AGE OF SAMURAI SERVES AS A VERITABLE PRIMER ON THE MOST TURBULENT PERIOD IN JAPANESE HISTORY - The Daily Guardian
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AGE OF SAMURAI SERVES AS A VERITABLE PRIMER ON THE MOST TURBULENT PERIOD IN JAPANESE HISTORY

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Samurai cinema, also called “chanbara” or “chambara”, is the Japanese equivalent of the Western genre and it mostly deals with epic period dramas and swashbuckler films generally set during the Edo period or Tokugawa era (1600–1868 AD). Now, it was the Japanese master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa who first introduced the genre to the western audiences through a series of swashbuckling movies such as Seven Samurai (1954),  The Hidden Fortress (1958), Yojimbo (1961), and Sanjuro (1962).  Kurosawa’s samurai movies usually celebrated and glamorized the samurai tradition (pride, honor, and sacrifice as laid down by the code of Bushido) which basically made the samurai look cool. But there’s a flip side to every coin. Another master Japanese filmmaker Masaki Kobayashi presented a darker, grimmer, and perhaps a more realistic picture. His chanbara masterworks Harakiri (1962) and Samurai Rebellion (1967) are perhaps the earliest examples of realistic portrayal of samurai’s life in feudal Japan. Later on, however, Kurosawa did correct his course by making two of his finest masterworks—Kagemusha (1980) and Ran (1985). Both these films are evidently much closer to Kobayashi’s bleaker interpretation.

For most of the world, these films are an entry point to what it meant to be a samurai and there is hardly anything known beyond the scope of these films as well as others subsequently made by filmmakers like Yôji Yamada, Takashi Miike, and Takeshi Kitano. But what if someone wants to get into the intricacies beyond the scope of these films? What it really meant to be a samurai? What did it take to become one? Where did they come from? Well, if you too are looking for answers then you needn’t look any further than the six-part documentary series by Netflix titled “Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan”. Relying on graphic re-enactments, voiceover narration, and interviews of historians, the series tells the story of the bloodiest period in Japanese history when the country was facing a civil war with several powerful daimyo (warlords) vying for supremacy during the final phase of the Sengoku period in feudal Japan from 1551 to 1616.

Some of the key historical figures that the series brings to life include the unpredictable and bloodthirsty Oda Nobunaga who becomes head of the Oda clan upon the death of his father Oda Nobuhide in 1551. Nobunaga launches a war against other daimyo with the aim of unifying Japan. Ruling with an iron fist and showing zero tolerance for those who dared defy his authority, Nobunaga ingeniously devises an uninterrupted infantry fire (called the volley fire) by shooting arquebuses (an early type of portable gun) in rotating ranks. The ploy proves to be decisive for Nobunaga at the Battle of Nagashino (the battle and the resulting carnage forms the chilling climax of Kurosawa’s Kagemusha) in 1575 where his men decimate the formidable army of Takeda Katsuyori (the son of Japan’s pre-eminent daimyo Takeda Shingen, portrayed by the legendary Tatsuya Nakadai in Kagemusha). But, at the height of his glory, Nobunaga is eliminated by his own samurai general Akechi Mitsuhide in 1582. Mitsuhide in turn is killed by Nobunaga’s loyal retainer Toyotomi Hideyoshi at the Battle of Yamazaki, only a couple of weeks later.

Age of Samurai then follows Hideyoshi’s quest for supremacy. A peasant with no traceable samurai lineage, Hideyoshi had risen in stature under Nobunaga who unlike other warlords put merit about lineage. After Nobunaga’s death, Hideyoshi kills Mitsuhide and goes on to fulfill Nobunaga’s dream of unifying Japan. But soon he is consumed by power and in the year 1592 he sends his forces to invade Korea with the ultimate aim of conquering China. But after tasting some early success, his forces are unable to overcome the local Korean resistance and the invasion ultimately proves to be a suicidal mission. Unable to come to terms with the reality, Hideyoshi grows more and more delirious, refusing to call his troops back. When he breathes his last in 1598, his council finally withdraws the forces from Korea.

Hideyoshi’s death provides an easy passage to power to the cunning and calculative Tokugawa Ieyasu who has been waiting in the ranks for his turn to finally claim the throne for himself. After the decisive Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Ieyasu slowly begins to destroy all the opposing factions. In 1603, Ieyasu is conferred with the title of shogun, having outlived all the other great warlords of his times. The Sengoku period ends when Toyotomi loyalists get defeated at the siege of Osaka in 1615. The Tokugawa shogunate would rule Japan for the next 250 years until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

Age of Samurai has been criticized for leaving out some important events as well as for its several other minor inconsistencies such as inaccurate depiction of samurai hairstyles, armor, etc. Also, unlike some of the other documentary series relying on re-enactments, Age of Samurai provides little dialog to the actors portraying the various warlords and relies mostly on the voiceover and the interviews which somewhere distances us from these characters. However, despite the shortcomings, it serves as a veritable primer on the most turbulent period in Japanese history.

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SHWETA AND ABHINAV’S ESTRANGED RELATIONSHIP CAUGHT ON CCTV

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Actress Shweta Tiwari and Abhinav Kohli’s estranged relationship has caught attention on social media. Abhinav Kohli has shared some videos on his social media account. Shweta Tiwari shared CCTV footage from her building’s compound in which Abhinav is seen trying to snatch Reyansh from Shweta which makes her fall. Shweta Tiwari posted a video with a long note on her social media in which she said that Reyansh is scared of his father and he does not want to see him. The tiff came to light when Abhinav Kohli allegedly claimed that Shweta has left son Reyansh in hotel room and left for shoot in Cape Town for a reality show and that is when Shweta lost her calm and posted her side on social media to which again Abhinav Kohli answered in return with a new video.

Shweta posted on her social media, Now let the truth come out!!!! This is why my Child is scared of him! After this incident my child was scared for more than a month, he was so scared that he would not even sleep properly at Night! His had hurt for more than 2 weeks. Even now he is scared of his papa coming home or meeting him. I can’t let my Child go Through this mental trauma.. I try my best to keep him calm and happy! But this Horrible Man makes sure my baby’s mental health goes back to Square one! If this is not Physical abuse then what is!!!!??

After the post of Shweta where Abhinav is seen manhandling Reyansh, Abhinav Kohli shared videos that showed their son Reyansh refusing to go back to his mother. Abhinav claimed that Reyansh had come to stay with him when Shweta had tested positive for Covid last year after which he refused to go back to her despite everyone’s request. The video shows Reyansh telling Abhinav that he wants to live with him. Abhinav shared video on Instagram after Shweta shared CCTV footage of her society.

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NORMALISE DIALOGUES ABOUT LGBTQ+: ANSHUMAN JHA

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NEW DELHI: A gay man and a lesbian woman take a road trip from Delhi to McLeodganj and figure out the real meaning of friendship and love. This is the plot of Anshuman Jha’s latest release, Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele, co-starring Zareen Khan. Jha, who has also turned producer with the film, speaks about how he prepared for his role as Veer and what the message of this film is.

Q: What attracted you towards the story of Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele?

A: Its humane quality. Compassion is at the core of the story. It is about loving without conditions. And it is a journey of discovering love in friendship. That the two protagonists were from the LGBTQ+ community made it that much more complex as a narrative, and therefore attractive. Also, Veer is a vulnerable character, not a heroic one. I like such characters.

Q: How did you prepare as an actor for this film?

A: It began with understanding the inner conflicts of the character, followed by lots of research by meeting a lot of people from the community, trying to understand the psychophysical aspects of being a gay man. I workshopped with Vinod Rawat which helped a lot. I made little changes to my daily existential practices. For instance, Anshuman wears the watch on the left, Veer on the right hand. A combination of all these things helped build towards the shoot. And then instinct took over. I am happiest if people remember me through my characters — I am more excited in you remembering Veer, my character, than you remembering Anshuman. Because Anshuman will die one day but Veer will live forever. So I intended to put every effort I could put in creating him honestly.

Q: What was it like to don the producer’s hat for this film?

A: Challenging. Producing is a thankless job. But I am grateful to be making movies that have a voice. Also, producing means having an eye on the endgame – just making the film well isn’t enough, making sure it goes out in the right manner, on the right platform, is more important.

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MANIESH PAUL PENS EMOTIONAL NOTE ENCAPSULATING FEAR ENGULFING NATION

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MUMBAI: With the second wave of coronavirus, the nation has been distraught constantly surrounded by news of rising cases. Actor and TV show host Maniesh Paul penned an emotional poem enfolding thoughts of every individual.

The 39-year-old star took to Instagram and posted a video featuring a poignant poem aptly capturing the insecurities of the masses.

Speaking about the poem Maniesh Paul shared, “As a nation, we are going through the same emotions, the same fears and insecurities. I had been away from my family for a very long time in the last lockdown and again now as we are locked in our homes, there is no certainty but only hope for a better tomorrow. These daunting thoughts have kept me awake through nights and I sought solace in art by writing this poem offering an outlet to my emotions.”

Flaunting yet another facade of his abilities, the ‘Indian Idol’ host has unveiled his talent of writing through the poem.

Along with the video, he wrote, “Written something…sharing with you all…the times we are living in…watch the full video on my youtube channel.” After captivating the audience with his charm as an RJ, VJ, television host, stage performer, and actor, Paul recently launched his own podcast offering more aspects of his versatility, along with his latest talent of writing. 

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BOLLYWOOD STARS EXTEND HEARTFELT GREETINGS ON EID-UL-FITR 2021

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MUMBAI: As the nation commemorates the auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, scores of Bollywood stars including Abhishek Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, R Madhavan and many others extended greetings on the festival. The ‘Mr India’ actor took to Twitter and shared a post by History Archives’ Instagram page. The post showcased a soulful poem featuring a prayer to exude positivity and light amid the dark times. Along with the post, Kapoor noted, “For the praying and the ones who can’t anymore. For the ones who need prayers a little more than most others in these tough times. For whom there is none left to pray for or with. This Eid, we do. For all of you.”

Urging people to stay indoors and keep their masks on whenever they need to step out, the ‘Dhoom’ actor took to Twitter and shared a picture featuring the crescent moon and a mosque with lamps hanging in the backdrop.

“Eid mubarak. (Folded hands emoticon)#StayHomeStaySafe #MaskOn,” tweeted Bachchan. ‘3 Idiots’ actor R Madhavan took to Twitter and shared a poster to commemorate the festival on social media.

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RAVEENA TANDON SHARES THROWBACK PICTURE OF RISHI AND NEETU KAPOOR

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raveena tandon

NEW DELHI: Bollywood actor Raveena Tandon on Wednesday shared an old picture of late Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor from their wedding day. The actor took to her Instagram handle and shared a black and white photo of the iconic couple. Along with it, she penned a note that read, “Found a gem. A tad too late though. Thank you @juuhithesoniibabbar for finding this pic. Chintu uncle kept asking me for this pic to put in his autobiography.” Raveena further added, “And some how I had lost the original. Found it .so that’s me standing with chintu uncle, at his wedding. Wish I’d gotten it a bit earlier. Nonetheless, it is treasure for me. #treasuredmemories @neetu54.”

In the photo, baby Raveena could be seen adorably smiling for the camera while standing beside Rishi and Neetu on their wedding day. The bride and the groom looked happy as they posed along with guests. Rishi, who was a legendary actor in Indian cinema, passed away on April 30, last year. Prior to his demise, Rishi was in New York for his treatment with his wife. The couple got married on January 22, 1980, and share two children together, Riddhima Kapoor Sahani and superstar Ranbir Kapoor.

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SUNNY SINGH OPENS UP ON HIS PREPARATION FOR ADIPURUSH

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MUMBAI: Sunny Singh is gearing up for his first Pan-India film, Adipurush. The actor is making the most of the lockdown by preparing for his character in the film in order to maintain his physique.

Talking about his prep to play Laxman in Adipurush, Sunny Singh shares, “I have been working out twice a day because they want me to be a little muscular and there is a requirement of size gain for the character. So with the help of my trainers, the current workout routine which I have been following is weight training with a combination of functional training.”

He adds, “Unfortunately, owing to the pandemic while we are not shooting I still have to follow the workout and fitness regime to maintain the physique for the character so that I am in the required shape when we resume the shoot.”

The Sonu Ke Tittu Ki Sweety star will be seen in his first ever Pan-India film in Adipurush, also marking his first foray into a mythological role. 

Sunny Singh often keeps his fans entertained through his social media with his breath taking monochrome pictures and tongue in cheek captions. 

Sunny Singh will be seen as Laxman in the Om Raut directorial which also stars Prabhas, Kriti Sanon and Saif Ali Khan.

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