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 Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai 
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Thu May 31, 2012 12:32 pm
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Barsaat | Raj Kapoor | 1949

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Nargis


Thu May 31, 2012 12:33 pm
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ok

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Thu May 31, 2012 12:36 pm
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Thu May 31, 2012 12:40 pm
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So this is a thread covering Raj Kapoor projects?

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Thu May 31, 2012 12:40 pm
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Woooo! I guess these can go here then :).

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Baazi Guru Dutt, 1951


wormatwork: So long story short I liked it but I didn’t LOVE it.
wormatwork: but it definitely has me excited for the rest.
roujin: Yes, it seemed to lack an extra spark that could've pushed it over the top for me. The elements are in place, but they don't fully cohere.
wormatwork: Yep. I was surprised how confident and assured it felt for a debut, and I loved that about it. Like it felt like he had been waiting to get his hands on a camera.
wormatwork: and definitely had ideas on how he wanted things to look.
roujin: Yeah, there were moments when I felt like I was in the hands of a confident filmmaker who knew what he was doing.
roujin: Let me give a brief synopsis for readers.
roujin: Dev Anand plays Madan, a former cabbie who's down on his luck. To cover the costs of his sisters' medicine and treatment, he succumbs to a life of crime. Of course, he is loved by a good woman, a doctor no less, who desperately wants to see him turn it all around.
wormatwork: Btw, I was wondering if you noticed the early cameo.
roujin: I read about the Guru Dutt cameo, but I didn't even notice him. I don't know how he looks like.
wormatwork: Oh yeah? It was him sitting on the porch.
roujin: I didn't even realize it.
wormatwork: When the guy (Pedro?) who comes to hire him and offer him a job gets out of the cab/car.
roujin: Yes, I know who he is now.

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roujin: The only other classic Bollywood film I've seen is AWAARA by Raj Kapoor. The two share a lot of similarities.
wormatwork: Yep, same time period.
roujin: They both share down on their luck protagonists who are suckered into a life of crime. They both feature good women who want them to give up their wicked ways. They both even feature courtroom sequences, though the ones in AWAARA are much lengthier.
wormatwork: Yep, the good-hearted prostitute is quite the staple in Bollywood.
wormatwork: I haven’t watched Bollywood movies older than these two, so I’m not sure if it existed as a tradition prior to these but I really like the characterization of these women. And Geeta Bali is just adorable to me.
wormatwork: Kalpana Karthik on the other hand seems so bland in comparison. I was happy every time Geeta Bali was on screen.
wormatwork: and that song (Taqdeer se Bhigdi Hui) is my favorite song from the movie.



wormatwork: I think the opening sequence really helped me get into it—the camera moving along all those dark alleyways and getting inside doors and how we don’t see the protagonist except for the back of his head.
roujin: It makes the opening scenes feel like a descent into the underworld.
wormatwork: Yep, exactly. Setting the tone and all that.
roujin: To clarify, Kalpana Karthik plays the sympathetic doctor that Madan's character falls in love with. She has a free clinic and treats Madan's sister throughout the movie.
roujin: She is the pure, virginal force of good in Madan's life. I guess that makes her kind of boring.
wormatwork: Yep. Random gossip: Guru Dutt ended up falling in love with and marrying Geeta Dutt who plays the femme fatale of sorts (albeit a very sympathetic version of the same) or the good-hearted prostitute.
[roujin:] It's not hard to see why. She really does steal every scene she's in.
[wormatwork:] It's not even the characterization. That’s typical of Bollywood movies to paint things rather black and white and it doesn't really bother me much. But even her screen presence does nothing for me.
[roujin:] Yep. On the other hand, Geeta Bali is pretty superb.
[wormatwork:] For the record, Dev Anand (the hero) married Kalpana Kartik who plays the doctor. She only did movies with him after this one and this was her debut.
[roujin:]: Her opening song both serves as a way to lure Madan into that whole shady underground scene and also to lure the viewer into this seedy state.
[wormatwork:] Btw, I really liked Dev Anand as well. He developed a lot of mannerisms / tics eventually but in this film, I found him really rather charming.
[wormatwork:] Yeah, I feel mixed about the songs. I like them per se but only a couple of them really serve any purpose imo. The rest seem a bit randomly inserted.
[roujin:] My favorite part being where Madan is literally ensared in her web of sorts. Geeta Bali's character actually throws the web over the camera!



