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A Life, Career shaped by Unconventional Upbringing says Critically-acclaimed Konkona Sensharma

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Konkona Sen Sharma. Twitter

– by Radhika Bhirani

New Delhi, May 28, 2017: Mainstream has never been the mainstay in her filmography. Not even with her directorial debut, the 1979-set drama thriller “A Death in the Gunj”. The critically-acclaimed Konkona Sensharma says her choices are a result of her unconventional upbringing — sans TV shows like “The Bold and the Beautiful” or even “Mahabharata” and “Ramayan”.

Konkona is the daughter of celebrated Bengali actor-writer-director Aparna Sen, whose much-appreciated works as a director include “36 Chowringhee Lane”, “Sati”, “Mr and Mrs Iyer”, “15 Park Avenue” and “Iti Mrinalini”, and writer Mukul Sharma.

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Talking about her mother’s influence in her life, Konkona told IANS: “My mother has lived life on her own terms, did what she believed in, all her values and liberalism… All of that have had a strong impact on my life. She paved the way and was one of the pioneers (among women) to make a film in the early 1980s. She has always been ahead of the times.”

Having a mother with a broad world view, understanding of global cinema, showbiz and literature, meant a more controlled environment for entertainment at home.

“She was particular about what I watched and what I read. I was a voracious reader, and you know when you’re young, you’d be reading a lot of Enid Blyton, and she would say, ‘You can’t be reading only this’. And I listened to her, I trusted her.

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“She was not one of those parents who had a lot of rules for everything. She let me be my own person, but she had some opinions… She didn’t let me watch ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ or ‘Mahabharat’ and ‘Ramayan’. She said she didn’t want my first impressions of these epics to be through television. It was quite tacky back in the day… Of course, it may have had an emotional appeal. But she didn’t want me to watch it at that point,” Konkona recounted.

She didn’t grow up watching a lot of Hindi films either — but “Mr India” and “Masoom” are some titles she remembers watching during her growing-up days. Other than that, she was exposed to world cinema as she travelled extensively with her mother to film festivals in Egypt and Moscow.

“I guess it was an unconventional upbringing,” she said, adding how “The Sound of Music”, “Mary Poppins”, films of Ingmar Bergman and Satyajit Ray were among those that left an indelible impact on her as she grew up to become a formidable name herself in the Indian film industry.

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“Mr and Mrs Iyer”, “15 Park Avenue”, “Page 3”, “The Namesake”, “Wake Up Sid” and “Goynar Baksho” are among some of her noted works.

Her directorial project, “A Death in the Gunj” — releasing on June 2 — draws from a short story by her father, and real life. It’s a fictionalised retelling of an incident that took place at a house in McCluskieganj, a hilly town in Jharkhand.

For the film, Konkona revisted McCluskieganj. She says the fact that its old-world charm is still intact made the shooting experience even more exciting.

“Recreating McCluskieganj was so much fun. Firstly, I didn’t know if there was any archival information of that time as it was a remote area and not so well developed. As a result, I was relying on memories and talking to people.

“It’s a very atmospheric, a largely forgotten place… very tucked away. When we reached there for the recce, we realised some things about the place are the same as 30 years ago… And it worked in our favour,” she said, sounding excited as a child.

According to her, the movie is about “family dynamics” — and to tell the tale, she roped in a cast as talented as Tanuja, Vikrant Massey, Ranvir Shorey, Kalki Koechlin, Tillotama Shome, Gulshan Devaiah and Jim Sarbh, apart from the late Om Puri.

“It was a bit overwhelming… Together, they were like a force of nature,” she said of the talented ensemble, adding how working with the “irreverent” Om Puri “was a privilege”. (IANS)

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Few Tips For Parenting Boys, Which Will Make Them Kind And Gentle

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Parenting boys.
Parenting boys. Pixabay.

The upbringing of a child plays a major role in how that child turns out to be in real life. In a country like India, where the crime rate concerning female sexual molestation and rape is high, upbringing by parents is often questioned. Parenting boys become a significant factor to prevent such crimes. From their very childhood, they should be taught to respect women and the quality of being gentle and sensitive. Crime rates are one thing, but many times, unknowingly, we pass comments which are sexist and derogatory. For example, a parent may often scold his/her son by saying, “don’t cry like a girl”. These statements showcase women as inferior to men. This makes the elders responsible for first discerning the concept of parenting boys well.

Below are a Few Tips for Parenting Boy

Be The Ideal Role Model

Most boys look up to their fathers as a superhero. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of the fathers to act like one. They should be the ideal father figures who instil values and responsibilities in their sons. The fathers must model the behavior to teach their sons the men they hope them to become. Mothers should also act as the same role model to their sons by inculcating good values in them.

Teach Them As To How To Deal With Emotions

When your son is upset or feeling low and wants to vent his feelings, then don’t stop him. Don’t just say: Be strong or Be a man! Talk to them. Make them realize how important is it to act mature at tough times. Don’t hush them by stopping their tears. Instead, understand the reason behind those tears so that they become stronger persons for the tougher times to come in life.

3. Teaching Empathy

One of the biggest things which parents should keep in mind, especially when parenting boys, is to teach them to be more empathetic. Kids of today’s times are more aggressive than how kids used to be 20 or 30 years ago. And one of the biggest reasons of this is technology. Boys are much more attracted towards violent video games, which make them more aggressive and numb towards human emotions.

Also Read: Relationship Advice : If a Guy Makes You Choose, Choose Yourself over Him 

Don’t Hold Back Your Care And Affection

Just because your son has grown up and needs to be strong should not be mean that he doesn’t deserve the same amount of care and affection as he used to when he was a child. Parents after their kids reach adolescence get distant from them. At this age, parents try to tutor their kids, especially their sons. Being under constant instruction without the same amount of care and affection being rendered, they’ll disconnect and never share what needs to be shared.

5. Give Freedom To Sons For Making Important Decisions

If you want your son to not go off the track, then trust him and let him take important decisions of his life. Your decision to give him the freedom to make decisions of life will make him think that he has grown mature, and he would start understanding his responsibilities well. He will also be able to distinguish between right and wrong. This is one of the most important things to keep in mind while parenting boys.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.

 

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393