Looking at my desk strewn with books and paper work and utensils of writing and odds and ends that signify a well worked on table .. astride that oft changed for back comfort chair and seat warmer .. the cranium aloft inside the other cranium searching and devising through very complex machinery what needs to go outside and on to this most noble platform … THE BLOG ..
The revert in a deep resonant voice comes back through the roof at the moment, indicating a travel from the desk to the other more horizontal layout, cooled and snugged into with soft pillows and covers, languishing and awaiting the owner to come by and put them all at rest ..
But no ..
There is writing to be done ; and thoughts to be portrayed and opinions and discussions initiated - to read and revise and consider … all in the course of a few hours that the chair or recline permits ..
I cannot fathom why this has come to pass .. this picture of me in the olden days .. days in the films .. early years of struggle and uncertainty, and not in the possession of any proper clothing to wear and look presentable possible hero material .. it never worked .. and it still does not ..
But this is a shirt gifted to me by a dear friend who had just come back from, Tehran, Iran and had brought along for me then, this shirt which I wear for the picture, hoping that it would look presentable enough for a possible entry to a film .. any film .. any role .. just get me a film to work in ..
There were also many other particles of gifts that came from the same region .. music cassettes in particular - those heavy thick ones that went into a special equipment in the car only .. they were twice as thick in size and in weight than the other traditional cassettes which were very popular for quite some time, until recently, when this massive tidal wave of the internet and .com’s usurped their space and mad e them redundant ..
All modern inventions have similar habit .. they run the old to the ground and bury them with greater invention and technology ..
Would they do that to humans too ..
I wonder ..
At work on the sets its like a zombied region as masked men and women move about dextrously getting work done, one way or the other .. masked ..? yes masked .. for we have or rather one of the AD’s that are in charge of medical and environ and weather conditions, have been investigating the rapid rise, from the absence register of those that work on Production .. and their research and analysis has found the reason to be, an influx , an invasion, a tidal wave of immense destructive power, a storm more powerful than those that are repeatedly hitting the South West coasts of the US of A ..
THE COMMON COLD ..!!
… and as I devour another palm full of ‘saunfh’, it occurs to me that, the liquids of that devoured ‘saunfh’ are indeed now declared to be of great nutritional value .. so I devour some more .. now this is completely unofficial and does not carry any confirmation medically or from any medical formal institute .. so those disclaimers that follow all documentation these days, are much and have been placed before you ..
So .. right ..
Time for the bed and perhaps a few more pictures from TOH where I shoot day and night ..
So here are the pictures from the very important YRF production : THUGS OF HINDOSTAN “ .. DAADANNAAA DANA ..
NAAAAAH .. that cannot be done just yet .. ! sorry about that ..
Malta June 22/23, 2017 Thu/Fri 12:55 AM local time
Birthday - EF - Anish Morarji Tataria Fri, June 23 . … and our wishes go out to Anish for his birthday .. wishes for happiness and good times ever !!
A young crew member from ‘Thugs of Hindostan’, walks up gingerly to me on set and with some hesitation she says, she wishes to sing a song to me ..
I look at her .. she is young and shy and white Caucasian .. and I wonder why she would want to do that, particularly because there is no indication that she would even know who I am, even though she has been told that the project she is on is an Indian film and these actors are the actors on the film ..
I am suddenly surrounded by other crew members, who, I am somewhat surprised to note, are egging her on to do so ..
And so with great clarity of accent and tune she starts :
Completely with great composure and confidence she even does a few of the patent steps of the song .. every one bursts into applause and I gently ask her, where she is from ..
From Poland !!
On set another assistant walks up to me with another young miss, explaining to me that she wishes to meet me .. I do .. she says she has been a fan from when she was young, and that her first film was ‘K3G’ ..
She from Kazakistan !!
NO .. I am not trying to impress one and all with the diversity of crew working on a film from India, but .. the spread of Hindi cinema in the lives of so many away from Indian shores .. and not necessarily Indian ..
May Indian cinema live multitudinous years and may the cross section of the world society, believe and show affection to talent from our Indian shores ..
Malta June 11/12, 2017 Sun/Mon 12:17 am local time
Many wishes and reminders come from the Ef, in particular the archival chief Moses, for films having completed some years of release .. DEV, Mr Natwarlal, Te3N .. and I pay my respects to these films and the makers .. each film is a massive labour of love determination and belief .. a belief of the maker in what he wishes his creativity to express .. his thoughts, his thoughts thought by the mass and his thoughts thinking for the ultimate acceptance in its mirrored imagery ; the results of the box office ..
Thank you for the remembrance, for the joy of having seen them and for the extended love that is shown even to this day ..
