Posts tagged ‘David’

April 14, 2010

Suraj (1966)

If you are in the mood for a cleverly plotted swashbuckler a la mode indienne, reach for this one. The dialogues are written by Abrar Alvi, always a good sign, and the screenplay by Javar Sitaraman; the story is intricate, entertaining and witty. If Rajendra Kumar and Ajit are a *little* too old to be playing men in their twenties, it doesn’t really matter and they look just fine opposite Vijayanthimala. She is beautiful, even sharing lots of scenes with the younger and equally gorgeous Mumtaz, and she shows us all once again that GIRL CAN DANCE. Amazing. Shankar Jaikishan’s music is catchy and pretty, and the host of supporting character actors all seem to be having fun—Jagirdar especially, as the dacoit Ram Singh. Plus, a loyal horse and clever elephant companions: what’s not to love, really?

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January 15, 2010

Mere Huzoor (1968)

The Raaj Kumar love continues here with this lovely Muslim social drama about marriage and gender relations. A big thank-you to my friend Raja and his friend Bharat for getting the dvd all the way from India to my doorstep! Films about women’s status in society and the choices they are given (or not) often disturb me or just plain make me angry. This one disappointed me—it came this close to being a true winner, and then failed—but was better than most from this era all the same (I’ll talk more about it with spoilers at the end).

Mere Huzoor is justly famed for its songs by Shankar Jaikishan, and happily were also subtitled as the lyrics (Hasrat Jaipuri) are lovely too. A big reason I love Muslim socials are the sets and costumes, and they don’t let me down here either! Mala is pretty good until she lets it all hang out at the end (which is highly entertaining all the same), Jeetendra is handsome although bland; it is Raaj Kumar who makes this worth watching though. He is wonderful as the misunderstood and melancholic Nawab who lives life on his own terms. He is such a strangely attractive man, odd wig and all!

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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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October 11, 2009

Char Dil Char Rahen (1959)

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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!

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February 9, 2009

Main Sunder Hoon (1971)

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Pointless plot provides framework for awesome songs and cute star cameos: that pretty much sums this film up. It is a Mehmood vehicle, and although Mehmood does his best—and provides some funny moments—the fabulously picturized Shankar Jaikishan songs, peppered by short appearances by stars like Waheeda Rehman and Rajendranath in a “behind-the-scenes” look at movie-making, are what made it worth sitting through. I got this film on the strength of one of its songs which Richard over at Dances On The Footpath┬áhad posted. I defy anyone to watch it and then NOT spend the rest of the day bursting forth with “Naach meri jaan—fa-taa-fat!”

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September 18, 2008

Jhuk Gaya Aasman (1968)

As you might know, I love Hindi remakes of old Hollywood films. This is a copy of Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) which has also been remade a few times in Hollywood; the version that I’ve seen is Heaven Can Wait (1978) with Warren Beatty. The subject is perfect for a Hindi film, actually; reincarnation is a no-brainer, and since identical people who aren’t related is a common occurrence, our hero gets put into an identical body. So convenient! I would have liked this more had it starred Shammi and Asha (I know: duh) instead of Rajendra Kumar and Saira Banu (who honestly were just fine); but it’s thoroughly entertaining with lovely songs courtesy of Shankar Jaikishan, and a strong supporting cast of character actors and goofy Rajendranath.

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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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July 21, 2008

Double Cross (1973)

Regulars here know by now that I adore Vijay Anand. So I was very happy to find him circa 1972 in a film with a title that promised some intrigue and action, and a very young Rekha costarring. Well, the early 70s style did not disappoint, including a groovy RD Burman background score and songs. Rekha did not disappoint, either. But.

The story made no sense at all until the end, when it copped out completely. What a mess. I expect more from my Vijay (he didn’t direct, but he did write the screenplay and star). My notes on the film are mostly scribbles along these lines: Her belt! That vest! WTF??? OMG rekha so fat! Green walls! Huh? Those shoes!

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