Monday, March 30, 2009

Writer's block mini-reviews, part 1.

So, I have this blog. And I've seen ..according to my current count, 183 Indian films (give or take, I have some films I'm half-way through, and some films might be missing from the list I have). How many of them have I actually discussed here? A miniscule portion. Let me try to correct that. I inserted my alphabetical list of films seen onto's randomizer and out came a new, randomized list. Here are the first 10 items on that list.

1. Duplicate (1998) - A list of Shahrukh Khan films I absolutely adore is not too long. Even shorter is the list of his movies that I adore in which he is full-on, one hundred percent unsaturated Shahrukh Khan, not toned down as you see him in Chak De India, for example. Duplicate is one of those movies. It's a loud, physical comedy film starring Shahrukh in a double role. The leather-wearing badboy Mannu is out on the run and discovers a foolish mama's boy Bablu bears an uncanny resemblance to him. Hijinks, mistaken identities, romance (Sonali Kulkarni as Mannu's foxy but mistreated girlfriend and Juhi Chawla as Bablu's adorable ladyboss) and hillarity ensue. This one has an uber-catchy, cheesy 90's soundtrack, too. It's just so much fun!

2. Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam (1962) - My first Guru Dutt movie and one of my favourites. On my first watch I remember being completely confused on the social reality portrayed in the movie, I think I still am. Essentially Guru Dutt plays a man who comes to work for a royalty of some kind, meets a lovely girl (Waheeda Rehman) and also gets to know the royalty's lonely, tragic wife (Meena Kumari). It's a classic, and it's a lot less sad than a lot of other Dutt movies so I can definitely recommend it. Oddly enough I've read that by the time this was filmed, Waheeda Rehman and Guru Dutt were not on good terms with each other at all - yet I think their chemistry is great in this!

3. Kaakha Kaakha: The Police (2003) - This is a well-made Tamil action thriller about, you guessed it, cops. Surya plays a policeman whose group are "encounter specialists". This basically means if they run into some gangsters, they can shoot at free will, and boy, do they ever. I thought this was well-made but the actual plot didn't interest me much. It's worth a rental for the smooth soundtrack and the spectacular Jothika-Surya pairing. She looks amazing in this.

4. Yaadon ki Baaraat (1973) - The soundtrack contains one of my favourite Hindi songs ever, "Chura liya hai tumne jo dilko" and that's why I saw this one. It's a mediocre film about three brothers separated at childhood, starring Dharmendra and Zeenat Aman (not paired!) and has a very young Aamir Khan in one scene. And .. I don't know what else to say, really. It's not that bad. It's just not that good, either.

5. Aethiree/Ethiri (2004) - Oh Maddy. Oh, Maddy. This Tamil masala starts out pretty light and fun - R. Madhavan plays a regular guy who gets mistaken for a rowdie (that's Tamil-filmish for 'street gangster, troublemaker') and therefore starts pretending to act like one, even though he is a total wuss. There's a funny friend (Vivek!), a pretty girl (Sada) and it's generally pretty cool (I rather adore this song). Then something happens and the plot just veers off into massive WTF zone and all the cuteness of the movie is successfully ruined. I'm glad I could borrow this DVD off a friend - and look at that cover, can you see why I wanted to see it despite my friend's warnings? - because a few good songs, and some minor Maddy&Sada cuteness DVD purchase does not make.

6. Aarzoo (1999) - I've already discussed this but let us recap: awful Sakshay movie with Madhuri, don't watch, don't watch, do not watch.

7. 36 China Town (2006) - I still own this Abbas-Mustan comedy/thriller despite Race making me question everything those guys have ever directed. It's not a great movie, but when it came out, after nothing good had come out since Rang De Basanti and Fanaa was still a month away, it was a pleasant surprise. Kareena was funny in it, Akshaye was funny in it, and okay okay, it also gave us Upen Patel but no film's perfect, right?

8. Karan Arjun (1995) - Before Sakshay came along, my favourite Bollywood on-screen pair was without a doubt Kajol-SRK. Which is why I saw this one, a damn cheesy film that is so far the only film where we've seen Shahrukh and Salman side by side. It's got insane mother-love, an even more insane villain, resurrection, cheesy 90's dance moves.. If you think Kajol and Shahrukh only did great movies together, you have to watch this one. I don't own it on DVD because while fun, it's not quite that much fun, but every now and then I feel like rewatching "Jaati hoon main" on youtube..

9. Aradhana (1969) - I have to say I enjoyed this classic Sharmila Tagore-Rajesh Khanna starrer, not least of all because it contains the (hot!) picturization for "Roop tera mastana", another song favourite of mine. But despite my enjoyment, there were things about the plot that did not quite sit right with me. The mother who goes through tremendous sacrifice, the double role of Rajesh Khanna.. I guess what I'm getting at is that even though I quite liked it, it's nowhere near becoming a favourite of mine.

10. Achanak (1973) - I cannot fathom why I never bought this movie. It's total Vinod Fangirl Fodder. He plays a soldier who makes questionable choices in life and later battles with them mentally (read: manpain), relaying the story of his life to his doctor and his nurse (Farida Jalal as a young actress!). It's a soundtrackless Gulzar movie that pokes your brain about life, death and morality, but it's also an odd one; very short, only a little over an hour in running time. And a lot of it is Vinod. It's just fantastic. More films should be like this.

This was a lot of fun to do! When my next "cannot figure out what to post" mood strikes, I shall make use of this randomized list once again.


JJC said...

i think the mini reviews are perfetly not that great of a writer so im thinking i might end up doing those if i talk about a film..or jusmt my favorite scenes without getting into the nitty gritties of a review

ajnabi said...

For someone who's got writer's block you've managed quite the long post! :-) I have seen only Karan Arjun on this list, and made an Adventures in YouTube post out of it for the sheer WTF factor. How about that lightning when the two meet? Fan-freaking-tastic!

Scandalous_Diva said...

I LOVE duplicate ... SRKs character BABLOO will stay in my heart forever...SRK rocks :)
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