Adieu Sir Richard Attenborough !


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 26, 2014           11.55 P.M.

Sir Richard Attenborough

Sir Richard Attenborough

Richard Samuel Attenborough

29 August 1923 – 24 August 2014

Last night when I was watching the evening news, I came to know about the demise of Richard Attenborough at the age of 90. Though it was expected because of his failing health and advancing age, still I felt sad when I saw the news of his death.

Long before he became famous in India and became a household name among cinema lovers of our country, I became a fan of Richard Attenborough, the actor, after watching Satyajit Ray directed first Hindi film ” Shatranj Ke Khilari  ” [ 1977 ]. He played Lt. General Outram in that film and played it so beautifully and with such elan that even a novice like me could not miss the finer points.

Then came Gandhi  ” [ 1982 ] and it permanently changed the scenario for him. From a little-known actor of ” Shatranj Ke Khilari  ” [ 1977 ], Richard Attenborough, as I have already written , became a household name in India. He produced and directed the Academy Award winning film  Gandhi  ” [ 1982 ]

Richard Attenborough with Oscars

Richard Attenborough with Oscars

Later on I watched him as an actor in Steven Spielberg‘s Jurassic Park ” [ 1993 ] and the film’s sequel, The Lost World : Jurassic Park ” [ 1997 ]. In Jurassic Park ” [ 1993 ] and ” The Lost World : Jurassic Park ” [ 1997 ] he appeared as the eccentric developer John Hammond.

As a film director and producer, he won two Academy Awards for Gandhi in 1983. He also won four BAFTA Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. As an actor, he is perhaps best known for his roles in ” Brighton Rock “, ” The Great Escape “, ” 10 Rillington Place “, ” Miracle on 34th Street ” and ” Jurassic Park “.

He was the President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

In the late 1950s, Attenborough formed a production company, Beaver Films, with Bryan Forbes and began to build a profile as a producer on projects including ” The League of Gentlemen ” [ 1959 ] , The Angry Silence ” [ 1960] and ”  Whistle Down the Wind ” [ 1961 ], appearing in the cast of the first two films.

His feature film directorial debut was the all-star screen version of the hit musical Oh! What a Lovely War ” [ 1969 ] . He later directed two epic period films : Young Winston ” [ 1972 ], based on the early life of Winston Churchill, and A Bridge Too Far ” [ 1977 ], an all-star account of Operation Market Garden in World War II.

Richard Attenborough also directed the screen version of the musical A Chorus Line ” [ 1985 ] and the anti-apartheid drama Cry Freedom ” [ 1987 ], based on the life and death of prominent anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko and the experiences of Donald Woods. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director for both films.

His most recent films as director and producer include Chaplin ” [ 1992 ] starring Robert Downey, Jr., as Charlie Chaplin and Shadowlands ” [ 1993 ], based on the relationship between C. S. Lewis and Joy Gresham , the star of the latter was Anthony Hopkins.

Between 2006-07, he spent time in Belfast, working on his last film as director and producer, Closing the Ring ” [ 2007 ] , a love story set in Belfast during the Second World War and starring Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer and Pete Postlethwaite.

His acting career started with ” In Which We Serve ” [ 1942 ] and it ended with Closing the Ring ” [ 2007 ] . He was an actor in his first film and a producer and director in his last film. It was a fascinating 65 year-long career.


Vidur Acting Institute Logo


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

Farewell sir! India will always remember you as the maker of a masterpiece film called Gandhi  ” [ 1982 ] .

[ Information about Sir Richard Attenborough and the list of his films is taken from Wikipedia. I express my gratitude. ]




Satyajit Ray v/s Steven Spielberg



MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA -INDIA           MARCH 23, 2013           00.30 A.M.

Steven Spielberg came to India , he saw and he conquered . Every director worth his name in the Hindi film industry was present in the masterclass organized and arranged by Anil Ambani and chaired by none other than Amitabh Bachchan .

English: Steven Spielberg at the 2011 San Dieg...

Steven Spielberg at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His enviable body of work commands respect . Out of 31 films directed by him , 10 films are in the list of 30 all time greatest hits of Hollywood . I am providing the list :

Highest-grossing films of Steven Spielberg

This is a list of the top 10 highest grossing films which Spielberg directed. Spielberg’s films have grossed a total of more than $8.5 billion, with an average of $236 million per film.

Rank Title Worldwide gross Year
1 Jurassic Park $915 million 1993
2 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial $793 million 1982
3 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull $787 million 2008
4 The Lost World: Jurassic Park $619 million 1997
5 War of the Worlds $592 million 2005
6 Saving Private Ryan $482 million 1998
7 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade $474 million 1989
8 Jaws $471 million 1975
9 Raiders of the Lost Ark $390 million 1981
10 The Adventures of Tintin $374 million 2011

Is it not impressive ? Is it not enviable ? Is is not unattainable ? Yes it is !

But then there is an old allegation made by none other than our own Satyajit Ray . In the early 80s , Satyajit Ray said that , ” Steven Spielberg would not have made ” E.T. “ and Close Encounters of the Third Kind , if in 1960 , I have not left behind copies of my script ” The Aliens “ with Hollywood film studios . ”


Cover of

Cover of E.T. via Amazon



Cover of

Cover via Amazon


The allegation is hard to prove , though it is supported by Arthur C. Clarke . In the March 17 , 2013 edition of Mumbai Mirror , eminent journalist Aseem Chhabra also claimed that in 1983 he had seen the script Of Satyajit Ray’s ” The Aliens “ and there were certain obvious similarities between ” E.T. ” and ” The Aliens ” .

English: Potrait of Satyajit Ray, painted by R...

Potrait of Satyajit Ray, painted by Rishiraj Sahoo in 1997 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aseem Chhabra also wrote that he interviewed Satyajit Ray at that time and his only regret was that after ” E.T. “ he could not make ” The Aliens “ , else he would have been accused of plagiarism .

I personally respect Satyajit Ray and Steven Spielberg , both . I don’t know what is the truth . It is for the historians to unearth the truth and bare the facts . But as a connoisseur , I cherished ” E.T. “ and ” Close Encounters of the Third Kind ” and would have loved ” The Aliens “ also .

I urge all my students of my acting institute  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  to watch and savour the films of these two great masters of cinema .




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