25 Years of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ): What Makes the Film So Special Even Today

There are films of all kinds that we are exposed to, very few of them go on to become commercially successful and maintain their iconic status despite the passage of time. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or DDLJ as it is more popularly known as, is one of the rare films to have that distinction. There has been enough and more that has been written about the film, with people praising the film for various aspects, while even attracting some criticism for its cheesiness, overtly sentimental nature and emphasis on a more old school romantic style and family values. So, let me not try and analyze the film per se, as that would simply not make sense, nor will it add any new insight into the film otherwise. So, what does this write-up intend to do? Simple, it is about why the film deserves all the love and appreciation that has been coming its way, and how I have evolved with the film over the course of these 25 years.Continue reading “25 Years of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ): What Makes the Film So Special Even Today”

DDLJ: Cutting across 3 decades. My Personal Ode & Journey with the Film

20th October 1995 was the first time DDLJ released in cinemas. I was 7 when I first watched the film at G7 Cinemas, Bandra with my parents. Little did I know that I would end up getting lost in the magical world that I was experiencing on screen. Tears rolled down my cheeks when I saw Amrish Puri slap SRK right before the climax sequence and I held my mother’s arms as each slap echoed in the pin drop silence inside the cinema packed with thousand people. I felt ecstatic when Kajol ran towards the stretched arm of SRK extending from the door of a running train in the end. I was mesmerized by the story that I narrated the entire film to my friends in school. When the songs came on the television, I would stop everything and listen attentively. Couple of months later, we revisited the theatre to watch DDLJ again. It was the same scenario as the first – a packed house with the same emotions. As a kid, I knew this film would stay with me forever. Continue reading “DDLJ: Cutting across 3 decades. My Personal Ode & Journey with the Film”

GHAR (1978): Finding Home

I have been watching a lot of old Hindi films on Amazon Prime of late, given the lockdown it is strange that Bollywood is giving me solace, it is my comfort zone. I must say that I was surprised by Ghar, a pleasant departure for a film that talks about rape and rape victims and the people close to them. After the horrific Nirbhaya Delhi case there have been many films where rape has been a pivotal point only to take the narrative arc of having a male hero or even films like MOM where the only retribution is the killing of the preparators of crime.Continue reading “GHAR (1978): Finding Home”

Solaris (1972): A Masterpiece from Andrei Tarkovsky

Such is the effect of Tarkovosky’s cinema that it usually leaves me at a loss of words. Often there are so many unanswered questions and puzzles that one just doesn’t ‘get’ that there’s a yearning to see the movie again to make a coherent sense of it all. A first time watcher of a Tarkovosky movie might find the long continous shots, a certain lack of action and the slow languid pace of it all utterly exhausting. But the truth is that Andrei Tarkovosky’s movies are not meant to be entertainment but an experience. When there’s a seemingly unnecessarily long shot you can either bemoan it as boring or think of it as an opportunity to consolidate in your mind all that passed before. Tarkovosky has been called the God of film-making and like all gods he first tests your patience and only then gives you what you came for.Continue reading “Solaris (1972): A Masterpiece from Andrei Tarkovsky”

Stalker (1979): Of Hope, Faith and Love

Although it’s described a sci-fi movie Andrei Tarkovosky’s 1979 masterpiece is much more expansive than that. It can perhaps be best described as a reflection on the eternal question – “What is the meaning of it all ?”.Continue reading “Stalker (1979): Of Hope, Faith and Love”

Azaad(1955): Fun and Frolic with Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar is one of the greatest actors  the world has ever seen, there is no doubt about it.  There is a perception among younger audiences that Dilip Saab could only do tragic roles, but as a thespian, he has proved his mettle in all kind of characters. In Azaad we get to see his comic and fun side.

Azaad is a remake of Tamil film Maalaikallan (Thief of Hills), this was the first big hit of MGR and the screenplay for which was written by none other than Karunanidhi.  Dilip Kumar was undergoing counselling when he was approached by S M Naidu to play this role and he took this up as a challenge.Continue reading “Azaad(1955): Fun and Frolic with Dilip Kumar”

18 Years on, Dil Se Lives on: A True Classic in Every Sense

What do you say about a film where the very first scene teaches you something new? Despite being good with geography I had no clue of a place called Haflong, but thanks to Dil Se I know that it is a hill station in Assam. What do you say about a film where the hero and the heroine hardly communicate the first time that they meet, so much so that the hero actually remarks at the end of it saying this must be the World’s shortest love story. And what can you actually say when that is followed by a song which is not just a personal favourite, but a song that shook the entire Nation and is popular to this day Internationally as well, the brilliantly choreographed, composed and executed number, “Chaiyya Chaiyya”. Even if the film had nosedived after that I would perhaps have still not really complained, but then there was no need to as it turned out to be a film for which there is everything and more going in its favour.Continue reading “18 Years on, Dil Se Lives on: A True Classic in Every Sense”

Satyajit Ray’s Ganashatru (An Enemy of the People): Drawingroom and Worldview of Hindu Middle Class

Satyajit Ray has always faced the accusation of ignoring political realities in his films. Ray may never have been a left card carrying member, but his movies always have focused on how human lives are impacted due to the larger context of politics right from Apu to his last film Agantuk.

Ray does not waste time in establishing the urgency, the first scene shows a doctor being concerned with the spread of a waterborne disease which he feels is due to contamination. Then in the next few minutes he establishes the major characters of the film in the living room of the doctor.Continue reading “Satyajit Ray’s Ganashatru (An Enemy of the People): Drawingroom and Worldview of Hindu Middle Class”

20 Years of Indian: When Shankar and Kamal Haasan Created History

Let’s go 20 years back, to the day, May 9th, 1996, when the epic masterpiece Indian released and how it has stayed strong in the history of cinema.

Just like how today cinema lovers are in frenzy with the excitement of waiting to see how a young director Pa. Ranjith is going to direct Superstar Rajinikanth in Kabali, back then after the announcement of Indian with Shankar going to direct Kamal Haasan should have created the same excitement. As after all Shankar was the happening director in Tamil Cinema with two back to back blockbusters Gentleman and Kadhalan, who had arrived in cinema with a bang! Another notable coincidence between Shankar and Pa. Ranjith is that their third film is with Kamal Haasan and Rajinkanth respectively !!!Continue reading “20 Years of Indian: When Shankar and Kamal Haasan Created History”