Taking Note Of Mr. Sachin Tendulkar


When Raj Singh Dungarpur died in September 2009, I posted my blog about him. I had stated that I have very limited and a layman’s knowledge about Cricket. And apart from him, I have only one more idol in Cricket : Sunil Gavaskar. I used to be his ardent fan. I started watching Cricket when West Indies toured India after Asiad Games. I specially remember the matches when Gavaskar equaled and then finally broke the record of Sir Don Bradman. I was enamoured by his persona and started following the matches and his art and craft. My interest in Cricket ebbed and receded when Gavaskar retired from first class Cricket and quit playing.

Then rose a little boy called Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Frankly speaking I didn’t take notice. I must admit in the beginning that I am not even a spec in the universe. My views and actions/reactions are not capable of changing anything and they don’t even matter. While writing about Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, I have stated that I had difficulty in accepting him because I was a fan of Mr. Dilip Kumar. Same syndrome appeared here also. It’s not a symptom of megalomania. I am stating my views to make it public and to show the world that a genius like Amitabh and Sachin can command respect and attention. They can force you into submission, even if you wish otherwise.

I was indifferent till the day Sachin scored 200 in Gwalior ODI. After his double century, a first by any male Batman, in ODI and that too after a career spanning 20 years, I was forced to take notice. Here it is needless to write about his achievements, his records, his techniques or his stature in world of Cricket. Everyone knows about those records. He now has all the probable and conceivable records of Cricket in his kitty. I think some of them won’t even be broken ever.

Congratulations Mr. Tendulkar ! I am ready to accept before the world that I was not your fan till recent past but you forced me into submission, just like Mr. Buchchan did few years ago. I bow and salute the genius.

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

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60 Years Of Navketan & Some More Years Of Mr. Dev Anand


Just finished reading a long interview of Mr. Dev Anand in today’s HT Cafe`. Ms. Roshmila Bhattacharya has done a fabulous job. Mentioning of Dev Anand instantly reminds me of the triumvirate : Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor, which ruled the Hindi film industry in the 50s, 60s and early 70s. Their popularity, their star power and their charisma knew no limits and boundaries. For today’s generation it is very difficult to know or understand their glory or success. They scaled dizzying heights, which is unimaginable for the stars of this generation. In those nascent days of the industry, when media was yet to get its gigantic size and reach, it was difficult to create and sustain a pan Indian image. It is still a mystery, how they achieved it and then sustained it for so long.

I still remember the day when I went to watch a movie with my maternal uncle, in the Vijay Talkies of my native town Deoria. If I am remembering correctly, film’s name was “ Dushman ”. My maternal uncle told me that it’s a Dev Anand movie and he is a big star. Film started and loud whistle and thunderous claps filled the dark corners of cinema hall, as soon as Mr. Dev Anand appeared on the screen. When he started mouthing his dialogues a hush dawned in the auditorium. Black trousers, white shirt, a puff of hair and a mysterious smile got me hooked instantly. I started following Dev Anand’s movies and from “ Dushman ” to “ Des Pardes” , I have watched almost all of his movies. I couldn’t follow his movies post “ Des Pardes ”, but I must say with all sincerity that I used to be his unabashed fan. I am still his fan and shall be one till my last breath.

This year Navketan, his production company, completed 60 years. From his first film “ Afsar ” to the latest “ Charge sheet ”, he has produced 37 films till date. Out of these 37 films some are the biggest hits of bollywood. Some are trend setters and some are milestones. Some like “ Guide ” are eternal classics. In this ephemeral world of film making, it is very rare for a production house to complete 60 years and ready with a new film. Mr. Dev Anand has achieved impossible.

I saw him once. I had gone to Navketan office for some work. I was parking my scooter. Suddenly I saw Dev Anand coming down the wooden staircase of his Kheera Nagar office. I was stunned to see the legend from such close quarters. It was my first encounter of Dev Anand. Years later, Late Raj Kumar’s daughter Vastavikta was being launched by Lawrence D’ Souza and Mr. Dev Anand was present there in the launch party. I was also there as a guest because I had trained Vastavikta. This was my second encounter of the legend. I couldn’t meet him after that.

I watched his film “ Dushman ” as a child in the Vijay Talkies, Deoria. And several years later,when I am also in the industry and have spent 20 years here, Dev Anand’s new film “ Charge Sheet ” is getting ready for release. It’s amazing , it’s a miracle and its a phenomenon in true sense of the term. Dev Saheb’s energy, enthusiasm and vigour is too infectious to ignore or avoid.

