Thursday, 30 October 2014

Memories & Memorabilia (Part 4) – Final Instalment



Madhuri, April 24 1964


When I  began with Memories & Memorabilia, I began with some amount of trepidation, I thought I should not allow my personal emotions to come in the way, that is, I should not let my heart rule my head. I was just going to share a few memories and wind up, but your comments and overwhelming response emboldened me to stretch it to four parts. Interestingly this blog’s statistics has stunned me. Initially it gave some competition to my food blog, but now it has raced ahead leaving my food blog way behind. I am surprised considering it focuses on just one person who passed away long ago and I did not do much to promote it. In this final instalment therefore, I am sharing all that I had not thought of sharing, I am now encouraged to share almost everything.

Date Diary

To begin with here are some pages from his date diaries. I am glad my father forgot to discard these 2 diaries, I am therefore able to share these pages with you.The L.B.Films Hrishida refers to Anupama and the K.Asif in the bracket refers to K.Asif Studio. Below is his 1970 date diary.


 Filmkunj refers to Aankhon Aankhon Mein. Every time I see these diaries I am reminded of an amusing incident, my father and his secretary were sitting together with his diary while some representatives of about 2 or 3 producers were insisting that my father allot them the, 21st, 22nd and 23rd of a particular month (I have forgotten the month).  While my father and his secretary struggled to accommodate them satisfactorily, what was funny was that he had some free dates in the same month, but these producers were not interested in them. 


This diary (above) is from the year 1972 and you can see he has made notes for the month of April; he passed away in March that year. While some of his films were under production, others were yet to go into production; the above mentioned Parchhaiyan was one of the latter. With my father suddenly passing away some other actor (I do not know who) replaced him.

A Note


As I have decided to post almost all that I have, above is a note that I found, it is a request for a date, as you can see the producer wanted to shoot some scene with my father and Vinod Khanna, I wonder whether the film was Hum Tum Aur Woh.

Anupama’s Publicity Material
Cover
Inside left
Inside right
Back
 I found this publicity material of Anupama, I am not sure but I wonder, whether it was for some film festival considering the film’s synopsis is written in English and French.

Fan Letters
Those were the days of snail mail, and not Twitter and Facebook, fans really did spend a lot of time on the letters. My father usually discarded the letters after replying to them, however after my father passed away we found some old fan letters; it is quite likely my father, thanks to his busy schedule, had forgotten to discard them. I for one thank God for that, for it was an interesting experience going through the letters in this day and age of social media.

 There is this very long letter (see above), it is a very long letter it continues overleaf, I have published here only one side of it. In the letter below  the fan has taken


the trouble of decorating the letter. But then there were some who obviously resorted to some short-cut by making use of printed letters (see below), all this fan had to do was fill in the blanks.

 



First day covers were collector’s items but this fan (above) had no qualms about sending a fan letter in a first day cover. 

You may have heard of the phrase, ‘back of the envelope calculation’. While this phrase has been coined recently, my brother says that I did my back of the envelope calculations back then when nobody had heard of the phrase.

 

On the back of the first day cover I have scribbled A,B,C,D

This particular fan (see below) obviously had no clue how to spell my father’s name, just see what he has written Thrud Buos.


Here is my father’s reply to his fans.




 This (above) was one of the photographs he sent his fans.
 
 This (above) was his autograph as well his official signature. 

Costumes
My father was very particular about his clothes both personal and professional. He took a long time selecting his clothes, he often asked himself, does this colour suit me? Will this design suit me? My father did not just accept what the costume designer designed for him, I remember for his film Anokha Daan he spent a whole afternoon at Bombay’s Crawford Market till he found his choice of material for the waist coat he had to wear in the film. We had accompanied him as we had to do some personal shopping too, I remember by the end of the day I was tired and fed up and heaved a sigh of relief when he finally found what he wanted.

