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carla
Geek. Dilettante. Over-analyzer of Hindi movies. World music addict & DJ. Anthropologist of enthusiasms. Other stuff.
Interests: At the moment: India and Hindi films, languages and linguistics, world music, world history, health and fitness
Recent Activity
Thank you, Orissa. I am glad you are reading and very glad you are commenting!
Toggle Commented yesterday on Abhimaan (1973) at Filmi Geek
Thanks! Abhinetri is superb eye-candy for sure! Both Shashi and Hema are about as pretty in it as they ever get. But I found it profoundly disappointing, for a movie that could have made some bold or at least interesting statements.
Toggle Commented yesterday on Abhimaan (1973) at Filmi Geek
Thanks Anu. I was just thinking that I don't generally like movies about characters who are themselves superstars - they sometimes seem self-indulgent, more relatable to the people who make movies than to the people who watch movies. Yet this thought didn't even occur to me while watching Abhimaan. I think it is because of what you note - "Hrishikesh Mukherjee's characters were always true to life." Subir and Uma are people first; famous singers second.
Toggle Commented yesterday on Abhimaan (1973) at Filmi Geek
Thank you Banno. I have been a fan of Jaya's since very early in my exposure to Hindi films, and she continues to impress with every movie I see. I wonder what the 80s would have looked like, had Jaya kept acting into her 30s. Obviously I would not change the casting of movies like Arth or Masoom for anything, but can you imagine the 80s with Jaya occupying the same universe as Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil? Oh boy.
Toggle Commented yesterday on Abhimaan (1973) at Filmi Geek
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अभिमान Dir. Hrishikesh Mukherjee As with Silsila, it's been said that Abhimaan hews uncomfortably close to real life for Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri. That is likely an instance of the usual difficulties that the general movie-watching public has separating... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Filmi Geek
Hello Hema :) Thank you for the comment! It's good to have you here. "Jaunty" and "likable" are good words; I agree with that assessment. I do think you will enjoy it - though like dustedoff, you might be disappointed with the mystery itself. I was talking with a friend about this movie and I had this thought: There are as yet still so few movies about women that we still tend to demand of each one that it be EVERYTHING - she must be bold and strong, but not stupid or bitchy; she should have sexual autonomy, but not have to define herself relative to a man; she shouldn't be too young, because older women have inner lives and desires too, but she shouldn't be too old, because we need movies that speak positive messages to young women and girls; etc. Bobby Jasoos doesn't do everything, either - but the more such movies we have to refer back to, the less and less we will have to ask from each individual movie. I hope that Bobby Jasoos does well enough financially, as Queen seems to have done, and as Kahaani and English Vinglish did, to convince producers that there IS a market for stories like these.
Toggle Commented Jul 9, 2014 on Bobby Jasoos (2014) at Filmi Geek
It will be interesting to see what you think, as a writer of mysteries - the general laziness of the detective aspect of this detective story might aggravate you even more than it did me! But read as a romance and family-relationship story, it has more than enough to carry it despite the weak mystery plot.
Toggle Commented Jul 7, 2014 on Bobby Jasoos (2014) at Filmi Geek
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Dir. Samar Shaikh Bobby Jasoos is an adorable movie. It is not flawless; there is a measure of lazy scripting and plot elements that don't stand up to rigorous thought. But I do not feel inclined to be especially critical... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2014 at Filmi Geek
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Dir. Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap I would like to write a review of Bombay Talkies that is more than a concatenation of four mini-reviews. But that presumes that Bombay Talkies is more than a concatenation of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2014 at Filmi Geek
Sanket, I love this comment - thank you! I relate to the point you made - I have already watched AAA many times, and though I only recently saw Naseeb for the first time, I mentioned in my post about it that I expect it to be a rewatcher. I'm not sure about Coolie. I loved all the religious parts of it and would at least watch that stuff again. I want to ask you where you think Parvarish falls in all of this. It is both substantive, like AAA, and pretty nutty masala, in the form of baddies with elaborate lairs and the submarine fight and whatnot. I like it especially because it has awesome female leads, an area shortchanged in some of Desai's other films.
Toggle Commented Jul 5, 2014 on Coolie (1983) at Filmi Geek
Thanks for this set of comments; very, very interesting stuff. I think I see what you mean about the emotional manipulation in parts of AAA or Naseeb. It is also present in Coolie but if I understand what you are saying, it is accompanied by more zaniness, so it lies in a zone between AAA/Naseeb and Mard. Perhaps Aa gale lag jaa is even further into the "tame masala" or "earnest masala" side things than AAA/Naseeb, while Parvarish lands more or less where AAA/Naseeb does. What about Suhaag? I want to put together the entire axis now, see if people agree on the ordering, and see where people fall if they prefer some range of the axis to films outside that range. Quantifying looniness in Desai. I have yet to see Mard but I am increasingly curious. There are a number of Desai films I have yet to see.
Toggle Commented Jul 3, 2014 on Coolie (1983) at Filmi Geek
I've been pondering this distinction you are drawing between Naseeb and Amar Akbar Anthony on the one hand, and Coolie on the other (I haven't yet watched Mard), and trying to decide whether the distinction makes sense to me. Amar Akbar Anthony was one of the first Hindi films I ever watched, and the first masala film. I had not yet surrendered to the aesthetic - heck, I didn't even know the aesthetic existed - so I didn't know what to make of the film that seemed completely nutty and wackadoodle to me. I suppose looking back on it now though I can see some ways in which Coolie is even further along the crazy spectrum than Amar Akbar Anthony, but it really seems a matter of degree rather than kind. Maybe all of his films do lie along an axis of nuttiness and we all just draw the lines between "not crazy enough" and "just the right amount of crazy" in different places.
Toggle Commented Jun 30, 2014 on Coolie (1983) at Filmi Geek
That's a good question; it didn't occur to me that it could just be a scene missing from the available print, though it makes sense. The way it is now, it is interesting to imagine what took place in that car, what Ashesh said to his uncle to bring him around. It would be hard to write that speech in a convincing way. Perhaps the filmmakers chose not to follow them into the car for that reason ...
Toggle Commented Jun 30, 2014 on Barnali (1963) at Filmi Geek
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বর্ণালী Dir. Ajoy Kar Beth's thoughtful discussion of this tender Bengali film dwells mostly on its love story. You should go and read it, because on that subject I don't have a lot to add. As Beth notes, the romance... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2014 at Filmi Geek
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कुली Dir. Manmohan Desai There is much that can be said about Coolie, a stellar exemplar of the socially meaningful masala movie. It is a rich text packed with social commentary, in which the working poor organize and strike against... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2014 at Filmi Geek
Anu, a story that gives the husband an arc would be interesting to see. It's interesting that in Abhinetri Shashi is so delighted at first by Hema's dancing - it doesn't make him uncomfortable when she is just a girl he likes, but once she is his wife he can't bear it. She is the same girl, so (expanding on what I just wrote above in response to Miranda) his objection can't be to the dancing itself or to the idea that a nice girl could do it. However, his character is presented in such a way that it's hard to get behind the tantrums and the sulking to see any kind of development or thought process there. I would have loved a more coherent, adult presentation of this character - a man with a real moral conflict, between the prejudices and beliefs he was brought up with on the one hand, and love and respect for his wife's art and passion and ambition on the other. THAT would be a movie worth watching.
Toggle Commented Jun 18, 2014 on Abhinetri (1970) at Filmi Geek
I have mixed feelings about Jab Jab Phool Khile, which is probably just a wishy-washy way of admitting that, like you, I rather enjoyed it. True the woman in it is chastened for being modern and hence insufficiently Indian. But she is a straw-man sort of modern woman, a somewhat vapid one. If she were in the process of using all that western education for something productive, like becoming a human rights lawyer or researching malaria cures, Shashi's shaming of her as in sufficiently Indian would have been beyond the pale. As it was, I read the film not as a rejection of modernity/westernness wholesale, but rather of its superficial, questionable elements and the smug attitude of superiority that tends to go with adopting them. Mostly I felt it was not my place to judge the amount of threat those forces posed to Indian society at large at the time - kaise bhool jaaun main nahin Hindustani? Your point about Abhinetri is an interesting one though - though implicit in the movie (and explicit in Anuradha's comments below) is the notion that dancing is a sub-civilized thing for a girl to do, you are especially turned off because you see art as a noble calling and pursuit and are thus more irritated at the attempt to stifle her independent expression through it. It's a neat idea, and points up another tension that the film hints at but doesn't have the guts to confront: is her performance art and worthy of elevation, or is it cheap and worthy of denigration? Her dancing master certainly thinks she is an elevated artist, and speaks of her in the most pure terms. Her fans are considerably more base, admiring her curves and her sexiness. Shashi's character doesn't go all the way to saying that dancing is beneath a nice girl, but he does object to sharing her sexiness (a even just visually) with other men. So it is at least implied that he doesn't value the art aspect enough to overcome the perceived cheap aspect. And we know he doesn't value her autonomy, but then he was raised to be the center of the universe - he may not value anyone's autonomy.
