Posts tagged ‘Amitabh Bachchan’

August 7, 2012

Guest Post: Vrajendra Gaur

I enjoy celebrating the “behind the scenes” contributors to Hindi cinema history as much as I do the actors (and dancers). One such person is Vrajendra Gaur, who wrote dialogues and screenplays for such favorites of mine as Howrah Bridge, China Town, Teen Deviyan, Kati Patang, and Sharmilee. His career spanned the 1940s through the 1970s, ending with The Great Gambler in 1979. Recently his son Suneel Gaur reached out to me asking if I wanted to see a photograph of his father with Rajesh Khanna; of course I did, and of course I pestered him for more. There is always more, and indeed that is the case here. And I must just add that I think the photograph above left, of Mr. Gaur with Dilip Kumar, is one of the sweetest pictures I have ever seen. They look so young, so full of promise, and like fast friends indeed.

The prolific writer-lyricist-director-author-poet-journalist died 32 years ago on August 7th 1980, and his sons Suneel and Rajesh Gaur pay tribute to their father on his death anniversary (and all of the photographs are courtesy of them too).

May 10, 2012

My ten favorite anipal songs

This post is dedicated to my dear friend and song blogger extraordinaire Atul, who tells hilarious and sweet stories about his own menagerie.

Most of you are familiar with the Memdogs (little scamps) and beloved Gemma before them; and many of you have animals in your own lives who are as precious to you as anyone. One of my very favorite things about Hindi movies is how so many of them contain anipals, as Todd puts it. Filmi animals are usually more intelligent and capable than the people around them (eg Khoon Bhari Maang‘s Raja the horse and Jumbo the dog, Dharam-Veer‘s Sheroo the Wonder Bird, etc.), but they generally speaking don’t have nearly their fair share of song time. I mean, have you ever seen a dacoit serenading his smart and loyal horse? (If you have, TELL ME.)

December 12, 2011

The Cat Wall-Hanging

I have now seen this particular place in four different films spanning nine years. Originally I thought it was a set, but it now seems difficult to believe that a set would remain so unchanged over that time frame. Almost nothing does change, except the dining table chairs and floor coverings! The light fixtures remain almost identical, as do the altar (?) beside the second door, the stone walls, the stairs, the ceilings—and of course the Cat Wall-Hanging.

Surely if it were a set, different art directors would have changed it from film to film and most certainly from year to year, don’t you think? Especially since the whole thing is really retro-hideous (which is why I love it so).

(left to right: Namak Haraam—1973, Chorni—1981)

December 9, 2010

Ajooba (1991)

Sometimes I just have to ask myself if I live in a cave or something. Why have I not seen this movie before?! I could have seen it ten times by now! Why am I so late to this party?

But better late than never, especially to a party like this one. Beyond the endless (and largely nonchalent) WTF-ery there is a lot going on, much of it possibly unintended but tremendously engaging nonetheless. Hacking my way through the dense plot I spot references to the legend of King Arthur, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, the Bible, Beastmaster, Alice In Wonderland, William Faulkner and so much more. I revel in Amitabh’s recyled outfit from Shahenshah and Rajasthan’s gorgeous Amber Fort. Best of all, I am led to ponder issues like “What is the lifespan of a dolphin, anyway?” and “What’s the point of having a magic talisman that turns into an elephant if you never use it?”

November 7, 2010

Sholay (1975)

How many dvd versions of Sholay does one need to have? Depending upon your level of OCD, it could be three or even four. Sadly, there is no definitive version—they all have their issues, plus there are two different endings: the theatrical release with a censor-imposed ending, and the “director’s cut” with Ramesh Sippy’s original—and much much more powerful—one intact. Plus, none of the dvd versions have subtitled songs, one of my biggest pet peeves. I have no idea why the Sippys or anybody else have not bothered to try and do something wonderful with this film, but nothing surprises me when it comes to the Indian film and dvd industry anymore.

October 21, 2010

Do Anjaane (1976)

Man insists on marrying Woman, although Woman says plainly and clearly that she doesn’t want to get married, to him or anyone else: she wants to dance and see the world. Then he is shocked—shocked!—when she is unhappy and feels trapped.

September 1, 2010

Tarun Bose (Part 6): Sweet memories

My father began his career in films with Mala Sinha and Abhi Bhattacharya. Abhi Bhattacharya was a very nice man: in fact, a thorough gentleman. He had an interesting trait. He had the ability to fall asleep anytime, almost anywhere and under any circumstances. Once dad observed that Bhattacharya wanted to take a nap but could not find a pillow; finding a brick instead, he just went ahead and laid his head on the brick and instantly fell asleep. Dad shared a warm relationship with him and they acted together in a number of films.

November 25, 2009

Cinema Cinema (1979)

This quasi-documentary made by Krishna Shah (Shalimar) explores the history of Hindi language cinema against the political and socioeconomic developments of the 20th century, and by examining the quintessential Indian audience. Shah’s innovative approach is to film a “screening” of the documentary—narrated by Hema Malini, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra and Zeenat Aman—in a real movie theater, in front of an audience which I assume was partly real and partly staged. I really enjoy the audience participation, which on more than one occasion eclipses what’s happening up on the screen in front. The documentary itself is a bit of a mixed bag: there are some lovely bits and pieces of really old, rare films and interesting snippets of information, but the narrative is uneven and falls into the predictable by the end.

September 15, 2009

My ten favorite sharaab songs

jugnu_hema

As a gori mem who enjoys her gigantic icy-cold Kingfishers every day while in India (and “several” glasses of wine every other evening), I do love a good song about the devil’s potion! Inspired by Dusted Off’s post on the same subject, I have changed one of her rules: I’m including fake-pretend drinking because it’s a fascinating (to me anyway) artifact of Hindi movies. If you need to chase someone off, or get them to hate you—pretend to have a drink! (I would be lonely and unwanted indeed!) Of course some would point out that *most* movie drinking is “pretend” unless you are Dharmendra. I am only including songs from movies I’ve seen, where I loved the song and the performance and picturization of it. Liking the film is a plus too, but not strictly necessary.

August 31, 2009

Why God why?

Ram Balram (1980) is directed by Vijay Anand and stars Dharmendra and Amitabh (Dharbh? Amitendra?).

The songs are great fun, beginning with “Ek Raasta” which imbibes freely from both KC and the Sunshine Gang (“That’s The Way Uh-Huh Uh-Huh I Like It”) and “Yeh Dosti” all at the same time. Dharam even wears his Sholay cap, and their cute little three-wheeled automobile drives itself as necessary when they want to ride on top of it:

rambalram_ekrasta

rambalram_automobile

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