Friday, March 31, 2017


Today is the birth anniversary of Dr. Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi, M.D, one of the first two Indian women Doctors trained in Western Medicine.She was the first Indian woman to obtain a medical degree in the United States and the first Indian woman ever to set foot on American soil. . Born this day in 1865 at Kalyan in Thane region of Maharashtra, in an orthodox,Brahmin family, she was married at the age of nine to Gopalrao , a widower much older in age .Gopalrao was a man with progressive thinking and advocated even Western education for women .With encouragement received from her husband Gopalrao , help from American physicians and financial contribution from public all over India , she set sail from Calcutta for America in 1883.On reaching there, she enrolled in Women's Medical College in Pennsylvania and passed out with an M.D. in 1886. Her topic for research was 'Obstetrics Among the Aryan Hindoos'. Queen Victoria is said to have congratulated her on her achievement. 

Returning to India, she was deservingly accorded a hero’s welcome and was appointed as Physician -in - charge of the female ward of Albert Edward Hospital at Kolhapur. The cold climate and unusual diet in America had taken its toll on her health and she fell sick. She breathed her last on 26th February 1887 , before completing 22 years.Her untimely death sent shock waves throughout the country.Her ashes were sent to New York where Theodicia Carpenter,who had been her benefactor in the U.S., placed those in her family cemetery.
Our humble tributes to the remarkable lady !


Today is the death anniversary of Meena Kumari, the popular, highly talented actress of her times.I still remember I heard the news of her death on a transistor set tuned in some household just above the road , when I was going to College in the morning that day in 1972 . Meena Kumari, due to penury and poverty was forced to act as a child artiste at the age of six. This also happened as a quirk of fate , as plain looking Mahazabeen Bano, as she was named then, was not considered worthy of entering the film line,even by her father .It was her mother who took her to some producer/ director As luck would have it , her talent was spotted and her career took off. From 1939 to 1945 she acted as a child artiste as Baby Meena.

 Later she acted in many well known films , like Miss Mary,Baiju bawra, Phool Aur Pathar, Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam , Azaad ,Parineeta, Kohinoor,Aarti, Dil Ek Mandir , Foot Path, Bhabhi Ki Chooriyan, Sharda , Manjhali Didi, Dil Apna aur Preet Parayi, Mere Apne, Kaajal & many others , and last but not the least, Pakeezah which not only proved her swan song but also immortalized her.All the songs of the film became hits and continue to be so till today. .Perhaps this was the best that Kamal Amrohi , her separated husband and also Director of the film could have done for her.She had separated from her husband in 1964 . As frustration and loneliness proved too much for her she took to drinking .It is a grim and sad irony that, the actress arguably gifted with a unique and impressive voice, while shooting for Pakeezah, , was not able to speak due to illness and one Sadhana Khote had to dub for her.
A highly talented and versatile actress she epitomized the Bhartiya Nari on screen , like no other actress did . She was a four time winner of the Film Fare Award, the first coming her way in 1954 for the film Baiju Bawra. Subsequently she won it for Parineeta (1955), Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam( 1963) , and Kaajal ( 1966 ).
She was also a poet of not and wrote Urdu poetry.
She had become an alcoholic and suffered from Liver Cirrhosis which hastened her end as she died at the relatively young age of forty. If Dilip Kumar is the Tragedy King of Hindi cinema, the crown for Tragedy Queen would certainly go to Meena Kumari.
Our humble tributes to the great actress !

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Today is the death  anniversary of Anand Bakshi , the most popular and prolific lyricist who penned memorable melodies for over 600 films.He was born at Rawalpindi on 21st  July, 1930 . After partition the family  migrated and settled at Delhi .After receiving  initial education he joined  the Indian Army and served  there for many years. Simultaneously  he wrote  poems in spare time.He wanted to become an actor and a singer  but  destiny  made him a lyricist. He started writing lyrics for films in 1956 but  success smiled on him in 1962 when he wrote lyrics for the film   ‘Mehandi Lagi Mere Hath’. He also wrote a Qawwali for the film ‘Kala Samundar’ – Kya Karoge Tum Meeri  Tasveer   Le Kar.However,   the breakthrough  came  in 1965  with the film   ‘Himalaya Ki God Mein’. The same year he  wrote songs for the film   ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’ and in 1967 the songs he wrote for the film  ‘Milan’  established him as a lyricist and his caliber came to be recognized.As a singer , he sang his first two songs for the film ‘Mom Ki Gudiya’ – Baghon mein bahar aayi….. , and  Main doondh  raha tha sapnon mein .Later he sang songs for the film Charas, Sholay , Mahachor and Balika Vadhu.
In all he  wrote more than 3000 songs for more than 600 films  out of which  the music of half the films was composed by the duo Lakshmi Kant Pyare Lal. The popular films for which  he wrote  songs include Phool Banre Angaare, Himalaya Ki God Mein, Jab Jab Phool Khile , Aradhana, Bobby, Amar Prem,Jeene Ki Raah, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, , Aye Din Bahar Ke, Aya Sawan Jhoom ke,Do raaste, Main Tulsi  Tere Aangan ki,   Sholay,Dharamvir,Nagina,Sargam,Karz,  Mohra, Dil Wale Dulhania Le Jayenge , Pardes, heer Ranjha, Taal , Mohabbaten, Yaaden , Raja Aur Rank, kati Patang, Khilona, Loafer, Piya Ka Ghar, Raja Rani , Jeevan Mrityu, saudagar , lamhe, Sacha Jhootha …and many many others.
The song ‘Watan par jo fida hoga  , amar wo naujawan hoga ‘ penned by him for the film ‘Phool Bane Angaare’ became very popular . He had put his soul into it himself being an  army man  before.
He made special mention of this song  when he presented a radio  program ‘Jaimala’  dedicated to soldiers , decades ago.
 A versatile genius, he wrote all kinds of songs- devotional, patriotic and romantic and contributed immensely to the popularity and stature of actors and singers who sang on screen and gave playback. The list of the hits penned by him is pretty long.

Our humble tributes to the great lyricist !

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


During my growing years, I became fond of Punjabi songs , mostly film songs played by Jalandhar station of Akashvani.Great playback singers like Muhammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Shamshad Begum as well as Surinder Kaur, Prakash Kaur, Asa Singh Mastana and Harcharan Grewal were a treat to listen to.

Once, I chanced upon a folk song of a different type in a new voice and style.The song was ' Das Mein ki pyar wichon khateya..' The only instrument accompanying and complementing the voice was the tumbi.The singer was introduced as Lal Chand Yamla Jutt. Later after many years, I saw him on TV and was fascinated by his dress especially turban.
Lal Chand Yamla Jutt was a prominent folk singer born in undivided Punjab on 28th March,1914 . The family later migrated to Ludhiana.He started singing at a pretty young age and received formal training in singing. He also wrote songs and sang his own compositions.He is also said to have performed with Alam Lohar the Jugni fame legendary singer from Pakistan.
He sang and performed many songs home and abroad.
Our humble tributes to the great talented singer !

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Polly Umrigar

Today is the birth anniversary of Polly Umrigar, a former Indian cricketer who also lead the Indian Cricket Team in the 1950’s.A veteran of 59 Test matches and 243 First Class matches, he amassed 3631 & 16155 runs with a batting average of 42.22 & 52.28 respectively . He scored 12 centuries in Test matches and 49 centuries in First Class cricket. As a bowler, he claimed 35 test wickets and 325 first class match wickets. He was also the first Indian batsman to score a double century in test cricket.
Our humble tributes to the cricket legend of his times !


I have grown up listening to  Hindi film music  on the AllIndia Radio, now rechristened  as  Akashvani, my favourite  being  the  Urdu  Service. Amongst  the many songs  I have listened to, some  stand out  for  beautiful  melodious tunes set to, no less than the inimitable  voice of great  playback  singers.
I would like to mention particularly-  
  “ Aa   laut ke aaja mere meet …” from the film  ‘Rani Roopmati’  separately sung by both Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar ;
 “Pawan Veg se udne wale  ghodey” from the film  Jai  Chittor sung by Lata Mangeshkar ;
  Bahadur Shah  Zafar’s   “ Na kisi ki  aankh ka nor hun”  sung by Mohammad Rafi  in  his sonorous echoing voice  for  the film  ‘Lal Qila’;
 “Zara Samane to aao  chhaliye..” which remained in the top slot on Binaca Geetmal for quite some time  and was  from the  film  ‘Janam Janam ke Phere ‘  ;
 “ Jhoomti  chali hawa ..” from the film  ‘Sangeet Samrat Tansen’ sung by  Mukesh  ;
  “ Parwar digar-e-alam  tera hi hai sahara”  from the film ‘Hatim Tai’ sung by Mohammad  Rafi ;
 “Un par kaun kare ji vishwas ..” from the film  ‘Kavi Kalidas’ sung  by Mohammad Rafi and  Lata Mangeshkar ;
“Nain ka chain  chura kar le gayi  kar gayi  neend haraam ..”  from the film ‘Chandramukhi’ sung  so beautifully by  Mukesh  .
There must be many others which I am not able to recollect. The  music of all the above melodies was composed by  S.N. Tripathi  whose   death anniversary  falls today.
Though  a celebrated  music  director , a less known fact about him is that he  acted in a number of films also and was particularly fond of playing Hanuman .His debut as  an actor  was in film Jiwan Naiya in 1936.
He also directed the film Rani Roopmati  besides, composing  music for it .He also directed the film  Kavi kalidas, Pakshiraj and   Ram Hanuman Yuddh.
He was also the first composer to use the slogan  ‘Jai Hind’  in a film song  in 1946 while India was still under British rule.  
He died this day in 1988 aged 75.
Our humble  tributes to the multifaceted   film personality. .

Monday, March 27, 2017


Today is the death anniversary of Priya Rajvansh, the popular Bollywood heroine. 
Born Vera Sunder Singh in a Sikh family in Shimla, Priya was brought up and educated in Shimla. She was an alumnus of Auckland House School Shimla, where she was a School Captain , and also of Convent of Jesus & Mary , Shimla. . She did her Intermediate from St.Bede’s College Shimla and later joined the local B.M. College .During her College days , she acted in many English plays at Gaiety Theatre.Her acting skills were honed among others by Prof. G.R.Sud, who many years later also taught me at the University.Subsequently, after graduation she went to London where her father was on a U.N. assignment. She joined the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts at London.

While still in England, one of her photographs reached the Indian Film Industry and Chetan Anand on seeing it , later signed her for 1964 flick Haqeeqat , a famous war movie till date. In a personal live in relationship with Chetan Anand, she starred in his movies and got involved in other aspects of film making besides acting . She was seen playing lead roles in Heer Ranjha, Hanste Jakham , Hindustan ki Kasam, Kudrat , Sahib Bahadur and Haathon ki Lakeeren.

I remember, in late seventies, on a holiday, probably a Sunday, I rushed to Chhota Shimla, to a place where shooting of Chetan Anand film Kudrat was going on . It was a shoot for a scene from dance-chorus number- Sawan Nahin Bhadon Nahin- with Rajesh Khanna and Priya Rajvansh 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.
She died this day in 2000 under mysterious circumstances .

Our humble tributes to the talented actress !

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Today is the birth anniversary  of  Farooq  Sheikh, the popular  Bollywood  actor, TV  Presenter and a  philanthropist. Born in Gujarat  and educated  in Bombay, now Mumbai, in the beginning he did theatre and  acted in plays  staged and sponsored  by  IPTA. He presented  Quiz Program  on AIR  Bombay  but real recognition came his way when he anchored  programmes like Yuvadarshan  and Young World on Bombay  Doordarshan. .     While still in law college, he was spotted by M.S. Sathyu , the film director  and    was  offered  a supporting role in the film   Garam Hawa,  with Balraj Sahni  playing the lead role. This  was his first major role in a film. With this started    Farooq  Sheikh’s life long  association with Parallel or New Cinema. He  went  on to work in films like  Gaman, Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Noorie, Chashme Baddoor , Umrao Jaan , Bazaar, Saath Saath , rang Birangi, Kisi Se Na Kehna, Biwi Ho To Aisi. He paired well  with  renowned actresses  Shabana Azmi and Deepti Naval and the films he did with them  won critical acclaim. Lorie, Salmaa, Faasle , Gharwali Baharwali are some of his other notable films.Two of his films  - Children of War  &  Youngistan were released after his death.  

He acted in TV serial Chandrakant  and  a  comedy  serial  Chamatkar. He also  anchored   a popular programme   Jeena  Isi  Ka Naam Hai , a peep into the life of celebrity artistes , who were also invited as guests.
His is a great name in New Cinema to which his contribution is immense.
He won the National Best Supporting Actor war for film  Lahore , in 2010.

Our humble  tributes to the suave mannered  talented  actor !


Today is the death anniversary of  Nanda, the beautiful talented   actress who worked in Hindi and Marathi films. Due to untimely death of her father  in 1947 at a young age of 41, Nanda took to acting as a child artiste  to support her family. Between 1948 and 1956 she appeared as a   child artiste in films  like Mandir, Jaggu, Angaarey and Jagriti. V Shantaram,   the  renowned  director and producer, who happened to be her uncle gave Nanda a big break in 1956 in  film Toofan  Aur Diya , which turned out to be a hit. The very next year  in 1957 she  was nominated for the Filmfare  Best Supprting Actress   award for film Bhabhi  . She played a supporting role in Dev Anand  starrer Kala Bazaar  and also  had a nice role in  Dhool  Ka  Phool.  The film that actually made her a star was the film Chhoti  Behan  (1959).She had a lead role in dev Anand’s  Teen  Deviyan  and  Hum Dono , both hit movies. She was a lead heroine in B.R.Chopra’s  film  Kanoon(1960), a rare movie  without songs. During different  periods  she  shared the top slot with  Nutan, Waheeda Rehman and  Sadhana  as the highly paid actress.
Once becoming an established actress  herself, she is known to have encouraged  new comers.She signed eight movies with the newcomer Shashi Kapoor . The first two movies with Shashi Kapoor-  Char Diwari and  Mehendi Lagi  Mere Haath , did not meet success at the box office but  subsequently the films  Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hain, Jab Jab Phool Khille, Neend hamari Khwaab Tumhare, Raja Saab, and Rootha Na karo became hits. She paired with all the top heroes of the time like Dev Anand, Rajinder Kumar, Rajesh Khanna and Sanjeev Kumar. With Jeetendra, she paired in films Parivar and Dharti kahe Pukar Ke.An affable person, she  enjoyed  had  cordial relations with Waheeda  Rehman, Nutan, Sadhana and Asha Parekh. Her last films include  Aahista Aahista, prem Rog and  Majdoor. She  won Filmfre Best Actress Award for the film Ittifaq , and the Best Supporting Actress  Award for  Aanchal, Aahista aahista and Prem Rog.

Our humble tributes !

Friday, March 24, 2017


Tie or necktie is a piece of cloth worn as a fashion accessory and tied around the neck with both ends coinciding and meeting at belly. As a youngster I was fond of tying the knot though not so fond of sporting a tie . As a nine year old , I had learnt to tie American Knot , English Knot , single knot and double knot. In my growing years I have seen men of taste sporting tie as a necessary complement to a lounge suit. For sure , it looked elegant and helped make the ensemble complete. Ties can be had in different colours and shades, of different width , made of a variety of fabric. Striped ties appear more in vogue , though plain ties and the ones with other designs also find favour with some. In earlier times, when ready made hard collars did not exist, collars of especially white shirts were starched to present a crisp look if a tie was to be worn. Googling the word ‘Tie’ leads one to sites not only telling about the different types of knots but also the manner or method of tying a knot. I have come to know the Windsor , half Windsor and many other knots. 

The origin of a tie is traced back to 17th century France during Louis XIII regime. It was he who mooted the idea to wear a tie as an accessory and troops were also made to wear it as a part of uniform. The present form of tie is only a hundred year old as of now and undergone some periodic changes since then. It has been a necessary part of school uniform in Public Schools. For smaller classes, the tie comes with a ready made knot through which passes a string which is tied to the neck. In College and Unversity , I used to wear a tie . Later it was reserved for special occasions like interview and social gatherings. Over the years people seem less interested in wearing a tie and keep the collars loose and open . Of course the collars are crisp and look good with or without a tie.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Shashi Kapoor

Today is the birthday of Shashit Kapoor, the famous Bollywood actor, producer and director. Youngest of the three sons of Prtithvi Raj Kapoor, he has been active both in theater and cinema and has also worked in English movies like Shakespeare Wallah and Siddhartha. He acted as a child artiste in Aag(1948) and Awaara(1951). While working in theatre in London, he came across theatre artist Jennifer Kendal whon he eventually married.Together they nurtured Prithvi Theatre and acted in many plays. A versatile actor, he acted as a hero , a villain, and a character artist, across the entire spectrum of more than 150 movies he acted in.
He is third of the Kapoor clan to receive the coveted Dada Saheb Phalke Award and is also a recipient of Padma Bhushan.

Our best wishes to the talented actor of yesteryear who turns 79 today ! !

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Devika Rani

Today is the death anniversary of Devika Rani, arguably the first lady of Indian Cinema.Born in an aristocratic family of Bengal, she went to England to study Architecture but became a Textile Engineer.Coming into contact with Himanshu Roy, her future husband she did costume designing for his films.After marriage the two founded the Bombay Talkies and produced many films.Drawn to acting Devika Rani had a successful career spanning ten years. She teamed well with Ashok Kumar and gave hits like Vachan, Achhoot Kanya,Jeewan Prabhat and Janmabhoomi.
A versatile personality, Devika Rani was also educated at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art & Royal Academy of Music.She had also learnt film making in Berlin.Himanshu Roy died in 1941 and for sometime Devika Rani ran the production house singlehandedly.
In 1945 she married Svetoslav Roerich, the Russian painter and artist.
Svetoslav Roerich owned the world famous Art Gallery at Naggar, Kullu named after his father Nikolai Roerich.The duo used to visit and live at Naggar- so much for Devika Rani's Himachal association.
Devika Rani was a recipient of Padma Shri, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, and also The Soviet Land Award.
Our humble tributes !

K. Asif

Today is the death anniversary of K. Asif, the Bollywood film producer, director and screenwriter. Best known as the producer, director and screenwriter of Mughal-e- Azam , the all time great of Indian Cinema.As director his first movie was Phool , a successful venture. He had also directed Sanjeev Kumar starrer Love & God, which remained incomplete due to K. Asif's untimely death in 1971.However the movie was released as he had left it.He also produced a movie called Hulchul, in 1951.
The movie bagged three Filmfare awards in a row.
His illustrious career was nipped due to his death at a relatively young age.
Our humble tributes !

Joy Mukherjee

Today is the death anniversary of Joy Mukherjee, the Bollywood actor and director.He was a lead romantic hero in most of the Hindi films made in '60s through '70s . Making his debut in 1960 with the romantic flick Love in Simla opposite Sadhana, he went on to work in movies like Ziddi, Ummeed, Phir Wahi Dil Laya Hoon,Shagird, Ek Musafir Ek Haseena, Love in Tokyo, Dil aur Mohabbat, Love in Bombay, Humsaya, Ek Kali Muskayi and many many others. The songs picturised on him whether solo or duets became instant hits.
He died this day in 2012 aged 73.
Our humble tributes !