Tag Archive: Gandhi


French, Socialist Party member, 39 year old Emmanuel Macron, is the new President of France. Vive La France!!

Emmanuel Macron with his wife; the new First Lady, Brigitte Macron; at the Inauguration, yesterday.

Macron, who ran under the banner En Marche! (a centrist, liberal movement, founded by Macron, which encapsulates a balance between social equality and a certain degree of social hierarchy, without going into extremes) won, by a decisive margin, at the Presidential elections, defeating Marine Le Pen, on 7th May 2017. He was inaugurated into office yesterday, 14th May 2017.
This is exactly what the world needs now. Youthful, progressive, modernists, but with intellect, wisdom and maturity, of a 65 year old; to bring the world into the future. Open minded, great progressive minds, the likes of, what former Presidents, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama were to USA, former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi was to India; and what current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau is to Canada today. Not ridiculous leaders like, America’s George W. Bush (jr.) & Donald Trump; or even worse, the pathetic Shit Lankan Presidents, with archaic, crude, extremist, mentality, that lead/have led this country for the last 28 years. J.R. Jayewardene was the only good President SL ever had, and no doubt the best Prime Minister this corrupt island has even seen. Devil’s own country, with their love for Devilled food; inhumane hot headed humans, and a heat, as hot as hell.

Kudos to France, for electing a young modernist. Let’s hope for the best!!

Wishing Emanuel Macron, all the best, in his future endeavours.

Nuwan Sen n’ Politics
Nuwan Sen n’ News ( The Front Page)

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Sen 40 Blog Post

I first came across Sushmita Sen, back in early 1994, in New Delhi (we went to re-live in New Delhi, in February 94’, when my father was assigned for a posting at the Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi, for a second time), when I read about how she was crowned Miss India for Miss Universe that year, when Aishwarya Rai, who apparently seemed more beautiful, had tripped on her shoe (or something like that), thus Rai ended up bagging the runner-up (i.e. the Miss India for Miss World title) for 1994. I read this most probably in one of my mum’s Femina magazines.

Miss India, Sushmita Sen, being crowned Miss Universe, in May 1994 !!

Miss India, 18 year old, Sushmita Sen; being crowned Miss Universe, in May 1994 !!!!

Then one day, in May 1994, when I woke up, the television was on, my old man was watching the news, when it was announced that Miss India 1994, Sushmita Sen, had bagged the Miss Universe crown. We all gathered round the telly, to see a genuinely (pleasantly) shocked expression on the bewitchingly beautiful face, of an 18 year old Ms. Sen, as she was being announced as the winner that year. I was smitten, by this natural beauty who was the same age as me. Sushmita Sen, was the very first Indian to win the Miss Universe crown (We watched the telecast of the pageant, the same night, I believe). Plus 1994, was a double whammy for beauty queens from around the globe, when 21 year old Aishwarya Rai, bagged the Miss World title later that year itself; making Rai the second Indian beauty to win the Miss World crown (the first being Reita Faria in 1966, in fact Faria was the first Asian ever to win the Miss World title). Since 1994 onwards I’ve followed Sushmita Sen’s progress, as a socialite, a humanitarian and an actress. Today she’s amongst my favourite Indian personalities ever.

Sen's Childhood & Children Main PIX: Sushmita Sen, with her two daughters; Renée and Alisah. Inset: Sushmita Sen in her schooldays, with her brother.

                                 Sen’s Childhood & Children
Main PIX: Sushmita Sen, with her two daughters; Renée and Alisah.
Inset: Sushmita Sen in her schooldays, with her brother.

Within the last 21 years, Sen has achieved a lot in her life. In her mid-20’s, unmarried and single, she became a mother, when she adopted a child. Today she has two daughters through adoption; Renée and Alisah. Plus Sen, being from the Asian continent (more specifically from South Asia), that veers towards the preference to a male child over a female, has been a vocal advocate in India, on saving the Girl Child. Her superb acting talent has been overshadowed by her long limbed sultry persona. Thus she’s been wasted in minor roles, in many a useless movies. Yet she’s also done some exquisite roles, in not so great movies. She definitely deserves way better.

Slut vs. Saint: Chingaari (2006), wasn't necessarily a good movie (average fare). Yet Sushmita Sen was superb in her role of a prostitute.

Slut vs. Saint: Chingaari (2006), wasn’t necessarily a good movie (average fare), yet Sushmita Sen was superb in her role of a prostitute.

From Princess Gayatri Devi (1919-2009), to the first female Prime Minister of India – Indira Gandhi (1917-1984), to Nutan (1936-1991), to Simi Garewal, to Shabana Azmi, to Sushmita Sen, et al; these are some of the classiest, intellectual, sophisticated, open-minded, free-thinking, female humanist’s & fashionista’s of modern India, that constantly thrive/d to make India a better place, constantly moving forward, in the right direction.

Sushmita Sen joins me today, by turning 40!!!! Happy Birthday Miss Sen. Welcome to the Fabulous years of our lives, yet to come (we can hope for the best, can’t we?). Wishing you all the best!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Posters from Sushmita Sen’s most recent film release, Nirbaak (2014)

Posters from Sushmita Sen’s most recent film release, Nirbaak (2014)

P.S. Down with the viral flu, though am better today, last thing I wanted to do was a blog post (I didn’t even switch on my laptop for almost a week, and prior to that being so busy n’ tired, not to mention the unnecessary stress that slithers it’s way in, I’ve hardly got the chance to work on anything properly). But today morning, when I realised that it was Sushmita Sen’s birthday, I felt I had to write something. Especially, ‘cause, since June 2015, I’ve been doing posts on some of my favourite personalities turning 40 this year. And I shan’t skip on this elegant lady, that I’ve been a fan of, since we were both 18, just ‘cause of a heavy head. Thus, please do keep my flu in mind, lest I haven’t done Ms. Sen justice, by doing such a quick write-up, sans research.  

Nuwan Sen (nu Sense on Film)
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World Population Day

One of the first things that comes to mind, when I hear the words, World Population Day, is – India & China (the two most populated countries in the world).

Mother India has an estimate population of 1,273,960,000, whilst Mama China has an even larger estimated population of 1,370,880,000 inhabitants.
Pregnant Map of IndiaThough am not an Indian, as I was born in New Delhi, India; and spent my entire childhood (from birth to 12½), then one year of teenage life (18½ to 19½) in (the best year of my teenage life), and my three years at Delhi University (KMC in North Campus), and my nightmare acting school days, at Imago Acting school (the worst few months of my life, ever; where, added to which, I found out, that I can’t act for peanuts), @ Film City, in Noida (a suburb of New Delhi, located in the state of Uttar Pradesh), India; and as I’ve never even visited China yet, let alone live there, I shall focus entirely on India, for this post.

India is beautiful country, to visit, and if you are well to do, to live in. Yet, this third world country, is sadly amongst the poorest countries in the world. With a massive population, poverty is something that’s impossible to completely eradicate. But India does try it’s best, and it’s a country that constantly moves forward, economically and otherwise. Why, if you take certain areas, in cities, like New Delhi, for instance, it is like a first world country. If India were a tiny island, with a small population, it would no doubt, like the country of Singapore, have been one the famed first world countries of the east. But, unfortunately that’s not the case. And then there is also a lot corruption in such a beautiful, historically and aesthetically significant, country. Yet, again, it doesn’t mean the whole country is, nor that the majority of the population is, involved in corruption. There might be thousands and thousands of Indians involved in deceit, bribery, fraud, you name it; but there are millions and millions who aren’t, out of a society of over a billion inhabitants, packed together in one country.

How can one help solve the population crisis, India is going through. With the United States recent referendum that finally acknowledged same-sex marriage, by legalising it nationwide, in the States; India, for one, should seriously re-think their laws on homosexuality. Why, India is one country, that ought to, not just give recognition to LGBT communities, but promote homosexually 😉 . For one thing, that will naturally solve the population crisis of the country, quicker than a blink of an eye. Ha!!

That was just in jest, but in a more serious note, India needs to be more open minded. Not just in gay and lesbian issues, but in everything, from race, religion to gender (especially women’s issues). Thankfully, to a certain extent, people in most Indian cities, do tend to be quite open minded. Compulsory education throughout the country, should be one of the main priorities, a perfect pathway to improve and curb the ever increasing inhabitants, that’s getting too heavy for Mother India to keep tabs on. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, advocated Adult education centres, especially in rural areas, back in the 1950’s, besides his other social policies concerning higher education, as well as compulsory children’s primary education, at the time. Yet, it’s not implemented today.

There’ve been great Indian personalities, who’ve manage to bring the country forward despite everything. From the 70’s, till date, feminist/social activists, like actress Shabana Azmi, Deepti Naval and the late Smita Patil, to historian Romila Thapar, to politicians like Indira Gandhi (and her two daughter-in-laws – Sonia Gandhi & Maneka Gandhi) and have constantly thrived to bring awareness to various social issues concerning India. Shabana Azmi (with a background in psychology) is also a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), which seeks to spread contraception and abortion in India, in order to limit it’s population. In the mid-1980’s, Doordarshan showcased a television soap, Rajani (1985-1986), the protagonist of which, a housewife, would fight injustices, creating social awareness, amongst, it’s other various ignorant characters, as well as us, it’s audiences. As kids, we really enjoyed watching this television series. More recently, the Aamir Khan hosted talk show, Satyamev Jayate (2012-2014), a show that focused on social issues affecting modern day Indians, reached audiences beyond the Indian sub-continent, as it was aired on various channels within STAR cable network as well as Doordarshan’s DD National channel.

Miss Universe , Sushmita Sen, the first Indian beauty queen to be crowned Miss India, never married, adopted two children, both girls (Sen adopted her first child, a baby, at the young age of 25), and, along with actress Kajol, has campaigned to save the girl child/empower the girl child (which by many a illiterate, rich or poor, have considered a burden). Actress, Kajol, is a social activist herself, and is noted for her work with widows and children. Adoption is truly one of best options, than giving birth to a child, which should somewhat help curb the ever increasing Indian population as well. There are so many unwanted children in the world. You’d be saving a life, and helping another human being, rather than producing one, where there are so many abandoned. It’s not a necessity, that a child has to come from your semen/ovary/womb. I personally would have loved to adopt a child myself. But after leading a very unsettling, and quite miserable, life, in a very narrow minded country like Sri Lanka, for the last six years, and being a single, unmarried, inexperienced, male, it is impossible to even think of adoption here. I ended up adopting a dog, in December 2014, instead. Jokes apart, that’s the best thing that’s happened to my life. And the puppy I adopted, was a stray (supposedly a mixed breed, mixed with a stray, and abandoned on the streets to die). Thus I actually saved a life. Otherwise, if she didn’t find a home, she might have ended up, god knows where. Saving a stray animal, is still saving a life.

Educating villagers, the need for sterilisation, is another method. In 1977, the then Indian Prime Minister, the late Indira Gandhi, became unpopular for the notorious ‘Compulsory Sterilisation Program’ of  1976, and lost the elections of 77’. This sterilisation program was actually the brainchild of her younger son, the late Sanjay Gandhi. It was a forced form of sterilisation, and not by choice, during India’s state of Emergency (75’ – 77’). Added to which, it focused more on sterilising women than men. The way it happened was wrong, but it could have helped limit the number of unwanted, unplanned, births, at the time. None the less, it was a negative use of power, by a greatly respected premier. Everyone makes mistakes. What should be done, is that villagers should be made to understand, and re-educated, as to why sterilisation and contraception’s, are a necessity, after giving birth to a one or two children (three or more is a crowd, unless they are adopted 😀 ).

Indian Art House movies, especially Hindi-language films, mostly produced by NFDC (National Film Development Corporation of India) like, Ankur (1974), Manthan – The Churning (1976), Mirch Masala (1987), Salaam Bombay! (1988), and especially the educational movie directed by Shyam Benegal, Hari-Bhari (2000), starring Shabana Azmi, Rajit Kapoor, Nandita Das and Rajeshwari Sachdev, which dealt with women’s fertility rights, have been helpfully insightful cinematic ventures in India. This is the kind of cinema, that the media can use, to help educate villagers around India. Hari-Bhari won the National Film Award for ‘Best Film on Family Welfare’.

Today, the Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK), a registered society of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, under the Government of India, is doing every effort to draw attention towards issues of Population Stabilisation. And a Walkathon towards Population Stabilization, is organised for today, 11th of July, 2015, at the India Gate, in New Delhi, India.

Today is World Population Day. Let’s help curb unwanted births, especially in poorer countries, through, education, adoption and in any small way we can possibly help.

Nuwan Sen n’ Social Issues
Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense

In front of the Salt March Monument, in New Delhi, India (Sept 2011), whilst on holiday in India.

In front of the Salt March Monument, in New Delhi, India (Sept 2011), whilst on holiday in India.

On the 12th of March 1930, Mahatma Gandhi started the famous Salt March (a.k.a. Dandi March and/or Salt Satyagraha). A march which began in ‘Sabarmati Ashram’, in a suburb of Ahmadabad, in the state of Gujarat (located in Western India) and culminated in the coastal city of Dandi (in Gujarat itself), to make salt, to challenge the tax imposed on salt under the British Raj. As he continued on this 24-day, 240-mile (390 km) march, to produce salt without paying tax, thousands of Mahatma Gandhi’s followers joined in. Gandhi broke the salt laws at 6:30 am on the 6th of April, 1930, which ignited various acts of civil disobedience against the salt laws of the British Raj by millions of Indians. This was a significant event, in Gandhi’s non-violent struggle against British oppression, in colonial India.

Today marks the 85th Anniversary of the beginning of the famous Indian Salt March. One of the main events that finally led to the Independence of India, in 1947. This historic Salt March inspired various other marches around the globe. One of the most significant influences, of this brainchild, in the modern world, was that of the Selma to Montgomery march/es of 1965, 50 years ago, this month, in the United States of America. The Selma to Montgomery marches, were in protest, as part of the American Civil Rights movement, demanding that black American citizens, be given the right, to exercise their constitutional right to vote, in defiance of segregationist repression, that still existed in 60’s USA. Martin Luther King Jr., whose inspiration for his non-violent activism, was none other than Mahatma Gandhi, helped organize the Selma to Montgomery marches of 65’.

Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense (नुवन सेन)

Also See:-

The day that paved the way for India’s Independence

Sixty Six years of Indian Independence

Republic Day of India & Australia Day

The Oscars Ceremony : Year 2015

Indira Gandhi30 years ago today, on 31st October 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was gunned down by two Sikh bodyguards of hers. This is a small tribute to one of the most influential personalities to have ever existed in Indian politics. The one and only female Prime Minister the Indian Government has seen till date. India’s own Iron Lady, Shreemati (Mrs.) Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi in ColourIndira Nehru graced the covers of Indian politics from a very young age. Being born to Independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru (long before he became Prime Minister), whilst India was still under the British Raj, on 19th November, 1917; she was brought up by her, on and off imprisoned, father through letters, educating her on the ways of the world, India’s struggle for independence and modern politics. One of my favourite non fiction books happens to be Freedom’s Daughter: Letters Between Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru (1922-39); Edited by Indira’s daughter-in-law, current president of the ‘Indian National Congress’ party, Sonia Gandhi. Of course I read this book about 13 or14 years ago, and really enjoyed the literary transactions between the father and the daughter. For my Bachelors degree, I also studied Nehru’s independence speech from 1947. Another inspirational piece of English Literature I enjoyed back in the latter part of the 90’s decade. Nehru’s prose is spot on and I highly recommend both the book and the speech to any lover of Literature, as well as any History buff.

