Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Movies ‘R’ Us: #5-2008

1. Ittefaq (Coincidence) (1969) (Hindi movie)

An innocent man (given to dramatics) who is an artist, Rajesh Khanna is charged with the murder of his wife. Charged and then sent to the custody of the mental hospital, he escapes. A criminal on the run from the law and the mental hospital, he lands up in the house of Nanda, a housewife and holds her hostage. The movie essentially is shot within this house. By the 2nd half, another murder has happened and RK stands accused.

Is he innocent? Can he clear himself of the charges?

The movie starts promisingly but somewhere down the line loosens up. The dialogue and script writers just go awry and that’s not helped by some dispassionate acting.

Some loose acting to be observed especially when the police inspectors react sluggishly to screams on telephone. Very very silly and inept situations, inane sequences of dialogue, character placements and movements

When the answers do spill out, they seem overeager to spill out rather than being elicited out masterfully. The script at times seems to insult even the intelligence of schoolboys (well, modern schoolboys in any case).

Yash Chopra, the director disappoints with this dud. But full marks to him for experimenting because there’s not a single song in here.

Admirers of Iftekhar the ‘Police Inspector’ in hundreds of Hindi films might find some takeaways from the film. For a change he does get to occupy lots of screen space. He is competent, but just about.

Iftekhar stars as Inspector Karve.- which is a Marathi name. Which brings me to the issue recently raised by a prominent Maharashtrian politician. That in this movie capital of India, the capital of the state of Maharashtra (inhabited by Marathis), the only movie characters who are Marathi are invariably servants. I do think there is a lot of angst felt by a significant percentage of Marathis and this has been raised by this politician. No doubt the long-term aims behind raising this issue might be more political than social, but nevertheless the point I think is valid. Its as if, an entire industry has forgotten the social milieu by which it is surrounded. Invariably all characters, situations and overt locations are non-Marathi. And perhaps this should be extended to other regions too. Its as if, significant parts and peoples of India just don’t exist in Hindi cinema. If they do, they are portrayed as caricatures, clichés and in a patronizing manner. Other than Marathis, even Christians, Parsis and others may raise valid arguments while on this topic. I think Hindi cinema has some way to go before it becomes much more representative of broader sections of society.

Rajesh Khanna
Gajanan Jahagirdar

Dialogues: Akhtar-Ul-Iman
Chief Editor: Pran Mehra
Music: Salil Choudhary
Producer: B.R.Chopra
Director: Yash Chopra

2. Anamika (Unnamed) (1973) (Hindi movie)

Stars the delightful pair of Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bhaduri. Scripted by the gentle giant Gulzar, it sells itself just with these 3 names.

The movie itself is an average watch no doubt with some spikes in watchability. Sanjeev Kumar, who has lost in love is now a woman-hatere. JB, the amnesia stricken girl comes into his life and home thinking she is his wife. The movie starts thus and ends with the truth being revealed

Watch it if you must for Jaya Bhaduri, delightful and free-spirited like a bird in the wind. Emotions pass over her face like ripples across water; naked, transparent and natural. And it does help that SK and JB have a delightful, impish chemistry

And now for the songs:

* The marvelous Bahon Mein Chale Aaon (Come into my arms). Lata soars.

* The Helen cabaret ‘Aaj Ki Raat Koi Aane Ko Hai’. Helen, sexy as ever, albeit a big fat round the waist

* Meri Bheegi Bheegi Si Palkon – very hummable

And Asrani stars as the oversexed secretary of SK: a needless interlude I think. I wonder whether that character was to cater to the dominant market forces.

3. Ram Balram (1980) (Hindi movie)

Once you rush past the fast-moving credits (literally fast-moving)…. Storywriter / editor / director Vijay Anand seems to have been quite enthusiastic in doing some crisp editing). He just wants to get done with the credits and get on with the film

A masala flick, this. I guess the only major takeaways from this film would be the chemistry between AB and Dharmendra and the fact that AB was at the peak of his prowess only lends a strong backbone to the film. Otherwise, no much ‘dum’ in this.

Some noteworthy songs:

* Ek Rasta Aha Aha – the male bonding song, nicely picturised

* Humse Bhool Ho Gayi Humka Maafi Dai Do

As with, and particularly with films of that era, you cannot escape puerile situations (Amitabh wearing a Spanish dress in luring Indian dacoits out of their den) and superficial characters

And the Ajit in this movie is the one who subsequently spawned a slew of Ajit-jokes

Navjeevan Films


Dharmendra (as Ram) and Zeenat Aman
Amitabh Bachchan (Balram) and Rekha
Prem Chopra
Sujit Kumar
Amjad Khan (Sp.App)
Utpal Dutt

Story: Vijay Anand
Screenplay: Kamleshwar, Vijay Anand
Dialogue: Kamleshwar
Playback: Lata, Rafi, Asha, Kiku, Dilraj Kaur
Edited: Vijay Anand
DoP: Fali Mistry
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Music: Laxmikant Pyarelal
Produced: Tito
Directed: Vijay Anand

4. Calcutta Mail (2003) (Hindi movie)

I struggle to find positives in this film: a script that aims for noveau realism, music and songs that seem to have been created on a whim,

You can watch AK dance awkwardly and wince. How the hell do guys who dance badly get the courage to dance at all? RM is one pest through the movie.

