Writer's Blog

Transient Thoughts

Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Old School

Thanks to an excellent channel called DD Bharati, which, in my opinion, is about 10x better than the DD National Channel,I have been regularly catching epsiodes from Shyam Benegal's 'Bharat Ek Khoj'. The serial has several things going for it: excellent direction from Benegal, Nehru's erudite, liberal and generous view of history, and great actors who went on to become celebrated character actors of Bollywood.

In today's episode alone, which was based on Raja Rao's Kanthapura (coincidentally my mom is reading the book now), I came across, I might even say bumped into, Irfan Khan as a wiry and evilish police constable, Shabana Azmi as a progressive village lady, Om Puri as the village Gowda, Pallavi Joshi, Shyam Benegal himself as a conservative Pandit, Ila Arun, and wonder of wonders, Piyush Mishra, the man who plays the TV channel owner, Majeed, in Tere Bin Laden - it took me quite a while to place him.

Om Puri is a regular, now playing Raja Raja Chola, now Babur, now Mohammed of Ghazni. Kulbhushan Kharbanda appears as Akbar in one episode, Sadashiv Amrapurkar plays Mahatma Phule in another. Irfan Khan appears often too. The other role of his I remember is as one of the associates of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

The routes the character actors of Indian cinema seem to be quite different from the ones taken by the 'stars' of Bollywood. Theatre, drama school, doing solid work in alternative cinema or in quality serials like Bharat Ek Khoj, the acting equivalent of making your bones...vs. a 'launch', in an often family sponsored, big budget big banner...

21 Comments:

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Blogger ARPI said...

It made me nostalgic.really.. :)

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Sat Dec 10, 05:53:00 PM GMT+5:30  
Blogger anant said...

Arpi,

The serial has run its course on DD Bharti, or I would have re-recommended it to you :-)

Sat Dec 17, 11:34:00 AM GMT+5:30  
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Blogger Kanti Kumar said...

That was an excellent serial, indeed. I had watched it when it ran first time on DD, and it was so educational and inspirational... Anant, you write very well; I enjoyed reading your blog. Why not share it with a wider audience of similar interests? I invite you to join The South Reports (http://tsr.net.co), a blogging platform for, by and about south Indians, where your writings can have a larger audience and more interaction. You can post there and link back to your own blogs so TSR readers can discover your blogs too. Only 1 year old, TSR already has more than 1300 bloggers, many of them known names in south India.

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Anonymous bpllywood news said...

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