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Showing posts from January, 2009

30 January 1948, Gandhi and the men who killed him

Mahatma Gandhi on way to his last prayer meeting

On Trial looking relaxed: (Front row, left to right) Nathuram Godse, Narayan Apte and Vishnu Karkare; (back row, extreme left Digambar Badge - the government approver)

The photographs can be found in The Men who Killed Gandhi by Manohar Malgonkar. Found these in a review of the book published by India Today dated Feb11, 2008.
"perhaps it was not an accident that Godse began his political career as a participant in a civil disobedience movement started by Gandhi and ended his political life with a speech from the witness stand which, in spite of being an attack on Gandhi, none the less revealed a grudging respect for what Gandhi had done for the country"-  Ashis Nandy

Long ago, I had posted an extract from an essay by Ashis Nandy titled The Politics of the Assassination of Gandhi thatappears in his book At the Edge of Psychology: Essays in Politics And Culture. The extract traced the early life of Gandhi's assassin, Na…

13 Funniest Print Ads

Found these classic ads in a piece titled Humour in Advertising, Gentleman magazine, June 2000

Papa's Cafe
The manager has personally passed all the water served here.
Improve Your English. We have over twenty part-time and full-time courses to help you read write and speech (sorry, speak) correct English.

The British Council
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Singapore

New York 
Hey, you never know

Agency: DDB Needham

It's our contribution to road safety, may we point out that drinkers of our beer will never drink and drive, because after three nobody ever remembers where they parked the car.

Ad created by Neil French for XO Beer (cerveza)

Classic Ad for Alka Seltzer

Claudine went to the Ladies to power her nose.

In Paris, you drop the 'd'

Ad for Pernod Fils

The pregnant pause.Make sure you're not the father
 The Economist

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers

We have chosen not to disturb your Sunday morning with a "Surprisingly ordinary prices' advertisement
Volkswagen Ad

Manthan(1976), mero gaam folk song, Amul

video link
Mero gaam katha parey

Gujarati folk based original music by Vanraj Bhatia for Shyam Benegal's Manthan (1976).

In 1977, this film, produced by 500,000 farmers of Gujarat, won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and National Film Award for Best Screenplay for Vijay Tendulkar.

Preeti Sagar, the voice of this song, won Filmfare award for best female singer that year.
A more mainstream version of the song was later used as the soundtrack for the television commercial for Amul. [video].


You can also check out Vanraj Bhatia's Soundtrack for Tamas here


Manthan is now available for free viewing thanks to
They have also uploaded some episodes of Siddharth Kak produced popular show Surabhi
Amul never fails to surprise: Amul Girl hit ads, spanning 1976 - till date, were already availabe online, and now they have also uploaded some old ads of Amul.


Also, you can watch video of two utterly butterly old television ads of Amul here and h…

Kamal Swaroop, Dadasaheb Phalke, film

" Kamal mean panditji?"
The reply I got from my elder cousin when I asked him if he had seen the film Om Dar Badar by Kamal Swaroop.

A comment on my previous post about Om Dar Badar led me to an interesting website about the documentary being made by Kamal Swaroop on Dadasaheb Phalke, father of the Indian film industry.

"I was born in Kashmir in 1952.My father was an educationist. I was brought up in Ajmer Pushker."

Kamal Swaroop's story board on Phalke starts with these lines that trace his own origin.

So my cousin did remember.


Here's an excellent video (thanks to cdsjaik) on how the film on Dadasaheb Phalke is coming together. This one traces Dadasaheb Phalke's days in Nasik, his birth place . The episode narrated here, interposed with some archival footage, involves Phalke's daughter Mandakini, who also acted in his films:

video link

Why do Newspapers have ads for escort and massage services?

Late at night: a television channel about History has slot for eyesight restoring magnetic goggles, a News channel has slot for magical pendents pitched by men in fake holy beard, a channel Religion has slot for definitive hair restorer oil showcased by some small time actress.

Why waste the space?

''General Motors and AT&T are major distributors of pornography,'' - Racy Magazine Ads Expose Inconsistency In Publishers' Stance, The New York Times, March 12, 2001 


"craigslist donates 100% of net revenue from "erotic services" ads to charity, while newspapers and yellow pages make a profitable business out of them." - FAQ for

These surrogate advertisements are common on certain days on certain specific pages of some newspapers and magazines.- Trafficking in Women and Children in India
By P. M. Nair, Sankar Sen, Institute of Social Sciences

read some views at DNA , December 3, 2007


That image is from Hindustan Tim…

More Machines, Industries and other Oddities

Some more ads from year 1972

The world's latest can making technology now comes to India You can enjoy all its benifits

Ad announcing collaboration between American Can Company and Indian Can maker Poysha.

BRALCO Metal Industries
Since 1919

                                            Mahale Piston Goetze Piston Rings Suko Piston Pins

 Eveready Nulite Torch
 Union Carbide

According to Wiki page about Eveready Industries:

By the time of the Bhopal Disaster in 1984, the company was ranked twenty-first in size among companies operating in India. It had revenues of Rs 2 billion (then equivalent to US$170 million).
Previous post on: Machines, Industries and other Oddities

Soundtracks from tele-film 'Tamas' (1987)

[contd. from post on Om Puri and Tamas]

The tracks composed by Vanraj Bhatia for Govind Nihalani's tele-film Tamas(1987) won him National Film Award for Best Music Direction in 1988.

Here are the haunting Title track ('Ho rabba') and instrumental End tracks from Tamas (set to a video put together by me using some select scenes from the film)

video link
Another track that was used in the film: Purza Purza kat marey

video link
gagan dhamaamaa baajiou pariou neesaanai ghaao
The battle-drum beats in the sky of the mind; aim is taken, and the wound is inflicted.
khaeth j maanddiou sooramaa ab joojhan ko dhaao
The warriors enter the field of battle; now is the time to fight! [for translation of more lines from this song, visit chowk]

This religious song from sikhism is usually sung at Prabhat Pheris or morning processions, and is also a war song.

The song is used twice in the film, the second time with a chilling effect:

video link -0-

When Reader's Digest introduced you to women

We'll introduce you to more women than anyone else in India
The Reader's Digest
March, 1972

So who's interested, raise your hand.

But there's a better chance that the guy with the raised hand is pitching that offer to the bald portly old guy.

Chandni Chowk's Paranthewali Gali

In 1960s, the famous lane of parantha makers in Old Delhi's Chandni Chowk had around 20 shops selling vegetarian-doused-in-pure ghee paranthas. Now only 3 of these shops remain.

The real name of the place is Chota Dariba or Dariba Kalan ( from Persian word Dur-e-be-baha - Pearl without compare, and hence the name - 'The street of the incomparable pearl').

William Dalrymple in his fine book The Last Mughal writes that this place meant Jewellers, money lender baniyas and a market famous for cloth merchants and silverware ( 'meena' hence the name 'Silver Street'). After the Great Mutiny of 1857, Dariba Kalan bore the brunt of British voilence, they demolished many of Chandni Chowk's 17th century mansions to make place for a parade ground.

But, only a couple of decades later, the first of the parantha shops opened at Dariba Kalan. These shops were set up by the new immigrants who came from neighbouring Northern Province (U.P.). The popularity of these para…

Dress Midi, 1970s

John Burr Fairchild owner of powerful fashion trade journal Women's Wear Daily declared 1970 to be the year of the Midi. June Weir, the first woman Vice President at Fairchild Publications, was running this Midi campaign. The back ground story goes like this: Fairchild first got the midi notion in 1966 when he saw Zhivago-inspired coats in Paris. By the following spring, the look was beginning to show up in ready-to-wear collections, and June Weir coined the word midi to describe it. [Time Magazine, Out on a Limb with the Midi, Monday, September 14, 1970]

They all tried to convince women that Midi was going to be the dress of the year.

And yet, Midi dress found few takers. American women rejected this calf-length dress, instead they were happy in their 60s style mini skirts.

And yet, by late 1970s, Midi made it to the Indian shore.

A comic scene from the film Pati Patni Aur Woh (1978) in which we were introduced to the "Midi".

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Indian Radio Jingles from 1970s

Listen in on two radio jingles found in the film "Pati Patni Aur Woh"(1978).

First one, in English, is for Bombay Dyeing:
Youuuu the beautiful woman in your husband's life
You You You
the beautiful woman in your husband's life
Show your husband all the woman you are in 100% polyester and polyester georgette Sarees by Bombay Dyeing

and the second one (in Hindi and in the voice of Ameen Sayani) is for Halls Vapour Action:
Galay may ho kharaash
ya ho bandh naak
Halls Vapour Action
Arram dilaye phoran
Galay ki kharaash mitaye
Band naak phoran khul jaye
Halls Mentho-Lyptus Vapor action

video link
Notice the keyhole effect in the video. I guess they wanted the audience to realize that the sound is coming from the Radio and that it's not the sound of ads jingles played in the middle of the film by the theater owner.


Related post: three jingles from a 1970 film

You may also like to check out the opening sequence of  the film "Kasme Vaade" (1978…

Bhu'pho, Buffon

A scene from Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Bawarchi (1972), in which we get to see buffon hair.

video link Cast:  Kali Banerjee  Manisha (left, tip-off: Vikas Zutshi) and AK Hangal

Chidiya ka Ghosla
Buffon hairstyle - a giant bun nestled on the head, started somewhere in the '60s, thrived, wriggled to reach late '80s, survived a few years of '90s and then vanished.

Adam and Eve animated in a Hindi film (1978)

Alif naked Adam and Eve running in slo-mo to a hindi song with alif naked little fairies buzzing all around them.

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The story of Adam aur Hauwa told in the animated title sequence of Hindi film "Pati Patni aur Woh", released 1978. This B.R Chopra film, scripted by acclaimed Hindi writer Kamleshwar, was a comedy themed on the idea of "seven year itch". According to this film's title sequence, the forbidden apple means the other woman. Wonder how this sequence passed India's film censor board. 1978 may provide the answer. End of Emergency brought in a new sense of freedom.

Applause Meter, Hindi bol (1965)

Ameen Sayani, in his typical "Bhaiyo aur Behno" style introduces the song "O Mere Pyar Aaja" by Lata Mangeshkar from and in the film Bhoot Bungla (1965).

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Probably the first onscreen invocation of the still popular line "Hindi may bol!". We hear it all the time when someone wants you to speak in plain hindi.
In this clip we also get to see a thing called Applause Meter. Apparently these "taalimeters" were quite popular in those days.

This one was by Avery. I think it was made by these folks.

previous related post: Ramu Maali of Bhoot Bungla

A King in New York meets the communist boy

"One of the minor annoyances of modern life is a revolution." - opening lines of Charles Chaplin's film A King in New York (1957)

Exiled from United States in 1952 after being changed with being a member of the Communist Party, Charles Chaplin produced A King in New York in England.

The film was a critique on the American culture of 1950s and a scathing satire aimed at anti-communist hysteria that swept across America of that decade.
My love for humanity is a fundamental deep-seated instinct, but my love for the crowd depends on my mood. At times they are inspiring, at other times frightening, for I instinctively sense that they are capable of either loving or lynching
- Charles Chaplin,  1933 This film was not released in U.S. until 1975.

Chaplin as his last appearance in a leading role played King Igor Shahdov, the Monarch of a European country named Estrovia. After a dubious revolution in his country, Shahdov, along with his prime minister, is forced to flee to Amer…

galli galli mein shor hai

from Candid Camera section of 33rd Anniversary Issue of India Today magazine dated 29th December 2008 - a time when war clouds had gathered thanks to 26/11 Mumbai Attacks [wiki]

Left page had a picture (by Bhawan Singh) V.P Singh riding an Enfield Bullet motorcycle from village to village amid slogans that rang a question, a question about money and brokers: V.P. Singh ka ek sawal, paisa khaya kaun dalal, the year was 1988 and the era was that of Bofors scandal that spelled doom for Rajiv Gandhi government of the time.

Right page had a full page Ad for BAE Systems, the company now associated with 155 Howitzers by Bofors


The killers of Rajiv Gandhi had earlier done a helpful trial dry run on VP Singh.


Another famous slogan from that time: 'Galli galli mein shor hai, Rajiv Gandhi chor hai'.  I don't remember this slogan. What I do remember this this: One fine bandh day, a day between 2 December 1989 and 10 November 1990 - the tenure of VP Singh's prime ministeria…

Lhasa Tibetan Refugee Market

Winter means:

Lhasa Tibetan Refugee Market

Long Live Indo-Tibet Friendship

Free Tibet

Thanks Visit Again

And the other side reads:

Goods once sold will not be taken backExchange within 2 days from sales date
         (Conditions Apply)
         A. Goods should be as good as it is on sales date
         B. Availability of goods

Nude Models Wanted, 1993

Copy: Alok Nanda
Art: Vikas Gaitonde
Agency: Trikaya Grey

No better way to describe baby models. Probably one of the funniest and smartest Indian print advertisement ever. In the year 1993, this simple 30cm ad, published on some inside page of Newspapers, caught the attention of almost everyone and drew smiles.

You can check out another Trikaya Grey classic ad here

Ghayab Aya! Ghayab Aya!

Ghayab Aya was India's first completely "Made in India" serialized animation film. The film, serialized in 10-part, was first shown on the National television network Doordarshan on June 17, 1990. The story revolved around the adventures of Ghayab the friendly always do- gooder 'Casper type' naughty ghost.

Ghayab Aya was directed and animated by Suddhasattwa Basu, who first started his career in 1981 as a designer and an illustrator for the famous TARGET magazine for children.

Episode 8 of Ghayab Aya has been uploaded to Youtube by its maker Suddhasattwa Basu. A big thanks for bringing it all back! Do visit his page and say your thanks. And here is the video:

video link Link to part 2

The much loved peppy title song still rings in my ears sounding like GaYa Baya GaYa Baya. Ghayab somehow, for no reason, reminds me of those sweet pink bubble gums that always came molten stuck to their paper wrappers. When I watched this video, I realized that the face of the bumbli…