Weekend Pretty : Rainbow Roses

I saw these beauties yesterday and loved the surreal, vivid colours that these rainbows were in. Most likely they have been dyed by the florists, but the colours were pretty well blended and looked quite intense – they reminded me of a beautiful, surreal painting. I would have liked to buy some but they were pretty expensive (and being sold at individual price!) so I thought I might give it a shot to dye one of my own. I’ll be sure to post if that doesn’t turn out to be a shambles.

Happy weekendings, all!

20141029_171906

Haider – To Watch or Not to Watch

Haider – a Bollywood remake of the timeless Shakespeare classic Hamlet, set in modern day Kashmir.

I recently watched Bollywood art-film Haider, which interprets Shakespeare’s troubled hero Hamlet into a conflicted younger adult Haider, whose conscience and confusion leads the way through a canvas of Kashmir conflict, troubled relationships and the idea of love in more than one form.

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that there is a Bollywood version of Hamlet – after all, Haider is the third in a series of Shakespeare dramatisations in Bollywood by director Vishal Bhardwaj, after making Omkara which is based on Othello and Maqbool, based on Macbeth. I also recently saw Ram Leela, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s version of Romeo and Juliet, set in the Rajhastan, India, which was a colourful albeit not as serious as the above films. What makes Haider works that it is not just a mere translation of Hamlet – the film takes the story and re-invents it into something much more.

I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of remakes – although there have been a few which have been terrible, and Bollywood on the whole is always churning out films which aren’t always a hundred percent brilliant. Haider-movie-posterIt sounds like a typical re-hashing of a clichéd storyline – boy meets girl, conflict from one or both families, and a macho battle at the end where everything ends well.

Haider take on the storyline is a more contemporary one, touching on the conflict in Kashmir, not only being caught in between India and Pakistan’s tug-of-war, but also the idea of conflict in family, between brothers, spouses, mother and child and even between lovers.

Shahid Kapoor plays the troubled youth, whose father goes missing after a military search of their village for terrorists being hidden. Thus sparks a search for the truth, questioning not only where his father is, but also who was responsible for his capture, who to trust, and the concept of revenge.

The primary thing which I note in this film is the spectacular cinematography, the beautiful scenes and landscapes, and the artistic presentation of Kashmir – this is Kashmir as it has never been shown before. For all that Kashmir is a stark, depressing place it also has a haunting beauty, and Bhardwarj depicts all of that – from snowy mountains, grassy hilltops, weaving trains which illuminate modern homes as well as ruins and castles.

Also layered in the film is music, which is infused with Kashmiri tones – there’s only a two or three songs in the whole movie (which is a relief after generations of films which pound out trance-style music or sexy tunes which have nothing to do with the plot) – but they are real Kashmir folk-style songs. Reknowned actress Tabu, who plays Haider’s mother Ghazala mesmerises on-screen, from her expressive eyes and heart-wrenching emotions, to the haunting folk songs she sings, which unravel through the film as we question her motives, her relationship with her brother-in-law, and her love for her son. She sums it up wonderfully when she describes herself as a a ‘half widow’ – half bride and wife, half a widow, forever searching and not knowing, caught up in her own obssessions and guilt which are never fully revealed.

Adding to this is Haider’s father himself, the missing and presumed dead doctor, weaving in his love of music and ballads which adds poetry to the movie, contrasting Kay Kay Menon as the smooth-talking, slippery Uncle of Haider, whose smooth lies and logical explanations add chaos and confusion to the mystery, making not just Haider but the audience question what the truth is.

Also a big part of this is love – Shradda Kapoor plays a feisty Orphelia who tries to support the hero, although his wall of confusion, search for identity and his growing depression pushes back at this. At the heart of this film is also the suggestion of an Oedipal complex – Haider’s relationship with his mother is wraught with jealousy, confusion, and anger, and at times it is almost uncomfortable to watch their awkward, intense scenes. Similarly, Haider’s memories of his father and his love for his father only serve to confuse more, as we question the reason for revenge and whether it is beign manipulated by militants for their own ends – scenes of Haider searching for his father with missing posters in his backpack, bloody, smuggled bodies in trucks and morgues and cemetries only makes this film more haunting and moving.

The best part of the movie, for me, though, was that even though the film has it’s own style, and captures its own struggles well, it still remains faithful to the essence of Hamlet – the self-doubt, the conflict, the questioning which pervades it. And of course, the director could not resist slipping in the eternal famous line “To be or not to be” (in Hindi, of course!) as well as the famous scene with Hamlet and the skull (which is not a horror scene but an amusing one, as Shakespeare intended!) While Haider is a unique story in itself, it remains faithful to the ideas that Hamlet promotes – a haunting scene, for example his Haider’s reasoning that he would not kill his father’s murderer while he is in prayer, because he does not want a sinner to be absolved and go straight to heaven – this is a scene I vividly remember studying in university and which resonated with me.

For all that this is a sombre film, there are also a lot of  quirky moments as well, surprisingly amusing moments which add to the depth of the film and add another facet to the character of Haider. Haider’s play-madness makes us chuckle, and the song in the cemetery with three old men digging graves reminds me of a quirky Cohen brother’s movie, something cheeky and slightly inappropriate because of the way it makes fun of death. There are plenty of jokes too, one of my favourite being a woman who is unable to understand why her husband stands outside their house for hours and refuses to speak or come in – which is solved by a quick request for ID card and then permission to enter – it’s a reflection of how their daily lives have become, yet handled deftly and lightly.

 

haider1

For me, Haider works because of the many pieces which fit together and blend well – the music, the scenery, the dialogues and the ability of all of the actors to make characters come alive and make us question. The director cleverly re-shapes this storyline in a new context, while still remaining faithful to the essence of Hamlet, which is not an easy thing to do. I don’t often praise Bollywood films but this is a rare gem, it captivates from the first few scenes and carries through to a compelling, bloody and emotional ending. Haider is a film which is more than just a boy’s search for his father and his murderer, it is about identity of himself and his country, his love for his family, and the idea of truth, revenge and what the right thing to do is.

I would strongly recommend this film to most people – it is poetry, war and misplaced patriotism on screen which answers whether to watch or not to watch, although I say, watch it.

Weekly Challenge: Cover Art

A few days ago I saw a really colourful piece of street art in Brick Lane, near Aldgate East which caught my eye, not least of all because of the funky design which shows a quirky character (with, I think, his hands on his head?)

I think this would make a really interesting album cover, or even a sketch, or even a comic series! What do you think?

20141023_174035Part of this weeks Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art

Vintage Mondays: Pandora’s Wardobe, A Hidden Fashion Treasure Trove

I love vintage shops, and I was lucky enough to come across one a couple of days ago with some beautiful designer vintage-wear in it while on a trip to Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea. I love the name of it as well – Pandora’s Wardobe, implying secrets from a box wrapped up in beautiful things froom a wardrobe, very appealing (although excuse my reflection in the picture, entirely accidental!)

And there’s definitely some goodies in here which caught my eye, I saw a beautiful black and gold embroidered vintage evening jacket, a vintage silk Karl Lagerfield scarf and a beautiful collection of shoes (although I didn’t have enough money to buy anything!)

It’s nice to find a genuine vintage shop (and it’s on a whole road of junk shops, thrift shops and antique shops!) which you can walk along cobbled-streets and stop for a nice spot of tea and cake at the end of!

Happy Vintage Mondays!

20141016_130402

Our Eid-al-Adha – Flowery dresses, twirling babies and rainbow balloons

We celebrated Eid-al-Adha this weekend, which was a special Eid for me as it was the first one for me after marriage, and meant that I could spend time with the family and also with my husband. We were invited to dinner at my eldest sister’s house, and also for lunch at my mum’s house the next day, so we had a busy dance card!

One of the best things about celebrating Eid is that it’s always a fun day, the family gets together from all over London (and Luton!) and there’s always good food. I love the spirit in the air as well, the younger children are excited about presents, sweets and new clothes, and the bigger kids (i.e. us) are excited about dressing up, good food and seeing all the babies!

Below is just some of the decor from my sister‘s house, which she always makes an effort to put up every year for Eid – I love the fairy lights and the rainbow balloons!

DSC_3992

The highlight of the day as usual was the beautifully cooked food, from both my mum and my sister (my husband left both houses rubbing his stomach and eyeing up more helpings he couldn’t fit into his stomach!) My mum makes it a rule to always have a feast for Eid every year, and she didn’t disappoint this year either – there was plenty of variety and plenty of curries, starters and sweet dishes!

DSC_4071

And of course, for Eid isn’t complete without some beautiful dresses, which I was spoiled with this year, as my mother-in-law sent me a beautiful set of outfits and my mum bought me a new outfit for Eid. My sisters and sister-in-law looked amazing on the day with their new outfits, and the nieces even more adorable in their party dresses which they spend the day twirling around in (I won’t bother mentioning the dress code of men of the family cos…frankly, we don’t look at what they wear) Here’s a look at some of the beautiful outfits we wore on Eid:

DSC_3955

My husband and I ended Eid day with dinner at his best friend’s house, followed by a sneaky late-night movie at the local cinema (which was actually very good!) The whole day was a warm, low-key gathering which was perfect for us, easy to relax followed by a vain session of taking photos in various angles!
I hope you all had a wonderful Eid and weekend, and if you don’t celebrate Eid then I hope you still see the beauty I do in Eid – not only an opportunity to spend time with friends, family and have good food, but also a chance to reflect on the year to come and to remember how lucky we are.

Eid Mubarak and Hajj Mubarak!

Eid Mubarak and Hajj Mubarak everyone, I hope this is an amazing Eid for you, regardless of what you are doing (amd on which day!). I’d also like to give a quick reminder for everyone to remember and keep in your prayers all those who aren’t as fortunate in your prayers, such as people of Palestine, Syria, Burma, Iraq, Bangladesh, Rohingya, Afghanistan and all the other innocent people who are being persecuted in today’s time.

Heres a banner made by my eldest sister Happy Muslimah for Eid, her house was colourfully decorated today which set the mood nicely, not to mention all the yummy food and good company we’ve had today! We have another family dinner tomorrow as well which I’m looking forward too, so more more photos coming soon! Please do tell me how your day was as well !

DSC_3993

Throwback Thursday: Potions & Cauldrons in Harry Potter Studio Tour

I went to the wonderful Harry Potter Studio Tour a while back, and thought some of the sets, costumes and details were amazing – I’ve said before that I won’t post too many photos so I don’t ruin the experience for anyone who wants to go, but I thought I’d do a quick post of a shot I took of the Potions room, which was beautifully laid out with bottles, glasses, beakers, potions and of course, cauldrons.

I love the atmosphere of this photograph, there wasn’t a lot of light so it was almost a night-time view, but it worked because of the soft glow of the lamps and the blue shades in the shadows – you can almost imagine a student creeping through the room trying to steal ingredients or hide from Snape!

DSC_0956