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Javed Akhtar Pays A Tribute To His Father Legendary Poet-Lyricist Jaan Nissar Akhtar

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“He is known for his sharply uncomplicated film lyrics like ‘Ae dil-e-nadaan’ (‘Razia Sultan’), ‘Yeh dil unki aur nigahon ke saaye’ (‘Prem Parbat’), ‘Gham ki andheri raat mein dil ko na beqaraar kar’ (‘Sushila’), ‘Behkudi hadd se jab guzar jaaye’ (‘Kalpana’)…,” he said.

Javed says his father wrote meagerly for movies, not because he was not profilic but because he didn’t know how to sell himself to the film industry.

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“My father belonged to the old school. He didn’t believe in peddling his poetry to producers. He belonged to the old school of thought, gentle, humble, modest and self-respecting. He considered it beneath his dignity to approach people for work. He only spoke to people he was comfortable with. His poetry was revered but not marketed properly. Maybe if he was alive today, we’d have persuaded him to hire a business manager, ha ha…,” he said.

The father-son relationship was not ideal.

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“My relationship with my father went through very troubled times. He was of Communist ideology. An arrest warrant was issued against him and my father went underground in Mumbai while my mother was left behind to look after two very small children. I must have been 10-year-old when this happened. She was ill and bed-ridden in Lucknow, while my father was living as a paying-guest in Mumbai. So after our mother’s death, my brother and I couldn’t be taken to join him in Mumbai….Whatever little work he got in Hindi cinema was not enough to look after us children.”

“Then, after some time after my mother’s death, my father re-married. I am sorry to say my stepmother lived up to every stereotypical image of a stepmother. Compared to her, Cinderella’s stepmother was Mother Teresa. It was a pretty bad situation for me and my brother. When I came to Mumbai, I didn’t stay with him. Not that we didn’t meet cordially. In fact, we bonded over poetry.”

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“When I was 18, he recognised the poet in me and encouraged me to write. He would recite what he wrote to me and we’d discuss his poetry. He took my criticism seriously. And we spoke poetry like equals. I learnt a lot from me. But he was too timid to take a stand. Now when I look back, I realize my father’s shortcomings were understandable and excusable. Over the period of time, I’ve come to terms with the person that he was. I’ve washed away my bitterness,” said Javed.

He said his father’s endeavour was to make the Urdu language as transparent and accessible to the common man as possible.

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“There is a difference between the Lucknow and Delhi school of Urdu expression. The Delhi school uses a lot of Arabic and Persian words. But Lucknow, because of its proximity to the Awadhi culture, didn’t allow the Urdu to be influenced by Arabic and Persian. The Luknow Urdu poets like my father avoided Arabic and Persian words.”

“In fact, before my father there was very famous Lucknow poet named Arzoo Lucknowi. Somebody challenged him saying, ‘What’s Urdu without Arabic and Persian?’ Arzoo took up the challenge of writing a whole book of Urdu poetry entitled Sureeli Basuri without using a single word of Arabic or Persian. My father too assumed the same style. His poetry was pure simple and very Indian.”

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“If you say I’ve inherited the same transparency of expression, then I’d say I’m blessed. I learnt how to write lucid poetry from my father. He would say, ‘It’s very easy to write in difficult language and very difficult to write in simple language’.”

“His collection of poems entitled ‘Ghar Aangan’ is about middle-class married life when, as you know, there is no poetry in married life. I didn’t get much wealth as inheritance from my father. But I inherited his poetic talent. I learnt about the transparency of literature. He wrote not only ghazals but also thumris and folk songs. Like my father, my poetry was rooted to the ‘mitti’ of the land,” he said.

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In fact, his grandfather Muztar Khairabadi wrote innumerable thumris.

“I am collecting his poems for publication. He had tremendous control over his craft. And that was why he couldn’t become iconic. It is only thespecialised skill that makes you an icon. When I read his complete work, I realised he wasn’t an icon because he didn’t repeat himself in his work. Woh Balraj Sahni, Sanjeev Kumar aur Naseeruddin Shah bann sakte hain. Rajesh Khanna ya Amitabh Bachchan nahin.”

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“My father was too versatile to establish a poetic identity. Wordsworth was associated with poems on Nature, Shelley and Keats with poetry on romance. And they wrote repeatedly on their chosen theme. My father couldn’t develop a specific identity….I would like to think I’ve the same ability to slip in and out various styles.”

“Nowadays you don’t hear much of my lyrics because most producers and music companies have banned me for my fight over copyright. Magar koi baat nahin. I’d die with the satisfaction of knowing that musicians and lyricists would get royalty. I think ,my father would have been proud of me.”

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The year 2014   marked the 100th birth anniversary of Jan Nisar .

Javed said: “It  was the centenary year of my father’s life. And as his proud son, it filled me with joy to see his birth anniversary being celebrated.”

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Jamuna Had A Love-Hate Relationship With  Bollywood

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Jamuna

Veteran  Telugu  actress  Jamuna who passed away on Friday, shared an uneasy relationship with  the Hindi film industry.She did eleven Hindi films including the iconic Milan in  1967 where Jamuna  agreed to play the  second lead, or the  supporting role if you will, to Nutan.

 Jamuna as Gauri was the Other Woman who craved for the hero Sunil Dutt’s attention whereas  he had  eyes and devotion  only for Nutan. In later  years  Aruna Irani played a similar  role in  Caravan.

