The Making of Don: A Riveting Journey with Amitabh Bachchan and Bollywood’s Iconic Classic

“The Making of Don” is a remarkable book that delves into the behind-the-scenes journey of the iconic Bollywood film ‘Don.’ Authored by Krishna Gopalan, this book offers a unique perspective on the making of a classic commercial masala entertainer, which has earned a cult status among audiences.

One of the standout features of this book is its direct access to the film’s director, Chandra Barot, who shares his insights and experiences. This access allows the author to provide readers with an engaging and thrilling narrative filled with twists and turns, much like the film itself.

The book sheds light on the challenges faced during the production of ‘Don.’ It reveals that the film had limited funding, and producer Nariman Irani was in a make-or-break situation. The lead actors, including the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, and Pran, were all busy with other commitments, making scheduling a significant challenge. Despite these obstacles, the team managed to pull together and create a cinematic masterpiece.

What sets ‘The Making of Don’ apart is its ability to uncover lesser-known anecdotes and stories related to the film’s production. Some of these anecdotes include how used sets from other films were repurposed for ‘Don,’ how costumes were sourced from roadside vendors, and how Chandra Barot lost a significant sum of his own money due to unforeseen circumstances.

The book also explores how the very concept of ‘Don’ was initially met with skepticism within the Bollywood industry. It was considered a risky venture, especially given the limited resources available for a film of this scale. Despite the doubts, the team, led by Chandra Barot, persisted and created a cinematic gem.

Moreover, ‘The Making of Don’ provides readers with a glimpse into the personalities and interactions of the cast and crew. It highlights moments such as Amitabh Bachchan’s initial doubts about playing a double role with a villainous streak, Zeenat Aman missing out on the iconic song ‘Main Hoon Don,’ and how Manoj Kumar suggested adding the hit song ‘Khaike Paan Banaras Wala’ in the second half to provide some respite to the audience.

In addition to these behind-the-scenes stories, the book touches on the support the filmmaker received from the film fraternity, including Amitabh Bachchan, who was willing to forgo a significant portion of his remuneration to support the project. The reuse of sets and the dedication of the actors, particularly Amitabh Bachchan, added to the collaborative spirit that made ‘Don’ a remarkable cinematic achievement.

Overall, ‘The Making of Don’ is a must-read for Bollywood enthusiasts and anyone interested in the filmmaking process. It offers a captivating narrative that brings to life the challenges, creativity, and determination that went into creating this timeless classic. With a rating of four stars, it’s evident that this book is a valuable addition to the literature on Bollywood’s cinematic history.”

On Managing Stress: Insights from Cinema, Business Leaders, Self-Management Literature, and Spiritual Texts

“Oh God!”

Divine Grooming Tips: Finding Normalcy Amid Chaos in ‘Oh God’In the film ‘Oh God’, God shows up in a bathroom. When the main character feels like he’s going to pass out, God tells him to shave.

He says, “Sometimes when you don’t feel normal, doing a normal thing makes you feel normal.”

Image generated by author using Bing

Jeff Bezos’s Approach to Stress Management and Self-Management Literature

Jeff Bezos also shares a similar tip on handling stress. In a viral video, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, shares his approach to dealing with stress. He emphasizes the importance of taking a step back, gaining perspective, and focusing on the variables within one’s control.

Bezos is known for his ‘two-pizza rule’ for meetings, which suggests that teams should be small enough to be fed by two pizzas. This is an example of his belief in maintaining a manageable scope of work and interpersonal dynamics to reduce stress.

Additionally, Bezos advises practicing regular reflection and self-analysis. This habit aligns with the principles outlined in Peter F. Drucker’s book “Managing Oneself”. In the book, Drucker emphasizes the importance of understanding one’s strengths, performing effectively, and determining personal values.

Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” also shares parallels with these ideas. Covey’s first habit, ‘Be Proactive’, encourages individuals to focus on their circle of influence, which are things they can do something about, rather than their circle of concern, which are things they have no control over. This aligns with Bezos’ advice to concentrate on variables within one’s control.

