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Volume 6735

Unauthorized Tarzan Films
Robert Allen Lupton

This unauthorized 1963 film, Tarzan and Circus, stars Azad. Tarzan is the long-lost son of a circus ringmaster, Nandan, who has to go up against the evil circus manager Keshav. He has two love interests. Directed by Shiv Kumar, the film was largely shot using the New Prakash Circus as the backdrop and featured real-life wrestlers Lou Anderegg and Christine Keller. Azad’s co-stars were Chitra, Sheri, Rajan Kapoor, Sunder, Jeevankala and Kammo.

The Tarzan in the movie is a young man, raised in the company of wild animals and has forgotten that he ever lived in civilization. The circus ringmaster, Nandan, is an unhappy man, still grieving the loss of his only son – whom he loved more than anything else. The owner of the circus, Bimla, is rich and has everything anyone could want except for love and companionship. Nantan mentors a young woman, Malti. She wants to become a ringmaster. When she meets Tarzan, she falls hopeless in love.

The circus manager is an evil man and conspires to steal Bimla’s wealth and seduce the young Malti. Tarzan foils the evil plans with the help of three of the circus animals, Zippi, Thumku, and Bulbul.

I found a clip of one song from the movie in Youtube:

Azad reprises his role as Tarzan in this film. His first appearance as Tarzan was in Toofani Tarzan 1962. More information about him is available in my article about that film elsewhere on this site. He played Tarzan is as many films as Johnny Weissmuller.

Chitra Sen played Malti in Tarzan Aur Circus (Tarzan and Circus. She is an Indian actress of Bengali origin and also a dancer. She was born in Kolkata, India. Before marriage her name was Chitra Mandal. Her parents were Panchu Gopal Mandal and Arati Mandal She performed extensively on stage, movies and television serials. She was considered a master of the Manipuri and Bharatnatyam dance forms. She took her dancing lessons from Balakrishna Menon and Shakti Nag. Sen danced around the world. Chitra was an excellent singer. Shyamal Mitra, Aparesh Lahiri, and Sudhirlal Chakraborty gave her singing lessons. Her first film was “Ratir Tapasya” (1952) directed by Sushil Majumdar.

In 1966, she married to Shyamal Sen, a director and actor. Marriage within the profession was common and almost a tradition. After marriage, she took a break from the acting. She resumed her career 1980. Chitra worked with her husband and son, another common tradition. Her son is a leading television and theater actor. Chitra’s son’s wife, Reshmi, is also a dancer and actress. She has acted in over 100 films including Zimbo, Ratir Tapasya, Joutuk, Personal Assistant, Komal Gandhar, Kanyadan, Unishe April, Anu, Daaybaddho, Cancer, Haraner Natjamai, Path, and Je Jon Thake Majhkhane. Chitra performed many plays like Maer Moto (based on a play by Kabita Singh and directed by Mohit Chattopadhyay), Aloka and many more. She performed in several television serials (soap operas. The two most well-known are Rajjotok, and Boyei Gelo. In 2010, she has won the best actress award from West Bengal Government for her role in “Jalchabi”.

She passed away in Mumbai in 2006.

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Sunder Singh was a noted Indian film actor between the 1938 and 1980s. He acted in many Punjabi and Hindi films in his career as hero or supporting roles as a comedian. He acted in more than 436 films. He played the ring master. Not much information is available. Oddly enough, his name translates as “beautiful” or “pretty.”
Raj Kapoor (Jutata Rajan Kapoor) appeared in Rocket Tarzan and his biography and photos are included in that article – previously published in ERBzine 6735. Here’s a different version of his biography and some additional photos.

