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Srikanth: When Running Is No Longer An Option

Srikanth by director Tushar Hiranandani brings to the silver screen the real-life story of inspirational Indian industrialist Srikanth Bolla.

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Shrikanth, Bolla, film, life, biography, bollywood, Shrikanth Bolla, Bollant Industries, Rajkumar Rao, Tushar Hiranandani

It’s easier to give up than fight at times. Fighting requires you to use up a lot of energy but giving up not so much. It’s easier to bend to the whims of the world than to fight against the tide. But what can one do when fighting back is the only option one is left with? Directed by Tushar Hiranandani, the film, Srikanth, tells the story of real-life highly successful Indian industrialist and MIT’s first visually impaired student Srikanth Bolla who just refused to settle as according to him running away is not an option as he can’t see where he is running to.

Srikanth: A Closer Look

A movie that captures the raw reality of the world with just the right amount of fiction is what aptly describes Srikanth. Starting from the moment Srikanth Bolla was born till he became a leading industrialist in India, all the tiny and major incidents in his life that made him what he is today are beautifully captured by director Tushar Hiranandani and beautifully executed by Rajkumar Rao who played the role of Srikanth Bolla in the film.

Being born and brought up in a tiny village to humble farmers in Andhra Pradesh to fighting with the Indian education system for his right to study the subject he wants to ensuring that blind people have equal opportunities to work like non-visually impaired people, Srikanth’s journey was filled with hurdles. Sometimes these hurdles were even more than what a person deemed as “normal” by society may face. These problems were not just problems that were caused by his blindness but problems that were created by a system which still thinks that differently-abled people are incapable of certain things although recent technical advancements that help them be at par with others have proven otherwise. 

Despite all these hurdles, the one thing that didn’t change about Srikanth Bolla is his attitude towards life. Never in his entire life did he decide to just end it although the world gave him more than enough reasons to on certain occasions. He marched forward and fought hard as according to him, running away for a blind person who couldn’t even see where he was running to was not an option. And by going against the tide he ensured others also didn’t fear away from doing the same.

The best thing about the film is that it captured reality in its true essence. It didn’t just highlight Srikanth Bolla’s perfections but also his imperfections. No matter how inspiring he was, at the end of the day he was still a human who is not immune to human flaws. What makes this film a truly exceptional biopic is how it highlights his flaws and how he got over them. 

Afterword

Life isn’t always fair. But whether to just sit and crib about it or to do something about it is in our hands. We won’t always succeed, but when we do history will forever remember us. Srikanth Bolla was one such man, he refused to play the cards that were handed to him by life for he knew he deserved much better. Apart from the movie Srikanth, if you are curious to know more about this legend, check out our article on him here.

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Editor's Pick

Remembering Vijaya Mulay

Vijaya Mulay: A Pioneer in Indian Cinema and Education- Honoring the legacy of a filmmaker who shaped childhoods.

sherrylsanjaypal@gmail.com'

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Vijaya Mulay, Indian, Film, Cinema, Education

For those who grew up in the 1970s and 80s, the song “Ek Chidiya Anek Chidiya” holds a cherished place in the hearts of many. It was more than just a catchy tune; it was a reminder of unity in diversity, beautifully portrayed in the short animated film “Ek, Anek aur Ekta.” directed by the late Vijaya Mulay.

Vijaya Mulay was a renowned filmmaker, film historian, researcher and educationalist born in Mumbai. Mulay’s journey with cinema began in Patna in 1940, where she used to frequent city theatres to watch English films. This passion for cinema led her to pursue a master’s in education in the UK, after which she returned to India and became actively involved in film societies, notably founding the Delhi Film Society in 1959.

Throughout her career, Vijaya Mulay made significant contributions to Indian cinema and education. She served as the joint secretary of the Federation of Film Societies alongside film critic Chidananda Dasgupta, with Satyajit Ray as its founding President. Her work at the Central Board of Film Certification in the early 1960s shaped the Indian film industry. She also played a vital role in producing several educational films widely used in schools across the country, promoting a progressive and inclusive approach to education.

In 1967, Vijaya Mulay fostered a lifelong friendship with celebrated French filmmaker Louis Malle, who assisted her in making her debut film “The Tidal Bore.” This film, depicting a natural phenomenon along the Hooghly River, garnered international acclaim and was India’s official entry at the Mannheim Film Festival. Its success not only marked a significant milestone in Mulay’s career but also showcased the potential of Indian cinema on the global stage.

Mulays’s accolades include the V Shantaram Award for Lifetime Achievement for documentaries and the Vikram Sarabhai Lifetime Achievement Award for educational communication. She was also awarded the national award for best writing in cinema.

In 1975, Mulay led the Centre for Educational Technology (CET), where she produced educational films broadcast across thousands of villages. One of the most notable films from CET’s animation studious was “Ek, Anek aur Ekta”. This film, a heartwarming tale of unity in diversity, won the National Film Award for Best Educational Film. Its success reflected Vijaya Mulay’s commitment to progressive education and inclusive ideals and demonstrated the power of film as a tool for social change.

Vijaya Mulay’s vision of a diverse yet united India is evident in “Ek, Anek aur Ekta,” a film that resonates even today amidst political turmoil. At a time when diverse rhetoric dominates, Mulay’s work reminds us of the importance of unity and inclusivity.

As we remember Vijaya Mulay’s legacy, we honour her contributions to Indian Cinema and education. May her films inspire generations, fostering a spirit of harmony and understanding in our society.

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Editor's Pick

Inamorata’s Labyrinth: A Book For All The Things You Can’t Admit

Inamorata’s Labyrinth is a book that reminds us that there is nothing wrong with loving passionately another person as well as ourselves.

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Inamorata's Labyrinth, book, journey, satisfaction, reminds, fiction

They say it’s easy to write about the feelings to help you process your emotions better. But sometimes these feelings can get pretty dark and not so easy to process and that’s when your writing ends up becoming dark as well. Writings that are this dark in thoughts and emotions is not everyone’s cup of tea but those who have a taste for such writings just can’t stop preaching about the depths of such writings. It’s the subtle hints here and there, the deep angst and yearning that bring about the satisfaction in the end. Satisfaction not of lovers uniting but of finding oneself amidst the maddening crowd of blind lovers. Satisfaction of finally gaining back your sanity and vision after the rosy dusk of love has settled. And lastly, the satisfaction of knowing that you are indeed a human for you loved with all your heart and now you shall hate with that much passion for “you” matter. The book Inamorata’s Labyrinth by Sherryl Samantha Pal takes on this treacherously satisfactory journey to remind us what truly matters

Inamorata’s Labyrinth: A Closer Look

With a collection of short stories and poems, Inamorata’s Labyrinth takes us on a journey that is sad and dark in the beginning but you will find hope for a new beginning. A beginning that may lack the company of a certain someone you were very close with but will have the company of a person who has been there for you since day one, i.e., you. Navigating through negative emotions and sadness through the various characters in the book you are bound to find a kindred spirit and understand yourself better.

Inamorata’s Labyrinth not only affirms in you the belief that it’s okay to love like crazy but it also reminds you that it’s okay to fight for yourself and put yourself first no matter what. It reminds you that it’s okay to fall into the deepest depths of despair but you must rise. It reminds you that sadness is not something you should run away from but rather accept it like you accept joy. Lastly, Inamorata’s Labyrinth reminds you to never forget the happiness you felt with yourself just because you have now become familiar with sadness over the loss of a type of happiness you felt with someone who is not there anymore. 

Truly raw and pure, each page of Inamorata’s Labyrinth holds an emotion that is bound to resonate with readers from every walk of life. The poems though short carry with them such pangs of reality that by the time you reach the last word, it will feel as if somebody has poured a bucket of cold water on you. Inamorata’s Labyrinth is truly a labyrinth of emotions, a journey that the reader takes from the first page to the last and yet feels lost and content by the time they close the book.

