Archive for May, 2008

May 30, 2008

Mamma Mia!

The best Hindi movie that isn’t in Hindi and isn’t a movie!

I saw the Broadway production of “Mamma Mia!” in New York City this week. It was sublime. In the traumatic days of my teenage years, ABBA was a saving grace, so I’ve been wanting to see this show for some time. I was not disappointed; afterwards, I felt as though I had sat through an incredibly good Hindi movie—with the bonus of knowing the songs and lyrics!

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May 29, 2008

Dialogue of the day

This is one of my favorite lines from the 1987 film Mr India. It comes near the beginning, after Mogambo’s henchmen have told him how much money they have made through their various nefarious activities. His response:

There’s nothing like investing back into your business!

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May 25, 2008

Humayun (1945)

This bloodthirsty Mughal historical directed by Mehboob Khan is replete with bristling mustaches, glaring eyes and more talk of swords, vengeance and honor than you can shake a stick at. The sets and costumes are sumptuous, and the histrionics entertaining, if somewhat theatrical and drawn out at times.

Cecil B DeMille apparently wrote in a letter to Mehboob Khan that this film was “a masterpiece of lighting composition.” It is, it is! And Nargis was only sixteen when she starred in it; it was her third film as an adult.

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May 25, 2008

Separated at birth

Swashbucklers Ashok Kumar and Errol Flynn!

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May 24, 2008

You must see this

BollywoodFan has translated all the lyrics from Aamir Khan’s nephew Imran’s new film Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (released by my beloved Shammi!); the music is by AR Rahman and lyrics by Abbas Tyrewala. He has kindly also transliterated the Hindi into Roman spelling, and it’s a treat all the way around.

So much so, that Abbas Tyrewala himself left a comment (BollywoodFan is not so sure it was really him, but I am!). BollywoodFan has also footnoted his translations to share his vast knowledge of Urdu and Hindustani. You really must visit if you are interested in such things. Help me encourage him to continue!

May 24, 2008

Brahmachari (1968)

The Bhappi Sonie-Shammi Kapoor pairing gave us Janwar, Preetam, and this film. A fourth one is Jawan Mohabbat, which I sadly haven’t been able to find on DVD yet—but that gives me another reason to live.

Bhappi Sonie seemed able to restrain Mr. Irrepressible more than some, and Shammi’s performance in this heartwarming tale of a penniless bachelor who has opened up his heart and his house to a bunch of (equally irrepressible) homeless orphans won him the Filmfare Award for Best Actor. It also garnered five other Filmfare Awards: Best Film, Lyrics, Story, Music Director, and Playback Singer. Shankar Jaikishan wrote the fantastic songs, and the story neatly combines socially relevant subject matter with comedy, romance and just enough dishum-dishum.

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May 23, 2008

Trivia time #22

I was thrilled to spot one of my favorite actors in an early movie the other day. Can anyone tell me who he is?

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May 22, 2008

Memsaab on YouTube

Thanks to reader Sumanth, I have links to my humiliating stellar appearance on Bollywood Ka Boss which is now on YouTube…Here you go, and thanks Sumanth!

Part the First
Part the Second

If the links above don’t work, Atul has been kind enough to upload it here:

Part One
Part Two

Mercifully, I’m only on for about five minutes.

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May 21, 2008

Ahh, subtitles!

During a recent exchange with Ramsu, it occurred to me that I devote a lot of time and attention to subtitles—both while watching and while writing about Hindi movies. They are integral to my Hindi cinema experience, the overriding thing being of course that I NEED them. I wish I didn’t, but I do. I have learned to understand basic Hindi, but my brain is such that I will never speak it and understand it fluently unless I live in India for a while.

Believe me, if I could find a practical way to do that, I would—in a heartbeat!

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May 20, 2008

Tum Haseen Main Jawan (1970)

Bhappi Sonie month continues here on MemsaabStory with Tum Haseen Main Jawan—notable for being Dharmendra and Hema Malini’s first film together. Their romance is reason enough to watch, but there are plenty of other masala ingredients to keep any filmi fan happy too! Lively songs from Shankar Jaikishan; Helen and Pran as husband and wife; Rajendranath and Iftekhar; and not one, but two misplaced kids. Okay, there are some plot holes you could drive a pantechnicon through, but we’ve forgiven others for worse.

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