Tag Archive: Africa


The Swinging Sixties
1966 Blow-UpThe 1960’s was a very unique decade, of the 20th century, when the world changed for the better. An era, thanks to which, we live in (or rather should live in) a more open minded world, with a freer lifestyle, with lesser (or rather should, with no) prejudice. An era, which brought about Equal Rights, Feminism (Women’s Lib),  The Hippies, the second (and more worldwide) phase of The Sexual Revolution (as opposed to The Sexual Revolution of the Roaring 20’s, which was limited to certain regions in the western world), Black Pride movement, Gay Pride movement, Youth Rebellions of 68’, Woodstock of 69’, Stonewall Riots of 69’, Motown Records, Rock Music, Experimentation with Psychedelic Drugs, Birth Control Pill, Popular Music, The Beatles, The British Invasion of Pop & Rock, Ravi Shankar, Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, Pop-Art, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Martin Luther King, Jr., Socialists, Radical political influences, 32 African countries gaining Independence, The Indian ‘Hungryalist Quartet’, China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’, The Vietnam War, The American Counterculture, The Kennedy’s, The Space Age (the world put a man on the moon), Supercomputers, Sketchpads, Spacewar (first video game), Japanese Cars, Summer of Love, Flower Power, Peace, Love and anti-war sentiments.

The beginning of the 60’s decade, and the latter part of the 60’s, were so different, as if they belonged to two terrifically different era’s. This was a period that globalisation actually took place. Added to which fashion, art and music, travelled beyond borders. The Beatles were influenced by Indian music, especially the sounds of the Sitar. Short Indian Kurta’s, Hindu beads, African Batik styles, South American Poncho’s, were loved by the Hippies. Similarly western geometric styles, and bright designs, were adapted to Asian clothing. The era was famed for, mini-skirts, of swinging London, and skin tight Salwar-Kameezes, in India (inspired by the western tight skirts). A very glamorous decade, with it’s massive bouffant hairstyles, tight clothes and short skirts. And as the decade proceeded, the hairdo’s went higher, as did the hemlines.

Bollywood superstar, Sharmila Tagore, became the first Indian actress to don a Bikini on the cover of a glossy magazine, in 1966. This was an Independence Special issue.

Bollywood superstar, Sharmila Tagore (though not the first Indian to wear a Bikini), became the first Indian actress to don a Bikini on the cover of a glossy magazine. In the Year: 1966. This was an Independence Special, issue of Filmfare (August 1966).

The modern Bikini, though invented in 1946 (prior to which slightly bigger, two piece swimsuits, baring the midriff, existed), gained popularity internationally only in the 1960’s. Prior to which, general women preferred traditional, one piece, swimwear, though a lot of glamour girls were seen in tiny Bikini’s in magazines, films, et al. Yet young men, were quite comfortable, in tiny swimming trunks. Today it’s the exact opposite.

And in Cinema: 1960’s

The invent of the Merchant Ivory Productions took place, making Indian English Language films, avec a highly international standard (started by a trio of well (western) educated friends, Ismail Merchant, James Ivory & Ruth Prawer Jhabvala). They brought something new to Indian Cinema, in the 60’s & 70’s (unlike the Western Orientalist craze for Bollywood today, and the assumption that all Indian Cinema falls under the category of Bollywood, whilst Bollywood only makes Hindi Language films (out of the 122 major languages, and many more sub-dialects, spoken in India), and is mostly associated with commercial cinema, mainly with song & dance), and a special, new-found, global admiration for mystic & spiritual India. The Hippie culture had a major influence in India and Nepal.

In the west, the 60’s, revolutionised Cinema. In Europe, Art Cinema, especially The French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague), brought out a modernist (non-commercial, yet loved by modern intellectual youths) form of film, as never before; with François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard at the helm. Elsewhere, Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, Chilean film director Alexandro Jodorowsky, Polish film directors Roman Polanski & Wojciech Jerzy, Italian film directors Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini & Pier Paolo Pasolini, Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, and Indian film directors Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen & Ritwik Ghatak (all in the Bengali language) brought about their own masterpieces of Art Cinema, with an International standard, in their respective countries.

Sandy Dennis, George Segal & Elizabeth Taylor, in a scene from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Sandy Dennis, George Segal & Elizabeth Taylor, in a scene from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Hollywood wasn’t far back, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), was America’s answer to the European Art House. Directed by Mike Nichols (this was his directorial debut feature), starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal & Sandy Dennis, and based on a play by Edward Albee, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is today, considered a culturally relevant, a historically noteworthy, and an aesthetically significant, masterpiece of the American Art Film.

Movies also began to break taboos of sex, nudity and violence, with controversial directors like Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini & Bernardo Bertolucci (in Italian Films), Roger Vadim (French Films), Roger Corman (American Films) and Raj Kapoor (Bollywood – Hindi Commercial Films), to name a few. The 60’s are also remembered in conjunction with the Spaghetti Westerns, a short lived trend, begun by Italian film director, Sergio Leon.

The Year: 1966

Tunisian-born Italian actress of Sicilian parentage, Claudia Cardinale, on the cover of (the July 1966 issue of) LIFE magazine

Tunisian-born, Italian actress, of Sicilian parentage, Claudia Cardinale, on the cover of (the July 1966 issue of) LIFE magazine

1966 saw, the Acid Test (a series of parties, in the mid-late 60’s, centred around the use of the psychedelic drug LSD, a.k.a. Acid) take place, at the historic music venue in San Francisco, California, The Fillmore. These acid trips lasted throughout the rest of the decade. The spy-plane, SR-71 Blackbird (which had it’s first flight in 1964), started operation. Cabinet Member, Robert C. Weaver, became the first African American to hold a cabinet position in the United States. Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, was elected Prime Minister of India, making her the first, and only, woman Prime Minister, in India, to hold office till date. She was also the second longest serving Prime Minister of India. Luna 9, an unmanned spacecraft landed on the Moon, making it the first controlled rocket-assisted landing. Later same year, Luna 10, was also launched, by the Russians. The Lunar Orbiter 1, the first U.S. spacecraft to orbit the moon, was also launched, much later, that year. A head to head space race. The Australian Dollar was introduced. John Lennon made the controversial remark, that ‘The Beatles were more popular than Jesus’; which, though there were no problems when it was first published in the United Kingdom, got him into trouble with Christian communities in the United States, when it was republished in the States. The Crown Princess of the Netherlands married a German, which sparked protests against the Groom. Meanwhile demonstrations were held, across the United States, against the Vietnam War. The opening of the Parliament of the United Kingdom was televised for the very first time. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were finally convicted, for the murder of three children, in UK. In New York, thirteen square blocks of low rise buildings were cleared for construction of the World Trade Center (Twin Towers), and groundbreaking for the construction began.

Superstar Sophia Loren on the cover of LIFE (September 1966 issue) YEAR: NINETEEN SEXTY SEX

Superstar Sophia Loren on the cover of LIFE (September 1966 issue)
YEAR: NINETEEN SEXTY SEX

Star Trek (1966-1969), a sci-fi series, made it’s television debut, in America. The Black Panther Party was founded in USA. Japan introduced the Toyota Corolla. Chinese students were chased out of the Soviet Union. The Mothman was introduced, when a couple reported that they saw a strange moth like creature, in the States. Author Truman Capote, hosted a lavish, Black & White, masquerade ball, which was credited as being the Party of the century. Jack L. Warner sold Warner Bros. to Seven Arts Productions; And Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan, was elected, as the Governor of California.

Sadly, 1966 also saw the demise of greats, such as; famed Swiss Sculptor Alberto Giacometti, notorious American gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, iconic Silent Film-star Buster Keaton, neo-classical Italian Artist Gino Severini, American Artist & Illustrator Maxfield Parrish, British Author Evelyn Waugh, German Expressionist Film producer Erich Pommer, Hollywood method-actor Montgomery Clift, American Poet & Art Critic Frank O’Hara, French Writer & Poet André Breton, Canadian Beautician & Entrepreneur Elizabeth Arden, and Cartoonist Walt Disney (the most prominent figure of the animation industry worldwide); to name some.

Now let’s have a look at some of the films that were released in:-
1966: The Year dubbed as Nineteen Sexty Sex!!!

Hays Code was almost nearing it’s death (the dreaded censorship laws that could have, but thankfully didn’t, kill off, the cinematic arts; with it’s silly rules and regulations), and Hays (the man who implemented these rules) himself had already been dead for just over a decade. The world was going through a new found sexual revolution, as was the film industry, especially Hollywood. And the out-dated production code by William Hays, was getting impossible to enforce (which was finally, completely, abandoned in 1968).

Boeing, Boeing (1965), was a quite hilarious comedy, with Tony Curtis &  Jerry Lewis in the lead. Though released in 1965, it's film posters, hinted what the following year should be known as.

Boeing, Boeing (1965), was quite a hilarious comedy, with Tony Curtis & Jerry Lewis, in the lead. Though released in 1965, it’s film posters, hinted at, what the following year, should be known as.

In April 1966, at the 38th  Annual Academy Awards, the family entertainer, Sound of Music (1965), grabbed the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar, winning five out of it’s ten nominations. Fred Zinnemann’s, A Man for all Seasons (1966), a historical biographical movie, based on an excellent play by Robert Bolt, ended up bagging six Oscars, the following year, including for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Actor’, at the 39th Annual Academy Awards. Thus making it the best film of 1966. Love the movie, love the play. But let’s have a look at some of the movies, that defined the 60’s, and more specifically, Year: Nineteen Sexty Sex.

Blow-Up (1966), a near excellent British Film, by Italian director, Michelangelo Antonioni, is no doubt the perfect insight into the latter half of 60’s decade. Fashion, fashion photography, and sexy sizzling costumes of Swinging London, it encompasses the late 60’s to perfection. A very 60’s, Sexty Sex, film, set in the world of modern fashion, with a modern, youthful and open-minded, insight into the changing world.

Blow-Up (1966) - a movie that defined the 60's!!!!! TOP LEFT: Sarah Miles TOP RIGHT: Veruschka von Lehndorff & David Hemmings BOTTOM RIGHT: David Hemmings & Veruschka von Lehndorff  BOTTOM RIGHT: Topless/Shirtless Vanessa Redgrave & David Hemmings

Blow-Up (1966) – a movie that defined the late 60’s!!!!!
TOP LEFT: Sarah Miles
TOP RIGHT: Veruschka von Lehndorff & David Hemmings
BOTTOM LEFT: David Hemmings & Veruschka von Lehndorff
BOTTOM RIGHT: Topless/Shirtless – Vanessa Redgrave & David Hemmings

The plot deals with a fashion photographer, who one day accidentally takes shots of something, he shouldn’t have, in a park. Then a mysteriously beautiful woman walks into his life, under very suspicious circumstances. David Hemmings played the photographer, and Vanessa Redgrave, the mysterious beauty. The film also features a line of breathtakingly talented beauties, including Sarah Miles, Jane Birkin and German born fashion model, Veruschka von Lehndorff (daughter of a Prussian Count who was involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler, and thus killed for it), to name some. In addition to that, the film has some notable cameo’s by several well known personalities from 1966. Especially, worth watching out for a performance, by English Rock-Band, The Yardbirds. Hemmings’ character was inspired by the real life, Swinging London, photographer, David Bailey.

Blow-Up dared to be quite sexually provocative, especially for that era, and when it was released in the United States, it was in direct defiance with the ridiculous Hays Code. In fact, Blow-Up’s subsequent critical, and box-office, success, was a crucial cinematic-historical moment, leading to the ultimate elimination of the out-dated production code, in 1968.

Next let’s have a look at Sexty Sex’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which I mentioned earlier. One of my favourite films ever, which also happens to be among my own TOP-10 all time favourite movies (See my list Why I love …. from November/December 2012 on IMDB). Love the movie. Love the Book (Play).

My favourite film of Year: Nineteen Sexty Sex

My favourite film of Year: Nineteen Sexty Sex

The film is about, a miserable middle-aged couple, who regret their life together, having not achieved all they had hoped and desired for, when young. Set within one night, the older couple invite a younger couple for drinks, and play out their disappointments, with one another, at the younger couples’ expense.

Elizabeth Taylor, who was still in her early 30’s, at the time, is successfully turned into a bitter old frumpy woman in her 50’s. Yet, this violet eyed beauty, oozes with sex appeal, and easily seduces the younger married man. Taylor’s character, Martha, not only seduces the younger man, but the audience as well, openly, in front of her weak willed husband (played by real life husband, Richard Burton). Especially, watch out for her re-entry, after she changes her clothes; as the old woman, walks into the living room, in a low-cut, deep cleavage bearing outfit; she is still a far superior sexual being, than the mousy little wife of the younger man, Nick (played by George Segal), Honey (Sandy Dennis). Showcased with a shadowy outline, suggesting a sexual act in progress, seen through a bedroom window, this is another 60’s movie, which not only revolves around sexual human relationships; the older husband & wife, the younger husband & wife (a marriage based on a “hysterical pregnancy”), and the adulterous one night stand; but their vulgar tongued bitterness, is blatantly thrown at audiences, quite unapologetically. It’s an excellent movie, meant for mature audiences. Not just mature in age, but maturity of the mind, is a necessity, to watch an intellectual movie like this. Beautifully filmed in Black & White, the film is a complete psychoanalysis of the young and the old. The 60’s dared to release a movie like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which surpasses time, and can be relevant in any human relationship, in any era.

