Jews of Early Bollywood

1. Azurie was an actress and dancer who was popular in the 1930s and 40s. She was the first dancer to gain popularity in Hindi films. She was born to an Indian mother and German father in Bangalore in 1907. It is believed that her debut film was Nadira (1934), and her last film released in India was Bahana (1942), before she migrated to Pakistan, where she starred in films such as Jhoomar (1959). She died in August 1998 in Pakistan.

2. Sulochana (Ruby Myers) was a silent film actress from the Baghdadi Jewish community of India. She was born in Pune in 1907. At the height of her career, she was the highest paid actress of her time. She worked as a telephone operator before entering the film industry. Some of her popular silent films were Typist Girl (1926), Wildcat of Bombay (1927), and Madhuri (1928). With the coming of sound, she had to take a year off to learn Hindustani (the language of the films) as she was not proficient. She made a comeback with the 1932 talkie version of Madhuri. Sulochana founded her own film production house, RubiPics in the mid-1930s. She received the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1973 for her lifetime contribution to Indian cinema. By the 1980s, she was a forgotten actress and died on October 10, 1983 in Mumbai.

3. Nadira (Florence Ezekiel Nadira) was born to a Baghdadi Jewish family on December 5, 1932. She rose to fame with the 1952 film Aan, in which she played a Rajput princess. Her most memorable fims are Shree 420 (1955), Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1960), Pakeezah (1971), and Julie (1975). She was a well-paid actress and one of the first Indian actresses to own a Rolls Royce. She was active in her career up until 2001, when she played in the movie Zohra Mahal. For the last part of her life, she lived alone in Mumbai, as most of her family moved to Israel. She died on February 9, 2006.

4. Pramila (Esther Victoria Abraham) was born in Calcutta to a Baghdadi Jewish family on December 30, 1916. She was the winner of the first Miss India contest in 1947. She peformed stunts in movies such as Ulti Ganga (1942) and Basant (1942). She became the first female film producer and released 16 films under Silver Productions. She also graduated from the University of Cambridge and became a teacher. She died on August 6, 2006 in Mumbai.

5. Pearl Padamsee was born in 1931 to a Jewish mother and Christian father, but she later converted to Christianity. She was the director of an English-language theatre in Mumbai, which was active from the 1950s to 90s, and she hosted after-school theatre workshops for children. She acted in films such as Khatta Meetha (1978), Junoon (1978), and Baaton Baaton Mein (1979). Her last film was in 1998, and she died on April 24, 2000.

6. Joseph David Penkar was a Bene Israel screenwriter, director, and composer. He wrote the script for the first talkie film in India, Alam Ara (1931). He subsequently joined the Imperial Film Company as a writer, and wrote the scripts for films such as Sati Sone (1932), Lal-e-Yaman (1933), and Desh Deepak (1935), all of which he composed the music for. He died in 1942. Little seems to be known about him.

7. David Abraham Cheulkar, popularly known as David, was a Bene Israel actor born in 1909. After graduating college in 1930, he struggled to find a job, and decided to join the film industry. He gained prominence with the 1942 film Naya Sansar and later acted in over 100 films, such as Boot Polish (1954), Gol Maal (1979), and Baaton Baaton Mein (1979). He won several awards, including the Padma Shri Award in 1969. He was closely associated with the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA), a leftist theatre company that served as the cultural wing of the Communist Party of India. He was active in his career up until his death, December 28, 1981.

8. Firoza Begum (Susan Solomon) was a Bene Israel actress. She acted in Hindi and Marathi films in the 1920s and 30s. Some of her popular films are Bewafa Qatil, Prem Veer, and Circus Girl. Little seems to be known about her. (I’m not certain that is her in the picture; it may be the Bangladeshi singer whose name was also Firoza Begum, but this picture was attached to Susan Solomon’s alias in multiple sources.)

9. Ramola Devi (Rachel Cohen) is most known for her role in Khazanchi (1941). She debuted in the 1937 film Calcutta After Midnight. She appeared in many films, such as Qaidi (1941), Khamoshi (1942), and Sawan Aya Re (1949). After the emergence of popular actresses such as Madhubala, Meena Kumari, and Nargis, her career was eclipsed. Her last films were Actor, Jawani Ki Aag and Stage, all released in 1951. Little seems to be known about her.

