Thursday, July 31, 2014

1960 Bombay(Mumbai)-road to mount mary in Bandra west- from Film Bewaquoof

now this same empty place is an urban jungle of highrise buildings

Bewaqoof (1960) Poster


Cast overview, first billed only:
Kishore Kumar ...
Kishore Kumar
Mala Sinha ...
I.S. Johar ...
Pran ...
Bipin Gupta ...
Advocate Rai Bahadur
Leela Chitnis ...
Mrs. Leela Rai Bahadur
Sabita Chatterjee ...
Meher (as Sabita Chaterjee)
Krishna Kumari ...
Ulhas ...
Captain Jung Bahadur (Mala's dad)
Mukri ...
Sherdil (Marina's dad)
Asit Sen ...
Ashit Sen (as Ashit Sen)
Neelam Mirajkar
Munshi Munakka ...
(as Munshi Munaqqa)
Hiralal ...
Prosecuting Lawyer
Vinod Mehra ...
Young Kishore Kumar (as Vinod Kumar)

                  Bewaqoof 1960 Hindi Movie

a naughty romantic duet song by kishore kumar aur asha from 1960 kishore kumar, mala sinha, pran, i s johar, bipin gupta, mukri, asit sen and vinod mehra starrer movie " bewaqoof, Lyrics by majrooh sultanpuri, music composed by s d buran and directed by i. s. johar.

Monday, July 7, 2014

watson hotel- Bombay-1870

Esplanade's glory days, and a certain Mr Watson
By Fiona Fernandez |Posted 07-Jul-2014

Today, as passersby cross the dilapidated Esplanade Mansion at Kala Ghoda, they might probably be unaware that this long-forgotten landmark once played a huge part of India’s grand cinematic and cultural history, and remains a treasure as far as its architectural high points go.

Back in 1896, on this day, Watson’s Hotel, the earlier avatar, was the venue for the first-ever (silent) film screening on the Indian subcontinent by none other than the Lumiere Brothers’ Cinematographe.

This rundown structure remains one of the earliest surviving examples of cast-iron architecture in India. The entire frame of this building was fabricated in England, and was erected on-site between 1867 and 1869.

Named after its first owner, John Watson, this whites-only hotel was a hit in its glory days with the colonists, and was the place to be seen at and stay at, well before the Taj Mahal Hotel came up at the Apollo Bunder.
Of course, the most popular myth centred on it is that the staff at Watson’s denied entry to baron Jamsetji Tata, who decided to build a bigger, better hotel where all were allowed — the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel.

watson hotel,only for white skins-1870

servers -many were Indians ,other Indians were not allowed
Curious, we decided to pore over dusty archived notes on this neglected jewel, only to discover that the man behind it — John Watson was an enterprising and wealthy British merchant, who gave Bombay its first large, luxurious hotel, though its doors were only open to the Europeans.
'Bombay - The Esplanade and Colaba in the distance. March 1870 (from the top of Watson's Hotel).

Bombay - The Esplanade and Colaba in the distance. March 1870 (from the top of Watson's Hotel).--Artist: Lester, John Frederick (1825-1915)-Date: 1871-


Flora Fountain, built in 1864, is a fusion of water, architecture and sculpture, and depicts the Roman goddess Flora. It was built at a total cost of Rs. 47,000, or 9000 pounds sterling, a princely sum in those days.

The Flora Fountain was erected at the exact place where the Church gate (named after St. Thomas Cathedral, Mumbai ) stood before its demolition along with the Mumbai Fort.The above photo of church gate of  fort Bombay -can see the gate,the moat filled with water to prevent enemies(first portuguese and pirates from malabar later Maratha army and

Portuguese soldiers in India 1700's

for nearly twenty years Bombay lived in fear and trembling. In 1750, Grose laments that the friendly, or, at worst, harmless belt of Portuguese territory that used to guard them from the Marathas was gone. They were face to face with a power, unfriendly at heart, whose officers were always pressing the government to lead them to Bombay, and let them raze its wretched fort and pillage its markets

[Grose gives interesting particulars of these terrible Marathas,
who had taken Thana and Bassein, and who held Bombay in the hollow of their hands. Most of them were land-tillers called Kurumbis, of all shades from deep black to light brown, the hill-men fairer than the coast-men. They were clean-limbed and straight, some of them muscular and large bodied, but from their vegetable diet, light, easily overborne in battle both by Moors and by Europeans. Their features were regular, even delicate. They shaved the head except the top-knot and two side curls, which, showing from the helmet, gave them an unmanly look. The rest of their dress was mean, a roll of coarse muslin round the head, a bit of cloth round the middle, and a loose mantle on the shoulders also used as bedding. The officers did not much out figure the men. To look at, no troops were so despicable. The men lived on rice and water carried in a leather bottle; the officers fared little better. Their pay was small, generally in rice, tobacco, salt, or clothes. The horses were small but hardy, clever in rough roads, and needing little fodder. The men were armed with indifferent muskets mostly matchlocks. These they used in bush firing, retreating in haste to the main body when they had let them off. Their chief trust was in their swords and targets. Their swords were of admirable temper, and they were trained swordsmen. European broadswords they held in contempt. Their targets were light and round, swelling to a point and covered with a lacquer, so smooth and hard that it would turn aside a pistol shot, even a musket shot at a little distance. They were amazingly rapid and cunning. The English would have no chance with them. They might pillage Bombay any day. [Grose's Voyage, I. 83. In spite of this Maratha thunder cloud, Bombay was advancing rapidly to wealth and importance.]

Grose, who wrote in 1750, the reasons why the English did not help the Portuguese were, ' the foul practices' of the Kandra Jesuits against the English interest in 1720, their remissness in failing to finish the Thana fort, and the danger of enraging the Marathas, whose conduct of the war against the Portuguese deeply impressed the English. Voyage, I. 48-51.]
Except five churches, four in Bassein and one in Salsette, which the Maratha general agreed to spare, every trace of Portuguese rule seemed fated to pass away.
  The Portuguese placed their interests in the hands of the English. The negotiation was entrusted to Captain Inchbird, and though the Marathas at first demanded Daman and a share in the Goa customs, as well as Chaul, Inchbird succeeded in satisfying them with Chaul alone. Articles of peace were signed on the 14th of October 1740 Bombay was little prepared to stand such an attack as had been made on Bassein. The town wall was only eleven feet high and could be easily breached by heavy ordnance; there was no ditch, and the trees and houses in front of the wall offered shelter to an attacking force
A ditch was promptly begun, the merchants opening their treasure and subscribing £3000 (Rs. 30,000) ‘ as much as could be expected in the low state of trade’; all Native troops were forced to take their turn at the work; gentlemen and civilians were provided with arms and encouraged to learn their use; half-castes or topazes were enlisted and their pay was raised; the embodying of a battalion of sepoys was discussed; and the costly and long-delayed work of clearing of its houses and trees a broad space round the town walls was begun. Though the Marathas scoffed at it, threatening to fill it with their slippers, it was the ditch that saved Bombay from attack.

History of Bombay city[1670 ONWARDS] under Maratha ...
Sep 5, 2011 - Weavers came from Chaul to Bombay, and a street was ordered to be built ...... It was open to attack from the Sidi, the English, or the Marathas.


for nearly twenty years Bombay lived in fear and trembling.


The Fort, Bombay, Harbour face wall,- 1863.--Date: 1863--Photographer: Unknown

The Fort, Bombay, Harbour face, 1863.

Watson owned a drapery store south of Churchgate Street,

 and successfully out-bidded others in securing prime land at the Esplanade. He designed and built Watson’s without any chief architect, using red stone plinth, while the bases for the columns and the plinth came directly from Penrith in Cumberland, UK. He even brought down maids, waiters and waitresses from England to ensure the memsahibs and officers didn’t get homesick.

Church Gate Street of bombay fort , --(and Times of India office).Photographer: Unknown Medium: Photographic print Date: 1860 


Church Gate Street, Bombay.

This view of Churchgate Street, now known as Vir Nariman Road, in the Fort area of Bombay was taken in the 1860s to form part of an album entitled 'Photographs of India and Overland Route'. Churchgate Street runs from Horniman Circle at the east end to what was originally named Marine Drive at the edge of the Back Bay. Churchgate Station, the old General Post Office (now the Telegraph Office) and the Cathedral Church of St Thomas, the oldest still-functioning structure in the city, are all located along its length. However, Churchgate Station and the Post Office were later additions to the street and would not have been in existence at the time of this photograph.

In fact, hard as it might be to imagine today, Watson’s served as a landmark in its time for ships entering the harbour! There’s more, too. One of the hotel’s most popular guests was Mark Twain,

 who went on to write about the crows he saw from his balcony in Following the Equator.

By the 1960s, the hotel had to close down and was partitioned into tiny cubicles that were rented out. Today, this 83,000-sq ft property, believed to be valued at Rs 450 crore, waits to be restored and redeveloped entirely, and one hopes, to its past glory, as reported by mid-day in July 2013.

To sign off, here’s a poignant observation crafted by the great Twain, while on a night stroll during that stay-in, in 1896, “…everywhere on the ground lay sleeping natures hundreds and hundreds. They lay stretched at full length and tightly wrapped in blankets heads and all. Their attitude and rigidity counterfeited death.”

The writer is Features Editor of mid-day

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7/7/1896: India's First Screening
The Watson Hotel, Bombay
In early July 1896, The Times of India ran an advertisement proclaiming the arrival of “the marvel of the century” and “wonder of the world” at the elite Watson’s Hotel in Bombay, while the nearby Madras Photographic Stores carried a more modest advertisement for ‘animated photographs’.   On the evening of the 7th, Marius Sestier, an agent for the Lumieres, held four screenings at the hotel, each of them with an admission charge of one rupee.   The audience, which largely comprised of British officials marvelled at such films as Arrivee d’un Train en Gare, The Sea Bath, A Demolition, and La Sortie des Usines Lumiere.   Sestier was also charged with shooting scenes of Indian life, but unfortunately his skills behind the camera were sadly lacking, and the films he sent back to Paris were rejected as ‘incompetent’, thus explaining the dearth of Indian films in the Lumiere catalogue of the time.
Further screenings took place for the ‘natives’ at the Novelty Theatre – the former home of the Victoria Theatre Company – in Bombay on the 14th July. [ADD]
Further Reading:

The Lumiere Brothers - "Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat" - First and see the film
Jan 7, 2013 - Uploaded by Cinema History
Contrary to myth, it was not shown at the Lumières' first public film ... in his essay, "Lumiere's Arrival of the ...


The 142-year-old building in Kala Ghoda stands out like a sore thumb in the line of magnificent heritage structures in Kala Ghoda - See more at:

142 year old building now [land sharks waiting -if politicians hand it over ]

three balconies collapsed in 2005{benign govt:neglect ?for builders sake?]

The 142-year-old building in Kala Ghoda stands out like a sore thumb in the line of magnificent heritage structures in Kala Ghoda - See more at:

The 142-year-old building in Kala Ghoda stands out like a sore thumb in the line of magnificent heritage structures in Kala Ghoda - See more at: