Do you know who Bollywood’s Rati was?

Large doe eyes, raven black hair, curvaceous women in the prime of her youth, ravenous Rati made her promising debut in Bollywood and Hindi cinema had a fresh new face. But who was Rati?


Actresses from South India have always had some exotic image up north in Bollywood. The 19-year-old Southern sensation Krishna Kumari made her Bollywood debut with none other than Kishore Kumar. Krishna Kumari had the added advantage that she could read, write and speak Hindi. Of course, another common tradition was the renaming of an actress when they migrated industries. Krishna Kumari was christened as Rati to avoid confusion with another actress of the time.

It was 1958 and the superhit pair Kishore Kumar-Nutan starrer “Kabhi Andhera Kabhi Ujala” was getting made.


Krishna Kumari was picked to play Kishore’s sister. Those were different times; films rode on the fame of their songs. With music by the famous O.P. Nayyar, “Surma mera nirala, aankhon mein jisne daala” sung by Kishore Kumar was picturised on Krishna Kumari.

“Rati: The enchanting new discovery of Hindi films” screamed a newspaper headline of the time. The posters of the film said they were featuring a “new flame” called Rati. Bollywood was obviously fidaa over her looks. Krishna Kumari fondly recalled to her daughter how Kishore Kumar had remarked on seeing her: “Yeh toh Meena jaisi dikhti hai” referring to Hindi cinema’s heartthrob Meena Kumari.

Read more about Krishna Kumar aka Rati’s journey into Bollywood, how many films she did, why she chose to return to Madras, the famous song she sang often for her daughter – all in the beautifully produced book “My Mother T. Krishna Kumari” authored by her daughter Dipika V. Maiya as a personal memoir. It’s filled with exclusive pictures not seen anywhere. Buy it here.

Ganapati in colourful strokes: a book on Sujata Bajaj

Discover multiple representations of Lord Ganapati through the eyes of international artist Sujata Bajaj in a book by French writer Jean-Claude Carrière.

One of India’s well known international artists,who is as inspired by her homeland as she is by the Paris she lives and works in, Sujata Bajaj is renowned for her vivid colours and textures and for having mastered various mediums, and has won many awards and accolades for her work.

Hailing from a family steeped in Gandhian philosophy, Sujata went on to study at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts, in Paris, where she found her language and vocabulary for her art. Sujata now spends her time between Paris, Dubai, India and Norway. 

For over 30 years, she’s been on a personal journey of sketching, drawing, etching, and collaging “The Lord of Beginnings” – everyone’s favourite Ganapati whom Sujata sees as her friend along her life’s journey. While her other works were in the fore in exhibitions all over the world, it was only recently that she exhibited this collection.  

You can find all these works and the story of the artist’s journey in the book titled GANAPATI written by Jean-Claude Carrière, a French writer and cineaste who has recently been awarded an Oscar for his lifetime achievement and who has followed Sujata’s career for more than 25 years. The book showcases works from all the stages of the project as it unfolds over an impressively long 30 years. The reader is invited to an enticing pictorial journey displaying many forms, lines and colors testifying to the scope of this original artistic exploration as well as the artist’s versatility in handling a variety of techniques and materials.

Pointing out that far from wanting to familiarize us with the god and his mythology, Carrière writes that Bajaj is driven by her own inner urge to paint: “Her motivation is elsewhere, in a personal quest for which she has chosen Ganpati to be her guide, as a travelling companion, this figure she has known since childhood – not as a model to be imitated, or represented.

The book also contains an in-depth interview of the artist by the well-known New Delhi based art critic, Kishore SinghKishore Singh’s interview takes us closer to the artist’s own biography. It dwells on the many fascinating stories that together underlie the emergence of the Ganapatiproject and, in the process, sheds light on the person Sujata Bajaj, her background and her evolution as an artist  

Ganapati, an illustrated book published by Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi; Gallery Art & Soul, Mumbai, Galerie Patrice Trigano; Paris, India Media Group; Paris(Size: 30 cm x 40 cm, 300 pages) and is designed by Vinay Jain. You can buy it here on Maiya Publishing.