Vidur’s Telly Tales – 12 : ” Ramleela – Ajay Devgn Ke Saath ”

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 30 , 2012           01.15 A.M.

” Ramleela – Ajay Devgn Ke Saath “  was the brand new show on Life OK , which just got finished . It was very unique concept . It encapsulated the whole story of Bhagwan Ram in just 5 episodes . Ajay Devgn is the narrator of the show .

In the first episode , he tells us about Bhagwan Ram and the Ramleela starts with Maharshi Vishwamitra‘s Ashram . From there , story meanders through several anecdotes of Bhagwan Ram’s life and first episode ends when Bhagwan Ram is banished from his capital Ayodhya to forest for 14 years .

After this rest of the story got finished in remaining 4 episodes . This show attracted me because Rajnish Duggal was playing Ram . I was intrigued . I have seen several actors essaying role of Bhagwan Ram . From Prem Adib in ” Ram Rajya “ to Arun Govil in TV serial Ramayan , I have seen them all . Rajnish Duggal is the new Ram on-screen . So I was curious .

He was very impressive and impressed me as the mythical Ram . He looked regal and powerful . He enacted the role with the required finesse and panache .

He is my old student and his respect and regard for me is unbelievable . I always follow his career and he seeks my advice if the need arises . From Vikram Bhatt‘s ” 1920 “ to Wizcraft’s ” Ramleela – Ajay Devgn Ke Saath “ , it’s a long and very fruitful journey for him . I am happy for his success .

My son Raunak Chaturvedi also did two small roles in the serial . In the first episode he appeared as announcer of Mithila , the kingdom of Maharaja Janak . After this he appeared in the Sanjeevani Booti episode as one of the mountains . With these small roles , he took baby step in the world of cinema .

Raunak Chaturvedi

Raunak Chaturvedi

An innocuous serial became important for me because of Rajnish Duggal and my son . It was a well – made serial and special effects were mind-blowing . Wizcraft should be congratulated for this unique show .

I , along with my acting institute Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , congratulate Rajnish Duggal and Wizcraft for this magnificent concept and imaginative show on television . I am also happy for my son that he got this role without my help . It is his own success . A beautiful journey of his life has started with this baby step .



50 Years of Hotel Sun – n – Sand , Mumbai

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 28 , 2012           00.16 A.M.

Iconic Sun – n – Sand , Mumbai completes 50 years of its existence and is celebrating its Golden Jubilee this year .

The first Sun-n-Sand was built at Mumbai in 1962 by Mr. Gul Advani and his friend Mr. John Voyantzis, giving Mumbai its first 5 star hotel and India, its first beachfront 5 star hotel. There is now a Sun-n-Sand at Pune, Shirdi and Nagpur as well. The Sun-n-Sand Group of Hotels also runs a fine-dining restaurant, Jewel of India, and the Jade Garden banquet halls at Nehru Centre, Worli, Mumbai.

English: Sun-n-Sand Group of hotels - Mumbai

Sun-n-Sand Group of hotels – Mumbai (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jade Garden

I have vivid memories of Sun – n – Sand hotel . I first came to know about it during my Allahabad days . I had detailed knowledge of the hotel through the film magazines . All the big film land parties , film muhurats and jubilee functions were invariably held and celebrated here during those days . Since it was in Juhu , it was very convenient for the film land bigwigs .

I also got to know through magazines that legendary Dev Anand had booked a permanent suite on the first floor of this hotel and he kept it for 15 long years . That particular suite became almost his second home .

My curiosity for this hotel grew with the passage of time . When I landed in Mumbai in 1989 [ it was known as Bombay then ] , I went to see Sun – n – Sand . In the beginning of my struggling days it was my cherished dream to attend at least one party in the hotel . Luckily I got the opportunity soon . I don’t remember the occasion but I do remember the moment when I entered into the hotel for the first time .

I have attended several functions and parties since then . My last party was for the muhurat of ” Bheema “ , a film which I wrote few years back .

I have gone there several times since my first visit . But every time I am as excited as I was for the first time . Apart from Taj Mahal , Sun – n – Sand was the only hotel of Mumbai which caught my attention during my formative years . So the attraction remains undiminished even after so many decades .

I , on behalf of myself and my acting school , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , congratulate everyone associated with the hotel and wish them many more such jubilees .



Vidur’s Telly Tales – 11 : Finding Gauri Bhosle

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 24 , 2012           00.05 A.M.

One day I woke up in the morning and saw an ad in the news papers about some Gauri Bhosle , who was missing from her London home . I was intrigued because the face seemed familiar . Within few seconds I recognized the face . The girl Gauri Bhosle was none other than my student Mrunal Thakur .

With Mrunal Thakur / Gauri Bhosle

With Mrunal Thakur / Gauri Bhosle

It then occurred to me that this is not an ad for a missing person but an ad for the coming serial ” Khamoshiyan “ . Mrunal Thakur is playing main female protagonist named Gauri Bhosle in ” Khamoshiyan “ , which is currently being aired on Star Plus .

The serial is being produced by Sai Deodhar and her husband Shakti Anand . Incidentally Sai Deodhar is herself my old student . Sai is herself a fabulous actor but this time she decided to remain behind the camera .

With Sai Deodhar

With Sai Deodhar

Before the commencement of shooting , Mrunal Thakur was sent to me for training by Sai Deodhar . I must say that Mrunal is very hard-working , dedicated and sincere student . She used to attend morning and evening both the batches because there was not much time available and she had to prepare her complex character within the short time .

Before the start of the shooting of  ” Khamoshiyan ” , I had to go to Manali to train Kalki Koechlin for Dharma Production’s up – coming venture ” Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani ” . One day I got a call from Mrunal Thakur . She called me to inform that she is starting a new journey of her life and she needs my blessings . I was overwhelmed . There was no need of this gesture . A tutor always blesses his students . It was so sweet of her to call me and seek my blessings . In today’s time when few aggrieved students refuse to acknowledge me , when they openly make a statement that I know nothing , that I am not a good trainer , this gesture of Mrunal Thakur stands tall and is very humbling . It shows that she got good upbringing from her parents . She is not like some of the wannabe zombies who are disrespectful to me and thus show their poor ,  shameful and abominable upbringing .

I am happy for Mrunal Thakur and wish her all the success in life . I , along with the staff and students of my acting institute , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , congratulate her and bless her .

May God give her all the success she deserves in life !!



A Tearful Tribute to Bala Saheb Thackeray

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 22 , 2012           11.20 P.M.

I was trying to write this obituary since Saturday . But I couldn’t . There were many things , many thoughts running in my mind simultaneously . And in such circumstances flood-gates of memory gets opened and submerges our psyche .

On Saturday November 17 , 2012 , I was sitting in the office of my Acting Institute , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , when I heard about the demise of Shri Bala Saheb Thackeray . I closed my Acting Class immediately and returned home . Then I started watching TV . Every channel was full of the sad news . While watching the channels , I was thrown into the year 1967 , the year I passed high school examinations , left my native place Deoria and went to Allahabad for higher studies .

In Allahabad I heard about Shiv Sena , the 1-year-old new emerging force in Maharashtra .

Shiv Sena

Shiv Sena Symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The year was 1967 and Shiv Sena was just 1-year-old organization . I took admission in the Government Inter College , Allahabad and like all the youngsters of my age , I was trying to gather more knowledge , was trying to know more things about the world . I , along with my friends , used to read news papers and discuss events and personalities . Because of Shiv Sena’s pro – Marathi policies and staunch parochial attitude , the organization Shiv Sena and its leader Bal Thackeray [ as Bala Saheb was known then ] , was centre of debate and topic of many heated discussions .

I finished my studies , returned to my native place again and started my life afresh . Destiny sometimes plan things differently and plays unique games . So in 1989 I landed up in Bombay . The city , yet to be rechristened Mumbai , became my permanent abode . In 1989 Shiv Sena got registered as a political party . So my life in Mumbai and life of Shiv Sena as a political party began simultaneously in 1989 .

As I started living in Mumbai , I took note of Shiv Sena , started reading about it and started appreciating Shri Bala Saheb Thackeray and his ideology . I was not mature in 1967 , so I was critical of Bala Saheb’s policies and as a north – Indian felt bad when he uttered something against the north Indians . But as my life began in Mumbai , I started feeling that if someone feels that Marathi language , Marathi culture should be paramount in Maharashtra , there is no harm . If a leader says that Marathi should get preference in Maharashtra and it should be the state language , it is absolutely fine . Marathi language should get preference as the state language . If some organization advocates , propounds and is vocal about jobs for the son – of – the – soil , I feel that it is not unjustified at all and is definitely not anti – national .

So re – evaluation of Bala Saheb as a person and as a leader of Shiv Sena began in my mind . I must admit that slowly all the misgivings of previous years evaporated from my mind . 1990 onwards I could appreciate him in a much better way . I came to know about his early days as a cartoonist in ” The Free Press Journal ” . I saw some of the cartoons , which were published in ” Marmik ” , a magazine which he started after leaving ” The Free Press Journal “. He was second to none as a cartoonist , not even to the legendary R. K. Laxman . His cartoon character Kaka Ji , though not as famous as the Common Man of R. K. Laxman , was a poignant work of art . He even designed the famous logo of Raj Kapoor‘s R. K. Films .

As an orator , he had few equals . His connect with the masses was absolute . When I heard him for the first time , I was mesmerized , though my knowledge of Marathi was limited in those days .

It is unfortunate that I could not meet him in person . I am writing a book on acting and it was my secret wish that Bala Saheb should launch the book . Alas , along with so many wishes , my this wish will also remain unfulfilled .

While sitting at home and watching his funeral procession on Sunday , I remembered some other funeral processions of eminent Indians . I have seen Mahatma Gandhi’s funeral procession in photos . He attracted mammoth crowd even after his death . I do remember Jawahar Lal Nehru’s and Indira Gandhi’s last journey . Again the crowd was unprecedented . Last year I visited Anna Durai’s memorial in Puducherri and was stunned to see photos of his last journey . Apart from these above mentioned last journeys of  great Indian leaders , I have never seen such huge crowd for anybody’s last journey . Jawahar Lal Nehru , Indira Gandhi and Anna Durai held high positions in government . Mahatma Gandhi is the sole example of not holding any post and still commanding such respect after his death . Bala Saheb stands second only to Mahatma Gandhi .

I am sad that I could not meet him earlier and now after his demise it is not possible anymore .

English: Photo of Uddhav Thackeray, taken at B...

Photo of Uddhav Thackeray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my behalf and on the behalf of my acting institute Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , I offer condolences to Shri Uddhav Thackeray and the whole Thackeray family .

Nation lost a great leader and I lost an opportunity .



Vidur’s Telly Tales – 10 : 20 Years of ZEE TV

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 16 , 2012           00.35 A.M.

I came to Mumbai in 1989 . It was October 1989 precisely . That era belonged to Doordarshan a.k.a. DD . Fresh from the success of serials like ;  ” Ramayan ” and ” Mahabharat “ , DD almost became omni – present . It’s all – pervading reach in India was unparalleled . For audience , it dished out various other popular programmes but there was clamour for more . Zee TV was the first to fill the void .


Zee TV's very first logo used from 1 October 1...

Zee TV’s very first logo used from 1 October 1992 until 16 June 2000. Wikipedia)



Zee TV's second logo used in India from 17 Jun...

Zee TV’s second logo used in India from 17 June 2000 until 26 March 2005. Wikipedia)



Zee TV's third logo used from 27 March 2005 un...

Zee TV’s third logo used from 27 March 2005 until 18 June 2011. Wikipedia)



Zee TV's fourth logo unveiled on 19 June 2011....

Zee TV’s fourth logo unveiled on 19 June 2011. Wikipedia)


It was India’s first satellite channel . It was launched in October 1992 with 3 hours of prime time programming . It started with some immensely popular non – fiction shows .

SAANP SEEDI [ 1992 ] : This show was hosted by Mohan Kapoor . It was based on the famous game for kids .

ANTAKSHIRI [ 1993 ] : This show was hosted by Anu Kapoor along with Renuka Shahane and some others .

KHANA KHAZANA [ 1993 ] : Its 15 years run is unparalleled .

AAP KI ADALAT [ 1993 ] : This Rajat Sharma anchored show was a trend setter . It was a must – watch on Sundays .

SA RE GA MA PA [ 1995 ] : It is one of the Zee TV’s longest running show . Its several seasons spread over almost 18 years .

DANCE INDIA DANCE [ 2009 ] : In the last 3 years it became one of the biggest and most succesful non – fiction show .

INDIA’S MOST WANTED : It is the new non – fiction show of Zee TV .

Apart from above mentioned non – fiction shows , Zee TV became a trend – setter with some of its fiction shows also .

TARA [ 1993 ] : This woman oriented show was first of its kind and it ran for almost 5 years . This Raman Kumar and Vinita Nanda show is considered a trend – setter even today . It was very bold for its time .

BANEGI APNI BAAT [ 1993 ] : It ran for 4 years and is the longest running weekly show on satellite channel .

PARAMPARA [ 1993 ] : Mohan Bhandari played main lead in this family drama .

ZEE HORROR SHOW [ 1993 ] : first of its kind , the show was hugely popular .

CAMPUS [ 1994 ] : This weekly college based serial revolved around the teacher and students .

HUM PAANCH [ 1995 ] : This Ekta Kapoor show will always be remembered because it is longest running weekly comedy show and Vidya Balan played one of the sisters .

SAILAAB [ 1995 ] : It was a shocker of its time because of its story of extra – marital affair .

AMANAT [ 1997 ] : It was the first family drama which was hit and set trend for the future family dramas .

Apart from above mentioned hugely successful shows , Zee TV’s recent shows are also very popular . They are ; SAATH PHERE , JHANSI KI RANI , AGLE JANAM MOHE BITIYA HI KIJO and PAVITRA RISHTA .

Initially Zee was number one but lost its numero Uno position to Star Plus when the latter came with ” Kaun Banega Crorepati “ .  Zee TV’s current position oscillates between no. 2 and no. 3 . But there no denying the fact that Zee was a trend – setter and should be congratulated for that .


Several of my students had featured in various shows of Zee . I congratulate Zee TV on behalf of all the students and staff of Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .



Kekoo Gandhy : A connoisseur Par Excellence


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 11 , 2012           11.20 P.M.

Kekoo Gandhy, co-founder of Mumbai’s Gallery Chemould , one of the oldest commercial art galleries of India , passed away in Mumbai on November 10 , 2012 . He was 92 at the time of his death .

He , along with his wife Khorshed , opened his Gallery Chemould in 1963 at the first floor of Jehangir Art Gallery . Last month on October 17 , 2012 , Jehangir Art Gallery completed 60 years of its existence . It is ironical that Kekoo Gandhy died within a month of this historic event .

jahangir art gallery

Jahangir Art Gallery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have written a blog about the 60th year of Jehangir Art Gallery . I am posting the link :

60 Years of Jahangir Art Gallery

Kekoo Gandhy is considered one of the most significant figures in shaping India’s modern art . He established Chemould Frames, his frame manufacturing business through which he started his association with Mumbai’s first group of post-modern painters like ; Maqbool Fida  Husain , Syed Haider Raza , Tyeb Mehta and Kattingeri Krishna Hebbar , a.k.a. K. K. Hebbar .

When there were practically no venues in Mumbai for showing modern art , Gandhy would use his showroom window as an informal exhibiting space for budding artists and also seek prospective clients for them.

“Despite being such a huge figure on the art circuit, he was never intimidating to young artists . He was known to be friendly and approachable though he belonged to a different generation ,” said painter Atul Dodiya , who has held several shows at Gandhy’s gallery.

In 2007, Gallery Chemould moved out of Jehangir Art Gallery to a larger, state-of-the-art space . It is now headed by his daughter Shirin Gandhy .

I am not a connoisseur of modern art . It is not because of lack of appreciation but because of my penury . I don’t have money to buy paintings or a huge space to display them properly . But whenever I visit South Mumbai , I do visit Jehangir Art Gallery at Kala Ghoda . I love to be there .

I don’t know Kekoo Gandhy in personal capacity . I knew him through the columns of news papers . I do know that he is considered a father – figure in the field of modern art . His demise is really an irreparable loss .

I express my condolences . On behalf of me and my Acting Institute , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , I pray for the departed soul .

May his soul rest in peace !

[ Since I had no contacts with Kekoo Gandhy , I have quoted relevant facts of his life from news papers like , Times Of India and Indian Express . I am indebted . ]



New Female Playback Singers of Hindi Films

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 10 , 2012           00.35 A.M.

When ” Alam Ara ” , the first Indian talkie , hit the screen in 1931 , an era started , which could easily be called the era of singing stars . All the actors sang their own songs on the screen . Well known female stars of that era were no exception . From Devika Rani to Leela Chitnis and from Kanan Devi to lesser known starlets, every heroine worth the name sang their own songs .

English: Alam Ara poster, 1931.

Alam Ara poster, 1931. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Scene from the 1936 film Achhut Kanya

Ashok Kumar & Devika Rani in a Scene from the 1936 film Achhut Kanya (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kanan Devi

Kanan Devi (Photo credit: tonymitra)

Then came the era of Noor Jahan and Suraiya . Both were immensely popular stars and huge singers of their generation . Their songs and their films are still popular . Their retirement from the films finally brought an end to the glorious era of singing stars . Salma Agha , another singing star , came in ” Nikah ” [ 1982 ]  but it was an exception . Singing stars era had ended much earlier .

After the end of singing stars era , playback singing in films became popular . Rajkumari Dubey could be called the first female playback singer . She started her singing career in 1940 . Her songs with Mukesh in ” Bawre Nain “[ 1950 ]  are still famous and they are memorable . Modern day movie goer are familiar with her song from ” Pakeeza “[ 1972 ]  . It is ….. najaria ki mari mari more saiyan …….

Another playback singer from that era was Shamshad Begum . She rose to prominence with ” Khazanchi ” [ 1941 ] and ” Khandaan ” [ 1942 ] . Her career suffered major set back with the advent and subsequent supremacy of Lata Mangeshkar andAsha Bhosle . Amirbai Karnataki was another famous playback singer from that era .

Then began an era which is known as Lata Mangeshkar Era . She , along with her younger sibling Asha Bhosle , dominated the playback scene of Hindi films like a colossus for almost 5 decades .

English: Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar

Lata Mangeshkar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Indian singer Asha Bhosle

Asha Bhosle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During their era many singers came and went into oblivion . Geeta Dutt , Suman Kalyanpur , Kamal Barot ,  Sudha Malhotra , Mubarak Begum and Sharda came and eclipsed quickly without leaving a mark .

In 70s , while Lata Mangeshkar was still reigning supreme , again a new crop of female playback singers emerged . Alka Yagnik , Sadhana Sargam , Kavita Krishnamurty andAnuradha Paudwal came , gave some memorable hits and faded into oblivion . Lata Mangeshkar still ruled and gave memorable hits like ; Yash Chopra directed  ” Veer – Zaara ” [ 2004 ] .

Now a new crop of playback singers are hovering on the horizon . Shreya Ghoshal has become numero Uno like Lata Mangeshkar and Sunidhi Chauhan has almost taken Asha Bhosle’s place . But there are other female playback singers  also . They are fast emerging on the scene .

ADITI SINGH SHARMA : With chart – busters like ; ” Aali Re …. ” & ” Dilli , Dilli …… ” in ” No One Killed Jessica “ and ” Chhoomantar ….. ” in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan , she became a singer to watch in future .

ALYSSA MENDONSA : Daughter of Loy Mendonsa of Shankar – Ahsan – Loy fame , she sang ” Uff Teri Ada ……. ” in ” Karthik Calling Karthik “ and immensely popular ” Khwabon Ke Parindey ….. ” in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara .

ANUSHKA MANCHANDA : She sang re-mix version of ” Dum Maro Dum …… ” with a rare conviction and forced everyone to take notice of her talent .

HARSHDEEP KAUR : With ” Katiya Karoon ….. ” of  ” Rockstar “ and ” Jugni ………….. ” of ” Cocktail “ , she hit big and is surely on her way to the top .

MAHALAXMI IYER : She hit the bull’s-eye with ” Ae Ajnabee ……….. ” in ” Dil Se ” , ” Sadka Kiya ………… ” in ” I Hate Luv Storys “ and hugely popular Punjabi numbers like ; ” Laung Da Lashkara ……. ” & ” Rola Pe Gaya …….. ” in ” Patiala House ” .

NEHA BHASIN : ” Kuchh Khas Hai …….. ” in ” Fashion “ and ” Dhunki Dhunki ……. ” in ” Mere Brother Ki Dulhan “ brought her on the top .

SHIPLA RAO : In a hit number like : ” Khuda Jane …………… ” of ” Bachna Ae Haseenon “ , she found her moorings .

SHRUTI PATHAK : With ” Marjaawan …………… ” in ” Fashion “ and ” Payaliya ………… ” in ” Dev D “ , she arrived and made her presence felt .

SHWETA PANDIT : She made her debut in Yash Raj Films ” Mohabbatein ” [ 2000 ] . From ” Mohabbatein “ to ” Mere Brother Ki Dulhan ” [ 2011 ]  , she had sung several hits in Hindi . She regularly performs with A. R. Rehman‘s stage shows also . She is extremely popular singer in Telugu films also .

With Shweta Pandit in My Office

With Shweta Pandit in My Office

In a way she is my student . Though she never took admission in my Acting Institute and didn’t come to my regular batch . But still she come to my institute whenever she is free and participates in the improvisation classes of my institute Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .

I am happy for her and wish her greater success . I am sure in years to come she will be top playback singer of India .

I am happy that I have at least one student in playback singing field also .




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