Friday, May 21, 2010

I have to admit that the distant country cousin Twitter

Jalsa, Mumbai May 20/21, 2010 Thu/ Fri 12 : 29 AM

I have to admit that the distant country cousin Twitter, is turning out to be quite an experience. It is contagious. It invites without invitation and immerses you instantly. Its like being in an overcrowded congested room, where, because everyone is speaking all at the same time, it is difficult to hear your own voice - that is if you have one at all !!

So the moment the birds start their morning chirps and you start anticipating the alarm to go off, you actually hit the start button of the Mac to catch the latest Tweet. And all along as you drive to the gym and sweat it out on the machines you wonder when the routines will end so you could get back to the Tworld !

And as I write I can sense a retaliation building up among the FmXt, resenting this overt and sudden attention to the ‘other’ lady, forgetting the sincerity of the original and devoted Blog where it all started from. Rest assured dearest ones, this space was the first and shall always remain so. You were all the first and shall always remain so.

Its been an interesting morning. An eminent doctor from Mumbai an perhaps now retired and settled in Pune, has translated ‘Madhushala’, my Father’s epic of 1935 into Marathi and has come over through my house doctor to present it to me. For those that may not know, and who have interest in Hindi poetry and in particular of my Father’s, it would be of interest to know that the first translation of Madhushala ever was in Marathi. The Maharashtrian home has always had a culture of the classical - in music and in the written word. And it is not surprising that the very first rendition of the epic poem in translation was from this State and from this language, Marathi. The doctors version is another example of the ’sanskriti’ that exists in this part of the world and for it to come from someone that dedicated his life to the medical profession, is not just unusual but most praise worthy. There is more though. The doctor has brought along with him the music director of the Marathi film that was selected for the Oscars as its official entry this year, Anand Modak and he has rendered a composition of the poem into music and wishes to bring out and album on it. I heard the dvd and found it interesting. Madhushala was presented in song the very first time it was recited by my Father, at the Benaras Hindu University around 1937 and it came from a tune that was composed by my Father on his own. It has remained the trade mark rendition since. HMV and Manna Dey brought it to verse and song and music again in the 80’s here in Mumbai and that cd remains the only professional recording to date. But if approved, this Marathi recording would be the second. When I shall perform in Paris in June, I intend to start the evening with the music and song of Madhushala sung personally and in keeping with my Father’s composition.

Later in the day though and almost coincidentally, a group of academicians from a local University come over to discuss and present to me, the work they had done in translating Madhushala in Sanskrit. This is most interesting and when completed would be exceedingly unique. I intend to approve after copyright formalities are done, to publish this work.

But Paris, and as the day for the performance draws near, builds butterflies as large as an eagle within the stomach. Some prayers and words of consolation from the FmXt, would be in order.

Aishwarya left this morning for Chennai right into the thick of the cyclone Laila which has now hit coastal Andhra and Tamailnadu. But she was safe and has started work on Robot with Rajnikant. I was most worried about the weather conditions, but thankfully all went well. Nature has such a distinct way of reminding us all the time that we are such insignificant pawns in their presence. It becomes imperative therefore that we respect it, preserve it and learn to live with its eminence.

My schedules are getting firmed up gradually and as I sense the calendar filling up, I get the impression that very soon I shall be slipping away into commitments that shall keep me occupied for months to come. Its good being occupied. I doubt if many others would consider that, fact. But you know at this age, its worth while getting up to fetch your own glass of water, your own lunch and every little daily chore that may have slipped the mind. Mobility is the word. Stop for a day and or even a few hours and the creaks and pains start to invade your system.

I notice that I am gradually slipping lower into the back rest of the bed, pushing my way through a number of soft pillows, to keep my eyes open and my mind fresh and spontaneous.

Little thin pillow has seen better days and has been removed from sight. Temporarily al be - it ..

Sleep well and in love -

Amitabh Bachchan


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There is something about being in anticipation of something

Jalsa, Mumbai May 19, 2010 Wed 11 : 39 PM


There is something about being in anticipation of something. As you sit or travel or brood there builds within you events and situations that remain in the realm of supposition. You imagine within yourself that if ‘this’ were to happen ‘that’ would take place. Or ‘what if’ this happened, then what would happen next.

As you get swayed by a flood of thoughts, the reality of it builds so many impressions, which finite or not, do begin to look as though they would fructify almost immediately. Most of the exercise, indulging in the material or emotional.

What if someone willed you 500 hundred million dollars, what would be done. The house, the cars, the clothing and jewelry, all start falling into place. So to with bonds of emotion.

If only I could get that one moment to hold ‘her’ hand, or that one in a million opportunity when ‘he’ would visit my home. And as you build these castles, they begin to take shape within you. Your demeanor changes. You start walking and talking as though they have all actually been acquired.

The wait then before they actually happen is the ‘anticipation’. And there shall always be ’something’ in that. The tragedy, if it can be termed that, is that nothing ever happens !! Well at least not the way you were imagining it to happen. Thats the bad part. The good part is that, sometimes things happen which you had never anticipated to have happened. Which is why life is always a question mark. You never know when and which way it will turn.

The wife had some friends from her ‘girls’ circle over tonight - Bubbles Behl, wife of late Gogi Behl who made films with Jaya and me ; Jawani Diwani, Kasme Vaade, Pukar; Mother to Goldie Behl close buddy of Abhishek and who directed him in a few - Hiroo Johar wife of late Yash Johar and Mother to Karan Johar ; and no further bio needs to be given on her - Champa Doshi, close friend. And even though I am excluded from the general conversation that occurs in one corner of the house, the dining table gets everyone together in one space.

There are discussions on food, and cooks and materials used to cook various foods and other food places, places with a history of good food. Of weight gains and the excesses of good food. Of other compatriots, in the female gender and their weight gains and the loss of it due to the foods they devoured …

Food, then was the only discussion .. until Mrs Johar brings back old memories of shoots of days gone by when Yashji was alive, of films made under their banner, of intrigue and issues, and the eventual joys.

I had done ‘Dostana’ with Dharma Productions, his production company and this its first banner film - Salim Javed script, Zeenat Aman, Shatrughan Sinha - and we talked, well actually she talked I listened to the days spent in Ooty during the out doors of the film and a host of memories came rushing back. The Savoy Hotel, cute old world charm, wooden floors and fireplaces in the evening to fight off the mountain cold and our escapades therein. The director Raj Khosla, a great exponent of his craft and the maker of several important and successful films. Methodical, controlled, great sense of music and a great sense of how it should be shot for film. Started his career as an assistant to the master Guru Dutt and worked along with him in the immortal ‘Kaagaz ke Phool’.

And as she narrated event after event I reminisced the days spent there in the beautiful Nilgiri Ranges of Ooty, short for Ootycamund, now changed to its original from before the British - Udhagamandalam. Guess the Brits found it beyond their linguistic capacity to get the Tamil or Dravidian pronunciation right !

The flight to Coimbatore an air force base and its restrictions. The drive up the hills finally emerging at our destination. The picturesque hills, not too steep, but rolling about in smooth curves about it. The British Sahebs came up here when the plains became too hot for their countenance, and brought along with them their favorite pastime of hound hunting and horse racing. One of the Maharajas had built the perfect hunting lodge there, Fernhill, now a sprawling Hotel and the number of films that have been shot there is beyond counting. Its no longer a resort, its a studio, almost. The place and the locations came about as a just replacement for troubled Kashmir and never were there less than a few productions working out of Ooty. It was like what I had described our days in Srinagar earlier. For the Southern Film fraternity this was their Kashmir. Traveling for them all the distance up north, when they could get what they required in their own state of Tamilnadu, was a preferred option. So Do aur Do Panch, Hum, Dostana, Aakhri Raasta, Mard, Shakti, Khuda Gawah, Shahenshah… oh dear the list is endless .. all done in beautiful Udhagamandalam !! And my most endearing memory - little Abhishek 4 or perhaps 5 years in age, two middle fingers in mouth dressed in his mini overcoat, sitting by the side of the shooting spots with a dazed expression on his face, wondering what in heavens name his Father was up to !!

Ah ! Ooty, with the continuous smell of pine and eucalyptus about, the unique folk dress and metal jewelry worn abundantly by the ladies that worked in the land and the forests. The fog and early morning mist floating past your Hotel window into the bedroom. The early morning drives to locations of exquisite beauty. The pristine lakes and the ‘downs’ which must have reverberated during the time of the Raj, with the sound of the horns as an entire posse of riders, dressed in their finery chased the hunted beasts led by an entire brigade of anxious hounds. And then those private moments, never to be forgotten -

Nirupa Roy, who played Mother to me in almost all my films getting injured during the shoot for Mard and I cleaning her feet and putting on a dressing on the cut wound, and she blessing me. Now no longer with us.

Smita Patil - that fiesty yet soft hearted friend, sitting in the car with me as we waited for the rain in an outdoor song sequence on Shakti to subside, playing with her camera. A great enthusiast for photography she sat there and much to my amazement opened up the entire camera into all the little parts, cleaned them and assembled them all back again. So impressed with her. She too gone. Now no longer with us.

Life is ’such a question mark. You never know when and which way it will turn.’

Amitabh Bachchan

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