Farewell Uncle Pai !


It was with deep shock that I read about the death of Mr. Anant Pai aka Uncle Pai , few days back. He died on February 14, 2011 in a Mumbai hospital.  He was admitted there for the operation of his fractured leg but shortly before he was to undergo surgery, he suffered a fatal heart attack and died. He was 82-year-old at the time of his death.

He was the founder of India‘s most famous comic series ” Amar Chitra Katha “. Later on he also started a magazine for children ” Tinkle “. In mid-60s, when he was working with The Times of India, he was watching a television quiz and to his utter dismay and shock saw a child, who knew so many things about Greek history but didn’t know the name of the mother of Bhagwan Ram. Mr. Anant Pai decided to do something.

Amar Chitra Katha

Image via Wikipedia - Logo Amar Chitra Katha

In 1967 he conceptualized and along with some of his loyal illustrators , started publication of Amar Chitra Katha. First of the series was about Bhagwan Krishna. Initially all the books of Amar Chitra Katha series were published by India Book House. This world-famous series went on to sell 100 million copies of 440 titles in 20 Indian languages.

Later on in 1984 Uncle Pai launched ” Tinkle “. This magazine had so many comic characters of its own like ; Suppandi, Shikari Shambhu , Kalia the Crow and Tantri the Mantri. Suppandi and Kalia the Crow were my favourites. I was so impressed by the character of Suppandi , the lovable goof, that I coined a new word also. It was Patandi. A verb for the actions of Suppandi. Whatever Suppandi did was Patandi for me. I used it frequently whenever my siblings were up to some pranks. I still sometimes use it for the asinine acts of my kids.


Image via Wikipedia - Suppandi

I must admit here that Amar Chitra Katha had a lasting impression on me during my formative years. For history and mythology, apart from history books, Amar Chitra Katha , was the only authentic informative source that we had. In those pre-google days Uncle Pai became an encyclopedia for the kids.

He was basically a Kannadiga and got educated in Mumbai. He used to work in the book division of Times of India. The paper used to bring Indrajal Comics at that time. Famous characters of Indrajal Comics were Phantom and Mandrake the Magician. I was avid follower of both these comic series.

I am fortunate that I had privilege of meeting uncle Pai several time. Years ago in 1998 Star Plus was making a TV series on Amar Chitra Katha. Mr. Rohit Kaushik was assigned to direct ” SHAKUNTALA “ and Mr. Gaurab Pandey was assigned to direct ” RABINDRA NATH TAGORE “. I was writing scripts for both the series. I used to go to uncle Pai’s apartment in Shivalik building at Prabhadevi for consultations. He used to live with his wife Lalitha. Because of my knowledge of Sanskrit and Indian scriptures, he became very fond of me and in fact gifted me a novel written by him. Name of the novel is ” BEECH KI KADI “ , which he wrote under pseudonym of Parth. This novel is not available in the market and I am the proud owner of it, with his signature and small note. He used to come to the ESSEL studio , where we were shooting ” SHAKUNTALA ” . I spent many memorable evenings talking to him about his life, his work and his vision. I am happy that I wrote script for his ” SHAKUNTALA ” , and ” RABINDRA NATH TAGORE ” , which he liked and praised. His faith in me was so unflinching that when something went wrong with  ” SHAKUNTALA ” , he said, ” how did this happen when vidur was there? ”

It is sad and pathetic that he was not honoured by Indian government for his herculean contribution. In spite of being a pioneer, he was not honoured by the governments of all hue and colours. Towards the end of his illustrious career, he was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award at a comic book conclave in New Delhi. Even after his death, clamour to confer the Padma Award fell to deaf ears.

Uncle Pai in His Office

It is sad, very sad. But people of two generations will always remember their uncle Pai with fondness and love.

Farewell uncle Pai ! You and your Amar Chitra Katha series are always AMAR [ immortal ]. This KATHA [ story ] will never end.

I consider myself extremely fortunate that I could meet you several times and could interact with a person of your caliber.







A 15 Year-Long Funeral

“]Last Photo of Nitin [ Few Days Before His Death ]

Last Photo of Nitin-Few Days Before His Death

NIGHT………………………………1.15 A.M.


It is February 25 , 2011 today. 15 years back on this very date [ February 25 , 1996 ], my elder son Nitin Chaturvedi died.

He was going to his college at Malad from Nalla Sopara, where we were living at that time.

Some where in between Vasai and Borivli , he fell from the running  local train and lost his life.

In those days of extremely harsh and hard struggle, I used to leave my Shree Prastha flat at Nalla Sopara , very early in the morning and used to take 11.00 P.M. train in the night for the return journey.

On the day of my son’s death, I was at home and was taking my afternoon nap , which I rarely do. I was not feeling well that day. So he pressed my legs for some time and started getting ready for his college. I was sleepy. I saw glimpse of his face while he was closing the main door of the flat. That was the last glimpse of his face, which I could see and that glimpse still lingers in the dark , gloomy and lonely corridors of my heart without any obfuscation.

After his departure, I went to sleep. I was fast asleep . There was a knock at the door at around 2.00 P.M. Woken from my slumber I opened the door. There was a police man standing there with my son’s college I.Card. He told me to come with him to the Bhagwati Hospital, Borivli. Strangely , I felt nothing, sensed nothing and like an enchanted person followed him. We took local train from Nalla Sopara and reached Bhagwati Hospital, Borivli. He started escorting me to the morgue. Still I was numb and could not sense anything.

