Tag Archive: Modern Day Saints


A LETTER TO VIOLET EYED HEAVEN: TO ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN THAT GRACED THE HOLLYWOOD SCREENS

Elizabeth Taylor with her two great Loves
Left: Mike Todd (1950’s)
Right: Richard Burton (1960’s & 70’s)

Dearest Ms. Taylor,

              First of all, let me thank you, for contributing so much to the world of Cinematic Arts; with your marvelous performances; working tirelessly to bring us, film buffs, joy for eternity.

              Born in United Kingdom, to two American citizens, on the 27th of February, 1932; you moved to the United States of America, at the age of 7; in April 1939, as tensions of another war gripped Europe. Couple of years later, you started working in Hollywood, as per your mother’s wish. You were adored by Hollywood for your unique sharp features, raven hair and fair skin. Specifically it was your unique eyes, a genetic mutation; that grabbed their attention. Blue eyes that appeared Violet, and a double pair of natural eyelashes. A rare beauty, and a natural acting talent; proved through your first auditions. Casting directors found you different to other child actors of the time; and some were afraid of your direct open attitude. Growing up, you survived through many hurdles and hardships. Two of your baby teeth were pulled out, before they were ready to fall; to make you seem more mature. By the age of 12, you had no free time at all, as you attended school in the studio lot itself, and then you had to practice singing, dancing and the lines for next day’s scenes. You never really had a childhood, as you mentioned once, that your childhood ended, when you became a child star, as MGM controlled every aspect of your life. Born with scoliosis; in your preteens, whilst filming for National Velvet (1944), you had a bad fall and fractured your back, which went undetected for many years; for which you suffered in silence, your entire life. Yet the worse was yet to come.

              In May 1950, aged only 18, you married heir to the Hilton Hotels chain, Conrad Hilton Jr.! Beaten black and blue on your wedding night; and having gone through abuse at his hands, your parents were horrified when they found out. Eight months into your marriage the two of you divorced. This caused a public scandal, and it sadly reflected badly on you, not on the man who abused you. Then a year later, you were back in the United Kingdom; this time working on a British Film Ivanhoe (1952). During the filming of Ivanhoe, you met  the newly divorced actor, Michael Wilding (20 years your senior). He thought marrying a young innocent starlet like you, would aid his failing career; and you felt being an older gentleman he’d be kinder, and you’d feel secure. But ’twas far from a happy marriage. Egoistical men, little understood your compassion and sympathetic nature towards people suffering; including your kindness towards gay actors, Montgomery Clift, Rock Hudson and James Dean; to name a few. One of your main co-stars, of the epic, Giant (1956), James Dean was killed in a car crash, on 30th September 1955; before the movie was completed (although Dean had finished working on his scenes). You were devastated. Soon, yet another young actor was almost killed in a car crash, but you weren’t going to let history repeat itself. On 12th May 1956, during the filming of Raintree County (1957); when close friend and co-star, Montgomery Clift had a terrible accident (soon after leaving a dinner party at Wilding and your Beverly Hills home; when Clift fell asleep whilst driving); you rushed to his aid, and saved his life by literally shoving a hand down his throat, and pulling out his teeth, he was choking on. Your husband was not impressed. After giving Wilding two sons, and his philandering ways reached scandal magazines; you couldn’t take it anymore, and divorced him, in 1957. Having suffered through two bad marriages, you wouldn’t have wanted to experience that pain again. But then came Mike Todd (an even older gentleman, born on the 22nd of June, Year 1909; who had been married twice before, who’d lost his first wife to death, and next to divorce), an American Theater and film producer, who swept you off your feet. The first great love of your life.

