June 1, 2011

Kapoor Khazana! Raj Kapoor Thank You!

UHFFFF! This gaze is too smoldering!

Yes I've been away for sooo long, but I'm back with a bang and how! I utterly adore this new star month for any Kapoor or the Kapoor Khandaan this month. I have already written a few pieces on the film family that fascinates me the most, first outlining the men with moustaches
and championing Randhir. But my heart completely belongs to the original RK - Raj. I discovered Raj again in my teens, but I'd seen the key films whenever i visited my Communist grandfather who loved Raj Kapoor's early movies because of their good clean Socialist messages. But this month is gonna be a proper appreciation of all the RK's and other Kapoor's at an age where I'm only a tad bit less pretentious about my praise! But as usual in the 'Star and Rum' series that I've done for Sridevipalooza, Manoj Kumar, and others I have to outline why Raj is the only Kapoor for me! Raj was the catalyst to my career path and I have to explain my utter gratitude

  • Simply put: I worship Raj Kapoor as a director. When I finally found my direction with film studies, I knew my angle was Indian cinema and making people love the greats Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy and RK just as much as I did. The teacher in my film class assigned essay topics, naturally i chose the one devoted to a director who had made an impact on world cinema, and I chose RK. I was all prepared to write my master thesis 10,000 years to early when i initially attempted to cover Guru, Mehboob, and Raj in one essay. But I had narrow it down, and Guru was a very maverick and experimental as well as melancholic director, Mehboob was brilliant, economical, and grand, but Raj made me smile and really enjoy every single film as simply a movie, whereas the others I was bombarded by gorgeous images and socialistic leanings respectively. But these days I know that a movie is the complete package a good and powerful leaning/message, gorgeous cinematography, capable actors, and lots more and RK movies just ensnared me!
  • This essay was the biggest essay of my life, because it was a true test of whether I wanted to follow in film studies, could I really muse about RK and Chaplin for almost 3000 words without becoming a fangirl and overdoing my love? Well partly yes, I got a B+ on it and a special comment from the teacher who had founded the course in Vancouver, that he had not read a paper so this side of passionate before. He even watched a few of RK's films after my essay. My A in that class and passion for continuing in film studies and journalism is totally due to RK.
  • I bought all of the 10 films he directed and the key films he produced during his peak between the 40's till Mera Naam Joker. There is a definite pattern that is apparent in his work, during the Nargis years he was truly at his creative height. Aawara, Shree 420, Boot Polish, Jagte Raho all of these splendid films are some of my favourites. But every director has some turning point, RK's has to be when Nargis left him and his films suddenly switched from art to all-out entertainment in every spectrum. Lots of critics disparage the period of Sangam, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Mera Naam Joker, Satyam Shivam Sundaram as his lowest point. Their auteur had gone puerile and crass in his need to fund his studio and his bad habits.
  • To this I say KHAMOSHHHH! Yes I really cannot sit through Satyam Shivam Sundaram and Ram Teri Ganga Maili without cringing and getting angry, but their are moments in these disappointing films that are lovely. RK's 'Woman in White' may have her bazookas hanging out but in a day and age where we are so used to everything, RK's idealization of his heroines is a refreshing retread. For every Bobby there is a Mera Naam Joker, which I need to review again because it is such a revealing haunted piece of work that didn't get the credit or it's proper place in the film canon
  • I don't usually get so worked up about many directors but if like RK they have earned my ire and love then I can debate for days what Aawara's true outcome was? Every film RK directed and produced bears his stamp of art and entertainment and that is such a beautiful thing. Yes he may have abandoned some of his arty side for thrills and sex but we wouldn't haven't broken down the censor board if RK hadn't put Zeenat in that see through saree or hinted at such eroticism with Nargis responding to his slaps in Aawara.
So here's to the moustached blobby but gorgeous man who captured my heart at 9 and never gave it back! I would have never discovered properly and beyond this blog that I could write eloquent film essays and follow a film nerd path! Thank you Mr Kapoor!

7 comments:

dustdevil liz said...

Wow, great piece of advocacy for the RK films.I really want to watch more oldies (like Mere Naam Joker), so I'll come back to this list for suggestions.

Rum said...

Dustdevil Liz - thanks so much, I do love RK a ton! Mera Naam Joker is definitely a good one, quite flawed but it's got a lot of masala dil!

Richard S. said...

Hello. So nice to see a good appreciation of Raj Kapoor. His best films were so great! And I agree that the Nargis years were his best of all, though I think that among his heroines, Padmini was the most beautiful. (And the best dancer too, of course.)

Oh, and I do love his socialist messages - what a nice contrast to the vast majority of films made in my home country, the U.S. (I grew up in Bronx NY. But I do have old Russian relatives, somewhere... I wonder if any of them ever got to use the famous Russian Padmini stamp.)

BTW, I would like to hear more about your communist grandfather, who I gather was also a Punjabi(?)... Was he a Balraj Sahni fan? And did he like Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Noor Jehan? :)

maxqnz said...

Yay for an RK advocate! BTW, since you are a such a fan, I'd love to hear your views on Aag (one of my faves) vs Satyam Shivam Sundaram.

Rum said...

Richard S - Thanks so much! My grandfather was Punjabi and he did attempt to be an actor and stayed with a struggling Dharamendra during the early 50's! He did love Balraj Sahni so i definitely remember seeing Garam Hava and Do Bigha Zamin at an early age.

I'd say Padmini was one of his best muses after Nargis, so totally gorgeous and spunky in Mera Naam Joker. I think the 50's films were a response to the lack of promise after Partition and Nehru's economic plans too.

Maxqnz - Got to spread some RK pyar! I did put Aag ans SSS on the Annual Bakwaas list a few years ago only because I was so upset by the messages and maybe a bad mood, but they definitely need a second looking to!

bollywooddeewana said...

I Love your post on YOUR LOVE FOR RK and i do love him too, i love his 80's films too and I seemed to have an obsession with his films in my early days as a bollywood deewana. In fact I make nonsense of all the sexy skin show he was accused of, compared To some of the films i watched growing up (Not Porn lol ) what was shown in Ram teri ganga maili or SSS was really nothing

Anuradha Warrier said...

What a thrill to find another RK fan!! Thank you for alleviating my disappointment in my fellow bloggers who, one and all, seem to detest RK. *grin*

Tip o'the hat to you.

Another fellow RK-fanatic.