Posts tagged ‘Rakesh Roshan’

November 28, 2011

My ten favorite picnic songs

When I was a kid I dreaded the words “Let’s have a picnic!”. Picnics were nothing but an ordeal to get through: weather (the Beiges never let a little cold rain stop us), poison ivy, bugs, indifferent food. My father did not know or care to know how to barbecue so it was always sandwiches, which I could have just as easily eaten indoors where ants weren’t crawling on them.

Little did I dream in those days that halfway across the world beautiful people were picnicking in STYLE—even at night!

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June 1, 2011

Madhosh (1974)

The only reasons that I don’t completely despise this film are that it finally enabled me to identify the location of The Room (details are in that post), and pretty much every moment in it is a Screencap Waiting To Happen. It is a scarf-fest of unbelievable proportions. I guess I can also finally say that I have seen a Mahendra Sandhu movie, although I detested it so much that I may never be able to forgive him (I’ve not been able to watch a Tom Hanks film since he inflicted Forrest Gump on me).

Madhosh seems to have grand pretensions of being a modern look at valuing women, but its subtext (and not really very “sub” at that) is so relentlessly sexist that it is mostly just a rehash of that dehumanizing goddess-whore form of female oppression which masquerades as respect. I gather that the word madhosh means drunk or intoxicated, which perfectly describes the people who made this if they really thought this film had anything worthwhile or different to say.

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September 12, 2010

Aahutee (1978)

Manmohan Desai has been often imitated but rarely matched in his ability to pull heartstrings while conveying indelible (if occasionally incoherent) messages. What a lovely surprise to find a hitherto unknown (to me anyway) film that at least engages the heart in much the same way, if not the soul. There are plot holes and loose threads and I cannot in all conscience call it a good film; but I was quickly engaged by a story whose loony details and characters are easy to grow fond of. Laxmikant Pyarelal provided some nice tunes for it too, and if the message is simplistic—“Love your mother, do an honest day’s work, and don’t sell out your country”—at least it makes good sense!

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November 23, 2009

Khoon Bhari Maang (1988)

And of tortuous eye-searing aesthetics! It also defies convention in its lack of a “hero”: all this film needs is Rekha. What a presence she has indeed!

By any standards (even mine) it cannot be called a good film. But I was never tempted to stop watching. I only ever even paused, in fact, long enough to refill my wine glass. How Bollywood manages to consistently churn out things which are dreadful but riveting is a mystery to me. Gemma liked this one too, because the cast included two highly intelligent animals: Raja the horse, and Jumbo the dog. She barked at both of them gleefully, no doubt in encouragement for their perspicacity and valiant attempts to combat evil.

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July 4, 2009

Mini-review: Hotel (1981)

This Ramsay Brothers effort—billed in lurid lettering as “A Suspense Thriller”—is neither suspenseful nor a thriller.

Here, in a nutshell and without screen caps because Ultra DVDs don’t play on my computer, is why:

The Comic Side Plot: While an aging Mehmood romancing an aging Rajendranath under the spell of a love potion could possibly stand on its own as a horror film, that isn’t the intent here, and so it merely interrupts (for long stretches of time) what should be the building suspense as hotel guests are killed off one by one.

The Lack of Killing: Tiptoeing around the delicate sensibilities of the censors might get the film released, but it’s not horrifying if nobody is actually shown being murdered. An actor covered in garish red “blood” after the fact isn’t disturbing, at least not appropriately.

The Wig: No mere script, no matter how full of gore and ghouls, could ever compete with the horror that is Rakesh Roshan’s auburn wig. Zombies simply pale in comparison.

The Songs: Two people singing happily about their love for each other also kind of diminishes the suspense. And although I’m a big fan of Usha Khanna, her music for this film is just plain dull, much like the film itself.

The Budget: A landslide of styrofoam boulders which could be easily pushed aside is not even a little alarming, never mind fear-inducing. Marauding undead obviously fashioned from papier-mache and old sheets aren’t scary either.

The Acting: Most of those under attack seem only mildly afraid, even bored at times. This makes it very difficult for me to be afraid for them. Monotonous high-decibel dialogue delivery also encourages me to want certain people to die, if only to save my own ears (yes, Ranjeet, I’m talking to you, although it pains me greatly to say so).

The Story: Maybe the fault of the censors again, but all the victims are awful people and basically deserve to die. Good people are spared (unless they are canine). Where’s the suspense in that? Horror is supposed to strike randomly, at anyone, anywhere, any time. Otherwise, we shareef aadmi can just sit smugly by with our glasses of wine.

I do want to give the Ramsay Brothers mad props for trying to make a horror film despite being saddled with circumstances and traditions that engender no real hope of success. However, if Hotel didn’t frighten me, it isn’t going to frighten anyone.

So far, my venture into Hindi cinema’s horror fare is not going that well (or else it is, since I don’t like being scared). But I have high hopes for Shaitani Dracula, although I doubt I can improve on this review.

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October 30, 2007

Bullet (1976)

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I got this only because Vijay Anand directed it, but I confess that I feared it would be disappointing. How could he top Teesri Manzil, Jewel Thief, Chhupa Rustom and Johny Mera Naam?

Well, he didn’t top them, but he didn’t fall short either. Bullet has all the characteristics of his finest work in this genre—suspense, thrills, plot twists, excellent costumes, strange camera angles—strongly flavored by mid-70’s kitsch. And by strongly flavored, I mean reeking of it. The sets are atmospheric and fantastical, colored with acid greens and bright reds and yellows, and lots of graffiti.

Fab!

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