Sex on the Dance Floor: Liz Taylor & George Segal

Sex on the Dance Floor: Liz Taylor & George Segal

Then there is a really seductively intimate dance number, between Taylor and Segal, which is pure sex on the dance floor. My favourite movie from Nineteen Sexty Sex, Mike Nichols’ directorial debut, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is a must watch, for any film buff, students of Cinema Literature, and students of Literature in the print form.

Natalie Wood was seen in two sexy releases, that year. One was the near excellent comedy, Penelope (1966), in which she plays a bored rich kleptomaniac, who robs her own husband’s bank (thus, the film/character namesake – is tagged as being, “the world’s most beautiful Bank-Robber”); and the other, a more serious, sizzling with heat, and female sexuality, movie, set in the depression era, in the Deep American South; This Property Is Condemned (1966). Another excellent masterwork of adult cinema. The latter film flaunts it’s female lead’s sexuality, thus feels more at-your-face sexual, than the comedy mentioned here. Also see my post Condemnation of a woman during the Depression era of the American south and Mai May Movies 2015 from May 2015.

Scenes from This Property is Condemned (1966)

Scenes from This Property is Condemned (1966)

Whilst the west, was coming to terms with exploring sexual topics in cinema, in the east, Indian cinema, specifically Bollywood’s commercial cinema, was starting open up topics of sex themselves. In Aakhri Khat (1966), we see a ditched beggar woman, die on the streets Bombay. Originally from Kulu district, of the state of Himachal Pradesh, she comes to Bombay, bearing child, to find the reason for her sufferings, Govind (Rajesh Khanna), a sculptor. Once the woman dies, the toddler is left on the buzy streets to fend for himself.

Directed by Chetan Anand, majority of the movie, is filmed with a hand-held camera, following a 15 month old infant, let loose in the city, taking in all the city sounds, under the cinematic direction of cinematographer, Jal Mistry. It’s an excellent movie. Am not going to go deep into the film. The implication of pre-marital sex wasn’t necessarily something new. But there is one beautiful scene, I’d like to mention. As the lost hungry child roams around the city, unaware of the death of his mother, he comes across a semi-nude statue of his mothers’, made by his father, Govind. The child at once recognises his mum, but doesn’t realise, it’s just a sculpture. The hungry crying child, is now delighted he found his mum, he feels safe, and slowly climbs it and tries to drink milk from her breast. That scene is so sad, so touching, your heart lets out. In one way there is a sense of eroticism, seeing a child trying to drink milk from a statue, but it’s also a heartrending moment in the movie. Aakhri Khat is an excellent movie, and this was superstar, Rajesh Khanna’s, very first role.

Vyjayanthimala in and as Amrapali (1966), based on the true life tragic story of a courtesan in 500 BC.

Vyjayanthimala in and as Amrapali (1966), in this historical epic, based on the true life, tragic story, of a courtesan, in 500 BC.

Bollywood actress, of southern Indian ancestry, Vyjayanthimala, appeared in two sexy roles, in 1966. One was, where she played a Princess, in Suraj (1966). An enjoyable enough movie, with beautiful songs, and an average story line. An OK venture, showcasing Vyjayanthimala’s sexy gait and bewitching beauty. But it was the historical epic, biographical movie, about a real life courtesan, Amrapali (1966), which was one of the best films she’s ever done, and encompasses her sexuality to the utmost. The concubine, mistress, of a tyrannical King, her dances, the beautiful body, is pure eroticism, and pure art. Set in 500 BC, under the rein of King Ajatashatru of Magadha empire, this is one of my favourite Bollywood films, and one of my favourite historical/Biographical epics. Amrapali was directed by Lekh Tandon.

Both these excellent Bollywood movies (Aakhri Khat & Amrapali), were selected as India’s official entry for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category at the Academy Awards, but neither were selected as Oscar nominees.

Besides these Bollywood commercial films, 1966, also so the release of the Indian Art House Film, from the state of Bengal (in Bengali); Satyajit Ray’s Nayak (1966). A feminist writer, played by Sharmila Tagore, and a Bengali film star, played by Uttam Kumar, meet by chance in a train, travelling from Calcutta to New Delhi. Reluctant at first, for the feminist writer is full of contempt towards film stars, she ultimately decides to interview him. The whole movie, is a train journey, mainly set the restaurant car, where she interviews him. But the film is also a journey of understanding one another. The actor, slowly opens up, without hiding behind a façade, whilst the feminist softens her outlook towards the world of showbiz. By the end of the journey, as they part their ways, both have improved, through this journey of self-discovery, and an understanding of a non-judgemental outlook towards fellow human beings. One of my favourite Bengali movies, by one of the greatest Indian directors ever.

Cul-de-Sac 66'

Heading back to the United Kingdom, Polish director, Roman Polanski’s, Cul-de-Sac (1966), is another interesting, sexual and psychological thriller. A very weird movie dealing with sexual frustration, alienation and of-course the input of horror. A very good movie, which has all the Polanski trade-marks, seen in most of his films. Also see my post Roman Polanski & His Films from a couple of years ago.

Getting back to Hollywood, my favourite director, Alfred Hitchcock’s, Torn Curtain (1966), a movie that deals with an American physicist defecting (in pretence) onto the Iron Curtain, more specifically East Germany. Set and made, during the Cold War, and starring Julie Andrews and Paul Newman, this is not considered among the best of Hitchcockian films. Yet it’s still an excellent movie. Hitchcock was intrigued by the defection of British diplomats Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean to the Soviet Union in 1951, and thus the idea behind Torn Curtain was born.

Julie Andrews and Paul Newman in Torn Curtain (1966)

Julie Andrews and Paul Newman in Torn Curtain (1966)

The film has a very mild sex scene, with Andrews and Newman, in the beginning of the film. Yet, straight out of family entertainers like Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music, seeing Julie Andrews do a sex scene, was shocking for American audiences back then. But by the early 70’s, there were so much more, graphic, sex sequences, in movies like, A Clockwork Orange (1971), Last Tango in Paris (1972) and Don’t Look Now (1973), to name a few, that even the idea of being shocked at the sex scene in Torn Curtain was laughable. Paul Newman, also appears nude in a shower scene, but seen through a glass, the nudity isn’t that clearly visible.

Ebony Magazine covers from 1966, depicting celebs with their families.

Ebony Magazine covers from 1966, depicting celebs with their families.

1966, wasn’t all about sex, there were some beautiful non-sexual family films like, Born Free (1966), Mera Saaya (1966), How to Steal a Million (1966), Anupama (1966), Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966), A Man for all Seasons (mentioned above), for example. Yet the Audrey Hepburn movie, How to Steal a Million, can also be categorized as a  stylishly, sleek n’ sexy, movie of 1966. Other sexy films of 66’, include, Fantastic Voyage (1966), Teesri Manzil (1966), Frankie and Johnny (1966), 7 Women (1966), Love in Tokyo (1966), Teesri Kasam (1966), etc etc …

Scene from Masculin Féminin (1966)

Scene from Masculin Féminin (1966)

Then there are Sexty-Sex films I haven’t seen, but would love to, like, Un Homme et une Femme (1966), Masculin Féminin (1966), The Battle of Algiers (1966), Voyna i Mir Part-I & II (1966), Alfie (1966), Shiroi Kyotō (1966), Persona (1966), Is Paris Burning? (1966), The Face of Another (1966), Fahrenheit 451 (1966), The Sand Pebbles (1966), The Appaloosa (1966), The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966), The Chase (1966), Madame X (1966), Funeral in Berlin (1966), Any Wednesday (1966), Triple Cross (1966 ), Made in U.S.A (1966), Hawaii (1966), La Curée (1966), The Blue Max (1966), Sex Quartet (1966), Gambit (1966), Kenka Erejî (1966), The Trouble with Angels (1966), The Professionals (1966), Sedmikrásky (1966), Daimajin (1966), Trunk to Cairo (1966), Au Hasard Balthazar (1966), Incompreso (1966), The Deadly Affair (1966), Pearls of the Deep (1966), Harper (1966), Our Man in Marrakesh (1966), Grand Prix (1966), Khartoum (1966), O Slavnosti a Hostech (1966), Andrei Rublev (1966), Nevada Smith (1966), The Fortune Cookie (1966), Arabesque (1966), The Wild Angels (1966), Tokyo Drifter (1966), Maya (1966), Uccellacci e Uccellini (1966), Seconds (1966), The War Is Over (1966), Faraon (1966), Kaleidoscope (1966), Ah Güzel Istanbul (1966), The Poppy is also a Flower (1966), Ostre Sledované Vlaky (1966), La noire de… (1966), Mamta (1966), The Pornographers (1966), Le Deuxième Souffle (1966), Krylya (1966), The Sandwich Man (1966), Chappaqua (1966), Syskonbädd 1782 (1966), Yeh Raat phir na Aaygi (1966), A Man Called Adam (1966), Es (1966), Signore & Signori (1966), Onna no Mizûmi (1966), Apa (1966), Les Créatures (1966), Zatôichi umi o Wataru (1966), Footsteps in the Snow (1966), La Vida de Pedro Infante (1966), Kiba Ôkaminosuke (1966), The Embryo Hunts in Secret (1966), Seasons of Our Love (1966), Una Vergine per il Principe (1966), After the Fox (1966), etc etc …. and so many more.

The cover of Film Review from December 1966

The cover of Film Review from December 1966

And then there are films that I haven’t watched, that am not that crazy about, but which are sexualised films (especially using actresses, with beautiful bodies, rather than acting talent – mostly B-movies, B-Horror/B-Sci-fi films), some of which were quite famous back in 1966, and some that sound so silly they were hardly worth mentioning, and audiences back then weren’t that crazy about checking out. The likes of, One Million Years B.C. (1966), Women of the Prehistoric Planet (1966), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Once Before I Die (1966), Blood Bath (1966), Queen of Blood (1966), The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966), Kill Baby, Kill (1966), Take Me Naked (1966) and Single Room Furnished (1966), to name some.

The 1960’s: One Great Decade!!!!!
The Year 1966: One Unique Year, especially for Cinema!!!!!

Veruschka and David Hemmings in Blow-Up  YEAR:1966

Veruschka and David Hemmings in Blow-Up
YEAR:1966

This post is about Sex in Film & the Sixties, and more specifically in 66’ (a.k.a. Sexty Sex); (Ironic, considering the fact, that my previous post, dealt with virginity, in Year 2015).

Meant for More Mature Audiences!!!!!
(Immature Adults – Stay Clear)

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

This post, is my contribution for the Classic Movie History Project Blogathon, organised by fellow Bloggers of, Silver Screenings (Ruth), Movies Silently (Fritzi) & Once Upon a Screen (Aurora); and sponsored by Flicker Alley.
History Project  (JUNE 2015) LOGOThank you Ruth, Aurora and Fritzi for letting me be part of this interesting Blogathon. It’s five minutes to Midnight !!!!! Good Night!!!!! 🙂

Regards
Nuwan Sen

Finally here they are, the correct answers to the Hitchcock quiz from March 2015 (Question Time # 008: HITCHCOCK !!!!!)

A.1 1940 Film

Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Gladys Cooper & Reginald Denny in a scene from Rebecca (1940)

L to R: Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Gladys Cooper & Reginald Denny in a scene from Rebecca (1940)

(i) The still is from Rebecca (1940), based on the 1938 novel, Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier.
(ii) The correct statements are:-
(e) This was Hitchcock’s first Oscar nomination, for ‘Best Director’.
(h) This was Hitchcock’s first Hollywood movie.
(j) This was Hitchcock’s first Oscar winning film, for ‘Best Picture’.
(iii) Joan Fontaine plays the nameless character in the movie. Judith Anderson plays the icy ‘Mrs. Danvers’, to eerie perfection.
(iv) It was Sir Laurence Olivier, who received a knighthood, in 1947.
(v) Joan Fontaine was born in Japan, on 22nd October 1917. She passed away on the 15th of December, 2013, aged 96 (see my post Happy 96th Birthday: Joan Fontaine from 22nd October 2013).

A.2 Film 46’
(i) Notorious (1946), contains the longest kiss, and one of the most romantic kisses ever (of 2½ minutes), between Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman, in history of cinema.
(ii) It’s Ingrid Bergman, as ‘Alicia Huberman’, who is used as a modern day Mata Hari, by the Americans.
(iii) It is Alicia Huberman (Bergman), who is slowly poisoned daily, in small doses, through her coffee, by her husband, Alex Sebastian (played by Claude Rains), and her mother-in-law, Madame Anna Sebastian (played by Leopoldine Konstantin). The slow poisoning act, through coffee, is Madame Anna Sebastian’s brainchild.

A.3 British Original & Hollywood Remake

Left: The original (Black & White) British film from 1934. Right: The Hollywood colour remake from 1956.

Left: The original (Black & White) British film from 1934.
Right: The Hollywood colour remake from 1956.

