Madhusree Ghosh

Madhusree is a feature writer who loves Kolkata, is learning to love Mumbai. She loves to travel, write and bake

Articles by Madhusree Ghosh

I knew I was going to have to work a thousand times harder: Kal Penn

Penn, star of slacker comedies and lilting hits such as The Namesake, opens up (and comes out) in his new memoir. The book is clever, courageous and comedic. Excerpts from an interview.
 (Maarten de Boer)
(Maarten de Boer)
Updated on Dec 17, 2021 10:55 PM IST
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Jaa Simran, jaa: 5 lines to drop as DDLJ heads to Broadway

What could the iconic hit change, in its new avatar, set to premiere in 2022? Here are five lines from the Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol starrer to rework, rethink, or just drop.
 (Imaging: Monica Gupta)
(Imaging: Monica Gupta)
Updated on Dec 10, 2021 10:50 PM IST
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It helps that I can play a south Indian, Punjabi, Bihari: R Madhavan

Ahead of the release of his Netflix drama-comedy Decoupled on December 17, the actor discusses how he chooses roles, his take on the passage of time (he’s 51), and why he doesn’t have a bucket list.
‘I never repeat a genre or a type of film that worked for me earlier,’ Madhavan says.
‘I never repeat a genre or a type of film that worked for me earlier,’ Madhavan says.
Updated on Dec 04, 2021 02:43 PM IST
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Unusual flight path: Conversations with a great Indian twitcher

Atul Jain lives to spot rare birds. If news of a sighting comes his way, he drops what he’s doing and hops on a plane. Last week, he flew from Delhi to Munnar for the day, to see the rarer-than-rare Eurasian blackcap, never seen in India before.
The Eurasian blackcap is a common warbler in Europe, sometimes seen in Kenya, but never in India before. ‘The furthest east it had been seen was Iran,’ Jain says. (Kuttettan Munnar)
The Eurasian blackcap is a common warbler in Europe, sometimes seen in Kenya, but never in India before. ‘The furthest east it had been seen was Iran,’ Jain says. (Kuttettan Munnar)
Updated on Nov 27, 2021 03:10 PM IST
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Love, actually: How female novelists are rewriting romance in India

India’s romance writing in English is, unusually, dominated by men. See how that happened, and meet some of the women writing novels about desire and passion, but tackling love differently.
‘Every book of mine comes with the message that one can live with self-respect; that women have a right to claim their place in the world,’ says romance novelist Sundari Venkatraman. (HT Illustration: Jayachandran)
‘Every book of mine comes with the message that one can live with self-respect; that women have a right to claim their place in the world,’ says romance novelist Sundari Venkatraman. (HT Illustration: Jayachandran)
Updated on Nov 20, 2021 01:08 PM IST
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Romance writing in 2021: What works, and what just doesn’t

HT Wknd spoke to women writers about what it’s like to write romance novels in India today. We also asked them: what still works, what doesn’t and what are the newest tropes. Take a look.
 (Pixabay)
(Pixabay)
Updated on Nov 19, 2021 06:57 PM IST
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Discover Indian superfoods with a unique forgotten foods calendar

Meenakshi Boopathi, a champion of buying and eating local, is working with NGOs to get word out that there are gems hidden right in your local markets.
Meenakshi Boopathi’s Forgotten Foods calendar features 35 ingredients in five categories: edible flowers; fruits and seeds; remedial leaves; stems; roots and tubers.
Meenakshi Boopathi’s Forgotten Foods calendar features 35 ingredients in five categories: edible flowers; fruits and seeds; remedial leaves; stems; roots and tubers.
Updated on Nov 13, 2021 06:58 PM IST
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Baby hair is brushing back into style. Is it the trend for you?