Tathagata Tsal in Ravangla, South Sikkim, India
The Buddha Park of Ravangla, also known as Tathagata Tsal, is situated near Rabong in South Sikkim district, Sikkim, India. It was constructed between 2006 and 2013 and features a 130-foot high statue of the Buddha as its centerpiece.

The site was chosen within the larger religious complex of the Rabong Gompa (Monastery), itself a centuries-old place of pilgrimage.
(via Pinterest: Sandhya Phalke)

DAY 2952

Jalsa, Mumbai                   Apr-May 30/1,  2016                   Sat/Sun  1:14 am   

Birthday - EF - Anat Magen

Sunday, May 1, 2016

To Anat all our wishes for a wonderful birthday .. filled with all the love she gives us and added with all ours .. you seem to have gone off the communication -Blog Twitter .. I do hope and pray all is well with you .. we are all anxious .. but we wish you the very best always .. love form the Ef

There is always an anxiety to get back home to face this blank screen and to begin the communication with our Ef .. and today even though it is late the anxiety still persists .. its actually 2:30 am now !! But what the heck .. so what .. yes so what .. which ought to be the mantra for most situations and occasions .. ‘SO WHAT’

Yaaaa .. SO WHAT …?

Dr Dharamveer Bharti , poet writer editor and a true friend of the family .. a litterateur of eminence .. a student of my Father at the Allahabad .. later a close association with family and today after 18 years of his passing, his dear wife invites me to the inauguration of a street corner in Bandra where he lived, in his name .. the Dharamveer Bharti Chowk ..

It was to have been done by my parents but it took long .. my parents passed away and Pushpa ji his wife wished that I do the honours to day .. an honour and a privilege ..

He and a few of the student community at Allahabad had formed a literary group called ‘PARIMAL’ … they used to come over to our home in Allahabad at midnight to have poetic symposiums and discussions and recitations .. it was when I was about 8-9 years of age but those visuals remain .. Bharti ji was one among them tall thin and wore dark glasses even in the night .. a distinct observation .. later he settled in Mumbai and was the editor of ‘Dharmyug’ a vert popular Hindi Magazine brought out by the TOI group …after his passing the magazine stopped too ..

I spoke today at the inauguration on our association and the many events of days gone by .. Bharti ji visiting our home his admiration for my Mother’s rose garden which won the first prize each year at the Flower Exhibition, at that luscious and large spaced garden spread over acres of land in the heart of the city - Alfred Park .. now named Shaheed Chandrashekhar ‘Azad’, the revolutionary and iconic freedom fighter who single handedly engaged the British at this Park, firing and eliminating many opponents before succumbing to his own bullet, when he had run out of ammunition … that tree behind which he hid and sacrificed his life exists in the Park ..

Sunday evenings a band would play at a canopied area in the middle of the Park .. English evening tunes as an entertainment .. on one side of this massive area was the museum with rare entities .. and on another were the beautiful maintained tennis courts where a lot of the greats used to come for their International games, attended by my Mother and me .. I still remember ..

But the high event at these gardens was the Annual Flower Show and the pride with which we would watch Ma winning all the prizes for her garden and particularly for the roses she nurtured and grew in her lawn at our home .. !!

Bharti ji’s famous novel ‘Gunahon ka Devta’ was a most popular book during those times and I had read it and wondered at that young age how it would be if I would get an opportunity to act a role in the book  .. fate willed it .. during the early years of my entrance into the film firmament, I was offered to work in the film version of ‘GKD’ and the character the main of Chander .. and the female lead was to be done by Jaya .. we were not married then ..

We travelled to my home town Allahabad in the deadly summer in May of the city and shot many portions of the film .. worked hard at it for 8-9 reels when for some reason the film stopped and was never made or completed ..

The title was ‘Chander aur Sudha’,named after the two main characters in the film .. the main and original title was taken by Jeetendra for another film of his, not the same story though .. a pity that the film could never be made .. the story and the book are a classic till date ..

It was interesting to be in the company of litterateurs and those fond of writers and poetry in the afternoon .. and to be getting the honour of the chief guest for this unique evening .. its not always films one is associated with .. and Maharashtra has a great following and leaning towards literature and the classics ..

And then a sharp change within hours to the wedding of Bipasha and Karan .. a quick wish and back to be with you all .. happy for Bipasha, a happy girl full of beans ..

Many happenings too tomorrow May 1st .. May Day, Maharashtra Day ,, Gujarat Day I believe too .. Happy Easter and the anniversary of Dada Saheb Phalke, the founder of the Indian film Industry …

Good night ..

Amitabh Bachchan 

DAY 2412

       New Delhi, Ob Gu          Nov  22,  2014            Sat  11:49 pm

The PIKU done in pop art .. which Shweta says is the ‘in’ thing among the young .. I really wonder how why and .. does it really work for a 73 year old !

Anyway ..

Many have wanted the speech on the IFFI at Goa .. so much against my embarrassed limit here it is ..

 2014 IFFI SPEECH DRAFT /Goa, Nov 20,  2014

Her Excellency the Governor of Goa, Shrimati Mridula Sinha ,

Honorable Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shri Arun Jaitley,

Honorable Defence Minister, Shri Manohar Parrikar

Honorable Chief Minister of Goa Shri Laxmikant Parsekar,

Honorable Minister of State for I&B, Col Rajyavardhan Rathore

My dear friend and colleague Rajnikant

Distinguished guests on the dais, delegates, members of the media .. and the loving, warm and hospitable people of Goa ..

Ladies and Gentleman

It is indeed an honor and a privilege to be here at the Inaugural of one of the most significant film festivals of the country, the International Film Festival of India 2014, being hosted in Goa.

My compliments and gratitude first to the Government and the Ministry, in declaring Goa as the permanent venue for this prestigious Festival, and for inviting me here as the Chief Guest.

Goa, is the smallest state in India, and with its miles of golden beaches, crystal clear waters, brilliant green landscapes, interesting cuisine and charming local residents, it is truly an exotic destination.

As they say in Konkani, and I endorse this from the bottom of my heart :

“Maka Goeya boray lakta !”

For the uninitiated .. that is ‘I love Goa’ in the State’s official language !

For me, personally,  Goa holds extremely precious memories. My links with this beautiful state go back to my very first film, ‘Saat Hindustani’, that was shot here and revolved around the theme of nationalists who slip into Portuguese-occupied Goa to raise patriotic sentiments and hoist the Indian flag.

 I have of course, since, shot many of my memorable films here and keep visiting this paradise in a personal capacity too. My connections with Goa indeed, are very special.

In many ways, Goa is a miniature reflection of India’s antiquity and diverse cultures. It encases, like the rest of our country, a tremendous sense of ‘unity in diversity.’

Goa’s checkered history is immense.

From rock art engravings, testimony to traces of early human life in India from the  Palaeolithic Era …

Indo-Aryan migrancy - which formed the base of early Goan culture …

Being part of the 3rd century BC( or to be more ehically correct ,BCE – Before Common Era) Mauryan Empire, ruled by the Buddhist Emperor, Ashoka of Magadha …

It being controlled during the 2nd and 6th century BC by Southern Silharas of Konkan, later the Bhojas of Gujarat, the Chalukyas of Badami, who patronized Jainism, to 1469 and the Bahami Sultans of Gulbarg, and after its crumbling, falling into the hands of the Portuguese, who ruled over it for four and a half centuries .. this part of the country has seen it all ..

Goa’s multicultural, inclusive and pluralistic ethos reflects a gamut of India’s larger cultural values and political and social concerns that have been reflected in our cinema for over a hundred years. The largest industry in the world, now marking its centenary, Indian cinema expands much beyond the confines of the Hindi-language popular films. We have productions in regional tongues such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Bhojpuri, Assamese, Oriya, Bengali and Kokani as well.

