In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones (1989)

Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things) wrote and stars in this poignant and funny made-for-TV movie about a group of architecture students at the end of their fifth and final year in 1974 New Delhi. I didn’t really know what to expect; the only thing I knew about it was that a very young Shahrukh Khan has a small role. What a gem it is, though! It’s Chashme Buddoor meets Fast Times At Ridgemont High in its deft portrait of student life and profane humor (and how interesting is it that all three films were made by women?!). There are no songs, and the background music consists mostly of Beatles tunes, which suits the ambience perfectly. The students are a mixed bunch— rebellious hippies, uptight “good” girls, goofy nerds, and the titular Anand “Annie” Grover (Arjun Raina), a hapless loser repeating his fifth year for the fourth time.

School legend has it that Annie ran afoul of the stern and humorless headmaster YD Billimoria (Roshan Seth), nicknamed “Yamdoot” (the messenger of death). Shahrukh explains how, on a dare, Annie went into the staff restroom to take a leak standing next to Yamdoot; apparently this was dastardly enough to guarantee that he would never graduate.

Annie’s friend Arjun (Rituraj) is determined that this will be the year that Annie finally passes his final thesis. Arjun and his girlfriend Radha (Arundhati Roy) are a modern pair; they are very open about their relationship—a fact that Radha’s hostel-mate Lekha (Divya Seth) finds appalling. Arjun has nicknamed Lekha “Lakes,” which infuriates her, although I’ve got no idea why.

Radha overhears Lakes talking about her one morning in the ladies’ room.

Radha is a feisty sort: a staunch feminist and supporter of the poor and downtrodden, and not one to take any insult lying down. On her way to class that same morning she takes care of an eve-teaser (sprays him with ink) and then exacts her revenge on Lakes on the classroom blackboard.

Crystal bowl intact! Hilarious. She’s prickly and arrogant, but I love Radha, and I love Arjun too.

They are funny, sarcastic, cynical and kind-hearted too, especially when it comes to sweet, simple Annie. Yamdoot’s harsh treatment of Annie over the years has brutalized the poor guy, and he has little faith left in his abilities. He doesn’t even really try any more.

Arjun convinces him to apologize to Yamdoot for his long-ago prank, which he does, but to no avail. Yamdoot is a hard taskmaster and very difficult to please. He mocks Annie’s thesis idea, with some justification. Annie’s plan is to urge urban immigrants to go back to their villages by planting fruit trees alongside India’s 60,000 kilometers of railway track, using fountains built onto the sides of trains to water them (his theory is that the soil by the tracks is already very fertile, since many people already use them as a public bathroom). Even his fiancee Bijli (Himani Shivpuri)—a bar dancer—doesn’t think very highly of it.

When Annie is arrested with Bijli in a raid one night, the police find a letter in Annie’s pocket. He has written to the Prime Minister about his fruit tree scheme, and the police call Yamdoot to the station to identify him. An annoyed Yamdoot does so, and gives Annie a ride back to his hostel, where he discovers that his beloved hen Sangeeta (he sells her eggs for a bit of extra income) has gone missing.

Noooo! A Ugandan student named Kasozi (Moses Uboh) and his roommate Mankind (Isaac Thomas) have roasted her for dinner.

Arjun and Radha give Annie a white rabbit to replace her, and as the class gets to work building their final project models Arjun and Radha help Annie with his, coaching him on how to present his ideas to the thesis jury and encouraging him. Will Annie finally graduate? Or will Yamdoot sabotage him once again?

The plot of the film is simple; its beauty lies in the characterizations and little vignettes of student life. There is plenty of humor, and lots of it is directed at the pretentiousness inherent in higher education (especially in the arts). The art teacher praises a sculpture of sticks and a feather that Radha has thrown together hastily, calling it “urban sophistication superimposed on tribal sensuousness.” There are also serious moments. You can cut the tension with a knife as the students wait to be called in front of the jury to defend their final projects, and the angst over becoming an adult and leaving school (or failing) is perfectly done. All of the performances are solid, and the details just right. I think Arundhati Roy should make another movie!

I’m still not clear on what the enigmatic (and lengthy) title really means…but it doesn’t really matter. And here is Shahrukh’s only other scene, where he explains why Kasozi grinds his teeth while he sleeps.

