Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

Mandakini had a Great Bath

" the wretched infidel gazes himself blind at the monumental white shroud that wraps all the prospect around him"

Whiteness, Herman Melville from Moby Dick, 1851

Mandakini's great bath in Raj Kapoor's Ram Teri Ganga Maili

"This is arguably the best waterfall shot I have ever seen outside of those long-winded and half-assed documentaries on the rain forests of Java. Miss Mandakini's *its have been used with charming ambience to optimize and enhance the subtle play of light and shade which is so necessary but generally overlooked in outdoor shooting by most except the greatest of directors. I would personally recommend them to anyone who still cares about our diminishing ozone layer. Indian cinema has at last come of age and in the future we can perhaps hope to see more and more films on the Gangetic delta and the Deccan plateau starring Miss Mandakini's bell*, bu***cks and *highs." ~ American film critic Pauline Kael.

Mandakini shot by J. P Singhal in his signature tribal style

Mandakini with D

Later, Mandakini with another D

Image: Original was on the cover of Filmfare magazine in April 1985 for the story Wet dream: the selling of Mandakini.
Pauline Kael quote (unverified, unverifiable) comes from an article published in Filmfare from year 1988.


From - Merchant Ivory's Bombay Talkie (1970).

Siliguri Silly

Fly-in, attend the big fat Marwari wedding of a friend, sleep in a hotel room, fly-out. It was a simple and short affair with the city.

Community Work. It's a communist state, right!
All eyes.
Sad untold love story of cabbie from Sikkim

Suburban profanity or Modern man practicing prehistoric art of wall painting.
(Not safe for work and sensitivity)
Clenched fist. Every cliche is true in theory and all encompassing in itself.
Indian traveler's insignia. 

Dhoti,socks aur fleet shoes
Hotel Art.

The names Poopins. Not Poppins.
Santa loves Momos
Dancing on Kalia.

Ironing an idea.

Mata Ji.
That's tough. But first line is enough for LOL.
Don't know what it means. But looks beautiful.

Looked more like a crèche.

His hands smelled of fish, he had just finished lunch, and his razor proved too blunt for my two-week-old beard, my eyes were wet. After  the ceremony was over, my face felt like it had been scrubbed with rough stone, there was numbness. Surprisingly, he handled the cleft quite well, unlike most times, there was no blood and he didn't advise me to get a shave more regularly.

What do you buy

"The cosmetic manufacturers are not selling lanolin, they are selling hope...we no longer buy oranges, we buy vitality. We do not just buy an auto, we buy prestige."
~Vance Packard

 Aldous Huxley in his Brave New World Revisited:

"Most cosmetics are made of lanolin, which is a mixture of purified wool fat and water beaten up to an emulsion. This emulsion has many valuable properties: it penetrates the skin, does not become rancid and mildly antiseptic. But commercial propagandists do not speak of the genuine virtues of the emulsion. They give it some voluptuous name, talk misleadingly about feminine beauty and show pictures of gorgeous blondes nourishing their tissues with skin food. Cosmetic manufacturers do not sell lanolin, they are selling hope. For this hope, propagandists have so skillfully related to a deep-seated and almost universal feminine wish - the wish to be more attractive to members of the opposite sex.

We no longer buy oranges, we buy vitality. We do not buy just an auto, we buy prestige. In toothpaste we buy not a mere cleanser and antiseptic, but release from the fear of being sexually repulsive. With monthly bestseller we acquire culture, the envy of our less literate neighbors and the respect of the sophisticated."

 Sham Lal writing in an old essay titled A Bad Dream (can be found in the book A Hundred Encounters):

"But can everyone be given enough education to enable him to judge an argument between Bertrand Russell and Martin Heidegger? in a complex world in which even top academics cannot agree on facts, much less on their interpretation, how can we expect the Orwellian proles and the Huxleyian semi-morons, tightening up screws or making small entries in huge ledgers all day long, to have the nerve to face up to the truth even if they could see it? They cannot even face the truth of their own lives. That is why they take to pin-ups, juke joints, rock n'roll and singing commercials."

Well, in the same essay Sham Lal did warn that many will read Huxley for the same "un-Huxleyian reason".

Mannu Dhaakad Man

"Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race."
 ~Bill in Kill Bill 1. Bill didn't know much about human race.


Kaun Hai tu?Tu Kaun Hai?
(Who are you? You are Who?)
Main Manoj Hu.
(I am Manoj)
Main Mohit Hu.
(I am Mohit)
Bahut Maray Karay Hu Main.
(I like to beat a lot)
Main Khurakh de du.
(Should I give you the Medicine)

And just when Mohit and Manoj, who look like identical twins, are about tear each other part. Something swoops down on them from the sky. It's a bird, it's a plane. it's Mannu Dhaakad (Great) Man. This is the story of Raja, a not so mild-mannered rickshaw driver who likes to disguise himself as a Superhero, Mannu, a messiah for the poor and landless.

