The ‘ruins’ of the Strand theater in Bombay

perhaps those familiar with the history could offer perspectives on this..

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15 Responses to “The ‘ruins’ of the Strand theater in Bombay”

  1. This is a great pic, brings to mind some passages by Bolano or a Le Clezio interview — this theater seems like a rusted, stranded space ship, a messenger from another world, continuing to transmit, but in a language no one around can understand…

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  2. “this theater seems like a rusted, stranded space ship, a messenger from another world, continuing to transmit, but in a language no one around can understand…”

    Nice.

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  3. I dont believe I ever saw a movie at the STRAND or at least nothing comes to mind quite quickly but this was the theater that was the promise of the new wave film makers of the 70s. Shyam Benegal, the upstart from the ad film world had made and released his first movie ANKUR here. Each time I travelled the bylanes of Colaba with my Dad I would pass this theater and see the hoardings scream out aloud – “BLAZE FIlms presents, ANKUR -(the seedling was in fine print)”.

    I was hazaar intrigued by the movie because it starred Anant Nag(Nagarkatti is his actual surname after village in Karnataka their family is from) who I had seen several times on the Kannada stage in Mumbai. My dad being a litterateur himself knew the Kannada art circles fairly well and we would always go backstage to congratulate Mr.Nagarkatti on his stage performances. Guys, trust me, his stage presence was quite incredible and he was handsomness personified. he was also a very gracious person, always receiving my father warmly and ruffling us kids hair fondly. His brother Shankar would always be hanging around(he was really much younger) and he was not nice looking at all. I always wondered how come the older brother was endowed with such good looks and the younger one with none!!! Of course the younger one’s talent lay in direction which unravelled several years later after the brothers moved to Bangalore.

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    • And oh incidentally, ANKUR did celebrate a silver jubilee at the Strand and people thought, new wave cineama had arrived. It was also the year of the formation of the NFDC and other govt. funded cinema assisting organisation. It may have been around this time too that Girish Karnad was the Director of FTII when Naseeruddin Shah was a student. A lot of people were outraged that such a young guy as Karnad had been made the director, who had had no background in film making per se. He had a huge background in theater and maybe a screenplay, but had no film making experience. I believe students even struck on him with naseer leading the charge, however that did not stop Karnad from recommending him to Benegal who ultimately did provide him a break in one of his movies. Karnad and Benegal were(are) great friends incidentally, both professionally and personally.

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      • Isn’t Agnivarsha also based on the Karnad play “The Fire and the Rain” (which I haven’t read)?

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      • Aarkayne, you keep churning out these nuggets.. makes for great reading.. Ankur is one of the director’s very best but he also moved away from the relative naturalism of this world very soon for the somewhat austere, then rather harsh worlds of his later films. It’s not the thematic switch I mind as much as the very arid film-making style.

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        • i am glad these are all finding an outlet. I fear they would have remained vaulted otherwise for what day and time to surface. better now than never, so thank you again!

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  4. Yes it is and the movie is a complete mess of terrible acting, hopeless direction and just a bad technician who did not quite know what he was doing (Arjun Sajnani). He had originally directed the play and apparently approached Karnad to do the screenplay which he declined. So Mr.Sajnani went ahead and did it himself and completely messed it. The power of that that story’s telling is in the traditional play format, which he simply could not capture on screen. Much like the failed attempt at film making that NAGAMANDALA was. If you ever get a chance, please catch it on the stage, especially the Vijaya Mehta version, with Bhakti Barve playing Kurudavva and Sujanya Kulkarni(she played Aamir’s sis in law in SARFAROSH) playing the woman in love with the cobra, that they used to put up at Prithvi. OUTSTANDING is the word!

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  5. Never realized Karnad himself translated his plays…that’s great to know…

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  6. I REMEMBER SEEING MACKENNA’S GOLD IN STRAND, 70MM STEREOPHONIC SOUND, SIMPLY GREAT, ESPECIALLY THE SCENE WHEN MACKENNS SHOOTS THE APACHE CHIEF IN THE BEGINNG. A GREAT PLACE TO SEE MOVIES IN LATE 60’S AND 70’S

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