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It is the birthday of that woman who smiles like a flower and dances like a dream – Madhuri Dixit she is. It’s her 52nd birthday on 15th May. She is called by many nicknames – “Dhak Dhak girl”, “Mohini”, or “Dancing Diva”. Madhuri Dixit – the reigning queen of Bollywood from the late ’80s to ’90s has a fan base across generations. Someone who was born during the ’70s saw her rise in Bollywood stealing the limelight from Sridevi and others. The ones born in the ’90s wanted to copy her footsteps as she was the role model for them. And the millennials now get to see & know her through her dance shows and recent movies. What remains constant among all generations is the love & respect for Madhuri Dixit. There are some valid reasons why every generation is in love with Madhuri Dixit which are discussed at length below.

One of the strongest reasons is that Madhuri Dixit is a total package of what Bollywood or the world of art & dance wants. In her eyes, through her smile, and by her classy moves, she makes an impact in the hearts of people. Read below and know those reasons!

Enchanting Beauty
Enchanting Beauty
Image Source – Google

I may sound a bit over the top but even the ones who are not fans of Madhuri Dixit would also agree to the fact that “Madhuri Dixit is an enchanting beauty”. Her beauty has a “girl next door” vibe and very easily she can slip into a con-woman and that too keeping that beauty & smile intact. It is a mystery how she looks so enchanting even at 52!! I also know people who perhaps have not seen any movie of Madhuri Dixit but loves her for the way she looks and carries herself! – Isn’t that interesting?

Old World Charm & Nostalgia
Old World Charm & Nostalgia
Image Source – Google

Madhuri Dixit carries an old world charm which is quite nostalgic. Her looks, style, and attitude are like a reminder of the old world or bygone era to the people of this generation. You can gauge that difference by looking into the list of actresses in Bollywood. She definitely belongs to the list of classic and elegant enchantresses of Bollywood like Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Nargis, or Waheeda Rehman. How can anyone not fall in love with her then?

Dancer Par Excellence
Dancer Par Excellence
Image Source – Google

Bollywood has produced many excellent dancers to date. Waheeda Rehman, Vyajanthimala, Asha Parekh, Helen, Rekha, Hema Malini, Sridevi, Katrina Kaif but it’s different when Madhuri Dixit moves. It is a delightful dream to watch her dance. Even someone like Shahrukh Khan also once said, “I used to ask for retakes willingly, because, it is absolutely a divine experience to watch Madhuri Dixit dance”. Most of the yesteryear Bollywood queens had a strong dance skill but they limited that to the classical or Bollywood type dance only. But Madhuri Dixit – a trained Kathak dancer not only soaked Bollywood dance but also became a PRO with all sorts of western dance forms. In every dance form, she moves like magic. Her fans (like me) would put this trait in perfect words – Madhuri Dixit’s dance is equal to “poetry in motion”. Simply type “Madhuri Dixit Dance” and get mesmerized.

Million Watts Smile
Million Watts Smile
Image Source – Google

Her smile of million watts can set a heart on fire & can also cool down a fire! Madhuri’s smile has that appeal. Smile is one of the primary goals in life and sometimes someone’s smile can boost your confidence, relieve your stress, or make you feel better. Madhuri Dixit is the owner of such a beautiful smile. I remember reading the film magazines in my childhood (the reigning time of my most favorite actress) where I came across many eminent personalities and public polls declaring Madhuri’s smile to be the best one from Bollywood. Well, there are many more actresses whose smile are fascinating but when Madhuri smiles it seems like a waterfall of honey!

Convincing Expressions
Convincing Expressions
Image Source – Google

“Kal Aayeiga, Filhaal Iss Guftugoo Se Thak Gaye Hai Hum” – Who can mouth those lines with that conviction mixed with a bit of arrogance, power, and sensuality. Only a Madhuri Dixit can. Be it a “girl next door” or a muse to an artist or courtesan – she will walk into your hearts with conviction as if she was born to be a Nisha, Pooja, Maya, Bahar Begum, etc. She justifies the presence of “act” in the actress. There is a term called “adaayein” whose closest English term can be “grace” or “style” and no one except Madhuri Dixit can carry those “adaayein” better. And it is not only me, but every other industry person would also opine that!

Do you know that Sanjay Leela Bhansali generally never wants a “married woman” to play her protagonists? But he had to give up this clause while signing Madhuri for the role of Chandramukhi. Why? Maybe Saratchandra Chatterji imagined Chandramukhi just the way Madhuri is in flesh and blood. Those longing eyes for Devdas, that divine love where she is in love without any expectations, and the power to give him up for another woman’s love – who could have played such a strong role with so much of passion!

There is, was, will never be another Madhuri Dixit. She is a legend and the benchmark she has set in her field is extraordinary. She is an inspiration not only for the new generation of Bollywood but also for people belonging to other fields. Why? Because she says, “There is a child within me. Everything is fascinating. The hunger to learn, do better, and more creative things never go”.

*****Happy Birthday Goddess!*****

Summer season is here with its humidity and roaring temperature. The body feels weak and tired easily facing the scorching sun. Therefore, eating must be right during this season. Infusing the seasons’ special fruits in your everyday food chart is must because they will help you stay hydrated, fit, and energetic. Additionally, spending long hours in front of a gas or oven during summer season seems like a punishment. So, here are 2 salad and 2 smoothie recipes that you can make very easily using the summer special fruit mango. Mango comes with essential vitamins and nutrients that will provide you a disease-free heart, flawless skin and hair, strong bones, & great digestive system.

One cup of mango contains 100 calories, 0.5 gm fat, 1 gm protein, 25 gm carbohydrates, 100% of the daily requirement of Vitamin C, 35% of Vitamin A, and 8% of potassium.

So, enter your kitchen and quickly make these amazing mangolicious food items to stay fit and healthy this summer.

Refreshing Mango & Kiwi Salad

The best thing about this salad is that it is very easy to make. It will keep your mind refreshed and will also aid in your weight loss program. This salad is sweet, salty, and tangy and will be a great appetizer. You may also add it in your taco or spread over your toast and enjoy every bite of it. It has only 71 calories!

Refreshing Mango & Kiwi Salad
Image Source – Google
Ingredients:
  • Mango: 1 cup
  • Kiwi: 1 cup
  • Jalapeno: 1 small (if you don’t have, you may use green chilies or red pepper flakes)
  • Red Onion: 1/3rd cup
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves: 1/3rd cup
  • Lemon Juice: ½ Tsp
  • Black Salt/Table Salt: As per taste
How To Make Refreshing Mango & Kiwi Salad?
  • Chop 1 or 2 mangoes in small cubes and measure 1 cup out of it. Follow the same for kiwi fruit.
  • Now combine mangoes, kiwis, red onion, jalapeno, fresh coriander in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add lemon juice and salt and give a nice mix.
  • You may now keep it in the refrigerator for some time so that the tangy, sweet, and spicy flavors mix into each other really well.
  • Take it out from the refrigerator after two hours and enjoy your refreshing bowl of goodness!
Zesty Mango Salad

This mango salad is sweet, tangy, spicy, zesty, and full of nutritional values. This salad will keep you full for a long time and you will feel refreshed too.

Zesty Mango Salad
Image Source – Google
Salad Ingredients:
  • Butter Leaf Lettuce: 7 ounces (you can pick up any green vegetable of your choice like spinach or broccoli)
  • Red Bell Pepper: 1
  • Ripe Mangoes: 3
  • Green and White Onion: ½ cup
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves: 1/4th cup
  • Jalapeno: 1 medium sized.
Peanut Dressing
Ingredients:
  • Creamy Peanut Butter: 1/4th cup
  • Red Pepper Flakes: ½ Tsp (in case you prefer more spice)
  • Sesame Oil: 1 Tsp
  • Soya Sauce: 1 Tsp
  • Maple Syrup or Honey: 1 Tsp
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: 1/4th cup
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: 1 Tsp
  • Garlic: 2 (finely chopped and pressed)
How To Make Zesty Mango Salad?
  • Chop the green vegetable of your choice into bite-sized pieces.
  • Now take the red bell pepper and make 1 inch long thin slices.
  • Cut the ripe mangoes into small cubes.
  • Slice the onions thinly and finely chop the coriander leaves.
  • Finally, de-seed the jalapeno, remove the membrane and chop it finely.
  • Now, pour the peanut dressing ingredients in a blender and blend very well.
  • Chop the main salad ingredients and keep in a large bowl aside.
  • When you are ready to eat, simply pour the dressing and enjoy a tangy, spicy, zesty, and summer special salad.
Easy Mango Smoothie

Made with season’s special and fresh mangoes, this smoothie is full of nutrition and is a perfect thing to have during your lunch or breakfast. One glass of mango smoothie has only 120 calories (may vary slightly) and it is a good source of Vitamin A & C.

Easy Mango Smoothie
Image Source – Google
Ingredients:

Fresh Mangoes: 2

Banana: 1

Milk: ½ cup

Yogurt: ½ cup

How To Make Easy Mango Smoothie?
  • First of all chop the mangoes and banana well.
  • Put all these ingredients in a blender and churn them well.
  • Mangoes and bananas are naturally sweet and thus there is no need to add sugar externally. Still in case you feel like having more sweet, then, opt for honey or sugar (depending on your choice)
  • Take a nice glass and pour the smoothie.
  • You may keep it in the refrigerator for some time before serving.
Summer Fresh Mango & Watermelon Smoothie

Mango and watermelon both are summer special fruits. They prepare the body to face the heat outside. Combining both these fruits, you can make a yummy and refreshing smoothie to enjoy during your breakfast or lunch.

Summer Fresh Mango & Watermelon Smoothie
Image Source – Google
Ingredients:

Mango: 1

Watermelon: 5 cups

White Sugar: 1 Tsp

Ice Cubes: Optional

Water: ½ cup

How To Make Summer Special Mango & Watermelon Smoothie?
  • Carefully cut the watermelon and dice it into small pieces.
  • Remove the seeds carefully and measure 5 cups and keep aside.
  • Cut the mango into small cubes and keep aside.
  • Now take a blender and put the watermelon pieces, mangoes, and sugar and blend very well.
  • Pour water and ice cubes and give a very nice blend.
  • Now, simply pour them into glasses and serve.

Welcome summer season and stay fit with these amazing mango salad and smoothie recipes.

Who doesn’t want to fall in love? Every face that you see in a crowded metro or busy street – from the shy ones to the ones shouting over the phone – need love at the end of the day. Some get lucky while some don’t. Some perhaps attract love, enjoy love, but cannot keep it. And then there are some who not only attract, enjoy, and keep love but also radiate love. Feng Shui or the Chinese geomancy – the pseudoscience originating in China has the resolution for almost any problem in your life. It is all about channelizing the positive energy in the proper direction and reap good results out of it. So, if you follow some interesting Feng Shui Tips, you may attract more love and romance in your life.

