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Shashi Kapoor bags Dadasaheb Phalke Award; third one for the filmy family

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

The Indian government conferred the 46th Dadasaheb Phalke Award to veteran film actor and producer Shri Shashi Kapoor, for his outstanding contribution to the growth and development of the Indian Cinema. The award consists of a Swarn Kamal (Golden Lotus), a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh and a shawl.

A jury of five eminent film personalities set up by the government after due deliberations, unanimously recommended Shashi Kapoor’s name for the prestigious award.

Born in 1938, Shashi Kapoor is a well-known actor and producer from the famous Kapoor family, a film dynasty in Bollywood cinema. Shashi Kapoor is the third person to receive the prestigious award from the same family after Raj Kapoor and Prithvi Raj Kapoor.

Shashi Kapoor is the younger brother of Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor. From the age of four, Shashi Kapoor acted in plays directed and produced by his father Prithviraj Kapoor, while travelling with Prithvi Theatre. He started acting in films as a child in the late 1940s. His best known performances as child artist were in Aag (1948) and Awaara (1951), where he played the younger version of the character played by his elder brother Raj Kapoor. Shri Shashi Kapoor also worked as Assistant Director in the 1950s.

Shashi Kapoor made his debut as a leading man in the 1961 film Dharmputra and went on to appear in more than 100 Hindi films. He was a very popular actor in Bollywood during the 60s, 70s and until the mid 80s.

Shashi Kapoor was one of India’s first actors to go international. He is known internationally for starring in many British and American films, notably Merchant Ivory Proudctions run by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, such as The Householder (1963), Shakespeare Wallah (1965), Bombay Talkie (1970) and Heat and Dust (1982). He also starred in other British and American films such as Siddhartha (1972) and Muhafiz (1994).

In 1978, Shri Shashi Kapoor set up his production house Film Valas which produced critically acclaimed films such as Junoon (1978), Kalyug (1981), 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981), Vijeta (1982) and Utsav (1984). He also produced and directed a fantasy film titled Ajooba which had Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor in the lead role.

In 2011, Shashi Kapoor was honoured with Padma Bhushan Award by the Government of India. He is also a recipient of three National Film Awards.

Hon’ble Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Arun Jaitley has conveyed his congratulations on the occasion.

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‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’ Director Kundan Shah Passes Away at 69

The filmmaker, hailed by the Indian film fraternity as a "master storyteller", would have turned 70 on October 19.

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Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro
The celebrated filmmaker died in his sleep, after suffering a heart attack. (IANS)

Mumbai, October 9, 2017 : Filmmaker Kundan Shah, who gave Indian cinema a different brand of humor with the cult black comedy “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” and subsequently television shows like “Nukkad” and “Wagle Ki Duniya” with the ‘aam aadmi’ at the centrestage, died early on Saturday, a family member said. He was 69.

“He died in his sleep early in the morning,” his relative told IANS.

Satish Kaushik, who wrote dialogues for “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” and acted in it, said Shah suffered a cardiac arrest.

His last rites were performed at Shivaji Park crematorium by daughter Shilpa with close family members and friends from the film fraternity in attendance, including “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” actors Naseeruddin Shah and Satish Shah, as well as Sudhir Mishra, Anil Kapoor, Deepak Dobriyal, Ratna Pathak, Raveena Tandon and Ashoke Pandit.

The filmmaker, hailed by the Indian film fraternity as a “master storyteller”, would have turned 70 on October 19.

His tryst with learning about film direction began at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. Just last week, he was at the institute for an event. He had even paid a tribute to actor Tom Alter, who died on September 29, and had spoken about a tentative script that he wrote for a part two of “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro”, his debut directorial which came out in 1983.

In an interview to IANS, Shah had said he had applied for a loan of Rs 400,000 to make the movie, but then the production cost went up and finally it was made at a budget of Rs 725,000 as the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) came on board as producer.

“Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” narrated a tale of two simple and honest photographers, who witness a murder and get dragged into the corrupt real estate circle where politicians and bureaucrats are involved. The film, laced with slapstick comedy, didn’t fetch good box office, but achieved cult status with time.

“When I was making the film, I never thought it would be such an acclaimed movie. Every filmmaker has some dreams and this film has given me more than I dreamt of. It surpassed my expectations,” Shah had told IANS.

He had received his first and only National Film Award – Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director – for it. This was the same award that Shah had returned to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting during the student protests in FTII in 2015 over Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment as its chairman.

The movie featured actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Satish Shah, Satish Kaushik, Bhakti Barve and Neena Gupta. And Shah believed it gave “a lot to the entire cast and crew and its success is beyond their imagination too”.

After making “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro”, Shah moved to television and worked there for seven years — giving such gems as “Nukkad”, “Wagle Ki Duniya” and “Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi”, all of which gave the Indian telly audience a reason to laugh away their worries with stories of everyday struggles.

With its simple yet compelling narrative, the Doordarshan show “Nukkad”, told stories of lower income people battling issues while trying to survive in a tough social and economic climate.

“Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi” saw Satish Shah infuse laughter by essaying different characters from many professions and regions of India, in different episodes.

