Posts tagged ‘Dhumal’

January 2, 2011

Aaj Aur Kal (1963)

This movie is a real treat despite its occasionally heavy-handed preaching (and at least it is preaching I can agree with!). First, it has lovely music by Ravi with lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi (including one of my first favorite Hindi film songs, the Rafi classic “Yeh Wadiyan Yeh Fizayen”); second, it has a young and *very sparkly* Tanuja; and third, it is set against an historic backdrop —the annexation of individual princely states by the new Indian government. It’s a film typical of star Sunil Dutt in its idealism and progressive message, and if Nanda is a little weepy for my taste in it she is balanced out by Tanuja. Ashok Kumar is the Maharajah their father, a strict and conservative man who is determined to keep his kingdom and privileged lifestyle intact.

Somehow the internet got the idea that Raaj Kumar is in it too, but he is nowhere to be seen although someone named Rajkumar appears in the lesser credits.

April 9, 2010

Mera Saaya (1966)

I have long been meaning to watch this Raj Khosla film again. I saw it a few years ago but remembered little about it except one Sadhana dance which is spectacular: “Jhumka Gira Re Bareilly Ki Bazaar Mein” and a vague feeling that it was pretty good. And it is pretty good—really good in fact! I was riveted and (thanks to my dismal memory) not completely sure I had the mystery figured out until the very end. The performances from Sunil Dutt and Sadhana are wonderful, and the competently plotted story moves along briskly with tension building ever so gradually: the direction and editing are masterful. It’s also beautifully photographed and just chock-full of pretty, especially the locations in Udaipur (and Sunil and Sadhana!). Any quibbles I have are minor: the end is a bit flat after the marvellous buildup, and I got tired of the title song after the umpteenth time hearing it—pretty as it is—but that’s about it.

April 1, 2010

Ankhen (1968)

First, let me give you a brief history of the Memsaab’s relationship with this movie: “Ooh! Piece of candy! Ooh! Piece of candy! Ooh! Piece of candy!” I own about five copies of it—it has always struck me as a movie I really HAVE to see, but somehow I always manage to forget that I already have it, and I’ve seen it too. I start watching my new copy, and I’m all like: “Oh, this film again.” And I shelve it right next to all my other Ankhen dvds. This is my typically verbose way of saying that it is neither a cracktastically great film nor a terrible film, but one that seems like it ought to be one or the other. Instead it is a competently made spy film with fantastic songs (Ravi) and some eye-popping fashions but little else apparently for my memory cells at least to latch onto.

December 30, 2009

Apradhi Kaun (1957)

I hold a definite opinion about judging Hindi cinema against western cinema, which is that it is basically unfair. And by unfair I do not at all mean that Hindi cinema cannot hold its own, but that it is an apples to oranges comparison and therefore pointless. Even so, there are two genres where I find it difficult not to judge: film noir and horror. Many of you know that I hate horror films, because they scare me (!) so Hindi movie “failure” on that front doesn’t bother me at all (in fact, I prefer it). However, I am a big fan of old 40s and 50s detective films and I generally feel a bit let down by Bombay’s counterparts. There is compensation in other areas (songs and general gorgeousness, e.g.) but I am hardly ever mystified; and even when I am, the plot holes and ham-fisted red herrings annoy me. I won’t even talk about dramatic expositions which come out of nowhere.

October 9, 2009

Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche (1972)

ramsay_films

Hooray! A Hindi horror film that isn’t horr-ible! And it’s even a teeny bit suspenseful in parts (although I am easy to scare, admittedly). It contains all the elements essential for the genre: a cast of unknowns (except Helen! in one song, and Imtiaz, and Satyen Kappu) (oh! and Dhumal) (okay so not that many unknowns, except for the leads), some gratuitous sleaze, a large mansion, a careless if not mad scientist, creepy background noises, and a graveyard. The latter leads me to speculate that perhaps the dearth of horror films in Hindi cinema stems from the Hindu tradition of cremation, leaving only a minority of the population in India available to become zombies. There are also a few lovely songs which don’t intrude at inappropriate moments and a mostly coherent story with pretty minimal CSP interruptions. And the fashions and sets are Early Seventies Candy Floss at its most eye-popping.

So Yay! Ramsay Brothers! Yay! (Why didn’t you quit while you were ahead?)

September 9, 2009

Ziddi (1964)

ziddi_shoes

In the wake of my post espousing the awesomeness that is Asha P, several people recommended that I watch this. And indeed, I’m glad they did: Asha is at her feisty, gun-totin’ best. And the songs—my God, the songs! They are made of beautiful, all of them, and the film is worth watching just for them alone.

My quibble with the movie is that things slow to a crawl in the middle as the combative courtship between Asha and Joy Mukherjee drags on—and it turns them into cruel and thoughtless people, too. The last half hour picks up again, luckily, but the middle hour or so really could have used some editing (and an animal activist or two). The Comic Side Plot is also far too intrusive: Mehmood again, given lots of screen time to compensate for his hefty compensation, I guess. A little of him goes a long way (and a lot of him can bring the main plot to a halt) especially when it’s the same exact CSP every time.

July 12, 2009

Tumse Achha Kaun Hai (1969)

tumseachha

At a run time of almost three hours, this film is about two hours too long. This can be blamed on two things: Mehmood, and the fact that it’s crammed with every melodramatic cliche in Hindi film history. In point of fact, Mehmood should be credited as the main star of the film, with Shammi as his co-star and sidekick. Not only is entirely too much time spent on the irritating—and predictable—CSP (Shubha Khote as Mehmood’s love interest, with of course Dhumal as her father and the rather startling spectacle of Leela Mishra in a brown wig as her mother), but he figures in the main plot far more than Shammi does too. His character reminds me of the animals in Manmohan Desai films; he is smarter than all the humans combined, and loyal and true to a fault—and he is everywhere. Additionally, we are treated to all these various plot points: communal harmony, the bhai-bahen rishtaa, the rape-suicide trope, blindness, bad western-influenced girls turned into good sari-clad ones, bromantic pyare-dost, the saving of an atheist’s soul, and much, much more!

Why would anyone sit through this even once, you ask—let alone several times? Shammi, my friends, Shammi. Plus the initial sparkle of a rifle-wielding and stylish Babita, the joy of Lalita Pawar as identical twins, and Shankar-Jaikishan’s songs, which are lots of fun.

April 24, 2009

Mere Sanam (1965)

meresanam_friends

If ever a film really really really (really) wanted to be a Shammi film, it’s this one. It has:

  • Feisty Asha Parekh as the reluctant heroine (eventually won over after being stalked relentlessly by the hero)
  • A gaggle of girlfriends around her (chief amongst them Laxmi Chhaya!)
  • Sidekick Rajendranath (complete with loony antics)
  • Pran in an orange wig
  • Lovely lovely songs by OP Nayyar (sung beautifully by Rafi and Asha B.)
  • Kashmir, gorgeous Kashmir (and quite a few plot elements lifted directly from Kashmir Ki Kali)

All it really lacks is Shammi himself. Instead, we are given…Biswajeet. Poor Biswajeet. However, he does his best to imitate Shammi and mostly it’s a fun-packed and stylish delectation; it does go a bit off the rails at the end into kidnapping and murder territory (oh, Pran. Pran, Pran, Pran). The DVD picture quality is pretty bad too: someone should restore this one for sure! A very young Mumtaz graces the screen with her presence briefly, and there is the usual assortment of character actors and rotund funnymen adding to the entertainment. And I simply LOVE the songs.

March 7, 2009

Jawan Mohabbat (1971)

jm_dvdWhenever a “new” old Shammi film finally appears (with subtitles) on DVD there is much joy and celebration in the Memsaab household, tail-wagging (Gemma) and jumping up and down (me) and so on. If Asha Parekh is his co-star along with Pran, the celebration is even more prolonged. Sadly, there is no Helen; and despite her looming presence on the DVD cover (and in the cast list) no Mumtaz either, but these are minor issues in the face of heretofore unseen Shammi. Shammi, Shammi, Shammi!

And happily, the first half of this film is quintessential early sixties Shammi-style frothy fun, as he bombards a reluctant and feisty Asha with his mischievous charm and romantic songs. But then everything turns suddenly dark, with death and blackmail looming large, and levels of gloom, self-pity and self-sacrifice rarely seen even by the most devoted Hindi cinema fan (me again). If you don’t mind a little movie multiple personality disorder, then you can probably tolerate it. If you prefer a logical narrative without completely over-the-top dramatics…then you probably aren’t reading this anyway.

January 15, 2009

Boy Friend (1961)

boyfriend

Although filmed in black and white, this film has a lot of sparkle: the songs by Shankar Jaikishan, the effervescent Madhubala, shiny-scrubbed baby-faced young Dharmendra, and of course my very own favorite sparkly person Shammi Kapoor. It also has astonishing coincidences and large plot holes, and despite a strong beginning the plot becomes incoherent at times by the end; but with long-lost children, a stolen necklace and sweet, sweet romance it’s heartwarming *and sparkly* enough to watch anyway, especially if you are a Shammi fan.

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