After having waxed so long and eloquent about my parents, my sister, my cousin, and a couple of other relatives (not to mention servants!) in the context of our love for cinema – it’s time to focus on the one link my family does have to cinema. The one person from our family who made it to the Hindi cinema industry in Bombay, back in the golden years.
David Vernon Liddle, who called himself David Vernon Kumar. People in the industry used to call him ‘Kumar Sahib’, and he was my father’s elder brother.
Papa came from a large family – my grandparents had five sons and one daughter. David Vernon was the third son (my father is the youngest of the siblings). In this photo, taken when Papa was a little boy, David Vernon (or ‘Vernie’, as everyone in the family called him) is the boy sitting on the floor in the middle. He was 9 years older than my father.
Vernie tau, which was what we children called him (‘tau’, in case you don’t know Hindustani, refers to one’s father’s elder brother), was born in 1929. I haven’t been able to discover much – even from Papa – about Vernie tau’s early life, but he seems to have been allowed a little more freedom than his older, more strictly brought-up brothers and sister. My grandparents were very orthodox, staunch Christians; they frowned upon anything light-hearted – and cinema or popular music topped their list.
But Vernie tau was apparently an enterprising (possibly rebellious?) young man. Somewhere down the line he managed to learn how to play the guitar. Managed to make it to Bombay. Managed to get a contract with Filmistan. And managed to get to play in Mahal. All when he was only 20 years old.
You can hear the gentle strumming of Vernie tau’s guitar in much of Aayega aanewaala, including in that hauntingly beautiful start of the song.
He’s there again, playing in one of my favourite tragic songs, Tum na jaane kis jahaan mein kho gaye, from Sazaa…
… and in a host of other songs, including Vande mataram, from Anandmath. Vernie tau not only played for Vande mataram; he also (sort of!) sang in the chorus. There’s an amusing story behind this.
The entire orchestra, for rehearsals and for recordings, had to shuttle daily between Bombay and Goregaon – quite a long and tedious haul at that time. They were soon pretty sick of all the journeying they were forced to do.
And, as it happened, when the time came to record, someone realised that the number of singers in the chorus fell short of the number of people shown onscreen. (If you’ve watched Anandmath – or even just seen the song – you’d know that Vande mataram has a huge chorus).
The easiest solution was to get the orchestra to join in the chorus. After all, they were musicians, and not tone-deaf. The lyrics weren’t difficult, and all that was needed was voices to swell the chorus. So Vernie tau and his friends joined in. But instead of singing “Vande mataram, vande mataram”, they vented their frustrations by singing “One day Bombay, one day Goregaon”.
You can’t tell if you listen to the song – the chorus managed to drown them out, but yes; it did happen.
Vernie tau also played for some of the songs in Raj Kapoor’s hit Barsaat. Being at the studios most of the day, he sometimes managed to find time to pop in and watch scenes being shot. One he recounted later was the scene where Premnath’s character, an urban playboy, comes to the village where he’s awaited by an adoring village belle (played by Nimmi). The girl is deeply in love with the man, who’s flirtatious and indifferent by turn. There’s one scene where he comes to her hut at night and lies down on the bed. She’s miserable at his seeming neglect of her. But she tries to be welcoming and loving; she takes his shoes off, and presses her face to his feet.
Take after take, and the director, Raj Kapoor, wasn’t satisfied. Nimmi just wasn’t being able to get the right expression. Finally, something clicked. Raj Kapoor paused everything and told Premnath to go wash his feet with soap and water. “Thoroughly!”
And the next take? Perfect.
Sometime in the mid-50s, Vernie tau came away from Bombay, back to North India, to stay in Delhi. Here, he used to live in Pusa. My father and another of their brothers, my Johnny tau, stayed with Vernie tau too. While in Delhi, Vernie tau set up his own little band. ‘Kumar Sahib’ and his band would play at weddings and similar functions – and for that he’d be on the lookout for good tunes to add to their repertoire.