              You and Mike Todd had a whirlwind romance. Married on 2nd February 1957; it was a third marriage for both, a 24 year old, you, and 47 year old Mike Todd. For the first time in your life, you were truly happy and deeply in love.You traveled around the world in Todd’s private jet, named The Liz (a.k.a. The Lucky Liz); a testament to your love for each other. In fact, Todd had released a film, Around the World in 80 Days (1956), based Jules Verne’s classic novel; which ended up winning five coveted Oscars, including for ‘Best Picture’; just over a month after you were married; at the 29th Annual Academy Awards. You were lucky for him; and you were lucky in love, for the very first time in your life. For once, both Todd and you, were in happy, like never before. Later that year, you gave birth to a beautiful baby girl; your very first daughter. A child born out of marriage filled with love and joy. On the first anniversary of the release of his Oscar winning film, Todd threw a grand party, as a celebration of his love for you. 18,000 of close friends were invited to this Madison Square Garden extravaganza. A live coverage of the event was held. Todd loved to boast, and why not, he was jubilant, as were you. A 14 foot high cake was made for the event, and you had to climb up to cut the cake. It was all show and pomp; but ’twas wasn’t hypocritical function in the name of traditions or customs you were carrying out; but a fun filled party. Apparently the party ended up with a very Hollywood  slapstick style food fight, thanks to a rowdy crowd; but you, Todd, your close friends and other elegant guests weren’t part of that. The television coverage of the party made it an Hollywood event of the century; and the function was deemed a flop. But did it matter, not really. This was your great love story, and you felt safe that nothing could ruin this euphoric romance. But then tragedy strikes…..

              On 21st March 1958, you were to fly with your husband to New York, where the Friars Club was to honour him the next night as Showman of the Year. But you were suffering from a bronchitis cold and a temperature 102°. You really wanted to go, but Todd insisted you stay at home and rest. Added to that there was a rainstorm outside. Actor, Kirk Douglas, your next door neighbour, was to accompany your husband. But, Anne Buydens (Douglas’ wife) had a bad feeling about the plane ride. They argued, but Buydens won, and Douglas missed the flight, and was mad at his wife for it. Mike Todd hugged you for a fifth time, part of him not wanting to leave you alone with your children. Even though ill, you were glowing with love and sadness and being apart. When Todd got onto his plane, he spoke to you once again, he called from the air-to-ground telephone, and told you he’ll call you once he lands in Tulsa, to re-fuel. But he never did. Despite the bad weather, the flight was considered safe enough, to fly smoothly. At 10:41pm (2241 hrs), left the airstrip , and headed to New York. The twin-engine Lockheed Lodestar plane suffered engine failure, went out of control and crashed killing all four people on board, including Mike Todd; the love of your life. It was 22nd March 1958, early morning, when the incident happened. Meanwhile Kirk Douglas recalls having missed the flight and mad at his wife, ” We were driving and not talking to each other, so we turned the radio on, and the announcer spoke of the shocking news of the plane crash. At the same time, you, sick in bed, unaware called up Todd’s personal secretary, as you were worried you hadn’t heard from him. Soon you got the shocking news, and your world came tumbling down.

              Your close friends, actresses, Debbie Reynolds and Shirley MacLaine, rushed to your side; staying there for a few days, and helping taking care of your three kids. Liz Todd was still a baby (she would never get to know her wonderful dad). Film director Howard Hughes, lent you his jet. There was hardly much left of Todd’s remains, as the plane had exploded on impact. The only items recovered from the wreckage were Todd’s wedding ring, and a pair of platinum cuff-links, gifted by Todd’s friend, actor and singer, Eddie Fisher (Debbie Reynolds’ husband). The funeral was in Chicago. You were so distraught, you threw yourself over the coffin. The pain of loss of someone you loved so dearly would have been unbearable. Two decades later, grave robbers would desecrate his remains, due to rumours of a $100,000/- diamond ring, said to have been placed in his coffin by you, before burial. His remains would be found, have to be reexamined by dental records once again, and reburied, in a secret location.

              Your next marriage, was the biggest mistake you made. You were grief stricken at the loss of Mike Todd, and Eddie Fisher, took advantage of it, and proposed marriage to you, admitting he had always been in love with you. You accepted without thinking of the consequences. You did not marry him for love, but for marriage security (this was still the 1950’s and marriage was considered, one of the main criteria for a woman to gain respect; today a woman does not need a husband anymore). But by accepting, you hurt your best friend, Fisher’s wife Debbie. Soon your image turned from grieving widow to homewrecker, in the eyes of the public. Both Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher (Fisher and Reynolds  daughter); would eventually forgive you (Eddie Fisher is the one that abandoned them); but for the world to do so, it would take some more time (both Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher died in December 2016). To add salt to your wounds; Mike Todd had accumulated a lot of debt, which meant you would have to earn to pay it back; due to pressure from film studios. Added to which, being on a contract, meant you owed MGM; to work for them. You had no choice but to work on a film you detested, due to this contract; BUtterfield 8 (1960). But you managed to convince them to cast husband no.4, Eddie Fisher, in a sympathetic role. Having a kind heart, you were more concerned about his image, than your own. Then you won an Oscar for BUtterfield 8! Even though you were nominated thrice for ‘Best Actress’, it was finally for the film you hated, that you bagged the award. You went crying up to the stage. You were definitely not thrilled; as you were forced into working for this movie, not ’cause you wanted to. Added to which your marriage to a spineless man, wasn’t working. Even though you’d give the marriage six years of your life. But, you needn’t fret, for your next great love, was just around the corner.

