Thursday, January 31, 2019



           ( A view from 40th floor observation Gallery)



( Mobile Camera  Photos..Avtar Mota)

The statue is at a distance of 210 kms from Ahemdabad. We went via Vadodara and Anand ( Amul town). With a height (192 metres) that is double the height of Statue of liberty(93 metres) , this imposing statue happens to be tallest man made Sculpture in the world. Built with steel and cement at a cost of 3000 crores, the statue remains closed to visitors on every Monday.

 The Statue, located in Gujarat’s Narmada district near Kevadiya town is erected at 3.2 kilometer distance downstream from the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

As per Newspaper reports,  The revenue generated from visitors to Statue of Unity from November, 2018 to January, 2019 is Rs.19.47 crores  and the number of tourists who visited the Statue of Unity at Kevadia in three months from November, 2018 to January, 2019 was 7,81,349 as against yearly average of 8,22,009 tourists visiting Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in the last five years.

The express entry ticket @1000 per person ( ordinary ticket Rs350/- per person ) gives you immediate/ non queue access to lifts, viewing gallery on 40th floor , Exhibition hall and Theatre where Documentary on the life of Sardar is shown to visitors. It also gives you a free ride in luxury buses that carry you to and fro ( from Taxi or bus stand ) to statue , Sardar Sarovar Dam and lake viewing points. Cameras are allowed. 

 Very shortly,  the visiting hours for the Sardar Patel memorial  are going to be revised from  current 9AM - 5PM to  8AM - 6PM.

The imposing statue has captured Sardar in a thoughtful mood . Started in 2013, the statue was completed in October 2018 by Larsen And Toubro. A bust and a small statue of sardar Patel has also been installed in the Exhibition hall.

Our Taxi driver cum Guide for Gujrat Tour said:


Murari Bapu is a real Saint. Every Gujrati , Hindu or Muslim respects him. 


Gujrat has the Tallest statue in the world . Gujrat will soon have world's largest cricket Stadium . This stadium is being built in Ahemdabad at a cost of 700 crores and it will have a seating capacity of 110000 spectators. The existing Motera stadium is being dismantled to make way for the new stadium. The construction of new stadium was decided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was heading Gujarat cricketing body earlier.


Sabarmati river front is a unique gift to the people of Ahmedabad. It has beautified the river banks apart from clearing all encroachment . The river is cleaner. Recreation parks and walkways have been created on both sides of the river. Night time illumination is a treat. 


People in Gujrat want peace, development and Business. No time for Lafdaa (  Quarrel ) .


No leader like Sardar Patel. He annexed 565 princely States to India.He was firm and resolute in what he wanted to do. He restored the pride of the nation by reconstructing Somnath. It was Sardar who got Jodhpur, Junagadh, Travancore ,Bhopal and Hyderabad annexed to Indian union as rulers of these states were reluctant to join Indian union.

Only due to Sardar Patel’s efforts , most the princely rulers agreed to the surrendering control of thousands of villages, jagirs, palaces, institutes, cash balances amounting to crores and a railway system of about 12,000 miles to the Indian government without receiving any compensation.And Gujratis know who are their real Icons."

( Avtar Mota)

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Sunday, January 27, 2019








Located near the port of Veraval, Diu is a small island which was earlier a Portuguese colony. This  union territory is  just 100 kms from Somnath town of Gujarat.  So , after visiting Somnath, we decided  to visit Diu for one day. Traveling by Taxi, It took us more than  two hours to reach Diu as the road  is currently under repairs /  widening . A bridge  connects  Gujrat with Diu .  Tourists and people from Gujrat state  rush to Diu for Liquor.

Spread in an area of about 44 sq  kms, Diu is green, clean and surrounded by sea from all sides. I was told that Portugese arrived here in sixteenth century and were made to leave in 1961 by army action. A massive fort was built by them to house their garrisons .Though August to October is the ideal time to visit Diu, Monsoon season is equally enjoyable over here.
We saw many old buildings with Portuguese architecture. Two old churches also are built in old Portuguese style.

After the  fall of Sassanian empire in Iran, Parsis first arrived in Diu  and stayed here for some years before moving to other places. Mehmood of Ghazni  also attacked Diu  in 1024 AD when he invaded India and   plundered somnath in Gujrat.

Kartik Bhai , Our Taxi driver cum guide said:

" Portugal gives citizenship to all persons born in Diu before 1961. So almost all  old residents of Diu have moved to Europe on Portugese  passport. Since Portugal is a member of European Union, it is very easy to move to Britain on a Portugese passport thereafter.Pesently Gujrati speaking people live in Diu . The population of Diu is about 22000. "

We saw the beautiful Jallandhar and Nagoa  beaches.We also went inside the Fort built by Portuguese. It has a massive presence in Diu.Another interesting place is the Vanakbara village with  colourful fishing boats.

We also visited Gangeshwar Mahadev temple located on sea shore.   After the high tide , generally at 3 PM, all the five shivlings of this temple get submerged in water. The temple is no where to be seen. It becomes visible in morning again.

We also visited the  INS KHUKRI memorial erected  on a small hill overlooking the sea .The naval frigate INS khukri was attacked by Pakistani submarines in Dec 1971 war  . Its captain , commander Mahendra Nath Malla(  A Kashmiri  .) opted to stay in the sinking ship alongwith some officers and 176 soldiers. He was awarded MVC posthumously.
The beautiful NAIDA caves  are something strange with huge  rock structures. These rocks  look like massive Artistic Sculptures. The caves have ample openings for sunlight and Air.

The Hokka Trees (Strange Palm Tree) at Diu are unique and are not found anywhere else in India. The fruits of these trees are edible and have medicinal properties.
A seashell Museum is another attraction in Diu.

So long so much about Diu.

(Avtar Mota)

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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Thursday, January 17, 2019




Reading this wonderful book written for every film goer who has been enchanted by the magic of Guru Dutt's films.

 Guru Dutt , a visionary and a mercurial director succeeded in making a personal statement with his cinema . He had three creative giants to support him in his ventures; I mean music director  S D Burman, Cinematographer VK Murthy and his script writer Abrar Alvi .

This book is a great attempt to tell hitherto unknown aspects of  the genius known as Guru Dutt and his team .Every chapter of this book is named after some song from some Guru Dutt film. So you have chapters like Bichhde Sabhi baari baari, Baat kuchh ban hi gayi,Aaj mujhe neend nahin Aayegi, kaahe ka jhgdaa baalam nayi nayi preet re, janam safal ho jaaye , Bade dhoke hain iss Raah mein, waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam and many more.

Enjoying each chapter of this paperback edition of Penguin's creation  priced at Rs299/-.





Excerpts from book " Ten years with Guru Dutt Abrar Alvi's Journey"

Johnny Walker....

" In an  industry known for its professional jealousness and  bickering , johny walker was one person who had no enemies .No one who wanted him to fall.  Johny's biggest rival could have been Mehmood,But Mehmood kept in touch with johny walker right upto the end and often wrote to me about his Johny Bhai. In fact , it was johny walker who introduced Mehmood to films via CID and Guru Dutt films. Johny Walker's humility and simplicity is evident  in many anecdotes that i can narrate.  Let me say one...
One day ,Johny was shooting for Guru Dutt film and heard a voice calling out "Badr ud Din, Badr ud Din" .He turned to see a burly man gesturing to him. It was the driver of the bus johny used to be conductor of. Johny was genuinely happy to see him and without any starry airs, embraced him and made him feel welcome .In fact ,it is this " Man from the soil " aspect of his character which came across in his performances and appealed to his fans."



From book " Ten years with Guru Dutt Abrar Alvi's Journey"

"  Guru Dutt always wanted to use sahir's poem Chakle  that had been composed much before Pyaasa was conceived. I  had first met sahir in 1951'at the meeting of poets and writers association. He had a big nose which caught my attention. We went to become good friends. Sahir drove a fiat car those days and smoked a lot though he was trying to kick the habit. He would break a cigarette neatly in half ,so neatly that it looked as if it had been cut with a knife.
Sahir had rather strong views about the importance of the lyricist vis a vis the music director , views that rubbed many people the wrong way.such conditions and convictions got him on the wrong side of many music directors of his time. One day, while we ,the Pyasa team were together , he got a bit high and aired his views on music directors being lesser mortals to writers like him. S D Burman , who was present ,got very riled up about his statement . Dada pronounced there and then that he will never  work  with sahir ,not for the rest of his life.

It was a crisis indeed. Pyaasa was under way and last song was yet to be written. Guru Dutt and me worked hard at mollifying Dada , and he softened to a degree. He agreed to set music to sahir's words but disagreed to sit with him to create the number.
Sahir was a straightforward person ;he was incapable of flattery , but he managed to surround himself with flatterers . "




Excerpts from book " Ten years with Guru Dutt Abrar Alvi's Journey"


" In 1962,  Dada (S D Burman ) announced that he was planning  a tour of Europe with his wife. Everything connected with the travel was fixed to the last detail with his travel agent. "Get all the work you need done. I won't be around for two months '" , he announced. Guru Dutt decided to have some fun and sought my help.

I started by saying" Chinese war is on , people are condemning Chinese . Please don't mind , i am saying this because i am concerned , you look more Chinese than Indian and people might end up treating  you badly because they hate what the Chinese are doing to an innocent country , and Bhabhi won't be able to help you much  either."

The joke backfired. Dada began to seriously reconsider the trip. Guru Dutt asked me "Abrar what have you done to Dada  ?"  We had to set about reassuring him and telling him that we had only been pulling his leg. Dada was gullible , trusting and childlike, such endearing traits . He was a loveable person , totally devoid of all pretences."




From the book "Ten years with Guru Dutt Abrar Alvi's Journey"..

" Handling sapru was quite another matter though. He was a seasoned actor,and had fixed views on his method if delivering  dialogues. Sapru believed that expression was controlled by breath , a laudable and worthy Idea, except for the fact that he had a rather pronounced belly that would bounce around with his deep breaths.

I was worried that his dialogue style would diminish his presence on screen. I had to find a way of ensuring that character of sapru remained a larger than life one. After all, sapru played the master of the Haveli , the elder brother who ruled over zamindari ,the Haveli and was the keeper of its "Morality" , despite his own wanton ways.

I did away with a lot of sapru 's dialogues. I trimmed his scenes and ensured that his lackeys spoke on his behalf. Needless to say, sapru was distraught ,But i reassured him. I told him that by speaking little and looking imposing and regal, he would come across as a sinister personality whose very appearance on screen would inform the audience that there was trouble ahead.
When i wanted him to order murder of Chhoti Bahu, i had the lackeys ,hefty men who looked like executioners,come up to him and say
"Hathiyaaron ko zung lag gayi hai ,Sarkaar" , And had him take off his ring and hand it to them. The effect of that scene is chilling and marks his personality in no uncertain manner.
I told sapru " Sapru sahib, you will score , your character will remain memorable , i am approaching it differently ." And to my credit, it worked wonderfully well."

(Avtar Mota)

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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