One of Nana’s best movies

Ghulam-e-Mustafa (1997) can undoubtedly be counted among the best movies done by Nana Patekar. This is also one of the better works of the director, Partho Ghosh. The movie has a great deal of emotions and touches the viewer at many places. It not only entertains, but also gives good messages of communal harmony and crime never pays.indexAs the name suggests, the story belongs to Ghulam-e-Mustafa (originally the name of the movie was kept Mustafa but due to opposition of certain religious groups, it was changed to Ghulam-e-Mustafa) who is the henchman and right hand of Saanta Prasad (known as Abba among his man and in the underworld). Abba had adopted and fostered him and hence he feels himself as indebted to him for life, doing anything he wants Mustafa to do without giving any thought to its propriety or ethical aspect. He comes in contact with a teacher Kavita who loves him to the extent of becoming his wife despite knowing everything about his past, present and of course, future, without any regrets. But when she is killed in an attempt on Mustafa’s life by his enemies (say the enemies of Abba), Mustafa’s profound grief proves to be an eye-opener for him. He realizes that the violence in which he has been involved for years in the name of Abba’s work, considering it as his duty, is nothing more than an outright futile and condemnable phenomena which has made him guilty of taking innocent lives. The pain of losing his own beloved makes him empathize with the pain of his victims. A thoroughly changed Mustafa leaves the path of violence and Abba’s house too. Abba loves him so much that he realizes his pain and consequential change in him and therefore lets him go his new way.Mustafa now finds his way leading to the house of Dayanand Dixit, an honest govt. officer, unreasonably trapped by an anti-corruption officer and sentenced to imprisonment resulting in the plight of his family containing his wife, son and daughter. Mustafa enters the pain-stricken house of this Hindu Brahman family as a trespasser and imposes himself upon the family members who initially hate him but with the passage of time come to realise that he has come to their house to play the messiah for them. He saves them from all their enemies including the corrupt anti-corruption officer who has his lustful eye on Dixit’s daughter. However the main problem is monetary hardship and the honour of the family. He gets an opportunity to solve this problem by making a deal with Abba who wants the services of his beloved ex-henchman back to reap the electoral harvest by unlawful means for a particular political party. Mustafa agrees to do the wrong thing for the last time in his life in lieu of release of Dixit from jail and his exoneration from the false charges levied upon him as well as a job for Dixit’s son and monetary help for his daughter’s marriage. However he conveys in good faith to Abba that he will surrender to the authorities for his past crimes after the objectives of Abba as well as himself are fulfilled. This communication leads to the unexpected climax of the movie when Mustafa is shot dead by his loving Abba himself to prevent him from arrest and abolish any possibility of exposure of Abba and the politician, Abba is working for.Ghulam-e-Mustafa is a movie in which Nana Patekar shows the depth of his acting talent in the simplest manner. He is an actor par excellence and Ghulam-e-Mustafa demonstrates why he has such a huge fan following. Raveena Tandon as Kavita is very charming and impressive. She has done a good job despite less footage given to her. The supporting cast has also done excellently including the villains. Paresh Rawal has acted a difficult character of Nana’s mentor who loves him by heart but compelled to eliminate him due to his illegal profession’s requirements, proving once more that he is a highly versatile actor who can infuse life into any type of positive or negative character. In Ghulam-e-Mustafa, Paresh’s character is neither positive nor fully negative, it is a character with grey shades whose activities are apparently contradictory, yet quite logical. Among other cast, special mention is needed for Shivaji Satam as Dayanand Dixit and Aruna Irani as his wife, Bhagyalakshmi Dixit who have acted their roles with the highest level of sensitivity and naturalness.Rajesh Roshan’s music is not great but very very touching. The songs may not have been chartbusters but their melody and meaningfulness can be easily felt while listening. Lovers of emotional songs should definitely listen to ‘Tera Gham, Mera Gham, Ek Jaisa Sanam‘ penned by Anand Bakshi and sung beautifully by Kavita Krishnamurthy and Hariharan.

The other aspects of production are also satisfactory. The storyteller has been successful in keeping the viewers glued to their seats throughout the movie and he never lets them down at any point during the narration. Many scenes compel the viewers to clap. Mustafa’s refusing the non-vegetarian food sent for him by Abba to respect the sentiments of the Dixit family is an example.nana-patekar-muslim-role-ghulam-e-mustafa-movie-dialogue-640x640Movies like Ghulam-e-Mustafa are like an oasis in desert in these times of communal hatred and biases. Ghulam-e-Mustafa had come much prior to the fateful 9/11. However its relevance can be felt when watched even today. The movie carries both the entertainment value and the inspirational value in good quantum. It shows that anybody can be a good human-being or become a good human-being at any time in his or her life, irrespective of his or her religious identification.

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Ye Kya Jagah Hai Doston, Ye Kaun Sa Dayaar Hai . . .

