125 Years of K. M. Munshi


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBUARY 14 , 2013           11.25 P.M.

When in the beginning of January 2013 , President of India Pranab Mukherjee went to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan headquarters in Mumbai and paid tribute to K. M. Munshi , I suddenly realized that my favourite icon , a freedom fighter and an extraordinary litterateur of India has completed 125 years of his existence .

K. M. Munshi

K. M. Munshi

I have read Hindi translations of almost all his novels . I particularly love his historical and mythological novels like ; Jai Somnath and Bhagwan Parashuram . During my adolescent years I was enamoured by his personality . His role and contribution in the re-construction of Somnath Temple is unparalleled . It speaks volumes about his character and determination that he could achieve this feat , though Jawaharlal Nehru was dead against the idea .

Book 2

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K. M. Munshi was born on 30 December 1887 in the town of Bharuch in Gujarat, and educated in Vadodara , where he excelled in academics. One of his teachers at Baroda College was Sri Aurobindo Ghosh who had a profound impression on him. Munshi was also greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Bhulabhai Desai, and Mohammed Ali Jinnah. After acquiring his degree in Law from the University of Bombay, he enrolled himself as an advocate in 1913 . About this time his first novel was being serialised in a Gujarati weekly.

Under Sri Aurobindo‘s influence, Munshi was attracted to armed rebellion against the British. He even learnt to make bombs, but when he moved to Bombay in 1915, he drifted towards the Home Rule Movement, and was later elected member of the Subjects Committee of the Indian National Congress in 1917. He started the movement for a Parliamentary wing of the Congress, and later became Secretary of the Congress Parliamentary Board in 1938. The same year he founded the well-known Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and Institute of Agriculture at Anand, Gujarat.

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan - Mumbai

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan – Mumbai

Munshi was an active participant in the Indian Independence Movement ever since the advent of Mahatma Gandhi. He joined the Swaraj Party but returned to the Indian National Congress on Gandhiji‘s behest with the launch of the Salt Satyagraha in 1930. He was arrested several times, including during the Quit India Movement of 1942. A great admirer of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Munshi served in the Central Legislative Assembly in the 1930s.

After the independence of India, Munshi was appointed diplomatic envoy and trade agent (Agent-General) to the princely state of Hyderabad, where he served until its accession to India in 1948. Munshi was on the ad hoc Flag Committee that selected the Flag of India in August 1947, and on the committee which drafted the Constitution of India under the chairmanship of B. R. Ambedkar. He and Purushottam Das Tandon were among those who strongly opposed propagation and conversion in the constituent assembly. He was also the main driving force behind the renovation of the historically important Somnath Temple by the Government of India just after independence.

Munshi served as the Governor of Uttar Pradesh from 1952 to 1957. In 1959, Munshi separated from the Nehru-dominated Congress Party and started the Akhand Hindustan Movement. He , along with Chakravarti Rajagopalachari , founded the Swatantra Party, which was right-wing in its politics, pro-business, pro-free market economy and private property rights. The party enjoyed limited success and eventually died out. Later, Munshi joined the Jan Sangh.

Being a prolific writer and a conscientious journalist, Munshi started a Gujarati monthly called Bhargava. He was joint-editor of Young India and in 1954, started the Bhavan’s Journal which is published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan to this day. Munshi was President of the Sanskrit Viswa Parishad, the Gujarati Sahitya Parishad, and the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan.

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apart from founding Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Munshi was instrumental in the establishment of Bhavan’s College, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Rajhans Vidyalaya, Rajhans Balvatika and Panchgani Hindu School (1924). He was elected Fellow of the University of Bombay, where he was responsible for giving adequate representation to regional languages.

Besides being a politician and educator, Munshi was also an environmentalist. He initiated the Vanmahotsav in 1950, when he was Union Minister of Food and Agriculture, to increase area under forest cover. Since then Van Mahotsav a week-long festival of tree plantation is organised every year in the month of July all across the country and lakhs of trees are planted.

