100 Years of Lalita Pawar – Hindi Cinema’s Unforgettable Doyenne


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MAY 15, 2016           08.00 P.M.

 

LALITA PAWAR [ 18 April 1916 - 24 February 1998 ]

LALITA PAWAR [ 18 April 1916 – 24 February 1998 ]

On April 18, 2016, Lalita Pawar would have been 100 years old, had she been alive. There were not much coverage in the media. I read just one article in DNA. That’s it.

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Present day media Mughals don’t know her importance. In a career spanning 68 years, she did 700 plus films. She was the only one in Indian film industry, who could play a scheming mother-in-law and a golden-hearted matriarch with equal finesse. She was always portrayed prominently in the posters of her films, though she was not playing the lead. Apart from Lalita Pawar, Ashok Kumar was the only other character artiste, who used to appear prominently in the poster of his films.

With Dilip Kumar in DAAG

With Dilip Kumar in DAAG

 

Poster of Anari

With Raj Kapoor & Nutan in Anari

Apart from her, there were only 3 other Hindi film actors, who worked more than 6 decades. They, apart from Lalita Pawar, are Dev Anand, Pran and evergreen Ashok Kumar. Only these 4 Hindi Film Artists worked till the last breath of their lives.

Lalita Pawar with Ashok Kumar

Lalita Pawar with Ashok Kumar

Lalita Pawar with Pran

Lalita Pawar with Pran

Lalita Pawar with Dev Anand

Lalita Pawar with Dev Anand

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LALITA PAWAR : 68 Working Years – 700 Films

” Raja Harishchandra “ [ 1928 ] to ” Bhai ” [ 1997 ]

DEV ANAND : 65 Working Years – 113 Films

Hum Ek Hain “ [ 1946 ] to ” Chargesheet ” [ 2011 ]

PRAN : 63 Working Years – 350 Films

” Yamla Jat “ [ 1940 ] to ” Kiska Dosh “ [ 2003 ]

ASHOK KUMAR : 61 Working Years – 301 films .

” Jeevan Naiya ” [ 1936 ] to ” Aankhon Me Tum Ho ” [ 1997 ]

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Among all the 4 history making stars, Lalita Pawar was the senior most. Pran was junior to her by 12 years. And the indomitable Dev Anand was her junior by 18 years. Even grand old man of Hindi cinema, the evergreen Ashok Kumar, was her junior by 8 years. Coincidently their last films came in the same year, 1997. Lalita Pawar’s ” Bhai ” [ 1997 ] & Ashok Kumar’s ” Aankhon Me Tum Ho ” [ 1997 ] were their last film. Two immortal legends ended their glorious film journey in the same year.

My first association with her started somewhere in mid 60s. I don’t remember the film correctly, but either it was ” Sampoorna Ramayan ” or ” Jis Desh Me Ganga Bahti Hai “. Later on I saw several films of her and became an ardent admirer.

I am giving list of some of her unforgettable films, which I have seen and fail to forget even today.

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Ram Shastri [ 1944 ] , Dahej  [ 1950 ] , Daag  [ 1952 ] , Parchhain  [ 1952 ] , Shri 420 [ 1955 ] , Mr & Mrs 55  [ 1955 ] , Nau Do Gyarah  [ 1957 ] , Anari  [ 1959 ] , Sujata  [ 1959 ] , Hum Dono  [ 1961 ] , Sampoorna Ramayana  [ 1961 ] , Professor  [ 1962 ] , Sehra  [ 1963 ] , Grahasti  [ 1963 ] , Ghar Basake Dekho  [ 1963 ] , Khandan  [ 1966 ] , Boond Jo Ban Gayee Moti  [ 1967 ] , Aabroo  [ 1968 ] , Anand  [ 1970 ] , Pushpanjali  [ 1970 ] , Gopi  [ 1970 ] ,  Doosri Sita  [ 1974 ] , Tapasya  [ 1976 ] , Aaina  [ 1977 ] , Yaarana  [ 1080 ] , Kali Ghata  [ 1980 ] , Phir Wohi Raat  [ 1980 ] , Sau Din Saas Ke  [ 1980 ] , Naseeb  [ 1981 ] , Bhai  [ 1997 ] .

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It is pertinent to note that apart from Ram Shastri [ 1944 ] , where she played heroine, she played character roles in all above mentioned films. But no film connoisseur can ever forget her. Who can forget GANGAMAI of  Shri 420 [ 1955 ] or Mrs. D’Sa of  Anari  [ 1959 ] , both with Raj Kapoor?

Amba Laxman Rao Shagun from Yeola, Nashik made her debut in 1929 with ” Raja Harishchandra “. At the age of 16, she co-produced and acted in a silent film ” Kailash ” [ 1932 ]. She played a triple role in that film. A triple role in a silent film !! It was 44 years before DILIP KUMAR’s ” Bairaag ” [ 1976 ] & 51 years before AMITABH BACHCHAN’s ” Mahaan ” [ 1983 ]. Both these legends played triple role much later in their respective careers and when they were very mature. DILIP KUMAR made debut in 1944 and played triple role in 1976. That is 32 years after his debut. AMITABH BACHCHAN made debut in 1969 and played triple role in 1983. That is 19 years after his debut. But LALITA PAWAR played triple role in the beginning of her career. 3 years after her debut and that too in a silent film.

Poster of Silent Film "The Lord of the Jungle"

Poster of Silent Film “The Lord of the Jungle”

Poster of "Himmat-e-Marda" [ 1935 ]

Poster of “Himmat-e-Marda” [ 1935 ]

Lalita Pawar in a Silent Film

Lalita Pawar in a Silent Film

Lalita Pawar in a Silent Film of 1940

Lalita Pawar in a Silent Film of 1940

1942 was an epoch-making year in Lalita Pawar’s career. As a part of the scene in a film ” Jung-E-Azadi ” , Bhagwan Dada of ” Albela ” fame was to slap her. Being a new-comer, he accidentally slapped her hard. It resulted in facial paralysis and a vein of her left eye got burst. This incident left her with a defective left eye. But the treatment took 3 years. She lost many lead roles and after her treatment was over, she switched to character roles. The defective left eye, which ended her acting career in lead roles, helped her play cruel, wicked and cussed characters with aplomb.

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Lalita Pawar & Bhagwan Dada

Lalita Pawar & Bhagwan Dada

Lalita Pawar has left us. She no longer exist. But she is still present in the form of her films where she played several unforgettable characters. I offer my tribute and regards to the unforgettable doyenne of Hindi cinema.

 

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[ List of Lalita Pawar’s released films,  dates and other information is taken from Wikipedia. I , on behalf of VIDUR Acting Institute ,  express gratitude. ]

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Lal Krishna Advani & Dilip Kumar


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           SEPTEMBER 19 , 2013           11 . 10 P.M.

I wanted to write this blog a week back , when Shri Narendra Modi was anointed as the Prime Ministerial candidate of Bharatiya Janata Party . But I was busy writing an article on Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya for a Kenyan magazine , which is published from Nairobi , capital of Kenya . Yesterday I mailed that article to Shri Ram Chandra Pandey , Pracharak of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh , Kenya . Today , as I am relatively free , I am sitting in my study and writing this blog .

I am a fan of Dilip Kumar . My veneration for him knows no limit . In his career spanning 54 years [ when he was working and was active ] , he has done only 59 films [ including Guest appearances ] . Out of his 59 released films , I have seen 45 . I have seen many of his films several times . Ironically I have not seen his first film Jwaar Bhata ” [ 1944 ] and his last film ” Quila ” [ 1998 ] .

Let us have a look on his career and achievements . He was nominated 18 times for the Filmfare Awards , and won it 8  times . He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1991 , Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and was a nominated member of Rajya Sabha also for one term . In 1998 he got Nishan – E – Imtiaz from the government of Pakistan .

His towering and gigantic personality hovered over my horizon from Ganga Jumna ” [ 1961 ] , which I watched in 1967 , till today , when he is recuperating in the ICU of Lilavati hospital .

Thus from 1967 to 2013 , it is a 46 – year – long association full of reverence , veneration and respect . It refuses to ebb .

English: I took this picture when he paid a vi...

Dilip Kumar in MouthShut.com office in 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But Dilip Kumar’s benign and all-pervading shadow on my life was disturbed and somewhat eclipsed with the advent of Amitabh Bachchan in 1969 . From Saat Hindustani ” [ 1969 ] to ” Satyagraha ” [ 2013 ] , he has acted in 186 films [ including Guest appearances & Voice overs ] . And out of 186 , I have watched 120 films . ” Anand ” [ 1971 ] was the first film of Amitabh Bachchan , which I watched . Ironically I have not watched his first film ” Saat Hindustani ” [ 1969 ]  and his latest ” Satyagraha ” [ 2013 ] . An uncanny coincidence of my life , which happened in the case of Dilip Kumar also .

The Amitabh Bachchan juggernaut , in real sense of the term , started with ” Zanjeer ” [ 1973 ] . One year later Dilip Kumar came with a critically acclaimed but flop ” Sagina ” [ 1974 ] .

Two years after ” Zanjeer ” [ 1973 ] , Amitabh Bachchan gave two iconic super hits , ” Deewar ” and ” Sholay ” [ 1975 ] . Again one year later Dilip Kumar came with triple role in a much – delayed and moderate hit  ” Bairaag ” [ 1976 ] .

After hiatus of 5 years , Dilip Kumar started his second innings with hugely successful ” Kranti ” [ 1981 ] . But same year Amitabh Bachchan gave 3 super – hits ” Lawaaris ” , ” Yaraana ” and ” Kaalia ” [ 1981 ] and hugely likable ” Silsila ” [ 1981 ] .

They both , a year later , came together in critically acclaimed , highly likable but a box office dud ” Shakti ” [ 1982 ] .

Dilip Kumar last came in ” Quila ” [ 1998 ] and 2 years later Amitabh Bachchan started his second innings  with hugely successful ” Mohabbatein ” [ 2000 ] . And the juggernaut , which started with ” Zanjeer ” [ 1973 ] still continues unabated in 2013 also .

Thus from  ” Anand ” [ 1971 ] to ” Satyagraha ” [ 2013 ] , it is a 42 – year – long association of me with Amitabh Bachchan also .

Let us have a peek in the other achievements of Amitabh Bachchan . He briefly dabbled in politics and was member of the 8th Lok Sabha . He got Padma Shri in 1984 and Padma Bhushan in 2001. His achievements in the film world are no less spectacular compared to Dilip Kumar . He has got 3 National Awards and unbelievable 39 Filmfare nominations in several categories , though Dilip Kumar holds the record of winning 8 Filmfare trophies .

But I must admit with all honesty that despite his unprecedented and unbelievable accomplishments , acceptance of Amitabh Bachchan was not easy for me . Though I watched his films with much admiration and appreciation , and as stated earlier , I have watched 120 films of Amitabh Bachchan but my hero , my idol was always Dilip Kumar .

Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan at IFFA Award 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And I think being a fan and admirer of Dilip Kumar does not mean that I don’t accept Amitabh Bachchan’s persona or demean it . They both hovered on my horizon . They both influenced me immensely . I am a fan of both of them but it is also a fact that Dilip Kumar reigns supreme and stands few notches higher .

Coincidently photographs of Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan , which I have posted here , were clicked in 2006 .

English: cropped photograph of L K Advani with...

L K Advani outside his residence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Same is the case with Shri Lal Krishna Advani . I first heard of him in 1967 when I was in High School . 1967 is the same year when I came to know about Dilip Kumar through his film , a golden jubilee hit ” Ganga Jumna ” . So in an uncanny way my association with Dilip Kumar and Advani ji started in the same year , 1967 .

Advani ji became my political hero during my school , college and university days . I came to know Dilip Kumar when Amitabh Bachchan was yet to make his debut . In the same way when I started admiring Lal Krishna Advani , Shri Narendra Modi was yet to make his debut in politics .

Shri Narendra Modi , just like Amitabh Bachchan , has spectacular achievements to his credit . Shri Narendra Modi , just like Amitabh Bachchan , is hugely popular . Shri Narendra Modi , just like Amitabh Bachchan , is continuing with his unstoppable juggernaut . Shri Narendra Modi , just like Amitabh Bachchan , is the current idol and is liked by the cadre immensely .

English: Narendra Modi in Press Conference

Narendra Modi in Press Conference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But as I have said earlier , in my heart Dilip Kumar still reigns supreme . And being a fan of Dilip Kumar is in no way an insult to Amitabh Bachchan . Admiring Dilip Kumar is in no way derogatory to Amitabh Bachchan . In the same way my political hero is Shri Lal Krishna Advani . And being a Lal Krishna Advani admirer is in no way an insult to Shri Narendra Modi .

It is just a question of whom you grow with . Your hero of growing years is going to be your hero till your last breath .

Shri Narendra Modi , just like Amitabh Bachchan , is the current favourite . But it doesn’t mean that Dilip Kumar and Lal Krishna Advani have no relevance or have no achievements to their credit . I like Shri Narendra Modi and Amitabh Bachchan for their achievements , but I idolize Dilip Kumar and Lal Krishna Advani for their glorious innings and immense contribution in their respective fields .

I again assert that being an admirer of Advani ji does not make me an automatic hater of Modi ji . Persons like me who have admired Advani ji all their life , can’t accept a new icon in one night . It is going to be a slow and difficult process . This was the case with Amitabh Bachchan also . But gradually Amitabh Bachchan’s all-pervading shadow inundated me completely . Slowly and eventually same will definitely happen with Modi ji also . But till then Advani ji is my political hero as Dilip Kumar is my screen idol .

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NEWS LETTER

I told this story to all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , which is known as Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  . Today I am expressing it for the followers of my blog and general public , who visit my blog space .

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Remembering Mani Rabadi – Queen of Polka Dots


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 18 , 2013           11.50 P.M.

        Mani Rabadi

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A well-known costume designer of 60s and 70s , Mani Rabadi died this month on August 06 , 2013 . She was older sister of yesteryear actress Nargis Rabadi a.k.a. Shammi or Shammi aunty .
   

Much before the advent of Manish Malhotra and Neeta Lulla , long before Anna Singh and Anaita Shroff Adajania and eons ago Niharika Khan , there was Mani Rabadi , who along with Bhanu Athaiya , became couturier to the stars in the Golden Age of Hindi Cinema.

Making her debut in 1967 with the Dev Anand starrer Jewel Thief , she worked all the way in to the 90s ending her career with the mega hit ” Hum Aapke Hain Koun ” .

” Jewel Thief ” [ 1967 ] , ” An Evening In Paris ” [ 1967 ] , ” Farz ” [ 1967 ] , ” Sapnon Ka Saudagar ” [ 1968 ] , ” Aankhen ” [ 1968 ] , ” Duniya ” [ 1968 ] , ” Mahal ” [ 1969 ] , ” Ek Phool Do Mali ” [ 1969 ] , ” Aradhana ” [ 1969 ] , ” Prince [ 1969 ] , ” The Train ” [ 1970 ] , ” Kati Patang ” [ 1970 ] , ” Gambler ” [ 1971 ] , ” Victoria No. 203 ” [ 1972 ] , ” Kachche Dhaage ” [ 1973 ] , ” Jheel Ke Us Paar ” [ 1973 ] , ” Bobby ” [ 1973 ] , ” Trimurti ” [ 1974 ] , ” Aap Ki Kasam ” [ 1974 ] , ” Amir Garib ” [ 1974 ] , ” Kasauti ” [ 1974 ] , ” Sanyasi ” [ 1975 ] , ” Rafoo Chakkar ” [ 1975 ] , ” Bairaag ” [ 1976 ] , ” Hera Pheri ” [ 1976 ] , ” Don ” [ 1978 ] ,  ” Amar Akbar Anthony ” [ 1979 ] , ” Aasha ” [ 1980 ] , ” Kaalia ” [ 1981 ] , ” Mard ” [ 1985 ] , ” Pestonjee ” [ 1987 ] , ” Maine Pyar Kiya ” [ 1989 ] , ” Hum Aapke Hain Koun ! ” [ 1994 ]  are her famous and most successful films .

She also won National Film Award , along with Ramilla Patel , for Best Costume for ” Pestonjee ” [ 1987 ] .


English: Scanned photograph of my grandmother,...

Costume Designer Bhanu Athaiya. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apart from Bhanu Athaiya , she was another one , who was a professional dress designer in the early years of our film industry . She worked for 27 long years in this unpredictable and risk-driven industry . She successfully withered changing times , fluid tastes and all the changing patterns from ” Jewel Thief ” [ 1967 ] till ” Hum Aapke Hain Kaun ” [ 1994 ] .

Jewel Thief

Jewel Thief (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Evening in Paris

An Evening in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amar Akbar Anthony

Amar Akbar Anthony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maine Pyar Kiya

Maine Pyar Kiya (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hum Aapke Hain Kaun...!

Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Born as Mani Rabadi in a family of Parsi priests , she was only a kid when her father died . Her mother made a living by cooking at religious functions. Later on , along with her younger sister Shammi , Mani Rabadi worked in toy factories after school to source their tuition fees. After school time, they worked at offices, ran a magazine and did odd jobs. Mani also worked with the Indian People’s Theatre Association and did some Gujarati films.

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Here is a gallery of her designs from the movies we all love :

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An Evening in Paris (1967)

Sharmila actually plays a dual role in the film. The villainous side incidentally always shows her tummy–just to help the audience keep things straight.

Uhh, what precisely are you looking at Pran?

Cutsy hair clip that’s bigger than my nose? Don’t mind if I do.

Jewel Thief (1967)

I’ve talked a lot about my feelings for Helen in a chicken suit from this film, but this picture definitely deserves one more mention.

Yup, those are cotton balls puffing out of that red sari like polka dots. Just saying, it takes a bold and confident woman to try and pull that off.

Dev Anand poses as a French jewelry importer. Can’t you tell by the beret?

Aradhana (1969)

Who can forget Rajesh Khanna’s tall Nepali hat as he bellows “Mere Sapnon Ki Rani” on a hillside?

Rajesh Khanna in a blue suit with a hot red turtleneck during “Kora Kaagaz Tha” is the epitome of suave.

Unarguably the most famous scene from Aradhana, Sharmila Tagore makes a sari out of a flimsy blanket…and the rest is history.

Bobby (1973)

Youth and freedom must mean a tight leather jacket!

Umm, ok Dimple Kapadia, where did the rest of your shirt go though?

Cute but completely arbitrary villager costume for “Jhoot Bole Kauva Kate.”

Farz (1967)

Nice ascot, Jeetendra.

Oh, those tight white pants that made you who you were. It’s no wonder Jeetendra was nicknamed “Jumping Jack”!

Prince (1969)

Did someone say “hep cat”?!

Helen and Vijayantimala dance off in “Muqabla Humse Na Karo.”

Kati Patang (1970)

Asha briefly portrays a 70s bride before running away from the ceremony.

Bindu makes a spectacle of herself in comparison to Asha’s stark white sari..

Amar Akbar Anthony (1979)

Rishi Kapoor dresses as a qawwal by night.

There actually aren’t really words for this.

Moss green leather jacket with religious bling.

You are wearing a fedora? Clearly, you have become a millionaire.

Don (1978)

Nothing says “bad boy” like a big red bow tie.

Don’t mess with her scarf.

Or his.

Helen rocks an overly slitted dress for “Yeh Mera Dil” in Don (1978)

The bottom line here is , could Jeetendra have seized Bombay by storm without his famous tight white pants ? Could Dimple Kapadia have shot to stardom without costumes that only covered half of the minimum required? Her polka dots top for ” Bobby ” is still remembered . Vyjayantimala’s red saree from ” Jewel Thief ” is still fresh in our memories . Amitabh Bachchan’s tuxedo in the song My name is Anthony Gonsalves from the film ” Amar Akbar Anthony ” or Rishi Kapoor’s costumes from the same film are still there in our memory lane . Polka dot waist – coat of Amitabh Bachchan in ” Don ” is unforgettable . You remember his iconic song Khai ke paan Banaraswalla …… from the film and you will surely remember his polka dot waist-coat . You will never forget any costume of legendary Helen . Mani Rabadi designed innumerable costumes for her in films . They were revealing but not vulgar .

Her work is so diverse, so eye-catching, and so unpredictable . Mani Rabadi is unarguably genius. It is sad that her death is not widely reported in newspapers . Today , when Parsi community is celebrating Navroz [ thier new year ] , I am writing this obituary of Mani Rabadi , one of the prominent member of Parsi community .

FULL EDITNG STUDIO

NEWS LETTER

On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , which is known as Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , I offer my condolences to the bereaved family and specially Shammi aunty who is left alone to bear this loss at the age of 84 .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to offer heartfelt sympathies at the sad demise of the legendary but almost forgotten dress designer of the golden era of the Hindi films .

[ It is sad that I could know about her death after a week through the latest issue of ” Screen ” weekly . I found material about her in magazines like ” Screen ” , ” Parsi Khabar ” and ” Mid Day ” . For her photographs and her volume of work , I had to refer to online posting of ” Mr. & Mrs. 55 – Classic Bollywood Revisited ” . I express my profound gratitude to all of them . ]

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