Archive for October, 2014


Indira Gandhi30 years ago today, on 31st October 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was gunned down by two Sikh bodyguards of hers. This is a small tribute to one of the most influential personalities to have ever existed in Indian politics. The one and only female Prime Minister the Indian Government has seen till date. India’s own Iron Lady, Shreemati (Mrs.) Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi in ColourIndira Nehru graced the covers of Indian politics from a very young age. Being born to Independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru (long before he became Prime Minister), whilst India was still under the British Raj, on 19th November, 1917; she was brought up by her, on and off imprisoned, father through letters, educating her on the ways of the world, India’s struggle for independence and modern politics. One of my favourite non fiction books happens to be Freedom’s Daughter: Letters Between Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru (1922-39); Edited by Indira’s daughter-in-law, current president of the ‘Indian National Congress’ party, Sonia Gandhi. Of course I read this book about 13 or14 years ago, and really enjoyed the literary transactions between the father and the daughter. For my Bachelors degree, I also studied Nehru’s independence speech from 1947. Another inspirational piece of English Literature I enjoyed back in the latter part of the 90’s decade. Nehru’s prose is spot on and I highly recommend both the book and the speech to any lover of Literature, as well as any History buff.

Little Indira supported her father, along with his mentor, Mahatma Gandhi, through their struggle for India’s independence, in her own way. One incident was during the Swadeshi Movement, of the 1920’s, when Indira was still a child, where people were advised to burn away all western items of clothing and accessories as a rebellion against western suppression of the third world. Little Indira, did her part, by throwing away her favourite, prettily dressed, blue eyed, blonde haired, doll. Post independence, she helped her father through his political career, serving as his unofficial ‘Chief of Staff’, and after his death, she took over the reins.
Indira Gandhi - Like Father Like DaughterWith socialist ideologies, Indira Gandhi became the 3rd Prime Minister of India, on 24th of January, 1966. She served three terms as the Indian Prime Minister, two terms from 1966 to 1977, and a third from 1980 to 1984, making her the second longest Premier of the Indian Government (the longest being her father). Politically she was both loved and despised for her various political decisions, regarding her Motherland and the bordering countries. Thus she sparked a disposition of both, being great and terrible, of fame and notoriety, all at the same time. None the less, one can’t deny she was one of greatest and most influential assets in the development of the Indian continent. Modern India wouldn’t be India, without Indira Gandhi’s non-violent, people friendly, socialist policy. Despite all of India’s faults, the country has always moved forward, and that’s mainly thanks to the Nehru-Gandhi family. After the death of Indira Gandhi, her son, Rajiv Gandhi, became Prime Minister, until he too was assassinated, in 1991.

Adored or loathed, respected or not, Indira Gandhi will live on in the hearts of all Indians, and others with an attachment with India and a soft corner for the Nehru-Gandhi family. The Nehru-Gandhi family to India, is what the Kennedy’s were to America, what the Bhutto’s were to Pakistan, and what Modern Royalty means to Britain and Monaco.

Indira was not just a political icon, but a sophisticated personality with a great sense of style. When Indira, an Oxford graduate, got married to Feroze Gandhi, she made both a political and fashion statement when she wore the pink Khadhi sari woven by her father in prison. And who could forget her trademark salt n’ pepper hairdo, with jet black hair and a bold fiery white streak parting on one side.
Have a look below at the life of Indira Gandhi through pictures:-

Indira with her father's mentor Mahatma Gandhi during his fast in 1924

Little Indira with her father’s mentor Mahatma Gandhi during his fast in 1924

Indira Priyadarshini Nehru

Indira Priyadarshini Nehru

Indira Nehru with her father Jawaharlal Nehru in Gurez, in Kashmir, India, in the 1940's

Indira Nehru with her father Jawaharlal Nehru in Gurez, in Kashmir, India, in the 1940’s

The marriage ceremony of Feroze Gandhi to Indira Nehru, 26th March, 1942

The marriage ceremony of Feroze Gandhi to Indira Nehru, 26th March, 1942

Indira with father Jawaharlal Nehru and actor Charles Chaplin in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, in 1953

Indira with father Jawaharlal Nehru and actor Charles Chaplin in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, in 1953

Indira with the Dalai Lama

Indira with the Dalai Lama

Indira with Jacqueline Kennedy in 1962

Indira with Jacqueline Kennedy in 1962

Indira with her father & the Kennedy's in India, 1962

Indira with her father & the Kennedy’s in India, 1962

Indira Gandhi at Nixon's Dinner

Indira Gandhi at Nixon’s Dinner

Indira Gandhi with actress Gina Lollobrigida on the Left & son and daughter-in-law, Rajiv & Sonia Gandhi on the Right, in the mid 70's

Indira with Vyjayanthimala & Nargis Dutt

Indira with Vyjayanthimala & Nargis Dutt

Indira Gandhi with her two sons, two daughter-in-law's and two grandchildren

Indira Gandhi with her two sons, two daughter-in-law’s and two grandchildren

Indira Gandhi with the Queen of England

Indira Gandhi with the Queen of England

Indira Gandhi with Margaret Thatcher

Indira Gandhi with Margaret Thatcher

Indira Gandhi with Ronald & Nancy Reagan

Indira Gandhi with Ronald & Nancy Reagan

Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense
Nuwan Sen and a Sense of Modern Indian History
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Young Directors on my BLOG

Young Directors

It’s always interesting to get comments and respond to them once I do a post on my blog. And I have enjoyed that luxury thanks to many a fellow bloggers, and some of them great personalities, such as published authors, Short film directors and famed film critics. But what’s more interesting is when I write a post on something, say a movie or a book, and somebody affiliated to the said movie/book responds positively to my little critique. Two such instances arose, within the last, over 2½ years, that I’ve been blogging.

In December 2013, I wrote about the short film Portraits de Maîtresses (2012) by Rocco Labbé (See Portraits de Maîtresses: Rocco Labbé’s take on Charles Baudelaire). Sometime later, within the same month, while I was very ill, young Mr. Labbé brought a smile to my pale face, when he commented on my ‘About’ page. I was so pleasantly surprised that I forgot my illness for a few minutes. Thank you Rocco Labbé.

In June 2014, I blogged about yet another short film I really enjoyed, Sylvain Bressollette’s Le Ballon de Rouge (2012/2014) (not to be confused with 1956 classic Le Ballon Rouge – See my list 50-50’s on IMDB). Then last evening Mr. Bressollette had commented on my blog, under the post Le Ballon de Rouge (2012/2014). And I also visited his website http://www.sylvainbressollette.com.

Thank you all my fellow bloggers, friends, relatives, and other followers, including Rocco Labbé and Sylvain Bressollette, for enjoying, and commenting on, my blog.
Please keep visiting.

Cheers
Nuwan Sen
Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

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Judging the film by the titles.
Doesn’t matter whether I love these movies or not, I love these interesting film titles. They sound pretty cool.
Film Titles
I took part in a poll on IMDB, about favourite film titles. In two parts, it asked us to select our favourite film title, pre-1975 & post-1975. For pre-1975, I chose A Clockwork Orange (1971) as my favourite title, and for post-1975, I chose Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) as my favourite title. For overall favourite title I chose A Clockwork Orange, of course. See their polls as well Run-Off: The Best Film Title EverRun-Off: The Best Film Titles Part I & Run Off Poll: The Best Film Titles Part II.

Have your ever loved the title of a movie, but not necessarily the film? Let me know your favourite film title, from a literary sense. I love most of the 100 movies listed below, some more than others. But the list is mainly to do with my favourite film titles, some are based on novels, plays etc etc.. that I happen to love too. There might be many a films I’ve missed out, as I’ve narrowed this down to just 100 films out of the zillion that exist. Feel free to add, and let me know your favourite title of a film, not your favourite film, unless of course they are one and the same.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

A Room with a View (1985)

Thank you for Smoking (2005)

Woman in the Dunes (1964)

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? (1966)

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

The Last Emperor (1987)

Gone With The Wind (1939)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Breakfast on Pluto (2005)

Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

The Lady Vanishes (1938 & 1979)

36, Chowringhee Lane (1981)

Last Tango in Paris (1972)

La Mala Educación (2004)

Through a Glass Darkly (1961)

The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

The Great Gatsby (2013)

The Sheltering Sky (1990)

I Heart Huckabees (2004)

1947 Earth (1998)

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Carnage (2011)

Heat and Dust (1983)

Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)

Rebecca (1940)

Casablanca (1942)

Anna Karenina (1935 & 2012)

Cleopatra (1963)

Malèna (2000)

The Knife in the Water (1962)

Double Indemnity (1944)

Zwartboek (2006)

The Namesake (2006)

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Jules et Jim (1962)

Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978)

The Cider House Rules (1999)

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

No Country for Old Men (2007)

A Passage to India (1984)

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 & 1956)

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

The Americanization of Emily (1964)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Shakespeare Wallah (1965)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

West Side Story (1961)

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

The Pelican Brief (1993)

Roman Holiday (1953)

City Lights (1931)

A Few Good Men (1992)

12 Angry Men (1957 & 1997)

Salaam Bombay! (1988)

Silkwood (1983)

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

The 39 Steps (1935)

The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978)

Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Life of Pi (2012)

The Iron Lady (2011)

To Sir, with Love (1967)

My Fair Lady (1964)

Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)

Metropolis (1927)

Paris, Texas (1984)

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Chinatown (1974)

Hideous Kinky (1998)

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Brief Encounter (1945)

Tess (1979)

Modern Times (1936)

WALL-E (2008)

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

Trainspotting (1996)

The Rainmaker (1997)

Easy Rider (1969)

The Sound of Music (1965)

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Latter Days (2003)

The Sheik (1921)

Notting Hill (1999)

Dans Paris (2006)

Wilde (1997)

This is not in order of my favourite films; as I like Breakfast at Tiffany’s more than A Clockwork Orange, and Gone With The Wind more than both of them put together, and Roman Holiday, which happens to be my all time favourite movie is no.63 in the list; but in order of my favourite titles, of unique names, that tend to have a nice ring to them. Would like to hear about your favourites.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen’s Film Title Sense

From the setting of the 1300’s Verona, performed at the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch, and the Globe theatre, London, to the setting of the 1950’s New York, on the Broadway stage, NY, and West End, London, and onto Hollywood’s celluloid. Romeo and Juliet to West Side Story.

West Side Story Main

Rachel’s Theatre Reviews and The Rosebud Cinema are co-hosting ‘The Stage to Screen Blogathon’; for which I chose to write about the musical, West Side Story (1961).

From the Stage to the Big Screen
In 1957 Broadway staged a musical, West Side Story. A modern, mid-1950’s, adaptation of the much loved tragic play about pre-teen innocent love by Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was conceived between 1591 and 1595, and set in Verona, Italy, in the 14th century). Then in the beginning of the 60’s decade, the movie version, set in the mid-50’s itself, was released, West Side Story (1961). Of course I haven’t seen the stage version, only the movie. The original Broadway and West End runs were before I came into existence, from 1957 to 1960, but I haven’t seen any latter versions either. But would love to if I get a chance. Not many Hollywood versions of stage shows tend to be that great, but West Side Story (1961) is an excellent Hollywood adaptation.

Starting off it’s so beautifully filmed. After the colourful overture, with a screen littered with vertical black lines, of varied sizes, that almost looks like musical notes, which transforms into the skyscrapers of Manhattan, the film zooms from an aerial shot of the city into the darken alleys in the day time, where the Jets are watching boys playing with a ball. Soon we see the rivalry between the two clans of the ‘Jets’ (Caucasians/Americans) and the ‘Sharks’ (Dusky/Latin-Americans/Puerto Rican immigrants), a bunch of out-of-work/school teenage/young adult rowdy boys, who have nothing better to do other than fight each other, for no specific reason, other than racial hatred. Then, as most people know the plot of Romeo and Juliet, Boy-Tony Wyzek (Richard Beymer), of the Jets, meets Girl-Maria Nuñez (Natalie Wood), of the Sharks, by chance at a dance, fall instantly in love, which worsens the rivalry between the two groups, who fight, in which, Tony’s best friend, Riff Lorton (Russ Tamblyn) accidentally gets knifed by Maria’s brother, Bernardo Nuñez (George Chakiris), and in turn, the angered Tony kills Bernardo, in the spur of the moment, and has to hide as the Sharks wow to avenge the death of their leader, Bernardo. More misunderstandings occur when Bernardo’s girlfriend, Anita del Carmen (Rita Moreno) visits the Jets. At the end, the tragedy differs, from the Shakespearean tale, as only one of the lovers’ dies, by getting shot, leaving the other to a lonely life of misery. With this innocent death, the two sides resolve their differences, and start to get along, but at what cost.

West Side Story Pix

It’s a great modern adaptation, with excelled direction and choreography by the famed classical and contemporary ballet dancer, Jerome Robbins (co-directed by Robert Wise), with the rhythmic background music composed by Leonard Bernstein. Love the songs, the dances, the music, the cast, the great sets, the art décor, the cinematography. It all blends in beautifully bringing out a masterpiece of Cinematic history. So far as exceptional dancing sessions are concerned, the two people to watch out for are the two supporting characters, George Chakiris and Rita Moreno. Love the dance off at the neighbourhood dance function. The matching and fitting purple/black outfits worn by Chakiris and Moreno add to the seductive movements. Love the song and dance, ‘America’ on the roof, the same night. The movie has some other great songs like the romantic ‘Maria’, the very comical ‘Gee, Officer Krupke’ and the deep and rowdily calming ‘Cool’, to name a few.

Unfortunately the DVD I have (another movie brought down from the States), isn’t in the original widescreen format, the film was released in, but a television edit with the two sides cut off. I don’t see why they should have cinemascope films (film released since 1953) in academy ratio anymore. After all most people who own a television set, and a DVD player, would have a widescreen television in their homes. Of course most people with a lot of money and no common sense have widescreen televisions and no idea how to use them. Thus they distort an academy ratio picture to fit the widescreen with disastrous results. And worse they wonder why vehicles looks unnaturally elongated and people disproportionately fat, stretched and short. I prefer to watch a widescreen movie as a widescreen movie, but if the picture format shown is a television edit (in Academy Ratio), I wouldn’t stretch it to fit the screen, nor zoom it, cutting off the top and bottom of the picture. After all, the cut off sides aren’t going to magically appear. So as I said, I had to watch West Side Story, in academy ratio, a television edit. I would love to watch the widescreen version someday.

Original vs. Modern Adaptation
The best modern adaptation of a Shakespearean play, for me, happens to be Kenneth Branagh’s very stylish flick, Hamlet (1996), which was brought forward from 16th/early 17th century Denmark to 19th century Denmark. A glamorous upscale adaptation, spoken in the original text, of Shakespearean English, yet believably transformed 200 odd years into the future. The greatest modern adaptation I’ve seen till date. Kenneth Branagh is a superb director, more so when it comes to modern adaptations of Shakespeare. For example, films like Much Ado About Nothing (1993) and As You Like It (2006). I also enjoyed Michael Hoffman’s modern adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999). When in comes to the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet, no doubt West Side Story happens to be best modern adaptation I’ve seen so far, and there have been quite a few. Like Romeo + Juliet (1996), set in the 1990’s in Shakespearean English, it’s the worst adaptation I’ve seen so far, but not among the worst movies ever. Yet it was pretty bad film. It didn’t work for me at all. Then there was the Bollywood adaptation, Josh (2000), for which the basis was more West Side Story, and less the original Romeo and Juliet. Josh was a moderately OK take on the Shakespearean classic. More recently there was Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela (2013) (see my post Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela: A Pleasant Surprise) a near excellence venture set in a fictional Indian village. Which I watched earlier this year and blogged about it, as well, back then (Press on the link above). And there might be so many more versions of this tragic romance. Of course this is when it comes to modern adaptations about the doomed lovers. When it comes to an original adaptation, i.e. set in the 14th Century Verona, out the ka-zillion big screen ventures that exist, the best, and my favourite, happens to be, Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet (1968), starring Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey.

West Side Story Pix - on the sets

Awards
West Side Story won 10 Academy Awards, out of the 11 nominated. It won Oscars for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’ to Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, ‘Best Supporting Actor’ to George Chakiris, ‘Best Supporting Actress’ to Rita Moreno, ‘Best Cinematography’, ‘Best Art Direction’, ‘Best Costume Design’, ‘Best Film Editing’, ‘Best Original Score’ and ‘Best Sound’. West Side Story was also nominated for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’, but lost out to Judgment at Nuremberg (1961). Added to this, Jerome Robbins received a special award for ‘Brilliant Achievements in the Art of Choreography on Film’.

West Side Story (1961) is one of the best musicals ever made. It’s aged well and among the greatest classics ever made. Excellent!!! 10/10.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

stage to screen blog

Thank you Rachael, of Rachel’s Theatre Reviews, and Rosie, of The Rosebud Cinema, for starting this Blogathon and letting me work on West Side Story (1961). I really enjoyed being part of the Stage to Screen Blogathon.

Cheers
Nuwan Sen

Roundhay Garden Scene (1888), is a 2 second documentary, shot by Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince, today, 126 years ago, on the 14th of October, 1888.
Roundhay Garden Scene (1888)Filmed in the garden of Oakwood Grange; the home of Elizabeth Whitley Le Prince’s parents, Joseph and Sarah Whitley (the Whitley family house in England), in Roundhay (a suburb of Leeds, Yorkshire), in Great Britain; the movie shows Adolphe Le Prince (Le Prince’s son), Sarah Whitley, (Le Prince’s mother-in-law), Joseph Whitley (Le Prince’s father-in-law) and Harriet Hartley. The characters are shown walking around in circles, laughing to themselves and keeping within the area framed by the camera.

72 year old, Sarah Whitley, died ten days after the film was shot, on 24th October 1888.

Just watched it online on ‘Wikipedia’. Check it out when you can, it’s worth it. A good insight into early cinema through one of the earliest surviving motion pictures in existence.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Bollywood’s eternal beauty, diva and award winning film actress, Rekha, turns 60 today. Born in Madras (now Chennai), in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu; to famed Tamil film actor, Gemini Ganesan, from his love affair with, Telugu film actress (from Andhra Pradesh), Pushpavalli; Rekha made it big up north in Bollywood (Hindi Film Industry), back in the 1970’s, and never looked down again.
Rekha 60Rekha is one of the rare Bollywood actresses to make it big in both fields, of the Commercial (mainstream) Hindi Cinema as well as Art House Films (Parallel Cinema). She started her career as a child actress in 1966 in a film in her mother’s mother-tongue, Telugu, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Telugu film industry of Hyderabad, is also nicknamed Tollywood. Then she appeared in a Kannada film, from the Bangalore Film Industry, in the state of Karnataka. After having appeared in these South Indian languages, soon she got a chance to act in her first Hindi Film (the national language of India), up in Bollywood, located in Bombay (now known as Mumbai), in the State of Maharashtra. Bollywood is the most internationally acknowledged Indian Commercial/mainstream Film Industry, that too made in the national language. Bollywood to India is what Hollywood is to the world, one of the greatest famed commercial outputs in the cinematic planet. Once a person makes his/her mark in Bollywood, they rarely bother acting in any other regional, comparatively smaller scale, industries that exist around the country, in various other languages, such as Marathi, Punjabi, Guajarati, Assamese, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu etc etc etc… Of course when it comes to Art Cinema, Bengali Art films; from Calcutta, in the state of Bengal; happen to be the most well recognised internationally, much like European and Japanese Art Cinema, and American Independent Films. Hindi Art Cinema and most Indian English language movies, too happen to be of a very high standard.
Rekha turns 60I have been watching Bollywood movies, ever since I can remember. Here is a list of some famous movies Rekha has appeared in, along with some of her greatest roles ever, to the best of my memory (in order of year released).

Gora aur Kala (1972) – I watched it as a kid in the 1980’s, and my memory is extremely vague on this one. But the film is about India’s own racism against dark skin, that exists even today, quite openly, promoting bleach skin creams. The movie, with a historical setting, is about a pair of twins, one fair, one dark. The partially paralysed disowned dark child, turns into a dacoit when he grows up. (Unrated) Hindi Commercial Film. 

Namak Haraam (1973) – Another movie I watched as a child, but luckily got to re-watch it about a decade or so ago. A very socialist film, dealing with social injustice towards poor workers in a factory. A very plump, teenage Rekha, has an insignificant role in this, yet her acting is pretty good, and the film is really good, with a great social message. Watch out for actress Simi Garewal’s minute but effective role of a kind hearted, sophisticated, social activist. Also see Amitabh Bachchan play the ever suffering hot tempered hero. Very Good – 8/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Nagin (1976) – Yet another movie I watched as a child, but I remember it pretty well, as I watched it in the latter part of the 80’s. This fantasy film dealt with a female snakes revenge on the men who killed her male partner. She takes on the avatar of the men’s love interests and kills them off one by one. Rekha has a minute but very relevant role as Sunil Dutt’s love interest. When the snake takes the human form as Rekha, the seduction scene is scary as much as it is a brilliant performance by Rekha. Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned. Watch out for those big kohl filled seductive vengeful eyes, in a black slinky number. OK Movie – 6/10. Hindi Commercial Film.        

Aap Ki Khatir (1977) – Watched this somewhere in the 90’s. Hilarious comedy about a foolish middle-class wife, played by Rekha, who borrows money from a moneylender to invest in the stock market, unknown to her husband, Vinod Khanna. Soon the stock market crashes, and so does her ordinary stress free lifestyle. Pretty Good – 7/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Alaap (1977) – Another socialist venture, where a son, played by Amitabh Bachchan, disowns his unfair rich father, Om Prakash, and resides among slum dwellers, to help them. Rekha plays his love interest. Luckily I re-watched this as a young adult, a decade or so ago. Pretty Good – 7/10. Hindi Commercial Film.  

Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978) – The last time I watched this was as a teenager back in 1994, 20 years ago. A very tragic movie about many a suffering souls and tragic misunderstandings. Almost Shakespearean. The bewitchingly beautiful Rekha gives an equally beautiful performance of a modern day suffering courtesan who sacrifices for her unrequited love, Amitabh Bachchan. Near Excellence – 9/10. Hindi Commercial Film.   

Suhaag (1979) – Watched it some years ago. An OK movie, watchable thanks to the great cast including Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Rekha and Parveen Babi. OK Movie – 5/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Kali Ghata (1980) – Watched this thriller as a child, thus my memory is pretty vague. Rekha does a double role playing twins. One sister travels abroad, another gets engaged to her lover, Shashi Kapoor. As they are having a romantic evening, in a house boat, during a stormy night, Rekha is pushed off from the boat. Suspecting her seemingly innocent fiancé had something to do with it, she fakes her own death, and comes back in the guise of her sister, to find out the truth. (Unrated) Hindi Commercial Film.

Khubsoorat (1980) – Watched it as child, then again earlier this year. Rekha plays a young beauty who brings laughter and merriment to her sister’s in-laws strict household ruled by her sister’s mother-in-law, the authority figure. Rekha won her first ‘Best Actress’ Filmfare trophy for Khubsoorat. Excellent Comedy!!!! 10/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Saajan Ki Saheli (1981) – Another movie I watched as a child, thus hardly remember it. Rekha plays an illegitimate daughter of a classy sophisticated lady, Nutan, who’s unaware that her daughter from a previous one night stand, before she married, is still alive. (Unrated) Hindi Commercial Film.

Kalyug (1981) – An excellent art movie by Shyam Benegal, watched few years ago. A modern day Mahabharata dealing with two business families. Excellent. 10/10. Hindi Art Movie.

Silsila (1981) – Watched this over a decade ago. Reel life aping real life. Rekha was having an adulterous affair with the very married Amitabh Bachchan in the late 70’s and early 80’s. This movie deals with two married people who have a secret love affair. Very Good – 8/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Baseraa (1981) – Rekha plays a widow who ends up marrying her mentally insane sisters husband Shashi Kapoor, to disastrous results, when the sister, Rakhee, comes back home from asylum, some fifteen years later. Re-watched this some years ago. Very Good – 8/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Umrao Jaan (1981) – An aesthetic commercial epic, based on a true story, about a 19th Century courtesan. Watched this some years ago, but the DVD got stuck in the middle. Thus I’ven’t watched the whole movie. But the half that I got to watch showcased a masterpiece of excellence. Rekha bagged the ‘Best Actress’ National Award for her role of Umrao Jaan. (Unrated) Hindi Commercial Film.

Vijeta (1982) – Watched as a little child. A story dealing with a son of a Sikh. I don’t remember this Art House movie that well. (Unrated) Hindi Art Movie.

Zameen Aasmaan (1984) – Watched as a teenager. A movie dealing with a woman (Rakhee), who brings up her late husband’s (Shashi Kapoor) child, from his one night stand with a nurse (Rekha). OK Movie – 5/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Utsav (1984) – Watched about a decade or so ago. This very adult comical art house movie, produced by Shashi Kapoor, deals with a courtesan, in the 5th Century B.C., Vasantsena (Rekha), on the run, while a man, Vatsyayan (Amjad Khan), does his research for the Kama Sutra (Vatsyayan is the author of The Kama Sutra). It’s a hilarious parable. Excellent!!! 10/10. Hindi Art Movie.  

Faasle (1985) – Watched as a child and later again. Rekha plays the secret lover of a widower, who doesn’t wish to marry her for the sake of his children. OK Venture – 5/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Jhoothi (1985) – Watched as a kid, but remember loving it back then. A story of a good hearted compulsive liar, played by Rekha. I would like to re-watch it sometime. Near Excellence – 9/10. Hindi Commercial Film.   

Locket (1986) – Vague memory of watching this as a child. (Unrated) Hindi Commercial Film.

Insaaf Ki Awaaz (1986) – Again watched as a child, about a female cop, who juggles her duty to work with her duty to family, as a daughter-in-law, a wife/later widow and a mother of a teenage daughter. OK Film – 6/10. Hindi Commercial Film.  

Biwi Ho To Aisi (1988) – Watched in the late 80’s, a comedy about a daughter-in-law who drives her narrow minded cruel mother-in-law insane, by not folding to her pressure. Very Good – 8/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Khoon Bhari Maang (1988) – Watched in the early 90’s. A film about a mother of two who becomes a fashion model and plots revenge on her husband who tried to murder her. Very Good – 8/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996) – Watched this Adult movie, back in the late 90’s, on the big screen, and some years ago as well. Mira Nair’s controversial take on the famed ‘Art of Lovemaking’, The Kama Sutra. Set in 16th century India, Rekha played the teacher of the Kama Sutra. Very Good – 8/10. English Art House Movie.

Aastha: In the Prison of Spring (1997) – Watched in 97’ itself, on the Big Screen. Yet another erotic movie for mature audiences, about an ordinary housewife and mother, who is entrapped into prostitution and performing in weird sexual styles, which she later teaches her surprised husband. Pretty Good – 7/10. Hindi Art House Movie.

Zubeidaa (2001) – An excellent commercial venture from Art film director, Shyam Benegal. A real life bio-pic of a tragic Princess, based on a book written by her son, Khalid Mohamed. Rekha plays Zubeidaa’s (Karishma Kapoor) husband’s (Manoj Bajpayee) first wife, Mandira Devi. Watched at the turn of this century. Excellent !!!! 10/10. Hindi Commercial Film.
 
Mujhe Meri Biwi Se Bachaao (2001) – Watched about a decade ago. A silly comedy, watchable thanks to the cast, including Naseeruddin Shah and Rekha. OK Venture – 5/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Lajja (2001) – A feminist film about the ill treatment of women in India. Watched at the beginning of this century. Near Excellence – 9/10. Hindi Commercial Film.      

Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002) – Enjoyable enough melodrama. Typical modern day Hindi movie. Watched a decade or so ago. Pretty Good – 7/10. Hindi Commercial Film.      

Koi… Mil Gaya (2003) – Watched a decade ago. A Bollywood take on Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Watch out for Hrithik Roshan’s  superb performance as Rekha’s brain damaged, child-like, adult son. He carries the entire film on his shoulders. OK Movie – 6/10. Hindi Commercial Film.        

Parineeta (2005) – Watched in 2006, on the Big Screen. Rekha only has a cameo in this excellent movie based on a Bengali novel by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. She sings with her own voice and performs an elegant cabaret number in a red hot saree. It’s worth it. Excellent !!!! 10/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Krrish (2006) – Watched in 2006. Bollywood’s take on a super hero sequel to Koi… Mil Gaya. What Crap was that??? 2/10. Hindi Commercial Film.

Rekha in her latest movie SUPER NANI (2014)

Rekha in her latest movie SUPER NANI (2014)

Super Nani (2014) – Haven’t watched it yet. In her latest comedy, she plays a neglected ‘Nani’ (Maternal Grandmother), who takes up modelling in her old age, with the help of her grandson. I plan to check it out just because Rekha is in it. (Unrated) Hindi Commercial Film. 

Besides acting, Rekha has dubbed, with her trademark throaty voice, for a few other heroines, in a few Hindi movies.

Wishing Madame Ré all the best for her 60th Birthday.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense.

60's finaléThe month of September came to end, and so did The Essential 60’s Blogathon, hosted by me, Nuwan Sen.  A very big Thank you to my blog pals, who contributed to it. Without you this blogathon could not have been possible.
Below is a list of participants and the films they wrote on.
Thank you once again for taking part in it.
Nuwan Sen

List of Participants & Films (in order of year released)
Cindy Bruchman The Hustler (1961)
Nuwan Sen –  Dr Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Roger Poladopoulos (A Guy without Boxers)The Boys In The Band (1970)
Halim – Down With Love (2003)

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense