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  • 05/13/14--10:14: Pakeezah (1972)
  • Whenever people ask me what my movie blog is about, I say pre-70s cinema. Pre-70s, yes, but with a few (very few) exceptions, and those are films released in the very early 70s, but with a distinctly 60s feel to … Continue reading

    dustedoffMeena Kumari as Sahibjaan in PakeezahNargis writes a last letterNawabjaan talks to an anxious ShahabuddinSalim encounters a sleeping SahibjaanSahibjaan re-reads a beloved noteA familiar bookmarkSalim and SahibjaanMeena Kumari as SahibjaanFrom one of the scenes shot laterNawabjaan and Sahibjaan, at the climaxSahibjaan and two gilded cagesThe train stops at SuhagpurA nawab stakes his claimNadira as Gauharjaan in PakeezahMeena Kumari in Thaare rahiyoA view of the barge...A frame from PakeezahdustedoffMeena Kumari as Sahibjaan in PakeezahNargis writes a last letterNawabjaan talks to an anxious ShahabuddinSalim encounters a sleeping SahibjaanSahibjaan re-reads a beloved noteA familiar bookmarkSalim and SahibjaanMeena Kumari as SahibjaanFrom one of the scenes shot laterNawabjaan and Sahibjaan, at the climaxSahibjaan and two gilded cagesThe train stops at SuhagpurA nawab stakes his claimNadira as Gauharjaan in PakeezahMeena Kumari in Thaare rahiyoA view of the barge...A frame from Pakeezah

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    When I posted my review of Pakeezah last week, I mentioned that I’d be posting something further about Pakeezah. This is it, and the reason why I rewatched Pakeezah in the first place: I wanted to see, once again, the … Continue reading

    dustedoffBook cover: Meghnad Desai's Pakeezah: An Ode to a Bygone WorldMeena Kumari in PakeezahThe climactic scene from PakeezahA view of the Bazaar-e-HusndustedoffBook cover: Meghnad Desai's Pakeezah: An Ode to a Bygone WorldMeena Kumari in PakeezahThe climactic scene from PakeezahA view of the Bazaar-e-Husn

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  • 05/29/14--23:25: Only the Valiant (1951)
  • Someone once told me “I don’t watch Westerns and war movies. Too much blood and gore, too little character development, and no message to take home. Nothing but guts and glory.” True, if (and this is a very big, very … Continue reading

    dustedoffGregory Peck in Only the ValiantFort Invincible, holding the passJoe suggests killing TucsosLance gives orders to take Tucsos backGilchrist cribs about LanceSergeant MurdockBill, Cathy and Lance hob-nob a bitLance reports to Colonel DrummBill proposes to Cathy and is rejectedDrumm orders Lance to send Tucsos with BillCathy flies into a rageKebussyan assaults LanceCathy accuses Lance of sending Bill to his death for selfish reasonsLance makes a suggestion to the colonelLance picks a detail for the expeditionGilchrist prepares for the spell at Fort InvincibleLance leads his men to Fort InvincibleGregory Peck as Captain Richard Lance, in Only the ValiantdustedoffGregory Peck in Only the ValiantFort Invincible, holding the passJoe suggests killing TucsosLance gives orders to take Tucsos backGilchrist cribs about LanceSergeant MurdockBill, Cathy and Lance hob-nob a bitLance reports to Colonel DrummBill proposes to Cathy and is rejectedDrumm orders Lance to send Tucsos with BillCathy flies into a rageKebussyan assaults LanceCathy accuses Lance of sending Bill to his death for selfish reasonsLance makes a suggestion to the colonelLance picks a detail for the expeditionGilchrist prepares for the spell at Fort InvincibleLance leads his men to Fort InvincibleGregory Peck as Captain Richard Lance, in Only the Valiant

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    A couple of months back, amidst a discussion on one of my posts, fellow writer (and fellow Sahir Ludhianvi fan) Karthika Nair and I got involved—as we are apt to do—in talking about Sunil Dutt (who, coincidentally, has appeared in … Continue reading

    dustedoffSunil Dutt (June 6, 1929- May 25, 2005)Chalo ek baar phir se, from GumraahJalte hain jiske liye, from SujataAapke pehloo mein ro diye, from Mera SaayaMere saamnewaali khidki mein, from PadosanO meri baby doll, from Ek Phool Chaar KaanteItna na mujhse tu pyaar badha, from ChhaayaJab dekh liya toh chhupenge kahaan, from ChiraaghTum agar saath dene ka vaada karo, from HumraazYeh waadiyaan yeh fizaayein, from Aaj aur KalRang aur noor ki baaraat, from GhazaldustedoffSunil Dutt (June 6, 1929- May 25, 2005)Chalo ek baar phir se, from GumraahJalte hain jiske liye, from SujataAapke pehloo mein ro diye, from Mera SaayaMere saamnewaali khidki mein, from PadosanO meri baby doll, from Ek Phool Chaar KaanteItna na mujhse tu pyaar badha, from ChhaayaJab dekh liya toh chhupenge kahaan, from ChiraaghTum agar saath dene ka vaada karo, from HumraazYeh waadiyaan yeh fizaayein, from Aaj aur KalRang aur noor ki baaraat, from Ghazal

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  • 06/13/14--23:35: Ghazal (1964)
  • Those who frequent this blog have probably figured out by now that I have a soft spot (a very soft spot) for Muslim socials. So much so that I will watch just about any Muslim social out there, even if … Continue reading

    dustedoffMeena Kumari and Sunil Dutt in GhazalQausar catches Ejaz cheating on his rozaMehmood comes to Ejaz with an invitationEjaz hears Nargis singingNargis vows to have her revenge on EjazA love story begins in soppy styleEjaz is confronted, and ends up resigningQausar and Mehmood meet - and fall in loveAkhtar, Naaz's cousin and would-be suitorNaaz is struck dumbMeena Kumari as Naaz in GhazaldustedoffMeena Kumari and Sunil Dutt in GhazalQausar catches Ejaz cheating on his rozaMehmood comes to Ejaz with an invitationEjaz hears Nargis singingNargis vows to have her revenge on EjazA love story begins in soppy styleEjaz is confronted, and ends up resigningQausar and Mehmood meet - and fall in loveAkhtar, Naaz's cousin and would-be suitorNaaz is struck dumbMeena Kumari as Naaz in Ghazal

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  • 06/19/14--21:05: Ánimas Trujano (1962)
  • In a scene in Ánimas Trujano, the protagonist—the eponymous Ánimas, an inveterate gambler, drunk, and believer in every charm or superstition floating around—has just lost a lot of money on a cockfight. Ánimas, before the fight, had been certain he … Continue reading

    dustedoffToshiro Mifune in and as Animas TrujanoAnimas and mezcalAt a mayordomiaCatarina decides Tadeo appeals to herJuana and her son PedroJuana talks to DoroteaAnimas with his daughtersJuana works at the weighing scale in the mezcaleraAnimas hacks off the agave leavesBelarmino seduces DoroteaAnimas injures Belarmino and another manJuana begs El Espanol to sign the petitionPedro goes to workToshiro Mifune in Animas TrujanoJuana sees a signdustedoffToshiro Mifune in and as Animas TrujanoAnimas and mezcalAt a mayordomiaCatarina decides Tadeo appeals to herJuana and her son PedroJuana talks to DoroteaAnimas with his daughtersJuana works at the weighing scale in the mezcaleraAnimas hacks off the agave leavesBelarmino seduces DoroteaAnimas injures Belarmino and another manJuana begs El Espanol to sign the petitionPedro goes to workToshiro Mifune in Animas TrujanoJuana sees a sign

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    I have never—in all the years this blog has been in existence—compiled a list of my favourite Madan Mohan songs. An oversight, and one for which I have no explanation to offer: just reparation. Born Madan Mohan Kohli in Erbil … Continue reading

    dustedoffMadan Mohan, 1925-75Lag jaa gale, from Woh Kaun Thi?Main teri nazar ka suroor hoon, from JahanaraUnko yeh shikaayat hai, from AdalatEk haseen shaam ko, from Dulhan Ek Raat KiThodi der ke liye mere ho jaao, from Akeli Mat JaiyoMain toh tum sang nain milaake, from ManmaujiKaun aaya mere mann ke dwaare, from Dekh Kabira RoyaTeri aankhon ke siva duniya mein, from ChiraaghSaba se yeh keh do, from Bank ManagerHoke majboor mujhe, from HaqeeqatdustedoffMadan Mohan, 1925-75Lag jaa gale, from Woh Kaun Thi?Main teri nazar ka suroor hoon, from JahanaraUnko yeh shikaayat hai, from AdalatEk haseen shaam ko, from Dulhan Ek Raat KiThodi der ke liye mere ho jaao, from Akeli Mat JaiyoMain toh tum sang nain milaake, from ManmaujiKaun aaya mere mann ke dwaare, from Dekh Kabira RoyaTeri aankhon ke siva duniya mein, from ChiraaghSaba se yeh keh do, from Bank ManagerHoke majboor mujhe, from Haqeeqat

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  • 07/05/14--21:27: Chor Bazaar (1954)
  • There were various reasons for my wanting to see this film. One was that it’s a historical (okay, faux historical, considering it’s set in some undefined supposedly Middle Eastern land named Sherqand). The other was that its music was scored … Continue reading

    dustedoffShammi Kapoor in Chor BazaarYusuf is given a commissionLittle Prince Murad, seeing whom......Yusuf pauses.Mustafa and Abukaan exultYusuf with Shakila and 'Sheemu'The tattoo on the baby's armJamila, supposedly looking very much like Murad/SheemuSheemu, all grown upSheemu tries to break into the royal treasuryThe Princess GulnarSheemu flirts with JamilaShahzada Hyder comes to meet Gulnar...... and is accepted with simperingCheeku steals the pearlHyder threatens Mustafa with dire consequencesYusuf and Sheemu set up a trick to lure CheekuCheeku is caughtCheekuYusuf and Sheemu realise how useful Cheeku can beCheeku sets about binge-shopping off Sheemu's moneyGulnar, Sheemu's loveShammi Kapoor in Chor BazaardustedoffShammi Kapoor in Chor BazaarYusuf is given a commissionLittle Prince Murad, seeing whom......Yusuf pauses.Mustafa and Abukaan exultYusuf with Shakila and 'Sheemu'The tattoo on the baby's armJamila, supposedly looking very much like Murad/SheemuSheemu, all grown upSheemu tries to break into the royal treasuryThe Princess GulnarSheemu flirts with JamilaShahzada Hyder comes to meet Gulnar...... and is accepted with simperingCheeku steals the pearlHyder threatens Mustafa with dire consequencesYusuf and Sheemu set up a trick to lure CheekuCheeku is caughtCheekuYusuf and Sheemu realise how useful Cheeku can beCheeku sets about binge-shopping off Sheemu's moneyGulnar, Sheemu's loveShammi Kapoor in Chor Bazaar

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  • 07/16/14--09:49: Lilies of the Field (1963)
  • And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like … Continue reading

    dustedoffSidney Poitier and Lilia Skala in Lilies of the Fieldpic2The nuns smile in greetingMother Maria makes an offer while Homer fills waterpic5Homer gets to work on the roofHomer eats a rather frugal dinnerAt the dinner tablepic9pic10Mother Maria's chapelMother Maria shows Homer the site of the chapelHomer takes the nuns to churchAt Juan'sJuan talks to Homer about the nunsFather Murphy's church... and Father Murphy himselfHomer and the nunsdustedoffSidney Poitier and Lilia Skala in Lilies of the Fieldpic2The nuns smile in greetingMother Maria makes an offer while Homer fills waterpic5Homer gets to work on the roofHomer eats a rather frugal dinnerAt the dinner tablepic9pic10Mother Maria's chapelMother Maria shows Homer the site of the chapelHomer takes the nuns to churchAt Juan'sJuan talks to Homer about the nunsFather Murphy's church... and Father Murphy himselfHomer and the nuns

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  • 07/27/14--08:01: Mamta (1966)
  • While watching Pakeezah some months back (and reading Meghnad Desai’s book about the film), I was struck by how fond old Hindi cinema used to be of the motif of the ‘chaste tawaif’. A paradox, seemingly, because how could a … Continue reading

    dustedoffSuchitra Sen as Devyani/Panna Bai in MamtaPanna Bai dances and singsDr Abraham suggests a school for SuparnaThe evil Raakhaal, Panna Bai's husbandPanna Bai pays upDr Abraham meets Panna BaiMother Maamen refusesDevyani and Manish, and a farewellAn unwanted marriage and a vile husbandDevyani is left pregnant... and receives a shockMeena Bai brings Devyani home to the kothaDevyani transforms into Panna BaiManish meets Panna BaiPanna Bai sings of her anguish... and tells Manish allIndraneel arrives with a letter from SuparnaSuparna and IndraneelDevyani talks to Manish of Suparna and IndraneelDevyani and ManishSuparna and Indraneel, at workdustedoffSuchitra Sen as Devyani/Panna Bai in MamtaPanna Bai dances and singsDr Abraham suggests a school for SuparnaThe evil Raakhaal, Panna Bai's husbandPanna Bai pays upDr Abraham meets Panna BaiMother Maamen refusesDevyani and Manish, and a farewellAn unwanted marriage and a vile husbandDevyani is left pregnant... and receives a shockMeena Bai brings Devyani home to the kothaDevyani transforms into Panna BaiManish meets Panna BaiPanna Bai sings of her anguish... and tells Manish allIndraneel arrives with a letter from SuparnaSuparna and IndraneelDevyani talks to Manish of Suparna and IndraneelDevyani and ManishSuparna and Indraneel, at work

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    To say that I am fond of Sachin Dev Burman is to put it mildly. Along with OP Nayyar, SD Burman was one of the first music directors I heard of—thanks to my father, who is a devoted fan of … Continue reading

    dustedoffSathya Saran's 'Sun Mere Bandhu Re: The Musical Journey of SD BurmanSD BurmandustedoffSathya Saran's 'Sun Mere Bandhu Re: The Musical Journey of SD BurmanSD Burman

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  • 08/12/14--23:05: Rear Window (1954)
  • Friend, blog reader and sometime fellow blogger Harvey nudged me gently last week with a bit of information I hadn’t remembered. August 13th, 2014 was the 115th birth anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock. Was I planning to post something Hitchcock-related to mark … Continue reading

    dustedoffJames Stewart as LB Jefferies 'Jeff' in Rear WindowJeff recovers from a broken leg... and spends his time looking out at his neighbours'Miss Torso' with her visitorsMiss Lonely Hearts, all alone.The newlywedsThe Salesman and his bedridden wifeStella comes to attend to JeffLisa, Jeff's girlfriendLisa tries to get Jeff, once again, to marry herThe Salesman goes out one stormy nightSome odd things seenLisa and Jeff discuss Thorwald Thorwald hands over a trunk to be shippedDoyle pooh-poohs Jeff's suspicionsThelma Ritter, Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Rear WindowdustedoffJames Stewart as LB Jefferies 'Jeff' in Rear WindowJeff recovers from a broken leg... and spends his time looking out at his neighbours'Miss Torso' with her visitorsMiss Lonely Hearts, all alone.The newlywedsThe Salesman and his bedridden wifeStella comes to attend to JeffLisa, Jeff's girlfriendLisa tries to get Jeff, once again, to marry herThe Salesman goes out one stormy nightSome odd things seenLisa and Jeff discuss Thorwald Thorwald hands over a trunk to be shippedDoyle pooh-poohs Jeff's suspicionsThelma Ritter, Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Rear Window

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    Some time back, I received a request from a blog reader and long-ago professor of mine: would I do a post on songs sung at pianos? Hindi cinema, back in the good old days, invariably had a song at a … Continue reading

    dustedoffMale pianist Kisi patthar ki moorat se, from HumraazKhwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat, from Teen DeviyaanMain dil hoon ek armaan bhara, from AnhoneePyaar deewaana hota hai, from Kati PatangManzil wohi hai pyaar ki, from KathputliTum bin jaaoon kahaan, from Pyaar ka MausamAaj ki raat mere dil ki salaami le le, from Ram aur ShyamAapke haseen rukh pe, from Bahaarein Phir Bhi AayengiPatthar ke sanam tujhe humne, from Patthar ke SanamAgar sun le toh ek naghma, from Ek RaazdustedoffMale pianist Kisi patthar ki moorat se, from HumraazKhwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat, from Teen DeviyaanMain dil hoon ek armaan bhara, from AnhoneePyaar deewaana hota hai, from Kati PatangManzil wohi hai pyaar ki, from KathputliTum bin jaaoon kahaan, from Pyaar ka MausamAaj ki raat mere dil ki salaami le le, from Ram aur ShyamAapke haseen rukh pe, from Bahaarein Phir Bhi AayengiPatthar ke sanam tujhe humne, from Patthar ke SanamAgar sun le toh ek naghma, from Ek Raaz

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  • 08/30/14--23:08: Sagarika (1956)
  • Every now and then, when I’ve reviewed a Hindi film (Mamta, Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, Kabuliwaalah, Khamoshi) or even mentioned one (Devdas, Chori Chori), someone or the other has popped up and either informed me (or reminded me) that this … Continue reading

    dustedoffUttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen in SagarikaArun remembers his father's deathbed wishArun, now the house surgeonThe principal tells Arun about the scholarshipArun with his friend KedarArun with ShipraArun bumps into the beautiful SagarikaSagarika ticks Arun offArun leaves homeJaitha Moshai reassures ArunBasanti is brought to Sagarika's homeBasanti gets taken in by AsitSagarika writes to Arun as BasantiThe anguish of SagarikaKedar and 'Basanti' come to receive Arun at the airportShashi Kapoor and Sadhana in Prem PatradustedoffUttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen in SagarikaArun remembers his father's deathbed wishArun, now the house surgeonThe principal tells Arun about the scholarshipArun with his friend KedarArun with ShipraArun bumps into the beautiful SagarikaSagarika ticks Arun offArun leaves homeJaitha Moshai reassures ArunBasanti is brought to Sagarika's homeBasanti gets taken in by AsitSagarika writes to Arun as BasantiThe anguish of SagarikaKedar and 'Basanti' come to receive Arun at the airportShashi Kapoor and Sadhana in Prem Patra

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    I first came to know of Jamaali-Kamaali sometime in the mid-90s, when I was working for a hospitality company. The organization catered to a number of events, and one of the events for which we’d received an order was a … Continue reading

    On the train to Kleine Scheidegg and JungfraujochdustedoffThe tomb of Jamaali-Kamaali.Inside the tomb of Jamaali-Kamaali.The ceiling of the tomb of Jamaali-Kamaali.A decorated niche in the yard enclosing the tomb.Blue tile in a niche on the tomb wall.Incised plaster and tile decorate an arch inside the tomb.The two cenotaphs - of Jamaali and an unidentified man.On the train to Kleine Scheidegg and JungfraujochdustedoffThe tomb of Jamaali-Kamaali.Inside the tomb of Jamaali-Kamaali.The ceiling of the tomb of Jamaali-Kamaali.A decorated niche in the yard enclosing the tomb.Blue tile in a niche on the tomb wall.Incised plaster and tile decorate an arch inside the tomb.The two cenotaphs - of Jamaali and an unidentified man.

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  • 07/28/14--21:11: Eid Mubarak!
  • A very happy and blessed Eid to all of you who celebrate! And, because I can’t resist the temptation to share knowledge I come across while I’m doing my research, here’s a little tidbit about Eid as it was in … Continue reading

    dustedoffBahadur Shah 'Zafar' rides on elephant back in an Eid procession, 1843.dustedoffBahadur Shah 'Zafar' rides on elephant back in an Eid procession, 1843.

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    Most of the tombs I’ve listed so far in my on-and-off series on little known tombs of Delhi have been tombs I’ve been aware of for at least the past 15 years. It’s time, therefore, to move on to a … Continue reading

    I'm back!dustedoffThe Tomb of Yusuf Qattaal.A view of the tomb complex.The tomb of Yusuf Qattaal, seen from the mosque.The mosque beside the Tomb of Yusuf Qattaal.The six pillars that mark the remains of an unidentified tomb.I'm back!dustedoffThe Tomb of Yusuf Qattaal.A view of the tomb complex.The tomb of Yusuf Qattaal, seen from the mosque.The mosque beside the Tomb of Yusuf Qattaal.The six pillars that mark the remains of an unidentified tomb.

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  • 08/27/14--20:54: Sabz Burj
  • Next up on my list of occasional articles on little-known tombs of Delhi. Yes, macabre as it may sound, Delhi does have a lot of medieval tombs, mainly because—like mosques or forts—tombs were among the few buildings which could endure … Continue reading

    Upendra feeds Sujata from his own platedustedoffA view of Sabz Burj.Sabz Burj.A painted arched section on the outside of Sabz Burj.A view of the very damaged but once probably lovely ceiling of Sabz Burj.Upendra feeds Sujata from his own platedustedoffA view of Sabz Burj.Sabz Burj.A painted arched section on the outside of Sabz Burj.A view of the very damaged but once probably lovely ceiling of Sabz Burj.

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  • 09/08/14--07:15: Bahu Begum (1967)
  • …which could probably have been more appropriately titled How to Jump to Conclusions and Mess up Lives. Or Never Trust a Sinister Mamu. This is one Muslim social – a genre I have long admitted to being very fond of … Continue reading

    dustedoffMeena Kumari as Zeenat Jahaan Begum in Bahu BegumZeenat and her friends cavort under a mango treeKariman Bua takes Zeenat and Bilquees to taskYusuf comes to meet AchhanThat eye shadow...... and those eyebrows.A date in a gardenAchhan talks to Mamu about Yusuf's match with ZeenatSuraiya with her brother Sikandar MirzaZeenat, at the jewellers'Zeenat's father receives a delegation from Sikandar MirzaYusuf with his MamuZeenat gets the wrong impressionAchhan is arrested on a trumped-up chargeBilquees gives Zeenat some devastating newsZeenat faints at the dargahThe vakil and the witnesses arrive to ask for Zeenat's consentNawab Sahib begs Bilquees to do somethingSuraiya and Sikandar Mirza, in a mess not of their makingdustedoffMeena Kumari as Zeenat Jahaan Begum in Bahu BegumZeenat and her friends cavort under a mango treeKariman Bua takes Zeenat and Bilquees to taskYusuf comes to meet AchhanThat eye shadow...... and those eyebrows.A date in a gardenAchhan talks to Mamu about Yusuf's match with ZeenatSuraiya with her brother Sikandar MirzaZeenat, at the jewellers'Zeenat's father receives a delegation from Sikandar MirzaYusuf with his MamuZeenat gets the wrong impressionAchhan is arrested on a trumped-up chargeBilquees gives Zeenat some devastating newsZeenat faints at the dargahThe vakil and the witnesses arrive to ask for Zeenat's consentNawab Sahib begs Bilquees to do somethingSuraiya and Sikandar Mirza, in a mess not of their making

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    [A quick word for Dusted Off regulars, in case you haven’t noticed the non-cinema related posts that have recently appeared on my home page: this is part of the process of combining Dusted Off with my other writing. I’d gotten … Continue reading

    dustedoffThe Tomb of Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khanan.An unusual motif: a carved peacock. Incised plaster motif at Rahim's Tomb.A view of part of the interior of Rahim's Tomb: this is incised plaster.A pretty flower-shaped water tank a Rahim's Tomb.dustedoffThe Tomb of Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khanan.An unusual motif: a carved peacock. Incised plaster motif at Rahim's Tomb.A view of part of the interior of Rahim's Tomb: this is incised plaster.A pretty flower-shaped water tank a Rahim's Tomb.

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