Baap Janma – a father makes amends

Another brilliant gem from Marathi cinema, this Sachin Khedekar starrer is a must watch. Bhaskar Pandit (Khedekar) has spent his life keeping his family at arm’s length, for reasons he thought valid. His long absences and seeming detachment has led to his kids – now grown up, with families of their own – to be estranged from him since his wife’s demise.

Bhaskar is diagnosed with cancer of the brain with not long to live. He now wants to make amends and mend the bridges with his children but it seems he has left it too late. So he chooses a dramatic way to do so.

Written and directed by the talented Nipun Dharmadhikari, Baap Janma is fast paced, heartwarming with fabulous performances. It is up on Amazon Prime Video. Don’t miss it.

Advertisements

Weekend Recommendation – Chupke Chupke

chupke chupkeThis is another oldie that I love. I’m sure everyone would have watched it, but why not revisit this humorous classic and  keep yourself smiling through the weekend.

Chupke Chupke was directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, known for his simple, realistic yet light hearted comedies. This one is about a Botany professor Parimal Tripathi (handsome Dharmendra) falling in love and marrying a Botany student Sulekha (the charming Sharmila Tagore). Sulekha is very fond of her much older Jijaji (the cracking Om Prakash), who prefers people who speak ‘shudh Hindi’ and boasts of being able to judge people in one meeting – “aadmi ko soongh ke pehchaan lete hai”. Parimal is jealous of Sulekha’s fangirl chatter about ‘jijaji’ and decides to call his bluff. He pretends to be a ‘Vahan chalak’ (driver) – Pyaare Mohan, who speaks only shudh Hindi  – and work for jijaji,  to see if he can get away with it.

Initially, Jijaji is happy with Pyaare Mohan’s shudh Hindi. However, what ensues is a daily onslaught of Pyaare Mohan asking jijai questions about the English language. Questions like why do all words like aap, tum, and tu have only ‘you’ as an option? How can you show respect for elders then? Another gem is ‘if T, O is pronounced as too, D,O is doo, then why is G,O go and not goo??? So much so that Jijaji starts avoiding Pyaare Mohan.

Amitabh Bachchan is Professor Sukumar Sinha, Parimal’s friend and a professor of literature. He is roped in to pretend he is Parimal Tripathi, to meet Sulekha’s didi and jijaji. Sukumar meets and falls in love with Jaya Bachchan, a Botany student who insists he give her lessons in Botany (since she thinks he is Parimal Tripathi). Sukumar’s attempt at explaining what is the corolla of a flower is hilarious.

Every character is superbly etched, whether it’s Asrani as Parimal’s friend Prashant Srivastava or Keshto Mukherjee as the alcoholic driver James – who annihilates the Hindi language with his ‘ayenga’, ‘chalenga’, ‘lafda’ etc.

The film is not only funny through and through, it also gives us a crash course in the Hindi language. Hrishida’s brilliance, Gulzar’s writing and all the actors giving their best performances make this movie a timeless classic, to be watched over and over again. Starting this weekend.

#chupkechupke #comedyfilms #weekendrecommendation #whattowatchthisweekend

 

 

The Next 5 Short Films to Watch

Last year I had posted my first list of 5 ‘must watch’ short films. Since then I have watched several others and have curated a list of five shorts I think are in the ‘not to miss’ category –

  1. Khujli – Jackie Shroff and Neena Gupta star in this funny short about a middle aged couple who are looking for ways to re-ignite their love life. Inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey, they try their hand at ‘kinky’ with hilarious results. Watch it here
  2. Kriti – Manoj Bajpai and Radhika Apte star in this psychological thriller, directed by Sirish Kunder. Sapan (Bajpai) talks to his psychiatrist Dr. Kalpana (Radhika Apte) about his girlfriend Kriti (Neha Sharma), who suffers from agoraphobia (a fear of people and places). Dr. Kalpana is convinced that Kriti is a figment of Sapan’s imagination, just like his previous girlfriend Rachna. Now Sapan has to prove Kriti exists…..Watch it here
  3. Chutney – Anita (Tisca Chopra) is a dowdy house wife married to Adil Hussain, a man with a roving eye. Most of the film is around a conversation between Tisca and Rasika Dugal (a typical small-town beauty with a sense of entitlement), as they enjoy hot pakoras and a special ‘chutney’. Anita comes across as a subdued woman, accepting her lot in life – till she calmly starts explaining why the chutney is so tasty. Creepy! Watch it here
  4. Carbon – This is the first Sci-Fi short I’ve seen. Set in 2067, this dystopian film brings to light a scary, but possible future, where oxygen is a prized commodity and water more precious than gold. Starring Jackky Bhagnani and Nawazuddin Siddiqi in a tiny role, its an interesting take on what the world can come to if we’re not careful about Earth’s resources. Watch it here
  5. Mumbai-Varanasi Express – This one is very similar to the movie Mukti Bhavan. Darshan Jariwala, a wealthy businessman, is diagnosed with last stage cancer of the colon, with no more than a coupe of months to live. He decides to spend his last few days in Varanasi. It talks about how moh-maaya (love and attachment of worldly things) is the root of suffering. Watch it here

Chashme Buddoor (1981) – Weekend Recommendation

I’ve recently bought the Amazon Fire Stick that enables us to watch Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hot Star and other movie apps on the TV. And that has been the best thing to happen for my movie watching. Within one week, I saw no less than 5 movies – random picks from old to new, and across languages. Of these, here is one I recommend as a must watch this weekend –

 

544252_177648705715999_1082293941_n

Chashme Buddoor –  I’m talking about the 1981 original one, not the horrible remake of
2013. Starring the Late Farooq Shaikh, Deepti Naval, Rakesh Bedi and Ravi Baswani, this is a delightful comedy directed by Sai Paranjpe. The story is about 3 friends sharing a flat in Delhi. Two of them (Bedi and Baswani) are the ‘chaaloo’ types, forever trying their luck to ‘patao’ girls – not very successfully, while the third one, shy and ‘susheel’ Farooq looks on amused. A new girl (Deepti Naval) moves into their neighbourhood and the two scoundrels try their hand at wooing her, but fail. However, to hide their humiliation, they make up stories about their trysts, painting the girl as a ‘fast’ one. Soon Farooq meets and falls in love with Deepti, not knowing it is the same girl his friends were talking about. The friends are envious and try to break it up until they realise how much their friend is really involved.

The beauty of the film is in its simplicity. Also, the era in which it was filmed, lends it a certain innocence. The banter between the friends, the urdu poetry spouted by Rakesh Bedi, the sharing of innumerable cigarettes between friends and even the attempt at ‘patao-ing’ girls is something that makes you smile, not cringe.

Farooq Shaikh and Deepti Naval are superb and have a certain chemistry that we enjoy watching. Rakesh Bedi and Ravi Baswani are fun and add the humour. Saeed Jaffery plays Lallan Miya, a Panwaala, who is always chasing the three friends for the money they owe him, but also has his heart in the right place.

Sai Paranjpe was a master at taking simple stories, realistic characters and day-to-day interactions and churning out heart warming entertainers.

I recommend watching Chasme Buddoor – whether for the first time or again – this weekend.

 

 

 

Russian Rendezvous

It is well known that you can travel the world through books. I, for one, have travelled to about 25 countries through books. This summer I travelled to Russia through 3 books – a sort of time travel, as they all were Historical Fiction.

 

  1. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons – This is the first of a trilogy – a story of two young star-crossed lover Tatiana and Alexander, set in Leningrad during World War II. It follows the trial, tribulations and tragedies the two lovers face as Leningrad falls under siege. This story brings to light what the people of Leningrad faced at that time – the cruel winter, depravity and sheer helplessness as thousands died of cold and starvation. The love story is beautiful and makes you want to read the next one.
  2. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – Set in Russia soon after the Russian Revolution, the story chronicles the life of a Russian Aristrocrat Count Alexander Rostov, who was placed under house arrest in the Hotel Metropol, Moscow, for 32 years. This book shows how a once grand city of Moscow, and the country Russia for that matter, slowly declined into a dull, drab, communist USSR.
  3. Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yeltsin – This one is a children’s book – a story of 10 year old Sasha who lives in a communal apartment with his father. This gives us a glimpse of how life was in the USSR in the 1950s, when everything was state owned. Food shortage and long lines were the norm. By this time Stalin had become paranoid and everyone was suspected of being a spy, arresting and incarcerating even his most trusted men on the slightest, often misguided, suspicion.

These 3 books have made me more aware of the History, culture, lifestyle of Russia at different times. From the pomp and grandeur of the Tsars to the desperate times during World War II to the failed experiment of communism – Russia has had an intense journey. I’d love to read a book that shows life in contemporary Russia now. Any suggestions?

A book that gives you travel and hunger pangs

44259I’ve just finished reading the book A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle and I am in a bad shape – literally and figuratively. I have recently put on a lot of weight for which I do blame the month of lazing around along with a week in Europe spent eating and drinking without considering the repercussions. But another reason for this sudden piling up of pounds is this book! Let me tell you why. Continue reading

Four Fabulous Films for Children

There aren’t too many films made especially for children. If they are, they are mostly animated or from the fantasy genre. Realistic films are somehow not considered entertaining enough. However, every once in a while, an enlightened soul makes a gem – a film for children, about children. A film that children and adults alike can watch – should watch – and appreciate good storytelling and cinema.

Here are 4 such films – all having a common theme of siblings on a quest. Continue reading