Given his uncompromising attitude, it was not surprising therefore that, he was very particular about who tailored his clothes both personal and professional. One of his favourites was A.K.Hangal who, before he took to full time acting, was a tailor; those days terms like fashion designer were not so commonly used. He was a master cutter and I think he had learnt his craft in London. He had a store ‘Hangal’s’ in Bombay. My father liked his cut so much that he insisted that Hangal himself did the cutting and not give it to his assistant’s. We had kept my father’s clothes for many years, we had some suits hanging in my fathers cupboard bearing the logo ‘Hangal’s’, however we later decided to donate them. It did not make sense to keep them in the cupboard unused when it could be useful to someone. Unfortunately those days forget internet and blogs, even personal computers had still to make an entry, I wish I had some means of looking into the future before giving away the suits, I wish we had at least photographed Hangal’s logo. It was an interesting piece of film history.


 He was indeed a fastidious man when it came to his clothes but there was this (see above) jacket from the film Mehmaan (starring Biswajeet and Rekha) that my father really liked.He just loved its design.


Above is a screen shot of the song, tu dar mat dar mat yaara from Mehmaan, you can see my father wearing the jacket.


He wore the caps that you see below in  Benazir and Shama



My father with Suraiya in Shama

Benazir

Some More Sweet Memories
As this is my final instalment, I am posting two more pictures that are really dear to me.


The picture above was taken by a neighbourhood photographer at Vinod Khanna’s marriage, the photographer happened to be one of the several photographers present at Vinod Khanna's marriage. This photographer had displayed it at his studio but we were unaware of it. Some months after my father passed away, one of our neighbours informed us about this photo, we were keen to have this photo as this is the last time our parents are photographed together, therefore my brother purchased the photo from the photographer.

I have mentioned how fond my father was of children. Below you can see proof of that.

The ladies in our building had organized a New Year ’s Eve party, at this party one of the kids had an argument with his father and was quite upset, you can see my father consoling the child. The children in our building loved my father so much that when they organized a Sports Day, they insisted that he should be the chief guest. I remember one child did not win a prize and he was heart-broken because he had lost the opportunity of receiving the prize from my father.

In a beautifully worded resolution written by the honorary secretary of our building at that time condoling the untimely demise of my father, the secretary particularly highlighted my father’s popularity with the kids, he wrote ‘Shri Bose was extremely popular among the children in the building and who had found in him a true friend and guide and who had also made him the chief guest of their Annual Sports Day recently’. I cannot help but feature the resolution here (see below) because it is so well-written and touches my heart.


As now I am sharing some of what we have I would like to share this picture, it appeared in Madhuri. This particular issue was titled 1966 Ke Kalakar.

Madhuri, January 27,1967

 This photograph is one of my favourites, my father was totally unaware of being photographed, he was shooting for the Biswajit-Mala Sinha starrer Jaal when the photographer clicked this picture without telling him anything. My father too liked this photograph.

My father passed away over four decades back and obviously my brother and I were quite young, we were therefore unaware about a few things about my father's youth. Interestingly in 2012 Lokmat a Nagpur based publication had some special features on the occasion of 100th anniversary of the Indian film industry. In their English, Hindi and Marathi editions they focused on the film personalities who were from Nagpur.

May 3, 2012, English edition of Lokmat
From this paper I learnt that my father had stood for the students' union election, I guess it was for the position of Dramatic's Secretary that he was contesting, he was the Secretary that much I know, only in those days the Dramatics Secretary my brother informs me used to be called Amusement Secretary. Anyway from this article I learnt that Vasant Sathe and Vidya Charan Shukla were put in charge of my father’s campaign, who were I think studying in the same college as my father. Interestingly, both of them went on to become Information and Broadcasting Ministers later on in life.

While the Hindi and English editions focused on the film personalities associated with Nagpur in general, the Marathi edition focused individually on some of them, below you see a special feature on my father by Niranjan Markandeywar
May 2, 2012 Marathi edition of Lokmat.
Continuation of the feature
 It was really nice to see these articles more than 40years after my father passed away.

As I wind up, another sweet memory, my father brought several gifts from his shooting trips, this particular ceramic children’s tea set is one that is very precious to me. He bought it from Gwalior. I have been unable to part with it.


Finally, above you can see the wallet he was using at the time of his demise.

If you wish to read anything in this post, right click on the image, then click on view image and enlarge if necessary.

Trivia
 In this post I have dwelt at length on my father's film costumes which reminds me of something that I should have included in my post on Satyakam, anyway I am sharing it here. The producer was cutting costs, Hrishikesh Mukherjee requested my father to bring his own dressing gown for the shoot,


 so below you see him wearing his own dressing gown for this scene with Sharmila Tagore.



While on the subject of costumes, I am reminded of the iconic ‘dresswalas of the film industry Maganlal Dresswala. During my stint as a journalist, I had the opportunity of interviewing Sureshbhai the founder’s grandson. It was established way back in 1926 during the silent era, they made a smooth transition to the talkies with Alam Ara. Below is my article (you can right click on the image and click on view image to read the article).
Bombay Times, March 26, 1997

 I thought of including this here as I was discussing costumes and Maganlal Dresswala is an integral part of the industry as far as costumes are concerned. 

Industry’s Strike.
As I mentioned there are several things lying around, we found this request to all cine employees to join a rally.


 This reminds me of the days when the Hindi film industry went on a strike for 3 months in the mid-sixties. This period of the industry has been lost in the passage of time, but I do remember my mum recalling that those were tough days for my parents. Bimal Roy had expired, consequently my father stopped receiving his monthly salary from Bimal Roy Productions and with the film industry on strike income from other films came to a halt. My father was about to book a flat but had to drop the idea. Today it is a forgotten history, I doubt whether anybody from the present generation in the film industry has any knowledge of this period of the film industry. Why the film industry went on strike? Well, I do not know, nobody is alive to enlighten me.


MGM’s Maya
Finally I want to share something which for me is a very sweet memory. I did wonder should I share it or not? In all likelihood it may not be of interest to everyone, but then  I later thought now that I have decided to share almost everything, why hold back on this? After all those who are not interested have the freedom to skip it. 

I have mentioned that my father acted in an American T.V. serial Maya, which was produced by King Brothers the television arm of MGM. The fact is that there was nothing extraordinary about the serial, its story was based in India and therefore the series featured a number of Indian actors. Jay North and India’s Sajid Khan played the lead. 
 
Maya scripts
Maya was being shot on location in Kashmir, as a child I did not understand the relevance of MGM but what I did understand was the beauty of Kashmir. Thanks to this serial we had the opportunity of visiting this beautiful place. As I grew up I began to understand other things as well, so while the serial was no Star Trek, in fact it did not do all that well, I was excited that my father was associated with an MGM venture. Besides two of the directors of this serial Herbert Coleman and Hollingsworth Morse were quite well-known. Herbert Coleman was associate producer in several Alfred Hitchcock films, so every time I saw a Hitchcock film and saw his name long after my father passed away, I felt a slight thrill. My father appeared in just a single episode, this episode Twilight of the Empire was directed by Hollingsworth Morse, as a child the name meant nothing to me but much later in life I used to watch The Fall Guy, I really enjoyed this serial and was pleasantly surprised to see that this serial was directed by Hollingsworth Morse. My father was supposed to do another episode of the Maya series but my father backed out as his dates were clashing with Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke.

My father developed a warm and friendly relationship with one of his co-stars Ivor Barry. This gentleman had promised to send an audio tape (those days it was all about audio tapes) of the episode. Unfortunately although Mr.Barry kept his promise the tape never reached my father, we guess it was stolen somewhere along the way. The gentleman even sent a pair of sunglasses for someone else; see below an extract from the letter he sent my father. You can clearly see he was quite confused at not receiving any acknowledgment.


From his letter we also learnt that the serial though looked beautiful it suffered from poor writing.
You can see he has written about Sajid Khan’s popularity. Though in India he was known mostly for Mother India and to a little extent Son of India, in the U.S.A however for a brief period in the sixties, he was immensely popular as a pop singer. He was quite a craze during this period, in fact my brother saw how popular he was even in far off Japan way back in 1970, young Japanese girls would eagerly ask Indian tourists about Sajid Khan.

