I was pleased to find out, right from the source, that the movie site Veoh.com now has a Tommydan1 page. And Tom is putting up excellent videos, just as he did on YouTube and other places – but this time he’s also putting up full movies. I recently went there to watch Teesri Kasam (a very good film), and I’ll be returning soon to watch a couple of other movies.
Veoh.com is a worthwhile site. You can find some good Indian movies with English subtitles there, generally in higher quality than at YouTube or Dailymotion. In order to do so, though, you have to download their browser. But that shouldn’t cause much trouble… Though once the browser is downloaded, you might get these Veoh.com toolbars that refuse to go away, and they seem to be hooked into the Google search. Or that’s what I found, anyway. When I did an unrelated Google search after downloading the browser (using the Google search bar), I got a line of pictures of Veoh.com videos at the top of my screen. I’m not sure if that happens only when you’re logged on or if they’re always there. In any event, I immediately disabled the Veoh.com toolbars, so now they’re not bothering me. It’s just a minor nuisance… I also had some serious buffering problems at first, but they seem to have gone away for now. Generally, this looks like a good movie source - that is, if you don’t mind having to look at an ad before your movie; that’s the only remaining, minor nuisance I’m finding there that isn’t at YouTube or Dailymotion (yet).
And there is another excellent user site at Veoh.com, Raghubhai77, where I recently went to watch C.I.D. (1956). This Guru Dutt production was top-notch, as I had expected. I was actually thinking about writing it up, but I made the mistake of first looking at the writeup at Philipsfil-ums. I say “mistake” because once I saw this fine review written by Corey Creekmur, I couldn’t think of anything worthwhile to say that wasn’t already said there. I guess I could come up with something (I might offer a few observations or favorite scenes that Corey didn’t mention), but as with other reviews at this site (such as, for instance, Philip’s own review of Teesri Kasam), it becomes hard, once I’ve read it, not to feel as though any review that I write is going to echo it in some way.
One interesting thing that Corey pointed out about C.I.D. is that in addition to being produced by Guru Dutt and directed by his assistant, Raj Khosla, it “invokes the work of Navketan, the film production company established in 1949 by Dev Anand and his older brother Chetan.” As Corey mentioned, during the 1950s, Navketan produced Baazi and Kala Pani, among others . And C.I.D. did remind me a lot of those films, especially of Baazi in places…
(Shamshad Begum on Waheeda Rehman, music by O.P. Nayyar.)
With regard to Navketan, Corey mentioned something else, which I thought was very interesting:
Navketan was consciously translating the influential work of the radical Indian Peoples’ Theatre Association (IPTA) into a mass form, and C.I.D.’s screenplay by Inder Raj Anand, also closely associated with the Bombay wing of the IPTA, extends this populist influence on the post-Independence Hindi crime film.
I’ve been doing some searches on the IPTA and am finding it a bit difficult. There are a lot of references to the group, but not many sources that provide more than a sentence or two about its origins and mission. Nonetheless, Wikipedia offers a good chunk of info…
Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) was an association of theatre-artists and others based in Kolkata, India the goal of which was to bring cultural awakening among the people of India….
Some of the initial members of the group were Prithviraj Kapoor, Bijon Bhattacharya, Ritwik Ghatak, Utpal Dutt, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Salil Chowdhury, Niranjan Singh Maan, S. Tera Singh Chan, Jagdish Faryadi, Khalili Faryadi etc. The group was formed in 1942, in the background of the Second World War, with Bengal famine of 1943 and starvation deaths in India on the one hand and repression by the colonial masters in the wake of the Quit India Movement and the aggression by the fascist powers on the Soviet Union on the other. All India People’s Theatre Conference was held in Mumbai in 1943 where the group presented its idea and objective of representing the crisis of the time through the medium of theatre and to help people understand their rights and duties. This conference led to the formation of committees of IPTA across India. The movement hit not only theatres, but also cinema and music in Indian languages….
I am going to read more about this group and probably will post about it again in the future (just as I plan to read and post more about some related groups further down south, in Kerala).
As for Navketan, they seem to have eventually strayed from their original path and mission but still produced a lot of good movies for many years to come.
…Which reminds me of one more thing I wanted to mention: You can now find the soundtrack to the 1971 Navketan film Tere Mere Sapne over at Music from the Third Floor.