Monthly Archives

September 2021

Dev Anand made everyone feel special – Day 2070

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It is only later I discovered that Dev Anand has the same effect on everyone who came into contact with him. It is said that Shabana Azmi already launched as a leading lady had no intention of doing a small part in Dev Anand’s new film but five minutes of entering his office and Azmi was so carried away that had agreed to Ishq Ishq Ishq. Says Azmi, Dev saab was so charming that she was swept off her feet and could not refuse the veteran actor.

Neetu Singh, another star of the seventies revealed that her boyfriend Rishi Kapoor in those days was obsessed with Dev Anand that he looked for opportunities to meet him. It is because Dev Anand made every-one he met feel special. His actors loved him and his heroines felt safe with him.

Unlike other filmmakers, Dev Anand did not expose his heroines on screen, on the contrary he always said that the more covered the heroine, the more sensuous she looked. In later years however, after turning director, Dev Anand often presented his heroines like Zeenat Aman and Tina Munim in glamorous costumes but they were always sensual never vulgar. I asked him about the shift in image and he accepted that it was an effect of changing times, said, “Filmmaking is a collective process and dependent on multiple pressures and sometimes it is easier to give into these pressures rather than waste energy in converting opinions”.

To be continued

Chaos is part of creativity – Day 2069

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Dev Anand rose from his chair the minute he saw me and offered me a firm handshake. Then pushing aside all the files to a corner of the desk, his eyes sparkling said, “Don’t mind this mess on my desk, chaos is part of creativity and which is why I have never believed in clearing my desk or my cupboards. They are going to get messy again and, in my opinion, it is all a crucial waste of creative energy, don’t you agree with me?”

I was stumped and stared at De Anand blankly. So far, no professional of merit had sought my opinion on anything, also, so far, nobody had shared such an original thought with me earlier. I was drawn to his energy, his thought process. He sat on his chair and began searching for the pictures he had promised my office. And as he did that, we conducted the interview. Dev Anand locks his eyes when he talks to you, speaks passionately and his zest for life is infectious. Unlike other celebrities who are frequently interrupted, Dev Anand gives you undivided attention as long as you are in his presence so naturally, I came home thoroughly impressed by the actor.

To be continued

Happy 99 Dev Ananad – Day 2067

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On 26 September 1923 Dev Anand born in Gurdaspur, Punjab. If he were alive, he would turn 99 this year. In my long career, I met Dev Anand a number of times and I still remember my first encounter with him sometime in 1978at his old office in Khira Nagar, Santacruz. Khira Nagar was a hot spot in the suburbs because Dev Anand held his production office in that area. I was a rank newcomer in the late 70s and to just keep me busy I think, my editor sent me to collect some pictures from Dev Anand’s office.  

A red, creaky iron staircase from the main road landed you directly inside the Navketan lobby. and as I waited on a worn-out sofa rested against a discolored wall, I wondered if all-star offices were so ordinary. The only unusual thing about the office so far was that it had an exclusive entrance but besides the red staircase there was nothing attractive about the place. A few minutes later, I was ushered inside the mega star’s cabin and there he was, the superstar

So is this how superstars look in their environment, I wondered.

To be continued

Pooja: Growing up wasn’t traumatic – Day 2066

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My parents split when my brother and I were kids but growing up was far from traumatic. My parents remain friends and there’s no hostility amongst all the children. Shaheen, Soni Razdan’s older daughter shares the most unusual bond with my mom. My baby sister Aalya played my childhood in Tamanna, she was only three-year-old at that time but delivered a perfect take. When the unit applauded her, she was unaffected, she turned to dad and said, ‘Its pack up for me’.

Travelling is the best way to know people, I traveled with my baby brother Sunny when he was an adolescent on my shooting and he was totally in charge of me and the trip. I am not demonstrative to either my mother or brother but they know that I love them dearly. With dad I’m vocal and as I grow older, respect him as a professional and not just my hero! I can tell him anything and he will take it. There is no one like dad in this entire world and I don’t need a special day to say I love him.”

Pooja: Shooting Sir with Dad – Day 2065

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After dropping Kiran Bhatt to the hospital, Mahesh Bhatt with little Pooja in his arms, parked at his friend UG Krishnamurthy’s home, which was a stone throw from the hospital. Pooja remembers sleeping on the couch in the living room of Krishnamurthy while the two men kept awake chatting all night.

“In the morning” recalls Pooja, “Dad carried me to the hospital to meet me my baby brother and I suddenly felt grown up. In the coming years I felt Sunny grew up faster than me and was the first to warn my parents when I was up to mischief.  When I started smoking, it was Sunny who complained to dad. He was furious and to make matters worse, we were shooting together the next day.

We were driving for the shooting of Sir to Mukesh Mills and I could sense dad was upset with me. On arriving at the location, he fired all his assistants and actors; and blamed them for my smoking. I was embarrassed by his outburst and escaped to my make-up room. Chachu Mukesh Bhatt entered my room, spotted an ash-tray and screamed like he had spotted a snake! It was a crazy day and phase, but the best thing about close relationships is that the worst phases pass and loved ones continue to care.

To be continued

Pooja Bhatt cooked with pain – Day 2064

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Dad said it was the beginning of a new phase for me and he was right. I turned calmer, more self-reliant now. Earlier, I was frightened of being alone, now I enjoyed my company. Dad said it was because I was cooked with pain, he is always right because he reads me the best”.

Pooja Bhatt always sounded like her father and now has become a replica of Mahesh Bhatt. “That’s true, the older I get, the more I feel like him. Dad got irritated when people did not measure up to his intensity, now I feel exasperated when people don’t measure up to my intensity. Sometimes, I feel that children are the best company because they don’t ask questions. I remember the day my little brother Sunny was born. Mom and dad were talking in whispers, and then Dad woke me up, said, ‘Pooja wake up, the time has come’.

To be continued

Mahesh Bhatt turns 73 – Day 2063

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Mahesh Bhatt turns seventy-three on 20 September 2021 and he hates celebrating his birthday, so I pick on his daughter Pooja Bhatt to reminisce about Bhatt and their family. Pooja told me she turned producer because her father told her that the only way to make films you believe in is to launch your own production, so the day Pooja found a script she felt passionately about, she announced her banner. 

The first lesson she learnt as a producer was to approve of the best script. The second lesson was to believe in the script till the end. “I chose Tamanna as my debut production fully aware that it will not be a commercial grosser but I’d rather begin artistic than ambitious and my father supported me. To shoot the film in Seychelles was chachu Mukesh Bhatt’s idea and we could do this because we shot four films Dastak, Papa Kahte Hain, Fareb and Tamanna together at the island…

To be continued

Sequel to Doosra Aadmi – Day 2062

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Ramesh Talwar and Yash Raj Films never worked together again. I am not attributing the fallout to the film, there many been a different reason. Nobody knows because it has never been talked about. Many years later, when Talwar watched Doosra Aadmi again on the video, he understood why and regretted not trusting his mentor but it was too late! Nobody sustains success or relationships forever but there is a lesson in this story for all of us.

In the coming years Yash Raj made innumerable films and Ramesh Talwar also directed a few like Basera, Sawaal, Duniya, Zamana and Sahibaan. He continues with theatre and is revered for plays likje Kaifi Aur Main but sometimes, I do wonder on how life would have been for Ramesh Talwar had he stayed associated with Yash Raj Films. Do you wonder about this too Ramesh Talwar and if yes, how about a sequel to Doosra Aadmi produced by Yash Raj Films, think about it seriously?

concluded

Young couple & older woman – Day 2061

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The film was Doosra Aadmi and Rishi Kapoor- Neetu Singh confirmed in the lead pair. For the ‘other older woman’ Talwar’s original choice was Sharmila Tagore in sunglasses and short hair but when Raakhee (already doing Kabhi Kabhie) learnt about the exciting role, she dressed up in the same look and convinced Talwar to change his mind. He did.

The first screening of Doosra Aadmi was exclusively for Yash Chopra and Chopra took Talwar for dinner post the show, lavished him with praise and requested for just one change. He asked him to delete the last scene, where Raakhee looks into the mirror and breaks down! Chopra said the depressing climax will not be accepted by the audience but Talwar obsessed with his creation, refused to relent.

Chopra could have had his way as a producer, instead, he let Talwar have his way and when the film was released, as predicted by Yash Chopra, Doosra Aadmi bombed at the box-office.

To be continued

First AD to Yash Chopra – Day 2060

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Ramesh Talwar joined as the fifth assistant on Ittefaq starring Nanda and Rajesh Khanna and his duty entailed escorting the artistes to the sets and sometimes carrying the heroine’s sandals and hero’s cigarette packet. Talwar had no complains, he enjoyed the shooting atmosphere, enjoyed watching Chopra closely while at work.

A year later, Talwar was assisting B R Chopra’s younger brother Yash Chopra in Daag and this time he was the third assistant and his duty entailed engaging artistes in conversations while the director set up his shot. Rajesh Khanna, also from theatre, enjoyed Talwar’s company and when half way through the film, the first and the second assistant got involved in a bitter fight, the banner sacked both and promoted Talwar as the first assistant.

Soon Yash Chopra’s began including him in every film he did –Joshila with Dev Anand, Deewaar with Salim-Javed and a multi-star cast with Kabhi Kabhie. On the mahurat of Kabhi Kabhie Rishi Kapoor in an unusually good mood told Yash Chopra that if his banner launched Ramesh Talwar as director, he would work for free and Yash Chopra asked Talwar to get ready to be launched.

To be continued