A DARING BUT SOMEWHAT INCOMPLETE RETELLING OF QUEEN ANNE BOLEYN’S STORY - The Daily Guardian
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A DARING BUT SOMEWHAT INCOMPLETE RETELLING OF QUEEN ANNE BOLEYN’S STORY

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Almost 500 years after her death, Anne Boleyn remains a highly divisive figure in history. Some see her as a power-hungry woman who seduced King Henry VIII, forcing the ‘pious’ king to annul his first marriage to Katherine of Aragon. Others see her as a humanitarian and a reformer who was devoted to protecting the rights of the weak and the poor. Anne was the Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII. In order to secure the passage of his marriage with her, Henry had to break with the Roman Catholic Church in 1533. In other words, the Pope and general councils of the church no longer enjoyed the final authority in doctrinal and legal disputes which now rested with the monarch. But, only 3 years later, the same Henry, who took on the papacy and triggered the English Reformation in order to marry Anne, puts her on a trial for treason, which leads to her beheading. A three-part British miniseries titled ‘Anne Boleyn’ which is currently streaming on SonyLIV revisits the age-old tale of Anne’s fall from grace, giving it some interesting twists and turns.

Now, the miniseries has been completely written off by the critics. But the criticism actually has little to do with the show’s merit. One of the major reasons why ‘Anne Boleyn’ has been panned by the critics has to do with the casting of Jodie Turner-Smith in the titular role. How can a Black actress portray the white Tudor queen? This underlying argument seems to have occluded their judgment. So, here’s my counter-argument: If the American actress Linda Hunt can go on to win an Academy Award essaying the part of a Chinese-Australian man in Peter Weir’s The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) then why can’t a Black actress play the part of Queen Anne Boleyn?

The fact of the matter is that the story of Anne Boleyn has been done to death. Some titles that come to mind are Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), Wolf Hall (TV Miniseries 2015), and The Tudors (TV Series 2007-2010). More often than not, Anne is portrayed as a scheming temptress or a manipulative woman desperate to climb the social ladder. So when the writer-director duo of Eve Hedderwick Turner and Lynsey Miller dare to break the stereotypes by casting a gifted performer like Jodie Turner-Smith in the role of a strong queen like Anne Boleyn, I just don’t understand why it’s not getting celebrated? It’s a case of identity-conscious casting that theatre productions use all the time for historical plays. So it’s actually a positive sign to see that film and television are finally catching up with theatre in a bid to open up literary texts to fresh interpretations.

Consider the 2018 BBC series Les Misérables which stars a David Oyelowo in the role of a police chief named Javert. For the uninitiated, Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables on which the series is based is set in 19th century France. Now, anyone can pose the all important question to the makers: How can a Black man be a police chief in the 19th century France? Clearly, BBC wanted its series to follow a rather non-literal approach. Similarly, the makers of ‘Anne Boleyn’ want it to rise above the shadows of history. Mark Stanley, who essays the part of Henry VIII in the miniseries, sums it up perfectly: “Jodie has a lot in common with Anne Boleyn. She’s a strong, opinionated, scarily intelligent person. She was also bringing up a young child at the time that we were on set, and she’s quite awe-inspiring really… It was all about this being the right person for the job, rather than what we as a society might perceive as the ‘right look’ for the job. Anne Boleyn was beautiful, witty, vibrant, intelligent and Jodie is all of those things. She brought our Anne to life in a way another actress couldn’t.” The casting is also in sync with the feelings of otherness and disparity that Anne would have felt in the Tudor court.

Now, Jodie’s Queen Anne is no pushover; she is brave and tenacious but is not without flaws. Her passions often run wild and she can be most peremptory when she wants. But no one can question her intelligence as well as devotion for King Henry. She most certainly is smarter than any man around her and has a strong vision for her country and its people. The hitherto hated figure of Anne Boleyn became venerated as a martyr and the face of the English Reformation after her daughter with Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, was crowned as the Queen of England in 1558. It would have been ideal had ‘Anne Boleyn’ not ended with the queen’s execution and also covered events leading to Elizabeth’s coronation which paved the way for Anne’s rise as a revered historical figure as that would have provided a perfect closure to her tale. But, in its present form, the story, despite its daring, feels rather incomplete.

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HEMA SARDESAI SINGS FOR MARGAOTHECLOSEDFILE

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PANAJI : Renowned playback singer Hema Sardesai on Tuesday said that she is back to work with Music Director Nikhil Kamath of Nikhil-Vinay fame and well known bollywood film director Kapil Kaustubh Sharma . In a post on Facebook, she said, ‘’Back to working with Nikhil Kamath of Nikhil-Vinay fame..and Kapil Kaustubh Sharma well known bollywood film director. God’s Will. Thank you for your kind support. God bless you.’’

Nikhil Kamath said,’’Proud to compose a new song for Kapil Kaustubh Sharma sung and lyrics by Hema Sardesai. It was great working with Hema Sardesai.’’ Director Kapil Kaustubh Sharma said, ‘’Who can forget mesmerizing voice of Hema Sardesai in Awara Bhawre Jo Hole Hole Gaye or Badal Pe Paon Hai from Chak De India or San Sana San or Gupt and many more…Glad to share she sings a fun filled song for MargaoTheClosedFile. She also pens it and the fabulous composition is by Nikhil Kamath. It stars Kittu Gidwani, Pallavi Joshi.”

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SWARA BHASKER’S NEXT WILL BE A MURDER MYSTERY

Uday Pratap Singh

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NEW DELHI: Murder mystery as a genre has always been something that grabs a lot of attention, and well, donning the role of an investigating officer once again is Swara Bhasker.

Produced by Moffy Production and co-produced by K.P production the film titled Mimamsa promises to keep you on the edge and will be directed by Gagan Puri. After receiving rave reviews for Flesh, this will be the second time Swara will be seen as a cop. She will take on the role of Adhira Dixit in the movie that is based in Bhopal.

Talking about the same, Swara said, ‘’The experience of shooting for the movie was one of its kind as it kept me invested throughout the shoot and I am sure that the viewers will be too when they get to watch it. This was also the first film I shot for after lockdown last year, and that makes the movie extremely special to me, and it helped me have a sense of gratitude for the work I do. Without revealing much, I am just going to say that the movie will take you on a journey that is layered, is mysterious, and thought-provoking.’’

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AYUSHMANN SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE ON DOCTOR G

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NEW DELHI: Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana said that he is lucky that he chose acting as his profession because it has not only enabled him to live so many remarkable characters but has also taken him to so many incredible destinations.

The actor added that this is the first time in his career that he has shot in Bhopal. He said: “For Doctor G, I’m fortunate to be visiting the heart of India and seeing it in its full glory. I’m shooting in Bhopal for the first time in my career and the city of lakes is a beautiful place. I’m bowled over by the warmth of the people and they have won my heart forever.”

Ayushmann feels he is blessed to be born in a beautiful country like India.

“Earlier this year, I was in the North East for Anek and experienced the spectacular Kaziranga National Park. India is the most beautiful place on the planet. I’m blessed to be born in this country which gives me the opportunity to cherish so much in my lifetime,” he added.

Ayushmann has a big lineup of films including “Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui” directed by Abhishek Kapoor, “Anek” by Anubhav Sinha and “Doctor G” helmed by Anubhuti Kashyap.

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ENTER UNIQUE BESPOKE FURNITURE MADE IN INDIA

Noor Anand Chawla

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An innate appreciation for one’s abode has been a welcome effect of the pandemic. Finding themselves spending more time at home than ever before, people have begun to re-do their interiors, making their dwellings comfortable yet stylish reflections of themselves. Homegrown furniture brands are doing particularly well due to their ease of access, affordable prices and unique designs. One such brand is Mangrove Collective, co-founded by Suman Sharma in 2015, that witnessed tremendous growth over the last year.

