Category Archives: Om Books

101 Haiku by Dinesh Raheja

71CdrcSI0fL Title: 101 Haiku
Author: Dinesh Raheja
Publisher: Om Books
ISBN: 978-9352762781
Genre: Poetry, Haiku
Pages: 94
Source: Author
Rating: 4 Stars

I am not a fan of Haiku. I like poetry but not Haiku so much. But when I read Dinesh Raheja’s 101 Haiku (literally just 101 Haikus handpicked by the author), I fell in love with the minimalistic form of Japanese poetry. There is something soothing about this form, besides it being short. And don’t for once get fooled by its format (written in 5/7/5 syllable count), as it does so much more for the reader. A good Haiku makes you think about it long after you are done reading it. Some of the pieces did that to me. Some did not. But that’s alright because you will not like all pieces anyway.

Dinesh Raheja’s style is very easy-going. It feels that Haiku just comes to him naturally and he doesn’t have to try too hard anyway, which perhaps is the case. Also, there is this gentleness to his Haiku – it doesn’t flow with force, but just ambles along taking in the sights and sounds. Raheja’s Haiku is divided into small sections of animals, God, nature, life, etc and that helps give context to someone who is experiencing Haiku or even poetry for the first time. Some of it is also quite hilarious and relevant to our times.

For instance, Haiku about a goldfish opening a Facebook account or a pigeon on the top of the Empire State Building are funny and yet so profound that you perhaps have to reread them to get the essence. At the same time, there were some Haiku which I didn’t take to but I guess you cannot love them all. Dinesh’s style is easy-going, inspired from life and will leave you with a smile on your face as you go from one Haiku to the other .

Kaagaz Ke Phool: The Original Screenplay by Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari

Kaagaz Ke Phool by Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari Title: Kaagaz Ke Phool: The Original Screenplay
Author: Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari
Publisher: Om Books
ISBN: 9789380070995
Genre: Film Commentary, Films
Pages: 216
Source: Author
Rating: 4/5

“Kaagaz Ke Phool” is one of my favourite Hindi films. I absolutely love the movie. Everything about it and this is before I had heard how it flopped, before there were any preconceived notions formed in my head. There is something about this movie, not to forget so many memories attached to this one because of my father, who had this immense love for old Hindi movies. I have got it from him, so when my favourite movie was converted to an original screenplay, I could not wait to read it.

“Kaagaz Ke Phool: The Original Screenplay” is yet another screenplay by Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari. It is not just another screenplay though. It is magical, given how the movie is. There is the director’s downfall, played superbly by Guru Dutt, almost depicting his life. There is the heroine he loves, played by Waheeda Rehman, subtly to the hit. He is married. His career is going nowhere. He is soon forgotten by the world. That in short is the plot of the movie.

The screenplay comes alive in two languages – Hindi and English. The essay on Guru Dutt’s troubled relationship with Fame and Success is what stands apart in the entire book. It is beautifully written, honest and yet heartbreaking. The interviews are again the icing to the plot – with Waheeda Rehman, VK Murthy (the camera assistant), and Devi Dutt (Guru Dutt’s younger brother) manage to bring out the man, the director and the creative genius that was Guru Dutt. The tragedy of his life, is so reflective in the book – through the essay, the interviews and the emotion with which these two writers have penned this book.

“Kaagaz Ke Phool: The Original Screenplay” in more than one way is a dedication to the director, the actor, and the story of the movie. It is timeless, but of course, but Raheja and Kothari might as well have done the younger generation a huge favor by publishing this book and bringing this classic to life.

