Friday, 31 July 2009

Love Aaj Kal (2009)

Love Aaj Kal ( Love Today & yesterday) has been one of this summer's eagerly anticipated movies, so off i went to the cinema to see what this film has to offer and here are my quick thoughts on the movie


Jai ( Saif Ali Khan) and Meera are a modern hip couple who live in London, when work and life opportunities arise, they decide to spilt up, however they still remain good friends, they even have a break up party. At the end of the party Jai meets Veer Singh (Rishi kapoor) who's suprised at Jai's casual manner over his split, he tells him him about how love meant a lot more in his days and in a series of flashbacks the love story between a young Veer (played by Saif Ali Khan in a turban) and Harleen ( Shweta Gulati), whom he sees and falls in love with at first sight, the movie then keeps going back and forth showing us Love Today between Jai and Meera and Love Yesterday between Veer and Harleen.

Anyway back to Love Aaj (Today) and Meena is settling into her life in Delhi, she and Jai retain a good friendship and they text and tell each other about their new loves, dates etc. Jai meets Jo and the two start dating, simultaneously Meera not wanting to be left out too starts dating her boss Rahul Khanna. When Jai's new girlfriend decides on a trip to India Jai goes with her and he takes the opportunity to revisit Meena, the two have a wild time together and indulge in a litle romance, the tables turn when they both appear at a New year's eve party and Rahul who is Meena's boss proposes to her, Meena then asks Jai what he thinks about his proposal, Jai is not forthcoming about his feelings and Meena asks him to get away from her sight never to return thus resulting in a second break up

My Nit Picks about this movie
As much as i watch fun brainlesss movies, this is one where i guess i actually tried to switch my brain on

I found the constant flashback scenes a bit unnecessary, a one time look at Veer and Harleen's relationship should have been sufficient to set their story up the constant flashbacks were distracting and confusing

I found this film regressive in a bad way, this is the year 2009 and a modern hip girl like Meera would have known what she wants, Meera's character doesn't seem to have a mind of her own, why did she have to wait till she had walked round the fire a whopping 7 times to realise she didn't love her husband as much as Jai, and since she and jai had broken up and he had a girlfriend of his own what was the need to seek his approval?

The characters emotions are laughable rather than cry and sympathise with the characters, i actually found myself laughing at their stupidity and self caused calamity

While i'm not a moralist in the strictest sense, Meera and Jai are rewarded for their selfish, self centred attitudes at the expense of other peoples feelings, in this case Rahul (Meena's husband) is left to bear the brunt of the love she still feels for Jai

I'm not even going to praise anyones performance here as i didn't like the story line too much at all, they all played their parts well but the entire thing crumbled in my eyes due to the storyline

Overall i was hugely disappointed in this movie the happy ending was so cliched and the whole thing as i've said was so regressive, like one of those melodramatic over the top love stories in 70's/80's bollywood

What i liked about this movie

The first half of the movie was much more bearable, i liked the way it showed Jai and Meera's post break up relationship and how they kept each other involved in their activities

Neetu Singh's appearance, although she appears in a cameo role

Deepika, even though her character as Meena is flawed and in some aspects has little to do which eventually reduces her character to the atypical filmi love girl, Deepika oozes screen presence and vah, vah, vah, so much beauty

The gorgeous locales and the songs, i don't care wherever Pritam copied it from, the songs were top notch, from the sweet sounds of Chori bazaar, to the fun dancey the twist and the super fun 'aahun aahun' which definitely has to be one of the biggest earworms of the year so far

Total Score: 4.5/10

I know people are going to compare this to Jab we Met but they're two different films in my own opinion, i was more in tune with the characters of Jab we met but i felt emotionally detached from the ones in Love Aaj Kal, at the points where they got emotional i actually laughed at them

Edited to Add

According to imdb Love Aaj kal is said to be based on the 2005 chinese film Zui Hao De Shi Guang

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Suraj (1966)

Suraj, Suraj (sunshine), where do i start with this delightful movie, stolen kids, deception , evil scheming, wonderful costumes and great songs all make for a tasty 60's masala treat

After Sangram Singh (Niranjan Sharma) saves the life of Vikram Pratap Singh (David Abraham), he is highly grateful, as a reward Pratap Singh promises his daughter to Sangram Singh's son in Marriage, he secures this promise with a necklace

While the young king is playing with king Sangram Singh's guard Ram Singh (Gajanan Jagidar) the necklace drops and a palace maid steals it,Ram Singh is then accused of the theft and punished and shamed by the King, when the necklace is eventually found Ram Singh had left the palace and Sangram Singh gets no chance to apologise

Ram Singh is angry and promises to get even, he steals the young prince from the palace and then sends his own son back to the palace a few years later as the prince, he also creates a scar in his are similar to one the original prince has

The King and Queen are suspicious but when they discover a burn similar to the one the Prince has, they believe its truly him

Ram Singh then brings up the King's son as a thief with the intention of scorning the King one day, he also changes his name to Suraj

although Suraj is brought up as a thief, he has a heart of gold

Prince Pratap Singh (Ajit) who is actually Ram Singh's original son that is being brought up in the palace grows up to be a tout (oh the irony), terrorrising the villagers and troubling the young girls

Princess Anuradha (Vyjayanthimala) who has been promised to Prince Pratap Singh too comes of age and when her father tells her of her upcoming marriage to the prince, she's none too pleased but agrees to go and visit him just to please her father

She takes her maid servant Kalavati (Mumtaz) with her and when they get there she swaps roles with Kalavati arguing she wants to see what everyday life is like

Thus Kalavati becomes the princess and Princess Anuradha becomes the maid

While on her journey through town to discover what normal folks are like she meets and falls for Suraj in a spate of irony since he is in fact the original king

In another Spate of Irony the King doesn't take a liking to the acting Princess (Mumtaz) but falls for her handmaid who is fact the real Princess

Who would the king marry? Will the king discover that Prince Pratap Singh whom he has raised is not his real son? Will Suraj discover he is in fact the real prince? For obvious answers to these and many more fun reasons please watch Suraj?

An all round fun film is what Suraj (Sunshine) is, its full of hilarious well placed ironies plus the masalaic formulas of swapped children, mistaken identities & evil schemes, this movie has all the elements that became the standard formula of most masala films in the '70's and '80's.

I absolutely loved Rajendra Kumar in this, this was such a fun role for him and he pulled it off with panache, no tears or emotional acting for him in this, just fun all the way through

Johnny Walker as usual is comic relief with some hilarious Cock Jokes, according to my subtitles anyway

As for Ajit, what a handsome man he was, why didn't he ever make it to top hero status? He was hilarious and fantastic as the scheming terrorising prince

there was serious sexual chemistry between him and Vjayanthimala in a Villain fancies heroine kind of way

Never has Vyjayanthimala looked so gorgeous if you're a fan of Vyjayanthimala you might wanna add this to your collection, and although she doesn't dance so much in these she balances her roles as Princess Anuradha who knows what she wants and the damsel in distress perfectly

Baby Neetu Singh too had a small role

What an outstanding soundtrack by Shankar Jaikishen, all the songs from this films are gems, they won their 5th filmfare best music director award for this. From the romantic 'Chere pe giri' the sweet and heartwarming vocals of Sharda in 'Deko Mera Dil', the evergreen 'Baharon Phool Barsao' which won Mohammed Rafi his 4th filmfare best male playback award and the beautiful 'Ho Kaise Samjhaon', the fun 'Ho Ek baar' and the sweet enchanting 'Titli Udi' sang by the fabulous Sharda, which is said to ave been the No. 1 hit song of 1966

Total Score: 8/10 (A wonderfully entertaining Fairytale)

Suraj is available in 16 parts with English Subtittles on Youtube

the wonderful Sharda (image courtesy of BrookHaven National Laboratory)

Sharda whom i had heard nothing of till i saw this movie, apparently never made it big even though her voice was spectacularly magnificent due to dirty politics and monopoly of The Mangeshkar sisters whom i adore, but as much as i love them, when i read of allegations of them refusing to sing for producers should they give songs to anyone else i'm a little disappointed but that disappointment doesn't take away from the legends i think they rightfully are.

Sharda and some top industry people in the 60's Image courtesy of BrookHaven National Laboratory.

Sharda's education also seemed to have worked against her, read more on Wikipedia, i don't know how true the wikipedia article is, but with the very little that's written on her, the wikipedia article is well written and seems fair. She also has her own website as well which is aptly titled

See more of Sharda at the Brookhaven National Laboratory

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahan? (1970)

This is one of the movies directed by Arjun Hingorani who i believe pioneered the idea of numerolgy in film titles, going by his imdb profile he appears to have made lots of films with 3k's, Kab? Kyoon? aur Kahan? (When? Why? and Where?) being the first in the bunch. Of course this trend was to be repeated later by Karan Johar who kad K's in almost all his film titles from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kal Ho Na Ho etc.

The movie starts with a plotted car crash & then asks us in a loud voice Kab? Kyoon? aur Kahan?(When? Why? and Where?)

Anand (Dharmendra) and Asha (Babita) are both passengers on a cruise ship, she's annoyed she has to share a room with him, but after he sings to her and rescues her from a goon who had made a pass at her, she falls for him

When he gets back to India, Inspector Anand is appointed the case of Jagdish Raj who happens to be Asha's father, the commissioner of police believes his car has been tampered with and thus assigns Anand to investigate fully

When Asha learns of her dad's death she's shocked and she finds solace in Anand, her uncle Daljeet (Pran) however is unhappy about their relationship

the doctor recommends a trip to Kashmir for Asha as a remedy to the immense shock she's suffered from her father's death

While in Kashmir Daljeet tries to kill Asha by drugging her tea and then sending her on a boat ride, luckily Asha had asked Anand to join her in Kashmir and he's able to rescue her

Anand tells Asha he suspects Daljeet might be after her property but Asha doubts her uncle Daljeet would do such a thing

When they return to Bombay Daljeet takes a liking to Asha's friend Lata and tries to rape her,
Asha tries to help by setting the dog on him but he shoots the dog, Asha then manages to get the gun off him but he's still violent, she then shoots him

Asha is petrified and Lata urges her it would be a secret between the two of them

they both put Daljeet's body in a rather large box (talk about subtlety) and drive to dispose the body,On the way they are stopped by cops, who wants to search them but then when he realises she's the daughter of the wealthy deceased Jagdish Raj , he lets them go, and they dump the box with the body in a stream

Following the disposal of the body, Asha becomes restless and apparitions of Daljeet start appearing to her, Asha is paranoid but still keeps her deed a secret from Anand

Will Asha ever reveal her deeds to Anand? Will Anand ever find out who killed Asha's father? What are the strange apparition's Asha is seeing, is she mentally disturbed or was it alla dream? Watch Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahan? to find out

Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahan? falls into the fun escapist movies made in the '70's there's a good suspense element with a dash of sweet romance and some action from Garam Dharam, i really enjoyed this and i really didn't see the twist at the end coming

Dharmendra was so handsome, romantic and sexy as Inspector Anand. Daddy's girl i've added some pictures for you to feast on, i kept thinking about your love for Garam Dharam while watching this

Yummy Daddy's Girl, very Yummy......Lol

Babita who wasn't really taken seriously as other lead actresses of her times gives a fine performance, gosh! Karisma looks so much like her

The great Pran was at his evilest best as the greedy uncle, I loved him in this in fact i love Pran in everything, he always adds his midas touch to whatever he sets his hand to

And the fabulous Helen appears in a mini role as the baddies informant, she also gives us a great dance

Helen in 'Ye aakhen jhuki jhuki

The music by the funky Kalyandji Anandji is superb (i'm trying not to use fabulous.. lol) the romantic 'dil to dil hai' (watch the hilarious moments between Dharmendra and Babita's dog at the start of the song) and the catchy 'Ye aakhen jhuki jhuki' which is sure to get you moving (can anyone please identify the woman dancing with Helen in the song) the sweet 'Pyar se dil bhar de' and the melodious Ho gaye, tere ho gaye

Total Score: 7/10 ( Fun playful Suspense Thriller with a sweet dash of romance)

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Tohfa (1984)

This is one of the superhit remakes of a South Indian film in the '80's, these southern type films were very melodramatic in nature and usually starred Jeetendra, Sridevi and Jaya Prada with the music being composed mostly by Bappi Lahiri. These potboiler melodramas became a winning '80's box office success formula with movies such as Himmatwala, Mawaali, Justice Choudhary, Maqsad, Swarag Se Sunder etc all becoming box office hits. Tohfa (Gift) is one of these films, it was a remake of the Telugu film Devatha (1982), the film became the highest grosser in 1984 at the Indian box office

Janki (Jaya Prada) is a self sacrificing person who always helps and keeps a smile on everyones faces

She even sacrifices her own education so that her sister Lalita (Sridevi) can attend college without worrying about fees

Even Ram ( Jeetendra) the first person in the village to gain a law qualification attributes this to Janki, as he could only study due to Janki's help caring for his mother

Things take a turn when Janki falls in love with Ram, but Ram on the other hand loves Lalita but Janki does not know this

Many villagers come to seek Ram's hand in marriage for their daughters, but Ram's mother wants Janki to marry Ram, while Ram himself had promised to marry Lalita

When the two sisters's realise they're both in love, they decide to tell each other and in a game of 'no you go first' Janki reveals to Lalita that she's in love with Ram and their marriage has been planned by his mother

When Lalita finds out she keeps schtum and doesn't reveal her feelings and the fact that she's been dating Ram to her sister

Lalita out of desperation and heartbreak then marries a local tout kamesh (Shakti kapoor) in an attempt to get rid of her feelings for Ram

When her sister finds out about her marriage to loudmouth Kamesh she's disappointed and when she voices her opinion, Lalita accuses her of jealousy. Janki disowns Lalita and the two sister's part ways

Ram is disappointed when he finds out about Lalita's marriage to Kamesh

Lalita moves out of the village with Kamesh, while on the train to Mumbai kamesh gets in a fight which results in murder, he's sentenced to 7 years in Jail

Also Lalita is now carrying Ram's baby but Ram does not know this. Following their marriage, Ram and Janki also move into the same town but they find it hard to have a child of their own

Soon enough Ram comes across his son Gopi but he doesn't know Gopi is his son, soon enough Gopi takes him home to introduce him to his mother Lalita

Will she reveal Gopi's identity to Ram? Will she and her sister ever speak again? Will Janki ever learn of lalita's baby with Ram?

This melodrama while entertaining in some way was quite annoying at times, i hated the self sacrificial nature Janki was often subjected and praised for, but i still i enjoyed the melodrama, i loved the way it explores the consequences of what we might think are our good actions often wrecks havoc in the lives of others. For instance Lalita thought that by keeping her love for Ram quiet she was giving her sister happiness, but of course this complicated their relationship even further and both of them were never truly happy in their various lives

The music by Bappi Lahiri is superb they all had a hindi peppy folk touch to them, the picturisations of the songs were amazing to behold, from the carefully arranged steel pots and carefully lined dancers in a Busby Berkeley kind way in the catchy 'Gori Tere Ang'

the Busby Berkeley style arrangements of steel pots and dancers

Sridevi and Jeetendra in karma sutra style pose close to the carefully arranged pots in 'Gori tere ang'
to the car with colourful balloons in the breezy tuneful 'Albela Mausam'

and my favourite picturisation of all has to be 'Tohfa Laya' where saris were draped to form tents and maypoles (see below) and as one imdb commenter cleverly puts it "the best sari exhibition you'll ever see in bollywood" The producers even made it a point to thank Bombay dyeing

Jaya prada and Jeetendra in the tent made of sari's

Jaya and Jeetendra in the Circular tent made with Sari's in 'Tohfa Laya'

And my other favouite is the peppy 'Ek aankh Marun toh' with Sridevi and Jeetendra's doing some amazingly synchronised even if somewhat cheesy dance steps

Total Score: 6/10 ( An entertaining even if somewhat annoying in parts hyper melodrama)