Thursday, August 2, 2012
London , UK Aug 2, 2012 Thu 11 : 00 PM GmT
Manoj Prasad : A very happy birthday to you, and thank you for working so hard on the promotions of BhTB !! Enjoy !!
Materialism at times stuns you into silence and contemplation. The need and desire to possess that which we never could in early ages, presses a nature button inside, and though you cringe at times on excess, something inside you keeps countering your process of thought – ‘I didn’t have it then, I was not with means, I worked hard, I developed means … now if I do possess, it is justifiable !’.
At times, when others think of irrational bent of mind on matters such as these, you are tempted to allow your thoughts to build answers that may seem absurd and out of context, but honesty brings truth to the fore, and your claim is stamped with what many may consider, honorable !
I am not Mark Antony’s ‘honorable’ Brutus, but I am me and I do give space and time for reflection, one that draws from within. I may not share it with all – most reflections generally get the privacy of a mirror, in the privacy of your private region – but ever so often, these days in particular, one does get the desire and urge to let it all out. They say age has a lot to do with it. I would not challenge that.
The early years soon after birth, are spent in wonder and amazement of who and what we are, oblivious of so many ‘other wonders’ that await us as we grow. A few years down the line, gets us to ask why they have and we don’t. Some more years pass by and the true realization dawns upon us – we are all not equal. Certain truths bewilder us, disturb and disappoint us. And for long we live in such condition, fated as it were to our birth and existence. Then suddenly a strange phenomena takes over, or begins to show signs of an emergence that defies the past, accepts the present, but instead of languishing in its theory, builds resistance to it and puts it among the brightest of colors for the future.
Blessed are they that converge to these climates, for they are quite inadvertently going to become victims of grave storms and turmoil. Of vicious turbulent waters that we shall sail on, and dark threatening skies that wander above us.
There are many that succumb in these circumstances, give it limited fight and resign themselves to fate. There are others that never venture within even a wide radius of it. And there are some that face the waters and storms straight on the face and chest, get washed away time after time, yet keep getting up with unlimited spirit and resolve, to beat that which has threatened to destroy them and their effort.
These are the ones that the world applauds and admires. But these too are the ones that come under greater scrutiny and abuse. Greater scrutiny and abuse because, there are a very limited number of them around. Majority prevails in most circumstances that the world and the human race finds itself in. And majority it is that prevails here too. You cannot expect to be in an exclusive class by yourself and not be considered for retaliation, envy and resentment. Indeed if you are not blessed with these ‘wonderful attributes’, then you might consider erasing your name from that much admired list !! Tough to consider, tougher to relent.
A capitalistic environment would create openings and build atmosphere for those that wish to take on the fight for material gain. A socialistic pattern would resist it, preaching and prevailing the benefits of what they believe to be a better way of life. Because human nature is so violently idle and mysterious, this fight shall never end. Each shall prove to the other that their ways of thought are and were correct. They will show-case their following in more than just a simple theoretical argument. There shall be attempts to prove it in all possible avenues – militarily, politically, socially, in entertainment, in manufacture and development, in infrastructure and building, in entertainment and sport, indeed in all aspects of our evolvement.
If you can build the ‘bomb’ we can too. If you can send a human into space we shall too. If your political system propagates democratic principles and succeeds, our monarchial descendent dictatorial single leadership, communistical rule does better. You build sophisticated computers and cars and electronics. We shall build the same at a quarter price, copyright be damned. If your democratic system gets you the greater Olympic medals tally, our athletes shall beat yours and we shall rule the standings. It used to be USA vs USSR. Now its CHINA vs USA, after the break up of the Soviet Union. The medals tally at the end of each day at the recent Olympics speak for themselves. Frequent accusations and dishonest competition incidents, shall flourish in London 2012, between competing teams. Episodes of unfair games being played for higher standings, drug abused athletes being brought down from their pedestals, unpleasant umpiring … the lot. A 16 year old Chinese swimmer, shoots off like a missile in the competition pool and questions and dissenting debates of her achievement do not stop. There is a deathly silence, when she touches the edge for the Gold medallion. There is little doubt that it is disbelief of performance and her talent, there is a lot more belief in finding justifiable questions to ‘what drug is she on’ . Both parties vie for attention and supremacy !!
What nations of great historical standing, stature and presence do … is, what the human does, wrong ??
‘I am stunned into silence and contemplation’ …
Good night …
London , UK Aug 1/2 , 2012 Wed/Thu 2 : 10 AM GmT
Vijji … a very happy birthday to you for the 2nd of August .. live happy and with love
A short sojourn, amazing discoveries, and back to London on way to Mumbai and home.
The spread of films from India, and their popularity amazes me. What also amazes me is the reactions of those that give identification to them, irrespective of where they come from. There is a gasp of realization, a flourish of un utterable words that one has difficulty in understanding, but the expressions say it all. They could be the traveller on the street, a guest at the lobby of a Hotel, your driver at new destination, the chef in your room, or even the immigration and customs officer at airport, the feel is the same.
