Amar Prem – A movie that redefined relationships

A child deprived of mother’s love, a businessman deprived of wife’s love and a woman deprived of husband’s love. These three strangers find solace and affection in each other. Some relationships don’t have any name. All you just need is a tender and emotional heart to feel that relationship. Can you find a wife’s love and mother’s affection in a prostitute? Possibly not. Brothel is not a place for white collared people to visit. Bengali Author Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay composed a beautiful story of a prostitute through his short story – Hinger Kochuri which was later adapted for Bengali movie – Nishipadma and Hindi movie – Amar Prem featuring Sharmila Tagore and Rajesh Khanna.

The premise of this story is set in Bengal where a village woman named ‘Pushpa’ is abandoned by her husband for another woman. With no one to look after her, she is cheated by one of her relative who dumps her in one of a brothel in Calcutta. Deprived of wife’s love, a young businessman named Anand finds solace and compassion in Pushpa. He becomes her regular visitor with a hope to heal the wounds of his broken heart. At the same time, Nandu a small kid troubled by the harassment of his step mother finds motherly love in Pushpa who not only feeds him food but also gives her unconditional affection. Unaware of the occupation of Pushpa, this innocent Nandu become a regular visitor to Pushpa to gain motherly love. Here at this point, Pushpa forms a strong bond with Anand and the little kid Nandu. In the later time, all these three individuals go their separate ways. Nandu, now a grown up man returns to Calcutta as engineer with his wife and child. Here Nandu again meets Anand who used to pamper him with delicious samosas. They both together meet Pushpa who is now working as a servant. Anand unites Nandu with his foster mother Pushpa who gave him the mother’s love when he was deprived of motherly affection. What a beautiful story!!!

Despite being a prostitute, Pushpa offers her unconditional affection to Anand as a caring wife and as a mother to little Nandu. I found this story very unique; emotional that highlighted the emptiness of the people who are deprived of true love. Amar Prem is a milestone in history of Hindi cinema that highlighted the emotions of a prostitute and exposed the white collar people who visit such red light areas. The presentation of this story is so beautiful that one feels sympathy for the protagonist Pushpa who is forced to live life of a prostitute. For decent women of society, woman like Pushpa is an outcast, a sinner. But irony is that majority of people visiting the brothel are white collared, decent people.

 Through this movie, the director has showcased the dark side of decent society. I love the movie for its unique story, power house performances of Sharmila Tagore as Pushpa and Superstar Rajesh Khanna as the sad hearted businessman who wins the audience with his memorable lines – Pushpa, I hate tears. Late Actor Vinod Mehra played the role of grown up Nandu who later takes his foster mother from the shackles of poverty and gives her the honour of mother. Really, such relationships are beyond understandings. If you want to understand human emotions, read Bengali literature which has stored stories like Kabuliwala, Chokher Bali, Pather Panchali and Anand Math.

Kishoreda’s songs were instrumental in making this movie memorable. ‘Chingaari koi bhadke’ and ‘Kuch to log kahenge’ were the best songs composed by Burman.

The characters in this movie are larger than life and appear more real than real life people. You empathize with the emotional trauma these characters go through. Sometimes I connect with the character of little Nandu and Anand who yearn for heart felt affection. Who can understand their emotions better than a melancholic writer like me? The tears are still in my eyes. But I won’t shed a tear because I too hate tears.

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Rise and fall of Bollywood’s first superstar – Rajesh Khanna

‘The fault lies not in our stars, but in ours’ – Shakespeare

Lights, Camera, action….these three words have changed the lives of several struggling actors who aspired to make it big in the world of cinema. Indian cinema was ruled by several legends like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kumar and Dharmendra. Despite having so many talented legends, why was Rajesh Khanna conferred the title of superstar? He neither had a dynamic physique like Dharmendra nor did he have a strong presence like Dilip Kumar. So what made him stand apart from the crowd? Why the girls in that 70’s era were so mad about him? It was not just madness, it was hysteria.

Even today’s contemporary stars like Shahrukh, Salman and Ranbir don’t have those hysterical fans like Rajesh Khanna had. After ‘Namak Haram’, the charm and stardom of Rajesh Khanna started fading as he couldn’t accept the bitter truth that a new era of cinema had started with arrival of action movies and angry young man that changed the course of cinema. Who destroyed Rajesh Khanna? – His ego or the changing cinema trends. In his dark phase, his situation was no less than King Lear who was ignored, neglected and abandoned by the people who once worshipped him. After giving a successive 17 hits in a row, this first superstar was suddenly gone into oblivion. His failure came soon as his success. This article explores the man behind the superstar who arrived, conquered and was defeated.

