Tilak Rishi's weblog

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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Friday, November 25, 2005

It is good to be in America!

  1. Bill Clinton: One of the most interesting experiences in the U.S. was watching the vigorous campaigning for the presidential elections by the Democratic candidate Bill Clinton for his first term. I sent him a letter of congratulations on his great victory, even though I was certain it would be lost in multitude of such messages. But to my surprise, I got a prompt reply from the President elect. It encouraged me to write again on his inauguration as President of the United States. Within weeks I received an envelope with the White House marking. President Bill Clinton had personally replied to my letter of congratulations. Later on, during eight years of his presidency, I wrote several letters on varied subjects to President Clinton and I am proud to possess his personal replies to each one of them. The unique privilege of corresponding with President Bill Clinton remains my most precious experience in life- it made me, an ordinary man, feel extra-ordinary.
  2. USF Dean: After we had sent our son for higher studies to the U.S., the main topic of conversation with our friends was, how he was doing in America. They expressed concern that at his young age, he would not be able to withstand the cultural explosion that would confront him in the U.S. They feared drugs, drinking and dating starts from the school age. Although we had full faith in his ability to face and overcome any challenges there, we still thought it worthwhile to make a trip to the U.S. and see for ourselves the atmosphere and the environment in which he was pursuing his studies. During our first trip to the U.S., our most important engagement was to visit the University of Sanfrancisco, and meet the Dean, for which he had already taken an appointment. As we settled down to talk to the Dean, he initiated the conversation by complimenting us for sending our son so far away from home for higher studies and he felt that our son had a very strong academic foundation from schooling in India. He emphatically brushed aside all our doubts about students taking to bad habits like drugs and drinking in American universities- "Students from all over the world come to the U.S. for higher studies because the country provides the finest facilities, excellent environment and the best faculties available anywhere in the world. Since the education is expensive, only very serious students enroll. It helps the universities to have an environment that is ideal for serious studies." The Dean was gracious for not only giving us his precious time but also a promise to give personal attention and supervision to our son during the entire period of his stay in the University. Our meeting with the Dean, that went on for over an hour, was indeed the most rewarding experience of our trip.
  3. El Granada Neighbors: Within a couple of years after getting a good career break with a computer giant, our son had a house of his own. A nature lover, the house he bought was in El Granada, on the California coastline, 20-miles south of San Francisco. It was a beautiful newly built house, with the only drawback- lack of landscaping. We decided what our housewarming gift to him would be- to do landscaping ourselves during our visit. As soon as our neighbor, across the street, saw us weeding wild plants without proper tools, he came over with all his garden tools- "These tools will make your work easier. I will also be there to help you and will ask Mac to help us, he has the most modern garden tools." What a wonderful neighbor, we thought. Tom not only gave us much of his own time but also enlisted help of his friends. With all the tremendous effort and energy they put into the project, the wild land around Alok's house turned into a beautiful lawn. Not to forget the Hutchins, living three houses away, who contributed fruit and vegetable saplings from their home nursery, adding great value to the landscaping. We could never imagine that there could be greater neighbors anywhere.
  4. Cool at work: I joined the retail management team of a reputed chain that dealt in high-end luggage and travel accessories. It was my first exposure to the working environment in the U.S. and I was thrilled by the experience. The place looked like the showpiece of the country, the melting pot, where immigrants of varied nationalities and cultures blended beautifully. Our sales team comprised of the stores manager, of Moroccan origin, three Russian girls, a Mexican, a Phillipine, a Korean, an African American, a White American and the boss, the Regional Manager, an American lady. The atmosphere at the store, though very professional with dress code and other regulations strictly enforced, was the coolest I have ever seen in my career. The boss took the initiative to make the environment very pleasant with her humor and 'take it easy' policy. Indeed, the life was never so easy and enjoyable at work.
