If only Indian theatres had shown double bills back in the day, what could have been better than two thrillers like these on the screen together!

KUON PARDESI (or KAUN PARDESI) was released in 1947, however I suspect that DEVIL OR SAITAN  either had a title change or went unreleased as I cannot find any record of the film anywhere.  No doubt it was (or would have been) fine motion picture entertainment!

If anyone out there has info about the production, please let me know!

Village boy travels to big city to study medicine but turns movie star. Sounds just like a filmy plot, doesn’t it? But this is no silver screen story; it is the true tale of Aman Dhaliwal, one of Punjabi cinema’s most promising young heroes!

Aman Dhaliwal, one of Punjabi cinema’s most promising young stars!

After appearing in a handful of Hindi and Telugu features, Aman made his Pollywood debut with VIRSA in 2010, a youth oriented story which proved popular and was even a featured selection at the Dallas Film Festival in Dallas, Texas in 2011.

Aman’s work in VIRSA was well received and soon more Punjabi film work followed with starring roles in the hit IK KUDI PUNJAB DI and the hilarious AJJ DE RANJHE, both of which featured excellent exposure for the versatile actor who has shown that he is not just hero material, but takes on comedy and negative roles as well.

Aman’s latest Punjabi picture, JATT BOYS – PUTT JATTAN DE will have him in another lead role and it would appear that his star is now shining bright!! No question about it, we will be seeing a lot more of Aman Dhaliwal in the future…so, let’s find out more about this actor. Aman was nice enough to take time out from promotional appearances for  JATT BOYS  to answer a few questions about his career and how he ended up in the entertainment business.

Mike Barnum : Working on the film VIRSA took you to Australia for filming. How was the experience?

Aman’s first Punjabi film, VIRSA: REDISCOVER YOUR ROOTS

Aman Dhaliwal: Punjabis in Australia are very supportive. At that time, Gurdas Maan had a stage performance there and he introduced me in his show as an actor of [the film] JODHAA  AKBAR. So, Gurdas Maan saab promoted me during the shooting of VIRSA, which was very nice. Through this, many families invited me for dinners and functions while shooting in Sydney. Media was also very supportive.

Aman Dhaliwal is introduced to the audience by singer Gurdas Mann while filming in Australia for the film VIRSA.

MB: Was this your first time visiting Australia?

AD: Yes. I visited Australia only this once, for the shooting of VIRSA. Maybe very soon I will be shooting another movie in Australia, if the project is finalized.

MB: Your co-star in VIRSA was Arya Babbar, whose father Raj Babbar made several hit Punjabi films in the 1980s and 90s.

Arya Babbar and Aman Dhaliwal in a scene from VIRSA

AD: I am definitely a fan of Raj Babbar, as my favorite movie is his film SHAHEED UDDHAM SINGH (2000), so of course I enjoyed working with Arya.

MB: Your latest Punjabi film AJJ DE RANJHE is a wonderful comedy, and it is the film that really made me take notice of you. It is also a very socially aware film, covering everything from drug and alcohol abuse to police corruption, and how honest police officers try to overcome a negative stigma.

Ajj De Ranjhe gave Aman his first hero role in a Punjabi film.

AD: Manmohan Singh introduced me as lead in this movie and connected me up with the Punjab police department. Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhvir Singh Badal came to see the premier of our movie as it was the first Punjabi movie to also be releasing in Pakistan at the same time. After watching the movie Deputy Chief Minister Badal ordered the police to do improvements in police-public relationship by taking me around as a sort of ambassador.  So this was another first for Punjabi cinema, wherein this film gave new ideas and direction toward improving relationships between the public and the police.

MB: Not only did you do this social work with the police, your assistance in helping others has continued.

AD: AJJ DE RANJHE connected me to do social activities to help “Aam Admi” (the common man), which is why I decided to shift from Mumbai to the town of Mansa (my home town). This is where I can best help people, as here my dad is socially and politically very active. Every day we get 5-6 applications of cancer patients in our area, so dad refers them for financial support, etc. I am B.S.C Honors in Radiology and Nuclear Medicine and an MBA in Hospital Management and my goal is to very soon make a free hospital for diagnosis of cancer.

Aman and fellow Panjab actor Gavie Chahal attend an event at National College Bandra celebrating the memory of famed Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh.

MB: AJJ DE RANJHE had several comedians in the cast, including the wonderful Ghurpreet Guggi and Rana Ranbir –plus, you also had veteran actors like Deep Dhillon in the film.

AD: It was fun while working with Ghurpreet-ji & Rana Ranbir. We had a lot of fun, even during the time I was suffering with high fever while shooting! Deep-ji has a stong voice and is very positive by nature. He has a strong body, and he scared us when he was hitting our old gypsy character as part of the stunts in the movie. Those were real stunts! He and his wife encouraged me a lot.

MB: Was AJJ DE RANJHE well received?

AD: We think it found success, because our film has participated in improving the police system. After the film released I got calls from the Inspector General, the Deputy Inspector General, and Senior Superintendents of Police and they showed our movie to police employees. The film was highly appreciated in Pakistan (which is a first), Canada, and Australia, as well. So yes, film was a hit.

Aman and Gurline Chopra in a sweet scene from AJJ DE RANJHE

MB: You have another Punjabi film, JATT BOYS – PUTT JATTAN DE which just had a successful release. What can you tell me about your role in the film?

AD: In this one I play a boy named Waris Brar who is from a village and is studying in a city college. The story is how he maintains his values when he goes back to his village. Sippy Gill has a negative shade as a character who doesn’t allow anyone to comment on the heroine, but the heroine falls in love with Waris (me).

My vote for BEST Aman Dhaliwal photo!

MB: Also in the cast are two of my favorite performers, Om Puri and Rahul Dev. Did you get to work with them in the film?

AD: Yes. I saw another shade of Om-ji, he is very humble, totally attached to Punjabi culture. He has learned many things about Punjabi culture which even no one knows in villages of Punjab these days. He is very religious. He used to keep a copy of “Ik Onkar Satnaam” with him. He is fond of gurbani [compositions of the Sikh gurus], so I gave him many audio shabads [hyms] and Sikh history books. He used to drink lassi all the time and would share with me. We were also sharing the same vanity. He is very funny and a great actor. Gugu Gill plays my father in the movie and Rahul Dev is chacha, so that was my best family! We had a very good chemistry and I wish to work with them again. I found Rahul Dev also very humble. He is very deep and has a keen interest in reading books. He loves his son and asked to borrow a few Sikh history books for his son’s knowledge. So we were really like a family while shooting.

MB: Do you ever get nervous acting in front of such veteran performers?

AD: No, I never get nervous because I don’t perform the scene, I just feel myself in that situation and automatically the performance happens. So, I don’t perform, someone else does inside me; why should I be nervous then. I have seen all phases of struggle in my life so I need not to copy any actor.

MB: In IK KUDI PUNJAB DI the main lead is played by singer Amrinder Gill and you are in a secondary lead role. It has become very common in the new wave of Punjabi cinema to use singers in the lead roles.

AD: After a long time a new era of Punjabi cinema again started with Manmohan Singh’s movie JEE AYA NU (2002). At that time no actor wanted to waste himself in Punjabi cinema due to the film industry’s downfall. Because of the lack of willing actors, Man-ji had to launch Harbhajan Mann, who was a popular singer. Luckily people liked the story line and direction of JEE AYA NU and the film worked well. Even though people didn’t like Harbhajan’s acting, they had no other option, and Punjabis outside the country wanted their children to know their culture; hence the film became a big hit in Canada. The film was a success not because of Harbhajan Mann, but because of the strong message which attached the youth to Punjabi culture. Harbhajan Mann became lucky for Man-ji, so that’s why he made several more films with him. Audiences slowly became use to Harbhajan, and at the time there was no competition, as Manmohan Singh was the only active film maker in Punjab.

MB: And the success of Harbhajan Mann’s films cemented this new trend of (almost) exclusively using Punjabi pop singers in the lead roles.

