Posts tagged ‘Vijay Anand’

August 28, 2015

(I am not out of my mind, I am a) Rajput (1982)

So proclaims Bhanu Singh (Vinod Khanna) in English at about two hours into this epic, leading me to reflect that if I’ve learned nothing else from Hindi movies, I do know that an unhinged mind and a Rajput heritage are not as mutually exclusive as he thinks. Still, this is possibly my favorite line ever spoken in the history of movies, with the bonus of an unnecessary but hilarious subtitle: “I am not insane, I am a Rajput!”

Actually, the subtitles are one of my favorite things about this movie, and there are a lot of favorite things.

rajput_subs

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April 6, 2010

Funtoosh (1956)

At a run-time of just over 1 hour and 45 minutes, significant portions of this film have been edited out (this is also obvious as you watch). It may have once been a good story, but the missing scenes rendered it a bit choppy (not as bad as Jaal, but not good either). It also felt to me like the filmmakers (Chetan and Dev Anand, director and producer respectively) thought they had something of great portent to say, but the messages sprinkled about struck me as childish and trite rather than very meaningful. And I found the portrayal of mentally ill people more than a little irritating. The mental institution in which we meet Funtoosh is a cartoon insane asylum, with inmates cackling uncontrollably and saluting each other; and the protagonist Funtoosh himself is a caricature and a badly drawn one at that. I think he is supposed to represent the “divine fool”—but he is mostly just a fool.

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December 23, 2009

Teesri Manzil (1966)

This is one of my favorite films: I love it unconditionally and without reservation and, needless to say, without a shred of objectivity. I will never forget the joy with which I first watched it, a joy that has never diminished, and the love it gave me for Shammi (also undiminished). Shammi Shammi Shammi! I had seen him in a few other films and liked him okay; but this—this sent me tumbling head over heels, never to recover. His charm and chemistry with Asha Parekh stunned me (and so did she). This is also the first Vijay Anand film I saw, and of course I’ve gone on to love a lot more of his work, too. And can I say any more at this point about my Helen worship? I think not.

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August 31, 2009

Why God why?

Ram Balram (1980) is directed by Vijay Anand and stars Dharmendra and Amitabh (Dharbh? Amitendra?).

The songs are great fun, beginning with “Ek Raasta” which imbibes freely from both KC and the Sunshine Gang (“That’s The Way Uh-Huh Uh-Huh I Like It”) and “Yeh Dosti” all at the same time. Dharam even wears his Sholay cap, and their cute little three-wheeled automobile drives itself as necessary when they want to ride on top of it:

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July 21, 2008

Double Cross (1973)

Regulars here know by now that I adore Vijay Anand. So I was very happy to find him circa 1972 in a film with a title that promised some intrigue and action, and a very young Rekha costarring. Well, the early 70s style did not disappoint, including a groovy RD Burman background score and songs. Rekha did not disappoint, either. But.

The story made no sense at all until the end, when it copped out completely. What a mess. I expect more from my Vijay (he didn’t direct, but he did write the screenplay and star). My notes on the film are mostly scribbles along these lines: Her belt! That vest! WTF??? OMG rekha so fat! Green walls! Huh? Those shoes!

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June 24, 2008

Blackmail (1973)

How do I love Vijay Anand, the director? Let me count the ways: Bullet, Tere Mere Sapne, Johnny Mera Naam, Chhupa Rustam, Nau Do Gyarah, Tere Ghar Ke Samne, Kala Bazaar, Guide, Teesri Manzil, Jewel Thief and above all, this one. They are of different genres, with varying levels of seriousness, but all are fabulous.

Blackmail is one of the first Vijay Anand films I ever watched, and I simply adore it. It may be the most romantic Hindi film ever! and that’s saying something! It also features international villains, a “formoola” that will change the world, blinding fashions, a gorgeous hero and heroine pair, and lovely songs by Kalyanji Anandji. Oh happy, happy!

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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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September 14, 2007

Tere Mere Sapne (1971)

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I will start off here by saying that I loved this film. As tired as I was last evening (red-eye flight the night before), I could not turn it off. I had to see what would happen next. Vijay Anand’s particular brand of brisk direction combined with a great plot and a myriad of wonderfully etched characters large and small is evident throughout. I have recently seen two of his gems from the same time period: Johny Mera Naam and Chhupa Rustam. This film is more serious than those two; a different genre more in keeping with Guide than with Jewel Thief. I found its messages about medicine and priorities just as relevant as it was 36 years ago. And the many songs by SD Burman are sublime.

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August 11, 2007

Chhupa Rustam (1973)

A visual feast of a movie—another Vijay Anand fun-filled frolic, with beautiful scenery, fabulous fashions and an engaging plot that moves along at a good clip. It has Hema Malini at her gorgeous best, Dev Anand as smooth as ever, and—best of all—Vijay himself in a role he clearly relished. Bad guys Ajit, Prem Chopra and Premnath are as baaaad as only they can be. It’s obvious that a good time was had by all in the making of this film.

It was filmed in Himachal Pradesh, and the landscapes are breathtaking:

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August 1, 2007

Johny Mera Naam (1970)

I finally had the requisite 3 spare hours it takes to get through a Hindi movie Monday evening, and it was time SO well spent! I love Vijay Anand’s movies, especially his captivatingly convoluted crime capers (including Teesri Manzil and Jewel Thief). And my undying devotion to Shammi notwithstanding, Dev Anand is particularly suited for the genre. This entertaining story about two brothers separated in childhood after the murder of their father features an absolutely stellar cast. One brother, Sohan (Dev Anand), grows up to become an undercover policeman, while the other, Mohan (Pran), becomes a criminal working unknowingly for the very man (Premnath) who ordered the murder of his father. As our story begins, Sohan is starting an undercover job working as a small-time thief and smuggler named Johny. He infiltrates the gang headed by Mohan (now called Moti) with the help of a beauty named Rekha (Hema Malini), who has her own motives for being part of the gang.

What follows is an engrossing tale with twists and turns, double-crosses, and multiple nefarious activities set against the breathtaking backdrop of Nepal. I can never resist Pran. He is in disguise heaven here, even for him:

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