Mother of power and penance – Day 2362

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

N Chandra’s Pratighaat told the story of a homemaker, raped in broad daylight. In the climax, Sujata Mehta hacks her rapists on the street and is a manifestation of modern-day Maa Kaali.

It is believed that Goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kali combined powers to produce Maa Vaishno Devi who would free humanity from suffering. Vaishno Devi was created after severe penance and timeless devotion.

One saw glimpses of this pious, ascetic character in Govind Saraiya’s Saraswati Chandra essayed by Nutan as Kumud Sundari. She is betrayed time and again by destiny and ends up in an ashram, convinced that only penance can find her salvation. It is here that she meets her lover saved by the monks on the banks of a river, quite like Lord Ram discovering Goddess Vaishnavi at a sea shore in Ramayana.

To be concluded

Mother Extraordinaire – Day 2361

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Maa Durga /Amba are manifestations of Goddess Shakti created to nurture good and vanquish evil. Fable has it that when demon Mahishasura was unconquerable, Lord Bhrama, Vishnu and Shiva concentrated energy to create Durga, the Goddess extraordinaire.

Rakesh Roshan’s Khoon Bhari Maang portrayed Rekha as the avenging angel who vanquishes Kabir Bedi and just as Shiva, Bhrama and Vishnu aided Maa Durga, Rekha is nurtured by a stranger who saves her life, a doctor who lends her a new identity and her children, the reason to fight her oppressor.

According to the 17th century poet Bana, demons Shumbha and Nishumbha, were megalomaniacs and Shumbha fascinated by Maa Kaali sent her a marriage proposal. Goddess Kaali was outraged by his audacity and perished his messenger and all around him.

To be concluded

Mother & Mother Goddesses – Day 2360

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

A few days ago, we celebrated Mother’s Day. My mind rewinds to our mythology. According to Tantra-Chudamani when Sati jumped into the yajna and Lord Shiva did a tandav with her corpse in his arms, Lord Vishnu sensing doom, flung his sudarshan chakra and fragmented Sati’s body into fifty-one pieces (some say 108 pieces), all manifestations of Goddess Shakti. Indian cinema has reflected these avtaars in our narratives.

The most popular goddess Maa Lakshmi, originated from the sagar manthan seated on a lotus holding precious jewels in her hand and Lord Vishnu immediately proclaimed her as his consort.

In the 1973 film Saudagar Amitabh Bachchan a gur seller, chooses to marry a widow/ Nutan so he can lead a comfortable life. In Sanjog Mala Sinha is depicted as an incarnation of Lakshmi and in Judaai Urmila Matondkar is so prosperous that she buys off Anil Kapoor from his bride/ Sridevi.

To be concluded

Contentment is state of mind – Day 2359

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

You sound content? “Yes, I believe contentment is a state of mind and you can feel happy without nothing and unhappy with everything served on a platter. This may sound a bit odd to you, but in a strange way I feel like the character of my debut film Antuleeni Katha. The character is a village girl who goes through extra-ordinary experiences to discover herself. I too started as a small-town girl, did innumerable films down South, came to Mumbai did Hindi films, went back to South and got into politics.

“Life is a full circle” she said, “And sorrow and happiness follow each other like success and failure and we must be prepared for both.”

I conducted above interview with Jaya Prada sometime in 2001 when she was shooting with Dharmendra in a faraway studio in Mumbai. It was among her last fling with Bollywood and she knew it. She was aware that the film she was shooting for would probably not release but wanted to honor her commitments before she took off on a new phase. I reproduce our conversation to reflect the time gone by/ cinema and the time to com/ politics. The biggest stars have to fade some day and those who can accept this are the winners.

concluded

Politics calling – Day 2358

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

This was when legendary star NTR asked you to campaign for him? “Yes, I had known NTR sir for too long to refuse him, so agreeing to campaign was more of an emotional reaction than a career plan and as fate would have it, NTR won the elections and became the chief minister and inadvertently this became a beginning for me in politics. Later, I joined Chandra Babu Naidu and call it my good fortune again because Chandra Babu sir also won the elections and my position became stronger.”

Those days you were traveling to villages, must be quite a different experience from shooting inside studios? “Oh yes, it was exhilarating one day and dramatic the next day. We were travelling the interiors for days and nights at a stretch, often without food, water or even a roof above our heads. I didn’t know where I would be bathing or change, every day, we started early dawn and packed up at midnight”.

Did you ever think of giving it all up and returning to your comfortable life? “Strangely no, even though I was traveling to unfamiliar places with strangers. As stars we are accustomed to having our companion with us everywhere and here, I was surrounded by crowds all the time. I realized that if I can endure this, I can endure anything! Politics like stardom is a great teacher, it taught me self-reliance and patience.” And how does your family react to your changing lifestyle? “My new life has changed their life as well. They don’t have to any longer travel with me everywhere and they are happy that I am now capable of looking after myself”.

to be concluded

Remembering Jaya Prada – Day 2357

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

I was watching Jeetendra’s Tohfa the other day and recalled how Sridevi and Jaya Prada had taken Bollywood by a storm in the 80s.  They were the first choice of every filmmaker and both had very quickly signed a dozen films with all the top actors including Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna and of course Jeetendra who in traduced the southern heroines to Bollywood.

In the coming decades, while Sridevi married Boney Kapoor and raised babies, Jaya Prada moved from cinema to politics. Her stint with cinema continued but the projects were not as attractive as in the olden days. Jaya Prada was aware of that and when she stopped enjoying the films she was doing, she moved back to Bangalore. Over the years, I often bumped into Jaya Prada both in Mumbai and Delhi and once asked her if she felt she had been reckless about her career? Because had she played her cards right, she would have still been active in movies.

Jaya Prada agreed she had signed films indiscriminately “I didn’t need to do those films; I didn’t need the money. I did them because I was just going through a lowly phase and taking wrong decisions so I have no one to blame but myself. When these films didn’t work, I turned restless and left the city”. And you never missed Mumbai and Hindi films? “Sometimes, I did when I watched an old film of mine on TV but the urge subsided just as quickly and around this time due to personal reasons, I shifted base from Bangalore to Hyderabad and that was a turning point”.

to be concluded