Yeh Un Dinoñ Ki Baat Hai: Urdu Memoirs of Cinema Legends
Peppered with heartfelt accounts and charming anecdotes, Urdu film magazines were in great favour with the public from the 1930s through the 1990s - a considerable period of seven decades. Unfortunately, as Urdu got progressively marginalised in later years, these magazines were not archived, for the most part; leading to their inevitable disappearance from popular imagination. Tracking down these lost publications, Yasir Abbasi followed leads - some futile, some fruitful - to obscure towns and people's homes in a last-ditch effort to save valuable records of Indian cinema. As challenging as it was to locate faded issues and original texts, he managed to uncover and translate many fabulous memoirs covering a wide gamut of our favourite old artistes at their candid best. A gloom-laced piece on Meena Kumari by Nargis, a rollicking description by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan of an eventful evening with Manto (not to mention a mysterious woman and a house on fire), Jaidev writing about his chequered career, Balraj Sahni introspecting about the relevance of Hindi and Urdu in films - it's a rich mix of engrossing narratives brought back from oblivion.