An attendant opened the door of the morgue and then I saw my son’s dead body lying on a stretcher in a pool of blood. His eyes were half closed , half-open. His fair face was full of dust. Fresh , thick sheet of blood was clearly visible beneath his bruised body. Again I couldn’t feel anything at that moment. Today when I analyze, I realize that I became numb at that moment.

I had hardly 50 rupees in my pocket and that too in coins. I called Mr. Kishore Namit Kapoor, with whom I was working at that time, and told him about the incident.

I returned to Nalla Sopara. My wife had sensed the death and she was crying profusely. All the neighbours had gathered and were trying to console her. Before I could reach Nalla Sopara, Mr. Kishore Namit Kapoor was there with all the students of the current batch.

My Keralite neighbour took charge of my two other sons. We returned to Bhagwati Hospital to claim the body. After post mortem and other formalities we again came to Nalla Sopara with the body. Next day we cremated the body.

I don’t want to go into the graphic details of the following days. But one thing I would never forget that when this incident happened , I had only 50 rupees and that too in coins. I had no money for hospital expenses, no money for post mortem fees and for the expenses of cremation. Mr. Kishore Namit Kapoor was gracious and kind enough to give me Rs. 20,000.00 [ Rs. Twenty Thousand ]. With his help I was  able to perform last rights of my son.

After this we went to Deoria, my native place , for other rituals of shraddha.

When I returned from my native place and asked Mr. Kishore Namit Kapoor about repayment of the money, he refused to take back the money. I would never forget this gesture as long as I am alive.

Today when I am writing this blog , I am not ashamed but I am pained to remember my economic condition. In those days of penury and destitution, I could barely manage two square meals for my family. My son was fond of good food , good clothes and I was unable to provide that. Few days before his death, he was craving for bread and butter and I was unable to buy even Modern bread. Cost of Modern bread in those days was not more than 2.00 or 3.00 rupees. But I couldn’t afford even that and since I couldn’t buy bread, every night I used to cook up one new story .

He wanted to watch Jurassic Park, which was being screened at Sterling. I couldn’t take him to Sterling because train fare from Nalla Sopara to Churchgate and then price of the ticket at Sterling for me , my wife and three children , was beyond my capacity.

It was his destiny to die young. [ He celebrated his 16th birthday on 21st February, only 4 days before his death. ] But I am saddened because I could father 3 sons and was unable to provide them even basic amenities of life. I am not ashamed of my penury and destitution. But I feel guilty that I was unable to fulfill their basic needs.

It is 15 years today since he is gone. Funeral pyre, which I lit on that fateful day consumed my son’s body but it  refuses to get extinguished even now. It is still burning in the inner , dark and gloomy corridors of my psyche and burning me along with my guilt. It is a 15 year-long funeral, which refuses to end.

It seems today that barring my wife, every one in the family, all the relatives have forgotten him completely. I think no one remembers him.My two sons were too young to remember even his face. Slowly he is becoming just a portrait on the wall.

I am a firm believer in re-birth. I do believe that my son’s unsatisfied soul must have taken birth.in a new family and definitely in a wealthy family. In his new birth , sitting in the lap of his immensely rich father , he must be enjoying all the pleasantries of life, which he used to wish and I was unable to provide.

And I am sure, he is totally oblivious of the fact that his poor parents still remember him fondly.













Egypt : The Harbinger of Change in Arab World

EVENING…………………………………………….7.55 P.M.

I hate the word Current Affaires. What is happening in this world is not just current affaires. It is definitely something very serious. Whatever has happened is history . So whatever is happening today, is history-in-the-making. That is the reason, I have named this category : History-In-Making and not current affairs.

Gamal Abdel Nasser takes presidential oath for...

Image via Wikipedia - Nasser Taking oath for 3rd Presidential Term

I was curiously and very anxiously following the happenings in Egypt. I am a student of history and thus was familiar with the ancient history of Egypt. I was always fascinated by the Pyramids, the Sphinx. I have read about the pre-historic Egypt. I know about the Roman Egypt and the Ottoman Egypt. I had childhood memories of Egypt’s ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser, who overthrew the monarchy and stablished democracy. King Farouk was overthrown in a bloodless coup and Mohammad Naguib took as the first Prime Minister of Egypt. Nasser was the real architect of this change. Later on he deposed Mohammad Naguib and took as the second Prime Minister of the ancient nation. Along with Jawahar Lal Nehru and Yugoslavia’s Josip Broz Tito , he was instrumental in forming the Non-Alignment Movement. When he died in 1970, his funeral was attended by 5 million people. Such was his popularity and such was his stature and standing in the world arena.

President Gamal Abd ElNasser, the second presi...

Image via Wikipedia - Gamal Abdel Nasser

After Nasser , Anwar El Sadat became the ruler of Egypt. His tenure was marked for his historic visit to Israel and eventually Egypt’s recognition of the Jewish state. By a gentle stoke of his pen, he ended centuries old hostility and animosity. No student of world history will ever forget those momentous days of the President of Egypt’s state visit to Israel and the eventual recognition of the Jewish state by an Arab nation.