The so called ‘parallel cinema’ or the ‘art house cinema’ has also co existed in various languages, prominently through one of our most celebrated film maker, Satyajit Ray.

Then, there is the emerging ‘independent cinema’ that is slowly making an impact on English-speaking, metropolitan audiences, all of them, by and large, specifically rooted to a pan India identity, with common sensibilities and principles.  

Art was traditionally confined to paintings and writings in our country until people were introduced to the silver screen, in 1913. Our early filmmakers comprehended the immense power of the screen and soon the medium was accepted as a popular platform to voice several societal concerns.

India’s very first feature film, Dadasaheb Phalke’s ‘Raja Harishchandra’, discovered its theme from the great Indian epic, The Mahabharata, and espoused the belief that Truth always triumphs.  

Thus, from the very early years of silent films, Indian cinema developed an admirable ability to converge on different facets of life. Dhirendra Nath Ganguly’s ‘Bilet Ferat’ or ‘England Returned,’ directed and produced by him in 1921 in Bengali, was a telling vehicle that got the audience to think of a tricky social situation where natives blindly imitated their foreign rulers and created fresh problems for themselves.

In 1925, Baburao Painter made ‘Savkari Pash’ (‘The Indian Shylock’) in Marathi, produced by Maharashtra Film Company, Kolhapur, which painted an extremely realistic picture of the country’s rural poor who were subjected to feudal oppression, poverty and hunger. Perhaps it is still the most outstanding film of the silent era where V. Shantaram and Kamala Devi enacted the roles of an oppressed farmer and his wife.  

By 1926, India boasted 300 cinemas halls and countless travelling bioscopes, but ninety percent of the films shown were imported from Hollywood, almost exclusively from Universal Studios.

Himanshu Rai, one of India’s pioneering filmmakers, wanted to change this. With his enthusiasm and passion, our cinema soon received a fresh impetus that came all the way from Germany.

Today, Franz Osten is hardly ever mentioned in film history books. But he remains a precursor in the development of cinema in our country in association with Himanshu Rai. They took feature films out of the studios and into the world, giving their creations an authentic quality by combining documentary techniques with narratives drawn from the myths and legends of ancient India. Seventy years before Bertolucci’s ‘Little Buddha,’ Osten and Rai gave Western audiences a keen insight into Indian philosophy.

Post the First World War and its horrors, most European countries experienced not only an introspective mood, but also severe political and cultural isolation. This led to recession, unemployment, endless queues outside Salvation Army kitchens and political radicalization. People were impoverished, not only socially and politically, but also intellectually and morally. In the trenches of Verdun and the Somme, many soldiers lost faith in the culture of the West. In the aftermath, in 1922, Hermann Hesse published his Western equivalent to Buddhism, ‘Siddhartha’. Brecht showed his interest in Buddhist philosophy in his ‘Book of Transformations’ and several other European thinkers shared the longing for India and her eternal message of peace and non-violence. Franz Osten and Himanshu Rai’s silent films, therefore, were of great significance, telling Indian stories about the life of the Buddha in ‘The Light of Asia’ released in 1925. They also drew from the great collection of Indian myths and legends and, like Phalke, used The Mahabarata as the base for ‘The Throw of Dice’ made in 1929.

Slowly but surely, our cinema developed a unique language that combined philosophical preoccupations and patriotic fervor. Films like ‘Jogan’, ‘Guide’ and, much later, ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, spread over several decades, took forward the theme of personal evolution and spiritual emancipation.

Nationalistic ideals were an integral part of early silent era films. ‘Udaykaal’, starring V. Shantaram in the role of Shivaji, caught the eye of the British censor who rightly sensed an attempt to disguise modern-day feelings of patriotism with a historical theme and came down heavily on the release of the film. Another early-day film, ‘Bhakt Vidur’, met with similar disapproval when the British censors felt that the character of Vidur was too closely modeled on Mahatma Gandhi and spoke suspiciously patriotic dialogue, which was too contemporary for comfort.  

