Thursday, September 28, 2023





About sixty years back , drenched in the Monsoon rains of Mumbai, a young man in his early twenties walked into the office of the Dharamyug (a popular Hindi magazine of the  TOI group ) with some poems in Hindi that he intended to get published. He had come to Mumbai from Kashmir to try his luck in theatre or cinema, a field he was passionately involved in the Kashmir valley.  Dharamvir Bharati, who edited Dharamyug, asked the Youngman to sit and have a cup of tea. He read the poems and cast a serious look at the young man. Dharamvir Bharati was impressed by the style, content and subject of the poems. The young man introduced himself as Arun Kaul ‘Pradeep’.He was given space in the magazine. His poems were published. He also struck a personal bond with Dharamvir Bharati, a renowned Hindi poet, author, playwright and social thinker of the country. 



  Arun Kaul is an eminent Rainawarian . Before I discuss Arun Kaul and his work, I feel duty bound to say something about Rainawari,  an amazing locality of Srinagar city.




The old name of Rainawari was Rajanavatika or the 'Garden of Rajanakas or Rainas'. It is an island town connected by waterways. The canal that connects Dal Lake with Nigin Lake, passes through the heart of this town. This locality is mentioned in Rajataringini. Kalhana says Brahmins of Rainawari performed Prayopavesa ( Satyagraha or fast unto death ) during the rule of Sussala, the King of the Lohara dynasty. With DAV School opened by Arya Samajis and Vishwa-Bharati institution opened for girls , Rainawari was a hub of education and learning before 1990.


Rainawari area of Srinagar city has a glorious past. If it produced saints like Jeevan Sahib, Miyan Shah Sahib, Krishen Joo Kar, Zanana Zoi and Zind Shah Peer, it was also the birthplace of Taba Ram Turki ( 1776-1847 ) and Bhawani Das Kachroo ( husband or Kashmiri poetess Arnimal ) both renowned Persian scholars and poets. Taba Ram Turki was a contemporary of Gani Kashmiri. Saiyed Mohammad Madni who later came to be known as Madin Sahib in Kashmir, had also settled peacefully in Rainawari before Sultan Zain ul Abdin made him shift to his new capital Nowshera in Srinagar city. Pandit Keshav Bhat Jyotshi, a profound astrologer and a Sanskrit scholar who is responsible for documenting Karm- kaand and various other religious texts for the Kashmiri Pandits also hailed from Rainawari. So did Jaffer Ali (recipient of many awards ) the well-known papier mache artist, belong to Hassanabad, Rainawari. Poet Radhey Nath Massarat opened a shop and lived in Rainawari for most of his life.