In such a bottom of the barrel movie, even small (seemingly irrelevant) things jar the senses. The way Satish Kaushik removes his spectacles, ‘Ishu’ the name of the kid seems ‘too well thought-out’ and so many other little things.

A movie that in its perversion tries to be a human epic, ends miserably short of the mark.

Anil Kapoor
Rani Mukherji
Manisha Koirala
Satish Kaushik
Sayaji Shinde
Saurabh Shukla
Deven Verma
Shivaji Satam

Choreography: Saroj Khan
Cinematography: Ravi K.Chandran and S.K.Kumar
Story: Gunshekhar
Screenplay: Saurabh Shukla, Sudhir Mishra, Ruchi Narayan
Dialogues: Saurabh Shukla
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar, Mehboob Kotwal
Music: Viju Shah, Anand Raaj Anand
Produced: Allu Aravind and Mukesh Udeshi
Directed: Sudhir Mishra

5. Girl Interrupted (1999) (English movie)

Winona takes an overdose of aspirins, is diagnosed as trying to commit suicide and a borderline personality disorder case. In the 1960s in the US that probably meant detention in a psychiatric care hospital. And so WR arrives to an audience which includes Angelina Jolie, another patient, Whoopi Goldberg, the nurse and Vanessa Redgrave, the shrink.

Finally, WR learns to encounter her demons, and get over her problems; whatever they might. The film tries to be high-brow through some inane but wise comments that flop. All patients display their angst by uttering ‘fuck’ at least thrice in every sentence. And you get lost in what the movie is trying to convey. And for all her efforts AJ won the Oscar for the Best Supporting Actress. Fuck!!


Winona Ryder
Angelina Jolie
Whoopi Goldberg
Vanessa Redgrave

Screenplay by James Mangold and Lisa Loomer and Anna Hamilton Phelan
Directed: James Mangold
Produced: Douglas Wick and Cathy Konrad
Based on the book ‘Girl Interrupted’ by Susanna Kaysen
DoP: Jack Green A.S.C

P.S. The song ‘Downtown’ performed by P.Clark is quite nice though

6. Come September (1961) (English movie)

A Hollywood masala movie that doesn’t work for me. A wealthy American industrialist arrives unannounced to his Italian villa to find that its been converted to a hotel by the caretaker. His part-time Italian girlfriend is about to leave him and some other attendant problems.

Gina Lollobrigida as the heroine and the other girls are cute. Some of the dialogues are quite well written. The film is timepass but with a lot of rough edges.

Surprisingly the cinematography doesn’t work well with me. Sad, very sad because this movie is filmed around the ravishing Italian Riviera.


7. Paris when it Sizzles (1964) (English movie)

In which you watch Audrey Hepburn act the lady. Which is about as obnoxious as watching Angeline Jolie mouth obscenities in ‘Girl Interrupted’

An amateur insipid utterly missable movie.


William Holden
Audrey Hepburn
Noel Coward
Produced: Richard Quine and George Axelrod
DoP: Charles Lang Jr A.S.C
Music: Nelson Riddle
Screenplay: George Axelrod
Directed: Richard Quine


yves said...

Hi Nirvana,
Among other things, I was surprised at your stringent criticism of Calcutta mail - I found AK very good in this film! And RM, well, not her best, for sure, but still quite reliable! What happened? Did you watch it just after you mother-in-law had left?
Tell me what you thought of my take:

Nirvana said...

Hi Yves

1. 'Among other things'? elaborate pls

2. I hadnt criticized AKs acting, just his dancing abilities. He is a decent actor.....generally

3. 'Did you watch it just after you mother-in-law had left?
' Ha ha i liked that. But i dont have any ma-in-law to scare me

4. Actually more than Rani, it is the script, story and execution which disappointed me sorely. And thats where my stringent criticism lies. I will read your blog on the film and comment on it in detail, later

Thanks for your comments



Nirvana said...


After reading your review, would like to add the following points

1. The Anil-Manisha love story track was not very believable. Manisha’s acting leaves a lot to be desired

2. The Rani Mukherjee track is even less believable and the way she pursues Anil Kapoor is filmi and way-removed from reality

3. As regards the acting of Sayaji Shinde and Satish Kaushik, no complaints there. Both are competent actors

4. The script and dialogues seem to have been written by smart-alecky kids who decided on a whim to write a film…..and direct it too

5. About the songs, I have already written that their positioning in the film is suspect. The tunes, lyrics are unremarkable

6. The film just doesn’t work for me because it’s a hotch potch. Neither too much masala, nor too realistic, some of the acting is pretty sub-standard. The film-makers aim to impart some universal humanistic values through the film but end up sounding shallow.

Don’t know how much you agree with the above analysis but do let me know whether you agree with any of my comments