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

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Bhojpuri Cinema Down the Years


Ashok Kumar & Devika Rani : Achhut Kanya

As is known, ” Raja Harishchandra ” , the first Indian film was made in 1913. ” Alam Ara ” , the first Indian talkie was made in 1931. Films in other major Indian languages followed soon. But Bhojpuri, though a major dialect of Hindi belt of India , waited till 1961, almost 48 long years after the first Indian film. This in spite of the fact that almost all the major hits of early Indian Cinema had rural north Indian theme . Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani’s ” Achhut Kanya” is the most glaring example of this fact. It was released in 1936. Dilip Kumar‘s ” Ganga Jumna ” was made in Awadhi , a major dialect of Uttar Pradesh . It was released in 1960. Bhojpuri  Cinema had to wait for one more year, in spite of the fact that ” Ganga Jumna ” was a golden jubilee hit of its time. In the above mentioned films Ashok Kumar and Dilip Kumar played rural , rustic characters of Uttar Pradesh. Both the films were major hits. Ashok Kumar and Dilip Kumar were gigantic stars of their times , but in spite of this fact, there were no breakthrough in Bhojpuri films.

Dilip Kumar & Vyjayanti Mala :in First Awadhi Film - Ganga Jumna

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Screen image from Alam Ara 1931, the first Ind...

Image via Wikipedia - First Indian Talkie _ Alam Ara - 1931

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First Assamiya Talkie - Joymati - 1935

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Bhojpuri cinema history begins in 1961 with the well-received film ” Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo ” , which was directed by Kundan Kumar.Asim Kumar and Kumkum were the stars of this super hit film. Its music was  provided by Chitragupt, was extremely popular. Lyrics were written by Shailendra and songs were sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsale. Its hit music is remembered even today. Throughout the following decades, films were produced only in fits and starts. Films such as  ” Laagi Nahi Chhute Ram “, ” Bidesiya ” (1963, directed by S. N. Tripathi) , ” Loha Singh ” and ” Ganga  ” (1965, directed by Kundan Kumar) were profitable and popular, but in general Bhojpuri films were not commonly produced in the 1960s and 1970s. 

In the 1980s, enough Bhojpuri films were produced to tentatively make up an industry. Films such as ” Mai ” (1989, directed by Rajkumar Sharma) and ” Hamar Bhauji ” (1983, directed by Kalpataru) continued to have at least sporadic success at the box office. ” Nadiya Ke Paar ” is a 1982 Hindi-Bhojpuri blockbuster directed by Govind Moonis and starring Sachin, Sadhana Singh, Inder Thakur, Leela Mishra and Soni Rathod.The film ran houseful for years in a movie theatre in Allahabad. However, this trend faded out by the end of the decade, and by 1990, the nascent industry seemed to be completely finished 

Ravi Kissan

The industry took off again in 2001 with the “Silver Jubilee” hit ” Saiyyan Hamar ” ( directed by Mohan Prasad), which shot the hero of that film, Ravi Kissan, to superstardom.This success was quickly followed by several other remarkably successful films, including ” Panditji Batai Na Biyah Kab Hoi ” (2005, directed by Mohan Prasad) and ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ” (2005). In a measure of the Bhojpuri film industry‘s rise, both of these did much better business in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar than mainstream Bollywood hits at the time, and both films, made on extremely tight budgets, earned back more than ten times their production costs. ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ” also introduced Manoj Tiwari, formerly a well-loved folk singer, to the wider audiences of Bhojpuri cinema. In 2010, he and Ravi Kissan are still the leading actors of Bhojpuri films, along with Nirahua and Pawan Singh.  The extremely rapid success of their films has led to dramatic increases in Bhojpuri cinema’s visibility, and the industry now supports an awards show and a trade magazine,  ” Bhojpuri City ” ,which chronicles the production and release of what are now over one hundred films per year. Many of the major stars of mainstream Bollywood cinema, including Amitabh Bachchan, have also recently worked in Bhojpuri films. Mithun Chakraborty’s Bhojpuri debut ” Bhole Shankar ” , released in 2008, is considered as the biggest Bhojpuri hit of all time.Also in 2008, a 21-minute diploma film Bhojpuri film by Siddharth Sinha, ” Udedh Bun ” was selected for world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival,later it won the National Film Award for Best Short fiction Film.

Once upon a time writer-filmmaker Kamal Anand dubbed Namak Halal into Bhojpuri , after sitting on its copyright for eight years, as there was no market for films in that dialect. “But today the situation has changed.The new version is called ” Babua Khiladi Dadua Anadi ” with Amitabh as ‘Babua’. The film’s memorable songs such as Jawani Jaaneman, Raat Baki Baat Baki and Pag Ghungaroo Baandh Meera Nachi Thi have been peppered in Bhojpuri.The new cinema has attracted producers like Subhash Ghai, Rajshri, Nitin Manmohan and Tinu Verma. Actors Govinda, Juhi Chawla and Nagma are already taking lessons in the language. Even Columbia Tristar briefly toyed with the idea of getting one of its films dubbed.

Indian state of Uttar Pradesh

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“It makes good business sense as these films sell in Bihar, UP, and parts of Punjab and Maharashtra,”says producer-director Ranjan Kumar Singh. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh agrees. “Most Bhojpuri films are made in small budgets, usually Rs 20-30 lakh, and they fetch Rs 1-2 crore.”Several of these films are grossing 10 times their production costs. A good film can even make a profit of Rs 10-12 crore.

Regions of Uttar Pradesh

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A few years ago, this wasn’t the case. While Gujarati, Marathi and Punjabi films got their due at the box office, Bhojpuri films didn’t really recapture the supersuccess of the 1982 blockbuster ” Nadiya Ke Paar” , which starred Sachin and Sadhna Singh, and was made under the respectable banner of Rajshri Productions.

Twenty two years hence, the tide finally turned. In 2005, Manoj, a struggling singer, debuted in sex comedy ” Sasura Bada Paisewala.”  The film ran for more than 50 weeks in Varanasi and Kanpur in UP and for 25 weeks elsewhere. ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ” made with a modest budget of Rs 30 lakh, grossed a stupendous Rs 15 crore. Manoj’s other films such as ” Daroga Babu I Love You ” then went on to do a business of Rs 4 crore and ” Bandhan Tutey Na ” has already made Rs 3 crore..

The Bhojpuri Industry has learned to talk in crores and has budgeted Rs 1-1.25 crore for an action film ” Dharti Putra ” , also starring who else but Manoj. Industry sources say that Manoj has made the most of the prosperity. He was paid Rs 2 lakh earlier. Now he charges Rs 50 lakh a film. He admits that his films are raking in big money in UP and Bihar. ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ”   played to full houses in Bihar and had surpassed Hindi films in the region, except for Gadar, for now. Even Hindi heavyweights like ” Mangal Pandey, The Rising “, are said to have fallen behind ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala ”  in Bihar and MP . Manoj is very busy these days.  ” Pyar Ke Bandhan ” , ” Dharti Kahey Pukar Ke ” with Ajay Devgan followed by a film with Jackie Shroff. ” Damadji ” ,  followed by Tinu Varma’s Dharti Putra.”Meanwhile Hindi filmsinger Udit Narayan, a Bihari, has debuted as a producer with ” Kab Hui Gauna Hamar.”  The film ran to packed theatres for two months in Punjab and Delhi and its success had encouraged Narayan to produce another film, to be shot in London. The film goes back 150 years and depicts the plight of Biharis in Mauritius..  

Distributors attribute the success to cleaner content. “Gone are double-meaning dialogues, lack of a coherent storyline and poor technical quality. The films are slicker, “says Manoj. Bhojpuri films are also heading to countries which have a Bhojpuri-speaking population such as Mauritius, Fiji, Surinam and Nepal.  We started selling ” Daroga Babu I Love You ” overseas and then  looked at possibilities for ” Sasura Bada Paisa Wala. The returns have taken film shootings out of grimy studios to exotic locations. ” Babul Pyare ” with Raj Babbar, Arun Govil, Ravi Kishan and Hrishita Bhatt completed a shooting spell in London . Kishan, who also starred in ” Saiyan Hamar” , says that Bhojpuri films have saved single-screen cinema halls in Bihar and UP, which would have otherwise been converted into malls.

New moral standards are guarding Bhojpuri films. In ” Firangi Dulhania ” , a story about a village boy from Bihar who goes to study in London and returns with a foreign bride, director Ranjan Kumar Singh, has got the exciting services of an Ukrainian actress, Tanya (what else..)

Actors

Diwakar PandeySujeet KumarManoj TiwariRavi KishanNazir HussainRakesh PandeyJai TilakDinesh Lal YadavBhushan Tiwari, Kunal, Ram Singh, Anand RaiJ.MohanVinod TiwariAsim KumarHari shuklaBrij KishoreVijai KhareKewal KrishnaLaliteshDinesh KaushikManoj VermaDevendra PodwalKiran Kumar, and JeevanSushil Singh,Vinod,Vinay, Brijesh Tripathi Laxman ChaturvediRajendra Karn, Mukesh Kumar Barnwal, Mrityunjay Sharma, Pawan singh, parbesh lal yadav, amit kumar yadav, Saagara Nageena Tripathy, Trinath

Actresses

NaazShweta Tiwari parul yadav

Producers

Bihar Films and Devi Padmavati FilmsKamasar Films

Directors

Nazir Hussain, Ranjeet singh , Kundan KumarRajkumar SharmaPrakash JhaSiddharth SinhaAbhishek ChhadhaAshok JainLalji Gupta, and Kalpataru.Ram Nath Rai,[Udaisenapati][Aslam Sheque][Raj Kumar]

Music directors

Vinay Bihari, Rajesh Rajneesh [Madhuker Anand]

Famous films

Main article: List of Bhojpuri Film

Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo (1962)  • Laagi Nahi Chhute Ram (1963)  • Ganga (1965)  • Bidesiya (1963)  • Bhouji (1965)  • Loha Singh (1966)  • Dher Chalaki Jinkara (1971)  • Daku Rani Ganga (1976/II)  • Amar Suhagin (1978)  • Balam Pardesia(1979)  • Chanwa Ke Take Chakor (1981)  • Saiyan Magan Pahelwani Mein (1981)  • Saiyan Tore Karan (1981)  • Hamar Bhauji (1983)  • Chukti Bhar Senur (1983)  • Dulha Ganga Paar Ke (1986)  •  ;’Jug Jug Jiya More LalRoos Gailen Saiyen Hamaar(1988)  • • Ganga (2006)

Ganges River, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Image via Wikipedia

Bhojpuri cinema is also watched in many parts of the world, where Indian diasporahas settled, including BrazilFijiGuyanaMauritiusSouth AfricaSuriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many colonizers faced labor shortages due to the abolition of slavery; thus, they imported many Indians, many from Bhojpuri-speaking regions. Today, some 200 million people in the West IndiesOceania, and South America speak Bhojpuri as a native or second language[1] and they also watch Bhojpuri films.

 


 



Vidur’s Film Diary – May 2010


Month of May started at the promising note. Sajid Khan’s laugh riot opened to bumper houses. After the drought of nearly two months because of IPL, news of house full boards outside cinema halls screening “ House Full ” are heartening.

RT @taran_adarsh: Day 1 stats: House Full is lower than 3 Idiots, but bigger than MNIK. 3 Idiots was released during Christmas, while HF non-vacation period…

RT @taran_adarsh: Eros has sent me the official figure for Friday of ‘House Full’ in India: Its 10 crores nett. This is @akshaykumar biggest opening ever ..

http://bit.ly/aQZHc9 B.O. update: ‘Badmaash Company’ starts off very well

http://bit.ly/aQZHc9 B.O. update: ‘Kites’ takes fantastic start, but reports negative

Obituary
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Govind Moonis : He died on May 05, 2010. Present generation of film goers may not be familiar with his name but for many connoisseurs and buffs of films, he was the man who introduced Madhuri Dixit in a film called “ Abodh ” , a Rajshri Productions film, which was scripted and directed by him. The film, when got released, tanked badly and it was forgotten as a dud. But without doubt it established a legend and Govind Moonis shall always be remembered for this. He started his career as assistant director to legendary Ritwik Ghatak. Later on he assisted Satyen Bose in classics like “ Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi ” and “ Dosti ”. He co-scripted “ Raat Aur Din ”, the last film of legendary Nargis. He wrote films like “ Uphar ” and “ Jeevan Mrityu ” also for Rajshri Productions. He has to his credit “ Nadiya Ke Paar”, one of the greatest hits of Hindi cinema as a director. This film was later re made by Sooraj Barjatya as “ Hum Aapke Hain Kaun?”. In between he made several successful and not so successful films. He was a lyricist also and wrote lyrics for many films.

Mac Mohan : Mohan Makhijani AKA Mac Mohan died of cancer on 10th May 2010. The immortal Sambha of “ Sholay ” was 71 years old. He started his acting career with Chetan Anand’s “ Haqeeqat ” in 1964 and acted in almost 175/200 films. After several inconsequential roles, gradually he started getting important assignments. In 1975 he got his most famous role of Sambha in a film called “ Sholay ”. Though he had just one dialogue in the film and that dialogue had just three words but it made him famous and almost immortal. The dialogue, “ Poore Pachas Hazar ” refuses to fade away from public memory even today.

Lalita Phadke : She was a playback singer from yesteryears. She sang for Ashok Kumar starrer ” Saajanand Dilip Kumar starrer ” Nadiya Ke Paar ” In both the films lyrics writer was Moti B. A. I know Moti B. A. personally and used to visit his place quite often. He, like me , was from Deoria.  In ” Nadiya Ke Paar” , Lalita Bai gave playback for Kamini Kaushal.

New Releases & Me
=================

First Week – May 07

Badmaash Company…………………………….Aashish Singh, Anushka Sharma
Ek Second….Jo Zindagi Badal De…………….x

Second Week – May 14

Bumm Bumm Bole……………………………….x
Admissions Open………………………………..x
Do Dilon Ke Khel Mein…………………………x
Kushti………………………………………………Naveen Prabhakar
Vroom………x……………………………………..x

Third Week – May 21

Kites………………………………………………..Hritik Roshan

Fourth Week – May 28

Ashok Chakra……………………………………x

In total 9 films got released this month. Out of these 9 , my students are working in 3 films. There are 4 students in # films. 1 Ashish Singh is Executive Producer and rest 3 are actors. Out of these 3, only Hritik Roshan accepts me as his trainer. Anushka Sharma and Naveen Prabhakar refuse to acknowledge me. So it is safe and dignified to say that only 2 students are working in 3 films. A not so heartening scenario this month.

News This Month
=================

1 – Lata Mangeshkar sang a song hailing virtues of the land when Maharashtra was formed on May 01, 1960. She sang same song again at the Silver Jubilee celebration. She created history, when she again sang the same song on May 01, 2010 at the Golden Jubilee function of the state.

2 – 63rd Cannes Film Festival started on May 12, 2010.

3 – Oscar winning sound designer Resul Pookutty launched his autobiography on 13th May.

4 – Stand-up comedian Raju Srivastav became the first Hindi film actor, whose autobiographical lesson is included as a chapter in the Hindi text books of the CBSE curriculum of 8th standard.

5 – “ Kites ” got biggest release ever. 2300 prints were released worldwide. It is the biggest release of any Hindi film till date.

6 – “ Kites : The Remix ” an English version released in 85 screens in USA and in 30 screens in UK.

7 – Waheeda Rehman turned 75 on May 14.

8 – Hritik Roshan debuted as a singer with “ Kites ”.

9 – Sonali Kulkarni married Nachiket Pantvaidya on May 24th.

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