Sunday Long Reads: the legacy of Amitabh Bachchan, Lalu Prasad Shaw on art, book reviews, and more.

Amitabh Bachchan watches

By the time you read this, a new movie starring Amitabh Bachchan will hit theaters. Entitled Goodbye, it presents him as a father figure, the one we know: gray hair, rimless glasses, surrounded by his family and friends, facing the vagaries of life.

So what, you might ask. Why is this remarkable? Because, quite simply, the one and only Bachchan, who turns 80 this week, is still working. He is still a big star. Given his busy slate, with movies scheduled at regular intervals down the road, it’s abundantly clear that he has no intention of saying goodbye to us anytime soon. No farewell, only ‘hello spectator, I’m back, once again, to seduce, entertain’.


“Amitabh Bachchan is eternally ambitious”: filmmaker R Balki

A picture of ‘Paa’

What makes Amitabh Bachchan a sought-after actor at the age of 80 is what created his star appeal at the very start of his career. He is a unique personality in the history of cinema, one of the last Indian stars to have preserved the mystical air that surrounds him. More than a star, it’s a character called Amitabh Bachchan. He brings a lot of what it’s like to be Bachchan – his traits and uniqueness – to every role he tries. You can’t compare it to anyone else.


What Makes a Retrospective of Amitabh Bachchan’s Early Films a Show Stopper

eye, sunday eye Shivendra Singh Dungarpur hosted the film festival which showcases the best of Bachchan’s early films that propelled him to superstardom (Courtesy Shivendra Singh Dungarpur)

To paraphrase François Truffaut, it was a beautiful time in life, when you cared more about those you admired than about yourself. That’s how I felt Amitabh Bachchan growing up. It was an obsession. I broke boarding school boundaries to watch his films, I was expelled from class for writing notes in my Bachchan diary which contained details of every film I had watched from Bansi Birju (1972 ) to Don (1978) to Mr. Natwarlal (1979), stood outside his home in Juhu as a student, waiting for that momentary glimpse and little wave of my idol. This obsession made me decide to become a filmmaker right from my studies. The first time I met him was as a young student in a workshop at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and I was overwhelmed. I never imagined then that years later I would have the opportunity to direct him in several commercials and films for the Film Heritage Foundation and more importantly to work with him so closely to save Indian film heritage .


“If I didn’t explore art, my life would remain unfulfilled”: Lalu Prasad Shaw

Lalu Prasad Shaw (Photo courtesy of Art Exposure Gallery)

You started at the age of 30 and constantly experimented with mediums, from gouache and etching to tempera. Can you tell us about this need to experiment?

The mediums I used best matched my need for expression and sustenance at the time. In college of art (Government College of Art and Craft, Kolkata) I went from a course called commercial art to painting, where I learned skills in various mediums – experimentation was a natural part of learning.


Vasaanthi’s Breaking Free brings the complex world of devadasis to life

sunday eye Cover of the book ‘Breaking Free’ by Vaasanthi (Source:

To liberate oneselfthe recently published translation of Vaasanthi’s 2012 Tamil novel Vittu Vidhuthalaiyagi, by N Kalyan Raman, is a powerful feminist work that exposes the deep trauma associated with the disenfranchisement of the community of hereditary courtesan dancers – the devadasis — from southern India. Historically, dancers from the Isai Vellalar community were married to the local deity and served in temples and courts. Their art (dance and vocal music) was patronized by kings and zamindars, which often meant that women had to enter into non-marital sexual relations with their patrons, thus making them objects of ridicule and ostracism outside of this structure.


How Faraz Arif Ansari’s “Sheer Qorma” Gives LGBTQ People a Seat at the Table

SUSIR SARAN Faraz Arif Ansari’s film Sheer Qorma shows us that belonging to this world consists in accepting one’s identity and protecting that of the other. (Credit: Suvir Saran)

Last Friday, many of us from Delhi rushed to Gurugram to catch the opening night of Tushar Tyagi’s Yellowstone International Film Festival at DLF Cyber ​​Park. Despite the early evening call for red carpet festivities, the auditorium and exterior were abuzz with glamor and clamor. Cameras click, cocktails flow, the glitz of glitter festival is experienced as rush hour traffic lights up the highway in all shades of ruby, emerald and diamond. It was a moving moment when attendees had forgotten the hours spent traveling to the film festival and were now reveling in the reverie of decadence for an hour before the start of the awards ceremony and the Delhi premiere of the film. by director Faraz Arif Ansari “Sheer Qorma”.


Review: The Life and Times of George Fernandes is a tale of how youthful idealism gives way to compromise

George Fernandes addressing an All India gathering of railway workers in Delhi on May 8, 1979. (Express Archive)

Socialism is cursed. Maybe, no political ideology in the world has undergone as many virulent mutations as socialism. Her irresistible charm had once seemed capable of embracing the whole world. The language and idioms emanating from the practitioners of socialism proved fatally alluring to the peoples of many nations, but they continued to gain ground.


Review: John Zubrzycki’s India’s Shortest History Acts as an Antidote to Blind Images of India’s Past on Social Media

The Shortest History of India by John Zubrzycki; Picador from India; 288 pages; Rs 599. (Source:

One of the key axioms of the discipline of history is that the past finds a way to weave its way into the present. This truism is expressed today in a disparate, even paradoxical way. On the one hand, the discipline of the story seems to be under siege as the past is drawn into the current ideological battles. The events and personalities of antiquity and the Middle Ages are the subject of popular culture, in particular movie theater. On the other hand, interest in historical research seems to extend beyond academia. The proliferation of works intended for a non-academic public testifies to this phenomenon. Professional historians and academics not affiliated with institutions participated in this efflorescence.


Pyllida Jay’s ‘Inspired By India’ explores the many ways Indian design aesthetics have determined the course of Western fashion

sunday eye Book cover “Inspired by India: How India Transformed Global Design” by Phyllida Jay (Source:

In January of this year, there was a storm of protest on social media over an episode of sex and the city sequel series, And just like that. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is invited by her new friend Seema Patel (Sarita Choudhury) to her family’s Diwali party and the two walk into a “sari” store to buy appropriate clothing for the event. Only, as most South Asian viewers pointed out, the boutique outfits are actually lehengas, and what Carrie ends up wearing to the party is also a lehenga. Outraged cries rang out over this “cultural flattening” – presumably the show’s creators thought distinguishing one South Asian item of clothing from another would be too awkward for an audience fluent in Balenciaga and Alaïa – but the episode helped to highlight, albeit inadvertently, the gray areas between inspiration and appropriation.


In This Season Of Dengue And Other Mosquito-borne Diseases, Why Dragonflies Are Important

sunday eye A dragonfly (Credit: Ranjit Lal)

August, I believe, was celebrated as “Dragonfly Month” and throughout it I scanned the skies around my neck of the woods for squadrons of these jaw-droppingly sparkling breath. insects, launching hunting sorties after flies, butterflies, and even other dragonflies, as well as fiercely patrolling and protecting their own airspace. The sky, alas, remained empty and I began to wonder if it had something to do with the near total lack of rain in Delhi during that month. Dragonfly the nymphs (unlike any nymphs by any stretch of the imagination) prowl underwater for a year or more, catching tadpoles, small fish and other underwater inhabitants before finally lifting themselves up via rods of plants and turn into the beautifully tinted insects we know. They live much shorter as aerial hunters than underwater. Was it possible that a large number of dragonfly nymphs, which may have hatched last year, and which have been prowling the depths ever since, simply died because their ponds and water bodies dried up due to lack of rain leading to lack of food?



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