The intoxication of pain in a lover’s heart

I dedicate this post to my friend – Prabhu Laal Prajapati who had gifted this non-filmy music album to me when the year 2003 was nearing its end. Since a song of this album – Waqt Ne Hum Se Kaisa Liya Imtihaan was his favourite (due to the lyrics he could identify with) and since I had shared some personal hurts in my heart with him, he thought I would like this album. Later on I kept that album as a gift from him and arranged a copy of the same for him. This is a non-filmy music album containing mainly Ghazals and Nazms sung by the renowned playback singer of Bollywood movies – Kumar Sanu and I found it quite good.The title of the album is Nasha (intoxication) but unlike another music album of the same title presented by Pankaj Ud-haas, this album does not contain mainly the songs related to intoxication through liquor etc. There are two such songs only in the album whereas the other ones belong to love, separation, bereavement (due to parting of the beloved), sentiments, performance of duties and philosophy of life.imgThis single cassette album starts with Kisi Ki Yaad Saataye Sharaab Pee Lena. This song though referring to liquor-consumption in the initial lines, is quite different and emotionally appealing in its stanzas. The second song is a very beautiful as well as touching Nazm – Waqt Ne Hum Se Kaisa Liya Imtihaan, Tumne Roka Nahin Hum Ruke Bhi Nahin, signifying the pain of parting and the sentiments associated therewith. The next song is a philosophical Ghazal rendering the message of moving ahead in life, leaving the past behind – Zindagi Tujhko Naye Mod Pe La Hee Denge, Tu Hamen Kuchh Bhi Na De Hum To Wafa Hee Denge. And the last one is a very painful song underscoring the loneliness of the person concerned after the loss of the sweetheart – Kis Se Baat Karen.

The alternative side of the cassette also contains four songs. The very first one is again a Ghazal soaked in the pain which arises when the love of one’s life has been lost – Koi Na Geet Pyar Ke Gaaye Andheri Raaton Mein. The next one is a below par song – Sharaab Pee Pee Kar which, in my opinion, is the weakest song of this album. The third one is Nazar Milaayi Tune Dil Na Milaaya, Haay Tera Pyar Mujhe Raas Na Aaya which is a song with a tinge of complaint towards the now separated beloved. And the last one is Na Kabhi Wafa Karoonga Maine Faisla Kiya Hai, Bas Farz Ada Karoonga Maine Faisla Kiya Hai which is a beautiful Nazm through which the concerned lover declares that now onwards he will pay attention to discharging of his duties only, ignoring things like love, fidelity etc. in his life.This album is a long forgotten non-filmy album and not in line with the repute of Kumar Sanu but I feel, that it is overall good and can be listened to by the painstruck hearts at least (who can relate to it). Barring the two songs specifically mentioned above, all the other songs are quite good. Pandit K. Razdan has written meaningful lyrics for the songs and Jeetu Tapan have composed admirable melodies for them. Released by Tips in the year 2000, this album was not a commercial success as such (perhaps because it was released at the wrong point of time) and hence, it can be considered as underrated in my opinion.

Kumar Sanu has sung all the songs (solos) whether they are Ghazals or Nazms, quite beautifully keeping the feeling embedded the words intact in his voice and he has been successful in conveying the pain in the heart of the unfortunate lover to the separated sweetheart (if she can listen to these songs).

The title of the album is apt because pain and tears also contain a kind of intoxication for the gloomy lover who has lost something invaluable (for him / her). I know how intoxicant it can be to shed tears when losing oneself in someone’s memories and hence this album containing Ghazals and Nazms pertaining to the parting of the singing person’s sweetheart, is full of intoxication only. The losers in love only know how pleasantly engrossing it is to dive in the river of someone’s memories and it happens when they listen to pieces of music like those contained in this album.

The lovers of music and Urdu poetry will find Nasha as reasonably good because out of the eight songs, six are quality songs. Such songs are not heard on radio or TV channels too and hence listening to them directly from the album is the only way out. Kumar Sanu commands his own fan-following in India as well as abroad and it’s a treat for his admirers.

Today is Kumar Sanu’s birthday. I sign off with my hearty birthday wishes to this extremely popular singer as weal as my positive recommendation for this album.

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Thrill but no suspense

Right Yaaa Wrong (2010) is a Hindi movie under the thriller genre. However it is not the routine run-of the-mill Bollywood suspense thriller. It is not an original story either. The filmmaker has lifted the story from a Hollywood movie – Above Suspicion (1995). All the same, he can be given the credit for Indianizing it proficiently and making a grossly watchable thriller for the Hindi movie audience. The director (Neeraj Pathak) has revealed the suspense just after the crime. Leave aside making it a whodunnit mystery, he has not even allowed it to remain a howdunnit mystery. Audience is well aware of who did it and how did it, much earlier than the climax of the movie. Nevertheless the movie is interesting and able to make the viewers sit on their seats till the last scene.Sunny Deol plays the usual ideal (and superman like capable) cop who works in association with his colleague cum close friend – Irrfan. In between the initial action sequence of Sunny, the director starts unfolding the plot as if he is in a hurry. The infidelity of Sunny’s wife and the loose character of his cousin give a hint of the forthcoming storyline. However a paralyzed Sunny’s making a scheme for his backstabbers to implement which should result in his own death, confuses the viewers albeit for a very short while. This is the interval. Soon after the interval, the twist in the tale is very much within in the knowledge of the audience. Here the narrator demonstrates his commendable skill to maintain the interest of the viewer for the remaining part of the movie. Irrfan comes into active role, accusing his friend and colleague to mastermind a cold-blooded double murder and vows to get the guilty booked. Konkona Sen Sharma, his sister, enters the screen in the role of a sympathetic lawyer believing in the innocence of Sunny. Investigation, interrogation and trial scenes follow culminating in exoneration of Sunny and mental break-down of his dutiful friend, i.e., Irrfan who feels defeated and wounded with a painful sense of not being able to protect the honour of the law of the land.

