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Showing posts from August, 2009

Met the Walrus and he spoke. Neat.

In 1969,  14-year-old Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape recorder, snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto for a chat. And convinced him to do an interview.
In 2007, we got 'I Met The Walrus', an animated short film by Josh Raskin and illustrator James Braithwaite, that used the interview to tell a story in brilliant visuals.


video link

Official Website: I met the Walrus

Baby Guddu in Colgate Ad

'Iconic' Colgate Ad from 1980s featuring child actor Baby Guddu
Baby Guddu, one of the most popular child actor of Hindi films made in later half of 1980s, Samundar (1986) being one of her most famous film.

Helen, Hazel Eyed-Chic-Sleek

Images:
Helen in 'Cha Cha Cha' (1964), song "Meethi Meethi Madhur Madhur".[Youtube link] At the end, she actually slaps the guy singing the Bhajan.Helen in 'Mayurpankh' (1954), song "Mohabbat Ki Dastan". She was about 15 at the time. One of her first credited appearances. [Youtube link]
"Hazel Eyed-Chic-Sleek-gorgeously glamorous twinkled Toed Charmer of the Silver Screen"
-  a part of 'publicity' caption for Helen from Ismail Merchant's 'Helen: Queen of the Nautch Girls' (1973) [Youtube link]

Jinnah-Gandhi, Birathers in Arm. Hysteria of Blather.

-Jaswant 'eyebrow' Singh, in his baritone voice:
Mera jaanam mera saajan mera saajan mera baalam
Mera baalam mera majnu mera majnu mera raanjha.
Jinnaaaaah
Tu mera jaanu hai, tu mera dilbar hai
Meri taareeqi kitaab ka tu hero hai
-His 'Hey Bhagwan! they are in fact KKK in saffron bedsheets' friends, keeping up with the tempo (they knew the song) and the lingo (they won't say it but they hate it) :

Par Bharti taareeq ke panno par
uski taqdeer toh zero hai, hoOhoooo
He would have been fine, even though he is no singing canary, still he would have been fine, but then he followed that song with an unusual little number with lines unkind even to 'Sangh Friendly' Sardar 'Iron' Patel.
They together took the whole Indian nation
Locked us on this reservation
Though I wear a shirt and tie
I'm still part redman deep inside

Indian people, Indian tribe
So proud to live, so proud to die

But maybe someday when they learn
Indian nation will return, will return, will…

PTI pretend Ad Sense

August 27, 2009
Noticed the strangest thing at the website of India's largest News agency: Press trust of India, instead of using actual ads they are using static image captures of Google Ad. Google can't be too happy about it.


But why have those images at all?
A couple of months ago, a website developer, an acquaintance of mine, shared (inadvertently, I must say) a secret about a curious belief prevalent among some Indian website developers - Ads lend credibility to the website. So a lot of small time website owners, who can't get Adsense right away, just put up 'pretend' ads (images, even flash files) to make a website 'look good'. But why is PTI doing it? Fails me. Funny never the less!

Are you not weary of ardent ways? Women’s Song.

Are you not weary of ardent ways,
lure of the fallen seraphim?
Tell no more of enchanted days.

Your eyes have set man's heart ablaze
And you have had your will of him.
Are you not weary of ardent ways?

Above the flame the smoke of praise
Goes up from ocean rim to rim.
Tell no more of enchanted days.

Our broken cries and mournful lays
Rise in one eucharistic hymn.
Are you not weary of ardent ways?

While sacrificing hands upraise
The chalice flowing to the brim,
Tell no more of enchanted days.

And still you hold our longing gaze
With languorous look and lavish limb!
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
Tell no more of enchanted days. - A villanelle, a pastoral poem by James Joyce that can be found in his semi-autobiographical novel Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, first published in book form in 1916. 

(Image: Something I did to a publicity still featuring Rekha.)
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(Image: An illustration by Pierre Sonnerat (1748-1814), a French naturalist and explorer. It is actually captioned…

Garage Rock in 70s to Simla Beat

Jee Haan Bhaiyo aur Behno. Beat, man, beat ...

The young at heart and the alive are in India, too. But they are drifting...in their own, wild ways.In sporadic burst of enthusiasm all over the country...till 1968 when the oldest cigarette company with a young heart came along. India Tobacco Company Limited with their annual 'All-India Simla Beat Contest.'-  'Does that make sense'words printed on the album sleeve of 'Simla Beat 70', an album that promised  a song each by The Confusions from Madras and The Dinosaurs from Bangalore.
For two years, 1970 and 1971, a cigarette company in India sponsored some kind of battle-of-the-bands competition, with the winners going to Calcutta to record for compilations called Simla Beat. Each year an lp was released with no info about the bands other than their hometown.Discovered Simla Beat at Garagehangover.com . Do check it out to read the story of this first of its kind Indian Rock contest and to listen the awesome sounds (e…

Thug-Feringhea and Kali-Fatima

And I thought I would never see them all covered. But here she is all dressed up and ready to kill.

The Goddess Kāli -  found it in 'The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India' by R.V. Russell,  Vol. IV. 1916. [ at Project Gutenberg]. The accompanying passage dealing with infamous 'Thugs of India and Kali Worship' and offered an interesting 'India: A Religious Assimilation Story':
Kāli or Bhawāni was the principal deity of the Thugs, as of most of the criminal and lower castes; and those who were Muhammadans got over the difficulty of her being a Hindu goddess by pretending that Fātima, the daughter of the Prophet, was an incarnation of her. In former times they held that the goddess was accustomed to relieve them of the trouble of destroying the dead bodies by devouring them herself; but in order that they might not see her doing this she had strictly enjoined on them never to look back on leaving the site of a murder. On one occasion a novice of the…

Chairs and Legs of Perception

I was back where I had been when I was looking at the flowers-back in a world where everything shone with the Inner Light, and was infinite in its significance. The legs, for example, of that chair -- how miraculous their tubularity, how supernatural their polished smoothness! I spent several minutes -- or was it several centuries? -- not merely gazing at those bamboo legs, but actually being them -- -or rather being myself in them; or, to be still more accurate (for "I" was not involved in the case, nor in a certain sense were "they") being my Not-self in the Not-self which was the chair.- Aldous Huxley thought this up after ingesting psychedelic Mescaline and these words found their way to his 'The Doors of Perception' (1954) whose title comes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: 

"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thr…

Google gave me $100 Adword Coupon. Here's what I did...

Today morning, I found following surprising little message in my Google Webmaster message box:



What did I do to deserve a free coupon?
I don't know. Maybe they realized how seriously I took their product surveys. So a freebie. Interestingly, I also got my first $100 Adsense check, a check two years in the making, at the start of this month. So maybe the algo thought I was ready for the next level.

In any case, "$100 in free advertising" seemed too good to be true, I did have a 'nothing is completely free' feeling but then I now had a good reason to play around with Adword. I read in the message that there is a one time activation fee (depending on country, but usually around $ 5-10) for using the Adword services. But then the message seemed to imply that the fee is covered by the coupon money.

So I followed the instruction. Set up an Adword account. Filled in Billing details. Prepay. Entered the coupon no. Save and Done.
This was the easy bit. Next comes setting …

Tajik Jimmy, back in the U.S.S.R. they loved India

"Goro Ki Na Kalo Ki Duniya Hain Dilwalo Ki"
Not Whites, Not Blacks, the World belongs to those with a mighty heart.
video link
You just witnessed a performance by Baimurat Allaberiyev, a 37-year old Tajik worker, an ex-Soviet Army man and a singing sensation in Russia, who hauls cardboard boxes in a Moscow shopping store and sometimes works at construction sites.

His performances first surfaced on Youtube in 2008 ( 4 June 2008, to be exact), most of these had him performing Bappi Lahiri's (now re-discovered) hit number “Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja” from “Disco Dancer” (1983), but always the version which starts with song "Goro Ki Na Kalo Ki". The video, probably, first captured by someone who found his entertaining and amusing, became a Youtube hit in Russia and adjoining region. Soon, people began to seek him to make more videos. He didn't seem to mind.

More videos followed. Baimurat "Tajik Jimmy" Allaberiyev, became a viral phenomena.

In April 2009, …

'sawan ki aayee bahaar re': Rain Song from Junoon (1978)

Most beautiful part from Shyam Benegal's Junoon (1978) - a film set around revolt of 1857, had women singing. Junoon is a violent film, other memorable scene from the film has Naseeruddin Shah killing pigeons because he is angry. Women sitting in a mango garden, woman enjoying a simple swing, woman singing about rain and love - That is the only thing spelling peace in this film about violence, which it says, has origin in human Junoon, obsession, of one kind or another. In simple words, the film is about obsessed men planning revolutions, conquests and heartbreaks, while women get by and adjust.

Here's the scene:


video link Composed by Vanraj Bhatia
"sawan ki aayee bahaar re'" Asha Bhosle, Varsha Bhosle
"Come live with me and be my love" sung by Jennifer Kendal

The Hindustan Times dated August 15, 1947

This is what the front page of The Hindustan Times (Delhi Edition) looked like on August 15, 1947. [Click the image to enlarge]

Things to not note:

Newspaper banner has the by line, 'largest Circulation in Northern, North-Western and Central India'

Head line, simple,  'India Independent: British Rule Ends'

Only three ads and two of them carry public message.

Ad on top left corner, 'Help the Refugees Ahuja Swadeshi Stores Chandni Chowk, Delhi.'

Ad on top right corner carries an ad for Quality Publicity Service Office Opp. British Motor Car Co. Connaught Place, New Delhi. Designers and Printers.

Somewhere on the page you will find a line, 'It was the greatest hour for Delhi.'


Cover Photograph: India's Big Three - Earl Mountbatten(new of his Earldom at the bottom), Governor-General of India, Pandit Nehru, Prime Minister, and Dr. Rajendra Prasad, president of the Constituent Assembly. 

