Archive for May, 2010

May 29, 2010

Hawas (1974)

I spent the entire running time of this film with a big angry WTF bubble above my head. It’s not that I shouldn’t have known: packaging which advertises Bindu as a nymphomaniac is pretty fair warning. Sadly, it is also irresistible enticement for someone belonging to the “How bad can it be?” school of risk management.

It’s bad. It’s REAL bad. It’s Haseena Atom Bomb bad.

May 27, 2010

Tu Nahin Aur Sahi (1960)

One of things I find so fascinating about Hindi cinema is how many people there are who had the ability to carry a film no matter how dreary the story and their co-stars. That some of these people have been almost criminally ignored, by and large, is a subject for another day. I would not have made it through this one without the sparkly and mesmerizing presence of Minoo Mumtaz. She has some support in the presence of Anwar Hussain, a spectacular Helen dance and lovely songs from Ravi; but even Kum Kum can’t overcome her sanctimonious dialogues and Nishi has the dubious honor of playing one of the most hateful female characters ever. Pradeep Kumar is the nominal hero and I will leave that to speak for itself.

May 26, 2010

Bela Bose fans, rejoice!

For my favorite expert Tom has done what no dvd manufacturer has even attempted (and if they had, his would still be better because he actually cares about things like video and audio quality)—he has made a Bela Bose compilation dvd! Tom has gone to great pains to do justice to Bela’s delightful career, in collaboration with fellow blogger and friend Ava. She has beautifully translated the unsubtitled (or badly subtitled) songs for those of us who don’t speak Hindi but know that the poetry in every song is something we sadly often miss out on. Bahut bahut shukriya Ava!

May 20, 2010

Kites (2010)

I must admit that I went into this film with pretty low expectations. Hrithik has never struck me as much of an actor, although he certainly is very beautiful and I love to watch him dance. Plus, the whole fuss being made about “global appeal” strikes me as sheer idiocy. Good art is good art: Vermeer didn’t have to paint scenes from daily French life to appeal to the French; Michael Jackson didn’t need to sing Hindi film songs to appeal to Indians; and Kurosawa didn’t have to sacrifice any of his culture-specific sensibilities for his films to appeal to Americans (nor did Aamir with Lagaan). The Roshans don’t need to either.

May 15, 2010

Hrithik and Wilbur…

So I am going to the NYC premiere of Kites this weekend, and the private party afterwards! I have to admit that it took me about half an hour to find my steam iron, but I’ve even pressed my little black dress and I’m as ready for it as I’ll ever get. Ready or not, Roshans, here I come!

May 12, 2010

Golden Eyes: Secret Agent 077 (1968)

(Because 007 would be so unoriginal!)

I can only imagine that director Kamal Sharma was left a small legacy by his grandmother or someone, and jumped at the opportunity to make the film he’d been dreaming of since he saw his first Bond movie: “I have IDEAS! Many of them stolen, almost all of them bad, but I won’t let that stop me!” Most of his tiny budget went into helicopters and probably Helen, with nothing left over for an actual script or any production values. The lack of subtitles is even almost welcome, since the chaos onscreen is such a bombardment to the senses that having to read too would have made my head explode. In any case, I can say with certainty that I have no clue what happens, except that several different gangs of people are all vying to grab a “formoola” for some sort of bomb for which the dastardly “Chinese” are willing to pay a premium price.

May 3, 2010

Safed Haathi (1977)

One of my major philosophies in life is that non-human animals are better people than humans can ever hope to be. I am a complete sucker for films which reflect this belief back at me, especially when I don’t have to see any animals suffering in the process—the sight of animals suffering at the hands of man is something I truly find unbearable. I dislike circuses, and am ambivalent about zoos (at their best they facilitate the survival of species that we are trying our level best to eradicate, at worst they are giant cages filled with bored and distressed animals). So when this National Award-winning children’s film (as rare a thing in Indian cinema as the albino elephant it features) came to my attention I was *cautiously* excited.

May 1, 2010

Bits and pieces

I’ve been busy this week and not had time to watch any fillums. So here are more bits and pieces from my favorite film magazine editor to entertain you all.

I take great comfort from the fact that even Baburao Patel occasionally gets things completely wrong.

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