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JLF 2016: Tales from old Bollywood

Fans of old Bollywood were treated to such anecdotes by film critic Rauf Ahmed and journalist Jai Arjun Singh who were in conversation with author Anuja Chauhan at a session entitled Jaane Kahaan Gaye Woh Din: New Books on Old Bollywood at the Jaipur Literature Festival in Jaipur on Sunday.

Jaipur Literature Festival 2016 Updated: Jan 24, 2016 20:35 IST
Simar Bhasin
Author Anuja Chauhan (left), with Jai Arjun Singh (centre), and Rauf Ahmed during the session Jaane Kahaan Gaye Who Din: New Books on Old Bollywood at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2016 in Jaipur on Sunday.
Author Anuja Chauhan (left), with Jai Arjun Singh (centre), and Rauf Ahmed during the session Jaane Kahaan Gaye Who Din: New Books on Old Bollywood at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2016 in Jaipur on Sunday. (Sanjeev Verma/ HT Photo)

Did you know the talent hunt that adjudged Rajesh Khanna the winner, also proclaimed Vinod Mehra the second runner up and that Subhash Ghai came in third? Much to their delight, fans of old Bollywood were treated to such anecdotes by film critic Rauf Ahmed and journalist Jai Arjun Singh who were in conversation with author Anuja Chauhan at a session entitled Jaane Kahaan Gaye Woh Din: New Books on Old Bollywood at the Jaipur Literature Festival in Jaipur on Sunday. Much of the discussion centred on actor Shammi Kapoor and legendary director Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Of Kapoor, Rauf Ahmed said: “He changed the way heroes are looked at in the country.”

Singh also shared a hilarious snippet about Sharmila Tagore, who experienced a moment of self doubt about her appearance during a shoot. Apparently, Hrishikesh Mukherjee reprimanded her saying, “Don’t mind your makeup; make up your mind”.

Read: JLF 2016: Nostalgia is not a place to live, says Gulzar

That quick-wittedness was translated onto the screen in films like Golmaal and it is this quality that continues to delight film goers about Mukerjee’s work, which did not fit entirely into the categories of “popular or art cinema”. While they made audiences laugh, popular movies like Golmaal and Chupke Chupke, even in their lighter moments, portrayed the “class divide in society” according to Singh.

Read: JLF 2016: TV shows are superb, but can’t match novels, feels Atwood

The discussion also touched on some of the problems that hobble the film industry especially when it comes to the preservation of its visual heritage. “We have a very poor tradition of preservation and archiving,” Jai Arjun Singh said.

From stories about Kapoor’s crazy unchoreographed ‘jumps’ and Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘master moshai’ avatar with stars to a look at serious issues to do with preservation, the session had it all.

For more JLF 2016 stories click here.