[wormatwork:] Yep, such a good scene.
[roujin:] There are a couple of songs that didn't work for me.
[roujin:] The primary offender being the one where Madan rides a donkey home? That was just weird.
[wormatwork:] Completely random.
[roujin:] The other song/number that really stood out to me was the one where Geeta Bali's character is trying to warn Madan about him being in danger.
[wormatwork:] Visually, I really like the film. All the shadowy compositions and especially the murder scene.
[roujin:] There comes a point where the scene is just reduced to a series of alternating close ups of the character's eyes.
[wormatwork:] Yeah, the song sequences (those two specifically) were the undoing of the film for me and added to what I thought was the wasted length.
[roujin:] I was speaking about that in a positive way!
[wormatwork:] I was talking about the two I mentioned! Madan on donkey and the party song sung by random person
[roujin:] Ah. Sorry to misunderstand you.
[wormatwork:] One superfluous song that I did enjoy was the umbrella song sequence.
[roujin:] Yes, that one was okay.
[roujin:] My favorite song that didn't include Geeta Bali was the one with Madan and the doctor girl getting out of the car and singing to each other by the palm trees.
[wormatwork:] Yeah, that one is awesome and looks great with their faces behind all the leaves. Not the best song for me, but the best picturization.
[roujin:] There's lots of great use of shadows in that one. It's also, I think, pretty sexy. The way the camera tracks forward as the palm leaves move out of the way is pretty magical.



[wormatwork:] By the way, I think this portrayal of women as the good amidst all the squalor is rather typical of Guru Dutt. Women are always at the center of his films and he always paints them very sympathetically.
[roujin:] Geeta Bali's character is beautifully redeemed. Although her job is lowly in the film's universe, she shows great courage in trying to save Madan's life.
[wormatwork:] Yep, exactly. I am really curious about whether these types of characters existed prior to the 50s because Bollywood/Indians are so conservative about things like prostitution, especially at the time.
[roujin:] Over the last couple of days I've read a fair bit about the film and almost every single article has a reference to noir. She could almost be a moll-type character.
[wormatwork:] Yep, Geeta Dutt almost plays her too nice but somehow it all still works for me.
[wormatwork:] Those early scenes where she's flirting with Madan are so charming. I never got how he could resist her.
[roujin:]: Well, I'm thinking there's a fair bit of upward mobility going on in this film, and in AWAARA.
[roujin:] Both male characters are poor and neither know what to do to get out of that situation.
[roujin:] In this film, Madan is loved by a doctor who comes from a rich family. In AWAARA, Raj Kapoor is loved by Nargis, who is a lawyer.
[wormatwork:] Yeah, I was just going to point that out. I think the theater-going audience in India that pays to watch money on the big screen trended towards the lower income groups at the time.
[roujin:] There is an urge to resist what would keep you down in the lower class, such as being tied down with a nightclub singer.
[wormatwork:] So those are common motifs. Poor but good-hearted hero who only takes to crime out of necessity. Notice how the poor always help each other out. The woman bets money on his behalf.
[wormatwork:] Right, exactly. This idea that the poor have honor and pride. He refuses to take money from Leena (the good-hearted moll).
[roujin:] Early on in the film, he says he doesn't take charity (when he's trying to get money for his sister's medication).
[wormatwork:] Yep, he also refuses money from the doctor.
[roujin:] Which leads him to his shady job.
[roujin:] What do you make of the role of the Father in this film? And of the police officer?
[wormatwork:] Hmmm, don't really have much to say about the father apart from I really like the actor who plays the father. Then again, I've seen him in several films.
[wormatwork:] I don't know if the scene where we first see the face of the head of the crime ring and realize that
it's the father
is supposed to be a big reveal. I think it was already obvious by that point but again, that didn't ruin the film for me or anything.

