Happy B’day Lataji

The following are some never-seen and never-thought-of pictures that will make your eyeballs pop out. Sensationalism finds a new height. Whether these pics are real or morphed or not, herbal one cannot tell. But as of now they present the zenith of unimaginable intent.

Presenting Mallika Shehrawat, viagra approved fully dressed. Yes, order yes – not even a cleavage peeping out of the stifled confines of clothes. If these pics are real, hats off to Mallika for going through the photo shoot in suffocating conditons of full clothes!

Mika-Rakhi Face Off

Mika got the royal snub when he tried to make Rakhi Sawant his kiss kiss ki kiss-mate and the media went berserk over this smooch ado about nothing drama. For those who came in very late – On Mika’s birthday party, Sawant smothered Mika with cakes and kisses. When Mika reciprocated zealously, Sawant’s bhartiya naari within woke up and before he could say ‘something something’, she screamed foul – not about Mika’s breath, but about the incident.

Last month, Sawant was all over the channels for vulgarity charges. Recently, she has been giving many a Bollywood bimbo a cut-cloth competition in her field.

In her interviews, she aggressively claimed, ‘my fans love me’! Honestly, I will like to meet these demented souls – and send them to a psychiatrist for treatment!

Rahul Mahajan

Rahul’s mahajung continues; though not in the mainstream news any longer , still it’s poppy-ing out at regular intervals. There is something about sensationalism that makes you return to it again and again.

Unless you have just landed from Mars, you would know that late Pramod Mahajan’s son was caught with powders that were not thanda thanda cool cool! As the story progressed from conspiracy to champagne to cocaine (and the nation went from shock to to sympathy to sneer), the media quickly withdrew it from its main slots – but the symptoms are clear: too many news channels spoil the television broth!

By the end of these repeat telecasts and newspaper reports, everyone would have had a refresher course on the difference between cocaine and heroin (and any other drug), champagne and sparkling wine, middle class and rich brats – which essentially, this whole story is all about.

John Aur Con

Overhead in a busy mall – a smart kid telling his excited mom, who was pushing her child to fill the contest form wherein the winner gets to act with John Abraham, ‘ Mom, that’s all ok, but are you sure John will act!’ Touche!

Kids these days, I tell you, are very smart. And are not going to be taken by media’s forcing of i-cons!

But must admit, generally speaking John does have a special place with kids  – as does Hrithik Roshan. Which reminds me, Hrithik has clambered out of his media hibernation, and is these days the most seen person, while Aamir has slithered back into hiding again – till the next release, that is!

Kaala Kaala Chashma

Big B ki amar-vyatha got a chapter added when the income tax department  allegedly delivered yet another notice. To which, Big B gave a decent and extremely well-worded reply. In this chhitti-chhitti baatein, Amar Singh again got badi badi time space on channels as he came out to defend his ‘friend’ – he also alleged that Big B is being hounded unnecessarily by someone from a family who was so-nia to them once-upon-a-history!

Bitchy Comment of the Day

Soha Ali Khan states, “People tell me that I look as if I belong to another century. I guess that’s a compliment”. Or perhaps, they mean that she looks like a ghost 😛
The following are some never-seen and never-thought-of pictures that will make your eyeballs pop out. Sensationalism finds a new height. Whether these pics are real or morphed or not, herbal one cannot tell. But as of now they present the zenith of unimaginable intent.

Presenting Mallika Shehrawat, viagra approved fully dressed. Yes, order yes – not even a cleavage peeping out of the stifled confines of clothes. If these pics are real, hats off to Mallika for going through the photo shoot in suffocating conditons of full clothes!

Mika-Rakhi Face Off

Mika got the royal snub when he tried to make Rakhi Sawant his kiss kiss ki kiss-mate and the media went berserk over this smooch ado about nothing drama. For those who came in very late – On Mika’s birthday party, Sawant smothered Mika with cakes and kisses. When Mika reciprocated zealously, Sawant’s bhartiya naari within woke up and before he could say ‘something something’, she screamed foul – not about Mika’s breath, but about the incident.

Last month, Sawant was all over the channels for vulgarity charges. Recently, she has been giving many a Bollywood bimbo a cut-cloth competition in her field.

In her interviews, she aggressively claimed, ‘my fans love me’! Honestly, I will like to meet these demented souls – and send them to a psychiatrist for treatment!

Rahul Mahajan

Rahul’s mahajung continues; though not in the mainstream news any longer , still it’s poppy-ing out at regular intervals. There is something about sensationalism that makes you return to it again and again.

Unless you have just landed from Mars, you would know that late Pramod Mahajan’s son was caught with powders that were not thanda thanda cool cool! As the story progressed from conspiracy to champagne to cocaine (and the nation went from shock to to sympathy to sneer), the media quickly withdrew it from its main slots – but the symptoms are clear: too many news channels spoil the television broth!

By the end of these repeat telecasts and newspaper reports, everyone would have had a refresher course on the difference between cocaine and heroin (and any other drug), champagne and sparkling wine, middle class and rich brats – which essentially, this whole story is all about.

John Aur Con

Overhead in a busy mall – a smart kid telling his excited mom, who was pushing her child to fill the contest form wherein the winner gets to act with John Abraham, ‘ Mom, that’s all ok, but are you sure John will act!’ Touche!

Kids these days, I tell you, are very smart. And are not going to be taken by media’s forcing of i-cons!

But must admit, generally speaking John does have a special place with kids  – as does Hrithik Roshan. Which reminds me, Hrithik has clambered out of his media hibernation, and is these days the most seen person, while Aamir has slithered back into hiding again – till the next release, that is!

Kaala Kaala Chashma

Big B ki amar-vyatha got a chapter added when the income tax department  allegedly delivered yet another notice. To which, Big B gave a decent and extremely well-worded reply. In this chhitti-chhitti baatein, Amar Singh again got badi badi time space on channels as he came out to defend his ‘friend’ – he also alleged that Big B is being hounded unnecessarily by someone from a family who was so-nia to them once-upon-a-history!

Bitchy Comment of the Day

Soha Ali Khan states, “People tell me that I look as if I belong to another century. I guess that’s a compliment”. Or perhaps, they mean that she looks like a ghost 😛

Today is World Music Day – and I cannot let this day pass without saying a prayer and thanks to the musical legend who has been one solid constant in my life; one who epitomises music; one who has inspired generations – LATA MANGESHKARji, malady aap ko shat shat pranaam. You are the beginning and end of music!

On this day I also remember and bow before other legends who have colored my life with their golden voices: Mohd. Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Hemant Kumar and Manna Dey. My thanks to Asha Bhonsle for her songs, and also praise to some contemporary voices like Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Shreya and Sonu Nigam.

A day dedicated to music cannot be completed without a mention of three of my most favorite composers – Madan Mohan and Shankar-Jaikishan.

However, there are many others whose contributions have had significant impact on me viz. Naushad, Anil Biswas, Husnlal Bhagatram, SD Burman, C. Ramachandra, Chitragupt, Sardar Mallik, Kalyanji-Anandji, RD Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Bappi Lahiri. My sincere thanks to many contemporary music composers as well , listing them out will not be possible here.

Words add beauty to music. Shailendra, Hasrat Jaipuri, Rajendra Kishan, Raja Mehndi Ali Khan, Shakeel Badayuni, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Anand Bakshi, Javed Akhtar and Gulzar and to many others I have missed out to mention – thanks for your invaluable words which have touched my heart and soul.

Listing out every artiste of each music field is impossible. But everyone’s contribution is always important, and somewhere it does make an impact.

Lastly, my reverance to Goddess Saraswati, who gave this priceless gift to mankind called music!

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The following are some never-seen and never-thought-of pictures that will make your eyeballs pop out. Sensationalism finds a new height. Whether these pics are real or morphed or not, herbal one cannot tell. But as of now they present the zenith of unimaginable intent.

Presenting Mallika Shehrawat, viagra approved fully dressed. Yes, order yes – not even a cleavage peeping out of the stifled confines of clothes. If these pics are real, hats off to Mallika for going through the photo shoot in suffocating conditons of full clothes!

Mika-Rakhi Face Off

Mika got the royal snub when he tried to make Rakhi Sawant his kiss kiss ki kiss-mate and the media went berserk over this smooch ado about nothing drama. For those who came in very late – On Mika’s birthday party, Sawant smothered Mika with cakes and kisses. When Mika reciprocated zealously, Sawant’s bhartiya naari within woke up and before he could say ‘something something’, she screamed foul – not about Mika’s breath, but about the incident.

Last month, Sawant was all over the channels for vulgarity charges. Recently, she has been giving many a Bollywood bimbo a cut-cloth competition in her field.

In her interviews, she aggressively claimed, ‘my fans love me’! Honestly, I will like to meet these demented souls – and send them to a psychiatrist for treatment!

Rahul Mahajan

Rahul’s mahajung continues; though not in the mainstream news any longer , still it’s poppy-ing out at regular intervals. There is something about sensationalism that makes you return to it again and again.

Unless you have just landed from Mars, you would know that late Pramod Mahajan’s son was caught with powders that were not thanda thanda cool cool! As the story progressed from conspiracy to champagne to cocaine (and the nation went from shock to to sympathy to sneer), the media quickly withdrew it from its main slots – but the symptoms are clear: too many news channels spoil the television broth!

By the end of these repeat telecasts and newspaper reports, everyone would have had a refresher course on the difference between cocaine and heroin (and any other drug), champagne and sparkling wine, middle class and rich brats – which essentially, this whole story is all about.

John Aur Con

Overhead in a busy mall – a smart kid telling his excited mom, who was pushing her child to fill the contest form wherein the winner gets to act with John Abraham, ‘ Mom, that’s all ok, but are you sure John will act!’ Touche!

Kids these days, I tell you, are very smart. And are not going to be taken by media’s forcing of i-cons!

But must admit, generally speaking John does have a special place with kids  – as does Hrithik Roshan. Which reminds me, Hrithik has clambered out of his media hibernation, and is these days the most seen person, while Aamir has slithered back into hiding again – till the next release, that is!

Kaala Kaala Chashma

Big B ki amar-vyatha got a chapter added when the income tax department  allegedly delivered yet another notice. To which, Big B gave a decent and extremely well-worded reply. In this chhitti-chhitti baatein, Amar Singh again got badi badi time space on channels as he came out to defend his ‘friend’ – he also alleged that Big B is being hounded unnecessarily by someone from a family who was so-nia to them once-upon-a-history!

Bitchy Comment of the Day

Soha Ali Khan states, “People tell me that I look as if I belong to another century. I guess that’s a compliment”. Or perhaps, they mean that she looks like a ghost 😛

Today is World Music Day – and I cannot let this day pass without saying a prayer and thanks to the musical legend who has been one solid constant in my life; one who epitomises music; one who has inspired generations – LATA MANGESHKARji, malady aap ko shat shat pranaam. You are the beginning and end of music!

On this day I also remember and bow before other legends who have colored my life with their golden voices: Mohd. Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Hemant Kumar and Manna Dey. My thanks to Asha Bhonsle for her songs, and also praise to some contemporary voices like Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Shreya and Sonu Nigam.

A day dedicated to music cannot be completed without a mention of three of my most favorite composers – Madan Mohan and Shankar-Jaikishan.

However, there are many others whose contributions have had significant impact on me viz. Naushad, Anil Biswas, Husnlal Bhagatram, SD Burman, C. Ramachandra, Chitragupt, Sardar Mallik, Kalyanji-Anandji, RD Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Bappi Lahiri. My sincere thanks to many contemporary music composers as well , listing them out will not be possible here.

Words add beauty to music. Shailendra, Hasrat Jaipuri, Rajendra Kishan, Raja Mehndi Ali Khan, Shakeel Badayuni, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Anand Bakshi, Javed Akhtar and Gulzar and to many others I have missed out to mention – thanks for your invaluable words which have touched my heart and soul.

Listing out every artiste of each music field is impossible. But everyone’s contribution is always important, and somewhere it does make an impact.

Lastly, my reverance to Goddess Saraswati, who gave this priceless gift to mankind called music!

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Today is Madan Mohan’s Birth Anniversary. Any superlative falls short of capturing even an iota of the genius music maker that he was. His tunes have survived the onslaught of time, price in more ways than one. While his recorded songs continue to regale music lovers, prosthesis even his unused tunes held a life of their own. Perhaps he is the only music composer whose even leftover tunes were re-constructed in a film made thirty years after his demise.

With Lata Mangeshkar he held a special bond, which resulted in those innumerable solos without which the singer’s ouvre would have been woefully empty. And Latadi reciprocated to her ‘Madan Bhaiyaa’ in providing that superior quality of sweetness which is entirely impossible to describe. Each song is complete in itself, away from the films they were embedded in (which were largely box office duds) and not dependant on the artiste’s charisma (which were wooden heroines like Priya Rajvansh in many cases). Madan Mohan’s music truly embodies what Hindi film music should sound like – fit into the story, yet retain its individuality to stand out of it. Perhaps that is why, in his case no one bothers to find out about the film or the heroine!

While Madan Mohan was known more for his ghazals, earning him the sobriquet of ‘King of Ghazals’, yet he has a vast array of other genre numbers as well, some which I highlighted in an earlier post.

Time and again I tried to list out MM-Lata Mangeshkar combine songs, but every time I failed and the post remained incomplete – that’s because it is very tough for me to select just a handful, and remove the others.

Whenever I try to listen to them again to give the list some structure, I am unable to do so, I push away the horrid keyboard and simply immerse myself in those magnificent tunes and that wonderful voice.

Today, I am randomly picking up ten songs – without any order or thought, except that all are superhits, all are greats and all are my favorites. So here we go:

Aaj socha toh aansoon bhar aaye– This song is so fragile and tender that it feels as if it will melt if we touch it. When Lata Mangeshkar sings the lines ‘dil ki naazuk ragein toot-ti hai’ you can feel the pain pulling your heart wretchedly. Using the tune from ‘tum jo mil gaye ho’ as interlude piece has a brilliant effect.

Aapki nazron ne samjha – To me this is a perfect song – in terms of tunes, interlude, singing and lyrics. The rhythm is delightful – like swaying in the breeze. It is said that the director was unhappy with the original song. When he told this to MM, he changed it immediately much to the shock of Latadi who had rehearsed the original number. Can anyone imagine that such a perfect tune has been created in a jiffy?

Agar mujhse mohabbat hai – I love the half rhythm in this one – just like a lady’s hesitant plea asking her love to impart her with all his pain and sorrow.

Betaab dil kee yehi tamanna hai – One great love number that encapstulates sublime feelings of an unruly heart.

Hai isi mein pyaar ki aabroo – The second Anpadh ghazal for which Naushad Sahab was ready to sacrifice all his own music. Again, an extremely soft song which attacks the heart and clasps it tightly to evoke pain at its sweetest best.

Hum Hai Mata-E-Kucha-O-Bazaar ki tarah Dastak‘s music is exemplary. And it won the National Award as well. I love all its songs, but this one is special in my heart. Once more, MM’s favorite instrument sitar finds a pride place. I also adore Rafi’s near whisper-rendered Tumse kahun ek baat paron si halki

Jaana tha humse door bahaane bana liye – I love this towering number for the pained dignity (at accepting one’s loss) it evokes rather than resorting to sentimentalism. Again, MM’s ability to create a very delicate number.

Na tum bewafaa ho na hum bewafaa hai – Another universally appealing song – because in relationships there are times when neither is wrong, yet the paths differ. The steadily rising violin based interludes are smashing.

Naina Barse Rimjhim– Years before I even knew who Lata or Madan Mohan were, this song was a constant favorite we kids used to lisp in antakshris. Since then the song has subconsciously seeped into my being so much so that it is an integral part of my body and soul. Woh Kaun Thi was musically very rich. Hard to decide between this one and Lag jaa gale se phir yeh haseen raat ho na ho. And then there was Jo humne daastaan apni sunaayi as well. Hmmm, exhilirating score!

Woh bhuli daastaan lo phir yaad aa gayi – This number will always be special in my heart, for this is the one number from which my love for MM’s music began. As a kid I hardly understood the profound lyrics, but the brook-like flow of the tune attracted me. Later of course I understood and felt the song. The santoor riffs are mindblowing. My most favorite and oft quoted or sung stanza is the last one ‘Bade rangeen zamaane the, taraane hi taraane the, magar ab poochhta hai dil woh din tha ya fasaane the’

I am listing out a few other gems from this dream team:

Naino mein badra chhaye / Naino waali ek matwaali ne (Mera Saaya)
Rasme ulfat ko nibhaye kaise (Dil Ki Raahein)
Woh dekho jala ghar kisika / Jiya le gayo re mora (Anpadh)
Aapki baatein karein ya apna fasaana kahen (Dil Ki Raahein)
Bairan neend na aaye (Chacha Zindabad)
Chand madham hai aasmaan chup hai (Railway Platform)
Chain nahi aaye kaha bhi na jaaye (Samundar)
Chal diya dil mera tod ke
(Fifty Fifty)
Do Dil Toote Do Dil Haare
(Heer Ranjha)
Ek baat poochhti hoon
(Suhagan)
Chhoti si hai zindagi apni khushi se jee
(Pocket Maar)
Haal e dil yun unhe sunaya gaya (Jahan Ara)
Ja re badra bairi jaa re (Bahana)
Kadam bahke bahke jiya dhadak dhadak jaaye (Bank Manager)
Kai din se jee hai bekal
(Dulhan Ek Raat Ki)
Khelo na mere dil se
(Haqueeqat)
Maai ri / Baiyaan na dharo
(Dastak)
Main toh tum sang nain milake (Manmauji)
Main na janoo mohabbat hai kya / Tum chaand ke saath chale aao
(Ashiana)
Milo Na tum to hum ghabraye
(Heer Ranjha)
Mujhe yaad karne waale
(Rishte Naate)
Pyaar kya hota hai samjhaye koie
(Ek Kali Muskayi)
Ruke Ruke Se Qadam (Mausam)
Teri aankhon ke siva / Chhayi barkha baahar / Bhor hote kaaga / Mere bichhde saathi
(Chirag)
Tum ho saath raat bhi haseen hai , ab to maut ka bhi gham nahin hai ( Mohar )
Tu pyaar kare ya thukraye / Meri veena tum bin roye (Dekh Kabira Roya)
Wo chup rahe toh dil ke daag jalte hai (Adalat)


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Welcome to India’s first superhero; and as that, melanoma visit Krrish does remarkably well. Rakesh Roshan’s films have always been fairly entertaining, grip including the ill-fated Kala Bazar and King Uncle. And now, he has improved vastly on the technical side which makes viewing more pleasurable.


Unless you are a hermit living in a cave, you would know that Krrish is a sequel to Roshan’s previous bumper hit Koi Mil Gaya – where in Rohit and Nisha’s son Krishna is born with all the powers that Jadoo, the extra terrestrial, had imparted Rohit with. Fearing that Krishna might fall into the same deadly fate’s trap as his father, Krishna’s grandmother Shalini Mehra (a suitably aged and wobbly Rekha) keeps her away from the world’s gaze. Krishna grows up in sylvan mountain surroundings, a sort of desi-Tarzan, only he has been given education. It’s a visit from Priya (Priyanka Chopra) from Singapore that begins the journey of the simpleton Krishna to the masked man Krrish. And there, he will also face the wily Dr. Arya (Naseerudin Shah).

The script is taut except for a slight sagging in the first half –which if reduced, could have kept the overall running time also less and more enjoyable. But once Krishna reaches Singapore, it goes into full ballistic. The script adequately peppers Rohit and Nisha’s reason-for-death at suitable places. And yes – an interesting point, which I enjoyed – the past about Rohit and what happens to him after KMG ends, has a very crucial role to play in this film; this is something that has not been talked about in promotions at all, but I feel this itself lends the film a solid weight. What is that? Well, I suggest you go and watch it and enjoy it unfold.

Of course, keeping in mind Indian sensibilities, the superhero is kept rooted in enough song-and-dance-and-emotion. Sensible? For this one, sort of – though I wish there was more of the ‘superhero’ than the normal ‘hero’. Here, the superhero has only a personal agenda. Perhaps if another sequel is made, they could take Krrish’s character further to ‘save the planet’.

The film’s stunts and special effects are extraordinary, especially in Hindi films context. For those who have grown up on Superman/Batman/ Spiderman/Matrix might find it simply ordinary. I had imagined that in sophisticated multiplex-era, the days of clapping at hero’s stunts would be over – but was pleasantly surprised to see a ring of spontaneous clapping when Krrish takes on a posse of villains in the climax.

Rakesh Roshan’s direction is able. He keeps a strong control on the proceedings, and the narrative pace is pretty even.

Hrithik’s performance is superb – in all his various avatars – though at times his constant ‘flying’ and ‘movement’ gets irritating. For example, in the song ‘Koi Tumsa Nahin’ (incidentally, that was the film’s working title) one just wishes that he would stand still instead of yet again dancing.  Priyanka plays a typical heroine and does well for herself, though she needs to do something about her dress-designer! Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah are seasoned performers, they are great.

Rajesh Roshan’s music lacks verve. Salim Sulaiman’s background score is good. Cinematography is awesome – especially the luxuriant and verdant mountain landscape has been captured in fine detail. As Priya says in the film – so soothing, so serene! Dialogues are ok. Editing is slick. Barring ‘Dil na diya’ I found the choreography jarring!

In all, Krrish is a good entertaining film and introduces a new genre to Hindi cinema.

Overall – Time Pass, Watch It!

Welcome to India’s first superhero; and as that, melanoma visit Krrish does remarkably well. Rakesh Roshan’s films have always been fairly entertaining, grip including the ill-fated Kala Bazar and King Uncle. And now, he has improved vastly on the technical side which makes viewing more pleasurable.


Unless you are a hermit living in a cave, you would know that Krrish is a sequel to Roshan’s previous bumper hit Koi Mil Gaya – where in Rohit and Nisha’s son Krishna is born with all the powers that Jadoo, the extra terrestrial, had imparted Rohit with. Fearing that Krishna might fall into the same deadly fate’s trap as his father, Krishna’s grandmother Shalini Mehra (a suitably aged and wobbly Rekha) keeps her away from the world’s gaze. Krishna grows up in sylvan mountain surroundings, a sort of desi-Tarzan, only he has been given education. It’s a visit from Priya (Priyanka Chopra) from Singapore that begins the journey of the simpleton Krishna to the masked man Krrish. And there, he will also face the wily Dr. Arya (Naseerudin Shah).

The script is taut except for a slight sagging in the first half –which if reduced, could have kept the overall running time also less and more enjoyable. But once Krishna reaches Singapore, it goes into full ballistic. The script adequately peppers Rohit and Nisha’s reason-for-death at suitable places. And yes – an interesting point, which I enjoyed – the past about Rohit and what happens to him after KMG ends, has a very crucial role to play in this film; this is something that has not been talked about in promotions at all, but I feel this itself lends the film a solid weight. What is that? Well, I suggest you go and watch it and enjoy it unfold.

Of course, keeping in mind Indian sensibilities, the superhero is kept rooted in enough song-and-dance-and-emotion. Sensible? For this one, sort of – though I wish there was more of the ‘superhero’ than the normal ‘hero’. Here, the superhero has only a personal agenda. Perhaps if another sequel is made, they could take Krrish’s character further to ‘save the planet’.

The film’s stunts and special effects are extraordinary, especially in Hindi films context. For those who have grown up on Superman/Batman/ Spiderman/Matrix might find it simply ordinary. I had imagined that in sophisticated multiplex-era, the days of clapping at hero’s stunts would be over – but was pleasantly surprised to see a ring of spontaneous clapping when Krrish takes on a posse of villains in the climax.

Rakesh Roshan’s direction is able. He keeps a strong control on the proceedings, and the narrative pace is pretty even.

Hrithik’s performance is superb – in all his various avatars – though at times his constant ‘flying’ and ‘movement’ gets irritating. For example, in the song ‘Koi Tumsa Nahin’ (incidentally, that was the film’s working title) one just wishes that he would stand still instead of yet again dancing.  Priyanka plays a typical heroine and does well for herself, though she needs to do something about her dress-designer! Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah are seasoned performers, they are great.

Rajesh Roshan’s music lacks verve. Salim Sulaiman’s background score is good. Cinematography is awesome – especially the luxuriant and verdant mountain landscape has been captured in fine detail. As Priya says in the film – so soothing, so serene! Dialogues are ok. Editing is slick. Barring ‘Dil na diya’ I found the choreography jarring!

In all, Krrish is a good entertaining film and introduces a new genre to Hindi cinema.

Overall – Time Pass, Watch It!

I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
Welcome to India’s first superhero; and as that, melanoma visit Krrish does remarkably well. Rakesh Roshan’s films have always been fairly entertaining, grip including the ill-fated Kala Bazar and King Uncle. And now, he has improved vastly on the technical side which makes viewing more pleasurable.


Unless you are a hermit living in a cave, you would know that Krrish is a sequel to Roshan’s previous bumper hit Koi Mil Gaya – where in Rohit and Nisha’s son Krishna is born with all the powers that Jadoo, the extra terrestrial, had imparted Rohit with. Fearing that Krishna might fall into the same deadly fate’s trap as his father, Krishna’s grandmother Shalini Mehra (a suitably aged and wobbly Rekha) keeps her away from the world’s gaze. Krishna grows up in sylvan mountain surroundings, a sort of desi-Tarzan, only he has been given education. It’s a visit from Priya (Priyanka Chopra) from Singapore that begins the journey of the simpleton Krishna to the masked man Krrish. And there, he will also face the wily Dr. Arya (Naseerudin Shah).

The script is taut except for a slight sagging in the first half –which if reduced, could have kept the overall running time also less and more enjoyable. But once Krishna reaches Singapore, it goes into full ballistic. The script adequately peppers Rohit and Nisha’s reason-for-death at suitable places. And yes – an interesting point, which I enjoyed – the past about Rohit and what happens to him after KMG ends, has a very crucial role to play in this film; this is something that has not been talked about in promotions at all, but I feel this itself lends the film a solid weight. What is that? Well, I suggest you go and watch it and enjoy it unfold.

Of course, keeping in mind Indian sensibilities, the superhero is kept rooted in enough song-and-dance-and-emotion. Sensible? For this one, sort of – though I wish there was more of the ‘superhero’ than the normal ‘hero’. Here, the superhero has only a personal agenda. Perhaps if another sequel is made, they could take Krrish’s character further to ‘save the planet’.

The film’s stunts and special effects are extraordinary, especially in Hindi films context. For those who have grown up on Superman/Batman/ Spiderman/Matrix might find it simply ordinary. I had imagined that in sophisticated multiplex-era, the days of clapping at hero’s stunts would be over – but was pleasantly surprised to see a ring of spontaneous clapping when Krrish takes on a posse of villains in the climax.

Rakesh Roshan’s direction is able. He keeps a strong control on the proceedings, and the narrative pace is pretty even.

Hrithik’s performance is superb – in all his various avatars – though at times his constant ‘flying’ and ‘movement’ gets irritating. For example, in the song ‘Koi Tumsa Nahin’ (incidentally, that was the film’s working title) one just wishes that he would stand still instead of yet again dancing.  Priyanka plays a typical heroine and does well for herself, though she needs to do something about her dress-designer! Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah are seasoned performers, they are great.

Rajesh Roshan’s music lacks verve. Salim Sulaiman’s background score is good. Cinematography is awesome – especially the luxuriant and verdant mountain landscape has been captured in fine detail. As Priya says in the film – so soothing, so serene! Dialogues are ok. Editing is slick. Barring ‘Dil na diya’ I found the choreography jarring!

In all, Krrish is a good entertaining film and introduces a new genre to Hindi cinema.

Overall – Time Pass, Watch It!

I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.
Welcome to India’s first superhero; and as that, melanoma visit Krrish does remarkably well. Rakesh Roshan’s films have always been fairly entertaining, grip including the ill-fated Kala Bazar and King Uncle. And now, he has improved vastly on the technical side which makes viewing more pleasurable.


Unless you are a hermit living in a cave, you would know that Krrish is a sequel to Roshan’s previous bumper hit Koi Mil Gaya – where in Rohit and Nisha’s son Krishna is born with all the powers that Jadoo, the extra terrestrial, had imparted Rohit with. Fearing that Krishna might fall into the same deadly fate’s trap as his father, Krishna’s grandmother Shalini Mehra (a suitably aged and wobbly Rekha) keeps her away from the world’s gaze. Krishna grows up in sylvan mountain surroundings, a sort of desi-Tarzan, only he has been given education. It’s a visit from Priya (Priyanka Chopra) from Singapore that begins the journey of the simpleton Krishna to the masked man Krrish. And there, he will also face the wily Dr. Arya (Naseerudin Shah).

The script is taut except for a slight sagging in the first half –which if reduced, could have kept the overall running time also less and more enjoyable. But once Krishna reaches Singapore, it goes into full ballistic. The script adequately peppers Rohit and Nisha’s reason-for-death at suitable places. And yes – an interesting point, which I enjoyed – the past about Rohit and what happens to him after KMG ends, has a very crucial role to play in this film; this is something that has not been talked about in promotions at all, but I feel this itself lends the film a solid weight. What is that? Well, I suggest you go and watch it and enjoy it unfold.

Of course, keeping in mind Indian sensibilities, the superhero is kept rooted in enough song-and-dance-and-emotion. Sensible? For this one, sort of – though I wish there was more of the ‘superhero’ than the normal ‘hero’. Here, the superhero has only a personal agenda. Perhaps if another sequel is made, they could take Krrish’s character further to ‘save the planet’.

The film’s stunts and special effects are extraordinary, especially in Hindi films context. For those who have grown up on Superman/Batman/ Spiderman/Matrix might find it simply ordinary. I had imagined that in sophisticated multiplex-era, the days of clapping at hero’s stunts would be over – but was pleasantly surprised to see a ring of spontaneous clapping when Krrish takes on a posse of villains in the climax.

Rakesh Roshan’s direction is able. He keeps a strong control on the proceedings, and the narrative pace is pretty even.

Hrithik’s performance is superb – in all his various avatars – though at times his constant ‘flying’ and ‘movement’ gets irritating. For example, in the song ‘Koi Tumsa Nahin’ (incidentally, that was the film’s working title) one just wishes that he would stand still instead of yet again dancing.  Priyanka plays a typical heroine and does well for herself, though she needs to do something about her dress-designer! Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah are seasoned performers, they are great.

Rajesh Roshan’s music lacks verve. Salim Sulaiman’s background score is good. Cinematography is awesome – especially the luxuriant and verdant mountain landscape has been captured in fine detail. As Priya says in the film – so soothing, so serene! Dialogues are ok. Editing is slick. Barring ‘Dil na diya’ I found the choreography jarring!

In all, Krrish is a good entertaining film and introduces a new genre to Hindi cinema.

Overall – Time Pass, Watch It!

I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.

Aajao ke sab milke rab se dua maange
Jeevan mein sukoon chaahen
Chaahat mein wafaa maangein
Haalaat badalne mein ab der na ho maalik
Jo dekh chuke phir andher na ho maalik

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaara
Is tere jahaan mein
Nahi koi hamaara
Hey Ishwar Ya Allah yeh pukaar sunle
Hey Ishwar Ya Allah hey daata

Humse na dekha jaaye
Barbaadiyon ka sama
Ujadi hui basti mein
Yeh tadap rahe insaan
Nanhe jismon ke tukde
Liye khadi ek maa
Baarood ke dhuen mein
Tu hi bol jaayen kahan

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaaraa…

Naadan hain hum to maalik
Kyun di humein yeh sazaa
Yahaan hai sabhi ke dil mein
Nafrat ka zahar bhara
Inhe phir se yaad dilade
Sabak wohi pyaar ke
Ban jaaye gulshan phir se
Kaanton bhari yeh duniya

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaaraa…

– Lyric: Majrooh Sultanpuri
– Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

My prayers and wishes with all Mumbaikars in their tough times.


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Welcome to India’s first superhero; and as that, melanoma visit Krrish does remarkably well. Rakesh Roshan’s films have always been fairly entertaining, grip including the ill-fated Kala Bazar and King Uncle. And now, he has improved vastly on the technical side which makes viewing more pleasurable.


Unless you are a hermit living in a cave, you would know that Krrish is a sequel to Roshan’s previous bumper hit Koi Mil Gaya – where in Rohit and Nisha’s son Krishna is born with all the powers that Jadoo, the extra terrestrial, had imparted Rohit with. Fearing that Krishna might fall into the same deadly fate’s trap as his father, Krishna’s grandmother Shalini Mehra (a suitably aged and wobbly Rekha) keeps her away from the world’s gaze. Krishna grows up in sylvan mountain surroundings, a sort of desi-Tarzan, only he has been given education. It’s a visit from Priya (Priyanka Chopra) from Singapore that begins the journey of the simpleton Krishna to the masked man Krrish. And there, he will also face the wily Dr. Arya (Naseerudin Shah).

The script is taut except for a slight sagging in the first half –which if reduced, could have kept the overall running time also less and more enjoyable. But once Krishna reaches Singapore, it goes into full ballistic. The script adequately peppers Rohit and Nisha’s reason-for-death at suitable places. And yes – an interesting point, which I enjoyed – the past about Rohit and what happens to him after KMG ends, has a very crucial role to play in this film; this is something that has not been talked about in promotions at all, but I feel this itself lends the film a solid weight. What is that? Well, I suggest you go and watch it and enjoy it unfold.

Of course, keeping in mind Indian sensibilities, the superhero is kept rooted in enough song-and-dance-and-emotion. Sensible? For this one, sort of – though I wish there was more of the ‘superhero’ than the normal ‘hero’. Here, the superhero has only a personal agenda. Perhaps if another sequel is made, they could take Krrish’s character further to ‘save the planet’.

The film’s stunts and special effects are extraordinary, especially in Hindi films context. For those who have grown up on Superman/Batman/ Spiderman/Matrix might find it simply ordinary. I had imagined that in sophisticated multiplex-era, the days of clapping at hero’s stunts would be over – but was pleasantly surprised to see a ring of spontaneous clapping when Krrish takes on a posse of villains in the climax.

Rakesh Roshan’s direction is able. He keeps a strong control on the proceedings, and the narrative pace is pretty even.

Hrithik’s performance is superb – in all his various avatars – though at times his constant ‘flying’ and ‘movement’ gets irritating. For example, in the song ‘Koi Tumsa Nahin’ (incidentally, that was the film’s working title) one just wishes that he would stand still instead of yet again dancing.  Priyanka plays a typical heroine and does well for herself, though she needs to do something about her dress-designer! Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah are seasoned performers, they are great.

Rajesh Roshan’s music lacks verve. Salim Sulaiman’s background score is good. Cinematography is awesome – especially the luxuriant and verdant mountain landscape has been captured in fine detail. As Priya says in the film – so soothing, so serene! Dialogues are ok. Editing is slick. Barring ‘Dil na diya’ I found the choreography jarring!

In all, Krrish is a good entertaining film and introduces a new genre to Hindi cinema.

Overall – Time Pass, Watch It!

I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.

Aajao ke sab milke rab se dua maange
Jeevan mein sukoon chaahen
Chaahat mein wafaa maangein
Haalaat badalne mein ab der na ho maalik
Jo dekh chuke phir andher na ho maalik

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaara
Is tere jahaan mein
Nahi koi hamaara
Hey Ishwar Ya Allah yeh pukaar sunle
Hey Ishwar Ya Allah hey daata

Humse na dekha jaaye
Barbaadiyon ka sama
Ujadi hui basti mein
Yeh tadap rahe insaan
Nanhe jismon ke tukde
Liye khadi ek maa
Baarood ke dhuen mein
Tu hi bol jaayen kahan

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaaraa…

Naadan hain hum to maalik
Kyun di humein yeh sazaa
Yahaan hai sabhi ke dil mein
Nafrat ka zahar bhara
Inhe phir se yaad dilade
Sabak wohi pyaar ke
Ban jaaye gulshan phir se
Kaanton bhari yeh duniya

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaaraa…

– Lyric: Majrooh Sultanpuri
– Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

My prayers and wishes with all Mumbaikars in their tough times.


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Two days something or the other has gone wrong with this page – hope today is fine. Day before yesterday I was at my sister’s place. From there I wrote a lengthy post. However some software installed in  my brother in law’s laptop clashed with wordpress and the post didn’t get published. I tried recreating the post in the night, viagra dosage but somehow the flow and narrative was just not happening, angina so I abandoned it.

Yesterday, I wrote a small piece. It got published. But I noticed a grammatical error and entered the site admin  to correct it. In my hurry, and goodness knows what state of my mind, instead of pressing ‘save’ I clicked ‘delete’. That was the end of that post, which I think a few readers like Mehak did read.

And now I write this one. I am saving it, and will be back with some more chit chat very soon. So don’t go away from here.
Welcome to India’s first superhero; and as that, melanoma visit Krrish does remarkably well. Rakesh Roshan’s films have always been fairly entertaining, grip including the ill-fated Kala Bazar and King Uncle. And now, he has improved vastly on the technical side which makes viewing more pleasurable.


Unless you are a hermit living in a cave, you would know that Krrish is a sequel to Roshan’s previous bumper hit Koi Mil Gaya – where in Rohit and Nisha’s son Krishna is born with all the powers that Jadoo, the extra terrestrial, had imparted Rohit with. Fearing that Krishna might fall into the same deadly fate’s trap as his father, Krishna’s grandmother Shalini Mehra (a suitably aged and wobbly Rekha) keeps her away from the world’s gaze. Krishna grows up in sylvan mountain surroundings, a sort of desi-Tarzan, only he has been given education. It’s a visit from Priya (Priyanka Chopra) from Singapore that begins the journey of the simpleton Krishna to the masked man Krrish. And there, he will also face the wily Dr. Arya (Naseerudin Shah).

The script is taut except for a slight sagging in the first half –which if reduced, could have kept the overall running time also less and more enjoyable. But once Krishna reaches Singapore, it goes into full ballistic. The script adequately peppers Rohit and Nisha’s reason-for-death at suitable places. And yes – an interesting point, which I enjoyed – the past about Rohit and what happens to him after KMG ends, has a very crucial role to play in this film; this is something that has not been talked about in promotions at all, but I feel this itself lends the film a solid weight. What is that? Well, I suggest you go and watch it and enjoy it unfold.

Of course, keeping in mind Indian sensibilities, the superhero is kept rooted in enough song-and-dance-and-emotion. Sensible? For this one, sort of – though I wish there was more of the ‘superhero’ than the normal ‘hero’. Here, the superhero has only a personal agenda. Perhaps if another sequel is made, they could take Krrish’s character further to ‘save the planet’.

The film’s stunts and special effects are extraordinary, especially in Hindi films context. For those who have grown up on Superman/Batman/ Spiderman/Matrix might find it simply ordinary. I had imagined that in sophisticated multiplex-era, the days of clapping at hero’s stunts would be over – but was pleasantly surprised to see a ring of spontaneous clapping when Krrish takes on a posse of villains in the climax.

Rakesh Roshan’s direction is able. He keeps a strong control on the proceedings, and the narrative pace is pretty even.

Hrithik’s performance is superb – in all his various avatars – though at times his constant ‘flying’ and ‘movement’ gets irritating. For example, in the song ‘Koi Tumsa Nahin’ (incidentally, that was the film’s working title) one just wishes that he would stand still instead of yet again dancing.  Priyanka plays a typical heroine and does well for herself, though she needs to do something about her dress-designer! Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah are seasoned performers, they are great.

Rajesh Roshan’s music lacks verve. Salim Sulaiman’s background score is good. Cinematography is awesome – especially the luxuriant and verdant mountain landscape has been captured in fine detail. As Priya says in the film – so soothing, so serene! Dialogues are ok. Editing is slick. Barring ‘Dil na diya’ I found the choreography jarring!

In all, Krrish is a good entertaining film and introduces a new genre to Hindi cinema.

Overall – Time Pass, Watch It!

I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.

Aajao ke sab milke rab se dua maange
Jeevan mein sukoon chaahen
Chaahat mein wafaa maangein
Haalaat badalne mein ab der na ho maalik
Jo dekh chuke phir andher na ho maalik

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaara
Is tere jahaan mein
Nahi koi hamaara
Hey Ishwar Ya Allah yeh pukaar sunle
Hey Ishwar Ya Allah hey daata

Humse na dekha jaaye
Barbaadiyon ka sama
Ujadi hui basti mein
Yeh tadap rahe insaan
Nanhe jismon ke tukde
Liye khadi ek maa
Baarood ke dhuen mein
Tu hi bol jaayen kahan

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaaraa…

Naadan hain hum to maalik
Kyun di humein yeh sazaa
Yahaan hai sabhi ke dil mein
Nafrat ka zahar bhara
Inhe phir se yaad dilade
Sabak wohi pyaar ke
Ban jaaye gulshan phir se
Kaanton bhari yeh duniya

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaaraa…

– Lyric: Majrooh Sultanpuri
– Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

My prayers and wishes with all Mumbaikars in their tough times.


Technorati : , malady

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Two days something or the other has gone wrong with this page – hope today is fine. Day before yesterday I was at my sister’s place. From there I wrote a lengthy post. However some software installed in  my brother in law’s laptop clashed with wordpress and the post didn’t get published. I tried recreating the post in the night, viagra dosage but somehow the flow and narrative was just not happening, angina so I abandoned it.

Yesterday, I wrote a small piece. It got published. But I noticed a grammatical error and entered the site admin  to correct it. In my hurry, and goodness knows what state of my mind, instead of pressing ‘save’ I clicked ‘delete’. That was the end of that post, which I think a few readers like Mehak did read.

And now I write this one. I am saving it, and will be back with some more chit chat very soon. So don’t go away from here.

In films, sildenafil mujras hold a special place. And for me, resuscitation a bit of a fascination.   

The thought, clinic of sitting comfortably on a thick cushion blowing on an ornate hookah and sipping wine served in thick silver glasses while a lady in a bright zardozi-laced dress, ornamental jewelery and aalta-smeared feet dances to the melodious strains of sitarghoongroosarangi-and-tabla, is quite an interesting and nawabi one. Dont get me wrong. I have never visited a ‘kotha‘ ever, its just a sort of fantasy which stems out from seeing the myriad mujra songs in films. Bollywood films can go awfully wrong in depicting many things, and often stick rigidly to conventional stereotypes, so I could be incorrect in my vision – any reader who has visited one can inform the same, either on the site or a personal mail (secrecy guaranteed) 😛

Anyways, jokes apart, the mujra songs have their own life. They come in all sizes and shapes :  from the classy Chalte chalte yunhi koi mil gaya tha (Pakeezah) to the crassy Kaahe saiyan teri meri baat bane naahi (Dayawan); from the lyrically charged Dil cheez kya hai (Umrao Jaan) to the lyrically debauched Mujrewali hoon mujra karti hoon (Awaargi); from a dulcet Lata’s Pyar kiya to darna kya (MeA) to a screechy Alka’s Tawaif kahan kisi se mohabbat karti hai (Amiri Garibi) – you will find a variety of them in films pre-current-millenium. Whatever the song be, the fallen woman was always elevated by strong musical muscles. Now, the place of a mujra has been taken by item numbers.

Broadly the mujras can be divided into two categories – one, where the heroine is a tawaif, or becomes one – here,  expect some highly philosophical songs on love and life; two, where the tawaif is a mere side-prop to tittilate the villain (or a wronged hero) , most such songs will be more noise than substance – of course the two categories overlap, and exceptions exist in both.

So, here I list a few mujra numbers sung by Lata Mangeshkar – let’s see how many of them match with your own. In the list I have taken some songs that might not be exactly a hard-core mujra but has been picturised on a ‘kotha‘, hence here. In most, Lata’s pristine voice helped a great deal in establishing the purity and freshness of the lady-in-wrong-trade!

Salaam-e-ishq meri jaan zaraa kabool kar lo  – Muqaddar Ka Sikandar – the mother of all mujras in terms of popularity and reach. Rekha and Amitabh scorches on-screen while Lata and Kishore ignite with their sparkling vocals. As I said, Lata’s voice gave a gilt-edged glitter to Rekha’s, giving life to her love and passion which transcended the dirty limits of her profession. 

Chalte chalte yunhi koi mil gaya tha  /  Thaare rahiyo o baanke yaar  /  Inhi logon nePaakeezah – outstanding music in all, lovely songs, and the best movie on the life of a nautch girl. And thank God for ‘thaare rahiyo’ without which antakshri gets impossibly stuck if you get the letter ‘tha‘. The beats in ‘Chalte chalte’ are mesmerising while Lata’s voice is impeccably thoughtful and seductive at the same time, as required by the song’s mood! 

Mujhe rab jo kahe tujhe chhod doonUstaad  –  One of the good old Anu Mallik numbers in which he accompanies the diva with his raspy voice. Picturised on Jaya Prada and Vinod Khanna. Very good interludes, an easy tune and fine singing make the song a winner. 

Unko yeh shikaayat hai  – Adalat – Madan Mohan and Lata Mangeshkar combine for this collossal score. Not exactly in the true mujra format. Nevertheless, a great song. 

Kya kahen aaj kya ho gayaTeri Paayal Mere Geet –  A later stage Naushad-Lata combination in a flop Govinda-Meenakshi starrer. The film was boring, the songs werent. This, and ‘Mohabbat ka ek devtaa mila’ were excellent numbers. 

Jab pyaar kiya toh darna kyaMughal E Azam – A song that needs no introduction or description – its an all time any time hit! 

Thoda resham lagta hai thoda sheesha lagta hai – Jyoti  – The song that triggered the remix malaise in the country was a forgotten number till it appeared in some english rap song, and from thereon to Harry Anand’s remix factory. As ever, I prefer the original. Good music, nice tabla and Lata’s awesome voice!  

Mujre ki hai yeh raat aakhriYudh – The sole Lata and old fashioned number in an otherwise techno-induced heave ho typical eighties score. Though Kalyanji Anandji were officially credited as music directors, I suspect Viju Shah’s handiwork in the score. However, this Lata mujra picturised on the ever-ethereal Hema Malini retained a old-worldly charm and was listenable. 

Jind le gaya woh dil ka jaaniAap Ke Saath – Again, not a typical mujra, but was picturised on the kotha itself with Smita Patil lamenting the loss of her love. Strangely, most T-series cassettes carry the Anuradha Paudwal scratch version. It is with great difficulty that I found the proper Lata Mangeshkar one. 

Lo saahib mai bhool gayi yaad mujhe kuchh aaya thaMaati Maange Khoon – a newly aquired number in my collection, it’s a superb number with the sound of ghungroos reverbarating menacingly within the sorrowful premise. RD Burman provides thumping music; the varying rhythm and beats add to the listening thrill ! 

Kab talak shama jali yaad nahi, shaam e gham kaise dhali yaad nahiPainter Babu – Uttam-Jagdish’s debut film had this top song. The rest were pretty chaaloo kinds. A detailed note on the song is available on my older site. Read here.

Sanam tu bewafaa ke naam se mashhoor ho jaayeKhilona – quite a typical L-P song from seventies, like it only for Lata Mangeshkar’s voice. Two more similar numbers follow the list immd. this one.  

Humhin karen koi soorat unhe bulaane ki, suna hai unnko toh aadat hai bhool jaane ki  – Ek Nazar –  another song which is similar in flavor as the above one. Same musical team of L-P-Lata. The film had one more mujra, Pahle sau baar idhar aur udhar dekha hai

Sharaafat chhod di maineSharafat – A third similar number from L-P stable , once again with Lata’s lovely voice at the helm. 

Atharah baras ki tu hone ko aayi  /   Imtehaan hai aaj tera imtehaan hai  – Of the two Suhaag numbers, I love the latter one. It gives a good lesson on non-drinking. Plus, as a kid I used to often hum the opening lines on any exam day 😛 so the number is intertwined with vivid childhood memories.  And Rekha’s has perfected her courtesan act. (Aishwarya Rai will find it impossible to match it with her limited acting skills in the new version of Umrao Jaan). 

Toone har raat mohabbat ki kasam khaai haiGanga Ki Saugandh – A double edged sword of a number that has sweetness on one edge and vitriolic filled sharpness on the other. Awesomely sung, as ever, by Lata Mangeshkar. (The theme song of this film, also by Lataji,  was quite a big hit). 

Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya – Unreleased Devdas – I reckon the song would have been picturised on Chandramukhi, though i m not sure. A very nice song overall. Quintessential Gulzar lyric with Pancham’s melodious music. 

Jise tu qabool karle woh sadaa kahan se laaoonDevdas (old) – Obviously  the song would be on Chandramukhi. The lyrics are so very apparant. But was this picturised as a mujra or just a love song? SD Burman’s music in this one.

Raat bhi hai kuchh bheegi bheegiMujhe Jeene Do – A very romantic number with just that right tinge of suggestive element beyond the innocence. Lata’s chham chham in the mukhda is more melodious than the sound of ghoongroos even. As I wrote once, I love Lata’s singing in a semi-ghabrahat, semi-hopeful way, and of course, her ‘haaye’ can never leave me unstirred. 

Tadap yeh din raat ki  kasak yeh bin baat kiAmrapali – this love-deprived courtesan’s quivering call for romance is unarguably a sensuous and scintillatiing number – Lata’s voice is a mix between purity, pain and playfulness as she sighs ‘sajan ab to bata de, bata de’… Shankar Jaikishan whip up an emotional storm with their choral sitars. 

Kaun anjaame ulfat nahi jaantaHera Pheri (old) – is this a mujra or not? Not sure now, but i enjoy the song. 

Mai har raat jaagi … tumhari qasam tum bahut yaad aayeGaban – I could be way off the mark with this one – so members please help. Somehow the sitar-and-tabla based music makes it sound like a mujra, though I cant be sure. As a song it’s a topper! Music is by Shankar Jaikishan, and I marvel at the way repetition of lines in the antaras are built by them!

Chham chham chham badra barse, rut barse jiyara tarseBarkha Bahaar – a still podgy and dusky Rekha dances to Lata’s mellifluous voice in this flop Navin Nischol starrer. 

Mai tawaif hoon    /      Mere naina saawan bhaadonMehbooba – The latter song is part haunting, part mujra… part classical, part populist… this monumental RDB number was a chartbuster at that time. Personally, from this film, my evergreen fav is the love duet ‘Parbat ke peechhe chambe da gaaon’. There was a more on the face number ‘mai tawaif hoon mujra karoongi’ as well. The movie, on reincarnation, was far inferior to the same lead pair’s other classic on the same theme (Kudrat).

Ek dukhiyaari kahe baat yeh rote roteRam Teri Ganga Maili – the visual in the prelude, where champagne flows lustily into the pure Ganga, is a very cutting critique on post-modernist moral paucity – that was a superb directorial touch from master storyteller Raj Kapoor. The song itself is wrought with intricate images – the diamond soul wrapped in the soiled skin or the similarity betn a woman and the river … its a great theme song with an admirable picturisation. 

These are the ones that I could recall when I first wrote the post for some other group. There were more additions done later on , eg  Raina beeti jaaye from Amar Prem (not a mujra,per se but still picturised on a kotha, hence can be added here),  Rahte the kabhi jinke dil mein ( Mamta ) and  O Aaanewaale ruk ja (Devdas).

Sister Asha Bhonsle also has many memorable mujras – from Umrao Jaan, Tawaif, to name a few hit films- but I am not too keen to go into those details. However, still I  will end this post with one unknown gem from her ouvre.

Kaise mukhde se nazrein uthaaye ke tujh mein hi rab dikhtaEnglish Babu Desi Mem – It’s a bit hard to swallow that this shimmering number is created by Nikhil-Vinay. But as they are officially credited, I will go by it. The song has a faint qawaali tinge to it and the lyrics are nice. To top it all, there is an ethereal looking Sonali Bendre dancing to the beats in a flaming red dress – the overall effect is fantastic!

Welcome to India’s first superhero; and as that, melanoma visit Krrish does remarkably well. Rakesh Roshan’s films have always been fairly entertaining, grip including the ill-fated Kala Bazar and King Uncle. And now, he has improved vastly on the technical side which makes viewing more pleasurable.


Unless you are a hermit living in a cave, you would know that Krrish is a sequel to Roshan’s previous bumper hit Koi Mil Gaya – where in Rohit and Nisha’s son Krishna is born with all the powers that Jadoo, the extra terrestrial, had imparted Rohit with. Fearing that Krishna might fall into the same deadly fate’s trap as his father, Krishna’s grandmother Shalini Mehra (a suitably aged and wobbly Rekha) keeps her away from the world’s gaze. Krishna grows up in sylvan mountain surroundings, a sort of desi-Tarzan, only he has been given education. It’s a visit from Priya (Priyanka Chopra) from Singapore that begins the journey of the simpleton Krishna to the masked man Krrish. And there, he will also face the wily Dr. Arya (Naseerudin Shah).

The script is taut except for a slight sagging in the first half –which if reduced, could have kept the overall running time also less and more enjoyable. But once Krishna reaches Singapore, it goes into full ballistic. The script adequately peppers Rohit and Nisha’s reason-for-death at suitable places. And yes – an interesting point, which I enjoyed – the past about Rohit and what happens to him after KMG ends, has a very crucial role to play in this film; this is something that has not been talked about in promotions at all, but I feel this itself lends the film a solid weight. What is that? Well, I suggest you go and watch it and enjoy it unfold.

Of course, keeping in mind Indian sensibilities, the superhero is kept rooted in enough song-and-dance-and-emotion. Sensible? For this one, sort of – though I wish there was more of the ‘superhero’ than the normal ‘hero’. Here, the superhero has only a personal agenda. Perhaps if another sequel is made, they could take Krrish’s character further to ‘save the planet’.

The film’s stunts and special effects are extraordinary, especially in Hindi films context. For those who have grown up on Superman/Batman/ Spiderman/Matrix might find it simply ordinary. I had imagined that in sophisticated multiplex-era, the days of clapping at hero’s stunts would be over – but was pleasantly surprised to see a ring of spontaneous clapping when Krrish takes on a posse of villains in the climax.

Rakesh Roshan’s direction is able. He keeps a strong control on the proceedings, and the narrative pace is pretty even.

Hrithik’s performance is superb – in all his various avatars – though at times his constant ‘flying’ and ‘movement’ gets irritating. For example, in the song ‘Koi Tumsa Nahin’ (incidentally, that was the film’s working title) one just wishes that he would stand still instead of yet again dancing.  Priyanka plays a typical heroine and does well for herself, though she needs to do something about her dress-designer! Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah are seasoned performers, they are great.

Rajesh Roshan’s music lacks verve. Salim Sulaiman’s background score is good. Cinematography is awesome – especially the luxuriant and verdant mountain landscape has been captured in fine detail. As Priya says in the film – so soothing, so serene! Dialogues are ok. Editing is slick. Barring ‘Dil na diya’ I found the choreography jarring!

In all, Krrish is a good entertaining film and introduces a new genre to Hindi cinema.

Overall – Time Pass, Watch It!

I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.

Aajao ke sab milke rab se dua maange
Jeevan mein sukoon chaahen
Chaahat mein wafaa maangein
Haalaat badalne mein ab der na ho maalik
Jo dekh chuke phir andher na ho maalik

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaara
Is tere jahaan mein
Nahi koi hamaara
Hey Ishwar Ya Allah yeh pukaar sunle
Hey Ishwar Ya Allah hey daata

Humse na dekha jaaye
Barbaadiyon ka sama
Ujadi hui basti mein
Yeh tadap rahe insaan
Nanhe jismon ke tukde
Liye khadi ek maa
Baarood ke dhuen mein
Tu hi bol jaayen kahan

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaaraa…

Naadan hain hum to maalik
Kyun di humein yeh sazaa
Yahaan hai sabhi ke dil mein
Nafrat ka zahar bhara
Inhe phir se yaad dilade
Sabak wohi pyaar ke
Ban jaaye gulshan phir se
Kaanton bhari yeh duniya

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaaraa…

– Lyric: Majrooh Sultanpuri
– Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

My prayers and wishes with all Mumbaikars in their tough times.


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Two days something or the other has gone wrong with this page – hope today is fine. Day before yesterday I was at my sister’s place. From there I wrote a lengthy post. However some software installed in  my brother in law’s laptop clashed with wordpress and the post didn’t get published. I tried recreating the post in the night, viagra dosage but somehow the flow and narrative was just not happening, angina so I abandoned it.

Yesterday, I wrote a small piece. It got published. But I noticed a grammatical error and entered the site admin  to correct it. In my hurry, and goodness knows what state of my mind, instead of pressing ‘save’ I clicked ‘delete’. That was the end of that post, which I think a few readers like Mehak did read.

And now I write this one. I am saving it, and will be back with some more chit chat very soon. So don’t go away from here.

In films, sildenafil mujras hold a special place. And for me, resuscitation a bit of a fascination.   

The thought, clinic of sitting comfortably on a thick cushion blowing on an ornate hookah and sipping wine served in thick silver glasses while a lady in a bright zardozi-laced dress, ornamental jewelery and aalta-smeared feet dances to the melodious strains of sitarghoongroosarangi-and-tabla, is quite an interesting and nawabi one. Dont get me wrong. I have never visited a ‘kotha‘ ever, its just a sort of fantasy which stems out from seeing the myriad mujra songs in films. Bollywood films can go awfully wrong in depicting many things, and often stick rigidly to conventional stereotypes, so I could be incorrect in my vision – any reader who has visited one can inform the same, either on the site or a personal mail (secrecy guaranteed) 😛

Anyways, jokes apart, the mujra songs have their own life. They come in all sizes and shapes :  from the classy Chalte chalte yunhi koi mil gaya tha (Pakeezah) to the crassy Kaahe saiyan teri meri baat bane naahi (Dayawan); from the lyrically charged Dil cheez kya hai (Umrao Jaan) to the lyrically debauched Mujrewali hoon mujra karti hoon (Awaargi); from a dulcet Lata’s Pyar kiya to darna kya (MeA) to a screechy Alka’s Tawaif kahan kisi se mohabbat karti hai (Amiri Garibi) – you will find a variety of them in films pre-current-millenium. Whatever the song be, the fallen woman was always elevated by strong musical muscles. Now, the place of a mujra has been taken by item numbers.

Broadly the mujras can be divided into two categories – one, where the heroine is a tawaif, or becomes one – here,  expect some highly philosophical songs on love and life; two, where the tawaif is a mere side-prop to tittilate the villain (or a wronged hero) , most such songs will be more noise than substance – of course the two categories overlap, and exceptions exist in both.

So, here I list a few mujra numbers sung by Lata Mangeshkar – let’s see how many of them match with your own. In the list I have taken some songs that might not be exactly a hard-core mujra but has been picturised on a ‘kotha‘, hence here. In most, Lata’s pristine voice helped a great deal in establishing the purity and freshness of the lady-in-wrong-trade!

Salaam-e-ishq meri jaan zaraa kabool kar lo  – Muqaddar Ka Sikandar – the mother of all mujras in terms of popularity and reach. Rekha and Amitabh scorches on-screen while Lata and Kishore ignite with their sparkling vocals. As I said, Lata’s voice gave a gilt-edged glitter to Rekha’s, giving life to her love and passion which transcended the dirty limits of her profession. 

Chalte chalte yunhi koi mil gaya tha  /  Thaare rahiyo o baanke yaar  /  Inhi logon nePaakeezah – outstanding music in all, lovely songs, and the best movie on the life of a nautch girl. And thank God for ‘thaare rahiyo’ without which antakshri gets impossibly stuck if you get the letter ‘tha‘. The beats in ‘Chalte chalte’ are mesmerising while Lata’s voice is impeccably thoughtful and seductive at the same time, as required by the song’s mood! 

Mujhe rab jo kahe tujhe chhod doonUstaad  –  One of the good old Anu Mallik numbers in which he accompanies the diva with his raspy voice. Picturised on Jaya Prada and Vinod Khanna. Very good interludes, an easy tune and fine singing make the song a winner. 

Unko yeh shikaayat hai  – Adalat – Madan Mohan and Lata Mangeshkar combine for this collossal score. Not exactly in the true mujra format. Nevertheless, a great song. 

Kya kahen aaj kya ho gayaTeri Paayal Mere Geet –  A later stage Naushad-Lata combination in a flop Govinda-Meenakshi starrer. The film was boring, the songs werent. This, and ‘Mohabbat ka ek devtaa mila’ were excellent numbers. 

Jab pyaar kiya toh darna kyaMughal E Azam – A song that needs no introduction or description – its an all time any time hit! 

Thoda resham lagta hai thoda sheesha lagta hai – Jyoti  – The song that triggered the remix malaise in the country was a forgotten number till it appeared in some english rap song, and from thereon to Harry Anand’s remix factory. As ever, I prefer the original. Good music, nice tabla and Lata’s awesome voice!  

Mujre ki hai yeh raat aakhriYudh – The sole Lata and old fashioned number in an otherwise techno-induced heave ho typical eighties score. Though Kalyanji Anandji were officially credited as music directors, I suspect Viju Shah’s handiwork in the score. However, this Lata mujra picturised on the ever-ethereal Hema Malini retained a old-worldly charm and was listenable. 

Jind le gaya woh dil ka jaaniAap Ke Saath – Again, not a typical mujra, but was picturised on the kotha itself with Smita Patil lamenting the loss of her love. Strangely, most T-series cassettes carry the Anuradha Paudwal scratch version. It is with great difficulty that I found the proper Lata Mangeshkar one. 

Lo saahib mai bhool gayi yaad mujhe kuchh aaya thaMaati Maange Khoon – a newly aquired number in my collection, it’s a superb number with the sound of ghungroos reverbarating menacingly within the sorrowful premise. RD Burman provides thumping music; the varying rhythm and beats add to the listening thrill ! 

Kab talak shama jali yaad nahi, shaam e gham kaise dhali yaad nahiPainter Babu – Uttam-Jagdish’s debut film had this top song. The rest were pretty chaaloo kinds. A detailed note on the song is available on my older site. Read here.

Sanam tu bewafaa ke naam se mashhoor ho jaayeKhilona – quite a typical L-P song from seventies, like it only for Lata Mangeshkar’s voice. Two more similar numbers follow the list immd. this one.  

Humhin karen koi soorat unhe bulaane ki, suna hai unnko toh aadat hai bhool jaane ki  – Ek Nazar –  another song which is similar in flavor as the above one. Same musical team of L-P-Lata. The film had one more mujra, Pahle sau baar idhar aur udhar dekha hai

Sharaafat chhod di maineSharafat – A third similar number from L-P stable , once again with Lata’s lovely voice at the helm. 

Atharah baras ki tu hone ko aayi  /   Imtehaan hai aaj tera imtehaan hai  – Of the two Suhaag numbers, I love the latter one. It gives a good lesson on non-drinking. Plus, as a kid I used to often hum the opening lines on any exam day 😛 so the number is intertwined with vivid childhood memories.  And Rekha’s has perfected her courtesan act. (Aishwarya Rai will find it impossible to match it with her limited acting skills in the new version of Umrao Jaan). 

Toone har raat mohabbat ki kasam khaai haiGanga Ki Saugandh – A double edged sword of a number that has sweetness on one edge and vitriolic filled sharpness on the other. Awesomely sung, as ever, by Lata Mangeshkar. (The theme song of this film, also by Lataji,  was quite a big hit). 

Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya – Unreleased Devdas – I reckon the song would have been picturised on Chandramukhi, though i m not sure. A very nice song overall. Quintessential Gulzar lyric with Pancham’s melodious music. 

Jise tu qabool karle woh sadaa kahan se laaoonDevdas (old) – Obviously  the song would be on Chandramukhi. The lyrics are so very apparant. But was this picturised as a mujra or just a love song? SD Burman’s music in this one.

Raat bhi hai kuchh bheegi bheegiMujhe Jeene Do – A very romantic number with just that right tinge of suggestive element beyond the innocence. Lata’s chham chham in the mukhda is more melodious than the sound of ghoongroos even. As I wrote once, I love Lata’s singing in a semi-ghabrahat, semi-hopeful way, and of course, her ‘haaye’ can never leave me unstirred. 

Tadap yeh din raat ki  kasak yeh bin baat kiAmrapali – this love-deprived courtesan’s quivering call for romance is unarguably a sensuous and scintillatiing number – Lata’s voice is a mix between purity, pain and playfulness as she sighs ‘sajan ab to bata de, bata de’… Shankar Jaikishan whip up an emotional storm with their choral sitars. 

Kaun anjaame ulfat nahi jaantaHera Pheri (old) – is this a mujra or not? Not sure now, but i enjoy the song. 

Mai har raat jaagi … tumhari qasam tum bahut yaad aayeGaban – I could be way off the mark with this one – so members please help. Somehow the sitar-and-tabla based music makes it sound like a mujra, though I cant be sure. As a song it’s a topper! Music is by Shankar Jaikishan, and I marvel at the way repetition of lines in the antaras are built by them!

Chham chham chham badra barse, rut barse jiyara tarseBarkha Bahaar – a still podgy and dusky Rekha dances to Lata’s mellifluous voice in this flop Navin Nischol starrer. 

Mai tawaif hoon    /      Mere naina saawan bhaadonMehbooba – The latter song is part haunting, part mujra… part classical, part populist… this monumental RDB number was a chartbuster at that time. Personally, from this film, my evergreen fav is the love duet ‘Parbat ke peechhe chambe da gaaon’. There was a more on the face number ‘mai tawaif hoon mujra karoongi’ as well. The movie, on reincarnation, was far inferior to the same lead pair’s other classic on the same theme (Kudrat).

Ek dukhiyaari kahe baat yeh rote roteRam Teri Ganga Maili – the visual in the prelude, where champagne flows lustily into the pure Ganga, is a very cutting critique on post-modernist moral paucity – that was a superb directorial touch from master storyteller Raj Kapoor. The song itself is wrought with intricate images – the diamond soul wrapped in the soiled skin or the similarity betn a woman and the river … its a great theme song with an admirable picturisation. 

These are the ones that I could recall when I first wrote the post for some other group. There were more additions done later on , eg  Raina beeti jaaye from Amar Prem (not a mujra,per se but still picturised on a kotha, hence can be added here),  Rahte the kabhi jinke dil mein ( Mamta ) and  O Aaanewaale ruk ja (Devdas).

Sister Asha Bhonsle also has many memorable mujras – from Umrao Jaan, Tawaif, to name a few hit films- but I am not too keen to go into those details. However, still I  will end this post with one unknown gem from her ouvre.

Kaise mukhde se nazrein uthaaye ke tujh mein hi rab dikhtaEnglish Babu Desi Mem – It’s a bit hard to swallow that this shimmering number is created by Nikhil-Vinay. But as they are officially credited, I will go by it. The song has a faint qawaali tinge to it and the lyrics are nice. To top it all, there is an ethereal looking Sonali Bendre dancing to the beats in a flaming red dress – the overall effect is fantastic!

It is S.D.Burman’s birth centenary this year. And www.sdburman.net compiled an awesome evening today, gastritis here in Delhi at Sri Sathya Sai Auditorium, Lodhi Road.

Personally, I have attended very few musical shows, primarily because the music that I like is seldom a crowd-puller, and hence commercial organizations avoid it. However, this was a treat compiled by a select group of connoisseurs, and all of it – as Ritu Chandra, one of the co-hosts and co-owner of the site mentioned – voluntary and for immense love for Burmanda’s music. Due to this I was eagerly awaiting the show. And I wasnt disappointed. A labor of love has a fragrance that is as natural and pure as a rose in the garden – with thorns, et al; something that is not found in the ornate bouquets wrapped in plastic films in decorative shops. So was the show fragrant, byouant and vibrant, despite a few hiccups and snags. It was all for the love of music, by lovers of music, for the lovers of music.

On my part I am not a Burmanda fanatic, but I like many of his songs and and can quietly place myself in the ranks of those who respect him a lot.  Some of them, especially ones sung by Lataji, are extraordinary.  

The chief guest for the evening was famous poet Padmashri Gopal Das Neeraj. Apart from his poems, Neerajji is a reknowned lyricists with hits like ‘Likhe jo khat tujhe’  (Kanyadan/SJ), ‘ Caravan guzar gaya‘ (Nayi Umar Ki Nayi Fasal / Roshan)and ‘Ae bhai zaraa dekh ke chalo’ (Mera Naam Joker/ SJ).  With Burmanda, his association is particularly productive and right up there in lyricist-music director associations.

The second guest of honor was Meena Kapur, wife of legendary composer Anil Biswas; but also a singer in her own right. From her ouvre, I am particularly fond of ‘Meri atariya pe kaaga bole‘ from the oldest Aankhen (Madan Mohan’s debut film). Other luminaries included Mrs Basanti Dutta (grand-niece of Burmanda) and Mr. KC Khurana (an elderly emcee who has done several shows with legends like Manna De, etc).

As Sajid, the emcee for the evening, began his narration (using a mix of shudhh Hindi and chaste Urdu) with a famous quote ‘Nashili ki raat hai, saare chiraag gul kardo, khushi ki raat mein kya kaam hai jalnewalon ka’ (incidentally, immortalised as the prelude in Shankar Jaikishan’s breathtaking number ‘Lo aai milan ki raat’ from Aashiq),   I settled cozily into my seat to enjoy the evening.

After the lamp-lighting ceremony by Neerajji and an audio-visual documentary on the life of Burmanda, Indraneel Mukherjee’s musical troupe took over the proceedings and unleashed a spew of immortal Burmanda hits. As if to invite the soul of Burmanda, Indraneel began with ‘O Jaane waale ho sake toh laut ke aana’ (Bandini). Indraneel’s voice had a strong Hemant Kumar tinge, and after listening to the number one could imagine how it would have sounded if the said number was sung by him rather than Mukesh, the original singer.

Some songs in this section included: the swaying ‘Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan’, the mesmerizing ‘Ab toh hai tumse har khushi apni’, the mischevious ‘Ab ke sajan saawan mein aag lagegi badan mein‘, the romantic ‘Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hai’, the deeply resonating ‘Jalte hai jiske liye teri aankhon ke diye’ and the coy ‘Jaane kya toone kahi’.

[Due to the time constraints, the troupe mix-and-matched full songs and mukhda-one-antara combination]

The evening’s theme was to capture the ‘Navrasas’ in Burmanda’s music. The second section focused on that and began with ‘Shaantras’. Songs in these had the breezy ‘Thandi hawaayen lahrake aayen’ (one of the most copied songs in Bollywood) and my ultimate favorite, Latadi’s ‘Phaili hui hai sapnon ki raahein’.

For ‘Vatsalyaras’ a talented young girl Arundhati Prasad (all of 10 years) danced merrily to Asha Bhonsle’s ‘Chanda mama mere dwaar aana re’.

‘Vibhatsaras’ and ‘Raudraras’ were combined in two back-to-back rousing Sahir numbers from Pyasa‘Jinhe naaz hai Hind par woh kahan hai’ and ‘Yeh mehlon yeh taajon yeh takhton ki duniya’.

All this while Sajid interspersed his commentary with anecdotes from Burmanda’s life, either himself or through audio clips of various artistes like Lataji, Ashaji and Hrishida(Mukherjee).  For example, Sajid told us how Sahirsaab had written this motivational ghazal full of ‘Veerras’…and what did Burmanda do? He gave it to a club-dancer situation, and the bumper hit innovative number ‘Tadbeer se bigdi hui taqdeer bana le‘ was born.

‘Karunaras’ is a major force in Bollywood cinema. Hence some time was spent on it. Songs included ‘Hum bekhudi mein tujhko pukare chale gaye’ (which was rendered by a 16-year old youngster), one Bengali song and that tearful Ashaji’s minimal-orchestrated number from Bandini‘Ab ke baras bhej bhaiya ko babul’

I am sure it will not be very difficult to guess the song that would be an obvious choice for ‘Haasyaras’. But it was singer Sonu’s rendition of ‘Paanch rupayya baarah aana’ which brought in the maximum applause. His yodelling and vocal twists matched Kishore Kumar’s impossibly difficult one. It wasn’t a surprise that the audience greedily demanded for an encore, which the singer obliged by doing another perfect rendition of ‘Haal kaisa hai janaab ka’. This ‘ras’ was rounded off with ‘Achhaji main haari ab maan jaao na’

Since Neerajji was not feeling too bright, his felicitation was pre-poned. This section had four of my most favorite songs – Rangeela re , Phoolon ke rang se , Shokhiyon mein ghola jaaye and Jaise Radha ne maala japi shaam ki … for the last, the audience was so much involved that they requested for the full song to be sung.

Neerajji came to stage amidst thundering claps. He spoke eloquently and said that ‘sam-gat ka matlab sangeet hai‘ – and gave examples of how everything is in harmony in nature itself.  He averred ‘Geet hi aadi, geet hi ant, bin geet jeevan marghat samaan’. He also narrated his poem written on the importance of music and song.  He also released a commemorative compilation that has articles, filmography and biography of Burmanda.

After the fecilitations, there was a small break for tea (during which Neerajji left) followed by another round of music from Indraneel’s troupe. Some Meena Kapur numbers were the highlight of this section – and these were ones unknown to me as well. A point to note – Meenaji got her break with SD Burman.

More SDB songs followed – the heart-wrenching ‘Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam’, the chirrupy ‘Ae maine kasam lee’ and the soaring ‘Kaali ghata chhaye’. Chaitali Haldar came on stage to dance on Lataji’s classic ‘Piya tose naina laage re’ (original soundtrack played, and my heart swelled with joy). The dance was good, and the song captures ‘Shringarras’ effectively. Another audio-visual on some famous songs and films of SDB followed next.

