The Jeff & Shuvam Show #1 is Live!

Are you feeling empty inside? Do you know what’s been missing from your life? Some Indian guy (heavy metal photographer Shuvam Dasgupta) and some American guy reviewing the latest Indian films available on Amazon Prime and Netflix.

The Jeff & Shuvam Show is the brainchild of award-winning director and my fellow Fulbrighter Abhijit Chowdhury and his cohorts at their Kolkata-based media production company Concept Cube.

Check it out on Youtube and — I never thought I’d be saying this with a straight face — smash that like button. Sharing it doesn’t hurt either and will make you feel good. Up first, a Tamil-language film from Tamil Nadu, Captain Miller on Amazon Prime.

“It’s very Tarantinoesque…It’s like playing Fortnite set in 1920s British India.”

The Jeff & Shuvam Show

More to come.

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My Trip to Minning Town

This family docudrama TV series from China warmed my heart

Meet Mr.Bai, the headmaster of a one-room school in an impoverished, experimental farming community in China’s vast Gobi Desert.  His school needs many material improvements but he’s a devoted teacher, so he makes do with what little they’ve got. One thing he’d love to see is a new playground. He keeps applying for funds from the local district government, but his requests go ignored. 

Impassioned and frustrated, he finally takes the drastic step of going over the local politicians’ heads and complaining in person to the regional government. Before he knows it, he’s thrown into the shark tank of local politics. How much is he willing to compromise his ideals just to get a playground?

Yikes. All of this drama for a village playground could be the comedic makings of a wry satire a la Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People, but this story is set a lot further east, and treats its subject matter with a dignity and respect I found refreshing in our age of cynicism.

Mr. Bai’s passion for a playground is but one subplot among many in the 2021 Chinese TV series Minning (a close pronunciation in English would be Ming-Ning) Town, produced by Daylight Entertainment (Nirvana in Fire, Ode to Joy, Like a Flowing River, The Story of Ming Lan). The trials of the beleaguered Mr. Bai