An actor & a filmmaker – Day 2072

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While a lot has been written about Asha Parekh as an actor, as a dancer, we tend to always overlook her accomplishments as a filmmaker. I remember asking her if she had ever imagined that she would become a director one day?Never” she replied but she was always fascinated with the medium. “I was always curious to know what went on in the director’s mind and was always asking them questions. Those days things were different, there was so much bonding within the unit in between shots. There were no vanity vans then so everyone was always on the sets, absorbing, learning”.

What made you venture into production/ direction? “Those days television was blooming and my friends were pestering me to get into something constructive.  So, I decided to do a series in Gujarati called Jyoti.  They were episodes based on women-oriented stories and after 26 episodes I was confident to move into Hindi platform but again, chose a subject of my comfort zone, dance, Baje Payal explored dance in Hindi cinema and all the heroines willingly participated in my show. After this I moved to mainstream series and there was a time, I was shooting Kora Kagaz and Kangan simultaneously. It was a crazy time and we were in a way relieved when Kora Kagaz was concluded”.

To be concluded

Asha Parekh – A full life – day 2071

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On 02 October is Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Hindi cinema’s hit- girl Asha Parekh’s birthday. She was referred to as the Hit Girl because all the films she featured in were super hits and it was said that purchase of territories concluded as soon as a new project featuring her was announced. She started her career as a child star in the fifties, made her debut as a lead in the sixties and despite her superstardom continued to perform dance ballets on stage. She is the only heroine trained in both Bharatnatyam and Kathak classical dance forms.

She is also the only heroine to turn distributor and become actively associated with social service in hospital. In the nineties she was appointed President, Cine Artistes Association/ CINTA and also Chairperson, Censor Board by the then I& B Minister Sushma Swaraj. Unlike other actors who sit on their laurels Asha Parekh has accepted new challenges over the decades. She launched her production house and turned director on television with Baje Payal then Dal Mein Kala Hai, Kora Kagaz and finally, Kangan.

To be concluded

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