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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 oth...


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 categorised in the horror genre but is really an enchanting love story where the 'ghost' in the film, played with just the right dose of mystique by the beautiful Madhubala, was not a ghost at all but pretended to be one when she suddenly found the man in a painting she had fallen in love with appear in flesh and blood. This concept is married to the rebirth theory. Brilliant Black & White cinematograph...


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 interna...


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 creatures leaving their genetic codes on the sands of time. Nevertheless, I witnessed something even more dramatic - the turtle hatchlings breaking out of their egg shells and instinctively herding themselves seaward.

The forest department is apprehensive that the Tsunami washed out the nesting sites of the Olive Ridley turtles who only come to lay eggs. The other turtles %u2013 Green...


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