Reporter Raju (1962)

A couple of months ago, I got a call from Seventymm (the video rental service I’d subscribed to), letting me know that they were shutting down rentals and becoming retail-only. Since I’d paid up in advance for a year’s subscription, I had Rs 800 worth of unused vouchers—which, they said, I could use to pick products from the store. I ordered seven DVDs. They (or, rather, the five Seventymm were able to deliver—the rest went out of stock) arrived last week. Reporter Raju was one of them.

Also, last week, I finished a writing assignment for which the research involved watching a diverse set of films. A lot of them, though, had one thing in common: a newspaper office and/or a reporter as an important character. This one was on the to-watch list, but didn’t arrive in time for me to see it before submitting my article. Just as well, actually, because despite the name, it doesn’t exactly show the reporter doing much any newspaper work. Unless beating up goons is part of the job description.

Rajkumar ‘Raju’ (Feroze Khan) seems, at any rate, to be more acclaimed for his fighting skills than his prowess with a typewriter. [The pen is mightier than the sword? Hah!] He has again been showing off his heroism and has been single-handedly instrumental in catching crooks—the police, as usual, just those crucial few steps behind.
The film begins (after the credits, during which we see Raju doing the cops’ work for them) at a party. Raju is being felicitated, and his boss, Mr Sharma, is heaping praise on this fine reporter.

Also at the party are Raju’s sister Bimal (Indira) and her fiancé Madan (Shah Agha), a police inspector. Bimal and Madan have been engaged for the past two years and have been wanting to get married, but Raju seems to be more concerned with fighting crooks than looking after his sister’s welfare. Madan assures Bimal that he’ll talk to Raju about the matter, right now.

He doesn’t get a chance, though. Our celebrity reporter is too busy with fans to get a moment’s respite, but invites Madan to come over to his (Raju’s) house the following evening.
The next day, however, proves to be jam-packed with activity for Raju. It begins with the owner of a rival media house trying to bribe Raju into joining his newspaper. In the midst of Raju’s righteously indignant refusal of the offer, the phone rings. It’s a little girl who introduces herself as Honey, tells Raju he is her hero, and says she’d like to meet him someday.

Just after Honey has rung off, another female phones. This time, it is a woman (Sulochana Chatterjee), who hurriedly begs Raju to meet her at the National Park that day at 5 PM. She has something vital to share, and she will have a pram in tow—so that he can identify her.

At 5 PM, though, just before Raju reaches the National Park, the woman (her name is Kanta, though she hasn’t told Raju that) is being ‘kept an eye on’ by a bunch of villainous goons.
Raju arrives, and before he can meet Kanta, ends up accidentally meeting Honey instead, who’s also come to the park with her governess Radha (Chitra). Radha had encountered Raju earlier that day—he was running down the street and banged headlong into her, knocking her over. She’s very miffed at him.

By the time Raju gets around to meeting Kanta, the villains have decided to take some action instead of just pacing menacingly around her. She’s hurrying through the park with her pram and just has enough time to whisper to Raju that she’s in deep trouble and he shouldn’t try to talk to her [Raju is, obviously, puzzled. She was the one who wanted to speak to him in the first place, wasn’t she? This flip-flop is irritating].
She finally tells him to follow her from afar until she’s shaken off the villains.

Unfortunately, the villains nearly get to poor Kanta first. Trying to escape, she almost comes under a truck (driven by one of the gangsters). The pram goes careening off on its own down a series of steps, tossing wildly along [The Odessa Steps sequence, anyone?]. By the time Raju races down the steps, concerned passersby have gathered up the unconscious Kanta and sent her to the hospital. The pram turns out to have been empty, thank goodness.

Raju rushes off to the hospital, and there discovers that Kanta had regained consciousness soon after, and has left. He also discovers that Kanta is a nurse in this very hospital, and has left a note for Raju with one of her colleagues.
The note instructs Raju to come to the Royal Theatre that evening at 6.30, where Kanta will meet him. She has enclosed the ticket with the note. [Point: If Kanta had already planned this—bought the ticket etc—why didn’t she hand him the ticket in the park?]

