She is a woman of many talents; many lives lived within the span of one. A poet, a tarot reader, a filmmaker, director of the Dalmia Group and above all a writer who looks at words as imaginary paintings that reside within our souls. Hence her recent work where she compiled all per prose in one book, One Soul Many Lives, was a coming together of her works and art from a hundred leading maestros of India.
Laxmana Dalmia is always lost with the threads of her thought, expressing them through verses and words. We meet her in one of the most distinguished old havelis of Delhi, driving down the long, very long drive-way of the Dalmia residence in Delhi. One of the many splendorous old homes where the far branched-out Dalmia family lives. Given that the grand patriarch of this family, Ramakrishna Dalmia married six times and had more than a dozen children. A typical manor built in the early 19th century, the house is majestically perched and to date remains preserved in its original form.
Laxmana Dalmia, the quietest amongst the Dalmia scions, is also the introspective daughter who grew up trying to catch “my father’s much distracted eye on silly little me even if it were for a Nano of a warm moment”. At the same time basking in the deep reservoir of her mother’s love. Laxmana Dalmia, born to the last and sixth wife Durgesh Nandini, is an author, poetess, filmmaker and activist who simply traced her mother’s footsteps and began walking in them.
“My mother, who was a renowned writer in Hindi, introduced me to the world of literature. She would ask me to read aloud whatever she had written and then write it neatly as none could read her handwriting. My first attempt at serious writing was when I edited her biographical novels. Encouraged by my mother, I started writing when I was 13. Once I started I haven’t stopped,” smiles Laxmana dressed in a rich Bandhej sari.
A quest for words recently led her to launch her debut book, One Soul Many Lives, a compilation of verses that capture emotions in myriad hues. Free-wheeling in style and simply written from the heart, the poems take you on a walk called life. Life as Laxmana sees it. She talks of love beyond titles and bonds. The kind she has shared with famed theatre actor Aziz Qureishi who stood by her side from the moment they met at college in the 1970s. Ever since they are together as true soul mates.
She writes on the dichotomy of today’s world that builds walls and divides while offering lip service to egalitarianism. A sense of equality amongst people that IPTA introduced to India a few decades back and Laxmana as active member and treasurer of the organisation strives hard to keep alive. “IPTA is the reflection of my core values. I feel we have to not just feel equal but be truly equal as a nation.” Then in another poem she is a caring grandmother to her adopted son Rudra Dalmia’s children. A single woman who preferred to live in love, she doted on her two adopted son’s family. Laxmana Dalmia is an entrepreneur, with many years of experience in the world of multimedia. She has been actively involved in production, writing and direction for TV, radio and theatre.
In tone and tenor her poems are like her heart speaking out loud. “When I read them now, I find that I have written more than I knew I was writing. If someone asked me what kind of poems I have written — I wouldn’t know how to typecast them. They are just my interpretations of a host of experiences. Life has made me run through an entire gamut of emotions ranging from fear, insecurity, frustration, jealousy, hatred and anger to love, comprehension, compassion, balance and then perhaps spirituality.
A filmmaker and theatre person Laxmana thinks visually and hence invited leading artists like Anjolie Ela Menon, Jayashree Burman, Raghu Rai, George Martin, Pooja Iranna, Benoy Verghese to match visuals to her verses. “It was such a fluid way of allowing two creative realms to co-exist together. Right from the spectacular launch to the book itself, I think we were able to weld the words with art very well,” says Ashwini Bahadur, the one who put it all together.
Agreeing with her is artist Jayashree Barman. “Poetry is an aesthetic representation of reality… it is ornamented with the choicest of words, the music of rhymes and the art of brevity. So yes, poems I have grown up with do crop up in my mind when I paint. I was pleased to paint Laxmana›s words and found the meanings of the verse translated into my palette.” Anjolie too, whose art is like poetry, found the inherent simplicity in Laxmana’s work endearing. Joining in on an exclusive shoot she felt that art is art, in any form.
George Martin, the intense artist who expresses through colour, created a special piece for Laxmana’s book. He says, “My work reflects the transition between conscious and subconscious states, investigating the tension between the natural and manmade situations. I often connect myself with time and space or images and memory, psychedelic outburst of colours. Laxmana’s poem Shadow or Substance — I transformed to visual poetry. Here images and shadows give a third meaning to the viewer.”
