G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Monday, July 21, 2014

उत्तमे ढमढमे पादे सामुराई...The Right Honourable Lord Lytton or Decadent Wajid Ali Shah?

It has hardly rained in Pune since June 2014. They say El Niño. There is nothing new about  El Niño...

Munshi Premchand's story 'Shatranj ke khiladi' is full of condemnation for Lucknow’s degeneracy.

 from Satyajit Ray's 'Shatranj Ke Khilari', 1977

courtesy: the current holder of the copyright of the feature

Satyajit Ray's attitude is more ambivalent: "I was portraying two negative forces, feudalism and colonialism. You had to condemn both Wajid (1822-1887) and Dalhousie."

What all did colonialism bring to India?

Mike Davis has some answers in his "Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World", 2001.

"...The central government under the leadership of Queen Victoria’s favorite poet, Lord Lytton ( Viceroy of India between 1876 and 1880), vehemently opposed efforts by Buckingham and some of his district officers to stockpile grain or otherwise interfere with market forces. All through the autumn of 1876, while the vital kharif crop was withering in the fields of southern India, Lytton had been absorbed in organizing the immense Imperial Assemblage in Delhi to proclaim Victoria Empress of India (Kaiser-i-Hind). As The Times’s special correspondent described it, “The Viceroy seemed to have made the tales of Arabian fiction true … nothing was too rich, nothing too costly.” “Lytton put on a spectacle,” adds a biographer of Lord Salisbury (the secretary of state for India), “which achieved the two criteria Salisbury had set him six months earlier, of being ‘gaudy enough to impress the orientals’ … and furthermore a pageant which hid ‘the nakedness of the sword on which we really rely.’ ” Its “climacteric ceremonial” included a week-long feast for 68,000 officials, satraps and maharajas: the most colossal and expensive meal in world history. An English journalist later estimated that 100,000 of the Queen-Empress’s subjects starved to death in Madras and Mysore in the course of Lytton’s spectacular durbar. Indians in future generations justifiably would remember him as their Nero..."

Remember, Maharashtra lost  8.2 million (India 12.2–29.3 million) people during the famine of 1876-1879. (disclaimer: death toll estimates vary but are mind numbing in any case)

p.s Where can I read Mahatma Phule's (महात्मा फुले) condemnation of the British Raj for its handling of the  "The Great Famine of 1876–78"? I am sure he criticized it? Didn't he?

....And how I wish Japan stuck to 'such' wars instead of the real wars they waged in 20th century.

Japanese 'fart battle' scrolls date from the Edo period (1603–1868) 

Artist: Unknown to me  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

इंगमार बर्गमनचे 'महाप्रस्थानिक पर्व'...Pandavas' Danse Macabre

is approach was poetic. It wasn’t prose; it was a poetic approach. The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, The Magician were really poetic films in the same sense as that, when years went by, you see in a film like Cries and Whispers — there is really very little dialogue in it. You are hypnotically riveted by the camera moving around this red house. It’s watching poetry in motion. - See more at: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/woody-allen-pays-tribute-ingmar-95679#sthash.PY8vqjx2.dpuf

his approach was poetic. It wasn’t prose; it was a poetic approach. The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, The Magician were really poetic films in the same sense as that, when years went by, you see in a film like Cries and Whispers — there is really very little dialogue in it. You are hypnotically riveted by the camera moving around this red house. It’s watching poetry in motion. - See more at: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/woody-allen-pays-tribute-ingmar-95679#sthash.PY8vqjx2.dpuf
Rajaji (Chakravarti Rajagopalachari) writes:

"...To Hastinapura came the sad tidings of the death of Vasudeva and the destruction of the Yadavas. When the Pandavas received the news, they lost all remaining attachment to life on earth. They crowned Parikshit, son of Abhimanyu, as emperor and the five brothers left the city with Draupadi. They went out on a pilgrimage, visiting holy places and finally reached the Himalayas. A dog joined them somewhere and kept them company all along. And the seven of them climbed the mountain on their last pilgrimage. As they toiled up the mountain path one by one fell exhausted and died. The youngest succumbed first. Draupadi, Sahadeva and Nakula were released from the burden of the flesh one after another. Then followed Arjuna and then great Bhima too. Yudhishthira saw his dear ones fall and die. Yet, serenely he went on not giving way to grief, for the light of Truth burned bright before him. Yudhishthira knew what was shadow and what was substance..."

(Mahabharata, Mahaprasthanika Parva, 1951)

They were six and a dog. (Dog was not really a dog but Dharma personified.)

an illustration from the Barddhaman edition of Mahabharata in Bangla, 19th century, author: Maharaja Mahatab Chand Bahadur (1820 - 1879)

courtesy: Wikipedia

In the Ingmar Bergman's 'The Seventh Seal' 1957, one of the greatest films ever made, towards the end, the knight and his followers are led away over the hills in a solemn dance of death.

They too are six in number, led by Death.

Cinematographer: Gunnar Fischer

courtesy: Wikipedia and the current copyright holders of the film

Sunday, July 13, 2014

"सूर्य पाहिलेला माणूस" तसा नव्हता...Comedy is Where Socrates Belongs

Today July 13 2014 is 5th Death Anniversary of Nilu Phule (निळू फुले), the greatest actor I have seen on Marathi stage.

Bettany Hughes, 'The hemlock cup : Socrates, Athens and the search for the good life', 2010:

 "...In a city that made a cult of physical beauty – which believed, in fact, that outward beauty was a sign of an inner nobility of spirit – Socrates was famously ugly."

Alain De Botton, 'The Consolations of Philosophy', 2000:
"...Few can have appreciated his looks. He was short, bearded and bald, with a curious rolling gait, and a face variously likened by acquaintances to the head of a crab, a styr or a grotesque. His nose was flat, his lips large, and his prominent swollen eyes sat beneath a pair of unruly brows..."

...When I changed my appearance for an acting job I experienced the ugly shadow of discrimination cast on 'Muslim-looking' people...I have been rehearsing for a play for some weeks now. I am playing Socrates this month in a modern retelling of The Clouds by Aristophanes. I agreed with the director that a big bushy beard would be right for the character. It didn't occur to me that, in the wake of the horrific incident in Woolwich, this would transform me into what Nick Robinson might describe as "of Muslim appearance...".

So is big bushy beard enough to play Socrates?

More than a decade ago, I saw much hyped Marathi play 'Surya pahilela manus' (सूर्य पाहिलेला माणूस)- meaning the man who has seen the sun: Socrates. Dr. Shreeram Lagoo (श्रीराम लागू) played Socrates.

I did NOT LIKE the play one bit. It bored me to death. The only thing worse I have seen, featuring  Dr. Lagoo for 'full length', is a Marathi film 'Jhakol' (झाकोळ), produced by Dr. Lagoo himself!

My wife, Anjali, slept almost during the entire duration of it. She woke up only when Socrates (Dr. Lagoo) came down with a thud while calmly relaying bits of wisdom. (Later Anju would vow not to go to any play of my choice in future!)

What went wrong? To begin with, the choice of Dr. Lagoo to play Socrates.

If you have seen Dr. Lagoo on cinema screen or on the stage, particularly of 1970's, you know that he is a very good looking man in a conventional sense. Fair skinned, sharp facial features, thick black hair....He has grown old gracefully and still, at 86,  looks handsome despite his ailment.  

In the play,  I thought,  Dr. Lagoo looked like a sage painted by Chandamama artists. I feel the looks of Socrates matter critically in projecting what he was in reality.

Again, according to Ms. Bettany Hughes "...Of course comedy is where Socrates belongs. Where else could he be? The ugly, pot-bellied eccentric. The wrong-footing genius; the stonemason’s son who understands how fragile and foolish mortal life is, and yet at the same time how sublime. The soldier commended for his bravery who stands, like a snowman in the middle of a winter campaign, caught in one of his embarrassing staring fits. All the other characters in Socrates’ story – Alcibiades, Pericles, Aspasia – could appear in tragedy, in epic drama. Socrates, unique, world-class as he is, is at the same time a queer middle-aged man with feet of clay. A curiously comforting, curiously unsettling pilot-passenger in the leaky lifeboat. A man easy to mock...."

It's NOT easy to mock Dr. Lagoo with those sage-like looks and hence 'Surya pahilela manus' does not even get a chance to become comedy. Even otherwise, no attempt has been made to portray Socrates as "a queer middle-aged man with feet of clay". To me, he came across as Bhagat Singh of Classical antiquity.

