Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

Waheeda Rehman, face

from a dead Geocities site

from a previous post about Bees Saal Baad (1962)

Sanjuro, Blood Bath

Getting stabbed by Sanjuro Tsubaki (Toshiro Mifune) in iconic scene from Akira Kurosawa's 1962 film 'Sanjuro'.
Previously: Toshiro Mifune, Rashomon, Animals

cover, Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965)

'Romance of Kashmir' painted on the cover of a vinyl for Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965)

Salvaged from a now dead Geocities site.

Indira Jaap in Mazdoor Zindabaad (1976)

After the death of their poor mazdoor parents, young Bhola and Munni find themselves homeless, hungry and on the street. But then a kindly roadside gola (ice-candy) seller Kamla (Parveen Babi ) takes them in.

A staple bollywood affair.

But then, Mazdoor Zindabaad is a film from year 1976, the middle year of Emergency, and there is not one moment  in this magnus opus of sycophancy that lets the audience forget the great leader, her twenty points and her's son's five points. It was written directed and produced made by some guy named Naresh Kumar.He went on to make a film called Sone Ka Dil Lohe Ke Haath (1978) or 'Golden Heart-Iron Hand', a Chinese Kungfu film sounding title that some people would still use to describe Indira Gandhi.

(Humble offering) 'Mazdoor Zindabaad' doesn't try to describe the great leader, it just sings praises of her great plans. And how?

Kamla takes the bother-sister duo under her (and symbolically under Indira's) wings. She tells them soon poor shall get their share, have no fear Indira is here, poverty will be history, stand on your own feet, but first, have you heard about Indira's 20 point list?

Almost every scene featuring Parveen Babi ends with a synopsis from Indiraji's great program. Kamla when she is not threatening hoarders with wrath of Indira, just likes to listen to radio, and the radio always talks about Indira's proverty project. Then she likes to repeat it to anyone who would listen.

Inspired, Bhola becomes a balloon seller and his little sister Munni becomes a foot and leg masseuse for an old lady. All normal. And this goes on throughout the film even though the requisite twists and turns. Kamla  gets married to an idealistic government electrician who loves to work (Randhir Kapoor) and has move to another city when he gets transferred to another city. Kids decide they are happy alone in the city and don't go with her. Then the brother sister get separated, sister ends up in a rich family. And the stupid twists and turns and guest appearances. Dharmendra appears in a guest 'staged' item song crowing about 'Great things are about to come'.

Nothing about this film is right and this can be said about most Bollywood films but after watching this pathetic propaganda film, one gets a vivid picture of the stiffening political environment of Emergency days. There are a number of films made during that era which make a passing reference to the political environment of the time but nothing like this. Nothing like this. This must be what great leaders of great countries dream their beloved subjects would remember their great legacy by.

Why I loved Geocities

You might have heard about Yahoo shutting down Geocities. Yahoo acquired it in January 1999 and after 15 (10 of them under Yahoo) years of hosting  all kind of pages (a lot of them having funky .gif images hammering in 'Under construction' messages and in between they offered most arcane information about most obscure topics ) they finally shut down the service on 26th October 2009.
 Around 7+ million public web pages and 8+ million images (according to Google), gone leaving internet with lot of dead links and broken images (thanks to hotlinking) and 404s.

On 26th I spent some time randomly browsing through (and saving) some Geocities sites, stumbled across this 'sean connery on moon' image and remembered what a delight these pages used to be. In pre-blog days (and in some cases even in clatter of blogs) it obviously had some of the most labored upon user generated online content, labour not just of working with HTML and creating all those gif files.

Projects that salvaged some of the data from Geocities:

Chinese are commie, Chinese are coming, Chinese come in.

Once in a while I get an opportunity to rub the fact into the face of my Indian friends that I am a Kashmiri. The conversation usually ends with, 'Yeah Yeah so why didn't you seek asylum in Amreka while you had the chance?'