Afterword

After successfully publishing her first two books, Arcane: Silhouettes, and Esterdale, Inamorata’s Labyrinth appears to be a harmonious blend of writing style that Pal has presented earlier in her previous books. But what sets this book apart from the other two is its depth and maturity when dealing with complex emotions and feelings of love, loss and betrayal. Inamorata’s Labyrinth is a must-read for anyone looking for a type of satisfaction that can only be achieved when you start on the journey to find yourself again. It will remind you to never ever take yourself for granted no matter how grand and pretty the rosy dusk of love may look but at the same not be ashamed to love another with as much love as you have for yourself when it feels right to you. The heavy importance given to your feelings and emotions is what makes this book stand out from the crowd. 

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Editor's Pick

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome can be quite a difficult feeling to navigate around, understand its impact on your well-being, & thoughts to cope with it.

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thoughts, negative, feeling, imposter, syndrome, psychological disorder

Imagine you find yourself in a new job, it’s been a week since you’ve started working and the feelings that you’re experiencing are doubt, fear and anxiety. The thoughts that run through your head include, “Is this right for me?”, “I feel like I don’t deserve this”, “I’ll never be good enough” and many more. This feeling of not being good enough and self-doubt lies in the psychological feeling called “Imposter Syndrome”

Imposter Syndrome is the psychological feeling or pattern of experiencing constant self-doubt, feeling like a “fraud”, persistent fear of not being good enough and feelings of inadequacy. This holds, especially with the evidence of the person being highly qualified and accomplished in a particular role or profession. This causes distress, anxiety, preoccupations, fear and many other negative feelings that might hamper the functioning of the person. Imposter syndrome is well known to be experienced by a wide spectrum of people including students, professionals, academics, minorities, and perfectionists. All of these individuals experience imposter syndrome while especially holding high achievements, being underrepresented and susceptible to being perfect. While the highs of achieving are often related to positive feelings of superiority, happiness and self-encouragement, people with imposter syndrome experience feelings of weakness, and inadequacy and think they do not deserve this. This can cause immense stress and anxiety if not dealt with effectively. 

Psychological Impact of Imposter Syndrome

  1. Distress: Distress refers to a state of extreme sadness, pain and suffering which holds in the case of people with Imposter Syndrome. Having to doubt your capabilities and abilities does cause negative feelings to occur leading it to become distress. For example, a student who ranks first after extensive effort thinks that they do not deserve the rank and becomes distressed about the fact. This distress can likely impact their mental well-being, affecting both their academic performance, overall quality of life and their self-esteem.
  2. Self-sabotage: When they cannot acknowledge the fact of being in a highly qualified position or being in a stage that they think they don’t deserve, leads to feelings of disempowering nature and urges to self-sabotage. Self-sabotaging can transpire in several ways, including overworking, underachieving, procrastinating and seeking rejection. For example, when a person gets promoted they might seek rejection consciously or subconsciously because of the negative feelings being attached with Imposter Syndrome they experience.
  3. Negative self-talk: Negative self-talk refers to the habit of engaging in conversations with oneself that lead to pessimistic internal dialogues. It may be the result of Imposter Syndrome as seeking rejection and self-sabotage is also a part of the psychological effect it has on individuals. It can be characterised by statements like, “I always mess things up”, “I’m not good enough to deserve this”, “I’ll never succeed” and many more. An example of negative self-talk can be attributed to the earlier example of being promoted to a position of power and feelings of inadequacy arise because of the Imposter Syndrome faced by the person. Statements like “I’m not good enough to deserve this”, “They must have made a mistake while giving me this” and many more are experienced.
  4. Low self-esteem: One of the most important qualities that can be shattered because of experiencing Imposter Syndrome is self-esteem. As a result of having Imposter Syndrome, one can experience difficulty in internalising their achievements and attribute it to luck and other external factors rather than their abilities. An example of this is a student passing a difficult exam suffering from Imposter Syndrome and attributes the success of passing to luck and that others probably didn’t put in effort rather than appreciating oneself for their effort. 
  5. Anxiety: The most distinct aspect of Imposter Syndrome is the constant fear of being a “fraud” and being found out for the same. This causes restlessness, ruminations and preoccupation with these thoughts even the perceived fear. An example of this includes an employee feeling the need to keep up with the expectations of others because of high expectations and feeling like being caught for faking it until then even if it was their abilities that lead them to achieve higher. Being anxious causes immense stress and preoccupations with daily functioning that should be ideally intervened. 

