Alvida ……… Kader Khan Saheb !!


 

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JANUARY 05 , 2019           05.45 P.M. 

 

Kader Khan

[ 22 October 1937 – 31 December 2018 ]

 

Kader Khan Saheb was an Afghan-born Indian film actor and screenwriter,.

As an actor, he appeared in over 300 films.

His debut film was Daag [ 1973 ] starring Rajesh Khanna .

He was also a prolific screenwriter for Bollywood films in the period 1970s to 1999 and wrote dialogues for over 200 films.

Before entering the film industry in the early 1970s, he taught at M. H. Saboo Siddik College of EngineeringMumbai as a professor of Civil Engineering.

I first noticed him in a Hindi movie called ” BAIRAAG ” [ 1976 ] . It was a Dilip Kumar starrer film . He played Superintendent of police in the film . At that time it never occurred to me that one day I will get a chance to meet him in person .

I can proudly say that I have met him 3/4 times in his Mumbai office at Hasnabad Lane , Santacruz – West .

Years ago , I trained his sons ; Sarfaraz and Shahnawaz . I use to go to Shahnawaz’s house at Hasnabad Lane , Santacruz . One day Shahnawaz ushered me into Kader Khan Saheb’s office . I was a bit apprehensive . He was a legend and I was simply a non entity . I entered into the room . And there he was , sitting behind a huge table. He welcomed me with a benign smile , offered me a chair and immediately put me at ease . I talked to him for some time and then took his permission and left the room .

I have so many nice and fond memories of these meetings.

 

Kader Khan Saheb with his sons : Sarfaraz & Shahnawaz

His two sons ; Sarfaraz Khan and Shahnawaz Khan , like their father , are so nice , gentle and down to earth. I have a photo of me with Sarfaraz . But I don’t have one with Shahnawaz. I am posting my photo with Sarfaraz.

 

With Kader Khan Saheb’s elder son Sarfaraz Khan

Kader Khan Saheb’s demise is a huge loss. The void will never be filled. I know his sons are brave and they will overcome this.

For an ordinary person like me it will always be a treasure that I was able to meet him and was fortunate enough to talk to him .

Thank you  Kader Khan Saheb , you never let me feel uncomfortable in your presence and never ever made me feel small in your company.

Rest in peace sir !! They don’t make people like you anymore .

 

 

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On behalf of all the students & staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I offer my heartfelt condolences to Kader Khan Saheb’s family and his near and dear ones.

[ Basic information about Kader Khan saheb has been taken from Wikipedia . His photo , posted here , is from Google,  I express gratitude .]

 

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Mrinal Sen – The Last of the Triumvirate


Mrinal Sen

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           January 03, 2019           06.30 P.M. 

Mrinal Sen

[ 14 May 1923 – 30 December 2018 ]

Mrinal Sen was a Bengali filmmaker based in Kolkata. Along with his contemporaries Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, he was often considered to be one of the greatest ambassadors of Bengali parallel cinema on the global stage. Like the works of Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, his cinema was known for its artistic depiction of social reality. The three directors were ardent admirers of each other’s work, and in so doing, they charted the independent trajectory of parallel cinema, as a counterpoint to the mainstream fare of Hindi cinema in India.

Minal Sen first feature film, Raat Bhore  [ 1955 ] featured Uttam Kumar who was not yet the Major star of Bengali cinema that he became. The movie was a let-down. His next film, Neel Akasher Neechey  [ 1958) ] earned him local recognition, while his third film, Baishey Shravan [ 1960 ] was the first film that gave him international exposure.

After making five more films, he made a film with a shoestring budget provided by the Government of India. This film, Bhuvan Shome  [ 1969 ] finally launched him as a major filmmaker, both nationally and internationally. Bhuvan Shome also initiated the “New Cinema” film movement in India.

Mrinal Sen had been suffering from age related ailments for many years. He died on 30 December 2018 at the age of 95 at his home in Bhawanipore, Kolkata.

