Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dev Anand will live forever in our hearts

I think I have always been a Dev Anand fan.  His effervescence spilled out from the screen and affected me.  While going over my friend Pamir Harvey's post on Dev Anand's screen jodis I realised that there was hardly a heroine that did not look good with him.  In fact, I can't think of any girl that did not look good by his side.  He was so charming, he looked so in love with his leading lady that she looked like 'the one' for him.

He was so handsome, so urbane looking that is almost incredible how he managed to pull off being a poor guide in the city of Jaipur in Guide.  Even more amazing is his performance as a crook with no compunctions in Jaal.  It is a movie that deserves to be found and restored.  The song "Yeh raat yeh Chandni phir Kahan" is one of the best 10 songs from Hindi films.

Dev Anand has been in so many pathbreaking, trendsetting films.  Baazi was the first film to bring a hollywood style thriller genre to bollywood.  Jewel Thief, Johnny Mera Naam and Gambler were stylish films that wowed audiences.  Who can forget Hare Rama Hare Krishna?  Several of his later films like Yeh Gulistan Hamara, Ishq Ishq Ishq, Prem Shastra and parts of Gambler, were shot in North Eastern part of India.  Heera Panna was a road movie with Heera and Panna zipping through countryside in a car.  The story of his movies in 70s were often odd and unusual.  He is nearly in an incestous relationship in both Ishq Ishq Ishq and Prem Shastra.  These movies were not too good, but different from the loud stuff that was being trotted out in the 70s.

Dev has been in so many wonderful films that it is not possible to forget him.  His handsome looks, unparalleled screen presence and incredible talent ensures that he stays among the top 5 actors of all times.

Friday, December 2, 2011

How to say Goodbye in Japanese

Years and years ago, I visited Mahabalipuram with my parents.  We ran into a guide there who claimed to be able to say 'goodbye' in 10 different languages.  It was no mean feat, considering that in those days (early 70s) there were not as many tourists as there are in these days.  He rattled off the word in various languages, I managed to recognize one, Sayonara.  That was because of this song from Love in Tokyo.

The word Sayonara is so lyrical and sweet, it slips off your tongue like syrup.  Imagine the same scene in Germany with Asha Parekh singing:

Auf weidersehen, auf weidersehen, vada nibhaongi, auf weidersehen,
ithlati aur balkhati, kal phir aaongi auf weidersehen.

Doesn't work eh?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Something New Something Old

My blog template just got a nice touch.  The bees in the blog, previously yellow, are now pink.  My favicon is now a little pink bee, just like the name of the blog.  A big Thank You to Mr. Hell. My nephew and designer extraordinaire. His net address is in case anyone wants to get in touch with him. This is what is new with my blog.

Now here is something old. A beautiful song featuring the lovely Mumtaz, one of her very early appearences, from the movie Rustom Sohrab. She looks so fresh and pretty and woos the smitten Premnath so sweetly. A song to savour.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mausam - Love in 2011

Mausam starts wonderfully.  Aayat (Sonam) arrives from strife torn Kashmir to sadda pind Mallekot where Muslims and Hindus live in harmony, to stay with her aunt, wife of the local baker.  The local rake, Harry urf Harinder Singh (Shahid Kapur), likes to race trains and make it through the unmanned railway crossing just before the train does.  He awaits his joining letter from Air Force, and is content to hang out with his friends, and helping out with the preparations for his sister's wedding.  He falls for Aayat, and just before they get to confess their love for each other formally, she leaves.  But not before his sister gets married, Punjabi fashion, celebrated with the rocking song Sajh dhaj ke tashan me rehna, to which both Mika and Shahid do full justice.

All ye people who go to watch Mausam despite my review, would do well to enjoy the amazing song to the full, because this is where the fun ends.  Up to this part, everything is nearly perfect.  I love the authentic feel of the punjabi culture, the language, the ambience, everything up to this point.

Ok, so next stop Edinburgh.  Aayat is selling tickets to a Mozart concert on the streets of Edinburgh, when she runs into Harry again.  This time, they are older, and slightly more forward.  Things are slow, but yet sweet.  Just when Harry is supposed to come to her house to ask for her hand formally, he has to leave because of Kargil war.

And so on and so forth, they keep missing each other sporadically till the audience falls into a stupor.  There are  some stand alone scenes that are good, but generally everything is so soporific, that you know the movie is beyond redeeming.  A pity, because the first hour or so is so wonderful and so full of promise.

I really don't know whether I should recommend the movie or not.  I shouldn't, but the first part is definitely worth a look.

Such a pity, such a pity.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bol - Complicated

Bol is a good movie, and like all good movies, it gets watched more closely.  It's faults gets picked on, it is torn apart.  This happens even more if the movie is trying to make a point.

Bol piles all that is wrong with Pakistani society on the conservative attitude of people like Hakim Sahib (Manzar Sehbai).    Hakim wants a male child, and does not stop trying after years and years of begetting girls. It's his eldest, Zainub (Humaima Malik) that causes him a lot of woe, because she is outspoken, and refuses to take anything silently.  As the movie opens, the Hakim finds his wife has given birth to a hermaphrodite.  He is filled with disgust and wants to kill the child.  On the other hand, he is disgusted when a hijra lands up at his doorstep with an offer to buy the baby.  It is precisely this widely differing reaction of the Hakim that makes the movie complicated.  He will kill with his hands, but will not sell.

