Names of animals to which humans are likened are not neutral. These have either postive connotations like “a man like a lion” or negative connotations like “rat like”.
A fox is the animal which is known to have to cleverness as well as being handsome. A silver fox is referred to a man who has transitioned to old age with white or partially white hair and look very handsome.
Some Hollywood actors which are in more demand and have a huge fan following seemed to have become more attractive with age.
Assam and its sister states namely Meghalya, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh & Nagaland jointly called 7 sisters once upon a time constituted only one state and were known as Assam only. Like every other state and great diversity of cultures in India, Assam and its sister states have preserved their unique culture. One reason for this is lesser contact with rest of the country due to nature of terrain and Central government’s apathy for years. Despite being very rich in resources, the area has not seen the prosperity due to it. The most important ingredients for an area to progress economically are transportation facilities, communications and raw resources. First two have been neglected for over 57 years.
During the British rule, it was their sole aim to plunder the wealth of state namely petroleum, tea and precious wood. This trend continued almost unabated even after the independence. The area was taken for granted by the governments at center. The result was disillusionment and rise of unrest and many militant groups which also took their toll of progress.
So one can imagine what must had been the scene way back in 1900. At such a time Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was born into a Marwari family which had migrated some generations back to Assam. Marwaris are a business community from Rajasthan. They have the business acumen in their blood.They don’t need any degrees to be successful businessmen. They are highly adventurous as far as the reaching such remote places where no one will thought of going for establishing their shops.
Most of them are non-vegetarians and are known for eating simple food, abstain from drinking, the ingredients which make them ideal businessmen. They spread to the remotest corners of Assam whose people were content to be where they were and eat and wear whatever was available locally. They would not venture outside in search of better opportunities. They are pleasure and self content people. Despite being endowed with most beautiful landscape, Assam could not develop its tourism industry. In this respect Goa and Kerala have been the most enterprising in selling the beauty of nature to foreign tourists. One reason may be their proximity to sea which adds to the natural beauty of the place. One positive aspect of non development of tourism have been that the pristine beauty and unpolluted environment is still intact.
We have digressed much from the subject. It should have been along the straight-line but we have made the journey sinuous. Coming to point, it is enough to say that there are abreactions sometimes. Agarwala who was affluent in wealth and was educated in Calcutta and Britain opted for a altogether different carrier. He became the founding father of Assamese cinema. He was a script writer, song writer, musician and what not. He is fondly called the Roop Kanwar by Assamese people and his death anniversary is celebrated as Shilpi day. He made the first Assamese movie called Joymati which depicted the extreme sacrifice of a princess for his husband who was imprisoned by the King. She was successful in scheming to free his husband and went into exile. She was captured and tortured.
Agarwala was also a freedom fighter and participated in the freedom movement against the British. He died in 1951 suffering from cancer.
Sholay is a cult movie in India. After a slow start, it went on to break many records and created many milestones in the history of Bollywood.
Many events happened on the personal levels with some of the actors. People still remember its dialogues. Many buffs have seen the movie umpteen number of times.
Mumbai Mirror carries one such story every Wednesday in its cinema section. Shyam Aurangabadkar, ace lens man took beautiful and unforgettable pictures and the article is published under the title “Sepia Memories”
In this photograph captured by ace lensman Shyam Aurangabadkar, almost the entire stellar cast of the film is seen partying after a hectic day’s shoot in the picturesque terrain of Ramanagara in Karnataka.
(Late) Amjad Khan did an unforgettable turn as the feared bandit Gabbar Singh. Apparently, he was the makers’ second choice after Danny Denzongpa turned down the role. Amjad prepared himself for the role by reading a book based on the dacoits of the Chambal valley.
AK Hangal, who passed away played the blind Rahim Chacha in the film. After all, who can forget his dialogue: “Itna Sannata Kyun Hai Bhai” when his son Ahmed, portrayed by Sachin, returns dead on horseback.
Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan enacted the roles of the two crooks, who are close friends, Veeru and Jai, respectively. They’re assigned the job of capturing Gabbar alive by a seriously maimed ex cop Thakur Baldev Singh portrayed by (late) Sanjeev Kumar, who sadly isn’t there in the picture.
Among the interesting anecdotes related to Sholay, Bachchan married Jaya Bhaduri four months before filming began. Similarly, Dharmendra, who had already started wooing Hema Malini, continued to do so in the film.
North West of Indian subcontinent has been the cradle of one of the great civilizations that flourished in the world once upon a time. The great Indus Valley Civilization existed here. Although the name suggests that it might have been situated along the coast of Indus valley because two sites namely Harrapa in Punjab and Mohenjo Daro have been found along the great river. And why on the river? Because river nourishes life. Early civilizations when population pressure was not much tended to settle down near the rivers.
It has been now established that the civilization was not confined to this small area but spread over a much bigger area extending almost to Gujarat coast and west side of Ganges. It is also taught to us from school that this civilization was run over by the hordes of people who entered India from West and were called Aryans. There are no conclusive proofs of this. Indus civilization was urban in nature which results when there are people who have become powerful and can control much larger population. Agriculture surplus provides the food for people in cities. There are specialists like goldsmiths, iron smiths etc which have their works inside the city’s boundary.
At that time there were Gods which were venerated to keep the good times going on. There were Gods for every occasion and which controlled the nature’s activities. Like Gods of water called Varuna, Sun and Moon (Soma), rivers were mostly female deities. One such God is Lord Shiva who is the most loved God in the Hindu mythology. He is a complete ascetic and most of the times shown meditating on the Kailash mountain with his eyes closed for hundreds of years.
Shiva has Sati, also called Dakshayani, as his wife. She has earned the displeasure of his father Daksha in marrying Shiva whom he thought as an ash smeared ordinary Sadhu. He did not approve of Shiva because of his unusual attire and ascetic nature. But it was preordained by Brahma that Sati shall marry Shiva and bring him back to the worldly ways to have a son by him who was supposed to kill some demon. Anyway, both loved each other and she was very happy.
But Daksha, the father of Sati, once arranged a yagna for which he invited everyone except Sati and Shiva. Sati assumed out of fatherly love that her father might not have felt the need to formally invite them because she was his daughter and there was no place for formality. Shiva dissuaded her but she went to her father’s home. But she was wrong because her father began denigrating Shiva. She could not tolerate and performed the self immolation.
Shiva who knew everything was in a rage on hearing the news. He went there and carried the body of Sati and began the Tandva dance. When the God who is so gentle and gullible is in rage then he can destroy the world. Fearing the end of world, Vishnu cut the body of Sati into 51 parts and scattered them in different directions. With this the anger of Shiva subsided. The places where the severed limbs fell are known as Shakti Peethas and are places where Sati is venerated. One such place where her head replete with vermilion fell is called Hinglaj and is now situated in Baluchistan province of Pakistan. But despite the fact that the inhabitants of Pakistan who does believe in idol worship and revere only one God, the temple has survived. The few Hindus who are still in Pakistan visit the place. The area is very inhospitable with scorching heat and flash floods. There are goats and scorpions and snakes infesting the area. Even the Muslims respect the Sati and call the temple “Nani Ki Mandir”.
A Bengali tantrik Kalikananda Abhadut who made the journey to the pilgrimage wrote a book called “Marutiratha Hinglaj” based on his experiences during the journey. A very successful movie of the same name was made starring Uttam Kumar. The background music was scored by Hemanta Kumar who created some immortal songs. Later on when he scored the music of Hollywood film “Siddhartha”, he used the song for background echoing the longing and restlessness of the protagonist during his search for the truth. He is on the river for long long while and still his destination seems to elude him. In the song, the pilgrim also beseeches the Goddess to appear and bless him.
