Author: Mathew Smith

I love writing :)

When Soumitra Chatterjee passed away in November last year, it was clear Covid had claimed a beloved actor, but for many in Bengal, the loss seemed more personal. Long-time friend, director and one half of the celebrated Soumitra-Aparna pair, Aparna Sen wrote, “There seems to be almost no one left of the world I once knew…a world made up of certain sensibilities, certain value systems, both cultural and moral, the idea of a different (less mediocre?) Bengal, of a different (less reactionary?) India.” Chatterjee was many things to Kolkata’s film industry, legend, lodestar, luminary, and though the extent of his…

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Jhumpa Lahiri has always grappled with loss over a piece of land. Born in London to Bengali parents and raised in the US, she has never had a fixed sense of homeland or belonging. “On the one hand, I am proud of it I am better off not being able to wave the flag of any place, maybe it enables me to be curious of flags of other places At the same time, there is a lack of that sense of a fixed point of origin that cannot be questioned or modified,” she said last month at the ninth iteration…

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After playing his 200th game for Bengaluru FC, Sunil Chhetri explains what has kept him at the club for eight years. FC, Sunil ChhetriQ. You recently scored twice in your 200th game. How special were these goals?I think they were special purely from the context of the win. Of course, it’s nice to be able to score in what is a landmark game, but the win, and the manner in which we did it, gives those goals added value.Q. What has kept you at Bengaluru FC for all of eight seasons?There are so many factors, but the biggest is that…

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The story of how rock music made its way into India and how it spread is a fascinating one. The arc could take in the arrival of jazz and other popular western music in the 1920s and ’30s, American musicians here during World War 2, then the trickling in of all kinds of foreign music as the music directors of the ’50s and early ’60s Hindi films sponge up and repurpose everything from Russian folk music to American rock and roll. The narrative could then continue with how these pre-rock microbes, of rhythm n’ blues, of rock n’ roll, of…

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UNFINISHED, A Memoir by Priyanka Chopra JonasAt 38, Priyanka Chopra Jonas has written a memoir which, as its title suggests, reveals only part of her story. There are, of course, miles to go before she is done. That said, a more apt title would have perhaps been ‘Incomplete’. Unfinished is not the kind of tell-all treatise that will ruffle feathers. It is, instead, a more guarded, selective nostalgia trip. More than career, it is family that takes centre stage. What you get is a chunk of anecdotes that revolve around Priyanka’s childhood and adolescence. These end up being the book’s…

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When Pooja Bhatt posted a still from her upcoming Netflix show Bombay Begums on Instagram, it was her caption that felt more striking: “Rise and slay. There is nothing stronger than a woman who has rebuilt herself. Fair to say I’m back.” Even while Bhatt produced and directed films like Paap (2003) and Jism 2 (2010), it took her all of 21 years to face the camera again. “I buried that part which requires you to be more self-focused,” says Bhatt. “It took someone as brave as Alankrita [Shrivastava, Bombay Begums creator] to goad me out of my self-imposed hibernation…

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Last April, Ajesh Joseph, head mixologist at Jetlag, Bengaluru, posted a video of himself zooming, literally, up and down a hallway, draped over a wheelie bin. It was captioned ‘Quarantine day 10’. He subsequently shared a slapstick routine, set to the Pink Panther theme, on quarantine cocktail-making, peering Clouseau-like into empty bottles, scraping at a desiccated lime. The video racked up thousands of views and Joseph continues to make skits about bar life, touching on flairing fails, workplace romance and pandemic protocol.Besides an alchemist’s steady hand and magician’s showmanship, an integral part of bartending is audience engagement, whether it’s storytelling…

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