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Posts Tagged ‘Mumtaz’

Let me start off by announcing it is my birthday today so it’s fitting to share with you my favorite birthday scene (so far) in a Bollywood movie.

Ram Aur Shyam (1967) stars Dilip Kumar in a double role-playing identical twins separated at birth who know not of each other until they unwittingly switch parts and their worlds collide. Kumar’s Ram is  a  timid dimwit, reminding me a lot Anil Kapoor’s  parts in Beta (1992), and  Yuvvraaj (2008); and Shah Rukh Khan’s part in Koyla (1997). Here’s Dilip playing his special needs Ram part.  Can you tell he’s slow here?

Ah, they’re all confused by Shayam acting so much unlike Ram, and we all know the cure for this, the tight slap, as suggested by Mumtaz here:

OK, let’s get the synopsis out of the way so I can get to the good stuff.

 Ram Aur Shyam is a 1967 Indian Hindi feature film, directed by Tapi Chanakya. Its producer B. Nagi Reddy previously produced Ramudu Bheemudu, a Telugu film starring N.T. Rama Rao, in 1964; Ram Aur Shyam is Nagi Reddi’s Hindi version. Ram Aur Shyam has music by Naushad and lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni, it stars Dilip Kumar (in his first dual role), Pran, Waheeda Rehman, and Mumtaz. The theme owes its origins to Alexandre Dumas, père’s story The Corsican Brothers: twins separated at birth who grow up with very different temperaments and then exchange places, leading to the villain being taught a lesson. Like The Corsican Brothers, which has been adapted into several feature films, Ram Aur Shyam has inspired remakes in Hindi movies too, with Seeta Aur Geeta (featuring female twins, played by Hema Malini) in 1972; Chaalbaaz (starring Sridevi) in 1989; and Kishen Kanhaiya (starring Anil Kapoor) in 1990. (source)

I have a filmi friend who jokes about Hindi movies saying, “and there was a wedding,” which is funny because isn’t there a wedding in 75% or more of all Indian films?  The Indian social system is glued together by marriage,  from the joint family system, to the industries that profit from the actual wedding functions themselves, so of course weddings are part of the movies because they’re so much a part of the culture. Yet nearly as often as the weddings are part of the films, I’ve noticed there are a lot of parties in general, and in particular birthday parties, the singing of  huppy burdhay tew ewe, and birthday cakes!  I love a good birthday cake!  Since it’s my birthday today, please indulge me and allow me to focus on the birthday section of this film, complete with some Bollywood balloons.

The Dramatic Birthday Party of Ram Aur Shyam go like this: The party for Shyam’s  niece, Kuku (Baby Farinda) begins, (except it’s Ram pretending to be Shyam): giant birthday card, huge cake, many guests…

Enter deliciously evil daddy of birthday girl, Pran, demanding silence. Khamosh!

Cute daughter approaches him and offers him some of her birthday cake:

It’s Pran, so you can guess what he does, right?  He slaps that plate right out of her hand on her birthday, in front of everyone! Look at her cry!

Oh no he didn’t!  Oh yes he DID!  Enter fake docile Shyam, lekin it’s really badass Ram:

Ram/Shyam picks up the cake from the floor…



then shoves it in Pran’s mouth! Can it get anymore dramatic and filmy than that? YES IT CAN! Because DEKH!  In this photo there is a Bollywood hat trick of:

  • a chandelier
  • grand central staircase
  • Bollywood balloons

Technically it’s even better than the hat trick, since it’s also a birthday party, with Pran, and a cake. Start watching at the 6 minute mark in order to see this wild scene take place.

Is the birthday ruined from this drama? Nahin!!! Enter Ram/Shyam with some more balloons and a happy song.

All is saved by a fantastic song and all the kids dancing to Aaye Hain Baharen Mite Zulmo Sitam by Mohammed Rafi.

Here’s one more Bollywood chandelier from the film for chandelier specialist, Shweta at Apni East India Company:

OK, the party is over, so I’ll just add that all the wacky mix ups and drama end with a double wedding ceremony for Ram aur Shyam, but this isn’t quite a spoiler alert, because I bet you can’t tell Ram from Shyam in these photos.

Wandering around the web, I found this great blog review of the film at Ranranbolly as well as one by the intellectual gold standard of all things filmy HERE at Philip’sfilums.

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I had originally tried to order Aaina (1977) from Netflix, but got the 1993 version of Aaina instead, which I reviewed HERE.  I eventually did get the 1977 version of Aaina that stars Mumtaz and Rajesh Khanna.  I would not be tricked by Bollywood’s duplicate titles and miss out on my original plan to see the 1977 version!

Shalini (Mumtaz)  is a poor yet happy brahmin girl who spends her time laughing and smiling, despite her  family’s poverty.  Ashok (Rajesh Khanna) and Shalini like each other but are from different castes.  They tease each other and have a lot of fun, but ultimately they come to understand that society’s norms will keep them apart.

When Ashok notes that Shalini’s only sari is worn to the point of having holes, he buys her a new one.  Shalini’s mother (Nirupa Roy) lets her daughter know that she can not accept this sort of gift from a man because it would be shameful for the entire family.  I love how this lesson of  family honor is filmed with the characters on either side of the worn sari:

Things continue to worsen for the family when the dad’s evil sister, Janki (Lalita Pawar) comes with her daughter to live with the already financially stressed family.   Janki doesn’t do a thing to help out, in fact she just spends time going to frivolous Bollywood  movies and gossiping.  When Janki finds one of her starving nephews begging for food she fails to understand that her taking money to go to the movies has caused the problem since that money would otherwise go for food for the children. Then Shalini finds her mother one night mixing poison in with the food so the she can poison the family out of their misery.

The next obstacle is that one of Shalini’s brothers wants to go to medical school, so in an attempt to get a recommendation to insure his entry to the program, Shalini travels to the big city. She stays with some friends of the family in the a home with a large central split staircase, so often seen in Bollywood films, hai na?

Shalini’s connection to try and get the recommendation for her brother’s entry to medical school is a fraud, and the situation ends with her being raped, as represented by a mirror aaina being broken.  She then hears of another person who can help her get the medical school recommendation, who invites her home to meet his wife.

But the wife is not there, only her picture is on the wall, and this powerful man has the same nefarious interests in Shalini as the man who first violated her.

So this is how Shalini, a young Brahmin girl, eventually turns to prostitution to support her family. One night she’s enjoying the company of a client, and he discovers that she’s Brahmin like him.  Note the symbolism of the mirror aaina on the wall saying hey, why don’t you look at yourself first yaar, before you point any fingers.

Shalini points out the ridiculousness of his hypocrisy and returns his tight slap to her face with one to his face.  Ironically, later in the movie when Shalini returns home to pay for and attend both her sister and brother’s weddings, who turns out to be the groom for her sister?  Not to spoil things, but it’s this creep here!

I learned from Suhan, a commenter on my 1992 Aaina post, that Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (2007) pulled from the 1977 Aaina.

This one comes out smelling of mothballs, like a wedding dress stored for decades in an attic trunk. Not surprising, since the plot is vintage 1977 from Aaina, and the 1995 Marathi film Doghi. (Hindustan Times).

If you’ve seen LCMD, perhaps like me you remember once Rani Mukerji became a high class call girl, she lived in a super deluxe apartment in Mumbai.  This was the only shot of that apartment I could find, but you get a general idea of its sleek, modern look.

Like Rani Mukerji’s character in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag,  Shalini also gets a fantastic place to live thanks to her profession.  I’m not saying it’s a good trade off, but it sure is a cool place.  One of my favorite parts of the film was when Shalini got a visitor, she would push a buzzer on the table and a curtain would automatically pull open, revealing the client behind the door. Check it out:

Sometimes it was a shock just who would stop by, like in this case, her friend Ashok from back home who told everyone he died in the war.  After knowing he could never be with Shalini, Ashok faked his own death, but eventually years later fate brought him right to her door!

Is that double lucky kismat at work or what?  Not only does he get a prostitute, but she’s also the woman he loves!   What are the odds of THAT happening!?  Alas, Shalini is shocked and ashamed.  Don’t you love that torpedo/bullet bra she must be wearing under her shirt?

Despite her circumstances, Ashok understands and more importantly accepts her as she is, and wonders what could have been between the two of them and life hadn’t taken them on different paths.

Shalini returns home to give her family money and pay for her siblings weddings. A cute part of the movie was the film within the film where the village  watched stars Dharmendra and Neetu Singh film a song sequence to Jaane Kya Ho Jaye with playback singers Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar.  This is scene cuts back and forth being picturized on filmi film stars and the “real” young couple in the film, Shalini’s sister and that scoundrel she’s engaged to, Shalini’s former client:

Shalini sacrifices herself to fund her family and is disgusted to return home only to  find her mother pregnant again!  There are already about 8 kids in the family. Of course her mother has no idea just what Shalini has done to earn money.

Seems word has gotten out around town about Shalini’s new job and her little sister points out how her music teacher (paid for by Shalini) was staring at her. Shalini flirts with idea of suicide to answer the question of her eternal suffering, but when she’s about to jump, she hears the sounds of her siblings calling to her.

So how do you think it all ends? If you’d like to know more, please go to see the plot summary by rAjOo.

I’d love to hear your impressions of Aaina too.

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Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971) tackles lots of evils floating over from Montreal to Kathmandu: drugs, short skirts, hippies, smoking, drinking and the effects of divorce. I prefer the Hindi word for divorce: talak! Sounds so much more harsh and final than the word divorce. Say it: Talak! Doesn’t that sound more like divorce than divorce? Zeenat Aman‘s little Jasbir is told by her maid that her mom and brother are really dead, in order for her to better understand their disappearance from her life after the talak. How thoughtful of her. But I’m getting ahead of myself! What caused the divorce, I mean the talak? The philandering father (Kishore Sahu) is the cause and he flips the whole script on his wife (Achala Sachdev), blaming her. He asks for the divorce after downing some Johnnie Walker, then slaps his wife. In the first few minutes I had a scene combining a tight slap to the face AND drinking Johnnie Walker! Observe these serious parenting errors:

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So back to what I was saying about the maid. I loved how the maid broke the news to Jasbir that her mom and brother were dead, except for they weren’t really dead. I guess the maid thought it would be easier on the kid to explain their absence by telling her they were dead. See those ugly glasses on the nightstand?

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And if those images don’t show just how harsh things were for little Jasbir, take a look at what she has to tolerate from her new step mom in a pink negligee:

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Isn’t if easy for to understand why Jasbir wants to change her name to Janice and become a hippie after all the trouble she faced in Montreal?

When I watched Hare Rama Hare Krishna I just couldn’t stop focusing on Zeenat Aman‘s character’s glasses. Jasbir/Janice was such a mess as a kid. I know she needed those glasses to see, but did they have to be so ugly? I don’t blame her for not wanting to wear them both literally and metaphorically. The glasses were obviously used to symbolize her not wanting to have to “see” her disruptive home life, right?

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Skip ahead to her time in India and she sports groovy glasses, rose colored glasses. With that turbulent past Janice needs to see her world through rose colored glasses or not at all. It made me wondered if the saying rose colored glasses exists in Hindi. Zeenat Aman wearing those big round rose colored specs reminded me of my Malibu Barbie. Both the movie and the Malibu Barbie came out in 1971. Janice wore those pink glasses on top of her head a lot, just like Malibu Barbie did.

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Hare Rama Hare Krishna is a 1971 Indian film directed by Dev Anand starring himself and Zeenat Aman. The film was a hit and a star-making vehicle for Zeenat Aman, who played a westernized hippie, and won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award, as well as the BFJA Award for Best Actress. The movie dealt with the decadence of the Hippie culture. It aimed to have an anti-drug message and also depicts some problems associated with Westernization such as divorce. The film is about a Montréal-based Indian family, the Jaiswals. The brother Prashant (Dev Anand) and sister Jasbir (Zeenat) have a good relationship as children. However, the parents quarrel and separate leaving Prashant with the mother and Jasbir with the father. Jasbir is repeatedly told that her mother and brother are dead and she eventually believes that she will never see Prashant again. She is ill-treated by her step mother and she runs away from home. Prashant grows up to be a pilot and he learns that Jasbir is in Kathmandu, Nepalwith a group of hippies. To reunite with his sister, Prashant travels to Kathmandu and meets Shanti (Mumtaz) who was to later marry him, and also Janice who in reality is his sister Jasbir with a new name and identity. She has forgotten her childhood and Prashant too. Prashant has to get his sister back amongst other events which include his being suspected as a thief in Kathmandu and fearing for his life. (wikipedia)

Philips Filum’s has an excellent synopsis of the movie, and Nandini already posted the most excellent song from the movie, Ho Re Ghungroo Ka Bole, featuring Mumtaz, who like Aman sported those fat yarn ribbons in her hair.

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Janice’s western ways and messed up childhood results in her drinking beer from a can:

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So finally, here’s the video of the day, “Asha Bhonsle won Filmfare Best Female Playback Award for the song Dum Maro Dum, which was a huge hit. The music of the film was composed by Rahul Dev Burman and the lyrics were written by Anand Bakshi.” (wikipedia)

Thanks to organicjerk for the video.

Since I love the talent shows, watch Shreya Ghoshal on Amul Star Voice of India’s Chhote Ustaad introduce Anwesha Dutta Gupta who covers the movie’s title track “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”

Video by dJabhik

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Brahmachari is a 1968 Indian film. Written by Sachin Bhowmick, it is a G.P and Ramesh Sippy production directed by Bhappi Sonie. The film stars Shammi Kapoor, Rajshree, Pran, Mumtaz , Jagdeep, Sachin and Asit Sen. The music for this film was by Shankar Jaikishan. (wikipedia)

Of unknown parentage, as he was abandoned as a child, calling himself Brahmachari (Shammi Kapoor) lives in a heavily mortgaged house, with twelve other young orphans, and a servant/former thief (Mohan Choti). He struggles everyday to make ends meet. He cons the neighbouring landlord (Asit Sen)into forcibly giving him money so that they do not make any noise when he is showing the house to prospective tenants. One day he rescues Sheetal Choudhary (Rajshree) brahmachari-auto.jpgfrom killing herself. She was killing herself as her childhood betrothed, Ravi Khanna (Pran), is refusing to marry now that she is poor and the Khannas are wealthy. Brahmachari commits himself to helping groom and educate Sheetal so that she can meet with the high standards of Ravi and thus win his heart. In turn she must pay him enough money to clear the mortgage loan from his house. In this process he falls in love with her, but is committed to the children more than ever before, and Sheetal is determined to win back Ravi at any cost (IMDB)

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I loved this movie!  The scenes I most remember are Pran’s character being a such a jerk! I also liked the unwed mother dropping off her kid at the orphanage, and the scene with the snake vs. the woman. Thrilling!  Of course this fantastic dance scene at this cool party was also one of my favorites. I especially like the awkward white people at the party.  Are they supposed to be Britishers?  Mumtaz can really shake it!  Watch:

brahmachari-pran.jpg“Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyar Ke” from  Brahmachari . Sung by Mohammad Rafi & Suman Kalyanpur. Music composed by Shankarsinh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Pankal , lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri.

Sukriya to youtuber deleky for posting this video.

LYRICS

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