Showing posts from May, 2008

Pyar Kiye Jaa

Things that are not utterly fab about Pyar Kiye Jaa : There is a lot of pale facial makeup on three of the four leads (everyone but Shashi). This is un-fab for several reasons: it 1) supports racist notions of beauty, 2) must be uncomfortable to wear, 3) is sometimes so thick that people look like geishas, and 4) sometimes shows up with a strange greenish tinge, making people look like the un-dead. Once again, we have the distasteful filmi notion that somehow harassing=flirting and should win heroines over rather than elicit a tight slap and/or a call to the police. That's it. Everything else about this movie is superwow to the Nth degree. I love it. I can't explain why, either: it's not the most clever movie out there, or the most romantic or funny or interesting. It has a wacky scheme, a cocky hero, snotty heroines, and interfering parents, all things I don't normally love. But somehow instead of making me roll my eyes and hit FF, all these things work perfect

Pyar Kiye Jaa-inspired to-do list

Rummage through closet and dig out stirrup pants and gold shoes. Perfect Mohammed Rafi-esque animal noises. Call Mehmood re: employment as subtitle proofreader for Vah Vah Productions. Find way to work helpful dialogue into day-to-day speech. Hmmm.... Disguise kit and big car potentially useful for getting out of staff meeting? Contact Shashi and Kishore for plotting if necessary. Write post on movie when finally tear self away from endlessly re-watching it.

Aaja Nachle

Maybe my powers of suspending disbelief are just wiped out after my weekend viewing of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Gosh This Movie Was Such a Letdown (but Not Because of Harrison Ford, Let's Be Perfectly Clear about That) and Oh My God Could You Believe That Ridiculous Vine-Swinging Bit? , but most of Aaja Nachle just did not work for me. As Filmi Geek says, it shies away from taking a stance on some ideas that it teases us with - what it means to be a member of a community, what is the relationship between hometown and exile, what the role of art is in contemporary economic conditions - and I kept wanting it to do more with that kind of content than it did. Like in Indiana Jones , I kept saying "Really?" at the screen, not sarcastically à la Seth and Amy but with genuine disappointed surprise. We have to make the feisty, strong woman tone down her personality and conventionalize her appearance and behavior in order to get her man? Really? He can't just lo

the greatest song in the world

"Kehne Ki Nahi Baat" ( Mohammed Rafi singing Laxmikant-Pyarelal) from Pyar Kiye Jaa , 1966 This song has everything! Big band brass! Surf music and Chuck Berry influences! Social protest lyrics! Groovy head-shaking choreography! Beatlesque harmonies! Animal noises! A marching band! Shashi-shimmy! This is the most exuberant Shashi dancing I have ever seen, and it is a thing of beauty. He hops and skips barefoot down the sidewalk, leading a ramshackle conga-ish line of backup fellows, he twists again like I wish I did last summer, and he even gets his Elvis on for a moment, thrusting his hips this way and that. He gets his proto-SRK on too, eyebrows working overtime. He does not yet have his 70s masala curls, but his hair is long and loose enough that it dances too, easy breezy in the beachfront sunshine. In short, he is Shammi - yet with all his magical Shashi powers too. Superwow! Update to post (May 27, 2008): Thanks to reader Sumanth, I've just learned of the Tam

The Householder

[Warning: contains spoilers of the general arc of the story.] Merchant and Ivory's first joint production, The Householder , has all the calm pacing and quiet expression you'd expect. Two years before my beloved Shakespeare-Wallah , IM + JI + Ruth Prawer Jhabvala + Shashi Kapoor already equaled wow. I found this movie sad and thoughtful and funny (often at the same time), and it left me passionately hoping that, forty-five years later, society has changed enough that the roles these characters find themselves restricted by are much easier to overcome. Prem (Shashi Kapoor) and Indu (Leela Naidu) are very new newlyweds and have no idea what to make of each other. "How can I like her?" Prem wonders to another new groom. "I don't even know her." Prem is also lost on the job as a college instructor, unable to control his classroom, stand up to a rude colleague, or work up the guts to ask his principal for the raise he and Indu need. Indu, meanwhile, sta

Duniya Meri Jeb Mein

As promised: an LOLcat-inspired piece on this 1979 Kapoor/Kapoor masala-licious vehicle. It's not so much a discussion as it is an attempt to capture the essence and/or spirit of a fun but basically silly movie. Even if it you haven't seen it or don't know the precise story, I think you'll follow along if you remember that DMJM is full of money tensions, an evil guy, questions about revenge, and brotherly love. Lots of spoilerz ahead! Update to post (May 19, 2008): While link-hopping just now, I found the most amazing thing. It seems that the LOLcat Bollywood article has already been done, on an Asian film site I've never encountered before tonight. Although not identical in form, it's only fair to point out that Steamed Prawn Buns/Kickin' Tikka Masala included a few LOL pictures in their pieces on Disco Dancer (imagine the possibilities! "fashion cat sayz: no black sockz w pink capes after Memorial Day") an