Umrao Jaan (1981) is based on the novel –  ‘Umrao Jaan Ada’ of Mirza Mohammad Haadi Ruswa. I happened to watch the movie first and read the novel later. And undoubtedly, director Muzaffar Ali’s cinematic version of the story originally written in the nineteenth century and said to be the true story of a true character, is better than the written work which I am reviewing now.umrao-jaan-1981-bollywood-925024224-435994-1The story belongs to the Tawaif (courtesan) Umrao Jaan who was born at Faizabaad as Ameeran. After getting kidnapped and sold to a Kotha (brothel) in Lucknow, she grows up and becomes famous among the rich and the elite because of her Shaayari (Urdu poetry) sung in her melodious voice and coupled with her enchanting dances. However she finds almost everybody around him as greedy for her earnings and she continue to move through her journey of life with a sense of complete loneliness within her. Certain males enter her life and raise false hopes in her heart for being able to live a normal married life containing a loving husband, social acceptance and motherhood but finally, she finds that loneliness only is her destiny.indexTaking the story from the said novel, producer-director Muzaffar Ali himself has written the screenplay and dialogues of this movie in association with Shama Zaidi and Javed Siddiqui. This script has been written quite crisply without giving undue footage to anything and not allowing the focus to divert from the principal character and her woes. The narrative with the gloom and loneliness of the principal character prevalent in every moment of it, moves at a reasonable pace without allowing any laxity or boredom to creep in. The audience is not only kept engaged in the narrative and glued to the screen for more than two hours but also made to feel the pain, the feelings and the stuffiness of the pivotal character. It is a very impressive movie, no doubt.index1The ending scene is just superb in which Umrao Jaan wipes the mirror to see her face in that. It’s an example of sheer brilliance on the part of the filmmaker who conveys the permanent sense of loneliness in the courtesan to the audience leaving the theatre without any spoon-feeding. Anybody who has watched this movie on the big screen must have left the theatre with a throbbing in his / her heart.

Umrao Jaan can be termed as pain-filled poetry written on celluloid. It stirs, moves, pinches and brings tears to eyes. It’s a journey made by the spectator alongwith the courtesan known as Umrao Jaan. Within a few minutes, the narrative envelops the viewer and makes him a part of the unusual story of the protagonist being told to him.

The art director has brought the period of the 19th century alive on the screen. The complete milieu including the architecture, the dialect, the clothes, the style of living etc. are authentic. The cinematographer has also left no stone unturned from his side in this regard and thus a realistic account of that era is presented to the audience who also happen to witness the turbulence due to the Gadar or the mutiny of 1857 by a section of the Indians against the British rule.

Rekha quite deservingly won the national award for the best actress for the title role played by her in this movie (though Jennifer Kendal Kapoor was a stronger contender for that award for that year for her performance in 36 Chowringhee Lane). Rekha does not seem to be acting, she appears to be actually living the life of Umrao Jaan. Originally a Tamil, this talented actress has portrayed the Urdu speaking Shaayara cum Tawaif in an amazing manner.

Farooq Sheikh as Umrao Jaan’s lover and all the other characters have also done exceedingly well. Even the small characters of Maulvi Saheb (Gajanan Jaagirdar) and Bismillah (Prema Narayan) are able to leave their imprint in the movie. The romance between Farooq and Rekha is so delicate that the audience can’t help falling in love with them and their relationship.

Khayyam has composed immortal music with the great Shaayari of Shahryar for this movie. All the ghazals and nazms are so touching that any lover of music and Shaayari can keep on listening to them again and again. Dil Cheez Kya Hai Aap Meri Jaan LeejiyeIn Aankhon Ki Masti Ke Mastaane Hazaaron HainZindagi Jab Bhi Teri Bazm Mein Laati Hai HamenJustujoo Jiski Thi Usko To Na Paaya Humne etc. are heart-conquerors. Most of these are gems in the voice of Asha Bhosle whereas Zindagi Jab Bhi Teri Bazm Mein Laati Hai Hamen is a memorable ghazal of Talat Aziz. The album contains a couple of folk songs also and a classic song authored by Amir Khusro. However the pain-soaked ghazal (which is placed at the end of the movie) which always brings a flood of tears in my eyes is – Ye Kya Jagah Hai Doston, Ye Kaun Sa Dayaar Hai, Hadd-e-Nigaah Tak Jahaan Gubaar Hi Gubaar Hai. It underscores the pain of Umrao or Ameeran on one side and her mother’s pain on the other side who is not able to embrace her long separated daughter because of social restrictions (as her daughter is now known as a courtesan).

Umrao Jaan is a true classic. A masterpiece. It was remade by J.P. Dutta in 2006 by taking Aishwarya Rai in the title role. Though I found J.P. Dutta’s movie as closer to the novel of Mirza Haadi Ruswa, it lacked the soul of the story. If anybody wants to meet the real Umrao Jaan that used to exist some 150 years ago, then this movie only is the perfect choice for him / her.

Shaukat Azmi (or Shaukat Kaifi) who has played the role of Khaanam in this movie, passed away on 22.11.2019. This review is a tribute to that great theatre and film personality better known as Shaukat Aapa in the literary and art-world.

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Thuggery in gambling with a hidden motive

Gambling is a vice, no doubt. However, speaking philosophically, sometimes the whole life appears to be a kind of gamble only. Gambling is illegal in India (though the government itself runs certain kinds of gambling in our country) but habitual gamblers are seldom able to forbear from gambling. And those who are professional gamblers or have seen professional gambling closely, know very well that dishonesty is the best policy considered here. Cheating appears to be a standard rule of the game may it be the gambling through cards or roulette wheel or the like wise. Normally, the motive of such a cheating by the gamblers or the people running the game, is to loot certain person or persons. However more than four decades back, Hindi novelist Surendra Mohan Pathak had written a novel which tells a story of cheating in gambling (through cards) apparently to loot a wealthy person who is fond of gambling but actually with a hidden motive which is much bigger than the visible motive of making easy money. This very interesting novel is Khoon Ka Khel (bloody game) which is the 62nd venture of Sunil, the popular journalist hero created by Surendra Mohan Pathak.

Khoon Ka Khel tells the story of Girdhaarilaal who himself is modestly educated but runs a high profile and reputed scientific research institute. He is fond of gambling and gets trapped by a gang who conducts gambling sessions just for his sake only. Girdhaarlilaal does not know that all the gamblers playing with him are in collusion against him and the sole objective of such sessions is to loot him. He keeps on losing money everyday in such dishonestly played games in which all the tricks of the trade are applied to empty his pocket. His young wife Neelima gets concerned by her husband’s continuously losing money in such gambling sessions which are always conducted at new venues, different from the earlier ones. She approaches the hero of this novel Sunil Kumar Chakravarty who is an investigative journalist and works for a national daily – Blast which is published from the fictitious metropolitan city of Rajnagar. The thing which is not known about Sunil is that he is also associated with Special Intelligence, a branch of the Central Investigation Bureau whose director is Colonel Mukherjee.

Neelima requests Sunil to stop her husband from gambling. Sunil first considers it an impractical thing because Girdhaarilaal is an adult, experienced person who must be knowing what’s in his interest and what not. However the people of the gang who is after Girdhaarlilaal’s wealth, consider Neelima’s approaching Sunil as a threat to their big mission which this gambling is only a part of. To threaten Sunil and keeping him at bay from them, they destroy his beloved motorbike. Now Sunil who was earlier not interested in helping Neelima, decides not only to reach the root of the whole issue but also teach the destroyers of his motorbike a lesson. He approaches Girdhaarilaal and joins one gambling session with him as his guest. Sunil’s friend Ramakant who runs a club titled as Youth Club, is a seasoned gambler and he enlightens Sunil regarding several tricks of this trade. Equipped with this knowledge, Sunil is able to catch many tricks applied by the members of the gang against Girdhaarilaal during that session. Besides the attitude and behaviour of those so-called gamblers, compels him to think that there’s some much bigger motive behind this dishonesty in gambling with Girdhaarilaal.

Later Sunil advises Girdhaarilaal to get out of this regular gambling activity of his and the company of those so-called gamblers and furnishes the details of the cheating being regularly done with him with evidences. However Girdhaarilaal does not listen to him. He, instead, makes up his mind to recover the money looted from him. The same night, he’s murdered and when the murder was taking place, Sunil was in Neelima’s company in a hotel. Naturally, both become suspects in the eyes of the police and get arrested. However after his release from the police custody, Sunil deeply investigates the whole thing and comes to know the real motive behind that dishonest gambling. Now it dawns upon him that whatever was known earlier, is only the tip of the iceberg and there’s a large conspiracy taking place against the nation. How Sunil, with the help of Colonel Mukherjee and a CIB officer – Jagatwaani, is able to fail the mission of the enemies of India, forms the climax of the novel. In the end, he also finds out the person who had destroyed his motorbike and teaches him an unforgettable lesson.

This very interesting novel first published during the time of internal emergency in India, is the only novel under the popular Sunil Series of the author in which the hero is present in both the personas of himself – a journalist and a spy. On one hand, he is a journalist, on the other he also works in association with a secret government department meant to protect the country from external threats. After this novel, Sunil never came before the readers as a spy.

The author has portrayed the hero as a normal human-being who possesses the human weaknesses like grudge and desire to settle scores. He does not follow the principle of forgive and forget. His love for his motorbike is natural as many people (including me) have that kind of attachment with the vehicles they drive. And therefore, his deciding to teach the destroyer of his motorbike a lesson, is also understandable. He admits that he does not believe in the noble philosophy of giving flowers in return for stones. His heart gets respite only when he has caused more damage to the person who has harmed him.

The author has also highlighted through a character of the story how communal riots are provoked by unscrupulous people in India who play with innocent lives for the sake of their vested interest. Finally it depends upon the commonfolk only to identify such traitors and save themselves from getting trapped into their conspiracy.

The narrative of this novel moves very fast and the novelty of the theme makes it different from the run-of-the-mill murder mysteries. Written with witty dialogs, the chain of events shown in the novel don’t allow the reader to pause and think. Despite being a very old novel, the story does not appear to be stale from any angle.

Khoon Ka Khel may not be easily available to read as its last edition had come long long back. However if any Hindi reader is able to find a copy and read it, he / she will immensely enjoy it.

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Bollywood classics very close to my heart

I present a list of Bollywood’s all time great classics which are very close to my heart. The list is bound to be subjective since I have to select a only a few out of hundreds. Besides, everybody can make his own list according to personal choice. Here comes my list of top ten masterpieces from Bollywood :

1. Pyaasa (1957) : Gurudutt read a poem – ‘Seven cities claimed Holmer dead through which the living Holmer begged his bread’. And he got the inspiration to make this movie which is not only one of the greatest movies of India but the world. Through the story of a Shaayar, Guru Dutt has portrayed the deterioration of values and ethics, the swiftly increasing selfishness overpowering everything else and the disenchantment from the Nehruvian idealism in the free India. This black and white movie is a classic example of cinematic excellence. Waheeda Rehman as Gulabo is adorable. The lyrics of Sahir, composed by S.D. Burman and sung by Rafi are hard-hitting. One song sung by Hemant Kumar – Jaane Woh Kaise Long The Jinke Pyar Ko Pyar Mila is also an immortal classic. 2. Khamoshi (1969) : This Rajesh Khanna-Waheeda Rehman starrer movie can be termed as the best of Waheeda’s career by any standards. A rare blend of psychology and a woman’s suppressed, untold emotions. The music of Hemant Kumar is enchanting with highly meaningful lyrics by Gulzar.

3. Taare Zameen Par (2007) : Aamir Khan’s masterpiece watching which I shed countless tears in the cinema hall. The highly sensitive story of the sentiments of a child suffering from dyslexia. A text book on child psychology. It stands with pride with the old classics of 50s, 60s and 70s.

4. Mother India (1957) : Mehbood Khan remade his own movie Aurat (1940) under the title Mother India with a big star cast and a grandeur immortalizing Nargis in the title role which starts from her teens and goes upto her 70s. Deserved an Oscar but the western jury could not grasp the soul of the Indian story and the Indian social values. Sunil Dutt also played the memorable role of Birju who is shot dead by his mother in the climax.5. Haqeeqat (1964) : Chetan Anand’s classic which is inarguably the best war movie ever made in India. It’s the painful story of retreat of the Indian soldiers after the heart-piercing defeat in the China war of 1962. A tear-jerking saga with immortal music given by Madan Mohan. The song – Hoke Majboor Mujhe Usne Bhulaaya Hoga is my all time favourite Bollywood song, listening and watching which is the experience of a lifetime.

6. Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) : Guru Dutt’s classic movie directed by Abrar Alvi, based on the novel of the same title authored by the legendary Bangla novelist Bimal Mitra. It presents a true picture of the deteriorating position of the landlords in 19th century Bengal and the social milieu of that period. Meena Kumari gave the performance of her life time in the immortal role of Chhoti Bahu. The songs in the voices of Geeta Dutt (Roy) are all time classics. Guru Dutt himself played the memorable role of Bhoot Nath in the movie.

7. Do Bigha Zamin (1953) : Bimal Roy’s classic movie on the plight of the poor Indian peasant destined to live and die in debt of the blood-sucking money-lenders. The heart-tearing saga was made lively on the screen with the outstanding performances of Balraaj Saahni and Nirupa Roy.

8. Mughal-e-Azam (1960) : The most grandiose movie of the Indian silver screen based on the Salim-Anarkali love saga, directed by K. Asif and acted by legends like Prithvi Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Madhubala. The music of Naushad is immortal the same way, the movie itself is.

9. Satyakaam (1969) : The hard-hitting realistic movie of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, baring the true face of the society and narrating the tragic destiny of a truthful and idealistic man in that. Dharmendra delivered a performance of his life time with Sharmila Tagore and Sanjeev Kumar ably supporting him. This movie is Hrishi Da’s best work by all means.

10. Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) : A beautiful story which could not be told properly, a beautiful idol which could not be finished perfectly, a beautiful song which could not be sung properly; yet its greatness is beyond any argument. The last movie directed by Guru Dutt which was a flop but definitely the best movie made with the backdrop of the movie-world itself. Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam is the immortal song which is the combined great effort of S.D. Burman, Kaifi Aazmi and Geeta Dutt whereas Bichhade Sabhi Baari Baari sung by Rafi is the song which bares the disgusting face of this selfish world and when played in the ending scene is simply tear-jerking. Guru-Waheeda chemistry is nothing short of amazing. The outstanding cinematography of V.K. Murthy is another highlight of this black and white movie.Other than these top ten, the following masterpieces from Bollywood are also mentionable :

1. 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981) : It’s not just a movie, it’s a pain-soaked poetry written on celluloid. A highly sensitive English movie by Aparna Sen, produced by Shashi Kapoor and acted by Jennifer Kendal (Kapoor) in the central role of a lonely lady with a superlative degree if sensitivity.thequint_2017-12_0992a04a-1889-479d-b910-5956af08a405_36 Chowringhee Lane poster

2. Parzania (2005) : Acted by Nasiruddin Shah, Sarika and others, it is perhaps the best movie on the communal hatred in India. Made with the backdrop of the Gujrat riots, the story is a quest for humanity and sensitivity in the wilderness of hatred and sin.

3. Jagte Raho (1956) : The most realistic movie from the prestigious R.K. banner of Bollywood, directed by Sombhu Mitra-Amit Maitra, showcasing the best ever performance of Raj Kapoor. The complete chain of events takes place in a residential complex and during one night only, baring the disgustful face of the hypocritical urban society.

4. Anand (1970) : Hrishi Da’s classic whose story is based on the never-say-die spirit of human-being who is going to die within a few months. Pronouncing affirmatively – Zindagi Zinda Dili Ka Naam Hai, the movie showcases the best ever performance of Rajesh Khanna in the lead role. The movie boasts of certain immortal songs in the voice of Mukesh, composed by Salil Chowdhury and penned by Yogesh.download5. Deewar (1975) : Gulshan Rai’s classic movie directed by Yash Chopra which seems to be inspired from Dilip Kumar’s Ganga Jumna (1961) showing two brothers on two polar ends of the continuum of law. Established Amitabh Bachchan as the perennial angry young man and Shashi Kapoor’s dialogue – Mere Paas Maa Hai became immortal.

6. Umrao Jaan (1981) : The classic movie based on the novel of Mirza Haadi Ruswa, acted brilliantly by Rekha in the title role and made excellently by Muzaffar Ali. The team of Khayaam, Shahryar, Asha Bhosle and Talat Aziz created an everlasting musical aura.

7. Garm Hava (1974) : A touching movie on the plight of innocent Indian Muslims in the period just after partition when they were finding the surrounding milieu and the environment seemingly hostile to them and they were in a fix whether their decision of not leaving their country for Pakistan was right or wrong. The debut movie of Farooq Sheikh boasting of the best ever performance of Balraaj Saahni. This hard-hitting, sensitive and very very realistic movie was made by M.S. Sathyu.

8. Mere Apne (1971) : Writer-director-lyricist Gulzar’s realistic maiden venture whose theme based on the misleading of unemployed urban youths is still relevant. Contains great performances by Meena Kumari, Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha.

9. Gangaajal (2003) : Prakash Jha’s hard-hitting movie on the Indian police system, loosely inspired by an incident taken place in Bhagalpur in 1979 in which some policemen had blinded some suspects in the lock-up. Utterly realistic from the very first frame to the very last frame. A great performance by not only Ajay Devgan but the whole performing team.

10. Sholay (1975) : The greatest commercially successful movie whose characters, events and dialogues have become a part of the Indian folklore.

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Jab Chali Thandi Hawa . . .

First of all, I sincerely thank my friend and elder Mr. Thomas Dhavala for inspiring me to write a review of this emotional love story of the sixties which is still remembered for its great songs. Do Badan (1966) was the first movie seen by me on the big screen in Kolkata (then Calcutta) after moving to this metro city in 1988. I went to watch it with a lot of expectation because I was (and still am) very much impressed by its melodious and touching songs. And Do Badan lived upto my expectations.indexKarva Chauth, the festival of the Indian (mainly Hindu) ladies fasting for the long life of their husbands is celebrated every year. Now what’s marriage ? Does the marriage of a male and female happen through rituals or legal procedure only ? My answer is – No. The marriage, in the real sense, happens in the hearts of a male and a female. I am writing a sentence in the Urdu language – JIS-SE MOHABBAT HOTI HAI, USI SE VAABASTAGI HOTI HAI AUR YE VAABASTAGI HI SHAADI HAI (you are emotionally associated to whom you love and this emotional bond itself is marriage). The hearts of a man and a woman can be married despite the non-performance of rituals (or legal formality). Do Badan is the story of such a pair only which could not tie the sacred knot in the eyes of the society but the love that had evolved in them for each other was eternal, transcending the limits of the bodies with merger of the souls.posterDo Badan (two bodies) tells the story of college-mates turned lovers – Asha (Asha Parekh) and Vikas (Manoj Kumar). The difference between the statuses of Asha’s rich father and poor and orphan Vikas becomes an insurmountable wall in the path of their union. Vikas leaves Asha to earn money and become worthy in the eyes of her father to ask for her hand in marriage but his rival for Asha’s love, Ashwini (Pran) arranges an accident to get rid of him. Vikas survives but loses his eye-sight. Kind-hearted Dr. Anjali (Simi Grewal) serves him. On the other hand, Asha gets married to Ashwini under the wrong impression that Vikas is dead in the accident. However she is not able to love him like a wife as her emotions have died with Vikas. The twist in the tale comes when she sees Vikas singing in a party. What happens thereafter is very touching and the movie finally reaches its tragic climax, leaving a throbbing in the hearts of the viewers.

An acclaimed expert in directing suspense thrillers, Raj Khosla has excelled in the field of emotions too with Do Badan. The movie is quite interesting and the curiosity of the viewer has been well-maintained by the narrator. Despite Bollywood style twists and cinematic liberties in the narrative, the viewer is nowhere let down. Cinematography is good and the bright colours provide a cooling experience to the viewer’s eyes. Technically and production value wise, the movie is up to the mark. The length of the movie is also quite ok according to the norms of the sixties.

The lead pair was never considered a great performer. However in this emotion-packed movie, both have done well. Asha Parekh never got accolades for her performance but she was quite pretty and the thing for which I admire her is that she was able to develop good on-screen chemistry with every hero and that made up for her average acting. Manoj Kumar has also acted properly. The greatest ever villain of Bollywood, Pran has delivered a knock-out performance again. However the surprise packet of this movie is Simi Grewal who is simply lovable in the role of a kind-hearted lady doctor. She had won the Filmfare award for the best supporting actress for her performance in this movie.The music of Do Badan is just marvellous with all the songs being memorable ones. The emotional lyrics of Shakeel Badayuni have been melodiously composed by Ravi. It contains three gems of Mohammed Rafi – Raha Gardishon Mein Har Dum, Naseeb Mein Jiske Jo Likha Tha and Bhari Duniya Mein Aakhir Dil Ko Samjhaane Kahaan Jaayen. It has Lata’s great sad song – Lo Aa Gayi Unki Yaad. It contains Asha’s teasing song – Matt Jaiyo Naukariya Chhod Ke. And above all, it contains – Jab Chali Thandi Hawa which is undoubtedly one of Asha’s most popular songs, a real classic in terms of the tune as well as in terms of the instrumental music in which tender words have been strung like fragrant flowers in a beautiful garland. This unforgettable song links the natural phenomena with human emotions in the most impressive manner.I had watched Do Badan in the Liberty Cinema situated at Girish Park, Kolkata (then Calcutta) on 14th October, 1988 and I am unfortunate that I am yet to watch it for the second time since then (though I watch the videos of its songs on internet). This touching love story is a treat to watch for the people liking emotional love stories and its great songs render it a repeat value for sure.

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Ladaai abhi jaari hai

Kashmir is burning despite the recent Govt. steps (and suffocated because of them). Lamhaa (2010) is still relevant in the present scenario. Lamhaa is a certainly one notch below follow-up by the maker of Parzania (2005) , Rahul Dholkia who has taken up the issue of Kashmir with a lot of research work on his part. He has chosen a good script and done his casting very intelligently. Lamhaa is thoroughly engrossing and maintains an air of thrill throughout. It is a fast movie which appears to be even faster because of its short length and proportionately very large canvas to cover. Definitely it is not a classic like his previous venture Parzania but is able to leave its mark notwithstanding.

