Vidur’s Travel Diary – 12 : Naggar & Manikaran [ Kullu ]


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JUNE 30 , 2012           01.00 A.M.

As I have written in my travel diary of Manali , I had a lot of free time in Manali . I made good use of it and visited all the important places in and around Manali .

People told me about Naggar and Manikaran and I decided to visit these places also . So on March 29 , 2012 , when I had no work , I decided to go to Naggar . I hired a cab and started for my journey early in the morning . Naggar is in between Kullu and Manali . It is 22 km. from Manali and 26 km. from Kullu . Naggar was the capital of kings of Kullu for about 1400 years .

Road to Naggar is surrounded by snow – capped mountains and the castle , known as Naggar Castle , is awesome . It is now known as Castle Hotel . This magnificent building of stone and wood was constructed during the reign of Raja Sidh Singh .

Naggar : Surrounded by Snow - Capped Hills

Naggar : Surrounded by Snow – Capped Hills

At Naggar Castle

At Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle - Main Entrance

Naggar Castle – Main Entrance

Naggar Castle - Inner Courtyard

Naggar Castle – Inner Courtyard

Naggar Castle - Inner Courtyard

Naggar Castle – Inner Courtyard

Naggar Castle - Restaurant

Naggar Castle – Restaurant

Naggar Castle - Restaurant

Naggar Castle – Restaurant

Naggar Castle - Restaurant

Naggar Castle – Restaurant

Naggar Castle - At The Restaurant

Naggar Castle – At The Restaurant

Naggar Castle - The Temple

Naggar Castle – The Temple

Naggar Castle - The Corridor

Naggar Castle – The Corridor

Naggar Castle - The Corridor

Naggar Castle – The Corridor

Naggar Castle - The Corridor

Naggar Castle – The Corridor

Naggar Castle - The Balcony

Naggar Castle – The Balcony

Snow - Capped Mountains As Seen From Naggar Castle

Snow – Capped Mountains As Seen From Naggar Castle

A little away from Naggar Castle , there is memorial of late Nicholas Roerich , the Russian painter . His villa is set in a beautiful garden and it houses many of his famous paintings . After Naggar Castle , I visited Roerich Art Gallery next .

For me Roerich Villa has an added attraction . Nicholas Roerich’s son Svetoslav Roerich , himself a famous painter , married Devika Rani . She , away from the hustle – bustle of Bombay Talkies and Bombay city , spent many years of her life here . I was eager to see her room , where she stayed whenever she visited Naggar . After death of her first husband Himanshu Rai , she left Bombay [ now Mumbai ] and lived either in Bangalore [ now Bengaluru ] or Naggar .

Road From Naggar Castle to Roerich Memorial

Road From Naggar Castle to Roerich Memorial

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ The Pathway ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ The Pathway ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Verandah ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Verandah ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Verandah ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Verandah ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Verandah ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Verandah ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Staircase ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Staircase ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Surrounding ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Surrounding ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Surrounding ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Surrounding ]

This main gate of the ground floor of Roerich Villa leads to the art gallery , where many precious and priceless paintings of Roerichs are displayed .

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Entrance ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Entrance ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial - Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

Svetoslav Roerich & Devika Rani Memorial – Naggar [ Roerich Paintings ]

I bought a coffee – table book about Devika Rani and surveyed the Villa for the last time and then proceeded for Manikaran . Situated in the Parvati Valley and on the banks of Parvatiriver , Manikaran is famous for its hot springs . You can easily cook food in the boiling hot water . These streams are very close to ice – cold Parvati River . It is one of the wonders of Kullu district .

Way To Manikaran

Way To Manikaran

On Way To Manikaran

On Way To Manikaran

On Way To Manikaran

On Way To Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Gurudwara at Manikaran

Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

At Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

At Hot Water Spring at Manikaran

I finished my visit after visiting the Manikaran gurudwara and proceeded for Manali .

These are remote places . Even if I visit Manali again , I am not sure whether I would be visiting Manikaran again or not . On my return journey to Manali , I remembered Agyeya‘s famous lines and reached my hotel in the late evening .

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

100 Years of Ashok Kumar : First Super – Star of Hindi Films


Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 10 , 2011           03.00 P.M.

It is centenary year of Ashok Kumar , the first real Super – Star of Hindi cinema . He made his debut in 1936 , just after 5 years of the release of ‘ Alam Ara ” [ 1931 ] , the first talkie of Hindi cinema .

Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguli alias Ashok Kumar

October 13 , 1911       –      December 10 , 2001

Born as Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguli in Bhagalpur city of the then Bengal Presidency [ Now Bihar ] , Ashok Kumar spent his early life in Khandwa , Madhya Pradesh , where his father was a practicing advocate . He was educated at The Presidency College of Calcutta [ Now Kolkata ] . His two younger brothers ; Anoop Kumar and Kishore Kumar were also singer actors .

The Ganguly brothers - Anoop Kumar, Ashok Kuma...

Three Ganguli Brothers with Their Mother

After graduation , he came to Mumbai [ Then Bombay ] and started working as lab assistant in Bombay Talkies , where his brother – in – law Sashadhar Mukherjee was working with the owner Mr. Himanshu Rai . He , accidentally , started his acting career in 1936 with the Bombay Talkies film ; ” Jeevan Naiya ” . As the story goes , the original hero Najam Ul Hassan eloped with Devika Rani , the heroine of the film and wife of Himanshu Rai . indignant Himanshu Rai was furious and dismissed Najam Ul Hassan from Bombay Talkies . One day he saw Ashok Kumar and decided to make him the new hero of ” Jeevan Naiya ” [ 1936 ] . Another film , ” Achhut Kanya ” , which also came in the same year , was super hit and with this success Ashok Kumar was catapulted to super – stardom .

English: Scene from the 1936 film Achhut Kanya

Ashok Kumar & Devika Rani in Achhut Kanya

English: A still from the 1936 Hindi film Achh...

Another Photo of Achhut Kanya - Song Main Ban Ki Chidiya ....

After ” Achhut Kanya ” [ 1936 ] , Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani were paired again in hit films like ” Izzat ” [ 1937 ] , ” Savitri ” [ 1937 ] and ” Nirmala ” [ 1938 ] .

Later on he was paired with Leela Chitnis in super hits like ; ” Kangan ” [ 1939 ] , ” Bandhan ” [ 1940 ] and ” Jhoola ” [ 1941 ] .

He played Hindi cinema ‘s first anti – hero role in ” Kismat ” [ 1943 ] , which ran for 3 continuous years in the Roxy cinema of Calcutta . [ Now Kolkata ] . This record was broken by ” Sholay ” [ 1975 ] , which ran in Minerva of Mumbai for 5 years .

Before ” Kismat ” [ 1943 ] , he sang all his songs in films , as was the norm and churned out some outstanding numbers . I have a cassette of the songs sung by him in his earlier films . Years later , he again sang in ” Aashirvad ” [ 1968 ] . His song ” Railgaadi …..chhuk , chhuk , chhuk ……… railgaadi “ was a rage and is considered  the first Rap song of Hindi cinema .

After ” Mahal ” [ 1949 ] , he left Bombay Talkies and started his career as freelance artiste .

He started playing character roles from late 60s . Even as a character artiste , he churned out many marvellous films with some stellar performances .

” Aankhon Me Tum Ho ” [ 1997 ] was his last film . Thus , from ” Jeevan Naiya ” [ 1936 ] to ” Aankhon Me Tum Ho ” [ 1997 ] , he had a career span of 61 years as an actor . This is unparalleled in the motion picture history . It was a record , which got eclipsed recently . Dev Anand , who died on December 04 , 2011 , had career span of 65 years as an actor . In his 61 year-long acting career , Ashok Kumar acted in 301 films .

With the advent of television , he whole – heartedly accepted the new medium and in fact was the first major cine – artiste , who appeared in serials . First he anchored ” Hum Log “ and then did title roles in TV serials like ; ” Bahadur Shah Zafar ” and ” Bheem Bhawani ”  His last TV serial was Hrishikesh Mukherjee directed ” Ujale Ki Ore “ . I also did a very insignificant role in it and can say that I have shared screen space with Evergreen , iconic and gigantic super star , Padma Bhushan Ashok Kumar , who was affectionately called , by one and all , Dadamoni , meaning elder brother .

He , apart from acting in 301 films , produced 4 films . They are ; ” Mahal ” [ 1949 ] , ” The Fiancee ” [ 1953 ] , ” Kalpana ” [ 1960 ] and ” Lal Chunariyaa ” [ 1983 ] .

He even directed ” Eight Days ” [ 1946 ] but due to some reasons refused to take credit . He is not billed as a director in the credits .

He also contributed in music department of 4 films . They are ; ” Aashirwad ” [ 1968 ] , ” Kangan ” [ 1971 ] , ” Khubsoorat ” [ 1980 ] and ” Shaukeen ” [ 1982 ] .

In ” Krorepati ” [ 1961 ] and ” Guddi ” [ 1971 ] , he is billed as guest artiste and played himself . It means , he did not play any character but played super – star Ashok Kumar .

Apart from acting , his other passions were painting and Homoeopathy . He was a practicing homeopath . In 1950s , he also became owner of iconic Bombay Talkies , when Devika Rani sold her share and left the studio . He was a linguist and apart from English , Hindi and his mother tongue Bengali , was fluent in Marathi and French . In his film ” Gumrah ” [  1963 ] , he even used French in dialogues .

Devika Rani

Devika Rani

A career span of 61 years , 301 films in Hindi , Bengali and Marathi , various ads and corporate films and half a dozen TV serials , apart from numerous film songs to his credit , this gigantic , iconic Super – star of Hindi films died on December 10 , 2001 in his Chembur residence . He was 90 years old at the time of his death .
Logo of Bombay Talkies

Logo of Bombay Talkies

First film of Ashok Kumar , which I watched was ” Bahu Beti ” . I was in school and went to watch this Joy Mukherjee and Mala Sinha starrer . Ashok Kumar , who was not the hero of the film , was there prominently on the poster and his name came  first in the billing . I got curious . How come an actor , who is playing father in the film , got the top billing ? My cousins , my maternal uncle and some more knowledgeable friends told me about Ashok Kumar and I started watching his films and started following his career .

Initially I was a fan of Dilip Kumar .  I am still a fan but slowly I started veering towards Ashok Kumar and Dev Anand . When I came to Mumbai to pursue career in films I watched Ashok Kumar and Dev Anand from close quarters . I found them humane , warm and without any trappings of a star . I wanted to be close to my icons and these two stars ; Ashok Kumar and Dev Anand permit you to be there in their world . So I became a huge fan of Ashok Kumar and will remain till my death .

This is centenary year of Ashok Kumar . It is sad and appalling that nothing was done to commemorate the occasion . There was just one article in Times of India . Congress government at centre is more interested to preserve the legacy of Nehru – Gandhi family . They have no time for Ashok Kumar . But alas ! Hindi film industry too forgot its first Super Star . MAMI Film Festival also forgot to give him honour in his centenary year .

His contribution is enormous .He ushered in natural style of acting and freed Hindi cinema from the clutches of theatrical style of dialogue delivery . He experimented a lot and did variety of roles . But life is such …………

I am a small man and I have no reach . Still I wanted to write a blog about Ashok Kumar . Through my blog , which is not widely read , I wish to remember Dadamoni Ashok Kumar and paying my unflinching respect to the first real super star of not only Hindi cinema but of Indian films .

