February 22, 2010

70's Week! Manoj aur Rum - the affair that started it all!

Emo pain personified: Bharat the face covering hero!
Its 70's week here in the Blogosphere, and I thought I'd shed some light on the man that started my 70's film odyssey: Manoj Kumar. I am the tiny majority that loves things all Bharat, I first happened upon Purab aur Pachhim, when it was my 16th burrday, and my parents gave me a ton of birthday money, and thanks to the lovely aunty dvdwallah I was able to indulge in my 70's paraphernalia. But I was struck by Manoj because he was so cuuute, and had a lovely and sometimes awful puff like Dev Anand did, but more importantly he was earnest in his filmmaking. No man ever came as close to the Bharat - emo man of the country, Manoj made himself into a symbol of a frustrated nation, just like Amitabh's angry man voiced the concerns of the fed up people in the Emergency. So here is why Manoj makes me happy:

Bharat wants you to behave
  • · Manoj rocks because he has a brilliant filming techniques which influenced me a lot when I sent off my own school produced Bollywood movie to the local fim fest. His sweeping cuts, and frenetic shots in Upkar were maybe silly but made effective points. The crazy colours of Purab aur Pachhim reflected a mad generation of the upcoming 70's, especially the glut and madness that was the boat song.
  • The sternest upholder of patriotic values!

  • · Manoj rocks, because he is sooooo HAWT in a blobby, serious-man-next door style, he was always a bit blobby but then I love a bit of flab on my men, like my pyar for Shammi, Shammi wouldn't be himself without his jiggles and wobbles, and rolly cuteness. Just like Manoj wouldn't be Manoj without his tight coordinated t-shirts and bell bottoms and signature fluffy pouffy hair
  • · Manoj rocks, because he founded the Byronic Nationalist man of India, in Roti Kapada etc, no one could have been so broody in that movie and especially the scene where he sings "Main Na Bhulunga" the sad one, that was one sad man! He even outbroods Amitabh in the film, I thought that wasn't possible but his sadness was overflowing.

  • · Manoj is great, because he did only 120ish face covering sadness moves in Upkar when he started out, but right till the end in Clerk he gave a whopping 320 (I'm on Olympic holidays, and I'm bored??) face covering sadness faces moves, it was a delight and I don't know why he needed to pull a hissy fit for Om Shanti Om, i would consider that a lovely compliment!

  • · Manoj is an uber nationalist and patriot in every single movie he directed, which was brilliant at the time of the Emergency of Indira Gandhi's reign and the many wars fought with Pakistan, he appealed to the masses as a sort of common man who has all of India's injustices to fight and boy he fights 'em. It would seem that subjects that he chooses are bleak and hopeless. But Manoj lifts the tempo up with a bunch of masala ingredients sadness redemption and happy resolution. Thats why I don't mind that he symbolized India and all the massive obstacles they face.

  • · Manoj tends to be fascist leaning, especially in the god-awful sinfully released by him Clerk. In all his movies there was an obvious overflow of patriotism that were in the dialogues and everywhere but with his patriotism highlighted a few times, Manoj usually gets back to the story but in this shit picture it was an abslolute fascist backwass. It was soooooooo right wing that i got so upset watching that I threw it over my balcony. Patriotism is fine, Manoj rocks because he makes mistakes like this abomination!

  • · Manoj has excellent dialogue delivery, as I mentioned in my English dialogues post, he has wonderfully cute delivery that is very sparse in pauses, but its that deep soulful voice that made me awwwwwww. Though he sometimes sounds mumbly its just the Manoj way!

  • · He makes excellent jodis with Shashi = Manashi? Shatrugan = Shatroj, Amitabh = Manotabh, Prem Chopra = Manoprem, and Dilip Kumar = Manolip?

  • · He loves Dilip Kumar like a fanboy likes Star Wars, he got soo giddy when filming his fight scene with Dilip in Kranti that he wouldn't come out of his dressing room as he didn't want to hurt Dilip awwwwwww

  • · He always has an excellent supporting cast of Asit Sen as the comical relief, Prem Nath as the religious stereotype that always smokes(chi chi chi!!) Kamini Kaushal as his sabse pyari maa, Madan Puri as lecherous bad guy/nice father/black marketer, Aruna Irani as vamp that is very unfortunate, Prem Chopra as bad brother/rapist/general Bad man!

