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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, May 03, 2013

Heartiest Centenary Greetings, Bollywood!

Heartiest greetings on the Centenary of Indian cinema that completes 100 years today, May 3, 2013. It is no coincident that when Indian movie lovers world over are celebrating the Centenary, Big B gets the loudest cheers in the land of Hollywood, the greatest moviemakers on the globe, on the red carpet of the Great Gatesby premier in New York and greeted with thunderous applaud back home, the land of Bollywood, the biggest moviemakers in the world, when he appears as himself, Amitabh Bachchan, the mega star of the millennium, in Bombay Talkies, the film released today to commemorate completion of 100 years of Hindi cinema. It is God's will and way to reward him for his over four decades of dedicated contribution, the longest ever by a living legend, to the excellence of Hindi cinema. God bless him and God bless Bollywood, as Hindi cinema is known universally now.

Mention Bollywood, today the first thing that comes to mind is the Bolly-dance. It is this phenomenon that makes Bollywood and cinema in India so very unique. 99% of the films Bollywood turns out are musicals full of incredibly imaginative, loud, vibrant and exciting scenes of song and dance. Bollywood dance scene is a piece of art, and it is the costume designer who adds to the art it's color. As the slow and steady progress of western culture imposes itself onto the East it is nice to see that somethings are being returned. Bolly-dance is starting to subtly but undoubtedly influence Western dance, specifically Hip-Hop and Pop. It cannot be over emphasized how special Bolly-dance really is to India's, and even world's culture. A small but significant example is when America's NBC show Smash goes Bollywood. NBC's musical drama pays homage to Indian movies with an elaborate performance. It's a dream sequence, set to the original song ''A Thousand and One Nights'' written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and is ­triggered by the strained relationship between Karen (Katharine McPhee, pictured) and Dev (Raza Jaffrey). ''They have dinner in an Indian restaurant and there are Bollywood numbers playing in the videos on the wall,'' says Smash creator Theresa Rebeck.

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 we were still reacting to Lady Gaga’s Bollywood proclamation, came on TV a Heineken commercial 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.

Bollywood movies have time and again shown that they are immune to economic turmoil. Even during the worst of economic depression Bollywood blockbusters have made thousands throng to the theaters. When people are depressed due to inflation they want to watch a movie, when they are happy with elation they want to watch movies. Amid the continuing poverty and frustrating period that came in the aftermath of partition, Indians looked to Bollywood to provide the messages of their best hope. In the beginning era of Bollywood, what was then an extremely conservative society, Bollywood gently pressed back boundaries by portraying relations between the sexes as those between companions and equals. The radicals of Indian cinema sought to rebel without causing outrage. In V. Shantaram's “Duniya Na Mane” Shanta Apte was cast as Nirmala, a young girl marri­ed to a man old enough to be her father. Instead of accepting the marriage as a ‘failed accomplishment” she revolts, refusing to have conjugal relations with her hus­band and making him realize his mistake. Dev Anand's film, Guide, was a tale of love between a single man and a married woman – an extremely taboo subject that was nonetheless finessed into a popular and perennially beloved hit. The tacit Bollywood ethic helped to familiarize its audience with the possibility of Hindus, Muslims and others living in amity in a plural India. Bollywood has given Indians an inspiring image and narratives of integrity and decency, giving them an optimism that, until recently, the circumstances of the country rarely gave cause for.

As Bollywood celebrates its centenary there is no better way to congratulate it than to continue counting its countless blessings. Bollywood seems to be one of the reasons why India is so prominent on the global map. True, there are other reasons for it but none of them are as glamorous as the movies made by great Bollywood moviemakers. Bollywood has nowadays become synonymous with instant celebrityhood. Bollywood has witnessed a lot of progress from its nascent years. It has been continuously evolving for the better. Bollywood fascinates one and all; it has captivated the hearts of millions of viewers in India and abroad. Hindi cinema had humble beginnings. Raja Hrishchandra was the first silent feature film made way back in 1913. Ardeshir Irani’s Alam Ara (1931) was the first sound film. This was just the beginning of what would later become revered as Bollywood. It has seen a monstrous growth ever since. Bollywood has come a long way, seen a lot, shown a lot and it marches ahead without faltering much. Now the time has come when Bollywood industry is touching the height of sky. The great Indian Bollywood saga is more enchanting than a fairy tale, spicier than Indian food. Bollywood’s evolution with time can provide enough fodder for a million books to be written or odes to be sung.

All of us who grew up along Hindi cinema, 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. Centenary celebration is the most auspicious occasion to express our gratitude for the great joy Bollywood gave us all our life and to pay our 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. On its auspicious centenary celebrations let us wish Bollywood the best: Bless You Bollywood! Heartiest Centenary Greetings, Bollywood!