President Anwar Sadat of Egypt

Image via Wikipedia - Anwar El Sadat

Anwar El Sadat was disliked by Muslim Brotherhood people for this and he was fiercely opposed by the orthodox muslims. Sadat was ultimately gunned down by an orthodox muslim group, while  inspecting a military parade. Hosni Mubarak succeeded him and ruled for a close 30 years. I have no memory of pre-Nasser period but from the rule of Nasser to Sadat to Hosni Mubarak, I was a close follower.

Suddenly one day there was an innocuous news about Tunisia , a tiny state in Africa continent. Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali , the despotic ruler of Tunisia, was forced to leave the country by unarmed protesting mobs.

”]Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia ...

This incident triggered protests in Egypt on January 25, 2011 and suddenly my twitter timeline was flooded with the news of Egypt and her unarmed protesting masses at Tahrir Square. Despite best efforts of Mubarak government , protests refused to be petered out and finally after almost a fortnight and after several procrastinations , Hosni Mubarak resigned and a military council took over. Mubarak is set to be in coma and his whereabouts are not known.

“]President George W. Bush and Egyptian Presiden...

Image via Wikipedia - Hosni Mubarak {President of Egypt

It will always be remembered as a watershed movement. Trigger point of this massive campaign was initiated by Wael Ghonim, a google executive , whose anti-terror Facebook page helped spark the movement. Hosni Mubarak’s departure is creating ripples in the entire Arab world and protests are erupting in Iran, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Rulers are announcing sops and reforms suo-moto. Word’s first Facebook and Twitter revolution is about to create a far-reaching impact in the entire Middle East.

I wish and pray that Egypt should remain secular and democratic and should not fall in the hands of Muslim Brotherhood. She should not be allowed to become another Afghanistan and Talibanization of Egypt is not desired and it will not be good for the larger muslim interests.







Sunset Boulevard ( 6 ) : I Lost My Chavanni

When I wrote Sunset Boulevard for the first time about my Bajaj Scooter, I thought that in my life I wont be writing something like this ever again. I assumed that all the familiar things of my life, all the cherished asinine objects of my childhood will be with me till I breathe my last. But Alas ! I am writing the 6th version of my Sunset Boulevard. One more object of my childhood fancy is destined to walk this path, which is metaphorically known as Sunset Boulevard. It means walking the path of no return. After sunset there will be a new dawn , a new morning but that will be a totally new dawn, that will be a totally new morning. Things and objects which leave us and which finish their journey wont ever return in our present life.

Indian coins have seen many changes and they have gone from one shape to other. In my early childhood there were copper coins. When I grew older, those copper coins, those objects of my childhood fancy were changed to aluminium coins. My evening pocket-money was 10 paise. It used to be princely sum in those days of asinine pleasures. It would seem impossible but I used to buy many things to eat with this princely some of 10 paise.

Slowly some new coins were introduced and a new shaped CHAVANNI came into being. My joy knew no bounds when after due requests, I started getting CHAVANNI for my every day evening pocket-money. I remember and that too very vividly that when I got my first CHAVANNI for the first time, I bought many things : MOONGPHALI, CHINIYA BADAM, PATTI AND CHURAN. God ! so many things and just one coin ! Days seemed to be happier and rosy. Every evening I used to stand near the gate of our Deoria mansion and used to wait for my father to return from the Civil Court , Deoria. His arrival was source of immense happiness. I used to be extra obedient and took every precaution of not disturbing  my father so that I could get my due CHAVANNI . My younger siblings were very envious of me because they were still getting 10 paise and they desperately wanted a CHAVANNI.

Slowly my two younger brothers ; Devesh and Atul and one sister ; Kiran also graduated and started getting CHAVANNI. We used to have our own preferences but some times we used to pull our CHAVANNIS and thus with the princely some of 1 rupee, we used to buy BUDHIA KE BAL  and used to feast on it. [ I don’t know why , but we used to call it Budhia ka Tanta ] I am giving very old photo of me and my two brothers and one sister. My younger sister Neelima was yet to be born and thus is not privy to many of our childhood fancies.

Alas ! government of India decides that the iconic CHAVANNI of my childhood will be discontinued from June 30, 2011. In fact all the coins below the denomination of ATHANNI [ 50 paise ] will be phased out. Government of India says that Ferritic Stainless Steel, which is used to make these coins costs more than the value of the coin itself. But matters of heart do not know or understand logic. I was sad  when I heard  and read the news.

25 paise (Indian)

Image via Wikipedia

One more familiar thing of my life, one more iconic object of my childhood fancy is being phased out. For me it is not just phasing out of CHAVANNI, but it id death of an object of my childhood joy and happiness. Today CHAVANNI can’t buy anything. But once upon a time it used to buy so many things for me every evening.








Golden Jubilee of Bhojpuri Film Industry

It was a cold day of North Indian winter in Patna, capital of Bihar . The day was February 16, 1961. There were flurry of activities near Shaheed Smarak , Patna. On 16 February 1961 , muhurat of first Bhojpuri filmGanga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibon ” was performed . Thus a tentative step was taken and a nascent film industry slowly started coming to life. ” Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibon ” was duly completed and was released to fabulous response of Bhojpuri speaking masses. It was huge hit of its time and is now considered a classic. Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi sang all the songs. Shailendra wrote the lyrics and all the stars were taken from the Hindi Film Industry.

Shaheed Smarak or Martyr's Memorial Patna

Image via Wikipedia - Shaheed Smarak , Patna

Today Bhojpuri Film Industry completes 50 years. Much water has been flown down the Ganga in all these 50 years . The nascent industry now boasts of almost 50 releases a year. This industry is now supported by 8  TV channels and many more channels are coming. It has its own trade magazine , BHOJPURI CITY , published from Mumbai . Star prices are sky-rocketing and so are the tantrums and paraphernalia. But still this industry is not seen in good light by Hindi film industry people and also by general Bhojpuri speaking populace. It is derided, ridiculed and is considered down-market. Hindi film stars refuse to work in Bhojpuri films. Music Directors and renowned play back singers shun it like plague and family audience , specially ladies , avoid going to cinema halls , where Bhojpuri films are screened. Gone are the days of  classics like ” Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibon ”  , ” Lagi Nahi Chhute Rama “ and ” Bidesia “. Even films like ” Hamar Sansar ” , ” Sita Maiya ” , ” Balam Pardesiya “ and ” Dangal ” are long forgotten. ” Dharti Maiya “ ,  the last of the  Mohicans , is also a distant history. Days of stars like ;  Aseem Kumar, Kumkum, Naaz , Sujit Kumar , Padma Khanna , Rakesh Pandey and Kunal Singh are over . Bhojpuri film industry went into silent and sleepy mode after hugely successful ” Dharti Maiya ” and remained dormant for almost a decade.

In 2001 it got a new lease of life after ” Saiyan Hamar ” , ” Padit Ji Batayin Na Biyah Kab Hoyi ” and ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala “. There were new stars on the firmament  and industry started looking vibrant and robust. It was the decade of Ravi Kissen, Manoj Tiwari, Dinesh Lal Yadav [ Nirahua ], Pawan Singh, Rani Chatterji, Pakhi Hegde and Rinku Ghosh. Even a Nepali star Biraj Bhatt is ruling the rust. According to the grapevine Dinesh Lal Yadav [ Nirahua ] charges 75 lakhs. Average budge of a Bhojpuri film is now almost 1 crore. Apparently picture looks rosy and healthy. But frankly speaking its an ailing and decaying industry.

There are 24 crore Bhojpuri speaking people in this world. Apart from India, there are several Bhojpuri speaking nations in this hemisphere. Notable among them are : Mauritius, Fiji, Surinam, Trinidad and Guyana. European nations like Holland also has a sizable population of Bhojpuri speaking people. Definitely the market is huge and lucrative. So no doubt huge money is at stake . Therefore many unscrupulous people have sneaked in the industry feigning as a film maker, though the fact of the matter is , they are not genuine film makers.

There are people who don’t know the language or culture or the background of the people living in the hinterlands of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. They are like migratory birds, who come for the quick buck. They make their temporary nest , collect their eggs and then leave for greener pastures and more lucrative fields. And because of them , Bhojpuri industry suffers.

Today as it completes 50 years of its existence, it is time to ponder. Why there is no representation of Bhojpuri films in National and International Film Festivals ? Why no Bhojpuri film was ever selected for the Oscars ? Why National Awards still elude us ? Why no one from the industry has been thought worthy of Padma Awards ? An industry of 50 years of standing is considered unworthy of the Oscars and we the film makers are not perturbed. An industry of 24 crore Bhojpuri speaking people is considered down market and we the film makers are not ashamed. An industry churning 50 films per year is not worthy of National or International Awards and we are not bothered. We, like a megalomaniac, think that everything is fine and that we are making great films.

A small Marathi film ” Shwas ” goes to Oscars. A new film maker makes an experimental Marathi  film ” Harishchandrachi Factory “ and it also goes to Oscars. Bengali film industry , though smaller than Bhojpuri film industry , boasts of gigantic figures like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak and Tapan Sinha. Ray got Oscar [ Life Time Achievement ] and others have been awarded Dada Sahab Phalke Award and Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan Awards . A tiny state of Kerala boasts of internationally acclaimed film maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Even Assam boasts of Jahnu Barua and Bhupen Hazarika. Do we have any Bhojpuri film maker who can claim to have international standing ? I have nothing against these giants. I am only lamenting and hanging my head in shame at the unfortunate state of the pitiable and deplorable condition of Bhojpuri Film Industry.

Now the question arises, who is to be blamed for this state of affaires ? My answer is simple . And the answer is : WE. We the people of Bhojpuri speaking provinces hereby should solemnly affirm and accept that we have given our industry a bad name, a bad shape and a bad reputation . We make bad and unwatchable films. We insist that vulgarity should be the norm of the day. We proudly proclaim that Item songs should be and must be an integral part of our films. Marathi and Bengali films are recognized worldwide and we pat our back that we have a titillating item number in our film.

Today on the golden jubilee day of Bhojpuri Film Industry , central or provincial governments have no programmes to commemorate the occasion .  TV  channels also don’t have anything  for the day. There is no buzz in the print media either. Can you imagine this kind of silence for Tamil , Telugu , Kannada , Malayalam or Bengali film industry’s golden jubilee day ? You know the answer and the answer is a firm no.

On this occasion we should take a pledge to retrieve the situation. Let us give our industry a good name, a decent reputation and an international recognition.







A. K. Hangal & His Communist Comrades

Last month I was traveling. While going out of Mumbai, I came to know about pitiable condition of veteran actor Shri Avtar Krishn Hangal, aka A. K. Hangal. I was saddened and felt ashamed that such a veteran actor should be almost begging for his medical and other expenses. When I wrote an obituary to Nalini Jayawant, I mentioned that it is duty of CINTAA [ Cine & TV Artistes’ Association ] to look after its ailing members and aging veterans who have no one to look after them. Nalini Jayawant died in her bungalow and world came to know about it after 3 days. There was no one in her family and her body was wrapped in a bed sheet and was taken away by BMC people. CINTAA maintained an enigmatic silence, Now barely a month passed and tragedy struck the industry again. 90 years old actor A. K. Hangal’s son gave a statement and sought help for his ailing and aging father, who is unable to earn because of his advance age and failing health.

I saw Hangal Sahab’s photo and read about his economic condition and was aghast. Film fraternity ran to his rescue in full force. His colleagues and filmmakers, with whom he had worked , immediately donated money and pledged support. Some filmmakers also came forward to help, even though they hadn’t worked with Hangal Sahab.

It was very heartening and satisfying that the industry rose as one family and magnanimously helped one of its infirm and ailing veteran member, who is unable to earn because of his advancing age.. Government of Maharashtra also pitched in and a decent sum was given to Mr. Vijay Hangal, son of Hangal Sahab.

Flag, in style used by many South Asian Commun...

Image via Wikipedia - Communist Flag

Only worrying part in this episode was the behaviour of his communist colleagues. Hangal Sahab is a member of Communist Party of India. He was an active member of IPTA [ Indian Peoples Theatre Association ] also and worked in many plays for them. Throughout his active years he supported them wholeheartedly and they conveniently forgot him at the time of his need. There was no clamour for his help from the communists. No word of support at his hour of distress was heard from the comrades. There was baffling and intriguing silence in the camp of comrades. When this veteran actor was fighting for his survival, another prominent proletariat [ ? ] Shabana Azmi was busy organizing a fashion show with the help of a prominent fashion designer Manish Malhotra. Because of her standing in the industry, she was able to have 39 prominent Hindi film stars for her show. Bourgeoisie [ ? ] like Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and Mr. Aamir Khan rushed to help Hangal Sahab and a proletariat [ ? ] like Shabana Azmi was busy inviting 39 prominent stars to walk the ramp for Manish Malhotra.

Shabana Azmi

Image via Wikipedia - Shabana Azmi

May I ask the reason of this silence? May I know the cause for this apathy? It is shameful and disgusting. Communists are born opportunists. They use people and when they find them worthless, they dump them nicely. This what they have done to Hangal Sahab.

A dream never fulfilled

Image via Wikipedia - A Dream Never Fulfilled

Thank God ! India is yet to become a communist nation.  Thank God ! USSR [ Union of Soviet Socialist Republic ] does not exist any more. Thank God ! Lenin and Stalin have been nicely consigned to the dustbins of history. Thank God ! Dictatorship of the proletariat is not the norm in our society.







My Column ” Kal Aur Aaj ” in Bhojpuri City – [2]

I am reproducing here my fortnightly column ” KAL AUR AAJ ” . This is my first ever column and it is in Hindi. First article of the column was published  in the December 1st, 2010 issue of Bhojpuri City. This one is the 2nd article of my column.

It comes and will keep on coming in ” BHOJPURI CITY ” , a Bhojpuri Film Trade Magazine. This fortnightly magazine is published from Mumbai.

Bhojpuri City – Cover of February 1st 2011

Kal Aur Aaj - 2 February 1st 2011








Vidur’s Open Letter – 7 : To Divya Dutta

Hi Divya ,

It feels nice when a person, who is younger and in fact a student, becomes big enough to be a Chief Guest at the function being held by you. This happened  to me on the day before yesterday. You are much younger to me and a very dear student of mine and came to the institute on Saturday as a Chief Guest at the convocation Ceremony. It was a pleasant surprise to meet you on Saturday evening. I invited you to grace the occasion as Chief Guest for the 9th convocation ceremony of my institute and to my surprise you readily agreed.

It is an 18-year-old relationship. Mr. Nari Hira of STARDUST magazine came with the idea of selecting few talented youngsters from the far away parts of the country to train them at his expense and then dedicate them to the service of the industry. I got the opportunity to train the candidates of first and second STARDUST BATCHES. You were in the first ever batch of STARDUST ACADEMY along with Sonali Bendre and Amarr Upadyay and several other youngsters , who couldn’t make it in the industry despite their valiant efforts.

Stardust (magazine)

Image via Wikipedia

After completing the training , I remember the day when you got  your first movie ” ISHQ MEIN JEENA ISHQ MEIN MARNA ” in 1994, though your first released movie was ” SURAKSHA ” in 1995. Out of approximately 60 films of yours , in my opinion you reached the zenith of your career  in 2004, when you appeared in ” VEER ZAARA ” , a Yash Raj Production directed by legendary Yash Chopra himself . Strictly according to my views , you completely overshadowed the two famous leading actors of  ” VEER ZAARA “, Rani Mukherjee and Preity Zinta. You won accolades and many awards for this role in ” VEER ZAARA “. Your portrayal was very satisfying for me and I was proud that I was your trainer once.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

After ” VEER ZAARA ” , you again rose to new heights in ” DELHI 6 “. It was a small role but your portrayal was brilliant. I was very happy when I read your tweet that recently you got Best Actor [ Female ] Award for a Punjabi film ” SUKHMANI ” in the first ever Punjabi Film Award.

On Saturday evening , when I saw you , a deluge of sepia toned memories came gushing to my mind . At the time of your training , I was very new in this field. I was inexperienced and frankly speaking a novice. In these 18 years I have matured as a trainer and so are you as an accomplished actor. It speaks volumes that even after attaining dizzying heights of name, fame and success you did not forget me and came to the institute at a short notice. In this cruel and cussed film industry, where successful people have habit of seeing through you , it was heartening to know a person like you , who even after 18 long years refuses to forget me.

You are a wonderful human being and a dear student. May God give you more success in coming years !







Vidur’s Film Diary – January 2011

It’s the 1st month of 2011. First release of the year opened quite well. But bad memories of the last year will take some time to get erased. Most of the films are still bombing with same regularity. Scenario is not very rosy yet and may take some time to stabilize.

To emphasise my point of view and to show the latest trends in the industry, I am reproducing  few relevant tweets of eminent trade analysts Mr. Taran Adarsh and Mr. Komal Nahta :

Komal Nahta
#TeesMaarKhan crashes further in its 2nd week. #BandBaajaBaaraat is the only film doing well. http://bit.ly/ePmq8A
B.O. update: ‘No One Killed Jessica‘ surprises, opens quite well http://bit.ly/aQZHc9
‘No One Killed Jessica’: Has found tremendous appreciation. Collected Rs 13.10 cr nett in its opening weekend, showing day-wise improvement.
taran_adarsh taran adarsh
‘NOKJ’: UTV has recovered entire investment from sale of Satellite & Music Rights, besides selling Mumbai & Delhi-U.P. for handsome price.
Komal Nahta
KomalNahta Komal Nahta
Yamla Pagla Deewana: Producers have made Rs.41 crore by sale of theatrical & satellite rights. Film’s budget: Rs.24 cr. http://bit.ly/fiMJW
taran adarsh
taran_adarsh taran adarsh
‘Band Baaja Baaraat’ verdict: Above average [theatrical business]. Will ensure good profits to Yash Raj.
taran adarsh
taran_adarsh taran adarsh
Tees Maar Khan‘ verdict: Below average [theatrical]. UTV may just about recover its investment due to contribution from Satellite Rights
taran adarsh
taran_adarsh taran adarsh
‘No One Killed Jessica’ collects Rs 20.70 cr nett in Week 1, excellent http://bit.ly/bbkhW4
Komal Nahta
KomalNahta Komal Nahta
Yamla Pagla Deewana Brings Ray Of Hope In Bollywood. http://bit.ly/gSthVF
taran adarsh
taran_adarsh taran adarsh 

First No One Killed Jessica. Now Yamla Pagla Deewana. 2011 has started with a bang. Hindi film industry is on a roll.
taran adarsh
taran_adarsh taran adarsh 

Yamla Pagla Deewana cost Rs 25 cr [incl P&A]. Money recovered from sale of theatrical rights Rs 24 cr + Satellite Rs 16 cr. Profit Rs 15 cr
taran adarsh
taran_adarsh taran adarsh 

Yamla Pagla Deewana’ fares very well in international markets as well http://bit.ly/8YMX4o
taran adarsh
taran_adarsh taran adarsh
‘Dhobi Ghat’ Friday: Rs. 3.05 cr nett on limited screens [325 screens] and limited shows. Excellent!
Komal Nahta
KomalNahta Komal Nahta
Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji garners Rs. 15 crore (nett) at the box-office in its 1st weekend. More: http://bit.ly/e9Qn68


Vivek Shauq : Noted comedian and a brilliant actor Vivek Shauq died of cardiac arrest on January 10, 2011. He was 47 years old is best known for his work with Jaspal Bhatti in shows like Flop Show,Ulta Pulta and Full Tension .

He worked in films like ” Gadar – Ek Prem Katha “ [ 2002 ] also as Sunny Deol’s sardar friend. His other films are ” Barsaat Ki Raat “, with which he made his debut in 1998 and ” Aitraaz “.

Actor Vivek Shauq has passed away. U may recall him as Sunny Deol’s sardar friend in ‘Gadar’.Also known 4 doin Jaspal Bhatt’s Ulta Pulta.RIP
vivek shauq,known fr his brilliant comic roles is no more…too young to go….r i p

New Releases & Me
First Week – January 07

1 – No One Killed Jessica………………………………………..x

2 – Vikalp……………………………………………………………..x

3 – Impatient Vivek………………………………………………..Sayali Bhagat

…………………………………………………………………………Rounak Ahuja

…………………………………………………………………………Ashok Beniwal

…………………………………………………………………………Sharmila Goenka

Second Week  – January 14

1 – Yamla Pagla Deewana………………………………………..Kulraj Randhawa

………………………………………………………………………….Samir Karnik

………………………………………………………………………….Himanshu Malik

2 – Mumbai Mast Kallander………………………………………x

3 – Turning 30……………………………………………………….Sid Makkar

………………………………………………………………………….Samir Malhotra

Third Week – January 21
1 – Dhobi Ghat……………………………………………………….x
2 – Hostel……………………………………………………………..Vatsal Sheth
………………………………………………………………………….Tulip Joshi

Fourth Week – January 28

1 – Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji…………………………………………..Emraan Hashmi

……………………………………………………………………………Shazahn Padamsee

In total ..09… films got released this month. Out of these…09…films , my …..13……students were there in….05….films. Out of these ..13…students …12…  are actors, …01…..Samir Karnik is the director.
NOTE : 1

Hindi Film News This month :

1 -Times 10 Most Desirable Men :  Hritik Roshan, Salman Khan, Ranbir kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, John Abraham, Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Arjun Rampal, Imran Khan and Saif Ali Khan . Out of these 10 Most Desirable Men 6 are my students. They are Hritik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham, Arjun Rampal, Imran Khan and Saif Ali Khan.

2 – Times 10 Most Desirable Women : Katrina kaif, Aishwarya Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor, Genelia D” Souza, Sonam Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Kangna Ranaut and Nicole Faria. Out of these 10 Most Desirable Women 5 are my students. They are Katrina kaif, Priyanks Chopra, Kareena Kapoor, Genelia D” Souza and Sonam Kapoor.

[ It is heartening coincidence that first position holders of both the lists are my students ]

3 – Shenaz Treasurywala has been signed to play an important role in an American soap opera named ” One Life to Live . She is an old student of mine.

T. V. Trivia This Month :

1 – Both my students  – Samir Soni and Ashmit Patel survived in Bigg Boss – 4 till the end. Samir Soni got evicted last week and Ashmit Patel was second Runner Up.

Awards This Month :


1 – Amitabh Bachchan got Asianet Life Time Achievement Award in Kochi.

2 – Big Star Entertainment Award – 2010

Best Male Actor category – 6 nominations . Out of them 2 :  Hritik Roshan for ” Guzaarish ” and Ranbir kapoor for ” Raajneeti ” are my students.

Best Female Actor category – 6 nominations . Out of them  2 : Kareena kapoor for ” Golmaal 3 ” and Katrina Kaif for ” Raajneeti ” are my students.

Best Music Director category – 5 nominations . Out of them 1 : Shekhar Ravjiani of Vishal-Shekhar duo is my student too.

Best Television Actor Male category 4 nominations . Out of them 1 : Mishal Raheja, who was nominated for ” Laagi Tyjhse Lagan ” is my student too.

Best shows of T V – 6 nominations . Out of them 2 shows has scores of my students. ” Khataron Ke Khiladi – 3 ” had  5 students and ” Bigg Boss – 4 ” has 2 students.


Best Actor Male for Cinematic Excellence – HRITIK ROSHAN [ Guzaarish ]

Best Supporting Actor Male – ARJUN RAMPAL [ Raajneeti ]

Best Actor Male Negative – SONU SOOD [ Dabangg ]

Best Entertainer of the Year Female – KATRINA KAIF


Best Actor Male category – 8 Nomination . Out of them  2 : HRITIK ROSHAN & RANBIR KAPOOR are my students.

Best Actor Male Supporting Role category – 6 Nominations . Out of them  1 : SIKANDAR KHER is my student.

Best Actor Male Negative Role category – 5 Nominations. Out of them  3 : EMRAAN HASHMI, SONU SOOD & VIVEK OBEROI are my students.

Best Music Director – 6 Nominations . Out of them  1 : VISHAL of VISHAL-SHEKHAR duo is my student.

My student KATRINA KAIF won Best Actor Popular Choice.

5 – ZEE CINE AWARD – 2010 :

International Mail Icon – RANBIR KAPOOR

Jury award for Best actor Male – HRITIK ROSHAN [ Guzaarish ]

Best Actor in a Supporting Role Male  – ARJUN RAMPAL [ Raajneeti ]


Best Male Actor category – 5 nominations . Out of them 2 :  Hritik Roshan for ” Guzaarish ” and Ranbir kapoor for ” Raajneeti ” are my students.

Best Female Actor category – 5 nominations . Out of them  1 : Kareena kapoor for ” Golmaal 3  ” is my students.

Best Male Actor in Supporting Role Category – 6 nominations. Out of them 2 : Arjun Rampal for ” Raajneeti ” and Emraan Hashmi for ” Once Upon A Time In Mumbai ” are my students.

Best Female Actor in Supporting Role Category – 5 nominations. Out of them 1 : Kareena Kapoor for ” We Are Family ” is my students.

Best Music Director category – 6 nominations . Out of them 1 : Shekhar Ravjiani of Vishal-Shekhar duo is my student too.

7 – STARDUST AWARD – 2010 :

Best Male Actor [ Comedy / Romance ] category – 5 nominations . Out of them 2 :  Akshaye Khanna for ” Tees Maar Khan ” and  Imran Khan for  ” I Hate Luv Storys  ” are my students.

Best Female Actor [ Comedy / Romance ] category – 6 nominations . Out of them 3 : Kareena Kapoor for ” Golmaal 3 ” , Katrina Kaif for ” Tees Maar Khan ” and Sonam Kapoor for ” I Hate Luv Storys ” are my students.

Best Male Actor [ Drama ] category – 6 nominations . Out of them 2 :  Hritik Roshan for ” Guzaarish ” and Ranbir kapoor for ” Raajneeti ” are my students.

Best Female Actor [ Drama ] category – 5 nominations . Out of them  2 : Katrina Kaif for ” Raajneeti ” and Kareena kapoor for ” We Are Family ” a re my students.







It Has Been Now Three Years , My Mother !

It was third death anniversary of my mother on January 28 , 2011 . Three years back on January 28 , 2008 she died in Jabalpur. I still remember the day vividly. My memory refuses to obliterate that day from my psyche. I was sleeping in my Mumbai flat and my telephone rang very early in the morning. Early morning calls are always frightening. You feel that something might be wrong somewhere or there is a tragedy lurking in the vicinity. It was a call from my younger brother from Jabalpur. He told me that he is going to hospital as Amma had suffered heart attack. I talked to my mother . She clearly told me that she is not going to return from the hospital. She was wailing because of excruciating pain. I assured her that everything will be okay and went to sleep. Little did I realize that it was my last talk to her. She was admitted in the hospital and from there she never returned. She suffered first heart attack in October 2007 and recovered completely , so I was sure that she is going to be all right once again. But it was not to be. In the afternoon I got a call from my brother that I should immediately proceed for Jabalpur. I took the next flight to Nagpur and took a cab from there . After a night long  journey. I reached Jabalpur early morning and found her dead. I found her body lying on the ground, as if she was fast asleep. Only indication of a calamity was the blood that was oozing out of her ears and nose . Other wise she was calm as if  enjoying her deep slumber.

By noon all my brothers and sisters came and we took her for cremation on the banks of Narmada at Gwari Ghat. It was bitter , cold , grey and windy afternoon and when , according to Hindu rituals , we uplifted her body to be dipped in the cold , chilly waters of Narmada , I hesitated for a second. What if she catches cold ? What if she shivers ? But nothing happened . After several rituals I lit the funeral pyre and with the rising flames the last remnant of my guardianship was gone. I lost my father when I was 22 years old. That day I lost my mother,  when I was 56 years old. Yes I was old . Yes I was mature but as flames started consuming her body I watched everything in helpless , melancholic state of mind and I knew that now my flanks are defenceless. Baba, Maa , Babuji and now Amma , all are gone and I have to live my life henceforth without them , without their love , without their care. I am going to live and those who would have easily and happily died for me are now gone.

[ This photograph was taken by me in February 2007 , when we went for a pilgrimage to Madurai, Ramesgwaram and Tirupati  . It was her last pilgrimage.]

When I look back and try to visit her life , I am amazed. There was nothing extraordinary. She was uneducated and belonged to a poor family. From a tiny and obscure village called Marufpur, District Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh she came to our family based in a village called Sonbarsa , District Gorakhpur [ now Deoria ] , Uttar Pradesh. From abject poverty to wealth, from uneducated, Bhojpuri speaking family to highly educated one , for her it would have been a severe cultural shock. One thing all the youngsters of the family don’t know about her is that she was an unwanted bride. She was not welcomed in the family with warmth and joy.

At this juncture while I write this blog, I should and I must admit that she had unabashed preference for me. She was totally biased in my favour. No mother on earth ever ignores her children and she also did not ignore her other children but it is a known fact of the family that she used to give me preferential treatment. Later on when my younger sister Neelima was born her attention was diverted towards her a bit. She was her last child and that too a girl child, so she used to pamper her a lot. But still I was the prefered one. During my childhood, it was a source of glee and ecstasy for me. I used to feel proud that I am a chosen kid of destiny and that my other siblings are children of a lesser God. But now I feel ashamed. As I am getting older and have family of my own, I feel that whatever my mother did was in a way wrong and that I enjoyed it , was even worst.

I tried to find out an answer for her behaviour , but I always failed. Few days back , when I was writing script of my Bhojpuri directorial venture ” Aber” , I suddenly found the answer. I was writing characteristics of the mother of the hero of my film and I visualized my mother’s situation.  Because of her background and because her own existence was at stake in her new house, she must have felt threatened. In the dark , unlit room of our Sonbarasa village house, where there was no support coming, not a soul was accommodative, not any sign or signal of acceptance was in sight , no glimmer at the end of the tunnel was visible , she must have felt inferior compared to other ladies of the family. It must have been a lonely and fierce psychological battle for acceptance and respect. When I was born, it was not only the birth of a child for her, it was the advent of an heir, a male descendant in and for the patriarchal and oligarch family. The respect and acceptance which was missing, came almost running to her. And since it happened because of me, she must have looked at me as a god send opportunity. And for this very reason she remained biased towards me till her last breath.

It is a known family secret that compared to all of us , my younger brother Devesh served her more. So it would have been natural for her to feel special attachment towards him but due to her early year’s lonely and fierce psychological war at the dark and spartan room of our Sonbarsa house, her feelings for me never changed.

[ Here in the above photograph I am standing and my younger brother Devesh is in her lap . Location – First floor verandah of krishna Kunj – our Deoria House ]

I have never been a very extraordinary son to my parents in any way. Devesh served our mother in a much better way and was with her at the time of her death . My third brother , Atul was always with our father and was with him at the time of his death.  I cannot come close to them as for as serving our parents are concerned. To be honest I was just an okay son. Not great , not worst.

{ At the bridge which connects mainland to Rameshwaram. February 2007 ]

In The Rameshwaram Market with My Son

It is now three years since she is gone. My umbilical chord with her was snapped at the time of my birth. My emotional chord with her with remain intact as long as I will live. But the physical proximity is certainly missing. I am not going to see her or meet her again. And after my death , it is going to be like two drifting pieces of wood in a mighty ocean or two floating atoms in the galaxy. They can meet occasionally or accidentally but there is no affinity, no relationship , no attachment.

This is sad but this is life.








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