Monday, December 26, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 93

'X' (right), with Chitra Palekar and Amrish Puri.

In the late 1950's, 'X', then an aspiring cricketer, arrived in Mumbai from Bilaspur, Madhya Pradesh, with dreams of becoming a cricketer.

He, however, ended up in an entirely different field.

'X' appeared in a small role in "Deewaar" (1975), as he co-starred with Amitabh Bachchan in the dockyard scene, where he refuses to pay the "hafta".

In 1971, 'X' was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in the category of 'Direction'.

'X' won the 1978 National Film Award for Best Screenplay for Shyam Benegal's "Bhumika".

In 1980, he won the Filmfare Best Dialogue Award for Shyam Benegal's "Junoon".

In 2011, he was honoured with the "Padma Bhushan", by the Government of India.

Identify 'X', a legend in his own right !!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 92

The phrase "X" comes from an Ameer Khusrau poem. The original poem is considered to be a masterpiece and is beautifully written in Persian and Braj Bhasha simultaneously.

The poem is unique as it is composed with alternate lines in Persian and Braj Bhasha
respectively !!

The first line of the poem is in Persian, second in Braj Bhasha, third in Persian, and so on.. !!

____ ____ ____ makun taghaful (Persian)
doraaye nainaan banaye batyaan (Braj Bhasha)

ke taab-e-hijraah nadarum-e-jaan (Persian)
na laihyo kaahe lagaye chatyaan (Braj Bhasha)

Here's the full poem :

____ ____ ____ makun taghaful, duraye naina banaye batiyan;
Ki taab-e hijran nadaram ay jaan, na leho kaahe lagaye chhatiyan

Shaban-e hijran daraz chun zulf wa roz-e waslat cho umr kotah;
Sakhi piya ko jo main na dekhun to kaise kaatun andheri ratiyan

Yakayak az dil do chashm-e jadoo basad farebam baburd taskin;
Kise pari hai jo jaa sunaave piyare pi ko hamaari batiyan

Cho sham’a sozan cho zarra hairan hamesha giryan be ishq aan meh;
Na neend naina na ang chaina na aap aaven na bhejen patiyan

Bahaqq-e roz-e wisal-e dilbar ki daad mara gareeb Khusrau;
Sapet man ke waraaye raakhun jo jaaye paaon piya ke khatiyan

English Translation of the poem :

Do not overlook my misery by blandishing your eyes,
and weaving tales; My patience has over-brimmed,
O sweetheart, why do you not take me to your bosom.
Long like curls in the night of separation,
short like life on the day of our union;
My dear, how will I pass the dark dungeon night
without your face before.
Suddenly, using a thousand tricks, the enchanting eyes robbed me
of my tranquil mind;
Who would care to go and report this matter to my darling?
Tossed and bewildered, like a flickering candle,
I roam about in the fire of love;
Sleepless eyes, restless body,
neither comes she, nor any message.
In honour of the day I meet my beloved
who has lured me so long, O Khusrau;
I shall keep my heart suppressed,
if ever I get a chance to get to her trick.

Eminent poet and lyricist Gulzar got inspired by the first three words of the poem and used them in the mukhda of a song, later set to tune by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.

The English translation of the mukhda written by Gulzar is as follows :

Notice the poor (heart), and do not look at it (heart) with enimity.
It (heart) is fresh with the wounds of separation.

Identify "X", the original Ameer Khusrau phrase that inspired Gulzar into writing a beautiful song.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 91

In which cult Hindi film will you come across the following works of fiction :

"The Guide" by R.K. Narayan

"The Whiff Of Money" by James Hadley Chase

"The Life and Crimes of Charles Sobhraj" by Richard Neville & Julie Clarke

Friday, December 16, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 90

Agra ka Petha, Mathura ke Pede, Benaras ka Paan/Sari, Nagpur ke Santre, Dilli ki Sardi..

Different places are famous for different things.

A film starring Kishore Kumar and Madhubala gets its name from an Asian city which is famous for something.

Identify the film.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 89

Music Director Naushad recorded a song for the movie 'Dulari' (1949), in Mohd. Rafi's voice. The recording was over once Naushad was satisfied with the outcome of the song.

The next day a restless Mohd. Rafi came to Naushad and told him that he was unable to sleep the whole night, as he kept thinking about the recently recorded song. Rafi somehow felt that he had not done full justice to Naushad's wonderful composition.