This award-winning collaborative design and build studio, which crafts customised furniture and millwork, is an offshoot of the multidisciplinary architecture and design practice called Studio Lotus. When the studio found it challenging to translate design concepts into reality, they decided to begin making their own pieces. “It’s easy to find people who specialize in a particular material like wood, metal, etc., but to strike a balance between different materials and assimilate regional craft into the work, was a difficult task,” shares Sharma, the Principal and Head of Business at the firm. Mangrove Collective was launched with a vision to use indigenous and largely forgotten crafts, by combining traditional know-how with aspects of engineering.

Born and raised in Lutyen’s-era Delhi, Sharma was greatly inspired by its colonial architecture of bungalows adorned with tall ceilings, fireplaces, and verandahs. She also took inspiration from her father who was a photographer. Pursuing a Master’s degree in Furniture Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, cemented this love further. Over the years, she has worked with leading lifestyle brands such as Good Earth, Samir Wheaton Design, and Krea, and has also dabbled in her own entrepreneurial ventures such as Viva Design through which she exported furniture, and Sotomoto, where she retailed a range of furniture and lifestyle accessories for children. Sharma also taught at Pearl Academy, New Delhi.

Its identity as a collective sets Mangrove apart from other brands. The team follows a conscious process of celebrating local resources and traditional craftsmanship, by ensuring that designers, craftsmen and clients are equal partners. Sharma explains, “for us, design, art, craft and technology go hand in hand. When we say our work is craft-based it doesn’t mean that our products look ‘hand-crafted’. Depending on the nature of the commission, the requirements, and the function, either handiwork or technology can take precedence over the design of the products. We are constantly challenging ourselves to look at products and processes in a unique manner by combining traditional craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technology.”

Designing high-quality furniture requires a balance between ergonomics, joinery details, functionality and aesthetics. The natural synergy between their furniture designers and artisans enables them to create one-of-a-kind products. “Each product for us is a journey where all stakeholders – the craftsmen, the designers, the technicians, and the consumers have a takeaway – a memory that lasts a lifetime. With every product and commission, we try to feed into the vision and aspirations of the user. We aim to breathe life into spaces and narrate stories by reinterpreting indigenous and largely-forgotten crafts, uniting traditional know-how with engineering to develop exceptional products,” shares Sharma with a smile.

The pandemic induced lockdown and subsequent supply chain disruptions compelled homeowners to look at local brands that are capable of producing furniture at par with international standards. And a homegrown furniture brand can offer a high level of customisation – representative of and suited to the client’s personality and lifestyle. Quite interestingly, the pandemic has resulted in a renewed appreciation for local artisanal skills that allowed furniture brands to incorporate age-old craft forms into furniture, giving them a new meaning in this era.

“Space optimisation has been a top priority during the lockdown, and homeowners have spent a considerable amount of time sprucing up nooks and corners, creating spaces for rest, rejuvenation and recreation. Specifically, when it comes to living areas, we have observed a massive demand for sofas and lounge chairs that strike a fine balance between ergonomics and durability,” shares Sharma.

As a bespoke furniture studio, Mangrove makes pieces mainly on order. However, their experience centre setup in their design studio allows clients to visit and feel the products as they would in real-life. International shipping is available and they have clients in countries like Mauritius, Dubai and London. Each piece is unique and the process of making it depends on the complexity of the product—roughly between twelve to sixteen weeks. Their most popular products are the ones integrated with crafted elements or those whose design reflects the context of the space, in turn resonating with the clients on a deeper level.

At Mangrove, the team attempts to develop pieces that are inspired by traditional crafts interpreted in a unique manner, making this brand one to watch for.

The writer is a lawyer who pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be reached on nooranand@gmail.com.

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THE GREAT INDIAN SALAD FEST

We bring to you some binge worthy, guilt free salads that are bound to cheer you up, especially amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

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With monsoon in its full bloom and the dreadful pandemic threatening to make a comeback with its third wave, our focus on health and nutrition has doubled. Fresh foods, greens, and a wholesome diet is important for building our immunity and at the same time giving us the energy and zing to cope with stressful work from home routines, which can make us lethargic after a heavy afternoon meal. The pandemic has also been a little heavy on families in terms of both cooking and eating because it is natural for a lot of us to consume more when families are around all the time. It is important to get hooked on to salads at this point for people of all ages to get those essential nutrients, micronutrients and minerals, which our regular meals cannot fulfill.

The need of the hour is to add in freshness and seasonal produce and that can help in many ways and o add in that dollop of health so as to keep other issues at bay. Immunity has been the operative word since 2020 and it is showing even more heavily today with so many Covid related diseases cropping up, making I even more important to focus on our health. Here are some binge worthy, guilt free salads that are bound to cheer you up!

Let’s start with a Mango and Grilled Tofu Salad, which is perfect for the summers. I’m not a tofu fan, so I prefer to replace that with either chicken or paneer.

MANGO AND GRILLED TOFU SALAD BY TARUN SIBAL OF TITLIE

Ingredients (salad) 

• Mangoes (ripe) – 2 

• Carrots – 2  

• Cucumbers -2 

• Mixed Greens – 1 bowl (arugula, mixed lettuce, mint, sweet basil, fresh coriander)

• Tofu – 80 gm (or chicken/paneer)

• Sweet Paprika powder – 1 tsp

• Fresh ground pepper – 1 tsp 

• Salt – ½ tsp 

Ingredients (dressing) 

• Zest of 1 lime

• 1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed (about 2 limes)

• Sweet Paprika Powder – 1 tsp 

• 1 tsp salt

• 2 tbsp olive oil 

• Freshly ground pepper

• 1 tsp honey 

Method

• Cut the mangoes into wedges

• Cut the tofu into wedges, season it with salt and paprika

• Grill the tofu on both sides with some olive oil on medium heat and keep it aside 

• Take out carrot and cucumber ribbons and add them to cold water so that they remain crisp 

• Add the mixed greens to the ice-cold water 

• Mix all the ingredients of the dressing in a jar and shake well  

• Pat dry the leaves, carrots and cucumber ribbons and mix together

• Add salt, pepper, paprika, mangoes and tofu. Add 3/4th dressing to the mix 

• Arrange it on a plate with tofu and mangoes on top 

• Garnish with mint leaves and paprika powder 

• Drizzle some of the remaining dressing on top

Voila! Your Gourmet Casual Summer Salad is good to go! The best part about this salad is that it is a full meal in itself. There are no cravings after a portion of this. It also rids me of the guilt about the ice cream and mango shake binges that are on at this time of the year!

KOSAMBARI BY CHEF AROKIYADOSS AT THE APPUMM HOUSE

Kosambari is a simple moong dal salad popular in Karnataka. It is a delicious, protein-packed lentil salad that is an integral part of Kannada cuisine. It is my go-to recipe during these sultry months because it is easy to make and uses the bare minimum ingredients. Chef Arokiyadoss adds, “It is also popular as kosumalli or hesarubele kosambari and is part of every festive meal or wedding feast. In Andhra, it goes by the name vadapappu. Vadapappu is nothing but soaked moong dal while Kosambari is a salad comprising of soaked moong dal, cucumber, fresh coconut and coriander leaves. Undoubtedly festive, yet simple. It is a light yet filling salad that can be eaten as a meal by itself along with a glass of neer mor or South Indian buttermilk. It is quick to make and very versatile in terms of the ingredients used. Basic moong dal salad recipe calls for soaked moong dal and cucumber. You can add grated carrot and raw mango too for variation. Soaking of moong dal makes it easily digestible and more nutritious. A perfect protein rich salad for those looking to lose weight!”

Ingredients

• 1 cup yellow moong dal

• 2 teaspoon lemon juice

• 2 tablespoon coriander leaves

• 2 medium cucumber

• 1 teaspoon ginger

• 4 medium carrot

• Salt as required

For Tempering

• 1 pinch asafoetida

• 2 teaspoon vegetable oil

• 4 green chilli

• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Method

• Soak the moong dal in water for 2 hours and then, drain the water and keep the dal aside. Now, peel and chop the cucumber, carrots, ginger and keep them in different bowls.

• In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped veggies along with salt, lemon juice, coriander leaves and soaked moong dal. Mix the ingredients well.

• Now, heat oil in a pan over medium flame and add mustard seeds in it and after a minute, add asafoetida and green chillies. Fry them for another minute and turn off the flame.

• Pour the tempering on the salad dish and wait for few minutes before you put it in the refrigerator. Serve chilled!

DUO OF MELON SALAD RECIPE BY CHEF PAWAN BISHT AT THE ONE8 COMMUNE

This is my ultimate favourite, since the melon salad recipe is the simple, delicious, and healthy with a burst of flavours.

Ingredients

• 1 cup scooped watermelon

• 1 cup scooped cantaloupe melon (I use musk melon)

• 2 cups washed and dried aragula (rocket) leaves

• 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

• 2 tablespoons organic honey

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 cup balsamic vinegar

• 4 tablespoons of roasted pumpkin seeds

• Salt to taste

• Pepper to taste

Method

• Take a bowl and blend olive oil, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper thoroughly.

• Add balsamic vinegar to it and put it on a low flame.

• Reduce the mixture till it comes to a glaze consistency.

• Scoop watermelon and cantaloupe melon, keep in the fridge to chill.

• Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, add the balsamic glaze and the aragula.

WATERMELON-E-FETA SALAD RECIPE BY CHEF SAHIL SINGH

Even though this recipe needs a slightly elaborate preparation with the different kinds of lettuce and the feta, it is totally worth it. I of course substitute a few ingredients with what is available at the moment, but it turns out best this way. Of course, I do not worry about not finding one variety of lettuce. I use a little more of the ones I have or add spinach or rocket leaves.

Ingredients

• Romaine lettuce – 50 gm                          

• Lolorosso lettuce – 50 gm

• Iceberg lettuce – 50 gm

• Balsamic (Reduction) – 10 gm

• Watermelon cubed

• Greek feta – 15 gm

• Salt as per taste

• Pepper  

• Walnuts – around 15 gm (I add some raisins and roasted almonds, too)

Method:

• Cut the watermelon into cubes and roughly pluck the lettuce.

• Chill watermelon cubes for a few hours. 

• Once ready, marinate the watermelon and lettuce in balsamic dressing separately

• Add salt and pepper.

• Take a fresh bowl and spread lettuce first. Add watermelon on top of salad and sprinkle

The Greek feta cheese and walnut/nuts.

• Serve immediately.

These are simple recipes using seasonal fruits, vegetables and ingredients that are mostly available in our kitchen or the fridge. Eating five portions of fruit each day, greens for the vitamins and to fulfill all the protein requirements per day is all very tedious, and most of us fail at getting the right nutrition, which is the need of the hour. Salads can be boring but with some of these brilliant recipes, it can be a fabulous add on to our meals, as well as something that can be snacked on for those mid-day and evening hunger pangs. Keep safe, keep healthy and keep eating the right stuff this summer!

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THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF HARSHVARDHAN RANE

Uday Pratap Singh

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Actor Harshvardhan Rane has garnered a huge fan base over the years, thanks to his performances in films like Taish and Sanam Teri Kasam. Besides his acting ventures, Rane is also loved for being an adventure enthusiast. While he loves riding motorbikes, he also owns an off-roader, which he’s named Jango. Interestingly, he’s owned the 4×4 for eight years and now he’s become the face of the brand! 

His friends and fans call him ‘the mountain boy’ and they are well aware that Harshvardhan holds Jango very close to his heart. He’s done various adventure trails with it and he’s spent days eating, sleeping and literally staying in it at deserted locations. Now, becoming a face for the brand Mahindra is like life coming a full circle for him.

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