Tag Archive: Sydney


Queer Movies, and the month of Mardi-Gras

10 years ago, on 3rd March 2007, I witnessed the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras (simply known as Mardi-Gras, down under). This was when I was a student, doing my MA in painting (2006-2007), at COFA (College of Fine Arts), UNSW (University of New South Wales). It was a spectacular event, with gaudily glittering floats, semi naked bodies, cute kids, and the Sydney Mayor. In full swing, in the Australian summer, it went on, from dusk till dark.

The Mardi-Gars festival, is actually a carnival before Lent, in the Christian calendar. BUT, in Sydney, it’s a Pride carnival. Mainly due to the fact, that during the Pride month (which happens to be the summer month of June); is in the heart of winter, down under; where seasons go in the exact opposite direction to the norm. Christmas down under, is in the height of the hot sweltering summer. Thus, the Pride March, down under, has been interwoven with the Mardi-Gras; and is known as the Sydney Mardi Gras!! This takes place, on the first Saturday, of March. And thus, this year, it was held on 5th March 2017!!

In 2008, it was on the 1st of March, 2008. By now, I’d completed my 2nd Masters, and I was temporarily working as an ‘International Student Advisor’, at the ISS (International Student Services), in UNSW. I did not attend it that year (in fact, March 2007, has been the only Mardi-Gras carnival I’ve seen, so far). But I did, go and see, one movie, at the Mardi Gras Film Festival, held in Sydney, in February 2008. The movie was, The Houseboy (2007); and it was pathetic. One of the worst films I’ve ever seen.
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Downloading

Towards the end of last month, I came across a fellow film buff, from Pakistan, on Twitter, with whom I ended up chatting (something I rarely do, that too on Twitter). Soon I befriended him, on FB (Facebook). And on his FB timeline, he had mentioned Mahershala Ali, an actor of Muslim faith, who won the Oscar, for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for Moonlight (2016), at the 89th Academy Awards, held on the 26th of February 2017; and how proud he felt of being a Muslim, himself, for the very first time. I simply asked him whether he’d seen Moonlight, and that I’d love to. He told me he had watched it twice; and said he’d send me the link to download the movie. And he did.

Now, back to 10 years ago; Year 2007!! I was dead against piracy, and downloading movies on the web, et al. I remember how my Australian friends & flatmates, use to react; feeling embarrassed at doing such things themselves. But I have been living in Sri Lanka, for 7½ years now, and not being able to watch any good movies (as they practically are never shown in Cinema’s here); I’ve had to rent or buy films occasionally, that happen to pirated copies. See my posts on Life of Pi  (2012) and Mud (2012) from October 2013.

But, luck had me travelling to, places like:-
New Delhi, India, between 2010 & 2012 (where you don’t see pirated copies in street shops, unlike Sri Lanka, and have to (literally) go to an underground market, if you want cheap pirated copies); where I not only got to buy good original DVD’s (even though they were with Indian copyrights, thus they have to be approved by the Indian Censor board, and certain films, have a universal rating, with sex and nudity edited out; and though am against censorship, I prefer to buy original DVD’s, than badly pirated ones, found in good shops, in Colombo and it’s suburbs, in Sri Lanka), but also got to see some great films on the Big Screen, on the superb Cineplex’s of New Delhi (see my list on IMDB titled Oscar Winners … and then some 2012, from March 2012).
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Adelaide & Sydney (once again), Australia, in November 2014; where too, I watched a couple of the superb films, on the big screen, plus bought many a DVD’s (see my Blogpost Holidaying in Australia, comes to an end from November 2014).

Meanwhile, back in Sri Lanka, I’ve tried to download films, from certain sites; either I get an error message, or it’s not available in this country, or something or the other. So, only way, I’d watch films online, is if they were available on Youtube; and late last year, streamed a few on iflix. But, as I mentioned above, that this nice new (virtual) friendly acquaintance of mine, sent me a link. And on the night of 28th February 2017; I started to download, Moonlight. By the time, I finished downloading the film, it was next morning, i.e. 1st March 2017. Thus Moonlight, was my very first successful download. And within the next few days, I downloaded four more s; in conjunction, with the month of (or rather the last week of), Sydney’s version, of the Mardi-Gras festivities.
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5 Queer Movie, within the first 5 Days, of March 2017

So here are my mini-critiques on the 5 films, I’ve downloaded so far (downloaded for the very first time). And unlike the pathetic film I saw at the  Mardi Gras Film Festival; except for one here (which too was Averagely good), all the rest of the films were pure excellence of Cinematic magic.
Thus, here is my own little ‘Queer Film Festival’!!!!!!
Beware of some spoilers below!!!!!
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1. MOONLIGHT (2016)

An Art-House Film, that bagged the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar, this year; a rarity, and a win after a fumble at the Academy Awards, that almost felt like Moonlight, had not won.

Moonlight is a touching portrayal of a young, afro-American, gay man, Chiron, brought up in a rough neighbourhood, in Miami, Florida, USA. With a drug addicted, emotionally unstable and abusive, mother; plus being bullied and beaten up in school; Chiron grows up to be a thuggish looking drug dealer, with a heart of gold. The finalé with the admission of virginity, by a very masculine, strong built man, pulls at your heart strings. This is a brilliant, coming of age, drama, about sexuality, true love, and what it’s like to be black in America, especially in a poverty stricken neighbourhood. Directed by Barry Jenkins, who won the ‘Best Director’ Oscar; Moonlight is a powerful piece of though provoking cinema. This is also Jenkins’ directorial, feature film, debut.

Ashton Sanders & Jharrel Jerome in a scene from Moonlight (2016)

The strong built, Trevante Rhodes, brings out such a sensitive performance; through a character, that outwardly generally feels frightening, with his gold chain, and gold teeth; and tough, overtly masculine, act; that touches deep, seeping into your veins, feeling the pain he’s going through. What a beautiful human being the character of Chiron is. The movie is told in three chapters, with three actors, playing one character, Chiron, in three stages of his life. Thus, the film has a main character (Chiron the protagonist of the film), but no lead actor, as such. The trio of actors perfectly essay the role of Chiron. In fact, the whole ensemble cast is terrific.

Mahershala Ali; who won the Oscar, for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ (making him the very first Muslim to win an Oscar, in the acting category); plays a kindly drug dealer, who becomes a mentor, a father figure, for little Chiron. Overall an excellent movie, that deserved the ‘Best Picture’ award, at the 89th Academy Awards, held last month. Moonlight, was the first film with an all-black cast, and the first LGBT film, to win an Oscar, for ‘Best Picture’ ever.

Watched Moonlight, late Wednesday night (1st of March, 2017)!!

My Rating:-
Excellent!!! 10/10!!
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2. CAROL (2015)

A Christmas Carol, a beautiful Christmas romance, and a wonderful, lesbian, love story.

Cate Blanchett is superb as ever, nothing surprising about that fact. Todd Haynes, is an equally great director, again nothing new about that. But, Rooney Mara, WOW!!! What a brilliant performance. I’ve seen excellent films, starring Mara, in small roles, like in The Social Network (2010) and Her (2013); but I hardly noticed her in these movies. So she definitely was the surprise packet in Carol, for which Rooney Mara, tied in, for the ‘Best Actress’ win, at the 68th Annual Cannes Film Festival, in May 2015 (see my posts The 68th Cannes Film Festival finalé and Winners & Disappointments – at Cannes 2015, from May 2015).

Carol, is based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith, titled The Price of Salt. Though am a fan of Highsmith thrillers, I haven’t read this particular novel. This story, is very different to Highsmith books (at least that’s what I gathered from the movie). While most Highsmith literature has to do with crime, interwoven with themes of sexuality; The Price of Salt seems to be, an out and out, love story, of two beautiful women; living in a male oriented, homophobic, world. Sadly, this is the world, a great American writer like, Patricia Highsmith, a lesbian herself, had to survive in, in the 1950’s.

Carol is a beautiful heart warming Christmas romance, set in America, in the foxy 50’s, starring two fantastic foxy actresses. Rooney Mara carries ’s charm and simplicity, with grace; and bold Blanchett, is outstanding as ever. Carol, has the potential of being, a future Hollywood classic. While Moonlight, is a brilliant, low-budget, American indie-film; Carol is the quintessential, modern day, Hollywood romance.

I had the luck of seeing Cate Blanchett, in real life, down under. Heavily pregnant, she came to UNSW, to see a digital television exhibit, at our University; in early 2008. I actually didn’t recognise her at once. For one thing I wasn’t aware she was pregnant. So, when I saw a heavily pregnant lady, come out of the exhibit, in a massive pair shades, with a little boy, and stare right at me; I didn’t really pay much heed to her (I was waiting to go inside, with a couple of friends; waiting for whoever was inside to come out). But I did feel she looked familiar. Then she removed her dark glasses (for our benefit 😀 ), and started speaking to a person in a wheelchair, quite near me. It was her voice I recognised, and it’s only then I looked at her. After she left, I asked the students working the exhibit, and they confirmed it was her!! If I already knew she was pregnant, I would’ve recognised her instantly.

Watched Carol late night, on the 2nd of March, 2017!!

My Rating:-
Excellent!!! 10/10!!
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3. HOLDING THE MAN (2015)

Above: Actors Ryan Corr & Craig Stott; as Timothy Conigrave & John Caleo, respectively; in the film, Holding the Man (2015)
Below: The real-life Timothy Conigrave & John Caleo

What better day to watch an Australian Gay-themed film, than on the night of, Sydney’s Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. Of course being on this side of the Ocean, there is no way I can attend the parade, down under, in all it’s splendour. But instead, I watched an Australian Queer Film, based on a memoir; which was the basis of a stage play, with the same title, by Tommy Murphy (who is also accredited with the screenplay for this movie), that came out in 2006; whilst I was in living in Sydney. The play was a big hit in Sydney; and in 2007, I remember seeing an interview with Tommy Murphy, on a local television channel in Sydney. Unfortunately I never got to see the play.

As I mentioned, Holding the Man, is based on the true story, of Timothy Conigrave’s (stage artiste, writer & activist), 15 year love affair with John Caleo (who died of AIDS); which Conigrave penned down, in a book called, Holding the Man. Conigrave completed this book shortly before dying of an AIDS-related illness, himself, in October 1994, at the age of 34 (a month before his 35th Birthday).

Holding the Man, is a tragic story, chronicling the life of two gay men, in Melbourne, Australia, who fall in love as teenagers, in the 1970’s; and survive all odds, when the land of Oz, was still very homophobic. It’s a pity, Timothy Conigrave and John Caleo, weren’t able to see, how much the world has changed today, and how much more open, Australia is to gay culture today. In fact, Sydney is the next gay capital of the world, after San Francisco, in USA. BUT, no matter how open and free, homosexuality is down under, today; sadly many a Australians do take Gay people for a joke. Homosexuality is no laughing matter. People can still be pretty cruel, and inhumane, even in Australia, towards the LGBTIQ community.

Watched Holding the Man, late night, on the 4th of March, 2017. The movie finished past midnight!! A sad beautiful tale, filmed beautifully by director, Neil Armfield. This is among the rare greatest Australian films, I’ve seen.

My Rating:-
Excellent!!! 10/10!!
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4. REFLECTIONS OF A GOLDEN EYE (1967)

Brando & Taylor, on the sets of Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)

Based on the novel, Reflections in a Golden Eye, by Carson McCullers; this beautifully made movie, with a uniquely stunning photographic technique, was directed by John Huston, starring Elizabeth Taylor, in the lead, with Marlon Brando, Brian Keith, Julie Harris and Robert Forster. This was Forster’s debut role, where he played a sexual desire, of Brando’s character.

The main plot of the movie, revolves around the wife of a Major, stationed in a US Army post in the American South in the late 1940’s. The said wife is played by Elizabeth Taylor. A young new Private (Forster), has a perverted obsession, who voyeurs around the violet eyed beauty (Taylor), watching her naked body reflect through the golden brown lens of his eye. It’s a beautifully filmed, movie about a peeping Tom; unaware, of the Major (Brando), the husband, of his sexual desire, himself has a repressed homosexual desire for the Private. Seeing the Private’s naked golden body, many a times in the brown woods, only adds to the Major’s already uncomfortable want for a young man, he cannot have.

