22 May 2017

Qurbani (1980)

Directed by: Feroz Khan
Music: Kalyanji-Anandji, Biddu
Lyrics: Indeevar
Starring: Feroz Khan, Vinod Khanna, 
Zeenat Aman, Amjad Khan, 
Aruna Irani, Shakti Kapoor, 
Amrish Puri, Kader Khan
Readers of my blog are aware that once in a while, I have a watchalong with friends who share my love for masala films. A couple of months ago, blog reader Shalini and I decided we should watch a film soon – Shalini picked Qurbani for the arm-candy quotient. Readers Lalitha and Sameer asked to join in, and I’m sorry to say we denied Sameer the chance. The reason was purely professional – cross my heart – we weren’t sure how Google Hangouts would work with multiple people. 

So the watchalong was restricted to Shalini, Lalitha and me. Are you ready for a testosterone filled non-stop adventure into machismo land? (Warning: Long post, with many interjections and many photographs. Read at your own peril.)

16 May 2017

Parvarish (1977)

Directed by: Manmohan Desai
Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, 
Neetu Singh, Shabana Azmi, 
Shammi Kapoor, Indrani Mukherjee, 
Amjad Khan, Kader Khan
Ever since I read of his demise, I have been on a mission to watch Vinod Khanna movies – both ones that I’d inexplicably not watched in my misbegotten youth, and ones that I had watched and liked very much indeed. (Or at least, I’d liked him in those films very much indeed.) There was a niggling little voice, however, that told me I was being unfaithful to my original idol. To quieten that irritating voice, I decided to watch a film that starred both of them. That was easy enough. After the Kapoors, Shashi and Rishi, Amitabh co-starred with Vinod in the maximum number of movies. In fact, my husband used to refer to Shashi and Rishi as ‘Amitabh’s favourite heroines’ – they were indispensable to the Bachchan phenomena. (More so than the actual heroines.) 

12 May 2017

In Pursuit of Mediocrity – A Review in Rhyme

A recap: Sometime blog reader Shalini had recommended Leap Year as a cure for my doldrums. Since the film starred Amy Adams, I’d no trouble getting my husband to sit and watch it with me. At the end of it, though, S recovered from having willingly borne the horrors of a critically-panned rom-com by searching frantically for some 'manly' [mindless] action film. Browsing channels, he fortuitously came across a sci-fi horror film known as the Piranhaconda – which, according to him was the illegitimate offspring of a piranha and an anaconda. (Don’t. Even. Ask.)

8 May 2017

Shaque (1976)

Directed by: Aruna-Vikas
Music: Vasant Desai
Starring: Vinod Khanna, Shabana Azmi, 
Utpal Dutt, Bindu, 
Farida Jalal, Arvind Deshpande
In my tribute to Vinod Khanna, I’d written about being introduced to his off-beat roles on Doordarshan. So when I wanted to write about a Vinod Khanna movie he deserves a review – I dithered between writing up Qurbani which I watched along with blog readers Shalini and Lalitha, or Mere Apne, which I’d seen and liked very much indeed. Finally, I decided to write up Shaque, because it is one of Vinod Khanna’s lesser known films.   

1 May 2017

Thus Endeth Another Chapter

It’s been some time since I visited my own blog, and it is doubly sad that it took a death to rouse me out of stupor. I woke up three days ago to learn that Vinod Khanna had died. It was a shock. Because while there had been a spate of deaths the past couple of years, including my idols Dev and Shammi, they belonged to a different era. Vinod Khanna was different – he belonged to my childhood. Along with Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna defined the 70s.

24 March 2017

Mies Vailla Menneisyyttä (2003)

The Man without a Past
Directed by Aki Kaurismaki
Starring: Marku Pettola, Kate Outinen, 
Sakari Kuosmanen, Esko Nikkari, Tähti
Within the first ten minutes into Aki Kaurismaki’s ‘Mies Vailla Menniesyyttä', the eponymous protagonist (Markku Peltola) has stepped off a train, fallen asleep on a bench, been mugged and beaten within an inch of his life, and is laid up in hospital where some kind soul has taken him. When he wakes up, it is with no memory of who he was. Or is.

20 March 2017

Leap Year (2010)

Directed by: Anand Tucker
Starring: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, 
Adam Scott, John Lithgow, Kaitlin Olsen
Last week, blog reader (and fellow conspirator when it comes to movie-watchalongs) Shalini sent me a list of films that are meant to chase away the blues. One of them, she said, had leads who were ‘gorgeous and talented; bonus: the movie is set in Ireland’. Since one of the ‘gorgeous leads’ was Amy Adams, I had no difficulty in convincing my husband to watch this film with me. I forbore to mention to him that Shalini had categorized the film as a ‘chick flick’; what’s more, she had mentioned that the film had been critically panned. So we settled down to watch a rom-com, not exactly the genre that my husband is enamoured of – but I assumed, correctly as it turns out, that he would be willing to watch Amy Adams read from a phone book. I’d also assumed, incorrectly as it turned out, that since my movie watching had been rather splintered these past weeks, we wouldn’t watch the whole movie at one stretch.

Onwards then, to the most predictable rom-com in the history of rom-coms...

16 March 2017

Ascenseur Pour L'échafaud (1958)

Lift to the Scaffold/Elevator to the Gallows
Directed by: Louis Malle
Music: Miles Davis
Starring: Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, 
Georges Poujuly, Yori Bertin
Last year, during the Indian monsoons, I’d written a post on the Rain in Ten Moods – focusing on scenes from Hindi films. You see, things happen in the rains in films. In the comments, my husband had posted a scene from a French film, where the lead protagonist is wandering around the streets of Paris on a rainy night. 
I’d not heard of the actress or the film, so, aghast at my ignorance, my husband decided he had to remedy matters. Of course, it took him a year to obtain the DVD and a few days to convince me to watch it.

12 March 2017

Deux Jours, Une Nuit (2014)

Two Days, One Night
Directed by: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongioni
In one pivotal scene in the film, the protagonist gets a call. It’s a colleague. We, the audience, only hear one side of the conversation. What’s interesting is the play of emotions on the protagonist’s face. In the space of a minute or so, we get to see desperation, humiliation, hesitation, diffidence, gratitude, relief… it’s a compelling scene, and when it’s over, we have gone through the wringer ourselves.

20 February 2017

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008)

Directed by: Bharat Nallauri
Music: Paul Englishby
Starring: Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, 
Lee Pace, Tom Payne, Mark Strong, 
Shirley Henderson, Ciarán Hinds, 
Christina Cole
My husband had an unexpected holiday this past Friday and I decided to play hooky myself; since our son was in school, we could go out for lunch, catch a matinee, and be back home by the time he came back from school. Alas for best laid plans, I woke up to find the universe revolving around me. So instead of lunching outside, I curled up on the couch with a cup of tomato soup and a couple of slices of home-made bread, and asked my husband to look for something appropriately lightweight on Netflix streaming. I wasn't in any mood for a serious film. 

As he was browsing through the available 'comedies' (apparently Kal Ho Na Ho and Dilwale are comedies), we were struck by the title of this film. Both of us had vague recollections of having heard the name before, but we didn't know anything about it; but it starred Frances McDormand, whom we both like, and my husband is in love with Amy Adams (amongst other people), so we settled down to watch the film. 
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