In the past,  I have argued that Nilu Phule  should have played Nana (नाना) in Ghashiram Kotwal (घाशीराम कोतवाल),  not just because he was a better actor than Dr. Mohan Agashe (मोहन आगाशे)  but that he resembled Nana more

Considering his great sense of comic timing- amply demonstrated in a number of Marathi films like Master Vinayak's (मास्टर  विनायक) 'Brahmchari' (ब्रह्मचारी) 1938- and his looks, someone like the late Mr. Damuanna Malvankar (दामुअण्णा मालवणकर) 1893-1975 would have been  a better choice to play Socrates...


Dr. Lagoo, courtesy: amarujala.com


Thursday, July 10, 2014

सामाजिक बांधिलकी... To Me GA Refuses to be Useful and I'm Grateful for it...

Today July 10 2014 is 91st Birth Anniversary of G A Kulkarni (जी ए कुलकर्णी)

Richard Gilman:

" ...Leo Tolstoy, who became more and more obnoxious as he aged, admired Chekhov's fiction, but detested his plays largely for their 'immorality', but also for their refusal to be useful. After Chekhov's death he told an interviewer: ‘In a dramatic work the author ought to deal with some problem that has yet to be solved and every character ought to solve it according to the idiosync
rasies of his own character. It is like laboratory experiment. But you won't find anything of that kind in Chekhov.'

No, we won't, and we can be grateful for it.”

(Introduction to ‘Anton Chekhov Plays’, 2002)


George Orwell, 'No, Not One', 1941: 

"...All writing nowadays is propaganda. If, therefore, I treat Mr. Comfort's novel as a tract, I am only doing what he himself has done already. It is a good novel as novels go at this moment, but the motive for writing it was not what Trollope or Balzac, or even Tolstoy, would have recognised as a novelist's impulse. It was written in order to put forward the "message" of pacifism, and it was to fit that "message" that the main incidents in it were devised..."
While searching something, I reached the website of a Marathi daily 'Maharashtra Times'  and saw a report describing a cultural function dated December 2012.

I first was glad to read a Marathi writer Milind Bokil (मिलिंद बोकील) saying "...जीएंना कोणी ' सामाजिक बांधिलकी ' असणारा लेखक म्हणून म्हणणार नाही आणि स्वतः जीएंनीही कधी हा शब्द स्वतःच्या अंगाला लावून घेतला नसता..."  
(...No one would call GA a writer with social commitment and GA himself would not let that word stick to his body...)

So far so good but he did not stop at that.

He went on to say:  "समाजामध्ये ज्यांना दरिद्री , भणंग , बेकार समजले जाते अशा व्यक्तींना जीएंनी आपल्या साहित्यात फार आत्मीयतेने जवळ घेतलेले आहे . केवळ एखाद्या लेखकालाच असू शकते अशा प्रकारची आंतरिक करुणा जीए त्यांच्याप्रती व्यक्त करतात , मग याला कोणी सामाजिक बांधिलकी म्हणो वा न म्हणो"!

(...those who are considered poor,  unemployed, subaltern, GA has embraced them with affinity. GA expresses the kind of internal compassion towards them that only a writer can have. One may or may not call it social commitment...")

Mr. Bokil HAD TO say that GA was a writer of some kind of  social commitment. (Also read his another statement there...'केवळ एखाद्या लेखकालाच असू शकते अशा प्रकारची आंतरिक करुणा'...internal compassion towards them that only a writer can have...I thought of Jesus, Buddha and Mother Teresa...)

Mr. Bokil also quotes from a speech given in 2009 by the late writer Kamal Desai (कमल देसाई) saying that GA's writing empowered women to fight injustice. 

If you want to be called a good writer, you have to be useful! The author has to solve some kind of a problem! 

As the quote at the top suggests, it comes from Tolstoy alright. God knows from where else it comes.

Later I came a across Emile Zola's 'The Belly of Paris', 1873 in new translation by Mark Kurlansky.

Mr.  Kurlansky writes in the introduction, and I am quoting little extensively:

"To many Americans this may seem odd, but when I was a teenager my hero was Emile Zola. This was not because he spoke out so forcefully and dramatically against anti-Semitism and corruption in high places when Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish artillery captain, was framed for an act of espionage and was serving a life sentence in a penal colony. And not just because he did things like that all his life. It was because Zola was engaged, a writer who understood that his success gave him a platform, and he had a profound sense of the responsibility that implied. All over the world there have been such writers. Victor Hugo was another one, Latin America has been famous for them, so have Africa and Asia. America had James Baldwin and John Steinbeck. What was so exceptional about Zola was that he was one of the rare politically engaged writers who never let his political convictions compromise his artistry.

Zola came from a generation much influenced by Hugo. But Zola admired Hugo more for his political commitment than for his romantic prose, or, in Zola's words, his “mountainous rhetoric,” which he found “chilling.”
Zola, a highly political man, always insisted on the separation of art and politics. Though he very much wanted to be known for his political stances, he did not want his novels to be thought of as political pieces. In 1876, when L'Assommoir, sometimes titled in English The Dram Shop, was first serialized, critics infuriated Zola by calling him a socialist writer for his dark depiction of working-class life. He responded, “I do not accept the label you paste on my back. I mean to be a novelist, purely and simply, without any qualifying adjective; if you insist on qualifying me, say that I am a naturalistic novelist. That will not annoy me.” Of course, his concern for the plight of the poor did not necessarily make him a socialist. He read Charles Fourier, Pierre Proudhon, and Karl Marx, and he appreciated their arguments, especially those of Marx, which were presented in the structure of science, because Zola worshipped science. But he was never completely comfortable with the movement, which is probably why the revolutionaries depicted in his books, especially in The Belly of Paris, are virtually comic characters. He was clearly a progressive firmly in the left wing of nineteenth-century politics, but he wanted to keep the distinction between a leftist novelist and a leftist who writes novels.
It was his contention that it was the duty of writers to expose the weaknesses in a society and the duty of politicians to act upon them. He assumed both roles but never mixed them. He believed a novel should bear the mark of an individual and not an ideology. There are no tirades or polemics in Zola novels. Those he reserved for well-crafted newspaper articles such as the famous “J' Accuse!” in which he attacked the government for its persecution of Dreyfus. Some of his characters have such fits, but he always makes them look a bit overblown and even silly. Zola often laughs at political radicals. The convictions are there in the way he portrays life, the way all of his characters have someone bigger trying to step on them, the way most people are consumed in banal struggles. Do not look for justice in a Zola novel; his world is maddeningly unfair. But he always has humor and a thrilling, dark sense of irony..."

Artist: Sidney (Syd) Hoff (1912-2004), The New Yorker, 21 July 1962

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Why Don't We Offend Like George Grosz Anymore?

Today July 6 2014 is 55th Death Anniversary of George Grosz


"Ask me for a true image of human existence and I'll show you the sack of a great city."

George Grosz on his life in Berlin:

"I was each one of the very characters I drew, the champagne-swilling glutton favoured by fate no less than the poor beggar standing with outstretched hands in the rain. I was split in two, just like society at large…"

Steven Pinker:

"In sixteenth-century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning, in which a cat was hoisted in a sling on a stage and slowly lowered into a fire. According to historian Norman Davies, "[T]he spectators, including kings and queens, shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized.""

Seymour Hersh:

"...it's like you don't dare be an outsider any more."

I have not been to Paris or Berlin.

I may never see them. But these days I seem to know a little about Berlin. Earlier, for me,  it was just Hitler's capital.

But in year 2012, I read Roger Moorhouse's  'Berlin at War: Life and Death in Hitler's Capital 1939-1945' and it captured the city's haunting, tragic beauty in retrospect.

Since then I also have read a little bit about it beyond wars.

In year 2012, Berlin celebrated its 775th anniversary and SPIEGEL ONLINE International  published a series of stories on its history

 I have lived in big cities for a part of my life- Chennai (1981-83), Greater Mumbai (1983-1987),  Kolkata (1990-92) and Bangalore (1992-1999).

Cities like Berlin, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai grow on you and then you never leave them in some sense. 

For instance, when I first went to Bombay, the first things I noticed were that city buses had fluorescent tubes inside and the women generally had larger breasts than the women I was used to seeing in the Western Maharashtra.  

After initial hiccups, Bombay for me became just one large breast to suckle. No wonder they say: "आई झवली न् मुबई पाह्यली' (Mother fucked and saw Mumbai)

I know there are a number of  non-fiction books on Bombay.

I keep browsing one of the very best:  "Mumbaiche Varnan" ('मुंबईचें वर्णन') by Govind Narayan Madgaonkar (गोविंद नारायण माडगांवकर), first published in 1863.

There have been others too.

Sanjay Iyer says in a review of "Taj Mahal Foxtrot" by  Naresh Fernandes:

" While much of Bombay’s history is well-documented through accounts of its towering, nation-building figures, especially rich Parsi industrialists and philanthropists, lesser characters such as Chic Chocolate, Micky Correa and Ken Mac captured the whimsy of more than the few people actually present at the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Karachi Club on those two evenings. Imagining freedom, in the century that preceded Independence, had an aspect that has not, till now, been probed and made meaningful.

The idea of ‘freedom’ as a transgression is a central strand in Naresh Fernandes’s book. Jazz gave voice to this aspiration for the ‘modern’. The audiences for jazz in the early and mid-20th century were a restless bunch of hedonists, who may have seemed apolitical but did, in fact, embrace a culture that was born in resistance. The main Indian practitioners of this transgressive music were Roman Catholics, many of them from Goa, a Portuguese colony nestling within India, the jewel in the British Crown. Their upbringing provided them with basic training in Western musical forms, along with a primal distaste for their own colonised state, and rapture for jazz, that music that just “swung”..."

(The Caravan, December 2011)

But there are hardly great caricatural drawings on the Bombay of pre-independence.

Sure, India had great Avadh Punch (1877-1936) but it was not being published from Bombay. There also was 'Molla Nasreddin'. 'Published between 1906 and 1930. It  was a satirical Azeri magazine edited by the writer Jalil Mammadguluzadeh, and named after Nasreddin, the legendary Sufi wise man-cum-fool of the Middle Ages. With an acerbic sense of humor and realist illustrations reminiscent of a Caucasian Honoré Daumier or Toulouse-Lautrec, Molla Nasreddin attacked the hypocrisy of the Muslim clergy, the colonial policies of the US and European nations towards the rest of the world, and the venal corruption of the local elite, while arguing repeatedly for Westernization, educational reform, and equal rights for women'  

(from 'Slavs and Tatars Presents: Molla Nasreddin: The Magazine That Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve')

There also is no great novel about Mumbai of that period, either in Marathi or English.

The 1918 flu pandemic (the Spanish Flu) killed as many as 17 million in India, about 5% of the population. I am sure it didn't spare Bombay. But where is it in our fiction?

Returning to Berlin, they say: "After the devastation of World War I, cultural life blossomed and reached its heyday in Berlin. The 1920s were a time in which all the arts, both old and new, were cold, raw, shocking and sharp-edged."

In Berlin, there was George Grosz (1893–1959) an artist known especially for his savagely caricatural drawings of Berlin life in the 1920s:

courtesy: DPA Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Grosz said of his art: 

"My Drawings expressed my despair, hate and disillusionment, I drew drunkards; puking men; men with clenched fists cursing at the moon. ... I drew a man, face filled with fright, washing blood from his hands. . . I drew lonely little men fleeing madly through empty streets. I drew a cross-section of tenement house: through one window could be seen a man attacking his wife; through another, two people making love; from a third hung a suicide with body covered by swarming flies. I drew soldiers without noses; war cripples with crustacean-like steel arms; two medical soldiers putting a violent infantryman into a strait-jacket made of a horse blanket. . . I drew a skeleton dressed as a recruit being examined for military duty. I also wrote poetry." (Wikipedia)

Robert Hughes says of his art:

"In Grosz's Germany, everything and everybody is for sale. All human transactions, except for the class solidarity of the workers, are poisoned. The world is owned by four breeds of pig: the capitalist, the officer, the priest and the hooker, whose other form is the sociable wife. He was one of the hanging judges of art."


I don't think India had any one close to some one like Grosz.

But how I wish Saadat Hasan Manto or Bhau Padhye (भाउ पाध्ये), the two best 20th century chroniclers of Mumbai for me,  met Grosz! I hope they at least saw his art.

Apparently, Berlin's restlessness fascinated poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht who moved to the city from Bavaria.

