Jeet Hee Lenge Baazi Hum Tum . . . A tribute to Khayyam Saheb

Khayyam is no more. This review is a tribute to the great music director.

I have heard that everyone loves a lover. Well, it may not be true. But it’s true that every lover loves a lover. A person who has been in love himself / herself is supposed to understand the love of others. Moreover, a broken-heart or a loser in love should definitely be able to understand the pain of someone whose heart is broken or who’s been separated from his / her sweetheart. Today I am reviewing a very old Bollywood movie which follows this theme only. This black and white classic movie is Shola Aur Shabnam (1961).Shola Aur Shabnam (flame and dew) is a triangular love story. Just think if you get separated from your love in your childhood and when grown-up, come across him / her only to know that he / she is the would-be spouse of your best friend whose obligations are also being carried by you, then what will you pass through ? This is exactly what happens with the hero of Shola Aur Shabnam – Ravi (Dharmendra) who gets separated from his childhood love – Sandhya (Tarla) and suddenly finds her as the betrothed of his friend-cum-obliger – Prakash (M. Rajan). Ravi tries to hide the fact from Sandhya that he is her childhood love but Sandhya, being very intelligent and smart (and gutsy as well) ascertains the truth and now she is not all ready to marry Prakash because her love for the childhood buddy is still intact in her adulthood. Ravi, on the other hand, burdened by the obligations of Prakash, is not ready to cog his friend and snatch his love-interest (Prakash has also been in love with Sandhya since the day he had seen her photograph before meeting her face-to-face). Ravi is an employee in the timber estate of Prakash’s father and his job exists because of Prakash only. He has to take care of his aged mother (Leela Mishra) and therefore, his childhood love is not his top priority in this practical world. But wait, there is another, very interesting convolution in the tale.

Prakash’s elder brother Aakash (Abhi Bhattacharya) has been a loser in love because the father of Prakash and Aakash (Mubarak) did not allow his marriage with his sweetheart (Vijaylaxmi) because of status difference and she had to commit suicide. That tragedy led Aakash not only to remain a bachelor for life but also to become a perennial alcoholic and an eccentric at times. When he comes to know that Ravi and Sandhya are childhood lovers, he first tries to separate them because of his sheer love for his younger brother, i.e., Prakash. But soon he realizes his mistake and thereafter leaves no stone unturned in uniting them and finally sacrifices his life for this purpose, making his father realize his mistake of separating the lovers.Shola Aur Shabnam is a well written and well directed film by Ramesh Saigal who has not only maintained the interest of the spectators from the beginning to the very end but also been able to move them deep within through the character of Aakash, his tragedy and the passionate love of Sandhya for Ravi. Several scenes are highly impressive and leave indelible imprint on the heart of the viewer. The movie seldom bores and amidst the profound love story, it has relief moments also. The track of the parents of Ravi (shown in the childhood of the lead pair) tickles the funny bone of the viewer like anything and the scenes during and after the lead pair ‘s knowing the truth (that they are childhood lovers) are highly romantic and carry immense repeat value for watching and feeling. There is not even an ounce of boredom in the movie. Since the major part of the story takes places in a jungle (timber estate), the scenes involving the elephants are not only impressive but also touching because of the linking of the human sentiments to those of the animals.

This lovely movie entertains and makes the eyes of the spectators humid at the same time. The helplessness of the hero (because of the responsibility of his widow and aged mother and the obligation of his benevolent friend) and the passionate love of the heroine (who teases the hero like anything after knowing the truth) are damn impressive. Despite the black and white version and the poor quality of the VCD / DVD, this movie can be seen any number of times. It’s not unduly long and there is nothing superfluous in it. The narrative moves towards the desired finale sans any digression in between.Shola-Aur-Shabnam-925024140-435994-1Technically the movie is perfect. In addition to the moviemaker, the performers too have done their job well. All the supporting characters are perfectly in their place. This is the debut movie of the heroine – Tarla and the screen reads while showing the credits – Introducing a new pair – Dharmendra and Tarla. May be Dharmendra had signed this movie first because his first released movie as a hero was Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (1960) and his first screen appearance was Railway Platform (1955). M. Rajan and Mubarak have done well. Dashing Dharmendra with his boyish looks is able to loot the hearts of several young females. This first ever renowned he-man of Bollywood has bared his chest too and I am not able to praise both his personality and his performance sufficiently in words. He has been a natural performer since the very outset of his career and wins hearts effortlessly through his restrained performance (and his looks as well). Tarla is the heart and soul of the movie and she has made the audience laugh as well as weep through her performance. However the best performer is Abhi Bhattacharya in the author-backed role of Aakash, the loser in love who has nothing more to lose now and who is hell-bent upon doing anything worthwhile to unite any pair of lovers through the remaining life of his.Khayyam’s music is a very big plus point of this movie with the beautiful lyrics being written by Azeem Shaayar Kaifi Aazmi Saheb. This admirable music album contains two timeless classic songs – 1. Jeet Hee Lenge Baazi Hum Tum, Khel Adhura Chhoote Na which is a duet of Rafi and Lata, 2. Jaane Kya Dhoondhti Rehti Hain Ye Aankhen Mujhmein, Raakh Ke Dher Mein Shola Hai Na Chingaari Hai which, in my opinion, is one of the best solos of Rafi. The touching and meaningful lyrics coming from the pen of Kaifi Saheb have converted these two songs into immortal ones. The other songs are also a pleasure for the listeners’ ears.

After watching, I consider Shola Aur Shabnam as one of the most underrated love stories ever made in Bollywood. I have liked it immensely, may be because I am a highly emotional person, may be because I am able to identify with the character of Aakash of the story but I bet, any spectator who has ever been in love at any point of time in his / her life, will be won over by this movie whose watching will definitely prove to be an unforgettable experience for him / her. It may not be a masterpiece. It’s a heart-conqueror all the same. Only a loser in love can feel the pain of losing one’s love and therefore, empathize with other such ones. Aakash of Shola Aur Shabnam is one such sensitive person only.

Me too.

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When a fatal accident is followed by a murder

Maut Ki Aahat (footstep of death) is a murder mystery written in Hindi by well-known Hindi mystery writer Surendra Mohan Pathak which was first published in 1979. This novel is the 75th (diamond jubilee) venture of his press reporter hero – Sunil Kumar Chakravarty who is a committed journalist with a sensitive heart and who works full time for a national daily – Blast which is published from the fictitious metropolitan city of Rajnagar.maut-ki-aahat-surendra-mohan-pathak-925703465-435994-1The story of Maut Ki Aahat starts from a reference to a fatal accident of two cars which collided head-on in such a way that the driver of one car – Jagdish Sethi died on the spot whereas the driver of the other one – Sonia Khanna suffered severe injuries and she died in the hospital after oscillating between life and death for many hours. In the opening scene of the novel, it is known that Sonia who was struggling to survive, has finally passed away and now her husband – Naarayan Kumar Khanna has been overpowered by the grief of losing his wife who was pregnant, to such an extent that he has drunk a lot of liquor and is about to interrupt the cremation of Jagdish Sethi who was actually guilty for the accident that took place and led to the death of himself as well as Sonia.

In such a situation, Sonia’s aged mother makes a phone call to Sunil informing him about Sonia’s death and Naarayan Kumar’s reaction to it and then seeks his help to stop Naarayan Kumar from doing anything unreasonable and undesirable. Sunil rushes to the cremation ground amidst heavy rainfall by a car of Blast but cannot reach there because the car which was ahead of his car in the traffic suddenly moves in back gear and hits his. Before Sunil could do anything about it, he finds that a high-collar raincoat and hat wearing man comes out of the car (with his back towards Sunil and others) and moves away giving the excuse of getting medical help for the driver of his car who is injured. But then it is found that the driver of that car who was a lady, has been killed. Apparently the man who had come out of the car only has murdered the lady.

Quite naturally our crime reporter hero starts his quest for the murderer. His quest also covers this issue as to how could Jagdish Sethi do that accident when he was a skilled driver and not much drunk also at that moment. The victim lady is a nurse named Padmini who was employed in the clinic of Dr. Kailash Naath Khurana. Sunil meets several people in this regard including Dr. Kailash Naath, Padmini’s employer; Maadhav Rao, Padmini’s boyfriend; Zarina, Jagdish’s ex-wife; Sarla, Jagdish’s elder sister, Rajendra Naath, Jagdish’s brother-in-law; Sumitra, Jagdish’s step-grandmother (the grandfather of Jagdish and Sarla had married very young Sumitra in his advanced years); Deepak, Jagdish’s very close friend and a theatre artist; Roohi Paranjpye, the lady director of the play in which Deepak is going to act; Gulzaari Laal, a financier who had entered into a business deal with Jagdish regarding his inherited wealth and life insurance etc. The needle of Sunil’s suspicion moves from suspect to suspect and finally, he is able to unearth the mystery behind Padmini’s murder and unmask the murderer. Amidst his investigating endeavours, Sunil also admonishes Naarayan Kumar after mortifying him for his immature reaction to his wife’s demise and shows him the right path to move on in life.indexThe novel is damn good but the plot of this four decades old murder mystery seems dated as it is based on an insurance fraud. Now-a-days, it is not that easy to commit insurance fraud of the kind as shown in this novel. Hence the plot appears to be out of sync with the contemporary scenario.

The novel has many pluses. It covers the black money issue also and underscores the significance of being an honest tax-payer. The novel also signifies that a modestly earning person need not be greedy and his integrity and honesty should not be suspected just because he is not well-off or high-earning.

This novel also pinpoints this fact that the price of every life is the same. Considering one life as more precious than the other (as we often see in real life) is incorrect. This fact is spelled out by Sunil when the issue of Sonia’s death is discussed with Sarla and Rajendra Naath in the office of a renowned advocate – Mr. Chatterjee who has filed a damage suit on the estate of Jagdish on behalf of Naarayan Kumar.

Another emphatic plus point of this novel is highlighting this fact that consuming liquor to forget one’s grief is futile. Sunil’s assertion to Naarayan Kumar is the highlight of this novel –‘Liquor consumption may make a happy person happier but it can by no means mitigate the grief of an aggrieved person. On the contrary, the feeling of grief intensifies in the intoxicated condition. The people who advocate drinking under the pretext of forgetting (or getting relief from) their grief actually deceive themselves, that’s the point of the author and his brain-child, i.e., Sunil. And mine too.

Like many other novels of this series, the author has highlighted this fact that Sunil is a committed journalist as well as a sensible and sensitive human-being. To reach the cremation ground in time, he snatches the brand new car of Blast from its driver and has to furnish an explanation to the owner and chief editor of Blast for that act of his. But the author has also highlighted this fact that an idealistic and committed journalist finally gets the affection and backing of his employer only. The owner and chief editor of Blast – Mr. B.K. Malik does not remain unhappy with Sunil once he comes to know the reason behind his act of snatching the car from its driver.

The story flows very well. The accident leading to the death of both Jagdish and Sonia has only been referred to in the novel and the story actually starts after that only. Once the murder of Padmini takes place, the story moves very fast alongwith the investigation of the hero and the climax arrives at the opportune point. In the end, everything gets logically connected to everything else and the novel ends on a satisfactory note.

The dialogues between different characters are impressive though the language used is simple Hindi only. Some humour has also been inserted through the interaction of Sunil with Roohi, the director of the play and also his conversation with his perennial love-hate buddy and the investigating officer of the case – Inspector Prabhu Dayaal.

Summing up, Maut Ki Aahat may not be a great novel, yet it is an engrossing murder mystery with some very useful lessons for life. No Hindi reader will repent after reading this diamond jubilee venture of the idealist hero known as Sunil Kumar Chakravarty.

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A comedy by the fathers of Ranbir and Hrithik

Ranbir Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan are today’s superstars. However their fathers (Rishi Kapoor and Rakesh Roshan) have not only been good friends in real life but also given some entertaining movies by their joint performances in reel life more than three decades back. Though Rishi Kapoor was a superstar of the seventies and the eighties whereas Rakesh Roshan was considered a B grade hero only, their on screen chemistry was amazing. Perhaps their real life friendship helped them in creating magic on the screen. Today I am reviewing a movie which is a mindless romantic comedy starring these two heroes which can be enjoyed by keeping your mind under lock and key only. It’s Aap Ke Deewane (1980) whose presenter is none other than Rakesh Roshan himself.Aap Ke Deewaane (crazy for you) is the story of two friends – Ram (Rishi Kapoor) and Raheem (Rakesh Roshan) who are apparently orphans and live together while studying in a college. They are the filmi ideals of communal harmony because Ram scores 92% marks in Urdu whereas Raheem scores similarly in Hindi. They bring about the first twist in their friendship tale by adopting O Henry’s classic story – The Gift of the Magi by selling own favourite items to buy gifts for each other. Well, we are moved by their filmy friendship.

Now the next twist in the tale comes through the villain who is the college bully – Kundan (Ranjeet) who frames them in a false molestation charge and gets them rusticated from the college. However they injure him in the ensuing fight and run away from the city. Now their (filmy) destiny lands them in Kashmir where they face the problem of making a living. Their problem gets resolved through the job of tutoring a young girl – Sameera (Tina Munim) who is the foster-daughter of two aged bachelors – Thakur Vikramjit Singh (Pran) and Inshallah Khan (Ashok Kumar). Since both these guardians are against keeping young men as her tutors, our heroes have to masquerade themselves. Ram opts for the disguise of an old man whereas Raheem disguises himself as a middle-aged woman. Ram, in his real self, pretends to be the son of the lady-teacher (i.e., Raheem in disguise) and Raheem, on the other hand, pretends to be the son of the old male tutor (i.e., Ram in disguise). Sameera finds both Ram and Raheem as worthy of becoming her husband but her dilemma is – whom to choose out of these two. Her guardians, quite naturally, choose both these heroes as her beaus according to their own personal choices.

The mindless comedy alongwith this love triangle moves on till the villain is back to inflict his revenge upon the heroes. His attack on the heroine resolves the love triangle too. Finally, in the wedding party, Ram and Raheem shake hands and the screen reads – FRIENDSHIP NEVER ENDS (instead of THE END). I believe in this dictum. Hope, my readers also do.This nonsense movie works mainly because of the amazing on screen chemistry between the two heroes. Rishi and Rakesh compliment each other perfectly and the screen is lit up by their admirable performances. Their another real life friend Jeetendra is also there in a guest role with an item number being picturized on him (with the two heroes joining him in the dance). Tina Munim seems to know only smiling in the name of acting. Ashok Kumar and Pran try to repeat their Victoria No. 203 (1972) act with partial success only. Ranjeet as the villain is routine. Young and beautiful Shoma Anand too is there in a cameo.Music composed by Rakesh Roshan’s brother (and Hrithik Roshan’s uncle) – Rajesh Roshan is according to the mood of the movie. The title track alongwith the Rafi-Kishore duet – Tumko Khush Dekhar Main Bahut Khush Hua stands out. One more song – Ram Kare Allah Kare (containing western effect through – APININANA BENTO) which has been sung by Rafi and Amit Kumar (Kishore Kumar’s son) is also impressive and entertaining.Cinematography spreading the beauty of Kashmir on the screen is extremely eye-soothing. Technically the movie is up to the mark. However editing should have been better. The movie irritates at places but if you watch it without trying to spot logic in it, you will enjoy it thoroughly.

I recommend this movie to the fans of Rishi Kapoor and Rakesh Roshan who will find this mindless comedy certainly better than the contemporary comedy capers presented by the likes of David Dhawan, Anees Bazmee and Rohit Shetty. Finally, I end my review with a SHER of Janaab Khwaaja Meer Dard Saheb :

Mera Jee Hai Jab Tak, Teri Justujoo Hai
Jubaan Jab Talak Hai, Yahi Guftagoo Hai
Kiya Sair Humne Gulzaar-e-Duniya
Gul-e-Dosti Mein Ajab Rang-o-Boo Hai

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Bareilly girl comes of age

Today (18th July) is the birthday of Priyanka Chopra. And I am not able to resist reminding myself of the cover page of the Navbharat Times dated 20.01.2000 which contained the photos of three young very charming girls winning the Miss India contest for the year – Lara Dutta, Priyanka Chopra and Diya Mirza who had stood 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in that annual beauty contest for that year. In those days, I was posted at Tarapur Atomic Power Station (Boisar, Maharashtra) and used to visit the newspaper stand some two kilometres away from my residential quarter every morning to buy a Hindi paper for myself. And I still remember the three photographs published together in sequence on the cover page of the newspaper. Later in the year, all three of them went ahead to bring laurels for the nation by winning Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Asia-Pacific contests respectively at the international level and within a period of time, all three of them joined Bollywood. Diya entered the fray first through Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein (2001) whereas Priyanka and Lara shone through Andaaz (2003).priyanka-chopra-wallpaper-14However Andaaz was the debut movie of Lara Dutta but not Priyanka Chopra. The debut movie of Priyanka Chopra was a Tamil movie Thamizhan (2002) whereas her debut Bollywood movie was The Hero (2003) in which Preity Zinta was the main female lead.The 12th Annual Golden Heart AwardsPriyanka Chopra faced many problems in the initial years of her career. Firstly, she belongs to the old-fashioned city of Bareilly in UP and the governing politicians of the state were not very happy that a girl from a traditional Indian family should walk on the ramp in scanty clothes and then join filmdom to perform on the screen in similar kind of clothes. Due to this outdated thinking, the laurel she brought for the nation (which includes the state as well as the city) was not recognized in her own region. In the film line, she arranged a person named as Prakash Jajoo as her secretary who took more interest in her personal life then in shaping her career through proper liaison with class-1 producers. Being very young, Priyanka could not decide her priorities properly in the initial couple of years of her film career. She had to lose a couple of movies also in which she had been cast at the outset. Later only, she understood that she was not in the cine-world to make friends or develop personal relationships and she learnt to be professional, drawing a vividly clear line between her personal life and her professional life. She kicked the unscrupulous Mr. Jajoo out of her secretaryship and became completely professional, not allowing anybody to interfere with her personal life or play with her image and career (though she had to fight Mr. Jajoo in the court because he was demanding some undue money from her against the secretarial services which he never rendered to her).indexThereafter, she allowed neither her personal relationships with Aseem Merchant and Harman Baweja nor her alleged affairs with Akshay Kumar and Salmaan Khan to affect her professional life. And then a changed Priyanka won accolades (and awards too) for her bold negative role in Subhash Ghai’s (Abbas-Mustan directed) movie – Aitraaz (2004). After playing the role of Roma in Farhan Akhtar’s Don (2006), a coveted role that was played by the legendary Zeenat Aman in the original Amitabh Bachchan starrer Don (1978), Priyanka got a role in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion (2008) which was similar to her own life, i.e., a small town girl entering the City of Dreams to make it big in her life, getting misguided first, then learning to use personal relations to climb the ladder of success, then going astray when success goes to her head but finally coming back on track, setting everything right again. And Priyanka got into the skin of the leading lady of Fashion (Meghana Mathur). When everybody was expecting the Filmfare Best Actress Award for the year as going to Aishwarya Rai for Jodha Akbar, Priyanka surprised everybody (including Madhur Bhandarkar who jumped with astonishment mixed joy in the auditorium) by winning this award. And then the much bigger and respected award, i.e., the National Award for the Best Actress also fell into her bag of awards.fashion-2008Fondly called as Piggy Chops, Priyanka has always remained an underrated actress and despite getting critic’s praise as well as winning awards, she has so far not been considered a great actress which is an injustice to her. She has performed well even in the movies which have neither done well on the box office nor got admired by the critics, viz. Barsaat (2005), Yakeen (2005), Drona (2008), What’s Your Raashee (2009), Pyar Impossible (2010) etc. I did not like Kaminay (2009) but Priyanka’s performance was outstanding in that. When I saw Saat Khoon Maaf (2011) and was stunned to see Priyanka’s performance in the highly complicated role of Susanna, I got a feeling that this simple Bareilly girl had finally come of age, expanding the boundaries of excellence for herself with each succeeding movie done by her. And then Anurag Basu’s Barfi (2012) not only scored on the box office but Priyanka also got a lot of accolades for her scintillating performance in the difficult role of an autistic girl. She won audience’s heart in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s much-talked-about Bajirao Mastani (2015) also, playing the role of Kaashi Bai, the wife of Peshwa Bajirao. She has been active in Hollywood for the past few years and showcasing her talent in Hollywood movies also. Despite getting married to Nick Jonas, the artiste in her is continuously active. priyanka-chopra

And when Priyanka was honoured with the coveted civilian award of India – Padma Shri in 2016, I was not only feeling good for her as I have always been her admirer since the days of Andaaz and The Hero but also observing that time and again it is reaffirmed that you may meet several people in personal life, become friends with them, fall in love with a person of opposite sex and get emotional about him / her, nevertheless you have to be completely professional in your approach towards your career and your dedication to your work has to be untainted if at all you have to enjoy the coveted fruit of success. And nothing succeeds like success, that’s an eternal truth.

Many many happy returns of the day Birthday Babe Priyanka.

