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City Lights
Bold brushstrokes on walls

Max Mueller Bhavan, Calcutta, will host a novel exhibition of posters by German artists entitled ‘Voices against right-wing extremism’. To be held on the MMB premises between November 8 and 23, the exhibition will feature 30 posters called ‘attacks’. The posters respond to the “violent attacks on foreigners”, which were carried out at the beginning and during the course of the Nineties in Germany and circulated the world over as TV pictures and photographs.

“These posters were created to depict the situation in Germany, but are socially and politically relevant in the global context as well, not the least in today’s India,” says S.V. Raman, programme officer, MMB. The posters are born of rage, shame and despair and the attempts at organising resistance through aesthetically striking means do not apply just to Germany. They can equally mobilise resistance to right-wing violence in other countries.

The pictures of the venomous mob and martial parades of fanatic skinheads had a devastating effect on the image of a unified Germany. In view of the past and a fear that the German Republic could again drift to the right, a critical eye was kept on possible relapses of the two German states. This observation has become self-observation, as the posters verify.

Revolving around the poster exhibition, MMB is organising a string of satellite events under the broad banner — ‘The politics of Extremism’. “We will invite graphic artists of the city to view the exhibition and then do posters of their own to interpret the subject,” says MMB director Ingrid Maria Keimel-Metz. The institute plans to announce a competition of these posters and give away prizes to the top three. “Later, we will display these works of local graphic artists on our premises,” the director adds.

MMB will also screen German and Indian films which address the politics of extremism. The Experiment, a docu-feature directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, will be the main attraction, while there will be shorts as well. The institute is tying up with Seagull Arts & Media Resource Centre for sourcing Indian films. “The centre will also help us create a façade outside the campus to go with the theme,” Keimel-Metz says.

Two musical evenings have also been planned in sync with the subject. The first one, a Music Café, will be a ‘listening session’ of discs on ‘Rock Against Right’, a music movement in Germany against right-wing extremism. The second, scheduled for November 16, will have live sessions divided into two parts. The first part will feature original rock numbers specially composed on the subject by Anjum Katyal and Jayshree Subramaniam, with Gyan Singh and Amyt Dutta on guitars. Then, Anjan Dutta takes the stage with his own interpretation of the subject.

A panel discussion on ‘Politics of Extremism’ on November 21 will be moderated by Victor Banerjee. “We want to make it an open forum with five panelists chosen from various fields,” says Raman.

— Subhro Saha


Happy days are here

They are bound by a common love for children and belief in the magic of music. Childhood friends Ritika Sahni and Varsha Sheth have teamed up to bring a new sound of music to kids. The duo has created Happy Day, an album comprising 15 original children’s songs.

Ritika, who was Sony Music’s debut artiste in India, has sung all the numbers and has produced the album, while Varsha has penned the lyrics and is responsible for the concept and the tunes. “These songs are specially created for children who love music and want more than the traditional nursery rhymes, and the parent and the teacher who are always on the lookout for songs that teach while they entertain,” explains Ritika.

The album, released by Music Today and supported by Air Sahara, is accompanied by a colourful book of lyrics covering topics ranging from rain to rainbow, lollipop to days of the week, vegetables and colours. The music is catchy and the rendition spontaneous and peppy. An interesting feature is the brief incorporation of Hindi verses into some of the songs.

Ritika had received a gold medal for her Masters in music and went on to record her first solo album, Chena Shukher Khoje, with HMV. She has done jingles and songs for films and teleserials in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Bhojpuri and Punjabi. She also heads the communications department of the Spastics Society of India.

Varsha, who has been teaching music in city schools, released an album entitled Wild About Animals through Brightsparks, a division of Tata Infomedia Ltd, writing and illustrating 20 songs for kids aged four to 10. She later did the title song for a children’s CD-ROM, which was translated into eight Indian languages. Also a freelance cartoonist, Varsha is currently working on two new toon series.

The duo has pledged to release one new album for children every year.


STAR-spangled

This Diwali, viewers will experience STAR Gold in its new avatar – “young, bright, fresh and scintillating” — as the channel strives to relive the magic of the movies.

The recast STAR Gold will bring to viewers a “distinct flavour”, setting apart bands and slots for different film genres, to provide “a complete cinema-viewing experience for the entire family”. Dopahar Gold will be targeted towards housewives — a line-up of women-oriented, women-centric and timeless love stories.

Special Gold is another genre, where choicest Hollywood blockbusters will be dubbed in Hindi for the first time. Solid Gold will consist of blockbusters and mega star-studded movies. Classic Gold will showcase the timeless classics of Hindi cinema on Sundays. Gold Minor, a special slot on Saturday noon, will air films made in India for children.

“This is the first time any channel will have a children’s movie-viewing hour,” says Tarun Katial, senior vice-president, programming, STAR India. On Sunday mornings, viewers will be treated to devotional films. The channel will also telecast big star events, countdown music shows, exclusive premieres and a monthly contest, with a soon-to-be released film. Viewers can win mega prizes like gold, diamond necklaces and even free tickets for vacations, all from this Sunday (November 3).

Says Katial: “As we move forward, the aim is to broaden our horizon by showing the complete spectrum of Hindi cinema. In the next six months, viewers will be treated to 100 new titles, events, shows and lots more.”

In November, STAR Gold will air blockbusters of Karisma Kapoor, like Biwi No 1 (Nov 3, 8 pm) Raja Hindustani (Nov 10, 8 pm), Haseena Maan Jaayegi (Nov 17, 8 pm) and Fiza (Nov 24, 8 pm).

The line-up of Hollywood films, dubbed in Hindi, will be shown on Saturdays at 8 pm. Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury (Nov 9), Jackie Chan’s Armour of God Part 1 (Nov 16) Part II (Nov 23) are coming up this month. Other eagerly-awaited titles are Chocolat (Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche), Music of the heart (Meryl Streep and Angela Bassett), Metro (Sylvester Stallone), Miami Rhapsody (Antonio Banderas and Sarah Jessica Parker), The Rich Man’s Wife (Halle Berry and Chris MacDonald) and others. The STAR Gold Special on November 23 will feature Mukti Red Ribbon Show, a star-studded evening with the best of Bollywood.


Fairytale on screen

The Diwali week will see Tollywood being lit up by promotional fireworks never seen before in the Bengali film industry. Management guru Arindam Chaudhuri’s maiden production venture, under his Planman Life banner, Sanjhbatir Rupkathara will open in city halls on November 8. Columbia Tristar has planned a week-long blitskrieg of events in the run-up to the release of what will be the Hollywood major’s first distribution venture in the regional film sector. On Saturday at The Park, it will be Bijoylaksmi Burman and Partho Ghosh lending their voices to the words of Joy Goswami’s novel Sanjhbatir Rupkathara accompanied by Swagatalaksmi Dasgupta’s musical rendition. Samir Aich’s brush strokes will interpret dreams on canvas, completing the Triveni for the evening.

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