Posts tagged ‘Devika Rani’

May 10, 2012

My ten favorite anipal songs

This post is dedicated to my dear friend and song blogger extraordinaire Atul, who tells hilarious and sweet stories about his own menagerie.

Most of you are familiar with the Memdogs (little scamps) and beloved Gemma before them; and many of you have animals in your own lives who are as precious to you as anyone. One of my very favorite things about Hindi movies is how so many of them contain anipals, as Todd puts it. Filmi animals are usually more intelligent and capable than the people around them (eg Khoon Bhari Maang‘s Raja the horse and Jumbo the dog, Dharam-Veer‘s Sheroo the Wonder Bird, etc.), but they generally speaking don’t have nearly their fair share of song time. I mean, have you ever seen a dacoit serenading his smart and loyal horse? (If you have, TELL ME.)

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September 15, 2011

Karma (1933)

Finally I get to see Himansu Rai and Devika Rani paired together (although they aren’t very happy for much of it) in this early English-language talkie, a collaboration between Rai and an English movie studio. Unfortunately the audio and video in my copy is completely out of synch, but I persevered because the visuals are so great and at least I could understand what was being said, even if it was coming out of the wrong mouth. The ending is also very abrupt; I am not sure if it was due to damage or what, but you can’t have everything.

I gather that the film is mostly famous for having a very long kissing scene although no one ever mentions that Himansu Rai’s character is completely unconscious through it.

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February 8, 2011

The Light of Asia (Prem Sanyas) (1925)

Oh, what a treasure this film is! It brought the light and beauty of 1920s India into my cold snowy winter, and cheered me considerably. I can only hope that it will someday soon be available in gorgeous professionally embellished dvd form like its sibling A Throw of Dice. The movie itself is more a series of staged vignettes than what we now consider a motion picture, although there is plenty of pageantry: shambling elephants, prancing horses, trotting camels, and crowds of people. And if the story is a bit over-simplified (adapted from Edwin Arnold’s 1897 epic poem by the same name about the life of Prince Gautama, the Buddha) it doesn’t really matter to me. This is a rare glimpse of history indeed, and a visual and creative feast.

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March 20, 2010

Almost there…

As I find the time to watch a few films (I have been going through some serious withdrawal!) and the energy to write them up, please visit Nivedita Ramakrishnan’s blog at Passion For Cinema, in particular her recent write up of the 1933 English-language film Karma with Devika Rani and her husband Himansu Rai (the only film apparently in which they co-starred—with a steamy kiss!—and his last as an actor). She has uploaded a couple of videos from the film, my favorite being the first one where Himansu discusses the whereabouts of his lady love (hiding nearby) with a squirrel (I’m planning to show it to Gemma)! Her YouTube channel is one of my favorites too.

Lovers of antique Hindi cinema zindabad!!!

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October 30, 2009

Achhut Kanya (1936)

achhut_kanya

First of all, I would like to thank Muz for sending this to me. He has also provided me with Pukar, Sikandar and Raj Nartaki (review upcoming), and thank goodness people like him appreciate Hindi cinema history enough to preserve it when they can. I appreciate his sharing these films with me more than words can ever express, and the same goes for the other friends I’ve made here who share their rare treasures with me too. Bless all of you!

This film from Bombay Talkies is widely written about as an early classic. It was a huge hit, and launched Ashok Kumar into stardom (albeit a bit reluctantly!). It’s also my first look at Devika Rani onscreen. Unfortunately there aren’t subtitles, and I think a lot of this film’s impact comes from its dialogues; they went way over my head. The basic plot is easy to follow, but there is a lot of “room talk” (or maybe “porch talk” is better here) which drives the action. Even without understanding the dialogues, though, I found this film ineffably sad. Though it is 73 years old, it is unfortunately just as relevant today with its portrayal of prejudice and intolerance. Will we never learn anything from our mistakes?

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