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Pita Par Poot, Jaat Par Ghoda . . .

There is a very old Hindi saying – Pita Par Poot, Jaat Par Ghoda; Bahut Nahin Par Thoda Thoda (the son gets the nature of his father and the horse gets the traits of its race, at least to some extent if not completely). The theme of the Hindi movie Aurangzeb (2013) contains the spirit of this saying. This is a fact I did not find in the reviews of this movie. Though I had read reviews of this movie written by esteemed and seasoned reviewers and was willing to watch it at the time of its release itself, actually it took me a very long time to watch this movie. And now when I have watched it, I feel that a great effort has gone into the making, especially the writing of this fast-paced thriller.

The title has been kept after the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb because he had ascended to the throne after killing his brothers and imprisoning his father. And from that, the writer-director Atul Sabharwaal has picked up a statement to narrate what he purports to narrate through the characters of this movie –‘Kingship knows no kinship’. However this principle of life (if it actually is) is grasped in its true spirit by only one character of the movie. He is Ravikaant, the Deputy Commissioner of Police of Gurgaon (Haryana) who uses his kinsmen as well as others as mere pawns on the chessboard of his sky-high ambitions but the person he brainwashes to play Aurangzeb to suit his plan, does not do so despite agreeing initially for that.The story starts with aged Vijay (Anupam Kher), ex-cop who had lost his job because of a so-called encounter in which the wife and little son of a gangster Yashwardhan (Jackie Shroff) are said to have lost their lives. Vijay is an isolated person in his household because his own son Aarya (Prithviraj Sukumaran) does not look upon his honest father as his role model. In this family of cops with all the males including the son-in-law of the house being police officers, Aarya who himself is the Assistant Commissioner of Police, considers his corrupt uncle Ravikaant (Rishi Kapoor) as his role model. Coincidentally, the son-in-law of the family is an honest person but for all others including Ravikaant’s son Dev (Sikandar Kher), their police service is nothing but the business of collection, i.e., bribes from the outlaws.

Suddenly Aarya comes to know from his father in his ending days that the wife and little son of Yashwardhan had not died in that so-called encounter. They are alive and considering his moral responsibility towards them, Vijay has been taking care of them. An emotional relationship had developed between Vijay and Yashwardhan’s wife Veera (Tanvi Azmi) who had become police informer against her outlaw husband and after losing his job, Vijay has taken care of Veera just like a husband and her son Vishaal (Arjun Kapoor) just like a father. Vishaal knows Vijay only as his father and does not know his biological relationship with Yashwardhan. Before his death, Vijay reveals this secret to Aarya and urges him to take care of Veera and Vishaal. After Vijay’s demise, starts the main track of this movie.

Aarya breaks the news of Vijay’s demise to Veera and Vishaal. However finding that Vishaal is the look-alike of his twin brother, i.e., Yashwardhan’s son who is the only son of himself in the knowledge of the world, he devises a plan with his uncle Ravikaant to get better of Yashwardhan and bring him to book. He feels that thus he will also be able to wash the stain of killing two innocents from the name of his late father. Under this plan, Vishaal’s twin brother Ajay (Arjun Kapoor’s second role) is kidnapped and he’s replaced by Vishaal in the life of Yashwardhan. Vishaal is entrusted with the responsibility of passing of significant information about the unlawful activities of Yashwardhan to Aarya and Ravikaant.

Vishaal, impersonating Ajay, enters the life and empire of Yashwardhan who is in real estate business but carries out shady deals too with the help of his mistress Neena (Amrita Singh) who is conspiring to usurp Yashwardhan’s empire herself and for this purpose, she has turned Ajay into a spoiled brat through drugs and a girl Ritu (Saasha Agha). Gradually Vishaal is able to understand his biological father better who no longer seems that bad to him. On the other hand, the real mission of Ravikaant dawns upon Aarya alongwith this truth that to fulfill his ambitions, Ravikaant does not care for the lives of even his nearest and dearest ones and thus he also comes to empathize with his deceased father Vijay who had always cared for the people more than his own vested interests. What happens then is a forgone conclusion.

This story is a cobweb of greed for money and power, intricate conspiracies, betrayals and of course, principles of leading a life which are bound to be different for different people. Atul Sabharwaal has penned the script on a large canvas and executed its first part, i.e., the pre-interval session very well. Before the interval, the breezy script keeps the viewer hooked for more than one hour. The trouble lies in the second half, i.e., the post-interval session.

After interval, the movie loses its naturalness and thereby its grip on the audience. While the first half is highly promising and displays some novelty, the second half pursues a formulaic, hackneyed path and virtually betrays the audience. The story is taken to its conclusion in a completely Bollywoodish manner which might have suited a movie made in the seventies but definitely not a modern movie.Some people were comparing this movie to Amitabh Bachchan starrer flicks like Trishul and Don. However this movie is entirely different from those movies. In fact, I am able to draw parallels between this movie and Tigmanshu Dhulia directed Shagird (2011). In both the movies, the police officers are shown as behaving as if killing innocents and reaping easy money only is their full time job and nothing else falls under their duty. Despite the rampant corruption in the Indian police system, this exaggeration is hard to digest.

Since the fast pace of the movie kept me hypnotized for a major part of it, I could not notice the flaws in the script at that time. However later on, upon thinking objectively, I found many flaws and plot-holes therein. Yashwardhan is termed as doing illegal things and the cops are after him but actually he’s not shown in the movie as doing something which is technically illegal. Plus he does not look like a dangerous criminal from any angle. Besides, the logic behind the mother’s carrying one of the twins with her while leaving the second one behind with his father, is hollow and unconvincing.The movie very impressively highlights the land-grab crimes carried out by the corporate houses and the corrupt politicians hand-in-glove with them in the name of real estate development (or the development of the region). How middlemen like Yashwardhan are able to earn huge money through such activities, has also been portrayed realistically. Personally I feel that in the Indian real estate world, a sizable chunk of the business is nothing but the activities of the middlemen only which add no value anywhere except to their pockets.

Made by the prestigious Yash Raj Films banner, this lavishly made movie is technically good but for editing which should have been better and sharper. Songs were not required in this movie but the two songs coming alongwith the flow of the story are good.Performances are all good. The best performer is undoubtedly veteran Rishi Kapoor followed by Prithviraaj Sukumaaran. Arjun Kapoor has done well in double role. However he appears to have a limited range of expressions. The ladies including Saasha Agha (the daughter of yesteryears’ singer-actress Salma Agha) did not get enough scope to show their mettle. A highly talented actress like Deepti Naval has been wasted which is definitely incorrect on the part of the filmmaker. The only mentionable scene she gets in the movie underscores the significance of power handled by top cops in India and highlights the mindset of the Indian wives regarding that power and the corrupt activities of their men associated therewith.

Had the writer-director been able to give a realistic touch to the second half of the movie also like its preceding counterpart, the movie could have been an extra-ordinary one but he faltered midway. The movie renders an engrossing watch all the same, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea though.

Before signing off, I come back to the original statement which says that a son is bound to inherit the nature of his father. The opening scene of the movie itself presents the quote of Horace – ‘Deep in the cavern of the infant’s breast, the father’s nature lurks and lives anew.’ I believe it to be true as I have also inherited my father’s nature despite the apparent huge differences in his life as well as personality and mine. Finally, not only the biological son but also the foster son of Vijay (Anupam Kher) are able to manifest the real nature of their father in their activities which propounds it loud and clear –‘Apno Ki Keemat Sapno Se Zyaada Hoti Hai’ (your near and dear ones are worthier than your dreams or ambitions). Mughal emperor Aurangzeb did not believe in it but I do as it’s this motto only that I have followed in my life. And, in my opinion, this only is the real conclusion of this movie.

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Money being the assay for veracity of virtues

Over the past two decades, we, the Indians, have been hearing a lot about electoral reforms through the voices and the activities of several people and agencies. However, can the election process actually be reformed when there is so much money involved in this process ? Can a common man (like the writer of this review) dream to fight (and win) an election when the competitors can legally spend millions of rupees in the election as per the legal permission and much more under some camouflage ? And one who spends so much money has to recover his expenditure first (and then earn on his investment) after winning. How will he do it ? Undoubtedly, through misuse of his position and embezzlement of the public money he becomes custodian of through his victory in the election. This vicious cycle has been continuing in our country for more than six and a half decades and there is no likelihood that it can be broken in the near future. Benjamin Franklin has asserted – Money begets money but I don’t know whether anybody has ever said – Honesty begets honesty. The problem is ticklish. More than half a century back, a movie had been made on the theme of the role of money in the public life of India which, in today’s scenario, can be considered as much ahead of its time. This black and white movie is Parakh (1960).

Parakh (assay / test) tells a heart-warming story which reminds of the idealistic stories once told by Prem Chand. However, it is more a satire on the voting based Indian democratic system in which the resourceful candidates create their vote banks by offering short-term benefits / peanuts to the prospective voters. The movie was produced and directed by the legendary filmmaker – Bimal Roy but quite interestingly, the credit of its story has been given to the music director – Salil Chowdhury. Other than these two, the hero of this movie is also a Bengali – Vasant Choudhary. Quite naturally, the story has been set up in a small village of West Bengal and the total milieu is Bengali only. One additional trivia is that the dialogues of this movie have been written by the lyricist – Shailendra. Thus, talented artists tried their hands in the fields they normally didn’t enter and with the help of the seasoned and highly revered director, they succeeded in presenting a product which is now considered a classic.

The story starts with a clean-heart, virtuous and honest postmaster of a village, Raadhanagar who runs the post office with the help of a temporarily kept limping postman, Haaradhan (Moti Laal). Postmaster Nivaaran Babu (Nazir Hussain) is worried on many counts. His wife (Leela Chitnis) is ailing and bed-ridden. He had taken loan for the marriage of his elder daughter which he could not repay and now the money-lender has arranged a decree from the court to snatch his house and belongings against the same. His younger daughter, Seema (Sadhana) is unmarried and the money-lender is involved in a conspiracy with a construction contractor (Asit Sen) in the village whose evil eye is on Seema and he wants to use the unpaid loan as a tool to marry Seema. Seema, on the other hand, is silently in love with a young school teacher, Rajat (Vasant Choudhary). Nivaaran Babu knows her liking for Rajat and hence he is not ready to bow before the contractor and his accomplice, i.e., the money-lender. He has to tackle not only them but also the unscrupulous priest (Kanhaiyalaal), the cagy landlord (Jayant) and the greedy doctor (Rashid Khan) of the village. All of these high profile people never sit peacefully and remain busy in working out newer tricks to extract more and more money from the already distressed (by poverty) villagers.

In such a scenario, one day a letter comes for Nivaaran Babu, accompanied by a cheque worth Rs. 5 Lakh. The letter is from Mr. J.C. Roy who is a big businessman settled in the city but willing to do something for Raadhanagar because his father had lived there for years before migrating. The letter says to the postmaster that he should handover the cheque to the most upstanding person of the village who will be having a free hand to spend the money for the welfare of the village according to his wisdom. Now seeing the hefty sum (in 1960, the sum of Rs. 5 Lakh was indeed a very huge amount), all the high profile people, i.e., the landlord, the priest, the contractor, the doctor etc. become interested in pocketing the same. The postmaster, Nivaaran Babu and the young teacher, Rajat decide that the decision as to who should be given this money, should be taken through a democratic process. It is agreed to by all that after one month, a voting will take place in the village and all the villagers will vote according to their choice of the most upstanding person of the village. All the big guns alongwith Rajat become candidates for the poll. And now except Rajat, all others start their respective games to woo the villagers so that they cast their votes in their favour. Nobody knows the real identity of J.C. Roy who is actually there in the village itself, living under a different name and with a fake identity.

Situation takes such a turn that to save Nivaaran Babu from ruins (due to the attachment of his house and belongings under the court order), Rajat takes money from the landlord to repay Nivaaran Babu’s loan and in lieu of that he is compelled by the landlord to withdraw his name from the contest. However, his sacrifice is of no use because Seema has already agreed to marry the contractor in return for his paying the loan of her father. On the voting day, all the greedy contestants get involved in illegal tactics to win by hook or by crook and they resort to even violence and terrorizing the voters. Then J.C. Roy reveals his true identity and declares that the most upstanding person in the village is actually the postmaster himself and he had arranged the drama of this cheque to test the integrity and so-called benevolence of the big men of the village and unmask their true faces in front of the commonfolk. Through this test (Parakh), now he has been able to show to his mother (who had initially proposed to donate the sum for the welfare of the village) as to who deserves this sum and who can actually be trusted to take care of the interests of the village at large. Then quite naturally, he also ensures that Seema is married to Rajat only.As said earlier, Parakh was much ahead of its time and whatever electoral vices we witness today in our country had been visualized by the writer and the director at that point of time. Perhaps the electoral process had started getting vitiated by that time and had someone at the helm paid attention to the message of this movie, some corrective steps would have been taken at that time itself. Anyway, this simple movie is definitely impressive and through a thin storyline, it has been able to convey the inherent message in an interesting manner without any fanfare. It is an underrated movie of the legendary director – Bimal Roy.

Cinematic liberties have been taken and the story has been narrated in a flat way. It may be due to Bimal Da’s being a maker of social movies and not mysteries, else he could have kept the suspense regarding the real identity of J.C. Roy till the climax and rendered a dramatic finish to the movie. He has not done so and revealed the true identity of J.C. Roy even before the interval point. The motive seems more to tell an interesting story than to convey something hard-hitting. And hence the movie lambastes the individuals and not the system. It has not been able to point it out that there are inherent flaws in the voting system itself which does not allow the truly deserving person to get elected (because he is resourceless and looks like an underdog when pitted against the wealthy and the mighty).Romance shown between Seema and Rajat is subtle which stays within the social restraints. However when the jealousy of Seema comes to the fore when Rajat interacts with the sister-in-law of the landlord (Nishi), it underscores a time-tested fact that despite being apparently subtle and silent, love for someone special is bound to be possessive.

The movie does not contain slapstick comedy but it has many smile-generating moments. This has been done through dialogues of various characters who unsuccessfully attempt for rhetoric and consequentially turn ridiculous in public. The scenes of Rajat’s hiding the footwear of the landlord’s sister-in-law from Seema and Rajat’s conversation with the station master are also hilarious.

Made with a low budget, the movie portrays the village life of India (in those days) quite realistically with not only the vices prevalent but also love, cooperation and virtues scattered in the rural part of the country. The movie is not unduly long and does not bore at any place.

Writers – Salil Chowdhury and Shailndra have done their regular duties of composing tunes and penning lyrics respectively with expected proficiency. Two songs stand out. One is Lata Mangeshkar’s immortal rain song – O Sajna, Barkha Bahaar Aai and the other one is also a Lata song, a less talked about one – Mere Mann Ke Diye Yun Hi Ghut Ghut Ke Jal. Background score is also perfectly in sync with the mood of the movie.Performances are quite good. This is only the second Hindi movie of Saadhana and she is present in this movie with such a simplicity and innocence (being just 19 years of age at that time) that it is difficult to imagine her as a fashion-icon that she had become through her hairdo and wardrobe in the coming years. She has acted well too, bringing to life the personality of a straightforward girl who loves someone with utmost sincerity but not at all hesitant to sacrifice her joys for the sake of her parents and her home. It’s one of those rare movies in which her full name (Sadhana Shivdasani) has been mentioned in the credits. Hero of this movie – Vasant Chaudhary has also underplayed his role with perfection. However, in this movie the actual hero is the script with all the characters suitably placed. And all the performers have done their respective bits with finesse.This long forgotten movie seems to have inspired many movies in the times to come. Even a sequence of a relatively recent movie Chalo Dilli (2011) also contains shadows of a sequence from Parakh when Rajat helps the sister-in-law of the landlord in reaching her destination from the railway station. Despite flaws, the movie is a classic and whosoever willing to reform the electoral system and the democratic process in our country, should not miss watching this satire. Besides, it can be seen for sheer entertainment also.This review is my tribute to the legendary filmmaker Bimal Roy whose 110th birth anniversary falls today (12th July).

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Nana unravels the mystery of Tabu’s murder

Tarkieb (2000) is a murder mystery which I had seen in the Mayank cinema of Jaipur when it was released. I had approached the theatre to watch it because I am fond of mysteries / suspense thrillers. However after watching it, I felt that it was a badly made thriller, a complete letdown at the level of script and its presentation turning the good story into an average movie . Even then I was not fully disappointed with the movie because it proved to be a good entertainer due to the mindblowing performance of its hero, i.e., Nana Patekar.Tarkieb (trick / method) starts with a headless female body being found in a river by some people of the washermen community. The police loses interest in properly investigating the murder after the investigating officer (Deepak Qazir) gets a threat from the murderer over phone. The case file is closed with even the identity of the victim remaining hidden. Under the pressure of some women’s as well as human rights organizations, the chief minister assigns this case to the CBI. Now the investigating CBI officer – Jasraaj Patel (Nana Patekar) sets to work with his assistant Gangaraam (Tiku Talsania). First, he finds out the identity of the victim who turns out to be Roshni Chaubey (Tabu), a motherless girl from a modest family containing her retired father (Vinod Nagpal) and two younger sisters. Now the needle of suspicion starts moving from person to person, covering all the people who have come into contact with Roshni during the past some time. Roshni was a nurse in a military hospital at Pachmarhi and the list of suspects consists of Captain Ajit Varma (Milind Soman), a doctor in the military hospital; Dr. Kamal Dogra (Ashutosh Rana), a courtmarshalled military doctor; Mohan Multaani (Aditya Pancholi), a businessman; Bishan Nanda (Akhilendra Mishra), the ex-contractor of the military canteen etc. Jasraaj Patel obtains some necessary information from Roshni’s close friend and roommate – Preeti Sharma (Shilpa Shetty) and examines all the suspects minutely, finally unravelling the mystery behind the murder and catching the culprit. Some credit of his success goes to a blind shopkeeper – Nainsukh (Raghuveer Yadav) also who helps him in this regard.

There are two pr-requisites of making a good suspense-thriller – 1. The story is knitted well, 2. All the events are logically connected to one another, leaving no unanswered questions in the end for the audience. Unfortunately, Tarkieb does not come true on this criteria. The story is good but when the movie is over, unanswered questions are left for the audience. Plus except one suspect (Dr. Kamal Dogra played by Ashutosh Rana), the other characters have not been developed properly to qualify as genuine suspects. Had I been the writer of the screenplay or the director of this movie, I would have created more suspects and made the revelation of the culprit more logical and convincing. The candidate selected by the filmmaker to be the real murderer is not the best candidate in my view. Better candidate was available in the story. Besides, the script is not well-knitted. All leads take the investigation to nowhere. The script and the direction, both are letdowns.The movie is dull at many places and had it not been for Nana Patekar, it would have been a disastrous affair. However the filmmaker did at least one prudent thing – he chose Nana Patekar for the lead role of the investigator. And Nana has handled not only his role but also the whole movie very well. He has not allowed the movie to go boring and produced entertainment for the audience through his sheer talent without getting much support from the script. However the writer – Moinuddin who is the dialog writer too, has specially written hilarious and impressive dialogues for him. Nana’s entry scene is also quite impressive. With the help of the supporting actors like Raghuveer Yadav and Tiku Talsania, Nana has turned this average movie into an entertaining one for the most part of it. His fans will love his performance in this movie which is a brilliant combo of comic timing and quick-wit. He tickles the funny bone of the viewer every now and then while carrying out his investigation. His dialog delivery in his unique style enhances the impact of several scenes.

Talking about others, Tabu’s talent has not been optimally utilized by the director whereas Shilpa Shetty has been wasted completely. Shilpa’s only contribution to the movie is the popular item song picturized on her – Dupatte Ka Pallu Kidhar Ka Kidhar Hai. Ashutosh Rana, Aditya Pancholi and Akhilendra Mishra have delivered routine performances whereas debutante Milind Soman has failed to impress despite his dashing personality. Raghuveer Yadav and Tiku Talsania have entertained the audience by their humorous performances. Vinod Nagpal is routine. This is the weakness of the director (Esmayeel Shroff) that several members of the supporting cast appear to be unskilled and over-acting.

Except the chartbuster Dupatte Ka Pallu, Aadesh Shrivastava’s musical score has nothing much to boast of. However the lyrics of Nida Fazli are beautiful and touching and the Shaayari associated with the song Kiska Chehra Ab Main Dekhun (sung by the legendary Jagjit Singh) is appealing for the romantic hearts.

Technically the movie is up to the mark. The art direction, the cinematography, the editing, the background score etc. are all satisfactory. The action sequences have been executed well. The story has been set in Pachmarhi and the cinematographer has captured the beauty of that hill station very well.

I recommend this movie as a nice one time watch which should be seen with a low expectation. However, for the admirers of Nana Patekar, it is a very big treat. Nana has carried the complete movie on his stout shoulders and he is unarguably at his hilarious best here. Leave aside the murder mystery friends. Just watch it for the brilliant performance of Nana Patekar. Unlike the director of this movie, Nana won’t disappoint you and will keep you smiling for more than two hours.

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