Only a week ago we read about: "Chinese Embassy in Delhi is issuing separate visas to Indian passport holders from Indian-administered Kashmir. Instead of stamping the passport with a visa, as is the norm with Indian citizens, Kashmiri students and businessmen traveling to China have had their visas stamped on a separate paper stapled to the passport. [News Link, Asia Times]

That make me wanna go, 'Only with a passport! Only with a passport!' like Chaplin's 'communist' boy.

Rubs the fact into the face. Today was one such day. The front page of morning paper carried the news that 'Made in China' globes sold in India depict Jammu&Kashmir as a separate country. [News Link, Hindustan Times].

The horror, The horror!, they are being sold "for as little as Rs 100 a piece."

Local police adds, 'The Wongpin behind this racket remains elesive.'

These Chinese globes very conveniently put Aksai Chin in China and unconventionally throws POK with the independent entity wedged between Indian, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Should Pakistan also be protesting or are they too busy to notice? Aren't we supposed to be busy too, with our 'War within'...with the Naxals and other red Indians.

Sly Chinese they never miss a chance to belittle India and not always by littling the Indian landmass. 

Take the case of their films. In a scene from God of Gamblers(1989) Chow Yun-Fa says 'Go back to India," to a fringe Indian (so naturally snobbish) character in the film. Chinese must think of Indians as brutes, uncivilized. Chinese and their chopsticks. In The Bride With White Hair (1993, a Wuxia film from Hong Kong) the depraved followers of a devilish cult, the bad guys of the film, among other things like dancing bare to drum beat ( dancer's skin turning a shade of coffee), looting and plundering, are shown eating rice with their two hands, taking delight in licking elbows. You might ask, 'So?' So, it was Fa-hien or Hiuen Tsang who first took note of Indian habit of licking arms while eating.

If the audacity of globe, hostility of passport and ridicule of Indians in Chinese films did not send you into war frenzy (I hope it did not), try this -

Women for war.
Marching smartly in close order drill, students at women's college Delhi close ranks behind their government. They enrolled in India's National Cadet Corps and still will learn communications, nursing and map reading. They also will knit woolen clothing for soldiers

And I hope even this does not work. Every time I read these Chinese stories in Indian media (and this globe thing is frontpage news), I am reminded of Vijay seeking Baap ka Badla from Kancha Cheena in Agneepath (1990). Agneepath, Agneepath, Agneepath. Chinese are coming, Chinese are coming, Chinese are coming.

What the hell do I care? I will seek asylum in Amreka.

Face The Indian Heroines

Created this collage of Heroines mostly using various Vintage Indian film posters (most of them hand painted) found in the incredible Picasa gallery of Praful.

Here's the link for this image in size 5120px × 3956px, 3504KB.

Bullet Gandhi Guru Farrell Hanuman

"Can a Bullet skip on water like a rock can"

Yes. But only under a certain condition: You have to be walking on water at a pace of 3 miles per hour.

"Curse of maa kali on gandhi family"

Assuming this one is about the Gandhi family. The curse is:You will rule India. 

"guru dutt+colin farrell+hanuman"

Had it been '-' we would have got a tail at the end. But not sure about summation.

Baital Pachisi: Twenty-five Tales of a Baital

The Baital-Pachisi, or Twenty-five Tales of a Baital is the history of a huge Bat, Vampire, or Evil Spirit which inhabited and animated dead bodies. It is an old, and thoroughly Hindu, Legend composed in Sanskrit, and is the germ which culminated in the Arabian Nights, and which inspired the "Golden Ass" of Apuleius, Boccacio's "Decamerone," the "Pentamerone," and all that class of facetious fictitious literature.

The story turns chiefly on a great king named Vikram, the King Arthur of the East, who in pursuance of his promise to a Jogi or Magician, brings to him the Baital (Vampire), who is hanging on a tree. The difficulties King Vikram and his son have in bringing the Vampire into the presence of the Jogi are truly laughable; and on this thread is strung a series of Hindu fairy stories, which contain much interesting information on Indian customs and manners. It also alludes to that state, which induces Hindu devotees to allow themselves to be buried alive, and to appear dead for weeks or months, and then to return to life again; a curious state of mesmeric catalepsy, into which they work themselves by concentrating the mind and abstaining from food[...]
- Isabel Burton, in preface to her husband Richard R. Burton's translation of Baital-Pachisi titled 'Vikram and The Vampire'.

