Tum pukar lo…

Tumhara intezar hai, tum pukar lo.. Everytime I listen to this song, I either end up with a few tears in my eyes or goosebumps. Hemant credit:DustedoffKumar weaves magic into the words that remind you of the genius that is Gulzar.

It’s been way too long since I last wrote here, which is why I wanted to write about something a little more special than usual and Khamoshi personifies special. And the funny thing is  this: Waheeda Rehman’s stellar performance couldn’t be more understated. Her silence speaks volumes – and it is this nuance that the director seems to have grasped perfectly well – that you don’t always need hard-hitting dialogues to make an impact or to convey an emotion. I can’t say the same for Rajesh Khanna’s acting; I thought it was a little OTT.

Waheeda seems especially adept at playing roles of an anguished woman of which Guide is another example. But I love her in this particular character the most. She never looked more alluring. Now imagine Jennifer Aniston playing this role in the English remake termed Silence (total lack of imagination, what?). I kid you not. I read here that a few years back, someone by the name of Sanjay Patel was hoping to rope in her and the likes of Keanu Reeves or Brad Pitt for the roles of Waheeda Rehman and the male leads.  And though I think Aniston is a fabulous actor, I simply don’t see her in this character. But it would be rather interesting to see the remake! However, I couldn’t find anymore about when the movie will be released or whether it has even gone on the floors.

What broke my heart apart from the story was that you see Dharmendra for all of five minutes in the film, which is like keeping a starved and thirsty-for-days horse near a basket full of sugar cubes and a river flowing with deliciously cold water. Yes, I am a sucker for black and white Dharam ji.
*Is staring into space when she suddenly checks herself*
But this post isn’t about me. 🙂 What I also found is that the film is based on a book called ‘Nurse Mitra’ written by Bengali writer Ashutosh Mukherjee.

That’s about as much as I have for you this time. Apologies, since most of it is being taken by failed attempts to roll out flat and round rotis in the kitchen and other jobs! But I will be back. Soon! 🙂

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Paan khaye saiyyan hamaro!

Saawari suratiya honth laal laal!

This could very well describe Chinmay, my fiance and to-be husband who loves a good paan. For those wondering where I have been holed up till now, I have been running helter skelter for my wedding preparations. Getting married on Christmas this year! And thank you Anu for noticing that I have been absent; at least someone missed me 😐 Hehe, ok then, getting back to business!

The film is Teesri Kasam that had the very beautiful Waheeda Rehman and superstar Raj Kapoor.  She is a nautanki dancer and he is a gaon-wala who happens to give her a lift on her way to a performance. Despite being (or maybe because of) a very offbeat film, it bombed at the box office. But rightfully received the President’s Gold Medal in 1967 as the Best Film, as says Upperstall.

Based on a short story ‘Mare Gaye Gulfam’ by Phanishwar Nath, the film was made in black and white even though other films of the same period were made in colour. Why? Because producer Shailendra and director Basu Bhattacharya wanted it to have a feel of the days gone by. I personally think it was quite brave of them to go ahead with a black and white film when every other film was being made in colour.

Upperstall has also quite a few bits of trivia on the film – it was Mehmood and Meena Kumari that were initially chosen for the two roles – and I wonder if that had been more appropriate but I somehow doubt it. For one, Mehmood is difficult to take seriously though he is an actor of tremendous potential. And Meena Kumari? Somehow, I just don’t see in her as the same vivacious dancer that I see in pain khaye. So sue me!

I also read (and found on Madhulika’s blog a better version) another piece of trivia. Shailendra and Raj Kapoor were friends for a really long time. And when the former approached the star to suggest he act in his film, RK asks for an advance which really peeves Shailendra off. And RK then tells him, “Nikaalo ek rupaiya, mera paarishramik! Poora advance!”

How generous is that? Not to mention witty!

I am not a big RK fan, but just for the story, it’s worth a watch 🙂

A moustache was shaved off, and a superstar was born

A facial makeover, at most, can guarantee a few turning heads, but an almost seemingly inconsequential order to shave off his pencil-thin moustache turned Shammi Kapoor’s life upside down, albeit in a good way. The film was Tumsa Nahi Dekha. Ok, so I am exaggerating, it wasn’t just the end of the mustachioed Shammi that (hair)alded the “rebel’s” success.  By the way, the term “rebel star” was coined by Bunny Reuben – a famous film historian, journalist, publicist, producer and god-knows-what-else-not.

AmeetaShammi wasn’t the sensation (at the time) he later went on to become with this film. In fact, he wasn’t even the first choice – Dev Anand was. But the latter walked out of the film, supposedly because of Ameeta, the actress who was being launched as a lead for the first time. In fact, they say it was she who was to be catapulted into limelight with this film and that the film makers even concentrated a lot of publicity around her, and not Shammi. Ironical.

Well, Shammi should (and he must have) thank producer Shasadhar Mukherjee who in turn suggested director Nasir Hussain to pick him AND slide that mooch right off his face, keeping in mind the character.

Anuradha very graciously let me post this absolutely LAST bit of mooch-related trivia! Evidently Nasir wasn’t enthusiastic about taking Shammi.

“That mustachioed, long-haired sissy?” he is reputed to have said. Mukherjee persisted. “Shave off his moustache, give the guy a haircut and then see…”

Long-haired sissy, hahahaha! When I read this, I couldn’t stop laughing!! Thanks Anuradha! Ok, I think I have delved enough on Shammi’s mooch. By the by, it wasn’t just Dev Anand you stomped out of the film; Sahir Ludhianvi, who was the lyricist and had composed the title song, also walked out and in came Majrooh Sultanpuri.

In an interview I read in Hindu, Shammi talks about what he would’ve done had he not been offered this role.

“Perhaps I would have landed the job of the manager of some tea estate in Assam, riding a horse with a whip in hand and a flask of scotch in my hip pocket. That is what I had promised Geeta (wife Geeta Bali) if I did not make it as an actor. Remarkably, she had said yes.”
I suddenly love Geeta Bali.

A funny tidbit:  Shammi Kapoor had dared to complain about a small paycheque, for which he was given a resounding slap!! “Forget the money, and do the role. It is meant for you,” Mukherjee reportedly said to him. Boy, Shammi sure didn’t have it easy. :-\ But it did him a whole lot of good, eh?

Lag ja gale, ke phir ye haseen raat ho na ho…

Shaayad is janam me mulaqaat ho na ho..

I LOVE this song. For many, their favourite song from this film, Woh Kaun Thi, is Naine Barse but I like Lag ja so much more. It’s so sweet and full of longing. Granted, Naina Barse has a different intention (to spook you) altogether, but still.

The picture (above) I saw reminds me of “Pyaar hua iqraar hua hai” but for some reason, I like this one a lot more than the other. This lovely screencap shows Sadhna and Manoj Kumar.

  It is said that Sadhna played a role in choosing the tunes of the songs composed by Madan Mohan. Naine  Barse was composed by him in 1952 but was rejected  by most filmmakers because they couldn’t find an apt  situation to use it in. Things, however, took a turn  when Raj Khosla, director, was searching for a  “haunting” tune for his film. No prizes for guessing what  happened next. 🙂

Here’s a bit of REALLY interesting trivia:  (available on Memsaab’s review of the film too) The song Naina Barse was to be sung by Lata, but she had evidently fallen ill and couldn’t playback. In steps Mr Mohan and records the song in his voice because they had to prepare the sequence for the film! Apparently, people in Shimla couldn’t stop staring and wondering what in god’s name kind of ghost would sound like a man in a woman’s body. (Reminds me of exorcist *shivers*)

But eventually, Lata did record the song in her own voice and the one sung by Madan Mohan was later given to HMV by his family after his demise. It is said that Madan Mohan’s compositions were really difficult to sing. Not for Lata, obviously. A quote by her on http://www.madanmohan.in says, “People say I added something special in his songs – I do not know whether this happened consciously. Maybe it happened because of our personal rapport and affection for each other, our mutual respect for each others’ work. He created such beautiful melodies for me that were always challenging, and I had to be at my best.”

What a compliment! 🙂
  Yes, that’s Nimmi. She wasn’t in the film but she is a part of the story in an indirect way: She was offered a Sadhna’s role in Woh Kaun Thi but she said no to it because she was already readying for a role in Mere Mehboob (In fact, she was also offered Sadhna’s lead role in MM but she said no to that too). Having refused both roles, Sadhna ended up getting the role of a lifetime in both films. Talk about a stroke of luck for Sadhna! Nimmi’s fatal choice ended up a lucky charm for Sadhna, who went on to establish a firm fan following in the era that followed along with biggies like Asha Parekh, Mala Sinha and Saira Banu.

Poor Nimmi. (By the way, don’t you think she looks a lot like Rakhi? Or is it just me?)

Anyway, now a little about Manoj Kumar (although this is not exactly trivia; more like a jibe – I hope I don’t get sued for it) You know the patent pose he strikes? Hand over face? None of that in this film! How strange and irregular is that, I asked myself. Then I read somewhere that he hadn’t yet made a place for himself in films so maybe he was yet to develop his unique style.

Phew! Such a treasure trove of info this film is! Ok, just two more things – On Upperstall‘s blog, I found out that the film loosely follows the plot of Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White. Guru Dutt had planned to make a film based on it but for reasons unknown, gave up on it.

And the last: Woh Kaun Thi  was remade into Tamil as Yaar Nee by Sathyam (1966) that starred Jaishankar and (lo behold!) Jayalalithaa, the current Tamil Nadu CM!