The two people whose task it was to help in finding new tunes were Johnny tau and Papa. Whenever a new film was released, these two young men (Papa was a teenager, Johnny tau three years older) would be given the tonga fare to go to Daryaganj, along with money to buy cinema tickets. They’d watch a film and note down any good songs it featured. Vernie tau, if he got a good report, would go see the film for himself. If he liked a song (or more), he’d buy the album, and his band would start practising.
In 1957, Vernie tau got married. With his wife, my Sheila tai, he headed back to Bombay and again into the film industry.
In Bombay, Vernie tau and Sheila tai lived in the same apartment complex as some other well-known film personalities. Their neighbours included, for instance, Talat Mahmood (“his wife was such a sweet, gentle lady”) and Agha (“a man with a delightful sense of humour, even off-screen”).
Two stories about Agha and his family follow, but if you’re the delicately-nurtured sort, you might want to skip these. They’re not X-rated, but they’re definitely disgusting – the kind that always make me wrinkle up my nose.
Agha and Talat Mahmood’s little sons – Jalal and Khalid, respectively – used to play together in the apartment complex. Jalal Agha used to tease Khalid by yelling cheerfully: “Tu toh khaa-leed hai! Tu toh khaa-leed hai!” (in Hindustani, ‘khaa’ means ‘to eat’. ‘leed’ means – ugh – excrement. Faeces, shit, crap. Call it what you will. The implication is still yucky).
There’s another gross tale, this time about Agha himself. During the shoot of a film, lunch used to be served to the crew in the typical ‘dastarkhan’ style: they’d sit cross-legged on a sheet spread on the ground, and food-laden thalis would be placed in front of each one of them. One day, Agha found himself seated next to a fat financier with no manners and a bad (or overworked?) digestion. Every now and then, this financier would lift one of his buttocks and let loose with a massive fart.
Each time, Agha was at the receiving end. He bore it a couple of times. But the next time the sethji began to lift his bum, Agha pounced on him, “Sethji, is baar doosri taraf!” (“Sethji, the other side this time, please!”)
I can understand poor Agha’s plight, though.
(Incidentally, Agha – whose father had been in the shoe business – used to invariably introduce himself as a ‘mochi’, a cobbler).
Vernie tau stayed around in Bombay, continuing to play in film songs through the years. Sometime in the late 1960s, his younger brother (my Johnny tau) came to visit Bombay with a starry-eyed friend of his. This was the friend:
(That studio photo certainly does have the look of someone trying very hard to look ‘the hero’, doesn’t it?) This friend had great aspirations of being a film star someday, and pestered Johnny tau to put in a word with Vernie tau to try and get him a role – even if it was only as an extra, to start with – in any film. He was sure he’d make his mark.
A film starring Dev Kumar was being shot in the studio where Vernie tau was working. The person in charge of casting did need some extras for a restaurant scene, so Johnny tau’s friend got his chance. What he didn’t know – and discovered only when the cameras began rolling and the action started – was that in the scene, he (Johnny tau’s friend) is given a whopper of a slap by Dev Kumar.
The poor man emerged from the scene, dishevelled, his jaw nearly dislocated, and seeing stars (well, I did say he was starry-eyed to start with, didn’t I?!). He came rushing back to Vernie tau and blubbered, “Bhaiya, I don’t want to work in films. Thank you, but I’m going back home!”
Vernie tau himself eventually came back home to North India. Shortly after the Dev Kumar film (I don’t know which one it was), Vernie tau, Sheila tai and their sons came to Delhi and settled here. Vernie tau went back to being part of a band. He passed away in 1981 – or was it 1982? – still only in his 50s. I was only about 8 years old at that time, but I have earlier recollections of visiting their home, of sitting out on the balcony and watching my parents, my tau and tai drinking tea; listening to their stories; watching Vernie tau meeting his many visitors and friends, all of them happy to meet ‘Kumar Sahib’…
In the mid-1950s, an interesting film project had been launched. Madhubala’s father Ataullah Khan decided to make a film that would be called Pathan. Madhubala, of course, would be the star. (We don’t know who was supposed to star opposite her). Around the same time, Naya Daur was being made, and Madhubala was signed on, opposite Dilip Kumar, to star in that. But when Ataullah Khan discovered that it would involve Madhubala’s travelling outside Bombay for the shoot – with Dilip Kumar, who was courting her – he put his foot down. His daughter wouldn’t go out of town.