AD: Many singers started thinking that if audiences can accept Harbhajan Maan [as an actor] then why not him. Now, singers think it’s better to do a film than a music album because for a movie they can charge a fee, and also a movie has a long life, if it works. Also, on behalf of their popular songs they can get shows with high prices.

Aman Dhaliwal rocks the sardar look!

MB: Of course signing a hit singer in a lead role doesn’t always guarantee a hit film.

AD: Correct. Sharry Mann was a very big hit singer whose debut movie was super flop; but still producers and directors couldn’t understand that storyline content is what is most important for a film, rather than any singer. Till producers and directors will not take actors for their leads in Punjabi films, the industry can’t be at its peak as most singers have limitations in acting. But an actor is versatile. Again, a downfall will start if producers and directors ignore actors…eh gall directors te producers nu samajh leini chahidi hai…this is a difference in Hindi and Punjabi films. See how we got Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, because directors were strong and they were confident about their story and direction. These days directors are weak and that is why they are dependent upon singers; they think a singer will attract the audience, not the film’s story.

MB: Many other Punjabi actors have expressed a frustration with the lack of film opportunities this has presented.

AD: Singers have set-up their lobby system, they don’t let actors be part of the industry, and you will notice that my film AJJ DE RANJHE is nowhere on TV screens. Even my name was also not nominated for that film in the actor’s category for PTC Film Awards. When I was a second lead in IK KUDI PUNJAB DI, that time my name was nominated, but why not this time? I was main lead in a Punjabi film, which they can’t tolerate. I ask of Manmohan Singh and  PTC Awards — why was I ignored for any award, as well as in interviews and in reality shows. I asked Rabinder Narayan CEO and he said I was out because of lobby system in the industry. So, I openly challenge to those that if God listens then no one can stop anyone. Every success is in God’s hand…if God wants me to succeed then no one can stop.

Rana Ranbir, Aman Dhaliwal, Ghurpreet Guggi, and Amrinder Gill

MB: Going back in history a bit, before you entered the acting arena you worked as a model. You had set out as a medical student, so how did this change happen?

AD: How I got into modeling, that’s long story. I wanted to be doctor, so for preparation I went to Delhi. I had not enough money to stay in a hostel or as a paying guest so I used to stay in Gurdwara Rakab Ganj hall. Even a few times, due to security reasons, police warned me not to sleep in Gurdwara hall. Slowly I started doing a marketing field job but they didn’t pay anything so I used to eat in ‘langhar’ [where community meals are served at gurdwaras) and used to do my studying in the gurdwara. One day I went to a saloon for a beard trimming. A group of models were getting their makeup done there for a mega ramp show to launch some hair products. I had long hair as I never cut it, being a sardar. Employees thought that I was one of the models and began coloring my hair. I was very tired because of the heat outside and had fallen asleep, so I didn’t realize. Then a lady came who was a choreographer and she wanted to know who I was. I said I had just come for beard trimming and fell asleep on the chair, and when I woke-up they were coloring my hair. Then something clicked in her mind and she asked would I be a main show stopper for the mega ramp show. I told her that I never saw any ramp show and didn’t know about modeling. I was just a villager guy. She said “No worry. We will train you for that.” What had happened was that their main show stopper, who was an Italian guy with long, long hair had missed his flight from Frankfurt, but my look, after coloring, resembled that of the Italian model. That’s why the employees were confused, also. Because of my Italian looks I got a chance to do that ramp show as show stopper, and that’s how I got my first experience.

Before acting, Aman worked as a model

MB: That set you on a new track!