The beauty of the narrative is that it fully justifies the title of the story. There are difficult moments in an otherwise straightforward and clean-heart person’s life too when he faces the moral dilemma of deciding what is right and what is wrong. Flowing with the events of the movie in the post-interval session, the viewer starts feeling that both the leading gentlemen are right in their own ways and none of them can be labelled as wrong.  Sunny’s making his enemies work upon the plan of their own murder, mistaking it to be the plan of Sunny’s murder, is simply breathtaking. And after the murder(s), the happenings and the developments in the story envelop the attention of the viewer in a different manner because the cat and mouse game between Irrfan (the cat) and Sunny (the mouse) is different from n number of such games shown in other movies. This cat and this mouse are emotional for each other and the bone of contention is only their individual perspectives of right and wrong and the storyteller has added spice to the already interesting tussle by bringing the cat’s sister – Konkona on the side of the mouse. Despite lack of mystery or suspense, the eagerness remains for the climax. However the climax, though not a let down, is not so impressive as it should have been after a sensational courtroom drama.The director, instead of picking his script ditto from Above Suspicion, could have amended it a bit and kept the mystery (of at least the howdunnit aspect) alive till the climax thereby making it a genuine suspense thriller. Had he done it, the movie would have been a better one. All the same, I make no attempt to snatch the credit from him for making an entertaining thriller. The events related to the double murder reminisce me of Sanjeev Kumar starring thriller of 1986 – Qatl as well as another Sanjeev Kumar starrer of 1980 – Be Reham alongwith a relatively recent Bollywood thriller – Maharathi which was released in 2008 and of course Hollywood classic – A Perfect Murder (1998) with its Bollywood rip-offs like Humraaz (2002) and Vaada (2005). Yet it resembles them only in bits and pieces and overall it is able to carve out another, different niche for itself.Right Yaaa Wrong (right or wrong) is a food for thought also. Can ethical values and laws of the land be considered as absolute in their own right or they need to be given a second look according to the tricky situation at hand demanding resolution ? Should an honest, sincere and loving person not be given a chance to judge them differently when life compels him to do an unethical thing or take the law into his own hands ? And how should a dutiful cop think ? Should he allow himself to get carried away by the noble and virtuous personality of the criminal or the etiology behind his crime and become a silent party to his crime by not performing his sacred duty of catching the law-breakers and presenting them before the court of law ? The answers are not easy.

The music of the movie is by no means excellent, however the very few songs inserted into the movie are well integrated with the narrative. The lead characters – Sunny, Irrfan, Konkona, Isha Koppikar as the unfaithful wife and the actor playing the backstabbing cousin; all have played their parts with utmost sincerity. Irrfan as always, is able to steal the show with his genius. Sunny has been given a chance to exercise his old and well-known action talent in the beginning part of the movie in which he has done well, making his action fans happy. But more importantly, he has done full justice to the real, meatier role of a cheated husband and a loving `n’ caring father in the later reels of the movie as well. Full marks to him. Deepal Shaw (lady police officer), Suhasini Mulay (magistrate) and Govind Namdeo (public prosecutor) are also first rate.

The technical departments of the movie are up to the mark. Editing has made the movie crisp and engrossing. Sunny’s wardrobe also needs a mention. The dresses selected for him give him a younger (though he was 53 years old at the time of this movie) and smarter look.

Overall a good movie. Doesn’t matter that it is a copied one.

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Don’t tell it to anybody that I know English

Today on the occasion of Hindi Day (14th September), I am posting the review of a movie which debates on the utility of English in India. The debate of Hindi (with the other vernaculars) vs. English is more than a century old. And it got heated up with the independence of our country from the British rule and the promulgation of the Indian constitution declaring India as a sovereign republic on 26th January, 1950. However the English educated Indian politicians preferred English over the vernaculars in their public life for long until Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then foreign minister of India delivered his speech in Hindi in the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1977. Mr. Vajpayee did it again after a quarter of a century in the year 2002 when he represented India at the UN as her prime minister this time.

However the debate continued and still continues mainly because India is a multilingual country with different languages being spoken in different regions. Since the Hindi speaking (and understanding) people form the biggest part of the population, Hindi was declared as the National Language of India but the fear of its overpowering the regional languages ensured that English continues to supersede Hindi (and other vernaculars too) in our country. And presently, despite the Hindi Day celebrations and the propagation of Hindi, it’s English only which reigns in India.

Director Hrishikesh Mukherjee had made a classic comedy in the form of Chupke Chupke (1975) presenting the Hindi vs. English debate amidst a laugh-riot for the audience. After a few years, he again dealt with this theme with a different story, focusing on English this time (Chupke Chupke focussed on Hindi). This movie which is also a comedy, is Kissi Se Na Kehna (1983) starring the red hot pair of that time – Farooq Sheikh and Deepti Naval in lead roles with Utpal Dutt being at the center of the story.Kissi Se Na Kehna (don’t tell it to anybody) is the story of a widower – Kailashnaath (Utpal Dutt) who is searching for a bride for his grown-up son – Ramesh (Farooq Sheikh). Since he finds certain English educated girls as totally Westernized in their outlook, life-style and behaviour; he decides to marry his son to a girl who does not know English. This decision of his puts Ramesh into trouble because he is in love with a medico – Dr. Ramola (Deepti Naval). His father’s friend – Laalaji (Saeed Jaffrey) helps him by presenting Ramola as a totally naive and modestly educated village girl who has no knowledge of English and the love-birds get happily married.

But as the story progresses with hilarious incidents in the family of Kailashnaath involving his interactions with his daughter-in-law, Ramola starts feeling guilty because she is a lady who believes in truth and it hurts her conscience that she is lying to her father-in-law (who also believes as much in truth only and hates lie in similar quantum). She wants to reveal the truth to Kailashnaath but Ramesh stops her for the sake of the family bliss. However the day comes when Kailashnaath needs medical aid and with no alternative around, Ramola only attends him in her professional capacity of a doctor. After some emotional tension, the story concludes on a happy note.

