Archive for June, 2010

June 28, 2010

Cracktastic Shikari-now with subtitles!

I feel Tom and his gang of subtitlers should form their own production company and give it a proper name! Any suggestions? In any case, another formerly unsubtitled and painfully unrestored vcd has been subtitled (thanks again Raja!) and given the Tommydan Treatment. I must say that I am blown away with how beautiful this dvd looks compared to the source files. I don’t know how he does it, but I’m glad he does.

June 25, 2010

Arzoo (1965)

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that when two male friends love each other in that peculiarly intense way of Hindi film heroes, the women in their lives will suffer. It would just be better all around if the two guys set up house together and called it a day, na? Rajendra Kumar and Feroz Khan would have such lovely children.

June 23, 2010

Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan (1959)

I love it when a film exceeds my expectations, not that I really had any for this one. But from the very first scene I was involved in the characters and engrossed in the story. Yes, there is a lot of self-sacrifice—but it’s mostly done by the hero, not the heroine, and it actually benefits people! And it had a message which might have made people think about social norms in a new light! I am totally on board with that.

I also liked the Rajendra Kumar-Meena Kumari pairing, one I haven’t seen before. Plus there’s the criminally underrated Minoo Mumtaz and a bevy of absolutely lovely songs by Ravi, including two of the best children’s songs ever, and a cat birthday song (how could that possibly be bad?). It reminded me a bit of the later Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai, a film I also somewhat unexpectedly liked.

June 22, 2010

Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai (1981)

When I look back at pictures of my younger, prettier and thinner self and then look in the mirror at the me of today, I feel the way this film would probably feel if it could look back at Hum Kisise Kum Naheen: the same old thing, but wearier, more bloated and not any smarter or more mature. It is the middle-aged incarnation of HKKN after bad plastic surgery, making it occasionally fascinating in an “I want to look away but can’t” kind of way. Mostly it’s just dull, though, and I might not have bothered to write it up but for my friend and fellow Hindi film music fan PC over at Third Floor Music. He has waited patiently for me to gather the courage to go through this eyesore again for screencaps, and we are doing a tandem music-review post. He has uploaded the RD Burman soundtrack for your delectation, so grab it here and read on!

June 16, 2010

Tyaag (1977)

This Sharmila Tagore home production took years to make and it shows, mostly in Rajesh Khanna’s hair. But it’s sort of fitting, actually, because the story itself takes place over years—as do all of the Sharmila-Rajesh movies, with lots and lots of suffering and noble sacrificing principles (tyaag!) along the way. This is full of all that, but still I enjoyed it: sometimes angst is not misplaced and human frailties can cause a lot of trouble. I will say that the subtitles leave a lot to be desired—they are patchy in places (long dialogues with short or no subs) and hard to read at best. My friend Suhan did her best to fill in the gaps but even so a lot of the dialogue went over my head, making the film much less meaningful for me I think than it might otherwise have been. The music by SD Burman (his last soundtrack) is also very pretty indeed (my favorite is the duet “Hum Tum Hain Tum Hum”).

June 14, 2010

Wahan Ke Log (1967)

*Now with subtitles!*

I guess wishing very very hard for something does make it come true—at least sometimes, when you have friends like Tom and Raja. I saw this film a couple of years ago but never bothered to write it up because there was no reason to: Todd over at D4K already had, and brilliantly so. We have long lamented the lack of subtitles for this; it has a LOT of plot, and much of it is incomprehensible without understanding the dialogues. So when Tom recently found some awesome people willing to help subtitle songs for his wonderful compilation dvds (hooray for Ava, Madhu and Raja!), I somehow got him to agree to make a subtitled version of this enchanting and stylish Indian science fiction should-be classic.

June 11, 2010

Teesri Manzil: the missing pieces

Most fans of Shammi Kapoor and this fabulous film are by now painfully aware that no full version of it has made it onto dvd or vcd. Well, fear not! Shalini has shared her videotaped version which is intact (though unsubtitled), and I am here to tell you what we’ve been missing.

On the dvd, Sunita (Asha Parekh) and Rocky (Shammi) return from their little excursion having fallen head over heels in love and Rocky discovers that his room has been ransacked while he was away. He realizes that someone is investigating Rupa’s death a year earlier, and is confronted by a jealous Ruby (Helen)—she says cryptically that she hopes that Rupa’s little sister doesn’t find it necessary herself to leap from the third floor to the arms of mother earth. Then suddenly the scene switches to a rural fair, with Sunita and Rocky singing a song on a ferris wheel; and from that point on wealthy Kanwar (Premnath) is suddenly part of the plot and Sunita’s father (Raj Mehra) is also inexplicably present along with Ramesh (Prem Chopra) and his father.

June 8, 2010

Raj Nartaki (The Court Dancer) (1941)

I must thank my friend Muz for sending me this rare treat from Wadia Movietones. While I am not sure what the motivation was for making what is billed proudly as the first all-English talkie made in India by an all-Indian cast and crew, I am surely grateful to not need subtitles. The ill-fated love story is nothing new or earth-shattering, although it contains a nice message about equality and hypocrisy. It is typically 1940s in its formal, stagey acting and stilted language, but Sadhona Bose is glorious as Court Dancer Indrani and of course my would-be father-in-law Prithviraj is beyond gorgeous himself (I have taken about a gazillion screencaps of both of them). The action takes place in early 19th century Manipur and the dancing costumes all remind me of my own little Manipuri dancing doll, although there is a wonderful Art Deco feel to much of it as well.

June 6, 2010

Pehchan (1970)

This entire review is nothing but a giant spoiler, because the ending especially is So Many Kinds of Wrong that I cannot do anything but tell you all about it. My sister pointed out that if Rush Limbaugh and his ilk were to make a film this might very well be it, a sentiment I fully agree with. It spouts the same judgmental and self-righteous crap that those people do and is just as egregiously dumb, although clearly many people don’t find it as obviously stupid as I do. It’s a typical Manoj Kumar venture: everything modern (or progressive) is evil and can only be redeemed through the influence of traditional (and repressive) values and mores. It sums up exactly why I hate his “Mr. Bharat” persona.

June 1, 2010

Samson (1964)

Needing to recover from the horror that was Hawas, I felt that a little bit of gentleman Dara Singh might go a long way towards soothing my ruffled feelings. Sadly, not much Dara is available with subtitles, but I figured the eye-candy inherent in a sword-and-sandals picture featuring also a young Feroz Khan, Ameeta and Mumtaz would doubtless be enough. And it is! Truly I have no idea what actually goes on in this film. The plot details escape me, but I can tell you that in true Dara Singh fashion, Samson is not only a strong-man Biblical type wearing a skirt and gladiator sandals, but also a Tarzan friend-of-elephants type, and he and Mumtaz share the best romantic chemistry I’ve seen yet in a Dara epic.

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