Nanda : Pardesiyon Ko Hai Ik Din Jaanaa …..


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 30 , 2014           00.30 A.M.

Vintage Nanda as We Know Her

Vintage Nanda as We Know Her

Unfortunately I was not connected to the net when yesteryear heroine Nanda ji died . I read about her death next day in the Times of India . She died on March 25 , 2014 at the age of 75 . One more icon of my Allahabad days is gone . One more reigning queen of my young years has left this world forever . I am feeling so helpless , so desperate , so forlorn , that I am unable to express myself properly . Several luminaries of cinema , who ruled the tinsel world during my adolescent days , are leaving this ephemeral world one by one . Several beautiful faces have vanished from this terra firma leaving me with this sinking feeling .

Baby Nanda On The Threshold of Youth in "Toofan Aur Diya"

Baby Nanda On The Threshold of Youth in “Toofan Aur Diya”

Nanda started working in films in 1948 as child artiste . She played heroine’s role for the first time in Bandish (1955) . After doing one more film Shatranj (1956) , she attained prominence with Toofan Aur Diya (1956) . This Rajendra Kumar starrer was directed by legendary V. Shantaram . He was Nanda’s paternal uncle .

From Bandish (1955) to Raj Kapoor’s  Prem Rog (1983) , she worked in almost 66 films as lead heroine / character artiste in a career spanning 28 years . She worked in 5 films as child artiste also . Thus Nanda worked in 71 films in a career spanning 35 years . Out of 71 films of Nanda ji , I have watched almost 25 films .

Nanda , during her hey – days , was an epitome of Indianness . Nanda had her own distinct class , beauty and charm . Nanda exuded ethnic oomph and native charm . Nanda was simple , yet she played a glamorous role with perfection and Elan . Nanda was a unique combination of traditional and modern woman . First film of Nanda , which I watched , was a super hit ” Jab Jab Phool Khile ” [ 1965 ] . Nanda played stellar role in the film with Shashi Kapoor .

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I can never forget the film and its heroine Nanda in Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965) . All the songs of the film are still fresh in my memory and still reverberate in my ears . ” Pardesiyon Se Na Ankhiyaan Milaanaa …….. ” , ” Ye Samaa Samaa Hai Ye Pyaar Ka …………….. ” , ” Ek Tha Gul Aur Ek Thi Bulbul ……………. ” , ” Na Na Karte Pyaar Tumhi Se Kar Baithe …………. ” and the soulful and melancholic ” Yahan Main Ajnabi Hoon …………. “ are still part of my life , even after so many years .

With Shashi Kapoor in "Jab Jab Phool Khile"

With Shashi Kapoor in “Jab Jab Phool Khile”

In "Jab Jab Phool Khile"

In “Jab Jab Phool Khile”

Yeh Samaa , Samaa Hai Ye Pyaar Kaa  in "Jab Jab Phool Khile"

Yeh Samaa , Samaa Hai Ye Pyaar Kaa in “Jab Jab Phool Khile”

After Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965) , I watched several of her films . One film which I fondly remember even today is Dev Anand starrer Hum Dono (1961) , which I watched much later. I watched it in Palace talkies of Allahabad .

With Dev Anand in "Hum Dono"

With Dev Anand in “Hum Dono”

She was one of the few old era heroines , who modelled for Lux . I still remember the campaign .

Model for Lux

It is sad that she died a lonely death . Nanda was unmarried till her death . Few months back I watched a photograph of Nanda and her contemporaries . It brought tears in my eyes. All the beautiful reigning Divas of my young age are looking so different now . And alas , one is now gone !

Nanda & Her Close Friends : Waqt Ne Kiya , Kya Haseen Sitam

Nanda with Her Close Friends – Waheeda Rehman , Helen & Sadhana : Waqt Ne Kiya , Kya Haseen Sitam

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Filmography

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I offer my condolences to the family of Nanda ji and to all the near and dear ones .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre also pray for the departed soul .

May you REST IN PEACE Nanda ji ! I will always miss you . I will always remember you in Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965) and will never forget the image of your’s in a shikara in Kashmir . The beautiful night of Kashmir , the white satin gown caressing your body , gentle breeze playing with your shampooed hair , your amorous face with bewitching smile and the sonorous Lata Mangeshkar song “…………… Ye Samaa , Samaa Hai Ye Pyaar Kaa ; Kisi Ke Intezar Ka ……………….. “ will always remain with me till the last breath of my life . Your ephemeral body has left us but the above mentioned image endures perennially .

 

[ I have taken information about the films of Nanda ji from Wikipedia . I have copied the list of her films from Wikipedia and posted it here . I am indebted . ]

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No Place For Old People In Young Party of New India


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 28 , 2014           11.55 P.M.

 

” Never lose sight of the fact that old age needs so little but needs that little so much . ” – Margaret Willour

” Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them , for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members . ” – Pearl S. Buck

” In youth the days are short and the years are long : in old age the years are short and the days are long . ”  – Nikita Ivanovich Panin

” Growing old is mandatory ; growing up is optional . ” – Chili Davis

” Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man . ” – Leon Trotsky

” Inside every older person is a young person wondering what happened . ” – Jennifer Yale

 

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Election times are always strange times in India . One can witness many unusual happenings , many bizarre scenario . One such thing is clamour for young blood in politics . There is nothing wrong in the demand per se . In fact young blood is always welcome and it should be more than welcome in the arena of politics .

