November 11, 2012
Muqabla is basically Seeta Aur Geeta with Fearless Nadia as twin sisters Madhuri Aur Rani. Need I say more? Probably not, but I’ve never let lack of need stop me from doing anything. I will tell you, though, that this review has taken me longer than any other review before it to write, by which I mean it’s just taken longer; don’t expect it to be any better.
Special effects wizard Babubhai Mistry is said to have used split screen technology for the first time in India along with back screen projection to show the twins interacting and passing one in front of the other. And although it isn’t her usual “stunt” type of film, there is plenty of action for Nadia and her fists in both avatars. Probably this is better described as Geeta Aur Geeta, exponentially more awesome for not having a browbeaten helpless little mouse in it; both Rani and Madhuri are fairly kick-ass girls. There are a lot of songs which drag the film down for me (interminable love songs between two sets of lovers, sometimes two or three songs in a row with no respite between); but two songs feature Nadia dancing and that is pretty fun to watch. As a bonus, she has a clever and faithful Alsation dog named Gunboat (who I think appeared with her in other films). Plus a very very young and slender Agha plays sidekick to hero Yakub. He excels at physical comedy, and I always love seeing a young anybody I know better from his or her later career.
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September 3, 2012
It’s Labor Day here in the US and Canada, and let me tell you something: I have really labored for you guys. I recently got my hands on a very fragile and worn copy of Baburao and Sushila Rani Patel’s 1952 book called “Stars of the Indian Screen.” It features 36 actors and actresses, with a short biography of each accompanied by a gorgeous colored plate like the ones above. And though the book is credited as written by Sushila Rani Patel and edited by Baburao, the bios have Baburao’s trademark snark all over them, by which I mean they are awesome.
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September 4, 2010
After the hideous Dulhan, you might think that I would run screaming towards the present for solace rather than further back into the past. But this film was too tempting, with its catchy and familiar songs (“Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon” being justifiably the best known), its array of character and comic actors, and the extremely handsome and personable Shyam beckoning. Also, I just really never learn. And I was mostly nicely entertained by what began as a sort of Marx Brothers-type film with lots of sight gags and silly situations, and evolved into an intriguing story with an interesting romantic tangle—all punctuated by the joie de vivre of truly fantastic musical numbers (C Ramchandra). The only flaw is that the dvd didn’t stop working before the end. I could have really lived without the last twenty minutes or so.
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January 20, 2010
This film started off gangbusters and then kind of fell apart story-wise—but remained good fun throughout thanks to Rehana and Dev Anand’s sparkling chemistry, spectacular dances courtesy of Rehana and Cuckoo (and some loony tribal backup dancers) and Yakub’s turn as a villainous “Professor.” There is also a completely insane zamindar ventriloquist character whose dummy bullies him and who has lost his little girl (by “lost” of course I mean misplaced). And as you know, it is the film which allowed me to lay to rest my frantic search for Nazir Kashmiri! I will forever love it for that alone.
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