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Monday, 29 November 2010

It happened one night (Jagte Raho)

It takes guts to invest your bucks in a film like Jagte Raho. But then, Raj Kapoor was no ordinary artiste. He always tread a unique path, with a vision that stood out from the hoi polloi. I'm sure when he decided to produce this Shambhu Mitra and Amit Mitra directorial venture, he knew he was hitting the right cinematic button. A film that has no lead pair, no romantic angle, no formulaic story, can only be successful if executed with utmost aplomb. And in that, Jagte Raho is a top draw. A stunning social commentary on the venality and dishonesty of most city dwellers, this story tells one sole incident in such a unique fashion that it is difficult not to sit up and take absolute notice...

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Black sheep (Aap ki Parchhaiyan)

Running a family calls for a wee bit of diplomacy, they say. And, how true that is. For, when a man gets married, his equation with his parents and siblings undergoes a sea change. He now has a partner, who he is responsible for. The onus is on him to initiate her into the ways of his house, make her comfortable and help her become one with the family. This girl has left her beloved parents and her home and has expectations from her new relatives. She is a bit apprehensive about the new abode and is trying her best to ease into this home. She is looking upto her husband for love and understanding and her in laws for care and support.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The original HAHK (Nadiya ke Paar)

The first thing that hit me in Govind Moonis's Nadiya ke Paar is how real everything looks. The village setting, the costumes, the rustic characters, the incidents and most importantly, the dialect. This original of the Madhuri Dixit-Salman Khan starrer Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, is absolutely fascinating in its simplicity and narration. Its characters are real, they talk as if they are the characters and whatever happens in the film seem so true to life. Sometimes, this 1982 film turns out to be so enjoyable that you think the remake is a tad OTT and unnecessarily long...

Strong ties (Dosti)

Seldom have I seen a film that stands strong just because of the engaging series of events. It does not have a stellar cast, it has no romance as its core element, it has no dashing hero, no pretty heroine and no slimy rogue. But still, it just keeps you hooked. The melodrama and some unnecessary plot elements notwithstanding, as well as some irrational behaviour. Dosti, Satyen Bose's tearjerker about two thick friends, is a film that defines all of the above...

Friday, 19 November 2010

Mysteriously forgettable (Baat Ek Raat Ki)

Sometimes the last 30 minutes of a film turns out so good that I'm ready to forgive the otherwise tedious rest. Especially when the twists are pretty sudden and one clever ploy by the director bolsters the climax up. The mundane script makes a somersault into the fast lane and you sit tight for the proceedings. Shankar Mukherjee's nondescript thriller Baat Ek Raat Ki is a film that falls in this group. It starts off with the promise of a tantalising mystery, slows down with some redundancy, is tedious because of the time invested in developing the love angle and then suddenly, like a bolt from the blue becomes fast and action packed again towards the end...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

United they stand (Naya Daur)

Man vs Machine tipped Horses vs Wheels. Thereafter, Love vs Friendship took center stage, before I realised that Naya Daur, B R Chopra's magnum opus, is a film that cannot be buttonholed into any two categories. It is a film that celebrates the beauty of classical Indian cinema, while harping on the issues of industrialisation in post-independant India and overall, salutes dignity of labour. It brings together some of the best in filmdom. This 1957 drama has the ingredients for becoming a blockbuster in any day and age.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Discovered by chance (Man Mauji)

Put a spunky heroine, a comic villain, a goofy hero, a good story and a convincing supporting cast together, and you get Krishan Panju's Man Mauji. That's precisely what I thought of this 1962 AVM production (they always have a nice family setting, hummable songs and packets of entertainment). A relatively obscure film, I stumbled upon it on Youtube through the lovely Lata Mangeshkar number, Main to tum sang nain milake haar gayi sajna, loved the vulnerable prettiness of Sadhana and couldn't keep myself from watching all of it. And, I'm happy.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Simply streetsmart (Aar Paar)

I'm quite glad I saw Aar Paar. It shows Guru Dutt in a very different light. Here he carries his Bombaiyya swagger with elan. He floors girls like nine pins and cares two hoots about impressing his ladylove's father. He woos the well-off Nicky knowing full well that the task is already done and when rebuffed for the advances, shifts gears to approach the attractive but dangerous Shakila, aware that the tactic will pull Nicky towards him once again.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

But for Shammi and Sadhana (Budtameez)

Trust the invincible Shammi Kapoor to make even the very usual film exciting. Though the plot of Manmohan Desai's romantic comedy Budtameez has been oft-repeated, it becomes a jolly good ride for this flamboyant Kapoor's antics. And bolstered by Sadhana's natural charm, it is quite a watch. Only if Shankar Jaikishan's music had more juice and the director had obliterated the buffoon Devdas (Kamal Mehra)...

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Clash of ideals (Saath Saath)

Once you've made it to the 40th minute of Raman Kumar's Saath Saath you can rest assured that there will be no boring moment from here on. The journey of Gita and Avinash get extremely engaging. The couple's daily chores throw light on the very routine lives that most of us spend today. They try to make ends meet, maintain a budget for their expenditures, take up jobs to meet the rising costs of food and living and share with us all and sundry experiences. In fact, these nuggets make the film so next-door and enhance its appeal.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Quaint quadrangle (Benazir)

The high point of Bimal Roy's Benazir is Husn ki beharein liye. Not only is this a brilliant ghazal from S D Burman, rendered with haunting precision by Lata Mangeshkar, Shakeel Badayuni's lyrics also point out the poignancy of Benazir's state. Here is a woman, seen as a fallen one by society, torn between her love for a young man and her gratitude for the favours she has been receiving from his elder brother. As much as Benazir would love to declare her affection for Anwar, she is forced to stay mum because she is bound by her promises to the Nawab. And of course, her innocent love would be regarded as crafty lust by the world.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Earth-shatteringly good (Waqt)

I'm experiencing a hangover of fashion. A deluge of it has been sweeping my existence for the past two weeks now. So, while in the mood, I watched a film that not just has a lot of fashion and style in it, but is also a masterpiece that weaves in a lot more. Awesome story, smashing dialogues, handsome males, lovely women, great music, wickedly attractive villains, superb plot, superlative performances, swanky cars, stylish homes and yes, gorgeous clothes...