Tag Archives: Shashi Kapoor

Getting nostalgic with Shashi Kapoor memories!

Shashi Kapoor was certainly one of most watchable Bollywood actors of his times- pure grace and handsome to the core. Personally I had one great memory of this star, one of the lifetime, which I never had with anybody else. It was of watching him on the sets of a film. His passing away yesterday took me back to that incident four decades back.

It was summer of 1977 and I was in Kashmir with the family, my first trip to the paradise. I was quite young that time. Forty years have passed since than but I still remember it very well. We stayed in Srinagar, courtesy my uncle who was the commanding officer of the Army unit at that time. We had gone to Sonmarg, Khilanmarg and Pahalgam. Those were peaceful times in the valley. And it was during one of these excursions that we had a chance encounter with shooting of the Hindi feature film ‘Atithee’ (अतिथि). Film’s script or storyline had nothing to do with Kashmir, but as it was a trend during those days to shoot at exotic locations, hence Kashmir used to get fair chance of few shots in every other film. So, there was this scene being shot in the film.

Scene of Atithee film whose shooting I witnessed

Scene was between Shashi Kapoor and Shabana Azmi, the lead pair of the film. Being guest of the Commanding Officer of the Srinagar, we got the chance to watch the shoot closely. Actually this particular incident was so itched in my memory that I always remembered that particular dialogue which was being filmed- Shabana’s character says to the Shashi Kapoor’s character, “जब से मैंने फ्रॉक छोड़कर साड़ी पहनना शुरू किया है, तब से हर आदमी मुझसे अकेले में ही मिलना चाहता है” (..ever since I have stopped wearing a frock and started wearing sarees, every man wants to meet me in alone). It was all retakes and retakes for those couple of dialogues between these two. There were so many retakes that I forgot the count even. However fantastic a dialogue might seem on the screen, watching so many retakes on a shoot is rather irritating. But than, a director needs a perfect shot. It was a chance close encounter, first one with a star of his calibre… encounters that we cared least about when I entered into mainstream journalism, more than a decade later after that event.

As Siddhartha with Simi Garewal in this 1972 film

Film ‘Atithee’ released in July 1978 in theatres, but I got to see it more than a decade later when it was telecasted on Doordarshan. I was so anxious to watch that particular scene on the screen and was really quite happy after that. Film wasn’t that big commercial hit as was his other films around the same time. Actually 1978 was one of the most extraordinary year of Shashi Kapoor’s career because his as many as 12 films were released that year, most in a calendar year in his entire career including much acclaimed Satyam Shivam Sundaram and Trishul.

As poet Nur Shahjehanabadi in Muhafiz

Shashi Kapoor was so different in that movie (Atithee) than his usual self- in somewhat pencil moustache and a different hairstyle. That’s what I always loved about Shashi Kapoor, although being a romantic, handsome mainstream hero, he dared to be different.

As editor Vikas Pande in New Delhi Times

He crossed boundaries like none of his contemporary greats tried to do. For all his superhit films, Shashi Kapoor’s bigger contribution is perhaps the way he gave life to Prithvi Theatre; the way he produced films like 36 Chowringhee Lane, Junoon and Utsav, and certainly the way he chose to act in films like Muhafiz, New Delhi Times, Siddhartha and the Shakespeare Wallah. He was also one of the earliest mainstream top stars to act in a TV mini series- Kissa Kathmandu Ka in 1986, where he played the character of popular Bengali fictional detective Feluda.

As Samsthanak in Utsav

He was undoubtedly one of the first international stars of Hindi cinema… and indeed my first introduction to the world of cinema, as I don’t remember even seeing any film before that incident. Surprising!!!

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Puja songs from Bengal gave Bollywood many superhit numbers!

Its that time of the year again, considered to be one of the most auspicious one as per hindu beliefs. Durga Puja is indeed the most important event of the year for the Bengalis. Mahalaya was celebrated on 30th September and it is Panchami today, when the six day Durga Puja celebrations actually start in Bengal.

Since it has been traditionally most important time of the year for the Bengalis, it is also the time when just before the Pujas musicians and artistes will release their albums. Such has been the lure of getting hit during the Puja that many singers will even perform during the Puja celebrations with their new releases. The songs released at the time of the Puja were often termed as Modern Bengali songs. Actually this tradition has been there for quite a long, with every leading Bengali music composer following the trend. This tradition was used with such a great effectiveness that Puja albums actually gave some of the biggest hits to Bengali music industry. Many of these were songs, which were released only as Puja albums and not used in any Bengali films. But then among these many of the hits from the Puja albums were then re-crafted and redrafted into the Bollywood into Hindi songs for films. This was also easier because at most of the times in last five decades of the past century, the Bollywood music scene was also dominated by the Bengali composers and singers. As a result, many of these hindi remakes of the Bengali songs actually became super-duper hits in Bollywood as well. We call them remake because the music used to be the exactly same.

The legendary duo of Kishore Kumar and Rahul Dev Burman (Pancham Da) used this to perfection for the joy of both the music scenes- Bangla and Hindi. Many hindi listeners will not be knowing that some of the famous Hindi songs were actually copied from Bengali. Lets listen to few of them in this post.

The first one is a marvellous Bengali song “Aakash Keno Daake…” by Kishore Kumar, which was written by Gouriprasanna Majumdar and composed by Rahul Dev Burman. The song was recorded as Puja album by Pancham Da and Kishore. But once the song was hit, it was adopted in famous Hindi film Kati Patang released in 1970 as “Yeh Shaam Mastani...” filmed on Rajesh Khanna and Asha Parekh. This song was also sung by Kishore and composed by Pancham Da. You can yourself listen to the both songs-first one is the original Bengali from the Puja album and second one is from the Bollywood film.

The second song is “Ek Din Paakhi Ure Jaabe…” The Bengali song by Kishore Kumar was written by Mukul Dutta and composed by Rahul Dev Burman. The song was also recorded as Puja album by Pancham Da and Kishore. But once the song was hit, it was adopted in famous Hindi film Pyar Ka Mausam released in 1969 as “Tum Bin Jaoon Kehan…” filmed on Shashi Kapoor and Asha Parekh. But in the film this song was sung by great Mohammad Rafi and composed by Pancham Da himself. Enjoy the two songs- first one in Bengali and second one in Hindi.

The third one, this marvellous Bengali song “E Jhumri Re Cholechi Eka...” by Kishore Kumar was also written by Mukul Dutta and composed by Rahul Dev Burman. The song was recorded as Puja album by Pancham Da and Kishore. But once the song was hit, it was adopted in famous Hindi film Mere Jeevan Sathi released in 1972 as “Chala Jata Hoon...” filmed on Rajesh Khanna and Tanuja. In the film too this song was sung by Kishore Kumar and composed by Pancham Da himself. Enjoy the comparison- first one in Bangla and second one in Hindi.

Indeed Pancham-Kishore duo used this to perfection but there were many composers before and after them, doing this same thing. Listen to this fourth song. This famous bengali song “Amay Proshno Kore…” by none other than Hemant Kumar (hemant Da) was also originally recored as a modern bengali song (Puja Song). This song was later adopted in famous Hindi film “Anand” (1971) starring Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan. Music for both the versions- Bengali as well as Hindi was composed by Salil Chowdhury. This song written in Hindi by Yogesh and voiced by Mukesh ” Kahin Door Jab Din dhal jaaye…” is considered to one of his gems. Listen to both the versions here-

But adoption from Bengali to Hindi was not limited to Puja songs only. Few hits from Bangla films were also lifted in Hindi films and they in turn went to become super hits in Hindi as well. Like this fifth song. This famous song “E Ki Holo, keno holo…” from a Bengali movie Rajkumari released in 1970, starring Uttam Kumar and Tanuja. This song was sung by legendary Kishore Kumar and composed by great R D Burman. This song was also written by Gauri Prasanna Majumdar. This song was such a hit that it was used in Hindi film Amar Prem released in 1971 casting Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore. This song with hindi wordings – ‘Yeh Kya Hua…’ but identical music was brought to life by the same great singer-composer duo of Kishore & Pancham Da. Lyrics for hindi version were written by Anand Bakshi. Rest is history, this song filmed on Rajesh Khanna went on to become one of the biggest hits, may be bacuase of Rajesh Khanna’s mannerisms. Listen to both of them, you will enjoy a lot.

Interestingly, as soon as such songs will appear, there would be a raging debate that which version was better and Bangla & Hindi loyalists will fight out. But the true music lovers will enjoy the both.

There is lot more and we shall keep the discussion going on, with some more songs next time from other top singers and composers. Till than, happy Durga Puja.

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