Tragedy King’s last movie – a murder mystery

Acting legend, Dilip Kumar has been bestowed upon with the title of Tragedy King in Bollywood (though he had done hilarious comedy too in certain films). However never had I seen him in a murder mystery and that too with himself doing the investigation of the murder, prior to Qila (1998) which is the last released movie of his acting career. Quite interestingly, Dilip Kumar is not only the investigator but also the murdered one as well, doing double role in this movie. In this way, the characters played by Dilip Kumar in his last movie, are quite different from the ones he played throughout his career.Front-10-1024x1004Qila was released in April 1998. After appearing in my viva of the Indian Civil Services Exam at the UPSC in the morning hours, I went to watch the matinee show of Qila at Plaza theatre in Connaught Place, New Delhi with my wife and my dear friend Aqueel Ahmed on 29th April, 1998. Since the movie was a murder mystery, myself, like always, started guessing about the murderer and discussing with my wife and friend in the interval. However my guesses did not come true. Somebody else came out as the murderer in the climax and not the one whom I was suspecting to be.Qila (1998)Qila (fort or fortress) starts with a murder committed by Gulshan Grover. However an innocent man is arrested for it and put under trial in the court. The judge, Amar Nath Singh (Dilip Kumar) feels that the convict is innocent but there is nobody to support him. Being a man of justice, he decides to investigate the case himself and find out the truth. However, his task increases when his own twin brother, Jagannath Singh (Dilip Kumar ‘s second role) is found murdered in his fort (Qila). Jagannath Singh was a corrupt landlord with very low morals and mean mentality because of which Amar Nath Singh had distanced from him. However, he feels that finding out the murderer of his brother is his duty. So he starts digging his past which is full of skeletons. Coming to know of the injustice and wrongdoings of his brother with many people (especially women), judge Amar Nath Singh, alongwith his murder investigation exercise, takes corrective steps on behalf of his deceased brother to do justice to the victims. However all of them are in his list of murder suspects. The real murderer comes before him in the ending scene only.1017902.CINE.posQila contains a very good murder plot full of potential. However director Umesh Mehra faltered in developing it into an outstanding murder mystery which he could have done just by exercising some creativity and careful handling of the script. Perhaps he got too overwhelmed with Dilip Kumar’s personality and overlooked certain leads which, if developed properly, could have made this mystery more engrossing and satisfying in the end with revelation of a different character as the murderer.tcO85n4BswI81pLpTMoo3j9LPam-476x666All the same, Qila is a good watch since the suspense is well-maintained. The background of the murder and the hidden facts are revealed to the audience on layer-by-layer basis. Dilip Kumar’s briskness and energy at the age of 75-76 years surprises the viewers. His dance in the song – Kurte Ki Baiyaan Ko Oopar Chadhaai Ke looks amazing at this age. He is all-pervasive in the movie and gets the maximum possible footage in the twin roles – one being a positive one and the other being a negative one. His towering performance has been ably supported by Mukul Dev who plays the unrecognized son of Jagannath Singh (why the director has named himself too as Amar is not understandable to me as two main characters of the movie having the same name, creates confusion only). The movie contains characters like Rekha, Malay Chakraborty, Mamta Kulkarni, Smita Jaykar, Satish Kaushik etc. However these are all dwarfed before the tall persona of Dilip Kumar. Other than Mukul Dev, if somebody makes her presence felt in the movie, it is Rajeshwari Sachdev who plays the daughter of judge Amar Nath Singh. Baddies are routine.imagesThe music given by Anand Raaj Anand is quite good. Two songs – Wah Bhai Wah and Kurte Ki Baiyaan Ko Oopar Chadhai Ke had become quite popular at the time of its release. One more song – Laai Hai Mehndi Waali Raat Apne Ghar Khushiyaan is also a pleasant marriage song.downloadTechnical and production value aspects of the movie are more or less ok. The scenes between the brother Mukul Dev and the sister Rajeshwari Sachdev are quite impressive. The director has rendered a logical end to the story after the mystery is resolved.

Qila is a good murder mystery which could have been a much better one. However it is an interesting watch. All the mystery fans as well as the fans of Dilip Kumar can be expected to like it.

