Archive for February, 2009

February 8, 2009

Parasmani (1963) Part 2

Our brave sibling trio Paras, Roopa and Tipu have entered the cracktastic lair of Mayanagari, a sorceress who owns the magic stone called Parasmani, which can restore the dead to life. Paras has promised to bring it back to his King so that he can marry the Rajkumari.

Mayanagari is smitten by our handsome hero, but throws him in the dungeon when he insults her. She is really displeased when Roopa shows up looking for him too!

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February 7, 2009

Parasmani (1963) Part 1

parasmani_title

What’s not to love in a film with a title screen like this? Not much! The hero—Mahipal—is a bit of a girl, but luckily the actual girls in it are badass enough to make up for him.

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February 5, 2009

Desh Premee (1982)

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I would be hard-pressed to choose my favorite Manmohan Desai film were I ever forced to. But Desh Premee would be near the top of the list. I loved this film; once again the great director has given us a sprawling and complex story encompassing themes of compassion, unity, justice, patriotism, faith and love. He uses leprosy both as a metaphor for the corruption eating away at his country, and as a message of non-exclusion, and the unwavering courage and integrity of Masterji both destroys his happiness and saves his loved ones at the end. There are many moments of humor and silliness, of course, but the movie’s overall tone is quite serious as compared to some of his other work.

I think I’ve finally put my finger on why I love Desai’s films so much. Like me he has a cynic’s view of the world; and also like me, a romantic soul underlying that cynicism. That juxtaposition between often harsh reality and what we wish were real instead is present in all his work, and he always lets the “wishing” side win. Even when the ending is somewhat sad (like Roti) we are still left with a sense of hope. Plus, his imagery and plots are just so FAB.

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February 4, 2009

Family photos

I love this picture (from a 1977 Stardust). Can you guess who these cherubic star kids are?

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February 3, 2009

Chalta Purza (1977)

chaltapurza

The really burning question which this film poses (besides the standard corruption and wealth versus honor and poverty blah blah blah) is this: Which is worse, Rakesh Roshan’s wig, or Rajesh Khanna’s actual hair? Really, at times it’s a toss-up. It does contain goodies such as a soothing all-white wedding-cake villain’s lair with Ajit at the helm of said lair; Ranjeet, Manmohan and Kuljeet as Ajit’s go-to guys; Parveen Babi at the height of her gorgeousness; several dismembered dolls and some genuinely funny moments. On the downside (besides the distracting wig/hair equation) is a seriously annoying child and a patchy nonsensical plot that wanders off on tangents, accompanied by a lot of overacting and very shallow characters. 

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February 1, 2009

Tarana (1951)

tarana

Gut-wrenching, heart-searing passion, romance and tragedy = Dilip Kumar and Madhubala. I am not talking about Mughal-e-Azam, but about 1951’s Tarana. I was in tears by the end, and it was not pretty. Their much-vaunted real life romance was clearly visible in every scene between them; I think it’s safe to say that I have rarely witnessed such intensely palpable intimacy between two people, onscreen or off. They really let it all hang out! Madhubala looked as beautiful as I’ve ever seen her; she literally lit up the screen. And in their scenes together, Dilip actually looks happy: he smiles, teases gently—I don’t think I’ve seen the Tragedy King in that light before either!

The story itself had its ups and downs, although there was some interesting social commentary mixed in with the romantic drama. Still, what made it special was the incredible chemistry between the two leads.

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