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Monday, 31 May 2010

When love beckons (Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hain)

Some films take time to grow on you. Nasir Husain's Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hain is one of them. The first time I watched it, I thought the script is erroneous, the chemistry between the lovers tepid and the songs just about tolerable. I had thought that I would never watch this 1961 romance again.
But, I'm happy to admit, I was wrong. The other day, I tried it again. And voila, this time the film looked different. I loved the songs (except the first two forgettable numbers), Dev Anand was naughtily charming and Parekh was very pretty. I neglected the plot loopholes and enjoyed myself. Films and their layers, never fail to surprise me!!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Wrong pair (Mere Sanam)

Bengalis have a thing for Bengalis. But, my love for films is not parochial. If that had been the case, I'd be swooning over the likes of Biswajit and Joy Mukherjee. Instead, I find myself drawn to the flamboyance of the very Punjabi Shammi Kapoor, and Dev Anand. One, a robust romantic and the other a naughty charmer.
True, Mukherjee and Biswajit were two of the top draws in their times, but they fail to floor me. In fact, I feel these screen idols were plain lucky. They got to act in wholesome family dramas, made by talented directors, embellished with fantabulous music (many memorable Rafi songs) and got to romance pretty ladies.
One such film is Amar Kumar's Mere Sanam. This 1965 technicolor entertainer stars Biswajit and Asha Parekh, with some great support from Pran, Achla Sachdev, Laxmi Chhaya, Nazir Hussain and Mumtaz. Though the plot is slightly borrowed from

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Harmony from the heart (Ek Musafir Ek Hasina)

Bahut shukriya bari meherbani, meri zindagi mein huzoor aap aaye...
Seriously, what would I have done without OP Nayyar and his universe of melody? His compositions play with my senses, they rock my world and they sooth my nerves! And, when you have nine fantastic numbers played at close intervals, you are in for a jolly good musical treat. Here's introducing Raj Khosla's Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, a film that is a curtain raiser to this talented director's later thrillers.
Truely speaking (strictly my thought), this 1962 Sadhana-Joy Mukherjee starrer would be an absolute washout if not for Nayyar's work. Embellished with nine wonderful songs, the maestro shows us that his music is not just about hoof-beats. Romance, in all avatars, shine forth in the film's songs.
Okay, a bit about the film.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Golden girl (Cactus Flower)

It's her eyes. They are round, absolutely round. And, emote impeccably. When she's thrilled, they balloon with happiness, when she's sad, they brim over with tears. No matter what, it's difficult to take your eyes off her sparkling blue peepers, so full of excitement and emotion. Couple that with her lyrically cute voice and an petite elfin frame with a bob of bright golden hair, and you have the stunner called Goldie Hawn.
As the 21-year-old Toni Simmons in Gene Saks' 1969 comedy, Cactus Flower, Hawn is a revelation. She just has to look, and you melt. Such is the magic of her persona, uncanny, wierd but utterly enjoyable. In her first major film role she steals the thunder away from the other mighty artists, namely Walter Matthau and yes, the veteran Ingrid Bergman.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Birth of the mystery girl (Woh Kaun Thi)

A car negotiates a foresty patch while big drops of rain bombard its windscreen. The wipers try hard to maintain a clear view (with its squeaky noise). Suddenly, a woman, clad in a white saree, appears out of nowhere . The driver rebukes her for hindering his journey. She is drenched and answers in monosyllables. The driver offers her a lift. She sits in the car, the wiper stops functioning! The road is unclear but this woman assures assistance. She behaves in the most bizarre manner and her answers are baffling. She gets down at a cemetary and saunters in. The gate of the cemetary closes and Naina barse ensues. The driver is confused, dumbstruck and astonished. Woh kaun thi??

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Three-tiered thriller (Teesri Manzil)

If entertainment could be measured in degrees, I'd call Teesri Manzil, the source of third degree enjoyment!! Considering that this Vijay Anand trendsetter is my favourite (incidentally it was also my father's favourite, and, father and daughter spent numerous hours bonding over this thriller), I should have penned my thoughts on it much earlier. But, truely, I have been mustering up the courage to sum my feelings on this 1966 superhit. For, I really want to reign in the gush and sound objective. But, since I've already seen the film 27 times, that might be a tad difficult. I'll try nonetheless...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Dutt drama (Kissi Se Na Kehna)

I wonder whether Kissi se na kehna would have been as memorable without Utpal Dutt. For, who would have managed to look this flummoxed, befuddled and flabbergasted at the sight of a jeans-clad modern girl spewing English lines at top speed before her prospective father-in-law??? Or, as shocked and dismayed when another such girl grooves to some popular English track, right before him!! Or look as satisfied and at peace when he hears the simple Rama sing, Dhunde yashodha chahu orh? Or as satiated when he has eaten a plateful of delectable kachoris? Or, as disappointed and hurt when he learns of Rama's truth?
No one, right? Dutt's magic is totally unmatched. No one, yes, no one could have fitted the part of Kailashpati, the large-hearted, lovable father-in-law in this rollicking 1983 Hrishikesh Mukherjee romantic comedy.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Bachelor party (Chashme Buddoor)

Whenever I happen to mention Sai Paranjpye's Chashme Buddoor during any conversation, there is a change in my mood. Almost instantly, I feel light and happy. My jaw stretches into a broad smile and my mind drifts into the lazy crazy life of Siddharth, Omi, Jomo and of course, Miss Chamko. That's why I call this 1981 romantic comedy, a moodlifter...
When my friends are in agony, I recommend Chashme Buddoor to them (provided the depression can be handled with a frothy film)! They turn up next day to thank me! That's the magic of this laugh riot. I love the way Delhi is caught on camera. Languid afternoons, verdant lawns, near empty roads, the capital looks extremely enticing. And, of course, there's Kali ghodi dwar khadi and Kahaan se aye badra. Yesudas and Haimanti Shukla create beautiful harmony!!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Regal canvas (Rajkumar)

It's like watching one gala theatrical extravaganza. In K Shankar's 1964 hit, Rajkumar, everything is over-the-top, the makeup, sets, costumes, characters and story. But, never mind. It's one multi-coloured royal drama that will keep you hooked. That is, if you incorporate a certain willing suspension of disbelief. The rest, I assure, is like being part of an enthralling carnival.
The best part of the film, apart from the rollicking pair of Shammi Kapoor and Sadhana, are its songs. In fact, just when some implausible sequence is trying your patience, Shankar Jaikishen's music comes to the rescue. With seven chartbusters, Rajkumar is one potboiling entertainer.

