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November 30, 2015 Monday     

Eh Janam Tumhare Lekhe - Bobby Talks Cinema.comIt’s a bitter truth that even if consider only the Punjabi community in particular, then also a big percentage of the youngsters might not be aware of blessed soul lovingly called BHAGAT PURAN SINGH, who spent his entire life for the physically challenged and the ignored sufferers of our society in his Pingalwara situated in Amritsar (Punjab). So where almost everyone knows about MOTHER TERESA and probably about the respected BABA AMTE too (included in our text books), there only a limited section of Indians are aware of this unique spirited personality who never felt ashamed to even beg for his big family of dependents living a comfortable life only because of him as their GOD-sent messiah.

But before talking about the film, I would like to mention how I got introduced to his Pingalwara in the early 90s as it was indeed an enlightening lesson for me in those energetic years of college studies.
At that time of the decade, we were into doing musical stage shows with a high end sound setup and as a routine ritual during those shows, people willingly used to throw currency notes over the singers and dancers during their individual performances. So by the end of the show, the stage would have several notes lying on it waiting to be picked up by an attendant. And our show-organizer was very particular about this collected money from the stage and had a habit of keeping it separately in a different bag that was honestly not liked by a few in the group willing to share it. So one late night, I finally decided to ask him about it and he said, “I don’t take this extra earned money home and the amount collected from the stage is all sent to Pingalwara in Amritsar”. That was the day I heard about Pingalwara for the first time and then came to know many more things about Bhagat Puran Singh from our organizer who was a big fan/supporter of his and still does the same social practice even today.
Coming back to the film, it’s indeed a worth watching attempt in the biographical genre, intelligently following a non-linear progression that successfully makes an impression in its very first sequence itself. Yes, the prolonged background sequences do take some time to take the story forward and the choice of child artist in the initial 20 minutes could have been much better. Still the film is able to make an instant emotional connect with the viewers before the intermission and then wins you over completely in its second half which has much more power in its depiction when Bhagat Puran Singh grows older walking towards his ultimate salvation in her mother’s arms. And as I have always said, when a film’s second half is stronger than the first then it is bound to become a winner in most of the cases.
Further moving much ahead than being a simple biographical movie, EH JANAM TUMHARE LEKHE actually becomes a must watch, not to be missed gem due to some exceptional, unique features handled brilliantly by the writer, director and the actors together as mentioned below.
A. Though Bhagat Puran Singh was not a born Sikh, the film doesn’t give any mileage to the fact rightly and explains this with a simple few lines dialogues in its second hour without giving it any major emphasis (as it should have been done becoming its biggest merit).
B. It doesn’t talk or propagate about any particular religion thankfully, nor does it purposefully focus on the trust asking for some extra attention from the viewers through any deliberate sequences.
C. The director quite skillfully incorporates two major events of the 20th century, i.e. of 1947 Partition and 1984 Blue Star Operation without any forceful provocation or taking sides. The sequences simply portray what in reality happened with Bhagat Puran Singh in those times and then leaves the decision on to the viewer that whether he did right or not in his personal dilemmas faced.
D. After a long time, a soundtrack becomes the major backbone of a project in Punjabi cinema and EH JANAM TUMHARE LEKHE has many melodious, emotional, meaningfully written and brilliantly rendered tracks led by “Sun Ve Poorna”, a superb “Lori” (Lullaby) heard after a long time, a fun loving kids song and few fabulously composed Shabads that lift up the film beautifully coming at the right time. Here scoring the maximum marks is the Shabad “Kaisi Aarti Hove” by the exceptionally talented Sukhwinder in an unusual but winning composition that has never been tried before in Punjabi Devotional Music. (And I would soon write a detailed write-up about the relationship of this divine AARTI written by Guru Nanak with Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and World Music at BTC.)
E. Talking about the man who plays the role of Bhagat Puran Singh, one of the most underrated and underutilized talented actors of our times, Pawan Malhotra, I would only like to say, that you will find it tough to find Pawan in the entire film, especially in its second half. In more clear words, Pawan is simply not there but Bhagat Puran Singh is. And that’s the biggest compliment possible for an actor as far as my understanding of acting goes. Pawan completely dissolves himself in the character he is playing and you amazingly have to remind yourself in a repeated mode that here we have an actor playing a role and not Bhagat Puran Singh himself on the screen as it seems. The credit for this unarguably goes to the director Harjit Singh too for giving Pawan those precise instructions and guidance to deliver such a magnificent performance that is sure to be included as one of his best till date without any doubt. In short if music/background score and cinematography is the backbone of the film then Pawan is the life and face of the project lighting up every single scene of his with a sheer brilliance.
Next writing about the immensely blessed soul Bhagat Puran Singh, a few lines cannot justify or explain the enormous amount of social work done by the man in his entire life. Hence I would only like to quote few of his important dialogues in the film that might give you an idea about the visionary person he was, capable of looking deep into the psyche of both the man and the nature together like a highly learned scholar.
In one of the scenes, as he once visits the house of a college Principal for lunch, he notices almost the entire house made of wood unnecessarily. On getting no justification of the act from the Principal, he refuses to eat in that house where the people don’t care about the trees and nature around. And this, he used to teach 3-4 decades back when the world was not even concerned.
Bhagat Puran Singh did not prefer travelling in cars and other local vehicles as he said they were polluting the surroundings much more than the comfort provided. And again he used to talk about the growing pollution and disturbing changes in climate long before the world took it as a serious issue in the 21st century.
In his final decades, Pingalwara became a known place and people used to come from far off places to see the work being done as something rare & unique. Receiving such people only interesting in seeing the place, Bhagat Puran Singh used to say,
“Dont come to Pingalwara just to see....this is not a Zoo.......If you want then come here to do Seva... only Seva (Service)".
For him there was no difference of any religion, caste, colour or region in life, explained in a simple few words expression saying, “Dukhan Di Zaat Nahin Hundi" (Sorrow has no caste or religion).

And that’s exactly what the film teaches you in its two enlightening hours that life isn’t just about any religion, any caste divisions, any clashes or silly ego fights. Life is about sharing whatever you can with the less privileged around as nobody is here to stay permanently. Life is about helping the needy and living harmoniously with the nature taking good care of it too. Life is about awareness with an acceptance that we are here just for a few years only to walk back home to the eternal source after our granted time is over.
The film makes you shed tears at several instances and teaches you these valuable lessons of life with an important mix of a meaningful theme, a fine direction, an outstanding lead performance and some great melodious music. Hence do watch this eye opener biography at the earliest and do yourself a favour.
Rating : It’s a project straight moving into my “Movies To See Before You Die” list for the man, world surely needs to know about, BHAGAT PURAN SINGH of Pingalwara and Pawan Malhotra.

Post Release Note for all :
Looking at the response, its sad to see that just a couple of months back The Sikh Community stormed the theatres to see an animation film CHAAR SAHEBZAADEY due to the RELIGION factor involved in it......!

But they couldn’t find time or willingness to watch this enlightening gem proving that its Religion that sells a lot more than life teaching films in reality.
To say the truth, you displayed a strange contradiction dear Punjabi friends as it is EH JANAM TUMHARE LEKHE that actually talks about the REAL RELIGION to be followed........ living the Guru's teachings practically..... but you sadly missed the bus.