In 1928 he wrote, "my friends and I hope that this great, lively city retains its intelligence, its fortitude and its bad memory, in other words, its revolutionary characteristics."

Why don't we NOW have any one like Bhau Padhye or George Grosz?

Wessie du Toit, Prospect, September 23 2013:

"A century on from Grosz’s arrival in Berlin, economic hardship grips Europe once again. I asked (Richard) Nagy why another George Grosz had not risen from the wreckage. “Artists aren’t willing to take risks to tell the truth,” he said, “they’re interested in different things.” I understood what he meant­­: today’s artists may intend to shock, but they are increasingly afraid to offend. Grosz’s great gift is to remind us that offence is sometimes necessary."  

Thursday, July 03, 2014

साहित्य, चित्र, शिल्प, नेपथ्य, टीका, भाषा, स्थापत्य : द. ग. गोडसे...D G Godse @100

Today July 3 2014 is 100th Birth Anniversary of D G Godse- one of the greatest artists India produced in 20th century and one of the inspirations for this blog

वसंत पाटणकर:

"...मराठीत कलाविषयक लेखन, सिद्धान्तन करू पाहणारे बहुधा सहित्यसमीक्षक असतात. त्यांना साहित्याचे जसे आतून ज्ञान असते तसे ते इतर कलांचे सामान्यतः नसते. अन्य कलांचे आतून ज्ञान असणार्या समीक्षकांनी केलेले कलाविषयक लेखन कलेच्या स्वरुपावर काही वेगळा प्रकाश टाकण्याची शक्यता असते. गोडश्यांचे लेखन हे या दुसर्या प्रकारातील असल्यामुळेच ते अभिनव ठरते. दुसरे असे की साहित्य, चित्र, शिल्प अशा अनेकविध कलांची काही विचारसूत्रांत बांधणी करू पाहणारी मोठ्या आवाक्याची समीक्षा मराठीत जवळजवळ नाहीच असे म्हटले तरी चालेल. त्यामुळे गोडश्यांचा कलामीमांसेचा हा प्रयत्न महत्वपूर्ण आहे...."

["D.G. Godse Yanchi Kalamimansa" Editor; Sarojini Vaidya, Vasant Patankar , 1997 ("द. ग. गोडसे यांची कलामीमांसा" संपादक: सरोजिनी वैद्य, वसंत पाटणकर)]

बाळ ठाकूर:

"...चित्र माणसाचं असो वा प्राण्याचं , गोडसेंच्या चित्रांतली त्यांची अॅनाटॉमीही पाहण्यासारखी असायची. गोडसेंचा घोडा तर खासच! आजवर घोड्याची अनेक चित्रं काढली गेली असतील , पण गोडसेंइतका परफेक्ट घोडा क्वचितच कुणी काढला असेल..." 

विजया मेहता: 

"… गोडसे विविध विषयांतले एन्सायक्लोपीडिया तर होतेच; त्याचबरोबर माझ्यासाठी ते थोरल्या भावासारखे एक वडीलधारी व्यक्ती होते.. माझ्याकरता एक भक्कम सपोर्ट सिस्टम! तसंच ते निव्वळ नेपथ्यकार वा वेशभूषाकार नव्हते, तर एक चौफेर 'सेन्शुअस' व्यक्तिमत्त्व होते…" 
द ग गोडसे: 

"...रायगडावरचे जगदीश्वराचे मंदिरसुद्धा थाटघाटात यावनी दर्ग्याच्या घराण्याचे दिसते ते मंदिराला दर्ग्याचा घाट देण्यास, मंदिर बंधणारांना त्या काळी कोणताही संकोच वाटला नाही म्हणून..." ('शक्ति सौष्ठव', 1972)

"...तरीही  तिचे  (मस्तानीचे) भविष्य  उज्ज्वल  आहे! ते जमेल  तेवढे  उज्ज्वल  करावे  हाच माझा ध्यास असल्यामुळे  माझे 'मस्तानी' हे पुस्तक …" (from a letter to me dated c October 1991)

There have been numerous entries referring to the late Mr. Godse on this blog.

I have put all of them together here: (Facebook page created by me) "D G Godse, A Search शोध, द. ग. गोडसेंचा". I have also put there links and references to a few articles on him by others. 

