Tag Archive: Nuwan Sen n’ Science


Quoting Vladimir Nabokov

“A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist”
– Vladimir Nabokov
     (1899-1977)

BOOKISH NUWAN ()
Nuwan Sen (Quoting Quotes)

The Philosophy of the human verbal Language, is a superb communicative tool, which enables us to understand one another. Race no bar; Religion no bar; Nationality no bar, Cast no bar, Class no bar, Gender no bar, Sexuality no bar!!!!! One of the key developments, in helping the human mind, in understanding, the world full of diverse societies and cultures; history, arts, education; you name it. Brilliant communication skills, help build bridges. Here is a look at the languages, that my limited intelligence can comprehend!!
Namaste (T-Shirt)Languages I can speak Fluently

ENGLISH
English
The English language, today, is no doubt, an international language. At least it should be considered to be a global language. Majority of people speak it; how well, differs; accents differ; even dialects do, as do the manner in which it is spoken. But most people, the younger generation, and definitely the highly educated, do tend to understand it well enough, in most parts of the world. In the modern world, it’s absurd having any prejudice towards this beautiful language.

English also happens to be my first language. WHY?? Well, Sinhala is my mother tongue; but English is my FIRST LANGUAGE!! Whether people can accept that, or not.

I was born in New Delhi, India, to Sri Lankan parents; and spent my entire childhood there. As most Indian schools in New Delhi (and most other Indian cities), happens to be in the English Language (where Hindi; the national language of India; is the only subject taught in Hindi; and various Indian states having their own languages, most probably teach that particular language and Hindi, in that particular language and Hindi, respectively, in an English Language school), I too studied in the English medium. Plus, besides my early education; nursery, Kindergarten, Grade, 1, 2, 3 (which too were in the English medium); by the time I was 10 years old; I was studying at The British School, in New Delhi (starting off in Junior-4; their grading system was different to Indian schools). Thus British English, is till date, my forte (I continued to study in the English language, throughout). In fact, as a kid, I was told I had a very posh British accent (no, I was never a snob though). Of course, I don’t remember having a British accent, as such; but apparently I did!!! Years later, as an adult, when I first touched English soil (UK); in 2002; the British were quite surprised, that this was my first time in England (only if they heard me speak, of course). I still have a somewhat westernised accent, as I’ve been told; but I guess, by now it’s more of a mixture of British, and (a clearer form of) Indian English. Thus, my brain works in English; and I generally, tend to, think in English. Therefore; my FIRST LANGUAGE is English!!!!! And thanks to my knowledge of the English language, I’ve managed to get by swimmingly, around the globe, having lived in Six countries, in Three continents; and travelled to many a countries, within these three continents.

HINDI
हिन्दी
Having been born in New Delhi, India; and having spent my entire childhood there; it would be silly not to know the national language of India (i.e. Hindi). Initially I studied the subject of Hindi, in school, till about Grade-2. Once I changed schools, I was exempted from studying Hindi; as a foreign student!

INDIAN WINTER: Me, in front of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace); in New Delhi, India (January 1997), when I lived there!!

INDIAN WINTER: Me, in front of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace); in New Delhi, India (January 1997), when I lived there!!

Descending, straight from the ancient, sacred, language of Sanskrit; Modern day, Hindi, is a very beautiful and poetic language. Being the 4th most natively spoken language in the world; it’s very useful, not just in India, but also in various countries, surrounding the Indian land mass. In Pakistan, they speak Urdu; which is practically a more sophisticated, and more poetic, version of Hindi, itself. People in countries like Nepal and Bangladesh; tend to understand, Hindi, very well. India, being a massive, country, with an equally massive population (India is the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion people); Hindi to India, is like, what English is to the world. Each Indian state has it’s own language (few a direct dialect of Hindi). So basically Hindi is understood, by the whole of India, along with each state, having their own language; plus, among city folk; and the well educated; as well as poverty stricken beggars in Indian tourist destinations; people tend to speak English. Added to which, many learn; other languages as well (other Indian languages or even a completely foreign language).

Of course, most Southern Indian states, that speak Dravidian languages (like Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada et al); tend to avoid Hindi, as much as possible. The Dravidian culture’s archaic ego, won’t allow them to admit, they know the national language of Hindi. Due to false nationalistic pride, centring, their respective states. BUT, that doesn’t necessarily mean, they don’t know Hindi. Most just pretend not to!!

None the less, Hindi, even today, is  really useful, not to mention a beautiful, language. Hindi is here to stay!! And the fame of Bollywood; worldwide; which is an industry that mostly makes commercial movies, in Hindi; in rare occasions, they do have Art Films, and English Language movies; is proof enough!!!! Hindi, is a superb second language, am glad I understand it fluently!!

