Thursday, 31 May 2012

World without Bhupen Hazarika

World without Bhupen Hazarika
The first time I came across Bhupen Hazarika's name was 18 years back when his soul-touching music and voice floated in the background while Dimple Kapadia in her Rajasthani attire denuded her body of all jewellery. It was Rudali, not exactly a favorite amongst the teenagers back then but truly artisty in every other sense. What made Rudali special for me was nor the breath-taking acting by the cast neither the off-beat, heart-wrenching story. In fact, it wasn't even the silky-smooth voice of Lata Mangeshkar bringing those rustic, alluring lyrics to our homes. It was that coarse, broken, seemingly untamed male voice that sang Maula O Maula, Dil Hum Hum Kare, Samay O Dheere Chalo, that stood out even to my untrained ears. 

But of course, Bhupen Hazarika is (and in spite of his demise yesterday, I still say 'is') much (and much) more than Rudali. His singing career started as early as 1939 when he was twelve and he never looked back after that. Loved and respected worldwide,  Bhupenda was never hassled by political boundaries. His has been credited to be the voice of the freedom movement of Bangladesh. His music and lyrics have enabled many a young hearts to express their complicated emotions. His songs dedicated to social causes and to the great river Brahmaputra are spiritual in a very earthy way. I can perhaps never fully appreciate or sum up this great man's life and acheivements but can definitely sense his absence. 

2011 has definitely been a difficult year for Indian arts. M. F. Husain, Shammi Kapoor, Jagjit Singh, and now Bhupen Hazarika are amongst the famous artists who were lost to us during this year in quick succession. It seems like the time is moving too fast with each second taking us farther still from their legacy. I wish things would slow down a bit and let us submerge ourselves in the art and music created by these artists to fully appreciate all that we've lost. And, also, to appreciate all that we're left with. 

Here's Samay o Dheere Chalo by Bhupen Hazarika, in his own voice. Hope his songs keep echoing forever. 

Vaishali - Bihar

Vaishali today is a small village surrounded by banana and mango groves as well as rice fields. But excavations in the area have brought to light an impressive historical past. The epic Ramayana tells the story of the heroic King Vishal who ruled here. Historians maintain that one of the world's first democratic republics with an elected assembly of representatives flourished here in the 6th century B.C. in the time of the Vajjis and the Lichchavis. And while Pataliputra, capital of the Mauryas and the Guptas, held political sway over the Gangetic plain, Vaishali was the center for trade and industry.

Lord Buddha visited Vaishali frequently and at Kolhua, close by, preached his last sermon. To commemorate the event, Emperor Ashoka, in the third century B.C. erected one of his famous lion pillars here. A hundred years after the Mahaparinirvana of the Buddha - Vaishali hosted the second great Buddhist council. Two stupas were erected to commemorate this event. Jainism, too, has its origins in Vaishali, for in 527 B.C., Lord Mahavir was born on the outskirts of the city, and lived in Vaishali till he was 22. Vaishali is then twice blessed and remains an important pilgrim center for both Buddhists and Jains, attracting also historians foraging for the past.
On the outskirts of Vaishali stood the grand double storied Buddhist monastery. Buddha often discoursed here. He extended spiritual enfranchisement to women by admitting them to the Holy Order which was founded here. Legend has it that on one of his visits, several monkeys dug up a tank for his comfortable stay and offered him a bowl of honey. This is regarded as one of the great incidents in the legends of Buddha, who announced his approaching Nirvana and preached his last sermon here.

The Lichchhavis came a long way to bid him farewell on his way to Kushinagara and finally, they were stopped by a river created by Buddha. He once again paused to have a last of his much loved city. As a piety for Vaishali, he had already given his alms bowl which remained here for long time.
A life size-pillar beside a brick stupa at Kolhua commemorates Buddha's last sermon and announcement of his approaching nirvana. The lion faces north, the direction Buddha took on his last voyage. Adjacent to this is the tank associated with the monkeys offering honey. Nearby are the skeletal remains of a monastery where Buddha resided and a votive stupas dot the region. 

Vaishali museum houses some of the archaeological remains discovered here. Facing the museum is the Abhishek Pushkarni which was holy to Lichchhavis. On one side of the lake is newly built Vishwa Shanti Stupa, a sixth in the series to be erected in India. Close to the museum is the shaded stupa which is supposed to have housed the casket relic with the ashes of Buddha. 

