Uncovering the story of Indian jazz

>> Our dear friend and college mate Susheel Kurien who had left Indian shores almost three decades ago to live the life of a successful Manhattan management consultant is back in town with an amazing documentary Finding Carlton-Uncovering the Story of Jazz in India, a labour of love that he has conceived written and directed and which is attracting rave reviews from some of the world’s best film schools like Tisch.

To be screened on October 20, at 4 pm at the Films Division Theater at Peddar Rd for the public, Kurien is also touring the country on invitation from academia jazz fans and music and film buffs.

Built around the story of the legendary Indian jazz guitarist Carlton Kitto, the film leads viewers down India’s colourful jazz history through nightclubs in Calcutta, the by lanes of Mumbai and the sets of Bollywood through India’s jazz age that lasted from the 1920s to the 1970s.Incidentally, Kurien, a Columbia school graduate who has approached the film as a serious study for more than three years and scrupulously eschews all hype and extraneous promotion is hoping to have free screenings for college and school students in Bombay.

Finding Carlton-Uncovering the Story of Jazz in India, a jazz documentary made by Susheel Kurien

“They could be arranged on the October 18, 19, 20 in a college or similar auditorium,” says the talented filmmaker, adding “It’s a film for genuine lovers of jazz, in fact at its core lies the issue of sticking to your ideals – or selling out. Musicians like Carlton Kitto didn’t — nd therein lay their greatness!” We like!

Builders and their big cool friends
>> Two flashy builders. Both with expensive tastes, wall-to-wall security and connections to the very high and very low. A simmering hostility. That exploded in a suburban nightclub last Saturday. Where sixty people got involved in a brawl.

Builder One calls in his big cool friend a heavy weight Maharashtra politico to intervene. Builder Two not to be outdone gets the brother of India’s most feared don to make a call.

The result? An uneasy truce. Clueless authorities. And the smell of clear and present danger. Just another day in Paradise in Mumbai.

Natural born voyeurs
>> So guess where we are going to be if we can help it over the next three months around prime time? Across a screen watching the craziness unfold in the Bigg Boss Season Six house with the rest of the country.

Salman Khan
Salman Khan

Yes, we have been fans of that maddeningly insidious, transparently manipulative and irresistibly watchable mother of all reality shows created by Endemol and broadcast on Colors across the land. Yes, our tastes run from the sublime to the extremely silly and the sight of so many grown men and women accelerating towards looniness and desperation is irresistible for natural born voyeurs like us.

Aseem Trivedi, Sapna Bhavnani, Sampat Pal
Aseem Trivedi, Sapna Bhavnani, Sampat Pal

So, what can we say about this year’s Bigg Boss, Season Six? Just that Salman only gets better at it with each passing year, that for all our street cred we do not think we can take too long of Navjot Sidhu’s Sidhuisms, that Aseem Trivedi is endearingly combustible, that we are rooting for the enigmatically tactile Sampat Pal, the leader of the Gulabi Gang and that Sapna Bhavnani’s dimples have more depth in them than the whole show put together. As we said we are Bigg Boss veterans and watch with a sense of dread and fascination the lengths people go to achieve fame and success. As for the bigger, better, flashier more outrageous interiors of the Bigg Boss home in season six? Watch this space!

Northeastern class
>> What’s it with actors from the Northeast? Decades ago the Sikkimese star Danny Denzongpa set himself apart from the pack with his stylish performances and his laid back lifestyle that included running businesses playing the flute and his innate sophistication.

Danny Denzongpa, Kelly Dorji
Danny Denzongpa , (right) Kelly Dorji

This decade the equally stylish Kelly Dorji from Bhutan appears to be continuing the tradition.

Dorji's painting
Dorji’s painting

Not only does Dorji have a life quite apart from Bollywood (which includes running Terton, his successful travel business, being an active biker and spiritual-seeker but now we learn that the sensitive actor said to be related to the Bhutanese royal family) is studying art (a long time passion) in Thailand. His paintings posted on a social networking site are already attracting positive response.

Emu like approach
>> It’s all happening in the suburbs. In fact, a trip to Bandra is a visit to the new world we say. And yesterday our view was validated when cruising across Bandstand we passed a sign on a store that said ‘Minced Emu low fat meat sold here!’ Emu meat? In India? Who would have thunk it! Meanwhile, a quick Internet search resulted in: ‘Health conscious consumers around the world, who love meat have discovered Emu meat! The 98% fat free red meat is rich in protein and iron, yet low in cholesterol.

A flock of Emus
A flock of Emus

The fat is 43% monounsaturated, which helps lower the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the human body. Tender, juicy and delicious, it is ideally suited to a wide variety of cooking styles and is very nutritious and offering the fewest calories.’So all you Emu consuming denizens of Bandra, it’s time to stand up, be counted and educate your South Mumbai country cousins on your latest culinary delight. Emu? E tu? 

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