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Friday, January 23, 2009

The Prince and the Pauper reloaded - Paap Aur Punya (1974)

I knew somewhere out there, there was a movie where Sharmila Tagore stepped out of her hot-house-delicate filmi persona and did a spunky role. And I FOUND IT! *Big smile* She plays a fiesty Rajasthani maiden who kicks some serious ass – she rescues her hero by singing and dancing, gets into sword fights and even horsewhips the villain. A Big Nahiiiin!!! for the last! Why, you ask? The big bad villain is my beloved Shashi Kapoor, thats why! Paar Aur Punya (cast)
The immortal Twain classic – The Prince and the Pauper – has been given a true-blue 70s Bollywood treatment, complete with lost-and-found, good brother-evil brother and loads of hamming (chiefly by OiG’s favorite #1, Shashi)! The title makes the moral of the story clear – *Paap Aur Punya* (Sin and Virtue) – the eternal fight between good and evil. In true epic fashion, the good and evil are personified by look-alike brothers (Shashi in yet another double role. Yay!). I did decide to observe and comment on religious symbolism, the themes running through the movie, etc. In short I was determined not to be side-tracked by my favorite pair’s famous beauty and try to take a more scholarly view. Alas, I was too easily distracted by the masala goodness of the movie.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seema (1955) - Redemption should be this good…

seema00047I cant remember a time when I havent loved this film. As a child I shed buckets of tears over the heroine’s tale of woe, blissfully wallowed in her happily-ever-after, and of course, followed her lead to fall in love with Balraj Sahni’s sensitive, compassionate and oh-so-empathetic social worker. My grown up self sheds no more tears, but the rest of my reactions remain the same!
Gauri (Nutan) is an orphan brought up by her boozing-gambling Uncle Kashinath (Shivraj) and his shrewish wife (Praveen Paul). Like Cinderella, Gauri does all the housework while her Aunt verbally and physically abuses her. Gauri also earns money for the family by working in a rich household where the mistress abuses her.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fairy Godmother came calling (partII): My favorite brawny, brainy, beauties of Bollywood

Having decided on my most-coveted physical characteristics, its now time to decide what I’d like to be in terms of brains and brawn. So here’s the second part of my wish list.
The courage of Madhuri in Mrityudand and Smita in Mirch Masala.
Smita Patil
Madhuri Dixit
For sheer guts, its a toss-up between Phoolva in Mrityudand and Sonbai in Mirch Masala. They were both willing to go up against patriarchal diktats and bullies to fight for their rights. I wish for their courage and their belief in the rightness of their cause.
The single-mindedness of Kiron Kher in Sardari Begum.
Sardari knows what she wants (to sing) and pursues her goals with single-minded zeal. I would be content with a fraction of her goal-oriented focus!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fairy Godmother came calling (part I) – my favorite Bolly-beauties

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and I became quite good friends while I was researching the Brothers Grimm. So every time Cinderella needs a coach, Fairy Godmother drops into town and comes over to visit yours truly. This time she finally asked me to make a wish – YESSS!!! I thought only of you readers, and asked her to screencap Scaramouche for me so that Stewart Granger in his full swash-buckling glory could be presented to you! But fairy godmother (FGm) told me to be selfish and ask for myself. Since she twisted my arm, I decided to let go and told her that I would really like to be a better person – both physically as well as mentally. As a huge movie lover my choices followed (of course) the models of movie-land. FGm said that she is tired of women wanting to look like Audrey Hepburn, Keira Knightley, et al and could I please choose something different? Of course! I could choose from Bollywood. So here’s my list that is just about ready to be mailed out to FGm.

Neetu Singh’s cuteness:
Neetu Singh
Please FGm, make me as cute as Neetu Singh so I can rock bell-bottoms and mini-skirts inspite of being a bit plump. She also looked like such a fun person to hang out with - all that bubbly charm… 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

A Very Happy 2009, everyone!

I had a great two weeks in Vilaayat and cant figure out where all the time went! There wasnt time enough to sample all the delights UK had to offer and I definitely need to go back there – preferably for a few years. Right now though, I am still jet-lagged and distinctly unhappy at being back at work. So, I have spent some productive time on youtube (Psstt… dont tell my boss!) and guess what I found – a time machine that takes us back to 1969. You can see Bollywood’s beautiful and hopeful, all gathered for the premiere of B. R. Chopra’s thriller Ittefaq. The premiere seems to be a rather simple event by today’s standards when even a music launch has more pomp attached to it! In terms of eye-candy and star-gazing though, nothing has changed. Enjoy the stars and Ameen Sayani’s distinctive voice introducing them in his own inimitable style: