Jul 20, 2012

Rajesh Khanna's Last Words

Time is up. Pack up - were the last words of Rajesh Khanna who died at his Carter Road residence in Bandra, Mumbai in presence of his close family and first sweetheart Anju Mahendru.

Rajesh Khanna Dead

Jul 7, 2012

Patriotic Husband by Mario Miranda

"Must you cover my Mother's photo with the flag?"
Mario Miranda again captures how husband's patriotism and mother-in-law can come at odds.

Mario Miranda pokes fun at Mumbai Water Shortage

Mario Miranda cartoon on life in Mumbai - with persistent water shoertage
"We heard the sound of running water in your flat, so we though we'd pay a visit"

Mario Miranda cartoon on life in Mumbai - with persistent water shoertage
I'll be out in a minute dear, just taking a shower.

Mumbai is getting taller every day with new skyscrapers sprouting in every corner. Current woes with the water supply is only likely to get worse.

Mario Miranda on Water Shortage in Mumbai

Mario Miranda on Water Shortage in Mumbai during the monsoons
Thank heavens! you are already soaked. There is not a drop of water in the house for your bath.
Mario Miranda has captured the situation so well. Even when there is a soaking rain in Mumbai, there is a water shortage.

Jun 30, 2012

Mumbai airport to get a brand new air control tower

mumbai airport air control tower
Mumbai Airport Control Tower
Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Terminal is the busiest airport in India and is a major hub. The airport is adding a new Air traffic Control tower that is rapidly climbing to its intended height of 83 meters - to be the tallest in the country.

Other towers in the area are as follows

Bangkok 132.2 meters

Abu Dhabi 110 meters

Current Mumbai ATC tower is at 60 meters.

The new tower will allow the air traffic controller to see 5 miles beyond start and end points of both the runways.

The height is equivalent of a 30 storey residential building. The tower site area is 1200 sq meters with four floors at the base and four at the top. Between those groups of floors is RCC shaft with lifts and a staircase.

The tower is expected to be fully functional at the end of 2012. Cost - estimated to be Rs. 400 Cr.

Jun 24, 2012

Hridaynath Mangeshkar on Lata Mangeshkar

Few singers can sing in four octaves as Didi (Lata) can. In Hindustani music, these octaves represents a range of 28 notes.

In the move Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, there is a song - Aa Ab Laut Chalen - Didi touches the seventh note in the fourth octave which is the highest a human voice can reach. In that song you can hear her holding the note and not sound shrill. In classical music, there is light taan and a ghamak taan. It is difficult to be a master of the both - but Didi does it, having practiced it since the early childhood.

Another essential rule of the classical music is hitting the note that falls on the beat and Didi learnt this early and does it in all her songs.

I believe devotional songs suit Didi's voice well. Her inner self is pure and simple - this simplicity and simplicity of lyrics put together and you find oneness of spiritual kind. In religion, Amrit sparsh wakes up the dead - similarly when Didi sings we makes ordinary songs immortal.

Sharmila Tagore - Bikini Pictures

Sharmila Tagore Bikini Pose

Sharmila Tagore Bikini Poses

Jun 21, 2012

The Charisma of Rajesh Khanna

Original article from Bombay University textbook

Rajesh Khanna
Rajesh Khanna
It is rumored that his disarming smile costs Rs. 1.4 million. Young women devour him with hungry eyes in the afternoon darkness of cinema halls. Mothers witness his filmic deaths with helpless pangs of frustrated protectiveness. Young adult males project themselves into his limelit presence on the screen and later yearn to recreate themselves in his image. Millions of Indians queue up for long hours to see him break into his smile, get drunk, become furious, whisper love-words or burst forth into a husky, vibrant played-back song. If there is one person in India today who surpasses the Prime Minister’s charisma, he is Rajesh Khanna. The multimillion rupee Hindi film industry which prolifically produces stereotyped dreams unanimously regards him as the only authentic super-star it has so far produced. He is what makes a sure-fire box-office hit. Even films with all the essential ingredients for making a sure flop have run for weeks just because he starred in them. His success is so phenomenal that it challenges anyone who pretends to understand mass behavior.

He is of medium height and build. He has mannerisms of his own which show through whatever character he plays—or perhaps that is unfair to him. His producers and directors want him to play no other character but his own unique self. He has a rare plasticity: that which makes a natural actor, something which James Dean had impressed upon movie-addicts during his meteoric Hollywood career. For he gives the sense that he lives his assumed role, however crudely it is scripted and directed. Yet he will not get an Elia Kazan or a George Stevens to direct him. And his hurt-youth image, which is a factor in his success, will gradually age.
The best script and director he got so far was in the film Anand, directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee who is one of the better directors in the world of commercial Hindi cinema. His worst role was the one in Haathi Mere Saathi in which he plays a sort of elephant-boy and in which one of the three corners of the conventional love triangle is occupied, of all animals, by elephants.

