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Friday, 30 July 2010

Tragic romance (Goonj Uthi Shehnai)

My brother believes that a tragic ending makes a romantic film even more memorable. And, if not sad, an expectant one, where the lovers' union is far from achieved. He is of the view that when the denouement is not rosy, it tends to haunt you. Call it poignance or what, I can sense the same when the end credits roll in Vijay Bhatt's Goonj Uthi Shehnai. When circumstances and society tear Kishan away from his sweetheart Gopi, you kind of feel a hollow in your heart. The pain increases when the two lovers meet their end far away from each other, only with the hope that in death will their union be possible. The love that stung the eyes of society shall be consummated in the jaws of death. Perhaps, that is why this Rajendra Kumar-Ameeta romantic tradegy continues to be so memorable...

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Asian fiesta (Love in Tokyo)

When you have Asha Parekh in a film, no matter how far-fetched the plot is and how irksome the melodrama, just sit tight. For, this spunky actress guarantees fun. Disguised as a young Sardar, she entertains to the hilt and when the charade is over, she enthralls as Ashok's pretty sweetheart. Dancing like a deer and a crackshot with emotions she makes Pramod Chakraborty's Love in Tokyo a delight. Not to mention her sparkling chemistry with the dashing Joy Mukherjee...

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Twin trouble (Ram aur Shyam)

Somewhere in the middle of Ram aur Shyam director Chanakya loses steam. That's my guess. For, what starts as a perfectly exciting family drama turns into a rambling and tedious potboiler. The film just goes on and on. So dragged is the denouement that when Anjana and Shanta get to garland their heroes, I kick myself up from semi-slumber to say, "Gosh, at last the deed is done!"
Pardon me, but I think this film could have been so much more entertaining if it had been sharper and tighter. A few inane scenes here and there could have been omitted and Dilip Kumar's sometimes forced comedy could be saved for a more favourable day...

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Wish granted (Nayika Sangbad)

Before going to Mumbai, I prayed to God that I see at least one cinema star getting out of her swanky car, or walking into a posh mall, or maybe, if the sun shone really bright (with Mumbai's monsoons, that's close to impossible), Shahid Kapur taking a stroll on Bandstand (though he lives in Andheri)!! And, if Lord Almighty was indeed happy he would grant me a glimpse of Shammi Kapoor!!
News is, nothing of that sort happened. I saw no Shammi Kapoor, no SRK (though I saw his and Salman's bungalow) and no Shahid (I quite like him, you see). But, yes I witnessed Salman's guards taking his two oversized dogs for their daily walk on Bandstand! Lucky me!! If not the star himself, I was quite excited to see his canine family extensions!!
That's how I am. Imagining crazy things related to cinema. What if some day I get to meet Shammi Kapoor, or say Asha Parekh?

Monday, 26 July 2010

Love leads (Ghar)

God, it feels so good to be back. To the comforts of my home, to the interactive sessions of my blog and most importantly, to the joys of old films. After a week-long hiatus, I watched one yesterday. With a simple initiation, a sudden twist gradually tightens this 1978 love story. Manik Chatterjee's Ghar turned out to be an emotionally taut drama with convincing performances by Rekha and Vinod Mehra, and an awesome score by RD Burman.
A gruesome personal tragedy can destroy a couple's life. It can perfectly ruin marital bliss, plant suspicion and turmoil in a lover's mind and widen the crevices left by the disturbing incident. In Ghar Vikas and Aarti's halcyon life goes haywire in just one night. Suddenly, everything is shaken, and stirred...

Friday, 16 July 2010

Swarming syndrome (Mouchak)

What happens when fathers of marriageable girls spot an eligible groom?
In Mouchak, Arabindo Mukherjee's comic caper, they attack him, hound him, stick to him like leeches and almost pummel him into submission!!! And, that's just the beginning of the fun. This 1975 Bengali comedy is another uproarious saga from Mukherjee's stable (the same man who gave us Dhanni Meye). And, here we again have the talented pair of Uttam Kumar and Sabitri Chatterjee with the cute young pair of Ranjit Mullick (he is really, really attractive) and Mithu Mukherjee (she is fireball, I tell you). And, of course Rabi Ghosh (my uncle-in-law, if you rememeber) as a cheeky lovestruck taxi-driver romancing a housemaid!! Just wait till you hear him chuckle with, "Arey ami tokey mohabbat kori!!"

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Of kings and kingdoms (Kohinoor)

I love films like Kohinoor. You don't have to think much. You just go with the flow of the story. Good people, with odds clogging their life, have to battle against the bad ones. But there's no scope for fret. For, the end is always happy. The good guy wins, beating the bad guy to pulp. He gets to sit on the throne accompanied by the beautiful princess. Lighthearted and jaunty, Kohinoor is a perfect example of the archetypal royal saga. Replete with songs, swordfights, schemings and dances, this 1960 adventure flick from S.U. Sunny is one enthralling joyride...
Rana Devinder Pratap Singh is the crown prince of Kailashnagar. As expected there is the conniving dewan who wants his son to usurp the throne by bumping off the prince.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Action packed (Ankhen)

Why is Ramanand Sagar's spy thriller called Ankhen? I think it should have been christened Aatish. For, every sequence contains sheer fireworks. Crackling and bursting with excitement and action, this 1968 thriller was not a blockbuster for no reason. Dharmendra as the dashing spy, Mala Sinha as his beautiful agent, Jeevan as the odious enemy chief, Mehmood as the comical aide and spinechilling twists at every turn, Ankhen is a riveting masterpiece. A very desi James Bond-ish adventure this is...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Drab drama (Aarti)

Now I've seen all three. Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, Main Chup Rahungi and Aarti. Meena Kumari won a Filmfare best actress nomination for each of these films in 1962. She went on to win the black lady for Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam. Rightly so. For, while Main Chup Rahungi is a tad melodramatic in its execution (Kumari was very good), Phani Majumdar's Aarti is quite boring. And Kumari here is certainly not in her best acting shoes.
She plays Aarti, an idealistic doctor out to serve society. Her ideals clash with that of Prakash (Ashok Kumar), a talented brain surgeon who wants to be rich and famous. Incidentally he wants to marry Aarti, and expresses his intentions before her father.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Chupke Chupke vs Chhadmabeshi

Game for some fun? Watch Agradoot's 1971 comic caper, Chhadmabeshi. But, don't stop at that. Move on to Chupke Chupke, Hrishikesh Mukherjee's inspired version of Chhadmabeshi. And, see the fun multiplying. A carbon copy of its Bengali predecessor, this 1975 comedy is a bomb. It explodes to hit you with action, entertainment and gags. And then, you suddenly realise how the Bengali version, though is enjoyable and has Uttam Kumar, the be-all-and-end-all of Bengali cinema, lacks punch and speed.
To the Bengali original then. Abanish Sen (Uttam Kumar), a professor of Botany, plays a practical prank on his brother-in-law, Barrister Prasanta Ghosh (Bikash Ray), who stays in Allahabad.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Just a few words (Baton Baton Mein)

What is it with men and marriage? Why are they so scared of tying the knot? They are so ecstatic romancing the pretty damsel, but when it comes to settling down with her, they would love to be far far away... Well, in most cases that is...
Tony Braganza faces the same dilemma. And, to make matters worse, he is being prodded by Rosie Perreira, an overtly anxious widow, who wants to see her daughter happily settled in life. He loves Nancy Perreira all right, but having the overbearing motormouth Rosie, as a mother-in-law, is daunting for sure. So, Tony keeps procrastinating...

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Football frenzy (Dhanni Meye)

What happened??? Where was Germany's beautiful game??? Where did their famed counter-attack disappear??? They were completely outrun, outnumbered and outplayed by Spain!! I'm shell shocked, I'm upset. And, I'm angry at Paul, the psychic octopus! He had predicted that Spain would defeat the mighty Germans in the semi-final. Why God why???
Under the weather and nursing great pain, I chose to watch Dhanni Meye, Arabindo Mukherjee's funny tale on football. Right choice, I thought. This game is indeed the flavour of the season. And right, it was. For, after the film I'm feeling better. Much much better.
Packed with hilarious incidents this 1971 Bengali film (yes, I'm writing on one for the first time!) is a frothy romantic comedy with football as its crux.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Breaking free (Anupama)

Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Anupama has a choking effect on me. But, I enjoy that. I shed happy tears and bask in the warmth of the lovable characters. I clap when Uma breaks the shackles of her guilt and emerges a stronger and emancipated individual. I smile when Mohan redeems himself by liberating his wronged daughter. My heart brims with joy when I witness the goodness in Anita, in Moses, in Ashok and his mother, in Arun and in Gauri. Anupama, made in 1966, strengthens my faith in good wholesome cinema that looks simple but has hidden in its layers a multitude of emotions. Most importantly, it establishes my belief in Mukherjee's films. Subtle, simple yet so strong...
Mohan marries Aruna late in life. Understandably, he is head-over-heels in love with this lovely woman.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Escapist ending (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai)

Not fair. I'm not convinced with the climax of Kishore Sahu's Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai. This 1960 triangular love story (produced by Kamal Amrohi) finishes in a rather tame fashion. Without any procrastination, the director conveniently bumps off the wife so that the sweethearts can continue their life in bliss! So, does Sahu mean to say that it is absolutely normal to harbour romantic thoughts for a woman who is not your wife? That ignoring your wife can never be too bad? This romantic drama is not devoid of flaws...

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Royal mess (Prince)

Disappointing would be an understatement. Actually, Lekh Tandon's Prince is plain bad. A rambling saga that dwells on a spoilt prince and his road to redemption, meanders to and fro through inane turns, delivering stupid results. While the makers gave us a rollicking Professor in 1962, seven years later they hardly could repeat the magic. At least, not for me!!!
Pardon me, but the only good things I've found in the film are Rafi's Badan pe sitaare (it's a sureshot dance number) and

Friday, 2 July 2010

Rock solid entertainment (Come September)

Liza Fellini says, "They are four boys and six girls. Together they add up to ten. And, there's safety in numbers." Perturbed beyond words, Robert Talbot retorts, "There is much to it than mathematics. Those boys are very capable of dividing and multiplying!" And, the fun starts...
Robert Mulligan's romantic comedy, Come September, pits Rock Hudson against Bobby Darin (the singer makes his debut here). And, we have an uproarious battle of wits and fun schemes.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Spooky spin (Yeh Raat Phir Na Aaygi)

When you have to share screen space with Prithviraj Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Nana Palsikar and Mumtaz, you better be good in your job. But sadly, Biswajit's Suraj is so not up to the mark. The tale's spooky, the drama's spinechilling, the score's fantastic and the suspense is thrilling. But, Suraj looks lost (well, sometimes he is expected to!) all the time. He carries the same expressions throughout Yeh Raat Phir Na Aaygi, a brilliant 1966 thriller directed by Brij. When he is flummoxed to see the apparition, when he is flirting