Oh me of little faith; It turns out that Google hasn’t been dragging its feet when it comes to bringing its latest translation advances to Bengali.
The language is one of nine Indian tongues, alongside Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam and Kannada, to benefit from the search giant’s ‘neural machine translation’ approach. Continue reading
This afternoon I put on one of the Chhota Bheem DVDs we bought in India last year.
The cartoons about a super-strong boy were a firm favourite with both my boys when we were in holiday. (Though I might as well say that *cartoons* of any type tend to be a firm favourite with them.)
However, putting the DVD on this time I forgot to switch the language to English. Continue reading
Later this week Film 4 will again show In Custody, the 1993 film that marked the directorial debut of Ismail Merchant (as in Merchant-Ivory).
As the UK digital channel last showed the film in September last year and then again in January, this provides the perfect opportunity to re-re-run my earlier posts.
In Custody is based on Anita Desai’s poignant tale about a poet past his best and stars Shashi Kapoor and Om Puri.
The next two Hindi films on Channel 4 will make up a short run of Shyam Benegal pictures.
The first of these is 2008’s Welcome To Sajjanpur, a portrait of modern Indian village life as told through Mahadev, the only literate man in the community.
He aspires to be a novelist but makes a living as a letter writer, with clients who include his now-married childhood crush, a superstitious widow trying to marry her daughter to a dog and a eunuch who wants to be a politician. Continue reading
There’s something soulful about Guru Dutt. Chaudhvin Ka Chand, or Full Moon as it appears on Imdb.com, is the third of his films I’ve seen and in each one the actor brings an intensity, but also a sense of sadness, to his characters – even in a fun and frothy film like Mr & Mrs ’55.
In this he stands out from other legends of early Hindi cinema like Raj Kapoor, with his Chaplinesque energy, or, particularly in his early films, the matinee idol presence of Dilip Kumar.
This intensity of Dutt’s is evident in Chaudhvin Ka Chand – and not just because of the internal conversations he has with himself towards the end. Continue reading
A story of brothers divided, Gunga Jumna was written and produced by one of its star Dilip Kumar.
From the start it’s a different sort of film to most of those shown in Channel 4’s Movie Mahal season last year. In colour, with outside location shots, more than anything it struck me as a comparatively modern film.
This was reinforced by its coreographed dances which, though shot outside and without today’s MTV values, seemed recognisably ‘Bollywood’. Continue reading
The final film in Channel 4’s short ‘golden anniversary’ season of Bollywood films will be shown in the early hours of Monday morning.
Set in Hyderabad and directed by PL Santoshi, Barsaat Ki Raat (1960) stars Bharat Bhushan as Aman Hynderabadi, a young poet who falls for police commissioner’s daughter Shabnam Bahadur (played by Madhubala).
True love prevails in the end, but not before Aman overcomes the obstacles Shabnam’s family place in the couple’s way.
- Barsaat Ki Raat – Monday 17 May, 00:20-03:00
The third installment of Channel 4’s short season of Bollywood films from the year 1960 will be shown on Sunday 9 May from 11.50pm.
Bimal Roy’s Parakh is a satire on the corrupting nature of money, and how it can also bring out the best in people.
When a postmaster receives a cheque to give to “the most honest man in the village” it turns the community upside down.
- Parakh – Sunday 9 May, 23:50-02:25
A Tangle Of Wires is not yet a year old, but the longer it continues the more Bengali resources I find.
The Learning Bengali section collects links to the best ones I’ve found, but it’s just a personal selection of what’s available online.
The section is due an update soon and one site I will add is So You Want To Learn A Language, which takes an altogether more expansive position on collecting online resources for Bengali, and many other Asian languages.
Today I broke my no-newspapers-during-the week rule – how else to get through the Saturday paper and its supplements – to get The Guardian.
Its Languages For The 21st Century series reached Hindi and, having steadfastly not opened the Teach Yourself Hindi book I bought three years ago, I thought the little primer might ease me into learning the language.
It’s available online, which will be handy for future reference, along with three short audio segments that can be steamed or downloaded as mp3s. Continue reading