Monday, March 15, 2010

Kaarnama (1979): a masala feast for Shashi-week!

Shashi Kapoor Yes, its that time of the year when Beth announces a Shashi-fest and the rest of us rush to celebrate! This year, I’ve gotten my hands on something rather unusual - a newly discovered Shashi Kapoor film! Thats hardly unusual, you might say. The guy never refused a film, so one is always stumbling across "new" Shashi films, all over the place. Well, this one is a masala-swashbuckler-cum-thriller-cum-everything else – nothing less than a "new" Manmohan Desai film, in fact! Yes, I can see that you are about to bring up Aa Gale Lag Ja and Suhaag and tell me that there’s nothing new about a Shashi-Manmohan Desai collaboration.

Hear me out – this film IS rather unusual. Its more than ordinarily unknown. The film was never released for some reason, and only one copy has survived. Luckily for me, I was able to trace the owner of the last surviving copy - Mr. F. Khabarwala. A collector of old films, (and a big fan of Shashi, of course!), Mr. Khabarwala was only too happy to share this filmi treasure. But that isnt the only thing I am excited about. He also has a treasure trove of contemporary news and behind-the-scenes incidents about the film, which he also graciously shared with me. 




The well known industry-mag FilmiAffair had apparently got their best reporter - Filmi-eye - to shadow the masala-King throughout the film. The result was a series of articles that included interviews on the sets, as well as Filmi-eye’s eye-witness account of the film’s progress. But Mr. Khabarwala has more – he also has Filmi-eye’s written notes from the shooting and interviews! Yes, you’ve got it – Mr. Khabarwala IS (or rather, was) Filmi-eye!!! The articles themselves, and his copious notes (not to mention, his almost photographic memory) offer a marvellous peek into what goes into the making of a filmi masala-feast, Manmohan Desai-style.

So, with the help of the ex-Filmi-eye, this week, I will reconstruct the making of this lost masala-gem, for our mutual pleasure. Starting from how Manmohan Desai (hereafter referred to as Maestro or MDbhai) came up with the idea, right down to the finished product, we will take a peek into every aspect of this film’s remarkable journey – a journey that includes enough Shashi to make this a worthwhile Shashi-week project, I assure you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I know I WILL!


Coming up next – MDbhai was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s masala-thriller North By Northwest.
Last year’s Shashi-week: on Old is Gold, Beth Loves Bollywood and elsewhere in blogland.


Edited to add:
Kaarnaama - a feat, an exploit, or an achievement
Khabarwala - Khabar=news, ergo, Khabarwala=man who brings news (not always a reporter!). And Mr. Khabarwala's first name is of course, Filmi!

16 comments:

  1. Eeee! How on earth did you did track this down? You are on an inspiration to us all.

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  2. Sounds like lots of bolly-news and behind-the-scenes incidents are in store. Looking forward to your Shashi week. Had Shashi-Special Rangoli yesterday and I was searching for some Shashi movies to watch this week, but couldn't find any :-(
    I have to pick up some movies of his.

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  3. *biting nails*
    More, more, more!

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  4. Just when I think you've reached your peak of creativity and humor (the MAAs! those glorious MAAs!) you best yourself! I cannot WAIT to learn more! :) This is truly brilliant.

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  5. I agree with Beth, this is just brilliant! I'm beginning to feel very relieved that you didn't take up crime.8-D

    I can harly wait for the aptly named Mr. Khabarwala's filmi scoops...:-)

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  6. How intriguing! I can't wait to go on this journey with you! I'm sure it will prove very interesting.

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  7. PS for us Hindi-dummies, please translate the film title and names of key players! :)

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  8. Anarchivist - where there is a will... I bet if you willed it hard enough, you could find some Rishi gems, too!

    sunheriyaadein, you couldnt find Shashi movies?! Go to Rajshri's site - they have plenty on there. You MUST watch some!

    harvey, there will be more - once I've edited my excited (and rather incoherent) out-pourings!

    Beth, thank you!! And thats an excellent suggestion re explanatory notes. I'm editing the post to add them...

    Shalini, I do download movies - guess it can be called a life of crime by Shemaroo, Eros, et al...!

    Shell, with Manmohan Desai and Shashi - it can hardly be anything less than fun... Speaking of the duo, you should watch Suhaag (Big B+Shashi in a Manmohan Desai flick!) now that you are on the masala bandwagon.

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  9. Don't you owe me a rare Shashi movie? :) Can't wait to read about this one!

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  10. I am learning so much from all the bloggers about the 70s era. But can't go wrong with Shashi at all :)

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  11. Awesome - can't wait to read more.

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  12. Oooh, I can't wait for more. This will be such a fun week.

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  13. memsaab, I always pay my debts. So now, you owe me a rare Shammi movie. ;-)

    Nicki, sadly, one can often go wrong with Shashi (check out Beth's posts this week), too! But never fear - there are enough Shashi fans in blogland to send you in the right direction.

    Daddy's Girl, dustedoff and gebruss, thank you! I am so glad you love Shashi and Manmohan Desai so much!

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  14. Is this real Bollyviewer, i'm confused

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  15. bollywooddeewana, its as real as my imagination can make it!

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