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Dilip Kumar Is No More, Lost one of the Greatest Actor Ever! 4 Dilip Kumar Is No More, Lost one of the Greatest Actor Ever! 5

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Dilip Kumar Is No More, Lost one of the Greatest Actor Ever!

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Time did  finally run out on Dilip Kumar. Farewell, Maestro. You are the greatest actor, ever.

Every time I met India’s greatest actor,  Dilip Kumar ,  I was struck by how magnetic  he looked. Yes,  Dilip Kumar   was every bit  the matinee idol that no longer exists in  our cinema. He was erudite and  mischievous.  He  could speak on Einstein and breasts all in the same breath.  He could also give any Brando or de Niro a run for their money with his ageless performances.

And then in the last ten years  of his life he couldn’t  recognize anyone.

But let’s not even go there right now.

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 The Thespian who re-wrote every rule of acting in mainstream Hindi cinema hardly looked his age. I remember  meeting him on   his 80th birthday. That trademark twinkle in those eloquent  eyes remained where it was. The face crinkled up into a 5-year old’s innocent smile and the words flow in a constant stream-like rush of  urgent expressions.

On the day of his  80th birthday there was a constant rush of callers and visitors. Admirers and friends like Yash Chopra, Dharmendra and even the elusive Rekha whom Dilip Kumar and his attentive wife Saira  Banu hadn’t met for three years, had dropped in  to wish their favourite actor and his wife at their Pali Hill bungalow in Mumbai.

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When he was    80  and  you tell him  he looks no more than 60, Dilip Kumar almost blushes and retorts, “Oh, the news that I’m now 80 is just a rumour.”  When you tell him you’d  like to look like he does when you reach his age he smiles, “This body is mine. And bearing its burden has become quite a task.”

In spite of childlike chuckles and bubbling banter  (“I shamelessly use  Saira’s mobile all the time and burn up precious airtime. I shouldn’t be doing be doing that, y’know”) there was a sheen of sadness surrounding this ageless acting genius in his  80s.

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Dilip Saab never considered  himself the greatest  actor.

He once told me, “There might be  many better actors than me. I’ll tell you , I had no training and I wouldn’t have  dared to venture into films were it not for my family’s financial conditions.  The Second World war was extremely hard on the horticulture business . My father would grow apricots, grapes, pomegrenates, apples and peaches. He would get those fruits tinned. He would proudly show me the size of the fruits and say, “This is what I want you to grow, Yusuf. Because you’re my most intelligent son.” He wanted me to be educated so I could enhance  the family business. A friend of my father Fateh Mohammah Khan had been honoured by the Queen. My father wanted to show the Britishers that he could grow fruits as good as his friend without being a toddy.I was always very business minded. I loved the family business.  But it was a very tough life . The entire process from plucking to  despatch  was very cumbersome . Bahut mushqil tha. I had to get another job with a decent salary. That’s  where  acting came in handy.”

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Yusuf Saab recalls how disappointed his father was when  young  Yusuf   decided not to join the family’s fruit-growing business. “He was very annoyed  when I got into films. But then he heard other people whom he respected relishing the idea. Once Maulana Azad  whom everyone revered, heard my father commenting caustically on one of his sons drifting into films,  and what to do? Maulana Saab intervened on my behalf and said there’s no telling what  the future holds for anyone. He also told my father to be proud of his son’s achievements  and implored him to be patient with my aspirations. I had no training in acting  whatsoever and I wouldn’t have  dared to venture into films were it not for my family’s financial conditions.  The Second World War was extremely hard on the horticulture business and I had to supplement the family income.”

And now when the nation seems on the brink of a chaos the  brilliant actor sees nothing but a bleak future staring into his face. “Believe me, iss qadar jee bharaa hua hai ke hum poochte hain hum kahan ud ke jayen? Where can I go to escape the barbarism of my own people It’s heartening  to think  that even today there are rational elements , specially among the younger generation whom one sees   challenging the politicians  of the country, asking them where they intend to take us.”

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Yusuf Saab was particularly worried about the future of the Indian Muslim. “The  Muslims   will soon become a part of  history. Every civilization is cyclic and must end. My personal view is, that the Indian Muslim population  may eventually be annihilated. But it won’t end there. The process of destroying civilizations will continue.  I too am a Muslim. I  worship my Maker the same way as you do. I never think that my God is separate from yours. My Quran says there are many apostles like Muhammed and we shouldn’t discriminate against them.  I read the Bhagavat Gita and the Vedanta with as much reverence as the Quran.  The messages in our holy book and yours are identical. Kyon kha-ma-kha mein donon mein discrimate karoon?”

