Category Archives: launch of play

BOOK CORNER: THE MOUSE TRAP by Agatha Christie

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Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

MOUSETRAP 

By Agatha Christie

    The play began as a short radio broadcast on 30th May 1947 called the ‘The Three Blind Mice’ in honour of Queen Mary, the consort of King George V.

    Further it was premiered in London on 25th November, 1952. Over the last sixty six years four hundred and fifty actors including some famous ones such as Sir Richard Attenborough, Stephanie Cole and Ray Cooney and some two hundred and sixty understudies have appeared in more than twenty seven thousand performances of this London production of whodunit. The play has also received three entries in the Guinness Book of World Records and has been presented in over 50 countries.

MAIN CHARACTERS:

  • Maureen Lyon—Person murdered
  • Mollie and Giles Ralston—The owners of the guest house
  • Christopher Wren, Mrs Boyle, Major Metcalf, Miss Casewell are the four guests. In fact they are the first lot of guests coming to stay in the guest house (name—Monkswell Manor) after its inauguration.
  • Paravicini—the unexpected guest
  • Hogbeen—Superintendent of the Berkshire Police station
  • Trotter–Sergeant

SYNOPSIS

    Mollie and Giles Ralston are inaugurating their guesthouse—Monkswell Manor. Where their first guests have arrived. They are new in the business, and so, struggle with the intricacies. To make things worse there is an unusually heavy snowstorm. They hear on the radio that one Mrs. Maureen Lyon has been murdered in London. The suspect is wearing a dark overcoat, light scarf, and soft felt hat. Giles is wearing a similar outerwear, as are many of the guests.

    After all the guests have settled in, Mollie receives a phone call from the police station. She is informed that one Sergeant Trotter will be coming to the Manor and everyone must fully cooperate with him with regard to the murder investigation. The Sergeant arrives on skis. He informs everyone that a notebook was found at the London crime scene, listing the address at which the murder occurred and also that of Monkswell Manor, implying that the guesthouse could be the site of a second murder.

    Soon after his arrival, the phone lines go dead. Now all are stranded at the guesthouse in the snowstorm. Sergeant Trotter informs the group that the rhyme “Three Blind Mice” was written below the addresses, and a picture of three little mice and a bar of music were found on the dead woman’s body.

    Further, the murdered woman was the wife of a farmer named Stanning. They resided in Longridge Farm, which is not far from the Monkswell Manor. The Stannings, allegedly neglected and abused the children who were in their care. Because of which one child even died; luckily his two siblings survived. The Stannings were sentenced to prison.

    Mr. Stanning died in prison. But Mrs. Stanning served her time, and was released later. She subsequently changed her name to Maureen Lyon—the person who was murdered and was found dead in London. Sergeant Trotter theorizes that the killer is one of the children, most probably the boy since he later served in the army and was diagnosed as a schizophrenic.

    The Sergeant informs the group that any of them could be the next victim. He interrogates them to see if they have any connection with the Stannings or the abused children. But all deny any connections. Mollie later points out, that Mrs. Doyle was the magistrate responsible for sending the three children to Longridge Farm. Later that night while the residents are settled throughout the manor, Mrs. Doyle is found strangled.

    For the remaining period of the play, the residents of the Manor, including Mollie and Giles, suspect each other. Accusatory clues draw attention to characters acting suspiciously. Sergeant Trotter asks the residents to reconstruct Mrs. Boyle’s murder, acting out the actions of each guest while switching roles so as to test the accuracy of their memories. The Sergeant plays Mrs. Boyle.

    When everyone is in position. He calls for Mollie to come into the parlor. It is then Trotter reveals that he is Georgie. The surviving boy who was abused by the Stannings. Further, he claims that Mollie was his teacher and that he had sent her a note asking for help which she ignored. Mollie confesses that she was his teacher, but was sick when the note was sent and did not receive it until after the children had left the Stanning’s care. She has lived with the guilt ever since.

