English: Vishnu and Lakshmi on Shesha Nāga, c. 1870. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the Hindu mythology, at the top sits an trinity consisting of Brahama, Visnu and Siva or Mahesh. They are responsible for running the whole universe. Visnu is the source of universe and of all things. He sleeps in the primeval ocean on the thousand headed snake Shesha. In his sleep a lotus grows from his navel and in this lotus the demiurge Brahma is born who creates the world. Once the creation of the world is over, Visnu awakes to reign in the highest heaven called Vaikuntha.
Visnu has the dark blue color and four arms and in his four hands he bears his emblems namely conch, discus, mace and lotus. His mount is a great eagle Garuda which is generally shown as half human face. His spouse is Lakshmi who is also a paramount Goddess in her own right.
He is always smiling and benevolent in contrast to Siva who has some fierce traits. He incarnates himself wholly or partially from time to time. We already know about his incarnations or Avatars as :
The role has been played in all 9 avatars already. Now in Kaliyuga, to set the things right, to put the people on the path of righteousness and destroy the corrupt, Kalkin is awaited. It is said that in this Avatar he will appear as a man riding a white horse with a flaming sword in his hand and by eliminated all the vices, he will restore the age of Gold.
Incidentally, a Bollywood movie with the name Shahenshah featuring Amitabh Bachchan was based loosely on the theme of coming of Kalkin. With this film, Amitabh made a comeback after recovering from the fatal injury and the hype created by Tinnu Anand, the maker of the movie, helped the movie to become hit a the box office.
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 on 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 recently, 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.
The Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) is a large non-migratory crane. It is found in parts of the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia. These cranes are the tallest of the flying birds, standing at a height of up to 6 feet and live and forage in the wetlands. The Sarus Crane is easily distinguished from other cranes in the region by the overall grey colour and the contrasting red head and upper neck.
In India these birds are held in great esteem. It is said that Ramayana was written by sage Valmiki was inspired by an painful incident which happened to him. He was going for taking a bath in the sacred river Tamsha near Allahabad in North India in the morning. He decided to take a walk before taking the bath. On his walk he spotted a pair of Sarus Crane in an inseparable pose and was rooted to their beauty. Suddenly a hunter suddenly killed the male bird leaving the female alone making heart rending cries. The sage cursed the hunter. This poignant scene catalyzed the beginning of writing of the epic poem.
It is believed in India that these birds are the most faithful to each other and for whole of their life cling to each other. If one of them dies, the other pines for the spouse rest of its life and sometimes refuses to take food and die. It is due to this reason, the newly wedded girls in Gujarat and many other parts of India are blessed by the elders to have a life like the Sarus cranes.
Incidentally, just as I was writing this entry, Kaun Banega Crorepati (variant of Who wants to be an millionaire) was being telecast on Sony TV channel by India’s iconic star Amitabh Bachchan and there he asked one question to a candidate about the name of river on whose shores sage Valmiki wrote the Ramayana which is of course Tamsha as noted above.
In a program about wetlands in India, it was noted that the numbers of these birds are on decline. It may be due to the bad condition of many wetlands due to mindless infusion of pollutants from industries into these bodies of water which support diverse kinds of fauna. For example, the wetland Harike in the Taran Tarn district of Punjab was in a very deplorable state few years back. It resembled a drain from a city. Only due to the efforts of the Sant Seechewal that many of the rivers and wetlands are breathing again and have been revived.
Mumbai Mirror, a very popular news paper from Times of India Group, is bringing on every Wednesday a photo article on the rare sepia colored photos which had been shot by the ace lens man Jagdish Aurangabadkar on different occasions. These photos bring out the different moods, personalities and the clothing style made popular by the stars or became their trademark. Besides each photograph, is the analyses of various personalities seen in the picture. The analyses seem to be very penetrating and the person doing has a very keen eye for the details. Here are some examples.
Cricket and Gentlemen.
Cricket is the sport of Bollywood. Dalliances between actors and players have long provided grist to a prurient press. And in this season of cricket madness we thought it appropriate to dig out this gem. This picture was shot at a benefit match soon after the end of the Indo-China war of 1962. Two of Mumbai’s biggest film icons, Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar pose here before the start of the match. From their formal footwear you know that their stint on the pitch is not going to be a long one. Kapoor’s mischievous grin and Kumar’s more restrained smile are indicative of the widely contrasting personalities of the two and their sometimes uneasy equation.
The picture taken by Jagdish Aurangabadkar at a celebration party for the highest sale of records of, no prizes for guessing this one, Qurbani,has the three leading actors, Feroz Khan, Vinod Khanna and Zeenat Aman taking over the stage in style.
With songs like Laila Main Laila, Aap Jaisa Koi and Hum Tumhe Chahte Hain Aise, the songs of the Feroz Khan directed film were an instant success. Half the reason for the success of the music could be attributed to the singers Asha Bhonsle, Nazia Hasan Kishore Kumar and Mohhammad Rafi alongwith the music directors Kalyanji Anandji. And the other half? Well, that just goes to the three stylish actors who made them look so beautiful on screen. The sexy Zeenat Aman in her swimsuit probably made the slow number Hum Tumhe Chahte Hain racier than it was meant to be.
At this event, the always-stylish Feroz is seen demonstrating a two-step in his signature silk shirt unbuttoned down to mid chest while the suave Vinod Khanna in a simple shirt accessorised with what looks like beads from the Osho ashram seems to be providing the background score for his friend.
Dressed in a salwar kameez much unlike her onscreen persona in the film in which she played a cabaret dancer, Zeenat Aman stands behind her two co-stars cheering them on.
Also check out the cord coming out of the microphone held by Khanna. In this day and age of cordless equipments, it is hard to even imagine that the cinestars did use such regular instruments once upon a time.
This picture captured by veteran photographer Jagdish Aurangabadkar at a mahurat in RK Studios makes for the perfect family portrait. Randhir Kapoor surrounded by the three women in his life, Babita, Karisma and the young Kareena in flowing long dresses, looks happy. Taken probably during the 20-yearlong separation between Babita and husband Randhir Kapoor, the picture talks a lot about the Kapoor family traditions that both hung on to even during the long years they stayed apart. It is funny to see both Karisma and Kareena fully covered from neck to toe, whereas nowadays one hardly gets to see both the Kapoor sisters in that same avatar.
Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan take direction from Hrishikesh Mukherjee on the sets of their 1973 blockbuster Namak Haraam. And by Khanna’s expression, this must have been a real eye popper of a scene in discussion. Immortalised on reel by ace lensman Shyam Aurangabadkar, this picture brings back memories of the good old 70s when printed shirts made from the same fabric worn by two actors were a popular fad. Remember how Amitabh and Dhramendra in the song Sa Re Ga Ma from Chupke Chupke, also directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, wore the same shirt? In this picture however, Amitabh shares the shirt chemistry with his costar Rajesh Khanna. After a striking onscreen shared by the actors in the 1972 Hrishikesh Mukherjee film Anand, they were brought together once again by the director to essay the roles of the two friends Somu and Vicky in Namak Haraam. Ironically, in real life, they were far from being friends. Rajesh Khanna who had ruled the silver screen till Bachchan came on the scene had major ego clashes with the younger star. They later went on to have a cold war that ran over decades until a couple of years back, while presenting the lifetime achievement award to Khanna at an award function overseas, Bachchan mentioned that the term ‘superstar’ was originally coined for Rajesh Khanna.
In the picture, however, all seems to be well between the two actors. While Bachchan is busy concentrating on what Hrishikesh Mukherjee is saying, Khanna seems to be shocked with something on the other side. Or perhaps it was the scene that got his eyes popping out. We’ll never know.
Circa 1979. One of the biggest films in Bollywood history was launched. And this was the party.
This picture taken by Jagdish Aurangabadkar on September 30, the same year, captures some of the icons of the Indian film industry in a single frame. It was the launch of Yash Chopra’s blockbuster film Silsila at Rajkamal Studios.
Prem Chopra standing hand in hand with Amitabh Bachchan seems to be sharing a joke with the three Kapoor men Shashi, Randhir and Rishi standing to one side with Sanjeev Kumar holding on to his cigarette.
Their clothes reveal a lot about the men in this picture. While upcoming Rishi Kapoor and the ruling star of the industry then, Amitabh, can be seen in fashionable jersey shirts, the elder Shashi Kapoor and Sanjeev Kumar look relaxed in the desi kurta-pyjama.
The two leading ladies of the film, which released two years later and went on to become a blockbuster, Jaya Bachchan and Rekha, would have made the picture look even better. But maybe their presence would have been a hindrance to the uninhibited laughter being shared on stage by the men
Dharmendra and Hema Malini fell in love in the mid seventies on the sets of Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay. The couple who became a rage as much for their chemistry on screen as off it, came together again in Pramod Chakravorty’s Dream Girl. The 1977 film had Hema Malini play Sapna alias Padma alias Champabai alias Dreamgirl alias Rajkumari with her real life lover
The scene captured by lensman Jagdish Aurangabadkar is on the sets of the 1977 film Dream Girl. The picture has director Pramod Chakravorty describing the sequence to his lead actors Dharmendra, Hema and Ashok Kumar. And while the older actor Ashok Kumar seems to be having a problem with Chakaravorty’s explanation, Dharmendra seems to be amused by the same. Hema on the other hand seems to be lost in her own dream world.
Ashok Kumar in his trademark silk dressing gown and Dharmendra sporting a retro striped shirt make the scene a particular favourite. The scene stealer is however the pillows. Yes, the pillows which fill in for the missing cushions on the wooden sofa, are our particular favourite. Now, that’s what we call effective production. Wonder how they dreamt that one up!
It was Rahul Dev Burman’s 36th birthday party. Panchamda had invited his close friend Randhir Kapoor for the big day, on June 27, 1975. And considering it was Randhir who had helped Burman pave his way into the RK Films camp with the film Dhongeein 1975, inviting Randhir’s wife Babita and younger brother Rishi was obvious. In this picture, captured by Shyam Aurangabadkar, we can see the three special guests sharing the frame with RD.
Rishi ‘Chintu’ Kapoor came as the bearer of the birthday gift. Babita, clad in a transparent chiffon saree and a sleeveless blouse that dipped dangerously at the neckline, looked resplendent as she held hands with the birthday boy RD.
The simplicity of a birthday party in 1970s Bollywood can be spotted in the floral decoration at the door to Burman’s residence. Unlike 21st century, a birthday party did not essentially need a fancy location. It did not need blaring music. What it needed was a heart and some really good friends.
Another thing that deserves a mention is Panchamda’s open mouth. While everyone is busy smiling at the lens, the music composer is caught with his mouth wide-open, probably singing ‘Happy birthday to me’.
In Bollywood, if a movie is hit then the star name is repeated in other of his films because it is thought lucky. Thus Amitabh‘s character has been called “Vijay” in as many as 19 movies. We had a boy who was attendant in our office whose name was also “Vijay”. I asked him his name and when he told “Vijay”, I jokingly said that this is the name Amitabh has in many movies, he said reel life is not the real life. Although, in most of the films, Vijay came from a very poor background and destiny catapulted him to riches- all rags to riches kind of stories. May be our Vijay was in the initial stages of his role in the life although the chances of his becoming a man covered in moolah seem to be remote.
Similarly, there is another name which is very popular in Hindi movies and that is Rahul. This name was adopted by Shahrukh Khan in as many as seven movies. Before that he had repeated another popular name called “Raj”. Then Salman Khan thought that “Raj” is also lucky for him, so this was repeated in four of his movies. But now he thinks “Prem” is very lucky for him.
Similarly when in some of Salman’s movies, the songs for him were sung by southern singer S.P.Balasubramaniam, he for sometimes insisted on the music directors to get the songs synced by him to be sung by this singer only.
Movie Paa in which Amitabh Bachchan played the character of a person who is suffering from the disease progeria in which the brain of a person develops normally but the body refuses to grow. The diseases can attack a person in the childhood itself. Because of this, a seventy year person looks like a child. The movie itself was inspired from the Hollywood flick “The curious case of Benjamin Button” in which the role was played brilliantly by Brad Pitt. The went on to win Oscar in 2008 for art direction, makeup and visual effects. Pitt played a 50 years old character.
The movies are inspired by good books or some real life incidents which are expanded into a screenplay by mixing the reality with imagination by a creative writer. Life of some patients also inspires many stories.
In some portions of the story of movie Paa, a real life incident seems to resemble. Take the case of Salman Taseer, the former Governor of Punjab in Pakistan who was a liberal sort of man and payed the price of being so by his life. His own bodyguard assassinated him by emptying all the bullets from his weapon. It was a assassination harking back the memories of assassination of Indira Gandhi. Many religious bigots and militants in Pakistan are completely intolerant towards any liberalism. In this case, his fault was to condone a foreigner woman for blasphemy. After surrendering, the bodyguard declared that he hated the Governor for being a liberal.
Anyway, the Governor Tasser was from a very well to do family. His mother was a Britisher who sent him to Britain for education. He was a successful businessman. And then there is a very renowned journalist in India whose name is Tavleen Singh. She covered many events in the subcontinent and during one of these assignments she met the Tasser and both fell for each other. A male child was born out of this love. But she is living here in India with her son and he in Pakistan. The the boy has grown into a man and has never met his father. He once wrote a letter to his father in his childhood in which he expressed his desire to meet his father and handed over this letter to his mother and beseeched her to give this letter to his father when she goes to Pakistan. She only promised that if by chance she happens to meet Taseer, she will hand over the letter but she cannot give any assurance whether he will agree to meet his son. Taseer did get the letter, read it and promised to fulfill the desire of his son but never did. You can imagine the condition of the son.
Similarities are there in these real life and reel life stories. In both a son is born to women without wedlock. In both the ambitious fathers abandon their sons. But Taseer’s son fortunately does not suffer from any physical disease but mentally he must be very lonely and sad.
Amitabh is undoubtedly the greatest actor of Indian films. During the initial stage of the film career, when he was struggling and when he did not get roles, it was the then prime minister Indira Gandhi who pressed many producers and directors to give him good roles. After the initial struggle, he broke the shackles of small roles and blazed like a star on the firmament of Indian cinema. No other actor has been able to reach to his heights. Accompanying the tall and lean figure is the baritone voice with which he has captured the audience and rules the industry! There is no doubt of his genius in the acting.
On the other side, his personal life which cannot remain personal and unshared, is full of contradictions. He always states in his interviews about his unassuming manner, respect for the older values and fruits of honesty and hard work. Yet in the hour of crisis when his production company called ABC ( it turned out to be truly abcdian company) busted, he wavered and fell into the talons of Amar Singh and Mulayam Yadav who helped him in the time of testing by God. And a man is known by the company he keeps. He generally harps that he is an middle class person even now. I don’t understand why he shows this hypocrisy and don’t boldly say that he is a rich man; the kind of rich man which is not less than a erstwhile monarch. His collection of costliest and latest cars, clothes and other of his interests speaks for this plenitude.
If he is a middle class than I pray to Almighty to make every Indian like him at least if not rich.