Know the Feng Shui Love & Romance Special Tips for a Happy Life Ahead
Crucial Southwest Direction of Your Home
Crucial Southwest Direction of Your Home
Image Source – Google

Southwest is the direction that is related to love and romance and thus you must take special care of this area. Southwest direction resonates with the Earth element and earthly colors should populate this area of your home as they will promote tenderness. You may also keep objects related to Earth or Fire element to activate the Earth element in this area. Soft yellow or soft brown color or natural crystal stones in Southwest direction would enhance more love and romance in your life for sure.

Cozy Seats
Cozy Seats
Image Source – Google

You should not keep one chair at your place. If you are in love or in a relationship, then, clearly, there should be two chairs and a cozy and comfortable one. If not, then, it will signal that you are not prioritizing the presence of the other person in your relationship.

Pictures Say A Lot
Pictures Say A Lot
Image Source – Google

Remove all those pictures, sculptures, or paintings, or photographs that are gloomy, show loneliness, speak of a long wait, or depicts sadness. These are the things that will block the positive energies traveling your way towards achieving a successful love life. See the trick is when you want someone special in your life, the things at your place be it a painting or sculpture should radiate that “desire”. Keep a happy couple painting in your home and see the results.

No TV or Mirror In Bedroom
No TV or Mirror In Bedroom
Image Source – Google

There should not be any TV in your bedroom. When you have TV, both of you may tend to watch a match, series, or movies and that will eat away the time you should spend with your partner. Plus, when you put the TV off, the reflection of you or your bed would fall on the TV screen and that is a taboo in Feng Shui. Similarly, the mirror should also be avoided. But you can also keep the mirror in such a position so that the reflection of your bed doesn’t fall on it. They invite infidelity in love relationship and that’s why they must be avoided.

The Choice of Bed Sheets
The Choice of Bed Sheets
Image Source – Google

Regular washing of your bed sheets, quilt covers, pillow covers, or cushion covers is an essential part of your routine. And these things affect love life a lot. The smell of fresh or new bed sheets always relaxes the mind and invites more love and romance. Choose the soft shades of pink or red like coral, rose, salmon, etc. colors and decorate your bedroom. You will notice the changes soon!

Keep The Bed Away From The Wall
Keep The Bed Away From The Wall
Image Source – Google

If you keep your bed against the wall, then, there is hardly any chance for love to expand in your life. The wall acts literally here and doesn’t allow your love to grow leaps and bounds. So, arrange your bed in such a way that there is space on all sides to walk.

Flowers for Singles
Flowers for Singles
Image Source – Google

Those who are single and want to be in a relationship should start keeping a vase of peonies in the living room. In case, you don’t find peonies, then at least keep a photograph or painting of vase filled with peonies in your living room. But don’t keep them in the bedroom. And remember that this tip is only for the singles, and not for the engaged or “in a relationship” or married people – they may attract someone else in their relationships then!

Positive Energy in Bedroom
Positive Energy in Bedroom
Image Source – Google

Stress is the prime factor in the decrease of love, romance, sweet-talks in your relationship. So, you have to populate your bedroom only with those things that alleviate stress and any kind of negative thoughts. Bring in fragrant candles in yellow or multicolor shades, dim lights, and soft music and enjoy a quiet, soothing, and romantic time with your partner. These things help couples to connect to each other rapidly.

The Bay of Bengal is the largest bay in this world. It is the Northeast part of the vast Indian Ocean

West Bengal is one of those places which enjoys both the lofty mountains and the sprawling beaches. So, people here have good options to roam around. When the rest of India goes gaga over Goa and its beaches, people here are very happy visiting Bengal beaches. From Kolkata, it takes 5 hours’ drive to reach the Bay of Bengal and thus, the beaches here are quite a hotspot among city dwellers wanting to break away on a weekend. If you have not been here, then, you must visit and enjoy your time. Here are some of the best beaches in West Bengal

  1. Digha or New Digha

Digha or New Digha is still the hot favorite tourist spot for people in Bengal. 90-95% of the economy there runs for the tourists. With years, it has become more congested. A new hotel is built every season and all are earning well – imagine the crowd! It is less than 200 Kms from Kolkata and it takes less than 4 hours if you are going by train. You should not go beyond the popular bathing zones here as this place has much quicksand. Old Digha is more crowded than New Digha. The fabulously served fried pomphrets would make you come back to this place again & again. But apart from the evening strolls at the beach or getting soaked in the morning sun, you can also visit the Biswa Bangla Park – it looks really awesome when lit up in the evening. You must also visit the marine aquarium and the Science Centre in Digha.

  1. Mandarmani

Probably a decade ago this place was discovered and since then it remained a crowd puller. I visited it 7 years ago and noticed some heavy electricity problems here but I guess that is sorted for now as many rich and famous people have started to invest here. Rose Valley is one of the most famous accommodations here and that is not only a hotel, but it is also a world in every right. It has nicely crafted lawns, pools, temples, and toy trains. Plus, you get to enjoy the gurgling sea waves and its turquoise waters. It is just 30 km away from Digha. You cannot miss the red crabs playing on their own at the beaches. Wake up early in the morning and take a walk on the beach – believe me, that would be one of the best sunrise moments you will witness here!

  1. Bakkhali

Bakkhali is near about 130 km away from Kolkata and is quite popular among the masses. Located at the edge of the mangrove forests of the Sunderbans, the water appears muddy sometimes. The inter-tidal zone gives you a glimpse of the local marine fauna. It is a peaceful place without the clamor of the city. Agriculture is non-existent here due to the saline water and thus people have taken up fishing as a means of livelihood here. Frasergunj, Jambu Dweep, and Henry Island are some of the interesting places to visit here.