 

Funeral Procession of Mrinal Sen

I came to know about him when his film Bhuvan Shome [ 1969 ] was released. It was the year when I just finished intermediate from Government Inter College , Allahabad [ now PRAYAGRAJ ] and took admission in Allahabad University. I was curious about the film but I could not watch it. I became aware of Mrinal Sen because of the buzz around the film.

Poster of BHUVAN SHOME

After  Bhuvan Shome , other gems like Interview [ 1971 ] , Ek Adhuri Kahani  [ 1971 ] , Calcutta 71  [ 1972 ] , Padatik [ 1973 ] , Chorus [ 1974 ] and Mrigayaa [ 1976 ] were released in quick succession.

 

Poster of MRIGAYAA

Mrigayaa [ 1976 ] became talk of the town . It introduced a naxalite as the protagonist. His name was Mithun Chakraborty. He got national award for the best actor for the film and soon became a sensation and later on came to be known as poor man’s Amitabh Bachchan.

Mrinal Sen was an ardent follower of Marxist philosophy. This is precisely the reason , I avoided watching his films. Till date I have watched none of his films . Neither Bhuvan Shome nor even Mrigayaa .

After his demise , I am thinking of watching all his films. List of awards , which his films won , tell us about his craft and his greatness.

 

National awards

National Film Award for Best Feature Film

National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali

National Film Award for Best Direction

International awards 

Moscow International Film Festival – Silver Prize
1975 Chorus[13]
1979 Parashuram[14]
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival – Special Jury Prize
1977 Oka Oori Katha
Berlin International Film Festival
Interfilm Award
1979 Parashuram
1981 Akaler Sandhane
Grand Jury Prize[15]
1981 Akaler Sandhane
Cannes Film Festival – Jury Prize
1983 Kharij
Valladolid International Film Festival – Golden Spike
1983 Kharij
Chicago International Film Festival – Gold Hugo
1984 Khandhar
Montreal World Film Festival – Special Prize of the Jury
1984 Khandhar
Venice Film Festival – OCIC Award – Honorable Mention
1989 Ek Din Achanak
Cairo International Film Festival – Silver Pyramid for Best Director
2002 Aamar Bhuban

 

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On behalf of all the students & staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I offer my condolences and tribute. It is sad that because of the aversion of Marxism , I refrained from watching his films .

[ Basic information about Mrinal Sen has been taken from Wikipedia . His photo posted here is from Google,  I express gratitude .]

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150th Birthday of ROSOGOLLA


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           December 31, 2018           05.45 P.M. 

 

It is 150th year of Mahatma Gandhi.

But few people know that it is 150th year of a Bengali sweet known and called ” ROSOGOLLA ” also.

 

Rosogolla

 

But here lies the controversy. Rosogolla is always known as a Bengali sweet. But all of a sudden Odisha started claiming that Rosogolla is Odia.

I was perplex. For all my life I always knew and believed that Rosogolla is a Bengali sweet . Nobin Chandra Das , the famous Bengali , is credited to invent this sweet in 1868 . He , along with his family , used to live in the Baghbazar locality of northern Calcutta [ now known as Kolkata ] .

 

Columbus of Rosogolla – Nobin Chandra Das

 

Despite these known facts , some Odia zealots started claiming that Rosogoll has Odia origins. Watch the photos and realize that Bengalis have not only invented this sweet but they have become connoisseurs and gave several variations to Rosogolla, which is not common in Odisha .

Rosogolla

 

Nolen Gurer Rosogolla

 

Khejur Gurer Rosogolla

 

Dry Rosogolla

 

Coloured Rosogolla

 

Creamy Baked Rosogolla

 

Chocolate Rosogolla

 

Payesh Rosogolla

 

This brazen and bizarre claim of Odisha was not supposed to be taken lightly in West Bengal . Matter was fiercely debated in Bengal and finally West Bengal government reached GI [ Geographical Indication ] . After a 26-month legal tussle, West Bengal government won the case on November 14, 2017 .