Works

Munshi was also a litterateur with a wide range of interests. He is well-known for his historical novels in Gujarati, especially his trilogy Patan-ni-Prabhuta (The Greatness of Patan), Gujarat-no-Nath (The Ruler of Gujarat) and Rajadhiraj (The Emperor). His other works include Jay Somnath (on Somnath temple), Krishnavatara (on Lord Krishna), Bhagavan Parasurama (on Parshurama), and Tapasvini (The Lure of Power) a novel with a fictional parallel drawn from the Freedom Movement of India under Mahatma Gandhi. Munshi also wrote several notable works in English.

Munshi has written mostly based on fictional historical themes namely

  1. Earlier Aryan settlements in India (What he calls Gaurang’s – white skinned)
  2. Krishna’s endeavors in Mahabharata kaal
  3. More recently in 10th century India around Gujarat, Malwa and Southern India.

K.M. Munshi’s novel Prithvi Vallabh was made into a movie of the same name twice. The adaptation directed by Manilal Joshi in 1924 was very controversial in its day: Mahatma Gandhi railed against it for excessive sex and violence. The second version was by Sohrab Modi in 1943.

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List of works

Novels

In Gujarati & Hindi languages :-

  • Mari Kamala (1912)
  • Verni Vasulat (1913) (under the pen name Ghanashyam)
  • Patanni Prabhuta (1916)
  • Gujaratno Nath (1917)
  • Rajadhiraj (1918)
  • Prithvivallabh (1920)
  • Svapnadishta (1924)
  • Lopamudra (1930)
  • Jay Somanth (1940)
  • Bhagavan Parashurama (1946)
  • Tapasvini (1957)
  • Krishnavatara (in seven volumes) (1970)
  • Kono vank
  • Lomaharshini
  • Bhagvan Kautilya
  • Pratirodha (1900)
  • Atta ke svapana (1900)
  • Gaurava kā pratīka (1900)
  • Gujarat ke Gaurava (1900)
  • Sishu aura Sakhi (1961)

Dramas

  • Brahmacharyashram (1931)
  • Dr. Madhurika (1936)
  • Pauranik Natako

Non-fiction

  • Ketlak Lekho (1926)
  • Adadhe Raste (1943)

Notable works in English

B. R. Ishara : Departure of An Avant – Garde Film Maker


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 27 , 2012           08.05 P.M.

Avant – Garde and Path  – breaking film – maker , a true iconoclast and a renaissance – man , Babu Ram Ishara , a.k.a. B. R. Ishara died on July 25 , 2012 at the age of  77 in Mumbai . He was suffering from tuberculosis . Last year he got paralytic stroke also .

He could be called a renaissance man of Hindi cinema , as he heralded a new wave in the world of formula laden Hindi film industry with his unconventional and critically acclaimed film  ” Chetna ” [ 1970 ] .

Chetna

Chetna (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the film released I was in Allahabad doing graduation at Allahabad University . I vividly remember the sensation it created . The poster of the film was really a shocker . Two naked legs of a female and a peeping Rehana Sultan from there was enough to arouse amorous feelings of youngsters in that era of conservative India . Since Rehana Sultan hailed from Allahabad , the curiosity was at its peak and palpable . Film opened with critical acclaim and was a box office hit too .

Anil Dhawan & Rehana Sultan in Chetna

Anil Dhawan & Rehana Sultan in Chetna

Before ” Chetna “ , films used to be shot in studios . B. R. Ishara shot the film in a bungalow and thus started a new trend . Today shooting a film in bungalows has become a normal affair .

Ek Nazar

Ek Nazar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apart from ” Chetna ” [ 1970 ] , his three other films were also special and significant in another way . A love story ” Ek Nazar ” [ 1972 ] , will be remembered because of  the lead pair . It starred Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri , as she was called and was known to the world before marriage . This film came and was a super flop . It is ironical that just after one year Amitabh Bachchan came with ” Zanjeer ” , a super hit , which changed his career graph and position in the industry . ” Prem Shastra ” [ 1974 ] was again a film with big star cast . It dealt with the issue of incest and starred Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman . And ” Rahu Ketu ” [ 1978 ] was his biggest . It starred Shashi Kapoor , Rekha , Pran , Prem Nath , Kamini Kaushal , Bindu and Aruna Irani .

