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Kati Patang is a 1970 Indian Hindi movie produced and directed by Shakti Samanta. It became a huge box office success , which was well deserved.The film was well made and had a slick storyline with some excellent performances by the lead cast.
Shakti Samantha the maker of the film had earlier directed the blockbuster starring Aradhana which starred a rank new comer Rajesh Khanna who became a super star after the success of the film.
2 years later Shakti Samantha recreated the success story again with Kati Patang, this time with some changes.The leading lady was Asha Parekh and the music Composer was Rahul Dev Burman instead of Sachin Dev Burman, but his leading man remained the same - Rajesh Khanna.
The story of Kati Patang
Kati Patang means a torn Kite in Hindi. Kati Patang, is a poignant story of a woman whose life is like a kite whose string is cut off from the base and she is left mid way dangling without an anchor.
Madhavi (Asha Parekh) is an orphan living with her maternal uncle, who arranges her marriage with someone she does not know, rebelling against this and after receiving an emotional letter from her lover Kailash ( Prem Chopra )she runs away to meet him, only to discover that he is an untrustworthy person, cheating on her with another woman Shabnam ( Bindu).
Dejected she returns home to find her uncle dead and finds out that the wedding has been cancelled . She leaves home and without knowing what to do goes to the railway station where she meets her childhood friend Poonam, who is a widow , going to her in-laws at Nainital with her son. Poonam not having met her in laws is visiting them for the first time. On the compulsion of Punam, Madhavi agrees to accompany them to Nainital.
On the way the train meets with an accident, and Poonam is fatally wounded. Before she dies, she requests Madhavi to travel to Nainital with the child and present herself as Poonam to the parents of her late husband, who have not met her so far. Madhavi reluctantly agrees but decides to hand over the child and find her own way , so starts for Nainital and meets Kamal Sinha ( Rajesh Khanna ), who she comes to know was the person she was supposed to have married and that he was broken hearted after he was told that the girl he intended to marry had run away. The real story begins now ....
There were many twists and turns in this story, but the manner in which Shakti Samantha has handled the plot is incredible. The story was written by Shakti Samanta's , whose films are bold and normally give out a message.
Most of his films had female characters trapped in undesirable circumstances , trying to battle their way out of their problems. Here he questions the role of society in destroying an individual's life by being rigid and one sided. Why should an individual's life be ruled by what a society or its members think about him/her ? This message is played out through the character of Kamal played by Rajesh Khanna , by showing him to be a fair and broad minded person with a firm will of his own. Without knowing the fact that Madhavi is the girl who he was supposed to wed, he offers to marry her after he gets to know her well inspite of the fact that she is now pretending to be a widow and a mother .
Rajesh Khanna has given a great performance in the film and creates magic with his songs which incidentally was the highlight of the film..more about that later..
Asha Parekh, known for her light naughty romantic roles in Nasir Hussain films, performs exceptionally well and shows restraint in the emotional scenes .Kati Patang has one of her best performances which fetched her a Filmfare award for Best Actress for that year. She is dressed in simple deglamorised clothes,mostly in white sarees, but manages to look pretty sharing a great chemistry with Rajesh Khanna on screen.The slow blooming of their romance is beautifully shown through a couple of well picturised songs amidst the stunning locations of Nainital and other surrounding areas near the Himalayas...
The Music of this film, as I mentioned earlier was hugely responsible for the super success of this film.R.D Burman , the composer was at his peak and he gave out his best for this film. R.D.Burman and Kishore Kumar combination was pure magic and the audience went mad when the song sequences came on the screen , of course Rajesh Khanna had a major part too where the audience reaction was concerned since he was the king or Badshah of Hindi cinema those days.....I have watched the film in a theater and know the impact the songs created . My own favorite being " Yeh jo muhobbat hai' , 'Yeh sham mastani' and a solo by Mukesh "Jis ghali mein tera ghar '....Lata too had a great number to her credit " Na koyi umang hai ' picturised on Asha Parekh.
Kati Patang was probably one of the best films of the seventies and won many filmfare awards including one for music and direction and of course for best actress.
I would give it a 4 star and recommend it as a great watch any time..
Agatha Christie began writing at the end of the First World War when she first created Hercule poirot the little Belgian detective who is probably one of the most famous sleuths in the history of crime fiction. The ABC Murders is another one of Hercule Poirot 's successful cases solved with and in the company of his beloved friend Captain Arthur Hastings..
The story of The ABC Murders
The narrative is a combination of first person account from Captain Hastings point of view and it also has third person narrative ..
In 1935 Hastings visited his London home from his Ranch at South America for a period of six months since he had various affairs to take care of in London where he meets his old friend Poirot . Poirot has just received an anonymous letter that teases, taunts ( " Let us see, Mr. Clever Poirot, just how clever you can be." ) and at the same time challenges him to crack a mystery , asking him to look out for Andover on the 21st of the month. Poirot says that there was something about the letter that he did not like .And on the 21st an old woman of the name Alice Ascher who kept a small tobacco and newspaper shop is found murdered . And besides her body lay a copy of the ABC Railway guide which was open at the relevant page...
Follows another letter giving another place Bexhill this time for B and a date. And on that day Betty Barnard a young girl is found strangled and the ABC Railway guide was found open next to the body at the relevant page... And then it is C - and this time Sir Carmichael is clubbed and killed at Churston while taking an evening walk around his country house , with of course the ABC railway gude lying next to him...Then comes the fourth - the 'D' murder in Doncaster which goes awry - the wrong person gets murdered . This seems either a mistake on the murderers part or was there another reason behind it?
After Inspector Japp begins his investigations , unexpectedly a stocking salesman called Alexander Bonaparte Cust walks into the police station and surrenders himself taking the blame for all the murders. But Hercule Poirot was not satisfied with this turn of events ans he was determined to get to the bottom of the whole affair and find the real killer who had manipulated Alexander Bonaparte and also himself ..
My views on this book
The story is very interesting but I would not call this one of her best written fictions. The whole theme seems a bit immature . But , going by the various reports I have read on the net and elsewhere , The ABC murders was a huge success when it was first published and was chosen by the crime club as the book of the month.
It is considered by some as one of her best crime thrillers.
Like they say when Agatha Christie is good she is very very good and when she is bad she is still o;k and I would say that this book comes somewhere in between. It is not fair to call this book just O;K, it is certainly better than that. It has an unusual story line and narrative which makes it different . The story is about a serial killer who is ruthless and kills with a purpose .
The best part about the book is the interactions between Hastings and Hercule Poirot . Poor Hastings is perpetually at the receiving end with Poirot speaking enigmatically about the case and advising him to use ' the grey cells' which makes Captain Hastings frustrated and exasperated most of the time .
The pages dealing on the investigations made by Inspector Japp who is a regular in most Hercule Poirot mysteries and the parallel investigation led by Poirot and Hastings is no doubt very interesting and absorbing. But the climax was not what I hoped it would be, a bit of a let down. This is yet another one of her psychological thrillers where she probes into the mind of the killer . There are lots of plot twists as Poirot uses his grey cells to solve th complicated mystery. I love Hercule Poirot mysteries and one could easily get addicted to Poirot and Agatha Christie.
There are a few negative points , mainly the characters , none of them stand out except probably the unsure and exasperating Alexander Bonaparte who you feel like shaking hard ..
I would definitely recommend this book for all the fans of Agatha Christie and others too . If you are in the mood to read a good mystery this is it !...In my opinion Agatha Christie's novels can never disappoint you ..
This film was released in 2008 . This is one of those post 9/11 espionage films that Hollywood has made after the attack . This is easily one of the better made films with realistic acting by the entire cast...
The film has been criticised as being a well-intentioned, well-produced, yet generally unmemorable entertainment which is not fair in my opinion.It has its moments ..It is produced and directed by Ridley Scott known for his stylish visuals and an obsession for detail. His earlier films include Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Matchstick Men...
== The story ==
The film story is based on Washington Post columnist David Ignatius's 2007 novel by the same name .
Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) a CIA officer working in Iraq while tracking down a lead uncovers some evidence on a major terrorist leader Al Saleem suspected to be operating out of Jordan , planning more terror strikes. Ferris is working under and is being instructed by his superior Ed Hoffman ( Russel Crowe) from Langley. Ferris is being closely watched by Ed on the camera as he goes through his mission .
Ferris and Ed devise a plan to infiltrate the terrorist network with some help from Hani Salaam , head of Jordanian intelligence. Although ostensibly his allies, Ferris questions how far he can really trust these men, who are supposed to be helping him , without putting his entire operation , and his life - on the line...
== My views about the film ==
The story is intricate and interesting set in the turbulent Middle East . It is a taut thriller weaving a story of espionage, betrayal and violence . The story begins in Iraq, which is being closely watched by the CIA . The action takes you through terror links in Amman in Jordan, Turkey, Dara in Syria and Washington.
Leonardo De Capiro is excellent in his role as Roger Ferris being controlled by Ed from his home in Langley, and fighting his own battles being hunted by the terror groups. Russel Crowe has an understated role of that of a bureaucrat who is only interested in furthering his career art the expense of his subordinates . He has done a convincing job as the amoral and ambitious Officer pulling strings and manipulating . The best performance comes from Mark strong, who with his distinguished looks stands out in his role as the cunning , suave Hani Salaam the Jordanian who wields power and is constantly at loggerheads with Ferris.
It is scary to think of the intricate network that the Islamic terrorists have built . It spreads through the middle eastern countries , covering almost the entire region and other parts of Asia, and, spreading its tentacles to the Western countries as well. Human life has little or no value to the terrorists who kill and destroy not only the innocents but also their own people at the slightest provocation and suspicion.
This is of course the view point of the Western world and I am sure that the Islamic world has a different story to tell regarding terror and terrorism in their region. In my personal opinion, unless there is public support and sympathy for their cause , no organization is able to survive , succeed and grow. Most terrorist outfits get support from their own people who for reasons known to themselves support these organizations and fund them . We see it happening all round us. I get to read about it every day in local Newspapers here in India as to how the locals helped a terrorist carry out a terror attack. Of course we get to know these details after the deed is done and precious lives have been lost.
Coming to the film, it is an action packed film with non stop action from start to finish. I would say that it is a brutal film with some scary torture scenes , it almost looks real ! . The photography is stark and realistic like the mood of this very well made film. It is a violent film that has an intricate, plot that compels you to watch ...
I give it a 4 star and recommend it wholeheartedly as an excellent action packed thriller..
I love sweets, pastries and desserts. There is a mind-boggling variety of sweets and confections prepared all over the world, and they all have their own unique taste and identity. Here I am sharing some of the most popular and well known Indian sweets/desserts.
At the top of the list would be Kheer, which is a traditional dish that is served at almost all formal functions like weddings, festivals and other gatherings..
Kheer is tradionally made with Milk and Rice. But there are many different varieties of Kheer made even with vegetables . Here I am sharing the traditional recipe for making Kheer
The recipe for making Kheer
Cooked rice 1 cup
Milk 1 liter
Sugar to taste
Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
A few strands of saffron
Some raisins and mixed nuts finely chopped and roasted in butter or ghee
Method of Preparation:-
Heat milk and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and add the rice, stirring all the time. Once the rice gets absorbed into the milk, add sugar and keep the mixture on low flame, stirring all the time. this may take 20-25 mins . Let the mixture thicken and become creamy and well-blended. Add the cardamom powder and the saffron, mix well, and take off the stove. After the Kheer has come to the room temparature, add the sauteed raisins and nuts. Kheer can be served warm or chilled.
Another popular and much-loved Indian sweet is Gajar Halwa or Carrot Halwa, a dessert made with carrots, milk and ghee
Here is the Recipe for Gajar ka Halwa
1 cup coarsely grated carrots
3/4 cup of sugar ( or according to taste )
One cup of milk
3 tablespoons ghee or butter
Cardomom powder for flavoring
Raisins and Almonds, Cashews and Pistachios, finely chopped
Method of preparation:-
In a frying pan, heat the ghee or the butter and add the grated carrots and fry for a while .Once the raw smell vanishes, add the milk and the sugar and let it cook on slow fire, continuously stirring the mixture so that it does not stick to the bottom. It may take about 30-35 minutes to cook and reach the right consistency.The mixture by then looks dark reddish brown in color. Add the cardamom powder and the nuts and mix well and serve either hot or at room temparature. It can be served chilled as well.
India is famous for its Mangoes. Summer is the Mango season, and the markets are flooded with every variety of Mango. There are many sweet dishes made with mangoes. In fact there are even sweet and spicy curries made with ripe mangoes and half-ripe ones!
Here I am sharing a simple and easy-to-prepare dessert made with Mangoes.
Recipe for Mango Delight
3-4 Mangoes - remove the skin , seed and cut into pieces
2 cups of plain Yogurt
Sugar to taste
Method of preparation:-
Finely chop some of the mango pieces and keep aside. Add the rest of the mangoes and the yogurt into a mixer jar along with the sugar and blend until creamy.
Transfer the mango mixture to a bowl and mix in the finely chopped mangoes. Chill and serve. This is an ideal light dessert, suitable to be served after a heavy meal like Biriyani or during hot summer days when there are plenty of mangoes around..
Frederick Forsythe is the author of several bestselling novels including "The Day of the Jackal", "The Odessa File ", The Dogs of War, "The Devil's Alternative" and "The Fourth Protocol". He has a unique style of writing where he keeps the readers totally glued to the book with his edge-of-the seat suspense and a brilliant narrative full of suspense, unexpected twists and intrigue...
I have read most of the fictions written by Frederick Forsythe and in my personal opinion he is one of the best writers in that category of political thrillers ...
No comebacks is a collection of short stories written by Frederick Forsythe . I feel that it is more difficult to write short stories especially the suspenseful and intriguing ones that Forsythe writes. One has to have a firm grip on the story line being able to effectively finish it within a certain number of pages without compromising on the quality of the content.
I have never been too keen on reading short stories and perhaps that's why the book had been lying with me for a long time before I started reading it last week and I am glad I did.
I definitely liked what I read and here I am now writing and sharing my views about the book and the stories.
There are 10 short stories in the book .I am giving a brief synopsis of all of them...Just a couple of sentences each, thats all !
== No Comebacks ==
I am sure this was the authors favorite story and that's why he named the book after this...
Mark Sanderson a super rich playboy finally meets the woman of his dreams Mrs Angela Summers .The only hitch was that she was married and could never think of divorcing her husband. So Mark decides to get rid of her husband by hiring a paid killer without her knowledge ....
The story has a very interesting ending, quite unexpected..
== There are no snakes in Ireland ==
Harikishan Ram lal, a poor Indian medical student studying at Royal Victoria looking for work during summer vacation to earn some extra money so that he could finish his studies and return to his home town in Punjab to start a clinic there to serve the poor and needy.
He takes up work with a demolition firm and is constantly harrassed by the foreman Big Billie Cameron. It gets to a point where Harikishen decides to take revenge on the foreman in his own way...
I liked this story a lot because it was different ...
== The Emperor ==
Mr and Mrs Murgatroyd are on a weeks holiday at Mauritius entirely paid by the bank worked for . Unfortunately , things seemed more or less the same with his wife Edna grumbling about every little thing and being annoying . But the holiday proves to be a turning point in both their lives..
I must confess that I did not like this story much because it is too detailed and boring in parts. this is probably the longest story in the book.
== There Are Some Days ==
Liam Clarke a driver working for Tara transportation company located in Dublin is bringing back deficient fertilizer back to the office in one of their trucks that had just come off St Kilian.Liam is tired and looking forward to being with his family for supper .But there are some days when every thing starts going wrong..
This was a short and nice story, not brilliant but interesting and humorous..
== Money with menace ==
Samuel Nutkin ,with an army background, now a respectable friendly harmless banker looking for some excitement and release from his boring routine gets more than what he had bargained for...
This , again is a short and nice story .Like the previous one not brilliant but quite interesting and humorous.
== Used in evidence ==
Big Billy Hanley had been a Police man for twenty seven years and liked his job. He had been assigned the job of evicting an old man from his little home right next to a car park.In spite of many notices being sent and the demolition squad warning him to leave the house , the silent old man stubbornly stayed on in the little house. As the process of demolition begins under the guidance of Billy Hanley out come some well hidden secrets.
Good story ! interesting and quite suspenseful. I liked this story too...
== Privilege ==
This is another one of my favorites. It is about libel and how it can ruin a person , in spite of being innocent.Henry Chadwick is the man at the receiving end from ' The Sunday Courier ' .
Good story ! I like stories connected with law and legal system.It makes for interesting reading like this one.
== Duty ==
This is supposed to be a story told by an Irish friend to the author and the friend swore that it was absolutely true...
An English couple are driving through the lovely French countryside when their car breaks down. They are forced to spend a couple of days in a country house in the village .The house seemed comfortable but it had a strange atmosphere.
This was not a very impressive narrative and not one of my favorites..
== A careful Man ==
Timothy Hanson had just been told by his Physcian friend that he had only six months to live. Hanson is extremely wealthy and has no family of his own except a greedy sister with an even greedier family who would inherit all his wealth.Being a very careful man he begins to make careful preparations for his death .
This in my opinion was The best among the collection of stories from this book. It is a very well thought out interesting subject ..
== Sharp practice ==
Judge Comyn, proud of his theory that a good legal mind with his trained observation , practiced powers of deduction and keen memory could always play a good game of cards. He is travelling first class from Kingsbridge station to County Kerry in Ireland. He has two passengers travelling with him. A small wispy man with a pair of sad eyes and a priest. To kill time ,they begin to play poker ....
This too is one of the best stories in this collection.Very interesting and very humorous ...
Except for one or two mediocre ones the collection of stories is really worth reading.I would read it again after sometime ..
Parineeta (which means a married woman in Bengali) is a love story written in 1914 by Sharath Chandra Chattopadhyaya or Chatterji. The story set in old Bengal , in Calcutta to be precise , is about an affluent family and the consequences of a so called love affair ...It was a bold story for that time when India was too set in its class and caste issues .It was very difficult or rather impossible to cross over from those boundaries , and when it happened it led to chaos .The author Sharath Chandra was a social thinker and this novel came as a protest against the caste and class system that was prevalent at that time...
Earlier in the 1950's a film was made based on this story which had great actors like Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari playing the lead roles.it was a superlative film and was true to the story written by the author .
In the later years in 2003 or 2004 another film was made based on the same story which was good in parts, but the story had been changed to suit the modern taste of the audience so the end result was at best a hotchpotch...
== The story of Parineeta ==
Lolita or Lalita is a poor orphaned girl of 15 ,being looked after by her uncle Gurucharan who lives in a rambling old house inherited from his ancestors.
Gurucharan is an impoverished man ,having married off 5 daughters , now ailing and without any steady income .He takes substantial loans at different times from his affluent neighbor Nabin Roy, a successful and aggressive land lord who is only interested in making more money and hoping to take over Gurucharn's ancestoral house at some stage , since it is already mortgaged to him. His son Shekar, westernised , well dressed and a highly educated lawyer ,is very friendly with Lolita .They are attracted to each other and Lolita is in love with him. She is careful not to reveal her feelings to him, whereas he treats her like a child .Circumstances bring them closer and on one of those fateful moonlit nights Shekar puts a flower garland that Lolita had made for the diety, around her neck and kisses her on her lips playfully. He forgets all about it and moves on . But For Lolita it is a commitment as sacred as a marriage. According to Hindu traditions , exchanging flower garlands and any kind of physical interaction or intimacy signify commitment for life , and more so for Lolita.She believes that she is married to Shekar and that it is her duty to wait for him endlessly if it comes to that...
Lolitas family has a visitor Girish, a student and son of their affluent family friend ,who feels sorry when he learns about Gurucharan's pitiable financial status and health condition, gets ready to help him out , since he is already on the verge of loosing his ancestoral property to the cunning Nabin Roy. Lolita and Shekar have some misunderstanding because of all the issues involved - mainly Girish and his importance in Gurucharan's household, and Shekar's father's greed...
The story gets a little more complicated when Nabin Roy decides to get Shekar married..
== My views about the author and the story of Parineeta ==
This is an amazing book, a true classic tale set in Old Bengal. It is an endearing socially relevant story set in the early years of twentieth century, and to the readers of the 21st century ,some of the customs and traditions may seem outdated. The child marriage issue is dealt here in a very practical manner. Sharath Chandra was a social thinker opposed to many such practices . His style of writing and the language used is simple and down to earth and touches one's heart. Almost all his stories are based on social issues that matter in every day life and gives a clear picture of the status of women in India before independence.
Sharath Chandra Chatterji was one of India's best novelists who narrowly missed a Nobel prize for literature. By the time the Nobel committee decided to nominate him , he died and Nobel prize cannot be given posthumously ..
Sharath Chandra deals with the finer aspects of romance in a very sensitive manner. Lolitas plight after her "marriage" and her helpless situation with no one to confide in and her lack of means makes you feel utterly , truly sorry for her. But, later you realise that she has inner strength and resolve which is what Sharath Chandra has highlighted about Indian women. Under stress they are able to hold their own and gather strength from whatever little is offered to them. Their entire life revolved around the house and the kitchen - either at their parental home or later after they wed by the age of 14 or 15 sometimes even earlier at their in laws place. Sharath Chandra Chatterji made a strong statement with Parineeta about the subservient and an almost non existent status of woman in the olden times.He was criticised by many those days for being far too westernised and trying to change the traditional values upheld so far.But there were many others especially the educated women who lauded him for his efforts in trying to change the status of women through his writings...
Sharath Chandra was a committed person and he did much more in the way of empowering women in India especially in Calcutta and Bengal than anyone else at that time.
His novels are timeless and are being discussed to this day by social thinkers and educationists in India..
I give this book 5 out of 5 probably 6 if that was possible..
( I have posted this review on ciao.co.uk as well )
An Evening in Paris (1967)
Many of the Hindi films of the fifties and sixties had English titles , especially, those shot abroad...There was a craze among the producers to include some foreign locations after Raj Kapoor made it famous with his film Sangam, for which I have already written a review earlier....There were films like' Night in London' , ' Love in Tokyo' and of course ' An Evening in Paris'.....and they were all very successful and popular films.
I guess it was basically because the audience loved to see their favourite actors romance, sing and fight among the exotic foreign locations since travelling to al those places was not so easy those days like it is now ...
An Evening in Paris is an entertaining and a very glamorous film with good looking stars and outdoor sets , being shot entirely outside India .It was one of the most popular films that made Shakti Samantha , a sought after producer/director after the release and success of this film.Shakti Samantha later made some path breaking films with actress Sharmila Tagore like Aaradhana, Amanush and Anand ashram...
The story of the film
A rich , pampered a naive girl Deepa (Sharmila Tagore) goes to Paris, in search of true love, since people in India told her that Paris was the city of romance and love and she is sure to find true love there . Her father has business interests there and his secretary lives in Paris.
Deepa has an assistant Honey, and a driver Makkan Singh ( Rajindernath ) who are given the job of taking care of her. Deepa meets Shyam or Sam as he calls himself, an Indian business man settled in Paris (Shammi Kapoor), who falls in love with her and is determined to win her over. Deepa too falls in love with him after some minor misunderstandings about his identity etc; and the lovers are happy in their new found love...
Enters bad man Shekhar (Pran), Deepa's father's secretary's son having a gambling debt and badly in need of money. Knowing that Deepa is rich, he decides to charm her , so that he can grab all her money . When he finds that his charm is not working on her ,he thinks of an elaborate plot with the help of his friends wherein he decides to kidnap Deepa and put a club dancer called Suzy in her place.
Suzy looks exactly like Deepa does and Shekar is confident that she will be able to carry on with the charade until his job is done.... But does it work ? and is he and more importantly Suzy able to deceive Sam ...and who exactly is Suzy?
There are many twists and turns in the process and a fabulous climax shot in Nayagara falls..
My views about the film
This romantic musical thriller was one of the most enetertaining films I have ever seen. It had the best that the hindi film industry of the sixties had to offer. Glamourous and good looking Stars like Shammi kapoor, Sharmila Tagore and Pran in the lead roles and superb Music by Shankar Jaikishen which went on to become an all time favourite with the masses, and the exotic locales of Paris, Switzerland, Nayagara falls and the now almost forgotten city of Beirut in Lebanon.
Those days, while the film was being shot, I am told that Beirut was a very popular tourist destination, but , the Lebanon, Israeli war has supposedly destroyed most of the famous tourist spots and most of the city too...
The film has special memories for me, having seen it while I was in college when it was rereleased for morning shows.I still remember the feeling of excitement..
I have always loved Shammi Kapoor's films. He was a charmer, with his drop dead good looks and those very attractive mannerisms. His was the kind of looks and personality that was tailor made for Romantic musicals , and this was one such fabulous film where he was at his best.
Sharmila Tagore is another favourite of mine , known for her dimpled good looks, she looks georgeous in the film. She has a double role in the film and she has done a good job. Sharmila created quite a flutter in the Hindi film industry by wearing a bikini for the first time in An Evening in Paris .Until then no actress dared to wear a bikin or even a swim suit on screen, and even on the rare occassions when stars like Nargis and Nutan did , it was kept modestly hidden behind a towel or a bath robe and the scene would be over in a flash. But Sharmila shot an entire song wearing a bikini !!! and she looked amazing ....
Together Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore look a made for each other , fabulous on screen couple. Very stylish and very much in love as the story demands it . The film is very romantic and well directed and the songs are just great.
It is a slick entertainer like many of the sixties films were . I have seen it a few times now and it has now become a family favourite. The kids simply love the songs and Shammi Kapoor (sigh!) .
Pran is simply marvellous in his role as the villain, you just hate him so much ...and Rajendranath , the comedian is funny in parts, but honestly I find his kind of comedy a bit too childish.He is controlled in this film though.I am sure Shakti Samantha took special care with his role.
The music was of course a topper. The songs by the great Mohammad Rafi were and still are chart busters - ' Deewane ka naam tho poocho' and the lovely duet ' Raat ke humsafar ' was shot in and around the city of Paris and my own favourite 'Akele Akele kahan jaa rahe ho ' was shot at Interlaken in Switzerland and the teasing 'Aasman se aaya farishta was shot in Beirut, with Sharmila in a bikini...
Ironically, Years later when Sharmila Tagore was heading the Film Censor board of India, she made a speech where she expressed concern over the growing trend of exposure in Indian cinema...
The film is over 2 hours long, but the length is definitely not a problem at all.
I love this film and will probably watch this a few more times like I do with all my favourite films. I recommend this film for a fun filled 2 hours plus and a feeling of having watched a quality entertainer....
Shakti ( 1982)
Shakti which means Power or Strength is a very powerful film. It had many great things coming together. Besides having a strong storyline and powerful performances the film had some of the most talented actors playing the leading roles. The film is produced by Ramesh Sippy who had earlier made the super successful Sholay. Ramesh Sippy later made Shaan which came nowhere near Sholay in either quality or performances....Shakthi too had a lot of problems during its making.Hema malini who was earlier playing the lead backed out because of some differences with Sippy and Smita Patil stepped in.....
The story of Shakti
The story of the film revolves around crime and how one gets lured into it. Here , it is the Scrupulously honest Police Officer DCP Aswini Kumar ( Dilip Kumar ) who becomes the target . His son Vijay is kidnapped and the criminals place their demands in exchange for Vijay's life. But Ashwini Kumar refuses to honor their demands , and Vijay overhears the criminals discussing the issue . Vijay escapes with the help of one of the criminals who takes pity on the little boy.
This incident leaves a permanent scar on Vijay ( Amitabh Bachan )who grows up to be a rebel , never coming to terms with the trauma he had undergone during his childhood. He is angry and disillusioned with his father for hving chosen duty and honour over him.....He meets the small time gangster who had helped him and joins him in his criminal activities which makes his relationship with his father further deteriorate.
This state of things cause anguish to his mother who is unable to take sides and the rift widens between the two when Ashwin Kumar is assigned the task of going after the criminals..
My views about the film
Ramesh Sippy, the director of the film became a legend after he produced and directed Sholay, which went on to become one of the most successful films ever in the history of Indian Cinema.
Shakti in my opinion had a more original storyline . It also had 3 great stars in Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachan and Raakhee.
The film gave ample opportunity for these fine actors to give out their best, and, each one of them came up with excellent performances.
I would consider Shakti as one of Amitabh's best ever performances and as one of his best films to date.It was no doubt like many of the earlier roles he had played in films like Deewar and Zanjeer.But in Shakti he had to take on a stalwart like Dilip Kumar .
No doubt that Amitabh had the oft played angry young man's role , but there were other shades added to his character like his love for his mother played by Raakhee, who had earlier played his leading lady in many films and his unconventional relationship with his girl friend and later wife played by Smita Patil.
The father-son relationship never takes off after the childhood trauma. There are some great scenes shared by the two biggies Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachan . It is a pleasure to watch them perform together on screen. Personally, I felt that they were equally good . Pages have been written about these confrontation scenes where fans from both sides claiming that their idol was better in all those scenes...In my opinion they are both extremely talented actors , with very powerful screen presence and make great impact on the screen.