The story of Lamhaa (moment) is nothing but the turmoil in Kashmir by the jihadis with the help of Pakistan to tackle which a military intelligence officer is sent in the disguise of a disgruntled Kashmiri Mulsim. He searches like-minded Kashmiris to strengthen his hands and helps them on one hand alongwith seeking their help in uncovering the true faces behind the leaders of the anti-government forces on the other.indexThe director has ended the story without offering any solution to the problem or passing any kind of subjective strictures. He has shown his better sense by presenting the status of the things as it is alongwith the mentality of the people of all kinds involved therein. The director’s research work and honesty of narration is clearly visible in the movie. It is a movie made with a great effort and toil.lamhaa2_0The problem with the narrative is that the director has chosen a very big canvas for his script but made a movie lengthy of hardly two hours. That’s why he has attempted at several facets of the problem but fell short of time in dealing with each one of them effectively and meaningfully. Resultantly, certain things (viz. the plight of the Kashmiri pundits) have been just touched and certain things have been treated quite superficially. The maker of Parzania was expected to be more insightful in his approach. There was no need to make an over-crisp movie and some additional length would have given him room to fill proper colours in all the frames of his outline.1indexHowever Rahul Dholkia’s effort cannot be underrated by any angle as he has made a fast-paced, action-packed, adrenaline-pumping movie. If you look at it from an entertainment viewpoint, it is an engrossing thriller without allowing the viewer any time to think (though the subject-matter is thoughtful as well as thought-provoking only). You won’t regret after watching it.Lamhaa-2010-Songs-Free-DownloadCasting is very intelligent. Sanjay Dutt has been taken over by age (he was 51 years old then which is clearly visible in his looks). However he is the best choice for the central character tying all the ends of the story together in a single thread. Bipasha Basu has her own fan following in India (perhaps abroad too) and let me frankly tell you the name of one of her diehard fans – Jitendra Mathur. She is gorgeous, appealing and effective, all at the same time. Among others, Anupam Kher has done well whereas Kunal Kapoor’s weakness of character has let him down. Perhaps the director has tried to insert some of his personal views regarding the solution of the problem in the movie through the character of Kunal Kapoor which looks a bit unreal. The complete supporting cast has done exceedingly well. Shernaaz Patel deserves a special mention for her outstanding performance in the cameo role of the wife of a missing husband.imagesSongs with the background score, locations and art direction, cinematography, editing, production value; everything is A class. The cinematographer has done an outstanding job by capturing the eternal beauty as well as the tormented status of Kashmir in the best possible manner.

The movie is quite realistic in the major part of it and quite superficial and oversimplified at certain places. Yet, one thing is certain that it is thoroughly gripping, from beginning to end. In fact, the style of story-telling in this movie is similar to that of J.P. Dutta in his trilogy of Border, Refugee and LOC-Kargil.

The narrator has shown what the Indian intelligentsia thinks and feels about the Kashmir issue, nothing new. The fact is, the director, despite his sincere research, cannot work like the hero of his story to dig out all the hidden things. Hence he has portrayed what he himself considers the reality behind the havoc. The secret hidden behind the curtain may be something else. Who knows ?

Now-a-days, the use of filthy and uncivilized language, full of Indian slangs, is increasing in Hindi movies in the name of showing the reality as our censor board has got extremely liberal with respect to the language of the characters. Lamhaa is also no exception. However I clearly disapprove of it as it snatches the flair of dignity and decency from the movie. When each and every reality cannot be shown, why can’t we abstain from the use of vulgar language ?

Kashmir has been converted into a company delivering profits to several interest-groups and looting the common Kashmiris, has been reiterated quite often in the movie and it appears to be the reality. The issue of flesh-trade of the Kashmiri girls has been quite humanly demonstrated through the statement of them – Hamen to har koi lootata hai chahe wo military ho ya jihaadi (we are looted by everybody whether it is the military or the militants). The scene of bashing of Bipasha Basu by the mob is heart-tearing.

Before I conclude my review, I want to caveat the readers regarding one thing – Lamhaa demands relentless attention of the viewer. If you are careless even for a blinker (say Lamhaa), you may miss some significant fact regarding the story.LamhaaAll in all, a better movie was expected from the maker of a masterpiece like Parzania. However it is not a disappointing one. I sum up the Kashmir issue in which the biggest sufferer is the innocent, with the words – Ladaai abhi jaari hai (the fight continues).

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The unfathomable depth of childhood love

We have heard and read a lot about childhood love. And all of us were children only years back. Children do have crush on someone just like the adolescents and the youths. However what’s the depth of that love that had sprouted in childhood ? Does it survive and sustain itself when the kids are no longer the kids ? Difficult to answer, isn’t it ? I also had a crush on a girl when I was a kid and at least two girls were having a crush on me in that period (I know it as they had expressed it to me because children are more expressive than the grown-up ones). However can the childhood crushes and attachments be compared to love in adulthood ? I may be remembering my crush on that girl in the grown-up phase of my life but must those girls be remembering their crush on me later in their lives ? The likely answer is in the negative only and not in the affirmative.

However the fiction-writers and the filmmakers think differently. In romantic novels and Bollywood movies, we find that the childhood love which is pure and innocent remains intact even after years and decades when the kids in love have grown-up into a man and a woman. That love may succeed when it’s a two way traffic with complete awareness on both the sides. And it may end up as a tragedy when the things are either one-sided or the odds are not favourable to the lovers. One such tragic story of childhood love is Deedar (1951) starring Dilip Kumar, Nargis, Ashok Kumar and Nimmi in lead roles.Deedaar (sight) starts with the childhood love of Shyamu (Dilip Kumar) and Mala (Nargis). Mala is the daughter of a rich man whereas Shyamu is a poor boy whose widow mother works as a gardener for Mala’s father. Mala’s father does not take notice of the companionship and camaraderie of Shyamu and Mala and allows both the children to enjoy their time together until one day Mala gets injured during horse-riding. He then forces Shyamu’s mother to relocate and the loving kids are separated. Mala grows up into a beautiful lady who still has memories of her childhood buddy Shyamu who used to sing very well.

On the other hand, Shyamu’s misfortune appears to have no bounds when not only he loses his mother but also his vision. Thereafter a blind and orphan Shyamu is looked after by another destitute person and his little niece Champa. Gradually Champa (Nimmi) develops a love in her heart for Shyamu. Shyamu who grows up with Champa only knows her feelings but his heart still beats for his lost love Mala only. Since Champa and her uncle are also quite poor, Shyamu supports them by earning some amount through his singing ability and thus enables them (and himself too) to make both ends meet.

The twist in this love story of erstwhile kids and now adults, comes when a reputed doctor hears Shyamu’s singing and feels sorry for his blindness. He is Dr. Kishore (Ashok Kumar) who being benevolent by nature and admiring Shyamu’s singing ability very much decides to help this poor person in getting his sight back. He takes Shyamu to his place and starts preparations for the operation of his eyes. Now befriended to him, Shyamu tells him about his lost childhood love also. Dr. Kishore also tells him about his love for a girl whom he wants to marry. Needless to say that that girl is Mala only, the lost love of Shyamu.

Dr. Kishore is able to bring the sight of Shyamu back and asks him to stay with him till his marriage with Mala. However Shyamu has already recognized Mala who is in constant touch with Dr. Kishore and due to him, now with Shyamu also. Though Mala has not recognized him as her lost childhood buddy but Shyamu is extremely excited that after getting his eyes, he will get his lost love also. He does not know that Mala only is the fiancee of Dr. Kishore. On the other hand, Dr. Kishore also does not know that his fiancee only is the lost love of Shyamu. After Shyamu’s eyesight is back, the reality dawns on both these men like a lightning. A storm arrives in their lives paving the path for the final twist in the story which is not only tragic but something like a ‘believe it or not’ kind of also.I am not revealing the final twist (the climax) in the story here because it’s for the readers to find it themselves by watching this movie which is soaked in love and emotion. It’s unbelievably shocking and forces a sensitive person to ponder as to what can be the depth of love. Perhaps the depth of true love is unfathomable. And it’s very difficult to understand the thought-train and consequential actions of a true lover.In its later half, the movie presents the dilemma of a true lover who is burdened by the obligation of a person who is his rival for the lady’s love. Well, when the feelings of gratitude and love clash with each other, which one should overpower ? Personally I feel that a true lover can never be selfish and gratitude is a great virtue, a sublime trait getting rare and rare with the changing times. However the readers are free to frame their own opinion in this regard.In my review of Barfi (2012), I have highlighted this fact that you may not be able to reciprocate someone’s love for you because you may already be loving someone else. However if you can and in fact, you should acknowledge that true love. If you don’t, you are selfish and insensitive and in my opinion, unworthy to be called a sincere lover. And here lies the same issue for the hero Shyamu who still cherishes the childhood love of Mala but he is not able to acknowledge the true love of Champa for him until his heart gets broken forever and he has to take a very harsh decision for his life. Till then the sincere love of that poor girl for him, a blind person, had no meaning for him. That’s unbecoming of a person who considers himself a true lover.

The movie is quite entertaining despite its profound tone and scarcity of relief moments. The milieu is simple but the story flows very well and the curiosity factor remains active till the ending sequence.

The movie contains three love triangles. One is the main track of Shyamu, Dr. Kishore and Mala. The second love triangle can be considered as that of Shyamu, Mala and Champa. But the narrator has presented a third love triangle also which is of Shyamu, Champa and Chaudhary (Yakub). Chaudhary remains associated with Shyamu in his earning activity and loves Champa who is an inseparable part of blind Shyamu’s life but his love for her has not been given much weightage in the story.

Director Nitin Bose has handled the story very well. Plus the admirable performances have eased the director’s job. Dilip Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Nargis, Nimmi and Yakub have done complete justice to their respective characters. Child artists Master Parikshit (playing young Shyamu) and Baby Tabassum (playing young Mala) have also done very well.The movie has a great music appeal. The team of Naushad, the composer and Shakeel Badayuni, the lyricist, has prepared gems like Bachpan Ke Din Bhula DenaMeri Kahaani Bhoolne WaaleChaman Mein Reh Ke Veerana Mera Dil Hota Jaata Hai, Naseeb Dar Pe Tere Aazmane Aaya Hoon etc. and Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum have sung them beautifully.

I recommend this black and white movie to those who like old-fashioned sentimental dramas and love triangles. If you are fond of watching golden oldies containing melodious songs, then this black and white movie is just for you.

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