Archive for December, 2007

December 31, 2007

Sanjh Aur Savera (1964)

A weepy melodrama starring Meena Kumari at her sacrificial-lamb finest, somehow made bearable by the presence of Guru Dutt and director Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s light touch with what could be (okay, IS) very heavy going.

Here’s our first look at Gauri (Meena Kumari), accompanied by the plaintive wailing of violins:

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I steel myself for a soap opera where duty, honor and tradition mean that everybody suffers, especially Gauri.

December 24, 2007

A Very Merry Christmas!

and Peace on Earth…

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December 23, 2007

Manoranjan (1974)

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This movie had many things to delight me: my beloved Shammi both acting and directing (his first film as director); a veritable “Who’s Who” compendium of character actors; and a screenplay by Abrar Alvi (who wrote for such classic films as Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool, Mr & Mrs 55, and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam). It is based on (and Shammi has always credited) the Billy Wilder film Irma La Douce. The action all takes place on Manoranjan (Entertainment) Street, whose denizens are mostly pimps and kind-hearted prostitutes.

It’s a very stylish film. I loved the sets and song picturizations (songs by RD Burman)—they seem to show Vijay Anand influences, from Teesri Manzil in particular (especially the songs). The movie is also refreshingly honest about sexuality, although one of its major weaknesses is that it glosses over the pain that prostitution causes to women who are forced into it—the girls in this film seem positively happy to be prostitutes! Shammi did not direct again (only Bundal Baaz two years later), I guess because he was discouraged by the lukewarm response his films received from audiences. Too bad! I would have liked to see more from him.

December 19, 2007

Trivia time #12

What is the name of this actor, and what was his primary profession in the film industry (besides being a villain par excellence)? (Beth is ineligible to answer, because she already knows :-)

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Yay! We have two winners: Bhavna knew that he is Shetty, and Anonymous UK that he was a stunt/fight coordinator for films in addition to being a bad guy.

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December 18, 2007

Happy birthday Baby Girl

My favorite movie-watching companion turned eight yesterday, and I forgot!

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It seems like just yesterday she was a baby.

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Happy birthday, my sweet girl!

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December 17, 2007

Trivia time #11

It’s been too long since once of these! Can anyone tell me what these three actors have in common (and who they are)?

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Okay, I’m giving up on all of you! :-) I thought at least someone would know who the actors at the very top and bottom are…

In order from the top down, they are Rajendranath, Narendranath, and Premnath; and what they have in common is their gene pool. They are brothers, and all three acted in Hindi movies for decades. Premnath began working in the 1940’s as a hero (and even for a while had a relationship with the gorgeous Madhubala); he went on to become a very busy villain, acting into the early 1980’s. Rajendranath was a very popular comedian/sidekick especially in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and continued working into the 1990’s. Narendranath was not as prolific as his older brothers, but found fairly steady work through the 1970’s to the 1990’s.

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December 16, 2007

Ajanabee (1974)

Here was the third clue that I was really going to enjoy at least something about this film:

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—the first two clues being that it was directed by Shakti Samanta and that it was made in 1974.

Rajesh Khanna hasn’t been one of my favorites, partly because his characters are often chest-beating male chauvinist types. Here too he portrays a struggling young man who is attracted to and marries a strong-willed, high-spirited heiress, only to resent her for missing the comforts of her former life and wishing for some success of her own. This ends in tears and recriminations, of course. But the film is saved by the nuances of the relationship between the two (a Samanta specialty). Khanna’s performance is very good—he is convincing as a man torn between his inborn values and the woman he adores, and Zeenat Aman as his wife Rashmi is no martyred push-over! And the songs by RD Burman are just brilliant; they include two “tribal” dances and several lovely romantic songs.

December 5, 2007

Watch this…

My favorite movie critic Raja Sen has a short film on youtube which parodies Saawariya.

It’s very funny, especially at the end.

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