Monday, July 31, 2017

REMEMBERING MOHAMMED RAFI


Today is the death anniversary of Mohammed Rafi , the legendary and popular playback singer of Hindi Cinema who sang in other Indian languages also. Born on December 24 , 1924 at village Kotla Sultan Singh of Amritsar district in Punjab, his singing talent was spotted at an early age . His public performance came early as at the age of 13 in Lahore. His debut as a playback singer was in a Punjabi film, Gul Baloch in 1941 . However the film was released in 1944. The same year the AIR Lahore invited him to sing for them . His first Hindi film as a singer was Gaon ki Gori in 1945. He sang a line in the song -Roohi Roohi Roohi Mere Sapnon Ki Rani – in the film Shahjahan , with Saigal as the main singer and the hero. Initially he was influenced by G.M. Durrani, whose singing style he followed but soon came out of this and evolved his own style.
He got established as a singer when he sang a duet- Yahan badla wafa ka bewafayi ke siwa kya hai - with Noor Jahan in film Jugnu. He also sang a song – Tera khilona toota Balak – in Anmol Ghadi.
Rafi was at the peak of his singing career during the ‘50s and ‘60s when he gave memorable hits. Music director Naushad was the first to recognize his talent and in his direction Rafi gave hits in films Baiju Bawra, Amar, and Mughal-e Azam. In the beginning he sang for Dilip Kumar but later S.D. Burman used his voice for Dev Anand.

He sang for all lead actors of the time and for all music directors - Naushad, S.D.Burman, Shankar Jai Kishan, Laxmi Kant Pyare lal etc etc. A gifted singer with a marvellous range and variety , his voice suited all the actors. The lip synching of his songs by the actor on screen was wonderful. A humble and soft spoken person, he always spoke sotto voce but his voice could rise to a crescendo when the song so demanded. A trained singer, he sang all types of songs - sad, romantic, hilarious – and also classical numbers and qawwalis. His career graph showed a decline after the revival of Kishore Kumar with the film Aradhana in 1969. However in the same film he sang two memorable duets one with Lata Mangeshkar and the other with Asha Bhosle. He continued singing and gave some hits in the ensuing period of time also.
A contented man, he was not given to material gains and differed with the singer Lata Mangeshkar on the issue of Royalty. He lay no claim to any Royalty and was of the view that once the artiste had received full payment , there was no question of Royalty being given.
In all he sang more than seven thousand songs in all languages and genres.
A recipient of Padma Shri in 1967, many other awards and honours came his way one of them being recognized as the ‘ voice of the Millennium’ as late as 2013.
He died this day in 1980 in the 56th year of his life .
Our humble tributes to the great singer and a fine gentleman !

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Imp and The Crust :

Reading Tolstoy has always been a pleasure for me. I keep visiting and revisiting the great author for his classic short stories. 
‘The Imp And The Crust’ is one such story. I had read this story long back with a different title , but have read it again recently.One peculiar feature of this story is that it does not have characters with proper name but just represent a class. 
A poor peasant has gone to work in the field to plough it with a horse. As he had had no breakfast in the morning, before starting his work, he carefully and securely puts the loaf of bread under his coat on the ground. An Imp deputed by the Chief Devil to corrupt the human mind steals the bread and from a vantage position, awaits the peasant’s reaction.When the peasant after finishing his work and setting the horse free to graze , comes to the place where has kept the bread, he, to his utter dismay finds the bread missing but does not curse or abuse the person, stealing his bread thinking that he might be in greater need of the same. The Imp is disappointed at seeing no reaction from the peasant. When he reports the matter to the Chief Devil, the latter gets angry at his failed attempt and threatens him with the punishment of throwing him into Holy Water if he fails in the next attempt.
This time the Imp comes better prepared and guised as a hermit , he comes to the peasant and advises him on farming during the entire season. The peasant acts on his advice and as a result gets a bumper crop with much corn to spare. The Imp , in whom now the peasant reposes trust and confidence advises him to brew Vodka out of the spare and surplus corn. The peasant acts accordingly. With good returns on his produce he is now a rich man and this shows on his demeanour.
The Imp goes to the Chief Devil and invites him to see the ‘progress’ himself.
Both the Chief Devil and the Imp come and perch and position themselves to witness the goings on.
There is a gathering of guests invited for a drinking party. Starting to serve Vodka to the guests, the host peasant’s wife accidently throws the container on the ground and Vodka gets spilled all over. The peasant, in a fit of anger scolds his wife badly . This is the first step in the Imp’s progress in the matter. The peasant now takes it upon himself to serve Vodka . After the first round when the guests have had a glass each, the guests indulge in clever talk , fox like. The Chief Devil is visibly happy but the Imp tells him to keep watching as more is to come . After the second glass, the guests, all of a sudden turn ferocious and start fighting amongst themselves like wolves. Even the host gets hit and hurt in the fight. The Chief Devil feels happier . Then there is third and the last round after which the guest indulge in senseless mutterings and shouting , little knowing what they are saying – in short they start behaving like pigs. The host going out to see the guests off , accidently falls and gets smeared with filth and keeps lying ‘like a hog’ . This makes the transformation complete.
Now the Chief Devil happier than ever , enquires of the Imp whether he had added the blood of fox, wolf and pig to the drink. The Imp replies that it was plain Vodka and that every human being has a beast residing within , which remains suppressed as long as man has just enough for his needs. As soon as he gets more than he needs ,the beastly traits surface themselves. The Chief Devil more than happy with the Imp grants him some promotion.
The story, simple though it is , is a study in human psychology and also seeks to bring out and dwell upon the evils of liquor .

Sulochana Latkar

Happy birthday to Sulochana Latkar or Sulochana for short , a popular actress of Marathi and Hindi cinema. She has played the quintessential mother in Hindi films and has been active in films for three decades.
She is a Padma Shri awardee.
She turns 89 today !

Saturday, July 29, 2017

ईश्वर चन्द्र विद्यासागर

स्कूल के विद्यार्थी जीवन में हिन्दी की किसी पाठ्य पुस्तक में ईश्वर चन्द्र विद्यासागर से संबन्धित एक सच्ची घटना के बारे में पढ़ा था कि एक सूटेड बूटेड नौजवान जो अपना सूटकेस उठाने के लिए कुली तलाश रहा था , उसका सामान उनने उसके गंतव्य तक उठाया । शुरू में वह उन्हें एक साधारण व्यक्ति समझ रहा था पर जब उसे उनके महान व्यक्तित्व का आभास हुआ तो उसने उनसे क्षमा मांगी । ‘अपना काम आप करो’ कि शिक्षा एवं प्रेरणा देने वाले ईश्वर चन्द्र विद्यासागर की आज पुण्यतिथि है। बंगाल पुनर्जागरण के एक महत्वपूर्ण स्तम्भ रहे ईश्वर चन्द्र विद्यासागर एक विद्वान, शिक्षाविद व समाज सुधारक थे । उनने विधवा पुनर्विवाह के क्षेत्र में महत्वपूर्ण कार्य किया व इस विषय पर पुस्तक भी लिखी। वह बाल विवाह के भी प्रबल विरोधी रहे । संस्कृत भाषा के प्रचार प्रसार के अतिरिक्त उनने बांग्ला भाषा की लिपि में भी सुधार किया । लेखक के साथ साथ एक कुशल अनुवादक भी रहे । शिक्षाविद होने के नाते उनने कई विद्यालयों की भी स्थापना की ।
बहुमुखी प्रतिभा सम्पन्न इस महान विभूति को हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !

Johnny Walker

Today is the death anniversary of Johnny Walker, the popular comedian of Hindi Cinema. Born Badruddin Jalaluddin Kazi, in 1920, he acted in about 300 films and added a dimension to neat and clean comedy, never resorting to cheap gimmicks or double meaning entendre.
He could take pride in the fact that his dialogues were never subjected to any cut by the Censor Board.
He was a recipient of Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award and Filmfare Best Comedian Award.
Our humble tributes !

Friday, July 28, 2017

महाश्वेता देवी

आज महान बांग्ला उपन्यासकार महाश्वेता देवी की पुण्यतिथि है ! 100 से अधिक उपन्यास व अनेक लघु कथाओं की रचना की। कुछ उपन्यासों का अनुवाद हिन्दी में भी हुआ ! हजार चौरासी की मा, रुदाली, व अरण्येर अधिकार उनकी प्रमुख रचनाओं में से हैं ! एक सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता के रूप में उनका योगदान आदिवासी अधिकारों के लिये किये उनके सतत संघर्ष की कहानी है। साहित्य अकादमी पुरस्कार, ज्ञानपीठ पुरस्कार, पद्मश्री एवं पद्मविभूषण, तथा रेमन मेगासेसे पुरस्कार से सम्मानित इस महान साहित्यकार को हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !

Leela Naidu

Today is the death anniversary of Leela Naidu, the film actress.Born of an Indian father and an Irish mother of Swiss-French origin , she was a combination of beauty, elegance & sophistication and imbibed the best of Indian and Western culture.Educated in the best institutions of Europe , on return to India ,she won the Miss India pageant in 1954.She along with Maharani Gayatri Devi was listed among the ten most beautiful women of the world.

Entering the film line, she acted in movies like Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke, Anuradha,and Umeed. She also appeared in The Householder, a Merchant- Ivory production.The songs picturised on her became very popular.It is on record that she was the first choice for heroine in the film Guide but lost to Waheeda Rehman, as the role demanded an accomplished dancer.She left her mark as a nuanced and subtle actress.
Our humble tributes !

Thursday, July 27, 2017

SMALL FRY


‘Small fry’ and ‘ Big gun’ are the two phrases that we all have come across being used in different contexts . In fact both mean the opposite of each other and are antonyms of sorts. A big gun may be a top boss of a company or a high ranking Government functionary wielding enormous influence or a political bigwig calling the shots and enjoying enormous clout. In short , both are perceived notions we have looking up to or looking down upon others . A big gun , most of the times may be after a small fry , to exercise authority , to satisfy ego ,to vent out frustration, or simply to derive sadistic pleasure by putting it in straits. An unusually harsh treatment by a boss or a superior has most of the times given rise to the thought ‘ Zaroor aaj biwi se lad kar aya hai …’ and the like. 
I have recently gone through a short story ‘Small Fry ‘ by Anton Chekhov . The protagonist Nevyrazimov, described in the story as a petty clerk, sets out to write an Easter congratulatory letter, but is distracted in turns by the sound of chimes in a Church , distant or nearby and a cockroach moving to and fro across the top of a table and his own frustration . His frustration stems from the compulsion of slogging it out due to poverty even during Easter festivities, when others are enjoying, and also from his low self esteem as he is not capable of making it big in life partly due to lack of education and partly due to thoughts of morality and conscience tugging at him. This far he comes across as a small fry . Sooner than later , his wayward thoughts and frustration get the better of him and in a fit of anger he smashes the poor cockroach and as if this is not enough , holding it by the leg drops it on the flame of the nearly giving out lamp and feels relieved. The small fry thus finds a smaller fry to vent out his anger and frustration on. 


A nice interesting story with complex psychological undercurrent and thought !

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

Today is the birth anniversary of George Bernard Shaw , or simply Bernard Shaw as he insisted on being addressed, the acclaimed Irish playwright , ideologue and a culture icon. . Born this day in 1856 in Dublin , later he made England his home and during the last more than a decade of his life kept dual citizenship. In all he wrote about sixty plays . Saint Joan, Candida, Man and Superman, Major Barbara , Arms and the Man are some of his most famous plays. His wit, humour, satire, ideology, beliefs – all come to the fore through the various characters in his plays. In Saint Joan, the protagonist Joan of Arc , comes across as a bold woman with her satirical utterings and the repartee even in the face of sure death on being branded as a heretic. Arms and The Man, brings forth the futility of war and the famous concept of ‘chocolate soldier’ depicted in the character of Captain Bluntschli , who also emerges as a romantic hero in the play.
In ‘Major Barbara’ the theory ‘ ends justify the means ‘ finds discussion and enunciation. Bernard Shaw was a vegetarian with strong convictions. As for his wit , humour and intelligence, a story goes that one Isadora Duncan, a beautiful dancer , enamoured of his intelligence no less than with her own looks proposed to Bernard Shaw that together they beget children who will possess his brains and her beauty .To this Bernard Shaw quipped that he feared the opposite happening – children with her brains and his looks ! He was a strong critic of the game of Cricket .

Bernard Shaw won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925 and subsequently the Academy Award also, becoming the first ever person to achieve this dual distinction.
Blessed with a long life, he died on 2nd November , 1950, aged 94.

Our humble tributes !

Saturday, July 22, 2017

MUKESH

Today is Mukesh’s birth anniversary. Born Zorawarchand Mukeshchandra Mathur, this day in 1923 at Delhi, the popular playback singer of Hindi cinema is my hot favourite. I am always in a fix, when I ask myself as to which of his songs I like the best - I like most of them for the sonorous quality as well as that peculiar twang which makes Mukesh stand apart from the other singers.Mukesh wanted to become an actor,and did act in movies like Nirdosh and Mela , but without success.As a result he concentrated on singing . Mukesh , though he lent his voice to songs picturised on almost all the top heroes or actors of the time,like Dilip Kumar, Manoj Kumar,Rajinder Kumar , Rajesh Khanna, Jeetendra, etc. , was in particular, associated with Raj Kapoor. Mukesh , the singer ; Raj Kapoor, the actor; and Shankar- Jaikishan , the music duo - were a unique combination.During my college days when I was an avid listener to Urdu Service of AIR, I used to exchange notes regarding Mukesh’s songs with a friend. His song- Nain ka chain chura kar le gayi – from the movie Chandramukhi has many a time had the effect of a lullaby on me.
The songs sung by him for films like Aag, Awara,Yahudi,Saranga, Andaaz,Sangam Upkar, Kabhi Kabhi , Milan, Bandini, Anari ,Teesari Kasam , Banarsi thug , and many many others are classics and as such unforgettable. I remember, I won a small bet for the song Dil jalta hai to jalne de – from the movie Pehli Nazar as many others would think that the song was sung by K.L. Saigal , another immortal singer.His song – Jeena yahan marna yahan, is ke siwa jana kahan from the movie Mera Naam Joker became very popular.His duet with Lata Mangeshkar- Kabhi Kabhi Mere dil mein khayal aata hai- sung for the movie ‘Kabhi Kabhi’ is still the heart throb of many . However, another song from Kabhi Kabhi- Main pal do pal ka shayar Hoon - proved prophetic as Mukesh died in Detroit, USA , where he had gone along with Lata Mangeshkar for a concert in 1976 , the year the film was released.
Our sincere tributes to the legendary singer !

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

REMEMBERING RAJESH KHANNA

Today is Rajesh Khanna’s death anniversary.
No larger than life persona was he made to portray , no superhuman feats was he made to perform; he was just made to play the role of the man next door , not invincible but vulnerable ,given to emotions and weaknesses like you and me , with whom one could easily identify.That was Rajesh Khanna. In fact this ordinariness made him extraordinary , endeared him to all and made him a superstar.
In late seventies, he along with other crew members had come to Shimla to shoot for film ‘Kudrat’- a Chetan Anand movie. On a holiday, probably a Sunday, I rushed to Chhota Shimla, to a place where shooting was going on . It was a shoot for a scene from dance-chorus number- Sawan Nahin Bhadon Nahin- with Rajesh Khanna and Priya Rajwansh in the lead . Priya wore a red dress with makeup to match and Rajesh Khanna, in a combination suit with spotted yellow tie was his usual smartest self . Aruna Irani in Kameez salwar looked like a typical Punjabi Bebe , Dimple Khanna , all grace was also there.
Both Priya Rajwansh and Rajesh Khanna are no more.
Making his debut in 1966 with Ahkri Khat , Rajesh Khanna gave hit after hit for many years reaching the pinnacle of popularity and stardom . His films like Aradhana, Aap ki Kasam ,Amar Prem , Do Raaste,Anand,Kati Patang, Bawarchi, Namak Haram, Haathi Mere Saathi, Mere Jeevan Saathi, Dushman became super hits. In fact in ‘Anand ‘ both Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan shared the screen space and the limelight. Many of his films went on to become Platinum , Gold and Silver Jubilee hits. 



He paired well with all the popular heroines of the time i.e. Sharmila Tagore, Mumtaz, Asha Parekh, Zeenat Aman, Tanuja and Hema Malini and the movies were well received by the audiences. However he never got to work with Vaijyanti Mala, who had this regret as Rajesh Khanna according to her had perhaps arrived too late on the scene.
Rajesh Khanna acted in more than 150 films including short films.He produced three movies and co-produced four . The songs picturized on him became instant hits and won fame even for the playback singers. He was an elected Member of Lok Sabha for a term.
A recipient of Padma Bhushan, he was officially recognized as the first superstar of Hindi Cinema.
Unfortunately , the name , fame and popularity that he earned for himself was much more than he could handle and he died a loner and a recluse.
Our humble tributes to the legend !

REMEMBERING MUBARAK BEGUM :

Today is the first death anniversary of Mubarak Begum , a very talented but less talked about & discussed Bollywood playback singer who also sang Ghazals and Na’at. She started her singing career by giving recitals on All India Radio . Her playback singing started in films in 1949 with the film ‘AIye’ . Nashad, the film composer- not Naushad , the celebrity composer - gave her the first break . She was most active in the ‘50s and ‘60s and in all gave play back in more than a hundred films, most of which are now in oblivion. She was a talented singer, but did not have the networking skills or perhaps did not care much for the material and financial aspect. A kind hearted woman ,who was ever ready to help others , she did not save any money and was driven to financial difficulties during her last years .

 Of all people Salman Khan , the actor helped her financially the most followed by Lata Mangeshkar. She had a peculiar voice with unmatched clarity of diction and perfect pronunciation . Apart from songs- solos and duets-, she gave her voice to Qawwalis in films also.
The following is a random sample of her singing capabilities and versatility-
"Mujh ko Apne Gale Lagalo, Aye Mere Hamrahi",
"Kabhi Tanhaayon Mein Yun, Hamari Yaad Aayegi",
"Neend Ud Jaaye Teri, Chain se Sone Wale"
"Woh na aayenge palat kar",
"Hum haal-e-dil sunayenghe, sunyay ke na sunyay"
"Wada humse kiya, dil kisi ko diya"
"Be-murawwat bewafa begana-e dil aap hain",
"Ae dil bataa hum kahan aa gaye" (Khooni Khazana, 1965)
"Kuchh Ajnabi se aap hain"
"Ayji ayji yaad rakhna sanam"
"Shama Gul Karke Na Jao Yun"
"Sanwariya teri yaad men ro ro marenge hum"
"Humein Dum Daike, Sautan Ghar Jana"
"Yeh moonh aur masoor ki daal" with Shard:”
She died of illness this day last year aged 80.
Our humble tributes to the talented singer !

Monday, July 17, 2017

REMEMBERING KANAN DEVI


Today is the 25th death anniversary of Kanan Devi, the popular Actress and Singer of Hindi and Bengali Cinema of the bygone era. Forced to work at a very young age due to indigent circumstances, hers is a fine example of a rags-to riches story. She worked as a child artist in silent movies and debuted at the age of ten when she worked in a film ‘Jaidev’. The next year she appeared in the film ‘Shankaracharya”. Initiated in Bengali cinema,she worked in many Bengali films. In fact her journey with talkies started with Bengali Cinema. Later she worked with big names of Cinema like K.L.Saigal, Pankaj Mullick, , Ashok Kumar and Pahari Sanyal. She acted in Hindi films - Vidyapati, Street Singer,Sapera ,Lagan, Parichay, Jawaab and some others.
She started singing under the tutelage of Rai Chand Boral , who coached her in singing Hindi songs and also taught her the nuances of Western Music.Her duets with K.L.Saigal became very popular She learnt classical music from Ustad Alla Rakha and Rabindra Sangeet from Anadi Dastidar. Her hindi song- Duniya ye Duniya Toofan Mail- became a rage of the times. She turned to producing films in 1949 and made films mainly on the stories of Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay , the doyen of Bengali Literature.
She was a recipient of Padma Shri in 1968 and Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1978.

Our humble tributes !

Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov is one of the most read and celebrated short story writers of the nineteenth century. His stories are set in the pre-revolution period in Russia and mainly focus on poverty, misery, unemployment , displacement and a climate of insecurity and uncertainty prevailing at the time.
He has written in a simple language and style and even complex matters are dealt with in an easy informal way.
Of late I have revisited two of his famous stories.
His story 'Misery' that also carries the title ' Grief ' in some of the collections is a timeless story.The subtitle 'To Whom Shall I Tell my Grief ' itself sets the theme.The story is about an old emaciated sledge driver Iona Potapov , who has lost his only son less than a week before succumbing to a fever and he is burdened with grief , loneliness and helplessness.In the beginning there is also mention of his little mare that pulls the sledge.This shows that the mare has some special place in the story.One snowy winter evening he is looking for passengers for his sledge . A young military officer comes and asks to be taken to some place. Thinking that the person is a potential listener, Iona Potapov in order to share his grief tries to make mention of his son's death but the officer is only interested in reaching his destination and asks him to drive the sledge fast.
At last the destination is reached and the officer departs after making the payment.
Next come three wayward young persons who board the sledge, but young revellers as they are, they too are not interested in his sad story.
After this a fellow cab driver whom he comes across proves equally insensitive.
At night, when there is time to retire for the day, in order to unburden himself, he talks to his mare and finding it a patient listener, tells about his son Kuzma Ionitch, his name being mentioned only once in the story. Iona asks the mare what it would it have felt if it had a colt and lost it.
The story is a scathing comment on human insensitivity.
The other story ' Lady With The  Dog ' is of a different tenor and is about a banker Dmitri Dmiritch Gomov who is a banker & a philanderer and a woman Anna Sergueyevna. Both are married persons . They have a chance meeting at Yalta and fall into a liaison.Soon they part company and go to their respective places.Gomov who has had a series of affairs , finds for the first time that he is in love with Anna. Not able to resist his impulse, he goes to Moscow where Anna lives and not finding her at her residence, locates and meets her at a theatre where a play The Geisha' is being staged. They have a furtive brief meeting at the interval when Anna's husband has gone out for smoking. Gomov leaves only after having a promise of meeting from Anna.
After some days, they meet at the appointed place and time and carry on with the affair. Both being married persons have their families behind and thus are destined to meet stealthily.
They haven't lost hope for the future and story ends irresolutely leaving the reader to imagine and guess !

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday musings:


A somewhat reluctant entrant to the Revenue Department /Service , having once already given up the idea to join as Excise and Taxation Inspector even after receiving the appointment letter and also not to appear for the interview after qualifying the written examination of Income Tax Inspector, it dawned upon me that perhaps all government departments having public dealing had one misgiving or the other . There are good and bad elements everywhere and one can prove one self to be a class apart much against the common perception. On joining Government service, I heard many a joke bandied about Patwaris, the backbone of Revenue Department. This class of revenue officials has over the ages, earned some notoriety, for accepting bribe.

On this analogy , an official of some other department once shared an anecdote with me albeit with a touch of humour.
A villager approached a Patwari for some land related work and as per the prevailing practice, gave him a ten rupee note.The Patwari put it inside his headgear-a turban which most of the people used to wear at that time.
Next day another person came and gave the Patwari a twenty rupee note for the similar work and the Patwari put the note inside his headgear. The genesis of bribe is the tendency of the people to gain advantage over the others so this tendency was at work here also.
After some days when the first party came to the Patwari to enquire and remind about his work, the Patwari found himself caught in a fix. Not looking at the person, he kept foraging into his papers and documents. When the person did not budge and insisted on his work being done, the Patwari, enraged and touched to the quick raised his hand and touching the side where he had put twenty rupee note had this to say , " Main Ki karaan, itthe dooni aag lagi hoyi e !"

Aruna Asaf Ali

Today is the birth anniversary of Aruna Asaf Ali, a patriot and a freedom activist.Born Aruna Ganguly this day in 1909 at Kalka to a renowned Bengali Brahmo family, she was educated in elite institutions.A rebel of sorts, in 1928, she married Asaf Ali, a barrister and an independence activist, much older in age. Obviously, there was fierce opposition from her family, and an Uncle who had brought her up reportedly performed her 'shraaddh' presuming her dead.

After marriage she joined the Indian National Congress. She actively participated in the Salt Satyagraha and other independence activities and courted arrest. Actively into the Quit India Movement of 1942, she is remembered for hoisting the Indian National flag in Bombay.After marriage she joined the Indian National Congress. She actively participated in the Salt Satyagraha and other independence activities and courted arrest. Actively into the Quit India Movement of 1942, she is remembered for hoisting the Indian National flag in Bombay.
Post Independence, she joined the Socialist Party and later left it to join the Communist Party of India and also visited Moscow.Her husband Asaf Ali died in 1953.Active in politics , she became the first elected Mayor of Delhi in 1958. She also started a publishing house which she left after a few years.She re-joined the Congress in 1964, though was not in active politics.

She remained a President of the All India Democratic Women's Association.
Blessed with a long life, she died on July 29, 1996 .
She was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1997 posthumously.
Our humble tributes to the Grand Old Lady of the Indian Freedom Movement !

Saturday, July 15, 2017

K.Kamaraj


Today is the birth anniversary of K.Kamaraj , a former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu and the President of Indian National Congress.A strong leader, he was responsible for elevating Lal Bahadur Shastri as Prime Minister and on Shastri's death making Indira Gandhi the Prime Minister.After split of the Congress in 1969, he headed the rival Party. 

As Chief Minister of Tamilnadu (1954-1963) he introduced free education for the rural poor and the mid-day meal scheme for schools in Tamilnadu.
An epitome of integrity and simplicity he was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1978.


Our humble tributes to the great leader !

प्रभास जोशी

हिन्दी पत्रकारिता के आधार स्तंभ माने जाने वाले सुप्रसिद्ध सम्पादक एवं पत्रकार प्रभास जोशी की आज जयन्ति है। 1936 में आज ही के दिन जन्मे प्रभास जोशी ने इन्दौर से निकलने वाले दैनिक ' नई दुनिया ' से पत्रकारिता आरम्भ की व बाद में इन्डियन एक्सप्रेस समूह से जुड़े और कालांतर में अहमदाबाद,चन्डीगढ व दिल्ली में स्थानीय संपादक भी रहे ।1983 में जनसत्ता दैनिक पत्र का प्रकाशन आरंभ किया व इसे लोकप्रियता की बुलन्दियो पर पहुंचाया।
जनसत्ता के सम्पादक रहते हुए उनका रविवारीय स्तम्भ 'कागद कारे' अत्यंत लोकप्रिय हुआ। राजनीतिक विषयों एवं क्रिकेट पर उनकी पकड़ अद्भुत थी।
वर्षों मैंने भी उनके लेखों को पढा है व आनंद लिया है।
एक कर्मठ एवं जुझारू पत्रकार के रूप में अपना विशिष्ट स्थान रखने वाले प्रभास जोशी को हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !
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Friday, July 14, 2017

Memories of another day


In the '80s, on completion of my two year training- cum- probation, I received posting orders to a remote tribal area like most of the fresh recruits to various services. No political connections to fall back upon, there was no option but to join. I joined and completed my tenure of close to three years. The public by and large liked me and appreciated my forthright manner of working and I must say I had a nice time doing my job and interacting with people.It was dinned into my ears a number of times that people were face to face with a young Revenue Officer after some fifteen years or so when one of my grand seniors happened to be the incumbant.This fact also amused me as somewhat flattering and morale boosting.
More than a year into my span of service, once I made a routine monthly field visit to do mutation work and some other inspection work.Times were such that apart from the official work , people came to seek solution to their personal problems.I was face to face with a young couple, the husband complaining that the wife was not living with him.I knew that the matter was not such I could do anything about, still I felt duty-bound to at least listen to both sides.When the wife's turn came, I asked her the reason for not cohabiting.
My query was answered with a query in Hindi 'Why should I and how can I live with him , a budda !' , meaning an old man !' When I asked her how old she said - thirty years.This irony awaited me as being on the wrong side of thirty myself, and feeling somewhere between taken aback and crestfallen, all I could afford was a wry smile.
Later I came to know that same age marriages was the norm there as against the desirable optimum difference in age at other places.


Even today, I am amused when I recall the incident.

MADAN MOHAN


Today is the death anniversary of Madan Mohan, the legendary composer and Bollywood music director. Born on 25 June, 1924 in a reputed family, in the beginning he joined the Royal Indian Army as a Second Lieutenant during the second World War , but left Army after two years.After Army, he joined AIR Lucknow as Programme Assistant and came in contact with many famous artistes like Ustad Faiyaz Khan , Ustad Ali Akbar Khan , Brgum Akhtar and Talat Mehmood. He also recorded a few ghazals in his own voice. Joining the film line, he acted in a few films , but soon realized that composing music, particularly ghazals was his forte. He remained active for quarter of a century between ’50s and ‘70s and gave memorable compositions. He also sang two duets with Lata Mangeshkar for 1948 film Shaheed, which however were never used in the film. Making his debut with film Aankhen in 1950, he went on to compose music for notable films like Madhosh ,Railway Platform , Bhai Bhai, Pocket Maar, Raajdhani, Dekh Kabira Roya, Adaalat , Jailor, Khzanch, Anpad, Sanjog, Ghazal, Haqeeqat, Jahan Ara, Who Kaun Thi , Neela Akash, Mera Saya , Naunihal, Chirag, Dastak, Heer Ranjha, Laila majnu, and many others .
Some tunes composed by him were used many years later in the film Veer Zara. He made optimum use of the voice of Talat Mehmood Lata Mangeshkar , Muhammad Rafi and Manna Dey and gave unforgettable melodies. A song in the voice of Mukesh- Preet laga ke maine ye phal paya- also became quite popular.The ghazals and songs sung by Talat Mehmood deserve special mention. 
He was nominated for the Filmfare A ward for Best Music director thrice, National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the film Dastak and also IIFA Award for Best Music Director. 
He died this day in 1975 aged 51 only.

Our humble tributes to the maestro !

Leela Chitnis

Today is the death anniversary of Leela Chitnis, the Bollywood heroine of the earlier times.Credited with being one of the first educated actresses of Indian Cinema, she was also the first Indian actress to endorse the Lux brand of soap in 1941, which till then was the sole reserve of Hollywood heroines. Starting as a lead in many of her earlier films, she graduated to playing character roles , typically that of a quintessential mother .
She played mother to the most famous and celebrated heroes and actors of the times including Dilip Kumar. She remained active in the film line till into her late seventies. The films in which she acted include Awaara, Sangdil, Baadbaan, Aaj ki baat, Basant bahaar, Funtoosh, Naya daur, Sadhna, Ujala, Dhool ka Phool, Kohinoor, Kala Bazar, Hum Dono. Ganga Jamuna, Aas ka Panchhi, Intqaam,Man ki Aankhen ,Aurat….. etc .etc.
Our humble tributes to the talented actress !

Roshan -Music Director


Today is the birth centenary of Roshan, the highly talented music composer of Hindi cinema . Born this day in 1917 at Gujranwala in undivided Punjab, he remained active close to two decades in music composition and gave some unforgettable, wonderful melodies.Starting his career as an assistant to music director Khwaja Khurshid Anwar, his career took off when Kidar Sharma, the producer/director gave him the opportunity to compose music for his film Neki aur Badi.Fame and name came to him with the film Baaware Nain, in which he composed lilting melodies.In the '50s Roshan worked with top singers, Muhammad Rafi, Mukesh and Talat Mehmood.
He is credited with launching the career of Anand Bakshi and Indeevar, who in due course made their mark as lyricists.He successfully blended folk music with Hindustani classical music.
The films he composed music for include Aarti, Mamta,Dewar,Naubahar,Taj Mahal,Barsat Ki Raat, Baware Nain,Chitralekha, Anokhi Raat,Dil Hi To Hai and many others.
He specialized in composing qawwalis and two of them Na to Caravan Ki Talash hai & Nigahen Milane ko jee chahta hai , stand out.
He received the Filmfare Best Music Director Award for the film Taj Mahal in 1963.
He died on 16 November,1967 aged 50.

Our humble tributes to the great music composer !

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Saying for every occasion

There is a saying/ proverb for every occasion and some people are ever ready with it and rise to the occasion to mouth the same.I am taken back in timeline to the early '80s when a failed attempt at a competitive examination drew this jibe from one of my most inventive colleagues:
गिरते हैं शहसवार ही मैदान -ए- जंग में,
वो तिफ्ल क्या गिरेंगे जो घुटनों के बल चलते हैं

I did feel bad for a moment but was able to brush this brash remark aside.
Strictly adhering to the dictum 'try try again' so popularly attributed to the story 'King Bruce and the Spider', I made another attempt and was successful, though not to the expected extent. Assigned to a job which despite the gazetted tag carried less salary than I was drawing in a Bank, I opted to join lest my efforts and preparations should come to naught.
When asked about my salary and being told that it was less than I was drawing before, again an intelligent friend came up with the saying:

सौ के सत्तर कर दे
पर नाम दारोग़ा धर दे....
However this time my position was summed up aptly .

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pran



Today is the death anniversary of Pran, the legendary film actor. He was born Pran Kishore Sikand on 12th February 1020 in Delhi to a well to do Punjabi family . His father was an engineer and due to his transferable job , Pran had his schooling at different places. He came to Shimla also and is said to have played Sita in a Ram Lila staged locally with Amrish Puri playing Ram.
A chance meeting in Lahore with the writer Wali Mohammad Wali in 1940 resulted in a role in Punjabi film Yamla Jatt also having Noor Jahan and Durga Khote in the cast. In 1941 Pran appeared in two more films namely Chaudhari and Khazanchi . In 1942 he appeared in Khaandaan , his first Hindi film , this time also with Noor Jahan .Out of the 22 films that he had acted from 1942 till 1946, only 18 were released before independence.Two of the films were later released in Pakistan. 
Coming to Bombay, he got a role in film Ziddi starring Dev Anand abd Kamini Kaushal and got established as a villain. ‘Ziddi’ also launched the career of Dev Anand. His role in Badi Behan as a villain was also equally appreciated. In the ‘50s and ‘60s he continued to play negative roles in films featuring Deb Ananad, Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar in the lead. In a career spanning six decades, Pran acted in about 350 films . In most of the films , his name in the display of credits was prefixed with ‘and’ or ‘above all’ – a tribute to his acting talent.
With his sharp booming voice and large expressive eyes, he had a strong screen presence. He fitted into various roles very well .
He left a mark in all the films that he acted in, whether as a villain , a hero or a character artist. Who can forget Sher Singh alias Dilawar Singh , the dacoit in Sadhu aur Shaitan or daku Kehar Singh in Shaheed or Malang Chacha in Upkaar ! Similarly unforgettable is the song ‘Hum Bolega to bologe ki Bolta hai ……..’ picturised on him in Kasauti.
His films include Yamla jatt, khandan, Ziddi, Badi Behan, Apradhi, Chori Chori, Bahar Azaad, Kundan, Munimji, Dev das , halaku, Tumsa Nahin Dekha ,Chhaliya, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Bahati Hai, Dil diya Dard Liya, Upkar, Patthar Ke Sanam, An Evening In Paris, Ram Aur Shyam, Mere Mehboob, Milan, Mere Sanam , Kashmir ki Kali raj Kumar, Brahmchari, Anjaana , Do Badan, Pyar Hi Pyar , Ganwaar, Guddi, Heer Ranjha, Karz, kaalia, Tere Mere Sapne , Mrityudata and many many others.
A four time recipient of Filmfare Award, he was also a recepient of Padma Bhushan and Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Besides these many other honours came his way .
He died this day in 2013 aged 93.
Our humble tributes to the legendary actor !

Dara Singh

Today is the death anniversary of Dara Singh , once the World Wrestling Champion who turned actor and acted in a number of films. In my growing years, when I was in school, three four names were always mentioned by my classmates, and among wrestlers,the names of Dara Singh , his Brother Randhawa, and a rival King Kong were mentioned most of the time. He earned worldwide fame when he defeated King Kong . He won Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in 1959 by defeating George Gordienko at Calcutta and and the World Wrestling Championship in 1968 by defeating Lou Thesz at Bombay . He started his film career as early as 1952 when he acted in a film ‘Sangdil’. After doing stunts in many films, his first lead role came in ‘King Kong’, a movie made in 1962. Entering into a partnership with the actress Mumtaz in 1963, he did about 16 films with her. He acted as Bhim in the film Mahabharat and as Hanuman in the film ‘ Bajrangbali ‘ and also in the TV serial ‘Ramayan’.

In many of the lesser known films he enacted roles mostly suited to his strong body , good height and physique, as is suggested by the title of the films. These included ‘King Kong’ ,’ Rustam-E-Baghdad’ ,’Lootera’, ‘Rustam-E-Hind’, ‘Sikander-E-Azam’, ‘Daku Mangal Singh’ etc. etc. He also worked in well known films like ‘Mera Naam Joker’, ‘Anand’, ‘Aankhon Aankhon Mein’, ’ Lalkar’ , ‘Sultana Daku’, ‘Jehreela Insaaan’, ‘Dharam Karam’, ‘Dharmatma’ and last but not the least ‘Jab We Met’. He acted in Punjabi films also .
He directed films like ‘Nanak Dukhiya Sab Sansaar’, ‘Rustam’, ‘Sawa Lakh Se Ek Ladaoon ‘,’ Mera Desh Mera Dharam’ . He also produced ‘Bhakti Mein Shakti’ and ‘Karan’.
He was the first sportsperson to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha and served his term between 2003 and 2009.
He died this day in 2012 aged 83 .
Our humble tributes !

Albert Calmette

Today is the birth anniversary of Albert Calmette, the French physician bacteriologist and immunologist, who discovered the Bacillus Calmette Guerin- BCG for short - the vaccine to prevent tuberculosis.He also discovered the antivenom serum to be used against snake bite.He for many years was associated with the Pasteur Institute in Paris.
I remember the time when as students of Class I or II we were vaccinated in school - first a test dose and then actual vaccination, the pain drawing us to tears.
Our humble tributes to the great saviour of humanity !

Rajendra Kumar

Today is the death anniversary of Rajendra Kumar, the popular Actor of Hindi cinema who also produced and directed films.Born on 20th July , 1929 at Sialkot in undivided Punjab, he started his career in 1950 and was also seen in Mother India,in which he played Nargis's son along with Sunil Dutt.A sought after hero in the '50s & '60s , he gave one hit after another, some of the films becoming jubilee hits, so much so that he earned the sobriquet Jubilee Kumar'. In popularity he was next perhaps only to the famous trio of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand.
In a career spanning four decades he acted in about 80 films.
The films in which he acted include Jogan, Vachan, Toofan aur Diya, Mother India,Talaaq,Ghar Sansaar, Santaan,Goonj Uthi Shehnai,Dhool ka Phool, Chiraag Kahan Roshni Kahan,Patang, Kanoon, Dil Ek Mandir,Sasural, Gharana,Dharamputra,Aas ka Panchhi,Mere Mehboob, Hamrahi,Sangam,Arzoo,Suraj , Palki,Ayi Milan Ki Bela and many many others.
He produced Love Story,Naam, Lovers, Jurrat and Phool.
A recipient of Padam Shri in 1969, he was thrice nominated for Filmfare Best Actor Award and once for Best Supporting Award.Many other honours also came his way.
He died this day in 1999, just 8 days short of completing 70 years.


Our humble tributes to the great actor !



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Guru Dutt


Today is the 92 birth anniversary of Guru Dutt, the iconic film Director, Actor and Producer of Hindi Cinema. 
The larger than life persona of film actors has fascinated me since childhood-so much so that I always thought of them as above humanity- or immortal -so to say. It came as a shock when as a ten year old , the news of untimely death of Guru Dutt , was disclosed to me in the school itself , by a class pal of mine, who had heard the news on AIR during lunch break. Even his tone carried a streak of disbelief, as it was for the first time that we had heard about the death of an actor. I had not heard of Guru Dutt , but his death did cause a feeling of deep sorrow. Only a few months back, the same year the death of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister had plunged the nation into shock and grief.




When I went home and disclosed that the actor had died, my parents told me that actors were also human beings and as such were destined to die one day like others. In later years, I heard of the death of Madhubala , Meena Kumari, Smita Patil …….. also at very young age, but by then had reconciled to the bitter truth.
But , metaphorically, actors and singers or other artistes for that matter never die , as they come alive through their films, creations and compositions any time we chance upon their masterpieces. One has only to see Guru Dutt’s movies like Pyaasa, Kagaz ke Phool, Chaudhawin ka Chaandand Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam, Bharosa, Bahurani,Mr. & Mrs.55 ,Aar Paar, Saanjh aur Sawera to feel the magic !


Our humble tributes !

संजीव कुमार

हिन्दी सिनेमा जगत के लोकप्रिय अभिनेता संजीव कुमार की आज जयन्ती है। मुंबई की IPTA और उसके बाद इंडियन नेशनल थिएटर से अपने अभिनय जीवन की शुरुआत करने वाले संजीव कुमार ने मात्र 22 वर्ष की आयु में आर्थर मिलर के नाटक ‘ऑल माइ सन्स’ में एक बूढ़े की भूमिका निभा कर अपनी अभिनय प्रतिभा का परिचय दिया । 1960 में ‘हम हिंदुस्तानी’ से अपना फिल्मी सफर आरंभ करके उनने 1965 में पहली बार फिल्म ‘निशान’ में नायक की भूमिका निभाई । फिल्म ‘संघर्ष’ में दिलीप कुमार के साथ अभिनय किया और उसके बाद ‘ ‘खिलौना’ में एक गूंगे का सशक्त अभिनय कर अपना लोहा मनवाया। गुलजार के निर्देशन में ‘कोशिश’, ‘आँधी’ ‘मौसम’, ‘नमकीन’ और ‘अंगूर’ को मिला कर नौ फिल्मों में भी यादगार अभिनय किया । 



उनके द्वारा अभिनीत अन्य फिल्मों में, ‘सीता और गीता’, ‘आप की कसम’, ‘मनचली’, ‘पति पत्नी और वो’ ‘अनोखी रात’, ‘जानी दुश्मन’, ‘त्रिशूल’ , ‘हीरो’, ‘शोले’ , ‘शतरंज के खिलाड़ी’, ‘विधाता’, ‘नया दिन नयी रात’ और ‘राजा और रंक’ प्रमुख हैं । अनेकों बार फिल्मफेयर श्रेष्ठ अभिनेता पुरस्कार व श्रेष्ठ सपोर्टिंग अभिनेता पुरस्कार नामित होने व जीतने वाले संजीव कुमार को और भी कई सम्मान मिले, यथा, उन पर एक डाक टिकट भी जारी हुआ तथा सूरत में एक सड़क को भी उनका नाम दिया गया ।
स्टार और सुपर स्टार जैसी प्रचलित अवधारणा से हट कर हर फिल्म में अपनी अपूर्व अभिनय प्रतिभा का लोहा मनवाने वाले संजीव कुमार फिल्मी दुनिया के होते हुए भी चकाचौंध से कोसो दूर रहे और एक साधारण व्यक्ति का जीवन जीये .किराए के मकान में पूरी ज़िंदगी बिता दी और स्वयं अविवाहित रह कर, दिवंगत हो चुके अपने भाई के परिवार का भरण पोषण किया । ज्ञातव्य है कि अपना बंगला खरीद पाने का एक मात्र सपना भी पूरा न हो सका और मात्र 47 वर्ष की आयु में इस संसार को अलविदा कह गए ।
इस महान कलाकार और अद्भुत व्यक्तित्व को हमारी विनम्र श्र्द्धांजलि !

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Guy de Maupassant


Today is the 124th death anniversary of Guy de Maupassant, arguably one of the greatest short story writers on the world literary scene who influenced the other writers like O Henry, W.Somerset Maugham, Anton Chekhov and many others.He alongside Emile Zola belongs to the Naturalist School of writing and holds sway even today.
His most important short story is The Necklace which I have discussed in one of my earlier posts.The next important short story is THE PIECE OF STRING.
The story revolves round Maître Hauchecome of Breaute, an old man.He is a person who believes that nothing that can be used should go waste.
One ominous day, which is a market day at Goderville , people gather from surrounding places to sell and buy wares.Hauchecome eyes a piece of string on the road side and picks it up as a matter of habit.Becoming conscious that Maitre Malendain, inimical towards him has seen him picking the piece of string ,to hide his embarrassment , pretends looking for something on the roadside which is simply not there.During day time amid all the hustle and bustle that one associates with a market place, the loss of a leather pocket book belonging to one Maitre Houlbreque of Mannerville in the morning is announced. After sometime a person comes looking for Maître Houchecome and on finding him takes him to the Mayor who had sent for him.The Mayor rebukes and reprimands him,accusing him of the theft of the pocketbook.Houchecome,taken aback pleads innocence and offers to have his person searched but nothing is found in his possession except the piece of string. All this has happened on the basis of the false complaint made by Maître Malendaine, his enemy. Even when the next day the pocket book along with its contents is found on the roadside by one Marius Paumelle and restored to Houlbreque, people are not ready to believe Hauchecome and his plea of innocence.No explicit reason has been given by the writer as to what type of person Houchecome is that none of the persons,his friends included, trust him to absolve him of the charge, which makes him all the more pitiable.This branding of him as a thief despite his innocence, proves too much for him and soon he dies dejected and disappointed murmuring -the piece of string, Monsieur ! the piece of string. .
The underlying pathos of the story makes it amazing. 
Our humble tributes to the great storyteller !

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Bharat Vyas

Bharat Vyas was a highly talented lyricist of Hindi Cinema, who wrote wonderful songs for the films like Navrang,Do Aankhen Barah Haath, Boond Jo Ban Gayi Moti, Toofan Aur Deeya,Sampoorn Ramayan, Har Har Gange , Samrat Chandragupt, Suvarna Sundari, Goonj Uthi Shehnayi, Angulimaal, Rani Roopmati and Mahabharat(1965 movie). He teamed mostly with the music director Vasant Desai.
Yesterday was his death anniversary.
Our humble tributes to the great lyricist !

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

RAM LAL – THE UNSUNG MUSIC DIRECTOR:

My late father  used to say in Hindi  , Jeewan-  Mrityu , Nafaa-  Nuksan , Yash – Apkash   apne haath mein nahin hota – and how true he was or many others  who subscribed and still  subscribe to this view.
Name ,  fame and financial well being  elude many despite  being endowed  with the best of talent  and capabilities. My source  informs me- though not confirmed  or mentioned   anywhere else  as far as my search goes – that  today is the death anniversary  of Ram Lal Chaudhary  or simply Ram Lal , a talented music director of the  bygone era of Bollywood.Starting as an assistant to music director Ram Ganguli , he played flute for the songs in  Raj Kapoor’s directorial venture Aag and  contributed to the music of the song – Zinda Hun Is Tarah ki Ghame Zindagi nahin – sung by Mukesh  and the song - Dekh Chaand ki Ore  Musafir, Dekh Chaand Ki Ore  sung by Shailesh and Shamshad Beghum .  As an independent music director ,   he composed beautiful melodies for  two movies   namely ‘Sehra’ and ‘Geet Gaya Patharon Ne’   which  are sung and hummed even today after decades. The semi classical number  ‘ Pankh Hotey  To Ud  Aatin Re’   sung by Lata Mangeshkar, ‘ Taqdeer   Ka Fasaana   Jaa Kar  Kise Sunayen ‘  sung  by Muhammad Rafi  and &  ‘ Tum to Pyar ho, o sajni…. ‘ sung by Mohammad Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar  are  simply unforgettable.  So  are the songs from  the film ‘Geet Gaya Patharon Ne’    like  ‘Tere Khayalon Main Hum’  , ‘ Saanson ke  taar Par ….Geet Gaya Patharon ne’ sung by Asha Bhosle  &  Mahendra Kapoor  as a duet and the solo version sung by Kishori Amonkar   set to  wonderful tune by Ramlal. Unfortunately he did not get any work after this , was in acute financial straits and was forcedb to  live a life of penury .

Our humble tributes to the great music director!

Monday, July 3, 2017

ILYAS

Thanks to google, I am able to find out and read short stories which decades ago I had gone through as a school going boy and which even then I felt like reading again and again.One such short story is 'ILYAS' by Leo Tolstoy.
Those of us who seek happiness through riches & wealth and consider them synonymous must go through this story.Money and wealth are not permanent and change hands as fate ordains.The protagonist Ilyas, a rich ,kind and a hospitable man whose good reputation had travelled far and wide, by some quirk of fate falls on bad days and finds it difficult to afford even two square meals a day.A kind person who has known Ilyas since his salad days out of compassion employs the couple who do odd domestic chores for him.It is when some guests turn up and the master tells them about Ilyas . Face to face with the guests, Ilyas speaks about his new found happiness and contentment, which had eluded him as a rich man.
The story carries a few lessons as all the short stories of Tolstoy do.

Raaj Kumar

Today is the death anniversary of Raaj Kumar , the popular Bollywood actor .Born as Kulbhushan Pandit , he took the name Raaj Kumar and lived up to his film name leading his life in style like a prince. Almost every film he worked in became a hit. With a strong screen presence, even in secondary or side roles, he would literally steal the show , often overshadowing the lead actor. This was primarily due to his remarkable dialogue delivery.His dialogues from the movies Waqt,Paakeejah, Neel Kamal cannot fade away from the memory of movie buffs and need no recalling here.
The word ‘hum’ uttered by him umpteen of times, always had the desired impact, hardly seeming out of sync with his persona, on or off screen.His oft repeated ‘Jaani’ became equally popular.He also played romantic roles with ease . He worked in block busters like Mother India,Dil Ek Mandir,Waqt,Dil Apna aur Preet Parayi, Mere Huzoor, Ujala, Kajal, Maryada, Neel Kamal,Heer Ranjha Paakeejah , Saudagar. Tiranga etc and acted with élan . Though not a crowd puller like the famous trio of Dev Anand , Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor , he was cast in a different mould and was a class by himself.
Our tributes to this stalwart of Hindi Cinema !


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Dilip Sardesai

Today is the death anniversary of Dilip Sardesai, an Indian Cricketer.He was considered the best batsman against spin bowling.His excellent batting during the 1970-71 tour of West Indies made possible the first ever Indian victory against West Indies on their soil.He had an impressive batting average of 39.23 & 41.75 in Test and First Class cricket.He scored two double centuries and three centuries in test cricket . He also scored a double century in First class Cricket besides 24 centuries.He was also the only Goa born player to play for India.
Our humble tributes to the great cricketer !

Herman Karl Hesse


Today is the 140th birth anniversary of Herman Karl Hesse, the German born Swiss novelist, essayist,short story writer & poet . The film Siddhartha based on his novel of the same name featured Shashi Kapoor and Simi Garewal.
He was a recipient of Goethe Prize and Nobel Prize in Literature , both of which he won in 1946.
Our humble tributes !

Ernest Hemingway

Today is the death anniversary of Ernest Hemingway, the American novelist.He is a celebrated author of the twentieth century. He was economical with words but never appeared terse and always wrote a gripping narrative which had an influence on other writers also. His novel A Farewell to Arms was based on his first hand experience of the First World War when he had enlisted for Ambulance drivers.Similarly he had come up with For Whom the Bell Tolls after the Spanish Civil War which he had covered as a journalist .
He won Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954 for The Old Man and the Sea .
A man full of adventure during his entire life and the one who taught a message of patience and hope , it is ironical that he ended his life on this day in 1961 by committing suicide.

Our humble tributes to the great author !