Despite a great story line, and the beautiful photographic technique, the film isn’t without it’s flaws. The most visible one being, that of Taylor’s character. Though the film is set in the late 40’s, Elizabeth Taylor’s look, just doesn’t feel the post-war period. With the latest hairdo’s and fashionable dress sense, straight out of the 60’s; Taylor is magnificently more modern, than the setting of the movie. Another flaw is, the movie starts to bore in the middle, especially after the death of a mentally unstable character, played by Julie Harris. Added to which, Huston could have focused more on the Major’s repressed sexuality; i.e. the character played by Marlon Brando.

A scene from the film, Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967); featuring Robert Forster, in the original release of the picture, with the golden hue, that did not impress audiences.

Initially the movie was released, with a golden hue enveloping the movie, as a reference to a drawing of a golden peacock, in the movie; a golden peacock in whose eye, the world is a mere reflection. But audiences did not seem to get this symbolic aspect, thus the original copy was withdrawn from cinema’s, and a normal coloured version re-released. I saw the ordinary colour version, but I’d love to check out Huston’s original aesthetic creation; with the warm sepia tint, over the colour film.

None the less, it’s a very admirable effort by John Huston. I watched Reflections in a Golden Eye on Sunday afternoon, 5th March 2017!!!!

My Rating:-
Average Fare!! 6/10!
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5. SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY (1971)

Last but not the least, most probably my favourite of the lot. What a clever, unusual film. The 60’s & 70’s were definitely the period that Hollywood ruled; bringing out bold unique plots.

Starring Peter Finch, Glenda Jackson and Murray Head; and brilliantly directed by John Schlesinger; Sunday Bloody Sunday, is a very mature, open minded, intelligent story. Murray Head plays a bisexual; who has two partners. One, played by Finch, and the other by Jackson. And each is aware of the other’s existence; and have a mature understanding, and acceptance, of the other, though neither of the, young bisexual scientific artist’s, partners have met each other. What’s more interesting, is how decent these people are, and in what a civilised manner, they handle sharing the same partner. They go on living a very normal life, with their lover, who finds time to spend with both, his male lover, as well as his female lover.

This is a very modern outlook, we don’t really see in this century. Of course, there are plenty of films on threesomes, extreme sexual deviations; but most of the time it’s showcased in a sleazy manner. That’s the beauty of this film, despite having a homosexual man and heterosexual woman, sharing one lover, there is nothing sordid about it. It’s so sophisticatedly handled, and is made to feel, so normal, and that too in a movie, that came out in the 70’s decade; it’s a wonderful feat.

One of the most intellectually adult movies, I’ve ever come across. Peter Finch, is spot on, as the elderly gay man, who is not seen suffering because of his sexuality, and who happens to a well to do Jewish doctor. Glenda Jackson plays a divorcee, who suffers from a childhood trauma, during the war. And each of them lives a relatively happy life, sharing one man, without suffocating the lover. And the lover, being bisexual, enjoys openly romancing both. And yet, it’s only the two of them he romances, and he doesn’t hide the fact he’s also seeing the other. So technically he is faithful to both his lovers.

A lot does happen in the movie, but it’s more character based, where these three people live a very civilized life, in a very normal manner, with acceptance and understanding. Isn’t this the kind of normal acceptance, of people who are different, and understanding them, that could make the world a better place. In a way, a very futuristic attitude. It’s a society that doesn’t have to fight for Gay Right’s, or Women’s Lib, et al; why?? ‘cause gay men and women are seen, living a relatively liberal lifestyle, with no judgement. Their friends accept them, friends’ children play with them, they are asked to take care of the kids, they trust each other; isn’t this the kind of normality, that ought to really exist, in today’s world, but sadly does not. Schlesinger, though set the movie in the 70’s itself, has forecasted a very progressive future, which should have made it’s way, by now.

This British film, is a masterpiece of cinematic intellect. A must watch. The Best film, in this list, I watched Sunday Bloody Sunday, late Sunday night (5th March 2017); the movie ended past midnight. Totally worth it!!

My Rating:-
Excellent!!! 10/10!!
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So that’s all folks, the 5 films I watched, within the first 5 days, of this month. Four of which, were pure excellence!!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

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Another month of MAI MAY MOVIES, comes to an end!!
May Mai Movies for 2016Yet again, there are some beautiful movies, I watched, within this one year, that I never got to write about. Especially, the latter lot of DVD’s; that I bought Down Under, in November 2014 (majority of the films, I bought in Adelaide & Sydney; I had managed to watch back in November/December 2014 itself, and write about them, and a few last year, 2015, but here are some films I couldn’t so far); including, Lorenzo’s Oil (1992) – watched on 7th December 2015 (which coincided with the one year anniversary, of my adoption of ), In Cold Blood (1967) – watched on 16th February 2016, A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) – watched on 11th March 2016 (’twas a, 2Disc, Director’s Cut DVD; a collectors item, with a lot of special features, and documentaries), and On the Waterfront (1954) – watched on 21st March 2016 (now I just had one more film I bought in left, which I finally watched toady afternoon; see the last film on this list). There were also the trio of superb Hindi Films (DVD’s), I got down from New Delhi, India, in February 2015 (thru my old man, who flew to New Delhi, last February, on an official visit, to the Indian capital). The three films were, Haider (2014) – watched on 10th March 2015, The Lunchbox (2013) – watched on 3rd December 2015 (managed to watch, at least 2/3, last year itself), and Mary Kom (2014) on 12th January 2016! And, not to forget, the three Big Screen gems, I saw this year, at the local Cinema; the near excellent, historical epic, Bajirao Mastani (2015) – in January 2016; Leo’s Oscar winning performance (prior to the Oscars), in The Revenant (2015) – in February 2016; and, the true life story of a brave young girl, who sacrificed her life to save the lives of hundreds of passengers on board Pan Am Flight 73, which terrorists had hijacked, in 1986, in Neerja (2016) – in March 2016!!!!! Plus so many other movies; at festivals, special screenings, cable TV/channels et al.

So here is the run down, on all the films I watched, this month (May 2016) :-  

The Hero: Love Story of a Spy (2003) – An out and out Bollywood commercial film. This movie, was actually somewhat a waste of my time, but wasn’t all that bad. Quite OK actually, with an interesting enough premise. Both, Sunny Deol and Preity Zinta, were pretty good in their respective roles. BUT, the one to watch out for, was the former beauty queen, Miss World 2000, Priyanka Chopra (who’s now made her way into the United States, playing the lead in the ABC television series Quantico (2015 onwards)), in her Bollywood debut. Not only does she mesmerise you with her, cool n’ classy, disposition, but also her performance. This was the first movie, I watched this month.

Watched The Hero: Love Story of a Spy, rented on our cable television.

My Rating: Average Fare – 5/10!!!
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Black Sea (2014) – Leading with Jude Law, the film comprises of an all male star-cast, compressed into an old dilapidated submarine. This British, adventurous thriller, film, is about a gold hunt, in the depths of the Black Sea, off the coast of Georgia (the Eurasian country). It’s a good insight into human tolerance, especially when people from two different backgrounds have to work together, to achieve the same goal. This movie is really worth watching, though not among the greatest adventure films, ever made.

Watched Black Sea on HBO On Demand.

My Rating: Very Good – 8/10!!!!
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Harry, un Ami qui vous Veut du Bien (2000) – Watched this movie for a 2nd Time! I first saw this, some years ago. A movie about a man’s obsession with a married man, which proves disastrous, to the married man’s family. Very Hitchcockian, with it’s very claustrophobic atmosphere, set in a lonely house in the countryside. It’s so beautiful, and really good. My original rating stands. Though not necessarily an excellent piece of cinema, it’s really good, and was worth watching a second time.

Watched Harry, un Ami qui vous Veut du Bien on TV5MONDE.

My Rating: Very Good – 8/10!!!! (My Original Rating)
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Les Rides (2014) short film – An OK tale about a group of, fanatic four, senior citizens, who plot to run away from their Old Peoples Nursing Home. This 13 minute short film, is interesting enough, but not that great. Liked the magical realism, input.

Watched Les Rides on TV5MONDE.

My Rating: Average Fare – 6/10!!!
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Nightingale (2014) – A brilliant ‘One Man Show’, with David Oyelowo. Being the only actor, in this movie, set within the confines of his home, Oyelowo carries the entire movie on his shoulders. He plays a psychotic, lonely, war veteran, who is waiting for/expecting, a visit from an old friend. A truly tragic film, that’s worth checking out, for the performance of perfection, by British actor, of Nigerian roots, David Oyelowo, alone. The movie, on the whole, could have been better though.

Watched Nightingale on HBO On Demand.

My Rating: Pretty Good – 7/10!!!!
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Brigitte Bardot in Voulez-vous Danser avec Moi (1959)

Brigitte Bardot in Voulez-vous Danser avec Moi (1959)

Voulez-vous Danser avec Moi (1959) – A hilariously fun filled crime comedy, set in a dance school, in Paris. The movie is about a happily married man, who gets caught into blackmail, for no real fault of his, and in turn for a murder, in a dance school. He is assumed to be the culprit, and only his wife believes he is actually a victim of circumstance. Soon she ventures into the school, in the guise of a dance teacher, to solve the crime on her own, against the wishes of her husband. Henri Vidal is hilarious as the husband, as are the other supporting characters, in their respective roles; with interesting cameos by Serge Gainsbourg and Dawn Addams. But, it’s Brigitte Bardot, as the bewitchingly beautiful and innocent wife, who steals the show, with her stunning performance, her perfect comical expressions and the dancing diva’s well choreographed movements. She’s hilarious, she’s fun. And thanks to her cutesy spy work, she’s the one that ultimately solves the mystery. A sexy young Miss. Marple, or Mrs. Pollifax, if you may (with apologies to Agatha Christie and Dorothy Gilman, respectively).

This movie is a must see, especially if you love Bardot. On IMDB it seems to have an average rating, but I couldn’t help laughing. And kudos to the movie, for  daring to showcase, one hell of comical sequence that takes place in, a queer club, with drag performances, in an acceptable manner; and this was a movie that came out in the 1950’s. In fact, to portray homosexuality, cinematically in the open, as being normal, would have been groundbreaking, back in the day.

Sadly, 40 year old actor, Henri Vidal, died soon after he made this movie. This was his last screen appearance!

Watched Voulez-vous Danser avec moi on TV5MONDE.

My Rating: Near Excellent – 9/10!!!!
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Kill the Messenger (2014) – A Biographical film, on journalist Garry Webb, who committed suicide in 2004. The film is set in the mid-1990’s, when he uncovered the CIA’s major role in bringing in huge amounts of cocaine into the United States. It’s a beautiful, and sad, story about a man, who truly tries to make “America great again”, by exposing the big shots, responsible for ruing his country; thus his family might have to pay the ultimate price for it.

The movie dulls at time, and the suspense isn’t necessarily continuous. You tend to lose focus at times. Yawn a bit, here and there. But it’s still quite good, and worth seeing at least once.

Watched Kill the Messenger on HBO On Demand.

My Rating: Pretty Good – 7/10!!!!
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Squatters (2014) – Two homeless youngsters, break into a house of a wealthy family, when the family is on vacation. The son of the rich family, and one of the homeless kids, fall for each other. The movie actually went pretty well, until the love angle ruined it for me, somewhat. Still the whole experience, was not that bad. In fact, the ageing, Richard Dreyfuss, and the young, Thomas Dekker, were pretty good in their respective roles.

Watched Squatters on HBO Signature.

My Rating: Average Fare – 6/10!!!
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Jean-Claude Brialy, le Goût des Autres (2013) – An interesting insight into the life of legendary French film star, Jean-Claude Brialy. This documentary delves deep into the star’s life of hosting parties to his close friends, in his big mansion. With appearances by celebrities, Alain Delon, Nana Mouskouri, Claudia Cardinale, et al; ’twas an enjoyable show.

Watched Jean-Claude Brialy, le Goût des Autres on TV5MONDE.

My Rating: Very Good – 8/10!!!!
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Poltergeist (1982) – A much awaited venture, I finally watched it. ‘twas a very good horror film. I wouldn’t exactly call it an excellent movie, nor among the greatest of the horror genre (in fact it seemed a tad silly towards the end), but I thoroughly enjoyed this piece of supernatural drama. In fact, as the movie sees it’s ghosts through the eyes of a child, it gives it a creepy cuteness.

