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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Honesty is the best policy, or so they say... (Shakha Proshakha)

Malhar is sleeping right now. So, I've tiptoed out of the room to write a post, while his grandparents stare lovingly at him. I might add that in his sleep, Malhar smiles and makes various expressions! Of them, his gummy grin and his pouts are the cutest. He also stretches a lot and wakes up accidentally because of that. And then he yells so that I run and lull him back to sleep. Who will make him understand that if he stretches so much, he is bound to wake up...  And I think he snores, and even sometimes neighs like a horse!!
Okay, before all that stretching and pouting and stretching pull me back, here's a bit on one of Satyajit Ray's brilliant works on the juxtaposition between honesty and corruption...
Shakha Proshakha, made in 1990, is bang on target right from the very beginning. Ananda Majumdar (Ajit Banerjee) is a retired industrialist and a venerated man in society. On his 70th birthday he is shown to have a long conversation with his second son, Proshanto (Soumitra Chatterjee), who used to be a brilliant student with a bright future, before a cruel accident snatched away all his prospects.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Lacking the courage (Kaapurush from Kaapurush O Mahapurush)

I've been absent from the blogging world for quite some time now. I've had my reasons...
On the 7th of this month, my husband and I got blessed with a beautiful baby boy. Yes! I'm a proud mother now, to my doll-faced bundle of joy. And yes, he's kept me on my toes ever since his arrival. Though all he does is eat, sleep, pee and poop, yet somehow not a moment passes everyday when I'm not staring at his face. Yes, he's occupying my entire life now!!
I've named him Dingding. And occasionally I call him things such as White Kitten, Chini and Shona. We are yet to christen him. I'm still searching for a unique name that starts with S. Yes, I want my son to have the same initials as his mother :)
Suggestions are welcome...

Since Dingding has kept me busy, I haven't had much time to catch up on golden oldies. So, I'll write about a film that I saw a few months back. It's a good one directed by Satyajit Ray, and which is a complete contrast to another film that is celebrated for as much its humour as for its sarcasm, multiple layers and its characterisation.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Songs that melt (Sunny)

The last time I was watching Raj Khosla's Sunny, I was in Class 8. And, I had my final examinations starting the day after! But, the movie-buff that I was, I just couldn't resist the temptation. It was a pleasant afternoon and RD Burman's score, Sharmila Tagore's pretty face, Waheeda Rehman's histrionics and the beginning of a good emotional drama was too much. However, the experience was cut short by my father, who woke up from his afternoon siesta and hollered out to me to switch off the television and sit down with my books. I did so right away. And yes, I kept sulking right away, too. Hmmm, the life of a student...
Now things are different. I can watch films anytime of the day. Well, maybe not just anytime, because there are still scores of chores to do. But what's the harm in thinking so! At least, I do not have to shun the films for some examinations!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Man, woman and doctor (Dil Ek Mandir)

It's not for nothing that Raj Kumar received a Best Supporting Actor Filmfare award for his portrayal of Ram in C V Sridhar's emotional drama Dil Ek Mandir. For, here is a man who despite being diagnosed with lung cancer and waiting on the brink of desolation and doom, is buoyant, pragmatic and jocund all the time. He is not afraid of death and he has no qualms in securing a stable and safe future for his wife after his death. He relaxes the tension in the plot with his amiable repartee and is a foil to the otherwise morose and dejected doctor who is suffering from the pangs of unrequited love. If you ask me, Ram is one of the main reasons why I was able to complete the film.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Needs some re-casting (Holi Ayee Re)

Harsukh Jagneshwar Bhatt must have been seriously cashstrapped. Or else, why would he squander away a reasonable good script by casting some absolutely unknown faces in his Holi Ayee Re. The best he can manage are some famous character actors who salvage the film from the brink of disaster. But I feel, this 1970 romance-cum-family drama would have done fairly well if we would have had a better and a more formidable cast. Here's how...

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Prefer the remake... a bit more (Kangan vs Uljhan)

When I watched Nanabhai Bhatt's Kangan a few months back, I quite liked it. Though the narrative ran a tad slow, it had the elements of an engrossing mystery. The best part was Nirupa Roy starring as the female lead. She really was a pretty sight and played her part well. I never liked Ashok Kumar as a male lead so here too I was noncommittal. But the main thing was the story. It was a gripping mystery that hooked me to the very end.

The other day, I watched Raghunath Jhalani's Uljhan. And wonder of wonders, it was a remake of the 1959 film. The story was absolutely same but the treatment, I might add, was better. Not that the old one was bad, but the remake had everything in place. The cast was fabulous and the 1975 film ran fast. Which means it's even more engrossing.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Inane accusations (Aap ki Kasam)

Now tell me something: Why is everyone in Aap ki Kasam losing sleep over how to exonerate Kamal? Why are they so driven towards showing him sympathy? Does he really deserve any? An insecure and stupid man who brings nothing but unhappiness to everyone around him, Kamal should have just been ignored and allowed to live his life the way he wanted to. I sound harsh, but please, after what he does, I feel he deserved nothing but that...

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A girl to woman transition (Samapti)

There's something about Satyajit Ray's Samapti that is bound to touch the chords of a woman's heart. The last movie in the Teen Konya series (Postmaster, the first, is a superlative endeavour to project a young girl's isolation; Monihara however, is the weak link) is a brilliant romance carrying with it the whiff of rural Bengal. But even amidst all the intricacies of the human relationships heavy on the love quotient, there lies a subtle take on how a young tomboy grows and matures into a complete woman who recognises the significance of love in her life. Call it a story of evolution of Minu's personal character or how the young couple dismiss their ego and initial misunderstandings to unite, Ray's 1961 film, based on a short story by Rabindranath Tagore, is a masterpiece that will draw all and sundry. If you haven't watched it yet, you really cannot fathom what you are missing...

Friday, 27 April 2012

And she learns to love (Dillagi)

Love can seriously do wonders. It has the capacity of changing worlds in a moment. One brush with the sentiment and you can start feeling woozy all of a sudden. A person with no romance in his soul can actually turn out to be quite a lover when he has his first exchange with the wondrous feeling. And a woman who is famous for being the strict and dry spinster can actually start enjoying her encounter with love. So many facets this feeling has. And it's such a joy to know that there is love in this world. In every nook, every cranny...

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Who is the loneliest of them all? (Pestonjee)

Seriously, there are so many degrees and kinds of loneliness in this world. While one might appear perfectly happy from outside, may be suffering from some crippling and gloomy depression from inside. While others may think his life is perfect, he himself knows what the abject truth is. Pestonjee, a brilliant chronicle depicting life of the miniscule community of the Bombay Parsis delves on these several kinds of loneliness suffered by man. Vijaya Mehta's 1988 tale is perfect, poignant and makes one travel with Phirojshah as he tries to seek happiness by living someone else's life.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Not really Shammi-esque (Ujala)

I guess Shammi Kapoor was just not cut out for these roles. Dark, depressing and gloomy. In Naresh Saigal's 1959 drama, Ujala, my favourite Kapoor plays a poor young man suffering from the drudgery of life, yet trying to eke out an honest living and due to some unfortunate co-incidences has his self-confidence battered and bruised. He tries to prove himself time and again, with the help of an aged reformist and his sweetheart but the road to perdition is strewn with thorns. He does redeem himself of all the aspersions cast against his character but the journey towards redemption is too tedious and full of depression. Naah! Shammi Kapoor is definitely not cut out for such a gloomy role!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Mehmood mania (Biwi aur Makan)

I wish they made more like these. And gave Mehmood top billing in them. That would ensure total fun. Like in Biwi aur Makan, a comic caper on the problem of finding accommodation in big Bombay. They protagonists have to twist every rule in the book to find a shelter and that too with funny after effects. This 1966 film by Hrishikesh Mukherjee may not have a stellar cast (I did not even recognise so many faces) but it has a name that catapults this mediocre script into one of utter fun and laughs. And that name is Mehmood.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

A tidy little gem (Abhimaan)

Let's not even deliberate on the resemblances that Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 1973 classic Abhimaan shares with the life of real-life couple Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan. For, some might say the movie is almost similar to how Amitabh tries to uproot Jaya in terms of popularity, some might declare that all that is bunkum. So, let's just avoid the oft-discussed.
Instead, let's immediately delve into the beauty of this marvellous emotional drama where love, ego and understanding forms the crux. Abhimaan is not just a film, it an experience that needs to be felt. When the good times roll, we need to regale in the mirth. When the storm of ego and pride clouds the halcyon state of affairs in Subir and Uma's life, we need to take a leaf out of it and realise what goes wrong and how it needs to be avoided. While the two lovers suffer, we pray that everything turns out just fine and that music ultimately irons out all the differences that has crept in voluntarily as well as involuntarily.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Brides for sale (Bazaar)

