Posts tagged ‘Laxmi Chhaya’

May 26, 2010

Bela Bose fans, rejoice!

For my favorite expert Tom has done what no dvd manufacturer has even attempted (and if they had, his would still be better because he actually cares about things like video and audio quality)—he has made a Bela Bose compilation dvd! Tom has gone to great pains to do justice to Bela’s delightful career, in collaboration with fellow blogger and friend Ava. She has beautifully translated the unsubtitled (or badly subtitled) songs for those of us who don’t speak Hindi but know that the poetry in every song is something we sadly often miss out on. Bahut bahut shukriya Ava!

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March 26, 2010

My ten favorite Bela Bose songs

I have covered her contemporaries (and frequent colleagues) Helen and Laxmi Chhaya; now it is beautiful Bela’s turn! Many of my favorite Bela musical moments are not part of an actual film song. CID 909, a film that makes Excellent Use of Bela, has a perfect example of that in a scene where she is teaching a dance class. Cha Cha Cha is another—she and Helen dance together in several scenes (one, two—can you spot a very young Mac Mohan grooving along?) but not to an actual song included in the movie’s official soundtrack. Those are often some of the best moments in her films, although she is no slouch at item numbers either. She clearly just loves to be moving and has a wonderfully natural sense of rhythm. Her beauty is exotic: high cheekbones to die for, slanting eyes and full lips, plus a figure to kill for make her unforgettable (she sometimes reminds me of Sophia Loren).

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February 15, 2010

My filmi family portrait

I’ve said on these pages many times that actors in Hindi cinema become like family after you watch enough films over the years. The same faces, essentially playing the same roles…eventually you wake up one day and realize that they are as familiar to you as the people you grew up with (well, many of you DID grow up with them, you lucky souls!).

Anyway, I got to thinking the other day about what a Memsaab family photo might look like. Who would be in it, who would be cropped out. Of course, I would be at the center of it: me and my beloved Shammi, and little Gemma too—probably trying to lick Shammi’s hand. Sisters Laxmi Chhaya, Kumari Naaz, Bela Bose, and didi Helen would flank us, completely overdressed for the occasion. Moody and unstable brother Shyam Kumar would be off to the side, so that we could easily trim him out should he really go over the edge one day. Naughty-boy neighbors Ranjeet and Feroz Khan would lurk nearby, waiting for Shammi to turn his back so they could wink at me and maybe cop a feel. Faithful family retainer Nazir Kashmiri would water flowers with the “help” of dog Moti; but horses Raja and Badal would be absent, off grazing in the meadow and keeping an eye out for that rascal dacoit Vinod Khanna, who is constantly trying to kidnap me. Which is why Shammi hired Dharmendra as my bodyguard (he’s trusting, is my Shammi).

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January 25, 2010

Feel the love! Ted Lyons & His Cubs

Most of you know that I’m always on the lookout for Ted Lyons & His Cubs in the background of any fabulous number in a mid-sixties film. Whenever I see that name on the drum kit, I know the music and dancing will be outstanding! Plus, the band members themselves perform so energetically that they always add an extra fillip to the organized chaos on the dance floor.

So you can imagine my glee when Ted’s son Steve contacted me here over the weekend. (*I was thrilled!*) He also very graciously sent me the above photograph of the band (Ted is on drums; you can enlarge the picture by clicking on it).  Then yesterday I heard from The Man (Terence “Ted” Lyons) himself. He told me that he also had a small role in the Mehmood film Bhoot Bungla:

…you will see me [as] a leader of a bad gang…there [is] a blind old man playing a violin on the street begging for money…I get hold of it and Mehmood is with good gang going past and he orders me to return the violin to the old man…I [say] what [will you] do?…he [says] with action that he [will] break my hands, so as a bad lad I raise the violin and break it then throw it to the beggar, then Mehmood approaches me and raises his hand [which] starts a dance sequence.

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January 15, 2010

Mere Huzoor (1968)

The Raaj Kumar love continues here with this lovely Muslim social drama about marriage and gender relations. A big thank-you to my friend Raja and his friend Bharat for getting the dvd all the way from India to my doorstep! Films about women’s status in society and the choices they are given (or not) often disturb me or just plain make me angry. This one disappointed me—it came this close to being a true winner, and then failed—but was better than most from this era all the same (I’ll talk more about it with spoilers at the end).

Mere Huzoor is justly famed for its songs by Shankar Jaikishan, and happily were also subtitled as the lyrics (Hasrat Jaipuri) are lovely too. A big reason I love Muslim socials are the sets and costumes, and they don’t let me down here either! Mala is pretty good until she lets it all hang out at the end (which is highly entertaining all the same), Jeetendra is handsome although bland; it is Raaj Kumar who makes this worth watching though. He is wonderful as the misunderstood and melancholic Nawab who lives life on his own terms. He is such a strangely attractive man, odd wig and all!

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December 23, 2009

Teesri Manzil (1966)

This is one of my favorite films: I love it unconditionally and without reservation and, needless to say, without a shred of objectivity. I will never forget the joy with which I first watched it, a joy that has never diminished, and the love it gave me for Shammi (also undiminished). Shammi Shammi Shammi! I had seen him in a few other films and liked him okay; but this—this sent me tumbling head over heels, never to recover. His charm and chemistry with Asha Parekh stunned me (and so did she). This is also the first Vijay Anand film I saw, and of course I’ve gone on to love a lot more of his work, too. And can I say any more at this point about my Helen worship? I think not.

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December 3, 2009

Bluff Master (1963)

For all the Manmohan Desai and Shammi films I’ve written up, it’s kind of criminal that I’m only now getting to one of their collaborations. Better late than never, right? And this is a much better film than their second venture together, Budtameez (1966). In fact, this is a film to which Shammi brought his acting “A” game. He is just great in it, giving a realistic and three-dimensional portrayal of a slick and charming con man who has some hard lessons to learn. Saira Banu is his love interest, and although she’s not my favorite, she is lovely to look at here and, as with Junglee, a good foil for Shammi. Mr Desai himself shows little sign of the unrestrained lunacy he was to bring to cinema in the 70s, and has directed a movie with brisk pacing, interesting characters and an entertaining—if predictable—story. The songs, by Kalyanji Anandji with the able assistance of Laxmikant Pyarelal, are just fabulous too.

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June 8, 2009

Gauri (1968)

gauri_gasp

From the DVD cover: “the saga of an Indian woman…who helps her parents before marriage, and gives her all to her husband after marriage.” I should have run screaming, right? Especially since said Indian woman is also blind (and played by Nutan)? But Mumtaz, Laxmi Chhaya and the young Sanjeev Kumar are also in the cast so I decided to take a chance. Alas! it is every bit as bad as the DVD cover promised. I had to turn the whole thing into a drinking game: Greedy manipulative father figure lies to his “sons”? Drink! Blind woman weeps helplessly at her fate? Drink! Son sacrifices his own happiness (and that of his beloved) for no good reason? Drink! Blind woman gets sight back and devotes self to fake husband who spurns her? Drink!

Drink! Drink!! Driiink!!!!

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June 6, 2009

Raat Aur Din (1967)

raataurdin

After reading a fine review of this movie over at Dusted Off, I had to see it. Nargis’ last film! Young Feroz Khan! Laxmi Chhaya! Ted Lyons & His Cubs! And truly it is an interesting and fun filmi noir, dominated by a fine performance from Nargis as a woman with a split personality. The music by Shankar Jaikishan is absolutely fabulous. My favorite song from the film is the lively “Awara Ae Mere Dil”—it’s going to be in my head for a few days, I can already tell. It’s picturized on the lovely Laxmi (it’s one of my picks for her top 10 songs) with my favorite band providing the music. The main quibble I have with the film is that it’s a Criminal Waste of Young Handsome Feroz—but hey, at least he’s there!

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May 2, 2009

Panch Ratan (1965)

panchratan_candy

I couldn’t resist this film when I saw it: Randhawa! I figured Dara Singh’s brother (and Mumtaz’s brother-in-law) would not star in a film that didn’t have men in tights wrestling with each other. I did not expect (and did not get) world-class acting, but I did hope for a fairly entertaining swashbuckler and enough large half-naked men grappling with each other to keep me happy. And in that, the film does deliver in spades. Randhawa is even more wooden than his brother (and somehow less charismatic), but he is equally excellent eye candy. The story is as cartoonish and silly as anyone could hope for, and the songs (by Anu Malik’s underrated father Sardar Malik) are oodles of fun. Madhumati and our beloved Laxmi Chhaya provide dancing entertainment—that in itself is worth the price of admission.

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