Pooja Iranna, who painted the poem titled “Nostalgia”, found an instant vibration with the words. “Yes, I believe that art is fluid. It is a downpour of expression and many times easily and effortlessly flows. My whole work revolves around this very beautiful poem. It’s a set of five works with dark backgrounds signifying thick dark nights with bright incorporated structures signifying nostalgia and memories of moments spent in them.” For the curator, this was a unique show, both in real installations and the book. “At the art show I tried to create a fairy-tale setting which felt as if you were walking through an exaggerated book,” says George.
And to sum it all, Laxmana recites one of her favourite poems, The Devil and the Divine. For me, the boat filled with people, gliding in the foreground, represents people who have been victorious in eliminating the ‘devil’ and have climbed the bandwagon towards ‘divine’ salvation. The second boat with two figures, I imagine, is like the lone person making a clandestine, ignominious pact with the devil. The flautist playing ‘His’ tune is equally energising and encouraging — almost like a salutation to those who have risen above the odds and challenges life has thrown at them! “
The poem and photograph by Raghu Rai are individually and collectively composed with cognitive and emotional elements that can be juxtaposed to create a reality every human faces, almost every day. Each word that is written in the poem and every nuance captured in the photograph say at least these two same things: “Don’t ever let the devil win!”, “Forgive, Forget and move on!”
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AMITABH BACHCHAN SHARES POWERFUL MESSAGE ON ‘HOPE’
MUMBAI: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan on Tuesday shared a powerful message on ‘Hope’ to encourage everyone to stand together for India and fight the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Big B never leaves a chance to motivate his fans and amplify the voices of different campaigns spreading awareness about the deadly disease. Taking to his Twitter handle, the veteran star shared a motivational video reciting a poem on hope and explaining how with hope and unity the pandemic can be defeated.
“Hope is not a strategy. The author meant to express the notion that actions are more than words. Yes, there is certain unassembled reasoning but, as many pithy saints say, hope is not a start- is often overused and we miss the very point of hope. Yes, hope alone is not a strategy, but when hope guides our actions, great things are possible,” he said.
RADHE TO BE OUT ON OTT AND DTH ALONG WITH THEATRICAL RELEASE
With the second wave of Covid-19 hitting the country, theatres and multiplexes were shut down again in most states and most big film releases were pushed ahead. So when the makers of Salman Khan’s upcoming film Radhe announced they will be releasing the film in theatres and on OTT simultaneously, it came as a shock to exhibitors who were already making a loss.
Radhe, which will be released in theatres and on OTT on 13 May, was sold to Zee Studios for Rs 230 crores, all rights included. This includes rights for music, satellite and theatrical release. The screenings of the film would also contribute to Zee’s revenue. While many feel that Zee and Salman Khan are committing a mistake by releasing the action movie amid the deadly second wave of Covid, others feel that the filmmakers are right in doing so.
When the announcement of the hybrid release of Radhe was made, Zee and Salman Khan had expected that theatres would be allowed to reopen by or before 13 May. However, given the Covid outbreak, many states where cinemas were functional have actually asked them to down their shutters.
BLACK WIDOW SLATED TO RELEASE IN INDIA BY JULY 9
NEW DELHI: The much-awaited Marvel superhero film ‘Black Widow’ starring Scarlett Johansson will soon release in India. The film is making its way to Indian theatres on July 9 this year.
Indian film critic and trade analyst Taran Adarsh shared the news on his Instagram handle on Tuesday. He shared a new intriguing poster of the movie and alongside the poster he wrote, “NEXT SUPERHERO SPECTACLE FROM #MARVEL… #BlackWidow – starring #ScarlettJohansson – to release in #India on 9 July 2021 in 6 languages: #English, #Hindi, #Tamil, #Telugu, #Kannada and #Malayalam… NEW POSTER…” The much anticipated Marvel flick was supposed to hit the big screens on April 30 in India, and May 1, 2020, in the US but due to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic it got delayed several times.
‘Black Widow’ has Johansson reprising her role as Natasha/Black Widow, Florence Pugh is starring as Yelena, David Harbour portrays Alexei/The Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz will be Melina. Johansson has played Black Widow, a major role in seven Marvel movies, tracking her evolution from a morally dubious Russian assassin to a world-saving Avenger.
In the upcoming film, pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger. What’s even more interesting is that viewers will witness the new Marvel villain, Taskmaster.
The movie is helmed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige
RITU PHOGAT BANKING ON WRESTLING HISTORY TO GET PAST EXPERIENCED VETERAN BI NGUYEN
In her upcoming bout against experienced veteran Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen, Indian wrestling superstar Ritu Phogat will be relying on the skills that got her to the world’s largest martial arts organisation in the first place.
