• Keaton Blogathon: Maryada Ramanna (2010) and Son of Sardaar (2012)

    Following some unanticipated travel and my obligatory changing-of-the-seasons bout of illness, I am unfortunately reporting for the Buster Keaton Blogathon late. With concomitant apologies, I present the promised offering: a discussion of two Indian adaptations of Keaton’s 1923 feature Our Hospitality. When the Telugu film Maryada Ramanna appeared in 2010, it sparked off a series … Continue reading Keaton Blogathon: Maryada Ramanna (2010) and Son of Sardaar (2012)

  • Khel Khel Mein (1975)

    Although I doubt I will rewatch Khel Khel Mein, I am glad that I stuck with it. It opens as an unfunny comedy; it later becomes a mystery that, while not particularly mysterious, is psychologically compelling. Individual moments, scenes, and songs—especially in that latter half—occasionally rise to the level of the transcendent. And if, like … Continue reading Khel Khel Mein (1975)

  • Alvida

    I don’t have anything eloquent to say; I’m not certain I have anything to say at all, except to observe that the Lata songs I have wanted to listen to today are not necessarily the classics. It seemed more important to hear her singing happy, hopeful words. (In case the link disappears: “Hum Dono Do … Continue reading Alvida

  • Milan (1967)

    An earlyish entry in the reincarnation genre, Milan justifies its choice to almost immediately reveal the fate of its first-generation characters. There is no suspense about what happened to them. Instead, most of the runtime is devoted to watching why and how it happened, questions that unfold slowly and with breathtaking visual beauty. Unfortunately, the … Continue reading Milan (1967)

  • Woh 7 Din (1983)

    Atrangi Re has been the controversial film of the day for precisely thirty days now.1 The first time that someone—Kirre, to be specific—described it to me sans twist, my unshakeable impression was that it sounded confoundingly like Woh 7 Din. Having now actually seen Atrangi Re, that impression was less literally correct than I had … Continue reading Woh 7 Din (1983)

  • Khud-Daar (1982)

    I can’t decide which of two scenarios is more likely. Did Khud-Daar spring from an excellent script that the exigencies of execution happened to garble? Or was the whole project an inherently shaggy mess that, though some sort of gambler’s fallacy, happened more often than not to strike gold? One scene might be taut, emotionally … Continue reading Khud-Daar (1982)

  • Safar (1970)

    The themes and character archetypes of Safar are so familiar that it seemed at times to be a dreamlike remix of other films. Out of careworn elements, it fashions a world vividly imagined and underpinned with hope. Should Safar have a thesis, it is that traveling through shame and struggle does not preclude one’s capacity … Continue reading Safar (1970)

  • Chorni (1981ish)

    A film of deliberately minor ambitions, Chorni can be uneven in execution but is always enlivened by a warm, well-intentioned heart. Chorni does not flinch away from its characters’ capacities for pettiness, greed, or harm. It does, however, celebrate them whenever they manage to soften the world surrounding them—even by minute degrees—into something a little … Continue reading Chorni (1981ish)

  • Bahu Begum (1967)

    I swear someday I’m going to stop getting suckered by Meena Kumari vehicles; Thursday, alas, was not that day. Bahu Begum is replete with beautiful images and music, along with story elements that—while they will not meet everybody’s tastes—address mine with laser-guided specificity. Perhaps I just wasn’t in the mood. Although the film hangs together … Continue reading Bahu Begum (1967)

  • Parampara (1993)

    To her readership, Margaret once posed the question: “What is your favorite Yashji movie?” Shyly, I commented that, of all of them I had seen, I found Dharmputra the most moving. The statement was disingenuous. After all, if she had asked what I thought Yash Chopra’s best movie was, I would have to have said … Continue reading Parampara (1993)