Last but not the least would you like to know from where my father set off on his last journey? Take a look at this clip (34 seconds) from the film Kahani Kismet Ki. Our building is on the left in the screen shot below, next to a bungalow. The park where Dharmendra and Rekha are singing is Almeida Park in Bandra a suburb located in north of Bombay. I saw this scene being shot from my balcony.


Now this park has a new look, the bungalow you see above (left) has been replaced by a high-rise. Incidentally many film personalities used to live and continue to live in the vicinity. Hrishikesh Mukherjee used to live in Bandra and whenever the need arose he would shoot in Bandra for instance the song kisike muskarahaton pe ho nisar from Anari was entirely shot in Bandra. You can see Almeida Park as well in this song (see below), the only thing was that back then our building did not exist, there was a bungalow which was later demolished to make way for the building.


Heritage walks are quite popular nowadays, I for one could easily organize a film walk in the Bandra- Khar belt.

Yes there were a few other things that I could have shared but I always feel maybe I am overdoing it. I ask myself my father had a brief stint of 15 years so am I trying to stretch a short story into a full- length feature film? I therefore decided to call a halt.

After this I plan to do two more posts, in the next post I will feature some of my favourite scenes from my father’s films, needless to mention these scenes will feature my father along with some anecdotes that I missed out in the earlier posts. Thereafter I may or may not have one final post, later this blog will be redesigned and will remain like a website for lovers of cinema.

I will be back with my favourite scenes and a list of my father's films with links to You Tube in my next post.



12 comments:

  1. While I have not been regular in visiting your blog owing to several personal reasons, I have always found your posts very enjoyable, and this latest post is no exception. I was especially moved by the condolence note from the Association of your building, where they have talked about your father's service to the residents and his obvious connection with the children of the building. Thank you for sharing all these personal details with all of us.

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    1. I am so glad that all of you enjoyed my posts, I wanted to share these little bits of history and seeing the response from all of you, I am glad I went ahead with this blog.

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  2. This has been a wonderful trip down memory lane, Shilpi, and you have brought out so many interesting nuggets of information that would have been lost in the dust of our cinematic history if it hadn't been recorded.

    Your father seems to have been loved by all who knew him - his producers and directors, his co-stars, his fans, his neighbours, little children everywhere... I was touched to read the condolence note sent by your building secretary. Through your writings, it seems like I know him too - a little. May his soul rest in peace...

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    1. Thanks Anu. Like I have said time and again, I am so happy that all of you enjoyed my posts. I think all of us want to talk about our parents, or anybody we deeply love, today the internet has given me the freedom to introduce the man and the father behind the actor. I am glad I was able to seize this opportunity

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  3. Shilpi, when I read your opening lines about this being the last post about memories, my heart sank. I've been devouring these posts with so much enjoyment - and learning such a lot in the process, too - that I couldn't bear the thought of you not adding more! But I was glad to see that bit at the end about more posts coming up. Thank you!

    And I echo what Anu says: your father seems to have been so universally loved. That is what really shows a person's worth, I think. Not how much money they make, not how many people kowtow to them, but how many people love them, and sincerely mourn them when they're gone. I think I would have loved to meet your father.

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    1. Yes Madhu, you would have loved him. He was an affectionate man and anybody who got to know him found in him a father figure or an elder brother.
      As for more posts, well I do not know whether that is going to be posts or just a single post. Actually I am quite keen to share with you all my favourite scenes and I realized that I had missed out one anecdote so I thought I will share that too in my next post.

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  4. The diary note for the shoot with Vinod Khanna could be for Memsaab. If my memory serves me right Hum Tum Aur Woh was released somewhere in June 1971 whereas the diary note is for August.

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    1. Yes you are absolutely right, I did not pay so much attention to the month, thanks for bringing to my notice.


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  5. Very nicely written and interesting post.

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  6. My favourite movie of Tarun Bose is Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke, especially the climax. After losing the case to his son-in-law (Sanjeev Kumar) he congratulates Sanjeev, quietly nods to his estranged daughter (Nivedita) and walks out of the court with dignity. The scene was well directed by Dulal Guha and superbly enacted by Tarun Bose.

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    1. Thanks for your observations, yes that scene was really nice.

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