Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
This one's a guest post from my blogger friend Beth of BethLovesBollywood.
A classic film for me is one that has stood up through the passage of time, I'd say at least 20 years (long enough for an entirely different generation to encounter it as teens or adults), that still makes an impact in some way: the craft of film-making, aesthetics, story, characters, performances, ideas it addresses, questions it raises, commentary it offers, description or evocation of a particular time/place, etc.
Here are my top 5 picks -
Mother India (1957)
See it for the communism, see it for the lengths a filmi mother will go to in order to protect her own version of her son, and see it for its powerhouse conclusion fueled by a woman's mighty moral stance.
Long before Yash Raj Films was associated with cheesiness (romantic or otherwise), Yash Chopra made this fiery film about the vital importance of communal harmony in nation-building. Amid fiery Hindu/Muslim tensions, there is still room for some heart-wrenching family drama and fiercely feminist language and characterizations.
Traditional vs. modern, fantasy vs. reality, proper vs. misplaced loyalty, introversion vs. involvement with the wider world...the list goes on. In addition to the seemingly never-ending shades of its story, Sharmeelee features lovely songs, fabulous costumes, and strong performances in a double role by Rakhee and a forlorn lover by Shashi Kapoor.
Although it is often overshadowed by Amar Akbar Anthony, another of director Manmohan Desai's releases in 1977, Parvarish is masala perfected. Typical masala story elements and moral messages are supported and greatly enhanced by pretty much everything you could ever want: long-lost family members, mistaken identities, romance, revenge, brothers and sisters, police, smugglers, disguises, temporary blindness, a qawwali, a villain lair with a death trap...and even a submarine.
Kaala Patthar (1979)
The story is full of conflicts and genuine peril, focusing tightly on just one little community whose life depends on the dangerous but vital endeavor of coal mining, and its telling (again by Yash Chopra) grabs my emotions and won't let go. Kaala Patthar addresses big questions ranging from the importance of dreams to personal responsibility to hints of environmentalism, but it never feels like "an issues film." The coal dust covering almost every surface in the sets of this film perfectly suits the gray shades of emotion and ethics.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
It's hard to think of Vidya Balan when you think of words like sleaze, raunch, vulgar. And that is probably why it is all the more intriguing for the audiences to go out and watch The Dirty Picture. After films like Parineeta and Paa, Balan is (surprisingly!) plumb perfect as Silk Smitha.
While all characters - Naseeruddin Shah, Emran Hashmi, Tushhar Kapoor - are good, no one quite matches up to Balan's exuberant screen presence and performance. And I say that not because she dares to bare. It's because she convincingly dares to bare. The woman can act - a skill that's, unfortunately, a rarity among B'wood actresses. She shines in the scene where she holds up the traffic while ruining a journalist's party.
Packed with a quite a few cliches and a plot, we aren't really new to, thanks to films like Fashion and Page 3, The Dirty Picture broadly rests on Vidya's shoulders and some hard-hitting dialoguery that should help it earn its bucks while running a few more weeks at the theaters.
@Vidya, December seems to be a award-winning month. I guess you last award was for Paa. Release Date - December 4. Get preparing for the customary 'thank you' speech already ;)
Friday, December 2, 2011
Maine Pyar Kiya
Amar Akbar Anthony
Mera Naam Joker
And my pick with 'R' is
Rocket Singh - Salesman of the Year
Harpreet S Bedi (Ranbir Kapoor) charms you with his effortless acting, likeable persona and forthright ways. The central character of the film, Harpreet, is straight out of college looking for work. The 39-percent-er BCom graduate strikes in his first interview, landing himself a job, thanks to his determination and belief in himself.
The guy is an idealist of sorts. He knows only good. The 'p' of politics escapes him. His close-to-perfect vision of life comes to knot, few months into his job and soon enough his guilelessness lands him out of it. In the last few days, left of his training period, he's (expectedly!) belittled by his boss and colleagues.
He keeps up his hard work, knowing well he won't be rewarded or recognized for it. Harpreet is hurt but not without faith. It's then that he takes a decision. The dimwit (at least that's what everyone makes of him!) outsmarts all. He proves a true blue salesman (but honest, mind you!).
Yes, there are a few loopholes, but the film does not wander from the point it sets out to make. It is a different subject, tautly scripted and screen played, with realistic characters. Be it Harpreet's shrewd team leader Nitin (Naveen Kaushik); his foxy boss Sunil Puri (Manish Chodhary); the brash receptionist Koena (Gauhar Khan); the perennial lech Santosh (Girish Reddy); cup-plate Mishra Ji; or our very own "Prem naam hai mera" Prem Chopra (PS: main vaari vaari jaawa on his flawwwless Punjabi accent).
It's a film with a soul and highly recommended.