31 August 2015

Vertigo (1958)

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Music: Bernard Hermann
Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak
Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore
From one of my favourite heroes (Dev Anand) to another (Jimmy Stewart). Like The Man Who Knew Too Much, I'd watched Vertigo too long ago to remember much about it. The only thing that I did remember was the shot of Jimmy Stewart hanging from a roof.  
For some reason, that shot had remained engraved in my memory. So, when Netflix sent me Vertigo from my queue, I was more than pleased to sit back and watch. A Hitchcock film is usually worth watching, even if we compare one to the other; this film was unusually long at 2 hours and 9 minutes., but a few minutes into the film and we were hooked. Of course, another few minutes later, my husband was saying rather disparagingly [he knows I love Stewart]: 'James Stewart playing James Stewart.' I had to admit that that was true as well. Luckily for me, the 'James Stewart' phase only lasted a couple of minutes. The film was compelling viewing.

26 August 2015

Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963)

Directed by: Vijay Anand
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri
Starring: Dev Anand, Nutan, 
Om Prakash, Mumtaz Begum, 
Harindranath Chattopadhyay, Pratima Devi, 
Rajendranath, Rashid Khan, Zarine Katrak

It was one Dev Anand - Nutan starrer, Paying Guest, their first film together - that kicked off this Dev Anand Marathon on this blog. Since all good things must come to an end some time, it seems apt that I end the month with another Dev Anand - Nutan film, this time the last one in which they starred together as romantic leads. Vijay Anand returns to helm a mad romantic comedy, and like all the films I've reviewed so far, the music stands testimony to Nav Ketan's long history of having an excellent musical score. 

21 August 2015

Solva Saal (1958)

Directed by: Raj Khosla
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Starring: Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman, 
Sunder, Bipin Gupta, Kammo,
Tun Tun, Jagdev, Bir Sakhuja
The Dev-Nutan and Dev-Waheeda pairings are two of my favourite hero-heroine jodis in Hindi films. It should come as no surprise then that two of the films I chose have Waheeda playing romantic lead opposite Dev, while in another, she is the vamp.  It's also rather nice to see a road movie in Hindi films. This one, like Chori Chori, traces its provenance loosely (very loosely*) to Frank Capra's It Happened One Night, even as it takes a detour (or two) in the telling.  

16 August 2015

Hum Dono (1961)

Directed by: Amarjeet
Music: Jaidev
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Starring: Dev Anand, Sadhana, Nanda, 
Rashid Khan, Gajanan Jagirdar,
 Leela Chitnis, Lalita Pawar
The Dev Anand marathon continues with another one of my favourite films - Hum Dono. That it also stars one of my favourite actresses of the time - Sadhana - is a bonus. I must also confess to changing my mind about Nanda. I'm beginning to like her very much indeed. (Harvey will be pleased to hear that.) A melodious score by the very talented Jaidev, which includes two of my favourite songs, made it imperative that I watched the film again, soon. Unlike, say, Haqeeqat or  Hum Hindustani, Hum Dono, which too plays out against the backdrop of war (World War II, in this case), is not as much a 'war' film as it is about the lives of the men who take part in that war, and the people they leave behind. The war, such as it is, is just the backdrop to provide the plot a convenient peg. 

11 August 2015

C.I.D. (1956)

Directed by Raj Khosla
Music: OP Nayyar
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri, Jaan Nisaar Akhtar
Starring: Dev Anand, Shakila, Waheeda Rehma, 
KN Singh, Johnny Walker, Kumkum, 
Mehmood, Bir Sakhuja
This is probably my favourite Dev Anand movie. I love everything about it - the fast paced plot that doesn't let you think, the songs, one lovelier than the other, Dev Anand (of course!), the new 'vamp' who went on to become one of my favourite actresses, the completely different (for those times) look and feel of the film. Guru Dutt had been experimenting with noir from his first film Baazi, so when he began his own production house with Aar Paar, he continued with its elements. C.I.D was directed by his assistant, Raj Khosla, whose independent directorial debut this was, and the latter continued in his mentor's footsteps. Unlike Kala Bazar  or even Kala Pani, this film does not preach - not even a little. It is what it is - a good old-fashioned murder mystery, and you get to know very soon who the arch villain is. Then, it is the old cat-and-mouse until the very end.  

6 August 2015

Kala Pani (1958)

Directed by: Raj Khosla
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Starring: Dev Anand, Madhubala, 
Nalini Jaywant, Kishore Sahu, 
Agha, Parveen Paul, DK Sapru
More than two years ago, when Bollyviewer hadn't yet deserted the cold climes of the northern hemisphere to settle for hot Indian summers, she and I watched quite a few movies together. Well, 'together' is a just a turn of phrase in this Internet age. We 'watched along', she in her apartment and me in my house, and chatted on Google about the movie (and other things) while we watched together-apart. So one day, we set a date and time to watch a Dev Anand movie, and decided, after much deliberation, on Kala Pani. And when the day and time came, we ran into a hitch. Bollyviewer's (henceforth BV) downloaded video wouldn't play. While we were contemplating which other movie to watch, the discussion veered off, as all our conversations do, you will find, into the uses of iPhones (not to talk, but to text and check your email in the loo - as per BV) and Excel sheets in which to chronicle all your DVD purchases. Eventually, BV managed to track down a DVD of Kala Pani, which she'd forgotten she had, and we settled down to watch. 

(Our watchalong was peppered by much 'conversation' between the two of us on very important matters such as the pattern of Madhubala's blouse and Dev Anand's cowlick. I had this draft written then, but took time to get some screenshots. Some of BV's pithy comments on certain scenes have been put in as captions. Some of my comments in parantheses are scattered through the post. [Talk about purple prose!] The rest... umm, is better left unposted, shall we say?)

1 August 2015

Kala Bazar (1960)

Directed by: Vijay Anand
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Shailendra
Starring: Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman, Vijay Anand,
Leela Chitnis, Nanda, Sushil Kumar, Madan Puri, 
Rashid Khan, Helen, Kishore Sahu, Chetan Anand
Like Paying Guest, this is one film that I absolutely love, without any of the reservations that I had for the former. First of all, Dev Anand (in his B&W avatar)! Waheeda Rehman! If that isn't enough for me to watch a film, then the fact that Vijay 'Goldie' Anand helmed the film was an added attraction. One could usually watch a Vijay Anand film without thinking too much - you knew it was going to be a reasonably decent film. So I slipped in the DVD one weekend.

28 July 2015

Paying Guest (1957)

Directed by: Subodh Mukerji
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Starring: Dev Anand, Nutan, Shubha Khote,
Gajanan Jagirdar, Sajjan, Yakub
It’s been a long time since I watched or reviewed a Dev Anand film, and I suddenly felt in the need of a dose of Dev. Not in one of his more serious roles either, though C.I.D remains an all-time favourite; a lighter one, which would make me smile. I first thought of Tere Ghar ke Saamne, but I have watched that so frequently, I could probably say the dialogues before the actors on screen do. (I shall write that up as well, soon.) So then, which one? Nau Do Gyarah? I’m not in the mood for Kalpana Kartik, never one of my favourite actresses. As I mentally flipped through my Dev Anand movies, I realised I hadn’t watched Paying Guest in ages. There, that did it. Choice made, I made myself a cup of tea, and sat back to watch, and realised that I didn’t remember quite a bit of the story. That made it all the more interesting. 

22 July 2015

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Music: Bernard Hermann
Starring: James Stewart, Doris Day, 
Brenda da Banzie, Bernard Miles, 
Daniel Gelin, Christopher Olsen, 
Ralph Truman, Reggie Nalder
I'd watched A Man Who Knew Too Much a long time ago when they showed it on Doordarshan. All I remembered of it was the famous Que Sera, Sera and that it was sung by a woman at the piano. I'd even forgotten that she was Doris Day. The only other scene I remembered of it was James Stewart climbing out of the bell tower. 
So I put it on my Netflix queue, since a mystery that you have watched but do not remember, is worth watching all over again. 

18 July 2015

Jhoola (1962)

Directed by: K Shankar
Music: Salil Choudhary
Lyrics: Rajendra Krishen
Starring: Sunil Dutt, Vyjayanthimala, Pran,
Manmohan Krishna, Sulochana,  Raj Mehra, 
Achala Sachdev, Rajendranath
I’d just dragged myself out of bed one weekend, and was sitting with a cup of tea, thoughtfully provided by my husband, when he came downstairs, cackling. Having gone upstairs ostensibly to set up our bill payments, he had been watching Sajna tere bin from Jhoola on YouTube, when the song ended and the video segued into a scene from the movie where Pran, (apparently) nattily dressed, cap and all, says ‘A thief is a self-made man.’ And sundry other dialogues, all of which seemed to have tickled my husband’s funny bone enormously. He insisted he wanted to watch the film just for Pran (and Salilda’s music of course!). 

We were supposed to be clearing out our attic that day, having tackled our sons’ rooms the previous day. I hadn’t slept the previous night, which was why I was up at the unearthly (for me) hour of 6.45 on a Sunday morning. What I had seen of Jhoola, back when I was writing my post on rain songs, didn’t make the film seem very appealing. But hey, lovely Salilda compositions! Pran! 

In any case, I wasn’t in that great a hurry to go cleaning – I was aching in places I didn’t know could ache! So when my husband decided to put it on just then, I didn’t protest. (As long as I didn’t have to move, I was fine.) And since I had no expectations at all, I curled up and watched. 

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