Anyway, Raju obediently goes along to the Royal Theatre for the 6.30 show, and finds himself seated next to Kanta. She tells him to give her his house keys and says she’ll leave now, before the show. He should leave after the show and come home; then she’ll be able to reveal this entire mystery to him, tête à tête.
She takes the keys, and slips out. Above, in one of the boxes, the goons look on. [So, again: why hadn’t she handed Raju the note and ticket before—the goons obviously knew she was coming here, so why the secrecy?]

So Raju sits through the show—a performance by the Kohinoor Theatrical Company, Sole Proprietor Dewan Sunder Lal (Sunder), Registration Number 420. Sunder Lal, his wife Gopi (Jeevan Kala) and their troupe are a travelling company and will be leaving Bombay now, but the manager of the Royal Theatre reminds them that they are booked to be back for another show on the 26th.

Meanwhile, back home, Raju finally gets a chance to have Kanta tell him what the fuss is all about. She says that a few days ago, a man—seriously injured in a road accident—died at the hospital. Just before dying, all alone with only Kanta by his bedside, he had her take off a large flashy ring from his finger…

…and told her to take it to the Thakur of Kamalpur state, with the message that Kamalpur’s prince Bimal Kumar, due to return from abroad, will be murdered, along with his sister, on the 26th at Bombay’s Royal Theatre.
The man died after telling Kanta that he didn’t know who was going to be responsible for the murder, but he did know that the man had only 4½ fingers on his left hand. [I’d love to know the back story to this: how did this dying man know that striking detail without knowing who the man in question was?]

Having unburdened herself to the dependable Raju, Kanta breaks down and starts crying, so Raju goes off to make tea for her. Which leaves the coast clear for an intruder to sneak in, and:

[Oh, dear. I like Sulochana].

Raju pulls the dagger out of Kanta’s back [leaving his fingerprints all over it, of course—savvy reporter]. Kanta isn’t quite dead yet, and with her last gasp manages to tell Raju that she doesn’t know who killed her, and extracts a promise that he will go to Kamalpur and warn the Thakur. This last-gasping wastes a good bit of time, and Kanta has barely copped it when Raju hears footsteps outside. “Police?!” he pants. [Why? Why is that the obvious conclusion?]

He is, unfortunately, correct—it’s Madan, who’d been scheduled to visit Raju today. He comes in (Raju races out in the meantime), and they have a conversation through the bars of the window, Madan telling Raju to hand himself over and let his innocence be established by the law—while Raju says he is compelled to run.

Raju flees to his boss, Mr Sharma. While he’s there, Raju’s sister Bimal arrives looking for him—with a newly-received telegram: their mother is very ill. Raju hides before she can see him, but he eavesdrops. And ends up also hearing Madan enter with the news that Raju has committed a murder.
Mr Sharma refuses to comment, but Bimal is terribly disillusioned that Madan should put duty before love.

She has no idea where Raju is, but Bimal at least takes the train to Bilaspur, where their mother lives. Unknown to her, also on the train are:
(a) Raju, surreptitiously headed for mum’s bedside
(b) Madan, who thinks Raju is likely to be going to Bilaspur
(c) Radha and Honey, headed back home
Raju, trying to escape Madan, barges into Radha’s compartment and she begins to accuse him of murdering Kanta—the news is splashed all across the front pages of the newspapers.

She doesn’t believe him, either, when he denies it. In fact, when Madan comes along (and Raju has fled), Radha raises the alarm. Raju has a hard time escaping, but succeeds by finally jumping into a river… from which he is rescued by the Kohinoor Theatrical Company, encamped nearby on their tour. They take him under their wing, make friends with him, and give him a lift to Bilaspur.

…where Raju stops to assure his mother he’s not a murderer (Bimal, who’s arrived, has probably broken the unhappy news). That done, Raju hits the road again—followed hotly by Madan and more cops.

He once again gets a lift from the theatrical company, who this time let him join as the lead singer and dancer in one of their performances. [Ostensibly to keep him hidden. How this will help, even though he’s wearing a lot of facial hair, is beyond me. Wouldn’t it have been easier for him to stay under wraps in the back of their lorry?]
Radha—now back home with Honey, who (it now emerges) is the little princess of Kamalpur—was been asked by the local police to come along to this performance. They suspect Raju will be part of the troupe and ask her to identify him if she sees him. [Considering Raju’s a well-known face in the newspapers, this doesn’t make sense. Just a reason for a song and dance].

