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. Hmm….those were the days! Wish I was born three decades earlier…..then I would have been part of that carefree gang you just named. But I guess, I’m late.
    Coming from Delhi, I stay only in Juhu ever since I discovered that place, whenever I visit Bombay. There is something special about that place even now…..maybe I can just feel the energy which was here once, the imprints leftover from the past.
    But as you say, madness has now taken over. Maybe there are just too many people here now. I don’t think anyone in Bollywood has those “Open House Sundays” anymore. I don’t think newcomers are welcomed here anymore. Bollywood is a family business now. Sigh!

  2. O beautiful being,
    one who spent many a day
    embracing each wave,
    carrying each moment ashore,
    dying to the other wave.
    the never ending play
    of moments
    dying to itself,
    yet complete being.
    still alive in each wave
    carried forward in time
    creating moments through words
    each wave bringing joy and happiness
    to the one who sits ashore
    in the sea of time
    coz there was a beautiful one
    one who spent many a day
    embracing each wave,
    carrying each moment ashore,
    dying to the other wave.

  3. i look in the mirror
    and wonder how did i get here?
    wasn’t it only yesterday
    that i was playing out there in the sea?
    time plays tricks on you
    makes you believe that
    you are older
    i look out of the window:
    the ocean remains the same
    beach is still there
    but there’s a noisiness
    and impolitenss
    or is it my mind’s interpretation
    of how the world is now.
    is it the same mind
    as then?
    i seem to remember
    thoughts being more
    full of wonder
    and potential.
    now, i am a commodity
    people look to me
    want something from me
    i was just me
    playing in the sea
    watching the girls pass by
    the reflection of the sun
    sparkling in their eyes.
    i turn on the tv
    it’s oscar time
    the tittle tattle
    begins to rattle
    so i get up and go outside.
    into the noise
    and pollution.
    i buy an icecream – no i don’t
    who knows what e’s and f’s have
    been added for my satisfaction
    without asking me.
    where do old friends go?
    do they hide in my memories
    reminding me of how things
    used to be.
    they keep turning up
    but when i meet them in reality
    things are rarely so rosy.
    the business of life
    as we get older
    gets tougher.
    why do we create?
    what is the necessity
    of building more creations –
    do they define us
    immortalise us
    or confine us?
    creates not for itself
    but for the benefit of its
    there is no planning
    no meetings
    no allotment of budget
    no desire for applause
    just simple
    growth and beauty
    the lotus
    bringing fragrance
    to the pond.
    what fragrance have our
    developments made
    to this land?
    i return home
    oscars over
    it’s time for the sponsors
    to encourage us to invest
    our dreams in them.
    i hug the ones i love
    those whom nature has given me,
    nothing that i create
    can match their beauty
    or majesty.

  4. “…the madness called development”
    development …could it be the mother of devastation?
    …all the trees died, and the sea died and the air turned putrid…Juhu was rap ed by builders…
    The world is being rap ed. The Water Goddess is irate. For over a year now, she unpardoningly rages the world over.
    People seem to be morphing into beings with less patience, appreciation and reverence for virtuous living. The car behind you is in a perennial state of flurry, hands glued to the honking machine. Ears glued to cell phones…eyes glued to PDAs, ipods and the like, while trying to catch a sip of cappuccino, seems to be more the norm. An overwhelming sense of greed to catch the tide before its ebb, runs through it all. While the Water Goddess is getting even elsewhere…developing too! Taking with her the fragile, helpless and innocent.
    Somewhere along the path to ‘developed’, from ‘developing’, we are perhaps being stripped of our soul…from below our own feet, sadly, sometimes without even our realizing it.
    Surely, the Water Goddess is irate. And she rages the world over. Giver has developed to Destroyer. Mysterious are Her ways. If only humans can decipher Her message… live in harmony with each other…with nature…protect the soul, keep the dignity and spirit alive…so our world can be a paradise! Our world, that once was….

  5. Well Shekhar my view is that memories are alwayz sweet eh! It does not matter if Juhu really changed or not, but time has passed. And change is the essence of life. Why Juhu and the development, in my opinion any fragment of nostalgia is so nice.

  6. Hi Shekhar,
    May I add your link to my site? I havent watched many of your movies(besides Masoom, Mr.India and Bandit Queen)but I do plan to watch Elizabeth soon. I like your blog and the way you write, especially this post on Juhu. I used to live in Bombay (a long long time ago- 1987) and so in a way feel like I can relate to what you’ve written in this post.