But what would you say when a 76-year-old Mr. Jaswant Singh is replaced by a young ( ? ) candidate Col. Sonaram Choudhary in Rajasthan , who is 71-year-old ? He is a Congress turncoat , and Shri Jaswant Singh is a loyal party worker and old party war – horse , but it becomes insignificant in the young party of new India . What would you say when there is a cacophonous clamour for the retirement of Shri Lal Krishna Advani from public life ? Several crooks are ruling the roost and Shri Advani has unblemished record of service in public life . His only fault is his age . Unfortunately he is 86 . Is old age sin in our country ? Is it a crime to get old or be old in new India ?

Not always . Former Communist Chief Minister of Kerala , Shri V. S. Achuthanandan [ Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan ] , the grand old patriarch of CPM is 90 and is still active .

M. Karunanidhi [ Muthuvel Karunanidhi ] , the DMK patriarch , also known as Kalaignar , is 89 . Both , far from saying good-bye to public life , are on election trail . Both are going through rigorous and tortuous daily routine during election time in this hot , unbearable Indian summer . They are yet to bid adieu .

Take the case of world leaders . Oldest ruling monarch is 85-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej , the King of Thailand . This year he completes 67 years as the King of Thailand .

Queen Elizabeth II of United Kingdom is 87 years old and she is firmly in the saddle . She ascended the throne in 1952 . This year she completes 62 years as the reigning queen . Far from retiring , these two monarchs are still calling the shots and are much respected and revered in their respective countries .

Let us take few examples from the world of cinema .

 

Hollywood Actors :

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1 ) – At 82 , Clint Eastwood is still very much involved in the movie making business. In 2012 he plays an aging baseball scout in “Trouble With The Curve ” [ 2012 ] .

Clint Eastwood  also keeps his plate full directing movies . His most recent films are ; ” Invictus ” [ 2009 ] , ” Hereafter ” [ 2010 ] , ” J. Edgar ” [ 2011 ] and ” Jeresy Boys ” [ 2014 ] . Thus from 1955 to 2014 , its 59 year-long and uninterrupted career .

2 ) – At 90 , Christopher Lee is still acting in Peter Jackson’s ” The Hobbit “ movies .

3 ) – At 96 , Kirk Douglas , the star who starred in ” Spartacus ” [ 1960 ] , worked last in ” Empire State Building Murders ” [ 2008 ] . From 1946 to 2008 , it is 62 year-long career .

4 ) – At 96 , Olivia de Havilland , who enthralled audiences world over in the classic ” Gone With The Wind ” [ 1939 ] , is still working . Her last film ” I Remember Better When I Paint ” [ 2009 ] . It is incredibly 74 year-long career which started in 1935 .

 

Indian Actors :

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1 ) – The ever – green Ashok Kumar’s career spanned for 61 long years . Right from ” Jeevan Naiya ” [ 1936 ]  to ” Aankhon Me Tum Ho ” [ 1997 ] , Dada Muni , as he was fondly called , was working till he was 86 .

2 ) – Pran is another gem in the crown . He was active till the age of  83 . From ” Yamla Jat ” [ 1940 ] to ” Kiska Dosh ” [ 2003 ] , it was 63 year-long career .

3 ) – Dev Anand , another indefatigable legend , worked for 65 years . From ” Hum Ek Hain ” [ 1946 ] to ” Charge Sheet ” [ 2011 ] , it was an awe – inspiring 65 year-long journey of perennial glory and ever – lasting super – stardom . He was 88 when he died . He released his last film ” Charge Sheet ” same year , which was written, produced and directed by him . He also starred in it as the main protagonist . It is unbeatable record in the world of cinema in India .

There are such people in the world of literature also .

Writers :

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1 ) – Khushwant Singh , the age – defying author ; novelist , historian and journalist , died at the age of 99 .  He wrote till he was 97 years old . ” The Mark Of Vishnu and Other Stories ” [ 1950 ] to “Agnostic Khushwant : There Is No God ” [ 2012 ] , he enjoyed 62 unquestioned active years as an author of repute .

2 ) – Maya Angelou , the American writer , poetess and civil rights activist , is writing since 45 years . She is 85 now . Yet to retire , she is widely respected and revered in the U.S.A.

 

So why this clamour for the retirement of Shri Lal Krishna Advani or denial of ticket to Shri Jaswant Singh ? I feel it is not related to age . This is power – struggle . New satraps want to remove old guards unceremoniously and they are taking positions behind the age factor . A person should be respected for his / her age and should not be despised . Age is a boon . When I read comments related to age I am peeved . A person serves his organization from the young age . He gives his life in the service of his party and organization . And suddenly one day a new ascending leader appears on the scene and simply orders the banishment of the old guard . Though the old person in question is not infirm or incapacitated . No one is questioning why Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee is not given a ticket . Everyone knows that he is bed – ridden and can’t even speak or recognize people . But Shri Lal Krishna Advani is still active and mentally alert .