Kissi Se Na Kehna is not a laugh-riot as Chupke Chupke but it entertains the audience throughout its duration. Set in a simple milieu, this low budget and neat ‘n’ clean movie tickles the funny bone of the viewers for most of its duration and generates smile on their lips. Though, in my view, the script of this movie is not as strong as it should have been considering the theme; nevertheless it is an appreciable movie which can be watched with complete family. The seasoned director has done his job well despite the not-so-strong script.

The points raised by Kailashnaath are genuine and valid. He is not against English as a language because in his opinion (and in my opinion too), every language is divine. He is against the imposition of English, relegating our own cultural and lingual heritage. When several nations could progress by relying on their own languages instead of English, why can’t India ? The imposition of English as a medium of Education as well as a language of public dealings is nothing but a sign of our mental slavery to the Western culture.

However the director has very wisely shown Kailashnaath as realizing his error of discarding English and English-literate females altogether because despite being a highly qualified and English-educated lady, Ramola has proved to be a perfect daughter-in-law for his family, giving utmost respect to the elders and soaking herself in the Indian cultural values. Her guilt-complex of lying to her father-in-law itself is a sign of her inner piety. And that’s the point which needs to be understood to bring about the required balance in our outlook and behaviour with respect to the issue of English vis-a-vis our mother-tongue (Hindi in this movie).

Technically, the movie is all right because it is a simple movie devoid of lavishness. Length is perfect. Music composed by Bappi Lahiri is another weak point of this movie.The title of this movie has been taken from a song of another Farooq-Deepti starrer Saath-Saath (1982). Farooq and Deepti made a lovely on-screen pair and presented some memorable movies during the early eighties. In Kissi Se Na Kehna too, their on-screen chemistry is perfect. The story revolves around Deepti and she has delivered another admirable performance. Farooq as a man caught between his wife and his father is not far behind. Saeed Jaffrey and other supporting cast members are perfectly in place. The best performer is, undoubtedly, the seasoned actor Utpal Dutt who is all pervasive in the movie.

On the occasion of Hindi Day, I reiterate the viewpoint of Kailashnaath that every language is divine and respectable. However let’s not forget that it’s our mother tongue in which we learn to speak, listen, understand and interact, may it be Hindi or Bengali or Oriya or Tamil or Telugu or Kannada or Malayalam or Marathi or Assamese or the likewise. And therefore, it deserves more respect than English which though necessary for life, is ultimately a foreign language only. And mother tongue is just like mother to a human-being. Despite loving, respecting and giving importance to his wife very much, a married man cannot allow her to supersede his mother. That’s my view.

I recommend Kissi Se Na Kehna wholeheartedly to all the movie buffs.

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Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah

Today is the Teachers’ Day (Shikshak Divas), the birthday of the great teacher and ex-president of India, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. Last year I had written a blog on this day paying my regards to my ex-English teacher Late Shri Surendra Kumar Mishra. I have also written reviews of certain movies made by keeping an idealistic teacher at the nucleus of the story, viz. Jagriti (1954), Nartakee (1963), Parichay (1972), Imtihan (1974), Payal Ki Jhankaar (1980), Hip Hip Hurray (1984), Aarakshan (2011) etc. as I have a great respect for all those teachers who are dutiful and ever-active in shaping the generation next in the right direction with honesty and sincerity. To me, such teachers are equivalent to God and more respectable than the parents. And they gain life-long respect of the students and their guardians which is much more valuable than the material gains. My wife has been such a sincere and committed teacher only for seventeen years and I can see the volume of respect she gets continuously on account of that. That’s the most valuable asset of hers which nobody can snatch from her.

However I have also seen that there are teachers with sadistic tendencies who take pleasure in frustrating and torturing the students. In addition to corporal punishment with or without a reason, they humiliate the young ones, leaving indelible imprints on their tender hearts which never leave or fade out throughout their lives and affect their personalities very adversely. I had left my school in 1985 when such tendencies were reported very less (but existed very much). Now, every now and then, such incidents are coming to notice when sadistic (male as well as female) teachers render pain, humiliation and disgusting experiences to the young innocents.

Well, that’s why I am of the opinion that teaching is a noble profession (no less noble than the profession of medicine) which should not be opted for by anybody and everybody just for the sake of earning a living or making truckloads of money. I now feel that had I become a teacher or a trainer, I would have gained immense satisfaction in my life because of my inherent tendency to motivate and exasperate whatever is good and positive in individuals. Over the past two decades, several individuals (juniors, peers, colleagues and friends) have told me that I am a great motivator. And that’s how I visualize a true teacher or a true Guru who takes pleasure in motivating, who takes pleasure in showing the right path. Late Mishra Ji who I owe my knowledge of English language as well as whatever I achieved during my schooling, was such a teacher only. Even before anybody could guess that I could achieve a rank / position in the Board Examination, he had sensed it and then he motivated me by simply putting his trust in my ability (and my sincerity as well) saying – ‘I know you will do it’. The significant thing is that he used the words – ‘you will’ and not ‘you may’ or ‘you can’ or ‘you are able to’. That’s his trust and confidence in me that motivated me like anything. When I achieved 2nd rank in the Board in my 10th examination, everybody was surprised but Mishra Ji who knew that it’s bound to come and he was the happiest person (happier than me and my parents also) over it. Years later, I came into contact with Late Naaradanand Ji who taught me music and with his guidance only I performed in a solo singing event and got appreciation. He knew that I could do it and he instilled that confidence in me. I also apply the same tool when I have to (or I am willing to) motivate someone to aim at something.

My friends know that originally I am a Hindi writer. I have written a Hindi play signifying the importance of character-building in the young generation which should start from the early childhood itself. In my humble opinion, the root of a majority of the troubles of our country is the decline in the character of the countrymen and the dilution of their faith in the moral values. Herein lies the importance of development of strong moral character in the children which, if the foundation is stout, will not be shaken by their bitter experiences in their adulthood. In addition to the parents and the family members, the person who can do it best is the teacher(s). And that’s why we term the teacher as GURU (one who removes the darkness in you). For this purpose, the teachers themselves should be of sound character (or at least reasonably sound character), mature, sensitive and strongly willing to lead the young ones in the right direction.

