G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Life is first boredom? Not when Shammi-mama is on a song

Friedrich Nietzsche:
“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”
Woody Allen:

"You could argue that the Fred Astaire film is performing a greater service than the Bergman film, because Bergman is dealing with a problem that you're never going to solve. Whereas Fred Astaire, you walk in off the street, and for an hour and half they're popping champagne corks and making light banter and you get refreshed, like a lemonade."

Casey Walker:

"After all, Shakespeare’s work, like the moon, is a vast place; it exists not in some perfect superhuman archive, but in parallax view, from Earth, one reader at a time."

Govindrao Tembe:

"I consider Narayanrao very cultured man because he never talks about himself."

(गोविंदराव टेंबे: "नारायणरावांना मी फार सुसंस्कृत मनुष्य समजतो - कारण ते स्वतःबद्दल कधी बोलत नाहीत -")

As I have often felt, as a kid, movies were always surreal for me and I think it all started with Janwar (1965).

Our favourite Shashi-mama (शशी-मामा) who had already seen the movie more than a dozen times (!) took me to Janwar that was playing at Deval (देवल ) talkies in Miraj (मिरज ).
Even today I recall 'LAAL CHADI MAIDAN KHADI' (लाल छड़ी मैदान खड़ी) playing on silver screen.

An Evening in Paris (1967) is my favourite movie. First time, I watched its matinee show (3 PM) at Kolhapur (कोल्हापुर) after going through an overwhelming experience of standing in a boisterous queue in the hot sun for eternity to buy a ticket.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. What did I like in it?...Shammi Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor…music of Shankar - Jaikishan, Rajendranath and bikini clad Sharmila Tagore.

This went on and one day, after watching Brahmchari (1968), Shammi Kapoor became Shammi-mama.

Why did he become Mama? We almost never had my father's four brothers visiting us and mother's three brothers didn't come that often too. So we met Shammi Kapoor more often than any of them. And like Bart Simpson tells his father: "It's just hard not to listen to TV: it's spent so much more time raising us than you have." (Episode: 2F06 “Homer Bad Man” Original air-date: 27-Nov-94)

I still remember how, while watching Brahmchari, sitting with my mother in 'Ladies' of Deval cinema in Miraj, I got to my feet and started cheering wildly during his fight with Pran towards the end of the movie.

I read somewhere that when Lata Mangeshkar called great Mehboob Khan on phone on his death bed, he requested her to sing- 'Rasik balma hai re dil kyon lagaaya tose' (रसिक बलमा, हाय, दिल क्यों लगाया तोसे).

I want to not just hear but watch 'Main Gaoon Tum So Jao' (मैं गाऊँ तुम सो जाओ) followed by a poem or two of Tukaram (तुकाराम).

No author, no playwright, no actor, no singer, no cricketer, no athlete, no music composer, no cartoonist, no poet, no stand-up comedian has entertained me more than Shammi Kapoor.

Poet Philip Larkin has famously said:

“Life is first boredom
Then fear.”

Maybe. But how fortunate we are that we have remedy in the form of Shammi Kapoor for the first.

Another characteristic of the late Mr. Kapoor was he seldom talked about himself in all the TV interviews he gave in recent years. It was always about music composers, Mohammad Rafi, co-stars, directors, his parents, brothers, his own family...And when he turned to himself, it was all self-deprecating humour. (For instance: "Ranbir Kapoor and others came over and pulled my leg...or whatever is left of them!", "If I were to become aeronautical engineer, more Mig aircrafts would have crashed than what they today!")

Mr. Kapoor said if his film 'Tumsa Nahin Dekha' (1957) had flopped, he would have gone to Assam and become a tea garden manager, riding horse with a whip in hand and whiskey in back pocket!

I lived on a tea estate of Assam from 1989-90. I never saw a horse on any tea estate of Upper Assam or manager with a whip but kept seeing fair bit of whiskey in glasses and Mr. Kapoor on TV.

However, I think I was destined to meet him. If not on silver screen surrounded by pitch-darkness, it would have been at Doom Dooma planters club! (We lived next to the club.)

Woody Allen brings up lemonade to describe Fred Astaire movie experience. For Shammi Kapoor movie experience, I would pour a glass of fresh sugarcane juice that we often drank in Miraj. At a sugarcane juice parlour (गुर्हाळ) not too far from Deval talkies.