Posts tagged ‘Badri Prasad’

April 2, 2011

Pagla Kahin Ka (1970)

Now available with subtitles thanks to Tom and Raja!

Sometimes (well, quite often really, due to my suspect tastes) I see a film which wasn’t a hit and I say WHY, UNIVERSE, WHY? Despite the magical combination of Shammi Kapoor in his prime with Shakti Samanta directing, backup from Helen and Asha Parekh, lovely songs (Shankar Jaikishan) and an emotionally compelling and unusual plot, this movie apparently bombed at the box office and has not—until now!—even been put on a dvd with subtitles. (If you would rather just get to the download and not have to read my drivel, scroll all the way down to the end.)

It is not perfect but I found it deeply engaging and sensitive: it is largely about loss, and I think it is one of Shammi’s best performances.

read more »

January 12, 2010

Dard (1947)

Hindi films are so aptly named much of the time! This one is unsubtitled but even I could tell that it is full of people paining and pining, although I am not always clear why. I don’t usually write up the unsubtitled movies I watch unless they are particularly interesting; this one is (at least to me), for several reasons. One is that Uma Devi, later known and beloved as comedienne Tun Tun, sings playback for actress Munawar Sultana. The songs were a big hit for her (composed by Naushad). The second is that it is a relatively early film for character actors who went on to have long careers in Hindi cinema: Protima Devi, Badri Prasad and one of my favorites Shyam Kumar. And also, except for Suraiya, I had not seen the lead actors—Munawar Sultana and Nusrat—so was just plain curious!

read more »

January 10, 2010

Anokhi Raat (1968)

Oh, how I loved this film. It is an absolutely riveting and heartwrenching story, with fine performances and stunningly beautiful songs (Roshan’s last—the film is dedicated to him). The background music is superb too, by Salil Chowdhury; and the black and white cinematography is lush and gorgeous, with richly patterned detail and stunning closeups of the characters. I am running short of superlatives! The message is nothing new (see screenshot above) but the treatment—nuanced, balanced—is unusual.

It is interesting to see actors I am less familiar with, too. Zaheeda, the heroine, is a niece of Nargis and Anwar Hussain (also in this), and she looks so much like Nargis sometimes that it’s startling. And Parikshat Sahni (son of Balraj, whom I just saw as Farhan’s father in 3 Idiots) made his debut with a central role here: such a natural actor, and so handsome too! Tarun Bose, Aruna Irani, Anwar Hussain, Badri Prasad and Mukri add able support as well. But the film really belongs to Sanjeev Kumar as a simple and sweet villager who is transformed by events into a dacoit with a big price on his head.

read more »

October 16, 2009

Mohabbat Zindagi Hai (1966)

mohabbatzindagihai

Garam Dharam in shorts! Mehmood in a loin cloth (and a skimpy one at that)! A feisty heroine who doesn’t want to get married! What’s not to love? (Okay, besides for Mehmood in a skimpy loin cloth. Nobody needs to see that.)

This is “Taming of the Shrew” with retro charm, pretty people, and lovely songs by OP Nayyar. I liked it especially for the heroine who sticks up for herself, although of course societal norms win at the end: all girls really want to get married, even if they don’t know it. What else is there for them? But she puts up a good fight, and the chemistry between Rajshree and Dharmendra is sweet if not crackling. Able support from a host of reliable character actors, and a gang of college students twisting away just add to the fun.

read more »

October 11, 2009

Char Dil Char Rahen (1959)

cdcr_shammi

A new “old” Shammi film release with subtitles always gives rise to many huzzahs in this household. And when it’s a good film—well, my glee is almost uncontainable. There is nothing unique in the theme of this one (it’s a standard 1950s plea for a socialist Indian society: sharing and equality good, capitalism and greed bad), but the story is given an interesting treatment in its three separate stories which overlap, fittingly enough, at a crossroad. Each story is like the leg of a relay race, with the protagonist of one passing the baton to the next in a brief meeting at that crossing, until finally at the end all three converge. And what a cast: Raj Kapoor, Meena Kumari, Ajit, Nimmi, Kumkum and *ahem* Shammi!

My main problem with the movie is the choppy, facile ending. I am not sure if the original screenplay was written badly or if it is the result of poor editing, or deteriorating film stock, or what (possibly a combination of all of those things); but it’s jarring and more than a bit disappointing in the payoff. Of course, the payoff wouldn’t matter had the stories and characters leading up to it not been so engaging, and there’s the rub. It’s a good ride, until we get thrown off at the end!

read more »

June 11, 2009

Dil Ki Rani (1947)

dilkirani2

This story would not even take up one handwritten purse-sized address book page, it is so lacking in substance. How then does it drag on for two hours! It was interesting for about the first half hour only because it stars a very young Raj Kapoor (he’s 23) and an even younger Madhubala (she’s 14!). Seeing these two legends so early in their careers (plus the fact that Raj sings┬áhis songs himself, and looks a lot like the very young Shammi) made the time pass. After that, I kind of wanted to shoot myself. It’s essentially about two young and naive lovers who are surrounded by people who want to break them up, but aren’t clever enough to do so. Luckily for them, the lovers aren’t very bright either; there is a lot of ludicrously silly plotting which results in even sillier lover’s spats, leaving me at least with the wish that they would all just shut up and end the film, already.

read more »