Kudiyon Ka Hai Zamaana…


Oh !! yeah. I just completed watching Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. Certainly this is not the first time. It was probably nth time but its been atleast 5 years ever since I watched it. When it was released, it was Superhit Muqabla that announced the arrival of HAHK to me. And all I saw was Salman trying to hit Madhuri’s back with a catapult while chewing something very exaggeratedly. Cut. The guy in the audio store told me, “Sir, super paatu ellam. totally 14 songs sir.All top class”. Cut. My philips recorder repeatedly plays HAHK casette which I bought for 20 bucks. I still have it. Madhuri and Salman in a black dress on yellow background, the costume they wear during the song, Dhiktana Dhiktana. Salman’s leg raised upward and Madhuri to his left in a similar pose. Whoof !! What memory you should think. There are several movies, I couldn’t forget. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun is one of the topper in that list. Ask my sister and she would nod YES, alongwith me.

Noone could possibly write a review on HAHK. It isn’t a movie. It’s a musical and has all the ideal items to be packed in a commercial movie. It never pretended to be a movie elevating the artistry of cinema. It was just an hyperbolic version of a North Indian family. I had an ideal mom, ideal dad, ideal uncle, just a little not-so-ideal aunty and idealistic etcetras. The movie was idealistic to India. Indian films for many years have been hypocritical and idealistic to a large extent. We don’t like to have an incest uncle or a gol-maal daddy. Everyone are just as expected. Sooraj Bharjatya just ensembled those idealistic characters in one movie and presented it. We loved it. There was no villain except the stairs and the bad aunty. The stairs make Renuka Shahaney slip and she eventually dies. The aunty keeps jumping to sky in ego until our maama gives her/us a surprise slap. She is silenced after that like a bharathiya naari. Not just ideal human, even Krishna(our lord krishna) makes a cameo. Except for the magical ray from Krishna’s idol to the dog tuffy, they ring the bells and play a devotional BGM when the dog runs to collect courier from Madhuri which serves as the twist for the climax. These miraculous event knocks off the word kaun from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and plesantly completes the movie as Hum Aapke Hain !!

Well, if you are thinking, I’m subtly mocking at the movie, I am. But I love it. I am pretty sure of my liking. Some people don’t like to accept they like Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. Its like reading Sidney Sheldon all along and concluding him to be a trashy writer within friends. Infact, I have no idea to write anything more about the movie. I have enough to boast of about my HAHK experiences than talking about what size of banian Salman was wearing in the song, Pehla Pehla Pyar Hi, when he was effortlessly lifting Madhuri from the billiards board.

Infact, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun wasn’t released in parallel at Chennai. It came after 7 or 8 weeks and you know what, it saw more than 2 Diwalis in Chennai, meaning nearly 2 years. I was just completing my schooling and I went the first time to watch HAHK. All I know then about Surat Bharjaathiya was that he was the director. With violence occupying the bollywood scene at that season, HAHK was a breath of fresh air. It was like heaven to many. Pay 10 bucks, go inside watch a peaceful family. No big fights, no big aderanline pumping suspense, no gyrating manmatha raasa hips and ofcourse no big tearjerker story. Before I saw the movie the first time, I heard all the 14 songs, more than atleast 100 times, saw enough clips on TV and so I was expecting a treat. I got it. Though I felt, which bloody family has a swimming pool and a fountain inside the house, SPB and Madhuri took me by a storm. I couldn’t resist watching it again and again. In the 2+ years it ran, me and my friends used to go for a movie theatre to watch a new flick. Luckily we had some cousin’s friend or some landlord’s brother-in-law’s sister working in every theatre. So we got tickets we wanted. If not, NO PROBLEM. We came back to watch Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. I think it was more than 10 times in 2 years that I watched the movie just in theatre. Its more than 10 times, I’m positive because we counted. On my thoughts, I’ve seen Thalapathi more than 14-15 times in theatre. The last time, me and my friend couldn’t sit through Thalapathi. We knew every single shot, every single syllable uttered, every camera movement and the Mani Ratnam flick had nothing more to offer us. So we came out even before the intermission and handed over the tickets to two rag-picker boys and sent them inside the theatre for free. I saw Roja 8 times, Bombay 6-7 times, Alai Payuthey 6 times, Thiruda Thiruda 10 times[10 weeks; 10 times] and Gentleman 12 times. Why all that, I even saw Evanaairundhaa Enakenna 3 days in a row, in the same Sangam theatre and worse, same seat. I ain’t bragging. I’m positive. I was such a movie freak. Even before friends, I went to movies with noone. I went alone even during my 8th grade. 5 rupees in my pocket and I’m waiting first in the queue from 9:30 am in Shakthi Abirami to watch Anjali. Next day, same 5 rupees, Kizhakku Vaasal. Anjali again the very next day. Thanks to my mom who shed 5 bucks a day and cursed herself for unable to make me stop watching films. Neverthless, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was something that I could never forget.

Sitting for a matinee inside a hot chennai movie theatre, with atleast 500-600 people, it was only in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, I think I understood the essence of movie making. There are no technical lessons to learn. But I think I consciously started to loose myself for cinema with HAHK. It absorbed me. Transported me to the dreamy world. Threw me out of the teenage worries of school and college. And I owe Sooraj Bharjatya for that. The last few times, we started when Renuka was still rolling down from the stairs. If you always why do people start after the final song is over, they are the repeat audience and I was one with HAHK. HAHK was the talk of the day. Salman and Madhuri were teenage icons and if couldn’t sound the perfect ‘huh huh !!’ to a girl, you are a loser. I never could. But after the 5th time, when every single line of the song lyrics was on my mind, I started watching the other actors in a scene. Lets say in a scene, Madhuri is getting dressed and is the focus of the shot, I would be watching the girl sitting next to her. Because I knew what Madhuri was doing and wanted to know what the rest of the cast was upto in this largely over-populated movie that was a succes in a over-populated country.

My friend used to say, nearly everyone in Delhi saw Hum Aapke Hain Kaun twice. And I think it could be true. Even today when comparing to DDLJ which was another commercial potpourri with the legendary Shahrukh and Kajol, I think the songs and the entire spirit of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun is simply unbeatable. A movie, a classic, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun is.

Selected Reading

Official Website of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun

IMDB entry for HAHK

Memoirs on HAHK – Sooraj Bharjatya

HAHK Box Office – Did 2,341 shows in 847 days of its run at Mumbai’s Liberty cinema. It ran 105 weeks in regular shows and 16 weeks in noon shows.

Hum Aapke Hain Kaun Soundtrack
Maye Ni Maye – Lata Mangeshkar
Didi Tera Devar Deewana – Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramaniam
Mausam Ka Jaadu – Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramaniam
Chocolate Lime Juice – Lata Mangeshkar
Joote Dedo Paise Lelo – Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramaniam
Pehla Pehla Pyar – SP Balasubramaniam
Dhiktana – 1 – SP Balasubramaniam
Mujhse Juda Hokar – Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramaniam
Samdhi Samdhan – Lata Mangeshkar, Kumar Sanu
Hum Aapke Hain Koun – Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramaniam
Wah Wah Ramji – Lata Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramania
Lo Chali Main – Lata Mangeshkar

Cast (in credits order) –
Madhuri Dixit as Nisha Choudhury
Salman Khan as Prem
Mohnish Bahl as Rajesh
Renuka Shahane as Pooja Choudhury
Anupam Kher as Prof. Siddharth Choudhury
Reema Lagoo as Mrs. Choudhury (as Rima)
Alok Nath as Kailashnath (as Aloknath)
Bindu as Aunt
Ajit Vachani as Aunt’s Husband (as Ajit Vachhani)
Satish Shah as Doctor
Himani Shivpuri as Razia (Doc’s wife)
Sahila Chaddha as Rita
Dilip Joshi as Bhola Prasad
Laxmikant Berde as Lalloo Prasad
Priya Arun as Chanda’
Tuffy as Tuffy (The Dog)

Pretentious Parineeta !!

Parineeta Rekha

Parineeta isn’t what one would think it would be. Its worser than what you could imagine. Not only it reminds of many period flicks you have seen before but also makes you feel a copycatwill unleash itself without others needing to point out. Parineeta fails to evoke any emotions with the adapted version of the Bengali novel by Sarat Chandra.

Parineeta has loosely tied characters, a chewing-gum screenplay, fantastic BGMs, superb songs and of course real classy cinematography. It’s probably the cinematography and the art direction that makes people think it’s ‘classy’. Except both camera and theart, it sucks. Just production values and picture postcard shots cannot elevate a film if it fails to invoke any emotion at all. Just because there is an element of love triangle, Parineeta doesn’t become a Saajan. Infact it doesn’t even come close to Minsara Kanavu or KB’s Duet(which was a copycat stuff of Saajan).