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[wormatwork:] I think the film works for me not so much as a suspenseful thriller but much more as a set of doomed romances that we hope will work. It's the characters and the actors that make the whole thing come together.
[roujin:] I agree. The last 10 or so minutes are pretty dumb, to be honest, as it tries to make you care about how the outcome of the case will turn out. Or, at least, about how it's going to get resolved; which is the least interesting part.
[wormatwork:] random trivia that you may already be aware of from reading stuff on the internet: Guru Dutt and Dev Anand were close friends and Dev Anand's family had a production company that funded this film.
[roujin:] The race against the clock with the police officer trying to clear Madan's name is kind of unberarable.
[roujin:] Yeah, I read that whoever made it in the business first would have to help out the other guy. So, since Dev Anand became a big deal actor first, he helped produce a film so Dutt could direct it. At least that's how I think it goes.
[wormatwork:] Yeah, silly. Also, the sick sister is kinda done away with pretty easily.
[wormatwork:] Oh and the other piece of trivia which also you might have read is that thing he does with close-ups where everything except the face is out of focus.
[roujin:] Sounds like Borzage.
[wormatwork:] Right, I am pretty sure it was something he liked / picked up from Hollywood
[roujin:] Is there any other thing you would like to add before we wrap it all up :)
[wormatwork:] 8:39 pm: Nah, nothing really. I liked the characterization of the cop, especially early on. Liked that they didn't try to turn him into an outright jerk.
[roujin:]Yes, that was a pleasant surprise. It turns out that although he loves the doctor character, he doesn't want to get in the way. He's just a really nice friend.
[roujin:] On my end, I noticed a harsh treatment of the father figure in this film (and in AWAARA).
[wormatwork:] Yep, these type of nuances are not that common in Bollywood in my experience and usually, if there's a character like that, he's played by a big recognizable star so we can feel bad for him as well and so on.
[wormatwork:] Again, thats pretty typical.. the heroine is good-hearted but
her rich dad is the villain
. It's frequently the source of conflict.
[roujin:] Although he loves his daughter and tries to protect her, he is shown to be a complete hypocrite. He criticizes our hero for behavior that he's much more guilty of. And, at the end, he is made a fool.
[roujin:] Though I think the film plays it safe by never letting us know how the daughter feels about it.

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[roujin:] You want to do ratings for these films? As long as we're completely imitating the format of Bondo/Kimes?
[wormatwork:] Yeah, that'd have made for more complex conflict but we never see any of that. I think that's one of my complaints with the movie. Despite the long runtime, several of the plot points are dealt with rather superficially.
[wormatwork:] But plot aside, I like all the stylistic stuff and definitely like the performances.
[wormatwork:]: I can do ratings. Or we could rank them at the end.
[roujin:] Let's rate them now so people have an overall idea of how we liked it (even though I think we're some of the weirdest raters out there...)
[wormatwork:]: Oh and one last thing, I wanted to add. This movie did very well commercially.
[wormatwork:] So my rating is probably a 5.5-6 (B- / C+)
[wormatwork:] or rather 2.5-3
[roujin:] I'd give it about the same.
[roujin:] A 3/5
[wormatwork:] Yeah, I think its the same for me.
[roujin:] It was a positive experience for me and a good way to start off the Guru Dutt marathon, I suppose.
[roujin:] What's next then?
[wormatwork:] Yep, its a breezier film than the ones hes known for
[wormatwork:] Jaal is next
[roujin:] Will Guru Dutt act soon?
[wormatwork:] the next two are commercial failures
[roujin:] Interesting. I guess we might be able to compare why those failed, whereas this one succeeded.
[wormatwork: he acts in the 3rd one
[roujin:] Alright. So JAAL then?

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Thu May 31, 2012 12:48 pm
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Hw old is that convo?

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Thu May 31, 2012 12:48 pm
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hmmm, a lil over a year. you no want me to put it here :(? I can delete.

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Thu May 31, 2012 12:50 pm
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Why would I want you to delete it? :P

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Thu May 31, 2012 12:50 pm
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dunno :D. You sounded like you didn't want old convos! i reformatted it and everything!

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Thu May 31, 2012 12:51 pm
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char's the cutest <33

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Thu May 31, 2012 12:55 pm
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ribbon wrote:
char's the cutest <33



no.. you dumwit <3. that's you! you need to watch bollywood stuff with us! song and dance and romance and omg so much emotion <3.

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Thu May 31, 2012 12:56 pm
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charulata wrote:


no.. you dumwit <3. you need to watch bollywood stuff with us! song and dance and romance and omg so much emotion <3.

I may just have to give it a try, :). Not at all familiar with it.

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Thu May 31, 2012 12:57 pm
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charu loves Kapoor's Aag and Barsaat. I started there, and haven't looked back! <3


Thu May 31, 2012 12:59 pm
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I think the only Bollywood film I've seen is Lagaan.

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Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012) 4/10
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The Dark Past (Mate', 1948) 7/10
New Rose Hotel (Ferrara, 1998) 3/10


Thu May 31, 2012 1:01 pm
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Lagaan is easily the worst Bollywood film I've seen. Utter. Shit.


Thu May 31, 2012 1:02 pm
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flieger wrote:
charu loves Kapoor's Aag and Barsaat. I started there, and haven't looked back! <3

Neats. Perhaps I'll also use these as starting points, then.

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:02 pm
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Jaal Guru Dutt, 1952


[wormatwork]: hello, maybe start with a synopsis first? roujin?