    Georgie attempts to strangle Mollie, but is thwarted by Miss Casewell and Major Metcalf. Miss Casewell confesses that she is Katherine, Georgie’s grown sister. She calmly coaxes Georgie upstairs and gives him a sedative to calm him until the police arrive.

    Major Metcalf reveals that he is an undercover policeman who has played the role of a guest. He had suspected Trotter all along, but needed proof. The play ends with Mollie and Giles exchanging anniversary presents as the work of their guesthouse continues.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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BOOK CORNER: THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO by Ernest Hemingway

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

 

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Ernest Hemingway

(1899-1961)

    ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’ is regarded as one of Hemingway’s greatest works, alongside, ‘The Sun Also Rises’ and ‘A Farewell to Arms.’ The short story was published in August 1936 in Esquire magazine. Ernest Hemingway is an American Novelist. In the ‘Snows of Kilimanjaro’ the theme is of regret, conflict, redemption, acceptance, introspection and finally death.

    This story opens with a few lines about Mount Kilimanjaro. That happens to be the highest mountain of Africa … around 4900 meters. It is also referred as the ‘House of God.’ There also lies a frozen carcass of a leopard near the summit. But no one knows why it is there at such an altitude.   

    There we come across Helen and Harry. Harry is a writer dying of gangrene. Helen is accompanying him in this safari in Africa. They both are stranded in the camp, because a bearing of their truck’s engine has seized. Harry’s condition makes him extremely irritable. He starts mumbling about his impending death in an unemotional manner but in a sarcastic tone that upsets Helen. He quarrels with her over trivial things like. Whether he should have a whiskey with soda, to whether she should read to him. Helen of course is concerned about his welfare. But the growing frustration of Harry makes him talk to her in an irksome manner.

    Harry starts to ruminate about his vast and varied, life’s experiences. He in fact feels he was unable to climax his potential as a writer because he chose to make a living by marrying a wealthy woman. In the story there are certain italicized portions in the form of text that are scattered all throughout the story. Where, Hemmingway narrates certain experiences of Harry in a stream-of-conscious style. Harry’s initial memories consist of travelling around Europe following a battle, hiding a deserter in a cottage, hunting and skiing in the mountains, playing cards during a blizzard, and even hearing about a bombing-run on a train packed with Austrian officers.

    In spite of deep agony, Harry falls asleep and wakes up in the evening when he finds Helen returning from a shooting expedition. He ponders, on how she is considerate and good to him. And that she should not be blamed for the degradation of his talent as a writer. Helen, he recollects is a rich widow who lost her husband and a child. Thereafter, she was bored by a series of lovers. So, she finally acquired Harry because she wanted someone whom she could respect along with her own self. She loves Harry quite dearly as a writer, as a man, as a companion and as a proud possession. On the contrary Harry makes it clear that he does not love her. He then recalls how he contracted gangrene two weeks ago. They had been trying to take a picture of a waterbuck when Harry scratched his right knee on a thorn. He did not apply iodine right away so the wound got infected. And because all other antiseptics ran out. He used a weak carbolic solution that paralysed the minute blood vessels, because of which the leg developed gangrene.

    Helen returns to drink cocktails with Harry. They make up their quarrel. Thereafter Harry’s second memory sequence begins. He recollects how he once patronized prostitutes in Constantinople … to kill his loneliness. Pining for the very first woman he fell in love with. With whom he quarrelled in Paris and broke up. Harry also had a fight with a British soldier over an Armenian prostitute and he left Constantinople for Anatolia. Where, after escaping from a group of Turkish soldiers he had seen things that he could never have dreamt of and later he saw much worse. Then Harry recalls upon his return to Paris. Where, his then-wife enquires about a letter that was actually from Harry’s first love. A reply to the letter he had written to the woman sometime back that was mailed to New York, asking to write to his office in Paris while he was in Constantinople.

