Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rajesh Khanna....The Memories

My earliest memories of Rajesh Khanna are some of his movies that I watched as a kid during Saturday night Doordarshan. I didn't much understand acting then, it was the 80s where Kaka's downfall had already started. The women in the family loved him. Amitabh Bachchan was the reigning superstar and Dharmendra and Vinod Khanna had started wearing fake mustaches for matured roles. I remember copying his dance steps from the film Aan milo Sajnaa - "Yahan wahan saare jahan mein tera raaj hai", much like a Junior Mehmood. My dad was ebullient with this phenomena. He later showed me his college day photographs. Young men in bell bottoms, with large side-locks and hair that covered their ears. I still remember the pride in his voice, - "We were all Rajesh Khanna fans." Bachchan? I asked. There was a fake arrogance in his voice when he said this.. "Oh.. he was a beggar those days...Those were the days when Navin Nischal rocked.. Anil Dhawan was considered the passionate hero and Rajesh Khanna ruled over Hindi Cinema."

I remember watching the "best" Rajesh Khanna movies with Dad, thereafter. "Daag", where granny sweared at him for not owing up to Sharmila Tagore, "Aradhana" which is still my Mom's fav mother-son movie that she loves crying up to :), "Amar Prem" where me as a kid could never fathom how a person could be as large hearted as Rajesh Khanna, "Kati Patang" which we completed after 3 screenings because of the power cuts, "Anand" which was the first time tears welled up in my eyes because of celluloid magic and i cried in the  bathroom, "Namak Halaal" where i developed semi-permanent hatred for Bachchan and a lot more......

"Hamein jo tumhara sahara naa miltaa... bhanwar mein hi rehte, kinaara naa miltaa"

My obsession with Rajesh Khanna grew after I watched a thriller "Red Rose" on the newly started Sony TV. I thought he was excellent then, and i used this reference between friends to suggest a better performance than SRK's anti-hero craze in those days. I watched him a lot...."Avtaar" where he played the elderly father with one hand kept straight near the belly..."Jantaa Hawaldaar" where i loved it when he crooned ..humse kaa bhool hui jo yeh sazaa humkaa mili...."Mehbooba" which was about rebirth...Roti, where he balances romance and machismo ... The Train, a great suspense thriller....Swarg, where he cries out to Govinda - "aye mere dost lautke aaja.....bin tere zindagi adhuri hai"...Safar, which i was extremely sad about....Aavishkar, an artsy genius (saw it much later)....I moved on....

"Kuch reet jagat ki aisi hai... har ek subah ki shaam hui"

My second romance with Kaka happened because of my love for Pancham-Kishore. While collecting albums of Pancham's music i saw myself crossing paths with Rajesh Khanna's movies yet again. Quite simply put, the man had such a huge collection of good songs picturised on him. While the Pancham-Kishore-Kaka combo rocked, Rajesh Khanna also was fortunate to get awesome songs picturised on him by other musicians.Long before good songs became synonymous with Emraan Hashmi, Kaka existed and ruled. How glad was i to find Pancham. How glad was i to see Rajesh Khanna emote Kishore's voice on screen to the truest possible act?

"Jab Dard nahin tha seene mein.. tab khak mazaa tha jeene mein"

I did a lot of reading on Kaka too. What was fascinating was that, everyone had a story about his downfall and how it was synonymous with Bachchan's rise to stardom. Surely but that's not how a fan should remember the first superstar of Hindi Cinema.

Sholon Pe Chalna Tha..Kaanto Pe Sona Tha
Aur Abhi Ji Bharke...Kismat Pe Rona Tha
Jaane Aise Kitne Baki Chhodke Kaam
Main Chala.... Main Chala
Main Shaayar Badnaam........