Mata Bhagbhari, a saintly Kashmiri Pandit woman also lived in Rainawari. She presented a hand-woven Pashmina cloak to Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru on his visit to the Kashmir valley. History informs us that during the Afghan rule in Kashmir, Dila Ram Quli rose to become a member of the Kabul Darbaar. Dila Ram Quli was also from Rainawari. Not only an able administrator, Dila Ram Quli was a Farsi ( Persian ) poet as well. Shiv Narain Fotedar, parliamentarian and politician was also from Rainawari. Prof P N Dhar, a well-known economist and the then Principal Advisor to Mrs Indira Gandhi was also from Rainawari. His father, Vishen Joo Hakim was the headmaster of Biscoe School. He worked with Tyndale Biscoe. This Hakim family lived at Surateng Mohalla of Rainawari near the Mission Hospital. P K Mattoo ( IAS ,former Chief Secretary Himachal Pradesh ), Atal Dullo( IAS presently  Secretary Ministry of Home Affairs)  ,T N Kaul (ICS ), Pandit Saligram Kaul (an engineer who fined his wife for misuse of municipal water which was being used by her for irrigating the Kitchen garden.), Pandit Prem Nath Thussoo (eminent educationist associated with Vishwa Bharti Institutions ), D N Jalali ( private secretary to Maharaja Hari Singh ). Dr B K Jalali (a well-known surgeon from Kashmir ), Sadiq Ali ( politician ), Samsar Chand Kaul Ganhaar ( noted ornithologist ), Shridhar Joo Dulloo (a well-known teacher who educated Ladakhis ), Mir Ghulam Rasool Nazki ( well-known broadcaster and Kashmiri poet ), Farooq Nazki ( Kashmiri poet and noted media personality ), Jiwan Lal Mattoo( AIR Lahore, who discovered singer Mohammad Rafi ), Moti Lal Naaz ( Kashmir poet ), Jia Lal Tamiri ( freedom fighter), Ghulam Ahmed Sofi ( Amma Kaandhur, well known Sufiana and Chhakri singer of Kashmir ), artist P N Kachru, artist and well-known art critic Manohar Kaul ( Kataal ) and artist Gokul Dembi also lived in Rainawari. Noted music composer and vocalist, T K Jalali is also from Rainawari. So is his brother and well-known filmmaker Arun Kaul. Shyam Lal Saraf ( minister in Sheikh Abdullah's first cabinet after 1947 ) was also from Rainawari. Dr B L Kaw, the well-known zoologist from the J&K UT was from Rainawari. The illustrious Kak brothers, I mean the well-known Journalist R K Kak, Journalist M L Kak, bureaucrat S K Kak ( IAS ) and B L Kak ( author .. ‘Fall of Gilgit’ ) ) are also from Rainawari. Prof Amitabh Mattoo also belongs to an illustrious Mattoo family from Rainawari. Noted Urdu and Kashmiri scholar and a Sahitya Akademi awardee, Prof Mohammad Zaman Azurda is also from Hassanabad, Rainawari. Nand Lal Wattal, a well-known Urdu Journalist of the J&K state and former editor of the ‘Khidmat’ newspaper was also from Rainawari. Mehraj ud din Wadoo, the international football hails from Rainawari. Mehrajuddin Wadoo has represented the Indian national team. He has represented football clubs like Sporting Club de Goa, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. Rainawari has another distinction of being home to Samuel Baqqal, probably the first among the educated Muslims from Kashmir who became a Christian.And in 1985-86 ,Maharaj Krishen Kaul ( Bagh) , the then Director Geological Survey Of India , led the successful Indian expedition to Antartica . He was from Rainawari .The list is endless. 


Bansi Lal Kaul Jalali ( Arun Kaul ) was born at Bagdaji, Rainawari in Srinagar city on 12th August 1933 in the Jalali family. Jalalis are Kauls from Dattatreya Gotra which makes many Jalalis write Kaul or Kaul-Jalali as their surname. T N Kaul (ICS), former Indian ambassador to the US and Moscow also belonged to this Jalali clan of Rainawari. T N Kaul (ICS ) was the son of Pandit Tota Kaul Jalali of Rainawari . Bansi Lal  Kaul Jalali (Arun Kaul) had a flair for Hindi literature and poetry from his school days. This passion made him write poems, short stories and plays from his school days. As he grew, he formed a literary association of upcoming writers known as Hindi Sansad that would meet regularly for poetry recitation, literary discussions and performing plays. In Kashmir, he had close associations with some prominent personalities including Dwarika Nath Gigoo Rajkamal, Dr S S Toshakhani, Moti Lal Kemu, Dr Brij Premi, Prof R L Shant, Prof Hari Krshen Kaul and many more. Some of these friends were also associated with Hindi Sansad. In Mumbai, he had a close rapport with Pandit Narendra Sharma, Shailendra, Dharamvir Bharati and many more. Although he remained awfully busy in Mumbai, yet never did he disconnect himself from his roots. He would help any budding or struggling artist from the Kashmir valley in  whatever  capacity he could  . After he shifted to Delhi, he remained connected with Pran Kishore Kaul, Dr Agnishekhar, Shantiveer Kaul, Moti Lal Saqi, Kshama Kaul, Makhan Lal Bekas, Hari Krishen Kaul, Hriday Kaul Bharati and Dr S S Toshakhani and many more.