    Helen and Harry eat dinner and then Harry has another reminiscence. This time how his grandfather’s log house burned down one day. He then relates how he fished in the Black Forest. And how he lived in a menial quarter in Paris and felt a kind of kinship with his poor neighbours. Thereafter, he goes on to remember a ranch boy whom he turned into sheriff after the boy protected Harry’s horse feed by shooting and killing a thief.

    Harry ponders: ‘That was one story he could have written. He knew some twenty good stories from there. But he had never written one. But then, ‘why?’ He questioned himself. Then he once again felt he’d prefer to be in a different company rather than with Helen … as rich were dull. Next his thought drifted to beating the fear of death and the limits of being able to bear the pain. He recollects an officer named Williamson who was hit by a bomb and to whom Harry subsequently fed his morphine tablets. Harry considers he needn’t worry about his pain in his current condition.

    As Harry lies in his cot thinking about the happenings. He feels an overwhelming presence of death. And he associates it with the hyena that has been spotted running around the periphery of the campsite. He is unable to speak. Helen, thinking that Harry has fallen asleep has him placed inside the tent for the night. Harry dreams that it is morning and that a man called Compton has come with a plane to rescue him. He is put in the plane that has space only for him and the pilot. He watched the landscape go by, beneath him. Suddenly, he sees the snow covered top of Mount Kilimanjaro. He gets a feeling that is where he is bound for. Helen wakes up in the middle of the night to a strange cry of a hyena and finds Harry unresponsive on his cot. He had actually died.

    COMMENTS

    What is interesting about the story is its tone. Initially it starts with a regretful timbre, but in the final passage when he is flying over Kilimanjaro, Harry appears somewhat hopeful and calm.

    Hemmingway uses animals in the story as foreshadowing devices to highlight to the reader about Harry’s impending death. You can find this in the frozen carcass of the leopard, the vultures flying over the campsite sensing death and finally the sighting of the hyena.

    It is while Harry is waiting to die. Hemmingway, through flashbacks, gives readers some insight into Harry’s life. The flashback also highlights how Harry wasted his life by not writing about incidents that occurred in his own life.

    Each flashback has a theme such as … loss, loneliness and escapism, destruction and happiness, misguided loyalty and finally—there is as assumption that he is flying to heaven when the plane comes to pick him up.

   I would give the story nine out of ten.

      ***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: MERCHANT OF VENICE by William Shakespeare

Burmese days–by George Orwell

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Khidki (Window)

The Burmese Days … By George Orwell

–Read India read–

–Books are like docile stack of papers. But when you start turning the pages. They become a gripping world of their own–

    I have always believed that books and movies are the best mirrors of their times for they often spill the beans. If you want to visit Burma of the 1930s read this book. It gives you a good flavour of how the Britishers behaved during those times. It also sensitises you about how a handful of Indians sustained themselves between the heft of the British Imperialism and the spread of the local Burmese population. And of course how, the Burmese society managed under the stubborn aristocracy of the misbehaved system.

    In this scathing and zipping novel written way back in 1934. Indians and Burmese are referred as niggers and beggars in some pages: and thus denied membership in a local European club in Upper Burma. (George Orwell thus spills the beans).

    The book mentions that in British regime when an illiterate domestic servant used to misbehave. He was sent to a prison with a chit—15 lashes.

    Background: From 1922 to 1927 Orwell spent five years as a police officer in the Indian Imperial Police force in Burma (now Myanmar). Burma had become part of the British Empire during the 19th century as an adjunct of British India. The British colonised Burma in stages.  Only in 1885 when they captured the royal capital of Mandalay Burma was declared as part of the British Empire. Many people don’t know that Burma was the wealthiest country in Southeast Asia under the British rule. Therefore many workers from India and China supplemented the Burmese population. As a colony it was very much seen as a backwater.

MAIN CHARACTERS:

        James Flory: is referred as ‘Flory’ in the novel. He is the central character. A timber merchant in his mid-thirties. Blessed or disgraced with a dark blue birthmark that stretches from his eye to the side of his mouth on his left cheek. He therefore avoids flaunting the left side of his face to people. He is friendly to an Indian doctor by the name of Veraswami. He likes and even appreciates the Burmese culture. This brings him into a conflict with the members of the local club. Who, do not appreciate his radical views.

        Elizabeth Lackersteen: An unmarried English girl who has lost both her parents and comes to stay with her remaining relatives, the Lackersteens, in Burma. Before her flighty mother died, they had lived together in Paris. Her mother fancied herself an artist, and Elizabeth grew to hate the Bohemian lifestyle and cultural connections. Elizabeth is 22, ‘tallish for a girl, slender.” Throughout the novel, she seeks to marry a man because her aunt keeps pressuring her and she idolises wealth and social class, neither of which she could achieve without a husband during this time period.

    Mr Lackersteen: Elizabeth’s uncle and Mrs Lackersteen’s husband. Lackersteen is the manager of a timber firm. He is a heavy drinker whose main object in life is to have a “good time”. However his activities are curtailed by his wife who is ever watching “like a cat over a bloody mousehole” because ever since she returned after leaving him alone one day to find him surrounded by three naked Burmese girls, she does not trust him alone. Lackersteen’s lechery extends to making sexual advances towards his niece, Elizabeth.

    Mrs Lackersteen: Elizabeth’s aunt and Mr Lackersteen’s wife. Mrs Lackersteen is “a woman of about thirty-five, handsome in a contourless, elongated way, like a fashion plate”. She is a classic memsahib, the title used for wives of officials in the Raj. Both she and her niece have not taken to the alien country or its culture. (In Burmese Days Orwell defines the memsahib as “yellow and thin, scandal mongering over cocktails—living twenty years in the country without learning a word of the language.”). And because of this, she strongly believes that Elizabeth should get married to an upper class man who can provide her with a home and accompanying riches. She pesters Elizabeth into finding a husband: first she wants her to wed Verrall, then after he leaves, Flory.

    Dr Veraswami: An Indian doctor and a friend of Flory’s. He has nothing but respect for the British colonists and often refers to his own kind as being lesser humans than the English, even though many of the British, including Ellis, don’t respect him. Veraswami and Flory often discuss various topics, with Veraswami presenting the British point of view and Flory taking the side of the Burmese. Dr Veraswami is targeted by U Po Kyin in pursuit of membership of the European club. Dr Veraswami wants to become a member of the club so that it will give him prestige which will protect him from U Po Kyin’s attempts to exile him from the district. Because he respects Flory, he does not pester him to get him admitted into the club. Eventually U Po Kyin’s plan to exile Dr Veraswami comes through. He is sent away to work in another run-down hospital elsewhere.

    U Po Kyin: A corrupt and cunning magistrate who is hideously overweight, but perfectly groomed and wealthy. He is 56 and the “U” in his name is his title, which is an honorific in Burmese society. He feels he can commit whatever wicked acts he wants—cheat people of their money, jail the innocent, abuse young girls—because although, “According to Buddhist belief those who have done evil in their lives will spend the next incarnation in the shape of a rat, frog, or some other low animal”, he intends to provide against these sins by devoting the rest of his life to good works such as financing the building of pagodas, “and balance the scales of karmic justice”.[13] He continues his plans to attack Dr Veraswami, instigating a rebellion as part of the exercise, to make Dr Veraswami look bad and eliminate him as a potential candidate of the club, so he can secure the membership for himself. He believes his status as a member of the club will cease the intrigues that are directed against him. He loses pre-eminence when Flory and Vereswami suppress the riot. After Flory dies, Kyin becomes a member of the European Club. Shortly after his admission into the club he dies, unredeemed, before the building of the pagodas. “U Po has advanced himself by thievery, bribery, blackmail and betrayal, and his corrupt career is a serious criticism of both the English rule that permits his success and his English superiors who so disastrously misjudge his character”.

