Showing posts from August, 2012


[Spoilers.] Friends, his baggage weighs a ton . If you have ever been...the word I want to use is "victim," but maybe that's unfair. If you have ever been the object of cowardice, the one most immediately left standing all alone by it, watching this film may feel like having your heart ripped out and thrown on the floor all over again. But that sense of loss is not at all the only emotion at play in, or inspired by watching, Kapurush , which is one of the reasons it's so good. The meet-cute and early phase of Amitabh (Soumitra Chatterjee) and Karuna (Madhabi Mukherjee)'s romance are so cute , even as the issue of cowardice appears almost from the beginning. SO CUTE. Based on my extremely limited sampling of Indian films outside of mainstream Hindi cinema, I am happy to cede the majority of subsequent attempts to depict actual emotional and/or physical intimacy to the Bengalis. Maybe I've just encountered an unusually wonderful sample s

Zakhmee madlib!

Poptique  brought this movie to my attention earlier in the year, and I'm so glad. It's so 70s wackadoodle masala fun. In fact, I enjoyed watching it so much that it's only fair you have some fun with it too. Let's recreate Zakhmee together, shall we? Write down your most creative, masalsariffic choices for words in the following list, then add them to the main text as you read.  family member occupation mythological figure adjective Christmas carol derogatory term event kitchen implement municipal building animal (plural) piece of household furniture English-language song often heard at sporting events common household object item often used on Diwali ancient culture mode of transportation body part another body part (plural) yet another body part (plural) set often seen in 1970s masala movies noun (plural) a different mode of transport Got your list? Read on! Zakhemee  opens with Sunil Dutt retrieving his ___1___ from the mountains. He

When Mini-Reviews Bengali Films Attack! Nayak and Mahapurush

Call it the seven-year itch. A few weeks ago, I reached the point in my Indian film-watching journey when I suddenly needed to see the Apu Trilogy right now . So I did, and Apur Sansar floored me (even if the rest of the film were dull, the ten minutes or so surrounding the wedding were so thrilling, so moving, that the entire thing could rest on them alone), so thus I have continued. My Bengali Cinema Advisory Team is really knocking it out of the park with recommendations. Nayak  (1966) When I think of Indian films about the worlds of Indian film industries, the ones that come to mind are more focused their respective industry as a whole, or at least various players in it, than about a particular and very solitary figure within it.  Nayak  focuses on the hero (Uttam Kumar), and the movie works beautifully as a portrait of the seemingly successful, cool, and breezy man who finally cannot contain all his loneliness and failures. That sounds trite the way I'm saying

Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne

The world may not need more people raving about how wonderful Satyajit Ray's films are—particularly educationally- and socially-privileged white people in the western hemisphere, whose opinions on the subject seem to cause particular consternation in some quarters—but this film made me smile from ear to ear and head to toe, so rave about it I must. (If you haven't seen it, Dusted Off has a nice summary in her post here .) With one caveat: there are no women who speak in this film. There are only two women of any stripe, and they appear in the last few minutes only to serve as wish-fulfillment (i.e. pretty, royal wives) for the two heroes. In the week since I saw this film, I have not been able to come to terms with this aspect of the script. Whatever justification is offered—namely that the original story (by Ray's grandfather) has no women in it—I am unsatisfied, although it has been very interesting thinking about what responsibilities one has to one's own time a

When Mini-Reviews Attack! Day 6: assorted

A handful of things I've watched, briefly presented in unimaginative chronological order: Ab Kya Hoga (1977) Watching a mystery without subtitles is''s a dumb idea, is what it is. Fortunately,  Ness has seen it with subtitles  and could help me out, and I enjoyed it for the Neetu Singa/Shatrughan Sinha jodi. It's not my favorite for her (Amitabh Bachchan is, believe it or not—I know, sacrilege) but it is my favorite for him, and for whatever reason I often like his brand of swaggering, shouty ridiculousness. Features of this film include Neetu being as good as always but in a different, more brooding and ghosty sort of way; a fantastic rip-off-mask-to-reveal-true-identity moment; helpful Ranjeet lounging on a circular bed as his shirt strains open at the buttons*; Mac Mohan as an art gallery curator**; Shatrughan as a zombie; and Bindu doing an excellent "Nahiiiiiiin!"  Sometimes that's all I need. Khooni Murdaa

When Mini-Reviews Attack! Day 5: Caravan

Unlike Filmi Geek , who said she thought she maybe shouldn't like this film as much as she does, I grumbled throughout it and worried that my criticisms will sound unfounded. The songs are uniformly fantastic—there's the rightfully mega-famous "Piya Tu," of course, but many more, including the work of  Sanjana  and person-I-would-love-to-be-for-a-day Aruna Irani—but I am of the mind that songs alone do not a fillum make, nor should they be expected to (hence DVD song compilations, now that we have the technology to easily isolate, combine, and distribute clips from films). Most of Caravan feels like a generally pleasant film about nothing, à la Seinfeld , when it isn't being cruel to all its major female characters. This anti-woman vibe that runs throughout and pops up at some odd places seems all the more egregious because of the film's otherwise entertaining and occasionally insightful froth. Asha Parekh's character is treated like garbage by everyon