The film’s lead character, is the child star, Heather O’Rourke. She’s the first human, to feel the presence of the Poltergeists. And the movie revolves around, her capture, by the spirits, and a couple of television sets. But to me, the star of the film, was their golden retriever named ‘E. Buzz’ (pictured below). In fact this dog, plays a prevalent role, in the entirety of the film. A Very Good Horror Classic!!

Curse of the Poltergeist: Both kids playing the two daughters, died, in real life, within the 80’s decade. Dominique Dunne, who plays the teenage daughter, was murdered by strangulation, by her boyfriend, in 1982, itself. She was 22. And O’Rourke, suddenly fell ill, and died of a cardiac arrest, at the age of 12, in 1988.

Watched Poltergeist on HBO.

My Rating: Very Good – 8/10!!!!
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Horror Films Above: Poltergeist (1982) Below: As Above, So Below (2014)

Horror Films
Above: Poltergeist (1982)
Below: As Above, So Below (2014)

As Above, So Below (2014) – Silly Horror movie, filmed in the ‘Blair Witch Project’ style. No where near as great as The Blair Witch Project (1999). Only saving grace of this, pretty idiotic, horror flick, was that it actually showed the real catacombs of Paris (which I visited back in 2009), before venturing further deep, under the catacombs. As they ventured deeper the film got sillier still.

Though not the worst film experience ever, it’s still quite pathetic. And the movie defies gravity. The more and more, they went deeper into the underworld, I actually expected them to come out of the Pacific Ocean, on the other side of the globe! Yet, actors, Ben Feldman and François Civil (pictured above) were actually good enough in their respective roles.

Watched As Above, So Below on HBO On Demand.

My Rating: Pretty Bad – 4/10!!
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Le Lieu du Crime (1986) – I really enjoyed this film, starring Catherine Deneuve, Nicolas Giraudi, Wadeck Stanczak, and the yesteryear starlet, Danielle Darrieux. The way the movie began, it reminded me of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (which also happens to be my favourite Dickens novel). The movie centres around, a young boy named Thomas (Giraudi), who’s mother (Deneuve), falls in love with the criminal (Stanczak); Thomas meets, early on in the movie; and has a one night stand, on a rainy night, with tragic circumstances. With a superb cast, headed by Catherine Deneuve, this movie, is really a unique tale, revolving around a ‘boy who cried wolf’. The kid is such a story maker, nobody, except his mother, believes his story, about what he witnessed. This coming of age, tale, is a must see, especially if you are a fan of Catherine Deneuve, like me. And the kid is brilliant, an added bonus.

Watched Le Lieu du Crime on TV5MONDE.

My Rating: Very Good – 8/10!!!!
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Into the Storm (2014) – Yet another, idiotically disastrous, disaster film. About a unimaginably massive tornado ravaging a small town called Silverton. The one good thing about this flick, was that it showed the, ironically calm, inside (the eye) of the tornado. Calm within the storm.

Watched Into the Storm on HBO On Demand.

My Rating: Near Worst, film experience, ever – 2/10!
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Timbuktu (2014) – A masterpiece of movie making!! The term ‘Timbuktu’ is generally a synonym, for some remote unknown place. But, it is in actuality, a name of a city, in Mali, in West Africa. I was always aware it was a place, somewhere in Africa, but this is the first time I saw something/anything about the place known as Timbuktu. The city is full of, beautifully designed, aesthetic, mud huts.

The film itself, is very sad, and a superb Art House film, about the lives of the poor inhabitants of Timbuktu, under Jihadists control. Anyone even slightly opposed to their strict laws, are punished severely. This movie is based around a cattle herder, and his nuclear family, relaxedly residing away from the city of Timbuktu, in the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert. But, sadly, he gets pulled into the city, and imprisoned/sentenced to death, for an accidental crime, he didn’t plan to commit.

Director, Abderrahmane Sissako, has brought out a brilliant piece of socially touching experience; and this film took home two prizes, at the 67th Cannes Film Festival, held in 2014. Sissako was also nominated for the Palme d’Or, that year, for Timbuktu. Plus it won the ‘Best Film’ award, at the Africa Movie Academy Awards; along with a ‘Best Director’ win for Sissako.

Watched Timbuktu on TV5MONDE.

My Rating: Excellent – 10/10!!!!!
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L.A.dy Dior (2011) – This is an advertorial Short film, starring my favourite French star of today, Marion Cotillard. Cotillard plays a crazed actress, who can’t handle the pressure of being the face of a famous brand of handbags (‘L.A.dy Dior’, obviously). A hilarious 6 minute short, where she ultimately throws a tantrum, which only helps the advertising campaign. Enjoyable enough, thanks to Marion Cotillard. Love L.A.dy Cotillard!!!!

Watched L.A.dy Dior online, on Youtube.

My Rating: Pretty Good – 7/10!!!!
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LEFT: Marion Cotillard in L.A.dy Dior (2011) RIGHT: Xavier Dolan in J’ai Tué ma Mère (2009)

LEFT: Marion Cotillard in L.A.dy Dior (2011)
RIGHT: Xavier Dolan in J’ai Tué ma Mère (2009)

J’ai Tué ma Mère (2009) – The two prominent factors, that make this film so uniquely impressive, is the fact, that Xavier Dolan’s directorial debut, was written by Dolan, at the age of 16, and he was still only 19 years old, when he directed it. The movie was released at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival (rather it premiered at the ‘Director’s Fortnight’), in 2009. Not only did Dolan, get a standing ovation, he also walked away, with three awards, at the festival, that year. I first heard about this film, and Xavier Dolan, in May 2009.

The movie, itself is so brilliantly made, and moving, I was hooked to the screen from start to finish, engulfing each and every emotional moment felt by it’s characters. The depth of human emotion, portrayed in the film, is so painfully real, my heart just leapt out. This is amongst the best movies, that I’ve ever seen, and ‘twas a long awaited venture, pour moi.

J’ai Tué ma Mère, which, when translated into English, means, ‘I Killed my Mother’, is a semi-autobiographical film, by Xavier Dolan. It’s deals with a tiresome mother/son relationship. They both love each other, and neither is a bad parent nor bad child, but they were just not meant to live together. Hubert (Dolan) believes he was born into the wrong family, rather, more specifically, the wrong mother (played by Anne Dorval). And he wishes to get away from her clutches, as soon as possible. But Hubert, is still a 16 year old, thus it’s impossible to get away at that young age. His father, who left when Hubert was a little kid, is no where in sight (who turns up only to make a brief appearance, to intervene in the son’s life, and makes things worse for poor Hubert). You sympathise with Dolan’s juvenile character, Hubert, and understand what he’s going through. But, at the same time, he’s still only 16, and has a freedom, some 16 year olds would only dream to have. Plus, his mother is not all that bad. Mothers can be really stressful sometimes, even to their adult kids. But Hubert’s mother, comparatively, hardly does anything to stress him out, even though he seems to lose his patience with her. She’s neither strict, nor harsh. He does what he wants. She doesn’t necessarily interfere with his studies, or future plans. YES, she’s not perfect, nobody really is, but she’s far from being the worst mother ever. Yet, Hubert feels suffocated, and annoyed, with her existence. When the mother finds out about her son’s sexuality, she doesn’t seem to mind that he is gay, but what disappoints her is, the fact she had to find out about it from someone else, rather than her own son. Thus, she’s also an open-minded woman. At the same time, Hubert, isn’t necessarily a closeted homosexual. He is open, but doesn’t seem to think it necessary to let her know, that he has a boyfriend (played by François Arnaud). The film doesn’t deal with Hubert’s sexuality as such, for that’s not what the story is about. The story is about his love-hate relationship with his mother. His sex life, has nothing to do with it. Instead of a girlfriend, he just happens to have a boyfriend, in a very acceptable and normal manner. That’s how the world today, should be. Of course, there is a gay-bashing scene, towards the end. Most probably, just to tell us, that’s something Dolan had to deal with too, in real life, and/or to show us, that the world is still not as broad-minded, as it ought to be.

The film isn’t all serious and depressing, it has plenty of comical interludes. In fact, the movie is sad, but not at all depressing to watch, and very entertaining. Xavier Dolan is really sweet, and adorable, even when he is angry. I love the scene where he comes home one night, all drugged (a one time thing, in the film), and wakes his mother lovingly. She is not at all angry at him. Dolan’s character is really sweet, when he tries to be extra nice to his mother. Of course, he’s not patient enough, for the niceties to last, and his mother doesn’t really help either. Yet, both of them, are actually good people.

There is plenty of screaming matches, in the film, plenty of drama, and more than enough comical moments, to make you cry and laugh (sometimes at the same time), with a few, very Dolanisque surreal moments!! One of the best films ever made. Dolan’s now, most probably, my favourite Canadian director, and definitely my youngest favourite film director. The only other, directorial venture, of his I’ve seen is, Laurence Anyways (2012); another brilliant Canadian film.

Watched J’ai Tué ma Mère on TV5MONDE.

My Rating: Excellent – 10/10!!!!!
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Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive (2016) – Tagged as the “million dollar fake”, this is an almost brilliant piece of satire, from Bollywood.

Released earlier this year, a sequel/prequel to Tere Bin Laden (2010); which came before, the actual Osama Bin Laden was killed; this is a hilarious movie, about what happens post the death of this, FBI’s, most wanted terrorist. Both, the Americans, and a Taliban arms dealer, try to get hold of a Bin Laden look-alike, an Indian actor (played by Pradhuman Singh). The Americans want to film, the death of the fake bin Laden, to prove to the world, that they’ve actually killed, this founder of al-Qaeda, whilst the arms dealer, wants to use the doppelganger, as proof, that Bin Laden is still alive.

The movie is a hilarious parody, on both, the Taliban regime, and America’s ‘War on Terror’. I haven’t seen the original Tere Bin Laden (poster pictured, right atop). In fact I had assumed, that’s the movie, I watched on Sunday morning, the original film, till I read the synopsis now, on IMDB, and realised actor, Manish Paul (who plays a Bollywood director, responsible for making the ‘Osama bin Laden’ doppelganger, popular; and in turn putting their lives in danger), didn’t even star in the first one. So I actually tweeted the wrong movie. Slightly disappointed about that. Now I really want to watch, the original. A lot of people, who loved the original, seem to have hated this. But I really enjoyed this farcical film. It’s definitely worth a watch. Plus, there were no cheap antics, like puking, or passing out excess gas, or any other stale jokes, or anything sickeningly grotesque, that make you feel disgusted, instead of actually enjoying a film. So, I thought it was a really clever comedy. Thus, kudos to director, Abhishek Sharma, for bringing out, such a fun movie, to sit through.

Just wanted to add, an explanation for the title. ‘Bin’ or ‘Bina’ in Hindi, means ‘Without’, and ‘Tere’ means ‘Yours’. Thus the, first three words, of the title could either translate as, ‘Without You Laden’ or ‘Yours, Bin Laden’; I think the latter sounds more like it. Either way, the pun is on the word ‘Bin’. It would have been a more hilarious pun for the word ‘Bin’, if it were in English (title/film), considering what the word ‘Bin’ stands for in the English language. Throw it in the Bin Laden!!!!!

Watched Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive on Star Plus.

My Rating: Near Excellent – 9/10!!!!
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Airlift (2016) – Set in Kuwait, this is based on a true story, of the airlift of Indians based in Kuwait, during the Invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, carried out from the 18th of August, 1990 to 20th October, 1990!! Air India, along with Indian Airlines, helped evacuate 170,000 people by civil airliners, whilst 500 people left by a ship, during the Gulf War. It took 63 days. This happens to be the biggest rescue mission, of human evacuation, in the world. Two Indian’s living in Kuwait; South Indian Businessmen, Mathunny Mathews, from Kerala; and North Indian, billionaire, Harbajan Singh Vedi, from Punjab, putting their ethnic differences aside, came together, and ended up playing a major role, in helping get Indians to safety.

The movie, however, is a fictional account, combining the two Indian’s heroic work, into one character called, Ranjit Katyal (played by Bollywood star, Akshay Kumar). Indian actress, Nimrat Kaur, plays his wife. A near brilliant Bollywood commercial venture, by director, Raja Krishna Menon, about a story that deserved to be told. Thanks to Bollywood movies like Neerja and Airlift, more recent, modern Indian history, won’t be forgotten.