He ruled out an active political career for himself. “It’s a venue for  screaming and indiscipline.  Ek aadmi kuch bhi nahin kar sakta. He can perish in trying to make his voice heard. I no longer have that  much energy. I used to make 10-12 rounds of Jogger’s Park during my morning walks. But now I can no longer go beyond three rounds. I can see time ticking away.”

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The Government of India honoured  Dilip Kumar with:
2015 – India’s second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, for his contributions towards Indian cinema
2000–2006 – Elected to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament.
1994 – Dadasaheb Phalke Award
1991 – India’s third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan, for his contributions towards Indian cinema
1979–1982 – Appointed as the Sheriff of Bombay by the Governor of Maharashtra, India for the period
1998 – Government of Pakistan honoured him with its highest civilian honour, the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Order of Excellence).
Till 2000s Kumar was the only actors to have won 8 Filmfare Best Actor Awards until his record was shared by Shahrukh Khan by mid 2000s.
From the Independence of India to late 2010s Kumar held the record of giving the highest number of box office grossing films(9 films) until his record was broken by Salman Khan by delivering 10 films. But when adjusted for inflation, the record remains with Kumar. His historical movie Mughal-E-Azam is the highest-grossing film (equivalent to 2000 crores in 2015) in India when adjusted for inflation.
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Pathaan Collects 55 crore nett in India On Day 1

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Pathaan

YRF’s Pathaan has apparently wiped out all previous records as it collected 55 crore nett in India and recorded the biggest ever Day 1 for a Hindi film. The total collections of Pathaan on Day One is 57 crore nett (Hindi – 55 crore and dubbed versions 2 crore).

It is the widest Hindi release of  all  time in India and also the highest grossing 1st Day for a   Hindi film.It is  also the  highest grosser  on the  first first for a  non-holiday release. Pathhan is  also the highest  opener for Shah Rukh Khan.

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Akshaye Widhani, CEO of Yash Raj Films, says, “It is a historic day for Indian cinema and we are humbled to see the love and appreciation that is flowing for Pathaan globally. For Pathaan to shatter records in this fashion on a non holiday, just proves that the theatrical business is here to stay, provided we make films that entice people to come to the cinemas to witness a never seen before experience that entertains them thoroughly.“

He adds, “We, at YRF, are thrilled with the start that the film has got across India and we are hopeful that Pathaan brings joy to cine-goers globally in the days to come! Pathaan is the fourth film of our YRF Spy Universe and we are thrilled that we have been able to elevate the cinematic experience of audiences with each film from this franchise. We humbly share this moment with all the stake-holders of the film who have given their blood, sweat and tears to give people a movie-going experience like never before.”

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“Professionally, What  A Year It Has Been For Me,” Raveena Tandon On Her Padma Shri

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Raveena Tandon

Raveena Tandon  feels  she is in a dream. “I woke  up  today to the  news that  I have been awarded the Padma Shri by  my Government. I felt all my years  of hard work  has  finally come to  fruition.I can’t wait to get  back to Mumbai.”

Raveena  is  in Bhopal attending a  wedding.  “I woke  up  on Thursday morning to the good news. My husband(film distributor Anil Thadani) who is in Mumbai had no clue about it. I had to inform him that his wife is now Padma Sri Raveena,” she laughs heartily.

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She then grows  melancholic. “The past one year has been a whirlwind  for me. Professionally, it couldn’t get any better. My webseries Aranyak on Netflix  and  then the bigscreen  blockbuster KGF 2 where I played one of the protagonists , became huge  successes.Sadly,it  was  also the year that  I lost my father(well-known producer-director Ravi Tandon). It was  the severest blow of my life.I am still processing the loss. The Padma Shri would have made  my Dad so proud.”

Remind her  she is  still young and already a Padma winner and Raveena expresses  her  happiness. “I guess I am lucky to have received the honour at the  midpoint of my life and career. I am also very happy that M M  Keeravani Sir has  also received the Padma Shri.His Naatu naatu has  the  world dancing to his tune. But even  before Naatu naatu he has done such exemplary work.”

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Getting nostalgic Raveena  says, “I started working when I was 17.I have done every kind of  cinema, balancing out a Chote Miyan  Bade Miya  with  a Shool, a Rakshak with a  Ghulam-e-Mustafa,  a Bulundi and a Khauff with a Daman and an Aks. It’s  always been  my endeavour to be be seen in escapism and  real cinema. Some people think dancing around trees  and  doing the masala  stuff is easy.  It is  not!  In fact  being real on screen is far easier.”

Raveena feels the  good days  are  back in the entertainment  industry. “I saw Pathaan and  I whistled  and clapped the loudest. It is  an out-and-out mass entertainer and bound to revive the  sagging fortunes  of  our industry.  While the Padma Shri is a personal triumph,  the success of Pathaan  is  a happy occasion for the entire industry.So yeah, I am on top of  the world,”

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Raveena’s fans  would like to know her khubsoorati  ka raaz.

She  laughs, “It’s nothing more than sleeping and eating right. I  try to eat  correctly. I have only  organic  food. More  importantly,I am happy and secure in life. If you are content within it is  bound show on your face.”

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5 Most Relevant Patriotic Songs

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 Ae mere watan  ke logon

  1.  Ae mere watan  ke logon:  Lataji  speaks on  the most beloved  patriotic   song  of the  country: “Kissko pataa tha yeh gaana logon ko itna pasand ayega?(who knew the song would be so much liked by people?).When Ae mere watan ke logon was being created we never thought it would become such an imperishable patriotic anthem.I recall vividly that cold winter evening in Delhi when I sang the song as part of the Republic Day celebrations in front of an audience that comprised President S. Radhakrishnan, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and so many other distinguished guests. It was Pradeepji,the poet who wrote the immortal lyrics , who came to me and asked me to sing the song. I declined because there was no time to rehearse and prepare to sing it in front of so many distinguished personalities.You see,at that time I was working round-the-clock. To give special attention to one song seemed impossible.We had very little time to get Ae mere watan ke logon ready.Rather than do a rush job I wanted to opt out. But Pradeepji said if I don’t sing Ae mere watan ke logon he would scrap the idea. I agreed. But I suggested we format  the song into a duet with me and Asha. But Pradeepji wanted it to be a solo.I insisted that we do it as a duet.In fact Asha had even rehearsed for  the song. But then days before we were to fly to Delhi she came to me and said, ‘Didi. I’m not coming to Delhi.’ I tried to convince her to change her mind arguing that her name had even been printed in the newspapers as one of the singers for Ae mere watan. But she was adamant.I told composer-singer Hemant Kumar who had actually orchestrated the whole Ae mere watan ke logon project about Asha’s decision to not accompany us to Delhi to perform the song. Hemantda also tried to convince Asha. Lekin woh nahin manee. Then it was left to me to rehearse alone for the song.Pradeepji told C Ramachandra who was composing the tune for Pradeepji’s words,about my predicament. C, Ramachandra informed us he had to be in Delhi at least 4-5 days in advance before our performance. So he was unable to rehearse  the song with me. Instead he gave me a tape of the number.I picked up the tune from the tape and flew to Delhi on 26 January with all the big names from the film industry. Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Mehboob Khan, Shankar-Jaikishan, Madan Mohan…we were all in one aircraft. I was listening to the tape with  C Ramachandraji’s rendition of Ae mere watan ke logon all through the flight from Mumbai to Delhi.I was accompanied by my best friend Nalini Mhatre.When we reached Delhi in the night I had a stomach ache. I asked Nalini how I’d sing in my condition. She told me not worry, everything would be fine.On 27 January we reached the venue. I sang two songs. The Bhajan Allah tero naam followed by Ae mere watan ke logon. I was much relieved to get it over with.After I finished my two songs, I went backstage to relax with a  cup of coffee unaware what an enduring impact the song had created. Suddenly I heard Mehboob Khan Saab calling for me.He caught hold of my hand and said, ‘Chalo, Panditji(Jawaharlal Nehru) ne bulaya hai’. I wondered why he wanted to see me.When I went out everyone including Panditji, his daughter Indiraji, Radhakrishnanji stood up courteously to greet me. Mehboob Khan Saab said, ‘Yeh rehi hamari Lata.Aapko kaisa laga usska gaana?’  