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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dev Anand mightn't Agree but there is More Sunshine in the Fall of a Leaf

George Orwell:

"Like every other writer, Shakespeare will be forgotten sooner or later..."

('Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool', 1947)

Dev Anand in 1999:

"When Pakistan was formed, we laughed at that time — Lahore and Bombay are one, how can this be — but it happened.

So who knows, as long as there are humans in this world, miracles are possible.”

Mohan Churiwala, Mr. Anand's closest associate:

"He hugged Nanda and wept inconsolably

After a special screening of Hum Dono (Rangeen), Nanda, a recluse, went to meet him at his office.When the door opened, she looked at him said “Devsaab, pehchana?” Devsaab came towards her, hugged her and started weeping. Nanda left in a few minutes and asked me outside, “Why did he get so emotional?” Later, she told me that they were meeting each other after 48 years, after 1963. Tears kept flowing down his cheeks even after Nanda had left." (The Times of India, December 18 2011)


A. O. SCOTT wrote on November 18 2011 in The New York Times:

"...But there is also something about cinema’s essentially modern character that makes it vulnerable to fears of obsolescence. The camera has an uncanny ability to capture the world as it is, to seize events as they happen, and also to conjure visions of the future. But by the time the image reaches the eyes of the viewer, it belongs to the past, taking on the status of something retrieved. As for those bold projections of what is to come, they have a habit of looking quaint as soon as they arrive.
Nostalgia, in other words, is built into moviegoing, which is why moviegoing itself has been, almost from the beginning, the object of nostalgia..."

If so I wonder why Mr. Dev Anand never liked to talk about past or even remember it. After all his art is deeply rooted in nostalgia!

I have really enjoyed and still enjoy watching some of his films:

Tere Mere Sapne (1971), Johny Mera Naam (1970), Jewel Thief (1967), Guide (1965), Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963), Hum Dono (1961), Bombai Ka Baboo (1960), Kala Bazar (1960), Kalapani (1958), Nau Do Gyarah (1956), Paying Guest (1956), C.I.D. (1956), Taxi Driver (1954) and above all Baazi (1951). (Think of it, 'just' 14 films.)

Like ‘Godfather’ or ‘Casablanca’ or 'Jagte Raho', I can watch a part of 'Baazi' every day.

Seldom in the history of Hindi films more talent came together to make a film than this Navketan venture:

Directed by Guru Dutt
Produced by Dev Anand
Written by Balraj Sahni (screenplay, story, dialogue)
Lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi
Starring Dev Anand, Geeta Bali
Music by S. D. Burman
Sung by Geeta Dutt

Bhaichand Patel writes in The Asian Age, Dec 4 2011:

"...Balraj Sahni, a classmate of Chetan in Lahore, was roped in to write the script, plagiarised from the Hollywood film Gilda, starring Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford. Geeta Bali was to play one of the two lead female roles. The other went to someone fresh out of college, Kalpana Kartik (real name Mona Singha) who was related to Chetan’s wife. She later became Mrs Dev Anand. One of Baazi’s strongest attractions was its catchy music composed by S.D. Burman and sung beautifully by Geeta Roy, soon to become Mrs Guru Dutt. Neither of these two marriages worked, but let us not go into that!
Baazi’s story centres on a seedy gambling club and one of its patrons, played by Dev Anand. It was a dark film made in the film noir style borrowed largely from Warner Brothers’ productions starring, most times, Humphrey Bogart. This short-lived trend in our cinema had begun earlier with Gyan Mukherjee’s Sangram, with Ashok Kumar playing a gangster, and continued with films like Jaal, Aar Paar and CID..."

But for me his finest performance was on TV- his interview on “Rendezvous with Simi Garewal”. I was deeply moved the way he described his relationship with his mother and the hurt caused by her death before he came to Bombay. I thought in a way he never got over his loss. He still missed his mother and he probably never found the real love.

The last Dev Anand starred or directed film I watched was Des Pardes (1978). So for me, even before his death, he had been a memory for almost 33 years.

I don't know what Mr. Anand thought of immortality. But about him, there was a lot of talk about positive thinking, living in the present, fitness regime, frugal eating, company of young people, health checkups in London, working in one's 80's etc.

Considering all this, he would be disappointed with number 88.

I guess he would also agree with Woody Allen's views expressed in : "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying." or "Rather than live on in the hearts and minds of my fellow man, I’d prefer to live on in my apartment.”

In Mr. Anand's case: "in my Bandra penthouse".

For immortality, American futurist Ray Kurzweil proposes not resurrecting the body but instead shedding it altogether and uploading minds into cyberspace. Had the technology been available, I wonder Mr. Anand would have signed up for the program?

I also wonder what he would have thought of John Gray's views on such efforts:

"Freezing our bodies or uploading our minds into a supercomputer will not deliver us from ourselves. Wars and revolutions will disturb our frozen remains, while death will stalk us in cyberspace – also a realm of mortal conflict. Science enlarges what humans can do. It cannot reprieve them from being what they are."

I would like to remember Mr. Anand as a guy who portrayed many enjoyable moments of what we are.

Following cartoon of Sudhir Tailang has appeared in The Asian Age on Dec 5 2011.

I like Mr. Tailang's imagination but I just hope Mr. Anand is making a film from 1950's or 1960's or 1970's. It will be that much better if he gets his younger brother Vijay / Goldie to direct it and he goes in front of the camera. If not, it will be a film made in heaven to be shown in hell as a punishment!