Monday, December 4, 2017

Raja Sen's Highly Anticipated Debut Book : ~ Niilesh A Raje



A tribute to Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather
Puffin India in association with Grandmama’s CafĂ©
is delighted to announce the release of




About the book:

He’ll make you a cake you can’t refuse . . .
Everyone adores Don Cannoli. His pastry is the stuff of legend, and people wait in line for hours for a bite of his cakes.
One day, something dramatic—and bright orange—happens, and this means big trouble. Now it’s up to the Don’s
children to save the day. With the big Cake-Off competition round the corner, can the kids rally around in time to uphold the family name?

And who can possibly fit into the Don’s oversized apron?
Written entirely in limericks, The Best Baker in the World is a wild and whimsical
tale that takes on one of the greatest films ever made—The Godfather.

About Raja Sen:
Raja Sen is one of India’s most widely read film critics, writing for Rediff, NDTV, Mint
Lounge and various national and international publications. He has become known for his
savage honesty. Those who read him, therefore, believe he’s the last person who should write a children’s book.
Those who know him have been waiting. This is his first book. He lives in Bombay with his wife and his action figures.

About Vishal K Bharadwaj:
Once upon a time, Vishal K. Bharadwaj was a three-year-old who invented fanciful creatures
to draw on his home’s walls, with his parents’ blessing. This dangerous precedent led to an
adulthood doing much the same, in the fields of design, illustration, animation and (most
recently) developing and baking cake recipes. It has been an eventful life of making, and life
is what you make of it. Sometimes it starts by drawing on walls.
All the drawings in this book were coloured and completed using Inkscape, The GIMP and
other open-source applications and operating systems. Vishal supports the use of free and
open-source software as tools for use by professionals of all stripes and spots.



Friday, August 25, 2017

Jolly Boys Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandal (Bandra Reclamation): Glorious Journey of 25 Years Ganesh Festival Celebrations by ~ Niilesh A Raje




First Look Jolly Boys Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandal (Bandra Reclamation) 

The journey goes back almost nineteen years ago when four school going kids who must have been hardly twelve years of age were seen contemplating a night before Shri Ganesh Festival whether to have the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal in their society this being their sixth year of celebrations.

For the first five years the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal was handled by the parents or senior members in the society of these school going kids. However, with passage of time these seniors either retried or relocated to some other part of the city and eventually their interest level diluted to carry the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal tradition way forward.

It was just a night before the Ganesh Festival could start and these four school going kids were deeply upset as there was not a single person in the society to help them, come forward, and guide these kids to take the legacy forward regards Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal. For five years these school going kids were always part of the vibrant Ganesh Festival event in their society. But, to imagine that there would be no Sarvajanik Ganpati this year in the society left these four kids totally despondent and dejected.

A quick discussion took place amongst the four and it was finally agreed amongst them come what may we would keep the lamp of the tradition of Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal burning. The very next minute these four young school going kids went and approached the nearest Mandap decorator in their vicinity to have a small stage set up in their society as part of Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal. The mandap decorator was kind enough to have the stage set up in no time and at the earliest. One of the boys amongst these four found his way helping them make their choice of the Sarvajanik Ganesh Murti. And finally, these four boys overcome all the obstacles and were successful to have the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal in their society for the sixth year for full seven days and the tradition still continues. Not to forget all this was done just one night before the Ganesh celebrations could begin and all the expenses were borne by these four school going kids only. Looking at the high energy levels of these school going kids many people from society came forward and volunteered their efforts towards Ganesh festival celebration.



Invitation: Jolly Boys Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandal (Bandra Reclamation)


That year (almost nineteen years ago) these four boys decided, whatever happens but every year at least for the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal they would make it a point to meet and celebrate the festival with ease and poise. Today, it would warm up anybody’s heart to know what was started by these boys nineteen years ago their Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal is now celebrating this year twenty-five years of glorious celebrations - Jolly Boys Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandal (Bandra Reclamation): 25th Annual Ganesh Festival Celebration. The wholehearted participation and gracious support from each one of them have made their Ganesh Festival great success in the last two decades absence of which their endeavour would have been lacklustre. Today, these Jolly Boys many of them are married having kids some still in the country while others are staying abroad. However, at least for Ganesh Festival every year they make it a point to come down to India to celebrate this Ganesh Festival. Every year the Mandal has a specific theme dedicated for Ganesh Celebrations. However, this being their 25th Year of Glorious Celebrations there is no specific theme kept for this year. But, the boys would be felicitating their senior members who had first started this Ganesh Festival Celebrations journey 25 years ago. 