SINHALA
සිංහල
This is by far, THE most worthless language; I happen to know, very well!! Having been born into a Sinhalese family; I know it well; for no matter where we lived, at home we spoke in Sinhala. But it’s of no use, outside this country. This insignificant dot of an island, full of people with massive ego’s and false nationalistic pride, that most of the world doesn’t even know exists. Tell people here, that lot of people out there haven’t even heard of Sri Lanka. The strain on their ego, is pretty rough (as if they know every single country in the world; in fact once a person asked me if Rome was in England; and this was somebody working in the travel field). While most people in Sri Lanka, do understand Sinhala (whether they are Sinhalese or Tamil); I’ve heard that, way up north; they neither speak, nor comprehend, the Sinhalese language. They only speak Tamil and English! So Sinhala is not even spoken in the whole country, let alone outside it. There was an almost 30 year civil war, between the Sinhalese and the Tamil; each preferring to believe they are of the superior race; but in reality they are both the same; both just as pathetic; with fake patriotism, and Hitler mentality. In fact; everything in this country is supposedly the best in the world. And people who have great love this country, are the ones that go and hide in other countries, take all the advantages of freely living there, and demean those countries.

Of course; initially as a kid; I happily went to learn Sinhala (when residing in New Delhi); but living here, constantly being pushed the language onto me; shoving this country every two seconds; I grew to dislike it. I had a lot of patience; and love, though not blinded by it, for this country of my unfortunate roots; but lost patience, by my mid-30’s; and started to dislike Lankan society; not just here, but everywhere; in a general sense!! I can’t take it anymore. Today, I truly, genuinely, hate them, and this country (again generally speaking; I always give the benefit of the doubt, when I meet someone, and not judge them for being Sri Lankan; but soon their judgemental; narrow-minded, attitude and troublesome nature; just gets to me).

Sinhala is not a dead language. It’s not a dying language. For the Sinhalese people; and most of the country (both Sinhalese and Tamil) tend to converse in Sinhala, quite frequently. So it’s a language I know; BUT that doesn’t mean I have to love it. It’s noise pollution, loud and screeching, and outright Vulgar!!! In fact, the Sinhalese make fun of the Tamil language; assuming Sinhala sounds so much more better; but again they are both the same to a foreign ear; a load of noise. In fact, Sri Lankans insult all foreign tongues; for SL is the BEST in world. And don’t get me started on their attitudes towards other English accents (they never look at themselves; for SL accents are pretty pathetic themselves). None the less, am not a fan of this country, and definitely not a fan of this language!! I’ve had so much trouble from these people, and their archaic attitudes. And I don’t necessarily mean illiterate people. But, I know this Language. No harm in knowing it; and no use of it outside this country (or even up in the northern part of this country).

One Language, am yet to Master

FRENCH SUMMER: Me, in front of the Eiffel Tower; in Paris, France (July 2008), when I went to live there.

FRENCH SUMMER: Me, in front of the Eiffel Tower; in Paris, France (July 2008), when I went to live there.

FRENCH
français
J’aime la langue française!!!!! I love French!! Unfortunately, am not that good in it!!

Another beautiful, and very useful, language, after English. It’s spoken extensively, in various countries, in two continents (Europe and North America), and happens to be the official language in 29 countries. Another musical language, much like Hindi. The mannerism of their speech, is naturally singsong. Sounds beautiful and soft to the ear.

When I studied at The British School, in New Delhi; when I entered senior school (S-1); at age of 11; I learnt French for the very first time. Then, when we came to Sri Lanka, I got out of touch; learnt again in Grade-8 (when I was 13); didn’t post that; did it for local A/L’s (more basic level, than the London A/L’s), at the age of 17/18/19; and forgot it completely, post that. When I first visited, Belgium, in 2003; and later Paris, France in 2005 (aged 28 & 29); I was completely out of touch. Years later; whilst in Sydney, Australia; I did a three month French course, before going to Paris. But in Paris; in 2008 & 2009 (where I lived for almost a year), I didn’t really use French at all. I spoke in English; as it came easy to me; and most Frenchman, especially the younger generation, can speak English, pretty well. Of course, you get some people who pretend not to understand English; especially; ironically; Americans in France, act as if they are French, and pretend they don’t understand English. Not all Americans are like that; just quite a few, I came across in France!!

None the less, French is an amazing language!! But sadly, unlike some languages, that one can’t forget; French can easily be forgotten, if not acquainted with regularly. Thankfully, am a Film Buff, who happens to love cinema from around the world, including France. And I happen to have some French movies, in my private collection. Plus, our cable operator provides us with TV5MONDE; a French language channel for Asia. So I can manage, not to forget, completely, but sadly, am far from fluent in the French Language.

Other Beautiful Languages

Besides the above mentioned languages, there are so many beautiful languages, around the world, some of which can come in really handy!! From Korean, to Japanese, to Thai, to Bengali, to Russian, to Arabic, to Swahili, to Italian, to Dutch, to Spanish et al; there are 6,500 known languages, spoken in the modern world!! Added to which, there some beautiful ancient languages; the likes of Ancient Greek, Latin (my maternal Grandfather, who’s no more, studied Latin in his school days), Sanskrit, Pali etc etc…!!!

Foreign languages too deserve their respect, not just ones own.

Nuwan Sen – A Social Critique on languages!!

