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Chasing Tutee, the Olive Ridley 05/06/2008

Ramnagar Beach near the North Andaman town of Diglipur is one of the favourite sites of Olive Ridley turtles to lay their eggs. I roughed it out for eight hours on the high sea from Port Blair to Diglipur to assist Tutee in her labour pains. On reaching the sand cliff, as I got down from the jeep, I couldn't see anything as it was a moonless night. After sometime as the eyes got used to the darkness, I could see the white foam of the deafening waves lashing on the sands barely 10 feet from my toes. It was almost midnight and the high tide was fast approaching. I didn't dare to go further. Fear stalks visitors in the Islands after the devastating Tsunami.

My friends in Port Blair were amused that I had chosen a pitch black night to assist mother Tutee. But as luck would have it, it was a new-moon night and the wildlife camp officers on the beach patrol were of the opinion that mother turtles prefer to lay their eggs on new moon and full moon nights. However, I was not lucky enough to witness one of the world's most ancient but most endangered c...


The spice trail 21/06/2008
What do films like Mirch Masala, Garam Masala, Cheeni Kum, Hope and a Little Sugar, Chocolate, etc. have in common? The films are as different as chalk from cheese but they generously borrow an ingredient of food for their titles even though this spice or condiment has nothing to do with the theme or story except in rare cases. Perhaps they are pointers to the average Indian's passion for food and everything that goes into its making.

Mira Nair's Mississippi Masala had nothing much to do with food. Yet she could not resist the temptation to use masala in the title. Is it because she is an Indian and masala is a part of our lifestyle? It reminds us of a Canada-based homesick NRI Srinivas Krishnan made Masala (1993) starring Saeed Jaffrey and Zohra Segal which had no links, direct or indirect, to any spices, Indian or international, and yet he named it Masala. In this black comedy, East and West clash and this results in comical situations of a culture collision among Indian immigrants in urban Canada. An old woman claims that she can summon the Gods through television, people struggle with their heroin addiction, cynical salesmen spread the message of magic and miracles jump out like rabbits out of the magician's...


Fear is the key 21/06/2008
The ghost, in films and in real life, is an enigma for all of us. The very intrigue it raises in our mindset, making us vacillate between belief and disbelief, between the reality of science and the unsubstantiated illusion of fairy tales are made of, makes the ghost a very attractive proposition for the mainstream filmmaker. However, it needs a lot of talent, imagination and technical skill to create a very good 'ghost' film.

It calls for a rare skill that may elude even the best of filmmakers who try their hands at it and fail miserably. The Hollywood blockblaster Ghost with Demi Moore still remains a favourite with cine-goers; it has the right mix of a 'ghost', love story and intrigue woven around a well- conceived script.

In Hindi films the story goes back to Kamal Amrohi's Mahal (1949). It is categoris...


Tales of intrigue 21/06/2008
Chillers and thrillers are a fashion statement in the Hindi mainstream today. Arindam Nandy, who honed his skills in advertising and made a documentary on the poet-couple Radharani Debi and Narendra Deb called Bhalobashar Kobi Dampati, steps into the world of feature films with Via Darjeeling, a Hindi suspense thriller.

The film is co-produced by Joy Ganguly, a Bengali producer and presented by NFDC under the Moxie Entertainments banner. The other 'Bengali' identity the film boasts of is its unusual storyline that revolves around the concept of the adda %u2013 or informal chat sessions within homes, in public spaces, between and among friends, that usually begin as a friendly chat but could diversify into other streams evoking different emotional layers of response like nostalgia, anger, affection, friendship, hate and even violence. Subjects can be anything under the sun - politics, love, college life, family, children, psychology, sex, murder, adultery and so on.
"I had written the original script in Bengali under the title Ashaade Goppo, a phrase metaphorically linked to fi...


Going green 21/06/2008
Do you envy the landscape garden in the next-door bungalow? Do you regret not having some space for letting your green finger practise the art of gardening because you are cooped up in a flat? Not to worry, the ever- adoptive human mind can make changes when necessary. So apartment dwellers today are casting off their blues about not owning a house with a backyard and a kitchen garden and trying to accommodate some greenery within the confined space.

Quietly, a green revolution is taking place within the urban condo as well.

The designers unanimously agree that flats have been going green with a vengeance and even in flats not more than 1000 sq metre. "Apartment gardens are much in fashion. Everyone wants some greenery in their flats now, be it a small houseplant or a proper terrace garden, " says designer Namita Basu...


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