Rakhee as Vijay's ( Amitabh) mother has some good scenes for herself with Dilip Kumar as well as Amitabh and one is never disappointed by her performance in any film. She is very natural in almost all her performances besides looking very beautiful..
Unfortunately, Smitha Patil, one of the most talented actresses of the eighties has been left out , relegated to the background. She has a small role, a couple of well picturised songs and thats it ! I personally felt that she was wasted in the film, though she looks pretty and looks good with Amitabh....There are hardly any scenes where she is able to really perform. Probably Hema malini , had she continued in the same role, would have got a better exposure and role...
Ramesh Sippy has done a great job with the film.The music by Rahul Dev Burman is good, but not extraordinarily so. It is at best melodious eighties music. There are 2 songs which are memorable - the Kishore Kumar , Lata Mangeshkar duet ' Are jaane kaise kab kahan' and Lata mangeshkar's solo ' Humne sanam ko khat likaa' both of them picturised on Amitabh and Smita.
On the whole I can definitely say that Shakti is a good film with great actors and performances. I would readily give it a four star...
Paheli ( 2005)
I have hardly written any reviews on newer films , because I hardly watch any, but this was different.
Paheli means A riddle . The film is directed and produced by actor Amol Palekar who was himself known for good performances and good clean cinema combined witrh realistic portrayals and lots of real life humor . But when he decided to make a film, he chose to do something totally different by taking on a subject that is complicated and, well !... Different !.The film was well received by the audience and has gone on to become a modern day classic of sorts..
== The Story of Paheli ==
The story of this film is based in Rajasthan in the town of Navalgarh, where Bhanwarilal ( Anupam Kher ) lives with his 2 sons Sunder lal ( Sunil Shetty ) and Kishen lal ( Shah Rukh Khan ). Sunderlal looses the prestigious camel race that takes place every 4 years ,and leaves home out of shame leaving behind his wife Ghajro ( Juhi Chawla) and young son.
The younger son Kishen lal gets married to Lachchi ( Rani Mukherji) ,a beautiful girl coming from a traditional and affluent Rajasthani family. Lachchi, on the very night after she enters her husbands home, realises that her husband is hardly romantic, showing no appreciation either for her or her beauty. She is deeply hurt and disappointed . Krishan Lal has to leave on a business trip to another place for 5 years. Lachchi is heart broken to see him leave her alone in her new home .But surprisingly , he returns within a few days, and informs his dad that he had met a holy sage who had instructed him to return as he will find five gold coins every morning. Pleased with this, Bhanwarlal does not object to Kishanlal's return. In fact, we come to know that it is a ghost which takes on the form of Kishen that comes home, and Lachchi is extremely happy to see her husband back.The Ghost falls in love with Lachchi and her beauty and decided to tell her the truth about himself . Though she is shocked in the beginning, she later accepts him and is very happy with him...The entire family is happy to have Kishen once again amidst them.
After four years , the camel race is held again, and this time Bhanwarlal's camel wins...and it is also now time for the real Kishen Lal to come home..
The story is predictably interesting and it has a very exciting climax, quite enjoyable.
== My views about the film ==
Paheli or riddle lives upto its name right till the very end. One is forever wondering what is going to happen next and how the riddle gets solved.
This is not the average bollywood film that you get to see over and over especially nowadays. The film is special with all its lovely sets.It is shot on location in Rajasthan in the dessert, palaces, Havelis ,old forts and the like and has an old world charm about it. It is a splash of colour and good taste.
The film looks enchanting like a painting come alive.The costumes are lovely and colourful adding to the whole theme.It is vibrant and beautiful.
Talking about individual performances one is mesmerised by Rani Mukherji the leading lady, who besides looking her best gets to wear some ethnic and absolutely stunning Jewellery that were specially crafted for her role. With the colourful Rajasthani costumes and sarees she looks fabulous.
In fact I would give 12/10 just for the look of the film because that's what I remember the most about the film other than Rani's Champagne Eyes..
Rani Mukherji as Lachchi has done a great job. She looks stunning in a role that is tailor made for her. She has always been a powerful actress and in this film besides looking extremely beautiful she has given a tremendous performance as the bride torn between her feelings, very realistic. Full marks to her and to Amol Palekar, the director for some lovely scenes involving her and Sharukh Khan.
Coming to Sharukh Khan , despite all his mannerisms which seeps through no matter what the role is, he has given a fantastic performance. The film revolves round him and he has the stellar role and no complaints ...He is very good.
I have always loved Juhi Chawla ever since her first film ' Qayamat se qayamat tak '. Juhi is a bubbly actress, lovely and very feminine to look at and full of life on screen , does complete justice to any role she is given. It is a pleasure watching her in Paheli in a well etched out role as Ghajro, the sad but positive spirited wife of Sunderlal...
The songs are all good, beautifully picturised and there are a couple of very melodious tunes picturised on Shahrukh Khan and Rani.
Paheli is an artistic film , an exquisite film that is definitely worth watching for its beauty, lots of local colour , some great performance by the lead actors and the long drwan out Camel race . It has an unusual story and an unusual treatment given by the director which makes it a stunning, very attractive film.Normally I don't see the newer films , but this was an exception and I am glad that I watched it on the big screen and later again on the DVD...
It had been the official entry for the most popular foreign films at the Oscars. It has won many awards back home in India in the year 2006..
I definitely recommend this film...
Actors : ShahRukh Khan, Rani Mukherji. Juhi Chawla, Anupam Kher, Subil Shetty and others
Producer/Director : Amol Palekar
Music : Kareem M.M
( also posted on ciao.co.uk)
Fredrick Forsyth writes exciting books , most of them blockbuster novels, and many of his books have been bestsellers that have been made into successful TV serials and films... His first full length novel, The Day of the Jackal, was published in 1971 and became an international bestseller and gained its author the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel.
The Fourth Protocol is probably among his best written novels .It is compelling , Complex and very absorbing...as good and interesting as The Odessa File and The Day of the Jackal..
The title of the novel Fourth Protocol refers to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which contained four secret protocols...The fourth was meant to prohibit the non-conventional delivery of nuclear weapons ..which amounts to this "If the Fourth Protocol is ever breached, there would be no warning, just a nuclear explosion from a bedsitter" and all the countries had to adhere to this rule strictly to prevent a nuclear war.
The plot is intricate like all his other novels. It begins with the theft of some valuable diamonds from a British civil servant, where the professional thief accidentally stumbles upon some secret documents that are dynamite , if ,got into wrong hands.. However, the documents find their way to M15 and the chase begins to find the traitor and how the documents got there in the first place ?.
As they begin an investigation, they realise that there are Russian agents involved , since they are very interested in geeting hold of these documents and the KGB is plotting to set off a bomb near the united states Naval base in England. This is to involve the British, who would probably blame America, and amidst all this is the traitor who is pulling threads , manipulating, controlling and killing..And they realise that the traitor is among them, working with them and probably controlling their every action.
M15 officer John Preston investigating the matter has not only to deal with double agents, KGB and the Russian secret agents, but the dangerous enemy within...the Traitor...
My views about this book
This is a very well written book, no loopholes anywhere, neither is there any dull moment .Frederick Forsythe has neatly tied up all the intricate plots within the story together . As usual the chase takes the readers all over the world . I have read most of Frederick Forsyth's books and each one of them has a different plot and the action takes you through various parts of the world . I have always enjoyed reading his books . I find them extremely interesting, managing to keep one on the edge all the time.
By now, though , I have got used to the idea that KGB is the villain every time and M15, CIA and the rest of the world class investgating agencies are the heroes. That is the way every author who writes a political thriller depicts KGB and Russia. I guess it has something to do with Russia being a communist country. As far as I see it , espionage is as complex or deadly or intricate, or whatever one can say about it, anywhere in the world. So blaming only the Russians for all evils is not fair - strictly my feelings...
The story has been made into a successful film (1987), had a star cast of Michael caine, Pierce Bronson,Joanna cassidy and others..It got a nomination under The Best Film category...I saw the film after I read the novel and though the film is well made it doesn't have the same impact as the novel. This has happened with most of the books that I have read except probably ' The day of the Jackal '..
There is a lot of detailing and absolutely no denying the fact that Frederick Forsythe is a master story teller .
I liked the book a lot and recommend it to all those who like to read a good political thriller. I give it a 5 star because the book and the author is one of my favorites..
While I was reading a medical journal I came across an extensive article about the use of drugs during pregnancy and a few cardinal rules for drugs to be taken during pregnancy..
According to this article, Right upto World war 2 , most obstricians were of the opinion that if you looked after the mother the baby in the womb would look after itself. This complacency was jolted in the forties when subsequent experiments proved that a foetus is extremely vulnerable to commonly and sometimes carelessly precribed medicines during pregnancy as well as to many noxious influences like smoking, drinking alcohol and drug abuse by the mother.
A pregnancy lasting nine months is divided into 3 trimesters of three months each. During the First trimester certain drugs may produce congenital malfunction, the period of the greatest risk being from the third to eleventh weeks of pregnancy.Care should be taken during that period .
During the second and third trimesters certain drugs may affect the growth and the functional development of the foetus. No drug is safe beyond all doubt in early pregnancy. So it is essential that every pregnant mother should have a basic knowledge about the drugs trhat can be harmful to herself or to her baby. It is also essntial that medication should be taken only after consulting a Gynmaecologist.
A list of drugs to be avoided during pregnancy
According to most medical practitioners and gynaecologists these are some of the drugs that need to be avoided during pregnancy
1, Proven Teratogens - Causing deformity in foetus.
Thalidomite - causes limb defects, deafness, congenital heart diseases etc;
Anti tumor drugs can lead to abortion and skeletal defects in the foetus.They are to be avoided at all cost unless it is absolutely essential for the pregnant woman, supervised by physicians.
Aspirins and Analgesic powders are known to cause Anaemia , post- partum haemorrhage, prolonged gestation etc;
3, Anticoagulants such as Warfarn and Heparin can cause foetal mortality.
4, Anti microbials like tetracyclinews, Aminoglycosides and Sulphonamides cause nerve deafness and reversible effect on skeletal growth in prematures. This is another drug that should be taken strictly under medical supervision.
5, Antimalarial drugs like Qunine ,Pentaquin or Chloroquine is known to have caused abortion or congenital deafness in many cases...
6, Antithyroid drugs like Iodides , Radioactive iodine, Thiouracils may cause foetal goitre or destoy foetal thyroid...
7, Cardiac preparations like Pro pranolol can cause Intrauterine growth retardation in the foetus.
8, Streroids like Betnelan, Betnesol, Wysalone, Cortisone, Androgen etc; can cause Masculization in female foetus and other mal functions. They can also harm the pregnant woman . There have been cases where these drugs have adversely affected the heart condition and blood pressure of the preganant woman.
9, Vaccines like Rubella, Measles and Yellow fever contain live virus which crosses Placenta.. These vaccines are to be completely avoided during pregnancy.
A few Cardinal rules drawn up by the medical fraternity regarding drugs taken during pregnancy :-
1, Drugs should be taken when prescribed during pregnancy only if the expected benefit to the mother is thought to be greater than the risk to the foetus.
2, " A pill for every ill " is an unsafe policy , and is to be avoided despite all temptations to provide instant relief. It is never a wise idea to take any drugs without consulting the doctor.
3, During the first trimester all drugs should be avoided as far as possible .
4, Medicines which have been extensively used in pregnancy and are known to be safe should only be prescribed by the doctor and taken by the pregnant woman.
5, When taking certain medication becomes necessary for a pregnant woman ,it is better to take the smallest effective dose of the medicine/drug prescribed .
6, In case of any side effects the doctor should be immediately consulted instead of waiting .
According to Gynaecologists any medication even if it is safe or have minimal risk , should be discussed with your physician prior to taking . Most medications fall into the "unknown category" which means that there is no documentation of its safety during pregnancy, so it is best to consult a physician or a gynaecologist and make sure that there is no adverse effect ..
Sometime back I had an argument with one of my friends regarding " feel good " books, be it about Personality development, Positive thinking, Successful Marriage or any other book that dealt with similar subjects. My friend's view was that - these books were like drugs, giving you a high while you read them and for a little time , after which you reverted back to where you were. Whereas I felt that even if there was one single useful point that I could pick up from these books , that was good enough !
I have found most of these books useful in some respect or the other.
Peaks and Valleys essentially falls into that category of books - A feel good book. As it says on the cover ' A gem small and valuable " referring to the slim volume covering barely a hundred pages..
A Little about the author Spencer Johnson
Spencer Johnson has written eleven international best selling books, the most well known among them being " Who moved my Cheese ? " and " The One minute Manager ". He has been often referred to as " the best there is at taking complex subjects and presenting simple solutions that work ".
He has a degree in Psychology and an M D degree from the Royal College of Surgeons, California. He is currently serving as an advisor to the center for public leadership at Harvard's John . F. Kennedy school of Government.
His books have been translated in more than forty seven languages.
It is all about making your good and bad times work for you at work and in life. These good and bad moments may last for a minute , weeks or months...
It is a story told by Ann Carr to Michael Brown. Ann Carr , who had previously been through some really tough times and Michael Brown who was going through difficult times. He was not secure in his job and things are not going so well for him at home either.
Ann tells Michael a story with the understanding that if he found it valuable, he would share it with others. Michael is understandably skeptical about it and Ann admits that some people get very little from the story, while others get a great deal.
Since Michael was in a pretty tough spot he decides to listen to the story since he had nothing to loose....That is how the story goes...
My views about ' Peaks and Valleys '
Peaks and Valleys refers to the highs and lows of our lives. They are not just the good and bad times that happen to you but also how you feel inside and respond to outside events.
Like the author says - Peaks and Valleys are always connected. ' The errors you made in todays good times create tomorrows bad times' and ' The wise things you do in today's bad times create tomorrow's good times '. I tend to completely agree with that view...If we were to look back into our lives , we would be able to pinpoint many such situations in our lives .
It is all about making things better for oneself. Do more for others, save resources for your upcoming valleys. Personal peaks and valleys are as natural as the physical peaks and valleys you see on the earth's surface , scattered yet connected..
Honestly I enjoyed reading this book. Spence Johnson has a simple effective style of writing . The story of the unhappy young man trying to climb the peak and the happy and contented old man already on the peak leaves you with many interesting thoughts. There is a whole lot of positive feeling with regard to life in general.
To sum up peaks are moments when you appreciate what you have, valleys are moments when you long for what is missing. !
The conversation between the two men forms the gist of the book. As they interact the old man passes on his insight and wisdom to the youngster, but , he wants the youngster to reflect and review his life by following his own sensible vision. The peaks and valleys approach is bound to have an impact on our lives if we realise the truth and be prepared..
I would recommend this book for everyone, just for the kind of positivity it creates in oneself, at least it did to me ...
( earlier posted on ciao.co.uk )
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, the writer of this novel , earlier wrote the bestselling novel ' The Mistress of Spices ' which was made into a film starring actress Aishwariya Rai in the leading role.. Chitra teaches creative writing at the university of Houston and divides her time between Houston and San Francisco..
The Palace of Illusions is a simple tale Narrated by Panchaali or Draupadi the wife of the five Panadava brothers . The Palace of Illusions gives a woman's take on the timeless tale which is the great Indian epic ' The Mahabharata'. The book traces Panchaali's life from her birth, lonely childhood , marriage, motherhood and her own role in the Kurukshetra war. It is the story of a woman born into a man's world , and her struggle to maintain her dignity and self respect.
At the core of the epic Mahabharata lies the fierce rivalry between Kauravas and Panadavas both belonging to the Kuru dynasty. The life long struggle between the 2 rivals for the throne of Hastnapura culminates in the bloody battle of Kurukshetra , in which most kings of that period participated and perished. In this epic tale the women characters remained shadowy , their roles subservient to those of their fathers, husbands , brothers or sons..Chitra tries to uncover the story of Draupadi untold, between the lines of the epic Mahabharata . It is her life, her thoughts, her version and her voice that comes across in this book as told by her. It is Draupadi telling her story in her own unique way, the way she saw the world around her and her questioning and at times detesting her place in it. A unique story ..
== The story ==
It is essentially Draupadi's story since the time she came into this world as an offspring of vengence, but according to her Dhai Ma ( Nurse maid ) who she was very close to , came ' uninvited ' into this world. According to legend Draupadi and her brother Drishtadyumna stepped out of the sacrificial fire . King Drupad waiting to have his revenge was offering prayers to Agni , the fire god after fasting for nearly a month. On the last day of the ' Yagna ' ( Sacrificial fire accompanied by chanting of mantras) he was blessed with the two children who emerged out of the holy fire..
Draupadi is confined to her palace where she grows up alone in the company of her Dhai Ma and her beloved brother. She resents her father for segregating her and her brother from the main palace wing. She grows up thirsting for company and to know about the world outside.
She is named Panchali by the great sage Vyasa who predicts a violent future for her. He advises her and tells her that she will face three dangerous moments later in her life and asks her to deal with them with restraint which perhaps might mitigate the catastrophes to come in her life..
With the help of her doting Dai Ma and brother she grows up to be a confident and beautiful young woman, who develops a special relationship and friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, from whom she draws inner strength. She is constantly mesmerised by him and his words of wisdom. As she matures she becomes more and more dependent on Krishna..
She meets Karna and is fascinated by his brooding personality , strength and looks. Unfortunately, destiny had other things in store for her and Karna .She becomes the wife of the five Pandava brothers , who were waiting to take revenge on the Kauravas. Karna becomes close to the Kauravas especially Duryodana the arch rival of the Pandavas
== My views about the book ==
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is witty and written from a woman's point of view..Chitra has written a deeply human story about a woman who is torn by every emotion possible, remains strong and unforgiving, but at the same time is vulnerable where her loved ones are concerned.
I loved the way she has traced Draupadi's relationship with her beloved brother who remains her only true friend and companion, but destiny and life willed other things for them. It is also interesting to read about her special relationship with Krishna, who she is unable to understand ,and her fascination and deep attraction for Karna, who is the step brother of the Panadavas.The complex nature of her status, being the wife of the Five Pandava brothers , being mocked at by the Kauravas , has been sensitively handled by Chitra as she narrates the story through Draupadi's words. Draupadi comes across as a strong willed woman , caught up in a life that is filled with danger and deceit..
One cannot but ignore Karna, who is the tragic hero of Mahabharata. He is shunned by the Kshatria kings , who constantly made fun of him and the great Saint Ashwathama who curses him . He loves Draupadi, but is unable to marry her because of his unknown ancestry. Krishna is the only one who understands and sympathises with him, but , believes that karma and his destiny cannot be changed. To this day, we Hindus take the easy way out, blaming Karma and Destiny for all the misfortunes in our life..
' The Palace of illusions' is a romantic tale of Draupadi and Karna who never shared any intimacy but were drawn to each other all their life. Draupadi and Karna are both destiny's children having faced hardships all their life . Draupadi was haunted by Karna's memories even when she remained married to the Panadavas and carried on her duties as the queen and queen mother of a powerful dynasty..There is a deep sense of regret, sorrow and detachment in Draupadi' s tale .
I loved certain expressions used by Chitra - ' When a man reaches a state where honor and dishonor are alike to him, then he is considered supreme' and ' War is like an avalanche, once begun it cannot cease until it has wreaked all the destruction it is capable of ' and finally ' How little we know of our own reputations'..
A fantastic book that keeps one totally engrossed..
( This review has earlier been posted on Ciao)
This is yet another Golden classic black and white masterpiece directed by the great Raj Kapoor. It is easily one of Raj Kapoor's best made films. Raj Kapoor made socially relevant films, with a touch of comedy and a lot of drama. He loved great sets which became the focal point of his films and his song picturisations have now gone on to become trendsetters. An all rounder , Raj Kapoor's films were the best that Hindi films could offer to the audience .
Shree 420 is in a way a continuation of Awara, the tale of the repressed, the lowliest of beings struggling to make their presence felt in post independant India . The British influence and western influence is very much a part of all Raj Kapoor films, side by side with the plight of the downrtrodden common man fighting for his existence in the big bad world ..This film again has the statuesque Nargis as his leading lady and has some memorable romantic sequences that have gone down in the history of Hindi cinema as the best romantic scenes ever picturised...
== Story of Shree 420 ==
An orphaned village lad Ranbir Raj Wearing torn Japanese shoes, English trousers, a red Russian cap, and a Hindustani ( Indian ) heart, comes to Bombay to to try his luck and earn his fortune. He pawns his gold medal, and gambles with the money, being naive, looses everything . He realises that it is very difficult to live in a city where money came first and everything in life had a price tag...
Raj meets beautiful Vidya Shastri, a nursery school teacher and his childhood friend , who runs a private school, and one who has very high ideals. Raj falls in love with her simplicity and honesty and wants to do everything right to win her . He decides to work hard , so, gets a job in a laundry. Everything seems right with the lovers , inspite of some minor difficulties arising out of lack of means.
Once when Raj goes to deliver some clothes to Maya , who is an attractive woman of the world , she tempts him with offers to make him rich overnight , and slowly gets him into her trap. Raj wants to give a happy life to Vidya and without realising the consequences, he falls in with Maya's plans. And then begins his downfall . He is not sure about anything any more , but gets deeper and deeper into a life of gambling, Casinos ,drinking , womanising .
When Vidya realises what is happening she tries to reason with him , failing which , breaks up with him . This only makes him more depressed and determined to prove that he can succeed ....The film has an intricate plot and and a great ending befitting Raj Kapoor ..
My views about the film
Shree 420 in my opinion is one of the greatest movies produced by Raj Kapoor after Aawara. Raj Kapoor is easily in a class of his own where film making is concerned. He is a stylish film maker at par with Mehboob Khan, Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy and B.R.Chopra who were all Great film makers of the Black and white era.
Raj Kapoor had his own style of film making where he combined a certain amount of social awareness with good solid storyline, with never any loose ends. His films had at least one grand set , usually a song picturisation. Here , it is a song picturised on Nadira and Raj Kapoor himself in a club scene..The song ' Mud mud ke na dekh mud mud ke' rendered by Asha Bhonsle and Manna dey went on to become a chartbuster. I personally consider the romantic duet ' Pyar hua iqraar hua, to be as effective , but in a more subtle manner....Raj and Nargis make a lovely couple pouring out their heart in the rains...
Performancewise, it is Raj Kapoor's film all the way. I have a feeling , that probably Nargis was slowly loosing her importance in his life by the end of this film , as is evident from the length of her role. She ofcourse, makes an impact as the simple and sweet, home loving Vidya trying to come to terms with her heartbreak , although her role has not been well etched out like in Aawara or Barsat earlier.
But It is Nadira as the vampish , cigarette smoking Maya ( illusion) who makes the maximum impact . She uses her seductive looks , postures and her eyes to effectively convey all her feelings. I have always felt that she looked a lot like Marlene Dietrich . A great performance by Nadira as the attractive and sophisticated vamp.
Unfortunately, Nadira never made it big on Hindi screen , since her looks were considered as being too foreign for Indian taste. She was an immigrant Jew settled down in Bombay discovered by Raj Kapoor...
Music by Shankar Jaikishen is the highlight of the film, a winning score. The songs are all beautifully picturised especially the Romantic duet ' Pyar hua iqraar hua' between Raj Kappor and Nargis picturised in the rain ....One of the most effective picturisations where they express their feelings only through lingering looks under an umbrella...
My own favorite songs apart from' Pyar hua' is the philosophical ' Dil ka haal sune dilwala ' - a lovely number sung by Manna dey , picturised on Raj Kapoor and the popular and much loved group song ' Ramaiah vasatavayya....
The film was a raging hit in Russia, Egypt, the Middle Eastern countries , Israel , Iraq and Iran. In fact, in Tehran Raj Kapoor was conferred with an honoury degree, which was most ironic since in real life he was a school dropout.
All in all Shree 420 like Aawara is a must see black and white classic film ..
Awara ( The Vagabond or Tramp) - 1951
The maker of ' Awara ' , The Great Raj Kapoor has been described as a Mega star, Producer, director , actor, Showman - An all rounder. Raj Kapoor has permanently carved for himself a special niche in commercial Hindi cinema, and he is considered to be one of the most high profile personalities of Hindi Cinema even today more than 2 decades after his death..
Son of Grand old actor Prithviraj Kapoor, he started his film career as a clapper boy, later graduating into production and at the age of 25 made his first film 'Aag' where he introduced leading lady Nargis , which received luke warm response , followed by 'Barsaat ' which was a major hit . And then he made his masterpiece ' Aawara ', followed by ' Shree 420 ' which carried forward the same theme ...all extremely successful films starring Raj Kapoor himself in the lead role with leading lady Nargis with whom , he was romantically involved all through their successful acting career...
When the world celebrated 100 Years of the Cinema, Russia had planned to release a series of picture books on the great personalities of cinema who had influenced Russian viewers. They released books on such film craftsmen as Seregei Eisensien , Sergei Bondarchuk, Charlie Chaplin and Raj Kapoor.
For many decades, Raj Kapoor was the one foreign filmmaker (apart from Charlie Chaplin) who had a faithful fan following deep in the heart of Soviet Russia.
== The Story of Awara ==
Raju ( Raj Kapoor ) is a vagabond and a small time criminal used by various people for their own gains. The film opens with Raju behind the bars being tried for an attempted murder . He has Rita ( Nargis) a beautiful young lawyer defending him . Rita herself is an orphan brought up by the distinguished judge Ragunath ( Prithviraj Kapoor). As the story unfolds in flashbacks , we come to know that Raju is the son of Judge Ragunath. Ragunath abandons his pregnant wife Leela ( Leela Chitnis) wrongly believing that the child was that of a Daaku ( bandit) Jagga ( K.N.Singh ), conceived while she had been kidnapped by the bandit . The poor helpless woman is literally on the streets after her husband throws her out . She somehow manages to get help from a kind doctor and delivers her son. After that it is a continuous struggle for both mother and son. She dies soon after leaving little Raju to fend for himself , and, he chooses the easiest path for survival - stealing and getting close to criminals....
When he meets the beautiful lawyer Rita and falls in love with her he decides to reform himself , but his past begins to catch up with him ...
My views about this film
It is not for nothing that Raj Kapoor has been called a master director. His kind of film making leaves you asking for more. Raj Kapoor had a huge Chaplin fixation, one can see traces of it in all his earlier films including Awara.
Awara can easily be termed as one of the finest films ever made by an Indian director. It was a superbly made film, that had excellent thought provoking storyline, Great actors and an award winning musical score by Composer Shankar Jaikishen. It also had some stunning black and white photography ..
I saw this film many years ago in the theater, but unfortunately there was a powercut and the small town theater had no power back up so we had to come back having seen only half the film with a number of interruptions in between. I was determined to see the film again, and, I got to see the entire film again soon after , and , I must say it made a huge impact on me. I just couldn't stop thinking about it for days ...
Raj Kapoor has been criticized as being a wooden actor, frankly, I do not agree with that view . I can never imagine any other actor playing Awara. And the chemistry between Raj Kapoor and Nargis is seen to be believed. Nargis is another tremendous actress who has acted in some of the finest and most memorable black and white films of the fifties and sixties. She looks stunning in the film and together she and Raj kapoor set the screen on fire. The two songs, a duet 'Dham bhar jo udhar muh phere' and a fabulously picturised dream song ' Tere bina aag yeh zindgi' are ample examples of their screen chemistry.
Prithviraj Kapoor as Judge Ragunath stands out in his role. Prithviraj Kapoor is probably one of the earliest superstars of the Hindi cinema and he has left behind 4 generations of talented actors on Hindi screen, including Kareena kapoor and Ranbhir Kapoor, the present day super stars...Leela Chtnis as his wife has the role of a distressed suffering wife, which role she has perfected over the years. I am yet to see a film where she is happy and cheerful. She is the one who laid the foundation for those eternally suffering mother roles in Hindi cinema and others carried on ..
Music is one of the major highlights of the film. Shanakar Jaikishen the music composer duo have given music to all Raj Kapoor's films. This is one of their best scores ever. With this film singer Mukesh came to be known as Raj Kapoor's ghost voice...They matched perfectly.
My own favorite songs are the fantastic dream song ' tere bina aag yeh chandni' sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Manna dey, and the soft romantic duet ' Dham bhar jo udhar muh phere' - I loved watching Nargis's coy expressions. Even on screen the two could not hide their intense feelings for each other . Raj and Nargis look so perfect together. But Raj Kapoor was already married with 4 kids and things had to come to an end...sigh!
The other songs include 'Awara Hoon ' and ' Huim tujhse muhobbat karke sanam ' sung by Mukesh and some excellent and very melodious solos by Lata Mangeshkar especially the heart wrenching ' Aajao tadap the hai armaan ' and ' Ek bewafa se pyar kiya' .
Interestingly , because of its theme which dwelt on vindication of capitalism and patriarchy the film became an enormous hit in the U.S.S.R. and also China. The songs especially ' Awara hoon' ( I am a wagabond) is still remembered by old timers..
Awara is a vintage Classic Hindi Black and white film never to be missed . I would recommend it to all film goers...