  1. Tajpur

Since the time Digha and New Digha became crowded or rather overcrowded, the discovery of new beaches has been rampant in West Bengal. The discovery of new beaches is also helping the economy of the local people. Tajpur is one such newly found beach love of West Bengal. It is 170 km away from Kolkata where you can enjoy some adventure sports along with a relaxing stay at amazing resorts. Take a walk along the beach, enjoy local food, and have a nice quiet time here.

The year was 1994 and the date was 15th April. The world saw the release of 1942: A Love Story – a Hindi language movie directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. With a runtime of 157 minutes, this movie went on to make INR 896.4 million. The soulful songs scored by R.D. Burman still run fresh in the minds and hearts of people. It won 9 prestigious Filmfare Awards. A story written by Kamna Chandra and later developed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra & Sanjay Leela Bhansali was made on a tight budget and no one had any idea that they were in the process of making a movie that will be fondly remembered even after 25 years.

Some Interesting Trivia
  1. Once, Mr. Chopra shared a trivia that he was not so rich and so he had to reject many building plans for the set made by Nitin Desai. So, Jackie Shroff came to rescue and lend some money to him.
  2. Another trivia is that Madhuri Dixit was approached to play the iconic Rajjo or Rajeshwari in the movie. She even did a screen test but as they say “daane daane pe likkha hai khaane wale ka naam” – the role landed in the lap of Manisha Koirala.
  3. This movie was R.D. Burman’s last Hindi movie. He died in January and this movie released in April. What a way to finish an innings!!! Many say that this was perhaps Burmans best work. Mr. Chopra rejected many tunes of Rahul Dev Burman before he came up with the masterpiece ones.
Reasons behind Its Eternal Success
Love for Freedom

Love stories have always been a favorite genre for Bollywood and the movie buffs. The title of the movie claims that it is a love story. But the opening scene says a lot more. It shows that someone from the influential family is going to be hanged for his patriotic outburst. That’s the point where you understand that this movie is definitely more than just a man-woman love story. The love for the freedom of the nation here goes simultaneously with a boy-girl love story. There are many movies which have been done on this topic but none has been this good. Kamna Chandra – the writer of this movie actually experienced those burning times and that’s why the script was so true.

The Sensation of First Love

Who doesn’t love the sensation of love? This movie celebrates the passion and innocence of that “first love”. Again that was the time when love was not so fast. Love took time to arrive. After arrival, it took time to cook and then served. There is loyalty, faith, and unflinching confidence in that other person. Naren & Rajjo were like that who looked out for each other without knowing much details about each other. They perhaps felt the soul connection quite strongly to flow in the romance! Compare it with any current time love story and you would know the difference.

Lyrics & Music

One of the strongest pillars of the success of this movie is that heart-warming music backed brilliantly by sensible lyrics. In some stories, you would hear that Javed Akhtar wrote the lyrics of Ek Ladki imagining Madhuri Dixit as she was the first choice for the role. In other stories, you may hear, Javed Akhtar imagined Shabana Azmi – his real-life muse and wife. But actually, Javed Sahab says, the inspiration is “terror of deadline”. When R.D. Burman asked him right at the studio about the lyrics, he penned these words right there. That’s unbelievable creativity!!

Imagine, lyrics that still forms a popular way of the proposal was written in such haste?! Many surveys say that this is the best album of Bollywood in the 20th Century. There was no title song but all the 8 songs were chartbusters. Burman has the story clear in his mind and he infused that haunting “ tu run a tu run a” tune into Pyar Hua Chupke Se – a song where Rajjo celebrates her “being in love” but she is reminded that the time is challenging. Kumar Sanu & Kavita Krishnamurthy sang all the songs and it seems like their voice were the blood circulation system of this movie.

Visually Stunning

Binod Pradhan – this man is a magician. He shot this movie to utter brilliance. He makes actors look more interesting and intense. Binod Pradhan has shot maximum VVC and Bhansali movies and now you know why movies like Devdas, Mission Kashmir, or Parinda were visually stunning. His camera falls in love with every actor beautifully. Remember that projection of sky, clouds, and lush meadows in the song Pyar Hua Chupke Se? It reflected our Indian Flag colors – first of its kind!

Adding to that was Nitin Chandrakant Desai’s perfect set design. If you remember the opulence, grandeur, and truthfulness of the world of movies like Lagaan, Salaam Bombay, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai, Jodhaa Akbar, or Ishqiya – then you know what I am referring to. The set of a movie is the platform on which makes other departments show their brilliance. That’s why the set or production design has to be impeccable.

So, if Binod Pradhan’s camera work was flawless, then, Nitin Desai’s artwork was also notable. A major part of Dalhousie was created in Film city and you never had a doubt that it is Mumbai and not Dalhousie – that’s the victory of both these stalwarts.

Remember The Poster?

I am in love with this poster. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, one of the writers, distributors, and assistant directors of this movie later revamped it into his “Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram Leela”. The kissing couple standing over a cracked mountain. Those cracked rocks carry the faces of the other parallel actors from the movie. No better way to describe a movie – love in not so favorable times!

They say marriages are made in heaven and once you are married, then the relationship sticks for 7 births! But they don’t say anything at all about divorces? Where do they come from? With a divorce, one of the beliefs is shattered – marriages are not meant to last for 7 upcoming births. This is a reality. Some marriages are meant to last for a little while and that’s ok. If the partners are “no more happy” with each other, they should part ways, rather than staying with each other under one roof and constantly bickering and leading a negative life. Divorce is a legal document which states that the husband and wife are now free from each other.

But the challenge strikes when the divorced partners have kids. Many divorced parents have to fight for the custody of their kids and that’s the most painful part of this process. It becomes a bit tough for the kids to digest the fact that their families are not like the families of other friends around. They start feeling a difference in the behavior of their parents and are sometimes difficult to talk to. For a long time, they don’t understand who would be a better friend and guide to them – the mom or the dad.

The mind of the kids are innocent and remember that the excruciating experience in childhood often shapes the personality and attitude of the kids. Being parents, you should thus avoid doing these following things to your kids:

  1. Never Badmouth About Your Ex-Partner

Kids always idolize their parents. So, when you badmouth about your ex-wife or husband in front of your kids, it becomes confusing for them. Their mind gets tossed up and they cannot decide who is good and who is bad. Rather than drawing parameters of good and bad, be simple and normal with your kids. Give an atmosphere to your kids where they respect both their mom and dad in spite of separation. If you provoke your kids to hate their mom or dad, it will come back to you someday. Keep the environment peaceful and let your kids grow in an amiable atmosphere. Otherwise, this constant squabbling may result in loss of concentration in studies or aggressive behavior at school, etc.

  1. Never Miss The Family Gatherings

It is tough to face the same old people who are legally not a part of your being but perhaps with them you have countless memories. They are related to your kids – some are their grandparents, some are uncles, aunties, cousins, etc. So, never let your kid miss the opportunity of being a part of the family even when you are divorced. It was not the fault of your kids that you and your partner couldn’t stay together so be graceful and tactful!

  1. Talk To Your Children About Divorce

It should be always you who talk to your children about your divorce. Your kid should not listen to it form someone outside in the society or from any relative. Choose your words well and explain your situation to your kids. Your kids will understand surely and with time learn to cope with reality too. But always be open to talking to them about any question regarding your marital status.

  1. A Happy Face Is Important

Divorce is quite naturally not one of the nicest things especially when you have kids. But it is also the best thing to happen when you are not happy in your marriage. It is a phase that leaves you with many questions for your partner and you will definitely face your weakest self during this time. You will want to shout, cry, and break things. But whenever your kid is around, try to put up a happy face because if you behave abnormally in front of your kid, that will play with his/her mind badly. Keep your emotional outbursts in front of your friends, chosen relatives, or therapists and when facing your kids, behave normally.

  1. Literally Move On

Moving on is very important and serves as a good example in front of your kids. As mentioned earlier, kids venerate their parents and seeing you move on in life will make your kids confident enough to face challenges of life. He/she will learn that “bad times come, bad relationships happen, but one needs to enjoy life by overcoming all these”.

Bengali movie industry in India is going to be 100 years old in 2020. In its span of a century, it has gifted many cinematic gems, won many accolades in the country & across the world, and gave textbook to film students and cinephiles. This film industry is still the most creative pocket in our country. And every year churns out some of the best movies in India in terms of content, direction, and acting. One of the best things of the Bengali audience is that they love a movie like “Paglu” (hardcore commercial like any Salman Khan movie) as much as “Autograph” (not so massy movie). That’s why, the content-driven movies, if marketed well, is lapped by audiences graciously. In 2018 also, Bengali movie industry gifted some of the best stories on cinema screens. Here are the best ones that you must watch!

Uma: Director- Srijit Mukherjee
Uma
Image Source – Google

Undoubtedly, this was the best movie from the last year. Based on a true incident of the life and death of Evan Leversage, who lived in St George in Ontario, Canada.

Uma is a young Bengali girl who lives in Switzerland and is terminally ill. She wishes to see the Durga Puja once in her life and spends her days by listening to her Baba (father) who gives microscopic details of Durga Puja in Kolkata. The doctor says to take her to Kolkata and fulfill her wish because she may not live enough. Generally, Durga Puja occurs in October but Uma’s father decides to create a fake Durga Puja all over the city in sweltering April. So, he gets in touch with a “once-renowned & now faded” film director to recreate a fake Durga Puja all over Kolkata and make it convincing. I suppose, this topic was a huge cinematic challenge. But the chiseled director Srijit Mukherjee pulled it perfectly.

At the day’s end, Cinema is something un-real which makes us believe in our “dreams” & gives us wings to fly. This movie also rolled like a dream but the dream was very convincing and you have no other option than falling in love with it. There is a dialogue in this movie – “imagine that God has given you a chance to recreate this universe only for a day, what would you do?”. Through this movie, this director made use of that imagination – very well!

Haami: Director- Shiboprosad Mukherjee & Nandita Ray
Haami
Image Source – Google

From the successful director, here comes a stunning movie about kids. A class I student Bhutu is the best friend of Chini. Chini has recently relocated from Gurgaon to Kolkata and has joined this co-ed school. Now adults also get involved in their friendship and how their innocent friendship survives is majorly the story of this movie. Barring the amazing screen presence of the kids, it was definitely Aparajita Adhya, Knoeenica Banerjee, Gargee Roychowdhury, Shiboprosad – the director himself, and Kharaj Mukherjee have given brilliant performances. Just like the rest of Shibu-Nandita movies, this one will also make you think many things regarding love and relationships.

Bidaay Byomkesh: Director- Debaloy Bhattacharya
Bidaay Byomkesh
Image Source – Google

I have included this movie in this list only due to the theme. Walking away from the safe road of making an author-backed Bomkesh movie, director Debaloy Bhattacharya chose a different path. He chose to make a spin-off of Bomkesh this time.

Like most people, I was also impressed beyond limits watching the trailer but when finally sat down to watch the movie – I was not so happy! The continuous nostalgic rather sadistic tone of background music became sore to my ears. But hats off for bringing this concept on board. The movie shows Bomkesh – the renowned detective is old now and lives with his family sans Ajit (the friend) & Satyabati (the wife). His son is missing for years and he lives with a hope that someday he will solve that mystery. The movie sees Abir Chatterjee in a double role of Bomkesh & his grandson and needless to say he was terrific in them. The movie is watchable for him!

