Monday, March 23, 2015

PRAN KISHORE : A LIVING LEGEND WHO PIONEERED RADIO DRAMAS IN KASHMIR


                                                                                  




PRAN KISHORE
HISTORY, WILL YOU MENTION US IN YOUR FADED SCROLL ?

 Once Radio Kashmir Srinagar was taken over by Government Of India , a qualitative and quantitative change took place in its programmess and functioning . More funds poured in and more technical equipment and expertise flowed in . A group of talented persons like Qaiser Qalandhar , Pran Kishore , Mohan Lal Aima and many more joined to assist old stalwarts notably Ghulam Rasool Nazki and Prem Nath Pardesi . Pran Kishore was made producer of the drama section. His produced and directed radio plays  broadened the listener base of Radio Kashmir Srinagar . 

I vividly remember how food was served to us at 8.30 PM and my mother would finish everything by 9.15 PM. Thereafter every one in our family kept glued to the radio in hush  silence waiting till 9.30 PM when we would hear something like this ..
“ Ye chhu Radio Kashmir Srinagar . Raaetch haenz Saad’a Nuvv Baajeiye . Booziv Drama Lala Joo And Sons. Tehreer Ali Mohd lone Peishkush Pran kishore “
                                                                       Or
"This is Radio Kashmir Srinagar . It is 9.30 PM now. Tune in to our drama “Lala Joo And Sons “ scripted by Ali Mohd lone and produced by Pran Kishore ."
Some notable plays that come to my mind at this moment are :-

(1) Vyaathh Rooz Pakaan ( a drama series for which Akhtar Mohi Ud din , Ali Mohd Lone and som Nath Zutshi wrote powerful radio dramas . Ali Mohd Lone’s drama for this series was selected in the National Drama festival and won first prize )

(2) Vaitaal Pacheesi ( From Kathaa Sarit Saagar translated by Ali Mohd Lone.Pran Kishore acted as Vaitaal )
(3) Bombur Ta Yemberzal ( opera written by Dina Nath Nadim ) 

(4) Dr. Faustus ( translated by Prof. Rehman Rahi . Pran Kishore   acted as Dr. Faustus ) 
(5) Vitasta ( opera by Dina Nath Nadim ) 

(6) Lal Joo and Sons ( written by Ali Mohd Lone )

(7) Aadam Chhu Ajab Zaat ( written by Akhtar Mohi ud Din )

(8) Yeli Vattan Chhu Khuur Iwaan ( scripted by Hari Krishen Kaul )

(9) Vaen Kaemsinz Vaaer Chhi and Harud ( scripted by Dr. Shanker Raina )

(10) Myon Marrun ,Buss Akh Tamaah and DaaenThhar ( Scripted by Bansi Nirdosh )

(11) Agar Aash Soarie, Kaend Sahraav ,Jheel Bulaa Rahi Hai, Aadam Hawa Ta Iblees , Pash'a kiss Vatchhus Tal and Myaani Jigreikk Daaedi Voathh( scripted by Ali Mohd Lone )

(12 ) Buut Ta Bulldozer ( scripted by G. R .Santosh )

( 13) Shuhul Naar , Taent Kur and Kaejj Raat ( scripted by Sajood Sailani )

(14) Vijvaav ( scripted by Som Nath Zutshi )

Plays scripted by Amar Malmohi ,Shamas ud din Shamim, Rattan Lal Shant, Autar Krishen Rehbar , Shabnam Qayoom, Moti Lal Kemu  and many more playwright were also produced or directed by Pran Kishore for Radio Kashmir .It is practically impossible to record all plays that he either produced or directed or wherein he himself acted .The list could be endless..
                                        .    

On account of his exceptional command over  English, Hindi ,Urdu and Kashmiri languaged ,he translated many plays  from English , Urdu and Hindi to Kashmiri and ensured their broadcast from  Radio Kashmir Srinagar . Many plays produced by him for Radio Kashmir Srinagar   won awards in the National Radio Drama festivals. He even translated Stein’s Rajtaringini and presented it as a radio feature.

So many radio artists have confirmed to me that he was always  present during recording and rehearsals of his plays . He would meticulously record each and every  dialogue to its perfection under a total professional environment inside the recording room wherein a focused silence was maintained . He would not allow any side talks and no body would dare to disturb his work not even his close associates like Kedar Sharma, P L Razdan or M. L Kuchroo .

 Jai Kishen Zutshi , who was also associated with radio dramas and  who later shifted to Doordarshan, was a trained by   Pran Kishore only .

His radio features on saint Poetess " LAL DED" and  tallest saint of Kashmir's Reshi Order  fondly known as "NUND RYOSH " , remain unmatched to this day in terms of production , script and presentation. For Lal Ded feature , he sought assistance from Prof. Jay Lal Kaul and Master Zinda Kaul. Both the features were broadcast through various AIR stations in India . Aab Ta Hayaat ( Water And Life ) is a radio feature that won him national and international fame. Not many of us know that it was presented before a mammoth gathering in Milano Italy. This Radio feature was written and presented by Pran Kishore Kaul in his unique and impressive voice.

Pran Kishore's  voice is an amalgamation of rainbow colours , thundering clouds and whistling breeze . Fragrant all over , Soft when needed and imposing when required. This voice was dubbed for many characters of Kashmiri feature film Manzraat . The Kashmiri version of this film was directed by Pran Kishore Kaul .
                                                                       
   ( Pran Ji shooting kashmiri Feature film Maenzraat at some outdoor location near Tangmarg  Kashmir )

The stage adaptation of Poet Dina Nath Naadim’s opera VITASTA was also superbly directed by him . The opera was performed in various cities of the country and it won rave reviews in print media everywhere. So happened with 'PIYA BAAJ PYAALA “ that he directed.
He started the annual JASHN E TAMSEEL festival for radio dramas .Many Kashmiri playwrights touched heights of popularity through their radio plays that he produced or directed . Many Kashmiri radio  dramas featured in Akaashwani awards .
As Presenter, he is endowed with a rich imagination to do anything and everything that is required to create a good drama , a good script, and an unsurpassed production. A perfectionist to the core, he remains a nice and cultured human being for all who happen to come close to him.
                                              




Writing is another field wherein Pran Kishore Kaul has excelled .  His  Kashmiri novel “SHEEN TA VATTI PODH “ won him the best book award from Jammu And Kashmir Academy of Art Culture And Languages . This novel also won him the prestigious  Sahitya Academy Award.This novel is based on Gujjars and Bakerwals with Characters like Raj Wali Khan , Reshma Qamroo, Peera , Laali , Maaja , Nooran Bibi , Laal Khan , Mastaan Khan and Zorawar . Raj Wali Khan and Reshma are central characters of this wonderful novel. If you read the novel, you are bound to get surprised as to how has he acquired such in-depth knowledge of the life, customs and traditions of Gujjars and Bakerwals .
                                                                           
 ( A memorable photograph of  The Radio Kashmir Team .. Pran ji, Bashir Butt , Pushker Bhan , Quaiser Qalandhar ,Ali Mohd lone , Manohar Prothi, Jagan  Nath Saqi ,Kamal Ahmed Siddique, Som Nath Sadhu , Mohd sultan Pandit and many more  )

Post-retirement , Pran ji scripted some  popular TV serials like GUL GULSHAN GULFAAM  (Based on his Novel by the same title)  , SAAYE  DEVDAAR  KE  and JUNOON  apart from many other assignments that he completed to perfection. He also set up his own production house  known as PRAGAASH PRODUCTIONS . Along with his dance -drama troupe, he  went to many places including Hong Kong spreading the fragrance of the  grand culture of Kashmir. I hold two DVDs (as my prized possession ) showing recording of the Hong Kong event. A galaxy of dancers, singers and musicians from Kashmir were associated with this production troupe prominent being Ali Mohd Sheikh , Krishen ji Langoo , Mrs Prerna Jailkhani ,Dalip  Langoo, Saleha ji and many more . He  has presented almost all the varieties of Kashmiri folk music , songs and dances in this presentation . In this recording, you get glimpses of Chhakri , Naat , Leela . Bacha Nagma , Hikkat , Sufinana, Hafiz Nagma and Vanvun with commentary by Pran Kishore in his commanding voice. Through these DVDs , for the first time , I heard “GOONGA NAWA” , a folk song from Kishtwar , once quite popular in Kashmir .

About Gul Gulshan Gulfam,Prem  Krishen  ( son of veteran actor Prem Nath  and co producer of the TV  serial ) says this:-

" It was my father's desire to make something based on Kashmir which he loved intensely. And we made Gul Gulshan Gulfaam.Pran Kishore wrote wonderful script that gave total feel of Kashmir. He also made some good suggestion that added to the popularity of the serial."


                                                                                   

                                  ( Pran ji with GyanPeeth Awaedee Kashmiri Poet Prof. Rehman Raahi  )
                    ( Pran ji with Pushkar Bhan  a talented actor and writer who wrote the most popular  Hero Machama and Sindhbaad Machama series for the Radio Kashmir   )
                                                                       
                                                        ( Pran Ji with Ustaad Bismillah Khan )                   
A widely travelled man , Pran Kishore remains an encyclopedia of knowledge on art , culture and history of Kashmir. Presently settled in Pune , he leads a somewhat lonely life after the death of his wife and life long companion,  Shanta kaul. Shanta ji was also a broadcaster par excellence .
                                                                             
          ( L To R Pran Kishore , His daughter , Broadcaster Uma Khosla and Pran ji's wife Late Shanta kaul )
                                                                         
                                                              ( Pran Kishore )
  Remembering his childhood   days  Pran Kishore Kaul informs this:-

“” In 1943, a play named NEELAM was staged in S P College in which I and Qaiser Qalandhar acted . For this play , Prof.Raja Mohd Maqbool Changed my name from Pran Nath Koul to Pran Kishore . That day onwards , I remained Pran Kishore . I was born at Mallapora,  Habba Kadal in  Srinagar  city . I have clear memories of Kashmir during those days. The Jabri schools, poverty , simplicity and then an aircraft hovering over the sky and landing in Srinagar . Kashmiris coming out on roads and looking towards the sky . The funny Ladishaah song created for this strange phenomenon happening over Kashmir’s sky ,

' Havaai jahaaz yeli aav Mulk e Kashmir 
Yimuvv Vuchh timav korr Toba Taqseer
Godeineythh khoat taathh Taraakh Wazir 
Athhuss kyaathh Aaeissus Natchaan jejeer' 

“ When the first aircraft flew over Kashmir ,
Every one who saw it exclaimed “Oh God ! save us “
It was Taraak wazir who first boarded this aircraft 
With a dancing Hookah in his hand.|”

 I vividly remember the day when electric Bulb was switched on for the first time in our house in Srinagar city and the benefits of electricity were made known to us .The electric power for the same was generated by Mohra Power house .Prior to that , Maharaja’s Palace was only connected to electric Power .There used to be a turbine based Mini Power house on Jhelum bank near the present day old secretariat that would supply electricity to Maharja’s Palace .This place is still known as BIJLI GHAR. Present generation can not visualize how happy people were with this electric connection that was provided to them.

People had no wrist watches , Time pieces or clocks . Just the deafening sound of a canon fired from Hari Parbat Fort made you to believe that it was 12 Noon. At 9 PM ,the city dwellers were informed about the time when the electricity was slowly dimmed and finally switched off to the entire city . It was immediately restored .I vividly remember how for the first time , city dwellers were supplied water from Harwan reservoir through a well laid out system of pipes .Water works Department was started during the rule of Maharaja partap Singh and it took them some years to complete this task.Once the work with regard to building of the reservoir and laying of the pipes in the city was completed , an estimate about the expenditure was provided to Maharaja . The Maharaja was also advised by the British engineer incharge to levy tax on the people of the city and recover the expenditure . To this suggestion Maharaja replied ,

“ Water is God’s gift to humanity . You mean I should sell this and earn Money ? No “
And free came the drinking water to city dwellers for the first time through Taps from Sarbandh at Harwan.
When I remember my childhood , Many historical event flash back from the reservoirs of my memory


Not many of us know that Pran Kishore Kaul is a good painter . He adds  :-

“If any one asks me what gives me more satisfaction , I would straightway say painting. I also like to enter kitchen and cook at times. Yes the nonvegetarian dishes of Kashmiris . Painting could be a result of my close association with G R Santosh. I tell you Santosh would also cook Kashmiri dishes and feel proud in entertaining his friends . Ali Mohd Lone , me and Santosh would often cook and eat together Kashmiri nonvegetarian dishes .We would do it on many Sundays in Bani Prassun Batacharya’s government quarter . Bani was a Sculptor who was also a technical expert engaged by Government of J&K .
                                                                        
( L to R G R Santosh , Pran kishore and Ali Mohd lone )
( Sh M S Pandit IAS  looking at Pran ji's paitings )

Later Another group of friends was formed for this nonvegetarian dish cooking and eating . Pushker Bhan called this group as cabinet meeting. This group included Ghulam Rasool Qadiri, late Lassa Kaul, Poet Rafiq Raaz ,Avtar Krishen Rehbar and Bansi Nirdosh . However Ali Mohd Lone remained a special invitee as ever . We thought he was not from the so called cabinet of Pushker Bhan as he served in Cultural Academy at that point of time.”
              ( A painting by Pran Kishore Kaul )
 ( A painting by Pran Kishore Kaul )
( A painting by Pran Kishore Kaul)

Some sketches of Pran Kishore Kaul as these appear in his Sketch book.

                                           




                                               



                      
Some of the popular  books authored by him include  Sheen Ta vata Podh ( in Kashmiri and Sheen in English translation) ,Gul  Gulshan Gulfam (English ) and 'Radio Kashmir  And My days in Broadcasting' . His book Sheen Ta Vata Podh won him the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award
                                           



                                            


Pran Kishore Kaul is a great connoisseur of music ; both instrumental and vocal. I am sure he hides another talent, which according to my guesswork ,could be in the field of  instrumental  and vocal music. His understanding of Sur and Taal is perfect. Above all , he is amongst some rare light- houses that keep guiding travellers and ships venturing through the sea of art and literature . 

About his interest in paintings , Pran Ji told me this:-

" Once Shanta Ji, my wife told me to exit from all activities and focus only on painting. It couldn't be that way as other things were destined to happen even though painting had been my first love ." 
 
I conclude this post with my Favourite lines from a poem of Bulgarian national poet Nikola Vaptsarov (1909-1942) ….

“ History, will you mention us
In your faded scroll?’
‘We fattened you with news,
And slaked your thirst so richly,
With the blood of slaughtered crowds?’
‘Was it a life worth noting,
A life worth digging up?
Unearthed, it reeks of poison,
Tastes bitter in the cup.’
For the hardship and affliction
We do not seek rewards,
Nor do we want our pictures
In the calendar of years.
Just tell our story simply
To those we shall not see,
Tell those who will replace us –
We fought courageously.


( Avtar Mota )

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Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

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