• TRINETRA BAJPAI

    • Oct 03, 2016
    • 4:50 PM
    A TECHNOCRAT WITH A RARE PASSION FOR HINDI CINEMA


    It was some time in the sixties. A little boy had accompanied his mother who was a popular and award-winning writer to see a film called "Professor" directed by Lekh Tandon and starring Shammi Kapoor and Kalpana and with music by Shankar-Jaikishan. The bright boy was so impressed with the film that as soon as he came out of the theatre, he told his mother that they would make Hindi films one day and whenever they made their first film, it would only be Lekh Tandon who would be the director... Time passed and that boy went on to be a leading chemical engineer who had made a name for himself not only in different parts of India, but in different countries of the world. His profession as a leading engineer made him live out of the country for several years, but his love and passion for Hindi cinema, Hindi film music and Hindi film legends continued and he kept in touch with the latest developments in the field of making Hindi films and the trends that kept changing in the kind of subjects being made and the work being done by his favourite legends like Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand and music composers like S.D Burman, Naushad, Khayyam and singers like Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Talat Mahmood and the whole galaxy of stars involved in the various aspects of filmmaking. He was one of the busiest chemical engineers known for the various projects and plants set up by him and his company, but it was in the midst of a world which had nothing to do with "things" like films and film celebrities that he continued to keep his passion for them always at the peak and treated them as his prime priority in life.

    It was during his stay abroad that he made all the efforts to compile all the details he could about Hindi films and had several collections of such compilations which were his own work which was a result of his unbelievable and unbridled love for everything to do with Hindi cinema.

    He married a talented and popular actress, Kanika who had worked with legends like Chetan Anand, Naseeruddin Shah and Dinesh Thakur among others. They had a daughter, Anshoula who had the same kind of passion for Hindi cinema that her father had and they all pursued their passion together, it was one family, all for Hindi cinema. Anshoula had developed a passion for writing and had besides writing the kind of things girls her age wrote also took to writing scripts seriously. Watching films of every kind from the vintage to the latest films was a way of life with the Bajpai family- and so was their discussing every film they saw.

    Eighteen years (I hope I am right) later Mr. Trinetra Bajpai returned to a Bombay which had gone through a sea change. He made his office on Linking Road which he was wise enough to invest in when the prices of property in Bombay were not so high his base from where he operated and managed his company which had now spread its wings far and wide. But I sometimes feel that if there was one reason why he came back to Bombay, it was to feel and scent the aroma of Hindi cinema which refused to leave him in spite of the time lapse and in spite of his being totally engrossed in expanding his empire. It was a true coming back home for Mr. Bajpai...

    It took him very little time to set all things right on the professional front and he made sure that he found time to follow his passion with double the passion and pleasure. He established contacts with his favourite director Lekh Tandon and then with the legends, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand and Khayyam and all those he had been missing while he was having an intense "affair" with all his plants and projects. He discovered a new world and was also inspired to be a part of this world which enraptured and enchanted him endlessly...

    Mr. Bajpai remembered the novel his revered mother, Mrs. Shantidevi Bajpai had written called "Vyavdhaan" which was read by filmmakers like B.R Chopra and Vijay Anand who had expressed their desire to make films based on her book, but it was not to be. He kept thinking of ways of paying his tribute to his mother, but found that it was not the right time to make a feature film. So, he decided to make a TV serial based on the book his mother wrote. He had all his favourites to work on his serial which was to be called "Bikhri Aas Nikhri Preet". Lekh Tandon, his boyhood hero was the director and Khayyam, his favourite composer was the music director, which was a major achievement for a TV serial and this was besides the large cast he had managed to assemble. The serial made like any other ambitious film was a very big hit on Doordarshan and had a repeat run.

    Mr. Bajpai has been planning other films and serials but he doesn't find it inspiring enough to follow the trends that are being followed these days. He was in talks with Dev Anand to work in a film based on a script written by Anshoula and Dev Sahab had loved the subject, but destiny had other plans and now that film may never be made, not at least with the "eternal Anand".

    Mr. Bajpai however has continued to keep his passion alive by writing books which are of a very high quality and not like the books that are being dished out by the dozens by people who pass on second hand knowledge in paper backs that publishers are willing to buy as long as they are "juicy" and controversial. Mr. Bajpai has put in all his efforts to come out with books like "Dilip Kumar-Perennial Delight Inspiring Generations", "Dev: Eternal Anand", "Shastriya Sangeet Ek Adhyayan" and "Those Magnificent Music Makers", all of which are like the ultimate and authoritative works on the subjects he has written about- with of course all the passion...

    The man with the passion may be involved in a discussion with his team of some of the best engineers, but just a mention of his favourite subject, Hindi cinema and his mind travels to those distant times when films were films and not tamasha, when music was melody and not shor sharaaba and acting and direction were a fascinating intoxication and not a naukri to be done just to make a good living. Mr. Bajpai has an enviable collection of films of all periods, books about cinema and cinema celebrities that have been written over the years and above all his own mind which is a library and a treasure house of every little detail anyone would like to know about Indian cinema till the time they made sense and were not a travesty in the name of cinema.

    Will Mr. Bajpai make films or serials now or in the future? With a man with the kind of passion I have rarely seen, it is very difficult to say. But, in the meanwhile, he is the source of inspiration behind his "hero" Lekh Tandon who at eighty-seven is directing a film called "Phir Ussi Mod Par".

    I have had the rare privilege of meeting hundreds of legends and celebrities who specialize in knowing you or respecting you till you are of use to them and then suddenly suffer from the kind of amnesia which the best doctors in the world will not even dare to think about treating, but I must have done something good at some stage of my life to be blessed to know a man like Mr. Trinetra Bajpai, a man, the kind of which the almighty Creator and Moulder has stopped making or has forgotten the art of making.

    BY ALI PETER JOHN