I fortuitously stumbled across this blog while looking for old film images: Papa Ajoba.
It is a fantastic site written by Anuja Ghosalkar, the granddaughter of Ram Tipnis (whom she calls Papa Ajoba, meaning father-grandfather in Marathi). She is chronicling his stories from years of working as a makeup artist in the film industry (he began working in the 1940s). There are also audio interviews with him posted (sadly for me in Marathi and Hindi, but some of you will understand) along with photos and some video. He has a phenomenal memory.
As much as the weepy Meena Kumari of the 1960s exasperates me, the sparkling Meena Kumari of the 1950s enchants me. In addition to sparkly Meena, this movie stars Kishore Kumar, Om Prakash and Gemini Ganeshan (Rekha’s father) so I figured it might be fun. And it is: mostly it’s a fluffy love story, with a lost child thread, but the songs by Hemant Kumar are wonderful (and subtitled!) and the performances solid.
I was positively filled with glee when I saw this DVD. Shashi! Pran! Zeenat! Dadamoni! Thievery! Mid-70s! I was not disappointed. Truly fabulous funky music from Kalyanji Anandji adds to the fun. And in one of those “only in Hindi movies” coincidences, Anwar Hussein from Aaya Toofan was in this too. I can’t even count the times when I’ve noticed an actor in a film, and then he or she shows up in the next ten films I watch.
Although this movie was made in 1964, it very well could have been made in 1954 or even 1944 given the quality of its special effects. They are so very special! In addition, the heroine of the film is none other than the ever-fabulous Helen, opposite wrestler Dara Singh. Aaya Toofan was the source for this trivia post, and for my avatar as well. This is not to say that it’s a good film; it most emphatically is not. It’s really bad. Silly story, bad acting, the whole nine yards. But it’s B-movie fun for those who enjoy such things (I do! I do!), and of course there is Helen. And wrestlers. Lots and lots of wrestlers.
Regulars here know by now that I adore Vijay Anand. So I was very happy to find him circa 1972 in a film with a title that promised some intrigue and action, and a very young Rekha costarring. Well, the early 70s style did not disappoint, including a groovy RD Burman background score and songs. Rekha did not disappoint, either. But.
The story made no sense at all until the end, when it copped out completely. What a mess. I expect more from my Vijay (he didn’t direct, but he did write the screenplay and star). My notes on the film are mostly scribbles along these lines: Her belt! That vest! WTF??? OMG rekha so fat! Green walls! Huh? Those shoes!
Of course she is, and it’s been universally noted that she is especially winsome in this film too! Yes, I have finally seen Jab We Met and like everyone else I enjoyed it very much. I don’t usually review films that have already been reviewed to death, and of course nobody needs a synopsis by now, but I feel compelled to share the things that really caught my eye. Although possibly it will only illustrate how easily distracted I am from the actual important stuff, like plot and theme.
A man who lives in disguise, even at home with his mother! Another man who disguises himself to rob, steal and kill! Between them: a gorgeous but haughty woman whom they both want, one for love, one for money. Lurking on the sidelines: a weepy self-absorbed mother who makes every maternal blunder modern psychiatry could possibly dream up. This, my friends, is Munimji.
Awwwwww. Just…awwwwwww. What a sweet little fairytale of a movie this is, in spite of Shashi’s somewhat unbelievable simpleton act. It’s made by the same team who made Jab Jab Phool Khile: the same (almost) exact cast, director and music director. It shares some plot elements too: rich educated girl meets simple illiterate boy; they fall in love, then separate and finally are reunited against all odds.
But I liked Raja Saab better, mostly because it’s relatively free of the obnoxious misogynism of JJPK, and has some very hilarious sight gags. The Shashi-Rajendranath combo is quite funny too. Or maybe I was in a better mood when I watched it. Who knows?