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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

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."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Thursday, June 29, 2017

जेंव्हा जेन मॅन्सफील्ड यांचे उरोज सोफिया लॉरेन यांच्या जवळजवळ ताटात गेले...Jayne Mansfield, 50th Death Anniversary

#50YearsOn
#50YearsOnJayneMansfield

Today June 29 2017 is 50th death anniversary of Jayne Mansfield


J. G. Ballard, 'Atrocity Exhibition', 1970: 
"Were her breasts too large? No, as far as one can tell, but they loomed across the horizons of popular consciousness along with those of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. Beyond our physical touch, the breasts of these screen actresses incite our imaginations to explore and reshape them. The bodies of these extraordinary women form a kit of spare parts, a set of mental mannequins that resemble Bellmer’s obscene dolls. As they tease us, so we begin to dismantle them, removing sections of a smile, a leg stance, an enticing cleavage. The parts are interchangeable, like the operations we imagine performing on these untouchable women, as endlessly variable as the colours silkscreened on to the faces of Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn." 

Margaret Anne Doody, London Review of Books, June 1997:
"...In the period after World War Two, by contrast, and especially throughout the Fifties, women had to try to pad out their breasts, to match the attractions of bosomy stars like Rosalind Russell, Marilyn Monroe or the egregious Jayne Mansfield. Brassieres entered the consciousness already colonised by Freud, and anxiety about bosom shape afflicted all women, even young girls who were urged to get into a ‘training bra’ as soon as they could. There was a boom in the bust..."
 
Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield 

Ms. Loren talked about this picture to Entertainment Weekly in 2014:

"...'Look at that picture. Where are my eyes?' Sophia told the publication.
'I'm staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate.'
Indeed, the beauty - whose new memoir Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life will be released on Tuesday - looks put out that Jayne would let her chest be on such blatant display..."


Jocelyn Faris:
“...At 2:25 A.M. on June 29, 1967, Jayne Mansfield, Sam Brody, and Ronnie Harrison (a driver employed by Gus Stevens) were instantly killed in a freak automobile accident thirty miles from downtown New Orleans. Their car rear-ended a semi-truck in a white cloud of fog being produced by City of New Orleans mosquito spraying equipment. The three adults in the front seat received skull fractures and died instantly...

...Celebrity seekers sought to be with Jayne, even in death: "Her family had sought to avoid the sharp spotlight of publicity which the 34-year-old Miss Mansfield relished all her life. But the public craving to be near a celebrity, even in death, created a circus atmosphere in the tiny borough where she had spent several years of her early childhood . . . Spectators broke through police lines and ran across grass-covered graves to snap photographs of the bronze casket with its blanket of pink roses."...”

Sunday, June 25, 2017

टागोरांचा टीरोलियन ड्रेस घातलेला गूढवाद...Franz Kafka on Indian Religious Devotions and Rabindranath Tagore

फ्रान्झ काफ्का भारताबद्दल अस बोलले होते:

“...I lent Kafka a German translation of the Indian religious text, the Bhagavad Gita.

Kafka said, ‘Indian religious writings attract and repel me at the same time. Like a poison, there is something both seductive and horrible in them. All these Yogis and sorcerers rule over the life of nature not because of their burning love of freedom but because of a concealed and icy hatred of life. The source of Indian religious devotions is a bottomless pessimism.’ ...”

(‘Conversations with Kafka’ by Gustav Janouch, 1951/ 2012)

डॉक्टर सर्वपल्ली राधाकृष्णन याला काहीस उत्तर अस देतात :


“...The main charges against Indian philosophy are those of pessimism, dogmatism, indifference to ethics and unprogressiveness.  Almost every critic of Indian philosophy and culture harps on its pessimism. We cannot, however, understand how the human mind can speculate freely and remodel life  when it is filled with weariness and overcome by a feeling  of hopelessness. A priori, the scope and freedom of Indian thought are inconsistent with an ultimate pessimism. Indian philosophy is pessimistic if by pessimism is meant a sense of dissatisfaction with what is or exists. In this sense all philosophy is pessimistic. The suffering of the world provokes the problems of philosophy and religion. Systems of religion which emphasise redemption seek for an escape from life as we live it on earth. But reality in its essence is not evil....”