Coping with Imposter Syndrome

It can be quite frustrating and exhausting to deal with feelings of inadequacy, negative feelings and feeling like a “fraud”. Here are some of the ways to cope with Imposter Syndrome which can be quite beneficial:

  1. Challenge Negative thoughts: Recognising when feelings of inadequacy arise and understanding them are necessary steps to move forward. To challenge these negative thoughts the first step would be acknowledging them. The next step is to reframe the negative thoughts into positive ones which is achieved only when they are acknowledged. To help with reframing and changing the thoughts, positive affirmations are evidence that support or contradict these thoughts can be done. It is also important to remember that feelings of inadequacy are not always based on facts but are often distorted perceptions of ourselves.
  2. Developing a growth mindset: Embracing challenges is always a part of growing. Changing the mindset to being growth-oriented in nature and understanding that challenges can be accepted can help in coping with Imposter Syndrome. Further cultivating a belief in one’s ability to learn and adapt rather than being fixed on current abilities can help one grow further and develop a growth mindset. Using constructive criticism, viewing your failure as feedback and celebrating successes can each be a stepping stone to overcoming Imposter Syndrome. By embracing a growth mindset, one can overcome self-limiting beliefs and unlock the full potential to learn, grow and succeed in all areas of life. 
  3. Seek professional help: One of the most effective ways to overcome Imposter Syndrome is to seek professional help. Therapy provides a way to unveil all thoughts and feelings and provide a space to internalise everything. It also allows for a person with Imposter Syndrome to cope and overcome all the psychological aspects and provide insights into the same. Especially when the feelings related to Imposter Syndrome are significantly impairing one’s daily functioning and well-being, therapy and seeking other forms of mental health professionals can do wonders to manage and overcome imposter syndrome effectively. 

Here is a video to help you with imposter syndrome:

Credits: YouTube (Stanford Medicine)

In conclusion, it is important to understand that Imposter Syndrome is a complex human phenomenon experienced at different degrees by different people across all occupations and demographics. While Imposter Syndrome provides a label to the feelings and thoughts experienced, it becomes essential to remember that it does not diminish one’s own capabilities and achievements. The phenomenon of Imposter Syndrome is only a result of human’s drive for excellence and promotes resilience once it’s overcome. By delving into one’s vulnerabilities and strengths, Imposter Syndrome can be navigated with resilience and confidence holistically reaching one’s full potential.

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Rod Puppetry: A Dying Art

Let’s dive deep into the world of rod puppetry to find out what makes it so unique and why is it slowly dying out.

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Rod Puppetry, rod puppets, puppetry, puppeteer, Indian art form, dying art

Different kinds of puppetry have taken over different parts of India. In fact, many of these kinds of puppetry such as glove and shadow puppetry are still very much famous among the masses as puppeteers find it easy to recreate. But one such puppetry exists which despite having a rich history and being pretty distinct, is showing a decline. And that is rod puppetry. Practised mainly in West Bengal, Odisha and Bihar this form of puppetry is slowly getting erased from the mind of the people. Let’s dive deep into rod puppetry and rod puppets to discover what makes it so unique and why it is slowly dying out.

How Does Rod Puppetry Work?

Rod puppetry is considered an extension of glove puppetry but the key difference is the usage of rods over gloves. Normally three rods are used to manipulate these rod puppets. The main rod which balances the head is attached at the neck and the two other rods that manipulate the hands are attached to the main rod at the shoulder joints. The legs or the lower body of the puppets are hidden with the clothes of the puppet. Depending on the region in India they are based on they can be huge in size or small. The three states of India in which this form of puppetry is famous include; West Bengal, Odisha and Bihar.

West Bengal

Known as Putul Nach which literally translates to “Dancing Dolls”, rod puppetry takes the form of a huge human-like structure going as tall as 3-4 feet in certain regions. These huge rod puppets are dressed like the actors in Jatra. What’s interesting about the rod puppetry form in West Bengal is how the puppeteers manipulate them. Unlike traditional puppets where the puppeteers stay in one place and manipulate the puppets, here the puppeteers are hidden behind a head-high curtain and dance or move along the huge rod puppets to impart the same moves to the puppet. The entire process that the puppeteers follow is pretty theatrical. Normally it’s the puppeteers who voice out the dialogue and sing for the puppet but sometimes they are accompanied by a group of musicians who sit on the side of the stage.

