Nation hasn’t forgotten you Neerja bhanot

‘Tough times don’t last but tough people do’ – lines from motivational book by Robert Schuller

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Buried in debris of time and ignorance, the martyrdom of flight attendant Neerja bhanot is justified with her 2016 biopic – Neerja released on 19th Feb 2016. The movie has not only been appreciated by critics, but also applauded by audience all over the world. Sadly, it took so many years for the world to know the valour of Neerja bhanot. After watching the biopic – Neerja, my heart specially went for her old mother – Rama bhanot who lost her daughter at such a ripe age of 22. Neerja was not like today’s ordinary girls who love clicking selfies or heading for restaurants. She was destined to become a great icon of courage in pages of history which is filled with stories of rani laxmibai and Joan of arc.

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The most moving and heart wrenching moment in the biopic was the return of Neerja bhanot in coffin which was the tragic and heart breaking moment for her family. Ironically she was going to turn 23 on 7th September 1986. Though terrorists killed her with their bullets, they couldn’t kill her determination to free the 359 passengers on the plane. She died, but she succeeded. Even in hours of terror, fear and threat,   she maintained her calmness and offered water and refreshments to the panicked passengers. Till the last breath of her life, she faced the terrorists and foiled their plans by opening the emergency exit door for the passengers. She could have easily fled away from the plane. But she didn’t. She took the bullets for the three children who were targeted by one of the terrorists. After seeing the movie, all the survivors on the plane are sending their thank you messages on social networks, reminiscing how Neerja saved their lives. She was the  Joan of arc of our nation. Fondly called as ‘lado’ by her family, Neerja was an ardent fan of super star Rajesh khanna. Even her broken marriage didn’t deter her spirits. She faced every adversity with a smile.

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Recently Rama bhanot, mother of neerja expired on December 2015.
It’s so unfortunate moment that she couldn’t see the movie which was based on her daughter. A part time model and a flight attendant, Neerja’s memories are her photographs in print ads and her appearances in television commercials. ‘The neerja I knew’ is the new published book, a memoir written by her elder brother. Through this book, one will get a glimpse of neerja’s family, her friends and every minute detail of hijacking that happened on the flight.

The day prior to the ill fated flight, Neerja returned home after an exhaustive ad shoot and was too tired to go for her flight attendant duty. Even though her mother insisted her to take a leave, Neerja didn’t skip her job. Unfortunately the flight became her last flight of her life. She left home never to come back. A young recipient of Ashok chakra, the late Neerja bhanot is a renewed force, a dynamic enthusiasm, an epitome of courage that still inspires us. Though I had written an article on neerja in my previous blog post, but somewhere I felt that this tribute to the braveheart was less. Thus this new article is an extension, a heart felt tribute to the late Neerja bhanot. This nation will always remember you Neerja.

Jai hind
Prashant badiger

Friends for life, friends forever

Today I am feeling a bit lonely, isolated and out of action like ranbir kapoor from movie – yeh jawaani hai deewani who values his ambitions more than his family and friends. At the climax, ranbir realizes that in the race to achieve his dreams, he has lost out his true friends who were ready to be with him at every juncture of life.

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Human being is a social animal who loves bonding. When it comes to dosti and yaari, we Indians are extreme in that case. The moment guys meet on a tea stall (chai ki tapri), the conversation always begins with swearing words like kutte, kamine etc etc. Men bond over tea cups and vodka while girls bond over paani puri, coffee shops and apparel stores (their blabbering is endless and their topics are beyond anyone’s imagination).  Today while traveling, I noticed some young kids dressed up in blazers, too excited to attend the farewell party of their school.

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My eyes moistened over that scene. I recalled the best moments spent with my buddies at my school, college and office. Most importantly, I remember one of my best friends at school who motivated me at the low phase in my life. Without his support, I wouldn’t have ever succeeded in that stage. Unfortunately, now I have lost touch with him. At a certain stage, I got so busy in my own ambitions that I hardly bothered to pay heed to the situations my friend was going through. Little did I realize that my friend had left India never to come back. 

‘The real joy of life lies in enjoying every small moment of happiness than waiting for big ones to happen’ – quote

The presence of your family and friends at your successful moments matters a lot than the million of awards that you will receive among strangers in a award function. The presence and affection of your friends is irreplaceable. They will criticize you on mistakes, encourage you on difficult times as well as rejoice with you on celebrations, but they will never neglect and leave you alone in crowd. Having a true friend is more precious than discovering a diamond in a coal mine. Though I always say ‘books are my best friends’, but sadly books can never listen to my feelings or pat on my shoulders with a friendly gesture. We really need a friend in whom we can confide our feeling and thoughts which we usually can’t share with our parents. From ‘sholay’, ‘kuch kuch hota hai to dil chahta hai and yeh jawaani hai deewani, the spirit of friendship has stood the test of time. Whether it is rejoicing on convocation ceremony or crying over breaking up with a sweet heart, our friends are always there.

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Director karan johar redefined friendship in his directorial debut – kuch kuch hota hai with the iconic friends – rahul and anjali played by shahrukh khan and kajol. The first step of love starts with friendship and later on this concept was so much imbibed in girls that they always see ‘rahul’ in their close friend. You may never know that you will discover your soulmate in your friend. I have yet to find my anjali 🙂

God has given us just one small life. Why waste it in sadness and loneliness? Let’s reconnect with all the people whose presence matters a lot in our life. Even one true friend is enough for a lifetime.

Remembering madhubala

‘Working in Bollywood makes you famous, dying in Bollywood makes you a legend’ – movie quote

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Whenever I saw Hollywood actress Kate Winslet in magazines and movies, I noticed a very strange, uncanny resemblance to yester years actress – Madhubala. If you closely notice Kate Winslet, she had the same smile, shyness and elegance similar to madhubala. Even after several years since her death in 1971, she continues to rule the Indian cinema through her movies and performance. Even Marilyn Monroe couldn’t not match up to her beauty.

In terms of popularity, Madhubala equalled the Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe. The only thing common between Madhubala and Marilyn were their untimely deaths. Marilyn was found dead in mysterious circumstances while Madhubala died due to a prolonged illness of heart. Madhubala was just 36 years old when she passed away. Though today Bollywood is crowded by young charming actresses, but no one has able to bring that larger than life charisma like Madhubala did. Only actress Madhuri dixit was compared to Madhubala. Sadly, there is no biography movie made on life on Madhubala while Hollywood had made several movies on Marilyn.

Born on 14th February, 1933 in Delhi, Madhubala’s real name was Mumtaz dehalvi, a girl destined to rule Indian cinema and hearts of audiences, but ironically she was deprived of love in her personal life. An astrologer had predicted about madhubala that she will grow up to become a popular person in future, earning lots of fortune and fame, but will have a short life span. Despite being diagnosed with a hole in her heart, madhubala started working in movies at age of 8. Slowly with times, Madhubala got her first break in Neel  Kamal opposite Raj Kapoor. Then there was no looking back. She went on to become the leading and successful starlet in movies like Mahal, Gateway of India, Tarana, Mr and Mrs 55, Howrah bridge and the magnum opus – Mughal-e-azam. Though Bollywood gave her stardom, wealth and fame, but this beautiful actress yearned for true love and a happy life which was tragically cut short by her death due to heart disease.

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According to news articles and sources, actress Madhubala’s life and career was controlled by her over protective father who never allowed her to lead her life freely. Since she was the sole bread earner of the family, Madhubala sacrificed her emotions to upbring her family. But in the final years of life, she got married to actor and singer Kishore Kumar. Even this relationship didn’t go on a good phase. Kishore Kumar spent a fortune for treatment of her heart disease, but it got complicated since it had reached the final stage.
Madhubala passed away on 23rd February 1969 after a painful phase in her last years. According to critics, Madhubala’s enchanting beauty overshadowed her acting. She was just a eye candy for critics until she proved them wrong by delivering a mind-blowing performance as Anarkali in Mughal-e-azam. Among all the movies, Madhubala looked really beautiful in ‘barsaat ki raat’. Hope this article will be an eye opening inspiration for Bollywood filmmakers to make a biopic movie on life of Mumtaz Dehalvi whom the Bollywood knew by her name – Madhubala.