Juhi Chawla Posts

“Faction” edited by Khalid Mohamed

“Faction” edited by Khalid Mohamed

Faction“Stories can be our most priceless possession. We usually remember the most painful ones, or the most pleasurable. The past defines our present. There are many stories to tell, so many that they leap to my mind suddenly, just as I thought they were long forgotten, dead and buried.
To organise the stories and narrate them coherently, separately or all together in a book as a novel, is a writer’s skill and talent. Even if one were to fictionalise the stories — add fantasy, subtract reality — they are a reflection of one’s personality. Those who erase the past are fortunate, they do not carry the burden. At the same time, they lose an important part of themselves by going into denial mode.” 

(p. 179 Om Puri “The kindness of strangers”)

Faction: Short stories by 22 film personalities is edited by Khalid Mohamed, someone who is very closely associated with the world of films — as a journalist, film critic, screenplay writer, director and playwright. As he says in his introduction that it is rare for actors to open up; “the level of intimacy desired is never reached”. In this book he has managed to achieve some of it. Obviously there is a sense of trust and confidence in Khalid Mohamed for the actors to share their thoughts, experiences and stories. Without really letting their guard down, the reader is privy to a very private corner of their life. What comes through is the respect that the actors have for their editor but also the simplicity and humility with which they have written.

Juhi Chawla’s moving essay about her fairy tale life, the loss of her mother in a car accident in Geneva and her brother who slipped into a coma four years ago. ( Sadly Bobby Chawla passed away last week.) Farah Khan remembering her childhood; likewise Karan Johar sharing his moments with Mr and Mrs Pinto, who taught him the fine art of public speaking or Bobby Deol reminiscing about Bhag Singh, his father’s shadow, and the family’s security blanket. Ashutosh Gowariker has a ghost story to narrate; two of the “love” stories that stand out were Akshay Kumar’s “Love on the 7:45am local”; Rishi Kapoor’s “Love in the time of telegrams” and Bollywood legend Ashok Kumar’s “A Calcutta Story”. Om Puri says it well that every story is a reflection of one’s personality. It is so true. The stories collected here seem to be as if the actor is whispering a personal story to the reader who is more like a confidante.

A beautiful collection of stories. They will linger with you long after you have closed the book.

List of Contents 

Love on the 7.45 a.m. local  AKSHAY KUMAR
New York days, New York nights  ARJUN RAMPAL
A Calcutta story  ASHOK KUMAR
Disbelieve it or not  ASHUTOSH GOWARIKER
The window  BASU CHATTERJEE
When the rains came  BOBBY DEOL
Sleepless in the moonlight  DEEPIKA PADUKONE
Guess who came to dinner  FARAH KHAN
Almost a fairy tale till…  JUHI CHAWLA
Speaking of Mr and Mrs Pinto  KARAN JOHAR
Postcards from Paris  MANOJ BAJPAYEE
And father created an actor  NANA PATEKAR
The kindness of strangers  OM PURI
Rugby paradiso  RAHUL BOSE
The boy who didn’t laugh or cry  RAM GOPAL VARMA
Affairs to remember  RICHA CHADDA
Love in the time of telegrams  RISHI KAPOOR
The gigolo  SAI PARANJPYE
Elizabeth and Paul  SHEKHAR KAPUR
Dear Kasim  SHYAM BENEGAL
Girls’ night out  SONAM KAPOOR
A day before the verdict  VARUN DHAWAN

Khalid Mohamed ( ed.) Faction: Short stories by 22 film personalities Om Books International, Noida, 2013. Pb. pp. 300 Rs. 395

20 March 2014 

Gulabi Gang

Gulabi Gang

Pink Sari revolution, Amana Fontanella-KhanFreedom is when I have my own money, but how do I do that?’ she wondered. 

( p.84 Pink Sari Revolution, Amana Fontanella-Khan)

When the Pink Gang hosts a ceremony for a love marriage, the women sometimes erect a wedding tent on an empty strip of land on the outskirts of town. On other occasions they simply organize the festivities at an accommodating temple. Sampat calls the local district commander of the area and gathers a hundred of her Pink Gang members for the occasion, which invariably attracts the local media.  She uses these weddings to deliver speeches on the ills of the caste and dowry systems and to demand why, in this day and age, young people do not have the right to choose their spouse…At these happy-go-lucky weddings, Babuji has the duty of chanting the wedding shlokas from the Bhagvad Gita, and Sampat presents the bride and groom with large garlands strung with marigold, jasmine and gerbera daisies to place around each other’s neck as a sign of respect. Once the rituals are completed, the Pink Gang hands the couple whatever the women have been able to pool together to help the newly-weds, who are often only eighteen or nineteen years old, pay their first few months of rent. 

( p.126-7, Pink Sari Revolution, Amana Fontanella-Khan)

Gulabi Gang or the Pink Gang  have  been creating a buzz in India for sometime now. It is a 20,000 strong, all-women vigilante group operating from Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh under the able leadership of Sampat Lal. Gulabi Gang fights injustice against women. It began with Sampat Lal bringing together women to fight on behalf of domestic violence victims, but slowly the movement has grown to respond to other forms of violence against women. Warrior in a pink sari, Zubaan

Some of the prominent films made on Gulabi Gang are Kim Longinotto’s Pink SarisNishtha Jain’s documentary Gulabi Gang; and the forthcoming Bollywood film starring Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Juhi Chawla Gulaab Gang ( trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAcN8RR3Ry4 ). According to the director, the latter is a fictional account that has been inspired by and is not based upon the life of Sampat Lal.  Some of the recent reviews and blog posts are by Suparna Sharma, Asian Age, reviews Gulabi Gang http://www.asianage.com/movie-reviews/pink-revolution-123 and Jai Arjun Singh blogs about two films on Sampat Lal and her gang http://jaiarjun.blogspot.in/2014/02/pink-saris-and-gulabi-gang-two-films.html . NDTV did a fascinating interview ( 30 March 2010)  http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/the-unstoppable-indians/the-gulabi-gang/135096. The two books that are regularly discussed since they are authentic accounts– by Anne Berthod and Amana Fontanella-Khan. Anne Berthod wrote Sampat Lal’s biography after extensive conversations with her whereas Amana Fontanella-Khan spent time in Bundelkhand, living and documenting Gulabi Gang, its members and of course, speaking to Sampat Lal. The official website of Sampat Lal, Gulabi Gang http://www.gulabigang.in/ .

The gang has caught the imagination of people across the world, not just for the manner in which they work, their uniform of pink saris make them stand out; obviously there battles seem to resonate with women across the world, across socio-economic classes. They have received positive media attention, with documentaries, films and books being created about them. Sampat Lal, the founder, has written an autobiography as told to Anne Berthod, plus she has had no qualms participating in Indian television reality shows like Big Boss.

Sampat Pal, Warrior in a Pink Sari: The Inside Story of the Gulabi Gang as Told to Anne Berthod Zubaan, Delhi, 2013. Pb. ( Autobiography of Sampat Lal as told to Anne Berthod and published in France, 2008)

Amana Fontanella-Khan Pink Sari Revolution: A tale of self-reliance and female grassroots activism Picador India, New Delhi, 2013. Hb. pp.300. Rs. 599