Dilip Kumar..Sanjay Gandhi… RD Burman conducting the Sholay soundtrack live..

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16 Responses to “Dilip Kumar..Sanjay Gandhi… RD Burman conducting the Sholay soundtrack live..”

  1. saw this few days back, good stuff.

    Nothing against baahubali but i’ll take sholay, qurbaani, suhaag and many others anyday over it.

    Bollywood has completely degraded now. In every department imaginable, hopefully there’s a wake up call.

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    • actually I would too, and I say this as someone who loved the first part (haven’t seen the second one yet). And the best analogy here might be Dharam Veer or that sort of film. Because ultimately the world of that older masala cinema also depended on a certain kind of politics which is quite different from the kind exhibited in Baahubali. I’ll say something more detailed about this at some other point. Similarly and even at a purely narrative level masala cinema of that period was different. Now of course Baahubali is masala. But for me masala has never just been about its formal features (action, romance, comedy etc) but also about how these elements are integrated and the kind of politics that is thereby implicated. So while this is still masala it to my mind lacks the richness of the best older examples. And it ultimately (perhaps necessarily coming at this late date) is also much more self-conscious. By all of this I certainly don’t mean to suggest that an older masala should always be around with no changes. Obviously things change with time. But the manifestation of masala in the present from North to South is either usually mediocre or serves questionable political ends. One cannot argue against the extraordinary achievement that Baahubali is but it is still more about overwhelming scale and grandeur and certainly a very compelling narrative married to a certain fantasy of ancient Indian grandeur (and a certain ‘Hinduness’ as defined in contemporary India) which puts it in sync with the present. Put differently still the older masala tradition for me is much closer to the syncretic Indian past than present day nationalistic and exclusionary notions are. Now Rajamouli’s politics cannot be confused with Modi’s by any means and there is enough masala ‘high and low’ to his films. But inadvertently at the very least his vision is one that feeds into those same tropes. LOL, I thought I wouldn’t say everything here!

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      • Interesting observations.

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      • I extended this comment on Bachchan’s blog…

        [Fantastic shots today, specially the first one. On watching the IPL you must have been one of the few people. I thought everyone else was watching Baahubali? Ha! I myself won’t get the chance to watch it for another few days. Exceptional and historic as the Baahubali box office is it’s yet another shameful indication for Bollywood of how the latter industry (and even if it’s been better in recent years with all these masala ventures) under-utilizes its own market. I won’t even get to the kind of achievement Rajamouli has brought about here because candidly that’s beyond the pay grade of just about every Bombay filmmaker today, largely because they are simply not steeped in the traditions the way they ought to be.

        Never let it be said however that I did not make a political point so I will introduce this one naysaying note on Baahubali, even as I adored the first part and fully expect to love the conclusion as well. Baahubali is absolutely grand as a spectacle, absolutely compelling as a narrative and yet for me and despite the incredible achievement it is doesn’t quite match the richest examples of 70s masala. And the best analogy here might be Dharam Veer or that sort of film. Because ultimately the world of that older masala cinema also depended on a certain kind of politics which is quite different from the kind exhibited in Baahubali. Similarly and even at a purely narrative level masala cinema of that period was different. Now of course Baahubali is masala. But for me masala has never just been about its formal features (action, romance, comedy etc) but also about how these elements are integrated and the kind of politics that is thereby implicated. So while this is still masala it to my mind lacks the richness of the best older examples. And it ultimately (perhaps necessarily coming at this late date) is also much more self-conscious. By all of this I certainly don’t mean to suggest that an older masala should always be around with no changes. Obviously things change with time. But the manifestation of masala in the present from North to South is either usually mediocre or serves questionable political ends. One cannot argue against Baahubali in most ways but it is still more about overwhelming scale and grandeur and definitely a very compelling narrative married to a certain fantasy of ancient Indian grandeur (and a certain ‘Hinduness’ as defined in contemporary India) which puts it in sync with the present. Put differently still the older masala tradition for me is much closer to the syncretic Indian past than present day nationalistic and exclusionary notions are. Now Rajamouli’s politics cannot be confused with the current PM’s by any means and there is enough masala ‘high and low’ to his films. But inadvertently at the very least his vision is one that feeds into those same tropes. The politics as I see it is not just a byproduct of a narrative but controls all the formal choices of the very same narrative. And so in a Desai film the picaresque mode becomes a necessary one. It introduces narrative discontinuities as well as those of mood. Because it has to remain true to several genres and also several kinds of political cross-currents. It is a filmic space or frame in which all kinds of ‘national’ tensions are played out, among different identities, classes etc. And so the reason there cannot be just one controlling narrative is that you can only do this if you are staying true to one genre or identity. Hence in Dharam Veer you have an epic staging and grand conflicts but then comedic sequences and the like that suddenly halt that larger momentum. It’s a bit like Shakespeare. But again it’s necessary. To have Jagdeep’s moment mean something in Sholay you must suddenly pause the very dramatic action that has otherwise been taking place. Or in the jail sequences the film suddenly takes a vacation from its larger plot for 30 min or more. In doing so it can truly represent the world of Jai and Veeru. The whole point is that these two lowlifes have more or less become part of a plan which has these epic overtures. Similarly in the scenes where the lamps are lit these are beautifully intimate chamber moments where once more the film has to take a break from the larger spectacle of trains and horses and grand granitic natural features and so forth. Now in Baahubali on the other hand you have some of these features but they’re all along the same tonal registers. everything is grand, everything is pitched at a certain level, all of it works wonderfully in the film but it lacks that greater ‘variety’ of the best masala. Dharam Veer is a world as is Baahubali, it is just the latter is a more restricted one. Not everyone can gain admission! And this is where I think that masala cinema was in its own way the truest reading of the Mahabharata. Not because masala was just a mythological genre (it was never this though it always carried resonances of the same) but that the Mahabharata already carries that mix of the high and low, is already open to all kinds of readings, people usually focus on just a couple of the central storylines but there’s a whole universe here. Another way of then framing (pun intended!) all of this is to suggest that the older masala is a much more open-ended world whereas that of Baahubali’s is a closed ecosystem. Finally and for all its enormous strengths there are no surprises in Baahubali, no real possibilities of alternative interpretations. There’s a kind of obviousness to it. Of course the older masala also involved clear moral choices but there was considerable subversion along the way.

        By saying all of this I don’t mean to be unkind to Baahubali. At the same time I shall always keep the 70s flag flying high! Not programmatically of course, certainly not insincerely but as a way of celebrating a superior mode and staying loyal to it in some sense.]

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        • It is good to see your long comments once more. I understand why you prefer Desai like masala films.

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        • Sir Bharat itna kamzor nahee kee ek Shiv – Ganesha- Krishna loaded pichchar sey hil jaaye, just as it does not matter if people don’t stand up for the national Anthem !!!
          ..and this long essay WITHOUT watching the movie ..kya sir !!!

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          • based it on the first part.. it’s still the same story! The politics of AAA does not change in the second half! On your initial point that cannot apply to me since I love that masala tradition where every single film had at least one obligatory mandir scene. I’ve forever missed even in this element in contemporary films. It’s not about the ‘god’ but the ‘house’ (or frame) in which he (or she) is placed!

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          • If the first part bothered you so much ( and took 2 years to express it ), I shudder what the second part will do to you .LOL !!
            Aside- there is a very clever and nice song for Krishna but actually for Prabha in true Masala style..I am sure you will like that . (For some odd reason , It reminded me of Jaya Bachchan’s act in the bhook hadtaal scene in the movie Shor )
            In recent times the best Mandir- Masjid scenes have to be from Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Specially Salman’s anger at the Travel Agent with Hanuman shlokas in the background !!!

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          • I said something similar about the first part even then. For the very same reason I have deep suspicions about Zhang Yimou’s later films (hero, House of Flying daggers etc or the recent one with Matt Damon, I forget the title). They’re often aesthetically beautiful but serve similar nationalist fantasies. Baahubali though was incredibly ‘immersive’ (no better word for it) as a film experience. I don’t remember feeling quite so thrilled about a movie experience in just about forever. One can love things but still critique them one way or the other. For example I might love Deewar and Trishul and Kaala Pathar and still say that for all their subversion they have somewhat conformist ends. They are extremely rich films, the endings might be understandable in a box office sense but nonetheless they betray what has preceded the endings in certain ways. So again I am quite happy to critique all kinds of films. It’s not only those where I have questions about the politics.

            On the Prabhas point yes it always seemed like the son was Krishna to the father’s Ram. At least in some respects.

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          • Here is the Krishna song –

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          • The song that I should have been reminded of is this –

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  2. Good to see younger DK here. And Sanjay Gandhi looked so vulnerable though he took all the decisions during that period.

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  3. Secular Bahubali = Bahu Ali!!

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