A hero more Dhaakad than Superman. While all powerful Superman finds it difficult to fly chest out against the wind, our desi hero does most of his flying standing up-right. When Mannu takes his Lois Lane on a late night space trip, they both take it standing. And yes, in this story Mannu's Loise Lane, a gal named Neha is in fact still in school and Raja is her Rickshawala. Really Dhaakad! Superman could do something like that only in his secret life.

How did an Mannu get this much power? Here the makers of this epic have really outdone themselves, even if unintentionally. Some higher being picks Raja from the entire human race and gives him the impressively colorful power suit. Origin of Green Lantern anyone.  

I can offer BS about the entire film but it's the opening of the film that I failed to grasp, it  makes no sense even in this non-sense of a movie and yet somehow found it to be the funniest thing I have heard in a long time.

Main Khurakh de du.

Magic Mirror

"...can talk with or see your dead relations or friends. You can see your beloved no matter how far they are from you or not known to you. This mirror is made according to the science of Mesmerism."
Jan 24 1943. The Indian Express.

"...prepared with the wonderful herbs gathered from Kailas".
And not from the world of Hatim Tai. Tais selling Magic Mirrors.
Mar 26 1942. The Indian Express.

We Watch

Watching Film
A basti near DLF Phase 3 Gurgaon
November 2010

80 Curls

Kitu Gidwani as a Doordarshan presenter
Peenaz Masani on cover of Playback magazine. August 1987.
A regular for new year celebration of Doordarshan.

Sample this

Sheng the Savage

Chaino loves comics
Screencap of Shatrughan Sinha in the film 'Ek Nanhi Munni Ladki Thi' (1970) reading 'Sheng the Savage' (1969) in Flash Gordon series from Indrajal Comics.

In Praise of Early Air India Stewardesses

Air India/Tata Airlines' stewardess Monica Gilbet (centre) shows the flight report to a Sikh passenger during a Delhi to Bombay flight. Year 1946.

Photograph by Margaret Bourke White

Two pics of Monica Gilbet published in Life Magazine
And here are the photographs of other Air India Stewardesses, all Anglo-Indian, from the year 1946 shot by Margaret Bourke White for Life Magazine.

Stewardess Avenell Divers saying goodbye to Sunyasi ascetic after flight on Air India.
 Monica Fernandez
Peggy Henderson
June Argent

Air India Air Hostesses, 1946 (not sure if this is from the same collection as it's not available at Life Magazine archive)

Tata Airlines Air Hostess. Undated. Probably early 50s.
Came across it  at: Indian Government's Online Photo Division

First two Liril Girls

Liril Ad with Anjali Jathar

Liril Ad featuring Anjali Jathar who replaced Karen Lunel in 1988. Karen Lunel ad first came in 1975 and later got a second life in 1985.

Liril Ad with Karen Lunel

High on da Mithun

Yaeeee....esnake style.

Poisonous stuff  from Mithun films: Ravan Raaj(1995), Shera (1999) and Sher-E-Hindustan (1997).


America offers you better weapons, easy money and freedom too.

Covered Wagon

Nearly two centuries ago, men of many nations loaded all
their possessions on ox-carts and adventured into the Virgin
West of the United States. In the sweat of their brows always,
and in their life-blood sometimes, they subdued Nature to their
needs and built their homes.
And then this people of the New world turned their
pioneering drive to make a society in which all men are free.
These are the people who have committed themselves through
their President to Defend human freedom all over the earth.

The United States has sent its fighting men to India as crusaders in
the cause of liberty - pledged to crush those who would enslave mankind.

America Fights for Freedom

Issued by the United States of America

~ A World War 2 advertisement by United States Government publicizing the assistance provided to India. Published in Jan 24, 1943 issue of The Indian Express.

Found it in the archives of The Indian Express available at Google news. [Check it out here]

[Recently came across a collection of photographs by an American Soldier posted in the region during WW2. Here is a collection of photographs shot in Kashmir in 1945 by an American serviceman named Robert Keagle. LINK]

The eighth wonder of the world. American New Gold is our discovery. It has become very popular throughout India. It needs no introduction. The Press and the Public everywhere praise it. It retains its golden color permanently. You can make beautiful ornaments with this gold.

With a view to popularise this new gold we have decided to distribute one sample set.
~ 'Genuine American New Gold' ad from April 8, 1942 issue of The Indian Express.


Documentary: Manmohan Desai on his Cinema

The End
On 16th October caught this awesome old documentary on Doordarshan Delhi. It was probably made around the time Manmohan Desai's Gangaa Jamunaa Saraswathi released, that would be year 1988. Crocs were great but that's a film he should have never made.

The Look
The quality isn't great but hey don't complain you get to know how that epic end sequence from Coolie was shot, the exact number of cameras used to capture the eye roll of Amitabh.

The Ground work
The good part missing (cause I couldn't find my camera in time) included how Manmohan Desai at the start of his career directed Raj Kapoor in Chhalia (1960), Desai certainly believed in formula, he for the title song 'Chalia Mera Naam' he just asked Raj Kapoor to give the signature 'Raj Kapoor' look that he had given in all his previous films. And how he shot 'Govinda Aala Re' in streets of Mumbai streets with Shammi Kapoor for Bluff Master (1963).

Voice over by Saeed Jaffrey.

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