Event Details: Jolly Boys Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandal (Bandra Reclamation)


When all is lost in the battles of life the only thing that propels us in the forward direction is the lamp of hope. While one faces hurdles and obstacles in life they lack motivation coupled with a feeling of helplessness. At such times remembering Lord Ganesha, as Vigneshvara is believed to remove all the obstacles. There is a power within a prayer and with Lord Ganesha, you get the courage and confidence to face them. The synergy amongst these Jolly Boys is indeed creditable. Jolly Boys Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandal (Bandra Reclamation) cordially invites you along with family and friends to join them for the 25th Annual Ganesh Festival Celebration. Let many youngsters today get motivation from these Jolly Boys Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandal and keep the odyssey strong as ever in what ever work they do.   



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Blackmail (Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas) : By ~ Niilesh A Raje



As we celebrate Poet's Day today (21 August 2017) I thought it’s time to pick up my pen and write what’s in my heart today and let my words keep flowing like a river. Writing that reflects one's inward state of mind.

I would like to pen down a short piece on this song, Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass from the 1973 movie Blackmail. A lovely romantic number casted on Dharmendra and Rakhee which still continues to soothe the ears of the music lovers. Voice of Kishore Kumar and his valley of emotions resonates straight from the heart.

Film maker Vijay Anand (Goldie Anand) was contemplating on his next project it was producer Vinod Doshi who felt it would be apt for Goldie to take up this new project as its director. Goldie was the leading director those days and Dharmendra was equally keen to work with Goldie the director of repute. Around the 70’s Dharmendra and Rakhee as a pair had worked together and became popular in the movie Jeevan Mrityu. Looking at their good work and growing popularity amongst the masses Goldie decided to have the same couple in his new project Blackmail.



Now that the cast was fixed Goldie decided to work on the song aspect in this film. Music composition in Blackmail was done by Kalyanji-Anandji. Rajendra Krishnan the richest writer in Hindi Cinema was the lyrics writer chosen to be part of this project. He was considered the richest writer reason being he had won a jackpot worth 4,600,000 rupees in horse racing which was indeed a huge amount then in the 70’s.

Having done all this Goldie now wanted one romantic song to be part of the project. He was already clear in his mind that he would shoot this song in the Queen of Hill Station namely Ooty. Independent luxury cottages peace and quiet and away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Goldie had this situation in mind which he had told the lyricist and music director. Situation revolves around matters of heart where in the lead male star Dharmendra is unable of express his love to his lady love Rakhee due to his timid nature. How true the words in this song says it all, “Mein soch mein rehta hoon daar daar ke kheta hoon”. To express his love the man keeps writing love letters daily to his lady love.

However, his shy nature does not give him the courage to post these letters to his lady love. One day he (Dharmendra) gathers courage takes all these letters and showers in the lap of his lady love (Rakhee). His lady love reads all these letters written to her by her admirer and that’s when the romantic number unfolds with passage of time.

The creative direction by Goldie is evident if you see the flow of the letters and eventually the courage gathered by the lover. First letter states, Priya(Dear) Miss Mehta. Second, Priya(Dear) Asha Ji. Third, Priya (Dear) Asha. Fourth, Asha and the fifth one finally says it all, Meri Asha. Goldie wanted these letters to sing the song in the movie Blackmail. How to make the letters sing in the given situation was something even the music directors were not getting the pulse right initially.

Many days were spend on composing the tune but nothing seems to be working out in the positive direction. Goldie had planned his dates to shoot this song in Ooty. A night before going to Ooty Goldie sat down with Kalyanji-Anandji. Morning turns into afternoon, afternoon into evening and evening into night but still nothing was seen working positively as expected as far as musical compositions went.

It was here Goldie suggested how about these words, “Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass Tum Raheti Ho. Jeevan Mithi Pyas Ye Kheti Ho”. Immediately tune was created revolving around these words. Next day before departure to Ooty Goldie sat down with both Kalyanji-Anandji and lyrics writer Rajendra Krishnan. He told Rajendra Ji clearly that he is not a prolific poet as he is and also conveyed the words, “Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass Tum Raheti Ho” that came across in his mind a night before. Now whether to include it or drop these words is your final choice. Rajendra Ji was speechless but after given thought for a couple of hours came up with the wonderful lyrics for, “Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass Tum Raheti Ho”.  
Finally the song was ready with the words so was Goldie to depart to Ooty. What was pending was the recording of the song. Goldie being creative and genius person decided to go ahead with his shoot in Ooty for this song. The difference, he told Dharmendra just to lip sync the words as per the requirements of the song. Recording of the song in the studios is something Goldie decided to do it after his arrival from Ooty. Also, Dharmendra being busy and Rakhee being pregnant getting mutual dates wasn’t easy. But the creativity of the director Vijay Anand (Goldie) had the romantic pot finally in place after overcoming all the obstacles. The song, “Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass Tum Raheti Ho” is so popular even today that it’s difficult to believe that the shooting of this song took place first and recording of the song later.

Not to forget as I mentioned in the beginning today (21 August 2017) is Poet’s Day. Time to pick up the pen and write what’s in the heart today and let the words keep flowing like a river.

Happy Poet’s Day . . .          

        
      

         
      





      


Friday, August 18, 2017

Happy Birthday !!! Gulzar Saab : ~ by Niilesh A Raje


18 August 2017 - Happy Birthday to the living legend octogenarian Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner Gulzar Saab !!! 83 years indeed a long and eventful journey that was and many more years to come. Mujhe Chalte Jaana Hai . . . Bus Chaltey Jaana . . . Ek Raah Rukh Gayi . . . Tho Aur Judh Gayi

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SHOLAY : 42 Years Epitome of Box Office Success by Niilesh A Raje



Forty-two years ago on this date, 15th August movie “SHOLAY” was released which till date has proved to be indeed a defining moment in the history of Indian Cinema. The greatest story ever told. Out of the many songs featured in this movie, I would love to pen down short piece on this toe tapping number from the movie namely, “Mehbooba Mehbooba”.

Just before the start of this gypsy number is the climax and electrifying dialogue from Sanjeev Kumar (Thakur), “Ye Heera Gabbar Ko Badukein Aur Goliyan Bhejne Ata Hai. Ek Do Din Mein Gabbar Use Jaroor Milega. Loha Garam Hai Mar Do Hatoda”. 

While R D Burman composed the songs for the movie the lyrics were penned down by Bakshi Saab (Anand Bakshi), “Phool Bahaaron Se Nikla, Chaand Sitaaron Se Nikla Din Dooba”. Song was sung by the music composer himself R D Burman that later gave him a good identity as the lead singer.  

It was planned for a five-day shoot for which sets were constructed and the shooting location for the song was none other than R K Studio at Chembur. Screenplay writer Salim Saab used to drop in between during the shoot of this song. Yes, matters of the heart speak and we see Helen play a pivotal role in this super hit song.




Actor Jalal Agha played the role of the gypsy singer opposite Helen. In the song actor, Helen has played her role well where she is seen neither speaking nor singing anything in the song in front of the ruthless Gabbar Singh. 

Shooting scheduled dates were already communicated to Jalal Agha in advance but it’s learnt that he failed to report on day one of his shoot as he was out of station working on other assignment. Ramesh Sippy was obviously upset and decided to go ahead and complete the solo shots with Helen required in this song. Ramesh Sippy had made up his mind to do the role himself in an unlikely event if Jalal Agha did not report on the second day for the shooting. He did report on the next day and we see him wearing European gypsy costume playing the mandolin.

The song was indeed toe tapping however the curiosity and thrill amongst the masses in this song being Jai and Veeru seen in the background who are preparing for an explosion within the vicinity of Gabbar Singh.

R D Burman was later seen as plagiarist for using the tune of Demis Roussos’s, “Say you love me” in the song “Mehbooba Mehbooba”. The reality being the tune was indeed recommended to Pancham Da by Ramesh Sippy only who had heard this song earlier at his brother’s home and developed instant liking towards its tune.

Its forty two years now since SHOLAY was released both the movie and songs still continue to be the epitome of box office success.

The veteran lyricist of this song Bakshi Saab (Anand Bakshi) went way ahead with the same word "Mehbooba" and two years later post release of Sholay in the year 1977 came up with another lovely number from movie "Dharam Veer", "O meri mehbooba mehbooba mehbooba tujhe jaana hai toh jaa teri marji mera kya".
  


Sunday, August 13, 2017

36 Years “Silsila” ~ by Niilesh A Raje



14th August 2017 completes 36 years for the release of Amitabh Bachchan Ji's movie 'Silsila' (The Affair, 1981).  The advertisement proclaimed boldly, “Love is faith and faith is forever”. The movie was controversial right from the beginning much before its release date especially with extra marital themes addressed boldly by Yash Ji in his film.

The original cast was Padmini Kolhapure but it did not work out as she was tight on time with her dates and availability. Then next choice then made was Parveen Babi and Smita Patil.  Both were not considered apt for the roles and were eventually dropped from the choice list.

The film witnessed average business at box office and was trashed by the media then as 'silly sila'. However, today's age the film has gained a strong cult and is considered to be classic. The movie's soundtrack became "super-hit" upon the release and still continues to be equally popular.

Silsila was shot in Yash Ji’s house in Kashmir, Delhi and Netherlands. Netherlands is another beautiful country in Europe, where the evergreen song ‘Dekha Ek Khwab’ featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha was shot.



“Dekha Ek Khwab To Ye Silsile Hue” the popular song from the movie is also the first Hindi Film song release written by Javed Akhtar after the duo Salim-Javed split. Tunes were composed by Shiv Hari. It is learned that Javed Saab ended up spending one full day with composers and words started flowing like a river end result was a musical hit song. 

The song was shot at Keukenhof Tulip Garden, Netherlands giving more power to the lyrics "Dur Tak Nigahon Mein Hai Gul Khile Huye" with Keukenhof. Keukenhof (Kitchen garden) is also known as the Garden of Europe, and is situated near Lisse, Netherlands, and is the world’s largest flower garden. Several hit movies and songs from our Indian Film Industry have been shot here. The costumes worn by Amitabh Bachchan in the movie were his own clothes.

Yash Ji's choice of lyricist had always been Sahir Ludhianvi and he was his obvious choice when it came to “Silsila”. He never replaced Sahir with anyone else until Sahir passed away. It is learned that Yash Ji had requested Sahir Saab to write all the songs for the movie within five days. Sahir Saab said, "He would give all the required songs after a span of two weeks only and not a minute before". He did not understand the obvious reason why this rush in delivering it within next five days. The reason, the music director was busy post seven days and Lata Mangeshkar Ji was travelling abroad for 10 days. Yash Ji’s recording staff had kept the pot in place for whatever was required to complete the recording.

Sahir Saab was deeply hurt as he felt his very own viewpoints were not considered at all even while the recording dates were being planned by Yash Ji. He bluntly refused to write any songs for the movie “Silsila”. Yash Ji tried to convince Sahir Saab there were many lyricists ready to write all the songs within two days but he still wanted him only to write all the songs. Sahir Saab said, “In that case, he should go with other lyricists and have the songs written from them”. The end result was an abrupt end of this long professional relationship they both shared over a decade. To sum it up I would quote this song from the movie “Silsila” here, “Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum Yunhi Saath Saath Chaltey”. “Love is faith and faith is forever”.   


Saturday, July 29, 2017

35 years of 'KHUD-DAAR’ : by Niilesh A Raje



Thirty-five years of release for Amitabh Bachchan's movie "Khud-Daar" (1982). "Khud-Daar" was released around the same time when Amitabh Bachchan was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital (Mumbai) after he met an accident on the sets of "Coolie". The same year 1982 also witnessed the release of four other movies starring Amitabh Bachchan namely, "Namak Halaal", "Shakti", "Satte Pe Satta", and "Desh Premee". "Khud-Daar" movie performed extremely well at the box office and also turned out to be a musical hit. Lyrics were penned down by the prolific lyrics writer Late Majrooh Sultanpuri and music was by Rajesh Roshan. Two songs from this movie I would like to amplify here in my piece:

In the song "Mach Gaya Shor Sari Nagri Re" Amitabh Bachchan plays the main character in the small neighborhood and is seen climbing up the human pyramid to reach the top and then breaking the Dahi handi. The song was shot over several days a little away from Powai at Mumbai's Chandivili Studio.

Usually, the Dahi handi is broken by the hands of the individual who has climbed way up to the top. But, to add some thrill to the dance sequence the dance director instructed Amitabh Ji that he smash the handi with his head and not with his hands. Amitabh Ji true to his words went ahead and was successful in breaking the handi with his head but also ended up hurting himself and smashed his head too. His forehead was hurt and blood was seen oozing out. Everyone on the sets got apprehensive and suggested that they wrap up the shoot and have Amitabh Ji admitted in the infirmary at the earliest. However, Amitabh Bachchan got straight into his car and drove off to meet Dr. Shah who was then the Film Industry's family doctor. In his clinic, he stitched and taped Amitabh Bachchan and he was once again back to the studio within no time to resume his shooting with brimming confidence coupled with greater applause from the whole crew on the sets.



The crucial dates and time of the stars coupled with the expenses involved in film making nothing could be compromised then. Amitabh Ji was working double shifts those days (7 am to 2 pm and 2 pm to 10 pm). "Khud-Daar" was scheduled for the morning shift. After completing the shoot for the day in the afternoon he went to Mehboob Studio at Bandra to complete the shoot for Manmohan Desai's "Desh Premi". The passion and pride showcased by Amitabh Ji in his chosen craft is incredible and the justice he gives to the whole crew with whom his work is associated. Even today after 35 years post release of "Khud-Daar" when ever it's Janmashtami we can hear the song, Mach Gaya Shor Sari Nagri Re"  being played loudly. 



The other song from "Khud-Daar" movie was, "Angrezi Mein Khete Hai Ki I Love You" another powerful lyric from Late Majrooh Saab. If there was a musical hit given by the duo Rajesh Roshan and Majrooh Sultanpuri after the success of "Kunwara Baap" then it has to be the movie "Khud-Daar". Majrooh Saab was well known for his creative imagination and dexterity over different languages (Angrezi, Gujarati, Bengali and Punjabi). The same was effectively leveraged by Majrooh Saab in the song, "Angrezi Mein Khete Hai Ki I Love You"