Archive for September, 2008

September 10, 2008

Prithvi Vallabh (1943)

Well, this is the earliest Hindi film yet that I’ve seen. It’s the third in a trilogy of spectacularly mounted historicals made by Sohrab Modi: Pukar (1939), Sikander (1941, which made Prithviraj Kapoor a film star) and then this. Since it doesn’t have subtitles, I did some research so I’d have some clue as to what was happening. This is a brief synopsis cobbled together from different sites.

Two neighboring kings, Munj and Tailap, are rivals. Munj is kind and just, and Tailap is bad. Tailap has a grumpy sister named Mrinalvati, who bosses everyone around. Another king by the name of Bhillam joins forces with Tailap and together they defeat Munj and take him prisoner. Mrinalvati attempts to humiliate Munj publicly but ends up falling in love with him. When Tailap discovers that they plan to run away together, he sentences Munj to be trampled to death by elephant.

Fun, fun, fun!

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September 8, 2008

The soundtrack to my life (with Shammi)

Ramsu issued me a challenge to post the soundtrack of my life’s events using only music from Shammi’s black and white movies. I have done my level best, but plizz to remember that 90 percent of my life (so far) had passed by before I discovered any Hindi movies, let alone dear Shammi. So I did cheat a little bit.

And if the lyrics don’t seem to fit the occasion, well, what do I know? I don’t speak Hindi. I have included links to YouTube videos where there is one! Update: I’ve added audio files where there’s no video available. Enjoy!

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September 7, 2008

Namak Haraam (1973)

When people roll their eyes and scoff at “Bollywood” this is the kind of film it’s nice to have on hand to prove all their misconceptions wrong. It is a powerful social drama with great performances from everyone and a tightly written (Gulzar) and directed (Hrishikesh Mukherjee) story. There’s not a minute wasted. It’s sad—and you know I hate sad—but it’s a film I’m glad I’ve seen and would heartily recommend, though my swollen eyes may never recover. Wah!

Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan are paired again as best friends after Anand, and are superb. And Om Shivpuri (who is inextricably linked in my brain to evil Mr. Oberoi in Disco Dancer) delivers in a small but pivotal role as an unscrupulous businessman. The core issue—socialism as a cure for the plight of the middle and lower classes (and a responsibility of the wealthy) still seems as relevant today as it was thirty-five years ago.

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September 7, 2008

Be afraid…

From Shaan (1980) which I had the great fun of watching with Beth, Gesine, the ppcc and Carla (with Mr. Carla) last evening.

I have had haircuts—in fact I’m growing one out now—that looked like they were done in a saloon.

And by the way, Mazhar Khan and Zeenat must have had really gorgeous children.

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September 4, 2008

Joroo Ka Ghulam (1972)

I haven’t been able to find an exact translation for the title, but it seems to mean something along the lines of “hen-pecked husband.” The whole concept of a hen-pecked husband irritates me beyond measure, but that rant would need an entire post by itself. In any case, the woman in this movie is fairly traditional and conservative; she does stand up for herself when appropriate, but I wouldn’t call it hen-pecking.

It’s a very sweet quirky little story about a wife who embellishes the facts of her married life in her letters home, and the subsequent complications when her parents visit. It reminded me in style of later films Katha and Kissise Na Kehna, and the married couple (Rajesh Khanna and Nanda) enjoy a very loving and equal relationship. Have I made it clear yet that I hate the title? But I do like the film.

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September 2, 2008

Chor Sipahee (1977)

Ahhhh masala. The very very best filmi masala has at the very very least most of these twenty-one ingredients:

  1. Scenery-chewing
  2. Prodigious use of religious symbolism, preferably encompassing at least The Big Three: Hindu/Muslim/Judeo-Christian
  3. Squishy dilâ„¢ (ppcc) (aka “Oh! the humanity!”)
  4. Fabulously mod fashions
  5. Outlandish nonsensically fun plots
  6. At least one weeping mother
  7. Brothers/friends on opposite sides of the law
  8. Incredibly pretty hero(es) and heroine(s)
  9. Disguises, preferably which mock some ethnic or cultural group
  10. At least one child lost at a fair, preferably two who are childhood sweethearts
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September 1, 2008

Dil Deke Dekho (1959)

I can’t find words to describe this movie. Sublime? Magnificent? Classic, for sure. Fantastic romantic story; excellent debuts by “Filmalaya discoveries” Asha Parekh and music director Usha Khanna; and of course, my favorite actor of all time, Shammi Kapoor. I ask you, how can you not like a film whose credits begin with a little boy in his chaddis and a pair of wings and gladiator sandals taking aim at your heart? It’s also directed and written by Nasir Husain, who gave Shammi his first big hit with Tumsa Nahin Dekha. I’ve said it before: Nasir Husain=great entertainment.

It was such fun to watch it again! Not to mention that I ended up on the floor as a Shammi-induced puddle.

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September 1, 2008

Righting a wrong

Reader Shaila pointed out yesterday that I have neglected Parveen Babi here at MemsaabStory (Bullet being her only featured film).

Egregious oversight!

Here is a photo of her from the 1973 Star & Style Annual (she’s up and coming, they say!):

Doesn’t she look sooooo young? Reminds me a little of Ali MacGraw in Love Story. I will try to do better on the Parveen front.

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