Bobby Jasoos (2014)

September 13, 2016

bobby-jasoosVidya Balan, in and as the eponymous jasoos? Sounds like a film right up my street. I somehow missed catching this in the theatres and then could not get my hands on the DVD. So when it showed up on youtube’s suggested videos last weekend, I had to see it right away. Even though it was 1:00am and sleep was threatening to get in the way. And I am glad that I watched. Yes, it is fun. Yes, it gets plus points for a story that focuses on a woman building her career and not letting such trivial things as cute men get in the way of her happily-ever-after. And yes, the film had its faults. But more on that later. First the good stuff.

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Zindagi Gulzar Hai (2012-2013)

April 30, 2016

In the two years I spent in India, I did my best to avoid becoming re-acquainted with Indian TV. From interminably boring soap operas and reality shows to horrendously banal “breaking news”, and “music channels” that play the same three songs on an endless loop, it was mostly bad. The only tiny little ray of sunshine on this dark horizon was was Zindagi – a new channel that telecast Pakistani series. I have very fond memories of old Pakistani TV series and was delighted to see some new ones. (They’re not a patch on my favourite dramas of yore, but that is a gripe for another day.) Today, I want to talk about one of the few new Pakistani series that I liked quite a lot. Zindagi Gulzar Hai is an interesting romantic series starring the oh-so-good-looking Fawad Khan (yes, I admit that that was my main motivation for watching!). It is very well made, with a strong female character, lots of believable drama and a happily-ever-after end. It does have some major flaws (more on that later) but on the whole, it is a lovely series and, more importantly, way better than anything else I saw on Indian TV.

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Back from the long hiatus!

April 27, 2016

Its been two years since my last post. I kept meaning to update but it never happened. Its been a time of lots of changes. In 2013 I moved from Canada to India, and in 2015, I moved back to North America (USA this time). New place, new career, new life, but one thing remains the same – my love of movies! And now that I am (almost) settled in my new life, its time to revive my blog. Time to get back to masala-land and work those suspension-of-disbelief muscles! Want to join me? Here is something to get you started – Balraj Sahni in Johnny Walker’s role and lip-syncing to Mukesh (it should have been be Rafi!) from the film Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere.

Bhowani Junction (1956) – Raj romance the way it should be!

September 28, 2014
Bhowani Junction poster I’ve always been keen on watching foreign films set in India, though I’ve seldom liked them! They’re either too Orientalist or too boring – frequently both. In spite of that, it’s hard to resist the pull of seeing India through an alien lens. Bhowani Junction was one of the first set-in-India English language films that I ever saw. I’ve compared every subsequent film of this kind against it, and found it wanting! It’s not because Bhowani Junction eschews Orientalism/Colonialism altogether, but because these are kept in fairly good check, and the fast-paced and interesting narrative keeps me too occupied to brood upon the flaws.

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Seeta Aur Geeta (1972)

September 15, 2014

Once upon a time in masala filmland, families/siblings were routinely torn asunder (usually in Kumbh Mela, accidents or by the machinations of the evil villain) and brought together years later through inevitable coincidence. Sadly, families always seem to stay together these days. Be that as it may, as a card carrying member of Bollywood’s families-torn-apart-and-re-united party, I was, naturally, always alert to the possibility that I have missing family out in this big bad world. But it was in blogland that I finally met my long-lost masala sisters – Anu (Conversations Over Chai) and Madhu (Dustedoff). Anu and Madhu found each other years ago. My masala sibling-ness took a while to manifest itself – Anu and I both lived in Bombay, Madhu and I both live(d) in Delhi, all three of us had (mostly) the same thoughts about movies/songs/actors/books. But when Anu and I watched the same movie (five years apart) and found ourselves making the same comments on the film, it was time to face up to the truth – we were bicchdi behne indeed!

A re-union of masala sisters does not happen everyday. To celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime re-union, we decided to watch our favourite masala re-union stories. In order to spare you reading about the same movie thrice (of course, we all chose the same movie to review!) Anu decided to watch Yaadon Ki Baaraat (three brothers separated in childhood by an evil villain), Madhu went for Johnny Mera Naam (two separated brothers) and I settled for my favourite twin-sisters-separated-at-birth film.

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The Thief of Baghdad (1978)

August 24, 2014

I must admit that I have never outgrown Arabian nights tales with handsome princes and flying carpets, especially when the handsome prince happens to come in the form of young Kabir Bedi. So when I became aware of the existence of this film, I immediately turned to my trusted resource – youtube. Imagine my delight when I found the entire film on youtube, in a fairly watchable print! Naturally, I want you all to be aware of it, too! Nothing like a good old-fashioned fairy tale to while away the hours, or chase away the blues! So, here goes…

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Guest post: Makeover of the filmi doormats

June 11, 2014

Dear readers, I have been very tardy about writing new posts, lately. (It’s mostly the fault of the hot Delhi summer which makes it very uncomfortable to use my laptop.) So, when Ruchi, a regular Masala Punch reader, told me of her tragic encounter with a doormat (of the reel type), I immediately spotted a blog post in her and made every effort to encourage her writing. In the end, it turned out to be a joint effort, since neither of us had the time or the energy to do all the research on our own. Today we have for you a list of five filmi doormats and how we wish they had turned out. Over to Ruchi: 

I still remember the days when I was completely hooked on to Dhoop Kinarey, a Pakistani tele-serial that held my imagination with the brilliant romance of the impetuous Zoya with the oh so serious Ahmer Ansari. So when I recently came across a ‘new’ (new for me i.e.) Pakistani tele-serial on You Tube – Humsafar – which had apparently been a hit in Pakistan, I was immediately interested. The beautiful Khirad (Mahira Khan) and her blossoming romance with the handsome Asher (Fawaad Khan), the understated melodrama, so unlike what the likes of Ekta Kapoor are dishing out on the Indian TV screen, was seductive. So what if Khirad had a tendency to cry every episode, she was khuddar (self-respecting), we knew that from the very first episode. And anyway she did cry with such panache that you just had to admire it. And yes, Asher couldn’t stand up to his manipulative father but you can’t quibble with every tiny thing! The story had to start somewhere! 

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