A man who lived and loved... who was human in his faults and yet appeared larger than life on the celluloid screens. From famously sharing a toothbrush with live-in partner Tina Munim, to an open affair with Anju Mahendru.. from marrying young Dimple to an unsuccessful stint in politics... from being widely known as the arrogant, first brat child of bollywood to playing second fiddle in the later parts....from romancing the heroines with that twinkle in the eye to staring at death with the blank yet highly expectant expression.... Rajesh Khanna will stay forever etched in some of my fondest and oldest memories of cinema.

"Zindagi se bahut pyaar humne kiya... Maut se bhi mohabbat nibhayenge hum......"

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Character Artist

"Mere Karan Arjun aayenge"

"Yaar ke liye jaan bhi chali jaaye, toh koi ghum nahin"

 One of the major supports to the medium of Hindi Cinema has been the supporting cast. In retrospection when we look at the early days, we see our movies much inspired  by the west in terms of style, but later relying on the grounded Indian values of love, friendship, blood-ties, which come into foray in so many ways, thereby getting to exploit the target audience's emotions correctly. Here, a mere leading man or a leading lady cannot do the trick alone. Hence, the need for supporting cast. 

 And what excellent support they gave ! From getting their friend's love letter passed to the correct girl in class, to taking the bullet meant for the hero from the villain's gun, from making the ever so tasty gajar ka halwa or aloo ke parathey till getting raped by the brother's enemy, the support has been untiringly endless.

I wonder though. how the term "Character Artist" came to be associated with these characters. Certainly on a conscientious call, differentiating between black and white, the hero has a good character and the villain has a bad character. Maybe everybody else supporting the film, just has "character". 

Unclear pondering aside, the irony was, the term "character artist" got associated to you, after you did a few of the supporting cast roles. This tag, many artists were rather afraid of to get associated with, many still are. This tag actually ruined promising careers of so many good actors. On the contrary there were also a few who, after having seen it all on the Good or the Bad side, decided to move on to "character artist" roles. Sample Ashok Kumar, who after having been a leading man for quite some time moved into the character artist mode and delivered quite a few smaller gems. There was Pran, who, after decades of terrorizing Indians with his menace on the silver screen, took to supporting roles, as a fish to water and showed brilliance in "Upkaar", "Zanzeer" etc. Sometimes the actors had such great screen presence, their role stood out parallel to the lead performers. A good case in point would be Sanjeev Kumar's "Thakur" in "Sholay", which is one of the best portrayals of a non-lead role. You may say, the role was quite meaty, but it's all the actor's credit, to have left an indelible mark in our minds.

 There were many actors though who lost out after showing decent promise early on. Aruna Irani, once a leading lady, succumbed to being good support later on. Danny Denzongpa, started well early on, but kept shuttling between negative and side artist roles. Deepak Tijori, bollywood's most remembered "side actor" gave company to leading men through the 90's. Chunkey Pandey, having failed as a solo star, did great in 2nd leads in "Aankhen" and "Tezaab". Then, there were also those who turned the theory upside down and made their foray into stardom, the other way round, such as NanaPatekar and even Mithun Chakraborty.

However apart from chance and debacles, we also had those who were regular features as supporting cast. The golden moms, Nirupa Roy, Durga Khote, the lovable funny sidekicks like Asrani ( who IMO did splendid in "Abhimaan" ), the late arriving Police Inspector - Iftekhar, the ever old man - Hangal Saab and Om Prakash. One of the best directors to have made use of the supporting cast in his movies were Basu Chatterjee and Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Be it "Khatta Meetha" "Chhoti si baat" "Golmaal" or "Chupke Chupke", a lot of us viewers would still remember and adore the endearing cast. 
As bollywood moved on to changing times, we saw the role of a "character artist" being re-defined. Lot of promising faces over the years have come in and created an impression in roles, which aren't exactly black or white. Last weekend saw the release of two movies - "Paan Singh Tomar" and "London, Paris, New York". PST has Irrfan Khan, one of the best talents India has now, as the leading man. Yet it saw the light at the box office after two years of it's completion. The other, "London Paris New York" featured Aditi Rao Hydari, as the leading lady. Aditi previously essayed small but note worthy "character artist" roles in Delhi 6, Rockstar and a bit of footage in "Yeh Saali Zindagi".

The above cases in point show that the line differentiating "character artists" from "The Leading Artists" is definitely blurring. Awaiting more of these in the near future to end the taboo and bring the glass ceilings down. More power to Cinema..

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rockstar - A Review

"Jim Morrison showed the middle finger to the crowd, and they loved it, and here i am trying to entertain people, by singing at the bus stand, and i get beaten by the cops", says Janardhan Jakhar. The scene defines the tone of the movie. Fun times in the present situation and deep suffering ahead. For J.J must face the trials and tribulations in his ascent to the top of stardom. Pain brings out the best in artists. This is the defined truth. So the young man chooses the easy way out by asking out a stephenian in desi style and then trying to experience false pain, little knowing that this will actually turn into unavoidable an skeleton in his closet for life. There is eventual friendship and Heer has J.J as a friend helping her out in her lowly ordeals, as she tries to break out of her high society lifestyle. From watching semi porn in theatres, to gulping desi daaru and till her kashmiri wedding, J.J turned Jordan stays true to her and the friendship, even though we find traces of helpless attraction and love while this part of the act approaches the curtains.

The movie complements it's non linear narrative, with coherent links in the story, thereby giving the audience short spans of time to ponder over the current state of things and then quickly solving their inquisitiveness. This was somewhat a technique shown in Ali's last venture "Love Aaj Kal", although it had two protagonists and hence different stories trying to draw metaphors. This is a different ball game, and it works beautifully. The main catalyst being the wonderful music of A.R.Rahman woven into the story. So that's how we see Jordan crooning to "Jo Bhi Main....." possibly the soul song of the protagonist, at different stages in his auditions, amongst a yuppy crowd in Prague, in the Dargah etc..

So the heartbreak is real, and we see the rise of Jordan. Brilliant singer, unruly by nature, broken heart, harmed innocence ready to strike back at every given oppurtunity and crooning wide-eyed with guitar in hand. "Sangeetkar geetkar kuch nahin hota...bas ek Image hota hai" says the music company owner. Well, our man gets it right !! With new found stardom, Jordan makes it to Prague, to be with his lost soulmate and the two hit it off right where they left. So the junglee jawani days are back, the fun they had as two carefree souls. The longing and desire give way to passion and the eventual separation happens yet again....

The bad boy gets worse from hereon. Further success brings further self destruction. The simple Jat boy is hounded by fans wherever he goes and the fame monster has the better of him, when he visits his friends and becomes a victim of an incessant photo shoot rather than heartfelt camaraderie. So contracts are broken and honest attempts are made to create timeless music collaborating with a legendary musician, which IMO is a fine piece of musical jugalbandi (The dichotomy of fame) and the restlessness continues until fate brings the soul mates together finally trying to spend life together coping with one tragedy and another. It is when Heer comes to Jordan's life, that he sheds the feathers of arrogance and indifference and transforms into the same innocent boy he was when they first met. This happens everytime, baring the phase where Jordan gets into his demanding self and falls prey to his desires for Heer and is thus termed selfish.  Selfish he is not, as we all know, dedicating his life to the woman he loved, lost, won and then finally..........

There is a scene where Jordan confesses his craze for Heer, and gives his reasons of why they should get together. Here too he is restrained and we do not see a hint of pathos or angst, neither a blatant account of his sacrifices. There's another scene, when he is picked out of a brothel and then tries explaining his condition to his manager. He does use terms to describe what he is feeling, why there is no sense of accomplishment...but you get the feel that there is a lot more he wants to say but is not able to. Thus the lyrics say - "Jo bhi main kehna chaahoon ...barbaad karein alfaaz mere" (Words destroy the meaning of what i really want to convey). This phenomena, gives rise to confusion internally. And when the guy is a simpleton, pure of heart and feels wronged as such..his defense mechanisms come into the foray and he gets violent. There are no pangs of drug abuse or self imposed hallucinations. It's all real, and it's all painfully beautiful.

