Posts tagged ‘Madan Mohan’

August 12, 2012

Dak Ghar (1966)

This is a very unusual and bittersweet film based on a Rabindranath Tagore story about the last few days of a dying boy named Amal (an unforgettable Sachin). Produced by the Children’s Film Society, I suppose it can be categorized as a children’s film, although as with most good children’s movies it is entertaining for adults too and a little bit dark. Children may not entirely understand what’s going on, although in my personal experience they understand a lot more than adults give them credit for. The movie weaves together fantasy and reality as lonely Amal—trapped inside the house by the local pandit-doctor’s (AK Hangal) orders—chatters with an assortment of passersby and villagers, and daydreams about venturing forth and seeing the world beyond his horizons. As the story unwinds fantasy gradually takes over from reality as Amal fades, much to the distress of his adoptive father Madho (Satyendra Kapoor). The sets are deliberately “stagey” and candy-colored which enhances the fairy tale effect, and the photography is lush, with lovely music by Madan Mohan (lyrics and dialogue courtesy of Kaifi Azmi).

I must above all thank Raja for subtitling this for me—if anyone has this film and would like the subtitle files, please let me know and I’ll send them to you. Thanks Raja!

January 24, 2011

Hanste Zakhm (1973)

I am very happy that this was not the first Chetan Anand film I saw, because it then may well have been my last, robbing me of films I really love (notably Aakhri Khat and Taxi Driver, but also HaqeeqatAandhiyan and Kudrat). I have only ever seen Priya Rajvansh in Kudrat and Haqeeqat, and although I liked her fine in both of those I gathered from comments that her reputation as an actress is…well. Let’s just say I understand those comments perfectly now. She pretty much single-handedly destroys this film with her nails-on-a-chalkboard performance. I have never been so irritated by someone’s voice and demeanor in my whole life.

Having said that, I will also add that even without her I would have found Hanste Zakhm disappointing. The story had potential to be path-breaking—I loved the beginning, and it could have developed into something truly thoughtful and interesting; but instead it took the safe (ie ultra-conservative) road and fell flat on its face.

January 20, 2011

Madhosh (1951)

Call me shallow, but I have trouble taking a hero who wears more makeup than the heroine and vamp together seriously (except Shammi in Junglee, because he is just so handsome despite the blue eyeshadow and coral lipstick). As much as I adore the Wadias’ output, they seem particularly fond of making heroes look girly: Mahipal in everything, and now Manhar Desai in this, although most of the time Manhar doesn’t look like a girl so much as a really creepy doll. Ironic that they also gave us the fabulously kick-ass Fearless Nadia; I guess perhaps I should rejoice in the gender reversal tactics, but a pancaked hero just doesn’t really work for me.

It doesn’t help at all that the character is a gutless wonder with the logic of a two year old. With a story aspiring to be a Romeo and Juliet style tragedy, an obnoxious immature mime-hero doesn’t provide the necessary viewer investment in the romance to make it work.

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.

January 23, 2010

Jailor (1958)

This is one of the most bizarre films I’ve ever seen. Some parts of it left me with rounded eyes and a “WTF” bubble over my head, and some of it just made me angry; all of it left me feeling like I had just sat through ten years’ worth of Ekta Mata serial plotting in just two hours. My impression is that Sohrab Modi had some serious personal problems at the time he made this, and brought them all on set with him. His Jailor is a deranged man in need of medication and a padded cell, for his own sake and that of those around him. It’s dark, bewildering, and messy, and made me want to run screaming.

Madan Mohan’s music is beautiful, in particular the haunting “Life is Like a Punishment” (as “Bas Ek Saza Hi To Hai Zindagi” is subtitled). And Geeta Bali eventually enters like a breath of fresh air (as she is meant to). Plus, a court ruling that is actually rational, and the Indian Stevie Wonder!

But still: bas ek saza hi to hai yeh fillum.

August 16, 2009

Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare (1966)

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This is an absolutely charming, quintessentially 1960s film with a cast of stalwarts and the ever-charming and delicious Shashi at his “aw-shucks” best. The story centers around two Muslim families, which makes for lovely fashions for Nirupa Roy and Manorama who play the matriarchs of each. Nanda is styling, too! The only (minor) disappointment for me was the music by Madan Mohan; it was nice enough—and picturized well—but didn’t make much of an impression. What makes the movie memorable though is the strong ensemble cast, who all contribute humor, believability and warmth to a plot which moves briskly along.

July 1, 2009

Chirag (1969)

chirag

Sometimes even a viewer with no clue about filmmaking (that would be me) can sense when the director (in this case, Raj Khosla) is a good one. Such is the case with this film, which has a fairly unremarkable story (until the end, when it plunges into irritatingly stupid) and pleasant but dull music (Madan Mohan). But the romantic chemistry between the lead pair alongside the interesting camera work and the brisk pace keeps everything going, which kept me going too. The sometimes hilarious subtitles helped, although I doubt that Raj Khosla had anything to do with those. I should also say that Asha Parekh looked absolutely gorgeous in this film, and I think our director thought so too, because there are a lot of lingering closeups of our heroine!

June 22, 2009

Khazanchi (1958)

khazanchi

This little gem of a film has been sitting on a shelf for several years now and I have no idea why I never watched it. I think I bought it because I was obsessed with Helen and she is supposedly in it: not only does the DVD cover credit her, but so do the actual credits inside the film, plus it was directed by her…um…significant other, PN Arora. But—she is nowhere to be seen. Strange. And, for me, sad.

Nevertheless, I should have paid it more attention. A key ingredient in liking a film for me is liking most of the people in it. This one does a superb job of drawing the viewer into the families and relationships of the main romantic pair. This is largely due to the well-written story and a great cast: a young and handsome Rajendra Kumar, the beauteous Shyama and Chitra, and the able support of Balraj Sahni, Manorama, Anwar Hussain and HelenSN Banerjee. Also the music by Madan Mohan (and the way the songs are shot) is just gorgeous! It’s a very engaging film with a reasonably exciting and suspenseful resolution.

January 21, 2009

Sharafat Chhod Di Maine (1976)

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Despite a silly plot filled to the brim with irresponsible adults and many creepy (as in “ewwwww” creepy) developments, I could not help but find this entertaining. As noted in my previous trivia post, the film featured all of the best dancers of the era in several very fun songs: Laxmi Chhaya, Padma Khanna, Bindu, Faryal and Jayshree T, along with the inimitable and legendary Helen (who appeared as herself, and was given a well-deserved tribute in the dialogues). Hema Malini and a very young Neetu Singh had dances too, and Madan Mohan’s music along with the plentiful eye candy—both human and inanimate—conspired to prevent me from running away screaming as I should have, in all honesty.

Warning: Post below contains many screen shots of dancing girls, so if they are not your thing you’ll need to use your scroll bar (although I must ask: how could they not be your thing?).

January 4, 2009

Woh Kaun Thi (1964)

wohkaunthi

Raj Khosla is one of my favorite directors. But man, this movie is a waste of time. It’s chock full of red herrings that never lead anywhere (and are never explained), along with clues which are so manifestly obvious that you feel clubbed over the head with them. Plus, it’s boring, with an ending so convenient and contrived that there’s no payoff for sitting through it at all. I don’t know if my dislike of Manoj Kumar contributed to my dislike of this film, but I do know that his presence didn’t help it any. The only bright spot really was Helen, and she was bumped off pretty early on. Sadhana looked gorgeous, but she appeared to be as bored as I was.

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