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Monday, 28 November 2011

Teaching him a lesson (Indiscreet)

Sample this. A woman falls in love with a man who is married but separated from his wife. She spends blissful hours with him not expecting him to divorce his estranged partner and marry her. But as soon as she learns of the real matter she starts seething with rage. It so happens that the married man she so loved is actually not married. He is a bachelor who was pretending to be married. Now, that should be good news for the woman. But no, this is bad news because he pretended to be married when he was not so. Which means that he was shirking all ties even when he was so much in love with her! Ahh... too confusing? Watch Stanley Donen's clever romantic comedy Indiscreet to comprehend the tricky situation.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Choosing the right one (Holiday)

I'm currently riding the Cary Grant wave! Yes, I'm going to review yet another classic starring the dashing Grant. And not just this, I have one more super romance lined up where he is cast opposite another lovely lady; a Swede star who rocked the American movie industry during her times. Well, that doesn't end it. I've recently discovered some of the most well-known but difficult-to-lay-your-hands-on Cary Grant films that are making my downtime well worth it. Generally I love being busy with work. But at the moment, when my hands are not very full with assignments and travel (Come December and my life will be transformed into a hectic caravan!), I'm squeezing in a good film every opportune moment! Ah! The magic of old films...

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

To believe or not to believe (Charade)

Those with a yen for murder-mysteries and thrillers, this one's for you. Have it from me: Charade is one of the best thrillers I've ever encountered. Fast paced and riveting from the word go, this is one story that will hook you till the end credits roll. The best part: The dreadful murders happen one after another but instead of chilling the spine they only whet your appetite to learn who will be the next catch. The murders are done just like that and for once there is no sinister element hanging in the air of this 1963 classic. Stanley Donen packs in plenty of romance, thrills and ready wit making his venture a roller-coaster attraction. Yes, this is one murder mystery where I smiled and giggled enough, there was a bit of gooseflesh only towards the end and I kept getting amazed at the surprises and twists unleashed by the the director every second moment here. No wonder I think, Charade is not to be missed.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Courting the Casanova (Love in the Afternoon)

Billy Wilder's salutation to his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, is a cleverly packaged romantic comedy with all the pretty trappings of Paris. High society soirees, elegant costumes, dashing men and attractive women. Add a dollop of the most witty repartee, dexterously contrived hilarious situations and intelligent humour and you have Love in the Afternoon. This is a celebration of magical Paris, the flamboyance of Gary Cooper, the warmth of Maurice Chevalier and the waif-like gorgeousness of Audrey Hepburn. 
I chanced upon this 1957 masterpiece while reading up on the Hepburn girl. I like calling her so because their is a kind of nubile innocence about her in all her films. Her elfin presence gives her a Cherubic air and when she talks it sounds like the childish prattle of a woman who is still a teenager. Her bob bounces around her sweet face, complementing her round slanted eyes and accentuating that ravishing jawline. Yes, I'm very fond of the cute Hepburn girl. Doubling my fascination for this woman is her fine British accent; she opens her mouth well and round when she talks, pronouncing each and every word like it should be. It's a joy listening to her prattle!

Monday, 21 November 2011

True lies (Jhoothi)

Rekha's on a rampage in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Jhoothi.  Not that in her other films she is any bit dull or drab, but in this comic caper, she is just so boisterously marvellous that you cannot help but glue your sight, smell and every other sense on her. Playing the tomboy Kalpana, she dons the role of a pathological liar. But the difference between her and a wicked weasel is that she lies for a purpose--always a good one. Her lies helps long lost friends meet, helps her sister evade an unwanted alliance and charts an escape route for herself from a sticky situation. Most importantly, this habit of hers helps an innocent from being sentenced to death.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Not a Roman Holiday (Three Coins in the Fountain)

For some reason my love for Rome far supersedes my attraction for Paris. Somehow, Paris seems to be hot property, in terms of style, fashion and romance. But, in Rome I get a whiff of romance even when I pronounce the word. Or maybe because the film Roman Holiday, a serious favourite of mine, celebrates love in such a beautiful way on the streets of this wonderful city. There is a simplicity and innocence about Rome that Paris lacks, or so I feel!
Jean Negulesco's Three Coins in the Fountain is another romance that celebrates the halcyon ambiance of Rome in a glorious way. As the lead girls take a walk on the streets of Rome, they are accosted by Italian Romeos who look attractive to the teeth, Italian princes floor with their chivalry, the Roman countryside is blissful and every frame is sunny, jaunty and cheerful. So, what's not to like about Rome?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Surfs up (Gidget)

Ever since I discovered Sandra Dee, I've liked her quite a lot. She is cute, sometimes pretty, ebullient, spontaneous and has a childlike innocence about her. Her romance has the bubbly effervescence that is absent in most heroines. No wonder she was so apt for those ingenue roles. Like in Gidget, where she starts of as a 17-year-old tomboy so unaware of the matters of the heart, but soon been struck by Cupid and doing the most adorable little things to make the man jealous. This 1959 film may be having sequels and TV remakes, but the fun in the original is unadulterated. Sandra Dee is adorable here and makes this sporty romance, directed by Paul Wendkos, a delectable joyride.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Seven day saga (Woh Saat Din)

If Sonam Kapoor were half as talented as her father, Anil Kapoor wouldn't have to tax his brains double time on how to secure a sound future for his pretty-but-plastic offspring. The father was really a thorough entertainer. He acted well, right from his first films, carried some rhythm in his toes and was cute to look at. Look at his flamboyant portrayal of a village bumpkin in Woh Saat Din and you'd know that Anil Kapoor was serious about the trade he was getting into. In his first lead role as Prem Pratap Patialewale, Anil Kapoor leaves an indelible impression on sensitive minds. The film, a funny yet sweet saga about a simpleton struggling it out in the big bad city, is a window to the talent that Anil Kapoor would only unleash in his later films. That he was not just riding the popularity of his producer father Surinder Kapoor, but striving to prove that he deserved reckoning is only too true in Bapu's Woh Saat Din.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Romance and entertainment (Lukochoori)

This is prime time entertainment. Twin brothers who are very much aware of each others' existence, sisters who fall in love with each of them, parents who are loving and indulgent yet stern, comedy that is absolutely situational, songs that hark back to the time when Bengali music ruled the roost and performances that are so easy on the senses. Set in Bombay of yore, Lukochoori is one film that pits a comic Kishore Kumar against a restrained one, each one having enough screen time and opportunity to show off his colour and ability, thereby confirming the fact that if and when Kumar wanted he could deliver a fine performance.