My friend and film encyclopedia Arunkumar Deshmukh contacted me a few days ago with the news that he had met family members of “yesteryears” actor and singer Parshuram. He was offering to write a guest post about this largely forgotten but long-time contributor to Indian cinema, who began his career in 1937, in V. Shantaram’s Duniya Na Maane (and Kunku, the Marathi version) and worked steadily for three more decades plus.
Naturally I jumped at this generosity! A big thank you to the family of Parshuram, and of course to Arunji.
This movie is a real treat despite its occasionally heavy-handed preaching (and at least it is preaching I can agree with!). First, it has lovely music by Ravi with lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi (including one of my first favorite Hindi film songs, the Rafi classic “Yeh Wadiyan Yeh Fizayen”); second, it has a young and *very sparkly* Tanuja; and third, it is set against an historic backdrop —the annexation of individual princely states by the new Indian government. It’s a film typical of star Sunil Dutt in its idealism and progressive message, and if Nanda is a little weepy for my taste in it she is balanced out by Tanuja. Ashok Kumar is the Maharajah their father, a strict and conservative man who is determined to keep his kingdom and privileged lifestyle intact.
Somehow the internet got the idea that Raaj Kumar is in it too, but he is nowhere to be seen although someone named Rajkumar appears in the lesser credits.
There is a lot to appreciate in this Bimal Roy production (Moni Bhattacharjee directs), but for me anyway not a lot to LOVE. It is meticulously crafted; I enjoyed the settings and portrayal of life in small-town India, but everything is so picture-postcard perfect that it began to get on my nerves (I like a bit of “messy”). Even the war scenes in the second half feel far too carefully arranged. In the long run, it somehow lacks the heart to really be a classic although it certainly looks like one; but it’s more a coffee-table book of pretty photographs than an engrossing movie. It didn’t help that the painstaking care taken over the characterizations, photography, songs and script was all in service of a complete downer of a plot! But I didn’t mind the gloomy story as much as I missed that intangible sense of life—it just wasn’t there.
As a gori mem who enjoys her gigantic icy-cold Kingfishers every day while in India (and “several” glasses of wine every other evening), I do love a good song about the devil’s potion! Inspired by Dusted Off’s post on the same subject, I have changed one of her rules: I’m including fake-pretend drinking because it’s a fascinating (to me anyway) artifact of Hindi movies. If you need to chase someone off, or get them to hate you—pretend to have a drink! (I would be lonely and unwanted indeed!) Of course some would point out that *most* movie drinking is “pretend” unless you are Dharmendra. I am only including songs from movies I’ve seen, where I loved the song and the performance and picturization of it. Liking the film is a plus too, but not strictly necessary.
This is an absolutely charming, quintessentially 1960s film with a cast of stalwarts and the ever-charming and delicious Shashi at his “aw-shucks” best. The story centers around two Muslim families, which makes for lovely fashions for Nirupa Roy and Manorama who play the matriarchs of each. Nanda is styling, too! The only (minor) disappointment for me was the music by Madan Mohan; it was nice enough—and picturized well—but didn’t make much of an impression. What makes the movie memorable though is the strong ensemble cast, who all contribute humor, believability and warmth to a plot which moves briskly along.
So stylish! So much of eye candy! One of those rare films to make Excellent Use of Helen (and inspiring me to add a category here), The Train is oodles of filmi noir crime-fighting fun. It also has one of the best RD Burman background scores EVER, with RD himself adding vocals. Just listen to this!
It stars a young, very handsome Rajesh Khanna *sigh* and one of my favorite heroines, Nanda, along with an absolutely hilarious Rajendranath; Madan Puri and Shetty provide the villainy. Despite an extremely silly plot with gaping holes and mind-boggling suspension of disbelief requirements (especially at the end) it is well worth the time spent watching—and I have lots of screen caps to prove it!
I haven’t been able to find an exact translation for the title, but it seems to mean something along the lines of “hen-pecked husband.” The whole concept of a hen-pecked husband irritates me beyond measure, but that rant would need an entire post by itself. In any case, the woman in this movie is fairly traditional and conservative; she does stand up for herself when appropriate, but I wouldn’t call it hen-pecking.
It’s a very sweet quirky little story about a wife who embellishes the facts of her married life in her letters home, and the subsequent complications when her parents visit. It reminded me in style of later films Katha and Kissise Na Kehna, and the married couple (Rajesh Khanna and Nanda) enjoy a very loving and equal relationship. Have I made it clear yet that I hate the title? But I do like the film.
Awwwwww. Just…awwwwwww. What a sweet little fairytale of a movie this is, in spite of Shashi’s somewhat unbelievable simpleton act. It’s made by the same team who made Jab Jab Phool Khile: the same (almost) exact cast, director and music director. It shares some plot elements too: rich educated girl meets simple illiterate boy; they fall in love, then separate and finally are reunited against all odds.
But I liked Raja Saab better, mostly because it’s relatively free of the obnoxious misogynism of JJPK, and has some very hilarious sight gags. The Shashi-Rajendranath combo is quite funny too. Or maybe I was in a better mood when I watched it. Who knows?
After Ansoo Ban Gaye Phool, I set out to find more Deb Mukherjee films to see whether he could hold up under further scrutiny. I found this one:
Hooray! It’s 154 minutes of Trauma-Drama-O-Rama in Eastman Kodak Color. The main ingredients in this potboiler are:
Several Big Misunderstandings
A series of Bad Decisions
An endless string of Coincidences
Many Lost Opportunities
A couple of Unnecessary Side Plots
and some very tight pants and loudly patterned shirts. If you don’t care for soap operas then you needn’t read further. You won’t like Adhikar. If you do sneak peeks at soaps on sick days and holidays…read on! But be warned: I can’t do this justice without a verrrrry long narrative and many many screen shots.