Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Memories & Memorabilia (Part 3) - Some more sweet memories.

Madhuri, July, 14 1967
It is indeed amazing the number of things we managed to unearth, so here are some more pieces of sweet memories and memorabilia.

I concluded my last post with my father’s screen test. The next step was signing a contract with

Bimal Roy Productions, we found a copy of that contract.Below is a photo of my father  at Sujata’s

premiere, interestingly he is referred to as the film’s leading man. S.D.Burman's picture reminds me of the days when we used to see S.D. going for his morning and evening walks. He did wear trousers for his walks but at other times he always wore dhoti & kurta. He was quite fond of my father, I have this memory of me accompanying my mother on some errand, we met Mr and Mrs Burman on the way, Mrs Burman stopped to chat with my mother, she wanted to know why my parents did not attend their son R.D's wedding reception. My father was away on an outdoor shoot, that is why they had been unable to attend the reception, all the while S.D. was silently listening to the two ladies conversing, at the mention of my father, he smilingly told my mother in Bengali, "Torun khub bhalo chhele", meaning Tarun is a very nice boy. Yes he referred to my father as a boy.

As the years went by my father was obviously interviewed and written about, but he did not bother keeping any of them. I have seen other celebrities maintain scrap books with the tiniest of news items, my father on the other hand just gave a cursory glance and discarded them, his contention was that "These will keep appearing how many am I going to keep?". Thankfully there are a few that we still had with us, below is probably one of his earliest interviews that appeared in Screen. 

In the post that I have inadvertently deleted I had published this photo.

My father with Sunil Dutt's younger brother Som Dutt on location for Mujhe Jeene Do
 I had assumed that this photo was taken by some fan or film buff, I was wrong for I later found this interview (see below), this interview and photograph was taken while my father was on location shooting for Mujhe Jeene do.

In these interviews he has indicated his preference for playing the villain and serio-comic roles. Incidentally in the play Aur Yeh Insaan my father’s role was serio-comic.
As my father passed away when he was very young way back in 1972, we do not have any of his personal colour photographs excepting a few film stills. Thankfully we do have some magazines with us where his colour photos were published.

The above photo appeared in April 1959 in a magazine that used to be in circulation called Sport & Pastime. I guess this was probably one of my father's earliest colour photos. Later there were others too, like the one's below, these are my favourite photos.

Filmfare, June 1963

Filmfare, December 22 1967

A nail sketch of my father.
The above portrait was done by an artist using his nails. 

My father with Harindranath Chattopadhay.

Harindranath Chattopadhyay was quite an interesting gentleman, a poet like his elder sister Sarojini Naidu, he was so talented that he could compose poems at the drop of a hat. He lived close by and we therefore often saw him taking evening walks. He was quite a witty man and quite popular with the children in the neighbourhood. Once my father after chatting with him took his leave saying, "Ok, Harinda, we will meet again." He promptly replied much to my father's amusement, "We will meat if you are a non-vegetarian, if you are a vegetarian, we will vegetate."
Like the photographs and magazines above there are many things lying around, I have decided to just pick them up and publish them here. We unearthed my father's Cine Artiste's Association membership card.

Every time a film released my father brought home a song booklet, this booklet had the film's synopsis, a list of the cast and the songs. I managed to lay my hands on one such booklet, it was the Meri Surat Teri Aankhen booklet. This booklet seems to be the only one which has remained with us.

My father was a foodie and my mother a fantastic cook, this made for a rather foodelicious combination. My mum always packed food for my father, she had to pack for my father's colleagues as well, for everybody attacked my father's lunch box wanting to know, "aaj bhabhiji ne kya pakaya". They say- the proof of the pudding is in the eating- well the proof that my father was a foodie is in the following recipe of Mussallam Raan that my father has noted down in his own handwriting. I remember we kept this with us because we had very few of his hand written notes.

My father usually did not eat studio food but he made an exception for one studio  and that was Filmistan Studio, here the canteen chef, if I remember correctly his name was Prem made some delicious fry mutton, my father sometimes brought home this dish, whenever he used to shoot at this studio.

I conclude this post with a photograph of my father's spectacles. He did not use them in real life, this one is a dummy, without power, he used it in some film, for some reason it was at home, for us it serves as a wonderful memory of days gone by. 


Harindranath Chattopadhya, was a multi-talented personality, he was an actor, singer, poet, song writer, artist. He also wrote songs for films, notable among them being my heart is beating  from Julie. His poem rail gaadi was very popular, he used to recite it himself on All India Radio. When Aashirwad was being made, I remember people from the industry discussing in our home that Hrishida will be using the poem for the film. From what I remember Harindranath was supposed to do the playback for Ashok Kumar, but Ashok Kumar wanted to recite the poem rail gaadi for the film himself. 

rail gaadi rail gaadi

The song as you can see above was shot in a park. This park is located in Bandra, a suburb located in the north of Bombay. Now the place looks very different, it was surrounded by bungalows and low rise buildings, now all you see are high rises (see pictures below).

View of the park, there is a fence surrounding the park now. There are more trees now.
The buildings surrounding the park now.

I will continue with Memories and Memorabilia in my next post which in all probability will be my last post on this subject unless, in the meanwhile, I find something interesting that I am not able to accommodate in my next post.

If you would like to read the interviews or the recipe, then right click on the image and click on view image.


  1. Shilpi, just as I begin thinking you can't publish a better post than the one you already have, you go ahead and surpass yourself! This one had me utterly engrossed. So much deliciousness (including that handwritten recipe - sounds delicious, though difficult too!), and all that trivia about Harindranath Chattopadhyay was fabulous. Hadn't known any of it.

    Oh, I do wish you would find something to keep this blog going...

    1. Thnak you so much Madhu. It is funny really while you were thinking that I could not surpass myself, in sharp contrast I keep thinking am I overdoing it.?These things mean a lot to me, because I am writing about my father, but are all these really of any interest to everyone out there. Then you come along and post this wonderful comment and make my day. Thanks a million.

  2. Thoroughly Njoyed this post too as i did all the earlier posts. Waiting for more.

  3. Wonderful post, Shilpi. I love the way you weave bits of trivia and anecdotes, like the one about SDB, into your post. I always feel like I'm right there in the moment. Love the pic of your Dad at the top - very arresting.

    1. Thank you very much Shalini, like I always say, it is comments such as these that keep me going. That pic of my father's you are right it is arresting, it is my favourite.

  4. Wow, I envy your childhood. Whenever I go home to India and discover some artifact of my childhood it gives me immense pleasure. I am sure you are thoroughly enjoying going through your father's memorabilia because your childhood must be inextricably linked to them. Nice work, Shilpiji.

    1. Welcome to my blog Soumya, yes you are right, it does give me immense pleasure to go back in time. Childhood memories are invaluable.

  5. I missed this until now. Like Madhu, let me assure you that these posts are indeed very interesting, giving us a peek into not only your father's life, but that of his colleagues and his peers, especially your reminiscences about SDB.

    I laughed out loud at "We will meat if you are a non-vegetarian, if you are a vegetarian, we will vegetate."

    Please do keep it going, Shilpi.

    1. I am real glad all of you are enjoying my reminiscences. Does that mean I have to post some of those I decided not to dwell on thinking, "Oh these are not important"? Well let's see.

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