My 25-Year-Long Journey : From Kareena Kapoor to Alia Bhatt


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 08, 2014           08.50 P.M.

 

My fascination with Hindi film heroines started in mid 60s. In the dark environs of Amar Jyoti Talkies, Deoria, my rendezvous with Hindi cinema took place with Rajendra Kumar and B. Saroja Devi starrer Silver Jubilee hit  ” Sasural ” [ 1961 ] . B. Saroja Devi, though not well-known to Hindi cine-goers, was almost alien to me. But after watching the film, I was unable to forget her. Her elegant persona, her well-kept figure, her chiselled face enticed me for weeks and months. She was the first icon of my childhood fancy.

Few years later in 1967, after appearing in High School exams, I watched Dilip Kumar and  Vyjayanthimala, starrer golden jubilee film ” Ganga Jumna “. B. Saroja Devi and  Vyjayanthimala, to my utter surprise, looked almost similar. I was hooked to Vyjayanthimala and my fascination for the film heroines got fortified.

After passing High School, I went to Allahabad for further studies. My true rendezvous with Hindi cinema started in all earnest in Allahabad. I started watching films regularly. I got acquainted with the heroines of early Hindi cinema. I was particularly enamoured by Devika Rani and Kanan Devi. [ Who can forget Devika Rani’s ………. MAIN BAN KI CHIDIA BAN KE BAN-BAN DOLOON RE ……….( ” Achhut Kanya ” – 1936 ) and Kanan Devi’s ………….. YE DUNIYA ,YE DUNIYA TOOFAN MAIL ……… ( Jawaab ” – 1942 ) ? Few years later I watched two earlier films of Kanan Devi; P. C. Barua starrer ” Mukti ” [ 1937 ] and K. L. Sehgal starrer ” Street Singer ” [ 1938 ]. Though they were the heroines of my father’s generation but their etherial beauty, their sweet voice enthralled me and fascinated me during my adolescent and growing up years in Allahabad.

Later on I got acquainted with the works of other highly successful actresses of the bygone era. The list included Nargis, Suraiya, Nalini Jayawant,  Meena Kumari, Madhubala, Nimmi and Geeta Bali. These heroines ruled the golden era of Hindi films. But even they belonged to the earlier era.

My era included highly successful and enchanting heroines like;  Nutan, Vyjayanthimala, Waheeda Rehman , Nanda and Mala Sinha .

I became a die-hard fan of Waheeda Rehman after watching her films Pyaasa (1957) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) . After watching Raj Kapoor‘s Awaara (1951) and of Mehboob Khan‘s Mother India (1957), Nargis, also became one of my all time favourites. Vijay Bhatt‘s Baiju Bawra (1952), made me a fan of  Meena Kumari.  K. Asif‘s Mughal-e-Azam (1960) made Madhubala my eternal favourite.

Then times changed. My journey with cinema matured. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, actresses like Sadhna, Saira Banu, Sharmila Tagore, Mumtaz and Asha Parekh ruled the Hindi film world.

In the early 70s  Amitabh Bachchan, era started in the Hindi film industry. Actresses from this era included Hema Malini, Jaya BachchanRekha,  Zeenat Aman and Dimple Kapadia. I adored these heroines but frankly, I was neither enchanted or enamoured by them. Mysterious quality of the earlier heroines was missing. Or may be I became mature and the mystique slowly evaporated.

In 1975, I completed my studies in Allahabad and returned to my native place, Deoria. A 14-year-long second phase of my life started in Deoria.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the pendulum swung back towards family centric romantic musicals with the success of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) . Incidentally this was the last film, which I watched in Deoria.

I moved to Bombay [ now Mumbai ] in 1989. This was the year when Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) got released and changed the film-watching experience forever.

Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Dil (1990), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994) and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), making stars out of a new generation and actresses such as Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla and Kajol . In that point of time actresses such as Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Aishwarya Rai also arrived on the scene.  Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor too appearing in popular comedy films .

