CINEMA IN VERSE- A TRIBUTE TO THE GREAT SMITA PATIL.

Over the course of my essays in the last three years and counting, I have made my love for the great Smita Patil’s unparalleled artistry evident.



From ARTH to UMBARTHA, AKALER SANDHANEY to BHUMIKA, ALBERT PINTO KO GUSSA KYU AATA HAI? and TARANG, from GAMAN to AAKROSH, ARDH SATYA to CHIDAMBARAM and DEBSHISHU, even her swan song in the form of WAARIS among others, I feel blessed to have watched her repertoire cover languages, social backgrounds and experiences. Even the variety of genres and narrative styles are diverse.

A carrier of multiple worlds in a remarkable decade old journey, her contributions to Indian cinema remain emboldening for someone like me.

So in recognition of her other performances, I choose to once again use the verse form to delineate her journey in several of her iconic avatars.


Here, they are.

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SARVASAKSHI(1978)

NOTE : first up, there are hardly any Google images  or uploads of this underrated Marathi gem on YouTube but it’s available in perfect HD on DISNEY+HOTSTAR(for Indian viewers) so please make a point to watch it there.

But first a gallery tracing her myriad avatars.

**

SARVASAKSHI

The inner eye
is the last sometimes
to oversee one’s own downfall.
But I saw a lucid picture of change.

For I saw progress
cross paths with superstitions
and you, kindly teacher,
were the mouthpiece
while I,
willingly ensconced within this mansion,
within the village’s inner circle,
was the conscience,
willing to rise above my station.

Man and woman,
engulfed by two different worlds;
we now know that the future
is in our hands.
And so let us take our first steps
and raise our consciousness.

And take the young ones with us,
making this remote corner rise from its infancy.

***

SUTRADHAR (1986)

Sutradhar Movie || Smita Patil Emtional Scene || …: https://youtu.be/UnDvbiWOhKE



A tale of tales.
A crusader among slumbering bedrocks.
That’s the choice I made for myself.
I chose you,
your mind above sallow, fickle ideology.

I should have known
that I was always expected
to follow behind
and stick to your side,
an enforcer of patriarchy.

Now I make my choice
and draw the line
& leave your ego at the threshold.
I now choose myself,
my reason above your exhortations.

***

GHULAMI(1983)



We are all enslaved by our virtues and vices,
both genders victimised by
agendas beyond our control.

We cannot choose the circumstances
of our birth
or the life ahead,
to build ourselves up.

This,
we can proclaim:
To be children of the soil,
equals in spirit and mind.
The last of the desert’s sentinels,
guarding our forts
of an united soul.

**

TEESRA KINARA (1986)



The big city is a sea of temptations.
Losing one’s self is easy
when you are one amongst the crowd.
But inviolable was I
when I was back home
and determined am I,
now that you have brought me
to this concrete jungle.

You dip your feet in the ocean.
I continue to measure
the depths of my desires
with facts of life.

This is our shore
and you have gone missing,
in the melee of undertows and high-tides.

I am still here,
always holding my head high
without bowing to your whims.

The big city is but a rear-view mirror
for me.
My truth tells my very own story.

**
THIKANA(1987)



Home is where the heart is.
Where mothers and daughters
sleep on each other’s laps
and cut chapped lips with words
sharp as a sickle
or the ways of this world.

This is Home.
A brother’s journey starts here.
A family rebuilds itself within its walls.
And I see the good with the ugly,
boarding with both inside.

***
SHAKTI(1982)



Power is overrated,
a concept pitting man against man
while the world and its conscriptors
conspire to set apart
fathers from sons.

The real power is one of loyalty,
of generations imbuing life
with unvarnished truth.

Trust me when I say it,
the real power is in looking back
at all events
and never choosing only the rosy pathways.

Truth is life.
Life is truth.
As we all learn,
ultimately.

**

AKHIR KYUN? (1985)



Why should a woman cower
or be an orphan,
without her own home
or a room of one’s own?