AD: Except that after this show I ran away because after seeing myself in the newspaper I got scared as my parents would never tolerate me in that profession. I would have to hide all this, so I decided to stay away from modeling in the future. But God has its own way. Again I started self studying in the gurdwara, and got a room there sharing with an employee. For one month I totally concentrated on preparing for medical admission. Finally I was selected and got a free seat, but staying in a hostel was still too expensive. At the gurdwara that employee refused to keep me in his room any longer, so now I had no place to stay. Then I met up with Vishal Nischal, who was assistant photographer on the ramp show. He said that the show was a hit and everyone wanted to take me into their company. I told him I was sorry, but that my parents would never allow it. He said he could arrange a room for me but he said, “I have to click your pix.” I said “Ok, you can click my pix.” He took me to his home. His family had come from Pakistan after partition and the government had allotted a home for them, but he had a huge family without much income source, and his dad and mom were not well. I told him that if I am staying with him then I can do anything possible for his family. So after college classes I used to work with him as a model. I never demanded any money. We started living like family members. And that’s how my career in modeling started.

MB: And then you made your way to Mumbai.

AD: My college professor, Mr. Nirmal Vilson, was a big fan because I was featured in music videos. He said he’ll not give me the internship certificate till I don’t work with [producer/director] Ashustosh Gowarika, and that’s how I came to Mumbai. Till that time I was not serious about acting or modeling as my main focus was to setup a cancer hospital. When I came to Mumbai I met Karan Malhotra (director of AGNEEPATH) who was at that time assistant to Ashutosh Gowarikar on JODHAA AKBAR. Cast was finalized, but for one character, who was supposed to be done by a celebrity. Karan showed my pic to Ashu-ji and he immediately called me and said my face is carbon copy of real Rajkumar Ratan Singh, the character that they had yet to cast.

Aman as Rajkumar Ratan Singh in the big budget Hindi historical JODHAA AKBAR

He showed me the historical picture and I was also shocked to see that he was 100% resembling me. That is how I got my chance. I came back to my college to receive internship certificate from Professor Vilson and was shocked to know that he had passed away a few days before, as he had suffered from blood cancer. At that point I decided to take my career seriously and went back and started shooting. However, Ashu-ji didn’t allow me to work in any film till JODHAA AKBAR was released. That was a long time, more than 2 years. So then I joined a production house as an employee where I made a few contacts.

As a model, Aman was featured in many music videos, including this one by singer Romey Gill

MB: JODHAA AKBAR was a big film, but alas, it didn’t quite become the career starter for you that it should have been.

AD: When JODHAA AKBAR released, most of my scenes had been deleted. Ashustosh said that because of controversy surrounding Rajputs in Rajasthan he had to cut the negative side of Rajkumar Ratan Singh. That was 6 to 7 big scenes that were deleted.

MB: But this was not the end of your Hindi film work, was it?

AD: Next movie was also a Hindi film. COFFEE HOUSE which was based on politics, so again it was in a controversy. I worked on two more Hindi movies with big production houses which got stuck. Then I made my mind to either move back to Punjab or to settle in USA on job basis. On the last day before I was to go back to Punjab I met up with a gentleman named Pankaj and he offered me a role in the Punjabi movie VIRSA, which of course was my entrance into Punjabi cinema. And so now, here I am with my 4th Punjabi movie now releasing.

MB: And this 4th Punjabi release — JATT BOYS–has had a very successful opening, so congratulations for that, Aman, as it looks to be a big hit!

To learn more about Aman Dhaliwal check out his website at: http://www.amandhaliwal.in/

You can also find him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/amandhaliwalactor

And here is a sneak peek at Aman’s upcoming feature film which will be both in Punjabi and English!!

Of all the types of stunt pictures, the militant ones are my favorite! LOL! And it was what ‘Free India’ needed, after all!

 

Happy Independence, Hindustan!!

 

Mohan Pictures rivaled Wadia Bros in the production of stunt films during the 1940s. Sadly, their films are nowhere to be found…so far.

 

 

 

 

Well, as I sweep aside the cobwebs covering Pedro (the Ape Bomb) blog, I figured it was about I  start updating the place. I have been so busy with Bollywood related book projects that I have completely neglected this here website…but stay tuned because soon I will have several wonderful interviews forthcoming of artists currently working in Hindi and Punjabi cinema. You won’t want to miss it!

In the meantime, here is an story that The Indian Express newspaper did on western Bollywood bloggers in which I was one of the featured interviewees (as was my friend Greta of the popular Memsaabstory blog and some other very nice Bollybloggers.) Please enjoy: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/desi-films-foreign-fans/955770/

For those who caught my recent interview with actor Anil Mange, and especially those who remember his highly regarded work in HELLO DARLING and LOVE EXPRESS, you will be pleased to know that he has a very important role in the upcoming feature film MYOHO, which will be releasing at theatres on December 14.

Not only does Anil have a major role in this highly anticipated film which has different stories based on the law of karma, but he also has a song from the film picturized on himself! Now, how awesome is that?!

Curious and excited about this, and always eager to know the behind the scenes workings, I checked in with Anil recently and asked about his experience filming for the song, titled Allah Jaane Maula Jaane. Anil was also kind enough to share some shots from the filming, which I have included below.

>Anil Mange:

Allah Jaane Maula Jaane is a sufi song shot inside the water, and there were some problems while shooting this song. We were shooting it in the month of February and weather was almost turning into summer, yet there was a snow fall in the upper regions of India which created a climate change  where we were filming. So, on the day of the shoot it was down to 6 degrees! The song was supposed to be shot during the night and for this sequence I was to wear just a dhoti and a bandana.

 

Before the shoot, production people called a local diver to check the deepness of the water. I was standing on stairs [down in the cold water] for the whole song and there were hardly five stairs, and that too full of slippery mud. Just after 5 stairs the water became 15 feet deep. I was scared because I can barely swim, but thank God I took lessons last year. I was, like, a little calm, but still worried. However, there were people from production ready to dive in if in case I fell. Thank God nothing happen and I think this song had such a power that no protection was needed! The sequence is shot in one long take, and we shot multiple takes, and after every take people used to run and take me out of the water and for next 30 minutes I couldn’t feel my body, it was so cold.

 

My thanks to Krishan Hooda, Tikshika, Sonal and many more people on set. Full credit goes to the director who had full fate without a choreographer and to music director Runa Rizvi for such a wonderful composition. And of course Master Salim who has sung so many super hit songs and sang for Allah Jaane Maula Jaane. I think am really lucky to be a part of this song, and I hope people will love the song and the film… and rest, as the song says, Allah jaane maula jaane uski baatein wo hi jaane [the almighty knows everything]  :)

Now, that is true suffering for your art! Good going Anil!

Although Allah Jaane Maula Jaane’s song picturization has yet to show up on-line, you can currently get a look at the promotional teaser for MYOHO and hear another of the film’s beautiful songs, Satthiya.

Coincidentally, the music launch for MYOHO occurs today (Oct. 24th) in Vijayadashmi  at R City Mall. Anil and other members of the cast will be there, so if you are in the area check it out (and don’t forget to report back here!). From what I have heard so far, the soundtrack is going to be a complete winner! I will certainly be ordering my CD right soon!

MYOHO is written and directed by newcomer Ranjan Shandilya and stars, along with Anil Mange, Raj Singh Chowdary, Parul Chauhan, Malay Chakraborty, Yashpal Sharma (who was so great in LAGAAN) and Kanwaljeet Singh (an actor you will recognize from every Punjabi film ever made! LOL!).

Remember, the premier date is December 14th, so don’t miss it! And just as soon as Allah Jaane Maula Jaane song video is made available, you can be sure I will post it right here on Pedro (The Ape Bomb) blog!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

UPDATED, yaar!

The MYOHO music launch was a grand success, I am told, and here are a few snaps shots from the event which featured the cast and musical crew from the film including live performances by Master Saleem (one of my favorites!), A. Sivamani, Shahid Mallya, Runa Rizvi, and Neha Rizvi…all I can say is wow! That was some awesome entertainment going on there!

On the right Anil Mange holds up one supersized version of the MYOHO CD cover, while musician Sivamani (with scarf on his head), singer and music director Runa Rizvi, and actress Parul Chauhan hold up a duplicate one.

L to R: Famous drummer Sivamani, singer Runa Rizvi, and actor Anil Mange perform live on stage one of the songs from MYOHO. Gosh, how I wish I could have been there to witness this!

