Monday, October 24, 2011

Film Review - HAMRAAZ

What makes me happy are very simple things. One of them happens to be a good 60's film watched with expectations met.

And there's nothing like a good story backing up as to how the films end up in my possession. For example, Masculin Feminin was sold to me at Borders Riccarton for $5 instead of the marketed $35. The guy at the counter told me, You're lucky, this one is going for $5. How overjoyed I was.

Sure enough, Masculin Feminin ended up being one of my favourites. Stories behind the acquisition adds to the magic..

Yesterday, I went to the Indian supermarket just to have a look. I ended up buying some chips and Haldirams, and a set of 3 movies from the 60s. When I went up to the counter to pay, the man there (who was probably in his late 40s) said to me," Are these movies for you?" (Because clearly I didn't look like the Hindi movie type.) So I said, "Its for my flatmate." (Most times I just never mention that I am from India, not because I am not proud to be one, but because I don't want to go through the ordeal of explaining how I become to be Indian, and how 'my people' are Indian and yet not very 'Indian' and how I can still speak and understand Hindi.) So I lied, "My flatmate loves these movies..." The shopkeeper said, "Well, hats off to your friend. No one watches these movies these days. These are great great films! I take my hat off to your friend!" Not only was I overjoyed to know that they were great movies to watch, but I was glad that the shopkeeper, who obviously knew his films (being a middle aged man from India), took my hat off to the flatmate - which of course was me.

Hamraaz is one of the 3 set DVD that I bought. 

If I am to sum this film up in a sentence, I'd say - Hamraaz is a whirlwind of twist and turns that only Bollywood can offer of its best kind, from Darjeeling to Bombay to Ooty, from Raj Kumar to Sunil Dutt to Vimi to Mumtaaz.

I really really enjoyed it. There was class. There was music which resonated nostalgia when it was necessary, and caper thriller when it needed it. A hope-less love story turned into a thrilling drama of a murder case... You are taken from Darjeeling with its magnificent backdrop of Mount Kangchendjonga to Bombay's theatrical sets to cool serene Ooty. It was a joy watching Raj Kumar with his nonchalant army officer suave entrance Vimi, the pretty and demure one, who in turn, got Sunil Dutt, with his worldly look and feel, madly in love with her, and then finally Mumtaaz, the good hearted stage actress who remained in the background and still looked beautiful enough to steal the hero's heart at the end.

I'm really glad I bought Hamraaz.

The other two films in the set are Dhund (starring Zeenat Aman and Danny Denzongpa) and Waqt (also starring Raj Kapur, Sunil Dutt, Sharmila Tagore and others). Can't wait to watch them.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Book Review - The Catcher In The Rye

The Catcher In The Rye is a funny and at the same time sad book to read. It is something in the lines and legacy of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer except this one goes deeper than the surface and is not so idealistic as the Mark Twain's classics. It tells things for what it is, as seen through the eyes of this guy from Pencey (a school) who has just been given the can. 

Not to be let down, he decides to embark on this glorious adventure of liberation and freedom for a few days in New York on his own. He would get drunk, visit women, take it easy, rule the night away. Perfect beatdom in theory. But this is still a young guy and still under the bonds of the limitation and guidelines of his own making as well as of the society. He outsmarts everyone that tells him that he has screwed up his life and is heading for doom (right from the very first chapter to the final episode). But then one can never outsmart oneself and in time he comes to face up with reality and the starkness of his own situation.

The only person that he genuinely cares for is his sister. And it is through his sister that he comes to terms with himself. It wasn't salvation. It wasn't anything miraculous. Just a genuine affection, love for another person despite his messed up outlook of life.

It is hilarious in most pages. I laughed out loud many times. I think it was the honesty and bluntness. Well deservedly one of the best hundred books of all time. 

But if you ask me (say, books are paintings), if Wuthering Heights is a stately painting of Queen Elizabeth, The Catcher In The Rye is more like a street graffitti that city officials wish they can get rid of but instead have turned it into heritage/literature to dissect it and study it so much that all life is sucked out of it. The honesty in the way it is written has turned to a 'style' of literature. The heroical ideas of liberation, turned into a 'phase' of literature. 

Anyway. Great book. A book lover needs to read this atleast once in his life time. Might not be everyone's cup of tea but well worth a try.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Take care, be cool, relax, enjoy the blessing of God."
Haha isn't that the best advice ever?