Tags : Eh Janam Tumhare Lekhe Review by Bobby Sing, Eh Janam Tumhare Lekhe Movie Review by Bobby Sing, New Punjabi Releases in India, Worth Watching Regional Cinema, Life Teaching Cinema, Not To Be Missed Films list by Bobby Sing, Movies To See Before You Die List at bobbytalkscinema.com
04 February 2015 / bobbysing /
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Rang Rasiya

Hindi Cinema has never been keen on making enlightening biographies, especially of any talented creative artists born in our part of the world in the last century. In the beginning we made movies on all mythological characters and then the focus shifted on to the life of key historical figures, freedom fighters, rebels and occasionally a sportsman or a business tycoon too as seen in the recent times. But very rarely we have made a film (not documentaries) on any creative artist of our country who had an exceptionally god gifted talent in any particular artistic stream and celebrated his entire life with the blessed art right till the last days.
Thankfully, RANG RASIYA is one of those rare and important biographical dramas based on the life of 19th century painter RAJA RAVI VARMA, who was the pioneer artist, painting the divine Indian GODS and GODESSES on his canvas with an exceptional grace and beauty. Directed by Ketan Mehta the period drama stars Randeep Hooda and Nandana Sen in the lead but unfortunately remained in the cans for six long years since its completion in 2008.
Now where a few blame the internal disputes of the makers as the cause of this long delay in its release, others mention its extremely bold scenes as the key reason for getting stuck in the censors, in order to avoid any communal unrest among the people. Anyway, whatever the reason might be, the sad irony remains that despite being a rare, courageous film made on one of the most famous Indian painters (who earned a world acclaim too), the project could found no takers till recently, when Randeep Hooda became a part of some highly successful films at the box office making a name of his own. Hence where the censors & controversies can be termed as the front side of the coin, the completely business minded & cruel exhibition norms of the industry form its other hidden side, never giving the much needed support to such artistic films since last many decades of our film-history to say the bitter truth.
Moving ahead, the film has now reached the theatres and is available for all the lovers of such meaningful or enlightening cinema waiting desperately. But if in case it fails to find a decent number of viewers in the theatres post this prolonged wait, then it will declare we the audience too as a part of this questionable partial system ruining such great attempts made, on a constant basis.
Recalling my experience of watching RANG RASIYA, I luckily saw it in a Film festival last year and was simply enthralled by the life experiences of the celebrated painter RAJA RAVI VARMA and the hardships he had to face leading him to the court of law on the charges of spreading vulgarity. Based on the biographical novel by Ranjit Desai the film passionately talks about Varma’s obsessive art and the struggle to practice his free artistic expressions depicting the mythological characters creatively. And many would be stunned to know that though his exquisite paintings were getting famous all over the world in that particular era, the artist was arrested in his own country on the charge of obscenity and offending religious & cultural sentiments of the public by painting in an indecent manner.
Frankly, RANG RASIYA was an eye opener for me too as I was also not aware of such astonishing facts about one of the greatest Indian painters of my own country. And that is exactly why bio-pics need to be made like an effective means of spreading awareness in the present generation to be precise. Yes, technically it can easily be called an artistically inclined film made with a sincere motive accompanied by a decent cinematography, average soundtrack (which could be much better) and impressive performances by the entire cast led by Randeep Hooda and the gorgeous Nandana Sen.
However it’s not the technical qualities for which the film is being included here in the list of must watch movies, but it’s the informative value of its shocking as well as educative content which essentially needs to be told to our younger generation and not to be slipped under the carpet as some forgettable part of our history. So ignoring all the controversies and unnecessary delay over its release, I would like to recommend watching RANG RASIYA as a must, since its a film which would straight away remind you of a sharp contradictory truth of the recent times related with another legendary artist M. F. Hussain.
Putting it more clearly, what we did with M. F. Hussain is nothing new as the same had been done with Raja Ravi Varma too way back in the 19th century. So its only the calendar changing its dates, whereas our thinking patterns still remain the same insulting the creative minds of the nation, giving them awards posthumously and refusing their respected dues in their lifetimes following a shameful pattern.
With a hope that the future India would learn this important lesson of giving that ‘artistic freedom’ to its creators through this brave, thoughtful and honest depiction by Ketan Mehta, do watch this at the earliest and know more about your history with a different perspective.
Directed By Ketan Mehta
Written By Sanjeev Dutta & Ketan Mehta
Starring : Randeep Hooda, Nandana Sen & more.

(NOTE : Originally posted in March 2014 and reposted the edited version after the film's official release on 7th November.)

Tags : Rang Rasiya (2008), Rang Rasiya Movie Review by Bobby Sing, Rang Rasiya Film Review at bobbytalkscinema.com, Movies To See Before You Die Biographical, Must Watch Films List by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Ketan Mehtas unreleased film, Indian biopic on Raja Ravi Varma, Not To Be Missed Films on Indian Creative Artists, Worth Watching Biographical films made on Indian Artists.
07 November 2014 / bobbysing /
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As a true account of one of the most upsetting scams or conspiracies of last century’s political history, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN is a film strictly made to portray what, when and how it happened without having any additional sub-plot, commercial gimmicks or entertaining relief moments following the set norm. Strictly focusing on ‘HOW’ instead of ‘WHY’, it brilliantly draws a clear, revealing picture of the various stages through which that famous scam got reported and thus remains one of the few films daringly made with a specific and highly dedicated vision showcasing a upsetting truth of the past. 
In June 1972 (in USA), a suspicious breakthrough at the Democratic Party's National Committee was caught right in time and a group of men were arrested who later turned out to be CIA agents. At trial the case was strangely represented by reputed lawyers and it was found that the agents were actually working for the government with some unofficial instructions. Two reporters of Washington Post namely Woodward and Cark Bernstein started investigating the case following some big leads and came to the conclusion that this was not anything small since their findings were actually leading towards none other than the President of the United States of America, Richard Nixon and The White House. The editor of the paper instructed them to dig it deeper with more decisive proofs and the film is all about their journey towards the actual hidden truth behind that major scam.
Now even if you are already familiar, don’t care or not willing to know anything about the famous ‘Watergate Conspiracy of 1972”, still you got to see this interesting, well-paced and brilliantly directed film, especially if you love watching fast  investigative thrillers bringing in new twists and turns every 10 minutes. Besides it is not really any political film (as it might sound) because the director keeps his entire concentration solely on the two reporters eager to reach the depth of their case, despite knowing the fact that it shamelessly involves the White house.
Actually based on the memoirs (book) of the real life journalists Woodward and Bernstein, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN has an OSCAR winning script written by William Goldman and can easily be rated as an honest as well as an engaging adaptation of the book deserving appreciation. Starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the two energetic Washington Post reporters, it unfortunately couldn’t get them a reward but Jason Robards playing their Executive Editor did get the Best Supporting Actor along with the Best Sound and the Best Art Direction OSCAR won by the film in the year 1977. Plus it was also nominated in the categories of Best Editing, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Director and Best Picture too putting up a tough fight for sure. 
With an excellent direction by Alan J. Pakula converting an unconventional plot into a fine thriller, the film never goes into a dramatic mode (thanks to its realistic sounds) and remains highly authentic right till its thoughtful climax which leaves you thinking that probably there is no end to this sick concept of corruption and that is the reason why the film is widely included in many ‘Must Watch Movies Lists’ compiled all over.
Made way back in 1976, its quite possible that the present generation (well versed with instant internet connectivity and mobile phones), might find the film a kind of outdated project in comparison. But looking back in time, that was exactly the way investigations used to be conducted in absence of any digital records and various search engines, asking for much more time and dedication. So if you do wish to visit one of the darkest phase of American history resulting in a major change then essentially watch this important film as a must and then also try to catch Oliver Stone's NIXON (1995) & Ron Howard’s FROST NIXON (2008) too in order to get a complete picture of the issue in details.

Directed By Alan J. Pakula
Written By Carl Bernstein & Bob Woodward (Book), William Goldman (Screenplay)
Starring : Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden and more.
For friends who wish to read more on films made on the same subject please click the link given below : 
Frost Nixon (2008) (Movies To See Before You Die - Biographical / Historical)
Tags : All The President's Men (1976), Movies To See Before You Die Biographical Historical, Must Watch movies list by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Not To Be Missed Films List by Bobby Sing, Must Watch Classics List
03 April 2014 / bobbysing /
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