Sunday, February 23, 2014

Saajan 1991 - Why you should never have pseudonym

There are more reasons to watch Saajan than there are not.

You should watch it if :

- You are an 80s kid. Duh!

- You want to know why Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri are making 2014 seem like 1991,when in both eras they were in the news.

- You should know the classic hits Nadeem Shravan gave.

- The true meaning of love triangle

- Some heartrending shayari

- Ooty

- Salman Khan in clothes.

- Sanjay Dutt acting from his eyes.

- Kader Khan

You should not watch Saajan if :

- You do not have time

-Because classics like these need to be enjoyed and listened. Yes the movie has songs which are hummable till now.

Director - Lawrence D'Souza

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Guddi - Movie infatuation in hemlines

Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Basu Chatterjee.

I fell in love with the above two fabulous directors and their creations since I saw Golmaal. Its my comfort movie, sunshine factor and BFF for all seasons and reasons. The duo's movies are not exactly new wave cinema, art movies or commercial.  They are just light ,breezy movies which are made for fun, in fun and watched for fun. But they stay with you forever unlike stupid, funny bone movies. The reason being the script.

Guddi is one among them. I watched Bombay Talkies recently. Supposedly an ode to 100 years of Indian cinema which I still did not understand how. I felt Guddi should have been a better tribute. The below dialogue from the movie says why :

' Guddi to phir bhi bacchi hai. Aaj kal miya biwi ek doosre mein Dilip Kumar aur Saira Banu ko dhoondte hain' ( Guddi is still a young girl. Today husband wife look for Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu in each other)

It isn't exactly a documentary about cinema. Its a story about a girl who breathes cinema and a moviestar worshipper. It's a story of a middle class family,of love and then some bittersweet stories of the movie industry. But true to Hrishida's nature,nothing is grim,gray or gore. Rather its poignant,mellow and rather funny in many parts.

Watch it for :

- all Hrishidas regulars. Utpal Dutt is there yes.

- Asrani in Shammi Kapoor style

- Jaya Bachhan in mini frock

- who calls Sharmila 'baby'

-wonderful poster art

- a glimpse of all leading heroes of that time

- Because very few movies let you live your childhood and adolescence

Yavanika 1982

Those who know Jagathi can say, Malayalam cinema is a very grim place without his histrionics. Now imagine a movie where, even with his smart-ass jibes and jokes,leaves you grim. That's Yavanika  for you.

At a time in 1982 when Prem Nazir's romance, husband wife tales were bringing people to the  theaters, here was a movie by K.G George with an unknown actor ,Mammootty and some small time actors like Nedumudi Venu, Thilakan etc. with an investigating theme to it. Bharath Gopi had just won an award and was popularly known for portraying the good man roles. This was his first negative role and he has done a commendable job. A very risky mix And the risk paid off. Yavanika was one of 1982's biggest hits. Probably from here on,it set the trend of murder mysteries.

Apparently the movie's murder theme is based on the Rashomon affect where witnesses give different version. The investigator has to solve among st the different versions. Mammootty inspite of his 7th movie has pt up a almost perfect performance.

You have to watch the movie for the way the suspense unfolds. True to its name, Yavanika , which means curtain of secrecy , the movie blends the Kerala's traditional theatre culture and a murder mystery to make you glued to your seat.

Kunjattakkilikal 1986

' You are checking children's composition but I have written an imposition 1000 times and you have not seen it yet '
- ' What have you written? '
- ' I love you '

Simple maybe a childish way of romancing. Capable of only 1986 malayalam movies.

Kunjattakkilikal is also one of them. The above lines are said by Mohanlal to Shobhana, a tuition and home teacher who arrives to change children and changes the lives of not just Lal but also Soman.
A simple movie which you can watch on lazy afternoons, midweek holidays or just about anytime.

Watch it also for a wonderful twist to the story.

Director - Sasikumar. Known as 'Hitmaker', he was a very successful commercial film director.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Kireedam 1989

A predominantly serious movie with temperings of mellow moments.

Kireedam is about father son relationship and about an innocent middle class boy becoming a criminal totally against his wishes and to the viewers' shock. Once again MohanLal proves why he is a superstar with such performances. I could never finish seeign the ending coz I knew the story and I was never for sad endings. But today I saw the entire movie and in a quite moment even I can hear Sethu's cry and helplessness when his father tells him to 'drop the knife' !

The father son angle is mainly through Thilankan and Lal, but I couldnt help noticing 2 others i.e of Oduvil Unnikrishnan and his son played by Jagadeesh  and Mamukkoya and his son as Maniyan Pillai Raju (which maybe a subtle way  ) of showing unemployment which was the main problems then in Kerala. Its also a movie which shows yet again how difficult it is to get a decent well paying job in Kerala Youth are either driven abroad or have to settle for Govt jobs. Thankfully no gelf  bling is shown here.

At the end of the movie you are left wondering who is a bigger star , Lal with his innocent portrayal or Thilakan with one of his amazing control of emotions and never ever an atom of overacting.

Watch it for :

- Pure passionate fight scene without any filtered stunts just the way you would punch someone in raw anger.

- Lal without the brawn or brain but just eyes. You will cry with him, smile at his uncontrollable hunger when he is supposed to be fit for the police test and wish he had never picked up that knife from the garden.

Director - Sibi Malayil

Cast : Mohanlal, Thilakan, Parvathi, Sankaradi, Kaviyoor ponamma, Mamukkoya

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Chaalbaaz 1989

Put some Sridevi and a bit of Rajnikanth and you get masala. Imagine double of Sridevi then...Especially where you forget she is doing double role. Acidity!

Chaalbaaz is a movie about twins but Sridevi's acting will make you forget that it's the same person portrayed as a shy touch-me-not and another ,a whip wielding slick girl.

One doesn't dissect a cult movie like this and if you haven't watched it then .....whip!!

Yet another movie with women as focus. Dont tell me the movie ran because of Rajnikanth!

Poles Apart

Director - Pankaj Parashar
Cast - Anupam Kher, Sridevi , Sunny Deol, Rajnikanth, Rohini Hattangadi, Annu Kapoor

Oru Sayahnathinte Swapnam 1989

A breezy movie about  elders,a girl and many human bonds.

There is an elder care house run by Madhu and along comes Suhasini. A happy girl who only knows to care. She shows how elderly care should be done. Soon she creates bonds with the oldies.

Oru Sayahnathinte Swapnam focuses on woman's ability other than cooking,crying etc ,the latter,shown usually in malayalam movies. Also its another movies which an actress wholly owns with sheer brilliance.

Not a muscle wrenching hero but a lady who rules hearts.

A scene where the oldies put up a hunger fast for the girl. In a country and an era where men are were given importance.

Watch it for a twist in the story where romance goes on a different track and a very touching ending.

Director - Bharthan
Cast : Mukesh, Suhasini, Madhu, Nedumudi Venu, Jagathy Sreekumar, Thikkurisi Sukumaran Nair, Sankaradi, Bahadur.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Thenum Vayambum 1981

' Education is not just to teach good children but make bad children good' A dialogue by the great Sankaradi in the movie Thenum Vayambum.


With such dialogues and lovely acting comes the movie which has a three storylines entwined. A man's love for a woman, child's love for a motherly figure and a father's love for his son. All three has a woman actor as the pivot so basically Thenum Vayambum is carried by a lady ! A movie on a woman's shoulders?.and that also in 1981, a still unknown era for woman's lib.

The movie has many other firsts, according to me, and probably why it makes a good watch :

- One of the earliest movies of MohanLal where he isn't the main lead and where you will see the shy ,unsure acting bit he had before he ruled the cinema hearts of mallus. :)

- Where Nedumudi Venu is the main lead or hero!

 - A lot of English being said by the actors Prem Nazir, Sumalatha and even the children. 'Oh Shuvarr!' :)

 - Thenum Vayambum focuses more on emotions and the story rather than star material of Prem Nazir and overtly drama of women. You know women can do a whole lot of other things than crying,breaking bangles,cooking and stripping!

- Also catch Prem Nazir playing golf! :D

- And watch rather than hear the heart rending song 'thenum vayambum' against the backdrop of Ooty.

Director - Ashok Kumar
Cast - Prem Nazir, Sumalatha , Nedumudi venu, Mohanlal, Sankaradi

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Can Awara be called  a cult movie? In many ways yes.

The movie was at a time when India was waking up to values shown in black and white,love in many shades and relationships in transparency. Its an amalgamation of every known emotion to human or rather Indians. Also depicted by actors who were stars because they could enact those emotions so brilliantly.

Its a simple formulaic film about a fatherless son who becomes a tramp and a thief but has a loyal childhood sweetheart. But sometimes formulaic films becomes popular or  a ult movie when the actors know how to emote and how to make the audience feel with them or become empathetic when the actors fall ,cry or die.

Awara was a hit in Russia and and MiddleEast. It was nominated for GrandPrize in Cannes 1953. It was so popular in Turkey that it was remade as Avare in 1964.

And thats how its with Awara. You dont just dissect a cult movie.


I saw Khiladi when I was in the 7th standard and was head over heels in love with Akki. Madly in love. But as his chest hair grew in proportion to his stunts and equally 'stuntic' emotions I moved over to a certain Rahul who impressed NRIs among mustard fields.

But the thrill of Khiladi movies stays on. The kind of suspense which made people throng to the theatres in early 90s, it was a sure crowd drawer.

The story is about a bet which started as a fun thing but goes on to a rude shocker of a murder of an innocent. And the suspense is brought in also in a wonderful way with lots of romance before it so that you just a get a picture of a romcom and not the murder mystery it actually is.

The hero is not the usual all knowing genious with 7th sense of brilliance or a Bruce Lee action boy or the beta of a worshipping maa who prays for wisdom and all solutions. Just happy-go-lucky 90s college kids,a Mr.Weatherbee kind of principal, some romance and then a lot of thrilling 2nd half.

Watch it for :

- that 90s college life glimpse when wearing a laugh was more important than wearing branded tees.

 - fun meant innocent pranks on friends and not rude ones on strangers.

 - Shakti Kapoor as an aadarshwaadi serious policeman and not a sleazy birdwatcher.

 - another musical hit by Jatin Lalit

 Oh that time when Akki used to act and not jump from hills on the back of villians. Maybe its the Kseries of movies. Maybe its the chesthair. Maybe ts Maybelline. Uhhh...