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Rima Ghosh

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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
Image Source – Google

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
Image Source – Google

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
Image Source – Google

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
Image Source – Google

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
Image Source – Google

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
Image Source – Google

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
Image Source – Google

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
Image Source – Google

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!

Romance is oxygen in love relationships. It is a strong adhesive that keeps the couple intact. In fact novelist, Elinor Glyn said that “Romance is the glamor which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze”. Romance is thus a much-needed element in a successful relationship. Whether you are in a live-in relationship or are married for years – romance should be there in your relationship. Without romance, things may fall apart. Actually, when you observe a lack of romance in your cute love story, you don’t feel the strength in your relationship anymore the way you felt when you started. If you see the following symptoms in your relationship, then, darling, those are signs of the dying romance that you once shared with your partner.

Read and analyze your relationship and do something about it now!

  1. He/She Is No More The 1st Person To Share The Big News

There is a place for your best friends in your life. But the reality is when you are in love or in a serious relationship with someone, then, that person quite generally becomes your best friend, companion, and secret-keeper. And that’s quite a common phenomenon across the world. You always feel the urge to share the big news or breaking news like losing a major client, winning a lottery, getting promoted, or getting a free pass to a concert, etc. with your partner. If you observe (both in your & your partner’s case) that all the big news are shared with a best friend, a new friend, or a family member, then, probably there is a lack of romance.

  1. Thinking of A Break-Up Constantly

If nowadays, the thought of a “break up” is constantly buzzing in your head, then it is a serious warning that romance has already died in your bond. Deep down in your mind, you always know the truth but the acceptance of that reality takes a long time to transform. If your gut feeling is saying “break up” quite often, then probably you should now take a step forward.

  1. The Feeling of “Loneliness” In His/Her Presence

Nothing can beat this one truly. There are two types of couples basically. The first kinds are the ones are extremely opposite to each other & have different choices, yet, they share a room/home and feel complete in each other’s presence. They both may be enjoying two different movies or books but there is a comfort in that silence and difference. The other kind of couple is the one who is perhaps watching the TV or the same movie & one is enjoying while the other is not. Or they are eating at the dinner table and one is expecting attention and conversation while the other is totally investing in his/her phone or tablet. If you belong to the second category, then buckle up, please. Always remember that in a romantic relationship, the differences are meant to be respected and not ignored.

  1. Weakness Pushes The Strengths Away

In the initial phases of your romantic union, everything seems good. The differences, behavior, sleeping pattern, the taste of food, or cleanliness – everything seems “cute” and you just “AWWW” those moments. But then of late, if you see these things more than the understanding and the romantic evenings spent together, then, definitely there is a problem.

  1. Avoiding Spending Time With Each Other

For any relationship to prosper, spending time with each other is mandatory. If you or your partner is avoiding or re-scheduling or canceling the promised times to spend together, then, you should worry. Is he/she spending more time on social media than spending time with you? What is there on social media that real people cannot fill? Find that out if he/she has started to talk to random people on facebook or insta. Maybe he/she is bothered with something and feeling afraid or shameful to talk to you which is resulting in this turmoil. If you don’t find suitable answers, then you are smart enough to figure out what to do – isn’t it?

  1. Are Your Conversations Boring?

After a considerable period of time, the conversations between partners turn to these – “have you bought the medicine?” “Didn’t you feed the dog?” “Where are the groceries for the week?”. But that’s ok also like both of you have to run a house. The problem is if you are not talking beyond these things. If there is silence after these question and almost monosyllabic answers, then, definitely you should worry. You must have spent some amazing times together, shared laughter, and made jokes at each other. Start all that again and if you see a reluctance in your partner, then, of course, talk it out so that romance can be back again.

  1. A Significant Change

Yes, it is true that “change is the only thing permanent in this world”. You must not forget that a little of both of you have changed since your relationship started. More than “change” that is called adaptation and adjustment to accommodate love & romance in life. But if you have recently noticed a significant change in your partner, it could mean romance has started to evaporate from your love for sure. You may see your partner change his/her entire wardrobe, visiting family & friends more than before, spending more time in the office, shifting the taste of music & movies, or spending money on very unusual things that are totally opposite to that person’s dictionary. These are symptoms that either he/she wants a new life, found a new love, or simply is done romancing with you!