(i) The movies pictured above are both named The Man Who Knew Too Much. The original British film is from 1934, and the Hollywood remake from 1956.
(ii) The song Que Sera Sera, appeared in the 1956 version, and was sung by Doris Day.
(iii) Yes, Que Sera Sera won the Oscar for ‘Best Song’  in 1957.
(iv) In the 1934 version, the family are on vacation, in Switzerland. No, in the Hollywood re-make the family holiday is set in Morocco.
(v) The gender of the child that gets kidnapped is :-
(a) Female in the 1934 movie
(b) Male in the 1956 film

A.4 Young Alfred Hitchcock & the Silent era

Young Hitchcock(i) The young girl standing behind Hitchcock in the picture is Alma Reville, his wife and collaborator. As the saying goes, “Behind every successful man there is a Woman (telling him he’s  wrong 🙂 )”.
(ii) The Pleasure Garden (1925), was the very first, completed, feature film, made by Alfred Hitchcock.
(iii) Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) was the only light-hearted Romantic/Screwball comedy, Hitchcock made in America.
(iv) The Short Night, should have been Alfred Hitchcock’s last film, but the project was cancelled in 1979, due to his ill health. The film never got beyond the early pre-production stage.

A.5 Colour & Hitchcoerotism

Rope Lovers:  John Dall and Farley Granger

Rope Lovers: John Dall and Farley Granger

(i) Rope (1948). Yes, it was Hitchcock’s first film in colour.
(ii) Rope is loosely based on the notorious ‘Leopold and Loeb’ case of 1924. Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Albert Loeb, two wealthy students at the University of Chicago, kidnapped and murdered a 14 year old boy, Robert (Bobby) Franks, in 1924. The duo killed young Bobby, to prove their intellectual superiority.

A.6 Hitchcock & the surrealist artist

Nuwan Sen’s ART Sense  Nuwan Sen’s NOIR Sense

Nuwan Sen’s ART Sense
Nuwan Sen’s NOIR Sense

(i) This famous surreal dream sequence is from Spellbound (1945), and surrealist artist, Salvador Dalí, was responsible for this beautiful creation. Of course the original dream sequence was about 20 minutes long, but being too lengthy, it was cut during editing, and only 2 minutes appear in the final film. I’d love to see the original footage, of 20 minutes. It could be a short film in itself.
(ii) Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman star as two psychoanalysts. It is Gregory Peck’s character, who suffers from a phobia.

A.7 Hitchcock 007
(i) Sean Connery stars, as the male lead, in Hitchcock’s Marnie (1964).
(ii) Sean Connery appeared in Marnie, after the release of the first two films from the James Bond franchise, Dr. No (1962) and From Russia with Love (1963).

A.8 Hitchcockian Train Journey’s

TOP: Dame May Whitty, Margaret Lockwood & Michael Redgrave in the 1938 noir classic. BELOW: Farley Granger & Robert Walker in the 1951 Highsmith adaptation.

TOP: Dame May Whitty, Margaret Lockwood & Michael Redgrave in the 1938 noir classic.
BELOW: Farley Granger & Robert Walker in the 1951 Highsmith adaptation.

(i) & (ii) The stills are from, the British film, The Lady Vanishes (1938), and the Hollywood classic, Strangers on a Train (1951).
(iii) Strangers on a Train was based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith.

A.9 Rebecca (1940). Why? See my critiques under lists No Name (20th October 2011), Joan Fontaine (1940 & the 40’s) ‘TOP FIVE’ (April 2012) and Why I love …. (November/December 2012) on IMDB.
Hitch Rebecca
A.10 Psycho (1960)

Two months too late. Sorry for the delay, for a lot has happened since I did the questionnaire, thus didn’t have time to work on it. So today, I practically took part in the quiz myself.
Thank you fellow Bloggers, for giving up your valuable time, to take part in this quiz, related to my all time favourite director.

Nuwan Sen n’ Film Noir
Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen’s Hitchcockian Sense

On the Ides of March (15th March), 2015, my maternal grandmother, known simply as Attammi to us (among all her grandkids), passed away. She was 93 years old.

Attammi in a wheelchair. This was the last Picture I took of Attammi (24th June 2014)

Attammi in a wheelchair. This was the last Picture I took of Attammi (24th June 2014)

Was it a shock? A sad surprise? Not really, we were sort of prepared for it, as she had been ill for sometime now. But still, is anyone ever really ready, no matter how anticipated. It’s still sad. When I heard mum that morning, on the phone, speaking about a peaceful death, a chill ran through my spine. I felt it was my beloved Attammi. Still I preferred to believe I might be mistaken. Then mum told me the news. I wasn’t shocked, I had felt it a minute or so ago. We spoke about her for a little while. Neither of us shed a tear, but the pain of her loss was within us. Then Suddenly mum said she needed to cry. I told her to please do. She did, reducing her pain a little, but I still couldn’t. Mum & sis left that day itself, on Sunday. It was the next morning, I finally shed a few tears, before leaving. Dad & I, left for Veyangoda, on Monday morning, the day of the funeral. Once I saw Attammi lying there, peaceful in her coffin, I felt a bit better. I haven’t cried till now. But have been pensively reflecting on all the great memories I shared with her, and planning on working on this tribute to her long journey from an angelic little girl, to her great love marriage, to her philanthropic work for the Kegalle hospital, to letting her two elder daughters travel abroad, to travelling abroad herself, to becoming a mischievous Grandmamma, to accepting the changing modern world through her grandchildren, to losing the great love of her life (her husband) to an accident, to witnessing her grandkids marriages, to turning into a Great Grandmother. She had a beautiful long life, full of ups and downs and survival.

Attammi & I On Attammi's 90th Birthday (18 Jan 2012)

Attammi & I
On Attammi’s 90th Birthday (18 January 2012)

Mini-Bio, Memories & Timeline
(avec excerpts from Atta’s personal ‘Diary of Events’)

Attammi made her entrance into this world, in the Roaring 20’s, in Ceylon, under the British Raj, as Leelawathie (Leela) Dissanayake, to James and Julie Dissanayake, on the 18th of January, 1922. Much loved as a baby, unlike most little ones, she was considered a, non-mischievous, saint of a child. Growing up surrounded by eight siblings, she was the second child and the elder daughter.

Attammi’s parents having eloped, they were estranged from Attammi’s mother’s relatives for a period of time. The first time Attammi met her cousin, my maternal grandfather (Atta to us), was when she was just beginning her teens. Attammi’s mother, was the younger sister, of Atta’s father. But since Attammi’s mother, Julie, had run off and married in secret, Atta’s father had cut her off from his life. It’s hard to say whether the brother and sister ever reconciled, but it took more than a decade or so for Atta’s father to soften down enough to allow any interaction among the cousins (after all blood is thicker than water), and thanks to which my grandparents finally met. For Atta and Attammi, it was love at first sight. Sounds cheesy in today’s non-romantic, digital age, cyber sexed, universe, but it’s true. My maternal grandparents were the most romantic couple I ever knew in real life.

– Silent Love Story

Atta met his first cousin, Wije (Attammi’s elder brother), for the very first time, in 1935. Soon a friendship developed and one day on a visit to Bandarawella, Wije’s family home, Atta was introduced to Wije’s sister (Atta’s future wife). Atta was just 15, and Attammi just 13. A Ceylonese Romeo and Juliet. On the 14th of January 1936, Atta (aged 16) wrote on his diary how madly he was in love with her, but never mentioned it, as he felt they were too young. A couple of years later, when he was 18, he told his father. His father asked him to abandon this insanity. Thus Atta decided not to pursue it any further, but, in his heart, he always held a “soft corner for this girl”, as he stated in his diary (See excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events). In 1939, Atta was recruited into the Army (British controlled Armed forces of Ceylon), with advent of the Second World War.

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

Meanwhile, Attammi, waited to hear from Atta, but kept her love for him to herself. Almost a decade went by without her mentioning anything to anyone, but secretly pined for the young man she fell madly in love with, as a 14 year old, her first and only love. In her early 20’s, as proposals started to come her way of fine young suitors, she rebuffed them all. Finally she told her younger brother, Pragne, about her secret crush. Pragne wrote to Atta, letting him know, that my grandmother was still holding on to hope for a future with him. And that if Atta is not interested, to let her know, so that she can move on. Atta was pleasantly surprised, for though he had been in love with her, he never knew she had felt the same. He had barely spoken to her. In January 1944, Atta let his father know, that he truly loved this girl, he barely knew, and was finally granted permission to woo her. My grandparents briefly courted, for a few years, whenever they could meet (as they lived quite a distance to each other, and travel within the island was comparatively more of a hassle, and was slower in speed). Atta lived in Mayfield, and Attammi in Bandarawella. Soon ‘D-Day’ was here, and the long awaited romantics, finally got married on the 10th of July, 1947. And thanks to this beautiful union, my mum is in existence today, and in turn us.

Atta & Attammi on their wedding day.  (10th  July 1947)

Atta & Attammi on their wedding day.
(10th July 1947)

Being a couple of modernists, in their day and age, Attammi was one of the rare brides, to incorporate the traditional Kandyan saree, along with a western veil. And back then it wasn’t a controversy, thanks to the open-minded elite, of that day and age. But in more recent times, in the late 1990’s and the early noughties, to be more specific, with the increasing rate of hypocrisy in this country, along with a fake sense patriotism that exists today, and false pride of being Sri Lankan, a lot of Lankan’s seem  horrified that anyone could dare to wear the traditional Kandyan with an English inspired veil, and that too back in 1940’s. My Grandfather wore a three-piece suit, but that’s acceptable, in this sexist minded country, of the 21st century. I, for one, am proud, to be a descendant of such an intelligent Grandfather, and such a kind-hearted Grandmother (I have never met a gentler soul), and their rare perfect union, with a modern outlook towards life. In a way, though sad, am glad they are no more, to experience, this inhumane extremist society, of racial and religious divisions, and jealousy (after all it’s considered a GREEN country, and not necessarily due to the environment), narrow minded attitudes, with the kind of Hitler mentality (minus the power, thank god) that exists today, in a country that my Grandparents use to hold in such high regard once. They had a peaceful co-existence of a near perfect companionship of contentment, living happily, through majority of the 20th century, and being able to witness the start of the 21st.

– Atta

The year 1920 began, with the birth of my maternal grandfather (Atta). Atta was born as Ekanayake Mudiyanselage Ariyachandra Ekanayake (later simply known as Ariya Ekanayake), in British Ceylon, on the 1st of January, 1920, to James and Agnes Ekanayake. Atta’s mother was a widow with a daughter, when James Ekanayake fell in love with her. James and Agnes married on 4th December 1912. Yet it would be seven years, and almost a month, later, that James would finally become a father for the first time, with Atta’s birth. Atta hardly got to know his mother, as on the 8th of March, 1922, when Atta was just two years old, his mother died, due to postnatal complications, four days after giving birth to a baby girl. Atta’s father later re-married, and the Atta’s step-mother lived up to her status of a being a real ‘stepmother’. She deeply disliked all three of her stepchildren. Besides Atta’s elder half-sister, from his mother’s first marriage, Atta had quite a few younger half-siblings from his father’s second marriage. Some, not all, of his half-siblings, were pretty much like their mother. Atta as the eldest son was obliged to help and make his younger siblings happy in every way possible, and spent majority of his life taking care of every single need of his ungrateful half-siblings, who never seemed satisfied. Relatives sure can be poisonous sometimes. I personally don’t believe in  associating family just for namesake. If there is no genuine friendship within the family, such family members are definitely not worth it. I had a great rapport with both Atta & Attammi, more than any other grandchild of theirs shared with them.

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

In April 1932, when Atta was 12 years old, his paternal grandfather died, at the Kandy hospital. It was at his grandfather’s funeral that Atta met his aunt (his father’s estranged younger sister, Attammi’s mother) for the very first time. In August 1932, Atta’s “father took up billet at Mayfield” estate. It’s in Mayfield that Atta would later meet his first cousin (Attammi’s elder brother) in April 1935. Atta’s unkind stepmother, started to suffer mentally in the early 1930’s, and soon was admitted to a Metal hospital in April 1933.

– WW-II & post

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

Aged 19, Atta joined the Army, and with the start WW-II, his “battery took charge of Hoodstower and Ostenburg at Trincomalee”. Atta describes this time of his life as the “worst period” of his “army life”. In October 1943, he was sent to Bombay (now Mumbai), in India, for Coast Artillery training. This is a period he loved, and has told me personally, how much he enjoyed his stay in Bombay, befriending a lot of foreigners. He competed with many Indians, Anglo-Indians and Burmese, and beating them all, was ranked 1st in his course. After he left the army, Atta temporally worked as a clerk, and later trained in the Health Unit’s sanitary department, and took up a job as a Sanitary Inspector. As he disliked this job, he resigned a couple of months after he got married. And in October 1947, he “took up appointment in the CGR” (Ceylon Government Railway). For which he worked for the rest of his life till he retired.

(All lines within double quotes, are straight from Atta’s ‘Diary of Events’.)

