Sunset Boulevard ( 9 ) : ” A Streetcar Named Ambassador “


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JUNE 17, 2014           00.20 A.M.

AMBASSADOR

1958 – 25 May 2014

It pains me a lot and saddens me to no end as I write this blog about the demise of Ambassador car. It was owner’s pride once upon a time. It was a car of power once upon a time. It was object of desire once upon a time. People of my generation affectionately used to call it ” Amby “, a streetcar named “Amby”. And it is sad to know that my ” Amby ” now ceases to exist . Today, while I am writing this blog, I am grief-stricken and numb.

But I have now become immune. It is the 9th blog about vanishing objects of my younger days, my growing years, my formative period. My first blog in the Sunset Boulevard section was about ” Bajaj Scooter “. I wrote it on December 28, 2009. One fine morning I read in the news paper that HAMARA BAJAJ wont be manufactured any more. The year was 2009. Within 5 years [ from 2009 to 2014 ] , 08 more objects of my growing years left me for ever, leaving a flood of sweet-sour memories to remember and mourn. They just cease to exist now. After ” HAMARA BAJAJ ” it was the turn of ” FAMILY PHOTO ALBUM “. Then it was the turn was of ” VANISHING GRAVES “, ” CASSETTE WALKMAN “, ” KAMALISTAN STUDIO “, ” CHAVANNI “, ” ROAD MILESTONES ” and ” LAKSHMI TALKIES “, a cinema hall of Allahabad.

Now I know that anything will disappear any time and will cease to exist. Ambassador car is the 9th to walk into the sunset but certainly it is not going to be the last one. Few more things of my younger years will vanish soon and will become memory and history. One day I myself will walk into the sunset boulevard. But as long as I am alive, it hurts me as I find that a particular object of my life, a part of my being, an integral paraphernalia of my younger days will be no more with me. Ambassador is the 9th but definitely not the last one. With Ambassador, a part of my life is gone forever.

Ambassador - The Symbol 0f Power

Ambassador – The Symbol of Power

 

The Ambassador was a car manufactured by Hindustan Motors of India. It has been in production since 1958 with few improvements or changes and is based on the Morris Oxford III model, first made by the Morris Motors Limited at Cowley, Oxford in the United Kingdom from 1956 to 1959.

Despite its British origins, the Ambassador is considered as a definitive Indian car and is fondly called “The grand old lady of Indian roads”. The automobile is manufactured by Hindustan Motors at its Uttarpara plant near Kolkata, West Bengal. All the prominent Indian politicians of yore used the Ambassador. Some like  Sonia Gandhi, used the Ambassador till now.

As of 25 May 2014, the Hindustan Motors has suspended the production of the Ambassador

Decline & Fall of Ambassador

Decline & Fall of Ambassador

My father was fond of Chevrolet cars. So we never possessed the Ambassador in Deoria. But I do remember the red-beacon fitted Amby of the ruling class of my generation, which used to inspire awe and admiration in me. Years have passed. Ambassador slowly lost the glory and power attached to it. It, in its later avatar , became popular as a taxi. What a sad fall of the grand old Ambassador! And now it passes into oblivion. Its journey is complete.

 

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I mourn the death of my Amby.

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise would also like to join in mourning.

RIP ! my Amby. Your enviable fortune got changed in the changing times. Alas ! Time is cruel.

 

[ I have quoted some facts about Ambassador from Wikipedia. I am indebted. ]

 

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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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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