I got familiar with his performance when I watched Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand on Doordarshan metro channel. The role of ‘Anand Sehgal’ portrayed by Rajesh Khanna was larger than life. This role was initially offered to shashi kapoor and Kishore Kumar, but unfortunately for some reasons they couldn’t take this offer. Even dharmendra wanted to be a part of this movie, but Hrishikesh zeroed on to Rajesh Khanna to play the titular role.

 This movie is a milestone in history of Indian cinema because Anand was not just a character for movie audience; but an inspiration to stay happy even in tough times. His dying moment in the movie ‘Anand’ left people tear-eyed. Rajesh Khanna was only the super star who owned a sports car during his struggling times. His original name was Jatin Khanna. He wanted to use the name ‘Jeetendra’ as his screen name for debuting in movies. When he realized that this name was already taken by his friend Ravi Kapoor, he settled on to pick Rajesh as his screen name. His earlier movies were flop. It was Aradhna that changed the destiny of Rajesh Khanna. After that there was no looking back. He is the only superstar to deliver 17 consecutive hit movies in a row.

‘Babu Moshay, Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahin’ – lines from movie ‘Anand’

During the shooting of Anand, Amitabh was a newbie struggler. It was Rajesh Khanna who had referred Amitabh to Hrishikesh for role of Dr. Bhaskar Banerjee in movie Anand. Little had he realized that Amitabh would replace him and become the next superstar. Amitabh’s struggle paid off with Zanjeer and he was the new ‘Angry young man’ of Indian cinema. Cinema was changing. People wanted to see a new hero who was a rebel and this reflected in Amitabh. He was a star overnight. In ‘Namak Haram’ Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh came together for the second time. This time, it was Amitabh who stole the show. Rajesh Khanna had a gut feeling that his days of stardom were numbered. Thus began a rivalry between Rajesh and Amitabh. Though Rajesh Khanna gave some hit movies like Avatar, Souten, Amrit and Kudrat, he was unsuccessful to retain back his stardom. His darkest hours followed by split up with his wife Dimple. He was a loner. During his successful years, he teamed up with Kishore Kumar and R.D.Burman to give successful movies like Aradhna, Kati Patang, Amar Prem and Kudrat. Kishoreda was his voice that rocked the music chart in 70’s. The voice of Kishoreda was very instrumental in making Rajesh Khanna a megastar. But the demise of Kishoreda in 1985 devastated Rajesh Khanna. He has lost his golden voice. Even his close friend – Jeetendra was well stable with movies like Himmatwala and Mawali. With no one to back him, he immersed himself in melancholia from which he never emerged.

I always wanted to write about movie ‘Anand’ in my blog. But every time, I started to write, one or other office or personal work brought disturbance to my creative process. Ironically I got the inspiration to write the story after hearing the news of his demise on July 17th 2012. The golden era of Rajesh Khanna ended with his death. I was left in shock and tears. After coming back from office, my fingers started typing the story of Anand fiercely. It was the loss of the superstar that gave me inspiration to write the article. Sorrow has always been instrumental in creating masterpieces. My article was not a masterpiece, but it was a tribute to a forgotten superstar who once ruled the cinema with his charm. His memorable line from movie Amar Prem was -‘Pushpa, I hate tears. His role from movie ‘Amar Prem’ reflected his melancholia. He wept in his heart, but couldn’t see anyone weeping.

Legends like Rajesh Khanna can never be forgotten. He still lives on in the hearts of his innumerable fans. Hope you all will like this story of a forgotten superstar who still rules the Indian cinema through his memorable movies.

A soldier’s love story

Far away from the cities, surrounded by hills, icy mountains, a soldier is always awake on the battle front guarding the border from the enemies. Braving all the odds, he never blinks an eye. I wonder what keeps these melancholic soldiers going so strong. The memories of his family, his beloved keep him motivating to guard the nation. The photograph of his sweet heart – (it may be his wife or a long lost soul mate) which keeps him closer to her.

A photo of Captain Vikram Batra during his posting at Kargil War

A photo of Captain Vikram Batra during his posting at Kargil War

While I was researching data while preparing for a story on Kargil war, I came across a love story that stood the test of time in hours of pain, separation and tears. This story is of late Captain Vikram Batra, the Great War hero of Kargil and his soul mate Dimple. Vikram had met Dimple during his college days at Punjab University. It was love at first sight. After completing his graduation, Vikram applied for IMA. During his training in military, Vikram kept in touch with her via letters and phone.

