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Chronicling the pioneer of Indian cinema

Chronicling the pioneer of Indian cinema
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This week, there are five personalities – three film directors and a music director and a lyricist each- who were either born or who died in the...

This week, there are five personalities – three film directors and a music director and a lyricist each- who were either born or who died in the second half of this month over the years. The names are fascinating from the ‘Father of Indian Cinema’ Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (1870-1944) to a maverick comedian I S Johar ( 1920-1984) alongside celebrities like director Vijay Anand, lyricst Naqsh Lyallpuri about whom this columnist wrote earlier and Talat Mahmood, the silky, vibrant voice.

Nothing needs to be elaborated about Dadasaheb Phalke, the pioneer of Indian cinema, whose passion carried him to great heights. An output of 95 movies and 26 short films in a career of nearly 20 years is amazing, given the baby steps India was taking to embrace celluloid technology.

Talat Mahmood (1924-1998), sharing the unique trait of an actor-singer along with Kishore Kumar, was born on February 24. Battling a conservative Muslim background, the singer who specialized in romantic and tragedy songs was a rage even though his output was less – around 800 songs in a span of four decades. His voice was suiting many of the earlier era heroes like Bharath Bhushan, not to speak of the top names like Dilip Kumar of that era.

Vijay Anand ( 1934-2004), the youngest of the Anand siblings, is known for around 15 films in a career of three decades and more but a few of them are evergreen hits. Films like ‘ Guide’, ‘ Teesri Manzil’, ‘Johnny Mera Naam’ were helmed by him apart from ‘ Jewel Thief’ which firmly established his brother Dev Anand as a rakish romantic hero. His birthday falls on February 23.

Two different personalities – I S Johar ( 1920-1984) – an iconoclastic, dry humour specialist director who shot into fame during the Emergency days when he made films like ‘ Kissa Kursi Ka’ and ‘ Nasbandi’ lampooning Mrs Gandhi and her government. These films never saw the light of the day but the maverick creator was constantly in the limelight, till he died in 1984. He was probably the first of the directors who made films on his name Johar Mehmood in Goa, Johar Mehm ood in Hong Kong, pairing with the ace comedian Mehmood in those days, which had a mixed response at the BO yet managed a brand identity for the director.

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