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

– Independence & post   

On the 15th of August, 1947, the neighbouring country, India gained independence from the British (see my post Sixty Six years of Indian Independence from August 2013), making India the first British colony to do so. As a result of which, various other British colonies started to gain independence as well. And Ceylon became an independent country the following year, in 1948.

Whilst working for the CGR, Atta was transferred many a times to various locations in Ceylon. My grandparents and mother, have oft spoken about the great times they had, their wonderful experiences, living in beautiful bungalows, making newer friends, from various parts of the country, as they travelled around. ’twas almost like working for a diplomatic mission, but instead of travelling around the globe, they got to travel around the country.

Yet, in October 1948, when Atta was transferred to Colombo, his wife couldn’t accompany him. Attammi was in her first trimester of her pregnancy, expecting their first child, my mother. Atta had written in his diary, as how difficult it had been for him, to leave his pregnant wife. Luckily he was in Colombo for only a very short period of four months. Soon he was transferred to Nawalapitiya, on the 1st of February, 1949, and Attammi joined him on the 7th of February, 1949. Thus on the 24th of May, 1949, my mother came into this world, as Lalitha Damayanthi Ekanayake (a.k.a. Lala, Lala-Damayanthi & Dammi) in Nawalapitiya, and Ariya & Leela Ekanayake’s life as devoted parents began.

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

Throughout the 1950’s, wherever Atta was based, his whole family travelled,  living in various locations around the island, from Nawalapitiya To Haputale to Induruwa to Kosgoda. But as the children started to grow older, Atta felt they should have one base, especially as not to break their education, by changing schools. Thus he built a house, and on 3rd January, 1961, they moved into their new permanent home, in Kegalle. So throughout the 60’s and 70’s, the family lived in Kegalle, along with their family pet, or rather my mother’s dog, whom she named ‘Tiny’. Since then, Atta travelled alone wherever he was required to do so. And therefore my mother studied at St. Josephs Convent, in Kegalle, along with her two younger sisters.

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

India became a Republic on 26th January 1950. Yet it took another 22 years for Ceylon to become a republic, and the island did so, on 22nd May 1972, and was renamed as Sri Lanka. Yet Sri Lankans have not much of a regard for it’s republic day, as they have for their day of independence.

– History repeats itself.  

Like Atta & Attammi, my parents met for the first time, when they were teenagers. Mum was about 15, and dad was a couple of years older than her. Mum had fallen madly in love with him. She didn’t see him again, as a teen, except for briefly coming across him once more in the 60’s. In her early 20’s, the two older sisters (my mum and her younger sister) overheard Atta mention that they were of marriageable age. My mum having no desire to marry; as she wanted to do a job, and higher studies, plus she had a secret crush on my dad, whom she hadn’t seen in ages; wasn’t too happy about it. My mother’s sister, wrote to my father, who was residing in New Delhi, India, with his family by then, letting him know, and apologised in advance if he had someone else in his life. My father in the meantime, had broken up with his Indian girlfriend. And he accepted. My parents didn’t really court, as they were residing in two different countries, but wrote to each other regularly. It would be a couple of years later, that they would see each other, all set to marry. When my mum first saw him as an adult, in 1973, she was shocked. He had long floppy hair, long sideburns, wearing a tight shirt, and bellbottoms. He looked like a hippie and definitely not, the man she had fallen in love with. Atta told my father, that if my father wishes to marry Atta’s daughter, he ought to cut his hair. He did so. And thus on the 10th of December, 1973, my parents wed. And my mum was Mrs. Senadhira now.

Atta & Attammi, with My Parents :- Top: On my Parents wedding day (10th December 1973)  Below: On my Parents 25th Wedding Anniversary (December 1998)

Atta & Attammi, with My Parents :-
Top: On my Parents wedding day (10th December 1973)
Below: On my Parents 25th Wedding Anniversary (December 1998)

– Bharat Darshan  

Soon after the wedding, my parents left for New Delhi, India, in December 1973 itself.

On the night of 21st June 1975, Lala-Damayanthi went into labour, and 26 minutes past midnight (thus 22nd June early morning), with my birth, Atta & Attammi became grandparents, for the first time; ‘twas the longest day of the year. I was born in New Delhi, India.

Little ME: With my maternal Grandparents on my first Trip to Sri Lanka in 1976 (Me aged One)

Little ME: With my maternal Grandparents on my first Trip to Sri Lanka in 1976 (Me aged One)

Whilst, living in Delhi, we use to travel to Sri Lanka a lot, especially during the Indian Summer holidays (May-June-July), or, during Delhi’s Winter Vacation (December-January). I travelled to Sri Lanka for the first time, during the Winter Vacation of 1976, aged one. Atta & Attammi, however visited India twice in the 70’s. First time was before I was born, and next was in 1978, when I was three years old. Being Buddhists, we all travelled to all the Buddhist destinations in India and Nepal.

My maternal Grandparents Second trip to India. Atta & Attammi, my parents & I, in New Delhi, India, in 1978.

My maternal Grandparent’s Second trip to India. Atta & Attammi, my parents & I, in New Delhi, India, in 1978.

Attammi has often reminisced about her two trips to India. Atta had been so proud of my mum. My mother was working at All India Radio (A.I.R), at the time, as a Newsreader, Announcer & Translator, as did my father, who was also in charge of the Sinhala service at A.I.R. Attammi told me how happy she felt, when my mum took her to see the red bricked round offices, and Attammi described the circular stairway, inside the building. I envy her, for I haven’t seen the inside of A.I.R. It’s a stylish Office building. Added to which my parents had a very international group of friends, including Indians, Chinese, Burmese, Thai, Russian, French, Tanzanians, et al, who worked for their respective stations at A.I.R. We lived at Asia House Flats at the time. My mum has always maintained, that those were the best years of her life.

My maternal Grandparents, Mum & I (a three year old me seated on our first car and shielding the sun from my eyes) in front of India Gate, New Delhi, India in 1978.

My maternal Grandparents, Mum & I (a three year old me seated on our first car and shielding the sun from my eyes) in front of India Gate, in New Delhi, India, in 1978.

Attammi also told me once, how when one day Attammi and I were alone at home, I had asked for Pani (water in Hindi). She had no idea what I needed, and kept showing me various stuff, toys, clothes et al. I just kept asking for Pani. A little while later, the cleaning woman had come, and when I asked for Pani, had poured me a glass of water. Attammi said that she felt so bad, that she had assumed the three year old little innocent kid was desperately in want of some materialistic object, and never guessed he was just thirsty. Due to this incident she would remember the term Pani, for the rest of her life.

India had been Attammi’s first trip abroad, and she was one of the few people I know, who held beautiful memories of her two trips there, and being able to see my mum happily settled in New Delhi, was an added bonus, for both Atta & Attammi.

On the 20th of October, 1980, my pretty little baby sister was born, in New Delhi, India. She was a tiny pink baby, named Sachinta (Sachi) Senadhira. Atta & Attammi became grandparents for a second time, and this was their first granddaughter.

Two Mothers & Two Daughters L-R: Attammi, my sister Sachi, and my mum, at Mum's home (PIX: October 2011)

Two Mothers & Two Daughters
L-R: Attammi, my sister Sachi, and my mum, at Mum’s home (PIX: October 2011)

In 1983, as all of Atta & Attammi’s children (except for mum, who was in Delhi) were moving towards Colombo, Atta decided to move to a closer proximity to Colombo, themselves, yet live in a place, they could enjoy the relaxation of country life. Thus he sold off their house in Kegalle, and all the land, including Paddy fields, he owned in Uttuwangkanda, for a very minimal fee, to the workers of the fields, and he had already, in the past, let the caretaker, build a house for himself, in a plot of land, for free. Atta got a earful, for doing so, from certain half-sisters, who felt he should have given it to them instead of doing the poor workers a favour. Ahg!! Toxic relatives!!! Atta never condemned their behaviour, and let his step-mother, and her kids, treat him badly all his life. Of course, all of Atta & Attammi’s parents, were dead and gone by the 1980’s, including Atta’s Step-mom.

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

Having left their beautiful home in Kegalle, on the 4th of February, 1983, Atta purchased a nice looking property, in Veyangoda. Almost two weeks later, on the 17th of February, 1983, my grandparents, along with their son, moved into their new home, where Atta & Attammi, lived for the rest of their lives. Their son, and his family, are the current occupants of the Veyangoda house.

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

In the same year, 1983, in the month of September, my father joined the mission (the Sri Lankan High Commission, in New Delhi, India), as a Third Secretary, which was the beginning of his diplomatic career.

– Getting to know my Grandparents better

As a child, my maternal grandparents, like my paternal grandparents, were Achchi & Seeya. Achchi meaning Grandmother, and Seeya meaning Grandfather, in Sinhala. In 1988, we came to live in Sri Lanka, from New Delhi, India, for good. Soon, my sister and I were admonished against calling our maternal grandparents Achchi & Seeya anymore, as all our younger cousins called them Attammi & Atta. We obliged and loved calling them Attammi & Atta. So for the first 12½ years who were Achchi & Seeya, to me, their eldest grandchild, were now Atta (Grandpa) & Attammi (Grandma). We didn’t mind, and thought it cool, to be able differentiate the two pairs of grandparents, like it’s done in India. In the Hindi language, Dadaji & Dadima, are paternal grandparents, and Nanaji & Nanima, are maternal grandparents. So our Nana & Nani, were Atta & Attammi, since 1988 to eternity.

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

In 1988, my parents bought a plot of land, and built a house, and we moved in January 1990. And have been living here, on no.56, Siripura, since then (except whenever we lived abroad). The day we moved into our new house was one of the happiest days of Atta’s life, as he felt we were settled down. My mother having her own house to her name, was a relief for Atta. And it is my mother who has lived in this house the most. The rest of us have lived abroad on and off, while, except for in 1994 (when we all – my parents, sister & I – went back to live in New Delhi, India, together as a family, for a year), she only travelled abroad on holiday.

As I was coming of age, these crucial years were unfortunately spent mainly in Sri Lanka (12½  to 18½ years of age), yet on the plus side, it was during this period of my life I really got to know both pairs of grandparents, and other relatives. A few nice relatives, and many many ‘green’ ones, and very Sri Lankan (and definitely not in a good way). Today I have an allergic reaction to such people.

When I was 15 (a month away from turning 16), in May 1991, I sat for my GCE London O/Levels. Atta’s gift to me, for completing my O/L’s, was letting me read his massive personal Diary. That was the first time I came across this biographical work of his, and I really enjoyed his romantically penned down poetic prose. He had never let anyone touch this book till then, not even his children. Atta had two diaries; one massive one, written so eloquently; and another ‘Diary of Events’, in point form, marking essential events in his life. I have kept a few diaries, but not so systematically as he did. But I generally too, do, tend to mark down essential events, and being a film buff, all the movies I watch, on my calendar at least. I guess I get it from him. But I haven’t necessarily saved them all up. Today, I haven’t the faintest idea, as to what happened to the massive, very informative diary of Atta’s. But luckily, my mother did manage to locate, and save, Atta’s less descriptive ‘Diary of Events’, after his death, from which I have a few excerpts here, in this post. Of course I caught the writing bug from both sides of my family. My fathers side happens to be a family with a journalistic background, while my mother and her father (Atta), happen to be skilled in the aesthetic form of penning down their thoughts.

Excerpt from My Calender (March 2015)  Although not as systematically as Atta, in my own way, I too tend to mark down essential events in my life.

Excerpt from My Calender (March 2015)
Although not as systematically as Atta did, in my own way, I too tend to mark down essential events in my life, in my calendar at least.

In 1995; exactly 73 years after the death of Atta’s mother, due to complications relating to childbirth; on 8th March, 1995, my paternal Grandmother (Achchi) died at the Bangkok airport. She was residing in Australia by then, both my paternal grandparents having migrated down under, in the early 1990’s. Achchi came to Sri Lanka, on her own, for a holiday, and after spending a month with us, en route to Sydney, whilst on transit in Bangkok, Thailand, she suffered a heart attack. It took practically a week to get her body back to Sri Lanka. This was the loss of my very first  grandparent. It was on Attammi’s shoulder, 19½  year old me, cried on.

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

By June 1996, I had got into Delhi University, in New Delhi, India. Atta and Attammi were delighted. Being their eldest grandchild (I happen to be the eldest grandchild, on both sides of my family), I was the first grandkid to get into college (University). I left in July 1996.

As I mentioned earlier, I was very close to my maternal grandparents. We shared very similar interests. Atta & I had a lot in common. Atta & I shared a love for English Literature (my mother too was a student of English Literature), classic cinema (Atta mostly loved Westerns, and since childhood, besides being a fan of films, I always had a thing for the cowboy look, with the cowboy hat, checked shirts, tight jeans, and boots, and I till date love to dress up like an American cowboy of the Old West, or try to come as close to it as possible (also see my post Holidaying in South Australia from November 2014) ), and we shared a love for old English songs like; She’ll be coming ‘round the mountain, Oh! Susanna, My Bonnie lies over the Ocean, Isle of Capri, Wooden Heart, Welcome to my world and What a Wonderful World; to name a few, and ballroom dance. As a young gentleman, he was member of an elite club, where he use to go ballroom dancing. He spoke about it often, how it was a form tap dance (not the metallic heel & toe styles of Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly/Debbie Reynolds/Donald O’Connor, Sammy Davis Jr. and/or  Gregory Hines). It was a form of dance, where the male would tap on the shoulder of another male on the dance floor, and step in as the next lead dance partner, to the female follower. Atta had danced with quite a few fair ladies back in the day, but he had a reputation of being a real gentleman. Attammi knew about his love for dance, and after marriage he took her with him. But Attammi wasn’t much of a dancer. Thus Atta stopped going to club altogether. If he couldn’t dance with his wife, he had no interest in dancing with anyone else. But he did dance, whenever there was a family get together. Though Atta & I shared a lot more in common, than Attammi & I, it was Attammi, I was closest to among all my relatives. I loved her dearly, and anyone who knew her even briefly, adored her almost as much.