[roujin]: Here's one: Tony (Dev Anand), a gold smuggler from Mumbai on the run from the police, tries to entice morally upstanding heroine Maria (Geeta Bali) into his net of crime. Maria and her blind brother Carlo (K.N. Singh) live a simple life in the fishing village of Goa, until they rescue Lisa (Purnima), Tony's accomplice, after a botched smuggling attempt. Tony soon appears in Goa and Maria falls in love with him. But is he after her, or the gold?
[roujin]: Of course, it's shamelessly stolen from somewhere else.

[wormatwork]: Thanks for that. So in terms of overall assessment, I actually enjoyed this one more than Baazi. And I should probably mention upfront that the print we both watched was heavily edited (i.e. missing footage) and of pretty poor quality especially in terms of audio synch and so on

[roujin]: It's hard to fairly assess a film that seems so truncated, so my experience with it was not a very positive one.

[wormatwork]: Yeah, its definitely heavily truncated by at least 30 minutes but I was surprised by how comprehensible the resulting footage is. I think the reason I enjoyed it more is that I think this is a much more morally complex film than Baazi. Where in Baazi, the lead despite being a gambler, is ultimately easy to root for. He has a reason for taking the dark path, namely his sister's illness whereas here, we have no information on Dev Anand's past

[roujin]: It's true. I thought, at first, the film would be about Dev Anand's character, but he's just kind of on the periphery for most of the movie.The film really isn't even about him. It's all about Geeta Bali's character (Maria).

[wormatwork]: I also found it to be a sexier film. Maria is clearly unable to deny her attraction for Tony.

[roujin]: That's the aspect of it that interested me the most. The entire storyline is almost about her character discovering that she can even have these sort of feelings toward a man - the only other men in her life are her blind brother and that one dude who loves her but who she can't even see in that way.
[wormatwork]: The movie doesn't even necessarily give them an opportunity to fall in love. Much of it seems to be an infatuation and I loved that about the movie.

[roujin]: It's more of an obsession than love. I got the sense that for her it was more about the thrill of it than specifically about Tony.

[wormatwork]: Absolutely.
That and the idea of a life where she would be with this exciting man.

[roujin]: She gets a thrill from sneaking out to meet him. She's really in love with their back-and-forth relationship, not so much him (essayed in the number where they're on the tree).



[wormatwork]: Yep, exactly. It's her first real romance and the first time she's being wooed by a bad boy and she can't hold back. It's awesome, really. Plus, the song sequences in this one are so much more tied into the narrative. They verbalize the feelings but I don't mind that at all. Especially when the songs (and the picturization) are this good.
[roujin]: I don't think the film delivers on the complexity that much, though.

[wormatwork]: Yeah, I think the ending is quite a copout but I still think its more complex than Baazi

[roujin]: The ending really is a copout. It suggests what could've been a really interesting film - her obsession leads her to turn a blind eye and drives her toward her own destruction. She doesn't get tossed aside like Lisa (Tony's previous girl), but their love turns out to be real.
[wormatwork]: Yep, agree. But for me this film was better than Baazi simply for the ideas. It felt a lot more western and a lot riskier. The thing that surprised me the most was the openly religious ending.

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[roujin]: That struck me as false - a reversal of where the film seemed to be headed. There was never any big sign that Dev Anand's character was all that true to her. The scene into the church seems to suggest that he really does love her, but everything else tells me that Geeta Bali is falling into something she shouldn't be. In both BAAZI and this film, the net is kinda important. In BAAZI, the main character is caught in the net, showing how soon he'll be stuck in the life of crime. In this film, Geeta Bali is the one caught in the net. That's the main reason why I thought that the film would be about how foolish the Geeta Bali character was being

[wormatwork]: I didnt necessarily think that. I bought into the idea that he fell in love with her. How awesome is that song, btw (the one that ends with her trapped in the net). It's one of my favorite songs from Dev anand's films and I love both versions. The earlier seductive version and the latter, more melancholic version.



[wormatwork]: I guess I don't see her actions as being foolish necessarily :).
[roujin]: It's not so much that it's foolish, but she throwing herself into with reckless abandon is the foolish part. I'm of the mind that the film suggests at every point that she's heading toward a dark end.
[wormatwork]: Yeah and then finds a (random) way to end up with a half-assed happy ending of sorts. I can agree with that. But I think I mostly saw the film as being brave and rather unconventional in how the first 3/4ths of the film plays out. I also really liked the recreation of time and place. Goa in the 50s. The mixture of english, hindi and portuguese expressions. Ppl say Obrigado and Boa Noite,
The dances feel western too.
[roujin]: I'm with you on that. It goes on an interesting path. It's just very hard to appreciate it in this truncated form.That's the main reason why I can't even put forth that much appreciation to the musical numbers, since a few of them are just cut off at random moments. It was hard to get on a groove with them.
[wormatwork]: It's also so much more suspenseful. I wasn't sure if I should be believing Tony or Lisa. I guess the truncation bothered me less then. I loved the dances / songs. Even with all the abrupt cuts.

