Monday, June 26, 2006

Sanjeev Kumar, Pancham and Hemingway

The clock on my computer says it is 1.22 am. I have just finished a meal of rice and sambhar (cooked by me) and am presently watching Anaamika on Sab TV. They don't make movies like this anymore, I mean they can't make movies like this anymore: Goold old Sanjeev Kumar, the hero; good old Jaya Bhaduri, the heroine; good old Asrani, the secretary, good old, really old A K Hangal, the uncle; good old Iftekhar, the doctor; and now good old Yunus Parvez, the servant called Ramu Kaka. (Why are servants always called Ramu Kaka in Hindi films?) And at one point when Sanjeev Kumar goes to Jaya Bhaduri's bedroom to see whether she is sleeping or not, she breaks into a seductive song: Baahon mein chale aao... humse sanam kya purdah... And then soon after, Logon na maaro ise, yehi to mera dildaar hai (trumpet!)... Ah, good, good old Pancham!!

In one of the scenes Sanjeev Kumar is showing reading a book by Ernest Hemingway. For quite some time I try to figure which book it is, and then during a close up, I see it is Byline. It is a collection of Hemingway's journalism and dispatches from war fronts. The book is no longer available in Indian bookstores. At least I have never seen a copy. But I proudly possess a hardcover edition; and that's because I stole it. Well, stealing is not the right word here -- it is just that I did not return it to its rightful owner. Had the owner been a Hemingway enthusiast or a serious reader, I would have never borrowed the book in the first place. But I had borrowed the book from the Kanpur Public Library, and as the stamp had indicated, the book was last borrowed in the 1960's. Since no one was interested in the book for 30 years, I reasoned, no one would be interested in the future as well.

My reasoning was correct: books are the least sought-after commodity in Mulayam Singh Yadav's Uttar Pradesh. Byline is at least safe in my shelf: my heart would have broken if I had found myself eating samosas off one of its pages.

9 comments:

Atul Sabnis said...

no they dont make movies like that anymore; no they dont make music like that anymore; no they dont read books like that anymore :)

dazedandconfused said...

You were up till 1.30 AM and you weren't watching football! You missed Holland vs. Portugal, a game in which there were 4 red cards, 16 yellow cards and one heartbreaking goal!!

How could you?! :)

And you are a Bengali! (*D&C shakes his head*)

sathish said...

Hi Biswanath, yeah.. they definitely do not read books like that anymore in the movies.. :)
They probably would be clutching self-help book in the movies nowadays..

Beks said...

Do you always read whats on the paper you eat off? I find it endlessly amusing but I've never got a page from a book, always from a newspaper.

Deepa said...

They dont make such movies anymore and nor do they write, or read, such books these days. Pity.

verbaltorture said...

New to your blog, after reading your column in the Indian Express yesterday, about blogging.

Neat blog, will frequent !

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Atul: Fully agree :)

Dazedandconfused: I am not a BIG football fan (actually I forgot about the 12.30 match!)

Sathish: Yes, self-help books are in!

Beks: I don't eat off paper very often these days but yes, I tend to read the paper while eating.

Deepa: There are still people who read and write books, but it's more like an industry now. Am not complaining though :)

Verbaltorture: Welcome to my blog :)

Anu Russell said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and yes...nothing goes like the movies from the good ol' days...I cannot seem to enjoy new movies like I enjoy them ol' ones...

vandy said...

Kanpur Public library....I'll go and complain :-) :-)

Good post as usual.