Salim’s Viewing! (updated)
Really cool book in which the family members or close colleagues of people like Ray, Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Kishore Kumar, Faiz, Chughtai, Harivanshrai Bachchan etc write a few pages about them.
Ki and Ka
Such a crap film – and pointless too. Balki can and should do so much better than this.
Kapoor and Sons
I enjoyed this. Aalia is just such a pleasure to watch, every time!
This rom-com starring Shashi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore had a similar plot to It Happened One Night, but was clearly not as famous as the other remakes – Chori Chori and Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin. Mediocre but mildly watchable.
Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein
I had read that this film is reminiscient of Gulzar’s Khushboo so I was keen to see it. The similarities are the cast (Hema, Jeetendra), the writing (Gulzar) and the setting (village) but the film is not quite in the same league. Rajesh Khanna plays a postman and we see his interactions with the inhabitants of the village. Hema plays a girl waiting for her secret husband to return (another similarity with Khushboo). Indrani Mukherjee plays a small role and its spooky how much (both looks and voice) she resembles Meena Kumari!
Magnificent first half; dreadful second half. Pre-interval the movie delves into the grey areas of human character, particularly exploring loneliness; the minutest of occurrences are gripping. Sadly the second half is excruciatingly poor whereby stunning visuals are the only redeeming quality. The dose of drama added is unnecessary and takes away from the central point of the movie, where the ‘space’ factor is only the background context against which the ‘human’ story plays out. But it felt like the writers had used up all their efforts in the first half and couldn’t be bothered to work through the masterful ethical fog they created. So the film limps to a generically dull ending by which point it’s hard to care about characters in whom one was initially heavily invested.
I watched a few Pak dramas last year, and have started another couple now. This one was fantastic. In life we make compromises, some of which can be incredibly costly and this excellent show explored really well. Adeel Hussein, Amina Sheikh and above all Sanam Baloch are superb.
Awesome made for tv movie, starring Fawad Khan, exploring a really sensitive issue. I was really impressed by this. Nadia Jamil was magnificent.
Boring made for tv movie starring Fawad and Aamina. Reminded me of those sixties movies starring Shammi Kapoor set in Kashmir, which is unsurprising given its a remake of an old Pak film of the same name. They also reused the old song, Akele Na Jaana.
Aaj kuch nahin kehna
Bizarre, low quality marital drama made for tv movie starring Fawad.
Game of Thrones
Spent a few weeks watching the entire six seasons of this show. Incredibly addictive! Bring on season 7!
Pretty watchable Pak drama set in New York, with an ensemble cast that includes Adeel Hussein, Aamina Sheikh and Marina Khan. Explores the lives of first generation immigrants. I actually hated the first couple episodes but persevered as it had been recommended by a friend, and it grew on me.
Nasreen Munni Kabeer has good taste in subjects for her books: Lata, Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rahman, and then AR Rahman. This follows her preferred style of ‘a conversation with…’ and this took is pleasant if not as engrossing as the other books.
In The Club (Seasons 1 and 2)
A watchable bbc drama set in an ante-natal class with lots of troubled relationship.
The Night Of
Perhaps a little overrated but a decent mini-series about a guy of Pak origin in America who gets caught up in a murder case.
Written by Bimal Da’s daughter, this book is her personal journey tracing (and walking through) the steps her father took in making the classic. More such books would be appreciated.
Revisited the film after reading the book and enjoyed it as much as ever. The soundtrack is the highlight.
Pretty enjoyable movie but I had issues with the fact that Anushka was made out to be a villain at the end.
Nusrat: The Voice of Faith
Really well written book that not only talks about Nusrat but more broadly about Sufism and the art of Qawalli.
The Day After Everyday (Short)
Similar theme to Pink but a more aggressive response!
I’ve been backpacking around South East Asia the past month (Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam) so during that time the only things I read and watched were Harry Potter (the original plan was War And Peace but I never even opened it!). The rest of the films below are a mop up of things I saw before and after my trip.
Sadhana: Enchantingly Enchanting Enchantress (book)
I bought this in Bombay just a couple of days before Sadhana passed away. It’s not particularly well written (the author is a self-confessed die-hard obsessed fan, and so the quality of the writing isn’t so impressive), but one still learns about the her life and movies (he gives a plot summary of every single film). I’ve always liked Sadhana a lot – not only was she beautiful but her acting style was relatively natural in spite of her glamour appearance (though she could also play simple, non-made up characters for Bimal Roy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee). And what great songs. Rest in peace Sadhana.
Decided to watch this Sadhana-Kishore Kumar starrer after reading the book because it’s one of the very few of her films I’ve not seen. To be honest I was bored. The only highlights were a young and beautiful Sadhana, and Madan Mohan’s music.
Watched this on the plane to Bangkok. I don’t remember the last time I was so engrossed by a thriller. Sometimes these films dip in quality after a promising first half, but this was awesome throughout. Ajay Devgan is fantastic, Tabu is decent and Shriya Saran is beautiful.
A French film, following an intern during his first six months of work as a doctor. A watchable medical take on the coming of age genre.
I had a feeling I might end up thinking this film was over-hyped, but actually it deserves all the praise it’s received. The film follows the lives of two young people in Benares. Intimate, moving and unpredictable.
I wasnt actually overwhelmed. I wonder if having read so much about the case meant that eventually seeing the film was less impactful than it might other have been. It was less gripping simply cos I knew what was going to happen. And I had already had my emotional reaction before watching the movie, so this time was milder.
Sonam didn’t particularly impress me either. But I’m glad the film was made and that Neerja’s bravery was saluted, and her memories brought to the fore.
Potter Books plus Movies
Devoured the books for the fourth time – they’re just so good. The movies are pretty mediocre in comparison…
Kapoor and Sons
A well-made, decent film, that has its heart in the right place and is watchable throughout, but with only a few moments of brilliance (unlike something like Piku, which was similar in style but just exponentially higher in terms of quality of both writing and acting). Alia is a pleasure to watch and even though that should be expected from her given that she delivers repeatedly, I’m still surprised each time! Sidharth is fine but Sushant would have been awesome. As for Fawad – huge respect to him for having the balls to take on this role. Especially given that he is Pakistani.
A pretty cool short film directed by Konkona Sen Sharma. Can’t really describe it but it’s on YouTube and worth a look – only 17 mins long.
Watched this for the second time cos some friends wanted to see it. Was interesting watching it in the light of having just got back from Bombay.
Na Ghar Ke Na Ghaat Ke
I hadn’t heard of this comedy about a naive village guy who moves to Bombay and receives a massive culture shock. Great fun.
I really enjoyed this and it far exceeded my expectations. I was expecting an overdose of patriotism but it was actually a pretty interesting take on what that even means. I liked the way the characters were written, and am not sure why Nimrat was panned in some reviews cos I thought she was very good. Akshay did a very good job too.
Dark Star: The Loneliness of Being Rajesh Khanna (book)
Fantastic! One of the best books I’ve read in this genre – far more insightful than usual. A fascinating insight into the ‘superstar’ as well as his movies. His story has the makings of a great movie!
Aap Ki Kasam
After the book I felt I should watch a Khanna movie, and this one has been on my list because of all the great Lata-Kishore duets, and it stars my favorite actor, Sanjeev Kumar (who unfortunately didn’t have much to do). RDB’s sparkling soundtrack is the highlight of this movie about a marriage ruined by the husband’s suspicious nature. The dragged out redemption at the end got on my nerves.
I’ve been obsessed with Mahabharat since I watched the BR Chopra show as a child, so was intrigued when I found out that a movie was made in the sixties. Unfortunately it’s not very good! Pradeep Kumar plays Arjun…can’t get much worse than that!!
Smita Patil: A Brief Incandescence (book)
This biography by Maithili Rao is brilliant, and is no doubt going to lead me to revisit many of Smita’s movies. I watched a lot of them when I was a teenager and didn’t really appreciate them fully (especially films like Nishant, Manthan and Bhumika). I saw the book release function where Amitabh and Shabana both spoke, as well as Prateik. She sounds like a fascinating person.
I watched this Mahesh Bhatt film on the day of Nida Fazli’s death. I have always loved his lyrics, and in this particular film he’s even inspired Anu Malik to come up with possibly his career best soundtrack (each song is a gem). It’s a shame Pooja stopped acting – she’s very good. It’s based on the true story of a girl brought up by a Hijra (a brilliant Paresh Rawal), after he finds her on the street. Good to see Manoj Bajpai who is a pleasure to watch.
I guess Tamana gave me an appetite to watch more Mahesh Bhatt movies. I can kind of see how this love story did so well (apparently seventh biggest hit of the decade?!) but it hasn’t really aged well. Some great Nadeem-Shravan melodies though and an impressive lead pair: Sanjay Dutt plays a cabbie who falls for Pooja Bhatt, a trapped hooker.
Completed a hat-trick of Mahesh Bhatt-Pooja Bhatt movies, and this one is in a league of its own. Incredibly moving and brilliantly acted, with a stunning soundtrack.
There was much I loved about this adaptation of Great Expectations (a novel I haven’t yet read). Tabu, as always, is a joy to observe. The Urdu dialogues and Amit Trivedi’s music are top notch, as are the locations and cinematography. Unlike Bajirao Mastani where the ‘passionate’ love story actually appeared rather hollow, here I was totally convinced by Aditya’s all-consuming love for Katrina. He’s been panned in a few reviews I read but personally I thought he was decent enough (though no doubt Sushant would have been better). I was most concerned that Katrina would ruin the film, but actually I found her less jarring than usual for most of the film (and for once I thought she genuinely looked alluring instead of lifeless). Sadly though, in the few dramatic scenes she has, her inability to act is evident. The first half was brilliant, but unfortunately dipped a little in the second when moments became hard to follow (where are they? whose child is that? who did she just give that package to?) Also, the child performances in the first half were far, far better than the adults in the second half. I think the reviews though are being very harsh – def an interesting film to watch.
I’m back from a long three week holiday in India. Initially I wanted to write a detailed account of my adventures but not sure if that’s going to happen. So in summary, I started in Bombay (which no doubt is the craziest place in the world and I can totally see why its inhabitants find it addictive), then went to Kerala (insanely beautiful and very very green – we started with Munnar, then Thekkadey, both of which had a great climate and hilly/mountainous terrain, then Alleppey where we stayed in a houseboat, and finally Kochi). After that we went to Rajasthan, probably my favourite leg of the trip (Udaipur was crazy crowded because of NYE, and my favourite was Jodhpur – the Mehrangarh fort is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in my life, and Jaipur was great too.
I loved the food in Rajasthan, and the street musicians were magic – especially when singing Kesariya Balmaa). Then we headed to Uttar Pradesh where Agra lived up to all expectations, and then Delhi which I initially hated but then it grew on me. What I loved about India was the food, the music, the resilience of its people, the languages and the overwhelming sense of life. What I hated was the overload of religion (one evening the roads were noisy and blocked because Muslims were observing Milad-un-Nabi, and the next night it was the same because Hindus had a mandir utsav) – when I went to my own quiet place of prayer (Jamatkhana) all we could hear was the commotion outside – I found the whole thing inconsiderate towards the rest of society, especially as the attitude of the ‘celebrators’ was pretty aggressive. Apart from that, I HATED the pujaris/mullahs I had the misfortune of meeting in Ajmer and Pushkar – all they care about is looting people and it totally ruined the experience of seeing these places (Fatehpur Sikri and Nizamuudin were not as bad, but Haji Ali was actually the best in terms of not being harassed). I must say though, I was pleased at how well all the different communities and religions get along at the ground level – I certainly didn’t see ‘intolerance’ among the regular people (if anything, I felt like I was the intolerant one!). Finally, I found the state of the children in India heartbreaking. Even in East Africa I hadn’t seen this much poverty and child labour. How can one enjoy holiday pleasures frequenting hotels and restaurants when there are hungry children, walking barefoot in rags on the street outside? Next trip I want to see Gujarat, Kashmir, Kashi, Lucknow and Jaisalmer.
Anyway, back to movies – here’s my latest set.
A beautiful collection of three relatively short films by Satyajit Ray. Postmaster (a new postman arrives in a village, and develops a relationship with his young maid), Monihara (a ghost story about a couple and their jewels), Samapti (the marriage of a child-woman and her development). This is Ray at his best and one of his very early films after the Apu Trilogy. I’ve been working through his filmography and now only have a few left to watch.
I found it generally pretty watchable, and for once Bhansali’s addiction to opulence was fitting rather than jarring, given the setting of the film. He also managed to reign the loudness that made Devdas/Ram Leela etc so painful. I thought the performances were decent though nobody particularly impressed me. Surprisingly, I felt Deepika was missing her usual spark. The music was better than Bhansali’s last few attempts at composing, though not on the level of the work Ismail Darbar produced for him earlier. But my problem with the film was that despite the beautiful casing, it lacked soul. I didn’t end up particularly caring about any of the characters and the ‘love story’ that is supposed to be the centre of the film was underwhelming to say the least. Bajirao’s character I felt was rather lazily written, in that his decisions and motivations weren’t convincing. I loved the sets though – the forts and palaces reminded me so much of what I saw in Rajasthan and Agra. Since the movie I’m hooked on Aayat and listen to it several times a day.
Unfortunately it’s a mediocre film with plotholes and silly inconsistency (do these people not bother to watch/alter/amend their movies before releasing them) but elevated to the level of being pretty watchable thanks to Amitabh, Farhan and Aditi (she’s beautiful!). Some moderately decent music too.
I had high expectations from this Ray film, which he made between the second and third of the Apu films, but I think I will need to watch it again at some point, because I didn’t quite appreciate it as much as many of his other movies. This probably isn’t the best way to describe it, but to me it felt more ‘observational’ rather than ‘interactional’ (yes I know that’s not a word, but i don’t mean interactive) and so that might be why it appealed less to me. The film reminded me slightly of SBAG, in that it portrays the decline of the Bengali zamindars.
I watched this on the flight, having seen it a year ago in New York, and enjoyed it just as much this time. A Christmas classic.
Saw this on the flight too and found it very watchable, even though I couldn’t really connect to any of the characters. I think Kashyap’s downfall was the fact that the film was being described as his big chance to make a blockbuster, which it clearly wasn’t going to be – is just not that kinda movie. I found Ranbir kinda unconvincing – I think Abhishek might have been a better choice. Johar was fun!
Saw this on a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala, as they only had a few working DVDs. Actually I enjoyed it a lot more this time around than when I’d seen it on the day of release. At the time I had been slightly underwhelmed but this time I loved it. And I feel like I lived part of this movie when I visited both Ajmer and Pushkar and encountered monstrous ‘god-men’ in both places whose only purpose in life is to rip-off innocent visitors.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
I’ve avoided this film forever, despite positive reports from friends, but finally caught it on my flight back from India, and actually enjoyed it. Stellar cast, and I could relate to so much (I’m secretly a retired old English white man).
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
I watched this the day after I got back – was good to see lots of Jaipur again.
The Darjeeling Unlimited
Watched this on the flight. It’s about three weird looking estranged brothers who reunite in India. The American humour wasn’t great in comparison to the English wit of Best Exotic but I somehow got through it.
A decent teen drama (I’m a sucker for them) that grew on me as it went on and actually tied up very well.
I’d been wanting to see this for a long time, and wasn’t disappointed. Linklater made this over 12 years (with the plot basically observing a boy’s life at various episodes from the age of 6 until 18), and he remains as insightful as ever about human character and interpersonal relationships.
I was afraid this ‘art house’ movie was going to be dull, but I actually really liked it. It’s a 1974 film but is in black and white, beautifully filmed with many scenes showing the railways. Apparently the director died in an accident soon after making this film, so it remains his only work. It is about a young man who’s family experience causes him to develop in a particular way, until he meets a girl (an alluring Raakhee), and this transforms him for a bit…but then do people really change?
Kaun Apna Kaun Paraya
A boring 60s lost and found drama starring Waheeda Rahman, who is the sole positive of this film.
Watched this again recently, and really enjoyed all four segments. I think I liked Zoya’s section best.
I picked up the DVD of this Mrinal Sen directed film, which stars Dimple. It is about a writer and an isolated woman who start having random phone conversations. Dimple looks beautiful but this film is painfully dull – lots of staring into the horizon and long pauses. When Rituparno Ghosh makes this kinda movie I usually love it, but this was torture.
Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo
The first half was mildly entertaining. The second half was atrocious – seriously terrible filmmaking. Barjatya has lost whatever magic touch he once had in the nineties (and showed glimpses of again in Vivaah). And he’s let down by a lead actress who can’t act and is utterly unconvincing. Salman carries the film but is let down by the lack of a plot and characters that anyone cares about.
I’m not a Bond fan but a friend wanted to watch it, and actually I had fun. But I really don’t like Daniel Craig – I find him incredibly uncharismatic.
What creative brilliance! I’m a psychiatrist so naturally I was intrigued by this animation movie that explores the mind of a young girl, where the ’emotions’ are characters inside her brain. Personality consists of various ‘islands’, there is a ‘thought train’, memory spheres, an area of ‘subconscious’, and a theatre-like dream production set. A great idea for a movie and incredibly thought provoking.
Karma Aur Holi
This very mediocre movie is set in New York, and was clearly made in English but then ridiculously dubbed in Hindi (so you get all these non-Indian characters very bizarrely speaking Hindi. The film stars Sushmita (who is really a pleasure to watch here – so warm and likeable), Randeep Hudda, Suresh Oberoi, Rati Agnihotri, and is about a bunch of people who come together for an explosive Holi party. Not a bad idea but just very poorly made.
Heading to India next week, for a three week holiday – Mumbai, then Kerala (Cochin, Allepey, Thekkady, Munnar) then Rajasthan (Udaipr, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi). Thanks to those of you who gave me advice about the planning. Any specific tips about these locations are welcome 🙂
So my recent set of viewings:
Haseena Maan Jaayegi
This Shashi Kapoor – Babita starrer was pretty awful. He plays twins (kinda like a reverse of Sharmilee) but the entire movie is irritating, the only positive being some nice songs.
I am Malala (Book)
I wanted to read this before watching the movie. It’s a pretty quick and easy read but is also gripping. It gave me a crash course in the history of Pakistan and it’s political leaders, the Pashto culture (in particular the status of women), and primary source description of life under the Taliban. Malala speaks her mind and is critical of not just the Taliban but also the Pakistani government and army (though also gives credit where it’s due). She isn’t afraid to criticise America either so those calling her a western propaganda tool are not justified. Yes, she may well be used for that purpose, but her message goes far beyond that. As for those saying ‘why her when there are so many others who have suffered more and have achieved more, I would say that Malala too could say ‘Why me? Why did I have to be born in such a society?’ but instead she is committed to improving her own country as well as the world at large in whatever way she can. Respect.
Not much to add to the above, other than this was very well-made, and incredibly inspirational.
The Examined Life (book)
Written by an analyst, he describes a series of his cases, each summarised briefly and enlightening us as to how sense can be made of ourselves using psychoanalysis. I’m not sure what to say about the book except it didn’t really work for me.
It wasn’t until an hour and forty minutes of this imbecilic and utterly unconvincing film that there was finally a scene that was remotely interesting…but then thirty seconds into that scene and the imbecility was back in full form. And then comes the farcical reveal prior to the moving climax.
A relatively simple and watchable space film. Far more watchable and enjoyable than Gravity, and perhaps more accessible than Interstellar (but at the same time far less thought provoking).
Watched this at the London Film Festival, and after the showing they interviewed Meghna on stage. Very well made film, decent acting, engaging throughout and extremely well written.
Finally got around to seeing this rather intriguing late 70s film, in which Raakhee plays an older woman who becomes somewhat involved with a younger married man (Rishi Kapoor, married to Neetu) because he reminds her of her deceased partner, Shashi Kapoor. The first huge positive is the soundtrack by Rajesh Roshan. This is possibly his finest collection of tracks: Aankhon mein kaajal hai, Nazron se kehdo, Aao maanaye jashn-e-mahobbat, and the spectacular Chal kahin door nikal jaaye. Lata is on sparkling form, and Kishore/Rafi are no less. As for the movie, I was impressed that they didn’t shy away from exporting certain things (though yes the ending was unimpressive). Performances were fine but can’t say I’m a fan of any of the cast (and Raakhee was not attractive after 1973).
For so long I had been looking for this reverse version of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, starring Tanuja in the double role and Sanjeev Kumar (who of course later did Angoor where he took on Tanuja’s role). This isn’t on the same level as Gulzar’s classic (which itself was a remake of Do Dooni Char, starring Kishore Kumar) but Tanuja and Sanjeev are two of my most favourite stars so was fun seeing them amidst the confusion.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
This set of three films (individually called Him, Her and Them) sounded a more interesting idea than it turned out to be. It is the same story of a marriage in difficulty, told in each film from the perspective of the guy, the girl and then a combination of the two (ie an amalgamated version of the other two films). This is no Before… trilogy (which I guess is why I was disappointed).
Aishwariya’s utter inability to act is well-deserving of this dreadful film. A serious storyline with numerous plotholes, unconvincing performances and a ridiculous colour scheme. Irfan Khan’s lines are about the only positive thing in this ‘thriller’ that is not even mildly intriguing let alone gripping.
Matru Ki Bjili Ka Mandola
I wasn’t sure if I’d like this, given that sometimes Vishal’s films are just too frenetic for me (eg Kaminey) but actually I enjoyed this a lot. Loads of great writing and clever references. Pankaj Kapoor was excellant but I’d have liked someone more substatntial than Imran. Anushka’s character didn’t quite work for me, but she was very good.
Baat Niklegi To Phir (Book)
Really enjoyed this biography of Jagjit Singh by Sathya Saran. There is a lot of very interesting information about his background, years of struggle and his relationship with Chitra (including the tragic deaths of both their children). The image left of Chitra and the end is quite haunting. I would have liked some more discussion about specific songs, albums and other artistes he worked with but that’s a matter of my personal interest rather than a shortcoming of the book.
Joru Ka Ghulam
A really sweet romantic comedy starting Rajesh Khanna (from his peak years) and Nanda (in a glamour avtaar).
I can watch this repeatedly, for countless reasons.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Theatre)
So much fun.
My flatmate agreed to watch this which pleased me as it’s one of my most favourite films. The soundtrack by Hridaynath, the performances (especially Dimple) and Gulzar’s general magic touch makes this Lata Mangeshkar production very, very special.
Watched this for the cast (Dharam and Tanuja) and the great soundtrack (my favourite being the Lata-Kishore duet Kali Palak Teri Gori). The film itself was just mildly watchable.
Dastaan (Pak serial)
I struggled through this one. It stars Fawad Khan and takes us through the times of partition, and doesn’t shelter us from the brutalities that occurred. At times the show was incredibly insightful and moving, and yet managed to be irritating in other ways. I did feel it was rather anti-Hindu/Sikh at times, but by the end I wasn’t sure because it was shall pretty harsh about the Muslims and their behaviour in Pakistan post the split. I imagine that for those involved either personally or historically through their family, this show may be pretty controversial but I was watching it from a pretty neural standpoint and I don’t really rate it very highly. An interesting effort but clumsy too often.
I’ve now seen it three times (in the space of five days!)
My thoughts after the first time:
It’s hard to talk about this film without giving too much away. Unlike most movies, the trailers for this one kept the important stuff under wraps. So we know the basic plot that Deepika and Ranbir meet in Corsica, have fun without giving away who they are, but then when they meet back home things are not as they were. But that outline barely scratches the surface of this brilliant movie.
There’s so much to talk about that an essay could easily be justified. But in picking out the highlights, I would have to mention:
-The intriguing start to the film, where stories and the art of storytelling are imprinted onto the soul of the young boy. Even before we see the title screen, we know that at the very least we are gonna get an ‘interesting’ film
-At the interval I genuinely had no idea how Imtiaz was going to resolve what was happening on-screen. Even if one might guess the resolution, the path taken to reach it was never predictable. Yet the way it all came together was sheer genius.
-The line between carefully held together sanity and the descent into madness. This leads to some of the best scenes in the movie, both outside Deepika’s flat and in the bar prior to Agar Tum Saath Ho (incidentally the finest song of the year)
-Perfect performances from both Deepika (from whom one expects nothing less) and Ranbir (who is back to the top game he brought to Barfi). The luminous former looks as great as she performs, and the latter is raw, vulnerable and utterly uninhibited; they are very clearly the actors of their generation.
-Rahman’s music is one of his best from the past decade, and Imtiaz uses it perfectly, blending it beautifully between the characters and plot. The lyrics are so perfectly created for the movie that it highlights how unusual this is in current cinema.
-Whilst the Corsica segment might superficially resemble the pretentious nonsense of ZNMD, it’s actually not so in any way, because of how much it tells us about the characters (though we may not realise it until much later).
-Ranbir’s climactic scenes both with the storyteller as well as with his family could have gone so wrong, but Imtiaz and his lead actor pitch it perfectly.
-The post-climax scene (in Tokyo) was a delight to watch, particularly given the preceding jolts one has been exposed to.
I’m not surprised that this film has drawn extreme reactions. It’s not for the average moviegoer and I won’t be surprised if it flops. But Imtiaz Ali has made the finest film of his career, and also given Ranbir the opportunity to deliver his finest performance.
After the second viewing:
So much of what happens earlier in the film makes far more sense now. For example Ranbir’s decision at their first meeting is all part of him wanting to escape his ‘real’ life which isn’t actually his real life, and he can be the version of himself that has been buried away. And then Deepika’s entire behaviour post the birthday party – although on first viewing it appeared that she was being unreasonable and kinda crazy, actually she perhaps saw through the facade and knew what was really underneath, and she was almost playing the role of a therapist in helping him ‘heal’
A friend came over and picked this out of my DVD collection. I hadn’t seen it since it first released in the late 90s, and I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable the film still is. Urmila-RGV was a great combo in those days and I pretty much enjoyed every film they did together at that time. And Manoj Bajpai here is splendid.
After Kaun we needed something light so my friend recommended this, and it was a blast. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so much. The simple story about a wannabe singer, played by the fantastic Vinay Pathak is a must-watch.
If this had someone other than Katrina, it might have been more watchable. It’s a rather mediocre movie but I didn’t have any issues with the politics of it(it’s basically suggesting that India should hunt down the terrorists of 26/11 – if Pakistanis find that offensive then that’s rather concerning, if not surprising).
The more of these Merchant Ivory films I watch the less patience I have with them. This one is about a group of touring Shakespearean actors who are less in demand than previously. As usual Shashi Kapoor is there, required only to look charming.
Finally got around to seeing the last part of this incredible trilogy, which deserves much more than a couple of inadequate lines by me, so suffice it to say that these are a must watch.
A pretty engaging Spanish small-budget film, not so dissimilar in style to the Before… trilogy. Explores how things change between a guy and girl after they sleep together.
I watched this at the theatre over a decade ago, and didn’t particularly like it. I struggled with the novel. And now watched the movie and struggled through that too. I’m not entirely sure what I think of it, and reading Rangan’s review didn’t help much either 😉
This stars Vinay Pathak playing a simple guy who leads a dull life but after being diagnosed with a terminal illness starts to work through a final to-do list. Nothing extraordinary but some really nice individual scenes and lots of good acting. Decent music too.
We went to see Katti Batti but it was sold out so we ended up seeing this trash instead. But because I didn’t expect anything better, it wasn’t as painful as it could have been. So many good performers in such a dumb film.
Finally saw this, ‘must-watch’ James Cameron classic, and was rather underwhelmed. Great graphics don’t make a great film… And the endless noisy fighting at the climax gave me a headache.
Daniel Deronda (novel)
Yet again, George Eliot confirms my view that she is the greatest novelist of all time. Her insight into human character stuns me each time I visit her works, and I’m glad there are still three more books of hers that I am yet to read.
Big Hero 6
Watched this following a recommendation from a friend. It was fun, and more layered than I expected. Tra-la-la-la
Wreck It Ralph
Recommended by the same friend. Very cool idea (it takes us into the world of characters in a computer game) and lots of great lines. My favourite scene is the Oreo song!
Zindagi Gulzar Hai (Pak serial)
The basic premise of this show reminded me of Pride and Prejudice. The lead characters are so brilliantly well written – and their complexities after portrayed very well by the actors. The rest of the cast are excellent too. And so many complex issues about society and human character are explored very sensitively (yet again at times the perspective is not one I agree with). Loved this show and now I miss it.
Sadqe Tumhaare (Pak serial)
I watched this for Mahira and she was awesome as always, but I didn’t enjoy it! The show was pitched like a Bhansali movie, so by the end of 27 episodes I thought my head would explode. Not to say that there weren’t some positives. The music and poetry were both impressive, and Mahira is a perpetual pleasure to behold.
Fun overall but some bits were insufferable (whenever her parents were on stage – their performances were so high pitched and irritating).
Arenyer Din Ratri
One of Ray’s masterpieces about some friends who go for a holiday in a jungle area and their ensuing encounters with the local ladies. Must mention that Sharmila Tagore looks luminous.
Another intimate Bengali drama from Rituparno Ghosh, on the themes of trust, betrayal and the father-daughter relationship. Gloomy but very good.
Kamla Ki Maut
Kamla commits suicide, leading to all the nearby women reflecting upon their own troubled relationships. Ashutosh Gowarikar plays one of the boyfriends! And one of the girls is the wonderful Rupa Ganguli. Pankaj Kapoor and Supriya Pathak are also there, the former playing a man-whore and the latter one of his many victims!!
This West End magic/illusion show in London was spectacular. The run has now come to an end but I would highly recommend it if they perform elsewhere.
Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Watched this without having seen the original. Kangana is spectacular and the dialogues are a delight. I thought the concept of this film was very interesting and I loved how messy everything was left at the end.
Watched it a second time and because I didn’t need to focus on the plot I could enjoy how awesome the dialogues are.
Tanu Weds Manu
Watched this at home the next day. Was cool watching the movies the wrong way around, in terms of seeing the back story of the characters (who are all less crazy to start with!). Enjoyed it but think the sequel is a lot more interesting.
The first of Ray’s two Feluda movies. Really enjoyed this one (on par with the second, Joi Babu Felunath). The detective explores a case of kidnapping against the backdrop of past life regression in a young boy.
I was a little disappointed with this film. The first twenty minutes are intriguing but then something happens and basically continues for the entire reminder of the film. Decent acting but I found it hard to stay engaged with the movie – so much more could have been done in terms of what was going on in the characters’ minds.
So many years after Alai Payuthey yet Ratnam proves that nobody can show romance like he does. I LOVED every single scene of this movie and want to see it again.
Avengers 2: Age of Ultron
This was mildly entertaining but far too long and repetitive – the endless fighting sequences got on my nerves, which is a shame because the sporadic one-liners were pretty witty.
This Dev Anand directed film was far worse than I’d imagined. Sensitive boy doesn’t fit in to the army so runs away and becomes a spy. The idea isn’t actually so bad but what we see on screen is dreadful. Utterly unconvincing and Dev’s acting is awful. Waheeda Rahman and the music by SD Burman are the only saving graces. I’ve not watched any other of Dev’s directed films but I hear they just got worse, which is hard to imagine considering how crap the first one is.
Hare Rama Hare Krishna
This Dev Anand directed film, co-starring Mumtaz and Zeenat Aman was surprisingly watchable. Awesome soundtrack, a vibrant Mumtaz and an interesting plot about a brother tracking down his estranged druggie sister make up for the incredibly irritating Dev Anand’s lack of skills as a director (and actor for that matter).
Dum Laga Ke Haisha
I was really disappointed that this never released in the UK (no idea why). Finally caught out online. A sweet rom-com – well written and well acted, especially by Bhumi in her debut. Ayushman bores me though.
Best Hindi film I’ve seen in a long long time. Fantastic performances, particularly Deepika who is nothing short of brilliant in some scenes. Amitabh and Irfan are great as expected. Really loved this movie. Have seen it three times now.
This was the first of Ray’s Calcutta trilogy, but I watched the other two before this one (Jana Aranya and Seemabadha).
This musical set in Dublin, about a street musician and a flower selling Czech girl was recommended by a colleague. I can see why people liked this so much, but give me the Before trilogy any day.
Dil Dhadakne Do
Without being impressive in any way, this film still managed to keep me pretty entertained for three hours. I liked it MUCH more than ZNMD (although the music in DDD was even worse – loud and pointless). The highlight is Ranveer, who is genuinely a joy to watch in every frame that he is present. Shefali is a pleasure as always, and everyone else is competent, except Rahul Bose who is reliably creepy.
Loved it. Objectively it might not be great cinema, but it was so good to see the guys again. I really miss the tv show. As for those complaining that the film is sexist etc, I think that’s ridiculous. It’s portraying a world that does exist (and one that I would love to exist in!).
I went along with some friends without knowing what to expect. Um, it was bizarre! Strange yellow creatures…
First Salman film I’ve seen in the cinema in over a decade. Couldn’t resist the overwhelmingly positive response to the film, and I think it’s justified. Intrigued to see what Salman does next with his career.
Humsafar (Pak serial)
I somehow started watching this Pakistani drama serial (of which there are only 23 episodes), which I hear was phenomenally successful, and i was hooked almost immediately. Hearing the beautiful Urdu was a delight, and the lead pair of Fawad and Mahira were both excellent.
Shehr-e-Zaat (Pak serial)
Very interesting theme, in which a materialistic, self-centred girl slowly learns about the realities of life, and discovers a love for god along the way. Mahira is fantastic, especially given how unsympathetic her character is. I found the perspective of the show quite problematic at times (especially the irritatingly devout grandmother), but that only made watching it more interesting.
I felt like revisiting this because of some stuff going on in life. Beautiful film – incredible music and moving performances. Hrishida at his peak.
This Govind Nihalani film is set during one evening, amidst the gathering of a bunch of pretentious, rather despicable rich socialites. A lot more fun than I expected (though the philosophical discussions about art and politics got a bit heavy towards the end!). And a great cast of art-house stars.
Smita Patil is married and has a daughter but takes a remote job running an ashram for destitute women. She has to deal with a rotten system and also the drama of her utterly worthless husband. Smita is excellant and Lata’s diving Tum Aasha Vishvaas Hamaare provides the solace in this dark film.
Been wanting to see this for so many years. Loved it. Beautifully shot. Loved the intimacy. Yet again Mani gives his lead actress a great role.
How To Get Away With Murder (Season 1)
This slightly trashy show about a bunch of law students embroiled in a murder was watchable but not in a high quality way. But I guess now that I’ve watched the first season I’ll probably continue when it returns in autumn.
So many years after Alai Payuthey but Rathnam proves that nobody can show romance as awesomely as he does. I LOVED every scene of this film and want to see it again.
Detective Byomkesh Bakshi
I found the first half pretty riveting but then slightly lost interest post interval, until the lively climax. Sushant was awesome – he’s my favourite out of all the new guys and I really hope he does well. I was a little disappointed that none of the actresses were attractive.
I have a distinct memory of seeing this film’s climax (involving red chillies) when I was a kid and my parents were watching it.A splendid cast including Paresh Rawal, Naseeruddin Shah in a delightfully evil role, Dina Pathak, Raj Babbar, Supriya Pathak, Suresh Oberoi, my favourite Deepti Naval and a very feisty Smita Patil in this village-set drama where the locals are terrorised by the local Subedaar.
This was actually a pretty well-made film, with decent performances and some very interesting characters.
An upstanding doctor discovers that the holy water at a nearby temple is contaminated and showing disease, but encounters problems when he speaks up. An interesting idea but less gripping than Ray’s other final movies. Endearing performances by Soumitra Chatterjee, Mamta Shankar (who I really like!) and Ruma Guha (Kishore Kumar’s first wife!).
Ek Phool Chaar Kaante
I’ve wanted to see this Sunil Dutt – Waheeda Rahman comedy for so long. I was delighted to see it uploaded onto YouTube recently. It’s about a girl with four eccentric unless, each looking for different qualities in her suitor, so our hero had to win them all over in turn.
One of Sadhana’s later movies. Terrible melodrama about an orphan who gets unfairly embroiled in legal hassles, co-starring Parkishit Sahni, with a couple of nice sounds.
Margarita, With a Straw
Saw this at the London Indian Film Festival. Yes there is nudity and lesbians and disability and inter-racial promiscuity, but actually this is a very well-acted (especially Kalki and Revatty), well-made movie which not only has it’s heart in the right place but is also very watchable.
The Casual Vacancy (BBC Series)
I really enjoyed the JK Rowling novel when I read it last year. This TV adaptation was not bad but as per usual, too much of the book was missing, leaving me unsatisfied.
Suits (Season Four)
Awesome as always – the season never feels long enough!
The Book of Mormon (theatre)
This comedy suicide bombers didn’t make me laugh very often, but Riz Khan was very good.
A period drama set during the composition of the Kamasutra. Rekha plays a prostitute in love with a married man. The film is an interesting cross-section of the society of the time. Good music. The acting wasn’t entirely convincing but Shashi Kapoor is very funny as a lecherous royal.
Fantastic family drama by Rituparno Ghosh, set during Durga Puja. As always he creates fascinating, nuanced characters. Genuinely rivetting throughout.
I’ve loved every film I’ve seen that Aparna Sen directed, so I was pretty disappointed that this one didn’t match up. Shabana Azmi plays a manglik, mute, orphan girl who gets married off to a tree. Honestly I was just bored by the proceedings and struggled to have any interest in the peculiar characters.
Chor Machaaye Shor
I needed to watch something light and Hindi after all the serious bengali movies. Shashi Kapoor plays an engineer falsely convicted of attempted rape, because he was in love with rich girl Mumtaz (who is delightful throughout, not to mention very beautiful). He and his fellow prisoners escape and pose as social workers in a village. The soundtrack is one great song after another, making the film pass effortlessly.
A View From The Bridge (Theatre)
Was great to revisit this play that I’d studied at school.
A girl from a Hindu family of Ugandan Asians, now living in America, falls for a black guy. I found the early scenes showing the expulsion quite moving because my family also went through the same thing. Sharmila Tagore plays the girl’s mother – she looks so beautiful and elegant.
I really enjoyed this Bengali film, which tells the story of a debut director who wishes to remake Ray’s Nayak. Nandana Sen is awesome and the film too is very intriguing
Really enjoyed this pair of Ray movies. The former reminded me of Devdas, where a guy who lacks the courage to embrace his girl has to live with the regretful consequences of his cowardice. The latter is about a ‘holy man’ and the crowd of followers around him. Both parts are awesome, and Ray at his finest.
Innovative, fresh and funny. Brilliantly watchable performances.
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (Theatre)
Went to see the theatre production with very low expectations but it was great fun, in particular the incredibly sarcastic one-liners by Wonka. The book was a childhood favourite and I’m gonna revisit it soon.
One of the most pretentious pieces of crap I’ve ever had the misfortune to watch. Hideous dialogues: “Baatein jhooti ho sakti hain Kabir, kahaaniyaan nahin”. Dreadful characterisations paired with atrocious acting by both Arjun and Jacqueline. Ranbir Kapoor wins the award for the most loyal friend of the year as he apparently did the role as a favour. The film limps to an excruciatingly slow, painful and pointless end.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Recommended by a friend. Enjoyed it and given that it’s so cold currently this made me really want to go to Hawaii!
The Woman in Black (Theatre)
I’d gone to see this over ten years ago and enjoyed it this time round too, but not as much as the first time.
Always a pleasure to revisit my favourite film.
Dum Maaro Dum
Loud, flashy, chaotic. Not my kinda thing.
Dolly Ki Doli
Quirky and mildly enjoyable. Sonam seemed slightly out of sorts and a more appealing cast would have been appreciated. Loud songs that made me want to go home, but there was a nice Rahat solo.
This was actually a pretty decent film. Akshay’s inadequacies as an actor were the biggest flaw, but otherwise I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected.
Vyjayantimala plays a very cool ‘feminist’ who rejects her husband-to-be who insists on seeing her face before marriage to check she’s good looking. She says she doesn’t want such a superficial husband and tells him where to get off. Kishore Kumar and Pran then join this somewhat watchable comedy-drama. Nice songs and dances.
Ek Duje Ke Liye
Figured I should finally see this because of the director’s recent death.
This was one of the most boring cinema experiences of my life. Irritating performances, excessively dull music, ridiculously made-up sets, a plot that elicited no interest and characters that elicited no care. It’s a shame as there clearly had been a lot of effort put into this pointless film.
Heat and Dust
A young English girl travels to India and we simultaneously see Hart story as well as that of Olivia, who had moved there after marriage during the time of the empire and had had an affair with the Nawab (Shashi Kapoor, charming as ever). Nothing special but watchable.
I love Aparna Sen’s cinema – she makes exactly ‘my’ kind of movies, though they are often called pretentious and self-indulgent by others. The film begins with her writing a suicide letter. She plays an aging actress and in flashback we see Konkona (magnificent as always) playing her younger self, set amidst the Calcutta film industry. Really enjoyed it though the number of tragedies seemed slightly over-done.
Ask The Dust (Novel)
A friend lent me this John Fante book and we only later realised it is the third part of a quarter. The main character is a writer who has moved to LA. The style is so unique that I can’t describe it, but can certainly recommend it.
A friend recommended this as his favourite film of last year. I thought it was an interesting concept (if I was an IT professor I’d show it to my students). I don’t really like the lead actor.
The Substance and The Shadow (Dilip Kumar’s autobiography)
This was obviously an interesting read – Dilip Kumar was introduced by Devika Rani and he’s been present through all the eras of Hindi cinema since. But I can’t say I was satisfied by the book. The brutal honesty one craves in this kind of book was missing. There is a mild air of pomposity (more manipulative than the delusions of grandeur that were evident in Dev Anand’s book) and he skims over the most interesting issues! Most irritating was the way he tries to make it sound like he was tricked into marrying Asma (briefly, before running back to Saira). And also, at times he sounds extremely chauvinistic (indicating that a wife’s role is to basically to dedicate herself to serving her husband). That said, the Dilip Kumar of the 40s up until the early 60s remains in my opinion the greatest actor of all time, and reading his life story is worthwhile.
Took me twenty years to finally see this film. The fiery dialogues and collection of superb performances were very impressive, led by Nana Patekar and Dimple, followed by Paresh Rawal and Danny. The poor songs meant I skipped a good 30 minutes of the movie but otherwise thoroughly enjoyed it.
This early Ray film, didn’t quite work for me, for the reason that young Sharmila’s character didn’t make sense to me. But that might just mean the film needs a rewatch. Given that PK just came out this film and the audience reaction to it is interesting.
This was a lot more enjoyable than I expected. Rani was in top form after ages.
Ray’s first colour film (for some reason he didn’t make another one until a decade later). it’s set in a mountain resort, with an upper class Bengali family, with each character dealing with their own drama. There’s a semi-romantic track too and I kept half-expecting it to turn into a Shammi Kapoor style sixties musical set in Kashmir! i found the acting slightly ‘odd’ and I’m afraid I can’t think of any other way to describe it. Watchable, but for me not one of his best.
A pretty solid marital drama, based on Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder, starring Dimple (she always looks incredibly beautiful but here she is seriously breathtaking), Raj Babbar and Suresh Oberoi.
This was a really terrible movie, with a somewhat interesting plot (about a rotten politician who pays goons to attack him and his pregnant wife so he can frame they opposition) but made with no logic or sense. However, the lead pairing of Dimple and Anupam Kher somehow make it watchable.
This 45 minute made for tv film by Satyajit Ray stars Om Puri and Smita Patil. I’ve watched a lot of Ray lately but this was the first one I found quite hard to watch and was grateful that it was so short. It’s a rural film and kinda reminded of Shyam Bengal movies from the same time.
Was hoping this highly acclaimed film wouldn’t be a letdown, but I liked it a lot – great performances and do many wonderful ‘moments’.
Maine Pyar Kiya
Watched this whilst lying comatose on New Year’s Day. Really enjoyed seeing it again after so many years. Yes it’s aged but it remains charming. And Lata’s songs…spectacular 🙂
Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi
I guess seeing MPK got me in the mood for Rajshri movies, otherwise why would I have watched this (and even worse, I actually seemed to enjoy it!!)
Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi was a remake of this, and is actually a scene to scene copy for much of the movie. But what stands out in the original is the quality of performances by both Parikshit Sahni and Raakhee.
I know the film has led to much discussion here in the past. I finally saw it, and thought it was very well made.
Finally saw this Mehboob Khan production starring Dilip Kumar – Madhubala – Nimmi. Very interesting premise, where an upstanding lawyer, engaged to a beautiful and kind rich girl, in a moment of emotional turmoil forces himself on a vulnerable village girl. Dilip Kumar is awesome. But Madhubala! Hard to take one’s eyes of her – she is more radiant here than ever. And the Naushad soundtrack, with one Lata gem after the next is the icing on the cake. But as for the film itself, I felt it went downhill halfway through, mainly because much of it wasn’t convincing.
Hobbit Part 3
I hadn’t seen the first two but had read the book a few years ago so didn’t mind joining a friend to see this. Not on the same level as LOTR but enjoyable nevertheless.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
I read the book some years back and from what I remember didn’t like it too much, and I didn’t really care for this movie adaptation either.
I enjoyed it. But not overwhelmingly so like RH’s earlier films. I’m in no rush to rewatch it.
A rare Meena Kumari film I was very excited to get hold of, particularly so as it’s directed by BR Chopra, whose movies are always pretty engrossing. But this was a misfire. Set in Delhi, amidst the Nawabs, the story never really lifts off.
There are so many Amitabh films I’ve not watched yet. Randomly caught this masala-comedy where he stars with Vinod Khanna and Saira Banu (neither of whom I’m a fan of). Watchable.
Finally saw this. I would have enjoyed this a lot if I was a Salman fan, but as it is I was just about entertained. Sonakshi however, is captivating and I wish she would do good movies so I could actually see her (the only film of her’s I’ve watched was the awesome Lootera).
Sun Mere Bandhu Re
Sathya Saran’s biography of SD Burman was a pleasant read. I’ve never considered Burman Dada to be one of the absolute greats (such as Madan Mohan, Salil Chaudhry and Roshan), but having been confronted by the songs discussed in this book, I’m probably being unfair. Guide, Bandini, Pyaasa, Abhimaan, Jewel Thief…all ‘complete’ albums in the true sense that each song is awesome, rather than a few selected chartbusters
I could only watch 20 minutes of this trash. I’m so happy to see Saif wallowing in the crappy films he deserves, given how low his opinion is of Hindi cinema.
I’d seen this crazy Kishore Kumar – Pran – Mala Sinha comedy some time back but recently watched it again with my parents when I was visiting them. Lots of fun.
Main Tera Hero
The Rivals (Book)
This was a great read, about the rivalry over the years between Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. I’m too young (not often I get to say that now) to have seen these guys play each other but Martina is someone I’ve greatly admired. Really enjoyable read. As an aside, I was shocked during my recent trip to America that none of my friends there have heard of Navratilova!! In the UK just about everyone knows who she is. I also watched their documentary ‘Unmatched’ which shows the two of them discussing their relationship and it was very decent.
When Farooque Sheikh passed away I remember reading about this movie being a great comedy. Unfortunately I was particularly impressed or amused by this mediocre film.
What’s up with everyone speaking about Govinda as some kind of legend? He was always the reason that my friend would make fun of Indian movies when I was a kid. Anyways, I kinda enjoyed this movie, certainly more than expected by the reviews. The lead pair are two of my current favourites. And Sajde is a great track.
Joi Baba Felunath
When I went to NYC I picked up twenty Ray dvds in Queens, so I have lots to get through 🙂 This detective story was pretty engrossing and the performance were all very watchable.
Ray’s take on the famous detective Byomkesh Bakshi. I watched this with poor quality subtitles so at times I felt slightly confused. I enjoyed the film and really liked Uttam Kumar’s performance, but this would be one of my Ray favourites.
Ray’s penultimate film, about ‘honesty’, set amidst four generations of a Bengali family. For want of a better word, the film felt kind of ‘staged’, not to say that I didn’t enjoy it. I really liked Mamata Shankar’s performance (she played the lead in Agantuk, a film I liked a lot more). The film explored aspects of human nature as well as society, and as with Agantuk, left me pondering as the end-credits rolled.
My first Malayalam movie experience. Set around the time of independence, this feudal epic could have been great but there were just too many repetitive, circular fight sequences. Good performances though and awesome cinematography.
The Perfect Murder
A rather mediocre mystery film in English, starring Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, Amjad Khan and some Swedish dude.
Saw this on a flight to America and it wasn’t bad. Not seen the first one but used to love the show in its early days.
The Fault In Our Stars
Saw this straight after, on the same flight. Made me cry like a baby pretty much throughout. Liked it a lot.
So whilst I was in NYC we figured we should watch an appropriate movie, and as I hadn’t seen this my friends insisted we watch it. So much fun. I’ll def watch it again soon!
I had very high expectations for this Uttam Kumar – Suchitra Sen romantic classic but it didn’t quite live up to them. A little slow and I’ve seen the story many times (though this may have been the first) – but what made it very watchable were the magnificent performance. And Suchitra Sen looks incredibly beautiful.
Revisited one of my favourite childhood novels and am so glad I did. Brilliant – I enjoyed it just as much as an adult as I did as a kid. It’s about a group of rabbits going on an adventure, LOTR style! And I highly recommend it.
Tales From Watership Down
This isn’t really a sequel, more so a set of add-on stories, written a couple of decades after the original novel. Not on the same level in any way but still a pleasant enough read and a pleasure to meet the characters again.
Like it a lot more than Gravity. I felt the bit with Mr Mann was unnecessary and didn’t add anything, but apart from that, great visuals and very engaging. I would have liked to see more of the personal elements.
A Merchant Ivory film starring Shashi Kapoor as a Hindi film superstar who is married to Aparna Sen but hard involved in a rocky affair with an English writer, played by Jennifer Kendall. I wasn’t so impressed by this one I’m afraid.
A children’s film, with 3 boys called Ram, Rahim and Tom…a precursor to AAA?! Tanuja and Sanjeev Kumar in supporting roles do not manage to lift this mediocre film despite being two of my favourite stars.
Decided to watch this 1954 version in preparation for setting Haider. Kishore Sahu stars alongside Mala Sinha. I’m not a Shakespeare buff and to be honest I was kinda bored by the proceedings. I think someone more familiar with this genre could appreciate this better.
Given all that’s been written and discussed, I don’t feel qualified to say anything other than the fact that I loved it and was mesmerised by Tabu.
So this is the first Rajnikanth film I’ve seen and I’m left kinda baffled… Anyways, my reason for watching this is because it’s a Mani Ratnam film and I’ve been working my way through his filmography. I thought the first half was dreadful – lots of dumb fighting (clearly masala is wasted on me), but the second half drew me in, especially as I suddenly realised the story was based on Karna from Mahabharat.
Rather miserable movie about a young guy whose life spirals downwards after his parents die and he starts prostituting himself to rich women so he can support his teenage sisters.
A Merchant Ivory film that is basically about a newly married couple adjusting to each other. Shashi Kapoor is an actor who I usually find charming and manages to do what is required of him. But here I felt his inadequacies add an actor are quite evident. The very beautiful Leela Naidu however plays her part well (though admittedly less is required of her). Durga Khote is brilliant as a nightmare mother in law.
Extremely watchable and a lot of fun. But when I thought about it afterwards I felt pretty unconvinced.
The Lowland (Novel – Jhumpa Lahiri)
Left me with a sense of sadness that I think is going to linger for some time. Highly recommended.
I watched this multistarrer for Sanjeev Kumar but I didn’t really enjoy it. His role was short and didn’t require anything of him. I found Amitabh kind of annoying, especially in the comic scenes, but the emotional scenes felt really over-the-top too. Parveen Babi was good (she’s so much cooler than Zeenat Aman who I can’t stand).
This is the documentary (not the dumb Madhuri-Juhi film). Saw it at a screening in London which was followed by a Q&A with the director, Nishtha Jain. The documentary itself was awesome, but I was equally charmed by the very charismatic filmmaker.
Too loud, too long, an ‘actress’ who can’t act, and ‘actor’ who used to be cool but is now just cringe-worthy. But for a few wonderful minutes when Deepti Naval came on screen everything felt better 🙂
Californication Season 7
A significant deterioration in quality was evident in this final season of a great show. Will miss Hank and his great great quotes.
I got around to watching this after a long time. As with the first one, watching Amitabh and Abhishek together (not in a comedy) is awesome. Aish needs a better director than RGV to be convincing but she got more impressive as the film went on. Also, I don’t usually notice things like background music and camerawork but both were really annoying ) – the former was loud and over the top and the latter seemed to be suffering from ADHD.
Puja aur Paayal
Lol, YouTube indicated this film stars Jaya Bhaduri and Sanjeev Kumar, but it’s actually a terrible b-grade film where they just make special appearances. So I stopped watching after an awful half-hour.
Badhti Ka Naam Daadhi
Kishore Kumar directs, produces, writes, composes for, sings for and acts in this crazy caper about an old man who decides to leave 10 lakh rupees for the dude with the longest beard in town! Started off quite funny but I lost patience after a while and wasn’t paying attention by the end.
Kashmakash (Dubbed version of Noukadoubi)
This Rituparno Ghosh gem exemplifies everything I love about his movies – poetic, moving and engrossing. It’s set in 1920s Calcutta and Kashi, and stars the Sen sisters in basically a tale of complex relationships. I really enjoyed it, and the soundtrack was also very beautiful.
Hamaari Yaad Aayegi
This was Tanuja’s first major adult role but again reinforces the fact that this great actress was wasted in films undeserving of her talent. She plays a street-dweller who struggles to become ‘decent’ after meeting a nice guy. Then there’s a strange widow hanging around too. A rather dull, and somewhat irritating film. The songs are the highlight, including a couple by Mukesh, and in particular the song of Mubarak Begum’s career – the title track Kabhi Tanhaaiyon Mein Yun Hamaari Yaad Aayegi.
I really enjoyed the 12 episodes of this show I found on YouTube. The host, Mala Sekhri was awesome. She seems genuine, passionate and truly knowledgable about music – I’m gonna try to find out more about her! She interviews various singers and composers but most of the show consists of them singing anything that comes to mind! The best episodes were Sunidhi (listen to her sing a few lines of Mehdi Hassan’s Koplein Phir), Kavita, Shafqat and of course the Lata special. Bappi Lahori is a freak.
A very bad, over the top, excessively melodramatic version of the Anupama scenario, starring Sanjeev Kumar and Mala Sinha.
The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland
Dreadful theatre show that I went to see with colleagues. There was a rather superficial and poorly thought through anti-psychiatry stance that naturally I wasn’t impressed with.
Amazing how Mala Sinha still looked so young and beautiful in the mid-seventies. Sanjeev Kumar costars in this moderately watchable film that touches upon the theme of remarriage of child-widows, amidst the usual masala.
I think someone (maybe Satyam) mentioned that Ray’s later films weren’t on the same level as his earlier ones. So I saw this with lower expectations (this was his final film) but I loved it. An uncle (or not…) who has been missing for 35 years suddenly turns up…leading to suspicion, intrigue and lots of fine conversation. I found the proceedings entirely gripping.
I’ve seen almost every available Meena Kumari film, so when I locate one I’ve not seen, it’s a big deal! I was delighted to find this on YouTube – costarring Dev Anand, and also Kishore Kumar and Ashok Kumar (who produced this film). It’s a comedy, in the same vein as the others Meena did in the early-mid fifties. Often the ‘rare’ films are a disappointment but this one was a pleasure to watch. It has the familiar storyline of a young guy bringing in a pretend wife to placate his dying grandfather (who is also pretending to be ill) – lots of fun!
I’m about 20 years late but finally saw this. Decided to see the Tamil with subtitles rather than the dubbed Hindi. Loved Madhoo’s performance – hope she won an award.
This is the first Telugu film I’ve watched it, and I found the language much softer/sweeter than Tamil. I think it’s the only Telugu film of Mani Ratnam and I liked it. It’s a romantic movie, set against the backdrop of human mortality. The comic side plot was extremely irritating and unnecessary.
Agni Charitram (Dubbed as Gharshana in Telugu)
Mani Ratnam’s rather mediocre take on the One Tree Hill scenario of two half-brothers who hate each other. One of his early films.
Delicious. Had so much fun watching this – the bizarreness is right up my alley and the performances were delightful. Oh and Deepika looks luminous. And apart from that, given what the title means here in England, it raised a chuckle every time it was said aloud 😉
I wasn’t expecting much and the first half was just watchable, but then as it went on I started having a lot of fun and by the end could say I genuinely enjoyed the film. The only low point was the exceedingly irritating Kiron Kher – can’t stand her these days and she’s particularly annoying here.
Passable film. Good performances are a big positive but the mediocre music is disappointing as a decent soundtrack is a prerequisite for a good rom-com. After having not seen an Indian film in the cinema since D3, I watched the above three on the big screen in the space of a week!!
Just Another Love Story
This Bengali film marked Rituparno Ghosh’s acting debut, in which he plays a gay, transsexual documentary director, shooting about an aged theatre actor whose life mirrors his own. Although initially I found the film kinda weird, I was pretty engrossed as it progressed, and the acting was first notch.
This somewhat autobiographical film kind of picks up where the above finished, and again stars Rituparno Ghosh, and is also directed by him. He plays a similar character (that I actually found very hard to like), but this time the step of a sex-change is taken. The impacts this has on the individual, his partner and family, is explored. Some incredibly insightful and moving moments, however the overall gloominess (understandably), makes this quite hard to watch, especially knowing how close to home this must have been for Ghosh who died not long afterwards.
Finally got around to seeing this. Good film. But I need to start watching less depressing films.
Death Comes To Pemberley (novel)
Apparently there are heaps of Jane Austen ‘sequels’. This murder mystery was a fun, quick read, and it was a pleasure revisiting the characters we know so well.
Death Comes To Pemberley (BBC series)
This was pretty average fare.
Suits Season 4
Top notch again. Can’t wait for the next season!
100 Foot Journey
Very predictable and mildly dull. But my friends seemed to enjoy it so perhaps I’m being harsh.
Randomly found this 80s comedy on YouTube, starring Utpal Dutt, Ashok Kumar and Farooque Sheikh. A delightful little film.
The awesome Konkona Sen Sharma plays an American teen who goes back to India to visit family, and find out about her past as she is adopted. This leads her to the 1984 riots. Very well made, sensitive and extremely well-acted film.
Ghar Basaake Dekho
This was just something I randomly came across on YouTube but ended up really enjoying. It is a true ensemble movie, about a host of married couples, all in slightly different circumstances. There’s Johnny Walker, Mehmood, Manoj Kumar, Shyama, Lalita Pawar, Rajshree, Savitri and others. A surprisingly good film.
Equally enjoyable second time round. Really impressed with Kangana.
Watched this for Sanjeev Kumar, but his role was actually overly preachy and annoying. The film itself, starring Amitabh, Shashi Kapoor (a pair of good-for-nothings who make money by giving false evidence in court), Rekha (playing a South Indian who keeps bursting into Tamil), Helen (the most interesting character – not playing a vamp and not doing a single cabaret- she has a young daughter and she doesn’t even know who the dad is!), and Aparna Sen!! (playing a blind girl). All the lectures about Geeta=Bible=Quran all got a bit much for me but the film was kinda fun. Laxmikant Pyarelal’s music is mediocre (as usual!)
Watched this truly dreadful Bengali film at the London Indian Film Festival. It’s about the 1971 Bangladesh issues, but is simply awful – a screechy female lead, an entirely uncharismatic male lead, jarring background music, and a villain straight out of a bad 80’s film.
As part of the above festival I also went to the short films session, which was really good. And also an interview with Farhan Akhtar (Vidhu Vinod Chopra and his wife Anupama were both present in the audience too). Farhan was just like in his tv interviews.
A friend has given me a few Ratnam DVDs so I’m looking forward to seeing them. This first one was enjoyable – certainly not as ‘refined’ as his later work, but Revathy was charming and her ballsy character was awesome, especially in the climax. The fights/songs were a bit annoying but I acknowledge that Ratman had constraints to make the film within.
A rather pointless short film by Farhan Akhtar that I came across on YouTube. It stars Boman Irani and Shabana Azmi, in a story that is meant to raise awareness about AIDS.
Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne
A fantasy-musical by Satyajit Ray, based on stories written by his grandfather. Two young guys get granted three wishes and end up on various musical adventures. So different in mood to the other Ray films I’ve seen thus far, but a pleasant watch.
Hirok Raajar Deshe
Ray’s sequel to the above film – I liked this one more. The lead pair continue their adventures and end up in a state run by a tyrannical king. The issues raised remain highly pertinent to the world today. Need to get hold of the final film in the trilogy now, which was directed by Ray’s son.
A silly lost and found film starring Kishore Kumar, Mala Sinha and Pran, made somewhat watchable only for the performances.
Bose – The Lost Hero
Finally got around to watching this Shyam Benegal film. 3 and a half hours long!!! I did learn a lot about him (which I guess was the point of the film), but by about 2 hours in I was dying…
Set in Assam, this Kalpana Lajmi film about an adulterous wife stars Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Farooq Sheikh. Nothing particularly wrong with the movie but to be honest I was a little bored by the proceedings.
One of Guru Dutt’s lesser known acting ventures – this is a horrible film! Painful melodrama where you just want the characters to get a grip.
Rather frivolous film, starring Nargis as an orphan girl, brought up by a King as his own after she turns up at his door. But she secretly wants revenge! Raj Kapoor plays a loyal protector of the King. Lots of inconsistencies in the plot but the lead pair prevent the film from being unwatchable.
Another Raj Kapoor-Nargis starrer, with them playing lovers seperated by society. Rather boring, but a fantastic soundtrack – one of the earlier Lata-Madan Mohan collaborations. And it did get somewhat intriguing after the interval.
Nargis in a double role – two sisters living in very different situations. One, rich and respected, engaged to a lawyer, Raj Kapoor, and the other a girl of ill repute, flirting and chewing paan. A decent film.
Really enjoyed reading this, Andre Agassi’s biography. I’ve not read so many books in the sport genre but I’m a tennis buff so had wanted to read this for some time. It’s quite a moving story, made up of family drama, romance, friendship, human character and relations, and of course tennis (with heaps of inside goss on his peers!). The character transformation (or formation as Agassi calls it) made me think of Tolstoy.
Amjad Ali Khan – Documentary by Gulzar
Another insight into a master musician. Really enjoyed getting a peek into a life devoted to music, and Gulzar’s style is really intimate.
Tedious and somewhat irritating film, starring Nargis, a studious but unfortunate girl who ends up kicked out of home, duped into working in a brothel, and the shame of being a secretly wed mother (because her husband Pradeep Kumar didn’t tell his parents that he had married before heading off to London to become a barrister). Pran, plays a devilishly cool villain, in various disguises and costumes, who harasses and tortures Nargis through out. The saving grace is Madan Mohan’s brilliant soundtrack: Asha-Rafi’s duet Zameen Se Hamein Aasmaan Par and Lata’s twin masterpiece ghazals Yun Hasraton Ke Daag and Unko Yeh Shiqaayat Hai.
What a stupid film. I got seduced by the Galliyan song and Shraddha Kapoor but this was just dumb and pointless – a disappointment after Aashiqui 2 which I had really liked.
Not nearly as fascinating as Agassi’s story, but easy and quick to read, and reinforces my impression that Nadal really seems like an awesome person.
I saw this with low expectations but that didn’t help – two hours wasted on this stupid film.
This documentary which is based on the making of Lagaan was fun to watch. Brought back a lot of memories of the great film – one of the very few of the new millennium that is a genuine classic.
Balraj Sahni is always a pleasure to watch, and here he plays a busy lawyer who doesn’t have time for his wife, Nargis, who is equally awesome here. He ends up falsely accusing her of having an affair and she understandably stomps off. Great acting and very good songs. The last half hour is slightly weaker but def worth a watch.
Ray on the Jana Aranya shoot
Because Guru Dutt was one of India’s greatest directors, it is easy to forget he used to occasionally act in external films too, including Bahurani and Suhagan with Mala Sinha, and Saanjh Aur Savera with Meena Kumari. Bharosa, co starring Asha Parekh unfortunately is the weakest of them all, the only positive being some beautiful songs by Ravi. I can only imagine that the reason Dutt would have been in such a film would be to raise funds for his own productions.
Satyajit Ray explores unemployment in his final part of the “Calcutta trilogy”. From the other two I’ve seen Seemabadha but not Pratidwandi. Satyam mentioned that Ray’s cinema is an endless treasure of riches and I’m discovering the truth in that – this one too was a pleasure to watch. It’s the family scenes that I found particularly impressive, especially the very endearing bhabhi..
It took me multiple attempts to get into this film set during the Sri Lankan civil war, and I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it. Nargis Fakhiri is dreadful by the way.
Hazaaron Khwaahishen Aisi
I thought this political movie was far superior. Chitrangada was really very impressive.
Kishore Kumar in another of his loony comedies – delightful as ever 🙂 Anita Guha joins him as his neighbour – their fathers are best friends but Kishore is super western and Anita likes Indian culture. A lot of fun – hard not to howl at Kishore’s antics – eg when she dresses up as a kid and sings Jack and Jill! And some beautiful songs by Madan Mohan – Bairan Neend Na Aaye
Hum Aapke Hain Kaun
Had this on in the background and ended up watching the whole thing. I’ve seen it several times before but this time more than ever I was struck by how simply awesome Madhuri was. And what to say about Lata…
Ek Gaon Ki Kahaani
As the title describes, this is a melodramatic Middlemarch setting kinda film, starring Mala Sinha and Talat Mahmood, the singer! What I liked was the nuanced characters, albeit in a melodramatic way!! Some nice songs by Lata and Talat.
Dil Diya Dard Liya
As a teenager the only classics I really appreciated were Jane Austen. It wasn’t until university that I discovered the Brontes. The three sisters wrote some great novels, but if I had to pick a favourite, it would be Emily’s Wuthering Heights – I’ve not revisited it since then but the word ‘brutal’ describes my strongest memory of it. Anyways, this film is a poor adaptation, but I had low expectations as nobody has anything good to say about this one. It stars Waheeda Rehman and Dilip Kumar, along with Rahman and Pran. A couple of famous songs by Naushad are the silver lining. Dilip Kumar is a favourite of mine, but with the caveat “pre-1960″ – after Mughal-e-Azam, for me at least, the magic is gone. Waheeda looks beautiful but her character is so illogical that I can see why she too has criticised the film in interviews.
Not long after seeing Dil Diya Dard Liya I started this film, which bizarrely is also an adaptation of Wuthering Heights, and is also starring Dilip Kumar, but made about 15 years earlier, and so he’s at his peak. I liked this one much more. Nargis is his costar this time. Some vintage songs and Balraj Sahni (albeit in a small role) are added pluses.
Stupid film with Mala Sinha and Pradeep Kumar. Rich boy marries a stage dancer much to his parent’s displeasure. However, eventually they realise that social class isn’t so important because this girl is a devi whilst their other daughter-in-law from a rich family is a biatch. The only good thing in this film is the wonderful Tun Tun 🙂
This watchable but I found the cast slightly dull and meant I didn’t really care too much what happened to the protagonists. Hummable songs and certainly not a bad film – and I loved the climax.
In Conversation with Waheeda Rahman – Nasreen Munni Kabeer (book)
Fascinating read – I highly recommend this to you all. Not only is her personal story gripping but her decades of experience in the changing industry are a pleasure to read.
Grey’s Anatomy Season 10
Having watched this show for a decade now it’s hard to have much objectivity, but for sure I still enjoy it a lot.
Suits Season 3
Some of my friends feel this show is way past it’s best, and that might be true but I love it!
Sweet film – Kangana was very endearing. But I still like EV more 🙂
Wanted to see this BR Chopra mystery for a long time. Fantastic soundtrack by Ravi, their regular composer, and vocalised by Mahendra Kapoor – Na Moonh Chuppa Ke Jiyo, Tum Agar Saath Dene Ka Waada Karo, Aa Neele Gagan Ke Tale. Starring Sunil Dutt, Rajkumar, Vimi, Mumtaz and the awesome Balraj Sahni, the film seems rather predictable and typical initially but then takes some really Neend
Hamaari Khwaab Tumhaare
A silly but harmless romantic melodrama starring Nanda and Shashi Kapoor. I’ve only seen them together in Mehndi Lage Mere Haath but I think they did quite a few films together. Om Prakash plays a barber, who after winning the lottery, elevates himself by several social classes, and masquerades as a nawab after moving to a new city. His wife (a truly hilarious Manorama) is very obviously ‘low-class’, and their interaction is really so much fun! His new neighbour is Balraj Sahni (always a pleasure!) who is obsessed with ‘khandaan’ and believing that Om Prakash is a real nawab, is happy for their children to fall in love. Nirupa Roy plays Balraj Sahni’s wife and I really liked her role – she gives him a nice lecture at the end about how his views are ridiculous and indeed contradictory to their religious beliefs. Madan Mohan’s music is decent but the highlight is Asha’s magnificent Koi Shikva Bhi Nahin.
Rootha Na Karo
Nanda plays a really dumb heiress who spends this entire dumb film conflicted about whether her dumb long term boyfriend, Shashi Kapoor, only wants her for her money. C.Ramchandra’s soundtrack is a pale shadow of her earlier classics.
Another Nanda-Shashi Kapoor film, in fact the first they did together, and unlike the above two, this is a beautiful film. Beautiful soundtrack by Salil Chowdhury, endearing performances (certainly the best of Nanda’s career) make this sweet film a must-watch.
Preet Na Jaane Reet
An obscure Shammi Kapoor film. He loves Saroja Devi (not seen her in anything else – beautiful but not much of an actress) but when he is attending a wedding he ends up marrying the bride to save her honour after the groom runs away. Actually a potentially interesting plot but could have been made better executed.
Chhoti Chhoti Baatein
Motilal directed this beautiful film about a hen-pecked, unappreciated old man who suddenly inherits a fortune and decides to leave his family with some money and goes off to stay in an idyllic village where he meets Nadira (I loved the way she speaks Urdu). The characters for some reason felt like they were Jane Austen creations 🙂 I would highly recommend this one. I found it on YouTube.
This is one of the most terrible films I’ve ever seen! And it entirely deserves a few more words than usual. Everyone hams to the hilt – sixties films were often melodramatic but this is more like a farce. Ashok Kumar is a respected professor, who abandoned his first wife (pregnant Sulochana, who has a disease that is making her blind). The son (Biswajeet,) now grown up – hates his unknown father but happens to receive tuitions from Ashok Kumar as he doesn’t know it’s his father. Also, blind Sulochana lives with her still-alive ancient mother. Meanwhile, Ashok Kumar’s new wife is a modern bitch who takes her daughter (Tanuja) to clubs and let’s her hang out unchaperoned with boys (so she gets pregnant by one of them and then takes an overdose and dies, after which the evil mother feels bad so burns herself to death), and her other son (Raajkumar) is a drunk because his mummy had no time for him. Mala Sinha (looking beautiful) is an orphan who lives with them and is treated like a servant by the evil one but loved like a daughter by Ashok Kumar. After the death of his new wife and daughter, Ashok seeks redemption but Biswajeet is in no mood to forgive. So Raajkumar goes to touch his new blind mother’s feet and reunite the family. And they all live happily ever after. Classic!
A pile of crap. Besharam was a million times better.
Char Dil Char Raahein
Great film by K.A Abbas (famous writer who worked on most of Raj Kapoor’s films). It is about three love stories, that converge at one set of crossroads. Meena Kumari and Raj Kapoor are seperated by caste. Nimmi has issues because she is a Tawaif. And Shammi Kapoor and Kumkum are Christians struggling for money. Really enjoyed this one. very very few Meena Kumari movies left for me to see now… Also this has the great Lata solo Intezaar Aur Abhi.
This was kinda what I expected – decent but nothing incredible. However, I have to admit, I was very impressed with Alia in the post-climax part, ie the final 20 mins. She really surprised me.
Mera Gaon Mera Desh
I had no idea how much of an inspiration for Sholay this Dharmendra-Asha Parekh-Vinod Khanna film was. A huge number of similarities. The one area where this film scores over Sholay is the fantastic soundtrack – Maar Diya Jaaye leading the list of Laxmikant Pyarelal numbers, by Lata and Rafi.
Well-made marital drama with the magnificent pairing of Deepti Naval and Farrioque Sheikh. And Jagjit’s Tumko Dekha Toh Yeh Khayaal Hai.
I had no intention of seeing this film but after I saw the lead pair on KWK I decide to check it out. I enjoyed it. Beautiful songs and actually quite a moving portrayal of alcoholism. I liked Aditya. Shardha was quite endearing – her vulnerability and delicate beauty make allowances for her limited acting abilities. Some really lovely scenes, particularly when he sees her looking at a photo of Lata, and says she is like a child looking up at the moon, and she replies that everyone looks up at the moon, but what does that signify…
Fantastic film starring Nargis, Raj Kapoor and Ashok Kumar, all of whom are excellent, and supported by a brilliant soundtrack. Nargis escapes from a life of poverty and rises up the social ladder by becoming the muse of an up and coming artist, Ashok Kumar. But when her friend from the past, Raj Kapoor shows up, there’s much suspicion, jealousy and drama. I really enjoyed this and recommend it.
Hasee Toh Phasee
Nothing special (I def preferred SDR) but this rom-com was watchable for it’s leads – Parineeti is of course quickly becoming a well-rated actress, and Siddarth was fine too. I was intrigued about whether Parineeti has Asperger’s but I wasn’t watching closely I guess (few films get my full attention).
Ek Do Teen
1949, mediocre comedy starring Motilal, who gives his dying father three promises on his deathbed. Meena Shorey plays his lively fiance.
I watched this after Zoya stated on KWK that she found it overrated. I agree with her – I found much of the film rather forced and unbelievable. BUT, some really fun parts with the families on both sides, particularly when they meet for the wedding!
Loved it. I had found the first one kinda over-rated but no such issues here. Quirky, classy, very good performances, and a great foundation of Gulzar’s poetry and Vishal’s music. And Madhuri here is fantastic – enough to make one forget (and forgive) her silly Ghagra song in YJHD.
This might be the last Hrishikesh Mukherjee film I get to watch (for the first time I mean). This was his last major hit but it’s not really a patch on his earlier comedies. The music is pretty average and the cast is also not as appealing (Rekha and Rakesh Roshan). It’s about a strict household run by Dina Pathak and her meek husband Ashok Kumar and what happens when the bahu’s younger sister comes to visit.
Pyar Ke Side Effects
Shit film (but a fun climax). Mallika was actually not awful but Rahul Bose is so bloody boring.
Shaadi Ke Side Effects
I like Vidya and Farhan a lot so this pretty average film was just about watchable.
Eeek! A truly dreadful mystery movie from the 80’s, starring Rishi Kapoor as a man whose wife goes missing, and Naseeruddin Shah plays the local inspector.
This would have been just passable but Deepti Naval and Farooque Sheikh are so brilliant that it was a pleasure to watch. They play a couple who meet late in life but Deepti’s daughter struggles to see her widowed mother settling down with another man.
This sweet film is about an orphan, who ia heartbroken about having no family – so when his school principal tells him Chacha Nehru, the PM, is his uncle, the boy is full of hope. He sets off on a trip to Delhi, via Bombay. Balraj Sahni is a pleasure as always – he plays the teacher. Indrani Mukherjee plays a teacher – she resembles Meena Kumari so much! And Sanjeev Kumar has a small role as her boyfriend. Ah and amazing songs by Madan Mohan and Rafi – Meri Aawaaz Suno and Tumhaari Zulf Ke Saaye.
Ah, Gulzar! So I was delighted to find these 13 episodes, each an independent twenty-two minute short story, some based on his own writings and others on the writings of others, but all directed by my favourite poett. They are funny, moving and very engaging. They are all very different but all worth watching. Sunset Boulevard is the only two parter and stars Nadira, rather touchingly playing an elderly, forgotten actress, heartbreakingly clining to her lost glory days.
My latest batch of movies etc:
WOW! I’ve searched for this Kamal Amrohi movie for many years and was delighted to see it recently uploaded on YouTube. Meena Kumari plays a young girl married to a very old man – they both appear to be suffering from TB. Meena is magnificent in this very grim movie – this was one of her very first performances and yet she is incredible. Some brilliant songs too.
Fantastic marital drama by Satyajit Ray, where the wife is forced to take a job but this has all kinds of repercussions on the family, especially her husband’s ego. Halfway through I realised that Humkadam (a movie I saw few months back was a remake of this). Also stars a 14 year old Jaya Bhaduri debuting as the daughter! Anyways, this was a masterpiece in my opinion.
Really enjoyed this sweet seventies film starring Vidya Sinha and Amol Palekar. Fantastic soundtrack by Salil Chaudhry especially the title track.
Shuddh Desi Romance
After hearing just about everyone rave about Parineeti on KWK I was keen to watch one of her films, and Sushant I liked a lot in Kai Po Chhe so decided to check out this film. Enjoyed it a lot. Very impressed by the lead pair – natural and endearing.
I was at a friend’s place and we wanted to see 12 Monkeys but it wasn’t working so ended up seeing this very dull movie with Ryan Gosling playing a drug-addict schoolteacher who has a close bond with one of his students. Blah…
Pakeezah – (Book by Lord Desai)
I enjoyed reminiscing about the film but generally wasn’t too impressed by the book. It made some broad statements that I didn’t agree with and there were errors when song lyrics were quoted. Also, some obvious mistakes, e.g. he says that Bimal Roy convinced Meena Kumari to do a guest appearance in Do Bhiga Zameen, when in fact it is well known that she saw some glimpses of the film (she was shooting Parineeta for Roy at the time) and requested to be part of the film in some way so the special appearance with the song Aa Jaa Ri Aa was created for her 🙂
Mughal-e-Azam (Book – Anil Zankar)
Much better – well researched and well written – I enjoyed this and learnt some new things. But still some mistakes with the song lyrics!! The writer explores lots of different themes and goes on some interesting tangents too. Worth a read for all fans of the movie.
A friend recommended it to me, so I zoomed through season 1-6 over a period of two weeks. Brilliant show – Hank Moody is a legend (second only to Gregory House). And my most favourite clip:
Wolf of Wall Street
Thought this was a very good film – Dicaprio was outrageously brilliant.
Finally got to see this – for sure it was a good film, but I don’t think I could say it was brilliant. For some reason it reminded me of English Vinglish, a film I rate far higher and have seen three times.
Deep Jele Jaai
Satyam recommended this Suchitra Sen classic and I checked it out the day she passed away. She was spectacular, and much as I adore Waheeda Rahman’s performance in Khamoshi, Suchitra Sen here is in another league. Beautiful music (as was the case in the Hindi remake). I’m definitely gonna try to watch more Bengali films that are subtitled.
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander
I thought it was rather timepass but I can see why this was a popular film – endearing performances by Aamir and Ayesha (this is one of the only films I’ve seen of her). Music could have been better (except for the classic Pehla Nasha).
One of those films that is super famous for its songs. Laximkant Pyarelal have composed a host of gems for Rafi in this film about the friendship between two guys, one of whom is blind and the other a cripple. Jaanewaalo Zara Mud Ke Dekho, Chaahunga Main Tujhe Saanjh Savere, Koi Jab Raah Na Paaye, Rahi Manwa Dukh Ki Chinta.
Oh dear, I dunno what induced me to watch this atrocious film starring Jeetendra and Aparna Sen (who looks unrecognisable). Kamini Kaushal plays Jeetu’s westernised, vampish estranged mother who left him and his poor father (Bharat Bushan) but who now wants to get back into her son’s life. Truly terrible.
Bengali movie starring Jaya Bhaduri, who plays a woman who runs a shelter for women, and who is well respected because of her role of a freedom fighter during her youth – she had shot a British officer. She continues to fight against the evils in society for the same of her country, unwilling to move to Boston with her son (Abhishek in a special appearance). Good film.
I think this was Rituparno Ghosh’s first major success. Aparna Sen plays a famous classical dancer who was widowed many years back – her husband was jealous and unsupportive and her grown up daughter resents her and they have virtually no relationship. I liked the film a lot – very typically Ghosh’s style.
Zany film about two long-lost brothers, both criminals, one reformed. Raj Kapoor stars alongside the lovely Madhubala. Average music by OP Nayyar which was a bit disappointing.
This 1960 Shammi Kapoor-Nutan starrer was a flop and trashed by critics too, and I can see why but I kinda enjoyed it despite the flaws. It’s a breezy rom-com, with added drama as usual. Nutan sparkles and makes it worth watching. Johnny Walker is absolutely brilliant too – one of his most fun performances. It’s basically a variation of It Happened One Night (Chori Chori/DHKMN) and a trace of (An Affair To Remember (Mann).
I liked this a lot – it captured the essence of Devdas far better than SLB (not that much is required for that). Very good soundtrack and decent performances. Probably my favourite Kashyap film.
I was really excited to watch this, but I finally gave up after watching the first couple of months. They have really screwed it up and I don’t understand why. They have made so many changes to the story – and not in the way that one might see it as a reinterpretation of the epic (which could be interesting) but rather just tampering for the sake of it. So Arjun is like the ‘hero’ now, with his brothers reduced to playing his side-kicks. He even turns up to join Krishna in rescuing Rukmini! Really very disappointing. The one good thing that has come out of this is an awesome page on Facebook where they discuss all the inaccuracies and then reference back to the original texts – it is really enlightening.