Films: Photographic Time Shuttle – Hindustan Times

The movie stars have been just as mesmerizing off-screen as they have been on-screen and these unusual images – and the memories tied to them – just end there.

When Amitabh Bachchan was off press

As Amitabh Bachchan turns 80 this year, I remember the times I ran into him, the most memorable to me being the day he released two of my books (the first was through him -self and the second, collectively with Aishwarya Rai) and the time he did an interview with Rajesh Khanna.

When I shot this image of Bachchan in the mid-1980s, however, he wasn’t saying sentences with the click. The feud was a year before I became a journalist so, as a rookie, I was excited to photograph the famous man and watch him in motion. Bachchan had become the mahurat of good friend Romesh Sharma’s circle of relatives Diljalaa (1987). There was no army of bodyguards around him in this more blameless generation, but I remember him deftly dealing with the inevitable crowds that resulted from his front.

I plan to call Amitabh years later the next morning Kaun Banega Crorepati broadcast for the first time and complimenting him at this turning point in his life. When he asked me, “Why don’t you participate as a candidate?” I replied, “No thanks. I like to put others in the hot seat.

Asha Bhosle shyly played with her braid

Asha Bhosle wearing her signature hairstyle

While I can largely interview and {photograph} movie stars as a journalist, I have also actively pursued big names in parallel film fields. I was over the moon when RD Burman agreed to a joint interview with his wife and muse, legendary singer, Asha Bhosle.

Frankly, I was amazed at the dynamic between the 2. Pancham, as he was affectionately known, was quite judgmental, belying the symbol of thrill I had of him thanks to the many numbers of his that my era had rained on. On the other hand, conservatively dressed, makeup-free Asha used to wear shy giggle costumes while coyly playing with her braided choti. But that voice! It was the same one that added extra sizzle to vampires like Helen (Piya Tu Ab to Aaja1971), Bindu (Mera Naam Hai Shabnam1970) and Aruna Irani (Sapna Mera Toot Gaya1975).

Madhuri Dixit loves a fair sneer

Madhuri Dixit & Anil Kapoor in Ram Lakhan’s Units

I took this image of a particularly thin Madhuri Dixit with Anil Kapoor on the exterior set of Ram Lakhan (1989). Madhuri was just a celebrity at the time…but what a difference the next few months made to each of our lives. I became editor of Movie mag in October 1988 and within a month Madhuri Dixit had become a huge megastar after dancing a hurricane for Ek Do Teen in Tezaab (1988). We were some of the first to play his solo on the cover of a magazine.

Madhuri and I have had many casual conversations over the years and she likes to let her well-known tinkling sneer run free too. I was once recounting how I managed to keep myself from getting out of my own car and he or she found my use of the term “manage” hilarious. But, it is lace strung with metal.

Jab Rekha and I met

Rekha with Archana Puran Singh at Mehboob Studios
Rekha with Archana Puran Singh at Mehboob Studios

Rekha and I first met while shooting Deepak Shivdasani photos Ladaai (1989) at Mehboob Studios. She was a photographer’s dream. When my colleague Patrick Biswas introduced me: “It’s Dinesh. It’s a…” Interrupted Rekha icily, “Journalist.” She added, “I can smell one, instantly.” I fired cheekily again, “You must have a good nose for eternity. is what I wear now.

After 5 years, I met her once again, this time with an appointment for an intensive interview on her 40th birthday. She broke the ice at her place of business in Bandra with, “I’ve met you before. On the sets of Ladaai. You were accompanied by Patrick. You were sitting with Dimple. You were wearing a beige shirt. His memory is fantastic.

Manmohan Desai and his dry mind

The late filmmaker Manmohan Desai with his son, Ketan
Late filmmaker Manmohan Desai with his son, Ketan

I captured that second between filmmaker Manmohan Desai and his director son Ketan as they had intense inventive dialogue. It was around 1985, and the elder Desai was almost king of the field, having helmed blockbusters such as Sachaa Jhutha (1970), Dharam Veer (1977), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), and Naseeb (nineteen eighty one). Subsequently, however, Desai had to deal with a brutal reversal of fortune.