Watched Airlift on Colors (a channel I practically never watch, glad I did on Sunday night).

My Rating: Near Excellent – 9/10!!!!
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10 Things I Hate about You (1999) – A modern, late 20th Century, adaptation of, William Shakespeare’s 16th century comedy, The Taming of the Shrew.

This comedy, could have easily veered towards being just another teenage chick flick, but it’s much more than that. I was pleasantly surprised, how much I enjoyed sitting through this flick. The movie has a brilliant young cast, including the late Heath Ledger, along with Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Andrew Keegan and Gabrielle Union. The movie also stars comedians Larry Miller and Allison Janney, in supporting roles.

Set in a High School, the film is about softening up an uptight girl, who refuses to date. All the absurdism of a perfect Shakespearean comedy, from the 1590’s, brought into the modern world of youth, of the 1990’s. I thoroughly enjoyed it. But it would have been more interesting, if I did actually get to watch it, as a teenager/young adult, than today.

I recently mentioned this movie, last month. See my Blog-post Shakespeare: Intellectual Minds and Beyond!!, from April 2016.

Watched 10 Things I Hate about You on HBO On Demand.

My Rating: Near Excellent – 9/10!!!!
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Jacques Bernard in Les Enfants Terribles (1950)

Jacques Bernard in Les Enfants Terribles (1950)

Les Enfants Terrible (1950) – Watched this, collaboration of two greatly creative talents, today afternoon!! Loved it, just as much as the book!!

3½ years ago, I read Rosamond Lehmann’s English translation, of Jean Cocteau’s famed French novella, Les Enfants Terrible!! Author, artist and film personality, Cocteau’s book, was illustrated, with his own artwork, as well. Being an artist(e) myself, I not only, loved the book, for it’s literature, but also for Cocteau’s works of modern art. And, I blogged about the book; when my Blog, was still pretty young (almost 9 months old). Later, 1½ years ago, when I visited Australia, I bought a lot of DVD’s, including the film adaptation of, Les Enfants Terrible. But it’s only now, I finally got to watch this movie. This is the last, of the movies, I bought Down Under!!

Les Enfants Terrible, the movie, is a brilliant adaptation, of an equally superb, piece of, inked, fiction. Author Jean Cocteau (a film director himself), supposedly, commissioned Jean-Pierre Melville, to make the movie, based on his beloved novel. Beautifully photographed, with dim, darkly lit, interiors; skilfully directed, with superb acting talents, the moody expressions, along with, Jean Cocteau’s, own vocals lending the narration, this is one hell of an extraordinarily exceptional piece of cinema. Now, amongst my, favourite French films, ever.

The movie, was practically word to word, as I remembered reading in the  novel. The only major difference, for me, was the fact that, I envisioned the brother and sister, Paul and Elisabeth (played by Edouard Dermithe and Nicole Stéphane, respectively, in the movie), as two pre-teens, in the start of the book, who gradually transform, into young adulthood, later on. Same with their friend, Gerard (Jacques Bernard). But in the movie, they seemed liked young adults/late teens, from the very beginning. None the less, the film was perfectly made, as perfect, as perfection goes. The crazed games, played by the siblings: their weirdly possessive, yet ambiguous, relationship; isolated, cut off, from the rest of the world; this movie is a deep psychoanalysis into the crazy human psyche, almost just as much as the book. It, like the book, reminded me of Bernardo Bertolucci’s, The Dreamers (2003). The Dreamers, was set in 1968 Paris, during the student riots.

The actress to look out for, in Les Enfants Terrible, is Renée Cosima, who plays Paul’s two androgynous sexual attractions; a young boy named Dargelos, in the first half, and later on a girl (model) named Agathe (since I had read the book, I realised that, the school bully, Dargelos, was being played by a female, in the guise of a male; though it’s really not at all noticeable, otherwise). Her transformation, from a thuggish young boy, to a beautiful young lady, is incredible. It’s hard to believe, the dirty rugged boy, and marvellous model, who shows off her elegant legs, is played by, the one and the same, young French actress Renée Cosima.

With it’s surreal dreamy moments, towards the end, Les Enfants Terrible, is almost Shakespearean, the way it’s conveyed. The inevitable tragedy, that lies ahead, is obvious. The game, they played in their ‘ROOM’, of irritating one another, when younger; continues, to a final finish, that can end, only with death. A sad film. The novel came out in the Roaring 20’s, but the film, seems to be set, in the modern day, i.e. the post-war 1940’s!!

Love the Movie!! Love the Book!! Love the Book more, actually; but as a film, this is an excellent watch. Also do check out my quick write-up, on the novel, Les Enfants Terribles (The Book), from December 2012!!!!!

Watched Les Enfants Terrible on DVD.

My Rating: Excellent – 10/10!!!!!
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Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
#‎NuwanSensFilmSense
Mai May Movies 2016

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

Kill Your Darlings (2013) is based on the real life account, involving some of the famed poets from the Beat Generation, including Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, before they became famous.
Kill Your Darlings Blog HeaderThe Beats before The Beats
Before Allen Ginsberg became one of the greatest literary geniuses to have existed in America, in the previous century, he was just a geeky young student at Colombia University. Yet appearances aside, young Ginsberg got into all kinds of mischief, along with his group of friends, during his university years, in the 1940’s. Set a decade before the literary revolution of the Beat Generation, this group of misfits included his contemporaries, fellow poets, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. Unfortunately, all three of them were roped into, being indirectly involved in, a murder of a poet (a college Professor), who never got a chance to become famous for his intellect, but rather for the way he was killed, and made infamous as a sexual predator, just because he was gay. The murderer was released after two years, on the grounds that it was an ‘‘Honour Slaying’’, from forced homosexual advances, and that the murderer acted upon self-defence.

Kill Your Darlings, reminded me of some great films based on rebellious students, set in strict institutes. The likes of, A Yank at Oxford (1938), Mona Lisa Smile (2003), 3 Idiots (2009); and coming-of-age films like; To Sir, with Love (1967), Dead Poets Society (1989); which was actually set during the height of the Beat Generation, i.e. the 1950’s; School Ties (1992); which too was set in 50’s; Dangerous Minds (1995), The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002) and The History Boys (2006), to name some, out of many. While, like Kill Your Darlings; A Yank at Oxford, Mona Lisa Smile and 3 Idiots; are to do with college students, the rest of the films mentioned here are set in high school. But what’s common about these movies; either based on actual events, or out and out fiction; is the fact that it deals with anti-establishment, and ironically, as well as trying to fit in. These films are about youngsters (and sometimes adults/teachers as well), who can think for themselves; with a brain of their own; yet sometimes shy intellects take time to come out of their shell. And when they do, they fear nothing.

But that’s where the similarities end. For none of these films mentioned above, has a violent crime taking place. This is where Kill Your Darlings differs, and it’s based on an actual real life incident. While tragic deaths are seen in a few of movies mentioned here; either through suicide or accident; none of them result in murder. Thus this movie, ends up being a fusion of very varied genres, including, a crime drama, a love story (love triangle), a thriller, plus a biographical film, all roped into one. Yet the movie is less of a historical film, about the poets, that made them the famed Beats, and more to do with the love-triangle, that leads to a notorious tragedy the Beats unfortunately were associated with, during their college years.

LEFT: Allen Ginsberg  RIGHT: Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg in the movie

LEFT: Allen Ginsberg
RIGHT: Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg in the movie

Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, leads the cast, with Dane DeHaan (as Lucien Carr), Jack Huston (as Jack Kerouac), Ben Foster (as William Burroughs) and Michael C. Hall (as David Kammerer); making up the group of friends (and two secret lovers within) and academics, living in New York, far away from the battle fields of Europe, during the Second World War. Three of the friends from this group are students at Columbia University. The whole cast is superb in their respective roles. Interesting to note that the lead character here, portraying the famous American poet of the 20th Century, was actually played by a British born actor. And he did a remarkable job of it.

Radcliffe was spot-on, as Ginsberg. On the home front; we see his troubled life as a youngster, taking care of his deranged mother suffering from a mental illness that was never properly diagnosed; and his father’s indifference to it, and later dealing with his father’s new girlfriend while his mother is being treated at a mental hospital. In college, his seduction and psychological manipulation, at the hands of Lucien Carr, who uses Ginsberg, as he uses everyone in his life, including his secret, older, lover, David Kammerer. Kammerer was in his late 20’s when he met Carr, and Carr was still a young boy aged 14. Soon they started having an affair. Though, Kammerer was wrong to do so, as it would seem as a paedophiliac act on his part; he was genuinely in love with Carr. Carr too was in love with Kammerer, but couldn’t accept it himself, for the older he got, he used men who fell in love with him, to get things done for himself. In his college years, Carr got Kammerer to do his homework for him, and later Carr did the same with Ginsberg. Young Ginsberg was really innocent, thus suffered due to his affection towards Carr. And Kammerer suffered because he could not let go of his love for a man (by the now an adult Carr) who felt the same, but was ashamed to admit it. This shame Carr felt, resulted in him committing a crime in one of the most unspeakable ways possible. The movie begins with this said crime, filmed beautifully, by director John Krokidas, in his debut feature film. The camera zooms onto a half-naked, bloodstained body of actor Dane DeHaan, submerged to the waist in water, carrying a bloodied dead body in his arms. The scene is pure artistic, poetic (in)justice, depicting love, sex and death; a hint of what’s to come; intercut with a verbal clash between DeHaan and Radcliffe, on either side of the prison bars. And the title thrown, one word at a time, in quick succession, onto the screen – ‘KILL’ ‘YOUR’ ‘DARLINGS’. Beautifully made, by a director, whose future creations, am really looking forward to watching.

A superb representation of, 3 Conflicted Souls (Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr and David Kammerer); among 4 Poets (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and David Kammerer), who made up a group of 5 friends, (Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and David Kammerer), including a love triangle, Ginsberg was part of, among 2 secret lovers (Lucien Carr and David Kammerer).

A Love Story with India: The real-life Allen Ginsberg in India, with friends, during his various visits to India.

A Love Story with India: The real-life Allen Ginsberg in India, with friends, during his various visits to India.

Allen Ginsberg, among the famed giants of modern American literature; coined in as The Beat Generation, of the 1950’s; has been portrayed by many a actors, from George Netesky (in 1970), to Ron Rifkin (1987), to David Markey (89’), to John Turturro (99’), to Ron Livingston (00’), to David Cross in I’m Not There. (2007); and more recently; James Franco (10’), Tom Sturridge (12’) & now of course Radcliffe. Besides Radcliffe’s brilliant performance, the only other cinematic version of Ginsberg I’ve seen, is that of Cross in I’m Not There., and that too, I hardly remember Cross’ role, in that excellent Bob Dylan bio-pic, where varied incarnations of Dylan were portrayed by a potpourri of six different actors. Incidentally, David Cross, who starred as Allen Ginsberg in I’m Not There., also appears in Kill Your Darlings, this time as Ginsberg’s father, Louis Ginsberg (a published poet himself, though not a renowned one, like his son ended up being).

Interesting fact: Ginsberg was a practicing Jewish Buddhist (Jubu) by choice, since 1950 (in his early 20’s), until his death in 1997. A Jubu, is a Jewish person who practices Buddhism, without denouncing ones own faith.