Chicken is the supreme non-vegetarian food enjoyed by many people across the world. Each culture and country have a traditional way of preparing chicken with their kind of favorite spices and methods. India is a vibrant nation and I guess every state comes up with its unique chicken preparation. For example, Butter Chicken is Delhi’s favorite while Kosha Mangsho is Kolkata’s signature. Inspired by many chicken dishes, I never stop experimenting a bit in my kitchen. So, during the last get-together with close friends, I prepared this “Lemon Garlic Creamy Chicken” and the results were outstanding. This chicken dish is delicious, juicy, creamy, and full of flavors. I didn’t use any ginger for this preparation and the result is still amazing.

Take a look at the process of Lemon Garlic Creamy Chicken and enjoy with your pals.

Step 1: For Marinade:
Ingredients:

Chicken: 1 Kg

Salt: 2 Tsp

Lemon: 3 if big and 4 if small

Black Pepper: 5 Tsp

Oregano: 3 Tsp

Marinade Process:
  • Bring the chicken and wash it very well.
  • Now, squeeze the lemons and keep it aside.
  • Take a big bowl and place the washed chicken pieces followed by lemon juice. Massage the lemon juice nicely on the chicken pieces.
  • Now sprinkle all the dry ingredients – salt, black pepper, & oregano.
  • Spread them well and keep the chicken in refrigerator for minimum 30 minutes and maximum 2 hours.
Step 2: Fry The Chicken
Ingredients:

Oil – 3-4 Tsp

Butter – 2 Tsp

Garlic – 10-12 Finely Chopped

Frying Process:
  • Take out the chicken from the refrigerator and allow it to stand the room temperature for like 20 minutes.
  • Heat some oil and butter in the frying pan.
  • Sprinkle some salt on it and some garlic.
  • Fry the chicken in a batch of 4-5 pieces.
  • Make sure that you put few finely chopped garlic cloves, every time you put the fresh batch of chicken to fry.
  • The fried chicken should have a golden brown color and prick the chicken to check its softness. While frying the chicken, your chicken should be 80% cooked.

Tip To Remember: The basic reason for frying the chicken is to enhance the taste. Frying the chicken before preparing the gravy adds crunchiness to the chicken pieces, makes them softer, and easier to digest. So, never forget this step of frying chicken well before going for the gravy process.

Step 3: For Gravy
Ingredients:

Onion – 3 to 4 large

Garlic – 30 cloves

Butter – 20 grams

Cooking Oil – 4-5 Tsp

Fennel Seeds – ½ Tsp

Cumin Seeds – 1 Tsp

Salt – As Per Taste

Sugar – Just About a Pinch

Cumin Powder – 2 Tsp

Coriander Powder – 1 Tsp

Cashew Nuts – 10-12 Pieces

Milk – 3 Cups

Yoghurt – ½ Cup

Green Chilies – 5/6 Pieces

Black Pepper – 5-6 Tsp

Gravy Making Process:
  • Make a paste of the cashew nuts with water and keep it aside.
  • Take one onion and prepare a paste with the green chilies with a spoon of curd and 1 spoon of water in it.
  • Longitudinally slice rest of the onions.
  • Peel the garlic cloves and finely chop them.
  • Whisk the ½ cup of curd very well so that there are no lumps at all.
  • Take a clean wok or kadhai and put the oil followed by butter.
  • Once the oil+butter heat up, add the fennel seeds followed by cumin seeds. Let them crackle and then put the sliced onions.
  • Fry the onions for 3-4 minutes and then add the chopped garlic cloves and keep the flame on medium.’
  • Keep on stirring every now and then for 5-6 minutes so that the onion and garlic don’t stick to the bottom.
  • Take the cumin powder and coriander powder in a bowl and mix in 3-4 spoons of water or as much as required. Now pour this in the fried onion & garlic.
  • Let the spice mix well with onion & garlic.
  • Now add the onion paste and close the lid for 2 minutes.
  • Once the onion paste has left the raw smell, add the whisked curd & cashew nut paste and stir very well so that everything mixes properly.
  • Put the instructed amount of black pepper at this stage and let this mixture boil for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Now pour the milk and give a nice stir.
  • See the consistency and you can add some water because once the whole mix cools down, it will thicken more.
  • After adding the milk let the mix boil for 5 minutes and then add the fried chicken pieces in it.
  • Pour some water and close the lid for 7 minutes so that the chicken pieces soak the amazing spices well.
Step 4: Garnishing & Presentation
Ingredients:

Coriander Leaves – 3 Tsp Finely chopped

Cream – About 6-7 Tsp (for whole 1 Kg)

  • Slit Green Chilies – 4 or 5 (or more depending on taste)
  • Once the chicken is cooked, divide it in separate bowls depending on the number of people to be served.
  • Now, garnish every chicken bowl well.
  • Sprinkle the coriander leaves and green chilies first followed by cream.

Enjoy this tasty chicken with paratha, roti, or any preparation of rice.

Oh, God! It’s that time of the month again!

The killer cramps, non-stop bleeding, fear of staining the bed sheet & clothes – the list is endless! “Periods” – that’s surely not a disease, it is a sign that your system is fit and fine but going through the tribulations of those days is like hell for most of you. You cannot sit at a place or at a posture for long, you need a cushion for your back and a hot bag for the stomach. People surrounding you say that “why are you being so cranky?”

You crave for some specific kind of food too! But keeping your fitness in mind, you should eat the right kind of food items during this time of the month. Read below & know more about them:

Ginger
Ginger
Image Source – Google

Ginger is one of the common ingredients in most of our Indian dishes. It is a grandma recipe and that’s why it is bound to work wonders when you are going through those traumatic pain. Sipping fresh ginger water helps a lot in curbing the abdominal pain. During the first 3 days of menstruation, if you take 1 gram of ginger powder and mix it in hot water followed by a slice of lemon – it will ease your pain a lot. The effect of ginger is as strong as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen which are anti-inflammatory painkillers.

Salmon
Salmon
Image Source – Google

Research and studies reveal that women who consume omega-3S experience milder periods-pain as compared to the rest. Omega-3S contains anti-inflammatory fats which you will get in sufficient quantity in salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines. So, if you start consuming salmon at least twice a week, you will be fitter during your menstruation days. Additionally, you can also have walnuts or flaxseeds too!

Green Vegetables
Green Vegetables
Image Source – Google

Green leafy vegetables are never on top of anyone’s craving list – right? Kale, broccoli, spinach and every other green leafy veggies are really rich in magnesium which has anti-cramping qualities. Thus, consumption of these food items either in your soups, smoothies, salads, or curry would help you ease the menstrual pain a lot. Apart from magnesium, these green veggies carry vitamin A, B6, C, E, calcium, and potassium too. All these ingredients are great at alleviating your PMS symptoms.

Yoghurt
Yoghurt
Image Source – Google

Yoghurt is full of calcium which has been found to help ease menstrual cramps. Not only that, one large study found a diet with calcium-rich dairy products lowered the risk for developing PMS by as much as 40% (yes please!) Probiotic yoghurt always contains “friendly” bacteria which supports a healthy digestive system and may help to ease persistent bloating.

Bananas
Bananas
Image Source – Google

One of the worst feelings during menstruation cramps is that bloated feeling. Bananas are rich in potassium and vitamin B6 and these ingredients make bananas a strong contender in alleviating your menstrual cramps and pains. Have it during breakfast or before lunch and it will relieve you much,

Dark Chocolates
Dark Chocolates
Image Source – Google

Some women crave for chocolates during this time of the month and having that is absolutely fine. But replacing that with dark chocolate would be a better idea. Dark chocolate is a great source of magnesium and that will really ease your cramps and pains.

Papaya
Papaya
Image Source – Google

Papaya has amazing health benefits. It is low in sugar, rich in fiber, full of antioxidants, helps in easy digestion, and low in calories. It also has a rich source of magnesium, Vitamin A, potassium, and Vitamin C – all these are ingredients that your body requires to treat the menstrual cramps. Have a bowl of papaya or make papaya shake or smoothie and see the difference.