Elizabeth Taylor was no doubt THE most beautiful Cleopatra to grace the cinematic screens ever!

              Now, in 1961; you had finally completed your MGM contract, and were free of it. Not only that, you had won an Oscar, for ‘Best Actress’. 20th Century signed you on for their next big venture, a historical epic on the Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra. This would be your biggest venture yet, and a crucial turning point in your life.

              You became the first Hollywood actress to be paid $1 Million for the role; and this expensive production, of Cleopatra (1963), would be among the most loved Historical epics of all time. You’d end up being so closely identified with role; when film buffs hear the name “Cleopatra”; it’s your bewitchingly beautiful face, in ancient Egyptian garments, that come to mind. Cleopatra today is synonymous with your portrayal of her on celluloid (a role you almost lost the role, when you suffered from pneumonia). Added to which, you’d end up meeting the second love of your life, Richard Burton. The Burton-Taylor romance is one of the most talked about love stories, in the world of cinema (also see my Blog-post, Sexiest Couples of Hollywood from July 2016). Your violet eyes sparkled when you saw him, he felt the same, sparks flew; you were both unhappily married to different people. An extra-marital love affair started to ignite on the sets of Cleopatra. Like the character you were portraying, you were neither young nor innocent; but a bold brave new woman, afraid of no man. Like Cleopatra, who had two great loves in her life, Cesar and Anthony; you found your next great love, the actor playing Anthony, opposite you. In a sense, it was real-life, imitating reel-life; a reel life, based on a real life historical account from an ancient civilization. Soon paparazzi snapped you and your new lover, on a yacht in Ischia, Naples, Italy in 1962. Your scandalous new romance was out in the open. People, who hated your marriage to Fisher, started enjoying this affair with Burton. Whilst, the love story, with Mike Todd, turned you into a happily married family type of woman; this new romance showcased a side, people had never seen before. A sizzling sexy side of your persona. Your steamy romance was the talk of the town. Soon you divorced Fisher, in 1964; and married your new love, Richard Burton. 

Dubbed at Liz & Dick, you two would end up doing some of the greatest performances in your lives. You ended up appearing in 11 films together, and stage plays. The most notable film of which, happens to be, Mike Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966); for which you won your next ‘Best Actress’ award, at the 39th Annual Academy Awards (Oscars 1967). Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? also happens to be among my Top 10, all time favourite movies. The movie itself, felt like reel-life, imitating real-life (a reversal of fortune from the time you filming Cleopatra). You two loved each other, were perfect for each other, bickering and fighting; you loved each other. You had a tempestuous relationship; mainly thanks to his alcoholism. Nor matter how much you loved him, you could not handle his drinking; and he was alleged to smoke at least a 100 cigarettes a day. Thus, after completing one more movie with him, coincidentally titled, Divorce His, Divorce Hers (1973), you finally divorced your second great love, in 1974.

Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton on the cover of NOVA (October 1966 issue)
Photographed by Douglas Kirkland

              But, both Burton and you, loved each other way too much. And reconciled, married in 1975. But this second marriage to Burton, wasn’t to last too long. You two divorced once again, this time for good, in 1976. Post that you married twice again; but that was more for companionship; and less to do with love, sex and romance. You were married to Republican politician, John Warner, and helped him with his electoral campaign. Meanwhile, you became an advocate for HIV and AIDS awareness, in the 80’s; along with actress Doris Day. You spent the 1980’s onward, raising money for various causes. You bravely persuaded President Ronald Reagan to acknowledge the disease for the first time in a speech in 1987, and publicly criticized presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton for lack of interest in combating the disease. You awarded for your humanitarian efforts, as well as for your contribution to the arts. You were the first celebrity to create a signature line of perfume. Soon other stars followed suit. And you founded a jewelry company, House of Taylor.