” A man is not old untill regrets take place of dreams . ” – John Barrymore

No one can stop new leaders or younger people from ascending the firmament . But it does not mean curtain for older leaders , who are still fit and can still serve the country. I feel sad , when I see that contribution of Shri Lal Krishna Advani is being overlooked . Malicious , derogatory and abusive comments are continuously being posted on the various social networking sites , so that he should get dejected and retire . Suggestions are being dished out by so-called party – sympathisers that old people should accept the new order and should not crib or demand any special privilege . It was recently said by the alleged member of the alleged ” Club 160 “ said that old guard should learn to accept ” no ” to their demands and they should accept the dictate of younger dispensation with graceful silence . It was said that they should learn to get adjusted to the new , changed ways of the young party of the new India . It could be argued that it is true to some extent . But the tone and tenor of this statement was contemptuous , smug and full of hubris . It was disrespectful .

” Never lose sight of the fact that old age needs so little but needs that little so much . ” – Margaret Willour

Then what is the solution . In my opinion there should be a fine balance between old and new generation . For every young Arjun , there has to be a sagacious Bhishma Pitamah and an experienced Dronacharya . For every imperious and bellicose Duryodhana , there has to be a sagely Vidur and a stoic Kripacharya . If this fine balance in the time of yore could not save us from a devastating Mahabharata , what will happen , if today we will have only inexperienced Arjuna and imperious , bellicose and belligerent Duryodhana in our mist ?

Think India , think ! And be afraid . Be very afraid !

” There is one more terrifying fact about old people : you are going to be one soon . ” – P. J. O’Rourke

 

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I urge for the respect of elders and pray for the betterment and well – being of my country .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre also pray for our beloved India and out age – old ethos .

 

[ I have taken information about world and Indian leaders from Wikipedia . For Hollywood actors , I have taken information from a website ; http://www.pajiba.com I am indebted ]

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Sunset Boulevard ( 8 ) : ” Lakshmi Talkies : अपना सिनेमा हाल था ये “


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 17 , 2014           11.40 P.M.

Today when the Hindus , all over the world , are celebrating Holi and rejoicing in festivity , I am sitting in my study in Mumbai and writing this blog about Lakshmi Talkies , Allahabad with tearful eyes . I am struggling for words . I am unable to form sentences . I am full of emotions . Lakshmi Talkies will not ring a familiar bell for several anonymous people or the lovers of cinema . May be some will be familiar of some Lakshmi Talkies of their own cities . But here I am talking about Lakshmi Talkies of Allahabad , Uttar Pradesh .

Few days back I saw the following post on the facebook time line of Shri Neeraj Sri :

अपना सिनेमा हाल था ये …
Lakshmi Talkies - Katara - Allahabad

Lakshmi Talkies – Katara – Allahabad

When I read the post and saw the photograph , I became numb . I was stunned . I was shaken . I was saddened beyond words . I was emotionally disturbed . I spent a sleepless night .

Even now as I am writing the blog , my heart refuses to believe that this is a reality . I was a regular patron of Lakshmi Talkies during my Ganga Nath Jha hostel days . Lakshmi Talkies of Allahabad was a part of my life . Lakshmi Talkies holds a special place for me because Lakshmi Talkies was an integral part of my Allahabad University days . It’s magnificent structure is still fresh in my memory . So when I saw the above picture of a desolate Lakshmi Talkies with moth – eaten walls , broken window panes and barbed wire fencing , I wanted to cry . I wanted to mourn .

I , after passing High School , left my birth place Deoria in 1967 and went to Allahabad for higher studies . Deoria had two cinema halls at that time but being in a small city like Deoria , they were not grand or magnificent , like cinema halls of bigger cities . Allahabad was much bigger city compared to Deoria , so the cinema halls were also huge and opulent . I landed in Allahabad in July 1967 with glitter in my eyes , hope and dreams in my heart for my better future . I , as a 15-year-old small town boy , was fascinated by Allahabad , the city and its atmosphere . Slowly I started getting acquainted with the city of Allahabad . Being a movie buff , I started looking about cinema halls and thus came to know about Lakshmi Talkies at Katara . Lakshmi Talkies management had this strategy of re – releasing old Hindi films . So for me this was a boon because I could now watch all the old classics which I had missed in Deoria .

” Door Ki Awaaz ”  [ 1964 ] , a film directed and produced by Devendra Goel was the first ever film which I watched in Lakshmi Talkies . The Joy Mukherjee , Saira Banu , Pran , Johny Walker and Om Prakash starrer film has some popular Mohammad Rafi gems like , “Ek Musafir Ko Duniya Men Kya Chahiye ……………………….” , ” Husn Se Chand Bhi Sharmaya Hai , Teri Soorat Ne Ghazab Dhaya Hai ……………..” , ” Muqaddar Aazmana Chahta Hoon , Tujhe Apna Banan Chahta Hoon ……………………………. “ , and a lovely duet of Mohammad Rafi with Asha Bhosle ” Haathon Men Haath Hothon Pe Afsane Pyar Ke ……………………” , and the last but not the least , a song sung by Mohammad Rafi , Manna Dey and Asha Bhosle ” Hum Bhi Agar Bachche Hote Nam Hamara Hota Gabloo , Babloo , Khane Ko Milte Laddoo , Aur Duniya Kehti …………….. Happy Birthday To You …………………” . All these lovely songs were tuned by music director Ravi .

