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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.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dedicated To Bollywood Buffs!

Many of my regular readers must be wondering why I often prefer to bring up Bollywood, with whatever title, in my blogs. Well, it is because I'm a big Bollywood buff. Bollywood is as much a part of my identity as birthmark on my nose. It may not have been in my blood because my father had never watched movies in his entire life, may be with the only exception of Mughal-E-Azam, which the family forced on him as the concluding part of my brother's wedding festivities. It must have been my mother then. She was quite the opposite of my father as far as watching movies was concerned. Going to movies every Wednesday was a must for her, when it was a “Ladies Only” matinee in every theater at half the normal rates in Lahore. She enjoyed all movies, musical or mythological, slapstick comedy or tear-jerker tragedy, without exceptions. All her friends had open invitation to accompany her to watch the latest movie, where she would not only buy their tickets but also treat them to sodas and snacks, which the hawkers sold inside the hall during interval. This was perhaps the package deal her friends deserved to find time for my mother's weekly movie addiction. Her companion for the week could change generally depending on her friends' likes and dislikes of a particular genre, except for the one whom she never liked to leave behind. My mother always took me along to the 'Ladies Only' matinees till I was 12-year old; the permissible age limit of boys’ admission provided ladies accompanied them. And thus turned me into a movie buff, even if inadvertently, right from the time I was a toddler.

My brother Raghu, better known as R. R. Rishi, also played a big role in making me a movie buff. He actually took over from where my mother left, when she could no longer take me to 'Ladies Only' shows. He was the editor of ‘Film Critic’, the only English language film magazines published in Lahore then. I was still in school when I became addicted to reading all the then prominent publications related to cinema, brought home by him, including Baburao Patel's Film India, the most famous film magazine published from Mumbai(then Bombay) and B.R. Chopra's Cine Herald, besides his own Film Critic . Once in a while he would even give me a chance to write review of the latest release or films related write-up, to be published in his magazine. My compensation for the contribution used to be free gate pass for admission to four persons for the film I was to review, which he received from film distributors as a matter of routine. Truly a big treat for me and my buddies. The addiction to reading film magazines as also watching movies, which went on to become more expensive by the day, continued through my adult life and so did my hobby to write articles or blogs on Bollywood topics.

Last but not the least, I owe being a Bollywood buff to my brother-in-law Surendra, the singing star of bygone era, who helped me have the intimate feel and firsthand knowledge of happenings in Bollywood from the 40s when he married my sister Satya, till the 80s when he breathed his last. I fondly remember the film parties and shootings to which he would take me whenever I visited Mumbai. Memories of the time spent with him in Mumbai, especially meeting his personal friends from the film fraternity like Prithviraj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Motilal, Chandramohan, Talat Mehmood and many more, later became my source for the stories on these artistes in my blogs and articles.

A movie buff who grew up along Hindi cinema, I cherish great memories of the bygone era of 30s and 40s, the golden age of 50s and 60s, the period of the parallel cinema in 70s and 80s, and Bollywood's grand entry into the new millennium with worldwide popular movies. Spanning a wide range of decades, genres and style, the Bollywood film culture in all its glory is a wonderful thing. Of the hundreds of great hits it has given, some have attained an aura of unparalleled respectability because, overtime, they continue to draw viewers in multitudes for weeks, months and even years. My blogs on Bollywood are only an endeavor to express my gratitude for the great joy Bollywood gave me all my life and to pay my tributes to the tallest amongst movie makers, artistes, composers, lyricists and script writers down the decades, for contributing their extraordinary caliber to Bollywood's around 100 years of excellence in entertainment.

When Lady Gaga descended on Delhi to perform at an F1 gala recently, she tweeted a pic of herself partying with who's who of Bollywood, “Screw Hollywood,” she declared. “It’s all about Bollywood.” As I was still reacting to Lady Gaga’s Bollywood proclamation, my son showed me on TV a Heineken ad that also went viral on the internet. The logic- and gravity-defying “The Date” spot shows a couple dodging faux-dragons, performing magic tricks, and dancing with gusto—all to the beats of a frenzied 1960′s Mohammed Rafi classic, “Jaan Pehchaan Ho.” Well done, Bollywood. It’s about time you got the world dancing to your tune. It makes the multitude like me, who’ve grown up with Bollywood, singing and dancing with joy. The fact remains that with more than a billion Indians, Bollywood boasts a built-in audience far more vast than anything Hollywood could ever dream of, and hundreds of millions of others are also caught under the influence. Think of Bollywood what you will, but if you’re Indian, there’s no escaping it—whether you’re growing up in England, America or Australia. But being a true Bollywood fan has always required a certain kind of undying devotion, a willingness to celebrate the insignificant and overlook the illogical; it’s about loving the culture. To billions of people, it’s a way of life. Any religion requires a degree of blind faith; Bollywood is no different a creed. So regardless of whether the latest flick is hit or a flop, your heart will flutter with pride when you see its name light up the marquee at the most prestigious theater in London, Paris or New York alongside considerably more substantive flicks from Hollywood. To all the true Bollywood fans, overtime many of whom have turned Bollywood buffs, I owe a big 'Thank You'. It is because your feedback through thoughtful comments complimenting my blogs or your views and reviews on movies making a way to internet that I always enjoy reading, have been the most rewarding source material for all my writings on Bollywood. I feel honored and happy to declare with true sense of gratitude that all my writings and blogs on Bollywood are, along with my mother, my brother R. R. Rishi and my brother-in-law Surendra, are dedicated to Bollywood buffs.


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