Why shouldn’t she voice her opinions
or be expected to serve,
among others,
flattery,
food on the table
and only pearls of motherhood
to society’s gatekeepers?

Why should she be chosen first
by a man
and be discarded for the fleeting
cross-currents of youth?

**
I offer my life as an alternative,
a hard-won triumph against the odds.

I give you my life story
as an exemplar
and a gospel of self-independence.

For I did it forty years ago,
so there’s no reason why you
should choose to shear your own dignity today,
in the here and now.

I give you the freedom to write
your own tale,
as I did mine,
pulling out the truths,
hard facts,
pains and joys
out of the body, mind and soul.

**

AMRIT(1986)

Mera Gham Kitna Kam Hai (HD) – Amrit Songs – Raje…: https://youtu.be/VxafxedS2R0



Silver strands,
Golden years,
inextricably linked together.
By the pangs
and the little joys
we share.

We are friends,
forever defined by our years.

**

MY POEMS HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED BY DREICH MAGAZINE

Oh, it’s such a thrill to have two of my poems, namely TWO DROPS and TRAJECTORIES, ACROSS BORDERS, grace the wonderful DREICH MAGAZINE, a publication I always wanted to be a part of.

I thank the team behind Dreich for making that wish come true and deeming my works fit for publication.

Of course, it goes without saying that both the poems were originally published by me on Wattpad and so this reiteration in another medium enhances their impact. Read them both, spread the word and share your thoughts.

THANK YOU.

Also, a print copy of the issue will reach me soon so I will share that news with you all in due course of time.





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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ALWAYS GOES A LONG WAY





I would like to take this opportunity to thank my dear friend, fellow writer and prolific poet AMRITA SHARMA for acknowledging NURSERY RHYMES AND CHILDREN’S POEMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEARD!, the anthology published in February of this year by AuthorsPress, edited by Anita Nahal and Meenakshi Mohan.

Of course, I have written about it and shared my own published poems DREAMS and WISH UPON A STAR with you all here. But you know how it is when someone else who is your peer and motivator spurs you on creatively. It ensures validation for your works in a more holistic way.

Thank you, Amrita, for your positive words accorded to my poem DREAMS too within this book review published for the May issue of CONFLUENCE MAGAZINE. I, myself, have been a contributor to CONFLUENCE since 2018 and so it’s such a joy to have another writer spread the word about the first poetry anthology that I was able to be a part of.

It means the world to me.

****

My Two Poems Have Been Published by THE QUIVER REVIEW.

https://www.thequiverreview.in/2021/06/prithvijeet-sinhas-poems.html

As the above link shows, two of my poems namely MORNING HOUR and FLOWERS, previously and originally published here on my blog, have found a place in the wonderfully receptive THE QUIVER REVIEW.

I’m so happy to have them grace its poetic roll. So read them, spread the word and of course, share your thoughts.

THANK YOU.

UNDERWATER- AN EKPHRASTIC POEM

This time, I wrote this poem as part of an ekphrastic prompt based on the painting titled HYLAS AND THE NYMPHS by John William Waterhouse. The painting, in turn, is based on an ancient myth.

My poem was not selected for final publication in that particular capacity but that doesn’t deter me at all as I now get to share it with you. So here it is.

  

          ***
       



       UNDERWATER

He dived deep into the abyss
to be marooned beneath,
as if among Atlantic ruins,
in a city that lives underwater for eternities.

The beguiling voices called out to him,
coming from yonder,
caught in the mesh somewhere between the floating hyacinths
and weeds,

“Hylas, Hylas,
come, let us show you the afterlife
where bodies flit and swim,
coming up for air to the surface,
just like the myth of the mermen.
A netherworld in your reach,
only if you choose to come
and dive deep like a king of the sea”

Words to beguile the enduring ego of youth
Such a fate to divine in those last moments
between leaving shore
and entering a tempestuous watery grave.

Hylas, Hylas
’tis here is your tomb,
your desecrated youth,
the myth that history repeats in leaden circles.
Naive, guileless young lad,
here is your cautionary tale.

***

    

Lothlorien Poetry Journal: One Poem by Prithvijeet Sinha

https://lothlorienpoetryjournal.blogspot.com/2021/06/one-poem-by-prithvijeet-sinha.html

Above is the link to my poem STANDSTILL that has been published by LOTHLORIEN POETRY JOURNAL.

It’s a topical poem which uses personification and metaphors to probe physical assault. Read it and share your thoughts. Also the below given work of art inspired this poem that I originally wrote in 2015.

CINEMA IN VERSE

For a change, I’ll offer a synopsis of five powerful works of cinematic art that I was moved by in different ways.

As always, versatility is my aim and I hope you all like my idea of capturing the essence of the stories in verse.

So I write the synopsis in prose, followed by the poems below.

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HILLBILLY ELEGY (2020)





Melding past misgivings with a present destined for better things ahead, this is an adaptation of a seminal memoir about one boy’s disorienting grappling with his  family status . Yet he is enveloped by love, on the part of a mother who has greatest reserves of it and is also her own worst enemy as also from his beloved MAMAW and eventually sister. A bountifully gifted cast makes it accessible.

For all its critics who can’t handle its truthful stance on financial despair, I have to say that it’s not the first time you have dissed women and children in life affirming portrayals. So be it with you all. HILLBILLY ELEGY moved me with its hopeful stance and a lived-in feel of class awareness.

 

**

12 ANGRY MEN(1957) & A FEW GOOD MEN(1992)








Two classics almost forty years apart in eras and setting contend with the truth and a hankering for justice in blindsided alleys of law. In the first, it involves a motley crew of men from a cross-section of social classes performing their collective duty as jurors, as random citizens enacting their parts till one of them stands up for reason.

In A FEW GOOD MEN, the tussle is among lawyers and army professionals where authority and experience weigh the scales even when the evidence is bare for all to see.

The long road to triumph is hence bittersweet for the defendants here because truth entails an act of recovery from prejudices, pulling it down from the pedestal on which we put law, sometimes preferring sections and clauses above humanity.

Powerful performances ground both in common parlance and impactful resolves.

***
GODLESS (2017)





A riveting albeit expansive Western series set in the fading years of 19th Century frontier America, GODLESS is a worthy addition to the genre’s revisionist canon as women rise up from the ashes of history to show men how it’s done.

In this impassioned and impressively mounted epic saga, justice is on a quest to find its feminist roots that were deprived by the ages. But oh! what a plunge it is to the best elements of the form and what glorious performances are here to behold. The seven episodes give us a panorama of human integrity fighting against amoral surrender more than the elements.

***

   MARY MAGDALENE (2018)



From the floating body in the lake in the opening to the final chorus of women taking the plunge to test the water together, this Garth Davis directed work puts the titular entity on a normal path to utmost devotion, salvaging her history from the ranks of the ‘fallen woman’.

It bears a spiritual purity, matched by the celestial light in Rooney Mara’s performance and Joaquin Phoenix’s questing thirst for humility in the face of a divine fate, as Jesus. The cinematography by Greig Fraser, music by Johann Johannsson and Hildur Gudnadottir bring their inner soul to light.

I also liked how by casting TAHAR RAHIM, SHIRA HAAS and the likes of the other two leads with Chiwetel Ejiofor, the diversity of the original Biblical region, one populated by Muslims, Jews and Christians, all subsumed in Jesus’ creed for all, is maintained.

Garth Davis’ directorial commitment will ensure it seeps into the soul of the faithful and the believers. History gets its due, with the focus here on Mary’s formidable role in shaping a religion and reaching a goal of self-internalization in the process.

***

Now I share pithy poems based on, or should I say inspired by, each of the above works.