Shonar Pahar: Director- Parambrata Chattopadhyay
Shonar Pahar
Image Source – Google

Parambrata Chattopadhyay, the actor has directed quite some movie and Shonar Pahar is his fifth movie. Till date, this is his best! There is a bit of lack of pace in this movie but overall this movie would take you down to a very nostalgic ride. It will evoke those black & white days of Soumitro-Tanuja too.

The story is basically about this septuagenarian lady who loves her son blindly. Her son stays apart in another flat as she couldn’t adjust with his wife. Being a very protective and possessive mother, she is in an emotional turmoil who has become cranky because somewhere she feels neglected and unloved by her son. There are many flashback moments that registers the solid friendship this mom-son duo had shared once upon a time and now they don’t even talk. So, one fine day, she befriends a 7-year-old child Bitlu who is terminally ill and with him, she starts living life again. A very simple and innocent tale – that’s what you will remember after the end credit rolls!

Guptodhoner Sondhane: Director – Dhrubo Banerjee
Guptodhoner Sondhane
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Unlike any other movie industry in India, Tollywood produces the most number of thriller movies. All kinds of thrillers are found here be it psychological or criminal. Most of them are based on the classic stories of Feluda and Bomkesh. Now, leaving those two here is another mammoth detective named Sona Da aka Subarna Sen – an Oxford professor. He visits India and finds that some relative of him has kept a treasure. And this movie is about that treasure hunt journey by solving riddles, fighting goons, and of course, applying that “mogojastro” (grey matter). The treasure is 350 years old Mughal treasure that belonged to Shah Jahan’s 2nd son Prince Shuja. Directed by Dhrubo Banerjee, this movie is brave and the box office figure says that it must come up with a series.

Uronchondi: Director – Abhishek Saha
Uronchondi
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As a society, we need more of this kind of cinema truly. Three women belonging to three different generations, cultural setup, and belief system forms a friendship because they had no other option. Their journey has no destination and everyone is actually running from something. Each of the female protagonists has dealt with their own battles and heartbreaks. And now they simply want to break loose. The elderly woman is the one suffering from “child neglect at old age”. The young woman is a runaway bride who is going to her lover who later discards her for eloping (as that is evil in that small village). The middle-aged woman is cheated by her husband and that’s why takes his truck and sets on a journey. It is a beautiful film about normal human emotions and it will also make you think your thought-base too.

Maati: Director – Saibal Banerjee and Leena Gangopadhyay
Maati
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How far can you go to know your roots? How far can you go know a person you have only heard about? This movie is about a Meghla who took up history in her post-graduation just out of the love for this subject that is backed by her family’s tragic tale. She grew up knowing about the traumatic tales of migration (from Bangladesh to West Bengal). Her grandfather came to West Bengal with her dad leaving her grandmother alone there who was reluctant to leave the ancestral home. Meghla’s grandmother was killed by the goons whose descendants now live in that same home. In this journey, she gets to learn about a culture that stays in a different map and yet so similar. Truth, ideology, and humanity – all change succumbing to the changing “time” and it leaves behind many scars of relationships – she learns that beautifully.

Movies are the most famous form of entertainment to most of the people around the world. From inspiring people to making people laugh – movies are always the best medicine when you are sad, depressed, happy, or bored. It works at least for me and many other movie buffs like me. There are various genres of movies like political drama, crime, murder mystery, adventure, comedy, satirical comedy, romantic comedy, etc. Apart from all these, there has been a development of another genre of movies.  Which has been quite rampant in India since the last two decades and that is called “road” genre. These are movies where the lead characters are traveling through amazing locales, taking the story forward, & bringing twists and turns in the plot. Some show traveling via cruise, some through motorcycle, some through airplanes, and some through a car. The characters are supposed to reach a destination and by the end of these movies, the characters not only reach their destinations but their perspective about themselves, surroundings, and life change too!

That’s why travel movies are always special. They inspire and motivate the weak. They urge lazy people to move around beautiful locales. These movies work like a beautiful dream and make you believe that travel helps in untangling the knots in life.

So, here are some of my all-time favorite travel or road movies from Bollywood & Hollywood!

Piku: Road Trip From Delhi’s Belly To Kolkata

When the idea of “road trip” comes to the mind, you generally think of your best friends or at the most, you can take a chance with your colleagues. But never ever could anyone think of a dad-daughter duo taking a road trip from C.R. Park, Delhi to Central Kolkata. But Juhi Chaturvedi (writer) narrates a wonderful story of a 70-year-old dad who is an eccentric person and his relationship with his bowel system. His disturbed and unsatisfactory bowel system is always the topic of discussion at the dinner table and his daughter is always irritated for his behavior.

Amitabh Bachchan playing Bhaskor Banerjee is never good to the neighbors or the maid and is also very clear that Piku (Deepika Padukone) should not marry & leave him. One night after a few drinks and dance, he had a heart attack and after recovering he decides to go to Kolkata as he is missing his own land. Due to his disturbed bowel system, and lots of other apprehensions, he decides for a road trip. The movie beautifully captures the heart of Delhi from the posh clubs to C.R. Park lanes, Select City Walk to the famous traffic and also the ghats of Kolkata, Church, local railway stations. In fact, Shookit Sircar (director) captured the “not so filmy-popular” locales of both the cities. He also captured the narrow dingy lanes of Banaras too! There is an emotion, love, understanding, care, and belonging to this travel story. Piku lost her father after this trip but she gained many other perspectives too! So, here, the travel was not only physical but also emotional.