The film , the songs and the whole movie going experience is still fresh in my memory even after 47 long , strife – torn and eventful years of my life .

The last film I watched in Lakshmi Talkies was in 1971 . It was a Hemant Kumar produced and Asit Sen directed ” Khamoshi ” [ 1969 ] . During the same year they also opened a skating ring in the western side of the compound . It was a new experience .

I completed graduation in 1971 and left Allahabad and came to Bombay [ now Mumbai ] . One year after I left Mumbai again and came to Allahabad to complete my post graduation . So I was in Allahabad and staying in the same Ganga Nath Jha Hostel again from 1972 to 1974 before finally bidding adieu to Allahabad in 1975 . During this period I did watch couple of films in Lakshmi talkies but I don’t remember them .

But I do remember a concert of Pandit Ravi Shankar with Alla Rakha Khan , which I was fortunate enough to attend . One evening my friend Pramod Vajpayee came running and informed me about the concert . It was in aid of some NGO . So the ticket rates were low . We went , bought the tickets and took our seat in the packed hall . That evening is still fresh in my memory . It was a life – time experience .

And now 40 years later in March 2014 , I read this posting about the closure of Lakshmi Talkies on the facebook time line of Shri Neeraj Sri and the world of my emotional memory crumbled at one go . A part of my life is gone forever . A silent witness of my many lonely evenings is going to be silent very soon .

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I condole the demise of Lakshmi Talkies .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to express grief and pain .

Farewell Lakshmi Talkies !

Neeraj Sri has rightly said , ” अपना सिनेमा हाल था ये … ”

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55th Anniversary of Tibet Uprising


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 12 , 2014           11.55 P.M.

Map of Greater Tibet with Amdo & Kham , the Cultural & Historical Provinces of Tibet

Map of Greater Tibet with Amdo & Kham , the Cultural & Historical Provinces of Tibet

It was  Tibetan Uprising Day  on March 10 . To commemorate the historic 1959 Tibetan uprising against the presence of the Han rulers of  People’s Republic of China in Tibet ,  Students for a Free Tibet and other Tibetan groups observe Tibetan Uprising Day on March 10 every year . I am posting this blog two days later . I took this deliberate step because I did not want my views to get submerged in the plethora of articles , protests and other activities in support of Tibet . So to make my point clear , to make my voice heard and to tell everyone that in the struggle for freedom , I stand with my Tibetan brothers , sisters , friends and well-wishers , I am posting this blog today , 2 days later .

Protesting Tibetans

Protesting Tibetans

The 1959 Tibetan uprising , or 1959 Tibetan Rebellion began on 10 March 1959 , when a revolt erupted in Lhasa , the capital of Tibet , which had been under the control of the Communist Party of China since the Seventeen Point Agreement in 1951 . Although the 14th Dalai Lama‘s flight from Tibet occurred in 1959 , armed conflict between Tibetan and the Chinese army started in 1956 in the Kham and Amdo regions , which were subjected to socialist reform . The guerrilla warfare later spread to other areas of Tibet and lasted through 1962 .

To know the chronology of events of those epoch-making days , we have to re – visit the pages of the history books of Tibet . All the students of Tibetan history and persons sympathetic to Tibet’s cause know it in detail . On 1 March 1959 , an unusual invitation was extended to the 14th Dalai Lama to attend a theatrical performance at the Chinese military headquarters outside Lhasa . The date was set for 10th March . The Chinese Army officers insisted that the Dalai Lama would not be accompanied by his traditional armed escort , and that no public ceremony for the Dalai Lama’s procession from the palace to the camp should take place . Chinese Army officers insisted that they would handle the Dalai Lama’s security .

According to historian Tsering Shakya, some Tibetan government officials feared that plans were being laid for the abduction of the Dalai Lama by the Chinese , and spread word amongst the inhabitants of Lhasa . On 10 March 1959 , thousand of Tibetans surrounded the Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace to prevent him from leaving or being removed.

This marked the beginning of the uprising , which is known to the world as 1959 Tibetan uprising .

Potala Palace of Dalai Lama in Lhasa

Potala Palace of Dalai Lama in Lhasa

On 12 March, protesters appeared in the streets of Lhasa declaring Tibet’s independence. Barricades went up on the streets of Lhasa, and Chinese and Tibetan rebel forces began to fortify positions within and around Lhasa in preparation for conflict. Chinese and Tibetan troops continued moving into position over the next several days, with Chinese artillery pieces being deployed within range of the Dalai Lama’s summer palace, the Norbulingka.

On 15 March , preparations for the Dalai Lama’s evacuation from the city were set in motion , with Tibetan troops being employed to secure an escape route from Lhasa. On 17 March, two artillery shells landed near the Dalai Lama’s palace , triggering his flight into exile.

Potala Palace of Dalai Lama in Lhasa

On 19 March the Chinese started to shell the Norbulingka , prompting the full force of the Uprising . Combat lasted only about two days, with poorly armed Tibetan forces being badly outnumbered . The failure of the armed rebellion ultimately resulted in a violent crackdown on Tibetan independence movements, and the flight of the 14th Dalai Lama ,  Tenzin Gyatso into exile.

It is unfortunate that while Tibet was subjugated , the world looked the other way . My own country maintained stoic silence . World leaders , who cry vociferously for Palestine and other suppressed regions of the world , remained passive spectators . U. N. O. [ United Nations Organization ] did nothing . In fact they rewarded China with the permanent membership of the Security Council of the U.N.O.

It is wrong to say that China occupies only Tibet . Chinese hegemonic behaviour and her greed for expansion is apparent to every one . Tibet with Amdo and Kham , East Turkestan [ re – named as Xinxiang ] , Inner Mongolia and Manchuria , all the so-called Autonomous regions of China were once independent countries and have been captured by Chinese hegemonic , expansionist communist government . But these regions remained adamant and refused to shed their nationalistic feelings and even after decades of occupation and subjugation , they are still restive and struggling for independence .

Map of Free Tibet

If you remove these areas from People’s Republic of China , you will be shocked to see the remaining China . The map posted below is the map of real China and I firmly believe that it will definitely happen one day . I pray to God that it should happen sooner than later . I want to see it in my life time .

 The Map of Red China with Annexed Tibet , East Turkestan & Inner Mongolia

The Map of Red China with Annexed Tibet , East Turkestan & Inner Mongolia

On the occasion of the 55th  Tibetan Uprising Day , I pray for the independence of Tibet and end of the suffering of my Tibetan brothers , sisters , friends and well – wishers .

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I express my solidarity with my brothers and sisters of Tibet .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to wish them victory in their struggle for freedom from oppression and tyranny .

[ As usual , I have culled some facts about the uprising , relevant dates and name of the personalities related to the uprising from the Wikipedia . I express my gratitude . ]

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Celebrating ” Gulaab Gang ”


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 10 , 2014           01.20 A.M.

I was eagerly waiting for ” Gulaab Gang “ to release . I am an admirer of Madhuri Dixit and desperately wanted to see her on-screen with Juhi Chawla . But the true cause of my excitement and wait was something else .

” Gulaab Gang “ will always be an important film for me because it features two students of mine . One is Tanvi Rao , who is an actor and an accomplished danseuse and the second student is Pawni Pandey , who is the playback singer in the film and her song ” ………………… Sharm Laaj Moh Maar Kar , Hata De Ye Pallu Jhaad Kar ……………. “  is filmed on Madhuri Dixit .

So the wait was on and it ended on March 07 , 2014 , when the much awaited film ” Gulaab Gang “ was released .

Collage of Posters of "Gulaab Gang"

Collage of Posters of “Gulaab Gang”

Tanvi Rao and her father Shri Hari Prasad ji visited me two years back , when Tanvi was signed for ” Gulaab Gang ” . I was stunned to see a small girl sitting in front of me and talking to me in supreme confidence . I was shocked to know that she was going to be a co-actor in the film and will perform with Madhuri Dixit . Time was less and she was in Mumbai only for few days . It was a challenge for me and as usual I don’t shun challenges and responsibilities . So I started training her immediately .

I must make it clear in writing that Tanvi , the always smiling cute girl , is very hard-working student and extremely disciplined artiste . I thank her parents for inculcating this culture in her and giving her such great values and ethics , which is fast vanishing from the present day generation . She completed the training and along with her father , went back to her native place Mangalore . But they always remained in touch .

Tanvi , along with her father , came to meet me again and seek my blessings before the start of the shooting . It is so heart warming . It is so unlike some of the students , who make it a point not to acknowledge their teachers before shooting or after the release of their films . Tanvi and her father were full of respect and gratitude , though I had only done my job . Yet they came to me to seek my blessings . It brought tears in my eyes . I was overwhelmed .

With Tanvi Rao in My Office

With Tanvi Rao in My Office

With Tanvi Rao & Her Father Shri Hari Prasad in My Office

With Tanvi Rao & Her Father Shri Hari Prasad in My Office

Tanvi Rao with Madhuri Dixit

Tanvi Rao with Madhuri Dixit

Tanvi Rao Sitting on the Ground

[ With Madhuri Dixit ] Tanvi Rao Sitting on the Ground

Tanvi Rao with Madhuri Dixit

Tanvi Rao with Madhuri Dixit

I must make it clear that apart from acting in ” Gulaab Gang “ , Tanvi Rao is an accomplished dancer and she has toured the world for her highly successful dance performances on stage . She has won many awards .

11th President  of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Blessing Tanvi Rao

11th President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Blessing Tanvi Rao

My second student in ” Gulaab Gang “ is Pawni Pandey , who has sung the song ” ………………… Sharm Laaj Moh Maar Kar , Hata De Ye Pallu Jhaad Kar ……………. “  . She is currently getting trained in the Batch No. 82 of  VIDUR Acting Institute .

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Batch No. 82 – Vidur Acting Institute

With Pawni Pandey in My Office

With Pawni Pandey in My Office

She started as a participant in ” Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs ” in 2006 and was a finalist and stood at 5th position . She started her singing career with Sohail Khan’s film ” Kissan ” [ 2009 ] . 

