Posts tagged ‘Shivraj’

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.

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.

July 14, 2009

Aaja Sanam (1971?)

aajasanam

Everything I find on the internet says that this film was released in 1975, which may be true but it was definitely not made in 1975. For one thing our hero Feroz Khan is too young, as is heroine Tanuja (who was also occupied with giving birth to Kajol in 1975). So are all the other actors in it with whom I am familiar (Deven Verma, SN Banerjee, Sulochana Chatterjee, Shabnam); it’s filmed in black and white; and everything about it (home decor, fashions, hairstyles) screams 1960s. So I’m going to go out on a limb and say it was made in 1967 with the opinion of some readers who are guessing early 70s  although I suppose it could also be up to a few years later than that. But most definitely not 1975!

Why does it even matter? Well, this film works pretty well as a movie from the mid-60s, but would be too regressive (at least for me) if it dated from the mid-70s. One of the major plot elements annoyed me considerably even so. But it was an interesting film with an engrossing story and engaging characters. I’m a big fan of Tanuja—wish she had had more roles she could really get her teeth into. She’s one of the best things about the fantastic Jewel Thief, in my opinion. Feroz of course is as handsome as can be, and the other supporting actors are very good too, especially Shabnam. There are also some very pretty songs by Usha Khanna, who is always underrated.

June 15, 2009

Bhai Bahen (1969)

bb_padmini2

With all due respect to the film’s title, it is the mother and father of all Hindi family melodramas. A tangled epic of misplaced loyalties and self-sacrifice, it still has something which lifts it above regulation fare, at least for me. There is a slightly more complex plot—actually there is just a lot of plot; the film goes on forever (as does my post: you’ve been warned!). Also it doesn’t descend into the truly histrionic until about an hour or so in; up until then it’s an interesting story. It’s also blessed with some very good performances—Padmini as a proud street dancer and Ashok Kumar as a wealthy patriarch torn between his conscience and his pride are the standouts. The songs by Shankar Jaikishan are nice, and a Helen dance plus Pran’s usual slimy villainy don’t hurt either.

June 8, 2009

Gauri (1968)

gauri_gasp

From the DVD cover: “the saga of an Indian woman…who helps her parents before marriage, and gives her all to her husband after marriage.” I should have run screaming, right? Especially since said Indian woman is also blind (and played by Nutan)? But Mumtaz, Laxmi Chhaya and the young Sanjeev Kumar are also in the cast so I decided to take a chance. Alas! it is every bit as bad as the DVD cover promised. I had to turn the whole thing into a drinking game: Greedy manipulative father figure lies to his “sons”? Drink! Blind woman weeps helplessly at her fate? Drink! Son sacrifices his own happiness (and that of his beloved) for no good reason? Drink! Blind woman gets sight back and devotes self to fake husband who spurns her? Drink!

Drink! Drink!! Driiink!!!!

February 25, 2009

Baharon Ke Sapne (1967)

baharon_ke_sapne

We all know about the “Curse of the Second Half” which afflicts many films. I am happy that this one avoids that, but sad to say that it suffers instead from the “Curse of the Last Half Hour Or So” and devolves into melodrama and idiocy not befitting an otherwise really good film.

It is dominated by Nana Palsikar’s fine performance as Bholanath, an elderly man who has never lost his capacity for optimism despite a life of hardship and poverty. He has pinned all his hopes on his son Ram (Rajesh Khanna), whom he has educated against all odds. The conflicted father-son relationship is portrayed poignantly and believably by both actors. Jal Mistry won a Filmfare Award for his gorgeous cinematography (the art director should have too), and RD Burman’s music is a joy.

January 15, 2009

Boy Friend (1961)

boyfriend

Although filmed in black and white, this film has a lot of sparkle: the songs by Shankar Jaikishan, the effervescent Madhubala, shiny-scrubbed baby-faced young Dharmendra, and of course my very own favorite sparkly person Shammi Kapoor. It also has astonishing coincidences and large plot holes, and despite a strong beginning the plot becomes incoherent at times by the end; but with long-lost children, a stolen necklace and sweet, sweet romance it’s heartwarming *and sparkly* enough to watch anyway, especially if you are a Shammi fan.

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