  7. Dear Mr Shekhar Kapur.
    I read about you and your diversity of interests in your blog. Besides film making, you display a variety of interests and in technology as well.
    May I know if you have any intentions to set up a venture capital fund for businesses/ investments into noble causes?
    I currently have some start up companies in Germany and Israel who need funding to expand their operations. Their businesses are all on environmental engineering. One of them is on solar technology and other is on hydrogen production.
    Both offer good investment returns of up to 16 million Euros. Their business model is sound and managed by high calibre entrepreneurs.
    This is a good cause as well for you because now with GreenHouse effect in full force, we need to support businesses whose technologies serve to reduce global warming.
    If you are interested, do let me know.
    Thank you and have a great day ahead.
    Mr Edmund Lim
    Email: foxtrotwing@gmail.com
    Skype: foxtrotwing

  8. Well Mr Kapur, I read on this website that you are no longer involved in the making of Buddha and your reason being that maybe you were not granted the freedom for your interpretation.
    Agreed that all art starts from inspiration and manifests in interpretation, and is this also not true for any situation in life ? Doesn’t every interpretation undergo metamorphosis with every new experience, Doesn’t every person who ends the journey not different from the one who begins it.Does every film have to be a Big banner to leave it’s mark.
    Can’t a low budget film give you the insight for self discovery, in the very process of making.

  9. Hi Mr.Kapoor
    I am really not sure why I am witing this but maybe I just had to,because for me this is the closest I could get to you.
    My name is Saket Sharma and I am a film student in Orlando,Florida.I was raised in Delhi and I believe I could be a good filmmaker,a good director.I really don’t know what to write because I am actually trying to,maybe impress you or trying to write an informal resume.
    But I sincerly won’t miss an opportunity like this.I believe in your movies,I believe in your direction and I believe in you as a good filmmaker.
    Well,heres the hardest part.Sir,I would be done with my course very soon,and I don’t believe in making stupid cinema,I want each of my movies to be an achievement not just for me but for the cinema in itself.So I would always prefer first to work under a great director,and setting my convictions and my abilities,my technicalities at the right place.All I could ask you is,if you can please do consider taking me under your wings for any amount of time you prefer,that would be the greatest thing for me.
    In both the cases wether you can take me under your command or not,One thing I could tell you for sure Sir is I won’dissapoint you with the movies I’ll make.For me Masoom would always be one of my benchmarks.
    Saket Sharma

  10. Hi Mr.Kapur
    Well it’s fine enough for me that you did read my message and I really appreciate that.Even though I din’t get a response from you but I guess as you answered someone else’s query,that low budget films are as relevent as big budget films..i would surely try my luck too.And I’ll defenately try to make my low budget film into a real big one.
    Thanks Anyways,wishing you all the luck and success for your future projects,I am sure,I would find a lot to learn from them.
    Saket Sharma

  11. Memories are all we have! The world is gradually turning into concrete jungle- all in the name of development!
    Well Shekhar I m one of those persons who has grown up loving you..I was a kid when you were into those Raymonds complete man ads..Haha I wud keep those pictures in my scrap book..Loved all ur films and even the ones u acted in like Drishthi..
    A very Happy New year to you and your family
    Make films that make us think and marvel.. I m waiting for Paani
    I have blog on msn http://www.spaces.msn.com/members/icysvolcanicworld/
    take care

  12. Mr Kapur ,
    that was one fabulous entry and believe me it speaks for just about anyplace. Everyplace that was once where the soul found peace is indeed now lost to the madness called development as u truly pointed out. Places can be ignored but when people lose their soul to the same madness, that’s when it hurts the most. 😛

  13. Hi Shekhar.
    Juhu and you, both sound fun. As i was reading, i could picture the times you have written about. Sand, sea, sunday and sun are the best combination, period!
    Well, seasons change and times change. I’ve been living on the other side of the city, vashi, for the past 20 yrs now. Earlier this used to be a marshy land and places further were sheer villages. But now these places have transformed more or less into what you called “juhu”. I’m talking about Panvel. I’m sure you have heard of it. Many celebs have farm houses there. Its the same environment there with the trees, the isolation, the water. It’ll be great if you could try them and mabbe have the magic re-created!

  14. my generation is still drowsy from the stuff you were smoking back in those days, trapped in nowhere, longing to be in vietnam and america at the same time.
    anyway, plz recommend the best movie you’ve watched about nostalgia, and the pain thereof. i’m addicted to that disease.

