August 25, 2010

Saawan Ko Aane Do

Title: Saawan ko aane do (let the rains come)
Year: 1979

Cast: Arun Govil, Zarina Wahab, Rita Bhaduri, Amrish Puri

There are movies and movies, and a phenomenon fairly unique to Indian cinema is that most are musicals- 1 song can make/break the entire experience.

Once such film is "Saawan Ko Aane Do," where the story is set in rural Uttar Pradesh (my home!) in a village close to Lucknow. Our protagonist Birju (Arun Govil) is a poor village boy, living with his 3 brothers and their families. He doesn't work very much, but concentrates on his music. The village zamindar (a very young Amrish Puri)'s daughter Chandrika (Zarina Wahab) returns to the village and is enchanted by Birju and his voice. And really, with songs like these, who wouldn't be?

Chndrika and Birju fall in love, and Amrish is very unhappy about it. He sends Chandrika back to school, while Birju beats his path to Lucknow to become a singer (what- no pop inspirations?!).

Birju meets Geetanjali (Rita Bhaduri), who helps him in his ambition, and also falls a little in love. Years pass, Birju is a huge success, and comes back to his village for a charity concert to find that Amrish has lost all his money, and that Chandrika teaches. Doesn't take much- 1 last song, and they walk off into the horizon!
  1. Its a typical Rajshri production, where the story is slim, melodrama is heavy and there is no real villain. And the songs are the only real reason to watch this. Back home, the two songs are still played on the radio. Fun times.
  2. Yesduas provides playback for Arun's songs, and he is truly brilliant here. His voice flavors the songs perfectly, though Hindi isn't his first language. Arun had a tough job in front of him living up to the songs, and it isnt surprising that he doesn't dazzle here- his big moment would be playing Ram on TV.
  3. Zarina is Zarina- nothing outstanding. I haven't much appreciation for her acting skills; maybe this will change in the future.
  4. In a period where Amrish was just setting out, its fun to see him play a non-villainous character role- a foreshadowing of parts he would play towards the last of his career.
And in conclusion: Just hear the songs, don't bother about the movie.

August 24, 2010

Bhoot Haveli

My apologies in advance to folks' religious sensibilities.

Title: Bhoot Haveli (Ghost Mansion) Year: No one (no censor certificate, no IMDB mentions) knows- if you do, enlighten me. I'm estimating anywhere between 1995-2005. Cast: Random people, along w/ a guy who can be irreverently called Sleazy Jesus ("SJ")

This is one of those super-low production value horror films that you were always warned against, and opens with 3 couples coming to live in a lonely haveli (mansion) in the backwaters. They are here for "research," but we already know that no ghost would ever approve of their plans for the couples to share rooms. All boy-girl pairs though- same sex couples would kill the ghost from shock I suspect.

And here is Anthony, the 2nd lead, who can only be described as a bizarro version of our Lord. His name, btw, is pronounced Ann-Tho-Nee throughout the film.
Next comes the montage that you are soon going to get used to, since its repeated every 15 minutes- every time night falls or something hokier than the cast is happening.

Scared? No? don't worry, you aren't alone. Night falls ( as it will), and when the hero shimmies up to the heroine in a virgin white bathrobe, we are truly petrified. The girl chooses to spend the night on the chair though, so no hanky panky, and the ghost sleeps in peace.

The next morning is busy though; 2 of the girls explore the mansion in terrible clothes, SJ and the hero interrogate the servants about the mansion, the servants themselves appear nonplussed and our heroine visit's Luciya's grave (Luciya who you ask? its the gravestone the director's been flashing at us since the beginning, without explanation, so preserve!)

Night falls (as again, it will), and the least of the three couples gets frisky, and therefore, per movie law, are killed off by our friendly neighborhood ghost.
These two dead, the others hold a meeting to discuss the deaths. Nothing much happens except the hero going at Lucia's grave in his white bathrobe. Dont ask me why.
The ghostie doesn't get bothered, because the other girl is indulging in some idol worship (aww)
The other night is a different story though; the praying girl wants to get it on w/ SJ, who is wearing THE HERO"S WHITE BATHROBE! I ask you, what's going onnn???? Are they more than friends? are they just passing the time with these ladies? we don't get to know, cos ghostie aint having none of that either! After a lot of useless flailing, this couple also bites the dust.

The next morning, its our final couple left, and they aren't too upset when they find the praying girl's corpse. However, finding Ann-Tho-Nee (or SJ)'s corpse is a different matter- the hero carries on with much gnashing of teeth and hugging and such, and vows revenge (REVENGE!)

The servants' have kinda also had it by now. One of them rushes off to the local Catholic priest, who has really amazing hair. They have a unique face-to-face confessional, where the servant admits he was witness to Luciya (with a Y!)'s murder, by this guy who lived in the mansion, and used to randomly rape and kill women. When Luciya caught him, he killed her, and threatened the servant with death, and took off somewhere. The servant himself told no one, and Luciya's ghost has since been happily killing people, rather than seeking revenge on the murderer. Whatever.

Meanwhile, Luciya's ghost has full-on occupied our heroine's body, which has given her supernatural powers, an evil mind AND a new wardrobe.

So the priest takes off the ghost with his handy dandy silver cross (MORE idol worship), and the ghost leaves the heroine by shrouding her face in flames briefly.
The heroine' fainted, so the hero begins his gnashing of teeth etc. again- and we see that the heroine slowly comes to, and lo- she has again changed into regular clothes! They shake hands with the priest, and the movie ends with an AMAZINGLY slimy wink by the hero.
Gross! This one image makes me feel dirty and in need of a shower!

This was a horrible movie, directed by someone who credited himself as "SAJ-J-AN," which cannot be real. There is NO cinematic value to this desecration, which is in essence its selling point. Its watchable with the remote firmly in hand, fast forwarding as needed. Fun!

August 9, 2010


Title: Aisha
Year: 2010

Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Abhay Deol, Amrita Puri, Ira Dubey, Cyrus Sahukar, Yuri, Arunodhay Singh, Lisa Haydon, Anuradha Patel.

I saw this the day it came out. If you've read my blog before, you know that I am not a Sonam Kapoor fan. After the movie, seen with the lovely and charming tweeters Cynthia and Joe, I found that my favorite part was the credits (where ALL the characters came and danced in a wedding, and looked v fun)- but a movie has to be poor if all you remember are the credits, right? And yet, I wanted to give her and the movie a chance, and not to let my prejudices get the better of me. So I slept over it. And then some.

The story is summarized right here, as Austen wrote it:
Aisha is decent, but could be so much more than it was.

I cant believe what the editor was thinking, but this may be how that conversation went between the Editor and Anil/Sonam/Sonam's sister Kapoor (ASS K.):

ASS K.: Lets make sure Sonam is in every frame, accha?
Editor: Oh OK

[movie rolling from the beginning]
ASS K.: Excellent opportunity to focus on her beauty- and a funny way to intro the characters.
Editor: if you are not going to give Yuri any dialogues ever, why is he in the credits?
ASS K.: Cos she will date his kid!
Editor: Oh OK.

[movie rolling]
ASS K.: Focus on her face! figure! body! Clothes! Lets cut out Lisa's bits from here- no one wants to know whyyy she is in Delhi, do they?
Editor: But when later in the movie her CD is bring promoted, wont it be a bit of a disconnect?
ASS K.: Naah.
Editor: And in the end credits, its Lisa's wedding and she is dressed in Keralite fashion. Isn't that a disconnect? And should the bride be a background dancer???
ASS K.: [meaningful glare]
Editor: Oh OK

[movie rolling]
Editor: (persistently) But Lisa looks like the love child of Angelina, Bipasha and Megan Fox! Are u sure??? at least use her in the promos, no??
ASS K.: [meaningful silence]
Editor: Oh OK

[movie rolling]
Editor: "Hey we cant cut out Ira, Amrita, Cyrus and Arunodhay so completely out of the picture after the 1/2 way pt! They're really good, and have so much more energy than...."
ASS K.: [meaningful , quelling glare]
Editor: Oh OK

[movie rolling]
Editor: "Sonam's monologues and that song post interval get really dragging. Imma gonna edit a bit..."
ASS K.: [meaningful glare]
Editor: Oh OK

[movie rolling]
Editor: "Isn't it out of character for Abhay to be spouting those boring dialogues?'
ASS K.: [Hush, he is saying them to her! He's being paid to say it! AND isn't she lurvely???]
Editor: Oh OK

Editing ends. The ASS trio leave.
In a moment of madness, the editor flips back the film to ensure Sonam's cellulite- riddled thighs and butt are in full view in the hospital scene, and stalks out in impotent triumph.

Austen's ghost is probably retching in her grave. Heck Clueless' ghost is probably retching in movie heaven (Netflix).

If you have stayed away so far, continue to stay away from wherever this is playing.

August 5, 2010

Sonam Kapoor- Everyday Quotes and (Imaginary) Thoughts

Filmi Girl noted I didn't say anything about Sonam Kapoor's food habits in my last toon, which lead to a chain of thoughts that resulted in this post. I think I've credited Ms. Kapoor here with too vast a vocabulary- but lets just call that poetic license, shall we?

Click on the image for a better visual :)