How long, we asked, were his locks? “I cannot believe you asked me that!” he said. “It’s down to the hips.”…He’s removed the turban in movies like The Life Aquatic and Inside Man, but never for a photo shoot. So which fashion magazines would he take it off for? “Purple [He appears in the current issue.]. And I’d do it for L’Uomo Vogue. I believe in art, and I believe in ideas and concepts,” he said. So, no Men’s Vogue? “No.” What about Harper’s Bazaar? Waris pointed to his turban. “They get this.” — “You Can’t Offend Waris Ahluwalia”
Ahluwalia is scheduled to appear on the big screen this fall in vampire flick Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Undead. The film’s myspace page shares interviews with cast members including Ralph Macchio and Waris, who reminisces about his college freshman year interest in the dark arts. The interest didn’t go very far because he wasn’t ready to give up God—”We’re tight.”
The 2008 Indian Film Fesival of Los Angeles (IFFLA), starting tomorrow April 22-27, includes a tribute (Update: “Due to a family emergency, the Tribute to Madhuri Dixit has been canceled.”) to Bollywood dancing queen and Padma Shri recipient Madhuri Dixit who will appear in person for discussion. Two films released in 1997 will display her diversity, The Death Sentence (Mrityudand), set in a remote village in Bihar where class conflicts affect the personal lives of three women, and the dance dramedy My Heart is Crazy (Dil To Pagal Hai) featuring Dixit as a new dancer who falls in love with her troupe’s director (a pre-Lux SRK).
As usual, IFFLA has an impressive program of films to pique my curiosity (plus one that I can heartily recommend—the charmingly hilarious Loins of Punjab). Here are a few:
“Silent Hues.” Veteran actress and former child star Rohini provides an emotional peek into the lives of child actors in the Indian film industry in this documentary.
“Beast.” Tagline: There’s more to the mousy Indian girl in the next cubicle than meets the eye. This short is by Geeta Malik—you may have seen another one of her shorts, Aunty Gs. Also interesting is her short doc on South Asians (in the US) and skin color, “Not Fair, Still Lovely.”
“Quamar — Working to Live.” In this documentary short, Quamar, a 10-year-old girl who works with her mother making bangles tells her story directly and with heartbreaking knowledge that her childhood (and future) may already be lost.
Previously: IFFLA 2007.
Plus: “Bollywood Comes to Hollywood for Sixth Annual IFFLA” (LA Weekly); “Madhuri Mania in Los Angeles” (IndiaInfo.com); “I was introduced to India early, watching Indian films in Greece as a teenager” (ScreenIndia.com’s interview with IFFLA Founder-Director Christina Marouda).
This weekend, Priya and I will attend the South Asian Women’s Leadership Forum Congress in midtown Manhattan. Mira Nair is delivering the keynote, and a gaggle of other accomplished South Asian women (such as Madhur Jaffrey, Roopal Patel of Bergdorf Goodman and various other luminaries) will be panelists. I love organizations that foster a sense of community between South Asian women, so I’m really looking forward to the event. Priya and I will report back next week.
Wanna come? Register online.
Mukhtar Mai is scheduled to appear in Sacramento on December 11 for an event presented by the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Credit Union League (see site for event details) and the Pakistani American Association of Greater Sacramento Valley. “An Evening with Mukhtar Mai: Building Schools of Hope Fundraising Event” includes a private dinner, public reception and opportunities to ask questions of Mukhtar Mai. Proceeds of this event go to the Mukhtar Mai School Fund to support the expansion, staffing and ongoing education of her schools.
Sentenced by tribesmen in Pakistan to be gang-raped because of an infraction supposedly committed by her brother, Mai rose to international acclaim in the years following by fighting back and testifying against her attackers and using her compensation to open schools in her village. She travels internationally to speak on behalf of women and continues to expand her schools.
Related: Mohammed Naqvi’s documentary on Mai, Shame, illustrates the international reception Mukhtar Mai has received as a cause célèbre. In this interview, Naqvi takes questions about the implications this international attention has had for her personal privacy and safety, as well as her mission of educating children in rural Pakistan.
A levitating Santa on a blissful yoga break is an Adbusters mascot for Buy Nothing Christmas.
Not a bad message to take to heart for the rest of the year, in addition to this season of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and free shipping deals.
