Saturday, 10 September 2011

Thoroughly Modern Nina

So I saw Andaz.

And though sophomore efforts are difficult, this is how it goes!

19 year old heiress Nina (Nargis) is on vacation and ADORABLY CUTE – we know this because she wears fetching jodhpurs, pouts at doting daddy who wants to lie abed and playfully cracks the whip at the help on her way out. The artless airhead then mounts her horse and is soon riding over hills and vales till the horse can’t stand so much adorable cuteness and runs amok. Will our heroine die – nah! A few minutes later she is rescued by Dilip (Dilip Kumar) and then wakes in a hospital. Pretty soon she is engaging in ADORABLY CUTE banter with Dilip. Now we know that Nins is lively and friendly and Dilip is a smart arse. Then Daddy-O arrives and is unfairly annoyed at the eager arriviste who saved his daughter. Before they depart, Dilip receives an invitation from Nins to come visit her in the city for she is like totes indebted to him for saving her life. Then Nins is waking up and looking rather skittish and ADORABLY CUTE in high-waisted loose pants and soon Dilip is at her door and looking like he wants to get into those pants. But Nins is not all like !psycho stalker! but engaging in more ADORABLY CUTE banter. Oh that Dilip! The divine looks, the smart arsery, the casual racism (I am from Africa but do not look like a gorilla)! And pretty soon he has hopped onto a piano and is singing about TOTALLY LOSING HIS HEART and look Nins is all coy and has a fluffy dog and isn’t that ADORABLY CUTE! Then Dilip leaves and runs headlong into Sheila (Cuckoo). But this takkar is no meet cute though saucy Sheila loses her heart (but fails to sing about it) but Dilip (that boy, such a smart arse!) is all sparky with her. Before long all three are thick as thieves and playing badminton and Dilip is running all over the court beating off Nins and Sheila both looking ADORABLY CUTE in their playing togs. Then Nins and Sheila are all like wow this guy is a smart arse, sings, rescue damsels, plays badminton and your viewer is equally convinced and having a twitter stream in her head where everything about Dilip is #inappropriatecrushonalmostdeadactor. Then the girls are all like we want to sing too and you can play the piano and soon they are begging Dilip to fall in love with RECKLESS ABANDON, no less! And Dilip is not like can I have both you ladies, nom nom, thank you very much but totes ignoring Sheila and looking at Nins. And Nins is looking at Sheila cos she totally wants her BFFs - Dilip and Sheila - to get together. Oh Nins, don’t live up to that artless airhead moniker!

The life of the idle rich, don’t we all want it? For soon Nins is going to have a party and wants to invite Dilip but Daddy-O is all like no you can’t. And Nins is very very annoyed because she is a FREE SPIRIT. And also ADORABLY CUTE. But Daddy-O is thinking of SAMAJ and its intolerance of the free ways of Nins. But Nins of course gets her way and calls Dilip. And then Dilip has to sing for his supper and Sheila has to dance for hers and Dilip is like totes and openly besotted with Nins and declaring that he is going to sing for her perpetually (say no Nins girl, there is only so much of a foghorn voice (Mukesh) that one can endure!). Now Sheila knows too and is all like biatch, she always gets my man.  And the old folks are like nodding their head to show SEVERE DISAPPROVAL. So time for another dad-daughter talk and Daddy-O is like freedom is a bad thing for an Indian girl and Nins is like I will never do anything to hurt you or besmirch your GOOD NAME and Dad is all satisfied and it’s all very touching.

And before I forget, Nins girl I totally heart your wardrobe. Especially that robe with a big monogrammed N. Classy!