Well, to cut a long story short, lots more happens. Raju, again on the run, spends a night at the Mallika-e-Husn Guesthouse, run by the Mallika-e-Husn (‘Queen of Beauty’; Manorama):

…and we get to see a few very fleeting photos of a young and beautiful Manorama.

Raju meets Radha again (now even more suspicious than she was before). Later still—Radha having shaken him off—he saves Honey from drowning—the kid was out, all alone, rowing a boat on the lake. [Huh? Who in their right mind would let a kid that small wander about doing whatever came into her mind?]. Raju finally arrives in Kamalpur, where he meets the dowager Rajmata (Ratnamala), the grandmother of Honey and Prince Bimal Kumar.

And he meets the Thakur, to whom he gives Kanta’s long overdue message.

Yes, terribly convoluted and taxing, and just too long drawn out. But while this isn’t one of those all-time great entertainers, it’s not unbearable, either.

What I liked about this film:

Some of the songs. The music is by Mohinder Singh, and though the songs weren’t too well-known, they’re tuneful. One which I really liked was Chale ho kahaan kaho; nice yodelling there, and a good beat to the song. Raat jhoomti, dil ko choomti (the only part of the film that’s in colour) is nice too, as is Nazar mili ek qaatil se.

Feroze Khan. Not one of my favourite actors, but he does look good in a leather jacket and black polo neck top.

What I didn’t like:

Unfortunately, so much. The scripting is really bad, with characters, plot elements, and inexplicable twists and turns that lead nowhere and are pretty superfluous. There are plot holes galore, and the villains are a dumb, frightfully clichéd lot who look straight out of a C-grade gangster movie (down to the costumes, white fedoras and all). And Shah Agha’s dark lipstick does nothing to make him look convincing as a cop.

Little bit of trivia:

A large section towards the end—when Raju and Radha find themselves handcuffed together for a few hours—is lifted from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic The 39 Steps. Actually, if you read the synopsis of Hitchcock’s film, you’ll find Reporter Raju draws inspiration from that on a number of other elements too.

71 thoughts on “Reporter Raju (1962)

  1. Madhu, I didn’t think I would read a review of yours, of a film I haven’t seen, and not go, ‘WDGTT?’. Thanks for steering me clear of this one. And the time spent reading the review was not wasted *at all*. Your comments in parantheses were enough to give me a good start to the day. :)) Though I did end up needing to clean my key board and screen.

    For future reference, if you are going to make these sort of comments, please put a disclaimer at the beginning of the review: “This review may be detrimental to computer health.”

    It’ll stop me from drinking my coffee when I’m reading. :)))


    • Heh. I am really sorry for your keyboard and screen – but a little coffee never did anyone any harm, did it? ;-)

      I shall remember to put that disclaimer at the top in future. I know you do, and it always makes me brighten up and look forward even more to the review! Sad, that films which aren’t good end up making for the most entertaining reviews.


  2. I was diligently reading the summary but somehow lost interest. It sounds thrilling and intriguing in the beginning but i think it loses steam, hain na? Maybe I’ll give it a miss :(


    • No ‘maybe’ to it, Sharmi. Unless you’re a die-hard Feroze Khan fan, this one is best given a miss.

      I actually ordered the DVD on the basis of the short synopsis that was provided on the DVD cover (and which Seventymm had printed on their site as a description). That had cut all the crap – i.e, about 80% of the film, and it certainly sounded intriguing enough to be ordered.


  3. Oh my God! Raju, Madan, Sunder, 420… I had trouble getting through this post! Anu is right – I got my dinner all over my poor laptop! I can really find a reference in anything I read. :DDDD

    Thanks for the warning. Now, please excuse me while I clean my keyboard.


    • I like that yodelling waala song, actually. Very catchy; it reminded me of something else, though. Come to think of it, the songs were one of the reasons why I actually did sit through the film – and because I have unerring patience with films. There’s nothing so far that I’ve actually FFed or abandoned midway. Books, yes; movies, no.

      But would I recommend this? No. And you can always see the songs on Youtube.


    • We shall cordially agree to disagree on that last point, Greta! :-) Okay, I didn’t utterly hate this film, it was just too needlessly convoluted and riddled with idiocies and unnecessary characters to be entertaining. Much better than a Bhabhi or a Leader – any day – but I’ve seen lots of better crime flicks.


  4. You poor, poor thing!
    To have to watch such a torture or better said to undergo such a torture. So did I understand right, that this was an assignment?
    The holy week and this film, maybe God wanted you to share Passion Christi in a diluted manner!
    Hope you get to review better movies!


    • Not torture, exactly, harvey. But yes, I’d expected far better, so it was really pretty disappointing.

      No, no – this film wasn’t an assignment. I’d hoped to be able to watch it in time to complete the assignment (which actually just has a brief reference to journalists), but this film arrived too late – I had to submit the assignment on March 15, and then resubmit it with a couple of changes about a week or so back.

      LOL about Holy Week!! Maybe I should rewatch Rail ka Dibba tomorrow, it being Good Friday and prime time for penance…!


      • “Maybe I should rewatch Rail ka Dibba tomorrow, it being Good Friday and prime time for penance”

        I thought you would prefer Ek Phool Do Mali.
        Ek Phool Do Mali for Holy Thursday, Rail ka Dibba for Good Friday, Do Bhigha Zameen for Hoy Saturday, Pyaasa for Easter Sunday and Junglee film for Easter Monday. I think the bishop won’t completely agree with this choice but you would have the blessings of the blogosphere community.


  5. @harvey: Please!! That is expecting me to be really harsh on myself all through the rest of this week. By the end of it, I’ll be so depressed, I’ll probably end up in therapy or something!

    But – come to think of it, the festivities should begin on Easter Sunday itself, since that’s the day to celebrate. So maybe I should watch something peppy and nice on Sunday (Junglee sounds like a good idea) and carry the festivities on till Monday.

    The problem is, we’re off to visit my parents, and my sister and her family will be there too, so not much chance of getting any free time to do any movie watching. Unless it turns out to be a communal viewing like Aan was. ;-)


    • You should admit that my list did brighten up with Holy Saturday! ;-)

      Family get-together! That sounds good! A communal viewing would be then like a cream topping. Wish you have one and have fun with or without it.

      Wish you a benign Easter Bunny and lots of eggs! Who knows maybe the bunny might bring Shammi with him


      • Unfortunately, our Easter is going to be rather rushed – we’ll be all together for only about 24 hours, out of which of course we need to get sleep, meals, and church service. So, very little time to fit in any movies as well.

        But I’m taking a couple of DVDs (Prem Patra and Azaad) to lend to my parents, and am hoping to borrow a couple of theirs too. ;-)

        Thank you for the wishes (especially the Shammi one!! Ooo!) – and a very Happy Easter to you too.


        • So quite a hurried thing?
          I will be at a friend’s place and will be eating Easter meals, which consists only of coldcuts. Sweet white bread (for a change, since here one eats usually brown bread) and special ham (which I will leaveout),boiled eggs and shredded horse radish, which brings tears to your eyes.
          I surely won’t get a chance to watch a Hindi movie!
          Thanks for the Easter wishes!


          • >and shredded horse radish, which brings tears to your eyes.

            ..and burning of the nostrils?? ;-)

            Well, I’m going to make egg curry (since egg is essentila), an Ukrain/Russian recipe for making aubergine, some other vegetables, with rice of course. For dessert, haven’t thought yet, but most probably a schwarzwald. :-D


            • yeah, how could I forget the burning of the nostrils! But if you smell on white bread the burning is gone, so thank God there is an antidote!

              A Schwarzwälderkirschtorte!
              To die for!

              Happy Easter to you, pacifist!


            • That sounds like a delicious Easter meal, pacifist. In our family, the staple is pulao (with our without peas), chicken curry, and kachumber, with kheer to follow. My mum’s baked a nice fruity Christmassy-like cake this time, which we’re looking forward to!

              Happy Easter, pacifist!


            • Thank you harvey, DO :-) and the same to you both.

              >A Schwarzwälderkirschtorte!
              To die for!

              True. Though I can make it at home it isn’t the same as what one gets in one bakery here (the only one, I would say). It is as airy as can be. Just vanishes in your mouth leaving a fantastic taste.
              Hmmm. I think that’s it. Done. I’ll get that for dessert. No more racking of my brain. :-D


          • Cold cuts with horseradish, eggs and bread are probably a good meal – if you’re non-vegetarian. Must be a little boring for you, though, harvey, since you have to leave out the meat, which is probably the most interestingly flavoured of it all.

            I am reminded of a Danish writer whom I met at a writer’s residency in Pondicherry: he just kept raving on and on about the fabulous vegetarian food here in India. When it was time for him to return to Copenhagen, he was saying, “I’ll miss the food, because back home if I make vegetarian food, it’ll be simply boiled beans or potatoes, and who can survive on that“?

            Thank goodness for Indian veggie khaana! (Though, of course, lots of other regions – the Far East and the Mediterranean come first to my mind – do awesome veggie cooking too).


            • The meat is the most boring thing in it in fact!
              The thing is that most of the old veggie food, which was existent in central Europe has been forgotten. After the economic boom in the 50s and 60s, it became the fad to look down upon vegetarian food as food for the poor. Lately thank god, there is a revival of old recipes, which are quite simple and delicious.
              Pumpkins after the economic boom was considered to be good enough only for pigs, thus all the pumpkins recipes went down the drain. The same thing with buckwheat etc. There are in fact many good traditional vegetarian recipes here. All the same Indian (S, N, E, W) veggie food is the one I still like the best. Thai would come close second I think. And Italian… ummmhhh! I need to go to Italy soon!
              Oh, I am getting hungry now, though I just had my breakfast!


              • @harvey, pacifist: Thank you! Helps restore my faith in vegetarianism even in Western Europe. So does Scandinavia possibly have an especially dull culinary tradition when it comes to veggies?

                I do remember having had some really nice veggie dishes in some places – including gratins, of course, and some fabulous soups and salads – in France and Switzerland, but I must admit that my favourites so far have been the Italian vegetarian dishes… yum. :-)


            • Yes, harvey is right. There are a lot of old traditional vegetarian recipes which are delicious and healthy, especially their soups, not forgetting the abundance of variety in salads, breads etc. Actually the Gratins are fantastic (I’m making one for Monday lunch).
              Then there were all these combinations of fruit and potatoe recipes. One with pear and mashed potatoe is delicious. It’s not a dessert, but a meal, and has salt and pepper etc.
              I have two traditional cookery books and they have fabulous recipies.

              You even have a shelf of vegetables in the supermarkets which people had stopped cultivating, like the yellow carrots, the blackroot schwarzwürzel, another one called raben, their sauerkrauts and what not.

              Today was the first Saturday of the season when a farmer brings his produce to the market place, and people flock to buy them (including me). THey will come till end October, selling vegetables as and when their season is. I don’t go to supermarkets at all for vegetables during this time.


              • That’s an interesting anecdote about those ‘old time’ veggies. Sounds interesting!

                Pacifist, may I ask for a teensy-weensy favour? Please, if it’s not a problem – send me, whenever you want, one of your favourite recipes from your recipe books – from stuff, of course, that we can buy a Delhi (broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, asparagus – though a little fibrous – is easily available). I love trying out recipes from across the world, and our weekly menus are very eclectic. :-)


  6. Hmmmm. Feroze Khan does look handsome, and the songs are not bad. I found the first and third (you linked too) quite the 60s type songs of the second category, because you can’t club it with the first category of music like in Ek Musafir… etc.

    I feel so frustrated with men/women pulling out knives from the bodies of murdered people. Why?? Can’t they get ‘too stunned to do anything’ instead?

    I must say the plot sounds interesting. Too bad they couldn’t come up with a better rendition of it.
    But somehow, I feel I might enjoy the film as I’m easily pleased :-)


    • But somehow, I feel I might enjoy the film as I’m easily pleased :-)

      That’s such a sweet thing to say! I must admire your patience, pacifist. Though, yes: it’s not a bad film, actually. I’d been reading good reviews about it on other blogs over the past couple of years, so I guess my expectations were too high. If it had been less convoluted (and Feroze Khan’s character had a bit more sense), I’d probably have been more forgiving!


  7. I think it was movies like these which didn’t help him become a star much earlier. He debuted in 1960 and became a star 9 years later with “Aadmi Aur Insaan”. Too long !!

    I remember watching another movie named “CID 909” (1967) starring Feroz and Mumaz. Looks like he didn’t learn from his earlier mistakes still.

    Of course, 70s are much different and his films were enjoyable then.


    • Yes, 9 years is a long time. What I find interesting about Feroze Khan is that in the 60s, at least, his best-known movies are the ones where he played the odd one out in a love triangle – and he always lost out to the other man. Aadmi aur Insaan, Safar, AarzooUpasana too, though that is later, and not too well-known.

      I haven’t seen CID 909, but have been trying to get hold of it, mainly because of this song, which I like a lot.: Dhadka toh hoga dil zaroor:

      (Sorry, the video is terrible!)


  8. @dustedoff
    Continuing our discussion about non meat dishes in Europe.

    I think restaurants don’t cook these things. They have a very set menu, usually meat, and very very boring vegetable dishes.
    It is at homes that people cook the way they want.

    Just as the Moghul kitchen has now become part of North Indian cooking, Italian dishes are quite a part of the kitchen here, as you know there’s even an Italian speaking part of Switzerland (a little Italy) and being a small country the influence spreads.

    As far as I know Sweden has unique was of baking their fish. I think not many vegetables grow there, so perhaps they don’t do much of that. Sea food seems to be their specialitiy. I’ve been thinking of going there this summer. Eager to see what their kitchen is like :-)


    • Though again, restaurants of Sweden (like in other countries) won’t give me the idea of what really goes on in their kitchens. :-(


    • You know, pacifist – I have this feeling that actually the Mughal kitchen is not really that much a part of North Indian cooking at home. A lot of those dishes – the kababs, tandooru rotis and tikkas need tandoor – which of course aren’t a possibility in most homes. (Gas tandoors are available, but the end product doesn’t taste the same). A couple of the dishes that are possible are butter chicken and daal makhani. Otherwise, a lot of what we tend to cook up north is more (I think) an Awadhi influenced cuisine. I’ve recently read Salma Hussain’s book on the cuisine of the Mughals, and it’s pretty much non-vegetarian dominated (tikkas, biryanis, kababs, except for some familiar dishes like khichdi, which was a favourite of Jahangir’s, and among others too. :-)


    • Sea food seems to be their specialitiy.

      Gravlax among them? I remember reading a recipe of it when I was a young teen, and being quite fascinated. I’ve wanted to try it at least once, ever since. :-)


  9. @ pacifist and dustedoff:
    I will write my comment here instead of the above thread so that there is enough space.
    Gratins are superb! I love them I think I can live off them for the rest of my life. The local produce at the local market is also great. I frequent them myself. We also have small shop in my street, where one can order the produce from internet and the local farmers deliver it to the shop and one can collect them on Friday. The positive aspect of this is that the initators of this project don’t have to sit in their shop whole day (they have a day job as architects), the produce is organic and the project initators at least know them well and their farm as well. In winter they don’t have much variety, but in summer it overflows.
    Yesterday I had some good nouveau suisine potato dumplings with feta and ramson leaves, roasted in almond pieces. It was yummy. The traditional Easter jause came in the evening!


    • Yesterday I had some good nouveau suisine potato dumplings with feta and ramson leaves, roasted in almond pieces. It was yummy.

      It sounds super yummy! My mouth’s watering just thinking about it. :-))

      I have never eaten ramson – never come across it here, either. I just looked it up on wikipedia. Must be tasting nice!

      That initiative sounds good. Convenient, fresh, organic. Summer must be a great time to experiment with interesting fruits and veggies.


    • There are things of which I heard only here, and didn’t know what Ramson was, because I know it as bärlauch.
      It grows wild in patches in gardens too – much safer. I love its garlicy smell and taste.

      Another thing that one can either have a patch of it in the garden or collect during walks in the forest is stinging nettle, which makes a great soup, and is extremely healthy because of the iron content of it.

      I know that in the hills in India many people know about it, and use it for cooking.


      • Have you tried a stinging nettle strudel? Just substitute the spinach in spinach-feta strudel with stinging nettle. It tastes better than spinach, because it is more spicy. What I have heard but never tried is using young hop shoots like asparagus. Supposed to taste very well.


        • Oh, please. Will you please stop?! My mouth is watering, sitting here in Delhi and reading all these interesting exchanges regarding veggies that I’m highly unlikely to ever see in Delhi. If you’d like to discuss recipes, please suggest some I can cook – with broccoli, mushrooms or bell peppers (perhaps asparagus, cherry tomatoes and rocket) being the ultimate exotic vegetable!


          • My favourite recipeis bhara baingan harvey style.
            Take a big aubergine, divide it lengthwise into half, hollow it leaving a half cm of flesh on the border. Mince an onion, cut the brinjal pieces taken out into small pieces, spice it with coriander powder and cumin and pepper while frying, mix it with fresh cheese and fill it in the hollowed part. Make a tomato sauce with some herbs. Put the aubergine pieces in a baking plate with tomato sauce below and bake at 180°C for half an hour. Serve with rice. You can do the same with mushrooms and bell peppers.
            Bon appetit!


            • That sounds delicious, harvey. My mother used to make something similar when we were young. But after halving the aubergine, she used to grill the cut surfaces (after scoring them lightly), before scooping out the flesh. Then the final baking becomes a shorter time. But your version sounds fabulous too. I must try this sometime! Thank you for sharing that. :-)


            • What cheese do you use? And what herbs in the tomato sauce? My usual tomato sauce is an Italian-style one, with minced garlic and fresh basil; I don’t think the the basil would go too well in this – might clash with the coriander and cumin powder…?


              • Well I use fresh cheese, but you can surely use feta or any creamy one. For tomato sauce I add salt and a bit of sugar, but you could use cumin as an extension of the filling.
                A very simple recipe is to cut vegetables into small pieces, add oil, salt, herbs like thyme and basil (preferably dried) shake and mix well, put it in the oven bake it till done add sour cream, serve with rice.


      • This is such a coincidence! Just yesterday, my nephew was talking about stinging nettle and asking me what it would taste like. Not that we’ve ever seen any in India – but he’d read about it somewhere.

        Now I’m wishing I could come to Europe and try all these fascinating things you two are discussing…


        • I think stinging nettle is called ‘bicchu kati’ बिच्छु कटी

          >Now I’m wishing I could come to Europe and try all these fascinating things you two are discussing…

          I guess you’d just have to come and visit me so I can make some of these dishes, as restaurants don’t offer these things :-)


          • I guess you’d just have to come and visit me so I can make some of these dishes, as restaurants don’t offer these things :-)

            Ah… the very thought is bliss. :-) Thank you!


          • Wah! A world tour of food and movies? And then you can all come home with me to Delhi, and I’ll take you to Purani Dilli for chhole-bhatoore, bedmi-aloo and rabri, the way it’s made in Parathewali Gali. :-)


              • Delhi is best savoured in winter or spring, of course – anytime between April and October is horror! (Well, the monsoon is nice, but the risk of falling prey to Delhi Belly is huge).

                I have just realised: another Dilli specialty, daulat ki chaat, is made only in the deepest winter. Another point for coming here in winter!


                • Aah. Parathewali gali. Count me in – let’s all get together on a world tour of food and movies. Madhu, pacifist, harvey (and anyone else who wants to join in), July-August, when Dilli is too hot, is beautiful here in the North East. Think about it…

                  Lots of veggie food too – I’m considered quite a good cook. : – )


    • Ah, yes. He’s looking really stylish in Aarzoo. That suit and tie combo is also great. Am looking forward to seeing your screen caps from Dharmatma – I haven’t seen that film.


  10. @dustedoff
    I might just take you up on the Drlhi goodies in parathewali gali.
    I have a choice of going to India or Scandinavia for the Northern lights (if I choose not to go this summer there when I won’t see the lights).


    • @Anu, pacifist: Oh, please do come to India! I doubt if I’ll be able to go anywhere abroad this year – the royalties aren’t flowing in as fast as one would like them to!! – but Chandni Chowk and the area around it are always great for a stroll (we can pull in a bit of history too, if you want – I’ll show you an old 17th century Mughal haveli – or what’s left of it). And the food is awesome. :-)


  11. Spoiler ahead:

    Your summary is very detailed until he reports the message to the Thakur–who turns out to be the villain. This is only two-thirds through the movie, and is the place where the movie starts to really borrow from Hitchcock.


    • I left that out on purpose, because it would have constituted a major spoiler. Besides, I just wanted to set up the scenario and then allow readers to decide whether they wanted to watch the film or not.


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