Showing posts from April, 2014

The Prisoner of Zenda strikes again: Bandie

Bandie , a 1978 remake of The Prisoner of Zenda , probably works better as an artifact than as a film. Its components seem excellent or at least intriguingly oddly chosen on paper, but they don't add up to much—and certainly not into much that needed to be made in the first place. For starters, hero Uttam Kumar had already been in a Bengali version of The Prisoner of Zenda , Jhinder Bondi *, way back in 1961. While not a perfect film, it has its pleasures: the music is superb, the location filming in Rajasthan is suitably royal, and the shades of swagger and ego bandied about by Uttam and adversary Soumitra Chatterjee are scrumptious, even if just in a meta, Bengali thespic nutshell sort of way. As in the recently discussed Sikandar , it's also possible that being filmed in black and white has helped Jhinder Bondi age more gracefully, its visuals still relatively dignified. There is nothing dignified in Bandie (which is not a complaint). However, its campiness, which ma

Sikandar (1941)

Epically epic! Not terribly high in historical accuracy, but wonderful to behold and thoroughly thought-provoking about empire and political virtue from pre-Independence India. Sikandar  manages to be completely entertaining while still indulging in lesson-dispensing from Aristotle (Shakir), who is surprisingly in Persia with Sikandar (Prithviraj Kapoor) and Rukhsana (Vanamala) as the film opens, An article I'll link to below refers to Sikandar's outfits as "knee-length." Ummm...those aren't knees. It also says no one would wear outfits like this as well as Prtihviraj Kapoor again except perhaps Dharmendra, and with that I completely agree.  and Puru (director and producer Sohrab Modi), who debates the value of war with various other kings. It'd be so easy for a film like this to be ponderous, with too much throne-room ego-clashing and not enough fighting, but Sikandar  rolls along merrily. It helps greatly that the music (both songs and the ba