Baluchistan is the sore of Pakistan with its people being unbridled and fiercely independent. Even the British could not subdue them. Pakistan accuses India of fomenting the dissensions among the populace. The area is out of bound for all the foreigners. So many of the Hindus devotees in India, particularly in Rajasthan, must be longing to visit the pilgrimage. It is just like the restrictions faced by Sikhs in India who wish to visit the birth place of Guru Nanak which is called Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.
A few days back, I was searching for clips of movie Siddhartha on the youtube. I found a few. The movie was directed by Conrad Rooks and the river features prominently in the story. The river is the best teacher tells the movie at many places. We should look towards it for peace of mind because it lives in the present. Today is everything because yesterday is gone now and tomorrow is unpredictable.
The movie seems like sketches made by an artist with the boat being rowed by the characters on the river. It is like celluloid poetry. In one of the clips, a very lean and handsome Shashi Kapoor is rowing the boat with another person who have beard and covered his head with a cloth. He is a man full of wisdom and delivering the knowledge to Siddhartha (Shashi Kapoor). Then there is scene in which the old man is taking leave of Siddhartha and before leaving he talks philosophically to Siddhartha. I was mesmerized by his voice. Such a mellifluous modulated voice. It transported you somewhere out of this dull routine. I searched for his name and found out that it is Zul Vellani.
Not much is available on the net about him. May be because he was mostly associated with English theatre and acted in so many plays written by Shakespeare and other masters. Although he came to India from Africa where his family must have migrated. He was the main person behind so many documentaries made by Films Division of India. Indira Gandhi liked his voice and she had specially written a note directing that it is to Zul Vellani who shall be called to be the compere about her death news. He was specially flown to Delhi after her assassination. He also lent his voice in the LP record cut by HMV and sung by Lata Mangeshkar about Sant Dnayneshwar and Bhagwat Geeta.
He is no more and breathed his last on the last day of 2010. The man who has such beautiful voice is said to stammer in the childhood. This was due to his uncle who was very harsh and Zul was very much afraid of him. It was only in the school where he found a very encouraging teacher that he overcome the problem. But he never ever stammered during his acting.
I wish we could find more about him. I could find only following few links.
Dr. Akashitora Dutta has a pleasing personality and talent with which she has lent glamour and substance to many television programs and films. She has tragedies in her life which she hides behind the façade of journalism and acting in serials and films.
Model, actor and writer Akashitora Dutta, whose father Kamala Saikia was the first journalist to be killed by militants. She has written many novels. Her second novel was about the erosion of the values which the banned militant group claims to uphold. Coming 15 years after her father’s death, the novel is based on real-life events from the journalist’s murder to the kidnapping and killing of social worker Sanjoy Ghose.
Her literary works represent the stories of sufferings because of militancy. It has to be told not only to those who read Assamese, but to all in the country and outside. Her works have been published in Assamese and Bengali. Her first novel Xei Prem, was moderately successful.
Akashitora, who earned a PhD from Gauhati University for her thesis on the “Changing Profile of the Educated Assamese Housewife”. Her father, who was a fountainhead of inspiration, was killed in a brutal manner just because he opposed and fought against some of the wrong ideologies adopted by the outfit. She vividly remembers the days when the outfit threatened my father not to write a single word against them.
After Kamala Saikia was killed on August 9, 1991, his shocked daughter moved away from the limelight for a while. But acting was too close to her heart and she has appeared on telefilms, films and Serials.
Akashitora’s started to appear on stage in Sivasagar town her birth place when she was just four. Playing the role of little Krishna, she impressed the audience so much that one admirer gifted her a gold coin. She never looked back after being adjudged as the best actress and debater in a Gauhati University youth festival in 1987. So convincing was she as a Naga woman, Kemi, in a drama staged during the festival that the name “Kemi” became her moniker, her cognomen. As a writer, Akashitora focuses primarily on women.