It’s here!!! October 21st, Year 2015!!!!!
Back to The Future (21st Oct 2015)Beware fans of Back to the Future Part II (1989), you might bump into Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), for today is the day he arrives from 30 years ago, 1985, in the above stated movie. Then again, who’d not want to bump into a young Michael J. Fox. A pity though, some of the cool gadgets, portrayed in the movie, don’t really exist today; like Hover Boards, Flying Cars and that Pizza maker.

There is Jaws 19 (Thank God for that!!)

There is no Jaws 19 (Thank God for that!!)

No Hover Boards (A Pity!!)

No Hover Boards (A Pity!!)

No Cool Pizza maker ( :( )

No Cool Pizza maker ( 😦 )

From Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future franchise, I loved the first one (from 1985) – 10/10 (Guilty Pleasure); thought the squeal, most of which is set today, was just OK – 5/10; and the third instalment from 1990, set in wild wild west, was actually pretty good – 7/10. Thus, my least favourite from the franchise, is the one where McFly flies into this exact date. Yet I can’t believe, it’s already actually the futuristic day portrayed in the movie. Time sure flies (Pun intended) !!!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Pure British Sophistication!!! Chic & Classy, the Poshest of the Posh, Kate Winslet joins me, by turning 40 today. So, Happy Birthday, to one of my favourite Brits, of the 21st century!!!!!

English Rose: Kate Winslet turn 40!

English Rose: Kate Winslet turn 40!

With her charming smile, her naturalistic simple appearance, and eloquently well spoken British English, that would have pleased Professor Higgins; Kate Winslet today, is one of the most talented British actresses to have graced the Big Screen, both, in her own homeland, as well as Hollywood. Her elegantly well spoken, vocal diction, is the most articulate, since Julie Andrews, ran singing up the Austrian hills in a habit, 50 years ago. Winslet’s acting skills are second to none other than that of, the marvellous 66 year old, Meryl Streep. With her great cinematic choices; grace, elegance, poise, and such a kindly face; she is my favourite actress of this century.

Back in the mid-90’s, I read a small snippet on the movie, Jude (1996), most probably before it’s release, on some magazine, which accompanied a picture of Kate Winslet and Christopher Eccleston. To my memory, this was the very first I heard, and/or saw a picture, of Kate Winslet. I don’t recall coming across anything about her, prior to that. I was really keen of watching Jude at the time, as it was based on the novel, Jude The Obscure, by Thomas Hardy. Soon I forgot the cast, but remembered that there was a movie called Jude, that I wish to see. Then in early 1998, in my second year, at Delhi University, Titanic (1997) was being shown at a relatively newer Cineplex in the city. Multiplexes were quite new back in the 90’s, in New Delhi, thus a craze among young Delhiites, and we had heard about the curved wide screens at this particular cinema, with multiple halls, called Satyam Cineplex. So one wintry night, close to spring, along with some fellow students (friends & acquaintances), we went all the way to Satyam, which was quite a distance, from the north campus, to watch the late night show of Titanic. Getting the tickets wasn’t easy, even at that late hour, and we ended up in the front row seats. Generally not a fan of sitting right in front, but Titanic was totally worth it. As the lead  character played by Michael Pitt, in my favourite film on film buffs, The Dreamers (2003), states, about sitting right up front in the cinema, “it was because we wanted to receive the images first. When they were still new, still fresh. Before they cleared the hurdles of the rows behind us. Before they’d been relayed back from row to row, spectator to spectator; until worn out, second-hand, the size of a postage stamp, it returned to the projectionist’s cabin.” Over five years later, when I watched Michael Pitt’s character, Matthew, narrate those words, I could relate to it, especially since I watched at least two movies in that manner, in my DU years, and one of them was Titanic. I loved the movie; even though somewhat censored, when it came to the innocent, non-sexual, nudity showcased in the film; and everything about it, including Kate Winslet. Post that, I’ve seen Titanic quite a few times.

Kate Winslet in Jude (1996)

Kate Winslet in Jude (1996)

Being a great fan of Sandra Bullock, back in the 90’s, Winslet didn’t become my favourite actress, over-night. Literally!!! Titanic ended past midnight, thus next morning, and it was freezing cold by then. Later that year, I saw Jude, and fell in love with it, and thought Kate Winslet was brilliant. A couple of years later, I got to re-watch it. Consequently, over the next few years, I watched quite a lot of films of hers, some good, some not so, including, Heavenly Creatures (1994), Sense and Sensibility (1995), Hamlet (1996), Hideous Kinky (1998), Holy Smoke (1999), Quills (2000), Enigma (2001) and Iris (2001). Jude happens to be my favourite of Kate Winslet movie from the 1990’s.