The suspense starts right from the beginning when the audience start to figure out what kind of relationship the ‘married woman’ a.ka. Parineeta has on the just-to-be-married Saif. We are confused if parineeta hugs our hero with just lust as the motive or is there an ulterior intention for that. As the suspense unleashes, it’s starts to feel like Sense and Sensibility and reminds us of Kandukondain Kandukondain. The only difference is that the savior Sanjay Dutt is stinking rich whereas Mamooty of KK was just a limping war veteran. While the story takes an interesting turn, if you were to watch it till the end, nothing much happens. It all ends up in a loud ‘n’ lousy climax thats crowns the entire movie, its actual worth. The oldie Rekha is still a vamp and that song clearly was sounding like Hello Mr.Ethirkatchi of Iruvar.

The biggest crib is on the backdrop of the movie. The city Calcutta has got nothing to with this female Parineeta except that the original novel had Calcutta as the city. Just because you can shoot a wide angle focus and blurred shot on the hooghly bridge and just because you show random shots from Calcutta, the movie in no way is concerned with Calcutta’s people. Its just a way of extrapolating a simple girl love story to the city for which there is no relationship. Once you do that, at the end one can give a voiceover, As Parineeta gets married, the city of Calcutta was in a joyous mood. What nonsense !! Now that the director just made the backdrop of the story as 1960’s and Calcutta, what else could he do. Get all DVDs of 1960s and Calcutta relatedflicks and flick the shots. From Hey Ram to Devdas to even our Iruvar, there are tributes to many movies.

Even if you are as objective as possible, Parineeta is a pretentious film and let the Chopras try and make more Munnabhais than these stuff.

Muthal Mariyathai – Raja’s Finest

muthal mariyathai

Both Rajas, Bharathiraja and Illayaraja at their height of performance. One Raja setting the village scene for what seems like to be finest piece of storytelling effort while other Raja enriching the whole experience with the soul-searching flute. All this along with a wonderful cast that includes one of India’s all-time greatest actors, Sivaji Ganesan. I don’t know who steals the show and thats one reason why this film, watched nearly after a decade, blew me away. Despite shot with a shoe string budget which limits the story to a small village and a knee-deep pond, Muthal Mariyathai re-enforces storytelling capabilities and proves beyond doubt that storyline is a true hero.

A middle aged man falling in love with a girl who is younger than his daughter can’t be told more refined than this. The perfect setting of a village cast and an exotic romantic interlude of Ranjani form the rest of the film. Even when one would fail to notice the actual point in story when Malaichaami falls in love with Kuyilu, its Bharathiraja’s deft storytelling skills that makes you buy the middle aged man’s romance. Of course, the story gets a little twisted to still be politically correct that Malaichaami never shared bed with his original wife. I couldn’t overlook this defect yet I can understand the ‘thaaimaargal’ reason why Bharathiraja had to introduce this in the movie. I would have celebrated this as finest piece of cinema if only it was that way. But we know the limitations of film making in Tamil Nadu.

Bharathiraja paying a fine tribute to the university of acting, Sivaji, with the characterization Malaichaami gets him to under-play his role. One could not easily spot Sivaji’s best films for there are much more than what our memories can hold. Be it Uttama Puthiran or Bhaagapirivinai or Bale Paandiya or Kappalotiya Thamizhan, it tough to talk about Sivaji in less than 5 minutes. His role in Muthal Mariyaadhai is defintely a gem in the long list of best sivaji films. Raadha as Kuyilu and Vadivukarasi as Ponnatha share the accolades alongwith Sivaji. Without them in respective roles, I can’t imagine Muthal Mariyaadhai to be as perfect as now.

This is by far the one of best BGMs in Tamil film history. I ain’t exaggerating here. Just one shot, if you notice, you know why I’m so happy about Illayaraja’s BGM. The scene as the villagers start searching for Ranjani as she is killed by drowning in water. That flute just pierces you. Small pieces of BGM like these are all over the movie and I have to saw that this is Illayaraja’s finest. His second best is for Naadodi Thendral, again for Bharathiraja. If it is Muthal Mariyaadhai for Illayaraja it’s Swades for Rahman. These movies clearly show that the musician is excited about the project as there is always a special care in the BGM of every single shot. Malayasia Vasudevan and Illayaraja also kalaasifying the songs. Every song better than one another and it reaches the peak in andha nilaava thaan song where Illayaraja utters in husky voice, adi podi pulla, ellam duppu !!