Little Indira supported her father, along with his mentor, Mahatma Gandhi, through their struggle for India’s independence, in her own way. One incident was during the Swadeshi Movement, of the 1920’s, when Indira was still a child, where people were advised to burn away all western items of clothing and accessories as a rebellion against western suppression of the third world. Little Indira, did her part, by throwing away her favourite, prettily dressed, blue eyed, blonde haired, doll. Post independence, she helped her father through his political career, serving as his unofficial ‘Chief of Staff’, and after his death, she took over the reins.
Indira Gandhi - Like Father Like DaughterWith socialist ideologies, Indira Gandhi became the 3rd Prime Minister of India, on 24th of January, 1966. She served three terms as the Indian Prime Minister, two terms from 1966 to 1977, and a third from 1980 to 1984, making her the second longest Premier of the Indian Government (the longest being her father). Politically she was both loved and despised for her various political decisions, regarding her Motherland and the bordering countries. Thus she sparked a disposition of both, being great and terrible, of fame and notoriety, all at the same time. None the less, one can’t deny she was one of greatest and most influential assets in the development of the Indian continent. Modern India wouldn’t be India, without Indira Gandhi’s non-violent, people friendly, socialist policy. Despite all of India’s faults, the country has always moved forward, and that’s mainly thanks to the Nehru-Gandhi family. After the death of Indira Gandhi, her son, Rajiv Gandhi, became Prime Minister, until he too was assassinated, in 1991.

Adored or loathed, respected or not, Indira Gandhi will live on in the hearts of all Indians, and others with an attachment with India and a soft corner for the Nehru-Gandhi family. The Nehru-Gandhi family to India, is what the Kennedy’s were to America, what the Bhutto’s were to Pakistan, and what Modern Royalty means to Britain and Monaco.

Indira was not just a political icon, but a sophisticated personality with a great sense of style. When Indira, an Oxford graduate, got married to Feroze Gandhi, she made both a political and fashion statement when she wore the pink Khadhi sari woven by her father in prison. And who could forget her trademark salt n’ pepper hairdo, with jet black hair and a bold fiery white streak parting on one side.
Have a look below at the life of Indira Gandhi through pictures:-

Indira with her father's mentor Mahatma Gandhi during his fast in 1924

Little Indira with her father’s mentor Mahatma Gandhi during his fast in 1924

Indira Priyadarshini Nehru

Indira Priyadarshini Nehru

Indira Nehru with her father Jawaharlal Nehru in Gurez, in Kashmir, India, in the 1940's

Indira Nehru with her father Jawaharlal Nehru in Gurez, in Kashmir, India, in the 1940’s

The marriage ceremony of Feroze Gandhi to Indira Nehru, 26th March, 1942

The marriage ceremony of Feroze Gandhi to Indira Nehru, 26th March, 1942

Indira with father Jawaharlal Nehru and actor Charles Chaplin in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, in 1953

Indira with father Jawaharlal Nehru and actor Charles Chaplin in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, in 1953

Indira with the Dalai Lama

Indira with the Dalai Lama

Indira with Jacqueline Kennedy in 1962

Indira with Jacqueline Kennedy in 1962

Indira with her father & the Kennedy's in India, 1962

Indira with her father & the Kennedy’s in India, 1962

Indira Gandhi at Nixon's Dinner

Indira Gandhi at Nixon’s Dinner

Indira Gandhi with actress Gina Lollobrigida on the Left & son and daughter-in-law, Rajiv & Sonia Gandhi on the Right, in the mid 70's

Indira with Vyjayanthimala & Nargis Dutt

Indira with Vyjayanthimala & Nargis Dutt

Indira Gandhi with her two sons, two daughter-in-law's and two grandchildren

Indira Gandhi with her two sons, two daughter-in-law’s and two grandchildren

Indira Gandhi with the Queen of England

Indira Gandhi with the Queen of England

Indira Gandhi with Margaret Thatcher

Indira Gandhi with Margaret Thatcher

Indira Gandhi with Ronald & Nancy Reagan

Indira Gandhi with Ronald & Nancy Reagan

Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense
Nuwan Sen and a Sense of Modern Indian History
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68 years ago today, on the 2nd of September, 1946, the Interim Government of India was formed. This was to assist the transition of India (and Pakistan) from British rule to independence. It remained in place, until the 15th of August, 1947, the date of the independence of the two new countries of India and Pakistan.

After World War – II, the British Raj, released all political prisoners of the ‘Quit India movement’, which was a civil disobedience movement, in response to Mahatma Gandhi’s call for Satyagraha, a non-violent resistance movement. Thus preparation began to hand over the country of India to Indians. The Interim Government of India, was headed by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.

Also see my post ‘Sixty Six years of Indian Independence’, from the 15th of August, last year.

Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense
नुवन सेन

भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत भारत

One of my favourite film directors, Richard Samuel Attenborough, died on Sunday 24th of August, 2014, less than a week away from his 91st Birthday. He was the older brother of Sir David Attenborough, a naturalist and broadcaster, and John Attenborough. John Attenborough died in November 2012.
Richard AttenboroughBaron Attenborough was born in the beautiful city of Cambridge, in the county town of Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom; on the 29th of August, 1923. Born into an intellectual and heroic family; his mother was a founding member of the Marriage Guidance Council, and his father a scholar and academic administrator who was a fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and wrote a standard text on Anglo-Saxon law; Richard Attenborough’s parents saved two Jewish girls during the Second World War and later adopted them once they discovered the girls’ parent’s were killed off. Richard Attenborough served in the Royal Air Force (RAF), during the Second World War. Soon he joined the RAF Film Unit at Pinewood Studios, where in 1943, he worked with Edward G. Robinson in the propaganda film, Journey Together (1945). The Acting bug hit him, whilst still serving in the Air Force (where he sustained permanent ear damage), and the rest is history.

I fell in love with the biographical epic tear-jerker Gandhi (1982), when I watched it as a child in the early-mid 1980’s. And as we had the video tape of Gandhi, at home, I have watched it a zillion times since then. Plus, when I was studying for my M.A. in International Cinema (2002-2003); at the University of Luton, Luton, UK; I got a chance to study this, three hour long, great epic, scene by scene. It was for my mini-dissertation, titled Historical, Heritage and Hackneyed Cinema: British and Hollywood Cinema set in early twentieth Century India, of 10,330 words, in my second semester. Gandhi was a movie that fell under ‘Historical Cinema’, where I did an analysis of racial tension (under the chapter White Bred over Brown Bred: Colonial Relations), the significance of land, specifically the ‘Train’ in Gandhi (under the chapter Landscape and it’s significance), and a character psychoanalysis (under the chapter Gender & Sexuality). Gender & Sexuality was the most crucial chapter in my mini-dissertation, which paved the way, to do a complete psychoanalysis on gender, for my final dissertation (on Hitchcockian Cinema) of 25,000 to 30,000 words, in my final semester.

Richard Attenborough and actor Ben Kingsley at the Oscars, in 1983. With their wins for Best Picture, Best Director & Best Actor, for GANDHI (1982).

Richard Attenborough and actor Ben Kingsley at the Oscars, in 1983.
With their wins for Best Picture, Best Director & Best Actor, for GANDHI (1982).

Attenborough’s directorial epic, Gandhi, is no doubt the best film to come out of the 1980’s (see my post My Favourite movie by decade, My Favourite Oscar Winner per decade from March 2014). The movie was based on the non-violent struggle of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, India’s peace activist and modern day saint, who, during the British Raj, drove away the British colonist, by hurting their conscience, instead of acting against them through violence. Of course the movie depicts him as a perfectionist, but he was a human being, and no human being is perfect. He had his little flaws, yet he was a truly great human being. Gandhi deservedly won eight Oscars (out the eleven nominated for) in 1983, including for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography, among others. Gandhi won over 40 other awards in various other award functions (in various categories), including at the BAFTA’s and the Golden Globes.

Richard Attenborough’s acting career began on stage, where he met his future wife, stage actress Sheila Sim, with whom he appeared on the West End production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. This production led to the two falling in love and they were married in 1945. And they were happily married until Attenborough’s death on Sunday. Sheila Sim is currently suffering from senile dementia, which she was diagnosed with back in June 2012, just after her 90th Birthday. Richard Attenborough, who also attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, remained a Patron until his death.

Richard Attenborough with Laura Dern and Sam Neill in a scene from JURASSIC PARK (1993)

Richard Attenborough with Laura Dern and Sam Neill in a scene from JURASSIC PARK (1993)

As a teenager, in New Delhi, in 1994, I watched Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993), on video tape, and later on the Big Screen, within that year. I thought it was a really good Sci-fi, B-movie. And I loved the way Attenborough’s character, Prof. John Hammond, explains the process of extracting blood (Dinosaur DNA) from a mosquito that had been preserved in amber fossil. At that age, DNA extraction and cloning really impressed me, something I learned as a kid in school in the late 80’s. The rest of the film was a visually spectacular drama, loved the CGI of the time, especially the creations of pre-historic animals, but what I found the most amazing was Prof. Hammond’s detailed explanation. I wasn’t so crazy about the sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Jurassic Park III (2001), though. Yet I wouldn’t mind checking out the latest instalment, Jurassic World, which is yet to be released.
Richard Attenborough z Brighton Rock  (1947)Richard Attenborough starred in a lot of great movies throughout the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, including In Which we Serve (1942), Brighton Rock (1947), The Man Within (1947), The Guinea Pig (1948), Boys in Brown (1949), Eight O’Clock Walk (1954), SOS Pacific (1959), The Angry Silence (1960), The Dock Brief (1962), The Great Escape (1963), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), Doctor Dolittle (1967) and The Magic Christian (1969) with Ringo Starr of ‘The Beatles’, to name a few out of zillion he’s starred in. Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, The Flight of the Phoenix, Doctor Dolittle, 10 Rillington Place (1971), Jurassic Park and Miracle on 34th Street (1994), are amongst his most popular films as an actor. I have a vague memory of watching The Great Escape as a little kid, but am unsure. Anyway, I re-watched it more recently and loved it too. This excellent flick, based on a true story, is about several escape attempts by allied prisoners of war from a German POW camp, during World War – II.

In the late 60’s, Richard Attenborough, made his directorial debut, with the musical, Oh! What a Lovely War (1969). His next directorial venture was Young Winston (1972).
Richard Attenborough Young WinstonIn England, in 2002-2003, I watched Attenborough’s previous biographical epic, Young Winston (1972), at the University Library. This movie deals with former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill’s, younger days, stationed in India and Sudan, as a cavalry officer. I really enjoyed it. Though no where near as great as Attenborough’s magnum opus, that was Gandhi, Young Winston was still a pretty good movie.

Besides Young Winston and Gandhi, as a director, Richard Attenborough, brought out some amazing biographical epics, like A Bridge Too Far (1977); about an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany during World War – II; Cry Freedom (1987); based on the life and death of prominent anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko; Chaplin (1992); on film genius, Sir Charles Chaplin, a.k.a. Charlie Chaplin; Shadowlands (1993); on the heart-rending love story between Oxford academic C. S. Lewis and American poet Joy Davidman, and her tragic death from cancer; In Love and War (1996) on Ernest Hemingway’s experiences during the First World War; and Grey Owl (1999), another bio-pic, this time about Archibald Belaney, a.k.a. Grey Owl, who was a British schoolboy who turned into an Indian trapper, and called himself ‘Grey Owl’.

Richard Attenborough didn’t just make bio-pics, he made a few out and out fictional movies as well, and his last film was Closing the Ring (2007).

Richard Attenborough zfilms Down Under, in Sydney, in 2008, I watched Closing the Ring (2007), on the Big Screen, Attenborough’s last venture. Pretty Good but far from great. Starring Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer, Mischa Barton, Stephen Amell, Neve Campbell, Pete Postlethwaite and Brenda Fricker. The biggest mistake Attenborough did, was to take in the muscular pretty boy, Stephen Amell, who can’t act for peanuts. He just voiced the dialogues expressionlessly, like a pretty mannequin, a Barbie doll. The story was interesting enough though, set during the Second World War (in flashbacks) and the 1990’s; set in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK and Michigan, USA. Towards the end, it becomes a bit cheesy and overtly melodramatic. But still an enjoyable enough watch, thanks to the veteran actors in it.

A sad loss, with the death of a British gem, Richard Attenborough. Day after tomorrow, 29th August, 2014, would be his 91st Birth anniversary. He’ll be remembered forever through his great works. May he rest in peace.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

My Favourite movie by decade, My Favourite Oscar Winner per decade (Oscar 2014 Special)
RH NS
Back in April 2011, I made a list titled My Favourite movie by decade, and in November 2012, I made a list titled Why I love …., comprising of my TOP-10 all time favourite movies, and critiquing on each one of them, on IMDB.
This evening, prior to watching this years Oscars, which will be shown live tomorrow early morning (i.e. tonight in the United States), I decided to do a post, both about my Favourite movie from each decade and my Favourite Oscar Winner per decade. For my Favourite movie from each decade is not necessarily the Best film of the decade, neither is it necessarily an Oscar Winner for ‘Best Picture’.

Three Centuries, Ten decades (I’ve omitted out the first two decades of the 20th century, for I don’t have a favourite from those two decades so far)

PRE-OSCARS
The 19th Century
1890’s
L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat (1895)
French Film (Silent Cinema)
The very first moving picture made, by the two Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumière. It just showcased a train coming to a platform and stopping. Sadly, like the Birth of a child, which starts with a frightened baby crying his/her lungs out, the Birth of Cinema, was marked with tragedy. People had never seen a moving picture before, and when the audience saw a train approaching towards them, on the Big screen, they started to run. So Lumière Brothers’ L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat resulted in a tragic stampede.
I saw this film, most probably somewhere in the 90’s, when I accidentally came across a documentary about cinema, on the telly. I don’t recall the documentary, for it was late one night, and I couldn’t watch the rest of the programme, but at least I got to watch the very first film ever made, and learn about the tragic aftermath. I haven’t seen this movie since, worth checking out for any movie buff.

The 20th Century  
1920’s
Metropolis (1927)
German Film (Silent Cinema)
An excellent German Expressionism, avant-garde, surreal, science fiction, cinematic wonder. I got to watch this classic on the big screen, back in 2007, at the Sydney public library, Sydney, Australia. I fell in love with this movie, set in a futuristic urban dystopia, almost instantly. And in 2008, when I was in Paris, France; I saw the metallic costume worn by actress Brigitte Helm, who played the lead female character, and the female android; when I visited the Cinémathèque Française there.
Metropolis (1927)
POST-OSCARS
The very first Academy Awards was held in May 1929. The winner for the most ‘Outstanding Picture’ Oscar (which was later, after going through many a name changes, from 1944 to 1961, known as the ‘Best Motion Picture’ award, and from 1962 onwards, till date, is known as the ‘Best Picture’ award), went to the silent venture, Wings (1927). Am yet to watch this silent classic, that bagged the very first Best film award. The oldest Best Picture winner I’ve watched is All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), which was excellent. Thus, my favourite Oscar winner from the end of the roaring 20’s, and the best, is All Quiet on the Western Front, which was the first film to win awards for both, ‘Outstanding Production’ (award name for Best Film at the time) and ‘Best Director’.

