Posts tagged ‘Lalita Pawar’

May 15, 2012

Lovely Lalita Pawar

Just to let you know that I’ve made lots of updates to the Galleries above, including the Nahiiin! Face one. It still cracks me up to look at it, every time :)

And in that spirit, I thought I’d share this lovely photo of Memsaab favorite Lalita Pawar, probably from sometime in the late 1930s (before the accident resulting in a wonky eye), courtesy of my friend Sudhir via the most excellent “Filmography of Silent Cinema: 1913-1934″ by Dr. R.K. Verma (it’s honestly more like an encyclopedia of silent Indian cinema).

November 13, 2011

Biradari (1966)

I really wanted to like this movie—Faryal as a heroine! The Shash as her hero! Lalita Pawar! Pran!—but I was forced to ponder these things instead:

  • Why is Faryal the heroine so much less likable than Faryal the vamp?
  • Is it possible for Prithviraj Kapoor’s sons to pull off being “poor”? (no)
  • How many wimpy roles did Shashi play in the Sixties anyway?
  • Is it better to ignore psychological issues than to completely eff them up?
  • Is there anything funnier than absolutely literal subtitles?
  • Is Lalita Pawar Awesome No Matter What? (yes)
  • Is Pran the Most Suave Villain Ever? (yes again)
  • Have I really seen two movies in a row where Lots of Mehmood wasn’t Too Much?

*Sigh* So much goodness squandered on a story full of trite saccharine platitudes (if you are rich, be kind to the poor; they are people too!) which descends finally into that melodrama I so dread, where the females in the story are either blamed or worshipped and lose any bit of individuality and humanity they might have had.

March 15, 2011

Hare Kanch Ki Chooriyan (1967)

I was pleasantly surprised by this no-holds-barred launch vehicle for producer-director Kishore Sahu’s daughter Naina, although possibly not for the reasons he intended. It is a colorful and melodramatic soap opera of the first order, and the actors are given full scope for expressing every emotion from despair to…well, utter despair. Rarely have I enjoyed other people’s anguish so much. It is also surprisingly progressive, especially for a star daughter’s debut: she gets pregnant while unmarried, and is eventually accepted by the townspeople as a single mother! There’s even a little plug in favor of sex education.

Plus the music is superb: in addition to some pretty love songs are two Helen numbers (and she has a sizable role) and a picnic with everyone doing the twist! Happy, happy.

February 1, 2011

Tasveer (1966)

With subtitles, this film might have annoyed me, but without them it is a sublimely entertaining experience from Wadia Movietone. Undistracted by the dumb plot and self-pitying dialogues, I reveled in:

  • the hirsute insanity of Nasir Hussain (he is UNABOMBER insane in this film!)
  • the drink-fuelled angsty despair of artist Sajjan
  • Helen’s fashions and scheming eyebrows
  • Feroz Khan pretending he is Shammi! (and he is so FINE, he almost succeeds)
  • Chitalkar Ramchandra’s fantastic songs
  • the plump chipmunk cheeks and flowing Kashmiri outfits (and eyeliner) of Kalpana
  • and the lovely scenic gardens and mountains of Kashmir itself

November 15, 2010

A filmi family sports event

My feisty best friend Asha P. calls to ask me to come cheer on the sports team she captains. Shashi offers to walk over with me and Gemma; since we are always proud to be seen with my stylish and handsome brother-in-law, and it is a beautiful afternoon, we happily set forth. Alas, we arrive at the playing field to discover that the opposing “Heroes” team is unfortunately anything but: led by their crazy-eyed coach Amrish Puri, they are cheating like mad.

Shetty says nothing, but his shiny bald head and bulging muscles are intimidating. Ajit on the other hand is quite vocal, shouting lunatic threats of world domination and lobbing firecrackers in all directions. The Heroes have in fact scored one goal already, probably by accident.

July 28, 2010

Kohraa (1964)

While reading Shilpi’s first post about her father Tarun Bose I realized that I had never yet seen Kohraa, a remake of Daphne Du Maurier’s “Rebecca.” One of the benefits of my poor memory is that although I’ve read the book and seen the Hollywood film version, I couldn’t really remember how it all ended. This helped keep me attentive, although honestly this version too is so well done that I would have been anyway. From the opening scene until the screen went black at the end, I was positively riveted. It’s a faithful (if uncredited) adaptation of a story well-suited for an Indian setting. The wealthy Maxim de Winter is easily transformed into Raja Amit Singh (Biswajeet even sports Laurence Olivier’s pencil-thin mouche) and his mansion Manderley into a sprawling seaside haveli full of wind-swept rooms. Waheeda Rehman is absolutely perfect as the timid orphaned bride who finds herself up against a formidable enemy in housekeeper Dai Maa (Lalita Pawar at her awesome best!).

April 18, 2010

Mem-Didi (1961)

Is this film famous and I the only person who was unaware of it until now? Amazing performances and great direction from Hrishikesh Mukherjee place it far above the usual, and the story is told with such exquisite economy of effort that it flies along, yet you feel at the end as if you have known and loved the characters for an entire lifetime. David and Jayant play Bahadur and Shera respectively—a pair of goondas strongly reminiscent of Munna and Circuit with their warm-hearted, funny and sometimes misguided largesse—who befriend an older woman (Lalita Pawar) whose life has been one of hardship and toil, but whose spirit has remained strong and pure. Add a very young and pretty Tanuja to the mix, along with Salil Chowdhury’s sparkling songs (including a hilarious duet between Tanuja and a stray dog!) and the result is a heartwarming and comic tour de force.

April 14, 2010

Suraj (1966)

If you are in the mood for a cleverly plotted swashbuckler a la mode indienne, reach for this one. The dialogues are written by Abrar Alvi, always a good sign, and the screenplay by Javar Sitaraman; the story is intricate, entertaining and witty. If Rajendra Kumar and Ajit are a *little* too old to be playing men in their twenties, it doesn’t really matter and they look just fine opposite Vijayanthimala. She is beautiful, even sharing lots of scenes with the younger and equally gorgeous Mumtaz, and she shows us all once again that GIRL CAN DANCE. Amazing. Shankar Jaikishan’s music is catchy and pretty, and the host of supporting character actors all seem to be having fun—Jagirdar especially, as the dacoit Ram Singh. Plus, a loyal horse and clever elephant companions: what’s not to love, really?

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 3, 2009

Bluff Master (1963)

For all the Manmohan Desai and Shammi films I’ve written up, it’s kind of criminal that I’m only now getting to one of their collaborations. Better late than never, right? And this is a much better film than their second venture together, Budtameez (1966). In fact, this is a film to which Shammi brought his acting “A” game. He is just great in it, giving a realistic and three-dimensional portrayal of a slick and charming con man who has some hard lessons to learn. Saira Banu is his love interest, and although she’s not my favorite, she is lovely to look at here and, as with Junglee, a good foil for Shammi. Mr Desai himself shows little sign of the unrestrained lunacy he was to bring to cinema in the 70s, and has directed a movie with brisk pacing, interesting characters and an entertaining—if predictable—story. The songs, by Kalyanji Anandji with the able assistance of Laxmikant Pyarelal, are just fabulous too.

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