Bits and pieces

I’ve been busy this week and not had time to watch any fillums. So here are more bits and pieces from my favorite film magazine editor to entertain you all.

I take great comfort from the fact that even Baburao Patel occasionally gets things completely wrong.

His opinion of Nur (Noor) Jehan in 1944’s Dost:

[She] did pretty well as “Sheela”, the heroine, but she has gone too fat on the face and sings like a little child at its teething stage, not being able to pronounce distinctly her “R’s”. Nur Jehan reveals terrific limitations in music, and it will be well for the girl not to risk singing in the future.

Ha! Good thing she didn’t listen to him!

His infamous review of Dilip Kumar’s debut in 1944’s Jwar Bhata:

Dileep Kumar, the new hero of the Bombay Talkies, is an anaemic addition to our film artistes. He needs a lot of vitamins and a prolonged treatment of proteins before another picture can be risked with him. He looks gaunt and famished and strikes one as a long ill-treated convict who has escaped from a jail. His appearance on the screen creates both laughter and disappointment. His acting effort in this picture amounts to nil.

Another actor who debuted in 1946: Kamal Kapoor, my favorite blue-eyed villain (although since it’s not available *sad face* I’m not sure if he was a villain in Dak Bangla).

Here is a photo of newcomer Geeta Bali at the tender age of 16 or 17:

Bachpan is a movie starring Baby Madhuri, India’s “Shirley Temple” (I think there were several of those, including Baby Saroja). Baby Madhuri was Meena Kumari’s sister, and grew up to become comedian Mehmood’s first wife.

And look at this! The Theatre of Tomorrow! Streamlined splendor with planned luxury!

I want a Cosmetic-Room that charms me. My sister can have the Smoking-Room to soothe her.

(Images and quotes courtesy of Filmindia magazines provided to me by Shalini via Surjit Singh.)

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48 Comments to “Bits and pieces”

  1. Very nice.
    Has this guy ever said anything good about anybody in his life ? :-)
    Not that I mind..I quite like the nuances in the acerbic language he uses to rip people apart, not even sparing newcomers in the process. He always managed a different way of saying something nasty, you’ve got to give him credit for that.

    • He does say nice things actually, but I don’t find them interesting! :D

      I just love how he says what he thinks. Of course if he were talking about ME I might not love it so much, but luckily that will never happen!

      • I remember him being rather admiring of Madhubala – called her the Venus of Hindi cinema or something along those lines, if I recall correctly!

        • He does love Madhubala. Never said anything mean about her that I can recall :) Was very complimentary about V Shantaram early on too, although I guess they had a falling out and he was pretty scathing about his later films (well, they weren’t nearly as good as his early ones either)…

  2. Well that wiped the smile off Dilip’s face and thus was a career born!

    And my god, Geeta Bali was 16 in that? They sure did mature early those days. Or maybe it’s something about Kapoor daughters in law. Look at Neetu – if we didn’t know she was 22 when she quit, who’d ever believe it?

    Oh, Baburao, you’d have made a catty friend but I’d have followed you on Titter.

  3. Just LOOK at Kamal Kapoor! What a find that picture is. And when you and Todd organize your first film festival, it’s going to be at that exact cinema hall, no doubt about it :)

    • I know, I almost fell off my chair when I saw it.

      And during mine and Todd’s film festival I will be hiding in the charming Cosmetics-Room if you need to find me due to the lack of a lack of efficiency and utility, if you get my drift.

    • Yes Kamal Kapur, whose existence I didn’t know of till now, looks like a dreamy poet. I’m going to have to google this guy immediately. If he was a villain he was surely miscast.

  4. India’s Shirley Temple! So many fascinating things are learned through your site!

  5. I’m just glad to know that Baby Madhuri does *not* equal Madhuri Dixit. Because I totally thought that for two seconds. (Math skills? Huh?) Dilip Kumar–seriously, I almost didn’t recognize him. He looks just like a friend of mine from middle school!