During the 1930s and 1940s, once our movies learnt to ‘talk’, several filmmakers tried to reflect tough collective issues or used India’s struggle for independence as a backdrop for patriotic plots. The early-day vigil seems to have been relaxed a bit by the 1940s when British censors allowed composer Anil Biswas and lyricist Pradeep to get away with the highly volatile song:

 “Aaj Himalaya ki choti se hum ne yeh lalkara hai/Dur hato, dur hato ae duniya walo Hindustan hamara hai…”  from the film ‘Kismet’.

 “We have shouted from Himalayan heights today/ Get away! Get away!/ O citizens of the world, India belongs to us… “

By 1952, ‘Anandmath’, an epic saga based on the novel by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, showcasing the planned conspiracy against British rule in Bengal during the famous Bengal Femine, became a runaway hit. Later, other films, including  ‘Shaheed’, ‘Border’, ‘Lagaan’, ‘Swades’, ‘Rang De Basanti’ and ‘Lakshya’, took forward the patriotic spirit with unequivocal zeal. Mani Ratnam's ‘Roja’ in 1992 was, perhaps, the first film to introduce terrorism to Indian cinema, and reflected sensitively on the common man’s plight. Later, films like ‘Drohkaal,’ ‘Maachis,’ and Vishal Bharadwaj’s ‘Haider’, set in contemporary Kashmir, have also mirrored this theme with great poignancy.   

In the 1930s, while Gandhi-ji was already working for the uplift of untouchables, Niranjan Pal penned the script of ‘Acchut Kanya’ released in 1936 that dealt with a Dalit girl falling in love with a Brahmin’s son. Bimal Roy also reflected on this theme of an untouchable girl losing her heart to a boy above her social status and caste in ‘Sujata’ released in 1959. And as late as 2001, ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’, a huge box office success, dealt with class divide – the elite versus the proletariat. 

In the initial lot of films released immediately after independence, policemen and judges who had come to represent the moral authority of the state acquired a new gravitas. The courtroom became sacred as a ‘social temple’ where Truth could never be denied or compromised. A morally erring judge could himself be indicted in court, as essayed in ‘Awaara’, made in 1951. Other motifs of importance included secularism as early as 1943 when it became evident that Hindus and Muslims would have to live together in independent India. Mehboob Khan's ‘Najma’ released in 1943 and ‘Humayun’, released in 1945, are good examples as is a classic like M. S. Sathyu’s ‘Garam Hava’ released in 1973, followed by ‘Bazaar’ and ‘Nikaah’, both released in 1982. Muzaffar Ali’s ‘Anjuman’ and Saeed Akhtar Mirza’s ‘Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro’ also ruminated on communal concerns centered on Muslim families.

Then came agrarian unrest and land reform in the late 1940s and 1950s, led by Chetan Anand’s ‘Neecha Nagar’ in 1946, Bimal Roy’s classic ‘Do Bigha Zamin’ in 1953 and Mehboob Khan’s ‘Mother India’ in 1956. The image of the virtuous mother who did not think twice before gunning down her own son in order to protect a village girl’s honour became iconic as the years went by. 

Another iconic symbol emerged in the characters Raj Kapoor developed, based on Chaplin’s Tramp. In ‘Shri 420’ and ‘Anaari’ he adopted the role of Everyman who recognized the innate corruption in our society. Yet his optimism never failed and when he sang,

’Kisi ki muskuraahaton pe ho nisaar/ Kisi ka dard mil sakey to le udhaar/ Kisi ke waastey ho terey dil mein pyaar/ Jeena isi ka naam hai’,  …our eyes never failed to shed a wealth of tears.

 ‘Lose yourself completely in someone’s smile/ Borrow someone’s sorrow and walk that extra mile/ Fill your heart with love for someone for a while/ That’s what living is all about!’ 

