Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bravery goes Awry

The movie starts nicely, with Rahul Bose bungee jumping. Then cuts to him at a party, uselessly explaining the excitement of the jump to a housewife. Now why was he trying to talk to an auntie at his friend's engagement party. And why does an engagement party have precisely four young people against a horde of older ones?

This goes on throughout the movie, one good scene pitted against another quite useless one.

Story :

Javed Khan (Deepak Dobriyal) is an army officer accused of killing his senior officer at point blank range. He has not attempted to escape, nor said anything in self-defence. Major Akash (Javed Jaffery) is the prosecution cousel at the courtmartial of Javed. It is supposed to be an open and shut case, and they cant find a defence lawyer, so Akash arranges for his friend Major Siddhant (Rahul Bose) to step in. As the location is Srinagar, Siddhant treats it as a fun posting and makes plans accordingly. Kaavya Shastri (Minissha Lamba) is posted in Srinagar as the rookie reporter of Dainik Bhaskar. (Oh really ! do national newspapers send a rookie to a place like Srinagar, and that too a woman?) Anyhow, Kaavya pretends to be Siddhant's cousin to gain entry into the forbidden army territory and get some scoops on the Javed Khan story. She shakes up Siddhant and gets him into trouble for talking to reporters.

However, the offshoot of this encounter is that Siddhant gets serious about the business at hand which is bad news for Brig. Rudra Pratap Singh (Kay Kay Menon), who seems to be involved in all this.

Other things

The movie is based on A Few Good Men that starred Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore. I thought it had been indianised well, bringing in the angle of an army officer disillusioned by the false encounters and muslim haters.

Good Scenes

The Kavya-Sidhant encounter was very well done. He is blabbering away trying to impress a pretty girl, while she is cool and collected, and delivers her punch at the end. I could see the movie again just to watch this scene.

The initial Brigadier-Sidhant scenes were very well handled too. Kay Kay is perfect as ever, as a Brigadier full of grandiloqence, cowing a Major to near silence. Rahul Bose is perfect too, as a man cowed down by a senior officer. During the second encounter - there was a great dialogue built around a single malt whiskey and the word 'nice'. Again, a scene I could watch again.

However !

The climax was just not able to live up to all the buildup. The evidence is too sketchy and not convincing enough, and was not been elobrated enough. A couple of quick scenes, and the movie is over. Deepak Dobriyal is an amazing actor, but he was made to stare fixedly ahead most times. There were stock shots of Rahul Bose walking about the Army area, and sitting in the court room looking around which were repeated. And even a lay person like me could figure out these were stock shots. The movie was so well written in parts, that you feel bad at the portions that did not work, because of shoddy writing. It is like a good promise gone bad. Well, maybe Samar Khan will improve and come up with something better soon.


This is definately a plus point in this movie. Rahul Bose, Kay Kay, Javed Jaffery, Deepak Dobriyal, Minissha Lamba, and the pretty girl who plays Javed Jaffery's fiance, are all good actors. Rahul Bose is cute too ! He looks good in a uniform. Javed looks a tad old for the role, but acts well. He even gets to dance a bit (too little). Minissha wears lovely salwar kameez and churidars here. I even stole one dress idea from this, a printed salwar with a plain kameez. She was good as the feisty journalist on a ramshackle scooter. Amrita Rao has a small role, which she does ok with.

The cinematography is pleasing. The songs, just a couple, are sweet.
Nothing wrong with seeing the movie, its quite wholesome on the whole.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Waqt is one of the most stylish films ever in Bollywood.

These days filmmakers clothe their stars in international fashion brands, have them ride fancy vehicles (from cars to planes to copters) and put them in lavish locations (nothing less than a trillionaire-worthy farmhouse in South Africa). The movies, however, lack substance to match the style and wind up looking hollow.

Way back in 1965 BR Chopra came up with this gem of a movie and spawned a new genre of lost-and-found, love triangle, thrills and chills, which has been re-attempted a number of times during 70s and much of 80s, and became a stock formula. This movie was the motherlode that started it all.


Lala Kedarnath (Balraj Sahni) is blessed with a devoted and a beautiful wife, three sons, and a flourishing business. He allows himself to be consumed by pride, and paints a magnificient future for himself and his sons. Right then, the town is swayed by a horrific earthquake that seperates the family. The eldest son is taken to an orphanage, the second son is adopted by a benevolant family, the third, a babe in arms, is left with the mother. Kedarnath is hit on his head and is not able to regroup his family. The eldest son Raja (Raaj Kumar) turns to a life of crime under Chinoy Seth (Rehman). The middle son Ravi, grows up to be a lawyer (Sunil Dutt). The youngest Vijay (Shashi Kapoor) has managed to get a BA degree, but has to work as a driver with Chinoy Seth. Circumstance brings the three brothers together. Raja and Ravi fall for Meena (Sadhna) which brings in an interesting love triangle. Meena loves Ravi and a shadow falls on Raja, who is willing to murder to get his love. But as he creeps inside Ravi's house to kill him, he finds out that Ravi is his own brother, thanks to Ravi's baby picture by his bedside.

Just at this time, the story turns into a thriller, with a murder done and Raja accused falsely for it. The last part of the movie is a courtroom drama which bring the guilty to the gallows (presumably) and miraculously brings the family back together. Lala Kedarnath is reunited with his grown sons and wife. The movie ends with a humbler Kedarnath acknowledging his debt to time (Waqt).

