Posts tagged ‘Brij’

January 30, 2011

Yakeen (1969)

Why yes, Dharamji, I will. I don’t even care what you want me to do.

I don’t know what it is about him, but for me watching a Dharmendra starrer is like getting a big warm hug. He is just so…comforting and solid, somehow (it’s no wonder he’s my fake-pretend bodyguard). So on a recent snowy night, missing my Dad and needing a sustaining presence, I rewatched Yakeen, one of my early favorite forays into 1960s Hindi cinema. It must be universally acknowledged that two Dharmendras are always better than one, even if one of them has blue eyes and orange hair.

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May 27, 2010

Tu Nahin Aur Sahi (1960)

One of things I find so fascinating about Hindi cinema is how many people there are who had the ability to carry a film no matter how dreary the story and their co-stars. That some of these people have been almost criminally ignored, by and large, is a subject for another day. I would not have made it through this one without the sparkly and mesmerizing presence of Minoo Mumtaz. She has some support in the presence of Anwar Hussain, a spectacular Helen dance and lovely songs from Ravi; but even Kum Kum can’t overcome her sanctimonious dialogues and Nishi has the dubious honor of playing one of the most hateful female characters ever. Pradeep Kumar is the nominal hero and I will leave that to speak for itself.

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January 7, 2010

Ek Se Badhkar Ek (1976)

Over the years, without realizing it, I have seen a great many films made by director-producer Brij. Mostly this is due to the fact that he made Excellent Use of Helen in most of them, and as many of you know Helen was one of my first obsessions-within-the-obsession for Hindi cinema. I have even written about six Brij movies on this blog, although my favorite ones (Yakeen and Night In London) haven’t made it yet, and except for Chori Mera Kaam I find that my reviews here have ranged from tepid approval to rather scathing disapproval.

I think at this point I am qualified to say this about Brij: he made films which have super-sweet potential and cracktastic detail (and Helen!) but often become just plain bewildering by the end, when he drives the plot off a cliff to its explosive death, or—to use a phrase coined by Todd and Beth—Death By WTF. It can be really disappointing. So I am very happy to report that he actually held this one together pretty well, and it is highly entertaining—you just have to pay close attention!

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December 16, 2009

Professor Pyarelal (1981)

Image and song courtesy of Third Floor Music.

So. For days now I’ve been prancing around singing “Prooooooo-feeeeeeeee-ssor PYARE-lal!” I can’t stop, and it’s seriously beginning to make me want to kill myself. Perhaps I can purge myself of it if I write the film up and share a shortened version of the title song here to move the voodoo along. Sorry—but it’s a last-ditch effort for some peace! Hoo Haa!

On this film’s plus side are that it is an homage to (some might say stolen from) Masalameister Manmohan Desai, and it contains my Beloved Shammi with the Always Utterly Fabulous Nadira by his side, villains Amjad Khan and Jeevan, flanked by an assortment of sideys like Sudhir, Yusuf Khan and Narendranath, Dharmendra (he may be older, but he is in FINE shape), Simi, whom I inexplicably love, and the catchy (sometimes too catchy, see above) tunes by Kalyanji Anandji.

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August 8, 2009

Afsana (1966)

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This is not a very good film. In fact, many might flat-out call it a bad one. But I was entertained thoroughly by the sheer power of Ashok Kumar’s awesome performance, an Abundance Of Helen, and the gaudy spectacle of Pradeep Kumar’s makeup (he wears more of it even than the ladies). Plus, a (way too) short appearance by my favorite band, Ted Lyons & His Cubs in the seventh film that I know about, so far. And with Helen, too—a first! I’m always happy to see them and hear their bahut achcha cha cha tunes. And so I found it easy to put up with the predictable plot, the dreary Pradeep-Padmini pairing, the day/night continuity issues, horrible editing (apparently a five year old was given responsibility) and so on. It is, when all is said and done, Dadamoni’s movie, and he is great in it.

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March 1, 2009

Mini-review: Bombay 405 Miles (1980)

bombay405miles3

This film shows in excruciating detail how not to:

  • Act
  • Direct
  • Write
  • Edit
  • Produce
  • Coordinate stunts
  • Donate blood
  • Care for a child

That is all.

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October 15, 2008

Kathputli (1971)

While writing my list of favorite Helen songs recently, I was reminded to look for this film and to my great joy I found it—yay, eBay! I have long loved Kalyanji-Anandji’s music from it; with a substantial part for Helen as well, and lovely Mumtaz starring, how could it possibly go wrong? Well, it doesn’t—and it does. It’s a very enjoyable film through the first half, but then it runs off the rails (more on that later). But the music is sublime, Mumtaz and Jeetendra are cute together and Helen gets to play a benevolent benefactor instead of her usual vampy bad-girl roles. There’s even an attempt to give a woman’s viewpoint its due! Ooh-la-la.

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July 27, 2008

Chori Mera Kaam (1975)

I was positively filled with glee when I saw this DVD. Shashi! Pran! Zeenat! Dadamoni! Thievery! Mid-70s! I was not disappointed. Truly fabulous funky music from Kalyanji Anandji adds to the fun. And in one of those “only in Hindi movies” coincidences, Anwar Hussein from Aaya Toofan was in this too. I can’t even count the times when I’ve noticed an actor in a film, and then he or she shows up in the next ten films I watch.

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February 6, 2008

Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi (1966)

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I was pretty happy to finally find this film on DVD since I’ve long loved OP Nayyar’s songs from it. Also it features three of my favorite people: Prithviraj Kapoor, Mumtaz and Helen. It’s beautifully shot in black and white and is very atmospheric (except for the omnipresent bright orange Time N Tune logo). The story takes some unexpected turns, the music is stunning, and overall the pace and the acting is good. But I ended up feeling that I should have liked this movie better than I actually did.

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