Bottom left carries a homage to the Father of the Nation - Mahatma…

His name Gulshan Bawra

Gulshan Bawra lyricist of 'phrase' songs like 'Yaari hai imaan mera, yaar meri zindagi' (film: Zanjeer, 1973) and 'Mere desh ki dharti sona ugle, ugle heere moti, mere desh ki dharti' (film: Upkar, 1967), on 7th August 2009, passed away at the age of 72. I called them 'phrase' songs because you can actually take snippets from these popular songs and pass them off as a heavy phrase. Come 15th August and we will again hear his Mere desh ki dharti played on TV and smelly big fish will be quoting the snippets. 
Anyway, here's more about the artist -
Born in present Pakistan, the lyricist moved to India after partition. Bawra's original name was Gulshan Kumar Mehta. There is an interesting story behind his famous name.

It was during the making of Satta Bazar that the film’s distributor Shantibhai Patel christened him ‘Bawra’. He was very impressed by his lyrics but could not reconcile their excellence to the typical young man in his twenties who wore…

Blog-bazi aur Bayan-bazi

Krish Raghav of Mint got in touch with me through email. He said they are doing a feature on the 'Blog in India', critically examine the blogosphere and blogging in India, as its been exactly 10 years since the founding of the popular blogging tools of today (Blogger, Livejournal).

So, he sent me a couple of interesting questions and I tried to be coherent in my answers. It was tough to be coherent , I was facing an erratic Internet connection at the time and and an eternal Power outage, I was high on lead fumes of a buzzing inverter.[ Five minute break. Believe me, Power Outage again.] I think it may have lead me to go into Dilip Kumar of Mashaal (1984) mode, it's that 'never understood in its time' Yashraaj film in which Dilip Kumar delivered the famous heart wrenching line, 'Eh Bhai, Koi Gaadi Roko Bhai, Koi Gaadi Roko Bhai, Gaadi Roko Bhai.'

Here's the Q/A session (I have cleaned up my Answers a bit, grammar and speeling and all, but then the text …

Amita Malik and Lost Archives

Amita Malik “the first lady of Indian media" was born in Guwahati to Bengali family in 1921, she joined the All India Radio as a casual staff in Lucknow in 1944 and moved to Delhi as a permanent employee in 1946.

She passed away on 22 February, 2009 at the age of 87. It was passing of an era.


For six decades, at one time or another she wrote about Cinema for The Statesman, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, Indian Express and more recently, Pioneer and Tribune.
And for television: 

She worked with stalwarts like Melville de Mellow and A.S. Bokhari and interviewed people such as Satyajit Ray, Marlon Brando, Trevor Howard, John Masters, David Niven and Alfred Hitchcock. Malik’s work in both AIR and Doordarshan comprise important chapters in the history of Indian broadcasting. Sadly, many of these are now missing. Typically, Doordarshan managed to erase the recording of Amita’s joint interview with Satyajit Ray and Marlon Brando and her interview with the ‘father of the docum…

At the Edge of Psychology by Ashis Nandy, Cover

I have already added this cover of 1990 Oxford University Press edition of Ashis Nandy's 'At the Edge of Psychology: Essays in Politics and Culture' to Librarything and posted some extracts from this rare by important book by Ashis Nandy [Nathuram,Sati,Gandhi].

The book first published in 1980 (in the 1990 edition, author acknowledge that some of  ideas may be redundant. But it's for the keen reader to identify those rusty bit ) can be found in Ashis Nandy's 'Exiled At Home' that also includes his works: 'The Intimate Enemy' and 'Creating a Nationality'.

I first read the book a couple of years ago, stole it from a cousin and never gave it back. I had never read something like this till then. I quite liked it.

But the real reason for this post is that I just wanted to share the beautiful cover of this book. It's is by Meera Dyal Deshaprabhu.



A quick search found me another wonderful cover art by the artist:

'Science, hegemony and viol…

Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Cartoon, 1945

"Weapons are like money; no one knows the meaning of enough."- Introduction: Thinkability, Einstein's Monsters by Martin Amis

Cartoon by famous Indian cartoonist of the time - Shankar, published in Hindustan Times dated September 11, 1945. [Found in a special issue of HT dated July 11, 2009 with the caption: This cartoon portrays the devastation caused by the bomb and America's bewilderment at Japanese reaction. They perhaps expected the Japanese to be grateful for freeing them of one of the Axis powers.]
The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks near the end of World War II against the Empire of Japan by the United States at the executive order of U.S. President Harry S. Truman on August 6 and August 9, 1945, respectively.More about at Wikipedia

...heaven look like Zeenat Aman

Will Muhammad look like Amitabh
or will heaven look like Zeenat Aman?
- Last lines from the poem 'Will Heaven look like Zeenat Aman?' by Bushra Rehman. [You can read it at her website]

Image: Something I did to a publicity still from the film 'Pukar' (1983) starring Amitabh Bachchan and Zeenat Aman. It's that sea bather's song from the film.

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And yes, some Zeenat Aman (and other philum) paintings by Chitra Ganesh.