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara: It’s All About Spain & Friendship

Three best friends meet after a gap of few years. The reason is a “promise” that they made to each other during college days that they will go for a road trip to Spain together. For some time, this trip has been canceled or postponed due to differences between two friends. But as it is the bachelor trip of the third friend, all of them make up their mind for Spain.

In this huge expanse of Spain, they visit the La Tomatina Festival in Buñol, Costa Brava, Seville, and Pamplona. Now, the deal was, all three of them had to plan some kind of adventure sport on this road trip and the other two had to agree. So, deep sea diving, sky diving, and participating in the “running of the bulls” are the three adventure sports that the leads of the movie encounter. With each sport adventure, their principle, belief, conscience, and fear of 3 friends altered. They confessed truth, secrets, and fears of their lives to each other on that road trip which was meant only for an adventure. That was the most amazing beauty of ZNMD. The beautiful cinematography by Carlos Catalan and amazing screenplay by Zoya-Reema duo make this movie a gem. Every travel enthusiast is a lover of this movie.

The Motorcycle Diaries: When Che Guevara Travelled Across South America

Che Guevara – Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist was a prominent figure of the Cuban Revolution. His stylized appearance has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia in popular culture. Che used to write a diary or memoir about his trip all over South America with his friend Alberto Granado. It is not only a road movie. But it is also about coming-of-age, adventure, youthful profligacy, injustice, prevailing social classes, and economic inequalities. The 23-year-old medical student on his road trip learns almost everything about life on this trip. This trip actually planted the seeds of revolt in Che Guevara and that’s why it is a must watch. Watch South America from the Andes Mountain to the coasts of Chile, the Atacama deserts to the Machu Picchu – Eric Gautier have done beautiful cinematography.

The Hangover: The Craziest Trip Ever

This is a cult Hollywood comedy movie that dealt with the story of 4 friends who goes to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Now, the fun extends to some trouble and they face all of that together with lots of craziness and returns just on time on the day of the wedding at the venue. They form a chain of dirty secrets on that trip and promise to keep them under the wraps forever. You should never pray your bachelor party to be like this for sure. But you will always want to have some crazy memories with your besties on a road trip – right? This movie will give you that boost.

Highway: It Started With A Kidnap

The dark loneliness of Delhi at night & the unpopulated highway leads a group of goons to kidnap a young “soon to be married” girl. She belongs to a rich and influential family in Delhi. Her life changes completely when she is abducted by these goons. They kidnap her first in a car and then shifts to a truck. From Haryana, they take the girl to Rajasthan then to Gujarat, and then to Himachal Pradesh. Through this journey, you will not see the posh locales at all.

The cinematographer Anil Mehta had captured the rustic and pure natural beauty of India. The rugged terrains of the Himalaya or the loneliness of the Rann of Kuchh. Or the vast sugarcane fields of North India – the unsophisticated soul of these places just propels into your heart and stays forever. The best part of the movie is that the upper-class girl is kidnapped and while the goons are taking her to “not made for her” places she understands that she is free here in this whole “kidnapping” phase than she has ever been in her life. She understands herself better and forms an everlasting bind with the one who kidnapped her! Finally, you realize that human emotion is the same – over geographies & social boundaries!

Feature

Who doesn’t love shopping? A new shoe or sunglasses, a home décor item or even a teacup make us happy. Shopping is fun and many doctors say that it relieves stress too. But there is a difference between shopping normally and being a shopaholic. If you shop occasionally like before your birthday or before major occasions like Diwali, Christmas, etc. then you are ok. There is nothing to worry about. But if you are someone who loves to shop and cannot stay away from the shops or malls for more than 2 days then you are a shopaholic. If you don’t go shopping, then you may feel exhausted or anxious. There are some more signs that prove you are a shopaholic. Check if you have some in the following paragraph?

  1. Credit Score

Are you the one with multiple credit & debit cards in your wallet with at least 1 or 2 credit cards crossing the maximum limit? Then surely, you fall in this list. If you don’t pay off your balances each month and show more interest in continuing the habit and not at all worrying about the mound of debts that you have to clear, then, you surely need to check this behavior.

  1. Do You Save?

A savings account is a savior of course, where you can always go when you need to look after yourself or anyone in your family in times of emergency. So, if you have some disposable income (5-10% of your income) then you should put it towards savings on a monthly basis. Recurring deposits or fixed deposits are common to every regular people and in case you don’t keep anything like “savings” and keep on spending as soon as the money comes – it is a concern! You are a shopaholic.

  1. Review Your Closet

Pay close attention to your closet. If there are multiple colors of the same shirt/tee/skirt/kurti/dress belonging to the same brand, then probably you are a shopaholic. You simply cannot stop with just one item while walking through the mall. And check properly, in your closet, you may have clothes which you have never worn and also forgot when and from where you bought it!

  1. Shopping Works Like Medicine

Do you go shopping whenever you feel sad, depressed, or hurt? If yes, then, it is a sign that you are a shopaholic. Also, if you happen to leave with a grin on your face with so many shopping bags, then also you are tagged as a shopaholic. If you feel that, by shopping your state of mind, relationships, and current condition in life would change for betterment, then also you are a shopaholic. But this feeling of happiness & optimism may melt into challenging financial consequences too.

  1. Struggling With Overdraft

Financial strains are quite common and can happen once or twice. That can be the result of a bad budget plan or a forgotten transaction. But if you are causing bank overdrafts on a regular basis – then dear, that is a big problem. Check if you are the one who makes big purchases without checking your current bank balance, then you must be a shopaholic for sure. The passion for shopping the “desired object” is so strong that you simply buy it in an impulse.