Ritu is scheduled to face Nguyen at ONE: DANGAL, a tape-delayed event from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore that airs on May 15. “The Indian Tigress” has not made her game plan heading into this fight a secret. The 26-year-old will be looking to take Nguyen down and finish her on the mat.
“I think that Bi’s weakness is that her wrestling is not as strong and so my strength will be her weakness. Because of my wrestling history, I should be able to take Bi down effectively and I should be able to finish her off,” said Ritu in an official statement.
Ritu made headlines in 2019 when she announced she would be transitioning to the Circle.
A national icon from a famous wrestling family in her native India, Ritu made her ONE Championship debut two years ago, and has since racked up an unblemished win-loss slate, defeating her first four opponents in impressive fashion.
Meanwhile, Nguyen has had a rough go as of late. Ritu is confident she can continue her winning streak, and deal her Vietnamese-American foe another heartbreaking setback.
“Bi is a great fighter because she is more experienced. I have studied all her previous matches and her standing game has been extremely strong,” Ritu said.
“It will be a great watch for fans as it will allow them to find out if wrestling or striking gets the upper hand in this match,” she added.
ONE: DANGAL features a host of Indian martial arts stars, and aims to showcase the very best that India has to offer.
In the main event, Indian wrestling champion Arjan “Singh” Bhullar challenges Filipino-American superstar Brandon “The Truth” Vera for the ONE Heavyweight World Title.
Other Indian athletes scheduled for action include Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat and Roshan Mainam.
Ritu feels that while Nguyen’s experience does pose a threat, focusing on her own game plan and what she brings to the table will be enough to offset anything “Killer Bee” brings to the table. She vows to show fans just how much she has improved, and perhaps a new side to her game that fans have yet to discover.
RASHMIKA MANDANNA SOON TO MAKE HER BOLLYWOOD DEBUT WITH MISSION MAJNU
MUMBAI: Rashmika Mandanna will soon be seen in her Bollywood debut, Mission Majnu with Sidharth Malhotra. The director and producers share the reasons as to what made the actress their first choice for the film.
Director, Shantanu Baagchi says, “We were looking for a formidable actress with a fresh, beautiful face when we chanced upon some of Rashmika’s work. I was especially impressed by her nuanced performance in ‘Dear Comrade’. She also has the right mixture of innocence & beauty required for the role. It is a crucial role in the film that needed a sensitive interpretation of the character. I think there’s a very good chance Indian audiences will discover another movie star from the South.”
Producer Amar Butala expresses, “My first interaction with Rashmika was a zoom call in the midst of the lockdown when we narrated the script of Mission Majnu. It was remarkable to see her react to the script and how she picked up very nuance of her character even though we were on a video call! It’s been a pleasure working with her because she brings with her the solid experience and confidence of a big movie star, but also has the sincere energy of a newcomer! We look forward to Hindi film audiences discovering her in Mission Majnu.” Producer Garima Mehta, “The first thing you see in Rashmika is her dazzling smile and the sheer energy and charm that she exudes. Since her debut film Kirik Party, later Geetha Govindham and Dear Comrade, she has grown into an exceptional and fine actor. We were sure she would bring alive her role in the film. Rashmika and Sidharth share a great on-screen chemistry in Mission Majnu and would surely be loved by her pan – India fan base. It’s exciting to see the freshness she brings to the screen.”
The actress’s impeccable work not only left the audience in awe but clearly, a team of producers and directors as well who signed her on for their film. Mission Majnu is Rashmika’s first foray into a spy thriller yet the team felt she was the perfect choice for the film because of her talent.
GAL GADOT SAYS JOSH WHEDON ‘THREATENED MY CAREER’
WASHINGTON [US]: Hollywood star Gal Gadot, during a recent interview, opened up and revealed her experience about working with ‘Justice League’ director Joss Whedon, against whom there are several accusations that recently came to light.
According to E! News, the ‘Wonder Woman’ actor, while speaking with an Israeli news channel for an interview she shared more detail about her experience with the director, who stepped in to film (and re-shoot) ‘Justice League’ after Zack Snyder exited the movie following a family tragedy. Gal had previously hinted that her experience with Joss “wasn’t the best one.”
However, she explained, “But I took care of it there and when it happened. I took it to the higher-ups.” But now, the 36-year-old star elaborated on her past remarks about the 56-year-old Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator. “What I had with Joss, basically, is that he kind of threatened my career and told me that if I did something, he would ensure that my career would be miserable. And I simply handled it on the spot,” Gal told the TV channel. The director has come under fire, with several actors from his projects coming forward with their own stories about working with him.
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