Baital-Pachisi is generally attributed to 8th-century Sanskrit sage Bhavabhuti who wrote 'Vetala-panchvimshati'. Kalhana, the 12th century Kashmiri historian, places Bhavabhuti in the entourage of the King Yashovarman of Kanauj, who was defeated by Lalitaditya, King of Kashmir, in 736 AD. Vikram of the tale is supposed to be Vikramaditya (102 BCE to 15 CE) the legendary king of Ujjain.
Baital-Pachisi was also a part (ninth section of twelfth book ) of 11th century AD (between 1063 and 1081 AD+) mammoth Sanskrit text Katha Sarit Sagara 'Ocean of the streams of narrative' by a Kashmiri poet-scholar named Somadeva. Somadeva in turn had found the stories in Brhat Katha or Vrihat Katha ('Long Story' 'Tale-Epic') a still more ancient (6th century AD and earlier* and now lost) work in Paisaci language (often  translated as 'Language of Blood sucking Ghouls') by one Gunadhya who in turn may have based his stories on still more ancient sources. In Brhat Katha:
 An introductory story presumptively describes the life and adventures of Udayana, a king of Vatsa, and those of his wives Vasavadatta and Padmavati and the birth of his son Naravahanadatta. Then the main story describes the adventures of Naravahanadatta, how he gets a large number of wives and how he becomes the lord of Vidyadharas-half-divine beings, who participate in prosperity and adversity of man more than another divinities do. *
A Sanskrit translation* of Brhat Katha became Katha Sarit Sagara.

Somadeva's stories from Katha Sarit Sagara started when:

[...] no less a person than the deity Siva, who, it is said, related them in private conversation with his wife, Parvati, for her entertainment. One of the attendants of the god, Pushpadanta, took the liberty of listening, and he repeated them, under the seal of secrecy, to his wife, Jaya, a sort of lady's maid to the goddess. What woman, says the author, can restrain her tongue ? Jaya takes an opportunity of intimating to her mistress that she is acquainted with the stories narrated by Siva, to the great mortification of Parvati, who had flattered herself that they had been communicated to her alone. She accordingly complains to Siva of his having deceived her, and he vindicates himself by discovering the truth. Parvati thereupon pronounces an imprecation upon Pushpadanta, condemning him to be born upon the earth as a man; and she sentences his friend Malyavan, who had ventured to intercede for him, to a like destination. The infliction of this punishment is a not uncommon fate of the subordinate divinities of the Hindus, when they incur the displeasure of the Dii majores, or even of holy sages. The degradation, however, endures only for a season, and terminates upon the occurrence of some preannounced catastrophe. On the present occasion, Parvati tells the culprits that they shall resume their celestial condition when Pushpadanta, encountering a Yaksh, a follower of Kuvera, the god of wealth, " doom'd for a certain time to walk the earth," as a Pisacha or goblin, shall recollect his own former state, and shall repeat to the Pisacha the stories he overheard from Siva; and when Malyavan, falling in with the Pisacha, shall hear from him again the stories that his friend Pushpadanta had narrated. The recitation of the stories forms also the limit of the Yaksha's sojourn amongst mortals. This machinery is of course exclusively Hindu.

The two demigods, Pushpadanta and Malyavan, are born as two Brahmans, named Vararuchi and Gunadhya, and their adventures as mortals constitute the subject of several tales. Some of these possess much local interest: we have in them literary anecdotes relating to celebrated works and authors, as to Panini the grammarian ; notices of historical persons and events, as of the accession of Chandragupta or Sandrocoptus; and traditions of the origin of celebrated places, as of that of Palibothra already alluded to. The circumstances of these narratives are marvellous, it is true, and are not to be received as facts. In the absence of all authentic history and biography, however, they are not without interest, and perhaps not without value; and in the place in which they are found they are evidence of the early date at which popular belief assented to legends still current.

