Posts tagged ‘Oscar’

April 7, 2017

Parwana (1971)

parwanaThe tagline on the DVD cover caught my eye first: “A Murder Plan That Forced Indian Railways To Change Their Train Timing!” I am not sure that Indian Railways actually did worry that much about murders galore being unleashed on the Indian public, but it was enough to attract me. The film stars a very young Amitabh Bachchan, Yogita Bali, Navin Nischol and Shatrughan Sinha, and is directed by Jyoti Swaroop, who directed two of my favorite films (Padosan and Chorni). It was billed as a thriller of sorts, although there is no effort made to disguise “whodunit”—it’s marginally more of a “howdunit”.

It is a very stylish and nicely-paced production, however, and showcases the soon-to-be overwhelming charisma of its anti-hero Bachchan to great effect (especially compared to milquetoast-y “hero” Navin Nischol).

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October 12, 2011

Kahin Aar Kahin Paar (1971)

This film is exactly what I would picture a big long LSD trip to be like (because of course I have no actual knowledge of one). Although if it were an acid trip, I’d probably be dead now. It is that crazy: I have a pretty high tolerance—some less charitable might even say need—for eye-popping candy-colored visuals, but by the abrupt (and non-existent) end of this my head was exploding. Truly it is a dizzying kaleidoscopic bombardment of Cracktastic that never lets up. Low on budget it might be, but the heights of jugad are certainly scaled.

I also really love the cinematography (Shyam Shiposkar): the camera angles are fantastic. Much of the candy color is probably a result of film deterioration, but here that sad state only adds to the charm.

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February 6, 2011

Feel the love! Edwina

My little obsession with—and posts about—the fantastic filmi band Ted Lyons & His Cubs has reaped some nice rewards I never expected, the best of which is that in the past year I have become friends with Ted personally. Through him, I have discovered the amazing extent to which he and his circle of friends and family contributed to films of the 50s and 60s. His wife Lorna’s father was a bandleader in the early days (his band was called Fats Benny), and Ted, his siblings, in-laws and close friends populate the bands and dance floors in so many songs beloved from that era.

Today I want to introduce you to his sister Edwina, who specialized in the fantastic western swing-ballroom-twist types of dance numbers that I so love, and who epitomizes that most expressive Hindi word bindaas. Edwina has become very dear to me over the past year as well, and she is an utter hoot, the kind of girl who even back in those days would (and did) bum a beedi from a group of hijiras on a late night commuter train and smoke it with them.

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October 8, 2010

Gaddar (1973)

True confession: I really can’t sit still through an entire Hindi movie without getting up to fidget. I wake up Gemma and irritate pet her, check my email, pour another glass of wine. The films are just so long and my attention span so short. But during this one I didn’t want to MOVE—I was positively riveted to my chair. There is no romance, no hero-heroine (and only three songs, each one a gem): it is an ensemble film, and what an ensemble it is! The finest character-actor-villains of the time play cohorts in crime who are joined by thief Vinod Khanna when one of them betrays the others. It is stylish and suspenseful entertainment at its best.

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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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May 26, 2009

Cha Cha Cha (1964)

cha-cha-cha

Helen, Helen, Helen. How your talents were (mostly) squandered by the powers-that-were in Hindi cinema. But actor Chandrashekhar, when faced with the prospect of starring in his own vehicle (he produced and directed this too), decided to cast her as his heroine. Excellent decision—except he really should have found another hero too. In a cast that also includes Om Prakash, OP Ralhan, Aruna Irani, Bela Bose, Iftekhar, Madan Puri and these two:

ccc_elevisly

plus guest appearances by Dara Singh and Tun Tun, Chandrashekhar himself is the only blight. Well, he and the shrewish Ma to end all shrewish Mas, Leela Mishra. Dull and doughy as he is, seeing him opposite vivacious and beautiful Helen is just wrong. But otherwise, Cha Cha Cha is oodles of Beach Blanket Bingo type fun!

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May 18, 2009

Bombay To Goa (1972)

btg_hen

Finally (thanks to Beth!) I got around to watching this Mehmood production, and I’m so glad I did. I seem to be on a roll of “not much plot but plenty of other stuff to entertain” types of films! I am sure I missed a lot of the regional humor, although some of it was so broad I couldn’t miss it—the south Indian family, for instance. Parts of it did drag on a little too long (the whole film was one big long Comic Side Plot, after all), but it was so much fun picking out guest actors and marvelling at Amitabh’s shirts that altogether I was highly entertained. Some of the subtitles were hilarious too—sometimes even because the actual dialogue was hilarious. Although Aruna Irani and Amitabh Bachchan were nominally the hero-heroine, it was a Mehmood & Friends vehicle all the way (no pun intended)!

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April 23, 2009

Ted Lyons & His Cubs update

My favorite band Ted Lyons & His Cubs have been spotted two more times now (film numbers five and six!) by dustedoff (thank you for letting me know).

They accompany a shimmying Laxmi Chhaya (and some guy with a lampshade on his head) in 1967’s Raat Aur Din which I am dying to see but cannot find anywhere *sob*:

raataurdin_tedlyons1

And here they are in 1965’s Mere Sanam (review coming up!):

meresanam_tedlyons

Incidentally, this guy shows up in the same scene, dancing with Asha. I need to know who he is! Pompadour Man! I see him everywhere.

meresanam_pompadour2

Someone said once that he might be Vijay or Oscar from the choreographer duo, but I can’t find much about them either.

So many questions, so few answers. Hindi film history is so murky and veiled in mystery. Sigh.

Edited to update: He is in fact Oscar! One mystery solved.

September 27, 2008

My ten favorite Helen songs

Carla left a comment here on MemsaabStory early on saying: “Helen is completely sui generis.” (I love learning new phrases, especially clever ones.) Paint It Pink puts Helen in proper perspective also in her blog’s mission statement. I have myself weighed in on the joys of Helen many times before, but I recently decided that I needed to devote some time to her again. I know there are one or two people out there who don’t care for her, but there are also one or two people out there who think Sarah Palin would make a fine VP (or P!). You know who you are, and you can go away from here (well, if it’s just a Helen thing you can stay :-) (sorry but the election is beginning to get on my last good nerve).

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February 12, 2008

Adhikar (1971)

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:

adhikar_helenpran.jpg

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.

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