Posts tagged ‘OP Nayyar’

March 21, 2012

Baaz (1953)

I love pirate movies, especially when the pirate in question is a woman. And if that woman is also Geeta Bali, then…hooray! When I first saw this ten years ago or so I knew nothing about Guru Dutt except that I was “supposed” to watch all his movies if I wanted to be au fait. There is nothing I don’t love about it, except that it hasn’t survived in its entirety, mostly towards the end. Like most of Guru Dutt’s films today the video is murky much of the time, but there is no disguising how beautifully shot every frame is. Equally lovely is the music: OP Nayyar’s tunes have just the right changes in rhythm for what is happening onscreen, and the lyrics (Majrooh Sultanpuri) are wonderful (and subtitled). Sublime. And the cast is just superb. In addition to the gorgeous lead pair are the legendary Sulochana (Ruby Mayer), KN Singh at his suavely villainous best, Johnny Walker and Kuldip Kaur in prime comedic form, and Yashodhara Katju as Geeta’s sweet-faced, slyly clever best friend. They all are just so much fun to watch.

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February 8, 2012

Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974)

I have no idea what the plot of this movie is—seriously no idea—but I know that I love it. Even if with subtitles it became a maudlin, sexist melodrama (which I doubt) I would still love it. Why? Well for one thing it is extremely shiny. Premnath has a lair made completely out of mirrors, and not in a pretty Mughal-e-Azam kind of way but in a spectacularly gaudy disco kind of way. The songs by OP Nayyar are delightful and the cinematography (VN Reddy) is gorgeous. The cast is a veritable Who’s Who of character actors. And a still-dashing Sunil Dutt makes a dacoit I can really root for, although he does seem a little old for plump young Rekha. The story is liberally sprinkled with dacoit-drama masala ingredients: greedy moneylenders, long-lost daughters, flashbacks, dozens of people named Singh, pretty pretty Marwari horses, and real ruffians lurking beneath a veneer of respectability and draped with scantily-clad gori extras. I felt totally sated by the end.

Did I mention the mirrors? Lots and lots of mirrors.

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March 28, 2011

Nasihat (1967)

Nasihat double-Daras you not to like it and wins!

Sorry. My brain is addled with grief and self-pity these days and half the time I don’t know what I’m saying. Unsubtitled Dara Singh films are proving most appropriate for my powers (or lack thereof) of concentration, and a loony band of smugglers calling themselves the Golden Gang—based out of the Hotel Mogambo—being infiltrated by CID officers cannot possibly be bad, right? Right. It is, in fact, deliciously campy and entertaining even though several of the plot points escaped me (most notably the CSP which I didn’t care about anyway). What did not escape me is that there are two Daras, one Randhawa, a Helen, a Madan Puri, a faux Chinese henchman, a midget, a plethora of corpulent bald wrestlers, and a Boss with a somewhat pitiful little Desk Lair from which he issues his commands.

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February 26, 2011

Mini-review: The Killers (1969)

This is turning into Dara Singh month, which is essentially a constant struggle for me of no subtitles and significant amounts of missing footage. Nothing in this extra-low-budget Maruti-directed film made sense to me, and I doubt it would have even with subtitles and the 45 minutes or so that seem to have disappeared. It is essentially a bad formulaic spy film with Dara Singh as Agent Q and Sheikh Mukhtar as the secondary villain (the primary villain of course remaining unseen until the end) with the usual numbered henchmen and a lair lit primarily by red bulbs.

Most of it drags, but it contained just enough fun to keep me going and make me want to share here (this post is a *little bit* spoiler-y, although nothing significant).

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October 16, 2009

Mohabbat Zindagi Hai (1966)

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Garam Dharam in shorts! Mehmood in a loin cloth (and a skimpy one at that)! A feisty heroine who doesn’t want to get married! What’s not to love? (Okay, besides for Mehmood in a skimpy loin cloth. Nobody needs to see that.)

This is “Taming of the Shrew” with retro charm, pretty people, and lovely songs by OP Nayyar. I liked it especially for the heroine who sticks up for herself, although of course societal norms win at the end: all girls really want to get married, even if they don’t know it. What else is there for them? But she puts up a good fight, and the chemistry between Rajshree and Dharmendra is sweet if not crackling. Able support from a host of reliable character actors, and a gang of college students twisting away just add to the fun.

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April 24, 2009

Mere Sanam (1965)

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If ever a film really really really (really) wanted to be a Shammi film, it’s this one. It has:

  • Feisty Asha Parekh as the reluctant heroine (eventually¬†won over¬†after being stalked relentlessly by the hero)
  • A gaggle of girlfriends around her (chief amongst them Laxmi Chhaya!)
  • Sidekick Rajendranath (complete with loony antics)
  • Pran in an orange wig
  • Lovely lovely songs by OP Nayyar (sung beautifully by Rafi and Asha B.)
  • Kashmir, gorgeous Kashmir (and quite a few plot elements lifted directly from Kashmir Ki Kali)

All it really lacks is Shammi himself. Instead, we are given…Biswajeet. Poor Biswajeet. However, he does his best to imitate Shammi and mostly it’s a fun-packed and stylish delectation; it does go a bit off the rails at the end into kidnapping and murder territory (oh, Pran. Pran, Pran, Pran). The DVD picture quality is pretty bad too: someone should restore this one for sure! A very young Mumtaz graces the screen with her presence briefly, and there is the usual assortment of character actors and rotund funnymen adding to the entertainment. And I simply LOVE the songs.

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December 18, 2008

CID 909 (1967)

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After suffering through the last two films, I really needed a dose of Mohammed Hussain, maker of low-low-low-budget zany B-movie fare. Fortunately, I had just the thing on hand: a film starring Feroz Khan, Mumtaz, Helen and Bela Bose, with appearances by Tun Tun and Master Shetty! Music by OP Nayyar, choreographed by my new best friend Herman! A plot about a scientific formula written in code for making something touted as a “peace bomb”! I settle into my chair with a happy sigh.

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October 31, 2008

Kismat (1968)

Here is a 1968 James Bond-meets-Chitty Chitty Bang Bang cheesefest from the Master of Masala himself, Manmohan Desai. While I haven’t seen all his films, I’ve seen most of them, and this is the first one that’s been devoid of any message (well, except: “betraying your country is wrong”). There’s no religious symbolism, or paeans to the poor and downtrodden, not even a single tearful Ma; just a villain named Scorpion, an unwitting hero, his beloved, his friend, his friend’s clever car, and some microdots hidden in a guitar. Sounds good, right? Wrong. Better editing (and possibly a higher kitsch budget) could have made it entertaining; but as it is, it’s an unfocused, meandering, silly film.

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June 14, 2008

Basant (1960)

Take the plot of It Happened One Night, sprinkle in some ingredients from An Affair To Remember, then stir in a third plot which is completely nuts, and voila! it’s Basant. Two of my favorite Hollywood films and some masala craziness for the price of one Hindi film! Sure, there are huge plot holes and it’s nonsensical at times, but what do I care—especially when the hero and heroine are my beloved Shammi Kapoor and beautiful Nutan. They are great together: his nonchalant silliness complements her feisty character perfectly.

Plus, there’s Pran! and lovely music from OP Nayyar.

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April 7, 2008

Kashmir Ki Kali (1964)

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In the almost 10 months I have been writing this blog, the most often read (and commented upon) post—by a huge margin—is the one about my love for Shammi Kapoor. It is also—again by a large margin—the top search that directs traffic here.

There’s a lot of love for this man out there! And that’s as it should be.

Quite a few people have asked lately for more Shammi movies to be posted here. So here’s another!

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