Posts tagged ‘Geeta Bali’

February 18, 2009

Milap (1955)

milap21

Raj Khosla’s first venture into directing is a solid entertainer, although apparently it failed at the box office. The quality of the DVD was lacking, probably due to the source material—it was by turns really dark, overexposed or blurry, and there were definitely some scenes missing, but nonetheless it kept me in my seat! I love that Khosla populates his films with strong and believable female characters, and this is no exception. Lovely and talented Geeta Bali is the heart and soul of this movie, but she’s very ably supported by Dev Anand minus most of his mannerisms, and Memsaab favorite KN Singh as an unscrupulous (but suave and sophisticated, natch!) lawyer.

Khosla assisted Guru Dutt (another Memsaab favorite) and his influence is seen here too—beautifully shot songs, atmospheric use of light and dark (although hampered a bit by time’s wear and tear). And Khosla’s habit of “framing” his shots is here too, although not as sophisticated as in his later films.

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January 6, 2009

Dulari (1949)

dulari_mirror

Most Hindi films from the 1940s are pretty melodramatic. Not only is the acting theatrical and stagey, but the dialogues are overwrought and repetitive (so that you don’t miss the point, I guess) and there are 10-15 songs sprinkled throughout at the rate of one every ten minutes (or so it seems). Characters are self-sacrificing and martyred, or unreasonably demanding; and there’s often some sort of love triangle ending with at least one person’s death (usually Dilip Kumar’s character). All this┬ácan make the movie heavy going, but at least the plots tend to be fairly straightforward and easy to follow. And if you know what to expect they always have something fun to offer (like Hindi films in every decade!).

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April 28, 2008

Daud (1997)

This weekend I decided to take a trip down memory lane and revisit an early, somewhat guilty, pleasure: Daud (tagline: Fun on the Run). It’s probably one of the first fifty Hindi films I saw; I bought it for Sanjay Dutt whom I had just discovered, and I really enjoyed it but haven’t watched it since. All I really remembered about it was the crackling chemistry between Sanjay Dutt and Urmila Matondkar, and the wacked-out musical numbers.

All that is still there; but now, six or so years and hundreds of Hindi films later there is so much more too!

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July 9, 2007

Bara-Dari (1955)

Since I couldn’t find a single synopsis of this film’s story online, I figure I might as well tell it. So reader beware, because I am giving away practically the entire plot.

The movie starts with a woman visiting her husband in jail. He is a Rajput lord from the town of Ajaygarh named Ranvir, imprisoned by the King because he refuses to pay tax. She pleads with him to compromise with the King for the sake of their unborn child. He says that he will not. Cut to palace, with Ranvir in chains before the King and court. Ranvir gives an impassioned speech about being a Rajput and not bowing to some King even though they were formerly friends, blah blah, and although the King pardons him, he is beheaded by the King’s army commander Karan Singh.

A few months later, Ranvir’s widow gives birth to a son (Ajit) at the same time as the Queen gives birth to Prince Vijay. The Chief Minister of the court consults an astrologer, who reads the Prince’s chart and declares that he must be kept away from the King until he is eight years old. The King agrees but says that the prince must be raised by someone of “equal status” (more Rajput pride) and the CM says that the only woman suitable is Ranvir’s widow. They take the prince to Ranvir’s widow and after some argument she takes him in and raises him with her own son, because:

Ma hai

Surprise!

The boys grow up together as brothers until the prince reaches the age of eight, when the Chief Minister comes and retrieves him and promises that the town of Ajaygarh will no longer be raided or taxed by the King’s army. Tearful goodbyes, Ajit’s friend Gauri comforts him; and segue into Ajit and Gauri ten or fifteen years later singing a song and obviously in love. Of course, their peaceful existence is about to come to an end.

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