Wednesday, 18 July 2018

A Tracker and the Heart Stealer by Rajeev Pundir

By Rajeev Pundir

Whether he liked it or not, a writer should not pass a review on the works of another writer. However, Dr Pundir is a dear friend and has insisted me to give a feedback on his novel "The Tracker and the Heart Stealer". 

This is a repeat of plot by the author after his first book which was also based on the distrust and suspicion in husband-wife relationship. Though, this time, there are more twists and turns.
I have read the previous book on the same plot. Dr Pundir understands the complexities of all sort of relationships especially the one, most of us find enigmatic- the man-woman relationship. He always impresses me when he expresses the POV of a woman.

Reading this, I had a feeling that a short story has been stretched into a novel. The first half is too slow and I battled hard to go through it while the second half was so fast paced that I sensed the author was in a hurry to end it. The second half could have been better.

Author’s age and experience of life reflects in the pieces that describe the atmosphere of protagonist’s home. The conversation and behaviour of a workaholic husband with his wife who is craving for his time and attention and the conduct of the two little girls respectively with their father and mother seems very authentic.

The character of Brijesh, the protagonist, could not impress me. He dreams to climb up the ranks but he lacks the qualities of a top cop. Going to fifth floor by stairs tires him and he is too dumb that he was easily fooled by a treacherous woman. Threatening calls from the betting syndicate make him shiver. The protagonist as a top cop lacks the power to perform physically, mentally, and emotionally. His ways were highly unbecoming of even a Policeman; forget an inspector or an ACP. I don’t know if the author has deliberately portrayed him that way but, his qualities are nowhere in sync with what he aspires for. A decorated Police Officer should not have given up as easily as the protagonist.  He could not earn my sympathy.

The few analogies made me smile while reading…

Woman and a creeper are alike. They climb whenever and wherever they find even the weakest support”

"Whatever you give, nature gives you back multiplied….”

The story gives a message that it is important to strike a balance between your professional and personal life. Your family has a right on your time. Doom is inevitable when your ambitions outgrow your sense of responsibility towards your family.

An enjoyable read. Best wishes to Dr Pundir for his future writing projects. I know, his best is yet to come.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Ten Immortal Hindi Film Songs Featured on a Piano


 Songs and Music are the soul of Hindi cinema. Many people go to watch films just because of their songs. Thanks to the  fondness for  songs and music in Hindi films, the lyricist,  the music director and the choreographer are the integral parts of a film. 
Some of the classic movies were made in the golden era of Hindi cinema. Every thing about these movies was mesmerising and all songs in these movies played a pivotal role in their success. 
It seems,  picturising songs on Piano was a rage in that period. Piano is the king of all musical instruments. It is so majestic  that it adds to the grandeur of the room  it is placed in and gives a different aura and dynamics to the person sitting on it. Elegant and classy, Piano has the widest range among the musical instruments. Hindi cinema should feel proud for filming some of its most popular and immortal songs with the actor playing a piano.

1.  "Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabi ban jayen hum dono..."

GUMRAAH (1963)

Lyrics by Sahir Ludhiyanavi, Composed by Ravi, sung by Mahendra Kapoor and featured on Sunil Dutt. This is one song I have heard more number of times than the days I have lived for, sometimes ten to fifteen times on the trot. It seems, the great Sahir sahib has poured out his heart and the silky voice of Mahendra Kapoor and Ravi's music have well complimented. My all time favourite.

तआर्रुफ़ रोग हो जाये तो उसको भूलना बेहतर ..
ताल्लुक़ बोझ बन जाये तो उसको तोड़ना अच्छा ...
वो अफसाना जिसे अंजाम तक लाना हो मुमकिन,
उसे एक खूबसूरत मोड़ देकर छोड़ना अच्छा...

Beautiful lines...

         2. "Dost dost na rahaa, pyaar pyaar na rahaa..."

                                         SANGAM (1964)

Shailendra's lyrics, Mukesh's voice, Shankar-Jaikishan's music and enacted by the maestro Raj Kapoor.
See the pain in his eyes, truly posing a betrayed lover and friend. The guilt in the eyes of Rajendra Kumar and Vyjantimala. Nobody seems to be acting in this song. Magnificent.

गले लगीं सहम सहम, भरे गले से बोलतीं 
वो तुम न थीं तो कौन था...तुम ही तो थीं...
सफर के वक़्त में, पालक पे मोतियों को तोलतीं

वो तुम न थीं तो कौन था, तुम ही तो थीं....


         3. "Pyaar deewaana hota hai...mastaana hota hai..."