Adieu Dadamoni ! You shall always be remembered by a fan like me and your incredible body of work will always be there to enthrall the connoisseurs of world cinema .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

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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 .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

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Sunset Boulevard ( 5 ) : Alvida Kamalistan


Few days back I read a terrible news. It was about the closure of Kamalistan Studio of Mumbai.  One by one all the film studios of Mumbai are downing shutters. Swanky malls ,  shopping complexes and residential buildings are taking their place in this tinsel town. Great and historical Bombay Talkies at Malad ceases to exist. Its ruins are still there and they silently tell the glorious past history of the once so famous and premier studio of India. My heart wept when once I read in news papers that big fire gutted the extensive part of the remains of Bombay Talkies. I also saw photo of the dilapidated bungalow, which once was the residence of immortal Devika Rani and her husband and owner of Bombay Talkies, Himanshu Rai. Legendary Ranjit Movietone , though the building still exists at Dadar, is also defunct. Shree  Sound and Roop Tara Studios, both at Dadar,  gave way to commercial complexes. Seth Studio of Andheri – East closed few years back. Its neighbour, Guru Dutt Studio also closed some years back. Situated near by, Natraj Studio, also transformed into commercial complex. Asha Studio of Chembur, situated near R. K. Studio, which belonged to Bhagwan Dada Palav once, was gutted in fire and was later sold. And now news comes about the Kamalistan Studio of legendary film-maker Kamal Amrohi. His descendants sold it to some builders of Pune.

Logo of Bombay Talkies

Logo of Bombay Talkies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In mid 50s, Kamal Amrohi bought 223 acres of land situated on Jogeshwari – Vikhroli Link Road for 2.50 lakh. It was not utilized for many years. After stupendous success of ” Pakeezah ” in 1972, Kamal Amrohi started construction work on this land for his ambitious forthcoming project ” Razia Sultan ” in 1983. Sets erected for the film ” Razia Sultan “, are now part of the Kamalistan Studio. Elaborate sets erected for ” Razia Sultan ” were later used for sevsral successful films like : Dharam Veer ( 1977 ), Suhag ( 1979 ), Naseeb ( 1981 ), Coolie ( 1983 ), Raaj Tilak ( 1984 ),  Mard ( 1985 ), Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! ( 1994 ), Hum Saath Saath Hain ( 1999 ), Jab We Met ( 2007 ) and all the three Golmaal series films.

Over the years, barring 16 acres, rest of the land was either sold or taken over by the government for public utilization. But remaining 16 acres were there and it was not a loss making proposition either. Kamalista Studio was the biggest film studio of Mumbai after Film City. But all these things are now the things of the past. Soon it will be razed to make way for swanky residential complex.

Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have personal fondness for Kamalistan Studio and some sweet memories are also there to linger on in the dark corridors of my existence. Almost two decades ago when I was struggling to find a foothold in the industry, I shot here for a serial ” Ujale Ki Ore “,directed by legendary Hrishikesh Mukherjee. The cast of the serial was headed by legendary and immortal Ashok Kumar. I could watch Ashok Kumar and Hrishikesh Mukherjee working here. Today I consider myself fortunate because they don’t make people like Ashok Kumar and Hrishikesh Mukherjee any more. One more serial , written by me ,was shot here, but it did not see the light of the day. I went through elaborate make-up test for a film here, though the role was scuttled subsequently. Later on for 5 long years I lived near Kamalistan Studio and used to pass through the road many times. I personally know Tajdaar Amrohi, the son of Kamal Amrohi, who visited me at my institute few years back. He is such a nice human being. But alas ! Everything is always changing in this ephemeral world.

With Mr. Shandaar Amrohi - Elder Son Of Late Shri Kamal Amrohi

With Mr. Shandar Amrohi – Elder Son Of Late Shri Kamal Amrohi

Kamalistan Studio wont be there any more. And it will happen sooner than later. Definitely I will pass through Jogeshwari – Vikhroli Link Road several times in future, and every time I will remember legendary Ashok Kumar, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and some sweet memories of my nascent , insignificant and non-existent acting career.

Alvida Kamalistan !

Thou shall be part of my life as long as I will live. R. I. P.

[ Mumbai August 04 , 2012 = I wrote this blog in 2010 . I made a factual mistake , though inadvertently . I have mentioned that Mr. Tajdar Amrohi visited my institute . Gentleman in the photo posted above is Late Shandar Amrohi and not Mr. Tajdar Amrohi . I came to know about this through Bilal Amrohi , who is Mr. Tajdar Amrohi’s younger son and is currently getting trained by me . I regret my unintentional error and offer my apologies . ]

Vidur

Mumbai – Maharashtra – India

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

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