Friday, 25 May 2012

Once Upon A Time in Lucknow

So I saw Chaudhvin Ka Chand.

This movie is part of a now dead genre, the Muslim Social. As such it is like watching something moth balled surfacing into the bright light, an anachronism but one so forgotten that it is not as dreadful as you thought. It also stars Fat Flashman who started as a joke but I have grown fond of him! Here his Book of Nawabi Tehzeeb serves him ill so we hope he is back in his red boudoir in his next outing:-) And away we go with our pictorial guide:

First let me say I love Censor Board certificates and totally think they should be on Tees and personalised and mine is going to be a certificate for Fat Flashman’s Lady in which I shall star as his Lady.  Dream, dream, sigh. Anyway coming back to the movie, Fat Flashman is a rich nabob called Nawab/Pyare Mian (Rehman) and he hangs out a fair bit with a bloke called Shazia (Johnny Walker) who is the kind of chap whose entire purpose in life is to loiter in the bazaars, chat up lines in hand, in search of comely ladies.  The ladies of Lucknow are all demure and shit though - unless they are old in which case they talk to strange men and don’t bother to shut the hatch. 

Jameela (Waheeda Rehman) here however has a propensity to remove her veil at all inopportune moments and here she is doing just that.  Nawab who until then has been reciting chapter and verse of Nawabi Tehzeeb to Shaiza the Sleaze suddenly forgets himself when he sees Jameela and is all happy and shit and thinking yay yay One True Pairing (OTP) and can't take his eyes of her and perhaps that smile is a bit creepy and Jameela thinks he is a perve and down goes the veil. Soon she is lost in the crowd and you are thinking fuck life was hard for the Truehearts of Lucknow. 

Nawab’s sister is around so its LADIES PARTY TIME! OTP Jameela rocks along to the party and just so you know that this is not an OTP, spies Nawab’s picture and calls him an ugly fool. And he spots her and hears this and is totes happy because everyone knows in lady talk ugly fool=Love Ya! OTP!  Meanwhile the ladies are all singing and eye rolling and Nawab is spying and hey has totally discarded that Tehzeeb Book.

What with spying and chasing Jameela, Nawab ends up with a piece of her dupatta.  And his lady maid is going to find out who the dupatta belongs to! Exciting! Only Jameela exchanges the dupatta with a friend. Everyone does this right, I myself have a stock of other ladies duppatas! So the lady maid gets it all wrong. Meanwhile Shaiza and Super Dost, Aslam (Guru Dutt) come along and Nawab is YAY boys now I want to fling fucking red hearts all around because I found my OTP!!  Also looks like Lucknowi Tehzeeb likes its lady servants unveiled.

This here is Nawab’s mother. All her dialogues consist of tumhari shaadi bas ho jaye, man it must be VERY TEDIOUS to be an old lady actor.  She’s found a match, the daughter of the maulvi but Nawab is no maulvi girls will stand between me and my OTP!! But nope the mom has promised the maulvi. So off he goes to meet Super Dost to convince him to marry The Maulvi’s Daughter. Turns out its Nawab who is the super dost who has helped Aslam a great deal.  I  am all mixed feelings here R, should I stay loyal to Fat Flashman or is that Aslam daku moustache a bit menacing or what? I feel the slightest degree of a swoon!

Nawab here has opened his book and figured out the correct gesture to be made per tehzeeb when trying to shut up a friend singing your praises and we can both agree he looks Stoopid. But let's abandon Aslam too since both are being all tehzeeby and deciding that Aslam gets to marry the Maulvi’s daughter. If you don’t know who the Maulvi’s daughter is, aap Hindi Cinema ki pariksha mein fail!

Soon Aslam is having a fancy schmancy wedding through which we have to Suffer the Shaiza and then he is in a non-red boudoir strictly meant for the ladies amongst us who like gauze, pink, moonlight, shairi – that is not us – and then its veil lifting time and this here is his bride.  You may please stop reading if you hadn’t like guessed the bride by now.

Meanwhile Nawab chasing the wrong dupatta thinks that this lady here is his OTP inamorta and manages to arrange a meeting. Except the lady gets all scared by the way too ardent admirer. Meanwhile Aslam is doing some boudoir seduction and while as 20 year olds we might have sat before TVs and been swoon swoon over Chaudhvin ka Chand Ho, now you are thinking does a song really need THAT many fucking similies?