Then Sheila has a party - stupid girl you are never going to get that psycho stalker away from Nins! But Nins is all like careful with Dilip at the party and dancing with old gentlemen and STILL trying to get Dilip and Sheila together (give up will yer Nins). Meanwhile Dilip is like I WILL DECLARE MY LOVE TODAY. Then Nins has a phone call and oh no Daddy-O had a HEART ATTACK. And she goes home, Dilip in tow, and he is DEAD. Then Nins is all like shattered and silent and Dilip gets her back to normal. Oh that Dilip – yes, forcibly showing a girl her dead Dad’s photo is the best possible way to hammer into the head of Nins the Ninny that the man is irrevocably DEAD! Then Nins has a board meeting and decides to fritter – sorry use - Daddy-O’s hard earned by building hospitals and treating people for FREE! And stunningly Dilip, her saviour, her BFF, is to be in charge. And Dilip is soon giving orders and being TOTALLY noble and ensuring good works. Oh Dilip, MELT! Then Nins is like singing a song and Dilip arrives and thinks it’s about him. But alas Dilip it is not about you. For Nins is off to the airport so her BFF can meet.....her London returned fiancĂ©! Oh no how did this happen! Poor Dilip is thunderstruck and aghast - especially when rubberface bobblehead Rajan (Raj Kapoor) utters the words he is to repeat in every single film he has ever been in (Achhaa Ji, twitter hash tag #pointlessirritatingnotcutefilmphrase). Go away Rajan, Dilip ftw! But oh no now he is meeting Mummy and then he is paying respects to dead Daddy-O and Dilip is looking like a neglected thundercloud. Then Dilip has to sing another song (aka #massivelyinappropriatehindifilmsong) and he is all like my heart is splintered, I am dying inside of love, Nins you are ABORABLY CUTE, you are doing me in, my heart is murderous, can I strangle and bury forever this bobblehead’s nascent film career? Oh Dilip, that look of pure venom at poor Rajan! MELT. Nins the artless airhead is of course still clueless. But Rajan is all like dude I know what’s going on here and see how ADORABLY CUTE I look being ADORABLY CUTE with Nins so watch me mouthing fuck off!

Then director decides it’s time for some light comedy. Bad move. Rajan has a “guardian” who turns up - Professor “desi harmonium pe vilayati raag nahin bajana” (Ha Ha good one Prof. NOT) is a buffoon speaking for tradition and boys and girls can never be BFFs. Massive own goal for Des! Then Rajan, Nins, Dilip and the Professor are off to yet another party at Sheila’s. Sheila, Sheila – that lithe body is all very well but why am I in love with your curiously flat voice? And Dilip is still looking like a neglected thundercloud while Nins and Rajan are dancing the night away. At some point Professor promises Sheila’s dad that his “son” Dilip will marry Sheila cos the old folk have to arrange stuff for the young uns. Professor – still scoring massive own goals for des! RUN, Dilip, RUN! Then Dilip, Nins and Rajan return home (ooh look Dilip has his own room here!) and Dilip is all like I am way too ill and Nins has to go and persuade him to have dinner. Then he is all hurt that Nins hadn’t told him about Rajan. And Nins is like you may be a boy but you are my BFF so I should have totally told you.  Pointless flashback with boring Rajan, meet cute, blah blah, love, blah blah, rich boy, blah blah, Daddy-O loves him, blah blah, going to London, blah blah, I will wait for my true love. Oh good, now Dilip is back. Then they all have dinner, #massiveowngoals still on. Des looking utterly bad, vilayat very good. Then Dilip smacks down the Professor - Vilayati goal! - and does RUN but only back to his room.

Soon Nins is Mrs. Rajan. You guessed it, PARTY TIME! Sheila shall dance, Dilip shall sing! But look there is no Dilip. He is packing to leave! Nins must save the day! Poor Nins then has the shock of her life when Dilip (#inappropriatemomentstodeclareyourlove) confesses to being besotted with ADORABLY CUTE Nins. AWKWARD. Then Nins is all like no no I love ADORABLY CUTE Rajan and Good God does everyone but me know this and have I encouraged this? And Dilip is like I will never stop loving you but I am leaving. MELT! SOB! Then Nins goes back in and its so not party time. Then Dilip has a change of heart and is BACK. Yay, time for another #massivelyinappropriatehindifilmsong! Oh no, Dilip is so sad and trying to smile through his pain! MELT! But Nins can’t wait for him to complete the song and runs away. And runs even further by taking off to the hills with Rajan. Now Rajan and she are being totes ADORABLE CUTENESS and bonking each other like rabbits. But Nins is also getting a little strange in the head for she is missing the BFF. Hey Dilip, you have a foot in, prise the door open! But Dilip is far away, managing Nins affairs. Instead spectral Dilip is following her around and suggesting she is in LOVE WITH HIM AND JUST DOESN’T KNOW IT. Way to mess around with a girl’s head, Dilip! Nins is now convinced she must never return to the city and so understanding Rajan stays on. Also Nins is still trying to engineer the Sheila-Dilip hook up but its TOTALLY NOT HAPPENING for he loves Nins. Nins is now bonkers by the minute though still sweet on Rajan. Then she has a baby. Time for director to raise the freedom for baby women question. Rajan is all for it, Nins is like I don’t want a mini me with a Dilip in her future. Oh Nins, you are an artless airhead!

Then baby is 1 and Rajan is we must return home and Nins has to give in. And Dilip is writing a long letter. On how he still loves Nins, how he stayed on for two years so there would be no suspicion about Nins’ reputation and how she is a devoted wife. And now its time for him to leave. Oh Dilip, how much can a woman MELT, time to take back the psycho stalker! But er he is putting this letter in Baby’s GIFT! #rubbingeyesindisbelief @ #envelopealternatives! Meanwhile PARTY TIME! Boring song for baby only enlivened by a complete cessation of sound when Nins spots Dilip. Then its LIGHTS OFF!

Then Nins spies Dilip and is all agitated, tells him she is all Rajan’s, she is desperately unhappy and he shouldn’t have confessed his love and can he please please marry Sheila (wtf Nins!) so as to not get in the way? Then LIGHTS ON!  Oh no its Rajan she's speaking to! And he is annoyed! Rajan is now being an arsehole though Nins is removing his shoes in a show of devotion and proclaiming her pure and deep love. Also Rajan more angry because even baby prefers Dilip's gift!  Then Dilip arrives. And tries to sort out matters by explaining to Rajan that his wife truly loves him. Bad move, Rajan all huffy that Dilip knows his wife better! Meanwhile Nins is singing a song about absorbing pain - BORING!  Then Rajan and Dilip get into a tussle and soon Dilip has been thwacked by a tennis racket, Rajan leaves home and Nins has to take Dilip to the hospital.

At this point there is no vilayati goal aka Nins is not like Dilip you so make my lady parts BLUSH and let's get it on but time for some directorial fuckery  i.e. another massive desi own goal sending film southwards. Plot like Nins runaway horse. Rajan is all cuntish and takes away baby and is cruel to Nins. Oh no Nins singing ANOTHER bloody song, time for a ciggie break. Dilip has a bandage and is so affected by that bashing he is now an overacting psycho stalker i.e. #absurdplottwist cos #idon'tknowhowtoendthisdamnthing.  Pretty soon Nins can't bear the lousy acting and has to shoot him dead. Pity she let Rajan scot free for the same sins. BORING! 

Now Nins is in the dock for murder. Lots of blah blah on an Indian woman in modern dress is still a chaste Indian woman. Sheila is a true BFF and testifies that Nins so loves Rajan. But Rajan is all like no way she doesn't love me, she shot Dilip to prove she is a chaste wife. Oh go away, Rajan! Then Nins is all like whatevers, perhaps the gallows are better than a lifetime of the bobblehead. Then Rajan goes home and tries to wreck the Dilip toy. And there is the letter! Now he knows all and rushes back to Nins. But Nins is to be sent off to the Andamans. So they meet, cry and decide baby will not fall into the bad ways of high society and vilayat like Nins. GAH! YAWN! ASLEEP!

Though Baby just as likely grew up to snort cocaine and bang the proverbial baker's dozen before she got married.

Suprisingly I knew nothing of this movie, I picked up Andaz because I like a few of its foghorn songs.  Bar the latter section on tradition/modernity which is unconvincing and entirely not required for the point of the film surely is not modern mores but that a man and a woman can be friends and be misunderstood by each other and the world at large, it is  a pretty good film. It is smartly made (and quite influenced by Hollywood) and suffused with the energy and youth of its main cast.  The banter and high spirits are convincing and the first half of the film is quite delightful.  The film is pretty much carried by Nargis who is pretty good (and a bit of a style icon in this film) and Dilip Kumar in whom you can see the beginnings of the great actor he was to be (sadly also the caricature he was to be!).  There are bits of Indian movie history in this film too e.g. Mukesh lending his voice to Dilip K, Rafi to Raj K. Its a movie crying out for an updated remake or at least a homage a la Douglas Sirk/Todd Haynes

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