Remembering Tragedy Queen Meena Kumari on her birth
The viewers of bollywood films remembered Tragedy Queen Meena Kumari both on her birth anniversary on 1st August, 2016 on her death anniversary on 31st March, 2017. Meena Kumari can be considered as the greatest actress of Bollywood during the golden age who had portrayed images and characters showing complexity of the mind of the Indian women and the social ostentations that they had faced during different periods of time. Meena Kumari, born on 1st August, 1932, known as Mahjabeen Bano, stormed into the Indian silver screen in 1952, with the sublime performance in Baiju Bawra. Although the film had been renowned for everlasting composition of Hindustani ragas by Naushad and supreme performance of Mohammad Rafi, with songs like “man tarpata”, “woh duniya ke rakhwale”, etc., Meena Kumari’s performance opposite Bharat Bhushan showed the filmlovers that she had come to conquer Bollywood with her soft style of acting.
In the 50s Meena Kumari’s performance in films like Parineeta, 1953, Footpath, 1954, Yahudi, 1958, etc. were appreciated by critics, but she had created her image of martyr in the film Sharda, 1957, where even after having an affair with Raj Kapoor, in the film she had to sarcrifice her affection to marry Raj Mehra, his father, who was much older than her. In Dil Ek Mandir, 1963, Meena Kumari after having affair with Rajender Kumar in her youth had to marry Raj Kumar, due to social pressure. But from the time she had married Raj Kumar, she fulfilled all the duties of a middle class Hindu woman, and brought her sick husband to the hospital at the mercy of Rajender Kumar. She prayed to God, for the recovery of Raj Kumar. Rajender Kumar sacrificed his life to treat her husband and died at the end of the film. The songs composed by Shankar Jaikishan and sung by Rafi and Lata, had not lost their significance even today.
In 1962, Meena Kumari, performed the role of choti bahu, in Guru Dutt’s Saheb Bibi aur Ghulam, the film showing the zamindari raj (dominance of Feudal lords) existing in the British capital in India, that is Kolkata. She was married to the youngest son in a family of zamindars who used to attend mujras in Jaan bazaar, in Kolkata, where performers from Lucknow, Benaras used to come and exhibit their skills of singing classical songs. She tried to retain her husband Rehman at home, and through her conversation, Guru Dutt, the observer came to know about the history of the family.
Meena Kumar’s performance opposite Pradeep Kumar, used to create a different dimension, as her pardanashin image had matched with royal style of acting of Pradeep Kumar. After the success of Aarti, 1962; Meena Kumari, acted in the blockbusters Bheegi Raat, 1965, and Bahu Begum, 1967, opposite Pradeep Kumar and Ashok Kumar. In Bheegi Raat, she loved Pradeep Kumar, yet due to an accident which made her legs paralysed she could not attend the engagement and worked in the house of Ashok Kumar as governess. When society boycotted Ashok Kumar, she agreed to marry her, but presence of Pradeep Kumar at the end of the film in the song “dil jo na keh saka” compelled Ashok Kumar to sacrifice his affair and go back to London. It was a film where, Rafi, Lata, Roshan and the actors all had provided their best performance possible. Meena Kumar’s other film with Pradeep Kumar titled Chitralekha was also successful.
Meena Kumari had become immortal with her classic performance in the film Pakeeza, 1971, opposite Raj Kumar, which took around 10 years to be completed. It was created on a subject related to women brought up in kotha and exhibited the class of women who could not give the recognition to their next generation as their father’s are not known. The music composed by Ghulam Mohammad, Lata and Rafi’s songs, Kamal Humrohi’s direction (the husband of Meena Kumari) all complemented each other, and the film became historical piece of document.
The greatest hallmark of Meena Kumari lied in her ability to depict the helplessness of Indian women existing specially in the 50s and 60s, when the patriarchal society dominated them and they had no independent income to live separately against the pressure of society. In her performances, beauty, aristrocracy, tragedy, personality all blended into one. Whenever we think about cine-classics like Dil Apna aur Preet Parayi, 1960, or Ghazal, 1965, Meena Kumari’s image automatically comes in our mind. She died in 1972, only at an age of 41. Meena Kumari’s films should be restored in an archive for future generations to learn the art of understanding the characters from the core of the heart the way Meena Kumari had done during the golden age of Indian cinema.
Happy birthday to Dimple Kapadia.
The viewers of bollywood films wish happy birthday to Dimple Kapadia on 8th June, 2018. She had been considered as one of the most dynamic actresses of bollywood films after Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil.
She started her career with a bold, sizzling demeanor in Raj Kapoor’s Bobby in 1973 opposite Rishi Kapoor. Raj Kapoor introduced the concept of teenage romance in the 70s and his effort got justice due to brilliant performance of both Dimple and Rishi Kapoor. Dimple’s smart, dashing lips in the songs “hum tum ek kamre me bandh ho”, “jhoot bole kowa kate”, “mujhe kuch kehna hai” sung by Lata and composed by LP just flabbergasted the audience of the 70s. Viewers thought both Dimple and Rishi Kapoor were made for each other.
But after Rajesh Khanna married Dimple Kapadia, he stopped her acting, and bollywood films lost one of the most promising actresses for 13 years. Again she made a classic comeback in Ramesh Sippy’s Saagar. The film showed a triangular love story with Kamal Hassan and Rishi Kapoor. The brilliant locations, powerful music composed by RD Burman, all contributed for the success of the super hit film. Rishi Kapoor was always considered to be the most romantic actors produced by Indian films. He proved it again in Saagar. Dimple balanced the sacrificing performance of Kamal Hassan who died at the end of the film to save Rishi Kapoor and allow Dimple marry her. All the three performers were brilliant in the lips given in the songs “o maria”, “saagar kinare”, “yeh to bata tera naam kya”, etc., sung by Lata, Bal Subhramanium, Kishore Kumar, etc.
In the mid -80s, Dimple acted in most of the successful commercial films opposite leading stars like Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Sunny Deol, etc. She was brilliant in Feroz Khan’s Jaanbaaz. In fact her smart performance balanced the cowboy image of Anil Kapoor in the film. She was sublime opposite Jackie Shroff in the film Kaash.
In the late 80s, producers and directors experimented with her in challenging roles. She was exceptional in Gulzar’s film Lekin. Lata’s songs “yara silli silli”, Suresh Watkar’s “surmai sham” composed by Hridaynath Mangeshkar were landmarks of classical music in Indian films. Dimple Kapadia portrayed the character of rajasthani folk community who were used for crying in funerals in the film Rudaali. She played the role of her lifetime and got national and international awards. Her lips in Lata’s song “dil hum hum kare” composed by Bhupen Hazarika, still haunts the listeners 20 years after its creation.
Her other successful films include Ram Lakhan, opposite Jackie Shroff, Krantiveer and Prahar opposite Nana Patekar. Her performance in the off-beat films gave her a special place just like Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil. Even in her middle-age she amazed viewers with brilliant performance in the film Dil Chahta Hai opposite Akshay Khanna who was at least 15 years younger than her. She again amazed the viewers in character roles opposite Rishi Kapoor in the films Pyar Me Twist and Farhan Akhtar’s Luck By Chance. Whenever she acted opposite Rishi Kapoor she always did a great job.
In 2010, her film Tum Milo Toh Sahi had addressed the concerns for the middle-aged couples and bachelors in Mumbai. Her performance was as brilliant as that of Nana Patekar in the film. The viewers expect her to continue the brilliant work in the future and go on astonishing the viewers with dynamic performances like before.
Happy birthday to Shilpa Shetty.
The viewers of bollywood films wish happy birthday to Shilpa Shetty on 8th June, 2018. She had maintained her romantic image and brilliant figure for over 15 years. She had remained indispensable for the last 15 years.
Starting her journey with Shahrukh Khan in the film Baazigaar, in the early 90s, she had acted in different types of films. She acted in romantic films like Dhadkan opposite Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty. The film had successful songs like “tum dil ki dhadkan me”. She also acted in action thrillers like Prithvi, opposite Sunil Shetty.
She was also sublime in off-beat films like Tarqueib. Nana Patekar played the role of the crime-investigator in the film. She was the friend of Tabu, the girl killed in the film. She also had speaking terms with Ashutosh Rana who was initially suspected to have murdered Tabu. Nana Patekar at the end of the film found out the murderer. But Shilpa Shetty showed her acting skills while relying to interrogation of Nana Patekar in the film.
Her performance in the film Auzaar opposite Salman Khan and Sanjay Kapoor, also require special mention. Salman Khan was a CBI investigator in the film and was given the task of investigation the unlawful business affairs of Sanjay Kapoor. In fact the underworld involvement of Paresh Rawal, the father of Sanjay Kapoor was at issue. Shilpa Shetty bridged the gap between Salman Khan and Sanjay Kapoor, after Salman convinced her that he concealed his identity for the benefit of Sanjay Kapoor, his friend. Shilpa gave brilliant lips and danced well in the songs “oye oye oye oyeoye”, and other songs composed by Anu Malik.
Shilpa Shetty had shown her comedy instincts in a number of films like Chor Machaye Shor. She played the role of the daughter of Paresh Rawal, and got attached with Bobby Deol, who was a subordinate of Paresh Rawal. He pretended to be twin brother, one having a moustache, the other without a moustache. In that comedy drama, Shilpa Shetty should her innocence and comedy instinct along with Bipasha Basu, who also played a significant role in the film.
Even at her middle age she had shown dance numbers which could have made young actresses envious about her. For example, in Dostana, released in 2008, she performed in a dance number opposite John Abraham, which amazed the viewers. After marrying Raj Kundra she had reduced signing in as many number of films as she used to do earlier. She also had bought major share of Rajasthan Royals team which played IPL cricket in 2010. In 2011 her team Rajasthan Royals did not fare well in IPL, so she should concentrate in films. In 2013, she had been accused of being part of match-fixing scandal. Both her husband Mr. Kundra and herself faced charges of match fixing. She should act in more films. She should be followed by the new generation of actresses who want to stay fit and contribute in bollywood films for more than 20 years.
Rajender Kumar and Vaijayantimala did well in the film Aas Ka Panchi.
The film Aas Ka Panchi was released in the year 1961. It was directed by Mohan Kumar. The music was composed by Shankar Jaikishan. The film was produced by J Om Prakash.
The hero and heroine Rajender Kumar and Vaijayantimala did well in the film. In the film it was shown that Rajender Kumar, the son of Naseer Hussain had a childhood ambition of being a military officer. His father never liked that.
When Rajender Kumar passed his BA exam, he got him employed in the same office where he had worked in the post of accountant. As Rajender Kumar was not inclined for that job he could not do it properly and lost the job after some period of time.
He fell in love with Vaijayantimala, the daughter of Raj Mehra. Vaijayantimala told Rajender Kumar that he could not qualify to get officerial post in the military, he could start as ordinary jawan.
He took her advise and joined the army. Raj Mehra wanted to get Vaijayantimala married to a doctor played by Shivraj.
As Raj Mehra expected his daughter to marry a respectable person in the society, he could not tolerate her love affair with an ordinary soldier in the army like Rajender Kumar.
While Rajender Kumar represented the army in one of the wars, he was severly injured, the operation of him was done by his friend Shivraj. He finally recovered. Vaijayantimala accepted him as her husband.
The music in the film was very impressive. The lyrics were written by Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri. The landmark songs included “dil mera ek aas ka panchi” sung by Subir Sen, “dheere chalo zara” sung by Subir Sen and Lata Mangeshkar, “tumi roothi raho” sung by Mukesh, “ab char dino ki chutti hai’ sung by Mohammad Rafi, to mention a few. Very significantly Subir Sen was given a big break by Shankar Jaikishan after the film katputli.
The performances of all the character artists in the film were excellent including Raj Mehra, Nasir Hussain, Mumtaz Begum, Leela Chitnis, Sundar and others. Vaijayantimala was ruling the film industry at that time, so her name was name to carry any film. Although Rajender Kumar did not become Jubilee Kumar by that time, yet Aas Ka Panchi showed that he had a lot of promise. The film should be preserved and restored.
The nation remembered Satyajit Ray on 23rd April, 2019.
The nation remembered Satyajit Ray on his death anniversary on 23rd April, 2019
. Not only he was the recipient of the prestigious Oscar awards, he was the path-breaker in Indian films who taught the next-generation the art of story-telling.
In 2010, Society had celebrated the 89th birth anniversary of the legendary director by showcasing some of his notable works like ‘Agantuk’, (The Stranger), ‘Jalsaghar’, (The Music Room), ‘Charulata’, (The lonely wife). The films were shown in Cinemax, Metro Big Cinemas and NCPA. After the films were shown, the significance of such films was discussed by Bhawna Somayya, ex-editor of Screen, filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh and film academicians from all across the country. Besides, discussions were held to highlight the contribution of Ray as a writer, an illustrator, an activist of the film society movement and a filmmaker.
Internationally acclaimed directors like Shyam Bengal, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, were greatly influenced by Satyajit Ray’s films like Apu Trilogy, Jalsagar, Nayak, Mahanagar, etc., and they themselves became eminent story-tellers of the following period. The use of nature, the birds, and background, and the use of theme music in translating an unknown event to a group of individuals had enchanted the thoughtful directors all across the world. Even directors of the present period like Goutam Ghosh are influenced by the works of Satyajit Ray. He made Abar Aranye which was a sequel to Satyajit Ray’s film Aranyer Dinratri. A personality like Ray could only make a film like Kanchenjungha, where the greatness of the Himalayas overshadowed the ego of a materialistic industrialist played by Satyajit Ray.
An important part of Satyajit Ray’s creations include his literature on diverse subjects. While his Sandip Ray had taken the challenge of converting the Feluda Series into feelings, his literature relating to horror-based subject matters, his series of 12 stories are yet to be converted into films. Sandip Ray’s films Bombaier Bombete, Kailashe Kelenkari, Baksho Rahasya, based on epic literature of Ray had got good response from the viewers.
But Ray’s brilliant stories in the 12 series like Ebaro Baro, Aro Baro, Ek Dojon Goppo, Aro Ek Dojon, Eker Pite Dui, are yet to see the light of celluloid. Ray’s stories like Khagam, based on the theme of human being converted into a snake, Pterodactyler dim, based on the prehistoric era, Fritze, based on the topic of life in a doll, Asomongobabur Kukur, based on the weird mannerisms of dogs, had bewildered the readers.
If such stories are adapted and made into films, the viewers will enjoy them to the brim. The legacy of Ray whether in the form of neo-realistic films like Pather Panchali, or suspense –thriller stories relating to Feluda Series or Professor Shanku, still continues, even 18 years after his death. The stories should be translated in different languages, and films should be preserved and restored.
The viewers of bollywood films wish happy birthday to Moushumi Chatterji on 26th April, 2018. Moushumi Chatterji, the Bengali actress acted both in Bengali and hindi films and showed her skills in both of them. She acted in the Bengali film Balika Badhu, where the film was based on child marriage and impressed the directors and producers with her performance.
From that time she ventured in Bombay and tried her luck in bollywood industry. Her film Anurag opposite Vinod Mehra became super hit. She played the role of a blind girl and got appreciation of the crowd. The songs in the film became very successful including songs like “woh kya hai” sung by Rafi. SD Burman composed the music of the film.
She acted in action films like Goutam Govinda. The film was related to the story of Shashi Kapoor, a police officer who came to the village and trained all the rustic villagers the manner of self-defense. Shatrughun Sinha was his own brother, which was disclosed at the end of the film. Moushumi Chatterji showed her humour in the respective role. Moushumi also acted in suspense-thrillers like Benaam, opposite Big B, where there the anxiety relating to the kidnapping of her son was at issue. She expressed her feelings very well in the film.
She was brilliant in the film Manzil Manzil, opposite Big B. It was the remake of Mrinal Sen’s Bengali film Akash Kushum. Akash Kusum was based on the story relating to Soumitra Chatterji presenting a false story about himself before Aparna Sen with the help of his friend Shubendu Chatterji. In the hindi version also the story line was not changed. Moushumi Chatterji’s smile had a beauty of its own which she expressed in majority of films in style.
While acting in a number of bollywood films, she stormed Bengali films with her performance in the super hit film Ogo Bodhu Sundari, opposite Bengali superstar Uttam Kumar. The film was released in 1980. The story was based on how Uttam Kumar, an academician brought a girl from the streets and taught her literature. Moushumi expressed the difficulty of forgetting her rustic language which she adopted from the environment she came from and learning the new language. The music given in the film by Bappi Lahiri became super hit. Songs like “ami ekjon shantoshisto”, “shudhu tumi nou obolakanto”, etc., sung by Kishore Kumar became super hit. It was incidentally the last film of Mahanayak Uttam Kumar.
Her comedy conception was used by Gulzar and other directors very successfully. Her film Angoor opposite Sanjeev Kumar showed her comedy skills. The film was based on Uttam Kumar’s film Bhranti Bilas and had similarity with Shakespeare’s play Comedy of Errors. Sanjeev Kumar played the double role in Angoor that was played by Uttam Kumar in the Bengali film Bhranti Bilas, while Moushumi Chatterji played the role of his wife which was played by Sabitri Chatterji in the Bengali film. The two brothers were identical twins and Moushumi Chatterji got confused with her own husband and his brother. Deven Verma played a double role along with Sanjeev Kumar as his servant.
Her other successful films included Pati Patni Aur Woh, opposite Sanjeev Kumar, Ghayal, as the sister-in-all of Sunny Deol and many other films. Even she had acted in landmark Bengali films like Kori Diye Kinlam based on the epic novel of Bimal Mitra. In 2013, she had acted in successful Bengali film Gainar Baksho. She had acted in the role of a widow who died and the spirit of the widow tortured the other women in the family. She acted with Konkona Sen Sharma and Srabanti Chatterjee in the film. The viewers expect Moushumi to contribute in character roles in bollywood films in future.
Amitabh Bacchan, Shahrukh Khan gave fantastic speech in inauguration of 20th Kolkata International Film Festival.
The 20th Kolkata International Film Festival 2014, started off with a brilliant inauguration in Netaji Indoor Stadium on 10th November, 2014. It was a brilliant occasion by every standard.
Mamta Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal managed to invite the major dignitaries from different parts of the world and especially India. The 8 day film festival started with the inauguration on 10th November, 2014.
The legends who graced the occasion included Amitabh Bacchan, Jaya Bacchan, Aishwarya Rai Bacchan, Abhishek Bacchan, Tanuja, Shahrukh Khan and many others. The August gathering also saw Bengali legends like Ranjit Mullick, Madhabi Mukherjee, Moushumi Chatterjee, Moonmoon Sen and others.
Shahrukh Khan in his short speech made sure that he could say something in Bengali. This is the third time he had inaugurated a film festival and he said in his own words that honest creation is what the spectators expect from the creators.
Amitabh Bacchan gave an extended speech. He did huge homework for that. He emphasized on women empowerment. He mentioned that both in Bengali films and hindi films, the directors and writers emphasized on women’s social standing. Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s Parineeta, Biraj Bahu told the same. Tagore’s stories also reflected them.
While directors like Bimal Roy with films like Bandini, Sujata, Mehboob Khan with films like Mother India showed women’s individuality in Indian society, renowned Bengali directors like Satyajit Ray in his films Charulata, Pather Panchali had showed the different facets of women characters and also it was shown in films of other giants like Tapan Sinha who showed it in films like Jotugriha. Amitabh Bacchan’s speech was par excellence.
Australian Filmmaker Paul Cox gave a brilliant speech explaining the importance of film festivals which brings expression of different countries and connects the countries together. Amol Palekar, Irfan Khan, Tanuja, Jaya Bacchan all congratulated the Bengali audience and the love for films in Bengal.
Mamta Banerjee invited everyone and talked about the film festival showing films of 60 countries in Kolkata for the next 8 days. She also said what Bengal thinks today India thinks tomorrow. So Bengali writers, filmmakers and actors had been inspirations for other directors, actors of other parts of the world. So she expected everyone to enjoy the festival for the next few days.