Saturday, May 31, 2008

Khel Khel Mein (1975)

The cute boy in Bobby went to college, found love and fell right in the middle of a Hitchcockian mystery thriller! Thats a one-line summary of Khel Khel Mein (All in play) but it doesn't even begin to tell you how awesome this teen thriller is. I have just finished watching it and am still under the spell of R. D. Burman's music and Rishi-Neetu's cuteness!
Ajay (Rishi Kapoor) is new in college and falls prey to the class dude Vicky's (Rakesh Roshan) practical jokes. Matters soon come to a head and the two have a free-for-all in the college canteen. Having cleared the air with some well-aimed punches, the two become fast friends. Ajay begins to hang out with Vicky and his friend Nisha (Neetu Singh).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Do Chor (1972)

do_chor Another great thriller starring the super suave Dharmendra. This guy has the best thrillers from 60s and 70s! If a drool-worthy Dharmendra in a great thriller with super songs isn't enough to tempt you, consider this - the other lead is the lovely Tanuja and she looks great, absolutely great. Now that I have sold you on this movie, let me give you the lowdown on it...
Bombay is plagued with a mysterious thief who leaves the Swastika mark after burglarising the safes of various wealthy people in town. What is even more intriguing is that he only steals specific pieces of jewellery and leaves everything else in the burglarised safe untouched! The police and the press alike are baffled. The handsome, smooth, mustachioed, swastika thief also moonlights as the beautiful Sandhya (Tanuja). Actually it should be Sandhya who moonlights as the thief... Anyway, Sandhya, in addition to being beautiful and a thief, is also an art director in an ad company and an artist extraordinaire. Gosh, is there no end to her accomplishments? O well, it is Tanuja after all and who can deny that the lady is accomplished and charming!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Aao Pyaar Kare (1964)

Saira Banu is bent on spoiling my weekend! This is the second bad movie (the last one was Pocketmaar) I watched this weekend and it again had Saira, this time paired with Joy Mukerji. There were some compensations to watching this movie though. Apart from some lovely songs it had a very young Sanjeev Kumar and a very young MacMohan - the latter was for once playing a nice character with no overtones of shadiness.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pocketmaar (1974)

A romance? An action movie? A 70's style masala blockbuster? A comedy? An out-and-out entertainer? Well, Pocketmaar tries to be all of these and fails miserably on each count! I have just spent a good portion of my precious weekend watching this movie and if I am acerbic in my criticism of this film, I hope you will take into account my wasted Saturday afternoon.
The plot: Shankar (Dharmendra) is a small-time pick-pocket and his partner in crime is the myopic Sundar (Mehmood). Together the two happily live off the pockets of Bombay commuters when Shankar happens to rescue the blind Ganga (Azra) from goons intent on raping her. He takes her home and cares for her and her new-born baby. Lest you doubt the poor woman's virtue, she did get married and then deserted by her husband. OK, now that we have all been assured of Ganga's purity, lets move on.

Monday, May 12, 2008

From Hollywood to Bollywood - of romantic comedies and remakes

I was meditating on my review for Suhana Safar - an adaptation of It Happened One Night - when it struck me that many of my favorite Hindi movies are remakes/adaptations of Hollywood classics. In most cases I found that I loved the Hindi versions as much as, if not better than, the original ones. The gray cells jumped in excitement - why not do a post on remakes and adaptations? So, here goes...
Warning: very long post with spoilers ahead.
1. Come September (1961)
American tycoon Robert Talbot (Rock Hudson) visits his Italian villa once a year in September to meet his fiery Italian girl friend Lisa (Gina Lollobrigida). In his absence, his enterprising butler Maurice (Walter Slezak) has turned the villa into a very profitable hotel. When Talbot suddenly decides to visit Italy in June, Maurice's hotel has a group of girls (Sandra Dee and friends) chaperoned by Margaret (Brenda De Banzie), staying at the hotel. What will Maurice do to avoid discovery? He tells Talbot that the girls are taking shelter at the villa due to lack of hotel rooms in town while the girls are told that Talbot is a lunatic whose family used to own the villa. Enter: a group of boys (Bobby Darin and friends) camping outside the hotel/villa and the stage is set for the comedy to begin. Talbot finds himself playing the heavy-handed guardian to the girls and unable to openly spend time with Lisa. The boys' attempts to outwit him and get to the girls make for hilarious situations. Apart from all the beautiful people and the hilarious comedy, the best part of the movie is Rock Hudson dancing the 60's dance - he is adorably dorky!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gautam Govinda (1979)

This Subhash Ghai movie has Shashi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Moushumi Chatterji, Aruna Irani, Vijay Arora, Nirupa Roy, Prem Nath, Madan Puri, Om Shiv Puri, Abhi Bhattacharya, and should come with the statutory warning that it is too spicy (with filmy masala) to handle! Its a 70's masala movie with angry young men, nasty villains, charging bulls, stampeding cows, and of course lost-and-found brothers.
Gautam (Shashi Kapoor) is an angry young police officer who hates criminals. After successfully putting smuggler Bagga Seth (Madan Puri) in prison, he is posted to a lawless village. Before leaving, he seeks the blessings of his father. Wait a minute... His father is a catholic priest! In masala-land that can mean just one thing - Gautam is an orphan. A blown up picture of his kiddie-self with parents and a flashback tells us that he was separated from his mother while his father was being killed. Yup, you guessed it - Nirupa Roy has misplaced her nth son (why did she never lose a daughter?).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ek Phool Char Kaante (1960)

This is a B&W comedy that I remember watching on Doordarshan in the good old days. When I stumbled across the DVD in the Indian video store, I was eager to find out whether the movie stood the test of time - so many of my childhood favorites have turned out to be awfully kiddish or silly! Well, the good news is that I still liked it.
Sanjeev (Sunil Dutt) is your average movie hero who is on the lookout for his heroine. The moment he sees her in a group of picnicking girls, he recognises his nemesis in Sushma (Waheeda Rehman). The two engage in some preliminary sparring followed by loving duets. When their love is revealed to Sanjeev's parents (Bir Sakuja and Mumtaz Begum) they are delighted with Sushma - not your conservative movie-parents, obviously. Sanjeev's father even engages to talk to her family about it. That's where the couple's trials begin. Sushma is an orphan brought up by 4 eccentric bachelor uncles (the 4 thorns - char kaante - of the title). Each of them has his own ideas about a suitable boy for Sushma.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Raja Saab (1969) - Jab Jab Phool Khile revisited

Take Jab Jab Phool Khile remake it 4 years later with the same set of people (add Rajendra Nath), tone down some of the female oppression, improve the heroine's dress-sense and you have Raja Saab.
Spoiler alert!
Raju (Shashi Kapoor) is a young orphan at an orphanage who is much given to daydreaming and weird hairdos. His daydreams always involve him playing a king - Raja or Sheikh are both acceptable. In the grip of one such daydream he insults the visiting Princess Beautiful (Nanda) and is thrown out of the orphanage.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Yakeen (1969)

A stylish thriller starring Dharmendra, Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, a dog, a beautiful red car and loads of thrilling masala!
Dharmendra plays Rajesh, a scientist working on a top secret government research project. The project requires Rajesh's complete involvement to the extent that he isn't able to spend time with his girl friend Rita (Sharmila Tagore). Rita is understandably peeved at the neglect. Rajesh manages to wangle a few days off and woos his girlfriend (should that be re-woos?) to the tune of Yakeen kar lo mujhe mohabbat hai tumse tumse... Rita hears Mohd Rafi's beautiful voice and is properly won over. Rajesh then goes over to Rita's place and formally asks for her hand in marriage from her mother (Kamini Kaushal).

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Parakh (1960)

Another unforgettable film from Bimal Roy - Parakh netted him his third consecutive Filmfare Award for best direction (he won earlier for Madhumati and Sujata). The story - written by music director Salil Choudhury - is a satirical fairytale set in rural India and comes complete with wicked people, good people, a damsel in distress, a hero and a fairy godfather.
We are taken to a small village called Radhanagar and meet the people there - the penurious village postmaster Nivaran (Nazir Hussain) and his charming daughter Seema (Sadhana) who is in love with the popular village schoolmaster Rajat (Vasant Choudhury), the irreverant postman Haridhan (Motilal), the pious priest Tarkalankar (Kanhaiyalal), the lecherous rich man Haribhanj (Asit Sen) who is keen on Seema, the greedy Doctor (Rashid Khan), the zamindar Tandav (Jayant). The good, the bad and the ugly - they are all here, but remarkably true to life.