Ranbir Kapoor in one word "excels". Quite frankly, after watching his performance, i cannot believe if any other thespian in the present hindi film industry can portray this role as honestly and execute a flawless performance as sincerely. Watching him wide eyed, tears shining, while he goes into a high pitch during the rendition of Kun faya Kun at the dargah, or Naadan Parindey at the live performance. Feel his angst during Saada Haq or laugh at his lovable mannerisms when he plays the bumpkin in the beginning, the man is tailor made for the role. We also get to see the beautiful and much talked about Nargis Fakhri making her debut. She plays her role with great flair and control. Sheer beauty on screen and decent diction and dialogue delivery make her as one of the actresses to watch out for in the coming times. Good support cast by Kumud Mishra (Khatara Bhai) and Aditi Rao Hyder, whose role from a reporter to a star manager is a little contrived and gets confused in the moving narrative and surely has seen the editing scissors. The music is the parallel lead of the film and Rahman can be praised only as much possible, to give us another complete album after Delhi 6. This one too, has variety, depth and popular songs. Mohit Chauhan is the voice of Rockstar and does full justice to the vocals. Finally, the man Imtiaz Ali, earns another feather in his cap. It takes a director of his stature to give the kind of ending the movie deserved. This one is right on top as his earlier works.

I wish, there aren't any comparisons with Rock-On. I wish people stop demanding more "Rock" out of the music and enjoy the melody. I hope people understand that the title of the movie isn't to be taken very literally. It is about a "Rockstar" indeed, but it is more about the artist behind the image, his life, his love and his story. These are a few things that came to my mind as the audience was leaving hurriedly chatting, towards the exits while the movie had ended and the best romantic number was playing on screen. This movie has enough heart and hope the audiences fathom and reciprocate the same.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

CALIFORNICATION: Hank Moody – A character study

This one is strictly for Californication fans. And for some who are adventurous enough to peek into one of the most endearing characters ever seen on television.

Californication, the show is a situational comedy / drama / soft porn, depending on the scenario, and let me tell you the scenario is mostly fucked up :D. It has been criticised in the most liberal of countries, about the extensive adult content and programming slots. With its tongue in cheek humour and witty screenplay and endearing central character Hank Moody, the show has seen 4 seasons being wrapped up straight and I believe the guys are currently shooting for Season 5.

Hank Moody - Devil may Care
Hank Moody, as we all know is a writer. Successful / failed or there and there in between we can’t say, because this character is in continuation. He is an enigma, capable of surprising everyone including himself. Impulsive, old school, reckless, lazy and passionate beyond repair are a few words that may define him, but you never know which side of him might show up at what time.

Which is why, despite being a gifted writer, this person has managed to squander it all away. There is no ulterior motive or extra logical reasoning behind his downfall. All the man did was wear his heart on his sleeves and call a spade a spade and thus the world conspired to bring him down.

While in the first few seasons we saw Hank loiter after anything with sexy legs and get lucky invariably, he also settles down pretty much as the family guy later on. But as they say, your future is just the past coming out from another door. And hence Hank’s past never leaves him in his utopia-like situation of living the quiet life with his beautiful wife and lovely daughter. Complications arise, misunderstandings happen and we have Mr. Moody going back to ground zero and square one once again.

It would be unfair to term Hank as a womaniser. He is a lady’s man in the truest sense and has been known to give in to the situation, when he sees no other option but to comfort a woman or keep her self respect  intact by playing along. Of course he is attracted, and who isn’t, with the bevy of women around in the sitcom? This somehow questions the validity of the show, as to how come soooo many women fall for this jackass. But the explanation comes rightly in the way Hank seduces or gets through each one of them. Of course it’s all a little flimsy and has to be taken in with a pinch of salt, but we anyways aren’t watching a classic here are we?