  5. Warm and friendly people: The thing that struck us instantly about American life was its pleasantness. Right from our first encounter with immigration and custom officers, who made us feel very comfortable and even helped us in repacking our bags after their inspection, to our walks on the beaches, we experienced it every where, every day. Almost every one, who passed us on the beaches or the side-walks greeted us and some even stopped to talk. Very simple, sincere and warm people; Joe, my classmate at the computer learning school, gave me a computer as gift when he learnt that I did not have one. No wonder, multitude of people kept coming from their homelands around the world, and felt at home here. It is interesting to see them talking to each other in their own language-Chinese, Japanese, Russian, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic etc., besides the Indian languages, especially Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil and Bengali. And they have their own stores, temples, towns (China Town, Little India etc.) and even cities (Yuba City which looks like a city in Punjab- India), which makes life so much like in their country.
  6. Stranger at airport: At the JFK international airport in New York, we had to wait for our connecting flight to India for several hours. While we were sitting at the airport lobby, a lady, after seeing off her sister, came straight to Jeet, my wife, "Your beautiful silk suit says you are from India." And she sat down next to her, informing that she loved India and had visited the county many a times. During their conversation she came to know that we still had several hours to our flight but we could not go out to see the city, which we had not seen, as we had finished all our limited foreign exchange that we had brought from India. Looking admiringly at Jeet's bangles, she said, "I love your bangles. These must be very expensive." Jeet responded by removing her bangles, "Take them, these will look nice on you too." The lady took the bangles but insisted that she must pay for the same, but Jeet did not relent, "Please accept these as a gift from India you love so much." Thanking Jeet, the lady left, but not before leaving a hundred-dollar bill on her lap. Bangles were only an excuse to help us have a round of the city. Compassion comes naturally to the common man here. No surprise, the country has the biggest charities and the greatest foundations anywhere in the world.
  7. Dollars' worth: The first time when we came to the U.S. as visitors, we thought America must be the most expensive place to live- what, a 'samosa' costing Rs. 30/- and bread 60/- to 90/- rupees (Dollar = Rs. 30/- then). Now, living and earning in the U.S., we feel life here is much less expensive, especially the food, than back home, or for that matter anywhere in the world. Where in the world one can have a lavish lunch-buffet with a spread of twenty tempting dishes to select from, for dollars five to ten? And average price of gas at dollars 2.50 per gallon, when the price is at its highest, is still the cheapest in any country. Indeed, the essential living expenses vis-a-vis the median family income are low enough to leave them with enough money to spend at their discretion- mainly on leisure and to improve their life style. No wonder, people come here to work from all over the world, especially the developing countries, and earn dollars to live a good life and also make life better for families back home with their savings.
  8. Advantage Senior Citizens: When we went to watch a movie with our son and daughter-in-law for the first time, we noticed that our tickets cost half the price of theirs. Later we found that at most places, especially in buses, trains and many restaurants, the senior citizens were not only given special discounts, but also a special place. The government gives them free health insurance for the best medical care, besides other social benifits, including social security and supplementary income. Getting old has its advantages in the U.S.
  9. PublishAmerica: I have the most exciting experience interacting with PublishAmerica, the reputed publishers. Thanks to them, although an immigrant, I am proud to be an author published in the U.S. My book, Paradise Lost and Found, narrates the survival to success story of a family who suffered in the aftermath of the partition of India in 1947. PublishAmerica considered it a well desrving story for publishing in America. Throughout the process of publishing, the tremendous support I received from their very proficient editors was, indeed, very encouraging. Americans' first love is reading books, even surpassing their passion for cars, and this is a great incentive for writers to come here for their literary pursuits.
  10. Son at Sun: Nothing in the world makes parents happier than seeing their children make significant progress in life. Our son, Alok, completed his higher education in U.S. and joined Sun Microsystems, where he is now the Principal Engineer. What better excuse can parents have to be in the U.S. after their retirement, than to be near their children? U.S. has many a shining sons and daughters from India and the rest of the world, making a mark on this land.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bollywood's magical movie pairs

