#RIP – Tribute to Hassam , Friend and Human Rights Activist from Pakistan


Life partner of my first friend  from  Pakistan is no more

As I opened the Facebook page of Aisha  Gazdar to share

Neela  Bhagwat’ s  classical rendition of Faiz poem, “Bol”

As her page slowly opened, I wondered why

She had  removed her Profile Pic

and then

I felt a bolt from blue , I was numb, with a blank stare

The news stared at me

Rights activist Hassam Qadir no more amongst us, He was just 44

My Eyes closed, fervently wishing  this to be a bad dream.


I went to a Flashback

My friendship with  Pakistan began with  Aisha in 2000

My  Myths about  Pakistan started crumbling ,

thanks to our friendship ,

which happened as we met at a neutral ground in London

We both were Chevening  Scholars studying Human Rights


Our friendship beyond borders ripened

She came to India to make a film on women rights and CEDAW

I was her coordinator in India   and loved every bit of it

Hassam  also came with her in 2005,

My first reaction was WOW

This is a Marc Zuber look- alike from Pakistan

Kumbh ke bichade bhai ke samaan


His first morning in Mumbai,

This is what we see

He is standing in the Kitchen making his own Tea

Broad shoulders and  a broader smile

Behind the Robust Masculine exterior

Lay a  Gender Sensitive Man,within


A human rights activist and Lawyer


was a Passionate Fighter

 Aisha , the most soft spoken person I have evermet

is a carnation of ‘  Tameez and Tehzeeb.”

Hassam  was a  True Punjabi from Lahore   in every sense of word

His jokes and crackling laughter, still echoes

He  forgot his Black Sandals

Every time I talked with  Aisha and him

We laughed and said

‘Tuhade chittar taan aithe hi reg gaye, ki kariye “

( Your sandals are still here, what to do ? )

He once jokingly said- Sambhal ke rakhna  Amitabh Bachchan na lae jaye !!

( Please take care Amitabh Bachchan does not take them !!)


 Left behind Memories , Jokes,  Vaccum

and yes

A pair of large sandals

sitting in a drawer

with hopeless anticipation ……

A pair of large sandals

befitting a  towering personality

Remains…………………………………………………………waiting forever

2013-07-01 21.58.53


#RIP- Actor Jiah Khan found dead in Mumbai; police suspect suicide

Mumbai, June 04, 2013

Jiah Khan plays the second woman in Akshay’s life in the film.

25-year-old Bollywood actress Jiah Khan allegedly committed suicide on Monday night by hanging herself at her Juhu residence, police said. According to the police, her maid, watchman and neighbours are being interrogated to find out her last visitors.

Jiah’s mother and sister had gone out

and she was alone at the house when the incident happened, police said.

“Jiah’s mother and sister found her hanging when they returned at around 11 PM,” police said, adding that Jiah used her own dupatta to hang herself.

Police said postmortem of the body will be conducted today and they have registered a case of accidental death.

Police are yet to record the statement of the actress’ mother as she is in shock.

Jiah made her acting debut in Ram Gopal Varma‘s controversial movie, ‘Nishabd‘, where she acted opposite Amitabh Bachchan.

Upon its release in March 2007, the film received mixed reviews, but Jiah was noted for her confidence, attitude, and sex appeal.

She also got a Filmfare Best Debutant Nomination.

She then appeared alongside Aamir Khan in A R Murugadoss‘s ‘Ghajini’, the Hindi remake of the director’s own Tamil film of the same name.

Later she appeared as a supporting actress in Sajid Khan‘s multi starrer comedy film ‘Housefull’ (2010). This was her last film.

Jiah was brought up in England and had shifted to Mumbai recently to act in Hindi films.

Actor Dia Mirza reportedly broke the news of Jiah’s death on micro blogging site Twitter.

Police today questioned Suraj Pancholi, son of actor couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, to whom actress Jiah Khan had made her last phone call before ending her life.
25-year-old Jiah hanged herself at her Juhu residence between 11 PM and 11.30 PM yesterday, sending shock waves in Bollywood.

Jiah, according to police, last spoke to Suraj around 10:40 PM.

Suraj had gone to Juhu police station along with his actor parents and was being questioned, sources said.

According to Jiah’s mother Razia Khan, the actress, who made her dream debut opposite Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Nishabd’, was unhappy about her acting career. She had last appeared in a supporting role in Sajid Khan’s multi-starrer comedy ‘Housefull’ in 2010.

As per her mother, Jiah was exploring a career in interior designing besides acting in films.

Khan told the police that Jiah had gone to Hyderabad on June 2 for an audition which did not go well.

Her last rites have not yet been performed because the family is waiting for her friends and relatives to arrive from London, where she was born and brought up.

Police have also questioned her maid, watchman and neighbours to determine the cause of the alleged suicide.

The post-mortem examination at J J hospital suggested the death was caused due to hanging.


#India – ‘Development at Gunpoint’ in Odisha – Ground Report #Video



Apr 30, 2013

The vegetable garden of Odisha is going to be submerged and more than 50 villages displaced; and the name of the game is ‘Development at Gunpoint’ — meaning ‘peaceful industrialization’ as the chief minister claims! Thousands of farmers of the Lower Suktel plateau in Balangir are protesting against this upcoming dam for more than a decade now. After many a round of brutal repression and forceful land acquisition, the State has now declared the ‘final war’ against its own people.

On 29 April 2013, more than 2000 people were holding ground in opposition to the dam project. Early in the morning, 10 platoons of police force cracked down on the peaceful protesters. They started beating people mercilessly, without any provocation. They dragged women, clamped their feet with heavy boots, and tried to lynch Amitabh Patra, a filmmaker, who was filming the excesses first hand. The policemen, who appeared to be drunk, behaved like hired goons of some mafia outfit.

The police arrested 16 people, including Amitabh Patra and Lenin Kumar, editor of Nisan. Amitabh is still struggling for life with severe head injuries.

As the police unleashed this terror, they did not allow any media persons in, expect one channel — their chosen one. While they smashed Amitabh’s head and camera, they forcibly blocked our camera so that we could not shoot further.




Hari Prasad Chaurasia’s life in 60 minutes #Sundayreading

Rajeev Chaurasia on what it took a son to condense 74 years of his maestro father’s life into an hour

Gitanjali.Chandrasekharan @timesgroup.com

On April 12, Rajeev Chaurasia will figure if he passed the “agneepariksha”. The 43-year-old son of flautist Padma Vibhushan Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia excitedly awaits the release of Bansuri Guru, a film he directed on his father, which is the Films Division’s first project to release commercially under the PVR Director’s Rare banner.
He landed the job accidentally, when he realised that the directors proposed by Films Division knew little about the maestro’s life. “They’d ask him fairly basic questions about his performances and work in Bollywood. I thought, main kya kar raha hoon?” Rajeev says in Hindi reminiscent of his Allahabad roots.
The hour-long documentary, that features interviews of Panditji and his students, traces his journey from the akhadas of Allahabad (Panditji was born into a family of wrestlers for whom a profession in music was unthinkable) through Cuttack (where he landed his first job as an artiste), to Mumbai, ending at the Vrindavan gurukul he set up.
It wasn’t easy convincing Films Division, Rajeev says in a candid moment. “The first proposal I took was on one sheet of paper. They asked me to come back with an 80-page script.” Rajeev spent three months reworking the script, and the next three years filming the docu. Although it was a familiar subject, he realised serious research awaited him. Details that had receded into obscurity over the years began to surface, like the story behind Panditji’s first flute.
“He was around 10. I am not sure if it was a mela, but my father spotted a man selling flutes. When he stopped for a drink of water, Panditji picked it up.”
Among those voicing the musician’s journey is 90-yearold P V Krishnamoorthy, AIR’s station director in Cuttack who gave Panditji his first music job in 1957. “He said Panditji was popular with the ladies,” laughs Rajeev.
Being family didn’t always help, though. Rajeev says he was pushing his father to do things he hadn’t been asked to pull off. “There was some friction. Anybody else would have been shown the door. I could take liberties,” he smiles.
Among those Rajeev was keen to include in the film but couldn’t is Annapurna Devi, late Pandit Ravi Shankar’s first wife, and his father’s guru. “It took him three years to convince her to teach him. An exponent of the Sur Bahar, she asked him how she could teach him since he was a flautist. He said all he wanted to learn from her was music; instruments didn’t entertain boundaries.”
Although Panditji visits his guru at her south Mumbai residence every Gurupurnima, the reclusive artiste asked to be excused from the film.
The toughest task awaited Rajeev once shooting had wound up. A hundred hours of footage had to be trimmed to an hour.
Panditji’s Bollywood connection — he composed songs for Chandni, Darr, Lamhe and Silsila among other blockbusters with santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma — is evident as Amitabh Bachchan lends his voice as narrator. Popular tunes (the haunting melody from Jackie Shroff-Meenakshi Sheshadri-starrer Hero), are welded into the background score. “These tunes would comfort me when I was homesick in America,” adds Rajeev, a student of finance from the University of Texas. His career in media which started with Sony TV in the 1990s before he took over as MTV’s programming head, and finally launched a travel channel three years ago, made the job a bit easier.
Do Panditji’s sons, Vinay and Ajay, from his first marriage to late Kamala Chaurasia find space in the film? “Only those people connected to Panditji’s musical journey are featured,” Rajeev says, adding that the family — Panditji’s second wife Anuradha, Rajeev’s wife Pushpanjali and their two children — is also seen in one solitary scene.

A picture from the 1970s with kathak exponent Sitara Devi, at a common friend’s wedding
At riyaz with wife Anuradha ‘Angurbala’, a classical vocalist
With Lata and Usha Mangeshkar at Tirupati temple in the 1960s
Rajeev Chaurasia


Fearless Nadia Hunterwali, once more #Sundayreading #cinema

India may have forgotten Mary Ann Evans, but the world is heaping praises on her. As Australia, her birth country, pays a tribute to India’s original stunt queen, Saadia S Dhailey ruminates on the life and times of Fearless Nadia


FEARLESS Nadia, aka Mary Ann Evans, burst onto the screen in the 1930s, juggling whips, swords, guns, and sometimes even landing mean punches with her bare hands, to set the villains straight. In this blonde, blueeyed ballet dancer, filmmaker JBH Wadia found his feminist icon, who could carry a social and political message at a time when Indian actresses played dainty damsels in distress, waiting to be rescued by their knights in shining armour.
From her first film, Hunterwali (The Princess and the Hunter) in 1935, Evans was a huge hit and went on to redefine the image of a woman on screen. She changed her name to Nadia after being advised by a fortuneteller and her nom de plume ‘Fearless Nadia’ was acquired from her days as a circus acrobat. To the pre-Independence era audience, Fearless Nadia was the first of her kind.
She would single-handedly fight a gang of men, jump from one moving vehicle to another, hang from chandeliers, and spout dialogues like no woman ever had till then, anywhere in the world. Author and documentary filmmaker Nasreen Munni Kabir watched Diamond Queen sometime in the late 1970s, and she will always remember Nadia’s famous dialogue that still rings true: “If India is to be free, women must be given their freedom. If you try and stop them, you’ll face the consequences”. Says Kabir, “In the early days of Indian cinema, our stunt films copied the Hollywood films of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. But it was Nadia who made this borrowed genre uniquely Indian by her very presence and unique stunts. Fearless Nadia represented a significant model. She played an original character at a time when the role of women in society was largely conservative and repressive. The
audience knew that she was not Indian, and perhaps the fact that a Westerner was fighting on our side was doubly appealing to them.”
A blonde, blue-eyed girl with Indian character names — Mala (Jungle Ka Jawahar), Savita (Miss Frontier Mail), Madhurika (Diamond Queen) — championing the common man’s causes and fighting for women’s rights was unheard of and unseen before.
Nadia went on to star in about 50 films, (some sources say 60), but as she mainly performed in the stunt genre, unfortunately, she was seen as less of a thespian, largely ignored by Indian cinema historians. That, however, changed in 1993, three years before her death, when Wadia’s grandson, the late Riyad Vinci Wadia, introduced her to the world through a documentary on her life called Fearless: The Hunterwali Story. Screened at various international film festivals, it brought her to the attention of the world, including Australia, where she was born as Mary Ann Evans. Riyad’s brother Roy Wadia, director, Wadia Movietone, tells us, “The documentary generated a lot of interest. When Australians realised the connection Mary had with them, she became very special.”
The ongoing Oz Fest in India has a segment dedicated to her. Australian composer Ben Walsh, who has been providing the music score in an unique live-orchestra format, as one of Nadia’s most famous films Diamond Queen is screened all over India, says, “Why India? I don’t think she still has parallels in the rest of the world.”
Australian journalist Michelle Smith after watching Nadia’s work recently, described her unique style as “a 1930s-esque innocence, juxtaposed with incredible stunts and spiels about women’s rights”. As a gift to India, the Australian High Commission has also undertaken the task to restore the print of this film. “It’s the most mature Nadia film of its kind and really elevated the stunt genre to story-telling,” Roy tells us. Filmmaker Shyam Benegal credits Nadia for giving Indian cinema its first angry young ‘man’. He explains, “She stood for the good and the right in society, which is what Amitabh Bachchan did as an actor in the late 1970s, and became a champion of the common man. Without Fearless Nadia, there would be no Amitabh Bachchan’s angry young man.”
Roy, who had the good fortune of knowing her (Mary was married to JBH Wadia’s brother Homi Wadia), says fondly, “She was the only grownup in my family who cracked adult jokes. One among the boys, she loved whisky and had no airs. Mary aunty didn’t buy into her legends and myths!”
Veteran film journalist Rauf Ahmed says, “In those days, Fearless Nadia did stunts that even men didn’t attempt.” Nadia’s grandnephew, Bollywood choreographer, Shiamak Davar, reveals how Nadia’s onscreen persona even charmed Angelina Jolie, who told Shah Rukh Khan once, she would love to play Fearless Nadia if her life is ever captured on celluloid.
With a renewed interest in the life, times and art of Nadia, a film on her, played by one of the most recognizable faces in the world, may not seem like a pipe dream anymore. But Davar still rues the lack of interest in her by the Indian film fraternity. “They pay tributes to everybody, but they have forgotten Mary mai.”

Mary Ann Evans, aka Fearless Nadia, was born in Perth, Australia, and came to Bombay in 1913, when she was five. She lived in Colaba with her father Herbert Evans, a Scotsman in the British army, and mother Margaret. After her father’s death in World War I, Evan’s mother took her to Peshawar. There, Mary learned how to hunt, fish, shoot. In 1928, she returned to Bombay with her mother and a son, Robert Jones, about whom not much is known. Nadia decided to learn ballet and recognizing her star quality, her dance teacher invited her to join her troupe that would travel all over India. And not much later, Indian cinema got its first feminist icon. After her glorious stint in films, in 1959, Nadia married Homi Wadia after a long-standing relationship. She then took a sabbatical to enjoy her domestic life and took to breeding race horses.
There’s a lot of interest worldwide about Fearless Nadia. Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has shown interest in playing Nadia’s role if a film on her is ever to be made

#Yash Chopra: Such legends come Kabhi Kabhie #RIP

, TNN | Oct 22, 2012,

Yash Chopra: Such legends come Kabhi Kabhie
Yash Chopra‘s grand theme was love and it was seldom a simple affair. But his films were popular because they could be watched across generations.

Till 1973, Yash Chopra had been working under the banner of his brother, the great B R Chopra. In that year, he set up his own production house, Yash Raj Films, Daag (1973) being its first venture. 

The film was among the biggest hits of the year but Chopra dumped superstar Rajesh Khanna because of his starry tantrums. From then onwards, he forged a durable and profitable partnership with Amitabh Bachchan.

His later works, especially those he made under his own banner, had two distinct strands – mature romance (Kabhi Kabhie, Silsila, Chandni, Lamhe, Veer Zara) and action-oriented human conflicts (Deewar, Trishul). But he also occasionally surprised you with a smart thriller like Darr.

Cover of "Kabhi Kabhie [Blu-ray] (Classic...

Cover via Amazon

Chopra’s grand theme was love and it was seldom a simple affair. In his films, it was usually a high-hanging fruit that could be attained only after navigating through a maze of complications and snuffles. Complex love triangles (Daag and Chandni), convoluted love quadrangle (Silsila), love defying category (Kabhi Kabhie), age-gap amour (Lamhe), fake young serious romance (Dil To Paagal Hai), love as sacrifice (Veer Zara), he tried to capture love in every hue.Nonetheless, his love had its share of class bias; Chopra’s lovers were invariably wellheeled. The deprived never really fell in love in his films – though the great Urdu poet and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi was a part of his musical team.Yet the beauty and the balance of it all was that you could watch these movies as much with your lover as with your grandmother. No surprise, a majority of moviegoers found them engaging and appealing as the box-office records suggest.

Music was always a hallmark of his romantic movies. He took pride in the fact that his films had some of the most beautiful lyrics ever written in Hindi cinema — and the picturisation did full justice to the lines. Amitabh Bachchan’s sonorous rendition of poetry in Silsila can still induce goosebumps. And he helped revive the career of Khayyam by giving the out-of-job composer an opportunity to give music in Kabhi Kabhie. Khayyam repaid the trust by providing an unforgettable score. Chopra also worked with two classical musicians, Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Shiv Kumar Sharma. It is said Yash briefly worked for the comic genius I S Johar before beginning his career officially assisting his elder brother, B R Chopra in socially conscious movies such as Ek Hi Raasta, Naya Daur and Sadhna.


Veer-Zaara (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His own later work does not have the same social commitment that he first displayed in works like Dharmputra (1961) but to Chopra’s credit he never compromised on his idea of creating entertaining cinema even when he fell on hard times in the mindless 1980s and delivered a succession of box-office turkeys (Faasle, Vijay). Patience has its reward. The director rode on an inspirational second wind; his last three films were all box-office biggies – Darr (1993), Dil To Paagal Hai (1997) and Veer Zaara (2004).

With advancing age, one could see a growing gap between each of his directorial ventures . The Shah Rukh Khan starrer releasing in November was meant to be a fitting swansong to his illustrious career. May be it will. But sadly, its creator won’t be there to see it.

Memorable lamhe 

Born | 27 September, 1932

Birthplace | Lahore

Early life 

The youngest of eight children born to a Punjabi accountant in the PWD of the British administration in Punjab.

Was brought up mostly in the Lahore house of his second brother, B R Chopra (Baldev Raj), who was first a film scribe and later in life a movie baron.

Went to Jullunder in 1945 to continue his education Baldev migrated to Bombay weeks before the Partition.

First steps 

Baldev gave Yash his first directorial opportunity in ‘Dhool Ka Phool’ in 1959, which became a big box-office hit.

Made another four films for Baldev, notably 1965’s ‘Waqt’.

Married Pamela Singh in 1970. Their two sons, Aditya and Uday, were born in 1971 and 1973.

Rise & rise 

Founded Yash Raj Films in ’71 From 1973 produced many of his films but also made movies for Gulshan Rai’s Trimurti Films Made a number of Amitabh Bachchan-starrer films, notably ‘Deewaar’ (1975) and ‘Trishul’ (1978) In the late ’80s, as the romantic genre rose in popularity, a highly successful period began in his career Made the blockbuster ‘Chandni’ (1989), followed by ‘Lamhe’ in 1991, which found favour in metropolitan cities In 1993, directed ‘Darr’ that marked the beginning of the celluloid journey with Shah Rukh Khan Was filming ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ when he took ill. SOURCE: yashrajfilms.com 

Awards and recognition 

Filmfare Awards 

1965, Best Director (Waqt) 1969, Best Director (Ittefaq) 1973, Best Director (Daag) 1975, Best Director (Deewaar) 1991, Best Movie (Lamhe) 1995, Best Movie (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) 1997, Best Movie (Dil To Pagal Hai) 2004, Best Movie (Veer-Zaara ).


2001, Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2005, Padma Bhushan 2008, Officier de la Legion d’Honneur.

National Film Award (Producer).

1998, Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment (Dil To Pagal Hai) 2005, Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment (Veer-Zaara ).

One of India’s most prominent  filmmakers, Yash Chopra, spoke to his favourite hero Shahrukh Khan couple of weeks before he was diagnosed with Dengue

Yash Chopra, 80, passed away this evening after battling dengue for over a week. The veteran filmmaker was admitted to Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai, after being diagnosed with the disease few days ago. His last public appearance was at Amitabh Bachchan’s 70th birthday celebrations.

Chopra has made a huge contribution to Indian cinema in a career spanning over five decades. Known as the King of romance, Chopra has to his credit path-breaking love stories like DaagSilsilaLamheand Chandni. His production house Yash Raj Films is one of the most reputed and respected companies in Bollywood today.

The director, who was all set to release his last film, the Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma starrer Jab Tak Hai Jaan, did a media interview with SRK recently, where he spoke about the making of the film, and his journey as a filmmaker. But the director passed away before he could see his last film hit the screens. His son Aditya Chopra will now have to shoot the last portion of the film in Switzerland to complete the movie, which is set to release on November 13, 2012.

Watch the video of Yash Chopra in conversation with Shahrukh Khan – the veteran filmmaker’s last interview.


#Yash Chopra, Bollywood’s ‘king of romance’ passes away #RIP

New Delhi: Veteran filmmaker Yash Chopra, who was known as Hindi cinema‘s ‘king of romance’ for making some of Bollywood’s most memorably intense romantic dramas, passed away in Mumbai on Sunday. He was suffering from dengue.

Chopra had celebrated his 80th birthday on September 27. ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, starring Shah Rukh Khan was his final film as director. Regarded as the country’s king of celluloid romance, Chopra has also proved his mettle with intensely emotional and tragic movies, many of which went on to become box-office blockbusters.

Chopra has been admitted to a hospital in Mumbai with an attack of dengue, a spokesperson for his company said. Chopra attended actor Amitabh Bachchan‘s 70th birthday party with wife Pamela on October 11.

Yash Chopra, Bollywood's 'king of romance' passes away

Born in 1932 in Lahore, now in Pakistan, the film-maker was favoured by leading Indian actors with his movies seen as a sure-fire way to become a hit with audiences.

Chopra recently reminisced about a Bollywood career that spanned five decades, narrating how he came to Mumbai with 200 rupees in his pocket, hoping to make it as a film director.

Chopra’s disclosure, made at an event marking his 80th birthday with actor Shah Rukh Khan by his side, took the Indian film industry by surprise.

“I think I’ve had enough, Shah Rukh,” Chopra replied when Khan asked him about his next project. “I have always lived according to what my heart tells me,” he said. “I won’t make any film after Jab Tak Hai Jaan.”

Since then, Chopra has made some of Indian cinema’s most memorable films — such as ‘Deewar’, ‘Kabhi Kabhie‘, ‘Silsila’ and ‘Chandni’. His flamboyant style of film-making, movies filmed in exotic locales and mellifluous music became a hallmark, endearing him to filmgoers.

Chiffon sarees and the Swiss Alps are so synonymous with Chopra’s style of film-making that Switzerland Tourism even offered visitors a guided tour of the places where the director filmed some of his most famous songs and scenes.

Riding on his success, Chopra established Yash Raj Films, one of Bollywood’s biggest production houses, churning out at least three movies a year. In November, the film studio announced its foray into Hollywood, signing on actors such as Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman for its overseas productions.

Chopra also produced Indian cinema’s longest-running blockbuster, ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge‘ (1995), which marked the debut of his son Aditya as director.

Minister for I&B, Smt Ambika Soni has condoled the death of veteran director and producer, Shri Yash Chopra. In her condolence message she said, “Today Indian cinema has lost one of its iconic personalities and a creative genius. Through films, Yashji connected generations together. His idea of portraying love as the essence of life and relationships will fondly be remembered by all movie lovers. His untimely death is a void which will be difficult to fill.”

Here’s what celebrities had to say about Yash Chopra

Mahesh Bhatt (@MaheshNBhatt) tweets: Heartbreaking news Yash Chopra passes away.

Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) says, “I am in shock. Yash Chopra jee passed away ? What a man. What a loss .. can never forget his warmth, encouragement and humility..”

Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan): “Yash Chopra passes away .. Just now a hour ago.” (Inputs from Reuters)


Rajesh Khanna’s last film to release on 70th birth anniversary eve

IANS | Sep 30, 2012, 12.00AM IST


Veteran actor Rajesh Khanna’s last film ” Riyasat”, which he shot for before he died July 18, will release in theatres Dec 28, a day before his 70th birth anniversary, director Ashok Tyagi says.

The late superstar has a prominent role in the movie. It is almost ready, but Tyagi wants to release the film on Rajesh Khanna’s birth anniversary.

“We can release the film at any time, but we want to release it on Dec 29. Since it is a Saturday, we will be releasing it on Dec 28, just a day before Kakaji’s (Rajesh Khanna) birth anniversary,” Tyagi told IANS.

The director says Rajesh Khanna has left a letter behind, and that shall be opened just before the release of the film.

“Kakaji has left a sealed letter behind him, which he wanted us to read before the release of the film. So we will be opening his last letter either on his birth anniversary, or just before the release,” he said.

“We have no clue what he has written in the letter. I am only thankful to god that we got an opportunity to work with him,” he added.

For his role in “Riyasat”, Rajesh Khanna is said to have sat and watched the DVD of the 2005 Amitabh Bachchan-starrer “Sarkar“.

“Before starting the film, he watched Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Sarkar’ as he is also playing godfather in the film. It’s a very different subject and he had shot almost 95 per cent of the film.

“The entire nation will hear Kakaji’s voice in the film,” said Tyagi, who had started shooting the film in February 2011 and finished it in October.

Rajesh Khanna died in July after prolonged illness and a liver infection. But he had wrapped up most of the shooting for “Riyasat”.

“Kakaji shot most portions, the ones I wanted. But yes, we were tempted to shoot more. And if his health permitted, we would surely have shot all of it. Then all of a sudden his health started deteriorating and he left all of us suddenly,” he added.

“Riyasat” also features Gauri Kulkarni, Aryan Vaid, Aryeman Ramsay and Raza Murad.


Indian vagina now caters to a broad spectrum of consumer taste #Vajazzling

Gird Your Loins

AUGUST 11, 2012

A new product ’18 Again’ has hit the Indian market. A vaginal tightening gel, the advertisement left us mildly confused.


With her newly tautened privates, the saree-clad lady seems in remarkably good cheer, given she apparently ‘feels like a virgin’ and ‘it’ (it presumably being sex), ‘feels like the very first time’. Namely awkward, painful, inexperienced fumbling? Ah well! There’s no accounting for tastes, not least the fantasies of the Indian man.

Regardless, we think this is a step in the right direction. Virgins being a scarce commodity these days, a handy at-home converter for any sacrifices you may have planned is a thoughtfully designed product indeed. (The makers of ’18 Again’ are unclear on what to do with those of us who escaped the wastelands of virginity before 18, but there you have it. You can’t please everyone, especially not those sluts who didn’t even wait till they were legal). The makers of 18 Again are hoping for strong revenues on the back of exponential domestic demand.

As this article details, the Indian vagina now caters to a broad spectrum of consumer taste and preference. Backed by a strong commitment to product diversification, the Indian vagina is set to enter the 21st century  with applications and appliances, room fresheners and Christmas trees. Needless to say, we are delighted; our only grouse being that the products are somewhat limited in scope and vision. And so with an eye to the future we present a small list of potential uses and a plea that we all broaden, rather than tighten, our imagination.

The Vagwig

From Salman Khan to Amitabh Bacchan, male pattern baldness is a ubiquitous affliction of the modern Indian man. A good hair weave can set you back several thousand rupees. But why  waste your hard-earned shekels when the solution lies literally under your nose? Instead of letting this font of cornocopic abundance go to waste in brazilians and such like, we present the Vagwig: For pates of every persuasion and dimension.

Fig 1.1

For those nostalgic for the lost era of glamrock, this handy dye will take you right back to David Bowie.


It is true; the vagina has limited functionality. But it is, however, particularly skilled at reproduction. But with characteristic lack of foresight, output is currently restricted to the propagation of merely our species. Instead, to fully harness the fecundity of which woman is capable we present Vagriculture: a kitchen garden in your kitchen! No added chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers. Locally produced, organic, artisanal production.

Fig 1.2


A company called ‘Linger’ recently offered a minty fresh solution to the problem of vaginas tasting like vaginas.Here at Kafila we present a novel new product, aimed at the discerning consumer: Vaginal flavored mints. Keep your breath sweet-smelling all day.

Fig 1.3


Speaking of agriculture,with its unerring foresight the Met department has now announced what the nation already knew. Things are bad folks, a drought is nigh. But, if properly treated, the vagina is a constantly renewable source of moisture (See Fig 1.4). No more anxious waiting for the rainclouds to darken our shores. With the correct care and attention the VCloud will insure the monsoon need no longer be an annual event.

Fig 1.4


Under the able guidance of Nandan Nilekani, we are eagerly awaiting the advent of the information revolution in everyday life. Sadly the UID has run aground. Never fear, a workable alternative is at hand, the VID. A fully electronic, biometric, informatic card: a single swipe determines if you’re an asshole.

Fig 1.5


Male plugs are universally in need of female sockets. We present the Motherlode of Voltage:Yoni-Yamini, Vajraa-Vahini, Vidyut-Tarang-Tatini, Apalachapala Chanchal Chudamani.

Fig 1.6

Monkey Wrench

To tighten the screws of nuts everywhere.

Fig 1.7

And finally,

The Vaginocular, the camera so lucida so obscura, all-seeing eye.

Fig 1.8

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,

For all the day they view things unrespected;

But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,

And darkly bright are bright in dark directed.

Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,

How would they shadow’s form form happy show

To the clear day with thy much clearer light,

When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!

—Sonnet XLIII

So there you have it gentle readers. A catalog of ideas for small medium enterprises and our humble contribution to the Indian entrepreneurial spirit that the Newsweek so admired. Instead of uselessly hanging around ejecting infants, inhaling penises and contracting yeast infections, the vagina can now earn its keep. Not being product designers ourselves, we are sure you can do better than our modest effort here. Send us your ideas (accompanied by  drawings) and we will feature our top favorites. We eagerly await your submissions.

From our drawing board to yours,


[Kafila Line of Product Design]

The Loneliest King of Romance In Indian Cinema- Rajesh Khanna- #Sunday Reading

The Loneliest Superstar Ever

From the dizzying heights of stardom to the depths of despair, the Rajesh Khanna story is unsurpassable
BY Shaikh Ayaz EMAIL AUTHOR(S), Open Magazine
Tagged Under | superstar | Rajesh Khanna | lonely
Stuck in a hopeless time warp, Khanna may well be real life’s closest equivalent to Sunset Boulevard’s delusional ‘I-am-big’ centrepiece

Stuck in a hopeless time warp, Khanna may well be real life’s closest equivalent to Sunset Boulevard’s delusional ‘I-am-big’ centrepiece

You know Rajesh Khanna, don’t you? If you are a young man or woman reading this, you may have heard of him as Akshay Kumar’s father-in-law or Dimple Kapadia’s husband or Amitabh Bachchan’s one-time co-star. At a pinch, you might also be somewhat familiar with his work: such classics as Anand, Aradhana, Amar Prem, Aavishkar and Bawarchi, which play on TV now and then. But to know and understand what and who Rajesh Khanna is and was, ask your mother. Chances are, she may have harboured a secret (maybe even an open and zealous) crush on Rajesh Khanna in her youth. My mother did. In truth, it was an entire female generation’s adulation of this actor that was at the centre of the Rajesh Khanna phenomenon.

Since the onset of his undisclosed illness, brought to popular notice by his weak frame in a recent TV commercial for Havells fans in which he announces that nobody can take his fans away from him (he can rest assured of that), wellwishers have wondered whether all is okay with the Lord of Aashirwad, that ocean-front shrine in Mumbai that has been his home. But the commercial has served its purpose. It has turned the spotlight back on him, just as he wanted. One of his reasons for doing the commercial was to subtly remind people of his days of refulgence, the time when he more or less owned the word ‘superstar’, a term coined especially for him by Devyani Chaubal of Star & Style magazine.


The Rajesh Khanna story is without parallel. It never had a prequel and can never have a sequel. It stands alone as one with extreme alienation at its heart. He was a soft, uncannily romantic hero at a time of Dharmendra-like masculinity. That look in his eyes, that hint of a smile and that nod of his head all had a magical effect on women. Some of the praise that the critic Pauline Kael once lavished on Cary Grant can apply to Khanna as well: that he was a male love object, and that men wanted to be as ‘lucky and enviable’ as he was, and that ‘women imagined landing him.’ Add chartbuster songs to romantic mannerisms, and—voila—you had a star few women could resist.

In a chapter on the actor in the anthology Bollywood’s Top 20: Superstars of Indian Cinema, Avijit Ghosh writes that without music, ‘Rajesh Khanna became an actor without his best lines.’ There was a touch of the poet-philosopher, notes Ghosh, in the characters he played. In this, as in other things, it was as if Khanna stood alone, like an outsider trying to break into a charmed circle.

Several of his co-stars, including Amitabh Bachchan, have testified to an inability to put in words the extent and reach of his stardom. It’s hard to imagine it now, but there was once a time when Bachchan’s claim to fame was that he had worked with Khanna. The irony of this, however, is that while Bachchan has retained a relevance in another era of cinema well past his prime, Khanna’s appeal remains frozen in its old frame of the mid 1960s till the mid 1970s.

If at all, it is Khanna’s films with Hrishikesh Mukherjee that help him cross over to different generations and lend him longevity as an actor—mind you, only as an actor, not as a superstar. His success is a story cherished only by those who were young when he was at the peak of his power. For today’s youth, he is at best a relic from the past who continues to be his own enemy, trapped as he is by a false sense of propriety and his own image, one who lives in that dream mansion in the comfort of a stardom that is now only illusory at best. In other words, he lives in a hopeless time warp, and in that, he may easily be real life’s closest equivalent to Sunset Boulevard’s delusional ‘I-am-big’ centrepiece.

What happened to him was something rather Norma Desmond-like. Not that the pictures got small (they got big, in fact), but he refused to acknowledge that he was fast fading away. Khanna—or Kaka as he was affectionately nicknamed—and Desmond appear to be lonely inhabitants of their own fame and misfortune. As fellow travellers, separated by nearly half a century, they are prisoners of their own respective worlds of make-believe, even as everything else moves on. Is it their fault that nobody told them about it?

For any superstar, being loved by audiences is nothing short of a life-affirming need, but for Rajesh Khanna, that alone wouldn’t do. There was a time when almost all of India loved him. Not to be left out—and quite in tune with the rest of the country, to be fair—Rajesh Khanna fell in love with himself. The bedazzler of fans had bedazzled himself. It was an act of narcissism, say critics, that needed only one sort of divine sanction: his own.

“At one point, Rajesh Khanna was a god, but the trouble with him is that he started thinking he was one,” says Ali Peter John, a senior film journalist who has known Khanna for a long time.

Ali agrees to meet me outside Costa Coffee in suburban Mumbai to talk about his ‘friend’. When he turns up, he suggests walking over to a nearby Udupi joint. “Cheaper option,” he says, gloating over his decision. For the first few minutes, he merely repeats what most people already know about the actor—that he was the adopted son of KC Khanna, a businessman in Thakurdwar, a teeming neighbourhood in Mumbai, and that Jeetendra and he went to the same school. By the time Jatin Khanna—Kaka’s name then—entered college, he had become a part of the campus theatre culture, and to slake his thirst of becoming a star, had participated—and eventually won—a talent hunt contest. Vinod Mehra was among the contestants, but was knocked out by Kaka in a close encounter. Winning the contest meant a film role, but the name ‘Jatin’ was deemed too business-like for Bollywood. No one knows for sure, but ‘Rajesh’ was a screen name given by either his uncle KK Talwar or film producer GP Sippy.

Anyhow, the first half a dozen films he acted in were washouts. Ali was in college when Khanna was shooting for his third film, Baharon Ke Sapne. It was 1967. A crowd had gathered at the shooting spot, but nobody was interested in the newcomer. There were a bunch of autograph-hunters around, of course, as often happens at filming sites, but they spotted the lead actress Asha Parekh and went rushing over to her. As Ali recounts, she was an infinitely bigger draw at the time. In fact, the journalist recalls that some unruly boys had taken to mocking the hero, calling him “gurkha”. This, Ali postulates, could have been because of his somewhat Nepalese features.

Although Ali could see sufficient signs of determination in Khanna during the aspiring star’s early phase of struggle, his shyness and reluctance to mingle with everyone (by some accounts) were misconstrued by some as arrogance. Ashim Samanta, whose father Shakti Samanta turned Khanna into an overnight star with Aradhana, 1969, puts it this way: “He was more reserved than shy and he became socially active much later. He used to accompany dad everywhere initially, but once he was on his own, he mastered the rules of the game.”


At the height of Khanna’s popularity, say critics, he developed—or, to be a little generous, succumbed to—what is best described as a superiority complex. Somehow, he never had a good word to say about any of his peers, and was particularly condescending towards a newcomer in the 1970s by the name of Amitabh Bachchan. For Ali, this growing rivalry and jealousy was a subject worthy of many a media report, a theme that he explored whenever an opportunity arose. Even an objective observer like the BBC reporter Jack Pizzey, who filmed a documentary in 1973 on him called Bombay Superstar, felt that the actor was a manic egoist. In his introduction, Pizzey described him as an actor with the “charisma of Rudolph Valentino and the arrogance of Napoleon”. But it is obvious to any viewer that this was Pizzey’s sense of frustration more than admiration speaking. The BBC reporter had been given a royal runaround and was finally awarded an audience by the “emperor” only after a series of unkept appointments. Pizzey’s documentary is as much a testimony to the mass hysteria generated by Khanna’s mere presence at a film premiere as it is a portrait of an insecure, lonely superstar fixated with his position. When Pizzey asked him if he had to fight to stay No 1, Khanna told him he just had to wait and things would happen the way he wanted them to. But part of it did require fighting, he admitted. “One has to fight,” he was quoted as saying, “and fight well and win the battle.” Meanwhile, Devyani Chaubal, the columnist who’d first called Khanna a ‘superstar’, had this to say of him to Pizzey: “He is so insecure, so complex.”


One of the reasons Khanna lost his stardom, as Ali puts it, is that he didn’t value it. In Pizzey’s documentary, Khanna was asked about his fans and the crowds that had encircled him on an outdoor shooting spell as if it were a cricket World Cup final. Khanna’s response? “[Such a] crowd is good for business.”

The more popular he became, the more friends he acquired. But they were not his true friends, in Ali’s assessment. “People wanted to be around him because he was a star,” he says. Although those were the days when Khanna was ‘friends’ with nearly all his colleagues, the regular darbar that he held at Aashirwad had only small-timers in attendance. Among those he hung out with were the producers Mohan Kumar and Johnny Bakshi, writer VK Sharma and villain Roopesh Kumar (claimed to be a cousin of Mumtaz). Do these names ring a bell?

Another undoing of his was that in his desire to stay all-powerful as a superstar, he began compromising his credibility. He always did things on impulse, he told Pizzey: such as his marriage to Dimple Kapadia. As depicted in Pizzey’s documentary, this was a spontaneous decision. But, more than that, it was a ‘publicity marriage’. One day, he’d called Chaubal to offer her the scoop of a lifetime—what bigger news could it be than Rajesh Khanna’s wedding announcement? For many of his fans, it was a shattering piece of information. Girls across the country, reacting at first with shock, went into collective mourning. There were widespread fears that some of them would commit suicide, and several did. Khanna had been right: it was big news. But Chaubal had turned a Khannasceptic by then. What left her unconvinced was the story that led to his wedding. By his version of events, he’d found Dimple drowning in the sea and had fallen in love with her by the time he rescued her. By now, Chaubal knew him only too well to fall for that. “He liked what was happening to him,” she noted, “the attention, the fuss made over him.”

According to Ali, Khanna loved all things grand much before he could afford the trappings of wealth. Ali narrates the story of his most famous acquisition, Aashirwad, which was earlier owned by Rajendra Kumar. As a newcomer, he had set his sights on the bungalow and wanted it at any cost; the problem was, he was broke. “He went to BR Chopra and said, ‘Give me a cheque and I will do whatever film you tell me.’ Finally, he bought the bungalow, which was called Dimple (named after Rajendra Kumar’s daughter). He wanted to retain the name, but Rajendra wouldn’t part with it because he either had another place by that name or was constructing one, I don’t quite remember clearly. Rajesh wasn’t happy about this. Any other man would have been over the moon, but not Rajesh. He hated being refused.”


The fall from stardom was as quick as the ascent. His worst fears came true when the industry suddenly started talking about Amitabh Bachchan, the lanky actor with a baritone. Now, it so happened that Hrishikesh Mukherjee had planned to cast the two actors together in Anand. According to an essay that Ali wrote for Movietalkies.com, Khanna asked Mukherjee to replace Bachchan. That was not the end of the superstar’s unkindness to the young actor. Here is a blunt episode from the said article: ‘Rajesh Khanna, who lived in a world of his own, was told about this new actor and he just brushed his name aside and told his friends, ‘Aise attan button aate jaate rahenge, lekin Rajesh Khanna ko koi chhoo bhi nahi sakta. Main kya aise aire gaire logon se darr jaaunga? Aap log agar sochte bhi ho toh aap ko humaara darbar chhodna padega.’ (Such Johnnies-come-lately will come and go, but nobody can touch Rajesh Khanna. Do you think I’ll get scared by such newcomers? If you think that way, you ought to leave my group.)’

Ali cites another occasion when Jaya Bhaduri had to stand up for Bachchan on the sets of Bawarchi. Piqued at the kind of treatment Khanna meted out to Bachchan, Jaya lost her temper. This is how Ali describes the scene: ‘The superstar neglected Amitabh every time he passed him, even though he reluctantly wished and greeted Jaya. I was there in the studio that afternoon when Jaya kept seeing how the superstar was behaving with Amitabh. A stage came when she couldn’t control herself and burst out saying, “Woh aadmi apne aap ko kya samajhta hain? Woh Khuda toh nahi hain. Ek aadmi ko doosre aadmi ko thodi izzat dene mein kya jaata hain?” (What does that man think of himself? He is not God. What does he lose in giving a man some respect?) Then she took the form of ‘goddess Kali’ and screamed, “Dekhna ek din yeh jo aadmi mere saath khada hain woh kitna bada star hoga aur woh jo apne aap ko Khuda samajhta hai woh kahin ka nahi rahega.” (Mark my words, this man here will be a top star someday and that man who thinks he is God will not be anywhere close.)’

Bachchan’s success caused Khanna immeasurable pain, says Ali. Recounting an incident from a party at Sun-n-Sand hotel in suburban Mumbai, Ali writes that Khanna staged a walkout when he saw Bachchan swamped with more autograph requests than him. Ali writes: ‘That night he went to the terrace of his bungalow and cried his heart out and in his drunkenness called out to God and howled, “Oh God, why me?”’

Khanna just couldn’t accept his eclipse by someone he’d scoffed at. But Bachchan soon attained superstardom of the kind Khanna had merely fancied. He turned a recluse.

Recently, it was a surprise to see Khanna resurface at an award ceremony; the bigger surprise was that he had agreed to receive the trophy at the hands of Bachchan. At most public appearances since then, he has been going out of his way to remind people (and himself) that, “Yeh bhi ek daur hai, woh bhi ek daur thha.” (This is an era, and that too was an era.)


Life’s ironies, aside, Ali points out that in his illness, Khanna has come to terms with not only the ephemeral nature of stardom, but also his own mortality. His family is back by his side. Ali says the actor’s only wish is to restore Aashirwad to its past glory. “If you pass by Aashirwad at night, you’ll see it lit up like a film set. That’s what he desires most.” Maybe, like Norma Desmond, Rajesh Khanna is ready for his close-up. Are we, the audience, going to behave like “those wonderful people out there in the dark” as he’d expect?

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December 2022
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