If popular perception is any indicator, then a major part of the social transformation in India can be attributed to cinema’s potentially reformist character. Our cinema continues to explore many diverse themes through the popular medium of entertainment. It imparts information, projects aspirations and helps to nurture harmony. Major concerns like the inclusion and rights of people with disabilities have been movingly showcased in films like ‘Koshish’, ‘Black’, ‘Paa’, ‘Iqbal’, ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and ‘Guzaarish’.  When we dwell on retribution and honour, we immediately think of ‘Deewar’, ‘Sholay’, ‘Agneepath’, ‘Damini’, ‘No One Killed Jessica’ and ‘Kahaani’. Films upholding traditional Indian family values are beautifully showcased in entertainers like ‘Bawarchi’, ‘Hum Aap ke Hein Kaun?’, ‘Baagbaan’ and ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’. Films like ‘Arth’, ‘Kya Kehna’, ‘Mrityudand’ , ‘English-Vinglish’, ‘Dor’ and ‘Gulab Gang’, to name just a handful, give us a ringside view of women’s struggles in a predominantly patriarchal society where volatile issues like divorce, pre-marital pregnancy, oppression and empowerment have been delineated with great sympathy and compassion.

An overview of the last thirty years champions how Indian cinema has come to terms with the fast changing political, economic and social milieu in the country. The persona of the ‘Angry Young Man’ became a telling vehicle for portraying a dysfunctional system. Yet ‘Good’ always dominated over ‘Evil’ despite enormous social and economic contradictions in larger-than-life cathartic climaxes.

With the process of globalisation in the 1990s, the whole scenario  changed.

Association with cinema, once considered ‘infra dig’ in the early years of its inception, where children from ‘good homes’ were not permitted to be associated with it, where parents, mine included, would ‘whet’ a film before we could be allowed to see one, where cynicism and ridicule accompanied assessment of our popular cinema … has today, become a universally accepted phenomena. I may be ostracized for making this observation, but, in our glorious 5000 year history of culture tradition and existence, cinema in India today, has almost become its ‘parallel culture’ !

When we sit inside a darkened hall to watch a film, we never ask the color, caste, creed, or religion of the person seated next to us. We laugh at the same jokes, we sing the same songs, we cry at the same emotion. In this rapidly disintegrating world of ours, there are very few institutions left that can boast of such integration. Cinema brings people together. It does not divide them. It provides poetic justice in 3 hrs – something you and I may never achieve in a lifetime or perhaps many life times. And as a Russian fan of mine once aptly described Indian popular cinema, it gently coerces you to leave the theatre, with a smile on your face and a dry tear on your cheek …

Women, once barred from being allowed to work in films – the men taking on their parts – became representatives in cinema of great sensitivity and substance. Girls today are far more conscious of their rights, far more outspoken, liberated and independent.

 Today, women in our films reflect their reality, their confidence, independence and their ability to walk and work shoulder to shoulder with men. Several contemporary films embody the vigour and vibrancy of changing times and bear a tremendous capacity to keep abreast with these vicissitudes. 

These are, indeed, exciting times for cinema in India. And to all young filmmakers with fire in their bellies and stars in their eyes a verse from one of my father, Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s poems:

‘Himmat karney waalon ki haar nahin hoti

Leheron se dar kar naiya paar nahin hoti…

Asafalta ek chunauti hai, swikaar karo

Kya kami reh gayi, dekho aur sudhaar karo

Jab tak na saphal ho, neend chain se tyaago tum

Sangharsh karo, maidaan chhod mat bhaago tum

Kuch kiye bina hi jai-jaikaar nahin hoti

Himmat karney waalon ki haar nahin hoti…’


‘The brave never quit, never surrender

Fear of  intimidating waves, shall make your chances of crossing slender

Failure is just a choice, a pause – accept it

Where did you slip, reflect and reason – admit it

Don’t rest till victory is finally sealed

Fight on, don’t ever quit the battle field

You cannot gain applause without dedication to your cause

The brave, after all, never quit, never pause…’


If the world is a village, we, this fraternity, are the custodians of its stories. We stand, ears pressed, eyes wide open, ready to receive its tales. Tales whispered between lovers in a tight embrace, or wept into shoulders in despair. Raucous roars of laughter and howls of horror. We stand, steadfast, gathering, and then molding these stories before we set them free. Where like many little stars in the night sky, humanity may look upon them with wonderment, and in them find familiar fragments of their hearts.