Atta & Attammi, my sister & I, at Home (56, Siripura). Picture taken on my 20th B'day (22nd June 1995)

Atta & Attammi, my sister & I, at Home (56, Siripura). Picture taken on my 20th B’day (22nd June 1995)

– Attammi & I

Attammi was the kindest person I ever knew personally, and everyone who knew her, adored her, and she adored everyone she met. I don’t think she ever disliked anyone. She was one the most non-judgemental persons I knew. She was a great fan of, and had great respect for, the British monarchy, especially the late Queen mother (wife of King George VI, and the mother of Queen Elizabeth II & Princess Margaret), the reining Queen Elizabeth II and the late Princess Diana. She was also a fan of local actresses Rukmani Devi and Iranganie Serasinghe, lace, embroidery, Edwardian white lace dresses and colonial designs. Yet she knew how to move along with the times. She had her own fashion statement, which involved her trademark long necklace. She never liked to leave the house in the way she was dressed at home, though she was always neatly attired. She didn’t accept all changes, yet she was curious to learn of new trends. She liked the bouffant hairstyles of the 60’s, but wasn’t a fan of the mini-skirts, which was a craze in Sri Lanka in the 70’s. Except for my mum, practically every youngster Attammi knew wore mini-skirts in that decade (graceful or not), including her other two daughters. She didn’t like it, but she didn’t speak against it. She accepted women wearing pants though, and didn’t mind my mum wearing bellbottoms in the 70’s. She felt it was both fashionable and practical, and pretty decent at the same time. In fact once she told me she actually liked my mother’s trademark (casual) attire, with her short tunic style Indian Chikan Kurta’s with trousers/Jeans, that my mum has been wearing since the 70’s till date. A perfect blend of the east and west. Yet Attammi herself, never left her traditional Kandyan saree, her Malaysian inspired lungi’s and long gowns. The only thing she added to her wardrobe, was the Kaftan, in the early 80’s, for it was similar to her long gowns. Then the 1990’s came, she accepted the styles of her grandchildren. I remember, when I was 17, I ripped a pair of corduroy jeans, and I asked Attammi to stitch a few patches (on non-ripped areas, of course!). While mum was horrified at me ripping my pants, like a hippie, my grandmother was really excited with the project. She watched in awe, as I cut the two kneecaps, and below one butt, on the pants, slowly removing the horizontal threads, neatly loosening the vertical threads. Not only did she enjoy it, she gave me her own tips. She told me we could add bottle caps, make my pants look really flashy and cool. She was fun, and a great friend. In fact, as a teenager, I use to jokingly call her my ‘girlfriend’. She was no doubt my favourite grandparent.

We were so different, yet so alike. We had really interesting conversations. Of course we didn’t agree all the time. I wasn’t exactly a granny’s boy. After all I have my own brain. Yet we’d discuss and debate. She learnt to accept modernity. She didn’t understand modern art, especially my art, but understood there has to be something deeper and conceptual. She’d listen to reason, and not dismiss anything just because it’s new, yet she was very nostalgic of the good old days. Of course with the 21st century, she wasn’t a great fan of the kind of noisy music, jumping up and down kind of dance popular in this country today, nor did the digital age interest her. She definitely wasn’t a fan of rap, crap and hip-hop. A craze here today. She was a calm and peaceful person in general, and not a fan noise pollution. In fact her voice was hardly audible. We use to joke, what she might sound like when she needed to wisper. She was a person who loved to speak of the way she use to travel in tram cars and double-decker buses (both of which cease to exist here before I came into existence), and the old train journey. Yet in her old age, about a decade or so ago, she even rode on the back seat of a motorbike for the first time, with a helmet, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tongue-in-Cheek: Attammi goes French, in a Beret, I brought from Paris (26th October 2008)

Tongue-in-Cheek: Attammi goes French, in a Beret, I brought from Paris (26th October 2008)

Attammi always enjoyed my blunt directness, especially when directed to narrow minded, hypocritical comments by Sri Lankans. I remember once when a woman in hippie style skirt & blouse (a terrible fad here), was talking nonsense as to women wearing pants, being indecent, and not being a Sri Lankan outfit et al. I mentioned that the skirt & blouse wasn’t a Sri Lankan outfit either. Attammi cracked up laughing. She was so glad I wasn’t like the present generation of Sri Lankans. Once I remember, standing in queue, in front of the Dalada Maligawa (Buddhist Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic), in Kandy. There was a board asking people not to wear pants inside the temple. I joked that maybe we should remove are trousers before we go in. Attammi started laughing. Though a very silent person, Attammi’s beautiful laughter was audible and very supportive. Of course the pants statement was directed at women. But the hypocrisy of it all, women are seen walking in bikini tops, and short skirts, inside the temple, and even the traditional Kandyan saree, some people wear it, with plenty of cleavage, open backs, belly popping, tops. And the traditional cloth & jacket, don’t even let me start. And the more conservative pant suits are considered indecent. That’s Sri Lanka. Thank God, that was never my grandparents. Though very traditional in attire (in a more decent fashion, than most so called traditionalist of this country), Attammi was very open-minded.

– Philanthropic acts of kindness

At Attammi's place, on the day of the  Veyangoda Dané (December 2008). A Dané she gives on every December Full Moon Day, since the 1980's. She is seen here with two of her creations. The table cloth, and the patchwork seat cover, all made by Attammi. She was superb in needle work craftsmanship.

At Attammi’s place, on the day of the Veyangoda Dané (December 2008). A Dané she use to give on every December Full Moon Day, since the 1980’s. She is seen here with two of her creations. The table cloth, and the patchwork seat cover, all made by Attammi. She was superb in needle work craftsmanship.

Since the early 1980’s, on (Unduvap Poya) full moon day, every December, she gave a Dané (Alms Giving), to about a 100 Síl attained laymen/laywomen, at a Buddhist temple, in Veyangoda, to commemorate Bhikkhuni Sangamitta’s arrival in Ancient Ceylon, in the 3rd century BC, along with a sampling of the Bo-tree, in Bodh Gaya, India, under which Prince Siddhartha Gautama is said to have attained enlightenment, and thus later known as Lord (Gautama) Buddha, whose teachings were the foundation of Buddhism. Bhikkhuni Sangamitta, daughter of Emperor Ashoka of India (304 BC – 232 BC), was the first Buddhist nun to visit this island. She was sent here, along with several other nuns, by the Indian Emperor, to start a lineage of nuns or Bhikkhunis (fully ordained female Buddhists). So Attammi was a feminist of sorts in her own right. Back in the 1960’s she helped patients at the Kegalle Hospital, by taking them meals and stitching clothes for the maternity ward, all by herself, and not for money. She helped the poor with food and clothing. She even gave up her own valuable time, along with Atta by her side, inserting herself, to help needy relatives. She was a practicing Buddhist. Though pretty devout, she accepted the fact that I am a free thinker, and that I didn’t blindly accept anything and everything, just because it was tradition, or stated in religion. But I never put down anyone’s religious beliefs either. She actually liked, I had a mind of my own, and my blend of practicality from the west, and sentimentality of the east. She liked the fact that I am very honest and direct, yet my capability to be diplomatic at the same time. She liked the fact I showed her respect, as my grandmother, at the same time, I could be open with her, as if she were a peer. A true friend.

– Atta’s Demise

The last time I saw Atta alive, was about a month before he died. I was working as a journalist (editorial staff), for a local newspaper then. I mentioned to him that I had applied to a University, in England, to do a Masters. He was pleased, but he gave me a worried look, and said that he was getting too old to worry now. I asked him, “what is there to worry, Atta?”. But that’s Atta, always worried for everyone he cares about. He was worried when my mother went to India in the 70’s , worried when his second daughter went to the middle east in the 70’s, worried when I went to India in the 90’s, worried when my sister went to India in the 90’s. He could never stop worrying.

On 15th May 2002, Atta paid a visit to someone who had taken ill. On his way back, a speeding car ran over him, killing Atta instantly. Atta was a very healthy, 82 year old, when he died. It was tragic, and a sudden shock for all of us. Although; as Atta was so dependant on Attammi; Attammi use to worry, if she were to die before he did, how he would manage on his own, she felt lost without him. And it would be sometime, before she could get on with her life again. Atta and Attammi, were one of those rare couples, that loved each other so much, that it was difficult to think of them, being able to go on living, without one another. Unfortunately for my sister, who was studying for her Bachelors in Delhi University, and had her final year exams at the time, could not attend Atta’s funeral. It was very difficult for her at the time. We let her know he passed away, but didn’t tell her how he died, until she got back.

Atta renewed his handwritten will, a numerous times, practically each decade. The first was in the 60's, and the last was closer to his death.

Atta renewed his handwritten will, a numerous times, practically each decade. The first was in the 60’s, and the last was closer to his death.

About the speeding car that killed my grandfather, that same vehicle had been involved in another accident, killing a young pedestrian, sometime before it killed my grandfather. The driver was a young man, who was a pilot trainee, at the time. Most Sri Lankans excused him, saying he must have been driving the car as if he were flying a plane. What a foolishly idiotic thing to say. If this man can’t handle driving a car carefully, how can he take the responsibility of flying a passenger jet, where the safety of hundreds of passengers is concerned. The man’s family offered us money, but we refused. What good was that. His pilot licence and driving licence should have been revoked. But no such thing has ever happened. In fact, he is still speeding along the streets, with a legal licence that allows him to do so. Welcome to Sri Lanka!!!!

But at least I get to write about it now. The pen is mightier than the sword. Or is it?? Definitely not in this country. A month after Atta’s death, I got my conditional offer letter, from the University of Luton. Even if he wasn’t alive to hear about it, at least I managed to tell him, I had applied for it. I left for England in September 2002.

– Moving along and finding newer reasons to rejoice

Few years after Atta’s death, Attammi finally learnt to let go, there were upcoming events, that would provide her with another reason to continue living. In May 2005, I came back to Sri Lanka, by now a post-graduate, having completed my first Masters, an MA in International Cinema (2002-2003), from the University of Luton, Luton, United Kingdom. Plus my sister was getting married.

Sachi’s wedding took place in our house, at 56, Siripura, on 19th May, 2005. Subsequently, Attammi’s various other grandchildren followed suit, and got married, within the next seven years. Unlike Atta, Attammi had the luck of seeing five of her grandchildren, out of eight, get married. Meanwhile, I went and lived in Sydney, Australia, for a couple of years, where I did a second masters, MA in Painting (2006-2007), at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales. And later resided in Paris, France for almost a year. With new found happiness in Attammi’s life, and giving another shot at a will to live, till she was meant to go, Attammi even did a cataract operation, on both her eyes, in the latter half of her 80’s. She ended up being able to see better than any of her descendants. In fact we had to squint to see, what she could see afar. She spent her widowed life, dividing her time, staying at her various children’s homes for short periods of time. But she could never stay too long in one location. Soon she was to reach another milestone in her life.

Attammi & I at a cousin's (One of Attammi's granddaughter's) wedding (August 2010)

Attammi & I at a cousin’s (Attammi’s fifth grandchild’s/third eldest granddaughter’s) wedding (August 2010)

On the 10th of August, 2010, Attammi became a Great-Grandmother, for the first time. My first cousin (Attammi’s fourth grandchild, and second eldest granddaughter), gave birth to a baby girl. This is the first significant event in her life; from becoming a mother, to an in-law, to a grandparent, to a grandmother-in-law, to a great grandparent; that wasn’t related to our family, Lala Damayanthi’s husband and kids.

– Attammi, after turning 90.

On, 18th January 2012, Attammi celebrated her 90th Birthday. Year 2012, would be the last year, she’d be fit travel around.

It was really sad, when she fell ill. Back in December 2012, she fell down, near her bed, while trying to wear her slipper. She was rushed to the hospital, having broken her hip and leg. When I went to see her, she was delirious. She was lying in her ward bed, with a massive plaster on her leg, plucking imaginary flowers. She had no idea where she was, and of her surroundings. I walked up to her, bent down close to her ear, and slowly whispered “Attammi”. She suddenly jerked, stopping what she was doing, and looked at me, and a happy smile came over her tired face. She had recognised me. She asked me something pointing to the roof, and then lost herself to her imaginary world again. We stayed all night as her leg was being operated on, fitted with a metal plate on her thigh.

