Life, they say, is not measured by years but by experience. It is the passion for certain things in life that keeps it going. The same is reflected by 72-year-old Jagtar Singh, a resident of SAS Nagar, who loves to maintain a scrapbook dedicated to Hindi cinema.
The alphabetically arranged scrapbook profiles films year wise, 1940 onwards. Talking about his hobby, Singh, who retired from the Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS) in 1998, says, “When I think about an idea, I live for it. Ever since childhood, I had an inherent interest in films and music, because it somehow soothes my mind and soul. So, I started collecting material such as old film posters, cutouts of news pieces from national dailies and started compiling this information 12 years ago. In fact, I was so crazy about films that all the four walls of my rooms were chock-a-block with posters of actresses such as Vyjayanthimala, Madhubala and Asha Parekh.”
The scrapbook traces the journey of Hindi films right from the silent era and films such as Aurat, Nartikee and Yamla Jatt, which released in 1940 to films such as Mirza Sahiban and Dard in 1947, Hum Dono, Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi in 1961 and Amar Prem and Bombay Talkies in 1971, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in 1998 to Paan Singh Tomar and Heroine in 2012.
Major political developments which interest Singh also find a place in his diary, like a picture of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh when he was sworn in as the PM back on May 22, 2004, a picture of a pensive looking PM at a function to mark the 150 years of the Mumbai high court and Anna Hazare’s nationwide agitation.
But, it was a particular experience during Singh’s college days that prompted him to collect cinema and its paraphernalia. “I remember that after the release of BR Chopra’s film Dhool Ka Phool, the girls in my class stopped talking to the boys, which proved the strong impact that cinema had on the society. That’s when I thought I should compile information based on cinema in a diary which can be read by my grandchildren someday,” says Singh. Ask Singh about his favourite actors and he quips, “Dev Anand, Madhubala, Shahid Kapur and Kareena Kapoor.”
The scrapbook also traces the history of musical instruments such as the tabla, dholak, trumpet, tuba and the saxophone, besides the works of music directors Naushad, Anil Biswas, Salil Chaudhary and Shankar Jaikishan, and lyricists Ghalib, Gulzar, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Geeta Dutt.