Sunday, September 28, 2008

Masala-noir... Black Cat (1959)

A while ago, our friendly neighbour, the Sultan of Pitustan held a hunk-fest and released a list of Bollywood's top 10 hunks. The surprise winner was Balraj Sahni. Aye, the man who drove a rickshaw and channeled the angst of the dispossessed in Do Bigha Zameen, wore a dhoti and glasses in the true "Unkil" tradition and sacrificed ad infinitum in several family dramas - Bhabhi (1957), Choti Behen (1959), Bhabhi Ki Chudiyan (1961), etc. What is so attractive about him? He was a great actor, very good looking, gave great talks at my favorite University, was an acclaimed writer, and an overall good guy in the bad bad bad world of Bollywood. Is that why I echo Sultan Pitu's liking? Nope. The guy did romance like no-one else and always played such intellectually idealistic characters that its hard not to like him! But that isnt all - he could also do masala and carry it off with great panache as I discovered in this unknown movie I stumbled across recently. OK OK, So I will stop rhapsodizing about Sahni saab, already. Without further ado, readers, I give you the Black Cat.
Black Cat
Bombay is terrorised by a series of ingenious robberies engineered by the master thief "Black Cat". The Master Thief has an organisation that is more efficient and deadly than the city police (lets face it - it could hardly be less efficient than them!) and has a network of spies and informants second to none. The network alerts the Black Cat to Number 14's potential treachery and the unfortunate 14 soon ceases to be.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Points to ponder - a rant against "good" movies

The last few weeks have not exactly been packed with movie-viewing but I have managed to see a few talked-about ones. Two of them - Black Friday and A Wednesday - were pretty disturbing. I am not going to review them because:
a) I am too lazy
b) please refer to point a

That doesnt mean that I wont talk about them! So here's my tuppence-worth.

Both the movies were extremely disturbing in unexpected ways. And no, I am not talking about the mass scale destruction of human-kind depicted, because that wasnt unexpected. They were movies about terror attacks. I knew that gruesome scenes of death and destruction were on the menu and was prepared for that. What disturbed me more was the depiction of police torture as a legitimate, even essential, component of interrogation.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mahabharata - Injurious to public sentiment?

What if Spielberg were to apply to the Indian Govt for funds to make a film on the great Indian epic Mahabharata? Read this hilarious article to find out. Evidently, a filmi depiction of the epic could potentially hurt public sentiments and contravene existing Indian Laws. Here's a sample:

In the script... it is shown that there were two sets of cousins, namely, the Kauravas, numbering one hundred, and the Pandavas, numbering five. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has pointed out that these numbers are high, well above the norm prescribed for families by them. It is brought to your kind attention that when the Government is spending huge amounts for promoting family planning, this will send wrong signals to the public. Therefore, it is recommended that there may be only three Kauravas and one Pandava.

And that isnt all - the Mahabharata, it appears, contrives to offend several other ministries, break several laws and hurt the sentiments of various people! If only Maharishi Vyasa had known... I'm sure he'll be more careful while writing his next epic. Wonder if this is the reason why Shyam Benegal drastically cut the number of Kauravas in his adaptation of Mahabharata to two!