Malta June 12, 2017 Mon 10:15 PM local time
Birthday - EF - Tatiana Saavick , MRD Patel Tue, June 13 .. wishes for the birthday to the two Tatiana and MRD .. have a wonderful day and may it be sprinkled with love and happiness always .. your Ef
The chai ka adda at the set of ‘Kala Patthar’ .. a set put up on Raj ji’s ( Raj Kapoor ) farm near Pune .. we were to go to the actual coal mines in Asansol and Dhanbad, but logistics of work and ease of work, made us think again .. and at the farm it was just ideal for working conditions ..
I worked in my first job in Calcutta at Bird & Co., , actually Bird Heilgers & Co., in the Coal Dept., and we were sent as part of our training to the Coal mines managed by the Co., .. the Company was a Managing Agency house, a prominent entity in the Calcutta of the 1960′s .. cast and crew stayed at the Blue Diamond Hotel, perhaps the only recognised one at the time .. now of course many elegant and 5 star ones are up ..
The Hotel had many visits .. we shot EkNazar, Don, Zameer, Major Saheb, Kala Pathar, AAA, and now forgetting the countless number of times we stayed there during the shootings of our films ..
Rajneesh’s Ashram, Osho was just next door and throughout the day we had many saffron, or a muddy saffron coloured outfitted disciples from the Ashram at the Hotel, by the swimming pool .. perhaps it was the only common pool in the vicinity .. Ma Babuji accompanied us on most of these shoots and would visit the Ashram ..
Rajneesh had been an admirer of Babuji’s works, and during his discourses he would often quote from his works .. Babuji would often visit the Ashram unannounced and sit at the back during these discourses ..
I would often ask him why he went there and his terse reply was : “ Just to check whether he is quoting me correctly “ !!
Babuji had had several meetings with him, before he became Bhagwan Rajnish, and then he had stopped those meetings .. he would often respond to that and say “ it’s a little unsettling to keep meeting God so often “ .. his satire and tongue firmly in his cheek ..
Maaji went along with him on an occasion and came back very annoyed and disillusioned .. Rajnish had a dictat that no perfume was to be used by those that entered the Ashram, perhaps he was allergic to them .. there used to be a security check at the entrances to the discourses .. a smell test really .. and she failed that and was asked to leave .. she lost interest in him and the Ashram .. but Babuji used to read and listen to Rajnish’s commentary .. during his last years, he would often put his tapes on at night before going to sleep and on being asked why another terse one came : “it puts me to better sleep” !!
After Rajnish’s passing I did visit the Ashram out of curiosity .. it was extremely serene and well maintained .. in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a crowded and noisy city, it was remarkable how quiet and peaceful the atmosphere inside the Ashram was ..
It was a heady culture in those times .. and some of his lectures and discourses were quite inspiring .. many a times I would find prominent star actors and celebrities from the Western film world at the Ashram - they all came for their meals at the Blue Diamond or a swim ..
But back to KP .. many of the incidents in the scripting were stories that I had narrated to Salim-Javed at the time of its writing .. the coal mine area is a fascinating region .. some very poignant moments were experienced by me personally .. and I shall refrain from mentioning them for they are not very pleasant to read or talk about .. mostly about the nature of accidents that take place in a mine, an example of which was incorporated in the film and many others which I do not wish to write about ..
But the coal mine experience was first introduced to me by that great artist Utpal Dutt .. he came from the stage from Bengal before his illustrious career in film .. I saw a play of his called ‘Angar’ in Bengali at the AIFACS theatre in Delhi .. it was so dramatic and so well executed .. and yes it dealt with a disaster that occurs in a mine ..
Coal mines catch fire often and it is a colossal task to control them .. indeed near Asansol there is an entire region over several acres, which is still on fire .. when I was there it was and had been burning for almost 35 years .. and I have met certain people from the region who say that the fire is still burning .. I went in the 60′s .. !! Despite the tragedy of the fire, it has become a tourist site, for the flames of the fire are a beautiful blue colour and the site actually looks rather beautiful at night .. a burning blue earth !! Fascinating !!
The interior of the mines were shot on a set at Film City in Mumbai .. the flooding sequence being conducted by a special technical group that came from Los Angeles and Hollywood .. a few incidents happened there as well .. but it all turned out good in the end ..
Working with Yash ji was always a picnic .. informal, relaxed and filed with humour and eating delicious food .. he encouraged the families of artists to accompany them at the shoot destination .. whether it was Pune or Kashmir or Amsterdam or Delhi it was always the same .. evenings were spent not in our respective Hotel rooms, but at a common place where we chatted, played games and enjoyed each others’ company .. ‘ antakshari’ was the favourite .. along with ‘dumb charades’ .. haha .. what wonderful moments shared .. !!
Shootings in Kashmir and Srinagar was a delight .. after pack up, we would all migrate to the Dal Lake, where several ‘donga’s’ - boat platforms - would be tied together to make one floating large boat and all of us would spend the evening, moving about in the lake, eating singing .. music by local folk musicians , until the late hours..
Now all forgotten .. and in memories .. sad .. !!
Time waits for no one .. and neither must we ..