                                        KATI PATANG (1970)

Anand Bakshi's metaphorical lyrics, R.D. Burman's composition, voiced by Kishore Kumar and featured on the unforgettable Rajesh Khanna, every person in love must have hummed or listened to this heart-touching song. Khanna's trademark winks and jerk of neck as he plays the piano looks real but, the lyrics steal the show. 

सुनो किसी शायर ने ये कहा बहुत खूब,
मना करे दुनिया लेकिन मेरे मेहबूब,
वो छलक जाता है जो पैमाना होता है,

हर ख़ुशी से हर गम से बेगाना होता है....

              4. "Tera jaana dil ke armaano ka lut jaana...."

                                         ANARI (1959)

Again, Shailendra's lyrics, Shakar-Jaikishan's music, Lata Mangeshkar's magical voice and Nutan shouldering the responsibility to bring it to life... Every word hits you hard. Breathtaking beauty of Nutan mesmerizes you and the Lata Mangeshkar's melody touches you deep. Lovely song to listen to...Lovely song to watch.

तेरा गम तेरी ख़ुशी
मेरा गम मेरी ख़ुशी 
तुमसे ही थी ज़िन्दगी 
हँस कर हमने  था कहा
जीवन भर का साथ है,

ये कल ही की बात है...

                5. "Koi sone ke dil wala, koi chanwaladi ke dil ..."

                                                       MAYA (1961)

Lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri, composed by Salil Chaudhary, sung by the unmatched Mohammad Rafi and picturised on the ace macho man of Bollywood, 'The Dev Anand'... Brilliant song from a brilliant movie.

क्या जानिये कहाँ से आती है कानों में सदा

है दीवाने, गम तेरा सब से जुदा

             6. "Dheere dheere machal, ae dil-e-beqaraar..."

                                                         ANUPAMA (1966)

Kaifi Azmi's unparalleled poetry, Hemant Kumar's music and Lata Mangeshkar's voice... Despite that the song is not filmed on the lead character, it has become immortal...

उसके दामन की खुशबु हवाओं में है...

उसके क़दमों की आहट फ़ज़ाओं में है... 

Salute to both of you.. Kaifi sahib and Hemant da...

                      6. "kisi patthar ki moorat se...."

                                           HUMRAAZ (1967)

This pair of Sunil Dutt and Mahendra Kapoor was magical..
Sahir sahib's lyrics and Ravi's music only magnifies it....

हर इक बेजां तकल्लुफ से बगावत का इरादा है...

Sahir Ludhiyanvi was so gifted...

               7. "Jeewan ke din chotey sahi..."

                                                      BADE DILWALA (1983)

I fell for this song hearing the starting piano beats...

Penned by the great Majrooh Sultanopuri, sung by Kishore Kumar, composed by  R.D. Burman...

This is truly an inspiring song and the effortless act of Rishi Kapoor..see that swag, the pain, the pretension and the hesitation of an impostor  ...well, you'll understand it if you've seen the movie.

ये ज़िंदगी दर्द भी है, ये ज़िंदगी है दवा भी
दिल तोड़ना ही न जाना, जाने ये दिल जोड़ना भी
इस ज़िंदगी का शुक्रिया, सदके मैं ऊपर वाले

                            8. "Ye kaun aaya roshan ho gayi..."

                                                SAATHI (1968)

   Majrooh sahib's lyrics, Lata Mangeshkar's voice, Music by Naushad...

   The words will sweeten your ears, music will pacify your soul and the voice will soothe your heart.
What a beautiful song!

See the poetry in these lines...

आहट पे हल्की हल्की , छाती धड़के पायल की...
 हर गोरी से नाम उसका ये लहरें पूछें आँचल की... 
चुपके चुपके राधा कोई पूछे अपने श्याम से...

take a bow, Majrooh Sahib...


                 9. "Aaj ki raat mere dil ki salaami le le..."

                                         RAM AUR SHYAM (1967)

My father was a big fan of Mohammad Rafi. He used to say that the biggest quality of Rafi was that he tried to match his voice with the actor. Isn't it true? 
See how Dilip Kumar enacts this song on Piano.
Lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni and composed by Naushad, this is an epic song from an epic movie.

मैंने चाहा कि बता दूँ मैं हकीकत अपनी... तूने लेकिन न मेरा राज़-इ-मोहब्बत समझा मेरी उलझन मेरे हालात यहाँ तक पहुँचे तेरी आँखों ने मेरे प्यार को नफरत समझा अपनी तेरी राह से बेगाना चला जायेगा....

Just wonderful!


                       10. "Chehre pe khushi cha jaati hai..."

                                                 WAQT (1965)

   Penned by Sahi Ludhiyanvi, composed by Ravi Shankar, Sung by Asha Bhonsle and picturised on the quintessential beauty Sadhna. A happy moment song. Unforgettable.

जब तुम मुझे अपना कहते हो,

अपने पे गरूर आ जाता है...

It was difficult to pick just ten songs. Being a poet by heart, I've picked these on the basis of poetry and meaningfulness. 

#Bollywood #HindiCinema #Piano #Music #HindiSongs #GoldenEra

Wednesday, 14 February 2018




                                               By TUHIN A. SINHA


Vihaan Shastri, India’s young and dynamic Defence Minister, comes under attack when 20 soldiers are killed during a terrorist strike at an army camp in Kashmir. With the whole country seething with rage and thirsting for revenge, and the government depending on him to resolve the crisis, Vihaan finds himself battling a strange distraction: Zaira Bhat, the only woman he has truly loved, is back in his life, after 12 long years. In a chequered relationship which began with a love affair in 1990, and which had the two love and lose each other twice at different stages of life, Vihaan and Zaira now find themselves in an extraordinary situation. While Vihaan is the defence minister of the country, Zaira is the daughter of Kashmir’s leading, and most wanted, pro-Pakistan separatist leader, Bilal Mohammad Bhat. Is Vihaan capable of pulling off a double coup? Can he win back the love of his life and also save an on-the edge Kashmir? Come, be a part of Vihaan and Zaira’s crazy journey as they make their way through learning what it is to love someone eternally . . .


A book is not just a story. Reading a book is reading a mind, acquainting with the person the author is and peeping into a psyche.

After reading "WHEN THE CHIEF FELL IN LOVE" which I finished in a little over five hours, I feel, I know the author, Tuhin Sinha well enough.

When I started the book yesterday afternoon, I was in no mood to finish it in a single sitting because the story began with a college love story. Honestly, going through the first fifty pages or so was an intense test of my patience, and after that, there was a series of conflicts. The story gained pace and it became more engrossing after every page thereafter.

The second part of the book, after the protagonist resigns from his post of the defence minister, fascinated me. I have always believed that books and literature have the potential to bring a change in the society. Tuhin Sinha strengthens my belief with this story weaved around the burning and disturbing state of affairs in Kashmir. I love the authors who feel responsible towards the society. The solution he suggests also seems appropriate in the present scenario when nothing else is working.

The few characters in “WHEN THE CHIEF FELL IN LOVE” are all well drawn. However, I craved to know about Vihaan’s sudden inclination towards politics. Because of my personal reservations, Zaira failed to impress me as a woman. Author has done a fair amount of research to make the book appear a NONFICTION FICTION.

The first half could have been made more interesting. Also, there are a couple of proofreading errors which must be taken care of in the reprints.

Tuhin comes out as a cognoscenti about Kashmir and it is certain that he would enlighten the readers about the deeper roots of Kashmir issue. I wish him all the very best.


Sunday, 19 November 2017

'PADMAVATI' Hullabaloo

                   'PADMAVATI' HULLABALLOO

Creative independence is always encircled. 
If I ask a filmmaker, "Why do you make films?"
 In all likelihood his answer will be, "To satiate my creativity." 

It is justifiable. But, you make it for your audience. No?.
Then, isn't it your duty to respect the sentiments of the audience?

I have always maintained that a writer should be responsible. You can but you shouldn't write  on subjects which the culture and beliefs prevailing in your land for ages do not permit. 
Are the films hold more value than the history?
Majority will answer in negative. 

Creativity is presenting facts in an interesting and appealing manner. If you have to distort facts in the name of creativity, either you  doubt your talent or you love controversy. Having seen his previous films, I don't have slightest of doubt that the 'Auteur' Mr. Bhansali can ever be short of fodder for his creativity. He could have shown the same story by changing the names of the true historical characters and concealing its historical reference and significance.
None of the living progeny of Rani Padmavati can claim the authenticity of the folklore. However, the grandeur  of Padmavati's character and the reverence of people for her must be respected. 
Rani Padmavati (or Padmini) and Rawal Ratan Singh are iconic Rajputs. Leave out the despicable historical relevance of Allauddin Khilji for the Indians. 

Films should aim to entertain people or to force them to ponder on the social issues that demand attention of each and every constituent of the society. We, as a society, are by no means short of such issues.

Such rows and controversies always benefit a film. Mr. Bhansali and the cast of his films expressing their anger and distress over the opposition of his film is a complete eyewash and an indispensable reaction. The early intervention of Rajput Karni Sena helped Mr. Bhansali save crores he would have spent on the promotion of the film. 

The producer and the actors of the so called magnum opus PADMAVATI  trying to present themselves as victims.

Deepika says, "It's appalling, it's absolutely appalling. What have we gotten ourselves into? And where have we reached as a nation? We have regressed." 

Sorry to say, but this is hypocrisy. Doesn't she sound selfish considering that this film is her most ambitious project in terms of scale? Or maybe, because only a small group has problems with this film.
We all have read and heard the strong reactions of film stars when media encroach on their personal sphere sharing true or fictitious stories. Then, who gives them the right to showcase the events,  true or cooked, from the lifetime of people, not even alive and, the people who are worshipped and idolised?

you can't make people swallow your personal beliefs in the name of creativity when your creations sustain on the tastes and opinions of masses.
As an individual you may think that there is nothing wrong in practising  sex before marriage, for instance. Alright. But, what if the people you intend to read or see it refuse to think as progressively as you think? Writer's iterate over writing books keeping in mind the readers' inclinations and  the business of making films is no way different. Then,  Mr. Bhansali, his team and the whole film fraternity   must  respect the sentiments of the people who are protesting against PADMAVATI.

I do not endorse the violence and unceremonious statements of the protesters and utterly disapprove of the threats to chop off ears and nose of the actress in lead role. By doing so, they are bound to lose the sympathizers. They are not going to win this fight with violence, vandalism and hooliganism.

Monday, 9 October 2017


                                                  My Take

The honorable Supreme Court upholds the ban on the sale of crackers in Delhi and NCR on Diwali on Monday, October 9. I welcome this ban though the same has been criticized by many.

Come on! The SC has banned the sale of crackers. It is not a ban on celebrating Diwali.

Is this festival only about crackers? We always read that the Deepawali (literary means the lamps in a line) is the festival of light.

Some respectable people have demanded a ban on the rituals people of other religions observe on their festivals. A crying shame.

And, how this ban is against secularism? Hindus are a majority in India. So, a large population celebrates Diwali. Don’t you think we can set an example for all others by supporting this ban? This would give us a strong ground to condemn the similar wrong practices in other religions if there are any.

One of my revered friends wrote on Facebook “Nothing can be more secular than banning crackers on Diwali in India”. How true. How emphatic.

“Ban Acs, Ban cars, Ban Smoking”- the childish outcry I hear.

Yes, actually, all of these should be banned. None of these existed when life blossomed on earth and flourished for millions of years without any of these menaces and threats to life itself.

I have some questions for these people.

When you can’t tolerate a ban on something that you do for a day, will you tolerate a ban on the things which you’ve made the part of your life?

I want to ask whether the crackers had been invented when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhaya?

And, are momentary pleasures more important that you want them even if they cost you ages of discomfort?

And if yes, then don’t produce babies. Please. And if you have already brought them to live at this place already contaminated and unfit to live, kill them now. Because, you don’t have a right to leave them to live an unhealthy life because of your misdeeds.

I am a brahmin, a Hindu and I am proud of all my festivals including Diwali- The Festivals of Light. But, I represent life that dwell on this unique planet-unique because it supports life. For the privilege I and every breathing creäture on the earth, I have certain responsibility which, unfortunately, many like me don’t realize.

This earth is not the legacy we have got from our predecessors. We’ve borrowed it from our successors. We all are custodians of this environment as much as we’re the custodians of our cultural heritage. Celebrating festivals is our right in our secular country but within the precincts of my house. None of us owns this earth. So, this right doesn’t give us liberty to throw the refuse of our celebrations out of our house tarnishing the environment that belong to millions of other living creatures who don’t celebrate our festival.

Actually, The Supreme Court should not have imposed this ban.

The honorable court should have pronounced it in a different way.

The data showing pollution level must be displayed and announced three days before Diwali. Every seller must keep the record of the buyer with documents and the bills. If the pollution level rises on the Diwali day or within seven days after that, every person who bought crackers would pay a fine hundred times the amount of his bill?

That would have been more acceptable for the  intellectuals criticizing the ban.

I support and welcome cracker ban.

The views expressed are personal.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017



..... But, how important their judgement is?

G was up early. The insomniac's head was bulging with quotes he had coined through the night and his imagination had suggested a new twist in the story he was working on. He hit his desk and began working. 

The first tea came at 6:30 and two more followed at an interval of one hour each. Then, at 9:30 his wife called for the breakfast. He knew he cannot ignore it. He pressed 'Save'  and got up.
While eating breakfast, he remembered that he had to go to the bank. He had forgotten to deposit the money in his account and could not delay it anymore.

He swallowed the remaining morsels and started immediately. On the way, he saw himself in the rear view mirror. "Crumpled T-shirt, salt-and-pepper stubble, messy hair and he was wearing slippers under the track pants. "Nothing is odd," he smiled and pressed the accelerator.

Reaching the bank, he checked himself again in the  mirror. He looked tired, dishevelled and miserable. He did the only thing he could do; worked his fingers on his hair and went into the bank. He stood seventh in the queue. It did not take a long time when more people stood behind him than before him.

Two young men, just behind G were quacking nonstop since they'd arrived.  One of them had business in the bank and the other guy just accompanied him. G, out of habit, was calmly listening to the babble of the gadabouts

They were engineering students. Their idle talks hopped from their college to the slow bank clerk at the counter, then to the news anchor on the silenced TV mounted on the back wall. Then to the blind clerk who distributed all sorts of forms. And  then to G. 

Before the taller, bearded fellow who was not in the queue, spoke the first sentence on G, he was enjoying their conversation. The strangest part was that he spoke it in English. 

"He is here straight out of bed," the haughty young man said. It pinched G why his appearance didn't reflect his academic credentials. Nevertheless, he didn't turn his head.
"He is wearing a red shirt like six others in this room," the boy standing behind G spoke.
"It seems men acquire a sort of affinity for this colour with age," the outsider spoke. His remarks were  blunt.
"He doesn't seem poor but his lifestyle is certainly awful."
"Yeah. He doesn't dye his hair."

Every time they paused to inhale air, G resisted replying them, not intending a confrontation but just telling them that he understood English. 

"Such lazy people should go bald. That would save them some time to groom themselves."

"Yeah. Like Shakespeare's Othello."

Mention of the Shakespeare proved a spoiler.

G turned around and said, "Who told you  that Othello was bald?"

His intrusion into their discussion was  spontaneous. G too, didn't realize that he was restraining the same for a while. 
Open-mouthed, they gawked at him as if he were a ghost. Then, guilt forced their eyes change the direction. Fortunately for them, the man behind them signalled G that it was his turn at the counter.

G came out and waited for the boys. He had made up his mind to finish it off.

They seemed assured that G had disappeared when they walked out of the bank. Their guilt had vanished and they laughed shamelessly.

A tussle was going on within G between his ego and his wisdom. Should he talk to the boys and ask them to explain how and why is the appearance of a person important? 

Fighting with the dilemma, he kept looking at the boys who now, were walking away from him.  He smiled and returned home. 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

SARAHAH... An Extravagant Indulgence



                                                  An Extravagant Indulgence


So, Sarahah is the latest buzz on the internet. It's just another messaging app but with a conspicuous and curious difference. Sarahah enables a person known to you to convey his opinion of you without disclosing his identity. They may praise you or pick you apart.

Sounds interesting.

Sarahah means 'honesty'.

Now, anybody can be honest with a liberty of being anonymous. The sender enjoys the privilege and receiver staggers into dilemma.
Our brain is biased towards praise. We, humans, have the tendency to embrace the nameless and faceless praise but do we value an unacknowledged criticism which otherwise too (when it has a face) is often difficult to swallow.
 We appreciate anonymity  if it is benevolent. In that case too, the burden of gratitude keeps the more humane mortals anxious to discover the identity of the angel. I doubt if there are many takers of Malevolent anonymity.
We are seeing numerous Sarahah messages that people share on Facebook, twitter and Instagram. All sorts of rants- the  sugarcoated compliments, the wrinkled reprobation kept under the watch for some time, the shy confessions suddenly been stripped, amorous inclinations have found words. 

Nothing wrong actually.

Nothing wrong if you read the scripture in the Sarahah-square and let it go. But, is it that simple. Appeasing or disturbing, these short texts would keep hovering on the edge of our consciousness and give our brains a needless occupation. However hard we may try to discard and forget it, we would scrutinize the list of our acquaintances and keep guessing. Is it really worth our time?
So, Sarahah is going to be a strong reason for someone smiling to himself or in an unusually bad mood.
Sarahah will definitely go down well with people who are emotionally sound. However, it will be devastating for sensitive people.
Sarahah will make narcissists blush more. Certainly. But, think twice if you have a fragile heart.