Friday, August 12, 2011

Bollywood –Then and now

Bollywood –Then and now                                                                                    August 12, 2011

Having enjoyed Bollywood movies during the past many decades beginning from 1960, I observe that perceptible changes have taken effect from decade to decade. In the sixties and early fifties the movies were mainly filmed in black & white. There were also not many releases during those days but these invariably were on Fridays as is in vogue presently. The films were dominated by Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor for nearly 4 decades. Films like “Awara”, “Shri  420”,”Madhumati”, “Mugel-E-Azam”,”Kala Pani”,”Paying Guest” come to mind vividly. There was considerable emphasis on songs and dances in most of these movies.
 Changes started occurring in during the early sixties when a few films were   produced in colour. Before this a few movies were partly in colour. I am able to recall the famous number “Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho “ from the film “Chaudhvin Ka Chand“ was filmed in colour while the rest of the movie was in “black & white”. The trend for full length feature film in colour, was set by R.K films, with the release of “Sangam” in 1964 which was a roaring success and ran for more than a year at the “Apsara” cinema, Mumbai. With the release of “Sangam” by the show man Raj Kapoor, new trends were set in the exposure norms with regard to swimming costumes for the female lead artists. Raj Kapoor was criticized by the Indian middle classes for his methods. However, it may be mentioned that although there were shifts in the visual scheme of things, the audio aspect remained almost unchanged. The dialogue delivery was pretty decent with quality script writers. The songs in the movies were meaningful and within the limits of decency and set to great music by the likes of “Shankar–Jaikisan”,”Kalyanji-Anandji”,”S.D Burman”and “Laxmikant Pyarelal”.The audio abuses in these movies would be confined to the basket of “Kuttey ,Kamine, Haramzade & saley” since none of the producers thought it (mercifully enough) necessary to usher in or rather experiment with any new exposure norms here. It may also be very likely that the producers during that generation were not exposed to travel by Mumbai local trains where  Mumbaikars are exposed to rich and sumptuous menu of nationalized abuses, if I may say so in a lighter vein.
 Be that as it may, liberalization of the visual fare received further momentum with the release of R.K films such as “Bobby”,”Ram Teri Ganga Maili”,”Prem Rog”,”Satyam Shivam Sundaram “ etc. Raj Kapoor’s main thrust here, I think was to highlight the hidden sexuality in a female form and make an appeal to subtler senses of viewership, keeping the overall strict censorship norms prevailing then.
The liberalization process in the Bollywood movies commenced much before India liberalized its economy in the early 90’s.With the free flow of Capital, as also new thoughts and ideas from Hollywood movies, the earlier liberalization of exposure norms were applied to male forms too with Mr Salman Khan and Mr Hrithik Roshan leading the way. Further, with Hollywood adopting liberal doses of foul language and pedestrian audio stuff in its movies, can Bollywood remain far behind? Not at all, the new trend has taken off and  is already assuming alarming proportions in India. The foul language observed in the dialogues is now creeping into the lyrics of the songs in the movies as may be observed from one of the songs in the movie “Delhi Belly”.
The kids in India watch most of these movies and with the prospect of their picking up this garbage, for use at home or outside, we as parents are seriously concerned. No sensible parent would want their children to make use of these abuses in their spoken language. It’s a shame that the producers supposedly include this rubbish on “Public demand” as though the so called “public” sent a signed petition to them.
From my experience during my service period in the Reserve Bank of India, I have come across many a  colleagues who were hesitant to keep their young children to the care of a servant at home in order that the children do not pick up substandard language during their impressionable age. One can understand their concern since it would be rather difficult to erase this rubbish, if it is already picked up when children get constantly exposed to this, particularly when they interact with other children who have already grasped the audio garbage. But now with Bollywood adopting this carefree attitude from Hollywood and children imbibing every bit from their favourite stars, mothers or rather parents would be truly challenged to resist this onslaught.
 Will the Censor Board in India wake up???

 GOD save our children     



Monday, August 8, 2011

Mr P.Anand Rao,Cricket commentator

Cricket ---1960-1970                                                                                          August 7,2011

The cricket season is presently underway and I observe that the Indian cricket team is struggling to retain their number one position. I also observe that I am finding it difficult to sustain my interest in the game as Indians continue their losing streak. They have lost two tests in a row. However, now that I have retired from active service, I need some interesting subjects to occupy myself with. Cricket being one of my major interests, I thought it would not be a bad idea to revisit my childhood days when there was no television and we had to mainly depend on radio commentary. I am talking about the period from 1960 to 1970 while I grew up in Mumbai. Test matches were played at Mumbai, Madras, Calcutta, New-Delhi and Kanpur. The radio commentators at all these centres were based from these regions. At Mumbai we invariably had Mr Vijay Merchant, Mr Anand Sethalvad , Mr Dicky Rutnagur and Mr Suresh Saraiyya. At Chennai we had Mr P. Ananda Rao, Mr Balu Alaganan and Mr  R.T Partrhasarathy. At Calcutta, we had Mr Pearson Surita, Mr Devraj Puri and Mr Barry Sarbadhikary. However, my favourite here was Mr P. Ananda Rao who had a very special nasal voice and had excellent command over his English. He had his own inimitable style of commenting. Mr Anand Rao had his set of phrases and usages which none other used during his time. He also did not copy the likes of Mr John Arlott or Mr Lindsay Hasset. Take for example a sample of his style of commenting.
 "There is a bowling change at the Walaja Road end. E.A.S Prassana has been brought in place of B.S Chandrasekar. Skipper Pataudi needs to be complimented for this change. What do you say Lala (Amarnath) about this change. Lala, appointed as expert for the match would offer his comments and Mr Rao would proceed as described below:
 ' As Prassana comes in bowls to Butcher, right arm over the wicket, good length, on the off and middle stump this time, the ball wraps him on his pads, there is an appeal for lbw, and the umpire Mr Shambu Pan who had a closer look  has no hesitation in giving him out'. On some other occasion for a similar lbw appeal Mr Anand Rao would continue in the same excited fashion, to  say  that umpire has no hesitation in giving him 'not out', while eager fans  would be expecting yet another wicket. That was Anand Rao googly for his fans. He was using terms like 'hugging mother's hair' when ball was hit all along the ground. His general presentation was very exquisite and detailed .This also suited the listeners who were keen on every single detail on the field since there was no television during those days.
 However, there was one very annoying aspect of Mr Anand Rao's commentary. During the post tea session of   every test match, listeners in South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand were given a brief account of the day's proceedings, which lasted for about ten minutes. During this time Mr Anand Rao would refrain from commenting on the current happenings till he completed the brief reporting of the day's proceedings. I vividly remember one such reporting when three English batsmen were dismissed, but the listeners were able to make out that wickets have fallen on the basis of roaring noises which were generally made when wickets fell.     
 During this nostalgic recall, I feel like listening to the nasal voice of Mr Anand Rao. If any of the cricket lovers can help me here I shall be grateful. Incidentally I may like to mention that I have tried You tube as also other websites but without success.
I would like to cover a few more observations concerning cricket during my later blogs, so watch out.