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Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
One of the two important films by Guru Dutt
Kaagaz ke Phool (KKP), along with Gurudutt's other film Pyaasa, stands for the film maker Gurudutt. It is more of a painting or a poetry in motion. These are films where story is the main actor each and every detail of which is done up to a fine precision. This film is now regarded by many as a classic and I wonder if it was appreciated as much when the film was released. Surely this film is one dimension less compared to the infinite dimensional Pyaasa; and perhaps this is a reason for its commercial failure. On the other hand, Pyaasa has impressed so many that it was also remade in Telugu (a south Indian language) by name "Mallepoovu" starring Shobhanbabu and Lakshmi. In comparison, the failure of KKP made Gurudutt further direct such artistry later. Of course, a film maker should make films close to his heart than worrying its saleability; but at the same time an appreciation would make him doubly sure that there are people supporting him in his works. Thus I feel that appreciating a work of art much later is no less criminal compared to killing the art itself. Sometimes people escape by saying "it was ahead of its times". My sincere request to anyone reading this review, is to appreciate things at the right time.
KKP is a film where director plays the main role; i mean the main character in the film is a director. It is easy now to guess that the story revolves around film industry. The story is set in the period where anything in the film industry was considered a taboo; particularly in 'high society' people. The director in those days is the final authority with respect to the choice of location, story and the crew (acting and technical) and the producer is limited to money matters. Our director in the film, Suresh Sinha is one such. He made lot of successful films that earned lots of money for the production company.
Suresh is now making a film Devdas and is looking for an actor for the role Paro. On one fateful rainy evening, he meets Shanti, an young girl shivering with cold. Suresh gives his warm coat to her and he leaves in hurry to Bombay. Shanti comes to Bombay to return his coat and is also searching for a job. He offers the Paro role to her and both get on well and they understand each other. They admire each other. Suresh is married and his wife stays away from him since he is a filmy person; also he is not allowed to meet his daughter, Pammi, who is in a boarding school at Dehradun. Once Suresh is hurt badly in an accident, on listening to this the reaction of his wife is "if he needs me,then send him to Delhi (from Bombay, where the Hindi film industry is based)" and this best describes their relation. Suresh sees her daughter in the doll belonging to her. Pammi's friends in school tells her that his father is involved with an actress (I wonder how small girls are even allowed to read such film magazines in those times! perhaps in boarding schools it is possible? keep my fingers crossed!). Then this small girl Pammi runs from the school and reaches Bombay. She meets Shanti and takes a promise from her that Shanti would leave all her work in Bombay and go away from Suresh's life. Shanti leaves Bombay, leaving behind her memories in a sweater that she made for Suresh.
With a suffering heart like the river longing for the fish that has been separated from it, Suresh has become a dried ocean. people refuse to give him any work and some of them say "you are not fit for direction!" Suresh loses all his wealth in next two years and his house auctioned and he leaves his house with two cherished things that he would not lose till he lost his life: the doll and the sweater.
The fate again brings Shanti to work, having lost the court case with the production company. She agrees to work provided Suresh is back as director. She meets Suresh and he tells her "I lost everything and I sold everything but not self-respect" and thus denying her proposal. But she bound by her contract continues. What happens later, should be seen oneself. I promise you that it is worth watching it.
The film is nicely supported by its music, the song "Dekhi zamaane ki
yaari" captures the theme of the film and "Waqt ne kiya kya haseen
sitam" captures the relation of Shanti and Suresh. Its photography is well-talked about and VK Murthy is responsible for it. If you are interested in knowing more about Gurudutt's works and this film in particular, then I have two suggestions. Get yourself a copy of any of Gurudutts films released by Yashraj Films. This DVD comes with a documentary taken by Nasreen Munni Kabir that was shot for a TV channel earlier. Otherwise, one could read a book written by Nasreen Munni Kabir (apparently,it is based on the work she did for the documentary) entitled "Gurudtutt: A life in cinema" published by Oxford press.
Finally an interpretation of the title Kaagaz ke phool (exact translation means "Paper flowers". Bees are looking for honey and hunt for flowers. The song "Dekhi zamaane ki yaari" says "Oh thirsty bees, fly away from here these are all Paper flowers (naturally they don't have what the bees are searching for!)". I interpret it as saying/requesting/asking the people not to look for wealth/success (in the popular meaning) and do not expect anything from this society in return of what you are doing. Do your job, simply!
Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000)
unity is strength
This film carries a very socially relevant message: Unity is strength. We, the society can achieve anything if we stand united, have a strong common voice. This film shows how the two journalists (played by Shah Rukh and Juhi) successfully save the life of an innocent (played by Paresh Rawal) who has been fixed by evil and selfish politicians as a terrorist and awarded a death sentence and of course he is a killer like a common killer and he is not motivated to destroy Indian union by this act.
The film is a complete comedy till the seriousness creeps in. The film, released in 2000, already was ahead of its time by portraying how the TV channels use everything for commercial purposes; in this film they actually show live of the hanging ceremony with interviews of the hangman. We saw it recently on TV of interviews with a hangman from Kolkata and his family history too.
This was the first film attempted by Shah rukh, Juhi and Aziz mirza under their new production company. The film didn't go well with audience but they will be remembered, say 50 years from now for making such a film.
Coming to acting and that too with comic touch, SRK and Juhi is a great combination. They did very well their roles. Music is good; the song "Aur Kya" was fantastic, written by Javed akhtar.
A good movie
Whenever there is a new concept in Hollywood, people do get inspired all over the world and Hindi cinema is no exception. There were films made dealing with 'Split personality' in Hindi but only few of them really pay tributes to the concept and one of them was Deewangee. It is well known that concept by itself is always good and appealing but a worst implementation does spoil the concept and drive audiences away. One such worst execution of a beautiful, poetential story line was greatly demonstrated in Chaahat ek nasha by none other than Partho Ghosh of Agni Sakshi fame. this brings me to the film "Madhoshi".
This film is evidently based on the concept of "Beautiful mind" based on the life of a mathematical genius John Nash (played by Russel Crowe). I have not seen the English movie for my weakness in English. The heart of the story is the 'disease' Schrizophernia. It is said that there is no known cure of the disease. Given this non-existence of a successful method of treating a patient with such a problem, one tries their own method/attempt. Hence we should not laugh at any such method as it is very case specific.
I must say that the treatment of the subject is first rate. Now I am motivated to see 'beautiful mind'. I recommend Madhoshi to all those who want to see 'beautiful mind' but cannot follow the language. This Indian version is good enough by itself that deserves a watch!
Kachche Dhaage (1999)
Great music, lyrics, photography and direction
What can I say about Kache Dhage? Have seen it many times. Every viewing enriches the experience except that the suspense in the climax will no longer be there. This film is dominated by its music and the story becomes weak before the music in spite of being good on its own.
Songs just fit into the film very well. The haunting music composed by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with the right dose of Punjabi words in the songs is the best thing happened to this film. The image of Punjabi songs, at least for me, was only "balle balle" type of songs. However after I discovered the treasure of Punjabi poetry in Nusrat's other compositions, I decided to learn Punjabi one day. The songs of this film are definitely and definitively representatives of the wonderful Punjabi poetry.
If I remember what I heard on TV correctly, the music for this film is as such not composed for this film but the film makers took the music of Nusrat and ACKNOWLEDGED/credited Nusrat for his music. This honesty is reflected in every department. Unfortunately, Milan Luthria could not live up to the expectations of people like me with his other offerings Chori Chori and Deewar, given the promise of his talent that was present all over Kache Dhaage.
I recommend this film very strongly. God Willing, I would own a DVD of this film soon.
The worst so far........from Khalid Mohamed
Khalid Mohamed's earlier films Fiza and Tehzeeb were good. Fiza was about search for a brother by a sister, the brother turns out to be an Islamic militant after communal violence that he witnessed as a child. The film had beautiful music by Anu Malik and a guest composition of Rehman AR. Then came Tehzeeb, a tribute to Bergman by Khalid. Tehzeeb is actually Hindi version of Bergman's Autumn Sonata. Bergman is known for his films where relationships take important place. Now, Khalid comes up with Silsilay.
The film is just the opposite of its poetic title. I guess this film does not take any inspiration from any 'good' move/novel/incident. Khalid perhaps was (re)viewing too much the sleaze films that have hit the Indian screen. So, this film turned out to be a mix: of relations as in Tehzeeb and the movies that I suppose Khalid was reviewing. The ideal story line for this film became 'relationship between male and female' Its (re)presentation on the screen turns out to be 'sexual relationships' between partners. Unfortunately, Khalid made the 'relationship' as 'relationship in bed'.
The music is the worst, perhaps, best suits the film!
I would like to end this by recording my sincere regret, disbelief of having seen a film of this type from what I thought a sensitive film maker like Khalid.
I do not recommend this movie to anyone, rather I am happy to suggest watching his other films Fiza and Tehzeeb.
Chaahat Ek Nasha... (2005)
central idea of the story had potential
It's one of those Could have been films. The aim of the story was good. Execution is terrible and becomes a bad sleazy movie. This film could have been another Pyaasa, the Gurudutt movie. It's worth avoiding. A comment on the songs: some of the songs are actually good to listen. Manisha plays the role of a fading star. She is not interested in a marriage. Don't be mistaken that she wants to be a yogini, she does want to be in bed with the hero character Rahul. Thus, rahul is looking for another girl to marry. Rahul continues totell Manisha that she would continue to be his best friend. Thereby maligning what is known as friendship in the Indian world. Preethi character thinks that Manisha and Rahul are only friends in the usual sense and wants to get married to Rahul. This too after giving up herself to him! Funny characterisation indeed. Perhpas the scriptwriter had a drink while writing the script. Dialogues seems to have been written for every 10mts of the movie, otherwise he would have found the flaw in it.
Though I don't believe that Indian sensibilities have changed, nevertheless these scriptwriters should be working for Hollywood movies. To avoid such scripts, they should at least see non-Hollywood movies.
A Subhash Ghai film
This movie tells you why Subhash Ghai's movies are different from others in the same genre (say, love stories?). His thoughts/ideas are presented tenderly with very strong effect instead of melodrama that other schools of romantic film making in the Hindi film industry resorts to. The following are the strong points of the movie 1. Music by Anu Malik. Watch out for Udit Narayan's version of the title song "naghme hain, shikwein hain..." Credit goes to the director the way he used Udit's voice to great effect in this piece and Hariharan's voice for the other one. This song is also used in the background score heavily, differently for different situations.
2. Anand Bakshi's lyrics.
3. The story and the casting. Jackie Shroff seems to be favourible choice for the role of Raj Puri.
4. Photography is excellent.
5. This film's DVD has good subtitles in English, French. So, movie lovers not knowing Hindi should not miss this film.
I watched this movie for the 4th time on DVD; but try to watch it on the biggest screen possible.