Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Bollywood dans la merde

I used to be the quintessential NRI and was sent abroad, in my case, to France in order to continue my higher education. I was asked to choose between France or Italy. I chose France because…well, d-uh obviously!
The south of France and Paris are areas I know. Having had lived in Aix- en- Provence for a year to learn French, I enjoyed going on numerous road trips to other southern states over the weekends with my friends, and then having had moved to Paris to pursue a higher education in Fine Arts and Textile design for 4 years, I am quite well aware of how all social classes in France behave in pretty much all situations.

This article is long overdue and is something I have been meaning to address for a while. I honestly do not want to offend my Indian brethren and most of all Bollywood. But this message is solely for Bollywood.
Bollywood – you are doing well currently. Your people have been travelling to numerous ‘outdoor’ locations to make films and are leaving a mark all over the globe. It’s nice to see the world through Desi eyes on screen. While some of your directors are highly talented individuals, some are…. Never mind.

I, like most desi at heart, enjoy watching quality Indian films. But there are certain elements in films that need to be respected, especially when it comes to showing other cultures on screen.
What annoyed the hell out of me was the portrayal of the lovely, Indian girl who lives in Paris, like Vijaylakshmi from the film Queen or Shyra from the recent Befikre. Please explain to me why these girls have to shout cusswords at the local residents at the top of their voices? It's absolutely cringeworthy!

France is the epitome of class. The language is supposed to sound like music to one's ears. Granted that the French are known to be a passionate people, but passion in not picking a fight in public and using choice swear words.  The kind of attitude displayed by Bollywood’s Indo-French girls on screen is, according to me and most French, extremely embarrassing. It’s mostly 13-15 year old teenagers who might behave in this manner when mentally/emotionally disturbed and unfortunately our heroines are playing the roles of full grown, supposedly strong adult women.

Let me tell you that screaming cusswords or having a fight where you have to be physically restrained and letting the entire arrondissement  know that the man you just slept with has a very tiny ‘friend’ is not class and does not mean that you are fluent in French. It’s crass, obnoxious and definitely not sexy.

Here’s a bit of 'muft ka gyaan':  If you're making a cross-cultural film, please spend a year or so studying the social behavior and norms of the culture you intend to showcase in your film. Not doing so is just making the aforementioned Indian girls look mentally disturbed and in dire need of a straightjacket.

Also, language is not just limited to speaking. Body language varies from culture to culture as well. As directors, you guys need to study all of these subtleties and have your actors do the same.


Anyways, now that this is off my chest, I’d like to say kudos to the cinematography. It was lovely seeing France again albeit on the big screen.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Black Positively

I dreamt last night while asleep restlessly,
Of a painting I had painted, apparently.
Blackness overpowered a layered background,
The kind a nyctophilic would be around,
Like heavy rain on a dark, black night,
The calligraphic 'Allah' glowed in white,
And unseen symbols scattered around,
Of beige, off- white and lapis ground.

The emotions felt were of immense relief,

That Allah is present in the darkest grief,
That unknown beings are sent to guide,
Light forms, Dakini, positive minds.

Dark negatives and imagined scenes,

Are the 'Sharri waswaasi khannaas'* it seems,
Veils of lies cast upon
a vulnerable mind trying to hang on,
Not giving in, fighting on, climbing up and moving on.

Black it was before He said 'Be',

Black, the shroud of all mystery,
Black, the source of the colours of life,
In black He is, the source of light.

*the evil of the whisperings of the slinking (Shaitan).

(Qur'an, Surah An-Nas, Verse 4)

~Ambereena Razvi

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

For Ali Mahdi - 'Piece of Paradise'


For Ali Mahdi - 'Piece of Paradise'
40 x 60 cms
Colouring pencils on white card

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

هيهات منا الذلة



هيهات منا الذلة

I saw her scattered all over the sidewalk….
Hijab askew.
White before, now of a red hue.
‘Haithaath minna dhilla’, escaped her lips
Before she closed her eyes,
And slept in bliss.


I see a child crouched a little further….
Head buried in her hands,
Longing for her mother
Who died fighting for her honour
‘Haihaath minna dhilla’, she hears the chant and feels the power.


I see the old man,
His white beard soaked in blood,
Protecting his kin,
His clothes torn, his mind worn,
‘Haihaath minna dhilla’ - to himself he has sworn


I see the youth,
Some still fighting,
Retaliating an oppression,
Refusing to live in disgrace and depression,
They wake up every morning,
Shedding their blanket of dreams of freedom,
Stopping to take a breath - seldom,
‘Haihaath minna dhilla’running through their blood,
Never to give in,
Minds made up.


I see me
Painting their troubles,
Painting their pain,
Telling their tales,
‘Haihath minna dhilla’, running through my veins. 

-Ambereena Razvi

Sunday, 24 November 2013

For my Forefather

I am a dust particle
the one that floats aimlessly.....
maybe guided
maybe oblivious

I am one of numerous
of your sons and daughters
one unworthy of your attention
yet one who seeks it

I am of you,
of your lineage,
a bit of the remaining dust...
dusted away by the Sculptor's hand
Floating away aimlessly...

maybe guided,

Oblivious.

(A monologue with Imam Ridha (a.s), from 'Monologues with my Forefathers - by Ambereena Razvi)

Friday, 15 November 2013

The Voluntary Sacrifice




The Voluntary Sacrifice

This project started as a lesson plan on Ballad and Elegy writing for my grade 7 class.  In two days, I ended up writing this twelve page Elegy for the Martyrs of Karbala. I and my grade 7 students recited it on the 9th of Muharram in school. Hats off to my students for memorizing my elegy within a week and giving a stellar performance. Inshallah, I will post the video of our performance very soon. In the mean time, do watch my recitation by clicking on the link above.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Evolve!!

It's time to move on to a higher level of consciousness,
Before stagnation sets in and we start to get restless

I can't help but think, how akin we are to trees- growing, shedding,
Sometimes standing strong, sometimes due to strong winds- bending, breaking...

Evolution is a constant, it cant be stopped,

for some it comes as an epiphany, while unfortunately,
some adopt

An ignorant stance in a world of oblivion,

and continue to live life like a chameleon,

changing their colours, changing their opinion,

No depth in their thinking - Ego's dominion,

Not progressing but regressing, insulting their intellect 

and their existence by showing continuous disrespect,

to the self and other's for lack of thought,

the lack of love and the lack of not

willing to see another's point of view,

but instead, focusing on their skin's hue,

his turban, her hijab, his kippah, her cross,

his beard, her stance never to toss,

her veil, her right, her identity,

What do you want? Can't you see?

Do you actually think you will succeed?

Oppression has always seen an end, indeed.

The right to BE cannot be taken,

Please try to understand and awaken,

Let it be Love that lives in your heart,

Squash your Ego, make a new start.


~Ambereena Razvi


(I wrote this in response to some nasty comments a young Sikh kid was subject to regarding his identity on a public forum. I cannot stand people with such rotten mentalities. This was written to shut them up.... and shut up they did!)