Juhu, that once was..

Every Sunday of free drinks and open house at Kabir and Protima’s Bedi’s house. Little babies called Pooja and Siddharth. Running around in diapers. Mahesh Bhatt preaching Godhead and Nirvana. Parvin Babi sitting in a corner smiling benignly, smoking whatever anyone smoked those days

Big huge brother Vick, more Sai Baba than Sai Baba himself. Now teaching film in NY. Parikshit Sahini on the cusp of stardom. Like the rest of us.
Kunki (ketan) Anand just a packet of energy bouncing off all the walls absolutely refusing to treat anything too seriously. Cracking jokes that had everyone laughing.
And who else ? Occasionally Smita Patil. . The whole advertising crowd from the other side of town. The models not so conscious of themselves as they are now. It was not a real profession them. Just something you did.
Like everything else in those days in Juhu. It was just something you did.
Like swimming in the clear sea. Like trying to hitch a ride on Adi Godrej’s speedboat. Or just lazing on the beach. No one really except the local fishermen, who were our suppliers for fresh fish or the local brew. The old Narial Wala. One narial for 2 rupees.
The Crazy Juhu Crowd. That was us. Wandering straight from the sea thru the palm trees and into the village. Yes that was Juhu not so long ago. Sea and Palm trees. All the models (and the super star of the day – Parveen Babi) in their bikinis and us guys in swimming trunks wandering through Juhu Village right up to the Church. But not an eyebrow raised. Well, not many eyebrows around at that time either.
But that was long before Protima’s body was found buried deep in the mud on her way to Kailash Parbat. Still mourning for Siddharth. That was long before Parveen’s body was found in her flat in Juhu days after her spirit had long abandoned her. But not long before Smita Patil gave her life giving birth to another.
But that was before all the trees died, and the sea died and the air turned putrid. That was before Juhu was raped by builders that ensured that there were swathes of land that they walled in for themselves, but threw everyone else into relentless and teeming filth.
That was all before the Spirit of Juhu had long since fled.
I do hope our children and our grandchildren find another paradise that was Juhu.
Juhu was something then, something you just did. It was where the soul found peace. It was where friend found friend. It was where all competitiveness disappeared and sharing took over. Before it was all lost to madness called development.

69 thoughts on “Juhu, that once was..

  1. nice memories of juhu ..and glad to read abt those old days of yours with your friends
    u do grrt job ..keep on writing ( n filming ) about those good old days shekar
    take care ..khani

  2. hi Shekar,
    @ this juncture i wld like to discuss two things.
    1. Nostalgia:
    It’s good to hear from you that nostalgia is enjoyed by everyone whether famous or not.
    Still its a delight to know, how things were before, so unpolluted and sane…
    things are getting degraded and polluted to the maxim, probably bcoz of population explosion.
    Instead, al i need right now is, to do sthing, find a way, or a solution. Until then, its jus talking talking, which is not much of use!
    2. Marriage
    I really dont want to get married
    bcoz i want to achieve things, which i think wld surely b disturbed bcoz of marriage.
    thats wht i think
    even u wr a bachelor for a long time n then got married and now again a bachelor
    Whats ur count on marriage for people like me?
    palaniappa raja

  3. Shekhar:
    Have you read Suketu Mehta’s book about Bombay,
    “Maximum City” I recommend to all those who have time to read and an interest in Bombay.
    It is a long book but a fascinating non fiction
    about post modern Bombay.

  4. I have the same feeling for the calm and quite paradise that Pune once was. The lush green mountains surrounding the city, keeping it cool and pleasant through out the year. Friendly people conversing in Marathi, discussing some new play or a great book that is out, over a hot cup of tea, which they call ‘Amrut-tulya’ (As good as Amrut). But with the raise of so called IT industry (which I am part of), tea cups have been replaced by coffee mugs from some multination café brand, theaters are vacant while some new multiplex is opening on every corner, the mountains are replaced by townships, roads are jammed with the cabs. And in this all are losing our paradise.

  5. “I do hope our children and our grandchildren find another paradise that was Juhu.
    Juhu was something then, something you just did. It was where the soul found peace. It was where friend found friend. It was where all competitiveness disappeared and sharing took over. Before it was all lost to madness called development.”
    Shekhar i agree with you totally. Living in Juhu since childhood days you really have fond memories.
    I remember playing cricket on the grove full of coconut trees where today you find Centaur hotel.
    Small cottages have been replaced with high rise buildings in Juhu Church.
    It seems all gone. All lost.

  6. Hello everybody.
    This is the first time I have been on this site and really regret for being so late.
    Shekhar, the picture you mentioned about Juhu is definitely, not to be seen now. but I believe it’s not about Juhu or any specific place. its the story everywhere. But we relish the nostalgia. I have seen many places in India especially in himalayas before they were touched by commercial builders or in your words before they were raped. I somehow believe it’s about the place and the group which gives you freedom to think different and challenge yourself in everyway. Nowadays, we don’t find such places so easily. Think it this way, Can you find a place these days, where your restlessness can be cured. where your inner self feels free and satisfied. It’s hard to find. May be we are living in a world of re-defined behaviours and thinking patterns. As far as I am concerned, I am still finding an answer to my restlessness.
    I would appreciate some comments on my thoughts put here.

  7. I spent the first half of my childhood in Juhu. From 12th road of the “Scheme” you could see the Beach, hear the waves, smell the salt air.
    Middle of the road, middle class, we had ringside seats to the “rape” and “destruction” of Juhu.
    Yes it was better back then. But those memories are selfish nostaligia, coming from the very people (my family included) who accelerated the demise of a sparsely inhabited paradise.
    Mr. Kapur, your memories would not be worth 2 cents were your movies not capable of creating the dream of Bollywood (measured by skimming four anna balcony seats from millions of pockets).
    Bollywood plays a starring role in universal attraction to the metropolis. From aspiring stars, to labourers who built your bungalows by living around them, a fair share of poor migrants are a result of your industry. The developers’ walls did not create the filth. It is their (in)human existance outside of the walls of your society, and the civic planners radar, that created the filth.
    So along with the developers, and the hungry hoards, lets take our place in the chariot of distruction.
    To live in perpetual paradise, is to give up specialised society. There is no compromise solution.
    If that’s not what we want, there is only consumerism where you enjoy today with those you love, and stop hankering for a yesterday that we helped destroy.

  8. hi mr kapur, just few days back watched “Drishti” and was very much impressed not only by your acting but the whole concept of the movie and the sincerity with which the story was presented.
    i read your thouhts. you are udobtedly a very creative person. i would ask you one thing that if you get the chance do come to mauritius once. don’t only visit the famous beaches, some places still hold their natural beauty without man’s interference!
    people say mauritius is a paradise on earth but it is subjective. being a mauritian i can’t voice out my feelings.
    hope you read and reply to me. i won’t say am a big fan but i appreciate good movies and good acting.
    take care

  9. Hi shekhar,
    Myself manish kumar from delhi m huge fan of you and i really inspire coz u think something apart from those …Still m working in Punjab today news channel formerly known as “Balle-balle” but feel very upset coz m not satisfied to my job .m Video editor and have some knowledge of Direction..i wanna share script with you i hope it’s totally different form other ….plz do write to me.

  10. and onething i can’t forget to your acting in Tv serial”UDAAN” i never look after in my life those performance .awesome shekhar……….
    it was my lofe time fav serial

  11. Hi Shekhar,
    Nice Nostalgic post. Question, If not development, what would have been the best way to contain the exploding population, yet keep the nature alive? I agree that the real culprit is greed, but, say for instance there was no greed, what will the growing population do, if not build a home for themselves on the available land. If we go down to the basics, the real problem is not greed, but the growing population and since the land is limited, all we can do is build houses over houses to accomodate the people.

  12. Juhu, 7 Bunglows, Verosva were beautiful places in 70’s. I remember the water so clear that you could see the fishes below.
    You could realy enjoy the real BOMBAY of 70’s. I stayed in 7 Bunglows and Versova. We used to walk from & bunglows to Juhu when there was a low tide and return back before the tide used to goh high.
    Yes there were many in Bikini althoguh i did not know what was BIKINI that time. Girls used to bathe there without an EYBROW. This was mainly cause of Christian community and fisherman who usually respect women and are God fearing people.

  13. I’d have loved to meet Parveen Babi. I developed deep affections for her when they announced her death & its reasons. I wanted that she be alive and I give her a hug. They probably never understood her. And the media was so harsh.

  14. Dear Shekharji

    Your words: “IT WAS JUST SOMETHING YOU DID” are so absolutely right on. The simplicity of those words match the feeling of then. Simple, peaceful, exciting, romantic and uncontrived.

    Could you make a movie on it – capturing the Spirit, the attitudes, the atmosphere of then?

    Yes, I modelled a bit in London, hitch hiked around Europe, danced all night on the beaches of St Tropez, went to Rishikesh in ’68 to meditate with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and plunged into ice cold mountain streams. And Yes, these were ALL JUST THINGS WE DID. With no fancy labels, no fear, no plan, no expectations and no limitations. It was just being alive and exploring.

    I recently discovered a gem of a movie which beautifully captures the atmosphere of the 50’s. It’s called Big Night, written, directed and acted by Stanley Tucci. Won the 1996 Sundance, – wonderful film.

    My sons, now young filmmakers, were sad even as kids that they could not experience first hand that precious period in time. Later they plan to make films set in the “atmospheric” past.

    But with all nostalgia for the beauty and simplicity of the past, there is as much to love and appreciate even now.

    The fact that I can keep in touch with those that I love and post words to those that I admire through Internet is amazing.

    I only recently discovered this whole Blogging thing – I love your poetry and your deep felt thoughts –
    also your interviews with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, whose Kriya yoga I practice. Still discovering all you’ve written.

    Thanks for making your thoughts available.
    Om Namah Shivayah

    Ps: I will try to join you on Facebook, as I have more I wish to share with you.

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