Naushad tried to convince Rafi that he was satisfied with Rafi's rendering of the song and there was no need for them to re-record it. On hearing this, Mohd. Rafi started crying like a child, and requested Naushad to record the song again.

An absolutely stunned Naushad could not believe the dedication of Rafi. He had no option but to record the song again !!

Soon, Rafi's dedication paid off and the song became a runaway hit. It proved to be Mohd. Rafi's big break and his career took off with this all-time hit song from Dulari (1949).

Identify the 'Raag Pahadi' based song that catapulted Mohd. Rafi into the big league of Indian Playback Singers.

Additional Trivia :

The song is picturised on yesteryear Actor Suresh, who is shown singing with a 'Mandolin' in hand and virtually no expression on his face. Penned by Shakeel Badayuni, the lyrics wonderfully capture the feeling of a waiting man. The song is about waiting forever for one’s beloved.

However, all the endless wait seems worthwhile, when the beloved is as beautiful as Madhubala, who finally arrives towards the end of the song :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 88

"Mujhse Pehli Si Mohabbat.." is a wonderfully written 'nazm' by Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

The song was rendered equally beautifully by Noor Jehan, who sang it under Music Director
Rashid Attre's baton, for the Pakistani film "Qaidi" (1962).

Needless to say, the song became a sensational hit.

"Mujhse Pehli Si Mohabbat"

Mujhse pehli si mohabbat, mere mehboob na maang

Maine samjha tha ke tu hai to darakhshaan hai hayaat
Tera gham hai to gham-e-dehar ka jhagra kya hai
Teri soorat se hai aalam mein baharon ko sabaat
_____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____

Tu jo mil jaaye to taqdeer nigoon ho jaye
Yun na tha maine faqat chaha tha yun ho jaaye

Mujhse pehli si mohabbat, mere mehboob na maang..

English Translation of the song :

Don’t ask me for the love I once gave you, my beloved

I had thought if I had you, life would shine eternally on me
If I had your sorrows, those of the universe would mean nothing
Your face would bring permanence to every spring
_____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____

Were you to be mine, fate would bow low before me.
This was not how it was, it was merely how I wished it to be

Don’t ask me for the love I once gave you, my beloved..

** The song has another wonderful line "Aur bhi dukh hain zamaane mein mohabbat ke siva.."
( There are other pains in the world than those of love.. )

Legend has it that Faiz Ahmed Faiz never recited his poem again, once he heard Noor Jehan sing it, saying that he could never compete with her rendition of it !!

A particular phrase from the song "Mujhse Pehli Si Mohabbat.." inspired Majrooh Sultanpuri so much, that he went on to write an entire song based on that one particular line.

Composed by Madan Mohan, the song featured in a Hindi film released in 1969. In the film, the song featured in two versions. One is a solo Lata Mangeshkar version and the other is a Rafi-Lata version, where Mohd. Rafi sings almost the entire song, except for one stanza.

Fill in the blanks and identify the immensely romantic song written by Majrooh Sultanpuri.

Additional Trivia :

According to Faiz Ahmed Faiz's daughter Moneeza Hashmi, "Mujhse pehli si mohabbat" and "Hum dekhenge" are two works of her father, that capture the "Essence of the world."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 87

"Hare Rama Hare Krishna" (1971), is the first Hindi film in which Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman worked together.

Before signing Zeenat Aman for "Hare Rama Hare Krishna" (1971), Dev saab had her cast in an American film in which he was starring at that moment, along with Kieu Chinh, a leading lady from Vietnam.

Dev Anand with his Vietnamese Leading Lady Kieu Chinh, in a still from the film.

This Hollywood film was also dubbed and released in Philippines and Vietnam. The lesser known film is also known as "Passport To Danger".

Released in 1970, this 20th Century Fox Production was Produced by Rolf Bayer and Directed by Lamberto V. Avellana.

Fali Mistry, who worked with Dev Anand on a number of Hindi films during the 1970's, was the Cinematographer of this film.

Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman appeared together on screen for the first time, in this Hollywood film.

Name the film.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 86

X's wife on the cover of 'Filmfare' magazine.

'X' protested the emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, and in 1977, he plunged into politics by launching the 'National Party of India' (NPI).

The 'National Party Of India' held its first rally at the historic Shivaji Park. It was packed to capacity with a very responsive crowd, ready to vote for X's ideology. Besides 'X', people like Nani Palkhivala, F.C. Mehra and G.P. Sippy too addressed the crowds.

Mrs. Indira Gandhi was in Bombay, the day the rally took place, and she tried to send a message to 'X', to join hands with her. 'X' felt that the die was cast and was confident of winning hands down. He rejected Mrs. Gandhi's offer as he did not want to join hands with an autocrat.

The party's next plan was to hold a rally at the Ram Lila grounds in Delhi. However, the initial momentum slackened, and with the elections just six weeks away, the National Party of India was not ready to fight the elections in such a short time.

The idea of launching a political party was short-lived, as 'X' soon disbanded the party. That was the end of the 'National Party of India.'

X' decided to canvas for Atal Bihari Vajpayee and went to address his rally at the Ram Lila grounds in Delhi. Vajpayee was perhaps the only winner in Delhi where the Indira Congress came to power with a thumping majority.

Identify 'X'.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 85

Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre’s book ‘Freedom At Midnight’, mentions a story on a World War II veteran.

Gurdaas Maan read the story and got so impressed, that he decided to make a film on it.

He thus produced the movie "Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh“. Unfortunately, the movie, despite being watchable, sank without a trace.

However, another person saw some potential in it, and decided to revive it into another project.

What resulted ?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 84

'X' started his career as a junior visualiser at the British-run advertising agency D.J. Keymer, and by his own admission, he held his profession as a 'Graphic Artist' very close to his heart.

Although on one hand, visual design was something close to X's heart and for the most part, he was treated well; there was palpable tension between the British and Indian employees of the firm as the former were paid much better. 'X', at that time, was earning just eighty rupees a month.

It was in 1943 that he was invited by a senior colleague from D.J. Keymer to work with Signet Press, a new publishing house started by Mr. D. K. Gupta. Mr. Gupta asked 'X' to create cover designs for books published by Signet Press, and gave him complete artistic freedom.

( Pic : X's cover design for Nehru's 'The Discovery of India', published by the Signet Press. )

'X' designed covers for many books, including Jawaharlal Nehru's "Discovery of India", and Jim Corbett's "Man-Eaters of Kumaon".

Some years later, 'X' went on to make his mark in a different field.

Identify 'X'.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 83

Before entering the film Industry, 'X' was an avid sportsperson.

'X' is a Black Belt holder in Taekwondo, and has won a Silver Medal in Taekwondo, at the National Games.

'X' has represented India in two different games. She represented India in World Korfball Championship held at New Delhi in 1995. She also represented India at the International Taekwondo Championship, held at Hong Kong in 1996.

In 2008, a games development company signed an agreement with 'X', to develop a first-of-its-kind Java based 3D mobile game.

The game, titled 'X' - The Alien Killer, is based on a unique game story and revolves around 'X', the lead character, killing different aliens.

Besides being a trained marshal arts expert, 'X' is also a trained Kathak dancer and a vivid basketball player.

Identify 'X'.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 82

'XY' was born in Amritsar, to a painter mother and an academic father. After her schooling, her father gave up a well respected job of the Head of the English Dept. at Hindu College of the Punjab University; left Amritsar and migrated to the United States.

He left for the U.S. with no security or promise of a job. The first year was hard, as he had to work as a librarian by day and as a watchman, an ordinary guard of a building, by night. That one year was a traumatic time for him and has always remained as an inspiration for 'XY' throughout her life. Her father struggled day and night to be able to accrue enough money to send air tickets for his family to join him in New York.

When 'XY' reached New York, the first thing she did was to start working as a typist, so that she could pay for her own tuition. She worked 9 to 5, and then went to night school at Hunter College in Manhattan. 'XY' was educated at the City University of New York and received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at Hunter College in Manhattan.

Her father wanted her to go to Paris for further studies, but she wanted to pursue a career in Acting, something she kept a secret from her family. As a little girl in Amritsar, when she went to the movies, she intuitively knew that one day she'd be there, emoting.

Her parents weren't pleased with her decision to return to India to pursue a career in acting. They asked her to get married and then do whatever she liked, but she decided to follow her heart.

Following her heart, 'X' found success in films and is a well known name today. 'X' also happens to be a Writer, Poet, Photographer and Painter.

Her first collection of poems in Urdu and Hindi, titled "Lamha-Lamha", was published in 1983, followed by an English collection "Black Wind And Other Poems", which was published by MapinLit in 1994.

