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    I have Richard, over at Dances on the Footpath, to thank for this. Several years back, Richard had linked a blog post to a URL from where one could download Balraj Sahni’s autobiography. Since I’m a fan of Mr Sahni’s, … Continue reading

    dustedoffBalraj Sahni in AnuradhaBalraj Sahni with his wife Damayanti, in 1936Balraj Sahni in Dharti ke LaalBalraj Sahni as the jailor in HulchulNoel Corke, later assistant cameraman in HaqeeqatBalraj Sahni in KabuliwaladustedoffBalraj Sahni in AnuradhaBalraj Sahni with his wife Damayanti, in 1936Balraj Sahni in Dharti ke LaalBalraj Sahni as the jailor in HulchulNoel Corke, later assistant cameraman in HaqeeqatBalraj Sahni in Kabuliwala

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  • 10/30/15--02:52: Seong Chun-Hyang (1961)
  • Among the most popular old tales in Korea—or so various sites inform me—is that of Chun Hyang, the beautiful daughter of a courtesan, and of Chun Hyang’s efforts to remain faithful to her husband, come what may. I happened to … Continue reading

    dustedoffKim Jin-kyu and Choi Eun-hee in Seong Chun-Hyang.Mong-ryong rides through Namwon.Chun-Hyang, on a swing.Mong-ryong asks Bang-ja for some information.Bang-ja talks to Chun-Hyang's maid.Mong-ryong decides he must meet Chun-Hyang for himself.A shy meeting.Chun-Hyang's mother Wol-Mae questions herMong-ryong meets Wol Mae and makes a written promise.The news spreads in Namwon.The happy couple.Mong-ryong's parents announce a return to the capital.Chun-Hyang gives her husband a jade ring.The new governor of Namwon...... gets the gisaengs of the province to parade before him. ... and is taken aback by Chun-Hyang's answer.The governor persists, but Chun-Hyang stays firm.A scene from the film.Chun-Hyang in prison.A pansori performance of The Tale of Chin-Hyang, from the 2000 film of the same name.Lee Hyo-jeung and Cho Seung-woo as Chun-hyang and Mong-ryongA scene from the 2000 film.dustedoffKim Jin-kyu and Choi Eun-hee in Seong Chun-Hyang.Mong-ryong rides through Namwon.Chun-Hyang, on a swing.Mong-ryong asks Bang-ja for some information.Bang-ja talks to Chun-Hyang's maid.Mong-ryong decides he must meet Chun-Hyang for himself.A shy meeting.Chun-Hyang's mother Wol-Mae questions herMong-ryong meets Wol Mae and makes a written promise.The news spreads in Namwon.The happy couple.Mong-ryong's parents announce a return to the capital.Chun-Hyang gives her husband a jade ring.The new governor of Namwon...... gets the gisaengs of the province to parade before him. ... and is taken aback by Chun-Hyang's answer.The governor persists, but Chun-Hyang stays firm.A scene from the film.Chun-Hyang in prison.A pansori performance of The Tale of Chin-Hyang, from the 2000 film of the same name.Lee Hyo-jeung and Cho Seung-woo as Chun-hyang and Mong-ryongA scene from the 2000 film.

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    Some weeks back, fellow blogger and reader Abhik Majumdar suggested an idea for a song list: songs actually sung by (not merely lip-synched by) actors. Not singer-cum-actors, but people who were known only for their acting. I couldn’t think of … Continue reading

    dustedoffRajKapoorDilipKumarRafiMukeshTuntunVyjyanthimalaMalaSinhaShatrughanSinhaKumarGandharvaMSSubbulakshmiNaliniJaywantMehmooddustedoffRajKapoorDilipKumarRafiMukeshTuntunVyjyanthimalaMalaSinhaShatrughanSinhaKumarGandharvaMSSubbulakshmiNaliniJaywantMehmood