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 In Milan Jamuna  was not keen to  do a supporting role. Producer L V Prasad tempted her with three chartbusting songs. Besides, Jamuna had played the same role in Mooga Manasulu, the  Telugu original  of  Milan. But it  was the songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal  which convinced  Jamuna to  take up the second lead in Milan.

 While  Nutan had no solo songs  in Milan, she did have the chartbuster duet  Sawan  ka mahina . Jamuna on the  other hand,  had two  splendid Lata Mangeshkar solos: Tohey saawariya naahin khabariya  and   the magnificent Ghazal Aaj dil pe koi  zor chalta nahin.Not only  these, Jamuna  also had a  hit duet  with Mukesh  based on her character  Gauri:  Bol Gauri  bol tera kaun piya.

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But  then, fate  intervened. After the film released  one of Jamuna’s solos, the poignant and memorable  Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin was  snipped  out of the film.

Here is what  happened:  the  Ghazal , one of Lataji’s all-time greats, was very much a part of Milan when  it released on 17 March 1967. But then  it was seen to hamper the  flow of the  film and  edited  out. The  beautiful song occurred right after intermission. Producer  Prasad, a shrewd  filmmaker, got to know that audiences prolonged their  loo breaks as there was  a song after the break. Hence the sacrifice  of  a seriously  sonorous melody.

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Jamuna hardly did  Hindi films after Milan. Her last  Bollywood appearance  was in  Raj Kumar  Kohli’s Raj Tilak  where she  was lost in a multistarrer as  the royal  queen.

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Karan Johar Moves Alia Song From Switzerland To Kashmir

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Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani

The  romantic duet in  Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani  which was to be  shot in Switzerland and which was  delayed  due to the film’s leading lady Alia Bhatt’s motherhood, is now being relocated to  Kashmir.

Purely out of  the  love for  new mom Alia.

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Says a source in the know, “Karan loves Alia  like his own daughter. He would do anything for her. He postponed  the  release of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani as the love duet could not be shot before Alia’s maternity leave. Karan had decided to shoot the song in Switzerland  after Alia’s maternity love. But now he has relocated the song to Kashmir  as Alia doesn’t want to leave her  baby girl behind for  long stretches.”

And as Karan Johar argued, snow is  snow. How does it matter whether it is  Switzerland or Kashmir?

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This  song would be Karan Johar’s tribute to  his  idol Yash Chopra. Alia would be dressed in chiffon sarees while  Ranveer, for  a change, would be seen in  formals.

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Bobby Deol’s Switchover To Villainous Roles

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Bobby Deol

After  Prakash Jha’s webseries Ashram where Bobby  played a sleazy  godman, and Love Hostel  where  he was a ruthless assassin,   he is playing the villain to Ranbir Kapoor in  Sandeep Vanga’s  Animal.

Bobby says it is not conscious career decision to play negative characters  but a conscious  decision to play interesting characters. “ I don’t look at  characters as positive or negative.When I watch  films there is always  one character  that stays  with you. I want to play that  character.”

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Prakash Jha’s Ashram proved a gamechanger for Bobby.  He admits finding  challenging roles is tough.  “I am trying. I  am doing Sandeep Vanga’s Animal with Ranbir  Kapoor , Parineeti Chopra. Then I am doing the family film Apne  2 which I am  very excited  about.”

 In an  earlier  interview with  this writer Bobby spoke  about his   long absence  from screen  before Prakash Jha’s Ashram.  “My fans   would ask why I wasn’t being seen on the screen.And I couldn’t tell them it was  because  I wasn’t getting good roles. But my fans  stood by me. They gave me  the strength  to  keep looking for the right roles. Thankfully I found the roles I liked. My new  films have given  me  some new fans. I am  thankful  I am still here. Yeah , I am in a good space right now.”

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Undekhi A Dark Compelling  Thriller Set In The Heartland

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Undekhi A Dark Compelling  Thriller Set In The Heartland 4

Undekhi  the  forthcoming webseries  from Applause Entertainment  and Sony LIV which  starts  streaming from July 10,   looks  like  the  kind  of   thriller  that  won’t let  us rest  easy until we see  the last episode. It is mounted  with  a  stress on growing pressure.

One  promo shows  a rotund  cop investigating  a gruesome  murder  in  a dense tribal area.The other promo  shows a politician gunning  down a dancer on stage  in front of  the public and  the  press.

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Wild  West  comes to the North. Undekhi is a thriller set in Manali, Himachal created for Applause by Siddharth Sengupta. It’s a gripping story that sees Harsh Chhaya making an  impressive comeback as a drunk Papaji in a super-rich amoral Punjabi  family. And Surya Sharma (Prince from Hostages) really shines as Rinku ,  the main bad guy and Papaji’s nephew. It’s got a terrific cast of other characters, many of whom we  all  recognize as names .

The talented  Harsh Chhaya  makes a debut of sorts  on the  digital medium  with Undekhi.

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Says Harsh, “I  have never played anything so wild and mad. I am looking forward to Undekhi, hope it works for the audience too.This is a debut in a sense that this is the first one I shot for the OTT  platform.But the other two I shot for after this was  streamed   before this one Out Of Love and  Rangbaaz, Phir Se.

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