Posts tagged ‘John Cawas’

June 22, 2012

Miss Frontier Mail (1936)

It seems fitting that this is the post to celebrate my five years of blogging! I never dreamed on June 22, 2007 when I created Memsaabstory that it would become such a big part of my life and be the catalyst for so much learning and so many wonderful and rewarding friendships. I never dreamed that people would embrace the insanity that leads me to do things like this and this and this (and this, okay I’m stopping now), and I certainly had no idea how generously people would share their treasures with me. This is one such gift.

Miss Frontier Mail is utterly charming, made with the usual Wadia enthusiasm and attention to loony detail. The “Indian Pearl White” is certainly the focus, but she is more than ably supported by gangsters who balk at being dastardly, a fearsome spy-movie “Boss” precursor and his go-getter female assistant, futuristic gadgets, thrilling fights and chases, a banana-loving buffoon and so much more. It often feels very much like a silent movie, starting off with only music and no dialogue until seven or eight minutes in; title pages are interspersed throughout, the acting is exaggerated, and you can often hear the camera whirring. Like the Frontier Mail train itself, it picks up speed quickly and we’re off on a rollicking good ride as Fearless Nadia battles comic-book villains between dainty sips of tea in her fabulous Art Deco house. It is a literal and figurative rush of trains, motorcars, motorcycles and even an airplane!

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February 26, 2012

The Jungle Princess (1942)

As one of the first—and still one of the few—women to specialize in onscreen kick-assery, it’s no secret that Fearless Nadia is one of my idols (and I’m not alone in that by any means). So when she is set down in the heart of the Dark Continent with ooga-booga natives, pith-helmeted villains, handsome big game hunter John Cawas, and a loyal and clever lion named Shankar, the little African heart of this Memsaab goes pitter-patter. It’s also The Big Muscle Tussle month over at this site, where I am a rather unproductive member but whose other more participatory writers I cannot recommend highly enough.

There is quite a lot of muscle on display in this, and not all of it belongs to Nadia!

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June 20, 2009

Jungle Ka Jawahar (1953)

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There are only a few things that I will watch without subtitles when they aren’t available in subtitled format: early Shammi films, really really old films (from the 30s, for example), old B-movies (if Helen and Dara Singh are in them), and—Fearless Nadia.

Imagine if you can the great joy I felt at finding this Nadia film on VCD. Thanks much Moserbaer! In 1953 Nadia would have been 45 years old and she’s paired with an equally older John Cawas. But of course young romance is not the point of a Nadia film! Nadia herself is, and she’s in great form here still: swinging through trees, riding on elephants, diving off cliffs and punching bad guys. This is all accomplished against a backdrop of outdoor jungle scenery and indoor cracktastic madness courtesy of Babubhai Mistry.

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March 17, 2009

Char Dervesh (1964)

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When a film’s credits list Homi Wadia as director and producer; JBH Wadia as screenplay writer; John Cawas (Nadia’s frequent co-star) as assistant director; Babubhai Mistry as art director; and a cast which includes Feroz Khan, Kumari Naaz, and Dog Romer—I am guaranteed to love it. When Todd reviewed it over at D4k I felt actual despair at not having it myself. Luckily I have since fixed that, and this weekend was able to wallow in the sumptuous, colorful, cracktastic goodness that is Char Dervesh.

Feroz looks like he is about 18 years old, and he is faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles: a two-headed monster, a lecherous sorcerer, greedy brothers and a lazy genie (with full support from the Genie’s Union), among others. He is aided by the love of two beautiful princesses, a diminutive sidekick and his clever canine in a rollicking, humorous Arabian Nights tale with really lovely songs by GS Kohli throughout.

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November 5, 2008

Toofani Tarzan (1937)

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It’s historic! No, I’m not talking about the election (although: YEAH BABY!!!!); I’m talking about this fabulously campy Wadia Movietones flick featuring an Indian Tarzan, his (literally) lunatic mother, cannibals, the nectar of immortality, Dada the ape man, and more animals than you can shake a stick at (including lions, tigers, bears—oh my—hyenas, elephants, crocodiles, etc). It may also give us a first in Hindi cinema history: a dog named Moti.

And before I do anything else, I must thank my new BFF and faithful reader Michael for sending it—and more treasures that you will be reading about—to me. Thanks Mike!!

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