Its like what was noticed this evening at Heathrow. Elderly lady walks up excitedly into the area where immigration does its, whatever it does with our passports, much to the concern and consternation of the officer and the security, holds the hand as one that has found a loved one after losing them, and then … after reprimand rushes back to where she came from - a wheel chair !
I wish I could provide such cure to all wheel chairers !!
I was not aware until someone reminded me on sms on mobile, that yesterday or was it day before, it was Meena ji’s birthday - Meena Kumari that is, the iconic leading lady of our Industry. It was her 80th ! August 1st it was that she was born in 1932 and passed away after a life of extremes in 1972. An artist of immense caliber, her finest that I admired was Guru Dutt’s ‘Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam’ . The pain of tragedy was never better expressed than through the expressions and the voice of Meena ji. That one song ‘na jao saiyan ..’ where she, under the influence of alcohol, persuades her husband, played by another great, Rehman, to not go away from her, is as historic as Meena ji’s own life story. Like Dilip Saheb - Dilip Kumar, and his standing as the tragedy King, Meena ji, who worked with him in several historic films, was christened as a tragedienne, because of the many tragic roles she played to perfection. Her performances were of course of great standing, but for me and I am certain with millions of others who admired her, it was her voice that was her most attractive asset. It was unique the way she spoke and delivered her dialogues. They had a strange melancholic tone to it, burdened it seemed, with the gravest of tragic circumstances. I had often wondered how she was able to do that in film after film, until, upon meeting her, I discovered that that was her normal speech pattern. Many an actress that came after her tried in vain to adopt her style, but none succeeded. On one of her hands she had a damaged finger - the unfortunate result of an accident early on. But no one ever saw it on screen. She would very cautiously wrap the ‘pallu’ of her sari around it to make it look natural. Notice carefully some of her films and you will observe how beautifully she camouflaged this defect.
She was very fond of and close as a friend to Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, my first director, and every film that he made, its first screening would be held for Meena ji, at a rather dilapidated mini theater behind the once upon a time major recording studio, the Tardeo Recording Center. I met her for the first time when she came to see Saat Hindustani, and shall never forget the kind words of encouragement she gave me. Coming from her esteemed position and standing, it was like the voice of God for a newcomer. I next met her at the premier of ‘Reshma aur Shera’ , a classic that started off by being directed by that man with a different style and sense, a man who I think came much ahead of his time, Sukhdev. Differences surfaced in the making of that film, Sukhdev left agrieved and Sunil Dutt Saheb, who was producing that film under his banner Ajanta Arts, took over the added responsibility of directing it eventually. It was just my second film. The first had been released without much attention, no one knew me and as I stood wonder eyed at the premier of ‘RaS’ in a corner of the cinema hall, without a place to sit, Meena Kumari walked in and occupied her seat quite close to where I was standing. As the hall darkened for the start she looked about, found me standing, recognized me from the trial of Abbas Saheb’s film and beckoned me - ‘Amitabh .. tum yahan mere paas aake baitho’ - Amitabh … you come and sit next to me -
One cannot imagine the effect such an offer can have on a fresher. I sat there next to her throughout, and perhaps just about took the required number of breathes one needs to survive, nothing more. Never looked anywhere but ahead at the film, did not register a single frame, and did not move even my little finger during the entire three hours of its duration. I play a dumb mute in the film, provoked by members of my family in rivalry with another, to kill the newly married husband of Waheeda Rehman, from rival village who had become the love interest of Sunil Dutt, my elder brother in the film. At one stage I am sent to the rival village to express my guilt in front of Waheeda Rehman, and through dumb uttering plead to be killed as a repentance. As I broke down in the scene, a moment that I had nightmares about before it got canned, I heard Meena ji cringe in desperation for my plight and audible to most around her spoke out loudly - ‘ bas bas … bas karo …aur dekha nahin jaata ‘ - ‘stop ! stop … stop it now .. I cannot see anymore of this’ - a cry almost, not just of the discomfort she was going through, but in a sense a huge endorsement in appreciation of the scene.
Through the days and years, albeit short lived, after, she always gave me her blessings and kept lovingly asking me about the films I was doing and how I was progressing.
When she passed away I went with Anu, Anwar Ali, Mehmood Bhaijaan’s brother and my close friend to her house ; an apartment on Carter Road. Could not see her, and came away. Her elder sister Madhu, was Mehmood’s first wife, until they separated and he married again.
Spoken much, written more, saying good night !!
Acting Guru Lake full of Swans, Nostalgia Brimming With Magical Wands
July 31/Aug 1 , 2012 Tue/Wed 2 : 11 AM IsT
The swell in the well, brings tears of times past. That quiet moment when no one around. Studies were what was told of us to do, but when the elders left, that vinyl brought by my Father would go up on winding gramophone, the only possession my Mother could bring along with her when she left her home to marry. The allocated solo room at 13 on the Crescent would be converted to an imaginary scenario, of dance and moment. And swaying along empty handed, with a supposed partner, one transported oneself into a world that would one day become real - the movies !
