I have just watched the entire movie Albela and I have to say, EVERY song in this movie is a delight! C. Ramchandra was truly amazing (and that’s not a phrase I overuse – I don’t think…). I also love most of the lyrics, by Rajendra Krishan.
And by the way, I consider myself particularly lucky to find subtitles for all these lyrics, since Tom Daniel aka Tommydan1 made previously un-subtitled songs available with special translations by Ava. (I understand that Ava translated as many as eight songs from the 12 in this film. Which ones? Don’t tell me, let me guess – I’m sure I’ll get it right.) Tom and Ava – what a great team we have in our midst now! Though I also understand that Ava might not be the only person translating songs for Tom… Well, this Hindi-challenged person is going to be ever-grateful!
But getting back to the movie itself… I’m not going to bother talking about the plot, because it really is nothing. You’ve seen this stuff in many Hindi movies already, and the plot development certainly is nothing special to speak of, especially when the villain enters the picture – which leads to a few stretches that got me pushing the fast-forward button. But in the end, it doesn’t matter, because not only is the music great, not only are the lyrics great, so are the performances.
Bhagwan is one funny guy here! I don’t always “get” the comedy in old Hindi movies; sometimes it seems to lose something in the translation. But this guy had me in hysterics a few times. Plus, he is a very interesting dancer, with some unique steps to his credit (steps that I understand have been oft imitated by none other than Amitabh Bachchan).
And did I say before that I wasn’t a Geeta Bali fan? Never mind, I’ve changed my mind now – now I get it. She is very charming in this film, and she obviously was a very good actress. (Maybe I didn’t realize this fully before because I hadn’t seen many films in which she had a major role. And it had been a while since I saw Baazi…)
There are also some interesting minor performances here – most notably, the Barsaat ”red dupatta” girl, Bimla Kumari, playing a character named Bimla… And I think all the characters in this film were played fairly well, if only the plot weren’t…well, never mind the plot – just listen to that music!
I am impressed by the last several posts on Tamil Cinema at Minai’s Cinema Nritya Gharana. She has scanned some very informative and visually stunning articles on the history of Tamil cinema that she found in Galatta Cinema magazine (following up a scan she did of a great article on Padmini!), searched out good (and sometimes quite rare) YouTube clips to put with them, and added nice text of her own. The past few posts are very comprehensive and, much to my delight, they include quite a bit about the golden and vintage years.
There are a few blogs out there that I’ve enjoyed a lot this past week, but I think that Minai’s deserves a special recommendation, especially if you love some old Tamil stars and Tamil films.
I can’t say for certain, but from what I’ve seen, these must be firsts:
First fast-driving train song (and what a perfect train song it is!):
(Thanks to our blogging friend Nivedita for posting that a little whle back.)
First song in which children turn into adults in a couple of beats (a few such song sequences came out a decade or two later, but I think this remained the best):
First song in which a woman sings to her cat (at least two decades before Minoo Mumtaz did it!):
(By the way, I have seen and heard quite a few songs from Street Singer, sometimes quite a few times. But I would love to be able to watch the entire film some day!)
There are some more “firsts” mentioned (such as first Bengali film star, etc.) at the marvelous Kanan… Web site. I think I can say that she is the oldest of my favorite female singing stars right now – my favorite singing star from a time even before my favorite singing star! This past week, I have been greatly enjoying a few MP3s that I donwloaded from that Kanan site’s Audio page. (That site is very rewarding, although there is at least one dead link and there may be some peculiarities – possibly a good idea to look through with a virus detector, though my Norton didn’t pick anything up.)
And over at YouTube, Suhanee11 posted a lot of information about Kanan Devi – including more detailed stuff about the difficult “lower class” beginnings that she had to overcome - right underneath this uplifting duet of Kanan and K.C. Dey:
I searched out this song after reading the following quote from Anil Biswas:
Noor Jehan was a wonderful singer… When Lata started singing, she used to imitate Noor Jehan who was very popular. But I told her, ‘we have a Noor Jehan, you must create your style’. Her song for me, Tumhar e bulaneko ji chahata hai, was sung in the Noor Jehan style.
Tarana (1951) – another movie in which I find Shyama to be more beautiful than Madhubala (although both are far too young :) … But unlike with Barsaat Ki Raat, made ten years later, one can definitely see why the hero – played by Dilip Kumar – prefers the Madhubala character, because there seems to be a bit of chemistry between them. Also, this is such nice music by Anil Biswas, and I’m impressed by a singer here whom I’m not that familiar with -i.e., Sandhya Mukherjee – who might be even better than Lata in this duet.
Aw, isn’t this cute? I’m actually several parts into watching this Malayalam movie without subtitles and I haven’t tired of the experience yet. The whole movie is available on YouTube and I’m posting Part 5 below because it contains the clearest copy of the hit song “Aayiram Kannumaayi”… I get that the general plot revolves around a lot of sentimental scenes between a grandmother and a granddaughter, a goofy neighbor played by Mohanlal, and a few neighborhood brats… These are all fine performers, which is probably why I’m not tiring of the film yet (even though I can’t understand a word of it), though I keep hoping that Grandma will do a bharatanatyam dance. (If anyone out there has a detailed plot description or could offer some translations, please send along!)
This year for May Day, I’m honoring the Kerala People’s Arts Club. I wrote a bit about KPAC about 20 months ago, when I also posted the first song here from KPAC’s most famous play-turned-movie, Ningalenne Communistakki (“You Made Me a Communist”). I’m going to include a couple of songs from that film today, as well as a song clip from another film and audio clips. Much of this is sweet, spirited music, great stuff for a happy May Day!
I like to call this first song from Ningalenne Communistakki the “campus rally song.” That’s what it looks like, anyway. I also posted it last May Day, but I think this is a better clip:
I haven’t posted this one before, but it seems to be a different variation of the song I posted 20 months ago. Unfortunately, the video is cluttered with annoying banners and logos, but the clip is still very cute and sweet. I have a theory that only in Kerala could they make communist movies that look and sound this cute and sweet.
This song is from the other KPAC play-turned-movie, Mooladhanam. This is great!
I like this next song a lot. Of course, I don’t know what the words mean, nor do I know the context, but I know it is a KPAC song, and the YouTube poster has also illustrated it with graphics that provide a few subtle hints about the song’s politics:
And this is a really nice KPAC drama song, “Cheppu Kilukkana,” danced to by students at the Arabhi Sangeetha Academy: