Friday, April 25, 2014

DON ( Anecdotes of an Iconic Thriller ) ~ by : Niilesh A Raje

DON, a Spanish word which means “Gentleman” or “Nobleman” indicating the term of respect for a man usually followed by his first name. Director Chandra Barot who directed the 1978 Amitabh Bachchan starrer “DON” was right when he showcased Mumbai as the city of opportunities and success stories, a city for dream and dream merchants and a city of Gold. Barot's lyrical reference to the song 'Ei Hai Bambai Nagariya tu dekh Babuwa? Sone chandi ki dagariya too dekh babuwa'. Narration of the song has also witnesses the beauty of Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel very well covered with Amitabh Bachchan performing in this dance number. Kalyanji Anandji's music continues to soothe the ears of music lovers even today. I equally love the background music heard during thriller or action sequence in this movie. Dialogues none other than Salim Javed.
What intrigued me is the fact that Chandra Barot’s DON attained the cult status in India, proved to be an iconic thriller and dialogues constantly mouthed by innumerable fans. Also, it was Barot’s first movie as a Director then why after such an exalted success he never came up with his other movie down the memory lane. He did though but after a long gap in 1991. After the release of DON there was a long queue of Producer’s at Chandra Barot’s Peddar Road home. But, destiny had its own plans and the future was not as rosy as we would have imagined. The primary reason for the project DON being the director Chandra wanted to help his friend the producer of the movie Nariman A. Irani who had suffered big financial setback.
Chandra Barot – The Director’s Creativity

Director Chandra Barot finished his Senior Cambridge Examination in 1959 and had spent most of his life in Dar es Salaam. Between his Senior Cambridge Examinations and results he had 6 months time frame. His father mentioned him about part time vacancy at Barclays Bank. Chandra immediately took up the offer at Barclays Bank and worked with the organization not for 6 months but full time for brie period of nine years making it as his full time profession. Very few can imagine a Corporate Executive from an MNC goes ahead in life to become a Creative Director. Chandra was known for dressing well and flaunting fancy accessories he possessed then.

Amitabh Bachchan’s Electrifying Entry Rich Baritone Voice (Yeh Dus Lakh Ka Sona Tho Mein Bhool Jaunga Raj Singh Magar Tumhe Yaad Rakhunga)

Amitabh Bachchan's graceful entry in the 1978 movie DON the opening sequence was shot what today is called as Navi Mumbai just before CIDCO showcasing sprawling land and vast expanse of grass. Amitabh Bachchan impeccably dressed going well with his personal Ray-Ban glasses which he had bought from London.
Amitabh Bachchan and Zeenat Aman (Mujhe junglee billiyan pasand hai . . . Thank you Don)

Observation being Amitabh Bachchan and Zeenat Aman are not shown together in this scene. Amitabh is mouthing his famous dialogue (Mujhe junglee billiyan pasand hai) in Sea Rock Hotel whereas Zeenat Aman's shot was completed at Mehboob Studios ('Thank you, Don'). The two scenes were later merged. 
There are many such interesting anecdotes from the movie DON but I keep it short for now with just three. The voice of my reader’s is their very own platform for posting comments towards my piece which I truly appreciate it. Last but not the least I dedicate this piece to all the fans of the 1978 movie DON. Watching the movie (several times) I had the impression that DON means a Man in Powerful Position but now I also view it from Spanish angle meaning “Nobleman”.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gulzar's Grand Achievement Dada Saheb Phalke Award 2013 : by ~ Niilesh A Raje

"Gulzar's Grand Achievement" - My piece on Gulzar published in Afternoon Despatch and Courier newspaper (16-Apr-2014) and featured as "Letter of the Day" . . .

Monday, April 14, 2014

Conversations with the epitome of Indian Beauty Waheeda Rehman: “Had I not been an actress I wished to become a Doctor” by: Niilesh A Raje

In recent times I had received the invitation to be a part of a vibrant program Penguin Books India invites you at the launch of “Conversations with Waheeda Rehman” with Nasreen Munni Kabir where I got the opportunity to interact and converse with the women known for her natural talent and haunting beauty none other than actress Waheeda Rehman.

One of the first thing that came in my mind when I saw Waheeda Ji in the evening I remembered her toe tapping number so beautifully picturized on her “Rangeela Re Tere Rang Mein Yun Ranga Hai Mera Mann . . . Chhaliya Re Na Bujhe Hai Kisi Jal Se Yeh Jalan . . . Rangeela Re” from the 1970 release “Prem Pujari”.

The song was shot in the exotic location of Switzerland in Hotel Grimsel Hospiz surrounded by mountain peaks just spectacular giving the aristocratic feel. Waheeda Ji is distinctly seen intoxicated, lost in dancing and shaking off her whole body in this lovely number at the party. Her moves provokes actor Dev Anand so much that he throws glass of wine as he could never believe her lover would drink and dance openly in the public.

Produced, Directed and Written by Dev Anand for Navketan Films. Awesome lyrics by Neeraj coupled with melodious compositions by Late S.D. Burman and voice of none other than the “Melody Queen” Lata Mangeshkar.

From the devastating loss of her parents when she was young to making a life in Cinema on her own terms the odyssey of Waheeda Rehman has indeed been a voyage of discovery. Even at the ripe age of 76 septuagenarian and Indian Cinema’s most beautiful women actress Waheeda Rehman is still seen to keep herself busy and occupied.

In this engaging book of conversations with Nasreen Munni Kabir, Waheeda Rehman proves to be a lively raconteur, speaking about her life and work with refreshing honesty, humour and insight: from the devastating loss of her parents when she was young to making a life in cinema on her own terms, from insightful accounts of working with extraordinary film practitioners like Guru Dutt, Raj Khosla, Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Vijay Anand to her friendship witstars like Nargis and Nanda. 

A slice of cinema history told through compelling anecdotes and astute observations, Conversations with Waheeda Rehman provides a rare view of a much-adored and award-winning actress of Indian cinema.

Renowned for her natural talent and beauty, Waheeda Rehman’s career spans an astonishing array of key films in Indian cinema, including Pyaasa, Abhijan, Mujhe Jeene Do, Guide, Teesri Kasam and Rang De Basanti.

As soon as I got the opportunity to interact with Waheeda Ji I could not resist my temptation from asking her:

Q: Had you not been an actress which other profession you would have chosen and why?

A: (smiles) Had I not been an actress I wished to become a Doctor. While we were young, medicine was considered to be one of the most respectable profession for Women. I always wanted to work, and I even told my father I wished to become a doctor. I am still fascinated by medicine and the profession would have given me the opportunity to meet and treat people with all my love and faith.

Now whether Waheeda Ji became an actress or Doctor is secondary but one thing Waheeda Ji was very sure off was that all the four sisters would do well in life. She even told her father: “Daddy, don’t worry, one day my photograph will appear in the papers. I don’t know why, but it will.” She had also told him I would own a farm and, many years later, she did. Rightly said, “Things do work when we listen to our inner voice” and Waheeda Ji’s voice of confidence was no exception.

Nasreen Munni Kabir’s ‘Conversations with Waheeda Rehman’ abounds in anecdotes from the iconic life of one of Indian cinema’s most beautiful women actors. Penguin presents the evocative Conversations with Waheeda Rehman By Nasreen Munni Kabir.

The Author: Nasreen Munni Kabir is a reputed documentary film-maker and writer on films. Based in London, she has made several programmes on Hindi cinema for Channel 4 TV, UK, including the forty-six-part series Movie Mahal and The Inner/Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan. Her several books are, among others, Guru Dutt: A Life in Cinema, Talking Films and Talking Songs with Javed Akhtar, A.R. Rahman: The Spirit of Music, Lata Mangeshkar: In Her Own Voice and, most recently, In the Company of a Poet, a book of conversations with Gulzar.

Author       : Nasreen Munni Kabir
Publisher   : Penguin Viking
Pages       : 256
Price         : Rs 499 / -
ISBN         : 9780670086924

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Niilesh A Raje : Conversations with Waheeda Rehman

The copy of my book "Conversations With Waheeda Rehman" autographed by Waheeda Ji , The Epitome of Indian Beauty and the author and reputed documentary Film-Maker Nasreen Munni Kabir . . .

Niilesh A Raje with Waheeda Rehman

With the epitome of Indian Beauty Conversations with actress Waheeda Rehman. Waheeda Ji had you not been an actress what would you have liked to be? I wished to become a Doctor pat came Waheeda Ji's reply . .