Archive for December, 2008

December 31, 2008

Dharmatma (1975)

dharmatma2

Ah, Feroz Khan. As a producer and director, you spare nothing! I watched Dharmatma a long time ago and it was time for a rewatch in the wake of the fantabulous Apradh. I remember that I had liked it, but I was bowled over completely the second time around. 

Premnath dominates as the title character: a wealthy and powerful man who believes entirely that the end justifies the means, who has convinced himself that his bad deeds are compensated for by his good ones. Indeed, he is called “Dharmatma” (God Man) by everyone because of those good deeds. Feroz Khan plays his son, a man standing firmly on principles that are completely at odds with his father’s.

Their conflict plays out against a backdrop that includes the gorgeous Afghani landscape, crazy nightclubs (and a dwarf bartender!), opulent mansions, and all the stylish goodness you’d expect from the era (and from Feroz too). The production values are high, the camera work spectacular. Plus: Hema Malini as a gypsy dancer! Danny Denzongpa! Ranjeet and Sudhir in matching outfits! Rekha! Helen! Nadira as a gypsy fortuneteller! Faryal as a sexy nurse! Iftekhar as not a police inspector! And Kalyanji-Anandji’s music doesn’t suck either, especially the background score.

December 30, 2008

Hot onscreen couples in 1973

From my antique Stardust Annual :-)

hema_dharam

December 28, 2008

My ten favorite Rajesh Khanna songs

rk_katipatang2

Tomorrow (today already in India) is Rajesh Khanna’s birthday. The PR fiasco that his latest film has become notwithstanding, I think that Rajesh in his prime (i.e. during the 1970s) was more fun to watch enacting songs than most actors. He had a knack for music; he collaborated closely with music directors and with Kishore, who is of course “the voice” of Rajesh, and in almost all his films from that period that I have seen the music is really special. 

I haven’t included songs from films I haven’t seen, or songs that have appeared in other lists already (like “Rimjhim Rimjhim Dekho” from Shehzada, which would definitely be here otherwise!). Interestingly (to me anyway!) all the songs that made it here are written by either Laxmikant-Pyarelal, or by RD Burman.

Here are my ten favorite Rajesh Khanna songs—to listen to, to watch, to swoon over (although not all of them are romantic)! And janamdin ki badhai, Rajesh! Thanks for all the hours of viewing pleasure you’ve given me and all your fans!

December 27, 2008

Christmas candy

Another *Best Present Ever* awaited me on Christmas day: the 1973 Stardust Annual, and a copy of the June 1972 Stardust magazine. I have an awesome brother and sister-in-law: they indulge my obsession even though they privately think I am crazy. (This is actually true of all my friends and family.) Love them! 

stardust_joy

December 24, 2008

Christmas wishes

holiday2008

There appeared unto her
A host of heavenly farishte
And they spoke to her, saying:
“The meek shall inherit the earth
So you’d better change your attitude, missy!”

May no little spaniel bark at you, and may you all be blessed with lots of love and happiness this holiday season!

website statistics

December 22, 2008

Ranjeet: the hot villain

rkl_ranjeet2

When I drool over Ranjeet, most people say: “Are you out of your mind?” He is, after all, not a guy you’d take home to mom; but while I never care much for his onscreen deeds, I do love his style—and I think he is really handsome. Although hampered (as all of us were, who were wearing clothes then) by the gaudy fashions of the 70s (and the even more gaudy costumes of masala-heyday Bollywood!), he always manages to loom charismatically large. And what a career! He is in many many many of my favorite films from that era (and beyond), and they are always enhanced by his presence. When I see his name in the credits, I admit it: I let out a fan-girly squeeee.

Sleepy, sleepy bedroom eyes! Black curly hair! I mean, he looks good in pale yellow velour! Accessorized with a black scarf! Not just anybody could pull that off as a bad guy outfit, but Ranjeet does.

December 20, 2008

Apradh (1972)

apradh

So much fun and stylish goodness packed into one movie, it is beyond belief. Mumtaz is gorgeous, Feroz very manly in his hirsute way (and their chemistry sparkles). It’s really more like two films for the price of one. The first half takes place in glamorous Europe and revolves around a jewel theft, with some pretty scary-insane bad guys and some gloriously kitschy sets and costumes.

In the second half our hero and heroine return to India where the hero’s crime-lord brother awaits. Prem Chopra has an opportunity to do more than spit out one-liners through his clenched jaw, with a more nuanced role than he usually gets; and it contains one of the best nightclubs in Hindi cinema (my screencaps are out of control) complete with one of my favorite Helen songs of all time. In fact, all of Kalyanji Anandji’s songs are great. There’s plenty in general to entertain, and it’s clear that producer-director-star Feroz Khan spared no expense or imagination! (Also see Shweta’s review for her take on it—and more screen cap delights!)

December 18, 2008

CID 909 (1967)

cid909_brain

After suffering through the last two films, I really needed a dose of Mohammed Hussain, maker of low-low-low-budget zany B-movie fare. Fortunately, I had just the thing on hand: a film starring Feroz Khan, Mumtaz, Helen and Bela Bose, with appearances by Tun Tun and Master Shetty! Music by OP Nayyar, choreographed by my new best friend Herman! A plot about a scientific formula written in code for making something touted as a “peace bomb”! I settle into my chair with a happy sigh.

December 16, 2008

Imtihan (1974)

imtihan

Sigh. I so wanted to like this film. It’s based on To Sir With Lovewhich is one of my all-time favorite movies (Lulu! Sidney Poitier! sixties fashions!), and Vinod Khanna stars as an earnest college professor with Tanuja as his love interest. But alas, it threw away all its potential on a bad script: the characters were nothing but caricatures, and all plot opportunities for dramatic buildup and emotional involvement were squandered.

December 15, 2008

Izzat (1968)

izzat

I watched this film in the hopes of seeing some Dharmendra-Tanuja magic, but sadly Tanuja didn’t have much to do. However, Dharmendra had a double role, so: two of him! Never a bad thing, although it didn’t much help the movie, which was cliched and ham-fisted to begin with and descended into over-acting and melodrama by the end. The basic theme has to do with class division; Dharmendra plays both the legitimate and the illegitimate sons of a Thakur who has an extramarital affair with a tribal girl.

The only difference in appearance between the two sons is somewhat hilariously (but increasingly tiresomely) delineated by their skin color, the legitimate son naturally being fair and his lower caste half-brother dark. For some reason, Dharmendra gets darker and darker as the film goes on too, so that by the end he looks like he has been roasted on a spit.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 831 other followers