Saturday, April 29, 2017

RAJA RAVI VARMA

Today is the birth anniversary of Raja Ravi Varma, the celebrated Indian painter and artist.He was born this day in 1848. He is among the greatest of painters on the Indian Art Scene , for the unique aesthetic value of his works as also for the visual documentation of Indian social life and mythology. He employed European techniques to deal with Indian subjects and gave a new meaning to art . Drawing heavily on epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata he painted mythological figures and scenes. He also took his subjects from contemporary social life. He also provided affordable lithographs of his paintings which being based on mythology evoked interest among the masses and helped his art reach far and wide , making him and his works immensely popular.
 He was closely related to the Royal family of Travancore in present day Kerala , hence the prefix Raja.

He was patronized by the Maharaja of Travancore . He learnt water color painting as well as oil painting . He learnt oil painting from Theodor Jenson, a Dutch artist and portrait maker. He established his own Lithograph Printing Press and made prints of his paintings , especially of religious and mythological figures. In 1904, Lord Curzon, the Viceroy , presented to him Kaisar-e- Hind Gold Medal on behalf of the King Emperor in recognition of his services to art.
Among his prominent works are the Village Belle, Damayanti talking to a Swan, Arjun and Subhadra, Shakuntala, Jatayu, Lord Rama conquers Varuna, Nair woman, Draupadi, Shantanu and Matsyagandha.
He died on 2nd October 1906, aged 58.
Our humble tributes to the doyen of Indian Art !

REMEMBERING KIDAR SHARMA

It is an irony of the filmdom that while actors and actresses and even playback singers get catapulted to fame, star and super star status , the persons who work behind the camera such as directors, music directors and lyricists hardly get the acclaim they deserve for contributing immensely to the success of a film .One such personality was Kidar Sharma or Kedar Sharma, a director, producer , screen writer and a lyricist whose death anniversary falls today.
Starting his journey in 1935 with the film Inqilab as a set painter and actor, the same year he acted in Dhoop Chhaon and was also the Assistant Manager. In 1936 he appeared in Pujarin as an actor . The same year in Krorpati, he acted as well as wrote lyrics, in Devdas he he wrote the dialogues and lyrics; in 1937 , he acted in Vidyapati and wrote the film Anant Ashram. Never looking back, he remained associated with a number of films as an actor , writer, lyricist, director, dialogue writer and producer , the prominent among these being Jawani Ki Reet, Badi Didi ,Dil Hi To hai, Zindag, Aulad, Chitralekha, Armaan, Chand Chakori, Duniya Ek Sarai ,Neel Kamal, Suhag Raat , Baware Nain, Jogan, Hamari Yaad Ayegi and Kaajal. Kedar Sharma helped launch the career of stalwarts like , Raj Kapoor , Madhubala, Geeta Bali Nargis, Mala Sinha, Bharat Bhushan , Tanuja who became the greats of Hindi Cinema . Nargis herself once acknowledged that her best performance was in the film Jogan directed by Kedar Sharma .
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 He also wrote beautiful lyrics, like 'Balam aayo baso more man mein', 'Main kya jaanu kya jaadu hai', 'So jaa raaj kumaari', 'Dukh kay ab din beetat nahi' and 'Panchhi kahye hot udas', which were sung by none other than the legendary K.L.Saigal. His other notable songs are Khayalon mein kisi ke is tarah aya nahin karte (Mukesh & Geeta Dutt) Kabhi Tanahaiyon mein hamari yaad ayegi (Mubarak Begum) ,Teri Duniya mein Dil Lagta Nahin (Mukesh).
In 1945 he toured England and Hollywood as a member of a delegation and met the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Walt Disney.
Subsequently,in the late ‘50s Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru asked him to become the Director-in – Chief of Children’s Film Society of India and Kedar Sharma helped make many films for Children, contributing in various capacities as writer, director, lyricist etc. etc. One of the films, Jaldeep won international acclaim as well.
Our humble tributes to this multi faceted, multi talented personality !

Friday, April 28, 2017

Bhanu Athaiya

Happy birthday to Bhanu Athaiya ,the celebrity costume designer for films. She has designed costumes for some of Guru Dutt's classics as also for blockbusters like Lekin and Lagaan. She also designed costumes for the international flick Gandhi and she became the first Indian costume designer to win an Academy Award for the same.
Our best wishes to the veteran of a hundred films.
She turns 88 today !

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sqn. Leader ( later Wing Commander) Trevor Keelor

Today is the death anniversary of Sqn. Leader ( later Wing Commander) Trevor Keelor , the hero of the 1965 Indo-Pak war , who was awarded Vir Chakra for knocking down Sabre Jet of Pakistan Air Force. His elder brother Denzil Keelor was also awarded the Vir Chakra in the same war for a similar feat.
Our humble tributes to the brave soldier and hero of the IAF !

Feroz Khan

Today is the death anniversary of Feroz Khan, the handsome, flashy, flamboyant Bollywood actor of yesteryears.
He acted in more than 50 films during '60s through '80s. Known and popular as a style icon, he is called the Clint Eastwood of Indian Cinema, for introducing a departure from the conventional image of a Bollywood hero. He is best remembered for his role in films Dharmatma, Qurbani & Khotay Sikkey.
He also acted and directed films like Janbaaz, Dayawaan and Yalgaar and won Filmfare Award for Aadmi aur Insaan, besides winning many other awards and nominations.

He died this day in 2009.
Our humble tributes to the popular actor !

Zohra Sehgal

Today is the birth anniversary of Zohra Sehgal, the noted actress, dancer and choreographer. Making her debut in Uday Shankar’s dance troupe, she was widely travelled .She was a sought after actress for character roles and also acted in TV series like “The Jewel in the Crown” . “Tandoori Nights”. She did choreography for dance sequences in a number of Bollywood movies. She acted in movies like “Dharti Ke Lal” and “Neecha Nagar” and “Afsar”.
She was awarded Padma Shri in 1988 and Padma Vibhushan in 2010 . 
Blessed with a long life, she breathed her last on 10th of July , 2014 aged 102 .
Our humble tributes to this luminary !

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

REMEMBERING SHANKAR, THE MUSIC DIRECTOR

Today is the 30th death anniversary of Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi or Shankar of the Shankar-Jaikishan music director duo that enriched Hindi film music with wonderful memorable melodies for decades. Both had started their musical journey together in 1949. Though Jaikishan, the younger partner died in 1971 at the young age of 42, the banner Shankar-jaikishan continued till Shankar’s death in 1987. 
Shankar who belonged to Hyderabad , was initially a table player trained as such by one Baba nasir Khansahib. He had also been a disciple of Khwaja Khurshid Anwar. Shankar joined the Prithvi Theatre and by his own admission learnt a great deal and owed it much. He assisted Ram Ganguli , when he was composing music for ‘Aag ‘ in 1948 which was Raj Kapoor’s first directorial venture under the banner RK Films. Subsequently Rak Kapoor made an offer to Shankar to compose music for Barsaat . Jaikishan was also roped in at the insistence of Shankar . The film and the music became hits and thus the banner Shankar Jaikishan was born . The film was also the first of its kind to use the title song and a cabaret. Between 1949 and 1959 , the duo composed wonderful melodies for the films- Barsaat, Awara, Baadal, Poonam, Aurat, Aah,Patita , Shikast, Badshah , Seema, Shree 420, Basant Bahar, Rajhath , kathputli, Anari , Chori Chori , daag, yehudi, Boot polish, Chhoti Behan, Ujala and many others. 

For many years, Raj Kapoor, the actor;, Mukesh, the play back singer ; Shankar- Jaikishan the composers; Shailendra – Hasrat Jaipuri , the lyricists were the core group and together they produced wonders. The duo SJ however worked with many other stars like Dev Anand , Shammi Kapoor, Rajinder Kumar and Biswajit . The list of movies and songs they composed music for is pretty long . They had also to face competition from music directors like S.D,Burman, O.P.Nayyar, Kalyanji Anandji and Laxmikant Pyarelal. Muhammad Rafi and Mukesh were their favourite singers. A highly talented pair, they employed successfully classical and western music , making optimum use of Raga and Beats which always had the desired effect. They composed music for all types of songs, sad, happy and romantic.
Shankar used to compose tunes for songs and Jaikishan mostly scored background music. Both had their individual preference for a particular lyricist as well .The duo were awarded Padma Shri and won FilmFare Best Music Director Award many times, including a hat trick . With the death of Jaikishan in 1971, the remaining 15-16 years did not prove lucky for Shankar, though he continued to work.
He died this day in 1987.
Our humble tributes to the great composer !