24 January 2015

My Fair Lady

1964
Directed by: GeorgeCukor
Music: Frederick Loewe
Lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner
Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison,
Wilfrid Hyde-White, Stanley Holloway,
 Gladys Cooper, Jeremy Brett, 
Christopher Hewett
I watched this film in Lido (or was it Rex?) in Bangalore, on the eve of my Maths board exams. My mother was appalled. My father, who had bought the tickets for the re-run of this film, was of the opinion that if I hadn't learnt any Maths during the year, I certainly wasn't going to make up for it in the few hours before the examination. Besides, the film wasn't going to be playing a week later. We watched the film, my father and I. (And I scored 97% in my Boards, thereby taking away from my mother the pleasure of saying 'I told you so'.)

My Fair Lady is one of those films that are satisfyingly complete. When Hollywood does a musical well, they do it very well indeed. Of course, it helps that the source material is George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, and that it was adapted into a very successful Broadway nearly eight years earlier. With Rex Harrison reprising his role from stage, and Audrey Hepburn stepping in for Julie Andrews, this was a film which had excellent dialogue (adapted from the original by Alan Lerner), wonderful songs, and leads who could, and did, spar wittily and intelligently, adding their own sparkle to Shaw's/Lerner's pithy dialogues.

21 January 2015

The Lady of the Lift

Photo credit: homelift.com
We spent most of our time in India on this trip, in Bombay. Once the wedding and its associated madness was over, S and I found ourselves busy with a lot of other stuff that needed to be taken care of - housing society woes, bank issues, insurance policies... It meant that we had to move from Thane to the western suburbs (praise be to whichever higher power is up there!) where we had originally lived. 

Even though we owned a flat there, it was given out on rent. And so, we found ourselves having to rent a flat ourselves. Talk about life's ironies. Now, taking young A with us everywhere we went meant that we would be slowed down, and unable to finish at least 75% of the tasks we had set ourselves. 

It was then that our niece came to our rescue. She lives in Bandra, and even before we had moved back into the suburbs, called to find out when she could come and kidnap young A. Talk about blessings! After I made the usual noises about not wanting to disturb her, and her avowals that she wouldn't be disturbed and, on the contrary, looked forward to having him spend the days with her, we decided that he would be dropped off at her house in the mornings before we began our frantic running around, and pick him up in the evening after we were done.  Of course, I enquired about whether it was okay with her every single day before we dropped him off. (I guess I couldn't fathom someone who was so eager for young A's company that she would willingly offer to keep him there - day after day.

In any case, that is the background. 

15 January 2015

From A Movie Lover's Diary

Long time blog readers know I'm passionate about films - I love watching them, talking about them, discussing them, and it doesn't matter if it is the latest commercial potboiler or a small, independent movie, or European arthouse, or well, anything else for that matter. I know what I like and what I don't, even if I cannot always tell you the whys of the matter.

I have often thought it would be wonderful if someone paid me to watch films and write about them. But I'm not a 'reviewer' or a critic. I only write what I like, about the films that I like, and mostly, my posts are an exercise in introducing (or re-introducing) those films, actors, directors, to my readers who may or may not have watched them. 

12 January 2015

Daag

1973
Directed by: Yash Chopra
Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Starring: Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore, Raakhee
Prem Chopra, Madan Puri, Achala Sachdev, Manmohan Krishna
Iftekhar, Master Raju, Baby Pinky
I first watched Daag when they showed it on Doordarshan. I've watched it a couple of times since then, and most recently, watched it before my visit to India. At that time, I took a few screencaps and forgot about it. Coming back and having reviewed Parinayam, I felt the need to write up a film that is all fluff. Not serious, not depressing, just entertaining. Daag fit the bill. (If I had the time to watch it again, I probably would have, but since I didn't, I have to rely on my memory and the few notes I had jotted down while watching it to reconstruct the story.)

6 January 2015

Parinayam

1994
Directed by: Hariharan
Story, screenplay: MT Vasudevan Nair
Music: Ravi
Johnson (Background score)
Lyrics: Yusufali Kecheri
Starring: Mohini, Vineet, Manoj K Jayan, Thilakan, 
Nedumudi Venu, Jagannatha Varma, Jagathy Sreekumar, 
Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Sukumari, Shanthi Krishna
I always come back from India feeling like I want a vacation to recover from my vacation there. Don't get me wrong. I love being in India. I wander around happily, walking everywhere I can, merging with the mass of humanity that ebb and swirl on the roads of Bombay, stopping only to grab a tender coconut or sugarcane juice or mosambi juice to quench my thirst and wash the dust from my throat. I crib about the heat and the dust along with the other locals, have multiple baths, drink gallons of water, and continue to walk up and down the crowded roads, inhaling copious amounts of exhaust and coming back home with any exposed skin looking a few shades darker than when I started out.

