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Goldie…A delightful work on iconic filmmaker Vijay Anand
New Delhi, January 22, 2021
For Anitaa Padhye, getting Vijay `Goldie’ Anand to speak about himself was a task. The fimmaker, a genius by all accounts, was a reticent person and not quite prepared to open up, but Anitaa was a seasoned film journalist. She relentlessly pursued Goldie for an interview in 1992. He refused. She called again a few days later. He refused again. She was determined. “Call me after 15 days,” he told her. She did. After six attempts, Goldie agreed to meet her.
“I felt as if I was meeting a long-lost friend. Before I could begin, he almost interviewed me, asking about my career, family,” Anitaa recalled.
And then came the bombshell. Goldie wanted to know if she was the same journalist against whom his brother, Dev Anand, had filed a Rs 1-crore defamation case.
“Come on, let’s begin the interview. Ask what you wish to,” said Goldie and thus began a friendship that culminated in Anitaa penning his biography in Marathi titled Ek Hota Goldie.
The book – Goldie, The Man And His Movies (GTMAHM) – has been translated into English by Vikrant Pande and published by Manjul Publishing House. It is a journey that begins with his birth in Gusdaspur, Punjab, and Anitaa traces his life and career with meticulously gathered information. The book is laced with anecdotes collected by Anitaa from he interactions with people from his life.
Anitaa had begun her career as a film journalist in 1987 for a Hindi film weekly before venturing into electronic media. She rose to become the programming head for Zee Marathi, ETV, Mee Marathi and came up with books related to Indian cinema. Ten Classics is one of the popular works of Anitaa where she narrates the making of those films with some excellent research.
For GTMAHM, she dug into the archives, met countless people who had known Vijay Anand and produced a delightful account of one of Hindi cinema’s iconic filmmakers.
Anitaa’s forte is her style to narrate the story with anecdotes that make the book a wonderful read. She brings out the genius that Goldie was by detailing incidents from her conversations with his friends.
“I had faced a lot of difficulties while writing this book and almost gave up many times, but for Goldie’s sake I had to complete the book,” Anitaa says.
She is a fantastic story teller. With her experience, Anitaa lends a professional touch to the book that does justice to Goldie’s prowess as a “complete” film maker. As Anitaa notes, he was a student and an explorer, bringing rare quality to the scripts he adapted for movies like Kala Bazaar, Tere Ghar Ke Samne, Guide, Teesri Manzil. “He knew the pulse of cinema,” insists Anitaa.
Anitaa tells us how Goldie -- who would have been 87 today --incorporated real-life events into the script.
“For Kala Bazaar, the character of the college student was somewhat based on his own experience. Goldie read Swami Vivekananda’s books, the Upanishads, the Gita and other religious and philosophical texts. He was also influenced by books on the Buddha. He wanted to travel barefoot, from Kanyakumari to the Himalayas, like an ascetic,” she writes.
Goldie was a multi-faceted personality, a champion at understanding the nuances of music and its importance in the narrative.
Anitaa’s experience of reporting on cinema comes to the fore in her ability to reach out to Goldie’s friends and relatives. There are little known anecdotes on various filmmaking projects of Goldie. She tells us how Dev Anand fell out with Hasrat Jaipuri over the lyrics of a song for Guide and Shailendra being brought in as a replacement. She shares the tales around locations of some iconic songs shot by Vijay Anand, who believed music was the soul of his films.
Anitaa brings out Vijay Anand’s love for music, characters and the situation best when writing about the filming of the song Husn Ke Lakohon Rang from Johny Mera Naam. It was a raunchy number, shot on Premnath and Padma Khanna, and was considered one of the highlights of the movie. “So real were his expressions, that at times Goldie worried that Premnath might hug Padma Khanna out of sheer lust. Goldie had to face the Censor Board. They had objections to the song, terming it lewd and too bold for the viewers. Goldie defended the scene, saying that the villain never touches the dancer even once. After a lot of debate the Censor Board agreed to clear the song,” writes Anitaa.
There are interesting details of how, despite the huge success of Jewel Thief, the relationship between Goldie and Dev Anand soured with Vyjayanthimala to an extent that they never worked again.
“She did not even come for the film’s trial show. They didn’t meet each other once the film was released. Despite that Goldie regretted never working with her again. Goldie had very cordial and friendly relationships with all his heroines, be it Nanda, Sadhana, Tanuja, Nutan, Waheeda or Mumtaz,” writes Anitaa.
She also shares her views on the filming of the song Dil Ka Bhanwar Kare Pukaar from Tere Ghar ke Samne. “The song, filmed at a set depicting Qutb Minar, showed the mind of Goldie. Since permission was not coming to shoot the song at Qutb Minar, he created a set and also filmed it with the hero and the heroine descending the steps. Can you sing climbing the stairs was his reasoning,” Anitaa points out. The song also features Goldie for a fleeting moment as a guide.
Anitaa’s penchant for details and the fact that she spoke to several persons connected with Goldie make the book a delightful work. A must-read for film buffs and fans of Vijay Anand, an astounding maker of quality films.