“The Indian experience is becoming a diaspora experience as well as a national experience,” said Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie, in a conversation with the 2006 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Orhan Pamuk. The discussion, titled Homeland, was part of this year’s New Yorker Festival and is now available online. Moderated by New Yorker Fiction Editor Deborah Treisman, the conversation revolved around issues of identity, diaspora, and community. Forging a connection between a people and their language, Pamuk asserted, “I have a portable home with me all the time and that’s the Turkish language.” Rushdie and Pamuk also offer other insights into writing, perspective, and existing in America. Both authors are full of witty observations: Rushdie, in an anecdote about his family, said, “My mother was the Garcia Marquez of gossip.” You can watch other videos from the 2007 New Yorker Festival here.
More: Critical Mass, the blog of the national book critics circle board of directors, offers up its take on the talk.
At last month’s Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, film editor Geeta Gandbhir won one of the coveted winged statuettes for her work on Spike Lee’s HBO’ documentary “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.” She won the Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Picture Editing in Nonfiction Programming and shared it with supervising editor Sam Pollard and editor Nancy Novack.
The film, which received three Emmys, portrays New Orleans in the wake of Katrina’s destruction with powerful music, imagery and words. It includes interviews from 100 people selected from diverse backgrounds, including Louisiana’s Governor Blanco and rapper Kanye West and has been described as the “opposite of a Ken Burns documentary.” (NYT). Clips: 1, 2,3, 4.
Read on to learn how Gandbhir, who has worked in the industry for over 15 years, got her start in editing, her other projects, and why babies and Emmys don’t mix.
How did you get interested and started in editing?
I originally worked in animation for a Harvard professor, until I met Spike Lee. He gave me a job as an intern in the edit department on his film “Macolm X” and that was the start of my edit career. I studied art and animation in college and have always been interested in storytelling through film and theater, so editing seemed to be perfect for me – telling stories through a visual medium. Read the rest of this entry »
To commemorate the upcoming Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Gandhi’s birthday, non-profit Saheli organized a 5K Run/Walk to Stop Violence Against Women in Burlington, Massachusetts, for Saturday, September 29, with co-sponsor Burlington Police Department (The Boston Globe). Over 1500 Indian residents live in the town according to the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.
In Hindi Saheli means “a female friend; a shoulder to lean on,” explained Rita Shah, director of Saheli, which was founded in the Boston area 11 years ago and dedicates itself to helping South Asian women. The Run/Walk was planned to raise money for its Women’s Assistance Fund, which helps women on an emergency basis without requiring committee approval. The program assisted 23 women this year.
For more details on the organization, Saturday’s Run/Walk and to register visit Saheli online.
New York’s Fashion week wraps up this Wednesday and if you weren’t personally invited, blogs might be your best bet for coverage of what’s happening and who’s showing up under the tents in Bryant Park. According to Women’s Wear Daily new media still only accounts for 10% of the overall issued media credentials at New York’s Fashion Week. But there’s no doubting that it’s a whole lot easier for the average fashion-watching web surfer to click into the blogosphere than it is to get into a designer’s show.
WWD‘s list of blogging bigwigs (Sartorialist, GoFugYourself) and relative newcomers (Fashionista–“style like you mean it,” Fashionologie–“the musings of a twentysomething American girl who wishes she could have a Freaky Friday incident and switch bodies with Phoebe Philo”) includes writers with fashion industry experience and those offering a perspective for women of color, size or limited budget (The Fashion Bomb–“all urban fashion…all the time,” Too Fat for Fashion—“fashion beyond sample sizes,” The Budget Fashionista–“an Ivy League-educated epidemiologist who had a love of fashion and lack of cash”). See the full article for more blogs that got on the list this year.
Solo artist and founder of Carnatic jazz ensemble VidyA, Prasant Radhakrishnan invites you to a concert in Milpitas, California, on August 5, benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and marking the release of his third Carnatic saxophone album, “East Facing.” (Buy tickets here or here. To hear the album, visit his music page and launch player.) The album’s title references the “tradition that the student must face East when bowing to receive the guru’s blessings with the intention of growing and moving forward.” Radhakrishnan’s musical guru is Padmashri Kadri Gopalnath (“Saxophone Chakravarthy”), “the man who almost single-handedly made the Indian saxophone respectable.” (India Currents.)
“I wanted to do something that was relevant locally but still had a universal message beyond something as simple as ‘a CD has been released,’” says Radhakrishnan. “LLS is a nonprofit that is dealing with a very relevant issue today, especially with the Indian community (see helpvinay.org and helpvinayandsameer.org). I have done many benefit concerts for things like AID and Asha, but had not done something so close to the community and also related to health. Reading about these issues, I really wanted to do something to get involved, however small.” Read the rest of this entry »