I choose to remember him in his best spirit when I saw him in the units of Coolie (1983), some of the first shoots I attended as a reporter. For one series of the film, Amitabh Bachchan was to raise the slender Rati Agnihotri, while Rishi Kapoor was to raise Shoma Anand. Director Manmohan Desai told Rishi, “If you can’t lift Shoma, I’ll make him lift you.”

Deepti Naval, the poetess

Actor Deepti Naval
Actor Deepti Naval

Deepti’s fashion sense, like her many films, is extremely individualistic. She wears sarees with a unique aptitude, and I found her Versova home to be one of a kind – with vegetation galore, curtains instead of doors, and a goblet centerpiece sitting on a pile of books.

We had late veteran actress Nadiraji – we were both pretty much about her. Nadiraji was extremely possessive of his library where Keats and Mirza Ghalib rubbed shoulders with the books I had written. I once borrowed a guide to poems written by Deepti from Nadiraji, and dedicated the cardinal sin of throwing it away. Nadira never let me listen to the end of it until I stumbled across the guide during Diwali cleaning and gave it back. Deepti’s poems, some of which are profound, gave me an idea of ​​her thoughts.

The abnormal friendship of Shammi Kapoor and Sanjeev Kumar

The mahurat of Allah Rakha
The mahurat of Allah Rakha

I took this crew picture [above] with a number of the most sensitive stars of the day on the mahurat of Allah Rakha (1986). Seen from left to right are: Sanjeev Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Meenakshi Seshadri Jackie Shroff, Director Ketan Desai, Anupam Kher, Raakhee and Rati Agnihotri.

The Shammi Kapoor-Sanjeev Kumar friendship was then already decades old. They first teamed up in the 1960s as friends of opposing ideologies in sashaai (1969). Then Shammi cast Sanjeev as the main man in her first directorial venture Manoranjan (1974) and they went on to work together in films like Vidhaata (1982). Sanjeev was unable to do Allah Rakha due to health reasons and the cast underwent primary changes, but it was fair to see the camaraderie between the two veterans on the mahurat.

Jackie Shroff—still grounded

Jackie Shroff posing sportily on the floor
Jackie Shroff posing athletically on the ground

It shocks me to realize that I have recognized Jackie for 40 years now! To his credit, he’s held onto it over these years and remains grounded. I can just ask him to pose on the not too clean floor in the middle of a hectic shooting location…and he would oblige.

Three years ago he came as a visitor to my multimedia workshop… and was in no hurry to leave until he had charmingly and genuinely charmed every gamer. Beaming with kindness, he talked about the importance of being mentally ready for this career, shared the importance of the airways and gushed about the philosophy available. Ajay, an aspiring actor, had driven from Pune in his newly purchased car; Jackie sat in his car… and went about his week.

Anita Raj is t (hat) lady

Actress Anita Raj poses for a photo between shoots
Actress Anita Raj poses for a photo between shoots

The 1980s were when every megastar was paying his salt frantically dividing his time between two dozen films. Anita Raj was one of those buzzers I continually met in the studios and exchanged pleasantries with. I saw her wearing this hat once and insisted that she pose because I thought it remodeled her angular face in a very attractive way.

Later I met her at the Snowman Glacier in Breach Candy and one of us squealed like two red Indians. Although I interviewed her as soon as possible, she was always in heat.

Well Dressed Bad Guy Danny

Danny Denzongpa looks dapper on the sets of Oonche Log
Danny Denzongpa takes a dapper look at Oonche Log units

Unlike his younger brother, Gulshan Grover, Danny Denzongpa did not consider wearing outlandish costumes to sign the risk. On the units of Log of Oonche (1985) which features Rajesh Khanna and Salma Agha, Danny smartly wore boots and a riding jacket with leather elbow patches. Although he led Khanna and his then-girlfriend Kim in a mystery, Phir Wahi Raat (1980), Khanna and Danny did not meet between pictures and sat in many corners.

Dinesh Raheja is an acclaimed film historian, columnist and TV screenwriter who has been writing about film for over three years.

From HT Brunch, July 23, 2022

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