Apart from above mentioned four films , his other films are : Gunah Aur Kanoon ” [ 1970 ] , ” Man Tera Tan Mera ” [ 1971 ]  , ” Man Jaiye ” [ 1972 ] , ” Zaroorat ” [ 1972 ] , ” Milap ” [ 1972 ] , ” Nai Duniya Naye Log ” [ 1973 ] , ” Dil Ki Rahen ” [ 1973 ] , ” Charitra ” [ 1973 ] , ” Dawat ” [ 1974 ] , ” Kaagaz Ki Nao ” [ 1975 ] , ” Ghar Ki Laaj ” [ 1979 ] , ” Log Kya Kahenge ” [ 1982 ] .  ” Hukumnama ” [ 1996 ] was his last film .

Milap

Milap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dil Ki Rahen

Dil Ki Rahen

Rahu Ketu

Rahu Ketu

Ghar Ki Laaj

Ghar Ki Laaj (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He worked with many stalwarts of Hindi film industry . He signed Prithvi Raj Kapoor , Sanjeev Kumar & Kumkum for ” Gunah Aur Kanoon “ , Shatrughan Sinha , Anil Dhawan , Nadira & Rehana Sultan for ” Chetna “ , Amitabh Bachchan , Jaya Bhaduri & Nadira in ” Ek Nazar “ , Vijay Arora , Reena Roy & Danny Denzongpa in ” Zaroorat “ , Shatrughan Sinha , Reena Roy & Danny Denzongpa in ” Milap ” , Reena Roy , Danny Denzongpa & Nadira in ” Nai Duniya Naye Log “ , Dev Anand & Zeenat Aman in ” Prem Shastra “ , Sanjeev Kumar in ” Dawat “ , Sarika , Raj Kiran & Pradeep Kumar in  ” Kaagaz Ki Nao “ , Shashi Kapoor , Rekha , Pran , Prem Nath , Kamini Kaushal & Aruna Irani in ” Rahu Ketu “ , Sanjeev Kumar , Moushumi Chatterjee & Sohrab Modi in ” Ghar Ki Laaj “ and Shabana Aazmi , Sanjeev Kumar , Shatrughan Sinha & Navin Nischol in ” Log Kya Kahenge ” .

His discovery , his lucky muse and future wife , Rehana Sultan appeared in 4 films directed by him . They are ; ” Chetna ” , ” Man Tera Tan Mera ” , ” Man Jaiye ” and ” Dil Ki Rahen ” .

His other discovery Reena Roy worked with him in 3 films . They are ; ” Zaroorat ” , ” Milap ”  and ” Nai Duniya Naye Log ” .

Shatrughan Sinha  repeatedly worked with him in 3 films . They are : ” Chetna ” , ” Milap “ and  ” Log Kya Kahenge ” . 

Danny Denzongpa , a very choosy actor , worked with him in 3 films . They are ” Zaroorat ” , ” Milap ” and ” Nai Duniya Naye Log ” .

An actor of the caliber of Sanjeev Kumar worked with him in 4 films . They were : ” Gunah Aur Kanoon ” , ” Dawat ” , ” Ghar Ki Laaj ” and ” Log Kya Kahenge ” .

Shabana Aazmi , who does not sign films easily and left , right and centre , also worked in his film ” Log Kya Kahenge ” .

Thespians like Prithvi Raj Kapoor , Sohrab Modi , Pran , Prem Nath , Kamini Kaushal  and Pradeep Kumar also readily worked in his films .

Asit Sen , Johny Whisky , Nadira , Rakesh Pandey and Raza Murad repeatedly worked with him and were almost in every second films directed by B. R. Ishara .

It is astonishing that a man , who was not so well-educated and who used to wash dishes at Qamar Jalalabadi’s house and used to serve tea at Roop Tara Studio , made 30 films and stars of the calibre of Shabana Aazmi , Rekha , Shashi Kapoor and Sanjeev Kumar readily agreed to work with him .

He introduced Rehana Sultan , Reena Roy , Parveen Babi , Raza Murad , cricketer Salim Durrani and music director Bappi Lahiri in films .

His 2 Discoveries Anil Dhawan & Raza Murad at the Funeral

His 2 Discoveries Anil Dhawan & Raza Murad at the Funeral

It is sad that a director of the calibre of B. R. Ishara left the world in penury and was almost work less during his last years .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

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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

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

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