Sikandar (1941)

The biggest surprise that this film has to offer is that rap was invented in India! Oh, yes. Here is incontrovertible proof, given us by two guys who had the outfits a bit wrong but all the hand movements just right. Listen to this (it’s short)!

sikandar_rap

Who knew?!

Seriously though, this movie is so much fun to watch (thanks again Muz!). It reminded me of Pukar in its wealth of detail, the ringing oratory, and the deft insertion of much-needed humor through vignettes of village life—easy informality and jokes in contrast to the rigid protocol of court and battle campaign. Unlike Pukar, there weren’t subtitles so a lot of the discourse (“room talk” as Raja puts it) went over my head; luckily, though, I could follow most of the action, thanks to finding this scene by scene synopsis on the net (although it wasn’t entirely accurate!). And also unlike its predecessor, this has lots of spectacularly mounted battle scenes (which are a little too realistic at times). Sohrab Modi spent a pretty paisa on this, and it shows. Lots of extras, both human and equine (and elephantine!), elaborately rich costuming, awesome sets and outdoor scenes.

sikandar_prithviraj

And of course: Prithviraj Kapoor. What a man. The beauty of him and Chandramohan in one weekend was almost too much for my poor heart. Dazzling! He IS Sikandar, investing him with an arrogance and stature that is magnificent—although not entirely likable. Sikandar’s temper is quick, but his charisma leaps off the screen in scenes both small and large—his laughter and (often quite fey) movements in moments of relaxation, and his commanding presence in front of his army. Prithviraj doesn’t have the rich baritone yet that he did in his later years, but he matches Modi in his theater-trained projection! Shashi really is a carbon copy of him. His way of speaking, his laugh, his mannerisms and his incredible good looks—all reminded me strongly of his youngest son.

Here’s what I mean by fey: he is almost campy at times, but it gives Sikandar an otherworldly and unconventional quality that works.

sikandar_fey

The film opens after the conquest of Persia, with Sikandar’s tutor Aristotle (Shakir) lamenting his absence at a large gathering of troops. Sikandar is busy romancing Rukhsana (Vanamala), a Persian woman with whom he’s fallen in love. Aristotle chastises him for being distracted, and warns him that beautiful women will be his downfall. Sikandar reassures an upset Rukhsana that he loves her, but the invasion of India is uppermost in his priorities at the moment.

Off he goes with his army, soldiers singing and winning battles as they march inexorably on towards the river Jhelum and India. Rukhsana follows after them surreptitiously.

sikandar_toindia

As they near the Jhelum river, an Indian scout spots them and rides hell for leather home to warn King Porus. This little sequence is a great example of Modi’s visual mastery. The horse gallops furiously through the countryside, arriving in a cloud of dust at the Indian court. The rider flings himself off and races inside, and we get a closeup of the horse’s heaving sides and blowing nostrils. It perfectly conveys the urgency of it all.

sikandar_warning

Plus, I want that blanket or shawl or whatever it is covering the horse.

King Porus (Sohrab Modi) hears the messenger out, and confers with his sons Tamar (Sadiq Ali) and Amar (Zahur Raja). They encourage him to fight; Tamar says that Porus’ strength can defeat Sikandar and Porus contradicts him: God’s strength, not his. (I am v. proud that I understood that exchange!)

sikandar_porus

Porus sends his senapati to round up the neighboring kings. One of them is King Ambhi (KN Singh!), and he declares his intention to cooperate with Sikandar to his disapprovingly patriotic sister Ratna (Meena Shorey).

sikandar_knsingh

She accuses him of cowardice and praises the bravery of King Porus (lots of room talk here, but that’s the gist of it I am pretty sure).

sikandar_meena

Ambhi sends a load of gifts to Sikandar anyway, offering friendship and cooperation which Sikandar accepts.

Meanwhile, Rukhsana has arrived in India disguised as an Indian woman. She comes across a group of villagers celebrating Raksha Bandhan. Sukhmani (Sheela) sings as they tie rakhis and play dandiya around a Maypole (wait, Indians invented that too?). Sukhmani explains to Rukhsana that it’s a day where sisters tie rakhis on their brothers in exchange for their protection and gifts.

sikandar_rakshabandhan

One little boy sobs on his father’s lap—he has no sister, Sukhmani tells Rukhsana, which makes him sad. Nor, she adds, does King Porus. This gives Rukhsana an idea, and she somehow wangles an audience with Porus (the details on this escape me, although he seems to let pretty much everybody in).

Meanwhile in the palace garden Ratna is flirting with Tamar, refusing to tie him a rakhi. As she leaves Amar enters and gently teases his brother about his romance. The word “bhabhi” is flung about and Amar laughs while Tamar looks suitably embarrassed (and pleased.) Cute!

sikandar_brothers

Porus meets Rukhsana, and agrees to let her tie a rakhi on him, although he points out to her that the bhai-bahen relationship is mushkil—which I think maybe means complicated more than difficult in this case? He then gives her some money and her own rooms in his palace, which astonishes her. I’m not sure exactly what follows, except that she says something about Sikandar, which in turn surprises him. He won’t let her untie the rakhi, however (he’s never had one tied before, he says).

At his camp, Sikandar (he is called Alexander by his troops throughout, by the way—only Sikandar by the Indians) meets with two of his generals and there’s a lot of room talk which also escapes me. According to the synopsis, they are telling him that Porus is ready for battle. Doesn’t matter though, I’m happy just to stare.

sikandar_sikandar

Porus now meets with the neighboring Kings—except Ambhi, who is ensconced at Sikandar’s camp.

sikandar_kings

Porus’ fabulous pony-tailed (literally) turban-crown thingy definitely makes him numero uno though.

sikandar_crown

They all agree to fight against Sikandar’s unnecessary aggression, and there is a bhajan while everyone prays at the mandir for victory (at least, that’s what I assume).

Sikandar is angry when the monsoon rain stops his troops from crossing the river, and judging from what follows decides to go and see Porus in disguise. His generals are horrified, but you can’t stop Alexander the Great! First, he talks lovingly to a portrait of Rukhsana—I guess he’s missing her.

sikandar_portrait

Then he goes to Porus’ court disguised as one of his own messengers, to bring the declaration of war. As it is read out loud in his court, Porus realizes that it is Sikandar himself in front of him; he announces it to the crowd, startling everyone—especially the smug Sikandar.

sikandar_disguise

Sikandar acknowledges that he’s caught, and takes off his fake beard. There is a long exchange between the two (oh! for some subtitles!) where I guess Porus points out that he could kill Sikandar but that he won’t, which wins him a grudging respect from Sikandar before he’s sent off back where he came from.

In a moonlit garden, Ratna sings and Tamar romances her on a swing.

sikandar_romance

This time they are caught by both little brother Amar and the Rajmata, who tease Tamar when Ratna runs off shyly. Very sweet indeed! This lull before the storm continues in the village with another Sheela song, as the villagers go about their routines, baking bread and feeding their cattle. Old men sit by a game smoking a hookah, discussing the upcoming war and joking with one another. I really really wish there were subtitles for this—judging from scenes that were like this in Pukar, it’s probably pretty funny.

sikandar_gaon

I know this post is going on and on, but there’s so much to share! That night, accompanied by pouring rain and crashes of thunder (but no day-night continuity issues!) Sikandar and his army sneak across the river Jhelum to attack the Indians. Porus sends his son Amar to lead their troops through the first skirmish; Amar addresses his men from his chariot, Sikandar his from horseback, and the battle begins.

sikandar_skirmish

I fret about the horses, and Amar is killed by a spear to the throat. When Porus is informed, he and Ratna comfort the Rajmata and he readies himself and his remaining son for another battle. On the field, Sikandar stands by Amar’s body and chastises a soldier who calls him the enemy, saying that they should salute him for his bravery instead.

As he prepares to depart, Porus is met by Rukhsana, who pleads with him not to kill Sikandar. This makes Tamar and Ratna pretty angry, but Porus reminds them that he and Rukhsana are brother and sister now, and she has a right to ask him. Meanwhile some big-ass drums are being beaten throughout the kingdom (by Moolchand?!—ha, just kidding…although it wouldn’t necessarily surprise me if it were him!).

sikandar_drum

Porus has war elephants! and I’m thinking that elephants trump horses as the two armies face off.

sikandar_war

It’s gruesome. Hand-to-hand combat is just not pretty, and neither are spears stabbing elephants. I cover up Gemma’s eyes so she can’t see (she is barking like a mad thing at all these horses and elephants). I think: War is just so DUMB. Honestly, men! what are you thinking?!

Porus kills Sikandar’s poor horse, and Sikandar sprawls on the ground beneath him.

sikandar_fallen

Porus is poised with a second spear, but remembers Rukhsana’s plea and hesitates:

sikandar_hesitates

just long enough for Sikandar to scramble to his feet. He leaps onto another horse and vanishes into the raging hordes. Eventually, Porus and the Indian army are defeated; Porus is captured, and brought in front of an elated and victorious Sikandar. He is beaten but not bowed, and there is a long conversation which of course I don’t get, although the synopsis I have says this, which I love:

Alexander says to Porus: “Did you not realize how great I am?” Porus answers: “I have never seen a king more deceitful than you.” [A general] interferes, but Porus says: “This is a discussion between kings. Shut your mouth.”

Oh, for some subtitles…the film goes on for some time more, but I have gone on long enough I think. Suffice it to say that there is good reason to consider this a classic, and more than good reason to preserve it and make it available! (That’s *my* giant drum beating!)

I liked Pukar better, maybe because I could understand it all, and the dialogues were so great. I am sure they were equally good here, but I couldn’t understand the nuances, and the scenes of battle were a bit disturbing for this animal lover and pacifist. War really IS hell! But putting that aside: this is epic entertainment at its best. Wah! Sohrab Modi! Wah!

You too, Prithviraj. It’s really no wonder your sons are such charmers.

sikandar_pv5

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55 Comments to “Sikandar (1941)”

  1. Look at that last cap, that’s too Shashi Kapoor.
    I love Sohrab Modi’s epic movies. This one is perhaps my favorite.
    Sikandar’s horse actually gave its name – Bucephala – to a town in Pakistan. And its supposed to be still there.
    Loved that ‘Rap’ :) I think its urdu equivalent would be ‘Qasida’ (praise of King) that lead to the development of modern day ‘Ghazal’. I don’t know the Hindi equivalent.

    Also Ashok Kumar famously did a real ‘Rap’ in Aashirwad (1968):

    • In motion the resemblance between Prithviraj and Shashi is even more uncanny. Same expressions, ways of moving, etc. I’ve never seen anything like the two guys “rapping”! It was hilarious.

  2. Oh my goodness, that IS Shashi!
    Thanks for all the pics.

  3. The resemblance between PRK and Shashi is uncanny!

    Hi MemSaab! Just wanted to say, as a first-time commenter, how I am a new, but HUGE fan of yours!!! I’ve been watching Bollywood for as long as I can remember (basically since I was born…i.e. almost 20 years), and I was sadly watching it’s slow decline in the past couple of years. The quality just wasn’t sitting right with me! I’d been a fan of older, more classical music for a few years at that point, and my was finding your site a treat!!! I really can’t express my excitement in a better way than all of those exclamation points. You’ve truly introduced me to the intellectual audience of Bollywood, especially pre-70s Bollywood, which I had never really gotten prior to finding you.

    Anyways, I hope I haven’t creeped you out or anything. I simply can’t wait to watch all these movies, although I feel like it’s also mainly because you describe them so, so well.

    Looking forward to reading many, many new posts for a long time to come,
    Sumi <3

    • Hi Sumi, it’s lovely to hear from you :) I’m really glad to see someone as young as you are loving the older films too. They have so much to offer! And so do lots of my readers, which makes this blog so rewarding to write. Welcome!

  4. I am not too sure it was Ashutosh Gowariker’s intention, but one of the big take-aways from Jodha Akbar for me was that even a great king like Akbar spent 80% of his time fighting/reacting to plots against him. The only criteria for a good king was just how long he survived. Akbar was great just because he actually did something else apart from fighting. :)

    So, you brits – thanks for getting rid of bad rubbish (the fuedal system as a whole)

    BTW Gemma seems an unusual dog – I have never known a dog that played the slightest attention to the TV. :)

    • Ha ha! Gemma really DOES watch television. She doesn’t react that much to most of it, but her eyes are fixed on the screen. I even find her lying on her little doggie bed watching it when I’ve been out (I leave it on for her entertainment). She’s deaf now, but still goes nuts barking when she sees most animals onscreen, especially other dogs, horses, and elephants. Camels too, come to think of it. In real life, she would hide behind me and not make a sound!

      I wonder what kind of progress a world without wars might make? Interesting thought…

  5. P.S. Is Prithviraj (how can Raj Kapoor be his son) Kapoor acting “fey” because Modi was actually historically minded enough to know that the greeks were even more open minded in love than Salim Khansaab? :)

    • I wondered that myself! LOL! I watched the beginning of this with someone who knows much more about Alexander the Great than I do (Filmi Geek’s husband), and when Aristotle chastised Sikandar for being distracted by women, David pointed out that women weren’t really Alexander’s biggest problem!

      I don’t know if that was the reasoning, or if it was just Prithviraj’s way of creating the character. It didn’t come across as gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)—more as a little peculiar; but probably most great men (and women) are a bit peculiar :-)

  6. I saw a clip of this on youtube the other day and can imagine what the rest would have been like – at least speech-wise. Sohrab Modi was big on oratory and I love his speeches. Its too bad there werent subtitles for you to follow them better.

    And Shashi does seem to be exactly like his Dad, down to the dimples and curls. I’ve only seen ageing Prithviraj before and had refused to buy the resemblence, but there is no denying it, here!

    • We’ll break it out at our next get-together and all Shashi fans can go squeeeeee to the power of two! It’s not even just the looks—his voice, the way he phrases things, his laugh, expressions on his face, and his general demeanor is just unbelievably Shashi-like (or I guess that should be the other way around).

      Oh, and plus: what an actor! He was GREAT in this, no pun intended :D

      • I couldn’t NOT say something about this fabulous post, even though everybody else has said whatever I had to say! Sounds like an amazing film – I wish I could see more of it than the clip I saw on youtube. I remember seeing a scene from this on TV when I was about 10 years old, and saying, “Shashi Kapoor’s looking much bigger than he usually is!!” My father had to set things straight and tell me that was NOT Shashi Kapoor, it was his father.

        • He is much bigger, as someone else said here—he was Shammi sized! I guess Modi insisted on authenticity to the point where he weighed Prithviraj on set to make sure he matched the recorded weight of Alexander himself.

  7. THIS was the movie my history teacher used to wax eloquent about. I saw a later version with Prithviraj as Porus, Dara Singh as Sikander, Mumtaz as rukhsana, Prem Chopra and Prem Nath as Tamar and Amar. Even that was lovely. This one, with Sohrab Modi must have been better.

    Imdb link to sikander-e-azam http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0176140/

  8. Didn’t you know EVERYTHING under the sun was invented in India. :-)

  9. Here’s 1950s Indian rap AND 1950s Indian psychedelia, in the same song!

    • Wow thanks Richards! There is a saying in Hindi – ghar ki murgi daal barabar – namely it is very easy to take for granted what you already have.

      We KNOW Shantaram is great, so we ignore him. :) So it is great to see him thru’ fresh eyes. Spoilers!!

      That statue of Ganesh turning into a dancing, trumpeting elephant – pure genius. :)

    • India has always been psychedelic methinks :-) I can’t watch these later Shantaram films, except for the songs which are always cracktastic!

      • Sunil, I AM greatly enjoying Shantaram “thru’ fresh eyes.” :) Memsaab, even if you can’t watch the movies, it’s good to know that you enjoy the songs.

        By the way, here’s another song from another of his movies with a good rap at the beginning…and an amazing beat!

  10. You keep adding to the list of films I want to watch!

    I always think that Shashi looks exactly like his father, except that his father had more of the Shammi Kapoor stature. Shashi (this may be screen illusion) seems to be a slighter version, but the resemblence is something out of a Hindi masala film plot!

  11. I’d like to wax nostalgic for a moment about the kinds of movies India used to produce. By kind, I mean the topic of the films. There used to be such a diversity of movie subjects and filmmakers seemed to look broader and farther for story inspirations. Not only did they mine Indian history for stories but also the histories of other lands, resulting in such entertaining fare like Nausherwan-e-adl, Rustom Sohrab, Halaku, Shih Shinaki Babla Boo, etc.

    Filmmakers today seem to have a more interior focus – they make movies about what they know and have experienced and very rarely extend their imaginations to exploring what they don’t know.

    • I’m going to sound like a cranky old person (which I am) but Hindi films today seem mostly determined to prove that “Bollywood” can make films on par with “Hollywood”—i.e. high-tech mindless, noisy, obnoxious films that make me run screaming (Akshay Kumar I’m looking at you!). Or yet another movie about gangsters. I would welcome some thoughtful movies about even just what filmmakers know and experience! (I know they are there, but they are buried deep underneath and vastly outnumbered by all the garbage)

      Where are the stories, period?

  12. The “rap” that is posted at the beginning is indeed indian in nature. Kings in ancient India used to have “chaarans” ( singers singing praise of the King) whose job it was the sing “stuti” (songs praising the King). One gets the mention of Chaarans singing the praise of Kings in Ramayana, Mahabharata and other ancient books. Ofcourse, now a days they would be called sycophants ( In Hindi, they would be called “Chamchaa”).

    Fantastic review of the movie, once again. Your posts are the best advertisement that such old movies can ever hope to get. Even those who may not be interested in these movies have their curiosity aroused by reading your reviews.

    Now I want to see this movie as well as “Pukaar” and other such movies.

    Rukhsana of course could be RSP (romantic side plot) that the makers of this movie may have thought of. Waah, I just invented a term, just like Raja invented the term “Room talk”.

    To explain away the defeats of Indian kings, such stuff as Rukhsaana tying rakhi to Porus comes in handy. The fact that there was no unity among Indian kings, and the society was badly divided into castes ( where only the warrior caste was supposed to fight) and other such divisions was the reason why no Indian rulers could ever fight successfully against invaders.

    Reading your lament for sub titles, I see a business opportunity for writing sub titles. If only the DVD makers were reading these reviews.

    • Chamcha Rap!!!! Brilliant! I was kidding (mostly) about the rap thing, although what struck me was the two guys trading lines back and forth and using their hands expressively as they did so.

      I will make sure you get the opportunity to see these films Atul! I know how you only watch for the songs—maybe this will change your mind ;-)

      SPOILER AHEAD (if it matters)
      Rukhsana is more than a RSP, at least for this version of the tale; Porus has an opportunity to defeat Sikandar which he lets go by, changing the course of the battle. Even when Sikandar lets him go and gives his kingdom back to him he mourns the fact that history will record that Sikandar was victorious and he the loser. When he says this to Rukhsana she feels very bad, and goes to address Sikandar’s army (who are already unhappy at their huge losses in the battle against Porus) and convinces them to leave India, rather than continue the invasion (Sikandar wants to keep going, although he will leave Porus alone). Sikandar tries to compromise with the mutiny-ing (mutineering?) troops by making an offering to Zeus, which is rejected (an eagle falls dead from the sky at the altar, signifying rejection), and then gives in when reunited with Rukhsana. He sails away with her and his army, leaving India in peace. So Rukhsana—again, according to this story—changes the course of history itself.
      END SPOILER

      When I find my sugar daddy I will hire you and Raja forthwith to start subtitling the movies I’m having restored and put on DVD (any restoration experts out there reading this should feel free to join in!) :-)

  13. And let me add that reading about such old classics is such a refreshing change from reading about “Kasam Paida Karne waale ki” and the likes.

  14. I’m waiting patiently (well not patiently really ;-) for all these films. Hope Induna gets Shakuntala as soon as possible too.

    I’m sure there are people reading your blog who are in some position, and perhaps taking in the fact that the old films of these kinds should be brought back. I remember once a newspaper reporter read your blog, memsaab.
    A pity that DD gave up showing them.

    There are several versions of why Sikander left India.
    One that we were told was that though Porus lost, Alexander’s army was too afraid to move further in, because of the taste they had received fighting Porus’ army, of the kind of kings and their armies that they will encounter.
    And of course Porus lost because of the Raakhi tying. :-)

    • That version (Alexander’s army being reluctant to go further) is covered in this too. I am woefully ignorant of that time and place in history, but it almost makes me want to read a bio of Alexander (when I’m done with my huge volume on the Mughal rulers :-)

  15. So is Prithviraj Kapoor THE Kapoor? Like, Raj and Shammi and Shashi’s daddy? Cuz hoo boy did Shashi look like him. Wah!

    I hope that a side-effect of your blogging is that someone will get inspired to subtitle these older gems. I just don’t have the patience to sit through hours of things I don’t understand like you do.

    • Prithviraj is the Big Daddy of them all :-) Father of Raj, Shammi and Shashi, grandfather of Rishi & Randhir, great-grandfather of Kareena and Karishma and Ranbir.

      I do get exhausted sitting through unsubtitled films, the struggle to understand what’s going on is tiring, but if I make it through, it’s because it was worth it! (I’ve given up on quite a few of them too).

