Who can resist a comeback film? Here was an actress who made only one super-hit picture when she was 16 and was coming back after 12 years to the industry, having been married, a mother of two children and divorced in this span of time. There was so much hype surrounding this reappearance that we were all impatiently awaiting its release. (Edit: My thanks to my friend who has pointed out that Saagar was not the comeback film, there were a couple of films in 1984 that Dimple acted in. But I have no recollection of them, nor, I think, do the general movie-watchers in India. Saagar remains the comeback in my mind).
The film did not disappoint. At 28, she looked more beautiful than she did at 16 and her life experiences made her a better actress. The male leads, Kamal Haasan and Rishi Kapoor, were both convincing in their roles. Dimple and Kamal Haasan went on to win Filmfare awards for their performance. There were some good performances by supporting actors too, Nadira, Hangal and Saeed Jaffrey in particular.
I was pleased to see that Sippy Films (the producers) now have a Youtube channel and have uploaded a number of their films. I settled down to re-watch the film after more than 25 years. Love triangles in films always makes me take sides (not necessarily at sync with the story!). Did you see Its Complicated and thought at the end ‘yeah Meryl, the better choice but he is so BORING!’? I did. Now here are three talented actors, all of whom I like individually. Who is going to make me take their side, I wondered..
My impressions :
Kamal Haasan’s performance was very good but I found his accent and intonation disturbing. I am a great fan of his older films in Tamil but dialogue is very much part of a film, and when that disturbs….
The older Kapoors were all blessed with a natural charm and screen presence. A good many of them were also cursed with a weight problem The two men are just a couple of years apart. While Kamaal looks young and athletic, Rishi is already starting to look podgy, poor fellow!
Is male bonding always over alcohol in Hindi films? I call in the name of good health for some Nimbu Paani bonding!
Again and again we see Hindi films showing the rich as horrid people and the poor as saints. I am so tired of it. For a change, can we not see lovely rich people and rather horrid poor people? Surely the law of averages would offer us a similar number of each type?
But as to taking sides, I found it difficult. Kamaal has some good dialogues : इनसान बनना सब के नसीब नहीं होता, कुछ लोगों को देवता बनना पड़ता है and यह प्यार नाकाम हुआ है, ख़त्म नहीं . Wah Wah Akhtar sahib!! But I hate how in Indian films with a love triangle, the guys try to ‘give’ the girl to each other as if she were a thing and her choice didn’t count. And anyway there was so much melodrama towards the end that I was annoyed with the lot of them and didn’t much care who got the girl!!
The music by R.D.Burman was good and the lyrics by Javed Akhtar was very nice in places.
O Maria – Asha Bhonsle, S.P.Balasubramaniam. A lively enough tune with Kamal and Dimple doing some nice steps. Much as I love SPB singing Tamil or Telugu songs, his Hindi accent bothers me….hmmmmm…..
Saagar Jaisi Aankhon Wali– Kishore Kumar. I loved the song when I heard it first and I love it still.
Yoohin Gaate Raho – S.P.Balasubramaniam and Kishore Kumar. Great opportunity to take sides. As far as I am concerned, Kishore outsang SPB and Kamaal outdanced Rishi! But the song doesn’t appeal that much to me.
Saagar Kinare – Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar. Its a aaaaah moment when Kishore sings तू जो नहीं तो मेरा कोई नहीं है .. Kishore won the Filmfare award for this song.
Saagar Kinare (sad) – Lata Mangeshkar. I do prefer the happy version. The cinematography in the dusk is simply lovely! The film won an award for cinematography too.
Jaane Do Na – Asha Bhonsle, Shailendra Singh. Shailendra sounds good, pity his career went nowhere. The song..I can pass.
Sach Mere Yaar Hai – S.P.Balasubramaniam. Not to my taste.
