Sepia Memories from Bollywood

Mumbai Mirror, a very popular news paper from Times of India Group, is bringing on every Wednesday a photo article on the rare sepia colored photos which had been shot by the ace lens man Jagdish Aurangabadkar on different occasions. These photos bring out the different moods, personalities and the clothing style made popular by the stars or became their trademark. Besides each photograph, is the analyses of various personalities seen in the picture. The analyses seem to be very penetrating and the person doing has a very keen eye for the details. Here are some examples.

Cricket and Gentlemen.

Cricket is the sport of Bollywood. Dalliances between actors and players have long provided grist to a prurient press. And in this season of cricket madness we thought it appropriate to dig out this gem. This picture was shot at a benefit match soon after the end of the Indo-China war of 1962. Two of Mumbai’s biggest film icons, Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar pose here before the start of the match. From their formal footwear you know that their stint on the pitch is not going to be a long one. Kapoor’s mischievous grin and Kumar’s more restrained smile are indicative of the widely contrasting personalities of the two and their sometimes uneasy equation.

The picture taken by Jagdish Aurangabadkar at a celebration party for the highest sale of records of, no prizes for guessing this one, Qurbani,has the three leading actors, Feroz Khan, Vinod Khanna and Zeenat Aman taking over the stage in style.
With songs like Laila Main Laila, Aap Jaisa Koi and Hum Tumhe Chahte Hain Aise, the songs of the Feroz Khan directed film were an instant success. Half the reason for the success of the music could be attributed to the singers Asha Bhonsle, Nazia Hasan Kishore Kumar and Mohhammad Rafi alongwith the music directors Kalyanji Anandji. And the other half? Well, that just goes to the three stylish actors who made them look so beautiful on screen. The sexy Zeenat Aman in her swimsuit probably made the slow number Hum Tumhe Chahte Hain racier than it was meant to be.
At this event, the always-stylish Feroz is seen demonstrating a two-step in his signature silk shirt unbuttoned down to mid chest while the suave Vinod Khanna in a simple shirt accessorised with what looks like beads from the Osho ashram seems to be providing the background score for his friend.
Dressed in a salwar kameez much unlike her onscreen persona in the film in which she played a cabaret dancer, Zeenat Aman stands behind her two co-stars cheering them on.
Also check out the cord coming out of the microphone held by Khanna. In this day and age of cordless equipments, it is hard to even imagine that the cinestars did use such regular instruments once upon a time.

This picture captured by veteran photographer Jagdish Aurangabadkar at a mahurat in RK Studios makes for the perfect family portrait. Randhir Kapoor surrounded by the three women in his life, Babita, Karisma and the young Kareena in flowing long dresses, looks happy. Taken probably during the 20-yearlong separation between Babita and husband Randhir Kapoor, the picture talks a lot about the Kapoor family traditions that both hung on to even during the long years they stayed apart. It is funny to see both Karisma and Kareena fully covered from neck to toe, whereas nowadays one hardly gets to see both the Kapoor sisters in that same avatar.

Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan take direction from Hrishikesh Mukherjee on the sets of their 1973 blockbuster Namak Haraam. And by Khanna’s expression, this must have been a real eye popper of a scene in discussion. Immortalised on reel by ace lensman Shyam Aurangabadkar, this picture brings back memories of the good old 70s when printed shirts made from the same fabric worn by two actors were a popular fad. Remember how Amitabh and Dhramendra in the song Sa Re Ga Ma from Chupke Chupke, also directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, wore the same shirt? In this picture however, Amitabh shares the shirt chemistry with his costar Rajesh Khanna. After a striking onscreen shared by the actors in the 1972 Hrishikesh Mukherjee film Anand, they were brought together once again by the director to essay the roles of the two friends Somu and Vicky in Namak Haraam. Ironically, in real life, they were far from being friends. Rajesh Khanna who had ruled the silver screen till Bachchan came on the scene had major ego clashes with the younger star. They later went on to have a cold war that ran over decades until a couple of years back, while presenting the lifetime achievement award to Khanna at an award function overseas, Bachchan mentioned that the term ‘superstar’ was originally coined for Rajesh Khanna.
In the picture, however, all seems to be well between the two actors. While Bachchan is busy concentrating on what Hrishikesh Mukherjee is saying, Khanna seems to be shocked with something on the other side. Or perhaps it was the scene that got his eyes popping out. We’ll never know.

Circa 1979. One of the biggest films in Bollywood history was launched. And this was the party.
This picture taken by Jagdish Aurangabadkar on September 30, the same year, captures some of the icons of the Indian film industry in a single frame. It was the launch of Yash Chopra’s blockbuster film Silsila at Rajkamal Studios.
Prem Chopra standing hand in hand with Amitabh Bachchan seems to be sharing a joke with the three Kapoor men Shashi, Randhir and Rishi standing to one side with Sanjeev Kumar holding on to his cigarette.

Their clothes reveal a lot about the men in this picture. While upcoming Rishi Kapoor and the ruling star of the industry then, Amitabh, can be seen in fashionable jersey shirts, the elder Shashi Kapoor and Sanjeev Kumar look relaxed in the desi kurta-pyjama.
The two leading ladies of the film, which released two years later and went on to become a blockbuster, Jaya Bachchan and Rekha, would have made the picture look even better. But maybe their presence would have been a hindrance to the uninhibited laughter being shared on stage by the men

Dharmendra and Hema Malini fell in love in the mid seventies on the sets of Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay. The couple who became a rage as much for their chemistry on screen as off it, came together again in Pramod Chakravorty’s Dream Girl. The 1977 film had Hema Malini play Sapna alias Padma alias Champabai alias Dreamgirl alias Rajkumari with her real life lover

The scene captured by lensman Jagdish Aurangabadkar is on the sets of the 1977 film Dream Girl. The picture has director Pramod Chakravorty describing the sequence to his lead actors Dharmendra, Hema and Ashok Kumar. And while the older actor Ashok Kumar seems to be having a problem with Chakaravorty’s explanation, Dharmendra seems to be amused by the same. Hema on the other hand seems to be lost in her own dream world.
Ashok Kumar in his trademark silk dressing gown and Dharmendra sporting a retro striped shirt make the scene a particular favourite. The scene stealer is however the pillows. Yes, the pillows which fill in for the missing cushions on the wooden sofa, are our particular favourite. Now, that’s what we call effective production. Wonder how they dreamt that one up!

RD’s Birthday

It was Rahul Dev Burman’s 36th birthday party. Panchamda had invited his close friend Randhir Kapoor for the big day, on June 27, 1975. And considering it was Randhir who had helped Burman pave his way into the RK Films camp with the film Dhongeein 1975, inviting Randhir’s wife Babita and younger brother Rishi was obvious. In this picture, captured by Shyam Aurangabadkar, we can see the three special guests sharing the frame with RD.
Rishi ‘Chintu’ Kapoor came as the bearer of the birthday gift. Babita, clad in a transparent chiffon saree and a sleeveless blouse that dipped dangerously at the neckline, looked resplendent as she held hands with the birthday boy RD.
The simplicity of a birthday party in 1970s Bollywood can be spotted in the floral decoration at the door to Burman’s residence. Unlike 21st century, a birthday party did not essentially need a fancy location. It did not need blaring music. What it needed was a heart and some really good friends.
Another thing that deserves a mention is Panchamda’s open mouth. While everyone is busy smiling at the lens, the music composer is caught with his mouth wide-open, probably singing ‘Happy birthday to me’.

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