Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Inhi LogoN ne le leena Posted by Hello

O Haseena zulfoN waali Posted by Hello

Sajid Khan & Rupa Jha Posted by Hello

Badi as Zahoor & Pervaiz Alam as Pandit Posted by Hello

A personal note from Kabeer

Rajesh Joshi as Kabeer Posted by Hello

Dear friends - yesterday evening, when I was getting ready for the daily grind, suddenly I felt a deep sense of loss: A loss of orientation, direction and companionship ! A kind of ennui, a vacuum had set in.

Where do I search for Zahoor bhai now? Zafar, Anis, Shakeel, Sajjad, Pundit, Dudu -- where have they all melted away in this big bad world? Where did Rajesh disappear after signing the divorce papers? What happened to Kavita? What became of the other Kavita, whom Kabeer had left somewhere far behind in time and space? And what about Kabeer himself? Who is he and where is he?

Pervaiz Alam, you are the culprit. You played the role of Brahma (the Creator) and Shiva (the Destroyer)!! The whole process of entering into your imaginary world was not only challenging but also painful, especially for someone like me who is not as gifted an actor as Badi bhai and others. Watching your creation evaporate into thin air has been even more painful.

For me the whole journey to Zahoor Ka Hotal and back has been more than a catharsis ! But that is just one part of the story. The other side of the moon turned out to be even brighter and brilliant. I found friends like Seema Anand, who struggled hard to teach me how to hug, who showed genuine concern at my anarchic ways; Sajid and Shahid, who became the apple of every girl's eye; Badi the Bady, who showered undeserved praises on me; Agha saheb (whose wrist watch is still with me); Mahtab Chaudhary, whose work reaffirmed my belief that nothing is impossible; Asif Hanif, whose presence was all too pervasive; Nibedita, whose commitment to art and theatre impressed everybody; Monish babu, whose quiet demeanour was something to learn from; Bhawani, who camouflaged my besura raag !!

Rakay, his little sister, Unzela, and their mother Arsala added happiness to the atmosphere. I don't want to sound too formal but I saw Rupa, Anwaar, Santosh, Suniti and Achala in their new avatars.

Thanks a lot Pervaiz bhai for introducing me to such a wonderful set of people. Working with you all has been a great experience and I don't have words to express my gratitude.

Rajesh Joshi - London 19 April 2005

A picture of the show at Watermans 17 April Posted by Hello

Monday, April 04, 2005

Love, Sex, Religion, Music & Dance Posted by Hello
STOP PRESS: Watermans in its press release says: With live singing and music, this is an entertaining look at what was like to be a testosterone –fuelled teenager growing up in 1960s & 70s India.

Desi Canvas says: It's irreverent, provocative and hugely funny. The play contains strong language.

The Asian Age, London, 5 April 2005: "At Zahoor ka Hotal, UK Asians close gap - A group of Indians and Pakistanis based in London have decided to take time off their jobs to work on a project that combines reality and fiction to break the Hindu-Muslim divide."

Pakistan's daily- The Jang, India's- The Hindustan Times & The Times of India, and BBC carry reports and comments on Zahoor ka Hotal as the 'only 4 shows' in London come closer. Hurry up! Book your tickets NOW. Please leave your comments below.

Desi Canvas & Watermans presentation Posted by Hello

Asif Hanif as Changezi Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Embedded Characters! Posted by Hello

DIRECTOR - Pervaiz Alam

CAST - Badi Uzzaman, Rajesh Joshi, Anwarul Hasan, Salman Asif, Nivedita Sen Gupta, Agha Zakriya, Mohd. Sajid, Aasif Hanif & Seema Anand

Special appearence: Bhawani Shankar, Santosh Sinha, Rupa Jha, Shoumita Ghosh, Rakey & Unzula

Special Binaca broadcast for Zahoor ka Hotal by Ameen Sayani

MUSIC - Bhawani Shankar, Shahid Masroor, Santosh Sinha, (Late) Habib Painter Qawwal and others