HILLBILLY ELEGY

    It’s something to be deprived
    quite another to always cry,
    glazing your eyes
    when it could see the world ahead.

    Take the road,
    Carry the miles,
    Sing the Appalachian ballad
    Make your own folklores.
    
    But always be somebody.
    Somebody to find the trail
    of life in the Kentucky roots
    and conquer the world
    after putting together
    the family tree.
    And then your place
    amongst both.

     **
12 ANGRY MEN & A FEW GOOD MEN

   For truth
   Justice
  The American Way
  The human way
  Listen
  Reason
  Bid the conscience to be like blood,
  trickling with the flow
  of a sea in spate.

  Don’t hold your tongue
  Or sway the judgement
  Don’t play God
  or pull those strings.

  Just put yourself in the shoes
  of the wronged,
  the cursed,
  those behind bars
  and let freedom conquer
  a fettered mind.

Then truth
and Justice
will be allies,
more alike than ever.

Then the ballad of good men
will be one
with their innermost truth.

   ***

       GODLESS
    
       Lazy, pompous men,
       breaking horses,
       breaking towns,
       daring to break the women up
       on the basis of sex alone.

         Listen fellas,
         Little town isn’t like any other.
         Because here,
         a revolution has been mooted.
         The pans and pots as garrulous
         as their gunpowder spirits.
         For the women are like
         mares of the badlands.
         Open with affections and fists,
          opening their hearts
           and their guns,
           making their own Gods
            and legend.

          This is their land of plenty,
           sitting on a minefield.

             ***

           MARY MAGDALENE

         The celestial light
          fell in the water,
          right in your eyes
          and made you a home
          in Lord’s sanctum.
   
          You walk
          You heal
         Witness to the Crucifixion
         and the Resurrection.
        Always the child of the waters,
        baptising history
        with your prayers
        but most of all your light.

         Always the woman
         who walks ahead,
          to lead the way.

             ***
        

  

 

  

MY RECITATION OF POEM ‘MAA’ IS FOR ALL OF YOU TO LISTEN TO.

https://youtu.be/gCsJ7fyyF9w

The Zoom session of RHETORICA QUARTERLY’S launch captures a plethora of voices, united in upholding creativity sans borders. Remember, it’s the journal of my beloved Department of English and Modern European Languages, University of Lucknow and has celebrated a successful year since its launch last year.

My poetry reading of MAA is from the 50:43 – 54:24 minutes mark. So do listen to it and share your thoughts.

It’s the same poem published in the journal that I had shared here.

***

MY POEM AND ESSAY HAVE GRACED MY BELOVED DEPARTMENTAL JOURNAL RHETORICA QUARTERLY.

I’m so happy as two of my works have graced the fourth edition of my departmental journal RHETORICA QUARTERLY, also its one year anniversary since it successfully launched itself and brought together the communal spirit of creativity from DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH AND MODERN EUROPEAN LANGUAGES, UNIVERSITY OF LUCKNOW and beyond, stringing the old guards with the new, for an eclectic, composite whole.

I am sharing the works with you all here. The theme for this issue was WOMANHOOD and it was such a joy to have my voice echo with a versatile chorus. A special shout out to the team which designed its layout, cover and imbued each page with vibrancy and character.

A Zoom session to accompany the launch of this issue held yesterday includes our recitations and thoughts and will be up on the Departmental YouTube channel soon. I’ll share that with you as well.

So read these, spread the word and share your thoughts.

      ****





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Below is my essay published in the same issue as the above poem.

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A WALT WHITMAN POEM THAT REFLECTS OUR CURRENT SITUATION

Truer words could not have been written down for posterity. It’s said that poets often possess the power to look into the future with their vision, informed by the timelessness of human endeavours in situations good or bad.

This pithy poem from Walt Whitman’s iconic poetry collection LEAVES OF GRASS, which I have been reading lately, struck me as being concurrent with our own reality.

So read it and share your thoughts. Remember to stay safe, healthy and follow all requisite protocols.