I have decided to change “themes” (i.e., visual format) completely, due to some changes WordPress.com made that caused problems with the old theme. And now I kind of like the change, actually. But I will still have to spend some time fixing problems with the embedded videos. Videos are missing completely from older posts, but don’t worry, I am working on that. And along the way, I will also try to replace a bunch that had been knocked out of YouTube due mostly to “copyright” claims.
I’m going out on a limb for this first one… When I first watched it and thought of posting it, I was the second viewer, but now, as of this writing, they are up to number 77, so I guess it’s catching on. I think this is a lot of fun. OK, so it’s not Noor Jehan (nor is it Surendra), but it’s still Naushad! And I’ve seen lots of covers of this song, but this is the most unusual. So, here we go:
I have actually shown another clip of the next song before, but I love this performance on Balcony TV Delhi. I love Laal, too! A while back, our friend from the Dishoom Dishoom blog said that he knew both singers in Laal, and this one had been his teacher, and he didn’t have the best things to say about the guy. Oh, well. The original singer was fantastic, but I think Taimur is great, too, and I do like his personality or at least his persona, based on what I’ve seen of him talking, interviewing, etc. I like all of Laal actually; they could be my favorite contemporary rock band (though maybe that’s not saying much these days, but never mind).
I was delighted to learn about two events in New York City that will be held in honor of the birth centenary of Saadat Hasan Manto, who was born on May 11, 1912. The events will take place in Manhattan on May 11 and May 15. Listings for both events can be found on the new blog Phar’aat, by Debashree Mukherjee, a student in the cinema studies department at NYU, who is also one of the organizers and panelists for May 11. (By the way, from what I see so far, I think that blog will be excellent.)
The event on May 11 is Manto’s Bombay: Conversations on His Centenary, which will take place from 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm at the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, at NYU (West 3rd Street and Sullivan Street). (For people who want to discuss and RSVP, Debashree has also set up a Facebook page.) And judging by some of the description, this event looks to be interesting, indeed:
This symposium looks at Manto’s relationship with Bombay by placing at the centre a collection of stories titled Chughad. Published in 1948, Chughad was the last set of stories written by Manto before he moved to Lahore after the Partition. Here we see Manto playing the flâneur-chronicler who fluidly traverses multiple urban sites and picks up impressions, traces, and insights along the way. Many of these stories are set against the backdrop of the Bombay film industry and offer provocative views on gender and work in a self-consciously modernizing city.
The May 15 event is Rereading Manto’s “Letters to Uncle Sam” in Perilous Times. With Saadia Toor. This will take place at 6pm, at Alwan for the Arts, on 16 Beaver Street (at the bottom of Manhattan, near the Staten Island Ferry).
Saadia Toor is an associate professor of sociology at the College of Staten Island, an activist, and the author of The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics In Pakistan. She will “lead a discussion on the contemporary relevance of Manto’s pithy and irreverent Letters to Uncle Sam (1951-1954), written from Lahore in the final years of the author’s life, and in the shadow of the Cold War.”
I have to say I am very glad to see an event like this happening in New York City. I was disappointed not to see a decent event last year in New York for the Faiz centenary (the closest one that I knew of was in Philly), but judging by these listings, at least Manto will be given a good 100th birthday here.
I guess Achla Sachdev was typecast as Bollywood’s nicest and most worried mom. Nonetheless, she was good. My favorite Achla Sachdev role was when she played Padmini’s mother in Kalpana (1960). But she also gave a memorable performance in Mera Naam Joker (as you can see). Since I’ve been talking about Balraj Sahni, I suppose the most obvious reference would be Waqt. But I never saw that entire film, just part of it, and besides, it’s covered well in the latest post from Dustedoff, which is where I found out that Achla had died. Achla Sachdev, RIP.
Happy birthday, Manna Dey!
P.S. Looks as though this is turning into a day to pay tribute to Salil Chowdhury and Shaleindra, too. (But of course it is – it’s May Day!)
For May Day and Balraj Sahni’s birthday – my new favorite song from Do Bigha Zamin (after every other song from Do Bigha Zamin has at one time or another been my favorite song from Do Bigha Zamin). And by the way, the subtitles on my Yash Raj DVD are far from perfect (punctuation is really screwed up, for one thing), but they’re good enough to tell me that this is an excellent song for May Day, too.