    Ma Hla May: Flory’s Burmese mistress who has been with him for two years before he meets Elizabeth. Ma Hla May believes herself to be Flory’s unofficial wife and takes advantage of the privileges that come along with being associated with a white man in Burma. Flory has been paying her expenses throughout their time together. However, after he becomes enchanted with Elizabeth, he informs her that he no longer wants anything to do with her. Ma Hla May is distraught and repeatedly blackmails him. Once thrown out of Flory’s house, the other villagers dissociate themselves from her and she cannot find herself a husband to support her. Encouraged by U Po Kyin, who has an alternate agenda to ruin Flory’s reputation within the club, she approaches Flory in front of the Europeans and creates a dramatic scene so everyone knows of his intimacy with her. This outburst taints Elizabeth’s perception of Flory for good. Eventually she goes to work in a brothel elsewhere.

    Ko S’la: Flory’s devoted servant since the day he arrived in Burma. They are close to the same age and Ko S’la has since taken care of Flory. Though he serves Flory well, he does not approve of many of his activities, especially his relationship with Ma Hla May and his drinking habits. He believes that Flory should get married. Flory has remained in the same reckless state that he was when he arrived in Burma. In Ko S’la’s eyes, Flory is still a boy. Ko S’la, on the other hand, has moved on with his life as he has taken wives and fathered five children. He pities Flory due to his childish behaviour and his birthmark.

    Lieutenant Verrall: A military policeman who has a temporary posting in the town. He is everything that Flory is not—young, handsome, privileged. He is the youngest son of a peer and looks down on everyone, making no concessions to civility and good manners. His only concern while in town is playing polo. He takes no notice of a person’s race, everyone is beneath him. Verrall is smug and self-centered. Encouraged by her aunt, Elizabeth pursues Verrall as a suitor, but he uses her only for temporary entertainment. In the end, he vanishes from town without a word to Elizabeth.

    Mr Macgregor: Deputy Commissioner and secretary of the club. He is upright and well-meaning, although also pompous and self-important. U Po Kyin contacts Mr Macgregor through anonymous letters as he continues his attacks on Dr Veraswami to gain a position in the club. As one of the only single men left in the town, he marries Elizabeth.

    Ellis: A violently racist Englishman who manages a timber company in upper Burma. He is a vulgar and spiteful member of the club who likes stirring up scandals. He believes in the British rule of Burma and that the Burmese people are completely incapable of ruling the country themselves. His hatred of the Burmese culture causes some clashes with Flory due to Flory’s friendliness with the Burmese, especially Dr Veraswami. Ellis is in support of U Po Kyin’s plan to ruin the reputation of Dr Veraswami and needs no evidence whatsoever of Dr Veraswami’s guilt.

    Francis and Samuel: Francis is a Eurasian clerk to an Indian money lender, whilst Samuel is a clerk to some of the pleaders. Both are sons of Christian missionaries, the book explores attitudes towards their mixed heritage.

PLOT

    The novel is set in the imperial Burma of 1920s. In the fictional district of Kyauktada. The original of Kyauktada is Kathar (formerly spelled as Katha), a township where Orwell served. Kyauktada is the head of a branch railway line above Mandalay on the Ayeyarwady (Irrawady) River. The story opens with U Po Kyin, a corrupt Burmese magistrate. Who is planning to destroy the reputation of the Indian doctor Veraswami. The doctor looks for protection in this disaster from his friendship with Flory who happens to be a pukka sahib (European white man) who has a higher prestige. Dr Veraswami wants to become a member of the prestigious British club because he thinks his standing with Europeans is good. U po Kyin intrigues against him and refuses to cow down. He starts a malicious campaign against the doctor and persudes the Europeans that the doctor holds disloyal, anti-British opinions. He also releases false anonymous letter with false stories about the doctor and thinks it will work wonders. He even sends a threatening letter to Flory.

