Wednesday, April 25, 2007

postheadericon PROVOKED (the movie)

Jag Mundhra

Cast: Aishwarya Rai,
Miranda Richardson, Naveen Andrews,
Nandita Das, Robbie

Release: April 2007

In 1989, Kiranjit Ahluwalia housewife of Indian(Punjabi) descent living in London, set fire to her husband, Deepak, as he lay in a drunken stupor in their bedroom. Kiran admitted to killing him in self-defence (she was afraid for her life after he came close to killing her several times in their abusive 10-year marriage) She was sentenced to a life in prison because the judge ruled that self-defence could not be used in her case as her last physical beating from her husband occured more than two hours before the killing signifying that the murder was premeditated and not in self-defence.

Kiran's cause was taken up by a women's group called "The Southall Black Sisters" . SBS is a non-profit group working against domestic violence and they brought her plight to the attention of the media by organising rallies and gathering public support. When her appeal was heard, in September 1992 at the Old Bailey, Ms Ahluwalia’s plea of manslaughter on the grounds of "diminished responsibility" was accepted. The judge sentenced her to three years and four months in prison — the exact time that she had already served.

By acknowledging the state of "diminished responsibility" and of "being provoked" the British court allowed, for the first time, "the battered woman syndrome" as a legal defence, acknowledging that a battered woman doesn't always strike out in self-defence immediately, many a time the hurt and the abuse will lie smouldering within her and she might strike out even at a time of low abuse, because she believes she will be abused again. Kiranjit’s case upturned the British judiciary and her appeal and retrial are now the stuff of every basic criminal law text in Britain.

So, while the story itself is compelling...I thought director Jag Mundhra could done a much better job with the movie. The movie "Provoked" was based on Kiranjit Ahluwalia's memoir "Circle of Light". Aiswarya Rai who plays Kiranjit, was inconsistent...she was good in some parts but failed miserably when trying to play the shy, battered, non-English speaking Kiranjit. She does get better as the movie progresses or so I thought. The character of Deepak Ahluwalia, the abusive husband, played by Naveen Andrews (of "Lost" fame) could have been fleshed out some more...the viewer doesn't get to know Deepak well and why he was so violent towards his wife. The movie seems to point to alcoholism, but the viewer realizes there has to be something more. The one actress who stole the show is Miranda Richardson (who is also in prison for killing her violent husband and who befriends Kiranjit in jail).

Having said that however, I think the movie should be seen because it speaks very strongly about domestic violence suffered by women. And in recent years, South-Asian women in Canada, especially from the immigrant Punjabi community, have witnessed a rise in the number of domestic violence victims. "...One in every four South Asian women is abused - physically,
emotionally, financially or psychologically,"
says Baldev Mutta, community development officer at the Peel Health Department, Toronto, a government agency.

This raises some troubling questions:

Why is this happening to this group of women? How do we empower them? Why are these men so violent? Do they need help too? What happens to the children when they witness such terrible abuse in their homes?

I guess there will always be more questions than answers.

Read more about Kiran Ahluwalia go HERE
Wednesday, April 11, 2007

postheadericon I've goneTunic-Mad and "Thinking Blogger Awards"

Yes! Finally we can leave the cold weather behind us and step into spring! The best part about spring as we discussed in my previous post is swapping those heavy winter jackets for beautiful light clothes. Every year around spring time I indulge in a new trench coat and a few new tops and pants. This year, the tunic is all the rage! The tunic reminds me so much of the "kurti" we wear in India so ofcourse, I am over the moon at being able to wear all the kurtis I picked up when I was in India last year. But, ofcourse, because kurthis are not readily available in North America I thought, that if you shared my passion for tunics, you might want to see what's available in our neck of the below are some of my favorites this season, enjoy!

This black and white ensemble is from Tory Burch's collection. Ever ever since Oprah wore one of hers on the cover of the Oprah magazine, Tory's name has become synonymous with tunics (her recent dalliance with Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, has also helped push her into the limelight). I love the black and white piece because it has gorgeous embroidery and that mandarin collar is so beautiful as well.
Another one from Tory Burch...I just love the colours here...and the border is vintage's this particular style that first made her tunics famous. If I am not mistaken, this is the one Oprah wore on the cover of her magazine. For spring she has new colors in this same style.
I love this one from because it looks so much like something out of India, also, I haven't seen too many sleeveless tunics with embroidery so this one was quite unique.
Doesn't this look like something that could have been taken out of a Middle Eastern dress catalogue? Love the colors and embroidery, again from
This is from BCBG Max Azria...I could easily wear this...I love the floral print and the contrasting geometric designs on the cuffs..also it's stretch favorite..the belt is a nice touch, too!
Last, but not least, one from Bebe...I have something similar but because it's not from Bebe it cost me half the price!