The movie was stylish through and through. Raja as the criminal, Ravi as the adopted son of a rich man, Renu (Sharmila) as his sister, and Meena (Sadhna) as a barrister's daughter are all rich people and it shows in their lifestyle. Meena's house is a grand bunglow with a vast drawing room that is carpeted from wall to wall. Her boudoir is similarly lavish with a round red bed with gossamer draperies. A staircase sweeps upstairs grandly. This again, became a standard staple in bollywood movies, used as an effective prop in many movies.

The women are laden with glittering diamonds and brooches and buckles. Achla Sachdev looks glorious in the opening scenes with her gotedaar dupatta and heavy jewellery, as befits a well-placed mistress of a rich household. The sarees the women wear when the scene shifts to Mumbai, are all fine organza with embroidery, or silk salwar or churidar with kameez. Sadhna is resplendent in every scene, faultlessly made up and looking gorgeous. Ditto goes for Sharmila Tagore. In the boat song she wears a kameez done up with numerous frills over her tight salwar. Sadhana wore a designer saree in this movie which was quite a trendsetter then. Her trademark, churidars with a kameez, which is such an essential now, was something new then. Sadhna's engagement dress, a fuschia silk churidar is beautiful.

The men are not far behind. Balraj Sahni wers pathani salwars in the initial scenes with zari waistcoats. Raaj Kumar wears natty suits as the gentleman criminal. A younger Sunil Dutt is attired in trousers and trendy shirts, tees and sweaters. Shashi Kapoor is nattily dressed in a spotless chauffeur's uniform, looking handsome as ever.

The cars the men drive are all imported sports cars, in colours like yellow and red. I am not good at spotting the brands but they look impressive. In fact, there is a smart car racing scene between Raja and Ravi, which is pretty good. The wheels move fast and the sequence has been very well picturised.


1. Ae meri Zohrajabeen
2. Kal jahan basti thi khushian
3. Kaun aaya ki nigahon me chamak jaag uthi
4. Din hein bahar ke
5. Ham jab simat ke aap ki
6. Mene ek khwab sa dekha hai
7. Chehre pe khushi cha jaati hai
8. Aage bhi jaane na tu

The songs are all melodious, with music by Ravi and lyrics by the great Sahir. The songs are picturised beautifully too. Kaun Aaya was filmed on Sadhana as she waits for Sunil Dutt. However, as she sings, Raaj Kumar comes in and is led into thinking Sadhana cares for him. Mene ik khwab sa dekha hai was a telephone song, and very sensuous too. Aage bhi jaane na tu was a party song, where everything glitters and is uber glamourous.

This album is a must have for people who love old hindi film music, though the heavy voice of Mahendra Kapoor is a spoiler.


The cut version of Waqt relayed on Indian Television is a letdown. One needs to see a full version DVD to get a feel of how sexy the movie was. The affair between Sadhana and Sunil Dutt is pretty passionate. Everytime they come together, things get steamy. From the duet where they 'sorta' kiss. The usual trick of showing the couple in a suspicious clinch. The phone song, Mene ik khwab sa dekha hai is practically like phone sex with the couple exchanging what seems like fantasies which are depicted in a dream sequence. One line goes -

aanch dene laga kadmon ke tale barf ka farsh, aaj jaana ki mohabbat me hai garmi kitni; sangemarmar ki tarah sakht badan par tere, aa gayi hai mere choo lene se narmi kitni
-- Woo Hot !

Not to be missed is the extremely sexy scene where Sunil Dutt and Sadhana go swimming. Thereafter they go to the changing rooms, and wrapped in towels exchange sweet talk through the partition. Of course, Sadhana's swimsuit covers more than the minidresses that heroines wear these days. But she is wrapped in a towel in the changing room and things get quite decorously steamy between them.


Jab tumse mohabbat ki hamne,
tab jaake kahin ye raaj khula
marne ka saleeka aate he,
jeene ka sha'ur aa jaata hai.

Sadhana sings the lines for her beloved, but they apply more to Raaj Kumar in the movie. The hardened criminal falls for the charms of Meena, his pretty neighbour. He yearns for the respectability of normal life, but Chinoy Seth wont let him go. He is suave and debonair in the movie, handsome and personable. He had some memorable lines which he delivered with style. Yeh chaku khelne ki cheez nahi hai, lag jaye to khoon nikal aata hai, and Jinke ghar sheeshe ke bane ho, Chinoy Seth, wo doosron pe pathar nahi maarte. There are no heated or bombastic exchanges between Rehman and Raj Kumar. Though they are partners, there is little love lost between them. Yet their exchanges are delivered in an ultra cool style which is a delight to watch.

Later, Raj Kumar got typed in these kind of crime-by-circumstance, sacrificing roles where he rarely got the girl, and often died in the climax. His trademark became lines begining with 'Jaani' and delivered with a hand rubbing the neck. But here, he is cool and fresh.

Sunil Dutt got a lot of bombastic stuff. First as the hyperactive lover, later as lawyer trying to save his friend. There is this unintentionally funny scene in the end. In the movie, Raj Kumar knows Sunil Dutt is his brother, and he know he is the son of Lala Kedarnath. So when the older couple discover each other at the fag end, Raj Kumar is the one who knows that he is their son too. Sunil Dutt is the only one who has no clue that he has all these relatives around him. But rather than feeling flummoxed and demanding explanations he just jumps into the group sportingly and goes for a family hug.

The overwrought scene at the end nearly mars the proceedings, but that was the demand of the times, the abrupt happy ending.

A classic for sure, this movie.