Thursday, September 24, 2009

Afsana (1951) – spiced up Vendetta!

Afsana (1951) Year: 1951, Place: Bombay, India.
Writer I. S. Johar (and I thought he was just a comedian!) decides that its time Marie Corelli’s Vendetta leaves Italy to find a new home. Also, he decides that there isnt enough melodrama in the Victorian revenge potboiler! So, he does what any masala writer worth his salt (or garam masala) would do – he adds twin brothers separated at a young age, and also mixes in childhood sweethearts for good measure. The result is a highly entertaining and engrossing afsana (story).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Parvarish (1958) – upliftment of fallen MEN!

Anyone who’s seen enough old Bollywood films knows about fallen women – the nightclub dancer, the tawaif, the gangster’s moll, etc. The deserving among these debased women usually get a leg up into higher strata of society where they get the privilege of wearing vermilion in their hair partings and no longer have to wear the dreaded ghungroo. There seem to be several of these fallen and subsequently uplifted women in Bollywood. But seldom does one come across a similar upliftment of fallen men. Thats what makes this movie so unique – it takes two men out of the kotha (filmi brothel) and makes them respectable!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Double-trouble or twice as nice? My favorite Bollywood-double roles

Writers elsewhere have noted that the double role not only allows the audience to have twice as much of their favorite star in one film, it also saves the producer money by getting one actor to play two characters for the price of one! As far as I am concerned though, double roles usually mean double the fun and/or double the style. Since double roles come in all flavors and shapes, I have arranged my favorite double roles according to the specific genres they fall into. And here they are for your reading pleasure.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Man Without A Past (2002) - amnesia in Finland!

Fellow film-addict Virginia suggested this film, to go with Jahan Pyar Miley as a double feature. And she was sooooo right. This one is freakily similar to JPM, right down to this:
Who is this man?
Unlike JPM, this one doesnt try to tackle weighty issues (amnesia to solve India’s communal tensions!). Instead, it sticks to examining an amnesiac’s trials and tribulations with deadpan humor – an approach that JPM would have done well to emulate!