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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
Thanks very much, Mike. I don't think I need to see a *more* gory version of Anjaam. Truth be told, I generally can't stand stuff like that in the movies.
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on Anjaam (1994) at Filmi Geek
Hello Smitha, Thank you for your comments on this and a couple of other posts. Judging from what you've said, you don't agree with a lot of my opinions, so I am that much more appreciative that you've taken the time to read so much of them despite that. You might like to hear that I've actually seen quite a few more films of Rajesh Khanna since I wrote this post more than 3 years ago. But, my feelings about him haven't changed all that much. And I still think Tanuja is adorable.
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on Haathi mere saathi (1971) at Filmi Geek
Hello folks - I did podcast with Beth and Sujoy in which we rounded up the year 2015 in Hindi films. Come listen to us discuss the best, the worst, the most exciting, the most disappointing, and more! Listen here. Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2016 at Filmi Geek
And thank you, for reading and for the kind words! "But it was always 'dabble' because the climatic resolution of these love stories is always so incomplete, it makes one feel let down in the end. It's almost like he realises - oh dear, this is an Indian audience, So the movies end with a happy, happy resolution where everybody involved subscribes to the sanctity of marriage." This is a great observation about Yash Chopra, and maybe why I like him better when he's working on grand archetypal canvases like Kaala Patthar or Deewaar. In those movies he seemed less afraid to show people's lives really broken or permanently transformed by the events in the story. I think you are right, though, that Lamhe could have been a more compelling story with some changes in approach.
Toggle Commented Jan 9, 2016 on Lamhe (1991) at Filmi Geek
Thanks, Nattu. I admit that I am no connoisseur of fight scenes - they are more often something I endure than something I enjoy. That said, there are fight scenes that transcend mere spectacle and actually lend something to the foundation of character and narrative. And occasionally, I even notice this - although it seems I did not when I first watched Deewaar (you can bet I'll be looking for it next time). One time that I DID notice is in another Yash Chopra film, Kaala Patthar, which uses fight scenes to convey so much about all the principal male characters. So now you have me wondering if thoughtful use of fight scenes is more of a Yash Chopra hallmark than I have noticed in the past. Something interesting to think about!
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2015 on Deewaar (1975) at Filmi Geek
Thanks very much, Abdullah. Please, tell me more about HAHK as a "progressive effort." Not challenging you - I'm intrigued and would love to hear more about what you have to say about it.
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2015 on Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015) at Filmi Geek
I think calling Maine Pyar Kiya childish is pretty fair. It's not necessarily an indictment of the film, though. It's not meant to reflect the grown-up world in its ugly complexity. To the contrary, it's meant to let you escape from that ugliness into a simpler, cleaner, happier world. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun has the song "Chocolate Lime Juice" which is about being on the threshold of adulthood and finding it very confusing. In some sense Barjatya movies are all about preserving that last moment of youthful innocence and untarnished love.
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2015 on Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015) at Filmi Geek
प्रेम रतन धन पायो Dir. Sooraj Barjatya Some of the most awkward moments of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo come when it tries to be progressive and modern while still hewing to its regressive Rajshri roots. When our hero Prem (Salman... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2015 at Filmi Geek
At this point I've seen about fifty of Shabana Azmi's films - some of them I've watched knowing they were good, and others I've watched for no other reason than that she was in them. Like any prolific actor's filmography,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2015 at Filmi Geek
Great story :) What's your opinion of the Devdas story generally - is it because it's Devdas that you knew you wouldn't like it, or the stars, or what? I know for a lot of foreigners like me, Devdas was the movie that brought them into Bollywood. I don't know what would have happened if it had been my first. Shah Rukh Khan is especially unappealing in it, but Madhuri is radiant, and the music and dancing are so nice.
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2015 on Devdas (2002) at Filmi Geek
The only reason I can think of why you and ma might remember it, bandarmukhi, - is that it does have some nice songs. There is the lullaby "Aaja nindiya Aaja" and this overload of cuteness, "Gudiya chidiya" .
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2015 on Lorie (1984) at Filmi Geek
लोरी Dir. Vijay Talwar Lorie starts off looking like many a gentle middle-cinema film of its era. A married couple (Naseeruddin Shah and Swaroop Sampat) are shown in intimately domestic scenes, engaging in playful (if weirdly hostile) teasing; the film... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2015 at Filmi Geek
डर Dir. Yash Chopra Watching this movie made me think about the not-so-fine line between courtship and stalking. Hindi films have, frustratingly, blurred that line for decades. Occasionally, a film comes along that attempts to explore it artfully. Raanjhanaa is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2015 at Filmi Geek
Thank you Mukesh :) I love this pairing too. Some time after I wrote this about Half Ticket I watched Jhumroo (and gushed about it as well) - I would be hard pressed to decide which I liked better, they are just delightful together. Jhumroo has the advantage of Kishore's original music, of course.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2015 on Half Ticket (1962) at Filmi Geek
Thanks for the great comment. It is hardly surprising when it does not occur to ordinary male storytellers who are embedded in their time and place, who do not interact with women in any capacity other than as sons and husbands, who are not encouraged to think of women as autonomous human beings in any way, to include women in their stories. But Ray is not such a storyteller; his socially incisive stories very often focus on women and on the very strictures that limit women's options and leave them unfulfilled. If anyone should have gotten it, it should have been him! I will watch Sonar Kella one of these days - ever since I went to Jaisalmer I have wanted to.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2015 on Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969) at Filmi Geek
Smitha, I am just dying to know - are you the same smitha who commented six years ago that my post a "piece of shit" fit only for the dustbin? If so I must thank you for sticking around for (or at least coming back after) all these years despite your low opinion of my opinions. ;) Sometimes I consider watching Anand again. I've seen a lot more Rajesh Khanna films by now, and while I haven't exactly developed an appreciation for him myself, I have come closer to understanding the appreciation that others have. I'm curious to know if I'd find it less grating now.
Toggle Commented Nov 1, 2015 on Anand (1971) at Filmi Geek
Agree, there is a huge and palpable debt to Peter Jackson here. Incidentally the interminable battle scenes of LOTR are only one of the reasons I find those films dreadfully indulgent and boring as well. ;)
Toggle Commented Nov 1, 2015 on Baahubali (2015) at Filmi Geek
Shel, like Ashish above, you have given me pause to think about whether I was too hard on poor Prem. I like your observation that his meanness is a turning outward of his own poor self-esteem, acting out because of his discomfort with his own inadequacy. Agree with everything you say about Sandhya, as well!
Toggle Commented Nov 1, 2015 on Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) at Filmi Geek
Ashish, you make a very good point. My first reaction is that one can grow up in a stifling authoritarian environment and not be a petulant jerk. But this movie was about one guy who did react to his environment that way, and it matters more that it resonates for you, than that it does not so much resonate with me. Also movies by their very nature magnify or exaggerate real life, and Prem being as obnoxious as he is helps heighten the conflict that is essential for any kind of compelling storytelling. Also I love your observation about the symbolism carried in the way the streets are shot in the film. Thanks very much for that.
Toggle Commented Nov 1, 2015 on Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) at Filmi Geek
दम लगाके हईशा Dir. Sharat Katariya Let me start with what I do like about Dum Laga Ke Haisha: its lead woman, Sandhya (Bhumi Pednekar). I can think of vanishingly few characters like this one, not just in Hindi films... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2015 at Filmi Geek
Arvind ji, you write the BEST comments. Thank you! It is so interesting how one actor can replace another in the public imagination. Dev Anand kept trying to be a leading man even into the 70s but really should not have been. He was already very much an uncle in Jewel Thief (1967) which remains one of my very favorite movies, but not because of his charm as a leading man. I remember in 2005, when I first started watching Hindi films and following news about current stars, I read some article asking whether Hrithik Roshan was poised to knock Shah Rukh Khan off his throne. Then it was Shahid Kapoor they were asking this about a year or two later. Both of these actors have had mixed careers since then, and today no one would say they come close to touching Shah Rukh Khan. But the Dev Anand -> Rajesh Khanna -> Amitabh Bachchan path seems pretty sharp. I also like The Train a lot - one of the rare movies in which I enjoy Rajesh Khanna.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2015 on Aradhana (1969) at Filmi Geek
That's an interesting idea, that SRK didn't so much imitate Dilip Kumar as be of a similar type or derive from a similar stylistic tradition. Both are possible. I do think they resemble one another, physically, apart from any stylistic similarities. Both annoy me. It is part of the SRK mythos that he is a great fan of classic Hindi cinema. Not that I doubt he is, just that it's one of those things people say about him, and his image is so carefully managed, that the things people say about him are all part of a cultivated mythos. And I suppose a part of maintaining that would be expressing admiration for, and acknowledging his debt to, the popular stars who came before him.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2015 on Naya daur (1957) at Filmi Geek
अंजाम Dir. Rahul Ram When I sat down to write a post about the most thematically interesting part of this movie - Madhuri Dixit's character's transformation into an avatar of both mother goddess and death goddess - it turned into... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2015 at Filmi Geek
I'm still smiling about this movie. I wonder if Ray stuck to the story this time out of respect or affection for the author, who I understand was his grandfather. That may have made him less inclined to tinker with it.
Toggle Commented Sep 7, 2015 on Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969) at Filmi Geek
গুপী গাইন বাঘা বাইন Dir. Satyajit Ray I don't so much want to analyze this amazing film as revel in the sense of wonder it creates. It is pure fantasy, what with its dancing ghosts, sinister magicians, an entire kingdom... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2015 at Filmi Geek