Posts tagged ‘Tanuja’

May 10, 2012

My ten favorite anipal songs

This post is dedicated to my dear friend and song blogger extraordinaire Atul, who tells hilarious and sweet stories about his own menagerie.

Most of you are familiar with the Memdogs (little scamps) and beloved Gemma before them; and many of you have animals in your own lives who are as precious to you as anyone. One of my very favorite things about Hindi movies is how so many of them contain anipals, as Todd puts it. Filmi animals are usually more intelligent and capable than the people around them (eg Khoon Bhari Maang‘s Raja the horse and Jumbo the dog, Dharam-Veer‘s Sheroo the Wonder Bird, etc.), but they generally speaking don’t have nearly their fair share of song time. I mean, have you ever seen a dacoit serenading his smart and loyal horse? (If you have, TELL ME.)

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December 23, 2011

Safari (1999)

This is a very silly adaptation of “Crocodile Dundee” which I love frankly because Sanjay Dutt is so freaking sexy in it. I’m even glad there are no subtitles, because it would be sad to have text cluttering up the screen and possibly partially obscuring him. There is other fun stuff too, like a wooden killer crocodile a la Khoon Bhari Maang and a “Pagal Gorilla” (actual dialogue not made up by me), but the main reason I watch this is Sanju. If he doesn’t do it for you, there’s Juhi Chawla, who would definitely be on any list of superb comediennes that I might make. In a role which could have been grating she is just adorable and hilarious, despite being flogged by the frilly excesses of Nineties ishtyle and a lot of mud.

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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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January 2, 2011

Aaj Aur Kal (1963)

This movie is a real treat despite its occasionally heavy-handed preaching (and at least it is preaching I can agree with!). First, it has lovely music by Ravi with lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi (including one of my first favorite Hindi film songs, the Rafi classic “Yeh Wadiyan Yeh Fizayen”); second, it has a young and *very sparkly* Tanuja; and third, it is set against an historic backdrop —the annexation of individual princely states by the new Indian government. It’s a film typical of star Sunil Dutt in its idealism and progressive message, and if Nanda is a little weepy for my taste in it she is balanced out by Tanuja. Ashok Kumar is the Maharajah their father, a strict and conservative man who is determined to keep his kingdom and privileged lifestyle intact.

Somehow the internet got the idea that Raaj Kumar is in it too, but he is nowhere to be seen although someone named Rajkumar appears in the lesser credits.

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August 2, 2010

Tarun Bose (Part 3): The soft-hearted villain

Here, daughter Shilpi reveals the real man behind the villains Tarun Bose played so convincingly!

The soft-hearted villain: that is what I call dad, soft-hearted being the literal translation of the Hindi ‘Naram Dil’.

He was a very affectionate man; he bestowed fatherly affection on everybody without discrimination. I once asked him, “What kind of role do you like playing the most?” “The villain; a villain’s role provides you with a greater scope to perform”, he said. But given his nature, it was not surprising that although he loved playing the villain, he hated roughing up his female co-stars or any of the child actors.

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June 14, 2010

Wahan Ke Log (1967)

*Now with subtitles!*

I guess wishing very very hard for something does make it come true—at least sometimes, when you have friends like Tom and Raja. I saw this film a couple of years ago but never bothered to write it up because there was no reason to: Todd over at D4K already had, and brilliantly so. We have long lamented the lack of subtitles for this; it has a LOT of plot, and much of it is incomprehensible without understanding the dialogues. So when Tom recently found some awesome people willing to help subtitle songs for his wonderful compilation dvds (hooray for Ava, Madhu and Raja!), I somehow got him to agree to make a subtitled version of this enchanting and stylish Indian science fiction should-be classic.

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April 18, 2010

Mem-Didi (1961)

Is this film famous and I the only person who was unaware of it until now? Amazing performances and great direction from Hrishikesh Mukherjee place it far above the usual, and the story is told with such exquisite economy of effort that it flies along, yet you feel at the end as if you have known and loved the characters for an entire lifetime. David and Jayant play Bahadur and Shera respectively—a pair of goondas strongly reminiscent of Munna and Circuit with their warm-hearted, funny and sometimes misguided largesse—who befriend an older woman (Lalita Pawar) whose life has been one of hardship and toil, but whose spirit has remained strong and pure. Add a very young and pretty Tanuja to the mix, along with Salil Chowdhury’s sparkling songs (including a hilarious duet between Tanuja and a stray dog!) and the result is a heartwarming and comic tour de force.

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February 4, 2010

Bhoot Bungla (1966)

This Mehmood movie is a total hoot. I can’t believe I hadn’t seen it before, although I have seen all the songs and the songs really are the film. They dominate a story which deftly blends horror and comedy, managing to be suspenseful and funny—not a combination I’d think would be easy to balance. It doesn’t always work smoothly, but is so much fun that it doesn’t matter.

I sometimes complain about the “entirely too much of Mehmood” phenomenon that blights a lot of mid-sixties Hindi cinema, but here he seems mostly content to be part of a great ensemble cast that includes the maestro behind the fabulous music, Panchamda himself. Possibly it helps that he directed as well, which may have kept him too busy to hog center stage: he clearly worked very hard on crafting this! The romance with heroine Tanuja is tepid, but again it doesn’t matter: romance is not the point. Plus she is lovely as usual, and such a good actress that it’s always a treat to see her.

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July 14, 2009

Aaja Sanam (1971?)

aajasanam

Everything I find on the internet says that this film was released in 1975, which may be true but it was definitely not made in 1975. For one thing our hero Feroz Khan is too young, as is heroine Tanuja (who was also occupied with giving birth to Kajol in 1975). So are all the other actors in it with whom I am familiar (Deven Verma, SN Banerjee, Sulochana Chatterjee, Shabnam); it’s filmed in black and white; and everything about it (home decor, fashions, hairstyles) screams 1960s. So I’m going to go out on a limb and say it was made in 1967 with the opinion of some readers who are guessing early 70s  although I suppose it could also be up to a few years later than that. But most definitely not 1975!

Why does it even matter? Well, this film works pretty well as a movie from the mid-60s, but would be too regressive (at least for me) if it dated from the mid-70s. One of the major plot elements annoyed me considerably even so. But it was an interesting film with an engrossing story and engaging characters. I’m a big fan of Tanuja—wish she had had more roles she could really get her teeth into. She’s one of the best things about the fantastic Jewel Thief, in my opinion. Feroz of course is as handsome as can be, and the other supporting actors are very good too, especially Shabnam. There are also some very pretty songs by Usha Khanna, who is always underrated.

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December 16, 2008

Imtihan (1974)

imtihan

Sigh. I so wanted to like this film. It’s based on To Sir With Lovewhich is one of my all-time favorite movies (Lulu! Sidney Poitier! sixties fashions!), and Vinod Khanna stars as an earnest college professor with Tanuja as his love interest. But alas, it threw away all its potential on a bad script: the characters were nothing but caricatures, and all plot opportunities for dramatic buildup and emotional involvement were squandered.

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