It is not a responsibility to be taken lightly, it is a beacon passed on thru the generations, from Valmiki and Homer, to Ray and Scorsese, which lights the path of mankind. For if we do not know the stories of our forefathers we cannot write our own.

It is my belief that there are only seven original scripts in the world. At first they were spoken, as much warming as introducing wary visitors, while they sat around makeshift bonfires, to the people they sought congress with. Then they were sung, at weddings and births sometimes even deaths. And when these stories became so well known we began to call them tradition. They were enacted, in village squares and royal durbars, school rooms and amphitheaters – this is how they became beloved by all.

When we gather here at the Goa International Film festival, and watch our stories lit up on celluloid, and discuss the strides made in our craft, we perhaps would do well to remember that we are not unlike those wary travellers huddled around a bonfire listening to tales that became the fabric of our being.

Here we sit and say “these are the stories of my land, the stories of my forefathers, these are the stories of my family, heed them well for the world is a village and we must make good neighbors.”

Ladies and Gentlemen .. its been an honor and a privilege

Amitabh Bachchan








Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, the first Indian film director, looks over a filmstrip, 1913.  Before working on movies in 1912, he worked as a portrait photographer, make-up man, assistant to a German illusionist and as a magician.  He went to England to train in cinematography and editing and  purchased his film equipment there before returning to India.

DAY 2581

Jalsa, Mumbai              May  10/11,  2015            Sun/Mon  1 : 07 am

I am in namaskaar. I am in gracious acknowledgement. I am in debt of your love and affection. I am in humbled silence. I have in early morn been with the relatives of family. I have given love and affection to him that enriches the highest award for cinema, the Dada Saheb Phalke Award. I am in meeting with those that be one. I am in consonance with him that designs my body. I am adamant to be in shape and exercise. I am guided and checked and put to practice to observe and negotiate that which shall be appropriate. I am in return mode. I am in mode to restructure myself. I am in a must situation. I am in must do, or not do at all, situation. I am in cricket. I am in recognition of every advertisement campaign. I am in the solitude of one that gives with freedom of expression. I am in screams of exultation. I am in silence. I am …. I am ….

I am enamoured by the artistry of those that present. I am in visit discussion with them that await travel to their region. I am in Sunday well wishers. I am also in wonder of them that come each Sunday. I just am ..

I am with affection. I am indeed with them that come to visit. I am in consonance with them that submit. I am with them for sometime, expending all the little I have left in me. I am in bright distance lit torch. I am in walk and in darkness. I am with bright torch. I am in torch to see the darkness. I am in sight of the frog,  Lissamphibia, Anura (Ancient Greek an-, without + oura, tail). I am not in knowledge much of this. I am tired of this ‘I am’ ..

I am now in ending …

 I am ..

Amitabh Bachchan

DAY 2431

Jalsa, Mumbai             Dec 11/12,  2014             Thu/Fri  12:37 am   

Away with the bike and funny caps and those rugged extended bellies from ‘Piku’, welcome to the world of 'Shamitabh’ … a world conceived and given shape to by that inimitable RBalki ..

The beard and the wig took a lifetime to execute, but in the end it became the main source of inspiration .. always happens .. you shudder what lies ahead of a film about to start … you wonder whether the words shall flow out on 'take’ .. you wonder much .. and then it happens and life is through again …

BUT the morning was dedicated to that large mural painted across a massive building belonging to MTNL, the telephonic source of the city ..

The mural as you can see occupies the entire face of the telephonic exchange, giving a massive view to those that drive or simply ride by .. 

It depicts Dada Saheb Phalke, the founder of the film industry, going through a edit of his film … !!

And then it was straight to work for a living .. 

It is Dilip Kumar’s birthday today, and tomorrow it shall be the birth of the Southern Star, the phenomena Rajnikanth … my admiration for both these stalwarts, admiration for their contributions through out and the glory of the company they give during our friendly tenure ..

The simplicity of the man Rajni, is phenomenal. It shows great poise and dignity … though must be said that the passing of Phil, hit by a cricket ball bouncer just behind the neck, has been the most unfortunate incident .. and it deserves the most accomplished gesture on the part of the cricketting communication, and community to absorb, this most grave tragedy !! But within the sad life continues to move unabated .. and births and passing aways shall always keep occurring ..

My prayers go out to those that need it the most and to those that do not .. there shall always be another moment ..

My love embraces all .. in a most admirable quality described by those present at such moments … this bodes well .. and brings on the time for signatures ..

My love and affection shall always be there with you ..

So till then … its shubhrattri !!

Love and regard to all in the family - 

Amitabh  Bachchan

DAY 2563

Jalsa, Mumbai                Apr  20/21,  2015               Tue/Wed  12:44 am

Pierced with those that determine what content remains in the insides of all ; the color extracted one, the quality in differences and in quantity. Labelled and put away matter that develops in the insides, to be put before those magnifying equipments, those liquidly liquids that when mixed give a test of numbers and degrees and percentages, as though in an examination of our academic abilities ..

Then there is travel to the monuments of such, where in distinguished departments humans work with precision and expertise on gadgets that have the ability to tabulate all that needs to be known without making any in roads in the system ..

All done its back to the discussions of family. Rare topics, of state and personal, of far away lands and far away beliefs, following into visitors that have visited after long, after very long … its good to know history of events and its circumstances .. it reads well in story telling form .. it needs to be shared or at least be written about … wonder if it will ..

e-commerce the tool of the future, captures attention in what is to come in the coming days and years .. its just that none of us know where and what is prevalent .. where the vision is and what the real commerce shall be …

We are indeed living in strange times, but also strange circumstances. The oft repeated comment in today’s concerned drawing rooms, is, where are we headed, why and who is responsible or going to be responsible for it …

And no one knows the answer .. no one even thinks for one .. and all one hopes for is tat we shall survive because we have survived in the past on ‘love and fresh air’ ..

This is not terribly wrong. Love and its many manifestations are a need and a necessity in our lives .. and yes what to say of the rarity of fresh air .. both are invaluable, yet unconnected with modern logic, sense and technical back room boards !!

Yet we survive, unlike many others all over the world. They that live beyond us and our shore, need to see and practice regimens that are tested and formed through repeated application. So they are different. Different in approach. They are in unison with expression and language. We are not. They are governed by certain distinct principals of disciplines. We are not. They are modern and fresh out of the oven of invention and industry. We are not ..

Yet for one that has seen independence in the last 65 odd years only, how many others in the same years done or achieved what the MotherLand has !!

Dynamism is our second verbal language. There can be silent languages too, but no, we are happy and content with the differences. It makes us unique and different and in mode of achievement. We pride in that and survive in that too. Many do not. Many do not understand the will we exhibit, in doing so .. too bad .. they can go take a jump .. but we need perseverance and strength of our ability, which we shall bring to attention ..

Shashi Kapoor wins the Dada Saheb Phalke Award by the Government of India, the National highest Award for the Industry by the system. We are all honoured by this decision. Shashi ji and I have shared so much it is difficult to imagine how we did it, now, when I look back on it, asked by his son and grandson to fill in a few moments on video for the honour event in the Capital. Some thoughts and words tumble out. But nothing can give adequate expression of what we would ideally like to state. There is so much to say and remember.

I am overwhelmed by the attention and love of those that go by the acronym EF ..for they give me too much attention and love .. and most of, they give me food .. food not for thought, but food as in food that we devour in  regimented three times a day .. I am certain during some early interactions with them has subtly conveyed to them in some distortion, that my family and I are in dire need of it  !!!

I am blessed and honoured ..

I am also as undecided as ever in my affairs of work. Those that come into the realm of a consultation, give reason for me to learn to reject, and learn to stand back. Take a vacation for months. Read, travel to places unknown and unseen - it invigorates all ..

But I desire a travel to, the studio. I desire to consult, within the makers of my craft. I desire to learn another form of my act that I may never have known. I desire a vacation, not to those idyllic islands of sugared sands, but at the drawing boards of film and cinema .. of chairs in the vicinity of bulbed mirrors .. of face paint and scene work ..

And that I will soon ..

So let us pray that we may ..

Amitabh Bachchan