Archive for March, 2013


124 years today, Gustave Eiffel, officially inaugurated the Eiffel Tower, on the 31st of March, 1889.

Paris Je t'aime (Summer 2008)

Paris Je t’aime (Summer 2008)

              The Eiffel Tower

Initially, the Tower was built as the entrance for the 1889 World Fair, it ended up being the iconic landmark of the city of Paris, France.

In May 1884, Maurice Koechlin, an engineer drew an outline for a tall metal structure for the World Fair to be held five years later. Eiffel wasn’t that enthusiastic in the beginning, but sanctioned a further study into it with Koechlin and another engineer Émile Nouguier, and got architect Stephen Sauvestre to add the decorative elements to make it more aesthetically appealing.

After facing a lot problems and protests, work on the foundations finally started in January 1887. And towards the end of March 1889, the tower was complete. It was officially opened on the 31st of March 1889. And played it’s role as the entrance to world fair of 1889, Exposition Universelle, held between 6th May & 31st October 1889, to celebrate the centennial (100th anniversary) of the storming of the Bastille, which was beginning of the French Revolution.

After the fair, the tower had a permit to stand for 20 years. It was to be dismantled in 1909. But after the permit expired, Paris decided to keep it a little longer, as it could come in handy for communication purposes. Then the first World War came, powerful radio transmitters were fitted to the tower which jammed German communications. This seriously hindered German advances to Paris in 1914. During the second World War, lift cable were cut in  the Eiffel Tower, so that Hitler and his soldiers would have to climb steps to the top to hoist the swastika. The flag blew away within hours. Hitler chose to stay on the ground. It was said that Hitler conquered France, but did not conquer the Eiffel Tower. With the world going through a number of disasters, both man made and natural, the Eiffel Tower stood high and erect withstanding the test of time.  

The Eiffel Tower, was the tallest man made structure in the world, when it was built, and it held that title for 41 years, till in 1930, when the Chrysler Building was made in New York, U.S.A.  In 1957, with the addition of an antenna atop the Eiffel Tower, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building and it is the second-tallest structure in France, today.

Paris (Spring 2005) Euro-trip 2005

Paris (Spring 2005) Euro-trip 2005, April 2005

Paris 2009 (pre-Autumn 2009)

Paris 2009 (pre-Autumn 2009)Sept 2009

 Paris et moi (Paris & Me)

The first time I visited Paris was in April 2005. I was doing a one month Euro-trip. I started with Paris, on the 1st of April, where I saw the two famous landmarks, the Eiffel Tower and the Triumph d’arc. Left early next day for Geneva, Switzerland. Then on the 31st of April 2005, I left Den Haag (The Hague), Amsterdam, early morning, and via Brussels, Belgium, reached Paris station (not the main city) and straight to Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Then I got a chance to live in Paris for almost an year (between 2008 and 2009). A 100 days in 2008 (July-Oct 2008) & for less than six months in 2009 (March-Sept 2009). And I fell in love with this beautiful city. I wrote to my friends down under, “No wonder it’s called the city of love, ’cause you fall in love with Paris, the city itself.” And I did, with the city. I could just lose myself in the streets of Paris, just walking around, by the river seine, listening to street musicians on Pont des Artistes, with a view of the Pont Neuf, the street side book shops around the seine, with posters and prints of great artistic works and iconic images of Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and Marilyn Monroe from The Seven Year Itch (1955); though all American (Hollywood flicks), very French in style; street café’s, the Shakespeare and co., the Notre Dame, museums etc etc.. I was in love with this highly cultured and artistic city of Paris. I just wish I could have been happier there, but atleast I had Paris back then. Facing loads of problems, thanks to SL’s there, one depressive moment in Sept 2008, as I was walking past the Eiffel Tower, I made a vow – that I wouldn’t climb the tower until I have, or have had, someone in life. I left Paris in Sept 2009. Three and half years later no such luck. Yet am glad I got a chance to live in such a beautiful city. Paris Je t’aime.   

Paris 2005-2009

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Some of my artworks, that depict Paris’ iconic landmark. 

Paris Sydney through the balcony (Nuwan Sen)

Paris Sydney through the balcony (Nuwan Sen)

Paris Sydney through the Balcony (oils on canvas) An impressionist work by me, inspired by the six countries I’ve lived in till date, and depicting mainly two of my favourite cities, but also incorporating other places I’ve lived in. Shall explain this painting in detail some other time.    Eiffel Tower in my Drawings-Sketches (2010 & 2011)

Top row: Left – Drawing, Horny Gargoyle watching over Paris (Feb 2010); Right – Rough Sketch of Paris Sydney through the Balcony (Feb 2010).

Bottom Row: Left – Drawing, My Favourite movie by decade: The 1940’s (Feb 2011); Right – Drawing, My Favourite Film on Film Buffs (Feb 2011).

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Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense

Nuwan Sen’s Artworks

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Beatle News  #5

The Beatles at Strouds (62') & Bagism (69')

  •   1962 – The Beatles play in Stroud’s Subscription Rooms, a rare foray outside Liverpool.
  •  1969 – After the famous Bed-In, John & Yoko, fly to Vienna, Austria where they hold a press conference in a bag (Bagism); and send Acorns for Peace to every world leader.

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Nuwan Sen’s Music Sense. Nuwan Sen n’ Peace. Nuwan Sen & The Beatles ( ).

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Beatle News  #4  Bed-In #1

John Lennon & Yoko Ono Bed-In (NS)

 

  • 1969 – Five days after their marriage; and a day after having lunch with my all time favourite artist, Salvador Dalí; John Lennon & Yoko Ono, stage their very first famed Bed-In, for Peace, at the presidential suite (Room 902) of the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel, which last for seven days. Thus, Lennon & Ono spent their honeymoon, in that room, inviting the worlds press into their room every day between 9 a.m. to 9.p.m, where they discussed Bed Peace & Hair Peace, telling people not to go to war, but to stay at home, and let your hair grow. A strategy against the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. This was a non-violent protest staged by the two peace activist (a singer/songwriter and his artist wife).

I have loved the Beatles, since I was a kid growing up in the 80’s, and back then my favourite Beatle number most probably was, We all live in the Yellow Submarine. But, it’s only as a teenager, in the 1990’s, that I started to really understand what the Beatles were, and since then I’ve been a great fan of them, especially Lennon, and not just for their music. Then in July 2007, I went and watched this documentary, at the Chauvel Cinema, in Sydney, Australia, called The U.S. v.s. John Lennon (2006). I have watched very few documentaries on the Big Screen (hundreds on Telly, but rarely on the Big Screen). This was really worth it. It was a really good insight into Lennon’s peace activism, non-violence stance and he was like a new age Mahatma Gandhi. The movie dealt with how he managed to shake the Nixon administration, with just his songs dealing with Peace, and how the United States government wanted to get rid of him. Excellent Flick. I highly recommend it.    

  • 2013 – A few days ago, 44 years after Lennon & Ono, got married, Yoko Ono tweeted a photo of John Lennon’s Blood-Stained Glasses, the ones Lennon wore the day he was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman, as a plea for Gun Control, in the United States. Stating that, ‘Over 1,057,000 people have been killed by guns in the USA since John Lennon was shot and killed on 8 Dec 1980,’ on the poster. She supposedly also stated that, “We are turning this beautiful country into war zone. Together, let’s bring back America, the green land of peace”

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Nuwan Sen’s Music Sense. Nuwan Sen n’ Peace. Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense. Nuwan Sen & The Beatles ( ).

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What’s the latest in fashion? Going au naturale, with spray-on body paint.

Spray-on Blue Jeans 2013

Yes, apparently the latest in style is to wear a pair of spray-on Blue Jeans. But how many people would dare to bare a blue painted body on the streets, without getting themselves arrested. Maybe if you have your underwear on, or at least a pair of thongs (most models on the collage above have their innerwear on, with a few exceptions), but still, I doubt you’d be able pass on a spray-paint as skinny jeans. Leggings maybe, but not as jeans, especially when you walking around. Of course this is a joke, after all it’s actually easier to put something on than to take the time to paint your body, especially if you wanna make it look like a pair of jeans. At the same time, the spray painted on jeans in my collage do happen to be an artwork as well. Aesthetically, they are some very impressive pieces of work.

 Blue Jeans

Initially the word ‘Jean’ was a fabric from Genova, Italy. A hard coarse corduroy cotton. Meanwhile in Nimes, France, trying to re-create the same ‘Jean’ fabric, they accidentally, through trial and error, produced a new twill coarse cloth, which they named ‘Denim’, meaning de Nimes (of Nimes in French). In 1851, a young German named Levi Strauss, immigrated to the United States. In 1853, Strauss, was running his own dry goods business in San Francisco. In 1872, a tailor called Jacob Davis, started buying cloth from the Levi Strauss & Co. wholesale house. Soon they formed a friendship, and by 1873, the Levis’ Blue Jeans were invented. Those tight fit drainpipes, have never gone out of style till date. Initially it was only Cowboys n’ gals that use to don these blue jeans. But by the 1950’s, loads of young adults and teenagers turned it into a casual chic  fashion statement. Soon skinnier jeans were in style, and they kept getting tighter, and later blended with spandex to stretch well. And today they practically look like leggings.

But none the less, jeans have been one of most practical fashion clothing that has ever been invented, that can be worn by anyone, anywhere in the world, by the young and the old, men and women, east and west. Anyone. Anywhere.

But, if these so called spray-on clothing, do someday, in the far future, end up being a style, loads of clothing businesses will go bankrupt. Doubt that’s going to happen anytime soon though. But still, in a way it would be interesting see what it would look like to see people walking in their underwear, with Spray-on blue jeans

Nuwan Sen n’ Style

Nuwan Sen’s Fashion Sense

Today is the 204th Birth Anniversary of 19th century French artist, Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin.

With Flandrin’s masterpiece ‘Jeune Homme Nu Assis au Bord de la Mer’ (Seated Young Male Nude by the Sea) from 1836 (Above me - not behind) at the Louvre (May 2009)

With Flandrin’s masterpiece ‘Jeune Homme Nu Assis au Bord de la Mer’ (Seated Young Male Nude by the Sea) from 1836 (Above me – not behind) at the Louvre (May 2009)

Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin (1809-1864)

Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin, born on 23rd of March, 1809, had an interest for the arts since his childhood. Yet he was forced into being a businessman by his parents. Still determined, in 1929, he went to Paris, and trained under the famed French Neoclassical painter, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867); who eventually ended up not just being his teacher but his friend as well. Although Flandrin’s works were nowhere as great as  Ingres’, and even though Flandrin is not famed for leaving behind a great bulk of masterpieces, he did manage to make a mark with his one great painting ‘Jeune Homme Nu Assis au Bord de la Mer’ (Seated Young Male Nude  by the Sea) from 1836. Which I was lucky enough to come across, when I visited the Louvre for the 4th time (which was the last time I visited the Louvre) in May 2009.  

Unlike the renaissance era previously, when it comes to the neo-classical era of the 18th & 19th centuries, though they embody many a traits borrowed from the renaissance; there is a more photographic element to these newer paintings. Especially when it comes to human portraits and nudes.

That’s what’s most probably the best thing about ‘Jeune Homme Nu Assis au Bord de la Mer’, it’s almost photographic, it could almost feel as if it’s an actual photograph of a male nude with a seaside backdrop and not a painting. It’s also famous, for the body’s somewhat 3D effect with the roundedness of flesh on the flawless’ skinned human form. The nude in the forefront is almost cut-off, and protruding outwards towards us, while contrasting to this, the backdrop is flat and blends in. It has also been compared to the renaissance master, Leonardo da Vinci’s study of the human form from four centuries before, da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, from 1490.

In 1857, first President of the French Republic, Napoleon III, nephew of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, bought ‘Jeune Homme Nu Assis au Bord de la Mer’, which is now housed at the Louvre, in Paris.

In 1853, Flandrin was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts. A decade later, he started to get ill, and just two days before his 55th Birthday, he died of smallpox, on the 21st, of March 1864.  

The Flandrin Pose

Flandrin’s ‘Jeune Homme Nu Assis au Bord de la Mer’,  due to it’s famous pose, is now more commonly known as The Flandrin Pose. And since the paintings advent to the public, The Flandrin Pose, has been re-created a zillion times till date. The most notable photography versions happen to be; Fred Holland Day’s (1864-1943), the first person in the U.S.A. to advocate that photography should be considered a fine art, version called Ebony & Ivory (from the late 19th Century, most probably 1897), which showcased a black male with a white statuette, taken inside a studio, Wilhelm von Gloeden’s (1856-1931) Caino (1902), who brought back the nude outside to a very rocky natural surrounding, and Karel Egermeier’s work for Paysage Olympique from 1924; to name a few. As time went by the image became more and more homoerotic, even though nothing sexual is implied in the original paining. The most controversial version most probably is photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s (1946-1989); some of whose work I came across at an exhibition in London, back in Jan-Feb 2005, I do not remember the name of the small gallery that housed the exhibition; Ajitto (1981). Ajitto, was, like most of Mapplethorpe’s works, almost bordering on pornography. The still is of a black male inside a studio, on top of a stool, with his huge genitals shown hanging loose below. It’s the only re-creation of The Flandrin Pose that showcase male genitalia, that I have come across. In the 21st century, there was Richard Taddei’s painting, Meditation (2003), an interestingly slightly abstract and distorted image, with slight pop art feel, this work feels like a postmodernist work from the 1960’s. More recently I came across a work titled Flandrin’s Skateboarder, a picture taken somewhere between 2009 and 2012, by an unnamed photographer. Which was an interesting take on the classic. Here the nude is seated atop a skateboard, kept on a bench on a terrace/roof top with a chilly industrial background with leafless trees afar. And the nude is wearing a woolly beanie on his head. A stark contrast to the sunny summer appearance of Flandrin’s original, ‘Jeune Homme Nu Assis au Bord de la Mer’.

Nuwan Sen’s Art Sense

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Birthday wishes to Bengali-Bollywood superstar Rani Mukerji (a.k.a. Rani Mukherjee).

Rani Mukerji B'day Girl

On This Day…

  • 1413 – Henry V becomes King of England.
  • 1844 – The Bahá’í calendar begins. This is the first day of the first year of the Bahá’í calendar.
  • 1928 – Charles Lindbergh receives the Medal of Honor for the first solo trans-Atlantic flight, from Long Island, in New York, USA to Le Bourget in Paris, France.
  • 1963Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary on Alcatraz Island, in San Francisco Bay, California, USA was closed down. A not so great television series, Alcatraz (2012), staring Sam Neill, Sarah Jones, Parminder Nagra & Jorge Garcia, tells of how all the inmates and guards disappeared in 1963, only to reappear today. All nonsense, but a watchable TV show. Could have been better. I watched this towards the end of last year when it aired on Star World. The show got cancelled after the first season.
  • 1978 – Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji is born into the famed film-related Mukherjee-Samarth family in Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India.

Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense. Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Beatle News  # 3

JL-YO

JL-YO

  • 1969 – My Favourite Beatle, John Lennon marries Japanese born Yoko Ono, avant-garde artist and peace activist, who also happens to carry Japanese royal blood in her veins, being a direct descendant of the Emperor of Japan, from her fathers side. Initially, John and Yoko were planning to get married in Paris, France; yet they weren’t allowed, as they hadn’t lived in France long enough. Then on the 20th March, 1969, they attempted to get married on the cross channel Ferry, whence that too failed, they flew all the way to Gibraltar, a British overseas territory, where they were married and within the hour they had flown back to Paris for their honeymoon. 

The marriage of John and Yoko, would eventually lead to the break up of The Beatles, at least it is considered the root cause for the bands break-up till date. Yet John Lennon would not only end up in very successful solo career (his post-Beatles number, Imagine, happens to be my all time favourite song), but he would end up being one of greatest Peace activist of the 1970’s. If not for his untimely death, when he was shot dead by a deranged fan in 1980, he would have been known as a modern day saint by now. 

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Newly-Weds, posing in front of the Rock of Gibraltar (with their marriage certificate), where they got married, just before flying back to Paris.

Newly-Weds, posing in front of the Rock of Gibraltar (with their marriage certificate), where they got married, just before flying back to Paris. (20th March 1969)

 

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Nuwan Sen’s Music Sense. Nuwan Sen & The Beatles ( ).

Roman ruins (During the Roman Spring of 2005) in the Roman Forum

Roman ruins (During the Roman Spring of 2005) in the Roman Forum

The Ides of March, i.e. the 15th of March, happens to be the middle of the first month according to the ancient Roman Calendar, whence the month of March use to be the first month of the year (back then there were only 10 months in a calendar, and 51 days of the winter season were not accredited to any month), March also signified the start of Spring, thus back then there use to be many a religious observations and festivals culminating with the Ides of March. Ironically, the Ides of March is also coherent with the death of Julius Caesar, the man responsible for re-formatting the calendar, making it easier, i.e. the Julian Calendar.

From Roman times to today: The Calendar

The Roman Calendar (made in 753 BC)  is attributed as being the brainchild Romulas, the founder of Rome. The calendar began with the spring equinox, thus making March the first month, and the Ides of March (15th of March now) the middle of the Month, and in the first calendar year, Ides of March might have been a full moon day as well. Since this calendar had only 10 months, and no consistent dates, it was revived in 713 BC by King Numa Pompilius. Whereas he added two more months, but days per month differed, and for leap years, he added days to more than one leap month. Then, the high priest of the College of Pontiffs, Pontifex Maximus, lengthened the year by inserting an extra month, thus now having 13 months a year, around the early 1st century BC. 

In 45 BC, Julius Caesar re-revised the calendar, making it much easier, called the Julian calendar. He had the year consisting of, 365 days, divided by 12 months, abolishing the extra month, and a leap year added every four years, to the month of February.

Then it was re-polished up a bit in 1582 AD, by Pope Gregory XIII, which majority of the world uses as the civil calendar today, except for, apparently, countries like Saudi Arabia (uses the Islamic calendar for all purposes), Ethiopia (uses mainly the Ethiopian calendar), Iran and Afghanistan (uses mainly the Persian calendar). Two countries, mainly use the civil calendar, but also use their own for religious reasons, i.e. in India (along with Indonesia’s Java and Bali regions) some people use the Indian national calendar (a 1957 reformed Hindu calendar) as well ; and in Israel (they also use the Hebrew calendar).  

Hail Caesar !!!

With Julius Caesar in Jardin des Tuileries, Paris (April 2009)

With Julius Caesar in Jardin des Tuileries, Paris (April 2009)

 Ever since I was kid, I’ve known who Julius Caesar was, and was aware of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. Mainly due to my late grandfather (my maternal grandfather), who loved throwing famous quotes and clichés at us. His most favourite was ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him’, the first line uttered by Mark Antony, from his speech at Caesar’s funeral from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. This speech is famous for, not only the way Mark Antony ends up praising Caesar, but also how he manipulates it to inform the general public of the conspiracy, and finally verbally attack the opponents. A style used by a lot of politicians running for office today. If, when it comes to cinema, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’, from Gone with the Wind (1939), happens to be the most quoted line in history of film; and Casablanca (1942), is famous for having the most amount of quoted lines within one movie; in literature, this 16th Century play definitely has, not only the most amount of famous quotes in one text, but also the most famous line ever quoted. Some of the other famous lines from Julius Caesar, include; ‘Et tu, Brute?’ (You too, Brutus?), ‘Beware, The Ides of March are upon us’, ‘Then fall, Caesar’ and ‘Did not great Julius bleed for justice’ sake?’, to mention a few. My late grandfather would sometimes, out of the blue, all of a sudden say, ‘Hail, Caesar !’, Yes, ‘guess eccentricities run in the family. He was a person of great taste, when it came to literature, music and cinema (Westerns mainly). Healthy as ever for his 82 years, he died when a speeding car killed him, 10 years and 10 months ago to date. Julius Caesar was killed today in 44BC. I visited The Roman Forum, now in ruins, in the spring (April) of 2005, during my month long Eurotrip. And I saw Caesar’s grave (just some red bricks now) where he was cremated, and saw the ruins of the portico of Theatre of Pompey, where the senators plotted and killed Caesar.

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum

I did this play for Bachelors in Delhi University, back in the late 90’s. 

JC On Celluloid 

Many a actors have played Julius Caesar in many a movies since the birth of Cinema, besides the stage and the small screen. From Charles Kent (the silent era, 1908) to Claude Rains (1940’s) to John Gavin (late 50’s) to Alec Guinness (the 70’s) to Timothy Dalton (the 90’s) to Alain Delon (2008), there have been more than a 100 JC’s on the big screen alone within those hundred years.  From the ones I’ve seen till date, the most powerful performance happens to be that of Rex Harrison in Cleopatra (1963).

Now, a new cinematic venture, on the life of young Julius Caesar, is in production, titled Emperor: Young Caesar. The film will depict Caesar’s early years from 92 BC to 71 BC. Caesar was born in the month of July (Julius), in 100 BC.

I am really looking forward to this movie to be directed by Burr Gore Steers (nephew of novelist, the late Gore Vidal and also of the former US first lady, the late Jacqueline Kennedy), whose directorial debut, the dark comedy, Igby Goes Down (2002), was very good movie, that I liked, though not excellent. I really hope he does an excellent job here.

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Julius Caesar on Celluloid

Julius Caesar on Celluloid

 Pix: Top Left -Marlon Brando (playing Mark Antony) in the poster of the film Julius Caesar (1953), based on Shakespeare’s acclaimed play, along with other cast members below him. Let me be a little clearer here, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, does not deal with Caesar’s life. The play is actually about the plot and murder of Caesar and the aftermath. And Caesar generally is almost always depicted in heavy robes, while Mark Antony, a soldier, in a mini tunic. 

Top Right (main picture)- Poster of film Caesar and Cleopatra (1945) depicting Vivien Leigh (who plays Cleopatra) and Claude Rains (JC); (inset picture) ex-James Bond (of the 80’s), playing JC, actor Timothy Dalton in Cleopatra (1999), I watched this back in the late 90’s, and it was one of the worst television movies I have ever seen till date, and Dalton was just as bad.

Bottom (main picture) Rex Harrison playing JC in Cleopatra (1963), among the best films I’ve seen till date; (inset picture) Alain Delon in the French comedy,  Astérix aux jeux olympiques (2008). 

– Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense – Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense.

Jalal: Caine – Khan & Bell

14th March 2013: Happy Birthday to …..

14th March B'days

Michael Caine, Farida Jalal, Aamir Khan, Jamie Bell

  • British Actor Michael Caine (Born in 1933) – Star of  A Hill in Korea (1956), Foxhole in Cairo (1960), The Ipcress File (1965), Alfie (1966), The Italian Job (1969), Battle of Britain (1969), Get Carter (1971), Sleuth (1972), Pulp (1972), The Wilby Conspiracy (1975), The Romantic Englishwoman (1975), The Eagle Has Landed (1976), A Bridge Too Far (1977), California Suite (1978), Ashanti (1979), Dressed to Kill (1980), Deathtrap (1982), Educating Rita (1983), The Fourth Protocol (1987), Jack the Ripper (1988), Jekyll & Hyde (1990), Midnight in Saint Petersburg (1996), Mandela and De Klerk (1997), The Cider House Rules (1999), Quills (2000), Get Carter (2000), The Quiet American (2002), Sleuth (2007), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) etc etc etc…
  • Bollywood Actress Farida Jalal (Born in 1949) – Star of Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1961), Jahan Ara (1964), Taqdeer (1967) Baharon Ki Manzil (1968), Aradhana (1969), Mahal (1969), Lagan (1970), Amar Prem (1972), Doctor X (1972), Bobby (1973),  Naya Din Nai Raat (1974), Majboor (1974), Uljhan (1975), Alaap (1977), Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977), Abdullah (1980), Mangal Pandey (1983), Bandh Honth (1984),  Pushpak (1987), Kal Ki Awaz (1992), Mammo (1994), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Raja Hindustani (1996), Saat Rang Ke Sapne (1997), Judaai (1997),  Duplicate (1998), Gaja Gamini (2000), Zubeidaa (2001), Lajja (2001), The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002), Pyaar Mein Twist (2005), Student of the Year (2012), A Gran Plan (2012) etc etc etc… 
  • Bollywood Actor Aamir Khan (Born in 1965) – Star of Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973), Madhosh (1974), Holi (1984), Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Raakh (1989), Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992), Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993), Andaz Apna Apna (1994), Raja Hindustani (1996), 1947-Earth (1998), Sarfarosh (1999), Mann (1999), Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey (2005), Rang De Basanti (2006), Fanaa (2006), Taare Zameen Par (2007), Ghajini (2008), Dhobi Ghat: Mumbai Diaries (2010), Talaash (2012) etc etc etc…
  • British Actor Jamie Bell (Born in 1986) – Star of Billy Elliot (2000), Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Undertow (2004), The Chumscrubber (2005), King Kong (2005), Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Hallam Foe (2007), Defiance (2008), The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Man on a Ledge (2012), Filth (2013) etc etc etc…   

*Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense _ _ _

It’s Emile Hirsch’s B’day today. The 13th of March, 2013.                                         13.03.13

Hirsch

I first heard of Emile Hirsch, when I was residing in Portsmouth, England, way back in 2004, when he came in a movie called The Girl Next Door (2004). A silly chick flick that didn’t interest me at all, and still have no desire to see it , and I just assumed Hirsch was just some pretty face, and only reason that name stuck to my mind was  ’cause we were constantly getting bombarded with the trailers of The Girl Next Door, on the small and big screens, that was running in the theatres/Cinemas back then. Then I forgot all about it . In 2007, as I was finishing my course in Sydney (Down Under – Australia), Into the Wild (2007) came out. I had seen great reviews about this new flick, and was keen on watching this movie. Added to this I wondered why the name of the lead actor sounded so familiar. Then I found out. Wow!!, I though, some chick flick actor in a good movie, I have to see this. As soon as I finished my course (M.A. in Painting from UNSW), and after my graduation exhibition (i.e. COFA Annual Art Exhibition) was done in December 2007, my friends and I decided this was the movie we should catch that month. And we watched Into the Wild, and we loved this tragic bio-pic. We walked all the way back to Uni discussing this movie and sympathising with Christopher McCandless, the main character played by Hirsch. Now, that’s the kind of movie I love to watch, one that we can analyse at length with like minded people; Boy, I miss those days.  And since then I’ve been a great fan of Emile Hirsch, although I don’t agree with all his film choices, atleast I know how good an actor he is. And if; Daniel Day Lewis’ (who won the Oscar the following year, as he did this year, as well) superb role in There Will Be Blood (2007) and Johnny Depp’s (who was nominated) role in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007); didn’t exist, Hirsch should have won. Sadly, he wasn’t even nominated, and nor was Sean Penn, who had done a wonderful job directing this great adventure of self discovery into wilderness.

Then, two years later came Gus Van Sant’s Milk (2008). Another bio-pic, this time Hirsch (playing Cleve Jones) starred opposite Sean Penn, who played the lead charcter Harvey Milk. This time Sean Penn bagged the Best Actor Oscar. Hirsch again was superb, playing a real life gay activist. I watched this movie twice within the same year, 2009, and the second time was on the big screen in Paris.

Then, still in 2009, Taking Woodstock (2009), came to Cannes Film Festival, May 2009, while I was residing in Paris. Since then there were so many interesting articles about the actual Woodstock of 1969, in the Herald tribune (Paris’ English language Newspaper) alone, and in magazines like TIME, Newsweek, Frontline et al, that I was really keen of watching Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, added to which it had Hirsch in it. Normally being a person who collects good articles sometimes, if I really like them, this time I didn’t have a single cutting, neither on the real Woodstock of 69′ nor on the celluloid version of Woodstock of 09′ . Why? Well, there were so many, and I liked each and every article I read on Woodstock, from May to September 2009, that it was extremely difficult for me to choose. So I did not take a single one I read, now I kind of regret that. None the less, I was waiting for it’s release on the Paris Big Screen. Unfortunately it was being released on the day I was leaving Paris, 9th September 2009 (09.09.09). Thus I just missed it. Then in Lanka, I was looking for it’s pirated version at all the video libraries in Colombo and around. Although I hate pirated copies, that’s the only way one can catch a good movie in SL, that too rarely. Most movies you find here are crap. I could not find it anywhere. Then, November 2010, I went on a trip to New Delhi, India, after a gap of nine and half years. Last time I was in Delhi, before that, was in May 2001. Now in New Delhi, in all the good shops (and ordinary shops), what you get is the original DVD’s, not pirated. In fact to find pirated copies, you literary have to go underground, or some other shady place. But the 0riginal DVD’s you get happen to be Indian Copyrights, thus censored versions. None the less, I was happy to have finally located Taking Woodstock (2009). Watched it, twice, with all the nudity cut off, still loved it. Although, being a film buff, am totally against censorship, I prefer to buy a censored Original DVD, than an uncensored bad pirated one. And am glad to have such a good movie added to my collection. It’s a near excellent movie by acclaimed film director Ang Lee, who won an Oscar this year for Life of Pi (2012).

Now, living in a narrow minded, hypocritical, tasteless, aesthetically depressive country that I never belonged in; it’s impossible to find a good movie, or to enjoy the company of people that appreciate and have an understanding for the arts, here. Thanks to foreign cable channels (Star World, Star Movies & Fox Crime), we get some good television shows, and few good enough movies. On Sunday afternoon, I actually ended up watching a movie called Enchanted (2007) on Star World, it was an ok childrens movie, but the thing is, it’s not my cup of tea, normally I would never sit through such a film, no matter how good the cast. The most recent Emile Hirsch venture I caught was The Darkest Hour (2011), a couple of months ago or so, on Star Movies. What crap was that????? I knew it wasn’t going to be a good flick, but I didn’t expect it to be the among the worst movies ever made. It was soooooooooooooo bad. But just because Hirsch has made some bad choices in his career, doesn’t mean he is a bad actor. Am really keen on watching some of his more recent work in movies like Killer Joe (2011) with Matthew McConaughey, the Spanish flick Venuto al mondo (2012) with Penélope Cruz, The Motel Life (2012) with Dakota Fanning, the comedy Prince Avalanche (2013) with Paul Rudd, and the new take on the lives of Bonnie and Clyde in the  television mini-series Bonnie and Clyde: Dead and Alive (2013) with Holliday Grainger. When? I’ll get a chance to do so, I don’t know? But, someday I would, hopefully sooner than later. And I would like to watch some of his earlier films as well, the likes of The Emperor’s Club (2002), The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002) and The Mudge Boy (2003), to name a few. I don’t know how any of these flicks would be, but at least they have the capability of being good films. So far my Hirsch films experience is limited to the four flicks I’ve spoken of. Out of which; two are excellent, i.e. Into the Wild and Milk; one was close to excellence, Taking Woodstock; and one crappier than crap, the waste of an hour and a half, The Darkest Hour.

Wishing Emile Hirsch a Happy 28th Birthday, may he come in some great timeless movies, that he’ll be remembered forever. Wishing him all the best for a great career ahead.  

Nuwan Sen

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Beatle News  #2

Paul & Linda

 

  • 1969 – The most good looking Beatle (who happens to be my second favourite Beatle), Paul McCartney marries photographer Linda Eastman, on this day, 44 years ago. And they stayed married till death did them apart, when Linda McCartney died of breast cancer on April 17, 1998.
  • 2013 – The latest movie on The Beatles is set to be released this month, i.e. the documentary Good Ol’ Freda (2013), directed by Ryan White, based on the accounts of Freda Kelly, the secretary to The Beatles, throughout their decade long carrier (who almost got fired by John Lennon), and the chief of The Beatles Fanclub. After the band broke up, it was Kelly who closed down the fan club. 

Pix: Above – Paul & Linda, the newly weds in 69′; Below – The new movie, and pictures of Freda Kelly with three members of The Beatles (Paul, Ringo & George).

Good Ol' Freda

 

Nuwan Sen’s Music Sense. Nuwan Sen & The Beatles ().