Wednesday, November 14, 2012

East Coast break.

Hiya blog, what's kicking? Not much for me, just had a brilliant two-week long holiday in East Coast US, mostly trapped in Brooklyn with my (non-filmi) friend thanks to Frankenstorm Sandy. But a little hurricane can't keep a good girl down, and I had an absolute blast even though there was rain and storm!

Sadly this did mean that going the cinema was just not an option, so I didn't get to do my usual "going to see a Bollywood film in a foreign country" routine, nor did I get to meet up with some blogger friends I would've loved to meet up with (FG, next time!). But I did manage to get up to Boston to stay with Filmi Geek aka Carla, and over at her place, I got to watch some delightful Hindi oldies.

Chor Sipahee (1979)

This fast-paced masala romp we watched in the confines of Memsaab's filmi lair, and the plot is precisely what it says on the box. Shashi Kapoor is our sipahee, a badass cop who wears leather jackets well and goes to jail and comes out even more badass. Vinod Khanna plays the chor, a rogue who's bad because that's what poor people do when they can't earn enough, or something. It's really too bad he's just not the best thief, outwitted by pretty much everybody (but mostly Shabana Azmi's character) and then some, and disowned by his sister (Parveen Babi, who wears amazing things so she is destined to be with Shashi in this film). 

But it's fine that Vinod sucks as a bad guy, because Shashi is here to fix him with the power of buddypyaari (seriously, these frenemies just have it going on). And Shashi will go to jail for him! And grow a jail beard! And then wear women's sunglasses, because that's what villains do, dammit. Wait, you're not following this? Doesn't it all seem really logical?

What a film. I will certainly need to purchase it, and rewatch it, and rewatch it, and then build a shrine to encase it in.

Half-Ticket (1962)

While at Carla's, I felt like it behooved me to watch one of her favourites, especially as the film seemed so close to a mutual favourite of ours, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi. Plot-wise, I feel like Chalti is a bit tighter than Half-Ticket, but they are equally delightful and packed with amazing songs to boot. The film really is all Kishore all the time - he plays a layabout goof who escapes his father's plans to marry him off, and pretends to be a child to get a half-ticket on the train, where he meets both a crook (young Pran, always priceless) and a beauty (Madhubala). What follows is a series of goofy goofball scenes where Kishore gets to show his comic prowess and sing some incredible songs. His jodi with Madhubala is as cute as ever, and Pran's villain character also manages to tickle the chuckle bone.

The film does go off the rails every now and then, but it never ceases to entertain, so this is another future must-purchase for me. 

Muqaddar ka Sikander (1978)

A long over-due viewing of a classic! Amitabh Bachchan carries this highly melodramatic masala about an orphan boy named Sikander, whose love for his childhood friend Kamna (Rakhee) carries into adulthood, and makes him blind to the affection shown to him by Zohrabai (Rekha), a prostitute he visits to drink away his sorrows. Vinod Khanna plays the lawyer Vishal, who becomes an important friend to Sikander, one he's willing to sacrifice almost anything for..

Muqaddar ka Sikander plays a weird twist on its viewer, where the extreme melodrama seems so extreme it's a little chuckle-worthy, rather than believable at first. But slowly, you get sucked in, and by the end, it really tugs at your heartstrings. I'd attribute a fair amount of that to Amitabh's splendid performance - this is by far one of his best ones. It didn't quite make it among my favourites, mostly because I feel like I prefer my masala goofy so that it doesn't stomp on your already-heavy heart, but I could definitely tell why it was such a classic.

The soundtrack is also worth mentioning. There were a couple of tracks I already adored (Pyaar Zindagi Hai and the female version of O Saathi Re) and the rest were awesome as well.

Jewel Thief (1967)

Life got in the way of me finishing this film, but I began it and liked it, then was quite confused by the plot, and eventually had to stop it about 50 minutes before the end due to lack of time. I did enjoy it, but I definitely need a rewatch from the beginning, at a time when I can focus all my attention on it.

I'm merely mentioning it here so I remember to seek it out and finish watching..


Annie said...

Wow, amazing timing for an East coast US vacation. Glad you enjoyed anyway! I love Muqaddar ka Sikander, even though there was a slow part in the middle that I actually dozed off during. But I ended up really emotionally invested, although you are right about the melodrama. What did you think of the "daydream" sequences?

veracious said...

I was pretty shocked at the daydream sequence! Even though I also went "knew it", because it's a feature on most posters of the film I'd seen around.. Would've been quite the twist, had it actually been reality.

Annie said...

Yeah, it had me going for a minute there...
I was really sad for Amitabh in this film, but I still loved it!