Archive for September, 2007

September 28, 2007

Trivia time #6

Here is one for the weekend. It’s quite hard—another obscure film which I got because it starred one of my favorites (not telling which though). I often use this as my avatar because it makes me laugh every time I look at it. What film did I capture it from? Hint: this creature kidnaps the heroine:

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(It also will definitely get its own post one of these days for its cheesy special effects alone.)

The film is Aaya Toofan (1964), starring Helen and Dara Singh (the wrestling champion). I am probably the only person who has ever seen it. VERY low-budget! It is beyond bad, but the “special” effects are good for many many laughs. Also Helen had oodles of songs and dances, always a big plus for me.

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September 28, 2007

Trivia time #5

Which Hindi film star of today first appeared in the 1973 movie Yaadon Ki Baaraat?

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Carla wins today useless prize (nothing) for knowing that it’s Aamir Khan:

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September 27, 2007

Mem Sahib (1956)

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I was writing the answer to Trivia question #4, and was going on and on, when I realized that the film should just have a post unto itself. Mem Sahib is one of my favorite Shammi Kapoor movies—he gives a remarkably restrained and subtle performance in it, resisting the hamming that he often displayed at the height of his career. He is charming but not overbearing. And though it is early in his career (what he calls his “male starlet” days), he plays a negative character—long before Shah Rukh “broke tradition” by playing negative characters in Baazigar and Darr.

Meena Kumari is scintillating—a far cry from the teary, self-sacrificing woman I’m used to seeing “The Tragedy Queen” play. She is gorgeous and full of life, a real treat to watch. Kishore Kumar plays Sundar, a naive, sheltered and good-hearted man trying to figure out how to exist in a world completely at odds with what he is used to or expected; the film is peppered with the humor that he is so clever at.

September 25, 2007

Trivia time #4

Well, people seem to like these little quizzes and I have to confess that I can probably keep them coming for quite a while…as long as my memory (not to mention the OCD) stays relatively stable (so no guarantees).

Here’s another Shammi-related question: In which of his early movies did he play a bad guy who loses the girl in the end (bonus points if you know who the hero was)?

The answer is: Mem Sahib (1956)

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September 24, 2007

Gumnaam (1965)

This film’s positives are the great songs by Shankar-Jaikishan, the choreography, the filmi noir set decoration, and the Helen-Pran chemistry. Gumnaam is familiar to western audiences because the film Ghost World used its first song (“Jaan Pehchaan Ho”) in a scene. This song kicks off the journey into a crazy world where bouffant hair meets men in dresses; giant Easter Island statues with glowing red eyes compete with Helen for your attention; and a killer on the loose stalks his terrified victims. The drawbacks include a patchy and nonsensical plot, and Nanda and Manoj Kumar as the lead pair (Shammi and Asha Parekh would have been so much better!), but this is nitpicking when compared to the pluses.

September 21, 2007

Trivia time #3

Since I am still one-armed, screen shots are easier to post than words.

so…in what film did Shashi Kapoor do a nautch-girl number?

how about his brother Shammi (this is basically a freebie)?

Kaddele is today’s winner with the correct answer of Shankar Dada for Shashi and Bluffmaster for Shammi…and she gets bonus points (which are sadly worthless) for her info on Haseena Maan Jayegi—which I will look for immediately!

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September 20, 2007

Trivia time #2

These scenes are all from one movie. What movie is it?

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The prize (which is nothing more than the satisfaction of being the winner!) goes to Nina for knowing that this movie is Guddi (1971) *ing Jaya Bhaduri, Dharmendra (playing himself) and a host of guest actors. A truly wonderful movie from Hrishikesh Mukherjee!

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September 18, 2007

Trivia time #1

I am somewhat incapacitated at the moment:

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but that only means more movie-watching time!

In the meantime, in which film does a miniature Asha Parekh dance on an ashtray?

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The answer is: Kanyadaan (1969) *ing Shashi Kapoor & Asha Parekh. This was a hard one—I don’t think that many people have seen this movie, with good reason. This was the best only good thing in it.

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September 14, 2007

Tere Mere Sapne (1971)

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I will start off here by saying that I loved this film. As tired as I was last evening (red-eye flight the night before), I could not turn it off. I had to see what would happen next. Vijay Anand’s particular brand of brisk direction combined with a great plot and a myriad of wonderfully etched characters large and small is evident throughout. I have recently seen two of his gems from the same time period: Johny Mera Naam and Chhupa Rustam. This film is more serious than those two; a different genre more in keeping with Guide than with Jewel Thief. I found its messages about medicine and priorities just as relevant as it was 36 years ago. And the many songs by SD Burman are sublime.

September 9, 2007

Simply…Helen

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She doesn’t need any other name. Every Hindi film fan knows her simply as Helen. She shook her groove thing onscreen through 3 decades of cinema, before bowing out as gracefully as she shimmied in.

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