Chandigarh, Friday, July 24, 1998
|A makers flight of reality
KIPLING might have professed Never the Twain Shall Meet, but Latta Harbux Singh, an independent video film maker of superhit Giddha Pao Kudiyo and Gurdas Mann: Wanted Dead or Alive fame, believes that the fusion between diametrically opposite cultures is very much possible...
Treasurehouse of natures gifts
DAZZLING the strangers at the edge of the Barakhamba Road, New Delhi, is a weird creature of a forgotten era: Dinosaur. This and other extinct giants of the Jurassic park fame come alive at this treasurehouse: The national Museum of Natural History (NMNH) opened in 1975, the silver jubilee year of Indias Independence...
Urdu poet from Pathankot
PARVEEN KUMAR ASHK of Pathankot is a happy man today. His dream to be honoured with the prestigious Firaque Gorakhpuri Puraskar has been fulfilled. He had waited for this award for 25 years. During all these years he worked hard on Urdu poetry and even shared dais with famed poets of Urdu poetry and ghazals...
Audioscan by ASC
|A makers flight of reality
By Nonika Singh
KIPLING might have professed Never the Twain Shall Meet, but Latta Harbux Singh, an independent video film maker of superhit Giddha Pao Kudiyo and Gurdas Mann: Wanted Dead or Alive fame, believes that the fusion between diametrically opposite cultures is very much possible. Of course, the initial interaction could be painful, even traumatic, but the ultimate union is always joyous, he adds as an afterthought. Exactly these sentiments of his will be mirrored in one of his forthcoming projects, a telefilm Bridge (to be shot in America) starring handsome TV star Kanwaljeet and an American actress.
Lattas musings on cross-cultural currents are not sheer directors flight of fancy, but a slice of reality, an offshoot of close observations made during prime time youth years spent in the land of the Big Apple. As the son of an illustrious father, Dr Harcharan Singh, a literary giant, creativity in a way flowed in Lattas veins.
Yet, in the early years of his life neither literary activities nor arc lights ever beckoned him. Instead, he was fascinated by the possibilities a green card held and migrated to the USA where he did a three-year diploma in electronics engineering. But destiny had ordained it otherwise. In 1981, a chance encounter with Mohan Maharishis play Rani Jinda (the play was staged in New York) and the dormant creator in him woke up from deep slumber.
Back home he made a Punjabi film, Sardara Kartara, which turned out to be a damp squib. Today he reflects, Actors might be born, but film making is a specialised technique and can only be acquired. So he enrolled for a two-year course in film direction and language at New York University where the early ambience, excellent members of faculty (independent film makers) and the exposure to choicest films in the world of cinema armed him to take on the challenge. So in 1987, when he was commissioned to make a serial on Guru Nanaks travels titled Eks ke Hum Barik,: Latta didnt falter. Thereafter, he made Tera Ghar so Mera Ghar based on his fathers play by the same name which was adjudged best TV film of 1987.
Simultaneously, this winner of Shiromani Nirmata Award pioneered the advent of Punjabi video film industry with over 10 odd video films up his sleeve and developed it as a parallel medium especially targeted at urban audiences. He remarks, I grew up in cities and could empathise more with the citybred. So, his video films Vehra Shagna da, Giddha Pao Kurio et al showcased Punjabi folk dances, but laced with contemporary touches, a bit of modern rap thrown in, which went down very well with urban sophisticates.
Enter cable, satellite invasion, and the market for video films floundered. Latta moved back to the small screen and made a telefilm inspired by Dilip Kaur Tiwanas novel Rin Pitran de, a heart-rending account of conflict and confluence between East and West. Last year, to mark the 50th anniversary of Indian Independence in Gadar ki Goonj, he gave a new twist to the great martyr Kartar Singh Sarabhas life and added a romantic angle to it. Though for this telefilm (based on Nanak Singhs novel) he relied completely on local artistes, yet he is not bowled over by their histrionics and says bluntly, The range of local actors is rather limited. If I had my way, I would work with seasoned performers who know instinctively how to enact/emote a particular shot.
Small wonder then that for his most ambitious project, Antaraal (a short story by Mohan Bhandari), he has sent feelers to Shabana Azmi for the lead role, even overlooking her probable handicap in Punjabi. But then, Antaraal will not be your regular masala movie. An experiment of sorts for critics only, Latta is covetously eyeing the international film festivals.
Claiming that cinema is THE medium and Hindi an equaliser, a twinge of regret is palpable for the missed opportunities chance gone by to work with Bollywood producer J.P. Dutta in his emotion-choked voice, he laments, Even after devoting so many years to the Punjabi jagat, there is little credibility.
Though he is hoping that Antaraal might change things, for a while his pet subject can wait as he is busy giving finishing touches to a multimedia extravaganza, Bole so Nihal. A light-and-sound show with a difference juxtaposing different mediums, drama, video light and sound, the one-and-a-half-hour show will encapsulate the Sikh history. While the grand finale will unfold next year at Anandpur Sahib to coincide with the 300 year of Khalsa, Latta plans to open the show in New York in the near future. While he had bid adieu to the promised land years ago, the chord has not been cut asunder. For a TV channel in the USA, he is toying with the idea of an English serial ABCD (American-born confused desis).
Unlike many a maker, Lattas mind is not unifocussed, but keeps ticking in several directions. For instance, he has bought the rights of Taftiesh (inquiry) from Mittar Sen Meet. Plus there is a burning desire to translate his fathers plays into celluloid reality. But more significantly, there is an ambition to drive home the message: Humanity is above all man-made barriers of caste, creed, race and religion.
To achieve this, Latta, an ardent admirer of late Satayjit Ray, knows he cant afford to get lost in the maze of fiction and dream world, using titillation as an excuse for entertainment, but needs to portray life as realistically as possible. Art, after all, has to imitate life.
|Treasurehouse of natures gifts
By Kuldeep Chauhan
DAZZLING the strangers at the edge of the Barakhamba Road, New Delhi, is a weird creature of a forgotten era: Dinosaur. This and other extinct giants of the Jurassic park fame come alive at this treasurehouse: The national Museum of Natural History (NMNH) opened in 1975, the silver jubilee year of Indias Independence.
Packed with the fun of multimedia presentation, the NMNH takes you where no one has gone before. A visit to the museum can turn out to be a discovery, especially for children and those who have yet to know the significance of the green peace mantra: think ecologically.
The museum takes you back by 4,500 million years when the Mother Earth was born, through the realms of the solar system and galaxies that float like hands-on amazing objects in front of your eyes! It propels you into the marvels and riddles of the natural world its beautiful, snowy mountains, its charming flying birds, its swaying green trees, its rippling rivers and streams.
Every creature that once roamed, slithered or flew this planet and most of them you will never see otherwise you can see them here in their life-size original forms. The NMNH opens a vista, stretching your mental horizons. Through its natural magic, the museum gives you food for thought that the green and clean city is no empty buzzword it means something for everyone.
Children can have fun at the museums Discovery Room. They can choose among several activities modelling, painting, handling the specimens and gathering information contained in the discovery boxes. They can thumb through the book pages at the adjoining mini library.
The room extends into the Activity Room meant for pre-school children. The kids who otherwise kick up hell at home can browse through the kingdoms of animals and plants. These activities help foster in children a spirit of inquiry and scientific outlook, says Mrs Wahi who visited the museum with her daughter recently.
NMNH guides are there to explain all about the visuals displayed at the galleries. At its auditorium you can enjoy films on wildlife, ecology, conservation of environment every day at 11 am and 3 pm. For the wildlife lovers, the films make the visit all the more rewarding.
Gallery-I exhibits a multi-media presentation. It is a dramatic tour of the vast universe, its solar system and life through the ages to the present day. See and touch the simulated fossil-bearing rock cliff and you get the first clue of the evolution of life on earth. Further, the Dioramas evoke life in a pond, a desert, a mountain, under the sea and the world of crocodiles, birds and tigers in their natural habitats. These now almost extinct marvels of nature can tell the extent of our mischief in the natural environment.
Life of earth is an inter-related web an ecological pyramid, with man at the top, connecting rest of the living and the non-living beings in a single chain. Ecologists believe that if we kill a single species, the entire chain is disturbed, exposing the other that ultimately endangers human existence itself.
In an eye-catching profusion, the Ecology Gallery exhibits natures once bewildering varieties of birds, their eggs of all shapes and sizes (in a live incubator), lizards, monkeys, snakes, wild animals, most of them extinct. These creatures bring home the fact that the real beast in the world is perhaps none other than man.
Todays, mans vanity has pushed these masterpieces of nature to the brink. Ecologists say that worlds 1,000 species of animal and 2,500 varieties of plants face extinction because of daily encroachment into the wildlife. We have decimated their habitats because of our insatiable greed. The sleek and swift snow leopard, the Indian cheetah, the lion-tailed macaque, the musk deer, the wild yak and the mountain quail are a few examples of the species we will never see again.
The Ecology Gallery also gives you a peep into the hot environmental issues that affect us all. It depicts some of the worlds major eco-systems. You can savour the silence and beauty of the oceans, rugged life in the deserts, serene, salubrious, tropical and coniferous forests and the freezing silence of the polar regions. You can mull over the wide variety of plants and animals and birds that once thrived in these regions. It highlights the fact that the more species we protect and conserve, the safer and healthier the world we will pass over to our future generations.
|Urdu poet from Pathankot
By Bharat Bhushan Dogra
PARVEEN KUMAR ASHK of Pathankot is a happy man today. His dream to be honoured with the prestigious Firaque Gorakhpuri Puraskar has been fulfilled. He had waited for this award for 25 years. During all these years he worked hard on Urdu poetry and even shared dais with famed poets of Urdu poetry and ghazals.
A son of an Urdu poet, late Kanwal Hoshiarpuri, Parveen got Urdu poetry in unheritance from his father who not only taught him the way to write and recite Urdu poetry, but also polished him to the extent of having a good command on the language.
Parveen writer and orator of more than a thousand ghazals, was conferred Firaque Gorakhpuri Award, 1997, on May 16, 1998, by the Sahityakar Sansad of Bihar in recognition of his literary contributions.
He has a long list of awards conferred on him for his contribution to Urdu poetry. They include a ghazal Sangreh, Dar Badar (1981), Chandni ke Khatoot, and Ghazal Tere Shahar Mein (1993).
His book Chandni ke Khatoot got worldwide fame and he was invited to visit Pakistan, America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, Gulf countries and Sweden. Pakistan-based Carvan Publications has decided to bring out a Pakistani edition of the book. A cultural organisation of Pakistan, Melody, has invited him to honour him for his rich contribution to Urdu poetry.
He has also been invited by literary and cultured institutions of England, Canada and Gulf countries to participate in symposiums and seminars.
A regular feature on Doordarshan, he enthralls viewers with his ghazals which spell images, ideology and spirituality.
Parveen has a complaint against Jalandhar Doordarshan, All India Radio, Jalandhar, and the Urdu unit of the Punjab Languages Department, Patiala, for their indifferent and unwarranted attitude towards, him and his contributions.
Despite financial crunches and non-availability of any type of facilities from the government or other literary and cultural institutions, Parveen continues his literacy journey. Today Ashk can assert with authority that he is a self-made man.
Employed with Ranjit Sagar Dam at Shahpurkandi in Pathankot as a junior engineer, Parveen has the ambition of being counted among the top of Urdu poets to keep his fathers name alive.
His new books on Urdu poetry which are likely to hit the stalls in the near future include Dua Tallab, Anakhen Rasta Ho Gayeen and Ghazalistan. Besides one of his ghazal books is being translated into English under the name The Bliss.
One of his ghazals is:
Zameen ko ya Khuda woh zalzala de,
Nishan tak sarhdon ke jo mita de.
Siyasat ki agar ma maarni hai,
To phir Lahore Dilli se mila de.
Buzurgon ka bus ek kamra bachakar,
Tu jab chahe purana ghar girade.
Khushi mein aise goli mat chalana,
Shajar se jo prindon ko ura de.
Alif se Asshna ischool koyee,
Mere bachchon ko jo padna sikhade.
Main sooraj tod laoonga nahin to,
Mujhe ae roshni apna pata de.
Muhajir ka makaan khaali hai lekin,
Main dar kholoon to koyee baddua de.
Main humsaya hoon tera Ashk mujhko,
Zara si dhoop thodi si hawa de.
|Audioscan by ASC
Kavita as ghazal singer
TERE FIRAQ MEIN (Magnasound; Rs 50)
In films, Kavita Krishnamurthy rarely gets to sing ghazals. As far as Suresh Wadkar is concerned, things are even worse. He does not get to sing very many songs despite all his talent. Here the two have come together to present eight ghazals in a private album. By coming together we only mean that they are featured together in this cassette. Otherwise all the eight ghazals are solo.
The healthy sign is that both of them have given a good account of themselves. Six of the ghazals are penned by Iftikhar Ahmad. The singing is good where the ghazals are good. The reverse is equally true. In the former category come Tere firaq mein (Wadkar) and Abke kaisi bahar aayi hai (Kavita). In the latter group are Aaj phir dil bujha bujha sa hai (Wadkar) and Maine kab tumse (Kavita).
The two are at their best when rendering the lyrics of masters, Kavita while singing Ghalibs Yeh na thi hamari qismat and Suresh while doing Bahadur Shah Zafars Lagta nahin hai jee mera . How one wishes all the ghazals were of the same standard.
Najeeb is the music director.
ACHANAK (Venus Supreme)
Govindas films are like a chaat plate. Enjoy them when you want to get away from the monotony of home food and then come back to the normal fare. The same is true of his films music: hear today and gone tomorrow. Achanak is true to form. The word chalu is writ large all over it. The only song with some quality, Duniya bhula do (Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu) stands out like sore thumb in the general chaos marked by the stuff like Dil leke gaya chor pakdo pakdo (Abhijeet, Johny Lever and chorus). Interestingly, this is the song which is featured not once but twice in the cassette. As has been noticed in the past also, the exuberance that composers Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen try to inject tends to be synthetic.
Oonchi oonchi deewaron (Alka, Hariharan) is comparatively better but Ek soni kudi dila de (Alka, Abhijeet) is not.
Lyrics are by Sameer.
MAA (Magnasound; Rs 60)
One comes to expect a loud, footstomping music from a pop singer like Sagarika. But she springs a surprise with this cassette. It is a nice combination of songs of different paces and should please many people.
The better ones of the lot are the title song (written by Nida Fazli), Nasheele nayan (written by Maya Govind) , Suraj ugaa ... (Nida Fazli) and Toofani raat (Maya Govind).
Music has been composed, arranged and directed by Salim Merchant.