Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Guru Dutt Stamp

The government of India had honoured one of Hindi Cinema's iconic Directors Guru Dutt with a Postage Stamp in the year 2004.

Guru Dutt Shivshankar Padukone was born on July 9th 1925 in Bangalore. His father worked in Bank while his Mother was a school teacher.

He did his early schooling in calcutta but did not study beyond Matriculation as his family could not afford it. He was always interested in Arts and joined the Uday Shankar "school" in Almora and studied dancing. Then joined prabhat Films as a Dance Director. Here he did not stick to Choreography alone but showed an interest in all other Departments and even did some small roles.

After his contract was over he joined as Assistant Director to Amiya Chakravarthy and later to Gyan Mukherji for his film "Sangram" - 1950.

Much earlier he and his friend an aspiring Actor had promised to give each other a chance the moment the first one makes it Big - the actor who kept his word was Dev Anand who called him in 1951 to Direct the Film "Baazi" - a crime thriller.

During the recording of songs for this film he met Geeta Roy , love blossomed and they married in may 1953.

"Aar Paar" in 1954 saw him being reckoned as a Director of some Repute. This was enhanced by his string of classics that followed Mr and Mrs 55 , Pyasaa , and Kaagaz Ke Phool.

The last film was a disaster in Box Office terms that a dejected Guru Dutt NEVER directed a film after that - at least it was never released in his name. This film is still viewed by fans and critics alike for the sensitive portrayal and superb Photography - Please see my earlier Blog on V.K.Murthy , The Cinematographer.

Soon after he acted and Produced in "Chaudivin Ka Chand" and "Sahib Bibi aur Ghulaam".
To him must go the credit of introducing long focal length lenses of 75mm and 100mm for Close up shots in Indian Films. His selection of themes, use of music and song and finally beautiful dialogues all shot with great care and play of light and shadow ensured that each frame was a masterpiece.

He died on October 10 , 1964. It is said that he committed suicide as he was constantly fighting depression and a battle with alcohol - another great career cut short by that vile and addictive extract of fruits and grain.

A nice Biography of him is released by Oxford written by Nazreen Munna Kabir for those interested in reading more.

Please watch geeta Dutt sing Waqt ne kiya in Kaagaz ke phool and let me know if such precise camera movements and lighting is there in any song by any body !!!! What a classic and REMEMBER he was a Dancer , and yet look at the minimal movements he has given to the actors.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Absolute Pawar - corporates Absolutely.

Image courtesy India Today.

The media has been crying hoarse about this "scandal" - Mr Pawar , I do not wish to go into the technicalities for I am sure all those ends will be tied up by you and your people.

I just have a few basic queries......

Why did the Board of the Company pass a resolution that the Company should not enter the IPL ?

Obviously the Managing Director had disclosed his intentions to the Board ( When ? Mr Pawar.) and the Board met , discussed and came to the conclusion to stay away from the gravy train , is that so Mr Pawar ?. When was this Board meeting held, who were all present, where was it held and when did you come to know of your MD's intent and the Board's refusal ?????

No Board , out of the Blue will pass a restrictive covenant against its MD unless it had prior information - one does not see the TATA Board asking Mr Ratan Tata NOT to buy an IPL obviously the Board knew of the MD's intentions - maybe as you are a minority share holder, you did not know.


Even after he had made his "failed" bid. Did you Mr Pawar ? After all your MD was sending a signal to the IPL that his bid has the backing of the all powerful Pawar.

Did you as a responsible cricket lover inform the BCCI of this Bid's illegality - I do not think the Bid was disqualified for lacking the needed corporate backing but it failed because they did not bid high enough.

Theoretically , the document was obtained under your companies name and the tender too submitted under the name of the company and if the company did not authorise him then the whole bid should have been thrown out or your MD obtained a different set of application forms from the IPL under his "personal" name and filled it up and submitted it.

Can the Public see his Bid document Mr Pawar ?

Will make interesting reading , we can find out for sure if he "misused" your good offices.Maybe he has put your name as one of the "minority" share holders , who were the Bankers he has offered ? Let us see what this errant MD of yours has done ?


Lets us take this scenario , just a let it pass because you wanted the Board to know that this bid is yours - unfortunately you took the advice of your protege's CEO - I mean Lalit Modis man, who, had even advised Tharoor to bid around 1200 odd crores , remember the e mail sent by Praful Patel's daughter - you may not. Praful may have leaked this to your MD who stuck to the figure while Shashi , the crafty one, upped the ante. The Board of course felt bad that both your Bid and that of the present IPL chief got thrown out of the window. Your protege got upset and he wanted to get his own back on Tharoor and Tweeted - the rest , as the say , STINKS.

Can we all forget which of you made money through your connections and what not and focus on sending an Indian team to the Asian Games....


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

IIFA at Colombo- Kudos to the Southern Film Industry

I was watching the National ( English) TV Channels and the focus that was on the IIFA Awards being held at Colombo. It set me thinking , what made me act - at least prodded me to Blog was dinner with an old friend of mine, one of India's finest film makers , who has also set one of his films in the backdrop of the Tamil's struggle in Sri Lanka.

We discussed this Humanitarian crisis that the Tamils are facing there and it came out as we spoke that what the Politicians have not been able to ( or do not want to) , the Tamil film fraternity has achieved. We have been able to get the media and therefore the people all over India to become aware that there exists a situation in Sri Lanka that is not good , that must be addressed by the world , not just the Tamil world but the Human world.

In that sense we must be proud of belonging to a fraternity that has decided to raise a voice in support of those displaced and suffering. It is no longer an issue of just the "Tamil" people but one that is of a section of Humankind that is suffering - Thank you my friend for that enlightening bit of discussion we had.

It also showed me that however small a voice you are , if you are just and crying , it will be heard and will have some effect.

I always felt that the Hindi Film Industry did not care what we did in the South.
Our opinions and concerns did not affect them in any way and that we cannot do a thing about anything -Oh , how wrong and stupidly short sighted I was.

I understand that the Bachchans , SRK and a few other Top Stars are staying away. As the cry came a bit late not much could be done regarding the shifting of the awards itself to some other venue . Vivek Oberoi spoke to a channel on how he is using this a chance to do some rehabilitation work for those affected by the strife. Building a school etc.

I guess I was so wrong about my own Profession and its Power (Many of my Blog's readers and my friends in facebook did point it out.) . I asked earlier when Cricketeers and Politicians are not asked about their "links" with lankans why target only film people....I now know why....because, WE CAN....

We may not have prevented the IIFA from happening but if in the process the Nation's attention is given to this issue albeit for a day or two, then if there is some respite and even a single human being in Lanka is benefited, then the whole thing was worth it.

The next time I ask why me ( or in this case -Us.) I must change it to Why not me.....

நமக்கு என்னனு விட்டுட்டா அது மனுசனா பொறந்ததற்கு அடையாளமே இல்லைன்னு புரிஞ்சுகிட்டேன் .

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Down memory lane - Nadigar thilakam documentary

From Left to right standing - Mahesh, Music Director, Yours truly,
G.Ramkumar and Director K.Subaash.

Around the late 1990s Sivaji films wanted to make a TV show on Nadigar Thilakam (NT).

This was tentatively titled "Naanum oru rasikan" and was to have been him reliving
his experiences with around 100 of his colleagues, seniors and even those who came later.

His thoughts on them, his roles with them and then we wanted to get reactions from each of them ( those available). He wanted to trace the trip from M.K.Thyagaraja Bhagavathar down to
the then present day.

Subaash , probably one of the few "friends" I have from this tinsel world, many like Prabhu and Ramkumar were friends before I became an actor, was excited to work with NT as his father Krishnan (Panju) was the one who introduced this legend in "Parasakthi" with that immortal first shot -"Success".

At a time when graphics had not grown his plan was to merge NT at home moving about when suddenly VO Chidambaram, Kattabomman, Parama sivan, prestige padmanabhan, barrister rajinikanth and several others keep walking past and to each of them NT reacts -
I was to have interacted with him and assisted Subaash with the research, script and editing.My good friend Mahesh was to have made the Music. For all of us it was the joy of working with the living legend.

In fact this helped me sit and discuss with him the list of people he wanted - the Producers, The Directors ,The Technicians ( all the crafts from Camera, Dance, Make up, Costume, writers and so on), His fellow actors and others whom he had enjoyed watching on screen - Olivier , Brando , Spencer Tracy , Paul Muni and many others up North including Prithviraj Kapoor etc. In fact we were wondering how to source footage from Hollywood films and the Royalty costs etc. You must remember the economy had not opened up as much as it is today.

Mahesh was toying with a medley of his songs , sometimes the old tune with new words and sometimes the old words with new tunes etc.....and one fully new tune.

The experiences he shared with us will live evergreen in our minds and the kind of respect he had for people like L.V.Prasad, Nagesh , M.R.Radha , Balaiah , Sridhar , APN , Chandrababu, ACT , His mentors P.A.Perumal and Subaash's father Krishnan , AVM , MGR ,the present CM Kalaignar, S.Balachander , Heeralal Master , Padmini, Kannamba , Manorama , Savithri to name just a few was really high .

We actually took up a list of 60 plus names to work with initially .

This was to have been either for Doordarshan or Sun TV - in those days DD was still in the big budget League.

Just reliving those moments brings tears, both of Joy and sorrow - Like he sang -
Naan azhudhukonde sirikkindren.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.