 I spoke to  Prof Arvind Gigoo  ( nephew of Dwarika Nath Gigoo Rajkamal ) who informed me this:-


“Bansi Lal Kaul Jalali ( Arun Kaul) was my teacher and a great friend of my uncle Dwarika Nath Gigoo ‘Rajkamal ‘. I am telling you something that relates to the 1950s. My uncle and Arun Kaul were writing Hindi poetry. They were seriously into Hindi literature and would often talk about Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, Nirala and Mahadevi Verma. They had started a theatre group also in Kashmir. Both were very passionate Hindi writers. He was a voracious reader, I vividly remember my uncle exchanging books with him almost daily. These books were Hindi novels, poetry collections and classics from English literature. Arun Kaul was also writing short stories and plays. I would hear him reading these stories and plays in our house. Apart from being a Hindi poet and writer , my uncle was a musician and painter as well.”


The story of  Bansi Lal Kaul Jalali becoming  Arun Kaul is a fascinating account of hard work, dedication and struggle. Janki Nath Tikoo, who happens to be the first cousin of Arun Kaul’s mother, told me this:-


" Pandit Arun Kaul was originally named Bansi Lal Jalali. He is the son of Pandit Jagan Nath Kaul Jalali and Shobhawati ( Bengashi ). Bengashi was my cousin sister. She is from Tikoo family of Gada Kocha, Zaina Kadal .Arun Kaul, as the world knows him, had two sisters; one Susheela Zutshi married to Prof S N Zutshi and the second Kamta Manwati, wife of Dr C L Manwati. T K Jalali, Arun Kaul’s brother is a noted musician and violin player from J&K UT who retired as principal of the Institute of Music and Fine Arts. T K Jalali is a trained classical musician who spent many years learning music from established Gurus in Gwalior and Mumbai. And then Archna Jalali daughter of Pandit T K Jalali is also a well-known singer from the J&K UT. Arun Kaul was the eldest of all his siblings. He was deep into literature and poetry from his college days. His wife Sharmishtha is from a Bengali family. She was a dancer and was a member of a dance troupe. She was never in films. Her family lived in Gwalior. Her brother was a teacher and her elder sister was also a dancer. Arun Ji has two sons, both are in films. The elder one is a cinematographer. At home, he was fondly called Baijan and at Matamal ( maternal relations ), we called him Chaman Ji. I Can’t give you complete details about his films and awards but we felt honoured one day when we learnt that Mother Teresa had presented the prestigious Ramkrishna Jaidaya Harmony Award to him for his  excellent work in the field of national integration through the  electronic media .” 






Finding a dearth of audience for Hindi theatre in Kashmir, Bansi Lal  Kaul Jalali decided to come out of the valley and move to some place where his talent could be recognised. As with every other person, Bombay or Mumbai was a great fascination where he landed ultimately . In Mumbai, Arun Kaul got a full-time job in the editorial section of ‘Bharati‘, the Hindi version of the famous ‘Bhawan’s Journal‘ as Associate Editor. The journal was published by Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan founded by K M Munshi. In Mumbai, he also wrote radio features and short dramas for Akashvani Mumbai and  Vividh Bharati including the prime-time evening slot  Hawa Mahal. During this period, he also wrote scripts and lyrics for many ballets (dance dramas ) including the most popular ballet, ‘ Jaage Mera Desh ‘. He also wrote jingles and scripts for many ad films. This could be called his struggle period to set his foot in Mumbai. And then one day, he decided to give up his full-time journalistic job and try his luck in cinema. He got his first break as Assistant Director to Chetan Annand in Haqeeqat. It is said that the major scenes of the movie were shot in Ladakh under his supervision. 




 It was a long struggle after which his talent was noticed by many leading   filmmakers who engaged him as a co-scriptwriter. He also became a close friend of Gulzar who liked his writing style. However, he always desired to make something new in films as according to him, the audience was bored with watching heroes and heroines singing  around trees or running after each other. Accordingly, he founded the ‘Forum For Better Cinema’ and  ‘New  Cinema Movement  to bring in something new in films. This New Cinema Movement comprised of stalwarts like Mrinal Sen, Umesh Kalbag, Basu Chatterjee, Mani Kaul, Avtar Kaul, Adoor GopalakrishnanShanker Bhattacharya and many more. Most of these filmmakers opted for low-budget films with funds arranged from NFDC loans. He started earnestly working with people who desired to bring the New Wave Cinema to India and also founded his own production house named ‘Arun Kaul Productions‘. The ‘Forum for Better Cinema’ started importing award-winning films and documentaries from Poland, Germany, and France and exhibited these in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi. People started liking this cinema which was realistic and depicted various issues of human existence to masses . Arun Kaul’s efforts were noticed by all associated with cinema in one way or the other. He was made a member of the Film Censor Board apart from being nominated as a member for many award institutions connected with Hindi cinema in India. He also represented India in many Film Festivals and cinema forums, a job that made him travel extensively to Europe. For about 20 years that he spent with the New  Cinema Movement, he remained the focal point of the activities of this organisation apart from remaining deeply connected with more than 15 national and international organisations like Film Censor Board, film awards committees, and International Film Festival committees. He represented India in many International Film Festivals and led many delegations to Venice( Italy ), Locarno( Switzerland ), Fukuoka ( Japan ), Karlovy Vary( Czech Republic ) and Mannheim ( Germany ) festivals. He was the Consultant General on Indian participation in the Venice Film Festival in 1972.


                                    ( In Paris )


Arun Kaul wrote, directed, scripted / co-scripted many films. In this list, we can include six important films, IjazatLekin, Ankush, Ashwamedhar Ghora, Prakope, Sampark, Kaalchakra, and Zevar, which were critically appreciated by the audience. He co-scripted ‘Dharma Keshtra’, with Umesh Kalbag, which won him ‘Best Original Script Award’ of NFDC in 1986. He co-scripted the screenplay for Mirgayaa – a Hindi film based on Oriya  short story of Bhagwati Charan Panigrahi. The film was directed by Mrinal Sen. He produced the path-breaking film  Ek Adhuri Kahani (directed by Mrinal Sen 1972 ). He was also the associate producer for Bhuvan Shome (directed by Mrinal Sen 1969 ) and Andhi Gali ( written and directed by Buddadeb Dasgupta 1984 ). Ek Adhuri Kahai was based on a Bengali story, Gotrantar by Subodh Gosh while Buvan Shome was based on a story of Balai Chand Mukhopadhyay . Andhi Gali dealt with the subject of the Naxalite Movement. Arun Kaul  was also  the Executive Producer of ‘Interview’, a Bengali film directed by Mrinal Sen.




 He co-scripted and also directed ‘ Diksha’ , a Hindi film based on a Kannada novel by Dr U R Ananthamurthy. Nana Pateker, the lead actor of Diksha struck a wonderful tuning with Arun Kaul as his director. Diksha won the Filmfare Critics Award as the Best Directed Movie for the year 1992. In the same year, he went on to win the Golden Lotus Award for the Best Hindi Film for Diksha at the National Film Awards in India. Diksha also won him the Yugshree Award’ as the ‘Best Directed Film’ for Television. The film also won two major awards: Le Prix du Public and La Prix du Counsel General de L’Ardeche in the ‘Festival International du Premier Film d’Annonay’, France in 1993. About Diksha, Arun Kaul has said this:-

 " Diksha is my search for the past, discovering my roots; the tragedy of being twice born. It is also a peep into a section of the Brahmin society of early thirties. The rigidity of the Guru; the ultimate revolt of the head disciple; and the metamorphosis of the lowly-born Koga are the integral elements of the story. All this disillusions the child. Never will he seek 'initiation ' again. The tragedy of the widow is the plight of the entire Brahmin society, to which I also belong and I have no strength to disown it." 







In respect of mainstream cinema, it was Yash Chopra who noticed his creative talent and signed him for scripting Chandini which proved a super duper hit at the box office. His creative temper could not adjust to the purely commercial demands of the mainstream cinema and he had to part company with Yash Chopra. Some reliable sources told me that Veer-Zaara another hit of Yash Chopra was the brainchild of Arun Kaul, a project upon which he had worked extensively. I am informed even the direction for the Veer-Zaara was initially offered to Arun Kaul. Reportedly, everything changed suddenly when Yash Chopra handed over the project to his son to launch him through this  filmArun Kaul  also worked with Chetan Anand as Assistant Director for his film Haqeeqat based on Chinese aggression.


                  ( With Haqeeqat team in Ladakh )




He was a much sought-after producer by Doordarshan and National Film Development Corporation for some key projects that needed profound creative experience. For Doordarshan, he co-scripted Gulzar’s Mirza Ghalib. He scripted the 17 episodes of Munshi Premchand’s ‘Karambhoomi‘ for Doordarshan. Doordarshan commissioned him to co-produce the science awareness programme  Turning Point’ in 1991 which ran for a record number of 5 years. It was dubbed and telecast in 10 regional languages. Turning Point won the first prize at the International Festival of Scientific Programmes in Paris  organised by UNESCO. He wrote 13 episodes of Hema Malini's serial ‘Noopur’ for Doordarshan. For Doordarshan, he produced the weekly magazine 'Kashmir Files ‘ which ran for 85 weeks /episodes. It was produced by “Vyeth Television’ founded by him. For Doordarshan, he also produced ’50 Years of Indian Independence’, (4 Parts). He was also commissioned by Doordarshan to produce 8 documentaries on ‘Museum and Museology’ that covered ‘Bharat Bhavan - Bhopal’, ‘National Museum - New Delhi’, ‘Mani Bhavan – Mumbai ’, ‘Prince of Wales Museum - Mumbai’ and ‘Bhau Daji Lad Museum - Mumbai’. Doordarshan also engaged him in making ‘Metamorphosis India’ to celebrate   50 years of India‘s independence. He also produced documentaries named ‘Jalianwala Bagh’ and ‘Qalam Likhti Nahin Itihaas’ for DAVP, GOI. Under the Nari-Narayani series of documentaries, he highlighted the roles of Dr Usha Mehta, Dr Kapila Vatsyayan, Mrs Ela Bhatt, Mrs Gul Bardhan and Ms Lailu Writer. His documentary ‘Kashmir - a Perspective’, was exhibited at the ‘Inaugural Global Meet on Kashmir’ in London and Geneva. He also produced documentaries like ‘Coal India’, ‘Freedom From Fear’ and  ‘Origins of Kashmir’. These documentaries were written and directed by his son Indraneel Kaul. While ‘Coal India‘ showcases India's coal industry, ‘Freedom From Fear ‘ symbolises the narrator’s search for his past, present and future; a compilation of his experiences in Kashmir over the last few years. On a much more personal level, the film reveals the ultimate desire of the narrator and his exiled minority community to return home one day. He was also engaged by Sahitya Akademi for making a film on Manu Bhandari ( 2 parts ). Some well-known documentaries made by him include 'Redefining the Arts' ( for IGNCA ), Prahari, Kitne Aurangzeb, Aasteen Ka Saanp, G R Santosh, Kritagayata Yatra, Heritage of Kashmir ( 3 Parts}, Echoes of Ethos and Collage 75. 




Kashmir File (1994-1996 ), a weekly magazine programme produced by Arun Kaul’s Vyeth Television for Doordarshan registered a record viewership. The Kashmir File series covered news, religion culture, shrines, nostalgia, literature, political affairs, social life, archaeology art and festivals of Kashmir. It opened an audio-visual door on all these topics for viewers across the globe. It was one of some highly researched programmes shown on Doordarshan. The programme was a roaring success all over the country. The mailbox of the programme was always full. The programme opened with a mesmerizing rendition of  Maaji vyethi vandahai paan ‘ ( this life I would sacrifice for mother Vitasta, the river ), a short piece as its title music followed by  ’Sondariye bozi myaan Zaar’ and ‘Rosha Vala Myani Dilbaro’ additional short pieces all sung by Archana Jalali Tikoo in her melodious voice and composed by Pandit T K Jalali who had scored the music for the entire series. The captivating music would suddenly shift to the sound of the gunfire and the programme would begin. The opening songs and music touched the heart and soul of the exiled Kashmiri Pandit community across the country and abroad. I am informed that in most of Archana Jalali Tikoo’s concerts in North America, the listeners request her to sing these songs to refresh their old memories of ‘Maej Kashir ‘( Mother Kashmir ). The anchor, Jasleen Vohra had a commanding presence on the show. Indraneel Kaul’s contribution as co-director of the series was exceptional. So was the camera work and editing that captured the beauty and the prevailing sorrow of the once-happy valley. After 85 weekly episodes, the programme had to be suddenly closed after its anchor reporter, Saiuddin Shafi, was gunned down by the terrorists in broad daylight for raising his voice against the excesses committed by Pakistan-supported terrorists in the Kashmir Valley. Arun Kaul was deeply pained by what he saw in Kashmir of 1995 -1996. Optimist to the core, he would often say,” Today, it appears to be moving along  the dark night and when it is over, it will be their ( Kashmiris ) day. Like Phoenix, they will rise again.”  About Kashmir File, The Indian Express dated June 2 1995 wrote this:-

" In the plethora of television programmes on Kashmir, Arun Kaul's Kashmir File stands out for its depth and freshness of approach. The filmmaker of Diksha and the producer of the popular science serial,' Turning Point' has once again lived up to his reputation. It is neither terrorists nor security forces, but Kashmiri people who get maximum attention in the Kashmir File. Kashmir File is an attempt at saying things which others are not saying for obvious reasons  ."


His work received rave reviews in print and electronic media. His films, television work, documentaries and contribution towards New Wave Cinema received wide coverage in national newspapers like, The Times Of India, The Hindu, The Indian Express, The Hindustan Times and many more. It was also regularly covered by the vernacular press, especially Bangla and Hindi. His suggestions and ideas were implemented by some apex bodies including the Film Censor Board of which he remained a member for three  terms.


                       ( with Satyajit Ray )



Arun Kaul remained a family man all along his life. His wife Sharmishtha Bardhan, an acclaimed classical dancer, comes from a family of well-known artists. Her eldest brother, Shanti Bardhan was a renowned choreographer and a junior colleague of Uday Shankar. Along with Guru Dutt, Narendra Sharma, Ruma Guha, Zohra Sehgal, Uzra, Lakshmi Shankar, and Ravi Shankar, Shanti Bardhan was a member of Uday Shankar’s troupeIn 1952, Shanti Bardhan formed his troupe that produced some of the most imaginative dance dramas of the 20th century including Ramayana, Discovery of India and many more. His siblings were associated with this troupe. Sharmishtha's sister and Sitarist brother Rano Bardhan were also a part of this troupe. Arun Kaul's sons; Neelaabh and Indraneel (Bilash) are both alumni of FTII, Pune and connected with films. Indraneel Kaul is a filmmaker and Neelabh Kaul is a trained cinematographer who is well known for his work in Hindi film industry. This is what Pandit T K Jalali, noted vocalist, composer, instrumentalist and former principal of the Institute of Music And Fine Arts told me :- 


"He was not only my elder brother but my mentor, my idol, friend, philosopher and guide. A Guru in many respects who introduced me to good literature, art, good off-beat movies and niceties of music . It was through his efforts that my Guru Pandit Chidanand Nagarkar took me under his tutelage as long as I remained in Mumbai. In short, I am what he wanted me to be certainly with my humble and dedicated efforts. My long creative stint with Vyeth Television was a result of his complete confidence in me and in my daughter, Archana’s capabilities. He gave me complete freedom in doing what I was asked to do and I did live up to his expectations. He was a multi-dimensional, multi-faceted creative intellectual. He was an ocean of knowledge in the fields of art, literature, cinema, drama and anything creative." 


( The Kaul Jalali family .Arun Kaul with his parents and brother Pandit T K Jalali.. Photo source.. Pandit TK Jalali  ) 
       ( Arun Kaul with his wife ..Photo source Pandit TK Jalali )




The poet Arun Kaul remained busy due to multifarious engagements with film and television. Yet as and when he got time, he would express himself through poems. He used Tejaswi as his pen name for writing Hindi poetry. A sample of his Hindi poetry is under:-



 " Paas nadi ki chanchal lehrein kar jaati upvaas

 Meray aansoo se maadhak vaayu rachta tha raas

 Koel ki koo yaad dilaati aayega madhumaas

 Mujh se rooth gaye hain meray praanon kr aadhaar 

 …………… Saathi meray geet bane hain priy ke bandhanvaar

 Unki dard nishaani maine dil mein rakhi chhupaakar 

 Maine usko behlaaya peeda ke geet sunaakar

 Umda pyaar dikhakar aur aansoo ki dhaar bahaakar 

 Dard Nishaani pa kar maine paaya khoya pyaar

 …….Saathi meray geet bane hain priy ke bandhanvaar "


 " Mein ban jaoon tung himalay

 Bano Nirala ki tum sarita 

 Ban jaoonga Amrakunj mein

 Raho kookati pratipal shyama 

 Meray mun ke mridhul bhaav ki

 Bano vimaltam si tum bhasha

 Sukhad bhavishya ke swapn sanjo-kar

 Amar prem ke taar bajaayein

 ……………………..Aao jhilmil deep jalaayein"


Agnishekhar, noted Hindi poet and Panun Kashmir leader told me this:-


" Post 1990, I developed a close relationship with him. The sufferings of the exiled community pained him. His Vyeth Television team covered online the historic 'Guru Tegh Bahadur Kritagyata Yatra' -to Anandpur Sahib in 1995. I found him highly creative and an original thinker. He was a person of the calibre of Kamleshwar, Rajendra Yadav, Manu Bhandari and many more stalwarts of Hindi literature. Films apart, the top Hindi literary circle of the country held him in high esteem. "


Noted Scholar and writer Prof S S Toshakhani told me this:-


“He was a very genial, generous and creatively inclined person whom I knew from childhood . Both of us were Hindi lovers and culture enthusiasts and shared our views on many things. One day everybody was surprised to learn that Bansi Lal Kaul Jalali had left for Bombay to join films. For a long time after this, I completely lost  contact with him. However, one day someone told me that he was in Jammu and we met. He was very happy to see me and revealed to me where he was and what he was doing. After this, one day, when I was in Srinagar, I learnt he was coming to Srinagar for a few days in connection with the shooting of a film  of which he happened to be the Assistant Director. It had Chetan Anand as its Director and the crew was moving to Ladakh as the film was based on the Chinese aggression. Thereafter he continued to write long letters to me, informing me about his activities. I came to know that he had become a regular writer for the Hindi weekly Dharmayug. More importantly, he had joined the New Cinema Movement, leading it together with Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak. Later,  he  met me in Delhi in 1984. In 1991, he invited me to the premiere of his film Diksha in Delhi. It won rave reviews. Towards the end of the year 2006, Arun Kaul undertook to produce a video film on Swami Lakshman Joo for the Ishwar Ashram Trust of which I wrote the script. Unfortunately, Arun Ji passed away due to a kidney ailment when the film reached the editing table. “


  Arun Kaul was not given his due by Hindi cinema. Due to his straightforwardness and outspoken temper, he was never commissioned by any big-budget filmmaker. When Yash Chopra acknowledged his talent and creativity, it was too late. And then he could not compromise his creativity with the total commercial demands of mainstream cinema.He breathed his last at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on 21st July 2007 after remaining admitted there for about a month. On his death, Ravi Deshpande, the noted filmmaker wrote this in his blog:-


“ He also gave me one of the first few 'breaks' when I started working as a director fresh out of the FTII. He did much more for Kashmir ( not just through his serial Kashmir File). People have great regard and admiration for this diehard old-school warrior of the Indian film industry. They always will. He would make it a point to meet everyone when he came to Mumbai after he shifted base to New Delhi. On such occasions, I would touch his feet out of respect, and the next moment, he would light a cigarette, share a drink, and chat about everything on this earth with the passion of someone young at heart. He would share his dream of writing more scripts, making more films, of tackling newer subjects. The two boys have lost their father, and I have lost a great friend. These two boys who will be men now will carry forth the father's legacy; try and fulfill the dreams he had and the dreams they do on the canvas of cinema.”


I conclude this  write up with some lines from a poem of Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov :-


  “History, will you mention us

in your faded scroll?

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 )



 ( Source: J L Manwati’s write-up published in Har-van, interviews with Pandit T K Jalali, Prof Arvind Gigoo, Padam-Shri Pran Kishore Kaul ,Archna Jalali Tikoo and Janki Nath Tikoo. Photo and poetry of Arun Kaul courtesy Pandit T K Jalali. My special thanks to Indraneel Kaul son of Arun Kaul )

 Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\\.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.