After having suffered most of your life, to physical ailments, mental depression and prescription drugs; you finally left the world of the living, aged 79, on the 23rd of March, Year 2011. But you live on, in our hearts; through your great cinematic ventures. You left behind a great legacy; as one of the last stars of classical Hollywood cinema, and also one of the first modern celebrities of Hollywood. You were among the lead actors, at the time Hollywood, and the world, went through a major transition. The 1960’s & 70’s decades.

               Here’s to you Ms. Elizabeth Taylor, a beautiful heart, and an equally beautiful actress. Thinking of you, on your 86th Birth Anniversary.

                                                                                                            Thanking you,

                                                                                        with Love, from one of your ardent fans, 

                                                                                                                             Nuwan Sen

picmonkey_image (12)

This Blog Post, in the form of a letter, is my contribution to the, THE ELIZABETH TAYLOR BLOGATHON, hosted by Crystal Kalyana of In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood!!

 

Thank you Crystal, for letting me take part in this beautiful Blogathon.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
#‎NuwanSensFilmSense

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Happy Chinese New Year 2018!!! The Year of the DOG 🙂    

Dog (狗) Earthly Symbol of the Dog (戌)

Today is the Chinese New Year, and the Year of the Dog starts; and it shall end on 4th of February 2019!!!!!

Click on the Image

According to legend, the Chinese New Year started with villagers wearing the colour RED, and decorating their homes with red scrolls with red lanterns being hung around the village, and lighting crackers, to keep off a mythical beast called Nian. Apparently Nian use to appear on the night of the first New Moon of the year, destruct villages and devour children. But it was afraid of the colour RED. Thus, RED is significant with warding off evil. Today, it is the biggest Asian festival celebrated around the globe!!!!

Chinese Actresses, Gong Li (L) and Ziyi Zhang (R), with their Dogs

British/Nigerian Actor, David Oyelowo, with his three rescue Dogs

French Actor, Alain Delon, playing with his dogs (in various decades from the 1950’s to the 1980’s)

Gingerella (R) & Nudin (L) @ Play (January 30th, YEAR 2018)

The Obama’s with Bo & Sunny
Former American President, Barack Obama, includes his beloved pets, in their official Family Photograph; at the White House, in the Spring of Year 2015

Amazingly YEAR 1994, was the Year of the Dog, too!!! I had no idea back then. Year happens to be the best year of my teen life (from my teenage years). ’twas a crucial turning point in my life, when we went back to live in New Delhi, India, after six years. The next really crucial turning point in my life came 13 years later; whilst residing Down Under.

Born in June 1975, I’m a Rabbit. An interesting coincidence is, that according the Chinese zodiac, the most compatible sign with a person born in the Year of the Dog, happens to be, people born in the Year of the Rabbit. So an amazingly Perfect coincidence, would be if I get someone born in 1994 (so basically someone 18½/19 years younger than me 😀 ). Another interesting coincidence is the fact that, at the moment, I’m attracted to a 23 year old, I met late last year (thus, most probably was born in 1994; unless this person’s birthday was within these two months). We happen to accidentally meet day before yesterday, and I saw a picture of this pretty creature’s latest boyfriend, who’s in Germany, at the moment. Yeah! I ought to be used to unrequited love by now  😦 . Not that I believe in astrology (yet admire it, as a form of Art), but you know; wishful thinking !!!

With a pet Rabbit, in a suburb of Paris, France (17th August 2008)

With Gingerella & Nudin, in our Front Yard, at home (6th July 2016)

Wishing every one a Very Happy Chinese New Year/Dog year 2018 ❤

 

Greetings from
Nu Wan (Sen)
(i.e. Nuwan Sen)

Da Vinci & Di Caprio: The Two LEO’s
Q.1° Given the chance to be a famous ‘Leonardo’ in your life, which Leo would You prefer to be? And Why?

a) Leonardo Da Vinci

b) Leonardo Di Caprio

c) A combination of both

d) Another Leo, altogether (Please specify, who & why)

Q.2° If, to the previous question, your answer was (c); which of these combined traits would you like to own? [You may answer, if you wish to, even if your answer for the previous question wasn’t (c)]

a) Da Vinci’s Brain (intellect) & Di Caprio’s Heart (seemingly kind personality/down to earth persona)

b) Da Vinci’s Artistic Talent & Di Caprio’s Looks

c) Da Vinci’s Looks & Di Caprio’s Acting Talent

Q.3° Which of these would like to possess?

a) Da Vinci’s (approximately) 550 years of fame, as one of the most celebrated artists in the world

b) Di Caprio’s 25 years of fame, as a talented actor and modern day humanist

Q.4° What is your favourite :-

a) Da Vinci Scientific/futuristic artwork?

b) Di Caprio Film?

c) Da Vinci Painting?

d) Di Caprio Film Character?

Q.5° If you could, which of these would you like to do?

a) Travel back in time, and meet Da Vinci

b) Do Di Caprio, in the present (or by going back in time)

c) Both

Nuwan Sen
Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen n’ the ART’s
#‎NuwanSensFilmSense
nu Sense on Film
#NuwanARTS
&


(1929-1993)

Remembering Audrey Hepburn, on her 88th Birth Anniversary!!!

Audrey Hepburn; a brave kid during the second world war who participated in the Dutch resistance, a beautiful young ballerina, a Tony & Oscar winning actress of the stage & screen, a Hollywood icon, a classy Fashionista, a kind humanitarian, a caring philanthropist, and a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF; who gave herself completely to serving poverty stricken, and ailing, children, across, Africa, South America and Asia!! A modern day saint!!

A mini-pictorial tribute, to this unique personality!!

Nuwan Sen

 

sidney-poitiers-90th-birthday

To Sidney Poitier Esq.  

Dear Sir,
            First of all, let me wish you a very Happy 90th Birthday. And a big congratulations for being in the acting profession, on both the stage and the screen, for over 70 years.
           Thank you sir, for making it in Hollywood, at a time, when non-Caucasian celebrities, were a rarity. Most of Hollywood was initially made up of, the British, various European countries, Canada, and a few Americans (though those Americans who found fame, were limited to the stars of the fairer skin). Yet, considering the fact, that many a notable Hollywood personalities, were mostly British (and from other Western European countries); it’s obvious that Hollywood is actually, made up of immigrants. Yet, a very big thank you, to you, Sir Poitier, for not only being a leading actor, from the 1960’s (a decade when the world began to change, for the better) onwards; but also, for being the first black male actor, to win an Oscar.
           Legendary, Hattie McDaniel, beat you to it, by winning in the, Best Supporting Actress, category, at the 12th Academy Awards, in 1940; for her brilliant role, as ‘Mammy’, in Gone with the Wind (1939). Thus, making her, the very first African American to win an Oscar. So in a way, she paved the way for you. But it’s only when you won, for Lilies of the Field (1963), at the 36th Academy Awards, in 1964; that darker skinned stars truly started getting a recognition. Of course, in the 70’s, there were a lot of Blaxploitation (a.k.a. Blacksploitation) films. A pity, Afro-Americans, were being reduced to cliché’s. BUT, luckily you were not part of the Blaxploitation cinema, of the 1970’s (not to my knowledge, anyway). So, thank you, for not falling into that trap, and keeping a dignified edge, for Black stars, yet to shine. Plus, thank you, for opening up an avenue for non-white acting talent, in general, in Hollywood. Today, a British born actor, with Indian roots, is nominated for an Oscar; i.e. Dev Patel, who has been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor, category, for his role, of an Indian brought-up abroad, in Lion (2016). So, you started it, by being the first non-white actor to make it in Hollywood (which was already full of white immigrants); and today there are quite a few immigrants, from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and South America (of various skin tones), making it, in the most celebrated film industry, in the world.