Now that I’ve refreshed myself with Muthal Mariyathai, the next time when my mallu friends yap about mallu movies, I would hand them a recording of Muthal Mariyadhai and walk out. Rest understood.

Satyaraj, SJ Surya, Salman & Seattle

It’s becoming colder in Seattle. Its raining, windy and pleasantly cold. The kind of iira nilam that one would love to live. They have been telling me that as winter coses it, you would be terrible out of mood, blame it on the absence of sun. But for me it’s becoming the other way. I do enjoy the sun but the cold weather combined with semi-frequent coming of the rains. This evening it was so windy with rain drizzles that I had my spirits uplifted. A different kind of feeling, that for a moment, makes you forget projects, go-lives, status reports, MOMs and what not.

Offlate, I’m voraciously reading and unexpectedly all the books that were in a long library queue are just pouring in. Besides Ashokamitran’s Katuraigal Part 1, I’m having Rusdhie’s Shalimar the Clown on my left hand, Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat on my right hand and a lovely book that I wouldn’t disclose now. I want to certainly write a post on that special book.

Saw SJ Surya’s Ah Aha and namma Surya’s Ghajini. Ah Aha was loud, ugly and a sick movie. I’m planning to protest against Rahman tuning music for this dude. He has literally screwed up all the songs with crass creativity and glaring colors. The wide angle close-up shot is an overkill. The completely unrelated sentiment scenes seems to be targeted the thaaikulams while he was busy exploring the midriff of Nila. Does he think we are a bunch of idiots, watching his movie ? Ellyei !!

Satyaraj’s Englishkaran is one good movie in the recent times with some common sense. It’s typically a late 80’s flick with a storyline that we have seen a million times, Satyaraj’s satirical comedy rocks. If you can mock at the several happenings of Kollywood and Tamil Nadu politics, with a rehashed storyline, you could cast Satyaraj and make it into a hit, like this. Though we have seen similar movies from Satyaraj, watching truly crappy films from kollywood this year, this was a good time pass. The voluptuous Namitha portrayed as an athlete and she actually runs 100 meters in a tar road before she dies of the kollywood classic poison, arali vedhai. Though I’m not for this nuisance, I’m holding from cursing too much as Namitha Fans Association might actually protest to burn printouts of kirukkal.com. I ain’t ready for all that !!

Balachander’s Nizhal Nijamakirathu

[click to enlarge]

Watching K Balachander’s Nizhal Nijamakirathu, few things cleared up. One – this is one of those movies that truly exploited Kamal’s bharathanatyam talent. Two – We probably miss natural talents like Hanumanthu and Mouli in Kollywood, these days. Three – Other than the dancing part, Kamal smokes in every damn scene.

Offlate, I’ve been watching KB movies in a row. It all started with Jaathi Malli. I have questions on why Balachander directed the movie in the first place.. The movie sucked in very other aspect except for the interesting MadanBob /Dhamu sequences and Maragadamani’s music. Then it was Kamal’s Manmadaleelai, which was a mediocre effort by KB and Kamal, keeping in mind the classy films they were delivering at that time.

The storyline seems cliched now but in yesteryears it must have been a decently interesting one. More than the rape you-marry you story, it was the cast ensemble that elevated the pleasure of watching this flick. It had Kamal as a smoking communist with intelligent dialogues just like Sujatha‘s protagonist. Sarathbabu playing as usual, the sucker friend. Sumitra as the feminist and the classy Shoba playing her debut as a rich-dreams-poor-girl. These four characters alongwith Hanumanthu, Mouli and Oru veral Krishnarao make the entire movie cast. Its truly KB’s talent to blend these characters in a fashion that makes the movie interesting.

Hanumanthu is a gem of an actor. Natural talent. Not a single shot he seemed to ‘act’. The expression, body language and dialogue delivery was just perfect. I’ve seen him in other Mouli ‘s films but this was probably his finest performance. I’ve heard people talk about him but I’m not sure he was regarded as a classy actor in his time.

Though the entire film looks just like a stage drama, it was fun to watch Kamal play a semi-baddy. Kamal’s characterisation reminded me of Prashant ‘reverse-talking’ role in Agathiyan’s Kaathal Kavithai. If you could grab you hands on the video, you are certainly not wasting your time.