The grand finale was of course reserved for that song on which the show was named – Lataji’s ‘Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai’ – an ultimate song that manifests feelings of freedom, joy and breaking of shackles!  The music of Guide is a remarkable feat, emblazoned boldly in glittering gold in the film music annals – no wonder three songs from this film featured in the show!  

During the evening I got acquainted to some numbers I hadnt heard of – Kisi se meri preet lagiyo (Aath Din), Pyara pyara hai sama my dear come to me (Kamal) [both Meena Kapoor numbers], Ae kaash chalte milke (Manzil), Apni toh har aah ek toofan hai (Kala Bazar) and  Prem ke pujari hum ke ras ke bhikhari hum (Prem Pujari) – not tough to decipher why I dont know them – none are Latadi numbers!

The auditorium was not large, and hence gave the effect of a quaint sangeet-mehfil. Thankfully, the audience was very receptive and even clapped along in few songs – though, as expected, there were a few rotten apples. For example, the three heavily decked up ladies in the row before me were more interested in waving at one of the singers, who was ostensibly their friend, than in really listening to the music. Their non-stop chatter was off-putting.

This was offset by some such deeply loving fans who had come all the way from Mysore and Bombay to attend the show. I was impressed by Mr Srinivas from Mysore, who was sitting next to me. His knowledge was immense, and he carried a neatly packaged scrap-book on SDB’s life (articles, photos etc). Music is a great unifier indeed…and what better example, than this that the site’s co-owners are  gentlemen from Bangladesh and Pakistan!

Alongwith the audience, the troupe was enjoying every minute of the program. And it was clearly visible.  The rapport amongst them was great, and Rupendra Shridhar – on keyboard and the conductor as well – could be seen beaming, or playfully reprimanding if something went wrong (e.g. in the number ‘Ab ke sajan saawan mein’ just before the antaras begin, there is a sharp flourish of violins, which the synthesizer player forgot to simulate in time). His entire body-language, as he timed the various artistes/singers, was one who is completely soaked into the proceedings. And the drummer gave some stirring crescendos to a few songs.

There were a few negatives – it started very late, the number of felicitations, bouquet-distribution in the second half were too elongated which unnecessary lengthened the duration, the lady doing Lataji’s song was shrill,  a few technical snags in the audio-visual sections, a power cut in between and worse, wrong credits in the audio visual (how could they list ‘Jogi jab se tu aaya mere dwaare’ as Asha’s song!!!!). Also, I wish they had some more real instruments esp. flute (since it was an integral part of Burmanda’s music). As of now, there were three synthesizers, two guitars, saxophone, drums and dholak alongwith a few other percussions.

But then, this was not a professionally organized show. For an amateur and voluntary project, the entire package was slick, sleek and superb!

In all, an evening well spent – and a standing ovation to the organizers. Whereever SDB is today, he would be exceedingly proud to see such fans who compiled and conducted this sort of a magnificent programme, without any greed or ulterior motive…just for the love of his music. That spirit and intent in itself is laudable, and I salute it with my full heart and soul! A tip of the hat to them!

 
Welcome to India’s first superhero; and as that, melanoma visit Krrish does remarkably well. Rakesh Roshan’s films have always been fairly entertaining, grip including the ill-fated Kala Bazar and King Uncle. And now, he has improved vastly on the technical side which makes viewing more pleasurable.


Unless you are a hermit living in a cave, you would know that Krrish is a sequel to Roshan’s previous bumper hit Koi Mil Gaya – where in Rohit and Nisha’s son Krishna is born with all the powers that Jadoo, the extra terrestrial, had imparted Rohit with. Fearing that Krishna might fall into the same deadly fate’s trap as his father, Krishna’s grandmother Shalini Mehra (a suitably aged and wobbly Rekha) keeps her away from the world’s gaze. Krishna grows up in sylvan mountain surroundings, a sort of desi-Tarzan, only he has been given education. It’s a visit from Priya (Priyanka Chopra) from Singapore that begins the journey of the simpleton Krishna to the masked man Krrish. And there, he will also face the wily Dr. Arya (Naseerudin Shah).

The script is taut except for a slight sagging in the first half –which if reduced, could have kept the overall running time also less and more enjoyable. But once Krishna reaches Singapore, it goes into full ballistic. The script adequately peppers Rohit and Nisha’s reason-for-death at suitable places. And yes – an interesting point, which I enjoyed – the past about Rohit and what happens to him after KMG ends, has a very crucial role to play in this film; this is something that has not been talked about in promotions at all, but I feel this itself lends the film a solid weight. What is that? Well, I suggest you go and watch it and enjoy it unfold.

Of course, keeping in mind Indian sensibilities, the superhero is kept rooted in enough song-and-dance-and-emotion. Sensible? For this one, sort of – though I wish there was more of the ‘superhero’ than the normal ‘hero’. Here, the superhero has only a personal agenda. Perhaps if another sequel is made, they could take Krrish’s character further to ‘save the planet’.

The film’s stunts and special effects are extraordinary, especially in Hindi films context. For those who have grown up on Superman/Batman/ Spiderman/Matrix might find it simply ordinary. I had imagined that in sophisticated multiplex-era, the days of clapping at hero’s stunts would be over – but was pleasantly surprised to see a ring of spontaneous clapping when Krrish takes on a posse of villains in the climax.

Rakesh Roshan’s direction is able. He keeps a strong control on the proceedings, and the narrative pace is pretty even.

Hrithik’s performance is superb – in all his various avatars – though at times his constant ‘flying’ and ‘movement’ gets irritating. For example, in the song ‘Koi Tumsa Nahin’ (incidentally, that was the film’s working title) one just wishes that he would stand still instead of yet again dancing.  Priyanka plays a typical heroine and does well for herself, though she needs to do something about her dress-designer! Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah are seasoned performers, they are great.

Rajesh Roshan’s music lacks verve. Salim Sulaiman’s background score is good. Cinematography is awesome – especially the luxuriant and verdant mountain landscape has been captured in fine detail. As Priya says in the film – so soothing, so serene! Dialogues are ok. Editing is slick. Barring ‘Dil na diya’ I found the choreography jarring!

In all, Krrish is a good entertaining film and introduces a new genre to Hindi cinema.

Overall – Time Pass, Watch It!

I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.

Aajao ke sab milke rab se dua maange
Jeevan mein sukoon chaahen
Chaahat mein wafaa maangein
Haalaat badalne mein ab der na ho maalik
Jo dekh chuke phir andher na ho maalik

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaara
Is tere jahaan mein
Nahi koi hamaara
Hey Ishwar Ya Allah yeh pukaar sunle
Hey Ishwar Ya Allah hey daata

Humse na dekha jaaye
Barbaadiyon ka sama
Ujadi hui basti mein
Yeh tadap rahe insaan
Nanhe jismon ke tukde
Liye khadi ek maa
Baarood ke dhuen mein
Tu hi bol jaayen kahan

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaaraa…

Naadan hain hum to maalik
Kyun di humein yeh sazaa
Yahaan hai sabhi ke dil mein
Nafrat ka zahar bhara
Inhe phir se yaad dilade
Sabak wohi pyaar ke
Ban jaaye gulshan phir se
Kaanton bhari yeh duniya

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaaraa…

– Lyric: Majrooh Sultanpuri
– Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

My prayers and wishes with all Mumbaikars in their tough times.


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Two days something or the other has gone wrong with this page – hope today is fine. Day before yesterday I was at my sister’s place. From there I wrote a lengthy post. However some software installed in  my brother in law’s laptop clashed with wordpress and the post didn’t get published. I tried recreating the post in the night, viagra dosage but somehow the flow and narrative was just not happening, angina so I abandoned it.

Yesterday, I wrote a small piece. It got published. But I noticed a grammatical error and entered the site admin  to correct it. In my hurry, and goodness knows what state of my mind, instead of pressing ‘save’ I clicked ‘delete’. That was the end of that post, which I think a few readers like Mehak did read.

And now I write this one. I am saving it, and will be back with some more chit chat very soon. So don’t go away from here.

In films, sildenafil mujras hold a special place. And for me, resuscitation a bit of a fascination.   

The thought, clinic of sitting comfortably on a thick cushion blowing on an ornate hookah and sipping wine served in thick silver glasses while a lady in a bright zardozi-laced dress, ornamental jewelery and aalta-smeared feet dances to the melodious strains of sitarghoongroosarangi-and-tabla, is quite an interesting and nawabi one. Dont get me wrong. I have never visited a ‘kotha‘ ever, its just a sort of fantasy which stems out from seeing the myriad mujra songs in films. Bollywood films can go awfully wrong in depicting many things, and often stick rigidly to conventional stereotypes, so I could be incorrect in my vision – any reader who has visited one can inform the same, either on the site or a personal mail (secrecy guaranteed) 😛

Anyways, jokes apart, the mujra songs have their own life. They come in all sizes and shapes :  from the classy Chalte chalte yunhi koi mil gaya tha (Pakeezah) to the crassy Kaahe saiyan teri meri baat bane naahi (Dayawan); from the lyrically charged Dil cheez kya hai (Umrao Jaan) to the lyrically debauched Mujrewali hoon mujra karti hoon (Awaargi); from a dulcet Lata’s Pyar kiya to darna kya (MeA) to a screechy Alka’s Tawaif kahan kisi se mohabbat karti hai (Amiri Garibi) – you will find a variety of them in films pre-current-millenium. Whatever the song be, the fallen woman was always elevated by strong musical muscles. Now, the place of a mujra has been taken by item numbers.

Broadly the mujras can be divided into two categories – one, where the heroine is a tawaif, or becomes one – here,  expect some highly philosophical songs on love and life; two, where the tawaif is a mere side-prop to tittilate the villain (or a wronged hero) , most such songs will be more noise than substance – of course the two categories overlap, and exceptions exist in both.

So, here I list a few mujra numbers sung by Lata Mangeshkar – let’s see how many of them match with your own. In the list I have taken some songs that might not be exactly a hard-core mujra but has been picturised on a ‘kotha‘, hence here. In most, Lata’s pristine voice helped a great deal in establishing the purity and freshness of the lady-in-wrong-trade!

Salaam-e-ishq meri jaan zaraa kabool kar lo  – Muqaddar Ka Sikandar – the mother of all mujras in terms of popularity and reach. Rekha and Amitabh scorches on-screen while Lata and Kishore ignite with their sparkling vocals. As I said, Lata’s voice gave a gilt-edged glitter to Rekha’s, giving life to her love and passion which transcended the dirty limits of her profession. 

Chalte chalte yunhi koi mil gaya tha  /  Thaare rahiyo o baanke yaar  /  Inhi logon nePaakeezah – outstanding music in all, lovely songs, and the best movie on the life of a nautch girl. And thank God for ‘thaare rahiyo’ without which antakshri gets impossibly stuck if you get the letter ‘tha‘. The beats in ‘Chalte chalte’ are mesmerising while Lata’s voice is impeccably thoughtful and seductive at the same time, as required by the song’s mood! 

Mujhe rab jo kahe tujhe chhod doonUstaad  –  One of the good old Anu Mallik numbers in which he accompanies the diva with his raspy voice. Picturised on Jaya Prada and Vinod Khanna. Very good interludes, an easy tune and fine singing make the song a winner. 

Unko yeh shikaayat hai  – Adalat – Madan Mohan and Lata Mangeshkar combine for this collossal score. Not exactly in the true mujra format. Nevertheless, a great song. 

Kya kahen aaj kya ho gayaTeri Paayal Mere Geet –  A later stage Naushad-Lata combination in a flop Govinda-Meenakshi starrer. The film was boring, the songs werent. This, and ‘Mohabbat ka ek devtaa mila’ were excellent numbers. 

Jab pyaar kiya toh darna kyaMughal E Azam – A song that needs no introduction or description – its an all time any time hit! 

Thoda resham lagta hai thoda sheesha lagta hai – Jyoti  – The song that triggered the remix malaise in the country was a forgotten number till it appeared in some english rap song, and from thereon to Harry Anand’s remix factory. As ever, I prefer the original. Good music, nice tabla and Lata’s awesome voice!  

Mujre ki hai yeh raat aakhriYudh – The sole Lata and old fashioned number in an otherwise techno-induced heave ho typical eighties score. Though Kalyanji Anandji were officially credited as music directors, I suspect Viju Shah’s handiwork in the score. However, this Lata mujra picturised on the ever-ethereal Hema Malini retained a old-worldly charm and was listenable. 

Jind le gaya woh dil ka jaaniAap Ke Saath – Again, not a typical mujra, but was picturised on the kotha itself with Smita Patil lamenting the loss of her love. Strangely, most T-series cassettes carry the Anuradha Paudwal scratch version. It is with great difficulty that I found the proper Lata Mangeshkar one. 

Lo saahib mai bhool gayi yaad mujhe kuchh aaya thaMaati Maange Khoon – a newly aquired number in my collection, it’s a superb number with the sound of ghungroos reverbarating menacingly within the sorrowful premise. RD Burman provides thumping music; the varying rhythm and beats add to the listening thrill ! 

Kab talak shama jali yaad nahi, shaam e gham kaise dhali yaad nahiPainter Babu – Uttam-Jagdish’s debut film had this top song. The rest were pretty chaaloo kinds. A detailed note on the song is available on my older site. Read here.

Sanam tu bewafaa ke naam se mashhoor ho jaayeKhilona – quite a typical L-P song from seventies, like it only for Lata Mangeshkar’s voice. Two more similar numbers follow the list immd. this one.  

Humhin karen koi soorat unhe bulaane ki, suna hai unnko toh aadat hai bhool jaane ki  – Ek Nazar –  another song which is similar in flavor as the above one. Same musical team of L-P-Lata. The film had one more mujra, Pahle sau baar idhar aur udhar dekha hai

Sharaafat chhod di maineSharafat – A third similar number from L-P stable , once again with Lata’s lovely voice at the helm. 

Atharah baras ki tu hone ko aayi  /   Imtehaan hai aaj tera imtehaan hai  – Of the two Suhaag numbers, I love the latter one. It gives a good lesson on non-drinking. Plus, as a kid I used to often hum the opening lines on any exam day 😛 so the number is intertwined with vivid childhood memories.  And Rekha’s has perfected her courtesan act. (Aishwarya Rai will find it impossible to match it with her limited acting skills in the new version of Umrao Jaan). 

Toone har raat mohabbat ki kasam khaai haiGanga Ki Saugandh – A double edged sword of a number that has sweetness on one edge and vitriolic filled sharpness on the other. Awesomely sung, as ever, by Lata Mangeshkar. (The theme song of this film, also by Lataji,  was quite a big hit). 

Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya – Unreleased Devdas – I reckon the song would have been picturised on Chandramukhi, though i m not sure. A very nice song overall. Quintessential Gulzar lyric with Pancham’s melodious music. 

Jise tu qabool karle woh sadaa kahan se laaoonDevdas (old) – Obviously  the song would be on Chandramukhi. The lyrics are so very apparant. But was this picturised as a mujra or just a love song? SD Burman’s music in this one.

Raat bhi hai kuchh bheegi bheegiMujhe Jeene Do – A very romantic number with just that right tinge of suggestive element beyond the innocence. Lata’s chham chham in the mukhda is more melodious than the sound of ghoongroos even. As I wrote once, I love Lata’s singing in a semi-ghabrahat, semi-hopeful way, and of course, her ‘haaye’ can never leave me unstirred. 

Tadap yeh din raat ki  kasak yeh bin baat kiAmrapali – this love-deprived courtesan’s quivering call for romance is unarguably a sensuous and scintillatiing number – Lata’s voice is a mix between purity, pain and playfulness as she sighs ‘sajan ab to bata de, bata de’… Shankar Jaikishan whip up an emotional storm with their choral sitars. 

Kaun anjaame ulfat nahi jaantaHera Pheri (old) – is this a mujra or not? Not sure now, but i enjoy the song. 

Mai har raat jaagi … tumhari qasam tum bahut yaad aayeGaban – I could be way off the mark with this one – so members please help. Somehow the sitar-and-tabla based music makes it sound like a mujra, though I cant be sure. As a song it’s a topper! Music is by Shankar Jaikishan, and I marvel at the way repetition of lines in the antaras are built by them!

Chham chham chham badra barse, rut barse jiyara tarseBarkha Bahaar – a still podgy and dusky Rekha dances to Lata’s mellifluous voice in this flop Navin Nischol starrer. 

Mai tawaif hoon    /      Mere naina saawan bhaadonMehbooba – The latter song is part haunting, part mujra… part classical, part populist… this monumental RDB number was a chartbuster at that time. Personally, from this film, my evergreen fav is the love duet ‘Parbat ke peechhe chambe da gaaon’. There was a more on the face number ‘mai tawaif hoon mujra karoongi’ as well. The movie, on reincarnation, was far inferior to the same lead pair’s other classic on the same theme (Kudrat).

Ek dukhiyaari kahe baat yeh rote roteRam Teri Ganga Maili – the visual in the prelude, where champagne flows lustily into the pure Ganga, is a very cutting critique on post-modernist moral paucity – that was a superb directorial touch from master storyteller Raj Kapoor. The song itself is wrought with intricate images – the diamond soul wrapped in the soiled skin or the similarity betn a woman and the river … its a great theme song with an admirable picturisation. 

These are the ones that I could recall when I first wrote the post for some other group. There were more additions done later on , eg  Raina beeti jaaye from Amar Prem (not a mujra,per se but still picturised on a kotha, hence can be added here),  Rahte the kabhi jinke dil mein ( Mamta ) and  O Aaanewaale ruk ja (Devdas).

Sister Asha Bhonsle also has many memorable mujras – from Umrao Jaan, Tawaif, to name a few hit films- but I am not too keen to go into those details. However, still I  will end this post with one unknown gem from her ouvre.

Kaise mukhde se nazrein uthaaye ke tujh mein hi rab dikhtaEnglish Babu Desi Mem – It’s a bit hard to swallow that this shimmering number is created by Nikhil-Vinay. But as they are officially credited, I will go by it. The song has a faint qawaali tinge to it and the lyrics are nice. To top it all, there is an ethereal looking Sonali Bendre dancing to the beats in a flaming red dress – the overall effect is fantastic!

It is S.D.Burman’s birth centenary this year. And www.sdburman.net compiled an awesome evening today, gastritis here in Delhi at Sri Sathya Sai Auditorium, Lodhi Road.

Personally, I have attended very few musical shows, primarily because the music that I like is seldom a crowd-puller, and hence commercial organizations avoid it. However, this was a treat compiled by a select group of connoisseurs, and all of it – as Ritu Chandra, one of the co-hosts and co-owner of the site mentioned – voluntary and for immense love for Burmanda’s music. Due to this I was eagerly awaiting the show. And I wasnt disappointed. A labor of love has a fragrance that is as natural and pure as a rose in the garden – with thorns, et al; something that is not found in the ornate bouquets wrapped in plastic films in decorative shops. So was the show fragrant, byouant and vibrant, despite a few hiccups and snags. It was all for the love of music, by lovers of music, for the lovers of music.

On my part I am not a Burmanda fanatic, but I like many of his songs and and can quietly place myself in the ranks of those who respect him a lot.  Some of them, especially ones sung by Lataji, are extraordinary.  

The chief guest for the evening was famous poet Padmashri Gopal Das Neeraj. Apart from his poems, Neerajji is a reknowned lyricists with hits like ‘Likhe jo khat tujhe’  (Kanyadan/SJ), ‘ Caravan guzar gaya‘ (Nayi Umar Ki Nayi Fasal / Roshan)and ‘Ae bhai zaraa dekh ke chalo’ (Mera Naam Joker/ SJ).  With Burmanda, his association is particularly productive and right up there in lyricist-music director associations.

The second guest of honor was Meena Kapur, wife of legendary composer Anil Biswas; but also a singer in her own right. From her ouvre, I am particularly fond of ‘Meri atariya pe kaaga bole‘ from the oldest Aankhen (Madan Mohan’s debut film). Other luminaries included Mrs Basanti Dutta (grand-niece of Burmanda) and Mr. KC Khurana (an elderly emcee who has done several shows with legends like Manna De, etc).

As Sajid, the emcee for the evening, began his narration (using a mix of shudhh Hindi and chaste Urdu) with a famous quote ‘Nashili ki raat hai, saare chiraag gul kardo, khushi ki raat mein kya kaam hai jalnewalon ka’ (incidentally, immortalised as the prelude in Shankar Jaikishan’s breathtaking number ‘Lo aai milan ki raat’ from Aashiq),   I settled cozily into my seat to enjoy the evening.

After the lamp-lighting ceremony by Neerajji and an audio-visual documentary on the life of Burmanda, Indraneel Mukherjee’s musical troupe took over the proceedings and unleashed a spew of immortal Burmanda hits. As if to invite the soul of Burmanda, Indraneel began with ‘O Jaane waale ho sake toh laut ke aana’ (Bandini). Indraneel’s voice had a strong Hemant Kumar tinge, and after listening to the number one could imagine how it would have sounded if the said number was sung by him rather than Mukesh, the original singer.

Some songs in this section included: the swaying ‘Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan’, the mesmerizing ‘Ab toh hai tumse har khushi apni’, the mischevious ‘Ab ke sajan saawan mein aag lagegi badan mein‘, the romantic ‘Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hai’, the deeply resonating ‘Jalte hai jiske liye teri aankhon ke diye’ and the coy ‘Jaane kya toone kahi’.

[Due to the time constraints, the troupe mix-and-matched full songs and mukhda-one-antara combination]

The evening’s theme was to capture the ‘Navrasas’ in Burmanda’s music. The second section focused on that and began with ‘Shaantras’. Songs in these had the breezy ‘Thandi hawaayen lahrake aayen’ (one of the most copied songs in Bollywood) and my ultimate favorite, Latadi’s ‘Phaili hui hai sapnon ki raahein’.

For ‘Vatsalyaras’ a talented young girl Arundhati Prasad (all of 10 years) danced merrily to Asha Bhonsle’s ‘Chanda mama mere dwaar aana re’.

‘Vibhatsaras’ and ‘Raudraras’ were combined in two back-to-back rousing Sahir numbers from Pyasa‘Jinhe naaz hai Hind par woh kahan hai’ and ‘Yeh mehlon yeh taajon yeh takhton ki duniya’.

All this while Sajid interspersed his commentary with anecdotes from Burmanda’s life, either himself or through audio clips of various artistes like Lataji, Ashaji and Hrishida(Mukherjee).  For example, Sajid told us how Sahirsaab had written this motivational ghazal full of ‘Veerras’…and what did Burmanda do? He gave it to a club-dancer situation, and the bumper hit innovative number ‘Tadbeer se bigdi hui taqdeer bana le‘ was born.

‘Karunaras’ is a major force in Bollywood cinema. Hence some time was spent on it. Songs included ‘Hum bekhudi mein tujhko pukare chale gaye’ (which was rendered by a 16-year old youngster), one Bengali song and that tearful Ashaji’s minimal-orchestrated number from Bandini‘Ab ke baras bhej bhaiya ko babul’

I am sure it will not be very difficult to guess the song that would be an obvious choice for ‘Haasyaras’. But it was singer Sonu’s rendition of ‘Paanch rupayya baarah aana’ which brought in the maximum applause. His yodelling and vocal twists matched Kishore Kumar’s impossibly difficult one. It wasn’t a surprise that the audience greedily demanded for an encore, which the singer obliged by doing another perfect rendition of ‘Haal kaisa hai janaab ka’. This ‘ras’ was rounded off with ‘Achhaji main haari ab maan jaao na’

Since Neerajji was not feeling too bright, his felicitation was pre-poned. This section had four of my most favorite songs – Rangeela re , Phoolon ke rang se , Shokhiyon mein ghola jaaye and Jaise Radha ne maala japi shaam ki … for the last, the audience was so much involved that they requested for the full song to be sung.

Neerajji came to stage amidst thundering claps. He spoke eloquently and said that ‘sam-gat ka matlab sangeet hai‘ – and gave examples of how everything is in harmony in nature itself.  He averred ‘Geet hi aadi, geet hi ant, bin geet jeevan marghat samaan’. He also narrated his poem written on the importance of music and song.  He also released a commemorative compilation that has articles, filmography and biography of Burmanda.

After the fecilitations, there was a small break for tea (during which Neerajji left) followed by another round of music from Indraneel’s troupe. Some Meena Kapur numbers were the highlight of this section – and these were ones unknown to me as well. A point to note – Meenaji got her break with SD Burman.

More SDB songs followed – the heart-wrenching ‘Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam’, the chirrupy ‘Ae maine kasam lee’ and the soaring ‘Kaali ghata chhaye’. Chaitali Haldar came on stage to dance on Lataji’s classic ‘Piya tose naina laage re’ (original soundtrack played, and my heart swelled with joy). The dance was good, and the song captures ‘Shringarras’ effectively. Another audio-visual on some famous songs and films of SDB followed next.

The grand finale was of course reserved for that song on which the show was named – Lataji’s ‘Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai’ – an ultimate song that manifests feelings of freedom, joy and breaking of shackles!  The music of Guide is a remarkable feat, emblazoned boldly in glittering gold in the film music annals – no wonder three songs from this film featured in the show!  

During the evening I got acquainted to some numbers I hadnt heard of – Kisi se meri preet lagiyo (Aath Din), Pyara pyara hai sama my dear come to me (Kamal) [both Meena Kapoor numbers], Ae kaash chalte milke (Manzil), Apni toh har aah ek toofan hai (Kala Bazar) and  Prem ke pujari hum ke ras ke bhikhari hum (Prem Pujari) – not tough to decipher why I dont know them – none are Latadi numbers!

The auditorium was not large, and hence gave the effect of a quaint sangeet-mehfil. Thankfully, the audience was very receptive and even clapped along in few songs – though, as expected, there were a few rotten apples. For example, the three heavily decked up ladies in the row before me were more interested in waving at one of the singers, who was ostensibly their friend, than in really listening to the music. Their non-stop chatter was off-putting.

This was offset by some such deeply loving fans who had come all the way from Mysore and Bombay to attend the show. I was impressed by Mr Srinivas from Mysore, who was sitting next to me. His knowledge was immense, and he carried a neatly packaged scrap-book on SDB’s life (articles, photos etc). Music is a great unifier indeed…and what better example, than this that the site’s co-owners are  gentlemen from Bangladesh and Pakistan!

Alongwith the audience, the troupe was enjoying every minute of the program. And it was clearly visible.  The rapport amongst them was great, and Rupendra Shridhar – on keyboard and the conductor as well – could be seen beaming, or playfully reprimanding if something went wrong (e.g. in the number ‘Ab ke sajan saawan mein’ just before the antaras begin, there is a sharp flourish of violins, which the synthesizer player forgot to simulate in time). His entire body-language, as he timed the various artistes/singers, was one who is completely soaked into the proceedings. And the drummer gave some stirring crescendos to a few songs.

There were a few negatives – it started very late, the number of felicitations, bouquet-distribution in the second half were too elongated which unnecessary lengthened the duration, the lady doing Lataji’s song was shrill,  a few technical snags in the audio-visual sections, a power cut in between and worse, wrong credits in the audio visual (how could they list ‘Jogi jab se tu aaya mere dwaare’ as Asha’s song!!!!). Also, I wish they had some more real instruments esp. flute (since it was an integral part of Burmanda’s music). As of now, there were three synthesizers, two guitars, saxophone, drums and dholak alongwith a few other percussions.

But then, this was not a professionally organized show. For an amateur and voluntary project, the entire package was slick, sleek and superb!

In all, an evening well spent – and a standing ovation to the organizers. Whereever SDB is today, he would be exceedingly proud to see such fans who compiled and conducted this sort of a magnificent programme, without any greed or ulterior motive…just for the love of his music. That spirit and intent in itself is laudable, and I salute it with my full heart and soul! A tip of the hat to them!

 

Trust the administration to do some good act in totally half-baked pathetic manner. Recently, cure at Janpath, Delhi Police has started issuing warnings over a loud speaker – they include, amongst others: not to touch unclaimed objects, not to speak to strangers or accept gifts/foodstuff from them, not to hire domestic/shop helps without proper verification etc. All fine. All sane stuff. But, they repeat it ad naseum… in Hindi! Now, anyone knows that Janpath is forever infested with foreigners from all across the globe; the least they could do is to repeat the same in English! Plus, I fail to understand why they have chosen only Janpath – which is just a sliver of Connaught Place (the central Delhi swanky market cum office place)? Or, have I missed listening to it on the other blocks? It wasnt there at Palika Bazar today for sure!

Frankly, it must be pretty irritating for those who work there. To hear the same thing over and over again can be highly grating on the nerves. Plus, those ‘bhonpu‘ shaped speakers aren’t exactly Bose in their sound output – so the screechy voice followed by a shrill chime is as musical as a cat clawing over a blackboard! I stood there having my lunch for approx. ten minutes, and couldn’t take it any further.

Noise pollution continued to hound me today.

I don’t think it was very far in the past when we all survived without mobile phones. So the overdependence on this device pretty much leaves me stone-faced. Agreed it has an absolutely wonderful usage during emergencies. But seriously, to giggle into the mobile phone in the temple is stretching the definition of ’emergencies’ a bit too far! Every Tuesday, at our neighborhood temple, without fail I witness several pretty young things (yeah, it’s the girls more always!) dodging into a corner, with their hands cupped and faces buried away into sleek handsets. The worst sight could be to see someone chatting on the phone while pouring ‘jal‘ over Shivling!

Actually, I wouldn’t really mind that. Since they do not per se disturb others – that is, if they keep their voice volumes low! It’s the ring tones that I have major problem with. The concept of ring tones and hello tones is awful… esp the latter. I mean, what fun do people get in inflicting torture on the poor hapless soul who has called them by showering an utterly raucous voice called Shamur – cant decide whether this thing is male or female- rasping away inane lyrics like ‘Mera Ranjha Badi Der’ (that’s all that I could comprehend in this hideous song)?

Anyways, that is when you call someone.

But what to say of a situation when you are sitting to read your Shiv Chalisa in the temple…and out wails Himesh Reshamiiya from a friendly neighborhood mobile phone?

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Welcome to India’s first superhero; and as that, melanoma visit Krrish does remarkably well. Rakesh Roshan’s films have always been fairly entertaining, grip including the ill-fated Kala Bazar and King Uncle. And now, he has improved vastly on the technical side which makes viewing more pleasurable.


Unless you are a hermit living in a cave, you would know that Krrish is a sequel to Roshan’s previous bumper hit Koi Mil Gaya – where in Rohit and Nisha’s son Krishna is born with all the powers that Jadoo, the extra terrestrial, had imparted Rohit with. Fearing that Krishna might fall into the same deadly fate’s trap as his father, Krishna’s grandmother Shalini Mehra (a suitably aged and wobbly Rekha) keeps her away from the world’s gaze. Krishna grows up in sylvan mountain surroundings, a sort of desi-Tarzan, only he has been given education. It’s a visit from Priya (Priyanka Chopra) from Singapore that begins the journey of the simpleton Krishna to the masked man Krrish. And there, he will also face the wily Dr. Arya (Naseerudin Shah).

The script is taut except for a slight sagging in the first half –which if reduced, could have kept the overall running time also less and more enjoyable. But once Krishna reaches Singapore, it goes into full ballistic. The script adequately peppers Rohit and Nisha’s reason-for-death at suitable places. And yes – an interesting point, which I enjoyed – the past about Rohit and what happens to him after KMG ends, has a very crucial role to play in this film; this is something that has not been talked about in promotions at all, but I feel this itself lends the film a solid weight. What is that? Well, I suggest you go and watch it and enjoy it unfold.

Of course, keeping in mind Indian sensibilities, the superhero is kept rooted in enough song-and-dance-and-emotion. Sensible? For this one, sort of – though I wish there was more of the ‘superhero’ than the normal ‘hero’. Here, the superhero has only a personal agenda. Perhaps if another sequel is made, they could take Krrish’s character further to ‘save the planet’.

The film’s stunts and special effects are extraordinary, especially in Hindi films context. For those who have grown up on Superman/Batman/ Spiderman/Matrix might find it simply ordinary. I had imagined that in sophisticated multiplex-era, the days of clapping at hero’s stunts would be over – but was pleasantly surprised to see a ring of spontaneous clapping when Krrish takes on a posse of villains in the climax.

Rakesh Roshan’s direction is able. He keeps a strong control on the proceedings, and the narrative pace is pretty even.

Hrithik’s performance is superb – in all his various avatars – though at times his constant ‘flying’ and ‘movement’ gets irritating. For example, in the song ‘Koi Tumsa Nahin’ (incidentally, that was the film’s working title) one just wishes that he would stand still instead of yet again dancing.  Priyanka plays a typical heroine and does well for herself, though she needs to do something about her dress-designer! Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah are seasoned performers, they are great.

Rajesh Roshan’s music lacks verve. Salim Sulaiman’s background score is good. Cinematography is awesome – especially the luxuriant and verdant mountain landscape has been captured in fine detail. As Priya says in the film – so soothing, so serene! Dialogues are ok. Editing is slick. Barring ‘Dil na diya’ I found the choreography jarring!

In all, Krrish is a good entertaining film and introduces a new genre to Hindi cinema.

Overall – Time Pass, Watch It!

I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.
I had written the following post two years back (published on my older blog). The second paragraph is uncannily true again. The weathermen went beating their drums heralding monsoon arrival on 29th June. I guess all that noise scared the clouds away. The past two days have been unnervingly enervating and boiling hot. To add to woes the humidity is high which saps out any remaining energy. If that wasn’t enough, ambulance the news is full of excessive Mumbai rains – adding salt to burning wounds!

Anyways, mind you all enjoy this re-heated post:


Curling up on a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of tea, hot sumptuous pakoras with teekha chutney, watching the rains pitter-patter on the balcony, smelling the aroma of the fresh wet earth, feeling the cool light breeze tickle the skin, sensing the joyous dance of the stark dark greenery…monsoons bid me! 

Alas, the monsoons are again late in Delhi; it has become an irritating trend with the Rain Gods to bypass Delhi every two years. I yearn for the therapeutic showers to cleanse away the curse of the summers; and when one hears of their delightful foray in other parts of the country, the heart yearns more. 

No other season (apart from spring) has motivated authors, poets, lyricists and artists more. There is an irrepressible charm in the black clouds that envelope the sullen skies with their soft, moist embrace. Rains can depict sadness and joy; love and hate; consummation and separation; tranquility and anger, with an equal finesse. 

Here I pick up a few of my favorite stuff from the rains: 

Book: A Passage to India, by EM Forester. In this pre-independence India novel, the three main seasons of India are used to the most effective tool. The trauma and trouble of the lead characters are linked to the changing weather conditions. On a hot, innervating summer day Adela Quested makes a foul charge of being molested by Aziz. Trouble begins. The same gets sorted out, and smoothened, only when the skies open and give their blessings through the invigorating showers. The Janmashtmi festival is also beautifully woven in; it’s the time of the birth of the Lord, the washing away of sins, the cleansing of past wrong-doings; the rejuvenation of the earth, and the mind of Adela. It is indeed a beautiful allegory; a must read. 

Films: So many films have used rains to heighten passion and anger. If I start to list out the scenes where the thunder is blasting away in the background, while the hero/heroine raves and rants, the list would be endless. One film, which I recall, that had the rains playing a mind-blowing role in the set up is Aitbaar. This Dimple-Raj Babbar murder mystery, plagiarized from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, uses the rains as a compelling device to heighten the suspense, ambience and feel. 

Songs: Again, a list that can go on and on. However, here are my top 5 five favorite numbers: Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil), Megha chhaye aadhi raat (Sharmilee), Jhooti mooti mitwa (Rudaali), Rim jhim rim jhim (1942-A Love Story) and Koi ladki hai jab wo hansti hai (Dil to Paagal Hai). 

The funniest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Barsaat mein jab aayega saawan ka mahina (Maa)- can anyone make head or tail of this? 

The sleaziest ‘rain’ song ever heard: Bheegi hun main barsaat mein (Karz Chukana Hai). It had lines that went itne chikne chikne ang yeh sunehre, paani ki boond padhe paani nahi thehre…quite slippery, indeed!
At last the clouds have gathered and rains are imminent. The last one week has been particularly bad. Power situation dipped to an all time low, pills
and all we heard through the black outs were news of one or the other power-station tripping and packing up. 

I have become a certified couch potato; or rather a ‘bed’ potato since my television is in the bedroom. After missing of television for more than a year, I took to watching it with a vengeance. But most viewing is restricted to movies and songs channels, with an occasional foray into news ones. To my horror I discovered that all the money spent on collecting DVD’s last year was sheer wastage since those movies keep repeating themselves ad nauseum. For example, I can puke now if someone so much as mentions the thought of watching No Entry – a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Other than Sahara telecasting it alternatively on its both channels (Filmy and Sahara One) every other week, my cable-wallah has also gone overboard there. In fact, my cable-guy has a strange habit of showing those very same films a couple of days earlier that would in any case be shown on Max or Filmy the same week! 

