Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2011

Space City Sigma, 1989

A strange new deadly creature has sneaked aboard the ship. The latest maneuver of  Zakhakoo to take down Commander Tara and his city, the last hurdle to his plans of adding earth to his galactic kingdom and the universe. This time he sent a small Blob, strangely, much resembling a stinky wet Upla, a throbbing pack of  cow-dung . The Blob is given to jumps onto its unsuspecting victims and sucks the life force out of them. Soon, this 'death-on-contact-with-skin' creature starts making victims out of helpless citizens of the Space City who have no clue about the nature of these new deaths. As the word slowly spreads,there is mayhem, in this mayhem the Blob zeros in on what could be its most prized victim - Shakti. As a doors open (automatically, woosh-pause-woosh), Shakti walks in only to be attacked slyly by the Blob. In the manner of its previous killings, this time too, Blob goes for the face, sticking to the face of Shakti who for a moment seems to be in the grips of death …

Vinod Khanna in Cinthol Ad


Azuri - First of the Dancing Sirens

Before Helen there was Cuckoo, and before Cuckoo there was a popular dancer on whom Cuckoo modeled herself, and her name was Azuri. This Anglo-Indian woman used to freelance for all the studios in the days  when the other popular dancer of that era Sunita Devi used to work with only Ranjit Movietone studio.

Some of her best work was in Gentlemen Daku (1937) and in Mehboob Khan's Watan (1938). Her only full starring role was in a film called 'Maya' in which she played the role of hero-chasing spoilt daughter of a rich man.

Drag at No.6

Salunke – The first Indian Actress

The story goes like this: Around 1913, Dadasaheb Phalke was planning to make his magnum opus – a mythological feature film titled ‘Raja Harishchandra’. But before he could start, he needed to find a young woman who could take on the role of female lead. This proved to be the tricky part. Back then no woman, even the prostitutes and the dancing girls that he approached, was willing to sell his soul to the devil. Facing the camera was akin to laying bare at a public square. Dadasaheb Phalke’s grand plans for cinema were stalled. Then one night while dining at a restaurant, some say while sipping a cup of tea there, Phalke found his heroine, an impressive womanly beauty, working the kitchen as a lowly help. Dadasaheb Phalke made an offer that was promptly accepted, and in this manner on a monthly salary of Rs.10 (or according to some, Rs. 15 with Rs. 10 being the salary of the cook's assistant) Phalke's film got an actress and India got its first heroine, a man named Salunke who…


Hindu Dieties by Bernard Picart, 1722

Came across a bunch of interesting rare Hindu images over at the Life Magazine archive [Link]. A group of engraving caught my interest. As these images came with bare minimum information (simply tagged 'REL ORIE Hindu GODS'), it took me quite some time to figure out  that the fascinating images were in fact engraving (from 1722) by French artist Bernard Picart (b Paris, 11 June 1673; d Amsterdam, 8 May 1733) as appearing in William Hurd's 'Religious Rites & Ceremonies of All Nations (Vol. 3, 1780)'. Picart never left Europe, most of these engravings were based on accounts of various travelers and the sculptures that they brought with them.

A collection of engraving devoted to each incarnation:

In addition to the images of these gods we have this intriguing image of sea-warfare of Marathas.

Hindu Dieties by Pierre Sonnerat (1774-81).

Selling Soap

Medimix Soap Ad, 1970s
Launched in 1969. The early campaign was...simple and the soap was beach friendly.


from Alo Sircar's Bandie (1978)

Soni Mahiwal, Wall

inside a Jhanjghar (Community Hall) in Jammu.
Geetali informs me that this famous image is by Sir Sobha Singh.

Nycil Ad, 1970s

Just got back from Jammu. It's a city that I will forever associate with 'pricklyheatpowder' Nycil. Back in early 90s, apart from Odomos (that used to be lemony green back then and smelled nothing like lemons), Nycil was part every Pandit family's ' Essential Migration Survival Kit'. I remember growing beans in old used Nycil packs. 


Pran's Debut

Taken from an old article by K. Razdan for a film magazine.
The story of his long, long struggle begins from Lahore, now in Pakistan, It was 1938 - one moonlit midnight. A young boy of eighteen, who was employed in a photographer's shop on a monthly salary of Rs.150/-,stood in a relaxed mood before a 'paan' shop. He was slightly tipsy because he had taken one or two "chhotas". He was handsome, smart and he wore a confident look on his face. He waited for his turn to pick up the 'pan' from the 'paanwala'...and here, he had a date with his destiny.
Walli Sahib, the well-known writer (who later married Muntaz Shanti, the heroine of the Bombay Talkies hit."Kismat") arrived there, also to buy a 'paan'. He stared at the young man, examined him from head to toe and felt he had found the one he was looking for. Walli Sahib was fanatically on the look-out for a young man to fit the villain's role for a Punjabi film. Walli Sahib, who wa…

Ali Baby

Poster of Uzbek version of Alibaba Aur 40 Chor (1980) by  Latif Faiziyev and Umesh Mehra.