A Handful of Stories

Reportage on health, science and politics. And some meditations on film

Author Archive for sohinichattopadhyay

Are Independence and Partition Male Experiences?

In Hindi film, the woman is rarely the protagonist of a Partition or Independence narratives. But Bengali film always centers the experience of women in such narratives. An introspection The 2018 Bengali film Ek Je Chhilo Raja, while largely mediocre, has an interesting question towards its tail. The film centres on a real-life legal battle for property in India, known…

The Class of Kaira, Shyra and Shanaya in Bollywood

Kaira, Shyra, Akira, Kia, Tia, Sia. Shanaya. These are Bollywood’s cool new names, broadly classified into the “ya” or “ra” nomenclature. The Poojas, Nishas, Anjalis and Nehas of the 1990s are déclassé. These new names carry an unmistakable aspiration to be global.They are unrooted to place, community or any kind of identity except class. They are almost never longer than three syllables and easy to pronounce. They float on coolness and lightness. An ex-colleague memorably christened them “First-World Yoga Names—FWYN”.

The New Viranagana and the Memories of Nadia

A figure leaps headlong onto the screen, fully armoured, face hooded by a helmet. Spears are sent clattering, sentries hurtle across the room, Bajirao and his lieutenant watch in surprise. We don’t know whether this is a man or a woman, friend or foe. Could this be Mastani? The anticipation was nicely set up by the trailer for Bajirao Mastani,…

The Tribal Hero in Bollywood

  SS RAAJAMOULI’S BAAHUBALI: THE BEGINNING opened in theatres on 10 July last year, in a season overcast with the muscular release of Yash Raj Films’Bajrangi Bhaijaan, starring Salman Khan. Baahubali, featuring the Telugu stars Prabhas and Rana Daggubati in lead roles, came with one of the biggest budgets of any Indian film (Rs 175 crore), the promise of spectacular vistas…

Oh! Calcutta

Old-world charms and multi-cultural delights are discovered in ‘dirty Calcutta’ By Sohini Chattopadhyay | 1 December 2015 The grey, gorgeous sulk of the Kolkata monsoon is best spent in bed, listening to the intense, melodic rain. Another way, equally endorsed, is dreaming with a book and a pot of tea, preferably, with the phone switched off.Home for the rains this time…