Sunday, 18 December 2011

But A Short Time to Live

So I saw Majboor.

In the 70s you would get compilations of stories, I think by Readers Digest, which often had stories of innocent folk in peril (think The Desperate Hours). These apparently provided fertile ground for Hindi cinema of the time for Majboor is one such film where Amitabh Bachchan is at work plucking petals - I am innocent, I am guilty, I am innocent…..And what’s the verdict?! Here goes!

Let’s play look for a trope! For the beginning of this film is full of them.

The man himself is Mr Ravi Khanna, the only name allowed for heroes in the 70s, a travel agent in pomaded hair, Tinopal white shirts and flared pants. He mans a desk with a colleague and is Mr Efficient. Ah innocent times when people booked on Air India and flights went to Perth!

Mr Ravi Khanna  has a dysfunctional family – I kid, I kid – they are fucking super loving OK! His mother is a widow in white with no name apart from Maa and played by Sulochana. His sister is a girl in a wheelchair called Renu played by Farida Jalal. His kid brother is played by Master Alankar and you know in your bones that he will have a song which he will sing in the voice of an aged female singer because she is so fucking popular that she sings for everyone except the hero. And they all love each other massively and play sweet games and rib each other and the mother always has a sweet, saintly expression and if ever anyone is sad - especially the girl in a wheelchair who can always be teased and who will ALWAYS FORGET THAT SHE CANNOT WALK and will then be reminded that she can’t walk and will then weep beautifully and for a long time - then everyone will sing a song and be happy and complete domestic bliss shall reign. I am thinking hard about this, Family why do we not have a FAMILY SONG?! How can we ever be happy without it!

Mr Ravi Khanna also has a girlfriend called Neela (Parveen Babi) who is DEEPLY ANNOYED with her man because he is always late or standing her up or forgetful or something. But this was way before He’s Just Not That Into You and Totally Into His Family so the silly girl is all happy after some random folk have sung a song (this movie is SO REAL they ACTUALLY got paid to sing-ex boyfriends who never realised this can we time travel for the sadak chaap serenade!). Then again, Neela has it right, a girl must never pass up petting time (that’s what they did in the 70s, pet, you know like I am petting a dog right now and he is a canine). Also Neela girl, I don’t care if it’s the 70s but ginormous bright yellow flowers are NOT earrings!

Now we have An Inspector Calls. Fuck me, why am I so surprised that it is Mr. Iftekhar! Hey man, haven’t seen you in ages - well at least not from the time when I was 13 and my mother dragged me to Hindi movies - looking good, nice voice, if I was 22 and an obsessive, I would totally have you up there in a list of supporting actors who were strangely hot and ignored by idiot women mooning over Mr Rajesh Khanna. His sidekick is perennial policeman, Mr Jagdish Raj. Anyway, back to bijness. Mr Inspector is back because a man who went missing a few months before is now DEAD IN A DITCH. Ravi has been questioned before as he was the last person who saw him alive. Mr Surendra Sinha (Rehman aka Fat Flashman, my dear girl I am averting my eyes, all that excellent evil depravity has gone amiss, I am shattered!) had dropped by to collect his tickets and as it was bucketing outside, offered Ravi a lift. Ravi got off to ahem pick up MEDICINES FOR DEAR MOTHER and then went home but not before noticing that Mr Sinha has a massive rock on his fingers. Turns out some time after that Mr Sinha went missing, a ransom note was sent to his brother but he stayed missing and is now a bloated corpse.

Ravi, sensible man, goes to meet his lawyer. And on the way is overcome by the Mother of All Headaches. The audience is thinking BRAIN TUMOUR but Ravi is thinking that was one mother fucking migraine and let me go back to being loving son and marginally less loving boyfriend.

Another migraine later Ravi, sensible man, is also meeting his doctor. A few X Rays later, the doctor is shaking his head. We called it! The doctor is Science thou art WONDERFUL! Human Body, can I keep studying you! Now let’s see shall I do a world first operation and leave this man an invalid or an idiot or should I just let him DIE! For Ravi, yeh tumour ek khatarnak bomb hai! Faced with this dispassionate analysis, Ravi naturally chooses his own annihilation and hey man sensible of you for it’s better to cease to exist than wear orange safari suits! BUT WHAT OF MAA, BEHEN AND BHAI who are all dependent on him?! Their life now looks like a veritable vale of tears.

Ravi goes to Neela’s house and sings a song on our fucked up lives where NOTHING GOES TO PLAN and we must all submit to our fates. Inexplicably his audience is looking happy instead of thinking that’s it, sod all, I shall drain all these bottles of whisky especially since it’s on the house and pass out and never wake up.

Random conversation in office only so dim audience can know that any one who catches Mr Surendra Khanna’s khooni shall get Rs 5 Lakh from his loving brother Narendra Sinha (Satyen Kappu-good or bad, what would 70s experts think?!). Then Ravi has a PLAN. He shall plead guilty to the crime of killing Mr Surendra Sinha and collect the money so MAA, BEHEN AND BHAI can live happily ever after. KYA IDEA HAI, Sirji! So an elaborate plan later which includes setting up a kidnapping scene in some ruins, Ravi is all I kidnapped but did not murder Mr Surendra Sinha and the baby brother is also in the court because you totally want a young lad to sit through a murder trial and soon Neela’s father (Sapru) who is the clerk, NO THE JUDGE! says Dafa 302, Sazaye-E-Maut and its time for a bitter laugh and Ravi is sent to the clinker and Rs 5 Lakh is with his lawyer .

Maa goes to plead with Mr Narendra Sinha to lessen Sazaye-E-Maut but he is like Mataji, its tit for tat in these parts! So of course baby bro is now THE MAN OF THE HOUSE and singing in an old female voice, quelle surprise!

In jail, Ravi has another head fucking, forehead popping migraine which goes on for a very long time so audience can think THAT is ACTING! He’s sent off to his old doctor who inexplicably operates on him after previous dire warnings. The operation is a success and Ravi is completely cured (what was that, a tumour, a massive boil, a defused bomb, a badly read X-ray?!) the Doctor is ha ha I am a genius, I will be famous, while poor Ravi wakes up thinking that’s a fine pickle, I will be swinging and quite DEAD soon in spite of never having been more alive.

Ravi is in the hospital under police guard and he confesses all to Neela and the lawyer. Now there is nothing left but for Ravi to break free and find the real killer. Which he does by way of a hospital trolley, a contraption purposely designed for filmic escapes. Soon Neela and he are in Khandala where Ravi is totally blending in with the 70s crowd in a tomato red suit. And he meets up with a Mr Mahipat Rai (Madan Puri) who he recognises as the husband of a rich woman. Uh huh, he is here with a comely mistress though! And also has Mr Surendra Sinha’s massive rock on his fat fingers! Ravi thinks easy peasy I have already found the killer but that ring is from a Mr Prakash (MacMohan, man the 70s films were DOMINATED by the exact same lot who possibly went from set to set saying the same thing all day long).

Doctor, doctor, that operation of yours? Its reconfigured Mr Khanna’s brain and turned our man into a quick with fists sort! Ravi is like a Red Bull in Prakash’s contraband oops antiques shop and all I shall wring your neck, you murdering bastard and Prakash is Boss, just leave for I got this ring from Michael (Pran).

Michael. Totally boozing. Totally petty crim. Totally Catholic. And totally time for Mumbai Pichar Goan Gaana jisme na to log na to accent is Goan. Soon Michael who arrived in Mumbai by way of the Punjab and could never shake the accent is fighting fighting with Ravi Khanna and then they stop and Ravi is like Boss this is getting tedious and you have to be the murderer and Michael is my only crime is being A Cool Cat in a Vomit Yellow Skivvy and besides my gun always has blanks. But I know who the murderer is for I am a carjacker and the day Mr Sinha gave you a lift I stopped a car and the fucking moron driving it had no cash and handed over this ring from an asleep soul in the back seat. So of course the fucking moron is the murderer and the sleeping soul was dead Mr Sinha!

So now Michael can lay his hands on the 5 Lakh. Perhaps he can snitch on Ravi and send him back to prison as Prakash suggests? No way, he is Catholic! He is a drinking, thieving noble soul!

Michael goes to meet Mr Narendra Sinha to discuss the matter of the Rs 5 lakhs reward. And of course the man was driving the car on that fateful rainy night. Fuck me, why did I not see that coming! Turns out Narendra Sinha is not even a proper brother but just a stray cat paloed and posoed by Senior Sinha. And being a stray cat he can’t keep his paws off the Senior’s missus. And the missus is also eagerly pawing back leading to Narendra being thrown out by his brother. So that’s it, it is decided by the two that the Senior Sinha MUST GO. Which is why he is dead in a ditch. Michael and Narendra Sinha then arrive at a deal, they will meet at a ruined cottage on a dirt track somewhere far away and Michael shall get 7.5 lakh for delivering Ravi. Why does no one meet at coffee shops or chai dukans?

Michael meanwhile pays a visit to the Khanna household which is super sad what with a disappeared brother and no regular pay checks and pledges on the wheelchair sister’s head that he, Ravi’s long lost friend, shall return him to them. No one looks remotely surprised, really random people walk into my house and promise me all kinds of things too and I always believe them!

That beloved finale of 70s pictures, THE CLIMAX is upon us! Like the stereotypical female orgasm, 9 times out of 10, you will recline on your chair and think of going home and ending this super long misery of moves, counter moves, punches, wild throws, chases, cars, bullets, token heroine participation and the final police whistle which is like a sudden jolt of excitement and you are finally moaning and crying because you will soon see The End. Luckily you don’t have to fake interest – unless you are on a first date and the boy you are with is mad keen on Amitabh Bachchan doing a Fight Scene, then again you wouldn't date such a boy. But this Movie is all this here is LIKE HOLLYWOOD and we shall have tense long silent standoffs! So Michael gets shot but uses his empty gun to keep Narendra Sinha at bay while Ravi (who is STILL in that red suit like some elongated Santa Claus sans beard) is wildly careering over the countryside to fetch a doctor because no one had the excellent idea of meeting at a chai dukan. Hours later the doctor arrives, Michael dies, Narendra Sinha and Ravi fight and the police arrive and you have forgotten about orgasms of any sort and it’s all over and the curtain closes on the happy family (No Neela in it, yup totally not that into her). And just when you are thinking it’s the End it says “The Beginning”. And I say no thank you movie, that was a pleasant enough cup but I am not fucking drinking it again!

For the title, I wanted to play on a Chase title but eventually retained the original title. And why when a man could have titled himself Count Rene Brabazon Raymond did he stick to the commonplace JHC!

This movie has three things I am lukewarm towards – the 70s, thrillers and Mr Bachchan. Despite the tropes and the predictability of it all, it is a fairly decent watch that is played in a natural fashion and I have a vague recollection of most people liking this film, if only because it was possibly better than most films of the time. Mr Bachchan is on pretty good form and everyone else does what is expected of them without being too irritating.

PostScript: The movie is based on an American movie Zigzag, you can see how the plots differ especially in the latter’s downbeat ending, at this link.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Bandit's Bride-A Dravidian Romance

So I saw Manthiri Kumari.

In this Mu Karunanidhi takes an old Tamil Buddhist tale (Kundalakesi) and reinvents it by adding early DMK propaganda and theatrical elements. And Ellis R Dungan keeps a steady hand on the directing and editing so that for a near three hours you go along for the ride. Lovely Amudhavalli (the eponymous Minister’s Daughter), how did you fare? Let’s tarry no further!

A convoy of Mullai Nadu merchants is on its way, laden with goods, when it is set upon by bandits who best them fairly quickly and make off with the spoils. Included in this is a pretty lass set upon immediately by the lascivious bandit chief (what flashing eyes you have, you WOLF!). But she has a little sword on her and is all Thus I Die Cruel Man which leaves the bandit chief very cross indeed for he must have his daily FEMALE FLESH!

As it appears must the king and his coterie. For back in the palace, a bevy of girls is giving new meaning to the lotus position. And the King, his Rajaguru (Nambiar) and his Minister are quite enjoying this pre TV entertainment of the Rich and Powerful. Just as the lotus closes, the remnants of the convoy hobble in and inform the King that the bandits have killed, raped and looted their group. The Rajaguru is huffy and dismissive, the King is a cretin and is hey you folks are way too careless but before they all disperse the Minister intervenes and the Good General Veeramohan (MG Ramachandran) has been entrusted with the task of catching the bandits.

Veeramohan addresses his troops who appear to be at ballet with swords practice. They are now completely motivated to give a performance. Or catch bandits. Whatever.

The King’s daughter Jeevarekha (G Sakunthala) meanwhile has little else to do but sing (and I spy Kumari Kamala dancing). And watching on is the bandit chief who is in town and smacking his lips and thinking I am a Big Bad WOLF and I shall fix my eyes on this thidippu morsel, hypnotise it and ravish it. NOW! But even bandit chiefs have to resort to more civilised means so he sits down to write Jeevarekha a LOVE LETTER. No use! For Jeevarekha is right now catching up with Veeramohan for the young folk are having a TOP SECRET LOVE AFFAIR. Why is the fish instrument so much more fascinating than Mohan the Makku? Boy, lift your game!

Enter Amudhavalli (Madhuri Devi) the Manthiri Kumari aka Minister’s Daughter. She and the princess are besties and spend time lolling around in their bedchambers. And this one time the bandit chief’s flunkey delivers the love letter by throwing it into the Princess’ bedchamber. It is picked up by Amudhavalli who is all MUST MEET MAN who writes love letters.

The bandit chief goes to meet Dad aka EVIL BRAHMIN PRECEPTOR aka the Rajaguru. Turns out he is Parthiban (S.A. Natarajan) who chucked a massive tantrum that has lasted several years because he was not made the General instead of Veeramohan. The banditry is to make Veeramohan seem inept though truth be told banditry runs in Parthiban’s blood. It’s what happens if the Dad is a priest, folks! Dad is all my darling darling son the General has been asked to catch you, I fear for you, leave these bad ways but Parthiban is all sardonic, cynical and cruel rapier wit. Sigh, Bad Boys!

Comic Interlude. The first one involves a bandit, a girl, a boy and a stern mother. And a bed. I am totally joining the lowly sorts up front and booing. And whistle podu for girl!

Amudhavalli rushes off to meet Parthiban who is initially annoyed at Jeeva’s non arrival but also thinking FUCK, I have good luck with the ladies and this Amudhavalli here is one Extra Juicy Jangiri! Oh Parthiban your voice is like a raucous, shrill bird its notes shattering in a million pieces, each winging its way to Amudhavalli so that she is tingling all over and thinking lady parts BEHAVE for I have no knickers! And Parthiban is thinking this is one lovely lady with a pretty turn of phrase and boom they are in love and boating in a very fancy floater. But no love can make Parthiban abandon banditry and FEMALE FLESH.

Veeramohan now takes matters into his hands and is doing GOOD DEEDS. His army has set out to capture the bandits. Ballet discarded for fancy dress. Everyone is now dressed as a MERCHANT! In his lair Parthiban is informed of the approaching convoy and he and his gang falls down on them you know like WOLVES on the fold only to be bested by the Army in disguise. Yippee, Parthiban and Mohan Sword Fight where everything moves FAST FAST FAST. Move aside Rajnikanth you clod, you are getting in the way! Veeramohan, good soul, wins and de-masks Parthiban and is all Fuck Mate hiding in a cave, albeit luxurious, is perhaps not the best form of revenge!

Parthiban is brought before the king – Oi I want his one-shouldered mini! He totally wants to say things like Veeramohan I want to dip your balls in nalla yennai and fry them and grind them in the fancy Sumeet mixer from my last haul into chutney which I shall smear on my idli and that way they will never come near Jeeva but this being a DECENT FAMILY MOVIE, he SNARLS and makes a speech and calls Mohan a PALACE DOG. The Rajaguru is all upset and trying to browbeat the king into releasing Parthiban. The King is a cretin and vacillator and is fuck I can’t decide. The Minister believes Veeramohan however and soon Parthiban is sent off to prison. His Dad rushes along and tries to coax Parthiban to leave banditry but he is all Bwahahaha you Old Fool, It is not a JOB it is an ART and I it’s SUPREME PRACTITIONER! Hey there Parthiban don’t make so many clever speeches, don’t flash your eyes you WOLF, we so do not want to join the Bad Boy Seduction that Amudhavalli is engaged in! And now Amudhavalli is here and all I can’t believe you are a bandit and Parthiban is suck it up lady. And Amudhavalli is all if I release you will you promise to give up banditry? And Parthiban is all first you are a Very Boring Savithri and second Bwahahaha Stupid Woman Banditry is an Art and I it’s SUPREME PRACTITIONER. And I am happy to SWING for it!

Now that Parthiban will swing, the Rajaguru is raining curses and abuses on all and screaming that the kingdom will be DESTROYED!

Comic Interlude. This one involves a girl dressed as a boy, a boy and a stern mother being fooled. And a bed. I am totally joining the lowly sorts up front and booing.

Amudhavalli believes in the power of her love. That and she likes a WOLF in her bed. Since everyone is totally like Parashakti has the answer to EVERYTHING she hides behind a statue of the goddess and is soon informing her Dad in her Special Goddess Voice that Parthiban is innocent and Veeramohan is guilty. Uh huh lady way to betray your bestie! The General is all Fuck Statues DON’T TALK but the king and the minister are all of course they do, the GODDESS HAS SPOKEN! So Parthiban doesn’t swing and becomes the General and Veeramohan is banished from Mullai Nadu. Hey good thing the other states have no illegals policy! At this Jeevarekha also runs away and joins Mohan.

Now Amudhavalli and Parthiban are married. And there is a song about the deep deep love of Amudhavalli and Parthibhan. And Parthiban is thinking ow ow a trio of tasty tasty mitaai and I can’t touch them! Lovely as Amudha is, this is AGONY!

His son saved, the Rajaguru is now plotting to kill the King and make Parthiban the King. Like Iznogoud.

Comic Interlude. In Parthiban’s cave. Where a layabout anoints himself chief and everyone else is a minister. A STATEMENT ON DEMOCRACY! Lots of Whistle Podu!

Parthiban inspite of his promises is soon tiring of his insatiable bride and takes to nocturnal disappearances for banditry with the old gang. And Parthiban is still thinking of ravishing Jeeva so he plans to abduct Jeeva. Parthiban you are a charming wolf and you have a charming turn of phrase:

Bandit Flunkey: Princess Jeevarekha is the embodiment of TRUE LOVE.


We feel for poor deluded Amudhavalli! Girl, no matter how charming the wolf, we are with you!

Comic Interlude. Stern Mother is a Pain. Boy and Girl have now run away. Meh. Yawn. Cigarette Break.

Amudhavalli is deluded but also SMART. She follows Parthiban one night in disguise, just the day Parthiban has thidippu morsel Jeeva delivered to his lair. But here is Amudhavalli to the rescue, here is her rousing sword fight with Parthiban till he de-masks her and goes Tchah, Nee Ya! And is all the sun may forget to set but  this woman is incapable of leaving me ALONE for my NEFARIOUS DEEDS-MARRIAGE SUCKS! And all Fuck I am over you now Amudha please go and inform everyone I am a bandit!

Amudhavalli takes Jeeva back to her house to hide and is all repentant at betraying the bestie for Rapey Parthiban. It’s OK, Amudhavalli, you are simply the first of the BadBoyPhiles, in fact you are their FUCKING PATRON SAINT!

Meanwhile Boy, Girl and Veeramohan meet up and set a trap for the bandit flunkey who discloses the whereabouts of Jeeva. So they all are sneak back into Mullai Nadu in disguise.

Parthiban and the Rajaguru are all impatient now and worried about being caught. So Parthiban decides to kill Amudhavalli and the Rajaguru the King. Parthiban returns to the marital bedchamber and is all cooing and sweet and all Perhaps the scorching blaze of my anger has given way to Cool Moony LOVE and Amudhavalli is thinking Damn, Damn man your words make me hot and wet and I have quite forgotten that you are Rapey Parthiban. So they reconcile and plan a PICNIC!

Comic Interlude. Stern Mother. Boy. Girl. Veeramohan in disguise. Boy and Girl Marry. WHISTLE PODU!

Shock Horror! Amudhavalli has set off for the picnic! And the rascal badawa (but still quite the charming WOLF, eh!) Parthiban is going to frolic with her on a cliff top – all the better to fling Amudhavalli to her death. Parthiban singing a song - Amudhavalli that is NOT a love song, he is sending you off to your ETERNAL REST! On the cliff top Parthiban reveals his plan as well as the plot to kill the King and Amudhavalli is all Goddamn I have been so very very foolish and ladies here are my last words NEVER NEVER trust your lady parts! Then Amudhavalli is all can I have a last wish and Parthiban is all yeah whatever and Amudhavalli is can I circle you thrice and Parthiban is Yawn OK I know I am GOD. And right at the third turn she pushes Parthiban to his DEATH! Oi Amudhavalli you are one kickass lady, WE DIE WE DIE!

Elsewhere Veeramohan is his usual idiot makku self and manages to insert himself into the attempted assassination of the King by the Rajaguru with the result that he is soon in chains for attempted murder.

But here is Amudhavalli to the rescue! She returns to the palace to announce the plot to kill the King and pronounces Veeramohan to be innocent . Veeramohan is reunited with Jeeva, Jeeva with her cretin father. But just when all is going swimmingly the Rajaguru maddened by Parthiban’s death throws a knife and poor Amudhavalli is all Thus I Die Cruel Man but the nation is SAFE! But oh no a far worse fate awaits your heroine! For here she is as a BUST a la Mayawati and here is Jeeva singing a song and there is Mohan Makku and inexplicably the cretinous king is still KING and it’s THE END! WHISTLE PODU!

Manthiri Kumari is way too much fun for me to be objective. I know of the film through my mother who introduced me to a lot of the early DMK films that mixed cinema and politics. Manthiri Kumari was one of the first to do so and it is witty, inventive and rarely didactic. Though there is an element of showboating and sophistry in the way Karunanidhi uses language it all remains highly enjoyable and would have been more so for an audience attuned to the nuances of the language and familiar with the politics of the day. Perhaps the man should have kept his day job. And perhaps he and the party took that “Banditry is Art” a little too literally :-)

There are a lot of other interesting elements to Manthiri Kumari and none more so than its American director Ellis R Dungan who has a comprehensive biography at wiki, astonishingly the man directed films like Meera and Sakunthalai. Dungan keeps things moving at a brisk pace even though the interludes and songs are far too many. But there is also something of the theatre about these interludes, the tradition of fillers while the next scene is being set up. And the movie so obviously draws from the theatre that there is a charm in these set pieces addressed directly to the audience.  Mixed in with this are a lot of outdoor shots which save the film from being static.

The movie is at its best when Parthiban and Amudhavalli are on the screen (as also the Rajaguru). SA Natarajan is in fact very good, all exaggerated evil as called for in a historical but reining it in just so and somehow also being entirely credible as a romantic lead.

PostScript: Vaarai Nee Vaarai is indeed an excellent song, at once a song of love and a coded song of death. It would not be surprising if it had sat at the top of the 1950s charts:-)

Friday, 4 November 2011

Anita and the Woman Question

So I saw Mr and Mrs 55.

This is yet another Guru Dutt flick where he is a sweet little cupcake with lots of flinty bits so that the eating is not as enjoyable as that cute exterior may make you believe. And it deals with that Great Assault on the Holy Edifice of Hindu Marriage aka Divorce! In this film the cupcake finds himself facing the tragic prospect of losing the super beauteous Madhubala. Away we go!

In 1955 the Hindu Marriage Act is likely to be passed paving the way for divorce under certain conditions. Simply put the ANGREZI VIRUS has been let loose on good Hindu society! And the foremost proponent of this Bill is a Ms Sita Devi (Lalita Pawar) aka RICH BITCH FEMINIST whom we first meet in the middle of a meeting with fellow travellers. Women of the World you Rock, you are Awesome! One minute you are discussing the Bill, the next the world’s best facials! For let it be said NOW. Wrinkles have NO place in the revolution!

Just at the moment Sita Devi is savouring her triumph, her niece – lovely spoilt heiress and orphan Anita Verma (Madhubala) - sneaks out of the house to lustily cheer on her heartthrob of the moment, Ramesh, who is playing the most leisurely tennis match in history. If Anita was on Facebook she would have liked every page dedicated to hunky sports stars and littered their pages with Eeek, so cute! I DIE! HOTTTTTT! Marry me! I want your babies! ☻/ღ˚ •。* ♥ ˚ ˚✰˚ ˛★* 。 ღ˛° 。* °♥ ˚ • ★ *˚ .ღ 。/▌*˛˚ღ •˚ ˚…just sprinkling a little LOVE on your pages. ~♥~˚ ✰* ★ / \ ˚. ★ *˛ ˚♥* ✰。˚ ˚ღ。* ˛˚ ♥ 。✰˚* ˚ ★ღ ~...:)~ ♥ etc. Sita Devi on the other hand…..well if she ever joined Facebook it would be to promote her book On the Forthcoming Eradication of the Male of the Species. This is why Sita Devi has sent out trusted lieutenant Mona to remove Anita from the scene of her complete abasement.

Anita spots Mona and in a frantic bid to escape tumbles into the arms of our sweet cupcake Pritam Kumar (Guru Dutt). Pritam is entranced and in instant pyaar. For let’s face it, Ms Anita is all perfection, like an irresistible piece of the purest chocolate nom nom nom that cupcakes can only aspire to. So Anita is all eyes for Ramesh, Pritam is all eyes for Anita, Ramesh is all eyes on the ball but all must part for such is young love! But Pritam recovers a token of his lady love, a handkerchief setting the scene for future hanky panky (can a girl resist a bad bad pun?!).

Pritam then runs into old friend Johnny (Johnny Walker) off whom as a struggling unemployed artist he is mooching. SONG FUCKERY! Oh Pritam, we understand we understand, Ms Anita makes us want to bust out a tune too!

Pritam is kadka, de rigueur for cupcakes, and renting with a fat landlady (Tuntun). Some elaborate charade fuckery establishes cupcake cuteness and Pritam wins a rent reprieve. In the meantime, Anita gets a dressing down from Sita Devi who warns her against the supreme EVILITY, the veritable EVILISHNESS, the awful EVILDOM that is the male. For the Aunt has been SCORCHED and wants to protect Anita, lover of all things boys.

Anita is to inherit fucking tons of money at age 21. Which is like the next day. Time to open the will! Will stipulates that she will inherit only on the condition that she marries within the year. Because the dead dad knew his EVIL BITCH SISTER wants to keep Anita a spinster. So happy happy Anita runs off to the swimming pool. Watch girls in swimsuits! Watch shapely legs! Watch the cheesecake! Watch everyone singing a song! For Anita is free at last for Ramesh Romance Fuckery! Ladies ladies patience! You shall have some perve time too! Uh huh it’s just plank of wood Ramesh in briefs. Oh Anita its not too late, perhaps a soft cupcake is better, eh?!

Anita has a “Future Mrs Ramesh” T shirt on but Ramesh is not taking the hint for he is ummm like thick wood all over. Besides he is off to Wimbledon and the dirty dirty pleasures of Paris. But Anita cannot be fobbed off and arranges a rendezvous with him in a cinema theatre.

Johnny Fuckery! Johnny, newspaper shutterbug, is quite the ladies man who woos women with….lollipops. Here he is laying some thick thick charm on new girl, Julie. But it’s all cut short for Johnny needs to take some professional piccies of his old mate Ramesh poolside. They get talking, Ramesh agrees to get Parisian dirty pictures for Johnny and Johnny agrees to meet Anita and hand over Ramesh’s letter . Which says “Anita I like you but I don’t like you THAT way”. I am calling it, GEIGH!

The cupcake, who is a cartoonist, is up to his usual “I am a fabulous artist and yet tragically unemployed”. He does have a sweet Editor though who reviews his work. The Ed knows RICH BITCH FEMINIST Sita Devi who has hatched a plan to keep the niece flying solo and yet inherit by hiring a faux husband who can be divorced. The Ed sends Pritam along for the job. Pritam first throws a hissy fit at the idea of being a bikau husband. Until he spots a pic of the proposed wife who is of course Anita. Then Pritam is all UNBELIEVABLE! FUCK! YES YES YES! FIST PUMP!

Pritam is still living by the credo of unsung artists. MOOCH OFF YOUR FRIENDS! So somewhere along the way Pritam ends up with the cinema ticket and a meeting with Anita. Anita now has Ramesh’s note and is all sobbing and ooh more Pritam hanky panky! Pritam thinking I am totes going to be married to this girl in a few days. Anita busy updating facebook status – Ramesh, you are a COLOSSAL DICK! And I am not getting any of it! It’s unfair!

Sidetrack. Johnny and the Office Charmer are going swimmingly; all lollipops are now going her way. Heck they even get to sing a lunch time song, Chak De Mera Lollipop – oops no that is from Mr and Mrs 95 starring Govinda and Karishma – this one is just OFFICE FLIRT TIME! Shall we kiss, shall we lose our hearts? On the typewriter or under the desk?!

RICH BITCH FEMINIST Sita Devi has deigned to enter male lodgings so Pritam can sign off on “I shall be married for a fraction of a moment to the supremely beauteous Anita and then shall waive all marital rights but that’s OK because that moment will be HEAVEN”. Also such scintillating conversation between them!

Sita Devi: Tum communist ho?

Pritam: Nahin, cartoonist.

More serendipitous Pritam-Anita meets. LUSH LADY SINGING A SONG! Time for the gradual transference of Anita’s hormonal impulses from Ramesh to Pritam!

Sita Devi informs Anita of her Rs 250 a month faux bridegroom. Anita is all upset and then OK whatever because well there’s the fortune to be inherited. Anita and Pritam get ready for their tryst with matrimony at the courthouse where Anita is fuck me I didn’t see that coming, the bridegroom is Pritam! She is deeply annoyed to think he is less lovelorn and more lalchi but we soon have Mr and Mrs Pritam Singh and Sita Devi is like OK Tata Bye Bye and don’t bother us anymore and just keep cashing the cheques.

The marriage is lucky for Pritam for he gets a job as a cartoonist. So irate and wife less Pritam draws an unflattering cartoon of Sita Devi. More rich bitch feminist drama when Sita Devi sees the cartoon. Everyone all together DOWN WITH FEMINISM! Also time for Pritam, Johnny and Julie celebrations where they run into Anita who is a friend of Julie. Anita is still stroppy and is waltzing with strange men who are not her lawful husbands while Pritam sulks in the sidelines. Now Johnny and Julie know that the two are married.

Johnny now imparting advice to Pritam on how to woo back Anita. A fooled chauffeur later, Anita and Pritam are off to the countryside. Sort of like a nice sweet Mills and Boon called FORCIBLE HONEYMOON. But enroute there is the FOREPLAY SONG of the She is Pouty, He is Lusty sort. The forcible honeymoon (not really forcible, the cupcake is a gentleman and knows that eventually all women BEG for his love) is ummm at Pritam’s bro’s place. His sister in law is a adarsh nari, an ANTI RICH BITCH FEMINIST with three kids. Who like plucks flower petals. You know of the sort He beats me, He beats me not, He just beat me for Oooh he loves me so! Anita is soon convinced that happiness lies in having a husband, kids and some gentle slapping. Oh good here’s the LET’s HAVE SEX song! Triple Yay for 50s sluttery where everyone looks like they will have a month long fuck once the cameras are turned off! But just as they are about to tumble into bed, Sita Devi turns up because Anita – before you know deeply desiring some gently rough sex - sent her a telegram screaming RESCUE ME! So Pritam gets all sulky and hearts are ASUNDERED. RICH BITCH FEMINISTS, implacable enemies of TRUE LOVE!

Now Pritam is all I can’t slap Anita to stay married and I am FUCKING NOBLE and I will provide grounds for a divorce. Yippee its Man Slut Picture Time where Pritam gets to hang out with two dames and an alcohol bottle! Pritam hands the photograph over as evidence to Sita Devi. Who passes it on to Anita who is all sob sob but this time there is no cute Pritam hanky panky. Also time to fulfil SAD SONG quota requirement. Plus Pritam is still kadka as FUCKING NOBILITY demands he return all those uncashed cheques.


Time for a court case and some blah stuff about women, society, inequality, marriage, sanctity blah blah so that you almost expect Fat Flashman to turn up and whisk Anita off for his debauched games while Pritam walks off into a sunset with a floozy. Hey Fat Flashman can you also arrange for Fat Lady Debauchery – we can’t stand the landlady’s tone deaf comedy fuckery!

Anita is all oh no I am soon to be a SAD DIVORCEE! And Pritam plans to leave town so Johnny and Julie meet Anita and tell her that the slut pic was staged. Time for showdown with the RICH BITCH FEMINIST aunt and Anita is all like yay yay yay I am standing up for myself and now I shall fall at Pritam’s feet and we will keep a dear little house and sit around drinking darling cups of misogyny topped up with romance fuckery. Rich Bitch Feminist Aunt is not one to give up and locks Anita up in the service of feminism but she escapes. And hey here is the Airport scene where Pritam looks like he has flown but has not and Anita is sobbing and ooh look Pritam has a ready hanky and so we arrive dear reader with society INTACT and the movie is all FUCK YOU Divorce Bill and FUCK YOU RICH BITCH FEMINISTS because the Bhartiya Nari wants nothing to do with you so go sit in a corner and do not speak EVER for you have been VERY VERY NAUGHTY!

Curious about the title? Go here.


There is the Guru Dutt who makes films that are charming, coherent and naturalistic in tone (though the dialogue here is by Abrar Alvi it is clear the man knew how to assemble and keep a loyal, gifted team). There is the Guru Dutt who is on top form when filming song sequences. And whose films are sweet, believable odes to Mumbai and its people. But there is also the Guru Dutt who brings a heavy hand to themes of social justice. And is a regressive traditionalist when it comes to gender.

A good part of this film is the former Guru Dutt. But it is blazingly misogynistic. Of course art forms are not required to be purged of misogyny. But there is something unpleasant in the Guru Dutt take, perhaps more so because of his otherwise progressive politics.

If you set aside the misogyny it is because of Madhubala who transcends both the cloying cuteness and the notes of servility that is required of her role so that she seems a naive, sheltered girl opening up to the possibilities of love. Plus Guru Dutt and she are a very easy on the eye pairing in what is essentially a romantic comedy. This was the only movie they did together which is a pity because they seem ideal for screwball comedies.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Curious Case of Karan Arjun

So I saw Karan Arjun.

This is a piece of 90s dross. Easy to make fun of. It’s like killing dead things. Of which a lot happens in this movie. Killing and dead things i.e. So without further ado let’s do unspeakable things to our grey matter!

Pretty Boy Karan (Shahrukh Khan) and Weasel Face Arjun (Salman Khan) are village yokels of smooth skin and shiny white teeth eking out a living by breaking rocks. They share a deep love for their mother Durga (Raakhee) and sing happy songs in mustard fields with her. Put away your psychoanalytic minds, this is India and we are not slutty Greeks! Durga has an absent husband. When the old rich father-in-law who turned her out summons her as he is about to croak it turns out that the absent husband has been long DEAD and the old man wants to pass on his jaydaad to the grandsons. While Karan and Arjun are thinking hey no need to break them rocks anymore, the old man’s nephew Thakur Durjan Singh (Amrish Puri) is having none of it. He comes accessorised with two mulleted meatheads who are his brothers-in-law and likes worshipping a 20 feet Kali with her own waterfall, preferably with a gaggle of nubile things doing an item number. Why am I thinking Durjan is like the evil guy? Just when the grandfather is about to turn over everything to Karan and Arjun, Durjan turns up. Popping Eyes! Varicose veins on the forehead! = ANGRY BEAST DURJAN! Durjan strangles the grandpa and then Karan and Arjun are dragged along by a few horses and skewered by shiny swords. He likes his torture porn, does Durjan. Karan and Arjun stare meaningfully into each other’s eyes and hold hands before departing for the nether world. Then Durga turns up at the Kali temple for the HARANGUE THE GODDESS TO GRANT WISHES segment post which the Karan Arjun souls have transmigrated to mewling babies. Self ringing temple bells and the cries of infants in the air assure Durga that her sons are reborn. And she is totally not demented for the force of her namesake is with her! Take that, you godless folk!

Arjun/Ajay has an alcoholic father and is alternately sombre and all studly rage inspired by flashbacks of his past life. Karan/Vijay loses his parents pretty quickly and is soon the ward of a Parsi setereotype and a Telugu stereotype (Johnny Lever) who run a horse farm. Meanwhile Durga is roaming the streets of her village with a photograph of her sons and promising Durjan and the mulleted meatheads that soon they will be quite DEAD thanks to her reincarnated sons. But that glaze in her eyes - alcohol or grief?!

Oh I love ROMANCE FUCKERY! Unibrow Sonia (Kajol) comes to the stables to learn to ride but is soon in love with Vijay. Note that this horse farm has a large billboard with a giant lip, a single eye and a big WOW! painted on it. So Warhol. So....Erotic? Soon they are singing an extremely energetic song amidst all the horses. Post the song Vijay and Sonia are like we are too knackered for sex and the horses are all bemused and without doubt thinking a) was that really human sex? and b) stop appropriating us for sexual symbolism, idiot humans!

Sonia the Screecher is a bade baap ki beti, Dad scrimped on the elocution lessons. Dad Saxena (Ranjeet) is in with Durjan who by now is a rank nasty FEUDAL OVERLORD CUM EVIL DEALER OF INTERNATIONAL ARMS. Durjan and Saxena plan to get their progeny married, really Saxena has no choice because in the race to evilness Durjan is a clear leader and is all BWAHAHAHA MY SUPREME SPERM SHALL RULE and propagate through my son and I shall swallow and spit on and screw every other sperm around.

Ajay is having a pretty sad life and is a tough boxer with a truck driver viewership who spends money on his alcoholic father. Now and then studly rage and flashbacks cause him to screw up matches and one such match to raise money for the Dad leaves him in debt to Saxena. Dad however takes his alcohol bottles to the next world so Ajay is forced to be a Saxena Henchman. Meanwhile, in parallel ROMANCE FUCKERY his childhood pal is trying to seduce him but he is like nah, I don’t want to get into your pants. So Bindiya (Mamta Kulkarni) sheds her tomboy self and emerges in a skirt for another fucking long song and dance. Now Sad Ajay is all smiles - ladies in search of a bit of nookie I have one word - SKIRTS!

What a Joke! aka Durjan’s son aka Suraj Singh is back from vilayat to claim his rightful bride, she who romps with the horses and Vijay. That What a Joke! is supposed to be his villainous punchline btw. Bwahahaha writers you are fucking awesome! Anyway Suraj soon knows that Sonia is doing the rumpy-pumpy with Vijay and is OUTRAGED. So you have a fight scene in the horse stables which ends with fire and horses running skelter-helter. Idiot humans, never letting a horse live in peace.

Ajay-Vijay keep having repeated flashbacks of their past life. Also they have parallel past life hallucinations! Because otherwise we would never know that Pretty Boy and Weasel Face are CONNECTED. Soon Saxena is having a party where he is announcing Sonia’s engagement to the spawn of the NUMERO UNO EVIL SUPREME SPERM i.e. What a Joke! Vijay then turns up, all rage and manic tittering laughter to disrupt proceedings but Saxena sets Ajay on him. Blood, Fists, Blood, Fists, Blood, Fists, Lightning….ummm what was that! A bolt of lightning, no doubt sent down by the 20 foot Kali, prevents the brothers from fighting. And Ajay-Vijay are all like wow what just happened here. Dialogue: I am bemused, I am bemused too. Isn't it bemusing? I think it is bemusing, Hmm, bemusing etc.  

Ajay gets sent to prison by an irate Saxena. Also Durjan turns up and is all like BWAHAHAHA Stupid Sonia, NO ONE GETS IN THE WAY OF THE PROPAGATION OF MY SUPREME SPERM and carts her off to a forced village wedding.

Soon Vijay the Stable Boy is off to rescue his beloved from the village. And of course remembers his past life. Here’s the quarry! Here’s the mustard field of Oedipal song! Here’s 20 foot Kali! Here are self tolling bells! The pujari at the temple then informs Karan of his true identity and glory be Karan is soon united with Maa and her old B&W photo. Now Karan knows that Ajay/Arjun is his brother and busts him out of jail (hey a few policeman got reduced to cinders in the process-oh never mind they will be REINCARNATED!) and soon along with Bindiya they are on the run. Arjun and Karan are soon reunited with Maa and the whole village gets teary. Meanwhile Durjan’s Comic Relief Munshi (Ashok Saraf) spots the two and takes himself off to the haveli to announce the SUPREME SPERM’S forthcoming demise at the hands of the reincarnated duo.

Arjun The Sceptic is however all reincarnation is bollocks. Time for Karan speech on the POWER OF MAMTA and how your mother wants to change your diapers for all eternity. But Arjun is still unconvinced. Meanwhile the mulleted meatheads saunter around to knock off the two and Arjun is all studly rage and God (Oops GODDESS!) my fist connecting with these meatheads reminds me I am Arjun. The mulleted meatheads flee and everyone – umm - sings and dances.

The Karan Arjun revenge strategy is to sow dissension in the Supreme Sperm’s ranks. So the mulleted meatheads are pinned with the blame for a few missing arms. The meatheads now need to get back into Durjan’s good books. But after monstering the village children to establish they are EVIL and to lure Karan and Arjun out of hiding they are reduced to big chunky bloody pieces of meat, albeit still mulleted.

Random dance number in the Kali temple where Karan Arjun finally reveal themselves to the Supreme Sperm. The 20 foot Kali looks immensely bored. Your viewer on the other hand isn’t sure of anything after 2+ hours of sustained cranial assault. Do I exist? Am I watching a film? Is this a good excuse to skip work tomorrow?

Now the Supreme Sperm’s forces are in disarray with the murder of what they believe to be treasonous mulleted meatheads. Also What a Joke Suraj and Saxena are trying to be rational about all the reincarnation shit because Karan-Arjun are just humshakal Ajay-Vijay. My brain is slowly slowly dissolving. At one point Saxena is a good daddy who lets his daughter escape. But just as Sonia and Vijay reunite, Saxena appears with Durjan and his cohorts – it’s a TRAP! Because you know your business partner is WAY MORE IMPORTANT than your daughter. There is an interminably long fight sequence in which everyone participates which I can’t be bothered describing. Suraj Singh gets killed (sadly he doesn’t die with WHAT A JOKE! on his lips). Durjan is mental because his sperm has come to a fucking, screeching stop. A lot of people die. There is a lot of blood. Durjan bashes up Sonia. Durjan kills Saxena. People get paid good money to film “fight sequences” which consist of meatheads pretending to slash, kill and thump for eternity. Then Durjan is dead and its self ringing bells for the temple and happy fucking marriage time!

Hell as Milan Kundera once said is eternal return. Or Karan Arjun.

People bang their heads against solid objects a LOT in this film. Please feel free to join me in doing so. Only ketchup will be shed.

Dire. I have nothing else to say. Though yes I hope reincarnated Amrish Puri is atoning for two decades of atrocious acting.

PS: My brain in its moments of life did think up a faux business so all is not lost. Ladies we shall reveal soon our fashion forward collection dedicated to the sluttish fashions of Hindi films. Watch this space and in the meantime practice your jhatkas and bosom moves!

Friday, 16 September 2011

You are Entering a World of Pain*

First Sarat Chandra wrote a novel called Devdas.

Then PC Barua thought Dude that is SO my life but before I proceed to piss away my life on the grog, I will make Devdas the Movie. And KL Saigal said Dude I am so pissing away my life on the drink too and I will be Devdas. And they were like dudes this film should be totally realistic and all, we are young and awesome! And oh the lassitude, the languid poses, the sadness, it was a sight to behold! And everyone was weeping wildly in the aisles and the streets and boys sang Balam ayo baso mere man mein to local Paros and the grog was flowing freely and then they married the girl their parents chose and it was all glorious.

Then Bimal Roy thought hey I lensed for Barua and I am SO making another Devdas. And Paro was lush and Chandramukhi was lush and Devdas was a lush and Chunni was a lush but no one was like actually pissing away their life on the drink and it was all very sad and beautiful. And everyone was weeping wildly in the aisles and young men sang Mitwa Lagi Re to local Paros and the grog was flowing till real life interfered and it was all glorious.

Then they thought hey Amitabh can be Devdas and he drank a lot and spoke to mirrors and there was a massive fight scene and Paro (Hema Malini) mooned around like a vacant faced cow and Chandramukhi (Rekha) was a tantric goddess who cast an instant spell on Devdas and he got all amnesiac and utterly devoted to Chandramukhi’s sexual pleasuring. Oh that NEVER GOT MADE, PRAISE THE LORD! Though Sorceress Chandramukhi = Glorious!

Then Sanjay Leela Bhansali thought Dude I am SO making a Rajasthan-Punjab production of this. And everything was shiny and bright and dazzling and under this mountain of glitter Devdas was like I will cry beautifully and totally piss away my life on the grog and die because all this bling is giving me a headache. And Paro was like Dude good for you because I am totes getting tired of holding this lamp and Chandramukhi was must smile smile smile and prove my smile is more dazzling than all this SLB bling. And everyone was weeping in the aisles and streets and even the firangs said Pink is the new black! Retinal Assault is the new black! Bollywood is the new black!. And they all wept at Cannes and young men took to youtube to weep and it was all super shiny fucking glorious.

Then Anurag Kashyap thought Dude Bollywood is so last year and I am the king of indies and I should be SO famous. So hey I will borrow from Sarat Da and make it all contemporary because I am way too sexy and cool for my own good. And this is how Dev D went.

Dev is a Punjabi lad and Paro is his closest friend and you don’t want to know these dull children because all that happens is Dev is a brat who smokes and calls Daddy by his first name and gets sent to London to study. And Paro is a mini My Name is Lady Vengeance.

Almost Sex
Then Dev (Abhay Deol) and Paro (Mahie Gill) are all grown up and having phone sex and Paro is taking pics of her tits and Dev is that’s it I am totally returning home to fuck you and by the by also attend my brother’s wedding. So that fuck is then totally not happening. Instead there are lots of almost fucks. Including with a Rasika who is totally making the moves on Dev and having almost fucks in a chicken shed. By now Paro is like I MUST FUCK and get myself a room but the guy with the room Sunil is all stroppy because he too wants to fuck Paro and have first dibs. The Big Punjabi Wedding of Fucks and Almost Fucks so to say, oh yes I forgot the setting for all this is one of those Punjabi weddings of indescribable din which should be banned from film for the next century at least. Anyway Sunil the gossip is all like Paro is the super best fuck in the village and Dev hears this and breaks a bottle over his head. This is the Punjab, remember! Paro now plans a Sex in the Sugarcane Fields but that too is Almost Sex in the Sugarcane Fields because Dev is Super Sulky about Promiscuous Paro.

Slutty Rasika has a brother with two kids and he is totes besotted with Paro and wants to marry her. And Paro is thinking this almost fuckathon is driving me crazy and hand pumping her way to orgasmic rage. Meanwhile praise the lord Rasika and Dev have graduated to the fuck and Paro finds out. And Paro thinks enough of the hand pump and yeah Bhuvan I shall be your wife. And Dev is like yeah I am totally down with that because I am way too cool and rich for you and you are a slut. Then Dev hears that Paro may not be promiscuous and thinks uh huh that was a bit foolish so let me start drinking and pass out.

Just registering that the whole damn thing is punctuated by an irritating soundtrack that feels like being permanently stuck on an X factor audition stage because the bloody thing NEVER STOPS.

Fun with Prostitution
Meanwhile Leni (Kalki Koechlin) is a schoolgirl but she has been doing some dick sucking in her off hours that lands her in a MMS scandal. Yeah we get it, this is SO NOT the 1920s! But Director is also very keenly studying 50s melodramas and the world and its brother are BAD and WICKED and INSENSITIVE and Daddy shoots himself over khandan ki izzat and poor Leni runs away and is all alone in this cruel world and becomes a prostitute. Because that is the only fucking profession available. But hey great move on Leni’s part, the prostitution industry is full of absolutely lovely people. Leni’s pimp has a Golden Heart! Leni is a college going prostitute! Her pimp has arranged for her education! She has a nice pink boudoir! She is now called Chandramukhi but you can call her Chanda! Prostitution is a breeze! A world full of happy, shiny people doing lines of cocaine and cruising around in hot pink wheels! It’s all safe and beautiful and SO glorious!

And wow who would have thunk Karol Bagh folk are such fetishists – dear Lord, Fat Flashman would love this! - for here is Chanda dressing up as a sexy schoolgirl, Chanda is now a sexy nurse, Chanda is now wielding a whip! So much like a self consciously perverse Vogue photo shoot!

DAMN the soundtrack.

Substance Abuse
So Dev is now in Chanda’s boudoir because Chunni the pimp found him roaring drunk somewhere. Oh Chanda your boudoir is like an art exhibit. And you are SO literate; a languidly held book accessorises every cigarette.

Flashback. Post the Paro wedding, Dev leaves home and is cruising Delhi, doing drugs, drinking vodka, living in a seedy hotel. But like not even having almost fucks because the now unobtainable Paro is an anti-aphrodisiac. Before he gets into trouble, he is saved by Chunni the pimp, the first pimp with a heart of gold in the history of cinema. Chunni is slick and uber cool and is like you want to drink lets drink at the uber cool bars. And I would totally vote for Pardesi in the Dev D X Factor contest except that it goes on for as long as Dev’s drinking in the uber cool bar and more which is a VERY LONG TIME. So Dev is like fully coked and drunk and that is how Chunni gets him to the Chanda Boudoir. So that’s another night of non-fucking and Dev is crying out for Paro and Chanda is right now I can’t be fussed with anything because my hair is in a net and I can’t see through my makeup.

Non Sex
Dev gets up in the morning and decides its time to meet Paro. Dev’s way of meeting Paro is to hook up with...Rasika. In the meantime Dev is also totes spying on Paro who is playing happy families on her balcony. Consequently Dev is all tantrums and cruelty and Rasika is like Dude you are one sick puppy. So time for another Dev bender, post which he is back in Chanda Land but she is too busy having multilingual phone sex. Then Chanda is like Dude you are always here so do you want to fuck and he is like No Way. Plus all the pretty pills and liquids must make it difficult. So like Chanda is a little besotted because of the non-fuck. You want to keep a prostitute interested? Don’t Fuck. Works all the time.

Almost Sex
Despondent Dev continues on downward spiral. And his Dad is ill but he doesn’t know. At some point he decides to be a phone pest and calls Paro in the night. But gets Bhuvan who is like wow good time to discuss the Dev-Rasika rishta because that will totally solve everything.

So Paro turns up at Dev’s place the next day and is all housewifely concern. Dev is thinking damn I let her get away without ever fucking her. But Dude you are still not screwing her because Paro is all I might wash your clothes but no way are you getting a piece of me. Plus Bhuvan seems to be doing a better job than the hand pump and Dev put together. Dev and Paro, never the twain shall be.

Coke n Vodka
Dev you notice is taking the drinking game rather literally. Every time I think of Paro is bound to result in a LOT of drinks. And lines of coke. Plus Chunni is proving the perfect drink buddy. And Chanda is always tucking him in for the night because she is all my little sparrow, I will adopt you and protect you.

Prostitute Shrink
Dev and Chanda are totally bonding. She is prone to wisdom of the You Are Just Not That Into Paro sort. Sure because the biatch totally wants Dev for herself! And of course she is SO brave, SO courageous! She knows pain! She faces the world with a laugh! She has no self pity! Oh Dev you must learn, observe and be a better man!

But Dev is thinking I need to obsess about Paro and abuse a few more substances.

The Dev thinks hey maybe I will go with the Chanda option. Chunni is like Dude this is not going anywhere because those Karol Bagh customers are just going to keep coming! They are good for business! You aren’t going to have first, middle or last dibs!

Oh did I mention DAMN the soundtrack! Also stop making Delhi films, there are already one too many!

Hit, Run, Find Love
Chanda's Karol Bagh sexy games are too much for Dev so time for another bender and  killing a few people with his Dad bought BMW. Oy yes we get it this is emphatically NOT the 1920s, this is the NEW INDIA! Now time for Dev to find himself because THAT is what is important when you have mowed down a few folk. Dev cries at Dad’s funeral, Dev bonds with his sardar minder, Dev takes random road trip, Dev is sick, Dev is my existence is like a Dog and I wanna be reborn, Dev is all those people I killed remind me that I must remain ALIVE.

Then Dev is all lightning bolt of clarity and I totes love Chanda but she has left town. So off he goes to find her and does and hallelujah he never loved Paro and is now all soul matey with Chanda and it's all this is so OTP (One True Pairing). Did I mention the irritating soundtrack? At this point it is all like fucking light up the torch of your heart and its THE END.  

And indeed the hearts of all hipsters were immediately set afire and they were crying in the aisles and streets and on their blogs with sheer relief that we too can make movies about sex and drugs and sluts and bad music and it was all glorious and The Twilight Players never stopped playing. And I am thinking, “Its OK my baby, forget it”.**

*Title from the Big Lebowski, Dev calls himself The Dude. **That is of course a line from the film.
Whether you love it or loathe it, Devdas is a singular novel. Which film version you like will depend on your sensibilities. Dev D unfortunately is like an adolescent film, it is stuffed to the gills with the cool and the hip (it does include a sweet nod to the past with a lawyer named Bimal Barua, posters of Shahrukh as Devdas) and marries it with the conventional sentimental tale of the redemption of a dissolute broken hearted chap by a sensitive hooker. So much so that the source novel seems audacious and subversive in having a protagonist who is not returned to life by the love of a good woman. The tacked on MMS and hit and run scandals add nothing; the latter in fact ensures that the difficult feat the novel achieves - of making Devdas a tragic hero - is entirely negated. Eventually for all its outer trappings the movie is as pedestrian and conventional as any other Hindi film.

Of the older versions, it is possible that the 1936 version is closest in spirit to the novel. It is quite relaxed in its treatment and here and there there is a glimmer of humour. Plus it is the cinematic template for the later versions. But if you have to see a Devdas, it is perhaps best to see the 1955 version for its formal beauty, its serious tone and  adherence to the novel. Though the 2002 one will do just as well if you like your film served with Bhansali Bling.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Importance of Being Rancho

So I saw 3 Idiots.

Mostly I learnt that men cry, hug and piss at the drop of a trouser. Shall we see how all this unfolded? !

A plane returns to base because Farhan (Madhavan, once so cute but now needs to go a little easy on the thair shaadam eh!), is having a fake spasm of sorts. Soon he has hijacked an airport car and is on his way to meet best bud Raju (Sharman Joshi). The reason for all this is that much hated Chatur Ramalingam (Omi Vaidya) has located the other best bud, Rancchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad aka Rancho (Aamir Khan) who disappeared after graduation. Question Time! What’s common to Tams in Bollywood Films and Brits in Hollywood Films? Answer: Both sport dodgy accents and are designated DOUCHEBAGS! Chatur it appears has been harbouring deep RESENTMENT against the best buds. And is also looking for an inventor called Phansukh Wangdu (people lol, rofl, lmao at the names!), all round genius who has 400 patents to his name (your viewer was all lolwut at patents=genius!). So they are off to Simla where Rancho now lives. Why is Chatur so bitter? FLASHBACK! Time for a Boys Own Adventure where their antics will be treated with a Boys will be Fucking Boys!!

Podgy Farhan has just joined the Imperial College of Engineering and is soon rooming with Raju, he of the 100 Gods Shrine who shall bless him with Complete Examination Success. Time for RAGGING! Lots and lots of boys! Lots and lots of dropped trousers! Arse Stamping! Chatur in a bowtie and skimpy underwear! Everyone looking like an undercover overage student like Drew in Never Been Kissed! Rancho entering, Farhan looking a little smitten - Ruined Botticelli Angel who has been a tad “refreshed” – IRRESISTIBLE! But if you think up next is strobe lights, dance music, Bad Bad Rancho and Queer as Log you are wrong for this is at best a bad advertisement for Dora Underwear. Rancho doesn’t want to drop his trousers – no Tough Male Initiation Rites for the wuss! - and locks himself into a room. Time for a Bully aka Senior to ferret him out by - umm - pissing on his door. Time for a glimpse of Rancho’s native genius for he quickly rigs – double umm - an Apparatus for a Sharp Short Shock to the Scrotum of a Pissing Person! Useful given the movie has so much serial pissing!! So massive toolery all around – except perhaps in the underwear.

ViruS (Boman Irani) - he of the charming eccentricities – Listening to opera! Being shaved while listening to the opera! Taking ambidexterity to new heights! Carrying a bird in a nest! – is giving the TOUGH TALK to the overage students. And mooning over a pen designed for space. Cue a Rancho The Great moment (Reader, you are warned, there are MANY!). It is all about a pencil for space – Rancho boy you will have to do better than lifting old cosmonaut/astronaut anecdotes to establish genius!! Now ViruS his enemy for life but hey ViruS join the queue, we can’t stand a smug smart arse either! Also joining the queue - the Prof in the next scene who is – triple umm - predictably unzipping his trousers! Another Rancho the Great moment - don’t beat us over the head with his genius, folks! And I forget - there is a parallel track of Chatur, Obnoxious Teacher's Pet for each such moment.  

Now time for obligatory creative student crushed by the forces of college bit for beware ViruS the Villain is at large, he will fuck you over, destroy all hope, crush your spirit and spit you out a ghost of a man! Oh note that the student is a Lobo so he gets to sing an English song! Also another song where the bogs are like something out a product catalogue – check out the red doors, the smooth granite! Soon Lobo is quite DEAD and hey a Rancho invention is there to record the moment! And Rancho has a most revolutionary thought – all student suicides are MURDERS! The blood of our nation’s youth is on our Professors hands! For this ViruS puts him on the spot and time for another Rancho The Great moment accompanied by a homily - though oy any dimwit can spot what Farhanitrate and Prerajulisation is! Also time for ViruS’ favourite activity – writing letters to parents! Farhan’s are the aspirational sort, Raju’s the poor wanting a better life. And both are very UNHAPPY so the 3 idiots are soon cruising the streets. So of course time for the Boys will be Fucking Boys to crash a wedding. Oh look ViruS has a daughter Pia (Kareena Kapoor). She has spectacles, she is INTELLIGENT! But has a fiancé who is very very devoted to BRANDS! Hot Chick with Douchebag or Closeted with Beard? The Jury is OUT!

Soon ViruS is giving Raju and Farhan a valuable piece of advice – they are have nots while Rancho is a HAVE! So he can do ANY fuckery he wishes! The life of the genteel poor on the other hand, fucked but no fuckery allowed! Soon all pants down for a discussion and Raju in open rebellion against Rancho and rooming with Chatur. But Farhan still smitten, the man does adore a ruined Botticelli angel!

Anyway Boys will be Fucked up Boys! So a plan is hatched up to “rescue” Raju from Chatur’s clutches. This involves a tiny switch in Chatur’s speech for an Important Occasion. Sort of like putting a spider in a classmate’s desk in Std. 5 when the School Inspector comes visiting. Clever! Also Chatur not knowing Hindi – both HILARIOUS and a CRIME – we must all be proficient in the Rashtra Bhasha! The word in question in India’s Most Famous Speech after Kitne Aadmi The is balatkar. The Rape Word – guaranteed laugh riot! Naturally Chatur all stroppy and vows REVENGE! Oooh FISTFIGHT!!! But no, just drunk people promising to be successes 10 years later. An Apparatus for a Sharp Short Shock to the Plot badly needed!

But we commence a Romance Fuckery Plot in which Rancho manages to divest Pia of the Brand Whore Douchebag/Closeted Fiance and get it on with him instead. Does anyone care about this unsexy romance? NO! Can we have a Time Travelling Device back to 50s Sluttery?! NOW! But halt. We must not forget the mission of this film, to establish that Rancho aka Aamir Khan is Great and Can Do No Wrong! Weird hospital track (hey nice Fortis product placement there, brand whoredom much!) involving Raju’s father. Raju also smitten by the ruined Botticelli angel so he CRIES (Sam Taylor-Wood, you are needed!) and HUGS Rancho.

Your viewer is now suffering from infinite tedium. Also never has a movie stuffed itself with SO MANY unsexy men. That’s it! I am wandering off on my very own Sapphic fantasy track! Indulge me till I return!

Exam results out - Quelle Surprise! Raju and Farhan bottom of class, Rancho a topper! Green Monster! Class Photograph! A Bet! If Raju and Farhan get a job, ViruS will shave off his moustache. Not that we care, a moustache less ham is still a ham! Plus the only good ham is Jon Hamm!

TEDIUM REIGNS. Also the back and forth now very confusing. Sapphic fantasies aren’t helping. Neither is Mr. Hamm. Time to keep company with Tall, Dark and Handsome Mr. Pinot Noir methinks and to hell with the chronology.

Back in the present our boys are in Simla (And a man is snapping 5 burqa ladies, wtf what was that about?!) and at Rancho’s mansion. Rancho’s dad is dead, also Rancho is not Rancho. Sooper Plot Twist, machan!

Some absurd fuckery, cuntery, sluttery, drunkery (God I feel SO much better just using those words!) ends in a dare (Boys will be Fucking Boys!). Rancho is trying to get into Pia’s bedroom, also some very strange stuff with a sister and a baby and all is well! OK, PISSING alert, this time its Raju spraying ViruS’ Wall! Time for ViruS’s second favourite thing after writing letters to parents! RUSTICATION! Out sails Raju though ViruS’ window to the strains of opera. Oh Raju, you really shouldn’t have done that!!!! For now we have to sit through more weird hospital scenes and CRYING and HUGGING and Rancho The Great.

Oh good here’s Mr. Shiraz, a super smooth sort from South Australia - only a ménage a trois will get me though this!

There is some bit about Farhan becoming a wildlife photographer and talking to his dad about it and TEARS! And Raju getting a job in spite of failing so more TEARS! ViruS now without a moustache. CRY, CRY, CRY! HUG, HUG, HUG! DROP TROUSERS! Rancho Tussi Great Ho!

Some backstory fuckery in which the fake Rancho is established as a boy prodigy and genius who would put Mozart to shame. Nothing to see here, move along.

Ongoing ViruS Villainy involving an exam paper and its theft. Does anyone care! A thousand times, a resounding NO! ViruS also “murdered” his son apparently. Boo Hoo.

Oh God no, ViruS don’t let us down, we could have so got together and given Rancho the bumps and tied the fucktard up, put stones in his pockets and thrown him into a river for good! But Sad Sad Day - here he is acknowledging Rancho The Great. This involves floods, the birth of a baby and a vacuum pump. All like some ghastly chapter in a management text book with big signposts to instances of ingenuity, teamwork, blah blah blah. All topped with CRYING. Will this child who shall hear the story of Uncle Rancho's Method for Delivering a Baby every single fucking day of his life be an Anti-Rancho? One lives in hope!

Anyhow back in the present, inexplicably Pia is getting married to the Brand Whore. Who is wearing a pink robe and pink slippers. And listening to Opera. Douchebag AND Closeted! Quelle Surprise! Pia does a runner.

Then we are all in Ladakh where we get further proof of Rancho the School Teacher’s ingenuity bringing joy and progress to poor Ladakhians (what the hell is the man inventing anyway, Permanently Keeping Cheese From Yak Milk?). So everyone gets to meet up because of the reappearance of both Pissing and the Apparatus for a Sharp Short Shock to the Scrotum of a Pissing Person and it winds its way to its predictable End. When I wake up I think- If 3 Idiots was male, I would definitely be applying that Apparatus to its Scrotum. PRONTO. Though  an old fashioned short, sharp kick to its backside would do just as well.

India’s most popular movie it appears is a mash up of 101 Jokes for all occasions, self-help books and a smattering of Edward de Bono. Its like being stuck in a training course for middle management where you are allowed to fondly recall the last time you were properly alive, aka in college, and made to believe that the rainbow of alternate existence in which you are totally going to be CREATIVE and LOVE your WORK is around the corner. It will no doubt be conducted by Rancho The Great.

If you stick to the very end, it will also make you Vote for Rote.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Trouble is a Tapori's Business

A second Guru Dutt movie, this time Aar Paar.

And it’s hard to snark about an amusing and breezy Bombay trifle so shall we take an amiable PG romp through it?!

We start with a police station where it is punishment for petty crims day and all the wicked sharps and sleazes are milling around awaiting their ten lashes and gruel. Amongst them a naïf sort is worried he is in for it thanks to sneaking a few smokos. He is soon before the Man and it turns out his name is Kalu Birju (Guru Dutt). Uh huh, shall we rechristen him KB?! The Man turns out to be a soft sort who has decided to send KB back into the world on account of his good behaviour. KB pretty thrilled and soon establishing that he is the smart aleck tapori sort that you only find in Bombay movies. Before he leaves Qaidi No 114 draws him aside and asks him to go and meet the Captain and deliver the message, Kaale Badal Mein Bijli, Badi Tasveer Saaf Kar Dena. That’s totally my next password.

Out in the world he meets up with his ex taxi boss who has sent him to the slammer for nothing worse than an accident. Ex taxi boss unrepentant so KB all shaking fists and shaanya lines. And then jauntily off only to trip over someone fixing a car. KB being an abrasive sort pulls out the trousered fellow only to discover it’s a very pretty girl Nikki (Shyama). KB all taporiness and Nikki all annoyed but of course also a little smitten-I totally get her falling for that fur cap (!) and knotted kerchief. Cue random construction worker song and urchin dancing - haven’t we all been thus romanced - yay for the singing peasantry of India! Soon Nikki drives off and KB goes to meet his sister. But the B-i-L is all huffy about KB’s prison stint so KB has to leave. Then KB runs into one of the dancing urchins who rejoices in the name Elaichi Pehalwan (a young Jagdeep) –awesome we are so keeping this name! - and soon they have exchanged hardscrabble tales and are sleeping under Bombay’s smoky sky.

The next day KB spots Nikki’s car and wanders in and is all lippy with Nikki’s Punju dad for KB’s coat is in Nikki’s car. Time for Nikki-KB sparring that is so going to lead to sacha pyaar! KB, smart lad, also pataoes the Dad and soon has a job and a bed at the garage. Now KB off to meet the Captain. But who cares about the Captain when you have the Moll (Shakila)! Especially when the Moll is in a dress that crosses flounces and chiffon with a tight Bavarian choli! Time for the vamp item number and time for strong, sensible men to be reduced to blithering idiots! But the Moll is looking at KB and totally thinking that is one delicious cupcake. A delicious cupcake with a mean fist and a wicked mouth i.e. After bashing up a patron putting the moves on the Moll, KB is also all No Captain, No Message and walks away from her.

The next day the Moll along with sidekick Rustam (Johnny Walker) is at the only garage in Bombay, namely Nikki’s. The Moll wants the car fixed. Uh huh sexual innuendo time! Moll all like can you thoroughly check out, rehaul and tune all my parts – way too much sex in Hindi movies! - KB the tease only checking the car plus Nikki and Moll catfight is in the air. Rustam, good man, still has his eye on the job and transfers the car contraband to a taxi but the Moll decides to leave the car in the garage for repairs.

Nikki’s Dad likes long running chess games with a Qazi. And so Nikki having a lot of time for pyaar vyaar! See Nikki teaching KB English (bizarrely the words are FAT.GIRL.LOVE)! See Nikki and KB fixing fuses! See Nikki and KB whistling! See Nikki and KB singing a song! See Nikki looking like a saucy little minx in mechanic overalls and KB looking like a sinfully delectable cupcake! Watch them as they are prettily framed by the car! And watch as KABOOM they are in love and kissing behind a column! But oh no sprung by Dad who inexplicably wandered away from the chess game. But KB lad all unrepentant and quite quite lippy with Dad. So KB back on street and out of a job. Time for a bed under the stars with Elaichi who promises to be his cleaner once KB gets a taxi to drive. Also KB's chances with Nikki further nixed as the police drop by the garage on a tip off to check the Moll’s car. And Dad and Nikki now know that KB has taken in some jail air. So that’s that no more kissing behind columns.

Finally the Captain (Bir Sakhuja) is in the Building! And looking like a suited greasy stockbroker bhav copy in hand. No wonder the Moll wants a KB tuning! Captain annoyed with his flunkeys including No. 1 and No. 2 for botching the last bank job. Also Captain is being tailed by the police thanks to the car left in Nikki’s garage by the Moll that has been traced to him. Now KB turns up yet again to deliver Qaidi No. 114’s message. Time for Rustam’s Parsi Patois comedy routine! Then a door painted with decadent Victorians (I so don’t need a Fat Flashman reminder!) and into the Captain’s lair. Lippy lippy KB uh huh Boy has Bombay Attitude in spades! But also stupid stupid KB for Captain offers him a taxi on the condition that it is available when required by the Captain and KB agrees. Also Moll can’t wait to eat the delicious cupcake that is KB but the tease is still not putting out!

Now KB has a taxi and Elaichi a cleaning job. KB goes off to give lady love Nikki a spin but she is not giving the time of her day to a crim. So KB hauls her off to the police station and the Man assures her he is a good sort and gives him an actual character certificate. Clearly the golden age of policing. Now a spin through the streets of Mumbai and car song and Nikki all remorseful and KB all petulant before being manoed. A man can get away with so much when he is a wicked sweet cupcake!

KB now consorting with the Captain and his crims – his taxi is the getaway vehicle - and in a heist dry run that is quite, quite botched up by No. 1, No. 2 and Rustam. Captain is thunderous and furious and we must do better! But inexplicably now time for Nikki to perve on a shirtless KB by arriving unannounced at his house only to find him bathing. Nikki not doing the horizontal tango with shirtless KB (where is the Moll when you need her!) but inexplicably only making plans to set up house. Also inexplicably KB confesses his desire to marry Nikki to the Moll who suggests he elope if the Dad does not agree. And indeed Dad all deeply annoyed at KB’s marriage proposal. So naturalment KB all attitude, lippy and annoying and making poor Nikki chose between him and Dad. So Nikki plans to elope with him at midnight - always a good hour for elopement! But Dad at his never ending chess game interspersed with comments to prevent daughter’s elopement like Nikki is such a dutiful daughter, discussing lafangas who left their lovers etc. So Nikki not going anywhere and KB’s plan chaupat. Time to take himself off to the Moll but Moll singing a song on The Secret Pain and Unhappiness of Molls. KB totally not taking this opportunity to be the Moll’s Comfort Pillow for the sweet cupcake is still a little in love with Nikki. Awww!

Time for another random song in which KB gets to sing love murdabad with various women. Whatever. Also time for more of the Rustam Parsi Patois comedy track where Rustam, the girlfriend, the fat mom, and siblings go to a zoo and Rustam has a very difficult time getting some nookie time before managing the Johnny Walker Item Song. Whatever. Meanwhile another heist and contraband being thrown off a suburban train, no less! And KB finds a few bullets in contraband! Man is in deep shit but oblivious, however Elaichi is doing his best to get him back on track and lands up at the Captain’s adda Nikki in tow. Where KB is lounging around with the Moll – it appears that the Moll Tuning is finally going well! So well that KB spurns Nikki for spurning him and Nikki is singing the Sad Version of Happy Song.

KB now investigating further and finds that boxes thrown from trains totally do not contain Lifebuoy even if this is indicated on the carton but may contain bullets. Tubelight KB! Now KB as usual being lippy and showing attitude to the Captain and announcing he is walking away. Captain is all my darling sweet cupcake you ain't going anywhere and has him trussed up and orders Rustam to kill KB. Rustam very unhappy because this means a lifetime in the slammer sans his sweetie with the fat mom and annoying siblings. And the Moll is all over her trussed up cupcake and suggesting they elope, she seems a bit fixated on elopments eh! But KB is all I am a wicked sweet delicious cupcake that shall be touched only by saucy Nikki’s lips. Now the Moll is totally over the fool and suggests to the Captain that kidnapping Nikki may be the way to get KB to get on with the heist as opposed to ummm killing him. Because it’s just so hard to find a driver! So Nikki and Elaichi are kidnapped! Nikki and Moll are now in a farmhouse 30 miles away while Elaichi is quite trussed up and No. 2 is left in charge.

Time for another amateur bank robbery heist with KB in the getaway car. But Rustam decides to turn straight so off he goes with KB to rescue Nikki. No. 1 and henchmen give chase but Rustam is quite the match for them. As he is for the farmhouse crims. Good Man Rustam! Nikki and KB now reunited! But the Moll escapes and now Captain is around too and time for jungle shootout that empties every bit of ammunition the Captain has ever had! Also oy here’s to a Moll gaily shooting at the object of her spurned affections as opposed to copping a few of her own saving him! Meanwhile Elaichi has given No. 2 the slip and is here with the Police who arrive just in time in the last frame of the film! So it’s off to the slammer for the Captain and the Moll though the Captain is so going to work the Kaale Badal Mein Bijli, Badi Tasveer Saaf Kar Dena messages. Now Nikki’s Dad is here too and all contrite so here we are at the end and its curtains and sexy time for our saucy minx and hot and delicious cupcake!

And with that, I have exceeded my normal quota of Hindi movies by about 4. So next review break ke baad!

A tiny dedication - this post for my grandfather, who is much missed.


I am not sure if Aar Paar is the first of the kind of movies that are familiar in Hindi cinema. It's release date of 1954 suggests that its liberal employment of Mumbai patois and its mix of big city noir, gangster culture, the shootout climax, inventive framing of shots and youthful romance must have been a fresh take for its time - and it retains this freshness. Its possibly the first of the crim-com genre and pretty much most of the cast is on good form here and the songs for the most part are pleasant, infectious interludes. This is an exuberant if slight film that is essentially a love letter to Bombay (it’s possible the streets were cleared for shooting but the city looks spacious and empty) and entirely different in tone from the films that Guru Dutt made later. It gets so much right that its faults are best ignored.