With my tribute to Late Mishra Ji, Late Naaradanand Ji and my regards to several other teachers who inspired and affected me (whether they taught me any subject of the curriculum or not) plus all the sincere teachers of the world at large, I reproduce a Shloka (Sanskrit couplet) from the Dhruvashtakam of Brihadaranyak Upanishad:

Gururbrahma Gururvishnu Gururdevomaheshvaraah
Guru Saakshaat Parambrahma, Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah

(Guru is Brahma, i.e, the creator; Guru is Vishnu, i.e., the preserver; Guru is Shiva, the destroyer. Guru is the Absolute. I bow before Guru).maxresdefaultThe famous devotional and philosophical poet of the medieval era, Sant Kabir has also expressed similar feelings in a Doha (Hindi couplet) :

Guru Govind Dono Khade, Kaake Laagoon Paay
Balihaari Guru Aapne, Govind Diyo Milaay

(Both Guru and God are standing before me and I wonder whose feet to touch. I am grateful to Guru first who only ensured my access to God).

The links of my blogs written regarding Mishra Ji and Naaradanand Ji are as follows :

https://jmathur.wordpress.com/2016/09/04/a-tribute-to-an-ideal-teacher/
https://jmathur.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/the-lamp-has-blown-out-but-the-light-remains/
https://jmathur.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/naaradanandji/

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My YouTube Channel – Forgotten Bollywood Gems

My fondness for movies, especially Bollywood movies, turned me into a reviewer who kept on reviewing movies (Hindi alongwith English and regional) since February 2010 and shortly thereafter went ahead to review books also.

Presently I am active on two blogs : WordPress for my English write-ups and Blogger for my Hindi write-ups (jitendramathur.blogspot.com). Now my son, Saurav Mathur who himself runs a popular YouTube channel – Beyblade Legends, has created a YouTube channel for me too.

The name of this YouTube channel is Forgotten Bollywood Gems. As the name suggests, it will furnish information about those Bollywood movies which can be termed as Bhooli-Bisri (forgotten) now with very little information available for them. The link of this (Hindi) channel is :

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeMwlUSODokltnEl_cBXlaQ?view_as=subscriber

I have posted my review of a black and white movie Insaf Ka Mandir (1969) in its first episode. In fact, my son only has uploaded it as I am technically not sound. Not being camera-savvy, I can see the scope for a lot of improvement in the episodes to be posted in future. However I believe that my admirers in the virtual world will appreciate the beginning.

The link of the opening episode is :

https://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=v0P97zX1kPnhM3Jm&u=/watch%3Fv%3DYt5Atd8BmmM%26lc%3DUgzhT5M57P3oBLLy-up4AaABAg%26feature%3Dem-comments

Future episodes will take time as due to my employment, presently I am living away from my family. As of now, I am posted at Visakhapatnam where I live alone whereas my wife, daughter and son are living at Pune. Frankly speaking, the spoken content only is mine, rest everything else found on this channel is courtesy my children only, i.e., my daughter (Swayamprabha) and son (Saurav).

One more news that I am willing to share with my friends and well-wishers in the virtual world is that now my Hindi novel – Qatl Ki Aadat (क़त्ल की आदत: मर्डर मिस्ट्री) is available as an e-book on Kindle. Earlier it was available (in pdf form) on Pothi.com only.

No words of thanks will be enough to express my immense gratitude towards the readers on internet who always encouraged and motivated me for more than a decade to write better and better and improve myself . Hope to get the support and good wishes of all for these endeavours too.

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That memorable outing at Pahaadajhar

Exactly eighteen years have passed since I had made a memorable outing with my family in the rainy season of 2002. That was the day of 25th August, 2002. I was posted at Rajasthan Atomic Power Station located near a small town – Rawatbhata which is fifty kilometres away from Kota (Rajasthan). That was the time of my life when my family was quite a small one containing myself, my wife and my little daughter. Just a month back, we had suffered a setback hurting the hearts of myself and my wife when her pregnancy case went the wrong way and we had to settle for an abortion while the pregnancy was in an advanced stage. By God’s grace, we could avert her operation. She had recovered physically but definitely, mentally she had yet to recover the same way, I had to recover. However just one day before, I had had a big jolt in my office when the information of my transfer to Mumbai (HQ) was given to me. After a lot of effort only, I had managed my transfer from Tarapur (Maharashtra) to my home state and in that already not-so-well mental state of myself and my wife, I was by no means prepared to move out.That transfer news was broken to me on Saturday, 24.08.2002. On Sunday, 25.08.2002, being in low spirits and badly needing someone’s help, I decided to make a visit to a senior HR official at his residence and seek guidance and help in that matter and thereafter visit Pahaadajhar which is a beautiful place some 12 kilometres away from Anu Kiran Colony where our quarter (Type II / 25 J) was situated. After paying the brief visit to the concerned benevolent official (Mr. S.C. Bansal), we restarted on our scooter (which I have always considered a part of my family). The path was already not very good to move ahead on such a vehicle and regular rainfall had made it even more difficult. All the same, we continued and finally, reached Pahaadajhar after a drive of around 40-45 minutes, passing through muddy patches.
However once we reached, the peacock in my heart started dancing with joy because the place was indeed very beautiful. Due to rainy season, pleasant weather and that day being a holiday, there was heavy rush of picnic parties there. Pahaadajhar contains a natural but seasonal water fall with a water body generated through that only alongwith a very old temple of Lord Shiva being situated there known as Pahaadajhar Mahadev. We had the Darshan of the deity in the temple and thereafter started enjoying the place, having some tea and taking snaps. Since by that time, I had learnt swimming, I decided to swim. We had brought my swimming costume with us. I wore it and jumped into the water-body which was just like a swimming pool (albeit the water was greenish due to moss and small water-plants). I started from one shore and crossed the water-body to reach the other shore. After taking a brief rest at the other end, I returned back to the original point through swimming only. I was surprised that I was almost the only swimmer in that. Later, some people told me that there were crocodiles in that water-body (crocodiles are aplenty in the river Chambal and the associated water streams in that region). I shivered to hear that. However that information was received after this trip and you cannot unring a rung bell. Life does not contain any UNDO command.
On our way back also, we stopped at many places taking snaps. The path of return was a different one and suddenly my beloved scooter slipped on the slippery path passing through plants and greenery on both sides. The threesome riding the scooter, i.e., myself, my wife and my little daughter, wallowed on the path but were not hurt because I was driving quite slowly and that narrow path was not stony or hard. Hence we got up quickly, put the scooter standing again on its wheels and restarted the journey after sharing a laugh among us. My loyal scooter restarted quickly without giving us any mentionable starting trouble (due to overflow of petrol or the likewise reasons). And that sudden rolling over incident did not adversely affect our spirit to enjoy every moment of that trip. We continued to enjoy weather and natural scenes until we reached the residential area again.Today exactly eighteen years are over but I still remember the day and relive it through the snaps taken during the trip which are lying in our photo album. Since then, there have been many developments in my life. But the lesson that I grasped from that was extra-ordinary – Smile even when the odds are against you and enjoy every pleasant moment of your life. Your smile and never-say-die spirit will repulse every adversity away from you. And that proved true after that trip. My transfer order was never withdrawn but never implemented as well. My boss (Mr. S. Alaguvel) supported me through thick and thin and I was not relieved from that place. Today while seeing the photos of that day, I felt like sharing that experience with my friends. That’s why this post has come into existence.

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The painful saga of retreat

Haqeeqat (1964) is undoubtedly the best war based movie ever made in India. I term HaqeeqatBorder (1997) and LOC – Kargil (2003) as three genuine war based movies made under Hindi cinema. The later two were made by J.P. Dutta whereas Haqeeqat is a brain-child of Chetan Anand, one of the most respected film-directers of Bollywood. The other thing that distinguishes Haqeeqat from the other two movies is that Border and LOC – Kargil narrate the stories of victories of the Indian army in the wars (against Pakistan) whereas Haqeeqat narrates the painful saga of retreat after a humiliating defeat suffered by India in the war against China in 1962. A wicked neighbour of ours backstabbed us by disguising as our friend and we were caught awestruck by that. How painful it has been for every patriot Indian that time ! And still how painful it is to recall and feel that defeat even after passing of half a century since then ! Haqeeqat was made just a couple of years after that forgettable war which, unfortunately, cannot be forgotten. It is highly realistic. And so highly painful as well.

Made with the assistance of the Govt. of India, Haqeeqat (truth / reality) is the story of a platoon of Indian soldiers in the hilly terrain of Laddakh who are first considered as dead by the Indian army when the war with China is still on (in October 1962) but when it is known that they are alive, they get instruction to retreat to their base. The retreat is not that easy. The Chinese military is there aiming for their blood on one hand and the poor weather alongwith the difficult path with little resources on the other. A local girl Angmo (Priya Rajvansh) and her beau, Captain Bahadur Singh (Dharmendra) assist the Indian soldiers led by Major Ranjeet Singh (Balraaj Saahni) in retreating by keeping the Chinese attackers at bay. The path is difficult, the weather is not so kind either and above all, there are little resources with the soldiers to keep themselves alive and energetic. Little wonder, maintaining a high morale during this unusually painful journey is nothing short of a Herculean task for them. This painful saga concludes with the platoon reaching its base after losing many of its members during the retreat and after the sacrifices of Bahadur Singh and Angmo while fighting with the Chinese.150875044484828466-haqeeqat-original-vintage-bollywood-movie-poster.jpgThough it has not been claimed anywhere, this movie is actually a take on the Battle of Rezang La in the hilly terrains with the armymen being ill-equipped to fight the mighty enemy. Rezang La has been one of the several pockets of the Indian army which delivered a brave resistance despite scarcity of resources and finally ensured a ceasefire with the enemy in that lost war. Well, the selfish and insensible (as well as insensitive) politicians and bureaucrats could (and can) never understand the difficulties, the endangering of own lives and the patriotism of the brave soldiers. This is perhaps the most harsh truth (Haqeeqat) of our country.

Haqeeqat did not win any awards but it was considered as the second best feature film in 1965. Irrespective of getting or not getting awards, it is an all time great war movie made in our country. The war scenes are less in the movie but the shadows of war are throughout there in each and every sequence. This movie deals at length with the psyche of the soldiers who are trapped in danger with little resources as well as little energy left with them but the dream to go back and meet their beloveds is still in their eyes. The songs like Main Yeh Sochkar Uske Dar Se Utha Tha and Hoke Majboor Mujhe Usne Bhulaaya Hoga have been used with brilliance to underscore this mindset of them.

The art director of this movie is M.S. Sathyu who later on made a classic movie – Garm Hava (1973) himself. The art director has brought the environment prevailing at that time and at that place alive on the screen and the cinematographer also has done an outstanding job for this black and white movie. It’s a movie whose each and every frame deserves admiration and recognition of the efforts behind.

The seasoned director has left no stone unturned in making a memorable movie which brings tears to the eyes of the spectators in several scenes. The script is well-knitted and its presentation on the screen is nothing short of outstanding. There are several scenes in the movie which can be considered as real gems. One is Major Ranjeet Singh’s proposing Angmo when it is known that Bahadur Singh is dead and her refusing his proposal. Another is the outburst of Angmo’s younger brother towards Major Ranjeet Singh when he tells him that Bahadur Singh is dead with Angmo telling strictly to her younger brother to speak to Major Ranjeet Singh with respect. And finally, it’s the rape-scene in the ending reels of the movie when the Chinese get hold of Angmo and as a part of her torture, rape her. This scene has been shown on the screen in such an indirect and subtle way that I realized long after watching the movie that it was actually a rape-scene. This speaks volumes for the talent of the director.

Performances are great. Dharmendra, Balraaj Saahni, Jayant (as the army brigadier) and the child artist playing the role of Angmo’s younger brother have done marvellously. Alongwith them, there are Vijay Anand, Sudhir, Sanjay, Mac Mohan and many more actors playing the roles of the tired and wounded soldiers and all of them have done exceedingly well infusing life into the respective characters. Priya Rajvansh debuted through this movie and though she looks pretty, her acting limitations are evident. Perhaps it’s been a reason behind her not doing movies of any director other than Chetan Anand in her career. There are several female characters in cameos who have created a strong impact in the movie despite being present in odd scenes only.

The talk of Haqeeqat can never be complete without the mention of its great music. Azeem Shaayar Janaab Kaifi Aazmi has penned the immortal lyrics and Madan Mohan has made unforgettable compositions for them. In my list of top twenty Hindi movie songs, I have kept Hoke Majboor Mujhe Usne Bhulaaya Hoga at the numero uno position. This is the song of a lifetime sung by four stalwarts of Hindi film music – 1. Bhupinder, 2. Mohammed Rafi, 3. Talat Mahmood and 4. Manna Dey. Each of these four singers has sung a stanza and each stanza is a tear-jerker in itself. Watching this song on the screen is just like watching a complete movie within a few minutes. Kar Chale Hum Fida Jaan-o-Tan Saathiyo (Rafi) is another immortal song from this movie, undoubtedly one of the best patriotic songs ever made. Aaee Abke Saal Diwali (Lata) narrates the painful Diwali of that year in which there were no lights in the homes of the soldiers on the front. Zara Si Aahat Hoti Hai To Dil Sochta Hai (Lata) and Masti Mein Chhed Ke Tarana Koi Dil Ka (Rafi) are some other beautiful songs. A song – Khelo Na Mere Dil Se O Saajna (Lata) is an emotional song which is available in the album only because it was omitted from the movie. Finally, Main Yeh Sochkar Uske Dar Se Utha Tha is a unique song of Rafi with minimal instrumental effect but the lyrics of this small song are such that they can bring tears to the eyes of any sincere lover.

With another Independence Day around and the threats for the country and the countrymen increasing day-by-day from different sides (especially from China, the villain of Haqeeqat), I recall this classic movie which is not only a memorable experience to watch but also something to feel and preserve in one’s heart forever.

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Ye Zindagi Usi Ki Hai Jo Kisi Ka Ho Gaya . . .

The greatest Indian movie made on the Salim-Anarkali saga is unarguably Mughal-e-Azam (1960). It can be considered as one of the best movies ever made not just in India but all over the world. Legendary director Kareem Aasif took 15 long years in bringing the journey of this epic movie from conception to its release and its making saw many ups and down during this time period. When Mughal-e-Azam was being made, producer Sasadhar Mukherjee used the same theme and came up with a Hindi movie. This movie based on the love story of Mughal prince Salim and an ordinary girl known as Anarkali is Anarkali (1953) which came before the audience seven years prior to the release of Mughal-e-Azam.anarkali-ye-zindagi-usiki-hai_1ksa-2mThe story is well-known. Prince Salim falls in love with an ordinary girl named as Naadira who is rechristened as Anarkali. Mughal emperor Akbar isn’t ready to allow his the only son to marry an ordinary girl. The clash of the father and the son on this issue, finally reaches a tragic culmination and the prince loses the love of his life forever.imagesHowever the significant thing about this love-legend is that it’s not supported by the history despite the Mughal prince Salim who later got known as Emperor Jahangir being a real personality because there is no mention of the character of Anarkali anywhere in the history. That’s why this tragic love legend is considered an imaginary story because the character of the female itself is imaginary. Quite naturally, the other events shown in the movies made on this story are also not considered as historical truths.

And this is the reason why there is a difference in the scripts of the movies made on this movie because not being based on historical truths, this theme is open to molding and twisting for the pens of different script-writers. The events shown in Anarkali are different from those shown in Mughal-e-Azam and though the climax is equally tragic in both the movies and takes shape in a similar way, it has been given another, final and more interesting twist in Mughal-e-Azam whereas in Anarkali, the obvious only is shown and conveyed to the audience.e8716-anarkali_1953_01Considering the quality of the story, this period movie should have been made on a large scale with high production value. However it is not as grandiose and magnificent when watched on the screen as we expect it to be so, especially when it is contrasted with Mughal-e-Azam which came seven years later to it. Technically, it is okay though. The story flows very well with the help of many melodious songs and impressive dialogues. The complete team including the directors (Nandlal Jashwantlal) has worked hard and made a decent movie. anarkali_poster_320202Pradeep Kumar and Bina Rai were perhaps an ideal on-screen couple. They have come together in certain movies and have always complimented each other very well on the screen. The biggest example of their amazing on-screen chemistry is Taj Mahal (1963), another period movie which came ten years later to Anarkali. However they look quite good in this movie too and perfectly fit the bill for their respective roles. Very pretty Bina Rai has done well in the title role whereas Pradeep Kumar was always an ideal choice for costume dramas. Other actors including Mubarak as Akbar are also well in place.3113c4dc7798b83d748f80a69a6f8190_mThe greatest asset of this movie is undoubtedly the timeless music composed by C. Ramachandra with the lyrics penned by Shailendra and Rajendra Krishan. Lata Mangeshkar has given voice to most of the female songs including the immortal Ye Zindagi Usi Ki Hai Jo Kisi Ka Ho Gaya, Pyar Hi Mein Kho Gaya. Hemant Kumar has given voice to the male songs. Jaag Dard-e-Ishq Jaag, Zindagi Pyar Ki Do Chaar Ghadi Hoti Hai, Aye Baad-e-Saba Aahista Chal, Mohabbat Aisi Dhadkan Hai, Aa Ja Ab To Aa Ja Meri Kismet Ke Kharidaar, Mujhse Mat Poochh Mere Ishq Mein Kya Rakha Hai, Mohabbat Mein Aise Kadam Dagmagaye, Dua Kar Gham-e-Dil Khuda Se Dua Kar etc. are all real gems which the music-lovers can keep on listening to without getting tired. There is only one song in the movie which has been prepared by a different team of composer, lyricist and singer. It’s Aa Jaan-e-Wafa Aa which has been written by eminent Shaayar Janaab Jaanisaar Akhtar, composed by Basant Prakash and sung by Geeta Dutt.anarkali-1953-old-hindi-movie-mp3-songs-downloadOverall, Anarkali is a nice entertaining movie made on the legend of Salim-Anaarkali. We will never be sure as to whether really there was some girl known as Anarkali (or Naadira) in the life of the Mughal prince Salim (later became famous as Jahangir) or not. But those who believe in true love, will always consider it as real only. It’s definitely some notches below the epic known as Mughal-e-Azam, still it’s worth watching. If you love its songs, then you will definitely like it.

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When suspicion eats up the marital bliss

Suspicion is the worst thing to happen in a happily married life whose backbone is mutual trust only. However prior to the movie under review, this issue had not been honestly and properly dealt with in Bollywood movies. Aap Ki Kasam (1974) was the first movie which (perhaps by default) dealt with this issue boldly and refuted male chauvinism with conviction. It was the first Bollywood movie which was free from male bias and declared the worth of a woman’s self-respect and dignity in contemporary context.Director J. Omprakash (who happens to be the father-in-law of Rakesh Roshan and the maternal grandfather of Hritik Roshan) always made movies whose names started from the letter – ‘A’ and which were of the social drama genre. Since he always aimed to make entertaining musicals (or rom-coms in today’s lingo), this movie seems to have become a path-breaking one just by default. However end result is the most important thing and that is a thought-provoking, sensitive and interesting movie.Kamal (Rajesh Khanna) is a financially weak student who falls in love with his college-mate, Sunita (Mumtaz) who comes from a well-off family. They get married, Kamal gets a decent job and they start their happy wedded live in a new house with Kamal’s friend, Mohan (Sanjeev Kumar) being the neighbour. Mohan’s marital life is in doldrums because of his wife’s promiscuous nature and activities. The decent nature of Mohan and the common factor of music brings Sunita and Mohan closer and they become good friends. However Sunita’s friendly gesture towards Mohan is sisterly only and Mohan too has nothing clandestine in this regard. However this pious human relationship becomes the basis of suspicion in Kamal’s heart. This suspicion leads to pregnant Sunita’s leaving Kamal and going back to her father’s home. Misunderstandings prop up, cracks and distances in their relationship get widened and finally, a depressed Sunita gets divorced from Kamal and gets married to the doctor who has been treating her. When Kamal comes to know the truth and his mistake, he repents a lot but now the wheel of time cannot be rolled back. Years later, Kamal meets his tragic death while saving his own daughter from a fire broken out in her wedding ceremony.

The story plot of Aap Ki Kasam (swearing by you) is just very good and the director has done full justice to it after the initial dragging. The second half of the movie is engrossing and does not allow the viewer to skip it even for a minute. However the first half is marred by the overdose of romance and comedy. I feel, the director was carried away by the norms prevailing in those times of making at least two and a half hour long movie. Else he would have trimmed it by at least 20 minutes. There are many songs (though they are quite good), romantic scenes and comedy too before the real story takes off. However once the take off is done, the flight is smooth and non-digressing, heading straight towards the desired destination. The fairly good job of the script-writer has got a boost by the outstanding job done by the dialog-writer.I consider the scene in which Kamal enquires Sunita of her relation with Mohan and she, taken aback and hurt within herself by her husband’s suspicion, refuses to explain; as the best scene of the movie. When she asserts that she won’t explain her relation with Mohan but now onwards she won’t have any relationship with Kamal, it was the first genuine declaration of women’s lib in mainstream Bollywood movies. Her dialogue that she wonders what she had seen in Kamal to fall in love with him, clearly depicts her deep anguish.

The efforts of the writer and the director have been ably supported by the talented performers. I consider this movie among the three best performances of Mumtaz (the other two being Tere Mere Sapne and Aaina). Whether in the form of the young sweetheart or the newly wedded and highly romantic wife or the clean-hearted and kind woman, sympathizing with the lonely and aggrieved neighbour who happens to be her husband’s friend or the woman of self-respect, not ready to furnish any dignified clarification to her unduly suspicious husband or the torn lady in her father’s home or the mature mother, getting her daughter married and still longing to see the father of her daughter; Mumtaz is simply outstanding. Saying anything about Sanjeev Kumar is always trying to show lamps to the sun. He was one of those rare actors who could never act bad. And now about Rajesh Khanna, despite the criticisms, I always considered him a good actor. At least in this movie, he has acted brilliantly in the role of first a loving and later a suspicious husband and further later a repenting person, striving for atonement and making amends. The supporting cast including the comedians has done well. Even the leading pair has done hilarious comedy in the song – Jai Jai Shiv Shankar.The music is highly admirable. Apart from Jai Jai Shiv Shankar, songs like Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar Jaate Hain Jo Mukaam, Karvaten Badalte Rahe Saari Raat Hum (which is the title track), Suno – Haan Kaho, Paas Nahin Aana etc. are melodious, meaningful and memorable songs. Lata and Kishore have given voices for the lyrics of Anand Bakshi composed by  Pancham Da, i.e., R.D. Burman.

Technically and production value wise, the movie is decent as expected from J. Om Prakash. It’s a nice entertainment with a message, no doubt.

Finally, while recommending this movie to all, I reiterate my stand which I had mentioned in some earlier review – Communication gap is the biggest enemy of all relationships. It’s better to communicate and clear the things propping up in your relationships, especially the close and important ones, instead of fostering suspicions and misunderstandings in your heart. Just take a lesson from the character of Kamal in this movie and never allow suspicion to creep into your significant relationships. Have faith in your partner’s fidelity and clarify every issue through free and frank communication before a molehill turns into a mountain which you may find too high to cross over.

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Here’s the genuine spy-thriller

In 2012, two Bollywood movies had hit the screen under the name of spy-thriller – Agent Vinod and Ek Tha Tiger. Though I found those movies as entertaining flicks, I felt that they made a mockery of the term spy-movie. In my view, both those movies are a display of pump and show and focussed on lavishness only instead of telling what spying is all about. The real agents of RAW (Research & Analysis Wing, the Indian intelligence agency) must be laughing at the minds of the makers of these movies after watching them. Today I am reviewing an old Hindi movie which was a blockbuster of its time and can be termed as a genuine spy movie. It’s Ankhen (1968).Aankhen (eyes) starts with the activities of the enemies of the nation (India) who are not only involved in smuggling of arms but also conspiring to put the entire nation on fire by instigating communal tension. Major Deewaanchand Mehra (Nazir Hussain), a former associate of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose has formed a civilian group to counter the activities of  such traitors. When one young member of this group who has hitherto working as an undercover agent in the gang of the traitors, is killed due to betrayal of his own brother, Major Mehra decides to send his son – Sunil (Dharmendra) to Beirut (Lebanon) where the illegal consignments of arms are supposed to be coming from.

Sunil is received in Beirut by the members of the group who are already working there including Meenakshi (Mala Sinha) whom he had come across a few years back during his training in Japan. She had fallen for his charms but had not got any reciprocation from him. Now the movie runs very fast on the spy track with checks and checkmates, blows and counter blows and the breathtaking activities of the villains on one hand and the Indian spies on their trail on the other. A significant member of the gang (Lalita Pawar) is sent to Major Mehra’s home, posing herself as the aunt of his son-in-law after his grandson has been kidnapped by the gang. She blackmails the daughter of Major Mehra and the mother of the kidnapped kid – (Kumkum) and thus manages to live in that house and obtain vital information regarding the activities of the spy group in order to pass it to her bosses. In the end, as expected, the traitor gang is eliminated, the kidnapped kid gets released and Sunil accepts the love of Meenakshi.1014368.CINE.posTrue to its title, the movie underscores that the spies and the intelligence agencies are the eyes of a sovereign nation, keeping a vigil on the borders as well as inside the country plus on the activities going on abroad which are against the interests of the nation. The title track which is a Ghazal highlights this fact through various Shers (stanzas), the last one being Us Mulk Ki Sarhad Ko Koi Chhoo Nahin Sakta, Jis Mulk Ki Sarhad Ki Nigahbaan Hain Aankhen (none can touch the border of that nation whose border is watched by the ‘eyes’).

Writer-producer-director of this movie – Ramanand Sagar (who later became very famous by making the popular TV serial – Raamayan) has made a brilliant spy-thriller. Both the screenplay and the direction are highly admirable and the director has extracted sincere performances from the entire cast of the movie. Hence this movie mocks neither the spies nor those whom they are up against (like the contemporary movies referred to in the beginning of this review). Instead it presents the activities of both the sides in a smoothed manner (diluting the realistic approach a bit so as to present the story in an entertaining manner). Most of the characters appear to be real and not caricaturesque. The filmmaker has given ample attention and significance to almost all the supporting characters and none has been marginalized. The result of this approach has proved to be very positive for the movie.1014370.CINE.posHow emotions like love are used to further the mission at hand has been shown quite emphatically. Besides, how information is sent to the person whom it is meant for, hiding it from the others; has been depicted in an amazing manner which is to be appreciated in the light of this fact that at the time of the making of this movie, the technology was not very advanced. Make-up used for disguise by certain characters is not of good quality but let’s bear in mind that it’s a Bollywood movie and the director couldn’t afford the audience not to identify the real character. The use of facemask shown in this movie is more impressive than in technologically superior modern movies like  – Don 2 (2011) and Badla (2019).

If something is missing in this movie, it’s boredom. It is highly entertaining right from the very first frame to very last frame. The viewer gets engrossed in the narrative right from the beginning and keeps on watching holding his breath. Doses of regular entertainment in the form of songs are there but except the most popular song of this movie – Milti Hai Zindagi Mein Mohabbat Kabhi Kabhi, all the songs are situational and they facilitate the proceedings only. Dharmendra and Mala Sinha made a lovely pair but the director has kept the romantic aspect under check by showing Sunil as indifferent towards the feelings of Meenakshi.ankhenDharmendra has always been a natural performer and he has done superbly with his dashing looks being able to knock the young females out at any moment. Mala Sinha is very charming and has evolved good on-screen chemistry with Dharmendra. Nazir Hussain in his real life also was an associate of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose (prior to becoming an actor in free India) and he has done full justice to the role of a staunch patriot who is an ex-associate of Netaji. The complete supporting cast has performed with near perfection. Comedians like Mehmood and Dhumal are in the profound roles of the cohorts of Sunil and Meenakshi and they have not allowed their comedian image to overpower the requirement of the script. In fact, almost everyone in this film (including Kumkum, Sujit Kumar, Jeevan, Madan Puri, Lalita Pawar etc.) has delivered a very restrained (and hence believable) performance.

Ramanand Sagar, with not-so-advanced technology in his time, has made a movie which boasts of technical excellence. Everything including the foreign locations of Lebanon and Japan is praiseworthy in this regard. The movie is almost three hours long but considering the script spread on a large canvas with a plethora of characters, the length is not that high. And the grip of the narrative remains so tight on the spectator through the duration, that he / she hardly feels that the movie is relatively long.

Music composed by Ravi with the beautiful lyrics of Saahir is memorable. The most popular song is definitely Milti Hai Zindagi Mein Mohabbat Kabhi Kabhi (sung by Lata Mangeshkar). Very few listeners might have noticed that this lyric is actually a Ghazal. Another Ghazal is the title track – Har Taraha Ke Jazbaat Ka Ailaan Hain Aankhen whose every Sher (stanza) is a pearl coming out of the bivalve of the mind of the great Shaayar – Saahir Ludhiyanvi. Tujhko Rakkhe Raam Tujhko Allah Rakkhe (Manna Dey and Asha Bhosle), Gairon Pe Karam Apno Pe Sitam (Lata), Loot Ja Yahi Din Hain Kisi Pe Loot Ja (Kamal Barot, Asha Bhosle and Usha Mangeshkar) and a devotional song – Meri Sun Le Araj Banwaari Re (Lata) are the other songs and every one of them is a treat for the ears of music lovers.imagesAankhen was a huge commercial hit of its time and proved to be a box office success later on too whenever re-released (many times). With the danger reappearing on the borders of India, I wholeheartedly recommend this patriotic spy-thriller to all and sundry.

This review is my tribute to veteran actress Kumkum who has passed away today itself.

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