  15. Hello Mr.Shekhar Kapur,
    I was browsing some information and I found “Juhu that once was…” .. Amazing….really amazing.. I also like to read and writing is my passion. and it is perfectly true about Juhu. When we were in school and used to visit Juhu, it was having it’s own charm. I stay in J.B.Nagar. Still sometimes we like to go to Juhu Beach .. You used to have fun alongwith your buddies.. Naturally, it was inner instinct.
    First I also like to write here, that in intellectual from movie, I always admire yourself and javed Akhtar. I must write here that Suchitra is suitable match to you… Very much!

  16. well,
    don’t know what to say but, isn;t life’s a constant construction, and mind like juhu, simple thoughts of our school days are taken over by all the guile and treachery of the world. when in school we trusted a stranger now we can’t trust our closest friend.
    I guess you got my point. too tired and home sick coz i just came back to melb. from home.

  17. oh and what happened to that movie on time machine that you were making,
    I had this feeling that u stopped working on it after you finished a certain part only to take up work after some time so that it actually looks like your characters travelled in time, but then again I think too much.please do tell me I need to know

  18. Hello Shekharji,
    Firstly the customaries: I have been an avid reader of posts on this blog and truly admire your diverse interests. You must tire of hearing this but if it’s true it has to be said: Masoom is Shekhar Kapur. *Synonymous*
    Now your post about Juhu: Nostalgia, memories, walk down memory lane, more ofen than not result in the positive oohing and aaaahing emotions. Only yesterday I found myself reminiscing about all things Bangalore of years past. I found myself look back fondly and as they say in hindi “phir mann hee mann mein muskuraana hua”. All this, even though, Bangalore is responsible for events which on hindsight, cruel as it may be, which on hindsight have been ‘wrong’ for me.
    Like I said, we often look back fondly even if those times involved hurt, pain. We remember the days when the sun shined more often then when it poured.
    We often try to justify or attribute a reason of the degeneration from ‘those days’ to ‘now’. Be it development, progress, whatever we can. (Isnt it a human instinct to have to be able to attribute blame!?) We never really look at ourselves, in all honesty and realise that it could also be that between ‘those’ times and ‘now’, we ourselves have grown, learnt, our points of view have changed from what we learn, the perspective changes.
    ‘How the times were’ is a relative term to ‘how we have changed’
    My tuppence.

  19. Yes, separate from the nostalgic implications, Juhu, in specific, and the environment, in general is slowly but surely being eroded away. In the name of progress, development, the future, misguidedly so.
    I agree, the environment is being destroyed. No two ways about that. Period.
    But what is the solution, the remedy, the cure? In gujarati there is a saying ‘Teepay Teepay, Sarovar bharaay’ – on the lines of ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ – “drop by drop, a lake is filled”. We are drops trying to fill the lake. However, IMO, the compromise that is politics and government or authority, drop by drop is too slow. It will take many many many Kyotos and that too ‘enforced’ Kyotos to win the race of preservation of ‘God’s green earth’.
    As a South Indian (and I jest here and mean no disrespect to anyone) would say:
    Yet another one of mine tuppence.
    [Asides, any chance of you getting to the ‘Safari Cinema’ – Harrow to catch a Hindi-flick?]

  20. I am not a bombayite, nor did I visit mumbai often.my entire childhood was spent in South of India,yet..I have grown up watching most of the Hindi movies, especially the romantic 80’s which poetrayed “juhu” as a staple..:)
    I miss watching Simple romance and genuine fiendships blossom on Juhu,the roaring sea- swallowing moments of sorrow and heart achs…,whenver there was an impulse to isolate emotions ,Juhu would be the place to poetray the same…
    and when I read about the changes…on Juhu it matters to me as much as a mumbaiwallah..who has lost his paradise and his simple pleasure of life.

  21. travel a lot to juhu koliwada….
    get a sense of what u talking about, especially when i see the small community thats been left out, their village encroached upon
    old houses pulled down and concrete blocks put up
    I think there is not so much of that happening now but there are grotesque remains from the late 80s and early 90s
    anyway…. was searching for pankaj awasthi, google got me to ur blog because he was mentioned in one of the comments, read the juhu title and had to read the post.. funny where and how life(or god google) takes u

  22. Dear Shekhar,
    Hi! I am a big fan of your work, and want be a very ambitious and successful director like you sir. I read about your thoughts and interviews, but the reason I am writing to you is because of the power of your blog. INTENTBLOG.
    Congrats to the super succes of it, sometimes the discussion of our morning tea is the postings on INTENT.
    You are the creative brain, Dr. Deepak Chopra is the Spiritual Analyst, Mallika is the binding force of the Intent family, Kavita Chhibber is the example of a true JOURNALIST, Gotham is the new generation of Indians, Anupam Kher is adds a new dimension, Vikas Khanna is the Life through food and charm especially when he wrote “to teach is great, but to inspire is DIVINE”, Nandita Das brings so much light to the Blog, Sanjay Shah is the laughter and finally your charming wife is the Godsend poetry.
    We wish the Intent family lots of years of from all of us at Sethi Studios, which is a part of us now. Thanks for being our divine inspiration
    Mohit Zakaria

  23. Hi Shekhar…
    i watched Drishti a week back… but the hangover is still there! i went on the Net to find some more info on yur films… i was delighted to bump into this blog! dint know conncecting to you would be so easy! some of the marvels of technology….
    i read ‘juhu…’ must say it was amazing. have known Shekhar Kapoor, the director, actor… but this blog gives an insight into Shekhar… the person… thanks for sharing it with us..

  24. Nice post.
    must have been so much fun back then when even the reminder of it brings you so much joy. I guess all of us have memories quite like that. and i think its sweet of you to accept comments. Means you still value what anybody might have to say. I always say that humility is a rare virtue and if shown by a star it is much rarer and precious. I appreciate your gesture towards all of us bloggers in letting us post our comment.
    Hey and if you have time please do come by and read my blog. If you care to comment it would be much appreciated. ofcourse you know that already.
    And have a great holi man

  25. Hi Shekhar,
    I have been in Mumbai for just 2 years and pass through Juhu often. I can imagine the beautiful place it once was. Its in a sad state now, no doubt about it.
    I do believe that every place we visit or stay in has a purpose in our lives. Juhu seems to have been a place where all of you like-minded people met- to gather strength from each other and seek out the paths for himself/herself. A place like this therefore becomes sacred to that group. It is sad that we live in a mindless age driven by the urge to acquire more and more wealth and little else.
    This is the first time that I have read your blog (while looking up info on Juhu for a corporate presentation to international clients – for a shopping mall that has just come up!!!). I feel sad that I am contributing to the continuing degradation of this place.
    Where does one draw the line between earning a living and one’s principles in life? I have constantly grappled with this question all my life….

  26. dear sanjeev,
    i am going to try and grapple with that question on my blog, so look for it. thanks for visiting. shekhar

  27. Shekhar,
    Reading your blog was such a nostalgic trip. I grew up there in the 70’s and 80’s, morning trips to the beach and evening’s running around in the wast open field that’s now the ISKON were part of growing up.
    Walking to school (Besant Montessori) was never so dangerous, since you hardly walked on “main roads”
    I’m glad I live in the UK now, ‘coz every year when I go back, another part of my childhood has been lost from Juhu.

  28. wow man. this is wat i call as LUCK. i m doing my final yr thesis on juhu precinct development. i m an architecture student. i was just searching on internet about info on juhu, its past, present and sight for future….symbiotically i found ur blog mr. kapoor. n i m as delighted as receiving an oscar….beleive me…getting connected to u in any fashion for me is outstanding…never in my life i thought i would msg something to u….and hope to get a reply back….thank u mr. shekhar kapoor for making us all happy and proud and above all realising us our duties. U R A GOOD MAN. god bless u….

  29. Juhu will always be my favourite hangout place.When I was a little girl, my parents and myself used to go to the beach every Sunday.The horse rides and sweet golas will always be a part of fond memories.Any visitors from out of state and the first place on the itenary would be Juhu Beach. During college my friends and myself had a great time roaming about in the sunset.Though Juhu has changed considerably over the years I think it still remains a vibrant part of Bombay.The crowds may have increased but I always get that calm feeling whenever I walk on the sand.These days I am based in USA and whenever I visit home Juhu beach is one of the places I dont fail to visit.

  30. I read about your site in a newspaper and was quick to go to net to find it. I knew I will get something worth reading. And I must say I was not disappointed. Shekharji, where r u ? This country needs u.

  31. You write like a poet. Yea, lost innocence. God only knows where we’re heading, it’s scary. Maybe it’s meant to be, the age of Kaliyug.
    But there’s hope I see …in the rare breed of people who believe in lighting the candle than cursing the darkness.

  32. Hi Shekhar,
    This was a classic post. I am a resident of Juhu, rather was as I am now in the US. Lived right across the sea…and I have always thought on these lines, of how beautiful Juhu was those days, ’78 onwards. I know the times you mentioned were before that I guess. Prithvi was a completely different atmosphere then…life definitely was different then…Juhu was different…it has changed…but then aren’t we all, in one way or another, working towards changing the present?
    My Father had said he had met you a few times through some common friends. And once you had casually mentioned about wanting to make a movie called Masoom…at that time, he says, he had no idea you would come up with this gem..I think no other director has been able to extract work from kids (in Masoom & Mr. India) the way you did…I have been a big fan of your directorial work and also really enjoyed your work in Drishti…I don’t remember the name of the serial, but I know you acted in one on Doordarshan, mid 80s I think… I thinking your acting (style) was very close to Mr. Vijay Anand’s. I guess it might have been the genes in some way :-). If only we could have you direct another good hindi movie….does that look possible?

  33. yes juhu has the romatic flavour.but late at nights is when i enjoy the place.you can distinctly listen to the waves.makes you forget that you are in mumbai.beach is still the carrot for me ,not the socialite areas.

  34. Hi Shekhar,
    Last night watched your interview on national television. Since I have always always been impressed by you, sat thru it and got to know of your site.
    Here I am today, reading all your blogs.
    Liked this one very much.
    Wud like more frequent thoughts from you here.
    Best wishes.

  35. So, why do we live for a better future
    Or, why do we live to cherish our past
    Shouldn’t we live for the present
    which always, always lasts
    Loved your interview on ‘One Life to Love’ Shekhar.
    Wish I could record it and see it again. It was sooo insightful the first time itself 🙂

  36. I remeber Juhu ten 10-15 yrs ago, It was not very bad. I felt like like owned the beach when I used to walk my dog there, just me and nariyal wala. I actually remember suchitra and ur daughter (i’m guessing she was ur daughter) on the beach. suchitra used show ur daughter my dog (he was a cute one). I think she used drive a black maruti gypsy.
    I hate the state of traffic in juhu now, in mumbai for that matter. People not following traffic rules, parking wherever they want and getting away with it.
    And the crowd now days argggghhhh !
    And now they have even filled up the mangroves behind chandan and utpal sanghavi. Making place for more buildings or slums.
    I wish we can understand and improve.
    I now stay in UK and often look at juhu in Google maps, it still looks kinda green, I guess there is still something to save.
    I miss Juhu, my house, my family and my beach.

  37. Shekhar ,
    While I can empathise with the nostalgia associated with a place and time , I am sruprised at your disappointing take on development . Special places , special times and special people happen ALL the time : just to different people . To try and recreate that would be like trying to hold a moonbeam in your hand . Development happened then and is happening now : your sensitivity is up because it has touched a spot of your life that you hold dear ? Would you be willing to give up your cell-phone to bring back the sparrows ? And answer that not academically , but when imagining your daughter in distress trying to reach you . Would you give a thought to the sparrows then or would you just be grateful for the phone ?

  38. Well am based in Dubai for the last 10 years, suddenly thought lets type Juhu and lets see what appears… there i see ur post.
    I am 36yrs today born and brought up in Juhu TARA
    i miss the juhu of old the sand was much whiter and deeper thnks to the construction cartel tons of those are part of the concrete jungle.
    There were slides on the beach a life guard tower if i my recall right.
    We had and have no ground to play it was the beach
    cricket hockey football all on the beach.
    And yes Juhu was the top team in football and hockey then
    An occasional smugglers boat stuck in the rocks…
    Ganpati visarjan which still happens till today.
    see all the stars on the beach for a walk…
    Pl let me know if i could read more about pre 70’s juhu.
    And yes while reading the blog i discoverd Masoom was directed by you.Vikas the child artist was a year junior to me in Sacred HEART s’cruz.
    mARSH Mendonca.

  39. Hi shekhar,
    See!! I just watched ur interview at NDTV today i.e. March 3rd’07 and found better of urs here.
    I must say, alike many of our generation, i too regard you as a no-nonsense & genious person.
    This blog of urs is interesting though I differ with you. whenever there is a loss of something there is a gain too. destruction brings some construction…..! Rather, in your blog I feel more pain for those leftout days & people then the Juhu…..! Your juhu still exist…just need to walk some more miles along the shore…!!
    Best regards

  40. its sad that my hang outs are barista cafe adn not an open sky under which i wud go swimming… may be my generation is already forming an air conditioned cafe the heaven..

  41. Hello Mr Kapur,
    I saw your interview on NDTV on 3rd March 2007 and thought to visit your sight. I come from Bandra and those were the days way back in the 70’s when I was just growing up as a teenager and fascinated with the film world. I remember seeing you with Shabana in Bandra. Your article on Juhu Beach captures the time when life was so carefree and beautiful. I now work and live in Bahrain but still keep abreast of all things Indian. All the best for your new movie. You are amazingly talented and have achieved so much in life.

  42. its the damned maruti, that’s what it is. There would never have been so much traffic in the name of development if we didnt have that.

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