In 2018 Rosogolla became 150 years old and to commemorate the auspicious event West Bengal government issued a special stamp . It was launched at the inaugural function of ” Baghbazar-O-Rosogolla Utsab ” .

Earlier this year, the State government observed November 14 as Rosogolla Day to mark one year of obtaining the GI tag.

My tryst with Rosogolla in particular and other Bengali sweet in general started very early in my life . In my Deoria house , there was a shop of Bengali sweets , known as Jalojog . I tasted Rosogolla once and became a life-long fan and now I can proudly claim that I am a Rosogolla connoisseur . So I refused to believe that Rosogolla is in any way related to Odisha .

I am happy that finally this unnecessary controversy will be put to rest. Odisha has many good things to offer but Rosogolla is quintessential Bengali and it should remain so.

 

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I have taken some facts and figures from Sunday edition of DNA – Daily News & Analysis , a popular news paper. Pictures of various Rosogollas have been taken from Wikipedia .

I express gratitude on behalf of all the students & staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise .

 

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Alas ………. Eros Cinema is also gone !!


Eros Cinema Hall at Churchgate

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           December 29, 2018           04.45 P.M. 

 

I’m so sad , crestfallen and heartbroken today.

Last month on November 28, 2018, I wrote about closure of Rhythm House and Cafe Samovar . I felt deep sense of loss at that time.

Now comes news of closure of Eros Cinema hall. When I saw the photograph of the gate of this majestic building being locked, my heart melted.

Eros Cinema Hall at Churchgate being locked

I had so many warm memories of this particular cinema hall. In 1972, I went there to watch a Hollywood film ” KLUTE ‘ [ 1971 ] starring Jane Fonda , Donald Sutherland and Roy Scheider. Sylvester Stallone was also in the film but as an extra. Jane Fonda won an Academy Award for Best Actress. ” KLUTE ” was huge hit .

When I reached there to watch the movie, ticket windows were closed. I stood on the staircase and was very disappointed. There was a man in sky blue top and denim pants and he gently said, ” do you want to watch the film? ” I simply nodded. He gave me one ticket saying that he bought it for his friend but it seems he won’t be able to make it. So you take this ticket and enjoy the film. When I offered to pay the price, he politely refused. Few days later, I watched the same man in a Satyadev Dubey directed play ” AADHE ADHURE ” at Patkar Hall.

Three years later, while in my native place Deoria, Uttar Pradesh , I went to watch a Hindi movie ” SALAAKHEN ” [ 1975 ]. This Shashi Kapoor and Sulakshana Pandit starrer movie had a villain. I suddenly recognized the man. He was the same person who offered me a ticket of ” KLUTE ” and whom I watched in ” AADHE ADHURE “. Then I got to know his name. His name was Amrish Puri. Those days he was known as the younger brother of Madan Puri. Few years later he became a huge , gigantic star and later on a legend.

Many years later, when I became an acting trainer, I trained his grand-son Vardhan Puri , who is making his debut in a Hindi film called ” PAAGAL “.

Eros Cinema Hall at Churchgate

Later on I watched many Hollywood and Bollywood films at Eros. If I am remembering correctly, Amir Khan and Urmila Matondkar starrer film ” RANGEELA ” [ 1995 ] , was the last film , which I watched there. There after multiplex boom hit Mumbai and many swanky plexes sprung up in suburbs. So Sunday routine of watching film at South Mumbai single screen theatres lost its charm . And I got busy in my acting training activities and watching films at Eros and other single screen theatres was discontinued.

But when I heard the news of its closure and saw the gate being locked, I was devastated.

 

One more iconic place of my struggling days is going to be finished for ever.

There won’t be another Eros. There won’t be same movie watching experience again.

But journey of life moves ahead.

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Peter O’Toole : An Icon Passes Away


 

English: Cropped screenshot of Peter O'Toole f...

Peter O’Toole in the film Lawrence of Arabia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter James O’Toole

 2 August 1932 – 14 December 2013

 

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           December 08, 2018           03.30 P.M. 

 

Peter James O’Tool aka Peter O’Tool was a British stage and film actor of Irish and Scottish descent. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and began working in the theatre, gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company before making his film debut in 1959.

He achieved international recognition playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) for which he received his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He was nominated for this award another seven times – for Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man(1980), My Favorite Year (1982), and Venus (2006) – and holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations for acting without a win. In 2002, O’Toole was awarded the Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements. He was additionally the recipient of four Golden Globe Awards, one British Academy Film Award and one Primetime Emmy Award.

Peter O’Tool with Richard Burton in ” BECKET “

I came to know about him in 1973. I was studying in Prayagraj [ then known as Allahabad ] , Uttar Pradesh. A Hindi film ” NAMAK HARAM ” was released in 1973 in Vishwambhar cinema hall. I, along with my friends, went to swatch it. It was huge hit and everyone was praising Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna’s acting. One day I read an article about ” NAMAK HARAM ” in Northern India Patrika, a popular daily of those days. It was written that this film is based on the iconic Hollywood film ” BECKET ” and how Richard Burton and Peter O’Tool were so brilliant. Richard Burton’s role was played by Rajesh Khanna and Peter O’Tool’s role was essayed by Amitabh Bachchan.

Soon ”  Becket ” was re-released in cinema halls and I saw the film. I had already watched many films of Richard Burton but this was my first brush with Peter O’Tool. I was awe-struck. Later on I watched his first film ”  Lawrence of Arabia “. My admiration for his craft grew manifold.

After completing my studies I left Prayagraj [ then named as Allahabad ] , and after spending 15 years in my native town Deoria, I settled in Mumbai [ then know as Bombay ] . Here in 1990 I watched his film ” THE LAST EMPEROR ” ( 1987 ) . One day while roaming around Hutatma Chowk, [ earlier known as Flora Fountain ] , I got his biography in a road side bookstore. After reading it , I became a life-long admirer.

So when I read about his death, I felt a vacuum in my life. Life is cruel. I got to know about Peter O’Tool in 1973. And in December 2013, I was reading his obituary. A relationship of 40 years came to a sudden end.

Movie business will go on. Many stars will come and fade away. But stars like Peter O’Tool are rare. As is the saying, they don’t make people like him any more.

Peter O’Tool in his sunset years

Peter O’Toole will never return to enthrall us by his histrionics in cinema. There will be many great actors but there will never be another Peter O’Tool.

[ Some personal information and nuggets about his career is taken from Wikipedia. I express my gratitude. ]

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100 Years of Government Inter College , Deoria


IMG_7992

 

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           November 29, 2018           01.45 P.M. 

 

KING EDWARD GOVERNMENT INTER COLLEGE , DEORIA

Now

GOVERNMENT INTER COLLEGE , DEORIA

1912 – 2012

Government Inter College , Deoria

 

In hot and scorching month of April 2013, I visited my native place Deoria . I was passing through Kotwali road. Whenever I go to Deoria and walk through Kotwali road, I always watch my college KING EDWARD GOVERNMENT INTER COLLEGE, now known as GOVERNMENT INTER COLLEGE , DEORIA. A board on the main building of the college reminded me that my alma mater is 100 years old . In fact it is 106 years old now. It was established in 1912.

Apart from being alma mater of mine, it is alma mater of my father , my two brothers and my sons also .

When I saw the board announcing Centenary Year celebration of the college , a floodgate of memories got opened and various asinine incidents of my schooling days suddenly flashed on the faded firmament of my memory. Some obfuscated incidents started shinning and gushed into my memory lane . From July 1962 to March 1967 , it was my home away from my home . For 5 long years it was my world away from the outer world . Sitting on the staircase or roaming aimlessly in the long corridors or sprinting in the vast lawns of the college , I used to dream some beautiful dreams of my future. I have many sweet and sour memories of this opulent and grand building.

Eastern entrance of the college

Apart from me and my memories, this college also reminds me about my father Shri Lakshmi Kant Chaturvedi. During freedom struggle, while he was in High School , he climbed the top of the building , removed Union Jack and hoisted National Flag on the mast and proudly unfurled it. British Superintendent of police wanted a shoot at sight order from the then magistrate Raghubar Dayal. But he refused and said that this is not treason. This is childish prank, act of a small enthusiastic boy. So it should be overlooked. He ordered that Indian national flag should be removed and Union Jack should be hoisted again.

My Father Late Shri Lakshmi Kant Chaturvedi
[ 16 May 1908 – 27 February 1974 ]

British SP was furious and complained about the magistrate Raghubar Dayal. Raghubar Dayal, who later on became Justice Raghubar Dayal, paid the price and his subsequent promotion was cancelled.

This incident , which happened around 1922 , became folklore of Chaturvedi clan. It was narrated to me by the elders of the family. When I took admission in 6th standard and entered into the main building and saw the flag mast, I was filled with pride for my father. After 4 years , in 2022 , this incident will complete 100 years. May be future generations of my family will not remember it. But for me it is still fresh in my memory.

My father never ever boasted about his heroic act . He never claimed or demanded TAMRA PATRA , which so many freedom fighters took and flaunted it with pride. My father never claimed the monthly pension , which was given to every freedom fighter during Indira Gandhi’s regime. For him it was his national duty. He did it as his contribution to the freedom struggle and forgot it. Though like Raghubar Dayal, he also paid the price for this incident. He got selected for judicial services. But CID reported that he has nationalistic leanings and quoted this flag incident. Thus he was not selected. Later on he became immensely successful advocate in Deoria.

Life moves on. My father died in 1974. Now I am also an old man . But my college building , though older than both of us , still stands magnificently.

I think it will remain like that when I am also gone. And my future generation may walk past the same Kotwali road . But they will be oblivious of the glorious incident of my father, which once upon a time , was the talking point of my clan in the long wintry nights and hot and dull summer afternoons in my family home , the KRISHNA KUNJ.

 

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Life Without ” Rhythm House ” & ” Cafe Samovar “


RHYTHM HOUSE at Kala Ghoda

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           November 28, 2018           01.30 P.M. 

 

On November 29, 2015 I read in the newspapers that RHYTHM HOUSE ” , the iconic music shop at Kala Ghoda area of south Mumbai , is going to be closed.

It finally got closed in February 2016.

What is so special that even after 2 years I am forced by emotions to write about this shop. After all it was just a shop.

Today’s generation can’t imagine it’s importance. It was lifeline of Mumbai’s cultural world. Long before Bombay became Mumbai, it was a must visit place for all the connoisseurs and aficionados of music world. In Bombay city of early 70s, 80s and 90s , it was a happening place , where all the connoisseurs of music used to descend every day.

Interior of Iconic RHYTHM HOUSE

 

There are talks to revive this place but in today’s world, when you can download any song for free , who will go and buy LP, EP, records, cassettes and CDs.

I have so many fond memories of this place. Though I didn’t have much money those days but still I used to go there to buy cassettes and CDs of old Hindi films, old songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Bengali songs, Robindro Sangeet and song of  Elvis Presley. Alas! those days are just memory.

Rhythm House is not alone. In the same year when it got closed, another iconic south Mumbai place CAFE SAMOVAR also got close in March 2015. Started by Usha Khanna in 1964, Cafe Samovar in Jehangir Art Gallery has been an icon of Mumbai’s cultural landscape for decades.

One by one all the iconic places of old Bombay are becoming memories. After Bombay became Mumbai, I feel there is no love lost for old icons of the city. I feel sad . Government of the day should try to preserve the heritage of old city.

The new Mumbai doesn’t mean that old Bombay should fade away from the landscape.

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