Raja Nawathe: Gumnaam (1965)

You know I had never quite been a huge Hindi cinema buff. No doubt, I had watched numerous films over decades of my life in India, but had never really bought film magazines, nor bought tickets from the fellas who paced up and down, muttering something under their breath while you’re waiting in queue with that occasional mood to go to the movies to watch a Hindi film.  More often than not, by the time you reached the ticket window, they would have no good seats left, except the stray ones in the first few rows, and you certainly did not ever want to sit that close to the screen… instead, we ended up going for lunch, or dinner. But that’s so far back I can barely remember what we did. Well, every now and again I seem to be writing something about Hindi cinema… nothing quite of consequence, I guess. But, this came as a surprise just now.

A few years ago, I had created this page about a not-so-widely-renowned film director, Raja Nawathe. Again, if I had told someone at the time I created that page, they would have said, “Yeah, so…  who’s that again?” Not much was known about him on the internet search at the time… so I pieced together the little I could. What do you know!  I just came across this scholarly article by Dr Iain Robert Smith, Lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London. In it, I found a link directly to that page. So I’m smiling, at least someone found that page useful. 🙂 Although Raja Nawathe himself directed only a few films, the songs from his films are by no means gumnaam (or loosely translated, forgotten… ) e.g. here are a couple of Shankar-Jaikishan composed favorites, one is the haunting title  song that Lata Mangeshkar sang in the background song where actresses Nanda and Helen, hero Manoj Kumar and others  seem lost; and the other one is while feisty Laxmi-Chhaya is in rock-n-roll mode in a club scene for which Mohammad Rafi sings with such pizzazz.  🙂

Surprise, the lyrics for this one are written by Shailendra, while the sombre one is Hasrat Jaipuri’s writing. Enjoy both… listen to whichever you feel will fascinate you more. 🙂




Dev Anand, in conversation…

Varsha Bhosle, an ardent fan of Dev Anand interviewed the legendary actor somewhere around April 1997. Many others like her, and as fans of Hindi cinema may have already read this long interview, which I just came across minutes ago. As I do occasionally, on finding something interesting, especially unexpectedly, I share the treasure right-away; because in cyberspace one can never be sure, it may vanish from sight, and you may never find it again.

Just in case you’re new to Hindi film journalists, or to Indian reporters, Varsha Bhosle was a reporter/writer. She passed away four years ago on 8th October 2012, causes of which are shrouded in mystery, but broadly deemed as suicide. No doubt, she was known for her writing, but as the daughter of playback singer Asha Bhosle, also a living legend today at age 83, there was little secret about her lineage.

Now, Dev Anand, whom Varsha had interviewed so far back, also passed away on 3rd December 2011. Effectively, this interview carries even more weight today than when it was published on April 04, 1997.



 accord. I have lost the battle of the ages



Politics, Religion, and Trolling

Steer Clear!

The reality is, that the friends you socialize with i.e. dine-n-wine with; or the friends you socialize with online — they may have political views that may surprise/or shock you.

Well, will you continue to be friends with them, or will your turn your back on them? Don’t the wise often say, don’t discuss or argue about these matters? Not only could it turn into a no-win battle for either party, but you may well lose a friend.

I just saw a page ad pop up on Facebook. It also displayed which of my friends had ‘liked’ it. Hmm… never mind, I shan’t get swayed.

Take My Hand, Precious Lord

My friend’s post reminded me this morning of JFK’s death anniversary today. He was in his mid-’40s at the time (1963). One thought lead to another, onto Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination (1968). He was not quite 40 then. Mahalia Jackson sang “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” at his funeral, and just days later, Nina Simone too sang the same. When Mahalia Jackson passed away (1972), Aretha Franklin too sang in her memory. Well, the other King – the King of Rock-n-Roll — also died young (early 40s).

From way back when I was in school, I remember listening to this when a senior student from high school sang it on stage. I liked it immensely at the time (but had no background knowledge of it), so I’d jotted down the entire hymn. Although the ladies have sung marvelously well, here is Elvis Presley singing it soulfully.

You may not wage the war, but…

You may not wage the war.
But… let’s not forget,
this world itself
is a battleground.
Each one fights
… for space,
… to find his place,
… or leave her trace.
In this world,
the attacker swings
from the right …
or will hurl at you
from the left;
or hit you
from the rear …
or swing a blow,
straight at
your face.
Over time,
Life teaches you,
my friend, to
be cautious.
Be prepared…
There’s little choice…
get trampled upon…
or, hold your ground.
What’s your choice?

~ Pictowrit

A month ago, photographed at Petit Palais, in itself an architectural delight. Add to that le Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, which permitted entry — gratis. I did not have time (nor the inclination) to look at the Oscar Wilde Exhibition which was also on display at the time, and for which you need a ‘billet‘. No doubt, I saw all the showcased art, and art hanging on the walls – paintings, tapestries, etc – and furniture, and sculptures… speaking of which…


I saw some interesting nouveau art displays by contemporary artists – a stack of empty cartons piled up, a line up of coal-filled burlap ‘gunny sacks’; water pouring out of a hosepipe sticking out of something like a Sintex water tank... etc. All of these in such opulent settings had been both comical and a marvel. It was, after all, ART. “Why should art always have to be beautiful!”, I heard one student say to me. That was the artist’s viewpoint she had shared with me. 😉 What was interesting were the young students of the history of art — note, not students of Art, but of the history of art, patiently asked what we, as visitors thought of the “sculpture” (examples I cited above); and then they shared the artist’s perspective, viewpoint and purpose for creating such “ART” for display in the palace. During which time I also met one young German student – she said she was working on her Master’s thesis on temple architecture of South India. She planned to do a doctorate.

In turn, I shared with her my brief experience of studying temple architecture for a presentation to a group of young students in Toronto. I gave them a compare/contrast on temples of the north versus those of the south in India. The Kodak carousel projector did not work for some reason, so instead of projecting slides, I had shown them a bunch of large size photographs I had shot in Hampi, Badami, Pattadakal, Aihole. Those photos are now packed up and sitting in crates in my closet, with nowhere to display. The digital era has brought to light millions of such images in the public domain, especially since those sites were recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. You’ll think I’ve gone from Paris to Pattadakal! Well, that’s just me… 😉

Jewel Thief (1967)

Yes, Navketan Production’s Jewel Thief which was also referred to as ज्वेल थीफ़, or Jvel Thief. You know how folks say ‘jvelery’. 🙂 Well… the song here, is not comical at al…

Source: Jewel Thief (1967)

Pinjare ke Panchhi (1966)

Was it premonition, or was it fate? We will never know, because it was in 1966 that lyricist Shailendra had departed. It was December 14, 1966. As for Pinjare ke Panchhi, it seems to be a lesser kn…

Source: Pinjare ke Panchhi (1966)

Hum Do Daku (1967)

“Us two thieves” would be the literal translation of this 1967 film “Hum Do Daku”. Had never heard of this film, nor do I think I have heard the songs ever… but one ne…

Source: Hum Do Daku (1967)

Guide (1965) – Part 3

Well, when the music composer Sachin Dev Burman himself sings two songs out of ten magnificent compositions he created for this film, I choose to place him up here in this post. Perhaps I will also…

Source: Guide (1965) – Part 3