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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B. R. Ishara : Departure of An Avant – Garde Film Maker


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 27 , 2012           08.05 P.M.

Avant – Garde and Path  – breaking film – maker , a true iconoclast and a renaissance – man , Babu Ram Ishara , a.k.a. B. R. Ishara died on July 25 , 2012 at the age of  77 in Mumbai . He was suffering from tuberculosis . Last year he got paralytic stroke also .

He could be called a renaissance man of Hindi cinema , as he heralded a new wave in the world of formula laden Hindi film industry with his unconventional and critically acclaimed film  ” Chetna ” [ 1970 ] .

Chetna

Chetna (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the film released I was in Allahabad doing graduation at Allahabad University . I vividly remember the sensation it created . The poster of the film was really a shocker . Two naked legs of a female and a peeping Rehana Sultan from there was enough to arouse amorous feelings of youngsters in that era of conservative India . Since Rehana Sultan hailed from Allahabad , the curiosity was at its peak and palpable . Film opened with critical acclaim and was a box office hit too .

Anil Dhawan & Rehana Sultan in Chetna

Anil Dhawan & Rehana Sultan in Chetna

Before ” Chetna “ , films used to be shot in studios . B. R. Ishara shot the film in a bungalow and thus started a new trend . Today shooting a film in bungalows has become a normal affair .

Ek Nazar

Ek Nazar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apart from ” Chetna ” [ 1970 ] , his three other films were also special and significant in another way . A love story ” Ek Nazar ” [ 1972 ] , will be remembered because of  the lead pair . It starred Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri , as she was called and was known to the world before marriage . This film came and was a super flop . It is ironical that just after one year Amitabh Bachchan came with ” Zanjeer ” , a super hit , which changed his career graph and position in the industry . ” Prem Shastra ” [ 1974 ] was again a film with big star cast . It dealt with the issue of incest and starred Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman . And ” Rahu Ketu ” [ 1978 ] was his biggest . It starred Shashi Kapoor , Rekha , Pran , Prem Nath , Kamini Kaushal , Bindu and Aruna Irani .

Apart from above mentioned four films , his other films are : Gunah Aur Kanoon ” [ 1970 ] , ” Man Tera Tan Mera ” [ 1971 ]  , ” Man Jaiye ” [ 1972 ] , ” Zaroorat ” [ 1972 ] , ” Milap ” [ 1972 ] , ” Nai Duniya Naye Log ” [ 1973 ] , ” Dil Ki Rahen ” [ 1973 ] , ” Charitra ” [ 1973 ] , ” Dawat ” [ 1974 ] , ” Kaagaz Ki Nao ” [ 1975 ] , ” Ghar Ki Laaj ” [ 1979 ] , ” Log Kya Kahenge ” [ 1982 ] .  ” Hukumnama ” [ 1996 ] was his last film .

Milap

Milap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dil Ki Rahen

Dil Ki Rahen

Rahu Ketu

Rahu Ketu

Ghar Ki Laaj

Ghar Ki Laaj (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He worked with many stalwarts of Hindi film industry . He signed Prithvi Raj Kapoor , Sanjeev Kumar & Kumkum for ” Gunah Aur Kanoon “ , Shatrughan Sinha , Anil Dhawan , Nadira & Rehana Sultan for ” Chetna “ , Amitabh Bachchan , Jaya Bhaduri & Nadira in ” Ek Nazar “ , Vijay Arora , Reena Roy & Danny Denzongpa in ” Zaroorat “ , Shatrughan Sinha , Reena Roy & Danny Denzongpa in ” Milap ” , Reena Roy , Danny Denzongpa & Nadira in ” Nai Duniya Naye Log “ , Dev Anand & Zeenat Aman in ” Prem Shastra “ , Sanjeev Kumar in ” Dawat “ , Sarika , Raj Kiran & Pradeep Kumar in  ” Kaagaz Ki Nao “ , Shashi Kapoor , Rekha , Pran , Prem Nath , Kamini Kaushal & Aruna Irani in ” Rahu Ketu “ , Sanjeev Kumar , Moushumi Chatterjee & Sohrab Modi in ” Ghar Ki Laaj “ and Shabana Aazmi , Sanjeev Kumar , Shatrughan Sinha & Navin Nischol in ” Log Kya Kahenge ” .

His discovery , his lucky muse and future wife , Rehana Sultan appeared in 4 films directed by him . They are ; ” Chetna ” , ” Man Tera Tan Mera ” , ” Man Jaiye ” and ” Dil Ki Rahen ” .

His other discovery Reena Roy worked with him in 3 films . They are ; ” Zaroorat ” , ” Milap ”  and ” Nai Duniya Naye Log ” .

Shatrughan Sinha  repeatedly worked with him in 3 films . They are : ” Chetna ” , ” Milap “ and  ” Log Kya Kahenge ” . 

Danny Denzongpa , a very choosy actor , worked with him in 3 films . They are ” Zaroorat ” , ” Milap ” and ” Nai Duniya Naye Log ” .

An actor of the caliber of Sanjeev Kumar worked with him in 4 films . They were : ” Gunah Aur Kanoon ” , ” Dawat ” , ” Ghar Ki Laaj ” and ” Log Kya Kahenge ” .

Shabana Aazmi , who does not sign films easily and left , right and centre , also worked in his film ” Log Kya Kahenge ” .

Thespians like Prithvi Raj Kapoor , Sohrab Modi , Pran , Prem Nath , Kamini Kaushal  and Pradeep Kumar also readily worked in his films .

Asit Sen , Johny Whisky , Nadira , Rakesh Pandey and Raza Murad repeatedly worked with him and were almost in every second films directed by B. R. Ishara .

It is astonishing that a man , who was not so well-educated and who used to wash dishes at Qamar Jalalabadi’s house and used to serve tea at Roop Tara Studio , made 30 films and stars of the calibre of Shabana Aazmi , Rekha , Shashi Kapoor and Sanjeev Kumar readily agreed to work with him .

He introduced Rehana Sultan , Reena Roy , Parveen Babi , Raza Murad , cricketer Salim Durrani and music director Bappi Lahiri in films .

His 2 Discoveries Anil Dhawan & Raza Murad at the Funeral

His 2 Discoveries Anil Dhawan & Raza Murad at the Funeral

It is sad that a director of the calibre of B. R. Ishara left the world in penury and was almost work less during his last years .

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My Column ” Kal Aur Aaj ” in Bhojpuri City – [ 5 ]


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA                  MAY 05 , 2011                      11.45 P.M.

That I write a fortnightly Hindi column is now known to all my readers. It is being published in a magazine called Bhojpuri City “. It is a Bhojpuri film trade magazine being published from Mumbai. This is my 5th column and it is focussed on the tradition of Item Girls in Hindi and Bhojpuri films.

I am reproducing here the cover page of the current edition of the said magazine and the 2 page article, which is 5th in the series.

Cover of Bhojpuri City - May 1st , 2011

Cover of Bhojpuri City - May 1st , 2011

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