Long live the legend !!

Long live the phenomenon !!

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

Sunset Boulevard ( 2 ) : Requiem Of ” Family Photo Album “


Today, just after posting my blog on “ 3 Idiots ” and “ My Name Is Khan ”, I logged on to media library of my blog space to upload my photo. This has become a routine or ritual for every blog. I posted my 76th blog with my photo. After finishing my daily chores of internet, I was sitting in my study and reading Times Of India. Suddenly a thought occurred to me. How easily I went to media library of my blog space and up loaded the photo. These days I click photos on my Sony Digital camera and immediately upload it on my Apple PC. If needed and necessary, only then I make a hard copy of the photo, otherwise not.

Suddenly I was transported to my childhood and adolescent days, when family photo album used to be so essential part of every household. Revisiting the dark corridors of my childhood, I vividly remember that these albums were kept very prominently on the central table of the sofa in the drawing-room of every home, it used to be a proud possession of the family. Visiting its pages again and again was an exciting affair of the family members and they never used to get tired of it. It used to be sort of history book of the family and youngsters used to get familiar with the people and other important events of their family. They feel their fathers and forefathers by touching the photos. It was compulsory and mandatory for a guest and a visitor to flip the pages of the family album. Though sometimes they used to get bored to death. But there was no escape, no respite. They have to endure the ordeal until tea and snacks were served.

I had three family albums. My marriage album still survives but other two albums are gone. I mercilessly tore the other two and preserved all the photos on my Apple PC. In a way it is good but in a way it is loss of a long tradition also. It is death of an excitement. People from this generation can’t imagine the fun and excitement when a family album was brought out of the box and used to be open under the supervision and guidance of a family elder. Touching a hard copy of a photo had a totally different feeling, which digital copy can’t give. Though it is preserved in a better way.

Few days back I wrote / posted a blog about Hamara Bajaj – Bajaj Scooter. Little did I realize then that within few days I have to visit this sunset boulevard again and write / post a blog about the family album. All the old familiar things are giving way to new things. Everything is changing beyond recognition. Life is also changing. Only memories are static. They refuse to change. They stick to all old things. Nostalgia refuses to leave you till you are alive. Bajaj Scooter and family photo album, these two things of yore are fading out. They are slowly and silently taking their place somewhere in the sunset boulevard. They will be forgotten soon. They will become history. But they are part of my history too. They are part of my life. Sooner or later I would also be sprinting on this sunset boulevard. I would be in the company of things, which once upon a time were part of my life. My circle of life will be complete then, only then.

Farewell !! Farewell !!

Family photo albums will be extinct soon. But I will mourn its death.

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

” 3 Idiots ” & ” My Name Is Khan ” : A Layman’s Point Of View


“ My Name Is Khan ” is making waves these days. Not very long ago another Hindi film “ 3 Idiots ” was ruling the box office. Away from the raging controversies or comparisons, I waited for the dust to settle down before making my views public about these two films. Before expressing my views, I must admit that I am neither a film critic nor I could be one. I am little bit biased in favour of Aamir Khan. So it is almost impossible to become objective. And with a biased mind-set, if you write a critique , it is unethical. But when I start thinking like a connoisseur of Hindi Cinema, I think I can air my opinion. I can make my views public.

I watched both the movies and one thing which I liked most and appreciate, is the growing reach of Hindi Cinema. “ 3 Idiots ” released to universal praise, widespread acclaim and public euphoria. It netted more than Rs. 300 crore. Few weeks later came “ MNIK ” and it netted 150 crores within 10 days. What will be the final collection of both the films, what impact will they create in the world of cinema, is yet to be gauged. But I am happy for both the films. Now Hindi films are garnering more than 100 crores easily. It is not an exception but has become a rule. They are getting worldwide release. They are being dubbed in various European and African languages. And most important, they are getting worldwide attention and notice. Even mandarins of Hollywood are taking notice. “ MNIK ” is even distributed by Fox. “ MINK ” was premiered in Germany and is being dubbed in German, Polish and Arabic languages. It is biggest grosser of all times in overseas territory.

Much has already been written about “ 3 Idiots ”. It came as a whip of fresh air and the whole country lapped it up. It’s a universal hit throughout the country and that too after a very long time. Brilliant acting and social messages laced with humour added to its universal appeal. It made a brilliant and scathing comment on our current educational system. Here I would like to mention few things about “ MNIK ”. I watched it two days back. I was overwhelmed by the gigantic set up and huge canvass of the film. It has colossally mounted production value and frankly speaking, it’s a world-class cinema. It’s a new kind of Hindi cinema. The way Mr. Karan Johar has shot the film is praiseworthy. Scenes where president of U. S. A. appears on-screen, are fabulous. Though the characterization is highly influenced by “ Forest Gump ” and “ A Beautiful Mind ” but the approach is different. Lavish production value and huge canvass makes it a world-class film. For the first time so many actors of different nationalities are liberally used in a Hindi film.

I am ending this blog with satisfaction. We have a pool of fresh talents in every department of film making now. We have well-educated and intelligent directors and writers, who are crossing the known boundaries and setting new standards of film making. I am happy that now we are thinking out of the box and acting like harbingers of world cinema.

For me the earning of a film is of least concern. It hardly matters whether “ 3 Idiots ” will get No. 1 slot or “ MNIK ”. I am happy that in quick succession two Hindi films reached to such gigantic heights and scaled new peaks in world market. Their gross collection easily crossed Rs. 100 crore mark and is now nearing almost 300 crore. It is heartening.

Last and not the least, both the films have my students portraying important roles. Kareena Kapoor worked in “ 3 Idiots ” and Jimmy Sheirgill is working in “ My Name Is Khan ”.

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

Nitin Gadkari : Gushing Fresh Wind In The BJP


Last night when I was watching daily news on television, a news item drew my attention and almost hooked me. I saw a man singing on a dais. So what is unusual in it? A man can sing. In fact anyone can sing. Luckily singing is not yet taxed in our country. So what was unusual? Why was this news item unique? Why was is reported after all? The answer is known to all people who were watching that news. This news made headlines because the man in question was new BJP President Mr. Nitin Gadkari. In USA, President Barack Obama can dance in a TV show. A French President Nicolas Sarkozy can have a girlfriend and later on have the luxury of marrying her, while being in the office. Italian Prime Minister Burlosconi is a play boy and no one objects. But in a conservative India, a party President is supposed to be serious and not supposed to sing.
Have you ever seen a singing, swinging President of any political party in India? BJP and its predecessor Bharatiya Jana Sangh, had its own share of serious, sombre party Presidents. They were erudite, learned and men of wisdom :

1 – Shyama Prasad Mookerjee,
2 – Mauli Chandra Sharma,
3 – Prem Nath Dongra,
4 – Acharya D. P. Ghosh,
5 – Pitambar Das,
6 – A. Rama Rao,
7 – Bachharaj Vyas,
8 – Balraj Madhok and
9 – Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

All these great men were very reticent, erudite and philosopher Presidents of Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Out of these 9, I have met 5 presidents of BJS personally. They were : Prem Nath Dongra , Pitambar Das , Bachhraj Vyas , Balraj Madhok , and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya . Its new avatar BJP also had its share of serious, sombre Presidents :

1 – Murli Manohar Joshi,
2 – Kusha Bhau Thakre,
3 – Bangaru Lakshman,
4 – K. Jana Krishnamurthy,
5 – M. Venkaiah Naidu and
6 – Raj Nath Singh

They are glaring exponents of this kind of presidency. Out of these 6 , I have met 1 personally . He is Raj Nath Singh . Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Adwani were the only exceptions as presidents of Jana Sangh and later on BJP. They loved watching Hindi films and are connoisseurs of fine arts. I have personally met Atal Bihari vajpayee. Though Bachhraj Vyas as the President of Bharatiya Jana Sangh had unique sense of humour and now M. Venkaiah Naidu has also possesses that quality but they are exceptions.

In such scenario, when you see a party President bursting into impromptu song session, its a welcome relief. You feel as if a gushing fresh wind has gently caressed you. You feel as if dark clouds have suddenly hovered over you to protect you from the scorching heat.

Welcome Mr. Gadkari ! Welcome to the national arena ! I hope your tenure will bring luck and success to the BJP.

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

Vidur’s Open Letter – 3 : To Lisa Ray


Hi Lisa ,

Yesterday I saw you being interviewed by Barkha Dutt on NDTV 24×7. Gushing winds of memories filled empty corners of my heart and I was swept off my feet. I remember my early days in Mumbai. It was mid 1997. I was working with Fardeen Khan for his debut film “ Prem Aggan ”. One day I was sitting in F. K. International’s office at Lokhandwala, when I got a call from you. From Lokhandwala, It took me some time to reach to your place at Bandra. I still remember your building which was situated in a narrow lane near Mehboob Studio.

13 years have passed, but I must admit that when I saw you, I was stunned by your beauty and elegant personality. To my astonishment, I found you a reticent, reserved and withdrawn person. Our relationship never grew beyond hi and hello. Though I started the training same day but I couldn’t complete it because of your busy and hectic life style. Your continent hopping travel schedule also hampered the process and finally I stopped the training and we parted ways.

It was a brief working relationship. In those days of land line and pager, when Mobile telephony was yet to hit the nation, I had cultivated a habit of sending birthday and new year greeting cards to all my students. I got response from everyone except you. You never ever acknowledged, not even once. I have very cordial and intimate relationship with all of my students. But you are the only exception. I could not cultivate a warm and cordial relationship. I am not complaining but only stating the facts. After doing couple of films you left India and settled in Canada. We lost touch.

After couple of years, I got the news of your disease and I was shattered. Though we had only brief and formal relationship but I have seen you as a person. You were very caring daughter to your paralytic mother. Your devotion and love for your mother is still fresh in my memory. The way you used to feed her and the way you took care of all her needs is exemplary. How could such a loving and caring person be stricken by a life threatening disease? Sometimes I fail to understand judgment of God.

Yesterday when I watched you on NDTV 24×7, all these thoughts and memories immediately came back to me. Your infectious smile is still there and once again I was stunned by your beauty. It was nice to see you again. Your zest for life and your charming personality is intact. It is unaffected by your disease.

May God give you a long life. May your infectious smile and charming personality be there for ever. May you keep on posting your blog, “ The Yellow Diaries ” till the sunset of your normal, natural life. May you be relieved of your pain and suffering.

Amen !!

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

Bt Brinjal : A Needless Controversy


Before Pune blast and before “ My Name Is Khan ” controversy, Bt brinjal row was ruling and virtually dominating the print and electronic media. And it was just a week back, not months or years. On Tuesday, February 09 Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh addressed a press conference and put a lid on the raging controversy, albeit temporarily.

What is Bt brinjal ?

It is genetically modified food, developed by Indian seed firm Mayhico and its American partner firm Monsanto. They created a new variety of brinjal with a special gene Cry1AC, after 9 years of research. This particular gene Cry1AC makes it poisonous to pests. India’s biotech regulator cleared it on October 14, 2009 and a fierce row on the use of Bt brinjal is raging since then.

This vegetable is grown over 5.5 hectares by lakhs of farmers in India. They started fierce agitation as soon as the news came out that Bt brinjal has been cleared for mass production by Genetic Engineering Approval Committee of India. Eminent scientists, environmentalist and N.G.O.s opposed the GM food, calling it unsafe and not fit for mass consumption. Opposition parties, predictably, jumped into the fray and declared that they won’t allow mass production of Bt brinjal.

It is pertinent to know that Bt brinjal is not the only GM food in the world. In U.S.A. Corn, soyabean and sugar beet are being used. In Canada – Corn and sugar beet and in China – soyabean, rice and potato are widely used. India also is not the exception. Bt cotton was introduced in 2002 in India and results were very satisfying. So why this hue & cry this time? Opponents of Bt brinjal say that enough tests have not been done. That, few tests which were done, were done by the developer of Bt brinjal only. They seem to be biased. So fresh tests are needed. Because of this hue & cry
Government of India imposed moratorium on Bt brinjal till consensus is evolved.

I fail to understand the logic of the opponents of GM food. The scene reminds me of similar outcry during my childhood. Hybrid wheat was introduced in India for the first time. If I am not forgetting, its name was K68. Violent protests, massive procession and pandemonium in both the houses of parliament continued for months. Everyone declared that K68 will ruin India’s biodiversity, that it will ruin India’s agriculture. Though the results were different. From food deficit nation, we became food surplus nation. Slowly people accepted new hybrid wheat variety and gradually many other varieties were introduced. People forgot old indigenous wheat variety. When Jersey cows were introduced in India, clamour for their boycott were heard loudly. Now having a jersey cow is a matter of prestige. I think same will happen to Bt brinjal. It will be accepted by masses, albeit slowly and gradually.

Our basic mind set is against anything new. We don’t easily accept new scientific researches. We detest discoveries. We don’t like adventures. We are xenophobic to the core. We were frightened when trains were introduced during British rule and we refused to commute by it. Initially we hated tea also. So we are loving to hate Bt brinjal. We were forced, only then we accepted trains, tea and new hybrid wheat. Its my opinion that slowly we will accept Bt brinjal also. I am not saying that no fresh researches are needed. But the decision to use or not to use Bt brinjal should be based on scientific research and not on public opinion.

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

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