Radcliffe & I
Back 2007, whilst living in Sydney, I managed to watch most of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), when it was telecast in a local channel down under. Prior to that, when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released in 2001, I wasn’t that keen on the ‘Harry Potter’ series of films, as it was a series of children’s fantasy films. But since living in England (2002 – 2005), I had heard such good things about it, that when it was shown on the small screen, in Sydney, in 07’; as a true film buff; I decided to give it go. Though I didn’t get to see the finalé of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I felt it was a superb children’s movie, to come out in the 21st century. Around the same time, Daniel Radcliffe actually came to Sydney, to star in the Oz movie, December Boys (2007). And he came on the TV show, Rove (2007 – 2009), hosted by Rove McManus. I don’t remember whether I saw Radcliffe live on Rove first, or on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, whilst living in Australia. Most probably on Rove. I automatically liked Radcliffe’s, down to earth, friendly persona; ‘twas a fun interview. When Radcliffe was asked who he’d turn gay for (a question Rove McManus asks all the celebs he interviews, including when he interviewed, Kevin Rudd, the then, soon to be, Prime Minister of Australia), Radcliffe answered ‘Albert Einstein’. Smart answer! Nobody on Rove had ever come up with a non-sex-appeal, intellectual, personality’s name; as a person he/she would go gay for; at least not in the episodes I ever saw. In the same episode, Nikki Blonsky and Zac Efron appeared as well, to promote the musical, Hairspray (2007). Although I don’t recall, Nikki Blonsky’s answer, I remember that Efron didn’t answer the, ‘who he’d turn gay for ’, question, and sat there tight lipped. Which seemed pretty rude. But none the less, an interesting show; with Radcliffe’s knee length socks (discovered when he was asked about his hairy legs), contrasting to Efron’s sockless feet, and Radcliffe’s well timed gulp, all roped into the show’s jokes; making that episode of Rove, a very jovial experience. I never got to watch December Boys, but did enjoy watching Hairspray back then (guilty pleasure  😉 ).

The Cast of Kill Your Darlings (2013), with the Director of the film. (L-R)  Jack Huston, Michael C. Hall, Dane DeHaan, Daniel Radcliffe & Ben Foster; carrying Film Director, John Krokidas, in their arms.

The Cast of Kill Your Darlings (2013), with the Director of the film.
(L-R) Jack Huston, Michael C. Hall, Dane DeHaan, Daniel Radcliffe & Ben Foster; carrying Film Director, John Krokidas, in their arms.

Some years prior to my brush with Rove & Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (in Sydney 07’), I had actually watched The Tailor of Panama (2001); a pretty good movie, with Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush and Jamie Lee Curtis; which apparently also starred the little Radcliffe. But to be quite honest I don’t remember him in it at all. In 2007, he also came in the latest stage adaptation of the famous play by Peter Shaffer, Equus. It was all over the newspapers, Down Under. I’d have loved to watch that. I’ve seen the excellent, 1977, Sidney Lumet directed, movie adaptation of Equus, starring Richard Burton and Peter Firth. One of my favourite Lumet creations of the Big Screen (see my post Sidney Lumet & His Films from last year, June 2014, plus my Set of Seven on IMDB, from April 2011).

Post that, back in SL, around five years ago, I rented the DVD (unfortunately a pirated copy, pretty bad quality, and the only kind of DVD’s that can be found all over here; and I hate pirated DVD’s, thus I do buy good original films, when and if, I do go abroad – Europe, India & Australia) of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). Thus that’s the only complete ‘Harry Potter’ film I’ve seen till date, and I felt it was a pretty good movie, though not as great as the hype surrounding the franchise. Then in February/March 2012, I was in New Delhi, India, and saw The Woman in Black (2012), starring Daniel Radcliffe, on the Big Screen there. The film was pretty pathetic (see my list of critiques titled Oscar Winners … and then some 2012 from March 2012, on IMDB), with the only saving grace being Radcliffe’s superb performance. He was brilliant, in such a mature role, as a father and a widower. I already liked his personality, when I saw him on Rove, back in 2007, and when I saw him in The Woman in Black; though a pretty bad movie; by now I had even greater respect for him, as an actor. Since then, I haven’t seen any of his films, until I saw Kill Your Darlings.

Kill Your Darlings Blog Bottom - Poster

I watched Kill Your Darlings, last week, on the 22nd of July, 2015, when it was shown at the Goethe Institute (German Cultural Centre), here. Daniel Radcliffe celebrated his 26th Birthday on the 23rd of July, 2015.

Kill Your Darlings (2013) – A Must Watch!!!!!
My Rating: Near Excellence!!!! 9/10!!!!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Turning 40

Millennium Year: Me aged 24 (From my Modeling Portfolio  (February 2000)) New Delhi, India

Millennium Year: Me aged 24 (From my Modeling Portfolio (Winter of February 2000)) New Delhi, India

Staring off with me me me (moi, mé) & I .
I turned 40 on the 22nd of June, 2015!!!!!

A look back, at me myself, through pictures
(40 photographs from my life, till now, including the one above).
Pure Vanity eh!!  🙂

Me aged 2 (February 1978) Garden belonging to our residential  complex (Asia House Flats) New Delhi, India

Me aged 2 (Winter of February 1978), In the Garden belonging to our residential complex (Asia House Flats) New Delhi, India

On my 3rd Birthday (22nd June 1978), At Home (Asia House Flats) New Delhi, India Celebrating/Birthday Party!!!

On my 3rd Birthday (Summer: 22nd June 1978), At Home (Asia House Flats) New Delhi, India
Celebrating/Birthday Party!!!

On my 5th Birthday (Summer: 22nd June 1980) at Home, Asia House Flats, New Delhi, India Celebrating/Birthday Party

On my 5th Birthday (Summer: 22nd June 1980), At Home, Asia House Flats, New Delhi, India
Celebrating/Birthday Party

Aged 9 (January 1985) On Holiday in Sri Lanka (for my maternal Uncle's wedding)

Aged 9 (January 1985), On Holiday in Sri Lanka (for my maternal Uncle’s wedding)

Me aged 12 (June 1987) Bombay, India (On Holiday - My first holiday away from my parents & baby sister)

Me aged 12 (School Summer Holidays: June 1987), In Bombay, India (On Holiday – My first holiday away from my parents & baby sister) Visited Bombay soon after my 12th Birthday

SWEET SIXTEEN: On my 16th Birthday (22nd JUNE 1991), At home 56, Siripura (SL) Just a  Family Gathering.

SWEET SIXTEEN: On my 16th Birthday (22nd JUNE 1991), At home 56, Siripura (SL) Just a
Family Gathering

Me aged 17 (92') At Home, 56,Siripura (SL)

Me aged 17 (92′), At Home, 56, Siripura (SL)

Me aged 18 (December 1993), At Home - 56 Siripura (SL)

Me aged 18 (December 1993), At Home – 56, Siripura (SL)

Me aged 18 (January 1994, B/W (SL) & the Winter of February 1994, Colour (in New Delhi, India)

Me aged 18 (January 1994, B/W (SL) & the Winter of February 1994, Colour (in New Delhi, India))

On my 20th Birthday (22nd June 1995), At Home 56, Siripura (SL) Just an ordinary day!!!!!

On my 20th Birthday (22nd June 1995), At Home 56, Siripura (SL)
Just an ordinary day!!!!!

Aged 20 (95'), At Home, 56, Siripura (SL)

Aged 20 (95′), At Home, 56, Siripura (SL)

Me aged 20 (1995), At Home, 56, Siripura (SL)

Me aged 20 (1995), At Home, 56, Siripura (SL)

Aged 21 (October 1996) Pokhara, Nepal (On Holiday - During the short Autumn break (Delhi University years))

Aged 21 (October 1996), In Pokhara, Nepal (On Holiday – During the short Autumn break (Delhi University years))

Aged 21 (October 1996) Sarangkot, Pokhara, Nepal - with Sunrise falling on Mount Machhapuchchhre (a.k.a. Mt. Fishtail) in the background, early morning (On Holiday in Nepal during the University Autumn break)

Me aged 21 (October 1996), At Sarangkot, Pokhara, Nepal – with Sunrise falling on Mount Machhapuchchhre (a.k.a. Mt. Fishtail) in the background, early morning (On Holiday in Nepal during the University Autumn break (DU years))

Aged 21 (Winter of November 1996), At Home away from home - the co-rented two-room student flatlet, during my Delhi University years, at Hudson Lines (New Delhi, India)

Aged 21 (Winter of November 1996), At Home – away from home – the co-rented two-room student flatlet, during my Delhi University years, at Hudson Lines (New Delhi, India)

Me aged 21 (Winter of January 1997), In front of Rashtrapati Bhavan (Official Presidential Residence), New Delhi, India (DU years)

Me aged 21 (During the Winter Vacation of January 1997), In front of the main entrance to the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Official Presidential Residence), New Delhi, India (DU years)

Me aged 22 (October 1997) Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad district of the state of Maharashtra, India (During the short Autumn break DU years)

Me aged 22 (October 1997), At Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad district of the state of Maharashtra, India (During the short Autumn break – DU years)

Me aged 22 (October 1997), In Goa (During the Autumn break - DU years)

Me aged 22 (October 1997), In Goa, India (During the Autumn break – DU years)

Aged 22 (October 1997), In Goa, India (During the Autumn break - DU years)

Aged 22 (October 1997), In Goa, India (During the University Autumn break – DU years)

Me aged 24 - From my Modeling Portfolio (Winter of February 2000) New Delhi, India

Me aged 24 (From my Modeling Portfolio (Winter of February 2000)) New Delhi, India

Me aged 24 (From my Modeling Portfolio (Winter of February 2000)) New Delhi, India

Me aged 24 (From my Modeling Portfolio (Winter of February 2000)) New Delhi, India

Aged 24 (From my Modeling Portfolio (Winter of February 2000)) New Delhi, India

Aged 24 (From my Modeling Portfolio (Winter of February 2000)) New Delhi, India

Fashion n' Style: Me aged 24 (From my Modeling Portfolio (Winter of February 2000)) New Delhi, India

Fashion n’ Style: Me aged 24 (From my Modeling Portfolio (Winter of February 2000)) New Delhi, India

Me Aged 27 (Winter of January 2003) On Holiday in Nottingham, England, UK (During my University of Luton (UK) days)

Me Aged 27 (Winter of January 2003), On Holiday in Nottingham, England, UK (During my University of Luton (UK) days)

Spider-Man: Me Aged 27 (Spring break of April 2003), On Holiday in Copenhagen, Denmark (During my University of Luton days)

Spider-Man: Me Aged 27 (Spring break of April 2003), On Holiday in Copenhagen, Denmark (During my University of Luton (UK) days)

English Summer: Aged 27, just days before my 28th Birthday (June 2003), on the Salisbury Plains of England, UK (During University of Luton days)

English Summer: Aged 27, just days before my 28th Birthday (June 2003), on the Salisbury Plains of England, UK (During my University of Luton days)

Me aged 28 (Winter of January 2004), In front of (opposite) our house, in Oslo, Norway

Me aged 28 (Winter of January 2004), In front of (opposite) our house, in Oslo, Norway

Eurotrip (Spring of 2005) The Sound of Music Tour: Aged 29 (April 2005), In Salzburg, Austria  (Tulip Season)

Eurotrip (Spring of 2005) The Sound of Music Tour: Aged 29 (April 2005), In Salzburg, Austria
(Tulip Season)

Eurotrip (Spring of 2005) Going Dutch: Aged 29 (April 2005), In the surrounding areas of Den Haag (a.k.a. The Hague), The Netherlands (Tulip Season)

Eurotrip (Spring of 2005) Going Dutch: Me aged 29 (April 2005), In the surrounding areas of Den Haag (a.k.a. The Hague), The Netherlands (Tulip Season)

Aged 30 (August 2005), At Home, 56 Siripura (SL)

Aged 30 (August 2005), At Home, 56 Siripura (SL)

Me aged 30 (September 2005), At Home, 56 Siripura (SL)

Me aged 30 (September 2005), At Home, 56 Siripura (SL)

Aged 31 (Summer of December 2006), In Front of COFA (College of Fine Arts), UNSW (University of New South Wales), In Sydney, Australia (During my COFA (UNSW) days)

Aged 31 (Summer vacation of December 2006), In Front of COFA (College of Fine Arts), UNSW (University of New South Wales), In Sydney, Australia (During my COFA (UNSW) days)

Winter Down Under (But warmer in Northeastern Australia): Me aged 32 (May 2008), At the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Winter Down Under (But warmer in Northeastern Australia): Me aged 32 (May 2008), At the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland, Australia

Me aged 33 (July 2008) Paris, France

Me aged 33 (Summer of July 2008), In Paris, France

Côte d'Azur (French Riviera): Me aged 34 (July 2009), In Monaco

Côte d’Azur (French Riviera): Me aged 34 (Summer of July 2009), In Monaco

Me aged 34 (September 2009), At the Champs-Élysées, Paris, France

Me aged 34 (Autumn of September 2009), At the Champs-Élysées, Paris, France

Me aged 36 (Late Summer of September 2011), In front of India Gate, New Delhi, India (On Holiday)

Me aged 36 (Late Summer of September 2011), In front of India Gate, New Delhi, India (On Holiday)

Me aged 39 (November 2014) In Hahndorf (Adelaide Hills region of South Australia), Australia (On Holiday)  This is my profile picture on my Facebook page! But, Of course I added the rainbow colours only a couple of days ago (In favour of The U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide) One Step for the United States, a Giant Leap for Mankind, Worldwide (with apologies to Neil Armstrong  ;) )

Me aged 39 (November 2014), In Hahndorf (Adelaide Hills region of South Australia), Australia (On Holiday)
This is my profile picture on my Facebook page! But, Of course I added the rainbow colours only a couple of days ago
(In favour of The U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide)
One Step for the United States, a Giant Leap for Mankind, Worldwide (with apologies to Neil Armstrong 😉 )

Today Morning: Me aged 40 (June 2015), At Home, 56, Siripura (SL)

Today Morning: Me aged 40 (June 2015), At Home, 56, Siripura (SL)

Tweets:
Posted about me, on my 40th Birthday

Some Others (Celebrities) who turned 40 this month, of June 2015!!!!!

