(From Albela (1951)… C. Ramchandra on Bhagwan, music by C. Ramchandra, lyrics by Rajender Krishan.)
This film starred Naseem Baunu (singing star and beauty queen), who would later be known as the mother of Saira Banu and mother-in-law of Dilip Kumar. The director was Sohrab Modi. Another very noteworthy person involved in the film was Kamal Amrohi, who was one of three writers and who also wrote the lyrics. The music was by S. Fernandes and Mir Saheb.
In one of the Sitara Devi scenes from Roti that I posted the other day, there was a brief glimpse of another woman whose talents might encourage some people to say “Wow!” Her name is Begum Akhtar aka Akhtari Bai Faizabadi. Here are some more glimpses of Begum Akhtar acting in Roti (along with Sitara Devi, etc.):
There is one film that I did see her sing in, and it was very enjoyable, like every other performance in this beautiful film. The film is Satyajit Ray’s Jalsaghar (The Music Room):
I haven’t seen this movie, but it seems to me it belongs up there with those snake classics by Vyjayanthimala and Sridevi. Strangely, at YouTube, two people refer to the film as Arpan, but looking at other sources, I believe the film is Anjali.
P.S. Almost needless to say, Sitara’s dancing is fantastic here – it’s easy to see why she was the Queen of Kathak.
The Sita Distribution Project is a public demonstration of how an artist can flourish — economically and artistically — by letting her works circulate for free. It’s not about self-distribution, it’s about audience-distribution: put the work out there, let people share it, give them the freedom to organize activities (both commercial and non-commercial) around it, and the artist will benefit, because audiences want to support artists. Our goal is a comprehensible, repeatable model that can be used by independent artists everywhere.
The test subject is artist Nina Paley (now our Artist-in-Residence), who released her award-winning, feature-length animated film Sita Sings the Blues to the world under a totally free license in early 2009. That’s free as in “freedom”: anyone can make copies, anyone can sell copies, anyone can hold a screening (for profit or otherwise), anyone can make related merchandise, no one needs to ask permission for anything.
Nina also put out a definitive jingle in the form of a children’s song, called Copying Is Not Theft. I’m not posting the clip because I’m not crazy about it (in fact, I find it rather annoying), but it does make a good point. I do like this other video of hers, “All Creative Work Is Derivative”:
And now a few words from the site’s FAQ:
Our mission is to educate the public about the history of copyright, and to promote methods of distribution that do not depend on restricting people from making copies.
. . .
Is copying a copyrighted work the same as stealing it?
If I steal your bicycle, now you have no bicycle. If I copy your song, now we both have it.
When the industry uses loaded words like “stealing,” “theft,” and “piracy,” they are using linguistic tricks, trying to equate copying with deprivation of property. Increasing the number of copies somehow results in a decrease in… what, exactly? Certainly not in the amount of money available to creators, which is precious little to begin with.
Sharing isn’t stealing, it’s the opposite of stealing. And sharing certainly isn’t like boarding ships on the high seas, holding the crew at gunpoint, and stealing their cargo!
…which is also one of my favorite Helen songs (helped by good music from Ravi and wonderful singing by Rafi).
In this one, the wife being abandoned is played by Meena Kumari, who briefly gets to parody her role in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. Helen, by the way has another dance at the opening of Vaasna, corrupting the Raaj Kumar character’s son. Meanwhile, Padmini is in both films too, but in Kaajal, she is paired up with Dharmendra, who is supposed to be Meena’s sort-of-adopted brother (though that changes a little when we get to see one of those crazy out-of-a-hat plot twists near the end). These mid-60s Bollywood films play off each other so much, it’s almost incestuous!
Well, she does for a moment in this dance anyway. That is because it is from the point of view of the Raaj Kumar character – in the second film I’ve seen recently (the first one being Kaajal (1965)) in which he expertly plays a broke(n) drunk. In this scene, while watching the Sayeeda character in the brothel, he briefly hallucinates the wife that he abandoned; that’s why Padmini’s face appears. (I know I have seen that twist before, I’m just not sure where.) Anyway, it is a very nice mujra by Sayeeda too…
P.S. Shall we talk about what happened to Sayeeda Khan, or has this blog gotten morbid enough as it is?