Hank breaking down after Becca confesses a
bout losing her virginity
Hank has been described by his two closest women, Becca (daughter) and Karen (Wife) as a kid who refuses to grow up. It’s as if he is a kid in a man’s body, doing recklessly impulsive things, afraid of taking responsibility. This, given Hank’s personality does hold true, but only partially. Because we as the audiences, know this hugely caring and brooding self of Hank, that Becca and Karen do not get to see. Hank always keeps up the fa├žade of being the charming, lucky loser and smiles even in distress. But he loves and cares and pines for his family, doing anything possible to be together with them. He is pre historic in his ways and treats women with respect and insists on people doing the same. He is post modernistic in thoughts when he says he wouldn’t mind Becca turning into a Lesbian, because of his deep admiration towards the fairer gender, but also goes ballistic in an interview about how the internet has destroyed social and creative freedom, with everyone going LMAO and ROFL on the world wide web and being aware about unnecessary bits of news items.

Happier times - Hank teaching Becca
 how to Drive and Karen looks on
Hank has his share of shortcomings. He is a man, after all and does show his feelings after pangs of heart ache, although most of it he keeps to his brooding self. But when it comes to Karen and other men that she seems remotely interested in, Hank can’t hide his feelings of jealousy and loneliness. This is contradictory to Karen, who is ultra comfortable knowing Hank’s super active sex life. Maybe she accepts him as an adult, maybe she doesn’t love him as much, but it is Hank and his innocent childishness that comes into foray when complicated situations arise involving Karen.

Besides having a great sense of humour, Mr. Moody generally, and very liberally, crosses the line of sarcasm while dealing with mostly anyone.  This calls for conflict and as we all know Hank isn’t the right guy to handle conflicts. Infact he is self-conflicted most of the times and causes emotional damage on self at various points. Does he like self-pity then? Given the amount of worldly possessions he’s loved and lost, we cant agree on that.
The show, Californication, wouldn’t be what it is, without the superb music woven into the plot at various times. My favourites are:
·         Second Life Replay”, played when Hank is going through a major depression and has had too many pills before sitting down on the typewriter, to write a letter to Becca.
·         California Dreaming”, by Shaw Blades (original sung by The Mamas and the Papas). This is played at the end of the Second season, when Hank bids goodbye to Karen and stays back in California with Becca. Kind of a fitting moment.
·         Rocket Man” by Elton John, played during another lonely moment in Season 3.

So many songs, so many episodes, heartbreaks, sexcapades, broken Ferrari headlights…Hank Moody lives on..the non-conformist way!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

In Memoriam

He waited anxiously at the park. He had never ever been to a park. Boys never go to a park. They have addas, they roam, they zoom past on bikes, they play cricket. They don't go to parks. But he was at the park. He was waiting. He didn't like to wait. Like, ever !! But he was waiting. And patiently. The people around him were not that interesting, 2 couples lost amongst themselves, an elderly woman taking a stroll wearing adidas shoes with her loose fitting salwar kameez, an ice cream vendor moving around. He looked at his watch, it was over 40 minutes. He looked up. He saw her crossing the road. Ah Finally !! She gave one look at him, with a shy smile from across the road. She moved her fingers through her hair, which flew onto her face as a car whizzed past her. He smiled back. Thus froze the moment...An eternity, maybe?

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He had just got done dumping his 3rd bag under his seat. The train left in 10 mins. There was family to see him off. She called...He had to take this call...He couldn't take this call...It was an emotional moment....He had to be physically present at the platform, comforting, assuring kith and kin that he'll be fine. The mind was on her however. Distance never mattered...or maybe it will....too many questions...too little time...the whistle blew....

