Facebook resources for learning Bengali

Facebook Bengali Bangla learning resources

Posting here, and elsewhere, over the last year and a half has been sporadic to say the least, but thankfully there are others making progress.

I would certainly include in this the Let’s Learn Bengali group on Facebook, who recently started using the social network to compile on- and off-line resources for those studying Bangla.

So head over to the Let’s Learn Bengali Guide to Resources (it’s sure to be more up-to-date than this).

HT: My Bangla Diary

Channel 4’s mini-Marathi film season set to continue with Kaksparsh and Ha Bharat Maza

Continuing Channel 4’s mini-season of Marathi films will be Kaksparsh – from established director-actor Mahesh Manjrekar (who played a gangster in Slumdog Millionaire) – and Ha Bharat Maza.

Set in Konkan in the 1930s, Kaksparsh (The Crow’s Touch) explores themes of sacrifice and morality within a Brahmin family.  Continue reading

A slacker bromance and a series of Marathi films – more Indian cinema on Channel 4

Sulemani Keeda Indian film movie

The next set of Indian films on Channel 4 prove that diversity remains the watch-word of their programming team, with offerings that range from a slacker ‘bromance’ comedy to a Kolkata-shot Hindi film from Bengali director Goutam Ghose to a mini-series of Marathi films.

First up, that ‘bromance’. Sulemani Keeda (street slang for ‘pain in the arse’) is a quirky comedy-drama from writer-director Amit Masurkar’s. The 2013 film fits the new trend in Indian cinema towards movies with more realistic stories, dialogue and settings, that eschew top star names. Continue reading

Indian film time on Channel 4 again

Ship Of Theseus (film)It’s that time of year again – Indian film season on Channel 4.

This Autumn’s run of Bollywood films kicks off with first-time writer-director Anand Gandhi’s drama Ship Of Theseus.

The 2012 film is based on the intellectual proposition that questioned: As the planks of Theseus’ ship needed repair, so they were replaced one by one, until not a single original part remained – so was it then still the same ship? Continue reading

Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya trailer

Given its European premiere at last week’s London Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya (The World of Goopi and Bagha) is an adaptation of Satyajit Ray’s similarly named 1968 Bengali film.

This time around the hapless singers are animated and their tale told in Hindi and, according to director Shilpa Ranade, the state-funded film is riding a wave of interest in animation in India.

Amazon’s UK 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list

A Fine BalanceLists are generally worth about as much as surveys; the trick to divining their value invariably lays in finding out what questions where asked and who answered them.

Nevertheless I remain a sucker for lists, whatever their provenance, and that includes Amazon’s new UK version of its 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, a wide-ranging reading list that manages to include The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Trainspotting and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Although it’s somewhat opaque in its ‘compiled by the Amazon Book Editors’ descriptor, it arrives just as I’m trying to work out what to read next having made one too many unwise-in-retrospect second-hand book choices. (It’s also, as usual, a chance to cross off the ones I’ve read – but that’s what lists are for … right?) Continue reading

A UK language shortage, but no priority for Bangla, Hindi et al?

The cliche about how the British communicate aboard – speak loudly, slowly … and in English – may not be entirely fair*, but the county still doesn’t value language learning.

At least that appears to be the message from a new report by business lobbying body the CBI, which says there is a growing need for people with language skills.

Somewhat typically there is no mention of Indian languages, though it’s difficult to see how, at least from a business perspective, there would be a need to prioritise Hindi, Bengali etc when not only is English the second most spoken language language in India, but the alternative is deciding which of the 18 or so official languages to pursue. Continue reading