      • Raj Kapoor had three sons (plus two daughters). All three are actors. Randhir, Rishi and Rajeev Kapoor. Daboo, Chintu and ………bhopu , I suppose.
        Just FYI ;)

        • Chimpu :-) And he looked the most like Shammi of all! I only listed the two who really were more involved in films…I know Rajiv acted in a few and has stayed involved peripherally in the family studio, but he wasn’t terribly successful…I don’t know why!

  16. For pre-Islamic Indians, Alexander might have been Alekshendra and not the Persian Sikandar. Unless the Greeks had started calling him Sikandar as well, which is doubtful.

    Refreshing to see KN Singh in historical getup!

  17. Here’s me randomly googling the hell out of the internets for pictures of young Prithviraj Kapoor because I’ve been really interested in seeing something where he’s young and all Alpha Kapoor (literally, as he was first).

    I knew I should’ve just come to your blog. :D

    Too bad these films are severely lacking in availability. Another time, Alpha Kapoor-ji..

    • Sikandar is available now on VCD, although the quality isn’t really much better than the screenshots here, sadly.

      He was a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful hunk of man.

      :)

      • Hey Memsaab, where do I get to see Sikandar? I have fallen in love with those screen caps…thanks a lot…please tell me. I am 16, still a Shashi and Prithviraj Kapoor fan…

        • You’ll find links to watch it online or download it as a dvd to burn under the page above called “Edu Productions” :)

          • Thanks for the advice…well, I am an ardent fan of your blogs, and I am liking all the old movies..and as they say, old is gold. You have proven it to me…thanks once again!! I am definitely gonna tell my classmates about this…kudos!!! Loved it!!

          • Please help me on how to download it..I have no idea what to do…

  18. Prithviraj Kapoor was indeed *big* : I think that it is Amrish Puri (who debuted at the Prithvi Theatre) who described him as being 6’2” tall (and God knows if at his old age he was slouching), and endowed with the perfect body-builder physique and nice features. Shammi Kapoor also was not bad, being 6’1” and broad-shouldered. About Shashi, who is indeed his father’s photocopy, he was not ‘tiny’ (5’11′) In fact, only Raj Kapoor was ‘small’ : I remember Khwaja Ahmad Abbas describing his height different with the hunky newcomer (at the time :d) Sunil Dutt.

    Even if the Kapoors describe themselves as ‘Pathans’, they are Punjabi Khatris : but generally, the people from this region are really handsome (Vinod Khanna was from Peshawar.) I am from Kashmir, and we have some Afghan-Pukhtoon refugees, of the three that I have personally meet, two had light-coloured hairs and eyes, one even looking like a green-eyed Jude Law. So, perhaps this is why we have the ‘being handsome’ genes amongst the Kapoors … :o) And what about Trilok Kapoor, Prithviraj’s brother ? He also played some historical roles I think, and you must have something to play in these movies I guess …

    Also, thanks for the great review ! ;-)

  19. I remember I was 7 years old, and the movie was shown in theatre in Ahmedabad, but i was not able to see the movie. I liked the dialoguebaji of and had great desire to see that movie. I obtain a VHS copy from a video store in New Jersey today I have madeup copy of the movie. I would love to share (copy)it.He is prithviraj Kapoor, and if you see him in movie you can hardly be easily misguided him as shashi kapoor. Anybody lover of Minerva’s lion, Shorab Mody must see his movie KUNDAN a hindi version of La Miserelab, now available in Hindi. Is so wonderfullly created that not a single English movie maker has made the movie so perfect. Sohrab Mody is beacan of Indian movie of past.

  20. Do you called that dandia raas “maypole”?…we called it “Athango” means eight strings, “solengo” sixteen strings. so many dances I have done in that maypole…thru out my young age. (I’m a lady of 67).
    Never knew europe had that :)

  21. Finally watched the cleaned up and much much improved version of this film. Can’t get over Prithviraj Kapoor resembling Shashi Kapoor so much that it could have been him. Even his manner of speech and laughter. Amazing.
    What a fabulously made film for 1941. The horses thundering to war, the palace the characters.
    As for the ‘fey’ thing of PK, I think it menat to represent flamboyancy, and the poses he struck, reminiscent of some statues one sees in museums in Europe.
    I’m glad I watched it. Now for Pukar. :-)

  22. I tried watching the movies on youtube, but just couldn’t follow the dialogues. It was the first time I needed sub-titles to understand a Hindi (make it Urdu) movie. But Urdu was the lingua franca of the sub continent back in pre-independence India and its evident that the standard of Urdu spoken back then was far superior to what it is today.

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