I remembered the movie as being refreshingly different when I saw it first. ‘Will it feel the same on re-viewing?’ I wondered, as I slid the DVD in. It did not disappoint. Its story is predictable enough but there is a feel to it which is indeed unique. It was longer than I would have liked it but then its a Hindi film. A few things which caught my attention:
Akshaye was good! He plays his role very low-key and still makes a very good impression. Why is his career in the doldrums ten years on?
One end of Akshaye’s lips go up when he smiles and the other end dips!! Reminds me of Mowgli from Jungle Book !
Saif was leaner than he is now..suits him better. And he has legs made of Jello –check out his dancing in Koi Kahe.
Hasn’t Saif played ‘my heart on my sleeves’ role a bit too often?
Aamir Khan is always good but..… I suppose I didn’t sympathise with his character like I did with the other two. His fault? or is it the script?
The ladies are decorative. Dimple has a good role but its too small to make an impact. Preity makes a better impression.
Is it a film worth watching? Yes!
The music felt very young when I heard it first. Given my taste for old fashioned music, I might not have listened to it very often but for the fact the my husband was addicted to it and played it non-stop in his car until I begged him to stop! But I did listen to it often and it made an impression. On seeing the movie this second time, I found much to like in the music. This album was a turning point for the composing trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, whom I admire very much. They have gone on from strength to strength since then. The lyrics by Javed Akhtar are very good indeed. Click here to listen to the whole album.
Dil Chahta Hai – Shankar Mahadevan. The title song is a male-bonding-on-the-road song, an old Bollywood tradition! Nice beat, I love the instrumentals. Definitely East-meets-West but well done.
Jaane Kyon Log – Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan. This song makes me home-sick for Australia! Shot in Sydney, the locales are stunning. Kudos to the music directors for incorporating the sounds of a Didgeridoo. The music is unique and the lyrics tell the story well, showing the two opposing perspectives that the protagonists have.
Woh Ladki Hain Kahan – Shaan, Kavita Subrahmaniam. I laughed aloud when I saw it the first time and it still makes me smile. Retro dancing and styling, Saif and his Dev impersonation, a most obviously studio-shot driving, a bit of Spanish influence and best of all, a most ridiculous hand flapping dance – its all so endearing!! Shaan and Kavita sound excellent. Of all the songs in the album, this is the one I associate with this movie.
Kaisi Hai Yeh Rut – Srinivas. Gentle music to suit a gentle song.
Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe – Shaan, Shankar Mahadevan, Kay Kay. Another East-West synthesis, this song works very well indeed. A dance song where the three male leads get to strut (really!) their stuff, it has a very youthful feel and a great beat.
Tanhayee – Sonu Nigam. A song of loneliness and sadness, it is very well sung by Sonu. The composition is lovely and Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are on the nose. I like how Sonu well emotes with his voice. There is a charming flute interlude which reminds me of Payalein Chunmun from Virasat. A bit of inspiration perhaps?
As usual I am in a dilemma, a song to smile or a song to cry? I like them both..so here they are. Hope you enjoy them.
I was in grade 8 then. It was art class. As usual, most of the class was not serious about my very favourite subject but I was paying attention to my work and enjoying myself nonetheless. Then I overheard the boys in the next table discussing Bobby, talking about Dimple in her bikini scene, considered bold at that time. Their comments got more and more salacious. Like a ‘good girl’ I behaved as if I heard nothing; that’s how I had been taught to behave. But inside I was upset and bewildered. I must say that I was very protected at home and quite young for my years. I didn’t know the term ‘objectification of women’ then. Even if I had known it, I would not have had the guts to turn and confront the boys.
That day left a mark in me. It was a growing up of sorts and not in a good way. Was this how all boys viewed girls? I was repulsed and became very wary of boys in general, never viewing them as friends but as some kind of danger. It got reinforced many times after that, the worst being when I went to university and had to put up with the treatment men gave young girls in crowded Delhi buses. It would be called molestation anywhere else in the world, in India it went by the misnomer ‘eve-teasing’ as if it were something to smile about. How did we come out of it without being psychologically crippled, I don’t know. Or maybe I am psychologically crippled, who knows!
Perhaps it was that memory which made me encourage my artistic teenaged son to join drawing classes with nude models. In answer to those teenaged boys all those years ago in one drawing class, my boy learnt to look at the female form with respect and with an artist’s eye in another drawing class.
But I digress. Bobby was just the same-ol’-same-ol’ love story – two youngsters in love against parental opposition. Shakespeare succeeded with Romeo & Juliet on that plot, so have many many other authors. Bobby was not a tragedy; the kids get their way. And we youngsters loved it. Especially because very unusually for Indian cinema of that time, the lead characters were actually teenagers. Rishi Kapoor & Dimple Kapadia were both natural actors and did justice to their debut film. We could actually identify with them. The movie succeeded also on the strength of its excellent music. Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s music was young, fresh and very catchy. You can listen to the album here.
Hum tum ek kamare mein bandh ho – Lata Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh. The catchiest of them all, it was hummed by every self-respecting roadside romeo!
Main Shair to Nahin – Shailendra Singh. The singer did an excellent job in this, his debut album. A lovely song with very meaningful lyrics.
Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai – Lata Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh. Good duet.
Beshak Masjid Mandir Todo – Narendra Chanchal. As I love ethnic sounds, this is very pleasing to my ears. Wonderful lyrics by the legendary Bulleh Shah (1680-1757) : ‘break temples and mosques if you wish, don’t break a heart filled with love for in it resides the beloved’ says he. The tune has the pathos needed to match the words.
Na Mango Sona Chandi – Shailendra Singh, Manna Dey. Good song.
Jhoot Bolo Kauva Kate – Lata Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh. Playful song with an energetic dance.
Akhiyon ko rehne do – Lata Mangeshkar, Very beautifully sung song, it used to be my favourite track when the movie was released. I still like it but perhaps not my favourite.
E Phasa – Lata Mangeshkar. A dance song to match Aruna Irani’s gyrations, it has a good beat and is well sung. Memorable because it was important to the story.
I was going to pick Jhoot Bole for the nice dance but my heart wasn’t in it – Bulleh Shah’s words pull my heartstrings as does Chanchal’s singing, so here is Beshak Masjid Mandir Todo.
Rudaali is the story of a professional mourner. When I think of this film, I remember the beauty of Dimple Kapadia, the wonder of Rajasthan’s landscape but above all I remember the music of Bhupen Hazarika. A movie about laments and lamenters needed to have soulful, mournful sounds which melt the heart and fill one’s eyes. Bhupen Hazarika does a commendable job, especially with the song I have chosen to present today. The power of the film was such that nearly 18 years after seeing it, the interwoven images and music still linger in my mind, leaving a gentle sorrow for a woman who was but a fiction of someone’s imagination. A good film with good music.
Gulzar’s lyrics are impeccable as always. How I envy a poet his power over words!! Bhupen Hazarika (born 1926) is of Assamese origins and brings an Eastern Indian touch to the music which has a Rajasthani flavour as well. He did not compose for many Hindi films and Rudaali was his most successful work in Bollywood. I am unfortunately not familiar with his Assamese work but I have a CD of his singing Bengali music which I enjoy.
Here are the songs from this album, and a link to it in MusicIndiaOnline. I think Lata’s voice quality is not at its best, but still, she is Lata and she delivers.
Dil Hoon Hoon Kare – Lata Mangeshkar
Samay O Dhire Chalo – Bhupen Hazarika
Beete na Beete na Raina – Lata Mangeshkar
Samay O Dhire Chalo 2 – Lata Mangeshkar
Dil Hoon Hoon Kare 2 – Bhupen Hazarika Very soulful.
Maula O Maula – Bhupen Hazarika
Jhooti Mooti Mitwa – Lata Mangeshkar
To honour the composer, I am presenting below a song sung by him:
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