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Of the many thousands of young people trying for their break into Bollywood, there are few as charming and talented as newcomer Priyam Galav. A member of the first batch to graduate from Whistling Woods International film school, Priyam has already starred in one feature film, last year’s amusing romcom LOVE EXPRESS, and has some exciting projects lined up for the future!

As the broken hearted Priyanka in Love Express, who meets her former lover Chirag (Vikas Katyal) after many years while both are travelling by train to an ill fated wedding, Priyam delighted audiences with not only her beauty, but also her dramatic range. Filmgoers are sure to be seeing more of this gal in the near future!

Want to know more about Priyam? Then just keep reading!

Scene from LOVE EXPRESS: Left to right: Priyam Galav, Sahil Mehta, Vikas Katyal.

Having just graduated with a degree in philosophy from Mithibai College, and heading out to continue her career on-screen, Priyam was kind enough to take time out to answer a few questions for Pedro(the Ape Bomb) blog.

Mike Barnum: Where were you born and where were you raised

Priyam Galav: I was born and raised in New York for the first 10 years, before moving to India. Here, I studied at Mayo College, a boarding school located in Ajmer, Rajasthan. I have lived in Mumbai ever since I passed out.

MB: Aside from acting, what are your other interests and hobbies.

PG: I love dancing…Contemporary and Indian Classical… travelling, watching movies, reading and listening to music.

Her first film Love Express gives Priyam (center) an opportunity to indulge in one of her other passions; dance.

MB: What possessed you to want to become an actress?

PG: During my childhood years in New York, Hindi films were my main connect to India. I was obsessed with watching Indian cinema. Back here [in India] I happened to attend an interview of Aamir Khan, where he was promoting and talking about his experience of working in Lagaan. Seeing Aamir’s passion, attention to detail and methodology internally changed me. As he spoke, it was an instant connect for me. That was when I knew that this is what I would love and had to do.

MB: Are your family and friends supportive of this career choice?

PG: I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive family. I would not be in Mumbai pursuing my dreams had it not been for them. My school friends too, have always supported my dream to become an actress and their positive reinforcements have always given me strength.

MB: How exciting was it to first see yourself on the big screen in Love Express?

PG: It was nerve wracking. I personally don’t enjoy seeing myself blown up on such a large screen. My excitement came with other’s getting excited seeing me on screen.

Priyam, with her leading man, the handsome Vikas Katyal, no doubt saving their seats early for the premier of their debut film LOVE EXPRESS.

MB: What did you find most surprising or challenging in making your first film?

PG: I believe that no matter how many acting classes one may ever take it does not fully prepare you mentally for your first film. There are so many emotions attached to it, excitement, anxiousness, nervousness. Love Express for me was all of that; and having to perform in spite of all that was very challenging.

MB: How was working opposite fellow newcomer Vikas Katyal?

PG: Vikas and I were from the same batch of Whistling Woods, hence we had done a lot of work together and spent a significant amount of time with each other. We were each other’s support system.

On the set of LOVE EXPRESS with costar Vikas Katyal.

MB: Who were the most fun to work with on LOVE EXPRESS?

PG: Everyone. From our director [Sunny Bhambhani] , to producer [Subhash Ghai], to the entire cast and crew. Everyone brought their own element of fun to the sets.

MB: Your role in Love Express was both dramatic and comicalWhat types of roles do you hope to play in the future.

PG: I loved Kiera Knightly’s role in Atonement. I’d kill to portray such a character. Besides that, I’m a sucker for romantic comedies and period drama.

MB: Who would be your ideal leading man?

PG: In the Indian Film Industry it would be Ranbir Kapoor. I think he is super talented. In Hollywood, I am spoilt rotten for choices. There are just too many people to choose from.

MB: Are there any yesteryear stars you are a big fan of?

PG: I’m a huge Guru Dutt fan. Besides him, I love Madhuri Dixit, Madhubala and Waheeda Rehman. In Hollywood it would have to be Audrey Hepburn and Meryl Streep.

MB: Who are your current favorites?

PG: My favourites keep changing. But presently its Ranbir Kapoor. In Hollywood its Meryl Streep all the way.

MB: Just for fun, list for me your top 10 favorite films.

PG: All in random order and subject to constant change:

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

Atonement

The GodFather films

Rang De Basanti

Rockstar

Love Actually

Casablanca

Blue Umbrella

Kaagaz Ke Phool

Finding Neverland

MB: Since making Love Express, do you find yourself being noticed on the street by people who saw the film?

PG: Sometimes strangers look at me as if they recognize me, but I don’t know whether it’s because of the film or because of some other reason ( LOL ).

MB: Do you have any projects coming up?

PG: I do, but everything is at a very nascent stage.

MB: What do you hope for in your career?

PG: I hope to be an actor who bridges Indian and International films. The world is becoming a smaller place, and with my back ground having lived in both worlds, I would want to be a part of this merger. For me a film of high budget is not a factor, but it has to be of great quality and content.

My thanks to Priyam for sharing a bit about herself. I hope you will all join me in wishing her the best in her career. She is truly a delightful new performer!

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Jaal Saaz (1969)

M. H. Films

Dir: Mohd. Hussain

Cast: Dara Singh, Bambi, Madan Puri, Shetty, Randhir, Ulhas, Paro, Agha, Samson, Sunder, Damuanna, Kamini.

As the film opens, Secret Agent 004 is being tortured to death by India’s enemies. They are attempting to learn from him, and his lovely co-secret agent…

…where the microfilm is hidden.

Despite the electrocutions, 004 won’t turn against his country, leaving the bad guys no choice but to off him.

Now, it is the girl’s turn to talk.

When asked where the micro-film is she gives some silly answers….

…but this lady secret agent is not the dim bulb she pretends to be, as she tosses an inkwell into the goons face, grabs a machine gun and shoots and karate chops her way out of danger…

..or so it seems, until one enemy agent also grabs a gun and shoots her down.

The End?

Not on your life, this just the beginning…and it all turns out to have been a crazy dream from the fertile mind of the detective-novel-loving Meena (Bambi)!

Meena’s mom is completely at her wits end with her espionage obsessed daughter.

Of course, having a flighty daughter is really the least of the widow’s worries. There is also son Bunty to be concerned with. The youngster needs a medical procedure that will cost 25,000 rupees! With only Meena’s meager office clerk salary supporting the family, it is difficult enough just making ends meet. In fact, they are already seven months delinquent on the rent, as their landlord (Sunder) is ever ready to remind Meena of.

Gosh, even the snackwala wants money from her!

At the office, Meena’s coworkers, who refer to her as ‘Lady James Bond,’ are entertained by accounts of her most recent dream.

Unfortunately, the boss man, Seth, is not a fan and when he once again finds Meena keeping his staff away from their work, he fires her.

To top this off, Bunty is sent home from school because his fees are four months in arrears.

How could things get any worse for poor Meena and her family?

A rich man named Ranbir Singh had been witness to Meena’s firing, and he offers her a job. He wants Meena to help him find his brother who has become missing in Bombay after hooking up with some fiendish businessmen from Hong Kong.

All she has to do is impersonate his brother’s daughter, Sonia, who he says she resembles, and seek out information on his whereabouts. Meena is weary of taking such a job, but when Ranbir offers to pay for Bunty’s doctor bills, plus all of her family’s household expenses, she agrees.

Randbir sends Meena to meet up with reformed underworld don, Ashok, better known as Black Shirt (Dara Singh), who now is the proprietor of The Golden Heart Club.

This of course means a lively nightclub number is in store for the viewers, which Madhumati supplies!

Meena, disguised as Sonia, arrives at the club looking just delightful dressed in Hong Kong style.

She asks club manager Abdullah (Agha) if she can meet Mr. Black Shirt…

….but Black Shirt refuses to see anyone.

So what’s a girl to do? Meena sets in motion a commotion by tripping a waiter, who spills food all over a customer, causing a fight which becomes a riot, which in turn forces Black Shirt down from his office.

As Black Shirt works to calm things down, Meena sneeks up to his office. Now able to meet the man she came to see, she convinces him to hire her as a singer at the club.

Later, Meena also explains to Ashok/Black Shirt that she has come all the way from Hong Kong to search for her (or rather, Sonia’s) father who has evidently been kidnapped. What with Black Shirt being a former don she figures that he would know all the criminals in Bombay, and she hopes that he might help her.

But now that he is on the right side of the law, Black Shirt informs that he no longer knows any of the local hoods. He is charmed, however, and is willing to assist her as best he can.

The two get the ball rolling by calling on dacoit Jaggu (Habib), informing him of who they are searching for.

Jaggu in turn reports to Madanlal (Madan Puri), a top underworld figure.

Back at the club, and after a lovely musical number by Meena and a club dancer, she meets with Mr. John who claims to know the whereabouts of the man she is looking for.

Just as he is about to spill the information a shot rings out and Mr. John breathes his last.

Later, the beautiful Rosy, Madanlal’s secretary,  telephones Meena, pretending to be Mrs. John.

The ruse results in Meena being kidnapped!

Uh, oh!

Will Black Shirt be able to find the kidnapped Meena?

Or will Meena have to come to the rescue of Black Shirt?

And will Ranbir’s missing brother ever be found?

To know this, and much more, see JAAL SAAZ!

JAAL SAAZ is bound to please any stunt film/Dara Singh fan (it most certainly pleased me!), and our favorite Punjabi is in fine form as the handsome reformed criminal, Ashok, a.k.a Black Shirt….

…but truly, this is  Bambi’s movie all the way! In fact I would not be at all surprised if this feature had been planned as a showcase for the new actress, who showed great potential in a short lived career; a darn shame given her excellent comedy skills and versatility.

So, I ask, whatever became of Bambi?

This is a question I’d love to answer, but I cannot. In fact I haven’t a clue as to why she left films or where she is now…and if anyone can fill me in, please don’t hesitate to do so.

Finding any kind of  information on this actress has been virtually impossible. However, I did find that I am not the first to appreciate her thespian skills. Writer Girija Rajendran, in the May 25, 1971 issue of Star & Style magazine had this to say about Bambi’s starring role in the 1971 drama PHIR BHI:

Both the roles of the mother and the daughter were equally important and were treated as such. With the scripter giving legitimate footage to both the characters, the heroine Bambi and Urmila Bhatt as her mother, came up each with a compelling performance.

Still, like the role of Richard Burton in “Becket”, I thought the more complex one was Bambi’s. For it was she who had to portray the intricate and highly involved feelings of an abnormal girl who, for all appearances, is normal. This is an introvert personality in the film, so much so that not even a glimmer of a smile is allowed to play freely upon the face of the heroine.

Bambi–and those who saw her maiden film, MAIKHANA, will bear me out– is well equipped to put any extraordinary character across with telling effect.

From what little I can find out, Bambi was discovered by Kidar Sharma and she made her debut in his social film MAIKHANA (1967). And because of her delicate looks and elfish charm some referred to her as the Indian Audrey Hepburn. There was also some criticism in fan magazines that she was far too thin, and needed to put on a few kilos if she intended to become a leading actress.

MAIKHANA, though critically liked, was a loser at the box office, and that surely did not help the girl’s career any. Her role in the film is described as bubbly and full of comedy, quite the opposite of her role in the more serious PHIR BHI.

Also in 1971, Bambi appeared opposite Kishore Kumar in the dramatic DOOR KA RAAHI which also featured Ashok Kumar, Tanuja, Abhi Bhattacharya, and  Amit Kumar. In this film she portrays Karuna, the love interest of Prashant (Kishore Kumar), who chooses to travel life’s road rather then commit to marriage.

According to director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, who was duly impressed by Bambi’s performances, after a handful of Hindi pictures she left Bombay to settle in Ahmedabad, thus, apparently, ending her film career.

Of course, Bambi and hero Dara Singh are not the only great thing about JAAL SAAZ.

Comedienne Agah plays a good role as Ashok’s assistant. He manages to get in a few pretty good lines…

…and Master Shetty has a meaty role as an evil smuggler out to do away with anyone who gets in the way of his devilish dealings….

And as if that weren’t enough, there is Bela Bose…

…and Bhagwan…

…both making friendly appearances.

So, if you need a fun time filler and also want to see a new face, pick up a copy of JAAL SAAZ. You won’t be sorry! And if nothing else, you can watch this musical number over and over, like I do……Hai Ram, how I just love Bambi’s bullet hair-do in this picturization (and am wondering who the dancer is…anyone know?)

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