  1. Feature
    Image Source – Google

Another habit of all shopaholics is that they tend to hide the shopping trips they make all over the week, month, or year. So, if you are one among them, who hide their purchases just out of fear of a lecture session from mom, then, you are a true shopaholic. You often feel embarrassed or enraged when people ridicule this habit of yours. But for a change, do listen to some wise advice as that would save your money!

The team of Zoya-Reema has often been ridiculed for showing the lives of rich people on screen but I don’t buy those opinions. The human emotion of love, hate, jealousy, regret, and greed are the same everywhere. 8th March – on the International Women’s Day “Made In Heaven” got its digital release. With the trailer of the web series on Amazon Prime, it garnered some attention. This time Alankrita Shrivastava has teamed up with Zoya Akhtar & Reema Kagti to present the tale of the “rich” people again. Unlike Gully Boy, this time Zoya-Reema have tried to play safe as no one can narrate the lives of the rich people better really!

Made In Heaven is the name of a wedding planning company owned by Tara & Karan who are best friends. In each episode, you will see a new wedding assignment and through these brides, grooms, & the wedding events, various topics are pricked – greed for money, fake social prestige, acceptance of same-sex relationship, dowry & the filth around it, etc. Simultaneously, with that, the tales in the lives of Tara & Karan also forges ahead.

The 9 episodes web series talked about too many things under the sun and here is my observation of some practical relationship lessons that it preached in absolutely “non-preachy” tone.

Your Parents Also Have A Life
Your Parents Also Have A Life
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Being raised in this Indian culture, most of us cultivate two thoughts about marriage – firstly, you should marry only once and secondly, once you are married, you should love only your married partner even after the death of him/her. But what if your parents want a companionship? You are not always there with your parents as you have your projects, assignments, and perhaps your own marriage or relationship. So, think broadly for once and let your parents live their life. The society was never nice before and it won’t be so kind even now. And to stay happy, you should not think of society! Your parents have raised you, gave you life, and prepared you to face every challenge in life and after all, that when you are an adult, they should also take some rest and live life just as they want.

Accept Your Children
Accept Your Children
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There was a heartbreaking scene when a teenage Karan is mercilessly beaten with a cricket bat by his mother. Why? Because his mom came to know that her first born child is gay. She is petrified to face her son and the whole baggage of facing the family or outer world when they will come to know about this make her angry. But seriously, beating up your child would leave a scar in his/her mind forever against you. He/she will always try to run away from you, hide smallest to biggest things from you, or will always live under the impression that his/her parents don’t love. This is vehemently wrong. If you being the parent cannot accept the “sexual choice” of your son/daughter, the whole world won’t! If you didn’t support them today, they will turn out to be an average person with zero confidence for life tomorrow. So, accept them as they are and never try to manipulate their thoughts too!

Mistakes Happen & That’s Ok
Mistakes Happen & That’s Ok
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Episode No. 2 shows the marriage of Harsimran (bride), princess of Dubai, and Jogi (son of a rich hotelier in Delhi). Harsimran is a bright young girl who speaks in an accent and loves the Bollywood hero Sarfaraz Khan. So, in their pre-wedding bash, the star is called by Jogi. Now, Sarfaraz is a womanizer and it is not difficult for Harsimran to sleep with him especially when she has a crush on him. She wakes up and finds a scandalous picture on social media which leads to many hassles later on. So, the wedding planners come up with a nice idea to stop the negative buzz on social media. She fell in love with Jogi properly when she realized how easily he forgave her and thus during Mehendi she was in guilt. Harsimran starts vomiting & crying realizing she is about to enter a new life with a lie. Karan says to her, “it’s ok, it’s your life, keep this little secret with yourself”. Every one of us has some kind of secret and there is no need to feel guilty for that mistake – perhaps that was ok for the moment.

Never Ever Settle With Hypocrites
Never Ever Settle With Hypocrites
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Most of us or all of us do try to fake certain things while we start dating and that’s ok. But with time, we all get into our real skin and that’s when the relationship either crashes or rises to the next level. This point “never settle with hypocrites” is meant mostly for the girls. As inspired by one of the brides in this series, take a stern decision to walk away from your relationship even when you are just on the verge of the marriage. It is much needed to stand up and make a valid statement right now rather than spending the whole life in thought “I didn’t love this man”.

As per the story, the bride and groom organized their wedding and spending their hard earned money on it. The parents are also helping in certain segments and the groom is an IAS officer who wants to do something for the society. But that’s just the superficial layer. His baraat won’t enter the venue until the “dowry” settlement is done. This topic of “dowry” was never discussed and the groom’s family says “I thought you know that it is a tradition”. Yes, this kind of people still breathes in this world. The wedding planner being a woman herself decides to tell this thing to the bride just before she was about to take the saat-pheras and the bride walks away saying the most beautiful line – “I am not going to pay anyone to marry me”. Imagine how hard life would have been if the marriage was complete!

What You Do To Others Comes Back To You
What You Do To Others Comes Back To You
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What you do to others, how you behave with others, everything actually comes back to you. So, it is important to be nice & polite to people. There is no need to start a foul play as you never know it may hit you harder. That’s what happened with Tara who took all the wrong routes to be rich. She desperately wanted to be one among the “cream of the society” and that made her do all the planning to break Adil’s engagement. She does all that just to be married to a big shot Adil Khanna and lives a comfortable & luxurious life. And see how life gets back to her! Adil later happens to romance Tara’s best friend Faiza until Tara find that out leaves the marriage.

This web series of 9 episodes is one of the finest things to happen to this new wave of Indian web series world. It will be remembered even after 20 years down the line for its amazing cinematography, tactful story-telling, stupendous dialogues, and of course, for giving a glimpse of the reality!

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