Classic Bromance: Sidney Poitier & Tony Curtis in The Defiant Ones (1958)

Classic Bromance: Sidney Poitier & Tony Curtis in The Defiant Ones (1958)

          Growing up I had heard about you, but had watched very few films, of yours; like Sneakers (1992), and your directorial ventures, like, Stir Crazy (1980) and Hanky Panky (1982), for instance; but it was in my late teens/early adulthood, when I saw, Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), that you became one of my favourite stars. What a brilliant movie!! It’s my second favourite film, of yours. My first, is no doubt, the British film, To Sir, with Love (1967), directed by James Clavell. I had heard of , To Sir, with Love, since I was a kid (in the late 80’s). BUT, it was only, finally in 2005, that I got watch it. I actually saw it on the Big Screen, when it was shown at Russian Centre, here. But it’s rarely I get to see good cinema here, especially on the Big Screen. I’ve actually, only seen three classics, at the Russian Centre. First was, Gone with the Wind, in 2002. Then, To Sir, with Love, in 05’. And finally, Tess (1979), in 2012. So it’s that rare (see my Blog post on Tess from October 2012). Of course, the Ethnic Centre, in Colombo, is, comparatively better. It’s still been a while, since they last showed anything worthwhile; but this week, they are showing two of your movies; the above mentioned, Lilies of the Field, and The Defiant Ones (1958). Both are on my Watchlist. And am really keen on going and watching these two films, this week. I heard, you play a modern day saint, in Lilies of the Field. A really kind human being. Humanity, is the best religion to preach. Kindness and open-mindedness, is sadly something still missing in today’s world of greed and materialism. In, The Defiant Ones, I heard, that your co-star, Tony Curtis requested, that your name appeared alongside his, above the movie title. This was a progressive first for you, and all other (non-white) skinned actors. How kind, it was, of Tony Curtis, to request something, so unheard of, at the time. He didn’t see your skin colour, but the fact, that you were a talented actor, and a lead character, in the movie, and not a supporting one. Blackboard Jungle (1955), A Patch of Blue (1965) and In the Heat of the Night (1967), are three other movies, in my Watchlist, that am really keen on checking out.

Sidney Poitier receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, in 2009

Sidney Poitier receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, in 2009

             Besides being a talented actor, you’ve also been a great diplomat. In real life, you’ve played the role of an ambassador for the Bahamas, to Japan; for a decade, between 1997 and 2007. Concurrently you were also the Bahamas ambassador to UNESCO. This most probably was the greatest, and the most significant, role, in life, you had to play.
On top of all the film awards, you’ve received, I must congratulate you, on receiving the great honours, of the KBE (Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1974; and more specifically, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by the previous American President, Barack Obama. Again, thanks to you, paying the way for African Americans, in the United States; Barack Obama, was the very first African American president, that USA, finally had. Him winning the election, in the end of 2008, and becoming the President in January 2009; and during his tenure, the Supreme courts ruling, of same-sex marriage to be a fundamental right, in June 2015; America showed progression. Being an avid supporter of Equal Rights, you shall agree, how progressive and open minded the country was getting. BUT, a pity, with Trump’s triumph, at the elections, held in November 2016, the country seems to have taken a step backwards. None the less, there is still hope for improvement; and the 2017 Women’s March, held last month (in January 2017), not just in your part of the world; but around the globe, is enough proof!! You too were part of an equality march, back in 1963; the March on Washington, headed by Martin Luther King Jr.
              The last time you worked, on screen, was sixteen years ago. I hope, something that interests you comes up, and you wind up doing another impressive role, even today. Or a great directorial opportunity comes your way. I don’t feel, you’ve retired from the film industry, yet.
              And lastly, Thank You, once again, for your great contribution, to the world of Cinema.
                                                                     Wishing you the best of health and happiness
                                                                                                                             With Regards
                                                                                                                                    Nuwan Sen

This Blog Post, in the form of a letter, is my contribution to the, 90 Years of Sidney Poitier Blogathon, hosted by , of The Wonderful World of Cinema.

sidney-poitier-blogathon

Thank you Virginie; for letting me take part, in this wonderful Blogathon.
Please also do check out my Blog posts, To Sidney, with Love and South Africa, The Apartheid, Missing Diamonds and The Wilby Conspiracy, from 20th February 2013 & 23rd December 2014, respectively.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
#‎NuwanSensFilmSense

Plein Soleil (2015)