But much of the two months I spent in India this time was spent existing on fumes. Helping my sister with wedding preparations from early morning to late at night, grabbing food when and where we were able to, or going without because we were too harried to slow down, coming home too late and too exhausted  to actually eat, grabbing a quick shower and sitting down to work until the early hours of the morning... rinse, repeat. I barely had time to breathe.

Once the wedding was over and done with, and we had packed my nephew and my new niece-by-marriage off on their honeymoon, my husband and I continued our usual practice when we are in India. Run around madly like chickens with their heads cut off to get various paperwork made out, registered, copied... Anyone who has had to deal with government agencies in India will sympathise with us.

Writing posts for my blog was beyond my capabilities at the time. I really was too tired to think. But I had taken a couple of DVDs with me in the optimistic hope that I would actually get to watch them and write them up, at least once a week. Talk about delusional! I managed to watch one! And that, definitely, was not the film that I should have watched. (I should have stuck to watching re-runs of Michael Madana Kama Rajan.) 

3 January 2015

Happy New Year - Belatedly

Image Courtesy: Clipart
For my first post this year (and in a long time), I wondered what to write about. Do I review a film? Not in the mood. Ditto for one of my themed lists. My husband, as jetlagged as I am, is not in the mood to write one of his ditties for me either.

25 November 2014

Michael, Madana, Kama, Rajan

1990
Directed by: Singeetham Srinivasa Rao
Music: Ilaiyaraja
Starring: Kamal Hassan, Khushboo, Urvashi, Roopini, 
 Delhi Ganesh, Jayabharati, Manorama, Nagesh, 
Nasser, Praveen Kumar,  Santhana Bharati
I'm neck deep in wedding preparations and travel and work and am living on fumes, grabbing a scarce few hours sleep every night: there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to do all that needs to be done. (One good news amidst all this hectic activity and stress is that my dad has been cleared for travel, and will be attending my nephew's wedding!) My blog has been the first victim of the circumstances. I barely have enough time to breathe, let alone watch a film and write about it. The past few months have also been hectic, and I have resorted to using up my bank of drafts and even exhorted my husband to write a review for me. (Which he very supportively did.) But my bank of drafts is not inexhaustible and my husband is busy with work and home and looking after Son no: 2, and since I cannot, in good conscience, ask him to bail me out again, I had to find a review to revive my moribund blog. 

5 November 2014

My Favourites: Songs of First Love

Original illustration by: E.H. Shephard
Some time earlier, I wrote a post about yearning for someone to love, for someone who returns our love, someone who becomes special in ways that we cannot articulate, someone who 'belongs' to us as we belong to them. This post is a follow-up to that one: What happens when you find that special someone? When Cupid's arrows strike your heart, when one smile, one glance is enough to make your heart beat faster? How does it feel like to be in love? For that very first time?

30 October 2014

Krylya

Wings
1966
Director: Larisa Shepitko
Starring: Marya Bulgakova, Zhanna Bolotova,
Pantelemion Krymov, Leonid Dyachkov,Vladimir Gorelov,
Yury Medvedev, Nikolay Grabbe, Zhanna Alexandrova
Last month has been incredibly stressful for me, and writing for the blog has been the last thing on my mind. That I post at all is thanks to the drafts that I bank for just such occasions as these; and just so that my blog doesn't just shrivel up and die. So, when my husband offered to write up a film for me (he knew I wouldn't), I jumped at the offer. So, for those who are used to my husband lamenting on my blog, and writing dotty little ditties everywhere... over to Sadanand Warrier.

25 October 2014

Mozhi

2007
Directed by: Radhamohan
Music: Vidyasagar
Lyrics: Vairamuthu
Starring: Jyothika, Prithviraj, Prakash Raj, 
Swarnamalya, Brahmanandam
It is very rarely that one comes across a film within the trappings of commercial cinema that tells a simple story in a simple manner. It is particularly refreshing to find it in Tamil cinema which, like its Telugu counterpart and much of Hindi cinema in general (and even certain films by certain Malayalam 'superstars'), likes its heroes to be supermen, its settings to be larger than life, its heroines in roles more miniscule than their outfits. As actor, Prakash Raj has amply proven that he can slip into characters' skin with ease. As producer, he has made films where story is king, and where the characters that people the narratives are simple, ordinary folk, with simple, ordinary feelings and emotions. 
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