Odisha

The rod puppetry form in Odisha is a bit different from its Bengali counterpart just like its Rasgullas. The rod puppets in Odisha are not as big as the ones found in West Bengal they range from 12-18 inches. The shoulders of these rod puppets are connected to the main body with the help of strings, not rods. Thus, this form of rod puppetry uses a mix of strings and rods, giving a different dimension to their rod puppets. The puppeteers in this case squat on the ground and behind a scene to manipulate the rod puppets. Most of the dialogues are sung to tunes of classical Odissi music. Rod puppetry is also known as Kathi Kandhe in Odisha.

Bihar

Known as Yampuri, the rod puppetry form in Bihar has its own uniqueness. For starters unlike its Odia and Bengali counterparts, these rod puppets are made out of wood and don’t have joints. Hence, it requires the puppeteer to be very flexible in their approach and be highly dexterous when handling these rod puppets.

How Can We Conserve Rod Puppetry?

Living in the era of the 5G internet it’s not surprising that why these traditional art forms such as puppetry are dying out. Rod puppetry being a tough speciality in the world puppetry makes it even more susceptible to cultural extinction. Plus the added burden of creating these huge rod puppets and having barely any audience to cheer them on due to the rise of electronic media also contributes to its low popularity. One way to conserve this beautiful art form is by incorporating it in electronic media such as broadcasting it on YouTube to help increase its reach and ensure that it continues to entertain and teach the future generation.

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Remembering Dr. R. Sathyanarayana

Dr R Sathyanarayana: A Musical Maestro and Scholar- Honoring the legacy of a renowned musicologist and dance scholar

sherrylsanjaypal@gmail.com'

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Dr R Sathyanarayana, Scholar, Music, Dance, Mysore, Indian Classical Music

Dr R Sathyanarayana was a disused musicologist and dance scholar from Mysore, India. He has left an indelible mark on the world of arts and academia. His illustrious career spanned decades, marked by scholarly contributions, prestigious awards and unwavering dedication to enriching Indian classical music and dance.

Dr R Sathyanarayana, born on May 9th, 1927, in Ramanagara, began his journey towards shaping the cultural landscape of India. His academic pursuits were diverse and impressive, ranging from a Master’s in Chemistry from the University of Mysore to multiple D.Litt degrees from esteemed universities such as Mysore University, Hampi University, and Gangibhai Hangal Music University of Mysore.

Dr R Sathyanarayana’s career was a testament to his unwavering passion for science and the arts. From 1949 to 1984, he served as a dedicated professor of chemistry at Sarada Vilas College, all the while imparting knowledge of Karnataka music. His interests extended beyond the classroom, as he authored numerous treatises on dance and music in Sanskrit, including notable works such as “Pundarikamala”. “Shruti: The Scalic Foundation”, and “Karnataka Sangeetha Vahini”.

Dr  R Sathyanarayana was honoured with prestigious accolades, including the Padma Shri civilian honour the President of India bestowed upon him in 2018. His influence earned him international acclaim as an eminent musicologist and danceologist.

Dr R  Sathyanarayana’s scholarly legacy lives on through his extensive work, comprising over 20,000 printed pages of research papers, books, translations and more. His profound impact on Indian classical Music and dance earned him accolades such as the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award, the Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Rajya Sangeet Vidwan Award.

Dr R Sathyanarayana’s influence extended far beyond his academic achievements. He resonated deeply with the artistic community as a mentor and public speaker. He nurtured countless disciples and captivated audiences in creative circles, government-sponsored music festivals, and international seminars.

We honour the titan of Indian classical music and dance, Dr R Sathyanarayana’s enduring legacy. His contributions have enriched our cultural heritage and inspired generations of musicians, scholars and enthusiasts. Though he may have departed from this world, his melodies and teachings will continue to echo through the corridors of time, ensuring that his legacy remains eternally enshrined in the hearts of Indian classical artists.

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