My 25-Year-Long Journey : From Kareena Kapoor to Alia Bhatt


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 08, 2014           08.50 P.M.

 

My fascination with Hindi film heroines started in mid 60s. In the dark environs of Amar Jyoti Talkies, Deoria, my rendezvous with Hindi cinema took place with Rajendra Kumar and B. Saroja Devi starrer Silver Jubilee hit  ” Sasural ” [ 1961 ] . B. Saroja Devi, though not well-known to Hindi cine-goers, was almost alien to me. But after watching the film, I was unable to forget her. Her elegant persona, her well-kept figure, her chiselled face enticed me for weeks and months. She was the first icon of my childhood fancy.

Few years later in 1967, after appearing in High School exams, I watched Dilip Kumar and  Vyjayanthimala, starrer golden jubilee film ” Ganga Jumna “. B. Saroja Devi and  Vyjayanthimala, to my utter surprise, looked almost similar. I was hooked to Vyjayanthimala and my fascination for the film heroines got fortified.

After passing High School, I went to Allahabad for further studies. My true rendezvous with Hindi cinema started in all earnest in Allahabad. I started watching films regularly. I got acquainted with the heroines of early Hindi cinema. I was particularly enamoured by Devika Rani and Kanan Devi. [ Who can forget Devika Rani’s ………. MAIN BAN KI CHIDIA BAN KE BAN-BAN DOLOON RE ……….( ” Achhut Kanya ” – 1936 ) and Kanan Devi’s ………….. YE DUNIYA ,YE DUNIYA TOOFAN MAIL ……… ( Jawaab ” – 1942 ) ? Few years later I watched two earlier films of Kanan Devi; P. C. Barua starrer ” Mukti ” [ 1937 ] and K. L. Sehgal starrer ” Street Singer ” [ 1938 ]. Though they were the heroines of my father’s generation but their etherial beauty, their sweet voice enthralled me and fascinated me during my adolescent and growing up years in Allahabad.

Later on I got acquainted with the works of other highly successful actresses of the bygone era. The list included Nargis, Suraiya, Nalini Jayawant,  Meena Kumari, Madhubala, Nimmi and Geeta Bali. These heroines ruled the golden era of Hindi films. But even they belonged to the earlier era.

My era included highly successful and enchanting heroines like;  Nutan, Vyjayanthimala, Waheeda Rehman , Nanda and Mala Sinha .

I became a die-hard fan of Waheeda Rehman after watching her films Pyaasa (1957) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) . After watching Raj Kapoor‘s Awaara (1951) and of Mehboob Khan‘s Mother India (1957), Nargis, also became one of my all time favourites. Vijay Bhatt‘s Baiju Bawra (1952), made me a fan of  Meena Kumari.  K. Asif‘s Mughal-e-Azam (1960) made Madhubala my eternal favourite.

Then times changed. My journey with cinema matured. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, actresses like Sadhna, Saira Banu, Sharmila Tagore, Mumtaz and Asha Parekh ruled the Hindi film world.

In the early 70s  Amitabh Bachchan, era started in the Hindi film industry. Actresses from this era included Hema Malini, Jaya BachchanRekha,  Zeenat Aman and Dimple Kapadia. I adored these heroines but frankly, I was neither enchanted or enamoured by them. Mysterious quality of the earlier heroines was missing. Or may be I became mature and the mystique slowly evaporated.

In 1975, I completed my studies in Allahabad and returned to my native place, Deoria. A 14-year-long second phase of my life started in Deoria.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the pendulum swung back towards family centric romantic musicals with the success of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) . Incidentally this was the last film, which I watched in Deoria.

I moved to Bombay [ now Mumbai ] in 1989. This was the year when Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) got released and changed the film-watching experience forever.

Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Dil (1990), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994) and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), making stars out of a new generation and actresses such as Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla and Kajol . In that point of time actresses such as Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Aishwarya Rai also arrived on the scene.  Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor too appearing in popular comedy films .

Furthermore, this decade marked the entry of new performers in art house and independent films like Satya (1998), directed by Ram Gopal Varma and written by Anurag Kashyap. Manisha Koirala, Tabu and Urmila Matondkar were the heroines of this generation.

So it was a long association with the silver screen heroines. From Kanan Devi to Kajol and Karisma Kapoor , I watched everyone, got fascinated by them and silently admired their etherial beauty. But never in my wildest dream did I imagine that one day I would train few of the present day ruling Divas of Hindi cinema. After 25 year stay in Mumbai, when I look back, I reminisce my by-gone days with astonishment. I am bewildered with my accomplishment.

In 1994 two heroines trained by me made their debut in Hindi films. They are Sonali Bendre in ” Aag ” [ 1994 ] and Divya Dutta in ” Ishq Mein Jeena Ishq Mein Marna ” [ 1994 ] . It uncanny that 1994 was the year when Devika Rani died. Kanan Devi bid us adieu two years earlier in 1992.

My childhood icons left this world in 1994 and present day icons, trained by me , made their entry in 1994. It is strange. It is quirky. It is really uncanny. After debut of Sonali Bendre and Divya Dutta in 1994, flood-gate of the newcomers got opened and it has now submerged the Hindi film industry. I present a list of some of the epoch-making new era Hindi film Divas, who got trained by me :

Kareena Kapoor : ” Refugee ” [ 2000 ] = DEBUT

Priyanka Chopra : ” The Hero ” [ 2002 ] = DEBUT

SONAM KAPOOR : ” Saawariya ” [ 2007 ] = DEBUT

Anushka Sharma : ” Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi ” [ 2008 ] = DEBUT

Katrina Kaif :  ” Raajneeti ” [ 2010]

ALIA BHATT : ” Student Of The Year ” [ 2012 ] = DEBUT

KALKI KOECHLIN : ” Ye Jawaani Hai Deewani ” [ 2013 ]

URVASHI RAUTELA : ” Singh Saab The Great ” [ 2013 ] = DEBUT

 

In the end I would like to submit that the above mentioned list is almost endless. I have mentioned very famous names only. As I watch Alia Bhatt making rapid strides,and other newcomers trained by me making their entry in the tinsel town, my heart beats fast with pride.

Some of the biggest star sons / daughters are currently being trained by me and they are going to make their debut in 2015.

So the SAGA CONTINUES !! Dust settles down. Sun shines brilliantly. And the World { excluding few egoistic nay-sayers } watches with awe, admiration and amazement.

 

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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 wish all my above mentioned students all the success and stardom never attained before by anyone and unseen even by the mightiest.

God bless them for making me proud !!

 

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60 Years of Film ” Aan ”


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 07 , 2012           11.40 P.M.

Yesterday after posting my blog about Baiju Bawra , I started thinking about the other memorable films of 1952 . I suddenly remembered aboutAan ” , the most successful film of 1952 . In terms of box office returns ” Baiju Bawra “ was second to “Aan “ . Therefore I thought that I should introduce a new category named ” Down The Memory Lane ” under the parent category ” Film ” and start writing about the other films of 1952 .

” Aan “ was produced and directed by legendary Mehboob Khan and it starred Dilip Kumar , Prem Nath , Nimmi and Nadira , who made her debut with this film . This lavishly mounted costume – drama was music director Naushad’s another hit in 1952 apart from ” Baiju Bawra ” .

” Aan ”  is India’s first Technicolor film and was the highest grosser of 1952 . Just like ” Baiju Bawra “ , I watched it in Allahabad during my Government Inter College days . Frankly speaking I didn’t like “Aan “ , when I watched it for the first time . I liked the songs of the film and the swashbuckling hero Dilip Kumar , but not the film . I couldn’t fathom death of Nimmi and the story line , where Dilip Kumar ignored her and went for Nadira , who was playing the princess .

Later on after repeated viewing and after knowing the fact that the story – line of “Aan “ was based on Shakespeare’s ” Taming of The Shrew ” , I came to realize that this swashbuckling hero is bound to go for the princess and not for the village damsel Nimmi , I was able to appreciate the story – line and finally the film .

“Aan “ has several memorable songs . Lyrics of Shakeel Badayuni were set to tune by Naushad . My eternal favourite even today is a Lata Mangeshkar gem ” Tujhe Kho Diya Humne Paane Ke Baad , Teri Yaad Aayi Tere Jaane Ke Baad ………………. ” . It has several other Mohammad Rafi gems like ; ” Maan Mera Ehsaan …………. ” , ” Dil Men Chhupa Ke Pyaar Ka Toofaan Le Chale ……………. ” , ” Mohabbat Choome Jinke Haath ……………. ” and ” Takra Gaya Tumse Dil Hi To Hai ………….. ” . But “Aan “ will always be remembered for its lavishly mounted Holi song picturization . The song ” Khelo Rang Hamare Sang Aaj Din Rang Rangeela Aaya ……….. “ is still popular and was lavishly picturized with hundreds of junior artistes . It has some of the hits of Shamshad Begum also . Most famous is ” Aag Lagi Tan Man Men Dil Ko Pada Thamna …………….. ” .

Incidentally ” Daag ” and ” Sangdil “ were other Dilip Kumar hits of 1952 . But I will write about them later .

As I have stated in my previous blog , 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 .

I strive to make it a regular feature in my acting school Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .

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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

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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

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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

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