Sunday, August 3, 2008

Movie Review: Waqt (Time) (1975) (Hindi Movie)

Lala Kedarnath (Balraj Sahni) is a rags-to-riches story. Now one of the respected members of the town, he believes less in destiny and more in hard work. He is in the midst of celebrations at his place unaware of the disaster awaiting him and his family (wife + 3 sons (in the best Indian tradition)).

In a tragedy of comic proportions, an earthquake strikes and toy houses fall, plaster-of-paris dwellings crack-up. In the ensuing melee, for reasons unclear to this day, the family separates. The wife and infant go one way, the 2 young boys go 2 other separate ways and Lala is left wandering among ruins.

All the bumbling idiots meet in the end but not before you have a courtroom drama. Moral of the story being that Time (Destiny?) has the capability to overturn the most set of lives, nature has a way of humbling the most confident of individuals and so don’t take anything and anyone for granted.

I would not recommend Waqt to any Bollywood fan-wannabe. But I am sure the movie in its days must have been a stark and lavish departure from the usual Bollywood fare

For one, it has a virtual cornucopia of great actors or great stars (the 2 dont necessarily overlap). It was one of the early multi-starrers. Plus the fact that it aimed to portray the lives of the rich and famous, the ones with their own swimming pools, lakes, boathouses and the epitome of richness….a badminton court.

But watch is for some of its songs and for the acting style of some of Bollywoods’ greats….although we tend to use that word very liberally.

Watch it for Raaj Kumar: the one with little looks but lots of élan and panache. With distinctive dialogues that have become worn out with use over the years
* Yeh bachcho ke khelne ki cheez nahi, haath kat jaye to khoon nikal aata hai.

* Chinoy Seth, Jinke Apne ghar sheeshe ke ho who doosro par paththar nahi pheka karte

Watch it for Sadhana. Aah Sadhana! The one who popularized the Sadhana-cut (hairstyle) [for more on that read]. The one with the thick eyebrows (at least in the movie) and deep eyeliner. Charming lady. Its only her beauty that gives me courage to watch her sitting on a plush green velvety carpet. The aesthetic ideas those days sure seem queer. Oh yes and we get to see her in a bathing suit (one-piece, not two-piece) waddling along like Donald Duck, but charming nevertheless.

But if you want to watch it for Shashi Kapoor and/or Sharmila Tagore, I wouldn’t….. Shashi as the pain-in-the-a.., martyr-in-waiting, apology of a biped in the movie; not to mention rather chubby round the waist. And as for Sharmila, we see her as a rather silly-looking fat-bottomed lass sporting a rather exaggerated bun of hair that seems to have been the style those days. Its difficult to think this is the same actress who played serious roles in the films of Satyajit Ray (a winner of the Lifetime Oscar Award)

Now for the Songs:

*** Ae Meri ZohraJabi Tujhe Maloom Nahi: the middle-aged Balraj Sahni in form wooing his wife. Albeit with jerky crane camera movements, inability of Balraj Sahni to dance-emote: leave of that aside,

And don’t forget to watch very closely the guy sitting to the immediate left of BS. His expressions are bound to make you crack-up and enliven your dull day

*** Din Hai Bahaar Ke: In which the Cultural Group from college prance an Elvis Presley buttermilk-swishing dance on a slew of rafts (funnily enough, attached to a yacht) that look as if they are about to capsize. Sharmila blushes her way through the song as if dreaming mildly pornographic thoughts while going heavy on a reluctant Shashi Kapoor.
The song is good though. And the lake and background remind me of Switzerland ……..sigh

*** Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu: A delicious soporific slow moving number filmed in a lazily sensual style. Asha rules

o Sunil Dutt
o Sadhana
o Raaj Kumar
o Shashi Kapoor
o Sharmila Tagore
o Balraj Sahni – a visage that emanates goodness. One of the finest actors of his era and very very respected
o Rehman
o Motilal
o Shashikala

Story: F.A.Mirza
Dialogues: Akhtar Ul-Iman
Editor: Pran Mehra
Costumes Designed by Bhanu Athaiya
Playback: Asha, Mahinder Kapoor, Manna Dey and Rafi
Lyrics: Sahir
Music: Ravi
Producer: B.R.Chopra
Director: Yash Chopra

P.S. So you have Rehman, sitting on a beachchair next to his swimming pool. Why does he have two telephones by his side. Some questions are best left unanswered in Hindi cinema.


bollyviewer said...

This one was certainly "a tragedy of comic proportions"! lol. You've put your finger on why it hasnt aged so well. Everybody is sooooo over-the-top that you wonder what was mixed in their drinks! It does showcase early 60s fashions pretty well, though (its a 1965 film not 1975).

"as for Sharmila, we see her as a rather silly-looking fat-bottomed lass" Silly I grant you but FAT-Bottomed??!!

Nirvana said...

Well, maybe i went overboard with that comment. Well, I promise to be favourably biased to Mrs.Sharmila Pataudi the next time around :-)