Peter O’Toole : An Icon Passes Away


 

English: Cropped screenshot of Peter O'Toole f...

Peter O’Toole in the film Lawrence of Arabia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter James O’Toole

 2 August 1932 – 14 December 2013

 

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           December 08, 2018           03.30 P.M. 

 

Peter James O’Tool aka Peter O’Tool was a British stage and film actor of Irish and Scottish descent. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and began working in the theatre, gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company before making his film debut in 1959.

He achieved international recognition playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) for which he received his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He was nominated for this award another seven times – for Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man(1980), My Favorite Year (1982), and Venus (2006) – and holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations for acting without a win. In 2002, O’Toole was awarded the Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements. He was additionally the recipient of four Golden Globe Awards, one British Academy Film Award and one Primetime Emmy Award.

Peter O’Tool with Richard Burton in ” BECKET “

I came to know about him in 1973. I was studying in Prayagraj [ then known as Allahabad ] , Uttar Pradesh. A Hindi film ” NAMAK HARAM ” was released in 1973 in Vishwambhar cinema hall. I, along with my friends, went to swatch it. It was huge hit and everyone was praising Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna’s acting. One day I read an article about ” NAMAK HARAM ” in Northern India Patrika, a popular daily of those days. It was written that this film is based on the iconic Hollywood film ” BECKET ” and how Richard Burton and Peter O’Tool were so brilliant. Richard Burton’s role was played by Rajesh Khanna and Peter O’Tool’s role was essayed by Amitabh Bachchan.

Soon ”  Becket ” was re-released in cinema halls and I saw the film. I had already watched many films of Richard Burton but this was my first brush with Peter O’Tool. I was awe-struck. Later on I watched his first film ”  Lawrence of Arabia “. My admiration for his craft grew manifold.

After completing my studies I left Prayagraj [ then named as Allahabad ] , and after spending 15 years in my native town Deoria, I settled in Mumbai [ then know as Bombay ] . Here in 1990 I watched his film ” THE LAST EMPEROR ” ( 1987 ) . One day while roaming around Hutatma Chowk, [ earlier known as Flora Fountain ] , I got his biography in a road side bookstore. After reading it , I became a life-long admirer.

So when I read about his death, I felt a vacuum in my life. Life is cruel. I got to know about Peter O’Tool in 1973. And in December 2013, I was reading his obituary. A relationship of 40 years came to a sudden end.

Movie business will go on. Many stars will come and fade away. But stars like Peter O’Tool are rare. As is the saying, they don’t make people like him any more.

Peter O’Tool in his sunset years

Peter O’Toole will never return to enthrall us by his histrionics in cinema. There will be many great actors but there will never be another Peter O’Tool.

[ Some personal information and nuggets about his career is taken from Wikipedia. I express my gratitude. ]

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Adieu Sharada Dwivedi : A Historian Becomes History


Sharada Dwivedi

Sharada Dwivedi

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBRUARY 11, 2012           02.45 A.M.

It is sad and depressing that of late , I have to write so many obituaries . Last quarter of 2011 was full of sudden and sad demise of the so many eminent people of all walks of life . Now the first quarter of 2012 is also no less harsh .

Sharada Dwivedi , eminent historian , researcher and chronicler of Mumbai , died on February 06 , 2012 in Mumbai . She was only 69 at the time of her death .

Map of Mumbai

It is unfortunate that I could not meet her personally but I am familiar with her work . Born , brought up and educated in Bombay [ now Mumbai ] , she was in love with the city . She was familiar with every minute details of the old and neo – gothic style buildings of Mumbai . Every little piece of even hidden history was also known to her . She belonged to the city and her Bombay belonged to her .

She researched the history of all the famous monuments and buildings of Mumbai and was always caring for the conservation work and during conservation work , was very strict and particular regarding the minutest details .

English: Skyline of Mumbai from across Back Bay.

Skyline of Mumbai from Back Bay

English: The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, India.

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

Deutsch: Gateway of India in Mumbai in Maharas...

Gateway of India

English: Gateway of India in Mumbai, India. Fr...

Gateway of India

English: The David Sassoon Library in Mumbai, ...

David Sassoon Library

Česky: Nádraží čhatrapatiho Šivádžího v Bombaj...

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Formerly Victoria Terminus

Victoria Terminus Railway Station, Mumbai, India

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Formerly Victoria Terminus

English: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumba...

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Formerly Victoria Terminus

Fort Market

Royal Asiatic Society

Museum - Formerly Prince of Wales Museum

Watson Hotel

High Court

Rudyard Kipling Bungalow

Elphinston College

Flora Fountain

A Road in South Mumbai

Eros Cinema

Capitol Cinema

Bandra Local Railway Station

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation

She  was always eager to help and advise , when it came to the old buildings . She was part of Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee and was member of Urban design Research Institute . She was responsible for the inclusion of Opera House in the 2012 World Monument Watch . It was due to her efforts that Fort – Churchgate Precinct was included in the tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage Monument .

Chawls of Mumbai

The above mentioned chawl and this below mentioned famous Ambani building , Antilia are also a part of her beloved Bombay . She was interested in the city of Mumbai and wanted to preserve every aspect of the city . No one knows her reaction or what she actually felt about the chawls of Mumbai and what she thought about some of the present day structures like Antilia . Though her views about the centuries old Elephanta Caves are well – known and well chronicled .

Antila - Ambani House

Elephanta Caves

Apart from taking part in conservation work , she wrote and co – wrote many books on Mumbai and the historically important British era buildings . Her famous books are :

1 – Bombay , The City Within [ 1995 ]

2 – Banganga , Sacred Tank [ 1996 ]

3 – Fort Walks [ 1999 ]

4 – Anchoring A City Line , The History of The Western Suburban Railway And Its headquarters in Bombay [ 2000 ]

5 – The Jehangir Art Gallery [ 2002 ]

6 – The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind [ 2002 ]

6 – Taj Mahal Palace Hotel [ 2011 ]

Her other famous books are :

1 – Lives of the Indian Princes [ 1984 ]

2 – Reach for the Stars [ 1993 ] – the corporate history Blue Star Ltd

3 –  The Broken Flut [ 1994 ] – a Children’s Novel

4 – The Maharaja [ 1999 ]

5 – A Celebration of Style [ 2000 ] Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosa

It is sad that a chronicler and historian of this eminence left us and that too , so soon . A historian par – excellence , herself , became history .

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