She soon recovered, and started walking with the help of a walker. I visited her as regularly as possible, which made her really happy, yet sad when we left. Ironically, on the Ides of March (15th of March), 2013, I wrote a blog post, in which I spoke of Atta as well, in regard to Shakespeare’s play on Julius Caesar, Caesar was killed on the Ides of March (see my post Beware, The Ides of March are upon us from a couple of years ago). Atta had been dead for 10 years and 10 months exactly, on 15th March 2013. I even read it to Attammi, back then. Who knew then, that a couple of years later, she’d die on the very same day.

She fell down several times, within the last two years. I saw her grow weaker, and this was the first time I witnessed a person deteriorate with age. She was just skin and bones, and mostly bedridden. Yet, she could manage to briefly sit up with great difficulty. The last time I took a photograph of hers, was in June 2014 (see PIX right at the top). The last time I saw her alive, was when I visited her in December 2014, on Unduvap Poya day, the day of the Dané that Attammi’s been giving since the 1980’s. That day I didn’t go with the others to the temple, but stayed behind with her, as did my mother and aunt. We (my parents, sister, her husband, & I) had travelled to Australia, back in November 2014. I showed Attammi the photographs of the trip on my blog, and spoke about Pam Achchi, Attammi’s sister-in-law (Pragne’s wife), who resides down there (see my post Holidaying in Australia, comes to an end from November 2014) et al. She even asked me about my blonde highlights, on my hair (for I have never tinted my hair prior to this). We had a nice chat, and a nice pleasant day. I never got to see her alive after that.

Atta & Attammi, in Good ol' days.

Atta & Attammi, in the Good ol’ days.

Coincidentally, both Atta & Attammi, died on a 15th day of a month, that too a month of which, the first two letters spell ‘Ma’. Atta died on 15th May 2002, and Attammi on 15th March 2015. 12 years and 10 months apart, exactly.

Attammi was one of the most selfless people I knew. She helped everyone and anyone she could, without expecting anything in return. It’s hard to believe she is no more. She didn’t leave us at once. She helped us get ready for her death. Instead of easing her pain, by dying suddenly, she suffered for about a year, bed ridden, lending us time to prepare. Even in death, this was a selfless act, on her part. It’s already been over 15 days, since her demise. I guess I have been dragging this blog post, ‘cause I wasn’t ready to let go. Once I finish this post, it feels as if it might be over. But I have to let go now. Can’t just sit here typing away. It’s time for me to say Goodbye to my darling Grandmother. She’s no more………………………………………….……………………………………………………………

With Attammi’s passing, now I have One Less reason to visit sri lanka, let alone live here, and Zero reason to ever go to veyangoda.

Attammi might have left this world, but her memories shall stay alive, within our hearts, till the end of our days, and maybe more.

With lots of love
A tribute to my most beloved Attammi, a true friend & confidant.
Your eldest Grandchild,
Nuwan Senadhira (a.k.a. Nuwan Sen)

Atta & Attammi’s Life through pictures

My Great Grandparents On the Left, Atta's parents. I'm not sure who the little girl, in front of Atta's mother,  in the picture is, or the Gent & Lady in the middle, nor the Gent standing on the right. The Lady seated, on the right, in an Edwardian attire,  is Attammi's Mother (Atta's father's sister), before she got married.

My Great Grandparents
On the Left, Atta’s parents.
I’m not sure who the little girl (squatting on the floor), in front of Atta’s mother, in the picture, is, or the Gent (standing) & Lady (seated) in the middle are, nor do I have any inkling, as to who, the Gent standing on the far right, is. The Lady seated, on the right, in an Edwardian lace attire, is Attammi’s Mother (Atta’s father’s sister), before she got married.

Attammi, in her younger days, in saree (Indian Style), before she got married.

Attammi, in her younger days, in a saree (Indian Style), before she got married.

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events, from the latter the part of the 40's decade, leading up to his marriage, and post.

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events, mostly from the latter the part of the 40’s decade, leading up to his marriage, and post.

An invitation, from Attammi's parents, for an AT HOME, an informal social gathering, prior to my grandparents wedding.

An invitation, from Attammi’s parents, for an AT HOME, an informal social gathering, prior to my grandparents wedding.

My (maternal) Grandparents, on their wedding day (10th JULY 1947)

My (maternal) Grandparents, on their wedding day (10th JULY 1947)

Ariya & Leela get married (10th July 1947)

Ariya & Leela tie the knot (10th July 1947)

Atta & Attammi on their Wedding Day (10th July 1947)

Atta & Attammi on their Wedding Day (10th July 1947)

The newly married couple (my grandparents seated), with Attammi's younger brother, Pragne, standing behind.

The newly married couple (my grandparents – seated), with Attammi’s younger brother, Pragne, standing behind.

My Grandparents with my mum.

My Grandparents with my mum.

Mother & Daughter Attammi with her first child (my mom), when she was a baby.

Mother & Daughter
Attammi with her first child (my mom), when she was a baby.

Atta & Attammi. with their eldest daughter (my mom).

Atta & Attammi with their eldest daughter, Lala-Damayanthi (my mom).

Attammi with her two eldest children (my mum & her sister), in the early 50's.

Attammi with her two eldest children (my mum & her sister), in the early 50’s.

Atta & Attammi travelling with their two elder daughters (my mother & her younger sister), in the early 50's.

Atta & Attammi travelling around Ceylon, with their two elder daughters (my mother & her younger sister), in the early 50’s.

Brothers & Sisters : Attammi avec her siblings.

Brothers & Sisters
Attammi avec her siblings (She is seated, in a chair, on the right hand side).

Atta & Attammi, with all four of their children, in Kegalle.  My mum being the eldest, is seen standing in the middle in the back row, flanked by her two younger sisters, and her younger brother (the youngest in the family), standing in front of my mum.

Atta & Attammi, with all four of their children, in Kegalle (in Ceylon), in 1966.
My mum being the eldest, is seen standing in the middle in the back row, flanked by her two younger sisters, and her younger brother (the youngest in the family), standing in front of my mum.

Atta's entry in his Diary, the first time he became a proud Father-in-law (10th December 1973).  The Day his eldest daughter Lala-Damayanthi took the plunge.

Atta’s entry in his Diary of Events, the first time he became a proud Father-in-law (10th December 1973). The Day his eldest daughter Lala-Damayanthi took the plunge.

The Proud Parents, now turn In-Laws. My (maternal) Grandparents @ my parents wedding, in Kegalle (10th December 1973)

The Proud Parents, now turn In-Laws.
My (maternal) Grandparents @ my parents wedding, in Kegalle (10th December 1973)

Attammi, with her back turned, on her eldest daughter's wedding day.

Attammi, with her back turned, on her eldest daughter’s wedding day. The Ceremony took place in their home, in Kegalle.

Atta, with his back turned towards the couple, walking in the opposite direction, during his daughter & new son-in-law, Sugi's, wedding ceremony (10th December 1973).

Atta, with his back turned towards the couple, walking in the opposite direction, during his daughter & new son-in-law, Sugi’s, wedding ceremony (10th December 1973).

Atta & Attammi, with their first grandchild (Me aged one), on my first trip to Sri Lanka (1976).

Atta & Attammi, with their first grandchild (Me aged one), on my first trip to Sri Lanka (1976).

My Grandparents, parents & me (aged three), in New Delhi, India (when Atta & attammi came there for a holiday), in 1978.

My Grandparents, parents & me (aged three), in New Delhi, Capital of India, located in Northern India (when Atta & attammi came there for a holiday), in 1978.

Buddhist Pilgrimage Atta & Attammi, my parents & I, at Lord Buddha's birthplace, next to the base of the Ashoka Pillar, in Lumbini, Nepal (1978).

Buddhist Pilgrimage
Atta & Attammi, my parents & I, at Lord Buddha’s birthplace, next to the base of the Ashoka Pillar, in Lumbini, Nepal (1978).

Buddhist Pilgrimage Atta & Attammi, my parents & I, in Sarnath, a suburb of Varanasi (where Gautama Buddha is said to have given his first sermon about the fundamental principles of Buddhism), in the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), in Northern India, in 1978.

Buddhist Pilgrimage
Atta & Attammi, my mother & I, in Sarnath, a suburb of Varanasi (where Gautama Buddha is said to have given his first sermon about the fundamental principles of Buddhism), in the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), in Northern India, in 1978.

Buddhist Pilgrimage My Grandparents, mom & I, in Shravasti (where the Buddha, is said to have spent 24 Chaturmases (a holy period of four months), in UP state, in Northern India (1978).

Buddhist Pilgrimage
My Grandparents, mom & I, in Shravasti (where the Buddha, is said to have spent 24 Chaturmases (a holy period of four months), in UP state, in Northern India (1978).

Atta & Attammi at their second child/daughter's wedding (22nd January 1980), in Kegalle.

Atta & Attammi at their second child/daughter’s wedding (22nd January 1980), in their home, in Kegalle.

My Sister, Sachi, & I, on holiday in Sri Lanka. With my grandparent at their new home, in Veyangoda (Early 80's).

My Sister, Sachi, & I, on holiday in Sri Lanka. With my grandparent at their new home, in Veyangoda.

Above: An exactly, 11 years, and 11 month, old  me, with Atta & Attammi, at my Uncle's (my father's youngest brother's) wedding ceremony, on the 22nd of May, 1987 (Exactly 15 years after SL became a republic, and exactly one month prior to my 12th Birthday). This was my first holiday, without my parents, I stayed in Sri Lanka for over a month during my summer holidays. It was my worst holiday ever. I don't personally know the short kid, standing next to me, who was about the same age as me, at the time. We were both Page Boys, at the wedding, and I was also the Ring Bearer (this was the second time I was a Page Boy, the first was (aged 4) at my mother's youngest sister's wedding, in March 1980 .  Below: My maternal Grandparents, congratulating, my father's Brother and his new Bride. The professional cameraman afar, is the 11 years, 11 months, old me, with my first very own camera. I loved that camera back then.

Above: An exactly, 11 years, and 11 month, old me, with Atta & Attammi, at my Uncle’s (my father’s youngest brother’s) wedding ceremony, on the 22nd of May, 1987 (Exactly 15 years after SL became a republic, and exactly one month prior to my 12th Birthday). This was my first holiday, without my family (parents n’ sister). I stayed in Sri Lanka for over a month during my summer holidays. It was my worst childhood holiday ever.
P.S. I don’t personally know the short kid, standing next to me, who was about the same age as me, at the time. We were both Page Boys, at the wedding, and I was also the Ring Bearer (this was the second time I was a Page Boy, the first was (aged 4) at my mother’s youngest sister’s wedding, in March 1980 .
Below: My maternal Grandparents, congratulating, my father’s Brother and his new Bride. The professional cameraman afar, is the 11 years, 11 months, old me, with my first very own camera. I loved that camera back then.

Before laying the foundation stone, @ 56, Siripura  The new plot of land, my parents bought, before we built a house. On my sister's 8th Birthday (20th October 1988) Our family came to live in SL, for good, in January 1988. We bought this land, built a house, and moved in, in January 1990. In this picture: we all took turns cleaning the land, before laying the foundation stone, on Sachi's 8th Birthday. Attammi is seen .. Behind her is Achchi (my paternal grandmother). Dressed in a blue frock, is the B'day girl. In a pink dress, a cousin of mine (my mother's niece). A lanky tall 13 year old me. And my mother (far right).

Before laying the foundation stone, @ 56, Siripura
The new plot of land, my parents bought, before we built a house. PIX: On my sister’s 8th Birthday (20th October 1988)
Our family came to live in SL, for good, in January 1988. Later, the same year, we bought this land, built a house, and moved in, in January 1990.
In this picture: We all took turns, on Sachi’s 8th Birthday, cleaning the land, before laying the foundation stone.
Attammi is seen with the mamotie. Behind her is Achchi (my paternal grandmother). Dressed in a blue frock, is the B’day girl. In a pink dress, a cousin of mine (my mother’s niece). A lanky tall 13 year old me, in really short shorts (very 80’s). And my mother (far right).

Two Mothers & Two Daughters My grandmother, mother & sister (22nd October 1989).

Two Mothers & Two Daughters
My grandmother, mother & sister (October 1989).

(L to R) Atta, my mum, Mum's cousin (Attammi's niece), My younger mum's sister, and Attammi @ a function (1990)

(L to R) Atta, my mum, Mum’s first cousin (Attammi’s niece), My mum’s younger sister, and Attammi @ a function (in 1990)

Attammi with her eldest granddaughter, my sister, Sachi.

Attammi with her eldest granddaughter, my sister, Sachi.

On Attammi's 70th Birthday (18th January 1992).

On Attammi’s 70th Birthday (18th January 1992).

Atta &Attammi's 45th Wedding Anniversary, celebrated at our place (56 Siripura) 1992.

Atta & Attammi’s 45th Wedding Anniversary, celebrated at our place (@ 56 Siripura) in JULY 1992.

