Posts tagged ‘Aspi Irani’

August 19, 2009

Smuggler (1966)

smuggler_rajan

Atul and I have bonded over (among many things) our love for the music of the more “obscure” (unfortunately) so-called B- and C-grade Hindi films. Not only do these movies often have lovely songs by lesser-known composers (e.g. Ganesh, GS Kohli), but they very often have straightforward and fun stories too, and they give one an opportunity to see well-known actors as they were starting out (e.g. Feroz Khan, Sanjeev Kumar). B-movie directors often had the good sense to give ladies like Helen lots to do, as well. One of my favorites of these guys is Aspi Irani (usually credited as Aspi). He made the delicious Daku with Shammi, and the equally delightful Shabnam, so when Atul recommended¬†Smuggler and kindly offered to send it to me, I jumped on it.

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July 16, 2009

Daku (1955)

daku

I am sure no regular reader of these pages will have any trouble imagining my great joy at receiving this treasure from my new friend Shalini.

Shammi + Wadia Brothers + Babubhai Mistry—it’s like a miracle!

*dies and goes straight to heaven*

daku_greatjoy

Add in Shashikala as Shammi’s heroine, and the redoubtable Kuldip Kaur (dictionaries should all have her picture next to the word “haughty”), plus a hunchback, a band of gypsies, and royal intrigue!…words fail me. Really. And it doesn’t matter, because I couldn’t tell you honestly what the plot is, only that I love this film. LOVE. Of all the early Shammi films I’ve seen, this is the first one in which he actually pretty much resembles the Shammi of his heyday. He looks like he’s having a ball—and why not? It’s oodles of swashbuckling fun.

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February 20, 2009

Shabnam (1964)

shabnam

Every other frame of this film contained some element of which I said: “I want that!” like a small spoiled child.

It’s an Arabian Nights-meets-Zorro fantasy complete with lush sets, fabulous costumes and beautiful horses, but the highlights are the fantastic songs by Usha Khanna (who also has a beautiful singing voice). The only real drawback is the leading man: Mehmood’s antics grow quickly tiresome. He is actually good as the serious Zingaro, and occasionally very amusing as Zingaro’s effeminate alter ego—I just wish he’d been allowed (or required) to tone his act down a bit. Helen has a good role as the brains behind the villain (Jeevan), and the other cast members all acquit themselves well. The story is credible and absorbing; altogether, this movie is a lot of fun.

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