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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Drooling over this cabbie (Taxi Driver)

There is something about the Dev Anand of the 50s. He is raw and roguish, yet so very sweet and tempting. He has this distinct sex appeal that is unpolished, hence wild and terribly attractive. He was yet to get that quintessential swagger of the 60s, the sweep of his mane and his jaunty persona. But in his earlier films, he somehow appeared more passionate and involved in those innovative roles. He bravely took on the parts of pickpockets, thieves and smugglers and he pulled them off with a kind of unconscious flamboyance that made it so heartwarming. His body language was more natural and he did not feel gawky at wearing his heart on his sleeves. Films such as Baarish and Taxi Driver project him is a unique grey light. He was not scared to don the mantle of the shirker and the cynical and his clean approach towards these roles made him such a joy to watch. He displayed no inhibitions and mingled freely with the narrative to make his characters charming as well as flawless.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Dashing dacoit (Mujhe Jeene Do)

One segment from Mujhe Jeene Do will remain with me forever. Sunil Dutt staring at the pristine visage of Waheeda Rehman as she sleeps peacefully. Just moments before she had scarred him on the face with her nails and had disobeyed his firm orders to dance and sing for him. She insulted him for his lowly trade and sweared that she would never entertain someone who killed and plundered. Then as Dutt's piercing eyes bore down on her weeping face, she stunned him with loud slaps. A reaction so strong was enough to startle the cruel dacoit Thakur Jarnail Singh. He not only was shaken up by the gall of this girl, he also felt instant attraction for this woman who dared to hold her own against him. Something no one ever had done. Probably that's why he pours over her face. Pondering over his feelings for her (after all she is very attractive) as well as trying to gauge the kind of person she is. For, no normal person would dare to challenge a dacoit of his fame and calibre.

Monday, 6 June 2011

For the elixir of youth (Ashite Ashiona)

At the very onset let me tell you what the film's name means. Someone out there is trying to tell every member of the human clan that it's really not worth stepping into your eighties. You are infirm, weak, doddering and helpless. But what is most unfortunate is that your near and dear ones treat you like dirt. They brush away feelings and desires, pay no attention towards your well being and totally forget that you are the person responsible for what they are today. Ashite Ashiona is a tongue-in-cheek look at this age-old phenomena of old parents being neglected. Even if it does not happen in every household, this film is also a reminder to everyone on how not to treat the elderlies in the family. The 1967 film directed by Sri Jayadrath is hilarious, yes, but it drags home such a poignant point that while you laugh, you'll also wonder at the hollowness of so many humans and society in itself.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Wish I had a 'Personal Assistant' like him

There used to be a time in the Bengali movie industry when films didn't much require stars. If the big actors took part, well and good. If not, the directors made up with a fantastic story and a tight cast of able character actors. If you rummage through many old Bengali vintage classic, you will come across a bevy of such masterpieces. Replete with a fabulous storyline, taut editing, lovely music and supported by a planet of super character actors, these films are just as entertaining as maybe a Uttam-Suchitra classic or a Satyajit Ray gem. And the best part is that these films are mostly comedies, balanced by a sweet romantic angle and laudable melody.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Weak procrastinator (Amar)

Mehboob Khan's bold drama Amar happens to have a yo-yo effect on me. There are moments when I am swept away by the tight narrative, and there are times when I brush aside the nonsensical goings-on on the screen. There are times when I love Dilip Kumar for having the gall to undertake this grey part, then there are those situations when I feel like whacking him for tediously lengthening the film with his procrastination. There are sighs that I let out for the unharnessed rustic charm of Nimmi and there is the utter exasperation when instead of breathing fire she whimpers and simpers into love for her violator. But there is one person who takes my breath away... Madhubala, for being so heartbreakingly beautiful, so smart, so compassionate and then in the end doing what she aught to be doing. In relinquishing her rights and love, she emerges as the strongest character of this 1954 super dramatic film, that is hailed as being ahead of its times for no tiny reason.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

More of Jubilee Kumar (Hamrahi)

My tryst with Rajendra Kumar continues...
This time I encountered Kumar playing a philanderer turned good husband. Did he do it well? I didn't get to reason that out because I kept feeling let down by the director's decision to cast Jamuna in the role of the leading lady. A good actress she is, but certainly not gorgeous in the looks department. And definitely not the person for whom Shekhar might be forced to rid himself of his frivolous ways, his penchant for girls and for plunging into total depression when she tells him how unfortunate she is that she had to marry this rich and spoilt individual. Throughout the film, I kept missing Sadhana, who would have added so much meat to the role of this defiant girl. And maybe then Hamrahi would have been so much more pleasing. Great cast, good story but the fun fizzles out in many parts...