Archaeologists have uncovered a good deal of Vaishali. It begins with a huge mound which is associated with the ancient Parliament referred to Raja Vaihala Ka Garh. Bawan Pokhar temple houses a rich collection of black basalt images dating back to the Gupta and Pala period. Another black basalt, four headed Shivling (Choumukhi Mahadeva) was discovered when a reservoir was being dug. Behind the bawan pokhar temple is a Jain temple famous for its image of the Trithankar. A little distance from these temples lies the Lotus Tank which used to be a picnic spot of the Lichchhavis. 

Further north at Lauria Areraj, 31 Kms from Motihari, lies one of the Ashokan Columns with six of his edicts. The column is devoid of its capital. Another Ashokan column along with the lion capital can be visited at Nandangarh, 23 kms from Bettiah. These pillars possibly mark the course of the ancient Royal highway from Patliputra to Nepal valley. Few kilometers from the monolith at Nandangarh is the mighty brick stupa which is believed to have stored the casket relic containing the ashes of Buddha. At Nandangarh one can also see a dozen vedic mounds that contain the remains of ruling clans of pre-Buddhists times.

 General Information

  • Altitude: 52 metres
  • Temperature (Max./Min.) Deg C: Summer 44/21  Winter 23/6
  • Rainfall:120 cms
  • Best Season: October to March

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Mumbai 143 India’s Biggest Flash mob

 Mumbai 143 India’s Biggest Flash mob
Mumbai 143 India's Biggest Flash Mob. 

Mumbai 143 flash mob that is Mumbai I love you, India’s Biggest flash mob was created at Gateway of India by 1300 people gathering and dancing to celebrate the spirit of Mumbai. People say that they love Mumbai but they can’t come as one and celebrate this strong emotion/spirit. Raghani Studios identified the need and created an original foot tapping number (song) to celebrate Mumbai’s spirit.
Here is flash interview with  Mr. Kamal Raghani of Raghani Studios,  man behind the “Mumbai 143″ flash mob.
Kamal Raghani
1. How did this concept came on your mind ?
Everything started with Mumbai I love you which later converted into Mumbai “143″ 1 stands for ‘I’, 4 for ‘Love’ and 3 for ‘You’, that is how a common man of Mumbai is expressing his love for the city.
2. How long it took to implement your ideas ?
Once the title “Mumbai 143″ developed and we wanted to portray it in very appealing style. so thought of doing Flash Mob. We wrote the lyrics keeping the Mumbaikar lifestyle in mind and recorded the song in foot tapping number with Feel of Anthem.
3. How did you find so many dancers and how long rehearsals were done ?
Everything was going and we reached to a level where we thought of doing it in grand format. we needed people for this flashmob for that we approached St. Xaviers and St. Marys school students gave them training for 8 days with a team of 18 choreographers.
4. It must be very difficult involving so many school children, getting permissions, security arrangements ?
As grand as the idea was, only a grand location could justify. Nothing could replace the picturesque Gateway of India, which identifies Mumbai, where Biggest negative event have taken place. We anyhow wanted to do it at Gateway of India itself and convert the negative energy to positive.
Being a Film Maker, I had the experience and skills to visualize the complete flash mob before hand. To capture the splendid moments in a very cinematic way, I arranged for team of 12 cameramen, gave them a accurate perspective and prepared them for what it is going to be. Finally on the day I actually felt how it is to take last breath and once the confidence was on, we did it in five min.  Creating, India’s biggest Flash Mob. The rest is history.
Raghani Studios is a feature film making technical service provider specializing in high end film camera equipment rental, post production works, sound dubbing/recording studio to 35mm output prints for theatre and digital cinema projection. They prefer providing a cost effective feature film packages to filmmakers/producers covering all technical aspects of film making with in-house equipments and technical team at all stages of film making which ultimately results in better image quality and huge cost saving to producers and production houses. They play an important role in nurturing the vision of creative artist/filmmakers through technical support, skilled manpower, correct workflow, and up to date high end equipments. Today, it is the technical hub for feature films, regional language films, and independent filmmakers, serving their creative dream with correct image.
More details also can be found here: