Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

Trivia time #42

While I muck around with Edwina making faces that scare the dogs and learning how to Twist (it’s easier than I thought! and even more fun!!) here is more trivia for you to entertain yourselves with.

Can you name the male child actors “singing” in each of the following two video clips?

October 25, 2011

Shatranj (1969)

Just when I fear that I may have seen all the crazy Indian spy films that there are to see, another one appears. This one is not quite as loony as my beloved Spy In Rome or Puraskar, but that is probably because it also had a larger budget and A-list stars (Waheeda Rehman and Rajendra Kumar). Still and all it is satisfyingly filled with many of the same tropes: an enemy country never called by its actual name, but whose denizens all have names like Comrades Ping and Chang and Shin Cho. They are led by an angry man we only ever see in silhouette until the end, who kills his loyal henchmen at the slightest provocation with weapons like machine guns mounted on turrets (and marvelous dying theatrics on the part of those men, although there is a sad lack of blood and gore). AND IT HAS SUBTITLES, hooray!

Plus, all the usual suspects—Madan Puri, Rajan Haksar, Ratan Gaurang—are present, sporting Fu Manchu moustaches and squinty eyes. Seriously satisfying.

October 21, 2011

From the archives: second edition

I guess my bias towards people behind the scenes is showing, since this is the second article of two (so far) that is all about a star’s wife’s point of view! Dharmendra’s wife Prakash, whom he married in 1954 at the age of 19 and with whom he has four children, Ajay (Sunny), Bobby, and two daughters, has mostly shunned the spotlight; but a persistent Stardust reporter cornered her in her home in 1981 and this was the result. Of course verifying its accuracy is impossible, but I think it is an interesting read and a glimpse into how Prakash has managed to retain her dignity and (hopefully) peace of mind in the face of Dharmendra’s well-publicized affairs and eventual second marriage to Hema Malini.

Prakash Kaur Deol interview

October 17, 2011

From the archives

I am very busy these days with my new Indian Maa Edwina, who is visiting me for a month and bossing me around and cooking for me and making me laugh and laugh and laugh. (For lots more about her go here!) Also I have a new computer so am still in the process of getting everything transferred and software up-to-date and all that not-so-fun stuff. So in lieu of longer posts about films (although I’ll get to reviews when I can) I thought I’d entertain you with some of my favorite articles from my stacks of vintage magazines. They will be in pdf format and if you have trouble viewing them in your browser window, simply right- (or control-) click to save them to your hard drive and use Adobe Reader (free download) to open them.

This particular installment is an interview with the lovely Jennifer Kapoor, wife of The Shash and mother of aspiring actors Kunal, Karan and Sanjana, from the December 1983 edition of Stardust. Enjoy!

Jennifer Kapoor article

October 12, 2011

Kahin Aar Kahin Paar (1971)

This film is exactly what I would picture a big long LSD trip to be like (because of course I have no actual knowledge of one). Although if it were an acid trip, I’d probably be dead now. It is that crazy: I have a pretty high tolerance—some less charitable might even say need—for eye-popping candy-colored visuals, but by the abrupt (and non-existent) end of this my head was exploding. Truly it is a dizzying kaleidoscopic bombardment of Cracktastic that never lets up. Low on budget it might be, but the heights of jugad are certainly scaled.

I also really love the cinematography (Shyam Shiposkar): the camera angles are fantastic. Much of the candy color is probably a result of film deterioration, but here that sad state only adds to the charm.

October 1, 2011

An Evening In Paris (1967)

For me, An Evening In Paris = Pran’s bright orange Joker hair + lovely songs. It’s not one of my favorite Shammi films, although there is lots of pretty—especially Sharmila. In fact, everyone should have two hours of footage like this of themselves looking impossibly glamorous, heart-meltingly beautiful, and haughtily chic. If I were Sharmila I would probably watch this every day. Shammi is quintessential Shammi: he looks a little the worse for wear around the edges, but retains his considerable charm and his willingness to make a complete idiot of himself (one of my favorite things about him).

I think my main quibble is with the plot, which is all over the place (literally!), too long, and brain-dead in places. There’s also a complete lack of real character development. It’s as if Shakti Samanta just needed a backdrop for the music and stars and didn’t care about the rest; unfortunately it gets tedious, stylish though it is—the fashions and hair and sets, oh my! Plus it’s lovely to see the locations (Paris, Switzerland, Beirut, the Niagara Falls) as they were during that era, even if we are required to believe sometimes that Paris is filled with signs in German and that the French countryside looks just like India.

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