1930’s
Gone with the Wind (1939), my favourite movie of the 1930’s, my favourite Oscar Winner of that decade, and the Best Film to come out in that decade. My second all time favourite movie.

1940’s
Casablanca (1942), my favourite movie from the 1940’s, my favourite Oscar Winner of that decade, and the Best Film to come out in that decade. My third all time favourite movie.
1950's
1950’s
Roman Holiday (1953) – My Favourite movie from the 1950’s, also happens to be my all time favourite movie. Audrey Hepburn, my all time favourite film star, bagged the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar for Roman Holiday.
Special mention: Ben-Hur (1959), my Favourite Oscar Winner, and the Best Film, to come out of the 1950’s. (Also see my lists 50-50’s, The Foxy Fifties, These are a Few of my Favourites, Hepburn flicks through pictures and many more on IMDB)

1960’s
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – My Favourite movie from the 1960’s.
My Fair Lady (1964) is my favourite Oscar Winner from the sizzling 60’s.
Special mention: I think François Truffaut’s, French new wave flick, Jules et Jim (1962), is the Best film of that decade, which also happens to be my second favourite film from the 1960’s. (Also see my lists The Essential 60’s (Top 60), The Late 60’s (1966-1970) öö, My Top 5 Musicals from the sizzling 60’s & 70’s and many more on IMDB)
60's
1970’s
A Clockwork Orange (1971) – My Favourite movie from the 1970’s, and the best film of that decade.
The Godfather: Part II (1974), is my favourite Oscar Winner from the suave n’ sophisticated 70’s. A very masculine decade for film, with a blend of classy and thuggery. The Godfather: Part II, also happens to be my second favourite from the 70’s. (Also see my lists My 70’s Top 5 and The Great 70’s Picture Show on IMDB)

1980’s
Rain Man (1988) is my favourite movie of the 1980’s, my favourite Oscar Winner of that decade.
Special mention: Another Oscar winner, which I feel is the Best Film to come out in the 1980’s, is, the epic scale, bio-pic, of a modern day saint, directed by Richard Attenborough. The British film, Gandhi (1982). The 1980’s were a great decade for British, Historical and Heritage, films.
The 1980's
1990’s
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), is my favourite movie from the naughty 90’s.
Forrest Gump (1994), which also happens to be my second favourite from the 90’s, is my favourite Oscar Winner from that decade.
Special mention: Schindler’s List (1993), my third favourite from the 90’s, yet another Oscar winner, I feel, is the Best Film of that decade. (Also see my list The Nineteen Nineties (Top-5) on IMDB)

The 21st Century  
2000’s (2001-2010)
From the first decade of the 21st century, my favourite flick happens to be,  Closer (2004).
A Beautiful Mind (2001), my favourite Oscar winner from the last decade.
Special mention: Brokeback Mountain (2005), is the Best film to come out of the noughties. The Biggest mistake the Oscars made, this century, was not handing the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar to this gay themed epic.

This Decade
From this decade, which is only just over three years old, so far my favourite film, favourite Oscar winner and the Best Film, happens to be, The Artist (2011), a great tribute to early cinema and the roaring 20’s. One of my favourite silent films with sound.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
(Also see nuwansdel_02 , for the menu page, for all my list on IMDB)

Loving Film

Six Degrees of Separation: from Whoopi Goldberg to

Whoopi Goldberg 6°

… John Buchan
Goldberg played an unloved, lonely, young girl; leading a life under constant abusive circumstances, first by her father and then by her husband, in the early 20th century; in The Color Purple (1985), which was directed by Steven Spielberg (1), who also directed War Horse (2011), starring Jeremy Irvine (2), who acted in the most recent adaptation of Great Expectations (2012), an acclaimed novel by Charles Dickens (3), whose novel Oliver Twist has been the basis for many a movies, and one of the most famous adaptations happens to be the 1948 release, directed by David Lean (4), who also directed A Passage to India (1984), which starred Peggy Ashcroft (5), who appeared in The 39 Steps (1935), which was based on a novel by John Buchan (6).

… Gary Cooper
Goldberg  starred alongside Stephen Collins (1) in Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986), who came in the tragic love story The Promise (1979), which was later adapted into a novel by Danielle Steel (2), a rarity; as generally films are adapted into movies, but seldom are movies a basis for books; and Steel’s 1988 novel Zoya; a story about a Russian heiress who had to flee from her country,  during the 1917 Russian Revolution; was adapted into a television film, Zoya (1995), in which the titular character was played by Melissa Gilbert (3) who, as a child artiste, acted in the television series Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983), where Michael Landon (4) played her father, and Landon started his career with a bit role in These Wilder Years (1956), starring Barbara Stanwyck (5), who starred alongside Gary Cooper (6) in Ball of Fire (1941).

