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From The Archives: Happy Birthday, Moushumi Chatterjee

Subhash K . Jha



Moushumi Chatterjee enchanted moviegoers in the 1970s with her childlike innocence and untarnished vivacity in films like Anurag, Kachche Dhaage,Roti Kapda Aur Makaan and Angoor. Over the years she has graduated to more mature roles. But her childlike exuberance remains intact.In conversation with Subhash K Jha

We last saw you in Shoojit Sircar’s Piku .What made you take up that role?
Because of Shoojit Sircar. I saw his two films Vickey Donor and Madras Café. I became his fan. He’s a brilliant director. He insisted he wanted me in the film.Whatever I did in Piku the credit or discredit must go to Shoojit.

Your co-star Mr Bachchan says you haven’t changed at all?

Main paagal tthi abhi bhi paagal hoon.

You recently did two films in Bengali with Aparna Sen. How was that experience?

I got a lot of critical acclaim for those films. People saw that Moushumi Chatterjee could play roles of women far older than her. I am thankful to Aparna Sen.I believe Aparna tried other actresses like Jaya Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore and Raakhee Gulzar for the role in The Japanese wife. But it was my destiny to do the role.

You did some wonderful films in your time. Happy when you look back?

I always feel I’ve got more than I deserve. I was never career-driven. But circumstances were such that I got married and immediately started working. I balanced on the two boats of home-making and acting quite well. If I may say so myself. My family was not unhappy.I remember in the beginning of my career my father-in-law(the great composer-singer Hemant Kumar Mukherjee) was very supportive.Somehow I managed.

There is a little girl in you that remains intact to this day?

Raj Khosla with whom I did Kachche Dhaage and Daasi said that. I am childlike but not childish. Every person has a child within. You’ve to nurture that child, make sure it is healthy and it lives.I am blessed to remain childlike after so many years in this industry.

You opted out of Gulzar’s Koshish after shooting for the film.Why?

I’ll give you a brief answer and you will have to read between the lines. When it came to my self-respect I’d never compromise for any role. It could be Koshish or any other film…I was not here to form relationships. I came to the film industry to work. I could never do anything that would have made me lose respect for myself. Whenever such a situation arose I quickly opt out.

And yet you did some fantastic films?

That’s because God makes sure no injustice is done. If in spite of my determination to never compromise with my conscience I could still do quality work that can only mean God was on my side.At the end of the day I could sleep with a clear conscience.

I believe stars like Rajesh Khanna were upset because you didn’t pamper their ego?

I could never do that. Our industry has remained male-dominated.Even today it is the same. Forget about the entertainment industry in every walk of life women have to deal with the male ego. Men behave either like a 6-year or a 60-year old.Some stars back then saw too much success too soon.They couldn’t handle the success.

Which among your films were your favourites?

I don’t remember them all. Sometimes I hear a song I like then my daughters tell me it is from my film.I like films like Anurag,Kachche Dhaage…down South I did some good films like Sawarg Nark and Swayamvar.Some films that didn’t click are my favourite, like Basu Chatterjee’s Us Paar.Then I did a good role in Basu Chatterjee’s Manzil which is to this day remembered for the song Rimjhim gire saawan.While working together again after so many years in Piku we remembered that song.

What was it like working with Mr Bachchan again after so many years?

His level of enthusiasm remains undiminished. He is like a newcomer, so professional at his age , it’s really admirable.

What about you?

I am a dedicated worker.One has to be serious about one’s work.Give me work worth doing and I’m all for it. There are certain dos and don’t’s that I follow. I hate unpunctuality.

Are your daughters interested in movies?

The elder one Payal is working with Disney. The younger one Megha did two films. But now she’s a social activist.

If the daughters are as pretty as their mother they should be facing the camera?

Everyone comes with her own destiny. I was very lucky. I don’t know how I’ve lasted so long. I’ve no marketing team, no secretary. I never ask for roles. But they still come to me. It’s a miracle.I never pandered to anyone’s ego, made people angry because of my uncompromising attitude. No one can tell me what to do or not to do. Either you convince me. Or you get convinced by me.I like it when people who have wronged me realize their mistake.

Who among the current actresses do you like?

My all-time favourite is Kajol. And before her I like Tabu.And before these two I like Nutan and Durga Khote.

If your first film Ballika Badhu were to be re-made today whom would you like to be cast?

I don’t see any contemporary heroine can play a 14-year old bride. When I did the film they had to pad me up.I used to get very annoyed by the saree. I was told when the director shouted pack-up I could take it off. I was such a child that when the director said ‘Pack up’ I’d begin to throw off the saree on the set. They had to drag me to the makeup room.Where would you find that innocence today?

Any unfulfilled wish?

Yes, I want to get a maid and cook for my home. Right way.

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“If the BJP Decides To Field Another Candidate So Be It,”says Shatrughan Sinha

Subhash K . Jha



Shatrughan Sinha 
"If the BJP Decides To Field Another Candidate So Be It,"says Shatrughan Sinha

If you think the irrepressible Shatrughan Sinha is fazed by rumours of his parent-party the BJP fielding another candidate from his long-standing constituency, the Patna Sahib then you have another think coming.

Unperturbed by the reports of a final break with the BJP Shatrughan Sinha chuckles, “This is politics. Anything can happen. And if – and mind you, I have no confirmation on this from my party-the high command decided to not have me as their candidate then fine. Aur bhi hain gham zamane mein mohabbat ke siva (there is more to worry about in this world than just love).”

However, the unstoppable politician-parliamentarian-actor makes it clear that he will contest the elections from Patna Sahib. “This is where I belong and this is where my supporters and well-wishers want me to stand for elections. So it doesn’ t matter how I get there. But I will be standing up as a candidate from my usual constituency. As for anyone who wants to take me on, I am all for a free and fair fight. But I repeat I am and always will be a faithful and loyal soldier of the BJP”.

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So is there any truth to rumours of Shatrughan Sinha joining hands with Arvind Kejriwal? Shatrughan chuckles mysteriously. “Like I said anything can happen in politics.”

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Was the Manto Release Sabotaged?

Subhash K . Jha



Manto Release Sabotaged
Was the Manto Release Sabotaged?

Nandita Das’s splendid study of Saddat Hassan Manto’s life and times was tentatively released last Friday. According to sources Nandita was not happy with the way Manto was marketed and released by her co-worker’s producers Viacom 18 Motion Pictures.

In fact, Manto did not get enough primetime show times and on Friday of release, the morning shows of Manto were cancelled in Mumbai. But Nandita shoots down all conspiracy theories. Says Nandita, “Yes, shows had to be cancelled on the day of release.

It was a technical glitch and I don’t think the other reasons cited have any evidence. “Nandita feels such conspiracy theories trivilialize the content of the film. “Rumours trivialize the real reasons. Unfortunately, these technical glitches will impact numbers which in turn impacts perceptions and the run of the film in theatres. After all, it did throw off the release on the much- anticipated first day. ”

She is happy with the way the film has been received. “Going by the incredible and heartwarming response, the audience can play an important role in the kind of films that reach them. They need to watch it in theatres for Manto and for the sake of other films that explore diverse stories. ”

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Nandita does admit Manto could have been marketed better “I wish it had a wider release with a more robust marketing plan as do mainstream commercial films. Then there is a greater level of playing the field. The word of mouth is strong and let’s hope for the best.”

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 Kapil Sharma In Detox Ashram

Subhash K . Jha



Kapil Sharma Coming Back To The Kapil Sharma Show
 Kapil Sharma In Detox Ashram

Kapil Sharma the comedy king in exile, is dead set on a comeback. He returns to his popular The Kapil Sharma Show this Diwali with a slew of comic talent to support the all-new Kapil Sharma Show.

As part of the preparation, Kapil has taken off to an ayurvedic ashram in Bangalore ( name of the venue withheld on request) for a full detoxification programme.

A source very close to Kapil reveals, “Kapil is off drinks and he needs to lose at least 15 kgs. He is at an ayurvedic ashram in Bengaluru for two weeks. He returns to Mumbai on October 28 to start preparing for his show.

Interestingly the inspiration to go for serious detoxification at an ayurvedic ashram came to Kapil from Twinkle Khanna’s new nifty novel Pyjamas Are Forgiving.

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Says a close friend of Kapil, “He went to the same ashram a year ago left the course incomplete and began drinking again. This time he is determined to sweat it out at the ashram because, as Kapil says, Akshay Paaji ‘s wife has recommended the treatment.”

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