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Movie Review: Sita Sings the Blues

I saw “Sita Sings the Blues” yesterday and I loved it.

I was not very keen to watch that movie because it is an animation film and I am not a big fan of animation films.  I never find them interesting (except for Persepolis), but a few minutes into this movie and I was pleasantly surprised by the innovative way of story telling in context of animation cinema.  The high points of the film are the excellent narration and the style.

“Sita Sings the Blues” is an interpretation of an ancient Indian epic “Ramayana”.  It tells the story of the warrior king Rama and his relationship with his wife Sita, who he rejects (because a common man question her chastity),  breaking her heart. The epic has an important influence on Indian life and culture; characters Rama and Sita are fundamental to the spiritual consciousness of India. But this story is not the usual “Ramayana” that has been pounded into our minds since childhood, which depicted Rama as the virtuous king.  In fact, this story questions my beliefs and makes me ponder our reasons for worshipping Ram (who rejected Sita).

This is the story of Ramayana from Sita’s perspective. There is another story in the movie of “Nina” which is very similar to that of Sita.  Both of these women endured the pain of being away from their husbands and were betrayed in love.  The film is semi-autobiographical as the director’s marriage was also falling apart.

This is not the “Ramayana” I grew up with, but I like the director’s take on that great epic and I appreciate her efforts.  It is a fabulous, beautifully done movie.

Don’t miss it.  Check it out from our library!

 

Manju (Reference Librarian)


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October 18, 2010 at 2:26 pm Leave a comment

Summer Reading Selections

Still wondering what to read this summer as you relax on a beach, porch or on a flight for your vacation? Not to worry! Read on for summer reading recommendations from my list. I’ve asked some friends to help narrow down the list of interesting novels.  There is something for every mystery lover in my selections.

The Good Son – Michael Gruber – an international thriller with a great plot and exotic locations.

Dead Line – Stella Remington – espionage thriller, fast moving, engrossing, and well constructed.

The Paris Vendetta – Steve Barry – historical mystery, well-crafted thriller also offers plenty of surprises

206 Bones – Kathy Reichs – a complex, riveting tale of forensic science.

Notorious – Michele Martinez – an exciting legal thriller by the top suspense writer.

The Pyramid and four other Kurt Wallender mysteries – Henning Mankell – The best police procedural short stories by best selling Swedish mystery author.

Bad Things Happen – Harry Dolan – a brilliant debut murder mystery story.

Private – James Patterson – an entertaining sleek thriller.

First Thrills- High Octane Stories from the hottest thriller writers – Ed. Lee Child

Enjoy! Happy Reading.

July 20, 2010 at 1:49 pm Leave a comment

Mystery Month – May

May is Mystery Month for book lovers and this one genre is amazingly popular with our library members also. I just want to share with you some of my favorite classic authors and some popular new mysteries worth reading for the summer.

 

The following books are a good read for Beach Reading this summer:

 Some Previews:

 My favorite authors:

 Check out some of the above mentioned authors and books and enjoy the long, hot summer afternoons and don’t forget to participate in our Adult Summer Reading Program  Lots of prizes waiting for the winners!

 Call 561-868-7701 or visit www.mycitylibrary.org for more information about the Adult Summer Reading Program.

 Manju Sharma

May 12, 2010 at 4:51 pm Leave a comment

Birthday

A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun.  Enjoy the trip.  ~Author Unknown

This is my first visit of 2010 on this blog and I was wondering what I should write about and a thought came, why not write about the thing which bothers me every year in January. Last week I got one year older.  Birthdays always depress me. Not because I become one year older but because I fear I am still not where I should be. No matter what I achieve or how happy I am I can’t get rid of this feeling every year in January.

I have spent my adult life (stupidly) looking for self worth. Now I have started wondering (maybe the age is making me wiser) what should be the yard stick to appraise your self worth, it is not a tangible thing can’t be measured by any ways or means.

So I have decided to look and find peace within. I will become a creature of the moment and live in today and the now. I will do what I have to do and what my conscience tells me to do and do it with all my heart and sincerity and leave it at that. This is my resolution for the New Year and for the life. Did you make any resolution for 2010? I would love to know.

Do you know which book helped me finding peace within myself – Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather– I read this book in 1994 and since then I read it every year in January to rekindle my soul, it impacted my life so much and served as an inspiration.

I would like to recommend Notes to Myself, read it at least once in your life time.

Happy New Year to all.

Manju Sharma

January 15, 2010 at 10:21 am Leave a comment

Bollywood Cinema

I was talking with my American friend about movies and she asked me which new Bollywood movie we have got in our library.  When I told her the name OM SHANTI OM, she gave me a mysterious smile and told her story of OM SHANTI OM.  This is the first Bollywood movie she saw on the plane, when going to New Delhi from New York, a non stop 14 hours flight.  She was not able to sleep and out of sheer boredom she tuned in to the English subtitled Bollywood movie OM SHANTI OM.  She used to think that Indian movies are melodramatic, silly and just song & dance drama of 3 hours – everything she dislikes in a movie.  But she loved that movie and on her trip she watched some more and she was hooked. Now she is addicted to Bollywood Cinema and has seen almost all the movies that we have in our collection and what I have at home.

Some people have negative preconceptions about Indian movies but thanks in part to the Oscar Winner Slumdog Millionaire, Indian movies are catching on like crazy.  It is surprising for me when patron ask for the Bollywood movies by their titles.  The response to these movies is tremendous. Some Westerners find song & dance aspect of Indian movies hilarious but it is part of the grammar of Indian filmmaking.  Songs are a beautiful and unique part of Bollywood movies and I’d be devastated if they vanished.

I can proudly say we started our collection of Indian Cinema in our library a long time ago and we have some of the best movies of Bollywood and other Indian filmmakers.  The most notable is by director Satyajit Ray, who has a global audience.  Though deeply rooted in Indian culture, his films manage to produce a universal humanistic response because it is all about human relations.  I think Cinema has an amazing power to touch people across the world, in whatever language or whatever form.  Eventually it is all about the human emotions.

I enjoy movies from all over the world, but yes, Bollywood films are very special because I’ve grown up watching them.  They are a part of me. You laugh, you cry, feel like dancing with characters and this is the appeal of the Indian Cinema. Check out some Indian movies and tell me how was your experience of watching the Bollywood Cinema and I am sure you will fall head over heels just like my friend did.

– Manju

December 8, 2009 at 5:11 pm Leave a comment

Father and Son

Oct. 2nd is the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and I remember my mother also on that day because there are so many memories of my mother associated with Gandhi. She was a true Gandhian and used to tell us stories about Mahatma Gandhi when we were growing up. Now I realize that by telling all those stories she was telling us how to be brave, truthful, and courageous.  I grew up understanding Gandhi through those stories.

 But there is one story about Gandhi my mother never told us.  I found that even in the literature about Gandhi there was some unspoken blacking out of Gandhi’s son Harilal from Gandhi’s daily world.  This is evident from his secretary Mahadev’s meticulous record keeping; even that is totally silent about Harilal.

 I would like to share my thoughts about that.  It is a story of a failed father who carried a deep wound in his heart –his son Harilal, roaming the streets like a beggar, converting to Islam and then back to Hinduism, and finally dying of syphilis and alcohol abuse.  Harilal was Mahatma Gandhi’s eldest son and a most inconvenient truth.  He rebelled against his father’s idealistic principles and sought to live a life where he would not have to carry the burden of being the son of Mahatma Gandhi.

 I wondered why Mahatma Gandhi could not save the soul of his own son when he was transforming the soul of the nation. The conflict between father and son is complex; I tried to read whatever I could find on that aspect of Gandhi.  It makes me sad but I can never make Harilal a yardstick to understand a great man like Gandhi, nor do I have the moral authority to even question a man like Gandhi.

To me this is a conflict of a principled father and an unfortunate son.  Gandhi became a greater human being by putting his principles and quest for human dignity above everything else – even his own son. He made a personal sacrifice; a very difficult choice to make.

 P.S. I am sure after reading this you would like to know more about Harilal and the good news is – Harilal Gandhi: A Life is on order and will soon be available for checkout.

 

Manju

October 19, 2009 at 9:33 am Leave a comment

To Kindle, Or Not to Kindle?

I saw Kindle!

My neighbor bought her Kindle reader and showed it to me.  Essentially Kindle is a hand-held device roughly the size of a paperback book.  It has a large screen on which you can download your book.  The idea is that we won’t have to buy books: all books will be available to anyone who has access to Kindle.  I can understand the logic behind Kindle, but I hope it won’t make the books obsolete in times of technology onslaught.

For me it is the romance of buying a book or borrowing a book from the library that I will miss if Kindle drives the book into obsolescence.  It is sheer pleasure for me to go to a bookstore or library go and through the book shelves, perusing each book and flipping through the pages and making my selections.

Reading a book is an experience.  There are people like me who would like to take the book in their bed and would miss the feel of a book in their hands.  I read for pleasure and Kindle reading cannot be pleasurable as you are reading from a machine.  This technology might not provide the same reading experience, and I wonder if it would test my power of concentration too.  I hope, even if Kindle technology catches on, there will always be a market for books.

There is nothing like finding a book, smelling the pages, holding it and turning its pages, discovering the world.  Is there anything comparable to this pleasure?

What do you think?

– Manju

August 17, 2009 at 3:02 pm 3 comments

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