Utpal Borpujari

December 30, 2009

Amaan-Ayaan still keen on films despite aborted debut project

By Utpal Borpujari

The bitter experience of a shelved film debut notwithstanding, Sarod’s young heirs Amaan And Ayaan Ali Khan are still keen on acting in movies, even if just for some “creative flirtation”.

Amaan and Ayaan, the sons of Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and former danseuse Subhalakshmi Barua Khan, were slated to make their big screen debut against twin modesl Tupur and Tapur Chatterjee in a romantic action drama by J P Dutta of Border and Refugee fame, but the project was aborted due to financial problems.

The brothers kept off their public performances for more than a year under instruction from Dutta, who wanted to reduce their public appearances till the film was released, but now they are back in action, performing in public again.

“It (the Dutta film) was a bad and a sad experience. This is the first failure venture of us, and we had a very bitter experience,” Amaan, the elder sibling, told Deccan Herald.

The latest public performance by the duo was in the capital a couple of days ago to mark the launch of “50 Maestros, 50 Recordings” authored by them and published by Harper Collins, chronicling work and life of 50 greatest classical musicians India has ever seen.

“In the run up to the making of the film, we trained hard, going to the gym for two hours every day, and waking up at four in the morning to learn horse riding. There was no time for music, and though we did not get disconnected from music completely, we were also not loyal to it,” says Amaan.

But as Ayaan puts it, both the brothers are keen to act in films despite what he terms as “the ugliest experience” for them. “We are open to film offers, because of the time and energy we have put in to prepare for the aborted project. We just won’t let it go waste,” he says.

Amaan, almost in perfect harmony of a jugalbandi, adds to it, “This was a bad experience we faced. But either you take it as a disadvantage, or turn it into an advantage. For musicians, pain is a very good thing, as music becomes more soulful. I would like to believe in that.”

“But we are not for doing films as an alternative career, but more as a creative flirtation,” he says, as both brothers point to classical music greats featured in their book who have acted in films without compromising on their music – M S Subbulakshmi, Ustad Zakir Hussain, T R Mahalingam, Balamurali Krishna et al.

(An abridged version was published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 30-12-2009)


December 27, 2009

A ‘Chalchitra Akademi’ in the offing?

By Utpal Borpujari

If the Expert Committee appointed by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry for “upgradation” of the National Film Awards has its way, the country might soon have a Chalchitra Akademi in the line of Sahitya, Sangeet Natak and Lalit Kala Akademis.

The suggestion to set up a Chalchitra Akademi, in keeping with earlier recommendations of the Satyajit Ray Committee and B V Karanth Committee reports, came from the Expert Committee at its introductory meeting chaired by Dada Saheb Phalke awardee director Shyam Benegal in the capital on Wednesday

The committee members, who unanimously selected Benegal as the chairman of the body, decided that they would submit their recommendations latest by March 15, so that qualitative changes could be effected in the NFA 2009 itself.

The members pointed out that the NFA carried a dignity and importance not rivalled by any other awards in the industry purely because the former gave due recognition to the pan-Indian cinema of the country.

They suggested that keeping in view the technological advancements, more categories in the awards, recognising newer professional fields, newer formats such as digital format and newer media should be recognised.

The members were also of the view that a two-tier jury, first regional and then national level jury, should be appointed to do justice to the linguistic and regional nuances.

Increase in the cash reward of the Awards and rationalizing the Censor procedures were also discussed.

Among those who attended the meeting today were Benegal, Ashok Vishwanathan, Jahnu Barua, Mohan Agashe, Nagesh Kukunoor, Rajiv Mehrotra, Shaji N Karun, Vishal Bhardwaj, Sai Paranjapye and Sharmila Tagore.

Welcoming the members, I&B Minister Ambika Soni said her Ministry wanted the NFA to be revamped from NFA 2009 onwards.

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 26-12-2009)


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