Onscreen chemistry of co-stars creates a professional bond and produces an under current of romantic comaraderie. This is achieved when the players pour their hearts into the roles while doing a romantic scene. When the artistic aspect overtakes clinical professionalism of the actors, the magic of the moment is applauded by the audiences. Bollywood celebrates another blockbuster and also birth of another popular pair.

The image “http://www.rediff.com/entertai/2001/dec/10ashok2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Ashok Kumar-Devika Rani: They, perhaps, made the earliest most popular pair of Hindi cinema. Jeevan Nayya (1936) was their first film together but it was Achhut Kanya (1936), which capitulated the two into big time fame. This was followed by Janmabhoomi (1936), Izzat (1937), Savitri (1937) and Anjaan (1941). There is an amusing story to their starring together for their first film. As a young assistant to Bengali filmmaker Himanshu Rai, Ashok Kumar got his start in acting by accident when he volunteered to substitute for the lead actor of Jeevan Nayya, who fell ill before production was to start. He was terrified to act in the first place opposite lead actress Devika Rani ( also her boss as founder of Bombay Talkies), known as the dragon lady for her smoking, drinking, cursing and hot temper. However, on release of the film they were declared pair of the decade and continued to work in more films, all hits of the time. Ashok Kumar continued to achieve great heights in his career, while Devika Rani, with her outstanding portrayals, classic outlook and distinct style of acting, was declared the First Lady of Indian cinema. Ashok Kumar, the 'ever green hero' as he was called, had great innings in the 40s, pairing with Leela Chitnis in Bombay Talkies films (Kangan, Azaad, Bandhan, Jhoola etc.) and in the 50s with Nirupa Roy in over 30 movies (Aabroo, Aanchal, Aap Beeti, Anurodh, Bhai Bhai, Chand Aur Sooraj, Dharamputra, Grihasti, Gumrah etc.).

The image “http://www.cdguru.com/images/film/ram_rajya.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Prem Adib- Shobhana Samarth: Starred as Ram and Sita in Vijay Bhatt's famous classic, Ram Rajya (1943), the pair's performance was so evocative that they became the eternal Ram and Sita in the audience's minds. In fact, people felt they were no actors enacting the Ramayana characters, but real Ram and Sita had incarnated to act in the movie. They were literally worshipped wherever they went together to promote the film, which was a huge hit. People even had their posters and pictures installed in their homes. Undoubtedly, they would have been flooded with offers to work together in many more movies, especially mythologicals, but it did not happen. Shobhana Samarth, the most unconventional actress of her time, was not available as she got deeply involved in relationship with her co-star of many films and the famous actor, Motilal. Incidentally, Shobhana Samarth was the mother of Bollywood's leading ladies, Nutan and Tanuja, and grand mother of Kajol, Tanisha and Mahnish Behl.

The image “http://www.downmelodylane.com/vin_files/klsaigal2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.K. L. Saigal - Khurshid: He was the Tansen and she was his Tani, together they created wonders with their magic of melodies. He made the audiences give him standing ovation for 'Diya jalao' and she drenched them with the ultra delight of 'Barso re'. With their most powerful portrayal of India's greatest musician and his beloved, Saigal and Khurshid immortalized the romance of Tansen and Tani in the palace of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, and in turn made a name for themselves as the greatest singing duo of Hindi cinema. Earlier too, they had proved as the 'made for each other' pair in Bhakt Surdas, the big musical hit on the life of the blind poet. Saigal's soul-stirring rendering of the poet's 'Madhukar Shyam Hamare Chor' could have been matched only in the melodious voice of Khurshid 'Panchi Bawra Chand Se Preet Lagaye'. It is a pity that the best singing pair ever could not be repeated, with Saigal passing away in 1947 and Khurshid migrating to Pakistan the same year.

The image “http://www.downmelodylane.com/sngstar_files/surendra.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “http://media.santabanta.com/newsite/cinemascope/images/noorjehan.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Surendra - Noorjehan: It was the era of singing stars. Surendra, brought by Mehboob in the Thirtees as Bombay's counter- strategy to Calcutta's reigning singer Saigal, was already the most sought after singing star of Bollywood. Noorjehan, the queen of melody, had cast a spell in the country with her melodious voice and hit songs. What more was needed to make a big musical hit than to bring the two together. The ace director Mehboob Khan and the mastreo Naushad Ali did exactly the same to produce one of the greatest musicals of all times, Anmol Ghadi (1946), with Surendra and Noorjehan as the lead pair. The two singing stars had already given a huge hit, Lal Haveli (1944), and though not a great musical, the film proved their potential as a popular pair. Anmol Ghadi put them on the pedestal of great acheivers, the most popular singing pair. The film was unique for the fact that the lovers did not come face to face till towards the end, and yet were able to express their deep emotions of love throughout with their melodious voice, especially, singing from long distance the all time greatest duet, 'Awaz De Kahan Hei'. Like Saigal and Khurshid, the singing combo of Surendra and Noorjehan also could not continue, with Noorjehan opting for Pakistan.

The image “http://www.gujaratinri.com/gujaratimovie/harharmahadev.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Trilok Kapoor - Nirupa Roy: The pair became famous playing Shiv and Parvati in mythologicals. The super hit Har Har Mahadev (1950) made them immensely popular. So over powering was their pious screen image of Shiv Parvati that people would fall on their feet and pray for their blessings. After the astounding success of the film, mythologicals became the formula for movies with Trilok Kapoor playing Shiv to Nirupa Roy's Parvati in most of the movies. They made the most famous pair of mythologicals of early 50s, working together in 18 films, some of them great hits. The onscreen Shiv Parvati pair was broken when Nirupa Roy moved on to social movies after her highly acclaimed performance in Bimal Roy's classic Do Bigha Zamin.

The image “http://www.kalpana.it/ita/cinema/image/film6.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Raj Kapoor - Nargis: He was the greatest showman known to Indian films, she was the greatest of all times, together they made a pair that had chemistry hitherto unseen on Indian screen. Whenever they came together on screen, sparks flew. Their chemistry was electrifying. The passion that each had for the other poured out on the screen as they performed in several films, many of them super hits (Aag, Andaz, Barsaat, Awaara, Anhonee Shree 420, Chori Chori etc). The raw passion between them in Barsaat drove audiences wild. The song 'Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua' from Shree 420 (1955) with Nargis and Raj Kapoor under the umbrella in heavy rain was romance at its heights. The most popular romantic team in history of Bollywood played it cool for nearly eight years before they split up - Nargis leaving him to marry Sunil Dutt. Chori Chori (1956), a breezy entertainer, being their last film together, although she appeared for old time's sake in the last scene of Raj Kapoor's classic Jagte Raho.

The image “http://www.bbc.co.uk/hindi/specials/images/1744_obit_pix/2182731_suraiya300.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “http://www.indiaplaza.com/Featureimages/promocontent/movies/stardevanand/dev1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Dev Anand - Suraiya: The pair became famous for their off-screen romance rather than on-screen. Suraiya met Dev Anand during the shooting of Vidya. She was then an established singing star and he, a raw new comer, but she found him 'cultured and handsome'. It was during the shooting of a song their boat capsized and Dev Anand saved Suraiya from drowning. Suraiya fell in love with her reel and real life hero. Their films together may not have been great hits except Vidya (1948), Jeet (1949) and Afsar (1949), but they had no regrets as their love flourished and their love story was the talk of the nation. The lore has it that Dev Anad proposed to her at the Taj Mahal, putting a diamond ring to her finger. But hell broke loose at her home as her grandmother discovered the ring and threw it into the sea. Her grandmother and uncle threatened to get Dev Anand arrested or killed, and brainwashed Suraiya to believe that if she married Dev Anand, Hindu Muslim riots would breakout. Fearing for Dev's safety, she took the decision to drop out from the relationship. The episode sealed their fate to work together again.

The image “http://bollywood.allindiansite.com/img/mughal-e-azam1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Dilip Kumar - Madhubala: She was the icon of Hindi films and he the king of tragedies. When the two starred together for the first time in Tarana (1951), their pairing on and off screen went on to become the most legendary love affair of Indian cinema. It was an affair of melodramatic proportions, worthy of the best of Bollywood scripts. Their stormy relationship lasted about eight years, though the pair continued to pine for each other even after their tragic break-up in 1957, involving a courtroom drama in which Dilip Kumar, standing in the witness box, declared, "I love this woman and shall love her till my dying day." K. Asif's epic, Moghal-E-Azam (1960), their last movie together, took incredible 10 years to complete from the year 1950 to 1960. By the end of the filming, the pair had already gone through their break-up, as if their real life romance was imitating their reel life tragedy. The only difference being the reversal of role of the father - in real life drama it was Madhubala's father, who ruled her every move with an iron hand, that did not let the lovers unite at the end. Inspite of all the emotional upheavel in the pair's lives, their acting excellence made Mughal-E-Azam an all time unsurpassed epic of love story.

