Ashik Kerib is a 1988 film by the Soviet-Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov based on the short story of the same name by Mikhail Lermontov. It was Parajanov’s last completed film and was dedicated to his close friend Andrei Tarkovsky, who had died two years previously. The film also features a detailed portrayal of Azerbaijani culture. Parajanov’s previous three major films were colourful illustrations of Ukrainian, Armenian and Georgian culture. Ashik Kerib, similarly explores traditional Azerbaijani clothes, music, dance, art and customs.

The story is an utterly simple one. Kerib, a poor but good-hearted ashik (minstrel) living in the city of Tiflis, is in love with Magul-Megeri, the beautiful daughter of a local rich man. The feeling is mutual, but Magul-Megeri’s father would prefer her to marry Kurshudbek, a rather rude but wealthier man who has long has his eye on her. Ashik Kerib makes a deal with her father: he will travel the world and earn enough wealth to be worthy of Magul-Megeri’s hand. If he fails to return or returns with not enough in a thousand days and nights, she will have to marry Kurshudbek.

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Doctors in India have extracted 232 teeth from the mouth of a 17-year-old boy in a seven-hour operation. Ashik Gavai was brought in with a swelling in his right jaw. The teenager had been suffering for 18 months and travelled to the city from his village after local doctors failed to identify the cause of the problem.

Ashik’s malaise was diagnosed as a complex composite odontoma where a single gum forms lots of teeth. It’s a sort of benign tumor. “At first, we couldn’t cut it out so we had to use the basic chisel and hammer to take it out. Once we opened it, little pearl-like teeth started coming out, one-by-one. Initially, we were collecting them, they were really like small white pearls. But then we started to get tired. We counted 232 teeth.”

According to medical literature available on the condition, it is known to affect the upper jaw and a maximum of 37 teeth have been extracted from a tumor in the past. But in Ashik’s case, the tumor was found deep in the lower jaw and it had hundreds of teeth. More -

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