Friday, August 11, 2017



(The Exhibition Cricket match played by film stars)
( Raj Kapoor and Nargis calling on Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad in Kashmir)


Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad ,the then  prime minister of J&K , was a  lover of Raj Kapoor films. Accordingly, he brought Raj Kapoor and Nargis and  some very popular film stars to Kashmir for participation in "Jashn e Kashmir "  celebrations organised by him in fifties of the last century. There were many cultural  programmes, a grand all India Mushaira, boat regattas, dramas, music competitions, Bhaand Pather, Chhakri, handicrafts display, cricket matches between participating film stars and many other events. Srinagar city was given a festive look. Even school children were involved in " Jashn e Kashmir "celebration.

A very senior political leader from Kashmir has  told me this:-

" Bakshi Sahib must have seen Raj Kapoor's Awara at least five  times. In a good mood, he would sing 'Awara Huun'.He was a great admirer of Raj Kapoor. During "  Jashn e Kashmir" celebrations, pamphlets were  distributed in the Srinagar  city and huge billboards were put up at prominent places announcing a gala performance of Raj Kapoor and Nargis. People were invited to witness the show. Inside the Hazuri Bagh park, a huge stage was created using Deodar sleepers  . Bakshi Sahib personally supervised the stage creation and in a way he led the team. During the performance, Bakshi Sahib  requested Nargis and Raj Kapoor to sing 'Ramaiya Vasta Vaiya" and they obliged. They danced while crowds cheered them lustily. It was a new song but very popular during those days. Nargis and Raj Kapoor joined the cricket match played by film stars . This match was also inaugurated by Bakshi Sahib. Raj Kapoor was  seen with leg-guards and a bat in his hand . Nirupa Roy,Agha ,Om Prakash and tragedy King Dilip Kumar were also in white dress  for this exhibition match.The match was played at present JKCA ground  Chinar Bagh opposite  Burn Hall School.

The film stars were brought to Kashmir in chartered plane at Government's expenses. Boarding and Lodging arrangements were also made by Government of Jammu And Kashmir.
Habib Painter Qawaal was another favourite of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad. He was also brought to Kashmir by Bakshi Sahib. He became quite popular and kept visiting Kashmir subsequently.The festivities were also  held at Nishat( Shab e Nishat)  garden, Shalimar ( Shab e Shalimar) garden,Badamwari, TRC ground, Emporium ground  and Nedous hotel of Srinagar  .The film stars were brought to Kashmir in a chartered flight at government's  expenditure. Entire boarding and lodging arrangements were also made by the then J&K government." 
Many elders who were present at the Hazuri Bagh park have told me that Raj Kapoor and Nargis were accompanied by Jairaj, Agha and some more film actors . A local Tumbakhnaar was used by Raj Kapoor in place of a  Dafli . Raj kapoor also sang the song ' Dil ka haal sune dil waala ' at Hazuri Bagh park  .

Padamshri Pran Kishore Kaul informed me this:

" It was on that very stage at Hazuri Bagh , Srinagar  that opera "Heemal  Naegrai  " written  jointly  by Dina Nath Nadim and Noor Mohammad Roshan and music composed by Mohan Lal Aima was staged during  the Jashn e Kashmir festival. It was as part of the same festival . Ali Mohammad Lone's play "Deevane Ka Khawab " directed  by me for National Cultural Front  was staged  at Neadous hotel in Srinagar during the festival."

( Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad with school  children participating in the Jashn e Kashmir celebrations.,)

 ( The boat regatta in Dal lake. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru with Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad)

Held in 1956, the  Jashn e Kashmir was a major effort by government to showcase Kashmir as a tourist destination to  the nation. It was Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad's initiative that attracted film industry to Kashmir . After 1956 ,Kashmir witnessed a  flow of domestic tourists and film units for shooting films .

 (Avtar Mota)

1 comment:

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