Classic Mehmood Song : Mazarbaan Tu Kuthe?

>> Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vidooshak left a comment on my last post- Helen: The Golden Girl and asked for a Mehmood post (or that's what I thought). That made me think of a classic Mehmood Song from the movie Sannata which I came across sometime back, Music by none other than Rajesh Roshan Sahab. Have a look and enjoy


Helen : The Golden Girl

Came across this beautiful post on the documentary ‘Helen: Queen of The Nautch Girls’ on bollyviewer’s blog . I have been looking for this documentary for a longtime (though going through the only clip I could see its bit snobbish, bollyviewer vouchs for this too) . Unluckily by the time I reached her blog, the videos were removed from youtube (‘due to terms of use violation’ or so they say).

I learnt about this Documentary while reading Helen’s (unofficial) Biography by Jerry Pinto - Helen The Life and Times of An H-Bomb, a book which I bought because I was really interested to know more about Helen Ji & her journey from being a junior artist to becoming an indispensable performer for Bollywood, but sadly the book didn’t had much about Helen but was full with author’s personal and rather biased grudge against the film industry.

IMHO the book would be a better read, if inspite of citing Helen and the characters played by her, one after another just to prove Hindi Film Industry/Film Makers have often used (Roman) Catholic Characters played by her to depict Western Immorality (a topic which I felt was quite irrelevant and inane), Pinto should have narrated Helen’s Career Graph and her personal life; as the book was supposed to be on Helen, not on the writer’s observations of socio-economic infrastructure prevailing in the film industry in 40s & 50s.

Funnily, the book was Helen's Biography and Pinto was more interested in describing how/why her mentor choreographer Peter Lewis (who is singer/composer Leslie Lewis’ father) changed his name to P.L.Raj to survive in a ‘Hindu Chauvinistic’ Film Industry.
(For latecomers P.L.Raj was the guy who choreographed almost all the Classic Helen Hits like O Haseena Zulfonwali (Teesri Manzil 1966), Mungda (Inkaar 1977), Mehbooba (Sholay 1975), Yeh Mera Dil (Don 1978) etc.)

Anyway, much later I came to know that Jerry wrote the book without being able to meet Helen as she wasn’t interested in a book on her life.

There are two documentaries on Helen, where one can try to catch a glimpse of her off-screen persona but sadly both of these are not available in India.

  1. Merchant Ivory’s Documentary Helen: Queen of the Nautch Girls (which was shot & produced while shooting for Bombay Talkie (1970), it was distributed as an additional feature with Bombay Talkie DVD, sadly Indian DVD Version doesn’t have this Documentary)
  2. Nasreen Munni Kabir’s Helen: Always in Step , in which she was interviewed by Khalid Mohamed (and I have read somewhere Jerry himself saying – “it is clear that she did not enjoy playing herself in front of the camera (in Helen:Always in Step ), even though she comes across as warm and charming and unaffected.”).

After a long search on youtube I found this clip from Helen: Queen of the Nautch Girls, enjoy:

PS: If I remember correctly in the year 2000 there was this show called Helen: The Golden Girl, where all her celebrated hits were performed by actresses like Raveena, Isha Koppikar, Urmila etc. Listen to the original Helen Tracks they performed on here.


Bollywood Culture

>> Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I’ve been contemplating the idea of starting a new blog on Hindi Cinema popularly called Bollywood and another blog on Indian Comic Books for a while. Yayawar Ki Diary (my other blog) has posts on Bollywood & Comics, but sometimes I have thoughts or trivia that can only be shared on a Dedicated Blog. So starting this one dedicated to Bollywood.

In India nothing sells like Bollywood. It’s a cult, it’s a culture in itself. Even if some intellectuals will refuse to accept Bollywood as a culture, it has been accepted universally. Have a look at this Video from ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ where Semi-Finalist couple Joshua & Katee perform a dance style that they call The Bollywood Dance.

They think Bollywood Dance is a dance form from India. It was funny but true (atleast for me) Bollywood as a culture has its own ‘Cultural Dance’. May be some people will discard it as Latka-Jhatka, so whenever a Shakira asks Farah Khan to help her getting her Latka-Jhatkas right or a Nicole Kidman dances to the beats of Chhamma Chhamma in Moulin Rouge! Bollywood is acknowledged as a cultural connotation to India & Indian Culture.

What do you say???


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