Bazaar is a much celebrated film, they say. And why not? It's got a stellar cast, a fabulously hard-hitting script, a setting that reminds one of the Hyderabad that is on the cusp of old times and modernity and seven hauntingly beautiful songs. Sagar Sarhadi's social commentary on the sad plight of girls from poor families in Hyderabad who get entwined in the commercial storm of lust and circumstances truly is the making of a brilliant film. But then, Sarhadi I believe is no Shyam Benegal. What is so marvellous about Mandi is its sharp tongue-lashing treatment of the sordid subject. 1982's Bazaar is honest, but in its many labyrinths there is a slight maze that is difficult to gauge. The film starts of with several questions. Though gradually the knots are loosened, it is too late to hold on to the interest. Perhaps, I'm the only one not absolutely impressed with the film. But then, I have reasons galore.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

For some time pass (Man ki Aankhen)

I wouldn't recommend this film highly. But yes, if you are in a serious mood for some family drama, especially some induced by the caustic mother-in-law, then this is THE film for you. For, all sparkling fireworks, both good and bad, is reserved for Lalita Pawar. And like always, she never fails to deliver here. When she is the doting mother, she is every bit as loving to her sons. But when she bears her fangs towards the daughter-in-law she is not particularly fond of, then God save the young bride. Lailita Pawar is splendidly sarcastic, ejects poison at the drop of a hat and never minces words to declare that she truly hates this girl. And in her histrionics there is that level of perfection that makes her such a revelation to watch. Lalita Pawar is the attraction in this otherwise tepid film. And this, despite the film starring the handsome Dharmendra and the talented Waheeda Rehman.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Flawed at heart (Andaz)

For the last few weeks both my husband and I have been talking about Mehboob Khan's Andaz. Watching the 1949 film was top priority for us and we just wanted some peace so that we both could relax and enjoy it. We've heard a lot about it, only praises, and were sure that we love the Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar chemistry. Nargis would be the perfect spice in there. My better-half and I are immensely fond of the young Kapoor, his roguish charm and of late, my man has realised that Dilip Kumar is The Dilip Kumar not for nothing. On his birthday he almost implored his friends to gift him the DVD of the film and he came home with a beaming smile saying, "This Sunday, then!" I was ecstatic, too. Why not? Raj Kapoor, I love. Dilip Kumar, I adore. And Nargis, though I don't think much of her looks, she is definitely one of the best actresses we've had in ages.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Peetering out (Shaadi ke Baad)

Generally I'm quite predisposed towards any film from the L V Prasad stable, but something about Shaadi ke Baad kept nibbling at me after a point of time. The cast was good, the story was fun, the performances were just and the songs were in place. But something, which I'm yet to pin-point correctly, left me quite dissatisfied. Was it the rambling turn of events after intermission, the lack of concretised drama or simply the lack-lustre script? Also, what left me pondering was why the director would waste a fine artist like Shatrughan Sinha by casting him as an aging landlord who's lost all his fortunes but is too proud to give up his royal behaviour? This actor, who's capable of turning a drab script into a enticing one, is given just about a few scenes which does him no justice.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

When the system is riddled with flaws (Nikaah)

BR Chopra's Nikaah is a heartfelt treatise on the true state of women in an Islamic society. From the surface everything might appear rosy, but actually there are too many situations when she might not consider herself safe, secure and in a stable circumstance. In fact, even when the Islamic law is so called trying to safeguard her interest, it is actually making her go through even more pain. Treated like a toy by male chauvinism that is so rampant in society, she is at the beck and call of every other mind except hers. Yes, once you watch this 1982 drama, you would actually thank your stars that you are not in Nilofer's shoes...

Monday, 20 February 2012

Smashing Sanjeev (Manchali)

There's nothing like a frothy romance to dispel the gloom. Taxing work, the cold and certain other reasons have not been keeping me in the right spirits. So, I chose to watch a film, which I somehow had an inkling, wouldn't fail. Raja Nawathe's Manchali was fun from the word go. Yes, be it the pretty heroine, the smart hero, the freewheeling plot and the easy comedy, everything in 1973 romantic comedy is so likeable. Especially, Sanjeev Kumar, who with his charming presence and uninhibited persona, lifts the predictable plot to a fun-filled roller coaster ride.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Despite all the goodness (Sharmilee)

I've been struggling to find time to put up a new post. Well, that's just half the truth, if I may be allowed to say so. Actually, I've been neck deep in work, but that does not mean I've not been watching films. But over 15 days I've mostly watched those films which I've already written about. My husband is revealing his new-found love for the classics and both of us have been enjoying them for the past few days. So, that does not leave me with much to write about. I just sit there with him regaling in the old films I'm so fond of, while he discovers why these classics are actually worth celebrating.
Secondly, the never-watched films that I've managed to see, didn't quite make an impression on me. Some were tepid, some were bad. So, I've been in knots as to what to write about for my next post. Now I've decided to delve on Sharmilee, Samir Ganguly's 1971 romance that I loved only in parts. The film is so good till the intermission. But after that, it degenerates into a nonsensical potboiler replete with inane twists, fights and crude drama. And I bet a more subtle approach would have done so well here. At least made me sing praises for it right here, right now...

Friday, 27 January 2012

The correct dose of drama (Khandan)

Too much fun, I tell you. No wonder I'm never absolutely disappointed by A Bhimsingh's films. Revolving around family relationships in a big joint set-up, mostly set in villages where traditions and customs are heeded, a simplistic plot containing melodrama and awesome performances by a superlative cast. That's the crux yet again of Khandan, one of the biggest grossers of 1965, I'm told. What's not to like here? Sunil Dutt paired with the lovely and rustic Nutan, Om Prakash is sarcastically funny against Lalita Pawar's caustic stupidity, Manmohan Krishna and Sulochana are the quintessential good people, Sudesh Kumar the eternal goat, Mumtaz, the pretty damsel and best of all, Pran, the forever evil villain. And here, with a comic twist! On a roll!!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Guru Dutt's last (Sanjh aur Savera)

Considering that this 1964 drama was Guru Dutt's last film outing before he succumbed to the dangerous cocktail of sleeping pills and alcohol, I'm ready to overlook any minor glitch that happens in the film. True, Sanjh aur Savera does have some unnecessary plot twists and some of the sadness could be done away with, but on the whole this Hrishikesh Mukherjee classic is quite an engaging tale on the games that God plays with us. The sequences are masterminded by the Almighty and it only is true that we are mere dices in His hands. And what better way to show that than the events that happen in Gauri's life. After all, she does not want to be unhappy, but can she force suffering away from her life. No, she does not have the choice to do so.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Forgiveness comes naturally (Bahurani)

This is a typical family masala entertainer that sails smoothly because of its easy story and good performances. Yes, the melodrama, the conniving, the songs, the twists, the dances are all in place. But what stands out in this 1963 film is how a woman hold court throughout. A feisty heroine helps her husband come into his own through the light of erudition. She does all the good deeds despite the thorns strewn in the way. She does not dither, does not take the easy path and yes, she is rewarded in the end. T Prakash Rao's Bahurani, is a sweet family drama about love, devotion, family bonding, relationships and forgiveness. And what's a win-win situation here is that all the melodrama is restrained. It never flies over the roof!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Packing a punch (Shikar)

I'm a happy soul today. I've just watched a film that brought under one roof two good-looking men, three fetching ladies, a thrilling murder plot, plenty of feet-tapping songs, awesome action, rib-tickling comedy, superb dialogues and... Well, if you ask me, the list is endless! Yes, Shikar, directed by Atma Ram is one scintillating entertainer. It grips you from the word go, and rivets you to your seat till the very end. A solid romance does not slacken the pace of the mystery, the hero is as dashing as the heroine is glamourous. Just about everything in this 1968 film is perfect. So much so, that a friend of mine have been discussing the clothes and probable marriage of the investigating officer and one of the suspects in great detail. Yes, the effects of Shikar have been profound!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Satisfaction guaranteed! (Aaye Din Bahaar Ke)

I'm always game to watch a film for umpteen times provided it guarantees wholesome entertainment. There might be flaws and redundant inclusions, but after it ends it should leave me happy and satisfied. Sadly, not many films of today deliver such fun. So, I keep going back to the films of yore to extract my daily quota of entertainment. I might know every scene by heart, every dialogue might just rotate in my mind and everything looks all too familiar. But nothing stops me from re-watching them. J Om Prakash's romantic drama Aaye Din Bahar Ke is one of them. Only heaven knows how many times I've watched this Dharmendra-Asha Parekh lovely, but does that mean I'll stop? No way...

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Deepak who? (Aabroo)

Seriously, was CL Rawal joking or something? He tags Deepak Kumar, the hero of his Aabroo, as the star discovery of that year. Deepak Kumar who? Never heard of him, never seen him in any film. And after watching this 1968 drama, I know why filmmakers never took a chance by casting him. He is excruciatingly bad as a performer. He has a wispy voice, a comical look on his face, his voice modulations are pathetic and every time he utters romantic nothings, I crack up! Actually come to think of it, he is almost like Mr Bean trying to do some serious Hindi film. Or rather Rowan Atkinson trying to sing, dance, act and cry in a true-Bollywood style. And yes, he is appallingly bad in all aspects!!