(Please bear with the length of this review because I tried to bring justice to the length and multiple annotations of Gully Boy)

“Someone beautifully painted a splash of fire with the Ashes” – Gully Boy is revolutionary, inspiring, heart-breaking (at parts), cruel, casual, empathetic, gutsy, & a real tale. In fact, it is not a single movie, it is like a huge thali of varied dishes – all cooked with truth! I am falling short of words to explain the feelings running in my head right now. Very rarely, they make movies that elevate your senses to this level. Only a cool-headed, calm, and composed set of hands could have pulled off this gigantic movie. Zoya Akhtar was ridiculed by a segment of moviegoers that “she makes movies on rich people” to which she retorted “Really! India goes to the theater to watch poverty?!” And here she bounces a story where not only poverty but many shades of the burning challenges of India are accommodated.

Zoya & Reema Kagti has an outstanding caliber of creating a world of their characters where you find the rustic flaws marrying the ironies! Be it Luck By Chance, Dil Dhadakne Do, or Lust Stories – she showed it every time that dichotomy prevails as an underline in every stratum of our society. This movie is dedicated to the life and fame of Divine & Naezy but the movie is way above them.

Story In Short
Story In Short
Image Source – Google

The story primarily focuses on the life of Murad who lives in Dharavi and is pursuing graduation. His father is a driver of a “rich” family who is earning and investing in his education so that his son can become an able man. The family like every other family has its “not so comfortable” stories. Murad’s father marries again and that leads to some friction in the family (beautifully depicted in an un-Ekta Kapoor way). So, Murad writes poetry and listens to world-famous rap stars to deviate himself from his domestic life. His long-time girlfriend of 9 years Safeena played by Alia Bhatt is a motor mouth and a hot spring of anger and rage. One should not mess with her life.

Safeena is an upper-class girl and her parents are more interested in getting her married and not her career in surgery. Murad gets in touch with MC Sher played by Siddhant Chaturvedi. (the invention and gem of the movie) Who helps Murad to polish his skills. From here, the story focuses on Murad’s journey of becoming a rapper who literally rises from the rags. In this journey, he is preparing for his exam, driving a car for the rich, working as a sales guy, and also stealing cars at night! There is also turbulence in his family due to this “not so conventional” form of music.

Moments That You Will Take Back Home
Moments That You Will Take Back Home
Image Source – Google
  1. From rags to riches, comparison of “haves” & “have nots”, patriarchy to conventional norms, dreams vs. reality, dilemma vs. confidence, religion vs. humanity, the reeling gap between rich & poor to dissolving the differences, revolt vs. adjustment, fair & lovely vs. brown & beautiful – there are too many subplots here. The director uses all these elements to create the world of Gully Boy. Never ever trying to be preachy and yet propelling you to think sensibly.
  2. The dialogues of this movie deserve a separate blog. From the awe-inspiring “duniya mein sab comfortable hote to rap koun banata?” (MC Sher) to the selfish “itna sa to life hai mera, ab isme bhi wo ghusegi” (Safeena) and “apne idhar to sab jaat paat dekhte hai, inke yaha direct aankho mein jhankte hai” (MC Sher) – there are multiple moments in this movie which are gutsy, raw, hard-hitting yet so subtle! The dialogue writer Vijay Maurya is impeccable at his job both on & off screen. On screen, you have seen him in Tumhari Sulu and here as the Mama of Murad.
  3. The whole transformation of a shy boy Murad (quite opposite of Ranveer Singh’s real-life aura) to a rap star performing in front of lakhs is carried out to perfection by RS. Zoya taps into a very different Ranveer Singh (we’ve seen that in DDD too) and he never ever falters. During the end of the movie where Murad performs the final round of selection and sings “Aapna Time Aayega” – you can truly feel his heartbeat (& yours too).
  4. The light work and camera angles (Jay Oza) create a beautiful emotional sphere. And that is a prime reason which makes this movie so lovable!
  5. Alia as Safeena is unapologetic about hitting anyone and everyone who she finds out is getting closer to her boyfriend. With every movie, she is breaking her image and making it her career best!

    Moments That You Will Take Back Home
    Image Source – Google
  6. Siddhant Chaturvedi as MC Sher puts up a laudable performance who is the discovery of 2019. Outstanding would be an understatement to describe him here. The movie belongs to him & Ranveer totally.
  7. Vijay Varma as Moeen justifies his role and is another pillar of the movie.
  8. Vijay Raaz plays the father of Murad who is utterly selfish but a bit restrained than the dad of Secret Superstar. He is there to prove a point that patriarchy is detrimental even to the growth and development of art & culture!
  9. One of the highest highs of Gully Boy is that Ranveer Singh. A mass superstar by his own merit is a character here. The hungry eyes and composed body language used to become Murad makes a permanent home in your heart. He is Murad and nothing more than Murad where even for an inch you won’t see the charismatic star flair. In fact, the camera also treats him like that. There is no close-up shot for the heroic entry that is so rampant in Bollywood.
  10. In a particular scene, Zoya infuses Javed Akhtar poetry “Doorie” to play as a monologue to the audience. Murad drives the rich girl home from a party and sees her cry relentlessly. That big gap that our society draws between “have” & “have nots” is captured to excellence here with lines like “Ye behte aansu main pochhu itni meri aukaat nehi”.
  11. Murad once goes to the home of Sky (Kalki Koechlin) and uses her washroom. Belonging to a slum, he knows where he stands in the eyes of the society and thus maintains that gap with his simplicity. He uses a towel and folds it exactly the way it was. Not leaving a mark that it was used by someone. He then counts his steps to gauge the measurement of the washroom. That plays a parallel to the fact that his “kholi” is smaller than this washroom.
  12. Like many, I was not familiar with the Rap music that became a rage in the 80’s – 90’s in America and later came to India too. This album made me listen to these songs in loop. The reason is revolutionary lyrics which are sensible and amazingly records the rage and roar of our times!

A single space to narrate the narrative of Gully Boy won’t be enough! Many movies were made as a commentary to Mumbai. But no one romanced so engagingly with Mumbai where you feel proud of the scars. Many movies were made as a tale of “becoming something” be it biopics or imaginary stories. But no one is “so sold to its passions and dreams” like Gully Boy.

P.S. – Beyond everything else “Ek Hi Raasta” narration of Murad is that anthem that will lubricate your engines of passion. A big salute to Javed Akhtar for inspiring us to take the “other route”!

4.75/5 – (0.25 deducted for not showing a bit more of Kalki Koechlin)

Winter is one of the best seasons of the year in a country like India where majorly we all experience a tropical monsoon climate. The regular summer sweat and scorching sun are replaced by a chilling breeze and a warm sun. But the topography of India is quite diverse and that’s why winter has various faces in various parts of India. Some of the places like Mumbai doesn’t allow people to use warm clothes while people in Delhi calculate how many warm clothes to put on. So, you would get a wide spectrum of places in India where you can enjoy the weather. If you belong to the Northern part of India, then you may pack your bags for South India or the beaches. And if you belong to some moderate to warm climate zone, then you can visit the zero points and enjoy a dreamy winter.

Here are some of the best Indian places that you can visit this winter season.

Auli, Uttarakhand
Auli
Image Source – Google

Located at the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The name “Auli” in Garhwali language means “meadow”. This place is situated at a height of 8,219 feet above the mean sea level. If you love adventure, want to try skiing, and walk on the snow then this is the right place for you. Auli is surrounded by coniferous oak forests and that allows you a wonderful view of the Himalayas. One can also enjoy the cable car which is Asia’s longest cable car which allows you the most breath-taking view of the mountains. This January kick-started the National Championship of Skiing in Auli. You can visit this place till mid of March and enjoy the amazing weather!

Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

Rann of Kutch, also known as the Great Rann of Kutch

Great Rann of Kutch
Image Source – Google

Every winter lakhs of visitors descend on the world’s biggest salt desert – Rann of Kutch stretching 7,505 square miles in the Thar Desert to witness the white expanse of the serene salt sand under the full moon night – a magical sight, indeed! Rann of Kutch takes pride in its Kutch festival, known as ‘Rann Utsav’ that is held in the winter (November-February). From traditional cuisine, shopping, folk dances and cultural performances to art, handicrafts, star gazing, desert safari and several other activities, this festival pack a ton of treasures for everyone. Also, staying in the tents on the periphery of the Dhordo village adds to the fascinating experience.

Munnar, Kerala
Munnar
Image Source – Google

Located in Kerala, Munnar is one of the most famous honeymoon destinations in India. This place can be visited almost all around the year. If you are visiting in the winter season, you would witness a temperature drop up to 11 degree Celsius. You can also enjoy trekking, rappelling, and rock climbing here. But don’t forget to book your accommodation in advance as it is quite crowded in the winter season. The most notable places that people enjoy here are – TATA Tea Museum, Eravikulam National Park, Anamudi, & Devikulam.

Jaipur, Rajasthan
Jaipur
Image Source – Google

The capital city of Rajasthan is one of the most visited places in India. Jaipur is one of those places where mercury breaks the record every summer but it witnesses a pleasing atmosphere in winter. Wearing the chilling weather around you, sitting atop some rooftop restaurant, and enjoying authentic Rajasthani food – this is pure bliss! Winter is also the time for “Jaipur Literature Fest” – one of the much-renowned lit fest in India. So, pack your bags and enjoy your winter escapade here in Jaipur and don’t forget to capture the beautiful Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Amer Fort, & City Palace in your lenses.

Hampi, Karnataka
Hampi
Image Source – Google

Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has a rustic and beautiful appeal. It is a hot place but winter offers you an amiable atmosphere to roam around Hampi and explore various beautiful temples here. Which would be a painful task in summer seasons. In the month of January, Hampi Mahotsav takes place. Therefore, you can book your tickets for January (next year of course) if you don’t want to miss the amazing puppet show, temple parades, dance, music, sports, and many more activities. The majestic architecture of Virupaksha Temple, Vitthala Temple, Matanga Temple, & Hazara Rama Temple would simply steal your heart!

The year was 1994 – Javed Akhtar pens down some of the most romantic lyrics of his life while R. D. Burman scores the last music of his life. From appropriate casting to acting, music to cinematography, direction to editing – every single thing about that movie was beyond excellence. It went on to win hearts and accolades. “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga” became the most popular song from the album. Naren hums it for Rajjo and there is truth, dare, innocence, & confession of fearless love. 1942- A Love Story dealt with a sweet love story in the backdrop of a caged country.

Cut to 2019, a movie named Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga release.  And it talks lovingly about love in a free country. But the irony is – the society and thoughts of its subjects are still caged!

 

ELKDTAL-1
Image Source – Google

That country is free now and with many known and unknown struggles, it has gathered some courage to decriminalize Article 377 barely 6 months ago. The topic of homosexuality on the Indian screen is not new. In the past also we have seen some portrayals but Bollywood played safe in this case. Except for some Onir’s movies like My Brother Nikhil or I Am or Shab, we have only found a caricaturish presentation of this topic.

So, when this movie named Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga was announced along with the star cast, I thought that it would be “just another regular love story” that Bollywood has been serving since ages. But the trailer pin-pointed the “USP” of the movie which is obviously “the most unexpected romance of the year”. In my mind, I was ready that the Punjab which Yash Chopra & his allies have explored with so many iconic romantic movies where the hero and heroines were running at the mustard field would be dealt differently here. Not Raj & Simran, but Sweety & Kuhu would sing & dance in a true Bollywood manner.

ELKDTAL_Fire
Image Source – Google

In that aspect, I was not disappointed at all. Just for the fact that a massy-commercial movie with homosexuality as a theme is backed by one of the most respected production houses of Mumbai. I would rate it 5/5. It took 21 long years for Bollywood to make a movie on a lesbian relationship. I am gladder of the fact that no one is threatening the director & actor or burning their effigies on the street or labeling them as “anti-culture”. What Deepa Mehta, Shabana Azmi, & Nandita Das went through in 1998 won’t be repeated again I suppose!

Story-Spoilers-Flaws-Strength-& Beyond Review
  • The main character of this story is Sweetie, played by Sonam Kapoor. While she was 14 she understood that she is different than the rest. She is cornered in her school and befriended by another boy who is also different like her. Her brother also studies in the same school. But the strange fact is amidst the buzz in the school, her brother doesn’t get to know the truth of Sweetie at all.
  • Sonam also befriends her diary where she rips off her heart out. This character Sweetie is depressed but shows that she is shy because she knows she won’t fit in this society. Therefore, to show her loneliness, pain, frustration, & indecisiveness, Sweetie has been given dark circles (good make-up). She wears very un-Sonam kinda of clothes. This research has been done perfectly. But I would have been happier if Sonam would have dug deep into the flesh of Sweetie to portray her pain meticulously.
  • Sweetie finds her love in a “tam-jham wala shaadi” and this is when her brother discovers that she is homosexual. And this is where I cannot call it a brave attempt. Two girls hugging each other is a very very normal sight after all! The director & writer could have tried something like “the exchange of emails, messages, or letters” at least!
  • Sweetie’s brother, Babloo, played by Abhishek Duhan is the male chauvinist who shouts on her and calls her sexual preference a “bimaari”. This actor is in a great form and he looked very convincing in his part.
  • Babloo now tells his father that Sweetie is having an affair with a Muslim guy to save her from her own truth. Balbir Chaudhry, played by the amazing Anil Kapoor is a staunch Hindu who won’t give her daughter to a Muslim boy. (Remember my intro paras – free country & caged thoughts!)
  • So, the “damsel in distress” (one of the inspirations of this movie) Sweetie is told not to step out of the house (just like the guys of the old Bollywood). In her little escapade to Delhi, she meets Sahil Mirza, played brilliantly by the “poster boy of the middle-of-the-road Bollywood movies”, Rajkumar Rao. He is a failed playwright who falls in love with Sweetie and follows her to Moga, Punjab only to find out that Sweetie is a lesbian.
  • Rajkumar Rao is like the “crunchy French fries” who can never go wrong. I want to give 1 whole star for that scene where his reaction is captured when he gets to know that Sweetie is lesbian. He laughs, he is in awe, he has teary eyes, he is flabbergasted, he is clapping, & he is heartbroken – man, all those layers in one man and that too in few fractions of seconds! He is in a terrific form!
  • The atom bomb of this movie for me was Juhi Chawla. She still has her great comic timing. And her on-screen rapport with Anil Kapoor are some of the highest highs of this movie. Her performance is “mind-shattering”.
  • When Anil Kapoor – the man of the house, the powerful rich businessman of Moga, & the proud father whose duty is to take care of his child reads Sweetie’s diaries & understands that he failed as a caregiver – Anil Kapoor was beyond brilliance! He is the rare 90’s actor who has survived all test of time & still has so much to offer us.
  • In one way, this movie is about the acceptance of the word “LOVE” which exists in everyone’s territory in a different meaning. The other way round, this movie is also about finding an identity by being truthful to the self. It is also about parenting. The character of Juhi Chawla, Chhatro ji plays the subtext of a moral teacher to our society who says “Indian Parents apne bachcho ki zindagi mein ghuse rehte hai”. The character of Balbir Chaudhuri wanted to become “India’s best chef.” But even after 50 years of his life, he is scolded by his mom for entering and experimenting in the kitchen. Why? Because, in this world, especially, in our country, there still exists a clear cut demarcation between the world of a guy and a girl.
  • One of the greatest regrets is that Seema Pahwa & Brijendra Kala are wasted here. I mean, actors of such brilliance should be given some space!
  • Regina Cassandra has a perky screen presence. But she is not given much screen time, so there is nothing much to write much about her.
  • In the end, Sweetie says to Sahil that there are many Sweeties scattered in thousands of villages, small towns, and cities, and we have to reach out to them. Just for daring to work on such a theme, people should watch it and understand that LOVE is LOVE, beyond all religion, caste, & so-called normalcy!

P.S. – Ok chalo, I understand that for keeping the “most unexpected romance of the year” a secret – you have used a male vocalist to sing “ELKDTAL” in a “Punjabified” R.D. Burman version. But while using it in the movie, wouldn’t it have been just perfect if a female vocalist was used? I mean I am not expecting a “Just Another Love Story”, “Nagar Kirtan”, or “Fire” kinda literally daring movie from you. But dear Bollywood, you have to show this much courage.

So, it’s a generous 3/5 for me. Share your views too!

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