The image “http://www.fathom.com/feature/190240/3801_pyaasa.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Guru Dutt - Wahida Rehman: He was sensitive, poetic, magical and above all a genius. She was the embodiment of classic beauty with a truly transcedental appeal. Guru Dutt had discovered Waheeda Rehman and had made her his muse as they starred in a string of movies - Pyaasa (1957), Kagaz Ke Phool (1959), Kala Bazar (1960), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) and Sahib Biwi Ghulam (1962). The onscreen lovers were involved in one of Bollywood's great real life love tragedies. Dutt was married and the affair faltered, ending with Waheeda Rehman moving on to establish her own identity outside his world. This hurt Dutt and he lamented, as in Pyaasa, the inability of a prosecuting world to understand the purity of soul. In the Sahir Ludhianvi gem, 'Yeh dunia agar mil bhi jaye to kya hei', Dutt felt as if at a crucification. An air of loss and mystery continues to shroud Guru Dutt's premature death in 1964 from an overdose of sleeping pills.

The image “http://www1.yashrajfilms.com/images/home/jugnu/dvd_l.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Dharmendra - Hema Malini: He is known as 'Garam Dharam' and she as 'Dream Girl', together they were the most sought after pair of Hindi films in the 70s, teamed in 40 films, at least half of them hits. Working as the hit pair of Shole (1975), the biggest Bollywood blockbuster ever, they became close friends, then lovers and eventually married couple in 1980. During their days of romance, onscreen and off-sets, the gossip columns of film magazines were full of juicy stories how Dharmendra did not let any other hero come near Hema outside the studio walls and he even agressively prevented Hema's other two admirers, Jeetendra and Sanjeev Kumar, from proposing to her. All these rumours were laid to rest recently by Hema herself when she admitted on Karan Johar's popular TV show, 'Coffee with Karan', that it was she who was determined to marry Dharmendra and not the vis-a-versa:
"When did you first feel that Dharamji is the man you would want to spend your life with?" shots Karan as he probes Hema Malini to spill the beans about her love story with Dharmendra.
Hema admits that she fell for Dharmendra's looks when she first set her eyes on him, "He was the most handsome man I had ever seen. Thats when I said to myself that I would want to be with a man like him", said an embarraced Hema.

The image “http://www.planetbollywood.com/Pictures/Couples/abjaya.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Amitabh Bachchan - Jaya Bachchan (Bhaduri): He is the super star of the millennium (BBC onlines poll) and icon of the Indian cinema, and she is the 'woman' behind the successful 'man'. He was still a struggling insecure newcomer in Bollywood carrying the burden of many flops, and she an instant hit as the filmstar-crazy teen tornado of Guddi (1971). On the sets of Ek Nazar (1972) the couple realized that they were in love with each other. Their real life situation was very much similar to their roles in Hrishikesh Mukherji's Abhiman (1973). Jaya had drawn rave reviews for her performance as the talented singer-wife of an insecure crooner and won the Filmfare award. The same year saw the release of Zanjeer, whose immense success changed their lives forever. Playing the angry young man of Zanjeer transformed Amitabh into a mega star. There was no 'Abhiman' (false pride) between them now, both scaling the heights of stardom together. They thought they could now afford to get married and on June 2, 1973, Amitabh, son of the famous Hindi poet Harivansh Bachchan brought home as bride, Jaya, daughter of the noted author-journalist Taroon Kumar. They became the most revered and admired Bollywood couple.

On other occasions stars have fallen in love with each other while working together - Rishi Kapoor/Neetu Singh, Ajay Devgun/Kajol, John Abraham/Bipash Basu, but this did not make them popular pairs at the the box-office. Producers, rushing to cast real-life lovers in their movies, had to pay a heavy price. As part of the pre-release promotion of Kyun! Ho Gaya Na and Fida, both the movies focussed on the fact that two celebrity couples, Vivek Oberoi - Aishwarya Rai and Shahid Kapoor - Kareena Kapoor would be seen together for the first time, but the films failed, as the stars could not translate their real life love on screen chemistry. On the ther hand there are stars who showed great onscreen chemistry like Rishi Kapoor- Dimple Kapadia in Bobby, Rajesh Khanna-Sharmila Kapoor in Aradhna and many other movies, Shahrukh Khan-Kajol in all their films, but still they are not considered as great couples who can draw audiences just being together in a movie. In this era of multi-star movies, pairs like Ashok Kumar-Devika Rani. Raj Kapoor-Nargis, Dilip Kumar-Madhubala, who created magic on screen, are history, at least till a pair of their stature emerges from the new breed of Bollywood stars.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Villains in Indian cinema

The typical plot of Bollywood's three-hours plus bonanza runs according to a predictable formula- two young lovers find their chances of marriage threatened by a nafarious villain or a seemingly insurmountable social barrier, but after several songs, a long car chase and a cliff hanging fight, all obstacles are suddenly removed just in time for a whirlwind wedding before "The End". Just as songs and dances are important in a Bollywood movie, so are the villains and the vamps, without whom the story would literally fall apart. However, even in this typical plot, the role of the villain has varied according to the time-frame of the film and more importantly, the personality of the actor playing the villain.

In the early years, the villain was usually the wicked 'zamindar' or the blood-sucking 'bania' in the village. Kanhayalal, one of the earliest villains of the Hindi cinema, excelled in the role of the 'bania', as no other villain ever matched his mastry of the charecter. The cunning, cruel and conniving 'bania' of Mehboob's Aurat (1940) was so powerfully played by Kanhayalal that the director could not think of any other actor to play the character in his famous remake of the movie, Mother India, and repeated him after nearly twenty years for another great performance in his greatest movie of all times. Jeevan was another well-known villain of early years who played the proverbial village moneylander in several movies of the 40s and 50s, besides playing his signature role of Narad Muni in almost all the mythological movies. There was one similarity between the two players, they had both mastered the art of converting their villainy into comedy. Another villain of yester years who displayed similar ability was Yaqub, who played the vagabond son in Aurat, and was as popular a villain as he was a comedian- Lal Haveli (1944). In later years this quality is bundently displayed by Shakti Kapoor who became immensely popular playing comedian-cum-villain in 300-plus movies.

With the change of scenerio from the village to the city, the villain became the big time smuggler or the smart operator in the business of black-marketing and underworld. K. N. Singh- Baazi (1951), Hulchal (1951), Awara (1951), Jaal (1952), C.I.D. (1956), Howra Bridge (1958) and nearly hundred other movies he acted in- was one of the most dreaded villains in this catagory, because of his very dominent personality and great dialogue delivery. With the proverbial pipe in mouth and dress-code to match the occasion, he was the first to bring a sort of sophistication to the role of a villain. Madan Puri, the veteran villain of 200 plus movies, was another city-brand baddie who dominated the Cinema of the late 40s and 50s. His most notable movies were, Ahinsa (1946), Vidya (1948), Nau Do Gyarah (1957), Howra Bridge (1958). The run-away hit of the Seventies, Dulhan Wohi Jo Piya Man Bhai, changed his career from a villain to a lovable elderman, which left an idelible mark in the hearts of his fans. It is ironical that the famous villain, Amrish Puri, entered the industry introducing himself as Madan Puri's younger brother but in later years, the veteran Madan Puri was often referred to as Amrish Puri's elder brother.

Post independence period saw the rise of many renowned villains of the new generation- Prem Nath (Barsaat, Aan, Teesri Manzil, Johny Mera Naam, Tere Mere Sapne, Bobby, Amir Garib, Janeman and hundred-plus movies), Ranjeet (Sawan Bhadon, Sharmili, Reshma Aur Shera, Victoria No. 203 and nearly 200 more films), Danny Denzongpa- Padmshree 2003 (Sanam Bewafa, Khuda Gawah, Zaroorat, Mere Apne, Dhund, Kala Sona and over 150 films), Manmohan, known for enacting rape scenes with extraordinary perfection (Railway Platform, Yeh Raaste Hein Pyar Ke, Gumnam, Mera Saya, Upkar, Shikar, Poorab Aur Pachhim and 60-plus films), Gulshan Grover- pencilled in to play the villain in the next James Bond flick, Casino Royale, the villain of 350 films, seen in Hollywood, French, German, Canadian and British films in recent years, is currently awaiting release of his latest Hollywood movie, The Aftermath; Mohnish Bahl, son of famous leading lady Nutan (Bekrar, Raja Hindustani, Koyla, Dulhe Raja, Ek Rishta and nearly 100 more movies). In recent years two actors of exceptional talent gave memorable performance as villain- Kulbhushan Kharbanda, the Shakal of Ramesh Sippy's Shaan, who looked no less forceful than a villain straight out of the best of the Bond flicks, and Manoj Bajpai, Bhiku Mhatre of Satya, that made a star out of a 'no body'.

Amongst the vamps of the Hindi cinema, the early years saw them as the Monster-in-Laws or the step mothers(Manorma) or the extra-stiff Mausi (Leela Mishra), but the real vamps are the loose women dressed in revealing western outfits, who attempt to entice the hero with their seductive eyes. Three vamps of exceptional talent made the heroins run for their money dominated the cinema for many decades. Kuldeep Kaur (Kaneez, Samadhi, Afsana, Anarkali, Pyar Ki Rahen and over two dozen hit films) was the first female villain who created hell for the heroin and her family in the 40s and 50s. Shashikala (Jugnu, Doli, Arzoo, Nau Do Gyarah, Sujata, Kanoon, Junglee, Waqt and over 100 other films), with her innocent charm and attractive looks could easily be the leading lady in films. The producers somehow, preferred to cast her as the cunning other woman, bent upon breaking the relationship of the love birds, which she could accomplish with astounding success almost till the climax. The tables are turned against her, to give a happy ending to the film. Bindu, popularly known as Mona Darling after her classic portrayal of the 'bad girl' in Zanjeer (1973), defined the Bollywood cabaret dance numbers and the role of the vamp. She acted in about 150 movies, many of them super hits which made her the most saught after actress next only to the top heroins of her time. Both Shashikala and Bindu, like their contemporary counterparts in the world of male villains, switched over to character roles after giving stunning performances as vamps, their latest appearances being Bindu in Mein Hun Naa and Shashikala in Mujh Se Shadi Karoge. Kuldeep Kaur passed away early in her career, in whose shoes entered Nadira, though making her character more sophisticated. Starting her career with Aan (1952), she acted in 60-plus movies, including Raaj Kapoor's super hit Shri 420. Padma Khanna followed the foot steps of Bindu, becoming a very popular 'oomph girl' of the 70s. She worked in over 70 films with the most memorable performance in Johny Mera Naam. Evergreen Helen, the queen of cabaret, deserves a special mention, though she was never really a vamp in the true sense of the word. She remained for more than three decades an essential part of almost all first-rate movies, with at least one hot dance and song scene, now a days popularly known as 'item number', that was invariably the star attraction of the movie. Her role in Don will ever be remembered for the depth of emotion and the height of characterization the 'vamp' could reach in a movie. She has worked in over 200 films, starting from Awara (1951) to the presently under production Marigold. Dancing all the way to unprcidented heights of popularity in her half a century of career in Bollywood has baffled many, including the renowned producer director of documentaries in Canada, Eisha Marjara, who has produced a full length movie on Helen, Desparately Seeking Halen (1999).

Amongst all the villains of the Indian cinema, old and new, male and female, the following could be rated as the top-5 on account of their popularity, performance and legendary legacy:

The image “http://www.desiclub.com/bollywood/bollywood_features/bolly_images/pran_biography.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Pran: The 'Villain of the Century' has had marathon six decades long career in Hindi cinema and is one of the most celebrated actors in the industry. The story of the most famous 'bad man' of Indian cinema began in Lahore (Yamla Jatt, Chaudhary, Khandan, Sahara, Ragni etc.) before destiny brought him to Bombay after the Partition. After Ziddi (1948) became a super hit, there was no looking back for him and he became the star attraction of hits (Apradhi, Badi Behen, Afsana, Bahar, Pehli Jhalak, Azad, Devdas, Kundan, Munimji, Chori Chori, Madhumati, Chhalia, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hei, Raaj Kumar, Ram Aur Shyam, Milan and so on). He worked extensively with the 'Trimurti' of the golden era, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raaj Kapoor and won several awards- Filmfare (1967, 1969, 1972, 1997), Stardust (Villain of the Millaneum-2000), Screen (Lifetime Achievement Award-2000), Zee TV (Lifetime Achievement Award-2000) and Government of India (Padmbhushan-2001).

The image “http://www.hindu.com/2005/01/13/images/2005011308270101.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Amrish Puri: He was truly among the greatest villains in the history of Hindi cinema, second perhaps, only to Pran. Following the footsteps of his elder brother Madan Puri, already a wellknown villain, tried his luck testing for a film actor albeit a leading man in 1950s. Rejection turned him towards the world of theatre where he showed his histreonics abilities. It was after a struggling period of nearly twenty years when he was offered a role in Sunil Dutt's Reshma Aur Shera (1971). However, much of his role ended on the editing table. It was his association with Shyam Benegal that led to Amrish Puri being noticed as an actor of substance. His menacing act as Mogambo in Shekhar Kapur's Mr. India was not just a turning point in his career but also the most memorable comic-book-villain-acts in Hindi cinema. He was finally a star when well into his 50s. What more, he even got called by the Hollywood great, Steven Spielburg, to play villaneous Mola Ram in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). His unstoppable super hits (Ram Lakhan, Tridev, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Saudagar, Pardes, Taal, Gadar etc.), made him as big a star as the leading actors in the movies.

The image “http://www.theasiannews.co.uk/ContentResources/457.$plit/C_58_article_203385_body_articleblock_0_bodyimage.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Amjad Khan: Shole will ever be remembered for the heights it took villainy to in Indian cinema. Unlike earlier villains who were content to be pain in the neck for the lovers in the film, Amjad Khan's Gabbar seems to pursue evil as an end in itself. He, who can boast of being the most imitated character of Hindi cinema, is the villain that people love to hate. He was unarguably the most legendary character of tinsel world. His dialogues are now folk-lore and the trademark ferocity, Amjad Khan as Gabbar Singh is a true blue-cult figure. What better tribute can be paid to this legendary villain that Director Ram Gopal Verma could not think of any other actor to play Gabbar Singh in his modern day version of Shole than the all time greatest actor, Amitabh Bachchan.

The image “http://www.indianexpress.com/ie/daily/19970602/ie-31-cp.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Ajit: The Indian actor whose charming villainy and most lapped up one-liners made him a national folk hero during a film career that spanned several decades in Bollywood. His Mona Darling (Zanjeer) and Loin (Kalicharan) have stuck together as inseparable part of his villaneous support system. His penchant for Christian named cronies, ranging from Michael and Peter to Robert and Lily is legendary. His one liner from Kalicharan, "Sara shahar mujhe loin ke naam se janta hei", drew instant applaud from masses and then multiplied into hundreds of more such whacked out lines, especially as the real and made-up dialogues between him (the boss) and his dumb assistant Robert. He found ample support from his overly made-up sexy assistant, Mona (Bindu). Together they epitomized the smuggler/ villain and his dumb/sexy moll of the 70s, he delighted his fans by making a complete mockery of his mean act.

The image “http://media.santabanta.com/newsite/cinemascope/images/premchopra_big.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Prem Chopra: The cold-blooded demon of Bollywood, was destined to continue the legacy of the legendary villain Pran, on the latter's switching over from villainy to character roles. He got his first break in Chaudhry Karnail Singh (1962), a National Award winning film, and there was no looking back ever since. He showed his skill in spine chilling films as the super villain who could deceive, kill, rape and maim with an ease with which an ordinary mortal goes about his daily chores. After the runaway success of Upkar and blockbusters like Kati Patang, Woh Kaun Thi, Teesri Manzil, Poorab Aur Paschim, Jheel Ke Us Paar, Dream Girl, Des Pardes etc., Prem Chopra was on the peak of his career, shining in every aspect of the role of a villain. With the inimitable tinge of humour, Chopra added a new dimension to his devlish roles. A veteran of 400 films, the celebrated author of the famous line of Bobby, "Prem naam hei mera, Prem Chopra", he has been decorated with many awards.

With the sad demise of Amrish Puri this year, Ajit and Amjad Khan earlier, and self retirement from villainy by Pran and Prem Chopra, the typical villain is almost extinct from the Indian cinema, though not the villainy. Their place has been taken by the leading actors taking to negative roles for a change- John Ibrahim (Dhoom) and Hritik Roshan (Dhoom 2), Abhishek Bachchan (Yuva) and the legendary Amitabh Bachchan (RGV's Shole) for example. How far their fans will go to accept them as villains remains to be seen. As of now, the traditional villains and the vamps in Indian cinema are nearing extinction, with heroes and heroins assimilating such roles into their own characters. However, the memory of the veteran villains and the vamps will remain for ever in the history of Indian cinema.