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    Long-time readers of this blog probably know by now that I’m a writer. Those who’ve been reading this blog for a couple of winters may also remember that, come autumn, and when India’s 70-odd literary festivals swing into action, I … Continue reading

    dustedoffA view of the Sukhna Lake club grounds and the lit fest stalls .Seen from afar, but that's Nayantara Sahgal in conversation with Kiran Nagarkar.At the 'Potpourri' session: Ratna Vira, Me, our moderator Puneet, and Tishani Doshi.Before the Whodunit session: Jane, Me, Puneet (who moderated my first session), and Aradhika.Jane De Suza's The Spy Who Lost Her Head.dustedoffA view of the Sukhna Lake club grounds and the lit fest stalls .Seen from afar, but that's Nayantara Sahgal in conversation with Kiran Nagarkar.At the 'Potpourri' session: Ratna Vira, Me, our moderator Puneet, and Tishani Doshi.Before the Whodunit session: Jane, Me, Puneet (who moderated my first session), and Aradhika.Jane De Suza's The Spy Who Lost Her Head.

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  • 11/16/15--07:36: Sangdil (1952)
  • Hindi cinema has, over the years, borrowed liberally from English literature. Shakespeare (Hamlet, and in more recent years, Angoor, Omkara, Maqbool, and Haider), Agatha Christie (Gumnaam), Arthur Conan Doyle (Bees Saal Baad), AJ Cronin (Tere Mere Sapne): Hindi cinema seems … Continue reading

    dustedoffDilip Kumar and Madhubala in SangdilKamla gets whackedAn old man frets on his deathbedDhaayi Maa tells Shankar and Kamla a storyKamla is dragged off to an ashram...... and ends up with Badi MaaAt the initiation ceremonyKamla learns of a festival for which they will travelThe Thakur with Mohini- and with a strange, wild manBadi Maa talks to KamlaKamla saves the Thakur - and gets little gratitudeOne dark nightThe Thakur is annoyed Kamla realises who the Thakur isDilip Kumar and Madhubala in SangdildustedoffDilip Kumar and Madhubala in SangdilKamla gets whackedAn old man frets on his deathbedDhaayi Maa tells Shankar and Kamla a storyKamla is dragged off to an ashram...... and ends up with Badi MaaAt the initiation ceremonyKamla learns of a festival for which they will travelThe Thakur with Mohini- and with a strange, wild manBadi Maa talks to KamlaKamla saves the Thakur - and gets little gratitudeOne dark nightThe Thakur is annoyed Kamla realises who the Thakur isDilip Kumar and Madhubala in Sangdil

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    Or, to put that better: Hindi film songs that begin with the word “Aaja”. Let me give the background for this. My daughter, ever since she was a baby, has always had an ear for music. All you had to … Continue reading

    dustedoffAaja songsAaja aaja main hoon pyaar tera, from Teesri ManzilAaja aayi bahaar, from RajkumarAaja ke intezaar mein, from HalakuAaja ab toh aaja, from AnarkaliAaja re main toh kabse khadi is paar, from MadhumatiAaja sanam madhur chaandni mein hum, from Chori ChoriAaja re aa zara aa, from Love in TokyoAaja meri barbaad mohabbat ke sahaare, from Anmol GhadiAaja tujhko pukaare mera pyaar, from NeelkamalAaka re ab mera dil pukaara, from AahdustedoffAaja songsAaja aaja main hoon pyaar tera, from Teesri ManzilAaja aayi bahaar, from RajkumarAaja ke intezaar mein, from HalakuAaja ab toh aaja, from AnarkaliAaja re main toh kabse khadi is paar, from MadhumatiAaja sanam madhur chaandni mein hum, from Chori ChoriAaja re aa zara aa, from Love in TokyoAaja meri barbaad mohabbat ke sahaare, from Anmol GhadiAaja tujhko pukaare mera pyaar, from NeelkamalAaka re ab mera dil pukaara, from Aah

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  • 11/29/15--23:22: Restaurant Review: Side Wok
  • Fellow blogger and friend Harini and I meet up every couple of months to chat about films, books, and more—and we invariably do so over lunch, followed by coffee and tea. Our usual haunt (we are creatures of habit, as … Continue reading

    Spicy tofu aniseed at Side Wok: delicious stuff.dustedoffInside Side Wok.Pickled vegetables: a mixed lot, and cabbage with chilli and sesame oil.Spicy tofu aniseed at Side Wok: delicious stuff. The pork ramen at Side Wok: not really ramen, but not bad.Spicy tofu aniseed at Side Wok: delicious stuff.dustedoffInside Side Wok.Pickled vegetables: a mixed lot, and cabbage with chilli and sesame oil.Spicy tofu aniseed at Side Wok: delicious stuff. The pork ramen at Side Wok: not really ramen, but not bad.

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    Nasir Hussain, as someone (he himself?) once remarked, came to Bombay with one story in his briefcase, and made out of it one blockbuster after another. The story of a son, separated by circumstances from one parent and going through … Continue reading

    dustedoffAsha Parekh and Dev Anand in Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota HaiMalti comes visiting.... and is distraught.Nisha learns the truthSohan butters up the boss.Nisha offers to do Daddy's work in DarjeelingSundar and his palEavesdropping on a conversationNisha and 'Monto'The real Popatlal talks on the phoneSohan is blackmailedA meeting in the pastThe hotel manager has a chat with SohanSundar is framedNisha and Sundar and a developing misunderstandingAsha Parekh as NishaDev Anand as SundardustedoffAsha Parekh and Dev Anand in Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota HaiMalti comes visiting.... and is distraught.Nisha learns the truthSohan butters up the boss.Nisha offers to do Daddy's work in DarjeelingSundar and his palEavesdropping on a conversationNisha and 'Monto'The real Popatlal talks on the phoneSohan is blackmailedA meeting in the pastThe hotel manager has a chat with SohanSundar is framedNisha and Sundar and a developing misunderstandingAsha Parekh as NishaDev Anand as Sundar

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  • 12/09/15--05:36: Hua Mu-Lan (1964)
  • Aka (in its English translation) Lady General Hua Mu-Lan. I must admit to my ignorance: till a couple of months back, I had only heard of Mu-Lan (or Mulan). I’d no idea who Mu-Lan was, whether her character was fictitious … Continue reading

    dustedoffIvy Ling Po as Hua Mu-LanNews arrives of an invasionMulan comes rushing homeAn ailing father raises objectionsMing convinces his uncle to meet his 'friend'Mulan is praised...... and sent off to enlist.Ming and Mulan decide to go their own waySome rowdy fellow soldiers at an innMulan makes her presence feltGeneral LiAt the warehouse...Mulan gets tipsy and is helped away by MingLady General Hua Mulan (though nobody knows she's a lady)Li and MulanMulan, the Disney heroineWei Zhao as MulanWei Zhao and Chen Kun in Mulan: Rise of a WarriordustedoffIvy Ling Po as Hua Mu-LanNews arrives of an invasionMulan comes rushing homeAn ailing father raises objectionsMing convinces his uncle to meet his 'friend'Mulan is praised...... and sent off to enlist.Ming and Mulan decide to go their own waySome rowdy fellow soldiers at an innMulan makes her presence feltGeneral LiAt the warehouse...Mulan gets tipsy and is helped away by MingLady General Hua Mulan (though nobody knows she's a lady)Li and MulanMulan, the Disney heroineWei Zhao as MulanWei Zhao and Chen Kun in Mulan: Rise of a Warrior

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  • 12/17/15--07:09: Ferry (1954)
  • Earlier this year, commenting on a post, reader Shalini recommended Ferry to me. I admitted that I’d seen the film—years ago—on Doordarshan, and had liked it, though over the intervening years I’d forgotten what exactly it was all about. I … Continue reading

    dustedoffGeeta Bali and Babu in FerryLittle Raju goes to the riverbank to await the arrival of his motherThe ferryman explainsRaju gets some canine helpRaju with his little friend, MinooVikas and Raju have a little chatRaju and Minoo turn up at a 'palace'A useless attempt to find Raju's motherVikas talks to his friends and well-wishersTwo women have a chatJuhi washes up on the riverbank, and meets RajuThe love between Raju and JuhiVikas has a conversation with JuhiJuhi remembers her neglectful motherEarly days and instructionJuhi's 'grandmother' diesJuhi tries to appeal to the non-existent goodness of two lechersVikas and JuhidustedoffGeeta Bali and Babu in FerryLittle Raju goes to the riverbank to await the arrival of his motherThe ferryman explainsRaju gets some canine helpRaju with his little friend, MinooVikas and Raju have a little chatRaju and Minoo turn up at a 'palace'A useless attempt to find Raju's motherVikas talks to his friends and well-wishersTwo women have a chatJuhi washes up on the riverbank, and meets RajuThe love between Raju and JuhiVikas has a conversation with JuhiJuhi remembers her neglectful motherEarly days and instructionJuhi's 'grandmother' diesJuhi tries to appeal to the non-existent goodness of two lechersVikas and Juhi

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    I am a creature of habit. And a lot of habits of mine kick in around Christmastime every year. One is the daily posting, on Facebook, of a favourite Christmas carol. Another is this: the reviewing of a film that centres … Continue reading

    dustedoffchristmas-clip-art-free-downloads-174203Doris receives a shockAn old man gives some unwanted adviceMacy's Thanksgiving Parade...... and Santa in it.Mr Shellhammer gives some instructionsKris Kringle and Alfred have a chatSusan, with Fred GaileyInviting Mr Gailey over for dinnerSome mutual attraction?A little boy tells Santa what he wants for Christmas...... and Santa tells his mother where to get itKris Kringle's employee cardDoris boots Mr Kringle outMr Sawyer 'examines' Mr KringleThe doctor from the old age home assures Doris and Shellhammer.Mr Kringle with Susiedustedoffchristmas-clip-art-free-downloads-174203Doris receives a shockAn old man gives some unwanted adviceMacy's Thanksgiving Parade...... and Santa in it.Mr Shellhammer gives some instructionsKris Kringle and Alfred have a chatSusan, with Fred GaileyInviting Mr Gailey over for dinnerSome mutual attraction?A little boy tells Santa what he wants for Christmas...... and Santa tells his mother where to get itKris Kringle's employee cardDoris boots Mr Kringle outMr Sawyer 'examines' Mr KringleThe doctor from the old age home assures Doris and Shellhammer.Mr Kringle with Susie

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    A strange series of Sadhana-centric coincidences happened over the past fortnight or so. A new reader—a die-hard Sadhana fan—suddenly arrived on my blog, and commented enthusiastically on just about each of the Sadhana film reviews I’d posted. Then in an … Continue reading

    dustedoffSadhana in AarzooLag jaa gale ke phir yeh, from Woh kaun thi?Sadhana in AarzooSadhana in Mere MehboobSadhana in WaqtSadhana in ParakhDev Anand and Sadhana in Hum DonoSadhana and Shashi Kapoor in Prem PatraSadhana in AnitaSadhana in Love in SimlaSadhana in AarzooSadhana in IntequamdustedoffSadhana in AarzooLag jaa gale ke phir yeh, from Woh kaun thi?Sadhana in AarzooSadhana in Mere MehboobSadhana in WaqtSadhana in ParakhDev Anand and Sadhana in Hum DonoSadhana and Shashi Kapoor in Prem PatraSadhana in AnitaSadhana in Love in SimlaSadhana in AarzooSadhana in Intequam

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    When Sadhana passed away at Christmas and I finally got down to thinking what tribute I’d post, the first thing that came to my mind was: a list of Sadhana songs. My favourite ten songs. Then, I realized that I … Continue reading

    dustedoffSadhanaIs rang badalti duniya mein, from RajkumarBahut shukhriya badi meherbaani, from Ek Musafir Ek HaseenaMere mehboob tujhe meri mohabbat ki kasam, from Mere MehboobChhalke teri aankhon se, from AarzooGaal gulaabi kiske hain, from Love in SimlaDo akhiyaan jhuki-jhuki si, from Prem PatraGore-gore chaand se mukh par, from AnitaZaroorat hai zaroorat hai, from ManmaujiPoochhe jo koi mujhse, from Aap Aaye Bahaar AayiNainonwaali ne ek matwaali ne, from Mera SaayadustedoffSadhanaIs rang badalti duniya mein, from RajkumarBahut shukhriya badi meherbaani, from Ek Musafir Ek HaseenaMere mehboob tujhe meri mohabbat ki kasam, from Mere MehboobChhalke teri aankhon se, from AarzooGaal gulaabi kiske hain, from Love in SimlaDo akhiyaan jhuki-jhuki si, from Prem PatraGore-gore chaand se mukh par, from AnitaZaroorat hai zaroorat hai, from ManmaujiPoochhe jo koi mujhse, from Aap Aaye Bahaar AayiNainonwaali ne ek matwaali ne, from Mera Saaya

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    Those who know me well know that I’m not much of a tea drinker. Given a choice, I’d rather have coffee, the stronger, the better. Sometimes, though, I like a cup of tea. Especially when it’s deepest winter, and when … Continue reading

    An array of snacks: keema pav (with some green chutney on the side), bun maska, bun bhujia - and a kulhad of chai.dustedoffAn array of snacks: keema pav (with some green chutney on the side), bun maska, bun bhujia - and a kulhad of chai.Boxes, tea kettles and more, from Chaayos.Chaayos's carrot cake: nothing to write home about.Chaayos's poha: pretty good!An array of snacks: keema pav (with some green chutney on the side), bun maska, bun bhujia - and a kulhad of chai.dustedoffAn array of snacks: keema pav (with some green chutney on the side), bun maska, bun bhujia - and a kulhad of chai.Boxes, tea kettles and more, from Chaayos.Chaayos's carrot cake: nothing to write home about.Chaayos's poha: pretty good!

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  • 01/07/16--22:32: Escape (1948)
  • It’s my birthday today, the 8th of January. Every year, on this day, I post a review of a film that features someone born on January 8. This year, it’s William Hartnell. Born on January 8, 1908 in London, Hartnell … Continue reading

    dustedoffWilliam Hartnell as Inspector Harris in EscapeDenant in prisonAt Hendley AerodromeDenant gives Rogers the newsA chance meeting in Hyde ParkA cop tries to drag the woman awayDenant is sentencedA fog - and a plan is hatchedDenant runs into Dora WintonDora and GraceDenant in Dora's roomInspector Harris comes on a searchDenant makes a phone callA suspicious car salesmanGrace and Dora run into Denant againWilliam Hartnell in EscapedustedoffWilliam Hartnell as Inspector Harris in EscapeDenant in prisonAt Hendley AerodromeDenant gives Rogers the newsA chance meeting in Hyde ParkA cop tries to drag the woman awayDenant is sentencedA fog - and a plan is hatchedDenant runs into Dora WintonDora and GraceDenant in Dora's roomInspector Harris comes on a searchDenant makes a phone callA suspicious car salesmanGrace and Dora run into Denant againWilliam Hartnell in Escape

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  • 01/15/16--08:12: Mera Saaya (1966)
  • Permit me one last Sadhana-related post before I put aside my unexpected (even to me) sadness at her untimely death. I know I’ve already been through two tribute posts, but even as I was writing those posts, I couldn’t help … Continue reading

    dustedoffSadhana in Mera SaayaGeeta on her deathbedGeeta dies in Rakesh's armsA bereft widowerInspector Sahib comes visitingRaina dances in a village square... and is identified as one of the gangMunshiji and Baanke come to the police stationRaina flings herself at RakeshRadha Mausi and Sargam are taken abackSuryavar Singh decides something must be doneAn old woman brings instructions, presumablySargam and her two admirersIn courtThe doctor, the cop and the lawyer discuss the caseSadhana and Sunil Dutt in WaqtA sudden moment of awkwardness, and of indecision?dustedoffSadhana in Mera SaayaGeeta on her deathbedGeeta dies in Rakesh's armsA bereft widowerInspector Sahib comes visitingRaina dances in a village square... and is identified as one of the gangMunshiji and Baanke come to the police stationRaina flings herself at RakeshRadha Mausi and Sargam are taken abackSuryavar Singh decides something must be doneAn old woman brings instructions, presumablySargam and her two admirersIn courtThe doctor, the cop and the lawyer discuss the caseSadhana and Sunil Dutt in WaqtA sudden moment of awkwardness, and of indecision?

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    Blog regulars will probably know that I am the creator of a series of historical detective fiction books. Featuring Muzaffar Jang, a 17th century nobleman who lives in Shahjahanabad during the tumultuous last years of Shahjahan’s reign, the series now … Continue reading

    7_ Naughara_Doorwaydustedoff1_TownHall2_KatraNeelGateway3_ShivalayaInKatraNeel4_ShivalayaInKatraNeel15_OldHaveliGaliGhanteshwar6_Naughara7_ Naughara_Doorway8_OldStStephensCollegeHaveli_Plaque9_SurajwaliMasjid_DaribaKalan110_ToKuchaUstadHamid_NearJamaMasjid7_ Naughara_Doorwaydustedoff1_TownHall2_KatraNeelGateway3_ShivalayaInKatraNeel4_ShivalayaInKatraNeel15_OldHaveliGaliGhanteshwar6_Naughara7_ Naughara_Doorway8_OldStStephensCollegeHaveli_Plaque9_SurajwaliMasjid_DaribaKalan110_ToKuchaUstadHamid_NearJamaMasjid

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  • 01/22/16--20:55: Pathlaag (1964)
  • Some years back, a comments thread on a blog post sparked off a discussion, the net result of which was that I learnt about Pathlaag, the Marathi original of Mera Saaya. Suspense is one of my favourite genres, and when … Continue reading

    dustedoffBhavna and Kashinath Ghanekar in PathlaagThe doctor shares grim newsBalasaheb returns to find himself a widowerThe dancer who was in cahoots with the dacoitsInspector Salvi with the womanA photograph of the woman with a dacoitA sinister visitorInspector SalviSome unsettling news for the Panse householdThe woman, in distressThe woman comes face to face with BalasahebIn courtAsha/Nisha pleads her caseThe mysterious Sikh in the courtroomSunil Dutt goes shirtless in Mera SaayaBalasaheb shows a little skindustedoffBhavna and Kashinath Ghanekar in PathlaagThe doctor shares grim newsBalasaheb returns to find himself a widowerThe dancer who was in cahoots with the dacoitsInspector Salvi with the womanA photograph of the woman with a dacoitA sinister visitorInspector SalviSome unsettling news for the Panse householdThe woman, in distressThe woman comes face to face with BalasahebIn courtAsha/Nisha pleads her caseThe mysterious Sikh in the courtroomSunil Dutt goes shirtless in Mera SaayaBalasaheb shows a little skin

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  • 01/26/16--03:16: Restaurant review: La Vie
  • Fellow blogger Harini and I have almost made it a ritual to meet up every couple of months on a weekend to spend a few hours together lunching, having coffee and tea, and chatting about books, cinema, and just about … Continue reading

    The entrance to La Vie, in Khan Market's Middle Lane.dustedoffThe entrance to La Vie, in Khan Market's Middle Lane.Inside La Vie.Gnocchi with roasted pepper sauce.The Irish Farmer pizza: potatoes, leeks, cheddar and mozzarella.The apple crumble at La Vie.The entrance to La Vie, in Khan Market's Middle Lane.dustedoffThe entrance to La Vie, in Khan Market's Middle Lane.Inside La Vie.Gnocchi with roasted pepper sauce.The Irish Farmer pizza: potatoes, leeks, cheddar and mozzarella.The apple crumble at La Vie.

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    Or, to be rather more lucid, songs that begin with the word ‘Jaa’ (‘go’). This post sprang out of my post on ‘Aaja’ songs.  Fellow blogger and friend Ava suggested that I might want to do a post on ‘Jaajaa’ … Continue reading

    dustedoffJaa songsJaa jaa jaa mere bachpanJaa re jaa re ud jaa re panchhiJaa jaa jaa jaa bewafaJaa tose nahin boloon KanhaiyyaJaa jaa re jaa sajnaJaa ri jaa ri o kaari badariyaJaa ri sakhi saj-dhajkeJaa aur kahin ro shehnaiJaa re Gokul k natkhat chorJaa re baadal jaadustedoffJaa songsJaa jaa jaa mere bachpanJaa re jaa re ud jaa re panchhiJaa jaa jaa jaa bewafaJaa tose nahin boloon KanhaiyyaJaa jaa re jaa sajnaJaa ri jaa ri o kaari badariyaJaa ri sakhi saj-dhajkeJaa aur kahin ro shehnaiJaa re Gokul k natkhat chorJaa re baadal jaa

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