Posts tagged ‘Kanhaiyalal’

August 20, 2015

Aurat (1967)

aurat_title

As many of you know, I tend to avoid films with titles like “Woman” or “Daughter-in-Law” or “Sister” or “Bride” like the plague they generally are. But after my dear friend and devoted Rajesh fan Suhan sent me a link to one of the songs from this, I investigated further and discovered that, besides a very young Rajesh, the cast included a very young Feroz Khan, the lovely Nazima, PRAN! and a host of other stalwarts (Padmini, Lalita Pawar, Leela Chitnis, Mohan Chhoti, OP Ralhan, Baby Rani—OH Baby Rani. How I love/hate you). I figured with these people and the lovely music by Ravi maybe I could survive the Red Mist that I would likely be afflicted with, and I am so glad I took the chance.

I found it unexpectedly sweet and funny, and if the story went a bit overboard in places…well, such is life. Plus, no Red Mist at all! Or hardly at all. While it is certainly true that Padmini sacrifices early and often, her actions make sense and she is no weeping helpless pushover.

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April 8, 2012

Mini-review: Malhar (1951)

Shammi’s pain and suffering (much of it self-inflicted) is nothing compared to sitting through this movie, I can assure you, and that is saying something.

November 13, 2011

Biradari (1966)

I really wanted to like this movie—Faryal as a heroine! The Shash as her hero! Lalita Pawar! Pran!—but I was forced to ponder these things instead:

  • Why is Faryal the heroine so much less likable than Faryal the vamp?
  • Is it possible for Prithviraj Kapoor’s sons to pull off being “poor”? (no)
  • How many wimpy roles did Shashi play in the Sixties anyway?
  • Is it better to ignore psychological issues than to completely eff them up?
  • Is there anything funnier than absolutely literal subtitles?
  • Is Lalita Pawar Awesome No Matter What? (yes)
  • Is Pran the Most Suave Villain Ever? (yes again)
  • Have I really seen two movies in a row where Lots of Mehmood wasn’t Too Much?

*Sigh* So much goodness squandered on a story full of trite saccharine platitudes (if you are rich, be kind to the poor; they are people too!) which descends finally into that melodrama I so dread, where the females in the story are either blamed or worshipped and lose any bit of individuality and humanity they might have had.

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August 9, 2010

Hum Paanch (1980)

(Which shall henceforth be known to me as Hum PUNCH.)

I guess I should begin by talking about the really interesting cast of this film: Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Raj Babbar, Amrish Puri, Mithun Chakraborty, Deepti Naval, Sanjeev Kumar, AK Hangal and Kanhaiyalal. Crazy!! My eyes got wider and wider as the credits rolled by. Halfway into the film I scribbled on my notepad: I love this movie! And I did! It was thought-provoking, interesting, sensitively handled, well-acted and gorgeously photographed on location in Karnataka.

But then it went off the rails, combining revenge masala with religion-mythology in a recipe which I am certain my father would tell my mother to go ahead and throw away. Thoughtful became jingoistic, interesting turned to predictable and cliched, sensitive handling and good acting were tossed out the window in favor of bulging eyeballs and sequinned jumpsuits. What a shame!

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September 10, 2009

Jeet (1949)

jeet_womanpower

One of the best things about Hindi movies for me is that they are a window into the growing pains—and hopes and joys—of a brand new nation. (I’m talking mostly about north India only since I don’t watch south Indian movies yet, but still. It’s there, in front of you.) Most cinema is reflective of its origins and time to some extent of course; but the timing of India’s independence, and the fledgling country’s tenacious adherence to specifically Indian traditions and issues, makes Hindi cinema particularly so (this is also true of the pre-independence period, although in a more veiled way). For this reason, I try to slog my way through the 1940s, although I find films from the era sometimes a little too melodramatic and preachy, and a little too song-saturated, to make it easy.

But I really enjoyed this one! It’s feminist! Chock-full of woman power, seriously! Sure, it’s heavy-handed (and laughably idealistic if one is a wee bit cynical), but it has such charm and youthful optimism (that same unknown cynic might call it naivete) that I got sucked right in. Plus, the incredibly young Dev Anand and Madan Puri are so…incredibly young!

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May 4, 2009

Oonche Log (1965)

oonchelog

Now and then a film comes along that gives the viewer true insight into the time and place in which it is set. I’m not talking about flowered go-go boots or violently patterned wallpaper here, but about a look at the generation that is passing and the one taking its place; about moving forward and looking back, and setting a course for the future. Most of the tributes to Feroz Khan that I’ve read in the week since his death have mentioned Oonche Log as the movie that established him in his career, and I can certainly see why. He holds his own with ease opposite two established and charismatic actors, Ashok Kumar and Raaj Kumar, in a complex and layered story requiring skillful, nuanced performances (there are very few characters).

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August 6, 2008

Apna Desh (1972)

I am feeling the love for Rajesh Khanna (especially paired with Mumtaz) here these days. Better late than never! Apna Desh is total paisa vasool, as well. It’s two distinctly different but equally good films for the price (and viewing time) of one! The first is a solid social drama about corruption with a bit of romance thrown in; the second a totally crack-tastic masala film complete with disguises, blackface, fabulous outfits and sets, and two of RD Burman’s (and Asha Bhosle’s) most glorious songs.

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July 1, 2008

Jeevan Mrityu (1970)

If you are entertained by a crackling great story, brisk direction which keeps things moving along, and a cast of stalwarts who give good performances, you will like this movie. The central theme explores the importance of honor over money—it’s hackneyed, and we are beaten over the head with it, but the plot is engrossing. Love, betrayal, vengeance…be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster ride. Get your hankies out!

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