Hotel – 3 : Manali [ Quality Inn River Country ]


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 24 , 2012           07.30 P.M.

As I have stated in my Manali Travel Diary , I took morning flight from Mumbai for Chandigarh on March 18 , 2012 and reached there around 10.00 A.M. I was given a car by the production people and after 11 hour-long road journey I reached Manali at 10.00 P.M. in the night . My car stopped in the compound of Quality Inn River Country Resort . It was dark so I could not see much . But illuminated exterior of the hotel looked very impressive . It was huge and well maintained . I clicked this photo next morning .

The Exterior of Quality Inn - Manali

The Exterior of Quality Inn – Manali

When I entered in the lobby , I found that the lobby is cosy and warm and the reception area quite spacious .

I was ushered into my room on the 3rd floor . Quite spacious room with 2 separate beds greeted me . I have the problem with joint double – bed . So I was happy to see two separate single beds . Bed – sheets and pillow – covers are another area of concern . Here they were spotless white , clean and well – ironed . Since it was quite cold and windy outside , so heater was on .

After entering a hotel room and after bed , bed – sheet and pillow – covers , I next look for the study table and sockets for charging my mobiles and laptop . I found a pretty big study table placed diagonally opposite the bed . It had a table lamp and a switch – board nearby with multiple sockets . Switch – boards , in some hotels , are very neglected things these days , though they are most essential . In some hotel rooms they are not placed properly . Either they are beneath the study or side tables or they are fitted somewhere near the floor . And you have to go through all the inconvenience to plug-in your electronic gadgets . Here in Quality Inn River Country Resort switch board was nicely fitted near the corner of the top of the study table . I heaved a sigh of relief .

Bath – room was well – lit and quite big and all the sections ; commode , wash – basin and bathing closet were evenly separated and were roomy . Surprisingly cupboard was just in front of the bathroom . After having shower , you have to just step out and can lay your hands on your clothes .

Side tables near the bed were big enough to accommodate your wrist watch , mobiles , magazines , reading glasses and medicines . Again a welcome change .

Dinning hall of the hotel was located on the first floor . Breakfast and dinner was included in the tariff and I realized that in a way it not very costly hotel , though it is a 3 Star property .

Dinner was a sumptuous affair and since it was buffet , you have choices also .

After dinner , I came to my room and crashed .

My Room in Hotel Quality Inn - Manali

My Room in Hotel Quality Inn – Manali

Another View of My Room in Hotel Quality Inn - Manali

Another View of My Room in Hotel Quality Inn – Manali

In the morning , when I woke up and opened the front window , I was ecstatic . Fresh , cold and hilly winds caressed me , played with my body for a while and overwhelmed me completely. I could see pine , deodar trees trembling in the wind and river Bias flowing magnificently in front of me . I have rarely seen anywhere a river flowing adjacent to the main road . In Manali it is exactly that .

When you look up from the window , you can see snow – capped mountains a little far away . From the window of Quality Inn River Country Resort river Bias and snow – capped mountains seem within your reach , near your vicinity . It looked as if you could stretch your hand and touch them .

Front View from My Room in Hotel Quality Inn - Manali

Front View from My Room in Hotel Quality Inn – Manali

Front View from My Room in Hotel Quality Inn - Manali

Front View from My Room in Hotel Quality Inn – Manali

Front View from My Room in Hotel Quality Inn - Manali

Front View from My Room in Hotel Quality Inn – Manali

Scene at the rear of the hotel was also breath – taking . Mountains , gushing winds and beautiful cottages dot the compound of the hotel . It would have been nice to stay in a cottage but the tariff was on the higher side .

View of The Cottages from My Room in Hotel Quality Inn - Manali

View of The Cottages from My Room in Hotel Quality Inn – Manali

Backside View from My Room in Hotel Quality Inn - Manali

Backside View from My Room in Hotel Quality Inn – Manali

After Hotel Golden Tower of Chennai , I found another hotel , where the travel desk is managed very efficiently .

Courteous staff , ready to help manager and efficient people managing front desk make your stay pleasant . Since it is a 3 Star property , tariff is on the higher side but since breakfast and dinner is included in the package , I think it becomes affordable and manageable for middle class tourists also .

It’s only drawback is 2 km. long distance from the Mall , the market . Since finding a rickshaw is difficult , you have to walk to the market . And if you are a shopaholic or a die – hard wanderer like me , it becomes quite tasking to walk to the Mall throughout the day .

Apart from its distance from the main market place , I found no negative points in this 3 Star property .

Lack of internet is another deterrent but it is not confined to this hotel alone . It is a problem you will face everywhere in Manali . Barring BSNL every other internet service provider fails in Manali .

If you want a comfortable stay in Manali within affordable budget and just one deterrent , I highly recommend this property.

According to me Quality Inn River Country Resort deserves 4 and 1/2 stars out of 5 .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

In Memoriam Rajesh Khanna : Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli , Hai!


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 24 , 2012           01.15 A.M.

Dara Singh died on July 12 , 2012 . Within a week another luminary of the Hindi film industry bid adieu to this world . Rajesh Khanna died on July 18 , 2012 .

In Glass Casket

In Glass Casket

Akshay Kumar with the Dead Body In Glass Casket

Akshay Kumar with the Dead Body In Glass Casket

Let me state honestly . I am not his fan . In fact I was never ever a fan or admirer of Rajesh Khanna , the actor or the man . Though I have watched many of his films . I do admire some of his cult films . I definitely remember and hummed many of his iconic songs . I am very much aware of his stupendous super stardom , which , once upon a time , engulfed the film industry like a hurricane or tornado or tsunami . I am witness to those years when every star  was dwarfed in front of him . I am well aware of  those momentous days when everyone or everything became insignificant in his presence . His blitzkrieg darkened all the other objects . His tumultuous rise momentarily eclipsed all the other stars and consigned some of the mightiest stars into the trash bin of history . I am witness to those days . I was living in that era . I am privy to those happenings . In 1972 I was here in Bombay [ now Mumbai ] . I have seen the crowd in front of his bungalow Aashirwaad . I have witnessed the fan adulation . But still , I was not his fan or admirer .

But I was saddened beyond words when I heard the news of his demise . My wife , again not his fan , cried profusely when she watched his funeral procession . So the question arises , what happened to us ? Why we felt for Rajesh Khanna so deeply ? Is it not enigmatic ? Is it not ironical ? No , it is not . Just watch these pictures posted below and notice the horrific changes in his personality down the years and you will fully understand the reason of our empathy .

Image - 1

Image – 1

Image - 2

Image – 2

Image - 3

Image – 3

Image - 4

Image – 4

Image - 5

Image – 5

Image - 6

Image – 6

Image - 7

Image – 7

From a dashing , charming young superstar to a pale shadow of his own self , these photos tell us a very tragic and pathetic story . For present day generation of movie – goers , his popularity during his heydays is unknown and unimaginable . I am presenting some of the milestones of his life’s journey one by one .

Aakhri Khat

Aakhri Khat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1966 : Made debut with ” Aakhri Khat ” .

1967 : Made his mark with ” Raaz ” .

1969 : Attained Super stardom with ” Aaradhana ”

1969 : ” Bandhan ”

1969 : ” Do Raste ”

1969 : ” Doli ”

1969 : ” Khamoshi ”

1969 : ” Ittefaq ”

[ 6 super hits in 1969 ]

1970 : ” Aan Milo Sajna

1970 : ” Safar ”

1970 : ” Kati Patang ”

1970 : ” The Train ”

1970 : ” Sachcha Jhootha ”

[ 5 super hits in 1970 ]

1971 : ” Anand ”

1971 : ” Haathi Mere Saathi

1971 : ” Dushman ”

1971 : ” Mehboob Ki Mehndi

[ 4 super hits in 1971 ]

1972 : ” Amar Prem ”

1972 : ” Apna Desh ”

[ 2 super hits in 1972 ]

Within 3 years of making his debut , he attained unimaginable , unheard of and unprecedented super stardom in 1969 with ” Aradhana “ and gave 15 consecutive super hits till 1972 , a record still unbroken . ” Daag ” [ 1973 ] and  ” Namak Haraam ” [ 1973 ] were also big hits . But 1973 was a watershed moment in his career . He was eclipsed by Amitabh Bachchan in ” Namak Haraam “ . Amitabh Bachchan’s career defining film ” Zanjeer “ also came in 1973 . And thus began the well – known downward slide of mighty Super Star Rajesh Khanna .

Alarmed by his waning popularity , he married much younger Dimple Kapadia and made headlines temporarily.

Though in 1974 he gave 2 super hits like ;Aap Ki Kasamand ” Roti “ but the slide was visible and evident . The era now clearly belonged to Amitabh Bachchan , who once played second fiddle to him in super hit , iconic cult films like ; ” Anand ” and ” Namak Haraam ” .

Poster of Anand

Poster of Anand

Poster of Namak Haraam

Poster of Namak Haraam

Poster of these two films can give you Amitabh Bachchan’s position in the industry in those days vis-a-vis Rajesh Khanna . But alas , the cruel hands of fate had started writing some unknown and inglorious chapters of his life with indelible ink .

In 1975 Amitabh Bachchan gave ” Deewar ” and ” Sholay ” . Rajesh Khanna’s mentor and lucky mascot Shakti Samanta made ” Mehbooba ” [ 1975 ] . ” Deewar ” and ” Sholay “ were super hits and became ageless cult classics . While ” Mehbooba “ was a resounding flop and sealed Rajesh Khanna’s fate finally. After 8 years gap and some insignificant films in between , in 1983 , he again came with 2 mega hits like ; ” Avatar ” and ” Soutan “ but the magic was missing . Even these massive hits could not salvage his lost position in the industry . His turbulent career affected his personal life also . In 1984 came the tragic separation from Dimple Kapadia .

From 1983 [ his last hits ] to 2012 [ his death ] ,  29 years of his eventless , colourless career and lonely personal life proved fatal for him . It is regrettable and cruel irony that a c-grade movie ” Wafaa ” [ 2010 ] is his last film .

In between he dabbled in TV also . In total he worked in 4 TV serials . ” Apne Paraye [ B4U TV – 2001 ] , ” Ittefaq ” [ Zee TV – 2002 ] , ” Bhabhima ” [ 2008 ] andRaghukul Reet Sada Chali Aayi ” [ DD 1 – 2008 ] . But none could touch the popularity of Amitabh Bachchan’s ” Kaun Banega Crorepati ” [ Star Plus – 2000] .

It is a well-known secret that the title superstar was coined for him by his publicists ; Devyani Chaubal and K. Razdan . But the mass hysteria which he generated in those days and that too without the help of internet , twitter and facebook , is unimaginable , unfathomable and still unattainable . It is regrettable that his stardom or superstardom lasted just for 4 years . 15 successive super hits in a row and then 7 consecutive super flops in a row defines Rajesh Khanna’s strange film career . Compare his 4 year tenure with other stars :

DEV ANAND : 65 Years [ 1946 Hum Ek Hain – 2011 Chargesheet ]

ASHOK KUMAR : 61 Years [ 1936 Jeevan Naiya – 1997 Aankhon Me Tum Ho ]

DILIP KUMAR : 54 Years [ 1944 Jwar Bhata – 1998 Qila ]

AMITABH BACHCHAN : 40 Years [ 1973 Zanjeer – 2012 Bol Bachchan ]

Stars of this generation SHAH RUKH KHAN , SALMAN KHAN and AAMIR KHAN are reigning kings even after almost 20 years . HRITIK ROSHAN has 12 years of stardom behind him . Even DARA SINGH survived for 45 years [ 1962 King Kong – 2007 Jab We Met ] . But alas ! Rajesh Khanna vanished from the stardom and was banished from the film industry just after 4 years . Though he did 165 films and played solo lead in 107 films but was forgotten by the masses and ignored by the friends and the same film industry , which once said , ” Upar aaqa ; neeche Kaka .”

It is sad . It is heart – wrenching . People say many things about him . I , myself know many stories about him , which are said to be the cause of his downfall . But I don’t want to write those stories after his death . After all he was human and to err is human . Just re – think about some facts of his life . He debuted when he was 24 . He attained superstardom when he was 27 and lost his empire when he was just 31 . After that , till his death , it was 38 year – long wait for regaining his lost empire . It was 38 year – long wait for The Knock at his door by any producer or director . It was 38 year – long wait for the crowd to assemble again at his doorstep . It was 38 year – long wait for the same mass – hysteria , same mass adulation which was once his right and he thought it was his birth right  .

Mass hysteria , mass adulation did happen again but alas , it happened only after his death . See these pictures of his funeral procession and then watch the  crowd in front of his bungalow Aashirwaad and you will be able to feel the irony of fate . I wish , this attention should have happened a year before ……….. or a week before ……… or even a day before ………… he would have died a happy and contented man . But strange are the ways of destiny.

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

I agree , he did make some mistakes . He did err like a human and for that mistake , for that error destiny punished him with all its might , with all its ferocity , with all its lethal cruelty . He , for his mistakes , never got same benevolence by destiny , which others easily got for their sins . Fate was condescending to others , not to him .

He was like quintessential Greek tragic hero . You can only feel sorry for him . You can empathise with him . And you could hum his memorable song …. zindagi kaisi hai paheli , hai ; kabhi ye hasaye , kabhi ye rulaye ……. Ek din sapno ka rahi , chala jaye sapno se aage kahan ………..

Phenomenon , known as Rajesh Khanna , regained some of his glory once again but alas , only after his death . He had gone forever and had gone even beyond his dreams .

As I finish my blog , I feel , I must express my admiration and gratitude to his son in  law Akshay Kumar and his long – time friend Anju Mahendru , who took every care to give him comfort during his last days . Though it seems futile , but still , it was because of them that a befitting funeral could be arranged for this forgotten phenomenon , fallen Super Star and a lonely icon , who once ruled supreme . Thank you Mr. Akshay Kumar , thank you Madam Anju Mahendru , I bow my head in gratitude ! May God bless you two !

My heart also goes for Rinke Khanna , my student , who was very close and was very much attached to her father .

If I could feel so much without being his fan or admirer , then you can imagine the pain and pathos of his fans and near and dear ones .

Rest In Peace Sir ! Destiny was cruel to you . Better luck in next life .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

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