Covey’s second habit, ‘Begin with the End in Mind’, advocates for self-reflection and understanding one’s personal and professional goals. This resonates with Drucker’s emphasis on understanding one’s strengths and personal values.

Covey’s third habit, ‘Put First Things First’, is about prioritizing tasks based on importance rather than urgency, which echoes Bezos’ ‘two-pizza rule’ for maintaining a manageable scope of work.

Furthermore, Covey’s habit of ‘Sharpen the Saw’ which encourages regular self-renewal and self-care, aligns well with the idea of maintaining normalcy to manage stress, as advised in the movie ‘Oh God’.

Spiritual Insights from the Bhagavad Gita and Shirdi Sai Baba

The Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu scripture, also provides profound insights on managing stress. As a conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, it reveals spiritual truths and secrets of Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti, and Karma, which can be applied to daily life for self-realization and spiritual upliftment.

One of the most important teachings from the Bhagavad Gita is the concept of detached involvement. This means to perform one’s duties without attachment to the results or outcomes, which can significantly reduce stress that often comes from worry about success or failure.
Moreover, Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to maintain equanimity, a balanced mind, in all circumstances, whether in success or failure, gain or loss, pleasure or pain. This mental steadiness or calmness in all situations is a key to managing stress.

The teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba also provide valuable insights on managing stress and finding inner peace. Sai Baba, an esteemed spiritual guru of India, emphasized the importance of surrendering completely to a higher power and meditating on it. This practice can create a sense of calm and reduce anxiety, helping individuals to manage stress effectively.

He also taught that the observance of silence can be a form of praise and a way to cultivate inner peace. The act of silence, in this context, can be seen as a form of meditation, aiding in the reduction of stress and fostering a sense of tranquility.

Furthermore, Sai Baba stressed on the idea of detached involvement, similar to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. He urged his followers to perform their duties without attachment to the results, thereby reducing the stress that comes from worrying about outcomes.

In one of his stories, Sai Baba highlighted the importance of controlling one’s senses and maintaining a pure heart. He advised that while it is natural for the senses to appreciate the beauty of the world, one should not be swayed by them or crave for their objects. This teaching resonates with the need for self-control and balance in managing stress.

In conclusion, wisdom from diverse sources – the film ‘Oh God’, Jeff Bezos’ practical approaches, Peter Drucker’s introspective strategies, Stephen Covey’s habits, the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, and Shirdi Sai Baba’s spiritual insights – converge on a central theme: the pivotal role of self-awareness, perspective, and balance in managing stress effectively. They all emphasize the necessity for individuals to comprehend and concentrate on their sphere of influence, engage in regular self-reflection, and prioritize tasks effectively. The amalgamation of these principles into our everyday lives can enable us to better navigate the hurdles we encounter, alleviate stress, and bolster overall productivity and well-being.

Unveiling the Spiritual Wisdom: The Enlightening Teachings of Lord Dattatreya

Divine Path of Enlightenment- Image created by the author and DALL.E-3

Datta Jayanti: Celebrating the Birth and Teachings of Lord Dattatreya

Datta Jayanti is a Hindu celebration that commemorates the birth of Lord Dattatreya, a deity considered the combined incarnation of the divine trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. This festival is observed on the full moon day of the Margashirsha (Agrahayana) month according to the Hindu calendar, which typically falls in December. Devotees celebrate this day by fasting, performing prayers, and engaging in meditation and spiritual discourses, seeking Lord Dattatreya’s blessings for knowledge and self-realization. The teachings of Lord Dattatreya, which are a blend of wisdom, simplicity, and love, are particularly reflected upon during this festival. It is believed that sincere worship on this day can help devotees attain spiritual enlightenment and guide them on the path of Dharma (righteousness).

