Revelry remix
From the days of dhol and disco dandiya to digital dandiya, the reel and real affair of Bollywood with the season of fasting and festivities has seen a sea change. Tinsel town folks set the mood for the Navratras as they talk of rejoicing, raas and remixes, writes Jyothi Venkatesh

‘Dhoom taana’ from Om Shanti Om is still popularT
Navratra season and Durga Puja see the ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses’ of B-town get into a pious mode, with the action shifting to the other kind of floor: dance floor and puja pandals. Stars share what the festivities mean to them in these times of remixes and remakes. Recalls Shilpa Shetty, "As children, we were told by our parents that Vijaydashami was the festival during which Lord Ram killed Ravana and it symbolised the triumph of good over evil.
‘Dhoom taana’ from Om Shanti Om is still popular

Hands of clay
Kumartuli, the idol-makers’ quarter in old Kolkata, remains a symbol of continuity of Bengal’s 250-year-old craftsmanship and culture revolving round the annual Durga Pujo, writes Arnab Chakraborty

Sobhabazar in Kolkata, lie the clay-muddled pathways of Kumartuli that houses hundreds of artisans who design the Durga idols for homes and the puja pandals around the country, making Durga Pujo a pride of the Bengalis. One can almost sense the stories around about the traditional ways of the craftsmen who create the clay masterpieces with an awe-inspiring diligence each year.

Divine joy
Durga Puja is celebrated across the world with sound, colour, music and fashion. These elements widen the parameters of culture and enrich the spirit of the festival, says Shoma A. Chatterji 

difference between global and national culture, between national and regional culture, between the arts and popular entertainment, and between tradition and modernity is getting increasingly blurred everyday. In this ambience, Durga Puja celebrated across the world with sound, colour, music, performance, fashion and d`E9cor reflects this blurring of borders. This widens the parameters of culture and enriches the joy that Durga Puja brings in.

Looking good for Durga
The festive spirit of Durga Puja is in the air. Young men and women — outgrowing their regional Bengali label and going global — are on a shopping spree, purchasing trendy and traditional jewellery and clothes

, diffusion, blends, textures, ethnicity, abstractions, geometry and symmetry in colours and styles from the traditional to the modern to the post-modern define the world of madness in fashion that keeps evolving every day of the year. So, what kind of fashion does the festive ambience of Durga Puja or Navratras demand? Will young ladies wear red-bordered white saris on the Ashtami day with lots of flowers in their hair? Will the newly married brides deck up in their wedding finery and visit their neighbourhood pandal on Dasehra afternoon to participate in the sindoor khela?

Pandals of faith
Durga Puja in West Bengal is a much-awaited festival. With elaborate pandals and innovative themes, pandal hopping is a mandatory ritual for natives as well as tourists, writes Ranjita Biswas

For Bengalis, Durga Puja is THE festival, worth waiting for the whole year. As soon as the new calendar comes out in April, which launches the traditional new year, their eyes inevitably dart to the autumn months to check the puja dates. Today Durga Puja is not just a ritual but a whole lot of images and feelings woven into the very fabric of the Bengali mindset. Even as the artisans at Kumartuli in north Kolkata start mixing the earth to sculpt the deity, preparations start — especially the elaborate pandals constructed according to the theme in baroari (community) puja venues.

Food worthy of worshipping
There is a vast repertoire of traditional vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes during Durga Puja
festival without sumptuous food? Are you kidding? A Bengali is very likely to retort. The vast repertoire of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, which a Bengali even from an ordinary household can cook, is quite enviable. From traditional dishes to innovations from the kitchen of the Thakur Bari (house of the illustrious Tagores), the Bengali food palette is a gourmand’s delight

No room for mythology
Indian cinema’s romance with mythology began with Dadasaheb Phalke’s 1913 feature film, Raja Harishchandra. Today, devotional films that venerated the benevolence and bravery of gods  and goddesses have vanished, writes Deepa Karmalkar
year ago, the news that Waka Waka singer Shakira had consented to play goddess Kali in an Indian project had created quite a buzz. But nothing came out of it. "Shakira as Kali Mata? That just won’t work; there is a revered image of Kaali maa in the minds of the devotees and Shakira doesn’t conform to it any way," remarks Udaya Tara Nayar, veteran film analyst. "The actress playing the role of Devi must have classic Indian features like Hema Malini or Rekha; among today’s heroines, Kareena Kapoor, with the right make-up, would be the best bet to play the goddess," she adds. So, will Kareena’s divine avatar do the trick?

Mithun’s Nobel Chor at London fest
film Nobel Chor, starring Mithun Chakraborty, has been officially selected for screening at the 55th BFI London Film Festival to be held October 12-27 this year. Presented as its European premiere, the film will be shown in the World section at the festival and will have two screenings, says producer Ashwani Sharma.



Globoscope: Gamut of emotions
by Ervell E. Menezes

Food talk: Fasting feast 
by Pushpesh Pant

Making false claim on product unfair
by Pushpa Girimaji

ULTA PULTA: Unknown gifts
by Jaspal Bhatti


Too refined to be a journalist
Fascinating glimpses into the life and times of a fearless man
Ink in My Veins: A Life in Journalism
By S. Nihal Singh.
Hay House India. Pages 295. Rs 499.

Reviewed by Uttam Sengupta

Books received english

Transcreation of celebrated Partition tale
Karmavali: The Lucky Lady
By Kashmiri Lal Zakir.
Transcreator: Anil K. Sharma.
Trans Publications. Pages 187. Rs 200.

Reviewed by Randeep Wadehra

Back of the book

Closely guarded family secrets
The Girl in the Garden
By Kamala Nair.
Grand Central Publishing.
Pages 303. Rs 495.

Reviewed by Balwinder Kaur

Revelling in ordinariness of life
Nonika Singh
HAT happens when a hardnosed, seasoned critic turns into a fiction writer? Expectedly, she can’t shut off the critical eye long after the book has been published. Thus, critic, reviewer and writer Rakhshanda Jalil, whose latest book of short stories Release and Other Stories just hit the stands, can’t help but see mistakes an ordinary eye would overlook.

Nice smorgasbord
Release and Other Stories
By Rakshanda Jalil.
HarperCollins. Pages 108. Rs 299.

Reviewed by Aradhika Sharma

Prose for the people
Mulk Raj Anand’s death anniversary falls on September 28
Sanjeev Gandhi
ulk Raj Anand passed away at the ripe age of 98 on September 28, 2004, and left behind him a remarkably large number of novels and collections of short stories. He deserves the credit of entertaining and enlightening generations of readers during his lifetime and his works will continue to do so in the times to come.

Poetry with pathos
Poetry was a way of making sense of the madness, says Fatima Bhutto 
Madhusree Chatterjee

sword and suffering are the heartbeat of Fatima Bhutto's literary soul. And it was fear that propelled her poetry, says the heir to Pakistan's tragedy-scarred Bhutto family. An accomplished poet, Fatima, 29, captures love, loss and the solitude of her circumstances in her verses.