Feroze Rangoonwala is Gone : A Film Historian Becomes History


Feroze Rangoonwala with his Collection

Feroze Rangoonwala with his Collection

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           SEPTEMBER 13, 2015           09.35 P.M.

Eminent film historian Feroze Rangoonwala, credited with having written the highest number of books on Indian cinema, is no more.

Rangoonwala passed away at his residence in Mumbai on August 04, 2015 at the age of 82 after prolonged sickness.

He has left behind a wealth of information on Indian cinema, particularly at a time when efforts are on to save cinematic material for archival purposes.

Rangoonwala was best known for creating the first book of Indian filmography in 1969, Indian Film Index, and his magnum opus, Pictorial History of Indian Cinema, which for its period of issue had a record run in printing. Its Russian translation led to Indian cinema being introduced to the big Soviet readership, which loved Indian films. The book also saw multiple printings.

It came about five years after Indian Film written by an American film historian Erik Barnouw and Indian filmmaker S Krishnaswamy, which was the other major book on Indian cinema at that time.

Rangoonwala wrote 15 major books spanning a career of five decades. These included Indian cinema, Past and Present in 1983, and several monographs on different film personalities including those on filmmakers Guru Dutt and Bimal Roy – some written for the National Film Archives of India. Other books include Satyajit Ray’s ArtSeventy-five years of Indian cinema, and Bharatiya Chalchitra Itihas.

He started as a film publicist in Mumbai in the early 1950s, and soon created a major hobby into a scholastic career. He also collected a large number of film posters and rare photographs. His knowledge of the film industry made him a much sought after person to sit in both international and Indian film juries.

Unfortunately Rangoonwala remained least acknowledged by the Indian government circles and did not receive any accolades.

Rangoonwala finally called it a day in 2006, as illness dogged him.

He sold off his entire collection of Indian cinema memorabilia to a collector of film history and retreated into private life. He also donated some rare photographs from cinema to the National Film Archives of India.

Feroze Rangoonwala

Feroze Rangoonwala

I came to know of him in early 70s. I came across an article written by him in 2 parts in “Star & Style”. It was about Dilip Kumar. It was so well-written that I became a fan of Feroze Rangoonwala. I still have this magazine in the library of my Deoria house. Alas ! I could not meet him ever. I will always regret this.

 

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On behalf of all the students & staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I offer my condolences.

May God bless his soul !!

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[ I have taken this article from a website : http://www.indiantelevision.com  I express my gratitude. ]

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Suchitra Sen : Ei Poth Jodi Na Shesh Hoi……


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBRUARY 18, 2014           09.20 P.M.

Mahanayika Suchitra Sen

Mahanayika Suchitra Sen

The year was 1967 or 1968. The city was Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. And the cinema hall , if my memory is not failing me , was Ajanta Talkies at Zero Road. I , along with few of my friends, went to watch a Dilip Kumar starrer black & white film ” Devdas ” [ 1955 ] . I had read Sharat Chandra written immensely popular novel of the same name during my adolescent age in Deoria. I read it so many times and I was so infatuated, fascinated by the character of Devdas that even after so many decades , I vividly remember each and every thing about the novel and all the details of all the characters. In 1967 – 1968, when I went to watch the film, I could even recite the dialogues and paragraphs from the novel.

I had heard about myriads film avatars of Devdas, which were made in several Indian languages.  Naturally Dilip Kumar starrer and Bimal Roy directed ” Devdas ” [ 1955 ] in Hindi was on the top of my list. It had Dilip Kumar portraying the male protagonist to the perfection. I had read various articles about his portrayal of the character. I also knew that Paro is being played by a Bengali actress called Suchitra Sen .

I entered and took my seat in the Ajanta cinema hall. Film started and Dilip Kumar’s arrival on the screen was greeted with thunderous applause. I got totally engrossed in the histrionics and persona of the thespian, the legendary tragedy king of Hindi cinema, ( the ) Dilip Kumar. I was waiting for Suchitra Sen to appear on the screen. Young Paro was played by baby Naaz. I was waiting with curiosity for Suchitra Sen to appear on the screen. She appeared on the screen …………

………….and behold !!!

I was smitten by her eyes. I was hooked to her beauty. I was enamoured by her personality. I was hypnotized by her voice. I was captivated for life by her screen persona. Apart from Waheeda Rehman, I have never admired any other actress so much.

Suchitra Sen as Paro in Hindi Devdas

Suchitra Sen as Paro in Hindi Devdas

Suchitra Sen as Paro in Hindi Devdas with Dilip Kumar

Suchitra Sen as Paro in Hindi Devdas with Dilip Kumar

Later on I watched Dev Anand and Suchitra Sen starrer ” Bombai Ka Baboo ” [ 1960 ] . Though an ordinary film but the climax of the film refused to fade away from my psyche for days and months. After so many decades , even today, it refuses to get obfuscated. Ah, her serene elegant persona, her haunting tear-filled eyes and the back-ground song in the voice of legendary Mukesh, ” Chal Ri Sajni Ab Kya Soche ; Kajra Na Beh Jayen Rote Rote ………. “ shook me permanently and became an eternal part of my being. Every drop of tear on her cheek is still fresh in my memory.

Vintage Suchitra Sen

Vintage Suchitra Sen

After above mentioned two films , I watched ” Mamta ” [ 1966 ] .1966 – 67 is the important year of my life. I passed high school. I left Deoria and went to Allahabad for higher studies. Slowly I started coming out of my cocoon. I started watching films regularly and started appreciating them also. I started spending hours and hours with my friends discussing films. And one day , I watched ” Mamta ” [ 1966 ] . I was a fan of Ashok Kumar. I was a fan of Suchitra Sen . And she was essaying a double role of mother and daughter in this film. She played it with perfection. It was one year before Dilip Kumar’s highly successful and much acclaimed double role in the film ” Ram Aur Shyam ” [ 1967 ] .

Suchitra Sen in Mamta

Suchitra Sen in Mamta

Needless to say that much later I watched ” Aandhi ” [ 1975 ] also . It is her last Hindi film. She was marvellous as usual. 3 years after the much acclaimed film ” Aandhi ” [ 1975 ] , she retired in 1978 and slowly faded from public life.

Suchitra Sen in Andhi

Suchitra Sen in Andhi

From ” Sharey Chuattor ” [ 1953 ] to ” Pronoy Pasha ” [ 1978 ] , she worked in 60 films in a career spanning 25 years. Out of her total 60 films , her Hindi films are only 7. These films are : ” Devdas ” [ 1955 ] , ” Musafir ” [ 1957 ] , ” Champakali ” [ 1957 ] , ” Bombai Ka Baboo ” [ 1960 ] , ” Sarhad ” [ 1960 ] , ” Mamta ” [ 1966 ] and ” Aandhi ” [ 1975 ] . Of all the 7 Hindi films of her, I have watched 4 films.

Her important and memorable Bengali films are : ” Sharey Chuattor ” [ 1953 ] , ” Sabar Uparey ” [ 1955 ] , ” Mejo Bou ” [ 1955 ] , ” Shilpi ” [ 1956 ] , ” Harano Sur ” [ 1957 ] , ” Pathe Holo Deri ” [ 1957 ] , ” Deep Jwele Jaai ” [ 1959 ] , ” Smriti Tuku Thaak ” [ 1960 ] , ” Saptapadi ” [ 1961 ] , ” Saat Paake Badha ” [ 1963 ] , ” Uttar Phalguni ” [ 1963 ] , ” Grihadaha ” [ 1967 ] , ” Alo Amaar Alo ” [ 1972 ] , ” Haar Maana Haar ” [ 1972 ] , ” Devi Chaudhurani ” [ 1974 ] , ” Datta ” [ 1976 ] and ” Pronoy Pasha ” [ 1978 ].

I have seen many of these films. I will specially mention Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen starrer ” Saptapadi ” [ 1961 ] . One number of this film is considered all time great romantic song ever in Bengali films. It is ” Ei poth jodi na shesh hoi …………….. Uttam Kumar on the bike and Suchitra Sen as pillion rider singing the immortal ” ………………. Ei poth jodi na shesh hoi ………………. ” .

"Saptapadi" -Ei Poth Jodi Na Shesh Hoi ......

“Saptapadi” -Ei Poth Jodi Na Shesh Hoi ……

Years later when I came to Bombay [ now Mumbai ] and became acting trainer, one day I got a call from Riya Sen. She wanted to get trained by me. I was ecstatic that I would be training legendary Suchitra Sen’s grand-daughter. I immediately went to her Juhu residence. I worked with her for few months. I met her sister Raima and mother Moon Moon Sen also. But I could not get a chance to meet legendary Suchitra Sen. Though I wanted to meet her desperately. But it was not destined.

She became recluse by each passing year. She came out of her house when Uttam Kumar died on July 24, 1980. After that day no one had seen her ever. It was 34 year-long reclusive life. It was 34 year-long self – imposed exile. But instead of fading from memory, it made her personality more enigmatic. Even after 34 years the aura remained undiminished. She went away from public gaze but never faded from public memory.

Enigmatic Suchitra Sen

Enigmatic Suchitra Sen

Ethereal Suchitra Sen

Ethereal Suchitra Sen

Impish Suchitra Sen

Impish Suchitra Sen

One of her many avatars

One of her many avatars

I used to ask Riya many questions about her grandmother. I wanted to know more and more mortal details about immortal Suchitra Sen. Riya was nonchalant. Initially her nonchalance baffled me, disappointed me. It never occurred to me that for me Suchitra Sen is an idol , an icon but for Riya , she is her grandmother. So her answers never matched my enthusiasm. I think she must have felt awkward by my intrusion.

Alas ! as is the inevitable for every human being, Suchitra Sen left this world for her celestial journey on January 17, 2014 . She died in Kolkata aged 82.

Suchitra Sen : Last Journey

Suchitra Sen : Last Journey

Mortal Remains of Immortal Suchitra Sen

Mortal Remains of Immortal Suchitra Sen

I was saddened beyond words. I am still numb. I was unable to write about her immediately, though I wanted to write desperately. Suchitra Sen is gone and with her departure my world of adolescent years has gone forever. It has crumbled. This void is not going to be filled easily. A world without Suchitra Sen is not the world for me. But ….. nothing could be done. Life will meander to complete its course. Life will slither with saddened soul.

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I express my profound sorrow and grief. Life goes on and it will go on. But without Suchitra Sen, it will not be same again.

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to offer condolences and express solidarity with Moon Moon Sen, Raima Sen and Riya Sen in this hour of grief.

As they say, they won’t make people like Suchitra Sen any more.

[ List of Suchitra Sen’s films  is taken from Wikipedia. I express gratitude. ]

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Dulari Ji Is Gone; Unwept, Unheard , Unsung !


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MAY 09 , 2013           06.45 P.M.
Dulari In Her Twilight Years

Dulari In Her Twilight Years

On Monday morning I was shocked to read the news of death of Dulari , a veteran yesteryear Hindi film actor . It is so heart-wrenching that she died in January 2013 and the news came in May 2013 , in Monday’s Times of India . If a popular actor dies and the news comes out a full four months later , it shows the callousness of our film industry . How come no one tried to contact her ? How come no one ever called her to say hi ? How come no one inquired about her health and well-being ? I must admit , our film industry is full of cussed , cruel and selfish people .
Today as I am writing this blog , I suddenly remember these lines , which was filmed on her in ” Devdas ” , a Bimal Roy classic .
साजन की हो गयी गोरी ………
अब घर  का आँगन बिदेस लागे  रे  , नैहर का जीवन कलेस लागे  रे …..

साजन की हो गयी गोरी ………

She left this ephemeral , painful world for her eternal journey . She joined her lover , the God , and became one with him .

A Young Dulari

A Young Dulari

Hindi cinema had many famous and powerful mother figures . Durga Khote , Lalita Pawar , Leela Chitnis , Kamini Kaushal , Achala Sachdev and Sulochna are some of the most famous mothers of Hindi cinema . In recent history Nirupa Roy became an ultimate mother figure . Dulari, though not as famous as her other illustrious peers , was also a popular mother figure of Hindi films .

Dulari - The Poorman's Mother

Dulari – The Poorman’s Mother

She started as a heroine in a couple of films . Immortal hits like  ” Aana Meri Jaan Meri Jaan , Sunday Ke Sunday ”  and ” Jawaani Ki Rail Chali Jaaye Re “ , both from ” Shehnai ” [ 1947 ] were filmed on her .

Dulari

I first noticed her in Bimal Roy’s ” Devdas “ [ 1955 ] . Two songs , written by Sahir Ludhianvi and tuned by Sachin Dev Burman , were filmed on her . ” Aan Milo Aan Milo Shyam Sanware ” and ” Sajan Ki Ho Gayi Gori “ are connoisseurs delight even today .  She played a Vaishnavi Saint with Nana Palsikar as her screen companion . A young Paro , played by Baby Naaz , was sitting on a branch of a mango tree and was remembering Devdas , while Nana Palsikar sang the song and danced . Dulari was just sitting calmly and singing the female version sung by Geeta Dutt . Her calm and serene face remained in my memory . In the same film , years later , when Paro grew older [ played by etherial Suchitra Sen ] , she was again sitting and remembering Devdas . Again same Vaishnav saints came and started singing . Now the song was ” Sajan Ki Ho Gayi Gori ” . I am unable to forget these scenes , these two songs , melancholic face of Paro , played by Baby Naaz and Suchitra Sen respectively and of course Nana Palsikar and Dulari .

Then , years later I watched ” Padosan ” [ 1968 ] and ” Gopi ” [ 1973 ] . In both the films she played the maternal aunt of lead actors ; Sunil Dutt and Dilip Kumar . Memory of her earlier starrers ” Shehnai ” [ 1947 ] , and ” Devdas ” [ 1955 ] once again became fresh in my mind . It is not that I have seen only above mentioned 4 films . I have seen innumerable films of her . But these 4 remain in my memory .

Dulari as Mother Figure

Dulari as Mother Figure

A Kanyakubj Brahman from the Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh , she was born and brought up in Maharashtra . She spent her childhood in Nagpur , where she was born on 18th April 1928. Her name was Ambika but she was nick-named Rajdulari and later on only Dulari remained and the world knew her as Dulari .

Dulari ji’s first film was ‘Bombay Talkies’s’ famous movie ” Jhoola ”  [ 1941 ] with Ashok Kumar . Later on she played Jairaj’s younger sister in a Bombay Talkies film Hamari Baat’ . She was also seen as the second lead in  ‘Amar Pictures’ film ‘Adaab Arz’ where her leading man was the famous singer Mukesh . Both the films were made in 1944 .
shayar

Later on she played small roles in films like ” Ghar ” [ 1945 ] , ” Kulkalank ”  [ 1945 ] , ‘Ahinsa’, ‘Black Market’, ‘Namak’, ‘Pati Sewa’, ‘Rangeen Kahani’ [ all 1947 ] . But Dulari got her real due with ‘Filmistan’s super hit film ” Shehnai ” [ 1947 ] . She played Rehana’s elder sister in the movie and her leading man was Mehmood’s father Mumtaz Ali . As I mentioned earlier two immortal songs were picturized on her in this film . ” Aana Meri Jaan Meri Jaan , Sunday Ke Sunday ”  and ” Jawaani Ki Rail Chali Jaaye Re “ .

After ” Shehnai “ she did films like ” Gunsundari ” , ” Mitti Ke Khilone ” , ” Naav’ ” [ all 1948 ] , ” Nanad Bhaujai ” , ” Shayar ”  [ both 1949 ] , ” Apni Chhaya ” , ” Man Ka Meet ”  [ both 1950 ] , ” Albela ”  [ 1951 ], ” Anjaam ” , ” Bhoole Bhatke ” and ” Veer Arjun ”  [ all 1952 ] .
Paapi
Dulari was seen in an important role in the movie ” Paapi ” [ 1953 ] . In this Ranjeet Movietone film Raj Kapoor played his career’s only double role. Nargis and Dulari played his two heroines .  After it she worked in Jeewan Jyoti ” [ 1953 ] , ” Devdas ”  [ 1955 ] , ” Zindagi Ke Mele ”  [ 1956 ] , ” Ek Gaon Ki Kahani ” , ” Johny Walker ” ,  ” Paying Guest ”  [ all 1957 ] ,  ” Kavi Kalidas ”  and ” Santaan ” [ 1959 ] .
Devdas (1955 film)

Devdas (1955 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JPKSHH

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Padosan

After 1959 , after two years hiatus , she started her second innings from 1961 and for the next 35 years, Dulari played many big and small roles in almost 135 films like ‘Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai’, ‘Mujhe Jeene Do’, ‘Apne Hue Paraye’, ‘Aap Aaye bahaar Aai’, ‘Aaye Din Bahaar Ke’, Anupama’, ‘Teesri Kasam’, ‘Padosan’, ‘Aradhna’, ‘Aaya Sawan Jhoom Ke’, ‘Chiraagh’, ‘Inteqaam’, ‘Aan Milo Sajna’, ‘Heer Ranjha’, ‘Johny Mera Naam’, ‘Caravan’, ‘Laal Patthar’, ‘Beimaan’, ‘Seeta Aur Geeta’, ‘Raja Rani’, ‘Ameer Gareeb’, ‘Haath Ki Safai’, ‘Deewar’, ‘Do Jasoos’, ‘Aahuti’, ‘Ganga Ki Saugandh’, ‘Biwi O Biwi’, ‘Naseeb’, ‘Prem Rog’, ‘Agar Tum Na Hote and ‘Dharmadhikari’. And then one day she quietly retired from the world of movies.

Later on she did only two films . ” Surya ” [ 1989 ] and ” Ziddi ” [ 1997 ] . Ziddi directed by Guddu Dhanoa is her last film . Thus from ” Jhoola ”  [ 1941 ] to ” Ziddi ” [ 1997 ] , her career span was 56 years .

After a career spanning 56 years and after 171 hindi, 35 Gujarati, 3 Marathi and 1 Rajasthani film , she left Mumbai and went to live with her daughter in Indore . She also acted in a ‘Shri Adhikari Brothers’ serial called ‘Waqt Ki Raftaar’ .

During her final years Dulari ji was suffering from Alzheimer and was admitted to ICU in a hospital in PUNE in the last week of December ’12 where at the age of 85 she breathed her last on 18th January 2013 around 10 a.m. She was cremated on 19th January 2013 in the noon in Pune.

…………………………………………………………………………………
Few links of songs filmed on Dulari :
1 – aana meri jaan sunday ke sunday /shehnai/1947
2 – jawani ki rail chali jaaye/shehnai/1947
3 – aan milo aan milo shyam sanware/devdas/1955
4 – sajan ki ho gai gori/devdas/1955
5 – madhav bin saara brij soona/sautela bhai/1962
 …………………………………………………………………………………

I offer my condolences on behalf myself and on behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , which is known as Vidur’s Kreating Charakters . May God give eternal peace to Dulari Ji and strength to her daughter and other near and dear ones to bear this loss .

I can visualize a frail ,  85-year-old , lonely lady suffering from Alzheimer , sitting without a friend or companion in an old age home with blank eyes and waiting for some elusive loving one . Long windy nights of winter , dull and dusty days of summer and wet , pouring and dreary evenings of  rainy season must have come and gone  without any trace of succour . It is painful , very painful . Finally , only death could relieve her from her pain .

साजन की हो गयी गोरी ………
अब घर  का आँगन बिदेस लागे  रे  , नैहर का जीवन कलेस लागे  रे …..

साजन की हो गयी गोरी ………

Rest in peace Dulari ji ! A tearful farewell from an ardent fan . I am happy that you left this cruel , selfish , cussed world . May , in next life , you get everything that you have ever desired for you .

[ While writing this blog , I have taken few facts and materials from the article ” Aan Milo Aan Milo Shyam Sanware’-Dulari ” , written by Shri Shishir Krishna Sharma for his ‘Sahara Samay’ column ‘kya bhooloon kya yaad karoon’ . I am indebted . ]

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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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