We find also in this portion of the work various incidents and tales which are of wide dissemination. One of the best told stories in the whole work occurs here. Upakosa, the wife of Vararuchi, becomes, during the absence of her husband, the object of the addresses of the king's family priest, the commander of the guards, the prince's tutor, and her husband's banker. She makes assignations with them all: each as he arrives is quickly followed by his successor, and is secreted only to be finally exposed and punished. The story is the same in all essential respects as that of the Lady of Cairo and her four gallants, in Scott's additional Arabian Nights; and that of the merchant's wife and her suitors in the tale of the king, his favourite, 'and the seven vizirs, translated by the same orientalist. It is also that of Arouya in the Persian tales; and it is also found as a Fabliau, that of Constant du Hamel, or ' la dame qui attrapa un Pretre, un Prevot et un Forestier,' (Fabl. de Le Grand, iv. p. 246); and it is worthy of remark, that the Fabliau alone agrees with the Hindu original in the mode of putting the suitors out of the way, by hiding them in baskets and disrobing them under the plea of a bath.

There is in this part of the work some very curious matter, the purport of which it is not easy to conjecture, unless it conceal an intimation that the stories are of inferior, if not of foreign origin. Malyavan, or Gunadhya, in consequence of a dispute with a rival Brahman, forgoes the use of the Sanscrit, Prakrit and Desya, or vernacular languages. He afterwards learns the Paisachi language, or that of the goblins, which enables him to receive the narrations as they are told him by the metamorphosed Yaksha or Pisacha. Possibly the author thought some contrivance necessary to explain how the Pisacha should be intelligible to the Brahman, and nothing more is meant than meets the eye; but a hypothesis might be framed upon it, that the stories were translations, whence made, it would not be easy to explain, unless we call in Pehlevi, a language extinct or disused before the Katha Sarit Sagara was compiled. However this may be, Gunadhya having heard the stories, extending to seven hundred thousand stanzas, wrote them with his blood, for there was no ink in the forest. He then offered the work to Satavahana, king of Pratishthana, who rejected it with abhorrence, on which the author kindled a fire in the forest, and reading it aloud, to the great edification of spirits and goblins, and birds and beasts, he burned it leaf by leaf as he finished the perusal. The news of this proceeding at last reached the king, and he repented of what he had done, and repaired to Gunadhya to solicit the gift of the work. The sage consented to present the king with the hundred thousand verses that had not yet been consigned to the flames. Satavahana took it to his capital, and having received an explanation of it from two of Gunadhya's disciples, he translated it from the language of the Pisachas. Satavahana, as king of Pratishthana, it may be observed, is identifiable with the Salivahana, whose reign, A.d. 78, forms an epoch in the ordinary chronology of the Hindus. It would seem as if tradition ascribed to him the patronage of this class of composition, and there is nothing very improbable in the supposition that the golden age of Indian fabling dates about the commencement of the Christian era.+

(King Bhartri Hari also makes an appearance in one of the 25 stories from Vetala-panchvimshati)

An interesting point to note is that in Kashmirian Vetalapanchavirhsati of Somadeva's version of Brhat Katha, the hero, the King  is called 'Trivikramasena, the son of Vikramasena' ** but still refers to the semi-legendary Vikrama or Vikramaditya of Jain tradition.

 A 1960s (?) Kashmiri production of Baital Pachisi for Radio Kashmir retained the name 'Trivikramasena'.
'Wan Raaz Trivikramasen, Answer King Trivikramasen,' with this line Baital would needle king into answering his trick questions.

For the late 1980s popular Indian television series 'Vikram aur Betaal', its makers, used the narrative of Somadeva.

 +"At the close of it, the author, Somadeva, states that he compiled it at the desire of Suryavati, a dowager queen of Kashmir, for the amusement and instruction of her grandson, Harsha Deva, whilst under her guardianship. Harsha Deva reigned, as Professor Brockhaus mentions, about A.d. 1125; but the Chronicles of Kashmir, the Raja Tarangini, give us more exactly the time. Harsha Deva was, according to Somadeva's genealogy of him, the son of Kalasa, the son of Ananta, the son of Sangrama, kings of Kashmir in succession. The Raja Tarangini has the same series of descents, and both authorities designate Suryavati as the wife of Ananta, mother of Kalasa and grandmother of Harsha. The period assigned for the joint reigns of Harsha's three predecessors in the RajaTarangini is seventy six years. Abulfazl has the same names ; but in Gladwin's translation of the Ayin Akberi, the aggregate of the three reigns is but thirty-one years. The MSS. of the work are however, in the chronological tables which they contain, exceedingly incorrect. Didda Rani, the predecessor of Sangrama, died A.D..1025 (Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. p. 80), and seventy-six years added to this places Harsha's accession A.d. 1101. According to the Kashmir Chronicle, however, Suryavaii burnt herself with her husband Ananta's dead body eight years before, or in A.d. 1093. The compilation of the Katha Sarit Sagara must have preceded this event by some few years, so that we cannot be far wrong in assigning it to about A.d. 1088, to which therefore we fix the most modern limit of all the stories found in the compilation. The Katha Sarit Sagara then, considered in itself, and still more especially as the representative of a still earlier composition, the Vrihat Katha, is the oldest extant assemblage of tales, except the Hindu original, and the first translation of the Kalila and Dimna [ Panchatantra], and it is therefore indispensable to the history of fiction to determine what it contains."
-The British and foreign review: or, European quarterly journal, Volume 11,1840. Offers a concise account of  Katha Sarit Sagara.

History of Indian literature by Moriz Winternitz, Subhadra Jha, Volume 3, Page 348.  Ksemendra's Brhatkathamanjari, 'Bud (of the tree) of the Brhatkatha)' from around 1037AD, written about 30 years prior to Somadeva's  Katha Sarit Sagara was another Kashmirian version of Brhat katha. Only other version survives (in part) in Nepalese work Brhatkatha-Slokasangraha by Buddhasvamin.

** The ocean of story, being C.H. Tawney's translation of Somadeva's Katha sarit sagara (or Ocean of streams of story) (1924) [Read at]


You may also like to read:
Vikram and The Vampire by Sir Richard R. Burton
Classic Hindu Tales of Adventure, Magic, and Romance
Edited by his Wife Isabel Burton [1870]
and also
Twenty-five stories of a demon
By Duncan Forbes, Ghulam Mohammad (Munshi.), 1868

Image: Classic 'Vikram Betal' image from of Chandamama, January 1982 [Check out the archives of Chandamama]

Baital Pachisi Under Pressure

Video: Television series "Vikram Aur Betaal" (1988) from Ramanand Sagar 
Music: "Under Pressure" (1981) by Queen and David Bowie

How to be a Super Hero

alternatively titled: 'What to do if nothing else works?'

Ride a horse -single handed, ride a bike on a high wire - let your hair blow into the wind, play with knives ( and springs!), do trapeze, break that wall with your head, and when you have completely lost it, be a 'chiddi maar' - killer of birds. So now you are a Super Hero.ClapCalpClap.

Image: A page from Pratishodh ki Jwala (fire of revenge, Raj Comics), the first of Super Commando dhruva. dhruva started in Circus just like 'Robin - The Boy Wonder'. Parents get killed and so on. After many successful adventures he ended up playing 'Robin' to Nagraj.

Superman of Malegaon!


Hindu Muslim Sikh E'sai Sab ke Dil Ka pyara

Superman! Malegaon ka Superman

video link  (Update: Upholder had to remove the video because of:
a copyright claim by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). But I found a trailer and a clip (and then the film). Read on)


Directed by Faiza Ahmed Khan
A documentary partly produced by KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) .

The documentary is about the making of a movie called "Malegaon ka Superman' directed by Shaikh Nasir.

It tells the fascinating story of a ragtag crew of people from Malegaon (in Nashik district of Indian state of Maharashtra) who set out to make a 'Superman meets Bollywood' kind of flick in their own town on a shoestring budget.

The above clip is their final product. The rest of the documentary covering the making has also been uploaded but sadly it has a Japanese voice over.

The director of the film, Faiza Ahmed Khan, has done an brilliant job! She has managed to capture all the flavors, trials and inspirations of the tiny film industry of Malegoan that specializes in spoofs made for the local film market.This year it won jury award for best documentary feature at the Asiatica Film Mediale, Italy's annual Asian film festival.

20th May 2009

Finally someone uploaded a trailer. Check it out:

Update 12/09/09
Here's a clip from the documentary:

Sptember 19, 2009

Here' s really great trailer of the film 'Supermen of Malegaon'

October 23,2009

The film is being screened at 11th Osian's Cinefan film festival in Delhi.

The complete film has been hosted at the Youtube channel of AlJazeeraEnglish. Enjoy!
(Update December 8, 2009. The the film is not available anymore at AlJazeera.)
Part 1
Part 2

Iron Arm


Iconic scene from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey‎ (1968)

Adolf Hitler climbs stairs during a Nazi rally in Buckeberg, Germany, in 1934.

Apollo Circus Shahrukh Khan Walla

Posters of Apollo Circus. Recalling Shahrukh Khan of TV series "Circus" (1989).

Spotted at a place called Raj Nagar in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Previously: Indian Circus Ad dated 1929

'India' in Smithsonian Vintage Air posters

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has recently posted online more than half of the museum's 1,300 posters related to flight - ballooning, aerospace, space travel, airline ads and posters.. The collection is titled 'Fly Now!'.

Here are India related items that I found in the incredible collection:

Fly From England to India in 6 days via Egypt Iraq

Imperial Airways
Artist: Theyre Lee-Elliott
Date: 1933
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Stylized map of India with Imperial Airways "Speedbird" logo imposed over map; overlay of the "Speedbird" acts as logo for airline and suggests route map at same time; red, blue, black ink on paper.

Prosperous Diwali

A vintage Diwali poster leached from ebay.


When people use Google search for spell check right before sending those mass greetings through sms, emails, 'scraps' and 'messages'.

Did you mean: prosperous

Google Search Stats for 16th October, just a day before Diwali. Leached from Google trends for India .
Certainly India knows no prosperity.

Chaka Chond

I was a new migrant to the city when I first experienced this. The same festive time of the year, the same song but the sound came from a passing 'electronic shop'. Only other difference: that night was freshly painted wet by a light evening drizzle of rain, road found yellow, puddles were shiny red and green. The moment must have lasted less than half a minute, just till the sound faded away.

Sound: Shammi Kapoor-Vyjayantimala number 'Badan pe Sitare' from Prince (1969).
Music: Shankar-Jaikishan.
Vocal: Mohd. Rafi

Aroh water

If they ever decide to run a poll for English words that be officially included into Hindi vocab, I have made my decision. When I first saw the word,  I thought it was a brand of water or something. Then much time later, I realized 'Aroh' (आरोह)  stands for RO - filtration  process known as Reverse Osmosis.

Chemical Snake Firework

I don't do firecracker thing on Diwali, and it has been like that for many years now. After you start choking on that heavy sulfurous air typical to the night of Diwali, it doesn't take much brain to figure out the stupidity of it. The whole experience is traumatic for animals, birds, infants and elderly. The streets run dirty covered with cracker paper for weeks. On top of that there is the other obvious risk. Last year, two of my cousins spent good six months recovering from painful 'Anar' burn - the thing was supposed to big woosh, but it went bang.   

This year, I made an exception for 'Samp' just for good old times sake.

'Cock Brand' made at (imaginatively named) Taj Serpent Eggs Factory, Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu.

These would be the 'eggs'

Okay so what can I burn. This piece of wood looks tempting.

And that's the snake.

Also, here's a tutorial for How to make these chemical snakes at home using Baking soda

Previously: Saddam Fireworks

Map of India in the Age of the Mahabharata

Another interesting find at World Digital Library
(click to get a bigger image)

Map of India in the Age of the Mahabharata

This undated 20th-century map, published in Pune (formerly Poona), India, shows place names in India associated with the Mahābhārāta, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India (the other being the Ramayana). The title of the map is in Marathi; the place names are in Sanskrit. Mahābhārata can be translated as "the great tale of the Bharata Dynasty.” Most likely composed between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D., this enormously long epic recounts the story of the dynastic struggle and civil war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas in the Kingdom of Kurukshetra that took place in about the ninth century B.C.

Date Created: 20th century

Publication Information: Deccan Printing Works, Poona, India

Language: Marathi, Sanskrit

Title in Original Language: Mahābhāratakālīna Bhāratavarshācā nakāśā

Physical Description of map:  45 x 38 centimeters

Institution: Library of Congress

Native Demons Attacking European Troops, 1791

Title: Indian Demons Attacking Fort Defended by European Troops

Description: This unsigned watercolor by an unknown Indian artist depicts the events of the Third Mysore War (1790-92). The Anglo-Mysore wars were a series of conflicts in the late 18th century that were fought between the Kingdom of Mysore, located in southwestern India, and the British East India Company. After victories in the first two wars, Mysore, led by Tipu Sultan, invaded the nearby coastal state of Travancore, which was a British ally. This led to the Third Mysore War, which the British won. Although the royal family of Mysore was Hindu, Tipu Sultan was Muslim, which may explain the presence of the Arabic inscription on the bottom of the work. The watercolor is from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection at the Brown University Library, the foremost American collection devoted to the history and iconography of soldiers and soldiering, and one of the world’s largest collections devoted to the study of military and naval uniforms.

Date Created: Around 1791

Language: Arabic

Physical Description: 1 watercolor; 15.3 x 24 centimeters

Collection: Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection

Institution: Brown University Library
- found this incredible image at World Digital Library

Ingredients for Bollywood Horror films

Director, producers, actors, writers and editors who take Norman Bates line - 'Sometimes we all go mad' - a bit too seriously.

They give us characters who do not heed a fine advice given by Count Dracula to Jonathan Harker:  'You may go wherever you wish in the castle except where the doors are locked, where of course, you will not wish to go.' Nobody in horror films, made in any part of the world, takes Dracula's word seriously.

They would like to produce a vision of Shirley Jackson, 'No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.'

So larks and katydids of Bollywood dreamt of :

Captivating Bubble Pack

Bubble Pack
Cover of Manohar Kahaniya for September, 1973. (Found at ebay)


Amitabh Bachchan gives some Dishum to Amjad Khan. Rekha tries to look worried.


In 1980s Amitabh Bachchan had a little comic series of his own in which he was alter-ego to masked crusader - 'Supremo'. Apparently, Gulzar was the script consultant. Read more about Supremo at aniamit.

Rakesh Sharma's 'Saare Jahan Se Achcha' message from Space

From Wiki entry for Rakesh Sharma

Insignia of Indo Soviet Mission
Rakesh Sharma, then squadron leader and pilot with the Indian Air Force embarked on the historic mission in 1984 as part of a joint space program between the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Soviet Intercosmos space program and spent eight days in space aboard the Salyut 7 space station. Launched along with two other Soviet cosmonauts aboard Soyuz T-11 on the 2 April 1984, was 35-year-old Rakesh Sharma. During the flight, Squadron Leader Sharma conducted multi-spectral photography of northern India in anticipation of the construction of hydroelectric power stations in the Himalayas.
The trip made Rakesh Sharma the first Indian in Space but the event is also remembered for a conversation from space that he had with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. She asked him, 'How does India look from Oopar?' He famous reply, borrowed from Allama Iqbal, was, ' Saare Jahan Se Achcha, (better than the whole world).'

Here's  the video of that famous conversation:

Gandhi ji watch a film! Ram Rajya or Mission to Moscow

I had gathered from internet: Vijay Bhatt.'s Ram Rajya (1943) was the only feature film Mahatma Gandhi ever watched. Read about it at . They even have a scan of old newspaper clipping that announced: M. Gandhiji Sees Prakash's "Ram Rajya": Historical Event of Indian Film Industry. According to the website it happened in 1945 while he was staying at Juhu, Bombay.

Then recently I came across the following passage in 'Colonial India and the making of empire cinema: image, ideology and identity' by Prem Chowdhry [Google Books]
In the late 1930s the marketability of nationalism and its viability were not merely in the films produced by Indians - most of which became popular hits - but also in the way producers, distributors and exhibitors advertised their products. Mahatma Gandhi, for example, was a favorite for advertising the films. Large size photographs of Gandhi adorned the film advertisements along the much smaller photographs of the lead hero or heroine. Yet other films were advertised as 'helper to the cause of Mahatma Gandhi', or invited the viewers to see their film, advertised as portraying 'the ideals of Mahatama Gandhi', or claimed that 'Mahatma Gandhi's immortal words inspire a picture' So much so that the distributors and exhibitors of a Hollywood film also felt it commercially prudent to put in a sponsored advertisement claiming, 'Mahatma Gandhi sees the first talking picture Mission to Moscow.' The report that followed suggested that Mahatma Gandhi considered this film to be of the 'right type'.
The British officials were aware of the public draw of the Mahatma's name in the film industry. They attempted to curb both advertisements and films that exploited the Mahatma's name.
Intrigued, a bit of searching lead me to cautious lines in 'Gandhi: the man, his people, and the empire' written by Rajmohan Gandh. According to the book, in 1944 while Gandhi was staying at Juha:
On 21, May he was persuaded to watch Mission to Moscow, a Hollywood movie made to popularize America's alliance with the Soviet Union, possibly the first talkie he had ever seen. It did not attract him to Stalin or Communism.
That makes Michael Curtiz's Mission to Moscow Gandhi's first.

After digging a little more, it turned out that 'Ram Rajya' in fact lost out to 'Mission to Moscow' by just twelve days thus only making it 'first Indian talkie to have been seen by Gandhi'. It turns out Gandhi may have caught a fairly decent amount of Cinema in a fortnight. Two film in 12 days in not bad. Gandhi saw 'Ram Rajya' on 2nd June 1944.


50 years of Doordarshan

[ Rukawat key liye Khed hai.Updated this post with Video Documentary by Doordarshan titled “The Golden Trail , DD@50 :Special feature on Golden Jubilee of Doordarshan”.]

Doordarshan montage, collageDoordarshan turned 50 on 15 September 2009. It all started exactly 50 years ago, on  15 September 1959 with UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, it's one of those organizations that we read a lot about in school text books, anyway)  giving India $20,000 and 180 Philips sets - Doordarshan was supposed to be (and was) a tool for development. Also according to the legend, the broadcasting equipment was donated by Germans who had come for an industrial exhibition. AIR (All India Radio) supplied floor space and initial news content.

sport logos Doordarshan

Another relic from Doordarshan days. I remember it for the various sport logos.

I think this sports show (Khiladi) was telecast during 1987 South Asian Games held in Calcutta.

Special Rajkamal Sindoor

A packet of Rajkamal Sindoor

Emblem of V. Shantaram's studio 'Rajkamal Kalamandir' established in 1943.
It was surprising to see the 'lotus girl' iconography still doing the rounds.


I liked the colors!

Michal Jackson Ke Rock.N.Roll

A cousin told me about this 'Michal Jackson' Dhabba at Sector 62, Noida.

Apparently, its Momo Chutney is killer but only lucky ones get rock in their rolls.

Things that can stop a Bullet

A wine flask can do it, an OM pendent can do it, a Taweez can do it, an expendable extra heroine can do it, a Billa No. 786 (with lots of Barkat) can certainly do it (if you don't lose it while running from your crazy gun trotting  brother), and now we are told a 5- rupee coin can also do it, for real, with proven result.

According to the story, Krishna Shetty and his neighbour, Nicholas Gomes, on a perfectly normal Mumbai day, were sitting outside a video parlour engaged in causal conversation when three persons sped by on a motorcycle and fired four bullets at them. One of the bullet hit Gomes while two made their way to Shetty. One of them hit him in his stomach while the other was on its way to his heart. Luckily Krishna Shetty was carrying a wallet ( oddly, for some unknown reason) in his breast pocket and inside this wallet was his little shield, a 5- rupee coin. Fatal bullet was stopped in its track and Krishna Shetty lived to tell the tale.

Now, if only it was something like this:

And then there is Dharmendra's Loha Hand

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