Posts tagged ‘Madhumati’

August 4, 2012

Thakur Jernail Singh (1966)

I love a good daku-drama, and Dara Singh makes one very satisfyingly manly dacoit (I mean, he is the guy who later carved “MARD” into his infant son’s chest). This film is surprisingly serious much of the time though, with an unexpected (at least to me) ending; it’s not his usual lighthearted type of stunt film although there is plenty of delicious fun to be had nonetheless. Director Mohammed Hussain has long been one of my more prolific and dependable favorites, having delivered the crazy likes of FauladShikariMain Hoon AladdinCID 909Teesra Kaun, and on and on). For the cast he has roped in his usual stalwarts, including Helen as heroine and perpetually belligerent Shyam Kumar in a Prince Valiant wig. And of course, being a “B-movie” it has beautiful music too, with lively dances from the gorgeous Bela Bose, Madhumati and Rani, among others.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

December 8, 2011

Guest post: Bhudo Advani

I first met reader Arunkumar Deshmukh over at Atul’s Song A Day blog, where he continually bowls us all over with his crystal-clear memory of pretty much every Hindi film ever made, it seems. No matter how obscure the movie, Arunkumarji can give you the plot and many other details of its making. He has also been instrumental in helping me identify character actors, so you can imagine how glad I was when he emailed to say that he had written a piece on comedian and character actor Bhudo Advani after interviewing Mr. Advani’s son, a neighbor and friend. There is so much “misinformation” about people and events in cinema history out there that it is nice to get the inside scoop from a family member.

Mr. Advani worked in cinema from 1933 until 1977—a whopping 44 years—and I thank Arunkumarji for bringing him some much deserved attention!

Enjoy this look into his life and career.

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.

April 2, 2011

Pagla Kahin Ka (1970)

Now available with subtitles thanks to Tom and Raja!

Sometimes (well, quite often really, due to my suspect tastes) I see a film which wasn’t a hit and I say WHY, UNIVERSE, WHY? Despite the magical combination of Shammi Kapoor in his prime with Shakti Samanta directing, backup from Helen and Asha Parekh, lovely songs (Shankar Jaikishan) and an emotionally compelling and unusual plot, this movie apparently bombed at the box office and has not—until now!—even been put on a dvd with subtitles. (If you would rather just get to the download and not have to read my drivel, scroll all the way down to the end.)

It is not perfect but I found it deeply engaging and sensitive: it is largely about loss, and I think it is one of Shammi’s best performances.

March 28, 2011

Nasihat (1967)

Nasihat double-Daras you not to like it and wins!

Sorry. My brain is addled with grief and self-pity these days and half the time I don’t know what I’m saying. Unsubtitled Dara Singh films are proving most appropriate for my powers (or lack thereof) of concentration, and a loony band of smugglers calling themselves the Golden Gang—based out of the Hotel Mogambo—being infiltrated by CID officers cannot possibly be bad, right? Right. It is, in fact, deliciously campy and entertaining even though several of the plot points escaped me (most notably the CSP which I didn’t care about anyway). What did not escape me is that there are two Daras, one Randhawa, a Helen, a Madan Puri, a faux Chinese henchman, a midget, a plethora of corpulent bald wrestlers, and a Boss with a somewhat pitiful little Desk Lair from which he issues his commands.

January 28, 2011

Cobra Girl (1963)

Also known as Naag Rani, this movie is a perfect example of how the so-called “B movie” genre contains gems (no Naag Mani pun intended, or not much) of movie history which really need to be treated with more respect. I would rather watch this and others of its ilk a hundred times over than watch Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam or Mother India more than once or twice. Sure, those are great films; but they aren’t exactly uplifting entertainment! Why is such pure uplifting entertainment as this so frowned upon and discarded? Very often the zany trappings overlay genuine emotional content and messages which are far more palatable to me than the stifling conservatism of mainstream Hindi cinema.

October 25, 2010

Spy In Rome (1968)

I watched two films this weekend with plots completely lacking in any sense or logic. One of them was a mainstream film (Akeli Mat Jaiyo) starring Meena Kumari and Rajendra Kumar and I am not going to write about it because, frankly, it was dull and stupid and Dusted Off has already said all that needs to be said about it. The other was Spy In Rome; and despite its very thin shoestring budget, nothing of which was spent on a writer, it managed to keep me pretty entertained. It firmly occupies a seat at that rotating bar where people with seemingly no aptitude for filmmaking—and no money for it either—down a lot of imagination-fueling substances and then stagger off to make their dream projects.

June 28, 2010

Cracktastic Shikari-now with subtitles!

I feel Tom and his gang of subtitlers should form their own production company and give it a proper name! Any suggestions? In any case, another formerly unsubtitled and painfully unrestored vcd has been subtitled (thanks again Raja!) and given the Tommydan Treatment. I must say that I am blown away with how beautiful this dvd looks compared to the source files. I don’t know how he does it, but I’m glad he does.

May 12, 2010

Golden Eyes: Secret Agent 077 (1968)

(Because 007 would be so unoriginal!)

I can only imagine that director Kamal Sharma was left a small legacy by his grandmother or someone, and jumped at the opportunity to make the film he’d been dreaming of since he saw his first Bond movie: “I have IDEAS! Many of them stolen, almost all of them bad, but I won’t let that stop me!” Most of his tiny budget went into helicopters and probably Helen, with nothing left over for an actual script or any production values. The lack of subtitles is even almost welcome, since the chaos onscreen is such a bombardment to the senses that having to read too would have made my head explode. In any case, I can say with certainty that I have no clue what happens, except that several different gangs of people are all vying to grab a “formoola” for some sort of bomb for which the dastardly “Chinese” are willing to pay a premium price.

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.

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