Plein Soleil (2015) short film

Oh!! The Heat!!! In Plein Soleil (2015), during a heat wave, under the scorching hot sun, an already stressed out man, is asked by his wife, to drop off their baby to the Day-Care centre, as he’s taking the car to work. Reluctantly, he agrees. Stuck in traffic, this sweaty uncomfortable weather, keeps adding discomfort to his already boiling head, under the heaty hood of his car. Soon he reaches his office, and manages to avoid an accident, with a boy and his football. He locks the car and rushes to his workplace, forgetting the baby baking inside.
Plein Soleil (2015) zee Scene 1The whole movie has a feel of impending doom, a tragedy waiting to happen. From one angle, he’s an irresponsible father, but at the same time, he’s stressed out. But you can’t help feeling angry at the man, as we see him enjoying cocktails with his colleagues, and chatting up with his boss, in the air-conditioned office, as his baby cries all alone, stuck in a car, with the heat rising inside this locked vehicle, from 43° to 45° and so on. I was on the edge of seat, the suspense killing me, like the oven suffocating the child in that contraption. What about the boys playing football? Will they hear?? One boy actually comes to get the ball, near the parked car, thinks he hears something, but ignores it and goes back to the game. What will happen to the baby?? It’s heartrending. You just want to save the baby somehow. But feel helpless, being on the other side the wide screen (outside the television).
Plein Soleil (2015) zee Scene 2Not to be confused with René Clément’s, excellent French classic, Plein Soleil (1960), starring Alain Delon and Maurice Ronet, based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr. Ripley; this 2015 Belgian Short film, by Frédéric Castadot (which happens to be his directorial debut), is a brilliant masterpiece of the 21st century cinema. Hated the pain of watching the baby in pain, and loved the movie for it’s excellence.

I watched this 24 minute short flick; starring Aurélien Labruyère, in the lead, as the stressed out, irresponsible, father; late Tuesday evening (telecast at 8pm (2000hrs)), on TV5MONDE. Plein Soleil (2015), is a must watch!! 10/10!!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
(nu Sense on FILM) #‎NuwanSensFilmSense‬

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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John Lennon, what can I say!!! He’s my favourite Beatle, a Peace Activist & a modern day saint. Artiste Extraordinaire!!!!
John LennonIMAGINE!!! A world without John Lennon, The Beatles and Lennon & Ono’s Peace Activism and Pacifism. Impossible! I can’t!! The world wouldn’t be what it is today; the open minded, free spirited, sphere, with comparatively lesser wars than the epical carnages that history chronicles. He brought Peace through his music, his lyrics and the famous Bed-In’s. People are more understanding (or should be) than ever before. Not that the world is full of empathicalists today (far from it, especially in this island, that I live in), but the world is slowly improving for the better to some extent (see ’s, existentialist character, Jo Stockton, teach her co-star a thing or two about ‘Empathicalism’, in one of her movies, in my Blog post, for Audrey Hepburn’s 85th from May 2014). And John Lennon, along side his second wife, artist, Yoko Ono, played an important role, for this ever changing world, in the late 60’s & 70’s. If he were alive today, John Lennon would be celebrating his 75th Birthday, on this day, with his messages of peace, love & equality. A sad loss of a legend, a humanitarian, a believer of Equal Rights, a man without borders and an intellectual.
John Lennon SupermanTo John Lennon (1940-1980)!!!!! A & a real life Superhero!!

Initially, as a kid, when I first saw the music video of Lennon’s Imagine, featuring John Lennon & Yoko Ono, I felt a bit bored. But slowly I started loving the lyrics, the music crawled under my skin, and I started having a great admiration for The Beatles as a whole. And by the early 90’s, Lennon’s Imagine, was, and till date is, my all time favourite song. Since the early 90’s, I’ve read so much on The Beatles, especially Lennon and Paul McCartney, the songs they co-wrote, and have listened to practically every single song The Beatles, and post-Beatles Lennon, ever released. More recently, mid-2007, whilst living in Sydney, Australia, I watched The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006), on the Big Screen, down there. A very inspiring documentary focusing on Lennon’s quest for world peace, the famed War Is Over posters, anti-Vietnam war protests; and specifically emphasising the futile attempts by President Richard Nixon’s, American, government, to silence him. John Lennon managed to shake Nixon’s government to the edge of paranoiac fear, just through his songs, especially Give Peace a Chance. An exceptional documentary, and am glad I got to watch, The U.S. vs. John Lennon, on the Big Screen. I’d generally rarely watch a documentary in the cinema, but ’twas totally worth it!!