Runa Rizvi, Parul Chauhan, and Anil Mange groove to Sivamani on drums.

Singer Shahid Mallya thrills the audience with his voice!

Debut director Ranjan Shandilya (center) is all smiles at the Myoho music launch! I hope to see that smile continue as Myoho becomes a hit film!

If and when I ever get to visit India, I am so going to a music launch! Imagine all that talent, and for free!

If you are interested in downloading the Myoho sountrack, you may do so here or purchase the cd here. I am told it will soon be available at Amazon.com, so keep a look out and enjoy!

Romance…that steals your heart away!

Tune-Hits…to make you dream all day!

Laughter… and dancing to make you gay!

Thats...IRADA!

Kudos to whoever came up with this ad campaign! I can almost hear Dean Martin singing it!

Not only am I very fortunate to work in an office where my co-workers are some of the best people around, but they kindly tolerate my peculiar tastes in films, music, and, well, most everything. I am also very fortunate to have a great work space. My cubicle is unusually roomy and is placed up against two full walls which gives me ample opportunity to celebrate my Bollywood love (and it hasn’t escaped my notice that my work space is as far away from the other employees as possible. Whether this has anything to do with my constant playing of filmi music and Arabic pop songs at my desk, I can’t say.)

So, let me give you a little tour of the area I work in, shall I?

Welcome!

To the right of where I sit hangs a Bollywood calendar so that I can keep track of the days.

Each year I search out a calendar devoted to Hindi films. My 2012 calendar is made up of colorful portrait photos of yesteryear actresses like Nirupa Roy and Shyama, although several of the actresses in this calendar are, unfortunately, not identified. This calendar was a nice change from my previous calendars filled with images of Bollywood posters. Too bad this styhle calendar is not available for 2013.

To the left of my desk is a prized, original 20 x 30 poster from the 1946 Fearless Nadia/John Cawas stunt film FLYING PRINCE. I actually have two copies of this poster. This one was somewhat damaged so I decided I might as well stick it in a frame and put it on display for all to see.

I have an overflowing collection of old Hindi film posters sitting at home, boxed up, but these three were among my favorites and so I had to put them on display. They make me smile and I sure enjoy looking at them as I work away at my desk doing the things that devoted government workers do (no cracks, now!).

As my work area can be viewed by the public, on the rare occasions that anyone trots up to our second floor office, I tried hard to find posters that was suitable for work…no sexiness, no overt violence, said my boss…the two things film posters seem usually to be full of… but this cute 20 x 30 poster from the Shammi Kapoor film DIL TERA DEEWANA (1962) fit the bill perfectly. With Mala Sinha’s face prominently displayed and Shammi holding a big red “dil,” it is absolutely “office friendly.” Plus you have the added fun of Mehmood and Shubha Khote, the film’s comedy relief pair,  also pictured on it.

This 20 x 30 SHEESH MAHAL (1950) is a melodramatic winner. I love the “face cut-outs” of the stars and having Pran featured in the bottom corner with his famous smirk.

Lastly is the piece de resistance, a 30 x 40 of one of my all time favorite films, Homi Wadia’s colorful action film REPORTER RAJU!

This was one of the first Bollywood posters I ever purchased. I had found a company on the internet selling vintage Hindi film posters for what seemed, at the time, to be a fairly reasonable price (now I realize they were quite overpriced!). They had this poster listed as being in mint condition, so I snapped it up.

Evidently “mint” means different things to different people. To most of the movie poster collecting world a mint condition poster would be one that was never used and has no damage what-so-ever. Now, I am not that particular about condition, just as long as my posters can display well. But, this REPORTER RAJU posters was full of rips, tears, holes, and was torn in two and with the top third of the poster barely attached to the middle third. Whatever. I did contact the company (which was located in the US mid-west) and asked them why they advertised it as mint. The person replying did argue and insisted that “mint” was the correct description for this poster, despite the great amount of damage. Hmmm. Lesson learned.

I wish I could remember the name of the company so that you could all beware of them. Since then I have found it best to deal with sellers in India. The prices are usually very reasonable and I have never had any problem with conditions being that awful. Of course, these Indian sellers also don’t claim to be selling “mint” posters…although I have lucked out and found that some are indeed “near mint.”

A year later I was able to obtain a very good condition copy of this same poster, as well as the 20 x  30 version, which is slightly different. All three at a much more lower price and from a dealer in India. Still, I had this mess of a poster on my hands that I couldn’t bear to throw out, so I taped it together as best I could and stuck it in this frame. You can hardly tell it is in several pieces. At least from several paces back.

Well, thanks for joining me on this little tour. Perhaps it will give you some ideas for your own cubicle or office! Don’t forget to also place a few issues of Filmfare or Stardust magazine in the waiting area and try to talk your boss into switching the elevator muzak to Kishore Kumar / Lata Mangeshkar duets. It will surely add to the ambiance of any office.

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!

I have long had a love of lamps, the mid-century modern, futuristic looking lamps, that is. The kind that most of us grew up with or our grandparents still had when we were little.  Coveted by collectors and interior designers alike, they have a look that never goes out of style, with classic lines, popular 1950s/60s colors, and some of the most creative lampshades imaginable.

While we take a breather from Bollywood, let us have a look-see at some fabulous examples of mid-century atomic design lamps, starting with my own, of which I have several stationed around my fourth floor 1950s era apartment.

This pink, rocketship shaped number is my prized possession (lamp-wise).

I found this lamp in the mid-90s at the semi-annual antique show held here in Salem. The seller actually had a pair, but at the time I could only afford to buy the one. Up to this point most of my mid-century items had come from haunting the Goodwill and other area thrift shops, but I just could not  pass up this beauty and dug into my savings to the tune of around $30.00…a lot of money for someone who, back then, was working a low wage retail job.

The lamp shade is not original to this lamp. Rather I have traded shades from another of my lamps, as this one was a tad brighter and fitted the room’s other decor better. I have no idea the make of this guy, but I do often wonder who now is enjoying its twin.

This floor lamp I picked up two years ago when I moved to my current apartment. It was on sale at a downtown antique shop and the pink color went so well with the above lamp, that I knew it would be perfect for the opposite side of my living room.

The lampshade on this floor lamp is the original to the pink table lamp. I think it looks quite nice on this one.

This fantastic chartreuse ship was a find at Goodwill just a few years back.

It was on the shelf for just $12.99 and I snatched it up and plunked it into my cart the minute I saw it. I kept wondering why it was so cheap, and when I got home I discovered that one of the parts that sticks up, at either the bow or the stern, had broken off and been glued back on. However, it is barely noticeable (I certainly did not notice when I was in the store) and doesn’t bother me a bit, especially since I paid so little for it!

Here is one of my earliest finds, this Oriental or Asian inspired TV lamp.

This design was obviously very popular as there are millions of similar TV lamps everywhere you look! I don’t think you could go through an antique mall without spotting at least a dozen of these in various colors and decoration. They are certainly cute! Purchased at some thrift store (I think) back in the early 90s, I no longer use this lamp as it needs to be rewired. But it still looks attractive sitting in its cozy little corner of the kitsch kabinet.

For you creative types or those who like to mix modern with vintage, this lamp is a both.

The base is new, purchased from Target, while the shade is vintage and was found at an estate sale. I’d had the shade for several years before I found a suitable base. I think the sleekness of the lamp contrasts nicely with the swirly-ness of the shade. I keep this one in my office/guest bedroom.

Now, in my bedroom I keep not one, not two, but three lamps. Not that I like to keep it that bright or anything, it is just that I have no place else to put them all.

This nifty green number is one of a pair (the other one sits on my desk at work) that I found at the Salvation Army Thrift Shop around 3 or 4 years back. Again, a great find that I just lucked onto.

Back in the 80s and 90s, finding these in thrift stores wasn’t all that uncommon, but getting into the 2000s they get snapped up quickly, when they can be found. I think these two lamps were around $7 each…quite a good buy!

This tripod style floor lamp is another that I have had for years and while it was in my living room in my previous house, and before that my apartment, it is now in my bedroom in my current place.

If I recall correctly it was at an estate sale that I came across it. I don’t recall if this shade was with it, or if I bought it later, separately. I had to stop using it recently, as the wiring at the plug has started to crack and fray. One of these days I will take it in for rewiring.

Because the floor lamp by my bed is not in working order, I have this cute little guy on my dresser in the event want to read the latest copy of Filmfare magazine while lounging in bed.

This lamp is a bit plainer than my others, but I am just fascinated by the glass globe part. I don’t know why, but I love that. The globe does not light up, which would have been awesome, but it does give the piece a nice space age look.

Lastly, we have this newer lamp, which I purchased at Ross’ Dress for Less. It has a nice retro look and sits upon my fridge…..

…and I use it often because I am way too lazy to walk all the way to the dining room to flip the switch that turns on the ceiling light that the kitchen and dining area share.

Ok, now let’s take a look at lamps that I do not own, but wish I did!!!

Just look at these two beauts…sigh…just fantastic! You almost expect a flying saucer to whiz right by!

Here is a nice, but odd pair. The lampshades are to die f or, but I am not so sure about the lamp bases….hmmmm.

You can’t go wrong with turquoise. I would be more than happy to give this lamp a home!

Talk about your space age design, this little desk lamp looks as if it is about ready to blast off!

Similar to the two up above, this zig zag lamp is of the type I would love to get my hands on some day!

A nice little desk lamp that would brighten any student’s dorm room!

I actually put a bid on this next lamp on Ebay. Was outbid very quickly, however.

Simple and attractive with its bolt of lightening design, which I kinda like.

A fiberglass lampshade will improve the look of any lamp base, as you can see here.

A stunning design…

…which looks even more awesome lit up!

One more look, close-up (because it is really just that wonderful!)

And because I just can’t get enough of turquoise…

Love this lampshade!

Iif black is more your color, how about this pair?

This seems to be a fairly common design, but nice. Maybe not as bold looking as I like.

And speaking of bold, here is ‘my most wanted’!

Another black number. Very nice shade.

Oooh!

Aaaahhhhh!

The little swatches of green on this shade are a nice touch. But I would most certainly be finding me a different base for it to sit on.

What can I say, I like this style!

Some day, when my time comes and they tell me to “go towards the light, Michael.” This is what I’d better be seeing!

Imagine the fun of searching for a lamp base to match up with this shade!

This would look awesome in my boudoir.

The green version is not too bad, either!

This one is perfect for a room done up in Danish Modern.

Unique. Not sure if I like it or not, but the red shades sure make it interesting.

Ah, a very, very nice little bedroom lamp. Dig the crazy shape of that shade!

If I actually had room on my office desk, among all the clutter and piles of stuff, this desk lamp would certainly look nice on it!

If coveting something is wrong….well, I am in a load of trouble ’cause I really want this one!

Pink versions of the lightening bold design. I am pretty sure I have seen this in several different colors, in fact. Hmmm….wonder if there are green ones?

This floor lamp leaves me speechless. I want it!!

Oh, wow……

A nice, simple tripod design.

This one certainly is majestic.

It took a lot of guts and luck to come up with this winner!

This desk sized lamp is sort like a little pagoda.

This one is just so unusual, you just have to love it!

More zig zag, anyone?

No need to even bother looking  up at the starry sky when you have this lamp. Here you have the stars, the sky, and a satellite or two.

This little number is sort of cute. I like the little antenna like things on the base, and the design on the shade is cool.

Ah, now here is a real good looker. Don’t you love the round shade on the base!

I am pretty sure this one is straight from The Jetsons!

Somewhat different  from the rest, but still interesting. The Egyptian lady twirls around, from what I understand.

The base is nothing to write home about, but that lampshade would do any lamp proud!

What an awesome pair!

Now this is a file holder I could use at work!

Another wonderful floor lamp.

More of the best.

And one last example of modern design.

I hope you enjoyed looking at these lamps. I will post more as I find them!

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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