Sadly the film has never made it to VCD or DVD (to my knowledge)—this very poor print floating around on the interwebs is pretty much it. Apparently it was not aired again either after the first showing on Doordarshan late at night.

Oh Indian cinema, how you hurt me sometimes!

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100 Comments to “In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones (1989)”

  1. Memsaab,

    Yes this was a wonderful film. Where did you get the DVD? Been looking for it for a while.

  2. “Lakes’ because her name is Lekha, not Rekha.

  3. That is the font and color officially used by Doordarshan. Like ‘The God of Small Things’ this work of Arundhati Roy was also based on her life experiences. The film was produced by Bobby Bedi who later also produced Bandit Queen – a film that Arundhati Roy had a lot to say about.

  4. I remember this being a big hit with college students… I was still a kid at the time, in school and not allowed to see films like this! Sounds fun, though.

    As far as I know, ‘giving it those ones’ is one of those bits of slang that used to float around campuses etc at the time – I think it means something like ‘doing good to others, helping out’. Maybe somebody around here knows exactly what…

  5. I’ve heard of this one for so long and appreciate your comprehensive write up. The closest I’ve gotten is reading “The God of Small Things” (fantastic!) a while back. I hope to be able to see this one day too.

  6. I think the title has to do with the Hindi phrase ‘Wohi Sab’ (said somewhat like a jeer) meaning ‘all that’ but meant as ‘the usual’…like you have decided what a person’s ‘thing’ is…and it’s not a very ‘practical’ thing.

  7. Oh, I still remember when it was aired on DD late night. I remember I enjoyed it every minute and thoroughly shocked by some dialogues at that time. I was a bit (and a little bit more ;-)) prude at that time.
    But as usual I had completely forgotten about the story. Where did you get this copy? I even remember reading Roy’s itnerview in the Times before or after airing of the film on DD. They had thought that the walls of the student hostel would be full of graffiti, but just before they started filming the hostel authorities white-washed the walls. They had to do the graffiti all on their own and then after canning the film had to whitewash the walls again. And I remember she even explained what the title means. But as usual I just remembered the trivia and forgot the imp message.

    I also feel it is a pity that Roy didn’t make another movie. I tried thrice to read her God of small things, but my attmepts were futile. It jsut bogged me down, esp. the part, where they go to the movie.

  8. BTW, why the subtitles? Isn’t the film in English?

    • It is quite explicit for an Indian movie :) I should have mentioned the graffiti on the walls—it was truly spectacular.

      The film is mostly in English, but with a fair amount of Hindi mixed in. I was glad to have the subs (the sound quality isn’t the best either). For long scenes in English there weren’t subtitles.

  9. I am sooooo soooo glad you saw and reviewed this film. I have not ever seen it but have always wanted to.

    You see I graduated as an architect from an architecture dept just like this one, but 10 years later than in the film. Did anything change in those years? NOT A THING! The same characters, the same angst, the same craziness, the very same idealism, the same crack pot ideas, the same frenzy about model building, our own sangeetas running around the campus and pecking at our drawings, why even the same pot (smoking that is). Oh my goodness, it is all the same, including our own underachieving Annie… who happens to be a renowned designer today.

    Brought back great memories. I simply must see this film.

  10. Give it those ones… as far as I remember… is a Delhiism from that era… sort of giving Gyaan… sort of screw you. In that vein.

    • You haven’t seen the film? Because you’ve described it perfectly!!! :-D

      It does have a timeless quality, although it is firmly set in the early 70s (music, clothes, hair, everything is perfect)—but some things never change, especially human nature :) And your explanation of “giving it those ones” seems to fit the film best.

  11. I’ve never seen this one and always wanted to. What strikes me is the cast – you’re looking at the creme de la creme of Delhi theater circa the 80s and SRK was probably lucky if he got included as a dairy product in that company. And now Himani Shivpuri plays mother figures and Rituraj is nowhere to be seen and SRK is romancing 19 yr olds. At least Roshan Seth still looks like death warmed over.

    Life is amazing.

  12. I know! When I saw Himani Shivpuri playing a young bar dancer I had to double check the date this was made :) It was sadly a very short time from 1989 until she was playing Ma/Auntie types. I wonder what ever happened to Rituraj…or Arjun Raina for that matter—he was just GREAT as poor Annie. You wanted to hug him and slap him all at the same time :D Roshan Seth would be perfect for horror films. I didn’t get a screen cap of him up there, I just realized.

    • Rituraj and Divya Seth both had considerable success on television although they missed the golden years of DD programming. But they were amongst the first crop of TV actors to show up on cable TV. In fact I’m almost certain they appeared in the same show together on Zee or something. It was before extreme makeup, violent double takes and zoom ins and zoom outs and drum beats signifying emotion were invented for TV. Arjun Raina, if I’m not mistaken, is still doing theater.

  13. Had never heard of this before – but if it was a TV film on Doordarshan I am not one bit surprised. I was not at all on top of DD’s releases in those days.
    Anyway, thanks to your write-up, I decided to see it just now and have.
    And have THOROUGHLY enjoyed it.

    This is exactly the type of movie I like. English/Hindi mix (like is in real-life India), no stupid songs interfering with the story – and actually a pretty simple story itself.
    A look into life in a government educational institute in Delhi.

    Fantastic performances from practically everybody in the movie just make the film that much more worth watching.
    Can’t even single out one person – they were all just so good.

    Btw, I cracked up on hearing the name “Yamdoot” because that was the exact name that we had given our school principal. For those who do not know, Yamdoot means “messenger of the God of Death”.
    Doot = messenger, Yam = Lord Yama = God of Death. Our school Yamdoot compared favourably with Roshan Seth in one respect – he was equally sadistic. :-)

    All in all, a must-watch movie for all those sick of noise, big stars and hype.
    I would anyday prefer to watch movies like this.
    (I watched a movie called 99 recently (with Boman Irani) and thoroughly enjoyed that one too).

    Thanks, Greta, for reviving from obscurity this gem of a film and bringing it to all of us here.

  14. Thank you for writing this one up! I’ve got to see it sometime. There was at least one short clip of this on YouTube that I watched a while back, but otherwise, I haven’t been able to find it so far.

    I read The God of Small Things probably about ten years ago, and I loved it! (I’ve also reread some of it since then.)

    I’ve also read lots of her nonfiction and have seen footage of of many of her speeches (some of which I’ve posted or quoted from in blogs). That stuff is not as great as her fiction, and I wish she’d get back to fiction, because I think that’s where she does her best writing. Bust still, I do agree with a lot of her politics, and she always knows how to turn a phase. :)

    • P.S. Oops, up very late and my proofreading skills have atrophied, oh well.

    • If you scout around on the net you should be able to find it.

      The article on Bandit Queen that Vinayak posted above was DEAD ON. I read Mala Sen’s book about Phoolan Devi and found it fascinating (in a fatal car crash kind of way), but the movie…I didn’t care for at all, and she perfectly assesses all the reasons why.

      • When she wrote those articles, she was a relative nobody. In fact Shekhar was dishonest enough to rubbish her for precisely that – according to him she was just bitter and jealous at his success. Those days no internet, so never got to read her arguments back them. :)

  15. The chance of Arundhati Roy returning to films is almost nil. One can figure that out from her non-fiction. But at least she has returned to fiction. From what I have heard, right now she is working on a Kashmir story.

    As a Kashmiri, that makes me kind of both happy and sad. Writing fiction based on ones own life experience is one thing but real fiction is another thing. But then she does believe, ‘Fiction is the truest thing there ever was.’
    As Kashmir is now only fiction in any case, it might as well be a well written fiction (if she can pull it off). So it’s going to be interesting nevertheless.

    • “As Kashmir is now only fiction in any case”

      That’s such a sad thing to hear. But of course, the idea of Kashmir is preserved in all those old Bollywood songs.

  16. Thanks for the great write up on this neglected gem. How one wishes that it would be reissued as a properly restored DVD…

    I should point out however, that your impression about “all three films were made by women?” is somewhat inaccurate. The film was scripted by Arundhati Roy but was directed by her then husband Pradip Krishen. Krishen had in fact introduced her on the screen in 1985 in “Massey Sahib”, , a wonderful trans-localization of Joyce Cary’s “Mister Johnson” (incidentally 5 years before its English language adaptation directed by Bruce Beresford). Roy also scripted Krishen’s “Electric Moon” in 1992.

    I had seen all 3 films when they were telecast on DD, but apart from the grainy version of IWAGITO, which I, like everyone else, got off the interwebs, i don’t possess the other two. DD’s Loksabha channel did telecast Massey sahib recently, so the original print exists, though I hope they will preserve/digitize it properly.

    Arjun Raina has gone on to do wonderful work in theater in Delhi, his Kathakali Othello being one amongst many great performances. check out

    http://www.arjunraina.com/

    And do give “The God of Small Things” a chance. You can even buy/borrow from the library an audiobook version read by Sarita Chowdhary.

    And finally, if Roy’s activist writings have piqued your curiosity, her recent collection of essays “Listening to Grasshoppers:Field Notes on Democracy” – while shrill and overdone is places – is an important intervention in contemporary debates about India.

    A lot of her speeches/interviews are up on youtube:

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=arundhati+roy&emb=1#q=arundhati+roy&emb=1&view=0&dur=3

    Apologies for the long post which was more about Roy and less about the film you wrote about, but your review and the comments pretty much nailed it.

    Enjoy your blog a lot! Longtime lurker, first time poster.

    • Hey thanks for coming out and giving me all this info :) You’ve given me a lot to look for!!!!

      • Wow, that is a great list! I put an excerpt from the “We” documentary on my blog during its beginning stages, before it got so focused on vintage material. :) I also have a second, political blog – which is now mostly a blog of clips of political songs and poetry – which I named sometime back in reference to a line in Arundhati Roy’s great “Come September” speech. The line is: “To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you.” And my blog is called “Never Got Used To It.” :)

        By the way, Arundhati also has a birthday Nov. 24.

    • I remember watching Massey Sahib but don’t remember Roy in it at all! The one scene that freaked me out was the braid-cutting scene in the market. I have really long hair so it terrified me. Good movie tho.

    • Massey Sahib is watchable for free at Jaman’s website. http://www.jaman.com/collections/NFDC/

      Apparently Jaman picked up 30 films from NDFC’s archives and have put them up on the web now

  17. Thanks for a good review as usual Memsaab. Have never heard of this movie which isn’t a surprise coz I left India in 1988. I read a few pages of “God of Small Things ” and left it coz it was too dark. I am reading Adiga’s “White Tiger” and am finding it interesting so far!

  18. On another note, a friend of mine gave me a DVD hi of 2 old Shammi Kapoor movies – Junglee and Janwar. Haven’t seen either of them. I remembered ur reaction ” I should see more of Shammi movies”. BTW, interesting combo of the 2 movies “junglee janwar”!

    • Junglee and Janwar are two of my favorites as well :) I think I’ve written both of them up here…do let me know what you think of them! :)

      • Junglee Janwar means “wild animal” – LoL – quite often u will come across esp in old hindi movies, heroines calling out the villain or even the hero as “Junglee Janwar”.

        I will read your reviews after seeing the movies. Last night, I slotted the DVD in but had second thoughts and landed up watching the new film “Jashan” – sigh, should have stuck to my original instinct of watching a Shammi movie!

        • Yes, you should have :) I have had a Shammi double header myself over the past two days and looooved it.

          • I too had a double header of Hritik Roshan on the weekend ie Sudnay – it was a scorchingly hot day and had to stay indoors. Both the movies are my favourites – Mujhse Dosti Karogey (esp for Rani and Hritik jodi) and Jodha Akbaar (for Hritik’s acting, music, choreography, costumes and locales). I wonder why MDK flopped. It is one of those movies like chori-2 which we both liked so much.

  19. The movie is not freely available, but Arundhati published a detailed screenplay in form of a book, which I bought promptly. It was a treat to read it. I do wish someone would restore and release the movie.

    Another cult hit that I wish to see (though its a grim film) is Raakh starring an early Aamir Khan, Surpriya Pathak and Pankaj Kapur.

  20. I thoroughly enjoyed this discussion. This is one blog where the comments section is simply unbelievable!! :)

    I am feeling a little sad though. I know SRK/Aamir etc are huge superstars now with very busy lives. And I don’t want to call them sell outs because hey, they made the career choices they made and so many new wave actors are struggling to pay the rent.

    But why can’t they be bothered to bring out a dvd of these films (Annie and Raakh)? They own production houses for god’s sake and they have enough clout to rouse the snoring DD people. And the cost would be peanuts to them. Their wives probably spend more on the latest outfits fresh off the Paris runway.

    And if not altruism, why not restore these dvds at least out of a sense of preserving the history of their own careers??

    Disappointing :-(

  21. for anyone interested in downloading a low res copy of “in which annie gives it those ones” – go here ->

    http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4925145/In_Which_Annie_Gives_It_Those_Ones

  22. Hello!

    Back after a long, absolutely inexcusable lapse.

    Benny Thomas, one of my friends from advertising, has a role in the film. I will ask him if someone can be persuaded (over a threatening white-gloved-hand-holding-red-telephone call) to get going on making a DVD for release.

  23. Oh thank you thank you memsaab. I remember the film – but did not remember the name. This is a real one-off film.

  24. Oh, happy to help out :) Hopefully one of these days it will be readily available (do what you can, Nandu!)…

  25. Man… I saw this one long back… in the mid 80s I think, and I was blown away!! More so because sometime in the 70s I had spent a couple of nights at the School of Architecture hostel. This movie is a pretty accurate reflection of what went on there during those high ‘n heady days.

    • Some things are universal, like being away from home in the midst of one’s peers for the first time in life :)

      • True enough. But in my case then, I was the family blacksheep. More often than not I was spending my time in these exciting places – potting, discussing, changing the world, etc. :-).

  26. Hey watched the movie after reading your post. Was awesome. Its really sad that such good cinema is just lying around and nobody cares.

    • If they were just lying around I wouldn’t feel so bad, but they are deteriorating too :( This one should be rescued! Why doesn’t Arundhati Roy do it if nobody else will, is what I have to wonder…

      Glad you liked it, and thanks for letting me know :)

  27. ‘gives it to those ones ‘ means slams them or in this movie’s context gets back at them.
    This was supposed to be a very different movie at that time because it showed both boys and girls sharing a hostel , a unheard of thing even in present day India.

  28. What can I say, groundbreaking, just amazing movie!! Extraordinary detailing, brilliant acting, wow!!! I watched it when it was aired on DD, I had just got into architecture school, and boy was I impressed. I’ve searched for it for years, finally found it recently online and watched it over and over again!! I hope Arundati makes more movies!

  29. First things first, this movie is AWESOME.

    I’m a student at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, where this movie is set, and where Roy graduated from.

    They shot the movie on campus only, although the then Department of Architecture is now the Department of Planning, and the then hostel is now the Department of Architecture. Yamdoot’s character was also inspired by our legendary Head of Department, Cyrus H. Jhabvala, who is, coincidently, married to Merchant Ivory’s Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, and who all our faculty remember as being equal parts scary and brilliant.
    Our current canteen-wala’s dad/uncle/? also acted in this one, as himself.

    The movie is EPIC here. All first years are made to see it, to better understand what they’re going to be facing :)

    And, seriously, even though it’s set in the 70s, nothing much’s changed in the last 35 years. Our lives are still almost exactly the same. Hostel life is still crazy, submissions still mean sleepless nights, drugs and alcohol flow freely, us students paint the walls every year (they get whitewashed every three), and personal grudges DO determine your grade, to some level.

    • Some things never do change, and campus life is probably always going to be one of them :) It is a wonderful film, glad to know that it’s being shown still (so why isn’t it available on a good dvd? Why?)…

    • bhavika
      just happened to chance on this forum, and being a huge fan of the film, wondered if the Dept. of Architecture had its own print of the film to show every year. Any idea why a DVD release is being held up?

  30. @ Memsaab

    that’s a great write up.. was too young to catch it when originally aired, i happened to read the screenplay (available now courtesy penguin publication) and fell in love with the film or rather, the myth of it

    i agree…that ‘in which annie..’ is relevant even today….in all its quirks, warts, dislocation, uncouthness, fervor, feminism, graffiti, antiestablishmentarianism and ‘those ones’ :)

  31. i second that….unique cinema….one of a kind…and though i still hate God of Small things, Arundhati Roy had to be a genius while writing this

  32. I was one of the lucky ones that saw the film on its (only)Doordharshan broadcast in 1988, and its been on my ‘must get DVD’ list, but ofcourse there is no DVD and may never be (I wonder if its the music rights to all the Beatles songs on the soundtrack that holding things up).
    Thankfully, the whole thing can be watched in 12 episodes o YOUTUBE. The picture isn’t great, but after watching it again after a 22 year break, my impression of it is exactly the same- it is a terrific little movie, and for scores of Indians who’ve lived through the times, its like a home video of our college days

    • That’s a good point about the Beatles songs, although it hasn’t stopped most people from making dvds! :D The print that seems to be the only one available is really bad, but as you say it’s a terrific little movie :) Even I love it and I never went to school in India!

  33. Arundhati Roy won a National Film Award for Best Screenplay for this film…I can’t wait to watch it…

  34. I was in SPA when this film was being made. Annie’s room was my friend’s room where we would hang out all the time (I recognized the grafitti on the wall). It’s such an accurate portrayal of life there. The art teacher was characterized perfectly – the exact same combination of creepiness and pretentiousness. I really want a DVD of this film – wonder how we can get someone to make a DVD of it.

  35. I’m subscribed to the comments section of this thread – so good to see people still coming here leaving messages. Makes you feel like there is a little corner of the internet where people care about movies like this!

    I watched IWAGITO a couple of years ago and loved it, been trying to get my girlfriend to watch this – so a rewatch is coming up! Nice to read through this entire thread (again) to whet the appetite!

    How ripe India is for a follow-up to a movie like this (Not counting 3 Idiots, that is), set in a college somewhere, anywhere…

  36. Not sure about a good DVD, but I have a CD of this movie with sub-titles. A commercially available DVD is still not around, I guess. During my 5 years in the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) Delhi, where this movie was shot, we managed to ‘digitise’ it. And yes, a lot of people are modelled on true characters. I have even met the person on whom ‘Lakes’ was supposedly modeled on. One of the actors in the movie (the character who comes on a chauffeur-driven bike and then gives the bike-chauffeur bus ticket money to go back home) was a faculty of ours. The eve-teaser is Raghuveer Yadav.

  37. Cant help coming back to the comment section, hoping against hope, that someone had news of an official release of a cleaned up print! But sadly nothing have changed since my earlier comment from two years ago. I did however, on an eariler web search come across a programme from a South African film festival that was advertising a screening for this film! This was recent. So I am assuming a film print does exisit! (My worry was that all the original film elements were disintergrating somewhere without proper storage, in our intense summer heat) Therefore once again one must live in hope, and for now at least make do with what’s on youtube. But is it not sad that there is no longer a serious film culture in India anymore. As a Keralite I can tell you it is impossible to watch the flms of G. Aravindan anymore. In the 80s into early 90’s, some of his films could still be rented on VHS or else Doordharshan was occasionall showing them i their ‘art film’ slot usualy in the afternoons on a weekend. Now go into any video store in Kerala and there is no chance of finding a single film of his. And when I ask Iam made to feel like an old fuddy-duddy. Most people have not heard of him! Also for our other great film maker from Kerala, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, two of his best earlier films are available on DVD now, but who took the trouble to release them? A small DVD company in the UK called Second Run, thats who. They even took the trouble to go to Kerala and interview him on both occasions for the DVD. (If you are interested ,the films are ‘Rat trap’ and Man of theStory’)

    So we may have to wait for some enlightened company from abroad to sort this gem of a film out. Or else, given Arundhati’s clout, for her to put a word in. And incidentally, on the subect of lost gems, what ever happened to English, August. I saw that when the International Film Festival was held at Bombay in the mid-1990’s. Dev Benegal, the director of that film, says on his blog,that the original negatives of that film is kaput because some lab in Madras did not store it properly!

    • GVC, like you (and many others who follow this blog thread I suspect) I’ve been waiting for news of a proper print of Annie. You mention you’re Keralite – I have been looking for a decent print of John Abraham’s Amma Ariyan – the quality (both audio and video) of the one on youtube becomes unwatchable after 30 or 40 minutes, and I haven’t been able to find another copy of this anywhere else. Any ideas?

      I have both the Adoor Second Run DVDs you mention – Elippathayam (Rat Trap) and Kathapurushan (Man of the Story) – both are indeed well-made with beautiful liner notes. Although I have to say that India on this account is certainly not drawing a blank – I recently bought (off flipkart.com) the ‘Classics of Indian Cinema’ series of NFDC films that have been re-issued on DVD. Although without special features, they are well-made DVDs and good prints with English subtitles. I understand that NFDC/Shemaroo (the company that is producing/distributing the DVDs?) is planning to continue bringing out movies in the Classics of Indian Cinema series. There are currently about 35 – if I remember correctly they’ve identified about 80 DVDs to bring out. Here’s an article http://caravanmagazine.in/arts/bring-back-magic . There was another interesting article about the regeneration of the National Film Development Corporation with an interview with its chairperson/CEO – that was in either Open or Caravan magazine. Can’t find the link online but worth finding and checking out.

      • Ashwin
        thanks for the info and I will try and order a few from flipkart. It is an improvement. I’ve never seen Amma Ariyan- but of course have long wanted to. Abraham’s funding for the film is legendary! I dont think I’ll watch it on youtube though if the print is bad. By the way Shaji Karun’s Piravi is on there too. I loved that movie on its theater release in the 80’s but recently i got hold of a DVD put out by a Swiss company. The print is worse that the youtube one would you believe! Not sure if you’ve seen it, but my regard for it has fallen a bit I’m afraid.
        On a seperate note the Bengalis have given Ray his due.I have picked up very clean DVD copys of 4 of my favouite films from flipkart- Days and Nights in the Forest, Pratidwandi,Company Limited, and The Middleman. Some have the company logo burned in- so not ideal but better than nothing. The B&W prints were very good I thought. Oh if only G. Aravindan had something similar done!!! His last 3 films: Vasthuhara, Oridathu, and Chidambaran had better budgets and have crossover appeal. I have not seen Pokkuveyil, nor his first three features (Uttaranayam , Kanchana Seeta, Thampu) and as for his remaining two-Esthapan, and Kummatty- I had seen them Doordhashan all those years ago but my memory of them has grown faint.

        • GVC,
          Funnily enough I downloaded Shaji Karun’s Piravi a few weeks ago but yet to watch it (don’t know what sort of print it is). Thanks for pointing out G.Aravindan’s filmography – I must try to find at least one or two of his films to watch (if I find any of the ones you are missing I will post here).

          Given we are talking about Malayalam film directors the ‘Classics of Indian Cinema’ collection does not – so far – have more than one or two movies from the South. One of the few is the Tamil film Marupakkam directed by Sethumadhavan, a film adaptation of the novel Ucchi Veyyil by Indira Parthasarathy. I was not impressed by the film – but something tells me the novel is much better.

          Thanks also for mentioning Ray’s Days and Nights in the Forest. It is one of my favourite Indian movies/books, and your comment made me take out my copy of the book by Sunil Gangopadhyay and begin a re-read.

  38. Fantastic movie. I was lucky enough to watch that only telecast by DD. A real gem and sad that a DVD was never made.

    Great story – brings back memories of my own student days. Screenplay is great – love the attention to small details. The attendance being called out in alphabetical order. The position of the students during the “crit” session is consistent across camera angles and takes.

    Roshan Seth is one’s worst nightmare as a professor. Vindictiveness, sarcasm and shades of briliance all in one. How he mocks Medoo (“Daddyji ke liye hotel banata hai”) during the course of his crit. Or his tiffin threat.

    Roy herself churns out a creditable perfomance. Love her in the art evaluation scene where she keeps giggling and hides whenever Mankind mocks the professor using what seems to be his favourite jargon “Aanergy and focus”. Her imitating CK.

    Annie – you feel sorry for him and sometimes feel like shaking him up. Whoever apologises on a staircase!!

    All in all 9/10

  39. Wonder why Arundathi Roy never acted again. This blog was interesting and talks about married actresses.

    http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Blogs&sd=Blog&BlogID=1302

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