So the wrong OTP inamorata doesn’t turn up and Nawab gets beaten up and the friends turn up to rally his spirits, keep your chin up lad, Mystery Lady shall soon be yours! Then they are all in a market place and Shaiza is in disguise all the better to trap the ladies.  Ladies, never trust a beard. 

Is Jameela a tease? She is forever unveiling herself in bazaars. And exchanging stuff, this time the burqa with this girl here. Shaiza who knows she is Nawab’s OTP but not Aslam’s wife, clicks a picture. And here’s the thing, THERE IS NO FUCKING FURTHER MENTION OF THIS PICTURE. I must now add that to IMDB bloopers. 

That burqa exchange means Aslam now thinks Mystery Lady is his relative and arranges a match between her and Nawab.  Meanwhile Shaiza seems to be sweet on a dancing lady who is – relief – unveiled. Though I have no idea why he gets around in this disguise like ALL THE TIME. 

Here’s Jameela again, a woman who clearly doesn’t know how to use her veil appropriately because she has rocked up to the front door of her house WITHOUT WEARING ONE! Nawab comes in and thinks she is the relative he is getting married to and is all refined Nawabi glee and this is getting on my nerves and I need to calm myself with a dose of Fucking Fat Flashman (though not perhaps the way I put it here as he is quite dead) but I will soon be back. 

But Aslam knows otherwise and is yay I am the Tragedy King and can now be sunk in gloom and look tortured because I know my best mate has his mitts on my wife and would like nothing more than to fuck her. Jameela - who STILL doesn't know that Nawab wants her badly - is all fuck my veil-less opening of doors has served me ill and there is nothing left to do but weep and mope. 

Is there something creepy in going to look at an erotic dance by your best mate’s girl in order to get your wife to want to divorce you so she can marry your super dost? Looks like Lucknowi Nawabi Tehzeeeb says no. But the friends are deeply concerned by the ruinous ways of Aslam. And that’s not another Shaiza disguise, he’s got himself a police job all the better to fancy the ladies.

Aslam's kotha hopping results in Jameela’s tough brothers rocking up and Aslam is all I will divorce your sister only you MUST re-marry her to Nawab. Jameela is not like Fuck why Nawab but I will never ever leave you. So that’s the end of Bad Aslam In Search of A Divorce for the sake of His Best Friend. But Aslam Super Dost has to do something so that Nawab gets his girl and that there is how you look when you are planning your own death.

Meanwhile Nawab is all set to marry the wrong girl but rushes off to pick up Aslam because he hasn’t bothered to turn up for the wedding party because well he is planning to die remember.  And inexplicably Aslam is not wife, disrobe at once, but wife dress up in wedding finery one last time.  I am beginning to have doubts about this Tehzeeb book. Though of course its helpful Jameela didn’t disrobe because like Nawab comes over and realises that his OTP IS ASLAM'S WIFE! 

Poor Nawab is all shattered when he thinks of all the lust filled days that came to naught and what could have been if he had said yes to the Maulvi’s daughter. I am afraid I was distracted by the velvet and embroidered hearts, don’t you fancy a man who is not scared of sequins?!

The Tehzeeb Book apparently said Shame on You for Lusting After Another's Wife! So poor Nawab  chooses Death by Diamonds and looking at that picture you know greater love has no man etc. and we have finally finally arrived at the correct OTP! Yay! And Aslam is all Jameela, enough of this unveiling shit, put that thing down RIGHT NOW! And Jameela STILL doesn't know what the fuck happened. 

And now that it is over Fat Flashman, you may please go back to The Sadist's Handbook and drinking games.

I expected to have lots of eyeroll moments given the theme of Chaudhvin Ka Chand but given everything it wasn't half bad.  I say this often but the way dialogue is written and delivered makes a difference and here it lends a natural flow to the film.  The film is also slightly ambiguous, ostensibly an ode to the culture of Lucknow its neither very flamboyant nor does it particularly milk its dramatic moments. Something else seems to flow beneath its surface though its not a critique of the culture either. If it is an ode, it comes across as a faintly subversive ode to Lucknow. As it stands, it seems intended to be a homage to male friendship, both on screen and off given the three actors worked together in a number of films. 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Ra.Onestein or The Modern Franken.One

So I saw Ra.One.

The Ramayana had a flying monkey, a bad man with ten heads, monkeys building bridges, a flying machine, an illusory deer and a pair of slippers on the throne of Ayodhaya.  It’s a pretty hard act to top.  This “live blog”/ankhon dekha haal of a supposed modern adaptation skips along on its own time (yes I know the running time is 156 minutes!) because that’s how long it felt.  

9:00 pm: Good Lord, I am living with rays, frequencies, kikikirans! PARANOIA ALERT! OK a nice lady scientist just told me it’s digital data flying around.

9:05 pm:  Nice Lady Scientist Jenny (Shahana Goswami) is trying to beam in a picture without a computer, puncturing the real-virtual interface and so on at a presentation.  Old firangs in audience astonished/aghast at pure Indian brilliance.

9:20 pm: A superdude called Lucifer (Shahrukh Khan) is flying around. A desi girl in Red (Priyanka Chopra) is all Go Lucifer Go!

9:25 pm: Random insert from Hong Kong film of  Iski Lee, Uski Lee, Sabki Lee.  Lady relatives of Bruce Lee, I presume.

9: 35 pm: BIG DADDY vs LUCIFER is on.  Actually its Khalnayak-Sanjay Dutt (doing a tapori accent for the nth time) vs the Lucifer Mobile.

9: 40 pm: Sanjay Dutt has a BIG gun. Promised myself no dick jokes.

9:45 pm: Desi Girl in Red is falling through the time-space continuum. The Khalnayak may have been castrated, he is speaking in a girl voice.

9:46 pm: It’s the teacher speaking. D’oh! it’s all a dream. Boy dreaming it needs to see a shrink if this constitutes his classroom fantasies. 

10:00 pm: Prateek the Boy’s father is a Shekhar Subramanian (Sharukh Khan), resident of London Town. Antithesis of superhero. Eats thair shaadam and says Aiyo! Has curly hair. It’s all like Mehmood wore pant shirt but kept the nariyal paaniwala accent. Seriously people we are willing to train you so you have a proper Tamil Accent!

10:10 pm:  Shekhar also Sexless Tamil Man. Meets Busty Blonde Girl.  Doesn’t want to see her tits, just her keys. We are like that only.

10:15 pm: Is that a Sam Pitroda look alike as a tech honcho? Was this movie thought up in the 90s?

10:20 pm: Sexless Tamil Man all sexy at home. Because the wife Sonia looks like Kareena K.

10:25 pm: Feminist Sonia has a day job converting swear words relating to the female anatomy to its male version. Sonia, they already EXIST, we will email you a few!

10:26 pm: Sexless Tamil Man eating curd and noodles.

10:30 pm: Pleasant thoughts on my part of setting up a Curd with EverythingTM range ranging from mild to teeth tingling sourTM  bottled curd. Anytime anywhere your sushi/steak/Aussie pie/pizza etc. can be improved with a dash of our special curd! As Shekhar’s fingers rhythmically  mash mash also plan to rebrand Tamil cuisine. All Finger FoodsTM, Lick Them FingersTM – it’s all finger licking good!

11:00 pm In the meantime Prateek has been insolent, Shekhar  has done a Michael Jackson impersonation, there is a sexy teacher song, a video game was played – man, this kid seems a wee bit obsessed with villains, he might grow up to be a serial killer.  Blame it on the Sonia genes.

11:05 pm:  Sexless Tamil Man has Chinese colleague called Akashi. Insert Jackie Chan Jokes – only Chinese person us Indians know.

11:10 pm:  The Game is Afoot.  Shekhar, Jenny, Akashi making video game for Prateek. Send the insufferable child to Boot Camp instead!

11:15 pm: Bad Thing: Ra.One, Good Thing: G.One. There is a Hertz Amplifying Resonance Transmitter (HART). Yay for Science!

11:20 pm:  The game has a blue heart, a red heart and an Anti-Heart Gun (to kill exes, to inoculate against romance?).  You kill and be killed. It’s all in a lab that looks like Ajit the Loin-Hearted’s Den preserved in Liquid Oxygen.

11:25 pm: Dad and son meet the only English goon who speaks in Hindi. Sexless Tamil Man is also a coward and runs away. Resolves to make superhero game with badmash superstrong invincible villain to make up to villain fixated son.

11:30 pm: A little later the Pitroda look alike is presenting the Ra.One game in a shiny suit with satin lapels like a small town boxing promoter. 

11:35 pm: Launch party song with nary an AIYO in it. Apparently video games are launched with booty shake dances. Sonia I have no desire to see the colour of your panties. 

11:40 pm: I fear for the sanity of this film.

11:45 pm: Franken.One is showing signs of life.

11:50 pm: What the fuck. I hear the word Lucifer being bandied. Why is there a Lucifer in this homage to our beloved dear epic?!

11:55 pm: Game On! Boy Prateek as Lucifer faces off against Franken.One oops Ra.One but leaves midway. Ra.One is a J Lopez Level Diva who swears revenge for being so spurned.

11:56 pm: Did no one test the game before Prateek!

12:00 pm: Like in a 80s video arcade or bad horror film there is crackling electricity and portentous music as Shekhar and Akashi try to fix Game Gone Wild.  Game sensibly spits Ra.One out into the real world.

12:05 pm:  Now Akashi is dead and Ra.One looks like Akashi. Is this a metaphor for pan Asian rivalry?

12:10 pm: Ra.One/Akashi searching for Lucifer meets Shekhar. Who is all It’s me who is Lucifer and kapow he is dead too. Sigh, I was hoping they would disappear Prateek.

12:15 pm: Prateek is all Dad has been killed by the Game Ka Villian. Wonder Boy goes to lab with Jenny and finds that Ra.One=Akashi=Looking for Lucifer.

12:20 pm: Now there is a G.One who looks like Shahrukh Khan.

12:25 pm: G.One and Ra.One fight.  With lifted  cars. Pfft, Dharmindar BENT those cars before launching them as missiles.

12:35 pm: Just like that Ra.One is dead. And G.One is travelling to Mumbai as a pierced punk with Sonia and Prateek as their all-purpose bodyguard. The gays LURVE him. Pity the same can’t be said of audience.

12:45 pm: Why are there so many thugs at Mumbai airport? Why is Rajnikant there looking like his wax face might melt/disintegrate anytime leaving an old, bald South Indian actor?

12:50 pm: Several days later Prateek realises G.One looks like automaton Shekhar. Children too much game playing will addle your brains.  

12:55 pm: I think G.One just said Cunt Cunt Cunt Off. That’s how he says Control Off.  

12:56: G.One, Sonia and Prateek are bonding. But no I had Sex with an Automaton for the perverse.

1:05 pm: But look who’s here! Ra.One is in town for the Dusshera party (phew finally an epic nod!). He looks like Arjun Rampal. 10 heads is a LOT simpler than this endless shape shifting.

1:10 pm: Ra.One on Lucifer’s trail. Prateek is an unlikeable devil for sure.

1:15 pm: Briefly Sonia is Ra-One. Seriously.

1:25 pm: Ra-One G.One showdown!

1:26 pm: I think G.One’s crotch is on fire.  Is it matters of the HART or overheated circuitry?

1:35 pm: Ra.One is dead. So is G.One. Or alive. Or back in the game. Or cryogenically preserved for a sequel. Whatever. On the wall it says GAME OVER so it must be all over. 

1:40 pm: A few months later Prateek has revived G.One’s HART.  So not HARTed. I just wanted him G.One Baby G.One.

This movie must appeal to someone but for the life of me I can’t say who will actually like this bewildering mess, including the 15-25 male demographic at which such films are aimed.  The movie veers erratically from kid flick to frat boy humour to masala pichar with item songs (all equally hateful) to homage to superhero/sci-fi flicks churned out by Hollywood.  And like with most superhero movies all the tech wizardy distinctly underwhelms. And Mr. Khan, a reliably bad actor, sends the Ham-O-Meter (that’s the kind of dated American slang this movie likes) way, way off the chart here.   

And this is no updated Ramayana.  It’s more likely the result of an afternoon spent watching numerous DVDs, drinking a whole case of cheap wine until all your brain cells are soaked in alcohol and then making a movie.  Pity they weren’t handing out shots of that cheap wine to us before the film.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Mahatma in Madras

So I saw Naam Iruvar.

Mr&Mrs 47: Sukumar and Kannama
Smoke break for Hanuman and Hanumantha
This movie was released in the January of 1947 when feelings of nationalism presumably ran high and independence was imminent. Judiciously, AVM took a play on estranged brothers and social ills, added a dash of Bharathi by way of songs and smothered the whole thing in Gandhi worship to come up with Naam Iruvar (We Two). 1947’s patriotic masala pichar unfolds thus. Note: The links are to film clips (the entire film is on youtube) - not to the songs.

Yippee, straightaway CYCLE SONG! Sukumar (TR Mahalingam) and Kannamma (T.A. Jayalakshmi) are pals. Sukumar is an adorable cherub of the kind girls chastely kiss at sixteen and Kannamma is the kind of girl whose sari is carefully in place and she is wearing sensible shoes. When they part, they say JAI HIND! Ah 1947 lovers!

Sukumar then meets his sister, Kamala (Kumari Kamala) and they are off to a Subramanya Bharathi felicitation. DANCE! CHARKHA FLAG! PATRIOTIC SONG! SPEECH! Mr Bharathi is great and Mr Gandhi is super great! JAI HIND!

Meanwhile Sukumar’s brother Jayakumar (B.R. Panthulu) is aghast at his rich old man (A.K. Sarangapani?) who wants to marry a girl young enough to be his granddaughter. Since the Dad is bent on his lecherous ways and won’t listen to Jayakumar’s voice of reason (albeit a very dull one) they soon part ways. Sukumar and Kamala are also all "Appa, this is too much I say!" and throw in their lot with the very uptight and very honourable Jayakumar. Soon they are all nicely settled in a new house and young Kamala has even set up a shrine for Mr. Gandhi.

Enter Vishwam who is Kannamma’s maama and hoping to marry her. He is a thoroughly bad sort because he is in vellakaran suit boot and hangs out with a gang in English suits one of whom egads has a very fluffy white dog (such symbolism, remind me to keep company only with brown dogs!). Vishwam is trying to convince Kannamma to marry him.  Clever and witty Kannamma gives him the slip - but not before saying JAI HIND, Maama!

Jayakumar and Sukumar are like Raam-Laxman. That is Sukumar has little to do and lives on allowances from his brother. Mrs Jayakumar is a bit unhappy with this but that hardly deters Sukumar from his evening fun. His idea of fun is to sit in parks with lakes and ducks and sing at the top of his voice with the utmost ease. Soon he is joined by Kannamma and they are singing a sweet ditty. January 1947, swing, love duet, Sukumar of the melodious voice. HEAVEN! And Kannamma’s sari ornaments – hearted!

Now time for Kannamma’s parents. Kannamma’s mother wants her to marry her brother Vishwam, her dad, Mr Shanmugham Pillai (V.K. Ramasamy) is no way am I getting my daughter married to that good for nothing rascal living off me! Plus the Dad is worshipping at the shrine of MONEY and is contemplating a marriage proposal from a Mr. Ramaswamy Pillai. Who is none other than the dad of Jayakumar and Sukumar. The parents quarrel, the maama behaves inappropriately and is thrown OUT! So off he goes to meet his Gang but not before exposing Kannamma’s dalliance with Sukumar. Poor Kannamma now has her movements restricted though Sukumar does appear from time to time in her dreams. Though he is not making violent love just singing songs (any resemblance to ankhiyan mile ke purely umm coincidental).  The dilemmas of romancing a singer!

The Maama and his Gang are now in need of easy money and Sukumar is the idiot they choose to fleece of his wealth. This however requires his estrangement from Mr Purse Strings aka Anna Jayakumar. Sukumar shall no longer be a su-kumar! Watch Sukumar’s slow corruption! Here is Sukumar smoking! Here he is in a club! Here he is drinking! Here he is watching a dancing girl! And now he is agreeing to finance a Mr Hanumantha Rao’s film! Never trust the Gultis!

Now everyone is singing “There is no greater BROTHER than a FRIEND” which is what you do when you fall into English ways and call everyone Brother. And sucks to tightwad Tamil Annas who dole out allowances!

So Sukumar returns home and tries to steal money for the film but is caught by Jayakumar who misguidedly gives a high minded speech. At which Sukumar is sod it, he is a moralising freak with devious intentions and totally wants to keep my share. He then drinks some more, slaps Kamala, misbehaves with Jayakumar and demands the splitting of their wealth. And Jayakumar cries and speechifies but Sukumar stands firm in the midst of brotherly histrionics and takes away his share. Oh Sukumar you are a very bad boy.

Meanwhile Mr. Ramaswamy Pillai’s proposal for Kannamma is not all smooth sailing. Kannamma’s Dad, the Greed is Good guy, is holding out the carrot of marriage but not delivering - all the better to divest Mr. Ramaswamy Pillai of his wealth. And Kannamma herself is all sadface now that she can no longer meet Sukumar but this is soon remedied when she confesses all to her mother and her mother is all ditch Vishwam, you go girl and marry Sukumar. But Sukumar is too busy being bad.

Time for Sukumar’s film venture! Mr Hanumantha Rao is going to make a mythological called Veera Hanuman! The Gang goes berserk with Hanumantha-Hanuman jokes, Vishwam hires a top shot actress who is a bit of a diva and has a Telugu prompter, 1947 style.  No Telugus were offended in the making of this film! Soon the diva has walked off and its pack up!  Now Sukumar calls the Gang for a meeting for he is in deep shit as he is over budget and way behind schedule. The meeting is disrupted by his creditors and he is soon in prison and all Woe is Me, my "brothers" have deserted me and now let me sing I want my Anna!

Sukumar’s Dad fixed on his pursuit of Kannamma as his wife couldn’t care less about Sukumar’s fate. But all is well on the Jayakumar front for he gets Sukumar out of prison and his little bro  is all Anna Jayakumar you are a GREAT SOUL who I have utterly wronged! And Kamala is yippee three cheers to Karuna Murti Gandhi Mahatma for reuniting us and let’s sing another song!

The gang disperses and the Maama resumes his pursuit of Kannamma who is all sadface about Sukumar not having bothered to meet her ever since he turned bad. But still feisty enough to ward off the Maama. Meanwhile Kannamma’s mother, sick of the sadface encourages her to write to Sukumar. Sukumar in turn confesses all to his brother and everyone is ta da MARRIAGE! Except Kannamma’s father who obsessed with money making schemes turns away Jayakumar when he arrives with a proposal. 

There is also the small matter of Mr. Ramaswamy Pillai pressing his suit, unbeknowest to all. Soon he figures out that Kannamma’s father is leading him on and is Tamil Nadu ka No. 1 blackmarketeer and has no intention of arranging a marriage with Kannamma. He walks away furious and hell bent on revenge.

Now everyone is getting their just desserts! Kannamma’s father loses his money! Now he has been shot by Sukumar's Dad! Kannamma finds the body! Sukumar sees her with a knife in her hand! Both get arrested for the murder! COURT CASE! Both want to hang for the murder! But so does Mr Morals, Jayakumar, who is busy emoting "I am the murderer and such a saintly prick!" But just then the boys’ father, Mr. Ramaswamy Pillai, arrives and confesses to the murder and is dispatched to the Andamans but not before like reforming completely and blessing Sukumar and Kannamma. And soon everyone is at a Gandhi felicitation, spinning charkhas, donating to Harijan welfare etc. And just like that, rather randomly, we get treated to a long Kumari Kamala performance tacked on to the end of the movie. JAI HIND!


Nam Iruvar is a film with its eye very firmly on the Box Office but engaging enough as a social drama. Its theatrical origins are quite clear though the dialogue is a lot simpler and cleaner than the high, pretentious language of later Tamil films. It reinforces sentiments dear to the middle classes but none of this is mockable though the virtuous elder brother shtick drags down the film at times (it doesn’t help that there seem to be different styles of acting at play in the film with Panthulu/Jayakumar delivering his lines in a rather archaic manner). It’s cast is presumably drawn from the stage and they are all on good form. TR Mahalingam is in it of course for his singing – I had never heard him before but he is very good and seemingly at ease even when singing a difficult song (though perhaps he is not to the taste of modern audiences).  And in spite of its populism, the movie does capture something of the feel of the country on the eve of independence.

Two things struck me about the film. First, how normal the women are in the films I have seen from the 40s. There is little hint of excessive coyness or reinforcement of notions of servility and the like. Sukumar and Kannamma (by the by the Kannamma name seems to be a nod to Bharathi)  for e.g. are like a modern couple, their relationship playful and equal. Kannamma’s mother is pragmatic and encouraging.  Kamala is a normal teen (well apart from her propensity to dance and sing but her devotion to Gandhi is much like any impressionable teen embracing causes). Second, to almost everyone in my family familiar with the Tamil language Subramanya Bharathi is God. My Tamil is inadequate in the face of poetry but you need to know just a little to understand that Bharathi is a writer par excellence, his verse lends weight to this film. His life is complex and tragic in itself but this was the only interesting account I found (damn google, its search function is hopeless these days) of a poet who inspires hagiography - and the odd bit of scorn in the caste divided Tamil Nadu of today.

Monday, 9 January 2012

A Few Good Men

So if I was 22 and knew everything I know now and set out to make a list of actors who are totally hot but for some reason lurk below the hotness radar never ever to have knickers thrown at them or girls screaming out their names in their dreams and all - and this is a good thing because they are meant for a select few - this is what the extremely random list would like.

The Most Excellent Fat Flashman! Sigh! Rehman's best role was possibly as the extremely bored and extremely debauched husband in Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam and indeed the man has the air of someone who should have totally paired up with Nigar Sultana to play an Indian Valmont corrupting innocent lasses.

Here's Mr Iftekhar looking very suave and urbane and the sort of man who would not bat an eyelid at a menage a trois. Also excellent sugar daddy material. He would probably be totally cool about employing butter in Last Tango in Simla. But this is India, this is the 70s and we have Mr. Police Inspector and Daddy.

This man is conventionally hot what with that sqaure jaw and the ability to sing silly romantic songs with Ms Suraiya. But Shyam died young and his hotness is quite quite forgotten so he makes the list. Plus he was Manto ka dost.

Mr Sahni here is not the romantic hero. But in his time he was the actor most women thought would make an ideal husband.  And Mr Sahni's assertions to the contrary did not quite dissuade them of this notion. Balraj, we like you too, who can be immune to that professorial hotness! But perhaps we will stop short of sweeping your floors like at the end of this movie.

The 70s was all Mr Khanna and Mr Bachchan and the old types soldiering on. Pity folk like Kiran Kumar who did a few films as a romantic lead as an ineptly cute sort before all that charm was wasted on  Dracula.  Not all wasted though, wiki informs us he was a "ladies man" in his time. Plus if this pic is any indication, he is like Mr Iftekhar 2, a damn fine aged wine most would be happy to drink.

Mr Anant Nag here was the Rajesh Khanna of parallel cinema and wiki tells me he was wildly popular in Karnataka.  But damn if I can get a hot photo of the man off the Net. Mostly Mr Nag seemed the good looking sort indulged by women, a spoilt spoilt rake and totally good enough for Rekha. So let's just admire the flop of hair and the dreamy eyes and ignore the bad Hindi accent.

And damn if I can find a picture of KK Raina (on the right here).  KK Raina should have been the Balraj Sahni of the 80s but inexplicably he was cast only in side roles. Though it is entirely possible that there is an Indian Mel somewhere with a scrapbook of Mr Raina's every appearance on screen.  Damn, it could have been me!

Let's take a detour. So Mr Raina was in Suraj ka Satvan Ghoda looking reliably and reassuringly and regularly cute and that book was written by Dharamvir Bharati and doesn't the man look fine here in pomaded hair and a moustache!

Mr Shaikh was way cuter than Amol Palekar. But Mr Palekar ruled middle class cinema of the Basu Chatterjee/Hrishikesh Mukherjee sort leaving Farooque here to do the odd good role.  But you can catch him in a few Sai Paranjpe movies being totes cute. Saved from being a "chocolate hero" by the bad boy hints.

Let's just say that slightly creepy uncle charm is way way more hot than the boring heroes of movies in which Mr Rajat Kapoor is cast.

Its possible Mr Khan here is hot in certain circles. And knows it. Still, we look forward to the next Irfan-Tabu outing. Folks, if you are not married, hitch up instantly.  The universe will explode with all that alternative hotness. OK it will just glow a bit more brightly.

It is a truth universally acknowledge that Shashi Baba here is hot and cute. But what with older actor brothers and always playing second fiddle to Mr Bachchan, the man is not sufficiently recognised as the cutest thing EVER in Hindi cinema. Which is why he is here. Go watch him being cute. NOW.