Loosely based & inspired by the biblical myth of Noah Ark’s, Noah is a 2014 movie directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel, and starring Russell Crowe as the portagonist. Also starring are Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Anthony Hopkins.

So we all know most of the story of the mythological Noah aka Gilgamesh so let’s just have a run down of this movie shall we? So after humanity – Adam & Eve are like being of light here – are banished from Eden, Adam & Eve have 3 sons. After Cain kills Able, his descendants led by Tubal-Cain are rulers of the earth while Noah’s family are descendants of the 3rd son, Seth. As a boy Noah sees his father being killed before he (the father) can give his son the snake skin roll (the same snake skin roll that was discarded by the snake that tempted Eve to want the forbidden apple (fruit). Tubal-Cain takes the snake skin and leaves. Later as a grown man with his own family -wife Namaah, sons Shem, Ham & baby Japeth – Noah has visions of the earth being flooded with water and the destruction of all life on earth. He takes his family to see his grandfather Methuselah.

Noah’s family finds a wounded young girl, Ila, the lone survivor of her tribe who was attacked by Tubal-Cain’s men and take her in as one of their own. They are chased by the men but Noah get help from the Watchers – angels who fell to earth when they tried to interfere / help humanity against the Creator’s wishes – who look like giant rock monsters and evade the men. Methuselah gives Noah a seed from the garden of Eden and when Noah plants it in a desert like barren area, a lush rain forest springs forth from it. Noah and his family, with help from the rock monsters, build an ark using the wood from the trees surrounding them. As the years pass by the ark reached completion and birds and animals flock to the ark and using some incense & herbs that Nammeh setsup, the family puts all the animals to hibernate. As Ila & Shem are in love, Noah goes to a nearby village to find wives for Ham & Japeth but is shocked by the scenes of barbarism and cannibalism that is rampant there and heads back home. This greatly upsets Ham (who it seems is really horny) and despite being ordered to stay back by Noah, he leaves and helps rescue a young girl named Na’el who he wants to take as his wife. The mysterious Methuselah cures Ila of her infertility (by briefly touching her – I dunno) and she goes giddy with happiness and presumably takes Shem in the sexual way!

Tragedy strikes when Na’el is caught in a trap just as Tubal-Cain’s men are on a rampage towards the ark and Noah, who was in search of his son, forces Ham to leave her behind and she is trampled to death by the rushing hoardes of warriors. An upset Ham retreats to the back of the ark while Noah has the openings closed as the warriors attack. As the mob attack begins, the Watchers sacrifice themselves to protect the Ark from the mob, and themselves ascend to Heaven. Tubal-Cain is the only one who survives as he breaks into the ark unseen by everyone except Ham, who doesn’t alert Noah. Noah tells them a story about how the Creator created everything and the Adam & Eve story but now that the creator has deemed humanity to die and all the animals shall live in peace once humanity is dead. He says that Shem & Ila will bury Noah & Nammeh, Ham will bury Shem & Ila and the youngest Japeth will bury Ham and will die the last human on earth. Ham provides food for the injured Tubal-Cain, who uses Ham’s anger towards Noah to get him to kill his father. The days pass and the rains stop and Ila discovers she is pregnant but Noah puts a damper on things and says that if the baby is a girl, he will put her to death as the Creator meant for them to be the last humans on earth.

Months pass by and as her pregnancy progresses Illa & Shem try to escape on a raft but Noah sets it on fire, stopping them from leaving. Ila gives birth to twin girls. Meanwhile, Tubal-Cain convinces Ham to help kill Noah, who is therefore attacked by Tubal-Cain, Ham, and Shem. As they fight, the Ark hits a mountain, and Ham kills Tubal-Cain. Noah seizes Ila’s twins, but spares them upon perceiving innocence and as he later says love. As they leave the ark, Noah leaves and drinks himself to a stupor, being found naked and drunk by his sons. Having reconciled, at the behest of Ila, with all but Ham (who departs alone), Noah blesses the family as the beginning of a new human race, and witness an immense rainbow.

Did I like this movie? Hmmm I liked the production and I liked the part where Noah tells them about the story of creation – which will confuses creationists and other Christians because they show evolution – and all that. It’s more like a fantasy tale (well most religious stories are) and seems a bit odd. I dunno what his intention was to tell this tale cause I can’t see what the point was. Noah seems like a bitter religious fundamentalist who seems to have severe survivor guilt towards the end but rock monsters? C’mon! Ah, I’ll give it a 7 outta 10! I wasn’t bored.

RIP Zohra Segal

The grand ole dame of Indian movie & television has left us. Indian actress & choreographer Zohra Segal died yesterday at the age of 102 in a New Delhi hospital on July 10, 2014 due to cardiac arrest. Sehgal started her career as a dancer in Uday Shankar’s troupe, performing in countries like the United States and Japan. She went onto appear in numerous Bollywood films as a character actress with a career-span of over 60 years. Considered the doyenne of Indian theatre, she acted with Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) and Prithviraj Kapoor’s Prithvi Theatre for 14 years. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 1998, Kalidas Samman in 2001, and in 2004, the Sangeet Natak Akademi. India’s National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama presented her with its highest award, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for lifetime achievement. She received the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honor, in 2010. She has also acted in English-speaking films such as Bend It Like Beckham.

She was born as Sahibzadi Zohra Begum Mumtaz-ullah Khan on 27 April 1912, the 3rd of 7 children, into a traditional Muslim family in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, to Mumtazullah Khan and Natiqua Begum, belonging to a Rohilla Pathan family of Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, India. She lost her mother while still young and studied at Queen Mary College in Lahore. Upon graduating, her maternal uncle, Sahebzada Saeeduzzafar Khan, who was based in Edinburgh, arranged for her to apprentice under a British actor. She stayed in Dresden for the next three years studying modern dance. On 8 August 1935, she joined Uday Sankar’s dance troupe and danced across Japan, Egypt, Europe and the US, as a leading lady, along with French dancer, Simkie. she became a teacher at the Uday Shankar India Cultural Centre at Almora. It was here that she met her future husband Kameshwar Sehgal, a young scientist, painter and dancer from Indore, eight years her junior, belonging to the Radha Soami sect. There was initial opposition from her parents, but they eventually gave their approval for the union.

After her husband’s death in 1959, Zohra first moved to Delhi and became director of the newly founded Natya Academy. She then moved London on a drama scholarship in 1962. Her first role for British television was in a BBC adaptation of a Kipling story, The Rescue of Pluffles, in 1964. She also anchored 26 episodes of BBC TV series, Padosi (Neighbours; 1976–77). She then went on to star in Merchant Ivory film The Courtesan of Bombay & went on to appear in The Raj Quartet, The Jewel in the Crown, Tandoori Nights, My Beautiful Laundrette. In the 90s she returned to India and has acted in several Bollywood and English language films with Indian backgrounds. Throughout the majority of her life she has been either agnostic or atheist.

Zohra Sehgal (27 April 1912 – 10 July 2014)