Posts tagged ‘Ghulam Haider’

July 7, 2012

Shaheed (1948)

Most of you know by now that I am not terribly enamored of “earnest” movies that bludgeon the audience (i.e. me) repeatedly with trite patriotic messages. I feared this film would be like that but happily I was wrong. It is very enjoyable: part history lesson, part celebration of newly independent India, part debate whether violence is ever justified or not—still a relevant topic. Mostly, though, it’s a film about relationships, the most powerful one at hand being that between a young freedom fighter (Dilip Kumar) and his father (Chandramohan) with British loyalties. The title Shaheed (Martyr) can be applied to just about every character in the film, but the performances are, if sometimes a bit melodramatic, always heartfelt. I did get an excellent Chandramohan Nahiiin! Face but that can only be called a bonus. With eyes like that, how can he help it? The characters are well-drawn and complex, and there are touches of humor throughout to lighten what could otherwise be (okay, IS) a pretty depressing plot. And the chemistry between Dilip Kumar and Kamini Kaushal is very sweet, too.

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May 25, 2008

Humayun (1945)

This bloodthirsty Mughal historical directed by Mehboob Khan is replete with bristling mustaches, glaring eyes and more talk of swords, vengeance and honor than you can shake a stick at. The sets and costumes are sumptuous, and the histrionics entertaining, if somewhat theatrical and drawn out at times.

Cecil B DeMille apparently wrote in a letter to Mehboob Khan that this film was “a masterpiece of lighting composition.” It is, it is! And Nargis was only sixteen when she starred in it; it was her third film as an adult.

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