Archive for April, 2008

April 30, 2008

Trivia time #19

Can anyone tell me who the female singer in this song from the film Chandni Raat is? She sang in a handful of films in the late 1940′s, before becoming much better known as an actress in the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s (she stopped singing).

April 28, 2008

Daud (1997)

This weekend I decided to take a trip down memory lane and revisit an early, somewhat guilty, pleasure: Daud (tagline: Fun on the Run). It’s probably one of the first fifty Hindi films I saw; I bought it for Sanjay Dutt whom I had just discovered, and I really enjoyed it but haven’t watched it since. All I really remembered about it was the crackling chemistry between Sanjay Dutt and Urmila Matondkar, and the wacked-out musical numbers.

All that is still there; but now, six or so years and hundreds of Hindi films later there is so much more too!

April 28, 2008

For a cold rainy day

I once had a Russian boyfriend who was depressed pretty much all of the time. On one of those perfect April days—when the sun is spreading its warmth, flowers are exploding into life, and birds are chirp-chirping away—to cheer him up, I said: “Well, spring is coming!”

And he said: “Yes, again.”

True story!

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April 25, 2008

Dharmputra (1961)

Yash Chopra’s second directorial effort, this film is lauded as a classic, and deservedly so. Set in the years prior to Independence and Partition, it addresses issues like religion, nationalism, prejudice—all topics that are still relevant today, of course! It has a wonderful cast, including Shashi Kapoor in his first adult role (as an insufferable, pompous bigot). The music by N Dutta is very good too, with words (thankfully subtitled) by the great lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi.

April 23, 2008

Phool Aur Patthar (1966)

I’m on a Dharmendra or dog co-star kick this week apparently. This movie has both!

It’s oodles of good masala fun, despite the unfortunate presence of a weepy and sanctimonious Meena Kumari. I know she and Dharmendra carried on a real-life affair for awhile, but it’s a thanda jodi onscreen for sure. She was really beautiful and fun in the 50′s; I don’t know how she became so maudlin in the 60′s. However!!! The film is saved by the presence of numerous character actors in all their glory (and occasionally in drag), beautiful songs by Ravi and the aforementioned Dharmendra and Famous Dog Bhairon. Fun for everyone!

I’ve decided that another reason I love Hindi movies is because all the people in them show up over and over for decades and become like family.

April 20, 2008

Trivia time #18

In which film does my beloved Shammi Kapoor meet a gruesome death, when he climbs into a large urn to escape detection by his beloved’s father. Her father, suspecting that he’s hiding in there, orders the firewood underneath it to be lit, and he roasts to death as his spineless beloved sings a sad song (needless to say, not my favorite film; it breaks my Cardinal Rule Number One for Hindi films: Shammi should never ever die).

April 19, 2008

Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971)

Widely considered the inspiration for Sholay, this film is quite simply awesome. It’s much smaller in scale, but director Raj Khosla’s deft treatment of the same themes, the pace and the fantastic performances by everyone make it just as compelling. Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s tunes are foot-tappingly addictive too.

Laxmi Chhaya is especially impressive in her role as a dancer spying for the dacoits. Besides her dancing ability (she’s memorable as the girl in the golden dress in “Jaan Pehchaan Ho” from Gumnaam), she has acting skills too. She very competently played Asha Parekh’s best friend in Teesri Manzil, and she’s beautiful to boot. But in all her films (sadly few in number) she was relegated to secondary roles and bit parts. I don’t get it.

April 16, 2008

My five favorite heroine roles

Sanni recently posted about her five favorite heroine roles in Hindi films. What a great idea! I am shamelessly stealing it.

Hindi films are of course generally more about the hero(es) than the heroine. And by generally, I really mean always. But there are some performances that transcend that handicap, and also there is the occasional heroine-centric film made. So here are my favorite roles and the actresses who brought them to life, where the heroine manages to hold her own against—if not completely outshine—the hero.

April 14, 2008

Annadata (1972)

Any film—but especially a Hindi film—in which a dog co-stars is okay with me! Annadata is no exception, and in fact even without the dog it would still be a lovely little fairytale of a movie. Directed by Asit Sen, two great performances by Jaya Bhaduri and Om Prakash embellish a sweet story about love and compassion versus money and greed. The subject is a little hackneyed (poor=love=good and rich=money=bad) but so well done that it doesn’t matter.

It also has very melodic songs by Salil Chowdhury, which unfortunately aren’t subtitled. A movie like this requires song subtitling; I definitely missed nuances in the story. Must…learn…Hindi………

April 11, 2008

Tehelka article

Nisha Susan has written a nice article in the Delhi magazine Tehelka on some of us “firangi” bloggers called “The Mems and Saabs of Berlin.” Check it out, and browse around the rest of the magazine as well. It is very thoughtful and intelligently written and covers a wide range of topics for anyone interested in all things Indian.

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