There’s something soulful about Guru Dutt. Chaudhvin Ka Chand, or Full Moon as it appears on Imdb.com, is the third of his films I’ve seen and in each one the actor brings an intensity, but also a sense of sadness, to his characters – even in a fun and frothy film like Mr & Mrs ’55.
In this he stands out from other legends of early Hindi cinema like Raj Kapoor, with his Chaplinesque energy, or, particularly in his early films, the matinee idol presence of Dilip Kumar.
This intensity of Dutt’s is evident in Chaudhvin Ka Chand – and not just because of the internal conversations he has with himself towards the end. Continue reading
Mere Mehboob (My Beloved) doesn’t get off to a good start, beginning with a ponderous title song I thought would never end.
Starting out with what looked like it would be a slow, predictable love story, I wondered how it could be sustained over three and a bit hours most Bollywood film run to. Thankfully the film quickly picked up, adding elements of family strife, heartache and villainous ambition to the mix.
It also culminated with rather a ‘Thomas Hardy’ section, where multiple plot twists are swiftly tied in the space of the last couple of pages after the story has spent rest of the book meandering along. Continue reading
Memories of the frankly dull supernatural film Mahal were still fresh in mind when I watched Madhumati. Although it too was billed as a ghost story, I needn’t have worried.
Despite one “I’m sure I’ve been here before” style flashback and one ghostly appearance, Madhumati concentrates on familiar filmi territory rather than spurious supernatural shocks.
The majority of the film covers the tragic rural love story of Dilip Kumar’s newly-appointed estate manager Anand and Vyjayantimala’s Madhumati, the young woman Anand’s callous employer Raja Ugra Narayan (played by Pran) lusts after.
Pyaasa is justly lauded as a masterpiece of 1950s India cinema. It’s a fantastic film whose melancholy twists and turns make for a refreshingly individual film.
Written, produced, directed and staring Guru Dutt, the 1957 film was his follow-up to the commercial success that was Mr & Mrs ’55 and he used the rewards from that film to make a darker counterpart.
Pyaasa sees Dutt play an unemployed poet and, following his unemployed newspaper cartoonist in Mr & Mrs ’55, you’d be forgiven for thinking Pyaasa was set to follow its predecessor’s pleasingly familiar story arc. Continue reading