In 1996, she held her first solo exhibition of paintings titled 'One Woman Show', at Mumbai's Jehangir Art Gallery.

Two years later, she exhibited her photography of Ladakh in a show titled 'In Search Of Another Sky'.

On 30th October, 2011, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan released XY's latest book "The Mad Tibetan" - Stories from Then and Now; a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories.

"The Mad Tibetan" - Stories from Then and Now, is a collection of 11 short stories, published by Amaryllis, an imprint of Manjul Publishing House, Delhi.

'XY' has Written, Produced and Directed a feature film called "Do Paise Ki Dhoop Chaar Aane Ki Baarish". The film is set in the Mumbai monsoon and stars Manisha Koirala, Rajit Kapoor and Milind Soman. The film premiered at the market section of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and is slated to a commercial release in 2012.

XY's third book of poems, 'River' is under publication. It will be published by Amaryllis, Delhi.

Identify 'XY'.

Additional Trivia :

XY's father, Dr. Uday C. 'Y', retired as a Professor of English from Lehman College of the City University of New York. He taught English as a foreign language to generations of immigrant students from all over the world; mostly from Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Dr. Uday C. 'Y' obtained his PhD. in Linguistics, at the age of 65, a full 45 years after completing his M.A. degree at age 20.

Earlier in India, he authored a Hindi book "Kaarya Jaanch Kyoon Aur Kaise", the first-ever Asian publication on the management technique of 'work study'. He received a letter of appreciation from Prime Minster Jawaharlal Nehru. The personal letter, dated July 10, 1962, was addressed as 'Dear Professor Y'.

Dr. Uday C. 'Y', along with Dr. Soofia K. Hussain, has authored another book titled "Striped Zebra" : The Immigrant Psyche. It's a book about immigrants and is an extensive and significant study about the migration factor all over the world. The book has been published in India by Rupa & Co., Delhi.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 81

Arun Shourie became the Executive Editor of 'The Indian Express' in January 1979. He uncovered corruption in the highest echelons of the Government and exposed several major scandals.

In the early 1980's, Arun Shourie, as Editor of 'The Indian Express', broke the big A.R. Antulay story, ‘Indira Gandhi as Commerce’. The expose revealed that the then Maharashtra Chief Minister, Abdul Rehman Antulay, had started an organisation called the ‘Indira Gandhi Pratibha Pratishthan’, through which he collected illicit funds from builders.

The corruption scandal forced A.R. Antulay to resign. He resigned as Chief Minister of Maharashtra after the Bombay High Court convicted him on charges of extortion, on January 13, 1982. The court ruled that A.R. Antulay had illegally asked Mumbai area builders to make donations to 'Indira Gandhi Pratibha Pratisthan', one of the several trust funds he had established and controlled, in exchange for receiving more cement than the quota allotted to them by the Government.

This caused the eventual resignation of the Chief Minister, and a great embarrassment to Indira Gandhi and her ruling Congress Party.

Arun Shourie's exposes resulted in a prolonged labour dispute at the Mumbai offices of the Indian Express, where a labour organizer with ties to A.R. Antulay, encouraged workers to strike for a minimum wage double than what was paid at any other newspaper in India. It also resulted in a Government crackdown that included a host of legal cases launched against 'The Indian Express' by various agencies. In 1982, the paper's owner Ramnath Goenka fired Arun Shourie as a result of the continued Government pressure.

This real life story was made into a controversial Hindi film. The 'uncomfortably authentic' political drama ran into trouble when film distributors and television refused to run the film, though later it went on to win three National Film Awards.

Identify the film.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 80

Wing Commander Yogesh Suri flew fighter planes in the Indian Air Force for 20 years.
During his career, he flew several types of aircraft, including the MiG 21 and MiG 25.
He was one of the first four pilots to fly the MiG-25, in the 102nd squadron in Bareilly.

Mig 25 Foxbat - The legendary fighter aircraft.

Wing Commander Yogesh Suri (2nd from right), along with fellow Indian Air Force officers.

Mr. Yogesh Suri is also a qualified Cosmonaut. He almost made it as the first Indian in space.
He was one of the four finalists in the selection of candidates for the Soviet-Indian mission. He was shortlisted and was the standby trainee Indian astronaut for the country's first-ever space flight, along with Mr. Rakesh Sharma.

Mr. Yogesh Suri retired as a Wing Commander because of health reasons. Also, he had to switch to slower planes, so he called it a day, by taking voluntary retirement in 1992.

He then took up broadcasting as an FM Radio Jockey and worked for a radio station in Delhi, and hosted shows on Radio One in Delhi for 5 years. In 2002, he worked as the Director of the radio company "Green Channel".

He also started his career as a trainer, teaching young people the art of public speaking, as well as training them in the art of Radio.

After working for Radio channels, he changed his field once again, for what he calls his "final calling"; a stint in Hindi films.

As an Actor, he has worked in films like 'What's Your Raashee ?', 'Veer', 'Kites', 'Lamhaa' and 'Aisha'. So far, his most popular role as an Actor, has been that of 'Bairam Khan' in 'Jodhaa Akbar'.

The Question is, by what name is Retd. Wing Commander Yogesh Suri better known as ?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trivial Pursuit 79

'X' grew up in a lower middle-class family in Delhi. His father worked in 'The Claridges' hotel. He went to Blue Bell School, a small school in Jor Bagh. Small means the school would upgrade every time the students crossed a class; as they were promoted to Class V, the school added Class V and so on. This went on till Class VIII. Then 'X' switched to Bal Bharti Air Force school, now Air Force Bal Bharti school.

'X' was a state level swimmer and the captain of the Delhi Swimming Team, which earned him a seat in the much sought after Delhi's Sri Ram College of Commerce in the early 80's.

His first day in college left an indelible mark on his psyche. Students were asked to introduce themselves, and read out their school leaving marks to the professor. While everyone had over 90 per cent, he had just 56.6 per cent. The professor looked shocked and said it was because of students like him that the reputation of the college had been tarnished. 'X' never attended that professor's class again.

While his classmates joined management institutes and big companies after completing their college education, 'X' started his career as a door-to-door salesman for Eureka Forbes vacuum cleaners in Delhi. He was paid a meager salary of Rs 415 a month. But he was always good at one thing; while other salesman went from house to house convincing housewives of the benefits of their vacuum cleaners, 'X' approached hospitals and airports. He was able to sell 20 to 30 machines in one go. A few years down the lane, he joined a friend to start a garment export company. They bought a shut down factory in old Delhi and in just a few months they were able to set up three factories. After about 18 months in the business, 'X' decided to get into Advertising.

It was, however, different when he shifted to Mumbai and took to advertising. He started shooting television ads for Indian companies and multinational giants then entering India. Hero Cycles had recently come to India and was going to expand in a big way. He Directed an ad for them and went on to make many ad films for Indian and international clients such as Coke, Pepsi, Toyota, American Express etc. He established his company 'Flicks Motion Picture Company Private Limited' in 1986.

As a Feature Film Director, his first film, considered to be much ahead of its times, bombed at the box office. An NDTV documentary "Coffins in Tricolour" inspired him to make his second film which turned out to be a blockbuster and catapulted him to the big league.

The film went on to find a nomination, and was among the five entries in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (BAFTA). It shared the honour with Mel Gibson's 'Apocalypto', Paul Verhoeven`s 'Black Book', Guillermo del Toro's 'Pan's Labyrinth' and Pedro Almodovar's 'Volver'. The award in the category went to Guillermo del Toro's fantastical saga 'Pan's Labyrinth'.

His third film too bombed at the box office. The makers came up with the idea of having a a mirror on the Audio CD cover of the film. According to 'X', the film tells us to look at ourself, and so it had a mirror on the CD cover.

'X' then Produced a film which was released in 2011 under his banner. The film was initially titled 'Mad, Madder, Maddest', but the title was later changed to a more suitable one. The film faired poorly at the box office.

'X' is an adventure-loving person and has a special affinity to under water diving.

'X' also has a culinary interest. Along with his elder brother Rajan, he owns the famous "Bauji Ka Dhaba" restaurant - in a Gurgaon mall and in The Garden Of Five Senses, near Saket in New Delhi. His father had started the food chain after working for 'The Claridges' for 45 years.

Baujee Ka Dhaba’s "Baujee" name arrived from X's father Lt. Shri Om Prakash, who was popularly known as "Baujee" in old age. In the year 1998, the name "Baujee Ka Dhaba" was brain stormed by X's niece Tisha.

The Dhaba not just serves good food, it has also won an award from the Ministry of Tourism for its ambience !! The Madhubani paintings that adorn the walls of the Dhaba have been etched by National Award winning artists.

Identify 'X'.