He stifles his wife and daughters with his dictatorial ways.  They are not allowed to ever step out of the house.  Their window to the world is via their next door neighbours, Mustafa (Atif) and his family, who are endlessly kind to the girls and their mother.  It is when they try to rebel, that their world falls apart, a series of tragedies strike them.  Hakim Sahib tries to stem the downward spiral but takes them further down till they hit rock bottom.

Zainub, the rebel ringleader harps on about how so many children has made them poorer, pointing out the neighbours who are educating their children and are well off because they have only two.  However, for all her blasting away at hypocrisy, she keeps quiet and actually aids her father when he is being blackmailed for killing his son.  Why?  Because she was afraid she and her family would die of hunger if the father was put away?  Hakim Sahib himself oscillates from moral high to the pits as he tries to keep his beliefs intact while his poverty makes him do things he never would.

The sop to the politicians at the end of the film was disgusting, the harping on 'fewer girls' was annoying.  Hakim Sahib's conservative attitude and hypocrisy are faults, but with time, such attitude does get watered down.  The acting was first rate all round, the ambience of the movie was perfect.  The cloistered haveli is a perfect setting for Hakim Sahibs family.  I liked the way one of the girls jump the wall on the roof to escape via the good neighbours house. The story of the hermaphrodite son Saif Ullah was very touching.  The episode where he is caught dressing in woman's clothes by his sisters and admits to having feelings for the neighbour's son were very viscreal.  His sisters' horrified reaction to this was also very natural.  They were sheltering him and grooming him to 'be a man'.  The Saqa Kanjar episode was hilarious and Hakim's imbroglio with the prostitutes was the best part of the film with its delicious ironies.

Maybe Shoaib Mansoor needs to make a satire on Pakistani society which does not take itself too seriously.  That would be very hard hitting indeed.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shammi Kapoor - Isharon isharon me..

I have always loved this song Isharon isharon me from Kashmir Ki Kali for its romantic lyrics and lovely music.  When I chanced to see this film years ago on doordarshan, I thought I would die of happiness.  The song shot among the misty outdoors of beautiful Kashmir with a handsome Shammi and lovely Sharmila, exceeded my expectations.  What a handsome couple they make, Shammi and Sharmila.

Shammi Kapoor died this morning, 14th August, 2011 at 5.30 am.  RIP Shammi, you will live forever in our hearts, cavorting in Shimla, Srinagar and Paris.  Handsome and desirable forever.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Beautiful Baby of Broadway

Ek Phool Char Kaante.  Waheeda is an orphan with 4 protective uncles of varying tastes.  Johnny Walker is her youngest uncle who is a rockstar.  Sunil Dutt must impress all four to win the hand of his beloved Waheeda.  Here we get to see Iqbal Singh do an Elvis, Johnny Walker gets up and starts dancing too.

Here Sunil Dutt gets up to show his moves, and impress uncle Johnny.

Happy Birthday Madhuri

I am not a fan of Devdas, but look closely to see how expressive Madhuri was.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lovely Duet

I love this song.  I wish there was an original video of the song from the film, but there isn't, Sigh!

Just enjoy the beautiful lyrics and singing.

Film : Badshah
Lyrics : Hasrat Jaipuri
Music : Shankar Jaikrishan
Singers : Lata Mangeshkar, Hemant Kumar

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Pink Swan

The Glamourous and very very young Babita floats among lilies and lotuses while a young and dashing Jeetendra steps about gingerly, serenading her. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

7 Khoon Maaf

7 Khoon Maaf, the much awaited movie by Vishal Bhardwaj, has some good moments. It is a photogenic movie, shot beautifully. The first two husbands are dealt with in detail and show so much promise that it hurts when the movie just falters later, despite the good direction, and fails to seize your attention.

The fault lies, it tears me apart to say so, with the story. The story is by Ruskin Bond, you see, who is my favorite. Priyanka does the femme fatale bits so well, but does not measure up when the story gets darker and she gets older. Vishal tries to introduce a 'psychological thriller' touch to it in later parts, while Ruskin Bond had kept the story light in the novella, and added a supernatural touch in the original story. Vishal also introduced a spiritual touch to the movie with Priyanka getting ordained in the end and confessing to her sins. I wish the culmination of each story had a sort of a crescendo.

I loved the early Priyanka, the young girl who is able to charm men into her net. I loved Usha Uthup, what a debut. Was that Nitin Ganatra as her butler? He was great, I loved him in Bride and Prejudice as the dorky suitor of Lalita Bakshi. Neil Nitin Mukesh was fabulous as Maj Rodrigues, Susannah's first. As actors, the husbands were good. I loved John's get up as the Rockstar, with his punky wig and KILT. Haha.

The movie stopped short of brilliance, which I expected out of the Bond-Bhardwaj combo.