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Love can resolve all the problems of life

A few years back, I happened to watch Golmaal 3 (2010) in the BHEL club and found it so pathetic that I had to leave it in the interval itself. Its plot is based on that of a Hollywood movie – Yours, Mine and Ours (1968). Contrary to Golmaal 3, much better Bollywood movies were made on the same story during the seventies. One was Hamaare Tumhaare (1979) starring Sanjeev Kumar and Raakhee in lead roles. It was directed by Umesh Mehra. However even better movie had come just a year back which was Khatta Meetha (1978) directed by none other than Basu Chatterjee, the pioneer of middle class and simple but heart-conquering cinema in Bollywood. Basu Da took the basic grains from Yours, Mine and Ours to make the movie in Indian middle class milieu, featuring characters next door. It’s a memorable movie and miles ahead of Golmaal 3. After four decades of its release, now it’s considered a classic which makes you laugh naturally as well as emote naturally. 220px-Khatta_Meetha_(1978)Khatta Meetha (sour sweet) is the tale that lays out the sweetness of love in life that enables the human-beings to endure the unavoidable sourness of experiences. As its plot is a take on Yours, Mine and Ours, the story takes shape with the marriage of two lonely senior citizens – Homi Mistry (Ashok Kumar) and Nargis Sethna (Pearl Padamsee). Since both of them are having grown up children, their union in life results in their families too joining to make an extended family. Their children are not happy with the marriage of their (respective) father and mother. Quarrels take place between them with the parents (half biological and half legal) trying to patch up the things and keep the family united. Nargis’ son Feroze (Rakesh Roshan) falls in love with Zarine (Bindiya Goswami) who is the daughter of an egoist businessman (Pradeep Kumar) who is mentally not prepared to allow his daughter to marry an ordinary youth and become daughter-in-law of an ordinary middle-class family. He takes steps to harass the family so that the family itself doesn’t accept Zarine. However in the end, he himself has to bow before the strength of love within the family and conviction of its head – Homi Mistry that nothing can become a wall in the path of the happiness of his family.imagesKhatta Meetha is a signature movie of Basu Da. Each and every frame of the movie and each and every character of the story seems familiar to the typical Indian spectator who comes from the salaried middle class living a normal life but dreams big. I have a great regard for the Paarsi community who despite being a minority community in India, has never begged for any privileges and instead contributed immensely for the growth of the country. It’s a community which has always taken interest in giving something to the society and the nation instead of demanding. Regretfully (and unjustifiably), the Bollywood filmmakers have mocked this community in the Hindi movies. Khatta Meetha is a welcome change from this defective Bollywood tradition. It has shown the Paarsi characters of the movie as normal flesh and blood human-beings like the other communities and presented an authentic account of their life. Basu Da did the same thing later for the Christian community also in Baton Baton Mein (1979).Khatta_Meetha_rokuKhatta Meetha can be considered a comedy because it tickles and entertains. However it is not a slapstick comedy and creates natural laughs and smiles in the audience. The comedy of the movie is not forced on the spectators, it is felt by them. And the sentiments embedded in the story are also felt by them in equal manner because there is nothing that can be considered as over the top. The viewer feels his heart beating for the members of the extended family and his eyes getting humid over their sufferings. The viewer laughs with them and weeps for them.rsz_khatta-meetha-1978Finally, it’s a great movie because it propagates the ages old Indian philosophy of non-accumulation and echoes Mahatma Gandhi’s watchword of simple living and high thinking through the presentation of the story and the immortal song of Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar – Thoda Hai, Thode Ki Zaroorat Hai, Zindagi Phir Bhi Yahaan Khoobsurat Hai (we have little and we need little, nevertheless the life is beautiful here). A great lesson for all and sundry.download (2)All the performers in the movie have done well including Ranjeet Chaudhary, Ravi Raj, Devendra Khandelwal, Vimal Sahu, Preeti Ganguly, Master Raju, Pradeep Kumar, Deven Varma, Piloo Wadia, David, Keshto Mukherjee, Bindiya Goswami etc. Today’s superstar Hrithik Roshan’s father – Rakesh Roshan could not become a big hero in his time but he was successful in carving a niche for himself as well as creating his fan-following through such simple, low budget and heart-winning movies. However the performers who stand tallest are Ashok Kumar and Pearl Padamsee as the senior citizen couple. Dada Muni (Ashok Kumar) has delivered a mesmerizing performance and Pearl Padamsee has rubbed shoulders with him step by step. It’s a treat to watch the performance of these stalwart artists on the screen.

Rakesh Roshan’s younger brother – Rajesh Roshan has composed unforgettable gems for this movie with the help of Gulzar’s heart-conquering lyrics. Other than the immortal – Thoda Hai, Thode Ki Zaroorat Hai, the music of the movie consists of another gem – Yeh Jeena Hai Angoor Ka Daana (the title track in the voices of Kishore Kumar and Usha Mangeshkar). There are hilarious songs viz. Mummy O Mummy, Tu Kab Saas Banegi; Roll Roll and Frenny O Frenny in the movie. Besides, it contains a song which has made a permanent place in my heart. It is Kishore-Lata duet – Tumse Mila Tha Pyar Kuchh Achchhe Naseeb Se, Hum Unn Dino Ameer The Jab Tum Kareeb The.

Technically, the movie is perfect because it portrays the milieu that it purports to portray. Art director and cinematographer have done an outstanding job in creating a middle class environment on the screen. Editor has also done his job pretty well and there is not even an ounce of boredom in the movie. The background score perfectly sets the tone of the movie. Dialogues are also impressive.

My final words – the great message delivered by this highly entertaining and inspiring classic is – do believe in the strength of love, keep the love within the family intact and strengthen it. Love is the panacea for all the ills, the master-key for all the locks and the solution to all the problems of life. In this era of nuclear families, Khatta Meetha shows how the members of an extended family can adjust with one another, even out mutual differences and join hands to stand up to any external threat which is common to the family as a whole. The analogy of family can be used for the whole nation too. In a country like India where a general license seems to have been issued to hate others, this movie teaches to love and believe in the power of love.

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The inspiration behind Johnny Gaddaar

I liked Sriram Raghavan directed thriller movie – Johnny Gaddaar (2007) very much. In that movie, the hero (in fact, the villain), Neil Mukesh murders a member of their criminal group by seeking inspiration from a very old Amitabh Bachchan starrer –  Parwana (1971). Today’s generation who has liked Johnny Gaddaar is not aware of this long forgotten movie. Here comes the review of this movie which is a combo of love-triangle, thrilling murder plan and courtroom drama.1014059.CINE.posParwaana is an Urdu word which means wax moth who hovers about the lit candle (known as Shama in Urdu). In classic Urdu poetry (Shaayari), it is deemed that Parwaana loves Shama and that’s why it hovers about it only to lose its life (by getting burnt in its blaze). Due to this assumption, a sincere, sacrificing (male) lover is called Parwaana who is ever ready to give away even his life for the sake of his love for his sweetheart (who is Shama for him).imagesThe Parwaana of this story is an introvert artist – Kumar Sen (Amitabh Bachchan) who has been loving his Shama – Asha (Yogeeta Bali) within his heart for years but without expressing his love to her. Asha  is an orphan, fostered by her widower uncle, Ashok Varma (Om Prakash) who likes Kumar very much and has no objection to Asha’s marriage to him. However Kumar gets a big jolt when he comes to know from Asha that she has fallen in love with Rajesh (Naveen Nischal). When Kumar conveys his sentiments to her, she says that it’s too late now and her heart has become Rajesh’s. Knowing Asha’s uncle’s positive opinion about him, he tries to pursue him to decide in his favour but the uncle refuses to go against the wishes and joys of his orphan niece. Now Kumar concludes that he has to follow the ages old dictum -‘Everything is fair in love and war’.

One night, when Kumar is known to have departed for Kolkata (then Calcutta) by catching a train from Mumbai Central (then Bombay Central) and Asha has gone to attend the marriage of her friend, Rajesh gets a call from Kumar who asks him to go to Asha’s house to attend an emergency with her uncle. When Rajesh reaches there, he finds that somebody has strangled Asha’s uncle – Ashok Varma to death. He is the prime suspect for this murder and when a letter from Ashok Varma reaches him a couple of days later, rejecting any prospects of the marriage of Asha with him, the cops are sure of his guilt. He is arrested and put under trial for the murder. The truth behind Ashok Varma’s murder is revealed in the end.downloadNo prizes for guessing as to who committed the murder of Asha’s uncle – Ashok Varma and framed Rajesh under its charge. This is not a whodunnit but actually a howdunnit. The viewer knows the murderer very well but the thing that he does not know is how he could do it. The writer of the story whose crux is the murder plan only, is Madhusudan whereas the screenplay and dialogues have been written by Agha Jani Kashmeeri. This story idea is just very good but the screenplay and the direction (by Jyoti Swaroop) could not do proper justice to it. It could have become a spellbinding thriller but more footage has been given to the romance, the comedy and the love-triangle while the murder-plan as well as the court-room drama post the murder has got barely the final 30-40 minutes. Besides, the story has been told in a flat manner and the director has not been innovative to use twists and punches.

The cover of its VCD / DVD says about it -‘A murder plan that forced Indian railways to change their train timing‘. Well, it appears to be more a promotional strategy for the VCD / DVD. However there is little doubt that this murder plan is just superb considering the facts prevailing in that period when there were no mobile phones, when identity proofs were not demanded from the travellers and when the air-tickets used to be issued in traditional (under glossy jacket) form from the counters and e-tickets had not even been conceptualized. No wonder, Sriram Raghavan got inspired from this plot and used it to make Johnny Gaddaar which got a lot of admiration because of superb execution(and expansion) of the original idea. All the same, this movie is pretty good to watch and enjoy. Performances are very good and despite the ordinary screenplay, the dialogues are impressive. With modest production value, this movie has not been made excessively long and nice comic, romantic and emotional sequences alongwith a couple of good songs have turned it into an enjoyable movie made in the style of the seventies. And then the highlight of the movie, i.e., the murder plan proves to be the icing on the cake.01All the performers have done well except Shatrughan Sinha in his cameo as the public prosecutor because he is over the top. Romantic hero (Late) Naveen Nischal has got good songs and he and Yogeeta Bali make a good on-screen pair. Seasoned actor, Om Prakash has performed quite admirably. Supporting cast has also not disappointed. However in the end, it’s the movie of Amitabh Bachchan who is the Parwaana, ready to do anything for his Shama, i.e., Yogeeta Bali. This is a rare movie in which the role of the antagonist is much stronger than that of the protagonist. Despite his controlled performance, the glimpses of the would-be angry young man can be seen in the eyes of AB. He has delivered praiseworthy performance in the author-backed role and Om Prakash had rightly asserted for him after the shooting of the scene of his murder that a star was in the making. I term AB’s performance in this movie as one of his underrated performances. This was the first role of his career, containing gray shades. images (2)I am a great admirer of the music of Late Madan Mohan but in this movie, his compositions contain only a couple of good ones. The best one is – Simti Si Sharmaai Si, Kis Duniya Se Tum Aai Ho (Kishore Kumar). The second good song is – Yun Na Sharma, Phaila De Apni Gori Gori Baahen (sung jointly by Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi). The lyrics of Kaifi Aazmi are good.download (1)Since all the spectators of today’s generation who are fond of watching mysteries / thrillers, have wholeheartedly admired Johnny Gaddaar, I think they should watch Parwaana too which had inspired the story of Johnny Gaddaar. It’s one of the long forgotten and underrated movies of Amitabh Bachchan and hence the fans of Big B also should not miss it.

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I like this flop and criticized movie

Time and again I go back to the words of an accomplished movie reviewer – Aruna Thyagarajan (moviezombie)  – Review is about feelings and what the movie evokes in one. Moviemaking and movie viewing is so subjective….never know who it reaches out to and how. Very true, very true indeed. A movie (or a book) may not be liked by the majority but it may appeal to somebody. A flop or unsuccessful fictional work may strike a chord in the heart of a particular person. And then the review of that work by that person particular is bound to be positive because he (or she) has found something likable in it, something in that has touched him (or her).

The same thing is applicable to myself and the movie I am reviewing as of now. This movie was released on 03rd August, 2001 and not only almost all the reviewers brushed it aside like anything but also it flopped so badly that it was telecast on Zee TV on 29th September, 2001 only, i.e., exactly seventeen years back. I had watched it during that telecast only and found that a chord had been struck in my heart. The readers (who have watched this movie) may or may not agree to my analysis and assessment of this movie. However as asserted in the first para, it’s my subjective opinion. This movie is Hum Ho Gaye Aap Ke (2001)

Good guys. Bad guys. Good gals. Bad gals. Should the youths be categorized in such stereotypes ? To be fair – no. However the public opinion is expressed through stereotypes only which become labels for people. As we know, since a person’s public image walks ahead of him, the virtues of a guy (or a gal) who has been labelled as a bad one, are ignored like anything. But the fact is, the personalities of real flesh and blood human-beings contain gray shades. A person labelled as good may do something bad and correspondingly, a person labelled as bad may prove his goodness when the time strikes. hum_ho_gaye_aap_ke_1324035569Hum Ho Gaye Aap Ke (I have become yours) is the story of Rishi (Fardeen Khan) who is the well-known brat of a business family containing only his father (Suresh Oberoi). He is deprived of mother and sister. And hence he has learnt to see the girls as sex object only and treats every girl coming across him as ‘available against generous consideration’. Besides, he is an alcoholic who drinks without caring for the time, the place and who is around him. According to his habit and character, he makes indecent proposal to Chaandni (Reema Sen) who is a middle class girl with a strong personality and high morals. She not only turns down his proposal but also rebukes him. Rishi takes it casually and forgets it under his ‘you win some, you lose some’ philosophy.

However an employee in Rishi’s company, Mohan (Apoorva Agnihotri) comes in contact with Chaandni and befriends her. Chaandni also likes his nature and they become good friends. Mohan becomes emotional about her. When Chaandni is engaged to someone else, Mohan sends her a letter through Rishi saying that he won’t be able to live without her. Rishi takes this much pain because he considers Mohan his close friend, not just an employee in his concern. Chaandni feels it appropriate to respond to Mohan’s sentiments who comes from a modest background and longs for true love of someone. Hence she runs away from her marriage and reaches Mohan’s house alongwith Rishi. But she is taken aback to find that Mohan proves himself to be a coward and hypocrite. He bows before the pressure and emotional blackmail of his selfish and old-fashioned parents (who want to marry him somewhere else for the sake of dowry) and refuses to accept Chaandni in his life.

Now Chaandni feels quite lonely and supportless in the world because now she cannot go back to her parental house also. Rishi offers her to move to his home and promises her decency and safety (from himself also). She feels that despite apparently being a brat, Rishi is not bad by heart. She trusts him and moves to his household where Rishi’s father welcomes the unexpected guest with surprise. With her good behaviour, pleasant manners and kind-heartedness, she wins the hearts of all who come into her contact there. She joins Rishi’s office also and as she is able to locate the virtues in Rishi’s personality, she not only gets closer to him but also becomes successful in transforming his personality (after understanding the reason behind his spoilage). Mohan tries to be close to her again but she keeps him at bay (though forgives him).

Rishi’s father comes to know that his son has started loving Chaandni but he hurts Chaandni’s self-respect by indicating to her that she is a gold-digger and trapped Rishi in her love for the sake of her social and monetary security. She gets out of Rishi’s house and life only to be reunited with him in the end.The movie is an emotional one and underscores the importance of company. Not only a man is known by the company he keeps but also a man is shaped by the company he gets. A good guy can be spoilt in bad company but his personality can be cleansed of the evils through good company which can act as a catalyst to exasperate the good in him and help him to get rid of bad habits and routines.

Director Ahathian has directed the movie properly. The flaws are there in the screenplay as well as the characterization of certain characters of the story. Still I found the movie to be emotionally appealing and when it was over, I got the satisfaction of watching a good movie. Just like its subject matter, perhaps the movie also suffered from the labelling by the reviewers (as bad).hum_ho_gaye_aapke_poster2The twist in the story when Mohan refuses to accept Chaandni who has run away from her home for his sake only, is very interesting. And before that as well as after that, the director has kept the viewers’ interest alive for the major part of the movie. It may be a flawed movie but not a boring movie (at least in my opinion). There is no undue digression in the storyline and it moves towards the desired end only right from the word ‘go’.2-gifNadeem Shravan’s music is a big asset of the movie. The title track (sung by Alka Yagnik and Kumar Sanu) is the best one which has been picturized very romantically. Other songs are also pretty good to listen. The music directors have kept the melody intact while composing the tunes which was true to their reputation in that period.The dialogues are also appealing and impressive. Cinematography, editing, art direction and production value aspects are all up to the mark.

It’s the debut movie of Reema Sen who not only looks pretty but has performed also quite well. Despite being the hero-oriented film, it’s her character which is the pivotal wheel of the script. Fardeen Khan is not a very good actor but he has done satisfactorily in the assigned role. Among others, Suresh Oberoi is excellent, rest all are routine. Apoorva Agnihotri has tried his level best as Mohan but his characterization itself is defective and unreal.

Hum Ho Gaye Aap Ke is not a great movie but it .is not so bad also as it was criticized. It touched me perhaps because I am a very sentimental person or perhaps the message of the movie matched my own thoughts about people. Well, I firmly opine that a good seed needs good soil, clean water, healthy environment and proper nurturing also to grow into and become a stout tree.

Since I liked this movie and it evoked positive feelings in me, I am recommending it.

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The acid of anguish and stuffiness

I sincerely thank my dear friend Suketu Shah for inspiring me to pen the review of this blockbuster movie of the eighties. Tezaab (1988) is the movie which turned Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit into superstars of Hindi cinema. The song – Ek Do Teen Chaar Paanch Chhe Saat Aath Nau Dus Gyaarah Baarah Terah used to echo in the streets of India throughout the day when the movie was released. Madhuri Dixit became the dancing queen of Bollywood overnight and thereafter her on-screen magic lasted for over a decade. From this movie onwards, Anil and Madhuri developed a very good on-screen chemistry and went on to be considered as one of the hottest and most-liked pairs of Bollywood movies.1-5The tagline of the title of the movie is ‘A Violent Love Story’ which is quite apt because despite being a love story, it’s full of violence and action and therefore, it was liked by the romantic movie audience and the action-lovers alike.Tezaab-1988-MovieImgTezaab (acid) is a combination of two different stories of two protagonists of the movie – Mahesh or Munna (Anil Kapoor) and Mohini (Madhuri Dixit). Mahesh is a honest boy from a simple family having a genuine sympathizer in the world in the form of inspector Gagan Singh (Suresh Oberai) whereas Mohini is the daughter of an alcoholic father – Shyamlal (Anupam Kher) for whom nothing is more important than liquor. The love story of Mahesh and Mohini takes place in the college on the premise of heartbreak of Nikita (Mandakini). Once their love story takes off, love prevails everywhere for them but this blossoming of their love is marred by framing of Mahesh by a corrupt police inspector (Mahavir Shah) under a false charge and finally being termed as a known bad character (goon), he is made TADIPAAR (debarred from entering the city) for one year. Now a straight boy who has been a patriot and wanted to serve his country, become a criminal, known as Munna and he has his own gang with Babban (Chunkey Pandey) as his main sidekick.

On the other hand, Mohini is all alone now with her alcoholic father – Shyamlal who is such a shameless person that he has no problem even if his daughter becomes a cabaret dancer or even a call-girl provided he gets his regular quota of liquor. The owner of the club where Mohini is forced to dance – Saxena (Tej Sapru) wants to marry her but she is still awaiting the return of the love of her life – Mahesh amidst all the turmoil and loneliness in her life. A big gangster – Lotia Pathan (Kiran Kumar) abducts Mohini from the club itself for the sake of his money owed to him by those who are interested in the life of Mohini. Now it’s time for Mahesh (or Munna) to come back from his city-debarredness and not only save the life of Mohini but also settle some old scores.images (3)The title of the movie refers to the anguish and stuffiness in Mahesh which make him feel like filled with acid in his personality. And the ending scene is not only very very impressive but also justifies the title when the sympathetic police inspector – Gagan Singh allows Mahesh to vent out all that acid from his personality by throwing it over on a criminal who is already going to be sentenced by the court of law.imagesThis is easily one of the best movies of the director – N. Chandra who has now slipped into B grade movies. The direction is topnotch and the screenplay is aptly presented through flashbacks. Right from romance to glamour to action to sentiments, in every aspect of the story, the movie scores with distinction. Art direction and other technical aspects are very good. Editing is also pretty good except for the fact that the movie is too long with an overdose of violence. Dialogues are also very impressive.TezaabfilmBefore Tezaab, both Anil and Madhuri were no big stars but the astounding success of this movie (it’s a golden jubilee at many places) threw them into the world of stardom. Among the Filmfare awards for that year, Alka Yagnik won the best female singer award and Saroj Khan won the best choreographer award for the song – Ek Do Teen but it’s Madhuri who got tagged to this song and by whose name this song is still better known. Madhuri became the dancing queen of the Indian silver screen and marched ahead with confident steps to become the top Bollywood heroine in the years to come.

On the other hand, Anil Kapoor became the Angry Young Man of Bollywood during the late eighties and early nineties through this movie and developed a huge fan-following. His unshaven face gave him a macho look and the next few years virtually belonged to him in the world of regular Masaala flicks of Bollywood containing a cocktail of romance and action. He won the Filmfare Best Actor award for his performance in Tezaab.images (2)But the other performers of the movie also got benefitted. Chunkey Pandey was liked in even the sidekick role and the song So Gaya Ye Jahaan is still remembered for him. Kiran Kumar and Anupam Kher also showed their mettle in the meaty roles and Suresh Oberai (whom I consider the most underrated actor of Bollywood of all times) also left his mark in the role of a cop who is not only just but also human. Raj Kapoor’s discovery – Mandakini looks quite glamorous in her cameo and the scene of the swimming pool is just superb which consists of both Mandakini and Madhuri.downloadLaxmikant Pyarelaal composed very good music using the lyrics of Javed Akhtar. Other than the female version of Ek Do Teen, its male version (sung by Amit Kumar), So Gaya Ye Jahaan (sung by Nitin Mukesh), Keh Do Ki Tum Ho Meri Varna (Amit Kumar-Anuradha Paudwal duet) and Hum Tumko Dilbar Kyun Maane (Anuradha Paudwal-Sudesh Bhosle duet) are also very good. The last song was inserted in the movie after its release and box office success.268x0w (1)Tezaab has a great repeat value and can be watched many times. I wholeheartedly recommend this movie to both the romantic movie audience as well as the action movie audience. It’s wholesome entertainment. Just bear with the excessive violence.

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Fragrance of soil in melody and words

Veena music company has earned a great name in the line of promoting folk music. This Rajasthani music company has been a pioneer in this line and has been active for around two decades. Amidst the noise of fast paced songs full of beats and the loud effect of instruments, Veena has stood by melody and the fragrance of the soil (Indian in general and Rajasthani in particular) and also given breaks to lesser known young talent. Whosoever wants to listen to Rajasthani folk songs in melodious voices of Rajasthani singers with the percussion and the instrumental impact too rendered by the Rajasthani artists should look forward to the presentations of Veena only. However this company has issued music albums of Hindi romantic songs too. Today I am reviewing one such album only whose romantic songs contain the innocence of the loving heart on one hand and the fragrance of our soil on the other. This album is Laal Dupatta (red mantilla).5986982014_12-54-15_2004laal_dupattaI had bought the cassette of  Laal Dupatta in 2006 from a local cassette-cd-dvd shop at Rawatbhata (Rajasthan) because I had got sick of listening to filmy songs and all of a sudden this cassette caught my attention when I was doing window watching in that shop. The shopkeeper who was well-known to me, (naturally) recommended the cassette to me but even without his recommendation, I had made up my mind to buy and listen to Laal Dupatta because the words of different songs as given in the cover of the cassette (in fact, the complete versions are given in the inner side of the cover) had fascinated me and even without listening to them, I had got the message from my instinct that it’s a heart-conqueror. And my instinct did not betray me. I got simply won over by most of the songs sung by two Rajasthani singers and two playback singers of Bollywood. Amidst the noisy and suffocating cine-music coming from all the directions, this album came just like a gust of fresh air to me.

The A side of Laal Dupatta contains four songs. The first one is Kaanta Chubha Mere Paaon Mein, Bedardi Tere Gaaon Mein which has been sung by Bollywood singer – Shreya Ghoshal in her enchanting voice. Despite the softness of the words, this song maintains a fast pace.  The second one is Yeh Badi Pyari Ghadi Hai Is Saal Ki sung by Soumya Mathur. This is a very lovely song containing the sentiments of a girl who has got her first crush. The next one in this side is the title track – Laal Dupatta Sar Se Sarka Jaaye Re in the voice of Bollywood singer – Sunidhi Chauhan. Personally, I found this song as the weakest one in the album, mainly because of its lack of originality. The composition is a complete copy of a very old Rajasthani folk song – Udiyo Re Udiyo Aado Tedo Jaaye Re. In my humble opinion, using the composition of folk songs to fit newly written lyrics in them is not in line with the spirit of the folk-music (besides, it is plagiarism). Sunidhi has sung it nicely but it’s not something extra-ordinary. The last song in this side is in the voice of well-known Rajasthani singer – Seema Mishra – Main Sapne Tere Dekhoon which is a heart-conquering song containing the tender feelings of a girl visualizing her beau in different shades of the nature.

The B side of the cassette also contains four songs. The first one is Khanaki Choodi Chhanaki Paayal which is a song full of frolic and romance. Seema Mishra has sung it with utmost jollity. The second song again sung by Seema Mishra is Din Ab Chhote Hone Lage Hain Raaten Lambi Lambi which refers to the season of winter in a romantic way with the lady longing for the union with her beau / husband.  The next one is in the voice of Shreya Ghoshal. It is Saawan Ki Aati Hai Phuhaar linking the rainy season with the romance in the lady’s heart. And the album ends with a fast, jolly Punjabi song in the voice of Soumya Mathur. It is Munde Haay Nee.

Since the mood of the album is related to the romance in the hearts of the females, all the songs have been kept in female voices only. This is an album which fills the heart of the listener with tender feelings and lovely romance and lifts his / her spirits. Four songs have been penned by Tauqeer Zaidi and four by Rakesh Nirala. All the lyrics are touching and contain romantic feelings sans any vulgarity. Despite usage of simple words, the lyrics are pretty impressive and worth remembering. The colours and the fragrance of Indian soil can be seen and sniffed in them. The music has been composed by Saagar Sen. The composer has kept the melody intact while preparing the tunes while the arranger (Y.S. Moolky) has restricted the sounds of the instruments to the minimum. Instruments like clarinet, Sitar, mandolin,  flute, Swarlin, guitar, Dhol, tabor etc. have been used but their sounds amalgamate with the voice of the singer concerned and generate an ear-soothing effect.

In addition to the Bollywood celebrities like Shreya and Sunidhi, the low profile Rajasthani singers like Seema Mishra and Soumya Mathur have sung the respective songs with utmost passion, virtually pouring their hearts in singing them. Several good voices have been used for the chorus supporting the lead voice.

Laal Dupatta is an album of light romantic songs. Though the compositions and instrumental music throw the fragrance of Rajasthani soil (with the last song containing Punjabi flavour), the overall impact is Indian as the lyrics are in Hindi. This non-filmy album may not be considered an outstanding one but it is definitely a treat for the music-lovers who are tired of beat-loaded filmy songs meant to arouse foot-tapping only. Any music-lover will cherish the experience for long after listening to Laal Dupatta and will love to listen to it many times as I have been listening to it for the past twelve years.

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The damsel without a name

Anamika means a female without a name. The movie I am reviewing was released in 1973 and I saw it for the first time after a few years only upon its telecast on the Doordarshan. I watched it again when I grew up and since then I am never tired of watching it any number of times. It is a mystery movie with the suspense revolving around the female lead, appropriately called Anamika. However it has not been made like the regular suspense thrillers. The director has taken proper care to present it like a social drama or a rom-com in the lingo used now-a-days (not used in that period of the seventies). Hence this movie is an excellent timepass not just for the mystery fans but also for the young audience fond of romance, comedy and social drama.anamika_emoe_2285_side_1

The story of Anamika (1973) starts in Shimla with a popular novelist Sanjeev Kumar who hates women because of the infidelity of a girl whom he loved. When he is returning home from the ceremony held for the release of his new novel, he finds an injured girl lying unconscious in the middle of the road. He brings her home where he lives with his uncle, A.K. Hangal and his secretary Asrani. The girl, Jaya Bhaduri, comes to her senses and from her talks, it appears that she is under an illusion to consider herself as Sanjeev Kumar’s wife. Sanjeev gets irritated by her wifely behaviour and romantic advances towards him. However with the passage of time, he falls in love with her. He starts calling her Anamika, i.e., the woman who does not bear any name. However the way she had suddenly entered his life, the same way, she suddenly disappears too, leaving him sad and lonely again. But he keeps on searching her, only to gain startling and shocking pieces of information about her identity and her character. Finally he meets her again, comes to know her real identity and the mystery behind her behaviour and relevant events that have taken place. The lovers get re-united after a spine-chilling climax involving the villain.Anamika-Old-925603064-435994-1

I have always admired director Raghunath Jhalani’s skill of presenting a mystery in the form of an engrossing social drama. In Anamika, he has done the same job. The movie is a mystery but its presentation is that of a family drama or say a Rom-Com. The interactions between Jaya Bhaduri and Sanjeev Kumar are rib-tickling as well as touching the romantic chord in the audience’s hearts. This makes the movie a thoroughly enjoyable one even for those who don’t like suspense or mystery. But the curiosity regarding the real identity of Jaya Bhaduri gives it the flare of a mystery too. However it is not a regular suspense thriller. It is a good mix of family drama, mystery, romance and comedy. Despite the romance and the comedy, the narrative moves swiftly and the movie heads towards its desired ending without unnecessary digressions.index2Jaya Bhaduri in the title role, is the heart and soul of this movie. She has delivered a hilarious performance and entertains the viewers with her (seemingly) innocent mannerisms and advances towards Sanjeev, deeming him as her husband. Though her role has been given a profound look when the movie reaches near the climax, it is her naughty romantic version that makes the narrative lively and engrossing. Sanjeev Kumar is natural as he always is. Asrani’s comedy provides additional laughs. A.K. Hangal, Iftekhar (as the doctor) and Baby Pinky provide good support to the family drama taking place inside the house of Sanjeev Kumar. I am not able to identify the villain (as to who that actor is) but he has done well.index1The climax of the movie is scary. The final ten minutes are certainly spine-chilling. However after it is over and the movie ends with the unison of the lovers, the viewer gets a feeling of satisfaction. The narrative is crisp. No undue dragging. The complete length of the movie is hardly two hours.

Music is another highlight of Anamika. Pancham Da (R.D. Burman) has composed ear-soothing songs (penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri) for the movie. It contains Kishore Da’s memorable song – Meri Bheegi-Bheegi Si Palkon Pe Reh Gaye Jaise Mere Sapne Bikhar Ke on one hand and Lata’s heart-warming romantic song – Baahon Mein Chale Aao, Haan Humse Sanam Kya Parda on the other. Asha Bhonsle’s songs – Logon Na Maaro Isse and Aaj Ki Raat Koi Aane Ko Hai are also very good.

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On the flip side, the storyteller does not answer all the questions perfectly in the end. Some loose ends have been left untied. The characters of A.K. Hangal and Iftekhar have been developed by taking Bollywood style cinematic liberties. However the interesting flow of the narrative compels the viewers to ignore such things.

Technically and production value wise also, the movie is all right. Appropriate costumes have been selected for the characters suiting the different situations created in the story. The cinematographer has captured the snowy beauty of Shimla (in the seventies) very well.anamika

Anamika is a very good watch. I recommend it to all. Whether you are fond of comedy or of romance or of family drama or of mystery, this movie is just for you. Despite being a suspense movie, it has repeat value. Watch it once and you would like to meet this damsel without a name once more.

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