Friday, September 21, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Show, Sept. 22, 2012

Monir Ahmed Shakil-AKBAR carrying a brick, trying to escape from his captor (smile). He's the villain, so don't feel sorry for him. The tag line is: "Some men run from their past, while others chase it." I think the lesson is that we often run toward something from afar that looks inviting only to find out too late that it was not worth the exertion.  Perhaps deadbeat dads are better left in their graves?

Shahed Ali Sujon-
BABU is on a mission to make men who abandon their families accountable, especially those who like AKBAR are running for government positions. AKBAR who is a gangster and family man has a dirty little secret worse than the grime and graft that fills his boots as he wallows in spiritual sewage.

We wonder what motivates BABU and Amit Ashraf, the clever screenwriter and director he is, saves the reason for the end--it is so fantastical, at least for me, I never guess where the rickshaw is headed until the driver is pumping me for a tip which I gladly gave--Running is certainly worth every turn and twist to its sad yet entirely realistic end. Sometimes it's better to not know the end of the story (smile). Sometimes what we have is as good as it gets. Look at BABU--he has a wife whom he loves, a beautiful son, respect in his community--yet he's a good guy, who like Superman, can't let the less fortunate suffer.

Running shows us that for all BABU's efforts, one cannot force the moral hand of an evil entity. Evil exists and it walks on two legs like AKBAR's, who is ironically takes the name the Greatest, an attribute normally associated with God. At one point, AKBAR gets into an argument with BABU and BABU tells him that he is not perfect or even more special than the captive. That the goal in life is to be a person.

AKBAR has trouble being a person. Somewhere along his journey he loses his humanity and once lost BABU's injections --a visit to a temple where he get a reading; time in the country where he can reflect on his past; and finally an opportunity to right grievous wrongs is a waste. Redemption comes from the inside and AKBAR has no internal life he can access. His heart is gone, as he says to BABU, he stays drunk and high so he can move through the remainder of his days in a DAZE. Running is not for the faint of heart; instructive it shows how much families suffer when their fathers leave and some, like BABU will move heaven and earth sometimes to put things back together.

Today we speak to Amit Ashraf, director of Runaway (Udhao) and composer, Jacob Yoffee, who are in town for the screening this evening at 3rdi South Asian Film Festival, Bollywood and Beyond, 7:15 PM at the Roxie Theatre. Visit


A graduate of NYU’s film and dramatic writing program, Amit is an award-winning film director. Passionate about storytelling, filmmaking and animation, he has been making movies for over ten years.  The true stories of runaways in Bangladesh inspired Amit to write and direct Runaway, which will be his first feature. He has several projects in the works already, both in Bangladesh and outside.

Jacob Yoffee: With a jazz background, Jacob graduated from NYU’s film scoring program where he met Amit. He worked on Amit’s thesis film and was later hired for Runaway. His versatility and orchestral composition is what drew Amit to him. Jacob is now working in LA on several studio pictures.

We close with an interview with Michael Ross, curator & artists: Stephanie Ann Johnson, Patricia A. Montgomery, Lisa Ramos, re:the exhibit Race: Art Before Answers in the African American  Center at the San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street, through Oct. 18, 2012. This exhibit is a part of AfroSolo Festival 19. Visit The reception and artist talk is Sunday, Sept. 23, 2-4 in the Latino Heritage Room, lower level.

Visit (415) 557-4277. Music: from Huun Huur Tu: "Prayer"; "Ancestors"; Avery Sharpe's "Ain't I a Woman"; Mo'Rockin' Project's "Tajine"; Ben Vereen's "Defying Gravity."


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