Panditji said, “Bahut achcha . Mere aankhon mein paani aa gaya’.  They all complimented me. Then we were all invited to Panditji’s  home for tea.Some of us from the film industry including Shankar-Jaikishan, Raj Kapoor, Mehboob Khan, Dilip Kumar proceeded to Panditji’s residence. While the rest of the entourage spoke eagerly with Panditji I stood in a dark corner by the corner hesitant to make my presence felt. Suddenly I heard Panditji say, ‘Lata kaha hai?’. I kept standing where I was. Then Mrs Indira Gandhi came and took my hands saying, ‘I want you to meet two of your little fans.’ She introduced me to little Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi. They did Namaste and ran away.Then Panditji again asked for me. Mehboob Khan Saab came and took me near Panditji . Panditji asked, ‘Are you going to go back to Mumbai and sing Ae mere watan ke logon?’  I replied, ‘No, it was meant to be a one-off thing’. He wanted a picture with me. We posed for a keepsake and then I quietly left .I had to rush back because it was my sister Meena’s wedding in Kolhapur. When I returned to Mumbai the next day with my friend Nalini I had no idea that Ae mere watan ke logon had already become a rage. When we reached Mumbai the city and the media were buzzing with the impact that the song had made in Delhi, how Panditji broke down,  etc, etc. I attended a film premiere for a Marathi film where I had composed the music and the following day left for Kolhapur for my sister’s wedding .Away in Kolhapur I had no idea that the song was taking over the nation’s psyche. Who was to know that the song composed for a Republic Day function would have such an enduring impact? Only Pradeepji had faith in the song. He had prophesied to me, ‘Lata, tum dekhna yeh gaana bahot chalega. Log hamesha ke liye issey yaad  rakhenge.’ I didn’t take it that seriously.Since it was not part of a film I thought it would have a limited impact.Ae mere watan ke logon became my signature tune. No show of mine, no concert or event is complete until I sing Ae mere watan ke logon.I give full credit to Pradeepji for writing such powerful words. He wrote words that reverberated across the nation. We had just come out of a war defeat with China. Ae mere watan ke logon triggered emotions of great patriotic pride in every Indian.My regret is that Pradeepji had not been called for the Republic Day function where I sang the song to immortality.If he was there he would have seen with his own eyes what impact Ae mere want ke logon had created.”
  2. Kar chale hum fida  jaan-o-tann saathiyon(Haqeeqat): Kaifi Azmi wrote this   song for  the  soldiers  who lost their lives in the 1962  Indo-Chinese war. Jiyo Kaifi Azmi. Jiyo Madan Mohan. Jiyo Mohd Rafi! Haqeeqat director  Chetan Anand wanted  a  patriotic song  that  mankind would  remember  forever.He got it. Mohd Rafi poured his soul into this paean to patriotism written by Kaifi Azmi for Chetan Anand’s war film Haqeeqat. The long song is still so strong on sentiments, it moves listeners to tears every time.Madan Mohan loved composing desh bhakti songs. His other Rafi salaam to the nation was Meri awaaz suno in the film Naunihal composed when Pandit Jawharlal Nehru passed away.Says Kafi Saab’s daughter Shabana Azmi, “It is my favourite patriotic song. Kar chale hum fida jaan-o-tan saathiyon is the most definitive of all the patriotic songs. It gives me gooseflesh every time I hear it.My father  and Chetan Anand were  part of the same  likeminded  circle of friends . They believed  cinema  could change  society.”
  3. Mere desh ki dharti (Upkar): Manoj Kumar who directed and starred un Upkar recalls, “Meri desh ki dharti (‘Upkar’) happened when lyricist Gulshan Bawra  and  I  gone to a shrine to pay our respects. When we returned from the shrine in the car, Gulshan  was singing Mere desh ki dharti sona ugley… jawanon bhar bhar lo jholiyan… khushi se bolo boliyan?. I kept quiet as he hummed these lyrics.Two-three years later when I made Upkar, I went to music composer Kalyanji and narrated the script. I called Gulshan home and told him the situation. I recalled the lyrics I had heard him hum near the shrine?. It had stayed in my mind? I saw it as a great idea that needed to be improvised.But I didn’t like the lines Jawanon bhar lo jholiyan, khushi se bolo boliyan.I removed it from my Upkar song. Instead we had Meri desh ki dharti sona ugley ugle heere-moti. Both Kalyanji and Gulshan were hesitant. They said the ‘mukhda’ of a song couldn’t be of one line. But I was adamant.An hour later Gulshan, who was sitting in the next room jumped and said, ‘This is