Exclusive Interview! Kanhaiyalal Chaturvedi’s daughter Hemaa Singh: My father deserves the Dadasaheb Phalke award – Times of India

Who can overlook Sukkhi Lala of ‘Mother India’, Lala Dhaniram of ‘Upkar’, and Munimji from ‘Ram Aur Shyam’? Kanhaiyalal Chaturvedi has immortalised many such characters which is able to stay etched in our recollections for a very long time to return. However, the present era is but to find his brilliance and have a good time the artwork of being somebody the viewers likes to hate. To give them a glimpse of his genius, daughter Hemaa Singh is now making a documentary on his life and work, titled ‘Cradle To Grave’, which she will even take to festivals.

Hemaa, who’s one of the seven kids of the late actor, stated that no one in the household made an effort to doc his life and that this movie is totally her child as she needs individuals to learn about her father who had made an immense contribution to the movie business. Hemaa is grateful to her previous-time neighbour, Johnny Lever, who helped her get contacts in the movie business for her documentary. “Johnny Lever was of great help because he knew my family and lived in the same vicinity in Matunga. He helped me get in touch with people of the industry and had great respect for my father, and always held his ears before taking my father’s name,” relays Hemaa.

The aspiring filmmaker additionally met Dharmendra, who has labored with Kanhaiyalal. “I had the privilege of interviewing him for the documentary and he mentioned that he was one of the most respected men in the film industry. He also said that when we take his name, there is a kind of vibration that one feels,” she narrates, including that she was congratulated by the veteran actor for making a documentary to showcase her father’s contribution to the movie business. “He also added that the film industry and government of India should be supporting this documentary,” she smiles.

The documentary will even have some attention-grabbing anecdotes associated to ‘Mother India’, which featured Kanhaiyalal in a memorable position. The Mehboob Khan movie is remembered not just for Nargis and Sunil Dutt but additionally for Kanhaiyalal’s portrayal of Sukhi Lala. Hemaa not too long ago shot a couple of parts of the documentary in Mehboob studio, the place some vital parts of the movie had been shot by Mehboob Khan.

She goes on to tell that Shaukat Khan, who’s Mehboob Khan’s son, welcomed her and instructed her that she resembles her father rather a lot and that she is free to shoot on stage 1 and stage 2 of the studio the place ‘Mother India’ was shot. Shaukat additionally helped her with memorabilia of the movie together with posters and a espresso desk ebook of the movie.

Sharing an anecdote about the iconic movie, the veteran actor’s proud daughter, says, “During the premiere of the film, my father told my mother to go home during the interval, saying, ‘Ab joote padne wale (now, I’ll be bashed)’. She told him that she would watch the whole film as she knew that her husband had done a fine job and that nobody could substitute him.”

Kanhaiyalal hailed from a conservative household from Banaras. His father wished to maintain his kids away from movies however made certain they attended literary features and watched performs. It was throughout one such Kavi Sammelan (Poetry occasion) that he met Amitabh Bachchan for the first time. The megastar additionally options in the documentary. “During such events in Bombay, stalwarts like Harivanshrai Bachchan, Neeraj, Balraj Sahani, Kaka Hathrasi, were always in attendance. It was during one such event that my father entered the venue and was honoured with a place on the dais with great poets of that time. We used to sit in the audience, as would Amitabh Bachchan. I haven’t told him that he had earlier sent me a video byte wherein he had praised my father and mentioned that Kanhaiyalal Chaturvedi ne who shikhar chua hain, jab koi saadhan nahi thi; main unke saamne, apne ko chhota manta hoon (Kanhaiyalal Chaturvedi scaled such heights and that too at a time when the resources were limited, that I find myself to be humbled in front of him)”.

The documentary additionally options Anupam Kher who’s all reward for the veteran actor. When Hemaa requested him what would have occurred if Kanhaiyalal had been half of the movie business immediately, he stated, “Agar Kanhaiyalal aaj hote toh saare actors ghar baithe hote aur Kanhaiyalalji mere appearing faculty ke principal hote (If he had been alive, all the different actors of the movie business can be out of work and he can be the principal of my appearing faculty).” She additionally reveals that Govinda is a household good friend as his father and Kanhaiyalal had been associates and the actor usually visited their home in Banaras, which was his mom’s hometown.

Hemaa plans to make a one-and-a-half-hour documentary and take it to movie festivals throughout the world, and later to OTT platforms. She reveals that her father was beneficiant and believed in charity and due to this fact contributed to numerous causes incessantly. She tells us that her documentary additionally options senior actors from the business who’ve now fallen on dangerous instances.

The movie business is a ruthless place and Hemaa has skilled it too. “It is true and I experienced it when I tried to get in touch with some present day actors and my experience was not good. Stalwarts like Kanhaiyalal, Motilal and Ishwarlalji have contributed immensely but the response I received from the new lot was not welcoming,” she rues.

In conclusion, Hemaa makes a plea, saying, “My father, who has acted in over 120 movies, has made an immense contribution to the movie business and now wants recognition in the kind of Dadasaheb Phalke award.”

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