   Flory is a worn out 35 year old teak merchant. He is responsible for appropriation of jungle timber for three weeks in a month. He is unmarried and even friendless among his fellow Europeans. He has a ragged crescent of a birthmark on his face. Flory is disillusioned with his lifestyle. Living in a tiresome expatriate community centred round the European Club in a remote part of the country.

    On the other hand he has become so embedded in Burma that it is impossible for him to leave and return to England. Veraswami and Flory are great friends. Flory often visits the doctor for what the latter delightedly calls ‘cultured conversation.’ In these conversations Flory details his disillusionment with the empire. But the doctor flares up whenever Flory criticises the Raj and defends the British as great administrators who have built an efficient and unrivalled empire. Flory dismisses these administrators as mere money makers, living a lie. ‘The perennial lie that, we’re here to uplift our poor black brothers instead to rob them.’ Though he finds a temporary rejoice with his Burmese mistress. Flory is emotionally bedevilled. On the one hand Flory loves Burma and craves a life partner who will share his passion, which the other Europeans find incomprehensible. On the other hand, for essentially racist taste, Flory feels that only a European woman is acceptable as a partner.

    Flory’s dilemma seems to be answered when Elizabeth Lackersteen. The orphaned niece of Mr Lachersteen, the local timber firm manager arrives. Flory saves her when she thinks she is about to be attacked by a small water buffalo. He is immediately befriended by her and they spend time getting close, culminating in a highly successful shooting expedition. Where, after several misses Elizabeth shoots a pigeon, and then a flying bird. Flory shoots a leopard and promises the skin to Elizabeth as a trophy. Lost in, romance and fantasies. Flory visualises Elizabeth to be sensitive and non-racist. He so much desires a European woman who will understand him and give him the companionship that he needed. As a result he turns away Ma Hla May, his pretty, scheming Burmese concubine out of his house. Under the surface, however, Elizabeth is appalled by Flory’s relative egalitarian attitude towards the native, seeing them as ‘beastly’ while Flory extols the virtues of their rich culture. She finds the Burmese repulsive. Worse still are Flory’s interests in high art and literature, which remind Elizabeth of her boondoggling mother who died in disgrace in Paris of ptomaine poisoning as a result of living in squalid conditions while masquerading as a Bohemian artist. Despite these reservations, of which Flory is entirely unaware. She is willing to marry him to escape poverty, spinsterhood, and the unwelcome advances of her perpetually inebriated uncle.

    Flory is about to ask her to marry him, but they are interrupted first by her aunt and second by an earthquake.  Mrs Lackersteen’s interruption is deliberate because she has discovered that a military police lieutenant named Verrall is arriving in Kyauktada. As he comes from an extremely good family, she sees him as a better prospect as a husband for Elizabeth. Mrs Lackersteen tells Elizabeth that Flory is keeping a Burmese mistress as a deliberate ploy to send her to Verrall. Indeed, Flory had been keeping a mistress, but had dismissed her almost the moment Elizabeth had arrived. Elizabeth is appalled and falls at the first opportunity for Verrall, who is arrogant and even ill-mannered to all but her. Flory is devastated and after a period of exile attempts to make amends by delivering to her the leopard skin. A bungled curing process has left the skin mangy and stinky and the gesture merely compounds his status as a poor suitor. When Flory delivers it to Elizabeth she accepts it regardless of the fact that it stinks and he talks of their relationship, telling her he still loves her. She responds by telling him that unfortunately the feelings aren’t mutual anymore and leaves the house to go horse riding with Verrall. When, Flory and Elizabeth part ways. Mrs Lackersteen  orders the servants to burn the reeking leopard skin, representing the deterioration of Flory and Elizabeth’s relationship.

    U Po Kyin’s campaign against Dr Veraswami is simply to malign him so that he can push his candidature instead for the membership of the European Club in Kyauktada. The club has been put under pressure to elect a native member and Dr Veraswami is the most likely candidate. U Po Kyin manoeuvres to let go a prisoner and plans a rebellion for which he conspires that Dr Veraswami should get the blame. The rebellion begins but is quickly put down. But in the process a native rebel is killed by the acting Divisional Forest Officer, Maxwell. Uncharacteristically courageous, Flory speaks up for Dr Veraswami and proposes him as a member of the club. At this moment the body of Maxwell, cut almost to pieces with swords by two relatives of the man he had shot, is brought back to the town. This creates tension between the Burmese and the Europeans which is exacerbated by a vicious attack on native children by the spiteful arch-racist timber merchant, Ellis. A large but ineffectual anti-British riot begins and Flory becomes the hero for bringing it under control with some support by Dr Veraswami. U Po Kyin tries to claim credit but is disbelieved and Dr, Veraswami’s prestige is restored.

     Verrall leaves Kyauktada without even saying goodbye to Elizabeth. Heartbroken she falls for Flory again. Flory is happy and plans to marry Elizabeth. However, U Po Kyin has not given up. He hires Flory’s former Burmese mistress to create a scene in front of Elizabeth during the sermon at the Church. Flory is disgraced and Elizabeth refuses to have anything more to do with him. Overcome by the loss and seeing no future for himself. Flory first kills his dog, and then himself.

    Dr Veraswami is demoted and sent to a different district and U Po Kyin is elected to the club. Devious plans of U Po Kyin have succeeded. He now plans to redeem his life and cleanse his sins by financing the construction of pagodas. He dies of apoplexy before he can start building the first pagoda. His wife envisages him returning to life as a frog or a rat. Elizabeth eventually marries Macgregor, the deputy commissioner, and lives happily in contempt of the natives, who in turn live in fear of her, fulfilling her destiny of becoming a ‘burra memsahib’ (respectful term given to white European women).

*****

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

Story of an Indian salesman who is lowly qualified but fights his ways through uncertainities to reach the top. A good read for all salesmen. Now available in Amazon.com

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

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MUSICAL PLAY: MUGHAL-E-AZAM (Don’t just miss it)

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

Musical Play: Mughal-E-Azam

A MUST SEE

Directed by

FEROZ ABBAS KHAN

A NCPA AND SHAPOORJI PALLONJI PRESENTATION

(A creation around the famous movie Mughal-e-Azam)

    Mughal-e-Azam (starring Prithviraj Kapoor, Madhubala, Dilip Kumar, Durga Khote, Nigar Sultana, Ajit & Murad) is an epic historical film, directed by K.Asif and produced under the banner of Sterling Investment Corp Pvt Ltd (Shapoorji Pallonji). Prince Salim’s love for Anarkali (a courtesan) leads him to rebel against his father, Emperor Akbar. The plot involves a powerful drama around this confrontation. Interspersed with beautiful dance numbers. The soundtrack, inspired by the Indian classical music, comprises of 12 songs, and is considered among the finest soundtracks in the history of Indian cinema. Nine years in the making and costing ten times more than films made at the time, Mughal-e-Azam remains an all time top grosser of the Indian box-office.

    Such has been the power of the film. That when it was re-released in colour in 2004 with six-track digital sound. It again ran for 25 weeks in theatres. Now, in 2016, for the first time ever in India, a classic film is presented on stage as a Musical Play.

-: GRATITUDE:-

Mr. SHAPOOR P. MISTRY

AND

  1. KHUSHROO N. SUNTOOK

…….