Curiously, Rajesh Khanna is considered a hero worth killing—which is amazing since in Hindi films it is a taboo to kill the hero. Curiously too, he has to die of cancer. He died of cancer in Safar and again in Anand. In Safar he is the leukemic lover of a would-be doctor. In Anand, he is a cancer patient who spends his limited spell of life to make people around him happy. In Andaz he dies in a motor-bike accident for a change. Is it, one wonders, the expression of a mass death-wish? Some fifteen years ago, Dilip Kumar, the matinee idol then, specialized in dying as a hero. However, Dilip Kumar’s screen deaths brought no shock to the audience since he moved and spoke, from the start, as if he were his own pall-bearer. Rajesh’s screen deaths have some novelty: he is a warm, ebullient, vivacious, blithe young man. Even if he is destined to die, it seems unfair and too early. One has seen teenage girls sob witnessing him die. Or heaving unmistakably erotic sighs when he sings a love song (with the inimitable Kishore Kumar play-back singing for him). For the first time in the history of commercial Hindi cinema a single person has acquired such a following.

What has Rajesh Khanna got that others haven’t? He does have acting talent. But there are others who are much better. He is good-looking. But that is neither here nor there. He is certainly not very handsome. What is it then?”

One hypothesis about his charisma is that Rajesh Khanna has all the quintessential characteristics of the sort of romantic hero contemporary Indian masses would like to dote on. Here, even within the hackneyed formulae of the commercial Hindi cinema, the new generation audiences had been looking for some positive new content. In the fifties, the triumvirate of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand dominated the scene. The first was a tragic hero who was the product of middle-class pessimism and sentimentality. The second was a comic actor appealing to the masses through his mask of a little fellow. The third one was a slick, urban westernized Indian. All three box-office draws. The sixties saw the emergence of Guru Dutt who added new values to the Saigal-Dilip Kumar image of a tragic hero by investing greater sensitivity into his existing joint-stock image. The handsome buffoon image which Dev Anand was a pioneer was extended in the form of Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukerji and a number of others who danced and leaped energetically singing duets with their assorted heroines. Then came Dharmendra, who looks like a capable middle-aged elder son and also Shashi Kapoor, the shy boy-lover of aggressively inclined heroines. In the meantime, despite his blank face, Rajendra Kumar emerged as a substitute Dilip Kumar being to the elder hero what saccharine is to sugar. Sunil Dutt tried to introduce a little different hero-concept, but had only limited success. Trials continued. Errors went on being committed. And then came Rajesh Khanna like a deluge.

Rajesh is close to the teenager because he shares some of their norms of group behavior and mannerisms. His actions have a suggestion of a devil-may-care anarchistic element. However, as in Do Raaste, he can even play successfully the younger brother in a Hindu joint family rising to rescue it at a time of crisis. He also has a very infectious warmth and a very charming smile. What is interesting about Rajesh is that unlike other leading male actors he seldom shows off his histrionic talent by exaggeration. His acting is always an understatement of emotion. This is something he shares with the younger mass audience in India. They don’t dig melodramatic acting any more (which is the reason why Sharmila Tagore and Tanuja, for instance, are liked by them according to a recent survey: and of course, Waheda Rehman whom the late Guru Dutt introduced).

Next time you see Rajesh Khanna on the screen, therefore, please note that his behavior on celluloid is going to lay down a norm for most of the male teenagers around you and a number of people even up to their middle thirties. He is the sort of boy with whom four out of five urban female college students would be thrilled to elope. In short, he is one of the top-selling consumer products in India today. And the packaging, here too, is the product.

Rajesh Khanna - the first superstar

Rajesh Khanna’s real name is Jatin Khanna. He was the original superstar of the Bollywood.

A Bollywood body of producers – Raj Khosla, BR Chopra, Shakti Samanta, GP Sippy, and Ravindra Dave had organized a contest to fine the next actor – All India Talent Contest. Khanna won it and as a result was signed to play one movie for each of the sponsors for a paltry sum. These movies launched his career. They were Raaz (with Babita), Andaz (Hema Malini, Shammi Kapoor), Aradhana (Sharmila Tagore), Do Raste (Mumtaz), and Ittefaq (Nanda).

Ittefaq was made in a hurry to be completed within the contract time. The movie does not have any songs sequences as a result. The movie was BR Chopra’s attempt to cash in Rajesh Khanna’s popularity as a result of hits such as Do Raste and Aradhana.

Rajesh Khanna and Tina MunimJeetendra (Ravi Kapoor) was Rajesh Khanna’s school friend in Mumbai – at St. Sebastian Goan High School. Both of them also studied together at KC College (Kishandchand Chellaram College). It was Kaka (Rajesh Khanna) who tutored Jeetendra when he went for his first audition.