At my maternal Grandparents 45th Wedding Anniversary celebration. Atta & Attammi avec some of their grandchildren. 17 year old me, being oldest (and tallest) grandchild/grandson, is standing right behind the elderly couple. My 11 year old sister (the second oldest grandchild, and eldest granddaughter), in white, is standing, on the right side of the picture. Sachi is actually wearing our mother's bridal attire, minus the shawl/fall (July 1992)

At my maternal Grandparents 45th Wedding Anniversary celebration.
Atta & Attammi avec some of their grandchildren. 17 year old me, being the oldest (and tallest) grandchild/grandson, is standing right behind the elderly couple. My 11 year old sister (the second oldest grandchild, and eldest granddaughter), in white, is standing, on the right side of the picture. Sachi is actually wearing our mother’s bridal attire, minus the shawl/fall (July 1992)

Attammi avec her two eldest grandchildren (Sachi & I).

Attammi avec her two eldest grandchildren (Sachi & I). Me-aged 17.

YEAR: 1994 Atta & Attammi, with their eldest grandchild/grandson (Me, aged 19, on holiday in SL), and their youngest grandchild/granddaughter (aged One).

YEAR: 1994
Atta & Attammi, with their eldest grandchild/grandson (Me, aged 19, on holiday in SL), and their youngest grandchild/granddaughter (Kasini – aged One).

(L to R) My Grandmother, my aunt (my father's youngest brother's wife), and Mom (@ Mom's home - 56, Siripura), at my 21st Birthday Party (22nd June 1996). That was the last birthday I celebrated with a party.

(L to R) My Maternal Grandmother, my Aunt (my father’s youngest brother’s wife), and Mom (@ Mom’s home – 56, Siripura), at my 21st Birthday Party (22nd June 1996). That was the last birthday I celebrated with a party.

Attammi celebrates her 75th Birthday, with the love of her life, Atta (January 1997)

Attammi celebrates her 75th Birthday, with the love of her life, Atta (January 1997)

Golden Jubilee Atta & Attammi celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary (JULY 1997) On the floor, left side of the photograph, is a painting I did & gifted my grandparents with. 50 years of marital bliss ( a rarity today).

Golden Jubilee
Atta & Attammi celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary (JULY 1997), in Veyangoda
On the floor, left side of the photograph, is a painting I did & gifted my grandparents with.
50 years of marital bliss (a rarity today).

Golden Jubilee Atta & Attammi, with their eldest daughter's family. Seated My mother, My Grandfather, My Grandmother, and My father. Standing: My Sister & I This was the first time, Sachi (aged 16), wore a sari. Attammi was so pleased, it touched her heart. Such a pleasant surprise to see  her eldest granddaughter, in a sari (that too in the kandyian style). JULY 1997

Golden Jubilee
Atta & Attammi, with their eldest daughter’s family.
Seated: My mother, My Grandfather, My Grandmother, and My father.
Standing: My Sister & I
This was the first time, Sachi (aged 16), wore a sari. Attammi was so pleased, it touched her heart. Such a pleasant surprise to see her eldest granddaughter, in a sari (that too in the kandyian style). JULY 1997

Attammi, with her two elder daughters, at my aunt's place. My mom's seated in the middle (21st June 1998).

Attammi, with her two elder daughters, at my aunt’s place. My mom’s seated in the middle (21st June 1998).

Mum & Attammi, at a dinner party (at our place, 56, Siripura), hosting Sachi's completion of her A/levels (4th July 1998).

Mum & Attammi, at a dinner party (at our place, 56, Siripura), hosting Sachi’s completion of her A/levels (4th of July, 1998).

Silver Jubilee  My Grandparents, with my parents, at my parents 25th Wedding Anniversary (at our place - 56, Siripura). DECEMBER 1998

Silver Jubilee
My Grandparents, with my parents, at my parents 25th Wedding Anniversary (at our place – 56, Siripura).
DECEMBER 1998

Father-Daughter Dance Ballroom genius, Atta, waltzes with his eldest daughter, Lala-Damayanthi, during the celebration of her, 25 years of marriage, to Sugi (December 1998)

Father-Daughter Dance
Ballroom genius, Atta, waltzes with his eldest daughter, Lala-Damayanthi, during the celebration of her, 25 years of marriage, to Sugi (December 1998)

At my mum's 50th Birthday party, at mums (@ 56, Siripura). Sachi & I, seen in the background. My parents & my grandmother in the foreground. Behind Attammi, is her youngest grandchild (my youngest cousin, from my mother's side).  MAY 2009

At my mum’s 50th Birthday party, at mums (@ 56, Siripura).
Sachi & I, seen in the background. My parents & my grandmother in the foreground. Behind Attammi, is her youngest grandchild (my youngest cousin, from my mother’s side).
MAY 1999

At my mum's 50th B'day Celebration (L to R) My Great Aunt (Attammi's younger sister), Ammi (my mother), and Attammi (my maternal Grand-mum).  MAY 1999

At my mum’s 50th B’day Celebration (@ our home).
(L to R) My Great Aunt (Attammi’s younger sister), Ammi (my mother), and Attammi (my maternal Grand-mum).
MAY 1999

On my sister (Sachi's) 21st Birthday celebration. Atta & Attammi, with their eldest, now 21 year old) Granddaughter (October 2001)

On my sister (Sachi’s) 21st Birthday celebration(at our place @ 56, Siripura).
Atta & Attammi, with their eldest (now 21 year old) Granddaughter (October 2001).

Attammi with her three elder granddaughter's, at Mum's (56, Siripura). My grandmother is resting her head on my sister.

Attammi with her three elder granddaughter’s, at Mum’s (@ 56, Siripura).
My grandmother is resting her head on my sister, Sachi.

Attammi (September 2005)

Attammi (September 2005) @ 56, Siripura.

Attammi with her eldest Grandchild (Me aged 33) at my Aunt's (October 2008)

Attammi with her eldest Grandchild/Grandson (Me aged 33) at my Aunt’s (October 2008)

On Attammi's 87th B'day (18th of January 2009)

On Attammi’s 87th B’day (18th of January 2009)

Attammi & I, at a Reception. December 2009

Attammi & I, at a Reception.
December 2009

Attammi (with back turned), with me, at a function. December 2009

Attammi (with her back turned), and I, @ a Reception.
December 2009

My Grandmother (with her back turned), with her daughter (my mom), at her daughter's (@ 56, Siripura). OCTOBER 2010

My Grandmother (with her back turned), with her daughter (my mom), at her daughter’s (@ 56, Siripura).
OCTOBER 2010

My (maternal) grandmother, with my sister, Sachi, at Sachi's 30th B'day Party (October 2010). This was the last grand scale function we had at our home. And Attammi was present for all the family functions we had at 56, Siripura.  Who knew back then that this (her eldest Granddaughter's Birthday celebration, would be Attammi's last party at her eldest daughter's house.

My (maternal) grandmother, with my sister, Sachi, at Sachi’s 30th B’day Party (October 2010). This was the last grand scale function we had at our home. And Attammi was present for almost all the family functions we had at 56, Siripura.
Who knew back then that this (her eldest Granddaughter’s Birthday celebration), would be Attammi’s last party at her eldest daughter, Lala-Damayanthi’s, house, she’d be able to attend.

Attammi, my sister & my mum, at our place (56, Siripura).  This most probably was the last time she could visited us. October 2011

Attammi, my sister & my mum, at our place (56, Siripura).
This most probably was the last time she visited us.
October 2011

The Great Grandmother (L-R), My Aunt (Attammi's second daughter, my mum's younger sister), with her eldest grandchild/granddaughter, on her lap (her younger grandchild/granddaughter is seen in the crib), my mum, me, & Attammi, at my Aunt's (April 2012).

The Great Grandmother
(L-R), My Aunt (Attammi’s second daughter, my mum’s younger sister), with her eldest grandchild/granddaughter, on her lap (her younger grandchild/granddaughter is seen in the crib), my mum, me, & Attammi, at my Aunt’s (April 2012).

Nuwan Sen’s Roots
Nuwan Sen’s Family Album
Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense

Alfred Hitchcock, known as the master of suspense, was one of the greatest film directors ever. He started his career during the silent era, and completed it towards the end of the hippie era, even working, close to his demise. From Silent movies to talkies, from British films to Hollywood, from eerie love stories to crime, from classy film noir to B-movie horror, he’s done it all (Sometimes even blending all the genres into one). Nobody can dispute the fact he was a true genius, and one of the most talented and versatile (yet unique) personalities to have ever existed. And no doubt, nobody can call themselves a true film buff, if they lack Hitchcockian knowledge.

So here is my Hitchcockian Questionnaire. Play along and enjoy.

Q.1 1940 Film

Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine & Reginald Denny from this haunting classic from 1940.

Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine & Reginald Denny in a scene from this haunting classic from 1940.

(i) From which film; and based on which novel, by which author; is the above still from?

(ii) This was a ‘First’, in more than one category, for Alfred Hitchcock. Which three lines from below are correct :-

(a) This was Hitchcock’ s first Silent Movie.
(b) This was Hitchcock’s first Talkie.
(c) This was Hitchcock’s first Musical.
(d) This was Hitchcock’s first British film.
(e) This was Hitchcock’s first Oscar nomination, for ‘Best Director’.
(f) This was Hitchcock’s first film as an actor.
(g) This was Hitchcock’s first Bollywood movie.
(h) This was Hitchcock’s first Hollywood movie.
(i) This was Hitchcock’s first directorial venture.
(j) This was Hitchcock’s first Oscar winning film, for ‘Best Picture’.

*Remember, only three, of the above ten, statements, is correct.

(iii) Which one, of the three actors, pictured in the still, plays a nameless character, in this movie? Who plays the icy ‘Mrs. Danvers’ (not pictured)?

(iv) Which actor, from the still, was given a knighthood, in 1947?

(v) Which actor, from the trio pictured, was born in Japan, and died on 15th of December, 2013, aged 96?

Q.2 Film 46’

Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman's 2½ minute kiss.

Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman’s 2½ minute kiss.

(i) Which Hitchcockian film, pictured above, contains the longest notorious kiss (2½ minutes), in history of cinema? (HINT: Clue in the question itself)

(ii) Which of the two actors, in the picture above, plays a modern day, post World War – II, Mata Hari?

(iii) Which one, of the two characters shown, is slowly poisoned, through his/her coffee, daily, in the film, and by whom?

Q.3 British Original & Hollywood Remake

Peter Lorre (in the 1934 British Original),  Doris Day & James Stewart (in the 1956 Hollywood Re-make)

Peter Lorre (in the 1934 British Original), Doris Day & James Stewart (in the 1956 Hollywood Re-make)

(i) What’s the title of the two movies (pictured here), which was originally made by Hitchcock in the United Kingdom, and released in 1934; and later re-made by Hitchcock again, in the United States, and released in 1956.

(ii) Which film version, 1934 or 1956, was the song Que Sera Sera from?

(iii) Did the Doris Day song, from the 1956 version, win the Oscar for ‘Best Song’  in 1957?

(iv) In which country, are the family on vacation, in the 1934 film? Is the family holiday, in the Hollywood re-make, set in the same country as well?

(v) What’s the gender of the child that gets kidnapped in the :-
(a) 1934 version
(b) 1956 version

Q.4 Young Alfred Hitchcock & the Silent era
Young Hitchcock(i) Who is the young girl standing behind Hitchcock, in this picture? What is her relationship to him?

(ii) What was the very first, completed, feature film, made by Alfred Hitchcock, and which year was it released?

(iii) Hitchcock made only one light-hearted Romantic/Screwball comedy in America, what was it called?

(iv) What’s the name of the film that would have been the last film release of Alfred Hitchcock, but was cancelled in 1979, due to his ill health?

Q.5 Colour & Hitchcoerotism

Farley Granger & John Dall play partners in life & crime, in this homoerotic 1948 classic.

Farley Granger & John Dall play partners in life & crime, in this homoerotic 1948 classic.

(i) From which movie, is the above picture from? One of Hitchcock’s most experimental films, set in real time, was it also his first colour film?

(ii) This 1948 movie, was Alfred Hitchcock’s first depiction of Homosexuality, though only hinted on the subject matter, which real-life notorious scandal was this movie based on?

Q.6 Hitchcock & the surrealist artist
Dalí Spellbound(i) From which film, is this surreal dream sequence from, and who was the famous artist, who created these sets?

(ii) Who are the two lead stars of this psychological thriller, set in a mental asylum, who play two psychoanalysts? Which one is suffering from a phobia?

Q.7 Hitchcock 007

Tippi Hedren & Sean Connery (in a film from 1964)

Tippi Hedren & Sean Connery (in a film from 1964)

(i) In which Hitchcockian film, did Sean Connery, act in?

(ii) Did Connery appear in this film, before or after, he started acting in the James Bond franchise?

Q.8 Hitchcockian Train Journey’s

TOP: Dame May Whitty, Margaret Lockwood & Michael Redgrave in the 1938 noir classic. BELOW: Farley Granger & Robert Walker in the 1951 Highsmith adaptation.

TOP: Dame May Whitty, Margaret Lockwood & Michael Redgrave in the 1938 noir classic.
BELOW: Farley Granger & Robert Walker in the 1951 noir Highsmith adaptation.

(i) From which two films, where the train is significant to the plot, are the two above stills from?

(ii) Which of them is a British film, and which, a Hollywood venture?

