Showing posts with label Rishi Kapoor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rishi Kapoor. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Saagar - an Unexpected Favourite

A couple of weeks ago I saw Naseeruddin Shah at a TIFF Bell Lightbox event in Toronto and, among other entertaining topics, he talked about his experience shooting Kamal Hassan's Hey Ram!. Naseer complained that the make-up he was required to wear to play Gandhi was so elaborate that he could barely act from behind it. After refusing to wear some parts of the mask, he allegedly even told Kamal to play the role of Gandhi himself, since the actor's personality would not come through anyway because of the prosthetics. This made me laugh a lot because I've been complaining about Kamal's obsession with prosthetics for a long time now: it's distracting to the point where I can't enjoy his acting and it's been getting worse. I'm terrified of Vishwaroopam for that very reason. But anyways, all this to explain what made me decide to hunt down Kamal's older movies, from before all this make-up nonsense even existed. This is how I ended up watching Saagar. And good thing I did because it confirmed why Kamal is considered one of the greats in Indian cinema! I absolutely adored him.


Saagar reminded me a lot of Rangeela (though reminded is the wrong verb since Saagar preceded Rangeela by a good decade), minus the brilliant Pyaar Yeh and minus Jackie Shroff's bikini. You win some you lose some, I suppose. Saagar has a very similar love triangle: childhood friends Raja and Mona live in a fisherman's village where they have everything they need despite being poor. In comes Ravi, the rich heir to the developing fishing business, and falls in love with Mona. Ravi and Raja become friends without realizing that they love the same girl. And the story goes on from here.


Part of the reason why I can't stand older films is because they rely so heavily on silly plot devices to create over the top melodrama. So the whole time while watching Saagar I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. When Raja and Ravi start becoming friends and singing songs together I thought: Oh God, any minute now they'll discover they love the same woman and they'll start competing for her and turn into assholes. Luckily this fabulous song was not ruined by such a follow-up.


When Raja later confesses his love for Mona to Ravi asking for his advice on how to express his feelings, I thought: Here we go, cue in lame scene where one character confesses someone else's love while secretly confessing their own. And I know you know exactly what I mean which is why I won't even bother to clean up that sentence and make it intelligible. Surprisingly, that doesn't happen.

Finally, about halfway through the film, when Raja finds out about Mona and Ravi and he's running heartbroken on the beach I thought this is it, for sure he'll trip on one of those rocks, hit his head and fall into a coma that will prompt a guilty Mona to give up Ravi. And imagine my surprise when that didn't happen either! As it turns out, the entire movie was written with common-sense and, barring the occasional "nahiiiiiiin" and "yeh shaadi nahin ho sakta" scene, the filmi tropes didn't poke their ugly noses into the story in an offensive manner.


What I liked most about Saagar was that all the main characters make their choices based on their own moral compass. Not because of the family honour, not because of the societal pressure and certainly not because of emotional blackmail. Actually, for once, the emotional blackmail goes the other way! Do you have any idea how refreshing it is to see a movie like this coming out of the 80s? I mean, sure it has the required twists and turns later on, and yes, some of them employ some of those pesky tropes, but it is Bollywood after all, not even I would expect it to be completely devoid of melodrama. What's important is that the three main characters keep it real and honest, they speak their minds when needed and don't leave room for misunderstandings and silliness.

Dimple is so gorgeous in this movie, even more so than usual!

For once I never felt the need to yell at the TV or throw shoes at it. Believe me, this is a first for me while watching a movie older than 2001. Well, I did get bored towards the end when all the drama-shrama was happening (and coincidentally, that was also the time when Kamal wasn't around for a good half hour of the film), but hey, it's a small price to pay. Especially when you're bribed with exquisite filmi moments such as this one:


Saagar surprised me in more ways than one. It's also the first movie where Rishi Kapoor was completely out-charisma-ed by his co-stars. Dimple is always a joy to watch, especially when she's looking as glamorous as she does here (despite her "common girl" status, but hey, what's Bollywood without the designer clothes?), but the real star of this movie is Kamal Hassan who steals every scene, every song, every frame. He has these little gestures, this light in his eyes, these little eyerolls, chuckles and smiles, I tell you, I was mesmerized. Of course it helps that he was so easy on the eyes too back in the day.


For crissakes, he even pulls off the all-demin + unbuttoned shirt outfit! How many other actors can do that without looking like complete fools?


I don't think I'll ever subscribe to the belief that old is gold, but if a movie ever came close to swaying me, Saagar was that movie. And it feels right for it to be the first oldie to get a full blogpost around here. I wish more people would talk about it, but maybe it's not melodramatic enough. Oh well, it was just the right amount for me, so if you haven't already seen it, I highly recommend it!

Saagar (1985, Hindi)
Director: Ramesh Sippy
Starring: Dimple Kapadia, Kamal Hassan, Rishi Kapoor
Music: RD Burman

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Papa Kehte Hain...

No, you're not about to read a post about Aamir Khan's Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, though that is indeed the song that I'm referencing.



Because instead of making me think of Aamir Khan, this one makes me think of the most wonderful father-son pairing that ever graced the Bollywood silver screen: Rishi and Ranbir Kapoor. Ok, fine, so there's another father-son duo whom I am also ridiculously fond of (by the same last name too!), but we'll forget about that for the coming month. (Don't worry Shahid, I'm still working on how to skip work and see Mausam first day first show!)


I try not to follow them too much in interviews and such because no good things can come out of that, but these two always make me happy on the big screen.Yes, even young Rishi is adorable to me, though my experience with his loverboy antics is quite limited. I never know if that's a good thing or a bad one.

For some reason I always have a lovely time imagining young Rishi running around after a 7 year old Ranbir who is prancing and singing "Papa kehte hain bada naam karega" (Daddy says: he'll make a big name for himself) completely unaware of what destiny (and surely some family connections) had in store for him.

So now that I put that image in your head... Mwahahahaa!!! No really, whenever I think about Rishi playing daddy, I associate him not with what I read about him in the news, but with his aura in recent movies. Because my head is a giant melting pot of reality, fillums and everything in between, for me the Papa that the song above is talking about needs a face and that face belongs to Rishi Kapoor. Is it a completely false image? Oh yes, I am certain of it! But I give it to you anyway because... well, because who would not want a daddy with Rishi Kapoor's face and a mosaic of his characters from recent movies? You tell me after you read this!

Today I feel like playing, so putting Papa Rishi together will be my Cranium playdough challenge. Unfortunately this may mean that not everything will stay in place for long (especially when confronted with reality), but at least it makes for good fun. And what better way to start Kapoor Khazana, a month of celebrating the Kapoor clan, that with a little bit of sci-fi sculpting? Or clay playing... same thing.

So here we go, reaching for the dough... 3... 2... 1... aaaand Action!

The big blob of the body is red, because it's a colour that to me symbolizes the bonhomie that I always associate with Rishi's roles. He radiates it like Santa Claus radiates jolliness and I can't even pick one role where this comes through more or less because it seems to be everywhere, even in serious roles like Ali Beg in Delhi-6. Whenever I see Rishi appear, I start smiling contentedly because like a cup of hot chocolate he makes everything better.


The red body is completed by white limbs which symbolize wisdom, a trait I saw a lot of in his character in Love Aaj Kal. A father figure who's always there for you with good life advice and a sympathetic ear! He may laugh at you when you behave foolishly, but it'll never be with malice. Nothing short of ideal, I should say!

A wool sweater or a grey kurta a la Fanaa must absolutely convey a sense of warmth coming from playdough Papa Rishi who manages to be lovable even when drunk, or in the case of Fanaa, especially when drunk! Certainly a man who knows what's right and worries for his children but without being overbearing.


Finally, from Luck by Chance I took away some mischief, some sarcasm and also some street smarts and added it to the Rishi dough. And this will be... green, like a leprechaun. We'll add this shape as the nose because it's cute. Seriously no other reason. Ok, maybe because his nose should have grown double in Luck by Chance from all the monkey business he was wheeling and dealing. But luckily for him, it was all in good heart and I can't imagine any other actor who would have kept my undiminished sympathy all the way to the end of the film in this role.

Damn: time's up! I may not win this round of Cranium after all... Unfortunately, after all that, my play dough Rishi looks more like a blobby turtle...

Err.. So forget that! There's always the next round. But despite my failure in conveying my affection for Papa Rishi roles (which in my humble opinion is what he was born for), what I'm really trying to say here, in what is clearly too many words, is that it takes a particularly wonderful actor to always make me smile, and Rishi has definitely got it. So perhaps it's a good thing that I came to know him from his later roles instead of going the oldies way. Not sure if he would have been as endearing to me had I started off with say a love story with Madhuri. For me he'll always be Papa Rishi, running after a 7 year old boy and being the most pleasant friend a son could possibly want.

So are you still wondering what that has to do with the song? Other than that being someone's humming challenge at Cranium?


La la la la la... 
Dil ki duniya mein apna naam karega... 
(He'll make his name in the world of hearts)

Keep guessing, I won't tell you!

But I'll give you a hint: it's my cue for the next post in Kapoor Khazana dedicated to my favouritest Kapoor (from this clan at least): Ranbir!


Now excuse me while I go swoon over this picture for the next week or so!