great’. Every filmmaker while writing a screenplay comes to a landmark point in the plot where he thinks a scene can be narrated musically. That situation is given to the lyricist and explained. That was how ‘Mere desh ki dharti’ happened.I always had the lyrics first, then the tunes. Gulshan had written another song Har khushi hai wahan in Upkar. He couldn’t write the whole song because he had to take my brother to  college in Ajmer. Gulshan himself told the media that the second stanza of Har khushi hai wahan was written by Aziz Kaifi and Manoj Kumar. Gulshan Bawra and I   were from the same village near Lahore (now in Pakistan). My chief assistant Sikandar was Gulshan’s cousin. So we bonded much beyond cinema. Filmmaker Kewal Sharma, cricket player Manmohan Sood, Gushan and I? we were good friends. Gulshan has only gone away physically. He was a wonderful man. He was a friend to everyone, never gossiped.,” Manoj Kumar recalled.Concludes Manoj, “Gulshan  Bawra  alive in every word of Mere desh ki dharti.That song is imperishable. When Mahendra Kapoor-ji, who sang Mere desh ki dharti, expired our former  prime minister Manmohan Singh said he would always be remembered for Mere desh ki dharti. It hurts to know so many people connected with that song – Kalyanji, Mahendra Kapoor and Gulshan Bawra – are no more.”
  4. Jo samar mein ho gaye amar(non-film) : Every Indian knows Lataji’s Ae mere watan ke logon. How many know this equally beautiful peerless paean to patriotism composed by the great and underrated Jaidev? Jo samar mein ho gaye amar , written by Narendra Sharma , one of the most favourite poet-lyricists of Lataji,is a profoundly moving tribute to our soldiers who give up their lived to keep us safe. Narendra Sharma writes, “Laut kar na aayenge vijay dilane wale veer/Mere geet anjali mein unke liye nayan neer..” Wah! Lataji sings the words with emotions that cannot be gauged in words. In my opinion, this is a superior patriotic number than the rightly celebrated Ae mere watan ke logon.Why? Because the words are sharper and more devastating. The tune to this non-film song is exceptionally elegant. And Lataji has seldom sounded better.There is one more reason why this immortal Jaidev  number  is exceptionally special.Both  the illustrious Mangeshkar  sisters Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle have  sung separate versions of  the same Jaidev composition. Take your pick.\
  5. Mere  Dushman Mere Bhai(Border): J. P. Dutta’s post-glasnost song of Indo-Pak unity sung with immense affection and anguish by Hariharan had Anu Malik pulling out all stops to create the perfect tune for Javed Akhtar’s outstanding poetry on across-the-border brotherhood.Says JP, “It wasn’t easy writing a song in Border that pleaded for sanity and amity between the two countries at a time when politicians were baying for blood. But I believe we needed a voice of sanity.  I certainly didn’t project anti-Pakistan sentiments in Border. The film was born out of my anguished comprehension of a complicated and tangled relationship between India and Pakistan. We’re brothers and yet we’re enemies.”
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Salman-Shah Rukh’s Hilarious Take On The Khan Hegemony

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Shah Rukh-Salman

One of  the highlights of watching Pathaan is to see and hear Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan discussing their  dominance  at the top of  the game  for what seems like a very long time.

 They admit to one another that they are  boneweary. But they  also admit that there is little  they can do to change the status quo ,because  there  is no one else to take over from them.

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“What about that one?”  Salman asks  SRK without naming anyone.

“What  about the other one?” asks Shah Rukh.

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Then they  both sigh and shake their heads  in the negative.

The  entire end-credits  exchange between  the two Khan  superstars in Pathaan  has taken the film industry  and the  audience aback.

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 Upon discreet inquiries on how that this ‘Tiger-Pathaan’ conversation  was incepted, it is revealed  that the  idea of  a self-deprecatory  conversation on their  longevous  stint  was producer Aditya Chopra’s  idea.

“He just wanted to make  a point, that  the Khans have their own untouchable place in the  film industry. The  younger actors  are  doing their own thing. But Salman-Shah Rukh-Aamir  are  in  a league of their own. Pathaan proves it,” says a source in the know.

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