Then in 2004, whilst living in Portsmouth, UK, I watched two interesting movies of hers. One was the really good thriller, with a very clever twist, The Life of David Gale (2003). The other, was the brilliant, surreal, masterpiece, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004); for which Winslet was nominated for a fourth time, and which was her second ‘Best Actress’ nomination, the following year. So, Year 2004, was the year, Kate Winslet, became my favourite actress. And since then, she is till date, my favourite female star of the 21st century. Back in 2000, I fell in love with Jude Law, practically replacing Matt Damon, as my favourite actor, when I watched The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), my favourite film from the 90’s decade, for which Law received his very first Oscar nomination. But it was four years later, after watching some more of his movies, that Law really became my favourite male star of the 21st century. So Year 2004, was a crucial year, for both Jude Law (who had quite a few releases that year) and Kate Winslet (mainly in regard to me). Year 2004, was when Law & Winslet, became my two favourite films stars, of the new century; and 11 years later, they still are (though unfortunately, Law hasn’t appeared in anything that impressive lately). It’s an interesting coincidence, to note, that both, Law & Winslet, happen to be Brits. Back then, they hadn’t actually worked together. But post 2004, Law & Winslet, have worked in a trio of films, out of which, I’ve unfortunately watched only, The Holiday (2006). A beautiful Christmassy romance flick, and if I remember correctly, I watched it on Boxing Day 2006, the day after Christmas; in Sydney, Australia. Later, I re-watched The Holiday, with my flatmates on DVD, the following year.

Law & Winslet: Movies in which both, Jude Law and Kate Winslet, appeared in.

Law & Winslet: Movies in which both, Jude Law and Kate Winslet, appeared in.

Then in early 2007, one Summer evening, at the height of the dry Australian heat, I saw Little Children (2006), on the Big Screen. Another excellent, Art House, film, and another superb Kate Winslet performance, for which she received her third ‘Best Actress’ Oscar nomination. By 2005, she was already, the youngest celebrity to be nominated four times, by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars). She was still 29, when she was nominated for a fourth time, for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Then came her magnum opus, The Reader (2008), for which she finally won the ‘Best Actress Oscar’. ’twas about time. I watched The Reader, twice within 2009 itself, the latter was on the Big Screen, in Paris, France. Today The Reader is my favourite of Kate Winslet movies. She’s definitely come a long way since her Titanic days. By now, I’ve seen quite a load of Winslet films of this century, including, Finding Neverland (2004), Romance & Cigarettes (2005), Revolutionary Road (2008), Carnage (2011) and Labor Day (2013). Added to which, I’ve also seen the excellent TV-miniseries, Mildred Pierce (2011), for which Kate Winslet won a Golden Globe award, an Emmy, among other wins, as well, for her performance as the titular character of the show. From her movies, that I haven’t seen yet, am really keen on watching, War Game (2002) & Pride (2004); for which she had lent her voice; All the King’s Men (2006), Contagion (2011), A Little Chaos (2014), Steve Jobs (2015) and The Dressmaker (2015), to name some.

It’s interesting to note, that Kate Winslet has appeared in some of my favourite pieces of literature, including adaptations of, Shakespeare’s Hamlet (an excellent modern adaptation), Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader, and Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road. Love those Books, Love their movie adaptations just as much.

Wishing Kate Winslet, all the best, on her 40th Birthday (Actors, Parminder Nagra and Scott Weinger, also turn 40 today. Best Wishes to them as well).

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Kate Winslet in Titanic (1997)

Kate Winslet in Titanic (1997)

Related posts/lists

Six Degrees of Separation: Kate Winslet
Mildred Pierce: TV miniseries
K Winslet
Oscar Winners … and then some 2012.
Labor Day: An Enjoyable Piece of Labour

(NSFS

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

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

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

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

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

And in Cinema: 1960’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Year: 1966

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My favourite film of Year: Nineteen Sexty Sex

My favourite film of Year: Nineteen Sexty Sex

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

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

Sex on the Dance Floor: Liz Taylor & George Segal

Sex on the Dance Floor: Liz Taylor & George Segal

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

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

Scenes from This Property is Condemned (1966)

Scenes from This Property is Condemned (1966)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cul-de-Sac 66'

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

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

Julie Andrews and Paul Newman in Torn Curtain (1966)

Julie Andrews and Paul Newman in Torn Curtain (1966)

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

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

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

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

Scene from Masculin Féminin (1966)

Scene from Masculin Féminin (1966)

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

The cover of Film Review from December 1966

The cover of Film Review from December 1966

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

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

Veruschka and David Hemmings in Blow-Up  YEAR:1966

Veruschka and David Hemmings in Blow-Up
YEAR:1966

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

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

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

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

Regards
Nuwan Sen

Turning 40

So it’s finally here. The day I dreaded, within the last decade. The day I turn into, thus earn the tag of being, the infamous, real life, 40 year old virgin. It’s here at last, and there is nothing I can do about it.
AH B-Day CakeJust prior to my 30th Birthday, I rented the movie, The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), and joked that it’s the story of my life. Little did I know then, that 10 years later, it would end up being a reality.

Leading a sexless life, has been partially my own choice. I never had anyone in my life, and I never felt that desperate, to have sex with just any Tom, Dick or Hariendre walking down the street. It had to be with some one I care about, who’d feel the same way about me. Alas!! My standards being a tad bit high (so I’ve been told by many a friends), and with my pretty decent upbringing, it’s been somewhat difficult for me. I’ve fallen in love quite a few times, but ‘twas always unrequited love. And if anyone’s felt anything for me (apparently some have, so I’ve been told, from friends/acquaintances), they’ve never come forward, at least not directly.

Though I’ve had some really good friendships in my life, both male and female, from around the globe, I’ve been a loner (and total loser – for many a sex obsessed, judgmental, individuals), when it comes to Love, Romance & Sex.

Fallen in Love many a times, but never had a Lover. A total Romantic personality, at heart, but never experienced Romance. And a Sexual desire that still exists, but have never acted upon it. Still, I don’t want to completely lose hope either. As always, I’d like to hope for best, and be ready for the worst. But I never really seem ready for the worst. The pain is unbearable, but I do  have an inner strength to go on. Hope gets lesser as I age, and especially being stuck in this narrow minded country, constantly surrounded by negative energy, for the last (almost) six years, where I never really belonged, it just feels an impossible task, of ever finding anyone. It’s unfortunate that I came back to the country of my miserable roots, though not of my birth (I’ll always have a soft corner for the country of my birth). Roots are meant to stay buried, at least in my case, being a person who likes to branch out, and experience the fresh new challenges in the wide pleasant openness, out there. Yet, these horrible roots; along with it’s greenishly jealous venomous varmints, who are quite happily stuck in their hellishly dark confines of the underbelly underneath; are constantly tiring to drag me down, to be stuck among the roots, and their filthy, hypocritical, conniving mentality, full of a fake sense of patriotism, and false pride. But still, hope is something that keeps me going. Hope that someday, my branches shall stem away, and would venture forth, back into the future, where I belong; leaving my unfortunate roots, under the ocean, where they definitely belong.

I can never love my roots, not anymore. And nothing, and no one, can force me to do so. Not even me. A country that has given me so much of unhappiness, misery, stress and depression. And Shoving this country on to face constantly, only makes me dislike it further. Yet, I have no real desire to hate it. But circumstances, always gets my blood boiling. At the same time, I wish no one any harm. I just wish to lead a life of contentment, hopefully with someone someday.

Out of the last 40 years of my life, I’ve spent majority of my teenage years (12½ to 18½), and then the whole latter half of my 30’s (34¼ till date), in this country. And I’ve had to associate many a local, brain-dead and crude, pests, across the globe. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is wherever I feel welcomed and at home, thus far away from this country of my roots, unnecessary stress and uncalled for misery.

The best thing that happened to my life, is the adoption of a puppy, I named (a.k.a Gingy), back in December 2014. She’s the naughtiest little thing ever. Yet, full of pure innocence and torrent of non-judgemental love.

Today is my 40th Birthday.
Born on the 22nd of June, 1975

Pouring my heart out
Nuwan Sen

Last night I watched Transcendence (2014), on HBO On Demand. An almost superior attempt, with the motive of achieving the utmost, in moviemaking. Enlightenment of the digital age.
Transcendence scene 1The movie, the concept, the execution, are all almost transcendently superior, especially for a science fiction cinematic experience of the 21st century. Transcendence is about a genius, who dies, but his wife manages to preserve his brain, onto a computer. After all the human body is just a carrier. Once a person dies, his soul moves on. So similarly, here the brain, obviously not the physical mass, but a mans memories, intelligence and knowledge are transferred into a computerised system. This is in contradiction, to the assumption a persons knowledge can never be stolen. One may be able to steal a persons clothes, money, materialistic accumulations, and even kill the human body; but it was almost impossible to even perceive the theft of his/her psychological accumulations. But now this movie shows otherwise.

Transcendence explores, what a soulless intelligence might actually be destructively capable of. Yet it also shows us, how emotional irrational, humans can be really untrusting, and fear anything they don’t fully comprehend.

Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy & Rebecca Hall look on, as the AI version of Johnny Depp hangs above on a screen, in a scene from Transcendence (2014).

Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy & Rebecca Hall look on, as the AI versions of Johnny Depp hang above on a couple of screens, in a scene from Transcendence (2014).

Spoiler Alert: Towards the end though when the computer does seem to actually have a soul, though a twist in the tale, it feels a tad silly, whilst the rest of the plot sounds more plausible in comparison.

Transcendence is a really good effort, especially for directorial debut. Directed by previous cinematographer, Wally Pfister; the two leads are played by; Johnny Depp as Will Caster; the scientist, and later the artificial intelligence (AI) made up using Caster’s brainwaves; and Rebecca Hall as Evelyn Caster, his wife. The movie also has a round up of an impressive supporting cast, including Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara, Clifton Collins jr. and Josh Stewart; with notable cameos by Lukas Haas, Sam Webb, Chris Gartin, Nancy Jeris, Abraham Jallad and Laramie Cooley.

Behind the scenes: Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman & Rebecca Hall being directed by Wally Pfister; on the sets of Transcendence (2014).

Behind the scenes: Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman & Rebecca Hall being directed by Wally Pfister; on the sets of Transcendence (2014).

Very Good (Could have been better). 8/10!!!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Oscars 2015 The WinnersThe Arrivals

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

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

Neil Patrick Harris, Hosting the Oscars, 2015

Neil Patrick Harris, Hosting the Oscars, 2015

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

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

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

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

Winners as Predicted

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

Unpredicted Winners

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

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

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

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

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

Biggest Oscar Disappointment of the night

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

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

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

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

Honorary & Humanitarian Awards

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

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

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

Also See : The 87th Annual Academy Awards

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

Eddie Redmayne completely encompasses Hawking’s characteristics, in the new bio-pic on Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything (2014).
Theory Everything 3Based on the real life story of the famed, theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking; the movie deals with; his success as a theoretical physicist, his struggle with the motor neuron disease, and of course his relationship with his wife, Jane Wilde Hawking, who stood by him through thick and thin, even when they fell out of love with each other. Without Jane Hawking’s strength backing him, he might have given up on life completely, and might not have achieved as much as he has today. Just as much as how great Stephen Hawking is, his first wife deserves acknowledgement too, for constantly encouraging him, and never letting him be disheartened, due to his disability. James Marsh’s directorial bio-pic, The Theory of Everything (2014), is based on the memoir, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, by Jane Wilde Hawking.

The film begins with, when Stephen Hawking (Redmayne); aged 21, a PhD student of astrophysics; first set eyes on his future bride, Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), in 1963. Their subsequent courtship, Hawking excelling in mathematics and physics, his keen interest in creation of the universe, Hawking’s indecisiveness, as to what his final thesis should be on, et al. This early segment of The Theory of Everything, had me a tad bored, especially the romantic angle. I still felt it was a pretty good ‘love story’, but didn’t feel that it was that great. But then Hawking is diagnosed with the motor neuron disease, and the movie starts to ascend into being one of the best movies ever made. The Theory of Everything, is a very touching portrayal of Hawking’s struggle with this disease, throughout his life, the deterioration of his health, his rise to fame, and the support of his wife and close friends, who constantly encourage him, never letting him give up or feel dejected.

Left: The real Hawking's on their wedding day. Right: The lead actors playing the Hawking's in the movie.

Left: The real Hawking’s on their wedding day.
Right: The lead actors playing the Hawking’s in the movie.

Initially, when Hawking first hears that he’s been diagnosed with the motor neuron disease, it makes him fall into a deep depression and completely lose hope, especially since he was given only two years to live. Yet, it’s Jane, as shown in the movie, who pulls him up, telling him if he has only two years to live to ‘lets make the best of it’ (or something on those lines), and marries him, despite being aware that there might not be a future for them together. That’s true determination, especially from Jane. Instead of the initial diagnosis, of only a couple of years of married life, they end up creating three kids, Stephen Hawking achieves recognition in the field of popular science, with 50 years of ongoing success, till date, and ends up being one the most celebrated theoretical physicists, of the 20th and 21st century. Of course, their life together hasn’t been easy. As much as it has been hard for Stephen Hawking, it’s been just as much a struggle for Jane. We also see how she suffered herself, sacrificing her whole life, taking care of him, falling out of love, not being able to get her own PhD thesis done; yet she never easily backs down; i.e. until he falls for a nurse, who can take care of him, Elaine Mason (Maxine Peake). Even after the couple separate, they remain good friends, and she continued to support him through his health problems and work.

James Marsh has brought out an incredible bio-pic, spanning approximately 25 years, about a great individual, who has achieved so much, despite going through such a grave disability. Stephen Hawking truly lived, defying death, and doing something really brilliant with his brain, the only part of his system not affected by the motor neuron disease. Eddie Redmayne does an exceptional job, that he practically becomes Hawking, in fact Redmayne is Hawking. Felicity Jones brings out an exemplary performance as the strength behind Hawking’s survival. David Thewlis is a perfect fit as Hawking’s professor, Dr. Dennis W. Sciama, one of the fathers of modern cosmology. Charlie Cox is really likable as the kindly gentleman, a choirmaster, who selflessly helps the Hawking family, and meanwhile falls for Jane Hawking, but yet is decent enough not pursue it. Harry Lloyd is really good as Hawking’s roommate at Cambridge, and best friend, who proves to be a truly good buddy to Hawking, supporting him throughout. And Maxine Peake fits in perfectly as Elaine Mason, Hawking’s future second wife.

Of course the movie is also very aesthetically filmed. I especially love the scene at the spring ball, Cambridge May Ball, where Hawking explains to the love of his life, the reason why the whites of the gents shirts tend to glow in the dark. And they sure do glow. Love the cinematography capturing the beautiful locations of the historically significant architectural landscapes of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Stephen Hawking and Jane Wilde Hawking with actors Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.

Stephen Hawking and Jane Wilde Hawking with actors Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.

Though an excellent movie, the film does have less to do with Hawking’s accomplishments, his theory on space and time, the black holes emitting radiation, general relativity and quantum mechanics. The Theory of Everything focuses less on his theoretical predictions, and more to do with his disease and life with his wife. Though I don’t really mind that, I would like to see a movie which incorporates his theoretical assessments. Maybe a surreal film, merging reality with his scientific brainchild. That would make for a spectacular viewing. Yet, I did love this biographical drama as well.

I roughly went through Stephen Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time, back in 1996, as a Freshman, in Delhi University. It was a hit back in New Delhi, India, those days. It explained Hawking’s theory on the Big Bang, Black Holes et al. Though I found it intriguing, I was a bit too young, at the time, to get in too deeply into the book. Nor did I get to complete it. I enjoyed it more, because I was aware of who Hawking’s was, rather than an actual interest in cosmology, itself.

The Theory of Everything has been nominated for five Oscars, at 87th Annual Academy Awards, to be held later this month, including for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Best Actress’. When it comes to the ‘Best Picture’, I feel Richard Linklater’s Boyhood (2014) should take home the trophy. Boyhood was a uniquely excellent movie, that took 12 years to make (See my post In-flight Entertainment from November 2014). But when it comes to ‘Best Actor’, nothing could compare to Eddie Redmayne’s powerful performance. I haven’t heard of any prosthetic makeup being used to make Eddie Redmayne look more like Stephen Hawking, yet Redmayne felt every bit the famed theoretical physicist. That how great an actor Redmayne has proved to be. Stephen Hawking provided his ‘Equalizer Computerized Voice Synthesizer’, to be used in the movie.

The Theory of Everything, is also nominated for ‘Best Original Musical Score’ to composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. Though brilliant, I believe Hans Zimmer (who too is nominated), should bag this award, for his superb score, for Interstellar (2014). Also see my post The Big Screen – Films Down Under from November 2014.

Never Give Up: Felicity Jones as Jane Wilde Hawking in a scene from The Theory of Everything (2014)

Never Give Up: Felicity Jones as Jane Wilde Hawking in a scene from The Theory of Everything (2014)

Jane Hawking was initially apprehensive, about letting them make a movie, based on her book. After three years of convincing the ex-Mrs. Hawking, she finally gave in. Yet Jane Hawking requested that there be no love making scenes between them, shown on screen. Her request was honoured. At a screening of the film, Stephen Hawking, had a nurse wipe off a tear from his cheek.

I luckily got to watch The Theory of Everything on the Big Screen, on the 1st of February, 2015. Such movies are never really shown here, they don’t have a market for it. Luckily it was shown in a new cinema here, a rarity. Of course it was one of those luxurious film halls (luxurious by here’s standards that is), with comfortable reclining seats, with very few seats, and fewer people, even on a Sunday afternoon. The niche market for this particular movie, in this country (this cinema was the only place, in the whole country, this movie was shown, and for a limited amount of time), consisted of only five people, including me and a friend of mine. That Sunday afternoon at least.

The Theory of Everything (2014) Excellent !!!!! 10/10!!!!!  

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

P.K. Are you DRUNK ?????

PK, an innocent humanoid Alien walks around the streets of New Delhi, looking for his ‘Remote’, i.e. his way back to his home planet.
PK 1Since E.T. (1982) famously descended on to the screens, over 30 years ago, there have been so many Big Screen Aliens visiting the cinematic world, without much success. Finally now, Director Rajkumar Hirani’s, Bollywood Blockbuster, PK (2014), took over the celluloid world, with one of the most likable fictional Aliens to have visited Planet Cinema, since E.T.

Like the birth of a new born baby, a spaceship, drops off a humanoid alien; without a stitch on his body, except for a flashing beacon (‘Remote’), strung around his neck; into the remote deserts of Rajasthan, India. The alien’s nude trek through the desert; towards a villager with a cassette player/tape recorder, walking along a train track; resembled that of the naked ‘Terminator’ (Arnold Schwarzenegger), from the pretty good, yet cheesy, 80’s, B-movie, cult-classic, The Terminator (1984). The villager steals the alien’s ‘Remote’, and the poor horrified alien manages to grab onto the cassette player, as the villager jumps onto a moving, open hooded, cargo train. Thus begins the alien’s quest to locate his lost ‘Remote’, his only way to contact the spaceship, his only way home. This expedition, ultimately, brings him to the Indian capital city, of New Delhi. This large confusing city, of various faiths, and contrasting mentalities, of the old and the new, makes the curious alien question everything, from religious views, blind devotion, to various brainwashed traditional concepts.

The maestro of the acting world, Aamir Khan, is amazing as ever, as the naïve alien (accidentally named P.K.); that’s more human, than most human beings; with his child like innocence, and curiosity, trying his best, to understand the people of Planet Earth, especially in India, and more specifically, the city of New Delhi.

PK, is a brilliant concept, that questions, fake sense of patriotism, false religious pride and egoistic ethnic personalities, that exist, even in this day and age, not only in India, but around the globe. The movie, through this nameless alien, whom everyone assumes is a man who walks around ‘Pee Kay’ (‘Drunk’ in Hindi), thus named P.K., questions religious beliefs derived out of fear. P.K. makes the ignorant, rack their brains; to help them realise their folly, of blindly following fraudulent religious leaders; and fakes fear for their livelihoods. PK is a cinematic experience, that’s a must, for all film enthusiasts of the world. An intellectual, thought provoking, satirical comedy, that crushes narrow minded sentiments, that still exist in the modern world, even among the well literate, to a certain extent.
PK 2The movie, as most Bollywood films generally do, has a romantic angle too. Yet luckily, PK, does not waste time on the love story between Sarfraz (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Jaggu (Anushka Sharma). Though initially, this India/Pakistan (Hindu/Muslim) love story does not seem that significant to the plot, there is ultimately a relevant reasoning for that romantic input, to help expose a fraudulent Maharishi (Saurabh Shukla). But, Aamir Khan, being the lead character, too, is shown falling in love. Here, I did wonder, was it really necessary for Khan’s alien to fall in love with Jaggu as well? Is it a necessity for the lead actor of a Hindi film to fall in love too? Even if it were unrequited love. Yet, that was just a minor unessential addition to an almost perfect movie, which neither helps nor ruins, the main plot.

Besides this minor, non required, heartbreak, of an alien, the segment set in the state of Rajasthan, though very essential, drags a bit, especially with a song featuring Sanjay Dutt. Was that a necessity? Didn’t it elongate the movie a tad? But yet again, that enjoyable enough, though not required, song and dance sequence, wasn’t that much of a waste of time and space, to ruin this pleasant ride along with a good hearted innocent creature from outer-space. Some interesting sequences set in Rajasthan include, the ‘Dancing Cars’ and P.K. downloading the Bhojpuri language via a prostitute. Of course the satirical comedy set Delhi, is, die out laughing, hilarious. Especially the sequences concerning various differential religions and customs, that tend to further confuse the poor alien, who comes from a planet, where everyone is considered equal.

PK is beautifully shot, in some spectacular locations, including the cobbled streets, of the breathtaking Flemish city, of Bruges (in Belgium), barren landscapes of India’s largest state, Rajasthan, and impressively showcases some iconic historical monumental backdrops of Old and New Delhi (in India). PK also consists of some melodious songs; that one can’t easily get out of their system; specifically the romantic yesteryear style of ‘Chaar Kadam’ (Four Steps), and the comical number featuring Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma, ‘Love is a waste of Time’.

Besides, the great characterisation of P.K. by, Aamir Khan, the rest of the cast is just as superb. Anushka Sharma is amazing as Jagat Janani (a.k.a. Jaggu), a TV journalist who works for a prestigious television channel, in New Delhi, and who too questions blind religious faiths and foolish archaic superstitious beliefs, including of her own family’s. Jaggu desperately tries to expose the fraudulent Maharishi, and ropes in P.K. to help her do so. She is the only being in our planet, besides us, the audience, who is aware that P.K. is actually an extraterrestrial from outer space. Plus that vintage chic short crop hairdo Sharma sports is spot on. She feels like a cool chick from 80’s, especially in a scene she’s seen, wearing a loose white T-shirt, and no pants 🙂 . She looks good, and acts just as well. Boman Irani, another superb actor, does a great job, as Cherry Bajwa, the head of the television news network. Veteran, Parikshat Sahni, is a perfect fit as the god fearing, blindly devoted, disciple of the Maharishi, and Jaggu’s father. Saurabh Shukla is a natural as Tapasvi Maharaj, the deceptive Maharishi, conning fearful ignorant minds. Sanjay Dutt and Sushant Singh Rajput, are pretty interesting in their respective cameo appearances. But Ranbir Kapoor (of the famous Kapoor dynasty of Bollywood), puts on his usual, unimaginative, hackneyed, goggle eyed, dumb expression, seen in quite a few of his movies, in his blink of an eye, appearance. Besides these, other minor characters are also quite good in their respective roles.

A couple of Hindu organisations, wanted the film banned, as it apparently hurt Hindu sentiments. But their protests didn’t play, and PK was a big hit India.

Bollywood makes thousands of movies per year, and the whole of India (including other regional cinema), makes the largest number of films in the world. But majority of films that come out are crap. But when India get it right, they sure get it right. India has brought out some very good movies, including some of the greatest films ever, with an international standard, that happen to be amongst the best loved films in the world. Not just movies that are here today, and gone tomorrow. Not just Bollywood films, but films from the rest of the Indian film fraternities as well, especially when it comes to Bengali Art cinema, as well as Indian English language movies. India has brought out some excellent movies, that tend to age well, even though percentage wise, it might be a miniscule percentage of films, considering the output of Indian films, per year.

PK being an exceptional story, I don’t know if it ought to be necessarily nominated for ‘Best Film’, but it definitely should at least be nominated, if not gain a win, for ‘Best Script’, ‘Best Original Story’, ‘Best Director’ and no doubt secure a nomination for ‘Best Actor’, at all the prestigious Indian Award functions.

It’s extremely rare for a good movie, to make it’s way into the cinemas here. So am, so glad, PK ventured it’s way, across the Palk Straight (ocean strip), down here, and I got to watch it on the Big Screen, day before yesterday, on the 27th of January, 2015.

PK (2014) is an almost excellent, commercially successful, movie, with a brilliant social message. 9/10!!!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense