Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Filmi Secret Santas day 11: requisite romance

"The masala epic known as Secret Santa takes a strange turn in the last reel, which seems to have no relationship to the story so far...."

For those of you who have not met me in person, this is exactly what life at my house is like. C'mon over!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Filmi Secret Santas: a tribute from the Imperial Palace of Pitustan

Filmi Santa brought me a surprise from the most glorious royal palace of Pitustan!

For those of you who don't have time to squint and read the text, it goes, fabulously, like this:
"Allow yourself to melt into Eau de Shashi. A fragrance rendolent of musk, heaving bosoms, and sultry nights.... A fragrance forbidden to all but the most desirable of women. Bring Eau de Shashi into your boudoir tonight...if you dare."


Filmi Secret Santas day 9: ladies dancing

[How perfect is this?!?!?! - Ed.]

Santa's Research Assistant finally got around to looking up the "Twelve Days of Christmas" poem on the Internet. Imagine everyone's surprise to discover that the actual text for today reads "Nine Ladies Dancing." That should be doable.

Nine Ladies Dancing will sort of clutter up your house, but that seems to be the whole point of the song, so at least it's seasonal!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Filmi Secret Santas day 7 and 8

"On the seventh day...the elves rested. That's how the song goes, isn't It? Or are they mixing that up with something else? Either way, the elves do need their rest: they were up late at Pran's house, drinking Johnny Walker Black and trying on his wigs. So they decided to just be silly today."

Bollywood High School Musical
Goodness Gracious Me Christmas

....And on the eighth day, "Something turned up under the tree from Eight Days. There's no sign of the movie, alas, so there are no pictures of the studly young Ashok Kumar. But a little bit of bittersweet inevitably creeps into every holiday season."

"Ummeed Bhara Panchi" from the movie Aaath Din

Saturday, December 19, 2009

sleaze-o-rama: Janbaaz

If you want a thoroughly thought-out piece on Feroz Khan's indulgence-oozing-from-every-pore 1986 Janbaaz, I suggest you read Post-Punk Cinema Club's review that discusses it through a complex lens of modern Dionysian debauchery. Me, I hardly made it through the film. It's just so gross: blood, death, flame throwers, clunky innuendos,

threatened gang rape,

addiction, sense-scarring 80s club-rock numbers that fetishize both white and black people, complete sanctioning of "boys will be boys" to a murderous extent, and women who are killed off after having sex outside of marriage (men too, actually). Even the neglected good-brother police officer (Feroz Khan) seems to get a kick out of arresting his vile little brother (Anil Kapoor), maybe cloaking his vengeful thrill under the guise of "duty." Dimple Kapadia telling Anil he turns her into a woman and Rekha's Ferederick's of Hollywood number

(and it should be noted Feroz-bhai is nearly equal opportunity when it comes to display of flesh, so, um, thanks for that studded codpiece, FK) - complete with synthesizers, ululating, and a guy in a gorilla suit - are the least of my concerns.

"Ek To Kam Zindagani"
I'll put it this way: Janbaaz makes Yalgaar look good.

The red flags are many, so I'm going to pick one out as an example. After a literal roll in the hay (and an intercut scene of splashing drops of white liquid) (seriously), Dimple tells Anil she wants to get married. He hems and haws and then later flat-out refuses, denying any commitment. She starts off moping but quickly talks herself into a plan: "The same helpless Indian woman.... It's a woman's fate to put up with every atrocity of man. No...I'm going to change my destiny. I'm a woman of today! And I won't endure any atrocity of his! If Amar is toying with my heart, I can toy with his emotions. And better than him!" Modern Indian women don't simper - they manipulate other people in a game of jealousy! And when said game goes horribly wrong, thanks to Anil's violent temper and perma-drunking, both perpetrator and his corrupt father (Amrish Puri) blame her - because in addition to being female, she was an illegitimate child, dontcha know. "I knew her tainted blood would someday besmirch the fabric of our honor," wails the father who earlier patted his son on the back for playing Russian roulette, doing drugs, sleeping around, and getting arrested. And as big reconciliation looms, she herself even takes on the blame.

No, movie. No. The drunk spoiled boy who lives in a consequence-free world is responsible for his actions. She did stir up a situation (and entangle an innocent and sympathetic Dalip Tahil in the process), but its escalation is entirely his fault. Ugh. Like the world needs more of this.

Lurching among the disheartening lack of good ideas, consequence, and forethought are some distractingly sloppy bits. Generally speaking, this is the kind of film in which I welcome a break from the violence and assault on my sensitivities, but these were just bad. Witness: comic reliefs Jagdeep and Dinesh Hingoo, hilariousawful 80s fashions,

Arti Gupta, last seen on BLB in Purana Mandir!
the aforementioned gorilla suit, a horse made to drink tons of beer and wear a hat,

Please also note Anil's puff-shouldered jean jacket.
suuuuuubtle cheating at poker,

and a corpse who is killed when a rake impales his back parallel to his spine but curiously ends up with the rake perpendicular to his spine a scene later.

Not only can the rake kill, it can move! Look out!

It's such a mess. A violent, distasteful, punishing (to the viewer) mess. Avoid, yaar.
Sorry, FK. I'm beginning to think I should stay away from your films made after Qurbani, and sadly that only leaves me with Dharmatma left to see.

Aside 1: it's the neon orange square/mirrored disco background seen in Sawaal and Kalyug!

Aside 2: in this film, but not others, Puneet Issar reminded me so much of Greg "Mr. Willoughby" Wise!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What's Hindi for " Jell-o on springs"? Rafoo Chakkar

Look how cute!

Like chocolate and peanut butter, 70s Bollywood and Some Like It Hot turn out to be two great tastes that taste great together. Rafoo Chakkar is a dead ringer for the American original, but it's so successful at being a great film that I sometimes forgot it was a copy. Nothing is lost in translation, and the changes all make sense, even the addition of long-lost family members and a pairing of evil-and-not-so-evil brotherly friends (what, you didn't expect those?)! There are even a few riffs on details I didn't think they'd bother to include - like Tony Curtis's millionaire routine claiming his family's oil business was named after their favorite seaside souvenir, here translated to Rishi Kapoor saying his company is named Esso as a shortened form of part of his name, Eknath Sada Shiv Omkar. Rafoo Chakkar also makes no bones about being a copy. After his first stage number, new band member Devi (Rishi in drag) bumps into Narendra Nath, playing himself. He hits on Devi, saying "Surely you've seen my films." When Devi says she doesn't watch Hindi films, he asks her why, and she says "Because they are a copy of English films" and looks directly into the camera.

And yes, the hotel's bathroom doors are painted like playing cards.
The only way to improve this movie would be to credit the people involved with the earlier incarnations of the story (I learned while writing this that Some Like It Hot is itself a remake of a 1951 German film called Fanfaren Der Liebe).

You know, I really don't have much to say about this other than it's freaking hilarious. Rishi and Paintal are both very good in their witness-on-the-run-and-usually-in-drag routines, especially Rishi, who bubbles over with physical antics and facial expressions.

Dishy Rishi!
And watching him lovey-dove with Neetu Singh just makes my heart squish and smile because they're sooooo adorable together.

Neetu's role is not as juicy as Marilyn Monroe's, but it's still fun and she nails it - and at only seventeen years old! Everyone is funny, the clothes are fab, the locations are lovely, and the songs are great. Especially "Din Dena Buri Bala Hai" (starts at about 1:10 in this link).

Do you think Ranbir Kapoor ever encountered this crazy song on late night tv and thought "Oh my god, those are my parents"?

With that hearty recommendation out of the way, how about a parade of fun details!? There's a bad guy with a cat, just like Bloefeld.

And other bad guys make a bomb to match!

See the weird cat head? Creepy!
During the staple rambling brawl at the end, this guy throws his cat on to an enemy. I couldn't get a good picture, but it is fantastic. 70s henchman staple Shetty is actually an undercover cop! (Don't worry - this information is totally inconsequential to the plot.)

What's next: Bob Christo as US embassy staff?
While in disguise, Neetu wears blue contacts and a light wig and looks startlingly like Rani Mukherjee!

Rajendra Nath is a hoot as the open-minded elderly millionaire who falls for Paintlal (as Salma).

Indie Quill, I think you'll know why I posted this picture especially for you. The tummy, it aches!
This film is early enough that it probably escapes most of the Rishi Knitwear Excesses of later years, but he does have a cheerful sweater vest with heart.

This is his millionaire outfit. Choice.
Anwar Hussain and Madan Puri are the afore-mentioned wrong-doing brotherly friends, and they were so often dressed alike that I began to have a hard time telling them apart.

Sculptural filigree hair!

Also in good masala fashion, there is a ton of villains at the end, and I don't know who they all are, nor does it matter.

Well said, Asrani!I wish this were their lair. It's a stage set for a song performed for them, though, so maybe that can count?

If I weren't already in love with this movie, it even nods towards cultural looting! Whoa!

Collage of leftover fun to end!

Memsaab has told me that this used to be hard to find with subtitles, but she tracked it down on Nehaflix and Induna, and I got it from Netflix. Obtain! Watch! Eeeeee!