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Rest in Peace Uncle/Dada/Aloke Dasgupta

Posted by Navin Harish - 1 Comment

Six and a half years ago I moved next door to a 76 years old man, an old man who lived by himself as ne never got married. I didn’t realize what a glamorous neighborhood it was till I found out who that old man was. His name was Aloke Dasgupta and he was a retired cinematographer who started his career with the hit Kishore Kumar movie “Chalti ka naam Gadi”. Actually it would be wrong to call him retired since he was still working on occasional Gujrati and Bhojpuri movie.  He just retired from the mainstream Hindi cinema with Vijaypath “You see, all the people making movies now are young people and they want to work with young people as they relate to them better.

He shot the song “Roop tera mastana” in a single shot and the beauty of it is that I never realized it till he told me and chances are you would not have noticed it either.

Mr Aloke Dasgupta with his Dada Saheb Phalke award

Mr Aloke Dasgupta with his Dada Saheb Phalke award

He once told me how he got his first movie. He was struggling for a while and had gone back to Calcutta and his parents wanted him to take up a job his brother had lined up. Just then Kishore Kumar wrote to him and asked him to come to Bombay and reluctantly or willingly people agreed that he should give it this one last shot.

Back in Bombay, Kishore Kumar asked him to shoot the song “Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si” and showed it to the producer for his approval while uncle himself decided not to be present there. Kishore Kumar came to his home in the evening “Dada mithai khilaiye”.

That stared a career that lasted about five decades. He kept getting work, he became the favorite of Shakti Samant and shot a lot of movies with him including Aradhana in which he did something that was never attempted before in India if not the world. He shot the song “Roop tera mastana” in a single shot and the beauty of it is that I never realized it till he told me and chances are you would not have noticed it either. Go check it if you like. He shot movies with all big heroes including six with Amitabh Bachchan and worked on more mainstream movies than any other cinematographer.

When I told him that we are moving to Delhi he was shocked “You are going to orphan me”. As the days of our departure neared, he kept telling us “After you leave, I won’t live here either” and he was true to his words.

The secret of his success is what everyone else tells you. Work hard, he slept in his car very often, don’t chase money – he never quoted a price and allowed the producers to set it. Most important, he kept it simple “Current photographers get so many lights which they don’t even need and they just copy what they see in Hollywood like putting the lights above the head which gives harsh shadows below the nose and on the forehead. They don’t even know how to frame a shot” However in spite of all his knowledge, he always encouraged me when I showed him my shots.

Trophies of uncle, mostly for Shakti Samant movies

A collection like this would make anyone proud, and this is not all, it is only a small part of it.

We became good friends, he used to keep his door open at all times except when he was sleeping and we used to stop to have a word with him whenever we stepped in our out of our home. On days when I was late, he would stay up and would close his door only after I have come from home.

Uncle with Manu, they got along very well

Manu and Uncle got along very well. He used to go to his house at every chance he got.

Manu was born after we moved to Bombay and he also grew quite fond of uncle. The moment our door was opened, he would run to uncle’s house. His favorite activity used to be scribbling on the newspaper while I chatted with uncle. They were always close. While we lived next door to him, Manu used to visit him many times a day and when we moved a floor below, the frequency was reduced and he started calling him “the uncle who gives me chocolates”

Uncle and Manu

He used to like the jackfruit Mira used to prepare “It looks and tastes just like mutton”.  The upma and the noodles he used to make were to die for and he would give it to us every time he had to return our dishes, it took a fair amount of convincing by Mira that it is okay to return empty dishes.

He always dreaded the thought of us moving away. He told me when we were thinking of moving to Wadala that if we go, he will also move elsewhere. When I told him that we are moving to Delhi he was shocked “You are going to orphan me”. As the days of our departure neared, he kept telling us “After you leave, I won’t live here either” and he was true to his words. A few days before our departure he was diagnosed with cancer and 4 days before we moved to Delhi, he went to a doctor with his niece and never came back. He was admitted to the hospital and from there he went to Pia’s house. I was lucky to meet him in the hospital a day before we came to Delhi and on 14th of this month I got a call from Pia that he has died with an unfulfilled wish to meet Mira and Manu.

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What really matters…

Posted by Navin Harish - No Comments

At R K SWAMY, I set up the team, I helped in defining the services, I ran the operations, I helped in pitching for new business, I oversaw the creative and operations of all the projects executed till I quit. We executed some brilliant projects and won 2 awards.

However none of this is among the best memories I have of the 30 months I spent there. The best memories I will have are still being created.  A GTalk status by Vinayak Worlikar “Missing Navin and Nick” is one. Another is a poem left as a comment on Picturejockey, reproduced below

so close in our heart yet so far away
we think about u everyday

we’r sitting here all alone
wishing you wud send us some funny link

Everything was perfect
nothing could go wrong
now we’r stuck somewhere
we feel we don’t belong

we love you so much
our very best mentor
we were supposed to be together
until the very end

Memories of yesterday
linger in our mind
of all the things
you left behind

I wish i could turn back time
to when i was free
so full of life
just we all together again

Id freeze that moment
and hold it tight
everything would be perfect
and feel so right

Days turn into weeks
weeks turn into months
I’m forever missing u
wishing u were here

You’ll always be missed
but Your forever in my heart
i will never 4get
the day we had to part

So until the day
we can meet again
goodbye for now
my best-est friend

OLD R K SWAMY INTERACTIVE
P,V,R,Mp,D

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After the IDMA Gold, it’s an ABBY Bronze

Posted by Navin Harish - No Comments

A few weeks ago I posted the news about my team winning the gold at the IDMA 2010 Awards. This time we have won a Abby Bronze.

Last time I was there to celebrate the moment with them but this time around I wasn’t as they won the award after I left R K SWAMY. People who have been to Goafest tell me I have missed nothing but as someone who has never been there, I wish I was there.

Here are a few pictures of team with the trophy which for some reason came to them later. The network here won’t allow me to upload any images. Will share them with you later.

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