In the run-up to general elections 2014, one leading newspaper carried an op-ed article where the writer wondered how each and every party was harping promises of overall progress, prosperity and development, but none of them said even a single word on how it is going to achieve it. To clarify his point, he elaborated that no party has spoken about science and technology. How can any country progress if not by science and technology, he asked.
In a country obsessed with politics and religion, it is quite rare to see any movie paying attention to science and scientists — that too fine attention. 15 Park Avenue (2005) by Aparna Sen is one such movie, which had received the National Film Award for best feature film in English.
I liked this movie for several reasons besides its screenplay and artistic merit. The foremost reason is that it brings nearly all my favourite actors and actresses under one roof — Shabana Azmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Waheeda Rehman, Soumitra Chatterjee, Kanwaljit Singh, Rahul Bose, Dhritiman Chatterjee to mention only a few. And all of them performing under the expert direction of Aparna Sen who has shown her calibre more than once with movies such as 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981), Yugant (1995), Paromitar Ek Din (2000) and Mr and Mrs Iyer (2002). What more could one ask for? Continue reading
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My laboratory is situated in an isolated corner of the institute campus. Whenever I have to stay there in night time for some work, one or the other of the security guards turns up to check if everything is fine. That routine visit starts a scientific discussion and I find myself talking to him about lidar, sunphotometer, aerosols, dust, smoke and so on. Continue reading