For Zohra-ji on her 100th birthday

This is how I first came to know of her:

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She was Lady Lili Chatterjee of the MacGregor house in The Jewel in the Crown, the wonderful Granada TV serial adaptation of Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet.  In that role, Zohra Sehgal was elegant and knowing, the very person you would want to live with on your first outing to a country you’d never visited before.

She left a lasting impression on me back then, as did the entire series and its stellar cast.

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Art Malik, Susan Wooldridge and Tim Pigott-Smith in The Jewel in the Crown

 

I was thrilled to see her again about 10 years later here:

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Bhaji on the Beach directed by Gurinder Chadha

 

This time, Zohra was one member of the Saheli women’s group heading to Blackpool for the day in Gurinder Chadha’s feature film debut Bhaji on the Beach.

And here’s one place where I wished I had seen Zohra, in Tamasha Theater‘s A Yearning, their British Punjabi retelling of Garcia Lorca’s Yerma.

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Zohra Sehgal in Tamasha Theater's A Yearning

 

I’ve not yet had the opportunity to meet Zohra Sehgal, but in anticipation of her 100th birthday today, I was so very pleased to be able to reach out to those actors and directors she had worked with over the years and hear what memories they wanted to share, including Susan Wooldridge and Tim Pigott-Smith from The Jewel in the Crown, James Ivory, Aasif Mandvi, Gurinder Chadha, Sakina Jaffrey, Sudha Bhuchar and Kristine Landon-Smith.  You can read the story here.

Happy 100th Birthday, Zohra-ji.  Thank you for so many years of so many great performances.

The Commuters

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Photo credit: Chirodeep Chaudhuri

 

The former Prince of Wales Museum (now, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya) is the current home to an exhibition of recent work by Chirodeep Chaudhuri entitled The Commuters.

If you’re in, or heading to, Mumbai you have a chance to see these remarkable portraits (a selection of 56 chosen from more than 700 images taken over the course of the past 18 months) between now and Sunday, April 29th.

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NBC’s in love with India

Well, at the very least, is quite fond of India and her many cultural riches.

On Monday, April 23rd, the NBC show Smash will have its Bollywood moment:

Must say, between Outsourced, Sendhil Ramamurthy’s recurring presence (first on Heroes, now he’s popped up on The Office) and now this number on Smash, NBC seems to be one network that’s quite fond of including South Asian talent and culture in its offerings, moreso than the other 2/3 of The Big Three.