Posts tagged ‘RD Burman’

May 17, 2012

Naukri (1978)

This movie is what would happen if Hrishikesh Mukherjee somewhat absent-mindedly directed the first half and then handed the reins over to Brij so that he could take the film off the rails in his usual bombastic style. It started off in rare style: I was willing to live with the fact that our pre-Partition setting of 1944 looked exactly like 1978 (Gaudy Clothing, Bad Hair); I even found Raj Kapoor’s presence delightful! In fact the performances in this were quite wonderful, all of them. It’s great fun to see Nadira, Tom Alter, Protima Devi and the only thing that kept it from completely self-destructing finally was the acting.

When the Curse of the Second Half hit, it hit hard. From a tentatively sweet Capra-esque story about regret and living life to its fullest, it ballooned with over-ambitious ideas until we were left watching a hapless director and his writers grabbing at straws to wind things up. Overdone tropes and ham-fisted preaching did not accomplish the job satisfactorily, I am sad to report.

March 26, 2012

Angoor (1982)

Mrs. Beige has been staying with me for a few days and bless her, she always enjoys watching a Hindi movie. (Well, not always.) We watched Seeta Aur Geeta the other night and at the end she pronounced it “Shakespearean” which I realized was bilkul correct. That made me think of this film, a marvellous adaptation by Gulzar of the Bard’s “Comedy of Errors” which I’ve owned for a long time but never watched all the way through. It, too, features twins who are mistaken for each other (in this case two sets of them) with hilarious consequences. The performances are deftly handled, and the script witty and well-paced (I could have done without most of the songs though).

January 2, 2012

Bada Kabutar (1973)

Anybody who comes here regularly will not be surprised that I could not resist a film called Big Pigeon. And I’m so glad I didn’t—it is oodles of fun, with a talented ensemble cast, nice RD Burman songs, and lots of laughs. And *wow* I love Rehana Sultan. What a shame she got pigeon-holed (yes pun intended, my bad) and her career fizzled. Deven Verma wrote, produced, directed and starred in this comic crime caper; the internet appears to believe that Amitabh Bachchan and Helen star in it, but Helen has just one cabaret dance and Amitabh is nowhere to be seen (nor is he credited, as imdb claims). It’s possible that he had an uncredited guest appearance but if so, it’s gone.

I didn’t miss him: Ashok Kumar, Leela Mishra, Rehana Sultan, Deven Verma, Pinchoo Kapoor and a little butterball toddler billed as “Golu (A Wonder Child)” kept me enthralled and in stitches.

November 6, 2011

Naughty Boy (1962)

Kishore Kumar is one of those actors (Mehmood being another) who either makes me laugh out loud or completely irritates me. The script, direction and supporting characters make the difference usually, and I think that’s the case (and by “case” I mean problem) here too. Even though Shakti Samanta directed, after about the first hour I was fast-forwarding through more than I watched—not only is the frantic slapstick not funny, but the Curse of the Second Half derails what little entertainment there is. The story manages an interesting turn in the middle but then resolves itself in the stupidest manner possible. Plus the supporting cast are grating—even Madan Puri as a buffoonish bad guy just isn’t funny. In fact Edwina, who watched some of it with me and appears in two songs, asked me how on earth I can sit through such stuff.

She seems quite amazed at my tolerance for total crap, but I’m sure it comes as no surprise to any of you who come here regularly.

July 19, 2011

My ten favorite 70s B-Funk songs

A lot of westerners (although not me) are introduced to Hindi movies through the fantastic music of the 1960s and 1970s. There are a number of CD compilations out there: Bollywood Funk, Bollywood Funk Experience, Bombay Connection: Funk from Bollywood. You get the picture! If I knew anything about music I would ramble on here about how funk is what happens when you mix rock with Motown and James Brown and then drop too much acid before getting on stage. All I really know for sure is that during the 1970s while I listened to George Clinton and Parliament sing “We Want the Funk” I had no idea that a bunch of music composers in India were listening to them too and incorporating their sound into Indian film songs that I would one day also truly love.

I  had no idea either that Indian costume designers were at least as sartorially adventurous as George Clinton, but there you have it!

June 1, 2011

Madhosh (1974)

The only reasons that I don’t completely despise this film are that it finally enabled me to identify the location of The Room (details are in that post), and pretty much every moment in it is a Screencap Waiting To Happen. It is a scarf-fest of unbelievable proportions. I guess I can also finally say that I have seen a Mahendra Sandhu movie, although I detested it so much that I may never be able to forgive him (I’ve not been able to watch a Tom Hanks film since he inflicted Forrest Gump on me).

Madhosh seems to have grand pretensions of being a modern look at valuing women, but its subtext (and not really very “sub” at that) is so relentlessly sexist that it is mostly just a rehash of that dehumanizing goddess-whore form of female oppression which masquerades as respect. I gather that the word madhosh means drunk or intoxicated, which perfectly describes the people who made this if they really thought this film had anything worthwhile or different to say.

May 7, 2011

Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973)

This is one of those films I watched early on and I will admit that it confused me hopelessly at the time. I did not understand the wigs, or Dharmendra’s facial tics and popping veins, or why Tariq was so manic. I was so ignorant and naive.

Now of course, although I still have questions, I know they can never be adequately answered.

March 25, 2011

Samadhi (1972)

I have no idea why it took me so long to see this; you all know how much I love a daku-drama! Dacoits are so romantic when you’re not the one they are raping and pillaging, especially when they are Dharmendra. And I loved this one too: it combines a Message with a family saga so spectacularly effed up that it’s worthy of Jerry Springer. At one point I was reduced to scribbling helplessly on my notepad: “Things could not possibly Go More Wrong than this.”

And then they did!

November 11, 2010

Guest post: Anand Bakshi

One of the best things about the internet is how much easier it is to find information about people you are interested in. Of course, the downside is that much of it is misinformation, which makes it all the nicer when you stumble across a source that you can have faith in—such as a family member! Of course for we fans of old Hindi cinema, there is still not much out there; this makes me even more grateful when someone like Rakesh Anand Bakshi contacts me. Rakesh is genuinely interested in preserving and sharing his great lyricist father Anand Bakshi’s legacy, and so he should be. Anand Bakshi wrote lyrics for more than 600 Hindi films, including many huge hits and many of my more obscure favorites too!

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.

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