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[roujin]: Goa was also the setting of GUZAARISH (the Bhansali film). I'm curious as if the religious element came from the setting or what.
[wormatwork]: Yeah, definitely. Goa is predominantly christian. But India as a whole is quite fatalistic and religious. More so then than now I imagine. The setting is a big part of the film. He gets a lot of atmospherics right. The fishing community, the language, the girls and their attitude. All of that added to my appreciation of the film. Also, since you didn't love the songs,I think I should put in a nod for "chori chori meri gali" and "yeh raath yeh chandni"

[roujin]: Yeah, I loved the contrast between this and BAAZI. The feeling of community in that one scene where they all help out to get out the fish is in great contrast to the fatalistic urban attitude of BAAZI.

[wormatwork]: Yep. And the idea that the urban Tony and Lisa (from bombay) are the ones that confound the lives of these simple fishing folk. So do we have anything more to say? If not, should we rate the movie?

[roujin]: I enjoyed the song with Dev Anand on the guitar. It reminded me of the part in BAAZI with Geeta Bali playing the guitar. They both are just carelessly strumming it, not even pretending to actually playing it...

[wormatwork]: the westernization of India and all that. Yep, thats awesome :)
[roujin]: One more thing: does Guru Dutt keep using the same stable of characters throughout his films? We got a repeat of Dev Anand, Johnny Walker, K.N. Singh and Geeta Bali.Which are all holdovers from our previous film.

[wormatwork]: The actress changes over time. But the others keep repeating, especially the actor who plays Carlos in this one and the dad in the previous one (K.N. Singh). Likewise Johnny walker. The next ones have Guru Dutt playing lead instead of Dev Anand.

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[roujin]: So why do you think this film failed, where as BAAZI succeeded at the box office?

[wormatwork]: Ah. I think a.) the central character is not immediately lovable. I think bollywood has had a tradition (to date) of either black or white central characters. The idea of a hero who is essentially dark and misled is a bit much to take.

[roujin]: Is that referencing the Geeta Bali character (to me, the main character) or the Dev Anand character?

[wormatwork]: I meant the Dev Anand character. Even if Maria is the main protagonist, he is the chief romantic interest and hence co-lead. Secondly, the setting is fringe. Goa is completely unlike the rest of India. Its easy for most Indians to dismiss it as a place that's infested with smugglers and drunkards and such. I dont think the end Christianity message helped either. It's possible (and hugely plausible) that Guru Dutt was a secular guy but I can't imagine the predominantly Hindi/Muslim audiences responding too positively to the Christ message at the end of the film. I think Dutt was interesting in capturing a certain milieu and I'm not sure that choice was good from a box-office perspective.

[roujin]: I suppose so. To me Dev Anand's character was acting more as an antagonist, a big bad wolf character, luring our virtous heroine to a life of sin/crime/god knows what. Not that romantic to me :D
[wormatwork]: I guess we see that differently :D. I think its excting being in love with the bad wolf :). Or can be, anyway

[roujin]: Well, yeah, that's the appeal, but the film has an ambivalent attitude toward it.
 I was probably in the mood to see someone get punished for falling carelessly and heedlessly in love. It was a saturday.

[wormatwork]: Agreed. I just didn't see him as the villain necessarily whereas you did? I am not surprised this didn't do well commercially. I don't think bollywood audiences were used to grey areas in terms of morality/ethics and this movie has lots of that. There's no neat happy ending.
It's also a lot more risque (to my mind) than many other bollywood movies from that time.

[roujin]: Well, the happy ending is a turn towards christianity.

[wormatwork]: Yeah, what mainstream bollywood audiences are used to (I'd imagine) is the hero and the heroine living happily together. Not both of them embracing jesus and him going to prison!

[roujin]: Yeah, it's a strange one. Maybe a little less successful in my eyes, for what I see as a betrayal of what it originally promised me. Perhaps that's why I couldn't go where it was taking me.
 I'd give it a 2/5.
[wormatwork]: I liked it more than you did. It’s a 3/5 for me.

p.s. While getting screenshots for this post, I realized that Guru Dutt makes a cameo appearance in this one as well. It's during the song where they're all joining forces to pull the net out.

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:02 pm
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ribbon wrote:
Neats. Perhaps I'll also use these as starting points, then.



come to Boston! I'lll make indian food and introduce you and we can watchie classic bollywood stuff!

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:04 pm
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So much Dutt goodness. :heart:


Thu May 31, 2012 1:04 pm
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more like Butt

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:04 pm
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char, you live in Boston? I had no idea! I'm in New York now, but grew up around Boston.

So, uh, cool! Carry on.


Thu May 31, 2012 1:04 pm
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charulata wrote:


come to Boston! I'lll make indian food and introduce you and we can watchie classic bollywood stuff!

are you threatening me with a good time?! <3

we really will, this year! finally started making moneys again, :).

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:04 pm
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flieger wrote:
Lagaan is easily the worst Bollywood film I've seen. Utter. Shit.


Probably has a great deal to do with my avoiding them.

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:05 pm
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seena buncha bolly

they ok

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:05 pm
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Derninan wrote:
char, you live in Boston? I had no idea! I'm in New York now, but grew up around Boston.

So, uh, cool! Carry on.


I've been here over 2 years now and reallly love it :). Whereabouts did you grow up, Dern? I'd move to NY in a jiffy except it seems so expensive. Boston seems manageable and has enough good movie / comedy / music stuff going on that I feel like it's okay to just stay here.

ribbon wrote:
are you threatening me with a good time?! <3


Yeah! Scary!

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:09 pm
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I grew up in the North Shore, Peabody area. Family's from Everett. And I lived on Huntington Ave for a spell - right by the MFA.

NYC is expensive; I live in Harlem, so that cuts costs a bit. :D

Are you in school, or working, or something else altogether? My first guess is always student or health industry, but pleasesayfilmpleasesayfilm


Thu May 31, 2012 1:20 pm
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I recently watched Satya. Relatively speaking it was good. But still the typical bwood drawbacks: too long, melodramatic, over acting, terrible editing.

flieger wrote:
Lagaan is easily the worst Bollywood film I've seen. Utter. Shit.


Now that is saying a lot.


Thu May 31, 2012 1:21 pm
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Looking forward to Satya.


Thu May 31, 2012 1:23 pm
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Derninan wrote:
I
Are you in school, or working, or something else altogether? My first guess is always student or health industry, but pleasesayfilmpleasesayfilm

I wish I could <3. I teach here. I could apply to NYC schools I spose but I'd likely save less / have less to spend overall. Zero relation to film sadly :(.

Satya is pretty good. Lagaan sucks.

Image
Baaz Guru Dutt, 1953


roujin: Okay, worm, been a while since the last time. Let's start this!
roujin: How did you like Baaz?
wormatwork: I really didn't like it much at all. I love the central premise of a woman who ends up leading a rebellion and falling in love with someone who is possibly the enemy.
roujin: I thought it was interesting. It certainly is a change of pace from the previous two films. Maybe slightly more successful to me than JAAL (probably because it isn't all cut up to hell).
wormatwork: You know I loved Jaal so this clearly didn't work as well for me.
roujin: Okay, a little plot summary. This is taken shamelessly from another website:
"Set in 16th century India, Baaz is the story of Prince Ravi (Guru Dutt) who lives with his mother the Queen in Malabar. Since Portuguese traders are in control of the state, the royal family is reduced to mere figureheads. Nisha (Geeta Bali) is the daughter of a revolutionary who, along with her father, is arrested by the Portuguese and sold as slaves on a ship. She witnesses her father's killing and becomes a revolutionary herself, takes over the ship and ultimately becomes the leader of the group. Each time she attacks, a Baaz (falcon) comes and sits on her shoulder; hence Nisha becomes known as The Falcon. Meanwhile, Prince Ravi is traveling by Portuguese ship to Portugal to be crowned by their Queen. Nisha attacks his ship and sparks fly in this romantic swashbuckler."
wormatwork: That’s a reasonable synopsis and encapsulates one of my favorite things about the film. Namely, the strong female protagonist who has to choose between her ideals and love.
roujin: Once again, we have a female protagonist; Geeta Bali, both times. In Jaal, one who throws caution to the wind to fall in love with a possibly bad guy. In this film, Bali basically becomes an action film badass and starts a revolution.
wormatwork: Those mutiny scenes (frequently song sequences) are amongst my favorite moments in the film. They're genuinely motivating and the way Guru Dutt shoots them, you can feel the momentum build up in the course of the song.
roujin: Yeah, she's definitely a strong female protagonist. When she's slighted, she breaks into the palace with bow and arrow in tow and threatens the general! My problem then is why does Geeta Bali's character all of a sudden get so weak?


Image



roujin: When Guru Dutt's character is introduced, the entire balance of the film shifts. It isn't her who is in control anymore.
wormatwork: I don't mind that per se. I can understand that her will is shaken once she falls in love with this man.
roujin: He almost toys with her because he knows that she likes him. She's in the palm of his hand.
wormatwork: Is that problematic for you?
roujin: It's a convention. I'm making more of a note of it than anything.
roujin: But her character did suddenly shift. After Bali and Dutt begin to butt heads, she's no longer in power. I feel like the film robs her of her agency when Dutt's character is introduced. She turns indecisive, her followers start distrusting her, etc. I almost feel her followers are right when they criticize her for not being a good leader because she's in love.
wormatwork: Absolutely but I also understand her wavering ideals once she's confronted with this man who is clearly so attractive to her but lures her away from her ideals potentially.
wormatwork: The character shift isn’t problematic to me at all.
roujin: Maybe it isn't the shift that's problematic per se, but just how sudden it is.
wormatwork: I think I just found it long-winded after that and the resolution all too simplistic. Turns out she doesn’t have to make a choice between love and duty after all. I didn't like that.
roujin: She attacks Dutt's ship, takes it over in a totally badass manner. She takes everyone prisoner, but then when it comes to Dutt's character, she's useless. She can't control him at all.
wormatwork: oh roujin, you're so unromantic.
roujin: Maybe I just wanted more uncomplicated swashbuckling. More of the sticking it to the man (screw those Portuguese!)
wormatwork: Yeah, I can see that. Those scenes were great. Especially when she gets into the palace.
roujin: Less of the romantic vacillations of these characters....
wormatwork: I lol’d a lot at the portrayal of the Portuguese as just slightly whiter and richer.
wormatwork: Overall, I just found the whole thing sillier.
roujin: The actress who spends her time frolicking with Dutt's character in the ship is just awful.
wormatwork: Yeah, she's not a great actress. I figured they picked her and lit her to look whiter than the rest of the cast.


Image



wormatwork: The other two films are mainstream as welll in their plot machinatons but have something to say about social strata and so on. This seems a lot more superficial to me.
roujin: Yeah. Dutt is clearly in the side of the oppressed here. But when the "enemy" as it were is so superficially handled, it just becomes a moot point.
roujin: It isn't a critique of anything, just a good guys v. bad guys sort of thing.
wormatwork: Yep, exactly. Whereas the other films have more nuance than that.
roujin: All we know about this situation is that the Portuguese are apparently terrible people who throw their prisoners into the sea.
wormatwork: lol, I can totally believe that somehow .
roujin: I was wondering if this was all based on historical record? I wanted to look this up and see if anything was based on fact.
wormatwork: The invasion and their taking over the market is based on historical records. The personalities are obviously fictional and hugely exaggerated
roujin: Like maybe there's some hidden critique or parallel with contemporary society that I was missing. But I grew so tired of K.N. Singh's caricatured bad guy thing that I ceased to care.
roujin: What's crazy is that in Baazi, where Singh's character is all shadowed and made too look like a criminal mastermind, the "bad guy" as it were has way more nuance.
wormatwork: Yep, agree completely. Even in Jaal, I think Dev Anan’d character has the bad guy has so much nuance. This movie feels cartoonish in comparison.
roujin: It's also just pretty damn slow. They only get around to finally pushing Bali and Dutt's character together about one hour in. And for like 45 minutes, they just hang around on the boat, Dutt just harassing Bali and making her realize that she loves him. It got on my nerves
wormatwork: That didn't bother me as much. But yeah, overall, this is the weakest of the marathon for me so far.


Image



wormatwork: Poor songs, weak central conflict, underdeveloped characters and exaggerated performances to convince us that the Portuguese are foreigners
roujin: My favorite marker of "evil" in this film was K.N. Singh's beard. Dude was rocking it.
wormatwork: loI. I dont really have much else to say.
roujin: And, for a film that's apparently about pirates and political intrigue and swashbuckling, it just isn't very exciting.
wormatwork: Like I said earlier, I found the mutiny scenes (two different song sequences I think) very fun but the rest were just okay.
roujin: The attack on Dutt's ship is exciting because you get to see Geeta Bali kicking ass and taking names. But outside of that there isn't much. Just some horses racing around and that's pretty much it.
wormatwork: Initially I found the little model ship cute but eventually it gets distractingly bad.
roujin: Actually, I thought that was an endearing quality. All you see is a little ship in the corner of the frame, rocking in the waves.
wormatwork: Oh , me too. Absolutely. For the most part, I was totally charmed by the toy ship.
roujin: But, to reiterate I wish the relationship between Dutt and Bali had been a little more equal. Yes, she does save him at the end and everything, but in their verbal sparring, she became a scared little lamb being pursued. Dutt doesn't help matters when he kinda smirks to himself because he knows he's charming her. It's a tired trope. And it disappointed me after the film promised me this totally badass heroine. That was my biggest problem.


Image



roujin: So, what would you give this film?
wormatwork: This is the weakest of the ones we've watched so far. So hmmm 2.5-3 / 5
roujin: I'll go 2.5 as well. It was fun watching Guru Dutt star in it himself, though.
wormatwork: Despite my underwhelming reaction to this one, am looking forward to more Guru Dutt starring films.
roujin: I'm curious as to how he'll develop as an actor in the following films.
wormatwork: ugh I guess i meant 2/5
wormatwork: His roles get more autobiographical in the latter films
roujin: Too low! Not even the falcon swooping in out of nowhere could raise that grade? D
wormatwork: I think he does better as the brooding artist than as the swashbuckling hero.
roujin: I thought what was interesting about the movie is that he wasn't the swashbuckling hero. It was the girl!
wormatwork: True but he's still a prince and brave and so on. Or so we're led to believe.
roujin: Whatever. All he does during the entire movie is just hang out on a ship.
roujin: So. Aar Paar is next. See you then.
wormatwork: Sounds good, roujin.

[center]/center]

[hr]

Not a lot for this film. We'll do better next time.

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:26 pm
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I watched Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge while I was backpacking India. This run down theater in Mumbai was showing it as a 10th anniversary thing. I hadn't seen it and thought it would be a cool experience. It was. Bunch of poor migrant workers enjoying the fuck out of the theater experience. Would make watching a comedy in a predominantly black theater seem tame. No racist.

You speak Hindi OP? Mine is ok. Still need subtitles.


Thu May 31, 2012 1:28 pm
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Trip wrote:
seena buncha bolly

they ok


titles!

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:29 pm
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What do you teach, if you don't mind me asking?


Thu May 31, 2012 1:29 pm
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Derninan wrote:
What do you teach, if you don't mind me asking?

Microecon.

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:35 pm
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charulata wrote:
Microecon.

Whoa, did you hear that? That was the sound of your area of expertise going way over my head. :D Anyway, sorry to hijack for a moment, glad you like Boston, it's a great city. And great thread!


Thu May 31, 2012 1:37 pm
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Taare Zameen Par 3/5

Probably the highest bwood film I'd rate.

3 Idiots was hilarious. I rarely ever find bwood films funny.

Rang de Basanti was disappointing. Did not live up to the hype.


Thu May 31, 2012 1:41 pm
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Duvidha | Mani Kaul | 1973

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:43 pm
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charulata wrote:

titles!

uh

Guide, Pyaasa, Pakeezah. Wow, coulda sworn it was more than that :\

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Thu May 31, 2012 1:46 pm
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Forgot about the greatness that is Satyajit Ray.

Apu Trilogy is great. But Pather Panchali (Song of the Road), the first installment, still stands out as an amazing achievement. Ravi Shankar's score is one of the best I've ever heard and doesn't get the recognition it should.


Thu May 31, 2012 1:55 pm
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http://i.imgur.com/siyZs.png
shiiiiit.

Definitely grabbing this.


Thu May 31, 2012 2:48 pm
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Bandini | Bimal Roy | 1963

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Nutan


Thu May 31, 2012 4:06 pm
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K.

There are actually interesting Indian movies in this thread, bravo!


Thu May 31, 2012 6:35 pm
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donlogan wrote:
Taare Zameen Par 3/5
3 Idiots
Rang de Basanti


All these movies are bad. So bad. The Aamir Khan factor.


Thu May 31, 2012 10:06 pm
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flieger wrote:
Duvidha | Mani Kaul | 1973

This looks amazing! I'll watch it tonight.

Also, good thread, everyone. I'm enjoying the conversations, old or not. :D

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Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:21 am
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I will verify that 3 Idiots is bad. Horrible.

I remember really liking Lagaan, but it was my first Bollywood film and it's been about 10 years so it may have just been the novelty of it. It may well be the "utter shit" that flieger says it is. It may also be that flieger is being flieger.

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Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:17 am
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Quote:
The evil thought of possessing the bride’s body overwhelmed the ghost with pity for her.

Duvidha was even better than it looked. Piercingly beautiful. Where do I go next with Mani Kaul?

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Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:02 am
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I've only seen Duvidha and Uski Roti, both of which are amazing. Blevs knows things though. You should ask him.

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Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:22 am
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I just tried contacting customer service and got re-directed to this thread...


Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:22 am
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Good morning, Mr. Ed. Thank you for holding. My name is Charlotte. How may I help you today?

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Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:49 am
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"Good morning"

Nice touch.

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