I’ve had a very enjoyable weekend. I watched two films, The Green Hornet and Anne of the Indies (the former better than reviews made it out to be). I dined at one of Delhi’s best French restaurants. And I bought birthday gifts for myself. Before you start thinking I’m woefully unloved, let me clarify: my relatives often gift me money. On Diwali, Karva Chauth, Christmas, my birthday, etc—I am often given an envelope and told to ‘buy something for yourself’. Since I’m not much of a shopper for clothes and jewellery, and since I already have a huge collection of unwatched DVDs and unread books, this seemed the best alternative. Old lobby cards and film stills. I visited two shops in Delhi, and spent all that money on a handful of lovely old Bollywood photos.
It’ll take me a while to write the review of Anne of the Indies; in the meantime, here’s something for you to feast your eyes upon: scans of the stuff I bought.
First, this one. This is the only one that’s just a still, not a lobby card—so it doesn’t have the name of the film on it. I have no idea which film this is, and though I think the actress is Shashikala, my husband (who, by his own admission, doesn’t know much about old Hindi cinema), doesn’t agree. Any other ideas? If anybody knows which film this is from, I’d welcome that too.
Then, this one (which, coincidentally, is from a film that starred Shashikala): Abe-Hayat. Premnath is so absolutely swoon-worthy here, and Smriti Biswas looks suitably dewy-eyed.
This is from the Talat Mahmood starrer Waaris. The interesting thing about this particular photo is that a grid has been marked over Talat Mahmood’s face—a standard practice used to make larger, hand-painted copies of a photo; the section in each grid was copied on a larger scale into a proportionately larger grid.
This lobby card is from the film Gustakhi Maaf, starring Sanjeev Kumar and Tanuja (That’s what I call a good cast. I’d love to see the film!) Incidentally, like Sanjeev Kumar’s later hit Angoor, Gustakhi Maaf too is based on Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors. The major departure from the original is that in Gustakhi Maaf, it’s the woman who plays a double role—Tanuja plays twins.
And to end, two lobby cards that I especially cherish. This historic one, with the peerless Fearless Nadia, is the oldest one I’ve got, from the film 11 O’Clock (1948).
And this, my absolute favourite, the treasure of my minuscule collection: Helen, in Dr Vidya. Not only is this the largest lobby card I have—it’s 20″ x 24″— it’s also such a gorgeous shot of one of my favourite actresses. Muah, Helen!
Now I have to start saving up again…