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April 19, 2014 Saturday     

Balraj-Sahni - Bobby Talks Cinema.com

Reading articles in film magazines penned by renowned artists themselves and listening to their personal interviews sharing a unique vision of life, indeed used to be an enriching experience, equivalent of going through some rich literature, back in time before the 80s. The views expressed in those articles/interviews had many great insights to share which could also enlighten the reader about many relevant unknown truths of life not exactly related to cinema.
Admittedly I realized this fact while going through many old journals and other valuable stuff of that golden era for a personal assignments and was literally taken back seeing the amazing quality of thoughts shared by many industry veterans like some revolutionary thinkers caring about their society around. One of those most important and must read documents happens to be the convocation speech by writer-thinker-social activist Balraj Sahni, the most natural actor of Hindi Cinema, speaking on his visit to Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi in the year 1972. And I am sure many of the friends reading it, would feel pleasantly shocked knowing the vision of this immensely talented artist, who liked to say the truth as it is without any hidden fear and therefore is considered as one of most respected names of our Hindi Film Industry unanimously.
Now looking at the 11 page long document, many might try to avoid it taking it as irrelevant or talking about something which might not be interesting enough. But for those friends, I would simply like to add that the long speech is unarguably going to change your whole outlook towards the actors of that Golden Era and perhaps your whole perception about ART, CINEMA and SOCIETY too in all possibilities. So to miss this, would be a major sin if I may call it in my humble opinion and if you still don’t feel like convinced then do read this small paragraph taken from the long text and then decide on your own.

Our little film world either offers the actor too little work, forcing him to eat his heart out in idleness; or gives him too much --so much that he gets cut off from all other currents of life. Not only does he sacrifice the pleasures of normal family life, but he also has to ignore his intellectual and spiritual needs. In the last twenty-five years I have worked in more than one hundred and twenty five films. In the same period a contemporary European or American actor would have done thirty or thirty-five. From this you can imagine what a large part of my life lies buried in strips of celluloid. A vast number of books which I should have read I have not been able to read. So many events I should have taken part in have passed me by. Sometimes I feel terribly left behind. And the frustration increases when I ask myself how many of these one hundred and twenty-five films had anything significant in them? How many have any claim to be remembered? Perhaps a few. They could be counted on the fingers of one hand. And even they have either been forgotten already or will be, quite soon.”
For online reading, the speech is available at the following official link of JNU website.
And For friends who wish to have it as a PDF format, then the same can be downloaded to read at your own convenience from the following link.
Have a good time reading & contemplating!
Tags : Balraj Sahni's remarkably inspiring speech at Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1972!, Did You Know Know Facts about Hindi Cinema at bobbytalkscinema.com, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing, Unknown Bollywood Trivia by Bobby Sing, Balraj Sahni at JNU in 1972
08 April 2014 / bobbysing /
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Bobby - The Complete Story by K.A.AbbasFor friends who are well familiar with the works of legendary showman Raj Kapoor, the facts related to RK Banner going through an extremely tough time after the big debacle of MERA NAAM JOKER are quite well known. Plus the way Raj Kapoor bounced back like a Phoenix with his youthful BOBBY in 1973 is also a widely famous fact for every true lover of Hindi Cinema.
However, one interesting information which might not be known to many is that at the time of release of this youthful trendsetter, its reputed writer K.A. Abbas also introduced a new concept in the trade circles, of coming up with a English book based on his original script of the film like a romantic novel aptly titled “BOBBY – The Complete Story”. The step was no doubt ahead of its time (which was received well) and the publishing world later adapted the same as their regular feature too.
Now thankfully after almost four decades, the same book has been re-published by Harper Collins again in most probably the same format and size (pocket form) with the original preface by K.A. Abbas as it is (with many unknown trivia about the film like its initial idea coming from Archie comics & Neetu Singh also considered for the lead role), along with a new foreword by the editor Suresh Kohli. An engaging read just like the film (with some exclusive photographs in its mid), the novel makes you understand the process of how a story gets transformed into a script with some necessary changes made for the screen. And for all the young friends who somehow still haven’t watched BOBBY, this would be a lot more than a loving Mills & Boons romantic novel, written with a pure Indian heart. So do give it a try and have a good time with both Bobby and Raja.
BOBBY The Complete Story - By K.A. Abbas
Published by Harper Collins (2012) – Pages 154 (Paperback – Small Size)
Tags : BOBBY The Complete Story By K.A. Abbas, TTP (To the Point) Book Review By Bobby Sing, Did You Know Facts about Hindi Films, Vinatge books on Bollywood, Rare Books on Hindi Cinema, Bobby Script by K.A. Abbas, Nostalgic Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com
02 April 2014 / bobbysing /
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Disco Dancer Book Review

If a person deliberately wishes to write something funny with a sarcastic, forced-in humour about Hindi films from the past, then he can easily make fun of any randomly picked movie, particularly from the decade of 1980s, since that was the time when our industry was going through a major transforming phase wherein very few creators had the right vision to follow. But before picking any supposedly average or poor film made in that era to write a spoof on, a writer/journalist has to keep in mind the time period it was made in and more importantly the reason why it still went on to become a major hit in the year of its release such as DISCO DANCER (1982).
However, US-based author Anuvab Pal simply ignores this major fact and goes on to write his small book, projecting DISCO DANCER as a comedy film following his own set thinking patterns and questionable sarcasm. In order to prove his chosen point he translates all the (Hindi) dialogues of the film into English (forming the major part of the book) and tries to crack a sick joke in this weird manner wasting more than 100 pages. Further he quite over-confidently even goes out to interview the film’s director B. Subhash, music director Bappi Lahiri and the lead actor Mithun Chakraborty too, without telling them the truth that he is actually interviewing them in order to write a book which daringly calls their ‘hit DISCO DANCER’ a comedy. And in my opinion this was really something pathetic and disrespectful, especially for Bappi Lahiri who was mostly responsible for the huge success of the film having a splendidly composed soundtrack by the veteran. Moreover making a spirited move to establish his own vision about the subject, Anuvab continues making fun of a few known facts and again gives us a sarcastic title to his last chapter devoted to the famous trivia about the film calling it, “Random Unconfirmed Facts” in the end.
In short, the book is nothing to be read about if you really are a true Hindi movies freak, since here the writer himself seems to be pretty confused about the concept, as at one end he says, “Deep down I am a disco dancer” and on the other, he goes on to ridicule the film to the extent of insulting its reputed team members too interviewing them without revealing his real intentions.
Hence honestly as I see it, the attempt cannot even be included in the category of ‘Just for Good Fun’ because in this way any English Classic can also be easily converted into a long joke by translating its entire dialogues into Hindi resulting in many hilarious lines generating a good laughter. Moreover this also clearly shows that the writer in question, probably hasn’t lived those passionate years of film viewing in 70s-80s personally and has just heard or read about the euphoria around Hindi Films in those crazy decades of advance bookings and black marketing.
Anyway, for all the interested young readers here, though on quality terms one can easily find many flaws and illogical situations in DISCO DANCER, watching it from the viewpoint of this new millennium. But the film indeed came with a fresh, welcome phenomenon in the year 1982 and unarguably remains a cult entertainer of Indian Cinema till date mainly due to its hit music, all the trademark dance movements by Mithun Chakraborty performed quite innovatively and a unique kind of climax (never tried before or after) having 3 full length songs played back to back in its finale show. Plus as a known fact which might surprise many, it was also declared one of top grosser of 1982 scoring much more than many famous hits such as NAMAK HALAAL, KHUD-DAAR, NIKAAH, PREM ROG, ARTH, SANAM TERI KASAM, DESH PREMEE, SATTE PE SATTA and Richard Attenborough’s GANDHI.
Leave Disco Dancer Alone - Book ReviewBut more astonishingly DISCO DANCER remains one of the highest earners and among the five most famous films ever in Russia (Soviet Union) too, standing tall along gems such as AWARA, SEETA AUR GEETA & BOBBY. Besides there are several amazing anecdotes related with Mithun Chakraborty’s unbelievable craze in Soviet citizens as ‘The Dancer’ which even forced their press to invent a title for all Mithun fans as ‘Mithunists’. Interestingly the film did receive few poor reviews in the Russian press too like in India. But such was the backlash to those reviews in the public letters that it resulted in quite a heated debate in the film-magazines at that time in Russia. And later in 2008 when writer Sudha Rajagoplan came up with her book on ‘Indian Cinema and Soviet Movie-Going After Stalin’, then she decided to name it as “LEAVE DISCO DANCER ALONE” giving a clear indication of the film’s undisputed cult status in that other part of the world.
Summing up, in one way this book by Anuvab Pal teaches us a valuable lesson that any creative expression like films needs to be studied and written upon in context of its actual time of creation or release only, otherwise every new generation will keep on making fun of the previous one as always………..which is not the way to study the past or in this case our own CINEMA.
Disco Dancer: A Comedy In Five Acts – By Anuvab Pal
Published by Harper Collins (2011) – Pages 180 (Paperback – Small Size)
Leave Disco Dancer Alone! : Indian Cinema And Soviet Movie-Going After Stalin – By Sudha Rajagopalan
Published by Yoda Press (2008) – Pages 240 (Paperback)
Tags : Disco Dancer A Comedy In Five Acts By Anuvab Pal, Book Review By Bobby Sing, Did You Know Facts on Hind Films by Bobby Sing, Leave Disco Dancer Alone, Books On Hindi Cinema Reviews by Bobby Sing
31 March 2014 / bobbysing /
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Reviews in All (496)

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