Furthermore, this decade marked the entry of new performers in art house and independent films like Satya (1998), directed by Ram Gopal Varma and written by Anurag Kashyap. Manisha Koirala, Tabu and Urmila Matondkar were the heroines of this generation.

So it was a long association with the silver screen heroines. From Kanan Devi to Kajol and Karisma Kapoor , I watched everyone, got fascinated by them and silently admired their etherial beauty. But never in my wildest dream did I imagine that one day I would train few of the present day ruling Divas of Hindi cinema. After 25 year stay in Mumbai, when I look back, I reminisce my by-gone days with astonishment. I am bewildered with my accomplishment.

In 1994 two heroines trained by me made their debut in Hindi films. They are Sonali Bendre in ” Aag ” [ 1994 ] and Divya Dutta in ” Ishq Mein Jeena Ishq Mein Marna ” [ 1994 ] . It uncanny that 1994 was the year when Devika Rani died. Kanan Devi bid us adieu two years earlier in 1992.

My childhood icons left this world in 1994 and present day icons, trained by me , made their entry in 1994. It is strange. It is quirky. It is really uncanny. After debut of Sonali Bendre and Divya Dutta in 1994, flood-gate of the newcomers got opened and it has now submerged the Hindi film industry. I present a list of some of the epoch-making new era Hindi film Divas, who got trained by me :

Kareena Kapoor : ” Refugee ” [ 2000 ] = DEBUT

Priyanka Chopra : ” The Hero ” [ 2002 ] = DEBUT

SONAM KAPOOR : ” Saawariya ” [ 2007 ] = DEBUT

Anushka Sharma : ” Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi ” [ 2008 ] = DEBUT

Katrina Kaif :  ” Raajneeti ” [ 2010]

ALIA BHATT : ” Student Of The Year ” [ 2012 ] = DEBUT

KALKI KOECHLIN : ” Ye Jawaani Hai Deewani ” [ 2013 ]

URVASHI RAUTELA : ” Singh Saab The Great ” [ 2013 ] = DEBUT

 

In the end I would like to submit that the above mentioned list is almost endless. I have mentioned very famous names only. As I watch Alia Bhatt making rapid strides,and other newcomers trained by me making their entry in the tinsel town, my heart beats fast with pride.

Some of the biggest star sons / daughters are currently being trained by me and they are going to make their debut in 2015.

So the SAGA CONTINUES !! Dust settles down. Sun shines brilliantly. And the World { excluding few egoistic nay-sayers } watches with awe, admiration and amazement.

 

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise , I wish all my above mentioned students all the success and stardom never attained before by anyone and unseen even by the mightiest.

God bless them for making me proud !!

 

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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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100 Years of Ashok Kumar : First Super – Star of Hindi Films


Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 10 , 2011           03.00 P.M.

It is centenary year of Ashok Kumar , the first real Super – Star of Hindi cinema . He made his debut in 1936 , just after 5 years of the release of ‘ Alam Ara ” [ 1931 ] , the first talkie of Hindi cinema .

Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguli alias Ashok Kumar

October 13 , 1911       –      December 10 , 2001

Born as Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguli in Bhagalpur city of the then Bengal Presidency [ Now Bihar ] , Ashok Kumar spent his early life in Khandwa , Madhya Pradesh , where his father was a practicing advocate . He was educated at The Presidency College of Calcutta [ Now Kolkata ] . His two younger brothers ; Anoop Kumar and Kishore Kumar were also singer actors .

The Ganguly brothers - Anoop Kumar, Ashok Kuma...

Three Ganguli Brothers with Their Mother

After graduation , he came to Mumbai [ Then Bombay ] and started working as lab assistant in Bombay Talkies , where his brother – in – law Sashadhar Mukherjee was working with the owner Mr. Himanshu Rai . He , accidentally , started his acting career in 1936 with the Bombay Talkies film ; ” Jeevan Naiya ” . As the story goes , the original hero Najam Ul Hassan eloped with Devika Rani , the heroine of the film and wife of Himanshu Rai . indignant Himanshu Rai was furious and dismissed Najam Ul Hassan from Bombay Talkies . One day he saw Ashok Kumar and decided to make him the new hero of ” Jeevan Naiya ” [ 1936 ] . Another film , ” Achhut Kanya ” , which also came in the same year , was super hit and with this success Ashok Kumar was catapulted to super – stardom .

English: Scene from the 1936 film Achhut Kanya

Ashok Kumar & Devika Rani in Achhut Kanya

English: A still from the 1936 Hindi film Achh...

Another Photo of Achhut Kanya - Song Main Ban Ki Chidiya ....

After ” Achhut Kanya ” [ 1936 ] , Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani were paired again in hit films like ” Izzat ” [ 1937 ] , ” Savitri ” [ 1937 ] and ” Nirmala ” [ 1938 ] .

Later on he was paired with Leela Chitnis in super hits like ; ” Kangan ” [ 1939 ] , ” Bandhan ” [ 1940 ] and ” Jhoola ” [ 1941 ] .

He played Hindi cinema ‘s first anti – hero role in ” Kismat ” [ 1943 ] , which ran for 3 continuous years in the Roxy cinema of Calcutta . [ Now Kolkata ] . This record was broken by ” Sholay ” [ 1975 ] , which ran in Minerva of Mumbai for 5 years .

Before ” Kismat ” [ 1943 ] , he sang all his songs in films , as was the norm and churned out some outstanding numbers . I have a cassette of the songs sung by him in his earlier films . Years later , he again sang in ” Aashirvad ” [ 1968 ] . His song ” Railgaadi …..chhuk , chhuk , chhuk ……… railgaadi “ was a rage and is considered  the first Rap song of Hindi cinema .

After ” Mahal ” [ 1949 ] , he left Bombay Talkies and started his career as freelance artiste .

He started playing character roles from late 60s . Even as a character artiste , he churned out many marvellous films with some stellar performances .

” Aankhon Me Tum Ho ” [ 1997 ] was his last film . Thus , from ” Jeevan Naiya ” [ 1936 ] to ” Aankhon Me Tum Ho ” [ 1997 ] , he had a career span of 61 years as an actor . This is unparalleled in the motion picture history . It was a record , which got eclipsed recently . Dev Anand , who died on December 04 , 2011 , had career span of 65 years as an actor . In his 61 year-long acting career , Ashok Kumar acted in 301 films .

With the advent of television , he whole – heartedly accepted the new medium and in fact was the first major cine – artiste , who appeared in serials . First he anchored ” Hum Log “ and then did title roles in TV serials like ; ” Bahadur Shah Zafar ” and ” Bheem Bhawani ”  His last TV serial was Hrishikesh Mukherjee directed ” Ujale Ki Ore “ . I also did a very insignificant role in it and can say that I have shared screen space with Evergreen , iconic and gigantic super star , Padma Bhushan Ashok Kumar , who was affectionately called , by one and all , Dadamoni , meaning elder brother .

He , apart from acting in 301 films , produced 4 films . They are ; ” Mahal ” [ 1949 ] , ” The Fiancee ” [ 1953 ] , ” Kalpana ” [ 1960 ] and ” Lal Chunariyaa ” [ 1983 ] .

He even directed ” Eight Days ” [ 1946 ] but due to some reasons refused to take credit . He is not billed as a director in the credits .

He also contributed in music department of 4 films . They are ; ” Aashirwad ” [ 1968 ] , ” Kangan ” [ 1971 ] , ” Khubsoorat ” [ 1980 ] and ” Shaukeen ” [ 1982 ] .

In ” Krorepati ” [ 1961 ] and ” Guddi ” [ 1971 ] , he is billed as guest artiste and played himself . It means , he did not play any character but played super – star Ashok Kumar .

Apart from acting , his other passions were painting and Homoeopathy . He was a practicing homeopath . In 1950s , he also became owner of iconic Bombay Talkies , when Devika Rani sold her share and left the studio . He was a linguist and apart from English , Hindi and his mother tongue Bengali , was fluent in Marathi and French . In his film ” Gumrah ” [  1963 ] , he even used French in dialogues .

Devika Rani

Devika Rani

A career span of 61 years , 301 films in Hindi , Bengali and Marathi , various ads and corporate films and half a dozen TV serials , apart from numerous film songs to his credit , this gigantic , iconic Super – star of Hindi films died on December 10 , 2001 in his Chembur residence . He was 90 years old at the time of his death .
Logo of Bombay Talkies

Logo of Bombay Talkies

First film of Ashok Kumar , which I watched was ” Bahu Beti ” . I was in school and went to watch this Joy Mukherjee and Mala Sinha starrer . Ashok Kumar , who was not the hero of the film , was there prominently on the poster and his name came  first in the billing . I got curious . How come an actor , who is playing father in the film , got the top billing ? My cousins , my maternal uncle and some more knowledgeable friends told me about Ashok Kumar and I started watching his films and started following his career .

Initially I was a fan of Dilip Kumar .  I am still a fan but slowly I started veering towards Ashok Kumar and Dev Anand . When I came to Mumbai to pursue career in films I watched Ashok Kumar and Dev Anand from close quarters . I found them humane , warm and without any trappings of a star . I wanted to be close to my icons and these two stars ; Ashok Kumar and Dev Anand permit you to be there in their world . So I became a huge fan of Ashok Kumar and will remain till my death .

This is centenary year of Ashok Kumar . It is sad and appalling that nothing was done to commemorate the occasion . There was just one article in Times of India . Congress government at centre is more interested to preserve the legacy of Nehru – Gandhi family . They have no time for Ashok Kumar . But alas ! Hindi film industry too forgot its first Super Star . MAMI Film Festival also forgot to give him honour in his centenary year .

His contribution is enormous .He ushered in natural style of acting and freed Hindi cinema from the clutches of theatrical style of dialogue delivery . He experimented a lot and did variety of roles . But life is such …………

I am a small man and I have no reach . Still I wanted to write a blog about Ashok Kumar . Through my blog , which is not widely read , I wish to remember Dadamoni Ashok Kumar and paying my unflinching respect to the first real super star of not only Hindi cinema but of Indian films .

Adieu Dadamoni ! You shall always be remembered by a fan like me and your incredible body of work will always be there to enthrall the connoisseurs of world cinema .

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My Column ” Kal Aur Aaj ” in Bhojpuri City – [ 6 ]


 

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA            SEPTEMBER 10, 2011                 11 . 55 P. M.

This is the 6th article of my Hindi column ” Kal Aur Aaj ” . It comes in Bhojpuri City , a fortnightly Bhojpuri film trade magazine published from Mumbai .

Though I intend to write one article for my column every fortnight but this time there was a gap of almost two and half months. My last , 5th article was published in the May 1st issue of Bhojpuri City and now this 6th article comes in the September 1st issue. This , regretfully , happened because of my incessant travels and recent illness of my wife.

This article is about the pitiable and woefully pathetic condition of the various famous and legendary film studios of Mumbai.

I am reproducing here the cover page of the current issue of Bhojpuri City and 3 pages of the article. This is my longest article till date .

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80 Years of ” Alam Ara ” : India’s First Talkie


NIGHT……………………………….11.00

On March 14 , 1931 Indian cinema created history . First Hindi talkie ” ALAM ARA “ made by Ardeshir Irani was released on this very day in the Majestic cinema of Bombay [ now Mumbai ] Though , ” RAJA HARISCHANDRA ” , first ever full – length silent feature film of India was made by Dada Saheb Phalke , the pioneer of Indian cinema , in 1913.

scanned from personal collection Removed from ...

Dada Saheb Phalke - Father of Indian Cinema

A scene from indian movie

A scene from Indian movie Raja Harishchandra

A still of a scene from the first full-length ...

A scene from Indian movie Raja Harishchandra

It took almost 18 years to produce a talkie film and Ardeshir Irani became the pioneer. ” ALAM ARA ” made under the banner of Imperial Movietone had Master Vithal and Zubeida as the leading stars of the film and the movie had 7 memorable songs including DE DE KHUDA KE NAAM PAR sung by Wazir Mohammad Khan , who also played a faqir in the film . In those early years of talkie era there were no system of recording the song , Ardeshir Irani recorded it live with harmonium and tabla . This particular song is considered as the first ever song of not only Hindi films but Indian films as well. Music of ” ALAM ARA “ was given by Ferozshah M. Mistri and B. Irani .When released in the Majestic cinema hall of Bombay [ now Mumbai ] it created history . Public frenzy was to be seen to be believed , and finally police had to be summoned to control the crowd .

Director, Ardeshir Irani recording, Alam Ara f...

Ardeshir Irani recording a Song of Alam Ara

Alam Ara poster, 1931.

Alam Ara poster, 1931.

The film is a love story between a prince and a gypsy girl, based on a Parsi play written by Joseph David. David later served as a writer at Irani’s film company. The story centers on an imaginary, historical royal family in the kingdom of Kumarpur. The main characters are the king and his two warring wives Dilbahar and Navbahar. Their rivalry escalates when a fakir predicts that Navbahar will bear the king’s heir. Dilbahar, in revenge, attempts to have an affair with the kingdom’s chief minister Adil. The affair goes sour and a vengeful Dilbahar imprisons him and exiles his daughter, Alam Ara (Zubeida). In exile, Alam Ara is brought up by Gypsies. Upon returning to the palace at Kumarpur, Alam Ara meets and falls in love with the charming young prince (Master Vithal). In the end, Adil is released, Dilbahar is punished and the lovers marry.

A rare still from Ardeshir Irani's Alam Ara, t...

A rare still from Ardeshir Irani's Alam Ara

Description: Low-resolution reproduction of pu...

A Scene fron Alam Ara

After the fire at National Film Archive of India, Pune, in 2003, which destroyed the last surviving prints of several classics such as Raja Harishchandra and Achhut Kanya, this film is no longer available in its original format.

Master Vithal and Zubeida in Alam Ara, 1931.

Master Vithal and Zubeida in Alam Ara, 1931.

Newpaper advertisement for first Indian talkie...

Newspaper advertisement for Alam Ara

The name of the actors , who played major role in ” ALAM ARA ” , is worthy of notice for the today’s film connoisseurs. Apart from Master Vithal and Zubeida Begum Dhanrajgir [ known as Zubeida ] , it had singer Wazir Mohammad Khan as a faqir. Three prominent actors , who were part of the cast of ” ALAM ARA ” and who played major role in the talkie era and are known to today’s generation also , were Prithvi Raj Kapoor , Jillo Bai and L. V. Prasad .

Prithvi Raj Kapoor went on to play major roles in many films , won many awards and created an empire. His legacy was carried forward by his sons ; Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kpoor. Later on legacy was carried forward by his grandsons ; Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and Rajeev Kapoor. Now fourth generation of Prithvi Raj Kapoor’s family is working in films. They are Kareena Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor. Shashi Kapoor’s daughter manages Prithvi Theatre , made to commemorate  Prithvi Raj Kapoor’s memory.

Jillo Bai was seen as Madhubala’s mother in ” Mughal – E – Azam “ and as mother – in law of Nargis in ” Mother India “ .

Case of L. V. Prasad is more curious. He worked as an actor in first Hindi talkie ” ALAM ARA ” , first Tamil talkie ” KALIDAS ” and first Telugu talkie ” BHAKT PRAHLAD ” , all released in 1931. Later on he stablished a major production company named as Prasad Productions and made hits like ; ” SHARDA ” , ” CHHOTI BAHAN ” , ” BETI BETE ” , ” DADI MAA ” , ” MILAN ” , ” JEENE KI RAH ” , ” RAJA AUR RANK ” ,  ” KHILONA ” and ” EK DUJE KE LIYE ” .

It is sad that no print of the epic movie ” ALAM ARA “ is available today. This part of our history is lost for ever and no one is bothered . Ardeshir Irani’s path-breaking film is lost forever.

Ardeshir Irani, (1886 - 1969)

Ardeshir Irani, (1886 - 1969)

Ardeshir Irani died in 1969 , when I was studying in intermediate and Zubeida Begum Dhanrajgir a.k.a. Zubeida died in 1988, one year before I came to Mumbai to make a career in films.

Zubeida, a silent era actress in Indian Cinema...

Zubeida, a silent era actress

[ Synopsis of ” ALAM ARA “ is taken from Wikipedia. I have not seen the film , so for the story I have to rely on Wikipedia. I express my gratitude . ]

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Bhojpuri Cinema Down the Years


Ashok Kumar & Devika Rani : Achhut Kanya

As is known, ” Raja Harishchandra ” , the first Indian film was made in 1913. ” Alam Ara ” , the first Indian talkie was made in 1931. Films in other major Indian languages followed soon. But Bhojpuri, though a major dialect of Hindi belt of India , waited till 1961, almost 48 long years after the first Indian film. This in spite of the fact that almost all the major hits of early Indian Cinema had rural north Indian theme . Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani’s ” Achhut Kanya” is the most glaring example of this fact. It was released in 1936. Dilip Kumar‘s ” Ganga Jumna ” was made in Awadhi , a major dialect of Uttar Pradesh . It was released in 1960. Bhojpuri  Cinema had to wait for one more year, in spite of the fact that ” Ganga Jumna ” was a golden jubilee hit of its time. In the above mentioned films Ashok Kumar and Dilip Kumar played rural , rustic characters of Uttar Pradesh. Both the films were major hits. Ashok Kumar and Dilip Kumar were gigantic stars of their times , but in spite of this fact, there were no breakthrough in Bhojpuri films.

Dilip Kumar & Vyjayanti Mala :in First Awadhi Film - Ganga Jumna

”]
Screen image from Alam Ara 1931, the first Ind...

Image via Wikipedia - First Indian Talkie _ Alam Ara - 1931

”] ”]

First Assamiya Talkie - Joymati - 1935

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Bhojpuri cinema history begins in 1961 with the well-received film ” Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo ” , which was directed by Kundan Kumar.Asim Kumar and Kumkum were the stars of this super hit film. Its music was  provided by Chitragupt, was extremely popular. Lyrics were written by Shailendra and songs were sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsale. Its hit music is remembered even today. Throughout the following decades, films were produced only in fits and starts. Films such as  ” Laagi Nahi Chhute Ram “, ” Bidesiya ” (1963, directed by S. N. Tripathi) , ” Loha Singh ” and ” Ganga  ” (1965, directed by Kundan Kumar) were profitable and popular, but in general Bhojpuri films were not commonly produced in the 1960s and 1970s. 

In the 1980s, enough Bhojpuri films were produced to tentatively make up an industry. Films such as ” Mai ” (1989, directed by Rajkumar Sharma) and ” Hamar Bhauji ” (1983, directed by Kalpataru) continued to have at least sporadic success at the box office. ” Nadiya Ke Paar ” is a 1982 Hindi-Bhojpuri blockbuster directed by Govind Moonis and starring Sachin, Sadhana Singh, Inder Thakur, Leela Mishra and Soni Rathod.The film ran houseful for years in a movie theatre in Allahabad. However, this trend faded out by the end of the decade, and by 1990, the nascent industry seemed to be completely finished 

Ravi Kissan

The industry took off again in 2001 with the “Silver Jubilee” hit ” Saiyyan Hamar ” ( directed by Mohan Prasad), which shot the hero of that film, Ravi Kissan, to superstardom.This success was quickly followed by several other remarkably successful films, including ” Panditji Batai Na Biyah Kab Hoi ” (2005, directed by Mohan Prasad) and ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ” (2005). In a measure of the Bhojpuri film industry‘s rise, both of these did much better business in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar than mainstream Bollywood hits at the time, and both films, made on extremely tight budgets, earned back more than ten times their production costs. ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ” also introduced Manoj Tiwari, formerly a well-loved folk singer, to the wider audiences of Bhojpuri cinema. In 2010, he and Ravi Kissan are still the leading actors of Bhojpuri films, along with Nirahua and Pawan Singh.  The extremely rapid success of their films has led to dramatic increases in Bhojpuri cinema’s visibility, and the industry now supports an awards show and a trade magazine,  ” Bhojpuri City ” ,which chronicles the production and release of what are now over one hundred films per year. Many of the major stars of mainstream Bollywood cinema, including Amitabh Bachchan, have also recently worked in Bhojpuri films. Mithun Chakraborty’s Bhojpuri debut ” Bhole Shankar ” , released in 2008, is considered as the biggest Bhojpuri hit of all time.Also in 2008, a 21-minute diploma film Bhojpuri film by Siddharth Sinha, ” Udedh Bun ” was selected for world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival,later it won the National Film Award for Best Short fiction Film.

Once upon a time writer-filmmaker Kamal Anand dubbed Namak Halal into Bhojpuri , after sitting on its copyright for eight years, as there was no market for films in that dialect. “But today the situation has changed.The new version is called ” Babua Khiladi Dadua Anadi ” with Amitabh as ‘Babua’. The film’s memorable songs such as Jawani Jaaneman, Raat Baki Baat Baki and Pag Ghungaroo Baandh Meera Nachi Thi have been peppered in Bhojpuri.The new cinema has attracted producers like Subhash Ghai, Rajshri, Nitin Manmohan and Tinu Verma. Actors Govinda, Juhi Chawla and Nagma are already taking lessons in the language. Even Columbia Tristar briefly toyed with the idea of getting one of its films dubbed.

Indian state of Uttar Pradesh

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“It makes good business sense as these films sell in Bihar, UP, and parts of Punjab and Maharashtra,”says producer-director Ranjan Kumar Singh. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh agrees. “Most Bhojpuri films are made in small budgets, usually Rs 20-30 lakh, and they fetch Rs 1-2 crore.”Several of these films are grossing 10 times their production costs. A good film can even make a profit of Rs 10-12 crore.

Regions of Uttar Pradesh

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A few years ago, this wasn’t the case. While Gujarati, Marathi and Punjabi films got their due at the box office, Bhojpuri films didn’t really recapture the supersuccess of the 1982 blockbuster ” Nadiya Ke Paar” , which starred Sachin and Sadhna Singh, and was made under the respectable banner of Rajshri Productions.

Twenty two years hence, the tide finally turned. In 2005, Manoj, a struggling singer, debuted in sex comedy ” Sasura Bada Paisewala.”  The film ran for more than 50 weeks in Varanasi and Kanpur in UP and for 25 weeks elsewhere. ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ” made with a modest budget of Rs 30 lakh, grossed a stupendous Rs 15 crore. Manoj’s other films such as ” Daroga Babu I Love You ” then went on to do a business of Rs 4 crore and ” Bandhan Tutey Na ” has already made Rs 3 crore..

The Bhojpuri Industry has learned to talk in crores and has budgeted Rs 1-1.25 crore for an action film ” Dharti Putra ” , also starring who else but Manoj. Industry sources say that Manoj has made the most of the prosperity. He was paid Rs 2 lakh earlier. Now he charges Rs 50 lakh a film. He admits that his films are raking in big money in UP and Bihar. ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ”   played to full houses in Bihar and had surpassed Hindi films in the region, except for Gadar, for now. Even Hindi heavyweights like ” Mangal Pandey, The Rising “, are said to have fallen behind ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ”  in Bihar and MP . Manoj is very busy these days.  ” Pyar Ke Bandhan ” , ” Dharti Kahey Pukar Ke ” with Ajay Devgan followed by a film with Jackie Shroff. ” Damadji ” ,  followed by Tinu Varma’s Dharti Putra.”Meanwhile Hindi filmsinger Udit Narayan, a Bihari, has debuted as a producer with ” Kab Hui Gauna Hamar.”  The film ran to packed theatres for two months in Punjab and Delhi and its success had encouraged Narayan to produce another film, to be shot in London. The film goes back 150 years and depicts the plight of Biharis in Mauritius..  

Distributors attribute the success to cleaner content. “Gone are double-meaning dialogues, lack of a coherent storyline and poor technical quality. The films are slicker, “says Manoj. Bhojpuri films are also heading to countries which have a Bhojpuri-speaking population such as Mauritius, Fiji, Surinam and Nepal.  We started selling ” Daroga Babu I Love You ” overseas and then  looked at possibilities for ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala. The returns have taken film shootings out of grimy studios to exotic locations. ” Babul Pyare ” with Raj Babbar, Arun Govil, Ravi Kishan and Hrishita Bhatt completed a shooting spell in London . Kishan, who also starred in ” Saiyan Hamar” , says that Bhojpuri films have saved single-screen cinema halls in Bihar and UP, which would have otherwise been converted into malls.

New moral standards are guarding Bhojpuri films. In ” Firangi Dulhania ” , a story about a village boy from Bihar who goes to study in London and returns with a foreign bride, director Ranjan Kumar Singh, has got the exciting services of an Ukrainian actress, Tanya (what else..)

Actors

Diwakar PandeySujeet KumarManoj TiwariRavi KishanNazir HussainRakesh PandeyJai TilakDinesh Lal YadavBhushan Tiwari, Kunal, Ram Singh, Anand RaiJ.MohanVinod TiwariAsim KumarHari shuklaBrij KishoreVijai KhareKewal KrishnaLaliteshDinesh KaushikManoj VermaDevendra PodwalKiran Kumar, and JeevanSushil Singh,Vinod,Vinay, Brijesh Tripathi Laxman ChaturvediRajendra Karn, Mukesh Kumar Barnwal, Mrityunjay Sharma, Pawan singh, parbesh lal yadav, amit kumar yadav, Saagara Nageena Tripathy, Trinath

Actresses

NaazShweta Tiwari parul yadav

Producers

Bihar Films and Devi Padmavati FilmsKamasar Films

Directors

Nazir Hussain, Ranjeet singh , Kundan KumarRajkumar SharmaPrakash JhaSiddharth SinhaAbhishek ChhadhaAshok JainLalji Gupta, and Kalpataru.Ram Nath Rai,[Udaisenapati][Aslam Sheque][Raj Kumar]

Music directors

Vinay Bihari, Rajesh Rajneesh [Madhuker Anand]

Famous films

Main article: List of Bhojpuri Film

Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo (1962)  • Laagi Nahi Chhute Ram (1963)  • Ganga (1965)  • Bidesiya (1963)  • Bhouji (1965)  • Loha Singh (1966)  • Dher Chalaki Jinkara (1971)  • Daku Rani Ganga (1976/II)  • Amar Suhagin (1978)  • Balam Pardesia(1979)  • Chanwa Ke Take Chakor (1981)  • Saiyan Magan Pahelwani Mein (1981)  • Saiyan Tore Karan (1981)  • Hamar Bhauji (1983)  • Chukti Bhar Senur (1983)  • Dulha Ganga Paar Ke (1986)  •  ;’Jug Jug Jiya More LalRoos Gailen Saiyen Hamaar(1988)  • • Ganga (2006)

Ganges River, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.

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Bhojpuri cinema is also watched in many parts of the world, where Indian diasporahas settled, including BrazilFijiGuyanaMauritiusSouth AfricaSuriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many colonizers faced labor shortages due to the abolition of slavery; thus, they imported many Indians, many from Bhojpuri-speaking regions. Today, some 200 million people in the West IndiesOceania, and South America speak Bhojpuri as a native or second language[1] and they also watch Bhojpuri films.

 


 



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