Saved by Baburao

When I’m feeling (more) unmotivated to write (than usual), Filmindia and its editor/writer/man-of-all-trades, Baburao Patel comes to the rescue.

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(Insaniyat is one of the films I need to write up.)

This issue’s back cover is even good.

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Something about the name Hari Har Bhakti makes me want to giggle. Hari Har Har, as it were.

This is the back cover of another issue. I like how very small the priest is.

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The usual caustic (or not) captions and photos decorate the inside:

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More full-color portraits! I love Bina Rai, she is so very elegant.

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I haven’t seen Anita Guha in much, although I think she was pretty well-known for playing goddesses and such (hey that rhymes).

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And of course, he writes some reviews. This time, I’ll share what he has to say about some Hollywood pictures. My general sense of it all is that he’s taking the piss out of the Indian government’s censorship of Hollywood imports (one of his favorite targets besides film stars is Nehru’s government and its somewhat strict morality). But as with much of Baburao’s writing, I am not entirely sure about his true intent. It could just be that he hates Hollywood crime films. This is the blurb which introduces the reviews (under photographs of himself and Nehru):

This is not a malicious tirade against all pictures coming from Hollywood. This is a deliberate campaign only against bad and dangerous pictures—pictures which contain lust, crime, violence and other anti-social elements. Good pictures from Hollywood or from any other country are always welcome. Like all good things they sell themselves. But bad and dangerous pictures have to be pointed out to save our people from becoming degenerate and demoralised members of society. Hollywood producers have turned America into a big colony of violent and sadistic criminals. This section is therefore intended to prevent that tragedy in our peace-loving, non-violent country.” — Baburao Patel

Does that reek of sarcasm to you, too?

About The Desperate Hours (starring Humphrey Bogart, Fredric March, Arthur Kennedy and Martha Scott) he says:

…This picture…is a vivid school for crime and if the picture is followed by actual reports of criminals forcing their way into decent homes and making family members hostage till their criminal objectives are achieved, it should cause no surprise. If, therefore, our Censors are seriously interested in preventing propagation of crime through motion pictures, they must bad this picture straightway as a matter of sacred duty. And the Censors must remember that it is exactly these kinds of pictures which have today reduced America to a vast, stinking swamp of crime…[it] is one large celluloid pill of social poison…and must be banned by the Censors without the least hesitation.

The Treasure of Pancho Villa (starring Rory Calhoun, Shirley Winters, Gilbert Roland) garners this:

History and factuality have no use for Hollywood except when they can fit into Hollywood’s dirty patterns of entertainment and can be exploited to cater vice, lust, greed, violence and other sordid ingredients on the screen…Hollywood is ever ready to distort history, twist facts, rewrite scriptures, pervert truth and slander nations…This sordid story of greed, violence and treachery is no edifying entertainment and deserves to be banned.

One gets the feeling from his reviews that he watches these “must be banned” films with a great deal of glee.

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29 Comments to “Saved by Baburao”

  1. Thanks as always for sharing these rarities. The cover is beautiful. The reviews, interesting. I wonder which of any Hollywood pictures he liked? Speaking of Hollywood, I have not seen Kuldip Kaur before, but in that picture she looks something like the actress Rosalind Russell inher young days.

  2. She does! especially in this photo. I have written about a couple of films she was in, you can find them by searching her name here. Very elegant, and IMPOSING. Kind of scary, as Baburao points out :)

  3. Geeta Bali looks like Isabella Rosselini to me in that picture.

    Barburao – yeeps, I still think. I don’t know what he really means.

  4. Re: ” I like how very small the priest is.” lol. The priest is supposed to be in the distance.

  5. Anita Guha was in Goonj Uthi Shehnai.

    These posters make me want to live in those times. Vasvadatta ! wow ! I read that story in school.

    • I love the posters. So beautiful! They make me want to run out and see the movie, which I guess is the point of film posters. So—yay! beautiful AND effective!

  6. Kamal Kapoor looks almost like Raj Kumar. His striking personality was used well later as a Bad Man or a Police Officer.

    • Is Kanwal Kapoor above the same person? I am familiar with Kamal Kapoor, but not Kanwal…I can’t tell by that picture if they are the same, since it’s in profile.

  7. Both the Anita Guha films I remember seeing were comedies – and pretty good ones at that: Dekh Kabira Roya and Mud mud ke na Dekh (which starred, to my dissatisfaction, Bharatbhushan – it was also Prem Chopra’s debut film).

    And I get the feeling Baburao’s being pretty sarcastic re: Hollywood. “But bad and dangerous pictures have to be pointed out to save our people from becoming degenerate and demoralised members of society.” – that sounds just to sanctimonious for Baburao to be serious!

    • That’s my feeling about it too, except that sometimes he sounds very serious! :-) Nevertheless, love him!

      I need to see Dekh Kabira Roya—it has been coming up a lot in discussions lately for me!

  8. Geeta Bali looks great in that screen cap. Thanks for sharing the pics.

    I think Anita Guha is more famous for her Goddess role in Jai Santoshi Mata if i am not mistaken.

    • Yes, Jai Santoshi Mata and other mythologicals is what I am familiar with her from (although I haven’t watched any of them, I remember reading that they are what she’s best known for)…

  9. I can see, quite easily, how this inspires you to write when you’re not in the mood. I think I’ll force myself to finish that long over-due review on Mughal-E-Azam I’ve been meaning to get to.

  10. >(Insaniyat is one of the films I need to write up.)

    Please do! :-D
    I’m dying to see what you’ll have to say about the king with a penchant for great variety in entertainment to suit his suddenly changeable moods. LOL!

    I bought this DVD when last you posted pictures of Insaaniyat from Filmindia, and thought – ** a film with both Dileep and Devanand!!!? ** How can I miss that?

    • I saw it a month ago or so (also because of the Filmindia covers!) and mostly what I remember is how very awesome the chimp was! He totally stole the show from Dev Anand AND Dilip Kumar!

      • My exact thoughts! The chimp was the best thing in that mess of a movie. Well Bina Roy was charming too, but the chimp was a true thespian.:-D

        I want to see Vasavadatta! Wonder why it was shelved…:-( Vaiju in an Amarpali type role in the 50s dancing to C. Ramchandra’s tunes…heaven.

  11. Wow – never heard of that movie Vasavadatta / Nirvana (what the heck is it called – can’t really tell from the poster!) I wonder if it was ever released – anyone have any info?

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  13. GREAT WRITE UPS MY DEAR
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  14. INSANIYAT did have some good songs tuned by C Ramchandra.

  15. About Kuldip Kaur- I recently saw her in Baaz (with Guru Dutt and Geeta Bali). I think she was an amazingly beautiful actress.

  16. Beena Rai looked amazing in film AURAT. The music scored by Shanker Jaikishan enhanced her

  17. Geeta Bali’s beauty was in her overall personality. Her dancing moments were totally synchronous with the beat and her face reflected the melody

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