Posts tagged ‘Bela Bose’

November 22, 2009

Main Wohi Hoon (1966)

A filmi noir murder mystery starring the lovely Kumkum and the even lovelier (to my eyes) Feroz Khan, with fantastic music by Usha Khanna: how could it possibly go wrong? Well, here’s one way: our hero and heroine are squeezed into the plot around IS Johar, who uses the story as an excuse to don various silly (and occasionally racist) costumes and play the fool. Don’t get me wrong, I love the man—but it is kind of a waste of Feroz and Kum Kum. Also, the script is a total mess.

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August 16, 2009

Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare (1966)

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This is an absolutely charming, quintessentially 1960s film with a cast of stalwarts and the ever-charming and delicious Shashi at his “aw-shucks” best. The story centers around two Muslim families, which makes for lovely fashions for Nirupa Roy and Manorama who play the matriarchs of each. Nanda is styling, too! The only (minor) disappointment for me was the music by Madan Mohan; it was nice enough—and picturized well—but didn’t make much of an impression. What makes the movie memorable though is the strong ensemble cast, who all contribute humor, believability and warmth to a plot which moves briskly along.

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July 26, 2009

Sinbad Alibaba Aur Aladin (1965) Part 1

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I’ve been dying to see this ever since I found out it existed. It’s not any big secret that I’m a sucker for an Arabian Nights tale, especially as done in 1960s India on a shoestring budget. And if Helen is in it along with Sayeeda, Minoo Mumtaz, Bela Bose and Madhumati, how can it possibly be bad? It’s a dance extravaganza! The music is by one of my favorite music directors, Ravi—and it is lovely. Alas, the film is only available on VCD¬†so no subtitles; whatever I got out of the story I’ve basically made up wholesale because it was seriously bewildering. But the visuals are so fabulous (despite the poor video quality) that I thought it time for another comic-book style entry, which is my way of saying: “Look at the pictures and figure the story out for yourselves.”

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May 26, 2009

Cha Cha Cha (1964)

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Helen, Helen, Helen. How your talents were (mostly) squandered by the powers-that-were in Hindi cinema. But actor Chandrashekhar, when faced with the prospect of starring in his own vehicle (he produced and directed this too), decided to cast her as his heroine. Excellent decision—except he really should have found another hero too. In a cast that also includes Om Prakash, OP Ralhan, Aruna Irani, Bela Bose, Iftekhar, Madan Puri and these two:

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plus guest appearances by Dara Singh and Tun Tun, Chandrashekhar himself is the only blight. Well, he and the shrewish Ma to end all shrewish Mas, Leela Mishra. Dull and doughy as he is, seeing him opposite vivacious and beautiful Helen is just wrong. But otherwise, Cha Cha Cha is oodles of Beach Blanket Bingo type fun!

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May 14, 2009

Opera House (1961)

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I hoped for a well-plotted filmi noir story; I got a badly-plotted filmi noir story instead, but all the plot holes and suspension of disbelief requirements didn’t really matter in the face of…well, Ajit’s face! And Saroja Devi’s as well. A beautiful hero and heroine, gorgeous songs, a minimal Comic Side Plot, atmospheric cinematography and KN Singh as the villain—this was entertainment enough for me. Lovely Bela Bose has a short (albeit sadly dance-free) role too!

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April 29, 2009

My ten favorite Laxmi Chhaya songs

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As many of you know already, I am bewildered by the fact that this charming and beautiful woman never made it big as a heroine. The closest she came was in Mere Gaon Mere Desh, where she absolutely shines as dacoit Vinod Khanna’s spy who falls in love with the object of her assignment—Dharmendra. I’ve loved her since I saw Gumnaam years ago and she tore up the dance floor with Herman and company. Like her contemporary Helen, she is able to dance to any kind of song: tawaif, night club, village entertainment. Her most captivating feature in my opinion is her smile—it lights up the screen with joy, and there’s no mistaking it for anyone else’s. Plus, nobody dances like she does—it gives me whiplash just watching her sometimes, but she comes through unscathed!

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February 25, 2009

Baharon Ke Sapne (1967)

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We all know about the “Curse of the Second Half” which afflicts many films. I am happy that this one avoids that, but sad to say that it suffers instead from the “Curse of the Last Half Hour Or So” and devolves into melodrama and idiocy not befitting an otherwise really good film.

It is dominated by Nana Palsikar’s fine performance as Bholanath, an elderly man who has never lost his capacity for optimism despite a life of hardship and poverty. He has pinned all his hopes on his son Ram (Rajesh Khanna), whom he has educated against all odds. The conflicted father-son relationship is portrayed poignantly and believably by both actors. Jal Mistry won a Filmfare Award for his gorgeous cinematography (the art director should have too), and RD Burman’s music is a joy.

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January 25, 2009

Bhai Ho To Aisa (1972)

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Manmohan Desai! How I adore you. And this sort-of-medieval swashbuckler with snake gods, sword-fights, dacoit Ranjeet, Bela Bose as a greedy courtesan, and Jeetendra and Shatrughan Sinha as brothers on opposite sides of that pesky line between good and evil has not changed my mind one little bit. The setting is gorgeous too, as the movie was shot on location at the spectactular Laxmi Vilas Palace belonging to the Maharajah of Baroda. It’s much less loony than the film it vaguely reminded me of (Dharam-Veer); I guess, my dear Manmohan, you hadn’t quite reached your full masala stride yet. Still, it’s an entertainer in your trademark style, with lots of action and well-drawn characters.

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December 18, 2008

CID 909 (1967)

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After suffering through the last two films, I really needed a dose of Mohammed Hussain, maker of low-low-low-budget zany B-movie fare. Fortunately, I had just the thing on hand: a film starring Feroz Khan, Mumtaz, Helen and Bela Bose, with appearances by Tun Tun and Master Shetty! Music by OP Nayyar, choreographed by my new best friend Herman! A plot about a scientific formula written in code for making something touted as a “peace bomb”! I settle into my chair with a happy sigh.

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July 25, 2008

Aaya Toofan (1964)

Although this movie was made in 1964, it very well could have been made in 1954 or even 1944 given the quality of its special effects. They are so very special! In addition, the heroine of the film is none other than the ever-fabulous Helen, opposite wrestler Dara Singh. Aaya Toofan was the source for this trivia post, and for my avatar as well. This is not to say that it’s a good film; it most emphatically is not. It’s really bad. Silly story, bad acting, the whole nine yards. But it’s B-movie fun for those who enjoy such things (I do! I do!), and of course there is Helen. And wrestlers. Lots and lots of wrestlers.

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