Read a nice collection of filmi biographies by a Marathi journalist. These include interesting people like Salim Khan, Basu Chatterjee, Shamshad Begum, B.R. Ishaara, Rajendranath, and Nanda.

Salim Khan is from Indore. He narrates his early attempts to become an actor, and how he got into script-writing, into a partnership with Javed and delivered blockbusters like Deewar, Sholay, and Don. His breakup with Javed and lack of support from Amitabh and others cost him about 4 years in which he had no work. His love marriage with a Hindu girl is also a part of his life story, and his second marriage to Helen, in his own words. His hands-off approach towards his sons stands out.

Basu Chatterjee always made films that were believable, and extremely funny at times. Shaukeen, a story of three old men trying to reinvent a love-life was hilarious, for instance. Rajnigandha, Chitchor and Chhoti si Baat were all path-breaking comedies/simple stories. Amol Palekar became a household name, playing the boy-next-door in all three. Most were made on a shoe-string budget, proving that good films can be low-cost.

He started with a good story, and then wrote a screenplay around it. His skills at it attracted Dharmendra, Hema, Jeetendra and others to work with him, not always suuccessfully. He also made a Pygmalion/My Fair Lady remake with Dev Anand and Tina Munim called Man Pasand. His Khatta Meetha, and Baton Baton Mein were also very well-made. In TV serials, he made two that stood out. Rajni, about everyday problems faced by a housewife (gave Priya Tendulkar instant fame) , and Byomkesh Bakshi, a dhoti-clad detective played by Rajat Kapur. Hrishikesh Mukherjee was his contemprary who made similar films.

To be continued...


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