I feel sorry that we still don't have even a lousy biography of him. 

I consider myself singularly lucky that I could exchange a few letters with him and that I received encouragement from him to write.

Artist: D G Godse,  c 1989 and James McNeill Whistler c 1890-1899

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Strong Balance Sheet of Shripad Krushna Kolhatkar

Today June 29 2014 is 143rd Birth Anniversary of Shripad Krushna Kolhatkar ( श्रीपाद कृष्ण कोल्हटकर), the best humorist in Marathi and one of the greatest India produced. 

When I saw the following on FB page of Amar Chitra Katha studio, I was reminded of Kolhatkar's Marathi essay: "Chitraguptacha Jamakharch" (चित्रगुप्ताचा जमाखर्च), first published more than 100 years ago.

 I am enclosing a scanned copies of a couple of pages of Kolhatkar essay.

For me, most of Shripad Krushna's humour, who has appeared on this blog a few times earlier, remains ever so fresh!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

एक झाड, दोन पक्षी...Vertigo of Lynd Ward and Alfred Hitckcok

Today June 26 2014 is 109th Birth Anniversary of  Lynd Ward

I saw Alfred Hitchcock 'Vertigo', 1958  in Mumbai at New Empire or Excelsior during 1984-87. I immediately fell in love with it. I liked its haunting quality most. 

Without reading anything about it, I knew it was a great film. But I did not know three things about it 

…  that it was perhaps the greatest film ever made, 

...that it had come back into circulation only in 1983, and 

...that Kim Novak wears no brassiere in the film.
I also did not know that one of the greatest graphic novel too is also named  'Vertigo', 1937 by Lynd Ward.
Maria Popova writes about the novel:

" His last graphic novel, Vertigo (1937), was an absolute masterpiece, a pinnacle of this unique art of contrast, of light and darkness, both literally and metaphorically.

Brimming with powerful Depression-era images, it is also ironically relevant today, illustrating this same urgency unrest in the context of our contemporary economic downturn.."

Ward explained why the title "Vertigo":

"(It) was meant to suggest that the illogic of what we saw happening all around us in the thirties was enough to send the mind spinning  through space and the emotions hurtling from great hope to the depths of despair." 

Vertigo tells the story of three characters: The Girl, The Boy and An Elderly Gentleman...The Girl has a dream of becoming a concert violinist...

                                                                       The Girl

When I read the above in September 2013, I said this must be one of the rare examples where two of the very best in their respective fields are called "Vertigo".

The Girl and The Boy (Kim Novak and James Stewart)

Martin Scorsese on the film on August 15 2013:

"...For many years, it was extremely difficult to see Vertigo. When it came back into circulation, in 1983, along with four other Hitchcock films that had been held back, the color was completely wrong. The color scheme of Vertigo is extremely unusual, and this was a major disappointment. In the meantime, the elements—the original picture and sound negatives—needed serious attention.

Ten years later, Bob Harris and Jim Katz did a full-scale restoration for Universal. By that time, the elements were decaying and severely damaged. But at least a major restoration was done. As the years went by, more and more people saw Vertigo and came to appreciate its hypnotic beauty and very strange, obsessive focus.

As in the case of many great films, maybe all of them, we don’t keep going back for the plot. Vertigo is a matter of mood as much as it’s a matter of storytelling—the special mood of San Francisco where the past is eerily alive and around you at all times, the mist in the air from the Pacific that refracts the light, the unease of the hero played by James Stewart, Bernard Herrmann’s haunting score. As the film critic B. Kite wrote, you haven’t really seen Vertigo until you’ve seen it again. For those of you who haven’t seen it even once, when you do, you’ll know what I mean. 

Every decade, the British film magazine Sight and Sound conducts a poll of critics and filmmakers from around the world and asks them to list what they think are the ten greatest films of all time. Then they tally the results and publish them. In 1952, number one was Vittorio de Sica’s great Italian Neorealist picture Bicycle Thieves. Ten years later, Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane was at the top of the list. It stayed there for the next forty years. Last year, it was displaced by a movie that came and went in 1958, and that came very, very close to being lost to us forever: Vertigo..."


If you like Ms. Novak the way I do, you may see another picture of her on this blog here. I also found the following wonderful picture of her on FB in November 2013: