Posts tagged ‘Bindu’

June 27, 2015

Shankar Shambhu (1976)

shankarshambhu

I was telling my friend Suhan the other night that I have stopped writing reviews mostly because I felt like I was endlessly repeating myself, and my threshold for lunacy had become so ridiculous that very little made me sit up and say “OOOOH!” any more. But lately I have been missing my daily masala dosage, so when this Feroz Khan-Vinod Khanna starrer appeared on my radar I couldn’t resist it. It is—not unexpectedly—a predictable and formulaic film, but it moves along at a fast clip thanks to relegating large portions of the action to narration by the characters (often to each other via telephone) after the fact (“Shankar and Shambhu have escaped from jail!” “We have kidnapped your daughter!”) instead of actually showing it to us, leaving details like “How?” “Why?” “Where?” and “When?” up to the viewer’s imagination. Screen time is largely devoted to Ornament with a capital “O”: a mish-mash of dacoit hideaways, corrupt rich people mansions dotted with crazy, and eye-popping disguises. This is okay with me.

The story I can make up; the insane set pieces, wigs, and outfits not so much.

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May 7, 2012

Zorro (1975)

“Zorro” doesn’t even begin to cover it. “Zorro meets Robin Hood meets the Wild Wild West meets Arabian Nights meets Ugly Bridesmaid Dresses and everybody’s last name is Singh!” is a fair start. Dharam-Veer wasn’t this much of a potluck! My friend Mike, who watched some of it with me, remarked that it looks like the wardrobe and set people went crazy in a bunch of studio warehouses and used every single item they found in them. While they were doing that, I think the writers were combing through as much world literature as they could find for their own influences. I’m also pretty sure a lot of the original film is edited out or lost, because transitions between scenes are very abrupt and the whole thing quite choppy, so Lord only knows what other cultural and historical references have gone missing along with that footage.

Almost everything is also very weirdly played for laughs, even atrocities being meted out to villagers. This sort of defeats the whole purpose of atrocities. But never mind: there is just so much to look at, much of it shiny.

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May 3, 2012

Trishna (1978)

In which Shashi is a zombie and everybody is stupider than stupid.

Given the caliber of the main players (Sanjeev Kumar, Raakhee, Shashi Kapoor), I might have had hopes that this would be a decent film at least, but having read the Post-Punk Cinema Club’s review some time ago I knew better. Still, I expected some bright spots. But there weren’t any, unless you like pork. Everytime I thought the film could not possibly get any dumber or the acting worse, it got dumber and the acting got worse. I guess when a plot is this moronic with characters this poorly drawn, there is nothing much else to do except ham it up—and ham it up they all did. My God.

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February 8, 2012

Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974)

I have no idea what the plot of this movie is—seriously no idea—but I know that I love it. Even if with subtitles it became a maudlin, sexist melodrama (which I doubt) I would still love it. Why? Well for one thing it is extremely shiny. Premnath has a lair made completely out of mirrors, and not in a pretty Mughal-e-Azam kind of way but in a spectacularly gaudy disco kind of way. The songs by OP Nayyar are delightful and the cinematography (VN Reddy) is gorgeous. The cast is a veritable Who’s Who of character actors. And a still-dashing Sunil Dutt makes a dacoit I can really root for, although he does seem a little old for plump young Rekha. The story is liberally sprinkled with dacoit-drama masala ingredients: greedy moneylenders, long-lost daughters, flashbacks, dozens of people named Singh, pretty pretty Marwari horses, and real ruffians lurking beneath a veneer of respectability and draped with scantily-clad gori extras. I felt totally sated by the end.

Did I mention the mirrors? Lots and lots of mirrors.

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August 26, 2010

Mini-review: Jaane Jaan (1983)

Memsaab: “But…but…Ranjeet and Bindu get married! And play good guys! How can that possibly be bad?!”

Shalini (patiently): “Why is it bad? Let’s see: for the first half of the movie Neetu plays a rich little suicidal (she thinks she has cancer and only has months to live) girl who hires unemployed, working class Randhir to kill her. It’s nobler/braver, you see, to “defeat” death by taking it in your hands rather than doing something sensible like consulting with doctors to see if there might be some treatments/cures. Anyway, she spends the second half of the film trying to not fall victim to an elaborate, sick revenge plot concocted by deranged, homicidal Ajit. Ajit becomes unhinged when his only child (a young Gufi Paintal) kills himself over his unrequited love for Neetu. He of course blames Neetu for not loving his son back and is determined to make her pay for her “crime.” Neetu and Randhir fall in love in the midst of all of it, because what could be more romantic than this plot?”

Memsaab: “But…Ranjeet…and Bindu…….”

Shalini: “You never learn, do you?”

A few hours later:

Memsaab: “OMG! Ajit STABS A PICTURE OF A KITTEN, he is so crazy!”

Shalini: “Keeping Paintal’s preserved body in the bedroom is worse.”

Memsaab: “That’s probably true.”

Shalini: “Do you realize that Ranjeet (and Bindu) are the most *normal* characters in this movie?! I suppose that’s reason enough for this movie to be immortalized.”

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May 29, 2010

Hawas (1974)

I spent the entire running time of this film with a big angry WTF bubble above my head. It’s not that I shouldn’t have known: packaging which advertises Bindu as a nymphomaniac is pretty fair warning. Sadly, it is also irresistible enticement for someone belonging to the “How bad can it be?” school of risk management.

It’s bad. It’s REAL bad. It’s Haseena Atom Bomb bad.

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April 27, 2010

Farishta Ya Qatil (1977)

Though this is only available (to my knowledge) without subtitles, I figured since my current blog header features images of Shashi and Bindu from the film I ought to watch it. And it’s pretty entertaining, maybe even more so if you don’t know what’s going on. I don’t need subtitles to know that there is a lot of patriotic fervor and anti-smuggling-corruption-greed preaching in the story, but there are lots of subplots woven together too and without subtitles I have no idea if the subsequent story fabric is a sturdy khadi or fraying and full of large holes; I don’t care, either. Shashi is beginning to show his age (well, so am I) but he is still worthy eye-candy (see above), and Rekha is at her delightfully plump and imperious best. A huge cast of character actors—many of whom I need help identifying—are decked out in dizzying full-on seventies fashions, bad wigs, and huge sideburns, all in aesthetic competition with the beautiful Rajasthan desert.

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September 15, 2009

My ten favorite sharaab songs

jugnu_hema

As a gori mem who enjoys her gigantic icy-cold Kingfishers every day while in India (and “several” glasses of wine every other evening), I do love a good song about the devil’s potion! Inspired by Dusted Off’s post on the same subject, I have changed one of her rules: I’m including fake-pretend drinking because it’s a fascinating (to me anyway) artifact of Hindi movies. If you need to chase someone off, or get them to hate you—pretend to have a drink! (I would be lonely and unwanted indeed!) Of course some would point out that *most* movie drinking is “pretend” unless you are Dharmendra. I am only including songs from movies I’ve seen, where I loved the song and the performance and picturization of it. Liking the film is a plus too, but not strictly necessary.

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June 3, 2009

Hira Aur Patthar (1977)

hiraaurpatthar

I struggle a bit with Hindi films that are a commentary on religion and atheism since of course by Hindi Film Law the protagonists all have to end up squarely on the side of religion. I grew up on a mission station, attended church every Sunday for the first 17 years of my life, sang in the church choir, belonged to the youth group, etc., until I left home and could finally choose what to do on Sunday mornings for myself (generally I chose to sleep in). So turning my back on organized religion and embracing atheism was an “informed” choice for me and I doubt that I will ever change my mind. Having said that, one of the things I appreciated about this movie was its open discussion of atheism and morality and how they are not necessarily in conflict. Plus: Shabana Azmi, Shashi Kapoor, Ashok Kumar and Bindu!

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March 5, 2009

It’s always good to have backup

memsaab_title

If I didn’t already have a theme song, this could fill the gap.

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