Friday 6 July 2018

Tilismi Lota: Theatre Review

Tilismi Lota: A quick review of the comedy play

When? June-July 2018 (Premier shows at Sangeet Natak Academy and Bharatendu Natya Academy, Lucknow).

What is it? A comedy play put up by a talented group of rising theatre stars from Lucknow.

Genre? Sweet comedy, slight political satires

Sparkle Meter :-
(I'd have given them a 8/10, to be honest. But they earn an extra point for the huge risk taken to stage a comedy play in Awadhi and how!)

In a long, long while comes a play which is scripted totally in the local, colloquial dialect. This one is a local rendition of Awadhi. It is a neat, sweet comedy, packed with musical notes, stellar performances and so much laughter that it will get you rolling on the floor.

If ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ would ever be put up on stage as a comedy of errors, it would be this, with each character of the play etching for the viewer an unforgettable image.

Story Sketch

In a village called Ruknapur, Punai and Machetu are best friends who want to become richer the short-cut way. They’re both hopelessly useless, unhygienic and crass, yet come across as sweet and kind human beings. Jugadhu Pradhan is a criminal from the village, contesting election for the post of Pradhan. His power, not only muscle but also filthy money, helps him tame the entire village out of fear. Machetu mocks God night after night with satirical (and musical) prayers until one fine night Lord Krishna himself appears before him to grant a wish. Machetu is blessed with a ‘Tilismi Lota’ that would change his life forever after. What follows next is how Punai and Machetu get back at Jugadhu Pradhan contesting against him in the elections, how Machetu’s love story with Pradhan’s only daughter grows, how Tilismi Lota changes his luck and how multiple plots get interwoven in a common thread that leave them with a lesson they’ll remember a lifetime.

What Is Good About The Play?

      1. Awadhi Language
Not often does one get to watch a play scripted totally in a local dialect, like this one which is partially in Awadhi and partially in Allahabadi. Quite often, the directors are sceptical running the risk of limited viewership or the plot isn’t powerful enough to hold the play in local language for a wider audience. Tilismi Lota, fortunately, is a blend of both elements. It’s a must watch for every Uttar Pradeshi. And those who are ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ fans would die for it.

      2. Acting Prowess
Remarkable performances by the cast, especially, actors playing Machetu, Punai and Jugadhu. They leave behind unforgettable characters that stay with you for long.

      3. Comedy Timing
None of the funny liners or sarcasms fall flat. Actors pick up dialogues spot on and emphasise with just the right diction. Even the Bollywood songs that have been choreographed have hilarious dance moves, particularly typical ‘baraati dance’ that leave audience laughing with tears.

What Is Not So Good About The Play?

1. Slangs and Cuss Words
Although used in undertones and in limited scope, there certainly are portions in the play where local slangs and cuss words have been unapologetically used. It does not hurt the ears though. You may want to be cautious with taking little children along.

      2. The Opening
The play does not have a powerful opening which misses making a connection with the audience right away. It is with Jugadhu’s first appearance on stage that a strong hook with the plot is established.

      3. Poor promotion
Despite a powerful performance prepared with much hardwork and diligence, not much has been done for the promotion of the play. Posters, invites, banners and flyers are not eye-catching enough. The only promotion play gets is by word of mouth. But then, I’m sure we understand how difficult it is to build a brand with lack of sufficient resources for budding theatre artists, don’t we?

Directed by              :           Tushar Bajpeyi
Written by                :           Aashish Pandey
Cast                             :           Tushar Bajpeyi (Punai), Aashish Pandey (Machetu)
                                                Jugdhu (Abhishek Singh) with Bhavya Dwivedi, Ahman 
                                                Raza Khan, Anushka Saxena, Altamash azmi, Ali Khan, 
                                                Naman Shukla

Tickets :-
Rs. 200 for adults and Rs. 100 for children (The one which we watched had tickets sold out at these rates for a full house. However, there are passes available for sponsored shows also).

The theatre troop may be contacted for a repeat show of Tilismi Lota at 07906475223.

Thursday 14 June 2018

Tilismi Lota: Comedy Play Review
In a long, long while comes a play which is scripted totally in the local, colloquial dialect. This one is a local rendition of Awadhi......Read more 

Green orchards, a warm sunrise encapsulating soft dewy breeze, trees laden with ripe fruits, humming of birds and a fragrance that fills up the senses with delectable ecstasy. This is the world of mangoes every summer morning!.....Read more

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Two To Mango?

6th Annual Mango Festival 2018: A quick review and sneak-peek

Where? Indira Gandhi Prathisthan, Gomtinagar, Lucknow

When? 17th June (Orchard Visit) and 23rd-24th June (The Festival)

What is it? A grand show of mangoes, orchard visit, delicacies, storytelling, quizzes and fun rides

Sparkle Meter:-

Green orchards, a warm sunrise encapsulating soft dewy breeze, trees laden with ripe fruits, humming of birds and a fragrance that fills up the senses with delectable ecstasy. This is the world of mangoes every summer morning!

If you are among those who think of mangoes not just as a national fruit but as a bundle of sweet memories from childhood that have gone behind savouring it for consecutive summers, this is one event customised to your taste. The Annual Mango Festival 2018 is around the corner, tingling our taste buds to unlimited varieties of desi mangoes, already. You would have heard about Chausa, Langda, Dashahri, Alphonso or Safeda but it could only be here, in these few days, that you would get to taste Lakhnavi Gola, Tamancha, Lalbebaha (Wajid Ali Shah’s favourite), Ali Gauhar or Tarifi.

