Posts tagged ‘Achala Sachdev’

March 2, 2011

Azaad (1955)

The best thing about this movie is that stars Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari don’t stab their own eyes out or cry through the whole thing (in fact they don’t cry at all!). It is a real treat to see them laughing and carefree even in a very silly story. Unfortunately much more screen time and emphasis is given to what amounts to the Comic Main Plot, in which a new-to-the-area police inspector (Raj Mehra) tries vainly to get the incredibly dumb head constable Motilal (Om Prakash) to help him solve the many serious (robbery and murder) crimes which have taken place in his locality. These crimes are blamed on two supposed dacoits, Chander and Azaad, whose identities remain mysterious to the police; they are not even sure that Chander and Azaad aren’t the same man.

Motilal’s main schtick is that he has two wives and nine children and is lazy, incompetent and stupid. His relationship with his new Inspector seems to take up about two-thirds of the movie, leaving no room for development of the romance between hero and heroine or a plot that makes any sense. I like Om Prakash and Raj Mehra and all, but it seems like a huge waste of two of the biggest stars of the time!

January 24, 2011

Hanste Zakhm (1973)

I am very happy that this was not the first Chetan Anand film I saw, because it then may well have been my last, robbing me of films I really love (notably Aakhri Khat and Taxi Driver, but also HaqeeqatAandhiyan and Kudrat). I have only ever seen Priya Rajvansh in Kudrat and Haqeeqat, and although I liked her fine in both of those I gathered from comments that her reputation as an actress is…well. Let’s just say I understand those comments perfectly now. She pretty much single-handedly destroys this film with her nails-on-a-chalkboard performance. I have never been so irritated by someone’s voice and demeanor in my whole life.

Having said that, I will also add that even without her I would have found Hanste Zakhm disappointing. The story had potential to be path-breaking—I loved the beginning, and it could have developed into something truly thoughtful and interesting; but instead it took the safe (ie ultra-conservative) road and fell flat on its face.

September 14, 2010

Andaz (1971)

It’s time to return to beloved Shammi: my eyes have been roving of late (Chandramohan, Shyam, the Shash)—but they will always come back to my favorite! One of my goals for this blog is to write about all his movies that I can find and comprehend (i.e. with subtitles). This is one I haven’t watched in a very long time despite remembering it as a wonderfully romantic story which I enjoyed very much. And I love Shammi in this film; he shows a subdued maturity that is really appealing without losing the Melt Factor that I so adore in him. And although Hema is obviously much younger (she is so gorgeous in this), her character has a gravity that makes it work. The kids are not as annoying as they might be either, especially Master Alankar as Hema’s really cute son Deepu. Baby Gauri—Shammi’s daughter Munni—is a hilarious little monkey, if a little *too* spoiled rotten at times.

June 25, 2010

Arzoo (1965)

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that when two male friends love each other in that peculiarly intense way of Hindi film heroes, the women in their lives will suffer. It would just be better all around if the two guys set up house together and called it a day, na? Rajendra Kumar and Feroz Khan would have such lovely children.

January 26, 2010

Zabak (1961)

There’s nothing finer on a wintry and cheerless day than a Wadia Brothers Arabian Nights tale brought to you in Glorious Gevacolor! I am pretty sure that an early Nadia stunt film would be equally fine, but until they become readily available these are just the ticket. Standard features include feisty beautiful women (and dancing girls) in harem outfits, a swashbuckling hero (and in this one Mahipal is not even girly), kings with evil commanders named Something Beg, scores of caped extras, an intrepid animal companion or two (Zabak‘s is a white horse who doubles as the Comic Side Plot!), lovely songs (by Chitragupta here)—and always, absolutely always, every frame is filled with stuff that I would kill to get my sparkle-loving hands on.

Zabak is no exception to my Wadia Brothers Cardinal Rule (which is that the Wadia Brothers…well, RULE).

October 3, 2009

Mere Hamdam Mere Dost (1968)

mhmd_basking

After the trauma of little Master Bunty’s plight in Aakhri Khat, I needed to bask in the manly warmth of Dharmendra’s strong arms and glorious Greek god looks. And Dharmendra is pretty much the only thing that got me through this nonsensical film (well, him and Sharmila’s and Mumtaz’s outfits). What a criminally stupid waste of a good cast. The story, such as it is, isn’t helped by incredibly choppy editing, which can probably be blamed on KMI since Hrishikesh Mukherjee edited the original film and I can’t imagine that he would have done such a hack job of it. Additionally, each character is totally infantile, lacking any kind of self-awareness or empathy for others; not to mention that none of them seem to have been taught that honesty is the best policy. Plus, they are all as dumb as rocks, seriously. It is pitifully easy for them to keep pulling the wool over each other’s eyes. By the end I felt like I had just spent two and half hours in a nursery school housed inside a mental institution.

April 24, 2009

Mere Sanam (1965)

meresanam_friends

If ever a film really really really (really) wanted to be a Shammi film, it’s this one. It has:

  • Feisty Asha Parekh as the reluctant heroine (eventually won over after being stalked relentlessly by the hero)
  • A gaggle of girlfriends around her (chief amongst them Laxmi Chhaya!)
  • Sidekick Rajendranath (complete with loony antics)
  • Pran in an orange wig
  • Lovely lovely songs by OP Nayyar (sung beautifully by Rafi and Asha B.)
  • Kashmir, gorgeous Kashmir (and quite a few plot elements lifted directly from Kashmir Ki Kali)

All it really lacks is Shammi himself. Instead, we are given…Biswajeet. Poor Biswajeet. However, he does his best to imitate Shammi and mostly it’s a fun-packed and stylish delectation; it does go a bit off the rails at the end into kidnapping and murder territory (oh, Pran. Pran, Pran, Pran). The DVD picture quality is pretty bad too: someone should restore this one for sure! A very young Mumtaz graces the screen with her presence briefly, and there is the usual assortment of character actors and rotund funnymen adding to the entertainment. And I simply LOVE the songs.

March 20, 2009

Waqt (1965)

waqt_shashi

Beth and I rewatched this the other night in honor of her Shashi Week 2009 (everyone should have his or her own week, I think, at least once a year). To be honest, Beth rewatched it; I thought I had seen it before, but if so all memory of it had been crowded out by something else—Dara Singh trivia maybe, who knows? I can’t see how I wouldn’t remember it though. It’s a really really good movie.

To use Beth’s turn of phrase, it is completely proto-masala in that it has a family separated by circumstance and all the attendant near-misses, filmi irony, etc. along with fabulous sixties (and occasionally fifties) style. The screenplay choreographs the events as smoothly as the film’s title would imply; and what a cast! Balraj Sahni, Achala Sachdev, Raaj Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Sadhana, Shashikala, Madan Puri. Wah! At least I retained memory of the songs, since they are composed by one of my favorite (underrated) music directors, Ravi, with lyrics by Sahir; they are just gorgeous.

October 21, 2008

Chhaila Babu (1977)

There are only two things which give me *good* nostalgia for the 70s: ABBA music and Hindi movies. I spent the latter half of that decade wearing hideously patterned Qiana shirts, sporting feathered hair and fighting the tendency of my stomach to overhang hip-hugger bellbottoms, all the while living in rural Indiana and wishing I were dead, so that is actually saying something.

I suppose if I had cable television and thus access to reruns of the original “Starsky & Hutch” television shows that might do it too, but I don’t. I love Laxmikant Pyarelal’s music in this film, though, especially the opening title and background music (although the songs are fab too). It’s funkadelic 1970s, all the way, and reminds me of the opening themes to those 1970s cop shows.

August 20, 2008

Daag: A Poem of Love (1973)

This may be the most aptly named film in the history of cinema. It’s an all-out early Yash Chopra romance: boy and girl fall in love, marry despite opposition, are separated tragically, then reunited—but with big obstacles to their happiness. Particularly satisfying are Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore as said boy and girl. Their performances are enhanced by setting (snowy Himachal Pradesh) and beautiful songs courtesy of Laxmikant Pyarelal with stunning lyrics from the great Sahir Ludhianvi. I—shameless romantic that I am—loved every heartwrenchingly glorious minute of it.