Now Playing:MZ20: Don!

Get previous episodes of Masala Zindabad!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Forgotten: Character Actors in Hindi Cinema Part 1

In our first official episode of the Masala Zindabad podcast, we talk to the always lovely Greta from Memsaab Story about actors we all recognize but seldom know by name. Memsaab Story, for those few of you who don't already know, has fast developed into a go-to resource for fans of Hindi cinema, especially for films of the 1970s and before.

The first of our two-part discussion includes the story of the (surprising?) movies that introduced Greta and Beth to Bollywood, hard-to-find actors like Nazir Kashmiri a.k.a. the Ramu Kaka of countless films who led to the start of Greta's Artist Identification Project, and how the supporting cast frequently outshone the lead actors.

Here are a few of the faces you'll hear about in our conversations about "Oh...that guy!"
  • Chandramohan in Roti (1942)
  • Nazir Kashmiri in Dilruba (1950)
  • Maybe Bismillah (on the left with the red turban) in Zabak (1961)?

And here's a link to Surjit Singh's gallery that inspired Greta's own massive galleries of actors through the decades.

You can listen to the Masala Zindabad podcast on iTunes, by clicking on the player above, subscribing to our feed, or simply by downloading here.

Join us next time for Part 2 featuring Sombrero Man and some truly astonishing stats.

Apradh (1972)

PS - Amrita would like you to know that, her crappy editing skills to the contrary, all members of this podcast do actually pause to breathe. Just fyi.


  1. I don't think Amrita's editing skills are in the least crappy. She managed to distill all my rambling down into something resembling coherence! :) Was lots of fun to do this, look forward to more on here :)

  2. Lovely. :-)
    Thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Fun to hear how Greta and Beth contracted Bollyfever. Clearly, this is one of those illnesses that does not go easily, once contracted. :-)

    Found the discussion about "that guy" also a lot of fun.

    In general, reading a blogpost is one thing - that is fun too - but hearing a person narrate her/his experience or thoughts gives a completely different dimension to the interaction and connect with that subject.

    You guys are doing a great job here - keep going! Looking forward to the next one.

  3. Rakhee Sawant !!?? Probably Rakhee would be more welcome in this conversation. :-)

  4. It's amazing to listen to you all, it's so much more interactive and I am loving it totally. Thank you, Beth, Greta & Amrita, for bringing this to us.

    What I find most surprising is that what passion and love for Bollywood can do to you only in matter of just a few years. It's simply amazing!!!

    I too love the 60s films and Mujhse Dosti Karoge. :D

    Can't wait for part 2 with info about the Sombrero man. EXCITING!!!

  5. I'm with Kanan - Bring on Sombrero Man!!! Excellent post ladies, and how lovely to hear your voice Greta :) I will admit that as you do such a great job of That Guy identification, I tend to just drop by your blog to answer those vexing questions of which That Guy I am watching. Masala Zindabad!

  6. Sadly Sombrero Man remains an enigma...but I never lose hope :D

  7. You had me at the opening music with RDB growling "sweetheart"!:-) Such fun!

  8. Memsaab - that's kind of you to say :) I'm looking forward to our next one already!

    Raja - thanks so much for listening! I agree, there's an additional dimension to hearing the voice of my favorite bloggers.

    Shashi - Our tastes range far and wide! :)

    Kanan - ha, and here we're hoping for some information on Sombrero Man!

    Temple - Masala zindabad to you too!

    Shalini - good grief! Is that what he's doing? I always thought he was making random sounds! I must have heard that piece of music a million times. And now that you mention it! Damn, something new every day indeed! Thanks! :)

  9. I always thought he was saying "Riiiiiiitaa!"---as in Mumtaz's character Rita (aka Madame Popololita)...but I could have made that up. In any case, he's awesome :)

  10. Memsaab - he makes that sound twice and both your suggestions sound good to me so maybe he's saying "Riiiiiiiiita" paramparampara "Sweeeeeeeheart" tururururu tururururu ruuuuuuuuuu

    It's possible :D