Monday, December 5, 2016

Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar ( Front Rank Author of India ) ~ by : Niilesh A Raje

Tribute as token of my love and respect to the front rank author of India namely Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar on his 126th birth anniversary today.

The Startling Predictions

The story goes this way. One of the Uncles of Ramji Sakpal who had turned Sanyasi came in the company of some Hermits upon Mhow in Central India where Ramji Sakpal used to reside with his family. One of the women from his family was on her way to the river for washing purposes happen to pass by the group of Hermits among whom was their old relative. The lady at once recognized him. Ramji Sakpal ran towards him and requested him to bless their house with his visit. The sanyasin had renounced the world hence did not agree to come and pay visit to Ramji’s house. However, he bestowed on Ramji Sakpal a boon that a boy would be born in the family who would leave an indelible mark in the history of India. The boon arrived on the 14th day of April 1891 the birth of a boy the 14th child of Ramji Sakpal. He was named as Bhim and rose to fame as the front rank author of India. He was none other than Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar whose eternal search for knowledge coupled with lofty ambitions took him to exalted heights and raised himself from dust to doyen. Yes indeed, Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar set golden benchmarks in the history of our nation and freedom struggle as well.

Ambavadekar becomes Ambedkar  

There was a Brahmin teacher in the High School by the surname Ambedkar where Bhim studied. This teacher loved Bhim very much. During their school recess the teacher would drop daily part of his own meal into the hands of this little boy Bhim. The original surname of Bhim’s father was Sakpal. Bhim drew his surname Ambavadekar from his native Ambavade. However, this teacher took so much liking to this young boy that he even went ahead to change his surname from Ambavadekar to his very own surname namely Ambedkar in their school records.

Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar well remembered his teacher who had treated him kindly during his school days. Much later in life when Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar was on his eve of departure for the first session of Round Table Conference Baba Saheb received hearty congratulations letter from this same teacher.

Denial To Learn Sanskrit

During school days both Bhim and his elder brother were denied to take up Sanskrit as the second language. They both had no other option but to take up Persian language. Not to forget Bhim passed his Matriculation Examinations from Elphinstone High School. Bhim obtained 282 marks and his highest score was in the Persian language. Looking at his average marks in high school then not many would have ever imagined that Bhim would be that same boy who would have his name well remembered in the history of India.

The Turning Point

Bhim had learnt from his sisters that boys from village have found jobs in mills in Mumbai. He made up his mind to take up the job of winding boy in the mills of Bombay then (now Mumbai). He did not have enough money either to reach Mumbai. He decided to steal the purse of his aunt in whose company Bhim used to sleep on the floor. For three nights back to back he made his attempt to steal the purse tucked up at the waist of his aunt but no luck. Finally, on his fourth attempt Bhim was successful but only to get half an anna in it. With that small amount travelling to Mumbai was ruled out. The episode of stealing money caused anxiety in Bhim and he made up his mind that he would study hard looking forward and clear all his examinations so that he can earn his own livelihood without depending upon his father. From that day onwards he put in all his energy in getting good education. The same teachers who were once disappointed seeing his grades were then recommending his father to give him the best possible education.


In June 1913 The Maharaja of Baroda thought of sending some students to U.S.A. for higher studies at Columbia University. Bhimrao was advised to apply for one of the scholarships which the state had advertised. He did so and finally the Maharaja decided to send Bhimrao along with other three students for higher education. The agreement was signed that he would serve for ten years at Baroda State after completion of his studies.

Finally, Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar arrived in New York in the third week of July 1913. He seized every possible hour for his study for which Bhimrao was given a life’s opportunity. After long hours of concentration and hard labour Bhimrao devoted to research and he finally completed his thesis which was accepted by Columbia University in the second week of June 1916. After a very successful career at Columbia University Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar now turned his attention to London and he left America in June 1916 to study further with London School of Economics and Political Science. He had persuaded the Maharaja of Baroda to grant him permission for pursuing his higher studies in London. While he started his work on his thesis he was informed that his period of scholarship was over and was thus called back to India by the Dewan of Baroda. He was determined to come back to London to complete his pending studies. With kind recommendation from his professor, Prof. Edwin Cannan he secured permission from London University to resume his studies within a period not exceeding four years from October 1917.

There was a vacancy in Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, Bombay (now Mumbai). Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar wrote letter to Lord Sydenham, former Governor of Bombay (his London acquaintance) requesting him to recommend him to the Government of Bombay for the post of professorship in Sydenham College. His interview went well and finally Government appointed Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar as the professor of Political Economy in Sydenham College. Few years later Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar arrived in London once again to pursue his pending studies with the London School of Economics and Political Science.

One thesis was completed by him in 1921 while in October 1922 he completed his famous thesis, “The Problem of the Rupee” and submitted it to the University of London. In March 1923 Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar while he was in Germany was called back by his professor Edwin Cannan who asked him to rewrite his thesis without changing his conclusions. With financial resources running out he could not stay any further in London to rewrite his thesis. On his arrival in Bombay in April 1923 few days later he re-submitted his thesis, “The Problem of the Rupee” from Bombay. The examiners finally accepted it and to his great joy Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science.  
Leaders Are Readers

There have been so many books and articles written by Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar on varied topics readily available. So be it economics, politics, regional or law related one would find his thoughts reaching to his readers through the medium of writing.

There goes an old adage, "Leaders Are Readers". Perhaps not all readers are leaders, but all leaders have been compulsive readers. When it came to reading Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar was no exception. “Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Reading” or be it “Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Books” this combination was always inseparable. Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar was too fond of books. He had a wide collection of books. To have his own books, to read them, make important notes from them and have these notes committed to his memory was the key thing Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar was madly in love with. He had razor sharp memory and he could easily tell with authenticity which reference is in which book, which page and which paragraph.

His burning to desire to possess books was insatiable. While in school instead of reading regular textbooks he exhibited his interest in reading books outside his regular school curriculum. Bhim’s father was well aware of his passion and love towards books and he never wanted that his son be deprived of this. On the contrary his father always supplied Bhim with new books even if it did mean borrowing money from his two married daughters. He ensured that the lamp of reading was always burning for Bhim. In his college days Prof. Muller of Elphinstone College used to lent him books to read.

Also, later in life when it came to buying books Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar never thought twice about it. If he did like the book he would just go ahead and buy it in his collection. Even when he was not keeping well and just five days before he passed away Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar paid visit to bookshop at Connaught Place to have look at new arrivals and ordered some books to be sent to his residence.  

There are so many books authored by Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar and the list is indeed comprehensive. If one does watch movies based on his life, read books written on him or for him one can understand his journey of life was indeed inspiring and remains an immense source of motivation to each one of us. It's just not possible for me to cover all his defining moments in this short piece of mine. Whatever I have penned down remains to be my small tribute to this prolific writer and compulsive reader Late Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar.    


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pinjra Saga ~ by Niilesh A Raje

Eminent Director Late V. Shantaram Marathi movie "PINJRA" was re-released in digital format this year. 31st March 2016 marked 44 years of completion since the movie was first released on the same day in the year 1972. The plot revolves around a respected village school teacher (Dr. Shreeram Lagoo) who falls in love with a travelling dancer (Sandhya) and later faces a moral dilemma. The movie was one of the biggest commercial success of its time and also won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Marathi for the year 1972.

In my article herewith I won’t delve into the plot or synopsis details of this movie. I would rather focus more on behind the scenes what happened before and during the making of this iconic musical hit Marathi movie “PINJRA”. The whole shoot of the movie was completed in a span of just 40 days then.

It was the veteran actor Dr. Shreeram Lagoo who had played the lead role in this movie. Dr. Shreeram Lagoo is well known not as a good film and theatre actor but also holds the reputation of being an eminent ENT Surgeon Gold Medalist.

Two Backstage Visitors

One day post completion of his play there were two individuals who were waiting in the backstage to meet Dr. Shreeram Lagoo. One individual was by the name Ravindra who was in his relations and was working as an Assistant Director to the eminent director Late V. Shantaram then. Other individual was Mr. Anant Mane also a Film Director.

Ravindra said to Dr. Shreeram Lagoo, “Anna Saheb (means V. Shantaram) is in the midst of making new Marathi movie. To lead the lead role as an actor we both (Ravindra and Anant Mane) have recommended your name to Anna Saheb to play the lead role in his upcoming movie. As we both have watched several Marathi plays we are positive you would give complete justice to the role that would be offered to you in his upcoming Marathi movie. However, Anna Saheb has not seen you perform till date live on the center stage so we request you at least come down and meet him (Anna Saheb – V. Shantaram) in person”.

Hearing this Dr. Shreeram Lagoo said, “It would indeed be a matter of pride for me to meet Anna Saheb (V. Shantaram Ji) an eminent director and a man of such great stature. However, whether I would work or not in his movie shall be decided by me only when I am done reading the script. So first things first you’ll first arrange to send me the script. Let me read it then we can decide when to meet director V. Shantaram Ji”.

To which Ravindra replied, “Anna Saheb never discloses his script to anyone before. That’s his style of working”. Pat came the reply from Dr. Shreeram Lagoo, “I too do not accept any roles prior reading the complete script. That’s my style of working”. Both Ravindra and Anant Mane were now looking at each other and totally confused what to do next.

Mane said, “Dr. Saheb you see in this line of show business one got to be really very careful when it comes to your script. It’s an accepted fact that good scripts do get stolen. It’s not that we don’t trust you but due to such incidents taking place Anna Saheb has been very particular and stringent about all these issues”.

But, Dr. Shreeram Lagoo was upfront and equally firm in his opinion for reading the script first before concluding on anything. 

Mane realized this and said, “We both would try to bring the script for you to read first. However, the fact that you have read the script before should not be shown or disclosed to Anna Saheb (V. Shantaram Ji) any time during the course of your meeting with him”.
This assurance from both Ravindra and Anant Mane brought smile on the face of Dr. ShreeramLagoo. He felt, “If I like the script there is no harm in going ahead. However, if I don’t like the script at least I get the opportunity to meet this legendary director V. Shantaram Ji”.

The script was indeed well written and Dr. Shreeram Lagoo felt it gels well keeping his age in mind and his role that of respected village school teacher who later falls in love with the travelling dancer.

Title of the movie was “PINJRA”.

With Mr. Kiran Shantaram (Son of the veteran director Late V. Shantaram and Jayashree). An eminent Indian Film Personality and former Sheriff of Mumbai and Chairman of V. Shantaram Foundation

The Meeting with Late V. Shantaram

Finally the day came when the meeting was finalized between Dr. Shreeram Lagoo and Director of the movie Late V. Shantaram. Venue was Mumbai’s iconic RajKamal Studio where the legend had his office. RajKamal studio in Parel was the same studio where superstar Mr. Amitabh Bachchan had shot many important sequences for his blockbuster movie 'Deewar' which includes “Khush To Bhaut Hoge Tum”, “Mere Paas Maa Hai” and death sequence. Rajkamal was best known for Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946), Amar Bhoopali (1951), Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955) and Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957).

The meeting was very cordial they did not discuss anything related to the movie script. Anna Saheb was curious to know more about Dr. Shreeram Lagoo’s work in the Marathi play “Natsamrat” and who was the writer who had written the script etc. Anna Saheb would always be interested to know the person whom he meets is just interested in his work or is also abreast about surrounding events and happenings. That was exactly he wanted to judge from Dr. Shreeram Lagoo when he asked him the author’s name and who is he who had penned down the script of Natsamrat.

The meeting lasted for around 45 minutes and Anna Saheb concluded it by saying, “Dr. Saheb you would work in this project. Other details would be communicated to you by my team members Ravindra and Anant Mane”.

The Remuneration  

It was communicated to Dr. Shreeram Lagoo the shooting of the movie would commence next month and would be completed in a span of forty days. Most of the projects by Anna Saheb (V. Shantaram) were always completed in forty days’ time frame at a stretch.
The time frame made Dr. Shreeram Lagoo bit apprehensive as he was ferociously busy and booked with dates for three different Marathi plays from three different producers. These dates had already kept him busy for next sixty days. He had never worked in Marathi movies so to commit forty days for his first project “PINJRA” made him all the more nervous. It was like either you accept one project here and reject the ongoing three Marathi plays.

Anant Mane went and spoke to Anna Saheb regards the busy schedule of Dr. Shreeram Lagoo. Finally the agreement was Dr. Lagoo would give ten days per month for the next four months to complete his schedule of forty days.

When asked for commercials to be charged Dr. Shreeram Lagoo being novice in the Marathi Film and this being his first project was also not sure how much to quote. All he knew was while acting in movies the remuneration was much more in comparison to Marathi plays. He also knew the remuneration was much higher in Hindi movies but this was his project to be done in Marathi.

Those days in early 70’s Dr. Shreeram Lagoo used to get Rs 150/- per live performance. He used to perform at least one live Marathi play per day.  So shooting for “PINJRA” for forty days would equate to Rs 6000/- is the remuneration Dr. Shreeram Lagoo asked for.
Rupees six thousand was indeed a very high amount to be commanded and asked for especially this being Marathi movie. The final price communicated was Rs 2,500/- to Dr. Shreeram Lagoo reason even in those days (1971) the main cameraman from Rajkamal Studio was paid Rs 300 per month. Also, this being Dr. Shreeram Lagoo’s first project in Marathi movies an amount worth Rs 2,500/- was justified right is what Anna Saheb and his team members Ravindra and Anant Mane felt.

The Robbery on the Sets

The whole shoot of the movie “PINJRA’ was done in Maharashtra Kolhapur and the nearby villages out there. Once famous studio “Shalini” out there was purchased by Late V. Shantaram and was named as “ShanthKiran Studios”. Which sequence would be shot the next day and where all these details were disclosed to the whole crew at least one day prior.

One day when Dr. Shreeram Lagoo reached the sets early morning he saw all the crew members part of this project were exhibiting nervousness. Investigation revealed that a night before robbery had taken place at the studio. All the costumes and belongings that were part of the project were robbed overnight. Now to get new dress stitched once again would mean a delay of at least 4-5 days which means the schedule of forty days (ten days per month) would definitely get extended. This thought made Dr. Shreeram Lagoo more nervous as he knew his busy schedule for the next six months. How and when now would he be able to meet his commitment for forty days is what kept him thinking all the time. Dot on time 9 am Anna Saheb (V. Shantaram) came at the shooting venue on learning of this incident he later said, “Let’s first get all the clothes stitched again today for those whose shooting was scheduled today. Then step by step let the tailor stitch the clothes as per rest of the shooting schedule. Let’s put in few extra hours daily for next few days for whatever time we lost today. Let’s not forget Dr. Saheb (Dr. Shreeram Lagoo) needs to be released in ten days timeframe with no further delay as was agreed earlier”. Hearing this Dr. Shreeram Lagoo was not only speechless but his level of respect towards Anna Saheb (V. Shantaram) increased ten folds on hearing this. That was the mark of this man in great stature the eminent director Late V. Shantaram – The Man Who Altered the Course of Indian Cinema.

The classic Marathi Film "PINJRA" remains to be one of Indian Cinema's greatest cinematic achievements even today.

And for those who missed it there is always another opportunity to watch it once again which got re-released in the digital format.

"Tumhawar Keli Mi Marji Bahal” 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

PINK : Mr. Amitabh Bachchan’s flamboyant confidence and baritone continues to endorse his trademark once again ~ by : Niilesh A Raje

So what if someone says, “You are as black as a crow” by putting in baseless, false and fabricated charges against you. That’s fine. Well, but please can you come and stand inside the witness box to prove your point. And when you have someone a maverick lawyer like Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan) who acts as the defense attorney to assist the trio rise from the embarrassing situation in the movie Pink then it’s obviously not going to be an easy win.

Returning back home post watching the movie too many thoughts started crossing my mind. So how safe are today’s women when they are commuting all alone in cab or auto in the darkness of  the night. In today's age of social media the journey for  "No" means "No" starts right from the time the guy sends his Facebook Add Friend Request to the girl he wants to get friendly with. In the initial he knows it's very unlikely that his add friend request might get accepted but if it does it's good for him. But on the contrary if the response towards his add friend request is "No" and if  it gets declined then it hurts the male ego. Imagine if  the impact of  "No" as the answer can be so high on social media like Facebook then what it would mean as  "No" for these boys in the movie Pink who were expecting to have some good time with the three  girls post their drinks and dinner party.

In the initial part of this movie Pink it’s not the voice but the energy in the eyes the death stare of this retired lawyer Deepak Sehgal that’s sufficient enough to amplify his emotions where we see him just observing the three girls who are staying in the opposite building. These three working girls Meenal (Taapsee Pannu), Falak (Kirti Kulhari) and Andrea (Andrea Tariang) are sharing an apartment in a plush South Delhi neighbourhood.  In the later half of the movie the retired lawyer  Deepak Sehgal  decides to return back as the defense lawyer for these three girls staying in his opposite building wearing his black coat reflecting the epitome of dignity, honour, wisdom and justice.

Once the courtroom drama unfolds it’s the lawyer Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan) whose rich baritone voice resonates inside the courtroom. Not only that but we also see this retired lawyer return to form who showcases his ability to ask blunt and pointed questions to the petitioner or respondent appearing inside the witness box. He questions a woman, “Are you a virgin?” in the court room in front of everybody with full determination and absence of fear. Septuagenarian and Superstar Mr. Amitabh Bachchan’s flamboyant confidence and baritone continues to endorse his trademark once again in this movie. The attackers are represented in the courtroom by Piyush Mishra (Prashant Mehra)
The movie Pink ends up on a very positive note. It tells you that whether a woman is a sex-worker, wife or slave, if she says 'No' to being touched then no man has the right to force himself on her. In today’s world of emerging and competitive corporate markets women be it working or housewife they all should have the freedom to walk  freely in the society and never under the chamber of fear. One of the scenes in the movie when I witnessed the hairs on my arms bristles is when Taapsee Pannu  is forcefully taken into a van and molested till she begs and pleads the men to leave her alone. The way the courtroom drama is portrayed indeed reflects that the film maker’s director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and producer Shoojit Sircar of this film have met several lawyers to ensure that procedures and legal language adhere to the real life scenario.

The movie Pink indeed brings out the reality and attitude towards these women is quite repugnant. Can this be absolutely avoidable?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

"In school I always excelled and got highest marks in English Literature" admits the legendary film, stage actor and director Mr. Naseeruddin Shah in freewheeling chat with writer Niilesh A Raje

It was indeed a delight for all the book lovers in Mumbai who had come down to be part of the vibrant book launch event held during the Ganpati week end which marked the Marathi book release titled “Ani Mug Ek Divas”. This Marathi book about the legendary film, stage actor and director Mr. Naseeruddin Shah has been successfully translated by the eminent director, screenwriter and prolific author Padma Bhushan Awardee Ms. Sai Paranjpye. The book has been published by Popular Prakashan. The English version “And Then One Day” (A Memoir) penned down by Naseeruddin Shah was released earlier in 2014.

It was all started one day when the author Sai Paranjype received the phone call from this legendary actor Naseeruddin Shah asking, “Sai I need to meet you. Let me know what time suits you the best”. Sai was bit curious to know why Naseer wants to meet her. Without asking anything Sai gave him the time and on the said date and time Naseeruddin Shah came to meet her.

The journey to pen down the English version of this book was never a planned activity and it started in the year 2002 when Mr. Naseeruddin Shah had been to Prague the largest city in Czech Republic for six month long shoot of a big budget Hollywood Film namely, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. Apart from the shooting and with nothing else to do in city like Prague where it gets dark too early Mr. Shah penned down the English version of his autobiography mostly during shootings, post shootings or while waiting for his next shot. It took him almost 12 years before the English version of the book was released in 2014. In 2016 we now have the Marathi version of his book well translated by the prolific writer Ms. Sai Paranjpye.

During the course of this book translation Sai realized that Naseeruddin had fascination for English words depicting his good hold on the language and words which were mostly unheard or those that were not used in regular conversations. Sai used to make note of all such words where she had difficulty in translating them. And, instead of calling Naseeruddin daily she used to make note of these words as observations. Once her work was completed they both met again that’s when she cleared all her observations to get the meaning of the words and sentences right.

No doubt while in school Naseeruddin always excelled and got the highest marks and won awards in English literature whereas getting good grades in Maths or Physics used to be a distant dream for him. He remembers getting either 0 or 5 marks in these subjects. His father aspired him to become a Doctor.  As the book states while in school Naseeruddin had good observational skills. He used to listen to his teachers intonations, the way they dressed or the way they wiped the blackboard. These things used to appeal him more rather than what subject was the teacher trying to teach to the class and conveying.

Readers must be wondering now having written his autobiography what’s the next book title Naseeruddin would like to work upon. Would it be a sequel to this first one? No. On the contrary what Naseeruddin would like to do is to pen portrait of how he has seen and experienced his association with the Film Industry from close angle in the 40 years of his glorious journey. A topic which he feels might be interesting to him but must be disappointing to many others.

Book Title          आणि मग एक दिवस
Publisher           Popular Prakashan
Author             Naseeruddin Shah
Translated By             Sai Paranjpye
ISBN                           978-81-7185-086-0

Price                           Rs 650 / -

Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Review : ( What Can I Give? : Life Lessons from My Teacher, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam ) ; Reviewed By Niilesh A Raje

A man who will always be.
A legacy that will continue forever.
Presenting a tribute to the nation’s most loved President and teacher
Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam

on his first death anniversary.

It’s matter of pride to see Penguin Books India announcing the launch of one of the most prestigious books this year namely, What Can I Give? : Life Lessons from My Teacher, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam authored by Srijan Pal Singh.

The author Srijan Pal Singh studied at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, where he won a gold medal for the best all-rounder student and was also the Head Student Council. The book is a tribute by the author to his teacher, Dr. Kalam who through the medium of this book brings alive some rare, personal and unheard of anecdotes from Dr. Kalam’s life.  

Author Srijan Pal Singh had the opportunity to work in synergy and also got the chance to spend a lot of time with Dr. Kalam and also travelled far and wide with him. He was also Dr. Kalam’s adviser during the post Presidency years, as well as his closest student.

The author had the opportunity to co-author three books with Dr. Kalam. One of his key observations being Dr. Kalam had a voracious appetite for knowledge and paid attention to the minutest details. Dr. Kalam would insist on revisiting each sentence multiple times and refining it till he was satisfied. No wonder they came up with as many as twenty drafts for any important speech which needed to be delivered by Dr. Kalam. Even before going up on the stage minutes before he would say, ‘Srijan, what are the new things we are going to talk about in this lecture? He was always looking to improve and was eager for the next version.

Libraries and reading rooms took the maximum space in the house of Dr. Kalam located at 10, Rajaji Marg. Books were seen scattered all over his bedroom and even in the garden. Dr. Kalam never set out on a journey without a couple of books in his bag.

The author has shared so many interesting anecdotes chapter wise that it keeps the readers totally engrossed. What touched author the most of Dr. Kalam was his humility. He always introduced people as friends whether they were his secretaries, his driver, his gardener, his cook or even a stranger he might have met while ago. Dr. Kalam viewed everyone in this world as truly flat – there was no place for hierarchies and ranks. 

While the author was in the middle of his second year at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad something really interesting happened. The students had the opportunity to participate in a course and the co-faculty for this course was none other than Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam – the eleventh President of India. Author being the general secretary of the student union and the student coordinator for this course had the privilege of accompanying his professor to the airport to welcome Dr. Kalam in the campus. That was the first brush the author had with Dr. Kalam.

Till he, Srijan Pal Singh graduated from IIMA in 2009 he was in touch with Dr. Kalam over email and sometimes over phone call. Once the results were out Srijan passed out with flying colors and got the coveted KVS Gold Medal which is highly prized at IIMA. It was then again author states he contacted Dr. Kalam requesting for his time to meet him at his New Delhi residence as he was equally keen to show him the medal that was awarded to him in person. Within two hours he received a positive reply from Dr. Kalam asking him to come down to meet him next week at his New Delhi residence.

The author distinctly remembers his first meeting with Dr. Kalam at his New Delhi residence. He says Dr. Kalam said, “Srijan, let me tell you something from my own experience. Every talent has a responsibility. Each achievement comes with an expectation. Medals come with the weight of duty. Don’t be scared . . . but be aware".

Dr. Kalam, as is known to all, was extremely fond of children and one of his dreams was that all children should get education. Taking his vision ahead, Srijan pal Singh has decided to donate all the royalties from the book to the charitable cause of providing free education to underprivileged children through an initiative called The Kalam Library Project.

This book is dedicated by his student Srijan Pal Singh, who worked closely with him, right till the last day of his life. Recollecting his mentor’s values, oaths and messages to the youth, Srijan beautifully hares the lessons Dr Kalam taught beyond the classroom. Giving us a peel into his daily routine, travels, reflections on various national and international issues, anecdotes and quips, this book helps readers get up-close and personal with the greatest Indian of contemporary times.

In the true sense we can say the author Srijan Pal Singh knows the man behind the legend whom the world knew as Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The stories anecdotes covered in this book are beautifully told. This memoir is indeed a delight for all the Kalam fans and anyone who wishes to be reignited with his invaluable insights on life and the world around us.

Book Title   :         What Can I Give? : Life lessons from My Teacher, Dr. A.P.J.    Abdul Kalam (English)

Author        :         Srijan Pal Singh

Language    :         English

Binding       :         Paperback (Non Fiction)

Publisher    :         Penguin Books India 

Price           :         Rs 250 /-

ISBN           :         9780143334262, 0143334263

Edition        :         2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Niilesh A Raje with Mr. Amitabh Bachchan Ji

Blessings from the towering icon of our Indian Film Industry and Superstar of the Millennium Our Highly Respected Mr. Amitabh Bachchan Ji (Shahenshah) at his very own swanky bungalow. Happy to present the copy of my 2nd book "Bollywood STARS" to the legend and talk at length over tea and biscuits. Sir, Thank you for your time enjoyed the warm welcome and gracious hospitality extended to me. You are gem of a person with impeccable manners. God Bless You Always . . .

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Author Niilesh A Raje featured in Afternoon Despatch and Courier Newspaper

30 June 2016 - I would like to Thank my parents and my sister for their immense support and motivation while coming up with my 2nd book "Bollywood STARS". I feel Bollywood is one subject that connects everyone globally irrespective of one's caste, creed, religion or nationality admits author Niilesh A Raje. My press coverage in today's Afternoon Despatch and Courier newspaper . . .

Friday, June 3, 2016

Niilesh A Raje's 2nd book "Bollywood STARS" now available online with

3 June 2016 - My book titled "Bollywood STARS" is now available online with and can be ordered online from their site. Here is the link. This is my 2nd book. 

~ Niilesh A Raje

Monday, May 23, 2016

Author Niilesh A Raje Speaking About Gulzar Saab With

23 May 2016 - Naam Gum Jaayegaa, Cheharaa Ye Badal Jaayegaa, Meri Aawaaz Hi Pehachaan Hai, Gar Yaad Rahe. Warms up my heart to speak about Gulzar Saab from my book "Notable Personalities" with (Audio Portal) . To listen to my audio please visit the following link. चला तर मग, ऐकुया ह्या महान गीतकाराच्या आयुष्यातील काही किस्से लेखक निलेश राजे यांच्या सोबत. Thank you to the whole crew of for having me invited on their show . . .

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Invited to speak about my 2nd book "Bollywood STARS" on 107.8 FM ~ Niilesh A Raje

14 May 2016 - Special Guest Invite to speak about my 2nd book "Bollywood STARS (Stars That Shine Behind The Lights) with MUST Radio 107.8 FM. Many Thanks to the whole crew of MUST RADIO 107.8 FM for their best support and attention. Indeed a Sensational Saturday . . .

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bollywood STARS : by ~ Niilesh A Raje

Monday, 9 May 2016 - Happy Akshaya Tritiya to all my dear friends. Celebrate Prosperity. On this auspicious day I am happy to launch my second book today "Bollywood STARS" (Stars That Shine Behind The Lights) . Last year on this auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya it marked the release of my first book "Notable Personalities" this year it's "Bollywood STARS" . . .

Love, Niilesh A Raje

Sunday, April 17, 2016

"A tribute to actress Lalita Pawar on her 100th Birth Anniversary today" ~ Niilesh A Raje

18 April 2016 - My piece published in today's Afternoon Despatch & Courier Newspaper - "A tribute to actress Lalita Pawar on her 100th Birth Anniversary today"

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Shobhaa De and Niilesh A Raje

"Niilesh, Congratulations for putting this book together. Well Done". Kind words of appreciation for my book titled "Notable Personalities" from India's best selling author the gorgeous Shobhaa De. Shobhaa De, is often featured as the Most Beautiful, Most Influential and Most Powerful Indian Women popularly well known for her journalistic contributions and bold opinions. Thank you for the graciousness and your kind words showered upon me . . .

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Shobhaa De and Niilesh A Raje

Sensational Saturday !!! Warms up my heart to present the copy of my book titled "Notable Personalities" to India's best selling author the glamorous Shobhaa De. Shobhaa De, is often featured as the Most Beautiful, Most Influential and Most Powerful Indian Women popularly known for her journalistic contributions and bold opinions who also holds the credit for all her 18 books topping the charts. Thank you for your kind words. Happiness Shared and Time Well Spent . . .