(iii) Which of them was based on a Patricia Highsmith novel?

Q.9 Which is your favourite Hitchcock film, and why?

Q.10 Which of these, from Hitchcock’s two B-movie Horror films, Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963), is your favourite?  

Nuwan Sen n’ Film Noir
Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen’s Hitchcockian Sense

Oscars 2015 The WinnersThe Arrivals

As I’ve been doing for the last few years, being a true Film buff, I woke up early, on 23rd of February, 2015, to catch the 87th Annual Academy Awards ceremony LIVE. The 87th Annual Academy Awards was held on the evening of 22nd February 2015, i.e. 23rd early morning, on this side of the Globe.

As I switched on the tele, at 5:30 a.m., the glitterati of Hollywood’s elite sashayed in, in their glamorous attire. The best dressed actresses of the evening included J-Lo, Emma Stone, Lupita Nyong’o, Marion Cotillard, Keira Knightley, Felicity Jones, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laura Dern, Scarlett Johansson, Rosamund Pike, et al. Among the gents, Neil Patrick Harris, stole the show, when he walked in on the Red Carpet, dressed in a stunning tux, with his husband, David Burtka, walking behind him. Well, most of the male stars were smartly dressed, from director Richard Linklater and his young protégé, Ellar Coltrane, to actors Michael Keaton, Jared Leto, Chiwetel Ejiofor, David Oyelowo, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort and Kevin Hart, to musicians Hans Zimmer and Adam Levine. Best moment on the Red carpet was the typical Mother/Daughter tiff, with veteran Melanie Griffith and daughter Dakota Johnson, where Johnson came on harsh on her poor mother, and Griffith seemed slightly hurt. Yet, it made them so normal. Poor Mother.

Neil Patrick Harris, Hosting the Oscars, 2015

Neil Patrick Harris, Hosting the Oscars, 2015

I enjoyed the show as well, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. Though I agree, that he wasn’t the best person to host the Oscars, he wasn’t among the worst either, the way he’s been criticized about on social media. True, I agree that one of his gags was ill-timed. When; dressed in a black, pom-pom laden, elegant, evening gown; filmmaker Dana Perry; who was awarded for ‘Best Short Documentary’ for Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (2013); dedicated the Oscar to her son, who had committed suicide, Patrick Harris quipped that ‘‘It takes a lot of balls to wear a dress like that’’. Neil Patrick Harris, here, wasn’t being witty, but pretty foolish and unsympathetic. But besides that; and walking in ¾ naked, in tiny-whities, onto the stage, as a parody to Birdman (2014), the movie which ended up taking home the Oscar for ‘Best Picture’; I generally enjoyed the show, despite a few dry jokes, Mr. Harris came up with. I actually enjoyed the gag with the briefcase, he tasked Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer, to guard throughout the night. I didn’t think he was being racist, nor did I feel he was making fun of her weight. Of course, the gag ended up pretty silly, when he finally opened up the case. I even enjoyed the joke with the seat fillers, and Steve Carell.

Among the performances of the night, the one I enjoyed most, was Lady Gaga paying tribute to Julie Andrews, Maria Von Trapp and The Sound of Music (1965), for this musical’s 50th anniversary. Known for her shock value, with her, eccentric and weird, yet authentic and aesthetic, sense of style, Lady Gaga, stunned audiences at the Oscars, in her vintage gown, looking very much a graceful sophisticated lady of elegance and class, as the world has never witnessed her before. Added to which, she sure has a healthy pair of lungs, and sang all the mesmerising songs from the classic movie to perfection. Lady Gaga is no doubt one of the most popular pop stars, since Madonna and Michael Jackson, to grace the face of earth. But her popularity, has more to do with her unique image, she’s created for her self, than her music. Touching was the scene, when Dame Julie Andrews, with her face radiating pure warmth and kindness, walked onto the stage and thanked Lady Gaga, embracing her. This powerful performance of Lady Gaga, definitely should have elevated her status, with the elitist, adding to her already great fan base.

Another great performance of the night, was the tribute to Martin Luther King jr.’s long march for voting rights, from 50 years ago, as well. The song ‘Glory’, from the film Selma (2014), was performed by John Legend and Lonnie Lynn (Common), on stage, which ended up bagging the Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’, that night. The song got a standing ovation, with a teary eyed David Oyelowo, looking on. Oprah Winfrey gave Oyelowo a hug to console him. It was very a touching moment as well.

Thus, though Neil Patrick Harris, wasn’t among the better Oscar hosts, the evening (at day time here) was enjoyable enough.

Winners as Predicted

As I had hoped, Eddie Redmayne won the ‘Best Actor’ Oscar (See my post Redmayne ‘is’ Hawking, in the new bio-pic on Stephen Hawking from earlier this month), for his brilliant performance as Stephen Hawking, in The Theory of Everything (2014). Interstellar (2014), grabbing the award for ‘Best Visual Effects’, was another plus for me. The Special effects were truly spectacular, as was the movie, for a change. Movies now a days, with great computer graphics, rarely tend to be great films as well (see my post The Big Screen – Films Down Under  from November 2014). Patricia Arquette winning the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for Boyhood (2014), was as anticipated. She deserved the Oscar, for brilliantly showcasing a difficult stage of, 12 years of, ‘motherhood’, in the beginning of the 21st century, in my favourite movie from last year, so far (see my post In-flight Entertainment from November 2014). Though Ethan Hawke, too, was nominated for Boyhood, I didn’t think his role was great enough for him to win the Oscar. I hadn’t really predicted as to who might win, until Lupita Nyong’o announced the nominees, showcasing their talent on screen. As soon as I saw the scene with J. K. Simmons and Miles Teller, from Whiplash (2014), I guessed Simmons might take home the trophy, even though I hadn’t seen the movie. And so he did, end up winning the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ Oscar. Once I saw the performance of the song ‘Glory’ from Selma, on the stage at the Oscars (as I’ve mentioned above), I expected it to win for ‘Best Original Song’, and it did.

Unpredicted Winners

The unexpected winners, happened to be, movies I haven’t seen yet. Like for instance, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), which grabbed four Oscars, including for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’ – to Alejandro G. Iñárritu, ‘Best Original Screenplay’, and ‘Best Cinematography’- to Emmanuel Lubezki. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) bagging four Oscars as well, was a total surprise. Whiplash won three. Citizenfour (2014), won ‘Best Documentary’. Citizenfour is based on and the United States, National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal, of 2013, with regard to, former NSA contractor and American computer professional, Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information from the NSA to the mainstream media, back in June 2013. Snowdon currently lives in exile, under temporary asylum, in Russia. Am really keen on checking out this documentary.

The ‘Best Actress’ Oscar. Though, Felicity Jones from The Theory of Everything was nominated for ‘Best Actress’, I didn’t feel she’d win. And I wasn’t sure who’d win. Am a great fan of French actress, Marion Cotillard, yet I haven’t seen Two Days, One Night (2014), so I couldn’t judge. Thus when Julianne Moore won the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar, for Still Alice (2014), another film I haven’t seen, though unexpected, it wasn’t a surprise either. In fact, I would have been surprised, if Felicity Jones did win. She was great in the movie, but her role as Hawking’s wife wasn’t exactly Oscar worthy.

Among others:
‘Best Foreign Language Film’ to Paweł Pawlikowski’s Polish film, Ida (2013).
‘Best Animated Short Film’ to Patrick Osborne’s Feast (2014).
‘Best Live Action Short Film’ to The Phone Call (2013).
‘Best Short Documentary’ to The Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (as mentioned above).
‘Best Animated Feature Film’ to Big Hero 6 (2014)
‘Best Sound Editing’ to American Sniper (2014)
‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ to Graham Moore, for The Imitation Game (2014). Moore gave a heart whelming speech, regarding his youth.
Mr. Turner (2014), Unbroken (2014), Foxcatcher (2014), Inherent Vice (2014), and the neo-noir crime thriller, Nightcrawler (2014), not winning a single Oscar, though I haven’t watched any of them.

Boyhood (2014) The Best Film from last year, I've seen so far (NSFS)

Boyhood (2014)
The Best Film from last year, I’ve seen so far (NSFS)

Biggest Oscar Disappointment of the night

I was really disappointed when Boyhood didn’t win for ‘Best Picture’, along with a ‘Best Director’ Oscar for Richard Linklater. Although I haven’t seen Birdman, which I’d love to, Boyhood is a unique experience, rich in it’s context and an innovative study of family life today. A movie that shall age well, maturing as time goes by, and be remembered as one of the best movies, to ever come out of the 21st century. A film that film students would love to dissect and analyse. Richard Linklater has proved to be a true genius, through Boyhood.

But when Linklater lost out to, Birdman’s Alejandro G. Iñárritu, for ‘Best Director’, I had a hunch, that Boyhood might lose out to Birdman, yet again, for the Best Picture’ Oscar, for Year 2015. Sad!!

Another disappointment, was when Hans Zimmer’s hauntingly beautiful score for Interstellar was passed on, for the ‘Best Original Score’ award, to Alexandre Desplat’s background score, for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Besides these two, one other disappointment, that didn’t even make it to the Oscars, was, that Fury (2014), though an excellent war film, made with a unique sense of realism, was unfortunately, not even nominated in any of the categories. It might not have won any award anyway, but should have been nominated for it’s storyline, and various technical categories, at least, if not in the main categories (see my post The Big Screen – Films Down Under from November 2014).

Honorary & Humanitarian Awards

Hollywood legend, Maureen O’Hara; Japanese Director, Hayao Miyazaki; and French screenwriter & actor, Jean-Claude Carrière; were awarded the Honorary Awards, this year, as was the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, to singer/actor, Harry Belafonte.

With end of the month of February, Oscar Season 2015 comes to an end.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen n’ The Oscars

Also See : The 87th Annual Academy Awards

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen n’ The Oscars

Watched the enjoyable British thriller, set in South Africa, at the height of the Apartheid, starring Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine, as two very different characters, who are brought together, as two wanted men by the secret police, forced to make their great escape together, across the border, in The Wilby Conspiracy (1975). One of the DVD’s I bought down under.
Wilby Conspiracy posterSet in the 1970’s itself, Sidney Poitier plays Shack Twala, an anti-apartheid activist. The day he is released from prison, after serving ten years for his nationalistic conduct, he, along with his Afrikaner defence attorney, Rina Van Niekirk (Prunella Gee in her introductory cinematic role), and her English boyfriend, visiting British engineer, Jim Keogh (Michael Caine), are on the way to Rina’s home to celebrate; but on the way, South African police trouble Shack Twala for not having an identity pass with him. Rina and Jim Keogh, intervene, and all three find themselves on the run. But Shack Twala, has to retrieve some diamonds stolen ten years ago, to fund their revolutionary movement, known as the, Black Congress (most probably a pseudonym for the African National Congress), which he gave an Indian friend, Dr. Anil Mukarjee (Saeed Jaffrey), a dentist, for safe keeping. Dr. Mukarjee, for his own safely, had thrown the diamonds into a deep pit. Now, with the secret police, led by Major Horn (Nicol Williamson), hot on their heels, Shack Twala, his lawyer, Rina Van Niekirk, her lover, Jim Keogh, and two Indian dentists, Dr. Mukarjee and Dr. Persis Ray (former Beauty Queen, Miss India for Miss Universe 1965, Persis Khambatta, in her first British film), hatch a plan, to get the diamonds, and fly across the border to Botswana, and safety, with the help of Rina’s reluctant, estranged, husband, Blane van Niekerk (Dutch actor Rutger Hauer, in his first British film).

Interestingly the police, have many a chances, to catch the fugitives, but why don’t they?? They seem to have a whole other agenda following the men on the run. And what’s ‘The Wilby Conspiracy’??? It’s only at the end we find out, who, and what, ‘Wilby’ might signify.
Wilby ConspiracyIt’s an engaging political thriller, made and set, when it was still hard to be a free black man, in racially conflicted, South Africa. The best thing about the movie are the two leads, played by Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine. They are both superb actors, and the movie explores their unexpected friendship. Saeed Jaffrey, was really good, as the weak willed dentist, who secretly supports the Black Congress. Persis Khambatta was not bad, as a dentist having her own secret agenda for helping the two fugitives. She served more as a love/lust interest for Poitier. Prunella Gee’s not much of an actress, at least not in her first feature film here. Rutger Hauer was pretty good. And Nicol Williamson was brilliant as the villain of the piece. This movie was a first for many of the stars, including Prunella Gee, Persis Khambatta and Rutger Hauer.
Wilby Conspiracy sceneThe Wilby Conspiracy is a pretty fast paced movie, that moves quickly from one crisis to another, to an unexpected surprise ending. It also gives an insight  into racial friction between the whites and blacks, as well as the blacks and browns, yet at the same time we see secretive alliances between all these races, who act together against injustices of the country. It’s also a great chase film, a road movie, at the same time an intriguing enough political thriller.

 Prunella Gee

Prunella Gee

Spoiler Alert: The entrance of the leader of the Black Congress, most probably representing Nelson Mandela in exile, was an interesting twist at the end.

Though not a great film, a pretty good venture, worth checking out.
Rating: 7/10 !!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense.