Posts tagged ‘Ramesh Deo’

March 23, 2016

Lalkar (1972)

lalkar

The film’s title is actually Lalkar (The Challenge) but I never did figure out what the Challenge was, other than getting through the Comic Side Plot interruptions and tepid romantic interludes which kept intruding on the otherwise fun espionage plot. Rajendra Kumar and Mala Sinha get top billing, so I was hoping to collect some Nahiiin Face additions for the Gallery but they were fairly restrained. They are supported by a stellar cast of character actors led by the inestimable Shyam Kumar as the eye-patch wearing Japanese villain, Dharmendra at his peak, saucy Kum Kum, some really special special effects, and a host of small details that made it eminently watchable.

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January 26, 2011

Kashmakash (1973)

I got this film for three main reasons: Feroz Khan, Ranjeet and the title. Kashmakash. What a word! It just rolls off the tongue, na? I am informed by my friend Raja—who also subtitled it for me, more on that later—that it means troubles or problems. The people in this have plenty of them, not the least of which is putting up with IS Johar’s endless pompous and pointless pontificating (a problem for us too). Mitigating that, though, are the aforementioned Feroz and Ranjeet; cracktastic Seventies costuming and set decorations; a young plump Rekha (the best kind), a less insufferable than usual Shatrughan Sinha, and Memsaab favorite Rehman; very cool music by Kalyanji Anandji including a fab dance by Padma Khanna; plus an engaging murder mystery.

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September 22, 2010

36 Ghante (1974)

By the end of this film I felt really sorry for anyone who might have been dependent on the Indian police—as portrayed here—for any kind of aid in 1974. I’m surprised that the censor board didn’t demand an upfront apology from the producers. I am almost positive that the intent was exactly opposite, too, but as the film hurtles forward, the plot increasingly unravels with sad results. It’s too bad, because otherwise it is an unusual story (apparently a remake of The Desperate Hours starring Humphrey Bogart) with a lot going for it: a psychological drama about a family of four held hostage for 36 hours (ghante) by three increasingly desperate bank robbers on the run.

36 Ghante comes *this close* to being a really good film, but is sabotaged by inattention to some important details. (Here’s my disclaimer: as with all Hindi cinema, it could be that poor editing after the fact—by the dvd manufacturer for instance—is partially responsible for the story problems, but I will probably never know for sure.)

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July 8, 2010

Chingari (1971)

Apparently this film only released in 1989, but it was made in 1971 and clearly looks it so that’s what I’m going with. It’s a pretty entertaining potboiler, but even if it weren’t there is one compelling reason to see it: a scene with uber-villain Tiwari in a bright pink and white lace negligee admitting that he gets his kicks from cross-dressing. Yes, really. And it has nothing to do with the plot, either. The story itself is in service to a criminal reform message which probably didn’t play as well in the late eighties as it might have in the early seventies. It is weak in places, but there is a plethora of lovely songs (by Ravi, with lyrics by Sahir) and an assortment of fine character actors with lashings of clever humor (no annoying CSP!). Leena Chandavarkar, a feisty heroine I always love, is paired with Sanjay Khan and backed by Pran and Rehman as lifelong foes on either side of the law.

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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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June 3, 2009

Hira Aur Patthar (1977)

hiraaurpatthar

I struggle a bit with Hindi films that are a commentary on religion and atheism since of course by Hindi Film Law the protagonists all have to end up squarely on the side of religion. I grew up on a mission station, attended church every Sunday for the first 17 years of my life, sang in the church choir, belonged to the youth group, etc., until I left home and could finally choose what to do on Sunday mornings for myself (generally I chose to sleep in). So turning my back on organized religion and embracing atheism was an “informed” choice for me and I doubt that I will ever change my mind. Having said that, one of the things I appreciated about this movie was its open discussion of atheism and morality and how they are not necessarily in conflict. Plus: Shabana Azmi, Shashi Kapoor, Ashok Kumar and Bindu!

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March 2, 2009

Dus Lakh (1966)

dus_lakh

I usually approach comedies with some trepidation: humor doesn’t always translate well (literally or figuratively), and slapstick wears me down after a while. However, my Sanjay Khan experience has been sadly lacking and this film also offers up Pran and Helen—and Kashmir!—which I can never resist. And lucky me! Dus Lakh turned out to be a lot of fun. It’s an ensemble film which mostly revolves around Om Prakash, Pran and Manorama; the Sanjay-Babita (in her debut) jodi is almost a side plot. The trio at the center are hilarious, though, and it’s also chock-full of excellent songs by one of my favorites, Ravi. Solid support from Helen, Ramesh Deo (who has way more charisma than Sanjay Khan), Seema Deo and Brahmchari add to the delight.

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December 11, 2008

Raampur Ka Lakshman (1972)

rkl_ramlaxman

My latest Manmohan Desai kick (triggered by the insanity of Mard) continues with this film, and it’s oodles of fun too although not nearly as unpredictable. I didn’t even mind the innocent rustic Raj Kapoor-type character, mostly because it was enacted by his son Randhir, who is much more believable in the role (not sure if that’s really a compliment or not, but I mean it as one). Rekha and her sarees and hairdos were spectacular, and Shatrughan Sinha had plenty of style—and youth—on his side as well. Ranjeet and Padma Khanna (and Faryal) also made brief but gorgeous appearances, and the plot contained plenty of separated family members and coincidences.

So: lots of eye candy and a fast-paced action-packed story equals solid Desai-style entertainment, which is only enhanced by RD Burman’s lovely songs! Plus, removable snake tattooes!

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September 4, 2008

Joroo Ka Ghulam (1972)

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.

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