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It was his second coffee at the shop, while he kept waiting....wasting time on a small weekend wasn't his kind of idea of having fun....but today was different...he wouldn't mind wasn't the first time he was waiting for her...She came...the same familiar angelic face, maybe a little plumper but pretty, decently stylised as per the demands of big cities...long hair...and yet none of it mattered....That smile, the one he'd remember for a lifetime and more was missing....She did smile nonetheless, but it was nothing short of a stranger greeting you. Familiarity is a bad thing... you can never renew certain things...they have to be either the same or the kind that didn't matter. This missing smile could have been a good indicator of the proceedings ahead.... they were strangers after all !! 3 does change the most in his/her formative years...and yes, it never is the he realised. The bitterness may go...but these two strangers could never go back to the idea that two youngsters nurtured..of hopelessly falling in love....maybe yet again !! He bid goodbye.....

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He was leaving for home...from work....tiring day...and a lot on his mind...and then he saw that office building on his way back...he normally saw it twice a day...what was so different? why would he patiently look at it, until, it went out of sight ? He tried noticing people around for a coolies, IT giants...and amongst them stood out a guy, maybe in his early formals with sleeves rolled up, with a giant office bag pulling his lean frame down, spectacled and with buck teeth....yet not being able to hide he smiled to some one across the road. The smile grew wider with passing moments....... He looked at the other end of the road....there was a girl at whom he was smiling....the lady was apparently trying to cross the road to get to him....His vehicle came nearer....."Driver, gaadi roko ek second !!"......The lovers were united....they did throw a puzzled expression as to why the car stopped immediately to allow her to cross...but soon they were lost within themselves.....

He had to divert his attention....he never dwelled in memories any longer...or atleast he liked to believe so....He ordered the driver to switch on the radio....and a song followed....

""Teri nigaahon ke..teri hi raahon ke kareeb se gayi zindagi... 
Tujhe kyun dekha naa..tujhe kyun jaana naa...shikayatein karoon ya nahin... 
thami hai yeh saansein...bhari hai yeh aankhein..sahoon kaise ab yeh faasla... 
Bin tere bin tere....koi khalish hai hawaon mein bin tere...."

Didn't make things easy....

P.S - the link to the song, which was much of an inspiration for the post. 

Image Courtesy - Edvard Munch - Separation - Oil on Canvas

Monday, June 27, 2011

Kya Bhidu...The Jackie Shroff saga

While growing up in the 90s' back at home, i was always fascinated by a visit to the barber's shop. It was a delightful experience for me to notice so many people, come in sporting different hairdos and go out with new mane. While it came to facial hair, the barber applied copious amounts of lather on the peoples faces and rubbed them clean. But after that, came the most critical part - trimming and shaping the mustachios (for those who sported them). It is here that the barber, narrowed his eyes, picking his finest pair of scissors and a small comb and asked the customer the most distinguished question that has ever been asked to a moustached person in India - "Jackie Shroff style kar dun?" (shall i style it like Jackie Shroff?).

Jackie Shroff pretty much immortalised the "Hero with a Moustache" in India. Of course there was also Shroff's contemporary and best partner in movies, Anil Kapoor, who was another moustache weilding hero, but the elegance, the Debonairish charm and the personality Jackie Shroff commanded in his prime, was hands and heads above the rest. Infact if you look at the career graph of this actor, you may feel its always style over substance. However it is also true that whenever given a chance, Shroff has performed genuinely and given stellar performances as the leading man.  Let's look at five of my favourite Jaggu Dada movies:

1. Hero: "Jaise Asli Heera dhoondne ke liye Johri ki nazar chahiye, waise hi Asli Hero chhunne ke liye Ghai ki Nazar  jaroori hai" (Just like you need a real jeweller to find the best diamond, you need Subhash Ghai to find a real HERO). How Subhash Ghai, India's best Showman since Raj Kapoor zeroed down on Shroff to be the leading man in his new movie is astounding, Especially with Jaggu Dada's local goon history during his Teen Batti days and a wee bit role in Swami Dada, it is harder to believe how he could be the choice of a leading banner to be their leading star. However history was written, Hero went on to be a huge hit and Jackie did very well as a debutant in a leading role. The haunting flute piece remains etched in memory. So does Sanjeev Kumar, who had a hilarious supporting role.

2. Kaash: Chances are, not many people have heard of this movie. For me, this remains as an endearing performance by Jackie and Dimple Kapadia in a tearjerking melodrama. Jackie demonstrates human failure competently as the superstar turned struggling father/alcoholic. I have very faint memories also of a stupid boxing match between Jackie and Dalip Tahil. "Baad Muddat" is another thing altogether.

3. Gardish: I remember as a kid reading the next line on the "Gardish" poster - "Wanted to be a man of law, NOW wanted by Law" !! And i kept trying to comprehend what it meant. This was a favourite childhood activity, getting to know 2% of a movie from a trailer or a poster and then trying to guess what the movie would be about entirely !! My follies apart, Gardish in my opinion is Jackie Shroff's masterpiece. How a sober, calm guy ends up becoming a Goon, and without any fault of his own..remains to be seen here. Brilliant support by Amrish Puri, in a non villainous role after ages. "Hum na samjhe the baat itni si...khwaab sheeshe ke..Duniya patthar ki"" takes me into melancholy everytime.

4. Parinda: I did not credit Anil Kapoor with this movie, as one of his best performances. I will not even give that credit to Nana, although he really was the scene stealer in the movie with his crazy-eccentric Anna act. But fact remains that this is one of the best restrained performances given by Jackie in a long time. Very maturely acted and always shown the right amount of emotions (he either under does or over does that mostly). Infact in retrospection, if there ever was a leading man in 1989, who could be cast in a movie about the Mumbai underworld, it had to be Jackie. Our Man won his only "Best Actor (Lead) - Filmfare" for this film.

5. Angaar / Mission Kashmir : It was tough to pick a 5th one amongst a lot of "good but definitely not great" works of Mr. Shroff. "Angaar" was Jackie's take on the conventional "Angry young man" syndrome of Bollywood. It's a hard hitting movie, extreme measures, extreme violence, extreme dialogues and Shroff does full justice to his pivotal role. On the other hand you have him playing Hilal Kohistani, an incarnation of Pure evil, with Kohl lined eyes, brainwashing the youth to lead terror in Kashmir. This movie showed a lot of promise for Jackie, and audiences felt, he now has another area to exploit his acting - the negative area. It didn't happen though.

When i looked up wiki, to confirm if Jaggu Dada has any good releases coming up, i wasn't too startled by his recent condition. In the last year, there were 3 Jackie Shroff releases are - "Ek second jo zindagi badal de", "Mussa - The Most Wanted" and " Bhoot and Friends". To say that this veteran actor is loosing it, wouldn't be an irrational statement. Recent memories of Jackie, on TV are instances when he is being bashed up by Salman, in "Veer" which is being aired for the nth time, or praising magicians with "sahi hai bhidu..mast kiya ekdum" some random show. In context to the present situation, I am reminded of the war scenes in "Border", at the time when Sunny and Co. were wrecking havoc yet getting their asses kicked, Jackie kept marching from one end of his fighter plane tyo another, in a state of utter helplessness, muttering - "Can't fly in the night..Dammit...Can't fly in the night" !!!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sunny Deol's Eyes (and a few of his best movies)

"Utaar ke faink do yeh wardi aur pehen lo Balwant Rai ka patta apne gale mein." - Ghayal.

"Mathura Das, isse pehle ki main tujhe Gaddar karaar deke goli maar dun...bhaag jaa yahan se" - Border.

I wish there was an option in blogger, which would make these fonts bolder, much bolder, as much as the boldness and machismo pumped into these lines by the sayer. If there ever was an instrument, which could measure the intensity and volatility of an actor's performance, it would have been destroyed by a single steely glance of Sunny Deol's ultra expressive eyes. Ahh...those eyes !! They might not be as beautiful as Aishwarya Rai's, might not be as perfectly arched and romantically deep as Shahrukh's or as crooked as Shakti Kapoor's. But if eyes were a window to one's soul, Sunny Deol's eyes surely depicted two emotions awesomely well - Hatred and Revenge !!! 

Continuing with the tradition..i would now list down my favourite Sunny Deol movies, the best 5. Not surprising though, that the new ones won't find a mention.

1. Arjun: Mamaiyya kero kero kero Mamma.... !! What memories this movie holds... For me, this movie defined youth rebellion for a long time, until "Rang de Basanti" happened. The anger of the unemployed youth, nagged at home, disrespected in society, was well portrayed by the young guns including Deol. The scene where they meet the rival gang, and the sound of whistling amidst silence, the rain scene where one of the guys is being chased by the goons, with hundreds of black umbrellas cramming the screen, remain memorable to this day. And Sunny Deol, as Arjun Malvankar, the strong, silent hero, with fire in his belly, was a treat to watch.

2. Dacait: I remember watching this movie when i was a kid and being shit angry and troubled and teary eyed looking at Sunny Deol's face, when he sees his mom Raakhi, who's gone mad and is dancing with a shaved off head..."Nacho re nacho..." !! Uff..the plight !! Too much... And just the right expressions put in again by Sunny boy !! How a simple, educated boy turns into a dreaded Dacoit, is a story well told and very well acted by Deol Senior. Another Rahul Rawail-Sunny Deol Hit Combo, after "Arjun".

3. Ghayal: Most Indians, when asked to mention THE defining Sunny Deol Movie, would immediately respond - "Ghayal".  This film over the times has become a cult classic, in the history of action cinema in Bollywood. Dialogues are still remembered and spoken. The story of yet another angry young man, wronged by the system, in search of his missing elder brother. This also marked the successful association of Deol with Rajkumar Santoshi.

4. Daamini: This is a movie, where in the traditional sense of the word, Sunny Deol isn't the "Hero" of the movie. But when we remember "Daamini" today, we would remember it for Deol, and maybe a few would recount Meenakshi Sheshadri's stellar performance too. This movie IMO should also hold the record for memorable dialogues : screen time ratio, and Deol's "Govind", the fire yeilding lawyer who returns from self hibernation, is a winner, hands down. Hands se yaad aaya - "Yeh Dhaai kilo ka haath..jab kisipe padta hai na...toh aadmi uthta nahin....(dramatic expression with palm flicked towards heaven)..UTTH jaata hai."

5. Border: J.P.Dutta's multi-starrer has been IMO the best war movie bollywood ever made. War, here meant fighting our neighbours, and the action involved here, was more emotional, rather than the technical CGI sequences hollywood specialises in. We do not need 50 animation smart assess to blow up a tank spectacularly on screen. A howling Sunil Shetty (Maahh....Shakti...Maahhhhhhhhhh) punctured with 16 bullets is enough for this. And when it comes to emotional action..who better than Sunny Paaji ?? Amongst a bevy of heroes, Sunny Deol stood out with extra ordinary screen presence. Remember the scene where he gives the Pak general a mouthful or where he counsels young tongue protruding Akshaye Khanna, Deol is superb. Garland of grenades and heavy launcher on thy shoulder...there marches my bollywood soldier !!

What did i miss? "Gadar - Ek Prem Katha" comes immediately to the mind. This is one movie, where after Border, Sunny Deol took the Pak thing into his own hands, and didn't need the army to emerge India victorious. This movie also raced with "Lagaan", another bollywood legend, and bitchslapped it to turn victorious at the Box office race back then. "Ghatak" was a worthy successor to "Ghayal" but somehow also resembled the 10 movies Deol did those days, which you couldnt differentiate from one another while being played on cable television. "Arjun Pandit" had an interesting premise, that of a "Negative Hero" (another bollywood cliche). He has also been an integral part of Rajiv rai's entertainers "Tridev" and "Vishwatma". Off late i havent seen any of his new stuff and i doubt any of them would make it into a list of "10 best Sunny Deol movies". I'd read about "Ghayal Returns" a few days back. Hope it returns well and soon. Can't wait to see the Real action man again. "Kab aayegi yeh Taareekh? Tareekh pe taareekh .........................!!!"