Friday, 23 April 2021

Actress Usha Kiran Bio

Do you think this is Dorothy from Wizard of Oz? This is actress  #ushakiran. After having worked with Dev Anand (one can remember her song Yaad Kiya Dil Ne Kaha Ho Tum,) and Kishore Kumar, she settled for character roles. One can remember her as Sharmila Tagore's elder sister in the fantastic comedies, Bawarchi and Chupke Chupke. Her movie Patita with Dev Anand was ahead of its time.  She is said to have served as Sheriff of Mumbai during the years 1996-97. Actress Tanvi Azmi is her daughter.

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Kheer Short & Sweet Film By Terribly Tiny Tales


The interesting times we live in, where the ads are fifteen minutes and the films are shorter than some trailers. We are talking about the short film Kheer by Terribly Tiny Tales, directed by Surya Balakrishnan and written by producer, Sharanya Rajgopal. Also this is not a review but a train-of-thoughts. 
The short film opens at what seems like a simple story of two aging couple arguing when their grandkids show up uninvited. "Who needs an invitation to visit their nana's house?" the grandkid, Naman announces. "Boy, Is Anupam Kher in a soup or kheer?" I want to say when the next scene unfolds. This quickly becomes a scene where we as audience will be tested.

The movie is set in a city like Mumbai based on the hustle-bustle outside. A seemingly modern city but it is the dynamics between the people that truly shows you how modern you are. The times they are a-changing but it is great when they change towards something better. If you think Umm how else does it work? Aren't we becoming modern every passing day." And whether you believe in modernity or not people have a belief that it is what is happening. But not always, society has a way of taking one step ahead and two steps behind.

Look at this movie Kheer, it is challenging you in a way you might not realise. What are your thoughts about the situation in the movie? Are you thinking, "Oh, it is so gross for an old man to date?" Or "Of course, it is okay if a lonely old man has a companion but that girl is too young to have a boyfriend!"

Whatever your opinion you are judging two people whom you don't know inside out, and whose life you have had a chance to glimpse for only something more than a ten minutes.

Did you say, "That's not Indian culture! Think about it for a moment. Not even hundred years ago, men older than what Anupam Kher appears to be used to get married to girls of his granddaughter's age, who appears to be something of ten years. And mind you even till the end it is not revealed whether the girl Naina actually does have a boyfriend or that woman, Rekha is the Nana's girlfriend, but did you take time to pass a judgment? 

The grandfather beautifully reveals in the end that he makes kheer everyday, marking his nature as a person who takes life as it comes. I like it when movies don't preach or point towards a morality, but love it when they plant subtle indicators towards a thought or idea. That is what makes this an incredible movie.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Joroo Ka Ghulam Movie

Joroo Ka Ghulam released 48 years ago today. Rajesh Khanna's funny side was being explored in Bawarchi the same year, but this was a rare comedy for Nanda.

If you liked Kaka & Nanda's high tension  pairing in Ittefaq, watch out for the flirty energy in this one.

For a movie that is almost half a century old it is interesting to see a husband to pretend to be a servant at their own home was unusual.

This was a fun movie that handles the whole feminism theme in an interesting manner. 
We see so many movies, even now, try and fail at this. Go watch it for the old style humour.

Almost two decades later kaka's daughter Twinkle Khanna also acted in a movie called Joru Ka Ghulam along with Govinda.

#RajeshKhanna #ActressNanda #JorooKaGhulam

Monday, 12 November 2018

Thugs of Hindostan Review

So Thugs of Hindostan? Have you watched it? Did you like it? You know, I had placed this movie as one my most anticipated movies of 2018.

But I had a specific reason for the interest in the movie, because it was the idea that the movie was based on the Thuggee cult of India. A topic that has been documented by the British but largely ignored in the Indian History. The Thuggee cult had become so notorious especially during the 19th Century that the British Raj and especially the then Governer General Lord William Bentinck had to create harsh laws to capture the Thuggees and to put an end to the cult.

And Aamir Khan had been reported to play Ameer Ali, a portrayal of a real thuggee as documented in the novel Confessions of a Thug by Philip Meadows Taylor. I mean who other than Aamir Khan to play this larger than life character? A man who is not shy to portray a farmer, an aging father, and even a darker character in movies like The Earth 1947.  And since he always seems to have his finger on the pulse of the nation's youth, we were not surprised that he had chosen such an offbeat topic for his next big budget movie. The looks of the movie had gone viral. Many of us read the novel Confessions of a Thug for the first time and we waited for Aamir to deliver.

Big budget, that is what offset the movie... Because then they chose the director of Dhoom 3 to helm this project. The movie went through script changes and was repackaged as an action movie, with a lot of unnecessary CGI. Had the success of Baahubali derailed the initial setup of this film, we will never know? At least that is what the Formula reveals, Aamir Khan + patriotism + Amitabh, how could it go wrong? Well, it wouldn't have if this was the 80s? But times have changed? If numbers were a concern whatever happened to Dangal style realistic storytelling? A simple public survey would have saved this movie. The Indian audience is changing, they anticipate good stories now, not stars, not filmy dialogues and there is no formula to engage such an audience. Yes it worked for Dabbang because Salman has his audience. But Aamir should have known better, after all he is known for breaking the formula moulds. He should have known that India is at cusp of things and is ready, even if partially to listen to its non-flattering stories. And the Thuggee cult was an extraordinary story to begin with. It was an unusual cult that united the Hindus and Muslims like no other movement could, not even the freedom movement!

What a monumental waste this opportunity was? Especially as a narrative!

The Ameer Ali that we had been promised during the movie's initial promotion becomes Firangi Malla, a caricaturish goon who panders to the ultimate supervillain of Indian cinema, the British, in this case called John Clive, as an actor who seems always hesitant to play the part, not surprising. The girls, Katrina and Fatima are mere accessories in action, nothing more.

The last time Aamir made a movie on nationalism, he managed to rekindle the love for freedom fighters such as Bhagat Singh in the youth. Names such Ram Prasad Bismil, Sukhdev, Rajguru, Ashfaqullah Khan, and Chandrashekhar Azad whose sacrifices had become a mere footnote to some other prominent leaders, Rang De managed to bring them to public memory and the stories such as that of Kakoris "Conspiracy", which were never told in history books filled the youth with pride as they realised the unique ways these young leaders had found to rebel. All these thoughts were running in mind as I got ready to watch the Thugs of Hindostan. How these heroes knew how to speak the language of the bully whether it was English or the language of firearms!

But these were heroes, an easy part for a Bollywood actor who has forever played the heroic and the righteous. But Aamir Ali would have been interesting, he was heroic but not righteous. But that is the fun, to tell the story of the other side. You could have told how the Thuggees thought they were doing the Goddess Kali's will, that they were extracting revenge from a society that had wronged them. Sure the hero would have been flawed but he would have been interesting.

Not to mention we would have found a way to embrace more negative aspects of our national narrative, which is the need of the hour, as we are relearning that old Indian habit of cloaking the negative aspects of our society, to portray them as positive.

I am certain this movie is going to be a hit, but this movie could have been many things, and it is our loss that it could not become all that it could have become.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Pressure Cooker By Heena Dsouza Short Film Review

The movie opens with the ephemera that surrounds a middle class woman's life. There is the old furniture of ancestral home, the redundant sound of radio as she goes about her life and the sound that supersedes all other sounds, the voice of the husband who needs everything handed to him.

The centre of all the narration is the figurative and literal pressure cooker that has become old and tacky. As a housewife would the literal dilemma is discussed with neighbour and husband and a solution to life's more figurative problem is arrived at through this.

One can I either say that the short film takes a rather traditional approach in its conclusion. But here is where the role of husband offers perception. This is a regular man who works sincerely and lives a disciplined life, nor a violent man neither a passive aggressive man. Any protest against such a man would be a rebel without cause. The beautiful and ageless Pallavi Joshi shines in bringing a lot of depth to this simple, linear narrative.

One more reason to love this film is the poster made in the art of old 80s ad copies.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Yeh Fitoor Mera Lyrics English Translation Aashiqui 2

The lyrics and meaning are on video below, for typed lyrics and meaning scroll down…

This is the English translation of Parvardigara from Fitoor. Parvardigara is a Persian (Iranian) compound word which means the one who nurtures over and over. Parva + Digar = Nurture + Again and Again. The word khuda is also Persian and was understood as a name for god much before the advent of Islam in the region.
This song encapsulates beautifully the Sufi thought of the Almighty God being a lover, and the love being equal to worship. I love the use of fitoor (although the movie describes it as “obsession,”) which means a “defector” in the political sense, in this song means a person who was running away from love is actually at its mercy now…
Lyrics by Swanand Kirkire

Sung by Arijit Singh
Hindi/Urdu LyricsEnglish Translation
Zindagi ne ki hai kaisi saazishenSuch schemes has my life plotted
Poori hui dil ki wo farmaishenThat all of my wishes have come true
Maangi duwa ek tujh tak jaa pohochi, ParwardigaraMy heartfelt prayer has reached you, Oh God Almighty!
Kaisi suni tuney meri khamoshi, Parwardigara!How could you hear my silences, Oh Almighty
Ye fitoor mera laya hai mujhko tere kareebAll my running away from you has brought me closer to you.
Ye fitoor mera, rehmat teri, parwardigaraThis running away was a blessing from you, Oh Almighty!
Ye fitoor mera, maine badla rey mera naseebBy defecting like this I have changed my destiny
Ye fitoor mera chahat teriThis running away has instead turned into a longing for you…
Dheeme dheeme jal rahi thi khwahisheMy hopes and desires were burning slowly 
Dil me dabi ghut rahi farmahishenMy requests had suffocated in my heart
Banke dhuan tujh tak ja pohochi, parvardigara!They turned into holy smoke and reached you, Oh almighty!
Deewanagi ki hadd maine nochi, Parwardigara!I grabbed on to the zenith of madness, oh almighty!
Ye fitoor mera laya hai mujhko tere kareebThis running away has instead got me closer to you