Toggle Commented Jun 18, 2014 on Abhinetri (1970) at Filmi Geek
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अभिनेत्री Dir. Subodh Mukherjee (This review is somewhat more spoilery than usual.) Sometimes it's good to let viewers supply their own ending to a story. An audience won't always agree on the best outcome, and letting each viewer decide for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2014 at Filmi Geek
Thank you! The songs are all lovely even if some of them carry the unpleasant text of the story . :-) I hope you do watch Aan, because it is entertaining in the broadest sense, despite the nasty story. It is a spectacle.
Toggle Commented Jun 10, 2014 on Aan (1952) at Filmi Geek
Miranda, I know that frame of mind well! Aan is a good one for that because the story is not complex and the visuals are the best thing about it. Besides Nimmi and Nadira are so playing to the back of the house with their melodrama that you could probably turn off sound and subtitles and still pretty much know what's going on. When I wrote about Anmol Ghadi a couple of months ago I also wrote about the useless, unappealing hero loved by two women. The canonical example in my mind, of course, is Devdas, and it is an utterly dreary trope. Coupled here with a "hero" who treats women exactly the same way the villain does - kidnapping, physical abuse - and it starts to feel like very lazy writing. The good guy is declard by fiat, because we cast the popular star to play him and rig the script so he wins. It's an awful type of fantasy, isn't it, that of a hero who gets to be laid-back and smug, mean to women (who love him anyway), and even mean to his friends - watch the way Jai Tilak treats Mukti's character, who continues to follow him around with the loyalty of a puppy - and remains heroic. That's what really gets to me, is that none of this behavior is questioned. He's not presented as a flawed hero who faces consequences for mistreating people who care about him and learns a lesson from it. (I've written about that a lot too.)
Toggle Commented Jun 10, 2014 on Aan (1952) at Filmi Geek
I'm glad you mentioned the songs. I really like them. They are diverse in style - from jaunty numbers to folk songs. Also, as soon as "Dil mein chupake pyar ka toofan le chale" began, I recognized it as the song that African musician Angelique Kidjo covered a few years back, when she did an album of songs that had influenced her when she was a kid. I had known that was a Rafi song but had forgotten what movie it was from. Here is Angelique's version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GpM_rJq85s I was thinking about Nimmi's melodrama versus Nadira's, because I liked the latter so much and found the former less appealing for some reason. It's as if Nadira is over the top in a good way, while Nimmi is over the top in a less good way, but that's not very specific. Nimmi's character has a tougher time than Nadira, anyhow, driven mad as she is by Jai Tilak's mistreatment of her, and the poison she takes - she is filmi mad, which is kind of ridiculous by definition.
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2014 on Aan (1952) at Filmi Geek
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आन Dir. Mehboob Khan Aan may be the most awful movie I ever loved watching. Its story is full of regressive and revolting portrayals of love and feminine agency. Its hero is Dilip Kumar at his smarmiest, all smirk and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2014 at Filmi Geek
Anu, Ankhon Dekhi is available for viewing via a streaming service called Spuul, which is where I watched it.
Toggle Commented May 27, 2014 on Ankhon Dekhi (2013) at Filmi Geek
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आँखों देखी Dir. Rajat Kapoor How do you decide what you believe? We live on a continuum that stretches from evidence to inference to faith. Most of us slide freely back and forth along it, never drifting too far toward... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2014 at Filmi Geek
Anu, I'm terribly sorry - your previous comments got caught in the spam filter for reasons I cannot fathom. I am trying to publish them now but TypePad seems to be having some type of hissy fit yet again. I will get them published as soon as TypePad lets me. And in the future, if you find your comments disappearing, please drop me an email - filmigeek at gmail dot com - so that I can check the filter for you.
Toggle Commented May 23, 2014 on Gangvaa (1984) at Filmi Geek