Remembering Sushilarani Patel


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 15, 2014           11.45 P.M.

 

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Sushilarani Patel, a classical singer par excellence, but an almost forgotten classical singer, died on July 24, 2014 in Mumbai at the age of 96.

 

SUSHILARANI PATEL

SUSHILARANI PATEL

 

The name Sushilarani Patel is not going to evoke any memories.

The name Baburao Patel is also not going to evoke even faint recognition.

The name of a magazine called ” Filmindia “ is almost forgotten.

Film ” Draupadi ” [ 1944 ] does not exist for this generation.

Film ” Gwalan ” [ 1946 ] is unknown even to die-hard film connoisseurs.

The song ” … LAGAT NAZAR TORI CHHALAIYA … ” is a distant memory.

So why I am writing this obituary ?

Let me unravel the mystery one by one.

I am writing this blog to pay my obeisance to Sushilarani Patel, a classical singer par excellence. It is sad irony of fate that she is relatively unknown compared to her other illustrious colleague Kishori Amonkar, though they both are disciples of the same teacher.

 

SUSHILARANI PATEL

SUSHILARANI PATEL

 

Baburao Patel was a Member of Parliament. But primarily he was a film critic and editor of a very popular film magazine called ” Filmindia “. Sushilarani Patel was married to him. She was his third wife. ” Filmindia “ was dreaded by the film industry folks of bygone era. It is infamous for its acerbic editorials. Just go through the views of Baburao Patel published in the magazine  ” Filmindia “ about ” Jwar Bhata ” [ 1944 ] , the debut film of Dilip Kumar :

Dilip Kumar, the new hero of Bombay Talkies is an anaemic addition to our film artistes. He needs lots of vitamins and a prolonged treatment of proteins before another picture can be risked with him. He looks gaunt and famished and strikes as a long ill-treated convict, who has escaped from a jail. His appearance on the screen creates both laughter and disappointment. His acting efforts in this picture amounts to nill. “

Can it be considered a critical analysis of a debut making young actor’s acting calibre? Do you think it is decent, sensible and appropriate to comment on looks and physicality of an artiste? But Baburao Patel was known for his scathing, acerbic and derogatory personal comments. And Sushilarani Patel was his wife, third wife. It is alleged that he was jealous of her. It is also rumoured that Baburao Patel was very possessive of extremely beautiful and young Sushilarani. So, it was natural that she starred and sang just in two films and then faded into oblivion. And the two films were directed by Baburao Patel himself. The two films in question were ” Draupadi ” [ 1944 ] and Gwalan ” [ 1946 ]. These films tanked at the box office without any trace and Sushilarani’s career got an untimely and abrupt end.

 

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Draupadi

 

SUSHILARANI as DRAUPADI in Vastra Haran Scene of DRAUPADI

SUSHILARANI as DRAUPADI in Vastra Haran Scene of DRAUPADI

 

Any print of the film or any link of the songs she sang in ” Draupadi ” [ 1944 ] is not available today. I copied the above picture of Sushilarani in ” Draupadi ” [ 1944 ]  from the internet and posted it above.

” Gwalan ” [ 1946 ] , second film of Sushilarani Patel was also produced and directed by Baburao Patel. And Sushilarani Patel sang a duet in this film with legendary play back singer Mukesh. The song in question was tuned by Hansraj Bahl and lyrics were written by Indra Chandra. For lovers of old Hindi film songs ” …………………….. LAGAT NAZAR TORI CHHALAIYA ……………………. ” is a gem. Fortunately the song is available on YouTube. I am providing YouTube link of the song :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgcrVFUZLXE

Just two films ; ” Draupadi ” [ 1944 ] and ” Gwalan ” [ 1946 ] and that is all. That heralded the end. A sad end of a talented singer-actor. A talented artiste’s talent was allegedly crushed under the ego, obsessiveness, jealousy and whims of her husband. Sushilarani’s nephew and some of her students have confirmed these allegations in their interviews.

I think now you have all the answers of the questions , which I put forward in the beginning.

Baburao Patel died in 1982. And Sushilarani Patel could properly start her career only after her husband’s death. But at that time she was 62. Her prime was gone. Her other peer Kishori Amonkar became a legend in her own life time. They both started learning classical music from legendary Moghubai Kurdikar. Incidentally Moghubai was the mother of  Kishori Amonkar.

My student Alvira Khan, who is Salman Khan’s sister, was a student of Sushilarani Patel. So I know Sushilarani in a way. I empathized with her and after her demise, I am saddened.

 

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I offer my condolences.


[ Information about Sushilarani Patel and Baburao Patel is taken from several newspapers, YouTube and also from Wikipedia. I express my gratitude. ]

 

VIDUR

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Vidur’s Open Letter – 8 : To Armaan Jain


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 17, 2014           00.15 A.M.

Hi Armaan,

It is nice to get in touch with you at the time when you have made your debut and your first film has been released. As I am writing this blog, I am remembering all the Sundays which I spent at your South Mumbai residence when I used to come for the classes. It was years ago but it seems as if it happened just yesterday. I particularly remember your illustrious parents; reticent Manoj Ji and larger than life and exuberant Rima Ji. Rima Ji was always nice and kind to me. Whenever I talked to her, I felt, as if I am talking to legendary and immortal Raj Kapoor.

With Armaan Jain's Proud Parents at their Home

With Armaan Jain’s Proud Parents at their Home

 

I do remember my first day with you. It was a hesitant but confident start. I am unable to forget your child-like innocence even after so many years. Your “Rishi Kapoor of Bobby” kind of look is still fresh in my memory.

After many months, classes got a break when you started assisting Karan Johar in his film  “Student Of The Year”.

 

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I started with you once again before commencement of shooting of  your debut film “Lekar Hum Deewana Dil”. It was a sweet surprise to watch a more confident and mature avatar of yours.

With Armaan Jain & His Mother Rima Jain

With Armaan Jain & His Mother Rima Jain

Because of this long association, I was very excited and was eagerly waiting for your debut film “Lekar Hum Deewana Dil”. And finally it got released on July 04, 2014.

I am yet to see the film. But I am getting the news that it is not doing well at the box office. As per trade circles it is not going to make its producers happy. Though it is not a good or encouraging news for a newcomer, such things do happen. And in this industry it even happened to some of our greats, rather the greatest.

Armaan, I must make you aware that the first film of RK Films “Aag”, made by your illustrious maternal grandfather Late Raj Kapoor, was also a disastrous flop. “Jwaar Bhata”, the first film of legendary Dilip Kumar , was a dud at the box office. Your cousin Kareena Kapoor’s first film “Refugee” got lukewarm response. Your other cousin Ranbir Kapoor‘s debut film “Saawariya” was also a resounding flop.  So you seem to be in an august company.

 

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Armaan, a film’s box office run is not the only criteria of success. Though the first milestone of a long  journey is important but ultimately what matters is the completion of the journey. And your remarkable journey did not start in 2014. It started in 1929 with the release of  “Cinema Girl” and got prominence in 1931 with the first Indian talkie “Alam Ara”. Shri Prithvi Raj Kapoor starred in both the films. It happened 85 years ago. You are the latest torch-bearer of an illustrious legacy, a shinning 85-year-old saga. Just one smeared milestone is not going to tarnish the unparalleled and never seen before cinematic journey. The 85-year-old saga has found a new mascot in you and you have to be ready for that responsibility.

I have made a video celebrating the saga of 85 years of Kapoors. For me this saga is not going to be diminished by just one film. Do watch the video and let me know your reaction :

Vidur Club News Video -5 [ ARMAAN JAIN ] :

Armaan, I am happy that I wrote my first open letter to your cousin Ranbir Kapoor on November 29, 2009. Exactly after 5 years I am writing my latest open letter to you.

 

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I congratulate you on the occasion of the release of your first film. On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise , I wish you all the success and stardom never attained before by anyone and unseen even by the mightiest.

Waiting for your next film and promise to meet you on the eve of release of your next film.

Yours ,

VIDUR

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60 Years of Film ” Daag ”


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 09 , 2012           09.30 P.M.

Dilip Kumar’s Daag ” , which got him his first Filmfare Best Actor Award , was the 4th biggest grosser of 1952 . After ” Aan “ , it was the second hit of Dilip Kumar in 1952 . Dilip Kumar played an alcoholic youth , who is driven by self – destruction .

Daag (1952 film)

Daag (1952 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

” Daag “ is totally different from other three hits of 1952 . ” Aan “ , ” Baiju Bawra ” and ” Jaal “ are the other three hits . This Dilip Kumar , Nimmi , Lalita Pawar and Usha Kiran starrer was produced and directed by Amiya Chakrabarty , who incidentally directed Dilip Kumar’s debut film ” Jwar Bhata ” [ 1944 ] . Kanhaiyalal and  Leela Mishra played another important roles . If my memory is not failing me , Ram Mohan played Dilip Kumar’s friend and perhaps ” Daag “ is his debut film .

Shankar – Jaikishan gave music for the film and its one song ” Ae Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal , Gham Ki Duniya Se Dil Bhar Gaya ………………………… “ is still popular and hummed by general public and connoisseurs alike . It was written by Shailendra and it has many versions . Sad and playful versions were sung by Talat Mehmood and one version was sung by Lata Mangeshkar . ” Preet Ye Kaisi Bol Ri Duniya ………………………. “ sung by Lata Mangeshkar was another smash hit .

According to my memory , 2 other movies were made after ” Daag ” , using the same name . ” Daag – A Poem Of Love “ was produced and directed by Yash Chopra in 1973 . It was the first movie of Yash Raj Films . Another movie ” Daag : The Fire “ was directed by Raj Kanwar in 1999 .

As an acting trainer , its my job to make my students aware of these iconic films and I do it regularly in my acting class in Mumbai and through my blogs .

In future I resolve to make it a regular feature in Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , my acting school in Mumbai .

VIDUR

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In Memoriam Rajesh Khanna : Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli , Hai!


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 24 , 2012           01.15 A.M.

Dara Singh died on July 12 , 2012 . Within a week another luminary of the Hindi film industry bid adieu to this world . Rajesh Khanna died on July 18 , 2012 .

In Glass Casket

In Glass Casket

Akshay Kumar with the Dead Body In Glass Casket

Akshay Kumar with the Dead Body In Glass Casket

Let me state honestly . I am not his fan . In fact I was never ever a fan or admirer of Rajesh Khanna , the actor or the man . Though I have watched many of his films . I do admire some of his cult films . I definitely remember and hummed many of his iconic songs . I am very much aware of his stupendous super stardom , which , once upon a time , engulfed the film industry like a hurricane or tornado or tsunami . I am witness to those years when every star  was dwarfed in front of him . I am well aware of  those momentous days when everyone or everything became insignificant in his presence . His blitzkrieg darkened all the other objects . His tumultuous rise momentarily eclipsed all the other stars and consigned some of the mightiest stars into the trash bin of history . I am witness to those days . I was living in that era . I am privy to those happenings . In 1972 I was here in Bombay [ now Mumbai ] . I have seen the crowd in front of his bungalow Aashirwaad . I have witnessed the fan adulation . But still , I was not his fan or admirer .

But I was saddened beyond words when I heard the news of his demise . My wife , again not his fan , cried profusely when she watched his funeral procession . So the question arises , what happened to us ? Why we felt for Rajesh Khanna so deeply ? Is it not enigmatic ? Is it not ironical ? No , it is not . Just watch these pictures posted below and notice the horrific changes in his personality down the years and you will fully understand the reason of our empathy .

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From a dashing , charming young superstar to a pale shadow of his own self , these photos tell us a very tragic and pathetic story . For present day generation of movie – goers , his popularity during his heydays is unknown and unimaginable . I am presenting some of the milestones of his life’s journey one by one .

Aakhri Khat

Aakhri Khat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1966 : Made debut with ” Aakhri Khat ” .

1967 : Made his mark with ” Raaz ” .

1969 : Attained Super stardom with ” Aaradhana ”

1969 : ” Bandhan ”

1969 : ” Do Raste ”

1969 : ” Doli ”

1969 : ” Khamoshi ”

1969 : ” Ittefaq ”

[ 6 super hits in 1969 ]

1970 : ” Aan Milo Sajna

1970 : ” Safar ”

1970 : ” Kati Patang ”

1970 : ” The Train ”

1970 : ” Sachcha Jhootha ”

[ 5 super hits in 1970 ]

1971 : ” Anand ”

1971 : ” Haathi Mere Saathi

1971 : ” Dushman ”

1971 : ” Mehboob Ki Mehndi

[ 4 super hits in 1971 ]

1972 : ” Amar Prem ”

1972 : ” Apna Desh ”

[ 2 super hits in 1972 ]

Within 3 years of making his debut , he attained unimaginable , unheard of and unprecedented super stardom in 1969 with ” Aradhana “ and gave 15 consecutive super hits till 1972 , a record still unbroken . ” Daag ” [ 1973 ] and  ” Namak Haraam ” [ 1973 ] were also big hits . But 1973 was a watershed moment in his career . He was eclipsed by Amitabh Bachchan in ” Namak Haraam “ . Amitabh Bachchan’s career defining film ” Zanjeer “ also came in 1973 . And thus began the well – known downward slide of mighty Super Star Rajesh Khanna .

Alarmed by his waning popularity , he married much younger Dimple Kapadia and made headlines temporarily.

Though in 1974 he gave 2 super hits like ;Aap Ki Kasamand ” Roti “ but the slide was visible and evident . The era now clearly belonged to Amitabh Bachchan , who once played second fiddle to him in super hit , iconic cult films like ; ” Anand ” and ” Namak Haraam ” .

Poster of Anand

Poster of Anand

Poster of Namak Haraam

Poster of Namak Haraam

Poster of these two films can give you Amitabh Bachchan’s position in the industry in those days vis-a-vis Rajesh Khanna . But alas , the cruel hands of fate had started writing some unknown and inglorious chapters of his life with indelible ink .

In 1975 Amitabh Bachchan gave ” Deewar ” and ” Sholay ” . Rajesh Khanna’s mentor and lucky mascot Shakti Samanta made ” Mehbooba ” [ 1975 ] . ” Deewar ” and ” Sholay “ were super hits and became ageless cult classics . While ” Mehbooba “ was a resounding flop and sealed Rajesh Khanna’s fate finally. After 8 years gap and some insignificant films in between , in 1983 , he again came with 2 mega hits like ; ” Avatar ” and ” Soutan “ but the magic was missing . Even these massive hits could not salvage his lost position in the industry . His turbulent career affected his personal life also . In 1984 came the tragic separation from Dimple Kapadia .

From 1983 [ his last hits ] to 2012 [ his death ] ,  29 years of his eventless , colourless career and lonely personal life proved fatal for him . It is regrettable and cruel irony that a c-grade movie ” Wafaa ” [ 2010 ] is his last film .

In between he dabbled in TV also . In total he worked in 4 TV serials . ” Apne Paraye [ B4U TV – 2001 ] , ” Ittefaq ” [ Zee TV – 2002 ] , ” Bhabhima ” [ 2008 ] andRaghukul Reet Sada Chali Aayi ” [ DD 1 – 2008 ] . But none could touch the popularity of Amitabh Bachchan’s ” Kaun Banega Crorepati ” [ Star Plus – 2000] .

It is a well-known secret that the title superstar was coined for him by his publicists ; Devyani Chaubal and K. Razdan . But the mass hysteria which he generated in those days and that too without the help of internet , twitter and facebook , is unimaginable , unfathomable and still unattainable . It is regrettable that his stardom or superstardom lasted just for 4 years . 15 successive super hits in a row and then 7 consecutive super flops in a row defines Rajesh Khanna’s strange film career . Compare his 4 year tenure with other stars :

DEV ANAND : 65 Years [ 1946 Hum Ek Hain – 2011 Chargesheet ]

ASHOK KUMAR : 61 Years [ 1936 Jeevan Naiya – 1997 Aankhon Me Tum Ho ]

DILIP KUMAR : 54 Years [ 1944 Jwar Bhata – 1998 Qila ]

AMITABH BACHCHAN : 40 Years [ 1973 Zanjeer – 2012 Bol Bachchan ]

Stars of this generation SHAH RUKH KHAN , SALMAN KHAN and AAMIR KHAN are reigning kings even after almost 20 years . HRITIK ROSHAN has 12 years of stardom behind him . Even DARA SINGH survived for 45 years [ 1962 King Kong – 2007 Jab We Met ] . But alas ! Rajesh Khanna vanished from the stardom and was banished from the film industry just after 4 years . Though he did 165 films and played solo lead in 107 films but was forgotten by the masses and ignored by the friends and the same film industry , which once said , ” Upar aaqa ; neeche Kaka .”

It is sad . It is heart – wrenching . People say many things about him . I , myself know many stories about him , which are said to be the cause of his downfall . But I don’t want to write those stories after his death . After all he was human and to err is human . Just re – think about some facts of his life . He debuted when he was 24 . He attained superstardom when he was 27 and lost his empire when he was just 31 . After that , till his death , it was 38 year – long wait for regaining his lost empire . It was 38 year – long wait for The Knock at his door by any producer or director . It was 38 year – long wait for the crowd to assemble again at his doorstep . It was 38 year – long wait for the same mass – hysteria , same mass adulation which was once his right and he thought it was his birth right  .

Mass hysteria , mass adulation did happen again but alas , it happened only after his death . See these pictures of his funeral procession and then watch the  crowd in front of his bungalow Aashirwaad and you will be able to feel the irony of fate . I wish , this attention should have happened a year before ……….. or a week before ……… or even a day before ………… he would have died a happy and contented man . But strange are the ways of destiny.

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

I agree , he did make some mistakes . He did err like a human and for that mistake , for that error destiny punished him with all its might , with all its ferocity , with all its lethal cruelty . He , for his mistakes , never got same benevolence by destiny , which others easily got for their sins . Fate was condescending to others , not to him .

He was like quintessential Greek tragic hero . You can only feel sorry for him . You can empathise with him . And you could hum his memorable song …. zindagi kaisi hai paheli , hai ; kabhi ye hasaye , kabhi ye rulaye ……. Ek din sapno ka rahi , chala jaye sapno se aage kahan ………..

Phenomenon , known as Rajesh Khanna , regained some of his glory once again but alas , only after his death . He had gone forever and had gone even beyond his dreams .

As I finish my blog , I feel , I must express my admiration and gratitude to his son in  law Akshay Kumar and his long – time friend Anju Mahendru , who took every care to give him comfort during his last days . Though it seems futile , but still , it was because of them that a befitting funeral could be arranged for this forgotten phenomenon , fallen Super Star and a lonely icon , who once ruled supreme . Thank you Mr. Akshay Kumar , thank you Madam Anju Mahendru , I bow my head in gratitude ! May God bless you two !

My heart also goes for Rinke Khanna , my student , who was very close and was very much attached to her father .

If I could feel so much without being his fan or admirer , then you can imagine the pain and pathos of his fans and near and dear ones .

Rest In Peace Sir ! Destiny was cruel to you . Better luck in next life .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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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 .

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