Lord Dattatreya is a highly respected figure in Hindu mythology, considered the combined incarnation of the divine trinity – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Often depicted with three heads, he symbolizes these three deities and is regarded as the embodiment of total divinity. Born to the sage Atri and his wife Anasuya, his birth is a testament to Anasuya’s unwavering devotion and virtue, which pleased the divine trinity so much that they decided to be born as her son. Lord Dattatreya is often shown with four dogs, symbolizing the four Vedas, and a cow, representing Mother Earth. His teachings, a blend of wisdom, simplicity, and love, guide those seeking spiritual enlightenment. He is often invoked by seekers on the path of knowledge and self-realization.

The Tale of Kartavirya Arjuna and Lord Dattatreya

One of the notable stories connected to Lord Dattatreya involves Kartavirya Arjuna, a king who sought supernatural powers. Under the advice of Sage Garga, Kartavirya Arjuna and his wife performed penance by the Narmada River to please Lord Dattatreya. Touched by their devotion, Lord Dattatreya granted Kartavirya Arjuna the boon of a thousand arms. However, the king’s ambition led to his downfall. When he demanded the divine cow Kamadhenu from the sage Jamadagni for the betterment of his subjects, it sparked a conflict that resulted in the beheading of Jamadagni. In revenge, Jamadagni’s son, Parashurama, killed Kartavirya Arjuna and his entire clan. Interestingly, it is said that Kartavirya Arjuna himself wished for his death at the hands of someone as important as Lord Dattatreya, a wish that was ultimately granted.

The story of Kartavirya Arjuna and Lord Dattatreya serves as a lesson in the pursuit of power and the consequences of actions driven by ambition and greed. It also showcases the divine power and wisdom of Lord Dattatreya, who could bestow great boons and yet maintained a balanced perspective on the ultimate transient nature of worldly desires.

Lord Dattatreya and Parashurama: A Spiritual Connection

“Enlightenment Dialogue”: image generated by author and DALL.E-3

Parashurama, another significant figure in Hindu mythology, is closely associated with Lord Dattatreya. He is the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu and is known for his intense devotion and warrior skills. Parashurama is often depicted with an axe, which was gifted to him by Lord Shiva. The story of Parashurama’s revenge on Kartavirya Arjuna and his clan for the murder of his father, Jamadagni, is a tale of righteousness and justice. Parashurama’s life serves as a reminder of the power of devotion and the consequences of one’s actions.

Interestingly, Parashurama is also known to be a disciple of Lord Dattatreya. He sought Lord Dattatreya’s guidance to overcome the guilt and torment he experienced after the revenge killings of Kartavirya Arjuna and his clan. Lord Dattatreya, with his profound wisdom, guided Parashurama towards spiritual enlightenment, helping him understand the transient nature of life and the ultimate truth of the universe.

The teachings of Lord Dattatreya to Parashurama are compiled in a scripture known as the “Tripura Rahasya”. This ancient text is considered one of the most important works related to the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. It is a dialogue between Lord Dattatreya and Parashurama, where the former imparts knowledge about the supreme truth of existence and the illusionary nature of the world. “Tripura Rahasya” stresses the concept of “Jnana”, or knowledge, as the ultimate path to liberation and self-realization.

In essence, the stories of Parashurama, Lord Dattatreya, and the teachings in the Tripura Rahasya highlight the journey towards spiritual enlightenment. They serve as a guide for those seeking knowledge and self-realization, emphasizing the power of devotion, the importance of righteous action, and the understanding of the ultimate reality.

Learning from the World: Lord Dattatreya’s 24 Gurus

An intriguing aspect of Lord Dattatreya’s spiritual journey is his learning from the 24 gurus. This is an enlightening story that emphasizes the omnipresence of gurus for those who are willing to learn and gain wisdom. It shows that the world around us is full of teachers, if only we are open to observe and learn.

Lord Dattatreya, despite having no formal teachers, attained self-awareness and enlightenment by observing nature during his travels as a Sannyasi, a religious hermit. He considered the world as his teacher and drew lessons from various elements of nature and life. These became known as his 24 gurus.

From the Earth, he learned the virtue of forbearance and the ability to remain undisturbed even when oppressed. The Wind taught him to be free, unattached, yet resolute and true to one’s own force. The Sky demonstrated that the highest within oneself, the Atman, has no limits and remains undifferentiated and non-dual, no matter what. He learned from Water the quality of serving all without pride or discrimination and to remain pure and cleansing despite receiving impurities from others. Fire showed him how the heat of knowledge reforms everything it touches and to shape oneself, one needs the energy of learning.

The Moon taught him that the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth does not change the oneness of the soul. The Sun illustrated that the soul may appear different in different bodies, yet everyone is connected, and the soul is the same in all. From observing Pigeons, he learned not to obsess over transient things such as personal loss and to focus on the rare privilege of human life to learn and discover one’s soul.

The Python demonstrated the importance of being content with what one has and making the most from life’s gifts. The Bumblebee showed him to be active, seek wisdom from all sources, and live harmoniously without harming others. The Beekeeper taught him not to crave for material pleasures or accumulate unnecessary wealth. The Hawk showed him the importance of taking only what one needs, not more. The Ocean demonstrated the ability to remain deep and undisturbed within, despite receiving numerous sensory inputs from the outside world.

These are just a few examples of the 24 gurus from whom Lord Dattatreya drew wisdom. Each guru taught him a valuable lesson, shaping his understanding and aiding his spiritual growth. This story serves as a reminder that learning can come from the most unexpected sources. It encourages us to be open, observant, and receptive to the lessons that life offers us, emphasizing that there are gurus everywhere for someone who wishes to learn.

The Connection Between Lord Dattatreya and Sai Baba of Shirdi

The spiritual lineage of Lord Dattatreya extends to the revered Indian saint, Sai Baba of Shirdi. Sai Baba is considered an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya, embodying the same divine wisdom and bestowing his blessings on those who seek spiritual enlightenment. The teachings of Sai Baba echo the philosophies of Lord Dattatreya, emphasizing the importance of faith, patience, and unconditional love. Just like Lord Dattatreya, Sai Baba also had a way of testing his followers before giving them his blessings.

The chapters from Sai Satcharitra detail the spiritual journey of Shama, one of Sai Baba’s most devoted disciples, highlighting the divine presence and guidance of Sai Baba in Shama’s life. These chapters narrate Shama’s pilgrimage to Kashi, Prayag, and Gaya, where he experiences the omnipresence of Sai Baba in the form of his portrait, reaffirming the saint’s promise to be ahead of him. The chapters also describe the unique bond between Sai Baba and his devotees, illustrating how Sai Baba, much like Lord Dattatreya, guides his followers towards spiritual enlightenment, fulfilling their desires and bestowing upon them supreme bliss. The stories highlight the importance of complete surrender to the Guru, emphasizing that the Guru is always present, guiding and supporting the devotees in their spiritual journey.

In conclusion, the spiritual journey and teachings of Lord Dattatreya, as well as the stories associated with him, serve as a profound guide for seekers of spiritual enlightenment. The deity’s connection to the divine trinity, his interactions with figures like Kartavirya Arjuna and Parashurama, and his teachings encapsulated in the Tripura Rahasya, all contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the path to self-realization. Lord Dattatreya’s unique approach to learning, drawing wisdom from 24 gurus in nature, exemplifies the limitless opportunities for learning and self-discovery in our daily lives.

The spiritual lineage connecting Lord Dattatreya to Sai Baba of Shirdi further deepens our understanding of these teachings. Sai Baba’s life and teachings, notably his emphasis on faith, patience, and unconditional love, echo the philosophies of Lord Dattatreya. The narratives from Sai Satcharitra underscore this connection, illustrating Sai Baba’s divine guidance in the lives of his devotees, much like Lord Dattatreya.

These narratives and teachings, rooted in the wisdom of Lord Dattatreya and Sai Baba of Shirdi, offer valuable insights for those embarking on their own spiritual journeys. They underscore the importance of faith, the pursuit of knowledge, acknowledgment of the omnipresent gurus, and the ultimate surrender to the Guru’s feet. These stories and teachings inspire us to seek the path of self-realization and spiritual enlightenment, reminding us that the journey is as significant as the destination.