Posts tagged ‘Reena Roy’

April 2, 2012

Rani Aur Lalpari (1975)

I have a love-hate relationship with this movie’s star Baby Rani and its director Ravi Nagaich. Baby Rani was so very cute in Hum Kisise Kum Nahin but so very monotonous and terrifying in the film which spawned the shortest review I will probably ever write. And Ravi Nagaich insists on making films in which the whole never quite equals the sum of its parts—parts that are so mind-blowing that the whole shouldn’t even matter, but somehow always does. This leaves me dissatisfied but also intent on seeing more of his output, which leaves me dissatisfied, and on and on. I guess it takes talent to be both cute and annoying beyond belief, and so imaginative and yet so boring. And that pretty much sums up how I feel about Rani Aur Lalpari, except in addition, probably because this is supposed to be a children’s story, it is ruthlessly miserable.

Fairy tale writers seem compelled to warn kids that life sucks, and sucks hard, especially if you are Baby Rani.

January 15, 2012

Nagin (1976)

Fate has conspired to push snake movies at me from all angles this month; so be it. Until Doodh Ka Karz came along this was my topmost favorite of the genre and it is at least still tied for first. I love it for the ridiculous special effects, the Seventies style, the star-crammed cast and the shape-shifting, vengeful ichchadhari nagin Reena Roy. These things more than make up for the heavy-handed (at times) preaching on a wide number of subjects: marriage, wifely duty, religion, sacrifice, revenge, redemption. I was only planning to mine this for screenshots for my “Nahiin! Face Gallery” (coming soon), but I couldn’t stop watching once I began. There are lots of Nahiin! Face moments, but there are some surprisingly sensitive ones too. All in all it’s an odd mixture of things, almost none of them boring.

November 28, 2011

My ten favorite picnic songs

When I was a kid I dreaded the words “Let’s have a picnic!”. Picnics were nothing but an ordeal to get through: weather (the Beiges never let a little cold rain stop us), poison ivy, bugs, indifferent food. My father did not know or care to know how to barbecue so it was always sandwiches, which I could have just as easily eaten indoors where ants weren’t crawling on them.

Little did I dream in those days that halfway across the world beautiful people were picnicking in STYLE—even at night!

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.

March 21, 2011

Milap (1972)

The supernatural and horror genres don’t attract me much, although the Indian versions are more interesting than mainstream Hollywood’s—usually because they are pretty low-budget and not at all scary, and chock-full of WTF-ery. I do love a good (or bad) snake movie, however, so when I saw this one directed by someone I am curious about—BR Ishara—I decided to give it a whirl. The few early 1970s film magazines that I have refer to Ishara’s work as “bold” with undertones of “sleazy” implicated in every other line. I know that he made a film considered quite radical for its time called Chetna, which is sadly not available anywhere that I can find, and that he eventually married the beautiful heroine of that film, Rehana Sultan, whose promising career was seemingly hampered by her willingness to push the envelope in films of a certain reputation, undeserved or not.

October 19, 2010

Jail Yatra (1981)

Even though I have already watched an Eighties film this year, I decided to risk another since this looked basically harmless and kind of fluffy. And indeed it mostly does resemble a stuffed animal: cute on the outside (Vinod Khanna in mechanics’ overalls, Reena Roy in bright sarees, Ashok Kumar as a kindly benefactor) and comfortably squishy on the inside (story elements we’ve seen a gazillion times before). Even villain Amjad Khan is too well-fed and portly to seem threatening. It’s Bhappi Sonie at the helm, after all: he’s generally benign.

Until the end, when a woman’s honor is deemed more important than her happiness or her safety. Sigh. And Nirupa Roy turns on all the waterworks because she has ruined her own life, although naturally she blames fate and not herself. Sigh again. But I don’t expect much else from the era, and up to that point there is fun—and plenty of eye candy—to be had.

January 21, 2010

Jangal Mein Mangal (1972)

What’s not to love about a film which opens with animated credits like these? Very little! Especially when the credits probably cost more to produce than the entire rest of the film. This is a full-on Mod Seventies Cheesefest. I love cheese, and I love this film. It is loony entertainment at its best: a comedy-horror-mystery-romance dressed up in bellbottoms and vivid polyester, set to lively pop music by Shankar Jaikishan, and populated by a large cast of character actors, comedians and dancers.

Pran has a double role as a misogynistic ex-Army Colonel and as one of the Colonel’s charges Raghu, a campy effeminate type who nonetheless finds romance with one of the girls (when he isn’t busy combing his long hair). The girls are students of botany professor Laxmi (Sonia Sahni), a man-hating martinet, and her assistant Sister Sophia (Meena Roy). As with most Hindi horror genre films, there is a decidedly Christian bent (handy for grave-robbing situations). It was also filmed on location in a place I have visited, the Periyar Reserve in Thekkady, Kerala—very pretty and fun for me to see again.

August 12, 2008

Paapi (1977)

Filmi Girl inspired me to check out more of OP Ralhan’s films. I already liked Phool Aur Patthar and loved Talash, which I had seen a long time ago. Based on her review I also got Hulchul—an amazingly fun masala-fest which sadly doesn’t play in my computer so…no post here. I admit I didn’t love Paapi as unreservedly as I did Talash and Hulchul. It either got overly long and complicated or I’ve overdosed on this brand of masala lately. Wait, is that even possible?

I did like it though. OP really knows how to tug at your heartstrings, and I love having mine tugged. He also has a great visual aesthetic, hampered though he was by working in the seventies. (I kid! I love the seventies!) Zeenat is gorgeous, with a short crop of hair (but plenty of wigs) and Sanjeev Kumar is his usual sterling self. I always love Sunil Dutt, although he does chew up the scenery, sports a Prince Valiant haircut, and his wardrobe is a blinding eyesore. Add in more OP Ralhan ingredients: strong feminist characters, the debate over punishment vs. compassion in dealing with crime, character actors Tun Tun and Moolchand, and there is plenty to enjoy.

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