Posts tagged ‘Jalal Agha’

November 28, 2011

My ten favorite picnic songs

When I was a kid I dreaded the words “Let’s have a picnic!”. Picnics were nothing but an ordeal to get through: weather (the Beiges never let a little cold rain stop us), poison ivy, bugs, indifferent food. My father did not know or care to know how to barbecue so it was always sandwiches, which I could have just as easily eaten indoors where ants weren’t crawling on them.

Little did I dream in those days that halfway across the world beautiful people were picnicking in STYLE—even at night!

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March 2, 2010

Call Girl (1974)

I watched this film years ago as part of my early obsession with Helen, and didn’t fully appreciate then how very unusual it is for its time. It must be one of the earlier examples of the 1970s resurgence into “parallel” cinema and hard-hitting social commentary directed at the country’s youth. As you may have guessed from the title, the story revolves around a woman named Kamini (Zahira) who has been forced into a life of “high-class” prostitution by a society which offers few choices to a girl—on her own in the world, trying to support herself—who is raped by her wealthy employer. I would assume that in 1974 India it was considered (and probably criticized for being) “titillating” but to my western eyes thirty-six years later it is compellingly and realistically tawdry and sad, and an excellent attempt to illuminate the injustice inherent in a woman being made to pay an ongoing price for her own victimization. It is a film that has stuck in my memory—and revisiting it for this blog is long overdue (it’s not a movie I want to see over and over again, though: it is pretty grim).

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October 15, 2008

Kathputli (1971)

While writing my list of favorite Helen songs recently, I was reminded to look for this film and to my great joy I found it—yay, eBay! I have long loved Kalyanji-Anandji’s music from it; with a substantial part for Helen as well, and lovely Mumtaz starring, how could it possibly go wrong? Well, it doesn’t—and it does. It’s a very enjoyable film through the first half, but then it runs off the rails (more on that later). But the music is sublime, Mumtaz and Jeetendra are cute together and Helen gets to play a benevolent benefactor instead of her usual vampy bad-girl roles. There’s even an attempt to give a woman’s viewpoint its due! Ooh-la-la.

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June 17, 2008

Chorni (1982)

This film belongs to Neetu Singh: she is the central character in it, and she gives an excellent performance. Yes: it’s a film centered around a female protagonist! A rare treat indeed! Beyond that, it’s an excellent film which highlights social issues (plight of the poor, criminal reforms), has a fab retro vibe, and is just plain entertaining, by turns funny and moving.

I love this movie!

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