Wilting Traditions – 1 : Holi & Hindi Cinema


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 26, 2011                   12. 2O A.M.

We just celebrated Holi. Indian festivals, specially North Indian festivals always played major roles in the Hindi films of yesteryears. Once upon a time Holi , Deewali , Makar Sankranti and  Raksha Bandhan used to be part of the story and were filmed lavishly and portrayed prominently in Hindi films. There used to be hit songs in films celebrating these festivals. And they are still remembered.

When I started watching films, I vividly remember Mehboob Khan‘s films , where Holi was always a part of the story and he used to picturize it lavishly. His first colour film ” Aan ” [ 1951 ] had a memorable Holi song – khelo rang hamare sang aaj din rang rangeela aaya…………..It was filmed on Dilip Kumar , Nimmi and large number of junior artistes.

Mother India

Image via Wikipedia

Mehboob Khan’s another timeless classic in colour was Mother India ” [ 1957 ] . It had immensely popular Holi number – holi aayi re kanhayee rang chhalke suna de jara bansuri………It was filmed on Nargis , Sunil Dutt , Rajendra Kumar , Kumkum and large number of junior artistes. Its canvass was vast and it carried the story forward with the help of intercuts and flash-backs . This song is my personal favourite. Mehboob Khan had earlier made ” Mother India ” in Black & white as ” Aurat ” [ 1940 ] and it too had Holi number filmed on Sardar Akhtar , Surendra and Yakub. Incidently ” Aurat “ also had an artiste named Arun [ father of present day star Govinda ]. So in total Mehboob Khan had 3 memorable Holi songs to his credit in classic films like – ” Aurat ” , ” Aan ” and ” Mother India. ”

After Mehboob Khan’s ” Aan ” [ 1951 ] , Dilip Kumar had another memorable Holi number picturized on him in S. U. Sunny’s ” Kohinoor” [ 196 0 ] . It was – man rang lo ji aaj tan rang lo , khelo umang bhar rang pyar ke le lo…………….During his later years Dilip Kumar did a film Mashaal ”  [ 1984 ] for Yash Chopra and it too had a hit and lovely Holi number – o dekho holi aayi ………….

Cover of

Cover of Mashaal

It is noteworthy that all the above mentioned numbers were composed by Naushad and were written by Shakeel Badayuni. Only ” Aurat ” and ” Mashaal “ numbers are exceptions. ” Aurat ” Holi number was composed by Anil Biswas and ” Mashaal “ was composed by Hriday Nath Mangeshkar and was written by Anand Bakshi.

After Mehboob Khan , Dilip Kumar , Naushad and Shakeel Badayuni another filmmaker who filmed magnificient Holi scenes and songs , was veteran V. Shantaram. His ” Navrang ” [ 1959 ] had a wonderful Holi number – arre ja re arre natkhat………………..

Among the yesteryear filmmakers , strangely , Raj Kapoor never filmed a single Holi song or scene in his directorial ventures. Though in real life , his larger than life Holi celebrations were talk of the film industry and are still envied and remembered by many.

Another curious case is Dev Anand’s. His suave and urbane personality was not fit for such kind of rustic and robust celebrations but he has one memorable exception. His immortal film ” Guide ” [ 1965 ] had a popular dance number – piya tose naina lage re , naina lage re…………….In this particular song there was one para dedicated to Holi. It was – aayi holi aayi , sab rang layi , bin tere holi bhi na bhaye………………….. Though Dev Anand was not shown in the song . It was magnificently picturized on Waheeda Rehman by director Vijay Anand. It was composed by Sachin Dev Burman and was written by Shailendra.

After above mentioned artistes and specially after Dilip Kumar , Amitabh Bachchan had most number of memorable Holi songs to his credit. His immortal classic ” Sisila ” [ 1981 ] had a song – rang barse bheege chunar wali rang barse ………… It is a cult song even today. One of his recent hits ” Baghbaan ” [ 2003 ] had another memorable number – holi khelen raghubeera awadh men holi khelen raghubeera……… .. According to me , Amitabh Bachchan has the dubious distinction of having one of the worst Holi number in the history of Hindi cinema to his credit. His later year hit ” Waqt – Race Against Time ” [ 2005 ] had a number composed by Anu Malik – do me a favour lets play holi……………….. Unfortunately this worst Holi song  is the last Holi number in Hindi films till date.

Yash Chopra , director of ” Silsila ” [ 1981 ] , is the second filmmaker after Mehboob Khan , who has filmed large number of memorable Holi songs in his films. After ” Silsila ” [ 1981 ] , he picturized a melodious Holi song on Dilip Kumar , Anil Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman in ” Mashaal ” [ 1984 ]. The song was – o dekho holi aayi……………..After ” Mashaal “ he made ” Lamhe ” [ 1991 ] and once again gave us a hit song – mohe chhedo na……………His another classic ” Darr ” [ 1993 ] had another lovely song – ang se ang lagaana sajan mohe aise rang lagaana………………….It was picturized on Shah Rukh Khan , Sunny Deol and Juhi Chawla. So Yash Chopra has 4 Holi songs to his credit , while Mehboob Khan has 3.

In between Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan , for a brief period of time , Rajesh Khanna was the reigning deity. His one of the early successes ” Kati Patang ” [ 1970 ] had a memorable Holi number – aaj na chhodenge bas hamjoli……………It was composed by Rahul Dev Burman and was written by Anand Bakshi. Incidently same composer – lyricist duo gave us another Holi chart-buster in ” Sholay ” [ 1975 ]. It was – holi ke din dil khil jaate hain…………..Though ” Sholay “ was made in the tradition of western cowboy films but it’s Holi song was so wonderfully woven in the story and it was filmed so beautifully that it is remembered even today .

Among today’s stars Aamir Khan had a wonderful song in ” Mangal Pandey  – The Rising [ 2005 ] . It is – dekho aayi holi………….. It is quirk of the matter that worst Holi song of Hindi films , do me a favour , lets play holi……… also came in the same year [ 2005 ] in ” Waqt – Race Against Time ” .

Mangal Pandey: The Rising

Image via Wikipedia

There are some other films also which have some good Holi songs . Rajshri Productions massive hit ” Nadiya Ke Paar ” [ 1982 ] had a catchy number – jogi ji wah jogi ji…………. but it was an exception rather than a rule. After 2005, it is sad that all the recent released films have not portrayed Holi or any other festivals prominently. There are several causes for this scenario.

A – Delhi – UP has ceased to be a prominent territory for Hindi films. Now younger filmmakers make films for metropolitan cities and for overseas markets. So this rustic , robust festival of colours is not finding favours.

B – Younger filmmakers are not familiar with the hinterlands of our country. They seldom go to villages and are unaware of the circumstances of our middle and lower middle class population.

C – Story line of recent films have become city – centric. Rampaging consumerism has changed the scenario beyond recognition and this is being reflected in the recently released films.

D – Rise of television is another root cause for this change. Since films are being made for the overseas territories and for metropolitan centers, so various channels started catering to the rural masses and started beaming village – centric serials. So filmmakers are now not bothered for the masses of hinterlands.

E – Rise of Bhojpuri films are another nail in the coffin. These films specially cater to North Indian public and most of them are still village – centric . So they picturize Holi songs on lavish scale . Recently released hit Bhojpuri film ” Diljale ” [ 2011 ] has a memorable Holi song.

There might be other reasons too, but I am sad that slowly and firmly our festival of colours is coming to a virtual neglect in Hindi films.

It is sad , very sad !

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

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Meeting Mr. Dev Anand


 

Last week on December 17, 2010 I celebrated my 58th birthday. I wont be able to forget this year ever in my life. Before my birthday I was able to go to Lata Mangeshkar’s house on 7th December 2010 and finally, I was fortunate enough that I could talk to her on December 14, 2010. It was regarding a song for my Bhojpuri film ” Aber “.

