Today October 17 2018 is 100th birth anniversary of Rita Hayworth
Bhaichand Patel. 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..."
Gavin Millar, LRB, 1990:
"...The title of Barbara Leaming’s new book is a quotation from Welles, Rita Hayworth’s second husband. She told Welles, in later years: ‘You know, the only happiness I’ve ever had in my life has been with you.’ ‘If this was happiness,’ Welles reflected subsequently, ‘imagine what the rest of her life had been.’ On Leaming’s evidence, despite rows, infidelities and estrangements, Welles seems to have been the most loved and the most genuinely loving of her five husbands. The first was virtually a pimp who tried repeatedly to sell her to Harry Cohn, the lecherous head of Columbia Studios. She never succumbed. Aly Khan seems to have loved her, but outside the bedroom preferred the company of card-players and horses. Dick Haymes was a brutal, abusive, manipulative drunk. Her brief marriage to the director James Hill was a last misconceived attempt to find calm and stability away from the film business. It was typical of her that she had chosen a man determined to reestablish her career. She was divorced from him by the judge who had married her to Orson Welles 18 years before. She swiftly declined into the illness, popularly believed to be alcoholism, which, much too late, was diagnosed as Alzheimer’s.
‘All her life was pain,’ said Welles. Leaming will not be categorical about the allegations of incest with her father. But Welles clearly believed that when Eduardo Cansino drafted his 12-year-old daughter Margarita into his flamenco act in vaudeville, casino and beer-hall, she became something more than his dancing partner.
If she had no choice then, she appears to have been unable ever to break out of that pattern. When she married Orson, she encouraged him to leave Hollywood and go into politics, as he was tempted to do, so that she might escape too. Friends from her early days found her ‘quiet and shy. If she hadn’t been so beautiful, she would have been a wallflower.’ ‘I don’t think she’s glamorous,’ said a woman friend. ‘I just saw her in a completely different light: a very sweet, adorable homebody.’
Hollywood was not about to let her turn into anything but a sex symbol. A typical horror: when she found out that GIs had fixed her pinup to the Bikini bomb and dubbed it ‘Gilda’ after her, she was so shocked that she wanted to go to Washington and hold a press-conference to dissociate herself. Harry Cohn wouldn’t let her go; he said it would be unpatriotic. When she was not owned by her men, she was owned by the studio. Her reward was to be denounced, frequently and with refined hypocrisy, by the gutter press, particularly in Britain.
There is little here about her screen personality. But it is clear that despite herself, despite Hollywood even, something happened in front of the camera. Some irresistible vitality burst out, along with her beauty, especially when she danced. Astaire admired her enormously. But when she went home in the evening she would burst into tears, fearing that she was an inadequate partner to the great perfectionist...."
हे सगळ वाचून मला, जीएंच्या खालील लेखनाची पुन्हा आठवण झाली:
"...मी मॅट्रिकला असताना एकदा शिरसी नावाच्या गावी गेलो होतो. तेथे माझ्या दुपटीहून थोडी जास्त वयाची स्त्री दिसली होती. ती सुंदर होती असे म्हणणे understatement होईल. ती देदीप्यमान होती. तिने लग्न मात्र एका काळ्या सामान्य माणसाशी केले. तो अत्यंत बुद्धिमान होता व विशेष म्हणजे त्याला sense of humour फार आकर्षक होता. तो कुठेही गेला, तर 'मी रमाचा नवरा' अशी ओळख करून देत असे व मग मोठ्याने हसून ''असे सांगितल्याने ओळख पटते. रमालाच ओळखणारे लोक जास्त!" हा प्रेमविवाह होता आणि तो विवाह दोघांनाही अतिशय सुखाचा झाला याचे लोकांना आश्चर्य वाटे... रमा नवऱ्याआधी वारली. नंतर त्याचे जीवन हबकल्यासारखेच झाले. त्याने नोकरी सोडली. थोडा पैसा होता खरा, पण तोही त्याने वापरला नाही. बंगळूरला त्याच्या भावाचा कसला तरी छोटा कारखाना होता. तेथे तो दिवसभर बसून असे म्हणे. आज रमा नाही, की विष्णुदास (हे त्याचे नाव) नाही. पण इतक्या वर्षानंतर ती आठवण झाली, की मोसमाबाहेर जाईची वेल उमलल्यासारखी वाटते. 'रमा' हे नाव आकर्षक नसावेच, पण त्याबद्दलची ही आठवण मात्र ओलसर सुगंधी आहे... "
(पृष्ठ १८९-१९०, 'जी एं. ची निवडक पत्रे', खंड १, १९९५)
आयुष्यातील पहिली कित्येक वर्षे, मी फक्त मराठी वाचत असताना, ज्या खूप कमी हॉलिवूडच्या नट्यांची माहिती झाली त्यातील एक म्हणजे रिटा हेवर्थ. बाकीची नाव म्हणजे ग्रेटा गार्बो, मेरिलिन मन्रो, एलिझाबेथ टेलर, सोफिया लॉरेन.
माझा असा अंदाज आहे की रिटा हे नाव भारतात, विशेषतः सिनेमात, लोकप्रिय व्हायला त्याच कारणीभूत असाव्यात.