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Monday, June 30, 2008

Neend Hamari Khwaab Tumhare (1966)

Based on the short story Saanch Ko Aanch (Truth in Trouble!) by famous Pakistani satirist Shaukat Thanvi, Neend Hamari Khwaab Tumhare (My Sleep and Your Dreams) tells the tale of an ambitious social climber with gentle humor and tons of masala.
Ajjoo Hajjaam (Ajjoo the barber - Om Prakash) strikes it lucky with a lottery win and installs himself as Nawab Ajmatullah Khan Farooqui in Delhi. His rags-to-riches story however, doesnt quite go according to plans. He manages to worm his way into Delhi's nawabi society presided over by the extremely-high-in-the-instep Khan Bahadur (a very dashing looking Balraj Sahni) and his cultured, pious Begum (Nirupa Roy). Ajjoo's position in high society however, is under constant threat from his delightfully uncouth wife Begum Ajmatullah Farooqui (Manorama). He hires Miss Pal (Shashikala) to teach his wife the ways of fashionable society, but the lady remains unrepentantly pedestrian in her language and manners. He finally gives up on her education and lets it out that she suffers from mental problems.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The two Parineetas

Continuing with this month's theme - movies from books - here's a look at Sharat Chandra Chatterji's famous romantic story Parineeta brought to life on the silver screen by two exceptional directors, 50 years apart.

1. Parineeta (1953)

Producer: Ashok Kumar
Director: Bimal Roy
Starring: Ashok Kumar, Meena Kumari, Asit Baran, Nasir Hussain, etc.

2. Parineeta (2005)
Producer: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Director: Pradeep Sarkar
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Vidya Balan, Sanjay Dutt, Sabyasachi Chakraborty, etc.
The story involves a romance between a lovable orphan and her bossy mentor.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Climbing in the Canadian Rockies

This was the first week of gloriously warm, sunny weather that Calgary has seen since last summer. Of course, I played hookey! Took a break from work and movie watching to go climbing in the Rockies with some colleagues. Here's the ridge we climbed:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Shashi in fancy dress!!! Guess where....

While I mull over my next post, here are some gratuitous screencaps of my current favorite - Shashi Kapoor - in some unusual costumes. Can any of you guess what movies they are from?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Indian literature in Bollywood

A while ago I was reading this article on Gulshan Nanda - a Hindi writer whose frothy romances were very popular in the 1960's and 70's, and who was responsible for several successfull Hindi movies (Saawan Ki Ghata, Patthar Ke Sanam, Kati Patang, Sharmelee, Jheel Ke Us Paar, Jugnu, etc.). The author of the article claims, among other things, that
a) "good" Hindi literature never made it to Hindi cinema,
b) the task of bringing Hindi literature to movies is beyond the scope of Bollywood directors.
This got me thinking - did serious Hindi literature never make it to Bollywood? Right off the bat I can recall several examples of Indian literary classics that did make it to Bollywood, though were not very popular. Here are the ones I've seen and liked. They're from Hindi literature as well as literature from other Indian languages. Though not large in number, they do refute the author's claims that Bollywood is incapable of making movies based on Indian literature. If any of you know of some other examples, I would love to hear about it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Prisoner of Birth - vintage wine in a lovely new bottle

APOB_1_cropped A book, and a new one at that ... What is Old is Gold coming to? Isnt this blog supposed to be the last bastion of the bygone era? Well, as my favorite lawyer Perry Mason would have put it,"Your Honor, we propose to connect it up [to the relevant facts] later." I have just finished reading this marvelous thriller and need to gush about it - so please bear with me for a while and I promise to connect it up with true Old-is-Gold stuff.
A Prisoner of Birth is a novel about a man wrongfully accused of murder, and his quest for revenge against the men who framed him. It may not be a new story but Archer gives it a completely fresh perspective. In the true revenge-drama-style there are dastardly villains, good scoundrels (its not an oxymoron in the context of this book), tense courtroom drama and thrilling twists that keep you on the edge throughout. In short, all the ingredients that make for an absorbing read.