Archive for January, 2009

January 18, 2009

Kudrat (1981)

kudrat

After months during which this Chetan Anand film was “next” in my to-watch list, I finally got around to it. And I’m glad I did; it is compelling viewing. Having said that, I’m not sure what exactly what else to say about it. Unusual story? Check. Good cast and performances? Check. Nice music? Check. Good movie? Uhhhhhh…I think so? Maybe? In the end it felt a bit schizophrenic: it is a reincarnation story—and leads you firmly down that path—but then also drags in some token debate about reincarnation being a silly belief held by uneducated riff-raff. It also wanted to be a “serious” suspense film (and succeeded to a large degree), but was very lazy about some details (medical and legal practices, for one, and some pretty stringent suspension of disbelief requirements too).

So I spent a lot of time feeling pulled in one direction, and then nudged in another, and the whole never quite came together for me. The fact that the subtitles disappeared entirely during the climactic courtroom speech didn’t help at all either (and thank you to Suhan for sending me a synopsis!).

But: I couldn’t stop watching it, as the suspense was built very nicely, and the performances were really good, especially Vinod Khanna as a doctor who loses his love to the man she loved in a past life; and Rajesh Khanna as the man who is pulled unwillingly into a story involving him but of which he has no memory. The sets and the Simla scenery were beautiful, and the cinematography stunning, and RD Burman’s music very nice too.

January 15, 2009

Boy Friend (1961)

boyfriend

Although filmed in black and white, this film has a lot of sparkle: the songs by Shankar Jaikishan, the effervescent Madhubala, shiny-scrubbed baby-faced young Dharmendra, and of course my very own favorite sparkly person Shammi Kapoor. It also has astonishing coincidences and large plot holes, and despite a strong beginning the plot becomes incoherent at times by the end; but with long-lost children, a stolen necklace and sweet, sweet romance it’s heartwarming *and sparkly* enough to watch anyway, especially if you are a Shammi fan.

January 13, 2009

My fifteen favorite AR Rahman songs

arrahman

In honor of India’s own Golden Globe winner Allah Rakha Rahman!

Since Slumdog Millionaire has been finding its feet here and people I know have seen it, I’ve been asked a lot about AR Rahman’s work (ha! all of a sudden I don’t seem so crazy to them!). As I said on my last post (in the comments) I have promised some that I’ll put together a CD of his work. I am pretty unfamiliar with his Tamil film music, so forgive the under-representation of it here; many of you have left recommendations in the comment thread of my last post and I will be looking into them (anyone reading this because they want to know more, should definitely check them out too!). I first heard his music early on in my “Bollywood” career with Lagaan, which I still consider one of his best soundtracks. I loved it so much that I went and got other movies (Taal, Roja, Kandukondain Kandukondain) solely on the basis of his having done the music.

So here is my hastily cobbled-together list (true confession: all my favorites lists are fairly hastily cobbled-together, it seems more honest that way) of my fifteen favorite songs by India’s genius composer (it started as a top ten list, but felt too incomplete and simply was not possible to stop there). And I did have to give myself one rule: only one song to represent each film, although I cheated a bit with #10.

January 12, 2009

How completely fabulous!

gg_slumdog

Was it to see AR Rahman and Anil Kapoor on the red carpet at the Golden Globes?! And winning!!!! Congratulations to all of you for your four well-deserved awards!

***Applauds madly and cheers (would whistle in addition if I could)***

SRK was poised and articulate too in presenting the film as a Best Picture nominee!

January 10, 2009

Mohabbat Ke Dushman (1988)

mkd_rehmatkhan

I haven’t seen many Raaj Kumar films, a deficiency which I hope to correct this year. I chose to start with this film for several reasons: I already owned it, Hema Malini stars opposite him, Pran is in it, and it also stars Sanjay Dutt, Amrish Puri, and another object of my curiosity, Farha Naaz (Tabu’s older sister). Okay, so essentially my choice mostly came down to one thing: the cast, the cast, the cast. And the cast, the cast, the cast in the end is what made it such an enjoyable film.

The story is a relatively simple “good versus evil” fairytale, revolving around the rivalry of two Muslim landowners ruling a wild and hilly region: Rehmat Khan (Raaj Kumar)—a devout and good man; and Shahbaaz Khan (Amrish Puri)—a…well, it’s Amrish Puri. (I also love the Urdu-based language of Muslim-dominated films—the words are just so beautiful: begum, ammijaan, adaab, khuda hafiz…)

January 9, 2009

Sharmila eyes

By semi-popular demand, as a follow-up to my last post: my *she’s got Sharmila eyes* effort.

sharmila_eyes

(Sorry for the bad computer photo but Gemma can’t take pictures—it’s that old opposable thumbs issue again.)

January 8, 2009

Pinups

If I’d been Indian instead of me, I would most probably have had Shashi staring down at me from my bedroom wall instead of David Cassidy. 

(Too much information?)

shashi_pinup

January 8, 2009

Whatever happened to…

this guy, Mahender Sandhu?

mahender_pinup

January 6, 2009

Dulari (1949)

dulari_mirror

Most Hindi films from the 1940s are pretty melodramatic. Not only is the acting theatrical and stagey, but the dialogues are overwrought and repetitive (so that you don’t miss the point, I guess) and there are 10-15 songs sprinkled throughout at the rate of one every ten minutes (or so it seems). Characters are self-sacrificing and martyred, or unreasonably demanding; and there’s often some sort of love triangle ending with at least one person’s death (usually Dilip Kumar’s character). All this can make the movie heavy going, but at least the plots tend to be fairly straightforward and easy to follow. And if you know what to expect they always have something fun to offer (like Hindi films in every decade!).

January 5, 2009

Amar Shakti (1978)

as_challenge

I was inspired by Antarra’s review to see this film—so many thanks, Antarra! It’s essentially an hommage to Dharam-Veer with some pointed differences, which may make it a better film or a worse one, depending on your point of view. I loved Dharam-Veer (of course!) but I also really enjoyed this movie, maybe because my philosophy is if one of something is good, then two of it is better.

What Dharam-Veer has that Amar Shakti doesn’t:

  • Manmohan Desai’s lunatic sensibilities and larger-than-life scope
  • Dharmendra in a leather mini-skirt
  • Pran

What Amar Shakti has that Dharam-Veer doesn’t:

  • Shashi
  • Shashi’s curls
  • Shashi’s eyelashes
  • A Trojan elephant

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 818 other followers