 (Dr. Sarvepalli  Radhakrishnan, 'Indian Philosophy Vol I & II', 1923)

थोडक्यात : काफ्का जे म्हणत होते  ते नवीन नव्हते पण त्यांच्या बोलण्यात दम आहे. भारतीय तत्वज्ञाना बद्दल ह्या अंगाने चर्चा अलिकडे कुठ वाचली नाहीय.

याच पुस्तकात काफ्का टागोरांबद्दल काय म्हणतात ते पहा:
"...I repeated Reimann’s amusing story about Kurt Wolff, the Leipzig publisher, who at eight o’clock in the morning rejected a translation of Rabindranath Tagore, and two hours later sent the firm’s reader to the central post office to reclaim the rejected manuscript, because in the meanwhile he had seen in the paper that Tagore had won the Nobel Prize.

‘Odd that he should have refused Tagore,’ said Franz Kafka slowly. ‘Tagore is after all not very different from Kurt Wolff. India and Leipzig, the distance between is only apparent. In reality Tagore is only a German in disguise.’

‘A schoolmaster, perhaps?’

‘A schoolmaster?’ repeated Kafka gravely, drew down the corners of his tight-pressed lips, and slowly shook his head. ‘No, not that, but he could be a Saxon – like Richard Wagner.’

‘Mysticism in Tyrolean dress?’

‘Something like that.’

We laughed."

रिचर्ड वागनर यांची ज्यू संबंधात तयार झालेली प्रतिमा ध्यानात घेता ज्यू काफ्का यांनी त्यांचा केलेला उल्लेख लक्षणीय आहे. तसेच त्यांच्या पोषाखाची केलेली किंचित थट्टा ('we laughed') सुद्धा : टीरोलियन ड्रेस घातलेला गूढवाद.... टागोरांच्या रेशमी छाटीची महाराष्ट्रात पण काही गोटातून थट्टा होत असे..... 


on the left Vintage Tyrolean dresses, on the right, sitting, the late Mr. Rabindranath Tagore with a companion

courtesy: blue17.co.uk and Timesnow

कै विलास सारंगांनी हे बहुदा वाचल नसणार. मला कै दुर्गा भागवत आणि त्यांची या सगळ्यावरची प्रतिक्रिया ऐकायला खूप आवडले असते.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

J. B. Handelsman's Ben-Hur err Ben-Him!

Today June 20 2017 is 10th death anniversary of John Bernard "J.B." Handelsman (1922-2007)

There have been (ok) Ben-Hur, 1959 and (lousy) Ben-Hur 2016 but I like Handelsman's Ben-Hur err Ben-Him most!

(Read every word from the frame below to have a blast.)


courtesy: J. B. Handelsman and Punch

Friday, June 16, 2017

An Evening in Paris@50

'An Evening in Paris' turns 50 this year. I could not find the date it was released in 1967.

I have written about it on this blog on December 5 2007: "An Evening in Paris (1967) is one of my favourite movies.

First time, we (my brother, my cousin, I)  watched its matinee show (3 PM) at Kolhapur (Venus cinema?) by standing in an overwhelming queue like the one below to buy a ticket.




 Artist: Anonymos, Vangmay Shobha, Diwali 1970 (वाङ्मय शोभा, दिवाळी १९७०)

I thoroughly enjoyed it. What did I like?

Shammi Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor…music of Shankar - Jaikishan, Rajendranath and bikini clad Sharmila Tagore.

In Hindi films, rarely a woman has looked as sensuous as her, without a touch of vulgarity..."

  The late Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore in the late Shakti Samanta's 'An Evening in Paris'

courtesy:  the current copyright holders of the feature

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

...तरिहि नव्या स्त्रीची मेली ॥ हौस कशि असे हो...Welding David Teniers the Younger & G B Deval Together

आज, जून १४ २०१७, गोविंद बल्लाळ देवल यांची १०१वी पुण्यतिथी आहे
पद्य ( राग --- पिलृ : त्रिताल ):

काय पुरुष चळले बाई ताळ मुळीं उरला नाहीं धर्म---नीति ---शास्त्रें पायी तुडविती कसे हो ॥धृ०॥

साठ अधिक वर्षें भरलीं नातवास पोरें झालीं तरिहि नव्या स्त्रीची मेली हौस कशि असे हो ॥१॥ घोडथेरडयांना ऐशा देति बाप पोरी कैशा कांहिं दुजी त्यांच्या नाशा युक्ति कां नसे हो ॥२॥

