Sunset Boulevard ( 8 ) : ” Lakshmi Talkies : अपना सिनेमा हाल था ये “


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 17 , 2014           11.40 P.M.

Today when the Hindus , all over the world , are celebrating Holi and rejoicing in festivity , I am sitting in my study in Mumbai and writing this blog about Lakshmi Talkies , Allahabad with tearful eyes . I am struggling for words . I am unable to form sentences . I am full of emotions . Lakshmi Talkies will not ring a familiar bell for several anonymous people or the lovers of cinema . May be some will be familiar of some Lakshmi Talkies of their own cities . But here I am talking about Lakshmi Talkies of Allahabad , Uttar Pradesh .

Few days back I saw the following post on the facebook time line of Shri Neeraj Sri :

अपना सिनेमा हाल था ये …
Lakshmi Talkies - Katara - Allahabad

Lakshmi Talkies – Katara – Allahabad

When I read the post and saw the photograph , I became numb . I was stunned . I was shaken . I was saddened beyond words . I was emotionally disturbed . I spent a sleepless night .

Even now as I am writing the blog , my heart refuses to believe that this is a reality . I was a regular patron of Lakshmi Talkies during my Ganga Nath Jha hostel days . Lakshmi Talkies of Allahabad was a part of my life . Lakshmi Talkies holds a special place for me because Lakshmi Talkies was an integral part of my Allahabad University days . It’s magnificent structure is still fresh in my memory . So when I saw the above picture of a desolate Lakshmi Talkies with moth – eaten walls , broken window panes and barbed wire fencing , I wanted to cry . I wanted to mourn .

I , after passing High School , left my birth place Deoria in 1967 and went to Allahabad for higher studies . Deoria had two cinema halls at that time but being in a small city like Deoria , they were not grand or magnificent , like cinema halls of bigger cities . Allahabad was much bigger city compared to Deoria , so the cinema halls were also huge and opulent . I landed in Allahabad in July 1967 with glitter in my eyes , hope and dreams in my heart for my better future . I , as a 15-year-old small town boy , was fascinated by Allahabad , the city and its atmosphere . Slowly I started getting acquainted with the city of Allahabad . Being a movie buff , I started looking about cinema halls and thus came to know about Lakshmi Talkies at Katara . Lakshmi Talkies management had this strategy of re – releasing old Hindi films . So for me this was a boon because I could now watch all the old classics which I had missed in Deoria .

” Door Ki Awaaz ”  [ 1964 ] , a film directed and produced by Devendra Goel was the first ever film which I watched in Lakshmi Talkies . The Joy Mukherjee , Saira Banu , Pran , Johny Walker and Om Prakash starrer film has some popular Mohammad Rafi gems like , “Ek Musafir Ko Duniya Men Kya Chahiye ……………………….” , ” Husn Se Chand Bhi Sharmaya Hai , Teri Soorat Ne Ghazab Dhaya Hai ……………..” , ” Muqaddar Aazmana Chahta Hoon , Tujhe Apna Banan Chahta Hoon ……………………………. “ , and a lovely duet of Mohammad Rafi with Asha Bhosle ” Haathon Men Haath Hothon Pe Afsane Pyar Ke ……………………” , and the last but not the least , a song sung by Mohammad Rafi , Manna Dey and Asha Bhosle ” Hum Bhi Agar Bachche Hote Nam Hamara Hota Gabloo , Babloo , Khane Ko Milte Laddoo , Aur Duniya Kehti …………….. Happy Birthday To You …………………” . All these lovely songs were tuned by music director Ravi .

The film , the songs and the whole movie going experience is still fresh in my memory even after 47 long , strife – torn and eventful years of my life .

The last film I watched in Lakshmi Talkies was in 1971 . It was a Hemant Kumar produced and Asit Sen directed ” Khamoshi ” [ 1969 ] . During the same year they also opened a skating ring in the western side of the compound . It was a new experience .

I completed graduation in 1971 and left Allahabad and came to Bombay [ now Mumbai ] . One year after I left Mumbai again and came to Allahabad to complete my post graduation . So I was in Allahabad and staying in the same Ganga Nath Jha Hostel again from 1972 to 1974 before finally bidding adieu to Allahabad in 1975 . During this period I did watch couple of films in Lakshmi talkies but I don’t remember them .

But I do remember a concert of Pandit Ravi Shankar with Alla Rakha Khan , which I was fortunate enough to attend . One evening my friend Pramod Vajpayee came running and informed me about the concert . It was in aid of some NGO . So the ticket rates were low . We went , bought the tickets and took our seat in the packed hall . That evening is still fresh in my memory . It was a life – time experience .

And now 40 years later in March 2014 , I read this posting about the closure of Lakshmi Talkies on the facebook time line of Shri Neeraj Sri and the world of my emotional memory crumbled at one go . A part of my life is gone forever . A silent witness of my many lonely evenings is going to be silent very soon .

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I condole the demise of Lakshmi Talkies .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to express grief and pain .

Farewell Lakshmi Talkies !

Neeraj Sri has rightly said , ” अपना सिनेमा हाल था ये … ”

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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So Soon Mohit Ji ?


At the Chautha of Mohit Ji

At the Chautha of Mohit Ji

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 11 , 2013           00.15 A.M.

From the annual trip to my home town Deoria , Uttar Pradesh , I returned to Mumbai on July 02 , 2013 . On July 03 when I reached my acting institute in the morning , I got the shocking news of passing away of Mohit ji . He died of cardiac arrest in the early morning of July 02 , 2013 at the age of 51 .

I was stunned . I was dumbfounded and numb . It was beyond imagination . He was 9 years younger to me . How could he leave us so soon ? 51 is too young to go . 51 is no age to leave this world . 51 is not the age to say good-bye .

In the evening I got a message from his sister that he would be cremated on July 04 , 2013 at electric crematorium , Shivaji Park , Dadar . I reached there in the morning . After some time an ambulance entered in the compound . It was carrying his dead body . Mohit ji in an ambulance ? So unbearable ! So painful ! So sad !

His body was carried out on a stretcher and ah , it opened floodgates of memory to inundate me completely .

With My Friend Mohit Tugnait in the Office of My Institute at Patliputra Nagar

With My Friend Mohit Tugnait in the Office of My Institute at Patliputra Nagar

I vividly remember my first encounter with him . I left Assha Chandra ji in the beginning of 1990 and started working with Mr. Kishore Namit Kapoor . If I am remembering correctly , it was the beginning of 1992 when Mohit ji came to meet Mr. Kishore Namit Kapoor with Mr. Jag Mohan Mattoo , a film director . Later on he started working there as an acting instructor . And slowly our friendship grew .

So it was a 20-year-long association with Mohit ji . We were in the same field , in the same profession and for most of the time in the same institute . But there was no jealousy , animosity or rivalry between us . I can say with all honesty that somewhere I might have erred in my association with him . At some juncture of life , I might have failed him as a friend . But he never ever erred or failed me as a friend .

In later years he left Mr. Kishore Namit Kapoor and joined Mr. Anupam Kher for a brief period . During last years of his life he was mostly freelancing and training some very brilliant and bright star-kids .

With My Friend Mohit Tugnait at Inauguration pooja of My Institute at Mhada

With My Friend Mohit Tugnait at Inauguration pooja of My Institute at Mhada

It is painful to say good-bye to such a dear friend . It is heart-wrenching to bid adieu to a colleague , who was much younger . It was agonizing  to see him dead . It was sad to see his lifeless body being carried into the electric chamber and coming out as ash in an earthen pot . His smiling face was lost forever . He will not be seen ever again .

With My Friend Mohit Tugnait at the 2nd Anniversary Bash of the Institute

With My Friend Mohit Tugnait at the 2nd Anniversary Bash of the Institute

It seems surreal even today as I am writing this blog . It all seemed unreal when I saw his dead body . Though hallucinatory , but it seems that Mohit ji is still alive . I feel that any moment he will walk in and say , ” hello , Vidur ji , how are you ? ” This is the way he used to address me always .

It is painful to address him in past tense . It is sad to even think that he is gone and we will never meet again in this life .

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After his cremation I returned with heavy heart . Then there was chautha and prayer meeting on July 05 , 2013 at Arya Samaj temple , Santacruz . It is painful that so many old acquaintances didn’t turn up either for the cremation or for chautha . A Lab Assistant was conspicuous by his absence . He had no time for a departed colleague and associate , who had given his sweat , blood and youth to him and his now declining institution .

It is sad . It is cruel . It is cussed . But this is life . This is the way film industry works . This is the way the Lab Assistant operates .

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NEWS LETTER

Some friends have forgotten you Mohit ji but I shall always remember you as a dear friend .

Farewell my friend !

Good-bye Mohit ji !

You were extremely talented acting trainer . You were definitely better than me . But destiny was cruel to you . You never got what you so rightly deserved . Sorry to say but you were destiny’s neglected child .

Adieu destiny’s neglected child !

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , which is known as Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , I express my profound grief and sorrow at the sad demise of Mohit ji . VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to pray for the departed soul and offer condolences .

May you attain everlasting peace Mohit ji ! May your near and dear ones get strength to bear this loss . You will be sorely missed . There will be no one like you ever again . A tearful farewell from a friend , who will keep on remembering  you till the last breath .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

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