Baby hair styling is making its way from red carpets to ramps to Instagram Reels. A look at who’s trying it out, why that matters and whether you should too.
Priyanka Chopra’s natural-look baby hair at the 2017 Met Gala; American actress Tessa Thomson; singer Selena Gomez.
Priyanka Chopra’s natural-look baby hair at the 2017 Met Gala; American actress Tessa Thomson; singer Selena Gomez.
Updated on Nov 13, 2021 08:04 PM IST
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Sweet, sour, savoury and... sad? Making sense of the depression meal

Also called ‘down meals’, these are repasts characterised by ennui: ketchup with crackers, chocolate sauce on bread. The tragicomic combinations may be trending on social media, but they can also be a cry for help.
 (Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)
Updated on Nov 06, 2021 03:36 PM IST
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Attack of the clichés: How to survive in a horror film

There are some things guaranteed to get you killed. It happens the same way, almost every time. So here’s a list of things to avoid, should you find yourself in a cabin by the lake, on a Friday the 13th.
It never ends well for token minorities and sex symbols in Hollywood horror. (Scream)
It never ends well for token minorities and sex symbols in Hollywood horror. (Scream)
Updated on Oct 30, 2021 07:22 PM IST
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From graveyard ghosts to elevated horror: A Hollywood evolution

For decades, horror on the big screen relied on easily vanquished ghouls that represented our deepest fears, couched in comfy metaphor. Today’s elevated horror is stripped of comfort and pretence. The monsters are us, our way of life, and the systems we are inextricably locked into as they crumble.
Some of the earliest horror films in Hollywood play on the fear of the non-conformist. Dracula was a foreigner with a very unusual way of life. Frankenstein (1931; top left) was hubris and genius run amok. By the ’60s and ’70s, filmmakers were as likely to see their increasingly fractured society as a source of monstrosity, as in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974; left). What’s being called elevated horror today (Squid Game, 2021 and US, 2019) brings the audience face to face with the most extreme reaches of racism, capitalism, patriarchy, stripped of metaphor and often the sense of a resolution.
Some of the earliest horror films in Hollywood play on the fear of the non-conformist. Dracula was a foreigner with a very unusual way of life. Frankenstein (1931; top left) was hubris and genius run amok. By the ’60s and ’70s, filmmakers were as likely to see their increasingly fractured society as a source of monstrosity, as in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974; left). What’s being called elevated horror today (Squid Game, 2021 and US, 2019) brings the audience face to face with the most extreme reaches of racism, capitalism, patriarchy, stripped of metaphor and often the sense of a resolution.
Updated on Oct 30, 2021 07:28 PM IST
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I like food fads. They can represent the peak of creativity: Chef Gary Mehigan

Best known for his 12 years as a judge on MasterChef Australia, Mehigan has a new book out. He talks to Madhusree Ghosh about pandemic food trends, favourite recipes, how authenticity can be overrated, and more.
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Updated on Oct 23, 2021 01:09 PM IST
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Keeping it real: Shyam Benegal on retirement, change, his first film in 11 years

In conversation with Madhusree Ghosh, Benegal, now 86, discuss his India-Bangladesh collaboration, changing tech, new platforms for storytelling and more.
Benegal at his office in Tardeo, Mumbai. (Satish Bate / HT Photo)
Benegal at his office in Tardeo, Mumbai. (Satish Bate / HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 15, 2021 08:22 PM IST
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On a wing and a prayer: How women priests are setting new norms

What do the prayers mean? Who gets to perform the rituals? Women priests are translating, demystifying, easing away barriers, at weddings, house-warmings and other ceremonies.
Nandini and Ruma of Shubhamastu officiate at a wedding in Kolkata.
Nandini and Ruma of Shubhamastu officiate at a wedding in Kolkata.
Updated on Oct 09, 2021 03:45 PM IST
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I like to play women who have a voice, or find their voice: Shweta Tripathi

The actress doesn’t see black, white or grey. She seeks colour in every character she plays, she says, whether it’s Shalu from Masaan that shot her to fame or Golu in Mirzapur.
‘One thing I wasn’t prepared for was how hard it would be to get out of character, especially a dark character like Golu,’ Tripathi says.
‘One thing I wasn’t prepared for was how hard it would be to get out of character, especially a dark character like Golu,’ Tripathi says.
Updated on Oct 02, 2021 04:22 PM IST
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A film should make all its viewers a little less lonely: Alankrita Shrivastava

The filmmaker behind Lipstick Under My Burkha and the subtle, layered Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare talks about how having more women behind the camera is changing how women are represented on screen in Bollywood.
‘It’s a deeper question of what purpose culture and stories serve in our society. Our culture needs to reflect the voices of the other, and not just the narrative of the dominant,’ Shrivastava says. (HT Archives)
‘It’s a deeper question of what purpose culture and stories serve in our society. Our culture needs to reflect the voices of the other, and not just the narrative of the dominant,’ Shrivastava says. (HT Archives)
Updated on Oct 02, 2021 04:22 PM IST
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Where have all Bollywood’s bad girls gone?

They were right there... drinking, dancing, scheming, and always coming to a tragic end. Amid a societal and economic upheaval, the vamp gave way to the villainess, as A-list stars of the ’90s played killers and stalkers. Today’s lead doesn’t have to pick between good, bad or evil. She can just be, well, a woman.
Anti-heroines in mainstream Hindi cinema through the decades: The Bollywood bad girl is still on your screens. But now she’s often the lead. And she’s not all bad or all good; she’s sometimes scheming, sometimes struggling or revelling in her misdeeds, often just muddling through, wondering how she got to where she is.
Anti-heroines in mainstream Hindi cinema through the decades: The Bollywood bad girl is still on your screens. But now she’s often the lead. And she’s not all bad or all good; she’s sometimes scheming, sometimes struggling or revelling in her misdeeds, often just muddling through, wondering how she got to where she is.
Updated on Oct 02, 2021 04:20 PM IST
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Women were seen as vamps when they started asking for their rights: Guneet Monga

The film producer associated with The Lunchbox, Pagglait and Gangs of Wasseypur discusses changes she’s seen in the industry, changes she’d like to see, how she picks her projects.
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Updated on Oct 01, 2021 08:01 PM IST
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A smiling Kashmiri effort: Preaching unity in words and deeds

Meanka Handu’s YouTube channel Asvun Koshur is preserving Kashmiri language with a dose of satire. She’s also reaching out to Kashmiri children from across religious communities, holding virtual sessions that aim to unite.
Handu uses Facebook and Instagram (@asvunkoshur) to unite Kashmiri children from different communities. ‘I have a lot of faith in kids. I believe if you want to teach something positive to people, catch them young,’ she says.
Handu uses Facebook and Instagram (@asvunkoshur) to unite Kashmiri children from different communities. ‘I have a lot of faith in kids. I believe if you want to teach something positive to people, catch them young,’ she says.
Updated on Sep 18, 2021 02:31 PM IST
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In defense of boredom

Reclaim your vacant time, learn to use it better. It’s the ultimate act of rebellion in a world where whole industries depend on your scrolling, tapping and staring.
 (HT Illustration: Jayachandran)
(HT Illustration: Jayachandran)
Updated on Sep 11, 2021 02:33 PM IST
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It’s the great story of our time: Soumik Datta on making Songs of the Earth

Climate change, the story of a planet and its people, are the themes of the musician’s new project. It’s set to be unveiled at COP26 in November.
“Beyond the smoke and fires, past the eroding shorelines and toxic rivers, I see an opportunity for us to let go of illusions of nationalism, break down borders, and form a collective consciousness,” Datta says. (Souvid Datta)
“Beyond the smoke and fires, past the eroding shorelines and toxic rivers, I see an opportunity for us to let go of illusions of nationalism, break down borders, and form a collective consciousness,” Datta says. (Souvid Datta)
Updated on Sep 03, 2021 03:53 PM IST
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‘Folk heritage on social media must be relatable, inclusive,authentic, relevant’

Preserving oral and folk traditions is also about preserving diversity because we lose so much in the loss of intangible traditions, says heritage educator Alisha Sadikot.
 (HT File Photo)
(HT File Photo)
Updated on Aug 21, 2021 02:02 PM IST
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Meet the seniors keeping India’s intangible heritage alive online

They’re taking to social media to preserve, in multimedia format, elements of culture that are typically conveyed person-to-person — heirloom recipes, oral histories, legends, ancient games, puppetry and more.
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Updated on Aug 21, 2021 05:11 PM IST
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Would you be friends with a Cyclops, and other revealing questions

Aminder Dhaliwal’s graphic novel Cyclopedia Exotica uses a fictional Cyclops community to explore the exclusion, subtle bigotry and everyday micro-aggressions faced by immigrants of colour.
Would you be friends with a Cyclops, and other revealing questions
Would you be friends with a Cyclops, and other revealing questions
Updated on Jul 24, 2021 05:34 PM IST
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Reality bytes: Meet Payal Kapadia, who just won best documentary at Cannes

The 35-year-old’s film, A Night of Knowing Nothing, about navigating love, life and politics as a university student in India today, owes a debt to real life, Partition and her grandmother.
Reality bytes: Meet Payal Kapadia, who just won best documentary at Cannes
Reality bytes: Meet Payal Kapadia, who just won best documentary at Cannes
Updated on Jul 24, 2021 05:31 PM IST
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It happened to me too: First-person accounts from Indian UFO enthusiasts

The US has reported the most such sightings, but India has had its fair share too. Here are tales of encounters with red discs, levitating aliens, lights in the sky and more.
What is that! Fox Mulder in The X-Files.
What is that! Fox Mulder in The X-Files.
Updated on Jul 03, 2021 03:11 PM IST
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Hello from the other side: What the aliens on our screens say about us

The US report on UFOs is out and, predictably, adds little of substance to the argument. But our long-standing obsession with ETs has yielded a rich imagined universe anyway. In it are tales of destruction, conquest, love, horror and, ultimately, our greatest hopes, fears and flaws.
An obsession with extra-terrestrial life that dates back to ancient pagan myth got a further boost with the invention of cinema. As technology improved, societies were transformed, and fresh scientific discoveries were added to the mix, the aliens of our making evolved. (Photo imaging: Puneet Kumar)
An obsession with extra-terrestrial life that dates back to ancient pagan myth got a further boost with the invention of cinema. As technology improved, societies were transformed, and fresh scientific discoveries were added to the mix, the aliens of our making evolved. (Photo imaging: Puneet Kumar)
Updated on Jul 03, 2021 03:09 PM IST
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An anonymous artist is calling out regressive practices within marriage

Smish Designs displayed her feminist art at a Mumbai gallery in March and is now posting on Instagram too. ‘Talking about the disadvantages of being an Indian married woman should be normalised. It’s a lived experience for a good fraction of the population,’ she says.
A bruised bride in a wedding portrait serves as a statement on domestic violence. (Smish Designs)
A bruised bride in a wedding portrait serves as a statement on domestic violence. (Smish Designs)
Updated on Jul 03, 2021 03:13 PM IST
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Be kind, rewind: Cassettes are making a comeback

New releases in this format include music by sound artists, indie stars and icons like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa.
Some of the cassettes in collector and businessman Nishant Mittal’s collection.
Some of the cassettes in collector and businessman Nishant Mittal’s collection.
Updated on Jul 03, 2021 02:45 PM IST
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A cookbook project by students is unearthing culinary gems from across India

Oral recipes, ancient recipes and changing food traditions are being documented on their unique open-access website.
A snapshot from the Tamil cookbook Samaithu Paar (1951), which is featured in the Archive section of the Indian Community Cookbook Project.
A snapshot from the Tamil cookbook Samaithu Paar (1951), which is featured in the Archive section of the Indian Community Cookbook Project.
Updated on Jun 25, 2021 06:12 PM IST
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Saturday, January 22, 2022