But today is sent on platforms of social media a picture of ‘Saudagar’
A film made with great compassion by director Sudhendu Roy, who was really an art director for films .. designed sets and settings for the look of the film .. but he wished to direct the film and he did ..
The producers were the famous RajShri Production house, the Barjatia’s .. famous for making family oriented films, and successfully too … today’s generation would identify them with films like ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ and ‘Hum Apke Hain Kaun’ because of the presence of Salman and Madhuri and the massive successes these films had .. ‘Saudagar’ did not .. but it was acclaimed for its story value, written and taken from the story called ‘Ras’ as in juice, written by a famous Bengali writer ..
I did the film for two reasons .. one, I had no work and any that came was readily accepted .. and the second I shall not disclose ..
I admired the interest and detailing that the Producers took and the care they gave me despite the fact that I had no standing at all ..
Shot on location in Calcutta, on the out reaches where the business of the actual juice from the date palm is conducted .. and on a set put up at China Creek in Mumbai .. I have always wondered why it was ever called that .. it never seemed to bring any relation to either the country or the language .. but there ..
Calcutta, it was then Calcutta was a tough schedule .. up by 3 in the morning and on location by 4-5 am to be able to take those early sun shots in the best lights .. the location being some distance .. the climbing the palm trees was real and the atmosphere at shoot was filled with grave apprehension for me .. I never knew what I was doing and whether it was being done correctly, a concern that haunts me to date ; even here on the sets of ‘Thugs of Hindostan’.
Nutan ji a huge star and my colleague in the film was a dream .. admired by millions and now an opportunity to be in the same frame as her, simply unbelievable moments ..
She was a picture of grace and professionalism .. China Creek is a good 2 hours from the centre of the city, but she would be ready with make up and on set sharp at 7 am !! … beating everybody to it ..
It was a poignant story .. and had many hidden subtexts in its writing ..
Sudhendu Da was a very quiet, composed patient and calm individual .. never raising his voice and never showing any frustration or disappointment if he felt so .. his daughter now follows in her Father’s profession as set and art designer !
Nutan ji was dedicated and focussed all the time on the set .. Padma Khanna ji, my other colleague on the film, an I were more vocal .. we exchanged a lot of Uttar Pradesh together .. especially with her Mother, a delightful and most affable soul .. such are the memories of the times .. and those memories never fail .. nor did the make shift tent that I had carted along with me to the location to spend the warm hot afternoons in .. I had contemplated, seeing the punctuality of Nutan ji, to spend the night on location in that tent, but better sense prevailed and I did not ..
China Creek has been the location for a huge number of films .. for me several too .. Abhimaan, Great Gambler, Toofan and many others .. the Creek is vividly remembered for the GG shoot .. doing a chase sequence, .. patching work done in Amsterdam .. in a speed boat .. Shakti Samant the director sitting at the rear end of the boat and operating a hand held Arriflex camera, he operated the camera often, and me driving the boat at speed, hitting a wave, getting thrown about disbalanced, looking back to find Shakti Da, thrown in the water with the camera .. turning quickly back and around to rescue him .. the camera lies at the bottom of the creek .. he had to leave it or would have been pulled down in the water with its weight .. swimming with clothes and shoes on with a camera in hand is an impossibility ..
Birthday - Ef Sejal Shah … Ef Sunita Roy Thu, June 15 .. and it is time to celebrate the birthday’s of two of our Ef’s .. may you both have a wonderful June 15th .. with love and wishes from all the Ef …
And another gruelling day comes to an end on the sets of ‘Thugs of Hindostan’, the labour of great effort by production, on a film that has immense detailing and needing the efforts of several professionals in their respective fields ..
Most commendable to find the kind of management that today’s film productions go through .. the clarity of the work, timings, preparations and the execution to the dot .. most impressive and deserving laudatory reactions ..
And as I sit to run through the day in the mind, needing to respond to the social media, to the Ef in all their finery and art, one of the picture librarians amongst us sends a picture :
This be the Filmfare Awards night and the Best Actor trophy going to Sanjeev Kumar, for the film ‘Aandhi’ .. and yours truly invited to present it to him ..
The Filmfare Awards were the only award event in the film industry at the time .. it was still the property of Bennett Coleman, editored by Mr Karanjia , and the concept and event idea coming from senior heads at Times of India ..
Unlike the times of today where the results are announced, with some amount of dramatic uncertainty, much like the Oscars, the Filmfare Award was then a predetermined and announced winners list ..
So the winners were announced almost a month in advance by the magazine .. the process being one of some kind of judgement by the paper themselves, or perhaps a jury system .. Sanjeev Kumar was adjudged Best Actor ..