  6. No need for me to say what I think of Baburao Patel at this point. :)

    But I hope you don’t mind if I steal that picture of Noor Jehan sometime…

  7. Very nice post memsaab!! I think I have a better relationship with Baburao now that I’ve read your posts; I didn’t really like him when I first read about him in Manto’s stars from another sky.
    BTW, isn’t Kamal Kapoor the guy from Pakeezah, who takes Meena Kumari on the boat? I never knew his name before :)
    Your posts help in so many aspects….lollz!

    • He was probably a much bigger softie in real life than he was on paper. At least, I hope so for the sake of his family and friends :)

      I don’t remember if Kamal Kapoor is in Pakeezah but it’s entirely possible :) He is in lots of movies, and I think there are quite a few screencaps of him in posts here if you do a search.

  8. Wow, thanks for sharing!
    Geeta Bali so young!
    Had to laugh at Dilip Kumar’s description by Baburao! Though that description would have fit Dev Anand much more than Dilip Kumar.
    Have to agree with his ‘growing fat on the face’. But she sang like an angel!
    Who is Kamal Kapoor? Can you cite some ffilm sof his? He looks so much like Chandra Mohan?

    • Dilip was pretty skinny too when he started out :) Kamal Kapoor does look somewhat like Chandramohan, not quite as handsome though (of course I may be biased since Chandramohan for me is the best thing after Shammi)…

  9. Baby Maduhuri must have been India’s answer to Shirley Temple because her hair was tortured into plump ringlets. But, did she sing and dance?

  10. Very famous last words… twice!

    Just out of curiosity and ignorance – which magazine are these comments from?

  11. Sigh. Does it sound too strange to say that I want to go back in time so that I could experience the theater of tomorrow?


  12. Hi! Do you know which year the advert for the theater of tomorrow came in the Film India issue? Thanks.

  13. Very nice! Please post more of these. BTW, did you know that actress Shanta Apte had become so furious at Baburao Patel’s report on her that she went to his office and beat him up with a cane!!!!!!

    Veteran Actor Kamal Kapoor – His Life and Work…
    This blog is dedicated to Mr. Kamal Kapoor by his grandchildren. It’s a means of sharing with the world his work as an actor and celebrating the family that stands today because of him…

    • Oh how wonderful!!!! That has never come up in my searches for him—-it’s lovely! Wish all actors had something like that about them :D I didn’t know that he and Ravindra Kapoor were brothers, but OF COURSE THEY ARE. They even look alike! Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s a treasure.

  15. Pleasure. I really appreciate your blog. My favorite aspect is your interest in the not so well known film stars (at least not anymore). It’s wonderful to see the hard work of long forgotten actors/actresses recognized and lauded. Laxmi Chayya being one of them. The net tends to have general info but one really has to dig for more substantial information on the not so well know but even then it’s never enough. Your blog (and those of other Hindi film aficionado’s) are a treasure trove of information. Thank you.

    • That’s why I try to collect old film magazines…they are about the only written archive on so many of these people at this point. I am very glad to have the company of people like you in my love for all aspects of Hindi cinema :)

  16. How lovely, Greta! All of this is so much fun, thanks to you for sharing the goodies with us.
    Btw, Dilip Kumar looks like Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) to me. I disagree with all that he said for DK.

    • You are welcome :) History has sort of proven Baburao wrong on both Dilip’s and Noor Jehan’s accounts. And he did in later years improve his opinion and reviews of DK, anyway.

  17. Heeheehee! Boy, I would *not* want to get on Mr Patel’s bad side. He would tear me to pieces!

  18. I am a great fan of Shri Kamal Kapoor. I think his performance in DON with Amitabh was brilliant. I would love to meet him now. Great actor and must be a great Human Being.I would be very grateful if someone helps me in introducing me to him.

    Vijay Kumar Ayyangar

  19. Wow, from where did you get all this info and pics from, memsaab? I can’t thank you enough for the photos of my favoourite Madam Noor Jehan and my favourite actor Dilip Kumar. Don’t they look great(please tell me what you think). And I completely agree on Baburao’s wron thnking; sometimes he seems to be harsh, doesn’t he? ;D And the fact that NJ’s name was Sheela in Dost is very interesting to me. So your effort is superb, really and you have my sincere appreciations for it.

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