Raj Kapoor was the son of well-known Indian actor Prithviraj Kapoor, who acted both in films and on stage. After apprenticing in the Bollywood production studios of the 1940's, at 24 years of age Raj Kapoor produced, directed and acted in Aag (1948), with his new company, RK Films. His next production, Barsaat (1949), was a smash hit. In 1951, he also produced, directed and starred in Awaara (1951), which was another megahit, and costarred Nargis, who had appeared in Aag and Barsaat. Awaara was a big hit in Russia, where the movie and songs were dubbed into Russian. The theme song, Awaara Hoon, was popular in the East for many years. Kapoor has been dubbed "a great showman," and a filmmaker in the purest Romantic tradition, as he strove to entertain as well as address social themes close to his heart. Awaara dealt with the question of what forms an individual's moral grounding. ("nurture or nature") I wonder where he got that idea. In Shree 420 (1955) he addressed issues of poverty, unemployment and national pride in the new Indian state at the same time maintaining the audience's interest in the romantic plot. While never revolutionary in tone, many of his films explore the ability of the individual to overcome economic and environmental injustice while maintaining his/her innocence and integrity. He is quoted as believing that an individual's struggles ultimately include the desire for love, compassion, and empathy. This is consistent with his admiration of Charles Chaplin, and Kapoor created his own “tramp" (Awaara, Shree 420, and Mera Naam Joker) modeled on Chaplin, though with a definite individual flair.

His films established style of music and direction that continue to influence Bollywood filmmaking today. Also a musician, his understanding of the musical feel of his movies gives them a storytelling fluidity equal to that of the best American movie musicals. Kapoor continued to make films of varying critical and popular success up until his death in 1988, and Mera Naam Joker was his personal favorite. He is still a well-known name not only in India, but in the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe. His descendants have continued the RK Films banner.

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Jeveenkala (Jeveen Kala) appeared in 95 films and performed 60 songs on screen, mostly during the 1960s and 1970s. Jeevankala was born June 29, 1944 in Pune (Poona) and educated in Bombay. She was an only child and was raised in luxury. Finding that she had an aptitude for dancing, her parents taught her all styles of Indian dances. She mastered the Kathak style. (Kathak is one of the main genres of ancient Indian classical dance and is traditionally regarded to have originated from the travelling bards of North India referred as Kathakars or storytellers. These Kathakars wandered around and communicated legendary stories via music, dance and songs quite like the early Greek theatre. The genre developed during the Bhakti movement, the trend of theistic devotion which evolved in medieval Hinduism. The Kathakars communicate stories through rhythmic foot movements, hand gestures, facial expressions and eye work. This performing art that incorporates legends from ancient mythology and great Indian epics, especially from the life of Lord Krishna became quite popular in the courts of North Indian kingdoms.) She studied dance under Baba Saheb Gokhale (Kathak) and Bharat Natyam. She was hired as an assistant dance teacher at Bharat Vidya Bhavan in Bombay where she taught Kathak. She was noticed by film producer K. Amarnath. He was so impressed that he quickly got her started in films with a role in Kal Hamara Hai in 1959. Before the year was out she had appeared on the big screen in at least nine other films.

Although never the lead, Jeevankala was often cast as the romantic partner of the film’s comedy relief and occasionally she was seen in vamp roles. She was almost always given a chance to show her dancing skills. Most of her work was in the Hindi film industry, but she made appearances in some Marathi language films as well. Jeevankala left show business in the late 1960s.

 In a 1964 interview Jeevankala said, “Devotion to work and confidence are essential if an artiste wants to come up to the front rank. Though I started my career as a dancer, produces and directors have now enough confidence to give me featured roles. It is up to me to prove that the confidence they have placed in me is not misplaced. I do not believe in luck as many seem to think. One’s future lies in one’s own hands. When opportunity comes it is wise to utilize it to one’s advantage and benefit. An opportunity lost is lost forever. There is no use regretting later on that producers have not given proper chances.”

Jeevankala was married to screen writer Ram Kelkar until his death in 2002. Marriage within the film industry was extremely common. Their daughter is actress Manisha Kelkar. Jeevankala’s mother, Ganga Bai, was an actress in the silent days

Very little information is available in English about the actress, Kammo, but I located three photographs taken at different times during her career. The second photo includes Raj Kampoor.





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