LIGHTING & DESIGN: DAVID LANDER

COSTUME DESIGN: MANISH MALHOTRA

CHOREOGRAPHY: MAYURI UPADHAYA

SCENIC DESIGN: NEIL PATEL

BACKGROUND SCORE: PIYUSH KANOJIA

PROJECTION DESIGN: RICHARD NOWELL

CASTING: MUKESH CHHABRA

CAST

AKBAR: NISSAR KHAN

ANARKALI: PRIYANKA BARVE/NEHA SARGAM

SALEEM: SUNIL KUMAR PALWAL/DHANVEER SINGH

NARRATOR/SANGTARSH: RAJESH JAIS

BAHAR: ASHIMA MAHAJAN

JODHA: SONAL JHA/BHARGAVI CHIRMULEY

MAAN SINGH: TAM BAHADUR RENU

SURAIYA: PALVI JASWAL

DURJAN: AMIT PATHAK/CHIRAG GARG

ANARKALI’S MOTHER: SHWETA PADDA

YOUNG SALEEM: BHAVESH BABANI

KALARIPAYATTU ARTIST: ARPIT SINGH AND VIPIN KAZHIPURATH

P.S. ALL SONGS IN THIS PLAY ARE SUNG LIVE AND ARE NOT PRE-RECORDED

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I happened to see the play in Mumbai last year. It is indeed worth watching.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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Share if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

*****

 

Article: Bollywood between Diamond and Platinum Jubilee

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

Bollywood between diamond and Platinum jubilee  

Remake: epic serial ‘Mahabharat’ starring superstars

 

    Bollywood’ is the sobriquet for the Hindi film industry that is based out of Mumbai. The term is also, loosely used, as a synecdoche to refer to the whole of Indian cinema. It has made millions and trillions through movies. And has a huge Indian following. The name has even made ripples abroad. It has now been in existence for more than eighty five years. Raja Harishchandra, was the first silent feature film made by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913. By 1930s, the Indian Film Industry was producing over 200 films per annum. Since then it has never looked back. It is one of the largest film producers in India. Representing 43% of net box office revenue. While Telugu and Tamil cinema represent 36%. The rest of the regional cinema constitutes 21% as of 2015. It is also one of the largest centers for film production in the world. Formally referred to as ‘Hindi cinema.’ It is one of the biggest movie industries in the world, in terms of the number of people employed and the number of films produced in 2011. Where, over 3.5 billion tickets were sold across the globe. Which in comparison is 900,000 tickets more than Hollywood.

    Hitherto, Bollywood, has functioned quite enviously, under different banners for more than eighty five years. And has given us some wonderful movies. But it is about time. It now comes under one united banner. To give India the entertainment of a lifetime—the real dhamaka of the century.

    It missed the lifetime opportunity of a diamond jubilee celebration. And platinum is still far away. But by then many superstars of today may hang their boots. So now is the right time. To produce a mega serial where all the diggajes of Bollywood can come together and act, and for the sake of Bollywood’s commemoration they should act free. If we delay it further. We may miss out on many such great actors coming together as they may call it a day. The idea is to make them act together in a mega project. Which may not be possible in a three hour movie. I would therefore suggest a remake of the great epic ‘Mahabharat’ which is still the most popular serial ever made in the Indian history.

    Imagine how would you feel watching Mahabharat. Scripted by the all time famous duo of Saleem-Javed as was done in Sholay, music by A.R Rehman, songs by Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsale, Anuradha Podwal, Anup Jalota and Bhupendra (unfortunately Kishore and Mukesh are no more). And my dream my caste. To name a few would be: Amitabh Bachchan as Bheeshma Pitamah, Nana Patekar as Dronacharya, Anupam Kher as Mahatma Vidur, Ajay Devgun as Krishna, Amir Khan as Karan, Shahrukh Khan as Yudhistir, Salman Khan as Bheem, Kritik Roshan as Arjun, Ranbir Kapur as Nakul, Abhishek Bachchan as Sahdev, Javed Jafri as Shakuni, Danny as Dhritrasth (ideal would have been Amrish Puri, but sad he is no more), Jaya Bachan as Gandhari, Shabana as Kunti, Priyanka Chopra as Draupadi.

These are only few names and characters with my limited knowledge. Once you start detailing it. Many more icons will surface, to take on many more challenging characters of Mahabharat.

But will this ever happen? Well nothing is impossible. The way we like watching Mughle-Azam even after half a century. This serial too shall be watched for time immemorial.

Come on Bollywood. Start thinking about it.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

*****