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Hemant Kumar's voice resonated in both Hindi and Bengali cinemas, earned Hollywood call

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) You should have been named Hemant Kumar because you sing so well, the tetchy heroine of the night-long caper film ‘Solva Saal’ (1958) snaps at the interloping hero after being gratuitously serenaded by him in a Bombay suburban train while she is trying to elope with her beau. This was subtle praise for the singer of ‘Hai apna dil to awara’, Hemant Kumar.

The tribute was well deserved for the singer-composer for his prowess spanned Bengali and Hindi films and whose well-modulated baritone was the voice of superstars of both industries, especially Uttam Kumar and Dev Anand. And then, he became the first Indian invited to compose for a Hollywood film – Conrad Rook’s ‘Siddharta’ (1972), based on Herman Hesse’s novel, and also used two of his Bengali songs in it.

Born on this day (June 16) in 1920 in then Benares in a family of modest means, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay was interested in music from his early years and abandoned his engineering education for music.

A rare combination of a gifted musical composer, who wove in classical strains, and a playback singer, with a gently soothing voice, he recorded his first (Bengali) song in 1940 and the first Hindi song a couple of years later.

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But, while well-established in Bengali films in the 1940s, he could not make a simultaneous mark in Hindi films. It was only in the early 1950s that he was called to Bombay to give music for ‘Anand Math’ (1952), and came to national prominence for both his spirited compositions and renditions of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Jai Jagdish Hare, Jai Jagdish Hare’ in it.

His next two films flopped, and a disheartened Hemant Kumar, as he had become on the suggestion of veteran filmmaker Sasadhar Mukherjee, was planning to head back to Calcutta but was convinced to stay on.

‘Nagin’ (1954), with its hypnotically compelling music, especially that snake-charmer melody on a ‘been’ – actually rendered on the clavioline by Kalyanji and on the harmonium by Ravi – both his assistants before they went to become prominent music directors in their own right – cemented his place in the Hindi film industry and also fetched a Filmfare Award for music.

But while he went on to give music – and his voice – for several other landmark films, and also went on to remake gothic literary masterpieces like ‘Bees Saal Baad’ (1962), and ‘Kohraa’ (1964), and that stark drama ‘Khamoshi’ (1969), his impact in Bombay started declining in the late 1960s as his brand of music and his genteel voice did not attract the attention it once had. However, he continued to enjoy a flourishing career in Calcutta, especially for his Rabindra Sangeet renditions, apart from films.

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Hemant Kumar, who later on started to dye his hair as he contended that youngsters would not appreciate love songs from a grey-haired man, also became known for refusing a Padma Shri in the 1970s and a Padma Bhushan in the 1980s “as too late,” slowed down a bit in the 1980s due to health issues but went on. In fact, he had returned from a concert in Dhaka in September 1989 before suffering a major and fatal heart attack.

A top-notch music composer and a playback singer, like S. D. Burman, Hemant Kumar differed from the senior Burman, whose songs were more situational, more popular and enduring songs.

Take ‘Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum’, picturised on a dapper Dev Anand, in ‘Patita’ (1953), or the exuberant ‘Main gareebon ka dil hoon watan ki zabaan’, from ‘Aab-e-Hayat’ (1955), which seems another of the Arabian Nights-type escapade that were once Bollywood staples, the ethereal duet ‘Nain se nain naahii milao’ in V. Shantaram’s ‘Jhanak Jhanak Paayal Baaje’ (1955), and the peppy and playful ‘Zara nazron se kah do ji nishana chuk na jaye’ (‘Bees Saal Baad’) are proof.

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Then, his own composed and sung ‘Na tum hamen jaano’ from ‘Baat Ek Raat Ki’ (1962), where Dev Anand softly croons a piece of the ‘antara’, rather than the ‘mukhda’ over a sleeping Waheeda Rehman, before beginning the song.

And there was his penchant for the telling pause and change of tone – the nearly indiscernible break before ‘Bichhad gaya har saathi dekar/Pal do pal kaa saath/Kisko fursat hai jo thame deewaanon ka haath’.. and the slight change of tone for ‘Hamko apna saaya tak aqsar bezar mila…’ in ‘Jaane woh kaise log the..’ from Guru Dutt’s ‘Pyaasa’ (1957) and the voice shift in the transition from ‘… jaagte rahenge aur kitni raat ham…’ to ‘Muktsar si baat hai..’. from his Bollywood swan song ‘Tum pukaar lo, tumhara intezaar hai’ in ‘Khamoshi’.

It is no wonder why Lata Mangeshkar and Salil Choudhary dubbed him “Voice of God.”

(Vikas Datta can be contacted at vikas.d@ians.in)

–IANS

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DJ Abhay Deol spins the console at Kolkata gig: ‘A place ain’t lit till the people ain’t dancin’

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Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) Actor Abhay Deol, who was recently seen in the streaming series ‘Trial By Fire’, turned the tables at his recent gig in Kolkata.

The actor has found a new interest in DJing and has performed in Kolkata.

On Sunday, he took to Instagram and shared a video of himself playing music at the console under neon pink lights as the crowd grooved to the beats.

In the caption, Abhay wrote: “The place ain’t lit till the people ain’t dancin.” Kolkata, you are definitely lit. Some snippets from the night, listen with headphones on if you wanna get a glimpse of my set. #dj #music #fun #play #dance #beautifulpeople.”

Earlier, the actor invited suggestions for a DJ name, asking his followers to help him with a new moniker.

On the professional front, Abhay starred in the crime drama series ‘Trial by Fire’, written by Prashant Nair and Kevin Luperchio, and directed by Prashant Nair, Randeep Jha, and Avani Deshpande.

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The series also stars Ashish Vidyarthi, Anupam Kher, Rajshri Deshpande, Rajesh Tailang, Ratna Pathak Shah, and Shilpa Shukla in pivotal roles.

Additionally, his road trip movie ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ is set to celebrate 13 years since its release on July 15.

–IANS

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Gurmeet Choudhary feels connected with ‘Bihari family’ as he speaks Maithili

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Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) Actor Gurmeet Choudhary, who has been receiving positive responses for his recently released streaming series ‘Commander Karan Saxena’, shared a video on his Instagram on Sunday, speaking in his native Maithili language.

In the video, he spoke in Maithili and expressed his dedication to his titular role in the series.

The actor said: “A lot of people from Bihar are today in the administrative forces, they’re IAS, IPS, RAW agents, and in diverse roles.”

Gurmeet encouraged his followers from Bihar to work diligently before promoting his show and urging them to watch it on OTT platforms.

The actor captioned the video: “Today’s Mood: Speaking in my Maithili language, feeling connected with my Bihari family.”

Maithili is native to the Mithila region, which covers parts of Bihar and Jharkhand, as well as the Nepalese Koshi and Madhesh Provinces.

Gurmeet, who is also a martial artist, was born in Bhagalpur, Bihar. His television career spans two decades, during which he has starred in many prominent shows.

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Regarding his show ‘Commander Karan Saxena’, the series revolves around a RAW agent navigating political intrigue and betrayal.

Gurmeet portrays the role of Commander Karan Saxena, based on a character created by writer Amit Khan.

–IANS

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‘Kill’ director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat says he doesn’t portray violence as a part of bravado

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Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) Director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat has been garnering praise from all quarters for the portrayal of violence in his recently released movie ‘Kill’. Unlike ‘Animal’, the violence in his film is receiving appreciation for its thoughtful depiction rather than mere sensationalism.

Nikhil spoke with IANS and shared how the portrayal of violence was well thought out.

“I’m not trying to make violence for someone’s greed or selfishness,” he said.

The director shared that in his narratives, those involved in violence endure significant pain, grief, and loss.

Nikhil told IANS: “Violence, be it at the protagonist’s side or the antagonist’s side, you will end up feeling defeated.”

This perspective also resonated in his earlier film, ‘Apurva’, starring Tara Sutaria, where the female protagonist kills those who have abducted her.

The director further mentioned, “I don’t portray violence in film as a part of bravado or through the lens of glorification. Violence has consequences, which are much more ghastly than the reasons for violence. I’m not trying to glamourise violence; rather, I don’t believe in attaching swag to violence.”

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Nikhil may look at the on-screen violence through a certain lens. But, what about filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, who like to be a little indulgent while portraying violence on screen, case in point being ‘Pulp Fiction’ or ‘Kill Bill 1 and 2’, what is his opinion on filmmakers who like to take this route?

The director said: “Quentin Tarantino is a legendary filmmaker. As a viewer, you get a certain high, and you feel so energised given the experience is so immersive. It’s nearly impossible to not be influenced by his storytelling. Every filmmaker has a voice which grows with time, and that’s what make the platter of stories so delectable. What’s the fun if everyone starts making the same stuff?”

Talking about his biggest influences, Nikhil told IANS: “Not just Tarantino, I have a huge penchant for Shaolin films, Bruce Lee’s work, and Jackie Chan’s movies.”

The story of ‘Kill’ had brewed in Nikhil’s mind for nearly two decades, a testament to his enduring passion for creativity.

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Reflecting on maintaining objectivity in filmmaking, he stressed the importance of patience.

“I feel patience is something which every filmmaker needs to have. It’s a talent to have because every film has its own journey, and takes its own time to be made.”

He continued, “Even while writing the script, casting, and taking a shot, all you need is patience. Only a lot of patience and hard work will get you the reward.”

Nikhil faced personal challenges during the film’s production, suffering a slipped disc just a month before shooting began. Despite the physical pain, he remained dedicated, personally demonstrating action sequences to his team from a nearby bed.

The director told IANS: “Given it’s an action film, I had to brief the actors and the team by showing them what I wanted, and it required body movements.”

So, there was a bed next to me, every time I was done explaining to them what I wanted in a sequence, I would come back and lie down on the bed,” he added.

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–IANS

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‘Bigg Boss OTT 3’: Ranvir Shorey predicts Chandrika Dixit’s eviction from show

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Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) In the upcoming ‘Weekend Ka Vaar’ episode, actor Ranvir Shorey has predicted that the “viral vada pav girl” Chandrika Dixit will be evicted from the ‘Bigg Boss OTT 3’.

In a promo shared by the channel for the episode, host Anil Kapoor is seen discussing the impending eviction of a contestant.

The caption of the video read: “Aa gayi faisle ki ghadi, kya hoga janta ka decision? Kiska ‘Bigg Boss OTT 3’ ka safar aaj hoga khatam?”

The clip starts with Anil asking Ranvir for his prediction on who will be evicted.

“Aaj kisi ek sadsiya ko ghar se beghar hona hai. Aapko kya lagta hai Ranvir,” Anil asked.

Ranvir replied, suggesting that Chandrika’s social media influence is not as strong as that of Vishal Pandey, Lovekesh Kataria, and Shivani Kumari.

“Shivani Vishal aur Lovekesh inki social presence Chandrika se kayi zyada hai,” Ranvir said.

Anil then asked Shivani if she believed she would be saved. She expressed hope that her fans would support her and prevent her eviction.

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Ranvir posed the same question to Sai Ketan Rao, who admitted he was unsure about who would be evicted this time.

In the previous episode, Chandrika faced criticism from Anil for not having her own “muddas” (issues) to present and consistently portraying herself as a ‘victim’ in the house.

However, on Sunday, reports about her eviction were doing the rounds.

Reports also claimed that Armaan Malik and Chandrika were among the bottom two contestants in the show, which airs on JioCinema Premium.

–IANS

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Rajeev Khandelwal: 'Downfall' is a wrong term used for stars and public figures

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Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) Actor Rajeev Khandelwal makes no bones about failure being a part of life. However, he strongly opposes the frequent use of the term “downfall” when describing setbacks faced by stars and public figures.

Since his debut as an actor in the show ‘Kahiin to Hoga’, Rajeev has had his share of hits and misses with his work, which has been as different as chalk and cheese.

The actor said that in the journey of life, there will be successes and failures.

“Failures will be a part of life. Downfall is a very wrong term which is used very frequently for stars, superstars, and public figures,” Rajeev told IANS.

The 48-year-old actor stepped into the world of films in 2008 with the acclaimed movie ‘Aamir’. Subsequently, he appeared in films like ‘Shaitaan’, ‘Table No. 21’, ‘DOA: Death of Amar’, ‘Salaam Venky’, and ‘Bloody Daddy’, among others.

“Most of the actors will always come down the ladder; doesn’t go up all the time. The other side of the ladder takes you back from where you came from. That’s the journey of life. There will be failures, but there will be success in anyone and everyone’s life…” he said.

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“The moment you start accepting that some projects will work and some will not work, it becomes okay.”

Rajeev is candid about the fact that some of his projects did not work.

“Yeah, many projects of mine have worked and not worked. I am not the maker of that project, I cannot take credit nor can I take the blame for any of my projects because it is always a team effort. The team failed. As long as our intentions were good.” he said.

Rajeev stands his ground, stating that he has always judged projects with intention.

“I will always judge projects where the intentions were not to make a good project but the idea was just to make money. Then there is corruption involved, and that is where…”

“Thankfully, I have not been part of any project where I have been corrupt in my approach. I have been honest in my approach, it does not make me feel bad,” added the actor, who is currently starring in ‘Showtime’ on Disney+ Hotstar.

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–IANS

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