So you thought these tunics were nice? So did I, but when I visited Maryam's blog this morning, I was blown away by some of the tunics she was showcasing, take a look here.

Thinking Blogger Awards:

While I was on hiatus I had a few wonderful bloggers nominate Lotus Reads, my book blog, for the "Thinking Blogger Award" was such an honor and I feel so bad this post is so delayed for I, in turn, had to nominate 5 other bloggers for the same award.

I decided to nominate 5 people or blogs that rarely post here (some never have), but I nominate them because they have blogs I like to visit and you might like to visit them too.

Paris Parfait: Stays very true to the promise her blog makes to muse about a "parfait sundae" of art, antiques, culture,poetry and politics. If you love Europe in general and Paris in particular, head on to her blog and enjoy her pictures with the accompanying write up.

Daylight Again : Rauf is a wiz with the camera and takes stunning pictures as he travels all over India...his recent pictures of Benares and Hyderabad are "must see's" (beenzzz, you'll enjoy these) . Rauf is also a very entertaining and witty guide.

The Buddha Smiled : You can alway count on 'the buddha smiled' to give you the most candid, thorough reviews, be it books,films, cultural events or anything else. He's the source I turn to if I truly want to know what a film was like...I trust his judgment but wish so much he would update his blog more often.

Hindu Mommy: I love HM's blog because it's a great resource for Indian parents bringing up children in North America, not just that, HM has some great posts on Indian culture, festivals and the Indian community in North America. I hope she continues to blog for a long,long time!

Youth Curry: This is the blog I use to stay in touch with India. Rashmi Bhansal, does a great job of keeping her readers up-to-date with the goings-on in that big country, especially if they are youth related. Insightful and topical, you won't want to miss this blog if you are interested in what's going in contemporary India.

So, there you have it the five blogs I have nominated for the "Thinking Blogger" award. Thanks to Bellezza, Tanabata, Laura of Maude and Mozart,
Deepika Shetty, and Gaijin Mama for honoring me with this award. Thank you, thank you!
Saturday, April 07, 2007

postheadericon The Summer Tag

(painting by Jerry Waese)
The lovely diyadear has tagged me to write on 8 favorite things about summer. Truthfully, I am not a summer person (shocking, isn't it?), I am more a Fall person, but having said that, there are several things I love about the lemonade season:

1. The longer days: Being a day person ( I always prefer the sunrise to the sunset...there's something rather sad about a sunset, don't you think?) I love the extra hours of daylight...I feel like I get so much more accomplished in my day.

2. I love that the rose bushes are in full bloom! After the lotusflower, the rose is my favorite and I have a ton of them around our front lawn, they exude the most delicious fragrance ever...especially our English tea rose.

3. I love hearing the happy cries of children in their pools and the squeals of delight as they play basketball in their front yards and the birds twittering...summer is full of happy sounds...wish I could capture them on my mp3 player to listen to in the winter.

4. I love eating alfresco at my favorite cafes, watching the world go by as we sip our coffee or dig into our pastas.

5. I love seeing my neighbors come out of hibernation after 4 long's always nice to discuss who has put on weight, who has grown a beard, and how Sally went from a brunette to a platinum blonde. Bet they discuss me too! :)

6. Love being able to wear flipflops and show off my new pedicure! ;)

7. Love the free concerts all over, come July and we are so spoiled for choice, seems like every park is vying with the other for who can put on the best show! Ofcourse, the Harbourfront wins every time. A couple of years ago I saw Lila Downs, Youssou N'Dour and Autorickshaw perform there and all for free!!!

8. The best part about summer, however, is to feel the sun kiss my face, arms and shoulders...wish I could remember to slap on the SPF sun screen though!

If you would like to tell us your favorite things about summer feel free to go can either use the comments section or write up your own post!