Vikram was committed to his love. He had made a vow that once the Kargil war is over, he will get married to Dimple. But this love was short-lived. After capturing point 5140, Captain Vikram Batra was assigned to capture the peak – point 4875. This battle for conquering 4875 turned out to be the last battle of Captain Batra. He died while conquering point 4875 from the intruders. He took bullet on his heart for his team mate. Captain Vikram Batra breathed his last on 7th July 1999 on the soil of Kargil. His death was a big tragic blow to his family and Dimple who awaited his return. He did return, wrapped in tricolor flag. His twin brother Vishal Batra couldn’t gather up the courage to reveal the news of Vikram’s martyrdom to Dimple.

Dimple attended the funeral of Captain Vikram Batra. It was the last time she was seeing him. Dimple decided never to get married. She still lives on, dedicating her life to teaching and keeping Vikram Batra’s memories safe in heart. The cupboard of Dimple is adorned with letters and gifts Vikram had presented her.

Really in memories, love lives forever. I salute Captain Vikram Batra and his undying love for his country. I even respect the commitment of Dimple who dedicated her life in memories of Vikram.

Anuj Nayyar was one more soldier in Kargil war who had high hopes to get married once he returned back from war. Anuj and Vikram Batra were posted in the same regiment and were great friends. Before heading for his mission of capturing 4875, Anuj requested his senior officer to keep the engagement ring safely with him. He never wanted his engagement ring to fall in the hands of enemy. Anuj was recently engaged. The senior officer kept Anuj’s engagement ring with a prayer for safe return of Anuj. Sadly, Anuj Nayyar died on 7th July 1999 while capturing point 4875. A heavy grenade hit Captain Anuj and he breathed his last remembering his love. Captain Anuj never returned to take back the ring.

Photo of Captain Anuj Nayyar

Photo of Captain Anuj Nayyar

My eyes were wet with tears when I read these two stories. What a commitment!! Nowadays I hardly see such passion and commitment in relationships. Today love happens on Facebook and ends on Whatsapp. Whenever I feel melancholic, I gaze at the photograph of my sweetheart who is no more with me. Though I am in office, I feel like a soldier stationed at border. I recount the beautiful moments I spent with her. I aspire to be a soldier someday in my next lifetime and wish to have the same sweetheart waiting for my return from war.

I hope after reading these two inspiring stories of love and commitment, you all will stay committed to your relationships and remember the great heroes who fell on battlefield for our nation. Love lives forever in memories.

Understanding the myth behind the Monday blues

Monday. A fresh new start after a lazy weekend. But why majority of office going people are scared, bored and tired of waking up on Monday? Monday, a day more terrifying than apocalypse, dooms day and tsunami. This is what every office going person thinks. Especially on Monday, office going people get late to arrive in office.

monday-blues 1

The moment they settle down in desk, their inbox is bombarded with countless mails that will make their head spin. Boom!!!!! The day itself will start with meetings – reporting to team lead, hearing criticisms, plan for week and scuffle with team members on assigned tasks. The day continues with stressful hours, sipping tea and working till 8.30 or 9. This is the scenario of mourning Monday. Is Monday really that scary day or have we magnified it with our inner fears? Frankly speaking, Monday is just another day of seven days week. After relaxing for two days, our mind is not mentally prepared to start for work. It’s just normal. It is not the fear of Monday that scares us but the approach of people around in the workplace that makes it tiresome.

Majority of team leads in a corporate environment treat their team like a working machine. Bombardment of criticism is one factor that drains the enthusiasm of an energetic employee. No matter how he excels in work, he is always underrated. This is the scenario of every employee working in a corporate firm. He swallows the insult like a poison and keeps on working without showing any grudges or resentments. If a workplace is full of encouraging ambience, the employees will be willing to work beyond the call of duty. The work pressure on employees is so stressful that every day seems like Monday. If an employee gets an encouraging feedback even for his small accomplishments, the Mondays won’t be terrifying anymore. This is the first scenario of the Monday blues.

monday blues 2

Spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and PDF documents look scarier than nuclear weapons on Monday mornings. The reason is our negligence or procrastination. Majority of people push their Friday works to Monday. Result is chaos, confusion and stress. Why push the work for tomorrow which you can complete it today? Organizing and planning in work will surely put your schedule on a peaceful pace. You don’t have to work in a hassle. Once you accomplished your work on Friday, Monday will give you space to plan your next objectives, share your ideas with your team mates and have a great time.

For those who hate working on Monday, the day is more horrifying than Conjuring or natural disasters. Seriously, Monday is the beginning of happiness, recreation, action, motivation and joy. Sadly, we count our troubles more than our blessings.
It is the weekday that gives us our butter and bread. There is no happiness in the world than getting your salary credited on 5th or 7th of the month. So, let’s enjoy the weekend and drive away the Monday blues.

Phantom – The untold story of unsung heroes

Motion Picture – Phantom
Language – Hindi
Date of Release – Aug 2015
Adaptation – Based on S.Hussain Zaidi’s novel – Mumbai Avengers
Director – Kabir Khan
Cast – Saif Ali Khan & Katrina Kaif

Phantom_Hindi_Poster

The 2015 movie – Phantom is a tribute to the unsung heroes who neither get a medal for their dare devilry nor is their identity known to the world. Even the Indian ministry doesn’t pay heed to their heroism. Who these heroes really are? They don’t have uniforms like the Indian soldiers or city cops. They don’t have any ranks or badges. These heroes are the undercover spies, agents or informers who work for nation but never get any reward from their own country.

Phantom is one such story of a disgraced military officer named Daniyal Khan who is court martialled from army for his wrong decisions during an action at war front. Leading an anonymous life, Daniyal Khan has no hopes to return back to action. A secret mission by RAW brings Daniyal Khan from anonymity to action. Daniyal accepts this mission only on the condition that after completion of this secret mission, he will be given his honour back in his regiment. Assigned with a deadly mission to eliminate the conspirators, Daniyal Khan joins hands with his team mate Nawaz Mistry to track down all the four conspirators responsible for striking terror. To hunt down the conspirators, Daniyal assumes a false identity and eliminates each conspirator without leaving only clue. The first two conspirators are eliminated by Daniyal through a strategy where the victim’s death is pronounced as natural. But during this action, Daniyal Khan is chased by agents of neighboring countries who suspect him as the mastermind behind these actions. What follows later is Daniyal’s dare devilry mission to track the remaining two conspirators and eliminate them before he is tracked down by the enemies. Daniyal succeeds in hunting down the ruthless consipirators but pays a price for his actions by giving his life for sake of nation.

Based on S.Hussain Zaidi’s novel – Mumbai Avengers, the 2015 movie – Phantom may be a work of fiction but has slice of reality to it. Phantom is a dark story of the unsung Indian agents who put their life at stake to safeguard our nation from terror attacks. Phantom is a high octane thriller which is made in the lines of movies like Zero Dark Thirty, The Lone Survivor, Munich & Black Hawk Down. A high applause to director Kabir Khan for making this brilliant patriotic thriller and showcasing the risky lives of Indian spies. Saif Ali Khan shines as Daniyal Khan in this motion picture and makes his role believable with a mind blowing performance. The highest point of this movie is the emotional climax which is sure to bring patriotic goose bumps. The role of Saif Ali Khan in Phantom seems to be inspired by real life spy Ravindra Kaushik whose code name was ‘Tiger’. Ravindra Kaushik was betrayed and was later imprisoned. He died as an unsung hero for India. Sadly his story was never known to country men in full detail. Even the 2012 movie – Ek Tha Tiger was loosely based on Ravindra Kaushik. Phantom is based on real life heroes and incidents and is sure to entertain you with its inspiring patriotic story line.

The only weak part of this movie is that it doesn’t follow the storyline as per the book. The book had six protagonists as spies while the movie has only one hero handling this mission. If you expect patriotic dialogues from this movie, then you will be disappointed. The movies focuses more on execution than on dramatic dialogues we saw in 80’s and 90’s movies like Kranti. Only Saif Ali Khan is the saving grace in the movie. The movie needed at least two heroes to bring more action and excitement to the storyline. Despite these flaws, Phantom is worth watching for its own style of presentation which reminds you of movies like Munich, Zero Dark Thirty and Green Zone.

Once you have watched Phantom, do check out these movies – D-Day, Baby, Holiday, Hurt Locker, The Lone Survivor, Munich, Black Hawk Down, Saving Private Ryan and Zero Dark Thirty which have themes of patriotism to it.