This is from a few days ago when the man whose pen wore no condom fell one short of a century. The unofficial Khushwant Singh Google doodle.
And an animated GIF tribute to the ‘Sardar in the Lightbulb’ that I created suring my day job at IBNLive.
There are a lot of distractions while reading eBooks on the phone and Twitter is one. As I was swiping through the pages of Raju Bharatan’s A Journey Down Melody Lane: The Making of a Hindi Film Song on my phone, I occasionally switched to the Twitter app to follow what’s tweeting. In a strange coincidence, as the first tweet about the Tarun Tejpal sexual assault case appeared on my stream, I was simultaneously reading the singer-actress Suraiya’s account of Ashok Kumar’s un-Dadamoni-like behaviour with her.
Here’s what Suraiya is quoted as saying in Raju Bharatan’s fascinating book about Hindi film music (and much more):
I found Dev to be the perfect gentleman compared to Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor. Why, once, even the highly respected Ashok Kumar shocked me out of my wits by studiedly letting his evidently adroit hand, ever so lightly, graze… I just can’t bring myself to utter the word! It was some time in 1950, I think, while we were shooting for Khiladi. Some Khiladi I discovered Ashok Kumar to be at his age! Instinctively I said: “et tu, Dadamoni?” Whereupon Ashok Kumar just smiled knowingly, almost suggesting that, in films, I should be taking such things in my stride. Well, I was one heroine who would take it only in my decent stride. How Ashok Kumar fell from grace in my eyes that day!
I was taken a little aback by this account (no too much though). The legendary short story writer Saadat Hassan Manto was a good friend of Ashok Kumar and in his unabashed style described Ashok Kumar as someone certainly lacking in courage when it came to women but noted that that didn’t stop the revered actor from staring.
An excerpt from the Ashok Kumar chapter in Saadat Hasan Manto’s Stars from Another Sky:
Ashok was not a professional lover but he liked to watch women, as most men do. He was not even averse to staring at them, especially at those areas of their anatomy that men find attractive. Off and on, he would even discuss these things with friends. Sometimes he would experience a strong urge to make love to a woman but he would never step forward. Instead he would say something like, ‘Yaar Manto… I just do not have the courage.’ Courage he certainly lacked, which was a good thing for his marriage. I am sure his wife, Shobha, was happy about her husband’s timidity, praying that he would never lose it. I always found it odd that Ashok should be scared of women when hundreds of them were willing to jump if he told them to jump.
Disclosure: I am an ebook evangelist.
Update 2: As expected, Google and HarperCollins India seems to have been alerted of the leak and the free fest is now over. I hope the early birds got their worms.
Update 1: The free ebook count is now 40 (up from 39). Thanks Amit! Also URL structure changed to point to Google Play instead of Google Books.
There are tons of free ebooks available on the online bookstores, but much of them are books that are out of copyright (and also quite a lot of erotica), but very little of quality contemporary fiction and non-fiction. Once in a while an Amazon India will give away a free ebook a day for a couple of weeks, and that’s all. Therefore when I stumbled upon this stash of free ebooks on Google Play I couldn’t hide my excitement and immediately announced the discovery in a series of tweets    .
Though the custodian-of-Bollywood-trivia Diptakirti Chaudhuri pointed out that the entire HarperCollins film books catalogue seemed to be up for free, but the sceptical journalist part of me took over and after the initial denial that was followed by further investigation the conclusion is the not only the film books, but almost the entire HarperCollins India ebook collection on Google Play seems to be available for free and I could dig out 39 of them (so what if
39 40 doesn’t seem to be a big number, when it is all for free it is). Interestingly, these books don’t seem to appear under the free tab on Google Play.
Not sure if this is by desire, deceit or just a benevolent bug, but whatever it is download your copy now, lest amendments are made. I checked the other websites, and these books were selling at their usual prices.
Google may ask for your credit/debit card details in case you haven’t already signed up for Google Wallet and also make an temporary authorisation charge of Rs 50, that according to Google should “automatically expire from your statement in a few days.”
List of HarperCollins India free ebooks on Google Play
(In alphabetical order)
Utterly, butterly, ignoramus!
