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Showing posts from April, 2011

On Baburao Patel Syndrome

Cross-posted from my Kashmir Blog.
From  Baburao Patel's Q/A section in FilmIndia, August 1947 issue. ( via a collection shared with me by Memsaab Greta)

Lot of thinking going on there (what's that thing about J.P ji ) but I am amazed by question posed by O.N. Thassu of Srinagar, whose progenies probably now live in Bombay and would probably readily buy the answer from Baburao Patel of Bombay (we know who else bought that answer only a year later endorsing it in a Court trail about a murder). Baburao Patel was known not only for his biting wit  but 'let's bite some, any heads' attitude towards what he considered blackheads on Bhart Mata's beautiful face. He voiced opinions what would probably now be considered concerns of pragmatic-Hindu-middle-class. And he often did it in a very pragmatic Indian way, this particular (and many around that that) issue was in fact full of eulogies in praise of Gandhi. A pragmatic: He had Muslim friends, a fairly large reader…

Treble'd walls of Gurgaon

[Now with updates on three months spent watching walls getting painted, and in some cases re-painted]

(Yes, he is working on his skills)
Found the wall updated with a fresh graffiti.

Update: 6/4/11.
Some silly copy-cat (or not, check update) action spreads to DLF Phase I.
Update: 13/4/11.

 White Washed

Near Sikandarpur
Pillar of Guru Dronacharya Station

Updates from wall in Phase-I. Missed catching the painter in action by a whisker. My office colleagues claim to have seen a skinny of kid of 15 or 16 painting this wall in broad daylight. They, like most dwellers of Gurgaon, thought it was just someone getting his wall 'beautified'. The thought that someone would spent his time painting walls of someone else never occurred to them.

(As I write this, I am told that walls are getting painted all over Gurgaon)
Update (May 5, 2011)

Saris for machine age!

Bombay Dyeing ('Relika') Sari  Ad from 70s.

Hair Today, Hair Tomorrow

I first came across him in the 'god cabinet' of a dear old grand aunt of mine. I must have been seven, we were in Kashmir. I was transfixed by that exuberant crop of hair. I became a regular at her prayer sessions. She remains a devotee. I remain in awe of moss hair.

For rationalist thoughts on the 80s phenomena of funky godmen watch Amitabh Bachchan in Prakash Mehra's Jaadugar (1989).

She was Sad. She was Happy.

I now know that the story of Meena Kumari as told by Vinod Mehta was sourced by various articles that came out in various magazines after her death. It was perhaps too easy.

Lalita Pawar

An old woman falls off a moving bus, the crowd goes 'Budhi gir gaya! Budhi gir gaya!'

Started as a child actor in Raja Harishchandra (1928). Started going character roles at the age of 25.

Zubeida, the first talkie actress of India

Star of Alam Ara (1931), the first Indian talkie. Her mother Fatma Begum is believed to be the first women director of India with a film called 'Bulbul-e- Paristan' (1926)


Noor Mohammad was inspired by Charles Spencer. Emulating him for the Indian film screen, he renamed himself Charlie. In 1930s Charlie became the first comedy star of Bombay and became an inspiration for Badruddin Jamaluddin Qazi to become Johnny Walker.

Mere Mehboob Muslim Palette

The attitude of the now independent producers towards the new craze for colors is best reflected in an incident related by Sudhendu Roy. H.S. Rawail was very keen for Roy to design Mere Mehboob[1963] but was not sure how he would handle color. "Do you know how to design for a color film?" he asked Roy. "Of course," replied Roy,"I have just done the art direction of Ganga Jammuna [1961]". H.S. Rawail was not at all impressed. "This is no color film," he said."It looks like a black and white film. where are the colors?" Out of a perverse desire to score a point, Roy proceeded to design Rawail's film using a palette only of pastel shades. Since then all "Muslim social" have had to follow the same palette.
~ Shama Zaidi in an article 'Design in Indian Cinema'

Devika Rani


Update: Jan 21. 2014

Apparently, the image has now travelled quite a bit, artist Chitra Ganesh made an art work out of it.

Shyama, Kum Kum, 2011

On 27th February I was going to catch Oscars but ended up getting hooked to Doordarshan which was showing an incredible documentary on Guru Dutt. The image of a young Guru Dutt doing snake dance was good enough reason, but then the makers of this documentary managed to talk to two of his earliest heroines.


Rekha Lux Ad

for some reason found it a bit eerie.

Awesomest Sari Ads, 1976

brocades of baluchar, a village in murshidabad, west bengal are known as 'amru'  and are woven only with coloured silk threads without any use of 'jari'. this fabric is mainly used for saris known as 'baluchari', which are noted for their elaborate dramatic pallavs depicting human and animal forms and distinctive elaborate mango motifs locally known as 'kunja'.

(notice jarring reflection of the woman in the background! )
this technique of tying and dyeing yarn to weave simple as well as elaborate motifs is very adept hand technique of precision and perfection producing fabrics of unparalleled beauty. it represents one of the traditional indian textiles and is known as 'patola' in gujarat, 'bandh' in orissa 'pagdu bandhu', 'buddavasi' and 'chitki' in andhra pradesh.


Kick-Ass Kid Villain from Nepal

10 year old Aju Lama in Carreng Gang and Carreng Gang 2 (2009) from Nepal.

What I could make of Carreng Gang 2 is this: there a gang of bad guys lead by Mister Silky-Hair who manages to sweet-talk the most bad ass but good-of-heart Kung-fu fighter named Dorje to join his clan by just calling him a brother. Dorje happen to be a 10 year old kid who likes to chop loki using flying optical discs, walks on fire, does triple somersault in air, makes cute faces which isn't his most awesome power - his most awesome power is that he can disappear anytime into thin air. Director of this masterpiece takes all his time (much to viewers delight ) to show all the skills of Dorje. Once in the Gang he does what a good villain is supposed to do - dance with an item girl, kill off bunch of guys, have a showdown with the hero who happens to be in love with the real villain's sister and whose parents are too honest not to be killed by the Gang, have his eyes plucked out by the hero (but n…

Computer Art Catalogue, 1972, India

"In contrast with classical machines, which convert energy, the computer processes information. It is a means towards the conception of structural order and at the same time offers itself as an aid to producing aesthetic order. This which evolves from this is known today under the title 'Computer Art'." ~ 'Computer Art' by Herbert W. Franke

Found this in a catalogue of an art exhibition titled ‘Computer Art’ held at NGMA, New Delhi in 1972 from March 27 to April 21. This is believed to be the first digital art exhibition ever held in India.  The event was a collaboration between Max Mueller Bhavan and IBM India. It was one among the first of such similar events held around the world in between 1967 and 1974.

The catalogue offers three essays: 'Computer Art: Possibilities and Limitations' by Dr. Laxmi P. Sihare (then director of the National Gallery of Modern Art) , 'Computer Art' by Herbert W. Franke and 'the Computer in the service of Ar…