April 12, 2016
I love the elegance of the Art Deco era of the Twenties and Thirties. Of course my mother points out that I would have probably been at the back of a bread line dressed in rags, but I prefer to picture myself draped in chiffon and pearls, languidly smoking from a long cigarette holder and lounging in a posh Park Avenue mansion. Thanks to Prem Kahani, that vision has been altered slightly to one of gold-edged sarees and cocktail shakers; a quartet of musicians playing in my Marine Drive home as friends and I rehearse for a benefit we’re holding for the poor and needy (the people actually standing in that bread line of Mom’s).
But I am getting ahead of myself.
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October 30, 2009
First of all, I would like to thank Muz for sending this to me. He has also provided me with Pukar, Sikandar and Raj Nartaki (review upcoming), and thank goodness people like him appreciate Hindi cinema history enough to preserve it when they can. I appreciate his sharing these films with me more than words can ever express, and the same goes for the other friends I’ve made here who share their rare treasures with me too. Bless all of you!
This film from Bombay Talkies is widely written about as an early classic. It was a huge hit, and launched Ashok Kumar into stardom (albeit a bit reluctantly!). It’s also my first look at Devika Rani onscreen. Unfortunately there aren’t subtitles, and I think a lot of this film’s impact comes from its dialogues; they went way over my head. The basic plot is easy to follow, but there is a lot of “room talk” (or maybe “porch talk” is better here) which drives the action. Even without understanding the dialogues, though, I found this film ineffably sad. Though it is 73 years old, it is unfortunately just as relevant today with its portrayal of prejudice and intolerance. Will we never learn anything from our mistakes?
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September 10, 2008
Well, this is the earliest Hindi film yet that I’ve seen. It’s the third in a trilogy of spectacularly mounted historicals made by Sohrab Modi: Pukar (1939), Sikander (1941, which made Prithviraj Kapoor a film star) and then this. Since it doesn’t have subtitles, I did some research so I’d have some clue as to what was happening. This is a brief synopsis cobbled together from different sites.
Two neighboring kings, Munj and Tailap, are rivals. Munj is kind and just, and Tailap is bad. Tailap has a grumpy sister named Mrinalvati, who bosses everyone around. Another king by the name of Bhillam joins forces with Tailap and together they defeat Munj and take him prisoner. Mrinalvati attempts to humiliate Munj publicly but ends up falling in love with him. When Tailap discovers that they plan to run away together, he sentences Munj to be trampled to death by elephant.
Fun, fun, fun!
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