Posts tagged ‘Rajendranath’

February 1, 2011

Tasveer (1966)

With subtitles, this film might have annoyed me, but without them it is a sublimely entertaining experience from Wadia Movietone. Undistracted by the dumb plot and self-pitying dialogues, I reveled in:

  • the hirsute insanity of Nasir Hussain (he is UNABOMBER insane in this film!)
  • the drink-fuelled angsty despair of artist Sajjan
  • Helen’s fashions and scheming eyebrows
  • Feroz Khan pretending he is Shammi! (and he is so FINE, he almost succeeds)
  • Chitalkar Ramchandra’s fantastic songs
  • the plump chipmunk cheeks and flowing Kashmiri outfits (and eyeliner) of Kalpana
  • and the lovely scenic gardens and mountains of Kashmir itself

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December 9, 2010

Ajooba (1991)

Sometimes I just have to ask myself if I live in a cave or something. Why have I not seen this movie before?! I could have seen it ten times by now! Why am I so late to this party?

But better late than never, especially to a party like this one. Beyond the endless (and largely nonchalent) WTF-ery there is a lot going on, much of it possibly unintended but tremendously engaging nonetheless. Hacking my way through the dense plot I spot references to the legend of King Arthur, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, the Bible, Beastmaster, Alice In Wonderland, William Faulkner and so much more. I revel in Amitabh’s recyled outfit from Shahenshah and Rajasthan’s gorgeous Amber Fort. Best of all, I am led to ponder issues like “What is the lifespan of a dolphin, anyway?” and “What’s the point of having a magic talisman that turns into an elephant if you never use it?”

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October 25, 2010

Spy In Rome (1968)

I watched two films this weekend with plots completely lacking in any sense or logic. One of them was a mainstream film (Akeli Mat Jaiyo) starring Meena Kumari and Rajendra Kumar and I am not going to write about it because, frankly, it was dull and stupid and Dusted Off has already said all that needs to be said about it. The other was Spy In Rome; and despite its very thin shoestring budget, nothing of which was spent on a writer, it managed to keep me pretty entertained. It firmly occupies a seat at that rotating bar where people with seemingly no aptitude for filmmaking—and no money for it either—down a lot of imagination-fueling substances and then stagger off to make their dream projects.

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June 22, 2010

Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai (1981)

When I look back at pictures of my younger, prettier and thinner self and then look in the mirror at the me of today, I feel the way this film would probably feel if it could look back at Hum Kisise Kum Naheen: the same old thing, but wearier, more bloated and not any smarter or more mature. It is the middle-aged incarnation of HKKN after bad plastic surgery, making it occasionally fascinating in an “I want to look away but can’t” kind of way. Mostly it’s just dull, though, and I might not have bothered to write it up but for my friend and fellow Hindi film music fan PC over at Third Floor Music. He has waited patiently for me to gather the courage to go through this eyesore again for screencaps, and we are doing a tandem music-review post. He has uploaded the RD Burman soundtrack for your delectation, so grab it here and read on!

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March 23, 2010

Usne Kaha Tha (1960)

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.

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January 4, 2010

Teen Bahuraniyan (1968)

Since I have started avoiding films with words like “Bahu” in the title like the plague, I was a bit nonplussed when this film arrived in my mailbox. Then I realized that probably what I had planned to order was Teri Meherbaniyan. Not the same thing, not at all. I really need to pay closer attention to what I’m doing sometimes.

But since the stars are the likes of Rajendranath, Prithviraj Kapoor and Shashikala, I thought: how bad can it be? (Which admittedly has gotten me into trouble a few times, but I never learn.) And in what turned out to be a bit of serendipity, it isn’t bad at all. In fact, it’s quite sweet! It isn’t a feminist’s dream exactly, but given the time in which it was made it isn’t a nightmare either. Mostly it’s a funny story about a joint family and the plethora of complications that arise when a famous actress moves in next door. It reminded me of one of those 1950s Doris Day-Rock Hudson comedies. Plus, the songs are lots of fun (by Kalyanji Anandji) and hilariously picturized.

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December 10, 2009

Maryada (1971)

What IS it about Raaj Kumar? What? His acting is theatrical, he is not very handsome really (and was apparently quite weird in real life) and yet I love to watch him onscreen. Not in a “look at that godawful wig!” kind of way either, but in a “he is strangely interesting, I cannot look away” kind of way. Throw in Pran (speaking of godawful wigs), a very handsome in-his-prime Rajesh Khanna and a Helen song, and I’m in! This movie is very “masala” with its separated twins, scheming villains (Pran!), a truncated wedding, glorification of the poor and downtrodden, and plenty of Nahiiin Face. I would not call it a good movie exactly, but it is pretty solidly entertaining.

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November 4, 2009

Intaquam (1969)

intaquam_helen

Ah, what a film this is. If you have a hankering for something that careens wildly along, going from completely loony, to sweetly touching, to dumb and illogical, and back to loony again, look no further. I wouldn’t call it technically a good film, but it is highly entertaining. And I loved it! With features like Excellent Use of Helen, a zealous and melodramatic murderer named Snaky, a disfiguring cake, useful little white mice, lost and found family members, fantabulous songs (Azad in blackface!), plus Memsaab favorites Ashok Kumar and Rehman as friends-turned-bitter-foes, how could I not?

I have been longing to see this with subtitles, but didn’t think it was available except on an unsubtitled (and unplayable after ten minutes) VCD. Many thanks to Tom D (the most banned-from-YouTube-person-on-earth) (my opinion only, not backed up by anything resembling actual facts) (but still: I think it’s because he does what Indian DVD manufacturers can’t be bothered to do, which is to clean up the picture and sound quality, remove their intrusive and gaudy logos, and add subtitles, thereby making them look bad—as they deserve to—so they complain and he gets suspended, over and over again). Anyway, thank you my friend! for supplying me with this particular ginormous rock of crack.

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September 15, 2009

My ten favorite sharaab songs

jugnu_hema

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.

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August 16, 2009

Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare (1966)

nhkt

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.

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