“Wagle Ki Duniya”, based on cartoonist R.K. Laxman’s character of the common man, dealt with the woes of the middle-class Indian. With impeccable performances by Anjan Srivastav and Bharati Achrekar, it’s still etched in the minds of Hindi TV buffs of the late 1980s.

It is for Shah’s sensitivity towards the common man that filmmaker Prakash Jha dubbed him as the “Common Man of Cinema”.

Shah returned to films with the 1993 coming-of-age romantic drama “Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa”, which saw Shah Rukh Khan romance Suchitra Krishnamoorthi.

“He was a good man and a genius filmmaker,” Suchitra, who wishes a “glorious afterlife” for Shah, told IANS.

In a long career, Shah came up with few but impactful works.

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt described Shah as a brave man “who added vigour to the alternate cinema stream with movies like ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro'”.

Actor Satish Kaushik said Shah gave “comedy a new face”, while Sudhir Mishra, who was his friend, said Shah was “wise, crazy, academic, imaginative and mourned the impossibility of true love”.

Seven years after “Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa”, Shah came up with “Kya Kehna”. With teenage pregnancy at its core, the Preity Zinta-starrer was ahead of its time and did well. His subsequent projects “Hum To Mohabbat Karega”, “Dil Hai Tumhaara” and his last movie as a director “P Se PM Tak” failed to get commercial success. (IANS)

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Raja Harishchandra: The one of a Kind Films to be Remembered

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A scene from Film Raja Harishchandra, Wikimedia

May 14, 2017: May 3, 1917, was a marking event not only in the acting sector at the inception of Bollywood but also the entire country as a whole. The first full-length Indian feature film ‘Raja Harishchandra’ was released today. It was produced by Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, who we now affectionately call Dada Saheb Palkhe.

It was a silent film, implying it had no audio and the actors expressed through their gestures. With a running time of 40 minutes, it was just made with a diminutive budget of 20,000 rupees.

The story as the name suggests was an adaptation of the Hindu mythological story of Raja Harishchandra. It is said that he sacrificed his kingdom, wife and child only to keep his promise to a saint and preserve his self-righteous attitude.

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Later, the saint called Rishi Vishwamitra who had actually done all this to check the honesty of Harishchandra and gave him his kingdom, wife and son back. He was also blessed with divinity.

The film made us watch Dattatraya Damodar Dabke in the role of Harischandra and Anna Saluke, a male actor playing the role of his wife, Taramati. It was tough for the Phalke to convince any decent female actress because acting as a profession at that time was not considered a dignified job.

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The movie was screened in a single theatre, Coronation Cinematograph. He promoted the movie with a catchy phrase – “Raja Harishchandra: A performance with 57,000 photographs. A picture two miles long. All for only three annas. This film encouraged the creation of more and longer films and help increase female participation.

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Raja Harishchandra is still remembered with great love and respect among the Indian film fraternity. There have been multiple attempts at restoring the original reels, but only the first and last remain. The story of the making of the film was told in another feature – Harishchandrachi Factory, in 2009.

By Staff writer at Newsgram

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“Daastan-E-Rafi”: Documentary on based on life of Mohammad Rafi to premiere on his 92nd Birth Anniversary

Rafi took the Indian music industry by storm with his entry as a playback singer in 1941 and never looked back till his sudden death in 1980

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Legendary composer and singer Mohammad Rafi. Facebook

Mumbai, December 20, 2016: “Daastan-E-Rafi”, a documentary based on life of Mohammad Rafi will have its television premiere on the occasion of late legendary composers 92nd birth anniversary.

Set to be aired on Zee Classic on December 24, the documentary chronicles the journey of Rafi’s life with some of Bollywood’s known faces sharing their experiences of working with him.

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Co-directed by Rafi’s fans, Rajani Acharya and Vinay Patel, the documentary, which was made earlier, also shows late actor Shammi Kapoor talking about Rafi’s quirky and naughty side.

Shammi said in the documentary: “An incident I remember is when I heard the song ‘Aasman se aaya farishta’. I was stunned to hear the styles and techniques he incorporated into that track.

“Flabbergasted, I asked how could he exactly capture the emotions and nuances, I would exhibit in this song on screen? Rafi told me, that the moment I knew the song was picturised on you, all I had to do was to bring out the same enthusiasm.”

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“Daastan-E-Rafi” gives insights into Rafi’s life. It also tells about some of his training methods.

Rafi took the Indian music industry by storm with his entry as a playback singer in 1941 and never looked back till his sudden death in 1980 at the age of 55.

As per the documentary, in the early years of his career, Rafi used to go to Marine Drive every morning to practice music. He lived in Bandra and every day around 4:30 a.m., he used to drive up to Marine Drive and practice music there.

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Some of Rafi’s hit songs include “Kya hua tera wada”, “Likhe jo khat tujhe” and “Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko”.

Rafi left behind a treasure trove of immortal songs — solos as well as duets with all top singers of his era. He sang qawwalis, ghazals, disco and pop in Hindi and various other Indian languages. (IANS)