 शास्त्रकुशल मोठे मोठे धर्म---गुरुहि गेले कोठें ? काय कर्म असलें खोटें त्यांस नव दिसे हो

.....and with apologies to the late Mr. Teniers

‘An Old Peasant Caresses a Kitchen Maid in a Stable', c 1650

 The Artist:  David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690)

Mr. Jonathan Jones of The Guardian writes about the picture:

"Gross! An elderly man pays creepy attentions to a young woman in this glimpse of rural life more than 350 years ago. Teniers used to be the most famous by far of all painters of “genre scenes”, as paintings of the everyday were called. Now he is forgotten compared with Vermeer, whose tender realism moves us more. Teniers reflects a contemptuously hierarchical age when the lower orders were to be laughed at, but his paintings do show what peasant villages looked like before the industrial revolution."


Friday, June 09, 2017

बाबूराव अर्नाळकर@111...Manto, Georges Simenon, Pulp Mags, Noir Films and Baburao Arnalkar

Today June 9 2017 is 111th birth anniversary of  Baburao Arnalkar (बाबूराव अर्नाळकर) 1906-1996

Ezra Pund:
"Make it new."


Graham Moore, The New York Times, January 2017:
"...Not even Conan Doyle could have imagined just how long his creation would outlive him. Since Conan Doyle’s own death, Holmes has been depicted in dozens of feature films, television series, stage plays, comics, radio dramas and video games. The pastiche novels — that is, Holmes stories not composed by his creator — are even more numerous. Holmes is arguably the most famous fictional character of the past two centuries, rivaled only by Dracula and James Bond, with perhaps, as the decades wear on, Batman and Harry Potter nipping at their heels..."  


Georges Simenon, ‘The Train’, 1961:

“...I have always been a prudish man, even in my thoughts.

I wasn’t discontented with my way of life. I had chosen it. I had patiently realized an ideal which, until the previous day—I repeat this in all sincerity—had satisfied me completely.

Now I was there, in the dark, with the song of the train, red and green lights passing by, telegraph wires, other bodies stretched out in the straw, and close beside me, within reach of my hand, what the Abbé Dubois called the carnal act was taking place.

Against my own body, a woman’s body pressed itself, tense, vibrant, and a hand moved to pull up the black dress, to push the panties down to the feet which kicked them off with an odd jerking movement.

We still hadn’t kissed each other. It was Anna who drew me toward her, on top of her, both of us as silent as snakes.

Julie’s breathing grew quicker and louder just as Anna was helping me to enter her, and I suddenly found myself there.

I didn’t cry out. But I came close to doing so. I came close to talking incoherently, saying thank you, telling of my happiness, or else complaining, for that happiness hurt me. Hurt me with the attempt to reach the unattainable.

I should have liked to express all at once my affection for this woman whom I hadn’t known the day before, but who was a human being, who in my eyes was becoming the human being...”
 
विलास सारंग, 'शेक्सपियरचं भाषांतर', 'लिह्त्या लेखकाचं वाचन', २०११:
 "... O God! a beast that wants...याचं भाषांतर श्री. नाईक करतात : अरे देवा, 
'अरे देवा' हे शब्द वाचून मला लहानपणी अर्नाळकरांनी शब्दशः भाषांतरित केलेल्या डिटेक्टिव्ह कादंबऱ्यांची आठवण झाली! नायकाने 'अरे देवा!' अस म्हटल्यावर आम्ही हसायचो!..."

ब. ल. वष्ट, वाङ्मय शोभा, सप्टेंबर १९५०:

In January 2017, I read two articles.

First one was a book review by Graham Moore of “ARTHUR AND SHERLOCK : Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes” by  Michael Sims and the second was an article in Marathi newspaper Loksatta (लोकसत्ता) by Mahesh Elkunchwar (महेश एलकुंचवार) on Marathi crime fiction writer:  Mr. Arnalkar.


Mr. Elkunchwar laments the near death of the genre 'crime fiction' in Marathi and the likely reasons thereof.
"...आता तर या लेखनप्रकाराचा मागमूसही दिसत नाही. वाचायचे ते उद्बोधनासाठी, माहितीसाठी, सामाजिक जाणिवा तेवत ठेवण्यासाठी, . सर्व उद्दिष्टे डोळ्यांसमोर ठेवून वाचन करणाऱ्या मराठी वाचकाला रंजनासाठी रहस्यकथा वाचणे हे अभिरुची सोडल्याचे लक्षण वाटत होते का?..."

"(वाटत होते.) पण हाच वाचक तद्दन रंजनप्रधान नाटके पाहतो, ‘विविध भारतीवरची प्राणहीन मराठी गाणी ऐकतो, कोळीनृत्य लावणी ही त्याची सांस्कृतिक घटनांची व्याख्या असते. त्याने रहस्यकथेकडे पाठ फिरवण्याचा अर्थ मला कळत नाही..."
 
I first read Sherlock Holmes, in Marathi, in early 1970's. Most of them I had borrowed it from a small book lending library. During the same period, out of curiosity, I also read Arnalkar's novels. Although I did finish reading a few of Arnalkar's novels, I never fell in love with them unlike the books- most in Marathi- of  Doyle, Erle Stanley Gardner, James Hadley Chase, Alistair MacLean, Narayan Dharap (नारायण धारप), Gurunath Naik (गुरुनाथ नाईक), Shrikant Sinkar (श्रीकांत सिनकर), Indrajal Comics featuring Phantom, Mandrake and Flash Gordon

Therefore, I was surprised to read Mr. Elkunchwar's following claim in the aforementioned article. 
"...मुले मराठी वाचत नसतील, त्यांना वाचनाची गोडी नसेल; तर सर्व आई-बापांनी त्यांना अर्नाळकरांच्या पुस्तकांची चटक अवश्य लावावी. पाहा, किती चांगला परिणाम होतो ते...."

As the late Mr. Sarang opines above, I often felt as an adolescent that Mr. Arnalkar was translating from English word for word.  My son, 23, once an avid reader of books, was/is unlikely to even touch his books. Moreover the kids these days get to read Sherlock of Doyle as well as Sherlock that has been made new. On top of that we have to reckon with the decline of conventional books (अक्षर वाङ्मय) in the pecking order. For an urban middle-class young person today, video games, mobile telephony and TV serials come much higher. Elkunchwar himself admits: "...आज पुन्हा अर्नाळकर मी वाचतो तेव्हा कंटाळा येतो;..."

Sure,  as Elkunchwar describes, Arnalkar's novels probably had some good qualities such as the simplicity and the smooth flow of the language, seamless creation of new words, naming of the characters, description of Mumbai but his books never had any quality like. for instance, that of, say, Georges Simenon.

John Gray writes about Simenon:
"...Some of the best examples of what is commonly described as crime fiction – the novels of Patricia Highsmith, for instance – are studies in character which show why the protagonists act as they do by probing their states of mind. In Simenon, human beings are the sum of their impulses and behaviours; there is no enduring self behind the façade of habit. No one authors their own life; the belief that they are responsible for their actions is an illusion...
...André Gide was not exaggerating when he described Simenon as one of the greatest 20th-century writers of fiction. (Other admirers include T S Eliot, Henry Miller, William Faulkner and John Banville.) By the time he died in 1989, he was one of the most widely published writers in history, with world sales of over 500 million books and many film adaptations to his credit..."

Arnalkar did not seem to even try what Bhau Padhye (भाऊ पाध्ये) later achieved in his Mumbai based novels: Capturing alienation, desperation, all conquering commerce, impossibility of finding an affordable dwelling, ubiquitous Hindi cinema...something Saadat Hasan Manto (1921-1955) had also achieved in a few of his Mumbai based stories.

We also have to take into consideration the imported inspiration that was available to Mr. Arnalkar: Noir films and glorious tradition of pulp magazines. (I have always felt that the golden age of Hindi cinema 1949-1965 freely borrowed from noir films and Jazz music.)



“...Dashiell Hammett  found a home for a lot of his fiction in Black Mask, one of America’s great bygone pulp magazines. Raymond Chandler, Carroll John Daly, and other masters of detective fiction all placed their work in Black Mask, which first published Hammett in 1922, and which serialized The Maltese Falcon in 1929... in 1930, when Black Mask had a circulation of 130,000...”


Joseph Cotten and Jean Peters in Andew L. Stone's  'A Blueprint for Murder', 1953 

courtesy: 20th Century Fox

Even crime fiction written in Marathi is of the same average (to mediocre) quality as most of the fictional writing done in it in 20th century. Mr. Arnalkar, who was a better writer than most of the contemporary Marathi novelists,  entertained millions of Marathi readers and we all should be grateful to him for that.