Sexy Brit turns 40

Hot Woman turns 40

Nuwan Sen
Nuwan Sen n’ Style
Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Born in the Year: 1975!!!!!
()

Sometimes I end up watching such great movies, but I never get to blog about them. A good example is the three excellent films I watched in March 2015; Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013), Haider (2014) and Her (2013). I never got a chance to write even a mini-critique on them. Thus this month I though, I should do a post, of all the films I watched in May, including the best, the bad and the not so bad.

My May Movies 2015

So here is a round up of the all the films (feature length, short film, television movie & television mini-series) I watched this month, May 2015.
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Le Vice et La Vertu (1963)

Le Vice et La Vertu (1963)Director Roger Vadim’s Le Vice et La Vertu, is mostly a chic sexploitation of his then life partner, Catherine Deneuve. Roger Vadim was a very aesthetically stylish director of his time, yet somewhat lacking in great story telling; who was notorious for the way he directed his two bewitchingly beautiful wives, Brigitte Bardot (in the 50’s) and Jane Fonda (mid-60’s to early 70’s), as well as his equally beautiful life partner, Catherine Deneuve (the early 60’s). All superb acting talent, but Vadim, preferred to turn them into sex-symbols of the 50’s & 60’s. Not that he was necessarily pervert, but he admired their beauty, femininity, elegance and grace; and he liked to flaunt their sexuality on screen. Yet, post-Vadim, all three femmes, went on to become some of the greatest acting talent, that existed/is still existing, in the international platform of cinematic geniuses. Especially when it comes to Deneuve and Fonda.

Le Vice et La Vertu, is a modern adaptation, inspired by, the notorious, Marquis de Sade’s, sadistic, 18th century text, Justine, ou Les Malheurs de La Vertu (Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue). Set during the second World War, the movie is about a group of elitist Nazi officers, residing in a remote Austrian chalet, who abduct pretty young French goddesses, and use and abuse them (sexually & otherwise) for their sexist/perverted/machismo pleasure.

Le Vice et La Vertu is beautifully filmed in black and white, yet unfortunately it’s not the best of movie viewing. This was Catherine Deneuve’s first notable role, and she plays the character of, the virtues, Justine, whose life is ruined by these monstrous Nazi officers.

It’s still a watchable movie, average fare. So do give it try for Vadim and Deneuve’s sake. It’s worth checking out, at least once. I watched Le Vice et La Vertu, on TV5MONDE. The first film, I watched this month.

My Rating: 6/10!!!
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American Hustle (2013)
Set in the 70’s, American Hustle, is based on real life events. As the movie starts it states that, “Some of this actually happened”.

The story is about the FBI (ABSCAM) operation, that took place in the 1970’s and early 80’s. An FBI agent (Bradley Cooper), ropes in two con-artists (Amy Adams & Christian Bale), to help him with a massive sting operation on catching corrupt American politicians red-handed.

Amy Adams

Love the movie, Love the 70’s setting, Love the cast. The acting talent involved is impeccable with Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis CK, Jack Huston, Alessandro Nivola and Elisabeth Röhm. David O. Russell’s American Hustle, was nominated for 10 Oscars, but didn’t win any.

I watched this near perfect, Hollywood, vintage, crime drama, American Hustle, on HBO Hits.

My Rating: Near Excellence!!!! 9/10!!!!!
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Warm Bodies (2013)
A Zombie Rom-Com!!! Warm Bodies was surprisingly pretty good.

Nicholas Hoult plays a zombie, residing among other living dead, within the confines of an airport. Those first few minutes of the film, was hilariously excellent. It was like a short film, within the feature film. Then came the humans. And the zombie finds a pulse, and a heart beat.

This is where the film, directed by Jonathan Levine, starts to descend, and I felt it would end up being one of those tasteless, blood and gore, flicks, with a romantic input. But luckily it wasn’t that kind of a movie, and the romance didn’t really ruin the movie experience for me. I know the story sounds pretty silly, and certain parts of it are, but I actually enjoyed it, and ‘twas way better than what I expected it to be. In fact, it was altogether a fun ride.

Warm Bodies is told from the zombie’s perspective, which itself makes it pretty unique. I’d Love to read the novel by Isaac Marion, this comical take on this zombie apocalypse, is based on.

Watched Warm Bodies on HBO On Demand.

My Rating: 7/10!!!!
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Summer in February (2013)

Summer in february WeddingSummer in February is one of the most disappointing Heritage Films, I’ve seen till date. Based on a true story, this British film revolves around four famous Impressionist Artists (the Lamorna group), from the Edwardian era; especially the real life tragic love triangle involving two artists (Alfred Munnings, and his unhappy wife, Florence Carter-Wood) and a young military officer, Major Gilbert Evans.

Beautifully set, in the countryside, on the Cornwall seascape; with great potential, and capability, of being a really great film, Summer in February stars Dominic Cooper, Dan Stevens, Emily Browning, Shaun Dingwall, Hattie Morahan, Tom Ward-Thomas and Max Deacon. Directed by Christopher Menaul, the film is so poorly made, that it’s not really worth watching. Sadly a pretty bad movie, and a total waste of time.

Watched Summer in February on HBO On Demand

My Rating: 4/10!!
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Transcendence (2014)
I was pleasantly surprised. It’s actually a very good movie. Not one of those films, where special effects take over, and rule and ruin a movie. I already did a post, two weeks ago, soon after I watched it. Check it out – Transcendence of an already Superior Brain.

I saw, this really good, directorial debut by, Cinematographer, Wally Pfister, i.e. Transcendence, on HBO On Demand.

My Rating: 8/10!!!!
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This Property is Condemned (1966)
One of DVD’s I bought during my Aussie trip in November 2014. Money well spent, for Sydney Pollack’s This Property is Condemned; starring Natalie Wood and Robert Redford, which happens to be a brilliant piece of cinema; is definitely a keeper. Am glad it’s part of my movie collection. Sultry Wood is just breathtaking, in her flirty, yet naïve, role, in this cinematic wonder, set in the sizzling heat of the 30’s American deep south. I already did a post on this one-of-a-kind tragic love story, an elongated version of a one-act play by Tennessee Williams, soon after I watched it. The script was co-written by Francis Ford Coppola. To read my review on This Property is Condemned, see my post Condemnation of a woman during the Depression era of the American south, from less than two weeks ago.

This Property is Condemned Wood and Redford

This Property is Condemned is just the second DVD, I watched this year. Haider, I mentioned atop, was the first (and that was back in March 2015). I still have some of films I brought from Australia, late last year. And added to which, I got down a few Hindi films, from New Delhi, India, back in February 2015. Haider happens to be one of them. This Property is Condemned, is the best, and my favourite, movie, from among all these movies, I watched this month.

My Rating: Excellent!!!!! 10/10 !!!!!
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Good People (2014)
Starring James Franco (one of my favourite actors today), Kate Hudson, Tom Wilkinson, Omar Sy and Anna Friel; Danish director, Henrik Ruben Genz’s, Good People, shows how even a little greed can make the nicest people take a wrong turn in life.

Once a couple accidentally come across some stolen money, they decide to keep it for themselves, than turn it over to police. Soon the couple find themselves in trouble with, the deadly culprits responsible for the stolen cash, their adversary, and the cops. Quite generic, extremely uninventive, and very  predictable. Yet pretty good viewing. James Franco is brilliant, as is the rest of the cast. It’s thanks to these really good actors, that the movie is this good.

I watched Good People on HBO Hits

My Rating: 7/10!!!!
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Les Apaches (2013)
A totally senseless movie, dealing with teenagers, theft, and a senseless killing. It’s not even worth writing about. Really Bad! A waste of time.

I watched Les Apaches on TV5MONDE.

My Rating: 3/10!!
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Bessie (2015)
This television movie, is a really good Bio-Pic, on the life of legendary African-American blues singer, famously known as The Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith.

Queen Latifah, as Bessie, does a superb job, paying tribute to an American icon. Directed by Dee Rees, the film also stars, Mo’nique, Charles S. Dutton, Mike Epps, Khandi Alexander, Oliver Platt, Bryan Greenberg and Michael Kenneth Williams.

Bessie, is the only television movie I watched this month, not counting the mini-series Olive Kitteridge, which I watched later.

Watched Bessie on HBO On Demand.

My Rating: 8/10!!!!
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Amour (2012)
A promise to love one another, till death do them apart. Sad, tragic and beautiful.

Austrian film director, Michael Haneke’s, Amour, is about a retired old couple, both music teachers, residing in Paris, enjoying life. They are seen leading a highly cultured, posh, tasteful, happy and relaxed life, going out to concerts, reading intellectual books and spending their free time well. And they are always together. Yet, one day the wife has stroke, and she’s bedridden. Her husband stays by her side, taking care of her, till her time is up.

Great acting, great direction, and a brilliant art-house film. A nouveau, new-wave, if you may. This French Film stars veterans, Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Isabelle Huppert.

Amour was nominated for 5 Oscars, including for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’, and a ‘Best Actress’ nomination for Emmanuelle Riva. Making her the oldest actress to be nominated for an Oscar that year. The 85th Academy Awards, was being held, on her 86th Birthday, itself. Pity she lost out to Jennifer Lawrence, for Silver Linings Playbook (2012). It’s also interesting to note, while Riva was the oldest nominee, the youngest ‘Best Actress’ nominee, was 9 year old, Quvenzhané Wallis, for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), that year.

Winner of the Palme d’Or, at the Cannes Film Festival, in 2012; and Oscar winner for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’, at the 85th Academy Awards, the following year; Amour is the best French Film, I watched, on TV5MONDE, this month. Plus, it’s the last Palme d’Or winner I watched (See my list Palme d’Or Winners – from the past, that I’ve watched so far, on IMDB, seen only 18 winners so far).

My Rating: Excellent!!!!! 10/10 !!!!!   
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Noah (2014)

Noah - Douglas BoothOne the least impressive Biblical adaptations on screen.

Logan Lerman (a young favourite of mine) as Ham, is nothing but a juicy piece of tasty looking ham, a total disappointment. Lerman, generally a really good actor, just hams it up, in this movie. Pun(s) intended.

With an impressive cast; including Anthony Hopkins, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Douglas Booth and Emma Watson; Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is one of the most boring, and time consuming, films, I watched this month. Pretty Bad!

Watched Noah on HBO On Demand.

My Rating: 4/10!!
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Eight Below (2006)
Very good movie, set in Antarctica, and inspired by true events.

A story about how an abandoned group of dogs, survive the harshest of winters in the south pole. A very sad movie, beautifully made by Frank Marshall, and starring Paul Walker, Jason Biggs and Bruce Greenwood.

Eight Below

My puppy, Gingerella, sat through the whole movie with me, watching it from here and there, and being confused as to what those dogs were doing inside a flat wide screen.

Saw Eight Below on HBO On Demand.