But the grandeur and the color and the dance of exquisite quality, pertinent to the region, was an exhibition of incredible talent, hours and years of perfection achievement, and the unchallenged appreciation and applause of wonder held expressions of those that sat in vast numbers, in historic surroundings.
The status of region may change, their philosophy may have undergone drastic upheavals, but culture and aesthetics, dedication and finesse and the ability to excel in a world which competes fiercely, still remains in fighting tact. There is nothing here that cannot be anywhere else. This is a destination that commands revisiting rights, and I shall willingly succumb to it.
Travel again in the morrow and a hesitant ‘good bye’ shall be most unwelcome with those that show care. But of this I am certain - I shall be back, more often than ever before !
I was wondering whether those that heard my audio blog last night were aware that the sounds of the keyboards were done by me fiddling my fingers on a piano that lies unattended close by. I used to have a fairly sophisticated system long years ago, in fact just before my injury on the sets of ‘Coolie’. And when I resumed work, there were hours that I sed to spend in recuperating at home, but in the delighted presence of my electronic piano - a rare piece of equipment, of which I knew nothing whatsoever. Soon after my recovery, there were many projects that were done out of Mumbai, towards the Southern regions of the country, and on request, my Producers would happily ship all my stuff to the location. I would in the late hours after work, sit and single finger the keys, keeping a two-in-one by the speakers to record what was hysterically being produced. But on a long drive from Bangalore to Mysore, I kept repeating my little number, until two of my South producers who had travelled with me and dozed off in the back of the car while I drove, suddenly woke up and asked if I could give them a copy of the music. I agreed readily, only to realize much later that the reason for their interest could well have been to prevent me playing that stupid tape again and again !
I now have a gift of another electronic machine and many a time I am tempted to record my most amateur renderings through somewhat professional means that exist inside. If ever this comes out as appealing to you, I shall most certainly start a section on my Digital Domain, or my Blog, where this could be heard. The advantages of internet communication is of course the fact that the ‘eggs’ and the ‘tomatoes’ that would normally accompany such act, through airborne means on to the stage, would be avoided ! Long may the internet live and long may it continue to be of companionship to others !
It is strange that the issue of the accident has come up. Tomorrow is the 1st of August and the day after shall be the 2nd of August - my second birthday ! Happy birthday Mr B, and never forget that I was the first one to wish you. There has been so much detail and talk for this day, that it would be unethical almost to speak about it now. But I had once promised to give those details in the days to come and I shall. Though I may warn you that they are not all pleasant to read, or even describe.
I talk too much of myself today. This is unlike me. I feel though, prompted by several others, that it was time for my experiences to be tabulated. Autobiographical attempts have always drawn me away from the process. Its the constant use of the ‘I’ that is disturbing. Raj Thackeray and me, once during a conversation at my house, agreed on this. He too felt that writing an autobiography was not on the cards, for similar reasons !
The television beckons me, as do the events in London of 2012. Champions before, have tumbled, the fresh and the new have excelled and how beautifully succession has arrived on its 12 horses and ridden well ahead of all that we thought to have been nailed. The human race continues to improve on speed, lifting and height. Not in our life time, but were this to continue, would it mean the end of the Olympiad ? There would be nothing left to beat, in time to come !!
Come come dear man - do you really think this would be possible ? Naaahh !!
Allow me then to disappear … with your kind permission of course and with your blessings and love ..
Big B plans to tabulate 'Coolie' incident
Wednesday, August 1st 2012, 07:08 AM
Mumbai, Aug 1 — Three decades ago he met with nearly fatal accident while shooting for 1982 film "Coolie" and now megastar Amitabh Bachchan says he may tabulate the details of the incident. However, he has not clarified whether it will be on his blog or in a book.
"It is strange that the issue of the accident has come up. Tomorrow is the 1st of August and the day after shall be the 2nd of August - my second birthday! There has been so much detail and talk for this day, that it would be unethical almost to speak about it now."
"But I had once promised to give those details in the days to come and I shall. Though I may warn you that they are not all pleasant to read, or even describe," the 69-year-old posted on his blog srbachchan.tumblr.com.
On July 26, 1982, Amitabh had a close shave with death while shooting a fight scene with co-star Puneet Issar. In the accident, corner of a table struck his abdomen, rupturing his splenic. He lost a significant amount of blood and remained critically ill for many months, at times close to death.
The megastar still calls it one of the few experineces of his life that needs to be "tabulated".
"I talk too much of myself today. This is unlike me. I feel though, prompted by several others, that it was time for my experiences to be tabulated," he posted.
"Autobiographical attempts have always drawn me away from the process. It's the constant use of the 'I' that is disturbing. Raj Thackeray and me, once during a conversation at my house, agreed on this...Anyway," he added.