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October - November 2007


Film, Art & Culture

by Kishan Sharma


India has had many comedians from the olden age to the present age. Each top grade comedian enjoyed his popularity and status. The earlier days used to have a comedian in dramas and dance-dramas in almost all Indian languages. There used to be "jokers" in the circus, mainly to creat humour. Some of the comedians ruled the film world during their respective peak-period. Mehmood got such dimensions in Hindi films that at one point, he used to charge more money than the hero of the film. Johney Walker was another such big name. There were others like Agha, Mukri, and Dhumal, who had special place in Hindi films. Later, actors like Sanjeev Kumar, Kishore Kumar, and Amitabh Bachchan started doing comedy roles themselves very successfully. Eventhen, Johny Lever made his own place and re-established the comedians in films. At the same time, he also started presenting stage shows, which indeed proved to be very successful and profitable. Then came a young man Raju Srivastava from Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh). Raju Srivastava struggled a lot in the beginning, but gradually made a mark in the Hindi films and on the stage. He also worked as a casual Announcer in All India Radio for some time. He used to perform in various musical shows on the stage. He also acted in some films. The luck took an unexpected pleasant turn, when Raju Srivastava took part in the laughter shows on television. He became a star over-night. Today, he is the top grade comedian on stage, television, films and on radio. He has given his performances all over the world and has to his credit, a large number of audio and video CDs and cassettes. The Times of India included Raju Srivastava in the list of 60 top Indians in its Independence Day special feature this year. Incidentally, his 11 year old daughter, Antara Srivastava got the President’s Bravery Award this year for her presence of mind and courage, when she got robbers arrested at her residence. Raju Srivastava is an ever smiling, soft speaking and well behaved artist. His business manager Rajesh Sharma says that Raju Srivastava has also become the first Hindi comedian to participate in a daily radio programmes on "Big F.M."


Bhajan Samrat Anup Jalota has been performing all over the world. He sings Bhajans, Ghazals, and some times Hindi film songs also as per audience’s demand. Now, he has been doings various experiments and presenting musical concerts in attractive style with other top ranking artistes. He recently presented the Indo-Pak Friendship Musical Concerts at various places in and out of India, with the Ghazal King Ghulam Ali (of Pakistan), which were very much liked by the audience everywhere. He has also performed with top singers like Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas and Talat Aziz, and also with Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain at different places. Recently, Anup Jalota recorded songs for the Hindi film "Maalik Ek" based on the life of Sai Baba of Shirdi. Ghulam Ali, Jagjit Singh, and Pankaj Udhas rendered songs under his music direction. Jackie Shroff is playing Sai Baba in the film, whereas Anup Jalota is acting as Sant Ganu. It will indeed be a rare musical treat for the audience to listen to all stalwarts in one film album. Incidentally, Ghulam Ali also spent some time at Anup Jalota’s residence, accompanying him on Tabla in a friendly gesture.


Mohd. Rafiq Pashambe and his wife Gulnaz Pashambe have been organizing the Indian Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations for the last 12 years in Andheri (West), Mumbai; without anybody’s support and help. Large number of Muslim ladies, gents and children attend these programmes every year. The Independence Day celebration organized this year attracted thousands of people in the Sagar City gardens, where Muslim children presented various patriotic songs, dances and dramas. Many political leaders alongwith the Police incharge of Andheri (West) were present at the function arranged by Aashiyana Society of which Mohd. Rafiq Pashambe is the President. Prizes were also given to three best items presented by children.


It seems actor Salman Khan said it to actor Sanjay Dutt, when they were both arrested, sent to jail and released on bail in quick succession in two different cases in Mumbai and Jodhpur. Sanjay Dutt was sentenced to six year jail term by a special court hearing the Mumbai blast cases for illegally possessing fire arms.

His Member of Parliament sister Priya Dutt wasted no time and approached the Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi; and the Information & Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, who is also Parliamentary Affairs Minister of Government of India commented that "injustice has been done". Another minister, Kapil Sibbal, who is a legal expert, promised to extend legal advice to help Sanjay Dutt. Finally, not only Sanjay Dutt, but many more accused who were sentenced by the court, were released on bail. Sanjay Dutt, accompanied by his companion Manyata, has since been making rounds of the religious places all over India, and is getting VVIP treatment, including government vehicles and security, at most of the places. Interestingly, most of the police officials and constables were seen keeping their hands tightly in their pockets to avoid any touch or a hand-shake with the actor in Maharashtra, after the Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister Mr. R. R. Patil suspended one constable for hugging and ordered departmental enquiry against seven constables for shaking hands with "accused" Sanjay Dutt when he was released from Yerwada Jail in Pune. Salman Khan, on the other hand, was sentenced by the Jodhpur court for killing the black-buck. He was also granted bail by the Rajasthan High Court. His girl friend Katrina Kaif was all the time present in Jodhpur, alongwith all members of his family, who visited the star almost every day, against the prescribed rules. He also got VVIP treatment all through. The television channels and news papers in India went crazy and presented minute to minute details about the two stars much to the irritation of the common people. Salman Khan has also been permitted by the court to go out of India for shooting of his pending films. Sanjay Dutt will however have to surrender in September end to apply for a regular bail. The film fans have been crying foul against the sentence in both cases and raising slogans in favour of both stars, wherever they go.


Actor Juhi Chawla’s singing talent came to the fore in a classical music performance, which she recently gave in honour of her "guru" Pandit Pandharinath Kolhapure, father of actors Padmini Kolhapure, Shivangi and Tejaswini. Juhi said that her guruji had faith in her and felt that she could successfully perform in front of such a huge audience of renowned musicians and music lovers. She came almost an hour in advance and did her "riyaz" before actual performance. Most of those who attended the concert said that Juhi is really a good classical singer too.

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