Little Known Facts / Miscellany to surprise you ... about ME!!
# Because of my surname, I am known to be a Sindhi, but, in fact, yours truly was born of Jat parents [Balram Singh & Shringar Kaur] located in the U.P./ Haryana belt, more precisely one of the only two cities in the entire whole world which are referred to as 'shahars,' in this case, Bulandshahar [the other one being Anupshahar,also in U.P.!].
- # The history behind the curious surname is quite cute actually. Dad, in the late 1930s, had his Passport rectified by a Bengali Clerk who, as a community tend to pronounce 'V' as 'B' (to them I am Robi!)and he insisted that BASWAN was no surname, assuming it to be Vaswan and since the most prevalent usage, correctly, was VASWANI, he amended it to 'B'aswani!! Thus, Dad's Medical Diplomas had "Dr.B.S.Baswani" inscribed on them, and DOCTORS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO CHANGE THEIR NAMES!!!
- # My father's brother's family continues to use the surname Baswan.
- # I could have reverted to the original, but I choose to be known by my father's name. Simply because I signed my first film, i.e., "Chasme-Buddoor" just a couple of months after my father "made his peace with his Maker!"
- P.S.- Incidentally, I have some very good Sindhi friends!! :-))
- And, I forgive the Bengalis! For they rarely know Bhot they do, ne c'est pas? -:))
- # Though born on the 29th September, 1946 in Bulandshahar [U.P.], the school records showed 26th June, 1947 .....courtesy Dad !! [ "Well, I thought it was 26th June"!]
- # Yes sir, what they call a true Libran...though personally, don't believe in all this crap! I mean how many actors - GOOD actors - do you know who were born on the 29th of September? Except Brigitte Bardot (WOW!) and Mehmood? I merely highlight this fact for all those visitors who believe in all this! No disrespect intended - to each their own, is my motto.
- # My only memories of home are in Connaught Circus, New Delhi - the place my parents moved sometime in 1946-47 - I think ! [Since the posting of this page, Manju, my niece - more on her later :-) - has corrected me thus: "Nanaji got CP in 1944. Paid a big ransom (!) of 8000/- as pugree those days. The person was dillydallying vacating premises, so Naniji shifted in while he was still there and he had to pack up!" THANKS MANJU! Come on guys, keep such corrections/amenments/additional information pouring in! - RB].
This was home not only to me and all suceeding members of the clan, but also to School and College friends, who, after years of no contact, continue to home to this place! Especially after my parents were no longer no more. I continue to live there even now as the Legal TENANT.# Education was in Delhi - St.Columba's High School and Kirori Mal College.
- # Now, own an extremely cosy pad in sububan Bombay. In Seven Bungalows, to be precise.
# Interest in theatre seemed to be inborn, though deep and intensive research shows none in the blood or in the Family Tree! [Maybe, the escapist in me could be held responsible!] Plays were happening throughout school and especially college, where I fell in love with acting as such, and lots of chicks, in particular! It certainly got me a lot of attention - which is, after all, the whole ball game!
# Mâis çertainement, had NO intentions of pursuing a career in dramatics, leave alone Cinema. [With a face like mine?]. So, like the usual good boy, joined as Sales Executive with A.U.E. [?? WHO?...never mind!], but 2 years nonce, one day walked into GSM's cabin and told him that I was quitting and then simply walked out forever on a Corporate job/ life.
- # This decision to chuck up a lucrative and "stable" career has an interesting anecdote. Stricken down with jaundice [Alcohol!], I happened to see Badaal Sircar's play "Evam Indrajit." A production from Calcutta, the play was directed by Shayamanand Jalan and had Kalyan Chatterjee - a contemporary alumni of Delhi College (now Zakir Hussain College). The theme of the play was based on the Greek myth of Sisyphus - cursed to roll a boulder uphill; on reaching the top the boulder would roll over to the other side; then to roll it back again;and so on incessantly. The play hit me right between the eyes! I came out dazed, "Shit! Isn't this what I have become?" The resolve was quick and clear!
- P.S.- I have narrated this to Shyamanand ji - now considerably more closer 'cos he, much later, married Chetna, my friend for years. However, I ain't sure whether the implication have ever dawned on him!! (Admittedly, I am much too much of a small fry for him to even bother!)
- # But, even then, wasn't sure of what career to pursue. But continued theatre activity led to a gradual comprehension of what "job satisfaction" eventually meant. So began free lancing in theatre - wasn't easy, hardly any money. That stimulated the essentially-an-actor to expand knowledge and activity to Direction and Designing.
- # A natural off take was the forming of our own theatre 'company' "Non-Group" - a dynamic group of commited and talented guys. Much to the chagrin of the established theatre groups in the capital, soon NG was a group to reckon with. Non-Group's crowning glory was celebrating the Leap Day in 1976 and 1980 for a 24-hour non-stop festival of Dance, Drama, Music, Films and the Fine Arts - all organized with every participant's co-operation and with NO help from the Establishment!
- # The name "Non-Group" came about as a reaction to the groupism which prevailed in all the other groups which we had suffered from as we found our feet.
- # .The Turning Point: Naseer (the Naseeruddin Shah , to others!) landed in Delhi with the script of a feature film called "Sparsh" being made by Sai Paranjpye. One look at it convinced me that Naseer was going to grab the National Award for sure! And that I was going to be involved in the project - even if as Naseer's spot boy! Eventually, Naseer did win that award and I handled the props for the film. For, luckily, Sai readily offered us 'backstage' work and thus, Non-Group became part of Cinema!
- # I still like to think that my role in her "Chasme-Buddoor" was a bonus for immaculate and infallible services rendered during the making of "Sparsh."
# The Two Most Important Persons in my life:
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