  • · Manoj loves to show sex, his very frenetic and shocking rape scene in Roti etc was a bit of an omigosh but he pushed the boundaries, and showed a proper cut shot of sex with Manmohan with an English girl in Purab, a rape scene in Kranti, and a shameful one in Clerk!

  • · Manoj never thinks he gets old as he played a college kid in Clerk in 1980 something which means he was 55 to play that, and he though he could play an 19 year revolutionary in Kranti as mentioned in the lines "I'm a 19 year old man, and I can get these whites out, irrespective of my YOUNG age!"

  • · Lastly he rocks, because he can do everything direction, editing,lyrics (horrendous in Clerk) writing, producing and singing! VAAAH VAAH VAAH!

So here is my first outpouring of pyar for a 70's icon, that just made my day when I discovered him! Hope you like it and share some of Bharat/Manoj experiences!

February 16, 2010

Mr Filmi Right - The Good, The Sweetest, and The Funkadelic

Again its time for the annual belated Valentines Day post, I hate that day! Maybe I'm turning into a bitter old Bette Davis and spewing acid on nice commercialized holidays and the Olympics that are taking place in city! This is another shameless copy of Bollyviewer's wonderful list of Mr Rights, my list is a list of Mr Rights who I just adore no matter if their actions are quite silly or if they're overly romantic, I just love them all the same! There's some terrible cheating as some Mr Rights are persona's of many films, but alas they're cute too! In no order at all as I hate those kinds of lists where you have to choose your favorite as number 1, there's toooooo many to choose from! 1. Naren Singh - 1942 A Love Story
Y'all knew some Anil would be here! I think because I was indoctrinated into Bollywood due to this film, I have moustache pyar! I don't know what it is about facial hair, but I just like it, and Anil was the key perpetrator of this! But silly digression as usual, Naren is one of my favorite filmi Mr Right's because he's passionate in a way Anil could only exude such as climbing on his gal Manisha Koirala's balcony to simply ask if she'll be at their hotspot the library tomorrow! And he's perfect because he's a rich boy and though he's born into privelege he would gladly dump all that as the subtitle above says, because he loves RAJJJO! When i was a kid and perhaps still now I wished my name was Rajjo instead Rumnique, because my name has the typical "OMG RUM, alcohol name thats so cool!" Alas Naren is my ingrained filmi Mr Right because of his sheer sweetness and passionate self!2. Aditya Kashyap - Jab We Met
I loved Shahid in this film, behind the glasses we forgot his dancey happy persona and fully embraced this depressed guy, who was livened up by Geet! I loved how his character had a growth period that we actually saw, unlike a quick montage and he's all better kinda thing. When he realizes his gradual love for Geet and goes to find her, I was so with him, and when he tried liven up Geet it really seemed like such a sweet gesture. And that snog at the end, felt so unforced and cute 3. Vanraj - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
How could I forget the nicest hero ever! Vanraj was a completely selfless guy who had the unfortunance(my silly word) to marry Aishwariya in this film, he agrees to reunite his biwi with her silly lover Salman and doesn't make it too obvious that he minds that he'll be going home without his love! Ajay was at his sweetest in this role, I just really loved the simple scene where he gets on the bus without his wife, and when he comes back he acts like nothing happened, I don't know what it is about that scene but it just sums up the overall love! I loved this epic sweeping movie just for Vanraj, he was miles better than the annoying Salman, who was in his 90's phase of dropping his shirt every 2 seconds, it just got tiresome after a while. And i was relieved to see that Ajay acted with subtleties and that he was all covered up! What a sweet selfless Mr Filmi Right!

4. Dr Nice Guy - Bandini
I couldn't remember Dharam's name in this lovely movie. I think a perfect Mr Filmi Right has to be progressive and he does just that in Bandini. He's smitten with Kalyani(Nutan) who helps him out with a contagious patient at their prison hospital. Despite Kalyani's hesitation to love him, he sees through her self-punishment and allows her to live again. He even tells his maa about his love for a prisoner and she unlike a usual filmi maa doesn't scream a NAHIEEE. Dharam is an absolute sweetheart here, as he gets Kalyani to slowly come out of her shell, and this another lovely progressive role like the nice guy in Anupama.
5. Sam - An Evening In Paris
As you all know I love the Kapoor whichever one it is, but there's a real soft spot in my filmi dil for a persistent charmer like Shammi Kapoor! I first happened upon Shammi when i was around 10 watching Junglee on Zeetv in London. At first I was like, why is he hassling her all the time, UGGHHH enough with Yahoo! But I moved on and appreciated what a change in hero-ness Shammi was, you never really saw a filmi man charm his gal by following her and dancing funkily in a park for her, they were either wooing with words or nice songs in fields. Shammi in An Evening in Paris is just wonderful, who wouldn't love a man nuzzling you near the Eiffel Tower or hanging from a bloody helicopter for you! Talk about outlandish and charming love, I'm a sucker for Shammi's wooing in foreign places!
6. Sid - Wake Up Sid
I know this seems like a crazy choice, but Sid is totally a filmi Mr Right! He's just adorable and he's another Mr Right who's growth pattern gets shown in a film, and thats what endears me to him. He cooks an egg for you, he learns to clean up after you shout at him, he changes your perception of him, the list goes on. Sure he's the irresponsible type in the beginning but you can really see why Koko would fall for his nice charm, plus there's no fuss about age with him. He doesn't flinch or go Nahiee when he falls for Aisha, he relys on her, he supports her, I'm sorry this another one of those "Rum fawns over Wake Up Sid" for the hundreth millionth time ever! But i guess the reason why I love Sid as a Mr Right is because he is the most relatable and realistic portrayal of a guy that we've all got or met in our lives.
(Couldn't resist a shot of Shatru and a plant LOL!)
7. Swaggering Bad Shotgun - Blackmail
Blackmail is a loved classic in the blogosphere, and rightly so because the general Dil SQUEEE it gives anyone with the sheer romance and lovely scenes. But I'm a gal who loves a bad boy and there are many delicious men who deserve their own Bad Man lists but I'll definitely do that another day, but the baddest Mr Filmi Right is Shatrugan in Blackmail. He is soo badass in this film, manipulating his best bud Dharam to get the magic solar power. I love that Shotgun is a man with an environmental cause, he needs to screw over his friend for money as well as saving the earth (as if, I wish he were that noble) but he's just badass with his general funkadelic shirts and that booming voice that often reminds me of Richard Burton's growly voice. Shatru was not a nice character here, but you could tell in some spots that he felt something Raakhee but the cause of solar power pulled him away. Swaggered his way into my dil!
8. The Raj/Rahul persona - Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge/Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Obviously being brought on the Yash Raj pyar which brought on my BollyHollymusicalitis I just haven't found a Mr Filmi Right who matches up to the gargantuan standards that the Raj/Rahul persona has created in the Yash Raj infested mind of mine! But thankfully my BollyHollymusicalitis has lessened and I'm thankfully not a Mahi from Bachna Ae Haseeno to look for a Raj/Rahul in anyone! A long ramble later, SRK embodies an ideal type of man who is both funny and sombre, I cant forget the time I watched DDLJ in Stanley Park in a shoddy tent with a real butt ache from sitting on grass, but hell I watched it for Raj/Rahul! Raj in DDLJ is the epitome of love in a NRI generation, he'll realize he's in love with Simran and vow "Simran mein aa raha hoon/Simran I'm coming" which would set anyone's dil going SQUISH! Raj is the nice type who'd want your demon eyes dad's approval rather than run off with you, because ya know he's just the traditional hindustani at heart! Onto the Rahul persona that is such a MR Right, he raises a terribley annoying daughter, he'd even go half the way across the country to rescue his kid from a cold, (My maa snorted at that part, 'what kinda father is he? A bloody cold?!') and end up falling in love again! Rahul is funny and sweet to his friend Anjali, and funny and charming to Rani too. He's just lovely and he'd make an ideal Mr Right!

9. Raju - Aawara/Shree 420
With the ammount of Tweeting about my Raj Kapoor essay, there had to be a spot for Raju. I may be the minority of people who adore Raj Kapoor, no matter what an asshole he may have been in real life, I just respect his films so much and the Raju persona ! But to Raju, in Aawara he may have been a real junglee acting out his class frustration by turning to crime, but he's my Mr Filmi Right, because he is given a chance to be good by his gal Rita, and when he's in love, he's just soo passionate! That famous slap and junglee scene in the film is just raw and hot, never had anger and fiery love been so shocking and so sexy, especially the erotic song that entails after. Raju is a junglee that wants a chance to love and belong, and lashes out at society at his misplaced identity. There's nothing hotter than an emo bad man. In Shree 420, Raju is the cutest Mr Filmi Right, because RK just lays on his infinite charm, channeling his idol Chaplin but not too the point of being annoying, he woos Nargis in the most cute and comedic fashion. But of course he's my Mr Filmi Right, because he gave Bollywood its own Gene Kelly rain song in Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua! Sure Raju was led astray by the bad Nadira, but this hero redeems himself by being noble and cute at the end.
10. Bharat emo man of the country - Purab Aur Pachhim
I reviewed Purab Aur Pachhim in the beginning of my blogging life, it was one of the formative films of my teenagedom when I discovered the beauty of old Bollywood films, and the much needed masala added to my diet as a filmgoer. There was something about Manoj Kumar that was just Mr Right material. You say "well of course he's Bharat" but beyond being a preachy hero in his directed films, Bharat was never too preachy in PAP as he began to in later films. Bharat goes to London and gets a huuuge culture shock but he gets used it, and his staunchly Indian views were a reminder of a land that Saira Banu's family left behind. Bharat is a good guy who educates his gal and her brother in the Indian way, but he doesn't force it down their throats as they make up their own minds on their cultural identity. Bharat is a Mr Right because he's cute and educational without being annoying!
There's the list, some are crazy choices but I love these filmi men and there's something perfect in them that makes them a Mr Right for me. I definitely need to do a lovable rebels and Bad man list in the future, because there are so many perfect Mr Wrongs! Who are some of your Mr Filmi Rights or even your Filmi Mr Wrongs?

February 3, 2010

Filmi-ish Essay - Devdas a useless lafunga or heartbroken lover?

Bechaara Devdas, the self destructive anti-hero

I know I have been a really annoying twitter person whenever I have an essay due, but its because of my laziness that i put everything off to the last minute! I hope the teacher likes this because I like it and I hope you enjoy it too. This essay is more about the novel Devdas than the movies but it goes in depth and wonders why Devdas is a inactive lazy bum! Sorry i have to say I love how i used the word ISHHH in the title after that silly sound Aishwariya makes in the rubbish 2002 version of the film! Hope you like it!

Devdas: A Byronic Bollywood Hero

“Devdas” by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay is one of the classics of Indian literature, subject to many film adaptations in Indian cinema, including a recent psychedelic version of the story. Devdas deserves to be placed in the Norton Anthology alongside other great writers, due to its tragic eponymous hero and the insights into Bengali life.

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay was one of the leading literary deities of Bengal, he published several books earlier Nishkriti, Charitraheen, Parineeta, and Srikanta, but his most famous novel is Devdas. Sarat Chandra was born on September 15th, 1876 in Devanandapur, a village in West Bengal. He spent his childhood in poverty and was constantly shifting from town to town in Bengal, and received little formal education. In his adulthood, he moved to Burma in 1903, and it was here that Sarat Chandra started sending his novels and short stories to Calcutta journals. The reigning author during this time was Rabindranath Tagore, who had a rumoured rivalry with Sarat Chandra, whose novels were much more understandable and realistic for the reading masses of Bengal. It would be fitting to include Sarat Chandra to the canon of literature due to his indelible mark on Indian literature with his unforgettable character Devdas.

His crowning achievement Devdas was written in 1901, and later published after some revisions in 1917, which included the more tragic ending to the novel. The novel tells the tragic love story of Devdas and Paro, childhood sweethearts torn apart when Devdas leaves for school in Calcutta, and when he returns Paro proposes they get married. Devdas, unable to stand up to his parents, rejects her, and Paro is married off to a wealthy widower. Devdas, heartbroken after another rejection from Paro, returns to Calcutta and along with his friend Chunilal he seeks solace in alcohol and a courtesan Chandramukhi who falls for him. Devdas continues on his self-destructive path until on his deathbed, when he travels to Paro’s home only to die alone at her doorstep.

This tragic tale has stayed in the minds of readers because of its seminal hero that can immediately be identified in the subsequent films and novels featuring a self-destructive hero. Devdas is not a typical romantic hero, because he is unable to proclaim his love for Paro despite loving her dearly. In one scene in the novel, Paro boldly goes to Devdas in the night to propose their marriage, but Devdas is preoccupied with protecting her honour rather than facing up to the real reason she came to him, and answers with:

“You must know that my parents are dead against this?
Parvati nodded – she knew.
She didn’t say a word more. After what seemed like an eternity, Devdas heaved a sigh
and said, “So then, why?” (Pg36)

This exchange highlights Devdas’ anti-hero like status, as he is unable to accept his love and rejects Paro, because of parental opposition. Even through earlier passages in the novel, we can tell Devdas loves Paro, but he cannot upset societal norms of marrying from another caste. After this scene, Devdas is chastised by his parents and he escapes to Calcutta, where he writes a letter of rejection to Paro claiming, “Another thing: I had never felt that I loved you tremendously – even today. I cannot feel any deep well of sorrow in my heart for you … Try to forget me, I pray that you succeed,” (Pg39). This rash action by Devdas reveals his indecisive nature as soon as he posts the letter he realizes he is actually in love with Paro. He then feels guilty for sending the letter, and muses, “How would this arrow he had dispatched go and hit her?”(Pg40), he later realizes his folly of upholding the narrow-minded views of the caste system, which an educated man like Devdas can see is wrong.

Devdas is a tragic character worth studying in literature because he is so inactive and indecisive in his love story, which sets forth his downward spiral. The reason he is indecisive is that the love of Paro and Chandramukhi is what drives the narrative, the situations when they confront Devdas is what develops him as a character. Devdas turns to drink when Paro rejects his proposal that they elope before her wedding, in anger he strikes her brow, “For shame Paro, I have merely left a mark for you to remember our last meeting,”(Pg46), this moment solidifies their relationship as the blood resembles the sindoor in the hair parting of a married Hindu woman. With this rejection, Devdas is dejected and he willingly goes to the courtesan harem and drinks his sorrows away. Devdas begins to hate women and spurns Chandramukhi, who finds him charming; “There isn’t a woman on earth who wouldn’t deny herself this heaven,” (Pg92) she muses of his company. Later Devdas begins to care for Chandramukhi but he cannot love her as he is still in love with Paro. He acknowledges his indecisiveness when he visits Chandramukhi, who has settled down and given up her sinful life, saying, “Perhaps Bou, you will suffer like Paro because of me,”(Pg116), the use of Bou, which means wife, highlights it is Chandramukhi who Devdas provides money and pleasure as a husband would. Devdas is one of the most complex characters of Indian literature, because the choices he makes are detrimental for all involved in the love triangle, as he pines for Paro whom he rejected, and Chandramukhi whom he also grows to like is denied by him because her low status. Devdas’ self-destructive tendencies occur because he feels like a victim of the situations that he has created for himself. Sarat Chandra does not describe characters but puts them in difficult situations to which the reader has to infer into the character, as Devdas has become an identifiable figure in the many movie adaptations or of characters that pine for unfulfilled love. Devdas is a novel to be studied in a literature class because of the strong women that shape his character.

Devdas is an important novel to be included in a Norton Anthology book, because of the social conventions of Indian life affect the narrative. Devdas belongs to zamindari/landlord family and Paro’s family live and work on their land. When Paro’s grandmother broaches the subject of Paro and Devdas’ marriage to his mother, she rejects this notion, “The Chakravaty’s was a trading household. And they lived next door. Oh shame!”(Pg24) the class differences are ironically the aspect, which separates the two lovers as opposed to caste differences as both families are Brahmins. Sarat Chandra uses the differences to aid in separating the lovers, as Devdas is unable to face opposition from his parents and rejects Paro.
Class differences also tear apart the burgeoning relationship between Chandramukhi and Devdas, as she is a fallen woman who Devdas cannot possibly break social norms to live with. Chandramukhi nurses Devdas back to health, when she spots him during a drinking binge; once Devdas is healed, she asks to be his nurse, but he will not allow his name to be disrespected as Chandramukhi realizes, “She could help Devdas regain his health, she could give him pleasure, but she could never give him respectability,” (Pg116). The novel set in colonialist India, makes no mention of British rule other than the Devdas who is dressed smartly and smokes a pipe when he returns from Calcutta after his studies.

Sarat Chandra used his novels to highlight social problems of Bengali life, and in “Devdas,” he makes light of the issue of dowry. Paro, who is of age to be married at 13, and born into a poorer household, her father, rejects the social practise, “But Nilkantha-babu abhorred this practise. He had no intention of selling Parvati and making money on the transaction,” (Pg23) Sarat Chandra here reveals that daughters should not be sold as if making a business deal for marriage. Devdas is one of the only novels where Sarat Chandra does not make an explicit social point to educate his readers, as he leaves the novel as an open text where readers may form their own opinions on the predicament of the eponymous hero.

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s “Devdas” would be a suitable addition to a literature book like the Norton Anthology, because he created the classic self-destructive hero for Indian cinema and, the original source would be a good companion to the films. Devdas is a thoughtful novel that allows readers to make their own judgement of the hero, and gain insights into Bengali culture during the 1900’s.

Let me know your thoughts about Devdas and his annoyingness!