… Peter Ustinov  
Goldberg  recently was seen as a guest star in quite a few episodes of the musical television comedy series, Glee (2012 – till now), which starred the late Corey Monteith (1) who died three months ago, aged 31, of a drug overdose, and Monteith appeared in Monte Carlo (2011) in which French actor Pierre Boulanger (2) had a small role, and Boulanger, as a childe artiste, starred opposite the legendary Omar Sharif (3) in Monsieur Ibrahim et Les Fleurs du Coran (2003), and Sharif starred in the psychological drama, The Appointment (1969); where he played a man suspecting his wife to be a high-class prostitute; which was directed by Sidney Lumet (4), as was, Murder on the Orient Express (1974), which was based on a mystery novel by Agatha Christie (5), as was Death on the Nile (1978), where the lead sleuth was played by British Born actor; with Russian, German, French, Italian and Ethiopian, aristocratic, roots; Peter Ustinov (6).

Whoopi Goldberg Six Degree connections°
… Romain Duris
Goldberg  played a comical psychic in Ghost (1990), where the ghost was played by Patrick Swayze (1), who starred in The Outsiders (1983), directed by Francis Ford Coppola (2), whose most noteworthy directorial venture happens to be The Godfather trilogy (1972, 1974 & 1990), and in the first Godfather film, Marlon Brando (3) starred as ‘The Godfather’, and in the same year, Brando was seen in the very controversial, Last Tango in Paris (1972), directed by Bernardo Bertolucci (4), who directed French actor Louis Garrel (5) in The Dreamers (2003), and Garrel played brother to Romain Duris (6) in Dans Paris (2006).

…Daniel Radcliffe
Goldberg  played ‘God’ in A Little Bit of Heaven (2011), which starred Mexican actor, Gael García Bernal (1), who played Che Guevara (2) in The Motorcycle Diaries (2004); a movie set before Guevara became a rebel; directed by Walter Salles (3), who directed On The Road (2012); a movie on the post WWII, Beat Generation, of the 40’s & 50’s; where actor Tom Sturridge (4) played famed poet Allen Ginsberg (5), who was portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe (6), in Kill Your Darlings (2013).

… Scott Baio  
Goldberg  played the lead in Steven Spielberg’s (1) The Color Purple (1985), and Spielberg directed Schindler’s List (1993); the real life story, of how one German Businessman, managed to save 1,100 Jewish lives during, the second world war, from being gassed at the ‘Auschwitz’ concentration camp; starring Ben Kinsley (2), who previously starred in the bio-pic, Gandhi (1982); another real life account of a modern day saint, this time set during India’s Freedom struggle, towards the end of the British Raj, in the early 20th century, where an Indian lawyer revolts against British oppression through his philosophy of non-violence; which co-starred Ian Charleson (3), who also came in Chariots of Fire (1981); a film about two athletes competing in the 1924 Olympics; which also had Brad Davis (4), one of whose best work was in the film, Midnight Express (1978), directed by Alan Parker (5); which too was based on a true story; and Parker directed the bio-pic, Bugsy Malone (1976); the real life gangster story with an all child cast playing adult characters; where the titular character was played by Scott Baio (6).

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense ()

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Modern India: 66 years old
Congratulations India for beginning it’s 67th year of Independence; for all their great achievements, and for constantly moving forward, overcoming many a obstacles on the way. Nehru’s dream lives on.

Indian Map and Flag

India is beautiful country, geographically shaped like a woman in Saree; an Indian garment of about six yards that’s draped around a woman’s body; with her left hand stretched out. And coincidences do not end there, as the head shaped continent of Jammu & Kashmir, somewhat resembles the head of India’s first (and only) female head of the country, the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (second longest serving Prime Minister of India); daughter of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

‘At the midnight hour…’
On the 15th of August, 1947, Mother India woke up to a new Independent India. In my freshman year at Delhi University (back in 1996), I studied Nehru’s speech.
What an inspiring piece of literature it was. He speaks of the necessary amendments he made to flag. For example, he changed the middle insignia of the flag, from Mahatma Gandhi’s famous loom, to the Dharma Chakra, so that the country would constantly move forward. And it has always moved forward economically and industrially. Poverty is something impossible to eradicate in such a massive third world country, with an equally massive population. Yet the country has achieved a lot, despite it.
He explained why he didn’t have roaring lions, or any other emblems of royalty, depicted in the flag. Mainly because he didn’t want the country to be stuck in the dark ages. He wanted the country to be a democracy. Added to which he wanted the flag to blend in with the flags from rest of world, hoping to have an international appeal.
Nehru, a Cambridge University graduate, loved his country, but did not believe in a fake sense of Patriotism, nor false pride.
Couple of years and five months after the country achieved Independence, India became a Republic, on 26th January 1950. (See my post on India’s Republic Day from 26th January 2013)

New Delhi
The capital of India. A beautiful concrete city, where the best places of the city are up to grade with the standards of a first world country. Education standards are high. The medium of the language taught in majority of schools are in English, with students only having to study Hindi (India’s national language) in Hindi. That way they can understand both their national language as well as the worlds international language. Most School Uniforms, if any, tend to be shirt and trouser for both genders (Be it the Indian Shirt and Trouser or western), thus not differentiating between the two sexes, and it’s a more practical uniform. It’s rarely in schools/convents that they have a skirt or frock as a uniform for girls.
JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and DU (University of Delhi) are two of the most acclaimed Universities of the country, based in New Delhi; which houses a lot of International students (mainly from Asia and Africa).

Nuwan Sen’s  Historical Sense