Rajesh Khanna was linked to Anju Mahendru, was married to Dimple Kapadia, and lived with Tina Munim (who is now married to Anil Ambani).

Rajesh Khanna launched Kishor Kumar’s career again. The actor-singer team was the most successful in the Hindi film industry. Bombay University textbook had an essay titled – the Charisma of Rajesh Khanna.
Rajesh Khanna was also considered a Hero worth killing – a taboo in Hindi movies. He died of cancer in Safar and then again in Anand. In Andaz he died of a motorbike accident. In Aradhana in a plane crash.

Jun 17, 2012

Seventy Eight new skyscrapers in Mumbai's future skyline

High-rise committee chairman Shafi Parkar and BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte have approved development of 78 new skyscrapers - building 70 meters of higher. Currently Mumbai has only 30 skyscrapers that top 100 meters. Shanghai has 200 and New York has nearly 500.

This development will clearly help the lack of space, however, it will strain the current meager infrastructure for water supply and transportation.

Jun 12, 2012

Avoiding police harassment during Mumbai bar raid

Mumbai Assistant Commissioner of Police Vasant Dhoble
ACP Vasant Dhoble
ACP Dhoble - in his quest to clean up Mumbai has been using raids on the clubs as a mean. Patrons may often face domineering police force at such raids. However, knowing your rights may help you react in the correct way without panicking. 

1. No one can stop you from leaving the place. You have the right to leave the place. The police authority is limited to the raid and restraining you is actually a criminal offence.

2. No one can frisk you - even if it is a raid - unless they suspect you possess stolen property.

3. No one can ask you for your personal contact details - unless police state that you are connected to the crime.

4. No one can force you to become a witness.

5. No one can intrude on your privacy.

6. No one can detain you unless you are vital to the investigation or an intruder.

Behaving normally and knowing your rights will always allow you to diffuse the situation. The tensions are high during the raids, but if you keep your clam, the police would most likely keep theirs.

Knowledge is power. Know your rights and law will be on your side.

Jun 3, 2012

Bombay University

Bombay University 100 Years Ago, Rajabhai Tower, Mumbai

More about Rajabhai Tower of Mumbai University.

Rajabhai Tower before Backbay Reclamation.

Jun 2, 2012

Malabar Hill - 100 years ago

A view from Malabar Hill, Mumbai

View from Malabar Hill, Mumabi 100 Years Ago

A view of Malabar Hill from below.

View from Malabar Hill, Mumabi 100 Years Ago

Jun 1, 2012

Schematic Map of Mumbai

Mumbai Map Madh Island Prithvi Band Stand Haji Ali Cuffe Parade Airport
Items on the map

Hanging Gardens - Old woman's shoe.

Cultural Centers

Prithvi Theatre

Picnic Spots

Madh Chowpatty
Elephanta Caves

May 31, 2012

Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai

Horse drawn carriages in front of the Taj Hotel in South Mumbai. Foundation was put in 1898 and the construction was completed in 1903.

May 29, 2012

General Post Office - Mumabi

General Post Office Mumbai 400001
General Post Office in Mumbai is the central post office - with a ZIP code of 400001. It is situated right next to VT - Victoria Terminus - a proximity to a railway station.

It was modeled after Gol Gumbaz (Rose Dome) of Bijapur by British architect John Begg. It was completed in 1913 at the total cost of Rs 1.8 million.

This picture is about 100 years old. The small trees have grown into large, sprawling trees which block much of the structure from the street view. The structure uses black basalt, yellow Kurla stone and white stone.

JW Marriott Lotus Cafe Breakfast

JW Marriott Juhu Mumabi Lotus Cafe
JW Marriott in Mumbai is a classy place. The buffet they set up every morning is worth experiencing.

Breakfast is served in buffet style at the Lotus Cafe, which is at lower level of the hotel. It is open 24 hours. 

During the breakfast hours, you can choose from the following

Traditional Maharashtra fare

Sweet Sheera, Sabudana Khichadi, Dal Khichadi, Kanda Pohe, Upma, Batata Wada, Pav Bhaji

South Indian

Medu Wada, Dosa, Uttappum with chutneys and Sambhar. 

Egg Preparation


Fruit Compotes, Fresh Fruits (several seasonal), Fruit Juices (freshly squeezed), Milk Shakes

Continental breakfast items

Meats, Salad, Nuts, cheeses

Yogurt, Yakult Drink, Berry Yogurt, Raisin Yogurt

Healthy Stuff - cereals, oat meal

The staff is attentive, but not intrusive. The place just lets you be yourself - weather you are enjoying the views of the sea, fountains, or reading newspaper, or conducting a business meeting.

JW Marriott is my favorite place in Mumbai and Lotus Cafe breakfast is something I always look forward to.