Durga Puja and Cultural Events: The 2009 New Jersey Lineup

Ujjaini MukherjeeIn New Jersey, Durga Puja is a special time when the festive mood brings with it a flurry of entertainment and cultural programs across the state. This year too the line up looks very promising although the spirits have dampened a bit due to the tough economic times and with the rejection of visas of few of the performers.  Still the combination of local talents and professionals from India is bound to enthrall the Puja attendees on the coming weekends.

I’ll try to briefly summarize the lineup this year, although the organizers have in many cases conveniently omitted the details about the local performers from their web sites. I tried to collect as much information I could manage. If any of you have more information, then please feel free to add them to this post as comments. Continue reading

Did You Like Kaminey?

I mean Vishal Varadwaj’s latest film “Kaminey”. I liked it a lot! I was pleasantly surprised when I saw his previous film “Omkara”.  So I went to the theater with high hopes. And Kaminey exceeded my expectations. I can say that it is the best Bollywood gangsta movie ever made.  It is a treat to watch how this talented film maker has blended in violence with humor! The story telling style, the high paced and intelligent editing, the mood photohraphy and lighting, the music and the exemplary acting by the cast members reminds us that Bollywood film making has evolved a lot from the days of Ajit, Pran and Prem Chopra! Vishal Varadwaj is the Quentin Tarantino of Mumbai – he can create visual poetry with violence, he can create characters that get tattooed in your brain, and he can create wonderful music with Gulzar’s lyrics!

If you have seen the movie, let us know how you liked it.

And if you haven’t seen the movie – don’t sit there! Go to the nearest theater that’s screening “Kaminey”

Terror in Mumbai

It is Thanksgiving eve and this dastardly scene unfolds in front of me on the Indian News networks – Mumbai under attack. Soon CNN picked it up and all news networks focused on the financial capital of India – Mumbai. It was dramatic, to say the least, to witness the Taj, Oberoi and Trident hotels on fire, gun shots and explosions, and the closeups of blood stained people and property. As I write this, the siege is still on with several hostages under the clutches of the terrorists and more than 100 people killed.

I don’t know who is doing this (although some sources are reporting that Deccan Mujaheddin has claimed responsibility) and for what purpose, but it is clear that it is a very well planned and well coordinated effort to not only shake up India, but also the entire world. India is rapidly gaining recognition as a major economic power, it’s opinions carry lot of weight in the global economy. All major economies in the world are eager to do business with India and Mumbai is their main port of call. Possibly the terrorists hope to scare off the world by trying to demonstrate Mumbai (and India) as an unsafe place to do business with. But they are grossly mistaken. They fail to understand that the world is not only watching their cowardly attacks but also the heroic efforts by the police and the army, the selfless efforts of the hotel employees who risked their lives to save their guests. The chief of anti terrorist squad, Hemant Karkare and the additional commissioner of police, Ashok Kamte laid down their lives along with several other of their compatriots to save the lives of the people of Mumbai. The entire world will be with India and thwart the efforts of the terrorists to isolate India.

Let’s all condemn these attacks and show our solidarity behind the people of Mumbai. Our deepest condolences goes to the families of the victims of this incident. We hope that the people of Mumbai and India will stay calm and not do anything rash and violent to hurt their fellow citizens ’cause that will only serve the cause of the terrorists.