30 September 2022

Raaz (1967)

Directed by: Ravindra Dave
Music: Kalyanji Anandji
Starring: Rajesh Khanna, Babita,
DK Sapru, Harindranath Chattopadhyay,
Ratnamala, IS Johar, Laxmi Chhaya,
Jayashree T, Rahul, Narendra Sharma

When we were coming to the end of the Rajesh Khanna retrospective, Shalini suggested Raaz (she also suggested Joru ka Ghulam (which I stupidly turned down because I distinctly remembered that I didn’t like it at all). I had never watched Raaz earlier, since Babita is not one of my favourites, but Shalini prevailed and despite every available print online missing 20 minutes of the movie, we sat down to watch.

26 September 2022

Kudrat (1981)

Directed by: Chetan Anand
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Starring: Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini,
Priya Rajvansh, Vinod Khanna,
Raj Kumar, Aruna Irani,
Shammi, Pinchoo Kapoor,
Om Shiv Puri, Keshto Mukherjee,
Deven Varma

Kudrat may seem like an odd choice to celebrate the phenomenon that was Rajesh Khanna, given that it was released well after RK’s ‘star’ had set. Yet, our endeavour throughout this month has been to showcase the actor behind the star, even as we thoroughly enjoyed the trappings that his stardom brought in its trail – like the beautiful heroines, the great songs, and lovely locations. 

21 September 2022

My Favourites: Rajesh Khanna Songs

Photo: India Today

Rajesh Khanna's undeniable charm, his screen presence and his soft, boyish looks made him the idol of millions, no doubt, but he was also a supremely gifted actor who not only took risks with the roles he chose but didn’t mind giving his heroines the lion’s share of the spotlight. There was also his ease of manner – the slight tilt of his head, the softly spoken well-modulated dialogues, the twinkle in his eye that made us feel that he was enjoying himself thoroughly. Certainly, there was more to ‘Kaka’ as he was affectionately called, than mere chocolate boy, romantic hero, or his superstardom. Within those constraints too, he was a great performer, and as we noted, a very good ‘song-actor’ – someone who not only lip-synced so well that it seemed like he was singing himself, but who also emoted so beautifully that a viewer could understand what the lyrics intend to convey even if they didn’t understand the language.

16 September 2022

Dushman (1971)

Directed by: Dulal Guha
Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Starring: Meena Kumari, Rajesh Khanna,
Mumtaz, Nana Palsikar,
Leela Misra, Naaz,
Kanhaiyalal, Anwar Hussain,
Sajjan, Rehman, Gurnam Singh,
Johnny Walker, Bindu,
Master Tito, Master Deepak

Deciding on which Rajesh Khanna film we wanted to watch next was a trip in itself. Shalini doesn’t like Sharmila Tagore, so that ruled out some of Rajesh Khanna’s biggest hits. I didn’t want to watch serious movies, so that ruled out films like Aap ki Kasam and Aavishkar. We finally picked Dushman, a film that saw the actor play against type. While there’s certainly a romance in the film, it is not a typical love story at all. So, if you’re ready to join us for an outing with Rajesh Khanna and Meena Kumari with a dash of Mumu, read on!

11 September 2022

Sachaa Jhutha (1970)

Directed by: Manmohan Desai
Music: Kalyanji-Anandji
Lyrics: Indeevar, Qamar Jalalabadi,
Gulshan Bawra
Starring: Rajesh Khanna, Naaz,
Mumtaz, Faryal,
Vinod Khanna, Kamal Kapoor,
Jagdish Raj, Ratnamala,
Pravin Paul
Rexy as Moti

The Rajesh Khanna Retrospective (sounds so much better than ‘Rajesh Khanna Month’) continues with a tale of lookalike men and what happens when one takes the other’s place. 

6 September 2022

Kati Patang (1971)

Directed by: Shakti Samanta
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Starring: Asha Parekh, Rajesh Khanna,
Prem Chopra, Bindu,
Naaz, Nasir Hussain
Sulochana, Satyen Kappoo,
Daisy Irani, Jr Mehmood

Since I’d made an impromptu decision to make September ‘Rajesh Khanna Month’, I reached out to my watchalong partner to see if she wanted to join me in celebrating RK. Shalini, who had just finished watching an ageing Rajesh Khanna and a ‘goddawful Tina Munim’ [her words] in Alag Alag and Souten, jumped at the idea of watching Rajesh Khanna in his prime. So here we are, officially announcing the start of Rajesh Khanna Month and Watchalong Month with a film of which Javed Jaffrey famously said, “Kake ne patang udaayi, to film hit!”

1 September 2022

Andaz (1971)

Directed by: Ramesh Sippy
Music: Shankar-Jaikishan
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri, Gulzar
Starring: Shammi Kapoor, Hema Malini,
Rajesh Khanna, Simi Garewal,
Ajit, Achala Sachdev,
Aruna Irani, Roopesh Kumar,
Raj Kishore, Randhawa,
Master Alankar, Baby Gauri

Firstly, a big thank you to my readers who read my old posts and commented on them. If it weren’t for you, this blog would have died. So, thank you!

I’ve been in India (more about that later) and jetlagged as I was, I reached out to my watchalong partner, Shalini, to see if she wanted to help me stay awake until a reasonable time. Sport that she is, she promptly agreed. But which actor, which film? A friend who adores Rajesh Khanna had once excoriated me for ignoring one of Hindi cinema’s most popular and successful actors. Mea culpa. So, making amends, even though Kaka only has a cameo here.

[*Disclaimer: This is a watchalong review. So, be warned, it’s a long post.]

25 June 2022

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

Directed by: Howard Hawkes
Music: Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Robinson,
Jule Styne, Leo Robin
Starring: Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell,
Charles Coburn, Elliot Reed,
Tommy Noonan, Norma Varden,
Taylor Holmes

In a blog that celebrates films from all over, I have given short shrift to one of the biggest movie stars of all time – the legendary Marilyn Monroe. Especially since my late father and my husband were/are huge fans of the actor. So am I, having seen her in not-so-ditzy roles, well aware that her talent far superseded her stunning good looks, or the ‘dumb blonde’ roles she carried off with such panache. Let me rephrase that – it takes a lot of talent to play the ‘dumb blonde’ with conviction. And no one can deny that Marilyn Monroe was fabulous playing the ditz.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is one of her most iconic roles in that category – who can forget the hot pink dress and Diamonds are a girl’s best friend? So, when flipping through Criterion Channel, my husband came across the film, we – including Young A – sat down to watch.

19 June 2022

My Favourites: Train Songs

There’s a romance associated with train journeys. There’s a certain nostalgia for the days of my youth when we travelled regularly by train, whether it was from (then-) Madras or Bangalore to Kerala where my grandparents lived, or whether it was elsewhere on vacations. I’m old enough to remember the first class cabins that each had its own bathroom and opened out directly onto the station. I was a wee child then. And of course, we usually travelled second-class anyway, arriving sooty and grimy at our destination. I still remember pressing my face against the window bars so I could see the engine whenever the tracks curved. I can recall the change in the sound of the railway carriages over the tracks when it went over water bodies. I remember seeing the black smoke rise from the steam engines, only to turn lighter as it dispersed against a blazing blue sky.

11 June 2022

Penn (1953)

Directed by: MV Raman
Music: R Sudarsanam
Lyrics: Papanasam Sivan,
Udumalai Narayana Kavi,
Ku. Sa. Krishnamurthy,
KP Kamakshi, V Seetharaman
Starring: Vyjayanthimala,
Anjali Devi, Gemini Ganesan,
 S Balachander, Chittor V. Nagaiah,
VK Ramasamy, PD Sambandam,
SVS Sahasranamam, K Sarangapani,
KN Kamalam, KR Chellam, Baby Radha

Penn (Girl) is a funny movie. Funny-strange, not funny-ha-ha. Set in the 1950s, it is both progressive and regressive at the same time, but with the progressive part winning hands down, I figured it was worth writing up.

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