What they say about ‘The Five Foolish Virgins’

It is always encouraging to find positive feedback for your work from friends and contemporaries.

Celebrated actor Raza Murad, who stands out with his voice, also has unique way of writing when he says:

My way of describing the five foolish virgins would be
Fantastic
Interesting
Vivacious
Entertaining

Fabulous
Outstanding
Overwhelming
Lovable
Inspiring
Sweet
Humorous

Vulnerable
Impish
Ravishing
Gorgeous
Inimitable
Noteworthy
Sensuous

Would like to salute my chronic and dear friend, Mohan Deep, for being brutally bold, forthright, hard- hitting and terribly entertaining. Would even like to possess the second / Kindle edition of this unforgettable and amazing novel.

*****

“The five foolish virgins” is an engrossing and a riveting novel. Funny, poignant and deliciously dark! Mohan Deep is known for his sensational, irreverent and acerbic writing and he makes full use of his talent in this book. Go for it!
A must read especially if you are the sixth virgin!”

Shekhar Suman
Actor, director and a standup comedian

*****

After the great George Bernard Shaw described “an Artist “, writer-novelist Mohan Deep goes one step ahead on the insight, describing the ARTIST in depth, true to its core. Page 107 of the book as written by the author is so true! And the credit goes to his past body of work, which speaks of his integrity and vast experience. Kudos to him. Surely worth reading.

Deepak Shivdasani
Film Maker

*****

“Mohan Deep’s The Five Foolish Virgins is a compelling thriller…I finished all 400 pages in three sittings spread over two days. Engrossing, succinct and entertaining narrative. A readymade material for a Bollywood multi-star movie. There are so many strong characters in the book that would attract both young and top ranking seasoned actors.”

Rasheed Kidwai
Author and Journalist

*****

‘The Five Foolish Virgins.’ is a fictionalized insider account of the world of Hindi cinema, a world Mohan is intimately familiar with.
Mohan Deep has written the book with his eye firmly trained on India’s growing young demographic, that consumes popular fiction about themes they understand readily. What is unusual about this book is that it is an insider account about facets of Hindi cinema which are not easily visible to those blinded by its glamour.
To his credit, Mohan has been known to shoot from the hip when it comes to deflating the massive egos that inhabit the Hindi movie world. This novel offers him one more platform to indulge in his favourite pastime. I suspect it might get optioned for a movie.

Mayank Chhaya
Author, painter

*****

Loved it, coming from a man, the insight into women’s minds is amazing. Interesting, pacy and extremely well written.

Kiran Joneja-Sippy
Actor, Director

*****

“The Five Foolish Virgins’ was a saga calling out to Mohan Deep to write it, a narrative that starts in pre-partition Sindh and straddles several decades in the hunting grounds of Bollywood, was inevitable.
Mohan Deep’s USP, even in his bios, is his heightened sense of visualisation and relentlessly incisive characterizations. Here too, one feels one is watching a movie as the story unfolds. One gets sucked into the vortex of dramatic lives, even as one enjoys the ticklish pin-points of “real” Bollywood personalities!!!
Is ‘The Five Foolish Virgins”, faction or fiction?
By the time you decide that in the last page, Mohan Deep leaves you panting for a sequel!

Nina Arora
Screenplay Writer

*****

‘Only an insider could write ‘The Five Foolish Virgins’. It is a saga of generations, juxtaposed beautifully with Bollywood as background. Glamour, affairs and many sordid tales – Mohan Deep tells it all. From casting couches to sabotaging a film everything makes a background for this most readable tale.
I have always loved Mohan Deep’s style of writing. I loved the plot and the characters and the way he brings the real Bollywood sans glamour to his readers.
Wish it was a bit longer. A must read!

Sumeetha Manikandan
Author

*****

A fast-paced, slick Bollywood novel about love and revenge.

Deccan Chronicle

A master storyteller!
As you read, the entire story flashes in front of you.
The author’s command over various languages is amazing. Well etched characters become different individuals as they speak in different styles and accents. As you come to the end, you start wishing that the book had been longer.

Amandeep Kaur
Writer

*****

This book is a page turner. ‘The Five Foolish Virgins’ – the title is dicey but makes you wonder after reading two hundred pages where it leads to. The end, however, justifies the title.
Mohan Deep shows the intricacies and the cultural differences between the two communities (Sindhis and Punjabis) with a great finesse. The language and the culture of Punjabis have been well described- you can trust me on this because I myself belong to a Sikh Punjabi family. I cannot comment about the portrayal of Sindhis but that must be authentic too.
The novel is so engrossing that you tend to visualize the chain of events. If I were to direct a film this would be my inspiration. Recommended read.

Navdeep (Goldie) Sandhu
High Court Lawyer, Chandigarh

*****

‘The five Foolish Virgins’ by Mohan Deep, while a work of fiction, is as real as it gets about the world of Bollywood. We can clearly see the underlying real truth in the constants of Bollywood through decades of change. Greed for fame, greed for money, greed for power overpowers humanity. Mohan Deep’s fluid language and vivid descriptions make this an enjoyable journey and an instant classic.
Bina Lalan
A software professional

*****

“Finished reading ‘The Five Foolish Virgins’ (Mohan Deep). It was good reading. No elaborate descriptions to bore. Gives you all the behind-the-scenes stories of the film industry. The last 100 pages are really spellbinding.” Mohan, this is ad verbatim what my father Whatsapp’ed me last night :). Now I have to wait till I collect the book from him 🙂
Navin Dutt
Professional in MNC with passion for free lance writing

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Click here to Buy ‘The Five Foolish Virgins’

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Feng Shui: To make a Wealth Vase

On the occasion of the New Chinese Year, the Year of the Sheep 2015.
You should get a suitably beautiful and valuable vase to contain your precious items. You may use a container made of the earth or metal element, although the earth vases are more efficient than metal ones.
Earth element vases can be made of porcelain, crystal or earthenware, while metal element vases can be made of copper, brass, silver or gold. Of course, the more expensive the material, the more auspicious the vase; but don’t go overboard and buy a very expensive solid gold vase – a gold-plated silver one would be more than sufficient.
The best shape for a Wealth Vase is one with a fairly wide mouth that narrows into a slender neck and then broadens out into a wide bottom, to resemble an hourglass. This shape allows plenty of money or wealth to flow in through the narrow neck and down into the broad base, where it will accumulate and remain for a long, long time. The vase can be as big or as small as you desire. As long as you use it properly, it should yield satisfying results.
The first thing to put in your new Wealth Vase is three, six, or nine Chinese coins tied with red string. Next, fill half of the vase with seven types of semi-precious stones; here are some examples of what you can use: amethyst, citrine, clear quartz, topaz, tiger’s eye, malachite, coral, lapis lazuli, sodalite, cornelian, jade, pearl, jasper, aquamarine, crystal, rose quartz, turquoise, etc. You may even put diamonds or other gems as well as your jewellery or colourful beads in the vase.
Wealth Vase
After that, if you can get it, put a bit of soil from a rich person’s garden (but you should use your wits to ask for it, as soil given to you is very lucky) into your vase to ‘borrow’ some of their wealth energy. You may also put a red packet filled with real money in the vase.
Next, in your Wealth Vase, place five types of ‘nourishing fruits’ (seeds and grain), such as millet, wheat, barley, rice, sorghum, red beans, green beans or soybeans, to signify an abundant and constant supply of food in the family. You may put this (uncooked) grain in a small plastic bag before putting it in the vase.
Whatever you use, the vase should be filled to the brim. If there’s still some space in the vase, top it up with more semi-precious stones. Cover it with five pieces of satin / silk in the following order:
Yellow (on the top), Red, Green, Blue and White, tied with threads in the same order.
You can keep your Wealth Vase in your cupboard, hidden from the prying eyes of others.
Take it out every New Year; clean the outside surface but never open it.

*****

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Glorious Phoenix

The bird proudly willing to burn,
So that he may live again,
Chooses the flames of fires
That burn the aged Phoenix
The nature stands still
Till a new young bird starts again,
and begins the legend of the Phoenix.

Claudian (Roman author)

One day in the ancient times, the sun looked down and saw a large bird with bright red and dazzling gold feathers. The sun god blessed him, “Glorious Phoenix, you shall be my bird and live forever!”
The Phoenix was overjoyed to hear these words and sang, “I shall sing my songs for you alone!” But living forever didn’t make him happy for long. Men, women, and children were always chasing him, wanting some of those beautiful, shiny feathers for themselves.
Tired, the phoenix flew off toward the east, where the sun rises in the morning.
The Phoenix flew for a long time, and then came to a far away, hidden desert where no humans lived. Here, flying freely he would sing the songs of praise to the sun alone.
Five centuries passed. The Phoenix was still alive, but it had grown old. It couldn’t soar so high in the sky, nor fly as fast or as far as it was young. It wasn’t as strong.
The Phoenix sang, “Sun, glorious sun, make me young and strong again!”
The sun didn’t answer. When the sun still didn’t answer, the Phoenix decided to return to the place of its origin.
The journey was long, and because the Phoenix was old and weak, it had to rest along the way. Each time it landed, it collected pieces of cinnamon bark and all kinds of fragrant leaves.

Phoenix on the top of the tree

When at last the bird returned to its home, it landed on a tall palm tree. Right at the top of the tree, the Phoenix built a nest with the cinnamon bark and lined it with the fragrant leaves. Then the Phoenix collected myrrh, a sharp-scented gum and made an egg from it. It carried the egg back to the nest.
Phoenix (vvsmall)
The Phoenix sat down in its nest, and once again, sang, “Sun, glorious sun, make me young and strong again!”
This time the sun heard the song. It shone down on the mountainside with all its strength. Everyone, every animal, reptile, bird hid from the sun’s fierce rays — in caves and holes, under shady rocks and trees.
Only the Phoenix sat upon its nest at the top of the tallest palm tree on the highest mountain and let the suns rays beat down upon it beautiful, shiny feathers. Suddenly there was a flash of light, flames leaped out of the nest, and the Phoenix became a big round ball of fire.
Continue reading “Glorious Phoenix”

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Three wars of YUDH

amitabhbachchanYUDH

Amitabh Bachchan has often changed the rules of the game, and Bollywood history of the last 40 years has witnessed it. He did the same to TV with Kaun Banega Karodpati too. He is always a treat to watch. I have expectations from Yudh.
I thought his entry would be dramatic, worked out brilliantly and we may have to wait for the buildup. Known for his legendary punctuality, Amitabh playing Yudhishtir Sikarwar or Yudh, didn’t waste a single frame before making his appearance.
The theme has exciting possibilities. Yudh is a successful builder with integrity and principles. He seems to have antagonized a powerful group including a politician played by Tigmanshu Dhulia, a Police Commissioner (Kay Kay Menon) and some others. Yudh seems to suffer from some strange neuro-psychological ailment. He is delusional – seeing a clown instead of a normal person – and is unable to control his left arm. This conflict is difficult to understand though it gives an unusual dimension to the story. He has two wives (Sarika is the ex and Ayesha Raza is the second wife) and has a daughter and a son from both, respectively.
So we have three wars – 1. Amitabh V/S Business rivals. 2. Amitabh V/S his wives (this has yet to become clear.) and 3. Amitabh V/S Amitabh because of his strange ailment. The third conflict may be more interesting.
But seeing that this is supposed to be an ‘expensive’ mini-series I was disappointed to see a rather unimpressive office of Amitabh, the construction magnate. I’d advise the set designer to take a look at the offices of Hiranandanis, Oberoi Reality, Lokhandwala and other builders. But how much of the production values you see on the screen and how much is gobbled up by the big names would be confidential information with Anurag Kashyap, Shoojit Sircar and Ribhu Dasgupta.
I’ve talked of possibilities but it all depends on how the story shapes up. Unlike most of the soaps, this seems an intelligently told story. The second episode will tell.

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Bobby Jasoos Review

Booby_Jasoos

I preferred to watch Vidya Balan in Bobby Jasoos over two untried fresh faces in Lekar Hum Deewana Dil.
I am more than familiar with this milieu (jasoosi and Moslim mohlas) and a movie like this had immense possibilities of an absorbing and entertaining film.
Vidya is great!
But if you are looking for an edge of the seat film, this film is not for you. There is no suspense and surprise ending. This is an amateur’s way of looking at an amateur jasoos.
Someone somewhere decides to make a woman-centric film because it has worked for Vidya Balan in the past. It works.
Have some scenes, in fact many of them, where she dominates the ‘men’ playing second fiddle to her. Throw a situation where a young woman wants to prove herself, bring fame to her family ‘by playing a detective’ and you see an emancipated woman being portrayed.
Jasoos?
Vidya’s wonderful disguises of a bearded old maulvi, a beggar, a bangle-seller, a buck-toothed and balding palm reader are more interesting in promo than in the film, where they are wasted.
The successful jasoos is always inconspicuous. He may be clad in a faded jeans… Well, this one is she. She is known in the entire Shahjanpura as ‘Bobby Jasoos’ and is even called, “Ae jasoos!” But of course let’s not expect realism though the style for the rest of the film is realistic what with Supriya Pathak playing her very believable mother and Rajendra Gupta her father.
Ali Fazal impresses despite being given a step-motherly second fiddle to play as the friend turned lover of Vidya and KiranKumar is superb as the victim of riots father hiring Bobby Jasoos to locate his lost children.
Director Samar Shaikh will go a long way if he focuses on the ethos familiar to him, like in this film. But please no sequel unless you take script from me 🙂

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Sunanda Pushkar-Tharoor died before spilling the beans…

Sunanda2

The Supreme Court (SC) has analysed section 113B of the Evidence Act with, “If it is found that the husband had harassed the woman for dowry, or treated her cruelly, the court shall presume that he had caused her death.

But Shashi Tharoor doesn’t belong to the ‘cattle class’. A husband belonging to ‘cattle class’ may find himself behind bars and his family may face harassment for years but Shashi Tharoor belongs to different class, the ruling class.
Besides retaining his portfolio, Shashi has even been appointed one of the spokesperson of Congress Party and the mysterious death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar-Tharoor slowly gets pushed into inside pages of newspapers.
Domestic violence, a politically soft term for ‘wife beating’ has certainly played a role in Sunanda Pushkar-Tharoor’s death. Shashi Tharoor’s version doesn’t match with the statements given by his staff and the injuries on her person points to domestic violence.
In fact, more details have emerged in Sunanda Pushkar case. The ‘few injuries’, ‘not related to her death’ are over a dozen on both her hands and arms and a ‘minor bruise’ caused by a ‘blunt force’ on her cheek.
There are witnesses, including Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari, who have confirmed that the couple fought bitterly for 72 hours – most of the time in public. They were fighting over Shashi’s ‘affair’ with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar. Sunanda had obviously hijacked her husband’s e-mail and twitter accounts, had come across the incriminating tweets and mails. She posted some more on his account and created a mini-scandal.
She took the fight to Mehr Tarar, accused her of being a Pak Spy – an allegation that could have cost a Minister in any other country his job – and scheduled a talk with several TV channels.
All hell broke loose!

The marriage of convenience

In an obvious reference to IPL controversy, Sunanda also talked about taking ‘the crimes of her husband on her head’. Marriage itself seems a part of ‘cover-up’.
Continue reading “Sunanda Pushkar-Tharoor died before spilling the beans…”

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Mohan Deep on ‘Sakharam Binder’ (Now in English)

MD for the blog (smaller)

Vijay Tendulkar’s ‘Sakharam Binder’ was among the plays that hit the headlines as ‘controversial’ when it was banned in mid-seventies.
I considered this an over-reaction of an insecure government that provides Z plus security to politicians who recklessly offend sensibilities but bans thought provoking books, plays and films. I have a grouse as the same government refused to give the censor certificate for my historical fictional play set in emergency period ‘Nehru and the Tantrik Woman’ but I won’t go into that.
Dr Rajesh Nahar, an Oncologist based in USA who has left a flourishing career in medicines, like Madhuri Dixit‘s husband Dr Sriram Nene, for a career in acting plays the protagonist. ‘Sakharam Binder’ has been played by actors as versatile as Nilu Phule, Amrish Puri and Kulbhushan Kharbanda!
It was Rajesh’s choice of the play that I was tempted to meet the cast as they rehearsed in a basement of Filmalaya studio. But I had also seen how classics have been murdered in the recent years. Sanjay Leela Bhansali had murdered ‘Devdas’ and also some other murder attempts I don’t to mention now.
Rajesh zeroed on Yogesh Pagare, who has spent two decades in theatre and TV as an actor, writer and director to direct ‘Sakharam Binder’.
Yogesh is directing a Hindi movie ‘Ek Tha Hero’, to be released in mid-2014, and was game to direct Vijay Tendulkar’s play. Rajesh Nahar is good at several languages though it doesn’t matter as this play is in English.
It was he who brought Sharbani Mukherjee in the picture.
Sharbani is a part of the huge family tree of Sashadar Mukherjee which has branches like Joy and Deb Mukherjee, Kajol and Rani Mukherjee among many others.
Sharbani - Rajesh - Gulki
Sharbani started with a role in ‘Border’ and also did ‘Mitti’ with Salim Akhtar who made the debut film of Rani Mukherjee, and has done a dozen films including two Malayam films.
Tanuja too has done films in different languages,” Sharbani tells me as I observe the similarity in charisma around her and other Mukherjee girls. It will be a pleasure to watch her on stage.
Continue reading “Mohan Deep on ‘Sakharam Binder’ (Now in English)”

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Kejriwal, Faiz and Sahir

Kejri
Arvind Kejriwal is the aam aadmi who repeats the promises of the communists from sixties that they didn’t keep. Political pundits are skeptical but the youth, which has not witnessed the betrayal by the communists, seem hopeful for a change. He may have sung Pradeep’s ‘Insaan ka insaan se ho bhaaichara’ but has inspired filmmaker Anubhav Sinha to post Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s, ‘Hum dekhenge / laazim hai je hum bhi dekhenege / Who din ki jiska wada hai / Jo loh-e-azal mein likha hai.’
But I remembered Sahir Ludhianvi ‘s ‘Woh subah kabhi to aayegi
Two great poets! Both echo similar thoughts. I love the poets but don’t know whether we can trust the politicians.
Arvind Kejriwal travelled by Metro and, once upon a time, George Fernandez stepped into a BEST bus to get down at Azad Maidan to give his speech to the Municipal employees. George had got down from a Mercedes at Metro and his chauffeur followed the bus for one kilometer. He was a socialist who could be comfortable with BJP and corruption.
Yogendra Yadav has confirmed that the AAP is indeed socialist.

Here are the two poems:

Continue reading “Kejriwal, Faiz and Sahir”

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Solving the mystery around Guru Dutt’s death

I am going to watch ‘Kagaz Ke Phool’ today, at Jagran Film Festival. I missed ‘Pyasa’ this time but have seen it a number of times, including the time it was released. I don’t intend to miss ‘Kagaz Ke Phool’, not that I’ve not seen it earlier.
Press didn’t value him, and in fact ignored him during his life time –  partly because he didn’t flaunt his love life like, say, Raj Kapoor. And mainly because they found him a little ‘boring’ and not one of ‘the beautiful people’. He got his due share of limelight when he died mysteriously at 39 and recognition when he was included in Time magazine’s “All-TIME” 100 best movies in 2005 and by the Sight & Sound critics’ and directors’ poll in 2002, where Dutt himself is included among the greatest film directors of all time.
At the same time, I feel sorry for the kind of media we have. There have been books and now someone is making a biopic but there has been no serious attempt to explore the mystery behind his death. Alcohol and sleeping pills – Sonarils.
Continue reading “Solving the mystery around Guru Dutt’s death”

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What is Karan Johar doing with ‘The Lunchbox’?

Saw ‘The Lunchbox’.
My first question is: what is Karan Johar doing here? 
But that will come later. 
Great performances by Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (though he is a little loud and makes an effort to steal the show from Irrfan) and a restrained performance by Nimrat Kaur. 
What I liked about the movie, besides it being a slice of life of Mumbai’s middle class and the ‘small moments’ of real people, is the end. 
No climax, no anti-climax, no surprise ending. 
Just leave the story hanging.. the way we, who wrote short stories in ’70s, used to do. I remember telling a critic that I end my short story at the point when the ink gets over!
I wrote nearly 200 short stories. I’d almost forgotten them. But seeing that even Karan Johar types are now interested in such stories (remember his Bombay Talkies?) I’m thinking of selecting 10 of mine, updating them and getting them published. 
Basu Chatterjee used many stories. ‘Rajanigandha’ was one of them. Basu Bhattacharya made ‘Aavishkaar’. There were others. There were serials too. No, I’m not talking of third class – but popular – Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chashma or Sharad Joshi’s equally bad ‘Laptaganj’. They were considered trash which they certainly are, but that is also because the people who watch them know nothing better. They read about ‘Oscar’ controversy and watch ‘The Lunchbox’. 
I don’t see any difference between them and Karan Johar. KJO is a commercial filmmaker who has managed all the awards and honors in Indi. For sometime he has longing for honors at film festivals and if possible Oscars. 
He doesn’t realize that it is difficult to swing both ways. 

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