I have an aversion towards all currently running serials. Nay, I absolutely abhor the entire Zee-Sony-Star Plus nexus, with the hatred targeted more towards the last one, whom I hold responsible for starting the trend of those horrifying saas-bahu serials. I can’t stand any program on Star Plus – every one of them, even that supposedly ‘different’ game show Jodi Kamaal Ki, seems to have similar look with bright gaudy colors and heavily dressed up ladies ready to burst into copious tears at any given instant. Even though I am not a football freak, but honestly I can kick anyone from Star’s programming department with a force that can get me a place in the next World Cup! 

The only good thing that ever came out from the Star-stable was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Contest.. I had missed the first season, but was able to watch a large bulk of the second one. Opinions may differ on whether Rauf Lala deserved the crown or not, but I personally feel that the entire toppers lot including Khayali, Rajeev, Pratap Faujdar, the Pakistani jodi and, my personal favorite, Dr Tushhar were mindblowingly excellent! Together, they made Friday evenings funny and entertaining. 

After lambasting serials, I have to sheepishly confess that I started watching one with great interest. But then, Akela doesn’t seem to be your usual fare. There is heavy inspiration from M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense where the basic premise is concerned, but otherwise it seems to be on a different track.  The biggest relief? Any chances to slip into the saas-bahu syndrome were nipped in the bud with the mothers of both the hero and heroine dead in the first episode itself. Phew! I am keeping my fingers crossed that their ghosts will not start wearing outlandish bindis and scheming against each other to the tune of electronically generated swoosh-and-boom background score. Plus, the serial – like good ol’ days – will be aired once a week; that way, it’s easier to follow, and of course, it avoids overkill. 

Sudhanshu (Band of Boys, Yakeen) Panday plays the protagonist. He may not be the greatest actor around, but his personality and physique suit the role. Plus, I have seen Yakeen and bits of Pehchaan: The Face of Truth, and I feel there is a raw honesty in his performances reminiscent of Jackie Shroff in his younger days. 

Speaking of Jackie Shroff, what has he done to himself? Unlike his colleague Anil Kapoor, Jackie never exhibited the Machiavellian go-getter capacity. But at least he can take good care of his looks and locks! Since he never had the qualms to graduate to father roles, I am sure things wouldn’t be so hard up for him that he is forced to act in inane Z-grade flicks like Bhoot Unkle

Well, the clouds have darkened further, and any moment the welcome pitter-patter of rains will be heard. My player has also propititiously moved to ‘Yeh mausam bheega bheega hai, hawa bhi kuchh zyada zyada hai’ from Dharti. And before we have another power cut, let me publish this.

Aajao ke sab milke rab se dua maange
Jeevan mein sukoon chaahen
Chaahat mein wafaa maangein
Haalaat badalne mein ab der na ho maalik
Jo dekh chuke phir andher na ho maalik

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaara
Is tere jahaan mein
Nahi koi hamaara
Hey Ishwar Ya Allah yeh pukaar sunle
Hey Ishwar Ya Allah hey daata

Humse na dekha jaaye
Barbaadiyon ka sama
Ujadi hui basti mein
Yeh tadap rahe insaan
Nanhe jismon ke tukde
Liye khadi ek maa
Baarood ke dhuen mein
Tu hi bol jaayen kahan

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaaraa…

Naadan hain hum to maalik
Kyun di humein yeh sazaa
Yahaan hai sabhi ke dil mein
Nafrat ka zahar bhara
Inhe phir se yaad dilade
Sabak wohi pyaar ke
Ban jaaye gulshan phir se
Kaanton bhari yeh duniya

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahaaraa…

– Lyric: Majrooh Sultanpuri
– Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

My prayers and wishes with all Mumbaikars in their tough times.


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Two days something or the other has gone wrong with this page – hope today is fine. Day before yesterday I was at my sister’s place. From there I wrote a lengthy post. However some software installed in  my brother in law’s laptop clashed with wordpress and the post didn’t get published. I tried recreating the post in the night, viagra dosage but somehow the flow and narrative was just not happening, angina so I abandoned it.

Yesterday, I wrote a small piece. It got published. But I noticed a grammatical error and entered the site admin  to correct it. In my hurry, and goodness knows what state of my mind, instead of pressing ‘save’ I clicked ‘delete’. That was the end of that post, which I think a few readers like Mehak did read.

And now I write this one. I am saving it, and will be back with some more chit chat very soon. So don’t go away from here.

In films, sildenafil mujras hold a special place. And for me, resuscitation a bit of a fascination.   

The thought, clinic of sitting comfortably on a thick cushion blowing on an ornate hookah and sipping wine served in thick silver glasses while a lady in a bright zardozi-laced dress, ornamental jewelery and aalta-smeared feet dances to the melodious strains of sitarghoongroosarangi-and-tabla, is quite an interesting and nawabi one. Dont get me wrong. I have never visited a ‘kotha‘ ever, its just a sort of fantasy which stems out from seeing the myriad mujra songs in films. Bollywood films can go awfully wrong in depicting many things, and often stick rigidly to conventional stereotypes, so I could be incorrect in my vision – any reader who has visited one can inform the same, either on the site or a personal mail (secrecy guaranteed) 😛

Anyways, jokes apart, the mujra songs have their own life. They come in all sizes and shapes :  from the classy Chalte chalte yunhi koi mil gaya tha (Pakeezah) to the crassy Kaahe saiyan teri meri baat bane naahi (Dayawan); from the lyrically charged Dil cheez kya hai (Umrao Jaan) to the lyrically debauched Mujrewali hoon mujra karti hoon (Awaargi); from a dulcet Lata’s Pyar kiya to darna kya (MeA) to a screechy Alka’s Tawaif kahan kisi se mohabbat karti hai (Amiri Garibi) – you will find a variety of them in films pre-current-millenium. Whatever the song be, the fallen woman was always elevated by strong musical muscles. Now, the place of a mujra has been taken by item numbers.

Broadly the mujras can be divided into two categories – one, where the heroine is a tawaif, or becomes one – here,  expect some highly philosophical songs on love and life; two, where the tawaif is a mere side-prop to tittilate the villain (or a wronged hero) , most such songs will be more noise than substance – of course the two categories overlap, and exceptions exist in both.

So, here I list a few mujra numbers sung by Lata Mangeshkar – let’s see how many of them match with your own. In the list I have taken some songs that might not be exactly a hard-core mujra but has been picturised on a ‘kotha‘, hence here. In most, Lata’s pristine voice helped a great deal in establishing the purity and freshness of the lady-in-wrong-trade!

Salaam-e-ishq meri jaan zaraa kabool kar lo  – Muqaddar Ka Sikandar – the mother of all mujras in terms of popularity and reach. Rekha and Amitabh scorches on-screen while Lata and Kishore ignite with their sparkling vocals. As I said, Lata’s voice gave a gilt-edged glitter to Rekha’s, giving life to her love and passion which transcended the dirty limits of her profession. 

Chalte chalte yunhi koi mil gaya tha  /  Thaare rahiyo o baanke yaar  /  Inhi logon nePaakeezah – outstanding music in all, lovely songs, and the best movie on the life of a nautch girl. And thank God for ‘thaare rahiyo’ without which antakshri gets impossibly stuck if you get the letter ‘tha‘. The beats in ‘Chalte chalte’ are mesmerising while Lata’s voice is impeccably thoughtful and seductive at the same time, as required by the song’s mood! 

Mujhe rab jo kahe tujhe chhod doonUstaad  –  One of the good old Anu Mallik numbers in which he accompanies the diva with his raspy voice. Picturised on Jaya Prada and Vinod Khanna. Very good interludes, an easy tune and fine singing make the song a winner. 

Unko yeh shikaayat hai  – Adalat – Madan Mohan and Lata Mangeshkar combine for this collossal score. Not exactly in the true mujra format. Nevertheless, a great song. 

Kya kahen aaj kya ho gayaTeri Paayal Mere Geet –  A later stage Naushad-Lata combination in a flop Govinda-Meenakshi starrer. The film was boring, the songs werent. This, and ‘Mohabbat ka ek devtaa mila’ were excellent numbers. 

Jab pyaar kiya toh darna kyaMughal E Azam – A song that needs no introduction or description – its an all time any time hit! 

Thoda resham lagta hai thoda sheesha lagta hai – Jyoti  – The song that triggered the remix malaise in the country was a forgotten number till it appeared in some english rap song, and from thereon to Harry Anand’s remix factory. As ever, I prefer the original. Good music, nice tabla and Lata’s awesome voice!  

Mujre ki hai yeh raat aakhriYudh – The sole Lata and old fashioned number in an otherwise techno-induced heave ho typical eighties score. Though Kalyanji Anandji were officially credited as music directors, I suspect Viju Shah’s handiwork in the score. However, this Lata mujra picturised on the ever-ethereal Hema Malini retained a old-worldly charm and was listenable. 

Jind le gaya woh dil ka jaaniAap Ke Saath – Again, not a typical mujra, but was picturised on the kotha itself with Smita Patil lamenting the loss of her love. Strangely, most T-series cassettes carry the Anuradha Paudwal scratch version. It is with great difficulty that I found the proper Lata Mangeshkar one. 

Lo saahib mai bhool gayi yaad mujhe kuchh aaya thaMaati Maange Khoon – a newly aquired number in my collection, it’s a superb number with the sound of ghungroos reverbarating menacingly within the sorrowful premise. RD Burman provides thumping music; the varying rhythm and beats add to the listening thrill ! 

Kab talak shama jali yaad nahi, shaam e gham kaise dhali yaad nahiPainter Babu – Uttam-Jagdish’s debut film had this top song. The rest were pretty chaaloo kinds. A detailed note on the song is available on my older site. Read here.

Sanam tu bewafaa ke naam se mashhoor ho jaayeKhilona – quite a typical L-P song from seventies, like it only for Lata Mangeshkar’s voice. Two more similar numbers follow the list immd. this one.  

Humhin karen koi soorat unhe bulaane ki, suna hai unnko toh aadat hai bhool jaane ki  – Ek Nazar –  another song which is similar in flavor as the above one. Same musical team of L-P-Lata. The film had one more mujra, Pahle sau baar idhar aur udhar dekha hai

Sharaafat chhod di maineSharafat – A third similar number from L-P stable , once again with Lata’s lovely voice at the helm. 

Atharah baras ki tu hone ko aayi  /   Imtehaan hai aaj tera imtehaan hai  – Of the two Suhaag numbers, I love the latter one. It gives a good lesson on non-drinking. Plus, as a kid I used to often hum the opening lines on any exam day 😛 so the number is intertwined with vivid childhood memories.  And Rekha’s has perfected her courtesan act. (Aishwarya Rai will find it impossible to match it with her limited acting skills in the new version of Umrao Jaan). 

Toone har raat mohabbat ki kasam khaai haiGanga Ki Saugandh – A double edged sword of a number that has sweetness on one edge and vitriolic filled sharpness on the other. Awesomely sung, as ever, by Lata Mangeshkar. (The theme song of this film, also by Lataji,  was quite a big hit). 

Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya – Unreleased Devdas – I reckon the song would have been picturised on Chandramukhi, though i m not sure. A very nice song overall. Quintessential Gulzar lyric with Pancham’s melodious music. 

Jise tu qabool karle woh sadaa kahan se laaoonDevdas (old) – Obviously  the song would be on Chandramukhi. The lyrics are so very apparant. But was this picturised as a mujra or just a love song? SD Burman’s music in this one.

Raat bhi hai kuchh bheegi bheegiMujhe Jeene Do – A very romantic number with just that right tinge of suggestive element beyond the innocence. Lata’s chham chham in the mukhda is more melodious than the sound of ghoongroos even. As I wrote once, I love Lata’s singing in a semi-ghabrahat, semi-hopeful way, and of course, her ‘haaye’ can never leave me unstirred. 

Tadap yeh din raat ki  kasak yeh bin baat kiAmrapali – this love-deprived courtesan’s quivering call for romance is unarguably a sensuous and scintillatiing number – Lata’s voice is a mix between purity, pain and playfulness as she sighs ‘sajan ab to bata de, bata de’… Shankar Jaikishan whip up an emotional storm with their choral sitars. 

Kaun anjaame ulfat nahi jaantaHera Pheri (old) – is this a mujra or not? Not sure now, but i enjoy the song. 

Mai har raat jaagi … tumhari qasam tum bahut yaad aayeGaban – I could be way off the mark with this one – so members please help. Somehow the sitar-and-tabla based music makes it sound like a mujra, though I cant be sure. As a song it’s a topper! Music is by Shankar Jaikishan, and I marvel at the way repetition of lines in the antaras are built by them!

Chham chham chham badra barse, rut barse jiyara tarseBarkha Bahaar – a still podgy and dusky Rekha dances to Lata’s mellifluous voice in this flop Navin Nischol starrer. 

Mai tawaif hoon    /      Mere naina saawan bhaadonMehbooba – The latter song is part haunting, part mujra… part classical, part populist… this monumental RDB number was a chartbuster at that time. Personally, from this film, my evergreen fav is the love duet ‘Parbat ke peechhe chambe da gaaon’. There was a more on the face number ‘mai tawaif hoon mujra karoongi’ as well. The movie, on reincarnation, was far inferior to the same lead pair’s other classic on the same theme (Kudrat).

Ek dukhiyaari kahe baat yeh rote roteRam Teri Ganga Maili – the visual in the prelude, where champagne flows lustily into the pure Ganga, is a very cutting critique on post-modernist moral paucity – that was a superb directorial touch from master storyteller Raj Kapoor. The song itself is wrought with intricate images – the diamond soul wrapped in the soiled skin or the similarity betn a woman and the river … its a great theme song with an admirable picturisation. 

These are the ones that I could recall when I first wrote the post for some other group. There were more additions done later on , eg  Raina beeti jaaye from Amar Prem (not a mujra,per se but still picturised on a kotha, hence can be added here),  Rahte the kabhi jinke dil mein ( Mamta ) and  O Aaanewaale ruk ja (Devdas).

Sister Asha Bhonsle also has many memorable mujras – from Umrao Jaan, Tawaif, to name a few hit films- but I am not too keen to go into those details. However, still I  will end this post with one unknown gem from her ouvre.

Kaise mukhde se nazrein uthaaye ke tujh mein hi rab dikhtaEnglish Babu Desi Mem – It’s a bit hard to swallow that this shimmering number is created by Nikhil-Vinay. But as they are officially credited, I will go by it. The song has a faint qawaali tinge to it and the lyrics are nice. To top it all, there is an ethereal looking Sonali Bendre dancing to the beats in a flaming red dress – the overall effect is fantastic!

It is S.D.Burman’s birth centenary this year. And www.sdburman.net compiled an awesome evening today, gastritis here in Delhi at Sri Sathya Sai Auditorium, Lodhi Road.

Personally, I have attended very few musical shows, primarily because the music that I like is seldom a crowd-puller, and hence commercial organizations avoid it. However, this was a treat compiled by a select group of connoisseurs, and all of it – as Ritu Chandra, one of the co-hosts and co-owner of the site mentioned – voluntary and for immense love for Burmanda’s music. Due to this I was eagerly awaiting the show. And I wasnt disappointed. A labor of love has a fragrance that is as natural and pure as a rose in the garden – with thorns, et al; something that is not found in the ornate bouquets wrapped in plastic films in decorative shops. So was the show fragrant, byouant and vibrant, despite a few hiccups and snags. It was all for the love of music, by lovers of music, for the lovers of music.

On my part I am not a Burmanda fanatic, but I like many of his songs and and can quietly place myself in the ranks of those who respect him a lot.  Some of them, especially ones sung by Lataji, are extraordinary.  

The chief guest for the evening was famous poet Padmashri Gopal Das Neeraj. Apart from his poems, Neerajji is a reknowned lyricists with hits like ‘Likhe jo khat tujhe’  (Kanyadan/SJ), ‘ Caravan guzar gaya‘ (Nayi Umar Ki Nayi Fasal / Roshan)and ‘Ae bhai zaraa dekh ke chalo’ (Mera Naam Joker/ SJ).  With Burmanda, his association is particularly productive and right up there in lyricist-music director associations.

The second guest of honor was Meena Kapur, wife of legendary composer Anil Biswas; but also a singer in her own right. From her ouvre, I am particularly fond of ‘Meri atariya pe kaaga bole‘ from the oldest Aankhen (Madan Mohan’s debut film). Other luminaries included Mrs Basanti Dutta (grand-niece of Burmanda) and Mr. KC Khurana (an elderly emcee who has done several shows with legends like Manna De, etc).

As Sajid, the emcee for the evening, began his narration (using a mix of shudhh Hindi and chaste Urdu) with a famous quote ‘Nashili ki raat hai, saare chiraag gul kardo, khushi ki raat mein kya kaam hai jalnewalon ka’ (incidentally, immortalised as the prelude in Shankar Jaikishan’s breathtaking number ‘Lo aai milan ki raat’ from Aashiq),   I settled cozily into my seat to enjoy the evening.

After the lamp-lighting ceremony by Neerajji and an audio-visual documentary on the life of Burmanda, Indraneel Mukherjee’s musical troupe took over the proceedings and unleashed a spew of immortal Burmanda hits. As if to invite the soul of Burmanda, Indraneel began with ‘O Jaane waale ho sake toh laut ke aana’ (Bandini). Indraneel’s voice had a strong Hemant Kumar tinge, and after listening to the number one could imagine how it would have sounded if the said number was sung by him rather than Mukesh, the original singer.

Some songs in this section included: the swaying ‘Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan’, the mesmerizing ‘Ab toh hai tumse har khushi apni’, the mischevious ‘Ab ke sajan saawan mein aag lagegi badan mein‘, the romantic ‘Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hai’, the deeply resonating ‘Jalte hai jiske liye teri aankhon ke diye’ and the coy ‘Jaane kya toone kahi’.

[Due to the time constraints, the troupe mix-and-matched full songs and mukhda-one-antara combination]

The evening’s theme was to capture the ‘Navrasas’ in Burmanda’s music. The second section focused on that and began with ‘Shaantras’. Songs in these had the breezy ‘Thandi hawaayen lahrake aayen’ (one of the most copied songs in Bollywood) and my ultimate favorite, Latadi’s ‘Phaili hui hai sapnon ki raahein’.

For ‘Vatsalyaras’ a talented young girl Arundhati Prasad (all of 10 years) danced merrily to Asha Bhonsle’s ‘Chanda mama mere dwaar aana re’.

‘Vibhatsaras’ and ‘Raudraras’ were combined in two back-to-back rousing Sahir numbers from Pyasa‘Jinhe naaz hai Hind par woh kahan hai’ and ‘Yeh mehlon yeh taajon yeh takhton ki duniya’.

All this while Sajid interspersed his commentary with anecdotes from Burmanda’s life, either himself or through audio clips of various artistes like Lataji, Ashaji and Hrishida(Mukherjee).  For example, Sajid told us how Sahirsaab had written this motivational ghazal full of ‘Veerras’…and what did Burmanda do? He gave it to a club-dancer situation, and the bumper hit innovative number ‘Tadbeer se bigdi hui taqdeer bana le‘ was born.

‘Karunaras’ is a major force in Bollywood cinema. Hence some time was spent on it. Songs included ‘Hum bekhudi mein tujhko pukare chale gaye’ (which was rendered by a 16-year old youngster), one Bengali song and that tearful Ashaji’s minimal-orchestrated number from Bandini‘Ab ke baras bhej bhaiya ko babul’

I am sure it will not be very difficult to guess the song that would be an obvious choice for ‘Haasyaras’. But it was singer Sonu’s rendition of ‘Paanch rupayya baarah aana’ which brought in the maximum applause. His yodelling and vocal twists matched Kishore Kumar’s impossibly difficult one. It wasn’t a surprise that the audience greedily demanded for an encore, which the singer obliged by doing another perfect rendition of ‘Haal kaisa hai janaab ka’. This ‘ras’ was rounded off with ‘Achhaji main haari ab maan jaao na’

Since Neerajji was not feeling too bright, his felicitation was pre-poned. This section had four of my most favorite songs – Rangeela re , Phoolon ke rang se , Shokhiyon mein ghola jaaye and Jaise Radha ne maala japi shaam ki … for the last, the audience was so much involved that they requested for the full song to be sung.

Neerajji came to stage amidst thundering claps. He spoke eloquently and said that ‘sam-gat ka matlab sangeet hai‘ – and gave examples of how everything is in harmony in nature itself.  He averred ‘Geet hi aadi, geet hi ant, bin geet jeevan marghat samaan’. He also narrated his poem written on the importance of music and song.  He also released a commemorative compilation that has articles, filmography and biography of Burmanda.

After the fecilitations, there was a small break for tea (during which Neerajji left) followed by another round of music from Indraneel’s troupe. Some Meena Kapur numbers were the highlight of this section – and these were ones unknown to me as well. A point to note – Meenaji got her break with SD Burman.

More SDB songs followed – the heart-wrenching ‘Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam’, the chirrupy ‘Ae maine kasam lee’ and the soaring ‘Kaali ghata chhaye’. Chaitali Haldar came on stage to dance on Lataji’s classic ‘Piya tose naina laage re’ (original soundtrack played, and my heart swelled with joy). The dance was good, and the song captures ‘Shringarras’ effectively. Another audio-visual on some famous songs and films of SDB followed next.

The grand finale was of course reserved for that song on which the show was named – Lataji’s ‘Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai’ – an ultimate song that manifests feelings of freedom, joy and breaking of shackles!  The music of Guide is a remarkable feat, emblazoned boldly in glittering gold in the film music annals – no wonder three songs from this film featured in the show!  

During the evening I got acquainted to some numbers I hadnt heard of – Kisi se meri preet lagiyo (Aath Din), Pyara pyara hai sama my dear come to me (Kamal) [both Meena Kapoor numbers], Ae kaash chalte milke (Manzil), Apni toh har aah ek toofan hai (Kala Bazar) and  Prem ke pujari hum ke ras ke bhikhari hum (Prem Pujari) – not tough to decipher why I dont know them – none are Latadi numbers!

The auditorium was not large, and hence gave the effect of a quaint sangeet-mehfil. Thankfully, the audience was very receptive and even clapped along in few songs – though, as expected, there were a few rotten apples. For example, the three heavily decked up ladies in the row before me were more interested in waving at one of the singers, who was ostensibly their friend, than in really listening to the music. Their non-stop chatter was off-putting.

This was offset by some such deeply loving fans who had come all the way from Mysore and Bombay to attend the show. I was impressed by Mr Srinivas from Mysore, who was sitting next to me. His knowledge was immense, and he carried a neatly packaged scrap-book on SDB’s life (articles, photos etc). Music is a great unifier indeed…and what better example, than this that the site’s co-owners are  gentlemen from Bangladesh and Pakistan!

Alongwith the audience, the troupe was enjoying every minute of the program. And it was clearly visible.  The rapport amongst them was great, and Rupendra Shridhar – on keyboard and the conductor as well – could be seen beaming, or playfully reprimanding if something went wrong (e.g. in the number ‘Ab ke sajan saawan mein’ just before the antaras begin, there is a sharp flourish of violins, which the synthesizer player forgot to simulate in time). His entire body-language, as he timed the various artistes/singers, was one who is completely soaked into the proceedings. And the drummer gave some stirring crescendos to a few songs.

There were a few negatives – it started very late, the number of felicitations, bouquet-distribution in the second half were too elongated which unnecessary lengthened the duration, the lady doing Lataji’s song was shrill,  a few technical snags in the audio-visual sections, a power cut in between and worse, wrong credits in the audio visual (how could they list ‘Jogi jab se tu aaya mere dwaare’ as Asha’s song!!!!). Also, I wish they had some more real instruments esp. flute (since it was an integral part of Burmanda’s music). As of now, there were three synthesizers, two guitars, saxophone, drums and dholak alongwith a few other percussions.

But then, this was not a professionally organized show. For an amateur and voluntary project, the entire package was slick, sleek and superb!

In all, an evening well spent – and a standing ovation to the organizers. Whereever SDB is today, he would be exceedingly proud to see such fans who compiled and conducted this sort of a magnificent programme, without any greed or ulterior motive…just for the love of his music. That spirit and intent in itself is laudable, and I salute it with my full heart and soul! A tip of the hat to them!

 

Trust the administration to do some good act in totally half-baked pathetic manner. Recently, cure at Janpath, Delhi Police has started issuing warnings over a loud speaker – they include, amongst others: not to touch unclaimed objects, not to speak to strangers or accept gifts/foodstuff from them, not to hire domestic/shop helps without proper verification etc. All fine. All sane stuff. But, they repeat it ad naseum… in Hindi! Now, anyone knows that Janpath is forever infested with foreigners from all across the globe; the least they could do is to repeat the same in English! Plus, I fail to understand why they have chosen only Janpath – which is just a sliver of Connaught Place (the central Delhi swanky market cum office place)? Or, have I missed listening to it on the other blocks? It wasnt there at Palika Bazar today for sure!

Frankly, it must be pretty irritating for those who work there. To hear the same thing over and over again can be highly grating on the nerves. Plus, those ‘bhonpu‘ shaped speakers aren’t exactly Bose in their sound output – so the screechy voice followed by a shrill chime is as musical as a cat clawing over a blackboard! I stood there having my lunch for approx. ten minutes, and couldn’t take it any further.

Noise pollution continued to hound me today.

I don’t think it was very far in the past when we all survived without mobile phones. So the overdependence on this device pretty much leaves me stone-faced. Agreed it has an absolutely wonderful usage during emergencies. But seriously, to giggle into the mobile phone in the temple is stretching the definition of ’emergencies’ a bit too far! Every Tuesday, at our neighborhood temple, without fail I witness several pretty young things (yeah, it’s the girls more always!) dodging into a corner, with their hands cupped and faces buried away into sleek handsets. The worst sight could be to see someone chatting on the phone while pouring ‘jal‘ over Shivling!

Actually, I wouldn’t really mind that. Since they do not per se disturb others – that is, if they keep their voice volumes low! It’s the ring tones that I have major problem with. The concept of ring tones and hello tones is awful… esp the latter. I mean, what fun do people get in inflicting torture on the poor hapless soul who has called them by showering an utterly raucous voice called Shamur – cant decide whether this thing is male or female- rasping away inane lyrics like ‘Mera Ranjha Badi Der’ (that’s all that I could comprehend in this hideous song)?

Anyways, that is when you call someone.

But what to say of a situation when you are sitting to read your Shiv Chalisa in the temple…and out wails Himesh Reshamiiya from a friendly neighborhood mobile phone?

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[ For her own personal reasons, clinic Priyangini stopped writing some time back. The regulars on her blog will recall (with a twinge of nostalgia) her superb writings especially the sweet-n-sour suitor sagas and the mesmerising musical posts.

But I guess you can’t keep a good writer away from penning his or her thoughts. So, troche  Priyangini has also once again picked up the pen. And it is the privilege of Random Expressions to have her here as a guest writer, salve to write on the most talked about movie this season, Omkara

Over to you, Priyangini]

OTHELLO-BHARTIYA STYLE, By Priyangini Mehta

Then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well,
Of one not easily jealous but, being wrought,
Perplexed in the extreme; of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinable gum. Set you down this,
And say besides that in Aleppo once,
Where a malignant and a turbaned Turk
Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
I took by th’ throat the circumcised dog
And smote him thus. (V.ii.352–365)

These are the final words of Othello just before he stabs himself to death in remorse for his weakness. My mom, an English Literature student told me once that when the recitation of Othello ended in her class, there was a pin-drop silence for almost one full minute.

When Omkara looks into Kesu’s eyes drawing his fierce face near the greiving face of his lieutenant, the camera moves behind Kesu and we cannot see Omkara for a second and in that second we hear a shot, Omkara stumbles, a red spot on his chest and falls to the floor beneath the swing where dressed in red bridal finery lies Dolly, dead at the hands of her husband. A top shot captures the scene and pauses, then the screen goes blank and the credits roll upwards from the base of the screen. The cinema hall is silent and unmoving for almost one full minute.

This is what a good movie or story does, it sucks you into the world of its characters so strongly, that the effect of the end is almost callously paralysing. Not many movies in recent times have done that to me. It happened a long time back in Prahar, then more recently in Maqbool, Black and now in Omkara.

I had high expectations. Maqbool had set a standard and Vishal Bharadwaj had his own tough act to repeat but he has done well. For all those who know Othello, it is a forever story. It probably is not as difficult as Macbeth or Hamlet to adapt mainly because the play is all about the characters and the inherent nature of men which as we all know hasn’t changed much since the seventeenth century. But then again to be able to bring in the Indianness and relevance while keeping the parallels intact must have been a tough task.

Omkara begins with a dialogue that made me cringe. It set the base of what was to follow. The language was atrocious but after a while you realise that this was how they spoke and then you get used to it, the language of outlaws of U.P. a community of merceneries making a living as the henchmen of powerful politicians seems normal.

The story is known so I did not expect any surprises but still it surprised me with the intensity of the performances. Ajay Devgan is an efficient actor and a powerful personality. His physique is lean and muscular just like men of labour. He lived Omkara to the hilt, the feared leader of the outlaws, tough and harsh but with flashes of sensitivity especially for the woman he loved.

Vivek Oberoi is Mr. Nice Guy, he plays the character of Micheal Cassio which in Omkara is named Kesu Firangi, the man who is the reason and subject of Othello’s hatred but ultimately is the story’s only survivor. Vivek is good, his Kesu is subdued and constantly under the awe of Omkara. We all know that it will take much more than breaking up with Ash to get Vivek’s career upward but a couple of movies like this will do the trick I think.

Konkana Sen Sharma plays Indu, a servant and confidante of the leading lady named as Emilia in the original and she delivers. This woman impresses me, as an actor she is so spontaneous and she adapts to the character with every inch of her personality. In Mr. and Mrs. Iyer she played an urban South Indian woman with conviction and with the same conviction she plays the opposite, a rural North Indian woman.

Naseeruddin Shah is faultless as usual; words cannot do justice to this man so I shall leave it at that. A surprise package is Deepak Dobriyal, he is a new actor on the scene. He plays Rajju, an important character throughout the story who provides some comic relief as well. In the original he was Rodrigo, a suitor to Othello’s beloved. This character is nothing to look at, hardly any personality as such and so one wants to laugh at him for wanting to compete with Othello. Deepak performs Rodrigo so well I am sure he is an experienced theatre person.

Then we have Bipasha, as Billo Chamanbahar a nach-gaanewali who is Bianca, a prostitute in Othello, she is required to do two item numbers which she does well. Then she is required to mouth lines like, “Aa gaya tu haramkhor.” and she looks a bit uncomfortable. No doubt she tries but the effort shows, I would have loved Shilpa in that role or better still Sushmita but then again, the role is not very important and Bipasha looks hot enough according to Rishabh*.

I save the last two spots for one actor which I dislike, Kareena and for Saif, the guy who does not cease to surprise me. Desdemona in Othello is an independent woman who has the emotional strength to give up her royalties for a man like Othello. Dolly in Omkara is given the same character but Kareena makes her look pathetic and stupid. She giggles the first half and cries the second. The name also is to blame, Desdemona v/s Dolly, Vishalji what were you thinking? Deepika or Dipti or Damini anything but Dolly. Every time the name is taken, I felt like laughing.

And now for Saif, I bet on him to sweep the critics awards this year. He has yet again proved his prowess in serious acting. He is outstanding as Ishwar Tyagi aka Langda Tyagi the man who twirls the characters around his fingers as Iago does in the original story. He has become Langda Tyagi, right from the tobacco stained teeth to the limp. All I will say for him is that if you miss this movie, you will miss one of the best performances of Saif which I don’t think either Saif himself or any other actor can repeat for a long time to come.

The movie is mainly in shades of brown, just like the posters show, the same background colour flows all though the film with intermittent colours on props and clothes but principally brown. The landscape is wild and barren, almost like Omkara himself. The camera under the efficent hand of Tassaduq Hussain moves slowly, even during the fight sequences but does not seem boring because there is so much to see, for e.g. when Omkara smears Kesu’s forhead with sindoor indicating him to be the successor, the camera captures all the three men, bare-chested, each face clear on the camera with its own expression.

Music is fantastic. Lyrics by Gulzar are sensitive and apt. Songs well placed and each used for the story. Rishabh took a break in one of the songs to beat the crowd just before the interval and missed crucial a moment. Vishal Bhardwaj has done the songs and the background score and since it is his screenplay the score blends in perfectly except at the end when probably as a tribute to the original author, there is a small peice of Engima type chants which actually jar in the scene.

The story has been tweaked quite a bit but all the important and significant aspects remain. To understand the parallels, you must read Othello either before or after you watch the movie, before is better because that is the correct chronology. Omkara has delivered Othello to the Indian audience well but there are flaws, you can overlook them if you want because the powerful performances and screenplay overpower them to a certain extent but still they remain.

First up, many celebrities don’t a good movie make. All these famous actors have histories and because of their celebrity status and past roles, they never become the character for the audience. They always remain the actor. I heard a couple of whispers saying that for Ajay and Vivek it looks like a Company repeat. To that extent it is different from Maqbool and probably that is why Maqbool remains a better movie to watch because none of those actors except maybe Tabu had histories to haunt them. Vishal Bharadwaj could have casted better as we do have a lot of talented male actors who are relatively unknown.

Secondly, the ending of the story has been changed. In the original Emilia dies at Iago’s hands, it is one of the most haunting moments of the play, but in Omkara, this has been changed for something less believable because what Indu does seems uncharacteristic. I won’t reveal it so you can see it for yourself and decide though you must watch out for Konkana and Saif in that scene both are brilliant.

Thirdly, the language is difficult to follow, even if you ignore the abuses that people fling at each other left right and centre, the North Indian accent is indeciperable unless you are from a village in U.P. or Bihar. There is one expression which is used often which I have still not been able to comprehend fully. Of course you get a sense of it but still understanding the dialogues is important to follow the story.

Lastly, its a tad bit long. At one point you feel like, “Yeah, get on with it.” This is mainly because you kind of get tired of the language and want to return to understandable Hindi and also because if you know the story, you know what is going to happen and want it to reach the climax fast. Though the editing is taut most of the time, there is a bit of confusion near the climax and a little more chopping by Meghna Manchanda could have helped.

Overall Omkara is a must watch. But do not expect entertainment, it is a serious movie, deals with a sensitive subject and delivers a drastically different fare than what we are used to. Watch it if you are in the mood of good cinema but forget it if you want to have fun. Someone told me it is going black for 700 bucks in multiplexes, if that is true looks like Vishal Bharadwaj has found the equation that clicks both in big bucks and critical acclaim which again sets him up for a tougher act to follow.

[*For those who do not know, Rishabh is Priyangini’s would-be-better-half!]

Mai hoon ik khanabdosh
Saara jag mera watan

For those who wonder the reason of my prolonged absence, website like this discount the above quote and the post’s title will give away the reason. Yes, this web I am now in Agra – once again away from home, and in yet another historical town.

Things happened quite suddenly. At least, the shifting part. Even though, I can’t claim I have fully done so because I am still living in the company’s guest house and have only brought one travel bag. I plan to go back to Delhi sometime next week, once I have the possession of the flat, which I have selected.

The flat is an awesome one, providing a beautiful top-angle, wide-panaromic view of the Taj Mahal.

But first things first – how did I end up here? Frankly, even I wasn’t too aware that the interview I had given was for Agra’s position. When the HR lady called up to give package details, and other stuff, she casually mentioned that the place of posting is here. For several seconds, I was in a dumb stupor. And the lady had to repeat thrice to confirm that she had understood my shocked grunts as an affirmation to the offer.

After that, things tumbled over each other. Joined at the Delhi office and then made one trip to Agra last week to finalize the house – a gruelling one indeed, as I couldn’t find anything suiting my taste and my pocket. I drove a whopping 170 kms within this small city, in those two days of house-search, and yet the one that I zeroed on in was shown by the property dealer the third’s days morning – the day I returned.

Barely had I set foot in Delhi, when the office confirmed the final shift as well. At first, I was in a whirring confusion. To be honest, I still am! The transition has been anything but smooth. But, I will not crib much here on the official lacunae.
In between, I managed to view Karan Johar’s bullshit of a movie called Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna. I enjoy the so-called ‘Johar-Chopra escapists’ fare. But this one just didn’t hold on its own. The story’s premise is flimsy, and none of the characters are real. Nay, they are thinner than cardboard! Had it not been for Amitabh Bachchan’s sizzling presence, the film would have been a total washout. Karan uses cliche upon cliches, not only in his narrative – but in his shots as well. The scenes where the hero and heroine part ways, in a top-angle shot, with a soft chorus humming the theme music (the kind that saw its pinnacle in Hum Tum) drew only bored yawns. Not done, Karan – has your imagination grown thin already?

In an interview, Karan said that it his most mature movie. Perhaps it is- because *wink wink* there are two ‘lovemaking scenes’ – stuff that do not find place in his movies! And before you rush to call up the nearest theater, the shot is as bland as the film, with Rani ending up with a tear in her eye (a la Aishwarya Rai in Shabd). Unfortunately, by the time the film climaxes, the audiences have tears….of frustration and boredom!

Anyways, I won’t be able to do a full fledged review now. But the end result is, please (and a double please) don’t waste your hard earned money on KANK – and coming from a fan of such films, this is a monumental statement!

Signing off now; will try to fill in details as and when I can.

Mai hoon ik khanabdosh
Saara jag mera watan

For those who wonder the reason of my prolonged absence, website like this discount the above quote and the post’s title will give away the reason. Yes, this web I am now in Agra – once again away from home, and in yet another historical town.

Things happened quite suddenly. At least, the shifting part. Even though, I can’t claim I have fully done so because I am still living in the company’s guest house and have only brought one travel bag. I plan to go back to Delhi sometime next week, once I have the possession of the flat, which I have selected.

The flat is an awesome one, providing a beautiful top-angle, wide-panaromic view of the Taj Mahal.

But first things first – how did I end up here? Frankly, even I wasn’t too aware that the interview I had given was for Agra’s position. When the HR lady called up to give package details, and other stuff, she casually mentioned that the place of posting is here. For several seconds, I was in a dumb stupor. And the lady had to repeat thrice to confirm that she had understood my shocked grunts as an affirmation to the offer.

After that, things tumbled over each other. Joined at the Delhi office and then made one trip to Agra last week to finalize the house – a gruelling one indeed, as I couldn’t find anything suiting my taste and my pocket. I drove a whopping 170 kms within this small city, in those two days of house-search, and yet the one that I zeroed on in was shown by the property dealer the third’s days morning – the day I returned.

Barely had I set foot in Delhi, when the office confirmed the final shift as well. At first, I was in a whirring confusion. To be honest, I still am! The transition has been anything but smooth. But, I will not crib much here on the official lacunae.
In between, I managed to view Karan Johar’s bullshit of a movie called Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna. I enjoy the so-called ‘Johar-Chopra escapists’ fare. But this one just didn’t hold on its own. The story’s premise is flimsy, and none of the characters are real. Nay, they are thinner than cardboard! Had it not been for Amitabh Bachchan’s sizzling presence, the film would have been a total washout. Karan uses cliche upon cliches, not only in his narrative – but in his shots as well. The scenes where the hero and heroine part ways, in a top-angle shot, with a soft chorus humming the theme music (the kind that saw its pinnacle in Hum Tum) drew only bored yawns. Not done, Karan – has your imagination grown thin already?

In an interview, Karan said that it his most mature movie. Perhaps it is- because *wink wink* there are two ‘lovemaking scenes’ – stuff that do not find place in his movies! And before you rush to call up the nearest theater, the shot is as bland as the film, with Rani ending up with a tear in her eye (a la Aishwarya Rai in Shabd). Unfortunately, by the time the film climaxes, the audiences have tears….of frustration and boredom!

Anyways, I won’t be able to do a full fledged review now. But the end result is, please (and a double please) don’t waste your hard earned money on KANK – and coming from a fan of such films, this is a monumental statement!

Signing off now; will try to fill in details as and when I can.

Don’t be shocked if you haven’t heard of these names. Neither had I. That is, mind till a few days back. And then suddenly I was driving through these faceless, medicine unknown towns of Western Uttar Pradesh – where the wild ravines of Yamuna nearly embrace the dreaded ones of Chambal.

It’s astounding how many untold stories lie within those rocky crevices, men’s health buried under the wild grass, seeped in the sandy earth.

It was a business tour. But our accompanying official was from this region, and all through the rough ride in the white Indica, we were regaled with narrations from the past – some mesmerizing myths, some unbelievable legends and many goresome tales of crime and criminals. Fact and fiction intertwined so tightly that often I was confused trying to unravel the two. In the end, I chose to stay mum and absorb as much as I could. His stories were not chronological, and neither did I note them down. Yet, whatever I could gather, I will try to replicate here, to the best possible means. Readers from this region may forgive me for some serious lapses.

This was the region of Bhadawar – one of those countless princely states that formed India in the past. Once upon a time, one of the kings made a strong friendship bond with another king (probably of Gwalior).  In a surge of friendship, they promised to wed their children, should they be of differing genders. Alas, both gave birth to girls. However, the King of Bhadawar, to keep his word, hid the girl and kept her disguised as a male…to the extent that he even married her off to his friend’s daughter in order to maintain his vow. On wedding night, all hell broke loose when the new bride realised that her ‘husband’ is in reality a girl. The bride’s father swore revenge, and a war ensued. The ‘groom’ (princess in disguise) couldn’t bear the sad fact that all the rampage was due to her, and she jumped into Yamuna. It is said that Lord Shiva himself rescued her, and brought her to shore.

The King then built 101 temples at the behest of Lord Shiva. And, the Lord saw to it that Yamuna flowed upstream, away from her normal course, for some six kilometers. Now, this is where fact takes over. The Yamuna does change its course somewhat drastically. And there are 101 temples in one row on the banks of Yamuna.

This is the pious town of Bateshwar. And the main temple houses a ‘swayam utpann’ lingam – not man made, self-made lingam.

When Aurangzeb was on his temples destruction spree, he came to the Bateshwar Temple as well. He could desecrate a few, but when he came to the main one, he was stalled. And how? He attacked the lingam with his sword. Water flowed out. He attacked again. Milk flowed out. In his third attempt, blood flowed out. He fled the place, and never returned. No mosque was built there, and the locals proudly boast of this fact.

The temple is beautiful. And the lingam, with heavy cuts at the top (where Aurangzeb’s sword hit it) still exists. One of the best sights is to step down from the ghats on the side to the bank of River Yamuna. The entire scenario is exceedingly peaceful.

That was Bateshwar. But before that, we had gone to a wayside town called Bah. And from there to Shahpur Brahman. Six kilometers more, and you are in the thick of Yamuna ‘beehad’. From nowhere, suddenly, erupts a fort that once housed the Bhadawar family. It was jaw-dropping to see its well concealed location. Though now a relic, it’s peeling walls whispered untold tales of a bygone era. We managed to gain entry, and enter its rooms. The fort had been occupied till quite late, as signs of modernity (electricity, photographs, etc) were all there. It is at once creepy and exciting to enter into the decandent premises, as if one is intruding upon the past. The clouds darkened. And rains washed down, adding to the gloom and dreariness.

An old caretaker showed us the way. The king’s descendent now lives in Agra, and is in politics. He hasn’t given away his property to ASI as yet.

Our friend-cum-guide continued with his stories – some as outlandish as that those kings who died without heir returned into the fort as snakes – and not ordinary ones at that! Snakes with huge moustaches! A tiny shiver crawled through my spine. Another legend was about a cannon that went off on its own in the night, and destroyed a nearby ‘haveli’.

We stepped on a slippery parapet, and climbed over rusted barriers to reach the terrace. The view was breathtaking. The rain washed ravines echoed an eerie silence, while River Yamuna snaked on its course quietly, just a little distance away; she sighed, as if pining for the lost time and valor. Today, the dacoits use the thickets by her banks to hide and run away after some shameless plunder.

The fort’s temple, specially opened for us by a drunk person (whom our guide for the day befriended), was another lovely sight. The murals on the walls were intricate; and the paint, though a tad faded, still held its self-esteem and blushed about its bygone days.

That drunk person told us that the rains had come there for the first time that year on that day. ‘As if to welcome us,’ I joked. But, the moistness in the atmosphere, and the sogginess in the mud below were a bit disconcerting.

As our taxi wove its way back from the place, the friend informed that the drunk person had no other work but to ‘hide and supply food’ to the dacoits.

The rain whipped the tinted glass. The wind howled. I looked out at the receding structures, once again left to their lonesome existence.

On the way back, the colleague’s faucet of tales didn’t close. One after the other they tumbled out – about his life, his past, and his village. Mid-way I realized that there was something grossly amiss in all his anecdotes. I couldn’t place it then. But later I realised what it was. All the stories revolved around some crime or criminal. A few were as bizarre as the fables he had told us. And a few others were unabashedly inhuman. That life is so different from mine, it is almost impossible to relate to it.

The Indica stepped onto the tarred highway. The heavy clouds were behind us, and we whizzed into civilization.

Behind me I had left a gray and anguished past and life – and as I type this today, I feel as if I had seen a hazy and disturbing dream. But I know it was for real. The interior India. The true India.

[My apologies to all readers for not visiting their blogs. Time is short with me these past days. Once I comfortably settle down, I will be regular again. My apologies also for any grammatical and typographical errors in the above piece. It is tough to write in an unfamiliar cyber cafe, with horrendously tight keyboard, and songs playing non-stop]

Mai hoon ik khanabdosh
Saara jag mera watan

For those who wonder the reason of my prolonged absence, website like this discount the above quote and the post’s title will give away the reason. Yes, this web I am now in Agra – once again away from home, and in yet another historical town.

Things happened quite suddenly. At least, the shifting part. Even though, I can’t claim I have fully done so because I am still living in the company’s guest house and have only brought one travel bag. I plan to go back to Delhi sometime next week, once I have the possession of the flat, which I have selected.

The flat is an awesome one, providing a beautiful top-angle, wide-panaromic view of the Taj Mahal.

But first things first – how did I end up here? Frankly, even I wasn’t too aware that the interview I had given was for Agra’s position. When the HR lady called up to give package details, and other stuff, she casually mentioned that the place of posting is here. For several seconds, I was in a dumb stupor. And the lady had to repeat thrice to confirm that she had understood my shocked grunts as an affirmation to the offer.

After that, things tumbled over each other. Joined at the Delhi office and then made one trip to Agra last week to finalize the house – a gruelling one indeed, as I couldn’t find anything suiting my taste and my pocket. I drove a whopping 170 kms within this small city, in those two days of house-search, and yet the one that I zeroed on in was shown by the property dealer the third’s days morning – the day I returned.

Barely had I set foot in Delhi, when the office confirmed the final shift as well. At first, I was in a whirring confusion. To be honest, I still am! The transition has been anything but smooth. But, I will not crib much here on the official lacunae.
In between, I managed to view Karan Johar’s bullshit of a movie called Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna. I enjoy the so-called ‘Johar-Chopra escapists’ fare. But this one just didn’t hold on its own. The story’s premise is flimsy, and none of the characters are real. Nay, they are thinner than cardboard! Had it not been for Amitabh Bachchan’s sizzling presence, the film would have been a total washout. Karan uses cliche upon cliches, not only in his narrative – but in his shots as well. The scenes where the hero and heroine part ways, in a top-angle shot, with a soft chorus humming the theme music (the kind that saw its pinnacle in Hum Tum) drew only bored yawns. Not done, Karan – has your imagination grown thin already?

In an interview, Karan said that it his most mature movie. Perhaps it is- because *wink wink* there are two ‘lovemaking scenes’ – stuff that do not find place in his movies! And before you rush to call up the nearest theater, the shot is as bland as the film, with Rani ending up with a tear in her eye (a la Aishwarya Rai in Shabd). Unfortunately, by the time the film climaxes, the audiences have tears….of frustration and boredom!

Anyways, I won’t be able to do a full fledged review now. But the end result is, please (and a double please) don’t waste your hard earned money on KANK – and coming from a fan of such films, this is a monumental statement!

Signing off now; will try to fill in details as and when I can.

Don’t be shocked if you haven’t heard of these names. Neither had I. That is, mind till a few days back. And then suddenly I was driving through these faceless, medicine unknown towns of Western Uttar Pradesh – where the wild ravines of Yamuna nearly embrace the dreaded ones of Chambal.

It’s astounding how many untold stories lie within those rocky crevices, men’s health buried under the wild grass, seeped in the sandy earth.

It was a business tour. But our accompanying official was from this region, and all through the rough ride in the white Indica, we were regaled with narrations from the past – some mesmerizing myths, some unbelievable legends and many goresome tales of crime and criminals. Fact and fiction intertwined so tightly that often I was confused trying to unravel the two. In the end, I chose to stay mum and absorb as much as I could. His stories were not chronological, and neither did I note them down. Yet, whatever I could gather, I will try to replicate here, to the best possible means. Readers from this region may forgive me for some serious lapses.

This was the region of Bhadawar – one of those countless princely states that formed India in the past. Once upon a time, one of the kings made a strong friendship bond with another king (probably of Gwalior).  In a surge of friendship, they promised to wed their children, should they be of differing genders. Alas, both gave birth to girls. However, the King of Bhadawar, to keep his word, hid the girl and kept her disguised as a male…to the extent that he even married her off to his friend’s daughter in order to maintain his vow. On wedding night, all hell broke loose when the new bride realised that her ‘husband’ is in reality a girl. The bride’s father swore revenge, and a war ensued. The ‘groom’ (princess in disguise) couldn’t bear the sad fact that all the rampage was due to her, and she jumped into Yamuna. It is said that Lord Shiva himself rescued her, and brought her to shore.

The King then built 101 temples at the behest of Lord Shiva. And, the Lord saw to it that Yamuna flowed upstream, away from her normal course, for some six kilometers. Now, this is where fact takes over. The Yamuna does change its course somewhat drastically. And there are 101 temples in one row on the banks of Yamuna.

This is the pious town of Bateshwar. And the main temple houses a ‘swayam utpann’ lingam – not man made, self-made lingam.

When Aurangzeb was on his temples destruction spree, he came to the Bateshwar Temple as well. He could desecrate a few, but when he came to the main one, he was stalled. And how? He attacked the lingam with his sword. Water flowed out. He attacked again. Milk flowed out. In his third attempt, blood flowed out. He fled the place, and never returned. No mosque was built there, and the locals proudly boast of this fact.

The temple is beautiful. And the lingam, with heavy cuts at the top (where Aurangzeb’s sword hit it) still exists. One of the best sights is to step down from the ghats on the side to the bank of River Yamuna. The entire scenario is exceedingly peaceful.

That was Bateshwar. But before that, we had gone to a wayside town called Bah. And from there to Shahpur Brahman. Six kilometers more, and you are in the thick of Yamuna ‘beehad’. From nowhere, suddenly, erupts a fort that once housed the Bhadawar family. It was jaw-dropping to see its well concealed location. Though now a relic, it’s peeling walls whispered untold tales of a bygone era. We managed to gain entry, and enter its rooms. The fort had been occupied till quite late, as signs of modernity (electricity, photographs, etc) were all there. It is at once creepy and exciting to enter into the decandent premises, as if one is intruding upon the past. The clouds darkened. And rains washed down, adding to the gloom and dreariness.

An old caretaker showed us the way. The king’s descendent now lives in Agra, and is in politics. He hasn’t given away his property to ASI as yet.

Our friend-cum-guide continued with his stories – some as outlandish as that those kings who died without heir returned into the fort as snakes – and not ordinary ones at that! Snakes with huge moustaches! A tiny shiver crawled through my spine. Another legend was about a cannon that went off on its own in the night, and destroyed a nearby ‘haveli’.

We stepped on a slippery parapet, and climbed over rusted barriers to reach the terrace. The view was breathtaking. The rain washed ravines echoed an eerie silence, while River Yamuna snaked on its course quietly, just a little distance away; she sighed, as if pining for the lost time and valor. Today, the dacoits use the thickets by her banks to hide and run away after some shameless plunder.

The fort’s temple, specially opened for us by a drunk person (whom our guide for the day befriended), was another lovely sight. The murals on the walls were intricate; and the paint, though a tad faded, still held its self-esteem and blushed about its bygone days.

That drunk person told us that the rains had come there for the first time that year on that day. ‘As if to welcome us,’ I joked. But, the moistness in the atmosphere, and the sogginess in the mud below were a bit disconcerting.

As our taxi wove its way back from the place, the friend informed that the drunk person had no other work but to ‘hide and supply food’ to the dacoits.

The rain whipped the tinted glass. The wind howled. I looked out at the receding structures, once again left to their lonesome existence.

On the way back, the colleague’s faucet of tales didn’t close. One after the other they tumbled out – about his life, his past, and his village. Mid-way I realized that there was something grossly amiss in all his anecdotes. I couldn’t place it then. But later I realised what it was. All the stories revolved around some crime or criminal. A few were as bizarre as the fables he had told us. And a few others were unabashedly inhuman. That life is so different from mine, it is almost impossible to relate to it.

The Indica stepped onto the tarred highway. The heavy clouds were behind us, and we whizzed into civilization.

Behind me I had left a gray and anguished past and life – and as I type this today, I feel as if I had seen a hazy and disturbing dream. But I know it was for real. The interior India. The true India.

[My apologies to all readers for not visiting their blogs. Time is short with me these past days. Once I comfortably settle down, I will be regular again. My apologies also for any grammatical and typographical errors in the above piece. It is tough to write in an unfamiliar cyber cafe, with horrendously tight keyboard, and songs playing non-stop]

A few days back  I was watching Chupke Chupke after a gruelling drive from Aligarh. It was a perfect antidote; the simple and charming film simply washed away all tiredness.    

Antics of Pyare Mohan, viagra 40mg the ‘ghaas-phoos’ wale daaktar in disguise as a chaste Hindi speaking driver in his wife’s ‘Jijja-ji’s’ house, internist dissipitated away any signs of a bumpy journey. And, discount this must be the countless time I must have been watching the film. Yet, it seemed so fresh, and I awaited each trick that Pyare Mohan unfolded to irritate his bro-in-law! That is the power of great art – approach it once, or many times, each visit should feel new and fresh.

Now, it’s impossible to envisage that the man behind such a brilliant comedy is no more.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee created an enviable niche for his himself. Simplicity was the key word. Strong storylines another. His comedies are best loved and they cant be surpassed ever! That’s more so because he took everyday situations and created a laugh riot of gargatuan proportions. On the face of it there was nothing spectacular scenario, yet they were monumental. Think of Golmaal, Khoobsoorat and Chupke Chupke  – all of them bring instantaneous smiles. Dont they? One can sit thru them even knowing each dialogue by heart. That was the power of his direction. I mean, in spite of knowing each movement of each actor, there is still the urge to view it once more, only to get the pleasure of what the characters are doing on-screen. And Dharamendra, Rekha, Amitabh Bachhan, Sharmila Tagore, Amol Palekar, Bindiya Goswami all of them got an unique film to add to their resumes!

One lesser known but nevertheless outstanding comedy is ‘Kisi Se Na kahna’ – aah! as a kid how much i revelled when i first saw the antics of a ‘city-bred’ Deepti Naval trying to pose of as a ‘village bahu’ for the sake of – who else?-  Utpal Dutt. A TV channel showed excerpts of the film; I wish some channel would dig it out and telecast it. In fact, Utpal Dutt and Hrishida were a formidable pair. And add to this David, the entire experience was like watching neighborhood friendly uncles.

And yet, his emotional dramas have their own power. Anari, Anand, Mili, Satyakam, Bemisaal,  Guddi and Bawarchi have their own appeal that goes beyond what we know of Bollywoood in normal terms. His characters were so real that they seemed just living down the road, instead of imaginations on silver screen. I have added Bawarchi in his list of ’emotional films’ because the comedy wrapper that Hrishida packed it in beguiled the deep emotional undercurrent of the film, and its message. Only he (and perhaps, Gulzar) could have pulled across the then reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna to pass off as a convincing cook, and play ‘brother’ to another leading lady of her time. Just the way he metamorphosised Dharmendra’s career. In Chupke Chupke, Dharam overshadowed the proceedings (and I can confidently make the sacrililegious statement that he was even better than Amitabh!). But his real mettle can be seen in the understated role in Satyakam. I still remember how disturbed I was (as a youngster) when I first saw it.  The rape scene is not shown, yet the impact is splashed all over like the smudged vermillion on Sharmila’s forehead. And Latadi’s ‘Do din ki hai zindagi’ punches the solar plexus!

Truly a pioneer in the ‘middle-of-road’ cinema that combined the grandeur of ‘impossible situations’ with ‘believable people’, Hrishida will forever remain in the hearts of every true Hindi cinema afficiondo.  His characters were so believable that often one can feel an impish Mili running up and down the stairs in any middle class apartment building! In Mili he gave what is perhaps unique to Hindi films – a completely open ending. One can think of any denouement as per one’s mood and outlook!  Yet, the story is so complete that even one more shot would have been extraneous!

I am not sure what the exact box office fate was of his releases. But today a lion’s share of them are retro-hits. Yet, even within that there are some that haven’t found the requisite attention.

In fact, his lesser known films are equally stunning in their execution. One such is Bemisaal ; it is one of my all time favorites – both cinematically and musically. The friendship between Vinod Mehra and Amitabh Bachchan is so filmi-cliche- free that it’s like a soothing halcyon playing. The end always gives a rock-solid lump in my throat. And what beautiful songs – ‘Kisi baat pe main kisi se khaffaa hoon’ ranks very high in my list! In the same song he extracted one of the finest performances from another favorite, Amitabh Bachchan: the look of veiled disdain towards the vamp Sheetal as he sways ever so slightly singing the taunting song, while Raakhee is perplexed and thinks it to be thrown towards her, this is a scene of absolutely bemisaal direction!  With the same leading trio (Raakhee, Amitabh and Vinod Mehra) he made an impactful statement of guilt and sorrow in Jurmana.

Musically, he was very strong. If he could get even the otherwise awfully dull Anand Milind to compose a shimmering ‘Chaand kahuun’ (Udit) for his last film Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate, it was but obvious that the ‘creamy layer’ of music studios – SJ, SDB,RDB, Salil-da and MM – would reserve nothing but the best for him. And what an array of songs – from the perky ‘Samajhne waale samajh gaye hain’ to the philosophical ‘Kahiin door jab din dhal jaaaye’ to the sombre ‘Sab kuchh seekha humne’ to the classical ‘More naina bahaye neer‘ to the chirpy ‘Ab ke sajan saawan mein’ to the romantic ‘Loote koi mann ka nagar’ to the tough ‘Laagi nahi chhute’ (Where Dilip Kumar fought a losing vocal war with the ever-impeccable Latadi) to the musing ‘Badi sooni sooni hai’ to the pious ‘Bole re papihara’ to the heart-warming ‘Tera mera pyaar amar phir kyun mujhko laga hai darr’ to the amusing ‘Yeh kashmir hai’ to the dreamy ‘Ek baat kahuun gar maano tum’ to the pain lashed ‘Kuchh dil ne kaha kuchh bhi nahi’ to the musically splendid ‘Lo aayi milan ki raat suhaani aaj‘ – it’s a matchless hit-parade that leaves you jaw-dropped!

Hrishida worked with two of my most fav composers – Madan Mohan (Bawarchi) and Shankar Jaikishan (Anari, Asli Naqli, Ashiq, Gaban). But his overall film repertoire is filled with such musical giants as SD Burman, Salil Chaudhary, Pt. Ravishankar, RDBurman and Jaidev. Can anyone match this wide a variety of composers? I doubt it!

Whereever Hrishida is now, God Bless His Soul – Hrishida – for me, you will remain the most favorite director forever. Thank you for making me smile, for taking away my blues, for giving me that warm sadness, that friendly feeling… you were the best!!!!

Mai hoon ik khanabdosh
Saara jag mera watan

For those who wonder the reason of my prolonged absence, website like this discount the above quote and the post’s title will give away the reason. Yes, this web I am now in Agra – once again away from home, and in yet another historical town.

Things happened quite suddenly. At least, the shifting part. Even though, I can’t claim I have fully done so because I am still living in the company’s guest house and have only brought one travel bag. I plan to go back to Delhi sometime next week, once I have the possession of the flat, which I have selected.

The flat is an awesome one, providing a beautiful top-angle, wide-panaromic view of the Taj Mahal.

But first things first – how did I end up here? Frankly, even I wasn’t too aware that the interview I had given was for Agra’s position. When the HR lady called up to give package details, and other stuff, she casually mentioned that the place of posting is here. For several seconds, I was in a dumb stupor. And the lady had to repeat thrice to confirm that she had understood my shocked grunts as an affirmation to the offer.

After that, things tumbled over each other. Joined at the Delhi office and then made one trip to Agra last week to finalize the house – a gruelling one indeed, as I couldn’t find anything suiting my taste and my pocket. I drove a whopping 170 kms within this small city, in those two days of house-search, and yet the one that I zeroed on in was shown by the property dealer the third’s days morning – the day I returned.

Barely had I set foot in Delhi, when the office confirmed the final shift as well. At first, I was in a whirring confusion. To be honest, I still am! The transition has been anything but smooth. But, I will not crib much here on the official lacunae.
In between, I managed to view Karan Johar’s bullshit of a movie called Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna. I enjoy the so-called ‘Johar-Chopra escapists’ fare. But this one just didn’t hold on its own. The story’s premise is flimsy, and none of the characters are real. Nay, they are thinner than cardboard! Had it not been for Amitabh Bachchan’s sizzling presence, the film would have been a total washout. Karan uses cliche upon cliches, not only in his narrative – but in his shots as well. The scenes where the hero and heroine part ways, in a top-angle shot, with a soft chorus humming the theme music (the kind that saw its pinnacle in Hum Tum) drew only bored yawns. Not done, Karan – has your imagination grown thin already?

In an interview, Karan said that it his most mature movie. Perhaps it is- because *wink wink* there are two ‘lovemaking scenes’ – stuff that do not find place in his movies! And before you rush to call up the nearest theater, the shot is as bland as the film, with Rani ending up with a tear in her eye (a la Aishwarya Rai in Shabd). Unfortunately, by the time the film climaxes, the audiences have tears….of frustration and boredom!

Anyways, I won’t be able to do a full fledged review now. But the end result is, please (and a double please) don’t waste your hard earned money on KANK – and coming from a fan of such films, this is a monumental statement!

Signing off now; will try to fill in details as and when I can.

Don’t be shocked if you haven’t heard of these names. Neither had I. That is, mind till a few days back. And then suddenly I was driving through these faceless, medicine unknown towns of Western Uttar Pradesh – where the wild ravines of Yamuna nearly embrace the dreaded ones of Chambal.

It’s astounding how many untold stories lie within those rocky crevices, men’s health buried under the wild grass, seeped in the sandy earth.

It was a business tour. But our accompanying official was from this region, and all through the rough ride in the white Indica, we were regaled with narrations from the past – some mesmerizing myths, some unbelievable legends and many goresome tales of crime and criminals. Fact and fiction intertwined so tightly that often I was confused trying to unravel the two. In the end, I chose to stay mum and absorb as much as I could. His stories were not chronological, and neither did I note them down. Yet, whatever I could gather, I will try to replicate here, to the best possible means. Readers from this region may forgive me for some serious lapses.

This was the region of Bhadawar – one of those countless princely states that formed India in the past. Once upon a time, one of the kings made a strong friendship bond with another king (probably of Gwalior).  In a surge of friendship, they promised to wed their children, should they be of differing genders. Alas, both gave birth to girls. However, the King of Bhadawar, to keep his word, hid the girl and kept her disguised as a male…to the extent that he even married her off to his friend’s daughter in order to maintain his vow. On wedding night, all hell broke loose when the new bride realised that her ‘husband’ is in reality a girl. The bride’s father swore revenge, and a war ensued. The ‘groom’ (princess in disguise) couldn’t bear the sad fact that all the rampage was due to her, and she jumped into Yamuna. It is said that Lord Shiva himself rescued her, and brought her to shore.

The King then built 101 temples at the behest of Lord Shiva. And, the Lord saw to it that Yamuna flowed upstream, away from her normal course, for some six kilometers. Now, this is where fact takes over. The Yamuna does change its course somewhat drastically. And there are 101 temples in one row on the banks of Yamuna.

This is the pious town of Bateshwar. And the main temple houses a ‘swayam utpann’ lingam – not man made, self-made lingam.

When Aurangzeb was on his temples destruction spree, he came to the Bateshwar Temple as well. He could desecrate a few, but when he came to the main one, he was stalled. And how? He attacked the lingam with his sword. Water flowed out. He attacked again. Milk flowed out. In his third attempt, blood flowed out. He fled the place, and never returned. No mosque was built there, and the locals proudly boast of this fact.

The temple is beautiful. And the lingam, with heavy cuts at the top (where Aurangzeb’s sword hit it) still exists. One of the best sights is to step down from the ghats on the side to the bank of River Yamuna. The entire scenario is exceedingly peaceful.

That was Bateshwar. But before that, we had gone to a wayside town called Bah. And from there to Shahpur Brahman. Six kilometers more, and you are in the thick of Yamuna ‘beehad’. From nowhere, suddenly, erupts a fort that once housed the Bhadawar family. It was jaw-dropping to see its well concealed location. Though now a relic, it’s peeling walls whispered untold tales of a bygone era. We managed to gain entry, and enter its rooms. The fort had been occupied till quite late, as signs of modernity (electricity, photographs, etc) were all there. It is at once creepy and exciting to enter into the decandent premises, as if one is intruding upon the past. The clouds darkened. And rains washed down, adding to the gloom and dreariness.

An old caretaker showed us the way. The king’s descendent now lives in Agra, and is in politics. He hasn’t given away his property to ASI as yet.

Our friend-cum-guide continued with his stories – some as outlandish as that those kings who died without heir returned into the fort as snakes – and not ordinary ones at that! Snakes with huge moustaches! A tiny shiver crawled through my spine. Another legend was about a cannon that went off on its own in the night, and destroyed a nearby ‘haveli’.

We stepped on a slippery parapet, and climbed over rusted barriers to reach the terrace. The view was breathtaking. The rain washed ravines echoed an eerie silence, while River Yamuna snaked on its course quietly, just a little distance away; she sighed, as if pining for the lost time and valor. Today, the dacoits use the thickets by her banks to hide and run away after some shameless plunder.

The fort’s temple, specially opened for us by a drunk person (whom our guide for the day befriended), was another lovely sight. The murals on the walls were intricate; and the paint, though a tad faded, still held its self-esteem and blushed about its bygone days.

That drunk person told us that the rains had come there for the first time that year on that day. ‘As if to welcome us,’ I joked. But, the moistness in the atmosphere, and the sogginess in the mud below were a bit disconcerting.

As our taxi wove its way back from the place, the friend informed that the drunk person had no other work but to ‘hide and supply food’ to the dacoits.

The rain whipped the tinted glass. The wind howled. I looked out at the receding structures, once again left to their lonesome existence.

On the way back, the colleague’s faucet of tales didn’t close. One after the other they tumbled out – about his life, his past, and his village. Mid-way I realized that there was something grossly amiss in all his anecdotes. I couldn’t place it then. But later I realised what it was. All the stories revolved around some crime or criminal. A few were as bizarre as the fables he had told us. And a few others were unabashedly inhuman. That life is so different from mine, it is almost impossible to relate to it.

The Indica stepped onto the tarred highway. The heavy clouds were behind us, and we whizzed into civilization.

Behind me I had left a gray and anguished past and life – and as I type this today, I feel as if I had seen a hazy and disturbing dream. But I know it was for real. The interior India. The true India.

[My apologies to all readers for not visiting their blogs. Time is short with me these past days. Once I comfortably settle down, I will be regular again. My apologies also for any grammatical and typographical errors in the above piece. It is tough to write in an unfamiliar cyber cafe, with horrendously tight keyboard, and songs playing non-stop]

A few days back  I was watching Chupke Chupke after a gruelling drive from Aligarh. It was a perfect antidote; the simple and charming film simply washed away all tiredness.    

Antics of Pyare Mohan, viagra 40mg the ‘ghaas-phoos’ wale daaktar in disguise as a chaste Hindi speaking driver in his wife’s ‘Jijja-ji’s’ house, internist dissipitated away any signs of a bumpy journey. And, discount this must be the countless time I must have been watching the film. Yet, it seemed so fresh, and I awaited each trick that Pyare Mohan unfolded to irritate his bro-in-law! That is the power of great art – approach it once, or many times, each visit should feel new and fresh.

Now, it’s impossible to envisage that the man behind such a brilliant comedy is no more.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee created an enviable niche for his himself. Simplicity was the key word. Strong storylines another. His comedies are best loved and they cant be surpassed ever! That’s more so because he took everyday situations and created a laugh riot of gargatuan proportions. On the face of it there was nothing spectacular scenario, yet they were monumental. Think of Golmaal, Khoobsoorat and Chupke Chupke  – all of them bring instantaneous smiles. Dont they? One can sit thru them even knowing each dialogue by heart. That was the power of his direction. I mean, in spite of knowing each movement of each actor, there is still the urge to view it once more, only to get the pleasure of what the characters are doing on-screen. And Dharamendra, Rekha, Amitabh Bachhan, Sharmila Tagore, Amol Palekar, Bindiya Goswami all of them got an unique film to add to their resumes!

One lesser known but nevertheless outstanding comedy is ‘Kisi Se Na kahna’ – aah! as a kid how much i revelled when i first saw the antics of a ‘city-bred’ Deepti Naval trying to pose of as a ‘village bahu’ for the sake of – who else?-  Utpal Dutt. A TV channel showed excerpts of the film; I wish some channel would dig it out and telecast it. In fact, Utpal Dutt and Hrishida were a formidable pair. And add to this David, the entire experience was like watching neighborhood friendly uncles.

And yet, his emotional dramas have their own power. Anari, Anand, Mili, Satyakam, Bemisaal,  Guddi and Bawarchi have their own appeal that goes beyond what we know of Bollywoood in normal terms. His characters were so real that they seemed just living down the road, instead of imaginations on silver screen. I have added Bawarchi in his list of ’emotional films’ because the comedy wrapper that Hrishida packed it in beguiled the deep emotional undercurrent of the film, and its message. Only he (and perhaps, Gulzar) could have pulled across the then reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna to pass off as a convincing cook, and play ‘brother’ to another leading lady of her time. Just the way he metamorphosised Dharmendra’s career. In Chupke Chupke, Dharam overshadowed the proceedings (and I can confidently make the sacrililegious statement that he was even better than Amitabh!). But his real mettle can be seen in the understated role in Satyakam. I still remember how disturbed I was (as a youngster) when I first saw it.  The rape scene is not shown, yet the impact is splashed all over like the smudged vermillion on Sharmila’s forehead. And Latadi’s ‘Do din ki hai zindagi’ punches the solar plexus!

Truly a pioneer in the ‘middle-of-road’ cinema that combined the grandeur of ‘impossible situations’ with ‘believable people’, Hrishida will forever remain in the hearts of every true Hindi cinema afficiondo.  His characters were so believable that often one can feel an impish Mili running up and down the stairs in any middle class apartment building! In Mili he gave what is perhaps unique to Hindi films – a completely open ending. One can think of any denouement as per one’s mood and outlook!  Yet, the story is so complete that even one more shot would have been extraneous!

I am not sure what the exact box office fate was of his releases. But today a lion’s share of them are retro-hits. Yet, even within that there are some that haven’t found the requisite attention.

In fact, his lesser known films are equally stunning in their execution. One such is Bemisaal ; it is one of my all time favorites – both cinematically and musically. The friendship between Vinod Mehra and Amitabh Bachchan is so filmi-cliche- free that it’s like a soothing halcyon playing. The end always gives a rock-solid lump in my throat. And what beautiful songs – ‘Kisi baat pe main kisi se khaffaa hoon’ ranks very high in my list! In the same song he extracted one of the finest performances from another favorite, Amitabh Bachchan: the look of veiled disdain towards the vamp Sheetal as he sways ever so slightly singing the taunting song, while Raakhee is perplexed and thinks it to be thrown towards her, this is a scene of absolutely bemisaal direction!  With the same leading trio (Raakhee, Amitabh and Vinod Mehra) he made an impactful statement of guilt and sorrow in Jurmana.

Musically, he was very strong. If he could get even the otherwise awfully dull Anand Milind to compose a shimmering ‘Chaand kahuun’ (Udit) for his last film Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate, it was but obvious that the ‘creamy layer’ of music studios – SJ, SDB,RDB, Salil-da and MM – would reserve nothing but the best for him. And what an array of songs – from the perky ‘Samajhne waale samajh gaye hain’ to the philosophical ‘Kahiin door jab din dhal jaaaye’ to the sombre ‘Sab kuchh seekha humne’ to the classical ‘More naina bahaye neer‘ to the chirpy ‘Ab ke sajan saawan mein’ to the romantic ‘Loote koi mann ka nagar’ to the tough ‘Laagi nahi chhute’ (Where Dilip Kumar fought a losing vocal war with the ever-impeccable Latadi) to the musing ‘Badi sooni sooni hai’ to the pious ‘Bole re papihara’ to the heart-warming ‘Tera mera pyaar amar phir kyun mujhko laga hai darr’ to the amusing ‘Yeh kashmir hai’ to the dreamy ‘Ek baat kahuun gar maano tum’ to the pain lashed ‘Kuchh dil ne kaha kuchh bhi nahi’ to the musically splendid ‘Lo aayi milan ki raat suhaani aaj‘ – it’s a matchless hit-parade that leaves you jaw-dropped!

Hrishida worked with two of my most fav composers – Madan Mohan (Bawarchi) and Shankar Jaikishan (Anari, Asli Naqli, Ashiq, Gaban). But his overall film repertoire is filled with such musical giants as SD Burman, Salil Chaudhary, Pt. Ravishankar, RDBurman and Jaidev. Can anyone match this wide a variety of composers? I doubt it!

Whereever Hrishida is now, God Bless His Soul – Hrishida – for me, you will remain the most favorite director forever. Thank you for making me smile, for taking away my blues, for giving me that warm sadness, that friendly feeling… you were the best!!!!

The dream house with the full, syphilis top angle view of Taj slipped my hands. On Friday afternoon I got this terrible news. Since then, buy more about life turned into a hectic run.

So what happened? Honestly, even I am not clear. I was all set to take possession on Friday, and even landed up at the property dealer’s place early morning. He told me to return a bit later. That bit later turned to hours. Anxiously, I called him post-lunch only to get the shattering news that the landlord had given away the house to some one else. I am still unclear whether it was a goof up by the property dealer or the landlord was genuinely at fault for backing out of the deal. Maybe, it was because I hadnt paid him full money. Perhaps, there was someone else offering a better deal. Whatever it was, the likelihood of getting that flat seemed bleak.

I tried to contact him. He was not available. I made efforts through a long-winded common association that I had discovered some days back. But no good luck smiled on me. By evening, as Agra submerged into thick sheets of rain, the reality socked my plexus with a deafening thud.

I wasnt ready to do that entire painstaking process of searching a house all over again. But that had to be done, because the approval for the interim place where I was staying had run out.

I raced to the initial set of flats I had seen; in fact, this one was the very first one where I had set foot on. The person told me that the flat was gone. But there was another one available, should I be interested. I could feel some hope creaking in. The flat turned out to be marvellous. Without second thought, I said yes. There were no fans or lights there, which he promised to install the next day.

Even though the flat was marvellous, and in a much better locality than the previous one, still I had my doubts. The person refused to divulge the owner’s name. He was ready to give possession within a day. And he didnt want any extra money as security ( usually its equivalent to one month’s rent). Even though that spelt less advance money leaving my pocket, still it seemed a bit too good to be true. In fact, the entire thing happened so quick and smooth, I had a small niggling doubt within me. Yet, I brushed it aside, because I needed a good house to stay in this city. And at this short a notice, this one was manna from heaven.  

The next day I had an important training to conduct. So, I went there early morning to give the money, lest even this one slips away. The person was not available. I returned after the training. An old hand in the building informed that the concerned person had just left for lunch. I could feel a sickening feeling rearing within me.

I did some other work, and returned in the evening, around 5 or so. The man was there. Before he could say anything, I fished out the cash and placed it in front of him. I needed the house, any which way. That day I was literally on streets!

“Wait, not so soon, there is a small hitch” the man said.

Sweat broke on my forehead. My tongue felt like sandpaper. And I gulped and blinked as he narrated the small hitch.

To be continued…

Mai hoon ik khanabdosh
Saara jag mera watan

For those who wonder the reason of my prolonged absence, website like this discount the above quote and the post’s title will give away the reason. Yes, this web I am now in Agra – once again away from home, and in yet another historical town.

Things happened quite suddenly. At least, the shifting part. Even though, I can’t claim I have fully done so because I am still living in the company’s guest house and have only brought one travel bag. I plan to go back to Delhi sometime next week, once I have the possession of the flat, which I have selected.

The flat is an awesome one, providing a beautiful top-angle, wide-panaromic view of the Taj Mahal.

But first things first – how did I end up here? Frankly, even I wasn’t too aware that the interview I had given was for Agra’s position. When the HR lady called up to give package details, and other stuff, she casually mentioned that the place of posting is here. For several seconds, I was in a dumb stupor. And the lady had to repeat thrice to confirm that she had understood my shocked grunts as an affirmation to the offer.

After that, things tumbled over each other. Joined at the Delhi office and then made one trip to Agra last week to finalize the house – a gruelling one indeed, as I couldn’t find anything suiting my taste and my pocket. I drove a whopping 170 kms within this small city, in those two days of house-search, and yet the one that I zeroed on in was shown by the property dealer the third’s days morning – the day I returned.

Barely had I set foot in Delhi, when the office confirmed the final shift as well. At first, I was in a whirring confusion. To be honest, I still am! The transition has been anything but smooth. But, I will not crib much here on the official lacunae.
In between, I managed to view Karan Johar’s bullshit of a movie called Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna. I enjoy the so-called ‘Johar-Chopra escapists’ fare. But this one just didn’t hold on its own. The story’s premise is flimsy, and none of the characters are real. Nay, they are thinner than cardboard! Had it not been for Amitabh Bachchan’s sizzling presence, the film would have been a total washout. Karan uses cliche upon cliches, not only in his narrative – but in his shots as well. The scenes where the hero and heroine part ways, in a top-angle shot, with a soft chorus humming the theme music (the kind that saw its pinnacle in Hum Tum) drew only bored yawns. Not done, Karan – has your imagination grown thin already?

In an interview, Karan said that it his most mature movie. Perhaps it is- because *wink wink* there are two ‘lovemaking scenes’ – stuff that do not find place in his movies! And before you rush to call up the nearest theater, the shot is as bland as the film, with Rani ending up with a tear in her eye (a la Aishwarya Rai in Shabd). Unfortunately, by the time the film climaxes, the audiences have tears….of frustration and boredom!

Anyways, I won’t be able to do a full fledged review now. But the end result is, please (and a double please) don’t waste your hard earned money on KANK – and coming from a fan of such films, this is a monumental statement!

Signing off now; will try to fill in details as and when I can.

Don’t be shocked if you haven’t heard of these names. Neither had I. That is, mind till a few days back. And then suddenly I was driving through these faceless, medicine unknown towns of Western Uttar Pradesh – where the wild ravines of Yamuna nearly embrace the dreaded ones of Chambal.

It’s astounding how many untold stories lie within those rocky crevices, men’s health buried under the wild grass, seeped in the sandy earth.

It was a business tour. But our accompanying official was from this region, and all through the rough ride in the white Indica, we were regaled with narrations from the past – some mesmerizing myths, some unbelievable legends and many goresome tales of crime and criminals. Fact and fiction intertwined so tightly that often I was confused trying to unravel the two. In the end, I chose to stay mum and absorb as much as I could. His stories were not chronological, and neither did I note them down. Yet, whatever I could gather, I will try to replicate here, to the best possible means. Readers from this region may forgive me for some serious lapses.

This was the region of Bhadawar – one of those countless princely states that formed India in the past. Once upon a time, one of the kings made a strong friendship bond with another king (probably of Gwalior).  In a surge of friendship, they promised to wed their children, should they be of differing genders. Alas, both gave birth to girls. However, the King of Bhadawar, to keep his word, hid the girl and kept her disguised as a male…to the extent that he even married her off to his friend’s daughter in order to maintain his vow. On wedding night, all hell broke loose when the new bride realised that her ‘husband’ is in reality a girl. The bride’s father swore revenge, and a war ensued. The ‘groom’ (princess in disguise) couldn’t bear the sad fact that all the rampage was due to her, and she jumped into Yamuna. It is said that Lord Shiva himself rescued her, and brought her to shore.

The King then built 101 temples at the behest of Lord Shiva. And, the Lord saw to it that Yamuna flowed upstream, away from her normal course, for some six kilometers. Now, this is where fact takes over. The Yamuna does change its course somewhat drastically. And there are 101 temples in one row on the banks of Yamuna.

This is the pious town of Bateshwar. And the main temple houses a ‘swayam utpann’ lingam – not man made, self-made lingam.

When Aurangzeb was on his temples destruction spree, he came to the Bateshwar Temple as well. He could desecrate a few, but when he came to the main one, he was stalled. And how? He attacked the lingam with his sword. Water flowed out. He attacked again. Milk flowed out. In his third attempt, blood flowed out. He fled the place, and never returned. No mosque was built there, and the locals proudly boast of this fact.

The temple is beautiful. And the lingam, with heavy cuts at the top (where Aurangzeb’s sword hit it) still exists. One of the best sights is to step down from the ghats on the side to the bank of River Yamuna. The entire scenario is exceedingly peaceful.

That was Bateshwar. But before that, we had gone to a wayside town called Bah. And from there to Shahpur Brahman. Six kilometers more, and you are in the thick of Yamuna ‘beehad’. From nowhere, suddenly, erupts a fort that once housed the Bhadawar family. It was jaw-dropping to see its well concealed location. Though now a relic, it’s peeling walls whispered untold tales of a bygone era. We managed to gain entry, and enter its rooms. The fort had been occupied till quite late, as signs of modernity (electricity, photographs, etc) were all there. It is at once creepy and exciting to enter into the decandent premises, as if one is intruding upon the past. The clouds darkened. And rains washed down, adding to the gloom and dreariness.

An old caretaker showed us the way. The king’s descendent now lives in Agra, and is in politics. He hasn’t given away his property to ASI as yet.

Our friend-cum-guide continued with his stories – some as outlandish as that those kings who died without heir returned into the fort as snakes – and not ordinary ones at that! Snakes with huge moustaches! A tiny shiver crawled through my spine. Another legend was about a cannon that went off on its own in the night, and destroyed a nearby ‘haveli’.

We stepped on a slippery parapet, and climbed over rusted barriers to reach the terrace. The view was breathtaking. The rain washed ravines echoed an eerie silence, while River Yamuna snaked on its course quietly, just a little distance away; she sighed, as if pining for the lost time and valor. Today, the dacoits use the thickets by her banks to hide and run away after some shameless plunder.

The fort’s temple, specially opened for us by a drunk person (whom our guide for the day befriended), was another lovely sight. The murals on the walls were intricate; and the paint, though a tad faded, still held its self-esteem and blushed about its bygone days.

That drunk person told us that the rains had come there for the first time that year on that day. ‘As if to welcome us,’ I joked. But, the moistness in the atmosphere, and the sogginess in the mud below were a bit disconcerting.

As our taxi wove its way back from the place, the friend informed that the drunk person had no other work but to ‘hide and supply food’ to the dacoits.

The rain whipped the tinted glass. The wind howled. I looked out at the receding structures, once again left to their lonesome existence.

On the way back, the colleague’s faucet of tales didn’t close. One after the other they tumbled out – about his life, his past, and his village. Mid-way I realized that there was something grossly amiss in all his anecdotes. I couldn’t place it then. But later I realised what it was. All the stories revolved around some crime or criminal. A few were as bizarre as the fables he had told us. And a few others were unabashedly inhuman. That life is so different from mine, it is almost impossible to relate to it.

The Indica stepped onto the tarred highway. The heavy clouds were behind us, and we whizzed into civilization.

Behind me I had left a gray and anguished past and life – and as I type this today, I feel as if I had seen a hazy and disturbing dream. But I know it was for real. The interior India. The true India.

[My apologies to all readers for not visiting their blogs. Time is short with me these past days. Once I comfortably settle down, I will be regular again. My apologies also for any grammatical and typographical errors in the above piece. It is tough to write in an unfamiliar cyber cafe, with horrendously tight keyboard, and songs playing non-stop]

A few days back  I was watching Chupke Chupke after a gruelling drive from Aligarh. It was a perfect antidote; the simple and charming film simply washed away all tiredness.    

Antics of Pyare Mohan, viagra 40mg the ‘ghaas-phoos’ wale daaktar in disguise as a chaste Hindi speaking driver in his wife’s ‘Jijja-ji’s’ house, internist dissipitated away any signs of a bumpy journey. And, discount this must be the countless time I must have been watching the film. Yet, it seemed so fresh, and I awaited each trick that Pyare Mohan unfolded to irritate his bro-in-law! That is the power of great art – approach it once, or many times, each visit should feel new and fresh.

Now, it’s impossible to envisage that the man behind such a brilliant comedy is no more.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee created an enviable niche for his himself. Simplicity was the key word. Strong storylines another. His comedies are best loved and they cant be surpassed ever! That’s more so because he took everyday situations and created a laugh riot of gargatuan proportions. On the face of it there was nothing spectacular scenario, yet they were monumental. Think of Golmaal, Khoobsoorat and Chupke Chupke  – all of them bring instantaneous smiles. Dont they? One can sit thru them even knowing each dialogue by heart. That was the power of his direction. I mean, in spite of knowing each movement of each actor, there is still the urge to view it once more, only to get the pleasure of what the characters are doing on-screen. And Dharamendra, Rekha, Amitabh Bachhan, Sharmila Tagore, Amol Palekar, Bindiya Goswami all of them got an unique film to add to their resumes!

One lesser known but nevertheless outstanding comedy is ‘Kisi Se Na kahna’ – aah! as a kid how much i revelled when i first saw the antics of a ‘city-bred’ Deepti Naval trying to pose of as a ‘village bahu’ for the sake of – who else?-  Utpal Dutt. A TV channel showed excerpts of the film; I wish some channel would dig it out and telecast it. In fact, Utpal Dutt and Hrishida were a formidable pair. And add to this David, the entire experience was like watching neighborhood friendly uncles.

And yet, his emotional dramas have their own power. Anari, Anand, Mili, Satyakam, Bemisaal,  Guddi and Bawarchi have their own appeal that goes beyond what we know of Bollywoood in normal terms. His characters were so real that they seemed just living down the road, instead of imaginations on silver screen. I have added Bawarchi in his list of ’emotional films’ because the comedy wrapper that Hrishida packed it in beguiled the deep emotional undercurrent of the film, and its message. Only he (and perhaps, Gulzar) could have pulled across the then reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna to pass off as a convincing cook, and play ‘brother’ to another leading lady of her time. Just the way he metamorphosised Dharmendra’s career. In Chupke Chupke, Dharam overshadowed the proceedings (and I can confidently make the sacrililegious statement that he was even better than Amitabh!). But his real mettle can be seen in the understated role in Satyakam. I still remember how disturbed I was (as a youngster) when I first saw it.  The rape scene is not shown, yet the impact is splashed all over like the smudged vermillion on Sharmila’s forehead. And Latadi’s ‘Do din ki hai zindagi’ punches the solar plexus!

Truly a pioneer in the ‘middle-of-road’ cinema that combined the grandeur of ‘impossible situations’ with ‘believable people’, Hrishida will forever remain in the hearts of every true Hindi cinema afficiondo.  His characters were so believable that often one can feel an impish Mili running up and down the stairs in any middle class apartment building! In Mili he gave what is perhaps unique to Hindi films – a completely open ending. One can think of any denouement as per one’s mood and outlook!  Yet, the story is so complete that even one more shot would have been extraneous!

I am not sure what the exact box office fate was of his releases. But today a lion’s share of them are retro-hits. Yet, even within that there are some that haven’t found the requisite attention.

In fact, his lesser known films are equally stunning in their execution. One such is Bemisaal ; it is one of my all time favorites – both cinematically and musically. The friendship between Vinod Mehra and Amitabh Bachchan is so filmi-cliche- free that it’s like a soothing halcyon playing. The end always gives a rock-solid lump in my throat. And what beautiful songs – ‘Kisi baat pe main kisi se khaffaa hoon’ ranks very high in my list! In the same song he extracted one of the finest performances from another favorite, Amitabh Bachchan: the look of veiled disdain towards the vamp Sheetal as he sways ever so slightly singing the taunting song, while Raakhee is perplexed and thinks it to be thrown towards her, this is a scene of absolutely bemisaal direction!  With the same leading trio (Raakhee, Amitabh and Vinod Mehra) he made an impactful statement of guilt and sorrow in Jurmana.

Musically, he was very strong. If he could get even the otherwise awfully dull Anand Milind to compose a shimmering ‘Chaand kahuun’ (Udit) for his last film Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate, it was but obvious that the ‘creamy layer’ of music studios – SJ, SDB,RDB, Salil-da and MM – would reserve nothing but the best for him. And what an array of songs – from the perky ‘Samajhne waale samajh gaye hain’ to the philosophical ‘Kahiin door jab din dhal jaaaye’ to the sombre ‘Sab kuchh seekha humne’ to the classical ‘More naina bahaye neer‘ to the chirpy ‘Ab ke sajan saawan mein’ to the romantic ‘Loote koi mann ka nagar’ to the tough ‘Laagi nahi chhute’ (Where Dilip Kumar fought a losing vocal war with the ever-impeccable Latadi) to the musing ‘Badi sooni sooni hai’ to the pious ‘Bole re papihara’ to the heart-warming ‘Tera mera pyaar amar phir kyun mujhko laga hai darr’ to the amusing ‘Yeh kashmir hai’ to the dreamy ‘Ek baat kahuun gar maano tum’ to the pain lashed ‘Kuchh dil ne kaha kuchh bhi nahi’ to the musically splendid ‘Lo aayi milan ki raat suhaani aaj‘ – it’s a matchless hit-parade that leaves you jaw-dropped!

Hrishida worked with two of my most fav composers – Madan Mohan (Bawarchi) and Shankar Jaikishan (Anari, Asli Naqli, Ashiq, Gaban). But his overall film repertoire is filled with such musical giants as SD Burman, Salil Chaudhary, Pt. Ravishankar, RDBurman and Jaidev. Can anyone match this wide a variety of composers? I doubt it!

Whereever Hrishida is now, God Bless His Soul – Hrishida – for me, you will remain the most favorite director forever. Thank you for making me smile, for taking away my blues, for giving me that warm sadness, that friendly feeling… you were the best!!!!

The dream house with the full, syphilis top angle view of Taj slipped my hands. On Friday afternoon I got this terrible news. Since then, buy more about life turned into a hectic run.

So what happened? Honestly, even I am not clear. I was all set to take possession on Friday, and even landed up at the property dealer’s place early morning. He told me to return a bit later. That bit later turned to hours. Anxiously, I called him post-lunch only to get the shattering news that the landlord had given away the house to some one else. I am still unclear whether it was a goof up by the property dealer or the landlord was genuinely at fault for backing out of the deal. Maybe, it was because I hadnt paid him full money. Perhaps, there was someone else offering a better deal. Whatever it was, the likelihood of getting that flat seemed bleak.

I tried to contact him. He was not available. I made efforts through a long-winded common association that I had discovered some days back. But no good luck smiled on me. By evening, as Agra submerged into thick sheets of rain, the reality socked my plexus with a deafening thud.

I wasnt ready to do that entire painstaking process of searching a house all over again. But that had to be done, because the approval for the interim place where I was staying had run out.

I raced to the initial set of flats I had seen; in fact, this one was the very first one where I had set foot on. The person told me that the flat was gone. But there was another one available, should I be interested. I could feel some hope creaking in. The flat turned out to be marvellous. Without second thought, I said yes. There were no fans or lights there, which he promised to install the next day.

Even though the flat was marvellous, and in a much better locality than the previous one, still I had my doubts. The person refused to divulge the owner’s name. He was ready to give possession within a day. And he didnt want any extra money as security ( usually its equivalent to one month’s rent). Even though that spelt less advance money leaving my pocket, still it seemed a bit too good to be true. In fact, the entire thing happened so quick and smooth, I had a small niggling doubt within me. Yet, I brushed it aside, because I needed a good house to stay in this city. And at this short a notice, this one was manna from heaven.  

The next day I had an important training to conduct. So, I went there early morning to give the money, lest even this one slips away. The person was not available. I returned after the training. An old hand in the building informed that the concerned person had just left for lunch. I could feel a sickening feeling rearing within me.

I did some other work, and returned in the evening, around 5 or so. The man was there. Before he could say anything, I fished out the cash and placed it in front of him. I needed the house, any which way. That day I was literally on streets!

“Wait, not so soon, there is a small hitch” the man said.

Sweat broke on my forehead. My tongue felt like sandpaper. And I gulped and blinked as he narrated the small hitch.

To be continued…

“Wait, this not so soon, there is a small hitch” the man said.

Sweat broke on my forehead. My tongue felt like sandpaper. And I gulped and blinked as he narrated the small hitch.

“And that is?” I barely managed to speak out

“You will be staying alone?” he asked, and I nodded imperceptibly. Not again! This issue had cropped up several times as there is a general mistrust towards bachelors. “Actually, the people who were taking the flat next to yours are a bunch, and they wanted the one which we showed you, due to an extra balcony in that one”

I blinked hard. Just that?

“Yeah? Rest, you can see this new one. It’s almost the same except for the balcony. And I will give it for Rs500 less, as committed to them also”

I saw the new place. And then I saw the older one again. To me, barring the difference of the balcony, it really looked the same. Even the balcony was not that much an issue since this one also had two; only that since it was not a corner flat, it didnt extend to the other side. Other than this, I saw the drawing room paint a shade darker, which was a teeny weeny irritant, yet the money saving was a good compensation. Plus, it only looked bad if you compared the two. And I wouldnt be doing that daily once I start staying in my house.

I gave my nod to this one, paid the money and asked the person to instal the fans and tubelights. The electrician wasnt available, so I was given a stay-over place in yet another empty apartment on the third floor. It was a hard night – and quite literally too since I was sleeping on the floor after aeons! Plus, I hadnt purchased a mosquito repellant and they troubled quite a bit.

Sunday morning I woke up blurry eyed and pained body, and a nice detailed tour of the apartment building and the nearby area.

The electrician, who was supposed to arrive at eight in the morning, leisurely sauntered in around one in the noon. While he went about his job, I went to the market to purchase some daily item things.

It was deja vu. Only a couple of years back I had done such a shopping when I shifted to Kathmandu – broom, pocha, buckets, mug, soap-box, patra, dust-bin etc. – all the stuff that I had left there before moving back to Delhi (Even though these are utility items, it was impossible to carry them back in my burgeoning 80 plus kilos that travelled with me from Kathmandu to Delhi).

The prices seemed awfully exorbitant for these products. I split the purchase between the more affluent market (Sadar Bazar) and the traditionally middle class one (Raja Ki Mandi). The difference wasnt that great, though.

City Station Road (near Ghatiya Azam Khan – don’t splutter, that’s the name of the place) is the furniture hub of Agra. There, trudged the entire length and breadth of the road searching for a suitable bed. Finally, after much ponderation, zeroed in on two 6’*3′ single beds, that can either be used separately, or better, placed together to form a double bed. (Price wise, it makes sense to do so rather than buying one huge double bed). Single beds dont seem to be much in vogue in Agra as most shops didn’t have them. Even this one is on order, and will reach me on Wednesday.

Thereafter, the next one hour was spent in finding a folding bed and a couple of plastic chairs. The rates were awfully expensive – and above those in Delhi! Haggled a lot, and bought them, though with a neat hole in my wallet!

By the time I reached my house, the fans were installed and the flat was getting cleaned.

Finally, the ordeal of my flat-search came to an end by Sunday late evening. My initial doubts have weakened now. And as mom told me philosophically – whatever happens, happens for the good. In not getting my initial choice I saved a full month’s rent as security, got a flat cheaper by Rs 500 per month, and since it is a direct deal with the apartment society, there is no property dealer brokerage to be paid! In addition, the area is purely residential with immense greenery all around and very near to the tourist spots.

And the best part? The Taj Mahal is still visible – though not a wide-angle top-end view, but directly facing you, peeping over a row of green belt and some buildings!

Mai hoon ik khanabdosh
Saara jag mera watan

For those who wonder the reason of my prolonged absence, website like this discount the above quote and the post’s title will give away the reason. Yes, this web I am now in Agra – once again away from home, and in yet another historical town.

Things happened quite suddenly. At least, the shifting part. Even though, I can’t claim I have fully done so because I am still living in the company’s guest house and have only brought one travel bag. I plan to go back to Delhi sometime next week, once I have the possession of the flat, which I have selected.

The flat is an awesome one, providing a beautiful top-angle, wide-panaromic view of the Taj Mahal.

But first things first – how did I end up here? Frankly, even I wasn’t too aware that the interview I had given was for Agra’s position. When the HR lady called up to give package details, and other stuff, she casually mentioned that the place of posting is here. For several seconds, I was in a dumb stupor. And the lady had to repeat thrice to confirm that she had understood my shocked grunts as an affirmation to the offer.

After that, things tumbled over each other. Joined at the Delhi office and then made one trip to Agra last week to finalize the house – a gruelling one indeed, as I couldn’t find anything suiting my taste and my pocket. I drove a whopping 170 kms within this small city, in those two days of house-search, and yet the one that I zeroed on in was shown by the property dealer the third’s days morning – the day I returned.

Barely had I set foot in Delhi, when the office confirmed the final shift as well. At first, I was in a whirring confusion. To be honest, I still am! The transition has been anything but smooth. But, I will not crib much here on the official lacunae.
In between, I managed to view Karan Johar’s bullshit of a movie called Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna. I enjoy the so-called ‘Johar-Chopra escapists’ fare. But this one just didn’t hold on its own. The story’s premise is flimsy, and none of the characters are real. Nay, they are thinner than cardboard! Had it not been for Amitabh Bachchan’s sizzling presence, the film would have been a total washout. Karan uses cliche upon cliches, not only in his narrative – but in his shots as well. The scenes where the hero and heroine part ways, in a top-angle shot, with a soft chorus humming the theme music (the kind that saw its pinnacle in Hum Tum) drew only bored yawns. Not done, Karan – has your imagination grown thin already?

In an interview, Karan said that it his most mature movie. Perhaps it is- because *wink wink* there are two ‘lovemaking scenes’ – stuff that do not find place in his movies! And before you rush to call up the nearest theater, the shot is as bland as the film, with Rani ending up with a tear in her eye (a la Aishwarya Rai in Shabd). Unfortunately, by the time the film climaxes, the audiences have tears….of frustration and boredom!

Anyways, I won’t be able to do a full fledged review now. But the end result is, please (and a double please) don’t waste your hard earned money on KANK – and coming from a fan of such films, this is a monumental statement!

Signing off now; will try to fill in details as and when I can.

Don’t be shocked if you haven’t heard of these names. Neither had I. That is, mind till a few days back. And then suddenly I was driving through these faceless, medicine unknown towns of Western Uttar Pradesh – where the wild ravines of Yamuna nearly embrace the dreaded ones of Chambal.

It’s astounding how many untold stories lie within those rocky crevices, men’s health buried under the wild grass, seeped in the sandy earth.

It was a business tour. But our accompanying official was from this region, and all through the rough ride in the white Indica, we were regaled with narrations from the past – some mesmerizing myths, some unbelievable legends and many goresome tales of crime and criminals. Fact and fiction intertwined so tightly that often I was confused trying to unravel the two. In the end, I chose to stay mum and absorb as much as I could. His stories were not chronological, and neither did I note them down. Yet, whatever I could gather, I will try to replicate here, to the best possible means. Readers from this region may forgive me for some serious lapses.

This was the region of Bhadawar – one of those countless princely states that formed India in the past. Once upon a time, one of the kings made a strong friendship bond with another king (probably of Gwalior).  In a surge of friendship, they promised to wed their children, should they be of differing genders. Alas, both gave birth to girls. However, the King of Bhadawar, to keep his word, hid the girl and kept her disguised as a male…to the extent that he even married her off to his friend’s daughter in order to maintain his vow. On wedding night, all hell broke loose when the new bride realised that her ‘husband’ is in reality a girl. The bride’s father swore revenge, and a war ensued. The ‘groom’ (princess in disguise) couldn’t bear the sad fact that all the rampage was due to her, and she jumped into Yamuna. It is said that Lord Shiva himself rescued her, and brought her to shore.

The King then built 101 temples at the behest of Lord Shiva. And, the Lord saw to it that Yamuna flowed upstream, away from her normal course, for some six kilometers. Now, this is where fact takes over. The Yamuna does change its course somewhat drastically. And there are 101 temples in one row on the banks of Yamuna.

This is the pious town of Bateshwar. And the main temple houses a ‘swayam utpann’ lingam – not man made, self-made lingam.

When Aurangzeb was on his temples destruction spree, he came to the Bateshwar Temple as well. He could desecrate a few, but when he came to the main one, he was stalled. And how? He attacked the lingam with his sword. Water flowed out. He attacked again. Milk flowed out. In his third attempt, blood flowed out. He fled the place, and never returned. No mosque was built there, and the locals proudly boast of this fact.

The temple is beautiful. And the lingam, with heavy cuts at the top (where Aurangzeb’s sword hit it) still exists. One of the best sights is to step down from the ghats on the side to the bank of River Yamuna. The entire scenario is exceedingly peaceful.

That was Bateshwar. But before that, we had gone to a wayside town called Bah. And from there to Shahpur Brahman. Six kilometers more, and you are in the thick of Yamuna ‘beehad’. From nowhere, suddenly, erupts a fort that once housed the Bhadawar family. It was jaw-dropping to see its well concealed location. Though now a relic, it’s peeling walls whispered untold tales of a bygone era. We managed to gain entry, and enter its rooms. The fort had been occupied till quite late, as signs of modernity (electricity, photographs, etc) were all there. It is at once creepy and exciting to enter into the decandent premises, as if one is intruding upon the past. The clouds darkened. And rains washed down, adding to the gloom and dreariness.

An old caretaker showed us the way. The king’s descendent now lives in Agra, and is in politics. He hasn’t given away his property to ASI as yet.

Our friend-cum-guide continued with his stories – some as outlandish as that those kings who died without heir returned into the fort as snakes – and not ordinary ones at that! Snakes with huge moustaches! A tiny shiver crawled through my spine. Another legend was about a cannon that went off on its own in the night, and destroyed a nearby ‘haveli’.

We stepped on a slippery parapet, and climbed over rusted barriers to reach the terrace. The view was breathtaking. The rain washed ravines echoed an eerie silence, while River Yamuna snaked on its course quietly, just a little distance away; she sighed, as if pining for the lost time and valor. Today, the dacoits use the thickets by her banks to hide and run away after some shameless plunder.

The fort’s temple, specially opened for us by a drunk person (whom our guide for the day befriended), was another lovely sight. The murals on the walls were intricate; and the paint, though a tad faded, still held its self-esteem and blushed about its bygone days.

That drunk person told us that the rains had come there for the first time that year on that day. ‘As if to welcome us,’ I joked. But, the moistness in the atmosphere, and the sogginess in the mud below were a bit disconcerting.

As our taxi wove its way back from the place, the friend informed that the drunk person had no other work but to ‘hide and supply food’ to the dacoits.

The rain whipped the tinted glass. The wind howled. I looked out at the receding structures, once again left to their lonesome existence.

On the way back, the colleague’s faucet of tales didn’t close. One after the other they tumbled out – about his life, his past, and his village. Mid-way I realized that there was something grossly amiss in all his anecdotes. I couldn’t place it then. But later I realised what it was. All the stories revolved around some crime or criminal. A few were as bizarre as the fables he had told us. And a few others were unabashedly inhuman. That life is so different from mine, it is almost impossible to relate to it.

The Indica stepped onto the tarred highway. The heavy clouds were behind us, and we whizzed into civilization.

Behind me I had left a gray and anguished past and life – and as I type this today, I feel as if I had seen a hazy and disturbing dream. But I know it was for real. The interior India. The true India.

[My apologies to all readers for not visiting their blogs. Time is short with me these past days. Once I comfortably settle down, I will be regular again. My apologies also for any grammatical and typographical errors in the above piece. It is tough to write in an unfamiliar cyber cafe, with horrendously tight keyboard, and songs playing non-stop]

A few days back  I was watching Chupke Chupke after a gruelling drive from Aligarh. It was a perfect antidote; the simple and charming film simply washed away all tiredness.    

Antics of Pyare Mohan, viagra 40mg the ‘ghaas-phoos’ wale daaktar in disguise as a chaste Hindi speaking driver in his wife’s ‘Jijja-ji’s’ house, internist dissipitated away any signs of a bumpy journey. And, discount this must be the countless time I must have been watching the film. Yet, it seemed so fresh, and I awaited each trick that Pyare Mohan unfolded to irritate his bro-in-law! That is the power of great art – approach it once, or many times, each visit should feel new and fresh.

Now, it’s impossible to envisage that the man behind such a brilliant comedy is no more.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee created an enviable niche for his himself. Simplicity was the key word. Strong storylines another. His comedies are best loved and they cant be surpassed ever! That’s more so because he took everyday situations and created a laugh riot of gargatuan proportions. On the face of it there was nothing spectacular scenario, yet they were monumental. Think of Golmaal, Khoobsoorat and Chupke Chupke  – all of them bring instantaneous smiles. Dont they? One can sit thru them even knowing each dialogue by heart. That was the power of his direction. I mean, in spite of knowing each movement of each actor, there is still the urge to view it once more, only to get the pleasure of what the characters are doing on-screen. And Dharamendra, Rekha, Amitabh Bachhan, Sharmila Tagore, Amol Palekar, Bindiya Goswami all of them got an unique film to add to their resumes!

One lesser known but nevertheless outstanding comedy is ‘Kisi Se Na kahna’ – aah! as a kid how much i revelled when i first saw the antics of a ‘city-bred’ Deepti Naval trying to pose of as a ‘village bahu’ for the sake of – who else?-  Utpal Dutt. A TV channel showed excerpts of the film; I wish some channel would dig it out and telecast it. In fact, Utpal Dutt and Hrishida were a formidable pair. And add to this David, the entire experience was like watching neighborhood friendly uncles.

And yet, his emotional dramas have their own power. Anari, Anand, Mili, Satyakam, Bemisaal,  Guddi and Bawarchi have their own appeal that goes beyond what we know of Bollywoood in normal terms. His characters were so real that they seemed just living down the road, instead of imaginations on silver screen. I have added Bawarchi in his list of ’emotional films’ because the comedy wrapper that Hrishida packed it in beguiled the deep emotional undercurrent of the film, and its message. Only he (and perhaps, Gulzar) could have pulled across the then reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna to pass off as a convincing cook, and play ‘brother’ to another leading lady of her time. Just the way he metamorphosised Dharmendra’s career. In Chupke Chupke, Dharam overshadowed the proceedings (and I can confidently make the sacrililegious statement that he was even better than Amitabh!). But his real mettle can be seen in the understated role in Satyakam. I still remember how disturbed I was (as a youngster) when I first saw it.  The rape scene is not shown, yet the impact is splashed all over like the smudged vermillion on Sharmila’s forehead. And Latadi’s ‘Do din ki hai zindagi’ punches the solar plexus!

Truly a pioneer in the ‘middle-of-road’ cinema that combined the grandeur of ‘impossible situations’ with ‘believable people’, Hrishida will forever remain in the hearts of every true Hindi cinema afficiondo.  His characters were so believable that often one can feel an impish Mili running up and down the stairs in any middle class apartment building! In Mili he gave what is perhaps unique to Hindi films – a completely open ending. One can think of any denouement as per one’s mood and outlook!  Yet, the story is so complete that even one more shot would have been extraneous!

I am not sure what the exact box office fate was of his releases. But today a lion’s share of them are retro-hits. Yet, even within that there are some that haven’t found the requisite attention.

In fact, his lesser known films are equally stunning in their execution. One such is Bemisaal ; it is one of my all time favorites – both cinematically and musically. The friendship between Vinod Mehra and Amitabh Bachchan is so filmi-cliche- free that it’s like a soothing halcyon playing. The end always gives a rock-solid lump in my throat. And what beautiful songs – ‘Kisi baat pe main kisi se khaffaa hoon’ ranks very high in my list! In the same song he extracted one of the finest performances from another favorite, Amitabh Bachchan: the look of veiled disdain towards the vamp Sheetal as he sways ever so slightly singing the taunting song, while Raakhee is perplexed and thinks it to be thrown towards her, this is a scene of absolutely bemisaal direction!  With the same leading trio (Raakhee, Amitabh and Vinod Mehra) he made an impactful statement of guilt and sorrow in Jurmana.

Musically, he was very strong. If he could get even the otherwise awfully dull Anand Milind to compose a shimmering ‘Chaand kahuun’ (Udit) for his last film Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate, it was but obvious that the ‘creamy layer’ of music studios – SJ, SDB,RDB, Salil-da and MM – would reserve nothing but the best for him. And what an array of songs – from the perky ‘Samajhne waale samajh gaye hain’ to the philosophical ‘Kahiin door jab din dhal jaaaye’ to the sombre ‘Sab kuchh seekha humne’ to the classical ‘More naina bahaye neer‘ to the chirpy ‘Ab ke sajan saawan mein’ to the romantic ‘Loote koi mann ka nagar’ to the tough ‘Laagi nahi chhute’ (Where Dilip Kumar fought a losing vocal war with the ever-impeccable Latadi) to the musing ‘Badi sooni sooni hai’ to the pious ‘Bole re papihara’ to the heart-warming ‘Tera mera pyaar amar phir kyun mujhko laga hai darr’ to the amusing ‘Yeh kashmir hai’ to the dreamy ‘Ek baat kahuun gar maano tum’ to the pain lashed ‘Kuchh dil ne kaha kuchh bhi nahi’ to the musically splendid ‘Lo aayi milan ki raat suhaani aaj‘ – it’s a matchless hit-parade that leaves you jaw-dropped!

Hrishida worked with two of my most fav composers – Madan Mohan (Bawarchi) and Shankar Jaikishan (Anari, Asli Naqli, Ashiq, Gaban). But his overall film repertoire is filled with such musical giants as SD Burman, Salil Chaudhary, Pt. Ravishankar, RDBurman and Jaidev. Can anyone match this wide a variety of composers? I doubt it!

Whereever Hrishida is now, God Bless His Soul – Hrishida – for me, you will remain the most favorite director forever. Thank you for making me smile, for taking away my blues, for giving me that warm sadness, that friendly feeling… you were the best!!!!

The dream house with the full, syphilis top angle view of Taj slipped my hands. On Friday afternoon I got this terrible news. Since then, buy more about life turned into a hectic run.

So what happened? Honestly, even I am not clear. I was all set to take possession on Friday, and even landed up at the property dealer’s place early morning. He told me to return a bit later. That bit later turned to hours. Anxiously, I called him post-lunch only to get the shattering news that the landlord had given away the house to some one else. I am still unclear whether it was a goof up by the property dealer or the landlord was genuinely at fault for backing out of the deal. Maybe, it was because I hadnt paid him full money. Perhaps, there was someone else offering a better deal. Whatever it was, the likelihood of getting that flat seemed bleak.

I tried to contact him. He was not available. I made efforts through a long-winded common association that I had discovered some days back. But no good luck smiled on me. By evening, as Agra submerged into thick sheets of rain, the reality socked my plexus with a deafening thud.

I wasnt ready to do that entire painstaking process of searching a house all over again. But that had to be done, because the approval for the interim place where I was staying had run out.

I raced to the initial set of flats I had seen; in fact, this one was the very first one where I had set foot on. The person told me that the flat was gone. But there was another one available, should I be interested. I could feel some hope creaking in. The flat turned out to be marvellous. Without second thought, I said yes. There were no fans or lights there, which he promised to install the next day.

Even though the flat was marvellous, and in a much better locality than the previous one, still I had my doubts. The person refused to divulge the owner’s name. He was ready to give possession within a day. And he didnt want any extra money as security ( usually its equivalent to one month’s rent). Even though that spelt less advance money leaving my pocket, still it seemed a bit too good to be true. In fact, the entire thing happened so quick and smooth, I had a small niggling doubt within me. Yet, I brushed it aside, because I needed a good house to stay in this city. And at this short a notice, this one was manna from heaven.  

The next day I had an important training to conduct. So, I went there early morning to give the money, lest even this one slips away. The person was not available. I returned after the training. An old hand in the building informed that the concerned person had just left for lunch. I could feel a sickening feeling rearing within me.

I did some other work, and returned in the evening, around 5 or so. The man was there. Before he could say anything, I fished out the cash and placed it in front of him. I needed the house, any which way. That day I was literally on streets!

“Wait, not so soon, there is a small hitch” the man said.

Sweat broke on my forehead. My tongue felt like sandpaper. And I gulped and blinked as he narrated the small hitch.

To be continued…

“Wait, this not so soon, there is a small hitch” the man said.

Sweat broke on my forehead. My tongue felt like sandpaper. And I gulped and blinked as he narrated the small hitch.

“And that is?” I barely managed to speak out

“You will be staying alone?” he asked, and I nodded imperceptibly. Not again! This issue had cropped up several times as there is a general mistrust towards bachelors. “Actually, the people who were taking the flat next to yours are a bunch, and they wanted the one which we showed you, due to an extra balcony in that one”

I blinked hard. Just that?

“Yeah? Rest, you can see this new one. It’s almost the same except for the balcony. And I will give it for Rs500 less, as committed to them also”

I saw the new place. And then I saw the older one again. To me, barring the difference of the balcony, it really looked the same. Even the balcony was not that much an issue since this one also had two; only that since it was not a corner flat, it didnt extend to the other side. Other than this, I saw the drawing room paint a shade darker, which was a teeny weeny irritant, yet the money saving was a good compensation. Plus, it only looked bad if you compared the two. And I wouldnt be doing that daily once I start staying in my house.

I gave my nod to this one, paid the money and asked the person to instal the fans and tubelights. The electrician wasnt available, so I was given a stay-over place in yet another empty apartment on the third floor. It was a hard night – and quite literally too since I was sleeping on the floor after aeons! Plus, I hadnt purchased a mosquito repellant and they troubled quite a bit.

Sunday morning I woke up blurry eyed and pained body, and a nice detailed tour of the apartment building and the nearby area.

The electrician, who was supposed to arrive at eight in the morning, leisurely sauntered in around one in the noon. While he went about his job, I went to the market to purchase some daily item things.

It was deja vu. Only a couple of years back I had done such a shopping when I shifted to Kathmandu – broom, pocha, buckets, mug, soap-box, patra, dust-bin etc. – all the stuff that I had left there before moving back to Delhi (Even though these are utility items, it was impossible to carry them back in my burgeoning 80 plus kilos that travelled with me from Kathmandu to Delhi).

The prices seemed awfully exorbitant for these products. I split the purchase between the more affluent market (Sadar Bazar) and the traditionally middle class one (Raja Ki Mandi). The difference wasnt that great, though.

City Station Road (near Ghatiya Azam Khan – don’t splutter, that’s the name of the place) is the furniture hub of Agra. There, trudged the entire length and breadth of the road searching for a suitable bed. Finally, after much ponderation, zeroed in on two 6’*3′ single beds, that can either be used separately, or better, placed together to form a double bed. (Price wise, it makes sense to do so rather than buying one huge double bed). Single beds dont seem to be much in vogue in Agra as most shops didn’t have them. Even this one is on order, and will reach me on Wednesday.

Thereafter, the next one hour was spent in finding a folding bed and a couple of plastic chairs. The rates were awfully expensive – and above those in Delhi! Haggled a lot, and bought them, though with a neat hole in my wallet!

By the time I reached my house, the fans were installed and the flat was getting cleaned.

Finally, the ordeal of my flat-search came to an end by Sunday late evening. My initial doubts have weakened now. And as mom told me philosophically – whatever happens, happens for the good. In not getting my initial choice I saved a full month’s rent as security, got a flat cheaper by Rs 500 per month, and since it is a direct deal with the apartment society, there is no property dealer brokerage to be paid! In addition, the area is purely residential with immense greenery all around and very near to the tourist spots.

And the best part? The Taj Mahal is still visible – though not a wide-angle top-end view, but directly facing you, peeping over a row of green belt and some buildings!

These are some quick verbal snapshot, seek purely from an outsider’s viewpoint:

  • The traffic flummoxed me the most. To put it bluntly: there is absolutely no traffic sense prevalent in this city. Cars, autorickshaws, cycle rickshaws, cycles, bullock carts, thelas, scooters, motorcycles – all pile onto the narrow roads in a huge din and enormously noisy mess, vying for the smallest space available to maneouver.
  • Traffic signals are meant to be broken. Rarely have I seen anyone stopping at them (except at a place called Hariparvat, near Sanjay Place – a busy intersection). Often, there would be a traffic constable standing, yet people jump red lights with abandon. In fact, stop at a signal at your own risk, because you will be immediately surrounded by irritated honking drivers trying to jump the signal.
  • For its size and signals, the number of traffic constables are aplenty. Often, at many crossings one can find three-four of them standing. And yet, there would be a traffic jam at that very place. Obviously, they are futile in controlling the traffic.

  • Apart from the arterial and main roads, the condition is otherwise pathetic. God forbid if you have to go just beyond the city boundaries – you are in for trouble! My car hasnt driven as much as it has been shaken!!!
  • The entire Agra thrives on a central M.G.Road that is the city’s spine. Across both sides on this stretch of some 12 kilometers lies the full town. (As per a friend’s information the road was built with efforts of Sanjay Gandhi). The road starts from a turn below a flyover on the National Highway(the official entrance to the town) curves  it way in front of Sanjay Place (the biggest commercial center), cuts through several important crossings and extends beyond Sadar Bazar through Agra Cantt.
  • Sadar Bazar, on the tip of Agra Cantt, is the most posh market. And the widest and cleanest one as well. All branded shops are found here. It’s a good place to laze around, and even the traffic movement is regulated. On evenings, there is always some rush – and its maximum on Sundays. Tuesday is their weekly off.  
  • The area names are quite unique. Although the newer places have quite common (and overlapping with Delhi) names like Kamla Nagar, Sadar Bazar etc. But, check out the names of the older areas -Sai ka Takiya (I freaked out the first time I heard this one!),  Chhatta Bazaar, Seo Ka Bazaar, Ghatiya Azam Khan, Chhipitola, Daresi and, of course,  a slew of ‘mandis‘ : Raja Ki Mandi, Shahzadi Mandi, Jeoni Mandi, Rui Ki Mandi, Hing ki Mandi, etc
  • In an era of multiplexes Agra-ites still use the olden word ‘Talkies’ for their cinemas. Bhagwan Talkies, Anjana Talkies and Sanjay Talkies to name a few.
  • Bhagwan Talkies, a decrepit hall playing old Mithun and Govinda re-runs with new names, is an important landmark as it is bang on the corner from where M.G. Road starts (the entrance to the town as mentioned above). [Again, beware of the traffic-junk there! In fact, today’s Amar Ujala carried a detailed analysis and description of the pot-holed and vehicle-filled road there!]
  • Communal differences, though not overtly visible, are there somewhere within. The frission between the two major Indian religions is quite deep, and a sore one at that!
  • While the world swoons over Taj Mahal, Agra-ites themselves do not have much love lost for it. I have heard quite disparaging remarks on it, some based on communal lines. Times of India recently carried an article how Agra’s past, including the Taj, are viewed more as a liability. The centre has refused to move the town for applying for a Heritage stage. On the surface it seems a loss. But their logic is quite correct – there is hardly any flavor left from its Mughal past. If you remove the small Taj corridor, Agra is just another U.P. small-town!
  • There are quite a bunch of bars – some with shady names (and equally shady interiors) like Chandni Bar and Sonam Bar. Of course, it has a fair share of better ones as well. Though, don’t do the mistake of comparing with some pub/bar from Delhi, Mumbai or – even, i guess – Bangalore!
  • The food-stuff, especially Indian snacks, are particularly tasty here. I tasted some of the finest ‘kachoris‘ here. Also, samosas and daal-baati find a satisfying taste here. To add to this, there are some unknown but extremely sumptuous mithais that I have eaten. Round all this up with thick lassi in kulhads, and you have the most lip-smacking and satisfied-burp-inducing Indian fast/junk food ever! Needless to mention, Agra is thepetha‘ hub!
  • Manish has given a succulent elaboration on various Hindi dialects. He explains that Braj/ Bundelkhandi is the dialect spoken in this part of the state. However, despite that I seem to have heard more shuddh Hindi overall, and way above than what we get to hear in Delhi! For example words like ‘uddeshya‘ or ‘cheshtha‘ are rarely used in everyday lingo in Delhi, whereas here I often hear them!

These are just a few points that came to mind. I will update as soon as I have some more insights.

Mai hoon ik khanabdosh
Saara jag mera watan

For those who wonder the reason of my prolonged absence, website like this discount the above quote and the post’s title will give away the reason. Yes, this web I am now in Agra – once again away from home, and in yet another historical town.

Things happened quite suddenly. At least, the shifting part. Even though, I can’t claim I have fully done so because I am still living in the company’s guest house and have only brought one travel bag. I plan to go back to Delhi sometime next week, once I have the possession of the flat, which I have selected.

The flat is an awesome one, providing a beautiful top-angle, wide-panaromic view of the Taj Mahal.

But first things first – how did I end up here? Frankly, even I wasn’t too aware that the interview I had given was for Agra’s position. When the HR lady called up to give package details, and other stuff, she casually mentioned that the place of posting is here. For several seconds, I was in a dumb stupor. And the lady had to repeat thrice to confirm that she had understood my shocked grunts as an affirmation to the offer.

After that, things tumbled over each other. Joined at the Delhi office and then made one trip to Agra last week to finalize the house – a gruelling one indeed, as I couldn’t find anything suiting my taste and my pocket. I drove a whopping 170 kms within this small city, in those two days of house-search, and yet the one that I zeroed on in was shown by the property dealer the third’s days morning – the day I returned.

Barely had I set foot in Delhi, when the office confirmed the final shift as well. At first, I was in a whirring confusion. To be honest, I still am! The transition has been anything but smooth. But, I will not crib much here on the official lacunae.
In between, I managed to view Karan Johar’s bullshit of a movie called Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna. I enjoy the so-called ‘Johar-Chopra escapists’ fare. But this one just didn’t hold on its own. The story’s premise is flimsy, and none of the characters are real. Nay, they are thinner than cardboard! Had it not been for Amitabh Bachchan’s sizzling presence, the film would have been a total washout. Karan uses cliche upon cliches, not only in his narrative – but in his shots as well. The scenes where the hero and heroine part ways, in a top-angle shot, with a soft chorus humming the theme music (the kind that saw its pinnacle in Hum Tum) drew only bored yawns. Not done, Karan – has your imagination grown thin already?

In an interview, Karan said that it his most mature movie. Perhaps it is- because *wink wink* there are two ‘lovemaking scenes’ – stuff that do not find place in his movies! And before you rush to call up the nearest theater, the shot is as bland as the film, with Rani ending up with a tear in her eye (a la Aishwarya Rai in Shabd). Unfortunately, by the time the film climaxes, the audiences have tears….of frustration and boredom!

Anyways, I won’t be able to do a full fledged review now. But the end result is, please (and a double please) don’t waste your hard earned money on KANK – and coming from a fan of such films, this is a monumental statement!

Signing off now; will try to fill in details as and when I can.

Don’t be shocked if you haven’t heard of these names. Neither had I. That is, mind till a few days back. And then suddenly I was driving through these faceless, medicine unknown towns of Western Uttar Pradesh – where the wild ravines of Yamuna nearly embrace the dreaded ones of Chambal.

It’s astounding how many untold stories lie within those rocky crevices, men’s health buried under the wild grass, seeped in the sandy earth.

It was a business tour. But our accompanying official was from this region, and all through the rough ride in the white Indica, we were regaled with narrations from the past – some mesmerizing myths, some unbelievable legends and many goresome tales of crime and criminals. Fact and fiction intertwined so tightly that often I was confused trying to unravel the two. In the end, I chose to stay mum and absorb as much as I could. His stories were not chronological, and neither did I note them down. Yet, whatever I could gather, I will try to replicate here, to the best possible means. Readers from this region may forgive me for some serious lapses.

This was the region of Bhadawar – one of those countless princely states that formed India in the past. Once upon a time, one of the kings made a strong friendship bond with another king (probably of Gwalior).  In a surge of friendship, they promised to wed their children, should they be of differing genders. Alas, both gave birth to girls. However, the King of Bhadawar, to keep his word, hid the girl and kept her disguised as a male…to the extent that he even married her off to his friend’s daughter in order to maintain his vow. On wedding night, all hell broke loose when the new bride realised that her ‘husband’ is in reality a girl. The bride’s father swore revenge, and a war ensued. The ‘groom’ (princess in disguise) couldn’t bear the sad fact that all the rampage was due to her, and she jumped into Yamuna. It is said that Lord Shiva himself rescued her, and brought her to shore.

The King then built 101 temples at the behest of Lord Shiva. And, the Lord saw to it that Yamuna flowed upstream, away from her normal course, for some six kilometers. Now, this is where fact takes over. The Yamuna does change its course somewhat drastically. And there are 101 temples in one row on the banks of Yamuna.

This is the pious town of Bateshwar. And the main temple houses a ‘swayam utpann’ lingam – not man made, self-made lingam.

When Aurangzeb was on his temples destruction spree, he came to the Bateshwar Temple as well. He could desecrate a few, but when he came to the main one, he was stalled. And how? He attacked the lingam with his sword. Water flowed out. He attacked again. Milk flowed out. In his third attempt, blood flowed out. He fled the place, and never returned. No mosque was built there, and the locals proudly boast of this fact.

The temple is beautiful. And the lingam, with heavy cuts at the top (where Aurangzeb’s sword hit it) still exists. One of the best sights is to step down from the ghats on the side to the bank of River Yamuna. The entire scenario is exceedingly peaceful.

That was Bateshwar. But before that, we had gone to a wayside town called Bah. And from there to Shahpur Brahman. Six kilometers more, and you are in the thick of Yamuna ‘beehad’. From nowhere, suddenly, erupts a fort that once housed the Bhadawar family. It was jaw-dropping to see its well concealed location. Though now a relic, it’s peeling walls whispered untold tales of a bygone era. We managed to gain entry, and enter its rooms. The fort had been occupied till quite late, as signs of modernity (electricity, photographs, etc) were all there. It is at once creepy and exciting to enter into the decandent premises, as if one is intruding upon the past. The clouds darkened. And rains washed down, adding to the gloom and dreariness.

An old caretaker showed us the way. The king’s descendent now lives in Agra, and is in politics. He hasn’t given away his property to ASI as yet.

Our friend-cum-guide continued with his stories – some as outlandish as that those kings who died without heir returned into the fort as snakes – and not ordinary ones at that! Snakes with huge moustaches! A tiny shiver crawled through my spine. Another legend was about a cannon that went off on its own in the night, and destroyed a nearby ‘haveli’.

We stepped on a slippery parapet, and climbed over rusted barriers to reach the terrace. The view was breathtaking. The rain washed ravines echoed an eerie silence, while River Yamuna snaked on its course quietly, just a little distance away; she sighed, as if pining for the lost time and valor. Today, the dacoits use the thickets by her banks to hide and run away after some shameless plunder.

The fort’s temple, specially opened for us by a drunk person (whom our guide for the day befriended), was another lovely sight. The murals on the walls were intricate; and the paint, though a tad faded, still held its self-esteem and blushed about its bygone days.

That drunk person told us that the rains had come there for the first time that year on that day. ‘As if to welcome us,’ I joked. But, the moistness in the atmosphere, and the sogginess in the mud below were a bit disconcerting.

As our taxi wove its way back from the place, the friend informed that the drunk person had no other work but to ‘hide and supply food’ to the dacoits.

The rain whipped the tinted glass. The wind howled. I looked out at the receding structures, once again left to their lonesome existence.

On the way back, the colleague’s faucet of tales didn’t close. One after the other they tumbled out – about his life, his past, and his village. Mid-way I realized that there was something grossly amiss in all his anecdotes. I couldn’t place it then. But later I realised what it was. All the stories revolved around some crime or criminal. A few were as bizarre as the fables he had told us. And a few others were unabashedly inhuman. That life is so different from mine, it is almost impossible to relate to it.

The Indica stepped onto the tarred highway. The heavy clouds were behind us, and we whizzed into civilization.

Behind me I had left a gray and anguished past and life – and as I type this today, I feel as if I had seen a hazy and disturbing dream. But I know it was for real. The interior India. The true India.

[My apologies to all readers for not visiting their blogs. Time is short with me these past days. Once I comfortably settle down, I will be regular again. My apologies also for any grammatical and typographical errors in the above piece. It is tough to write in an unfamiliar cyber cafe, with horrendously tight keyboard, and songs playing non-stop]

A few days back  I was watching Chupke Chupke after a gruelling drive from Aligarh. It was a perfect antidote; the simple and charming film simply washed away all tiredness.    

Antics of Pyare Mohan, viagra 40mg the ‘ghaas-phoos’ wale daaktar in disguise as a chaste Hindi speaking driver in his wife’s ‘Jijja-ji’s’ house, internist dissipitated away any signs of a bumpy journey. And, discount this must be the countless time I must have been watching the film. Yet, it seemed so fresh, and I awaited each trick that Pyare Mohan unfolded to irritate his bro-in-law! That is the power of great art – approach it once, or many times, each visit should feel new and fresh.

Now, it’s impossible to envisage that the man behind such a brilliant comedy is no more.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee created an enviable niche for his himself. Simplicity was the key word. Strong storylines another. His comedies are best loved and they cant be surpassed ever! That’s more so because he took everyday situations and created a laugh riot of gargatuan proportions. On the face of it there was nothing spectacular scenario, yet they were monumental. Think of Golmaal, Khoobsoorat and Chupke Chupke  – all of them bring instantaneous smiles. Dont they? One can sit thru them even knowing each dialogue by heart. That was the power of his direction. I mean, in spite of knowing each movement of each actor, there is still the urge to view it once more, only to get the pleasure of what the characters are doing on-screen. And Dharamendra, Rekha, Amitabh Bachhan, Sharmila Tagore, Amol Palekar, Bindiya Goswami all of them got an unique film to add to their resumes!

One lesser known but nevertheless outstanding comedy is ‘Kisi Se Na kahna’ – aah! as a kid how much i revelled when i first saw the antics of a ‘city-bred’ Deepti Naval trying to pose of as a ‘village bahu’ for the sake of – who else?-  Utpal Dutt. A TV channel showed excerpts of the film; I wish some channel would dig it out and telecast it. In fact, Utpal Dutt and Hrishida were a formidable pair. And add to this David, the entire experience was like watching neighborhood friendly uncles.

And yet, his emotional dramas have their own power. Anari, Anand, Mili, Satyakam, Bemisaal,  Guddi and Bawarchi have their own appeal that goes beyond what we know of Bollywoood in normal terms. His characters were so real that they seemed just living down the road, instead of imaginations on silver screen. I have added Bawarchi in his list of ’emotional films’ because the comedy wrapper that Hrishida packed it in beguiled the deep emotional undercurrent of the film, and its message. Only he (and perhaps, Gulzar) could have pulled across the then reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna to pass off as a convincing cook, and play ‘brother’ to another leading lady of her time. Just the way he metamorphosised Dharmendra’s career. In Chupke Chupke, Dharam overshadowed the proceedings (and I can confidently make the sacrililegious statement that he was even better than Amitabh!). But his real mettle can be seen in the understated role in Satyakam. I still remember how disturbed I was (as a youngster) when I first saw it.  The rape scene is not shown, yet the impact is splashed all over like the smudged vermillion on Sharmila’s forehead. And Latadi’s ‘Do din ki hai zindagi’ punches the solar plexus!

Truly a pioneer in the ‘middle-of-road’ cinema that combined the grandeur of ‘impossible situations’ with ‘believable people’, Hrishida will forever remain in the hearts of every true Hindi cinema afficiondo.  His characters were so believable that often one can feel an impish Mili running up and down the stairs in any middle class apartment building! In Mili he gave what is perhaps unique to Hindi films – a completely open ending. One can think of any denouement as per one’s mood and outlook!  Yet, the story is so complete that even one more shot would have been extraneous!

I am not sure what the exact box office fate was of his releases. But today a lion’s share of them are retro-hits. Yet, even within that there are some that haven’t found the requisite attention.

In fact, his lesser known films are equally stunning in their execution. One such is Bemisaal ; it is one of my all time favorites – both cinematically and musically. The friendship between Vinod Mehra and Amitabh Bachchan is so filmi-cliche- free that it’s like a soothing halcyon playing. The end always gives a rock-solid lump in my throat. And what beautiful songs – ‘Kisi baat pe main kisi se khaffaa hoon’ ranks very high in my list! In the same song he extracted one of the finest performances from another favorite, Amitabh Bachchan: the look of veiled disdain towards the vamp Sheetal as he sways ever so slightly singing the taunting song, while Raakhee is perplexed and thinks it to be thrown towards her, this is a scene of absolutely bemisaal direction!  With the same leading trio (Raakhee, Amitabh and Vinod Mehra) he made an impactful statement of guilt and sorrow in Jurmana.

Musically, he was very strong. If he could get even the otherwise awfully dull Anand Milind to compose a shimmering ‘Chaand kahuun’ (Udit) for his last film Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate, it was but obvious that the ‘creamy layer’ of music studios – SJ, SDB,RDB, Salil-da and MM – would reserve nothing but the best for him. And what an array of songs – from the perky ‘Samajhne waale samajh gaye hain’ to the philosophical ‘Kahiin door jab din dhal jaaaye’ to the sombre ‘Sab kuchh seekha humne’ to the classical ‘More naina bahaye neer‘ to the chirpy ‘Ab ke sajan saawan mein’ to the romantic ‘Loote koi mann ka nagar’ to the tough ‘Laagi nahi chhute’ (Where Dilip Kumar fought a losing vocal war with the ever-impeccable Latadi) to the musing ‘Badi sooni sooni hai’ to the pious ‘Bole re papihara’ to the heart-warming ‘Tera mera pyaar amar phir kyun mujhko laga hai darr’ to the amusing ‘Yeh kashmir hai’ to the dreamy ‘Ek baat kahuun gar maano tum’ to the pain lashed ‘Kuchh dil ne kaha kuchh bhi nahi’ to the musically splendid ‘Lo aayi milan ki raat suhaani aaj‘ – it’s a matchless hit-parade that leaves you jaw-dropped!

Hrishida worked with two of my most fav composers – Madan Mohan (Bawarchi) and Shankar Jaikishan (Anari, Asli Naqli, Ashiq, Gaban). But his overall film repertoire is filled with such musical giants as SD Burman, Salil Chaudhary, Pt. Ravishankar, RDBurman and Jaidev. Can anyone match this wide a variety of composers? I doubt it!

Whereever Hrishida is now, God Bless His Soul – Hrishida – for me, you will remain the most favorite director forever. Thank you for making me smile, for taking away my blues, for giving me that warm sadness, that friendly feeling… you were the best!!!!

The dream house with the full, syphilis top angle view of Taj slipped my hands. On Friday afternoon I got this terrible news. Since then, buy more about life turned into a hectic run.

So what happened? Honestly, even I am not clear. I was all set to take possession on Friday, and even landed up at the property dealer’s place early morning. He told me to return a bit later. That bit later turned to hours. Anxiously, I called him post-lunch only to get the shattering news that the landlord had given away the house to some one else. I am still unclear whether it was a goof up by the property dealer or the landlord was genuinely at fault for backing out of the deal. Maybe, it was because I hadnt paid him full money. Perhaps, there was someone else offering a better deal. Whatever it was, the likelihood of getting that flat seemed bleak.

I tried to contact him. He was not available. I made efforts through a long-winded common association that I had discovered some days back. But no good luck smiled on me. By evening, as Agra submerged into thick sheets of rain, the reality socked my plexus with a deafening thud.

I wasnt ready to do that entire painstaking process of searching a house all over again. But that had to be done, because the approval for the interim place where I was staying had run out.

I raced to the initial set of flats I had seen; in fact, this one was the very first one where I had set foot on. The person told me that the flat was gone. But there was another one available, should I be interested. I could feel some hope creaking in. The flat turned out to be marvellous. Without second thought, I said yes. There were no fans or lights there, which he promised to install the next day.

Even though the flat was marvellous, and in a much better locality than the previous one, still I had my doubts. The person refused to divulge the owner’s name. He was ready to give possession within a day. And he didnt want any extra money as security ( usually its equivalent to one month’s rent). Even though that spelt less advance money leaving my pocket, still it seemed a bit too good to be true. In fact, the entire thing happened so quick and smooth, I had a small niggling doubt within me. Yet, I brushed it aside, because I needed a good house to stay in this city. And at this short a notice, this one was manna from heaven.  

The next day I had an important training to conduct. So, I went there early morning to give the money, lest even this one slips away. The person was not available. I returned after the training. An old hand in the building informed that the concerned person had just left for lunch. I could feel a sickening feeling rearing within me.

I did some other work, and returned in the evening, around 5 or so. The man was there. Before he could say anything, I fished out the cash and placed it in front of him. I needed the house, any which way. That day I was literally on streets!

“Wait, not so soon, there is a small hitch” the man said.

Sweat broke on my forehead. My tongue felt like sandpaper. And I gulped and blinked as he narrated the small hitch.

To be continued…

“Wait, this not so soon, there is a small hitch” the man said.

Sweat broke on my forehead. My tongue felt like sandpaper. And I gulped and blinked as he narrated the small hitch.

“And that is?” I barely managed to speak out

“You will be staying alone?” he asked, and I nodded imperceptibly. Not again! This issue had cropped up several times as there is a general mistrust towards bachelors. “Actually, the people who were taking the flat next to yours are a bunch, and they wanted the one which we showed you, due to an extra balcony in that one”

I blinked hard. Just that?

“Yeah? Rest, you can see this new one. It’s almost the same except for the balcony. And I will give it for Rs500 less, as committed to them also”

I saw the new place. And then I saw the older one again. To me, barring the difference of the balcony, it really looked the same. Even the balcony was not that much an issue since this one also had two; only that since it was not a corner flat, it didnt extend to the other side. Other than this, I saw the drawing room paint a shade darker, which was a teeny weeny irritant, yet the money saving was a good compensation. Plus, it only looked bad if you compared the two. And I wouldnt be doing that daily once I start staying in my house.

I gave my nod to this one, paid the money and asked the person to instal the fans and tubelights. The electrician wasnt available, so I was given a stay-over place in yet another empty apartment on the third floor. It was a hard night – and quite literally too since I was sleeping on the floor after aeons! Plus, I hadnt purchased a mosquito repellant and they troubled quite a bit.

Sunday morning I woke up blurry eyed and pained body, and a nice detailed tour of the apartment building and the nearby area.

The electrician, who was supposed to arrive at eight in the morning, leisurely sauntered in around one in the noon. While he went about his job, I went to the market to purchase some daily item things.

It was deja vu. Only a couple of years back I had done such a shopping when I shifted to Kathmandu – broom, pocha, buckets, mug, soap-box, patra, dust-bin etc. – all the stuff that I had left there before moving back to Delhi (Even though these are utility items, it was impossible to carry them back in my burgeoning 80 plus kilos that travelled with me from Kathmandu to Delhi).

The prices seemed awfully exorbitant for these products. I split the purchase between the more affluent market (Sadar Bazar) and the traditionally middle class one (Raja Ki Mandi). The difference wasnt that great, though.

City Station Road (near Ghatiya Azam Khan – don’t splutter, that’s the name of the place) is the furniture hub of Agra. There, trudged the entire length and breadth of the road searching for a suitable bed. Finally, after much ponderation, zeroed in on two 6’*3′ single beds, that can either be used separately, or better, placed together to form a double bed. (Price wise, it makes sense to do so rather than buying one huge double bed). Single beds dont seem to be much in vogue in Agra as most shops didn’t have them. Even this one is on order, and will reach me on Wednesday.

Thereafter, the next one hour was spent in finding a folding bed and a couple of plastic chairs. The rates were awfully expensive – and above those in Delhi! Haggled a lot, and bought them, though with a neat hole in my wallet!

By the time I reached my house, the fans were installed and the flat was getting cleaned.

Finally, the ordeal of my flat-search came to an end by Sunday late evening. My initial doubts have weakened now. And as mom told me philosophically – whatever happens, happens for the good. In not getting my initial choice I saved a full month’s rent as security, got a flat cheaper by Rs 500 per month, and since it is a direct deal with the apartment society, there is no property dealer brokerage to be paid! In addition, the area is purely residential with immense greenery all around and very near to the tourist spots.

And the best part? The Taj Mahal is still visible – though not a wide-angle top-end view, but directly facing you, peeping over a row of green belt and some buildings!

These are some quick verbal snapshot, seek purely from an outsider’s viewpoint:

  • The traffic flummoxed me the most. To put it bluntly: there is absolutely no traffic sense prevalent in this city. Cars, autorickshaws, cycle rickshaws, cycles, bullock carts, thelas, scooters, motorcycles – all pile onto the narrow roads in a huge din and enormously noisy mess, vying for the smallest space available to maneouver.
  • Traffic signals are meant to be broken. Rarely have I seen anyone stopping at them (except at a place called Hariparvat, near Sanjay Place – a busy intersection). Often, there would be a traffic constable standing, yet people jump red lights with abandon. In fact, stop at a signal at your own risk, because you will be immediately surrounded by irritated honking drivers trying to jump the signal.
  • For its size and signals, the number of traffic constables are aplenty. Often, at many crossings one can find three-four of them standing. And yet, there would be a traffic jam at that very place. Obviously, they are futile in controlling the traffic.

  • Apart from the arterial and main roads, the condition is otherwise pathetic. God forbid if you have to go just beyond the city boundaries – you are in for trouble! My car hasnt driven as much as it has been shaken!!!
  • The entire Agra thrives on a central M.G.Road that is the city’s spine. Across both sides on this stretch of some 12 kilometers lies the full town. (As per a friend’s information the road was built with efforts of Sanjay Gandhi). The road starts from a turn below a flyover on the National Highway(the official entrance to the town) curves  it way in front of Sanjay Place (the biggest commercial center), cuts through several important crossings and extends beyond Sadar Bazar through Agra Cantt.
  • Sadar Bazar, on the tip of Agra Cantt, is the most posh market. And the widest and cleanest one as well. All branded shops are found here. It’s a good place to laze around, and even the traffic movement is regulated. On evenings, there is always some rush – and its maximum on Sundays. Tuesday is their weekly off.  
  • The area names are quite unique. Although the newer places have quite common (and overlapping with Delhi) names like Kamla Nagar, Sadar Bazar etc. But, check out the names of the older areas -Sai ka Takiya (I freaked out the first time I heard this one!),  Chhatta Bazaar, Seo Ka Bazaar, Ghatiya Azam Khan, Chhipitola, Daresi and, of course,  a slew of ‘mandis‘ : Raja Ki Mandi, Shahzadi Mandi, Jeoni Mandi, Rui Ki Mandi, Hing ki Mandi, etc
  • In an era of multiplexes Agra-ites still use the olden word ‘Talkies’ for their cinemas. Bhagwan Talkies, Anjana Talkies and Sanjay Talkies to name a few.
  • Bhagwan Talkies, a decrepit hall playing old Mithun and Govinda re-runs with new names, is an important landmark as it is bang on the corner from where M.G. Road starts (the entrance to the town as mentioned above). [Again, beware of the traffic-junk there! In fact, today’s Amar Ujala carried a detailed analysis and description of the pot-holed and vehicle-filled road there!]
  • Communal differences, though not overtly visible, are there somewhere within. The frission between the two major Indian religions is quite deep, and a sore one at that!
  • While the world swoons over Taj Mahal, Agra-ites themselves do not have much love lost for it. I have heard quite disparaging remarks on it, some based on communal lines. Times of India recently carried an article how Agra’s past, including the Taj, are viewed more as a liability. The centre has refused to move the town for applying for a Heritage stage. On the surface it seems a loss. But their logic is quite correct – there is hardly any flavor left from its Mughal past. If you remove the small Taj corridor, Agra is just another U.P. small-town!
  • There are quite a bunch of bars – some with shady names (and equally shady interiors) like Chandni Bar and Sonam Bar. Of course, it has a fair share of better ones as well. Though, don’t do the mistake of comparing with some pub/bar from Delhi, Mumbai or – even, i guess – Bangalore!
  • The food-stuff, especially Indian snacks, are particularly tasty here. I tasted some of the finest ‘kachoris‘ here. Also, samosas and daal-baati find a satisfying taste here. To add to this, there are some unknown but extremely sumptuous mithais that I have eaten. Round all this up with thick lassi in kulhads, and you have the most lip-smacking and satisfied-burp-inducing Indian fast/junk food ever! Needless to mention, Agra is thepetha‘ hub!
  • Manish has given a succulent elaboration on various Hindi dialects. He explains that Braj/ Bundelkhandi is the dialect spoken in this part of the state. However, despite that I seem to have heard more shuddh Hindi overall, and way above than what we get to hear in Delhi! For example words like ‘uddeshya‘ or ‘cheshtha‘ are rarely used in everyday lingo in Delhi, whereas here I often hear them!

These are just a few points that came to mind. I will update as soon as I have some more insights.
Just a few more places that I have now travelled to. Nothing exceptional here, infertility but jotting it down for records sake.

Kagarole – a small ‘kasba‘ some 20 kilometers from Agra. The drive is quite bad, price but compared to the horrifying Agra-Aligarh road, it’s still better

Jagner – Near the U.P.-Rajasthan border, it’s yet another ‘kasba‘. The road from Kagarole is bad in patches, but overall pretty neat one. The landscape, as you reach Jagner, changes to incorporate a Rajasthani tinge. A few solitary hills, part of the Aravallis, are visible.

Kirawali – A tehsil on the Bharatpur-Agra road; advisable to travel by this awesome highway. Unfortunately, we went from Kagarole to Kirawali and the drive is extremely bumpy. My car is yet to recover from this ordeal!

Mai hoon ik khanabdosh
Saara jag mera watan

For those who wonder the reason of my prolonged absence, website like this discount the above quote and the post’s title will give away the reason. Yes, this web I am now in Agra – once again away from home, and in yet another historical town.

Things happened quite suddenly. At least, the shifting part. Even though, I can’t claim I have fully done so because I am still living in the company’s guest house and have only brought one travel bag. I plan to go back to Delhi sometime next week, once I have the possession of the flat, which I have selected.

The flat is an awesome one, providing a beautiful top-angle, wide-panaromic view of the Taj Mahal.

But first things first – how did I end up here? Frankly, even I wasn’t too aware that the interview I had given was for Agra’s position. When the HR lady called up to give package details, and other stuff, she casually mentioned that the place of posting is here. For several seconds, I was in a dumb stupor. And the lady had to repeat thrice to confirm that she had understood my shocked grunts as an affirmation to the offer.

After that, things tumbled over each other. Joined at the Delhi office and then made one trip to Agra last week to finalize the house – a gruelling one indeed, as I couldn’t find anything suiting my taste and my pocket. I drove a whopping 170 kms within this small city, in those two days of house-search, and yet the one that I zeroed on in was shown by the property dealer the third’s days morning – the day I returned.

Barely had I set foot in Delhi, when the office confirmed the final shift as well. At first, I was in a whirring confusion. To be honest, I still am! The transition has been anything but smooth. But, I will not crib much here on the official lacunae.
In between, I managed to view Karan Johar’s bullshit of a movie called Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna. I enjoy the so-called ‘Johar-Chopra escapists’ fare. But this one just didn’t hold on its own. The story’s premise is flimsy, and none of the characters are real. Nay, they are thinner than cardboard! Had it not been for Amitabh Bachchan’s sizzling presence, the film would have been a total washout. Karan uses cliche upon cliches, not only in his narrative – but in his shots as well. The scenes where the hero and heroine part ways, in a top-angle shot, with a soft chorus humming the theme music (the kind that saw its pinnacle in Hum Tum) drew only bored yawns. Not done, Karan – has your imagination grown thin already?

In an interview, Karan said that it his most mature movie. Perhaps it is- because *wink wink* there are two ‘lovemaking scenes’ – stuff that do not find place in his movies! And before you rush to call up the nearest theater, the shot is as bland as the film, with Rani ending up with a tear in her eye (a la Aishwarya Rai in Shabd). Unfortunately, by the time the film climaxes, the audiences have tears….of frustration and boredom!

Anyways, I won’t be able to do a full fledged review now. But the end result is, please (and a double please) don’t waste your hard earned money on KANK – and coming from a fan of such films, this is a monumental statement!

Signing off now; will try to fill in details as and when I can.

Don’t be shocked if you haven’t heard of these names. Neither had I. That is, mind till a few days back. And then suddenly I was driving through these faceless, medicine unknown towns of Western Uttar Pradesh – where the wild ravines of Yamuna nearly embrace the dreaded ones of Chambal.

It’s astounding how many untold stories lie within those rocky crevices, men’s health buried under the wild grass, seeped in the sandy earth.

It was a business tour. But our accompanying official was from this region, and all through the rough ride in the white Indica, we were regaled with narrations from the past – some mesmerizing myths, some unbelievable legends and many goresome tales of crime and criminals. Fact and fiction intertwined so tightly that often I was confused trying to unravel the two. In the end, I chose to stay mum and absorb as much as I could. His stories were not chronological, and neither did I note them down. Yet, whatever I could gather, I will try to replicate here, to the best possible means. Readers from this region may forgive me for some serious lapses.

This was the region of Bhadawar – one of those countless princely states that formed India in the past. Once upon a time, one of the kings made a strong friendship bond with another king (probably of Gwalior).  In a surge of friendship, they promised to wed their children, should they be of differing genders. Alas, both gave birth to girls. However, the King of Bhadawar, to keep his word, hid the girl and kept her disguised as a male…to the extent that he even married her off to his friend’s daughter in order to maintain his vow. On wedding night, all hell broke loose when the new bride realised that her ‘husband’ is in reality a girl. The bride’s father swore revenge, and a war ensued. The ‘groom’ (princess in disguise) couldn’t bear the sad fact that all the rampage was due to her, and she jumped into Yamuna. It is said that Lord Shiva himself rescued her, and brought her to shore.

The King then built 101 temples at the behest of Lord Shiva. And, the Lord saw to it that Yamuna flowed upstream, away from her normal course, for some six kilometers. Now, this is where fact takes over. The Yamuna does change its course somewhat drastically. And there are 101 temples in one row on the banks of Yamuna.

This is the pious town of Bateshwar. And the main temple houses a ‘swayam utpann’ lingam – not man made, self-made lingam.

When Aurangzeb was on his temples destruction spree, he came to the Bateshwar Temple as well. He could desecrate a few, but when he came to the main one, he was stalled. And how? He attacked the lingam with his sword. Water flowed out. He attacked again. Milk flowed out. In his third attempt, blood flowed out. He fled the place, and never returned. No mosque was built there, and the locals proudly boast of this fact.

The temple is beautiful. And the lingam, with heavy cuts at the top (where Aurangzeb’s sword hit it) still exists. One of the best sights is to step down from the ghats on the side to the bank of River Yamuna. The entire scenario is exceedingly peaceful.

That was Bateshwar. But before that, we had gone to a wayside town called Bah. And from there to Shahpur Brahman. Six kilometers more, and you are in the thick of Yamuna ‘beehad’. From nowhere, suddenly, erupts a fort that once housed the Bhadawar family. It was jaw-dropping to see its well concealed location. Though now a relic, it’s peeling walls whispered untold tales of a bygone era. We managed to gain entry, and enter its rooms. The fort had been occupied till quite late, as signs of modernity (electricity, photographs, etc) were all there. It is at once creepy and exciting to enter into the decandent premises, as if one is intruding upon the past. The clouds darkened. And rains washed down, adding to the gloom and dreariness.

An old caretaker showed us the way. The king’s descendent now lives in Agra, and is in politics. He hasn’t given away his property to ASI as yet.

Our friend-cum-guide continued with his stories – some as outlandish as that those kings who died without heir returned into the fort as snakes – and not ordinary ones at that! Snakes with huge moustaches! A tiny shiver crawled through my spine. Another legend was about a cannon that went off on its own in the night, and destroyed a nearby ‘haveli’.

We stepped on a slippery parapet, and climbed over rusted barriers to reach the terrace. The view was breathtaking. The rain washed ravines echoed an eerie silence, while River Yamuna snaked on its course quietly, just a little distance away; she sighed, as if pining for the lost time and valor. Today, the dacoits use the thickets by her banks to hide and run away after some shameless plunder.

The fort’s temple, specially opened for us by a drunk person (whom our guide for the day befriended), was another lovely sight. The murals on the walls were intricate; and the paint, though a tad faded, still held its self-esteem and blushed about its bygone days.

That drunk person told us that the rains had come there for the first time that year on that day. ‘As if to welcome us,’ I joked. But, the moistness in the atmosphere, and the sogginess in the mud below were a bit disconcerting.

As our taxi wove its way back from the place, the friend informed that the drunk person had no other work but to ‘hide and supply food’ to the dacoits.

The rain whipped the tinted glass. The wind howled. I looked out at the receding structures, once again left to their lonesome existence.

On the way back, the colleague’s faucet of tales didn’t close. One after the other they tumbled out – about his life, his past, and his village. Mid-way I realized that there was something grossly amiss in all his anecdotes. I couldn’t place it then. But later I realised what it was. All the stories revolved around some crime or criminal. A few were as bizarre as the fables he had told us. And a few others were unabashedly inhuman. That life is so different from mine, it is almost impossible to relate to it.

The Indica stepped onto the tarred highway. The heavy clouds were behind us, and we whizzed into civilization.

Behind me I had left a gray and anguished past and life – and as I type this today, I feel as if I had seen a hazy and disturbing dream. But I know it was for real. The interior India. The true India.

[My apologies to all readers for not visiting their blogs. Time is short with me these past days. Once I comfortably settle down, I will be regular again. My apologies also for any grammatical and typographical errors in the above piece. It is tough to write in an unfamiliar cyber cafe, with horrendously tight keyboard, and songs playing non-stop]

A few days back  I was watching Chupke Chupke after a gruelling drive from Aligarh. It was a perfect antidote; the simple and charming film simply washed away all tiredness.    

Antics of Pyare Mohan, viagra 40mg the ‘ghaas-phoos’ wale daaktar in disguise as a chaste Hindi speaking driver in his wife’s ‘Jijja-ji’s’ house, internist dissipitated away any signs of a bumpy journey. And, discount this must be the countless time I must have been watching the film. Yet, it seemed so fresh, and I awaited each trick that Pyare Mohan unfolded to irritate his bro-in-law! That is the power of great art – approach it once, or many times, each visit should feel new and fresh.

Now, it’s impossible to envisage that the man behind such a brilliant comedy is no more.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee created an enviable niche for his himself. Simplicity was the key word. Strong storylines another. His comedies are best loved and they cant be surpassed ever! That’s more so because he took everyday situations and created a laugh riot of gargatuan proportions. On the face of it there was nothing spectacular scenario, yet they were monumental. Think of Golmaal, Khoobsoorat and Chupke Chupke  – all of them bring instantaneous smiles. Dont they? One can sit thru them even knowing each dialogue by heart. That was the power of his direction. I mean, in spite of knowing each movement of each actor, there is still the urge to view it once more, only to get the pleasure of what the characters are doing on-screen. And Dharamendra, Rekha, Amitabh Bachhan, Sharmila Tagore, Amol Palekar, Bindiya Goswami all of them got an unique film to add to their resumes!

One lesser known but nevertheless outstanding comedy is ‘Kisi Se Na kahna’ – aah! as a kid how much i revelled when i first saw the antics of a ‘city-bred’ Deepti Naval trying to pose of as a ‘village bahu’ for the sake of – who else?-  Utpal Dutt. A TV channel showed excerpts of the film; I wish some channel would dig it out and telecast it. In fact, Utpal Dutt and Hrishida were a formidable pair. And add to this David, the entire experience was like watching neighborhood friendly uncles.

And yet, his emotional dramas have their own power. Anari, Anand, Mili, Satyakam, Bemisaal,  Guddi and Bawarchi have their own appeal that goes beyond what we know of Bollywoood in normal terms. His characters were so real that they seemed just living down the road, instead of imaginations on silver screen. I have added Bawarchi in his list of ’emotional films’ because the comedy wrapper that Hrishida packed it in beguiled the deep emotional undercurrent of the film, and its message. Only he (and perhaps, Gulzar) could have pulled across the then reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna to pass off as a convincing cook, and play ‘brother’ to another leading lady of her time. Just the way he metamorphosised Dharmendra’s career. In Chupke Chupke, Dharam overshadowed the proceedings (and I can confidently make the sacrililegious statement that he was even better than Amitabh!). But his real mettle can be seen in the understated role in Satyakam. I still remember how disturbed I was (as a youngster) when I first saw it.  The rape scene is not shown, yet the impact is splashed all over like the smudged vermillion on Sharmila’s forehead. And Latadi’s ‘Do din ki hai zindagi’ punches the solar plexus!

Truly a pioneer in the ‘middle-of-road’ cinema that combined the grandeur of ‘impossible situations’ with ‘believable people’, Hrishida will forever remain in the hearts of every true Hindi cinema afficiondo.  His characters were so believable that often one can feel an impish Mili running up and down the stairs in any middle class apartment building! In Mili he gave what is perhaps unique to Hindi films – a completely open ending. One can think of any denouement as per one’s mood and outlook!  Yet, the story is so complete that even one more shot would have been extraneous!

I am not sure what the exact box office fate was of his releases. But today a lion’s share of them are retro-hits. Yet, even within that there are some that haven’t found the requisite attention.

In fact, his lesser known films are equally stunning in their execution. One such is Bemisaal ; it is one of my all time favorites – both cinematically and musically. The friendship between Vinod Mehra and Amitabh Bachchan is so filmi-cliche- free that it’s like a soothing halcyon playing. The end always gives a rock-solid lump in my throat. And what beautiful songs – ‘Kisi baat pe main kisi se khaffaa hoon’ ranks very high in my list! In the same song he extracted one of the finest performances from another favorite, Amitabh Bachchan: the look of veiled disdain towards the vamp Sheetal as he sways ever so slightly singing the taunting song, while Raakhee is perplexed and thinks it to be thrown towards her, this is a scene of absolutely bemisaal direction!  With the same leading trio (Raakhee, Amitabh and Vinod Mehra) he made an impactful statement of guilt and sorrow in Jurmana.

Musically, he was very strong. If he could get even the otherwise awfully dull Anand Milind to compose a shimmering ‘Chaand kahuun’ (Udit) for his last film Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate, it was but obvious that the ‘creamy layer’ of music studios – SJ, SDB,RDB, Salil-da and MM – would reserve nothing but the best for him. And what an array of songs – from the perky ‘Samajhne waale samajh gaye hain’ to the philosophical ‘Kahiin door jab din dhal jaaaye’ to the sombre ‘Sab kuchh seekha humne’ to the classical ‘More naina bahaye neer‘ to the chirpy ‘Ab ke sajan saawan mein’ to the romantic ‘Loote koi mann ka nagar’ to the tough ‘Laagi nahi chhute’ (Where Dilip Kumar fought a losing vocal war with the ever-impeccable Latadi) to the musing ‘Badi sooni sooni hai’ to the pious ‘Bole re papihara’ to the heart-warming ‘Tera mera pyaar amar phir kyun mujhko laga hai darr’ to the amusing ‘Yeh kashmir hai’ to the dreamy ‘Ek baat kahuun gar maano tum’ to the pain lashed ‘Kuchh dil ne kaha kuchh bhi nahi’ to the musically splendid ‘Lo aayi milan ki raat suhaani aaj‘ – it’s a matchless hit-parade that leaves you jaw-dropped!

Hrishida worked with two of my most fav composers – Madan Mohan (Bawarchi) and Shankar Jaikishan (Anari, Asli Naqli, Ashiq, Gaban). But his overall film repertoire is filled with such musical giants as SD Burman, Salil Chaudhary, Pt. Ravishankar, RDBurman and Jaidev. Can anyone match this wide a variety of composers? I doubt it!

Whereever Hrishida is now, God Bless His Soul – Hrishida – for me, you will remain the most favorite director forever. Thank you for making me smile, for taking away my blues, for giving me that warm sadness, that friendly feeling… you were the best!!!!

The dream house with the full, syphilis top angle view of Taj slipped my hands. On Friday afternoon I got this terrible news. Since then, buy more about life turned into a hectic run.

So what happened? Honestly, even I am not clear. I was all set to take possession on Friday, and even landed up at the property dealer’s place early morning. He told me to return a bit later. That bit later turned to hours. Anxiously, I called him post-lunch only to get the shattering news that the landlord had given away the house to some one else. I am still unclear whether it was a goof up by the property dealer or the landlord was genuinely at fault for backing out of the deal. Maybe, it was because I hadnt paid him full money. Perhaps, there was someone else offering a better deal. Whatever it was, the likelihood of getting that flat seemed bleak.

I tried to contact him. He was not available. I made efforts through a long-winded common association that I had discovered some days back. But no good luck smiled on me. By evening, as Agra submerged into thick sheets of rain, the reality socked my plexus with a deafening thud.

I wasnt ready to do that entire painstaking process of searching a house all over again. But that had to be done, because the approval for the interim place where I was staying had run out.

I raced to the initial set of flats I had seen; in fact, this one was the very first one where I had set foot on. The person told me that the flat was gone. But there was another one available, should I be interested. I could feel some hope creaking in. The flat turned out to be marvellous. Without second thought, I said yes. There were no fans or lights there, which he promised to install the next day.

Even though the flat was marvellous, and in a much better locality than the previous one, still I had my doubts. The person refused to divulge the owner’s name. He was ready to give possession within a day. And he didnt want any extra money as security ( usually its equivalent to one month’s rent). Even though that spelt less advance money leaving my pocket, still it seemed a bit too good to be true. In fact, the entire thing happened so quick and smooth, I had a small niggling doubt within me. Yet, I brushed it aside, because I needed a good house to stay in this city. And at this short a notice, this one was manna from heaven.  

The next day I had an important training to conduct. So, I went there early morning to give the money, lest even this one slips away. The person was not available. I returned after the training. An old hand in the building informed that the concerned person had just left for lunch. I could feel a sickening feeling rearing within me.

I did some other work, and returned in the evening, around 5 or so. The man was there. Before he could say anything, I fished out the cash and placed it in front of him. I needed the house, any which way. That day I was literally on streets!

“Wait, not so soon, there is a small hitch” the man said.

Sweat broke on my forehead. My tongue felt like sandpaper. And I gulped and blinked as he narrated the small hitch.

To be continued…

“Wait, this not so soon, there is a small hitch” the man said.

Sweat broke on my forehead. My tongue felt like sandpaper. And I gulped and blinked as he narrated the small hitch.

“And that is?” I barely managed to speak out

“You will be staying alone?” he asked, and I nodded imperceptibly. Not again! This issue had cropped up several times as there is a general mistrust towards bachelors. “Actually, the people who were taking the flat next to yours are a bunch, and they wanted the one which we showed you, due to an extra balcony in that one”

I blinked hard. Just that?

“Yeah? Rest, you can see this new one. It’s almost the same except for the balcony. And I will give it for Rs500 less, as committed to them also”

I saw the new place. And then I saw the older one again. To me, barring the difference of the balcony, it really looked the same. Even the balcony was not that much an issue since this one also had two; only that since it was not a corner flat, it didnt extend to the other side. Other than this, I saw the drawing room paint a shade darker, which was a teeny weeny irritant, yet the money saving was a good compensation. Plus, it only looked bad if you compared the two. And I wouldnt be doing that daily once I start staying in my house.

I gave my nod to this one, paid the money and asked the person to instal the fans and tubelights. The electrician wasnt available, so I was given a stay-over place in yet another empty apartment on the third floor. It was a hard night – and quite literally too since I was sleeping on the floor after aeons! Plus, I hadnt purchased a mosquito repellant and they troubled quite a bit.

Sunday morning I woke up blurry eyed and pained body, and a nice detailed tour of the apartment building and the nearby area.

The electrician, who was supposed to arrive at eight in the morning, leisurely sauntered in around one in the noon. While he went about his job, I went to the market to purchase some daily item things.

It was deja vu. Only a couple of years back I had done such a shopping when I shifted to Kathmandu – broom, pocha, buckets, mug, soap-box, patra, dust-bin etc. – all the stuff that I had left there before moving back to Delhi (Even though these are utility items, it was impossible to carry them back in my burgeoning 80 plus kilos that travelled with me from Kathmandu to Delhi).

The prices seemed awfully exorbitant for these products. I split the purchase between the more affluent market (Sadar Bazar) and the traditionally middle class one (Raja Ki Mandi). The difference wasnt that great, though.

City Station Road (near Ghatiya Azam Khan – don’t splutter, that’s the name of the place) is the furniture hub of Agra. There, trudged the entire length and breadth of the road searching for a suitable bed. Finally, after much ponderation, zeroed in on two 6’*3′ single beds, that can either be used separately, or better, placed together to form a double bed. (Price wise, it makes sense to do so rather than buying one huge double bed). Single beds dont seem to be much in vogue in Agra as most shops didn’t have them. Even this one is on order, and will reach me on Wednesday.

Thereafter, the next one hour was spent in finding a folding bed and a couple of plastic chairs. The rates were awfully expensive – and above those in Delhi! Haggled a lot, and bought them, though with a neat hole in my wallet!

By the time I reached my house, the fans were installed and the flat was getting cleaned.

Finally, the ordeal of my flat-search came to an end by Sunday late evening. My initial doubts have weakened now. And as mom told me philosophically – whatever happens, happens for the good. In not getting my initial choice I saved a full month’s rent as security, got a flat cheaper by Rs 500 per month, and since it is a direct deal with the apartment society, there is no property dealer brokerage to be paid! In addition, the area is purely residential with immense greenery all around and very near to the tourist spots.

And the best part? The Taj Mahal is still visible – though not a wide-angle top-end view, but directly facing you, peeping over a row of green belt and some buildings!

These are some quick verbal snapshot, seek purely from an outsider’s viewpoint:

  • The traffic flummoxed me the most. To put it bluntly: there is absolutely no traffic sense prevalent in this city. Cars, autorickshaws, cycle rickshaws, cycles, bullock carts, thelas, scooters, motorcycles – all pile onto the narrow roads in a huge din and enormously noisy mess, vying for the smallest space available to maneouver.
  • Traffic signals are meant to be broken. Rarely have I seen anyone stopping at them (except at a place called Hariparvat, near Sanjay Place – a busy intersection). Often, there would be a traffic constable standing, yet people jump red lights with abandon. In fact, stop at a signal at your own risk, because you will be immediately surrounded by irritated honking drivers trying to jump the signal.
  • For its size and signals, the number of traffic constables are aplenty. Often, at many crossings one can find three-four of them standing. And yet, there would be a traffic jam at that very place. Obviously, they are futile in controlling the traffic.

  • Apart from the arterial and main roads, the condition is otherwise pathetic. God forbid if you have to go just beyond the city boundaries – you are in for trouble! My car hasnt driven as much as it has been shaken!!!
  • The entire Agra thrives on a central M.G.Road that is the city’s spine. Across both sides on this stretch of some 12 kilometers lies the full town. (As per a friend’s information the road was built with efforts of Sanjay Gandhi). The road starts from a turn below a flyover on the National Highway(the official entrance to the town) curves  it way in front of Sanjay Place (the biggest commercial center), cuts through several important crossings and extends beyond Sadar Bazar through Agra Cantt.
  • Sadar Bazar, on the tip of Agra Cantt, is the most posh market. And the widest and cleanest one as well. All branded shops are found here. It’s a good place to laze around, and even the traffic movement is regulated. On evenings, there is always some rush – and its maximum on Sundays. Tuesday is their weekly off.  
  • The area names are quite unique. Although the newer places have quite common (and overlapping with Delhi) names like Kamla Nagar, Sadar Bazar etc. But, check out the names of the older areas -Sai ka Takiya (I freaked out the first time I heard this one!),  Chhatta Bazaar, Seo Ka Bazaar, Ghatiya Azam Khan, Chhipitola, Daresi and, of course,  a slew of ‘mandis‘ : Raja Ki Mandi, Shahzadi Mandi, Jeoni Mandi, Rui Ki Mandi, Hing ki Mandi, etc
  • In an era of multiplexes Agra-ites still use the olden word ‘Talkies’ for their cinemas. Bhagwan Talkies, Anjana Talkies and Sanjay Talkies to name a few.
  • Bhagwan Talkies, a decrepit hall playing old Mithun and Govinda re-runs with new names, is an important landmark as it is bang on the corner from where M.G. Road starts (the entrance to the town as mentioned above). [Again, beware of the traffic-junk there! In fact, today’s Amar Ujala carried a detailed analysis and description of the pot-holed and vehicle-filled road there!]
  • Communal differences, though not overtly visible, are there somewhere within. The frission between the two major Indian religions is quite deep, and a sore one at that!
  • While the world swoons over Taj Mahal, Agra-ites themselves do not have much love lost for it. I have heard quite disparaging remarks on it, some based on communal lines. Times of India recently carried an article how Agra’s past, including the Taj, are viewed more as a liability. The centre has refused to move the town for applying for a Heritage stage. On the surface it seems a loss. But their logic is quite correct – there is hardly any flavor left from its Mughal past. If you remove the small Taj corridor, Agra is just another U.P. small-town!
  • There are quite a bunch of bars – some with shady names (and equally shady interiors) like Chandni Bar and Sonam Bar. Of course, it has a fair share of better ones as well. Though, don’t do the mistake of comparing with some pub/bar from Delhi, Mumbai or – even, i guess – Bangalore!
  • The food-stuff, especially Indian snacks, are particularly tasty here. I tasted some of the finest ‘kachoris‘ here. Also, samosas and daal-baati find a satisfying taste here. To add to this, there are some unknown but extremely sumptuous mithais that I have eaten. Round all this up with thick lassi in kulhads, and you have the most lip-smacking and satisfied-burp-inducing Indian fast/junk food ever! Needless to mention, Agra is thepetha‘ hub!
  • Manish has given a succulent elaboration on various Hindi dialects. He explains that Braj/ Bundelkhandi is the dialect spoken in this part of the state. However, despite that I seem to have heard more shuddh Hindi overall, and way above than what we get to hear in Delhi! For example words like ‘uddeshya‘ or ‘cheshtha‘ are rarely used in everyday lingo in Delhi, whereas here I often hear them!

These are just a few points that came to mind. I will update as soon as I have some more insights.
Just a few more places that I have now travelled to. Nothing exceptional here, infertility but jotting it down for records sake.

Kagarole – a small ‘kasba‘ some 20 kilometers from Agra. The drive is quite bad, price but compared to the horrifying Agra-Aligarh road, it’s still better

Jagner – Near the U.P.-Rajasthan border, it’s yet another ‘kasba‘. The road from Kagarole is bad in patches, but overall pretty neat one. The landscape, as you reach Jagner, changes to incorporate a Rajasthani tinge. A few solitary hills, part of the Aravallis, are visible.

Kirawali – A tehsil on the Bharatpur-Agra road; advisable to travel by this awesome highway. Unfortunately, we went from Kagarole to Kirawali and the drive is extremely bumpy. My car is yet to recover from this ordeal!
Mat – Well, sanitary the actual name is ‘Maant‘ (pronounced as one would ‘Daant’, symptoms to scold), with a ‘chandrabindu maatra’ over the ‘aa‘. But Anglicized, it has turned to Mat (pronounced Maat, with the ‘t’ of ‘Tamatar‘).  Mat is some 30 kilometeres off Mathura. To reach, there are two routes – one, is to go on the Hathras Road from Mathura. At Raya, a turn on the left will take you through a tedious ten-twelve kilometer drive inwards to reach this sandy hamlet. Again, its a ‘tehsil’ though the official whom I visited pooh-poohed at the tiny place getting such a status ever! There are some 15 schools around the area, which constitutes its biggest ‘landmark’.

The second route is a direct road to Mathura, and a percent better than going via the Raya-road. The road is mostly empty, and even runs through vast, wide empty green fields. I returned from this one, when the sun was about to set.  The open expanse in the golden and orange hues of the setting sun, with a shimmering Yamuna snaking through the plains was a nice sight!

Raya – This was en route to Mat. And an awful ride, at that. It’s a dusty, dirty village posing as a town. A single railway line runs parallel to the road. When it reaches the village, it goes precariously too close to civilization; or rather it’s the other way round, the civilization lives too close to the line. There were thelas, shopkeepers, kiosks, vegetable make-shift shops etc, all on the track’s edge – so much so from afar it looked as if the railway line passed right through those shops!

It’s been a roller coaster week laced with a bit of laziness, purchase visit web and hoardes of new goodies that have kept me busy.

For those who sniggered 😛 let me just inform that I do have a pile-load of work, syphilis which I am desperately trying to reduce and streamline. There are only two options that can happen – either I succumb within its weight, or I sort it out to the extent that leaves me less breathless than now. As of now, I sit precariously beneath the first one!

There was another trip to Aligarh in between, including that horrifyingly bumpy ride via Hathras. But I am not getting into those details. Let’s delve deep into the good stuff.

On Saturday, I did some hardcore shopping and the result was a lighter pocket, but a fuller house. Now I have a referigerator, a television, a DVD player and an awesome set of 5.1channel speaker system. So, that’s where I spent this long weekend (Saturday was off due to Raja Agrasen’s Jayanti)- right in front of my new Samsung TV set, watching films after films on T-series DVD player.

Most purchases were done after lots of shop-hopping and finally I settled on the cheapest ones – that’s why the T-series DVD player and Videocon Fridge. With the former, I got 5 DVD’s free which included Aksar, Kyun Ki, Sarkar and two song collections.

The speaker set was the best and the most value-for-money purchase. At INR 2000, they are marvellous – though from an unknown brand, imported by the Big Bazaar fellows, which has opened its showroom only last week.

Yesterday I saw two movies that I had missed in-between: Corporate and Golmaal. The former is an incisive film and enjoyed it thoroughly. Madhur Bhandarkar is Bollywood’s answer to Arthur Hailey. Like Hailey, he picks up one industry – politics, bar dancers, page 3, corporate- and builds an interesting story around it.

Golmaal is not a patch on the older film with the same name. But setting that irritant aside, its an okayish time pass.

That’s all from me for now. But will be back soon. Keep watching!

It’s been a roller coaster week laced with a bit of laziness, purchase visit web and hoardes of new goodies that have kept me busy.

For those who sniggered 😛 let me just inform that I do have a pile-load of work, syphilis which I am desperately trying to reduce and streamline. There are only two options that can happen – either I succumb within its weight, or I sort it out to the extent that leaves me less breathless than now. As of now, I sit precariously beneath the first one!

There was another trip to Aligarh in between, including that horrifyingly bumpy ride via Hathras. But I am not getting into those details. Let’s delve deep into the good stuff.

On Saturday, I did some hardcore shopping and the result was a lighter pocket, but a fuller house. Now I have a referigerator, a television, a DVD player and an awesome set of 5.1channel speaker system. So, that’s where I spent this long weekend (Saturday was off due to Raja Agrasen’s Jayanti)- right in front of my new Samsung TV set, watching films after films on T-series DVD player.

Most purchases were done after lots of shop-hopping and finally I settled on the cheapest ones – that’s why the T-series DVD player and Videocon Fridge. With the former, I got 5 DVD’s free which included Aksar, Kyun Ki, Sarkar and two song collections.

The speaker set was the best and the most value-for-money purchase. At INR 2000, they are marvellous – though from an unknown brand, imported by the Big Bazaar fellows, which has opened its showroom only last week.

Yesterday I saw two movies that I had missed in-between: Corporate and Golmaal. The former is an incisive film and enjoyed it thoroughly. Madhur Bhandarkar is Bollywood’s answer to Arthur Hailey. Like Hailey, he picks up one industry – politics, bar dancers, page 3, corporate- and builds an interesting story around it.

Golmaal is not a patch on the older film with the same name. But setting that irritant aside, its an okayish time pass.

That’s all from me for now. But will be back soon. Keep watching!

Aah, this site it’s that auspicious day again – the day Goddess Saraswati blessed the eldest daughter of Master Dinanath Mangeshkar with a voice so sweet that it defies the shackles of vocabulary and language.

The little girl, side effects who undertook immense hardships in her early days – often walking miles on hot Bombay roads – chose her profession in the film industry, and since then the film music was never same again.

There is no discussion, no anthology, no film history, no musical mention that ever goes without a reverred mention of her name. She re-defined the Hindi film heroine voice, changed the rules of the game, set her own standards – and today, she is a living legend, a lady second to none!

For me, she is embodiment of mellifluity- the initial and the culminating word in music. She is the balm that soothes my frayed nerves, the antidote to all tensions and the tinkling charm that brings sunshine. Year on year, my love for her voice strengthens and deepens as I continuously delve deep into the ocean of her gargantuan and limitless repertoire. Invariably, I come out enriched with yet one more unknown gem that will glitter and shine and provide lustre to my otherwise dreary life. Often I sit pensively, with wonder and fear in my heart. Wonder at the outstanding ouvre that she has created; fear, that someday there will be no more such gems to extract. But I guess I fear unwisely, because her songs are still aplenty to discover; and when she sings, she is always better than the best.

For the world she is Lata Mangeshkar- the Legend. In my own world, she is my Latadi; even without meeting her ever, she is an inseparable part of my life.

Lataji, today on your birthday I am not just going to wish you. Because my wishes for your health, life and happiness are there constantly. But today, I want to do more – I want to kneel before you in gratitude for providing me countless moments of pleasure. I want to thank you for singing all those songs in your fabulous voice. I want to express my gratefulness for all those majestically magnificent melodies that you graced your voice with. Thank you Latadi – you are the best…

To end, I will paraphrase one of Lataji’s lesser known but outstanding RDBurman creation:

“Tumko sunnke zindagi ko yun laga
Jaise humko saari duniya mil gayi
O Dil mein jaagi sur ki raagini
Har tamanna phool banke khil gayi…”*

Tumko hamari umar lag jaaye…**

*Original song goes ‘Tumse milke zindagi ko yun laga…’from the film Chor Police
**This line is from the song ‘Tumhe aur kya doon mai dil ke sivaye’ from Aayi Milan Ki Bela, Music Shankar Jaikishan.


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17 Responses to “Happy B’day Lataji”

  1. Madhu says:

    Wow! Let me read now.

  2. Madhu says:

    I am wordless…! While reading I felt that I am reading my own expressions and I could feel wetness in my eyes….
    A very very Happy Birthday to Lataji. I prayed to God today for her, prayed that He should reduce my hours of life and add into Hers…Isse jyada kuch nahi keh sakti..

  3. Mehak says:

    I was expecting this post today…..

    Happy Birthday Lataji…..second to none….true…very true.

  4. Madhu says:

    Came again to read!!! In the morning I wasnt in a position to say anything more..U can imagine. because its Lataji and secondly, Ur writing! As I always say its Ur usage of PERFECT words which justify one’s emotions so well. While reading second para the whole picture was in front of my eyes, whatever I have read, heard so far about her…walking bare feet, sometimes even with high fever for her recordings in earlier days.
    Deepak, though the whole post is excellent, the last para touched me a lot!

  5. AmitL says:

    Hi,Deepak…nice tribute…I came here expecting it,naturally.:)

  6. priyangini says:

    i knew that even in your busy schedule u will post a tribute. btw this year there was a programme in Matunga for Lataji and she actually graced the occasion. Sadly though obviously I cud not get passes. another reason for not going was that I feared your reaction if I had managed to see her in person before you. 🙂
    So now with all this travelling iss taraf bhi zara rukh kar dijiye. There are a dozen places with wierd names in Mumbai as well.

  7. vandy says:

    Thanks to TV that we got to hear and see lataji whole day on her birthday. U too must hv watched those programs where she’d talked abt the topics like why she didn’t sing with Rafi for 3 yrs and never sang for OP nayyar (??)

    After reading ‘random expressions’ only I cd appreciate lataji more…really 🙂

    and I filled this subscription form but I don’t get a mail when there is a new post out here.

  8. Anz says:

    May sound funny but i had this habit of trying to imitate the voice of Latadi and also sing along with her songs for as long as i can remember…it was fun…it still is!!! However, the truth is never can i get anywhere close to her style of singing or her voice..the terrible singer i am! Wish her a very very long life!!!!

  9. Navjot says:

    Wishing you a very happy Dussehra
    Will read the post later …

  10. Apoorva says:

    Do you by any chane have her Shraddhanjali series on mp3’s? I have been hunting for a CD of that and it seems to have disappeared.

  11. Hi All, Many thanks for the wishes. Awfully tied up these days… But as ever, I promise to be back very very soon …

  12. Mehak says:

    very very soon…acha dheekti hu…..apun ko story mangta hai…but yeah kaam yeh puja hai ….so appy workin !!! 🙂

  13. Seema says:

    Nice tribute 🙂

  14. Ashutosh says:

    hi deepak, thanks for making everybody recall brilliant ‘tumse milke zindagi…’ track from RD and Lataji…..

    do u know any site wherefrom this can downloaded or listened to…… ? i am dying to listen to it now….. 🙁

  15. Amarendra R N says:

    Deepak ,
    Came acroos this post today (Oct 19) …
    Noticed that your post starts with ‘Aah’ , and a coincidence that that is one film where
    Lata has so many wonderful songs in different moods … excellent emoting by Lata in the songs to match nargis/Vijaylakshmi’s characters on screen .. and ofc eleveated tremendously by
    the talented SJ-HJ-S team ..
    There’s the ‘coming to terms with the unhappy situation’ song raajaa kii aa_egii baaraat …
    The playful sunate the naam ham jinakaa bahaar se … the longing in ‘ye shaam kii tanahaaiyaa.N’ … the happiness of a new found love in ‘jo mai.n jaanatii unake li_e’ … the typical romantic duet in ‘jaane naa nazar’ and the melancholy ‘aajaa re ab meraa dil pukaaraa’ .
    Aah ! What a film for Lata !

    Cheers !
    Amarendra

  16. Juneli says:

    I knew you would make a post on this day…… How can I forget that as I always use to wait for that….. but I could not visit as I was going though something very different phase of life then…..

    But I wished for her by my heart and here again I’m wishing her as you know my principle about making wishes – it’s never late for making wishes…. 😀

    “Happy Birthday to Lata Di.”

    You have written a post on her and for her birthday.. I have no words to say…. If I say anything then it would be “Chhoti muNh badi baat…” 🙂

    So you understand. :).

  17. Sweety says:

    i am speechless…”Lataji, today on your birthday I am not just going to wish you. Because my wishes for your health, life and happiness are there constantly. But today, I want to do more – I want to kneel before you in gratitude for providing me countless moments of pleasure. I want to thank you for singing all those songs in your fabulous voice. I want to express my gratefulness for all those majestically magnificent melodies that you graced your voice with. Thank you Latadi – you are the best”. I never knew you adore her so much 🙂

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