Here is the beautiful and ethereal song from the movie, Waqt Ne Kiya:

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Chaudhvin Ka Chand: The Original Screenplay by Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari

Chaudhvin ka Chand - The Original Screenplay Title: Chaudhvin Ka Chand: The Original Screenplay
Authors: Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari
Publisher: Om Books International
ISBN: 978-9380070988
Genre: Film, Screenplay
Pages: 254
Source: Author
Rating: 5/5

Why must one write screenplays? Why must make a book of it? I have always wondered about this. A lot of screenplays as being published as books, with additional material, such as interviews and such. Till recently, I did not see the significance of this. I remember reading the screenplay which the author, Dinesh Raheja had written earlier – that of Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam and having loved it, but still my questions remained unanswered. But I guess, I got my answers after reading Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari’s new book (again an original screenplay), “Chaudhvin Ka Chand”. I think it is mainly because of what it depicts, what it is, the dialogues, the larger context of the movie and the fan’s relation to it – from start to finish.

If I had to pick one of Guru Dutt’s finer works as an actor, I think after Pyaasa and Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam, I would pick this one. There was definitely a lot which has been underrated in the entire movie. The movie is a Muslim social drama and it is a love-triangle at that. It is a comment on male friendship (bromance in today’s parlance). It is also a tribute in so many ways to a time gone by (the book I mean), given the movie released in 1960.

The setting of the movie is Lucknow, so one can only imagine the dialogues written by Saghir Usmani would shine on screen, and they do. The story is of Aslam (Guru Dutt) and Pyare Mohan (Rehman) – friends who have fallen for the same woman, Jameela (Waheeda Rehman) unknowingly and sacrifice and guilt is the crux of the movie.

The original screenplay written by Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari must have only been painstaking given the Urdu in all those dialogues, and yet the screenplay is a delight to read. The interviews (yes there are few) only enhance the script. Raheja and Kothari capture the essence of Guru Dutt and his work. Though this movie was not directed by Dutt, you can see traces of him and that is what they speak about. The commentary and extended analysis are a treat in this book to watch out for. And of course do not forget, that once you are done reading it, you would only want to go and watch the movie and live the magic of this wonderful film and all its grace and sensitivity.

Book Review: Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam: Screenplay, Essays and Interviews by Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari

Title: Sahib, Bibi, aur Ghulam: The Original Screenplay: Compilation, Translation,Essays and Interviews
Authors: Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari
Publisher: Om Books
ISBN: 978-93-80069-86-9
Genre: Film
Pages: 202
Source: Author
Rating: 3.5/5

It is not easy to take a classic film and write about it. It is also not easy to comment on it besides working on the script and also on the translation. But that is what Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari have managed to do brilliantly of the movie, “Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam”. Published by Om Books, the book is a compilation of the original screenplay, translation, essays, and interviews.

Directed by Abrar Alvi (yes I was surprised as well, I thought that it was directed by Guru Dutt all along), the film in brief is about a woman named Chhoti Bahu (portrayed breathtakingly by Meena Kumari), who is defiantly struggling against a life of material privilege (by marrying into money) but personal. Her solitude is minimized by Bhootnath (Guru Dutt as the subtle servant and one of his best performances), her male confidante, with whom she shares all her joys and sorrows, hopes and aspirations and how she feels and waits for her husband’s (Rahman’s) love, to the point of becoming his drinking companion. I found this very striking for a film which released in 1962. The fact that a woman could be shown drinking on screen, in that aspect the movie was way ahead of its time. Amidst all this is Jaba (Waheeda Rehman in a graceful role) waiting for Bhootnath’s love. The film is set in 19th century feudal Calcutta and based on the novel, “Shaheb Bibi Golam” by Bimal Mitra.

Dinesh Raheja and Jitendra Kothari try and bring out the finer elements of the film through the essays, which define Guru Dutt’s (as a producer and director) pre-occupation with the themes of longing, unrequited love, the bygone era and the subtle emotions in relationships that need not be named all the time.

What I liked about the book was Waheeda Rehman’s interview, which delves into Guru Dutt’s personality and what it was like working for and with him.

What I did not like was the fact that there could have been more essays. I would have liked to know more about the movie, almost every nuance, as this is for sure one of my most favourite Guru Dutt film.

Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam is a classic and being directed in Black and White does not give it that tag. It is more than that. The way emotions are brought to screen and made alive by actors is all what the movie is about. Truly a classic that can be watched again and again. The book is made available with a DVD of the movie. Do watch it if you haven’t already.

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