John Lennon with his fellow Beatles; including best pal, Paul McCartney; in the mid-60’s

John Lennon (far right), with his fellow Beatles; including best pal, Paul McCartney (in the middle); in the mid-60’s

John Lennon was also a feminist (see my post Beatle News #10 from April 2013), who took his wife’s, Yoko Ono’s, surname, on the 22nd of April, 1969, as a middle name, through an official ‘Deed of Change of Name’. Thus changing his name from John Winston Lennon to John Winston Ono Lennon, a month after they were married (in March 20th, 1969). Proper Feminism is about Equal Rights, between men and women, thus it’s not essential for one to own a pair of breasts to be a feminist. Being a believer of Equal rights myself, I consider myself a feminist as well; though being a free thinker and a believer of equal rights on varied issues of race, religion, gender and sexuality, the tag of feminism alone isn’t enough to describe who I am. None the less, I believe in the stone faced feminism of the 60’s & 70’s, and am a die hard fan of John Lennon, not just due to his music, but for the kind of great humanitarian he was.

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, during their famous Bed-In’s for Peace, in 1969

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, during their famous Bed-In’s for Peace, in 1969

In early 2012, I was in New Delhi, India, during the annual World Book Fair, and, among many, ended up buying two books on the Beatles; The Beatles: The Days of their Life by Richard Havers (copyright:2010) and A Hard Days Write: The Stories behind every Beatles Song (New and Updated Edition (copyright:1994, new edition:2010)) by Steve Turner. I started blogging in March 2012, and meanwhile, after going through theses books, they soon inspired me to start a segment, on my Blog. Do check out all my Beatle News, from #1 to #33, I posted between March 2013 and February 2014, especially the ones on , and their famous ’s () and Bagism, for World Peace (including Beatle News #4, Beatle News #5, Beatle News #11, Beatle News #12 and Beatle News #16).

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Beatle News  #34:
On Tuesday, 6th of October, thousands of people joined together to form a human Peace sign in honour of John Lennon’s 75th Birth Anniversary, three day before his birthday. This tribute took place in Central Park’s East Meadow, New York, in the United States of America. I wish I was there, as one of the participants. His widow, Yoko Ono, is currently helping to fund a mobile studio called The Lennon Bus, in his name, to help music students and aspiring songwriters. This year also marks the 35th Death Anniversary of John Lennon, who was shot by a deranged fan, on the 8th of December, 1980.

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John Lennon & Yoko Ono with their newborn, Sean Ono Lennon, in 1975.

John Lennon & Yoko Ono with their newborn, Sean Ono Lennon, in 1975.

Today also happens to be, Lennon’s second son’s (Lennon & Ono’s only child together), Sean Ono Lennon’s, 40th Birthday as well. Both Lennon & Ono have a child each, from their previous marriages as well.

Sean Ono Lennon earlier this year (April 2015)

Sean Ono Lennon, who turns 40 today, in a picture taken earlier this year, in April 2015.

Sean Taro Ono Lennon was born on John Lennon’s 35th Birthday, on the 9th of October, 1975. A parent couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present than that. Going back to John Lennon’s feminism, after the birth of Sean Lennon, John became a house husband and stay-at-home dad, taking full responsibility for the care of his younger child, until John Lennon was killed five years later. Though, no where near as famous, as his post-modernist, aesthetically superior, parents, Sean Ono Lennon, too is a music artiste and activist, in his own right.

Sean Ono Lennon, who turns 40 today, in a picture taken earlier this year, in April 2015.

Sean Ono Lennon, who turns 40 today, in a picture taken earlier this year, in April 2015.

To John Lennon and Sean Lennon, who were born this day, 75, & 40, years ago, respectively. John Lennon shall forever live on through his brilliant musical legacy and Peace activism. And wishing Sean Ono Lennon all the best, and hope he’ll keep carrying the torch forward (the legacy of his father), like his mother, Yoko Ono has continued to do so. Have a fantastical 40th Birthday, Sean Ono Lennon.

Nuwan Sen n’ The Beatles
Nuwan Sen’s Music Sense

Quoting Oscar Wilde 

You can never be
overdressed
or overeducated.
            – Oscar Wilde
         (1854 – 1900)

BOOKISH NUWAN ()
Nuwan Sen (Quoting Quotes)

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