This has to be from the late 1930’s or early 1940’s. Others here include K.A. Abbas, Mohsin Abdullah, W.Z. Ahmed, the famous Shantaram, and the Maupassant of Urdu short stories, S.H. Manto, and a host of others. Aghajani is in the top row, second from right.
We begin of course in Lucknow, Aghajani Kashmeri’s
birthplace, the city in Northern India that raised him, the city where he imbibed Urdu poetry and literature,
rubbing shoulders with the most famous Urdu writers and poets, being taken on as the pupil (shagird, in Urdu) of Arzoo Lucknowi, the giant among poets in those days. No wonder that he decided in his late teens that his classroom would not be in front of a blackboard.
Arzoo’s most famous quatrain is about his first sexual encounter, first night, after reading a heavy tome on love. The whole experience is like a blizzard and the book is lost in translation. As the blizzard continues, the book wonders whatever happened to the logic it had imparted to its reader! Babba’s life was like a blizzard, to the end. Both his own autobiography, Sahar Hone Tak, and the documentary bear witness to this.
But given the finite nature of books and the superficiality of timing in a documentary, there is a lot of interesting but extraneous material that is left out. I am going to try and recreate some of that here, in the hope that a bell goes off in the mind of somebody out there. And a comment or many comments appear on the post like the magic of day and night, the seasons, love. Continue reading
Life they say is full of pleasant surprises. For me, one of them came when I was in the middle of translating my father’s autobiography, Sahar Hone Tak, and making notes for a documentary proposal I was going to make to OMNI-TV for a one-hour TV show on Babba.
I was rummaging through a large box containing the personal possessions of my father.
My wife Carlotta Cattani had already dived into some other boxes and discovered several rare photographs of my dad during his early bid to become a Bollywood hero in Calcutta (Kolkatta). To my pleasant surprise, I found that Adda my mother (Khursheed Kashmeri, nee Khursheed Kabiruddin Kazi) had kept a scrapbook which contained even more gems, everything from Babba’s filmography to the reviews of his movies, little pamphlets of rare films that I had no idea he had written or in which he had acted. It even included invitations to the premiere of several of his movies.
Our one-hour documentary on legendary film writer AGHAJANI KASHMERI has been officially titled THE GOLDEN PEN — Following the footsteps of a Bollywood scriptwriter — The previous working title was Bollywood or Bust.
THE GOLDEN PEN is being produced with funding from OMNI-TV under its independent producers program. It will be aired later in 2011, exclusively on OMNI-TV in Canada for one year. We have begun to market the documentary in India, England, America and other parts of the world.
The title, The Golden Pen, is taken from the last interview that Aghajani Kashmeri gave in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, in March 1991. The journalist was the veteran writer, Rafique Baghdadi. It was published in Mumbai Daily, Mid-Day, and we reproduce it below. Continue reading