NYC Premiere of The Golden Pen: Watch 24-minute NY TV news show

A lot has happened since the Toronto premiere of The Golden Pen… it was premiered in New York City under the auspices of the Foreign Policy Association at Scandinavia House.

The even drew a near packed house with a lot of media. For me the highlight was being on stage with my brother, Sarwar Kashmeri and answering questions, some of them from Americans and South Asians who knew Aghajani Kashmeri, our father, personally.

Then there were reporters such as Renee Lobo, who put together a brilliant 24-minute special on her TV show called The Renee Lobo report that airs in several parts of the United States. You can watch it below.

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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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OMNI-TV 4-Minute News Clip

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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.

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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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Bollywood icon Shammi Kapoor passes away

Shammi Kapoor in a scene from The Golden PenThe crew of The Golden Pen offer their condolences to Shammi Kapoor’s wife Neela Devi, our gracious host when we filmed him; and to his children Aditya Raj and Kanchan Desai.

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It is hard to believe that the most flamboyant star of Bollywood, an actor who lived life to the fullest, driving the fanciest cars and drinking the finest Scotch whiskies, has passed away, just nine months after being interviewed by me for The Golden Pen, a documentary on the life of my father, Aghajani Kashmeri, being produced in Canada with funding from OMNI-TV.

How can I or anyone else from my generation forget the most famous song, better known as the Yahoo song, in his best known hit, Junglee, written by my father. More on that later in this post. Watch just the song and you’ll understand why he was also called the Elvis Presley of India. Continue reading

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Production Journal: Mumbai

 

If shooting “THE GOLDEN PEN — Following the Footsteps of a Bollywood Scriptwriter” in the city of Lucknow was like a romp through fantasyland, filming in Mumbai was like stepping back in time, despite the vibrancy of a metropolis that I and everyone I know still call Bombay.

 

As we walked up Cumballa Hill Road, the street where Babba, my father, moved to after he wrote hit after hit, and rented a flat in a building called Keki Court, it did not seem like anything had changed.

The tiny cigarette shop at the foot of the Lane was still there and I could have sworn that the bidiwala had aged chronologically backwards. But no, it was his son Suresh.

The only difference: with globalism and liberalization of trade, Lucky Strike and Marlborough could now be purchased at more reasonable prices. Talk of marketing death with panache. Continue reading

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