TUNE IN FOLKS: The Golden Pen’s TV premiere in Ontario and Western Canada on May 20 and 27

It’s finally here, the moment we have all been waiting for: The Golden Pen’s Canadian TV premiere:

  • OMNI-2 in Ontario on Sunday, May 20 at 9 p.m. in English;
  • OMNI-2 in Ontario on Sunday, May 27 at 9 p.m. in Hindi/Urdu;
  • OMNI Alberta Sunday, May 27 at 9 p.m. (played in most of Western Canada except B.C.);
  • OMNI B.C. on Sunday, May 27 at 10 p.m.

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As we mentioned earlier, The Golden Pen was selected to premiere at Toronto’s ReelWorld Film Festival on April 13 (the video above with Zuhair Kashmeri introducing the documentary was from the premiere); won a runners-up in the short documentary category at the Winter 2012 Asians on Film Festival in West Hollywood; and has its New York premiere on June 6, 2012, hosted by the prestigious Foreign Policy Association in Manhattan.

This has been an amazing journey for me, much as it was an amazing journey for my father, from his hometown of Lucknow, India (not Lucknow, Ontario) to Toronto, Canada.

Enjoy and after you watch the doc, please return here to http://thegoldenpen.ca, leave your comments or e-mail us.

 

The Golden Pen wins Honorable Mention at Asians on Film Festival in West Hollywood

Asians on Film Festival logo

The golden pen has been awarded an Honourable Mention as the runners up in the Best Short – Documentary Category at the Asians on film festival in west hollywood, california. The first place went to Merde! which was directed by Earl McDaniel III.

The announcement was made barely three days after The Golden Pen was premiered on Friday, April 13, before a packed audience at the ReelWorld Film Festival in Toronto. A full video report of the premiere and an animated Q&A will be on this site shortly.

The tremendous reception at the premiere was way beyond our expectations. We were graced with directors such as Shakun Batra, whose Bollywood movie Ek Main aur Ek Tu, was also premiered at the festival. And now we have been showered with recognition from a well-know West Coast festival that specializes in a certain genre of films.  This sort of recognition would have  been impossible but for the team involved in filming and putting together The Golden Pen.

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COMING SOON: A FULL VIDEO OF THE GOLDEN PEN’S TORONTO PREMIERE AND AN ANIMATED Q&A.

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The Golden Pen to Premiere at the 12th Annual ReelWorld Film Festival

That’s right ladies and gentleman, The Golden Pen has been accepted to the 2012 ReelWorld Film Festival, which will be happening in Toronto April 11-15th. You can catch our Canadian premiere on April 13 at the Famous Players Canada Square Cinema. The making of The Golden Pen has been an incredible journey, and after almost two years, we couldn’t be more excited to share our film with you. CLICK ME to buy tickets for the premiere, which are $10 each; $5 for seniors and students..

For the still uninitiated, The Golden Pen is about the life of Aghajani Kashmeri and unfolds through the stories told by his descendants and a historian in Lucknow.  In Mumbai, the heart of Bollywood, the film picks up with footage from his films, interviews Bollywood actors such as the late Shammi Kapoor and Joy Mukherjee, and the veteran sweetheart of early Bollywood, Nimmi. Others such as Amin Sayani of the radio show that could make or break movies, Binaca Geet Mala or hit parade, reminisce about a man who entertained six generations of Indians, and was a celebrity who lost much of his wealth on the racetrack before finally moving to Toronto late in life.

In the upcoming weeks, we are looking to use this site and our Facebook page as platforms to share more information about the film and the incredible life of Aghajani Kashmeri, so if that is something you’re interested in please join us on Facebook or check back here regularly.

Finally, we sincerely hope that you can join us April 13th in Toronto as we celebrate Aghajani Kashmeri, a man who lived to make movies, with a cinematic tribute told with the deepest admiration by those that knew him best. If you cannot make it, stay tuned for our upcoming Television premiere on Omni-TV and other screening opportunities as they are announced.

Click here to read the full press release.

A Young Aghajani Kashmeri Travels From Lucknow to Rangoon to Calcutta

We begin of course in Lucknow, Aghajani Kashmeri’s

Just before aghajani kashmeri ran away to join bollywood posing at a friend's home in wazir gunj

Just before he ran away to become a Bollywood hero (CLICK to enlarge)

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.

A rare still photo from the film zamindar starring aghajani kashmiri and Begum Akhtar

Rare still of Aghajani in Zamindar with Begum Akhtar

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

Aghajani Kashmeri’s Scrapbook Contains Gems from Bollywood’s Early History

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.

program booklet for Kali Film's Ameena 1934

More on this 1934 film in the next installment of scrapbook…

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.

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