Since she is in the current batch , I will talk about her later .

Collage of Pawni Pandey

Collage of Pawni Pandey

Komal Nahta Interviewing Pawni Pandey for His Show on Etc Channel

Komal Nahta Interviewing Pawni Pandey for His Show on Etc Channel

In the Silver Jubilee year of my Acting Training career , ” Gulaab Gang “ is the 4th film in 5 months in which my 5 students made debut . 5 debuts in just 5 months is incredible . The list is envious .

Urvashi Rautela ……….. ” Singh Saab The Great ” [ November 2013 ]

Daisy Shah ……………….. ” Jai Ho “ [ January 2014 ]

Preeti Desai ………………. ” One By Two ” [ January 2014 ]

Tanvi Rao …………………. ” Gulaab Gang “ [ March 2014 ]

Pawni Pandey ……………. ” Gulaab Gang ” [ March 2014 ]

” Gulaab Gang “ is doing quite well at the box office . I am posting tweets of trade analyst Mr. Taran Adarsh to show that among the 3 releases of this week , ” Gulaab Gang “ is the highest earner .

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#GulaabGang Fri 2.41 cr, Sat 2.90 cr to 3 cr. Total: 5.30 cr+ nett. India biz only.

#Queen Fri 1.75 cr [revised], Sat 3.50 cr. Total: 5.25 cr nett. India biz only.

#TotalSiyapaa Fri 1.11 cr, Sat 1.43 cr. Total: 2.54 cr nett. India biz only.

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I congratulate Tanvi Rao and Pawni Pandey for their stupendous success !

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to wish them well for their glorious future !

Thanks for making me proud ! Thanks for being wonderful students ! Thanks for being cultured and respectful ! Thanks for not being abusive and disrespectful like few others ! Thanks for not being scheming upstarts and conniving fakers ! Though I am a small man , just a speck in the scheme of the things and can make no difference in any way but still I thank Tanvi Rao and Pawni Pandey from the bottom of my heart !

शत – शत तुमको धन्यवाद है , सुखी रहो जीवन भर ;

झरें शीश पर सुमन सुयश के , अम्बर तल से झर – झर ॥

May God bless you both always !

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Bru Tribe : Refugee In Their Own Country


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 07, 2014           00.30 A.M.

Frankly speaking , few weeks back , I was unaware of the existence of Bru tribe of Mizoram . Years ago I had read about some conflict between Mizos of Mizoram and one particular tribe living there , near Bangla Desh and Tripura border . I knew that these days that particular tribe live in Tripura in exile. But apart from that I have not heard anything about Brus . When last week I read a couple of articles in Times of India and Hindustan Times , I came to know that the tribe in question is Bru and they are living in tents as refugee in their own country since 17 years.

The roots of the conflict can be traced to 1994, when a political party called the Bru National Union (BNU) was formed to promote the tribe’s welfare. In September 1997, at a conference in Saipuilui village in Mamit district, the BNU adopted a resolution to demand for an Autonomous District Council (ADC) for Brus in the western belt of Mizoram. Mizoram is predominantly inhabited by Mizos. Other tribes in the state include the Hmars, the Lai and the Chakmas, each of whom have their own ADC. Interestingly, though the Brus are the largest minority in Mizoram their demand for an ADC went unheeded. “What was wrong with that demand?” asks Elvis Chorkhy, chairman of the Bru Coordination Committee that has been working with the government to repatriate the Brus. “ Was it so unconstitutional as to lead to the physical torture and harassment of the Brus ?”

The bloody ethnic clashes of 1997 displaced  over 4000 Brus initially . They fled to neighbouring Assam and Tripura’s sleepy town of Kanchanpur , which lies about 45 km from the Mizoram border. 17 years ago, thousands of Brus fleeing attacks from Mizos took refuge here. Many crossed the border on foot. The displaced Brus put up temporary shelters on the lower tracts of the Jampui hills that separate Tripura from Mizoram and Bangladesh. Today, there are over 35,000 Internally Displaced Persons languishing in the seven camps spread over the region. Here, scores live amidst filth and human waste with small mountain streams being the only source of drinking water. The incident, like many others in the North East India , hardly made it to the national media , print and electronic both .

https://i2.wp.com/www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/2/india-maps.jpg

[………The Map of Mizoram showing Bru Dominated Areas & Area of Bru Refugee Camps in Tripura ]

To know more about the Bru tribe , I checked Wikipedia and came to know a fascinating history about them . I am reproducing the Wikipedia article in verbatim .

The history of Bru (Reangs)

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The Bru are the second most populous tribe of Tripura after the Tripuris. According to the legend, a Tripuri prince who was once exiled by the King made his way, along with his followers, to the Mayani Thalang area of Lushai hills [ now Mizoram ] and founded a state over there. He proclaimed himself King and his descendants too ruled over the break-away state for generations. As it sometimes happens, there came a time when there was no heir to succeed to the throne, leading to anarchy in the kingdom. At around the same time, bitter feud and internal vendetta saw four chiefs of the following sub tribes Twikluha, Yongsika, Paisika, Tuibruha leave their hearth and home along with their entourages to migrate back to the state of Tripura. It was a long and difficult journey, fraught with danger and the travellers had to make more than a couple of attempts before they successfully made their way up the Dombur hill.

At the time, Mahendra Manikya ruled the kingdom of Tripura. The chiefs made many attempts to reach the King to request asylum. They approached ministers, bureaucrats, and courtiers for help in arranging a meeting with the King but with no success. By this time, they had exhausted their supplies and were rather anxious to catch the attention of the King. Finally in desperation, they breached the dam on the river Gumti where worshippers had gathered for prayers. This was a serious crime and all of them were immediately apprehended and brought before the king. The crime was a serious one and merited capital punishment. But before the King could pass his judgement, the chiefs managed to send word to the Queen Gunoboti. They begged her for help and she persuaded the King to forgive them. The chiefs swore fealty to the Queen and to the throne of Tripura and settled down in the Kingdom. Popular legend has it that the Queen even offered the chiefs breast milk, to symbolize their new parent-child relationship, in a large brass pan which was gifted to the chiefs along with other valuable things, carefully preserved by Reangs till date.

The latest episode in the ongoing conflict between Mizos and Brus came on November 23 , 2013 . It was two days before the Mizoram assembly elections, when Bru militants allegedly belonging to the Bru Democratic Front of Mizoram (BDFM) and helped by members of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) abducted three young men.

The incident reignited the long-standing conflict between the Mizos and the minority Brus . Enraged by the abduction of the Mizos, several protests spearheaded mostly by the powerful NGOs MZP and the Young Mizo Association (YMA) were organised throughout the state. Subsequently, local village headmen were threatened with dire consequences if they did not ask the militants to release the Mizos.

In modern Mizoram one can find the Mizo mindset about Bru tribe in a Mizoram Home department letter sent to National Human Rights Commission . In the letter dated February 10, the Home department of the Mizoram government listed the reasons that led to the original conflict between the Mizos and the Brus. According to the document, the Brus — recognised as Reangs as per the Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order, 1950 — fled persecution in the erstwhile Tippera kingdom (now divided between Tripura and Bangladesh) to arrive in Mizoram in the early 1940s. “Brus have always been outsiders and can never be a part of the larger Mizo culture,” says Lalmuanpuia Punte, who was MZP’s president in 1997.

The Mizos say the Bru exodus of 1997 can be traced to a ‘circular’ signed by Bruno Msha, who was then the Bru Student Union president and is currently the general secretary of the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum (MBDPF). Dated March 1998, the ‘circular’ asks all Bru headmen to evacuate their villages and leave Mizoram because of a possible clash between Bru militants and Mizoram security personnel. Msha, who denies signing any such document, claims the story is a Mizo attempt to blame Bru militants for the exodus.

Each side might apportion blame to the other but ultimately, the ethnic violence of 1997 pushed many Brus into relief camps in a remote part of Tripura that borders Mizoram and Bangladesh.

Things, however, continue to look bleak for over 35,000 people still stuck in the forgotten camps of Tripura. A report by the Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network says ‘The ration quota is so inadequate that Brus do not report deaths as it means a further reduction of the rations’. The abject conditions and the lack of employment and education have made the camps a good recruiting ground for militants. Many young Brus have missed out on education and cannot even get job cards under central government schemes. “This is why we are asking for a Primitive Group Program and a development council which will look after the upliftment of the community once it is repatriated,” says Bruno Msha of the MBDPF.

Adults get a cash dole of Rs. 150 per month and 600 gms of rice per day while minors get half that amount. This is much less than other internally displaced groups like the Kashmiri Pandits and even the Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu have received in the past. Leaders of the MBDPF maintain that unless compensation is increased, no one will go back. Both the home department and Mizo organisations, allege that any attempts at repatriation are foiled by the staging of untoward incidents. The Bru side alleges that it is a conspiracy by Mizos who don’t want Brus to return. With only 5,627 people rehabilitated until last October, the Mizoram government has a mammoth task on its hands. “It has become necessary to remove those camps and resettle the displaced. We are losing precious time and a generation of kids is losing their future. The process needs to be expedited,” said Chorkhy.

But who cares? Mizoram government of Indian National Congress is heartless . National media is silent . National parties are ignorant . Few thousand Brus are insignificant for electoral arithmetic . So these hapless citizens of India are languishing in refugee camps . They are homeless in their own homeland .

According to me Bharatiya Janata Party should do something for these children of lesser God . It may not help electorally , but it is a national cause . A whole generation of Brus are getting deprived of their rights . We must stand for them . Politics is one thing , humanity is something else .

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I express my solidarity with the Bru tribe , who , like Kashmiri Pandits , are refugee in their own country .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to express solidarity with them . We wish their speedy rehabilitation .

[ This blog is not written by me in toto . I have taken excerpts from Wikipedia and quoted from the articles published in Times of India and Hindustan Times and simply re-arranged and re-produced those articles here . I express my gratitude . Views expressed about Brus are mine . ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Crimea in Turmoil : The February Jinx


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 04 , 2014           00.30 A.M.

Never in my wildest dreams I had imagined that one day , I would be sitting in Mumbai and writing a blog about Crimea. I know this name ” Crimea ” will not ring a familiar bell for majority of my countrymen. But students of world history know about Crimea . I , as a student of history , have read about Crimean War [ 1853 – 1856 ] in detail . Much before World war I [ 1914 – 1918 ] , French Empire , Ottoman Empire , British Empire and Kingdom of Sardinia fought a bloody and fierce battle with Russian Empire over the right of Christians in Holy Land . Allied forces fought for Roman Catholics and Russian Empire fought for Orthodox Church . Crimean war , fought between October 1853 to February 1856 , resulted in the victory for Allied Forces and finally Treaty of Paris was signed between the victors and the vanquished .

Crimean War had far-reaching effect in the history of mankind. It will aways be remembered for Florence Nightingale and her pioneering service for the wounded in the war . Her work heralded the modern nursing methods . It is a little known fact that Mahatma Gandhi won Victoria Cross for his services for the British Empire during Crimean War . It is also a fact that in the aftermath of Crimean War , because of heavy financial crisis and huge debt , which he was unable to pay , Alexander II , the Czar of Russia sold Alaska region of Russian Empire to U.S.A. Alaska was admitted as the 49th state of USA on January 3, 1959 .

As a student of history I have read about Yalta Conference of February 1945 , a.k.a. Crimea Conference , and many more pages of Crimean history during World War II . By strange quirk of history and unlike Crimean War , British Empire and Russian Empire were not at loggerheads during World War II but they were fighting together as the Allied Forces along with United States of America . Franklin D. Roosevelt of U.S.A. , Winston Churchill of Great Britain and Joseph Stalin of Russia assembled at Yalta , a port city of Crimea and discussed and decided Europe’s Post – War reorganization .

Yalta Summit-1

Yalta Summit-2

Churchill , Roosevelt & Stalin at Yalta Conference

So when I read about the recent turmoil in Crimea , I was alarmed and concerned . I just wrote and posted a blog about Ukraine . I was celebrating the success of nationalist forces of Ukraine and the fall of pro – Russian Ukrainian President and a tyrant Viktor Yanukovich . But alas , it was short – lived . Viktor Yanukovich took refuge in Moscow and Russian forces slyly entered into the Simferopol , the capital of Crimea , and took control of the airport and other vital government installations .

Map - 3

Map of Crimea

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Map of Crimea

Crimea is a peninsula and is attached to Ukraine by a narrow stretch of land which is at places not more than 5 km in width. For centuries Russian Empire was struggling to have a foothold in the warm water of Black Sea for her navy. With the decline of Ottoman Empire , and after the end of Crimean War , Russian Empire annexed Ukraine and Crimea and these regions first became part of Russian Empire and later on a Soviet Republic of USSR [ Union of Soviet Socialist Republic ] . Ukrainian Cossacks and Ukrainian Tatars [ Muslims ] resented the Russian sovereignty but to no avail . From 1922 to 1945 Crimea remained a part of USSR as the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic . On February 19 , 1954 , the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of USSR transferred Crimean region to the Ukraine Soviet Socialist Republic . And thus from 1945 to 1991 , Crimea remained a part of Ukraine .

As I have stated in my earlier blog about Ukraine , in 1991 USSR was disintegrated and Ukraine , along with 14 other republics became independent country . In 1991 Crimea became a part of Ukraine as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea .

This is the brief history of Crimea . Things started changing fast and situation became fluid after the fall of pro – Russian president of Ukraine , Viktor Yanukovich . On February 26 , 2014 pro – Russia and pro – Ukraine protesters clashed in front of the parliament building in Simferopol .

Protesters with Russian Tricolour in Crimea

Protesters with Russian Tricolour in Crimea

Russian parliament granted President Vladimir Putin the authority to use military force in Ukraine . And because of his unbridled ambition to regain the lost glory of Russian Empire , President Vladimir Putin wants to exercise this new-found authority . He simply forgets that in 1994 Russia backed the legal status of Crimea as part of Ukraine and signed a treaty with United States of America , United Kingdom and France and pledged to uphold the territorial integrity of Ukraine . This treaty was ratified in May 1997 and Russia finally accepted Ukraine’s present borders and Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea and Sevastopol .

He is emboldened by the fact that Ethnic Ukrainians make up only 24 % of the population , Ethnic Russian 58 % and Ethnic Tatar Muslims 12 % . And this 58 % Russian population is urging Russia to intervene and take control of Crimea and govern Crimea . They was to secede from Ukraine . And Vladimir Putin is more than willing to oblige .

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Ukraine is in trouble . Crimea is in turmoil . Jinx of February seems to be working again in the troubled history of Crimea . Have a look :

Crimean War : February 1856

Yalta Conference : February 1945

Crimea Became Part of Ukraine : February 1954

Crimean Occupation by Russia : February 2014

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I express my solidarity with the Ukrainian people , with the Crimean people .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to wish them well and pray for their glorious future ahead .

[ All the dates and certain historical facts about Crimea and Ukraine have been taken from Wikipedia and are quoted here in this blog . I express my gratitude . ]

VIDUR

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