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An Article on “The Music of the Monsoon”

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An article by Prof R R Kelkar entitled “The Music of the Monsoon” has been published on 8 September 2017 in the IAPT-IISER journal Physics Education. Click on the link to read.

http://www.physedu.in/publication/webspecials/PE-WS17-09-085

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Filmy Weather (36): “Half Girlfriend”, with a Full Rain Song

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I saw Half Girlfriend not exactly first day first show, but almost. What I liked was that while the story was about the half things of life, the movie had a full rain song. That too at the very beginning. St Steven’s College (St Stephen’s College?) has just put up its admissions list on the notice boards. The moment Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) and Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor) see their names, it starts raining. Shower se zyada, cloudburst se kam. And Ash King and Shashaa Tirupati sing to the accompaniment of thunder:

Yeh mausam ki baarish, Yeh baarish ka paani, Yeh paani ki boondein, Tujhe hi toh dhoondhe…

Yeh milne ki khwahish, Yeh khwahish puraani, Ho poori tujhi se, Meri yeh kahaani…

Hawaaon se tera pata poochta hoon, Ab toh aaja tu kahin se, Parindon ki tarah yeh dil hai safar mein…

Tu mila de zindagi se, Bas itni ilteja, Tu aake ik dafa, Jo dil ne na kahaa, Jaan le…

Intermittent showers continue through the movie but towards the climax, it graduates from rain to snow. As New York celebrates Christmas eve, it begins to snow. Snowflakes se zyada, snowstorm se kam. Arjun Kapoor runs, slips and recovers in the snow, as the movie ends half-heartedly.

Filmy Weather (35): Swinging in the Rain with “Meri Pyaari Bindu”

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I saw Meri Pyaari Bindu on the day of its release in a half-full theatre. It was a rather slow film with a nostalgic storyline and so it had many things that I could relate to. Like the manual typewriter, or life in old Calcutta, or Bengali humour. Or like disentangling an audio cassette tape from a player. Or like rotating the terrestrial tv antenna on the rooftop for a better signal and the family near the tv set shouting “Bas abhi theek hain!”.

But what I liked particularly was the long finale of the film that was shot entirely in the rain. There is an outdoor birthday party with banners, cake and all, that becomes a washout. But the partying goes on in spite of the heavy downpour. People are drenched but they sing and dance. Bindu (Parineeti Chopra) and Bubla (Ayushmaan Khurana) find shelter in a room on the terrace to have the conversation of their life with the rain providing the background music. Having said all that had to be said, they too join the party in the rain to get soaked and have their makeup washed away. “Maana ke hum yaar nahin” sings Parineeta Chopra, as the film comes to an end.

I came home after watching the film and there was thunder, lightning and a little rain, for the first time in this really hot summer of Pune. Had there been no rain on earth, what would have human life been like, I wondered!

Filmy Weather (34): Rustom, the Courtroom Drama with the Rain Song

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rustom poster_

I went to watch “Rustom” for reasons of sheer nostalgia. I just had to see how the “Commander Nanavati case” had been portrayed on screen 57 years after it had actually happened. My late father Ratnakar Hari Kelkar, a retired postmaster, used to take keen interest in legal matters and court proceedings, and the Nanavati case of 1959 was his favourite. It was then the hottest topic of conversation in our home. I was a college student, but I had become familiar with the names of Sylvia Nanavati, the wife, and Prem Ahuja, the lover who was shot. Not only that, I even knew names like Karl Khandalavala, Nanavati’s lawyer, and Ram Jethmalani, the prosecution lawyer, and all their arguments. In those days, the Bombay courts used to have a jury like in Perry Mason’s novels, and the actual setting itself was in a sense “filmy”!

So I saw “Rustom” and was, frankly speaking, impressed by its authentic recreation of the Bombay of 1959 and its courts. There was a very realistic interior shot of Bombay GPO, especially the huge circle of service counters located right under its massive dome. My father would have loved to see it!

And midway in the movie, it was there – the unexpected sharp shower! Vikram Makhija (actor Arjan Bajwa) is entertaining Cynthia Pavri (actor Ileana D’Cruz) in the sprawling lawns of his home. Suddenly there is thunder and lightning. Vikram says, “Lagta hai bin mausam barsaat hone wali hai.” And bang on, it really begins to rain, the unseasonal “Avakali Paus”! Cynthia is drenched and trips while hurrying to safety. Of course, Vikram has to carry her to his bedroom and the rest follows.

So that was “Rustom”, a crime-courtroom-love triangle, complete with the rain sequence that Hindi movies must have! But honestly, I liked it!

Fiilmy Weather (33): Bernie, or Christian service under a cloud

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Bernie-Marathi-Movie

With “Sairat” released on 29 April 2016 still attracting huge audiences, I settled for another Marathi film “Bernie”. On 17 June 2016, first day first show, there were just ten people in the hall. Bernie had no weather for me to write about on this blog. The movie was a bold attempt to show the interiors of a Christian convent, an institution that has existed for several centuries in many countries of the world. The convent of Bernie is very much Indian, located in Goa, with mothers and sisters speaking fluent Marathi. The only connection the movie has with the weather, is that figuratively everything is under a cloud and the movie tries to lift it.

Bernie is a young vivacious girl, and the movie revolves around her in the first half. A little before the interval, however, we suddenly see her becoming a nun, just in deference to the dying wish of her father. After the interval, the camera follows Bernie into her convent and we see all the contradictions within it: forgiveness and punishment, abstinence and temptation, freedom and oppression, truth and lies, happiness and sorrow, life and death. Director Nileema Lonari has tried to tackle these contradictions quite boldly, perhaps for the first time in Marathi cinema. But while taking a secular view of spiritual matters, she misses the main point, that following Jesus is not easy because he demands the full life of his followers, nothing less, whether they are inside a convent or in the open world!      

Filmy Weather (32): Awesome Mausam, for the World Meteorological Day

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Awesome Mausam

It is a common practice to synchronize the release of new films based on love stories with Valentine’s Day. But for the first time, a Hindi film named “Awesome Mausam” is being released around the World Meteorological Day which is celebrated on 23 March! Seven tracks of the film’s music are already out. There are songs like Tere Naina Mere Nainon Se, sung by Shaan and Palak Muchhal, Kaisi Ye Pyaas Hai sung by KK and Priya, and Sathiyaan sung by Sonu Nigam which are quite sweet and already popular. The film is directed by Yogesh Bhardwaj, produced by Mukesh Choudhary, and the cast includes Mukesh Tiwari, Rahul Sharma and Ambalika Sarkar and veteran Suhasini Muley.

The theme of World Meteorology Day 2016 is “Hotter, Drier, Wetter, Face the Future”. I do not yet know the theme of Awesome Mausam but it could be something very similar!

Filmy Weather (31): Dilwale, Romance in the Rain

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dilwale3

There are many things that make Dilwale such a lovable film. Kajol’s eyebrows, Kriti’s chin, the colours of Gerua and the melody of Janam Janam, to mention a few. But the meteorologist in me spotted the rain and the umbrella.

Bollywood films have an unceasing obsession for rain and Dilwale is no exception. It has not one but two rain situations. In the first, Kali (Shah Rukh Khan) shuts the door on Meera (Kajol) but she does not leave. She continues to sit on the steps on the verandah waiting for him to come out. It grows dark and then it begins to rain. She refuses a friendly offer of refreshment but prefers to brave the rain. Until Kali relents and his hand holds out an umbrella over her.

Dilwale brings back memories of the classic scene from Shree 420 in which Raj Kapoor and Nargis sang a whole 3-minute song Pyaar hua ikraar hua standing under a small leaky umbrella. But there is a difference. In Dilwale the umbrella is large and strong, and it is soon dispensed with. The message perhaps is that it is love that matters and not the protection of the umbrella.    

The situation is repeated later in the film but with a role reversal. Meera’s car has broken down on a dark deserted road and she is clueless. Just then Kali’s car happens to pass by. He gets down and tries to fix the problem. But it starts raining heavily, and unpredictably as always. While doing the repair job, Kali gets soaked to the skin. Now it is Meera who holds out a large and strong umbrella for him. And again, it is dispensed with, and sent flying away with the wind. The situation quickly transforms into a fantasy song, Janam Janam, shot in black and white with streaks of blue and full of energy and rhythm, sung by Arijit Singh and Antara Mitra.       

When you are drenched in love, why would you need an umbrella?

 

 

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