24 June 2015

Wedding Songs - And Beyond

Courtesy: Wikipedia
We were watching a film on YouTube the other day (that’s a story for another post) when YouTube, as is its wont, threw up movies on the sidebar. One of them was Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, which a very close friend of ours described to me (I hadn’t watched it then) as a ‘three-hour-long wedding video’.  I must say that while I thought it saccharine sweet, it resonated with enough people that it was the biggest hit of that period. 

Our wedding, the Kerala ones, are were noted for their simplicity. The brides wore either the offwhite/gold-bordered Kasavu saris/mundus or regulation Kaancheevarams, and the grooms wore the traditional offwhite/gold dhotis and white shirts. Even with the traditional homam (a religious ritual), the whole thing took probably a couple of hours. My  whole wedding, including the feast afterwards, took perhaps two hours, the ceremony itself accounting for only 20 minutes. 

15 June 2015

Angoor (1982)

1982
Directed by: Gulzar
Music: RD Burman
Starring: Sanjeev Kumar, Deven Verma,
Moushumi Chatterjee, Deepti Naval,
Aruna Irani, CS Dubey, PK Jain, Yunuz Parvez,
Utpal Dutt, Shammi, Colonel Kapoor
On my previous review, Lalitha, one of my long-time readers, commented that she might have watched Ore Kadal earlier but right now, she was only in the mood for an 'inane movie which does not require [her] to think or feel...'] That reminded me of Angoor, which is not inane by any stretch of imagination; this laugh-fest, is in fact, a brilliant adaptation of William Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, and is one of those films which can be watched again and again - and again. It is the perfect comfort food to lift you out of the doldrums. 

This review is for you, Lalitha.

10 June 2015

Ore Kadal (2008)

2008
Directed by: Shyamaprasad
Music: Ouseppachan
Lyrics: Gireesh Puthencheri
Starring: Mammootty, Meera Jasmine, Narain, Ramya Krishnan
I bought the DVD of Ore Kadal way back in 2009 or 2010. It stayed on my shelf, unopened, all these years, because I'd this idea that it was a very depressing film. It was obviously not right for a Sunday evening. We kept saying we would watch it on a Friday so we could recover over the weekend, but that weekend never came. Until week before last, when I decided that Sunday or not, we were going to watch it. I still put it in rather hesitantly though. But my reservations were unwarranted. Ore Kadal is a lot of things, but 'depressing', it is not.

Based on Sunil Gangopadhyay's Bengali novel, Hirak Deepti, Shyamaprasad delves once again into man-woman relationships, and their co-relation to social mores as he did in his debut film, Agnisakshi. And once again, the emotional resolution, such as it is, is not a completely happy one. In fact, the ending leaves us with as many questions as the characters ask of themselves and others in the movie.

6 June 2015

Âvâz-e gonjeshk-hâ (2008)

2008
Directed by: Majid Majidi
Music: Hossein Alizadeh
Starring: Mohammed Amir Naji, Hamid Aghazi, 
Hassan Rezae, Kamran Dehgan, 
Maryam Akbari, Neshat Nazari, Shabnam Aklaghi
It's been quite some time since I last blogged. Many things were going on simultaneously and I had neither the time, the inclination, or the energy to blog. That hiatus was broken last week, and I figured that if I had already posted one post, even if only a book recommendation, perhaps it was time I got back to reviewing films again. 

I have watched a few movies during this time, just to unwind. (Watching both Piku and Tanu Weds Manu Returns in the theatre was great, and I cannot recommend the former enough.) Out of them, a few were movies that were decent enough, but didn't make me feel compelled to write about them. But there were a couple that were really, really nice, and worth finding the energy to review. 

3 June 2015

A Recommendation

This is not something I usually do - recommend a book without having read it, but I have read their first book - RD Burman - The Man, The Music (Anirudha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal) - a well-researched, well-written book that deservedly won a National Award, and enjoyed it very much. 

23 March 2015

Ijaazat (1987)

1987
Directed by: Gulzar
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Gulzar
Starring: Rekha, Naseeruddin Shah, Anuradha Patel, 
Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, 
Sulabha Deshpande, Dina Pathak
Over the weekend, while we were driving, my husband played The Kronos Quartet - Songs from RD Burman's Bollywood. One of the songs they picked for this particular album was Mera kuch samaan (Asha re-rendering the song), one of my favourite songs, all the more touching for the matter-of-fact-ness of the singer's heartbreak. That brought to mind the movie it was taken from - a story of marriage and extra-marital relationships, told, unusually enough, from the viewpoint of all three of its protagonists. It is a tale of missed opportunities and regrets over paths not taken, of loving and losing someone, and how ex-lovers sometimes cross paths in ways not imagined - with consequences not quite expected. I'd liked it very much when I first saw it, but that was many many years ago, and I wondered whether it would stand a second watch.

16 March 2015

Khazanchi (1958)

1958
Directed by PN Arora
Music: Madan Mohan
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan
Starring: Balraj Sahni, Rajendra Kumar, 
Shyama, Chitra, SN Bannerjee, 
Manorama, Anwar Hussain, 
Rajan Haskar, Shammi
When I was browsing YouTube while researching Talat Mehmood's duets last week, the site decided that I could do with some entertainment. I wasn't too enthused about this film at first - it had Rajendra Kumar! But it also had Shyama, and I like Shyama. So I put it on - and got caught up completely in following the fortunes of an ordinary man and his family. It's a simple little film, rather sweet, and quite exciting with several twists and turns that I wouldn't have expected. Of course, some of the twists came thanks to the cuts in the film that the makers probably hadn't expected. Still...

12 March 2015

The Legends: Talat Mahmood - Part 2

24.02.1924 - 09.05.1998
It's been awhile since I published my post on Talat Mahmood's solos. And my post of Talat-Lata duets. Somehow, it was hard to find the energy to blog. But on the bright side, things are - literally - warming up, and it is cheery to actually see bright sunlight and know that Spring is perhaps only a month away. (For all I know, Old Man Winter might decide to drop a foot of snow on us next week! Keeping fingers crossed.)

6 March 2015

My Favourites: Talat Mahmood - Lata Mangeshkar Duets

Photo credit: Indianexpress.com
There has been an inordinate delay between my last post on Talat Mahmood, and this one. Partly, it is because the laptop I usually use decided to shut down on me, and an old one I dragged out to use has something wrong with its speakers. Partly, it is because researching Talat's duets with other singers proved to be an inordinately difficult task. Most of his duets that I liked were those that he sang with Lata Mangeshkar. And partly it's because I've been snowed under, both literally and figuratively, and couldn't work up the will or the enthusiasm to write anything. Well, mostly, it's been the last part.

24 February 2015

The Legends: Talat Mahmood

24.02.1924 - 09.05.1998
Long childhood hours were companionably spent with my father, he smoking one cigarette after the other, reading the latest bestseller, or re-reading Wodehouse, while I sprawled with the newest comic or Enid Blyton that he inevitably bought for us while returning from his many trips. And in the background, always, always, were songs from old films, whether it was on the gramophone that my father had picked up in France before I was born, or on the old radio that was always tuned to Vividh Bharati.  

It was on one of those smoke-filled Sunday afternoons that I was first introduced to Talat Mahmood. The song? Ye hawa ye raat ye chandni... I remember asking my father who the singer was. I cannot claim to have fallen in love with his silken voice then, but I filed the name away, alongside Mohammed Rafi's as someone whose voice held magic. My dad's collection of LPs didn't have many Talat Mahmood songs, though. And even the radio programmes of the day played more Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi numbers than they did that of any other male singer. It was only after my father bought home a stereo player and a regular supply of music cassettes began making their way into our house that I became more familiar with Talat Mahmood's body of work. Sangdil, Aaram, Aarzoo, Waris, Mirza Ghalib, Taxi Driver... now when my father came home, it was not only new books that I waited for eagerly; I would hurriedly 'help' him unpack, so I could see the new cassettes he had bought to add to our collection. 

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