Friday, 14 May 2010

A hearty tale of love (Dil Deke Dekho)

Shammi Kapoor's called Roop in Nasir Husain's Dil Deke Dekho. An apt name. With that kind of a face, nothing else would do justice. He is a charmer, who slips into multiple roles with utmost dexterity. He is tall, strapping and cool, a loverboy who is hard to stay away from. He is a dutiful son, an passionate lover and a quickwitted comedian. So, Roop, the one with a beautiful face, effortlessly makes your heart skip a beat. He makes you laugh with his Professor Saamri gags, tickles your funny bone as Mirza Changezi and makes mush out of you as the smooth Roop or Raja. In the very words of Prof. Saamri, "Oh, tera kya kehna" or maybe, "Yeh aankhen nahin do teer hain"...

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Love in the lanes of Rome (Roman Holiday)

Thank God Cary Grant decided not to sign Roman Holiday. Thank God. For, I can't picture Grant vrooming on a Vespa with the animated Anya Smith pillion riding. No, I can't imagine Grant, or rather, anyone else, in the shoes of the earth-shatteringly handsome Gregory Peck!!! William Wyler's 1952 romantic comedy would have not been the same without the stunning pair of Peck and the cherubic Audrey Hepburn. For that, I thank God...
Roman Holiday is like sipping a cup of freshly brewed cappuchino in an Italian bistro. With the spring breeze playing with your tresses, the aroma of the beverage tingling your nostrils and the balmy sun soothing your back. The experience is supremely calm and rejuvenating. Just like the freshness of the debutant called Hepburn.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Promises that are made to be kept (Main Chup Rahungi)

Meena Kumari's versatality knew no bounds. She could drape herself in almost any cinematic garb. Though she's christened as Bollywood's golden era tragedienne, I feel she was equally deft in comedy and romance. In 1962, she proves that, with a range of parts in Aarti, Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam and Main Chup Rahungi. All three roles garnered her a Filmfare nomination, each. She eventually went on to win for Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam. And, rightly so...
I'm yet to see Aarti, a family drama revolving around love and lust. I've watched the sublime Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam and I'm stupified by its make. The film is a masterpiece, if you allow this understatement. It is profoundly ethereal. I need to watch it again very soon. I am mesmerised by Kumari's beauty and performance. Her enigmatic presence is breathtaking and her eyes are intoxicating!!! But, on that, some other day...

Monday, 10 May 2010

His Majesty, Yul Brynner (The King and I)

The King and I is what it is, for Yul Brynner. I feel. For, I don't think there possibly could have been anyone as neat a fit for the shoes of King Mongkut Of Siam. Yul Brynner fits the role to the T. He is handsome. He is funny. He exudes a royal aura. And his intense eyes... Sigh!!! Not to mention his perfect Siamese accent, his adorable English language faux pas, his cutely reprimanding behaviour and his entertaining obstinacy!!!
He is a study in contrasts, this king, in the 1956 hugely popular Rodgers and Hammerstein production. Here's how. The king's repartee is full of malapropism. But, our king is supremely confident of what he says. So, when he sings, What a puzzlement, he is but projecting his ignorance in a lovingly humourous way. Really, how on earth is one expected to learn if every English book says different things on one topic??? Really...

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Rules of the game (Chhoti si Baat)

Love's playing truant in your life? Seek Colonel Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh's advice. But, for that you have to watch Basu Chatterjee's Chhoti si Baat. And, after you've done that, I'm sure, you'll watch it again. Such is the delight of this 1975 roller-coaster romantic comedy.
The best part of this sweet film is its resemblance to every day life. Arun's story could have been the story of any man travelling with you in the bus, or train. You wouldn't even know what's in that man's mind. It's the same case with Arun (superbly subtle Amol Palekar). When he fancies himself to be like Dharmendra, and imagines wooing Prabha with Jaaneman jaaneman, he is just like us. Don't we sometimes step into the shoes and travel a zilion miles in dreamland imagining ourselves to be a celluloid diva spending tender moments with a dashing hero!!! Well, I do...

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Twin bonanza (Hum Dono)

Hum Dono is an archipelago of emotions. A poignant drama revolving around the inanity of war, Amarjeet's 1961 classic is a rare treat for the senses. Whether it is the warmth of a mother-son relationship, the closeness of two sweethearts, the faith and trust between a married couple or the promise of filial love, Hum Dono's large canvas has equal opportunity for all emotions. With tender moments galore, this Dev Anand-Nanda-Sadhana masterpiece reinstates my love for social and family dramas. Oh! How I love this roller-coaster joyride...
What does war do to a man? Vijay Anand pens a touching saga to address this issue. He highlights the banality of war and the sad repercussions such political maladies have on a common man's life. A war tears a son away from his old and frail mother, it separates a man from his loving wife and it builds a huge wall between two sweethearts harbouring a dream in their expectant hearts to settle down in bliss. Even when war ends, nothing is hale and hearty.