It was the year that ‘Deewar’ was also in the running, and barring yours truly, all the others connected with the film were rewarded ..
I was personae non grater for the entire media world then, particularly for the film media, because for some reason, it was understood and believed that the Press Ban brought about during the time of the Emergency in the country, and it was during those times, the person responsible for it was ME .. an utterly nonsensical and absurd accusation - much like the hundreds of others that I have had to face through out my existence so far - and therefore acknowledging that fact, the entire media banned me ..
Nothing was ever printed or written about me .. no coverage of any of my films or my works .. and no pictures if I was to attend a function. The photographers would put down their cameras on the platform where I stood and so long as I was there, they protested and never took a single photograph .. if there were to be a credit title description of a film .. for eg., say ‘Nastik’ .. it would be Hema Malini, (,) and Pran .. I was the comma in the film and so on ..
When the media banned me, I felt I should ban them too, which I did .. so no media was allowed on my sets, I gave no interviews and never met any journalists .. this went on for several years .. I think almost 15 years .. until the moment when I relented .. I relented when one of the leading magazines that had religiously refused to carry any information or write up or mention, wrote a most sympathetic and compassionate piece in their magazine .. I was surprised of course, but did not reject it either .. it was the time when I had had my ‘Coolie’ accident and was in the Breach Candy Hospital .. when I came out recovered, I did seek an appointment with the Editor and owner of the magazine and asked why he had done what he did, despite the ban ..
In his most forthright and honest manner he said .. “we were upset and annoyed with you, because of what you had done to the media, and we wanted you to fail .. but we did not want you to die .. and so we wrote this piece when you recovered” ..
It was an emotional moment and from then on we have been the normal best as before ..
But then I have digressed .. not without reason .. the Filmfare Award was a page out of this ban .. not giving me recognition for ‘Deewar’, was fine by me .. whether it rode the theory of the ban or not does not bother me .. Hari Bhai, Sanjeev Kumar was an exceptional artist, a dear friend, and the vote of the jury was to be accepted ..
I have often countered that moment with my own assessment and stated on many an occasion, even at a Filmfare event, that not giving recognition for ‘Deewar’ was perfectly acceptable, because, I argued, if Filmfare did not give Dilip Kumar the Best Actor for ‘Gunga Jamuna’, his best ever performance according to me, then ..’mai kis khet ki mooli hoon’ ..
Anyway, in those days the surprise element unlike today, was not who won .. that was out a month before .. the surprise element would be who is going to present the Award !
During the time of the media and press ban, my films ironically, were the biggest hits, and so in a sense giving acceptance to that, Filmfare invited me to the Award function, and announced me to give the Best Actor Award to Sanjiv Kumar .. many commentators of the time and rival media when talking to me, expressed opinion that the move was to deliberately humiliate me by performing this deed .. I have never given any credence to this opinion and never paid any attention to it ..
But in all fairness I must mention here, that soon after the event was over, the next day I did get a letter from the Editor, Mr Karanjia who generously thanked me for attending the function despite the media ban, and acknowledged the fact, in his own words .. ‘despite all else, you did get the largest applause of the evening’ !!
To me that was my award ..
Award functions and events are a gracious evening of recognition of talent ..
They are also a funny business ..
If some one rewards me in recognition of my work, I shall accept them, most humbly, with grace .. if they do not, I shall equally and in all humility accept their decision ..
After all …
‘Man ka ho toh achcha .. na ho toh zyaada achcha”!
Birthday - EF - Sachin Rastogi …. Sun, June 4 .. wishing you the wondrous joy of greetings on your birthday .. love from the EF ..
And so to them that greet us , that celebrate for us in distant lands, that send their love and blessings .. we accept them with the deepest of gratitude and appreciation .. the efforts you make, the concern you express and the following you contribute to … all is so filled with the warmth of love that it is most endearing ..
Our love for it ..
and so .. in the early hours of Mumbai morning, a stepping on to the vehicle of air transport for distant land .. to begin the shooting of ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ in Malta ..
over the waters of the Arabian Sea on to the sand coloured land of Doha … where we pick up some gasoline for the onward journey .. and then on to Malta, flying over Saudi Arabia, .. the North, over flying Cairo in Egypt, turning right on to the Mediterranean and driving in the skies straight to the island of Malta .. cute and small .. hospitable and relaxed ..
I immediately find myself overdressed and uncomfortable, for the dress of the day is nothing beyond the knees ..
Have settled in , when in fact you never really settle in ..
Good night …
ok .. so you thought what .. that I was flying the plane .. NO !! Just seeing the landing from the cockpit .. and what do I see :