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Posts Tagged ‘Shashi Kapoor’

I just love that uTv hand the graces the beginning of the Indian movies, don’t you?  I love the tune that plays as the hand goes it to dip its fingertips into the paint.  That song castes its spell on me every time along with that hand.  I believe I’ve had so many positive experiences with uTv films that it’s a Pavlovian response: I see the hand, hear the tune and I’m transfixed!

Here’s how it starts…

Then she hovers just above the paint

She gentely dips her delicate digits into the paint and starts to drag her fingertips…

and it continues all the was across the surface until the film starts.

So who is this woman?  Who wrote the jingle for the uTv hand? How much are those bangles worth?  Does she own them or was she just given them for the shoot? Is she a hand model?   Is it the hand of a famous actress, perhaps that of a playback singer?  Who do you think this hand belongs to? So many questions.  If anyone out there knows the woman behind the hand, let me know because I’d love to interview her about her work.

I have a stigmata!

Now on the topic of hands, I don’t mean to brag, but I woke up a couple week ago and noticed a stigmata on my hand.  Yeah, that’s right a stigmata!  I haven’t done any hard labor to yield a wound to my hand, so it’s pretty obvious to me that it’s a stigmata and I may become sort of saint. (I coincidentally have an astigmatism.)  Now so far it’s just the one hand that has it, but I’m waiting for one to appear on the other hand perhaps in time for Holy Week. I’m also not counting out the possibility of being raptured, so If I disappear suddenly from earth and the blog, you know why.

For some more substantial blogging,  follow the dancing Shashi Kappor and click over to Beth Loves Bollywood for Shashi Week 2010!

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She was known as one of the most beautiful women in the world:anuradha.leela.5

anuradha.leela.9 Last month while checking my blog dashboard, I noticed skyrocketing hits searching a post I’d done a while back on The Householder (1963). Closer inspection revealed to me that the  search engine term that referred people to the blog was Leela Naidu.  It was then I read the news that she had died on July 28, 2009. Since I posted a few pictures of Naidu in The Householder post, people were coming to look at her.  Then I went ahead to look for more images of Naidu online and  I noticed that there weren’t too many, though Pitu Sultan has a few great ones HERE.   So as a public service, I went ahead to take some screen caps of this lovely woman from two more of her films.  I saw Anuradha (1960) from the beginning of her career and Trikaal (1985) from the end of her career.  In each of these films she played the suffering wife and looked and acted equally beautiful in both.

Here are a few images of Leela Naidu from Anuradha.  She begins the film as a famous singer:

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1960-f-AnuradhaAnuradha Roy (Leela Naidu), a noted radio singer and daughter of a rich man, falls in love with an idealistic doctor, Dr. Nirmal Chowdhary (Balraj Sahni), who serves the poor in the distant village Nanda gaon. After the marriage and a daughter, she realizes the gravity of the choice of living in a village, it is then she has to decide between her love and her love for city life. (source)

After marriage to a doctor (Balraj Sahni) assigned to work in a rural village, Anuradha (Naidu) loses here fame and stands around looking gorgeous, waiting for her husband to pay some attention to her:

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Extra credit in Anuradha:

There’s  a brief apperance by David, who is looking very young here.anuradha.david

Twenty five years after making Arunadha (1960), Leela Naidu starred in Trikaal (1985) , where she continued to look glamorous.

1462_17_TrikaalTrikaal (1985) (Past, Present and Future) is an Indian movie written and directed by Shyam Benegal, setin Goa during the early 1960’s (pre liberation) Period. The film starred yester years actress, Leela Naidu, in a comeback role after many decades. Set in 1961 Goa, when colonial rule of Portuguese was on its last gasp,  the movie revolves around the life and tribulations of a fictional Goan Christian family called “Souza Soares”. (source)

trikalExtra credit in Trikaal: You get to see Naseeruddin Shahas well as Kunal Kapoor. No not that Kunal Kapoor, but the Kunal Kapoor who is Shashi Kapoor’s son, playing Captain Rebeiro.  Can you see a resemblance? I believe I can.

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There were also some great subtitles.  I like seeing the use of “paining”:

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Anti European comments are always a pleasure:

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And, best of all, the use of the term spinster always makes me smile, since I am a spinster myself! Jai spinsters!