My Rating: 8/10!!!!
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Bombay Velvet (2015)
Beautiful costumes. Era of the late 40’s, 50’s & 60’s captured well. Stylish. Nice music. Story pretty good. Acting pretty good (especially Karan Johar, who is spot on, in his cool, effeminate, villainous persona). Ranbir Kapoor’s hair do, and body language remind one of classic Bollywood hero’s like Kishore Kumar and Joy Mukherjee. Anushka Sharma captures the vintage styles to perfection. Yet, Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet, is a very poorly executed movie. It’s not a bad movie as such, it’s just not a good film either. And definitely not worth sitting through on the Big Screen. And I watched it on the Big Screen. The travel, the time, the traffic, the heat, the sweat, and icily freezing film hall (which made you feel you were watching the film up in the Alps, open air), were not worth the trouble I had to go through to watch this movie. Bombay Velvet is just the third film I watched on the Big Screen this year. The first two being; P.K. (2014) & The Theory of Everything (2014), in January and February 2015, respectively.

Average fare! Nothing to miss! OK venture!

My Rating: 5/10!!!
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Les Invasions Barbares (2003)
A hilariously excellent comedy, with a touch of sadness. Les Invasions Barbares, a.k.a. (English title) The Barbarian Invasions, is about a dying man, spending his last days, in the company of his old friends, flames, his ex-wife and his estranged son. It’s witty, crazy, sad, and a lot of fun. Simply Hilarious!!!!!

Directed by Denys Arcand, the movie comprises of actors, Rémy Girard, Stéphane Rousseau, Dorothée Berryman, Marie-Josée Croze, Louise Portal, Toni Cecchinato, Marina Hands and Yves Jacques.

One of the Best Canadian films I’ve seen. Watched, this Oscar winning, Les Invasions Barbares on TV5MONDE.

My Rating: Excellent!!!!! 10/10 !!!!!  
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Papa Oom Mow Mow (2014)
The only short film I watched this month.

This short film is about a young punk, a rebel, who doesn’t find happiness in his way of life. Set in Rouen, France, Papa Oom Mow Mow, does a superb depiction of the 1980’s. Especially with the punk hairdo’s and very 80’s fashionable attire. But, it is just an average film, not a great movie to sit through.

Watched Papa Oom Mow Mow on TV5MONDE, just after Les Invasions Barbares.

My Rating: 5/10!!!
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Olive Kitteridge (2014)
True this is not a movie, but a mini-series. Yet a mini-series, is almost like a four hour long television movie. Thus, Olive Kitteridge, the only mini-series I watched this month, has every right to be on this list.

Olive Kitteridge

The show revolves, around a depressed, miserable woman, Mrs. Olive Kitteridge, living in a fictional, sleepy, New England town, in Maine, USA. It specifically explores Mrs. Kitteridge’s relationship; with her husband, Henry Kitteridge; son, Christopher Kitteridge; family acquaintances; and other townsfolk. Olive is very good at keeping her emotions to herself, not letting anyone in. Beneath her harsh exterior, lies a soft heart, and thus she suffers for it, all on her own. Whilst others dismiss her as an unfeeling, crude and sarcastic, woman, with no feelings what so ever. Yet, Olive Kitteridge, too is woman, who’s very adamant, highly negative, stuck in her old ways, and never willing to change. At the same time, we see her open minded attitude, as well, especially when she tells off a narrow minded man, for rejecting his daughter, because of her sexual orientation. Olive Kitteridge, is a good housewife, but not a great wife. Her maternal instincts pop up, in concern for a miserable son of depressive woman, but Olive Kitteridge, herself , is far from being a perfect mother, to her own son. She is a complex character, who’s living, ’cause she is alive, leading an unhappy existence. Her routine life goes on and on, and she has no desire to continue living; yet she saves unhappy people from giving up on life, and who plot to end their own lives. At the same time, her complicated son resents her, for ruining his life, and making him feel like a failure, besides the fact he’s a well to do podiatrist.

Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins are superb in the lead, as are the supporting cast, including John Gallagher Jr., Zoe Kazan, Brady Corbet, Cory Michael Smith, John T. Mullen, Peter Mullan, Jesse Plemons and Bill Murray

This excellent mini-series, is set, within a span of 25 years; from around 1980 (when the Kitteridge’s are in their middle-ages, with a teenage son), till about the mid-noughties (when the widowed Olive Kitteridge leads a lonely life into her old age). Beautifully filmed, with a bleak outlook throughout the show, the second episode has some really interesting sequences of magical realism. Yet, this is shown through the eyes of a depressed young medical student, thus not meant to seem realistic. It’s only in his mind. Yet it’s a surreal experience. The show, through various episodes deals with crime, drama, romance, desire, psychology, loneliness and tragedy. A must see!!!!!

Watched, this four part, mini-series, Olive Kitteridge, on HBO On Demand, within two days (two episodes each day).

My Rating: Excellent!!!!! 10/10 !!!!!   
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Michael Kohlhaas (2013)
The French Film, Michael Kohlhaas, is based on a novel, which is loosely based on the life of the merchant, Hans Kohlhase (1500-1540), a 16th century historical figure, from Germany.

The movie, is about an ordinary man, who seeks justice, for the insensitive treatment of his horses, his man servant, and later the murder of his wife. When turned down, he ends up plotting revenge against the whole elitist system.

Quite dull, but due to a pretty good storyline, the movie was watchable. Definitely not a great historical drama. Yet a must see for any history buff.

The movie; directed by Arnaud des Pallières; stars Mads Mikkelsen, in the lead (as Michael Kohlhaas), alongside Denis Lavant, Sergi López, David Kross, Swann Arlaud, Bruno Ganz, Amira Casar, Roxane Duran (in a cameo, as the Princess) and little Mélusine Mayance (as Michael Kohlhaas’ daughter).

Watched Michael Kohlhaas on TV5MONDE

My Rating: 6/10!!!
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Dolly ki Doli (2015)

Sonam kapoor as DollyHeaded by Sonam Kapoor in the lead, this is a comedy about a little group of swindlers, who rob the rich and vulgar, through Dolly (Kapoor), their star con-woman. She marries into these, Mama’s and Papa’s, boy’s, who haven’t much of backbone, and robs them blind on her wedding night. Meanwhile a cop, who seems to have a personal vendetta, against Dolly, is on the lookout for her.

Bollywood film, Dolly ki Doli, has the capability of being a really good, authentic, comedy, but it fails to deliver. A bit of drag, unmemorable songs, and the predictable love angle, kind of ruin it. But I do like the fact, the movie didn’t dive back into her past romance, of being ditched, and reason for her being a con woman. That’s all showcased within one flashback song sequence. And I did love the way the movie ended. The special appearances by, Saif Ali Khan, real life royalty playing a fictional Prince, and the breathtaking, Malaika Arora Khan, in a seductive musical number, were an added bonus.

Dolly’s character, was very well handled by fashionista Sonam Kapoor. Among her ditched line of grooms, we see, actors Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma, who don’t easily give up on her, nor the loot. The cop was played by Pulkit Samrat. This was the directorial debut of Abhishek Dogra.

Watched, the Hindi film, Dolly ki Doli, today (Sunday) afternoon, on Star Plus.

My Rating: 5/10!!
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On Sunday afternoon, I watched Sydney Pollack’s Sexty Sex release, set in the Deep South, during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, in America, This Property is Condemned (1966), starring Natalie Wood, Robert Redford & Charles Bronson. One of the DVD’s I bought during my trip Down Under, in November 2014.

Natalie Wood as the condemned woman in This Property is Condemned (1966)

Natalie Wood as the condemned woman in This Property is Condemned (1966)

Suggested on the basis of a one act play; by famed playwright, Tennessee Williams; the main plot revolves around a young flirtatious girl, living in a fictional town named Dodson, in the southern state of Mississippi, USA. Partially forced by her mother, she is the entertainment for the townsmen, specifically an unhappy, rich old married man (who is supposedly married to an invalid). The young girl, though unwilling, helps make this particular man happy; one ‘cause her mother tells her to do so, and the other ‘cause she’s sympathetic towards his loneliness. Thus, it’s actually her conniving mother who pushes her to be a sort of prostitute, for the mother’s own benefit, rather than the daughter’s desire. Meanwhile the daughter, though the town flirt, is pretty innocent, who tries to rationalise everything and everyone, and tries to see good in even the worst possible scenarios, and tries to make herself happy. She lives in sort of a dream world, fantasising. Yet, she longs to leave this miserable old town, and lead a happy life. It’s hope against hope that keeps her going.

This is until one day a man shows up on her doorstep, that will change everything in her life, and the livelihoods, of other inhabitants, of this remote old town, she has spent her entire life in.
This Property is Condemned Wood Train PixNatalie Wood is superbly brilliant as the town’s flirtatious, yet quite vulnerable, Alva. One of best, and most unique, performances of Natalie Wood, I’ve seen till date. Very different to the innocent characters she played in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), The Searchers (1956), West Side Story (1961), Splendor in the Grass (1961), or her cutesy comical title role in Penelope (1966). In This Property is Condemned too she does happen to have a very naïve personality, but a very different kind of naivety.

Natalie Wood’s performance here, reminded me of Elizabeth Taylor’s in Butterfield 8 (1960). Both entrapped fallen women; not afraid to flaunt their sensuality, and considered man-traps; yet desperately longing to get away from all the mess they’ve managed to get themselves in, and lead a respectable life; yet unfortunately, destined for tragedy. Natalie Wood was nominated for a ‘Best Actress’ Golden Globe, but the movie never garnered any nominations, in any category, at the Oscars.

Mary Badham & Robert Redford in a scene from This Property is Condemned (1966)

Mary Badham & Robert Redford in a scene from This Property is Condemned (1966)

Robert Redford plays the town’s alien, the railroad official, Owen Legate, who comes to Dodson, to lay off many railroad employees, thus shutting down the town’s main source of income. This was due to the Great Depression of October, 1929, which affected most of the 30’s decade, when a lot of people found themselves unemployed, thanks to the economic crisis the world was suffering from back then.

Owen Legate & Alva Starr fall madly in love in tragic romance.

Owen Legate & Alva Starr fall madly in love, in this tragic romance.

Soon Owen Legate falls for Alva Starr. Yet he isn’t necessarily polite to her, and is quick to insult her, constantly hurting her feelings. At the same time Legate tries to open up her eyes, to stop her fantasising of faux-happiness, she’s invented, and constantly hints on her incapability to stand up to her mother, Hazel Starr (Kate Reid). Hazel Starr is a nasty woman, and Kate Reid does a remarkable job, as the spiteful ‘Mama’. Once when Alva, in a moment miserable drunkenness, hurts her mother’s feelings; by exposing the fact that the mother’s lover, J.J. Nichols (Charles Bronson), only strings along ‘cause he’s sexually interested in Alva, and worse asks J.J. to marry her; the jealous mother finds a way to take her revenge on Alva, in the nastiest unimaginable way possible, for a mother to do to her own child, the condemned property.

Today, it does sound sexist, calling a woman property, let alone a condemned one. But this story is set in the 1930’s. And doubt, the Roaring 20’s would have really had much of an influence, in these remote American towns, like the fictional town of Dodson. But the idea is she is a ruined woman, according to that time period, to the extent that her only hope is to live as a kept woman, of a married man. The story is really sad. When Alva ultimately does manage to escape, and start life afresh with Owen Legate, in New Orleans; a (literal) warning sound of thunder is heard, a sign of a brewing storm, and thus enters her mother, to rule and ruin Alva’s life yet again.

The Two Sisters

The Two Sisters

A very tragic tale, told in flashback, by Willie Starr (Mary Badham), Alva’s tomboyish, and tough, younger sister. A pre-teen girl residing all alone in the boarding house (now a condemned property, literally), once owned by her selfish mother, ‘Mama’ Hazel Starr. Young Mary Badham is just the perfect fit as ‘Willie’, who shares a close friendship with Owen Legate, and most probably the only person, in the entire town, who is sympathetic towards her elder sister’s unhappy life. In fact, Willie is very protective of her older sister. As she narrates Alva’s story, a unkempt, shabby, Willie, by now abandoned by her uncaring mother, is seen dressed in Alva’s tattered old clothes and jewellery.

Director Sydney Pollack chats with Robert Redford and Natalie Wood, while Charles Bronson looks on, seated behind.

On The Sets: Director Sydney Pollack chats with actors Robert Redford and Natalie Wood, while Charles Bronson looks on, seated behind.

The male cast, which include, Robert Redford, Charles Bronson, Robert Blake, John Harding and Jon Provost, are all good in their respective roles; but the highlights of this movie, are the trio of female leads, the mother, and her two daughters, played by Kate Reid, Natalie Wood and Mary Badham, respectively. Especially Wood’s stunning performance, it’s one of a kind.

This Property is Condemned is an excellent piece of cinema; and one of the best directorial ventures, of the great Sydney Pollack. Highly recommendable for all Film Buffs, and Literature Buffs as well. A Must See!!
This Property is Condemned Wood WetThe Best of Wood!!! The Best of Pollack!!!!

This Property is Condemned was released at the height of the second sexual revolution (the 1960’s), in 1966, the year famously dubbed as Nineteen Sexty Sex.

Rating: 10/10!!!!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen n’ the 60’s
Nuwan Sen (Sexty Sex Special)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Silent Love Story

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

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

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

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

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

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

– Atta

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

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

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

– WW-II & post

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

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

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

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

– Independence & post   

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

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

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

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

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

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

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

– History repeats itself.  

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

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

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

– Bharat Darshan  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

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

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

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

– Getting to know my Grandparents better

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

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt from Atta's Diary of Events

Excerpt from Atta’s Diary of Events

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

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

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

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

– Attammi & I

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

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

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

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

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

– Philanthropic acts of kindness

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

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

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

– Atta’s Demise

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Moving along and finding newer reasons to rejoice

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

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

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

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

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

– Attammi, after turning 90.

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

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

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

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

Atta & Attammi, in Good ol' days.

Atta & Attammi, in the Good ol’ days.

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

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

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

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

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

Atta & Attammi’s Life through pictures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ariya & Leela get married (10th July 1947)

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

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

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

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

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

My Grandparents with my mum.

My Grandparents with my mum.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brothers & Sisters : Attammi avec her siblings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attammi with her eldest granddaughter, my sister, Sachi.

Attammi with her eldest granddaughter, my sister, Sachi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attammi (September 2005)

Attammi (September 2005) @ 56, Siripura.

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

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

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

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

Attammi & I, at a Reception. December 2009

Attammi & I, at a Reception.
December 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Has it been a month already, it feels like just yesterday that I adopted a tiny little puppy, and named her Gingerella. Of course at the same time, it feels like she’s been with us for ages, biting everything and everyone around, in love and war. My hands are full of scars from her love bites. She’s brought us a load of work and happiness. We are busy 24/7.
Gingy Desktop 1Gingerella and Social Networking
Gingerella has finally made it to the, most addictive and popular, online, social network, of the 21st century, so far. Yes she’s on Facebook now. It was a bit of a hassle, but I finally got it done.

I first learnt about Facebook, over eight years ago, while residing in Sydney, Australia. By January 2007, practically everyone I knew was on this cool network. But I never felt like getting into this new trend. I felt it was quite time consuming, and a real waste of time. I have great regard for Mark Zuckerberg, the young inventor of Facebook, and later I really enjoyed the movie, The Social Network (2010), an excellent biographical account on Zuckerberg’s invention and rise to fame. He’s a genius, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone using his famed invention is. In fact, majority of people on this network are far from it, and use it for extremely nonsensical reasons. But, after an eight year hiatus, I finally gave in. I had to, for the sake of my adopted, four-legged, baby girl, Gingerella.
Gingy Desktop 2So, on the 2nd of January, 2015, I proudly opened up a Facebook account for Gingerella, against opposition. Things went fine, and some of my friends accepted her ‘Friend’ request. Great!!! The next day, I tried to log in, I couldn’t, and it said since it’s not my personal account, I need to open up a separate Page for her instead, after downloading the original information. So I did that. Then her Page was almost ready, but it required somebody with an existing Facebook account, to control it. Since I don’t have a Facebook account, I’d have to open up one for myself. Thus, I decided, I had no choice, but to open up an account for myself, for her sake. So, I tried to do that, with my Yahoo mail account, that I’ve been using since December 2002. Then it said, since there is already one Facebook account with this e-mail (Gingerella’s account that I had opened, a day earlier, and couldn’t get into, the next day, and the very reason for this mess in the first place), I cannot open up another account. I practically gave up here. I was so annoyed with Facebook. I had felt like opening up one for Gingy, so that I can upload her pictures, on the page, as she grows up. Dog lovers would enjoy following her. I felt the negativity of this country, had paid off. I hate being surrounded by negative energy in general, with people here constantly saying ‘No’, ‘Don’t’ ‘Cannot’, ‘Would Not’, No! No! No! all the time (at the same time those are words we say to Gingy most of the time. Stop! Don’t! No!! 🙂 ). Anyway, having wasted so much of time on trying to activate a Facebook Page for her, I felt I should just stop. I enjoy blogging, and love my twitter account. That’s enough. A little later, on the same day, 3rd of January, 2015, once I cooled down a bit, I finally opened up a Facebook account for myself, using my old Rediffmail account (an e-mail account that I haven’t used in ages) in turn converting Gingerella’s account into a Facebook Page. Some friends and relatives have already started following Gingy’s Page. After all my little puppy is adorable. How can one not resist loving that innocent, mischievous, creature. Gingerella has replaced the position, my sister held for all these years, as the baby of the house.
Gingy Desktop 3Anyway, even though I had no interest in opening up an account, am glad I did, for I located friends I knew from over 20 years ago, that I had lost touch with. Besides, having lived in six countries, my friends are from all over the world, from various countries. It’s nice to be in touch with my old friends and other friendly acquaintances.

So my fellow bloggers, if you are interested, you can befriend me as well, on Nuwan Sen, my account is public anyway, I’ve got nothing to hide. Plus, follow Gingerella’s Page on Gingerella Sen. Her Page is public too. I’ll hardly do much on Nuwan Sen, but shall update Gingy’s Page quite regularly. Watch her grow online (on Gingerella Sen).

Cheers
Nuwan Sen n’ Gingerella

P.S. Also see my post Gingerella from last month (December 2014)

On the 26th of November, 2014, watched all five episodes of the TV-miniseries, Mildred Pierce (2011). One of the DVD’s I brought from Australia.
Mildred Pierce - The PosterBack in 2012, whilst visiting Delhi, I got to watch the classic noir flick, Mildred Pierce (1945), based on a 1941 novel by James M. Cain, on TCM. I instantly fell in love with this excellent adaptation, and felt it was one of the best movies ever made. Directed by Michael Curtiz, and starring Joan Crawford, as the titular character, the 1945 adaptation had deviated from the original plot, and the turned the story into a crime drama, yet keeping intact the mother/daughter relationship explored in the book. I haven’t read the novel yet, but since watching the 2011 mini-series, assumingly being more of an accurate adaptation, that’s what I gathered. Last month I located the 2011 mini-series DVD in Sydney, among the many I ended up buying there (see my post related to my  ). And this modern adaptation directed by Todd Haynes, and starring, my favourite actress of the 21st century, so far, Kate Winslet, in the lead role, was totally worth it. Another excellent adaptation, and one of the rare great re-makes of a classic. Love both the classic, and the modern. Both Crawford and Winslet, are perfect in their roles of the ever suffering mother, trying her best to please her ungrateful daughter.

Left: Kate Winslet (2011) Right: Joan Crawford (1945)

Left: Kate Winslet (2011)                       Right: Joan Crawford (1945)

The 1945 Classic Cinematic Venture
In the classic noir flick, the movie starts off with a crime, with the death of Monte Beragon (Zachary Scott), second husband of Mildred Pierce (Joan Crawford). The police then question Mildred Pierce, assuming her first husband, Bert Pierce (Bruce Bennett), shot Beragon out of jealousy. Mildred Pierce then takes the blame, and recounts her life story in flashback.

The 2011 Television Adaptation
In the newer adaptation, no noirish crime takes place. Nobody gets killed. No flashbacks. Straight forward drama set in the depression era of 1930’s America.

Analysis
Besides the major plot shift, in the classic and the modern, one of the common factors, in both the Mildred Pierce’s, is the psychological character study of Mildred Pierce and her daughter Veda.

The mother, though a woman with her flaws (which is what makes her human), is the perfect mother. Kind, caring, sacrificing her own happiness for the sake of her children, and putting them first. The elder daughter, Veda, is an ungrateful, nasty character, though the degree of their cruelty towards the mother varies between Veda (Ann Blyth) of the 1945 version, and Veda (Morgan Turner & Evan Rachel Wood) of the 2011 version. In the classic version, we don’t see issues such as incest and infidelity, through the daughter and her playboy step-father, Monte/Monty Beragon (Zachary Scott in 1945 and Guy Pearce in 2011), mainly due to the censorship laws that existed in the hey days of Hollywood. While Veda from the classic noir piece kills off her step-father, and lets her mother take the blame; in the newer version, Veda, not only sleeps with her step-father, making that an alliance of incest, as well as infidelity, she antagonises her mother, flaunting her sexual relationship with Beragon. As Veda (Evan Rachel Wood) slithers naked, like a venomous snake, from the lust stained bed, towards the mirror, taunting her horrified mother (Winslet), one feels nothing but disgust towards this animalistic character (not the actress). So the amount of hatred you feel for the ‘Veda’ character in the two versions vary. The new ‘Veda’ makes the 1945 ‘Veda’, look like a saint. But yet that doesn’t mean you can like the ‘Veda’ of the classic film. You’d still dislike her, but feel more disgusted towards the ‘Veda’ of 2011.

Left: Morgan Turner as the younger Veda in the 2011 mini-series.  Top-Right: Evan Rachel Wood as the older Veda in the 2011 mini-series. Bottom-Right: Ann Blyth as Veda in the 1945 film-noir.

Left: Morgan Turner as the younger Veda in the 2011 mini-series.
Top-Right: Evan Rachel Wood as the older Veda in the 2011 mini-series.
Bottom-Right: Ann Blyth as Veda in the 1945 film-noir.

The two ‘Mildred Pierce’ characters too differ, though not in their niceties. They are both kind hearted mothers of near perfection. Both are single mothers bringing up their children on their own, after getting rid of their cheating husbands, Bert Pierce’s (Bruce Bennett in 1945 and Brían F. O’Byrne in 2011). Both are independent strong willed women. Yet both fall for the wrong man, Beragon, adding towards the, already problematic, mother/daughter relationship. But Crawford’s ‘Mildred Pierce’ is a business tycoon and owns a chain of glamorous restaurants, while Winslet’s ‘Mildred Pierce’ is, though a business woman, not a tycoon, with only a few restaurants, most probably as stated in James M. Cain’s novel. And Crawford’s character never harms her daughter, physically or otherwise, while Winslet’s (due to the sequence prior to it), grasps her inconsiderate daughter by the neck, through provocation. As the singer Veda (Evan Rachel Wood) tries to sing, with her damaged vocal chords, besides how much disgust we feel towards her, one can’t help but feel sorry for her character. Only for a moment though. She’s a character that could never change, and finally Winslet’s ‘Mildred Pierce’ gives up on Veda. While Crawford’s still tries to protect her till the end. Mildred Pierce is a really complex feminist character, who stands on her own two feet, in a man’s world, yet finds herself trapped, by falling for the wrong man, and by being psychologically distressed by her own spoilt daughter.

Kate Winslet & Guy Pearce in scene from MILDRED PIERCE (2011)

Kate Winslet & Guy Pearce in scene from MILDRED PIERCE (2011) NSFS

Both Zachary Scott and Guy Pearce, are superb, as the playboy Monte/Monty Beragon, who seduces Mildred Pierce and further ruins her relationship with her daughter, in the film and mini-series, respectively. The way it happens differs in the two versions. Yet, along with the playboy characteristics of Beragon, the fact he uses Mildred Pierce, mainly for her money, and encourages Veda’s hatred for her mother, doesn’t.

Bert Pierce, Mildred Pierce’s first husband, though flawed, is a sympathetic character, that always stands by his ex-wife. Especially against the injustices of their narcissistic, hard hearted, daughter, towards the mother. His character truly shines bright in the final sequence.

The movie was an excellent work of cinematic art. But amazingly, so was the television remake. Love both the movie and the TV miniseries. Both Joan Crawford and Kate Winslet, garnered various accolades, at various award ceremonies, for their portrayal of ‘Mildred Pierce’, including Oscars, Globes and Emmy’s.
Mildred Pierce (1945). Excellent !!!!! 10/10!!!!!
Mildred Pierce (2011). Excellent !!!!! 10/10!!!!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen’s Television (DVD) Sense