Was a bit surprised to find that the Indian media was marking the 50th anniversary of the Amul moppet, whereas her golden jubilee year is a good four years away. Many of the stories that appeared are self-contradictory. While the headlines announced that she was 50, the text mentioned a year that doesn’t total up to 50 in 2012. Given that the Amul mascot is female, we ought to be extra careful in the matters of age.
The reason behind this recent interest is because of a book (that I bought almost a month ago) – that some of the reports erroneously stated was a coffee table book.
Given the popularity of the Amul girl, we wanted the book to be accessible to a larger audience and decided to do an affordable paperback instead of a coffee-table tome.
The book in question is Amul’s India it was the subtitle that caused the age fudging – ‘Based on 50 years of Amul advertising by daCunha Communications’.
This post is a five in one – a myth buster (read above), a trivia list (begins immediately after this paragraph), a book review, a 50-megapixel mosaic and an 1 hour and 36 minutes long ad film. Ek ke saath chaar free! Free! Free! Free! Free!
That I am also a sucker for lists. Here is a little list of interesting facts about the Amul advertising campaign that I think you should know (just in case you don’t already). A little review of the book follows the list.
Much of the above Amul advertising trivia is from Amul’s India: Based on 50 years of Amul advertising by daCunha Communications (Rs 299). The book’s available for Rs 179 at HomeShop18, Rs 209 on FlipKart and Rs 237 on Indiatimes Shopping.
The best part of the book is of course the ads and the piece by Sylvester daCunha. The problem with so many people writing, speaking on the same theme is that there tends to be repetitions and there are many in the book. What is surprising though is that of the 17 contributors no two listed the same ad as their favourite. Maybe it is because of the variety or is it on purpose?
Alpana Parida’s (President, DY Works) verbosity was actually unnecessary and they should’ve put in eight pages of more ads instead.
The big let down was the captions accompanying the ads. Amul ads are topicals and usually refer to specific incidents. The caption writer seemed to be clueless for most of the time and the generalisation killed the pun for readers. For example the Suresh Kalmadi ad, has to do more to do with reports of Kalmadi suffering from memory loss than with what the caption read – “Suresh Kalmadi had to spend time in jail for his role in the Commonwealth Games scandal.”
I had personally expected the book to throw more light on the anecdotes of the people involved in creating the ads rather than what celebrities think about them. I wished they added more ads in there. Nevertheless, this book is a recommended buy.
46 years of Amul advertising, 1,432 ads, one 50 million pixel mosaic image (also a movie)!
The book mentions that there have been over 4,000 Amul ads and I have got hold of 1,432 of them (a couple more have been added while I was getting this post ready and haven’t included them). Such a huge cache automatically lends itself to some interesting usage. And here’s what I did with them.
The image below is a mosaic of the Amul moppet and is made up of all the 1,432 individual Amul ads. Some of you might want to do a huge print of this to put up on an empty wall. This 50 megapixel image (9426 x 5303 pixels at 300 dpi) weighs 28.4 MB and can be downloaded from here [ZIP 28.4 MB]. Zoom in (hover over the image, use the controls on the bottom right or simply click).
And as promised there’s a movie too. In a feature length (1 hour 35 minutes and 40 second) glory made up of all the 1,432 images present in the mosaic image above.
I don’t know if these qualify as categories but the mosaic can set the world record for the largest ad made up of individual ads and the video could hold the title for the longest video advertisement. This is Cutting the Chai’s little tribute to this loveable series that also happens longest running outdoor campaign.
Apart from a few Lakme ads an the Lux ads, that is almost mandatory for any Bollywood actress of note to feature in, I haven’t seen the enigmatic Rekha in many other advertisements. Though I am quite sure, that given her popularity she would’ve appeared in a atleast a few more.
At her peak in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, Rekha was the face of Lakme, then a Tata company, and this print ad by daCunha is from 1979.
Rekha in Lakmé
Sating Glow Liquid Make-Up.
Ultra-Silk Face Powder and Compacts.
Rekha used only imported make-up. The best. Then we gave her Lakmé. ‘Too much!,’ she said. She couldn’t tell the difference. Nor will you. Look, that’s Rekha with a Lakmé face. Find out what Rekha discovered. Find yourself a Lakmé face.
The beauty maker.
I was reminded of this particular Lakme ad by a sultry Rekha (from Utsav (1984)) the cover of Bollywood: A History by Mihir Bose. Bought the book this Sunday from the Daryaganj Sunday Book Market. Though some reviews don’t speak very highly of the book, I don’t mind reading as long as it gives me additional insights to the cinema that is close to my heart.
Excerpt from the book Shillonger Bangali by Shyamaldas Bhattacharyya:
Shillong, ruled by the British for 112 years had a large population of Bengalis till 1972 when the state of Meghalaya was created. The present city was constructed only around one existing village in the vicinity then, Laban, in the 1860s. This city, as known as ‘Scotland of the East’ was the citadel of expanse of the British rule in the North East.
The first Bengali, as recorded, who came to Shillong was the successful trader Golam Haider, who was the supplier to the Raj in Cherrapunji, the district head quarters. he established his ‘Golam Haider and Sons,’ the only departmental store in the centrally located Police Bazar (1878) is also proof of the Bengalis as early settlers in this town.
Thus the author Shyamaldas Bhattacharyya, a former principal of Nongtalang College of Shillong, drives us through the 120 year history of the Bengalis in this unique city. This is a voluminous book (almost 300 crown size pages) written by one who has lived in the deep of the changing socio-economic situation of the Bengalis of this hill state. It’s not a tiring reading because it contains not-so-detailed account of the societal documentation.
Suhagraat. The legendary Indian tradition where the newly-weds are left alone in a room for the first time, to do what newly-weds are expected to do. The marriage, according to Bollywood, is in almost all cases consummated on the suhagraat itself.
Found this print advertisement for Femina magazine here. Probably from the early 2000s when Femina ran the “Generation W” campaign across the print media. Wonder which magazine(s) this particular ad appeared in?
Ganesha An elephant-headed god, who is one of the most popular deities today, revered by Hindus of all sects. Ganesha is the patron deity of writers, accountants, traders and businessmen, and is worshipped at the start of any new venture. He grants progress, prosperity, wisdom, and the removal of obstacles… Ganesha is venerated by Buddhists and Jains as well, and several Buddhist deities have elephant heads. In the early medieval period, his images occour in Indo-China, Java and elsewhere. Similar elephant-headed deities are known in China, Japan, and other parts of South-east Asia.
– Roshen Dalal. Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. Pg 141-142.
Though Savita Bhabhi has been back after the ban via a new domain, the resurrection also seems to have been obstructed. The new website www.kirtu.com doesn’t seem accessible directly (there’s always the other way around), atleast on the ISPs that I use. Apparently the process of denying access to the new website has already been initiated.
Shunned by her own government, Savita Bhabhi has found succour with the French. “France gives sexual asylum to Savita Bhabhi,” could scream a headline (just couldn’t resist using the term).
It might seem that, like our television channels, I’m blowing things out of proportion. Well, I am.
It’s only that Savita Bhabhi has been published as a comic book (in ink and paper) by Editions Blanche, a French publisher specialising in erotic literature.
Titled Love in Bollywood also Bollywood in Love (depending on the cover you look at) the book was released a month back on October 22, 2009. The 96-page comic book authored by Deshmukh, has been designed by Dexstar and Madman (all pseudonyms).
The book, Bollywood in Love – les Aventures de Savita Bhabhi, (Bollywood in Love – The Adventures of Savita Bhabhi) is also available on Amazon France for €13.25.
All bans aren’t bad, as many Bollywood producers would agree. The Indian government’s restriction Savita Bhabhi has made her India’s most famous porn star ever.
The widespread media coverage and online discussions have generated more following for the cartoon porn star than the ones in flesh and blood – Shakeela, Sunny Leone, Angela Devi, Priya Rai – put together.
Now that she’s been published in other languages too, Savita Bhabhi might find a place along with the Kamasutra and Khajuraho whenever sex and India are mentioned together in the same sentence anywhere in the world.