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Naidu is pictured here above with Neena Gupta and Anita Kanwar.  There was also an appearance by playback singer Alisha Chinai, who played a singer of all things.  trikal.alishaChinoy

The song performed was a nice love ballad in what I thought might be Portuguese, but is more likely in Konkani, but I couldn’t find it online, so allow me to substitute a completely unrelated Alisha Chinai song since I admit I love it, and I know you probably will too. So here’s the interval to this post:

~ INTERVAL ~

Teekay, the interval is finished, back to Trikaal. Naidu’s Dona Maria Souza-Soares  raises Milagrenia as her own child, even though she’s the child her husband fathers in one of his many affairs.  Kuta! The classy Dona Maria shares both her grief and wisdom over the loss of her husband with Milagrenia.

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The two women share seances and finally have a mystic vision leaving them at peace with their grief and confusion:

I was able to find some prophetic images from both films where we can imagine Naidu is speaking on the end of her own life on this earth:

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And perhaps talking about what’s going on with her now:

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And if you’d still like to see more of Leela Naidu…

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Rest in peace Leela Naidu.

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For a more in depth look into Naidu’s life, read Leela: A Patchwork Life, by Naidu along with Jerry Pinto, reviewed here by G Sampath in his article The importance of being Leela Naidu for  DNA.

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Happy Independence Day India!

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Here are Shashi Kapoor and Kader Khan from Ghar Ek Mandir (1984) wishing you you the same:

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While playing on the internet I came across the South Asia Citizens Web and a set of resources on the partition which brought me to this set of photos from the BBC  News below.


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And thanks to my Mumbaikar dost, Vaibhav, for sending the lovely images of prosperity of India, as he tells me, “these are the most beautiful words (Sanskrit) which all Indians are aware of.”  Enjoy!

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As part of Beth Love Bollywood’s Shashi Week 2009 I would like to add my humble contribution recognizing Mr. Shashi Kapoor’s greatness in Merchant Ivory’s The Householder (1963).   Since it’s the end of the Shashi week, I thought it fitting to show images from The Householder, since it captures Shashi at the beginning of his career. The DVD I watched of the film included a 2003 interview with Shashi as part of the Conversation with the filmmakers,so there’s also an almost current version of Shashi.

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This segment included stills of  the 25 year old Shashi, here pictured with the late Ismail Merchant. Skip ahead to 2003 and  an older and wiser pashmina wearing Shashi is captured. Shashi then and now:

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In this 2003 interview Shashi talks about how Merchant approached him for the part but the screen writer and novelist Ruth Prawar Jhabvala at first rejected him because she thought he was too good looking for the part. He describes going out and getting a budget, more pedestrian looking haircut to make him more suitable for the role.  Here’s a bit about how the Merchant Ivory site describes the film:

Filmed entirely on location in Delhi, The Householder is a comedy that revolves around Prem (Shashi Kapoor), a young teacher at a boys’ college who has been married to the beautiful but retiring Indu (Leela Naidu). Little more than a boy himself, at least in the face of his imperious, impossible mother (Durga Khote), Prem struggles with the burden of his responsibilites as a husband and, when Indu becomes pregnant, with his impending duties as a father. Prem’s fumbling and his mother’s constant belittling become too much for Indu to bear, and she leaves her husband to return to her family home. Left alone with his mother (who delights in her newfound umbilical arrangement), Prem seeks enlightenment from an older married man, from a swami, and from Westerners who have come to India with orientalist illusions and Silk Road naivété. Only then, in Indu’s absence, does Prem fall in love with his wife. (source)

Enjoy these images of Shashi’s Prem in the first part of The Householder, acting like a young married brat complaing to his wife:

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Complaining about his wife:

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I’m not house-proud either Shashi, I mean Prem.  In fact, I’m avoiding housework by blogging about YOU!  Prem even wishes his wife were more like a film star:

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Not me Prem/Shashi,  I hadn’t heard of Nimmi, so I looked her up HERE.  I will make sure to see one of her films now that I know about her.  He keeps bad company who provide poor advice about women and marriage:

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Eventually Prem comes around to appreciate the lovely Indu (Leela Naidu), who gives him the love and support he needs. (more on Leela HERE)

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And they lived happily ever after:

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Merchant Ivory’s site included an great article entitled, There, Where It All Began,  from the Delhi Times on how Merchant, Ivory and Kapoor started their partnership, which includes some of the following plus a photo of Shashi:

It is a long, winding road that leads to 7/7, Daryaganj. Equally long-winding is the celluloid history of yesterday-today1this house, dating back as it does to 41 years. But for three men – Ismail Merchant, James Ivory and Shashi Kapoor – this house is not just about celluloid history: it is about a partner ship which was forged on February 24, 1962 – a partnership which has stood the test of time. For this huge house is where Merchant, Ivory and Kapoor canned the first shot of The Householder – the movie which brought them together for the first time…While sipping on a glass of cola, Ivory points to the beverage and reminisces, “This was the one thing that kept me alive through those 10 weeks of shooting here.” “Yeah! You were always so quiet and bothered,” says Kapoor. “Absolutely, I was always standing under the fan,” confirms Ivory. Having returned to the roots of a 40-year bond, the thoughts of the three men is insightful. How do they feel? “Old,” laughs Kapoor. “Good,” quips Merchant. “Happy,” says Ivory, and gets a picture clicked on what was his first film set. (source)

If you get a chance to see The Householder, go on to see Merchant Ivory’s Heat and Dust (1983),  featuring Shashi playing the part of a scoundrel nawab, which I featured in THIS POST.  Hey, it’s not bollywood, but it stars Shashi, so that’s close enough for me. Now head over to Beth’s site to continue your celebration of Shashi Week 2009 ! Then stop over to Apni East India Company to enjoy more Shashi action! And the jump to Roti Kapada aur Rum for even more Shashi! And here’s one more for the road:

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Heat and Dust (1983) is a Merchant Ivory Productions award winning film, with a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based upon her novel, Heat and Dust. It was directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant. Ivory performed tanpura for score music with Zakir Hussein‘s sitar. According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications there was “a cycle of film and television productions which emerged during the first half of the 1980s, which seemed to indicate Britain’s growing preoccupation with India, Empire and a particular aspect of British cultural history”. In addition to Heat and Dust, this cycle also included The Jewel in the Crown (1984) and A Passage to India (1984). (wikipedia)

Heat and Dust (1983), could I call that Bollywood?

OK Shashi is right, it isn’t Bollywood, but it’s set in India and stars Shashi Kapoor, so that’s good enough for me. I got it from my local library and it’s as part of The Criterion Collection, which never disappoints. I had read the book by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and then realized that there was a movie, which apparently was a huge hit in Europe, and other parts of the world but wasn’t widely distributed in the US, which is why I wasn’t familiar with it. Here’s a case where I enjoyed the book and movie equally. If you get a chance to see it, be sure and listen to the commentary version to hear interesting things the producer, director and actors recall about the shooting of the film. The DVD booklet described the film as follows:

Heat and Dust was adapted for the screen by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from her Booker Prize-winning novel, and tells two stories in parallel through the use of splicing and juxtaposing of scenes. Flashbacks, and flash-forwards, which connect the Indian past (in the romantic 19203) and present (the 1970s). In the first story, Olivia (Greta Scacchi), a junior administrator’s wife, has an affair with a local Nawab (Shashi Kapoor) that shocks the British community, and at the end she goes to live alone in a mountain retreat. The second involves her great niece Anne (Julie Christie), who comes to India to research Olivia’s life and on a different level repeats her experience, becoming pregnant by her Indian lover Inder Lal (Zakir Hussain) and traveling finally to the retreat in the mountains where Olivia had ended her days and where she herself hopes to bear a child.

I enjoyed seeing Shashi starring in a movie with his real life wife, Jennifer Kendal. Kendal died in 1984, and this movie was made in 1983, so this was one of her last films.

Kendal had a very Bollywood-esque character who got to say some racist dialogue. She warns the young Olivia to be careful, since she knew a British woman who had been molested by and Indian, “since he’d been ironing her underwear, after all. And they eat all that spicy food,” said Mrs. Saunders. She goes on to say:

Now that’s very Bollywood, isn’t it? To have a racist Britisher saying outlandish and offensive things. Another Bollywood moment was when I saw this actress, and knew I’d seen her before but couldn’t place it. She was marvelous and really captured my attention, even though her part was small. Do you recognize this woman? Not Julie Christie, but the woman with the bindi?

It’s a young Ratna Pathak, (wife of Naseeruddin Shah) who I last saw in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, playing Jai’s (Imran Khan) mother. And the final Bollywood ingredient to Heat and Dust was the inclusion of hijra.

Well Shashi,

I’ll tell you what a hijra is,

“In the culture of the Indian subcontinent, a hijra (Hindi: हिजड़ा, Urdu: حجڑا) is usually considered a member of “the third sex” — neither man nor woman. Most are physically male or intersex, but some are female. Hijras usually refer to themselves linguistically as female, and usually dress as women. Although they are usually referred to in English as “eunuchs”, relatively few have any genital modifications.” (wikipedia)

Watch the trailer and look at what Siskel & Ebert had to say here.

Read Ashmita‘s review of the book here.

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