Vyjyantimala replaced Madhubala in Naya Daur (and went on to notch up another hit with it), but the breach of contract caused much rancour. BR Chopra, the producer and director of Naya Daur, sued Madhubala, and among the witnesses he produced was Dilip Kumar.
BR Chopra won the case, but it soured things for Ataullah Khan. He ended up shelving the Pathan project.
So what does Vernie tau have to do with all of this? He was to have been the music director for Pathan. He had, in fact, already composed some tunes for the film when it was called off. Had it been made, Kumar Sahib might have been better-known today.
Another fantastic and funny post :) Please do keep them coming
“Please do keep them coming”? Arre, my family only has so many film-related stories! Unless some of the older generation read this post and remember something I haven’t been told before… I’m keeping my fingers crossed! ;-)
I am trying with great difficulty to get back to blogosphere but everytime I open my mail box and find a new post by either you or Greta, it invariably takes me down memory lane and this time the memory lane is crowded with memories of Ma. Now what does my mum have to do with your memories of your beloved Vernie and Johnny tau? Well they do not have anything to do with her, it is that ‘sweet lady’ my Lotika Aunty ( like a true Indian I suffix the aunty and uncle instead of prefixing it and I like to say aunty instead of aunt. I am told these are our Indian touches -well if Americans can introduce American English then surely we can have our own version of English) oops! I went a little off the point. Lotika aunty or Nasreen Mehmood as she came to be known after her marriage to the sweetest, gentlest( if my grammar is going for a toss please bear with me) man Talat Uncle. Aunty was a Protestant Christian (she is a Bengali) before her marriage. I think the building you are referring to (it is a 3-storied building) is Mehdi Villa because we lived near it for close to 4 decades and I remember Aunty and Uncle telling us that they lived there sometime during the fifties. They later shifted to Khar a suburb in Bombay and my parents shifted from Malad to a building close to their building. I was just a two year old and dad and Talat Uncle had one film in common namely Sujata. It was at this time that mum and Lotika Aunty struck up a close friendship which ended only with mom’s sudden departure, and yes aunty was totally shattered for she happens to be five years older to mum.
Another interesting thing about your post is how you have referred to Bombay and Goregoan that too made me nostalgic. Well more about that later have to wind up, I did tell you I am not able to sit in front of the computer for too long.
Oh, Shilpi, you have hard cross to bear, no? It will take time, lots and lots of it to heal, and it will never completely heal either. I know it from the other end – I lost a baby. Eleven years later, there is an aching hollow in my life. And it is not as if life is bad and I’m still in mourning.
Take care of yourself. *hugs*
Oh Anu, I can understand your pain, my parents mourned the loss of their first born for as long as they lived. Thank you so much for your words of comfort.
Shilpi, I’m so sorry to inadvertently have caused you pain… yes, with your mother’s passing away so recently, anything that reminds you of your parents and your time with them must inevitably be painful. Unlike Anu, I cannot say that I know (or even claim to understand) how you must feel, but I can imagine it, simply because my family – my parents, my sister, my husband – are the most precious people to me in the world. I cannot imagine a world without them. But take heart. We, your friends out here in the blogosphere, are with you.
I hadn’t known Talat Mahmood’s wife was a Bengali Christian before her marriage. So she converted, did she? I seem to recall my father saying Mrs Talat Mahmood’s name was Maasoom, but perhaps he was mistaken – after all, he’d never met her, only heard about what a sweet lady she was. I don’t know where it was that my uncle and aunt lived in Bombay, but I suppose if this was in the late 50s, then it must have been Mehdi Villa, as you say. I must ask my father, the next time I speak to him – in case he knows.
Take care, Shilpi. I’m praying for you.
Oh please do not apologize, after all it is these memories which will take me through what is left of my life,
Yes Aunty converted to Islam after marriage, actually she was a child actor. Both Aunty and Uncle worked in New Theatres and that is how they met. Since Uncle had spent some years in New Theatres, Calcutta and sung some Bengali songs (he sang under the name Tapan Kumar) he could understand and speak Bengali, he was not fluent though but Aunty occassionally spoke to him in Bengali. Since my blog is about my mum’s cooking I would like to add this here that Uncle was a huge fan of the Malpuas that mum made and I still remember how much he enjoyed the delicious Mughlai food that mum had cooked for them on one occassion. He kept saying,”Maine bahut dino baat itni
achi Mughlai khana khaya hai”.
Yes, I remember having read somewhere that Talat Mahmood sang Bangla songs as Tapan Kumar – I hadn’t known that was where he met his future wife.
I love those sweet anecdotes about him liking your ma’s malpuas and the Mughlai food she made! He sounds like a very nice person.
Thank you Shilpi, for adding more information.
Have always enjoyed the titbits you have narrated about filmi ways/life/people.
We are praying for your comfort and peace.
Thanks pacifist, I hope I can gather the strength to work on that blog-cum website on my father that I have been planning for sometime now, I hope to fill it with such little bits of info..
I’m looking forward to it very much.
Just love these enriching anecdotes about people whose films/connection with films are long in the past and we who love them so much have no other source to know about them.
Dustedoff has whetted our appetites :)
I am looking forward very eagerly to it, too. That would be so wonderful!
P.S. pacifist: Have I, really? Then here’s something to keep you coming back to this blog – there’s a fascinating set of guest posts coming up here within the next couple of weeks. :-)
That’s great news DO. Loved the previous guest posts from Johny Walker’s family.
Yes, the Johnny Walker posts were good, weren’t they? It’s always fun to read about people you otherwise know only in their onscreen characters – when they could be completely different from what they were in real life (though Johnny Walker seems to have been as endearing a person as he usually was in his films too!)
Madhu,wonderful post. (As always.) I must confess that while I did think of the Madhubala-Naya Daur story being the basis for your next post, the whole was a complete surprise. I wonder if your Kumar tau knew Van Halen? He used to play for Raj Kapoor (and a host of other biggies) and is the father of a friend of ours. (He is no more.) If he did, then that would be another (tenuous though it is) ‘coinkadink’ don’t you think?
Thank you, Anu! Yes, I guessed this might be a surprise for most people, even though (off and on, over the past couple of years) I have been mentioning Vernie tau on this blog. I finally decided it was time to collect everything I knew about his career in the cinema industry, the anecdotes he related, and so on, and write them down.
I’ve no idea if Vernie tau knew Van Halen – what instrument did he play? Was he on contract with a particular producer? (Though I guess the industry was probably small enough then for most people who were in the same line of work – musicians, for instance – to know each other). I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that ‘coinkadink’ did emerge!
Madhu, got the name wrong :( His name is Van Shipley. (talk about word associations. Van Halen is a hard rock band.) He played the electric guitar, the Hawaiian guitar. Worked a lot on all the Raj Kapoor movies, which is how I know of him. My dad is a big RK fan, and after I got married, when he knew that my husband’s friend’s wife was Van Shipley’s daughter, he was like a small boy told about a chocolate-cum-toy store. :)
Van Shipley is credited with being the first electric guitarist in India – which claim, may or may not be true. I only met him a couple of times – he was a very gentle man. He was recovering from a stroke in ’91, but both he and aunty were so welcoming. And he was so astonished and happy that someone was a fan and had come exclusively to meet him.
ps: He also played the violin. And the period seems to be the same time your uncle was in films. Coinkadink! :)
Sorry for clogging up your comments section, but my husband just got back from work, and I showed him this post – and he said to say that he has both versions of Aayega aanewala – apparently only one of the versions has the Hawaiian guitar; and he said to tell you that ‘the guitar playing was smashing!’
You (or any other reader, for that matter) never clog up my comments section – the more comments, the merrier, say I! It’s lovely to hear everything everybody has to say. :-)
And a very special thank you to your husband for that compliment. Papa will be especially happy to hear that!
Ah, yes. Van Shipley. I’ve heard of him – though whether or not in the context of Vernie tau and his work at Filmistan, or otherwise, I don’t remember. Must ask Papa the next time I talk to him!
Van Shipley sounds like a very sweet person. If he played the violin and the electric guitar around the time my uncle was in Bombay, I’m almost certain they’d have known each other.
I have met Mr Van Shipley at Uncle and Aunty’s place several times, he was quite a gentleman.
Quite an engrossing read. I never knew you were so up close with the filmi world!
Thank you, Julia! Glad you enjoyed it.
P.S. You should read the last paragraph of my previous post to see exactly how close my family was to the filmi world. ;-)
What an absolutely WONDERFUL post, Madhu! Thoroughly enjoyed reading it! It is always so interesting to hear/read about anecdotes from yesteryear, especially when they have a personal touch like your stories do.
Your Vernie tau seems to have been in the industry in Bombay at just the right time (if you know what I mean!). Pity he died so young (and when you were very young), otherwise I’m sure you’d have heard many more stories straight from the horse’s mouth!
What a pity that the movie Pathan did not get completed – it could surely have made a difference to your uncle’s career! We will never know now, will we? *sigh* Anyway, this got me thinking – every now and then, I come across an interview or article where there is mention of a movie that got started but, for whatever reason, never got completed. Isn’t that such a pity? Imagine how much work would have already gone into it! Imagine songs that would have been ready but never went out to the public! After all, every song is a creative piece of work (and a lot of effort!) – and regardless of whether the film gets released or not, does not deserve to be lost in the wilderness!
Sorry, am rambling a bit – these are just some random thoughts that are crossing my mind.
Back to your post – just loved it! Am looking forward to the next one, wondering which aspect of this post it is going to link to! :-)
Thank you, raja! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’ve been mentioning Vernie tau occasionally on this blog, but in very scattered places – so I decided it was time to get everything I knew about him in one place. All these delightful old stories – about people whom we are so familiar with onscreen, but may otherwise know next to nothing of – make for such interesting reading. I do wish Vernie tau was still around. Not just because he probably knew much more about the Hindi film industry than he generally shared with the rest of his family, but also because he had a wonderful sense of humour.
Yes, it is sad when you hear about all these films that were left unfinished, or the songs that were recorded but never included in a film… so much hard work (and in some cases, such superb work too) – all gone down the drain. There are those who’ve cut corners and somehow kept going with the project. But perhaps there were also film-makers who decided they’d rather not complete something after cutting corners, and would settle only for what they’d set out to do in the first place.
Okay, I’m rambling now!
P.S. I’ve been listening, once again, to one of Vernie tau‘s favourite songs. Here it is:
Beautiful song! Who’s she?
I love the song too. :-) The actress (and singer) is Marilyn Monroe. River of No Return is, till date, the only film where I’ve liked her – she was refreshingly unaffected and without that dumb-blonde persona that seemed to characterise so many of her roles.
There’s a male version of the song too, played (by Tennessee Ernie Ford) as the credits roll:
I prefer the Marilyn version, though, because I think she manages to put a good deal of emotion into the song.
Madhu, try watching her in Niagara. She is chilling!
Thank you for the reco, Anu! Will look out for that.
Thats a simply wonderful post. And such a pity about Pathan, I had only the story about Madhubla- Dad- Dilip Kumar – prosecution but now there is another regret to add….
Thank you for the appreciation, bawa!
Incidentally, I just discovered something odd: imdb lists a film named Pathan, released in 1962 and directed by Ataullah Khan. It starred Premnath and Mumtaz:
So perhaps he didn’t after all completely abandon the project? Or did he just use the name? The music credits in imdb don’t list my uncle, but now I am very keen on watching this film…
Thats something worth investigating! Hoping you can get hold of a copy.
I hope so too! But I wonder… forget about the films from the 30s and 40s, even so many of the films from the 50s and 60s – which one always imagines as being more easily ‘accessible’ – seem to have never been released on DVD or VCD. This one seems to be one of them. I did a few searches on Google, but except for some songs, couldn’t find very much.
Another great post DO. Enjoyed reading it. Along with others do feel sorry about the shelved Pathan.
Love watching these old pictures.
This story about Naya Daur always sounds like a film story :-D
BTW my guess was way off the mark. I thought it would be a review of Do Behnen.
Thank you, pacifist!
Do Behnen? Yes, that would have fit too. :-) Or, actually, any of those many family dramas produced by the film makers down south, with massive star casts and invariably great music (like Chhoti Bahen) This post sort-of answered your request (in the comments of the last post) for ‘more stories’.
>any of those many family dramas produced by the film makers down south, with massive star casts and invariably great music (like Chhoti Bahen)
LOL indeed. Badi behen too.
Actually the reason I thought ‘Do behnen’, because it was mentioned in one of your comments, and as you said the clue lay in one of the comments I jumped to this conclusion :-/
But the next link is really really difficult to guess and I’m not trying.
>This post sort-of answered your request (in the comments of the last post) for ‘more stories’.
Or Bhai-Bahen or Bhai-Bhai or Bhabhi… the names were so obviously ‘family-style’ too, weren’t they? You were left in no doubt about what to expect: loads of family drama, rona-dhona, and (almost certainly) Shyama as a beautiful but bad-tempered bahu who is instrumental in breaking up the happy family. Poor Shyama!
Wow is the word. YOu have such illustrious ancestors!!
:-) Lucky me!
Loving the family filmi stories, Dustedoff. It was a different Bombay then, and a different Goregaon. Wonder what Vernie tau would have thought of Goregaon today?
I really wonder!
So many changes occur in cities over lifetimes, don’t they? I remember watching The Householder – which, come to think of it, is only about 50 years old – and being astounded at how Delhi has changed so much in so little time.
Come to think of it, Delhi has changed a lot since I came to it, 26 years ago…
Talk of a changing Delhi – I left Delhi in ’72 and revisited it in 2002 – part of my 25th anniversary celebrations! – and thought I was in a city I had never seen before! I did manage to recognize India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhavan, but failed to find my old house in Karol Bagh! Ajmal Khan Road was so crowded I thought I would suffocate, even Rajghat looked different somehow, Connaught Place looked so run down it was pathetic, and the tiny little Hanuman Mandir has become a huge one now! And these are just some of the changes I noted in three days. Some day I mean to go back and spend a week there and revisit all the old neighborhoods.
Ajmal Khan Road is still the suffocating mess I’ve always known it! But a lot of the rest of Delhi has changed a lot, even in the past couple of years – the preparations for the Commonwealth Games last year brought in a lot of (thankfully pleasant) additions. I’ll be going to Connaught Place today after about two years – the last time I went it was a frenzied construction site, renovations happening all over the place – and I’m looking forward to seeing what it’ll be like now.
Hmm…, This is sad story.
Kumar sahib would have made the music director scene of those days more diverse!
And if he were as innovative with his music as wihthis lyrics (one day bombay, one day goregaon), he would have made ground-breaking music!
Thanks for this lovely post, Dustedoff
Yes… it does make me wonder what would have happened if Pathan had been made, and Vernie tau had managed to make it in the film industry. Anyway, however it might have been, I’m still very proud to have had an uncle like him.
P.S. I’m not sure if those innovative lyrics were his! ;-)
I did mention that the way you mentioned Goregaon and Bombay made me nostalgic. During our childhood we Bombayites referred to the island city as Bombay for that was the city and rest of it were the suburbs but now that practice has more or less stopped; Bombay is now referred to as South Bombay or some people like to refer to as town(town in a city?), that is why I got a bit nostalgic for those good old days.
Shilpi, *I* referred to it as ‘town’ in the nineties! :) I worked at Nariman Point, and we lived in Ville Parle, so it was always ‘I’ve to go to town in the morning’ whenever anyone asked. And yeah, ‘South Bombay’ (or worse SoBo – after South Boston, which is probably after SoHo in NY) is a relatively recent term, is it not?
I my family we always used to say, which place in down twon we meant, if at all we visited the place. But I remember being confused when in Gujarati families it was just collecitvely referred to as Bombay. I even once asked my mom if we didn’t live in Bombay and she smiled and explained to me that in every langauge/tradition there is a different way to refer to a place. Thus it is incomprehensible for me not to say Bombay, when I am speaking/writing English. When I speak Marathi, I do say Mumbai and in Hindi Bambai.
I think there’s a lot to be said about how one associates with a city… it tends to be what we’ve grown up with. My husband and I have just returned from a trip to Mewar. In Udaipur, we met a very sweet Gujarati family of tourists, who told me they’d come from Ahmedabad. “I thought they’d have said Amdavad” my husband said later, and I agreed. But then, I guess they’ve grown up with Ahmedabad, so that’s what it is for them. It’s a similar case for all those cities whose names have been changed recently – people tend to think of Ooty, Madras, Calcutta (or Cal!), Bangalore and Bombay, no matter what the official name may be.
But there’s something sweetly old-fashioned about it all, I think!
No Madhu, it is not about Bombay or Mumbai, it is how the island city which is the area between Colaba and Mahim which was referred to as Bombay while the rest of the city was not.This is a throwback to the British period when Bombay was just the island city while Bandra and beyond were not part of Bombay in fact the two were separated by the sea. People wanting to go to Bombay suffered great hardships with the boats capsizing and so on. Later Lady Jamshedji donated money and a causeway was built between Bandra and Mahim and after independence Bandra anad the rest of the northern suburbs became part of
Greater Bombay but the practice of differentiating between Bombay and the suburbs continued and we continued to refer to it as Bombay although we were all living in Bombay.
Ah… thank you, Shilpi, for clarifying that! Yes, I seem to have got that a little mixed up. ;-)
Your comment reminded me of something my sister once said. She was talking about people (including people who live in Delhi) saying they want to go to ‘Old Delhi’ to shop, wander around, etc. “If they want to go to Old Delhi, they should be going to Mehrauli,” she said. “That’s the oldest Delhi still around. But if they mean Chandni Chowk – which is from Shahjahan’s time, only the second-oldest of Delhi’s cities… then that’s hardly ‘old’ DelhI!”
(Mehrauli, by the way, is the oldest continuously habited part of Delhi – it’s been inhabited throughout for at least the past 800 years).
Yes I did read about Mehrauli being the oldest continuously inhabited part of Delhi
“Sethji, is baar doosri taraf!” (“Sethji, the other side this time, please!”)
*is laughing out loud*
Great post, Madhulika!
(And yes, though really yucky, that anecdote was funny, wasn’t it? Poor Agha!)
Very interesting post, dustedoff, about your uncle! It is indeed a pity that he died so young, or else you would have gleaned so many more tidbits of filmi news from him, and we would have enjoyed them so much! I am still laughing about the “one day Bombay, one day Goregaon …” chorus!
Incidentally, I have to remind myself when I visit India that my city is now known as Chennai, and many of its streets have changed names, and the moment I forget and use one of the old names, people have me pegged immediately as someone from “out of India”! Unfortunately, old habits die hard!
Thank you, Lalitha – I’m glad you enjoyed that post!
Oh, and as far as referring to the capital of Tamilnadu as Chennai is concerned: don’t worry! I know lots of people who live in that city and still proudly call it Madras. It’s not so easy to let go of what you’ve been brought up with, no?
I might be wrong but I think that I read an interview of Premnath’s where he said that he was chosen to star opposite Madhubala in Pathan but that later the movie was shelved. I wished the movie had been made. They looked great together. Just watch them in Aaram.
You may be right, because the Pathan – made in 1962, by Ataullah (I’ve mentioned it in one of my comments above) starred Premnath, so it’s very likely that he was meant to star in the original Pathan too. And yes, though I haven’t seen Aaraam, I have certainly seen Badal, and the two of them had great chemistry – plus, of course, looked awesome!