Ok, this has turned into an unbelievably long post but I wanted to share all that I found 🙂 Until the next time, Cheers!

 

Hum aaj kahin dil kho baithe…

Exploring the complex nature of a friendship between a man and woman wasn’t the characteristic of many films of the golden era. One such film, however, tread in the territory and did quite well – Andaz – which featured Nargis, Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor.

First a little backgrounder to explain what I am talking about – Dilip Kumar befriends Nargis, who is the daughter of a rich businessman and starts visiting her frequently and predictably, falls in love with her. Nargis, meanwhile, is oblivious to Dilip’s feelings but the twist arrives in the form of Raj Kapoor, who, unbeknownst to Dilip, is Nargis’ fiance. The look and feel of the film is very western, very unlike other films of the period. It aims to explore the dynamics of a platonic relationship between men and women.

Moving on, this is the only film  that Raj Kapoor and  Dilip Kumar acted in together.  I suppose they emerged as  actors of very different kind of  personalities – with Kapoor  playing a naive man (Shree  420, Anari) and Kumar playing the role of a lost-in-love kind of man  (Devdas, Madhumati) in films following this one. Maybe  there was also the fact that either man was entirely capable of carrying a film on their own, very capable shoulders.

We also know that Mukesh’s voice was perfectly suited to Kapoor’s and Md. Rafi to Kumar’s, for this film the director decided to switch the playback singers. It was something Kumar had objected to but all’s well that ends well! In fact, Mukesh seemed to have come into his own with this film, especially since many believed he imitated K L Saigal’s voice for a long time. Good for him 🙂

Speaking of imitating styles, for one of the songs, ‘Uthaye ja unke sitam’, Naushad told Lata to imitate Noorjehan. Apparently, he said,   “Achha Latabai Ab Apni Pakistani Behen Ko Yaad Kar
Ke Yeh Gaana Gayiega.

Beautifully said, don’t you think?

Shola jo bhadke, dil mera dhadke!

The Hindi film industry has probably witnessed a  lot of rags-t0-riches tales but perhaps none that  began and ended as abruptly as that of Bhagwan  Dada, the protagonist of Albela.

The first of it’s kind with a leading man who looked  less ordinary than the most ordinary man on streets took cinema-goers by storm for the simple reason that they could identify themselves much better with a man that looked like him than the kinds of Dharmendra or Rajesh Khanna.

Although primarily an actor (mostly a comedian), he began producing films too, and made Albela in 1951. What’s interesting is that not a single actress at the time was willing to work in his venture, but fate stepped in, and so did Geeta Bali, the charming actress with a winning smile.

Sadly, despite giving a tremendous hit, Bhagwan couldn’t repeat his success again. This site talks about how he was eventually reduced to a poor man who had to give up all his possessions and live a life that he didn’t deserve.

Many say that Bhagwan was quite a mover-shaker, and I have found that to be true. You ought to check out the song, one of my favourites, Shola jo bhadke and you will see for yourself. And it’s also true that one particular step of his in this song seems to have been emulated by the Big B. The song in itself is really cute (for the lack of a better word) with a Hawaii-ian like dance! Quite the western touch, thanks to C. Ramachandran, the composer, who was evidently very impressed with western music. It was Bhagwan who gave the man a break as a composer in his film.

I am still searching for more trivia on this film, and if anyone wishes to contribute, you are most welcome 🙂

 

Many happy returns of the day Kishore da

Kishore Kumar – need I give an introduction? If one of the most vibrant, albeit eccentric personalities the Hindi film industry has ever seen were still alive, he would celebrate his 81st birthday today. I didn’t prepare to write anything in particular about the man but I do want to acknowledge that I love Kishore da. 🙂

Kishore Kumar – Kishore means a young boy and Kumar means a prince – and that’s precisely what he was. Forever young at heart and a prince who won the adoration of everyone who listened to his voice or saw him onscreen.

I may be wrong but I think he is the only one in the industry who is the king of all trades – singing, dancing (ok not dancing so much maybe), acting, directing – is there anything he couldn’t do? (oh sorry, the dancing thing.)

I was reading about KK online and I found an article on him with an interesting anecdote narrated by his son, Amit:

An interesting tale about Kishore pertains to the cameo he was to do in his brother Ashok Kumar’s production Ziddi (1948), which marked Kishore’s debut as playback singer under Khemchand Prakash. ‘Dada Moni [Ashok Kumar] wanted Baba to do the cameo of a gardener who just abused the hero Dev [Anand] in a scene. Baba reluctantly agreed and when the camera rolled, used unprintable words instead of the abuses in the script!

“Dada Moni frantically yelled ‘Cut!’, but I believe that this incident had a big role to play in the bond that Baba shared with Dev Anand. For Dev Anand was the only star for whom he would sing playback when Baba himself was a big star.”

You can read the complete article here

If he were alive today, he would probably say, “May the madness never end!”

Cheers!