FILMOGRAPHY - Sucharita Ghosh & Andy Stephenson

Watermans Team - Penn Travella, Salema, Suman Bhuchar and Daniela Paulucci

Coordinator - Amita Shankar
Consultant - Sudha Maheshwari
Publicity consultant - Asra Fareed

Actors of Indian and Pakistani origin in Britain come together to stage a play that touches upon a number of pertinent issues, dividing the Asian community in the UK. To be staged at Watermans Arts Centre, Brentford, Middlesex, Thursday 14th – Sunday 17th April 2005 at7.45 pm, ZAHOOR KA HOTAL is the third major production of Desi Canvas, since the organisation was launched seven years ago. A multi-layered play, Zahoor ka Hotal is both hugely funny and painfully sad with some of the most exhilarating hits from the 1960 & 70s such as O' merey sona re, O' Haseena zulfon wali, Inhi logoN ne and Boley re papeehara.

The story is about a British Muslim of Indian origin, Kabeer, who is in love with Kavita, a British Hindu. However, she’s also married to Rajesh who happens to be a Hindu fundamentalist!

This is the beginning of an intriguing story in Zahoor ka Hotal, a play set in central London which takes us to Aligarh, just 150 km away from India's capital, Delhi.

How? The answer lies some where at Zahoor's doorstep in the communally divided city of Aligarh.

Failed writers, out-of-work artists, pimps, eunuchs, activists and students converged at Zahoor's for hours of heated discussions on sex, politics, religion and music in the 1970s. But what Kabeer remembers best, now living in dark and dreary London, is listening to Binaca Geetmala on Zahoor's grand old radio. The show, hosted by the legendary broadcaster Ameen Sayani, opened the door to many debates, arguments and ideas that shaped Kabeer's way of looking at the world.

Even when Aligarh was engulfed by a raging conflict between Hindus and Muslims, Zahoor ka Hotal was an island, where the differences of everyday life could be put aside. Nostalgia can be idyllic but life has its own way of complicating matters.

Badi Uzzaman as Zahoor Posted by Hello

Rajesh Joshi as Kabeer Posted by Hello

Seema Anand as London's Kavita Posted by Hello

Nivedita Sen Gupta as Aligarh's Kavita Posted by Hello


Monday, March 14, 2005


Saturday, March 12, 2005


Thursday, March 10, 2005


Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Badi Uzzaman plays the character of Zahoor, a very complex character according to the director of the play, Pervaiz Alam, who directed Badi for the first time in Achala Sharma's Rishta, an adaptation of Chekhov's, The Proposal. His latest stage role was in West end's Guantanamo (2004), a highly acclaimed play by Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo, taken from spoken evidence Weaving together personal stories, legal opinion and political debate, Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom looks at the questions surrounding the detentions in Guantanamo Bay, and asks how much damage is being done to Western democratic values during the 'war-on-terror'.

Television & Films: Tandoori Nights (Channel 4): As Rashid- the waiter, who opens his own restaurant to topple Saeed Jaffrey's game plan. Following No Problem!, Tandoori Nights was only the second Asian sitcom to appear on British TV in the UK.

1985 Prime Suspect 5 with Helen Mirren, All or Nothing (2002) - Passenger, Babymother (2000) - Shopkeeper, My Son the Fanatic (1999) - Man in Mosque, Brothers in Trouble (1997) - Old Man, K2 (1992) - Ibrahim, Personal Services (1987) - Mr. Pater, Cry Freedom (1987) - Mortician's Assistant, Sammy And Rosie Get Laid (1987) - Ghost, My Beautiful Laundrette (1986) - Dealer, The Singing Detective (1986) - Ali, Planespotting ( ITV2005- lead actor's father), The Baby Juice Express (2004), You're Dead (1998 -main villain with John Hurt), Bhaji on the Beach (1994), Son of the Pink Panther (1993), Immaculate Conception (1992) & Buddha of Suburbia etc.


Binaca Geetmala – India’s first countdown show Binaca Geetmala by Ameen Sayani began as a half-hour medley of hit songs in October 1952. It was a "re-arrangement popularity poll" with a 100 Rupee weekly price. The very first programme drew 9000 letters! When the weekly mail reached the 65,000 mark, it was decided to scrap the competition and turn it into a one hour hit parade from 1954. In 60s & 70s, the programme became a cult figure in both India and Pakistan. Zahoor, Kabeer and millions of Indians would gather on Wednesdays to tune into this weekly programme of popular music. Binaca Geetmala remained the most popular programme on radio in India for more than 25 years. In 1983, the name BINACA was changed to CIBACA, and the programme continued till around 1989 on Radio Ceylon (SLBC), before which it had also begun on All India Radio’s Vividh Bharati network and continued on it. Ameen Sayani celebrated Cibaca Geet Mala's 41st birthday on TV in 1993, with a 31 episode series on India’s television, DD Metros, featuring a retrospect of earlier annual hit parades. India’s Oscars in advertising, ABBY, awarded their highest award - the "GOLDEN ABBY" - to CIBACA, formerly BINACA GEETMALA, for being adjudged the best radio campaign of the century. But things went awry then, because COLGATE bought over Cibaca Tooth paste around 1994-95. Sayani was called by Colgate to do another radio show for Colgate toothpaste. So "CGM" went into the "freezer" for about six years. Around 2001, Colgate suddenly realised that the "GEETMALA" association -even without the prog- was working wonders with Cibaca sales - and the programme was revived on All India Radio’s Vividh Bharati channel as "Colgate Cibaca Geetmala". Ran successfully for more than 2 years, but was discontinued. Ameen Sayani, 72, lives in Bombay, the commercial capital of India, with his son Rajil and daughter-in-law, Krishna. His wife Rama died a couple of years ago.

Bhawani Shankar adds: In the later years of Geetmala, Ameen Sayani had to do the equally famous "Cadbury's Bourvita Quiz Contest". His brother whose name I think was Hameed Sayani himself had cult following among school- and college students -- inlcuding yours truly! -- who listened to his sunday lunchtime broadcast on the "Delhi-A" station of AIR. It was de rigueur for schools to vigorously support students in their passion to represent their schools on this quiz show. When Hameed died, Ameen-saab took on the Quiz Show and while we missed Hameed's sobriety and masterly conduct, Ameen-saab's penchant for fun lent a new colour to the programme from then on. Sadly, this quiz contest, too, slowly drifted away as television began to gain ground in the late '80s.

DEDICATED TO SHEHNAZ APA: Pervaiz Alam dedicates his new play, Zahoor ka Hotal, to Shahnaz Hashmi & Moin Ehsan Jazbi, two amazing teachers at the AMU Aligarh, who have died recently. "Shahnaz Apa was simply brilliant with those who were even remotely interested in theatre and arts. Incredibly refined and an amazing human being, Shanaz Apa aka Beebi, was an eternal romantic with a great style but without any luck," says Pervaiz. "Jazbi Sahib was among the greatest Urdu poets that Aligarh has produced. Even at the age of 80, he looked so vulnerable when I went to interview him at his residence in the late 90s. To my disbelief, he started crying in the middle of the interview the moment I asked him about his childhood. His step-mother used to torture him, he said!" Pervaiz adds.


Har manzil thi dil ki manzil, jab dil ko gham-e-manzil na raha,
har koocha koocha-e-jaanaN thha, jab koocha-e-jaanaN bhool gaye.

Here's another gem:

Jab Kashti saabit-o-saalim thi, saahil ki tamanna kis ko thi,
ab aisi shikasta kashti par saahil ki tamanna kaun karey!