This is a fantastic article about Shailendra, the man responsible for the lyrics of some of the most quintessential Raj Kapoor songs:
Leela Naidu, actress & Miss India 1954, was born to a Swiss-French mother & Indian father. Perhaps best known for her role in Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke, she starred in films of very different cinematographic styles, from Merchant Ivory Productions, ‘The Householder’ to Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s, ‘Anuradha.’
This is a cute little article that she wrote for Filmfare in 1966:
After a very long hiatus, of five or so months, I’m back. One thing that I may not have mentioned is that I’m a full time student which is why I’ve haven’t posted in a long time. I do, however, vow that from now on, I will not neglect this blog again as I do have high hopes for it. I’ll resume posting my tidbits very shortly &, as mentioned previously, if you have absolutely any requests – I will do my very best to accommodate them!
Nutan – A day at the Studio
The set that I reported on was re-erected for the second time for reasons unknown to me. It was a 7 a.m. shift and I was asked to report with make-up at 8-30 a.m. Knowing the way the schedule is kept, I was ready by 9-30 a.m. and went to the set to find people hanging around. I made myself comfortable in a chair and opened the book I had brought to read.
Five minutes later the trolley planks were brought. A character-artiste who takes half an hour for make-up had still not arrived – my shot was with him.
After the trolley had been laid it was discovered from the stills that the shelves on the wall had not been fixed correctly according to the continuity. So the studio carpenter was asked to make new ones. For this, the ones already up had to be removed and the wall patched up and repainted. This done, flood-light was thrown on the wet wall for the paint to dry. (The continuity of the set was supposed to have been checked the previous night.)
I reclined more comfortably in my chair and put my feet up on a stool but could not decide which to enjoy more, the book or the goings on!
The wall, the shelves and the background lighting seemed to be ready by 11-15 a.m. but now the scene was being re-written! The dialogue writer was absent and so the assistant director was writing the dialogue. I saw the character-artiste walking towards the set with make-up at 11.45 a.m. (wise man!). It was now learnt that a junior artiste booked for the day and required for the first shot with me was not there. Excuse: the supplier failed. So another one was looked for and ultimately found. Now some small property which was required for the scene was being brought in. The director was said to have been annoyed but was found amusing himself by re-writing the script.
At 12 noon the cameraman was called to do the lighting of the artistes. Suddenly somebody shouted for a pair of glasses for the junior artiste. Ten minutes later they were on his nose and I stretched out of my chair to start my day’s work at 12-10 p.m. After the first couple of rehearsals it was decided that I add the name of the character I was talking to, at the end of a sentence – but nobody remembered what the name was! (This might sound like an exaggeration but, believe me, it isn’t.) It was spoken earlier in a previous scene taken on the last set but to go and check it from the rushes, they thought, would involve a lot of time and so it was decided that I speak the name which the assistant director seemed to feel was correct. I could see the producer keeping his fingers crossed! This shot was taken by 12-40 p.m. and another one by 1-30 p.m. We now broke up for lunch.
I was recalled at 3-15 p.m. for a close-up and found that no shot had been taken before this. The shot was O.K. and another one from an opposite angle was arranged and taken. The camera was shifted again to the position of the first shot and I discovered that that was being retaken because the cameraman forgot to provide the highlight. It was 4 p.m. now and the day’s schedule was over. We normally finish at 6-30 p.m. but this is what you call quick work.
The Dutts’ Party
‘To smarties everywhere,’ Sunil Dutt proposed a ‘toast’ at the dinner hosted by the Dutts on New Year’s Day at their home on Pali Hill. The occasion: the second anniversary of Ajanta Arts, Sunil’s production company. VIPs at the party were the employees of the company, from the humblest upwards. Director Moni Bhattacharya, writer Agha Jani Kashmiri and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, all connected with ‘Mujhe Jeene Do,’ Sunil’s first production, came, too. Everybody wore paper caps – the littlest person, Sunil’s son Sanjay, wearing the biggest one. Many of the guests peered good-naturedly about the elegant home of the hosts – where, after years of continuous labour, carpenters and decorators seemed to have finished at last – with its extensive grounds, its chic winding staircase, and its nice rooms. An off-beat feature of the dinner: the women ate first, under Nargis’ benevolent eye. The women, said some voices (male, and very prejudiced!), not only broke a time-honoured Indian tradition but ate more that their share. Later that night, there was a ‘qawali’ session on the terrace – and impromptu dancing. Sunil cut an anniversary cake. It carried chocolate figures of ‘jawans’ and an inscription – ‘Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawanon Ka.’ The country, indeed, to the brave – and the world to the smart.
Also had to share this photograph of Saira in a quirky aubergine – printed Sari! (Captured whilst on location in Kashmir for Ayee Milan Ki Bela)
As mentioned before, I do collect old Indian film magazines & have quite a few sixties Filmfare Issues. The first articles are from the ‘Movie Montage’ page, which gives little stories/articles associated with the screen sensations themselves.
Raj Kapoor – War with Self
‘I am at war with Raj Kapoor; he has become very choosy and difficult to tackle.’ This statement, made in the make-up room of Padmini Priyadarshini at the Mohan Studios, drew a lot of laughter as the speaker was none other than Raj Kapoor himself. Mr. R. C. Talwar, who had dropped in to say ‘Hello’ to Raj, observed that if only people, particularly Raj, were to live a life of detachment, the problem of being at war with oneself wouldn’t arise. ‘What I mean is that people should try to detach themselves from worldly affairs,’ Talwar explained in answer to Raj’s query as to what he meant. ‘But I do live a life of detachment,’ asserted Raj. ‘The trouble is that I am much too attached to myself. Will someone tell me how I can detach myself from myself?’
Dev Anand – Dev To Visit USA
Will he meet President Kennedy? Will he pat Frank Sinatra on his back and say, ‘Frank, you are one of the greatest singer-actors in the world?’ The subject of these speculations is Dev Anand, who will soon be visiting the U.S.A to make friends and influence people for India. With his characteristic boyish glee Dev told ‘Filmfare’ that he had been invited by the American Government under their cultural and educational exchange programme. His itinerary has not yet been fixed. Quite reticent to talk about it, Dev, nevertheless, said that he was happy to get the opportunity to meet the people of the U.S. and tell them about life in India. Dev Anand’s ‘The Guide’ has been completed. Pearl S. Buck, writing to him an affectionate letter from the States, told him that the rushes of the film were very satisfactory. She also had a word for Dev’s wife and children whom she likes very much. The Hindi version of ‘The Guide’ will go on the sets soon. However, both versions will be released in India simultaneously so that, to quote Dev’s words, ‘people may see the difference between the two versions and understand why they had to be different’
…also a few photographs:
Shashi Kapoor as a bonnie little baby:
An older Shashi with big brother Raj:
Last but not least, the beautiful Meena Kumar treating the Filmfare Awards audience to a song:
I’ll post more tidbits in the future!