pic on the turbulent love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, starring Richard Burton and Geneviève Bujold,  happens to be among my ‘Top-10’ all time favourite movies. Check out a couple of critiques I’ve written on this movie on my list titled ‘The Late 60’s’ and ‘Why I Love’ on IMDB. 

Mother Teresa

When I was studying in Delhi University, as an undergrad, I went on a study tour to Calcutta. This was in 97′. We went to see the slums as well and spoke to many a people there. Mother Teresa passed away on the 5th September 1997, and we went there in the cold December of 1997, so we missed her by three months. We saw her house, her tomb inside et al, and speaking to those slum dwellers, it was overwhelming. I was surprised to see how clean that area looked. She was truly a modern day saint to give her life completely and so selflessly for these people.

On this day, 33 years ago, the 25th of January 1980 – Mother Teresa was awarded the Bharat Ratna (India’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize), given to great people for their major contributions to India in various fields. Nelson Mandela was the first non-Indian to receive the Bharat Ratna (in 1990), after all Mother Teresa was considered an Indian by then. A great day for Mother Teresa and for her services to the India’s poor. 

Back in 94′, I bought Dominique Lapierre’s City of Joy, and read it by 95′, went to DU in 96′. City of Joy till date is my favourite novel ever. It dealt with the slums and lepers in Calcutta, and there was a bit about Mother Teresa towards the end of the book. It was fresh in my mind when I visited the Calcutta during the winter break of my second year. It was a nice experience being there, just wished I could have met the great personality herself. 

25th January 2013

Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense

Italy India Indonesia

In Italy – She Eats
In India – She Eats & Prays
In Indonesia – She Eats, Prays & finds True Love

Julia Roberts       2010

Julia Roberts
2010

Yesterday I watched Eat Pray Love (2010) on the Star World cable network. I actually didn’t expect to like it that much. I just assumed it would be an ‘Oky Doky’ flick. But no, it’s not just some silly chick flick, there’s a lot more to it than that. And I ATE, PRAYED and LOVED the film. Trust Julia Roberts to keep bringing out the best in her. This might not be the best movie I’ve ever seen, nor would it be in my Top 100, but still it is an amazing movie that had me hooked from the start to finish.

After her divorce from Stephen (Billy Crudup), and end of a brief affair with David (James Franco), Liz (Julia Roberts) ventures on an adventure to re-discover herself. Along the way she discovers great cuisine in Rome & Naples (Italy); food, meditation and inner peace in Calcutta (West Bengal, India); and, while continuing her great appetite for food and meditation, she finally finds true love with Felipe (Javier Bardem) in Bali (Indonesia).

It’s only the romantic bit in Bali, that I found a tad bit mushy, but that didn’t ruin the flow of this beautiful movie for me.

Great Roberts’ flick with a combination of romance and adventure, with a nice blend of spirituality.

Excellent Relaxed paced flick. Best watched in a meditative state. 

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

20 years ago today, 20th of January 1993, the iconic Audrey Hepburn passed away.

AUDREY HEPBURN COLLAGE

AUDREY HEPBURN COLLAGE

Anti-Clockwise from lower right centre : Romancing William Holden & Humphrey Bogart (along with close up of her stunning eyes) from Sabrina (1954); With Jeremy Brett (playing brother to Hepburn) in the beautiful Hollywood adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s acclaimed novel, the epic War and Peace (1956); Another close-up of her sharpest of features, a blow-up of her eyes, from Ariane – Love in the Afternoon (1957); Saving Anthony Perkins with the kiss of life in Green Mansions (1959); and finally singing along with Jeremy Brett again (this time playing young Freddy, who has a crush on Hepburn’s Eliza) in My Fair Lady (1964). 

I’ve paid many a tributes to Audrey Hepburn through my artworks and many a writings, especially on IMDB.

Another actress whose death anniversary falls today, happens to be that of Parveen Babi, Bollywood star of the 70’s & early 80’s.

Parveen Babi with friends & co-stars

Parveen Babi with friends & co-stars

Parveen Babi (1949-2005), a star who suffered from Schizophrenia almost all her life. A tragic loss. I made this collage around the time she passed away.

Few other stars I liked who passed away on this day:-

Dare to Bare classic stars that died on 20th January, late 20th Century

Dare to Bare classic stars that died on 20th January, late 20th Century

Left: Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990) star of some of my favourites – Stella Dallas (1937), Ball of Fire (1941), & Double Indemnity (1944)

Top Right: Johnny Weissmuller (1904-1984) star of Tarzan the ape man (1932)

Below Right: Hiram Keller (1944-1997) star of Fellini Satyricon (1969)

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Cézanne Birth Anniversary

Today, the 19th of January 2013, is Paul Cézanne’s 174th Birth Anniversary.

Cézanne Self Portrait  Sept 2008

Pix: Cézanne et moi (Cézanne & I)  at Musée d’Orsay, Paris .

Cézanne Still Life Sept 2008

Pix: With Cézanne’s still life paintings –  at Musée d’Orsay, Paris .                                                     (of course I do not look like that anymore, I’ve put on a bit)

Born on 19th January 1839, Paul Cézanne happens to be my favourite impressionist/post-impressionist artist, and among my favourite artists of various modern art movements of the 19th & 20th century. Surrealist artist Salvador Dalì, being my favourite artist ever.

Although being a fan of painting of the human figure, as most my own artworks tend to concentrate on the human figure, and I do love Cézanne’s nudes as well, especially his use of the shades of blue in them; my favourite Cézanne works happen to be his still life paintings. The uniqueness of his use of bright colours on the fruits. The bright reds and yellows blending into the darker greens, his brushstrokes of very quick strokes and lazily done slower smoother strokes, both sometimes within the same painting etc etc, he is the greatest when it comes to the still life impressionist works.

If you look at the paintings that I’m standing in front of, the one on the right hand corner, you can see how he has removed the monotony of a horizontal axis, by the insertion of the vertical bottle and glass. Plus he’s managed to put the whole picture into background by the insertion of a knife. Just by the removal of the knife, you’ll get the illusion of the fruits being in the foreground, although they are kept in the same place. And if you look at the picture, that is partially covered by me, you can see movement. Actually majority of his still life’s are not still, there’s always movement. As if the fruits are falling or something happening in the picture. His works on Skulls are also pretty interesting. Reminds me of the Catacombs in Paris (which I visited back in July 2009). Boy, I miss Paris, the most beautiful city I’ve lived in, though just for less than a year (2008-2009).

To Paul Cézanne (1839-1906). He lives on through his masterpieces.  

…………………..

Today also happens to be the birthday of young Logan Lerman.

Happy 21st to the very likable Mr. Lerman, my youngest favourite actor.

After seeing him in one of my favourite satires from recent times, Meet Bill (2007), and one of the best westerns of the new century 3:10 to Yuma (2007), he is the best among the actors of his age group. Although I liked Abigail Breslin and Cameron Bright, who did some great work in Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and Birth (2004) respectively, who happen to be younger than Lerman,  I’ven’t seen them appear in that good a movie more recently. While Lerman has proved he’ll be a future superstar (if not already) with the kind of varied roles he’s had since his childhood. Primarily he’s a really good actor, and not just a pretty face, and has a very likable persona.  Am keen on watching his most recent venture, Perks of being a Wallflower (2012).

Wishing you all the best on your Key B’day.

Cheers Nuwan Sen

Check out what I’ve written about Logan Lerman previously on IMDB, on my list titled ‘Top 5 Nouveau Comedies (2001 – 2010)‘ May 2011 & ‘No Name‘ Oct 2011.

Nuwan Sen’s Art Sense. Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Year 2012

I’ve read a total of about 18-20 literary works within the span of one year (last year). Both Fiction and non-fiction, this is excluding many a articles et al I read both on the net and published magazines and newspapers. The last time I read so many books within a span of one year, most probably was when I was in school. I don’t remember. This feels like a bit of a record for me, considering the fact that I’m generally a pretty slow reader. I like to take my time and take in all the information whilst analysing the content (especially when reading novels and plays).
2012 has been a good year for me, literary wise (& film wise). As I was in New Delhi during Oscar season and the World Book Fair there.
Though 2012, hasn’t been great year for me health wise and other wise.
But trying my best to be optimistic as always, in a very negative minded society, with all the negative energy surrounding me most of the time and trying to put me down, I’m glad that there was at least two plus points in 2012. Books & Films. Though majority of the films I watched early 2012 were of the previous year that ended up at the Oscars last year. This years Oscar nominations are out, and residing in an aesthetically depressive country, I’ven’t got the chance to see any, as they’ll never be shown in the Cinema’s here.

Anyway, although 2013 didn’t have a great start for me, I’m hoping things would improve, and as always

I’m hoping for the Best, and am ready for worst. (but still really hope for things to be better — health wise & otherwise)

Nuwan Sen’s Year in review.

Sandwich Timeline

Nuwan Sen's Top10

* 1953 :  Sixty years ago, a young princess was crowned the Queen of Great Britain, i.e. the reining Queen Elizabeth II. The same year Roman Holiday (1953) was released. Starring Audrey Hepburn & Gregory Peck, Roman Holiday, was a story about a young princess torn between her love for a commoner and her royal duties. Hepburn’s debut performance won her an Oscar.

* 1939 : The Second World War broke out in Europe, and Gone With The Wind (1939), a movie set during the American Civil War, one of the first shot in ‘Technicolor’, was released in the United States. It garnered ten Oscars, including one for Hattie McDaniel (for Best Supporting Actress) for her portrayal of Mammy, making her the first black American to win an Oscar.

* 1940 : The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, released his first Hollywood venture, Rebecca (1940), based on Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic novel. This was the first and only Hitchcock film to bag an Oscar for Best Picture.

* 1971 : The controversial A Clockwork Orange (1971), introduced the ‘Dolby sound system’ to the world.

—– Check these out and many more, on my latest list titled ‘Why I Love …’, on IMDB :-

http://www.imdb.com/list/Q-wfO5BTmD8/

… Completed on New Years Eve (31st December 2012), this by far is my most personal list yet. Less of writing a critique in each, it is more about my sole selfish reasons for the loving these movies.

My Top 10!!!  

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense