Friday, June 16, 2006

It’s only a film.

Ashok Kumar was one hell of an endearing actor. Totally a non-cliché, non-method performer who claimed to have told a fellow artiste of the opposite persuasion: "Hey Charlie. It's only a film. Take it easy," he later laughingly admitted to film critic Khalid Mohamed that he had borrowed the idea from Hitch. By and by, he became the quintessential actor who never was, I daresay. He wanted to be a film technician when he left Bhagalpur for Bombay, you see. I'm certain he was fallible. I'm equally certain he would have been the first to admit it. He was terrified of his very first heroine (Devika Rani, I suspect), he confessed. The first of his last two films I saw on the idiot box a week before his exit from the divinely produced, directed and scripted movie we all feature in was Khoobsoorat, c. 1980. In it, he kept calling his soon-to-be 'bahu' (Rekha) "girl friend". The other one, called Harfan Maula (1976), was full of cinematic clichés one associates with the seventies' Bollywood comedy-thrillers. (In the filmography, 'HM' is listed as a 'family drama', though.) So what? Each one of them was "only a film", as he would have said. An Ashok Kumar Filmography of sorts can be found at

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