Posts tagged ‘Hrishikesh Mukherjee’

May 17, 2012

Naukri (1978)

This movie is what would happen if Hrishikesh Mukherjee somewhat absent-mindedly directed the first half and then handed the reins over to Brij so that he could take the film off the rails in his usual bombastic style. It started off in rare style: I was willing to live with the fact that our pre-Partition setting of 1944 looked exactly like 1978 (Gaudy Clothing, Bad Hair); I even found Raj Kapoor’s presence delightful! In fact the performances in this were quite wonderful, all of them. It’s great fun to see Nadira, Tom Alter, Protima Devi and the only thing that kept it from completely self-destructing finally was the acting.

When the Curse of the Second Half hit, it hit hard. From a tentatively sweet Capra-esque story about regret and living life to its fullest, it ballooned with over-ambitious ideas until we were left watching a hapless director and his writers grabbing at straws to wind things up. Overdone tropes and ham-fisted preaching did not accomplish the job satisfactorily, I am sad to report.

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August 24, 2010

Tarun Bose (Part 5): Favourite directors

My father was born on September 14, 1928; he joined the film industry in July 1957 and passed away in March 1972. He spent only 14 and half years in the industry—a very short time—however during this brief period he had the opportunity to do some excellent roles and had the good fortune to work with some of the best directors of the industry.

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April 18, 2010

Mem-Didi (1961)

Is this film famous and I the only person who was unaware of it until now? Amazing performances and great direction from Hrishikesh Mukherjee place it far above the usual, and the story is told with such exquisite economy of effort that it flies along, yet you feel at the end as if you have known and loved the characters for an entire lifetime. David and Jayant play Bahadur and Shera respectively—a pair of goondas strongly reminiscent of Munna and Circuit with their warm-hearted, funny and sometimes misguided largesse—who befriend an older woman (Lalita Pawar) whose life has been one of hardship and toil, but whose spirit has remained strong and pure. Add a very young and pretty Tanuja to the mix, along with Salil Chowdhury’s sparkling songs (including a hilarious duet between Tanuja and a stray dog!) and the result is a heartwarming and comic tour de force.

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September 19, 2009

Do Dil (1965)

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At last! I have seen a film where I liked Biswajeet! He suits his role here perfectly, and the movie is good fun despite nothing really new story-wise. The music is wonderful, by Hemant Kumar, and it co-stars the lovely Rajshree, the ever-elegant Durga Khote, baby-faced Mumtaz and PRAN. It also illustrates the value of a good director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee. He takes the somewhat hackneyed fairy-tale plot and lifts it up a notch by getting good performances out of his actors (keeping some of them *cough* Mehmood *cough* under better control than is often the case) and keeping everything moving along at a good pace (he edited the film too). Plus, the locations in Jaipur and the Amber Fort add authenticity and are beautifully photographed, which is a visual treat.

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October 8, 2008

Bombay Superstar

In 1973, the BBC documentary series Man Alive aired an episode about the then-reigning superstar of Hindi cinema, Rajesh Khanna, called “Bombay Superstar.” Thanks to my friend and fellow Rajesh fan Asli Jat (who also wrote a helpful synopsis of it for me) I managed to finally get a rare look at it: a copy of a VHS tape digitally converted several times, so quality is not optimal, but it’s easily interesting enough to make it worth seeing.

Reporter Jack Pizzey went to India and managed to interview the reclusive star, along with directors Hrishikesh Mukherjee and J. Om Prakash, actors Mumtaz and Shashi Kapoor, and others. Footage includes his surprise wedding to Dimple Kapadia, the Kashmir location shoot of Aap Ki Kasam and the film premiere of Daag. Besides being a profile of Rajesh, it’s also a fascinating look at the politics and power plays inside the industry, and the struggle it takes to stay at the top.

I’ve included some audio clips so that you can have the pleasure of hearing these legendary film personalities speak, along with some (very poor) screen shots of the program.

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September 7, 2008

Namak Haraam (1973)

When people roll their eyes and scoff at “Bollywood” this is the kind of film it’s nice to have on hand to prove all their misconceptions wrong. It is a powerful social drama with great performances from everyone and a tightly written (Gulzar) and directed (Hrishikesh Mukherjee) story. There’s not a minute wasted. It’s sad—and you know I hate sad—but it’s a film I’m glad I’ve seen and would heartily recommend, though my swollen eyes may never recover. Wah!

Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan are paired again as best friends after Anand, and are superb. And Om Shivpuri (who is inextricably linked in my brain to evil Mr. Oberoi in Disco Dancer) delivers in a small but pivotal role as an unscrupulous businessman. The core issue—socialism as a cure for the plight of the middle and lower classes (and a responsibility of the wealthy) still seems as relevant today as it was thirty-five years ago.

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May 7, 2008

Kissise Na Kehna (1983)

OMG! One of the sweetest films ever. Even without the misleading puppy on the title screen—is he peeing on the striped bellbottoms?—you really don’t need a puppy when Farooq Shaikh and Utpal Dutt are in the movie. Big melting brown eyes everywhere. Not to mention Hrishikesh Mukherjee directing!

Throw in beautiful Deepti Naval and funny Saeed Jaffrey, and a cute story with passable non-disco Bappi Lahiri songs and you’ve got at least as much entertainment as a lap full of puppies—and the same gooey warm fuzzy feeling too.

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December 31, 2007

Sanjh Aur Savera (1964)

A weepy melodrama starring Meena Kumari at her sacrificial-lamb finest, somehow made bearable by the presence of Guru Dutt and director Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s light touch with what could be (okay, IS) very heavy going.

Here’s our first look at Gauri (Meena Kumari), accompanied by the plaintive wailing of violins:

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I steel myself for a soap opera where duty, honor and tradition mean that everybody suffers, especially Gauri.

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September 20, 2007

Trivia time #2

These scenes are all from one movie. What movie is it?

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The prize (which is nothing more than the satisfaction of being the winner!) goes to Nina for knowing that this movie is Guddi (1971) *ing Jaya Bhaduri, Dharmendra (playing himself) and a host of guest actors. A truly wonderful movie from Hrishikesh Mukherjee!

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