Tuesday 30 April 2019

AGM-2019  AT  IMSC

        The bliss of interacting with like-minded Veterans is Priceless…The Annual General Meeting of the Naval Veterans of Mumbai Chapter at IMSC Colaba, is a much-awaited affair organised in Apr/ May every year. This year it was programmed for 28th Apr and conjoined with Adm BS Soman memorial lecture, for which the guest speaker was the International  movie legend Mr Ananth Mahadevan, who held the entire audience in a spell as he spoke from experience with a rich sprinkling of humour on ‘Breaking the glass ceiling of nepotism - A Common Man’s Journey To Success In Bollywood’. This was followed by interaction with him over drinks and lunch at IMSC.

    Later the AGM was conducted at the same venue at 1500 hrs, steered by Commander Vijay Vadhera. Over 200 veterans have registered into the Foundation during the past year, updating the strength to 1178. A min’s silence was observed as a mark of respect to the Veterans who had left our gang for their Heavenly abode in the last one year. Friends of the Veterans who had breathed their last recounted their memories and invaluable contribution to the Navy and the Society post-retirement. This was followed by the new members introducing themselves and their good ladies, some with a touch of humour, declaring themselves to be ‘happily married,’ a class oxymoron that’s second to none. Every year to encourage penmanship for Quarter Deck magazine, NFMC awards Veterans whose articles find a place in QD as per the promulgated topics. Cdr Raj Dutta,  whose article was published for 6th  yr in succession was awarded Rs 5K. Meena Dutta was felicitated for being the Official photographer for 2018-19. After getting the audited Balance sheet of last year passed by the majority, a few ECHS  Agenda points were discussed. It was then time to honour the Octogenarians. They were pleased to receive their Mementos from Veer Naris. RAdm RM Bhatia, President NFMC, in his concluding remarks thanked all Veterans for their cooperation to him and his team in the smooth running of affairs of the Foundation for the past 3 yrs. Due to his relocation to Gurugram recently it was decided to hold the election of the new President in the near future.     


       A spectacular day spent wonderfully. Awaiting next interaction with Veterans during the forthcoming Navy Week celebrations…Cheers!  

       Agar koi hum Veterans se poochhe, ke zindagi mein kya khoya aur kya paya ? Toh hum be-jijhak kahenge, ‘Jo khoya vo hai hamara bachpan hamari nadaani, aur jo paya wo hai hamare Rab ki meharbani ’… !!!




           I was indeed glad to receive a call from Lt Shreekant Bhende yesterday during my return drive to Borivali from Colaba, where Meena and I had savoured some funtastic moments capturing snaps during the Adm BS Soman memorial Lecture conducted by NFMC and steered by Cdr Vijay Vadhera, that was followed by AGM-2019 and farewell to RAdm RM Bhatia and his good Lady Bala ma’am the same evening.  

            I pulled the Car to the left and was glad to learn from Lt Bhende, the Architect of ‘Amar Jawan’ monument in Borivali  that the Baby is 2 yrs young and that he has invited RAdm & Mrs RM Bhatia for celebrating its 2nd Anniv by wreath laying at 4pm. He and Cdr Kutty with their charming ladies had just arrived and we greeted each other with euphoric delight although we had met in NFMC meet a day previous. Indeed the feeling of emotive bonding between Veterans during any congregation is priceless. Soon RAdm RM Bhatia arrived with his good Lady Bala ma’am. The love and affection that the Adm and Lt Bhede possess for this monument was visible in their moist eyes as we all climbed up to pay our Homage to the ‘Amar Jawan’. The monument  depicts every soldier who has laid down his Life in every War that India has fought. The ‘Amar Jawan’ is also representative of every Soldier who stands guard at our Borders in Sun and Rain, Day and Night. Adm Bhatia laid the wreath as we all saluted and paid our Homage to the Martyrs. It was 2 yrs ago when the Adm had himself inaugurated the monument as President of NFMC in the presence of Veterans of Mumbai Suburbs.

       After the wreath laying Lt Bhende invited us to his white marble abode that’s at a stone's throw from the monument. The interiors of the huge home have very exquisitely been crafted by Lt Bhende and his good lady. We all recaptured and narrated moments from our Naval past which had some uncanny resemblances. Their maid, a nice lady, who has been like their family member for long served us assorted sandwiches, biscuits and fruit Juice. Later Mrs Bhende prepared and served us delicious hot coffee.

     It was kind of RAdm and Mrs Bhatia to have driven down 56 kms from Colaba to be with us all to celebrate the second Anniv of ‘Amar Jawan’. He lovingly patted us all before departing. Salutes Sir and Bala Ma’am.

