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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Shocked to silence (Gazal)

Everything was running just about fine. A charming romance set in old-world Agra nourished by the beauty of Taj Mahal, sublime songs that connect to your heart directly, able actors who know what exactly to do on screen and a very likeable plot. But suddenly out of nowhere, a stray incident that Ved Madan considers imperative to take his story forward completely throws everything out of control. Especially when the event appears forced and uncalled for. Till then Gazal was doing fine. And the songs were seriously soothing the senses.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Evergreen charmer (Paying Guest)

Dev Anand was not just about romance and good looks. He was much much more. He was about freewheeling fun, about harmless naughtiness, about rollicking laughter, about teasing flirtations and about a gorgeous, gorgeous smile. Paying Guest is a film where you see all these facets of this evergreen charmer. Even though you have the lovely Nutan to feast your eyes on, it's Dev Anand who grips you with his uninhibited panache in this 1956 romance. Right from the very beginning.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A changed man (Magnificent Obsession)

Douglas Sirk's romantic feature, Magnificent Obsession, is a poignant take on love and redemption. Unconventionally handled, this 1954 might not appear to have a deep-seated effect on you at first. But it grows on you with every watch. When at first glance you might feel that a man of Bob Merick's stature can get away with the haughtiness he carries, his drastic change of personality is definitely credible towards the end. A life-changing incident later, here is this rich man who learns the real meaning of love and forgiveness, of giving and sharing and of ultimate duty towards humanity. Yes, Magnificent Obsession is a delicate treatise on human relationships and how the good can triumph over evil.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Sealing the deal (Lover Come Back)

The world of advertising can be a fiercely competitive one. It was so fifty years ago, and it continues to be even that today. And like always, and in every field, there are those who pocket the pie honestly, through hard work and diligence. But most often than not, as Delbert Mann shows in Lover Come Back, the 'drones' win them all through manipulation, back-scratching and underhand means. Sometimes their ways and antics ensure they come up trumps and land up with all the accounts, thus leaving the 'workers' gasp and mull over what went wrong with their straight strategy. Well, if you are competing against the veteran Jerry Webster, you might as well twiddle your thumb and keep mulling over. This ad executive is too fast for anybody. Lies, depravity or deceit, this man knows how to pacify clients like it's nobody's business. And Carol Templeton will soon realise that she is indeed dealing with a tough, albeit contorted, nut.

Friday, 9 December 2011

The tree is toppled (Pillow Talk)

There is something incredibly charming about a playboy being cornered. I adore the process of his falling head over heels in love with the woman who obviously sets him straight and mends his gallivanting ways. But when you have the enterprising and glamorous Doris Day carry the baton of straightening the marvellous looking Rock Hudson, you know you are in for a gargantuan treat. This is sheer battle of the sexes, where the man temporarily triumphs in getting into the good books of the woman. But ultimately, the woman wins the power game when the man realises that all this skirt-chasing needs to be put to an end because this is the woman for him. Witty combats and funny interludes culminate in a happy and fulfilling end. That's the beauty of Pillow Talk, Michael Gordon's 1959 romantic comedy maximizing on the onscreen chemistry between Day and Hudson.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Psycho love (Leave her to heaven)

Gene Tierney was a ravishing woman. Her full lips, blue eyes and alabaster skin can wreak havoc on any sane man's mind. She is beautiful and extremely classy. So, it is a bit unnerving to see her projected as an obsessive lover in John M Stahl's Leave her to Heaven, a very popular film of 1945. In fact, till the time she hankers for the attention of her young and handsome husband and loses her cool seeing how he is more happy sharing his time with his handicapped brother and her own family, I can sympathise with her. But then she does what is not to be done. She does a calculated murder and falls from grace. Slowly she stoops to levels that are too low to be spoken of. And then the beauty in her starts disintegrating. But, Tierney does all this with flamboyance throughout.