Tag Archives: Kamal Haasan

Listening to : Saagar (1985)


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…..I don't know smile
  • Saagar Jaisi Aankhon Wali– Kishore Kumar. I loved the song when I heard it first and I love it still. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • 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. I don't know smile
  • 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. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • 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.Smile
  • Jaane Do Na – Asha Bhonsle, Shailendra Singh. Shailendra sounds good, pity his career went nowhere. The song..I can pass. I don't know smile
  • Sach Mere Yaar Hai – S.P.Balasubramaniam. Not to my taste. Sad smile

If you want to hear the whole album, click here.

My pick of the day is Saagar Kinare sung quite beautifully by Kishore and Lata. Enjoy!

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Filed under Bollywood 80's Music, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Honouring Kamal’s Versatility

I do not see many Tamil films. That being said, I have seen a small percentage of Kamal Haasan’s impressive oeuvre, some of his most successful films. He is a brilliant actor and when he is well cast in a film with a good script, magic happens. One of the most decorated and award winning actors in India,  he has won awards for acting in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi films. He has been at various times producer, director, scriptwriter, singer and choreographer. Versatility indeed!

I went to see his debut in a leading role in Apoorva Ragangal (1974) with my family; I remember my mother not approving of the theme of the 21 year old Kamal falling in love with a much older but gorgeous Sri Vidya! I loved the music and I listened to it today with a great deal of pleasure, especially ‘Adisaya Ragam’ (Yesudas). Some music can be truly timeless!

In my school holidays, when our family spent the summers in hot Chennai, the melodious ‘Ore Naal Unnai Naan’ (S.P.Balasubramaniam, Vani Jayaram) from Ilamai Oonjal Adugirathu (1978) would play non-stop in the radio.  Later on, when his foray into the Hindi film world with Ek Duje Ke Liye (1981) became a super hit, it was ‘Tere Mere Beech Mein’ which was sung in every street corner in Delhi. S.P.Balasubrumaniam sings this brilliantly but with a strong Tamil accent which doesn’t matter only because the character in this film was Tamil. In the same year, it was the Tamil film Raja Parvai which gave us the gem ‘Andi Mazai Pozhigirathu’ (S.P.B) a song I’ll always love.

‘Sundari Neeyum’ in Michael Madana Kamarajan (1980) sung by Kamal and Janaki is memorable, especially because its his own voice. And one mustn’t forget the beautiful ‘Chinnanjiru Vayathil’ in Menndum Kokila (1981). It still feels fresh and beautiful to me. The female voice (Shailaja) sounds very shrill to me but wait until Yesudas comes up. He sounds fantastic! And check out pre-plastic-surgery Sridevi, she looks lovely. Why do they stress about nothing and go under the knife?

Moonram Pirai in 1982 was a wonderful film and ‘Kanne Kalaimane’ (Yesudas) is a song I remember with pleasure. But the song I truly hold dear is ‘Thenpandi Cheemayile’ (Ilaiyaraja) from Nayakan (1987). I bow to Ilayaraja !! What a composer!!  A deeply moving film which I have never forgotten, Nayakan (Nayagan)  was listed in the Time Magazine All Time 100 movies, along with the Apu Trilogy and Pyaasa, the only other Indian films to have the same honour.

I never took to his later films, I did see a few but they didn’t leave an impression. I think that after Nayakan the quality of his films in general took a downward slide.

Album : Salangai Oli (1983)

Music : Ilaiyaraja

Lyrics : Vairamuthu

My favourite film of Kamal remains Salangai Oli (1983) where he acts as a Bharatanatyam dancer and a critic. It showcases not only his acting talent but his skills in dancing. There are many Indian actresses who have training in Classical Indian dancing but I am not aware of any actor with such skills. I shall indulge myself and present a number of songs from this movie today.

‘Mounamana Neram’ (S.Janaki, SPB) is my favourite song from this film. Jayaprada is so stunningly beautiful!

Mounamana Neram–S.Janaki, SPB

The song below is purely for Kamal’s dancing skills.

Bala Kanaka–S.Janaki

Indian Classical dance admirer must see the clip below from 01:29 onwards – Kamal shows you how its done!

And finally, the final song of the film :

Vedam Anuvilum–Shailaja, SPB

For those who would like to go down memory lane with me and listen to all the wonderful songs that I have spoken about, here is a playlist that I created in youtube. And if you haven’t seen Salangai Oli, do watch. Even with subtitles, you’ll appreciate Kamal’s talents. Enjoy!

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Filed under Bollywood Music, Classical Dance, Tamil Film Music