Thursday 17 June 2010

Dosti (1964)

As a big fan of Laxmikant Pyarelal, Dosti was a movie i knew i had to check out, as it was the film that cemented or should i say catapulted Laxmikant Pyarelal into the big league of Hindi Film Music Composers, and also with all the Mohammed Rafi loving that has been going on in blogland i knew it was time to dig out this classic movie as it was an album where Mohammed Rafi was the main vocalist with the exception of one song

Following the death of his father Ramnath (Sushil Kumar) and his mother (Leela Chitnis) are left struggling, they both expect to receive compensation from his father's company as he had died while on duty

Things however go from bad to worse as Ramnath gets dismissed from school when he's unable to pay his fees (Tragedy #1)

if that wasn't enough sorrows for poor Ram he receives news that his father's company won't be paying out any compensations as a result they're kicked out of their flat (Tragedy #2)

If all this wasn't enough for poor Ram already, his mother dies (Tragedy #3)

Yet still If all that wasn't enough Ramnath gets hit by a car thereby losing his leg and becoming a cripple
(Tragedy #4: Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed, how the hell did Ram keep sane, i would have lost it mentally)

Life as a cripple isn't any easier as Ram comes to find out, but he finds solace when he meets a blind boy Mohan (Sudhir Kumar) whom he had helped cross the road

the two strike boys become best friends and are constantly on the look out for one another. Ram starts playing the harmonica which in turn inspires Mohan to sing which leads to passer bys giving them alms, Ram is reluctant at first but Mohan urges him not to hide his talent

They meet and befriend a wealthy girl called Manju (Baby Farida) who becomes a fan of their music her overprotective uncle (Sanjay khan) though is none too pleased about her forming friendship with lower class citizens like Ram & Mohan, they hope their friendship with Manju would help raise money for Ram's school fees

Mohan is also on the lookout for his sister Meena (Uma Rajoo) who is a nurse, incidentally or shall we say coincidentally she is the same one who has been appointed to Manju as her carer

Tragedy strikes once more when Manju dies of her illness, the boys are then left to rely on their singing to bring in enough money to pay for Ram's school fees. They raise enough money and Ram returns to school

Mohan comes across his sister Meena but she disowns him feeling ashamed of him because he's a beggar, she later meets with him in private but Mohan finds it hard to forgive her

Following a stealing incident in their slum Sharmaji (Nana Palsikar) who is Ram's school teacher bails Ram out & gives him an ultimatum of choosing between coming to leave with him in the suburbs and as a result excel in his education or staying behind in the slums, Ramu is reluctant but he leaves with Sharmaji thereby leaving Mohan alone and broken hearted

So will Ram & Mohan ever be reunited? How will Mohan cope without the support and love of his friend? Will Mohan ever forgive his sister? Will Ram be able to well in school without the love and support of Mohan?

This film is considered a bollywood classic and upon its time of release it became a blockbuster which is very impressive given that it had no big stars, no glamour or glitz about it, if such a movie with quite a good storyline and great songs were to release in our present times without any real stars backing it, the film would flop without doubt. I guess it shows how far the dynamics of the Hindi film industry has changed from one driven by content to a heavily celebrity/brand based one

Dosti's strength lies in its story telling and its loving and sympathetic characters as well as great acting from its lead stars Sushil and Sudhir Kumar (Does anyone know if they're related), the movie gets a bit too melodramatic and strenuous at times, but it was hard for me to dislike Dosti, what with its lovely insight on friendship & triumph through tribulation, even when the odds are stacked against you.

That as well as its message of keeping your character intact even when others fail and being true to yourself struck a major chord with me and helped me love the film even more. At the heart of the film's theme is the morale of no man being an island, no one succeeds on their own, we all need the love and help of another person to succeed in life, another interesting reading on the film by an article titled 100 Queer films of India over at filmi impression notes that

"Director Satyen Bose, as in his earlier film Jagriti, invests the friendship between two young men with as much tenderness, empathy, and felicity as romantic love. The film resonates for gay audiences at so many levels from the alienation felt by the two disabled men (one is blind, the other a cripple) acting as a cipher for homosexual repression, to instances of affection so physically demonstrated, to the alternative hospice in which they take refuge, replete with androgynous dancers and women wrestlers (which for all purposes could be a gay ghetto)"

The music from Laxmikant Pyarelal with lyrics from Majrooh Sultanpuri without doubt helped make Dosti the classic status it enjoys today (i really need to do a post on them sometime) all the songs on here are winners and i could go on about them forever, there's the lovely 'Gudiya humsi Roothi Rahogi' (which was the only song on the album not to have Mohammed Rafi's vocal) and many wonderful numbers by Mohammed Rafi like 'Raahi manwa dukh ki chinta', 'Koi jab raah na paye' , 'Jaane walon zara' , 'mera to jo bhi kadam hai' and my utter favourite being the tearjerker that is 'chahunga main tujhe'

Paisa Vasool Rating: 7/10

For more Information on Mohammed Rafi's Imapct on Dosti check out Nasir's write up

But the dvd here

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Saajan Ki Saheli (1981)

The last film in my Nutan birthday special is Saajan ki Saheli, too often when it comes to her work in the 80's, Karma (1986), Meri Jung (1985) & Naam (1986) are often cited as Nutan's best work, however i'd go for Saajan Ki Saheli as her best work from this decade, very soap opera-ish without doubt but it showed Nutan's versatility in delivereing the goods, whatever role she was required to play, plus I just loved the way she was styled in this, too often when one thinks of Nutan, draped white Sari's come to mind, here her character gets to wear glam outfits

The story starts on Munmun's (Rekha) graduation day where she accepts the top prize for Ancient History, her mother Chand (Chand Usmani) is shocked when she sees the man she's receiving the award from

She rushes home, shouting and looking furiously for a certain diary, when Munmun confronts her on her behaviour, she urges her not to read the diary and thus suffers a heart attack

A very distraught MunMun reads the diary (good for her) and finds out Chand isn't in fact her real mother, her real mother was kunti (Nutan) a young woman who had dreamt of marrying a wealthy millionaire, however she had been involved in a one night stand which a poet Anil (Anil Dhawan) which resulted in being pregnant with Mun Mun, she jilts Anil whose heartbreak then leads him to commit suicide

As a result of a marriage proposal from a wealthy Barrister Avinash kumar (Rajendra Kumar) she gives birth to the child in Chandanpur, after which she rejects it, calling it a 'Paap ki Aulad' (Child of sin). Chand decides to raise Munmun on her own and promises Kunti she would never reveal the secret to anyone

MunMun is gutted on how her birth mother had treated her, she moves away from Chandanpur to Srinagar to work as a tour guide, there she meets and falls in love with a popular singer Anand (Vinod Mehra) who wants her to be in his band, as a result she moves to Bombay where she perfoms in his musical troop

Avinash kumar (Rajendra Kumar) the same man who had married her mom Kunti and had awarded her a prize at college, is impressed by Munmun's talent and sets up a meeting with her

When he goes over to her place he comes across Kunti's picture & in his conversations with Munmun, he realises she's the child of his wife Kunti with whom he's been unable to have a child, he's diasppointed she hid her past from him and decides on tormenting her with jealousy

He tells her about a client on the search for a mother who had deserted her years ago, this gives her a guilty conscience, but Kunti none the less acts jugmentaly about the whole matter and even when prompted by Avinash who hopes she'll tell him the truth about her past, Kunti keeps schtum

When Munmun arrives at Avinash's house for the dinner he's invited her to, she realises his wife is none other than her mother, she's shocked but reveals nothing to her, when Kunti realises she's the girl Avinash is talking about, Kunti treats her like an outcast all without knowing Mumnum is in fact her daughter

Avinash on the other hand keeps bringing the subject of Munmun up much to Kunti's frustration, her anger escalates even more when an emotional adviser Suresh (Suresh Oberoi) brings up her past as well as telling Kumti about Avinash's affair with Kunti

Who is this Suresh, and how does he know so much about Kunti's past? Will she realise that the Paap ki Aulad is in fact her own child? Will she come clean about the past to her husband?

Overall as i've said at the beginning, this film is as soap opera-ish as it gets, it felt like i ws watching an episode of Dynasty and the glam stakes just like Dynasty were high, it was refreshing to see Nutan in Strapless Maxi dresses, made up to the nines with bright red lips, feather boas, assymetric dresses etc. I just loved her style in this

Also hilarious were the dialogues in this film, for some reason i never pictured Nutan as the kind of actress to say 'main tera khoon pi jaunga' (I will kill you) and she gets a lot of room to say such camp dialogues on here, i've included an example of her fierceness in Saajan ki Saheli in this camp scene below, where she slaps Rekha to the point of fainting

The rest of the cast give a decent perfornmance too,Rekha was just gorgeous in this movie, she looked divine and i just couldn't stop taking screencaps

Overall watch Saajan ki Saheli if you like your soap opera-ish type storylines and even more so if you're a fan of Nutan or Rekha, it doesn't drag on endlessly and it closes in at just over 2hrs 8mins

The Lovely songs by Usha Khanna also made this film enjoyable,, there's a lovely Goan flavoured track 'Navtak mangta', a wonderful qawalli 'Aaye hai woh' as well as two gorgeous Mohammed Rafi Numbers 'Boondein Nahi Sitaren' & 'Aise na the hum' my favourite of them all is 'Jiske liye sab ko choda'

Paisa Vasool Rating: 5.5/10

Previously in Nutan Birthday Special

Milan (1967)
Happy Birthday to Me & Nutan

Saturday 5 June 2010

Milan (1967)

Milan is one of the films I've picked out as part of my Nutan Birthday Special, i saw this film last December but thought it'd be more ideal to review it around the time of her birthday. It won Nutan her last ever filmfare Best Actress gong, she was famous for getting these, till today she holds the record for having won five of the black Lady back then when i guess they were still somewhat credible, Milan (Union) is also the director Adurthi Subba Rao's remake of his 1963 Tollywood reincarnation themed film Mooga Manasulu

While on their way to honeymoon after getting married, Gopinath (Sunil Dutt) & Radha (Nutan) start getting flashbacks/memories of a previous life, they arrive at an old haunted house where an old man who confirms most of his questions Gopi has about a possible previous life

The flashbacks reveal life with Gopi as a boatman who is an orphan & Radha as the daughter of a wealthy Zamindar (land owner)

Gopi takes Radha across the river to her college, the two seem to like each other a lot with Gopi bringing/gifting her flowers always, she's taken by his kindness & seems to be very fond of him too

Also smitten by Gopi is Gauri (Jamuna) a local village girl, Gopi however sees her just as a friend

A prince named Ram Babu (Deven verma) takes a liking to Radha

when Rajender (Pran) who is Radha's uncle finds out wealthy Ram Babu is, the fact he can make money out of exploiting Ram's love leads him to pulls strings culminating in Ram & Radha's marriage much to Gopi & Radha's sadness

Now we all know as a lead character Gopi has to get the sympathy card somehow, you know according to bollywood both of them have to end up together, as such Ram Babu dies leaving Radha as a widow, as a result she moves back to the village

When Gopi hears about Radha's widowhood, he's sympathetic and during his many visits to comfort her for her loss, his visits are treated with suspicious notions by Gauri as well as the fellow villagers due to Rajendra's false stories about both of them

Gopi willing to spare Radha the embarrassment and dishonour decides on leaving the village, Radha follows after him, Rajender on the other hand is after both couples to kill them

What will be the outcome of Radha and Gopi? Will Rajender succeed in his plan?

Milan is my no means up there with the reincarnation classics like Madhumati (which i'm yet to see) but somehow i just know it isn't, due to all the reviews and cult following Madhumati has. What ticked me off about Milan was that it takes a full 1.5 hours for the plot to settle in, thereby giving the film a slow and quite boring feel, watch it just for the songs if anything.
Performance wise Nutan is lovely as Radha but somehow perhaps due to the slow story i just couldn't sympathise with her character as Radha and Sunil Dutt one of my favourute actors was just ok here, i felt he overdid his simpleton act just a bit too much in this, i remember feeling quite irritated by his Gopi character, he's watchable and quite adorable yet still though. I also remember being dissatisfied that Pran was somewhat wasted in this film

Jamuna was likable as Gauri, but like Radha i couldn't really sympathise with her Gauri character, she too was awarded the best supporting actress gong, seems everyone was just winning awards right left and centre for this film

Laxmiaknt Pyarelal too won their second best Music director award for their fab songs in Milan, in fact the songs are what makes this film very memorable for me, from the vibrant 'Bol Gori Bol' the wonderful 'Hum tum yug yug se' the lovely 'tohe sawariya' two wonderful ballads 'main to deewana' & 'Ram kare aise ho jaye' and my utter favourite 'Sawan ka mahina' which some of you might remember as one of the songs featured on the extensive and wonderful Laxmikant Pyarelal medley from Mr India

now lets compare this song and picturization with one from the Telugu original 'Mooga Manasulu', they both look so similar, only difference being the different songs, actors and black and white picture. i would like to see the Telugu version just to see how it compare but telugu classics seem to be so rare to come across on Dvd with English Subs

Paisa Vasool Rating: 5/10

Friday 4 June 2010

Happy birthday to Me & Nutan

Now before anyone jumps on my throat alerting me on the fact that she's dead, well i know that already, I'm only showing off the fact that i share my birth date with one of bollywood's greatest actresses ever (Kya Honhour Hai). Now i won't pretend to have seen a lot of her classic works, but i'm still discovering them and on my next dvd shopping trip, her classics like Sujata, Bandini etc. are all going into my basket.

I've laid off dvd shopping for now, since i have so many dvds i'm yet to watch plus it was my new year resolution not to buy anymore dvds till i finish all the ones i have at home, its June now and i haven't broken my resolution (yay!). Anway here is a lovely magazine Interview of Nutan's family Members talking about her life, i shall be back again before the end of the day with two Nutan film reviews, till then i hope you all enjoy the article

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