Lata Mangeshkar playing a tanpura

Image via Wikipedia Lata Mangeshkar

Then, after talking to Lata ji, I went to meet Mr. Dev Anand in his office on December 20, 2010. As I have stated earlier in my blog ” 60 Years of Navketan and Some More Years of Mr. Dev Anand ” on February 27, 2010, I am a huge fan of Dev Anand. First film of Dev Anand, which I watched in my native place Deoria, was ” Dushman “. I was a kid then but the debonaire hero of that film is still fresh in my mind. Usha Kiran and Kumkum were the female protagonists opposite Dev Anand. Its music was composed by legendary Husnlal-Bhagatram. Lootnewale Duniya Ko Ik Din Tu Bhi Lut Jayega sung by Mohammad Rafi , still kindles in my memory. It is still famous.

After this film, I was introduced to Dev Anand’s world through his mega hit and critically acclaimed classic ” Guide “. After that film, it was a regular affair. A new Dev Anand release and I have to be in the theatre first day, first show.

Unfortunately during my 21 years in Mumbai, I could not meet Dev Anand earlier. Though I could meet his elder brother, legendary Chetan Anand , several years back. I was training Rohit Kumar then and Chetan Anand was to direct his debut film. I met Chetan Sahab several times in Rohit Kumar’s house.

Several years later on the premier of Akshaye Khanna’s debut film ” Himalay Putra ” I bumped into Vijay Anand, Dev Sahab’s younger brother and a legendary director himself. I kept on bumping into him in several film functions. But Dev Anand was illusive, though not by any design or by any fault of mine.

Recently when I started preparation for my directorial venture, a Bhojpuri film ” Aber “, I decided to approach Dev Anand to invite him to give clap for the muhurat shot. To my utter surprise he immediately gave me time and I could meet him in his office.

Frankly speaking , when I entered the room and sat in front of him, I was in awe. I was sitting in front of a legend, one of the original triumvirate of Hindi cinema [ Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor are the other two ], a hero whose career span is 64 years and that too as a leading man [ unmatched and unequalled in the world ]. I was sitting in front of a indefatigable optimist. He started working in films before my birth. He made his debut 6 years before my birth and here I am sitting in front of him as a 58 years old man and Dev Anand was talking about his latest film “Chargesheet” and the coloured version of ”  Hum Dono “, his 1961 classic. He was full of new ideas, full of vibrating energy, full of future plans. Here was a man 30 years my senior, but still full of energy and brimming with new ideas. Needless to say that I was a change man after meeting Dev Anand. He was kind enough to bless me for my Bhojpuri film.

180 px

Image via Wikiped

It has become a norm these days to denigrate the seniors. To insult a hapless person in absentia is considered a sense of humour by today’s Dalda generation. Cynics are ruling the roost and megalomaniacs are roaming around as today’s super stars. In this scenario Dev Anand belongs to a vanishing breed of a bygone era. I feel myself lucky and fortunate that I could meet him in flesh and blood. I feel myself blessed that I shared the same room with him and could talk to him for some time.

Thank you Sir for making me feel special, making me feel important and not making me feel inferior or insignificant in any sense. I am not even a spec in the scheme of universe but you were generous enough to give me time and said some kind words. I know there could never be another Dev Anand ever. I shall cherish my meeting with you as long as I am alive.

Long live Dev Anand !

Long live the evergreen hero !

Vidur

Mumbai – Maharashtra – India

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

Vidur’s Travel Diary – 1 : Udaipur [ A ]


I always fancied Mr. Vir Sanghvi‘s flair for writing on the topics as varied as politics, food, wine and travel. It would be asinine for me to compare myself with legendary Vir Sanghvi, but I do have some flair for writing on politics and films. Though I always fancied and wanted to write on Travel and Food also. But I did not want to start my travel writing on some pleasure trip. I wanted to write about a visit , about a trip which is worthwhile. And I found an opportunity now. I was called to Udaipur to train Dev Patel of  ” Slumdog Millionaire ” fame as  dialogue coach by the team of a British film, ” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel “. The film being directed by Mr. John Madden, who incidentally directed ” Shakespeare in Love “, is a comedy based in Rajasthan. I can’t disclose more about the film at this juncture. I will write a separate blog on my this international foray, later on.

Maharana Pratap by Raja Ravi Varma ((1848 CE -...

Image via Wikipedia - Painting by Raja Ravi Varma

I took 11.00 AM flight from Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport, Mumbai on October 04, 2010 and landed at Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur at 12.15 PM. I was thrilled, as Udaipur is the part of Mewar, kingdom of Sisodia Rajputs. It is the clan which gave birth to warriors like Bappa Rawal, Maharana Kumbha, Maharana Sanga and Maharana Pratap. This clan is known by the names of  queens like Maharani Padmini and Maharani [ later on Saint Poetess ] like Meera Bai. It is the land of  Jaimal and Patta and of Panna Dhai, who sacrificed her own son for the safety of the crown prince Udai Singh, father of Maharana Pratap. It is the land of Haldighati. I got goose bumps when I landed at the Maharana Pratap Airport of Udaipur. I was received at the airport by Casting Director Seher Latif and was driven straightaway to Udaivilas Palace Hotel.

UDAIVILAS PALACE HOTEL :

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I had read about this hotel in the column – Rude Travel , of Vir Singhvi, a weekly column which he writes in the Sunday edition of Hindustan Times – Cafe. I was anticipating the grandeur but what I saw , left me awestruck and numb. Udaivilas Palace Hotel is simply beyond words. When I came out my car and started walking inside, the entrance, the courtyard, the lobby and the elegant galleries leading towards the suites left me speechless. There were several people continuously working for the upkeep. No wonder Udaivilas is so immaculately maintained. I have special place in my heart for the staff of this hotel. They are courtessy personified, very polite and humble. I have some really bad experience with the snooty staff of some of the lesser known hotels. But I will always remember warm smile and polite namaste with folded hands of the staff of Udaivilas Palace Hotel. Their dresses are also elegantly done. I don’t have enough money to stay here on my own. But if ever I have my coffers full by any chance, I shall come with my family and stay here for at least one night. It is an earnest wish. I am putting some photos of Udaivilas Palace Hotel here :

1 – Main Entrance of Udaivilas Palace Hotel :

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2 – The Courtyard of Udaivilas Palace Hotel :

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3 – The Courtyard – One More View

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4 – The Corridors Leading Towards Suites :

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5 – A Suite of Udaivilas Palace Hotel

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Udaipur – The City :

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This last capital of Mewar was founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559. It is surrounded by Aravalli Hills and adorned by several natural and man – made lakes. It is because of this that Udaipur is known as the Venice of the East. Its largest lake Fateh Sagar looks like this :

CITY PALACE :

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Udaipur/Rajasthan/India City Palace

Image via Wikipedia

Ferguson has described City Palace as the largest in Rajputana.  Situated on the banks of Lake Pichola, it is not a uniformed structure. It is a cluster of buildings, made by every ruler as per his needs, whims and fancies since 1571. Nevertheless it is a spectacle to watch. On one side there is the magnificent view of Udaipur city and on the other side there is beautiful Lake Pichola.

The exterior of the Palace ;

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The Manak Mahal :

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The Khush Mahal :

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It is not possible to write the complete account of Udaipur in one blog. So I am concluding it today and shall write another blog about other places of Udaipur and about immortal Haldighati. In the last I am putting a photo of Mor Chouk of City Palace. This is the same peacock, which Dev Anand shows to the tourists in his film ” Guide “.

Vidur

Udaipur – Rajasthan – India

http://www.vidur.co.in

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