     Thank you so much Lt and Mrs Shreekant Bhende for calling us for the Solemn occasion. Sir, you and Ma’am are energetic Veterans from whom Meena, I and many young veterans draw inspiration….JAI HIND !

To View the first Blog on ‘Amar Jawan’….click the link below.

Monday 29 April 2019


             28th of Apr 2019, was a Red letter day for the Naval Veterans of Mumbai chapter, even as they congregated at INHS Asvini for the Adm BS Soman Memorial lecture, that has Annually been conducted for the past two decades. The organisation of this event has always been effectively shouldered by the Secy of the Navy Foundation Mumbai Chapter. The charismatic Cdr Vijay Vadhera has been holding this portfolio for the past 11 yrs and has been inviting prominent Speakers from various fields to address the Veterans. The Speaker this year was the Bangalorean Jamai of ‘Ghar Jamai’, who was always visibly bugged when Satish Shah called him a ‘Madrasi’ during the serial, drawing raw humour in our households when TV had made its entry into our Drawing rooms in the late 80s/ early 90s.

           A few months ago Cdr Vijay Vadhera, chanced to watch ‘That’s My Girl’ in NCPA, written and directed by Bharat Dhabolkar with Ananth Mahadevan and Shweta Rohira in the Lead cast. After the Drama Cdr Vadhera interacted with Bharat Dhabolkar and Ananth Mahadevan and requested the later to address the Veterans on a subject of his expertise, for the Annual Adm Soman Memorial Lecture to be conducted in Apr 2019. The humble and empathetic actor that he is, Ananth readily conceded without batting an eye for he considers it an honour to speak to and interact with the Veterans. The various topics suggested by Veterans themselves were revealed by Cdr Vadhera to Mr Ananth and he short-listed one.

‘Breaking the glass ceiling of nepotism - A Common Man’s Journey To Success In Bollywood’…A subject that’s not only close to the Heart of Mr Ananth (the Star has made his mark among the great Filmmakers sans a God-Father)  but many of us.


            Cdr Vadhera had firmed up the first interactive session with the Star for 03 Apr in Hotel ‘Sun-n Sand’ at 3 pm over a Cuppa Coffee along with the 3 committee members of Western Suburbs – Cdr Kumresh K Sharma, Mrs Kanta Mukherjee and I. When he rang me up in the forenoon, Meena and I were delightfully elated. Mr Ananth Mahadevan gleefully greeted us all with a warm handshake at the Coffee Shop adjoining the Poolside. He was pleasant in his interaction and mentioned that he was indeed honoured at being presented with this opportunity. Our discussion encompassed his theatre and Film life and his inclination more towards theatre as he found it much more challenging. He has since graduated from Acting to Screenplay to Direction in his almost 40 yrs long theatre/ screen career. Cdr Vadhera thoroughly briefed him on the Foundation’s activities and the proceedings planned for 28th Apr in the Asvini Auditorium including the presentations. He then presented Ananth with the Veterans special issue of ‘Fauji India’ magazine, that contains articles by the Veterans and cover page exhibiting LtGen KT Patnaik, Cdr Vijay Vadhera and Wing Cdr MH Zaki, Veterans of the 3 services. He was glad to learn that the Editor-in-Chief of ‘Fauji India’, Mr Prasoon Kumar shall also be attending the lecture and shall include the Event of 28th in his next issue. After a wonderful interaction with us, Mr Mahadevan took our leave.

   The D - Day : 28th APR 

      The NFMC Veterans started to converge towards the INHS Asvini Auditorium starting 1000 hrs, being warmly welcomed by the Committee members of NFMC. The elite Veterans included two former CsNS  Adm Ramdas and Adm VS Shekhawat with their charming ladies, a number of former VAdms and senior officers with their good ladies and Veer Naris. Lt Sandhya Suri a Veteran and a motivational speaker having missed her Jet Airways Flight due to its closure decided to drive down for the event. Mrs Gulati came from Pune to attend the lecture followed by the AGM. Capt Prasoon Kumar, Chief editor of 'Fauji India', Mr Raj Wankawalla President Lion's Club Juhu and his Team and    The Hall was House Full two months in advance and Cdr Vadhera had to politely decline the late requests. He had made an elaborate seating plan for the dignitaries and chalked out a minute to minute programme with minutest details been looked into.

      After the arrival of our Chief Guest VAdm Ajit Kumar P, PVSM, AVSM, VSM FOCinC (West), and Patron of NFMC, Cdr Vadhera welcomed all Dignitaries to the Adm Soman Memorial Lecture spoke about its relevance along with a ppt before the introduction of the Guest Speaker and the National Award winning Star of Indian Films, Mr Ananth Mahadevan. There was a huge round of applause as the Star took to stage. The speech laced with his personal experiences was spellbinding and the Huge Hall was all ears to that magician of Bollywood, whose perfect diction and elocution was impeccable. He started his talk with a War Cry ‘HOWS THE JOSH?’ three times to the thunderous response of the Audience ‘Super High Sir’. His talk touched about his passion for Theatre, having performed in Shakespeare's plays and how he made his mark as a scriptwriter and Director with a difference.  The star loved Theatre more than Films. Theatre for him was much more challenging and acted as a catalyst for him to excel in his field. There are no retakes in Theatre. His talk was laced with a touch of humour and firmly believed that with acute inclination, high dedication and tough grind the glass ceiling of nepotism can be shattered.   

      The Qs-Ans session was as gripping and fascinating as Ananth’s remarkable allocution. He was grilled for the poor performance of Bollywood movies on World stage. He regretted the truth and offered to Direct a movie on a Military theme and invited ideas and stories for his next venture.

      Cdr Vijay Vadhera invited RAdm RM Bhatia, the President NFMC on stage for the Thanksgiving after which he welcomed on stage  VAdm Ajit Kumar P, FOCINC(WEST)  and Cmde Rakesh Anand, CMD MDL    along with their good ladies and Mrs Bala Bhatia for felicitation of the Guest Speaker and  presentation of mementoes, Foundation Cap and a book on Naturopathy “Health Secrets to  Light 100 Candles “ written by one of our own Foundation member  Cdr Ashok Shinde.  Radm Pradeep Joshi, the VP of RGC(W) was also felicitated on stage for his valuable contribution to NFMC prior to his retirement.  Cdr Vadhera also invited on stage the President of Lions Club of Juhu, Mr Raj Wankawalla along with his team, who had  willingly offered to partly sponsor the Soman Lecture by handing  over  a cheque to president Navy Foundation. As a reciprocal gesture  NFMC presented  a Memento and Veterans Caps to the President & his team. The C-in-C then felicitated the outgoing President of NFMC, RAdm RM Bhatia and his good lady.

        After the customary singing of our National Anthem, Cdr Vadhera requested all present to reassemble at the IMSC for a Glass of Beer and Lunch before yet again much-awaited event of the year,  the NFMC Annual General Meeting scheduled for 1500 hrs. 

      The Official Photographer Mrs Meena Dutta captured the precious moments for recalling in footprints of time later.


Mr Ananth Narayan Mahadevan is an award winning media personality in Films, TV, theatre and advertising since the 1980s.

He was born in Thrissur, Kerala and graduated in  Science from Bombay University. His mission to incorporate a scientific approach to the arts, led him through 36 plays and almost 3000 performances all over the world. He has virtually run parallel to the mainstream television industry in India from 1983, working as an actor , with some of the most renowned names like Yash Chopra, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee, Sai Paranjpye & Mr Ramesh Sippy

His first TV serial was with celebrated director SaiParanjape's" AdosPadose " in 1984-85. Four years later he went behind the camera to direct a telefilm    " Sambandh ". He made his debut in Hindi films in 1980s  as an actor in " GharJamaee " ,  and as a film director in " DilVilPyaarVaar " in 2004. He made his debut in TV serial direction with " Indradhanush " in 1989.

From acting to directing has been logical graduation for ANANTH with cult films like DilVilPyarVyar Indias first retro musical and the all-time youth favouriteDilMaange More entrenching him firmly in Bollywood. But his heart was in the International cinema. Spurred on by the films of great masters from Europe, America and Asia, he developed an uncompromising approach towards film making.

His moment of glory came when his Marathi biopic MeeSindhutaiSapkal became the toast of international film festivals and won 4 National awards including adjudged the Best Picture. His repertoire of films has titles that were acclaimed across the globe like Red Alert, GourHariDastaan, Rough Book and his latest film is on Indias first practising lady doctor DOCTOR RAKHMABAI.

Ananth confesses that the going for him wasn’t easy since he was not a mainstream material. But his fight to elevate Indian cinema to a global level has driven him with a missionary zeal.

Ananths journey has been rewarding yet unfulfilled at present.He wants to achieve more and more for his country as he believes  that the dynamics of acting is akin to that of a healthy human, the director is the mind, the actor the body and writer the hands. All three have to gel well to produce something worthwhile.


Click below for hilarious Bytes of Ananth Mahadevan