Why You Must Attend The Festival?

Amongst tens of reasons that the festival may claim its stake on, here are few really unmissable ones:-

(1) Orchard Visit:
Scheduled on the 17th of June 2018 is an Orchard visit to the Abbasi Orcahrd at Kakori. A rare opportunity to feel the exemplary experience of orchard farming first hand, as well interacting with the farmers whose produce we relish without even getting to thank them once. Here’s the chance! Besides, the organisers promise a special Awadhi breakfast, tractor and horse rides across the farm, some fun contests and historic tour with informative inputs on organic farming. Platter costs -- non-veg @Rs. 500/-, veg. platter @Rs. 400, children platter @Rs. 300/- and no charges for kids below five years of age.

(2) The Mango Diversity Fair at Lucknow is in association with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and CISH, creating an interface between farmers and scientists to share their best practices with us. Also, getting us to taste rare local mangoes, around 700 varieties unavailable anywhere else across the country, is equally fascinating. The cost of mangoes range from Rs. 50/- per kilo to a few hundreds at the most. There are no gate entry or parking charges. 

(3) Being a part pf enthralling cultural events like Aam ki Kahaani-Awaam ki Zubaani, Zikr-E-Aam, Qissagoi on Aam, local folk music and dances and the Mango Food Festival with top Lucknow restaurants and home chefs participating. There’d be Cooking Contest judged by Masterchef Pankaj Bhadouria, JD Institute Lucknow showcasing Mango influence in design, rural innovators by Swatantra Talim, Jams made by rural self help group, Saidanpuri enabled by Awadh Mango Growers and Baankeloom as highlights of the event.

And if that isn’t enough a reason, you would also get to indulge in Mango Pakoris, Kulfi, Salsa, Souffle, Pickles and Drinks, apart from regular fun shows like rope swings, horse rides, quizzes and contests.

What you must watch out for?

(1) The Summer Heat: This is the peak of summer season in Uttar Pradesh and with the unforgiving sunny weather, do take precautions before staying outdoors for long. Use sunscreen, wear loose cotton dresses coupled with sunglasses and a hat for added protection, keep yourself hydrated and take shelter of the indoor activities in the festival between 12 noon to 3 pm.

     (2) Park your car safely: The festival attracts huge crowd often leading to a long queue in the parking zone, especially during evenings. Be patient and park your vehicle only in the zone identified to avoid chaotic condition.

     (3) Prior registration for the contests: If you want to participate in any of the contests being organised at the festival, do send in your names to the Organisers beforehand. (Quick link for online registration is here.) The on-spot registration counter is often found crowded and you might have a tough time getting through.

(    (4) Experiment with care: The array of unlimited display of mangoes at reasonable prices gets so tempting that one does not want to miss any bulk purchasing. Don’t miss interacting with the vendors about the durability of freshness of bulk purchasing, if made, and simultaneously be wise in your picks.

This summer season, there can’t be a better way to relive old memories and create new ones with your children. Why, does it not take just Two To Mango? Go, Relish!

(Author with Jyotsana Kaur Habibullah raising
 a toast to Mango Cocktails)

Important Contacts:-

The Mango Fest team is led by Ms Jyotsana Kaur Habibullah. They may be contacted for queries at :-

Phone - +91 7317477232

facebook - Mango Fest Page 

Friday 18 May 2018

Winning TOI Write India S01 - A Hunt For  India's Next-gen Authors

Book Launch - WRITE INDIA SHORT STORIES featuring my story -- CHERIMOYA. Published by Times Group Book, Year 2016, You may buy here

Book Launch : Twilight's Children featuring my story A STAR IN THE DARK SKY. Published by Readomania, 2017, You may buy here

Winning 3rd FICCI FLO AWARD for Outstanding Corporate Director, 2018. Felicitated by Film-maker Madhur Bhandarkar, Mayor-Kanpur & FICCI FLO President


Hindustan Times, Nominated for HT Woman Award 2017

Amar Ujala, 29th April 2018

Dainik Jagran, April 2018

Three Clippings: (1) Hindutan Times, (2) Dainik Jagran, (3) Hindustan (Hindi), Feb 2016

Amar Ujala, 20th Feb 2016

The Times of India, 2017


Navbharat Times: 2016

Hindustan Times, 2017

Dainik Jagran: On World Book Day, 23rd April 2017

Dainik Jagran, 2018

Precious Archive: Amar Ujala, 2017

Hindustan Times, 2018

Amar Ujala, 2018

Hindustan Times, 2017

Nav Bharat Times, 2016

Hindustan Times, 2018

Hindustan Times, 2017

Dainik Jagran, 2018

Felicitated 'Jyoti of the Month' by Writers Hub

Dainik Jagran, 2017

Book Launch of 'Sivagami' by Anand Neelkantan

Felicitation by FOLKTALES : Women Leaders Who Inspire

The Times of India, 2016 (Featured with Priyank)

Felicitated as Inspiring Woman Leader by CMS group of Institutes on Women's Day 2018

That moment when one gets featured as a proud employee of a Maharatna, NTPC Ltd. (The Indian Express, June 5 2018)

Hindustan Times, Visit to Kotwara Palace, featured by HT and Marriott

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