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Friday, September 24, 2021

Sunday Long Reads: A road movie, Shefali Shah on turning director, gun reform in the US, mental health, and more

Check out this week's interesting Sunday Eye stories

By: Lifestyle Desk |
July 25, 2021 10:30:39 am
Film director Zoya Akhtar, writer Reema Kagti, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, road movie, post-pandemic world, eye 2021, sunday eye, indian express newsA still from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)

Why Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is a road movie the post-pandemic world wants to return to

A photograph of a blue convertible on filmmaker Zoya Akhtar’s Instagram page, that has garnered countless likes, has the message — “Time to take the car out again”. It’s a throwback to Akhtar’s sophomore directorial outing Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD), that released a decade ago this month. The film on three best friends on a life-altering road trip in Spain has developed a cult following since, and Akhtar’s post triggered fresh speculations over a possible sequel. Turns out its writers, Akhtar and Reema Kagti, are not averse to the idea. “The story, however, has to be special. I don’t want the sequel to ride on the success of ZNMD,” says Akhtar, 48.


How India went to great lengths to showcase its matchless heritage and hospitality

Rashtrapati Bhavan, heritage and hospitality, eye 2021, sunday eye, indian express news President Rajendra Prasad hosting a banquet in honour of the US president Dwight D Eisenhower in 1959. (Courtesy: Rashtrapati Bhavan Photo Archives)

In the first two decades after Independence, the Rashtrapati Bhavan had the honour of becoming a temporary address for visiting dignitaries, and the legacy continues till date. India was establishing itself on the world map, but it did not let go of traditions that included caring for guests as the saying goes, “atithi devo bhava (the guest is god)”.

The first Indian occupant of the Bhavan, governor-general C Rajagopalachari, moved into the more modest set of rooms in the north-west wing and reserved the most luxurious south-west wing for visiting dignitaries. This guest wing has three floors with a total of 14 rooms, covering an area of nearly 38,622 sq ft. The first floor is normally reserved for heads of states or head of a government, spouses and senior members of the delegation. At the heart of the guest wing are the Dwarka and Nalanda suites, which were occupied by the viceroy and vicereine respectively, during the viceregal era. The suites have antique furniture pieces designed by Edwin Lutyens and a rarely-seen antique shower that can give any modern-day Jacuzzi a run for its money.


How Sweat shows why being a social media influencer is no mean feat

sweat Body Politics: A still from Magnus von Horn’s Swedish-Polish film Sweat

You don’t need a shrink to tell you that online validation as the preferred instrument to navigate life is strewn with innumerable difficulties. And yet, it seems to have an indelible hold on those who glow only when they are in the sight of other people. It’s almost as if they will vanish if they are left to themselves.


How gun reform is the need of the hour in the US

suvir saran Take a shot: With so many guns in civilian hands, it is not surprising that people in the US think of violence before love when having an argument (Illustration: Suvir Saran)

A few weeks ago, when I was in New York City, I heard a CNN report on 10 mass shootings across the US over a weekend. It left at least seven people dead and more than 40 injured. The weekend before, there were another 10 mass shootings that left 12 people dead, across seven states. According to the US-based Gun Violence Archive, there have been 342 mass shootings in the US in a little over the first half of 2021.


What happens when adults become groan-ups

Ranjit Lal, Eye 2021, Sunday eye It’s not the children who don’t want books, it’s the parents who would rather spend the same amount of money on a pizza. (Photo: Ranjit Lal)

In the last couple of years, the world has been convulsed in its battle against COVID-19, and environmental issues like climate change have been relegated to the background. So, when a school friend sent me a WhatsApp forward titled, “Australian newscaster makes mincemeat out of brat Greta Thunberg”, dated May 21, 2021, I took a look. First up came the teenager’s seminal “How Dare You” speech. Oh yes, it was highly impassioned and very angry, but when you are a teenager, that’s your natural mien.

In the video clip, the newscaster piled on to her like a bear on a bunny. He accused her and those of her generation of being the first to demand air-conditioned and computerised classrooms, mobile phones, constant upgrades of their phones and trendy games, people who insisted on being driven to and from school in private cars, instead of walking or biking. They spend all their time with their electronic gadgets, never read a book, don’t go outdoors, and buy fast-food lunches from the cafeteria instead of packing a sandwich, he said. He went to the extent of calling them “virtuous little turds” and advised them to “read a book” and finally, and blisteringly, to “wake up, grow up and shut up!”


Missing the woods for the trees

shelja sen, sunday, eye 2021 If you are seeking psychiatric help or therapy then remember to look for professionals who are respectful, can work with you collaboratively, and do not see you as a passive recipient of their expertise. (Source: Getty images)

There are some dangerous and pervasive ideas in mental health that are gaining traction. They have become the so-called truths, particularly when they are backed by Big Data research and powerful names in the field. As mental-health professionals, it becomes important for us to pause and critique these ideas to ensure we do not end up becoming its teeth and claws, causing more harm than helping the people we serve.

To draw a parallel, suppose during the peak of Delhi’s pollution, we only focused on treating children’s lung problems without looking at the polluted air that was inflicting damage. No amount of chest specialists, medication, nebulising would help us get anywhere. Where and what is the “silent killer” (words used to describe the snowballing mental-health problem)? Is it residing in the children’s lungs or in the belching industries, crop burning, heavy traffic and the negligent governance?


‘Gautam Benegal believed in me way before I learned to believe in myself’

Gautam Benegal Gautam Benegal

“Let’s start work on that book,” Gautam Benegal texted me in early December last year, “before I die of COVID or whatever.”

I shot back three laugh emojis and promised to call him later that evening.


‘I don’t want to lose out on the wave I’m riding’

The acclaimed actor, who headlined the Emmy-award winning show Delhi Crime (2019) as DCP Vartika Chaturvedi, is currently enjoying the spotlight with several interesting projects in her kitty.

For actor Shefali Shah, the lockdown was a period of introspection and taking a step towards fulfilling her long-cherished dream of turning a director. After making the short film Someday (2020) about a frontline worker and her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, she has released her second short film, Happy Birthday Mummyji. The 49-year-old actor has written, directed and acted in this film about a woman who unexpectedly finds herself alone, away from her family and relatives, and enjoys her solitude.


How a bizarre case of social-media deceit led to the death of three in Kerala

In a state with high internet penetration and wide acceptance of platforms like Facebook among the restless young population, the boundaries between real and unreal often get fuzzy and things get out of hand. (Illustration by Suvajit Dey)

Like any other day, Sudarshanan Pillai, 55, had just returned home after a visit to the local temple on the morning of January 5 and was savouring a cup of tea in his modest home in the village of Kalluvathukkal in Kerala’s Kollam district, when his younger daughter, Reshma, 22, barged in, holding a newborn in her arms. She had spotted the infant in a heap of dry leaves beside the house, she told her father and her husband Vishnu. “He was alive and the umbilical cord was intact. He seemed like a healthy baby,” recalls Pillai.



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